Friday, April 15, 2011

Network Round Up

All leads courtesy of The Register.

Do you ever wonder about internet based thingamabobs? I imagine you do, there are after all plenty to wonder about. Google for instance, where seemingly not a week goes by without it acquiring some new acquisition, often paying tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars for some obscure company or other, and doing so with apparent ease. That ease and those telephone number acquisitions due in no small part to a eight and a half billion dollar turnover.

A more common wonder for myself, although until now I have never bothered to seek an answer, is the ''What's in it for them?'' when applied to suppliers of open-source software, Mozilla Firefox in particular.

Well Mozilla's mission statement (2 minute vid) seems noble enough, but it doesn't explain its funding or how it generates income that enables it to give us such free goodies. For an answer to that question we go to Wiki:


The Mozilla Foundation accepts donations as a source of funding. Along with AOL's initial $2 million donation, Mitch Kapor gave $300,000 to the organization at its launch. The group has tax-exempt status under IRC 501 of the U.S. tax code, though the Mozilla Corporation subsidiary is taxable.

In 2006 the Mozilla Foundation received $66.8 million in revenues, of which $61.5 million is attributed to "search royalties".
The foundation has an ongoing deal with Google to make Google search the default in the Firefox browser search bar and hence send it search referrals; a Firefox themed Google search site has also been made the default home page of Firefox. A footnote in Mozilla's 2006 financial report states "Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties. The contract originally expired in November 2006, however Google renewed the contract until November 2008 and has now renewed the contract through 2011. Approximately 85% of Mozilla’s revenue for 2006 was derived from this contract." This amounts to approximately US$56.8 million. Wiki

That's how they do it, and with pretty impressive numbers to do it with, must be said.

How effective all that advertising is I don't really know, because personally speaking, I don't even see ads on the net. That part of my brain that is supposed to take there message in has shut down, or evolved even, that it sees straight past them without even registering. Although I will concede it's not the picture in your face type of add that is generating these enormous revenues.

Staying with funding, although of a somewhat different nature, self funding as it were, but at a cost of thirty seven million dollars to memory stick manufacturers Unigen. In order to fund a better lifestyle, it would appear that a bunch of villains had it away with 1.7 million flash memory chips, which were bound for none other than the behemoth, Google. Bringing I suppose, a whole new meaning to the term, memory hole.

But what did catch my eye about this story was this:
The value of the flash memory that was stolen is important because California has a statute called "excessive taking," which adds prison time when the value of stolen property is large. more
Now here in the UK, I don't suppose we have excessive taking as a statute, the severity of the crime or the theft being taken into account upon sentencing. But those Yanky prosecutors, boy do they like their pound of flesh. I have commented in the past on the differing systems; whereas here the norm seems to be to prosecute for the most serious offence and ignore the lesser ones. But not so in the land of retribution, if you've nicked a getaway mota for your blag, then it's tuck grand theft auto on the list, no matter the seriousness of the principal crime. Anything at all to add jail time in fact.

At the risk of sounding like a jail-house lawyer, believe me I'm not, I have just studied some of the more flagrant disparities in the systems. Let us take that term, ''Grand Theft Auto.'' Without going and looking it up, I think the definition for theft is, to take with the intention to permanently deprive, which is why in this country joy riders are normally charged with, taking without consent. That this ''taking without consent'' usually includes trashing the car and or torching the thing, is by the by. But what we do have, and the Yanks don't, is ''taken into account'' this is where you hold your hand up (for whatever reasons) and cop for a bunch of crimes you may or may not have committed. It does wonders for the ''crimes solved'' statistics you see.

Here's another wonder, not wonder as in wonder of the world, but wonder as in, I wonder how the fuck these stores survive, when you walk in some of the hanger-like buildings that have become synonymous with electrical super-stores? The answer is, they don't, well not in the case of Dixons at least, the writing is on the wall there.

Dixons' best chance? Quit the UK and move to Sweden
When rent is greater than profits...

Dixons' best chance of surviving is to close its UK business and concentrate on its Scandinavian business.

The cold-hearted claim comes from Morgan Stanley, which studied UK electrical retailing and found the whole sector is making losses. The analysts reckon there is more than 25 million square feet of selling space, but a serious shortage of customers.

This is the area where Morgan Stanley looked closely at Dixons. It noted that DSG has an annual rent bill of £220m, which is three times its annual underlying profits. more

And finally, if you've pulled a stunt, don't go on television and brag about it.

French hacker cuffed after bragging on telly

A French hacker who boasted of breaking into the systems of a government security contractor on national television has suffered some unsurprising consequences.

The alleged miscreant, identified only as Carl, appeared on a programme called Complément d'enquête (Further Investigation) to demonstrate how he broke into the network of the French Army and Thales, the information security group, at the start of April.

He was arrested in Paris six days later on 7 April, reportedly following a complaint by Thales. Investigating police reportedly recovered credit card and bank account data from his computer.

During the programme the hacker claimed to be a member of Anonymous. However, during the same programme, Anonymous issued a statement saying making "easy money" through cybercrime is not what it was about.

The Complément d'enquête producers stated they did not co-operate with French authorities in tracking down Carl and only learned of his arrest, like everyone else, when the story was covered by AFP source

Talking of stunts.

More stunts here.

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