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Groupon Deal Costs Photographer a Year's Free Work 209

Andy Smith writes "One professional photographer in Somerset, UK, thought he was drumming up lots of extra business with a special deal on the Groupon group-buying site. Sadly he has ended up committing himself to nearly a year of unpaid work, plus he has to give out over 3,300 free prints." This analysis seems to be based only on the author's observations (rather than the photographer's experience), but the numbers are interesting. It can't work against everyone, though, or I bet there'd be fewer repeat advertisers on the daily-coupon sites.

The Broken Design of Microsoft's "Fix it" Tool 165

$luggo writes "Curious about MS Fix It, I recently went hunting in the MS knowledge base for articles that provide the new EZ-button. After locating on few, I decided to click the button to download the Microsoft Installer package containing the executable and/or files that automatically enable the DVD Library feature in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate — on my XP Media Center. 'Surely, MS will use some scripting, HTTP User-Agent sniffing, or even Genuine Windows validation to verify that I am running Vista,' I thought. It did not and I canceled the download when I received the prompt to save the file. So, I wonder: is there a Fix-it for Fix it? Because I can easily imagine someone doing what I did without scrolling to the bottom of the KB article and verifying that the article applies to their OS/version. This is a great example poor design. Why not simply use the download approach that other articles / fixes / service packs use, whereby the user must select the appropriate OS?"

SMS 4x More Expensive Than Data From Hubble 410

paradoxSpirit writes "Physorg has a paper comparing the cost of text messaging versus the cost of getting data from Hubble Space Telescope. From the article: 'The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is 5p. There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that's 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte. At 5p each, that's £374.49 [$732.95] per MB — or about 4.4 times more expensive than the 'most pessimistic' estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs." "Hubble is by no means a cheap mission — but the mobile phone text costs were pretty astronomical!""

Comcast Cheating On Bandwidth Testing? 287

dynamo52 writes "I'm a freelance network admin serving mainly small business clients. Over the last few months, I have noticed that any time I run any type of bandwidth testing for clients with Comcast accounts, the results have been amazingly fast — with some connections, Speakeasy will report up to 15 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up. Of course, clients get nowhere near this performance in everyday usage. (This can be quite annoying when trying to determine whether a client needs to switch over to a T1 or if their current ISP will suffice.) Upon further investigation, it appears that Comcast is delivering this bandwidth only for a few seconds after any new request and it is immediately throttled down. Doing a download and upload test using a significantly large file (100+ MB) yields results more in line with everyday usage experience, usually about 1.2 Mbps down and about 250 Kbps up (but it varies). Is there any valid reason why Comcast would front-load transfers in this way, or is it merely an effort to prevent end-users from being able to assess their bandwidth accurately? Does anybody know of other ISPs using similar practices?"

GameStop Manager Suspended After "Games for Grades" 539

mikesd81 writes "A manager at a GameStop has been suspended for instituting a 'games for grades' policy. 'Brandon Scott says he started a unique new policy in his store to promote good grades in school but now his employer has sent him to detention for speaking out of turn. Scott says he's been suspended by GameStop in the wake of his unconventional "games for grades" policy at an Oak Cliff store.' Apparently, on his own, Scott decided to stop selling video games to any school-age customer unless an adult would vouch for the student's good grades."

Jack Thompson Weighs in on Oblivion 505

Robotron23 writes "Jack Thompson has commenced his attack on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by seeking appearances on several talk shows. A press release announcing his availability speaks of Take Two not having 'learned its lesson' over the Hot Coffee scandal, before continuing to detail the issues surrounding Oblivion's re-rating, in particular regarding nudity - concluding that the game content will spawn 'an even worse disaster' than occurred during Hot Coffee."

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