Morning Coffee May 01 2012

The Kid Who Feuded With Apple, Sony and Quit Facebook

By joseph walker

Meet George Hotz, the 20-something hacker who turned feuds with Apple and Sony into a job at Facebook.

When Hotz was 17, he became the first hacker to jailbreak the iPhone, making it compatible with wireless carriers besides Apple's chosen one: AT&T. The stunt, which Hotz bragged about on YouTube, earned him an encouraging email from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, himself a one-time hacker who manipulated the telephone system in the 1970s into making free long-distance calls.

Then Hotz hacked into the Sony PlayStation 3, a videogame system widely thought to be one of the world's most impenetrable. The brazen move solidified Geohot (that's Hotz's online handle) as the world's greatest, or at least most infamous hacker. It also prompted Sony to sue Hotz, which in turn led to hacker collective Anonymous, allegedly, stealing data of 100 million user accounts.

The New Yorker gives Hotz the star treatment this week with a 6,000 word profile.

Around the time that Hotz settled out of court with Sony, Facebook came calling. Hotz doesn't get specific on what his job entailed at Facebook, just that he worked on design and improving the site. What is clear, though, is that Hotz quit the company eight months after joining. "Facebook is a fun place to work," he tells the New Yorker, "but I wonder how people stay employed for so long." (the New Yorker)

Change of Heart (WSJ)

Last year Barnes & Noble was calling Microsoft a "bully" over the software giant's patent lawsuits against the bookseller's Nook e-reader. Yesterday, Microsoft pledged an investment of at least $605 million into the Nook business, which will give it a 17.6% stake.

Under the Microscope (NYT)

The Google engineer who wrote the now-infamous WiFi data collection code has been identified as Marius Milner, an expert in WiFi technology. His identity and background throw further doubt on the claim that the Street View controversy was the act of a rogue employee.

Layoffs (The Detroit News)

General Motors is cutting 100 research and development jobs in Michigan and closing a development center in Bangalore, India. Laid off employees will be allowed to apply for new jobs at the company.

Bye-bye (FINS via Dow Jones)

AES Corp. Chief Financial Officer Victoria Harker will leave the company by this summer. The utilities operator will have Controller Mary Wood step up as interim CFO.

Stepping Down (AllThingsD)

Groupon had decided it needs coffee and tech experience less than it needs accounting know-how on its board of directors. Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz and Accel Partners' Kevin Efrusy are stepping down from the board and will be replaced by executives from American Express and Deloitte.

Industry Change (AllThingsD)

The technology team behind news aggregator Digg is going from repackaging the news to helping journalists create original content. The Digg team is leaving to join the Washington Post.

Speed Wins Races (Fortune)

Intel is known for its high-speed computer chips. Now it's bringing that knack for acceleration to its hiring process, making job offers in a week's time.

Sayonara (WSJ)

Blogging start-up Tumblr said goodbye to President John Maloney this weekend. Maloney's resignation comes as the company tries to start earning money by running a small number of ads.

Buzz Around the Office

Riding Shotgun (BuzzFeed)

Twenty animals that love to feel the breeze on their furry faces.

List of the Day: Dealing with Office Enemies

They're out there: the people seemingly designed to make your life miserable. Here's how to cope.

1. Don't react to hearsay.

2. Try it their way once in a while.

3. Accept that you're not going to be friends and just be polite.

(Source: MoneyWatch)

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