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Games

Submission + - Disney purchases Wideload Games (chicagobusiness.com)

BigVig209 writes: "This just in from Enterprise City, Crain's Chicago Business small enterprise blog:

"Disney Interactive Studios on Tuesday said it agreed to acquire video game developer Wideload Games Inc. for undisclosed terms. The CEO of Chicago-based Wideload Games, Alexander Seropian, will join the company as vice-president of creative, a new position."

Seropian was a co-founder of Bungie and one of the original developers of Halo."

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Geeks Prefer Competence To Niceness 300

Death Metal writes "While everyone would like to work for a nice person who is always right, IT pros will prefer a jerk who is always right over a nice person who is always wrong. Wrong creates unnecessary work, impossible situations and major failures. Wrong is evil, and it must be defeated. Capacity for technical reasoning trumps all other professional factors, period."

Submission + - Swine Flu Outbreak at PAX (penny-arcade.com)

whisper_jeff writes: "There's been a confirmed outbreak of Swine Flu at PAX. Those who attended and are feeling under-the-weather after the con should not write it off as a typical convention cold and go see a doctor to make sure, just in case."

Submission + - Best Buy freaking out over unionized geeks (semiaccurate.com)

LemmingOverlord writes: "Couldn't let this one slip by us. I know unions are always hard to digest, but the idea that the Geek Squad at Best Buy are going "union"... priceless...

Found this on Semi accurate.com (http://www.semiaccurate.com/2009/09/09/best-buys-geek-squad-votes-union/)

"IT LOOKS LIKE the old saying, "management gets the union it deserves" is coming to pass at Best Buy, or at least beginning to in parts of its Geek Squad division. We hear that some of them just voted by an overwhelming margin to go union.

While unions range across the board in quality, the smaller ones in particular tend to do a lot to protect their members and keep abusive management at bay. Having several friends who worked at Best Buy's Geek Squad (GS) division, I can say that many of the stories floating around about long hours, low pay, and lack of training are nothing new. The company sorely needs a union.

In the Pacific Northwest, a group of Best Buy workers, specifically one chunk of the Geek Squad, apparently got so fed up with mistreatment that they just voted to go union. We hear that Best Buy's management, both locally and at headquarters, is absolutely livid over it. Their worst nightmare is that word about this vote will spread, prompting more locales to unionize.

Can you imagine how much management bonuses would have to fall in order to pay workers a fair wage and train them properly? The horror! If you look at how well it reacted the last time the notion was floated, it just shows that Best Buy's management cares — just not about its employees.

Friends on the inside tell us that Best Buy prefers to promote Geek Squad personnel from sales to technical because it finds it easier to teach a sales droid to follow a trouble-shooting flowchart — especially if it has lots of pictures and not too many big words — than to indoctrinate a seasoned, knowledgable technician to upsell bling and push expensive extended warrantees.

See why it is afraid of unions? Standards, training, fair wages, fair hours, and in general, being good to employees could wreak havoc on Best Buy top management's stock options for several quarters.

From what we understand, Best Buy management is desperately trying to keep a lid on this 'problem' and wants to keep it from 'snowballing'. One brave soul described management as "freaked out".

If you too are worried about whether management at Best Buy will have to wait another quarter to get that new V12 Mercedes, please don't spread the news. In fact, don't tell anyone how scared it is of unionization and how Geek Squad workers in the Northwest voted by more than 75% to unionize.

If this spreads, a little more of Best Buy's wealth might be distributed to the people who actually generate it. How anti-capitalist is that?S|A""

Education

Submission + - Next Open Source Movement in Higher Education (insidehighered.com)

BigVig209 writes: "While the open source movement has taken off in course management systems, with Moodle and Sakai as alternatives to the dominant Blackboard, the administrative side of the house has been almost entirely corporate. While some colleges use home-grown systems, the norm has been to use any of a number of vendors for systems that allow colleges to manage and report on budgets, billing and many other functions crucial to running a college. These administrative software systems cost millions of dollars to install and manage, and any malfunctions can be hugely frustrating to institutions. Last week, in a move that could lead to a shake-up of the industry, Colorado State University and San Joaquin Delta College both went live with the first large-scale installations of full financial systems produced by the Kuali Foundation, a consortium of colleges that have pooled resources to create open source systems that could compete with corporate offerings."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Russian hackers target the for profit and politics

BigVig209 writes: "The Chicago Tribune has an article (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-russia-hackers_for_webdec26,0,5245524.story) about why younger Russian programmers are committing crimes online instead of getting lower paying, non-illicit jobs:

"Not long ago, the simple, anonymous thrill of exposing chinks in American software was enough of a payoff for a Russian hacker.

Today it's cash. And almost all the targets are in the United States and Europe, where Russia's notorious hackers pilfer online bank accounts, swipe social security numbers, steal credit card data and peek at e-mail log-ins and passwords as part of what some estimate to be a $100 billion-a-year global cyber-crime business.""

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