This week, we reviewed Apple’s new large-screened iPhones, investigated Microsoft’s investment in Minecraft, whipped up some magical butter, learned about Google’s new budget handset initiative called Android One and more. Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last seven days. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!
The discrepancy between the accounts of Hampton Creek and Ali Partovi, a top executive who left after nine days on the job, suggests that the split between the two was not as amicable as the company has said publicly. http://ift.tt/eA8V8J
Swiss outdoor gear maker Mammut came up with the task to celebrate the anniversary of the first climb. The result was a stunning visual that perfectly marries the beauty of nature and the accomplishment of humankind. It’s simply breathtaking. [Mammut via GearJunkie]
An anonymous reader writes with this report from The Verge linking to and excerpting from a newly released report created for a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, including portions of eight "damning emails" that offer an unflattering look at the rollout of the Obamacare website. The Government Office of Accountability released a report earlier this week detailing the security flaws in the site, but a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released yesterday is even more damning. Titled, "Behind the Curtain of the HealthCare.gov Rollout," the report fingers the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversaw the development of the site, and its parent Department of Health and Human Services. "Officials at CMS and HHS refused to admit to the public that the website was not on track to launch without significant functionality problems and substantial security risks," the report says. "There is also evidence that the Administration, to this day, is continuing its efforts to shield ongoing problems with the website from public view." Writes the submitter: "The evidence includes emails that show Obamacare officials more interested in keeping their problems from leaking to the press than working to fix them. This is both both a coverup and incompetence."
If you sell your time and need to give quotes to customers, you’ll often round to the nearest zero and call it good. Customers might be more likely to accept your bid if you use an exact price.
Freelancers Union explains why this tip may work:
Let’s say you’re doing an interior design project for a client. You list out all the services you’ll provide in your proposal, and then you give them a project fee: $5,000.
The client balks. Even though you provided a breakdown of how you got to that number, they want a breakdown of your hours or an itemized list of expenses. They try to haggle you down another $500.
What would happen if you quoted them a price of $5,180?
I bet your client would be happier. A specific number has greater meaning because it looks like you calculated your cost exactly. You took the time to break down all the custom component costs, and come up with a number for their needs — not just the number you normally quote. $5,180 looks like an unrounded number with no padding.
It’s quirky for sure, and it’s no guarantee you’ll get the job. If someone else quotes $5,000, the customer might go with the lowest bid. You can always play it safe and go with a bid of $4,980 instead and still take advantage of the idea.
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes with news of interest to anyone with reason to ride mass transit in the U.S., specifically on the D.C. Metro system: After a crash some five years ago, automatic operation was abandoned. Now however replacement of ‘faulty’ modules means that moving the whole system on to automatic operation can happen. One quote is depressing: "And because trains regularly lurch to a halt a few feet short of where they should be at platforms, Metrorail riders have grown accustomed to hearing an announcement while they’re waiting to board: ‘Stand clear. Train moving forward.’" That never happens on the London underground with human operators? What’s wrong with American drivers?