US Patent Office tightens the screws on software patents

In its decision, the BPAI announced a new two-pronged test for determining whether an invention involving a mathematical algorithm would be eligible for patent protection. First, the invention must be "limited to a tangible practical application" and result "in a real-world use." Second, it must be "limited so as to not encompass substantially all practical applications of the mathematical algorithm" in all fields or even in "only one field.

The Best and the Worst Tech of the Decade - O'Reilly Radar

SOAP was a particularly egregious failure, because it was sold so heavily as the final solution to the interoperatibility problem. The catch, of course, was that no two vendors implemented the stack quite the same way, with the result that getting a .NET SOAP client to talk to a Java server could be a nightmare. Add in poorly spec'd out components such as web service security, and SOAP became useless in many cases. And the WSDL files that define SOAP endpoints are unreadable and impossible to generate by hand (well, not impossible, but unpleasant in the extreme.)

Yes, SOAP is at the TOP of the Worst list...

Customers are always right, except when they are wrong

We noticed once we added the $9 plan, we started getting more tech support requests. Customers who typically pay us $49 and $99 tend to have less questions and are usually more satisfied with our product. On the other hand, customers on the $9 plan tend to ask a more questions and generally aren’t as satisfied as the higher paying customers.

Essentially, you don't always make it up in volume...

Tech Decisions: Aggressive IT Spending Predicted for P&C Carriers

In looking at the top drivers for technology spending, Furtado reported business growth was cited as the top driver by 66 percent of respondents. This was followed by both business process optimization and cost containment/expense reduction, each of which was cited by 56 percent of respondents.

“These drivers reflect the need to strengthen processes and stay competitive,” said Furtado

Chubb and Travelers Are the Best, but What About the Rest?

The reason why the best property casualty insurance companies report earnings first is the same reason the smartest pupils sit in the front of the class: they’ve done their homework and they’re ready to answer questions. So it came as no surprise that Chubb was early out of the box to report that third quarter earnings had doubled, and Travelers announced the same day that profits had quadrupled.

Meanwhile in the back of the class - where kids are staring into space, texting on cell phones and counting on government bailouts - the scene is not so serene. They haven’t been called upon to recite yet, but a gloomy longer-term picture emerges from what Chubb and Travelers already reported.

The Unnecessary Meltdown - The Daily Beast

Goldman reduced its exposure to mortgages “early,” Viniar said, “before most people had a view that the world was getting worse.” At one point before the magnitude of the problem became crystalline, Viniar thought that Goldman had become too bearish, and insisted that the firm’s traders reverse course somewhat. That decision later cost the firm around $200 million. “They were 100 percent right,” he said. “I was 100 percent wrong.”

Curiously, other firms did not follow Goldman’s lead and, in fact, during the first quarter of 2007 used the perceived weakness in the market for mortgage securities as an opportunity to double-down on their already huge long bets. This was the turning point. If Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and AIG had the same perception of risk as did Viniar and his colleagues at Goldman Sachs, there might have been a downturn, but there wouldn’t have been a meltdown.

I never get tired of reading this stuff.... Also, check out Liars Poker . I read the book back before I joined Salomon Brothers' Technology arm to help set up the 7 WTC trading environment. Good read.