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Current Topic: Business

SCO is Back, and This Time It's Personal | Linux Journal
Topic: Business 5:48 pm EST, Feb 16, 2008

We all thought it was time to party, that the enemy was finally vanquished, that it was time for Champagne and cigars. We learned our lesson yesterday afternoon, though, when SCO smacked us all in the face with a hundred million dollars.

That's right, SCO suddenly has deep pockets, courtesy of their friend Stephen Norris, the uber-finance geek. Norris and his private equity firm — Stephen Norris Capital Partners, LLC — have decided to buy a stake in SCO, though the exact amount won't be clear until the Utah courts decide how much SCO has to pay IBM and Novell. What is clear is that they suddenly have a $95 million line-of-credit to pursue all the litigation their cold, black hearts desire. Others have pointed out that these guys are the biggest, baddest, beat-the-crap-out-of-anyone-in-their-way-ist, and won't have a moment's pause about coming after everyone in the Linux world, from IBM and Novell right down to us, the everyday users.

As the ever-vigilant White Knights over at Groklaw point out, there's still some hope — the all-powerful Bankruptcy court can quash them with the stroke of a pen, and the European Commission not to mention the SEC may well have a thing or two to say — but the outlook certainly isn't as rosy as it was on Wednesday.

Lord have mercy..

I think i am going to vomit...

[ Ugh, what the fuck. Fuck SCO. -k]

SCO is Back, and This Time It's Personal | Linux Journal

RE: Netflix battles Apple by eliminating online-watching limits
Topic: Business 10:21 am EST, Jan 17, 2008

noteworthy wrote:

It's not easy to divert attention from Apple on the eve of Macworld, but give Netflix points for trying.

The company that turned DVDs into a subscription service for millions of consumers said Monday that it no longer will put a cap on the number of hours its customers can view movies and TV shows over the Internet.

Unless, as it happens, you're a mac user, in which case the number of hours of viewing you're permitted is FUCKING ZERO, despite my subscription fee subsidizing those unlimited hours for all the PC users out there.

I understand the market share arguments for why Macs get left out of stuff like this, but it's galling to pay the same price for less product. "Oh," they say, "but it's a free bonus, so you're not getting anything less!" Which is a load of shite. Extremely lame... they've had time to figure something out.

RE: Netflix battles Apple by eliminating online-watching limits

10 FAS: 9 - Troy Wolverton, Neil Cavuto, and the Apple Stock Scandal
Topic: Business 11:53 am EDT, Aug  4, 2007

What company is the most effective for stock manipulators to work over? The Street doesn't invent Microsoft products or set unrealistic expectations for Xbox uptake. The only reason for covering the Zune at all is to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Apple's iPod business. Nobody cares about Microsoft's stock price; the company can't even goose it itself. It's dead, and no amount of fake information will cause it to dance up and down in ways that short term speculators can exploit.

"Crazy" Jim Cramer's entire business is to create false information to invoke a calculated reaction, then profit from others' fear or credulity. It's not a closely held secret.

The floating news items picked up by rumor sites, reports based on scraps of papers found on trading floors, and all of those ghosts whispering news that pretends to be of great import for Apple's stock price are all lies generated by a few sources, intended to exploit the trust of investors and get them to sell off or buy up stock.

[More Absurd iPhone Myths: iSuppli, Subsidies, and Pricing]

Unprofitably Scandalous News.
This explains why nobody reports on Microsoft's six billion dollars of losses in consumer electronics, or its inability to expand into new markets. That information can't be used to manipulate stock prices and subsequently make a profit on it, because Microsoft's stock is stuck in a rut.

It explains why Microsoft's president of its Entertainment and Devices division, Robbie Bach, could dump $6.2 million of stock just before announcing another billion dollar loss related to Xbox failures, but not face any media coverage regarding his insider trading. The news was only a minor curiosity because Microsoft's stock is as flat as a frozen lake.

10 FAS: 9 - Troy Wolverton, Neil Cavuto, and the Apple Stock Scandal

Why you'll never retire...
Topic: Business 9:50 am EDT, Jun 11, 2007

The White House and the Congressional Budget Office oppose the change, arguing that the programs are not true liabilities because government can cancel or cut them.

And cut they will. I've said before that one of my disappointments in the Bush years is that you had a Republican Congress and President and yet nothing could be done about this problem.

[ I'm not disappointed as much as furious... this was purposeful. The Right doesn't approve of social welfare, by and large, but can't easily just come out and say so when it comes to powerful demographics (like the elderly, for example). By creating a situation in which payment will prove completely impossible, they get to dismantle Social Security and Medicare without nearly as much political liability because the hard choice will be left to someone in the future.

I'm not saying everything was peachy before Bush came to power, but it's gotten much much worse, and I do not consider that either coincidental or surprising. ]

Nothing will be done, and my generation will be left holding the bag. When I am an old man there will be tens or hundreds of thousands of people my age who are functionally homeless. Having lots of kids is beginning to sound like a good idea.

[ That may work, I guess. We're pretty screwed in this country, in a lot of unfortunate ways. -k]

Why you'll never retire...

Google scoops up DoubleClick for $3.1 billion - Apr. 13, 2007
Topic: Business 11:46 pm EDT, Apr 13, 2007

Search engine leader Google is buying privately held DoubleClick, a top digital marketing services firm, for $3.1 billion in cash, the companies said Friday afternoon.

Google (Charts) is buying DoubleClick from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, which bought DoubleClick in 2005 for $1.1 billion in a deal that took the company private.

All your ad are belong to Google.

[ Um, someone made a good investment... that's damn near a 300% gain in 2 years. Fucking a. -k]

Google scoops up DoubleClick for $3.1 billion - Apr. 13, 2007

Startupping - A Community for Entrepreneurs
Topic: Business 11:53 am EST, Feb 21, 2007

Welcome to Startupping

Startupping is a one-of-a-kind community resource created for Internet entrepreneurs by Internet entrepreneurs. It is a place to share information, ask questions, and tap into the experience of others who have built and are building web businesses. Read blog posts about startup issues, participate in our discussion forums, and view our wiki resources, including sample term sheets and a glossary. For more information about the Startupping site, see our about page.

[ Compelling idea, which I hope will become a strong resource... this stuff is certainly hard, like anything you've never done before. -k ]

Startupping - A Community for Entrepreneurs

Ask E.T.: Project Management Graphics (or Gantt Charts)
Topic: Business 5:45 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2006

Project Management Graphics (or Gantt Charts)
Hello everyone,

I am a Project Manager for construction projects, and I have just been hired to help with the planning and oversight of a $100 million construction project. My primary task at the moment is to make sense of the schedule, milestones, critical path, and, in general, make a very complicated project more comprehensible.

Yesterday I received the current schedule, which was done in MS Project (Gantt view), and is now 770 lines (18 pages). Gantt charts have a lot of good qualities, but at this size they are very hard to read.

After thinking about it for a minute, I realized I have never seen a construction schedule that I would consider an "excellent visual diagram."

Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Hella good discussion by (the Man) Edward Tufte and a dozen or so really good experts on GANTT and PERT charts and managing large projects.

[ Fascinating. I find myself struggling with this all the time. I'm glad to know i'm not the only one who can't seem to wrangle MS Project into something approaching complete. Project management is non-trivial in practice and the IT toolset really just isn't there (even now, four years after this discussion began). -k]

Ask E.T.: Project Management Graphics (or Gantt Charts)

Bringing the bazaar of ideas to Business
Topic: Business 11:06 am EDT, May 11, 2006

Great idea - bring the bazaar of ideas (ala Linux) to the marketplace.

LIKE many top executives, James R. Lavoie and Joseph M. Marino keep a close eye on the stock market. But the two men, co-founders of Rite-Solutions, a software company that builds advanced — and highly classified — command-and-control systems for the Navy, don't worry much about Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.

Instead, they focus on an internal market where any employee can propose that the company acquire a new technology, enter a new business or make an efficiency improvement. These proposals become stocks, complete with ticker symbols, discussion lists and e-mail alerts. Employees buy or sell the stocks, and prices change to reflect the sentiments of the company's engineers, computer scientists and project managers — as well as its marketers, accountants and even the receptionist.

Cool idea.

I immediately liked the concept of InnoCentive as well when I saw it first. There's some mild concern that the logical limits of such a system has everyone being a freelance worker, competing with everyone else. In the current world, of course, once you've got your job, you're not really competing fairly with everyone else... you've got an advantage due to locality and overhead and so forth.

I wonder if there's enough work available for everyone to be freelanced... does our system depend on inefficiency to maintain the employment rate?

Bringing the bazaar of ideas to Business

The Development Abstraction Layer - Joel on Software
Topic: Business 1:23 pm EDT, Apr 12, 2006

With a software company, the first priority of management needs to be creating that abstraction for the programmers.

If a programmer somewhere is worrying about a broken chair, or waiting on hold with Dell to order a new computer, the abstraction has sprung a leak.

Good article by Joel... and I agree.

It's analagous, though at a much higher level, to my argument against Linux. It's not that I don't like Linux, it's just that I spent at least half my time preparing to use Linux. For any task I wanted to do, there was always, ALWAYS, some sequence of events that had to be done first. And unlike on my mac, it wasn't "Download file, drop into Applications folder" it was, "read about font engine, move font files, run font compiler, fail to see fonts, realize that your X-server is one minor generation out of sync with your tools and the semantics have changed, download updated everything, recompile X, realize that the video driver now won't work, download and complile video driver, fiddle with settings, build tools, compile fonts, recompile gimp, and MAYBE now fonts will work. Some of them. Sometimes."

Very similar really... a programmer in the abstracted environment joel describes is like a computer user with a good OS -- all you have to do is sit down and start working.

I'd kill for that. Alas, today I have to start the process of figuring out why my ASP.NET app won't talk to the database server even though every other application talks to the database server and the semantics are the same, and no one seems to know why or to whom I should speak to get this issue resolved. That's instead of writing code, of course.

The Development Abstraction Layer - Joel on Software

Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment
Topic: Business 11:40 am EDT, Apr  3, 2006

During the past fifteen years, changes in the technologies used to make and store audio and video recordings, combined with the communication revolution associated with the Internet, have generated an extraordinary array of new ways in which music and movies can be produced and distributed. Both the creators and the consumers of entertainment products stand to benefit enormously from the new systems. If the available technologies were exploited fully, the costs of audio and video recordings would drop sharply, the incomes of artists would rise, many more artists could reach global audiences, the variety of music and films popularly available would increase sharply, and listeners and viewers would be able to participate much more easily in the shaping of their cultural environments.

Sadly, we have failed thus far to avail ourselves of these opportunities. Instead, much energy has been devoted to interpreting or changing legal rules in hopes of defending older business models against the threats posed by the new technologies. These efforts to plug the multiplying holes in the legal dikes are failing and the entertainment industry has fallen into crisis.

This provocative book chronicles how we got into this mess and presents three alternative proposals--each involving a combination of legal reforms and new business models--for how we could get out of it.

You can read more.

Chapter 6 outlines the best of the possible solutions to the crisis: an administrative compensation system that would provide an alternative to the increasingly creaky copyright regime. In brief, here’s how such a system would work:

Endorsements from Lessing, Vaidhyanathan, Benkler, and many publications.

[ I have only read the Introduction thus far, but will certainly read Chapter 6 carefully and update my post here.

My initial feeling is that he's got a good grasp of the issues here, but I'm skeptical of the solution presented. It will take some time to think through. -k]

Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment

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