Tweets from outer space

Friday Five: Why gambling and coding don’t mix

Chris Mayer

A smorgasbord of content that we noticed in the opening days of 2013.

After successfully
sidestepping the apocalypse
, the team at JAX Towers are back in
the office and ready to take on 2013. Deep down, we’re secretly
missing 2012 (after all we’re in London), but there’s plenty to be
excited about within the development world.

Friday Five makes its return to provide an irreverent look back at
the week that was. Whether you’re still enjoying the last days of
your vacation or looking for a reprieve from the office, here’s
five tidbits that we think deserve your attention.

1. Winning is the worst thing that can happen in

This thoughtful post
from Ruby on Rails creator David
Heinemeier Hansson
caught our eye for its comparisons between
‘future coding’ with Las Vegas casinos, in discussing the gamble
made by developers when opting for flexibility too early.

Our favourite quote: “The hardest—and yet most important—thing in
the world of design is the conviction to say no.”

2. Software maker charged for promoting illegal

Sticking with the betting theme,
this Wired story
sends out a stark warning to developers.

Software maker Bob Stuart has been charged with promoting illegal
gambling in New York through his company, Extension Software. The
software they create is sold to entities overseas, but the
authorities say it also being used in that state by others for
illegal betting. According to Wired:

New York authorities say that about $2.3 million that Robert
Stuart and his company, Extension Software, received in cash and
money orders for licensing his software constitutes direct proceeds
of illegal, U.S.-based bookmaking operations.

Stuart maintains that he is “not aware of anyone using it in the
U.S. or using it to take illegal bets in the U.S”. He adds that
their software doesn’t place the bets themselves, but instead
provides gambling sites with the infrastructure to select and
display which sporting events they want to offer for betting and
also stores the bets.

It’s a pretty complex case but it does bring about an intriguing
question: should the developer be liable for how his/her software
is used down the line?

“These defendants abetted large-scale illegal gambling in the U.S.
and abroad,” said District Attorney Vance
in an October press release
when Stuart was indicted. “In doing
so, they gave bettors an easy way to place illegal wagers, and
created an appetite for further unlawful activity.”

“It’s overreaching where they’re going after a software developer
who sells the software with a legal license, and yet we’re still
being prosecuted on how it’s being used,” Stuart argues.

3. Tumblr of the Week – Devops Reactions

Flagged up on Twitter by Redmonk’s James Governor, this Tumblr is full of
glorious and hilarious gifs to describe Devops feelings. Our
personal favourite is
this one
, which is described as “The Operations room after a
successful release”. 

4. A peek inside Google’s

This eyecatching infographic,
courtesy of
Masters in
, charters Google’s
meteoric rise in becoming the 2nd most valuable tech company in the
world. Google’s profit margins have skyrocketed since 2008, with
96% of revenue coming from advertising. When you make your services
available for free, you rake in the rewards if you can grow to
Google’s size and link it into advertising.

5. An out-of-this-world Twitter exchange

This one is Star Trek gold. Actor
William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk of the
Enterprise, asks real-life Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield if
he’s tweeting from space. Hadfield’s reply is brilliant. He’s also
well worth following for some glorious shots from the International
Space Station.

That’s your lot for this week – have a splendid weekend.

Image courtesy of clry2

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