Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 31/10/2003OK, class, nearly time for the weekend. Here's your assignment, to be completed by Monday.

Friday 31/10/2003
OK, class, nearly time for the weekend. Here's your assignment, to be completed by Monday.

Read the following extract from a question and answer session with Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks.

"Q: At what level of subscribers does the business become really lucrative?

A: One of the delightful things about being a public company is I can say things that go forward one quarter or 10 years. In the middle, it gets a little bit tricky. I'll say this: we are focused on a long-term business. It'll be 10 years in February. And if I look back and ignore this financial bubble in '99 and 2000 and think about where we thought we'd be, we're ahead of schedule. In the 20 years in the information technology and Internet industries, I've never been associated with a legal, legitimate consumer product that had the kind of consumer excitement that Rhapsody has, so that's got to be worth something."

1 (5 marks): Using advanced cryptographic analysis techniques, rank the following translations of his answer by probability:

a: "I have no idea, and never did"
b: "Is that a 1999 lucrative or a 2003 lucrative?"
c: "Sod the subscription, we make our money by shoving infinte amounts of advertising bumf in your face every time you think of playing an MP3."
d: "Even if you let me completely rewrite history, I have no idea and never did"
e: "Open your wallet and repeat after me: "Help Yourself"

2 (3 marks) Consider the last sentence in his answer. What do you think he's trying to say?

a. "You should see some of my illegal, illegitimate consumer products. Zowee, baby!"
b. "You may not be able to find a single consumer excited by Rhapsody, but we've got one locked in the basement. That's got to be worth at least $50k ransom."
c. "Rhapsody dull? Sure, but you have to put it in the context of our earlier stuff. Now there's dull."

3 (10 marks) Write a question for which the given answer could be considered appropriate, accurate and useful. Candidates are advised against sarcasm, irony or wit: this is the IT industry, after all.