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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model 257

jammag writes: A new trend has emerged where tech companies have realized that abusing users pays big. Examples include the highly publicized Comcast harassing service call, Facebook "experiments," Twitter timeline tinkering, rude Korean telecoms — tech is an area where the term "customer service" has an Orwellian slant. Isn't it time customer starting fleeing abusive tech outfits?

Comment Re:Ripe for abuse (Score 1) 106

1: luxury means very different things to different people. Not everyone prefers opulence.
2: electricity prices aren't homogenous in Europe at all. In the north (Norway/Sweden/Finland) electricity is cheap and generally generated in ways that have a very small environmental impact (arguably possibly in the case of nuclear power stations but still, Sweden for example get 95+ percent from hydro and nuclear).

Comment This is absolutely ridiculous (Score 1) 183

1: There is a ton of prior art in general
2: There is a ton of prior art for Excel specifically

Exhibit a) Microcharts from Bonavista Systems, released in 2006 or even earlier (

How incredibly incompetent are the people at the Patent Office? There is a mandated discovery process after all. What the hell is going on?

Comment CMMI - religion masquerading as whatever it is (Score 5, Insightful) 200

Listen. I've spent far too many of my working years dealing with companies that have caught religion of some sort. It doesn't matter which one it is, be it ISO, CMMI, Six Sigma or some virulent form of agile (yes SCRUM people, I'm talking to you); its a religion. Instead of focusing on the business and developing sound processes that fit the business model and the company culture these companies put in place this huge infrastructure hoping that this will make them automatically successful.

It doesn't.

It does kill whatever passion there is though. Yes that goes for agile too but in other parts of the company than the one you might be sitting in.

These days I have a good rule that works - when a company tries to sell me services based on being CMMI level 5 I tell them to far, far away and preferably perform some acts that are illegal in several states. After having dealt with a couple of them I have realized that the only genuine thing generated is a huge paper trail and innovation is dead or dying.

As to your question - I don't know and I don't care. I can only make the friendly suggestion that you look for work in a place that doesn't focus on religious adherence to principles defined elsewhere. I promise you that it'll be more fun, challenging and ultimately interesting.


Pakistan Court Orders Facebook Ban Over Mohammed Images 949

jitendraharlalka writes with this excerpt from Al Jazeera English: "A Pakistani court has issued a ban on the social networking site Facebook after a user-generated contest page encouraged members to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. The Lahore High Court on Wednesday instructed the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ban the site after the Islamic Lawyers Movement complained that a page called 'Draw Mohammed Day' is blasphemous. ... 'We have already blocked the URL link and issued instruction to Internet service providers,' Khurram Mehran, a spokesperson for the PTA, said."

Comment I'll buy one (Score 1) 617

once someone has bothered jailbreaking it. Prior to that - no chance of me spending my cash on it as my interest in feeding Mr Murdoch and his ideas is exactly zero.

It's an interesting step. I think we will see devices down the line (add cameras, eye tracking and general inventiveness) that come close to a cut down version of Neal Stephenson's "Diamond Age" ideas. But right now it's nowhere near that. Just an interesting piece of hardware that I can use as a glorified screen/reader/remote. Which is pretty much what I will do. If someone hacks the damn thing.

Comment Bad for coding, good for debugging (Score 1) 198

I absolutely see where this would be useful but it's just another concept that can alleviate some of the burdens of certain parts of our (?) work. For coding, all out, no-holds-barred, i-need-to-get-this-out-of-head coding you need something that is structured around packages and classes/interfaces. Whether you have to create it yourself or you started with UML (you fancy person you) or a whiteboard doesn't matter. You want to write the code, test cases and move on. I am a believer in making mistakes and correcting them rather than overanalyzing at the beginning and that has worked well in all sorts of environments, whether it has been carrier grade telecom stuff or enterprise widget work. Doesn't matter. Get an initial design, hammer in the functionality and iterate. However, in that type of scenario Code Bubbles doesn't really help. Where it does help is in debugging and documenting, I can certainly see how this would be enormously useful in that situation. The problem is that you don't normally shift between IDEs that way. Some do, I don't and even though I don't necessarily kill the people working for me if they do it, it adds a lot of maintenance overhead to deal with dual project structures.

Anyway, if this ever gets into IntelliJ I'll be happy clam I think.


Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."

Comic Books Improve Early Childhood Literacy 127

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Professor Carol Tilley, a professor of library and information science at the University of Illinois, says that comics are just as sophisticated as other forms of reading, children benefit from reading them at least as much as they do from reading other kinds of books, and that there is evidence that comics increase children's vocabulary and instill a love of reading. 'A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words,' says Tilley. 'But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.' Tilley says that some of the condescension toward comics as a medium may come from the connotations that the name itself evokes but that the distinct comic book aesthetic — frames, thought and speech bubbles, motion lines, to name a few — has been co-opted by children's books, creating a hybrid format."

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