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Submission + - Paul Allen Accuses Bill Gates of Scheming

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The LA Times reports that Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen writes in his new memoir that Bill Gates, his onetime business partner, was a "mercenary" opportunist who schemed to lessen Allen's stake in the software company. Allen says in his book "Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft" that he learned of the plot while listening in on a conversation between Gates and Steve Ballmer in 1982, after Allen had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Allen said it was clear Gates and Ballmer had been weighing the issue for a long time. "Unable to stand it any longer, I burst in on them and shouted, 'This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, once and for all,' " writes Allen. Days later Gates gave Allen a six-page, handwritten letter of apology. Gates later made an offer to buy Allen's stake in Microsoft at $5 a share, but Allen refused to sell. "As it turned out, Bill's conservatism worked to my advantage. If he'd been willing to offer something close to my asking price, I would have sold way too soon.""

Comment Kavka's toxin puzzle (Score 4, Insightful) 97

Reminds me of Kavka's toxin puzzle. ...the Political Manifesto. Before an election, a political party will release a written document outlining their policies and plans should they win office. Many of these promises may be difficult or impossible to implement in practice. Having won, the party is not obligated to follow the manifesto even if they would have lost without it.


Submission + - Google Unveils Security Checklist (

wiredmikey writes: Google today pushed a “Security Checklist,” primarily designed for Gmail users but something useful for all Google Accounts and Google Apps users. Several of the tips are obvious, but some tips and features that Google references may not be commonly used or paid attention to.

Submission + - Google creates a new image format for the web ( 2

krou writes: Wanting to find a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG in a way that preserves quality and resolution, but shrinks the file size so that it makes the image load faster, Google has created a new image format called WebP 'that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before'. The compressor is based on the VP8 codec that Google open-sourced in May, 2010. 'In order to gauge the effectiveness of our efforts, we randomly picked about 1,000,000 images from the web (mostly JPEGs and some PNGs and GIFs) and re-encoded them to WebP without perceptibly compromising visual quality. This resulted in an average 39% reduction in file size.' They've set up a comparison site of open source and classic images for developers to assess quality.

Comment His thoughts on Java and Open Source Contributions (Score 1) 337

If you read a bit into the interview, you will be starled by what he says about Java language development and Open Source contributions to Java. He tends to focus on "engineering the Java language" as a product is more difficult than developing the language, which constitutes only 2 or 3 percent. Also goes on to say that Open Source Contributions have not really been effective.

Well, I can understand where he is coming from, but is James missing out the picture of where it actually works? - Python, Apache, Linux kernel.. Are these less used software pieces than Java? Here is the portion that I am talking about.

So long as they do that. The development of Java is not an inexpensive thing. It takes a fair amount of funding. It's not just about writing code. Learning the code is two or three percent of the expense. You're shipping fifteen million copies a week, just the bandwith is horrible. The QA when you have to worry about something that has thirty issues. When you've got everything, every stock exchange, every phone company on the planet. Their security depends on Java. So it's not a causual piece of testing.

You know, when it comes to open source contributions, our history with contributions over the years have been kinda snarky. We'd get lost of people sending code and fixes. But on average, we'd get a submission that fixed the bug but it caused three or four more. And it probably didn't fix the bug for everybody. It probably only fixed the bug for their one case. And trying to get people in the community to actually think about the whole code base and not just their particular issue today. Doing one line of change means an immense amount of testing.

Most open source projects are way too casual for that. Sometimes when you get bugs that are potential security issues, you have to move fast, you have to put immense resources on getting it done. Maybe it's just one engineer fixing one character in one line, but then testing it and making sure you didn't introduce a bug. The harder stuff is if you have a bug, there are probably people out there who have worked around that bug, so how many of the workarounds are you going to break. And when you've got nine or ten million in the developer community you have enormous applications, trivial fixes are not trivial. And open source projects, the way the average open source projects are constituted. IT's easy to get people to do the fun stuff. It's hard to get people to do the hard stuff.

Like QAing the math libraries. Like doing QA on sine and cosine, you absolutely have to have a PHd in Mathematics. Sine and cosine: it sounds really simple, but there is unbelievable amount of depths of subtlety in there. There are extraordinarily few people on the planet qualified to QA that type of stuff.

Submission + - Muck Zuckerberg, budding philanthropist? (

brendan.hill writes: Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old wunderkind behind Facebook is making a move to become a player in philanthropy just before the opening of a film that portrays him as less than charitable.

The recipient of his $US100 million ($A104.64 million) donation — thought to be the biggest of his young life — is the Newark public schools, a long-struggling district that could use the money to become a laboratory for reforms.

The donation is being announced this week on Oprah Winfrey's TV show in an arrangement that brings together the young internet tycoon, Newark's celebrated Democratic mayor and a governor who has quickly become a star of the Republican party.


Submission + - Android's growing pains ( 2

Barence writes: Android might have overtaken the iPhone in terms of market share, but Google's fledgling mobile OS is having more than its fair share of teething problems, claims PC Pro. There have been reports all year of frustrated Android users waiting for the latest updates to the mobile operating system from either operators or manufacturers. When the upgrades finally arrive, customers complain about glitches and errors. O2 had to pull an update to version 2.2 of Android after users reported it crashed their HTC Desire handsets, and a similar situation arose moving the Dell Streak to version 2.1. “One of the problems is that Google is releasing updates so quickly that developers and manufacturers don't really have a chance to catch up,” said Andreas Constantinou, research director at industry analyst Vision Mobile. Does Google need to take its foot off the Android accelerator?

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