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When the product life begins...

It is usual for companies investing massively in research and development to have a strict product information disclosure policy. For months, engineers work in a relative secret, without being able to tell anyone what they do… until the D-day arrives, when the product is officially announced, when the product life begins in the outside world…

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The recent Microsoft ads

In several recent conversations between Fred and me, we discussed a lot about Microsoft’s marketing strategy, which tends to lag a bit behind compared to that of Apple or Google. The recent advertisement from Microsoft featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld was hardly a response to the marketing war led by Microsoft’s competitors who do not hesitate to criticize Microsoft and make its customers like fools. But for now, let’s think about why the Gates/Seinfeld advertisement couldn't be as popular as they could have expected...

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How the French government is making the internet and telecommunication companies its enemies

If there is one thing we can say safely, it is that the french president, Nicolas Sarkozy make tongues wag, and not only in his own country, which is why I am allowing myself to comment this news concerning France, but also technology and how it is seen by the french government in particular.

Xavier Niel, one of the most prominent figures of the french Internet Service Provider "Free", declared this week that Free wasn't intending to apply the Hadopi law, at least as it is. Hadopi is a law still in project supposed to prevent piracy on the Internet and Peer-to-Peer downloading of movies and artists. It wouldn't be the first time such a law would be put in place and fail: other countries tried this and lamentably failed. The biggest weapon to stop piracy in this law is what they call "graduated riposte": the supposed copyright-infringing downloader receives one e-mail everytime he gets caught using his Internet connection to download illegal files, and if he fails to comply, ultimately gets his connection line cut, which he can not renew at another ISP for 3 months.

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Sun/MySQL: Charity is not free

Some days ago, I read a story about a MySQL support engineer named Andrii Nikitin, whose son, Ivan, has a mortal disease and is requiring a bone marrow transplant operation to keep living. Unfortunately, Andrii Nikitin lives in Ukraine and it seems this country does not have locally the technology to perform this complex surgery operation, which does not seem to be covered by their social security system either. The total cost of the operation is expected to range between $235.000 and $400.000 (gotta love accurate estimates, but I guess it can’t be helped with health issues).

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Why is Google a startup killer?

A couple of days ago, Nik Cubrilovic published a very interesting post on TechCrunchIT, trying to find the reasons why startup integration in Google is often a failure. The list he provides is indeed quite impressive, and the company itself often stresses that its best products were developed as internal 20% projects, not by acquired startups.

According to him, the main issue is the technology gap between Google and the acquired startup. Usually the startups use quite standard tools with well-known languages (C++, Java and Python among them), while Big G uses its own set of proprietary technologies, especially for distributed computing. Then, when joining Google, the startup developers have to adapt the existing architectures to the new one, which they don't know since it is proprietary. A lot of headaches in perspective...

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