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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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July 21, 2008 3:03 PM

Would you buy a car from Bill Gates?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Now that he's semi-retired from Microsoft, Bill Gates is getting into the car business.

Gates bought a big stake in AutoNation, a national chain of dealers selling new and used cars, with a substantial Web presence. His investment outfit, Cascade Investment, today reported that it has acquired 9.9 million shares, or 5.5 percent of the company.

It's still pocket change for him -- about $83 million, at today's price.

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July 21, 2008 2:53 PM

Microsoft shuffles game development bosses

Posted by Brier Dudley

This isn't a huge reorganization, but sometimes these changes happen in waves.

Chris Satchell, chief architect of the XNA games development group, has been promoted to chief technical officer of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business Group.

Taking Satchell's place as XNA general manager is Boyd Multerer, who previously led work on the XNA Game Studio.

The news comes on the eve of Gamefest, a Microsoft conference for game developers in Seattle that opens Tuesday at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center.

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July 21, 2008 2:35 PM

Why Martin Tobias left Imperium? To stay home and play, perhaps

Posted by Brier Dudley

Perhaps Martin Tobias decided he'd rather play volleyball and jump in the bouncy house at his swanky new Queen Anne mansion than guide a biofuel company hitting rough waters.

Tobias abruptly stepped down as chief executive of Imperium Renewables in December, a few weeks before the biofuel venture canceled plans for a $345 million IPO.

Apparently the eco-industrialist was settling into the new house that went public on Sunday, in a Pacific NW magazine spread.

Highlights include 10-foot-tall glass doors and transparent acrylic staircase. They thought about using glass, but that would have had a green tint, the architect said.

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July 21, 2008 1:39 PM

Microsoft paying diversity bonus to lawyers

Posted by Brier Dudley

This ought to be interesting in Seattle, where practically every other lawyer has done work for Microsoft.

The company today announced a new program to encourage diversity in the legal profession by offering bonuses to its law firms that reach diversity goals.

Continue reading this post ...


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July 21, 2008 12:56 PM

Windows Home Server glitch fixed, finally

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsoft today released a final patch for the data corruption glitch in its Windows Home Server software.

The company said the glitch only affected a "very small" number of customers, but its existence still spooked enthusiasts who embraced the first version of the product and added a question mark to the otherwise nifty server's promise of simple, secure backup.

Continue reading this post ...


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July 21, 2008 10:04 AM

More money-saving coffee tips: Take that, Starbucks

Posted by Brier Dudley

Todays' column on startups cutting java costs has prompted a few people ot share their own tips for economizing on coffee.

It remains to be seen whether startups will retain their newfound frugality, as our A1 story today asks about consumers, but in the meantime the tips might be helpful to anyone trying to make ends meet nowadays.

Any more suggestions?

Continue reading this post ...


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July 21, 2008 9:52 AM

Startups cutting coffee costs, but maybe not toilet paper

Posted by Brier Dudley

Today's column:

I thought I was the cheapskate, until I saw how Seattle startups are trying to save money nowadays.

They're getting especially creative when it comes to coffee, the fuel that powers a lot of software development around here ...

Continue reading this post ...


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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.