Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oracle vs Google

In 2006, Sun released it’s final version of Java as ‘open source software’. In 2010, Oracle purchased Java and described itself as the “steward of Java’s open source movement with a commitment to fostering a community of participants.” The components that make Java ‘open’ are known as ‘application programming interfaces’ (APIs). They allow participants to extend Java functionality without going back and either replicating or changing it. Most apps running on Facebook today are written this way. It’s what allows them to plug into different platforms across the net. On May 7 Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement because it used API’s to extend Java to work on Android devices. Now, did Oracle go back and declare Java API’s proprietary ..? If so, non-public APIs would make it a closed system. If not, a public API referencing non-public software really isn’t open anymore either, now is it ?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

False advertising

Ads by the group called ‘Americans for Prosperity’ are accusing Obama of  “..sending $2.3 billion in tax credits overseas that were intended for green energy at home.” The group also accuses Obama of “..sending $1.2 billion to a solar energy company that is building a plant in Mexico.
These claims are accurate but misleading. They’re intended to leave the impression that Obama is undermining growth and tricking American taxpayers into sending jobs overseas. In the first case, $2.3 billion was sent overseas ..but either to American companies with subsidiaries overseas or to foreign companies with subsidiaries in the U.S. That’s the way businesses operate in a modern economy. Either way, we benefit. In the second case, $1.2 billion in loan guarantees were sent to Sun Power to build a solar facility in California. The company just happens to have a facility in Mexico. Like a home mortgage, a loan guarantee is secured by the assets and property for which the loan was intended. Campaign ads are rich in half-truths and provide excellent opportunity for the practice of deception detection.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Traveler vs inept bureaucracy

How do you exceed ‘unlimited lifetime miles’ on airline travel? Apparently when the ‘elite revenue team’ (of former ticketing agents) decides you’re doing something ‘fraudulent by nature’. This means it complies with the rules .. but smells fishy. I suppose you could say it doesn’t pass the test of reasonableness. In the case of Steven Rothstein [ link ] who paid for a pass that included a companion seat; it comes down to your definition of a companion. But who determines who and who isn’t a companion when the contract doesn’t spell it out..? And if the contract doesn’t spell it out ..where do they get off calling it ‘fraud’? Because he makes frequently trips to Hawaii with different companions ..? Perhaps helps a college student he meets at the airport trying to get home for the holidays? Now if he sold those seats that would be one thing, however, this isn’t the case. He never charged them a cent. No, the way you charge him with exceeding the ‘unlimited miles’ program is by getting a federal court judge to agree that he was doing something ‘fraudulent by nature’. But, by nature ..that’s an indeterminant and subjective charge. Sounds more like the airline was looking for an excuse to terminate his contract, which he paid $350,000 for in 1987. They were doing it under the cover of ‘fraudulent by nature’ hoping to avoid being counter sued for breach of contract. But I can’t imagine anyone paying $350,000 being fooled or intimidated by that. No, this has got to be a case of customer vs. inept bureaucracy. Even I’ve been there before.