This Week In Schadenfreude

schadenfreude (SHäʹdÉ™nfroid’É™/), noun: Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune.
Okay, maybe not full-on schadenfreude, but these stories certainly induced a certain wry smile or two from Yours Truly.
JammieWearingFool: Somali pirates receive ransom, hilarity ensues.

This is the dramatic moment a ransom of $3million was paid to Somali pirates to end the world’s biggest ship hijacking.
The canister full of cash was parachuted onto the Sirius Star – observed by the U.S. Navy who provided these images – and the two-month ordeal of the 25 crew, including two Britons, was finally over.
However things went badly wrong for the pirates soon after the drop – they squabbled over how to split the money and then a wave washed off their getaway boat and drowned five of them.

Daily Mail (UK): Former French President Chirac hospitalized after mauling by his clinically depressed poodle:

Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being mauled by his own ‘clinically depressed’ pet dog.
The 76-year-old statesman was savaged by his white Maltese dog – which suffers from frenzied fits and is being treated with anti-depressants.

I do not know if a better headline has been written in the history of EVER.
Joystiq: Hubris-encumbered electronics/”entertainment” giant Sony loses $2.9 BILLION due to overlapping product lines, idiotic retention of $399 PlayStation 3 price-point, blinkered pursuit of lawsuits against its own music-sharing customers:
Okay, Joystiq didn’t say that — I did. -ed.

If you’re an overpaid, television design director reading this from a battery-powered, mid-sized LCD panel, you’re about to have a very bad day. After warning that it would post a record $2.9 billion annual operating loss due to weakening demand and a mightier yen, Sony Corp. has unveiled plans to significantly restructure its operations, not to mention that stupid economy’s face.
According to Reuters, the plan is to cut costs by 250 billion yen by March 2010, a move that would see the end of TV manufacturing and design at one plant in Japan and a worldwide reduction in TV design’s headcount by 30 percent. Sony also plans to consolidate resources devoted to batteries (we hope the “anti-explosion” division won’t be too hard hit) and small and mid-size LCDs. The salaries going to directors and managers are also expected to be cut.
See, we told you you’d be having a bad day.

MSNBC: Obama pick to run Treasury (and thus head the IRS) unable to use Turbo Tax, common sense:
There I go, editorializing again! -ed.

Under questioning from Senate Finance Committee Republican member Chuck Grassley, Geithner was very reluctant to disclose which tax filing software he used. He quickly suggested the software wasn’t the problem; he was.
But Grassley pushed back, again asking what software he used. Geithner said, “Turbo Tax.” Grassley then asked if Turbo Tax has brought it to his attention that Geithner needed to pay more taxes. Geithner said, “No.”

The Very Definition Of “Too Much Time On One’s Hands”

Sony’s forthcoming platformer/world-creation game LittleBigPlanet recently hit beta and folks the world over are giving a shot at designing wacky levels and contraptions. There have been some nifty, as well as tasteless (read: 9/11/01 recreations) levels made, but none, I repeat, none of them have even come close to the insanity of a full arithmetic adding machine:

Holy crow.
Here’s a quick vid that shows what some other creative folks have been creating using the in-game tools:

That almost makes me want to get a PS3.

And Now, PlayPowerStationPoint

Great, now even my Keynote presentations are going to look lame in comparison to Sony’s annual report, as viewed through the prism of LittleBigPlanet:

Guess I’ll put in a purchase request for a PS3…

This Just Gets Better And Better

Ahhhh, Sony BMG, how we love to hate thee! Not only have you been caught installing unauthorized rootkits on your customers’ PCs, but it’s been found that you’re illegally using LGPL’d software to do so.
Tsk tsk. What’s the Japanese word for schadenfreude, anyways?
Anti-Competitive Update #1: Via Fark, we find out that Sony BMG is also leading a price-fixing cartel intent on driving online music prices up. For shame.
Anti-Competitive Update #2: Update #1 corrected to note that this in regards to all online sales, at least in the consumer electronics realm, thus it is Sony in its entirety and not simply its BMG music division that is involved in this scheme. In the U.K.. As far as I can tell.

Sony – Doing Their Best To Drive Their Customers Away, One Rootkit At A Time

Let’s first posit that you’re a multinational corporation with vast and sundry interests in various industries, including the music business. Let’s then posit that you were caught installing highly dubious software on your customers’ PCs in order to prevent “piracy”. What would you do if someone discovered that your “solution” to the problems you’ve caused your customers very well might cause their PCs to crash? Would you make it even more difficult for your customers to even discover the fact that you’ve illegally installed software on their PCs, let alone uninstall said software?
Would it surprise you if a reputable anti-virus vendor classified your disgusting anti-consumer software as “spyware”? Would it further surprise you if the state of California slapped your hide with a class-action lawsuit?
Sheesh. Do these record execs not realize that they’re actually driving customers away by the thousands? The Lesson of all this: buy your music from iTunes, kiddies.
(Want to find out if you’ve been infected? Check this list or this journal entry on Slashdot.)