Archive for the ‘Tech Politics’ Category

One Less Mouth to Feed: Engineer Who Leaked Google’s Pay Raise/Bonus Email Gets Fired.

Remember those lucky Google employees we talked about a couple days back, regarding the company-wide pay raises and holiday bonuses? Well, Google is still planning on doling out the promised cash. The engineer who leaked the email from Eric Schmidt himself, isn’t so lucky. Apparently, this was a “confidential” confidential email. According to CNN’s David Goldman, a few hours after the Google pay raise/bonus story went viral, Google execs sent out a follow-up email stating that they had already identified and fired the source of the leak.

While I understand the email specifically stated “confidential”, as All Thing D’s Peter Kafka points out, the news was fare better than the typical corporate-based layoff-laden news that has filled the airwaves the last few months. So in that light, it’s slightly surprising that Google canned the guy over something that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Though, as you can imagine, if the source was willing to leak the good news, I’m sure the bad wouldn’t be too far behind if/when it developed.

The real irony however, is that Google is a company who loves consumer data. And time and time again they have brushed off consumers’ fears concerning their privacy (or lack thereof). But now that the privacy/confidentiality issue is focused back on them, they’re not so kosher and nonchalant about it.

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Foxconn: An Insider’s View…

Foxconn has been in the news quite a bit this past year, though not in the way that I’m sure the executives would like. First it was for poor working conditions. Then it was for mass suicides occurring on a daily basis attributed to the poor living/working conditions. And now some more less than stellar news for the consumer electronic manufacturering giant. Truth be told, it’s not really another “bad” story per say. Just a handful of pictures from a recent Wired/Gizmodo project showing the rather bleak living arrangements in this factory that honestly looks like it hasn’t seen much TLC in years.

Supposedly, Foxconn recently outsourced their building upkeep and maintenance to a third party to avoid conflicts of interest lawsuits. While we’re on the topic of the building itself, you’ll see from the images inside that the interior decor is completely void of any “homey” feeling. Stark, dirty walls, a lone TV (they have one per floor) in the TV room, and rooms that look more like jail cells spell out a life that lacks any type of creature comforts.

If you’re interested to see what working minimum wage in your typical overcrowded Chinese factory is like, hop on through. It’s actually quite eye opening…

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Limewire does the Napster, begrudgingly buddying up with the the recording industry…

Back in my younger years, Limewire was my Napster. For by the time I was old enough to understand how it all worked, Napster had already walked the walk. Well, Limewire put up a much longer fight, but they too are succumbing to the same organizations as Napster — the recording industry — in response to a court ruling late last year.

Limewire:

While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward. We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.

I doubt the people behind Limewire are “looking forward to working with the recording industry”. Because they know just as much as you and I that once Limewire flips the switch on download/upload/searches, their traffic is going to tank. The final blow to Limewire will take place after the recording industry relaunches a few months to years down the road with some copycat, no-one-is-going-to-remember music store front with crappy prices and poor selection. Aw well. It was great while it lasted. Then again, Limewire and similar services are for kids. Torrents are where the adults play, right?

On the flipside, Limewire’s parent company, “Lime Group” has stated that they have a new music service in the works, and that we can expect to see it within the next month. Optimistic? Limewire CEO official statement after the jump…
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When customers lie, it’s a violation of a company’s ToS. The flipside? That’s A-OK…

I was reading a couple of stories over the weekend — mainly on Consumerist and TechDirt — and came to the realization that as consumers, we’re destined to be screwed by big companies. This fact was perfectly highlighted by one Consumerist commenter, obits3.

In reply to T-Mobile’s new “Unlimited” plan that’s soft capped at 5GB and killing of tethering — You should never have to pay twice to use your data! — obits3 stated the following:

You forget that it is only wrong when customers lie to companies (tethering).

Companies lying to customers (saying unlimited and then limiting data/speeds) is just good marketing.

And you know what? Obits3 is right. How many times do we see individual consumers lambasted either by the company they’re “violating” or general power trip internet users who feel it’s their duty to “protect”? At the same time, how often do we actually see the same companies getting their fair share of consumer outrage? Outside of a few tech blogs and website comment systems — none.

Those same companies will lobby government for stronger anti-consumer policies and sue end users who violate such things until their heart’s content. And yet if a consumer(s) tries that approach, they usually end up loosing, a paltry settlement, or worst of all, the company doesn’t get so much as a slap on the wrist.

Happy Monday.

Legally burned CD’s are evil and Radiohead is “a problem”. Love: The Boy Scouts of America

There isn’t anything more eye opening and humorous than watching an out of touch, technologically incompetent organization try to justify their bassakwards beliefs and rules. Today’s fine example comes from the Boy Scouts of America. While everything for the nature-loving type is all well and swell, when it comes to electronics as a whole, they’re about as retarded as it gets.

Exhibit A: In a recent publication of “Scouting Magazine”, (the official magazine of the Boy Scouts), the braniacs behind the article recommend parents not play burnt discs (legal or not) because it could confuse children and comes out and calls innovative bands like Radiohead “a problem”.

Clearly, this is an organization that knows what they’re talking about… ->
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Shocker: Warner Bros. doesn’t like Apple’s new cheaper rental plans.

For those who prefer renting to purchasing movies or TV episodes, Apple’s announcement regarding the new AppleTV and rental-only business model likely made you jump for joy in the streets. Right from the start, a slew of big name companies were on board except one — Warner Bros. While they’re not the only kind on the block, they’re certainly a major player. So it’s with great disappointment that I ruin you, the rental-loving readers’ day. Warner Bros WILL NOT be renting out shows on the new AppleTV. Apparently, they hate money. Contrary to what they’ll claim of course.

You see, their greed is repulsive. They think the tens of millions hundreds of millions they would make with an iTunes $0.99 rental plan isn’t enough. That’s fine. Warner Bros. Execs and shareholders think they’re helping their bottom line when in fact they’re hurting it. Instead of people getting the content they want and how they want on their AppleTV, many will instead fire up their torrent app of choice and get the episode and possibly the entire season for free. You see Warner Bros. (and every other big media company who put greed over consumers), when you screw over consumers, they screw you back. Have fun with that…
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Good morning, THQ hates your business, likens used games to piracy and theft…

My oh my, incompetent and mindless companies (and their PR departments) never cease to amaze me with their senseless comments. Take for example, THQ’s response to disapproval they’ve garnered after announcing that they won’t provide DLC for used games, specifically THQ’s new WWE: Smackdown vs. Raw 2011.

I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated. I don’t think anyone wants that so in order for us to make strong, high-quality WWE games we need loyal fans that are interested in purchasing the game. We want to award those fans with additional content.

It’s called Fist-Sale Doctrine — it’s a law…since 1908. Get over it. You are not entitled to every single shred of a sale that involves your product. You sold that right, remember…? And yet companies such as THQ make decisions that are so backwards in thinking it literally boggles my mind how the people in charge managed to turn a profit at all.

Just because someone doesn’t buy a game brand spakin’ new — Which at $60 for your typical game, is way too damn much! — doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be willing to purchase DLC later on down the road. Game developers such as EA and now THQ are missing a huge revenue stream. Used games sales is a fairly big market. Why purposely tell used game buyers that they are “not worth it” and as such, cannot spend any more money on your products in the future. THQ is actively turning away more money.

And if THQ really wants to get all high and mighty over their “new” game, we’ll shamelessy highlight the obvious — There hasn’t been a “new” wrestling game in years. Each one is exactly (and I mean exactly) the same as each previous game before it. Way to pick a fight with one of the most unoriginal and un-innovative genres you could possibly find.

Yes, THQ. You’ve won the most boneheaded decision award for the week. Congratulations.
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RIAA and friends propose the newest, dumbest idea ever: Legally mandated FM radios in cellphones.


Just when you think the RIAA and friends couldn’t become any more idiotic, incompetent, downright retarded, they go and out do themselves. The latest mad grab for money (and attempt to prop up their dying business model) is to use the US government to mandate that all cellphones be legally required to contain FM radio transmitters. At first, the idea seems somewhat novel and perhaps even useful in a few rare circumstances. That is, until reality sets in. There are already plenty of radios and antennas running amuck inside of your standard cell/smartphone, eating batteries and fighting against each others’ wireless waves to boot. Jamming in another — yeah, no thanks. Not to mention, if it comes down to having to fit in an FM transmitter or 4G radio, guess which one I and pretty much ever other consumer is going to vote for. Sorry radio.
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Beatles on iTunes: “Don’t hold your breath”.

Oh geeze. Another “When are the Beatles coming to iTunes” posts? Well, I haven’t actually written one yet, so I’m in the clear. But on that note of Beatles and iTunes, we do have to ask: What’s the holdup? According to a fresh Reuters posting all of the involved parties can’t reach a legitimate deal. Someone isn’t getting as much money as they feel entitled to. That’s what it really boils down to. It’s sad too. While I can’t stand the Beatles (Go on, rake me over the coals…), I understand millions of people do and would love access to their songs. Seems it just isn’t meant to be.

In the Reuters article linked above, Yoko Ono is quoted as saying “Don’t hold your breath” in regards to the Beatles coming to iTunes anytime soon. Apparently, the band isn’t quite yet comfortable with this digital thing and is instead, “holding out”. Right. We’ll see how that works for ya.

Oh well. Let’s not kid ourselves. Most everyone who wants the Beatles in a digital format has already copied their physical vinyl/CD’s into digital form or has pirated it. The only people really losing out are the Beatles, labels, and anyone else who has a hand in this impasse.

Have you taken matters into your own hands getting the Beatles digi-fied?

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