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Comment Re:Been there... (Score 1) 848

I have a friend who worked as a contractor for NASDAQ and was in the same boat. He had written a network monitoring tool on his own time and used it as part of his job. He was clear with management this is something he had built on his own and that it belonged to him. He sold the application separately and brought in a token amount of revenue for his efforts.

After a few years, he (and most of the people from his team) were laid off unceremoniously, and he insisted that the custom software he had written needed to be removed from their system. They did not comply, and it ended up in court. He did earn an injunction and damages equal to his attorney's fees for all his effort. Rights to the network monitoring tool was later purchased by another firm for a small sum.

I got the sense, throughout all of this, that the time and dollars being spent were really a waste. There was no million dollar application coming out of these efforts, and building the application was really just a way to make his job easier.

Comment Re:I read somewhere... (Score 0) 1613

Don't turn this into an Apple versus M$ you dolt, a man died today!

Oh wait...

See, even trolls can't overcome the remarkable sadness on the news of his passing. Beyond the hardware, he inspired a lot of debates here and elsewhere that will have a lasting impact on people. I can't believe how awful this is to hear.

Comment A better way to look at it (Score 4, Insightful) 263

I agree with the IKEA affect, at some level, but believe people are wrong about what it means. Just because someone has worked on an open source project does not mean they have rose colored glasses and expect it will solve every problem more efficiently than another alternative. In my view, it means that they have a more sophisticated view of what the project actually can do, in part because it is open, and are ready to share that information.

I own an open source company that deals with Drupal and CiviCRM. It is not uncommon to be in a conversation where someone is telling me of course I think Drupal is the greatest thing out there, and assumes I am not well versed in anything else. I can go on about the virtues of Drupal all day long, but that is besides the point. I have an in-depth understanding of Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla (and it's predecessor Mambo), Plone, Xoops, and a number of other open source tools.

I have contributed to each of these platforms at one time or another and understand the way they work in great detail. Compared to Sharepoint, where I don't understand the internals, I am not going to have a lot to say. If you come to me asking what you should be using, I am going to talk about Drupal, but am also going to ask what you currently use.

There are parallels with the automotive industry that can help explain what is going on there.

My mechanic actually makes cars. He purchases transmissions, chassis, all the component parts you need to assemble them. He has a large lot, looks almost like a junkyard on the outside, and he keeps a fleet of jumkers around to restore them and sell them off. On the inside, his shop is a paradise of tools, diagnostic machines and the like.

His obsession with cars extends to his personal life. His house is filled with cardboard boxes that contain custom parts he picked up because he knows what he can do with them. He can explain them in terms of torque, output and a lot of other factors that go beyond my ability to appreciate a car and what it does.

My neighbor is also someone I would call a car guy and drives a german supercar. It was top of the line when he bought it. I mention the car to the mechanic, and he can tell me about every part in it and why it is good or bad. He has strong opinions about the car and why it is poorly designed, with several prognostications about parts that will die prematurely due to flaws.

When I speak to my neighbor about it, all he knows is he has an expensive car. that impresses people. He can talk about all the luxury lines and his knowledge of the component parts extends to the makeup of the interior, the warmth of the seats, the placement of cup holders, and the like. What he really cares about is not under the hood, it's how the car looks to other people.

If you put the question to both of these kind of people about what kind of car to drive, you are going to get very different answers because one understands how cars are built, the other understands what the car means to other people who see it. There is a qualitiative difference there people don't always appreciate between different types of afficinados.

That said, there are ideological zealots out there who will always tell you to use a platform for it's own sake. I don't always get the sense these people always know what they are talking about, and generally get the feeling they cling to one platform due to their ignorance of the benefits of others. They have a tendency to become very defensive when confronted and make very bold assertions in the absence of facts.

This later class of people generally don't have much to do with how the platform is built. They tend to be the ones who are proponents of the platform and have strong opinions based on their participation in the community. While they can be fun to spend time with, there are situations where you get sick of being around them. To be candid, there are a lot of people in open source communities who are like this, and I think that's where the confusion comes from.

But don't mistake them for the people who actually love open source and understand it's benefits and drawbacks in comparion to other platforms.

Comment Re:Uh... (Score 3, Informative) 59

Methods for metric analysis, which is the core of Craigslists' valuation. They do a really good job at understanding who is coming to their site. This would be of interest to anyone looking to build an online community.

I had been waiting for this to come down. Something told me the board of CL had mangy ethics and I could see how this was a conflict of interest.

Comment Re:Other representatives (Score 1) 186

Speaking with a cab driver here in London this morning, he claimed there have been 1,900 arrests in London over the riots. 1,900 would seem a remarkably high number, and I challenged him on it. He said it was information he gathered from some sort of official who was a fare the previous day.

If they did arrest this number of people, it's remarkable and I would strongly suspect collusion from social media outlets as part of the roundup effort. GPS on your phone, anyone?

Comment Re:People Growing Up? (Score 1) 413

Considering all the other games that exist on the market and the extensive multiplayer options that exist, I would not be surprised to learn the pool of new gamers is fragmented and that WoW competes really hard for their attention.

Nothing against WoW, but there are a lot of options out there these days. When I look at the games my daughter and her friends play, it's less about fantasy and more about social networking. Truly irrelevant in terms of a sample size, but there are options out there besides MMOs that offer a social aspect that did not exist even a few years ago.

Comment Re:Dan Lyons also... (Score 1) 311

I was wondering when someone would point this out.

This fact does not take away from the MMI deal in any way, it only shows that this guy smells blood in the water and takes it to extremes. I certainly doubt the attractiveness of the Motorola patent portfolio is what Lyons claims, but do believe this is a shrewd move on Google's part and one that is going to pay dividends.

Comment Re:Dumbest Idea Ever (Score 3, Interesting) 535

In a way, it might. Cracking games is a long standing tradition and quite a bit of fun.

Gave up on video games myself a long time ago, but I still remember the joy of circumventing copy protection. I bought a copy of Zork once, it came on a floppy that was copy protected. The secret to copying it was to cut a small hole in the top left side of the disk before putting it in. This allowed copying to happen.

Mind you, I was never any good at Zork and got eaten continuously by Grues. I wanted a copy because I had a bad habit of throwing disks for games across the room when I lost. As far as I was concerned, I was buying the game, not the disk, and it was abominable that people were not allowing me to enjoy the game in the manner of my choosing (watching it fly when it beat me). Having a copy was about having a backup, and who were they to tell me no? /me fondly remembers the soft feel of floppies, the slight texture on the 5.5s, the way they used to soar...

Copy II PC was the program I used to copy write protected floppies. I think Wizardry was the first one where I needed to use this. I assumed I was going to be just as bad as I was with Zork and made copies before I played the game. It took me a couple weeks to get down how to use Copy II PC - while I wanted to play the game, I did not want it to end prematurely in a fiasco.

For whatever reason, one of the Wizardry games was protected against Copy II PC, and that made me leave it on the shelf until something better came along. I think it sat there for a year until I got a copy of PC Tools, which I used for making copies and also hex editing. It was with Pool of Radiance where I really learned to shine with that one, tanking around with a party of people with 18 for all their attributes and all sorts of weapons. I am not sure if you can call it playing the game once you have screwed with all the internals, I remember it did not take me long to get bored with the game itself but I was always fascinated by what I could do with the saved game files.

Purhased a lot of games that I really hated just to screw with them. I had no interest in any of the flight simulator games that were popular back then, or the SSI simulators like Panzer Commander, or any of the Sierra games (that came along later), or things like Ancient Art of War. I would buy them to add them to a library, and would spend my time screwing with the disks and data files. I probably spent as much money on floppies as I did on actual games, if you can believe that.

Fun times. If I was a kid again, I would probably buy a copy of this game just to hack it. Hoping there are others who share the same POV.

Comment Re:Working for stock options (Score 4, Interesting) 374

Something tells me, if I were to ask you to read that document, you would not understand it yourself. In all likelihood, your lawyer would not have advised you about the possible implications of that clause since it is simply something that is not done.

People working for me have left to go to Google several times in the past, we had one black week once where 6 guys left within days of each other, all heading for Google. Not all of them are with that company anymore, and I have heard tell of the offers they received. $120k in stock options granted the first day, with a relatively short vesting period (I think it was about a year, but can't remember exactly).

This is the way things are supposed to work in Silicon Valley. I am never keen on options, I was granted a good number of them in the 90s and saw a lot of value vanish overnight when the bubble burst. But you should be able to lose value based on performance of the market, but an option is an option. It does not make sense that you are contributing to the growth of the company based on this compensation, and that it can be stripped from you.

Buyback clauses like this are almost certainly non-enforceable, especially since the employee has to pay taxes on the options during the time of his / her employment (at least in California). It would be like saying that the company has the right to take back your paycheck, they are measured as compensation and should rightfully belong to the employee without additional considerations.

I have a strong feeling this is not going to stand and we will be hearing about this matter for a long time.

Comment Re:Cui bono? (Score 4, Insightful) 412

Well, something tells me this is in response to legal activity. There are surely going to be new laws, probably not ones specifically in response to hacking activity, but others that allow various governments all sorts of access to records to track down hackers.

This will cause 'innovation' in the hacking scene, where people adapt to the new laws and develop new technologies that circumvent them and make them more challenging to implement. Hackers are simply going to go further 'underground' and be harder to track.

This, in turn, it going to lead to a number of high profile hacks of large services who have not matured in terms of how they secure their services. This will make the news, government officials will make unfortunate comments that draw the attention of various hacker groups, who will lash out through their newly developed anonymity.

In turn, this is going to result in new laws... stop me if you heard this before.

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