Features

net.wars: 2007 by numbers

by Wendy M Grossman | posted on 28 December 2007


April: Month when DRM on music began to fall.

Wendy M Grossman

235: Number of patents Microsoft claimed it owns that Linux violates.

8,000: Number of "diggs" a Big Spring, teenager's detention letter got while hordes of angry Firefox defenders from all over the world phoned and emailed his school. The letter had been doctored to make it look as though he was given detention for using Firefox.

September 4: Date of dissolution of MUSE, the company set up to commercialize the early MUD virtual gaming world. The big beneficiary of that effort: CompuServe. And the original CEO, who went mad, stole the money, and shot himself.

24: Number of days from the time Facebook announced Beacon, the advertising partnership that publishes users' purchases at 44 partner sites to their friends lists to the time it announced it had modified the program to allow users to opt out. Facebook planned to expand Beacon to allow users to publish their eBay listings to their friends network.

9: Number of days later that Coca-Cola, Overstock.com, and Travelocity were reported to have pulled out of the program.

7: Number of additional days it took Facebook to allow users to turn off the program entirely, amid speculation that Blockbusters involvement with Beacon may have contravened the US Video Privacy Protection Act, passed after a newspaper disclosed Robert Bork's video rental records when he was a Supreme Court nominee.

1: female winner of the Alan Turing award – Frances Allen.

6: Percentage of BCS Fellows who are female.

5: Upper bound of the percentage of music on the average iPod that was bought on iTunes.

8: Number of times digital preservation can be more expensive than paper (PDF, see p4).

17 per second: the rate at which Amazon.com sold Wiis.

74: Days it took Apple to sell 1 million iPhones. We still don't get it.

£100: Likely cost of the ID card to individuals if/when it is launched in 2009. Exactly as predicted in 2002.

29,000: Number of identified sex offenders whose profiles were deleted by MySpace.

$12 million: amount SCO spent in 2006 on its licensing program, whose revenues were $116,000.

$30 million: SCO's estimated liability to Novell et al after an August court judgment went against it.

September 27: Date on which Darl McBride, CEO of SCO, announced SCO was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: "Other companies such as Delta Airlines, Texaco, Dow Corning, K-Mart, United Airlines, Toys R’ Us, Macy’s Department Stores and others have emerged from Chapter 11 protection after restructuring themselves for success. We intend to do the same."

December 27: Date SCO was officially delisted from the NASDAQ.

$3.1 billion: Cost of Google's takeover of DoubleClick, which received FTC approval last week. The merger will mean not only that Google gets a huge, new database of individuals' surfing habits but that two of the biggest ad platforms will now belong to the same company.

140,000: Votes discarded by electronic counting machines in Scotland during the May evoting trial. Reports attribute the problem to ballot design. But the key problem was the lack of comeback for voters whose ballots are marked spoiled by machines with no human oversight.

August 2: Date the UK Electoral Commission recommended against pursuing electronic voting any further until security can be improved. The bad news: the government seems unlikely to take this or any other sane advice.

September 29: Date on which Linden Labs advised EU users that VAT is being applied to Second Life bills, including premium registration, land ownership, and maintenance fees. Paying taxes? Sounds like my first life.

25 million: number of UK households whose personal details were contained in two CDs "lost in the post" on the way to the General Audit Office.

3 million: number of UK driving test candidates whose details have been lost on a hard disk in the US, now believed to be touring Iowa.

$1 billion: Amount the FBI has allocated for building a biometric database, to include iris scans, facial images, and other physical characteristics. "Bigger. Faster. Better." Have they learned nothing from Facebook, Google, and MySpace? The bigger the database, the greater the number of connections, the more of it is garbage.

September 4: Date of dissolution of MUSE, the company set up to commercialize the early MUD virtual gaming world. The big beneficiary of that effort: CompuServe. And the original CEO, who went mad, stole the money, and shot himself.

$1.43 billion: the amount eBay overpaid for Skype in 2005.

October 5: Date on which the Bragg v. Linden Labs lawsuit was settled, with terms remaining confidential. This was the court action that lawyers were watching eagerly to see what precedents it might set for the legal status of virtual property. Bragg's Second Life account has been reinstated, and the SL Terms of Service have been amended after a judge's decision in the case found them invalid.

Unclear: which will cost more, the Galileo constellation of global navigation satellites being built by the EU, or the UK national ID card.

Happy New Year!


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Wendy M. Grossman’s Web site has an extensive archive of her books, articles, and music, and an archive of all the earlier columns in this series. Readers are welcome to post here, at net.wars home, follow on Twitter or send email to netwars(at) skeptic.demon.co.uk (but please turn off HTML).