Fuck, I'll miss him, though. I'll miss the way he got up there each and every time like he was selling you your own personal Jesus in a box. Not out of hucksterism, but because he really was that excited to share what he and his people had been working on. Excited to do things better. Excited to solve problems in a way that was far more tasteful, more satisfying, than anything anyone had bothered to try before. Maybe he'll still do announcements as his health allows â" but maybe that would send a weird message.
He's a man who was lucky enough to find out exactly what he did best â" and to seize upon it with every cell in his body.
I'm a better person for his example. The resurrection of Apple was one of the most enjoyable things I followed in my childhood. No matter how you feel about his approach, this is a guy who loves his work with an intensity that couldn't be faked and won't be soon matched.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you."
From the WSJ blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/08/24/steve-jobs-resigns-as-...
EDIT: Now posted on Apple.com: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/08/24Letter-from-Steve-...
Apple Computer Inc the Apple II the Apple //e the Apple //c the Apple //GS the Mac Mac OS the Mac II the NeXT Cube NeXTSTEP OS NeXTSTEP API Objective-C Cocoa Mac OS X the iMac the Titanium PowerBook the iPod iTunes the iTunes Music Store the iPod Touch the iPhone the iPad iOS the App Store
(And if you're wondering what Steve Jobs had to do with the Apple //c, //GS, and Mac II, he was the one who brought in Frog Design to design Apple hardware throughout the 80s, and their work was marvelous, just as Jony Ive's work is marvelous today)
I mean wow, what a ride.
Still, quite a shock.
It's funny how very nervous he is. Guess he learned to get over that...
> Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple
> Tim Cook Named CEO and Jobs Elected Chairman of the Board
> CUPERTINO, Californiaâ"August 24, 2011â"Apple's Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief Operating Officer, as the company's new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.
As the COO, Cook did great job lining up and executing the production line. Most of the creative work should already be in the pipeline for the 2012, 2013 releases. We'll see what happens after then.
Why am I relieved? Because, although AAPL is still quite high, I think that investors have been weary of the stock due to the uncertainty of Jobs' health and future. Make no mistake, we'll have a roller coaster for quite a while, but I strongly suspect that the next few product cycles will demonstrate that Apple is still a game-changer even in a world where Jobs is not at the helm.
That being said, I'll miss him. He's a true visionary and such high-profile leaders only come along once in a great while.
I don't know why but the dialogue from Blade Runner suddenly comes to mind, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain..."
The second thing is he taught that you don't have to check every box in order to be successful.
He stripped computing back to its roots in science fiction, and built devices that were originally imagined, taking away feature after feature until something is understood.
I have to take my hat off to Mr. Jobs. Though there is much I disagree with him on (and personally, I'm not much of an Apple fan or consumer), he's one of the most amazing, talented and driven people I've ever seen.
He's brought a unique and masterful skill to the art of selling, vertical integration, acquisitions and consumer electronics. And I mean art. Vertical integration was never something I thought I'd appreciate on an aesthetic level until I saw the level that Jobs has raised that form to time and again. The NeXT computer production line was divine.
I think he's learned tremendously from what happened to Apple the last time he left and has spent extraordinary effort to ensure a smooth and capable team takes over. I can only guess that this might be happening after seeing the capability that the current team has executed with these past few months.
I want Apple in the fight, they continuously raise the bar in the industry and literally make it great to be a consumer, even if you don't buy their stuff yourself.
Kudos to Jobs for a job well done, and I wish him the best in health.
That said, when the market dips, buy, buy, buy.
All the best to Steve and his family.
Apple doesn't need that where it is now. Its struggles are just memories today. It still needs an incredibly smart CEO that can keep the company on the right path, which it has in Tim Cook, but the era in which Jobs was critical as CEO is over. Whether he's chairman of the board or executive visionary-in-residence, it'll be a more appropriate position for Apple's founder in this new decade.Â
This doesn't mark the end of Apple's ascendancy, just the very end of the turnaround. The dawn is over. This is Apple greeting the day.
All the best to Steve and his family..
The famous advert "Here's to the crazy ones..misfits.." totally applies to his career. I'm sure if AAPL ever recreates the same ad, he deserves his spot in there.
Edit: Yup, I meant Tim Cook... Doh!
He's survived and built amazing things in the face of great illness, when a lot of people would have given up. Sure, he had more financial resources than most to put into that battle against cancer, but a large part of it still comes down to determination and will. It would have been easy, several years ago, to say "I'm too tired to do this anymore" when you've fought cancer and don't need the paycheck. Someone like that doesn't step away from something they love unless they feel they absolutely have to.
I just hope Steve and his family are given the respect and privacy they will no doubt need and desire in the weeks and months ahead.
If there was really a dearth of innovators, of executors, of strategists at Apple when he leaves, wouldn't he have worked to solve that problem? Great CEOs are hirers and developers of great talent. I suspect Jobs has done as good of a job setting up what happens after today as he has everything else.
It is passing of an era and things will not be same at Apple or in the tech industry after this.
Edit: as pointed out below, after/pre-hoursm
Surely he'll still be the arbiter of taste until he's dead?
The other week I was imagining how would Steve Jobs' office look like in the new headquarters they are planning to build. I guess that doesn't hold anymore. Well, we'll just move on.
Looks like it'll come out in dividends or some such run of the mill fashion.
A lot of people say it's hard working for him (my friends at Apple totally dread meeting him by accident), he's egotistical, parks at a handicapped spot, etc. etc. To those people, I give the following, attributed to Judy Garland: ""They say it's hard to work with Judy Garland...do you have any idea how hard it is to BE Judy Garland?"
To me Apple has reached a new all time low as they sued Samsung with photoshoped pictures as if Apple had invented the tablet. They made the first great one, but they did not invent it.
"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new" - Standford Commencement speech 2005
So "the old" are Gates, Jobs,... (born circa 1950s) and "the new" will be Brin, Page, Zuckerberg...
Without my many iPods over the years I would not be as huge a music fan as I am now. I may not have learned how to play guitar, something I enjoy so much.
I would be completely lost without my iPhone. It makes me the smartest person in the room.
In any way, thank you very much Steve, I guess you can leave your company quite happy and satisfied. :)
Most importantly though, I hope that Steve recovers soon from whatever might be ailing him.
Somewhat sad times..
Doesn't HN have a duplicate submission filter?
Source: John Gruber, Daring Fireball bloghttp://shar.es/HUYIU
>Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world...
I just wanted to highlight this segment as a perfect example of media neutrality.
yeah mmm okay, this article is biased.
And hot grits aside, it really did set the bar for intelligent discussion. /. was the first site where the comments were always more valuable than the articles. RTFA's were common, sure, but so was incredible insight and inside knowledge. That's what made it all so addictive.
I remember hitting refresh constantly on /. during 911. Personally, I found it the best source of information anywhere, though you had to have your own sanity filter on as well.
Thanks cmdrtaco, and congratulations on a real legacy. For me at least, /. is mostly replaced now, but that doesn't diminish what it was.
For all its downsides, Slashdot is a quite interesting experiment imo.
In terms of form: It was one of the first (the first?) widely read tech blogs, in the sense of something that posted about technology in reverse chronological order, with a comments section below it (the comments section was even threaded). The idea of having users submit stories and write blurbs was also fairly novel, and has led to several different directions. Kuro5hin and MetaFilter took it in one direction, expanding from blurbs to more general kinds of article submissions (and Kuro5hin switched to voting rather than editorial curation), while Reddit/Digg/HN took it in the opposite direction, paring it down to link submissions with no blurb (again with voting).
In terms of content, imo it was a main way, especially in the late 90s, that a generation of tech people were introduced to things like the EFF, free software, problems of software patents, driver support for Linux, hardware hackability, and other such techno-liberty type things. Those predated Slashdot, of course, but it sort of crystallized a community on the web, alongside those that had previously been organized mainly around mailing lists, Usenet, etc. It also gained considerable mindshare for those ideas from a broader set of readers who weren't necessarily "activists".
In the last 14 years, Slashdot has covered so many amazing events: The explosion of Linux. The rise of Google. The return of Apple. The Dot Com Bubble. The DMCA. 9/11. Wars. Elections. Numerous successful Shuttle Launches and one Disaster. Scientific Breakthroughs galore. Cool toys. Web2.0! Social Networking. Blogging! Podcasting! Micro-Blogging! The Lord of the Rings being filmed and an entire trilogy of new Star Wars. OMG Ponies!! So many moments that I could run this paragraph for hours with moments where we shared something important, meaningful, or just stupid. But the most important to me was my marriage proposal to Kathleen. Slashdot has posted Over 114,000 stories so far. And there will be many more to come. I just won't be the one picking them.
Slashdot was a blog before the word 'blog' was coined. A universal shared experience, in my case for literally half a lifetime.
I think the high point of that period was the announcement of the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base. Nowadays, itt is hard to imagine the need for all the stories on how to convince your boss to use this software some dude in Finland wrote.
Slashdot also championed everything2.com, kind of a proto-wiki.
The low point was all the trolling in the article about death of W. Richard Stevens, which lead to much of the moderation code that needed to be put in place.
Rob's run at slashdot was pioneering and hugely influential. I look forward to his next project.
Taco's farewell (and Hemos' reply in comments) really brought to me back why I liked Slashdot in the first place back in 1998- an editorial voice curating interesting tech stories.
That editorial voice was important to me in 1998, as I was in college for CS and was really uninformed about things like (as _delirium notes in this thread) the EFF, the RIAA, open source software, The Many Uses of Linux, etc. I compare that to today when I just scan lists of links on reddit or HN and pick out the items that interest me. The editorial voice was a good starting point for me- it directed me to interesting things that I couldn't have fathomed. As I grew into my techy career and interests, I needed it less and less.
I hope it's not viewed as complaining or whatnot, but I do wonder if anyone else avoids Slashdot in 2011 almost purely because of the commenters' obnoxiousness. I always get a picture of sysadmin-like greybeards pounding away furiously at their keyboards the moment anyone suggests that some software, somewhere be written in something other than C or perl. Ah slashdot, you truly taught me what a 'troll' was (and "-5, Troll"? shudder.) And for that I thank you.
Well, this is going to be one short CV and cover letter... "I built slashdot" should be plenty enough, really.
I haven't seen him lately but CmdrTaco used to attend startup related events. One of the early Slashdot crew, Kurt DeMaagd, is now an assistant professor at Michigan State.
user: cowboynealpass: cowboyneal
My world view has been shaken. Best of luck & thanks for the good times CmdrTaco. I wore out F5 keys on that site :)
While Jobs' resignation is big corporate news, CmdrTaco's might be bigger community news - the guy was "one of us." His site was one of the first online communities and their slanted (according to some) point of view was what spun off other hacker/nerd sites.
I will admit that I'll miss Rob Malda at Slashdot - his name there on the posts made me feel at home, someplace familiar.
So long and thanks for all the fun.
But the relevance of Slashdot as a site has been eclipsed, first by Digg, then by Reddit and HN. The network effect is part of it. The technology is part of it. There's some je ne sais quoi about these newer sites; maybe they'll be replaced by some other, more minimalist social news platform in the future.
Things I remember (most of these are pre-2000):
Netscape being open sourced (and the role Slashdot played in that)
Oracle shipping on Linux
The hidden Slashdot threads (wah_is_cool anyone?)
Discovering a input validation hole that let me post a "Powered by Windows NT" image in the middle of a thread about the original CERT XSS attack warning (http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2000-02.html)
Signal11 vs CmdrTaco (http://www.kuro5hin.org/images/kuro5hin_Sig11_vs_Taco.html)
The K5 split
I think there is a moral here about not resting on your laurels and never thinking no one can catch up with you.
I was a voracious reader of Slashdot in the early years until I had an epiphany when reading the They Might Be Giants interview in 2000. I realized that the collective geek mindset was rooted more in fantasy than reality. Posters were so desperately wanting the TMBG guys to be off-the-wall wacky and absurdist, but really it was more that the two John's were just doing their own thing, and that thing was outside the realm of normal music. Yet no one picked up on it.
I couldn't read Slashdot after that. The geek fantasy fog was too thick and pervasive and self-referential.
Slashdot built the community that a lot of people still have close ties to. I'll always remember reading my first few Bruce Perens posts, and adding him (and a few others) to my 'Friends' List.
I'll also never forget listening to their marketing person talk about how they could 'bitchslap' negative comments (about the advertiser) to -2 so that nobody could see them.
Slashdot is a great place for the folks who have been in the industry for any amount of time. It was always a trusted and stable source of news, reposts, and April Fool's Pranks. I will continue to think that this is something that he did on his own free will and volition, and not something that was forced upon him by the powers that be at GeekNet.
Ann Arbor, MI isn't the Linux Hot-Spot -- nor is it a mecca for new and exciting technology jobs. I hope he enjoys his time off and finds something that gives him the love and satisfaction that slashdot gave him over the last decade.
What are the underlying linchpins of the SlashDot community? How would you rebuild it? What steps would you take, what processes would you put in place, what technology would you use?
I would never want to create a SlashDot clone, nor would I expect anyone could clone SlashDot. However, there are very important lessons in community building, management and infrastructure planning that Rob is an expert at.
I've recently starting reading again after long time away. It's good again!
Secondly, the actions are being moved from the context menu to the ribbon. Most new computer users find it very hard to remember additional, non intuitive actions like right clicking & context menus. Each of these is a 'modifier' that power users are used to, but which make the mental model of file manipulation much harder for beginners to wrap their heads around. They have to remember to apply these modifiers to see if the functions they want exist. Moving the functions into a contextually aware ribbon will make life much easier for these users.
Third, Move, Copy, Delete & Rename occupy the center of the ribbon. These are the most used commands (by far) and rightfully occupy center stage. Power users will call it clutter, but it will be extremely helpful for beginners.
[Disclaimer: MSFT Employee, but I do not work on Windows]
Seriously, it's overwhelming. The UI is constantly shouting commands at the user, regardless of what the user is trying to do. UIs like these are exactly where the problem my parents have with computers come from. They go in with an idea of what they want to do, let's say they want to find a note they wrote previously. As soon as they open the window, they are bombarded with commands. Move! Copy! Save as! Select! Select all! It's a cacophony of nonsense to them. Copy? Copy what, where? Nothing in there helps them find their note.
Really. "Easy access." What does that button do? I have no idea what might happen when that's pressed. It sounds a bit dirty, but accepting that it's probably accessibility related and not an invitation to intimacy, I still can't figure out what it might do. Ridiculous.
I'm a proponent of the Ribbon UI and I fucking hate toolbars in OS X.
I use Outlook, Word, Excel and Windows Live Mail extensively. All of which have the ribbon UI. It turns out that for the sake of actually getting stuff done, this is incredibly useful. I genuiely hardly ever need to use the context menu because what I need is there "in my face" and "obvious". While this fits newbie usage patterns perfectly, it also helps us power users who don't always switch back to the keyboard shortcuts (mouse already in hand) and don't want to jump through several hoops (like faffing with context menus) to get stuff done.
On the other hand, I have absolutely no fucking idea what the hell the toolbar buttons do when I'm using Finder or Mail on OS-X (Snow Leopard and Lion). The icons are crap, there are no visual cues and I always end up dropping to a terminal to get stuff done because I simply can't be arsed to figure it out or piss around with right clicking or the awful keyboard shortcut system on OS X. I don't think people usually get that far with OS X without getting "shiny I paid $2000 so it must be good Apple mental block" as I call it.
I'm fed up of so-called self-proclaimed experts chucking out blog posts criticising user interfaces while masturbating over Apple's efforts. Microsoft's UI allows you to get shit done and get it done quickly. So it might not be as aesthetically pleasing, but it works and works well for those of us with shit in our eyes.
Also, Microsoft research what you want rather than tell you what you're having (like Apple do).
For the hundreds of nerds complaining that they don't have access to the file system on their iPads, there are millions of normal people who are delighted by a computer that they can use rather than manage.
How much longer can Microsoft keep making a 20th century operating system? What's going to be the great innovation of Windows 9? Yet another reshuffled toolbar driven by all of their wonderful data?
It's hard to claim that the context menu is good UI. The fact that so few people use the menu bar means that it's currently useless and needs to be reworked. It's not as if they're replacing the context menu with the ribbon, they're replacing the currently-unused menu bar.
Maybe MS did extensive usability testing, maybe they didn't. But that CTRL-F study was so surprising to me that I don't trust my instinct when it comes to judging the effectiveness of a user interface for hundreds of millions of people
The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products.
The problem comes in the implementation. The graphic design is just horrible. Where is the grid? Where is the white space? What the hell is that round button that replaces the file menu? The title bar just looks awful.
If they could clean it up graphically I really think it could be just as nice as anything on Mac OS X. Ask yourself this, if Apple had come out with the buttons on tabs in the exact same groupings but done it in a gorgeous way, who would be complaining about it? We'd all be heralding it.
I actually think that overall this a big improvement. Minimalism can go screw itself when it costs me hours of free labour :)
"Microsoft Designs the iPod Package:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9HfdSp2E2A
The current tab appears to be the Home tab, based on the highlight. But this has nothing to do with your "Home" directory - it is merely the "default" page for the most common operations. These operations are used to manage your files - the names of two other tabs in this hierarchy. What would the user expect to find there?
The layout of the Home tab is visually confusing. There is no grid or use of whitespace to guide the eye, and it presents a non-uniform 2-dimensional array of controls of different sizes. At least the old toolbars being 1-dimensional meant the user could easily remember approximately how far along the toolbar to look for the icon - now the user must scan a far more complex terrain to find what they're looking for.
There are two different sizes and layouts for action icons. So Copy and Paste are large icons with text below, while Cut is a small icon with text to the right. Why? Presumably it is less frequently used, but the inconsistency is visually jarring and non-obvious to the user.
While some buttons cause immediate actions, others have a small down-arrow next to them, suggesting they will probably pop up a menu instead. This introduces another variation to the two button types, giving a third type. But some have a default action when clicking on the button itself (a fourth type), and only reveal a menu when clicking on the arrow - yet there is no visual indication of which behaviour a button has. (This is apparent in IE and Office also.)
A user may wonder what is the difference between clicking on the dark blue File toolbar tab, versus clicking on the menu button in the very top of the titlebar, versus pressing Alt to reveal the hitherto hidden menubar?
While the Manage ribbon tab appears at the same hierarchy level as Home, Share and View, it has a brightly coloured tab _above_ it labelled "Library Tools". Vertical lines suggest it is superior to the Manage item; yet presumably it is also higher than Home, given its placement and urgent red/orange background? What is the difference between pressing Manage and selecting Library Tools?
A user not trained in the intricacies of the Office Ribbon UI will IMHO be utterly baffled by the complexity exposed in this UI and the inconsistencies therein.
While it is laudable that Microsoft is attempting to refresh the design of this venerable component of Windows, this work seems to be little more than a reshuffling of features and shortcuts, rather than a rethinking of file management.
Shouldn't there be more intuitive ways of doing these things? Why is there a need for a move button or copy (one or the other) when you have drag and drop? I know it is very much in vogue to abstract the file system away from the user, and it strikes me that this is exactly the opposite, and just might be just a little over engineered.
MS says, "Only 2 of the top 10 commands customers invoke in Explorer are available in the Command bar, the main UI element for invoking commands."
And have this picture, http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/communit...
The takeaway from the data isn't that you should focus on people using context menus, because all commands haven't been available in other places. But they used their data and said, "there are the most common desired actions" coupled with their own design sense that said, "if we moved them to the ribbon they'd be easier to use".
To me that makes a great deal of sense.
I feel like this person, Seldo, who wrote this blog post attacked MS without either reading the full MS post or not understanding it. Statements like, "But the more important thing is that the remaining 50% of the bar is taken up by buttons that nobody will ever use, ever, even according to Microsoft's own research" (which she bolded) simply aren't in the data MS presented. It's as if she misunderstood the distinction between location and action.
And later she says, "Again, this is Microsoft's own research, cited in the same post: nobody â" almost literally 0% of users â" uses the menu bar, and only 10% of users use the command bar." Again she seems to not understand that the most common actions were only available from the context menus.
Also, what is up with those suspension towers and all those cables? Does anyone actually cross the bridge at those great heights? I say cut them up and stick them underneath as support piers, so that they're not obstructing the view or (more likely) sticking out of a fog bank and creating a hazard to passing aircraft.
Simple usage statistics aren't especially valuable if you don't look at the overall picture as to why features are used (e.g. who would cut and paste if they understood how to move?). I'm not sure if either side is properly analyzing the available information.
- It's ugly as hell
- A beginner is bombarded with way too many things to click on
- An expert is annoyed by useless buttons and waste of space
Sure, you can turn it off, but who wants to configure and reconfigure UI preferences for the rest of their lives (sidenote: reminds me of eclipse)? Sensible defaults, please.
Contrast this with Apple, whose designs often define what good design and usability means. In their apps:
- The appearance is simple, well-designed, elegant
- The only actions present are those deemed most necessary to the user
- Tons of functionality is hidden under shortcut keys, modifier clicks and context menus for expert users (after years on OS X, I still discover hidden elegance as a result of their zealous attention to detail)
Having said that, I think the author of the post seems to ignore the fact that Microsoft's research shows that not many use the menu bar currently (because currently, the menu bar is hidden by default). By adding the ribbon, I assume their goal is to improve that statistic, and in turn make it easier for users.
Having been absent from microsoft office (or any office like application for that mater) for many years, I recently got to use recent versions of microsoft products such as Word, Outlook, etc. The ribbons were a big facepalm, I didn't know such bad things exist, a few co-workers of mine said that they find them practical. I spent an average of 20-40 seconds each time I needed to click one of those buttons, even after many months of usage.
The buttons are jammed together in a rectangular area in ridiculous amounts. Some ribbons have close to 20 buttons, this will never be intuitive, it's just not visually easy to identify the buttons. Also, often a button is on the other site, all the away across the window in a far far away ribbon.
I never managed to use any microsoft OS after XP. Did the users really need other MS OS after XP? Quite frankly, I cannot find sinigle advantage of using vista or seven.
PS: The screenshots have something of a 1998 charm, I think it's that overlayed info. mspaint?
"We knew that using a ribbon for Explorer would likely be met with skepticism by a set of power-users (like me), but there are clear benefits in ways that the ribbon:
-Exposes hidden features that they already use but which require third party add-ons to use in the Explorer UI today.
-Provides keyboard shortcuts for every command in the ribbon, something many people have been asking for.
-Provides UI customization with the quick access toolbar, taking us back to a customization level that is basically equivalent to Windows XP."
Every button or command on the Ribbon can be accessed via polymorphic hotkeys. Every command can be accessed as a chain of key presses. There is zero need for mouse usage -- even in PowerPoint.
This is huge. This was not doable in previous versions of Office! There were some commands you could not access via anything else than the menu, and to those of us that are vim users, you know how bad that can be! I do a lot of PowerPoint presentations and besides designing arrows or shapes I have no need for a mouse. And PowerPoint is a WYSIWYG editor!
The other reason is that you can hide the Ribbon. See the screenshots? That chevron symbol (^) means that you can essentially auto-hide the Ribbon and bring it back, while still retaining its usability via hotkeys.
I'm by no means an all-guns-blazing MSFT fanboy, but I need Office at work, and instead of jumping on the silly bandwagon of bashing all that is Ribbon, I found my inner vim user and learnt to god damn power use the hell out of it.
To those that actually need Office daily, I recommend opening it and pressing Alt. Let the funny stuff unfold.
"Not enough people are using this feature" can lead you to think "Let's make that feature's UI more prominent" instead of what it (normally) should: "Let's scrap that feature". Simplicity, minimalism, and elegance seem to be completely elusive to Microsoft, even with their brand new developments.
Typical use based on their research has used the context menu. On Windows that is typically a right click (IIRC). Now Windows 8 has claimed to moving towards more touch capable user interface. I'd imagine anything that is directly touchable with common controls being larger targets is a huge improvement from right-click simulation. These controls, while ugly, I could see as an improvement to usability in those scenarios.
Additionally, I haven't seen any effective file management interfaces for touch devices yet. Most of them shun the filesystem in favor of flattened document collections, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out on upcoming tablet devices. Personally, I was looking forward to stepping away from filesystems and lessening their role in my regular interactions, but time will tell where valuable experiences will be spent, so I'd say we wait and see for this one.
In 7 you have to "Shift + Right Click" to see "Copy as Path" in the context menu. Now how many users (even power users) actually know about this? So many of my friends were really pleased to find this out when I showed them.
There are lots of other features such as you can actually copy a file and when you try to paste it to a "File Open Dialog" 7 will automatically paste the path of the file, so that's why "Copy Path" was quite hidden, because for common usage it's just easier to do copy & paste.
We have to understand that just like everyone know what is Ctrl + C all power users eventually gets rid of menu bars and just uses hotkeys. New Ribbon interface (with hide/customise features) provides a nice infrastructure for that while not punishing the normal users.
But at this stage it looks so very very bad, and remind me the open office mouse with 30 buttons.
The "helpfulness" of providing "n" ways of doing the same thing is an illusion and only undermines the ability for users to establish a shared context which can be used to make user actions more automatic for the experienced and easier to teach to the inexperienced.
The newly-added buttons on the ribbon are there to address the most-requested features (by actual customers) as well as some of the missing features users most-often go to third-party plug-ins for, per the actual blog post from the Windows 8 Engineering Blog.
As for whether the UI is stream-lined or not - while simplification has its place, it is not always a good thing. The OSX Finder is surprisingly devoid of things even basic users can find useful - in many cases it isn't easy to find the appropriate menu option or shortcut to perform these actions - personally I think it goes too far by way of simplification.
It is good to make computers easy-to-understand - but by attempting to remove the learning curve COMPLETELY you can also damage the productivity a computer can provide. The sweetspot, of course, is somewhere in the middle.
I think this is hideous crap UI design. Fortunately, it can be shut off (at least in the leaked betas).
I'm not aware of anything good that's come out of Microsoft and usability tests. Apple didn't seem to use them and it turned out well for them.
Microsoft, go with the Windows Phone paradigm, full force. It is your (successful) future.
Hate the ribbon. Hate the iPad.
But for the majority of users, those are massive improvements in UI.
Right-Click, Double-Click, ... arcane commands only people like and love that are good at memorizing actions. And if those memorized actions are gone, the rage begins. You need to be anal to love the old Office UI or the command line. Do you remember the hate the old Office UI got in the past from the very people who now praise it?
Personally, I think the ribbon UI was the ballsiest move that MS did in a decade. It showed real guts, real vision. In Office 2010, they improved upon it, making Excel, Powerpoint and Word actually more usable. Exposing new functions and teaching me about them, from within the UI.
We're living in a world where digital technology more and more becomes the dominant driving force of our society. We already lost the ability to change hardware to a - relatively small - group of people (yes, considering the amount of people using the stuff, the group is tiny).
So what now? Make sure there's only an elitist circle of high paid, influential "technology gods" left? While I definitely consider my self as a geek, I would not like such a society at all. It can be the target of humanity that ordinary people get even "dumber" than they're now.
Sorry, but I think people should strife for new knowledge, they should keep their spirit of discovery. By simplyfing the whole world around them, at least in my eyes, it becomes harder and harder for kids to figure out all these things on their own. And once all the knowledge is locked away from them, the elitist will choose who gets insight into the then "magical" workings of the world.
Yeah, maybe my picture of the future has a little bit of a dark taint, but well that's what you get when even your colleagues, which are the same age as yourself, are light years behind in terms of thirst for knowledge.
I still think, it's too crowded, and will benefit from a mode selection (i.e. Advanced with all these button, Basic with only the most used ones and Custom )
Here's the key sentence,take note:
It's not how OFTEN you use it that matters most but how USEFUL it is.
Browser makers, please take note when you remove 99% of the UI. Thanks.
Beside I know most "noobs" look for these functions in menus and will love the buttons. Even on OSX many just don't know how to move/copy. They can do it in iPhoto or iMovie, but when it comes to the finder they're lost.
Plus, I agree with the other users. Our viewpoint is skewed. We are top tier users. We're not the ones that need disclaimers on the side of our hair-dryer that says, "Do not user while bathing."
This hits the nail on the head when discussing the UI decisions made. If Microsoft had included the top 10 commands in an organized manner, plus a few more from their data, it'd probably be fine.
i've been using Classic Shell to keep my sanity on W7 and the 'Super Bar' is big step back in productivity for me.
my search for seamless Explorer replacements continues...
Do you expect an UI designed for someone that's never heard of HN and who is unaware that you can copy and paste pieces of text SHOULD seem attractive to a technohipster blogger?
So many times HN seems like the next incarnation of the Library of Alexandria and then posts like this make it seem like a bunch of silly stupid cyber bullies stuck in myspace and high school WHILE guffawing at the teacher's assignment for the day.
Microsoft is often times silly, stupid, evil, whacked out. But don't go projecting myopic mamby-pamby "critique" like you knew something.
Love them or hate them or think they're falling off of the face of the earth Microsoft gets enough right to still pull in the pennies, a tad bit more than I think this poor chap manages with his blog.
This makes it sound like it does have to do with his health unfortunately, and not that he just feels that it's the right time to do it. (like Bill Gates did with Microsoft)
On another note, even though in reality it's not just for the Board but, as put in the letter, for "the Apple community", it feels odd to imagine that he would need to write a formal letter of resignation.
His Standford graduation talk, always inspiring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA
If Apple had announced they were going to spend it all to make Steve well again, would would have protested?
Somewhere in here is a lesson on the price of immortality.
But as someone who likes to take things apart and tinker, I've haven't been a big fan of Apple in recent years.
Enjoy the ride Steve. Thanks for being such an inspiration.
As much as I am not an Apple (or Jobs) fan, I still recognize great achievement when I see it.
Best wishes to him and his family.
Yet imagine your boss calling you on a Sunday and saying, "So I was reviewing the DBA's data model for the new product, and I really don't like how he's called the columns with customers identifiers 'cust_id' instead of 'customer_id.' We use 'customer_id' in all our other tables. It's just wrong and and I'm going to have him fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?" And then you get an e-mail called 'Customer Column Naming Convention Ambulance' five minutes later.
I mean... if you got a call like this from anyone else, wouldn't it be absolutely absurd? How did Jobs manage to put his own mark on design decisions like this without totally micro-managing or hit-and-run-managing everything?
Call someone who's work is starting to slip once on a Sunday to complain about some minutiae, and you are letting them know that you are watching - even if you aren't really watching all the time. I think this is a leadership technique, not the micro-management it appears to be.
This also is a way of Steve asserting control and dominance. Making someone scurry over a mis-tinted letter sets the tenor of the relationship.
I think it's important not to take the wrong lessons from all these anecdotes. Jobs knows how to get good work out of people by causing them to demand perfection of themselves and to fear producing imperfect products. No CEO has time to exact perfection end to end - their job is to set standards, expectation, and culture. Sometimes ridiculous demonstrations of micro-management are just what someone needs.
Vic Gundotra at Google I/O 2010: "if Google did not act we faced a Draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice"
Is that what he literally said? "In religious services"? I find it really hard to believe. It is more fitting of a blog post that has been adopted to the format of "The Jobs Tales". Gender-neutral, religion-agnostic, PG-13.
The question is, why didn't people say things like that to Steve Jobs?
Or do only the ones that prostrated themselves to him ever speak up? (or get the attention when they do?)
I want some stories of people telling Jobs to piss off.
Update, via @arnoldkim: Jan 2008, Jobs did MWSF Keynote and introduced Webclips with home screen icons. twitpic.com/6aye3l
Here is the text from it.
Steve Jobs, is someone I admire hugely. Yes, he has numerous personality floors but his obsession to follow his heart in all things in his life is extremely admirable. Watching his Stanford Commencement speech too many times in a job I didn't enjoy led me to quit as a Derivatives Trader and sent me on my current path, back to the startup world I left many years ago. He has literally changed my life.
Steve's obsession has led him to become a product perfectionist. And is why Apple is now the second most valuable company in the world. Almost every product that comes from Apple is spectacularly awesome. And Vic's post illustrates the depths of Steve's obsession. I have heard similar stories about Jack Dorsey at Square, tweaking spacing on receipts because he felt they were not beautiful enough.
In Vic's post the comments are full of âthe devil is in the details' quotes of admiration for Jobs' obsession. But the question for us is, âShould we as startup entrepreneurs have the same obsession with the details of our products?'.
My answer is that, unfortunately, we can't. And I really mean it when I say unfortunately. I am a perfectionist myself in a lot of ways. When I do something I pour my heart and soul into it. I want it to be the best I can make it. I become obsessed and it is constantly in my mind. I go to bed and wakeup thinking about it. My girlfriend recently pointed out that 70% of our conversation is about SayMama. All the SayMama animations, transitions and buttons movements, design, logo and user flows have all been laboriously thought through and refined. The amount of energy myself and the team have spent on details has been immense.
The problem is that we misplaced our passion. We are currently pivoting the business, or rather accelerating it to where we wanted it to be in a year or so from now. This means that we will be putting most of our energy into a new product. All the details we crafted in saymama.com don't matter.
Obsession is not the problem, the problem is where we focus the obsession. For us startups, the obsession should be placed in finding product/market fit and gaining traction. And in finding our product champions who will help spread the word. A higher level of abstraction of obsession. Not the details but the broader product.
Obsession with the details of a logo are only gifted to those who have viable product that serves a users need. Those like Steve and Jack who already have a viable business. Personally I can't wait for this day, but until then all my energy will go into defining where SayMama and our subsequent product fit into the world of real time video communications.
We are still guided by the same compass, âto take real world human interaction and replicate it online'. But the obsession is not on the product details. It is on creating something that solves users' problems in a way that no one else does.
Big companies that use patents as a revenue stream (MSFT, IBM, etc.) typically bide their time and bring a patent lawsuit once a new company is established and there is blood to drain. It's the threat of such a lawsuit in the future that can negatively impact investment in a startup, as the right collection of patents could conceivably capture much of the economic surplus of a new venture. Alternatively, a big company might use the threat of a patent lawsuit, now or in the future, to push a young company to agree to an early acquisition.
The pledge doesn't seem to have much impact on these scenarios, even if a big company were to follow it rigorously.
Most of us, I believe, would prefer to see companies make a stronger commitment: "No first use of software patents" [period]. Google hasn't made this pledge, but to the best of my knowledge, they've acted in this way so far. It does seem in line with "don't be evil."
That said, I think I see what PG is going for here. He wants companies to make a pledge that, at a minimum, allows a new product or service to be tested on the market. That way, if it gathers traction, it will attract investment despite the threat of patents, and the new company will be able to mount a reasonable defense.
Perhaps more importantly, though, by allowing the product to succeed first, even in a modest way, it makes the offensive use of patents worse PR for the big company. Killing a successful product with patents is no longer an abstract issue. It takes away from customers and the market something very real.
I will quote myself from [ http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2855835 ] here for another solution, one that actually can _easily_ go through government (except for the intense lobbying against it by whoever enjoys the current patent regime); you can read there for some discussion if it is interesting. Quoth myself (with minor editing):
Intellectual "Property Tax". Have everyone declare the value of their intellectual "property" (patents, copyrights, trademarks) - each and every item, for that year, on their tax return, and have them pay 1% of the value as "IP tax", per year.
Clarification: you can set a different value every year. The value may drop to zero because a competitor's patent solves the problem better; or it may go up because it becomes essential to something that becomes commonplace.
That amount is what one pays for a compulsory license or if successfully sued, and up to 3 times that for willful infringement, per year -- and no more. (But of course, a patent owner can always negotiate a lower payment, as is done with music recordings that have compulsory license agreements)
All of a sudden, everyone has an incentive to state a reasonable value for their patent. Copyright catalogs that are not being published (old music recordings, old books, old movies) would be assigned 0 value by copyright holder, to avoid tax - which means anyone can freely make a copy. If they believe -- at the end of the year -- that someone is making a profit at their expense, they can set the value as high as they want at the end of that year, pay the tax, and sue the profiteer.
Simple, elegant, and coffer filling.
edit: put missing link
edit: added clarification about setting value each year anew.
There doesn't seem to be much evidence companies with fewer than 25 employees are getting sued unless there's something left unspoken here.
I think it would be more constructive to begin the discussion of what patent reform should resemble so that companies and individuals can show support for it. Some kind of software patent working group that can put forward a vision that everyone can get behind. If enough people and companies come to support a way of thinking then it will slowly affect current behavior and ultimately shape the legal framework of the future.
Even if it was a problem that companies smaller than 25 were being sued for patent infringement, I'm not sure the legal litmus test should be how many employees are at the company.
A court might well hold a company to such a pledge, on a theory of "equitable estoppel." This type of defense to an infringement charge is always highly fact-specific; here's an example of a case in which the defense succeeded:
A patent owner accused a manufacturer of eyeglass frames---which it had previously sued for infringement---of infringing other patents. After back-and-forth correspondence---in which the manufacturer denied infringement---the patent owner went silent for three years. In the meantime, the eyeglass manufacturer expanded its marketing efforts for the products in question.
The trial court held that the manufacturer was not liable for infringement, on grounds that the patent owner's actions, in view of all the circumstances, had misled the manufacturer into thinking it would not be sued. The appeals court found no error in this holding ; it explained that:
"In the context of patent infringement, the three elements of equitable estoppel that must be established are:
(1) the patentee, through misleading conduct, led the alleged infringer to reasonably believe that the patentee did not intend to enforce its patent against the infringer;
(2) the alleged infringer relied on that conduct; and
(3) due to its reliance, the alleged infringer would be materially prejudiced if the patentee were permitted to proceed with its charge of infringement."
 Aspex Eyewear, Inc. v. Clariti Eyewear, Inc., 605 F. 3d 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (affirming summary judgment in favor of accused infringer), http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/...
Paul, there is a major oversight here. The site http://thepatentpledge.org/ doesn't even have a contact form. Also, you may want to make the links nofollow.
PG: Red Hat, a multibillion dollar business, already has a working patent pledge - they won't use patents except defensively against people who attack them first. Copy that and use it.
"A clumsy parasite may occasionally kill the host, but that's not its goal"
This came up in a previous discussion on HN where I made essentially the same point. As someone pointed out in response, a parasite can get away with killing off the host as long as there's somewhere else to go next. In fact, a parasite could wipe out an entire species as long as it can make the jump to something more resilient.
it was just a short aside, but here's a link the the thread...
Start a non-profit coalition with the following rules:
(1) All patent disputes between members will be resolved by binding arbitration. The arbiters are a panel of domain experts (not lawyers!). There is no presumption that an issued patent is valid.
(2) If a member of the coalition is sued by a non-member, the other members of the coalition make their entire portfolios available for a defensive countersuit. When a member's patent is used to defend another member, the former is compensated by the latter on terms set by arbitration.
(3) There is no restriction on using one's own patents to sue non-members.
It would also be stated policy, at least in the areas of software and business model patents, that the arbiters would be directed to apply a very high standard of obviousness, so that most issued patents would be of little use in an arbitrated dispute.
Could such a thing work? No voluntary system can address the patent troll problem, as trolls have nothing to gain by joining it. But for practicing entities, it seems to me that membership in such a coalition could be beneficial, by reducing the likely number and expense of patent disputes.
Does anyone have stats on who is doing the most damage to early companies? Given the press, it's easy to think that trolls are the biggest offenders by an order of magnitude. Is there data that suggests otherwise?
For quantities you can count (windows, money, people...), the word is "fewer." For quantities you can't, the word is "less"
The pledge should read: No first use of software patents against companies with fewer than 25 people.
Since good programmers are a scarce resource if enough of us took this pledge it could really start having an effect.
One where software engineers pledge not to participate in formal patent creation. Because ultimately, all of the software patents out there were 'authored' by a software engineer. You have to have the person that actually invented the new implementation on the document.
Sure, your employment contract says that any IP you create on your employer's dime is owned by your employer. And so, sure, they could go out and pursue a patent for some new implementation that you invent. But you can stand up and say no, that you won't participate in the 'patentization' of your work (ie the formal, legal work to obtain the patent).
And without your involvement, it would likely fail. It certainly makes a statement internally and externally, at least.
How does this work? Well, you can make that commitment - in writing and verbally - when you join a company. Or you could simply state as much, formerly, in an email to your boss and superiors tonight when you get home.
With the software engineering talent market what it is anyone but a dope-shit code monkey has the leverage to dictate terms.
These companies have agreed to be the first to publicly renounce aggressive use of software patents on small companies. Please join them!
A Thinking Ape,Airbnb,Bump,CarWoo,DailyBooth,Disqus,DotCloud,Greplin,Hipmunk,Justin.tv,Loopt,Songkick,Stripe,Weebly,Wepay
I think the whole YC gang is going to promote this aggressively, which means a strong network effect. Remains to been seen what happens outside this network.
This problem needs to be fixed at its root, with a different law.
The S. Ct. already had their big chance in Bilski to dial back software patentability, and they blew it. Our only hope is Congress. (/me shudders hopelessly)
And to anyone suggesting we abolish patents completely: they increase societal utility in many sectors, most notably pharmaceuticals.
 lawyers and trolls.
In the software industry, patents are unnecessary. Because whatever is patented, even if it is not obvious WHEN patented, it (or a variant of it that falls under the patent) nevertheless becomes OBVIOUS to lots of people a mere 3-4 years later. Therefore, we can easily explain how a 20-year monopoly has wound up HURTING the industry rather than helping it. Companies implement an invention WITHOUT rummaging through new patents that come out every year. It is obvious that most of the stuff implemented in the software industry was arrived at in a different way. Non-practicing entities can sue those who actually implemented the invention 3-4 years later. Meanwhile, those who implemented it, get hit with a suit.
Therefore, patents have now become a tax on innovation.
I repeat: the inventions were not obvious AT THE TIME THEY WERE PATENTED. And, those who ultimately implemented them DID NOT READ THE PATENTS in order to get the idea for the invention. Therefore the system is not serving its purpose.
Patents are an exchange between the inventor and the public. The inventor discloses how an invention works, and in return gets a monopoly for 20 years so that no one else can implement it.
In open source, the IMPLEMENTOR not only discloses a theoretical thing but actually builds it AND releases all the inner workings of it, AND others can build on top of it. So we get the upside with no monopoly. Why do we need the latter, then, if so much innovation happens without it?
PG's solution, while elegant and functional for individuals, will fail for corporations.
We have a spirit-of-the-law in America with regards to being a citizen: you pay taxes and receive benefits of living here. Corporate persons are, one would imagine, also party to this spirit of the law, yet they not only ignore the spirit, they find ways around the tax laws on a regular basis.
Even if companies were forced to comply with this by law, they'd just find away around it. Sub-25 person shell companies making up large corporations. Who knows.
The fundamental problem is the same as with the rest of corporate personhood: we have given corporations the rights of individuals but they lack the implicit ethics and social peer pressures which result in moral behavior.
I see 2 problems currently.
1. Microsoft suing Android makers, and other similar examples, where large companies burn billions of dollars of our economy over something pointless.
2. Patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures and their shell companies suing startups.
How does this solve either of these problems? Who really needs this?
I'm no lawyer - I have to ask the logical question - does publicly stating this pledge bust any opportunity to double back (i.e. it is more legally binding than just a pledge?)
I would propose to eliminate software patents, or limit their time frame to 2 years. The industry moves way too fast and 17 years is way too long. I know pg wrote that "if you are against software patents, you are against patents", but consider this: the 17 years are completely out of proportion to how quickly the software industry moves. And the pace at which they are submitted is simply too great for the patent office to do anything appropriate in most cases. When we apply the patent trade-off to it, you get a negative result, not a positive one.
The patent trade-off is essentially that the company discloses their "secret" invention to the public, in exchange for a 17 year MONOPOLY (enforced by the government) on so much as implementing this invention in any context.
No one read the lodsys patent in order to "invent" in-app purchases. They were just bloody obvious to implement when the time came. Almost any experienced practitioner in the art would have said it was obvious when they were introduced. Then Lodsys came out of the shadows and demanded money.
My point is that the very purpose of patents is being undermined. It is supposed to promote innovation, by letting companies feel safe disclosing their "trade secrets" and "secret inventions". In reality, though, these inventions are extremely obvious to everyone when they are introduced a couple years later, and all software patents accomplish is the downside of the compromise: namely, a patent troll (a company that never implements anything, but just files patents) actually comes out and leeches money from those who DO implement the innovation.
That makes innovation more expensive, and patents become like a tax on those who actually IMPLEMENT ideas -- which we all know is much more important than merely HAVING them. For up to 17 years anyone implementing this will have to pay, and is the industry better off? Not at all. It moves so fast, that in a couple years, what was patented by a troll becomes the next obvious step. Software patents for 17 years are not benefiting society.
"Look, you pack of fucking navel-gazing fucktards. Put down the fucking guns, agree to pool your resources to buy sufficient hookers and Caribbean vacations for Congresscritters to have the existing patent system tossed out the door. We get it that you all sort of started out accruing vast numbers of patents, some good, some bad, some absolutely fucking moronic, in no small part to fend off attacks from each other and from evil little patent trolls, but look at how it's complicating your lives. You couldn't roll out a steaming turd without someone somewhere trying to claim you infringed on a patent they own.
Apple, you're now one of the biggest companies around. If anyone can afford the required number of prostitutes, golf club memberships, or whatever it is those corrupted evil bastards in Congress have an appetite for. Google, come on, you could help out here, same with Samsung. Then you can, you know, compete on the quality of your products, rather than trying to stuff newspaper down each others throats in what can only be described as the bonfire of the idiots."
We need to change the whole system. Obtaining a patent should be a simple thing as buying a domain name or product in the online store. Now, placing an order, we practically give it to the blind - we do not know if already issued a patent for the same invention or is it the same invention is filed by someone.We do not know this and therefore has a great chance that in six months we willletter of refusal and then we just lose time. This is I'm think about. And, IP and Patents is a strongly related to my startup,I'm will apply to YC W12.
This is not abuse. This is the purpose of a patent. It gives you the ability to be as shitty as you want and still be the only gig in town. Society says "wow you're terrible, but thanks for letting us all know how you did it!"
Patents are largely a problem of companies buying government. But what about the people?
I applaud that move.
You can require members of the trust to invest in the trust at level relative to market cap. Breaking the trust results in loss of the assets/cash invested. The trust can also fund a defense pool/lobbying budget to protect the interests of the trust. Namely that members outside of the trust cannot successfully litigate on patents the trust hase agreed are frivolous.
edit: obviously transparency, open membership and some high profile members are useful for such a plan.
It would be more interesting if someone with the necessary legal muscle could design an effective and legal "IP shelter" from the U.S. patent system . The structure would be some series of foreign companies/organizations that could claim immunity for internet products as they would be 'foreign' and therefore not infringing. There are obviously many legal and tax issues that make this difficult (PCT, not viable for physical products, etc). However, if it could be designed and then templatized, much like Series funding documents have become, then it would allow any startup, but especially ones that attempt to tackle traditionally hostile industries (MAFIAA), to exist in a 'safe haven' away from the utter nonsense that US intellectual property has become.
Even if it creates some $X burden on startups, I am sure that most startups would be willing to pay this expense if it takes the risk of an Armageddon-like legal suit out of their startup picture. It would also be a forcing function on the US legislature due to loss of prestige and possibly revenue (imagine if the next Google incorporates in Canada and only a subsidiary works in California due to patent concerns).
And, I think the intent would be served equally well by getting rid of the restriction to software patents.
 Although the small entity rules define a small company as a maximum of 500 employees, rather than 25.
Since this pledge would only address this issue of secondary importance, which seems a lot less salient to the public, I can't imagine it getting off the ground.
My main concern is that the knowledge of a small company possibly infringing on IP (regardless of whether you feel patents exist or not) greatly disrupts the acquisition options by a larger company, as they would devalue the smaller company based on expected patent licensing/legal attacks.
2. There's a presupposition that small companies are somehow better then large companies. I can say that a company like Lodysys is likely under 25 people. You don't want to put yourself in a position where you have agreed not to be agressive with any company based on their size. Many of the Inc. 500 are under 25 people.
I'd rather see a simpler pledge.
> We will use our patens defensively, not offensively. > (Optionally)> We will license our patents only to others who will use them defensively.
I'm not aware of any measurement method that any moderately smart rules lawyer (aka anyone who's played more than 5 hours of a strategy video game or pen and paper RPG) couldn't figure out a way around.
It's the companies that would make the pledge and break it or not even make the pledge at all that are the problem. Beyond a little peer/public pressure, this pledge does very little to address those companies.
I think until we see Microsoft, Google, Oracle and Apple on that list it wont be worth much.... and if we do see Apple on that list, would be believe them? and would they care if we didn't believe them?
On the flipside, if this can garner public pressure against the trolls-- and perhaps some real action in changing the laws, I think the world would be a better place.
Keep it up Y Combinator!
The problem is, the ones doing the suing (like blackboard which PG mentioned in a comment elsewhere) are the weaker companies with a lot to lose (as mentioned in "Are Software Patents Evil") who probably aren't attracting the best people to work for them anyway.
Here is why. Well let's say Microsoft marks its name into the current patent pledge because it's so green to be in the patent pledge even in its current form.
So now, it is the same as always, Microsoft will not be able to pursue ANY company which SEEMS to be a STARTUP at a given time from the point of view of the mass. Do you understand? Microsoft can't say: âHey! Are you dumb? This company has 26 people so I can sue them. Don't troll me fools!â Hello the greennessâŠ That's too late! The goal is to be green, nobody care about the strict truth. I think even a hype company with 500 people can be safe with the current patent pledge.
And probably it may even overtake the patent framework. It may be almost a "don't sue a startup" pledge.:d
You would, however, see Facebook sue startups for using the word "book" in their website name.
Also, patent trolls that create patents for ideas they have, and are completely incapable of executing.
Software patents are crap.
Even if the road to a software patent-free world is a long one I think it's better to pursue that than compromise this way.
What if a company hires its 26th employee? Is that an invitation to litigate?
I commend Paul Graham on at least trying to contribute his ideas but I think we need to think more on this.
I wonder though if we could make the whole thing more effective by also adding an underlying threat to the pledge:
That any company, patent pledging or not, who violates the <25 rule will have their talent actively recruited away by those companies that have pledged.
I get 'narrower' but what does 'but open source' mean here?
1. Escalating embarrassment of like.com could have soured their potential acquisitions and forced them to settle.2. If lawyers hear about your problem, they might help you. If you had the ability to reach every lawyer, professor and law student in the country, you would find someone. (Maybe not someone great, but someone who can at least avoid a default judgment and keep you in the game for another couple of years, and possibly emerge victorious.)
n.b. You do not need, or, probably, want, a patent attorney to litigate a patent case. Patent attorneys do tedious stuff with the PTO, courtroom litigators convince judges and juries. Nor do you need a lawyer from your city or state. You could have some kid fresh out of law school in Alabama dialing in to Northern District of California judicial teleconferences and filing your motions electronically.
-- Former patent litigator who would have liked to help, if he'd heard about this
That's why I scan every beginner vim tutorial that comes across hn. I always learn something
So for example, let's say you had a nested function invocation that was getting long and unwieldy and you wanted to break it out onto its own line:
foo = makeFoo( globalConfig.getParam( "FooSize", int, default="37", ) )
However, these kind of tutorials always fail to mention the number one way to learn Vim:
ciw (Really change the current word. "Fo|o Bar" -> "| Bar" ci" (Change in between ": "Test 12|34" -> "|" da" (Delete in between " AND the "": a"Test 12|34"b -> ab
"pac|kageManager" ci,w "|Manager" "pac|kage_manager" ci,w "|_manager"
I would recommend going thought the tutorial, that comes with vim (vimtutor command) and after that reading those articles:
Nevertheless vi controls can be pretty semantic, and lend themselves pretty effectively to working with words, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs. On the other hand, using search for mid-paragraph navigation is an order of magnitude less efficient in prose, when you're so much more likely to have symbols and words doing totally different things in many places in your text.
Does anybody else's keyboard have a Î» key?
For some great plugins, check http://stevelosh.com/blog/2010/09/coming-home-to-vim/
In my IDE, this is never, ever a problem. Most of the dangerous commands require I go to the mouse, so I can't simply blaze through them on the keyboard. Anything I mess up at the keyboard, I can always undo with backspace or a cntl+z. Furthermore, there is visual confirmation of exactly what each command I entered is doing and a chance to cancel it if it's going to do stuff I don't want.
In Vim, this isn't the case. I can be blazing along on the keyboard, attempt to enter a command, screw it up and enter not just one, but a whole sequence of incorrect commands. These commands could be very problematic -- doing things that are hard to undo. And it can be very difficult for me, as a Vim novice especially, to figure out exactly what I screwed up and how to undo it.
I know some of that may be remedied with more knowledge. I'm sure there's some way to view a detailed command history, and I know it has an undo. But I still feel as if, for myself at least, the danger of keyboard mashing screw ups completely counteracts any gains in productivity I'd make. And given that I wouldn't really gain anything by using Vim, I prefer the comfort of my visually based IDE.
Aside from which, I'm really fond of the way Eclipse's windows are dockable and movable and I make frequent use of that feature. Interrupting processes or juggling multiple terminal windows just isn't the same.
One thing to note though: Y and yy are not shortcuts to 0y$ -- the latter does not yank the line ending. I use it to insert one line into another, but find splitting and joining lines to be cumbersome.
Anybody here made the switch and felt it was worth it?
"imap jj <esc>" being my favourite.
i.e. if you know how to get to a particular logically defined place in the file, you will always be able to carry out copy-paste-delete to and from that place to where to cursor is.
One would be surprised how easy thing become once you know the basic navigation rules due to marvelous mix-n-match nature of vim operations.
This PDF file has a lot of tips/command lines about Vim
It is also produced really well, with landscape pages and bookmarks, so that it can be displayed on your monitor very efficiently.
Other than that, I hope I'll push myself to try this tutorial.
A big improvement would be to not go through the submission step if the article has already been submitted (and has votes). Would be more like the reddit button.
Speaking of which, making this look more like the standard social media buttons would be good too.
I'll put an open $100 Amazon Gift certificate reward out there if you want to make those changes, and release back to the community.
About how I like HN, and why it is not yet-another-social-site full of kids trying to push their post to the top.
Sorry if this sound negative, but I'd rather prefer HN as it is now, If I find something I think might interest this "mature" community I'll come here and post it, It does not matter if this is not as easy as submit the story to Facebook. It worth the "effort" as here I get real good comments about my submissions.
We already have Facebook for the "brainless" people. I've to admit that I blog a lot and only maybe 1% of my own posts deserve being here. With this button in my blog, maybe lots of me posts might end up here.
Anyway great job designing and creating this. :).
Hope my opinion adds something good to this discussion.
Most articles hit the front page on HN and in a good case stay there for a day, but rarely more. The votes after that point are so distributed over time the entry would disappear anyway from the most visited page.
I'd rather link back to the proper page on HN (where I'd want to read the comments anyway, I think I'm not alone with this).
If there was a way to link back and upvote with a single click, I'd raise my hat.
Nonetheless, really nice work for a weekend.
Personally, I can see through pulse and news.ycombinator.com how many votes something has. If I want to upvote something I'll take the thirty seconds to find the article on hacker news.
Just my two cents.
If Digg were 100% programmers, it would be Hacker News.
I personally think this is a good idea if only to reduce duplicates and such.
As long as we never explicitly link to Hacker News itself, no noobs will come here, and the benefits should outweigh the negatives.
I honestly do think that content will suffer on HN as a result.
I can't be the only one who saw this...
Like the afore linked Super Mario Crossover, I see this and wonder, "how did they NOT make this?"
But as of now, most of the enemies in Mario were designed to be adequate hazards for a character who can only walk and jump, the matchup becomes pathetic if he's suddenly equipped with a Portal gun. From the video it seems the game-makers will have to be more creative with how Mario can be killed (Great heights, ranged attacks, time-trials, as opposed to just touching a mushroom/turtle/pipe plant)
No but seriously, this is super cool.
"The Highest Possible Level of Development civilization. A gravely injured hermit comes to Trurl's house and tells Trurl of Klapaucius's adventure: Klapaucius wanders across an old robot, who tells him that he has logically deduced the existence of a civilization that reached the highest possible level of development (hence "HPLD"). He has inferred the existence of such a civilization by figuring that if there are different stages of development, there will be one that is the highest. He was then faced with a problem of identifying that one; as he noted, everyone claimed that theirs was the HPLD. Upon much research and thought, he decided that the only way to find it is by looking for a "wonder", i.e. something that has no rational explanation. Eventually Klapaucius discovers one such wonder: a star in the shape of a cube, orbited by a planet also shaped like a cube with the huge letters HPLD written on it."
Now I know how it is like, to be one of HPLD.
I was born in a water moon. Some people, especially its inhabitants, called it a planet, but as it was only a little over two hundred kilometres in diameter, 'moon' seems the more accurate term. The moon was made entirely of water, by which I mean it was a globe that not only had no land, but no rock either, a sphere with no solid core at all, just liquid water, all the way down to the very centre of the globe.
If it had been much bigger the moon would have had a core of ice, for water, though supposedly incompressible, is not entirely so, and will change under extremes of pressure to become ice. (If you are used to living on a planet where ice floats on the surface of water, this seems odd and even wrong, but nevertheless it is the case.) The moon was not quite of a size for an ice core to form, and therefore one could, if one was sufficiently hardy, and adequately proof against the water pressure, make one's way down, through the increasing weight of water above, to the very centre of the moon.
Where a strange thing happened.
For here, at the very centre of this watery globe, there seemed to be no gravity. There was colossal pressure, certainly, pressing in from every side, but one was in effect weightless (on the outside of a planet, moon or other body, watery or not, one is always being pulled towards its centre; once at its centre one is being pulled equally in all directions), and indeed the pressure around one was, for the same reason, not quite as great as one might have expected it to be, given the mass of water that the moon was made up from.
This was, of course,â"
So, if the Earth's mass, was all densely concentrated in a, say, 1 mile thick shell, you could drill a hole through the shell and experience total weightlessness when you popped out on the "inside" (assuming a total vacuum on the inside - if not - you'd experience a very small gravity toward the center based on the mass of the contained atmosphere).
I read (long time ago) that the horizon is 29km on a seashore. In other words if you see a ship disappear on a horizon, it was 29km away. And so his 3mi vs my 29km is a bit of a discrepancy. Can anyone set things straight here?
One family of orbits is parallel to a face of the cube, if I understand the paper even a little.
It's a torus of air in orbit. The trees look like integral signs because they align pointed toward the star, but have constant wind in opposite directions at either end, because the air there has different orbital speeds, being closer or further from the star.
Correct me if I'm completely imagining things here, but is this how space is 'curved' by gravity? The disorted shape of the ocean and cube would reflect how the cube-planet felt to an observer within its gravitational pull.
Is it then too far-fetched to imagine that some freak process of nature or other might conceivably allow for the creation of a bizarre planet with an immensely dense spherical core and a lighter mantle and crust that take on the shape of a cube externally? Nature is not averse to giving us cubes, after all: http://www.gemstoneslist.com/pyrite.html
EDIT: In a mashup of The Culture and Dilbert, a godlike nanotech Dogbert forces the hapless Homo Sapiens Dilbert to work on a "cubical".
Great book, BTW.
Not necessarily true. If the cube-shaped world has a cube-shaped moon orbiting at the same period as our moon, it will be sooner transformed into a ball by creepers.
Phillips programmers still had a soft spot in their hearts for the Burroughs 205. So when it came time for them to buy another machine they said that they would buy a Burroughs 205 computer if the following conditions were met:
A. It had to have a compiler that would compile and execute existing IBM 650 Fortransit programs with no modifications whatsoever.
B. The compiler had to compile faster than IBM's Fortransit.
C. The time for loading the compiler and object programs had to be faster than IBM's.
D. The object programs had to run faster.
A call was placed to Bob Barton... Bob said that he could not spend any more effort on the 205. All of his budget was allocated for 220 projects. However, if John Hale would designate three people for the project, he would fly to Dallas for one day and teach them how to write a compiler.
When I heard that someone was flying in from Pasadena to show us how to write a compiler, I was very skeptical. I had seen many other so-called experts from Pasadena and I was invariably disappointed.
The day that Bob spent in Dallas was one of the most amazing days of my life. I am sure that I never learned so much in an eight hour period. We stopped briefly for coffee in the morning and went out for a quick lunch. We did not take a break in the afternoon. The day was intense to say the least. I took a cab to the airport to catch his plane. He talked all the way to the airport and was still shouting information to me as he walked up the steps to the plane and disappeared into it. He said that IBM had spent 25 man-years on Fortransit, but that the three of us could do the job in six months.
They ended up being two guys (not three) and doing it in nine months (not six). Of course, compilers were simpler back then. But they were also far less well understood. These guys hit every one of those crazy requirements and invented virtual memory in the process.
Edit: here is the part about virtual memory. They had to do it to meet requirement D.
The goal of executing object programs faster than the IBM 650 sounded like real trouble to Bob. Both systems had a drum memory. The drum on the 650 rotated at 12500 rpm compared to 3570 rpm on the 205. However, the 205 drum was more sophisticated. It was divided into two areas. The primary storage was 80 words of 0.85 millisecond average access memory. The secondary storage was 4000 words of 8.5 millisecond average access memory.
Bob said that it seemed to him that our only chance of meeting the object speed goal was to figure out an "automatic blocking algorithm". I did not hear the term "virtual memory" until several years later. By an automatic blocking algorithm, he meant moving segments of code from the secondary storage into the primary storage and executing it from there. Since the first goal was to compile existing programs without modification, I would have to do it without the programmer adding any flow directing statements to the programs.
Bob said that a lot of people in Pasadena had tried without success to implement automatic blocking, but I should not let that stop me from trying. I would be the first person to try it with a high-level language. The success of the project seemed to hinge on that algorithm.
During the course of the next two months I did discover the algorithm. The next time that I saw Bob was in the Pasadena Plant in April, 1960. He was in the process of cleaning out his desk... I described the algorithm to him and he became tremendously enthused. Frankly, I had not grasped the importance of the accomplishment.
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2856567. The whole memoir is wonderful. I laughed, I cried. Ok, I didn't cry. But it's all kinds of inspiring awesome.
It's a genuine question. People are recommended to read SICP all the time, by many influential people, but when a proper discussion of whether it's actually worthwhile comes up, we found a considerable range of opinions.
Opaqueness of the books is not what makes everyone think compilers are hard to write. What makes compilers hard to write, for someone who has never done it before, is the scope of the problem you're trying to solve. Writing a compiler, to spec, for a non-trivial language takes a lot of WORK.
Regexes and grammars can be tricky to grok and walking abstract syntax trees can be hard as well. A hundred-pass compiler may make that part easier, but it almost certainly doesn't reduce the overall amount of work required to go from scratch to a working compiler, and that's where the "compilers are hard" reputation comes from.
(Incidentally, that doesn't mean the two sources mentioned aren't worth reading. Scanning both of them, they look excellent.)
The C language is quite another matter, as you'll see. Texts on C rarely include a BNF definition of the language. Probably that's because the language is quite hard to write BNF for.
(This book didn't exist when the tutorial was written)
This kind of approach can seem wrong, because it's breathtakingly, disturbingly inefficient, but it's an excellent way to break down a problem, so you can see it, play with it and understand it. It's much easier to write an efficient version once you know what the hell you're doing.
Actually, this way you will get an inferior compiler (optimizer).
The thesis referenced above argues (and provides examples) that you cannot overcome important problems by separating transformations. You need to combine them.
-- + --
Language Implementation Patterns: Create Your Own Domain-Specific and General Programming Languages
"Learn to build configuration file readers, data readers, model-driven code generators, source-to-source translators, source analyzers, and interpreters. You don't need a background in computer scienceâ"ANTLR creator Terence Parr demystifies language implementation by breaking it down into the most common design patterns. Pattern by pattern, you'll learn the key skills you need to implement your own computer languages."http://pragprog.com/book/tpdsl/language-implementation-patte...
or java's JVM:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_JVM_languages
or .net/mono's CLI:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CLI_languages
for the theory part: http://www.diku.dk/hjemmesider/ansatte/torbenm/Basics/ Basics of Compiler Design - Free book)
actualy put something together:http://www.dabeaz.com/ply/(PLY (Python Lex-Yacc))
maybe not the solution for real world use, but helped me jump past some nitpicking parts with the C / lex / yacc implementation.
Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.
This is often the result of attempting to overoptimize a system. You can optimize a race car to a huge degree, because you know exactly what you want it to do.
You can't optimize a schooling system, because you don't know exactly what you want it to do. A little noise is a good thing, because the you want a little wiggle room for teachers to sidestep the dictums of education czars, and students to sidestep the dictums of teachers.
The Greeks solved this quite a few years ago, with sortition. Under sortition (injecting noise into elections - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition), Bush and Gore would have been forced to pay "paper, scissors, rock" for the presidency. Under the US's more pure democracy, they would have been tempted to make all kind of Faustian bargains with sordid players to nail down the last 0.01% of votes.
Randomization means that the last percent is just not worth chasing, so players in a competition won't be tempted to bend the rules for a tiny advantage.
The same process could be used for tests. If you allocate places in desirable courses (say medicine) randomly to anyone above a certain score, the top students won't bother drilling as hard just to get the top score.
Stocks are the same - quants wouldn't sweat timing as much if their placement in order books was randomized. It would be more efficient to pay attention to fundamental value than momentary fluctuations if they weren't guaranteed to make large profits on the momentary fluctuations. Some would still work on timing, but not as many.
Patents are just bad policy badly implemented at the moment, not over-optimized.
These "games" are basically the equivalent of counting lines of code or checkins. We're measuring poor proxies instead of the things we're actually interested in. The solution isn't an arms race to build bigger and better proxies, the solution is to measure real things instead of artificial ones.
Here's just one example of what I mean by "measure real things". Electing representatives every X years to decide the laws of the land was once upon a time the fairest and best way to have the voices of the masses heard. Today it is feasible to directly poll everybody about every issue, so we no longer need the proxy. If you say everyone cannot be educated about every issue, fine, I can "follow" PG's votes on wall street reform and grellas's votes on IP tort reform and Schneier's votes on TSA etc just by copying their votes on those issues into my ballot, a permission which I can revoke at any time or on a vote-by-vote basis, as easy as unfollowing them on VoteTwitter. This is better than the proxy of professional politicians deciding every issue with fixed terms.
The US political system pretty much guarantees bad budgeting. Members of Congress are elected fairly independently. There is no party discipline, so each member will operate independently to maximise pork. This encourages horse-trading within and across party lines; nobody can be forced to give up something for a general good.
There's more: there's no incentive to balance the budget. The Executive's separation means that Congress does not need to concern itself with proper administration; it only doles out the cash. It has every incentive to ... maximise pork.
The dynamic behaviour of American government arises from the static structure. The drafters of the constitution drew on their knowledge of history and current affairs to try and avoid certain pitfalls. The US Constitution was state-of-the-art when it was written. It's less so now.
Countries where the Executive is formed out of the Legislative -- the Westminster system -- tend to have much stronger party discipline, because that discipline is required to pass budgets, enact legislation and to form the Executive. This tends to almost eliminate horse-trading, except between parties and independents. It's not perfect -- whole parties can engage in pork too -- but when policy emerges that benefits the many at the cost of a few, countries with party discipline will find it easier to adopt than those without.
Australia, which has the amongst the toughest party discipline in the democratic world, is also a reform leader. And I think a lot of that is explained by our constitutional arrangements.
The primary purpose of a game is generally to Have Fun. This purpose is lost if you have "solved" the game. The stated purpose of patents is to foster innovation. However it doesn't work. The purpose of schools is learning. However its methods are flawed [3,4]. And so on.
The trick is to know your goals, and then find out means to best achieve them. The author said:
> But, in real life, we need to keep "playing the game": we need to have elections, and protections for inventors, and laws that govern society, and a market where companies can raise money.
But the actual goals are different: We don't need election, we need a working democratic system (which may, or may not, mandate elections). We don't need protections for inventors, we need innovations. We don't need laws, we need a fair and working society. We don't need a market where companies can raise money, we need a working economy.
Well, I could attempt recurse further up until pure morality, but that would be intractable. But at least you get the idea. If something looks broken, think about its ultimate purpose before you try to fix it.
: http://vimeo.com/5513063 (Dr Tae)
For example, look at this: http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2010/guide/deni.htm With USA's system, Australia Labor Party would have got re-elected.
There's still improvements to be made for democracy that doesn't need to involve such fancy technology yet .
The problem is that some elements in society have become extremely effective at creating a perversion of "stuff people want" for their own benefit. They exploit loopholes in the system, whether by preying upon the poorly-informed, shifting costs onto externalities that we can't price properly, engaging in corruption, or producing items of questionable actual value but very attractive perceived value. They take advantage of our desire for easy answers to our problems with minimal effort expended.
Case in point: Ponzi schemes, coal power plants, Halliburton, the tobacco industry, Zynga, and even to an extent, religion
We've tried to control this with laws, education, and social norms, but ultimately it seems the invisible hand reigns supreme.
The only way to do this with much larger systems, such as systems of governance, is revolution or exploring new lands. Personally I'm a bit concerned about revolution -- the assumption with refactoring is that the people refactoring understand what the "good" parts are and what the "bad" parts are. They also need to be able to generalize and simplify in order to keep the system cognitively approachable. In my experience, it's very easy to be angry-tear-down-the-system guy, very difficult to actually refactor. As the author points out, it's not that these systems are entirely useless. The hell of the thing is that the reasons for creating these systems are still very valid.
I remain convinced that programmers (hackers) have a lot to add to the discussion when talking about complex, brittle systems. After all, we spend a lot of time both working with them and fixing them. To me, programming and systems architecture is applied philosophy. Very cool stuff.
For me, as a Zen student, the solution is to just accept that that it is, what it is. No system (shape, for Zen students) can be perfect. It is created to solve a problem and with time starts to fail badly at doing anything about the problem. Then another system is created by someone else and the cycle restarts. You might think for example that the stock market or democracy is a thing that doesn't change, because it exists longer then you live. But in the end it will change. We had different political systems before and we will develop different systems in the future.
So in the end the system is one of the most important things we have, because it gives us something to base our decisions and actions on and goals to strive for. But also the system is nothing, just an illusion we create for us, maybe based on how we understand the illusions other people created for themself.
The thing that is interesting to me personally is that every system itself is instable and will change or die in the end. But the life cycle of a system, what it does for us and doesn't, that all will always stay the same and even though we try to change that, we will never succeed. So while it changes a lot in one way it is totally unchangable in another. But that just as a side note.
What's the difference between your "overlearning" and "hacking"? They sound like the same thing.
This phenomenon is the reason for the Wikipedia rule, "Ignore All Rules".
However, I got hooked on thinking about the childhood game that he mentions briefly in the introduction. Asking more and more questions about an object and wanting all of them to be consistent is a good description of mathematics. According to Godel, both teams are bound to lose, because you cannot create a system of descriptions/properties about a system that are self-consistent (as their number increases), there will always be questions to a team whose answer will be inconsistent with the previous set of questions. The game is then to see which team can push the inevitable further.
IDEABOLT: It would be interesting to develop a program that plays this game. Each answer could be stored as an RDF statement in database.
Finite games like the one invented by the children described by the OP have end states, they have winners, and the goal within them are always framed from that perspective. While infinite games have no winners, have no end, and the goals are often framed around ensuring that the game never ends.
It's easy to think of finite games in our lives, they are everywhere in our society, and the OP does a good job of pointing out some of the less obvious cases. Infinite games are less obvious, the one that I found most illuminating was "language", a game where people actively collude to extend the game to the end of time, and has no winner.
Anyay, it's an interesting read, but a little bit mumbo-jumbo by the middle of the book. I would recommend it.
Perhaps another way to look at the problem is to imagine creating an A.I. that you want to succeed at whatever system you present. In most cases, an A.I. will take the literal interpretation of the system and become a test-taker, an electable 'gotcha-game' politician or even an entity that finds it can maximize game theory to its own ends by complicating the rules of an existing system to the point of absurdity once it becomes powerful enough to modify and create rules.
So then how do we create systems resistant to beings that take everything literally? I suppose the only way is to reward certain outcomes as opposed to rewarding the direct product of the system itself.
Examples: After an election, have we elected someone who has met with a high degree of favorability in the electorate by the end of his term?
After having students become proficient test-takers, do they then become excellent doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.. ?
In a game invented to be fun or fair, once overlearned, do they produce fun or fairness?
If not, then a new game needs to be created or the existing one might need to be extensively modified to produced the desired product. This is where the internet shines, where everyone is welcome to take an existing system and modify it to something better. The problem with politics, law, stock market, etc... is that they have become the only method adopted in real society (there is only one game in town).
If reality were allowed to adopt, incorporate or evolve from systems/games from virtual reality (i.e. internet) there might be some productive change. But first we would need to see the first step taking place, that being even flawed virtual systems are allowed to manifest in significant proportion within real life society.
Don't hate the game, hate the player. Every game that profits a winner will have its cheaters.
There is no optimal system, be it political, economic or whatever.
You can always find loopholes.
I think it is time we take responsibility for what we do - then there is no need for a better system.
The patent system is not responsible for people attacking each other - its the people.
Black majority electorates came decades after Gerrymandering.
Not a bad article though.
This is a good question, but perhaps not the _only_ question, and I'm not sure that a top 10 list would be quite so focused on it, at the expense of algorithms, architecture, concurrency, networks, formal methods, etc.
I also doubt the ranty "Worse is Better" should be on any top 10 list, influential or not. Some of these papers seem better suited to give someone a background to furiously prognosticate here on HN and perhaps LtU than to do anything of consequence.
(It's the paper that originated Prolog, but is also more broadly interesting for its analysis of, well, algorithms as logic plus control.)
The top two are nearly tied for:"A mathematical theory of communication" by Claude Shannon
"On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" by Alan Turing
I would add that
'The Annotated Turing' by Charles Petzold
is an excellent treatment of Turings paper, including much of the relevant additional math and computing history both before and after.
html version: http://www.usenix.org/event/lisa07/tech/full_papers/hamilton...
Any mirror link?
I'm afraid the Apple faithful are playing a little fast and loose with logic on this one. Let me see if we have this straight...
1) Steve Jobs was absolutely and almost singularly responsible for Apple's meteoric rise over the last 14 years. His vision, his taste, his standards, his business acumen, all of it - has driven Apple past competitor after competitor to become the most valuable company in the world. [By the way, I agree.]
2) Steve Jobs is also completely unnecessary for Apple's continued success. [Hmmmm]
I think I can agree with Gruber's wisdom in choosing to prognosticate no further than a month. What made Apple remarkable is going away today. From here on out Apple will be as likely as the next company to blunder in the marketplace by playing it safe. You will not see Tim Cook do anything half as insane/brilliant as Jobs was capable of.
I am confident that we will have nice computing hardware in the future. Even today, Apple are not the only ones to deliver.
But there is/was only one Steve Jobs.
Guess I am one of the few on HN who doesn't own Apple stock, so I am free to just worry about the man and not the company.
Don't know about that. Apple, like all hi-tech companies, is constantly changing, adapting, finding new ways, dealing with change, innovation, etc.
Seriously how does this apple-ass-clown constantly make it to the front page?
Apple is not a person it is a company. Steve might be full of humility, Apple is not.
So it goes.
At work we had a researcher from Yahoo Mail come in and give a presentation on the machine learning techniques they use to try and stop spammers abusing their mail servers. It was eye-opening to learn just what kind of hourly battle they face to keep spam out of their systems and the ways they are trying to combat it. It was even more enlightening when the presenter told stories about the problems that machine learning can't solve - like people within the company being bribed to whitelist spam companies based in Vegas.
On the surface it's such a simple problem, and I'm sure anyone who's tried to prevent their web application's outgoing mail being marked as spam by the evil corporations of Yahoo and Google will have had the desire to go write a blog post saying what a crock of shit the whole thing is and how they would never take part in that. But here's the thing - those systems are in place because if they weren't, email would be a completely useless form of communication at this point.
The people sending spam make _millions_ of dollars abusing a system which is popular because its open and based on trust. That kind of money combined with greed gives people all different levels of drive and incentive to get their emails about bigger penises and viagra through to your inbox. Every time they prevent one form of attack, these guys will create a new one.
To do this they do things like install mail servers on unsuspecting user's machines, specifically targeting Yahoo/Hotmail/Google users because their IP will obviously need to be trusted by those companies. They will also hack into other people's private mail servers. They will spoof email headers and pretend they're someone else. They will hire people, experts, who will find new ways of breaking in to servers they detect as having mail servers running on them. All this just to get past the spam filters and prevention that make email a useful form of communication to begin with.
And let's forget the people who couldn't set up their own mail server for just a second. I like to think I know what I'm doing. After installing Postfix and jumping through all the hoops to get my emails whitelisted by Gmail and making sure I didn't have an open relay on my mail server, you know what happened? Someone managed to hack in by brute force anyway. I only noticed because of the _millions_ of automated replies that were coming in every day from dead email accounts or people that were out of office.
Now, I could have worked hard to fight this. I could have did something other than changing my passwords and hoping they didn't get crack them again. But the point is - I only ran a mailserver to get email delivered to me on my personal domain. I didn't want to have to fight and battle and dedicate myself to solving this problem. I wanted to take this thing for granted. I just wanted to send and receive email. Instead bad people could not only sit there and read all my incoming mail - but they could use my server to spam people and get me blacklisted and blocked from so many other services I worked so hard to be trusted by. And they did all this without even specifically targeting me. I was a statistic to them, someone who simply didn't know what they know. In the end, I moved my personal mail account to Google Apps, free of charge. Problem solved.
By using Gmail or Yahoo Mail or Hotmail - you are almost definitely more secure than setting up your own mailserver. You have people paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year working full time to make sure your data is secure. I mean if privacy is your reason not to use Gmail, then I hope for your sake your mail server is secure. Maybe you think it is. I know I did too.
And all these people complaining about advertisements based on the content of their emails. Yahoo Mail had a team of like 30 people just doing _research_ on how to stop spammers. Then all these other people working on support. How does that service get provided to us _free of charge_ without advertisements or some sort of monetisation? I know in some people's heads they think it's literally just a Bayesian classifier and some hand-coded rules, but it's so beyond that.
And of course, let's not forget the fact that a lot of people would not be able to set up their own mail server anyway. Maybe you don't need them, but Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail enable hundreds of millions of people to communicate _for free_ with other people around the world that otherwise wouldn't be technically competent enough to buy a domain name and set up a local mail server. It lets you communicate with them too, because they don't get frustrated wading through hundreds of spam emails just to read the good stuff.
And that system only works because we have good guys that are fighting the bad guys who want to ruin it for the rest of us. And this is just the one example of email. Which has all this decentralised and open properties that you desire. I am reminded of Diaspora when they released a first beta of their code and it got absolutely torn to shreds for security reasons, and we haven't heard much since.
The real world sucks.
That's why I think it might be a good idea for you to go work for Google.
You know why people are using services like Gmail? Because it just works. Have you ever tried setting up your own mail server? I like to think that I'm pretty damn skilled with "the computer" but after a day of tweaking I'm still not sure mine is operating properly.
The sad fact is that being idealistic is not enough. You have to be idealistic and better than the bad guys. If you offer people a system that is hard to use, wastes their time, and/or is simply inferior to other options, no one will ever use it no matter how idealistically pure it is. Then you just sound like an asshole when you say "you're all morally inferior for refusing to degrade your experience."
So. Fix your system. Make it better than what we currently have. Then come back and convince me to care (hint: if your solution involves end-users installing and maintaining multiple servers, you're doing it wrong).
This is about more than that, it's about decentralization as a way to empower people so that in the end we don't need centralized companies or governments to control our data.
Apple (and other companies) control what you're allowed to download. Google (and other companies) control what emails get through to you and your email history. Microsoft (and other companies) control your hardware.
He forgot to mention the larger and more disturbing point; many of these companies are American and so they're under the jurisdiction of the NSA and FBI (and CIA if you're not from around there). With centralization, law enforcement has easy and direct access to things. The only barrier is a warrant and even that isn't a barrier as we saw in the AT&T NSA wiretapping case.
He wouldn't want to work at Google or many other companies because they're pushing for centralization which brings certain political/social effects that he dislikes.
So can we please have a discussion about the political and social implications of decentralization vs centralizaton rather than the technical aspects??
The net isn't the wild west anymore but it doesn't have to be a sterile walled garden either.
It's disappointing that so many of the comments focus on one or another point about why things are the way they are: spam filtering is hard and benefits from secrecy from spammers, centralized software is currently more usable, etc. My post was about values, about what kind of a world we can be building, not about which tactics are expedient in the world we currently live in. People with the same values can get together to discuss what tactics to use to advance their goals, but it's no use in suggesting to me that I should use a tactic that advances goals I oppose because that tactic is more expedient!
"Their âreal namesâ policy on Google+ is one example; it makes it likely that only people who feel they have no repercussions to fear from anyone, ever, will write there."
And that is fine in my opinion. Not everybody needs to be on the Google+. It's their playground, let them run it the way they want.
While Gmail doesn't exactly let you figure out why, you can nevertheless fix it. That's what the Not Spam action is for. I've had mail land in the spam folder that shouldn't have, it only took a few 'not spam' actions to retrain it to let it through again. You're also free to backup your Gmail through both imap and pop. I never got the Gmail paranoia--the worst they do from my perspective is possibly deep-analyzing my emails in an effort to better serve me ads. They possibly sell the data to others (though I've seen no evidence of this) for them to serve me better ads. All these ads I don't ever see anyway because I use AdBlock Plus making their efforts pointless for my account.
I'm not a fan of the rhetorical conflation of decentralized computing with democracy. His other material I don't really want to comment on.
Nonetheless, I agree with him that we need to make decentralized computing practical. The best example I've seen of this is Opera Unite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivshJ-qyg5w
There is also Freenet, but so far (from reading their mailing lists) they are discussing about changing their load management. I've tried Freenet and it slows down my machine (not very practical), but it is the only software project I've seen that distributes the hosting of digital content among peers instead of a centralized server: http://freenetproject.org/
What is the most important thing? In my view - it enables the formation of "Super Groups" - which I think will represent the most significant cultural change since the dawn of language.
All you need for the formation of super groups are sufficiently cheap and efficient signalling processes. Google has perhaps contributed to this drop in signalling costs as much any company on the internet.
Anyhoo - for those who want to know what a super group is - I wrote about it here:
Offline Gmail is cool.
"Mail Settings" (gear in top right corner) -> "Offline"
Doesn't work in all browsers since Google Gears was deprecated in the newest versions of Chrome and Firefox, but it's only a minor hassle to run an earlier version of Firefox for the offline mode and syncing.
Very helpful to me and quite easy/convenient to set up, even with the recent Gears deprecation.
It was originally intended that you would make web apps to access on the IPhone and they did not want developers making apps for it. Consumers and developers demanded that feature so you got what you wished for. (not you per se)
These older posts are also fun http://lists.canonical.org/pipermail/kragen-tol/1999-January... http://lists.canonical.org/pipermail/kragen-tol/2006-Novembe...
Doing many things, including filtering spam, is more difficult in a decentralized environment. (It is curious that email, itself decentralized, has come to be dominated by several large service providers; I wonder how much of this is due to economies of scale for fighting spam and other attacks relative to other economies of scale relative to things not characterizable as an economy of scale? Search of documents published in a decentralized manner on the web is another example.) Many things are even easier in a completely centralized manner, thus G+, Facebook, Twitter, and their morbid predecessors. For all their issues, architecturally decentralized email, web, and internet are much more valuable than the 2011 versions of AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy silos. So thank you to all working on making the next bits of decentralized architecture work. I imagine it is possible to do a bit of this work at Google et al, but it is clearly way, way down the priority list of any such companies.
It actually inspired me to draft up a blog post: http://blog.matthewghudson.com/post/9497957290/the-public-an...
"v=spf1 a mx include:gmail.com ~all"
Might be a reason your emails end up in spam at gmail. Although a and mx would cover it I would also add:
If you use gmail to send mail the SPF should be: include:aspmx.googlemail.com or include:_spf.google.com
Does he realize that Apple computer has been around a lot longer than the internet? And that they've been making an OS with applications on it a lot longer than there was a web browser? So maybe that's actually what Apple DOES and does well?
> CFML. I really like programming in CFML (a programming language, âColdFusion Markup Language,â as opposed to ColdFusion, a commercial CFML interpreter made by Adobe). I know it's not "cool" like Node.js or Clojure or even RoR.
Doctors used to bleed people with leeches to get out the "bad humors". They stopped using that "tool" for a reason. It was a bad tool, and better "tools" came along.
Not only is CFML not cool, it is hard for most people not familiar with CFML to understand . The syntax mixes in with HTML markup in such a way as to make it very difficult to distinguish the two apart. With a syntax highlighter your mind still has a hard time as there isn't enough of a difference to make a subconscious context switch easy. Also, the need to cram logic constructs into HTML/XML-like syntax makes for some screwed up code. My understanding is that you can put the attributes for the tags in any order, and that means that things you'd always expect (in other languages) to appear in a certain order, like conditions for statements, are instead a matter of style .
> It's got an old vibe. Not just because it was the first made-for-web programming language (tho it's modern & updated frequently), but because whenever I meet other CFML coders, they're always old dudes.
My experience with CF developers is similar. This is not a good thing. This is nothing like the C and C++ graybeards you occasionally meet and develop immense respect for. These old CF developers are, in my anecdotal experience, the kind people that learned one type of development and stuck with it for a long, long time. They've not really improved their skill sets beyond what was popular practice when they first learned Cold Fusion. These are the kind of people (I kid you not) that think HTML tables are a great way to get your page layout just right.
Why did the OP take an entire blog post to say what could have been posted to Twitter ("you darn kids and your twittin'!")? The whole post boils down to what appears to be proud, willful ignorance.
A lot of "you're a developer, but you really should learn about business" stuff gets posted to HN. This case looks to be turned around and we have a business person doing double-duty as a developer. My advice is to learn something more current, and not because it's cool. More current technology has business value in that it's easier to find people who can work with/on it, and you will be able to find more of those kind of people for longer. The underlying tech will also (usually) be supported for longer, and by a wider range of companies. The reasons are too many to comprehensively list here.
I wasn't laughing at your back-end, by the way. It made me a little sad.
I'm working on such an app now, and right now the fastest way I can get anything done is writing similar code to what I wrote in 2003. It's not quite as bad, but I continually succumb to doubt. Shouldn't I be using a framework? Wouldn't Python or Ruby be a better language to use now? Is it 'cheating' if I just throw these form elements in an HTML table? Shouldn't I be using something more scalable for the backend than a default installation of MySQL 5.1?
And yet, every time I try and address any of the above, it just gets frustrating to me. I have a limited of free time to work on this web application each week. So I want to spend that time actually DOING things with my web application, not just ramping up on learning some stuff so that I can maybe do some things a few weeks from now. This web application is getting a bit of traction with users. I always figured that I would eventually "code myself into a corner," and that making these suboptimal technology stack choices would result in me hitting some local maxima that would bite me in the ass and I'd have to basically rewrite everything.
But after reading this blog post, I feel a lot better about my choices. If this guy can make his web application work with the technology stack he prefers, then so can I.
It's worth noting that it's not limited to computing either. Countless amateur photographers spend their time discussing hardware, rather than techniques and other aspects that would benefit their craft to a much greater extent.
Personally, as much as I'm fascinated by the tools, I'm much more curious about what you do with them. So I'm always glad when I see someone succeed and create something useful with an odd stack of technologies. It reminds me to focus less on the tools and more on the creation process.
That said, I'm very confused. The post says these sites are running off of your "awesome" backend:
* http://www.pud.com * http://adhdinc.com
I don't really care one way or the other, but my real question here is: Which websites in your list are actually running off of the backend described here?
(2) This technology stack sucks.
(3) That your technology stack sucks does not mean you suck.
(4) Maslow's Four Stages of Competence starts with Unconscious Incompetence. You don't even know you are unskilled. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence)
(5) This isn't a popularity contest. (http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-o...) Being cool and being in the in-crowd has nothing to do with your technology stack. That goes for nerds too (http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html)
(6) The tone of this article is defensive. The issues relates to identity, not technology.
(7) Relax, people.
So big ups to pud for his post and his peculiar stack. In its own way, it's a very cool and imaginative stack. And it works, which I think is the only thing that matters in the end.
Never heard of that database/company before so I clicked on the link out of curiosity and guess what, their server is down. Not very reassuring for an "infinitely scalable solution".
Or what your backend is like as long as it works.
They just want their lives to be easier.
Use what you know, use it well, and make a difference.
Most techies who have a negative opinion about any technology do it with hearsay and not first hand experience.
For examples, all web languages pretty much do the same stuff, and you'll rarely come across a web app that uses a language in a novel way that actually makes a difference which language you use. They all have their pros and cons, it just depends on what you want to coo / boo over.
To be fair many haven't accessed the tools that may require money to use. Alternatively others might not have had the luxury of free time to learn something on their own. It's not better, or worse, just different. Sadly a lot of devs build wizardry to make their own lives easier and avoid tackling making their users lives easier, and that shouldn't happen in any language.
All that matters is can you deliver a result that works well. If techies spent as much time obsessing over improving their skills and finding way to build valuable solutions than which tools to use, they'd know this.
For those who hold a holier than thou attitude in believing the only way one can correctly create and innovate with a computer (software included) need to be from narrow list of tools/education fields, they forget that smart people can often learn to be great at more than one thing:
"I was lucky to get into computers when it was a very young and idealistic industry. There weren't many degrees offered in computer science, so people in computers were brilliant people from mathematics, physics, music, zoology, whatever. They loved it, and no one was really in it for the money."(Fortune) Steve Jobs
good times... good times..
1. Better tools make you more productive and make larger problems tractable. Using outdated or subpar tools seriously limits your options, especially if you need to compete with professionals. The simpler your problems, the less this matters.
2. It's easy to get sucked in to constantly learning the new language/framework/toolset when you enjoy learning these things, finding the balance between the diminishing returns of trying out new tech and being highly productive is difficult. Welcome to life.
3. Some people on the internet loudly engage in ignorant fanboyism, especially if they see smart people using their new piece of tech and figure they got onto a good idea early.
4. That same fanboyism defends crappy tools because it's human nature to feel that kind of tribal defensiveness when you've invested a lot of time learning and using something, this is especially strong when someone has all or most of their experience with a single tool or set of tools.
Here's an idea: in the real world tools and productivity are tied in a complicated way.
The comments "it doesn't matter what you use, just keep getting things done!" is just as stupid as "stop working on things and upgrade your skillset immediately!".
Since this is aimed more at the commenters than at pud's submission I will say to him: You are impressively productive with that tech stack, it really doesn't look like it would be difficult for you to move to something more powerful than cold fusion at least. You seem like a pragmatic guy who can see the future payoff from that investment. You also look like a young guy who should not be ignoring the kind of commitment to life long learning necessary to compete in this industry.
Another advantage is that, it has a very short learning curve. But like with any tool, it can be used by amateurs to produce amateur looking code. Using a framework (eg. FW/1) encourages better structured code and OOP approaches.
You can meet most of your web needs with ColdFusion and some highly specialized items may be more complicated. But that is the case with just about any language. The only part where I havent found sufficient documentation or user experiences related to scaling applications. That is not to say, it hasn't been done.
Given the relatively high price of Adobe CF (compared to Ruby/PHP etc), it is not really an option that startups (in the Bay area) will consider. There are open-source CFML engines like Railo as the author notes, but unfortunately, it lacks publicity.
And Windows is only a penny more per hour on micro instances (although that is 50% more than Linux) -- but quite a bit more on larger instances should you ever have to scale up: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pric...
Re database choice -- http://xeround.com is totally down right now... Thoughts?
I dunno, just seems like a world of hurt should you actually have to scale up -- but presuming you do, perhaps you'd have the funds and/or resources to cover it anyway.
Additionally, How on earth do you hire people to work in this stack?!?
CFML verbosity and the entangled html is a downer though.
We've all worked with technologies that cause us pain in our development process. Sometimes, the pain becomes so great that we look for, and find, something that we like better. Changing to this new techonology eases said pain, and allows us to be (or at least feel) more productive.
I believe it's possible that some people laugh because they remember when they used one or more of those technologies, and the pain they felt while using it. They laugh and suggest other technologies because they assume you have the same pains they've had, and they'd like to offer you what they consider a better alternative that might ease some of the pains. After all, it worked for them!
It appears that you've had some pains with this stack, but that you've found ways to deal with those pains that don't involve leaving your current technologies. Good for you. You've built successful applications on them. Also good for you. These are, of course, the things that really matter.
it's true that the laughter is unnecessary, and the trends and hype can be obnoxious, but it is somewhat about the excitement of always learning new things and new ways to think.
I know the problem to laugh about code, backend or infrastructure. I know a lot of people are opinionated and if they don't like something you can't stop them firing on you.I'm very happy for you that you found a stack which works for you HOWEVER this doesn't mean that it works for others. A lot of programming languages, paradigms, frameworks and infrastructures just work for one guy on his greenfield project but while getting bigger things get lot harder and crappy cause it isn't modular enough or no-one understands "the legacy code" ect.
At beginning it seems like you can't run into such problems but after a couple months of development this happens nearly in every project. You learning from these mistakes and get better with every project. There are a lot of things in software development people are talking about but you can only truly understand it when you came to the point where you have this problem people are describing to fix.
For example a lot of my old colleagues are in love with PHP. They get stuff done with it and somehow they get code shipped but they don't go for elegance and having less code smells. They just go for "it works what you want more?".Software development is not only "it works" it is far more than that! Maintainable code, readable code, performance, architecture, elegance (for example: less readable code which covers the same as before) you name it.
I found my self learning a lot from different languages, paradigms, people and different systems. For example what I love about linux is: I could write a automatic shell script to do anything. With Windows you can't! You just can't write for every step a shell script a lot of things are only available through the GUI. This bad. I don't like that. And I also don't like to run the GUI on a server. You are wasting a lot of resources here.
* rapid development tools (at least for him)* scalable, low-maintenance backend* affordable infrastructure* automated deployment* automated backups
This is almost a Joel Test for web startups.
I am also surprised someone claims it's faster to work on Windows than it is on a Unix-like OS. Most of the things I do on servers are moving files around, installing/updating packages and occasionally restarting a daemon. For that, clicking and dragging on a remote GUI is much less efficient than issuing equivalent commands in a shell.
I also read IIS progressed a lot since I last had to automate virtual server creation. Again, Apache runs on Windows and spitting (usually rendering from a template and adding custom values) a new config-file and doing a graceful restart appears simpler than right-clicking, form-filling and manually copying settings from one place to another. Windows doesn't even offer the courtesy of select/middle-button operation (unless you are operating IIS from the console).
Like someone else said, unless your infrastructure fails miserably (and CF/Windows failed me long ago) your app won't suck because of the technologies it stands upon. A good idea implemented in CF, PHP or ASP is just as good as a good idea implemented in Django or Rails or Node or Lisp. It's just that it may be harder to evolve it over time, or make it scale, or deploy it in the first place.
HTTP Error 503 (Service Unavailable): The server is currently unable to handle the request. This code indicates that this is a temporary condition and that the server will be up again after a delay.
P.S. That's a nice looking backend
(Just a joke, nothing more.)
We worked our way up to the front of the crowd to get a good look at the units [Osborne 1] that were on display. We started to ask one of the presenters a technical question, when we were suprised to see Adam Osborne himself standing a few feet from us, looking at our show badges, preempting the response.
"Oh, some Apple folks", he addressed us in a condescending tone, "What do you think? The Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II by a factor of 10, don't you think so? What part of Apple do you work in?"
When we told him that we were on the Mac team, he started to chuckle. "The Macintosh, I heard about that. When are we going to get to see it? Well, go back and tell Steve Jobs that the Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II and the Macintosh combined!"
So, after returning to Cupertino later that afternoon, we told Steve about our encounter with Adam Osborne. He smiled, with a sort of mock anger, and immediately grabbed the telephone on the spare desk in Bud's office, and called information for the number of the Osborne Computer Corporation. He dialed the number, but it was answered by a secretary.
"Hi, this is Steve Jobs. I'd like to speak with Adam Osborne."
The secretary informed Steve that Mr. Osborne was not available, and would not be back in the office until tomorrow morning. She asked Steve if he would like to leave a message.
"Yes", Steve replied. He paused for a second. "Here's my message. Tell Adam he's an asshole."
There was a long delay, as the secretary tried to figure out how to respond. Steve continued, "One more thing. I hear that Adam's curious about the Macintosh. Tell him that the Macintosh is so good that he's probably going to buy a few for his children even though it put his company out of business!"
âThe problem with the Internet startup craze isn't that too many people are starting companies; it's that too many people aren't sticking with it. That's somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That's when you find out who you are and what your values are.
âSo when these people sell out, even though they get fabulously rich, they're gypping themselves out of one of the potentially most rewarding experiences of their unfolding lives. Without it, they may never know their values or how to keep their newfound wealth in perspective.â [Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000]
âWhen you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.â [Wired, February 1996]
Intern: "Where do you see Apple in 5 years? 10 years?"
Steve: "I don't know. I'm too focused on where Apple is going tomorrow...and I think anyone that does tell you they know where their company will be in 5 years is lying, or doesn't have enough to worry about now."
(It was clear that Steve saw Apple's roadmap as a continuous progression from the present, rather than a plotted course to some arbitrary goal. That's an attitude that I've found has served me very well...)
Intern: "What are your dreams?"
Steve: "To not be asked questions like that...next"
Q: There's a lot of symbolism to your return. Is that going to be enough to reinvigorate the company with a sense of magic?
âYou're missing it. This is not a one-man show. What's reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there's a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they're not losers. What they didn't have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now.â [BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]
The idea of designing products for yourself, that YOU want, not for a committee and not for the masses - and of loyalty to the central idea of the product all the way through. The idea of a man who is religious about his work - but who is not actually religious. Building something in your own image - for Roark, it was actual buildings; for Jobs, as has been said, it was Apple.
Wow I find this one especially prescient. Imo it shows real insight, and shows he wasn't following some pipe dream.
"Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff."
"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
I think this is simply one of the best quotes I've ever come across.
"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
"I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success â" I have no problem with their success. They've earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products."
"We do no market research. We don't hire consultants. The only consultants I've ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway's retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple's retail stores]."
Seems contrary to advice I often read from people here.
In our business, one person can't do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you. You have a responsibility of integrity of work to that team. Everybody does try to turn out the best work that they can.
> Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It won't work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are the âslash q-zsâ and things like that.
Paraphrase: The computer is to the human mind, what the bicycle is to our ability to travel.
1. A Delaware C-corp is often a fine choice for startups but be careful not to make it a fixed rule. Whatever you do must fit your circumstances and not be something you do simply because it is declared from on-high. You don't want to find yourself in the position of the young founder who ultimately said "why incorporating my startup [in Delaware] was my worst mistake" (see http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2399139). And, as tptacek points out variously on this thread, sometimes an LLC or an S-corp might be a better fit for you or your team - this choice is often tax-driven, though it can also tie to the less formal management structure and the often lower cost of an LLC (see my comments here on some pluses and minuses of LLCs in a startup context: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1276724). My point: think it through before making this choice (on domicile, here are some thoughts on how local domicile might in some cases be better than Delaware: http://grellas.com/faq_business_startup_002.html).
2. C-corp is a particularly good choice for 2011 if you plan to hold the stock in your venture for more than 5 years with the hope that you can sell it free of any federal capital gains tax and also free of AMT. Not all stock grants will qualify, even in a C-corp, and so you should check with a good CPA (for some of the relevant factors, see my comments on so-called QSB stock: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2018041).
3. Vesting for founders is a mix-and-match process and does not have to be uniform for all founders. Those who have not yet make significant contributions to a venture at the time of entity formation normally should take their interest subject to vesting - otherwise, they might walk away with a large piece of equity before having earned it. This wouldn't necessarily apply to all founders, however, and it is at times appropriate that one or more founders on a team get their stock (or at least a significant part of it) free and clear of vesting requirements. Otherwise, there is an unfair risk of forfeiture placed upon them. Also, the one-year cliff idea often doesn't fit with founders, in my experience; more typically, there is some sort of immediate pro-rata vesting (monthly, quarterly, etc.).
4. The "lock down the IP" point is often overlooked, especially by founders trying a DIY approach: make sure you have not only technology assignment agreements to capture all IP generated in the pre-formation stage but also invention assignment / work-for-hire agreements to make sure the company owns all IP generated by founders after they have their initial stock (the company does not automatically own it just because they are owners doing work on the venture). The idea of IP has its detractors today but your company will suffer in fund-raising and on exit if holes exist in these areas. All it takes is one bad episode - anything from a founder bolting to form a directly competitive venture using the same IP to an ex-founder filing suit to block further company development on IP that he claims he owns - to convince most founders that IP protection is in fact vital in the early-company stage for most ventures.
5. One other very important item: make sure to separate your founder grants from any large cash investments that are done for equity. If you don't, it will create tax risks because, if cash and services are contributed for stock at the same time and for the same type of equity, the service providers (i.e., those contributing the "sweat equity") can potentially be taxed on the value of the equity received as measured by what might be a high company valuation (e.g., you get 50% and an investor gets 50%, you contribute your talents and services and the investor puts in $200,000, all for common stock - result: you are at risk for having received up to $200,000 income item on which you must pay tax). Not a particular tax risk if investors use convertible notes (because the stock is not priced in that case) but a potentially serious one if investors get stock. The relevant planning tip: while you don't need to unduly front-load expenses, don't wait too long before setting up the entity either - you should generally do this before you have your investors lined up and about to sign.
The S-Corp in particular has some attractive features: it simplifies equity grants to employees compared to an LLC, and taxes are easier to deal with in a C-Corp (there's also a sort of notorious salary-vs.-distribution trick people place with S-Corps to reduce their taxable income).
The LLC is incredibly easy to set up; you can probably get one via 1-click on Amazon now.
In the only company I founded that took serious VC, I didn't handle any of the legal, but the sense I got was that legal for a real VC round is so innately expensive that the S-to-C conversion isn't a big deal by comparison. It's most convenient for everyone if you're not even incorporated, but that's their problem (it is dumb to do business without incorporating); if you're worth funding, nobody is not going to fund you because of the cost of converting to their preferred structure.
I think it is very likely that they hadn't done any real DD (on you, or the market) until after you signed, and during that DD found that the business/market was not as hot as they thought it would be.
I have been through a similar process twice. The first VC gave us a term sheet 3 days after the first meeting, only for them to drag through the DD.
and all VC's say that they have an interest in the market you are in. The only way to substantiate it is to see if they have made investments in similar industries. ie. has this firm previously invested in an enterprise SaaS company related to marketing or aimed at marketing departments? If this firm or partner had only invested in server software, or consumer, etc. then it should have been warning.
You should also look at how many deals that partner has done and what their decision making process is. There is no mention of this in the post, but it could be that he took the deal to his partners and they decided to turn it down. There is no mention of the other partners at the firm nor how they make decisions.
The solution is to go through DD with 4-5 firms at the same time before signing anything or before finalizing terms. Tell them straight up that you want to do DD with all these firms between date x and date y, and that by date z you want final committals, from where you can go over terms with those who are still interested.
Things were done in the wrong order in this case, and you said you didn't want to shop the deal -- the VC took advantage of that.
You've demonstrated that SEOmoz can get through tough times and grow organically. You've even grown SEOMoz to a reasonable size and are now able to layer on team members almost as fast as you can hire them. Next year you'll be much bigger, and it's going to be even easier.
As you say the fund raising process distracted you from the main customer cause, and I suspect that having those funds would most likely have done serious damage.
So it's good to see you are sticking to your guns and moving away from fund raising to keep building the business. There seems to be no reason to give any of it away for the sake of a few bucks a year or two earlier than otherwise expected.
Perhaps you could also slow growth just a fraction and take some more cash out to ensure that the shareholders are comfortable along the way. While it might take a year longer to get to $100 million, you'll be a lot happier along the way.
The contrarian VCs of old would be writing checks, but by the time SEO is cool with many of the current crop you'll be starting your own fund.
I am curious - how do you think the funding would have changed your current trajectory? From all appearances your business is growing well.
I'm particularly impressed by Rand's ability to keep his spirits up; as one who has been through similar, I know how soul-crushing it can be, if you let it. Kudos.
And an investor might think that the company has peaked already. Everyone knows who they are. And SEO is something that doesn't have a lot of growth for company adoption. It's been around so long, that most people already know about it. So your hope for customer acquisition is to find that one marketing professional that doesn't know about SEO.
Neil will be kicking himself at some point.
Rand and SEOMoz have been the biggest leaders for the SEO space for years. They've been able to successful communicate the value of SEO in a way no other firm has. And their tools are killer in the hands of a good SEO.
I'm looking forward to what they can do in the next 5 years even without the extra $25 mil.
It could be that they loved seomoz but weren't that excited about the industry. Or, like Rand mentioned, they were nervous about the market. The July numbers probably wasn't the reason they pulled out, but it probably was the excuse they used internally to rationalize the decision.
*edit: working now.
As far as I am concerned publicly funded research papers should (must) be freely available. If the public are funding it then the public has a right to the fruits of this investment. And newspapers must be able to link to or reference a source when they quote or review academic literature (in fact I think it should be law that they have to).
A very simple solution would be for authors or institutions to make copies freely available on their websites. I can only assume that they are not allowed to, due to copyright imposed by the journals.
It's ironic that the invention of the www was driven by the need for an easy way to freely distribute and share academic literature.
P.S. There's also a strong case for privately funded research to be made public too. Companies who make product claims based on privately funded research for example absolutely must make this research ("research") available for the public to review. It is notoriously hard to get pharma firms to cough up the papers which support their claims for the latest wonder drug.
His argument was the following: In many fields such as laboratory science, research is expensive; one has to apply for grants and then spend the money, and these departments have large budgets, and this all looks good to deans. If a department is going through a lot of money, then it must be prestigious, important, and doing good work.
I heard a joke once that mathematicians are the second-cheapest academics to hire because all we require is a pencil, paper, and a wastebasket. But, in fact, we require online access to all these journals, for which we have to spend a ton of money. Spending all this money makes us look good to our deans, and lends prestige and the look of importance to our department, and allows us to compete with other departments for resources.
I think it's a bunch of BS, frankly, but it's the one time I heard the existing system defended, so perhaps it's worth bringing up.
In Natural Language Processing / Computational Linguistics, the professional society (Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL) was its own publisher, with no profit motive, and so authors for its conferences and journal never signed over copyright (merely granted permission to ACL to publish the work). For years, it was quite standard for nearly all of the authors to post PS or PDF versions of their papers on their own websites. Then ACL started accepting PDF instead of camera-ready, and just posted the PDFs themselves; and then they started scanning the back-catalogue.
The result of this is that the vast majority of all NLP/CL papers ever written (excluding only those published elsewhere, e.g. in AAAI, and a very few missing proceedings from fifty years ago) are available online, for free, in PDF, at http://aclweb.org/anthology-new/ .
This is how science should be.
SSRN makes posted PDFs available for free download. The Wikipedia entry says that "In economics, and to some degree in law (especially in the field of law and economics), almost all papers are now first published as preprints on SSRN and/or on other paper distribution networks such as RePEc before being submitted to an academic journal."
Quality and prestige metrics: SSRN ranks posted papers by number of downloads, and it also compiles citation lists---if I successfully find Paper X at SSRN, I can look up which other SSRN-available papers have cited Paper X. (Sounds like a job for Google's PageRank algorithm, no?)
According to SSRN's FAQ, it's produced by an independent privately held corporation. I assume that means they're a for-profit company. I don't know how they make their money, other than that they will sell you a printed hard copy of a paper, presumably print-on-demand.
The author neglected to mention that peer reviewers work for free, and that the editorial boards are also made up of scholars who work for next to nothing. (edit: see reply below, this was in the article and I missed it)
It used to be that it fell to the publishers to typeset the articles, but with the advent of TeX they don't have to do that either. (in my field anyway)
Speaking as an academic, these companies do nothing for us. The sooner we agree on an alternative model which doesn't go through them, the better.
In the 1830s Ireland was mapped to a great detail (for tax purposes) of 1:6500ish. These maps would still be very helpful for OpenStreetMap, and are obviously outside copyright. A few Irish universities have them (e.g. Trinity Map Library, a copyright deposit library for Ireland & the UK), however they charge âŹ50,000ish for a copy of the digitial scans of the full set. Other libraries are similar.
Universities really are not pro-sharing
It would be great if somebody could provided an insider's account of why the academic publishing industry maintained those margins from 2000 to 2010. Did nobody propose legislation to stop them? Were there no criminal investigations? Who are these people connected with politically? What sorts of causes to they contribute to? Just how is the status quo maintained? The guy made a point I was already predisposed to agree with, then kind of went on a rant about how bad it all was. Hey, I'm with you. I'm just not sure my useful knowledge of the issue has increased any.
But a less obvious - and personally very painful - consequence of greedy publishers is the inability to do serious academic research outside of academia/industry. I have the ability (math PhD) and the will (have published a few papers post grad school, though it's hard to find time), but I have all but given up due to lacking access to books and articles behind these paywalls. Yes, you can find a decent chunk of articles online -- but very often there are one or two (or more!) key papers you _need_ to read to be at the front of a field, and one of those will be behind a paywall. The worst part is that I never know how truly useful an article will be before reading it, so in the few cases where I've payed I find that only a small percentage of the time was it worthwhile.
In short, this system essentially kills research outside of academia / industry.
This is the only problem standing in the way of open access publishing. While the arXiv doesn't offer peer review and so doesn't negate the need for journals, the ecosystem would quickly adapt to open peer review. Unfortunately the implied reputation of being published in certain journals is still something that's too ingrained in academia. It's getting better slowly but it's going to take at least a generation to go away at the current rate.
Why can a boutique shop sell a $50 dress for $200? Taste. One could simply walk into that boutique, confident that 20 minutes later a cute, fashionable and well-fitting dress would be acquired.
Why can top universities charge so much for tuition? Every year, %s University generates a curated list of individuals, and many hiring processes (not to mention ad-hoc interpersonal filtering processes) emphasize individuals in that list. Like boutique shopping, this is an expensive strategy that often excludes superior talent, but is fast.
Is it worth $200,000 to have one's name on that list? Apparently.
Is it worth application fees and an iron publishing agreement to have one's paper published in Nature. Apparently.
The unanswered question is "Why is the market failing?"
A couple unmentioned ideas:
- Until recently, tuition hikes went unchallenged.
- Faculty have a vested interest in maintaining the system. (If my publishing in Journal X marks my competence, what happens if it goes away?)
- An alternate system for rating a very hard to measure topic would be needed. Counting scarce publishing, and references in scarce journals is imperfect but nothing else has beaten it.
I don't have an answer but perhaps a couple bright entrepreneurs could figure out a better equilibrium, and find a way to cross the chasm to get there. Geoffrey Moore would say pick one vertical or academic discipline.
The system could keep volunteer-based peer review, and establish a (perhaps private) forum-like interaction for the authors to improve their article.
Google Scholar has solved many of my article search problems and often gives me directly a link to the PDF of (sometimes just a preprint of) the article. However the problem remains for the libraries, which might well be the largest contributors to publishers, and which may find it hard to cut a subscription and suggest its users to use Google scholar.
Cornell has about 18 libraries and is slowly implementing a "Fahrenheit 451" plan to eliminate them. First they eliminated the Physical Sciences Library, next the Engineering Library, and they'll eliminate most of the others, one at a time, until there's nothing left but a remote storage unit, lots of computers, and a few pretty library buildings for show. Since it's happening slowly and only affecting one community at a time, they'll avoid a general uproar.
If I blame anything, I blame the institution of tenure, which can be seen more clearly as a cause of moral decay than ever.
Workers and capitalists alike will fight to the death to protect the interests of groups they are a part of because shifts in the rules can cause their personal destruction. A man with tenure knows he can't be ruined, so he's got no reason to ever take a stand.
To make matters worse, academics are among the most tradition bound creatures in the universe, especially when there is no clear criteria for truth (which is like all of the social sciences and humanities). The only thing they have to calibrate against is consensus, and consensus favors institutions already in place.
 http://www.hhmi.org/news/20110627.html http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/gsoa-gln06211...
which states that all NIH-funded research must be placed in this database ("PubMed Central") within 12 months of publication. I do not know how widely it is obeyed, but I know that the several labs I've been in regularly deposited their papers there.
Why would a government want to remove the middle-man when the middle-man is making enough money to lobby the government to protect them? -_-'
Man In The Middle attacks are increasing and users usually ignore error messages about them.(Firefox throws an error dialog but it has an 'I understand the risks' button. People just ignore the error).
Also, last year many Iranian FriendFeed users were arrested and the goverment knew about all their private discussions on FriendFeed.(FriendFeed has been censored since the beggining. But it suddenly became uncensored for a day or two. On the other hand, FriendFeed generates an 'auth' key for each user and lets him see his RSS feed using that key. And puts the auth key in every page: goverment probably collected auth keys and used it to read discussions of people they arrested)
Goverments using internet to spy on their civilians is not a myth. Anonymity, trusting the cloud and related issues seem far more important when you suddenly find out a friend of yours has been arrested and his location and charges is unknown.
A government agency in Iran has obtained the private key of the root certificate for the DigiNotar Certificate Authority. And with that, they can decrypt and re-encrypt SSL traffic by pretending that they have the valid SSL certificate for *.google.com.
Is that the way this works?
If it is a case of a root CA signing a cert for someone else, this shouldn't have actually produced an error. What did the MITMers screw up here?
"...DigiNotar is an official Dutch certification authority, capable of issuing, validating and registering certificates (identities) of Dutch nationals and entities that are recognized throughout the European Union and are used to authenticate government applications. As such, DigiNotar provides VASCO with a strong foothold in the Dutch eGovernment market with the potential to expand the product line to government applications in other countries. Currently, DigiNotar's market scope for its CA activities is limited to the Netherlands. VASCO may decide to introduce DigiNotar as a certification authority in other EU countries...."
all that security was riding on 10M euros (with such [meager] amounts in play, one would think that it would be easier for a player like Iran just buy an authority than to crack/hack it, though seems like VASCO was faster (if of course VASCO isn't in the game as well) :) :
"...VASCO acquired DigiNotar in stock and asset purchase for aggregated cash consideration of Euro 10.0 million..."
what is the cost in Netherlands to have a reasonably secure office building with some access controlled areas suitable for CA authority core operations? Sounds like very cheap.
From what I can see:
- Google Search & Google+ (https://encrypted.google.com/ https://plus.google.com/) are using a *.google.com from GeoTrust/Google Internet Authority
- Google Mail (https://www.google.com/accounts/) is using a www.google.com from VeriSign/Thawte
Ofcourse I'm also afraid that this is indeed a MITM attack against Iranian users.
With SSL certs that costs less than $15 you can expect that things cannot be thoroughly checked, however a Wildcard DigiNotar SSL cert is costing you âŹ 750 a year (in a 4 year contract http://diginotar.nl/OnlinePrijsindicatie/tabid/1417/Default....), you would expect that these things would not be possible.
If they however hacked the root CA, it's even more scary, also Vasco (the mother company) makes virtually every Two-factor authentication used for Dutch Banking..
EDIT: This definitely works for Safari, not 100% sure if it does for Chrome after all.
The Firefox root CA list has dozens and dozens of organizations on it. Could a compromise of any one of them mean that this attack could be repeated?
Some critique here to back me up:
Fraudulent certificates were given out for:
().mozilla.org (backdoored software?)
And Baladin (an Iranian social network)
In such cases paranoia is perfectly justified.
It's a real pity this requires a code update because that means that the change will take long to propagate and will likely never be really complete, at the same time I'm sure there are good reasons for that and that an automated process to revoke just any certificate could itself probably be used as an attack vector.
What would happen if they simply revoked the root certificate that was used to sign this fake?
MITM = Man In The Middle.
Does this mean that Iran is eavesdropping on gmail users IN Iran? Or outside their country too?
Does anyone mind sharing what this means to the end user?
I did block the certificate on my Air as wxs mentioned. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2938755
The electron microscope images are all cross-sectional, because it appears he doesn't have the equipment to do surface etching, and just cleaved the chip. I've not generally seen good sectional images around though, so it's definitely an interesting look.
http://www.flylogic.net/blog/ has a lot of stuff about depackaging and reverse-engineering chips, as does "Dr Decapitator" (http://decap.mameworld.info/), who decaps old arcade ROMs, and then extracts their actual data from micrograph images to produce romfiles for emulators.
The Sparkfun Saga of the Fake MCUs:
Part 1: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kMgE8B...
Part 2: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mEZ-8g...
Part 3: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3Tlcu2...
(Links via google cache because they seem to have broken their old news URL structure)
Edit^2: I forgot I had this old image of a System-in-Package radio module that I made myself (Digital camera through optical microscope at, iirc, 20x)
The thick black lines at the bottom are millimetre markings on a ruler. The processor is at the centre, and the various other modules are SAW filters (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/SAW_filter#SA...)
Edit: if the torrents aren't being seeded anymore, you can watch the video here http://www.podcast.tv/video-episodes/24c3-2378-mifare-282189... or download from ftp://media.ccc.de/congress/24C3/matroska/24c3-2378-en-mifare_security.mkv
Register allocation is one of the more expensive phases in a compiler, and register allocation on the Intel instruction set is particularly hard because it has some few registers. It's kinda ironic that internally modern chips have zillions of registers. There's a fat chunk of software that squeezes a program in 8 registers and then a fat chunk of silicon that expands into however many registers the chip has. Not only is this wasted effort, the extra silicon costs Intel in terms of power consumption and it one reason at ARM are pWning them on low power platforms.
From this, it sounds like Jenkins is automatically picking up new topic branches, running the tests, and reporting on the results. Any suggestions on how to set something like this up? In my (very limited) experience with Hudson/Jenkins, this sounds like it wouldn't be possible without manually setting up a project for each branch.
I think the most important thing to note from either method, though, is not to develop on master/trunk. Have a separate branch, or further branches off an entire "develop" branch. The tip of master should always be a stable build.
There have been some articles recently on the downsides of feature branching that my experience agrees with (http://continuousdelivery.com/2011/07/on-dvcs-continuous-int...). I'm curious if the GitHub people have hit the same issues.
So if 2 people are working on the same feature, they're probably working off the same named branch.
Are there any race conditions with merging to master? I'm assuming that only one head is allowed in master, correct? So that before a pull request is accepted and merged into master, the latest master must first be merged into the feature branch and have CI run all tests successfully on it before the pull request can go. Does GitHub stop you from merging into master if someone else just merged into master and you're about to create a new head?
Then you have to merge the latest master into your feature branch, run CI on it again and then merge to master after CI is successful (assuming someone else didn't beat you to merging to master again).
(I've got a lot more experience with Mercurial than Git so my mental model could be a little off)
hubot deploy github/ghost-down to production
"For teams that have to do formal releases on a longer term interval (a few weeks to a few months between releases), and be able to do hot-fixes and maintenance branches and other things that arise from shipping so infrequently, git-flow makes sense and I would highly advocate it's use.
For teams that have set up a culture of shipping, who push to production every day, who are constantly testing and deploying, I would advocate picking something simpler like GitHub Flow."
So if you fall in the second category, this is a read for you.
In the weeks before a new site is launched, we work to our own feature branches and merge into master when a feature is complete. In the run up to the site launch, when there's just CSS tweaks and the odd bug fix, people start working on directly master and deploying straight to staging servers.
When a site has been launched we normally keep working just on master, though occasionally creating feature branches for bigger changes.
This seems to work well for us as our DVCS needs change over time. I'd be interested to hear how other web agencies manage the different stages of developing clients' websites.
How do they manage deployment to staging? At my company we typically deploy topic branches directly to staging, but we have fewer developers and slower pace. If multiple people need to deploy topic branches we set up an ephemeral staging branch that merges the multiple topic branches together, but I can imagine that getting super hairy on a team the size of GitHub's.
Do they just mostly deploy directly to production, thus severely minimizing staging contention?
Anyone know of ideas for doing code reviews for the whole pull request, commit, or a single line like GitHub? This is probably the most beneficial part for us.
11..22 would be to search for all integers between 11 and 22.
The effect is that the search is too broad. The problem is more likely to be that the range search is a mapreduce that performs a search for each item in the range.
You can imagine why that's a bad idea, and some aggressive timeouts are probably what stop it from going too far.
Plus the numbers in the range of the OP search are likely to fall in the ranges of sensitive numbers, credit cards being the most sensitive... which are likely to be explicitly blocked.
It was around the time that johnny's google hacking page became popular, iirc. (http://www.hackersforcharity.org/ghdb/)
Also remember how you used to be able to search for anything up to the 1000th item (10 pages of 100 results). Not anymore for a long time now. Google sucks it all in but won't share and play nice with others.
Why not allow such searches unless a bot is detected (too many pages too quickly, etc.)
This does look like a string that could very much be generated by some poorly coded webbapp. An incorrect usage of a floating point number can easily generate such output. If it occurs on a critical part of an application it could very well been used as a dork. Just an hypothesis though.
Back in 2005 google tricks were at their peak. Many hackers experimented with search phrases in order to retrieve interesting/valuable/uncommon/dangerous?/sensitive info from the web. "index of/ .mp3" "apache server at port" being the absolute classic.
More and more people started to jump in the bandwagon, webmasters gradually became more aware of this, and google too. The natural reaction was google honeypot.
But it wasn't too long until google started to remove such features. These days one can hardly search for symbols on google. They the old tricks, most of them will not work, google simply ignores the details and returns a list of results based on the actual words contained in the query. It's becoming a QA machine. That's one of the reasons I switched to duckduckgo.
For a proper reading on the subject check ou the vast website of the, now deceased, great hacker Fravia:http://www.searchlores.org/indexo.htm
Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later.
1111111..11111111111111111111111 11111111..1111111111111111111111 111111..111111 // minimum case
Pretty similar URL format eh?
At a former company I worked at our CTO likened our product which had many warts to a machine with many levers. He then went on to compare our customers to monkeys that we had trained to pull the levers in the right order. Pull them in the wrong order and you get an electric shock or something.
Every time I see a cluster of like buttons on a web page I think of monkeys and levers.
This functionality could totally be implemented on the server end. When you submit a link it could tell you that the story was already submitted and when.
Wishing the like buttons would just go out of fashion...
Yeesh. I know this is Hacker News and we all appreciate a good hack, but what are the chances of having a real api for this type of thing? For instance, is there a way to programmatically get the list of all articles I've ever upvoted (the "Saved" page)? Or to put "You like this" alongside the HN like button if you've already upvoted it?
That said, it would be nice if this button scouted HN for the page URL and simply notified users that a discussion with X comments was taking place here.
This solution would reduce the amount of gaming that one could do to vote a post up, but would let dedicated readers know where to look. Thoughts?
Someone else had mentioned that it would be an issue trying to do this by scraping, but this could just as easily be done this way. The downside of course (like someone else had mentioned) is that HN users would need to enter in their username/password to perform the scrape to count current post points and the scrape to upvote posts, and if they didn't see ycombinator.com in the URL they would be skeptical in providing these details because an unscrupulous hacker could then use those logins (if they stored them) to upvote all of their own posts. If others are interested in the scrape version of this hack I could make it ...The upside to the scrape hack version would be the fact that the UI could be adjusted as needed, but like others mentioned HN isn't know for it's elegant UI to begin with...it's more about simplicity