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Comment Dropbox shows it can be done (Score 5, Informative) 321

From Forbes magazine's Nov 2011 edition; emphasis mine:

[Dropbox] has solved the “freemium” riddle, with revenue on track to hit $240 million in 2011 despite the fact that 96% of those users pay nothing. With only 70 staffers, mostly engineers, Dropbox grosses nearly three times more per employee than even the darling of business models, Google. [CEO Drew Houston] claims it’s already profitable.


Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

Comment It's the idealism strain. (Score 1) 736

I think all engineers/hackers have a certain amount of idealism in them. When they see something that is badly broken they want to fix it, and many are willing to give their time/money/talent generously.

Terrorists, in an admittedly warped sense, are idealists too. I'm an Iraqi, I think the US is a massive "bug", so I'm going to try to fix it at all costs. If I'm convinced the US is a massive bug in the software system that is the world, it makes it possible for me to want to obliterate 3,000 innocent Americans.

I'm no shrink and it sounds sacrilegious, but kernel hackers and Mohammad Atta's pals may have a lot in common. Each group is trying to make the world better, at least in their own minds.

Comment When do anti-trust laws kick-in? (Score 1) 203

With 71 percent of the United States search market (and 90 percent in Britain), Google’s dominance of both search and search advertising gives it overwhelming control.

So Google is a monopoly then. Won't they hear from anti-trust regulators if they abuse that position and try to gain an advantage in other markets like comparison shopping?


Are Complex Games Doomed To Have Buggy Releases? 362

An anonymous reader points out a recent article at Gamesradar discussing the frequency of major bugs and technical issues in freshly-released video games. While such issues are often fixed with updates, questions remain about the legality and ethics of rushing a game to launch. Quoting: "As angry as you may be about getting a buggy title, would you want the law to get involved? Meglena Kuneva, EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner, is putting forward legislation that would legally oblige digital game distributors to give refunds for games, putting games in the same category in consumer law as household appliances. ... This call to arms has been praised by tech expert Andy Tanenbaum, author of books like Operating Systems: Design and Implementation. 'I think the idea that commercial software be judged by the same standards as other commercial products is not so crazy,' he says. 'Cars, TVs, and telephones are all expected to work, and they are full of software. Why not standalone software? I think such legislation would put software makers under pressure to first make sure their software works, then worry about more bells and whistles.'"

Submission + - IT Performance Metrics 1

An anonymous reader writes: Recently it was revealed that our company measures IT performance by the time it takes to close trouble tickets. I consider IT's primary goal to be as transparent to the user as possible, thus this metric was rather troubling to me. Shouldn't we be focused on reducing calls, rather than simply closing them quickly? My question is: How is your IT performance measured, and how do you think it should be measured?

Submission + - Two dangerous kinds of blog comment spam ( 1

CurtMonash writes: "As the owner of several WordPress blogs, I get over 100,000 spam comments per year, of which Akismet lets through a delightfully tiny fraction. Most of that spam seems to either be selling various (probably shady) products and services, or just attempt to transmit "link juice" to other sites for SEO purposes. At least two forms of comment spam, however, are more sinister than that.

First, some comments — especially ones focused on obscure "long-tail" keywords — try to direct visitors to actual malware delivery sites. I started seeing examples of those back in 2007; they're still coming in with high frequency. Second — and so far I've seen a single example of this one — I just got a comment containing a brazen offer to provide website-attacking services. Prices range from $25-70, depending on the duration of the attack, and the spammer promises "On average the data, ordered the site falls within 5 minutes after the start."

Aw shucks. I long for the good ol' days when spam just promised payday loans I could use to buy Viagra to enhance my enjoyment of free porn sites ..."


Submission + - Buckyballs Polymerised into Buckywires ( 1

KentuckyFC writes: "Scientists have found a way to join buckyballs together so that they form buckywires. The wires form when buckyballs are dissolved in an aromatic hydrocarbon called 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene. The 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene links the balls together to make buckywires shaped like a string of pearls, which then precipatate out. This relatively simple procedure opens the door to industrial scale manufacture. Buckywires ought to be efficient light harvesters because of their great surface area and the way they can conduct photon-liberated electrons. But perhaps the area of greatest interest is drug delivery. The researchers suggest that buckywires ought to be safer than carbon nanotubes because the production method is entirely metal-free. That cannot be said of nanotubes because the reaction that forms them is catalysed by metallic nanoparticles."

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Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten