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iPhone Users Angry Over AT&T Upgrade Policy 789

All is not sweetness and light in the wake of the Apple WWDC kickoff announcements, especially concerning the evolution of the iPhone. Reader Hugh Pickens writes: "AT&T will offer the new iPhone 3G S when it debuts later this month at a cost of $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, but only to new customers and those who qualify for the discounted price. AT&T subscribers with an iPhone 3G who are not eligible for an upgrade — those not near the end of their two-year contracts — will have to pay $200 more — $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. 'This is ridiculous and slap in the face to long-time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone,' writes one unhappy iPhone customer. 'We have to mount a vigorous campaign to change this policy. Call your local AT&T and ask for the manager and complain. Send e-mails and post in forums everywhere.' The issue is spurring heavy debate on support discussion forums, with some customers supporting AT&T. 'The option you have is to honor the contract you freely committed yourself to,' says one forum member. 'If you want to upgrade early then you will have to pay full price with no subsidy discount. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your predicament.'"
The Internet

20th Anniversary of the Dawn of Dot-Com 94

btempleton writes "It was 20 years ago today when I posted to USENET the public launch of ClariNet, my electronic newspaper service delivered over the Internet. By finding a way around the NSFNet acceptable use policy, ClariNet was the first business founded to use the Internet as its platform for business, and the era of the 'dot-com' had begun. For the anniversary I have written a history of the founding of ClariNet and early internet business, which outlines how it all came down. Readers may also enjoy the included anecdote about what I term 'M5' reliability, where the news system was so robust that, like the M5 computer on Star Trek, even those authorized to do so were unable to shut it off; and a story of the earliest large SF eBook effort."

Submission + - Walmart Employee Eavesdrops on Cell Communications

Gr8Apes writes: CNN is reporting that Walmart "fired a systems technician for intercepting text messages of non-Wal-Mart employees and recording telephone conversations with a New York Times reporter without authorization". The story further goes on to state that the recordings were in violation of their policy since they did not have authorization from their legal dept. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't wiretapping illegal without court authorization as shown by the HP scandal?
The Internet

Submission + - Wikipedia's "Six Sins" debunked

David Still writes: "Sam Vankin, a long-time critic of Wikipedia, posted an article explaining the "Six Sins" that he believes will leave to the encyclopedia's eventual collapse. From the article:
It is a question of time before the Wikipedia self-destructs and implodes. [...] People who are regularly excluded or at least moderated in every other Internet community are welcomed, no questions asked, by this wannabe self-styled 'encyclopedia'
Daveydweeb explains that Vankin bases his argument on factual errors, poor reporting and a shoddy understanding of the website itself. The whole debate raises an important question, though: is Wikipedia just too insular for the layperson to understand?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Nine Kinds of Commenters

M@ writes: "brain in a vat has devised a satirical taxonomy of the nine kinds of weblog commenters.

4. The Hater

I detest you Fanboy. Everyone knows that Mactendo release only the poorest of products, that its designers are nothing more than a team of monkeys and that its CEO is, in fact, a baboon. Despite never actually having been in the same room as a Mactendo product, I have nothing but the greatest contempt for anyone who espouses allegiance to Mactendo. I will now impugn Mactendo by making a snide reference to a feature which Microsony products have always enjoyed, but which Mactendo products lacked in the mid 1980s. I will not rest until all Mactendo supporters renounce their faith and embrace their Microsony overlords.

8. The 1337

As part of the online elite who have long ago done away with the need for vowels, I am crafting my post exclusively from esoteric strings of cryptic, and arbitrarily capitalised, alpha-numeric sequences. Everyone who reads this will thereby immediately understand that I can best them at every computer game ever invented. I would say more, but my thumbs hurt."

Submission + - How to Price Software

Anonymous Coward writes: "As an after work, personal project, I've been writing some software that I believe is unique, useful, and nicely written. In other words, it has commercial potential. I'm not necessarily a believer in the Church of Stallman, with huddled masses of software yearning to be free and all that. I'm grateful for all of those who have given us the gift of free software, but I view it as just that, a gift. For a variety of reasons, I don't choose to make this particular program a gift to the world.

Since I am going to sell it, I've been struggling with the question of just how much my little program is worth. And the question really goes beyond my little program to the value of so-called "Intellectual Property" in general.

My program solves a particular niche problem in the electronics industry, and would be useful to certain hobbyists as well. A business would easily save hours of engineering time using this software for a single project, so I don't think it's at all unreasonable to charge hundreds of dollars for it.

On the other hand, a hobbyist may find the time spent doing it the hard way to be enjoyable in it's own right, and find the program almost valueless on that basis. Or maybe they just want to toy with it, but wouldn't be willing to cough up $50 to do so. But maybe they would for $5.

If my price is to high, I lose a sale. Whether I lose that sale to "piracy", or to someone just doing without a useful tool is irrelevant. If my price is too low, I'm not reasonably compensated for my work.

It comes down to the fact that the value of any sort of "IP" is just what the buyer thinks it is worth to him. My question is, how can I arrive at a fair price for each sale?

- I could have different prices for commercial versus personal use, but that isn't really fine-grained enough.
- I could charge royalties, but we all know how popular royalty based compiler licenses are.
- I could move critical functions to a server and make it pay-per-use, but what is a "use" worth?
- I could offer it as shareware, but that really doesn't solve the problem. I can't bring myself to pay $90 the author is asking for a piece of software I occasionally use, but I would have registered it long ago for $20.
- I could ask people to name their own price, but then Global Mega Electro Corp would offer me $0.50 for a site license.
- I could negotiate each purchase individually, but I get irked when companies want my name and address. I'd never put up with "So, what exactly do you intend to write with this copy of Word?"

So, Slashdotters, how should I arrive at the correct number?"

Submission + - Sysinternals surfaces inside the beast

dups writes: "After Microsoft purchased the bulk of the Sysinternals tool set pioneered by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell earlier this year it's been a wait and see for all the users of these tools. Some of the more un-trusting of us created personal mirrors of the site and all the utilities and source code.

Now Microsoft has launched a repackaging of the Sysinternals tools in a single suite as well as providing all of the tools the gained with the purchase as singles utilities. The down side to all of this is that Microsoft have decided not to release any source code, so it appears some of those un-trusting people were right all along. Anyway at least the tools are still available even if the underlying source code is now closed.

For more on this see the M$ web site for the sysinternals tools in MS Technet — Sysinternals"

Comment We are much more secure (Score -1, Troll) 374

I'd equivocate our security roughly with that of the ultra-secure operating systems used by the NSA. A non-executable stack is one of our own innovations - I thought this up one night while hacking away at some network code. Certainly, you couldn't claim that we aren't innovating in our distro. I guess you could say, we are working on things more significant and important than making sure OpenBSD works on crusty old PDP-8s and Nintendos.

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The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"