According to Pingdom, a company that keeps tabs on website availability, Google's service level agreement (SLA) for its Google Apps service might not be fair to the consumer. As outlined in the SLA, paying customers would receive a credit if Google Apps fails to maintain a 99.9 percent monthly uptime. The problem with that, as Pingdom sees it, is that only outages that last 10 minutes or more are counted as downtime by Google.
"What if Google Apps was down for 9 minutes, up for 1 minute, down 9 minutes, etc.?" Pingdom wrote in a blog post. "That would mean 54 minutes of downtime each hour, but Google still wouldn't count it because none of the individual downtimes lasted 10 minutes (or) more."
Pingdom admits its example represents a worst case scenario, but points out in a more real-world example how 57 minutes of downtime might only be counted as 26 minutes, or less than half of the actual outage. But Google says nothing fishy is taking place. According to Rajen Sheth, senior product manager for Google Apps, the company's SLA is identical to others' in the industry.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think about Google's SLA.
Microsoft appears to be well on its way to releasing Windows 7 Beta 1, and may have it available by the middle of January. To get your hands on a copy, you'll need to attend one of Microsoft's upcoming MSDN Developer Conferences, with copies ready perhaps in time for the January 13 events in Chicago or Minneapolis. Word around the web is that attendees will either receive a Windows 7 Beta DVD at the event, or if the Beta isn't ready in time, Microsoft will send a copy in the mail as soon as they become available.
Earlier this year, Microsoft gave out alpha editions of Windows 7 to those who attended PDC. At the time, Microsoft said it would release a beta version in early 2009, though it still has not committed to a specific date. Attending an MSDN Developer Conference ensures you'll be one of the first to get a copy, and it's not too terribly priced at $99, assuming you're not planning to go solely for the DVD.
Attendees will also have a chance to win several prizes, including a Mindstorm NXT robot with a copy of Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, a Mobility Pack consisting of a LifeCam NX-6000 and Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000, and a Gamer Pack containing some Xbox 360 swag.
Microblogging website Twitter came very close to being acquired by leading social network Facebook, but the two parties eventually retreated from the brink. Twitter’s CEO Mr. Williams admitted that his company took the negotiations seriously.
In the beginning, Valve created Half-Life 2, and it was pretty flippin' awesome. Then, more towards the middle of the beginning, Garry Newman whipped up Garry's Mod, bestowing upon gamers a simple interface behind which they could all wield Valve's body-flinging, face-pinching powers. And after that, things got a little weird. But not for creator Garry Newman, who -- after selling his mod for $10 a pop on Steam -- found a new breadwinner.
Now, two years later, Garry's Mod has stripped 312,541 kids of their lunch money, bringing the total haul up to roughly $3.1 million -- or about 30 Midways.
"GMod hasn’t just given me financial stability," Newman said in a champagne-stained blog post. "It’s also made me a lot more experienced in c++. I learned how game engines are meant to work. I got to fly to Valve HQ and meet some game making dudes. I got to tell a nice bearded fellow how I was sick all over myself in the shower after eating airline food, and then realising I was talking to [Deus Ex creator] Warren Spector."
"And it’s my hope that it has inspired other people to do stuff. I mean, I’m a fool like you, I’ve just got more experience in pretending I’m not, and I did it... So why can’t you?"
We don’t know how we’ve managed to live this long without a set of vinyl Gmail stickers for our computer. Finally, our prayers have been answered, and Google’s offering to give away these priceless keepsakes for free. Just send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address at this page, and you’ll get back a set of Gmail stickers.
The stickers include the Gmail “mvelope” icon, a set of Gmail hotkey reminders to stick on your keyboard, and one of three (collectible!) nameplate stickers. You’d better hurry, though, because knowing the way us nerds snap up anything Google or pseudo-ironic, these suckers are probably going to go fast.
Is anyone else as excited to receive your Google stickers as we are? Let us know in the comments. And if anyone gets the unicorn faceplate, hold onto it—we’ll trade you.
IBM is looking for people to break their Microsoft addiction by launching a Linux-based collection of virtual desktop applications that run on a server – without the need of desktop hardware.
Given current economic pressures, IBM predicts that this virtual route of computing could save some corporate customers up to $800 per user. This, thanks to the low price point put on the Virtual Linux Desktop. It is available today for $59 to $289 per user, all depending on what level of software and service is desired.
“Deploying your technology this way is going to save you something more than 50 percent of your total costs,” said Jeff Smith, IBM's vice president for open source and Linux. “As customers face an increasingly challenging economic situation, they're looking at everything they're spending money on.”
While the idea sounds great in theory, there are some questions that remain. Mostly, will corporate customers really go for a system that stores their data on a server instead of locally?
Microsoft’s Zune is seldom in the news, for its much feted rival, the Apple iPod, hogs all the limelight. Now, Philadelphia City Paper’s Neal Santos has revealed that he spotted soon-to-be-President Barack Obama with a Microsoft Zune in a gym. Although Santos was too mesmerized to talk to Obama, he did notice the President-elect hop onto the “machine next to me and broke a mean sweat while reading a copy of USA Today and listening to his Zune.”
He later claimed in a subsequent blog that he knows exactly what a Zune looks like and that he was sure to have spotted Obama with one. However, he isn’t sure whether it was his personal Zune. The blogosphere allows scribes to freely dump such harmless stories, though of no real import, on their blogs.
It looks like Microsoft’s lawyer fueled banhammer has been in full swing lately (surprise, surprise), having just filed 63 lawsuits against online retailers in 12 countries that have been supposedly selling counterfeit Microsoft software.
The lawsuits have reportedly been filed against sellers of counterfeit copies of Windows XP for the most part. “Pirates want to counterfeit all of our products but there always is a trend as a product nears the end of its life cycle,” said Matt Lundy, senior attorney with Microsoft’s anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting team. “They're not going to cease selling XP because Microsoft has.”
The pirates were clearly none-too-bright either. Given that they were selling the software on sites such as Amazon, eBay and even Microsoft’s MSN shopping network, they were asking to get caught.
For the third year in a row, PC parts vendor Directron.com is giving away college scholarships to three individuals. Even better, Directron has bumped up the first place reward from $800 to $1,000. Second and third place scholarships remain at $500 and $300 respectively. And if this year's outcome follows the past two, Directron may reward several honorable mentions with smaller sized scholarships or store-credits.
To take a shot at one of the scholarships, U.S. residents are asked to submit a two-page single-spaced essay on any topic related to computers. There are several formats to choose from, which include fiction, non-fiction, short story, instruction manual, or a poem. Just be sure your submission contains "perfect spelling and grammar."
Directron says it will judge the submissions equally on the academic merit of the writing, and the originality and creativity of the content. More than just lip service, in 2006 the first place scholarship was awarded to Jason Kao, who broke down his essay into subjects, the first being "I <3 computers." So do we, Jason.
Deadline to enter is January 10th, 2009, with winners being announced shortly after on January 16th, 2009. If you're having trouble picking out a subject, Directron lists several potential candidates, though you'll probably have to go that extra creative mile if going the pre-selected route.