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05 Jul 2012

A quick burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Apple's crackdown on app-ranking manipulation: Confused developers caught in the dragnet | VentureBeat

    For a small developer who's just released an iOS app, a position near the top of Apple's App Store rankings could mean the difference between a million dollars in revenue and Top Ramen for dinner. So it's no surprise that some coders try to cheat the system -- and that Apple tries to stop it.

    But in the battle between Apple's police and the cheaters who employ automated bots or cheap Chinese labor to boost their rankings, some innocent startups are finding themselves banned from the marketplace -- collateral damage in a high-stakes war with real money on the line.

    Now a few of the castoffs are raising their voices to complain about Apple's secretive policies.

    "It's hard to tell who is doing this ethically and who isn't," said one source familiar with the cheaters who asked to remain anonymous. "It's hard to believe the big guys aren't manipulating their ranks and that Apple is treating everybody fairly here."

Question: to what extent does this happen in other app stores, and to what extent does it matter?
Nexus 7 Teardown >> iFixit

    One millimeter. That's the difference in thickness between the 9.4 mm glued iPad and the 10.4 mm retaining-clipped Nexus. That's the difference between being able to open a device and service all of its internals, and not.

    That's the negligible difference between extending the life of your device through repair, as opposed to tossing it in a landfill.

    And most of all, nobody will complain about that one millimeter difference in day-to-day use, but the user-serviceability it brings will make all the difference when the device breaks.

User-serviceability ought to count for a lot, yet it doesn't. Why not?
Microsoft's 'Lost Decade'? Vanity Fair piece is epic, accurate and not entirely fair >> GeekWire

    The actual article isn't yet available on newsstands or online, but I've read an advance copy of the full piece, and it's pretty epic.

    Eichenwald talks with a bunch of former execs and documents Microsoft's problems during the past decade -- including its unsuccessful efforts to compete with Apple's consumer devices, its stubborn insistence that products revolve around Windows, its massive online losses, the negative repercussions of its stack-ranking system for employee evaluations, and much more.

    It's a well-written tale, and an entertaining read. Unless I'm missing something, Microsoft won't be able to point to any significant inaccuracies. There aren't any huge surprises for anyone who has been following the company. The internal emails cited by Eichenwald, for example, have all been made public previously through leaks and court cases. (I felt at times like I was reading a synopsis of stories I wrote years ago.)

See below for the link you should read.
Microsoft: acknowledging the aQuantive mistake >> Hal's (Im)Perfect Vision

    To me there are three phases in Steve's leadership of Microsoft.

Excellent, long, detailed blogpost by an ex-Microsoftie explaining how the company got where it is now. Read this rather than Vanity Fair.
Who runs UK? 'Tories, Lib Dems and Google' says Labour >> The Register

    Google's huge lobbying influence over UK policy makers has been criticised by Conservative Party backer and entrepreneur Luke Johnson, who described the online superpower as a parasite, compared it to Rockefeller's Standard Oil, and suggested it should be broken up.

    Google paid for Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and his team to fly around the US in 2005 - before he took power at the last election - and leading party figures have close personal ties to the company's executives.

    [Labour deputy prime minister Harriet] Harman pointed to the Coalition's industrial policy - particularly its assault on the successful UK creative industries - as an example of the Coalition following a Google-friendly but ultimately harmful strategy.

Don't expect any time in Google's jet, Labourinos.
Galaxy Nexus ICS ROM restores Facebook contacts sync - SlashGear

    Facebook and Google may have fallen out over contacts sync, Google stripping support for adding Facebook friends into the Android address book back in the Nexus S days, but that hasn't stopped modders from adding it back into Ice Cream Sandwich.

Translation: ICS still doesn't support Facebook contacts sync.
CERN scientists inexplicably present Higgs boson findings in Comic Sans >> The Verge

    For many of us, the most shocking revelation to come out of CERN's Higgs boson announcement today was quite unrelated to the science itself. Rather, we were blown away by the fact that a team made up of some of the most undoubtedly brilliant people in the world believe that Comic Sans is an appropriate font for such a historic occasion.

Sorry, for what of us? Remember, they were dealing with the media.
RealNetworks CEO resigns, Glaser steps back into role for now >> Puget Sound Business Journal

    After only eight months on the job, RealNetworks CEO Thomas Nielsen has stepped down. Former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Rob Glaser will step in as interim CEO until a replacement can be found.

    "The board and Thomas mutually agreed that the CEO position wasn't the right fit," Glaser said in a press release Tuesday.


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