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The Patent Pledge paulgraham.com
614 points by anateus  7 days ago   192 comments top 79
1
tc 7 days ago  replies      
It's not immediately clear to me whether this solves any part of the current problem. But on reflection, I believe I understand the motivation here.

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.

2
beagle3 7 days ago 5 replies      
I disagree that this will help, because the established companies the pledge would apply to are a secondary problem and mostly seem to fight each other (has Microsoft asserted patents against a startup? has IBM? has AT&T? when they asserted patents it was against multi-million dollar businesses!). The primary problem is patent trolls (see e.g. lodsys / intellectual ventures) for whom this pledge could be considered self-harm.

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.

3
ansy 7 days ago 3 replies      
PG, was this pledge created in response to litigation you have experienced with YC companies?

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.

4
dctoedt 7 days ago 1 reply      
AlexBlox asks in an earlier comment: "does publicly stating this pledge bust any opportunity to double back (i.e. it is more legally binding than just a pledge?)"

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 [1]; 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."

[1] 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/...

5
acangiano 7 days ago 1 reply      
> Please join them!

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.

6
nailer 7 days ago 1 reply      
Patent trolling big companies is just as unethical as trolling small ones.

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.

7
geebee 7 days ago 0 replies      
One line from this essay has me a little worried...

"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...

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2760148

8
ScottBurson 7 days ago 1 reply      
Here's another proposal that doesn't rest on social pressure, the effectiveness of which I fear Paul overestimates.

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.

9
bpm140 7 days ago 5 replies      
PG suggests that this won't stop the trolls but it might deter more traditional companies.

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?

10
guelo 7 days ago 3 replies      
My personal pledge is that as a programmer I refuse to work for any company that goes on the attack with software patents, this obviously includes Apple and Microsoft. I also refuse to participate if asked by my company to help create a patent, I am willing to be fired over this.

Since good programmers are a scarce resource if enough of us took this pledge it could really start having an effect.

11
brianlash 7 days ago 1 reply      
Because it's one line and because its implications are that important:

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.

12
gphil 7 days ago 1 reply      
The content of the pledge seems to indicate that there are a lot of (or at least some) cases where large companies are suing very small companies (< 25 people) over patent infringement. Is this the case? I've only heard about the patent litigation between the tech giants, and not anything about small firms getting sued by larger ones. Are there any recent/high profile examples of this that I missed? Or is it just something that goes unreported?
13
ayanb 7 days ago 2 replies      
From the http://thepatentpledge.org/ website -

---

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.

14
maximilianburke 7 days ago 1 reply      
So if a company grows beyond it's sub-25 people are they expected to then license any technology they're infringing on? Could this lead to an even bigger penalty if the company is made aware that they are infringing when they are small and doesn't act on it when they grow, thus willfully infringing?
15
Adaptive 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a "spirit of the law" with no "law".

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.

16
dotBen 7 days ago 2 replies      
I'd like to see a different Patent Pledge.

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.

17
danmaz74 7 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the good intention of this proposal, but it doesn't really make so much sense. Tech startups are small businesses, but their goal is to grow. With that pledge you could only grow up to 24 employees, and what then? You're ready to be slaughtered?

This problem needs to be fixed at its root, with a different law.

19
SoftwarePatent 7 days ago 3 replies      
This pledge boils down to "shine light on bad actors", but I doubt it will change any behavior. Only rent-seekers [1] want software patents to exist, and you can't decrease their reputation any more, it's already 0.

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.

[1] lawyers and trolls.

20
samgro 7 days ago 3 replies      
I have a PG question for PG: what problem does this solve?

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?

21
corbet 7 days ago 0 replies      
Companies with less than 25 people are relatively unlikely to have sufficiently deep pockets to attract patent attacks in the first place. And trolls, of course, won't care about the pledge. Nice idea, but doesn't seem that useful to me.
22
Estragon 7 days ago 1 reply      
I suppose it would be a good start, but the self-interest in this proposal stinks a bit. What's the distribution of employee numbers in companies in which Y Combinator has a stake?
23
nathanb 7 days ago 0 replies      
Potential problem: I suspect many patent troll companies are small (<25 people), and the patent pledge could potentially prevent companies from taking preemptive action against these trolls. I don't think this is a dealbreaker, but it's a probably unintended consequence which should be drawn out.
24
AlexBlom 7 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of pledging, though there may be some variance (what if a startup violates a startup, margin is high, the technical innovation was real, etc?) That being said, there is a lot to be said in simplicity.

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?)

25
EGreg 6 days ago 0 replies      
The purpose of patents, as I understand it, is to propose a compromise in order to promote innovation: the company which publicly discloses its non-obvious innovations through a patent is granted a MONOPOLY RIGHT by the government, and enforced by the courts, to prevent anyone else from implementing this invention without paying licenses. (Depending on the country, they may be forced to offer licensing, or not.)

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?

26
ianlevesque 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is ultimately not a helpful avenue to pursue. Asking companies to please not abuse a favorite group of companies (in this case startups) is not a solution to this problem. It's very similar in my opinion to the patent exceptions being carved out in congress right now for the finance industry (their favorite group of companies). We need to be striving to help everyone with patent reform, not just our favorite types of companies.
27
greengarstudios 7 days ago 0 replies      
pg is concerned with startups, and I am too. But I think a lot of the rest of the world is concerned about what's going on between, say, Apple and HTC.
28
pilom 7 days ago 0 replies      
"when established companies with bad products use patents to suppress small competitors with good products. This is the type of abuse we may be able to decrease"

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!"

29
wingo 7 days ago 0 replies      
The thing is, does software innovation happen in companies? Yes, but also no: universities and free software also play a role.

Patents are largely a problem of companies buying government. But what about the people?

30
EGreg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with pg, although I am concerned this might take away from the urge to reform software patents the real way:

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.

In software, innovations such as "in-app purchases" or "one-click buying" may not be obvious in 1997, but a couple years later they become "incremental improvements" that are pretty obvious to everyone. In fact, OPENNESS (open source, especially on the web with HTML, CSS and Javascript) has been the biggest driver of innovation, and not patents. Clearly, there are other motivations besides having a monopoly, and those motivations don't need the patent system at all. In contrast, they are being stifled by the patent system.

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.

31
bengebre 7 days ago 0 replies      
Having just listened to the "When Patents Attack!" podcast today (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/07/26/138576167/when-pat...), I question how this addresses what I saw as the fundamental challenge with patent trolls -- shell corporations. These companies are spawned as needed to sue the alleged patent infringers. Since the shell companies are just a bunch of lawyers and the ownership of a patent, there's little in the way of assets to counter sue for (i.e. there's not much for the suing entity to lose). I don't think these guys will be swayed by a moral or ethical argument either. And since these shell companies don't employ coders, well, I don't expect it will impact who coders decide to work for.
32
collint 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think you could come up with some sort of patent truce, you use a search engine that finds overlapping patents. The truce comes with a constitution/trust that declares some metrics for that search engine. Any patents that go over that metric are not to be used for litigation by members of the truce.

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.

33
wharryman 7 days ago 0 replies      
Several have already pointed out that this pledge doesn't address the top biggest issues with the patent system: Non-Practicing Entities (trolls) and 'weaponized' IP litigation.

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).

34
djb 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a nitpick but I think the pledge should read "No first use of software patents against companies with fewer than 25 people," since people are countable:

http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000214.htm

35
bfe 7 days ago 0 replies      
This might usefully and reasonably be expanded to cover an individual or a non-profit of any size including universities, as well as a small company, in parallel with the Patent Office's definition of a "small entity" for reduced fees.[1] Companies suing universities for patent infringement for doing research is similarly problematic for innovation.

And, I think the intent would be served equally well by getting rid of the restriction to software patents.

[1] Although the small entity rules define a small company as a maximum of 500 employees, rather than 25.

36
Kilimanjaro 6 days ago 0 replies      
There are millions of programmers in the world and most of us don't like patents. That should be enough to prohibit them by consensus. If we don't raise our voices in our own field, nobody else will do it for us.

I applaud that move.

37
mhp 7 days ago 0 replies      
Why not just have all companies pledge not to settle frivolous patent suits? The way the trolls make their money is by realizing that its cheaper for these companies to settle than to duke it out in court. The lawyers don't even care if you aren't infringing because it really doesn't matter. The trolls survive because people aren't willing to fight it out against them and they can pick on the weaker and smaller companies. If everyone said at the outset, "I will fight to the death a frivolous patent suit with all of my resources" the trolls would run out of easy targets.
38
jessriedel 7 days ago 0 replies      
From what I understand, the key points of software patent reform would be (a) significantly raise the bar of "non-obvious" and (b) shorten software patent lifetimes. The related issues of small companies being at a disadvantage (due to economies of scale with litigation and patent portfolios) seems rather orthogonal.

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.

39
chc 7 days ago 0 replies      
Have any lawyer-types looked at this? IANAL, but I kind of doubt corporate lawyers will allow this even informally. For any target that a big company would want to sue, I'm pretty sure that going through with this pledge would leave the company vulnerable to a laches defense (basically, "You should have sued me before I invested billions in this") once the little startups aren't so little anymore. If I'm talking nonsense, anyone can feel free to correct me. It will be cool if this works.
40
dodo53 6 days ago 0 replies      
What about as a further peer-pressure type 'good citizenship' patent thing - a voluntary pay $x per patent in your portfolio to a non-profit which uses money to search existing patent-base and seek to preemptively invalidate invalid/frivolous patents. You could have a little badge on your website or some such.
41
damonpace 7 days ago 0 replies      
The only problem I see with patents is the legal process (legal bullying). It should not take 2 years and $1 million to prove your innovation does not conflict with another patent. That's ridiculous! Ideas & companies are killed by the threat & cost of going through a lawsuit, not by the threat of actually losing a law suit. That's why so many companies would rather pay a fee to use a patent than actually go through a lengthly lawsuit to fight the patent owner. (See Microsoft & many phone manufacturers.) It's called legal bullying, not patent failure. It doesn't just happen in the school yard anymore. PG is simply trying to get the 6th graders to stop picking on the kindergartners, so the kindergartners can play safely in their own playground.
42
huhtenberg 7 days ago 0 replies      
Just a relevant anecdote from the trenches -- a friend of a friend was a co-founder in Israeli start-up and they were approached by a Redmond company with an investment inquiry. An inquiry which was backed by a patent that would've been used to sue the startup should they not enter negotiations. And so they "negotiated" and in the end took the money. The end.
43
briguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure there are a thousand reasons that these ideas would not be feasible, however I have been thinking of two other approaches towards software and business process patent reform.
(1) would be to shorten the time that a patent is valid to 1 year . Give the Company who 'invents' (and goes through the patent process) a small head start, however in today's quickly changing world, I think that this shorter time-frame is more proportionally in-line with the R&D investment of these types of processes. Patents that protect the Physical items (that in general are more costly to develop and take a longer time to implement due to the more expensive and time consuming manufacturing processes) the protection would remain longer (engines, chip-sets, medicines, etc)
I think that these shorter term-limits will shake out the patent trolls, yet still allow a patent holder some opportunity to leverage their work and license to companies that could not wait the 1 year, however after that, it is all about execution.
(2)Perhaps another approach (and much less realistic) would be to keep the existing term limits, but have a prix-fixe license fee schedule/menu for all software and business processes. There would be a few Tiers of patents (i.e. Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, etc). You would apply to a patent (and a Class) and the license fees would spelled out for the annual license fees. Perhaps the Amazon 1-Click Patent would be Class-1 (i.e. "pretty darn obvious" and the fees would be $100 per year), etc. Anyone willing to pay the fee could license the patent (no one can be denied). This would also stop hoarding, and would allow people with legitimate inventions to monetize their investment, however still allow those that feel that they can execute to also move forward an innovate.
44
bourdine 6 days ago 0 replies      
PG, you're absolutely right - IP is a real problem, that so far no one has decided,
but I think Moon have also another one side -
limits to 25 will run to huge number of small startups that can not be grow more then 25 peoples and
this is can stops investment from venture capitalists.
I think, we dont need draw a line between huge and small startups. We just need another patent system - transparent
and work well as we need. At first, we need to know, was gived a patent on our inventions or not - by few clicks.
At second - we need to know, what kind of invention and claims for it was pended but still have not sugessted.
At third, we need to see all climes of concurents patents - because we are allways can invent another one claims, and
build on them ower new products, that we can protect.
I think we can solve this problem - as technicians, we are much easier to prepare a bill
and after appeal to members of Congress or the legislature with a request to meet our demands.

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 will
letter 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.

45
graiz 7 days ago 1 reply      
1. Large companies aren't on this list and are unlikely to put themselves on the list. There is no competitive advantage to be there.

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.

46
bshanks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jennifer Urban and Jason Schultz are developing a legal construction called the DPL (defensive patent license) to solve this problem.

http://www.google.com/search?q=defensive+patent+license+DPL&...

47
justinsb 7 days ago 0 replies      
Do non-trolls really bring patent cases against small companies? A company of <25 people probably doesn't have the cash to make a financial settlement worthwhile, and if a small company has a good product it'll have >25 people soon enough.
48
jakestein 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a way for other companies to make the pledge from that site? Or is this limited to friends of PG for now?
49
zdw 7 days ago 1 reply      
The number thing is abusable. Witness facebook still operating under the SEC's 500-person limit:

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/facebook-and-the-500-...

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.

50
thethimble 7 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with this pledge is that any company that would make the pledge and stand by it already isn't a patent threat.

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.

51
T_S_ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Volunteerism doesn't work when there is too much money at stake. How much has that green consumer really done for the environment without assistance from a carbon tax? Like calls for conservation, this is well-intended, but a distraction from the real problem, which is that the patent system is badly engineered for innovation.
52
mas644 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not a bad idea...like Paul said, it's a start. Here's a comment that I read from some user on Slashdot regarding the Apple vs Samsung/Motorola patent dispute that summarizes my feelings:

"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."

53
marquis 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a fan of the declared, taxable value of patents rather than making an arbitrary pledge that could result in a surprise attack.

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.

54
oemera 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea pg but what exactly does it fix? After you have 26 employees they will take you down like before the pledge. What can a company with 26 employees do against a arsenal of lawyers and patents? Do you think after having 26 employees you should have enough money to counter the attack?
55
matthodan 7 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else find the pledge hard to read/interpret? I think I read it 3 times before the meaning sunk in. Granted, I hadn't read the rest of PG's article yet. Short and memorable (e.g. "Don't be evil") might be better. My suggestion: "[Insert company] won't sue companies with less than 25 people for patent infringement." It ain't perfect, but that's what I got.
56
dethstarr 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a good idea in theory, but the patent trolls are ruthless as ever. Their primary motivator is making money, and I doubt they'll stop their actions.

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!

57
mparr4 7 days ago 0 replies      
>Technology companies win by attracting the most productive people, and the most productive people are attracted to employers who hold themselves to a higher standard than the law requires.

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.

58
artursapek 7 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking of patents, (although this is a month old now) I recommend everyone listen to the show This American Life did covering patent trolling: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/w...
59
FredBrach 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think it solves everything unless patent trolling.

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: “Hey! Are you dumb? This company has 26 people so I can sue them. Don't troll me fools!” Hello the greenness… 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

60
lhnn 7 days ago 1 reply      
>Already most technology companies wouldn't sink to using patents on startups. You don't see Google or Facebook suing startups for patent infringement.

You would, however, see Facebook sue startups for using the word "book" in their website name.

61
earbitscom 7 days ago 0 replies      
PG - Could this lead to companies on the list agreeing not to license their patents to patent-unfriendly companies? Seems that could do a lot to pressure bigger companies into leaving smaller companies alone.
62
rsuttongee 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea and that it will prevent pledging companies from engaging in patent abuse, but I wonder how many large companies will bother to sign up for it. I imagine that if Apple/Google/MS all just take a pass that they won't catch much flak for doing so.

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.

63
tcarnell 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff! I would add my company, but there is not point - I have no patents!

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?

64
abbottry 7 days ago 0 replies      
People make crappy products then slap patents on them so no one can compete with them. For the greater good of society this should be illegal, competition breeds innovation right, if you make something crappy, you should welcome someone else to make it better, after all, if it was something you actually used, YOU would want it to be the best, no?

Also, patent trolls that create patents for ideas they have, and are completely incapable of executing.

Software patents are crap.

65
davedx 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see a site for crowd-sourced prior art. That would be cool.
66
mikeklaas 7 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how many employees Lodsys has?
67
jayfuerstenberg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm worried that this pledge would legitimize software patents on some level.

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.

68
cgopalan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I also hope the patent pledge site will progress towards discouraging companies like that of Like.com by including instances of how they shamelessly killed Modista. Like PG, I am still ambivalent about patents (though mostly believing they are bad), but clear cases of misuse like these need to be emphasized and publicized.
69
Benjo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see an rss feed on the pledge site.
70
mlinksva 7 days ago 0 replies      
''The patent pledge is in effect a narrower but open source "Don't be evil."''

I get 'narrower' but what does 'but open source' mean here?

71
piotrSikora 7 days ago 0 replies      
From the companies that pledged so far, how many actually holds any patents?
72
officialstation 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was checking the source code for http://thepatentpledge.org/ and noticed a reference to favicon.ico which is not there (returns a 404 Not Found): http://thepatentpledge.org/favicon.ico
73
arikrak 7 days ago 0 replies      
Why should small companies deserve special protection? If the current patent system is just, let them sue anyone big or small. If the system is broken, they shouldn't be suing big companies either. How about a pledge not use ridiculous patents to sue anyone? That may be way too vague, but that would make more sense.
74
fedcir 7 days ago 0 replies      
Afer reading the story about Ugmode/Modista, a suggestion for any start-up facing this problem in the future:
GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT YOUR PROBLEM!

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

75
gord 7 days ago 0 replies      
Its a bandaid where a bazooka is needed... but its an epsilon of improvement in the right direction.
76
motters 7 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I know, pledges are legally worthless.
77
philipkd 6 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone clarify for me, what does "no first use" mean? Does it mean you can't sue a small start-up for being the first to use a patent you already own?
78
idonthack 7 days ago 0 replies      
That's cute.
79
dev1n 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's the Gentleman's rule for patents.
2
Linux is now hosted on GitHub github.com
552 points by bpierre  3 days ago   93 comments top 17
1
blinkingled 2 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone pulling the kernel tree from github - here is how you can verify it.

linux-2.6 $ git pull git://github.com/torvalds/linux.git

linux-2.6 $ git fetch --tags git://github.com/torvalds/linux.git

linux-2.6 $ gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 76E21CBB

linux-2.6 $ git verify-tag v3.1-rc5

gpg: Signature made Sun 04 Sep 2011 06:45:37 PM EDT using DSA key ID 76E21CBB
gpg: Good signature from "Linus Torvalds (tag signing key) <torvalds@osdl.org>"

2
Mithrandir 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like he's using it as a temp place while master.kernel.org is down:

http://article.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel/1187888

3
LeafStorm 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wouldn't go so far as to say "hosted" on Github. It's probably just a mirror, and/or Linus playing around with Github. Linux already has a very strong hierarchy for managing patches, and I certainly don't see them moving to a proprietary platform.
4
sliverstorm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would not be entirely surprised if the attack on kernel.org made the community (or even just Linus) investigate alternative hosting.

I know nothing important was compromised, but nobody likes to deal with being hacked. It's like being the victim in a car accident- insurance makes you whole, but the whole experience sucks all the same.

5
antimora 3 days ago 2 replies      
Though I use Linux on daily basis, I see the source code for the first time.
6
compay 3 days ago 2 replies      
Kudos to Github. Hard to think of a better endorsement than that.
7
duggan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Presumably just Linus playing around with Github? There's been a mirror for some time - https://github.com/mirrors/linux-2.6 and https://github.com/mirrors/linux
8
nphase 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was wondering how long it would take for this to happen: https://github.com/torvalds/linux/pull/7#issuecomment-200563...
9
mcritz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Days like today make me consider building from source. Until I sober up, anyway.
10
motters 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought that Github wasn't accessible from all countries due to US export regulations.
11
bpierre 2 days ago 0 replies      
12
lee337 3 days ago 6 replies      
Someone discovered a bug... https://github.com/torvalds/linux/issues/1
13
dillon 2 days ago 2 replies      
In less than 3 hours he gained 300 watchers, I wouldn't doubt that it'll be become the most popular repo on Github.
14
kuahyeow 2 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone managed to view the Github Impact graph ?https://github.com/torvalds/linux/graphs/impact
15
bcl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Should be a good test of github's infrastructure.
16
alastairpat 3 days ago 0 replies      
The network graph makes for interesting viewing.

I suppose it comes as no surprise that Linux makes extensive use of Git's features.

17
mkorfmann 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like Bill Gates already forked it: https://github.com/bill-gates/linux. Will Windows 8 be based on Linux?
3
Google Correlate by Drawing google.com
465 points by franze  5 days ago   77 comments top 40
1
lhnz 5 days ago 5 replies      
Interesting to see what is dying: English Chinese Dictionaries, radio stations, Altavista, lyrics, text messaging, Flash.

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:deVob01-p...

And look what's getting more popular: Porn video sites, video sites, Facebook, Mac computers and how to work them -- particuarly how to take screenshots: this should be a tip-off to those of you working at Apple doing UX. ;)

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:AbjtmD0iL...

Some of the stuff you would guess was becoming less or more popular but there is other stuff which is less obvious.

edit: This is super interesting:
http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:SnghYCuBW...

Looks like Hacker News is gaining popularity exponentially, too. :)

2
pud 5 days ago 2 replies      
The "comic book" link on Correlate is awesome. More sites should have documentation like this.
http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/comic
3
joeyespo 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is fun. But apparently not "great fun" because according to this, great fun only happened in between 2005 and 2010.

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:XfvUJGqnv...

4
javanix 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, that is way too addicting to visit during work hours.

I drew a standard bell-curve peaking in 2007 and then trailing off to zero into 2011 and everything was either Myspace searches or Washington Mutual credit searches.

Pretty nifty.

5
ayanb 5 days ago 1 reply      
From the whitepaper

"Google Correlate employs a novel approximate nearest neighbor (ANN) algorithm over millions of candidate queries in an online search tree to produce results similar to the batch-based approach employed by Google Flu Trends but in a fraction of a second."

--

6
3pt14159 5 days ago 0 replies      
I did a steady growth curve followed by a steep drop off: The result is amazing: http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:lSkySxGeo...
7
anigbrowl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Correlate is great, but the hand-drawn year-by-year search is really not all that useful - wither you have something in mind and prime your graph, or you get the obvious things.

Monthly correlations, however, would be tremendously useful. Every industry has its own calendar, conference season, and economic 'tides', and understanding these is a key marketing task.

8
boredguy8 5 days ago 2 replies      
"Free Text Messaging" is an interesting 4 year period, though it looks like it's dead as a search term now. Is this because of Google Voice? Or did people give up on the idea?

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:g2VSqRc0n...

9
reustle 5 days ago 2 replies      
10
geuis 5 days ago 1 reply      
I drew a random hockey stick. It kind of matches the rise of dubstep pretty closely http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id%3AOjXjy3O...
11
danvk 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you like the drawing interaction itself and want to re-use it elsewhere, there's a self-contained version at http://dygraphs.com/tests/drawing.html which also features a zoom and eraser tool.
12
artursapek 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google is beginning to do things that I think are going to kick current market-research strategies off their feet. They have most of our lives being fed through their systems; they know what's going on in the world better than anyone.
13
erikig 5 days ago 1 reply      
This can be an interesting way to identify hidden yearly trends too.

Drawing a zig zag with peaks (more sawtooth than sine wave) at beginnings of the years yields some interesting results and some things I've never even heard of like "slapped cheek syndrome" or fifth disease.

Apparently people are also extremely curious about the carbs in a grapefruit/orange at around the same time...

Weird.

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:xI5dDtGz4...

14
kurige 5 days ago 2 replies      
1. Take historical end-of-day market data for a stock market index fund and graph it on Google Correlate.

2. Find out what terms closely track said index.

3. Set up an auto-trader that responds to changes in the search frequency for said terms.

4. Sit back and watch the money roll in.

16
notintokyo 5 days ago 2 replies      
How is this so fast? I thought to compare charts like these you have to slide every chart over every offset to get the best match?
17
cabirum 5 days ago 0 replies      
18
iy56 5 days ago 0 replies      
And if you visit the parent page (http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/), you can search for a term and see it's graph, along with strongly correlated queries.
19
judofyr 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://d.pr/VHnF

Makes me wonder if web developers finally switched to full SSL, or if browsers stopped showing the error…

20
21
ayanb 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Windows Mobile Pocket PC" , "Palm Treo Software", "Blackberry forum" and "flash flv" all have the same curve :)

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:BbGJxKXAQ...

23
socialmediaking 5 days ago 0 replies      
I got this on my first draw. I was looking at things growing rapidly from 2009 on. What are the odds? http://i.imgur.com/yYL1D.png
24
ColinDabritz 5 days ago 0 replies      
So it looks like 'Depression' is on the school schedule (see the spikes down for winter break, the heavy correlation with academic topics)
https://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=depression&...

I wonder how much is psychology research, and how much is side effects of school?

Some of the coincident correlations are really funny.
https://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=depression&...

It looks like OS X Lion had an unofficial mascot! (or the movie promotion timeline matched the lion hype buildup)

25
flaviojuvenal 5 days ago 0 replies      
GIFs are coming back. I believe it is because the huge popularity of GIF flooded Tumblrs of teenagers:
http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:4voTkH47-...

Also, it is nice to see summer related results:
http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:Rhcg3luEC...
Spider Vein, according to Wikipedia, may be caused by "environmental damage such as that caused by sun or cold exposure". And Asiatic Lily is a flower that grows on July.

26
shazam 5 days ago 0 replies      
0.9665 correlation between "iphone" and "cancel tmobile". Amazing.

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=iphone&t...

27
earlyriser 5 days ago 0 replies      
Testing a yearly and incremental peak give me the "nc state basketball". I guess something like this could give me the Oscars or Superbowl changing the peak time: http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:nspW2uQjx...
28
sirclueless 5 days ago 2 replies      
Hah. I did an exponential curve and sure enough there was "dropbox" at 0.9220 correlation.
29
TomGullen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool but quite useless. I guess you might be able to spot emerging trends if you spent a bit of time on it though.
31
sunspeck 4 days ago 0 replies      
The comments here suggest that many folks don't realize you can correlate to a precise dataset, not just a hand-drawn trendline.

Click the link next to the search button. "Enter your own data" or "Edit this data".

Anyone got a good time series?

32
lelf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Different time period gives “Oops”

http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=hacker+news&...

Frustrating.

33
makepanic 5 days ago 0 replies      
34
zerostar07 5 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently the acronym "OOMF" is hot right now: http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=id:lhfq3Utw3...
35
tonio09 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google Correlate as well as Trends are awesome. Why is google providing these data mining services for free to everyone? How are they making money from it?
36
clistctrl 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is seriously an awesome proof of technology, but what is a practical purpose for it?
37
swah 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wish there was someone I could talk about this IRL.
38
wavephorm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work on an iPad.
39
knowtheory 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well. That doesn't work on an iPad.
40
schrototo 5 days ago 0 replies      
This would be infinitely more useful if it was backed by some actual data instead of those utterly useless search activity patterns. Why not combine a search like this with something like Wolfram Alpha?

What a waste...

edit: Seriously, wouldn't this be so much cooler if it gave us a new way to explore mathematical and scientific data?

If we could draw any curve and it would present us with matching constants, physical laws, mathematical proofs & theorems that have some correlation with the input data, chemical and biological data points, information from sociological studies, historical statistics...

4
My job is to watch dreams die reddit.com
394 points by SandB0x  3 days ago   58 comments top 12
1
sudonim 3 days ago 6 replies      
I've been following the housing bust.

In 2009, I remember reading a resignation later by a guy who made his "F* you money" betting for a housing collapse. He blasted the big banks, ivy leaguers, and old boys network.

I bought complex derivatives (SRS, SKF) but lost betting against the market.

I read http://calculatedriskblog.com for a while and educated myself about the macro factors in the markets.

Through "calculated risk", I learned of Jim the Realtor http://www.bubbleinfo.com/ who videos (vacant) casualties of the housing collapse. Seeing it made it real for me.

Over time, I've realized that the further from reality that decisions are being made, the more likely we are to make destructive decisions.

When soldiers kill people with drone aircraft in video game-like conditions, it removes the reality from something that would be extremely traumatizing when done with bare hands.

In our wonderfully complex world, we sow complexity, and reap disaster. Im not sure what the answer is, but there is something terribly wrong when destruction is more profitable than creation.

2
patrickk 3 days ago 2 replies      
There's a Hollywood blockbuster waiting to be made out of a story like this (as noted in some of the Reddit comments). Something along the lines of Fight Club (grimy house scenes, top-notch monologue) or Lord of War/Up in the Air (someone doing a toxic job but good at it).
3
pseudonym 3 days ago 1 reply      
Both interesting and depressing. No matter who you think should ultimately take the blame for the housing crash, it's easy to forget how many people other than just the homeowners are affected by this crap.
4
molbioguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at a beautiful albeit narrow slice of something can hurt you (even though it feels good) because you fail to see the larger picture (which may not be so pretty). It introduces a bias that may lead you to incorrect conclusions and bad decisions. Enjoy the craft, but be wary.
5
tonio09 3 days ago 1 reply      
this was very emotional article. very sad indeed. isnt it weird that all front page articles on reddit are overtly emotional? it seems that plain groundbreaking research papers will never make it to the frontpage...
6
sgt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nearly read "My dream is to watch Jobs die". I am far too tired to read HN right now.
7
mike55 3 days ago 0 replies      
It thought it will be a post by a VC.
8
nazgulnarsil 3 days ago 0 replies      
First world problems....
9
jamaicahest 3 days ago 0 replies      
And the influx of redditors on HN is complete.
10
forinti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tom Waits should put a melody on that.
11
davedx 3 days ago 5 replies      
Interesting, but hacker news? Come on... if I wanted general news, then I'd go to Reddit.
12
ristretto 3 days ago 1 reply      
Since i m not going to read it, can somebody please post a tl;dr here: http://tldrplz.com ?

</shameless-plug>

5
Git Is Simpler Than You Think nfarina.com
370 points by nfarina  9 hours ago   93 comments top 21
1
ekidd 8 hours ago 6 replies      
If you don't understand git, then don't mess around with 'rebase', 'push -f', or any other command that tries to edit history. These commands assume that you have a strong mental model of how git works, and this is how the author of the article got into trouble.

It's possible to build a very successful git workflow using only the following commands:

    git clone git:...
git add path/to/new_file
git commit -a
git pull
git push

(Yes, commit before pulling, rather than vice versa.)

If you want to use branches, you need to add:

    # Showing branches.
git branch -a
gitk --all

# Checking out branches.
git checkout some_branch

# Creating and pushing a new branch.
git checkout -b new_branch_name
git push -u origin new_branch_name

# Checking out an existing branch.
git checkout -b some_branch origin/some_branch

# Merging a branch into your current branch.
git pull origin some_branch

This workflow is extremely safe. At worst, you might need to resolve a merge conflict.

But if you start digging around under the hood, and you start editing your commit history, you'd better be prepared to understand what you're trying to do.

2
masnick 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Thanks -- great article. This is the most readable and straight-forward explanation of git's internals that I've seen (and I've read a bunch of articles/books/etc. looking for resources to help others learn git).

I'd also recommend The Git Parable (http://tom.preston-werner.com/2009/05/19/the-git-parable.htm...) for anyone who hasn't read it. Different focus, but also helpful for understanding git's philosophy.

3
barrkel 7 hours ago 9 replies      
The whole "downloading history of the repository onto your machine" thing about git is what makes it unworkable where I work. A normal checkout from SVN is over 3GB in size just for our team's tree. There are a number of binaries that get pulled in and updated for various reasons (SDKs, platform-specific binaries) and they are versioned for repeatable and automatable builds across branches, all self-contained with minimal dependencies. I dread to think what the entire history would take - it must be many 100s of GBs at least. It would certainly rule out the whole "working disconnected" idea on laptops, for one.
4
Lewisham 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would have really liked it if the author had mentioned exactly how the co-worker in the beginning had got into the "3-way merge" state, and some how got onto a non-existent branch. I don't know what it means, and I've never got there, so I'd love to know how it happened.

(or maybe the author did mention it and I missed it?)

5
wccrawford 9 hours ago 4 replies      
No, actually, it's not. And that post proves it.

You can do some things to make it easier on yourself (and others) but it's not simple. You find out how un-simple it is when you hit one of those magical corner cases.

Don't get me wrong, I love Git. I far prefer it over SVN and CVS. But it's not simple.

6
famousactress 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I made the executive decision to leave our comfy world of Versions because it seemed clear that Git was winning the Internet.

I ADORE git and can't imagine NOT using it now that I've switched, but the little sentence above packs a whole lotta lame in it.

Executive decision? Gross. There are good reasons for them, but not many. If you can't win your team over you probably don't have a good argument for the change... which brings me to the next problem I have with that sentence: winning the Internet? That's a great reason to look into something. Not a great reason to switch your team to it.

Also, no. It's not simpler. It's pretty much just as complicated as You think it is. It's actually kind of a big pain in the ass to start using git.. but boy is it worth it.

7
vailripper 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Having used Mercurial and Git, I have to say I vastly prefer the interface of Mercurial. It still has its quirks, but overall I find it much easier to use, especially on Windows. Git was very clearly built as a Unix solution first, with Windows support hacked on later.
8
projectileboy 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Although I love Git, this whole thread exemplifies the way in which Git horribly fails my one success measure for good tools: you don't talk about them very much.
9
chriseidhof 8 hours ago 0 replies      
(a bit off-topic)

Oh no! I now see cognitive dissonance everywhere. I realized that it's the same with git: maybe we like it so much because it took such a hard time to master. I still don't feel like I master it. However, reading some books on git and understanding the philosophy did make it feel simpler.

10
cpeterso 8 hours ago 1 reply      
When git was born, many people complained about its poor usability and some people created friendlier "porcelain" scripts. Eventually, git itself became "good enough" and maintaining porcelain scripts became too much work to keep up.

Is it too late for an improved git user experience? With so many online tutorials and books, a new porcelain interface would have a tough time capturing much mind share (while still calling itself git).

For those looking for something simpler than git, I recommend eg (EasyGit), a one-file Perl wrapper:

http://people.gnome.org/~newren/eg/

11
gms 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So what was the cause of the original error and how did you fix it?
12
jcromartie 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this, and think: cryptographic hashes are just too damn cool.
13
stretchwithme 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The sea parted for me when I caught Scott Chacon explaining git.

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF_OlomyKQQ

It really is better in so many ways and once you understand how it works, you may say, like me, "Ahh, YES!"

And, yeah, he warns you about rebase.

14
VilleSalonen 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I read through the article waiting for the explanation of the "Falling back to patching base and 3-way merge?" line but unfortunately it wasn't explained. Git didn't become any simpler after all. :(
15
par 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Love the concept of the article but right out of the gate comparing it to a Model T and saying you must be a mechanic to operate it will likely result in a high bounce rate, and possibly just serve to re-affirm someones belief that git is, indeed, complex.
16
jbredeche 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Great, entertaining writing style. Probably the most readable intro to Git I've ever read.
17
psychotik 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish the author would've explained the motivation to move from SVN to Git, other than 'it was winning over the web'. Was SVN just not working for them, for some reason? Are there things that he and him company wanted to do that wasn't possible with SVN, but was with Git?
18
oacgnol 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Git is very powerful and I do like it more than SVN, but I felt like I had more trouble switching to it from SVN than if I had learned git from a clean slate. Switching my mindset from SVN-style centralized repos to decentralized git was the hardest part, as certain things in SVN didn't translate to git. Git is simple, but switching is not.
19
asreal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
No thanks, I think I will wait for another couple of years until the next fan-boy tool comes along.
20
Kwpolska 7 hours ago 0 replies      
...and you are an idiot. WHY did you use rebase? If you are a noob, why won't you use the great GitHub for Mac app? It is even prettier than Versions. http://mac.github.com/
21
i386 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If only promoters of Git put as much effort into fixing Gits usability as they do posturing about how everyone is wrong and how easy Git is, we'd have a better tool.
6
First employee of startup? You are probably getting screwed itlater.com
372 points by Murkin  6 days ago   198 comments top 50
1
michaelochurch 6 days ago  replies      
First, I disagree that early employees of startups are "probably" getting screwed, but it definitely can happen, and often does to people who don't know their real value.

The part of this that resonates with me isn't the mathematics. The math isn't very relevant because there's a really large unknown: the eventual value of the company. One percent could be a lot of money, or it could be nothing. There's also the matter of dilution: is he protected against dilution from investor and employee stock grants over the next N years? I would guess not. His 1% could be 0.2% or less by the time an exit happens.

What is obvious is the emotional undercurrent to this very common anti-pattern. It sounds like he's not a real co-founder, he's "just a coder". They seem to be trying to sell him on a rotten deal because they think it's just such a privilege to work on their golden idea that they don't need to compensate properly. He's going to bust his ass to make the code work, for a salary half of his market rate, and in return he gets a tiny sliver of the company that gives him no real control, on a 4-year vesting cycle. I'm sorry, but these two guys are not (after 4 years, after he's done some real work) worth 79 times what he is just because they had the connections to raise money.

Prospective employees tend to view equity grants in a pre-employment context, when a 1% share seems extremely generous because the employee hasn't done anything yet. But that's what vesting's for! Vesting allows companies to compensate based on future contributions, with the knowledge that if the employee quits or is fired before the 4-year period is up, they won't have to pay for all 4 years of work.

At the least, if still thinks it's an "exciting" opportunity worth pursuing, he should recognize that he probably can't value the company better than the market, that we are in frothy times, and that the equity is worth more to an investor than to him (different risk profiles). So the value of 1% (post-money) of a $2.5 million company is $25,000 at most. That's $6,250 per year, far less than what he's giving up.

The first employee of a startup is not necessarily getting screwed. If that employee gets appropriate respect for his skill set, and reasonable compensation for the risks inherent in a startup, then it's a fair trade. A lot of people go into startups as early employees knowing the risks and upsides and that's fine.

What he should do if he actually wants to work on the startup: First, he needs to value his contribution to the company over the next 4 years appropriately and put a number on his "sweat equity". Let's say his market salary is $100,000 and he's being paid $50,000. Now add to his base salary: benefits (15% for health insurance, 401k matching), job-loss risk (25%, since typical severance offers are 1/4 tenure at current salary), career risk and opportunity cost (15%), and overage hours (30%, assuming a 50-55 hour work week). That's $185,000 per year. Take that, less the $50,000 he's making, and his sweat equity is $135,000 per year. Over 4 years, that's $540,000. The company's valuation is $2.5 million, "pre" to his contributions. He should be getting about 16% of the company, assuming he remains for 4 years. This number seems high, but if he's there after 4 years he will have been there almost as long as the founders, so it's about right.

First action: he needs to ask for 20% and settle for no less than 12%. If they say, "but you haven't done anything yet", he should point out that the equity grant is subject to vesting and that he won't get anything if he doesn't do any work.

Second action: he needs to demand the right to listen in on investor and client meetings. Otherwise, the other two founders will hold all the power in the organization because they, and they alone, hold that special knowledge of what investors want. If they think he's "just a coder", they'll show it by saying (in effect) that no, he's not "good enough" to be in the investor meetings.

The most likely outcome of his making these two demands is that they'll tell him to get lost. If that's the outcome, it's also the best outcome because it means the startup's a tarpit.

2
patio11 6 days ago 3 replies      
Imagine three twenty-something guys working on a startup that has more lines of code than dollars in the bank. They're working out of an apartment and spend most evenings eating ramen noodles from the same MSG-laden box. They work approximately equal hours (too many). They suffer approximately equal stress (more than they ever expected). They bear approximately equal responsibility for not tanking the company through poor performance. They each accept dramatic pay-cuts relative to easier, better jobs which they could sleepwalk their way into.

Next door, there are another three guys, eating ramen, etc etc.

Now, it seems to me like the three guys behind Door #1 are very similar to the three guys behind Door #2. However, in one case they're all co-founders, and in one case they are two co-founders and a first employee. Those are very, very different statuses for the third guy. The third co-founder gets mentioned in press hits about the company. The third co-founder can call himself a co-founder, a status of value in an industry (and society) which is sometimes obsessed with status. The third co-founder cannot get excised from the cap table without that being mentioned as a subplot in the eventual movie.

The first employee will not usually get mentioned. The first employee gets no social status of particular esteem. The first employee will not have a seat at the table -- literally or figuratively -- when the eventual disposition of the first employee's equity is decided. The first employee's equity stake is approximately 1/6 to 1/40th (or less!) of what the third co-founder's was. Well, theoretically. 0.5% is 1/40th of 20% in engineering math, not in investor math, because investors can change the laws of mathematics retroactively. 0.5% of millions of dollars is sometimes nothing at all. (This is one of the least obvious and most important things I have learned from HN.)

If you're good enough to be a first employee, you're probably epsilon away from being good enough to be a third co-founder. There may be good reasons to prefer being an employee... but think darn hard before you make that decision.

3
wheels 6 days ago  replies      
Another way of working things out is figuring out what the probable return on the stake being given is, e.g. something like, say:

• Employee given 1%

• Two additional funding rounds at 30% dillution each bring that to 0.49%

• In a $30 million exit the employee will get $147,000

• Probability of an exit at $30m of 10% (somewhat generous, but let's assume that the company has already raised an angel round and that's being used as a filter)

• So the adjusted value, including probability of failure, of those options is just $14,700

You can adjust the math to fit the startup at hand, but it's generally a reasonable formula for evaluating the value of options vs. salary. In general if you want to join a startup as a first employee you should either push for a larger slice, a near-industry-standard salary or do it for the experience (say, if you're interested in starting a startup of your own down the line).

4
pg 6 days ago 2 replies      
You can write an article claiming that anyone doing x is probably getting screwed, if you choose numbers that make it a bad deal. In my experience (which at this point is pretty extensive) the numbers he uses here are extreme outliers.

I'd expect a startup that was only able to raise money at $2m pre to be giving the first employee way more than 1%. How much more depends on how good he is (a factor that's not even considered in this article). Someone as good as the founders could reasonably expect 15%.

5
blader 6 days ago 0 replies      
A more accurate title for this would be:

"Taking a pay cut that is more than the market value of your equity stake? You are probably getting screwed."

6
OstiaAntica 6 days ago 1 reply      
The comparison math forgot the impact of taxes. The employee's $50K "investment" is pretax money, whereas the investors are putting in after-tax dollars. The marginal combined state, federal, and payroll tax rate on that second $50,000 in earnings is probably over 40%, so maybe the actual take-home salary given up for the deal is $29,000. Plus the equity earned is taxed at much lower capital gains rates (15%).
7
kabdib 6 days ago 1 reply      
Happened to me.

Years of effort . . . startup bought . . . eventually wound up with 17 shares of Oracle.

I'm not bitter. It was a fun ride, I learned a lot, and after an initial pay cut (when I first joined, and funding was tight) I got paid a decent salary.

8
pgroves 6 days ago 0 replies      
The founders are playing a dangerous game in this story. If key engineers don't have much reason to stick around other than it being exciting, they are likely to leave as soon as they get bored or tired. And yes, you can get bored while working 80 hour weeks.

I was once in this exact position. I was the first employee and over the next few years a bunch of senior managers came in and each got 5-10x the stock I'd gotten.

When the whole thing got old, I looked around and saw that I didn't have much upside potential (especially since there had been dilution), my salary was below market, and I left.

What was incredible looking back is that something similar happened with a truly key engineer... someone who was recruited out of a university because he had more or less built the text mining library the company was using by himself. A product line rested on his shoulders, so he had a ton of responsibility, but when things got rough he didn't have enough reason to stick around.

Added: The point is, there are good times and bad times in startups. In the good times you should look around and decide who you really need to stick around in the bad times and give out stock accordingly.

9
earlylinkedin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some people are talking about the "expected value" of being an early employee, which is a very valuable view. I'd like to focus more on the best case to give a sense of what you can hope for if everything goes right.

I was fortunate enough to be an early engineer at LinkedIn after I graduated college. I was one of the first few engineers hired. I'm not an amazing company picker, and I barely knew what a startup was at the time -- I just got lucky because I knew one of the cofounders.

I received a decent option grant (especially for a kid just out of college!) and stayed at the company for two years. My options got diluted approximately 50% during the various funding rounds. Right now, LinkedIn is a top 20 website in the world, and there's a consensus that its current stock price is "very optimistic". My net worth on paper ends up being a couple of million. Needless to say, I'm thrilled. However, I also want to point out that there are only twenty "top 20 websites", and most of them aren't going to change anytime soon. So if you're one of the first few engineers at one of the 10-20 companies that's going to go from nothing to huge in the next 5-10 years, then you can view a few million -- perhaps 10-20 million -- as being the best that you can expect. And there are literally a few dozen, or maybe 100 people that will get this kind of success every decade. There is little skill involved here. It's all about getting lucky.

Furthermore, people forget that it takes time for value to build. It might take you 4 years to get most of your stock options and decide you want a more stable job or a change of scenery, but it might take another 10 years for your company to go public or get sold. You're giving up a big chunk of your 20s for the potential of a few million in your mid-late 30s -- but you could probably save close to that much anyway with good spending habits and better paying jobs.

So if you want to be an early employee at a start-up, it's an awesome experience. But you should do it because you love it, because you're passionate about the product, or because you cherish the learning opportunity. You shouldn't do it because you think it will make you a gazillionaire.

(just to be clear, I did love my time at LinkedIn -- I made some great friends, learned a ton, understood that startups are the kind of places that I like to work at, etc. I'm really happy I was there, and would be even if the company hadn't become a big success)

10
localhost3000 6 days ago 0 replies      
My first gig out of school was with a startup. First employee. They paid 20% below market wage and gave way less than 1% equity. I didnt know any better (young/naive). I got screwed, big time.
11
davidw 6 days ago 3 replies      
It'd be very interesting to look at real data from real companies and see how early employees made out. And naturally you'd want to include a wide spectrum of companies, both successful and unsuccessful. You could look at what rates people were actually paid, how much stock/options they got, how much it turned out to be worth and so on.
12
craigmc 6 days ago 1 reply      
Leaving aside that 1% is, in reality, too small a % for employee #1 of most startups, there are two factors that might make it worth it:

1. Route from employee #1 to v. senior position (with commensurately higher salary) is shorter* irrespective of whether the employee stays with the startup or moves on. (*Shorter than if the employee was working as a small cog elsewhere), and thus there is a fairly strong "jam tomorrow" argument that can be made.

2. Route from employee #1 to owning your own funded startup is again shorter. As employee #1, if you do a good job, then you'll be considered a de facto founder, and thus will have that to add to your pitch when it is your turn to try and raise $500k.

A third factor is that money is not everything. Working for a startup can be awesome, and might give you a whole range of professional and life experiences that you would not get when sucking down at your $100k pa teat.

13
roel_v 6 days ago 2 replies      
But comparing to the opportunity of somebody else is irrelevant. If the employee has 500k to invest, they're free to get the same terms as the investor. It's about scarcity: apparently the founders think that finding an investor with 500k is harder than finding the tech guy. Ergo, the investor gets paid more.
14
jacques_chester 6 days ago 4 replies      
Alternative title: "Don't remember how to multiply, add, subtract and divide? You are probably getting screwed".

There's so many things in life where party A gets away with soaking party B because B didn't perform some simple arithmetic.

15
goldmab 6 days ago 1 reply      
There's a mistake in the math: one year of a salary cut is given as the amount invested. Why one year?
16
rmorrison 6 days ago 1 reply      
This post is missing the most valuable part of working at a startup: the experience.

Sure, you can go work at ________ (big company paying fresh developers $120k+), but you're going to be pigeonholed into working on a small aspect of the product/company.

If you join a promising small startup, you're going to learn about all aspects of business, startups, selling, marketing, fundraising, etc. These skills will be extremely helpful to you throughout the rest of your career, especially if you plan to start your own company someday.

17
ayanb 6 days ago 1 reply      
Without having a bias towards the investor community, I think this comparison is only done from a money standpoint. Its also important to note what other value investor money and involvement brings to the organisation.

Investors bring contacts from their immediate and extended network, sometimes a strong brand (think SV Angel/ YC), mentorship, experts in the given field, and media attention.

18
Joakal 6 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't know the forgone loss of salary for equity could be compared with investment that easily. That's brilliant!
19
HaloZero 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to point out (read a bit) you get equity at big companies too? That's not a not negligible amount of cash. So the guy isn't just losing $50K in salary, but the equity that the other company (bigger company) would be giving him. Not sure what the equity grants at bigger companies end up being though.
20
cHalgan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure, but if you want to build a world class team you need to pay more than market rate + excellent team/work environment + more responsibility + more impact on world + give equity. There is no free lunch. Really.

Did Facebook become successfully because they went cheap with hiring VP of engineering early in their game? (answer not: they recruited the top)

Yes, you can get lucky and build a successful company by hiring people which are fresh from college for less than market and dream about being rich.

The point is the following: DONT HIRE BAD DEVELOPERS.

Unfortunately, good developers are good in math and they were around so they will not go with salary cut + questionable equity stake. Yes you can get lucky but there are so many other unknowns when you run a business and you should limit unknowns to the minimum.

21
dlikhten 6 days ago 1 reply      
Differences between Co-Founter, Investor, First Coder:

Co-Founder:
- Starts the compamy, has the idea/initial impl
- Takes risk, may work for a while with zero salary, investing personal time for nothing.
- May wind up getting ZERO (total) for the investment.
- Company does not get paid, co-found does not get paid.
- Big potential payout
- Health benefits? Post funding, or from other job while building startup.

Investor:
- Puts money into company.
- May lose everything, that money is just going to the founders for some food and servers or something of that nature.
- Payout depends on investment size. However lets say compared to co-founder, small payout.
- Minimal invested personal effort compared to co-founder.
- Invested time assisting the company and connecting the company to personal contacts to help it grow.
- Provides advice when needed (hopefully)

First Coder:
- Gets paid less than average coder
- Gets potential payout less than investor
- Gets paid or laid off. There is no in-between. May agree to not get paid this month and instead get paid later in hopes of assisting the business during a tough month.
- Has to be pretty close to the business since it's so volatile, so will see the lay-off coming.
- Probably coming in with benefits provided to employee.

As you can see risks/benefits are quite different for everyone. So its not just "you are getting screwed".

I think that getting a very small % is actually practical depending on how far along the company is. The question is about how much risk is being taken, and how much is being contributed.
A smart co-founder will see the contribution of a very valuable employee and offer more % to that employee especially if they are so critical to the company. Its not about employee #1 its about the fact that during the early phases, each individual person has the ability to make big things for the company, and they should be rewarded for those big things. Keeping life static is quite boring and no incentive. Yet having incentives for employees transforming the business early on is quite good.

22
Hisoka 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think it depends on how much work was actually done before you joined. If the 2 co-founders already completed the main app/product, and you joined, 1% actually sounds fair. If you're gonna be the one creating almost the entire product from scratch, 1% is pitiful.
23
rmrm 6 days ago 0 replies      
my history with startup options:

1st company: acquired
2nd: ipo
3rd: bankrupt
4th: acquired

Net value of all option shares : 0

Meaning, in toto, my strike price x shares is almost exactly what they ended up being worth. The net present value of an option is the strike price. Even the private options market is pretty efficient. Whereas a lottery ticket might have a net present value of only 60%, so these are pretty good lottery tickets. But that is essentially all they are.

24
grimen 6 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on if the startup got production material and deals. Letting people in more than a very small equity and salary is just plain stupid if you worked hard for a year to get anywhere. Hardest thing is not to compe up with an idea, hardest things are: start, execute, ship, and have models to get paid. When these are almost done, new founders are not needed - they should have joined earlier.

I've lately met people tryng to get onto the boat as if all we worked for was air. If I take someone more in for more than a good salary he/she better be a unshaped diamond.

Of course, the article mentions 50% of normal salary for 1% - that is just so stupid. The people who wants to signed up on that cannot be unshaped diamonds.

25
spinlock 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cash is king. You can demand more equity and priority in the debt stack ordering when you write checks. Life's not fair but whining over how you're getting screwed won't help you realize the opportunities that are available to you.
26
par 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you give employee #1 only 1% of your startup, then there is something wrong with you, or employee #1 is more of an intern and not a key hire.
27
vineet 6 days ago 1 reply      
Having been employee one and started 2 companies - I strongly disagree.

It is hard to find employees/co-founders that (a) have the right skills, (b) the right interests, (c) the right industry knowledge/contacts, and (d) are in the same place in their life to make the same amount of commitments.

And even when you do you find such people, it is hard to give them 10% equity in the beginning and then tell them that they are under-performing, and only deserves 2.5% equity.

Now, I agree, that the definition of under-performing is very different for a startup compared to a more established company. I have also found people are willing to accept when they are under-performing, but contracts and equity that is given is harder to change.

However, I would love to have the right cofounder, and even share the equivalent equity with him if he can take over half my burden.

Perhaps the answer is to find people with a very good fit, start them with low equity (~1%), and tell them how they can get more equity. And then doubling equity multiple times as they are able to rise to a founder level responsibility.

28
brudgers 6 days ago 0 replies      
If I were valuing the deal, I would give primary consideration to the likelihood that the business is underfunded based upon their inability to provide a competitive salary after receiving funding. I would also consider the crap nature of the equity offer as evidence that their source of funding does not bring a wealth of experience to the table...no smart tech investor is going to tolerate the risk associated with screwing over critical hires.
29
nivertech 6 days ago 1 reply      
This guy can work for a year and invest his money on the same terms as angel investors.
The only technical problem how to do it tax free, b/c you obviously owe income tax and in some countries like Israel also VAT.

There are some solutions, but they are not trivial. The employee actually buys a convertible debt in the company on the similar terms as angel investor and can cash out on later rounds.

30
nwatson 6 days ago 0 replies      
One more factor to consider, though: angel or Series A preferred shares often cost much more per share than the employee's per-share Common strike price. The option-exercising employee has a lower outlay and thus less risk. Of course, in all but the most favorable exits the reward per share will also be smaller.
31
rudiger 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is just a special case of "Working on a startup? You are probably getting screwed." The first employee doesn't have it too much worse than the founders, the second employee, or the third.
32
kelnos 5 days ago 0 replies      
Related question: when we're talking "equity" here for early employees, are we talking stock or options? At my last startup, all employees (even #1) were given options, not stock outright.
33
JoeAltmaier 6 days ago 0 replies      
Works the same way for contractors. Take a lower rate, delay payment, accept warrants instead of grants...its all investment, and should be on the same terms as any other early investor.
34
ailon 6 days ago 0 replies      
The question is: would someone working on 100k salary invest real 50k into a startup? And the answer is 99.9% no. They'll just spend the 50k on fancier food and other crap.
35
slowpoison 6 days ago 0 replies      
He forgot to factor the risk into the equation here. Investors have risk. If the company goes down they lose $500K. How much do you lose $50K?

1% may or may not be less. We definitely need deeper analysis here.

36
robjohnson 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not entirely an accurate depiction of equity calculations, but it is nice to see as many people as possible doing these back-of-the-napkin sketches to educate. Mark Suster has some great posts about equity math.
37
caffeine5150 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was a co-founder of a startup (non-tech) that raised $60+ million over 10 years and in my experience, a dollar of sweat equity, particularly from a person without some extraordinary personal value-add, is rarely as valuable as a dollar of paid in capital, all things being equal.
38
sarcasmatron 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting responses: I've never worked with startups for the payout, but for the experience of working with startups.

As to stock, I prefer shares to options from both sides of the transaction.

Finally, FASB 123 doesn't cover contractors or other non-employees - worth keeping in mind.

39
DodgyEggplant 6 days ago 0 replies      
Then open your own startup, and get 99% of the shares for 0% of your previous salary
40
sl_ 6 days ago 1 reply      
41
toblender 6 days ago 0 replies      
At least he got offered equity. The first one I joined didn't even have that.
42
abalone 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a market. If you think you can get >1% for "saving the company" with your hax0r skilz, go right ahead and try to negotiate that.
43
dfragnito 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is risk associated with hiring an employee. There is no risk associated with a cash investment, There is investment risk, the risk associated with making the wrong investment like hiring the wrong employee.

The investor with 50k in hand now vs the 100K per year employee willing to work for 50k. The Investor wins. With the 50K the start up can hire the 100k per year employee for 50k. If thing do not work out you can fire them and hire another one.

The money is less risky giving it a higher value, plus its all upfront which has already been discussed.

44
marcin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice polarising title, but:
1. You're not getting screwed, you are making a choice, which is driven by market factors like your alternatives, expected utility from the job etc.
2. The numbers given are quite extreme - if the guy is really worth 100k I find it hard to believe that he would be offered 50k and only 1%. Also his option stake could raise with more responsibility given, this is just the initial negotiation point as I see it.
3. It only makes sense in the Valley or US.
45
amorphid 6 days ago 0 replies      
Youre not getting screwed if you walk into the job with your eyes wide open.
46
ailon 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you are going to work as an employee in a startup primarily for the money, you are doing it wrong already.
47
realschool 6 days ago 0 replies      
At a start-up I'm making a good rate for my first job.
48
Stravob 6 days ago 1 reply      
you got a mistake with your math 500K of 2 million is 25%
49
rglover 6 days ago 2 replies      
Honestly, going in as the first employee of a startup shouldn't be a decision made by someone just looking for compensation. Rather, a first employee should be someone who is so hooked on the idea of that startup, they focus on the ability to build a company from the ground up. It's a risk, but if all else fails, they can find a job working for an established business that can offer those numbers. Joining a startup early on should be based on beliefs and passion for the company, not a paycheck.
50
earbitscom 6 days ago 3 replies      
No offense, but this is horseshit and the math is embarrassing.

The number of people ready to invest $500k, for whom this is "a small part of his capital," is about 1/1000th of the number of people who will enjoy working and learning in a small, exciting company, and having more input into the product, regardless of total potential for financial gain. So, the value of $500k in cash from an accredited investor is already worth more than the time investment of the average employee, for whom there are replacements lining up. [Edit] This is to say nothing of the additional value that an investor adds.

Even if that were not the case, and this were strictly a math exercise, the investor is putting in $500k NOW. You're putting in $50k spread out over the next 365 days, during which a solid company's valuation may go up by ten fold. Right now, your $50k is worth 1% of the company. But you're not putting in $50k NOW. You're putting in $0 NOW. You're putting in $136 tomorrow, and $136 the next day. Good luck making an early stage investment in an exciting startup for $136. I have never seen early stage stock available on lay away.

Ask the secretaries at Microsoft or Google if they got ripped off. This is a joke.

7
US Government seeks to block AT&T & T-Mobile's $39 Billion Merger bloomberg.com
364 points by ldayley  7 days ago   162 comments top 24
1
jordanb 7 days ago 5 replies      
There are more than a half a million reasons why Congress will attempt to block this lawsuit:

http://www.politicususa.com/en/att-democracy

My guess is that Boehner will announce a bill to "defund" it shortly. That seems to be their favorite way to control the executive currently.

As a very happy T-Mobile customer, I nearly punched my monitor when I saw the announcement that it was going to be consumed by the Death Star. I did not have faith that the justice department had the cajoles or the honesty to actually try and stop it. I still have little faith that the government will be able to stop it, given that Congress has dropped all pretense of being anything other than available to the highest bidder.

2
ansy 7 days ago 3 replies      
The DOJ may be using its leverage to get better concessions out of AT&T. Basically, because AT&T set such a big cancellation fee for itself, the DOJ can bargain up to just less than that amount. It's saying, "shape up or we'll seriously make you eat that $7 billion fee!" I actually think the huge cancellation fee means the deal is more likely to happen because AT&T will tolerate a lot of regulatory arm twisting before walking away.

Exactly what AT&T will need to do I'm not sure. AT&T will probably be forced to sell any T-Mobile operations that overlap with AT&T's existing service just like in the Verizon-Alltel merger a couple years ago. Presumably this will be to small regional carriers so choice is preserved for people in those areas. AT&T will probably need to agree to some kind of consumer price protection at the very least to keep AT&T prices at current levels or lower for a number of years and protect existing T-Mobile customer contracts. AT&T might also have to sell or spin off its TV and home internet operations. The issue of ridiculous text messaging fees might come up, but nothing will be done about them.

3
cookiecaper 7 days ago  replies      
If there has ever been an obvious need to prevent a merger it's this one. I really hope that common sense outweighs AT&T's ability to purchase bureaucrats this time.
4
thematt 7 days ago 3 replies      
T-Mobile would clean up on this deal if the US Government succeeds. Look at that breakup fee: $3 billion in cash and another $4 billion in non-monetary benefits.
5
ratsbane 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news. I'm a happy T-Mobile customer and I've had bad experiences with AT&T and its predecessor, BellSouth, in the past. I don't want to be forced into AT&T.

Question: What can we do to support the government's efforts? Write our congressmen? Write the DoJ?

6
daimyoyo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Good. To have all the GSM spectrum being controlled by one carrier would clearly have been anti-competitive.
7
grandalf 7 days ago 1 reply      
The Sprint/Nextel merger led to a steady increase in mobile phone plan prices. One can only imagine what an AT&T/T-Mobile merger would do.
8
cshenoy 7 days ago 0 replies      
The breakup fee may be what T-Mobile was looking for all along since Deutsche Telekom AG has said it's not willing to invest more in the venture. $3 billion isn't chump change and I'm sure they'll take full advantage of those agreements (e.g. spectrum rights, etc) should the deal fall through.
9
baltcode 7 days ago 2 replies      
From the article:
"Should regulators reject the transaction, AT&T would pay Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash. It would also provide T-Mobile with wireless spectrum in some regions and reduced charges for calls into AT&T's network, for a total package valued at as much as $7 billion, Deutsche Telekom said this month."

I don't get it, I thought this would happen if the deal went through. What is this $7 bn package in the event that the deal is blocked?

10
alexqgb 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this gloriously epic lawyer-fail had anything to do with the DOJ's call? http://bit.ly/oGKw2x [Leaked AT&T Letter Demolishes Case For T-Mobile Merger]
11
jonknee 7 days ago 2 replies      
When was the last time a merger of this size got blocked by the Feds?
12
Daniel_Newby 6 days ago 0 replies      
AT&T said yesterday that it was surprised by the government's lawsuit ...

So now we know where Saddam Hussein's publicity man went.

13
lancewiggs 6 days ago 0 replies      
The extraordinary high breakup fee is important here, and it's there despite the many reasons we and the DOJ itself are citing.
It seems that they breach everything - it;s a terrible deal for consumers.

So why are AT&T and their investment bankers pushing so hard for this deal? There is certainly an agency cost - the execs at AT&T want to do a deal and run a bigger company, and their lawyers and bankers want the deal to go ahead so they van get paid. However T-Mobile has to spend money on lawyers and bankers as well, and so some of that breakup fee will be used to pay them, as well as T-Mobile itself.

AT&T were banking on a compliant DOJ, and to be fair over the last decade there was very little push-back from any of the regulators. Since the GFC we would hope that they look over business dealing a bit more firmly, and this seems to be the case.

PBS have a very good article (video) on the topic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XquULysO1E

In Australia, NZ and the UK there is a Commerce Commission or Monopoles Regulator that can just say no to deals like this. It's sad that the DOJ has to do so via an expensive lawsuit. Your taxes at work.

14
AndrewWarner 7 days ago 0 replies      
This whole process is going to weaken T-Mobile even more.

Founders I've interviewed told me that the acquisition process plays head games with them and their people -- especially if it falls apart.

15
marshray 7 days ago 0 replies      
Yay, for once they do something for the consumer.

We'll see if they hold to it, or is just a sham only to be dropped after promises and payouts.

16
dupe123 7 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! I'm glad to see the government is taking a stance against it. Cell phone bills are expensive enough, I could only imagine what this merger would have done to them. I just pray they hold strong. This could be a really good thing for Tmob. Could seriously help level the playing field.
17
dethstarr 7 days ago 0 replies      
T-Mobile has horrible service and horrible data plans. I'm sick of them and wish they would get sucked into the black hole that is ATT. Where I still will have horrible service and bad data plans.

Need to switch to Verizon.

18
squozzer 7 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of good points, but one I didn't see is what will T-mobile do if the deal falls through?
$7bn IS chump change compared to what T and VZ spend annually on infrastructure.
Unless DT wants to step up their game, T-mob will muddle along as #3 or #4 until a merger with someone goes through.
And if the DOJ blocks T, they'll (probably) VZ, which leaves Sprint. Good luck with that...
19
beefman 7 days ago 3 replies      
I'm trying to understand why comments on Hacker News and Reddit are so uniformly against this merger. Is it because T-mobile has better customer service than AT&T (and most other carriers), and people are upset this will probably be lost?

When T-mobile came to the US, I was under the (perhaps incorrect) impression that they licensed their towers from AT&T (then Cingular). But my impression is that they, by now, have their own towers which will extend AT&T's network. Surely folks realize that mergers are badly needed in the wireless industry - that they are the solution to many of most onerous problems with wireless service today - and that artificially dividing infrastructure, as the FCC did, is tremendously wasteful.

20
kylecordes 7 days ago 0 replies      
Why bother? There will be a few minor agreements and/or spinoffs, then it will be approved.
21
AmericasNewsNow 7 days ago 3 replies      
Eh, theres always Verizon. AT&T cant get out of its own way anyway. If the govet wanted to block something, they should have stopped Google from buying youtube...
22
Vincentmb 7 days ago 5 replies      
I definitely understand the resistance to this merger, especially on Dan Hesse's part, but lets step back and think about what a "big two" would look like (Don't we live in a free-market?). A Verizon, AT&T dominated market is still going to drive innovation and maybe even more important an AT&T merger with T-Mobile will help to improve the quality of their service for their customers. As an AT&T customer myself, I'm all for it. One thing I know for sure; $7 Billion in failure is going to drive AT&T to do what it takes to make this happen ($3 billion breakup fee in cash an additional $3 to $4 billion in spectrum and services).
23
crag 7 days ago 1 reply      
Yay. About time the government did something for the consumer.

Thought someway somehow, ATT will get it's merger. They'll just spread more cash around.

Like TARP. Republican voted it down (for show). 4 days later they vote it up. At a cost of like $700 billion.

24
pessimist 7 days ago 4 replies      
I'm a happy T-mobile customer, and I hate AT&T, but IMHO the government has no business blocking this deal. Maybe the law allows it to block on nebulous competition grounds, but if it does then the law is an ass.

Business should be allowed to screw over customers as they see fit, customers can and must be allowed to walk away. And I can still walk away to join Sprint/Verizon.

Yes, neither of these companies may be offering me the best deal possible, but unless they are colluding, the government should not be involved.

8
You can't google 9999999..99999999999999999999999 google.com
351 points by reg29  6 days ago   80 comments top 23
1
waterhouse 6 days ago 5 replies      
On a faintly related note, I once was calculating partitions, using a relatively inefficient method (memoization: if f(n,k) is the number of distinct ways to express n as the unordered sum of integers no greater than k, then f(n,k) = f(n-k,k) + f(n,k-1)). My computer started to feel the strain in the thousands (this algorithm is O(n^2) in space and time). I then googled for the partition of, say, 1034, which is:

  91363785902248291467082481888195

I figured that chances are that no website will have that integer on there by accident. Lo and behold, I found, among other results, a text file containing the partitions up to 10,000, presumably done with a more efficient algorithm (likely Euler's ridiculous pentagonal-number recurrence formula, which, memoized, is roughly O(n^1.5) in time and O(n) in space): http://oeis.org/A000041/b000041.txt

2
buro9 6 days ago 3 replies      
The double dot indicates that this is a ranged query.

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.

3
user24 6 days ago 0 replies      
The reason for this is that you can google ranges of numbers, and people a couple of years ago were using this feature to find credit card numbers that were posted online, eg searching for 4000000000000000..4999999999999999

It was around the time that johnny's google hacking page became popular, iirc. (http://www.hackersforcharity.org/ghdb/)

5
ck2 6 days ago 0 replies      
You also cannot google some stuff commonly found in phpBB because of so many hacked sites out there.

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.)

6
skeptical 6 days ago 0 replies      
Probably that string was used as a dork together with some more text to find vulnerabilities on web applications or so.
So it was reported as a honey

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.

http://ghh.sourceforge.net/

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

7
martinkallstrom 6 days ago 4 replies      
I think this question is cool to think about and try to answer: What is the lowest integer that doesn't have any hits on google? Is there any reasoning that can help estimating the approximate magnitude it should be?
8
jergosh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Guess they don't want you to search for credit card numbers
9
david927 6 days ago 0 replies      
"With all due respect John, I am the head of IT and I have it on good authority that if you type 'Google' into Google, you can break the Internet." -- The IT Crowd
10
pointyhat 6 days ago 0 replies      
I get this:

Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later.

11
tsycho 6 days ago 3 replies      
Reading the comments here gave me an idea....google your own credit card numbers to check if its already in some scammer's index. While no results might not necessarily mean you are safe, a positive match is a clear red flag.
12
arrowgunz 6 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone please explain me why that happens? Google says - "Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later."
13
mahrain 6 days ago 0 replies      
Funny how Duckduckgo lists all sites linking to this story.
14
program 6 days ago 2 replies      
Neither

  1111111..11111111111111111111111
11111111..1111111111111111111111
111111..111111 // minimum case

or any other integer combination. 6 digits is the minimum amount that spawn the bizarre error.

16
37prime 6 days ago 0 replies      
Take out a few 9's out and Google still returned an error:
http://www.google.com/search?q=9999999..999999
17
n0fair 6 days ago 1 reply      
Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later. Why did this happen?
18
tete 6 days ago 1 reply      
I see why it doesn't work, but why doesn't it work with quotes either?
19
mikkohypponen 6 days ago 0 replies      
However, you can still set Google Alerts for a search like that.
20
21
drungli 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tried also this:
9999999..999999
same results!
22
digamber_kamat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Change the last 9 to 8 and see what happens ?
23
fletchowns 6 days ago 1 reply      
Bing to the rescue: http://www.bing.com/search?q=9999999..9999999999999999999999...

Pretty similar URL format eh?

9
Facebook doesn't like privacy countermeasures jwz.org
341 points by xentronium  4 days ago   106 comments top 24
1
rickmb 4 days ago 3 replies      
Facebook better wake up and realize that especially thanks to companies like them and their failure to self-regulate and respect privacy values outside the US, using Like-buttons for tracking is likely to become illegal in the EU and many other places in the next five years.

Technically, one could argue that they already violate existing laws, but incidents like these will make absolutely sure that these practices will be explicitly outlawed very soon.

It keeps surprising me how companies like Facebook and Google seem to be oblivious to the way privacy is perceived elsewhere, and are actively provoking stricter legislation than would be the case if they showed some respect. There is absolutely no question about these tracking practices being perceived as ethically unacceptable in many countries, so why provoke both negative publicity and legislation that is likely to handicap less intrusive solutions as well?

2
cletus 4 days ago 8 replies      
This is a non-story for the reasons stated but a story for other reasons.

It's standard that widget publishers require to use their widget "as is". That's basically what Facebook is saying. Not only do you not know what any custom modifications will necessarily do but it's a completely valid argument that you want a consistent user experience with your widget.

As for user tracking, this is basically an inevitable byproduct of Facebook hosting the widget, a situation I'm sure they're not unhappy about, but this really isn't a big deal in the context of how the Web works.

The story here (IMHO) is trust. Most pages have a Google Analytics tracking script on them. Do you trust Google? I do (disclaimer: I work for Google). Protecting user data and privacy are key priorities here. It's why Google+ has relatively simple privacy controls and allows you to export your data at any time.

Do you trust Facebook? I don't. Then again, there aren't many companies I do trust. But Facebook's track record seems to be to befuddle the user and trick or opt them into sharing things wider than they understand or want.

3
yuvadam 4 days ago 4 replies      
Friendly reminder, blocking all and any of Facebook's pre-click tracking measures can be implemented easily in AdBlock Plus (or any equivalent ad blocker) with the following rules:

    ||facebook.com^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||facebook.net^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||fbcdn.com^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||fbcdn.net^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net

4
slowpoke 4 days ago 0 replies      

  If it hadn't occurred to you yet that Facebook cares far
more about the "Like" buttons that you don't click than
about the ones that you do -- there you go.

I've been telling this to people since ages. These stupid Like buttons are an infestation, and exactly the reason why I care so much about Facebook's privacy policies despite not being registered on it - it's just not as simple as "not having an account". This goes for the other networks, too, by the way.

Besides, this solution with the two clicks is very clever, and privacy friendly. In addition, it speeds up page loading. It speaks for itself that the only measure Facebook has is trying to sue with a very broadly formulated policy, which I doubt applies in this case anyways:

  if such use could confuse users into thinking that the
reference is to Facebook features or functionality.

Well duh, it is a Facebook feature/functionality.

5
kragen 4 days ago 0 replies      
The most important update, from Aristotle: "Tina Kulow of Facebook Germany has spoken again. In a tweet, she wrote: “To clarify: a 2-click button is not ideal " but not a problem. Only a Like button that merely visually pretends to be one is not OK. That's all.” Since heise online changed the design of the button for the first click that activates the Like function, there should now be no obstacles on Facebook's part to further use of the 2-click button by heise online and other websites."
6
jeza 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently it's more of a copyright issue than the 2-click process. They don't like their logo being used on a locally hosted image. So heise.de made the button more generic and it's all good now.
7
bryogenic 4 days ago 0 replies      
A simple solution to this would be to not use facebook icons for your first click image. So maybe a simple 'social share' icon that brings up all the sharing options and at the same time loads the traditional facebook like button.
8
Xuzz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Before we spend too much time attacking Facebook over this, let's try and think of possible reasons why this might be not an "evil" move. No need to go out of our way to conclude "omg they're evil stealing our privacy".

Firstly, what if they just don't want to confuse users? I see people confused all the time of when you need to click and when you need to double-click, every time I see someone using the computer " I'm sure I do this myself, too. What does allowing someone to introduce uncertainty as to what's required here do, especially when their click-through buttons look just like Facebook's normal ones on other sites? I'd say it'd just confuse people. I don't have an issue with Facebook doing that, I'd actually rather have them enforce, this, so you know what is going on when you see a standard Like button.

(As a few other comments have noted, just replacing the button with a custom-styled one would solve this issue. It'd also solve user confusion, since it no longer appears to be Facebook requiring a double click.)

So, maybe they're not just after destroying privacy, after all? Maybe?

(I don't work for Facebook, or even know anyone who does. I just like to try and see both sides of something like this.)

9
maeon3 4 days ago 3 replies      
I forgot how when I click a like button on a foreign page, face book is keeping data about what pages I am visiting and (who,what,when,where,how) and is selling that click data about me to the highest bidder (and I cant turn it off) to advertisers or worse government agencies doing warrent-less surveillance.

I'm never clicking a facebook like button again until I can turn off user website tracking.

10
blahedo 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm glad this came up to make me think about it more; I'd already gotten in the habit of logging out of FB except when actively viewing the feed, for precisely this reason---I didn't want FB tracking me across browsing other sites. (The FB-hosted comment systems were actually the proximate worry, as well as the Like button.)

But that was my half-thought-through answer. Of course they're perfectly able to track me even without being logged in.[0] So the real answer is I need to be sure I'm not loading cross-site img and iframes... My Omniweb install I'd already configured to do that, but setting up proper privacy countermeasures on my Firefox install just jumped way up the priority list.

[0] http://panopticlick.eff.org/

11
yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are web browsers doing by sharing this accidental data between 3rd party sites anyway?

The default setting ought to be that connections to 3rd party sites are done in incognito mode. This would disallow tracking by looking up the referer and sites like Facebook couldn't also tell who's login cookies the browser is storing. You could then whitelist connections on a per-site basis.

12
rudiger 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there an open-source implementation of this two-click system for Facebook's Like button (and others like Google's +1 and Twitter's tweet button)?
13
hayeah 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the 2-clicks "like" button is super smart. I am going to implement it as a Chrome extension, what do you guys think? I've created a repo on github:

https://github.com/hayeah/FaceOff

14
jaekwon 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's the visitor's choice to visit a webpage.
It's the developer's choice to choose widgets.
Do you really think it's fair to say,
"I want to use your widget, FB, which happens through your servers, and I want to use them my way without your consent."
The default option (not choosing the widget) is always fair.

My point is that to make such widgets illegal, widgets that service three consenting parties, is completely retarded.

15
thedjpetersen 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was surprised to find out that Facebook tracks not only what 'like' buttons you have been clicking but also where you have been browsing. Is there a privacy browser extension?
16
doki_pen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this really just a facebook problem? Isn't it a problem for any client side service that is used across the web? Analytics packages, ad software, value add stuff like disqus, etc.
17
eloisius 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure how great it works because I only sought it out after reading this, but here's Facebook Disconnect for Chrome. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ejpepffjfmamnambag...
18
thelovelyfish 4 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook, google, all these other giant technology firms... They will be looked back on in the future as ruthless opportunists doing their best to take advantage of the public with technology before anyone can figure out what they're doing and stop them.

The world is not some cute friendly little place. It is equally as barbarous today as it was in the dark ages. The TVs have convinced everyone otherwise it seems. Evil people are using machines to take over the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9RiRfMYVlQ&feature=chann...

19
Sigi 4 days ago 0 replies      
A possibly related note: I use two browsers to browse the web in an attempt to protect my privacy (as futile as it seems to be); one is logged in to google, and the other is not.

When using the browser that is logged in, I get 15 "+1"s for google like-like button. however, when using the other browser that's not logged in, I get 0 "+1"s.

Can anyone explain?

20
jcfrei 4 days ago 1 reply      
what about the like buttons on techcrunch? they only load if you hover over them as well.
21
baby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was doing it on my website, I never had any problems with facebook.

Actually, I had other problems with them, and what they did is just plainly banned my application and blocked my website from using facebook API.

22
RexRollman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is detestable. Just like its founder.
23
pacemkr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't use the Like button.

There, problem solved.

If your startup isn't social and free, it isn't hip. If you don't have a Facebook page and seven shades of "Like" buttons, you are destroying your business. Just stop.

Stop putting that social media flare (crap) on your website. Your users don't care, because sharing a link is not an unsolved problem.

24
calbear81 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love the privacy "oh no they're selling our data!" paranoia that people still have without considering WHY and what legitimate reasons Facebook has for sending back data when a Like button is implemented.

First, they are a SOCIAL network, this data helps them figure out the engagement level with different brands that participate on the Facebook social platform. Second, in this case, the use of 2-click solution creates a disconnect with the expected behavior of the Facebook Like widget which means users going across different sites will not know whether they need to make one or two clicks to enable a "Like". Third, when you don't use the Facebook Like widget, you don't get any insight into your connections with your social graph unless you click on the Like button which defeats the purpose of being able to see that "4 of your friends like this".

There are real privacy concerns that we should consider but I'm tired of reading EU Privacy office statements that show a lack of understanding of how the web works and without regard to the impact to the monetization ecosystem which is the lifeblood of many web publishers. What bothers me more is that there's a lack of consideration that there are legitimate reasons a certain level of data is collected in order to make the web more social.

10
The Million Dollar Question sebastianmarshall.com
334 points by jirinovotny  7 days ago   69 comments top 27
1
DanielBMarkham 7 days ago 3 replies      
I really liked this post. Sebastian continues to develop his conversational style. Very nice.

Asshole consultant inside of me kept nodding early on: "You just don't get it, Sebastian! Charge more!"

You see, there's a very sad truth consultants learn early on: it doesn't matter how much you know that can help somebody. All that matters is how much influence you can have.

The reason some consultants charge ten times what others do for the same information? It's not that they are ten times as smart; it's that they don't want to waste their life giving great advice to people who aren't going to value it. If you walk in the door at 10K per day, bet your bottom dollar people are going to listen to you. And that means you can help. Walk in the same door for free, just to help out a friend? Your advice, by definition, is worthless. You'd be lucky getting them to accept just a tiny piece of advice.

But then I got to the key of the piece: when you do finally "get it", it changes your relationship with "normal" folks.

I think Sebastian's being a bit over-dramatic here, but I firmly agree. There is something very crazy about making money from thin air. Especially how it's done today, with some keystrokes and a bunch of virtual magic. At least in the old days if you met a millionaire he could take you down to his factory or something. Maybe told you about all the hard work he's done.

Nowadays the same type of guy made much more money that than that and there's not even an office. For most people, it just doesn't compute. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that to most people, there's something just wrong about making money the way it's made today on the net. Something shady. If you're lucky you get the "odd weirdo" label. If you're unlucky you attract attention from people you would rather not.

Because of that, I think I'm giving up on the $40Mil dream. I'm happy just to make enough to free up my time to work on things I love doing. I'll let the other guys be the really extreme weirdos. :)

Short side story: I sold a piece of land a year or so ago. It wasn't much, but it was in the tens of thousands of dollars. The guy who bought it paid cash. He was a contractor. Over the past decade he had been saving here and there, scrimping up enough in cash to make his dream come true. He kept it all in hundred-dollar bills in a large ziplock bag. It wouldn't have been my choice but it worked for him.

As he paid me, he told me he had gotten stopped for a bad taillight by the police a few months back. Once they saw his money that he had been saving, he had a hell of a time convincing them he wasn't a drug dealer. While I understand that carrying large amounts of cash is suspicious, to hear him tell it the police went far beyond suspicious and started thinking there was definitely something wrong going on. You see, to those small-town cops, you just don't carry that amount of money around. Somebody who looked like that should not have the amount of money like this. Just having the money was an indication of something really bad, even if it could all be explained.

He almost lost all of it.

You can only stand out so much -- the forces of society will gently (or not so gently) pull you back into line. You either have to conform or move to some place where the definition of "normal" is different.

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ryanwaggoner 7 days ago 4 replies      
This is a fantastic post, very thought-provoking. But also very sad to me. I disagree with the underlying premise that success and happiness are somehow negatively correlated. There's this idea in the post that if you want to be uber-successful, you can't have a "normal" life.

I know very successful people who are miserable, stressed-out workaholics. And I know very successful people who could have been one of the people strolling around Sebastian when he was writing this post. I know people who run startups from their home office and take their kids to school in the morning. Hell, look at Sebastian's own situation: he apparently has enough time to sit and pontificate for a couple hours on a train platform in Japan, in the middle of the day. He can't be working THAT hard :) Maybe what he's trying to say is that you can't have the idyllic suburban family life if you want to float around the world living off of random consulting gigs? But there are probably quite a few very successful people here on HN that live relatively idyllic family lives in cities and suburbs all over the world.

I think the idea of feeling isolated for being very ambitious is true, but I would caution Sebastian and others against the idea that you have to sacrifice your connection to a community, your face-to-face relationships, your health, and your overall happiness on the alter of amassing $40m for an amorphous purpose like being able to build a shrine with 5% of your wealth or less. You certainly can sacrifice all those things, but most people will never amass $40m no matter what they sacrifice. Better to find something (and someone) that you love, work hard at it, and enjoy life. Yes, you should take chances, yes you should push yourself and be ambitious. But this is the only life you get; don't squander it living a life you don't enjoy because you're hoping for the big payoff down the road. It probably won't come.

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davidw 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I buy it. I've met plenty of wealthy people who were happy to come home to a pretty normal family because their jobs are a constant source of novelty, stress and challenges. If one feels the need to stick out as part of one's identity, great, but it's just one way of living. I kind of like sticking out as a foreigner over here in Italy sometimes; it has its positive aspects. I certainly chose a road less traveled, but whatever, to each his own. For other things I'm happy to be pretty ordinary: I have a wife and two fantastic children and live in what passes for burbs over here.

Also, being a bit of a skeptic and contrarian, perhaps some of these people had other good reasons to say no to his plans. Without knowing their point of view, more about his proposals, and other particulars, maybe their inaction was sensible.

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rdouble 7 days ago 3 replies      
Almost every millionaire I know is married with kids and living in the suburbs. Unless you win the lottery or are a professional skateboarder, becoming rich is more like boring suburban reality than being an international flaneur. (Interestingly, the rich pro skaters I know all live in the suburbs with their kids, too)

As someone who has also floated around a lot, even through Japan, it's an interesting lifestyle but sort of the opposite of how to get rich.

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astrofinch 7 days ago 1 reply      
There are lots of bugs in peoples' brains that prevent them from doing things that seem like good ideas, and I don't think the fear of becoming illegible (http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011/07/31/on-being-an-illegible-p...) is anywhere near the most important one.

My vote for the most important bug is as follows.

It looks as though human brains were architected to think in two modes: "near" mode and "far" mode. The reason for this is that early human tribes had important rules that directly impacted survival and reproduction (for example, "don't take more than your share of the food", "don't sleep with another man's wife"). It was critical for us to tell others that we were going to uphold these rules or we would get kicked out of the tribe. At the same, time our genetic fitness would increase massively if we could find a way to covertly break those rules while still upholding them verbally (more food and more descendents for successful rule breakers).

The upshot of this is that even if something looks good when processed using far mode it's not necessarily easy to translate it into near mode where it actually gets done.

In my view, this is an explanatory factor for procrastination as well. For example, the popular Google Chrome extension Chrome Nanny (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gpdgmmdbbbchchonpf...) requires the user to enter 64 random alphanumeric characters before visiting a distracting site--which moves the idea of visiting this site from near mode (where it might actually happen) to far mode (where it won't).

For more on near and far modes you can read http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/06/near-far-summary.html. Note that novel tasks and desirable risky acts are both associated with far mode.

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Jun8 7 days ago 4 replies      
"Why won't you?" Indeed. I created this HN user almost two years ago, before I applied to YC. In these two years I did pretty much nothing towards my goal, except reading HN, nodding in agreement over good posts, and bookmarking stuff on Delicious, adding to the hundreds I already have. What stops me? Fear? No, I just know I can be successful with my idea. Laziness? Maybe, but I've worked 18 hr days on projects I liked. So what? I don't know.

Meanwhile I will upvote this article and bookmark it.

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ender7 7 days ago 0 replies      
Man, what a memorable post.

I like to think about his main point of "people won't understand you" a little differently. Humans were originally pack animals, and it shows. You are nothing without your pack, but together the pack is strong. Modern life isn't nearly so simplistic, but we still have our packs, albeit a little more nuanced. The place we work. The neighborhood we live in. Our family. Our friends (who are probably drawn from work, neighborhood, and family).

Doing what Sebastian does seems to be a lonely path. You get to be the alpha, but only of a pack of one. I get this feeling when seeing a lot of executives interviewed - men and women who are supposedly at the helm of enormous packs, but in practice seem a lot more alone than one might imagine.

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sgentle 6 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this article. I'm not actually convinced that the answer is a fear of not being understood by others, but it's very close or the writing wouldn't resonate the way it does. The problem is that I know lots of people who couldn't give the slightest damn about fitting in, or who are already occupied in a field far enough from societal norms that their job description takes a whiteboard and a venn diagram on a good day.

I wish I could remember who said this; I think it was M. Scott Peck, but I can't find the reference: we are attached to our own mental model of ourselves. So attached that we will fight to maintain that model even if it's useless or actively harmful.

An example: have you ever noticed that if someone's depressed, complimenting them doesn't work? Have you noticed that you yourself feel awkward when others compliment you? That might seem obvious, but only because you've absorbed it through repeated exposure. Think about it: why in the world would someone saying good things about you feel uncomfortable? Shouldn't it be basically the best thing you can get?

The answer is that when you're thinking "I'm average looking at best" and someone says "you're beautiful!" it's like someone just tried to rip your left brain from your right. How can you possibly reconcile these two things? You have to either destroy your own sense of self or reject the person's compliment.

I suspect that in this case what looks like fear that the world will misunderstand you is actually fear that you misunderstand yourself. Jumping head-first into a crazy idea isn't just changing what you do; it's changing who you are, and that's goddamn terrifying.

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ForrestN 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sebastian identifies a key problem that underlies a lot of how society works: lots of people effectively have motives to avoid things they want. But I'm not sure he's right about his reading of why the problem exists. As nice as it is to think of this as some kind of trade-off, I'm not sure that most people gain any normalcy or understanding, at least not in any positive way.

Think about his friend, the one who's big goal is financial independence. It's his primary first-order objective, and he's being shown a plan to pursue it. He's not afraid to pursue it because he thinks it's going to cause him to be less understood (at least one of his friends, Sebastian, will probably relate to him more). He just flinches at the thought of really going after what he wants.

The million dollar question is the right one: why do people get anxious and self-sabotage when a path to success is put in front of them?

Unfortunately I think the answer is that most people have a lot of psychological conflicts around being happy/getting what they want. Why this happens is probably some complicated mixture of neurology of and pain acquired in childhood, and how to fix the problem is one of the central aims of psychology and psychiatry. The behavior Sebastian describes in his friend is a great example of one's ability to function being impaired by his psychology.

Hopefully we'll get even better at fixing these sort of problems, but in the mean time, hopefully more people will understand that these problems aren't inherent to living life, that there's no sad tradeoff to going after the life you want, and thus be comfortable seeking treatment. You don't have to be crazy to pursue psychological help, you just have to notice that your feelings sometimes get in the way of you functioning the way you want to.

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cynicalkane 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great post, but what I really want to know is how to make a million bucks without Sebastian Marshall mentoring you and no real connections. Actually, maybe I start by trying harder to make connections.
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Dove 7 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic insight that people tend to say "no" when offered a chance to pursue their dreams. But I disagree about the reason. I don't think it's that they don't want to be different; having an interesting dream is already being a bit different. I think it's that once you can have something, it's no longer a dream.
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martinkallstrom 7 days ago 0 replies      
When I decided to embark on a new project this summer, I was at first held back by fear of failure. When I looked closer at the fear I realized that I could hack it by redefining my terms of success. Instead of defining success as making it big, I defined it as climbing up a steep learning curve. To do something new and learn from it, that's my definition of success.

And like that, the fear was gone. I'm now one month into my project, and I'm crushing it. Never been happier.

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ScottWhigham 7 days ago 1 reply      
Very powerful - thanks for sharing.

But the more you do, the further away you get from being understood, from the joys of normal life, from being understood by your neighbors and backing each other up and living together harmoniously.

I cried for the first time in three years when I realized it.

The million dollar question… why don't people take the large opportunities in front of them? Why don't they allow their dreams to become realities?

Become it means you won't be understood. And we need to be understood, fundamentally, it's so important to us.

Wow.

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redsymbol 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very inspirational. If you're a startup founder/entrepreneur, worth your time to read fully.

Reading from beginning to end, I found the last paragraph powerfully moving. (Skipping to the end won't work - that last short para builds on everything before.)

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seats 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, and I totally agree-

"It's like everyone fantasizes about… whatever… but once their fantasies start to become reality, they piss their pants and self-sabotage."

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joss82 6 days ago 0 replies      
It proves, once again, that extrinsic motivation does not work.

If you help someone achieve a goal, they will owe you some of their success, lessening their own merit.

On the opposite, as this story shows, the intrinsic motivation can make you do stuff that you thought impossible: http://www.maximise.dk/blog/2009/04/moving-boat.html

So maybe to help people achieve their dream, you have to tell them that it can't be done, that it's impossible.

This would be a truly altruistic way to help people, since you can't claim any part of their success in that case. All they will tell you will be "I told you it can be done!".

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csomar 6 days ago 0 replies      
Change in financial situations creates lot of stress. When your stress level is high, the typical path you are going to take is the one that alleviates your stress and not increase it.

Sebastian is suggesting x10 higher wages for his clients. This is a financial breakthrough in the life of the client. It creates enormous amount of stress. The stress pushes you back, for a less stressful zone.

I say this because I was there, and I'm sure I'll be there again. I see this differently than the OP. I don't think that people don't understand you, especially when they are smart. The simple fact of thinking of it generate stress and they hide from hard/stressful situation.

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aganders3 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I enjoyed this post. I don't resonate with everything he says, but it was worth reading. The more philosophical points of his post were an interesting contrast to this piece I read yesterday:
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/08/21/the-illusion-of-asymm...

Reading the OP I was actually a bit put off by what seems like vague braggadocio, but then I turned it around on myself - maybe that's me suffering from the same illusion as a mask for my own jealousy?

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rjbond3rd 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great writing, but here is a quibble regarding the "...pretty girl, maybe 23 years old. She's not beautiful... she'll... be a very good wife for someone."

Ouch. I know he's just day-dreaming there, and his point is that she is a "normal" person. But why define her success in terms of being a "wife for someone"? She could -already- be an incredibly successful, independent person living life on her own terms, making her own rules.

And for all we know, she may be just as alienated from normalcy as the author. Sorry to nitpick but this hit home for me.

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Hisoka 7 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to say.. this is 1 of the most insightful, and meaningful posts I've read in my entire life. Thank you so much for sharing this. I resonated with every single bit. Thanks for not making feel alone in my thoughts.
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mikecane 7 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, yes. But you don't even have to talk about the kind of skywalking he's engaged in. Anyone from a blue-collar or lower-class background who does non-manual labor is automatically alienated from everyone and everything they knew. See Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano.
http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047126376...
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typicalrunt 7 days ago 2 replies      
Amazing post. I read every word of it (as opposed to just scanning it).

What type of work does he do* and where can I meet/read more people like him?

He strikes me as a kind of mentor...something which I find is lacking in the IT industry. Mentors don't always need to be the smartest person in the room, they just need to have experience and patience to see the things that you are blind to.

* He says he's a strategist, but that's awfully vague.

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tintin 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be fair with him: I would also decline because I would not like to be like him.
For me it has nothing to do with being understood. I read his 'who am I' and all I thought was "man, his life is so empty". But I can't say why.

Sometimes people just want a simple life. Making a lot of money or working less hours does not mean your life will be better or more enjoyable.

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cgopalan 7 days ago 1 reply      
The call to action on this post seems to be stop worrying about the fact that you will not be understood and go ahead with your plans.

I am curious. Does the fear of not fitting in outweigh the benefits of financial freedom?

I dont know the answer to this question since I have never been in that situation, so I thought I would ask.

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killion 7 days ago 0 replies      
When the headline is meaningless it doesn't make me want to click off.
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fscottqureshi 7 days ago 0 replies      
Way too wordy, not nearly as insightful as he thinks it is.

This guy is clearly so full of it on so many levels. All hat, no cattle.

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idlewords 7 days ago 3 replies      
What.

A prolix.

Douchebag.

11
Don't dumb girls down smh.com.au
335 points by CarolineW  1 day ago   260 comments top 33
1
JonnieCache 1 day ago  replies      
To all the people in this thread who seem so absolutely sure that the gender differences are strictly biological, do you fancy telling us what exactly makes you so sure? Last time I checked there was no evidence to support this idea.

Obviously there are easily observed physiological differences in brain structure and in the endocrine system etc, however it is a massive leap to go from that to asserting that observed differences in behaviour are down to this rather than down to societal factors.

Separating nature from nurture is notoriously difficult, and in a community which endlessly holds P=NP to be an open question, it is absolutely laughable to assume that these biological differences map one to one onto the observed behavioural differences, when there is such a huge and obvious confounding factor looming over everything.

We cannot all sit around waiting for six sigmas out of CERN before we can say we've found the higgs, and then just jump merrily onto simplistic biological arguments which happen to conveniently favour our social/political/economic hegemony.

2
ErrantX 1 day ago 7 replies      
I was musing on this the other day (beware; anecdote alert!). I went out for some drinks with a friend of mine from a long time ago - he is certainly not the sharpest of individuals, but a laugh and good fun in small doses (even if a lot of the jokes include farts :S).

For some reason he is also constantly surrounded by very attractive women. I've seen him out and about before and thought "I'd like to have some of that!". But my first impression when we were hanging out was that all these girls shared two things in common - good looks and zero intelligence. Most of the fart jokes came from them.

Which was a bit of a shock!

It took me a while to figure out that most of them weren't actually thick. I managed to have a conversation with one of them later on; and found she was a psychology graduate (one of my favourite pet interests :)), had even published a research paper on her work. Which was just confusing... there was this smart good looking girl, and she was hanging around acting thick.

Then I worked it out... they were acting as they were expected to (either by our perception or theirs) on a night out; shove on the lipstick, revert to street talk, laugh at fart jokes and play dumb around the men. The psychologist actually even said this about her career (paraphrasing): "oh.. well I never really tell people that, it puts them off".

Which is just a fucking sad reflection on society.

3
sgentle 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a story that I wish I could find again. It was in the Reader's Digest Young Peoples' Annual from sometime in the 60s. I read it in the 90s, so some of the advice ("don't go dutch too often") was truly perplexing, but this particular story was about a girl who played baseball.

She always sat and watched the boys play baseball. One boy in particular caught her eye. He asked if she wanted to play and she jumped at the chance. She wanted to impress him, so she pitched the ball hard and fast. With each player she struck out, he seemed less and less happy. Finally, it came her turn to bat. By this point, he was hardly paying attention to her at all. She swung out. "Oops", she said, "I guess I'm not doing it right". His eyes perked up and he came over to talk to her. "You should hold the bat like this", he said, "and don't swing so hard". She smiled at him. She could bat just fine, of course, but it's important to have priorities.

I wish I had a copy because I'd love to read it again. I suspect that the consequences of treating girls like pretty dolls, rather than the explorers, creators and leaders that they can be, will be felt for a while still; but I hope a few decades from now I get to read this article again and laugh at how things have changed.

4
wallflower 1 day ago 1 reply      
I quote a HN comment from HilbertSpace in its entirety:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2111651

> "Way before age 5, the little girls realize that they are small versions of Mommy and NOT Daddy. They know in absolute terms that they are a GIRL and NOT a BOY.

Since their mommy was happy being a mommy, the little girls want to be like Mommy and on the 'mommy track'.

By about age 18 months, little girls are already masters at eliciting positive emotions from adults, MUCH better than boys. The girls are also MUCH better at reading emotions than boys. Facial expressions and eye contact are part of how the girls read and elicit emotions; other ways are to 'act' (they are MUCH better at acting than the boys) cute, meek, and sweet and to be pretty. Since being pretty lets them do better eliciting positive emotions, they love pretty dresses with ruffles and ribbons. So, they are in a 'virtuous circle': They act sweet, elicit positive emotions in an adult, e.g., father, grandfather, uncle, get a gift of a pretty dress, wear the dress, elicit even more positive emotions, get even more pretty dresses, white bedroom furniture, patent leather shoes, cute stuffed animals, etc.

Having to act like a boy or be treated like a boy, instead of like a girl, would be terrifying to them.

So, in their first years, such little girls, to be on the 'mommy track' want to play with dolls and not Erector sets, want to work at being pretty and not how to hot rod a car, want to learn how to bake a cake and not how to plug together a SATA RAID array.

Give such a girl a toy truck and she will know instantly that the toy is 'for boys' and will avoid it as a big threat.

Generally, from a little after birth and for nearly all their lives, human females are MUCH more emotional than human males. So, they pay a LOT of attention to emotions, both theirs and others'.

One of a human female's strongest emotions is to get security from membership in, and praise, acceptance, and approval from, groups, especially groups of females about their own age. That is, they are 'herd animals'. Gossip? It's how they make connections with others in the herd. Why do they like cell phones so much? For more gossip. Why pay so much attention to fashion? To 'fit in' with the herd.

In such a herd, in most respects the females try hard to be like the 'average' of the herd and not to stand out or look different. [An exception is when a female wants to lead her herd, e.g., go to Clicker, follow the biographies, get the one for the Astors, and look at Ms. Astor and her herd of 400.] Well, as long as human females with good parenting are on the 'mommy track', and the human race will be nearly dead otherwise, the 'average' of the herd will emphasize the 'mommy track', dolls, looking pretty, cakes, and clothes and not Erector sets, hot rodding cars, or building RAID arrays.

When it comes to a college major, any human female 18 months or older will recognize in a milli, micro, nano second that her herd believes that mathematics, physical science, engineering, and computer science are subjects for boys and NOT girls. Instead the girl subjects are English literature, French, music, acting, 'communications', sociology, psychology, nursing, maybe accounting, and K-12 education. By college the girls have been working 24 x 7 for about 16 years to fit in with the herd of girls, and their chances of leaving the herd in college to major in computer science are slim to none.

Don't expect this situation to change easily or soon: Mother Nature was there LONG before computer science, and, as we know, "It's not nice to try to fool Mother Nature.". Or, to get girls to major in computer science, "You are dealing with forces you cannot possibly understand.". Having women pursuing computer careers give girls in middle school lectures on computer careers will stick like water on a duck's back -- not a chance. Nearly all the girls will just conclude that at most such careers are for girls who are not doing well fitting into the herd of girls, are not very good socially, don't get invited to the more desirable parties, don't get the good dates, are not very pretty, and are not in line to be good as wives and mommies. By middle school, the girls have already received oceans of influences about 'female roles', and changing the directions these girls have selected and pursued so strongly for so long is hopeless..."

5
Duff 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great, another whiny article about the poor, maligned girls doomed to a future of breast enhancement and cellulite cream thanks to misogny.

The article is a troll, here to elicit an emotional response that will sell a book.

Enter the strawman: "In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 per cent of under-12 girls in the United States now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up, and self-esteem is down; and 25 per cent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful, university-educated women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mother recently died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers."

Would the hysterical premise of the article hold true if you substituted common male gripes or practices? What percentage of boys aspire to be basketball or baseball players instead of whatever profession is deemed acceptable? How many young men would rather be football heroes than academics? How many would rather win a NASCAR race than win the Nobel Prize? Did a Miami father die of a heart attack because he was playing basketball at 45 in 100 degree heat?

It's easy and convenient to beat up strawmen and find a sexist boogeyman behind every perceived problem. Just don't lose sight of the fact that when you do that, you are dumbing things down.

6
saturn 1 day ago 4 replies      
None of this advice applies to me, of course. As a man and therefore a child molesting rapist just waiting for my chance to strike, the idea that I could have any sort of conversation with a little girl - let alone sit down on a couch and talk privately - is simply laughable.
7
erikb 1 day ago  replies      
I often read such articles from women, but never from men. After looking deeply at myself and how the world around me acts, I feel that it is really true: Women ARE evaluated mostly by their looks. Women who look good, wear good clothes, have a good makeup, will get what they want much more easily then others. To some degree that is also true for men. It is just how the world IS. So instead of teaching girls about the value of other things, don't we do them a favour, teaching them to care about good looks? Does caring about good looks exclude caring about smartness and education? Is my observation totally wrong?
8
amalcon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I mostly agree with the sentiment, but this line stuck out at me:

  25 per cent of young American women would rather win 
America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize.

Only 25%? That's spectacularly good compared to their male counterparts. What percent of young American men do you think would rather win the Super Bowl than the Nobel Peace Prize? It's got to be at least half.

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philjackson 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are good tips, here's how my conversation generally goes with other people's children:

"Hello, I'm Phil"
"Hi, I'm Maya"

Then just stare at one another until another adult speaks.

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Tichy 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything."

Hate to say it, but what if they are? Lots of studies show that pretty people get further in life.

Not that I mind girls being interested in other things, but perhaps the ideology should be kept in check.

Even if a girl doesn't care about her looks, other people will, and she has to learn to deal with it.

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kamaal 1 day ago 1 reply      
This article is talking only about one part of the story, while it can't be denied that people demand girls to look good. At the same time, girls themselves get into peer pressure easily. Very quickly in their lives they get the feeling that in order to be 'looked at' you have to be beautiful. I am not saying that guys don't suffer from this, but girls suffer from this more than guys.

Its like the TV channels competing for TRP's. The demand for a something good exists, but the fact is that the demand is fueled by the content providers and not viewers.

Now on a larger scale, the society doesn't dumb down girls. Its just the mere biological reasons prevent them from doing so many jobs that are common for men. Women have higher social pressures, physically and biologically they have more limitations when compared to men. They have bigger social pressures to deal with. All in all, this counts for most of the reasons why women don't get the incremental learning at the same rate as men.

Now come to look at the other part of it, there is huge difference between looking good/presentable and wild chase for beauty. Cosmetic products exist both for men and women, but their nature differ. Apart from your usual set of deodorants and usual kit et al, you don't mascara or lipstick for men. Not that such a thing is not desirable for men, but its just that men won't chase it at all.

Ultimately you truly get what you want.

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chrischen 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything."

But when you see someone for the first time appearances are the first thing you notice... unless you can read minds.

Looks are important. Both men and women keep up appearances. Furthermore, you know how smart you are, and no amount of telling you your appearance is a great asset is going to make you dumber.

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jacques_chester 1 day ago 2 replies      
A lovely pot-pourri of anecdotes and hand-picked exceptional examples.
14
Goladus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything.

Appearance is almost always the first thing you notice about someone. I'm not sure pretending otherwise is especially practical or will really help much in the long run.

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anujkk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whenever I think about "beauty" this poem automatically comes to my mind -

Beautiful faces are those that wear"

It matters little if dark or fair"

Whole-souled honesty printed there.

Beautiful eyes are those that show,

Like crystal panes where hearth-fires glow,

Beautiful thoughts that burn below.

Beautiful lips are those whose words

Leap from the heart like songs of birds,

Yet whose utterance prudence girds.

Beautiful hands are those that do

Work that is earnest and brave and true,

Moment by moment the long day through.

Beautiful feet are those that go

On kindly ministries to and fro,

Down lowliest ways if God wills it so.

Beautiful shoulders are those that bear

Ceaseless burdens of homely care,

With patient grace and daily prayer.

Beautiful twilight at set of sun,

Beautiful goal with race well won,

Beautiful rest with work well done.

Beautiful graves where grasses creep,

Where brown leaves fall, where drifts lie deep,

Over worn-out hands! Ah, beautiful sleep.

"Ellen P. Allerton

16
kolektiv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I loved this. I couldn't agree more. I don't really have any great salient points or anecdotes to add but I would love to live in a world where more people think this way. As a thought experiment though, what would it take to change this? Could this be published advice to parents? Parenting classes, post-natal something? I don't know. Prescriptive stuff is clearly not going to be popular, but in the spirit of the article - if you had a magic wand, what would you do to spread this thinking?
17
dimmuborgir 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If beauty consciousness in girls can be said as peer pressure then geek/nerd consciousness in boys can be said as peer pressure as well. Boys who don't play videogames or watch sci-fi/action movies or listen to some complex rock/electronic music genre or those who are not gadget freaks or those who're not into science/technology/engineering in general are seen as less masculine (at least in a first world society).

I think the reason why femininity is looked down is the economic models of the last 150 years which have favored science over art, rationality over irrationality and utility over authenticity. I think the world needs a second romantic era to truly appreciate the feminine aspects of beauty/creativity/genuineness.

18
WalterBright 1 day ago 0 replies      
Parents with one kid believe it's nurture, parents with 2 or more know it's nature.
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grammaton 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, the comments section of just about any article on the internet, always a goldmine of inadvertent comedy. My personal favorite from this one, right at the top:

"What's wrong with wanting to be hot rather than smart? Not everyone can be intelligent, and both beauty and intelligence are natural, requiring no work."

Priceless!

20
nazgulnarsil 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I was under the impression that female educational attainment was WAY up and continuing to increase. Oh I'm sorry, is this article only about correlations that are convenient for your premise?
21
jwingy 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a guy, and a geek, I definitely find intelligence highly attractive (and I think most of you would agree with me). Since geeks will eventually inherit the earth, wouldn't it be advantageous to start teaching our women how they can get ahead on this curve by flaunting their intelligence? :)
22
cafard 1 day ago 0 replies      
This same item, but from an American publication, was posted to HN a couple of months ago. Reheated, it still does not impress.
23
Tashtego 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man she's been shopping that column around for a while.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-litt...

24
chubs 1 day ago 1 reply      
What a beautiful story of her interaction with that little girl. I hope i'm like that with my daughter when she's that age :)
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NY_Entrepreneur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Folks, this thread has a lot of confused thinking that is dangerous; we need the thinking in this thread to be more clear.

First reality check. There is an old remark about research in psychology, that all the results either (1) are solid science that, however, say next to nothing important about humans or (2) say something important about humans, however, are junk as science.

Similarly, for the main issue here, that is, for what is necessary in sex differences, for the role of nature versus nurture, etc., the results from solid science won't be very important and the very important results won't be solid science. Net, to address the issue scientifically, so far we are STUCKO. Sorry 'bout that.

Second reality check. On the issue of the OP, that is, how to treat girls, young women, and women, each person WILL necessarily take some position. That is, no one gets to decline to choose an answer. We MUST have an answer. We do not have the luxury of no answer, and, from the first reality check, the answer we take on the important parts of the issue will not be from solid science. Sorry 'bout that.

Solid science is great stuff. However, quite generally in life, we have to make decisions without solid science. Sorry 'bout that.

Third reality check. I can assure you that it is actually fairly easy to get things very wrong in treatment of females, and the consequences can be from awful down to fatal. I exaggerate not. I can use Google Earth to give you the coordinates of the tombstone. So, the issue here is SERIOUS.

There is a moral issue: Men don't want to be unfair or cruel to the females. So, here's a practical resolution: Give the girls plenty of opportunity. Give them dolls and also erector sets, white bedroom furniture and also a basketball goal, tell them they are cute, sweet, pretty, darling, adorable, and precious and also explain TCP/IP, DNS, and POP 3, encourage them in both English literature and physics, in both art history and solid geometry, have them help you make chicken salad and also put the snow tires on the car, mop the kitchen floor and also sweep out the garage.

Some people who have tried this practical resolution came to a conclusion: The little girls quickly, strongly moved toward the stereotype for cute, sweet little girls. They played with the dolls and ignored the erector set; they liked art history much more than solid geometry; they were eager enough to mop the kitchen floor but wanted nothing to do with the garage. They were much more eager to be a cooperative member of a group than to strike out on some curiosity driven, independent, creative investigation.

Important information about the girls? Yes. Solid science? No. Did I mention that quite generally in life, we have to make decisions without solid science?

But more is possible: If parents and society push and shove, keep telling the girls to 'perform' well at 'boy activities', then, girls, being eager to please and more obedient, often will. If push them to be independent, autonomous, assertive, self-sufficient, and equal and to resent dependency, passivity, membership, partnership, subservience, etc., then through, say, college, they will. My experience is that, then, too likely (granted, not always) you will find that you have created a VERY 'mixed up' young woman and a weak, sick, or dead limb on the tree and conclude that Mother Nature considered all such issues long before you did and that it's not nice to try to fool Mother Nature.

Here's an easier approach: If only from an 'asymptotic' consideration, place value on her being a strong limb in the tree. Do a really good job taking care of her until can help her find a really good husband, and then help her husband continue to take very good care of her and her children. Have her be good as a wife and mother in a secure, strong family. This thought, perhaps now with feminism really offensive, is not original with me. Instead, in the "Foreword" to

Maggie Scarf, 'Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage', Random House, New York, ISBN 0-394-5585-X, 1987.

Dr. Carol Nadelson, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote:

"Traditional marriage is about offspring, security, and caretaking."

If want her to be quite active between her ears and especially busy and productive, then emphasize to her and help her in how much there is to know about helping her children with their emotional, rational, psychological, social, artistic, physical, practical, verbal, quantitative, manual, scientific, technological, and creative problem solving development and understanding of history, business, the economy, people, groups, society, politics, etc., how far and away the most important influence on them, for their academic performance and nearly everything else, is the nurturing they get at home, and how important it is to build and have a secure, strong family and how she can play a central role there. Indeed, she might just take on doing a good job home schooling her children through, say, the International Baccalaureate program, high SAT scores, etc. Let the children get through the Beethoven piano sonatas and the Bach unaccompanied violin pieces, Rudin's 'Principles of Mathematical Analysis', Royden's 'Real Analysis', Breiman's 'Probability', and the 'Feynman Lectures on Physics' -- should keep them busy for a while!

What do you want? Lots of really healthy grandchildren or someone to sweep out the garage?

26
georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is kind of weird and forced. All social interactions start in a superficial way. Kids don't show up in their own cars ("hey, is that the new Brotus Fundero?"). They don't (usually) wear t-shirts from their last trade show or vacation. They aren't toting new laptops in unique courier bags and holding exotic drinks.

You're basically stuck complementing their dress, hat, or whatever. That's how social interaction works, regardless of gender. You can move on to TV shows, books, and political affiliation later, but you need an opener.

27
orochimaru 1 day ago 1 reply      
Of course people irrespective of their gender should be able to do what they want to, but hailing a genetic gift of smartness over a genetic gift of beauty, or vice-versa doesn't make sense. It's how evolution has worked up until now - it's pretty much a beauty pageant.

Trying to change a process that has evolved us into what we are is going to take time. Of course not all aspects of evolution are perfect, but this - favouring beauty over ugliness/fatness is pretty darn effective.

Without competition, we would all be slobs - no scratch that - unicellular organisms.

So, in conslusion - we are who we are - whether you want to fight and change that is your wish, but don't go preaching to others about what we should or should not do. I'm going to go tell all the little girls around me how cute they are. Maybe not at the same time though, lest I get mistaken for a paedophile. :P

28
sgns 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks, that was interesting. Not least the comments, including one from "Too Smart", which said:
"Being dumb is much better than having to play dumb. It does no good for a girl to be too smart," and suggested complimenting the girl for her sweet looks.

Sort of trollish? Maybe, but it also is true that 'good looks' show, and have immediate 'consequences', whereas the intelligence that's innate to us doesn't show, and the real challenge of intelligence maybe is to find a way to do something with it. Something that makes life meaningful. Which takes constant work, self-confidence, and daring.

29
rhygar 1 day ago 2 replies      
The amount of ignorance and misogyny in here is staggering. Have any of you ever actually talked to a woman? I'll boil down the argument into one that favors women:

Men are biologically programmed to be violent. We should find it as no surprise that the vast majority of violent criminals are men. After all, it's their biology. And thus all men should be regarded as likely violent in the right circumstances. Also we should not trust men to care for small children, because they have no idea what they are doing since they lack the biological drive for child-rearing.

30
ctek 1 day ago 4 replies      
The desire to be attractive is hard-wired into female biology. Fundamentally, we exist to survive and reproduce. Millions of years of evolution have evolved visual cues that signal health - especially reproductive health in both men and women however women's interest in successfully advertising their reproductive health is absolutely essential to what they have evolved over millions of years to do - which is bear children.

High intelligence is not necessary to survive and reproduce successfully even in today's world which explains why most women (and probably most - but less men) would rather be "hot" than "smart". In general, during the reproductive phase of their lives (and long after that as well), women focus advertising their reproductive health, and men - their status.

High intelligence however is key to acquiring status - which is much more important for men than for women which in my mind explains why more men than women are interested in being smart.

31
tintin 1 day ago 0 replies      
This great article shouldn't be surrounded by those stupid banners dumbing down women.
32
mrpsbrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Compare with http://jcs.biologists.org/content/121/11/1771.full another post at HN at around the same time, about the importance of stupidity in science. Two very different conceptions of dumb.

I would also like to stress that it is not really about looks, only, but about being always "in character" for the woman, which is pretty and dumb, true, but would be much better described as "good marrying material".

Finally, please, anyone who cared about this, check out "Ada Lovelace Day", to happen this year a month from today. http://findingada.com/about/

33
hermannj314 1 day ago 0 replies      
"be the change you want to see in the world"

The author is fighting an uphill battle on this one, but I appreciate her ideal. Never underestimate the power your words have on shaping a child's life.

12
Are jobs obsolete? cnn.com
321 points by ekm2  10 hours ago   262 comments top 54
1
Spyro7 5 hours ago 7 replies      
Why is this being upvoted? This article begins with a questionable premise and then descends straight into misinformation.

The problems in the USPS did not begin with email. They began with a highly questionable requirement that the USPS fund a plan to fully cover the estimated future health care costs of all current employees. They are the only government institution required to do this, and it has crippled their ability to remain profitable:

* http://www.plansponsor.com/Post_Office_Says_PreFunding_Retir...

* Read First Few Pages Here -> http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/RARC-WP-10-001.pdf

* http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/us/23postal.html

They have overpaid this fund by billions of dollars, but they are not able to use this money to address their current financial shortcomings.

Somehow the author of this piece is able to extrapolate from the fiscal problems of the USPS to the overall job market. The extrapolation is misguided at best.

There are so many things wrong in this article that I will not take the time to address them all. (Most of Europe was thriving in the Middle Ages? Really? The author needs to define the word thrive.) I just want to say that I find it interesting that there is so much hand-wringing in these comments about jobs being displaced by technology.

In economics, we like to call this creative destruction. Old jobs go away and new jobs take their place. This is a natural process, and their is nothing so magically different about the technological revolution that it will somehow "make jobs obsolete".

Just as The Luddites protested against the loss of jobs brought on by the technological progress of the Industrial Revolution, now some individuals protest against the loss of jobs brought on by the technological progress of the "Technological Revolution". Then, as now, it was all hand-wringing and nail-biting with no serious economic analysis.

The critics say this time is different, this time there will be no new jobs, and we should urge people to find something other to do than working. The critics are wrong. Don't worry people. Employment is here to stay.

Side Note: The author engages in some navel gazing when he says America has all that it needs. I'm not sure if the author has noticed it or not, but there is a such thing as globalization and the global needs for goods and services will increase as developing countries close the ground with developed nations.

This global recession is just another business cycle, eventually the world will have another upswing, and then we will revert to mean again. There is no magic here, just the march of time. I would not put too much stock into those who believe that a single recession merits the reevaluation of the entire modern economic system.

Edit: Trying to trim the size. Eventually, I will learn the art of not making posts into walls of text.

2
DanielBMarkham 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Let me see if I understand this reasoning correctly. Old, fragile and stiff huge organizations like the Post Office cannot provide the numbers of jobs they used to. The economy is changing. Therefore -- some hand-waving here -- the very idea of jobs is out-of-date.

Ouch.

But it gets better. We should pay folks not to work. After all, there's no jobs for them, so why should we expect them to do things that are impossible?

This is very reminiscent to me of all the hare-brained articles about capitalism being dead that came out right around the banking crisis. Yes, things are way screwed up, but capitalism remains. You could make any kind of wide-spread social change you wanted and capitalism would still remain. People like to trade stuff.

The crazy thing here is, like most of this tripe, there's a nugget of something useful in there. We cannot predict how the labor force will evolve. To do so is folly. The answer to this is not to announce the death of jobs, it's to create systems where new job roles which are unforeseen by us are created. To promote flexible adaptation in our businesses and governments.

What's dead is our big boxes of generic labels to stick on things -- all those labels and boxes have been stretched so far they don't work any more. Trying to continue to create policies around those labels and boxes is idiotic. We all need to adapt -- not in a lets-bring-some-academics-on-tv-to-talk-about-the-knowledge-economy sense, but in a real, live policy sense. If your terms and generalizations are bad, your conclusions and policies will never work. I understand that's frustrating and that you are out of ideas -- but a mental model with a huge impedance mismatch the reason, not that we've suddenly been thrust into a 27th century scarcity-free economy.

Take a look at the comments on this thread. Everybody gets out their favorite political pinata and beats on it. Is this a very productive type of article for this site?

3
tjstankus 9 hours ago  replies      
The opposite, libertarian answer (and the way we seem to be going right now) would be to let those who can't capitalize on the bounty simply suffer. Cut social services along with their jobs, and hope they fade into the distance.

Reminds me of this quote from Jello Biafra:

Some day, even the experts will figure out, that crime is not caused by rap music...or even my music, but by a power structure of self-absorbed property owners so brain dead and stupid they won't even see that if you're too goddamn greedy to pay taxes for schools and services, they're not going to be any good any more! And that uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future work force. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!

(Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jello_Biafra)

4
chailatte 8 hours ago 7 replies      
My theory from before: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2906769

- In 20 years, 80% of the people in will be kept alive by welfare, supplemented by their hourly job. Enough to get a small apartment, utilities, cell phone, cheap but unhealthy food, and shopping at the dollar store. And free tv/movie/music/book/sports entertainment via the internet.

- 15% will be the middlemen, extracting value from the others via service or thievery. They will be the new middle class. They can afford the sometimes luxury.

- the other 5.5% will be specialized knowledge workers. They will be the one maintaining the software/hardware to make sure nothing goes wrong. They can afford lots of luxury, but will be taxed heavily, as they are the only workhorse left in the society.

- 0.1% will be entertainers. They will make sure that people are entertained well enough not to riot.

- and the 0.4% will rule everyone.

5
jswinghammer 9 hours ago  replies      
I'm not sure the Post Office's problems are related to technology. Their union negotiated a "no layoff" provision in their contract just this year. Why would you agree to that as an employer? Then there is the problem of defined benefit pensions where you end up keeping people basically on staff long after they stop working for you. The Post Office needs to go bankrupt and clear these contracts out and move forward without a union ideally. They might need to wait for Obama to leave office before doing that.

As for jobs there's always work to be done. There's an infinite amount of work in fact. In a free market involuntary unemployment should be zero because someone would always be willing to pay something for a given amount of work. I have work I need done now that I just do not have time for. I also know finding someone to do that job for what I'm willing to pay is very hard since people seem to get by without working via means I do not fully understand. I'm at home today caring for my family who are basically all sick and I'm seeing a lot of men just wandering around doing nothing. I'm going to guess that the incentive to work is absent in their life for one reason or another.

Not sure libertarian means that you want people left out of the system and starving though. I am a libertarian and I've spent 90% of my time post college life running or helping to run a food pantry in my spare time. Seems silly to suggest that libertarians don't care about such things.

6
ryandvm 8 hours ago 6 replies      
It's a fact that computers/automation are going to continue to obsolete human jobs. Nothing short of a technological apocalypse is going to reverse that. And I agree that we shouldn't really lament the reality that a trucker who used to spend 50 hours a week vacuously staring at the highway no longer has to do that. But that's a triumph. One more human mind freed up for greater accomplishments.

That said, I'm dubious of his suggestion that we all turn to purely creative pursuits. At least, it will be a very, very long time before automation gets us to that point. I'm more interested in what we do in the meantime. What are we supposed to do with hordes of workers that are freed up in the coming decades as menial jobs disappear at an exceeding clip?

My guess is that this is a problem the labor markets will solve on their own. That is, the solution to a disappearing amount of work is that, on average, we all simply work less. Why pay 3/4 of the population to work 40 hours a week when we could pay all of them to work 30 (then 20, then 10)? Of course, we're going to need to reduce per employee costs/benefits to make this work, but that's a good idea no matter what. Making the employer responsible for health care and retirement caused more problems than it solved anyway.

7
ctdonath 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"I am afraid to even ask this, but since when is unemployment really a problem? ... on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working."

This belies a gross misunderstanding of how national socio-economies work.

Yes, we could. One of my blogs is "A Buck A Plate" http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com featuring sufficient meals for $1/person/meal. A favorite study is "tiny homes" http://tinyhouseblog.com where nice cozy accomodations can be had for $10,000/person. Beyond that, I've figured one "could probably shelter, feed, educate and even provide health care for its entire population" for just $10/day.

Are you ready to live on $10/day? is anybody?

Long story short, it would take about $1T/yr to pay everyone in the USA a "living income" of a paltry $10/day. Note that current federal revenue is about $2T ($4.5T including state revenues), with federal spending about twice that.

Of a culture where the vast majority decide to vote themselves monies from the treasury, John Adams wrote "The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."

Enjoying the comforts of a culture wallowing in the height of luxury, Rushkoff opines in effect that the source of that comfort be eliminated on the absurd theory that enough will be produced when there is no carrot nor stick incentiveizing people to work.

No, Mr. Rushkoff, people need not work when confiscating the hard-earned wealth of others is enough. Problem is, those who produce will not be appreciated, but reviled, and their incentive to produce taken away. Despite the symbolic official $1 salary of its CEO, Apple was driven by _profit_, and its products available only to those who in turn sought _profit_ in other endeavors. Take away the profit motive by confiscating incomes to supply the idle, and few of the idle will use the opportunity for lofty endeavors; nay, most will cultivate dissatisfaction and demand more be confiscated for their gain.

As an ancient writer opined, "if any would not work, neither should he eat."

8
commanda 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This article skips discussing one reason why jobs are in a sense ends to themselves: the feeling of being useful. Retired people often complain that they don't know what to do with themselves after leaving the workforce, so they go do things like volunteering. A friend of mine recently took 2 months off between jobs and nearing the end of that time, she started becoming very depressed and realized it was because she wasn't contributing to society or to herself. I think most people work not only to pay the bills or to acquire luxury items, but to have a sense of self-worth.
9
jganetsk 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Policy adjustments for maintaining capitalism in the post-employment era: provide a minimum guaranteed income to all citizens and abolish minimum wage. This was Milton Friedman's idea.

This would create a massive market for a standard "life package": a combination of food, shelter, and healthcare for one person with cost equal to the minimum income. We could even have cities organized around the concept. Then, people can go to work in creation spaces where they get micro-paid exactly what their contribution is worth. Getting $5 for a blog post I write sounds great if I enjoy doing it and am not hungry.

10
philwelch 9 hours ago 1 reply      
We like to believe that the appropriate response is to train humans for higher level work. Instead of collecting tolls, the trained worker will fix and program toll-collecting robots. But it never really works out that way, since not as many people are needed to make the robots as the robots replace.

And, more to the point, a toll collector isn't necessarily bright enough to be a toll robot technician. Sometimes progress flows the other way; now the supermarket checker doesn't have to calculate your bill anymore or even know how to make change, so he can be completely innumerate. But for the most part, we're replacing less skilled jobs with more skilled jobs. We have not enough engineers and too many workers without useful skills, or in many cases the ability to gain them.

11
pnathan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
My introduction to Rushkoff was Cyberia [1].

He's much more temperate now than he was in Cyberia. He has a great point, though. Restated, it's as follows: If we have abundance, why are we working for more, instead of sending the abundance to those who need it?

He seems to fall down in the mechanisms of distribution though in this article and hand-wave through it.

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Cyberia_(book...

12
jneal 9 hours ago 3 replies      
As time goes on, and technological abilities improve, more and more jobs will fall to "robots" or computerized replacements for real jobs. There will always be need for creative jobs, engineers, etc, but the non-skilled labor jobs will be less and less. I don't see how anyone could disagree that there is already a problem here, and in the future, there will be an even bigger problem. The only people able to get jobs will be educated/skilled. The lower class will grow lower and lower. Aside from that, in the "old days" women stayed at home and took care of the family. "Nowadays" women are going to work, and I think that is absolutely great! However, that is more people working, therefore less jobs available.

I'm sure we'll come up with a solution. Although I think the first step is admitting there is a problem. Innovation will come, it will just take time.

Imagine a self-sufficient world far more advanced than ours. Imagine a world that practically runs itself and leaves us to care for each other and blossom with nature. The only problem is, this imagination world would never be allowed by multinational corporations and big business. Wealth would be more evenly distributed, they can't have that.

13
ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Pulling out a specific nit:

"America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working."

And from an old college textbook on the definition of economics - Economics is the study of how society manages its scarce resources.

Here it the hard nut in the thesis, what mechanism, process, or theory, could manage determining who works and who doesn't in a society?

We currently have a system where the wealthiest tax payers pay a grossly disproportionate share of the total tax receipts. Some fraction of those receipts are used to fund the lives of the least wealthy individuals. It doesn't seem to work as well as we would like.

Consider a more communist flavored theory, if Bob's education, skills, and work ethic allow him to generate gross domestic product which would support 5 average citizens. Do we make Bob and his four comrades equal consumers of the GDP that Bob has generated? Would Bob continue to produce at that rate?

Enlightened self interest is a powerful thing. But taking away the 'fruits of one's labor' to redistribute it amongst the less fortunate doesn't motivate the high performers or the low performers to higher economic output.

I am always interested in systems which might replace capitalism as an organizing principle. But until we have such a system we won't be able to manage the disparity of productivity in a socially acceptable way.

14
chernevik 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Mr. Rushkoff wants to "organize society around employment", but he ought to reflect that it's going to be organized around _something_. There is going to be a distribution of power, it's an inevitable feature of society. Do we wanted organized around what each of us can do for the benefit of others, as measured freely by those others? Or do we want it organized around what everyone else thinks of us? I can do a lot more about my worries about getting a job than I can about worries about the opinion of my local commissar.
15
lysol 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This was such an intriguing article until he posited that our citizens who formerly worked in manufacturing could replace their aspirations of long-term employment in a stable economy with some generic digital goods production that was never elaborated on in the article. I have to assume he meant they should all make doll clothes in Second Life.
16
rmc 9 hours ago 1 reply      
At first I thought this was going to be a conservative 'the modern world is killing everything good', but I was pleased to the argument come down to "computers are killing jobs, and this is a good thing".

Though I don't believe it's accurate to say that Europe thrived under the feudal system. Many people did the same meaningless jobs all the time. The author also claims that the Industrial Age & Corporations were some massive scam to get the rich more.

17
zasz 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't think anyone would want to pay for the art I can make. I don't want to pay for anyone else's either. Given how much music piracy there is, and the vast skill disparity between casual amateurs and dedicated professionals, and the near-zero cost of replicating the bits composed by someone better than me or any of my immediate peers, I can't believe the author thinks that trading bits is a possible outcome. Why would I want my dad to educate me when I could watch OpenCourseware? Why would I want my friend's painting when I could get something much better over deviantArt? Why would I bother getting recipes from my mom if I can get them from a 4 star Michelin chef instead?
18
tibbon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In a related video that CNN linked in, it was being questioned if companies that aren't hiring are being unpatriotic. Union leader James Hoffa was saying that Apple is being unpatriotic by not hiring here in the US.

But, I don't quite understand James Hoffa saying that Apple isn't hiring- they are hiring both retail and corporate jobs.

http://www.apple.com/jobs/us/

Yes, they employ and sub-contract a lot of people overseas, but that's just the way things work in 2011. How many people are going to pay $10,000 for a laptop or $1,400 for an iPhone? That's probably the difference in price that it would require for Apple to make their products 100% here.

19
cwp 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a nugget of useful discussion in there, in that corporations aren't as necessary as they used to be. Better communication technology lowers coordination costs and we don't need big organization and bureaucracy to get big things done anymore.

But the whole "technology is destroying jobs" meme is just horseshit. What's destroying jobs in the US is lack of demand. Other counties (no, not all of them, but many) are doing just fine, thank you, despite technology.

I wonder if this kind of thing is a result of the high and accelerating pace of technological change we're experiencing. We expect change to be so fast that we don't even try to predict the future based on the past and present, we just throw our hands up and declare everything to be a fundamental paradigm shift, rather than a cyclical or temporary phenomenon.

20
billybob 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Great! All we have to do is convince poor people to be happy living at a subsistence level, and convince rich people to be happy supporting them!

Seriously, I agree with his point that, say, building bridges in order to create jobs is backwards. But his plan seems to require changing basic human motivations.

21
efalcao 9 hours ago 6 replies      
It's very interesting to think about cases where digital darlings have "killed jobs."

Before: Thousands of jobs all over the country working for the classified section of a newspaper. Marginally profitable business.

After: Craigslist destroys that whole market. Tons of jobs lost and the revenues shift to one company. Hugely profitable business, but probably a smaller total market than used to exist with just newspapers.

Should we feel bad about it? Hell no. Are we marginally worse off? Maybe?

22
crizCraig 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think he has a great point that the value a person creates is not easily compensated in an information economy. Right now the information economy makes up less than 5% of the total in the U.S.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9632169/EconomicCensus2007.html

from

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFEconFacts?_event=&#...

So advertising for the other sectors in the economy works well to support most of the information sector right now. What happens as those other sectors become more automated though? The smaller and smaller amount of people in charge of those sectors will become disproportionately compensated for the value they create. This is already happening in Wall Street for example. So we're going to need to find some way to compensate people for their digital contributions to things like open source, online communities like this, and other informational public goods or we'll be left relying on the government and/or super rich to distribute the abundance of wealth. Neither of which sound very appealing to me.

23
wbienek 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't have much mercy when I read these kinds of stories. I went to a job interview back in 2000 for a 28,000 a year job. Knew 6 computer languages and significantly more than the interviewee and all this colleges employees. (in my opinion) this was a small college in Michigan. They never called me back. A few weeks later I started a small company. Today I make upwards of 250k a year. No college education. They (college people) can all go starving on the street like they would have left me and my two new born twins. No help from the "establishment" for me no matter how smart I was. Let em all lose their jib and starve.. Let em be in college debt. I smirk at the barrages who would have let me go homeless every time I read stories like this.

No quarter wad given to me. Now that theyre expected to oroduce. Now thier college means diddle it is my turn to watch from the sidelines.

I know that if I don't make money MYSELF nobody ----especially "college" people will help..

Posted from an iPad I never would have had if I let the establishment guide my life..

24
peterwwillis 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Next on CNN:

Food: Why you probably don't need it

Exercise: Less of it could mean more healthcare jobs

Transportation: Could rising oil prices make it impossible to go anywhere?

Safety: Could banning non-Christians from entering the country make us safer?

9/11: What about the bright side?

Culture: Is Lil Wayne the music genius of the decade?

25
extramoose 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"We're living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is."

This is more ground for the fact that we might not be in a bubble with major financial crash risk like the .com bubble. The fact is that engineers who are building and inventing new technologies are building a societal system (possibly unintentionally) that puts technology, rather than people, at the top of the game (especially in terms of efficiency & profitability).

While we may, as the tech industry, be relatively safe in the foreseeable future, this article really makes me question what we, as engineers, designers & general tech lovers, can invent/build that will allow future society to not only take advantage of our technologies (as end-users), but also allow individuals to make money in an increasingly digital and on-demand world.

26
njharman 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Most people work to get money to spend on stuff people are making.

Full employment 40+ hours a week is obsolete. Consumerism is obsolete. We should all be working 10hrs/week or less and have/consume 1/10 to 1/4 of what we have/consume today.

That's not gonna happen easily, but it's gonna happen. Perhaps not in my lifetime.

I'm making guess that space exploitation will not ramp up in time, it might though.

27
awolf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do -- the value we create -- is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

This is a nice thought but it seems impossible to move forward until food and shelter are givens for everyone world wide - not just givens for those in the USA.

28
joshu 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Metapoint: Headlines phrased as a question are almost always best answered "no."

Try it!

29
olliesaunders 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a really good book on this topic called Creating You & Co.[1] that is all about how it's not jobs that are important"that's an overspecialization"but work. And work can be done in any number of ways: automation, out-sourcing, crowd-sourcing, etc. The book is quite old so it only really talks about alternative human-based work delivery but it's still arguing for a new worldview on work and employment that is well ahead of its time.

I have to remind myself every time I watch the news"particularly those interviews with “experts”"that job losses aren't quite the gloomy picture they seem to be. And the solution isn't necessarily to manufacture more positions for people.

1: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creating-You-Co-Learn-Career/dp/0738...

30
crxpandion 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Too bad what he suggests requires skills that most people don't have, at least not yet. To achieve this utopic vision we need to drastically change our education from being job-driven towards being production-driven (e.g. teaching more practical programming to younger audiences, encouraging self-motivated thinking rather than homework burn-out). This is not an easy task.

I like his vision but I fail to see how it can work out. The reality is that people are lazy. While making stuff because you want to is awesome, most people would rather sit on the couch and consume. Its because they have to feed themselves and buy nice TVs that they go to work in the morning.

31
protomyth 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there some statistics that proves there are less people worldwide doing work / employed today than say 50 years ago?
32
gills 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do -- the value we create -- is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

So...nobody creates value (or performs work, for that matter) growing the food or building the shelters, right? Riiiiight...

Magical thinking at it's best.

33
tomlin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So let's start picking apart this article. And the other article that talks about the end of capitalism. And then the next 50, 100, 1000 articles that prey on our confused notion that capitalism is the end-game for eternity.

Watch as self-driving vehicles takeover all modes of goods transport. And robotics and information systems remove 90% of the health care workforce. And construction. And education. Keep telling yourself that your vision of capitalism is exact and free from evolution.

Eventually, a grounded theory that revolutionizes capitalism will emerge. Do we know what the evolution will be or how it will work? I certainly don't. But I do believe in evolution and evolution in markets.

Defending capitalism like it dragged you out of a flaming building is self-serving, not logical. Capitalism is an ideology. It can and will change, with or without consent.

34
tsotha 8 hours ago 0 replies      
>Our problem is not that we don't have enough stuff -- it's that we don't have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

It's a little more complicated than that. The economy is a huge, complicated machine. The reason we have enough stuff is it mostly works to convince people go get up when the alarm goes off and go do something they'd rather not do instead of fishing or playing video games. If we start just giving people money because we can afford it we will quickly be unable to afford it.

35
danmaz74 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology rising productivity (and so needing less people to create the same products) is at the base of our wealth. The real problem is that the pace of technology innovation (and jobs transfer overseas, and other changes) can be too fast for people to keep up with those changes. Public action to both slow down some changes, and to help in adapting, can become a necessity in those times.

But right now too many people believe the ideology that the market will fix everything itself, even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. It is just too good an excuse to just mind your own business, and everyone else be damned, I guess...

36
orblivion 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I only heard about self-driving cars last month. They're not putting taxi drivers out of business any time soon.

It's a concept I've considered as well, jobs are actually bad, it means that there's something someone wants that isn't done. This guy is just a bit early, try back in 50 years.

37
duairc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh fuck all of you capitalist scum. I really hate how much of this community is based on this really fucked up reappropriation of the hacker ethos into some sort of pro-capitalist thing.

Capitalism is an inherently authoritarian economic system. (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/The_Anarchist_FAQ_Editor...) And don't give me this bullshit about communism being authoritarian and then pointing to the USSR - the USSR had nothing to do with communism, and communism is not the only alternative to capitalism nor are they even the opposite of each other.

38
narrator 6 hours ago 0 replies      
All this technology should be lowering the cost of living. Instead, constant inflation in the money supply, via the money multiplier effect, quantitative easing and continuously falling interest rates, eats up all the benefits of increased technology and transfers them to the financial sector and their clients. If there wasn't this huge parasite of debt , which is getting paid to somebody, somewhere who doesn't have to work, thank you very much, it would be dirt cheap to live and people would be able to get by very easily with most of the population not having to work.
39
brianobush 4 hours ago 0 replies      
how are jobs obsolete when 91% of the working-aged population (in the US) have one?
40
bchjam 8 hours ago 1 reply      
reminded me of RA Wilson's RICH economy

http://www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/rawilson.html

41
shoham 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing! Great article, reminded me of a great speech I read recently that Paul Graham gave in 2005:

http://www.paulgraham.com/opensource.html

The jist is the same as Rushkoff's, and Lanier's conclusion-- that people perform better when they do something they care about enough to do it for free. The paradox with the digital age is that consumers have grown accustomed to not paying for digital goods -- and artists have grown accustomed to settling for any attention they can get, which means marketing gimmicks, and settling for the lowest common denominator far too often for authors of original content. Lanier covers this well, for sure:

http://edge.org/conversation/the-local-global-flip

42
ddw 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Long term, technology can lead to our society being more peaceful and enjoyable than ever before. The short term is the problem though as there are so many people without the skills to work in the future that the transition may be too painful for society to make it to the long term.
43
rcavezza 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I still think we're headed towards an era of "glocalization". I haven't heard this term since college geography courses, but we're headed back to an age where we are all local blacksmiths and silversmiths. We'll all be working for ourselves, but instead of being forced to sell to people in town, we can sell globally. Probably most of the people on this board fit into this categorization, but a much larger percent of the population will migrate towards this lifestyle over the next few years.
44
DirtyCalvinist 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Britain, the Low Countries, France and the German States all went through this process in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Historians call it pauperization. The only good solution seems to be keeping people from starving to death (the above named societies often did not, incidentally) and wait for/encourage the economy to find a way to suck up the surplus labor.
45
mayutana 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A similar model is being followed in Europe where the unemployed, disabled, recent mothers and the poorer people are provided some sort of basic support by the state. The higher earning people have extra cash to live more comfortably.
46
littlegiantcap 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Jobs becoming obsolete?

Yes surely just as we have never recovered from the loss of shoe cobbling jobs or manual labor farming jobs due to the industrial revolution the internet and technology will be the death of us all!

47
beefman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If we go all the way to a technological singularity in which not even "knowledge workers" are needed... we'll need a new way to distribute wealth.

Between 1960 and 2009, employment in IT in the US rose by a factor of 1.6, while the population grew by a factor of 1.7

http://lumma.org/microwave/#2010.10.17

and many women entered the workforce, so the labor pool expanded by more than 1.7.

48
Vivtek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, for Christ's sake, does everything have to be the End of History nowadays?
49
Hyena 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Sadly, the premise going forward is that everyone should get a basic income. I don't think the monkeys will agree until it's far too late.
50
orenmazor 9 hours ago 0 replies      
so… the future != the past?
51
libraryatnight 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.
52
FredBrach 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing. Just amazing. I like!
53
cchurch 8 hours ago 1 reply      
What a bunch of hippy bullshit.
54
fuzionmonkey 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Ridiculous. If we had our priorities straight, there would be low unemployment.

Our infrastructure is crumbling beneath us, yet we won't spend any money to fix it. Instead we're fighting a handful of wars abroad that doesn't help us at all.

We need better roads, public transportation, and faster internet.

14
One base class to rule them all. destroyallsoftware.com
318 points by davepeck  2 days ago   40 comments top 17
1
joshuaxls 2 days ago 1 reply      
As long as we're being silly with Ruby metaprogramming, my favorite: https://github.com/thorncp/fsck

Fsck allows you to express your feelings while you're developing. It does this by allowing you to add words to method names on the fly.

2
damncabbage 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd be laughing if I didn't fear that I'd someday be running into (or working with) someone who uses this.
3
JonnieCache 1 day ago 1 reply      
My favourite idiotic ruby gem: Tenderlove's NeverSayDie, which allows you to resuce segfaults.

https://github.com/tenderlove/neversaydie

I seem to remember a gem that allowed for inline assembly too, but perhaps fortunately I can't remember what it's called.

4
jerf 2 days ago 0 replies      
5
RodgerTheGreat 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm getting some serious Poe's Law vibes from this thing. If not for the disclaimer I would be rightly terrified.
6
harel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started reading this seriously and at some point just burst out laughing. First 'tech text' to make me laugh like that. Very good.
7
stuffihavemade 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great gem. But why not include it in module form so I can mix it into BasicObject?
8
sli 2 days ago 2 replies      
Huh... I had no idea that a cantaloupe has five days.
9
adgar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pull request 5: Auto-require every gem.

https://github.com/garybernhardt/base/pull/5

Wow.

10
KevinEldon 2 days ago 1 reply      
This base class (all your methods are belong to us?) is amusing, but the screencasts on Destroy All Software are pretty helpful. The $9/month was worth it for the continuous performance testing w/ RSpec explanation: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/blog/2011/continuous-auto...

I am in no way affiliated w/ Destroy All Software other than being a happy new customer.

11
jtchang 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow a pull request and forks already. Is there anything Ruby can't do?
12
jroseattle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Issue #2 (https://github.com/garybernhardt/base/issues/2) is pure gold.

What license is this released under? I would assume an awesome base class needs a corresponding awesome license.

13
silentbicycle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Of course it's Ruby.
14
mcbarry 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was inspired by sysfunboost.sh (swaps two system binaries) and made fun-boost.rb which does the same thing with two methods.
https://github.com/lmc/fun-boost.rb
15
dwhitney 1 day ago 0 replies      
awsome
16
spullara 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey, look! They made C! :)
17
Confusion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry, but why is this joke being upvoted so much? It hardly seems HN material to me: I'm sure we've all jokingly considered about something like this once. I doubt anyone learned anything from it.
15
Linus Torvalds now on GitHub github.com
316 points by olliesaunders  4 days ago   71 comments top 13
1
cookiecaper 4 days ago  replies      
It'd've been advantageous to see this go on a purely open service like Gitorious instead. They often provide similar features as GitHub and could definitely use the exposure of Linus's account.

I use and enjoy GitHub, so this definitely isn't a personal gripe, I'd just like to see the competition in that space heat up a bit, and there'd be bonus points if we could simultaneously promote a completely open platform.

2
cpeterso 3 days ago 1 reply      
The "torvalds" github account claims to have been created today. Did github have reserve that account name for Linus or did they boot a squatter? I see there dubious accounts registered for "linustorvalds", "billgates", and "stevejobs" but not "billg" or "sjobs".

btw stevejobs uploaded Windows 8 source code in 2009! Bill, you might want to give Steve a call. ;)

3
moe 3 days ago 1 reply      
Poor Linus will probably be flooded with patches and pull requests for every commit he makes.

On the other hand, he might very well spark some interesting things just by committing small stubs of his ideas.

4
yesbabyyes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for taking http://github.com/linus, Linus!
5
grandalf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats to the Github team for this. I'd say it's a pretty huge endorsement, regardless of whether Linus intended it that way or not.
6
jsaxton86 3 days ago 0 replies      
The README file is great:
https://github.com/torvalds/diveclog/blob/master/README

TL/DR: I've never used GTK before, I know my code sucks, but my little divelog program is better than anything else I could find, and if someone wants to fix my code they are welcome to do so.

8
bostonvaulter2 3 days ago 2 replies      
I assume diveclog is for scuba diving?
9
xuhu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hard to believe, but the sources compile cleanly on win32 (using mingw). And ... it actually works!

I put binaries up at http://patraulea.com/diveclog/diveclog-win32-110904.zip

10
thedjpetersen 4 days ago 1 reply      
It would be really cool if he puts his fun side project scripts up. I would enjoy seeing what he hacks on the side.
11
wtracy 3 days ago 0 replies      
He has nearly a thousand followers within a day of creating an account. Nice.
12
MrKurtHaeusler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm he seems to have left out the unit tests.
13
tbranyen 3 days ago 0 replies      
swoon
16
Michael Arrington Resigns From Techcrunch wsj.com
315 points by moses1400  5 days ago   74 comments top 23
1
glymor 5 days ago 4 replies      
If the paywall is affecting you:

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is resigning as editor of the popular technology blog, and will run a $20 million venture-capital fund backed by TechCrunch-owner AOL Inc. and several venture-capital firms.

Mr. Arrington "will run the fund and will continue to write for TechCrunch, but will have no editorial oversight," said an AOL spokesman. Erick Schonfeld, who has served as co-editor in New York, will become interim editor while AOL searches for a replacement for Mr. Arrington, the spokesman said. AOL purchased the site last year.

Mr. Arrington's new fund, called CrunchFund, closed Thursday with $20 million, according to people familiar with the matter. AOL leads the limited-partner group, which includes a long roster of venture firms that kicked in $1 million each: Austin Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Several individuals contributed money, including Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz of the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz; general partners at Benchmark Capital; angel investors Ron Conway and Kevin Rose; and Yuri Milner of Russian firm DST Global.

It isn't immediately clear what is the fate of AOL's venture-capital arm, AOL Ventures, which has made recent seed investments in start-ups such as spam-defense company Impermium and price-tracking service Shopobot.

Mr. Arrington's partner in the fund is Patrick Gallagher, who has been a partner at VantagePoint Capital Partners since 2008.

Mr. Arrington wasn't immediately available for comment. He posted a message on Twitter after news of the fund broke: "slow news day."

Mr. Arrington, a former lawyer who is known to be well connected in Silicon Valley, started TechCrunch in 2005. The site built up a following for its coverage of young tech companies.

Long an angel investor himself, Mr. Arrington announced on TechCrunch in 2009 that he would stop making investments in start-ups due to a perceived conflict as both publisher and investor. It's "a weak point that competitors and disgruntled entrepreneurs use to attack our credibility," he wrote at the time.

But in April this year, after AOL acquired TechCrunch, Mr. Arrington announced he was investing in start-ups again, while also becoming a limited partner in venture funds Benchmark Capital and SoftTechVC.

Mr. Arrington has often said that transparency and full disclosure keep things above-board when his blog writes about companies he has some financial stake in.

2
guelo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Arianna is now saying that Arrington will not have writing privileges and that he no longer works for Techcrunch at all. http://www.businessinsider.com/mike-arrington-no-longer-work...
3
cft 5 days ago 1 reply      
Hopefully, Hollywoodization of the Silicon Valley will slow down as the Techcrunch hype machine falls apart.
4
flocial 5 days ago 1 reply      
The title is sensational. He's just relinquishing editorial responsibilities and not all writing privileges so he can run a AOL-funded venture capital fund. The question is will he be able to leverage his connections and influence to perform as a capable fund manager?
5
ig1 5 days ago 1 reply      
bangs head on wall

I've got a draft article I was writing for my blog arguing that Arrington should resign because his conflicts of interest make his role as editor of TC untenable.

Among other reasons I was arguing that Arrington has to disclaim his investment in any article about a competing firm, however since his investment in SV Angels he's now invested in a number of firms which are in stealth mode, which means in practical terms that it's impossible for him to meet his obligations.

6
ayanb 5 days ago 0 replies      
He could serve up some drama, but one thing most people will agree on, he has always cheered for and egged on startups and the ecosystem. Simply for that, I wish him good luck.
7
Kavan 5 days ago 0 replies      
AOL = TechCrunch and AOL = CrunchFund (as it is AOL's capital seeding the fund)

So even if the fund had a different name, and Arrington doesn't work for AOL directly, there is still a conflict of interest. As Paul Carr said in his article, are TC journalists likely to write a really negative piece on a CrunchFund company knowing that Tim Armstrong ultimately runs both?

Would the Wall Street Journal or the New Times start an investment fund and invest in the exact companies they are reporting on? IMHO they would not, as they realise their core business's need for independence.

If AOL want to follow through on their strategy "AOL is planning on being the largest high quality content producer for digital media." they need to realise that they are a media business and so need to follow the same rules basic rules for good journalism as every one else in their industry.

IMHO this is a very poor decision by Armstrong. For another glamorous dabble in the VC world where he will probably make about 10% ($2M) per annum, he could be betting the entire AOL business.

Not much upside and a whooooole lotta downside = bad trade.

8
petercooper 5 days ago 2 replies      
But staying with TC, notably. As he said after the sale:

So we begin another journey. I fully intend to stay with AOL for a very, very long time. And the entire team has big incentives to stay on board for at least three years.

However, I rather hope Michael's "dream" comes true instead: http://peterc.org/blog/2011/381-michael-arringtons-dreams-of... ;-)

9
bkrausz 5 days ago 2 replies      
Strange that this is only 11 months since the acquisition, I would have assumed he would leave at a 1 year vesting.
10
rmason 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well when there's a website with a pool predicting your departure the crowdsourced consensus was Arrington wouldn't be at AOL long:

http://www.whenwillmichaelquit.com/

11
gwern 5 days ago 0 replies      
Companies investing in other companies always strikes me as weird, and investing in a venture capital seems even weirder.

Companies have a fiscal responsibility to deliver as much money as possible to their shareholders, do they not? So if AOL is giving Arrington a few million dollars, that's money AOL shareholders are not seeing; it's only justifiable if AOL thinks Arrington will use the money to outperform the market (otherwise just invest in the market or return to shareholders) or there will be some friends-with-benefits deal worth millions to make up for Arrington's lack of edge. Neither one seems all that likely.

12
suprgeek 5 days ago 0 replies      
When AOL acquired TC, I get the feeling that the clock had started counting down for Michael Arrington. Not because AOL wanted to get rid of him, but more because of his need to be disruptive which was being reined in to some extent. The "loose" cannon tag is well earned to some extent.Should be interesting to see some of Arrington's larger investments as a VC.
13
itsnotvalid 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't we expecting this? Editorial independence is a good thing here, so really no surprise here.
14
wslh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Funny that their current e-mail contact is: crunchfund@gmail.com on CrunchBase page: http://www.crunchbase.com/financial-organization/crunchfund
15
jetbean 5 days ago 2 replies      
I have to ask, why is this important?
16
johnx123-up 5 days ago 1 reply      
Will the CrunchFund going to be a competitor for YC?
17
breck 5 days ago 1 reply      
Glad to see he's still writing for TC. If I notice MA's name in the byline, I usually read it.
18
nkeating 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cant say that I'm a fan of his tactics, but the Man's seemingly omnipresent influence on the tech world is undeniable.
19
par 5 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't he report some alleged collusion last year among some silicon valley angels? Perhaps he feels this is his way of competing and creating a true angel market. I'm interested to see where this goes, more startup money can only be good for us!
20
djd 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not big a news as the Title suggests.
Gist: He quit as editor and started a seed fund
21
bshells 5 days ago 0 replies      
$20 million. Who said we are having a eco crunch?
22
mrmaddog 5 days ago 3 replies      
Even though I hope M.G. Siegler becomes the next head of TechCrunch, I have a feeling that AOL will view this as it's chance to take command, and put one of its own on top.
Sigh...
23
puredemo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good on Mr. Arrington. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does in the next few years.

He can be polarizing, but his journalism and analysis have always seemed spot on to me.

17
GitHub Flow scottchacon.com
315 points by schacon  7 days ago   62 comments top 16
1
jerhinesmith 7 days ago 7 replies      
"Every branch we push has tests run on it and reported into the chat room, so if you haven't run them locally, you can simply push to a topic branch (even a branch with a single commit) on the server and wait for Jenkins to tell you if it passes everything."

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.

2
Aqua_Geek 7 days ago 1 reply      
I wasn't aware that you can open pull requests from within the same project (i.e. not from a fork). The idea of using this for quick code reviews before merging code into the production branch is really interesting to me...
3
Pewpewarrows 7 days ago 2 replies      
Very good comparison between workflows of deploying several times per day versus much less often. While it might not be obvious to some, the exact same git "flow" won't work for both. Your tools should complement your corporate culture, not the other way around.

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.

4
simonw 7 days ago 1 reply      
Question about the chat deploy bot: there are a few lines in there that look like this:

    hubot deploy github/ghost-down to production

Is that deploying a branch directly to production, or does that cause a branch to be merged with master and then master deployed to production? If the former, why deploy a branch directly rather than sticking to the "master is production" idea?

5
tednaleid 7 days ago 4 replies      
This sounds like a feature branch strategy, which I've only used in 1 or 2 person teams, never on projects that big.

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)

6
blackRust 7 days ago 0 replies      
Well written and presented. Important not to miss out his closing comment:

"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.

7
gnufied 7 days ago 2 replies      
Its interesting that they abandoned CI Joe. I wouldn't say, I saw this coming. But, unless they wanted to maintain/write a full blown CI server themselves, it would have got harder for multiple projects.
8
dave1010uk 7 days ago 0 replies      
In a small web agency, mainly creating sites for clients, we find a mix of "git-flow"-style and continious deployment works best.

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.

9
freedrull 7 days ago 3 replies      
Is it really zero-downtime deployment? I've read about Passenger 3's zero-downtime deployment strategy, but on my Passenger 3 setup, the server is still always a little unresponsive for a few seconds after a restart.
10
dasil003 7 days ago 1 reply      
Here's what I'm curious about that is not mentioned at all:

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?

11
randall 7 days ago 5 replies      
One question i've always had: How often do "regular" people commit? Should I be committing every time I hit save... or should I wait? (I don't work in a dev team, so I'm looking for the wisdom of developers who have to work in teams.)
12
puredanger 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious how CI is done on branches. It's mentioned but not elaborated on in the article.
13
geeksam 7 days ago 0 replies      
For those who enjoyed this talk, Corey Donohoe gave an awesome presentation at Cascadia RubyConf that goes into more detail about what they use Hubot for, and also mentions deploying branches to a subset of their boxes. It was one of the best talks of the conference: http://confreaks.net/videos/608-cascadiaruby2011-shipping-at...
14
ethank 7 days ago 1 reply      
I wish they'd post a guide on how to do a separate CI job per feature branch. That'd make this approach really scalable.
15
terinjokes 7 days ago 2 replies      
For reasons decided long ago, the company I'm at uses Mercurial, and I don't think we're in a position to retrain everyone and move to a private GitHub repo.

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.

16
lylo 6 days ago 0 replies      
How do you handle branches which require DB migrations?
18
Tilemill: Maps done right tilemill.com
311 points by will2live  6 days ago   42 comments top 14
1
jinushaun 6 days ago 4 replies      
I've used TileMill pretty extensively, and while TileMill is great for generating static maps (PNGs) for infographics, it won't replace Google Maps any time soon for serving dynamic maps.

For example, you can serve a dynamic map of Washington DC on a website using TileStream and TileMap, but if you wanted to also view Fairfax, VA or Baltimore, MD, you're out of luck unless the tileset includes those tiles. With Google Maps, you always have access to all the tiles.

That's not to say that TileMill isn't a great product. The choice to use CSS is brilliant. Plus they're based in Washington DC, where I'm currently living! Nice to see tech outside of the Bay Area, NYC and Boston.

2
icefox 6 days ago 2 replies      
I never thought I would see the day where there is OS X and Linux downloads, but only a VM image for Windows. Very cool.
3
untog 6 days ago 1 reply      
This looks really, really slick. Next time I'm creating a map-based site I'm going to have a play around and see what customisations I can do. It's very difficult to match the default Google Maps style for clarity, but sometimes it would be good to have more options than their styles permit.
4
cal5k 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm consistently impressed by the work DevSeed puts out with such a small team. What's the secret? :-)
5
nollidge 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the screenshot should use a bit higher-contrast color scheme for the map. I was slouching in my chair a bit and couldn't really see what it was at first :)
6
dave1010uk 5 days ago 0 replies      
The Google Maps API lets you style maps too [1]. You can change colors and show/hide different map features. There's also a wizard [2] to make styling easier. You can get some very interesting effects [3].

[1] http://googlegeodevelopers.blogspot.com/2010/05/add-touch-of...

[2] http://gmaps-samples-v3.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/styledmaps/...

[3] http://googlegeodevelopers.blogspot.com/2010/10/five-great-s...

7
crenshaw 6 days ago 2 replies      
Was just about to download and start using this. No Windows version though. Maybe the start of a weekend project for me.
8
aw3c2 6 days ago 0 replies      
The ruleset screenshot reminds me of http://www.maperitive.net/ which is an excellent tool too (not web-based).
9
pbhjpbhj 5 days ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is wondering about the shell script for Ubuntu install it checks for maverick or natty and then installs like so:

    apt-add-repository ppa:developmentseed/mapbox
apt-add-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
apt-get update
apt-get install tilemill

10
rmc 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have started to play around with this foR custom OpenStreetMap rendering. Carto, the css format, seems a bit easier to play with than the raw mapnik xml.
11
gmbuell 6 days ago 0 replies      
The main MapBox site (http://mapbox.com/) is definitely worth checking out as well. They have a pretty cool iPad app and a nice ~6 minute video demoing everything (http://vimeo.com/20006926)
12
henry501 6 days ago 0 replies      
Love TileMill, love TileStream, love the tilesets. One day I'll move to DC...
13
domhofmann 6 days ago 2 replies      
Really incredible work. Is there anything we can do to speed up exporting, short of manually parallelizing across multiple computers? Distributed export might be a nice feature.
14
geogra4 6 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great, thank you.
20
Amazon's Kindle Tablet Is Very Real. I've Seen It, Played With It. techcrunch.com
298 points by ssclafani  5 days ago   190 comments top 33
1
joebadmo 5 days ago  replies      
In certain ways, this "post-PC" era that Apple's brought us into with the iPad seems like a step backward. We're going back to something more like the broadcast television model, where a more or less centralized authority produces the content for passive users to consume. These tablets just keep getting more and more optimized for that.

I suppose it's somewhat natural, given the way the market works, but it seems our tools for consumption are advancing at a significantly greater rate than our tools for production.

I guess the opposing side is the Web. Amazon seems to be shaping up to be solidly on the side of the centralized authority-type cathedral builders, while the Web and Web technologies are more bazaar-like. It seems more and more like Google is the only powerful singular force whose incentives align with the Web instead of with more centralized production hubs.

2
SwellJoe 5 days ago 2 replies      
I was momentarily excited...until I read the description of the new Kindle.

I played with a Nook a few weeks ago, and almost bought one. $249 is nearly an impulse purchase price point. But, I already had a netbook, a Kindle, a laptop, a Nexus One (which broke a few days ago, to be replaced by a Sensation), a desktop, and a DS, so I talked myself out of it.

One of the big reasons is because I wouldn't be able to get rid of my existing Kindle. The Kindle has a killer feature, which I can't replicate: International 3G Internet for free. It's a piss poor excuse for a web browser, but when I'm out of the country, I can google "wifi hotspot city-name" and find a place to connect my netbook or laptop and get some work done. This is a miracle for someone that travels as much as I do.

The battery life is also spectacular. Since I travel in a motorhome, and sometimes go days without plugging in, the ability to read books without having to think about charging my ebook reader is awesome.

So, the two really awesome things about the current Kindle that I have, are not present in the Android Kindle. Also, the fact that they've forked Android hard makes me more than a little hesitant to consider it. My new phone is only a slight divergence from standard Android, and I find it annoying as hell...I'll probably be rooting it and putting a more standard Android on it when I have more free time. The notion of a total fork without a standard Market and all the Google apps (Maps is my lifeline when travelling), and possibly without some of the other apps I rely on, is just crazy. It's hard to imagine such a thing not sucking.

In short, it sounds like I'll be better served by a Nook, should I decide to buy a little ebook/tablet. At least it is readily converted to a standard Android device. Or, maybe I'll just wait out the next round of tablets...or, maybe I'll just not buy a tablet. I still have yet to figure out what I'd use one for. They seem to be highly focused consumption devices, and I do enough consumption as it is.

3
Lewisham 5 days ago 5 replies      
If Amazon are going to maintain an Android fork, I wonder how well Android apps will be able to play with it. It would be a huge disappointment if 2.2+ apps were unavailable (or installing Google Market for that matter).

I can see why Amazon has gone down this path, but I do wonder if it's the right thing, rather than doing everyone's favorite/most hated carrier-specific bolt-ons instead. I also hope that Amazon doesn't give up on color e-ink, because reading on a Kindle is so much nicer.

4
achompas 5 days ago 1 reply      
By far the most interesting quote from Siegler's article:

Overall, the UI of this Kindle felt very responsive. You can flick through the carousel seamlessly. This is something Amazon has apparently been working on quite a bit, I'm told. And they continue to.

If Amazon gets this right, they're a long way towards recreating the iPad UX. In fact, this entire article suggests that the Kindle tablet will be the first widely adopted non-iPad tablet. In addition to the above:

1. The interface sounds great. I am a humongous fan of the Kindle Cloud Reader and iOS interfaces, and I believe they're designed very well. Users can expect a well-designed tablet from Amazon.

2. Users can draw from a central source for their content. Amazon will provide all the movies, music, and books you need--something every other Android tablet has lacked so far. Mainstream users will appreciate the centralized content provision, especially from a company as respected as Amazon.

3. Cutting the Android Market solves a lot of potential issues: no spyware, no OS incompatibilities, no apps with large hardware requirements. Everything in the Amazon Appstore will work on this Kindle (I expect it to be a requirement for admission).

This tablet sounds very...Apple-like. A very closed ecosystem with access to interesting content and a curated app store. I would buy it if I was shopping for a tablet.

5
Steko 5 days ago 2 replies      
Five or Six Things That Occurred In My Brain When I Read This Article:

(1) $250 with free Prime? Buying one for sure, maybe two.

(2) No camera? Ugg. At least a front facing camera for Skype pls, I'll pay extra.

(3) November, meh I was hoping late September.

(4) Eclair fork? That has to be wrong lots of optimizations made in Froyo which has been available for over a year.

(5) Maybe this provided some additional incentive for Google to withhold Honeycomb source?

(6) MG Siegler continues to break character and occasionally commit actual journalism. Would love to see this trend continue.

6
ajg1977 5 days ago 1 reply      
If there's one thing they need to nail on this device (beyond the Kindle app) it's web browsing.

a $250 7" tablet with a top class browser is a hugely compelling product all by itself.

7
drivebyacct2 5 days ago 2 replies      
Google's applications are not part of Android.

Putting a skin on Android and not shipping it with Google apps is NOT a fork. Even if you want to consider it one in a technical definition, it's not a significant one. It's as much a fork of Android as CyanogenMod is. (CM does not come with Google Apps, though they can be added after-the-fact).

8
superuser2 5 days ago 4 replies      
E-ink made the Kindle. Tablets are exciting, but reading a novel on a backlit screen is no fun, and if it were, we'd read on our cell phones, because they're easier to carry around.

This is disappointing. The Kindle 2 (the model I had) did one thing, and one thing phenomenally well. I don't want my kindle to be a Swiss army knife.

9
psychotik 5 days ago 1 reply      
This could become a potential nightmare for app developers. Assuming they don't break public APIs in their custom fork, developers are still going to need to worry about backward compatibility and not being able to provide advanced features for their apps on Android devices. Couple that with problems with payments/in-app purchases and this is just a nightmare waiting to happen for Android developers.

If the forked-OS stuff is true, this feels like a bad move by Amazon.

10
gamble 5 days ago 1 reply      
This will have a hard time competing with the iPad internationally, if it really is focused on deep integration with their digital stores. Amazon has been extremely reluctant to roll out their content stores beyond the US. For example, they still haven't expanded their mp3 store to Canada.
11
mootothemax 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've been sorely tempted to pick up a Kindle for the last few months, and had thought it'd make a nice Christmas present. I know - I'm so considerate. Given that the present version has been out for a while, I was wondering if an updated version would be released in time for the Christmas rush.

10 hour battery life, not going to fit in at the beach, nor the less safe parts of the city? Nah, I'll go for the current Kindle instead thanks :)

12
gfodor 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool and all, but I'd really like Amazon to make a DX with an extra inch of space, so it's the size of a real book, and I can read PDFs on it without squinting.
13
georgemcbay 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds pretty good to me with the exception of "pre-2.2". No Dalvik JIT? Hopefully that part was a misunderstanding. Having run pre-Froyo and Froyo+ on the same device, the jit engine is a pretty big deal.
14
johnyzee 2 days ago 0 replies      
E-ink is what makes the Kindle for me, it is such a pleasure to read off a screen that does not feel 'electric'. The months of battery life are nice too. I also don't get how TechCrunch has the e-ink devices being the 'lower cost' models, my DX was around $650, way more than this device.

Lastly, I wonder how the rumored browser will work and how it will affect the pricing model. 3G connectivity is free with current Kindles. That works for Amazon because you only ever use the network to download books, and the Kindle browser is restricted essentially to wikipedia. If unrestricted browsing means I will have to pay subscription for a 3G data connection that will be a major pain in the ass compared to now. Particularly since I do not want to browse the web on my Kindle, I have better options for that.

15
6ren 4 days ago 0 replies      
Won't be as successful as the Kindle, because the kindle is exceptionally tailored to its usage of buying and reading books - whereas this is android dragged half-way there. And android tablets haven't been doing well anyway (20:80), even the very best of them. The 3G kindle's tailoring is:

- free 3G (yes, free), to buy amazon books

- black and white E-Ink which is much closer to paper than colour displays.

- much lighter and slimmer (241grams; 8.5oz)

- long battery life (2 months - about x60 longer than a tablet), though this probably overshoots the need. i.e. they'd be better off using a smaller battery (or even AA batteries).

I'm so impressed with the Kindle because it resists trying to be the best at everything, but instead makes comprises that optimize it for its purpose. Whereas the Android tablet described here is much worse on all fronts and half-hearted as Android: neither fish nor fowl.

16
jmelloy 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's interesting that everybody is attempting to differentiate on top of the Android kernel, and are forced to build their own skin to compete.

Free Prime memebership (for life?) is interesting. Amazon has a big content catalog, and it makes a hell of a lot more sense for them to go this alone and not be forced to use Google's shit app store.

Overall, I think they'll have trouble differentiating between them and the iPad and them and the nook Color, and it doesn't seem like they've really brought anything new to the table.

17
blinkingled 5 days ago 0 replies      
* Google's Android Market is nowhere to be found. In fact,no Google app is anywhere to be found. This is Android fully forked. My understanding is that the Kindle OS was built on top of some version of Android prior to 2.2.*

MG goes on to say it is smooth and responsive. And I think many Apps are going to be incompatible with anything less than Android 2.2. Given this I would think Amazon will want to have at least 2.2 on there.

Would be kinda sad if they ran 1.6 on it in 2011!

[Edit] May be it is 2.1 - AWS SDK for Android Requires Android 2.1 (API Level 7) or higher. Oh well may be they will keep it up to date!

18
listic 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how durable are the current e-ink readers? May it be so that Amazon moves away from e-ink readers in particular because they can't be made reliable?

I like to read books and I was a theoretical fan of e-ink readers, but I never owned one. My younger brother, on the other hand, was against them: "why buy the device that only reads books?" On a recent trip to the countryside he borrowed a (PocketBook 301 plus) reader from a friend and put it in the tent's pocket together with a phone, iPod and other such stuff. In the morning, he found that the screen failed because it had a tiny crack. Maybe someone accidentally kicked it or something, but modern phones, iPod and such withstand abuse rather well, and this thing broke after one night - it even was in its own leather case that covers the screen! Googling revealed that cracking screen is a common issue.

I start to suspect that those e-ink screen are a flawed technology as they are. There might be a reason Sony makes their readers with a metallic case, but do they last even then?

19
kloncks 5 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people questioned whether or not there was a market for a CrunchPad, or a cheap entry tablet.

Looks like this will validate that. Now, if only webOS could chime in and make this an interesting battle. That would be special.

20
systems 5 days ago 0 replies      
First you think its a revolution, then it calms down to en evolution.
From tablets to Notebooks

1. First come tablets

2. Then tablets gets a stand (so you dont have to hold them all the time)

3. Then tablets gets a keyboard (so you can type quickly)

4. Then tablets gets a mouse like device (so you dont have to touch the screen while on the stand)

5. Then they run (your favorite distro of) linux

6. Then they become keyboard-less more portable laptops

7. Then we call them notebooks

21
markgx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon could carve out the "sub-iPad" tablet market if their $250 price point holds and they release a usable tablet. Look at what happened with the HP firesale.
22
mrinterweb 5 days ago 1 reply      
I heard a lot of rumor that the rumored Amazon tablet would use a Qualcomm Mirasol passive color display technology with a refresh rate capable of running video. I wonder if this rumor is still circulating or confirmed.
23
ipsin 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not interested unless it's:

1) easily flashable with an actual Android ROM (a la Nook/cyanogen)

2) got a 3G data connection, similar to the current 3G kindle

If both are true, it's a really compelling device.

24
AdamGibbins 5 days ago 1 reply      
I really hope they don't hope to make this a replacement for their eink non-backlit devices. That would be a disaster :(
25
AndrewClyde 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the Kindle-branded tablet will be successful and manage to compete with the iPad.

However, it's not going to win in the way people expect it to; I think it'll bring a lot of people into the post-PC tablet world and introduce a cheap tablet to a lot of people, but it's not going to revolutionize anything major and won't be able to do anything the iPad and/or TouchPad can't do.

26
rospaya 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wonder if they'll be selling it internationally, like a Kindle. The major difference is that this probably won't have a 3G connection so it should be even simpler.
27
mikecane 4 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see if Amazon permits loading of competitor eBook apps. Right now, both Aldiko and Kobo are available in their App Store (I can't find Sony, that might be a search bug, maybe...). And if they do allow it, are we in for a 30% in-app purchase vig down the road ala Apple?
28
Fjslfj 5 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is forking Android in a similar fashion.
29
tricolon 5 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't get the point of a Kindle with a battery life of only 10 hours.
30
rmc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the start of the tablet wars?
31
d0m 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any TL;DR with a picture?
32
eyko 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm buying.
33
rshm 5 days ago 3 replies      
$250 is too much. Ebay/Amazon has similar specs 800MHz/7"/Android 2.2 for $87 and below with a free shipping.
21
9 million hits/day with 120 megs RAM tumbledry.org
295 points by verisimilitude  7 days ago   126 comments top 29
1
jroes 7 days ago  replies      
Blogs really don't need a PHP, Rails, or anything backend. It's static content.

Here's how I think blogging should work:

1. Visit a web app where you create your blog post, add pictures, use your rich text editor, that sort of thing.

2. Click the "Publish" button, which generates static HTML and runs any other processing like tag generation or pngcrush.

3. Your static HTML gets pushed out to some server that does the hosting for you. It could even be one of those really cheap shared hosting providers.

If you really want comments, let someone like Disqus or Intense Debate handle it. Pretty much any dynamic feature you need can be outsourced.

2
michael_dorfman 7 days ago 1 reply      
I guess my age is catching up with me-- my gut reaction on seeing the headline was: 120MB? That's a lot of RAM-- who has that? Oh, wait...
3
api 7 days ago 1 reply      
This underscores how ridiculously overspecced modern servers are due to the bloat of a lot of modern software.
4
jacques_chester 7 days ago 2 replies      
The key points:

    1. Use caching.
2. Use Nginx.
3. Use PHP-FPM.

5
noelwelsh 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to know how much the Joyent Smartmachine contributed to this. They make some bold claims on their website, and really do seem like a great alternative to EC2 (disk IO that doesn't suck!) if they deliver. Anyone have any experience?
6
dan_manges 7 days ago 0 replies      
Some interesting techniques in here (e.g. Faking Dynamic Features Using Inline Caching), but otherwise it seems easy to scale to this level when the majority of page content can be cached.
7
silverbax88 7 days ago 1 reply      
I agree that this should be the standard, not an exception.
8
mfjordvald 7 days ago 0 replies      
Cross posting this from a comment I made on reddit:
This is something I've actually worked extensively on solving and it's not quite as easy as this article claims it to be. In fact, there are quite a few too many draw backs to this method to any site that isn't largely static or updated very rarely.

* Whenever anything is updated the entire cache is invalidated and each item needs to be fetched again. This means you'll have some page loads being slow and others being fast. If you have a very dynamic website you will hardly ever even see a cached version.

* You can't cache things forever, primarily because when anything is updated the entire version namespace is invalidated. This means that if you have a site that isn't updated at all in a long time then the cache is still invalidated by the TTL and has to be updated. Of course, if you decide to cache forever and the version namespace is incremented then...

* You never know when your cache is full. Since the method of updating the cache isn't to invalidate keys but rather to just fill it with new keys, you will have a lot of stale data. This data will eventually have to get evicted from the cache. This means you don't reliably know when you need to upgrade your cache memory.

All that said. Version namespacing your cache is better than not caching at all and it's usually also better than having a lot of stale data as active keys. If you want to do proper cache invalidation in case you have a highly dynamic site then it's still possible, but it requires a lot more work, there's a reason for this famous quote: http://martinfowler.com/bliki/TwoHardThings.html

9
dan_manges 7 days ago 1 reply      
It's not apparent if the 9 million+ daily hits number is taking into account that peak hours will be higher than off hours. It would take 100 reqs/sec if the traffic is even throughout the day, but 375 reqs/sec if 15% of the day's traffic is in the peak hour.
10
wingo 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very nicely done. Using JS to give personalized experiences seems to be the way to go. I suppose you could generate a JSON list of id,date pairs to reduce page bloat, if it matters.

[Edit: This is 100 qps. It's a lot for a blog, but is not an unreasonable load by any means.]

11
drv 5 days ago 0 replies      
The title says "120 megs of RAM", but I wonder if that's at all comparable to a real machine with 120 MB. I imagine that the "120 MB" VM is running on a beefy host with tens (or hundreds) of gigabytes of RAM shared between the guest VMs and also used for disk cache. It seems likely that accessing a guest's virtual disk would actually hit the host's disk cache a lot of the time (especially when that guest has been busy recently); that would improve the speed of disk access for that VM enough that it could make up for the lack of memory for disk cache within the guest.

This is purely speculation, but I would be interested to see if there is any actual research to back it up.

I suppose if the guest in this instance is not swapping very often, then this is fairly irrelevant, but the article didn't mention anything about swap.

12
todsul 6 days ago 0 replies      
The difference between Apache and Nginx is that out of the box, Nginx is built for speed. Both are capable of thousands of requests per second, but Nginx arguably does it better with its event-based architecture (opposed to Apache being process based). The config syntax is also refreshingly simple, so converting .htaccess rules couldn't be easier.

We were recently paying a small fortune for hosting one of our websites. It was bumping up against memory limits even after a serious code rework and aggressive caching. Instead of upgrading we decided to test a new config using Nginx.

Now we run three sites, one fairly popular, on a 512Mb Linode with Nginx, APC, FPM, Varnish and a CDN, and it can take an amazing amount of load. Varnish needs memory, but without Varnish we could run this setup on a box a fraction of the size.

This plan costs $19/month! I still can't believe we're paying so little.

Instead of focussing just on the server though, and like the TumbleDry article somewhat suggests, HTTP cache is probably the best place to start in terms of performance. Varnish, CDNs, etc all rely on intelligent HTTP caching. And if you do it right, you don't need to worry (too often) about cache invalidation.

What I'm really looking forward to is making use of ESI in Symfony2 and Varnish. That will mean setting different cache headers for portions of pages, which will further reduce the need to manually invalidate cache.

For now though, I'm loving Nginx + FPM + APC.

13
g-garron 7 days ago 0 replies      
As a lot of you have said:
Static content is the key to success.
You can name it:

- Movable type

- Drupal + boost

- Wordpress + SuperCache

- Jekyll or other static website generators

Better if Nginx is serving those static files, LAMP can be behind creating the static files.

I used that way with Drupal+boost for a lot of time and worked.

14
kahawe 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have to say I haven't tried that myself nor have I looked at the prices so my question is: All the fun of having your own server aside, why wouldn't I rather just run a site like that on something like amazon ec2 and stop worrying about hits and load even if it is just a personal blog?
15
senthilnayagam 7 days ago 2 replies      
discovered blitz.io will keep me and my servers busy this weekend
16
RyanKearney 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not too sure I'd go with a load testing company that can't even keep their own website up.

http://blitz.io/

> Internal Server Error

17
ez77 6 days ago 0 replies      
For static, high-traffic, small-size content, doesn't it make sense to load a minimal OS entirely to RAM and serve it from there? Has anybody tried this? (I guess this rules out VPSes...)

Note: This is a variation of a previous comment I made, but a variation nonetheless. Sorry to belabor the point.

18
ez77 7 days ago 2 replies      
Naive question: suppose that you serve a low-throughput site, say with a total of 3MB of data (probably text files). What's the simplest way to ensure that those 3MB of content (very little compared to 120MB) live always in RAM? By this I mean not giving the server a choice =).
19
antihero 7 days ago 2 replies      
That's about 100requests/sec, which isn't particularly amazing.
20
michael_h 7 days ago 0 replies      
By inlining the comments, he's reducing cpu time by...transferring extra data across the network?
21
gtklocker 7 days ago 0 replies      
He could just say "tl;dr\n<machine specs>\n<I use static pages>".
22
waffle_ss 7 days ago 4 replies      
Wonder how much faster it would be if PHP was taken out of the mix (looks like he's just just serving static pages anyway).
23
krmmalik 7 days ago 1 reply      
Quick Question. Would using Nginx as a front-end to Node improve performance in the same way it has done for serving PHP?
24
TylerE 7 days ago 0 replies      
One thing to point out, based on my experience, is that you need about 10x or more peak throughput to handle a given average throughput. Spikes kill you.
25
winsbe01 7 days ago 0 replies      
love it. gives me faith that the archaic machines i have serving can still hold their own!
26
njharman 7 days ago 0 replies      
hits/day and megs ram are orthogonal.
27
luigionline 7 days ago 0 replies      
how about just using a CDN service. There is no need to play around anymore.
28
schiptsov 7 days ago 0 replies      
There was some post about a happy Win/IIS/CF guy - he definitely should read this.. ^_^
29
j_col 7 days ago 1 reply      
Very impressive, it's amazing how the "LAMP" stack continues to evolve.
23
Startups should not use GoDaddy. Ever pinolio.tumblr.com
288 points by justnearme  11 hours ago   145 comments top 49
1
DanielBMarkham 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I moved away from GoDaddy a couple of years ago. Now I have a few expiring domains left on there.

Last week I got a notice they were going to charge me for a renewal, which I did not want. So I called the support guy. Twenty or so minutes later, he sent me to a link to fill out a form where all would be taken care of.

Except it wasn't. Just like my previous few encounters with GoDaddy, when I went to the link I learned some obscure detail about my contract with them prevented me from getting what I wanted -- yet allowed them to charge me in full. I'm not going to go into details. It's a perfectly reasonable request on their part. The problem is they have created this monster of add-on services and items, all with little footnotes and gotchas. And it's all geared to extract more money from me.

Last time I had a domain going to expire that I wanted to keep, I went to transfer it over to my new domain guys. The domain was expiring in a month, but I had to complete a GoDaddy form online to make it happen (sound familiar?). The only way to complete the form online was to check a checkbox. The checkbox said that once I checked it I couldn't transfer the domain for another 90 days. Fuckers got me again.

I could tell you a few more like that. It's always some finely-detailed bullshit that ends up with you paying them more. Last week they got me for around 180 bucks.

So now I plan on using the domain I couldn't cancel. I go to the DNS settings. Looks like the new DNS manager is overly complicated and impossibly to use easily. The "adventure" continues.

I swear I hate those bastards. I consider myself a nice enough person, and I have been disappointed by online services in the past -- no big deal. Some online companies "get it" and some not-so-much. But GoDaddy has crossed a line with me somewhere. I'm not sure if it's the used-car-salesmen experience I get checking out or the policies that exist seemingly to endlessly screw me over in various and sundry ways, but it's just a really, really, really bad service in my opinion.

Did I mention I didn't like it so much?

2
d2 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
OK kids, here's what you need to know. There are three levels of your relationship with Godaddy:

Level 1: You're in balls deep. You register your domains with GoDaddy, use their DNS servers and host your shit on their servers. You also get your SSL certs from them. That's what the OP was doing.

Level 2: You're in up to the balls, but that's where it stops. You register with them, host your DNS with them but your website lives on another providers servers and you get your SSL elsewhere.

Level 3: You wearing a condom and don't give them their own key or underwear drawer. In other words, you register your domain with GoDaddy but you host the DNS somewhere else like DNSMadeEasy which costs, but is reliable. You also host your site somewhere else like Linode for example. And your SSL cert is something that costs more but is reliable. I have an EV cert from Verisign which costs but you get better conversions.

Level 3 is the only place you want to be. Pay them the bare minimum, immediately delegate the DNS hosting to a reliable rock solid provider that doesn't black-list DNS servers and use that provider to point your A record to whatever web host you're using. You get cheap domains and the only time you have to wade through GD's cluster fuck interface is when you change DNS providers or want to register another domain.

My primary domain did over 27 million DNS requests last month via DNS Made Easy with a 12 hour TTL and it's been registered with godaddy for over 4 years now with no problems at all.

3
pieter 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I agree with GoDaddy being horrible, but this really isn't just their fault. Certificate revocation does exactly what it says. It's a technical term that everyone using SSL should know and understand the implications of. Their offer of creating a new certificate for you for $15 actually sounds pretty decent.

And, you don't have backups of all your data and domains? While running your sites on a shared host? This really sounds like something that was bound to happen to you. Be glad you got it fixed and I hope you learned your lesson.

4
larrik 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I swore off GoDaddy years ago when I was setting up a website for a friend. It took an entire night to FTP up about 100k worth of files to his account. His website was extremely slow as well, so it wasn't just me.

We're talking about a website that got maybe dozens of hits per day.

He was a paying customer!!!! I've never had such a bad host, even from free ones.

Also, I absentmindedly signed myself up for their WHOIS privacy protection. Holy crap was that a mistake! I can't cancel it because it's actually offered by another company Domains By Proxy, but they won't let me log in because the account was magically setup using some bogus credentials and information which they got from the ether or something. So I can't even migrate that account away without sending them a driver's license, and THAT's assuming they have my correct name on file (which is a real possibility that they don't, since nothing else seems accurate). GoDaddy is no help, I have to call DomainsByProxy (which is GoDaddy, btw). DomainsByProxy is no help either, unless I send them a scan of my driver's license.

It pisses me off so much I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it. It's cheaper just to keep paying. Yuck.

5
KaeseEs 11 hours ago 1 reply      
No one should use GoDaddy, ever; there are many other registrars in their price range that don't share their onerous practices with regards to transfer, takedown, security and privacy and which have much better customer service.
6
nicpottier 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this really even need to be said here? A single visit to GoDaddy and their insane upselling strategies should be enough to disuade anyone that they are in it for anything but ripping you off.

namecheap.com has been quite pleasant so far. I used joker.com for years before that without complaint as well. Plenty of reasonable options out there.

7
geekfactor 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It turns out GoDaddy only issues the certificate to the domain attached to the hosting (which is somewhat of a stupid association, really, because it shouldn't matter what domain you use as long as you're accessing your content via a correct route).

If hosting with GoDaddy was the first mistake, this assumption was the second. The whole point of an SSL certificate is to say that the server you are talking to is a server that is authorized to speak on behalf of domain xyz and, as such, they are generally tied to one or more domains.

8
drivebyacct2 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Why is this news?! I can't count the number of times this has come up on HN, let alone reddit, let alone random prominent blogs, let alone from other big names that have had problems with GoDaddy suspending service, locking them out of their control panels and/or siding with law enforcement and acting before asking. Stop using GoDaddy. It's trivial to find other registrars, and not hard to find better ones.

(Examples of better registrars: Gandi, name.com)

Honestly, not a reassuring way to advertise your new company. There first intro blob admits that they knew this was a risk. "Yeah, we knew people have problems with this, but we were lazy and didn't bother taking the 30 minutes to transfer our domains elsewhere."

9
dasil003 11 hours ago 2 replies      
No one should ever use GoDaddy for any reason. I thought that was geek 101 by now.

Also, incidentally, you never host a startup on shared hosting. If a day or two of downtime is a big deal than you gotta go VPS at a minimum.

10
scelerat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I could have predicted this thread would turn into a PTSD support group for GoDaddy survivors.

I have my horrible stories too (all from freelancing days); suffice to say I learned a couple of things:

  * Cheap hosting almost never is. 
* GoDaddys support is designed to minimize their costs, not yours.
* if their support cannot help you with a problem they will try to upsell you on a plan they claim *will* fix the problem.

Dealing with them on a handful of occasions ranks among the most painful experiences I've had in 15 years of building stuff on the web.

11
dendory 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I used GoDaddy when I first started, years ago, but quickly moved away from them. Been with Dreamhost for years now and it's been very good. Adding SSL can't be simpler, they even streamline the process, allowing you to buy the cert directly in the panel (or import your own from a third party), assign a static IP, and everything works inside an hour. Anyways, just wanted to share my experience.
12
andrewl 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Paul Graham says "I use EasyDNS. They're expensive, but reliable and never do anything evil."

Source: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=150565

Note that that comment was posted over three years ago. Does anybody have any more recent experience with them?

13
jeremydavid 10 hours ago 6 replies      
Has anyone here used Nearly Free Speech (www.nearlyfreespeech.net)? I have finally started to make my migration away from GoDaddy (I have been planning this for years), and NFS seems pretty good.

I can't seem to find any horror stories about them... but I rarely see them brought up in discussions about registrars. Am I missing something?

14
pewpew 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Be incompetent, blame others, profit.
Host your site on a shared hosting, with another 1000 users, blame godaddy when it goes down.
Don't understand ssl, blame godaddy when you make mistakes.

GoDaddy are freaking excellent! for domains that is. All other services are crap, and if you bothered to actually check your facts, read some reviews, you would know that.

15
nyellin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Please fix the link. It goes the blog's homepage which makes it difficult to find the article later.
16
alwillis 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more. I've seen firsthand people using Go Daddy to check out a possible domain only to have Go Daddy squatting on it the next day. He was able to get a few of them back, but it such a hassle.

This was a couple of years ago; I can't imagine how much worse things are now.

17
athst 8 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy is the worst company ever. Earlier this year I finally took the step to transfer all of my domains to a different company, and I haven't looked back. Instead of transitioning slowly over time, I just decided to pay the money and transfer everything - it felt a lot better to just be free of them. Imagine a company so awful your customers are willing to pay extra to not be a customer!

One painful part of the transfer experience is that their "DomainsByProxy" service is entirely separate, even though it is sold alongside their domains as an add-on. My problem was that I had originally signed up with it years and years ago, and they do not keep your email or password in sync with your GoDaddy account. So I couldn't "release" the domains from DBP to be transferred without going through this crazy process of sending in forms and a copy of my drivers license to reset the account info. It was awful.

18
larrys 8 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the reasons godaddy is successful is that they are the registrar of referral for people (web designers, programmers, ISP's) that have customers that need domain registration or renewal. When an end user has a domain they need or one up for renewal godaddy is the registrar that is suggested to them by their "tech guy".

This is similar to how Microsoft gained power in a way. They were supported by a huge network of people that made money off of Microsoft. Additionally traditional tech guys want to appear smart and love (even if they don't make any commission) telling people they can get their domain registered cheaply at godaddy. "Wow I'm overpaying" says the customer.

What many people don't realize is that all registrars pay exactly the same price for a domain. Any registrar charging less than a certain amount (say below or near cost) is making it up elsewhere. In the case of godaddy it is by selling you things that you don't need that have no value.

One and only one example of this is "privacy protection". This is like a FUD from Microsoft.

Many godaddy domains have privacy protection that have no need for privacy and in fact privacy, because they are an operating business, with a business address, is the opposite of what they should be using. While having privacy is of benefit in some cases (to criticize your employer as
only one example) it is almost always safer to have a real address in the whois records if you can do that.

This of course isn't limited to godaddy. Register.com is the
registrar for Fred Wilson's avc.com. Avc.com has privacy protection even though Fred has a business address that he could use and has a public email address.

Domain Name: avc.com
Created on..............: 2008-07-18
Expires on..............: 2019-04-30

Registrant:
Domain Discreet
ATTN: avc.com
Rua Dr. Brito Camara, n 20, 1
Funchal, Madeira 9000-039
PT

19
sjs382 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I cant stand GoDaddy's hosting product. Their interface is awful, they're constantly upselling you, and changes via their Control Panel never happen instantly.

I have a lot of clients who came to me using GoDaddy and continue to use GoDaddy. So I interact with GoDaddy in some form every day.

But GoDaddy really shines in one area: their support. They're professional, they don't treat me or my clients like idiots, they don't bullshit me, and they're always quick to resolve issues.

(Personally, I prefer name.com and prgmr.com)

20
rickdale 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't believe people are still bitching about GoDaddy shared hosting. I feel like a quote from Richard Pryor is in store: "Boy, it's 1975 you betta get your shit together!"

My point is that if you were smart enough to use GoDaddy shared hosting then you probably weren't smart enough at the time to have a VPS. Take what you have learned from GoDaddy and learn some more stuff and then sign up for a VPS or build a server. GoDaddy can be a good start for those just jumping into webdev and hosting, but after you have the equivalent of a yellow belt, its time to move on.

21
akmiller 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it really a problem if I simply use them as a registrar? I have many domains there but that's all I use them for is to simply register my domain. I have liked them for that because they are cheap (if you avoid all the up-sells which is easy enough) and their prices have stayed fairly consistent over the last several years.

I moved to them from Yahoo. Yahoo always allowed you to register a domain for a cheap price of 9.00 but then the renewals were 34.95...a bit of bait and switch if you ask me. Anyhow, I've been happy with simply using GoDaddy as a registrar but after reading this thread I'm wondering if I should switch??

22
mikeleeorg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I know two non-techie people (one a friend, one an acquaintance) who've used GoDaddy and gotten confused by all of the upsells and promos. My friend ended up purchasing a few extra services by accident and had a hard time trying to cancel them. The acquaintance was much less cognizant and ended up paying hundreds a month unknowingly.

I've also used them too, because a cofounder had registered our domain name with them. In Aug 2010, I noticed that GoDaddy had been charging us for an extra service we never purchased. I know this because none of us had logged into the GoDaddy account in a while. Fortunately, I'm really anal with accounting records and noticed the discrepancy in our bill.

After several emails and attempts to get this charge removed, I tweeted this issue with @GoDaddy included in it. THAT got an immediate response. Eventually, the charges were removed and we got a refund.

Moral of the story: Don't recommend GoDaddy to your non-techie friends, and consider avoiding it yourself. But if you must use them and have a problem, tweet about it to get a quick resolution.

23
mtogo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is spot on. I can't fathom why anyone would put themselves through Godaddy, especially a startup. I feel like you're asking for trouble though if you use Godaddy's hosting, which has a reputation for being absolutely horrible.
24
derobert 9 hours ago 0 replies      
See also a previous post, "Alternatives to GoDaddy" at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2753471
25
rshigeta 11 hours ago 10 replies      
I've seen a lot of issues raised about godaddy recently, but any suggestions for domain registry that work better?
26
mbesto 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Which is amazing considering how much GoDaddy is used for YC companies:
http://jpf.github.com/domain-profiler/ycombinator.html?2011
27
onedognight 10 hours ago 1 reply      
All the complaints here about GoDaddy have nothing to do with the one reason to use them, paying the least for a domain with free DNS. If you pay them anything else then you have just nullified this advantage as they can make back the few dollars you saved on the domain by charging you more for things like hosting and SSL (free at startcom).
28
DenisM 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Since this seems to be "my most/least favorite name service company" I recommend DynDNS. They're expensive, but they work very well in my experience. You can set very short TTLs, which obviates the need for static IPs.
29
jeromeparadis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My first rule is use a registrar to register domains. Never host your site or DNS at the registrar.
My second rule is do not host your DNS where you host your site.
It makes it easier to switch providers without downtime.
With these rules, I use GoDaddy to register domains and never had any problems. For DNS, DNS Made Easy is cheap and reliable.
30
myprasanna 1 hour ago 0 replies      
likealittle.com suffered with them too. They are pretty darn evil, they ask for a ransom to let you move your site.
31
damoncali 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been using GoDaddy for years. Never had a problem. I dont' use their hosting, though.
32
thisisnotme 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am stunned that anyone would ever use them in the first place. After going through domain registration with them, and being appalled at the amount of up-sale, I decided they aren't the company I would want to trust with anything.

I have been using dreamhost for years, and they make registration management painfully simple (and honest).

Also GoDaddy had an issue years back where they were apparently scooping up domains that people didn't finish checkout with and then selling them at a higher price.

33
mille562 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used GoDaddy for their DNS services and have been very happy with their customer service. No issues so far after ~2 years. I may research other DNS though, comments of how easily they shut people down makes me nervous.

Note to Pinolio: I may have missed it, but I did not find a link to your service on your blog.

34
TomGullen 10 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy is so bad. My heart sinks whenever a client asks me to login and change some setting for them. They've managed to turn the entire process of every function on their site into a purist up-selling unusable monstrosity that confuses customers to such a degree they feel they need to pay more and more money.

If you want a good Domain host try http://www.webwiz.co.uk, the guy who runs it is very good and prompt at support, domains are a fair price and the interface is super easy to use. I have no affiliation to WebWiz but since moving all my domains over there it's been a lot easier.

35
leon_ 10 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was doing web stuff back in 2003 the common opinion on webmaster forums was that one should never ever use GoDaddy. (There were cases of stolen domains, etc.)

Maybe they changed now - maybe not. But I'm not going to find it out.

36
jinushaun 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Just had GoDaddy conveniently renew three expiring domain names for me for TWO years. These were domain names I didn't want any more. Thanks.
37
joehewitt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are any of the big registrars trustworthy? I'm trying to consolidate all of my domains on Namecheap right now. I transferred one domain from Dyndns and they did the transfer within a few hours (nice!). Then I went to transfer another from Network Solutions and four days later I am still waiting. Do they think I'll change my mind if they refuse to release the domain for a week?
38
espadagroup 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I was on a deluxe account at Godaddy, tried upgrading to a VPS, had a horrible experience and now I am a happy customer of PHPFog.
39
josscrowcroft 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If this doesn't convince you to leave GoDaddy, just remember that the owner and founder takes summer holidays shooting elephants.
40
migrantgeek 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like everyone agrees that GoDaddy is terrible. What's strange to me is the interface has always sucked and gets worse as they've grown. You'd think with the revenues they see, they could get some good designers to make it much more usable.

I like Enom myself. The API works really well, prices are good, and the UI is clean and usable. I've been much happier since moving all of my domains over.

41
fatalerrorx3 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I hated using GoDaddy when doing development work for clients...I would never choose to use it for myself just based on my previous experience with them. I prefer self hosting on a fresh Ubuntu Server install on highspeed residential cable from a server I built myself..there's something satisfying about learning about all aspects of web development
42
rumblestrut 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As of this post, it appears to be working.

And I have to say, it's impressive. Those are some good-looking bookmarks. That's probably the oddest maintenance I'd ever think to write, but in this case, it's true!

43
bennesvig 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this only apply to hosting or registering domains as well?
44
mcantelon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy: not even once.
45
fialk 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can buy one service from GoDaddy and they'll give you a second service free for a year, then auto-renew that second unnecessary service. You can't cancel easily via e-mail and you can't cancel over the telephone. You have to log in and face an endless amount of confusion and upselling.

* This was for Domain Auto-Registration which includes GoDaddy Auctions.

46
Birejji 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Dynadot is the way to go
47
skilesare 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember when GoDaddy was the David to NetSol's Goliath.
48
timjahn 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't. Ever. Use. GoDaddy.

Ever.

49
pavel_lishin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> It's a good thing I don't drink, because the blur of Saturday and Sunday spent on the phone could have really been dealt with better with a couple of stiff drinks to ease the pain.

What.

25
Game theory article from a professional Starcraft player/caster. teamliquid.net
265 points by thisisnotmyname  2 days ago   82 comments top 22
1
patio11 2 days ago 6 replies      
My little brother, quoting a noted SC personality: when you're ahead, get more ahead. It is probably the most important strategic lesson in the game: if you have a temporary 5 pct material advantage, you can still easily get outplayed if you force a fight. Better to turn that into a 10 pct material advantage, etc, and force a fight only after you've already won.

The other game I play a lot of is League of Legends, and sadly the community around my skill level has not learned this gospel yet. If it looks like we have 30 seconds of advantage, the team of 5 almost invariably either does nothing or goes for a decapitating stroke whose downside risk is loss. A better tactic is probably "Get more ahead so we win the next skirmish, too, snowballing until we win by concession or overwhelming force."

2
bz 2 days ago 1 reply      
The concepts outlined are pretty good, but I want to make a counterpoint against heuristics in general. Distilled ideas like these are certainly useful for trying to grasp a complex system, but they do not, for the non-expert player, represent game knowledge. Let me explain why.

The pitfall for the average viewer/player is to take these mantras and apply them directly to what they see. They see a game where T apparently overcommits after winning an engagement at his 3rd, and wonder why he didn't take a 4th instead. Surely, this is a mistake of not getting more ahead!

An expert player might look at the same scenario and see an entirely different picture. The problem was that he scanned a 15m timing instead of a 17m timing for the Hive, so he was actually behind in that engagement (he should have decisively won with the Z's gas locked up elsewhere!). And that Broodlords would be due out in 2 production cycles, but it takes 3m for him to break-even on the new mine, and he would miss the window to secure enough of an advantage to push the game into a low-econ trade phase.

My point is that real game understanding is extremely specific. It's all about the actual state and timing. To go back to the article, that's where the marginal advantages are gained - by understanding and controlling how these extremely specific scenarios play out. The larger ideas about strategy that everyone loves fall out from the analyses of these interactions. But "getting" the general idea isn't the same as actually _getting_ it when you work out these scenarios and timings yourself from extensive playing/testing. So heuristics are really only part of the picture, the much larger part is a precise understanding of the system at work.

3
jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sean "Day[9]" Plott (the author of the article) is probably the best analytical Starcraft II caster around. His "Day[9] Dailies" cover everything from the absolute fundamentals ("here's how you set up your hotkeys, here's how you keep your money low") to more advanced topics like build orders, expanding, tactics, and micro. He also throws in "Funday Mondays", where beginner and experienced players alike try to win with unorthodox constraints (usually with funny and/or insightful results).

Bronze league matches often end up being a contest of who can win with the first rush or the earliest "cheese", but most pro-level play does end up being a careful balance between aggression, defense, and expansion. The winner is usually the one who can stay just slightly ahead of their opponent until they can seize a clear advantage.

4
lobo_tuerto 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is no _Game theory_ mentioned anywhere in the article, but _Competitive game design theory_.

Title should be changed to reflect that as to not bring confusion about it referring to the broad (and complex) Game theory subject.

5
herTTTz 2 days ago 1 reply      
As many of the sc2 players here might know, the guy who wrote this (day9) is one of the famous person in esports right now. He used to be a professional player of sc, but since sc2 appeared (2010) he dedicated to analyze the game, and has even a daily show about it.

The interesting thing about starcraft is that it's played _so_ much (in s. korea is a profession, kids actually go to live in "pro houses" were they play all day), that the game has/is evolving to a point where every little thing matters. In the highest levels, you can't really fight a straight up battle and hope to win, it's a game of getting little advantages (like removing %1 of his income) and trying to get ahead, and push those advantages much later on. Increasing your economy, building up you army, the execution and management of your units in the fight, everything counts.

6
jaredmck 2 days ago 1 reply      
This marginal advantage strategy is also well demonstrated in professional tennis. When you are in control of the rally, going for a shot which maintains your offensive position, with the potential to slightly extend your lead within the rally, is best. Often the defensive player will go for a huge winner if they are getting tired or are so out of position as to be unable to recover by hitting several good marginal defensive shots to get the point back to a neutral position. But if you watch the best players, they all have skills which gain or erase the most marginal advantages.
7
seri 2 days ago 2 replies      
Day9 hosted an event called The After Hours Gaming League in which eight tech companies will compete each other for charity. The event has just finished its first season with team Microsoft crushing everyone else. Zynga is the runner up and Google claimed third place.

Games: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ahgl
Homepage: http://afterhoursgaming.tv/

There are a number of interesting game theory articles on competitive Starcraft. This is one: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=258... and my comment to it: https://plus.google.com/116918963723558831013/posts/A8DRTY11...).

8
marcamillion 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that thought this post would have been about Economic Game Theory? - http://www.dklevine.com/general/whatis.htm

Very nice read though. Day9 is right. The best players all seem to have a knack for maintaining a marginal advantage or taking a small one and getting a bigger advantage.

9
Triumvark 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article correctly notes that those in the lead should play to conservatively extend their marginal advantage.

The corollary, for those in behind, is that they should attempt more gambits.

The principles of variance are strange. Sometimes, if you're in behind, you reduce your chance of losing by adopting what looks like a "losing" strategy (according to naive expected value calculations). With a wild all-or-nothing strategy, your chance of winning from behind likely won't exceed 50%, but by acting more like the 'risky amateur,' you might up your chances from 10% to 30%.

10
monkeypizza 2 days ago 4 replies      
The new 4-5dan go-playing bots on kgs (zen19d, crazystone) use this strategy extensively. When they're ahead they play to consolidate their biggest weakness, and when they're behind they play more and more risky moves to try to come back. In the endgame the calculate the score exactly, and will play negative point value moves as long as they are ahead on the board.

It makes for a really tough game, cause if you do get ahead, you have to face a series of attacks which almost but don't quite work, and if you mess up any of them it's over.

11
roel_v 2 days ago 0 replies      
Note that this article isn't on game theory, but on game design theory (i.e., 'game' as in 'computer game').
12
d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the most important concept to understand is "Timing windows". Vs a equally skilled player, you can't have all the advantages. Understanding the imbalances of a current situation - and taking advantage of it - is really what differentiate beginners from great players.

Sometime, in a game of 30mins, there's only a few seconds where you have the upper hand.. and this is where you need to attack. Miss that moment (from a couple of seconds!!) and you lose. Go a little bit before, and you lose!

13
edsrzf 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I remember correctly from my college AI days, thinking about upcoming turns and minimizing your opponent's gains is called minimax: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimax

I'm surprised that there was only one AI in the competition that did this. We were all expected to use this strategy in my class. Once everybody's figured this out, it becomes a game of:

- Who can think ahead the most turns?
- Who has the best "am I winning?" heuristic function? (For Mancala this function is fairly obvious, but for many games it's not.)

14
frankiewarren 2 days ago 4 replies      
The author stated, "Third, a good competitive game should test a player's skills and minimize the element of chance or luck. Ideally, the probability of a weak player defeating a good player should be as close to zero as possible."

Do you think this is always the case? I'm thinking about texas hold 'em, which has short-term variability but the stronger players win over the long run with a better strategy. Does chance have a place in competitive gaming?

15
kylek 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those that aren't familiar with it, the teamliquid.net forum typically has very high-quality posts (i.e. heavily moderated) and a great resource for anyone interested in e-sports. I recommend you check out the front page if you haven't before.
16
d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
So much stuff can be learned from sc/sc2 to apply in your life. Things from accepting defeat and understanding your mistakes, to know how to fight strategically. (By fight I mean it in a very vague way; Fight for a girl, Fight for a new job, etc.
17
d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
I browse hacker news and reddit/r/starcraft each day.. I love when an article appears on both :) A perfect mix between hacker-ness and gamer-ness.
18
wtvanhest 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just read all the comments because the author states that one program collects the maximum amount of stones, and another competitor's program figured out how to collect an additional stone.

Does this not make sense to anyone else? Can someone please explain it to me?

19
popisdead 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is a life lesson, not a game design theory lesson!
20
CosmicShadow 2 days ago 0 replies      
great article, good reminders of how to build a great competitive game, which is applicable to me!
21
metatronscube 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not Game Theory really, but Ender Wiggin has some good points...pitty its just a game.
22
leon_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
So much time and resources wasted on a game. My heart bleeds.
26
We open-sourced 90 node.js modules at Browserling catonmat.net
261 points by pkrumins  2 days ago   32 comments top 14
1
iamelgringo 2 days ago 1 reply      
James and Peteris are two of the most amazing devs I've seen in a long time. They ship and ship and ship and ship.

The first version of StackVM (Browserling's underlying technology) was written in Haskell. They switched to Node close to two years ago if I'm not mistaken. I've gotten an early look at Testling, their cross browser testing web testing tools, and they're easily a year or two ahead of anyone else on the market. I'm looking forward to seeing it launch.

Hook James and Peteris up by purchasing a paid plan: http://browserling.com/pricing

Better yet, ping them about buying a corporate plan for your company: http://browserling.com/contact

2
MostAwesomeDude 2 days ago 3 replies      
I know I'm getting to be a broken record, but two different attempts at an SSH server, neither of which work? Every other thing on this list is a reimplementation of something in Python's standard library or Twisted.

I mean, yes, that's a lot of code to write, and I'm impressed, but this just feels like yet more reinvention of the wheel.

3
TrevorBurnham 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these are small utilities (e.g. node-mkdirp), but a few are really significant contributions to the Node community. node-bigint, for instance, is a very robust, efficient library for doing infinite-precision arithmetic (a fairly common necessity, since every number in JavaScript is a 64-bit float and there's no way of knowing when you lose precision).
4
nirvana 2 days ago 1 reply      
1. You win. This contribution make me think there needs to be an open source awards show. Your "best contribution to a web platform in 2011" nomination is in the bag.

2. PG should be calling you with an invitation to the next YC class, not for this, but for everything you guys have accomplished in the last year.

5
mahmud 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would question my choice of platform if I had to develop 90 modules for it.
6
jjm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like how everyone was drawn for NPM top. Got their likeness on point ha-ha. I wonder how many of these can be grouped in to a general utility package?
7
sylvinus 2 days ago 0 replies      
90 is an astounding number of useful node modules :)
8
jackfoxy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dang, Peteris! You and James just keep cranking it out. Looking forward to Testling.
9
mmahemoff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great that these are individual modules instead of just making a single "browserling" package.
10
thirty-thirty 2 days ago 0 replies      

my stack is full of those modules!

11
rook2pawn 2 days ago 0 replies      
these guys competed in the Node Knockout! You can see (and vote) for the browserling guys here http://nodeknockout.com/teams/replicants#votes
12
fooyc 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's sad with this is that most of these modules would work in a browser if only they used asynchronous module definition.

That would have been even more awesome.

13
zackattack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats!

Incidentally, anyone have an idea how I can profile my Node app to see where I'm using up memory and CPU resources?

14
fla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Truely amazing
28
GoDaddy's New "Selective DNS Blackouts" Policy rscott.org
247 points by rednaught  1 day ago   84 comments top 17
1
johngalt 1 day ago 0 replies      
You don't buy DNS service from Godaddy, you buy registration. The DNS service is a courtesy.

For all this article states here's much more likely what's happening:

1. People are using the "free DNS service" for high traffic sites rather than rolling their own or buying a paid DNS service. Then setting their TTLs to 1 hour to make changes easier.

2. Godaddy is paying real $$ to host DNS for all those domains and in some cases could be revenue negative on a domain because of it. Regardless of how cheap you think DNS hosting is, Godaddy makes $3-4/year or less on a domain registration.

3. Godaddy is responding by throttling sources of extreme (possibly automated) DNS query traffic.

The author is someone going to the cheapest registrar and complaining that the complimentary serivces have limits. Once those limits are found he is trying to paint a "cheap/greedy corporation" picture. If the author is looking to write about underinvestment in infrastructure, he should consider an autobiography.

2
ghshephard 1 day ago 3 replies      
No major DNS provider would engage in a "Selective DNS Blackout" because of resource constraints - DNS is one of those protocols that is both embarrassingly parallel, as well as super efficient to serve. It's not unreasonable to see a well tuned, inexpensive (< $5K) DNS server provide on the order of 100,000 responses/second. And if you want to serve a million responses/second - just scale horizontally and add the resolvers to your VIP pool on your load balancer.

This article doesn't pass the common sense test. Not to say that GoDaddy isn't engaging in this selective DNS blackout policy, just that it's not because of a underinvestment in their infrastructure.

3
dotBen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Domain registration != DNS hosting

I continue to be amazed at how many startups (and other companies, high profile individuals, etc) rely on GoDaddy for their DNS rather than having a properly managed DNS hosting as part of their web-hosting solution.

DNS tacked on to domain registration is a throwaway after thought - certainly for GoDaddy, regardless of whether this 'blackout' is true or not.

5
imrehg 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm still confused why would anyone want to by their domain name from GoDaddy, after all this press they get. It looks like a horrible company in general (not just this story) and everyone giving them money just helps them suck more. If I could see they are improving, then a current suckiness can be forgiven, but when actually getting worse?
6
georgieporgie 1 day ago 3 replies      
I tallied up all the votes in a HN thread about registrars and settled on NearlyFreeSpeech.net. Their payment system is weird (you fund your pool of money from which charges are deducted), but otherwise it was quick, painless, and not full of creepy, sexualized imagery and cheesy, repetitive upselling techniques.

GoDaddy is a bit cheaper if you spend the time to scrounge up coupon codes, but wow, NearlyFreeSpeech was the first time my domain registrar's website didn't give me a headache.

7
davidu 1 day ago 1 reply      
lots of words, not a lot of evidence.

I know quite a few ops and abuse folks at godaddy who have root or enable, but this doesn't seem substantiated enough for me to even waste their time with.

The title is linkbait. There is no such official policy that we know of or that this bloggers knows of. This person is making a supposition, at best.

8
freddealmeida 1 day ago 1 reply      
I moved away from GoDaddy years ago. They have proven themselves to be irrationally self-interested. This is just one more reason no one should use them. While the domain cost is low, ancillary costs are high: not to mention moral cost for using a company that kills Elephants for sport.
9
politician 1 day ago 2 replies      
tldr: The new owners of GoDaddy have decided to block DNS traffic rather then invest in their infrastructure to handle the additional load. See also: bridges, roads, wireless carriers.
10
RyanKearney 1 day ago 0 replies      
People honestly use GoDaddy for anything other than domain names? NEVER use the same company to host your DNS as you registered your domain with. At that point you're pretty much putting all your eggs in one basket.
11
soult 1 day ago 0 replies      
By the way, the domain rscott.org is registered with GoDaddy.
12
amirrustam 1 day ago 11 replies      
What do you guys use instead of GoDaddy? Just interested to see what others prefer out there. I was gonna do a domain transfer to GoDaddy, but after reading this I won't be considering them.
13
ez77 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like how he uses mostly POSH [1] for his markup. Too bad he must appeal to something like the H4 element in order to include the author's name and the publication date.

It is difficult to understand that an academic such as Berners-Lee came up with prominently article-oriented HTML and did not include an AUTHOR tag or DATE tag.

[1] http://microformats.org/wiki/posh

14
beedogs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just another reason I don't do business with GoDaddy. And neither should you.
15
jonursenbach 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since when is GoDaddy a monopoly?
16
kennywinker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain the implications of this a little clearer? It sounds bad, but I don't understand why.
17
veyron 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a market nowadays for a new low-cost registrar / hosting provider?
29
Iran forged the wrong SSL certificate daemonology.net
245 points by cperciva  6 days ago   108 comments top 20
1
jgrahamc 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is something I've been talking about for a while. Back in 2009 I gave a presentation at Virus Bulletin on JavaScript security problems and highlighted some statistics on remotely loaded JavaScript:

1. 47% of the top 1,000 web sites include google-analytics.com

2. 69% include a remotely loaded web analytics solution

3. 97% load something remotely

If you can attack any of these you get access to a very large number of web sites and can inject arbitrary code. Clearly forging the SSL certificate for SSL loaded remote JavaScript is one way in, another is an attack on the DNS of non-securely loaded remote JavaScript.

At the time techcrunch.com loaded 18 different JavaScript elements remotely. Attacking one would allow a complete site takeover using JavaScript. And those 18 elements could easily have been loading other elements so that attack could have been done through a third-party.

A quick survey in the UK shows that the banks HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland all load third-party JavaScript on the secure page used for online banking login. Barclays look like they are not, but in fact the domain they are using for one piece of JavaScript is a CNAME for a third-party.

2
yahelc 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's an easy solution here: Load Google Analytics locally. There's no urgent need to load ga.js from Google's servers; there are benefits, namely speed, utilizing client cache, and getting updates, but its core functionality does not rely on where ga.js comes from.

Then, the only resource loaded form Google's servers is http://ssl.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif, and that's just loaded via a new Image(), so even if you MITM that resource request, it doesn't execute as a script or anything similar.

3
cperciva 6 days ago 4 replies      
Paging tptacek, please come to the white courtesy phone and explain that SSL is the greatest thing since sliced bread. ;-)
4
derrida 6 days ago 1 reply      
The DigiNotar hack adds to the hack of Comodo in terms of recent attacks on certificate authorities. The lead of Comodo blamed the attack on "a sophisticated state actor" aka Iran.

Moxie Marlinspike pointed out that it was his script 'sslsniff' that the hackers downloaded to carry out the attack. They didn't even change IPs from the one they used to download 'sslsniff' to the one used in the attack. The lesson: this could have been carried out by a script kiddie.

The head of security companies implying that hacking attacks must be caused by a state actor, simply because they don't understand the attack, creates a frightful prospect for the future of world security. Take these claims with a grain of salt. So long for 'sophisticated state actors'.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Wl2FW2TcA

5
robtoo 6 days ago 1 reply      
We don't know that they didn't get a forged certificate for ssl.google-analytics.com.

Diginotar haven't (AFAIK) released even a partial list of affected domains, other than admitting that there were quite a lot of them.

6
mike-cardwell 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a big fan of handing over the security of my website to third parties by letting them inject arbitrary code into my pages, eg Google Analytics. A lot of people seem to do it without giving it any consideration though.

You have to weigh up the pros and cons I agree. However, do you need that like button which works by including javascript from facebook.com, or can you live without it? Even better, can you do something alternative which allows you to have a like button, but without including third party script?

7
kahawe 6 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone explain to me how I can open up a CA and get my CA certs distributed with browsers and JVMs and what not? Is there some sort of "IANA" that approves and manages this and why would they approve all sort of shady CAs which clearly are a dangerous weak link in the whole SSL construct.
8
derrida 6 days ago 2 replies      
9
fletchowns 6 days ago 2 replies      
How come it's just one CA that is needed to ensure the trust of a domain, especially one as important as *.google.com? It seems like it's only a matter of time before something like this happens again.
10
brown9-2 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sooner or later it's going to happen; obtaining forged SSL certificates is just too easy to hope otherwise. What can we do about it? Don't load the Google Analytics javascript when your site is accessed via HTTPS. This is easy to do: Just throw a if("http:" == document.location.protocol) around the document.write or s.parentNode.insertBefore code which loads the Google Analytics javascript. On the website for my Tarsnap online backup service I've been doing this for years " not just out of concern for the possibility of forged SSL certificates, but also because I don't want Google to be able to steal my users' passwords either!

I don't understand - if you are uncomfortable loading the GA javascript into your pages when users are using https to visit your site, why are you ok with loading the GA JS when visitors are using http?

Or is it implied in here that the analytics is used on http only pages because the sensitive pages on your site are https only? In other words, you are only using GA on non-sensitive portions of your site?

11
Triumvark 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's like Comodo and RSA are the security equivalent of 'too big to fail.'
12
oldstrangers 6 days ago 2 replies      
All this SSL spoofing of late coincides nicely with the adoption of "always on https" by facebook/google/twitter/et al.
13
ck2 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is how you delete Diginotar from Firefox btw

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/deleting-diginotar-ca-ce...

but I think they just pushed new minor versions with them removed anyway.

14
Iv 6 days ago 3 replies      
I use NoScript. google-analytics is never activated.
15
pavpanchekha 6 days ago 0 replies      
What would be necessary for some Paxos-based system to be used to sign certificates? That way, half of CAs would have to get hacked before something like this could be pulled off?
16
fun2have 6 days ago 2 replies      
Does this apply to ad networks as well?
17
aqrashik 6 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly offtopic. can anyone explain how DigiNotar revoking the wrong certificate works?

As per my understanding the browser simply trusts all certificates issued by a trusted issuing authority, so how would you revoke a single certificate?

18
TobiHeidi 6 days ago 3 replies      
Just by having a forged SSL Certificate for ssl.google-analytics.com how can they supply their javscript ? The request still goes to the google servers and not to any evil-democracy-suppressors.gov.ir

So sure if they could reroute the request to their servers evil things could be done. But they can NOT. Or am i missing something ?

19
blumentopf 6 days ago 0 replies      
What with Mozilla wanting to build a browser-based OS, the non-existent security measures of the DOM will beam us back like several decades in terms of security. Awesome. Not.
20
swombat 6 days ago 1 reply      
I know that security through obscurity is no security at all, but I don't think it's particularly clever or helpful to give direct, useful advice to the goons in Iran.

This is not an anonymous argument. If you were sitting next to me, I'd be, right now, arguing that you should not publish this article because it will only cause harm overall.

What's next? "Why terrorists are stupid and what they should do to cause maximum damage"? How will you feel when the Iranian government does implement your kind suggestion?

30
Make things caterina.net
234 points by razin  4 days ago   30 comments top 9
1
swombat 4 days ago 3 replies      
Very interesting, but somewhat misleading, imho.

People who go their own way may well become leaders, simply because to go your own way you have to be decisive, and most people are indecisive, and in times of uncertainty they will look to people who are decisive to take the lead.

But that doesn't mean that the qualities listed are leadership qualities. I'd say that the ability to understand and empathise with people, to figure out what they want, the ability to motivate others to do their best, the ability to communicate convincingly, and the ability to make decisions under pressure - all those are way more important than the ones listed in the quote.

Of the list of leadership qualities:

> courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly

I'd argue that only the last one is really a requirement for leadership. All the others make for a better leader, but they are not requirements.

2
grappler 4 days ago 0 replies      
I especially connected with the bit about "fear of missing out", and with her earlier post (linked in the article) on that subject.

When I started playing with computers in elementary and middle school, it helped me put aside some of the trivial things that were important to my peer group at the time, like wearing the right brands or being seen with the right people. Technology was about making a better world, sharpening useful skills, and attacking hard problems that used to be impossible to solve.

The connection between people that technology has brought over the last couple decades is awesome for a great many reasons. I doubt I need to defend that point.

The biggest downside though, for me, is the invasion of the messiness of the social world into the idealism of the tech world. It bothers me when I go to an event that is ostensibly a "hackathon" or some similarly maker-oriented affair, and the mood is not unlike high school, or hollywood, or a nightclub. Many of the people there are paying acute attention to signals of status from others, and working on sending the right signals of status themselves.

It is my impression that motivations like elevating one's social status, and fear of missing out, are the primary things bringing most people into the world of technology today.

Improving the world, solving hard problems, and making things seem to be lower on the list. I'm sure communities focusing on these things are still thriving, but they seem to be getting harder to find, because the status seekers can be pretty good at adopting the lingo of the idealists.

3
wccrawford 4 days ago 4 replies      
I absolutely disagree with that quote about leadership.

If you aren't leading people, you aren't a leader. It's right in the name. If you're going your own direction, alone, you're a pioneer. But not a leader.

4
antirez 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can't agree more. Another symptom of the same issue is that the Internet startup scene is becoming auto referential as hell.
5
hrabago 4 days ago 0 replies      
To some degree, I feel the same way.

I look at what people had created and in between the thoughts of "this is cool", "this is boring", and "why didn't anyone think of this before?", there's a sense of inspiration that someone has created something and people are using it now. (I also get something similar to NIH, but I've learned through the years to mostly ignore that.)

I get a lot of joy in using software to allow people to do something new, something better than they had done before, or just to make their everyday life a little bit easier.

6
KZMcPherson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Invigorating. I am one that got lost in all of the noise. Now 27 an just about to find my footing and get on track to be what I am suppose to be and that is "The One Which is Me". Since I was young I longed for the recognition that come to so many these days yet I have been chasing it in the wrong way. As you say her I really need to focus on making thing and get back to what really makes me happy which is studying what make enterprise business so successful and bringing back to the mom and pop that can barley turn on their own computer. I do this not to have the superiority complex, but to help those whom are lost in the riff of today and cannot find the way to the next stage and or the right person to actually want to help them and not just cash their check and go. thank you for helping to reset my mindset back where is needs to be .
7
badclient 4 days ago 1 reply      
But I want to hear about things out there that they love. About loving the thing they're building. There's less of that.

Just because lots more folks know about valuations and are connected does not mean that they are not building stuff.

This holier than thou post by Caterina actually just sounds like nostalgic rambling.

Let's get excited and make things.

This line, from the perspective she delivers it, is almost criminal. Most of us are nerds and have no problem building stuff. We do have a problem making money off it so kudos if we are building a little less and figuring out more about how to make money by charging or flipping(Caterina should know about this?)

8
chexton 4 days ago 0 replies      
Despite the potential conflict surrounding the leadership quote provided in the post I found that overall the post resonated with me.

As someone starting down the entrepreneurial path I have found that it's easy to get caught up reading the countless startup news sources, scouring endless books on how to succeed or attending the large number of conferences pitched at people like me. All have their merit in moderation but, particularly as someone who has decided to bootstrap my current startup, I find I get the most done and feel the best about what I'm doing when I focus on what my startup is building and how we're building it, rather than getting caught up in "all that noise".

In writing it down here it seems pretty obvious that focusing on what you're building should be the priority but it can be surprisingly easy to lose focus.

9
wyclif 4 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps I could take this "make things" post seriously if the things made and shouted out (cough Flickr) could go the distance and remain viable. Did Flickr have a good run? Sure. But it seems to me there's a problem inherent in cashing out your company and moving on to the next thing. The Internet is littered with the corpses of once-great companies.
       cached 8 September 2011 02:11:01 GMT