May 14, 2009
Google Fails for an Hour for Some
Some of Google's services were unavailable this morning for about 14% of its customers. The problem was attributed to a glitchin its network that sent some of the web traffic through Asia. That caused a bottleneck which slowed down or stopped some of the traffic. The error hasn't been detailed as to how it came about, which might be interesting. A lot of inconvenienced people vented on Twitter. Google fails for a "moment" and the world is lost. The last time this happened to Gmail there was a slew of articles suggesting that we are all too dependent on Google. Systems are not perfect, as anyone who ever worked in an IT shop will tell you. It's unfortunate that these things happen, but they will happen again. Google is responsible enough to keep the interruption down to a minimum, just as would Microsoft, Yahoo, or any other company in the same position.
May 13, 2009
Craigslist Removing Erotic Ads
Craigslist is removing the erotic services section of the site, but keeping an adult category. Details are in the Chicago Sun-Times.
EU Fines Intel Over Uncompetitive Practices in Chip Sales
Intel is fined a whopping $1.45 Billion for market practices the European Union considers anti-competitive. Specifically, Intel used rebates for its processors with terms that made its customers either reject or restrict the use of AMD processors. The lengthy opinion is not out yet, but summaries released by the EU are available.
From the EU Statement:
Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel:
Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer A from December 2002 to December 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer B from November 2002 to May 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 95% of its CPU needs for its business desktop computers from Intel (the remaining 5% that computer manufacturer B could purchase from rival chip maker AMD was then subject to further restrictive conditions set out below)
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer C from October 2002 to November 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 80% of its CPU needs for its desktop and notebook computers from Intel
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer D in 2007 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing its CPU needs for its notebook computers exclusively from Intel.
Payments to prevent sales of specific rival products
Intel also interfered directly in the relations between computer manufacturers and AMD. Intel awarded computer manufacturers payments - unrelated to any particular purchases from Intel - on condition that these computer manufacturers postponed or cancelled the launch of specific AMD-based products and/or put restrictions on the distribution of specific AMD-based products. The Commission found that these payments had the potential effect of preventing products for which there was a consumer demand from coming to the market. The Commission found the following specific cases:
For the 5% of computer manufacturer B’s business that was not subject to the conditional rebate outlined above, Intel made further payments to computer manufacturer B provided that this manufacturer :
- sold AMD-based business desktops only to small and medium enterprises
- sold AMD-based business desktops only via direct distribution channels (as opposed to through distributors) and
- postponed the launch of its first AMD-based business desktop in Europe by 6 months.
- Intel made payments to computer manufacturer E provided that this manufacturer postponed the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004.
- Before the conditional rebate to computer manufacturer D outlined above, Intel made payments to this manufacturer provided that it postponed the launch of AMD-based notebooks from September 2006 to the end of 2006.
The statement is here, and comments from Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition Policy are here. Intel denies the charges and a statement by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini is here.
May 12, 2009
Recent DMCA Exemption Hearings Available as MP3s
The Library of Congress held its triennial hearings for copyright exemptions under section 1201 of the DMCA, Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works. The podcasts of each hearing session are here. I'm pretty sure it's legal to download and listen to them despite the presence of of the media industry at the event. [MG]
May 11, 2009
U Missouri Journalism School Requires an iPhone or iPod Touch
The University of Missouri School of Journalism is requiring students this fall to purchasean iPhone or an iPod touch. This will be the communication device that the school will use to communicate announcements and course materials to students. Forget the Kindle, netbooks, or even a laptop (which a student is likely to own anyway). Coincidentally, or not, the school's Reynolds Journalism Institute has a competition to develop apps for the iPhone/Touch.
Europe Considers Software Warranties
The European Union is considering rules that would extend basic consumer protection guarantees to software and the underlying code. Software vendors are aghast at the idea, including those in the open source environment. More in CNET.