1. Don't resign, don't capitulate and hire a good lawyer immediately. If you don't have the cashflow, but are defending a huge pile of stock about to IPO you'll probably find a lawyer that will defer payment.
2. Start documenting everything including making timestamped notes of what was said to you verbally.
Then play it out. Read all documentation the company has given you and fully understand it. They usually have to fire you for cause for you to lose your options, so figure out what the angle is they're using and make sure they don't have cause. Be 100% professional and non-confrontational, but ask the hard questions when you need to. DO NOT treat the company's staff (including your boss) or their legal team as your own legal counsel. They will try to give you "good advice" or intimidate you. They will claim things are "standard". Get your own info and use your own lawyer.
Often simply retaining counsel lets the opposing team know you're serious and professional, and worst case it will up any settlement.
PS: I'm an exec, not an employee, so technically I'm the guy on the other side of the org chart that Micah (see below) is describing. But assuming the report is accurate, this is unacceptable behavior and I'd like to see more employees who take a risk on startups getting what they deserve and enforcing their rights.
What just a damn minute, here.
Are you telling me that a company that cheerfully built itself on shady shit like un-removable browser toolbars might continue screwing anyone it wants in the furtherance of its leaders' avarice?
I am shocked.
Look, it's endearing when people have scrappy stories about their origins. We all act out of desperate vigor when we're up against the wall and far from our goals. But there's a difference between being scrappy and being a swindler. Scrappiness transmutes into strength and informs your company's values. Swindling, on the other hand, is almost always forever, and informs values in a much more negative way.
A swindler will knife you at the first lucrative opportunity. Avoid them. Do not work with them or for them. They are Aesop's scorpion. Deal with honest men and women instead. Perhaps their purses are marginally smaller ‚Ä" but that's because they won't go rummaging through yours when your back is turned.
I'm going to take a wild stab here and guess that none of their own names were on the list they came up with.
Whenever crap like this happens, pull out an org chart. You'll pretty much be able to draw a straight line that divides who shits and who eats shit.
Zynga's product does not provide a worthwhile service, nor does it improve people's lives. It creates no value. Rather, it (cleverly and cynically) capitalizes on weaknesses of the human psyche to relieve people of their money, one dollar at a time. This is an inherently unethical position for a company to be in. As such, regardless of the compensation offered, any prospective employee of the company should ask themselves whether the ethical foundation such a company displays in relation to its customers will extend to employees.
A CEO who is comfortable fleecing customers will feel similarly comfortable fleecing employees. I learned this lesson the hard way in the trades, working for people who would jack up prices and sell material and services that the customer did not need. They would shirk responsibility for deficiencies, and usually try to do jobs for cash so as to avoid paying taxes. Invariably, this lack of professional ethics extended to myself and my coworkers. Cheques would be short, overtime would not be paid, and promises would not be kept.
The best indicator that an employer will rip you off is their willingness to rip off customers. When you see it, start lining up interviews immediately.
The bottom line here is "You don't get to be a part of the IPO windfall." Given that the employees that are getting stung like this have accepted the risk of working at a startup, and likely have accepted lower salaries in exchange for the promise of stock options, this is morally equivalent to theft of services.
Stock as a compensation structure only works when people use it in good faith. Scummy moves like this are only going to make it harder for startups to attract talent unless they can pay full market rate right out of the gate.
If Zynga agreed to the terms as described they haven't got a leg to stand on. The time to negotiate a contract is before it is signed, not retroactively. If they use the threat of termination then they will lose even more, not only will they not get their stock back, they will also have to pay excessive severance pay due to wrongful termination and they lose their best employees (those that have options).
Prior to an IPO you make sure you don't 'rock the boat' and you make sure that your management team is seen as competent and playing by the rules.
This is neither and I really wonder who is advising them to take these steps. They are hurting themselves in just about every way that I can think of, they look incompetent and sleazy, neither of which is the kind of company that you'd want to invest in.
The IPO cake should be large enough for everybody to share, there is absolutely no need for stupid tactics like these.
With the unvested shares, the executives believed they could attract more top talent with the promise of stock.
So what if a chef in an early stage team made out with $20M later - an army marches on it's stomach - he probably contributed more to delivery than some of the management team at the time.
Seriously, it's bullshit. It makes me mad not just for the people getting screwed, but for the whole industry. The whole point of giving somebody early equity is that it's a gamble. Sometimes it's worth nothing; sometimes tons. If companies start doing it in a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose fashion, then that really reduces the value of the equity as an incentive.
Zynga isn't just hurting their employees; they're hurting every early-stage startup that comes after them.
An army travels on its stomach. Google's chefs helped make Google the company it is today. Why is it so wrong that they be rewarded?
I think this is just Pincus being a nerd and over rationalizing the situation, instead of just decisively 'pulling the trigger'.
On the other hand, these people were given an offer of X% of the company in exchange for taking lots of risk early on. They took the risk, and now that the value of the company is greater, Pincus is taking the incentive back. So Pincus offloaded personal risk (paying lower salaries + stock instead of just paying market salaries) and then when the risk was gone he is canceling his agreement. I would never trust this man.
Would you invest in a company where management is obviously looking for a short term cashout at the expense of the future success of the company? The future success is precisely what the investor is buying. It's like buying a car while the seller is actively pulling parts out of it.
The results of this will be reduced share values combined with lawsuits eating up any potential gains.
I hope Pincus, and anything he touches, is dead to anyone with the slightest amount of common sense going forward.
It's like this guy can't help but be evil.
That's played itself out as true so many times it's basically become a rule. Equity means absolutely zero for most people - salary, vacation time, health benefits - these are now the selling points for companies in my eyes.
Stuff like this just proves that equity is way too unreliable unless you're a founder or exec. And Zynga runs a slave ship to boot.
So is does Zynga's request run into the practice of extortion? It's another way of saying, give us your money or else something bad will happen.
Altering an existing contract and threatening to terminate said contract if the new terms aren't agreed to is a really assholish thing to do, to be honest.
If Zynga employees were smart, they'd band together and threaten to quit - immediately, with no notice - en masse. You need to negotiate from whatever positions of strength you can obtain.
Either way though the company has now been poisoned beyond repair... good luck attracting any top talent from this point forward.
with the right personalities behind it we could do serious damage to the sleazy conniving wheeler-dealers who pull this shit.
To me the riskiest part is that you never know how a business is going to pivot, who might end up owning it, etc., so the idea that you'll still be working there in four years is in many ways kind of silly. It always seemed worthwhile to me to negotiate other incentive. Hopefully stories like this will help change the culture a bit so that other forms of incentive become the norm.
If you take back some of that equity with no commensurate repayment, then fuck you.
What sort of top talent will have not read this story and decided that surely, THIS TIME, Zynga won't screw their employees?
Even in a heavily equity-based compensation package in an early stage startup, anything over 1% is usually reserved for VP-level if not C-level executives, as the entire employee pool is usually only 20-25%
Per WSJ: '"Some of these people were sitting on over $200 million and close to 1% of the company" when fully vested, said one person familiar with the list that was compiled.'
the manager who came up with that idea is no doubt getting a huge bonus.
I'm not defending the move, but in reality the company could terminate the employees (at-will employment in California), which would terminate their further vesting anyways.
This is not the clawback scenario that Silver Lake executed with Skype.
I bet they are not underperforming in the "fire them" sense. I think the better word is "undeserving". The story quotes the Google Chef examples. I bet those early Googlers did not think the Chef was "underperforming", but clearly Pinkus thinks the chef is undeserving of $20 million from the Google IPO.
So some IT worker, who started early with the company, whose main job is to install new desktops, and fix the printers, and keep the network secure is "undeserving" of $20 million from the Zynga IPO, compared to the lead game designer who designed Cafe World, who Pinkus thinks IS deserving of the same amount.
It's more about thinking certain people (janitor, secretary, HR, finance, etc.) are not as valuable to the company as the lead developer or creative director or someone whose work is public facing.
And it is despicable.
This could end up like what happened with Activision and the CoD guys.
> The Journal cited two employees--one who has left Zynga and another that still works with the company--who hired attorneys to reach a settlement that saw them give up some, but not all, of the unvested shares.
Why would a former employee give up shares? Current employees were threatened with firing. But I don't see what hold Zynga has over this person. Why not just keep all the shares?
This is one of the things that scares me about working at a start up. Remember the early employee is spending his time and compromising on his salary for that stock. And pretty obviously he works his heart out to make the company successful. Dumping them just like that, once you've squeezed the juice out of them seems a very unethical thing to me. And this is one of the things that actually prevents some good folks from working at a start up.
The worry that you will used like a work horse during the tough days of the company and then later dumped when the CEO sees a he can add another million to his account by dumping you is a major worry for any good person to work at a start up.
One thing that needs to be realized that not every body in the start up area is in for passion for software or changing the world thing. You have to be careful before deciding to work at some place. Doing a little back ground check on the founders will help.
Assuming the board is on board with the plan, why not do some sort of stock dilution and re-issue preferred shares or something like that? Conventional wisdom would dictate that the last thing you want going in to an IPO or M and A is some goofy accounting on the books but the last few years make me think Goldman and company are really really good at deciphering that and more than accepting of the practices.
With all the things I've heard about game companies in general and then Zynga itself, it's a wonder that the game industry keeps moving forward. There is always fresh meat though.
To the Zynga folks... I don't know that you'll be able to lawyer up and fix it, I just don't think the laws will be on your side and there are too many loopholes. However, possibly building a coalition and contacting Communication Workers of America or something similar might make a larger impact, assuming you can build a coalition... Distasteful as I think it is, I think it might be your best option.
Could this be happening in this case?
I read the beginning of this page (http://www.ca-employment-lawyers.com/Wrongful-Termination.ht...) and it seems to depend highly on the contracts and employee handbook that Zynga have.
In any case, you would think that this should make hiring talents more difficult‚Ä¶
So Zynga takes away shares from some people they considered top talent. It lets situation to became public. Then after all that moves it hopes to attract more top talent.
I cannot help myself laughing.
This really made my day. ;)
Not now, I would not take it, it would be an all cash deal for me after those shenanigans. Even if they don't go throw with it, they have shown their hand.
Employee: Peace out sucka!
Bosses: How do we attract and keep top talent?
This is a very relevant alternative view. Money quote:
At Zynga, however, Mark Pincus apparently likes to do things a bit differently. Rather than simply firing under-performing employees and handing unvested options over to the replacement, Pincus often likes to find another position within Zynga where the employee might still be able to contribute. But because that new position was often lower down the corporate totem poll, Pincus basically wanted to cut the person's compensation by reducing his or her number of unvested options (vested options were not touched).
If he just fired the people there would have been a big blowback like what we heard happen when Skype fired a group of employees before the Microsoft acquisition was a done deal.
Pincus is a ruthless and shrewd businessman. From the co-opted game designs of others to cutting out some employees from the IPO's rewards, he is definitely not someone who can totally be trusted. He will do what's best for him.
Skype, Groupon, and Zynga are showing a more cutthroat way of doing business in SV. The high valuations that their investors entered into these deals are demanding ways to squeeze out as much of return as possible.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the old guard were all about maximizing both investor and employee shareholder value. Now it seems its mostly about the investors and some "worthy" "chosen" few.
UPDATE - Come to find out that Silver Lake, the guys behind the SKYPE firing fiasco, are also investors of Zynga. Please blackball working with any of their portfolio companies http://www.silverlake.com/partners/content.php?page=team-par...
Jim Davidson Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Menlo Park Glenn Hutchins Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive New York David Roux Co-Founder and Chairman Menlo Park Alan Austin Managing Director Menlo Park Mike Bingle Managing Director New York Eric Chen Managing Director Hong Kong, Shanghai Egon Durban Managing Director Menlo Park Charles Giancarlo Managing Director and Head of Value Creation Menlo Park Kenneth Hao Managing Director Menlo Park and Hong Kong Christian Lucas Managing Director London Greg Mondre Managing Director New York Joe Osnoss Managing Director London Sean Delehanty Director New York Stephen Evans Director London Tony Ling Director Menlo Park Todd Morgenfeld Director Menlo Park Simon Patterson Director London Zheng Wang Director Hong Kong Masao Yoshikawa Director Tokyo Joerg Adams Principal Menlo Park Jonathan Durham Principal London John Flynn Principal London Adam Karol Principal New York Karol Niewiadomski Principal London Jason White Principal Menlo Park Lee Wittlinger Principal Menlo Park Phillip Wood-Smith Principal New York Jason Young Principal
Not if the new hires find out about this previous action, and realize that the company may very well demand the stock back.
That reference relates to Google's 2004 IPO when one of the company's chefs, who was hired in the firm's early days, walked away with $20 million worth of stock after the shares went public.
This is something to take note of. You might be able to see the reality of a chance to make $X being worth a small fraction of X, but don't expect everyone else to see it after the fact. If you are relying on executives, judges or anyone else to see that you were compensated with a lottery ticket worth $1000 and lucked into $20m rather then that you were just somehow compensated $20m especially if they have an interest in seeing it the latter way, you need to take into account that they might not.
Don't be surprised when an evil company acts evil. Just don't work for evil companies.
I started #boycottZynga on twitter. Please retweet. If we get the message out and convince people to stop playing before IPO, we can hurt their valuation.
Then they'll realize they can't just bully normal people.
If this is deemed legal it will probably eventually become standard and vested shares will become negotiable. If this happens, what are vested shares anyway? What would be the difference between vested shares and just issuing shares (or options) periodically?
The answer is simple then - the executive who originally miscalculated how much stock to give away should be the person who is penalised by having their options reduced to make up the shortfall.
You know ... for the good of the company.
How is one supposed to decide which startup to work for and at what stage in the startup to join? I liked the 37Signals principles when and IF they ever go IPO/cash out. I think the VC community needs to push for such a clean and transparent model (Wishful thinking).
I suppose that would be "top programming talent" but not so much "top economics and common sense talent".
Then I've seen no discussion of AMT anywhere. Say you have vested but exercised options but for currently illiquid stock, and that someone threatens you with dismissal. You can exercise but then owe a bunch on AMT that you might not have the resources to cover. Does that make you more likely to go along?
This makes it seem like an even more hardball move to me.
Meaning you hire somebody and gave him/her a bunch of stock options, latter on you figure out he/she is not so good, so you fire. Simple.
Why this shenanigan?
Good God Fred, is this what a reasonably responsible company would do?
Choose your employer carefully because the treatment you will receive is a pure test of professional ethics: how someone with power treats someone without.
Make money pressuring users to pay for virtual goods. Pressure employees to give stock for virtual jobs...
She's now busy opening her own restaurant and it's a far cry from writing software once and kicking back while each incremental copy sold costs you zero effort or money. Every incremental product a chef sells is hand-made and has to have its raw ingredients bought without any certainty it'll actually get sold. What's worse is many ingredients have a shelf life of mere days.
Every product is hand made to a customer's specifications and delivered in real-time with immediate feedback. If a product is rejected, it's expected to be replaced immediately without interrupting the flow of products heading out to new customers. And of course the tools of the trade are not a keyboard, but sharp knives and open flames.
So yeah, the "google chef scenario" comment bugged me too.
Charlie didn't make $20M for cooking, he made $20M for taking the risk
I can't say much for sure about this particular case because I don't know the details, but I don't like the sound of it. It seems so shortsighted. The amounts of stock involved must be small, and the damage done not just to Zynga but the whole startup world could be big.
Why can't a Janitor be rich? Why can't a chef be rich? What really is so wrong with it? This attitude is so despicable! So anybody who doesn't go to a big Ivy league, or some one who doesn't have an MBA next to his name or hasn't worked at a investment bank can't be rich?
Which in case, what this really turns out to be is alternate form of slavery where a selected few have to resign themselves to a lesser standard of life to serve the remaining self chosen elite and act in every way such that the elite are benefiting.
If you want some job to be done and you are ready to pay for it, money/stock or whatever. And you promise and the contract so. You just need to pay up. That's it, it ends there.
You don't get the work done, squeeze the juice out of the employees. Then one fine day realize that what you promised is now worth a lot of money. So you suddenly dump them, loot all the money yourself and say that they don't deserve it.
You had promised that it was worth paying something for some one from some work. So now when it is time to pay up. Just pay.
Maybe. Or how about this:
Charlie didn't make $20M for cooking. He effectively made a normal chef's salary, some of which he effectively invested into Google shares.
What's the issue? That a chef (unlike a banker or programmer) helps fund a company, and gets shares for it?
This issue also reeks of the Just-World Fallacy. Individual early employees of wildly successful companies don't get rich because it's fair, even if it sort of works out that way on average. They get rich because someone gave them options, and then the stock skyrocketed. Efforts to explain it in terms of justice are mostly post-hoc rationalization.
But the part that really gets me is it has absolutely nothing to do with the role these people played and every bit to do with the longer hours, reduced compensation risk and how long a person takes that risk for. If they came in on the ground floor then have been riding the roller-coaster and getting paid dirt for longer then they deserve those early and current options, I just cannot understand the attitude that is being displayed where the CEO feels that later employees that are "now" more strategic to the company (read executives) are more deserving of that equity given their worth to the current goals of the company. That is such a warped perspective, it has nothing to do with the future and everything to do with how much risk and how long those early employes took that risk for.
"Pincus has violated the basic tenant of start up economics and, thus made start ups vastly more risky for people to join. In short he's just ups the cost of hiring at start ups by 10-15%."
I suspect long-term it will be much more than that. Whatever the reality behind the scenes, Zynga has created a new startup narrative to replace the "Google Chef" narrative that was precisely the story that made it possible to hire premium talent willing to risk a few years and hard work on the chance of a big payout. Zynga has quickly and fairly decisively dealt a near death-blow to that idea.
Between Zynga and the stories coming out of the Skype acquisition a few months ago, I expect startups will find it increasingly difficult to trade stock options in lieu of compensation early on.
Unless and until some legal device is created to re-establish that trust, I expect we'll be looking back on this incident in years to come as the moment when startups lost one of the essential strategies to hiring top talent early. Everyone will be skittish over this for quite some time.
Anyone who thinks they deserve that much more money than someone else because they are just a better human being needs to get a reality check. Its really about being fortunate. The Chef certainly has just as much right to his 20 mil as all the other guys that cashed out. Again, its not about just talent or brains, its about luck.
A rising tide should lift all boats, not the boats they specifically select with hindsight.
What I don't get is the zero-sum thinking here. They're worried that someone in their organization might get rich, and maybe they didn't deserve to get so rich. So what? They should worry about their company, not be squabbling over percentages.
Reminds me of the end of "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." The prospect of real money seems to drive some people insane.
Once upon a time the "Google Chef" could become a millionare.
Now he can't.
A poor young man finds a woman wo will marry him a starter in life, poor with fair education.
20 years down the line after the woman has bore him kids, supported his career, this man becomes a Governor. Then aha! He realizes his mid aged wife is not really educated, not fit for the position of a first lady.
He does not want the situation of a high school educated first lady.
Does it matter if the money allotted to the barber down the road becomes worth $100m?
If he kept his part of the deal, you should.
This strikes me as pure greed. Pincus offered people shares as part of a package to persuade them to come work at his risky startup. He made a deal and now he wants to go back on it.
Say what you like about Bill Gates but he was perfectly comfortable with early Microsoft employees like Andrea Lewis growing rich from their share options.
PS: Lots of people talk about the greed on Wall Street but it strikes me that the prospect of riches is causing greed to rear its ugly head in the startup scene too. What's more, people seem to turn a blind eye to it if the perpetrator has been successful. It's disappointing and I think it bodes ill for the entire sector.
There was a chef of similar capabilities at my first company. Ten years later, me and my ex-colleagues still rave about his food and the inspiration it gave us.
EVERY employee counts.
Say you joined a young/really hot startup that was heading straight up. You negotiate a good options package, but it's lean-- they aren't super eager to part with these (obviously valuable) shares.
Then, the world explodes. The company gets sued, the market crashes, the users revolt. But the company manages to emerge from the carnage beaten-but-alive. It's no longer a sure thing. In fact, it looks risky as hell. But you believe in the vision and the management, so you want to stick it out.
You're 1.5 years in. New hires are getting packages that reflect the (newfound) risk in the stock. Your stock package looks small in comparison. Given the new information, would it be wrong to negotiate for more stock?
Also consider opportunity cost. The chef could have opened a restaurant instead and perhaps also earn a lot of money that way.
Glad that I am not alone in thinking that the "Google Chef" deserves what he gets.
As others have said, the first employees took the risk of working for a startup, any-one who joined later can't possibly deserve more because they "contributed more" because the company wouldn't exist without the original employees.
Wow, hyperbole much? A chef only gets people sick or kills if he epically screws up.
A thought experiment: figure how many restaurants and fast-food chains there are in the US; multiply by how many people they serve a day; multiply by 365.25; divide by number of annual deaths. Ponder this upper bound on risk. Ponder whether the base-rate risk is greater or lesser than the risk of walking across the street or driving to work. Finally, ponder on whether this base-rate ought to be adjusted upwards or downwards for a trained corporate chef working in a controlled environment with good facilities (as opposed to a newbie teen or immigrant working for minimum wage in a kitchen somewhere).
There was a lot I could have raved about. The fact that around my area in ads there was probably a 20% chance that an individual had his own Wikipedia page. The debugging tools I got to work with and the MapReduces I got to write. All of the geeky stuff that makes Google a cool place to work at.
But when I got back to school, the food is really what stuck out about the experience. I would argue that those cafeterias are one of Google's most marketable benefits.
A bad programmer who is overcompensated just blends in, a great chef gets singled out.
No matter what, equity distributions are going to look insane in retrospect. Probably the most glaring ones are not even going to be the under-performers who plodded along or folks in less-important roles that were hired early, but the crappy execs that were hired well after the risk was decreased, but got a huge stock grant anyway. Start with those guys.
Let's be honest here -- how hard someone works isn't directly relevant to the discussion, it's how much value they end up adding. But to that point, I'm pretty sure Charlie added a lot more value to the company than many software engineers there had.
One of my colleagues takes pictures of our food and puts them up here: http://thumbtackfood.tumblr.com/
If your are Zynga and you are confident that they could go above that its a good buy and the worker feels a bit more secure but wont earn these too high returns that Zynga may not like .
Sorry if my application of basic futures to Zynga are bit off, hope explains more or less what I mean, my memory is flaky here.
How is the chef, or any other employee, any different from an early stage investor?
Here's an oversimplified example that mirrors the classic Trolley problem:
Suppose the company consists of three people: The founder, the engineer and the chef. The founder can't raise more money from investors and she realizes that if she fires the chef it'll free up 200K ISOs which can be used to recruit a sysadmin. Without a sysadmin the startup will fail. If the founder gives up her own shares, she loses control of the company to one of the investors, who she knows will sell the company to cash out immediately. If she stays in control, the founder aspires to grow the business to 20x its current size. Should the founder fire the chef?
What small detail would have to change in order to quell the ire of all of the people claiming that Pincus is acting unethically?
Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue, and sincerely regret the delayed response.
On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. Under current federal law, U.S. law enforcement officials and holders of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, have limited legal remedies available to combat internet websites that are registered in foreign countries but operate in the United States by selling products, services, and/or content that violates U.S. intellectual property law. If enacted, the proposed legislation would create an expedited process for the Department of Justice and intellectual property rights holders to shut down through a court order these websites by targeting, the owners and operators of the Internet site, if known, or the domain name registrant associated with the Internet site.
The proposed legislation would require the Department of Justice to demonstrate to the Court that the Internet site accessed by the domain name is "dedicated to infringing activities." Such a website would have no other significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating infringing activities. Once a court order is issued, domestic operators of domain name servers would be required to effectively prevent online users from accessing the infringing Internet site. Providers of online information location tools would be required to take technically feasible and reasonable measures to remove or disable access to such an Internet site, including not providing a hypertext link. Finally, financial institutions involved in online transactions and Internet advertising companies would be prohibited from doing business with any Internet site subject to a Court order under the legislation. Intellectual property rights holders can take Internet payment and advertising companies to court if they believe these companies are not complying with the law. This legislation was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on July 22, 2011, and is awaiting action by the full Senate.
While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will hurt innovation and threaten online speech. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this or similar legislation regarding intellectual property rights.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
"Opponents of the bill include tech giants such as Google, Yahoo!, and eBay, as well as human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Human Rights Watch." 
I've lost respect for the companies in the first paragraph, and have gained some for the companies in the second.
Just like there are no laws regulating the sale of illegal drugs (and the market is flourishing), soon we will have an Internet that the government can't censor. Illegal is the new legal.
I'm surprised that there isn't a huge rally on sites like 4chan and reddit which would be hit the most..
EDIT: Here's the TOC:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Savings and severability clauses.
TITLE I‚Ä"COMBATING ONLINE PIRACY
Sec. 102. Action by Attorney General to protect U.S. customers and prevent U.S. support of foreign infringing sites.
Sec. 103. Market-based system to protect U.S. customers and prevent U.S. funding of sites dedicated to theft of U.S. property.
Sec. 104. Immunity for taking voluntary action against sites dedicated to theft of U.S. property.
Sec. 105. Immunity for taking voluntary action against sites that endanger public health.
Sec. 106. Guidelines and study.
Sec. 107. Denying U.S. capital to notorious foreign infringers.
TITLE II‚Ä"ADDITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS TO COMBAT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT
Sec. 202. Trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services.
Sec. 203. Protecting U.S. businesses from foreign and economic espionage.
Sec. 204. Amendments to sentencing guidelines.
Sec. 205. Defending intellectual property rights abroad.
Teh startup can take a small %age and ensure that people can quickly swarm together and effectively beat shit bills like this.
Is there a problem with this idea?
Much more likely: the major provisions will be added as riders to a bill that passes in haste, to get a few congressional votes.
1) To what extent am I really going to get affected by such a bill?
2) Is there anything I can do to prevent it?
Think of how fast that will accelerate the solution!
I am Irish, with a .com site hosted on servers in the UK. How does this affect me? I'm sure the US still claims a lot of influence over .com so it probably does some way.
What is the WH position?
What are the chances of passage and signing?
- The textual keyboard remains one of the fastest methods of text entry. It can be used without looking, offers high bandwidth, affords both serial and chorded inputs, and works well for precise navigation in discrete spaces, like text, spreadsheets, sets of objects like forms, layers, flowcharts, etc.
- MIDI keyboards are comparable, but trade discrete bandwidth for the expressiveness of pressure modulation.
- The joystick (and associated interfaces like wheels, pedals, etc) are excellent tools for orienting. They can also offer precise haptic feedback through vibration and resistance.
- The stylus is an unparalleled instrument for HCI operations involving continuous two dimensional spaces. It takes advantage of fine dexterity in a way that mice cannot, offering position, pressure (or simply contact), altitude, angle, and tip discrimination.
- Trackballs and mice are excellent tools for analogue positional input with widely varying velocities. You can seek both finely and rapidly, taking advantage of varying grips. Trackballs offer the added tactile benefits of inertia and operating on an infinite substrate.
- Dials, wheels. A well-made dial is almost always faster and more precise than up-down digital controls. They offer instant visual feedback, precise tuning, spatial discrimination, variable velocities, can be used without looking, and can be adapted for multiple resolutions.
- Sliders. Offers many of the advantages of dials--smooth control with feedback, usable without looking--but in a linear space. Trades an infinite domain for linear manipulation/display, easier layout and use in flat or crowded orientations.
And these are just some of the popular ones. You've got VR headsets for immersive 3d audio and video, haptic gloves or suits, sometimes with cabling for precise pressure and force vector feedback, variable-attitude simulators, etc. There are weirder options as well--implanted magnets or electrode arrays to simulate vision, hearing, heat, taste, etc...
Dedicated interfaces can perform far better at specific tasks, but glass interfaces offer reconfigurability at low cost. That's why sound engineers have physical mixer boards, writers are using pens or keyboards, artists are using Wacom tablets, nuclear physicists are staring at fine-tuning knobs, and motorcyclists are steering with bars, grips, and body positioning; but everyday people are enjoying using their ipad to perform similar tasks.
Glass isn't going to wipe out physical interfaces; it's just a flexible tool in an expanding space of interaction techniques. More and more devices, I predict, will incorporate multitouch displays along dedicated hardware to solve problems in a balanced way.
Two similar examples:
Garmin's newer aircraft GPS units have touch screens instead of knobs and buttons. The iPad has proven very popular among pilots. I can see why Garmin would decide that "touch is the future." But, while I'm flying an airplane, for my money I'd rather have knobs to grab and twist, and buttons to push and feel.
Tesla's new Model S uses one huge touch screen for its in-dash interface. Surely, if you want to change your music's volume or turn on air conditioning while driving, it's harder to hit touch targets that are Pictures Under Glass than to grab and twist a knob.
* * *
People still travel for meetings?By plane?
Wait, someone is driving the car?Thats not very productive.
There are bellhops?Why are there still bellhops in the future?What do they do?
Why is the screen so small?Why have a screen, if you have those perfect augmented reality glasses?
'Creating reply interface'? We still have to wait for computers?
There's still global poverty, and benefit concerts? When these people have all that fancy tech?Damn it.
Copy and Paste is still around?
Kids are still taught long division? Why? Why do they use a pencil?
Also, won't the future be one of neural interfaces? Isn't there something wrong with interfacing two electrical signal processing machines (brain + computer) via all these muscles and optical sensors and so on?I know there's a lot of science to be solved first; but surely the future of interfaces is that they are invisible, and built in to us?
The hands are huge because so much of your brain is devoted to skillfully moving and precisely sensing things with your hands.
Your hands are basically the focus of the human body in interacting with the environment around it.
This explains how moving from buttons and sensors to a touch-sensitive experience is a major and hard-to-explain qualitative difference.
It also underscores the great point made here, that we can make devices far more suited still to the primary way we're designed to interact with the world.
So the Kinball would have the following features
* Gyroscope/acceleratometer so it knows which side is up and how fast it's being moved and where it is.
* Sensors so it can feel where it's being squeezed/pressed and how hard
* Some kind of detecting mechanism for when two balls (cough) are touching each other.* Ability to vibrate in different frequencies and also only partially on different parts of the ball
So with a device like that you now would have to come up with a gesture language, some ideas
* If the future allows it, ability to change color
* Holding the ball and moving the thumb over it is "cursor mode, pressing in that mode would be clicking (and you could "click" and hold for submenus )
* Similarily swiping your tumb over the ball would be the swipe gesture
* Pinch-squeeze could be a specific gesture, perhaps combined with a gesture (like spritzing cookies :)
* If you hold the ball in the whole hand and move it from your chest and forward you could simulate resistance by varying the frequency of the vibrating to "feel" interface element
* you could roll the ball in your hand forwards and backwards, for instance for scrolling
* Double the balls, double the fun. With two balls you could perhaps do interesting things with the distance between them and again simulate resistance by vibrating the balls as you bring them closer to each other
* Social balling, you could touch someone elses ball (ahem) to transfer info, files etc
* You could have the ball on your desk and it could change color or pulse in different colors for different notifications.
This kind of interface would have some interesting features. You get tactile feedback and most gestures are pretty natural. You don't have to get smudge marks on your screens. The ball is pretty discrete and hardly visible in your hand. Heck with a headset (for getting information, like reading smss) you could just get away with a ball and the headset and skip the device altogether for some scenarios.
On the other hand it's another accessory you can lose and a ball in your pants might not be the best form factor.
Anyways, if Apple introduces the iBall you know where you read it first
The iPad is really, really awesome. But. All that's really changed is that they've added an extra finger. (sure there are three- and four-finger gestures but those just boil down to a different kind of single-finger gesture)
Sadly, we're probably going to have to wait for the advent of supersubstances that can dynamically reconfigure their physical characteristics before we get beyond the finger-and-eye, which I doubt will happen in my lifetime (tears).
Some more silly videos:
- Nokia (w/ AR goggles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4pDf7m2UPE
- Cisco Songdo City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1x9qU-Sav8 this one's real!)
For those sympathetic to the argument of the OP, you may be interested in Bill Buxton's papers on bi-manual interaction. Bill is a huge (and early) proponent of this point of view (that computer interfaces should make full use of the capabilities of the human body): http://www.billbuxton.com/papers.html#anchor1442822
You have to remember, that while the "wow" factor (to some folks) is the screens and form factors, this video is made by a group in Office - the things they're really researching and trying to demonstrate is the vision of how your personal information and your "work" information (i.e. your social circles, your coworkers, your job) interact with each other.
How can context really be used effectively with productivity in an office setting? Context is this huge term here - device form factor, the people you're with, the things you're doing, where you're at; there is a ton of information available to apps / services now about who you are, what you're doing, etc - what are scenarios in which that information is actually combined and put to good use?
They really should've made the Director's Commentary to go along with this, there's a lot of research and data behind this video along with the special effects.
And, maybe because I'm just a born contrarian, as the world moves toward touch-based direct-manipulation paradigms, I've personally been moving toward a more tactile, indirect paradigm. I recently bought a mechanical-switch keyboard, for example, that I'm growing more and more fond of every day. I've also started looking for a mouse that feels better in the hand, with a better weight, and better tactility to the button clicks.
The lack of tactility in touch screen keyboards has always been especially annoying to me. There's just so much information there between my fingers and the keys. I mean, there's an entire state -- the reassuring feeling of fingers resting on keys -- that's completely missing.
I accept the compromise in a phone, something that needs to fit in my pocket so I can carry it around all the time. But this makes me lament the rise of tablet computing. This is the sort of place that I refer to when I talk about tablets privileging consumption over production.
I don't think the problem is relegated to UI hardware, though. I think part of what's holding back a lot richer and more meaningful social interaction online is the fact that current social networking paradigms map better to data than to human psychology. It's the parallel problem of fitting the tool to the problem, but not the user.
I'm not sure I agree with the direction he points to (if I understand him correctly). Making our digital tools act and feel more like real, physical objects is akin to 3D skeuomorphism. It's like making a device to drive nails that looks like a human fist, but bigger and harder. Better, I think, to figure out new ways to take advantage of the full potential of our senses and bodies to manipulate digital objects in ways that aren't possible with physical objects. And, please, Minority Report is not it.
: More here: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/11670022371/intimacy-is-perfo... and here: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/12261287667/in-defense-of-the...
I suppose he's just pointing out one area of the future to think about, but I wish he'd mentioned other ideas. I think voice and language, in particular, have some of the most room to grow to make interfaces more intuitive.
edit to add: Along this line, I've often wondered if it'd be worth learning Lojban to interact with the computer more easily. Supposedly the language is perfectly regular and well suited to that sort of thing, but I don't know for sure.
It could be easier to teach humans Lojban than computers English (or however many other languages).
Apart from purely remediative technologies such as Braille, I can't think of any technology from any era of human history in which conceptual information has ever been conveyed via the tactile sense. There have never been tactile clocks, tactile books, or any kind of tactile language. When human minds attempt to import ideas from the outside word, they use the eyes and ears, not the hands.
There's certainly a real problem with the UIs presented in the MS video, but it's not that they're visually-oriented. It's that they're designed to appeal to the eyes themselves, and fail to encode information in a way that's optimally suited to the mind. The aesthetics of the UIs in that video are stunningly beautiful, but I have no idea from looking at them how I would use them as tools; each notification, dialog box, and prompt for input seems fine in isolation, but when I try to conceptually 'zoom out' and understand how each function integrates into a workflow that allows me to apply my capabilities toward fulfilling my needs, I'm completely at a loss.
There seems to be an unfortunate trend toward pure visual aesthetics in the software industry today - perhaps a cargo-cult attempt to emulate some of Apple's successes - and MS seems to be suffering from it almost as badly as the Ubuntu and Gnome folks.
this vision of the future isn't just cool, it's relatable. anybody can look at the products displayed there and think "hey, i know how to use that". if you dream up some amazing new tactile user experience, it might be revolutionary but will people understand it?
1) Interface designers seem universally fixated on designs that are visually and touch/kinesthetically oriented. What's missing in this is language. In a lot of ways this winds-up with interfaces which indeed look and feel great on first blush but which become pretty crappy over time given that most sophisticated human work is tied up with using language.
2) Even the touch part of interaction seldom considers what's ergonomically sustainable. Pointing with your index finder are fabulously intuitive to start with but is something you'd get really annoyed at doing constantly. There are lots of fine motor manipulations will get hard time as well.
This technology has the capacity to bring us beyond "pictures under glass", and seems ready for integration in today's devices, with proper OS and API support.
I could see combining an e-ink display with this kind of tactile feedback surface to replace the user-exposed lower half of a laptop with a device capable of contextual interfaces. Something like this would offer great potential benefits to the user, with no apparent drawbacks.
I don't mean this as a criticism of the post, I mean it as a stab at an explanation. It is a good point and I've been complaining about the primitive point and grunt interfaces we've had for a while, but it's not even remotely clear where to go from here without (touchscreens are only an incremental point & grunt improvement over mice, you get a couple more gestures at the c another huge leap in processing power and hardware, at the minimum encompassing some sort of 3D glasses overlay for augmented reality or something.
: The mouse is point & grunt. You get one point of focus and 1 - 5 buttons (including the mousewheel as up, down, and click). For as excited as some people have been about touchscreens, they're only a marginal improvement if they're even that; you still have only a couple kinds of "clicks", and you lose a lot on the precision of your pointing. Interfaces have papered that over by being designed for your even-more-amorphous-than-usual grunting, but when you look for it you realize that touchscreens are a huge step back on precision. They'll probably have a place in our lives for a long time but they are hardly the final answer to all problems, and trying to remove the touchscreen and read vague gestures directly has even bigger precision problems.
Although I personally love all the shiny finger gestures, must agree that this "vision" is only a sexy marketing trick and contains very little actual innovation, and probably even less actual innovation that Microsoft will actually build in the near future, or the long future.
As per the abundance of motors skills that we have, it would indeed be lovely to have those utilized in the future, along with voice and vision, all combined in some complexly simple and elegant way of interacting. Baby steps at a time?
Has there been any interaction research done on using something like a stress ball as an interaction device for digital environment? In my imagination a ball would have standard accelerometers and gyroscopes, but in addition fine-grained sensing capabilities to sense different kind of grips. It could also provide tactile feedback.
While he doesn't go into technical details about everything, he does describe interacting with "Ubiquity" through small gestures throughout the body, whether small shrugs or interacting with hands. Further, he touches on the issues surrounding flat interfaces and even the virtual 3D interfaces.
And that's just the UI side of the novel.
I'm waiting for the iteration of this rant - or even the actual UI some engineer's put together or some designer's rastubated - that shows that anyone involved has spent a single, solitary moment thinking about how a disabled person could use these interfaces. The next one will be the first one.
The more of the range of human ability an interface requires, the more human disability becomes a barrier to use it. What's so exciting about a future that shuts out people because they don't have the full range of action that some twit thought would be cool to make gratuitous use of?
No, contra Victor's ignorance, every human being does not in fact have hands or feet or normally-capable versions thereof.
There's been much more than "a smattering" of work in this area. Lots of really smart industrial designers and engineers have been working on these ideas for quite some time. I personally based my Industrial Design degree thesis around these concepts almost 12 years ago. Hiroshi Ishii's Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab comes to mind. The Ambient Devices Orb was a well-covered, if early and underdeveloped, attempt to bring a consumer pervasive computing device to market.
These products are here today and will continue to emerge. A recent example would be the thermostat from Nest Labs, a device that beautifully marries the industrial design of Henry Dreyfuss' Honeywell round thermostat with a digital display, the tangible and intangible interfaces working seamlessly in concert.
- The future technology should help the man kind be independent. It doesn't need to make you rich, but just do your own thing. I don't like that someone is driving my car or waiting me in the airport. I'll prefer that they play music or baseball.
- We don't need high tech gadget and assistance. Get out of your computer and go see the world. There are hundred of millions of people that are diabetic around the world. Go and solve that, billions and may be trillions of $$ are there.
Brief, we don't need touch screens everywhere in the future. We don't need valets, actually having them is worse for the man kind. There are huge scales problems like disease and famine and joblessness that need to be solved.
I know it's been mentioned in the documentary 'Objectified,' but has anyone seen any other commentary?
It's a little inconsistant as well. On the one hand, he argues that Pictures behind glass isn't where we should be heading, and instead we should come up with better visions, as an example he uses the someone who came up with the original idea for a "goddamn ipad"...
But wait, didn't he just say pictures behind glass was a bad model to work towards?
Personally I think if we could implement a fraction of the things in that vision video, the world would be a better place for it. If some of the things don't work, or the interaction feels wrong... we can always change the vision.
The Apple Knowledge Navigator doesn't resemble the iPhone at all... But it was/is a good vision to work towards.
And in the non-fiction realm, Wii-mote and Kinect devices. We've totally got the beginnings of tactile, full-body interface technology that's just as reconfigurable and programmable as pictures under glass.
I think some sort of HUD in glasses will be the future. Doesnt take up much space (presumably) and allows for rich gesture interaction (like whats already possible with Kinect)
But I would add that all of our senses are ripe for innovations in interaction. There are things we have yet to accomplish in terms of audio and sight, and even smell. Our fingers get in the way when we use a touch screen-- will there be a system powerful enough to track my eye position to the point where it can assist navigation?
I'm not too worried because I think voice manipulation (Siri, others) is as natural as hand manipulation and one at which digital devices will become more adept in the coming years.
Voice control and speaking interfaces, backed up by visual ones would completely overcome the concerns raised here.
"Do you know what it's called when you lose all sense of touch? It's called paralysis, and they push you around in a wheelchair while you calculate black hole radiation."
isn't cool at all.
Thanks for a great read.
I definitely agree with the article. Pictures under glass do feel weird.
I have committed this to memory Brad, it is my mantra.
Our community stresses the importance of achievement, success, and technology so much that it's easy to forget what's really most important: each other. Sometimes it takes terrible news like this to jerk us back to that reality.
I never knew Ilya, but if any of his friends of family visits this forum, please know that many thoughts and prayers are with you.
I have no idea what was behind this, so just a few (possibly related) thoughts:
- Let's never forget that everything we do is for other people. They outrank all the ones and zeros. Go hug someone important to you.
- If you ever believe the possibility of something like happening is > .00001, do something, anything. If you don't know what to do, contact me (see my profile) and I'll help in any way I can. Nothing can be more important.
- This was the ultimate failure. I'm so sorry to hear this and hope that Ilya's family and friends somehow find peace.
I'm not saying this was the case for Ilya, or had any part in his death, but I know for me it would have been hard to swallow. There are many silent founders out there that gave up everything for an unrealized dream in the path to startup success and it has a real toll on psyches.
Best wishes to his family & friends.
EDIT: This appears to be a very controversial comment. The vote count seems to be oscillating up and down very rapidly. I don't want to make this out to be a discussion about Diaspora, so I won't comment further on that point. But the mental health of founders is a real issue and rarely discussed. Maybe there should be a more open discussion about this issue.
Perhaps unlike any other profession we have a closeness that binds us, we socialize, we date, we make lifelong friends from within the startup community.
Even if we don't know the startup founder directly we know of their work, their successes and their failures, their contribution to the story of the startup world.
Speculation suggests that it may have been self-inflicted, even if it's not true, it's worth stepping back and appreciating the fact that startup founders often find themselves under immense pressure and often keep it quiet.
When's the last time you asked someone how their startup was doing to get a reply "not so good", founders are expected to be eternal optimists and this expectation can make it harder for those struggling or suffering to ask for help from their friends (who are often from the startup world themselves).
Maybe we need a Startups Anonymous to give founders a place where they can drop their public persona and be honest about the worries that are keeping them up at night.
(If it turns out this is inaccurate, please excuse the speculation, but I still think this is important.)
As a community we rarely talk about the darker side of a startup. We make it seem like ancient Roman warriors on the quest to glory. In reality it can be a dark, depressing road. Depression is real and can hit harder than anything you've ever experienced.
How many people talk about how depression? How at times things will seem so hopeless that you won't have anywhere to turn? It is certainly not the most popular topic.
He was genuinely one of the kindest people I've ever met. Along with that, one of the most driven and intelligent peers I've ever encountered. Any time I ever had a chance to converse with him, it was always a very pleasant experience. He was someone I felt I had truly connected with. I only wish I could tell him that now.
Take care buddy. Thank you for enlightening me.
My condolences to all who knew him.
The similarities are that there was considerable press coverage of Diaspora and that they seemed, at least to me, destined to fail mostly just because it was a hard thing to do given their structure. It is a true shame that this individual took the failure personally as it wasn't at all his fault, again it was primarily structural in my opinion. Gene Kan I understand was somewhat susceptible for other reasons to depression.
I'm a religious person, so often this translates to worrying about how I'm prepared should I also meet an early grave, but its important that in times like this that we also see the importance of others in our lives, our family, relationships etc.
Easy to forget that the thing we work so hard for can be wiped away in a split second.
My deepest sympathies to all involved.
Kipling's "IF" seems an appropriate addition to the discussion thread tonight.---IF.....
IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,Or being hated, don't give way to hating,And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you've spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much;If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds' worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
---Thank you Ilya.
Even if it was suicide, this too we will overcome.
I suppose one thing we can learn here is to be more sensitive about other peoples' work. Sometimes tech-related articles/comments/rants take a very harsh tone, and even though it might be valid criticism, it's easy to forget that some developer might have poured his/her heart and soul into what you're dismissing (or even ridiculing).
This man died young, but so did the local 19 year old young woman killed just after midnight by a driver just after she rescued an injured dog from the road.
You can already see someone saying the cause of death does not matter, but why does this death announcement matter?
edit: Poster removed his admonishment regarding questions about the cause of death.
People close to this person obviously will suffer due to their loss, but his death announcement gets posted here in some sort of limbo where no one (or very few) knew him. But we must respond with condolences to people we don't know about a person we only know though his involvement in a web application.
edit2: Twitter messages directed at the deceased indicate suicide.
I don't know the circumstances of his death, but I do hope that his family and colleagues get to see what an impact it's had on the hacker community.
I look forward to hearing ways that they'd like us to honour his passing; until then I'm going to do it the way I know best -- keep hacking.
I hope the passing of a co-founder doesn't result in the passing of the project as well.
CNN confirmed it was suicide: http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/14/technology/diaspora_cofounde...
In reading the above, some people might think it insensitive to 'peddle' this here, and I almost censored myself because of that.
But that's not helpful at all.
People are dying unnecessarily because they don't understand physics, cognitive neuroscience, and the possibilities the future allows.
May he live again conditional on him being cryo-preserved. Otherwise, it is sad news that yet another human has been annihilated.
While it can't be presicely described how the future free Internet would look, it is possble to imagine some modern implementation of something like the old Fido network with a set of satellites and cables/floats in the international space and waters and the next generation WiFi that will have on the scale of couple orders of magnitude greater range.
It's only a Hamming distance of 3 from the real name.
"The service is not available. Please try again later."
I don't have nearly as much fun writing HTML/JS as I did writing AS3. I liked the (optional) strict typing. I liked writing for a single target and knowing it would just work. I liked having the power to say, "Render this thing in just this spot," and having it do what I wanted rather than spending hours fiddling CSS.
So as much as the decline of Flash is generally heralded as a good thing (and I agree that Adobe really never managed to fulfill their promises/goals with Flash on mobile devices), I'm still going to miss it when it's gone.
Edit: Just want to note that I'm speaking from the perspective of writing large, complex webapps in AS3/Flex, not just websites. Use the right tool for the job, etc etc.
I wonder, what was the catalyst that caused Adobe to admit what everyone else already knew? Perhaps they saw the 5 year anniversary of the iPhone on horizon and figured enough BS is enough.
One of my worries with HTML5 is that we won't have a good heuristic for preventing animation and video.
As it is, YouTube occasionally serves me up their HTML5 video player, and it's a significantly worse experience than the Flash one, for the simple reason that it autoplays, whereas FlashBlock will stop Flash autoplay. I can't tell you how many times I've been listening to a video, wondering why it sounds so awful, and then figuring out there's another video autoplaying in a background tab.
So we (or at least I) will need some way of killing / freezing HTML5 canvas, video etc. elements until the user assents to their animation.
And you know what? That's awesome. What the interactive web needs, flash, canvas or HTML5, is creative tools that people like adobe used to be really good at producing.
Jobs especially was roundly criticized for his public stance on this, but in the end, he was proved right: Adobe never could get Flash working properly on a low-powered device.
Adobe spent so much effort on punditry on their blogs about how everyone else was wrong and reviewers and Apple were so unfair. This is going to be a bigger PR problem then it should of been.
There are still developers out there who believe that Adobe will come up with a decent mobile Flash experience, even though it has failed to deliver on those promises for the better part of a decade. If Adobe just comes out says "Not gonna happen", we can all move on and invest our time and energy in technologies that actually have a future.
Finally, it really destroys your trust in Adobe. Will they discontinue their mobile AIR tools if they have a few more bad quarters?
I never would have guessed it in the 1990s, but in this day and age, native applications and open web standards are the way to go. Java held such promise for time, as did flash, etc.
I wonder if their declines are due to their essentially proprietary nature, or due to poor technical choices made by their stewards. (though the latter could be called an example of the former.)
 In fact, since Hulu is doing so much better than netflix these days I think we'll be giving up netflix completely before too long. I would have thought the ads would be an issue, but Hulu has streaming down solid, and Netflix for whatever reason is more flakey.
The responsive design movement keeps throwing these Morgan Stanley and other reports out there that predict that by 2015, people will be using mobile devices more than desktop devices. What incentive does Adobe have to continue develppig Flash for the browser?
Their statement eludes to nearly ubiquitous support for HTML5 on mobile devices. When IE10 comes out, will that level out the desktop market?
I always hear Flash developers saying that Flash does so many things better than HTML5. But if nobody's able to view the content because nobody wants to develop a Flash player for the target platforms, what does it matter?
I'm not saying I think Flash on the desktop is dead, but I could certainly see Adobe moving that direction. They're turning Flash into a platform like Titanium or PhoneGap, where it generates mobile apps, mobile web apps, or desktop apps. They're already doing that now. If that works, and I suspect it will work quite nicely, then I'd see even less incentive for them to support building "applets".
If browsers are the new Universal Interface to conquer and standardize, there's a new problem. We now have variety in implementation of standards, making those standards tough to use.
Where Flash was when it was 2-3 years old isn't much different than where HTML5 is for those of us who have been around long enough... except there's a lot more browsers out there than there were Operating systems.
Flash could control how efficient it was, or wasn't.. but who will make sure all the browsers process HTML5 efficiently?
Are we really aware of how much we're going to get ahead, and how soon?
How much time will I spend recreating what Flash, or something else could do for me already today, so I'm not just trading some great HTML5 features for spending my time coding stuff Flash has?
I don't use a ton of Flash or HTML5 right now and don't foresee it. When it's the best tool, I use it. Where it's not a complete tool, I'll think twice.
This is one area though, where Adobe's expertise might be second to none -- making it work identically everywhere as best as possible with gracefully degrading libraries.
I hope their recent acquisitions serve as fuel for solving a problem really needing solving.. by them or someone.
Should be interesting to see what happens when we get what we wished for, the devil we don't know vs the devil we kind of did.. :)
But even mini laptops can just barely handle flash websites with glitzy introductions and interface. A phone can't handle that, it's outdated and inefficient for smaller modules of power.
Am I correct?
However, with WP7 languishing with less than 2 digit market share, what's left in the smartphone markets are essentially webkit-based browsers on Safari and Android.
Would have been a nice going away present.
It is only by adjusting our perceptions of the processes by which others produce quality work that we can feel good about our own abilities.
However, after the initial 'wow' factor, I realized a slight flaw in this idea of learning by solely watching others (in replay). You see, without any context of changes or explanations for the mistakes that have been made and corrected, I as a viewer may as well just wait for the final product - as the learning is limited.
If this was with programming (a potential target use) for example, I may be none the wiser why the person writing the code suddenly deleted a chunk of code and replaced it with something else, unless of course some annotation / narration was provided to accompany the replay.
Don't take this as a negative point, the idea is great, but I think it could be far more useful with this added feature.
- mark the current edit point more prominently,
- automatically scroll to where the edits are taking place (obvious if you test this on a small screen),
- if you implement the former suggestion, signal big jumps prominently in a way that helps viewers keep track of where they are in the overall document.
[+] I know this is an early proof-of-concept for playback mode, and my suggestions are probably obvious, but it can't hurt.
What I learned: pg is an extremely literal and logical person by nature but in hindsight will tone down his own literalism in favor of a simple, goal-directed, aesthetic.
I note also that pg's rephrasing most often consists of deleting the end of the paragraph back to where he was last happy with it and rewriting (we can call this the clean-slate approach), rather than editing the section to transform just those parts of text that should change (the conservative approach I use). I think the conservative approach is faster, but it introduces more errors. I guess the overall cleanliness of pg's writing style is related to this. I wonder if I should try to change to a more clean-slate writing technique.
It looks like pg tends to refine sentences before moving to the next one. Consider the "I'm not claiming that you only need..." line near the beginning, which went through a ton of revision before being nixed. And at the end of the essay, everything was revised again. This contrasts with how I sometimes wrote essays in school: grid out lots of paragraphs, meet my word length requirement, and then go back and revise. Kinda like a waterfall method.
This would be a neat feature for, say, HN comments. April Fool's day or something. It'd be fun to see the history of a given comment. Or the thought process behind it. It might even yield interesting metrics: maybe a heavily-edited comment would indicate a higher quality than one which was dashed off, regardless of length.
The last time you did this was using etherpad. It was interesting to see your write up( http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=557191). It was a learning experience for an amateur like me. I haven't spoken to you, but It felt like I did just that -whilst you were writing.
So, would there be a way to save this write up? Etherpad is dead and so is the link you shared earlier.Is there an archive to dig into to see that version again for comparison?
Don't know if I'll ever need the playback feature, and the name feels a bit awkward. Will be interesting to see where they want to take this as a startup.
Btw, I think it's more efficent to first write a "braindump" and then start editing, rather than reiterating a sentence a time. You'll remove and rework a lot of what you write but it's easier to get in the flow and just "get things done" before you start rewriting it.
Actually I think this is a better way to learn other people's code. Is there any plugin for emacs that can record your editing?
PG's essays have always struck me as similar to Ernest Hemingway's, who had a terse minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives. So it was heartening to see that PG's initial writing style was more conversational and seemed like something I might read on a typical blog post, before getting tighter and more formal by the final version.
I think writers would find it as an indispensable tool to find out where they make mistakes. It can function as a kind of a feedback loop which helps you refine your skill.
Watching someone think character by character is far more illustrative.
(If its not ok to post self links, let me know and I'll delete)
Only one thing I would suggest really - width of linked Stypi page should have some reasonable maximum width, something close to 80 chars. Otherwise, it is really hard to see where all changes are made when browser is maximized.
Walter W "Red" Smith
edit: amusingly, I had to go edit the comment. I find that very reflective of the original article.
Now a killer feature would be highlighting text that will be deleted immediately, not just in retrospect. =)
I guess, some super-smart NLP algorithm could be developed to make that possible‚Ä"once enough data on what gets eventually deleted is collected.
that's a gem.
If you nested the list of things as one bit of the outline and then had the key phrase items of the intro as another, just don't worry about adjectives or adverbs or punctuation or flow or anything for the first pass, you may find you get faster overall, especially for longer pieces.
I would also appreciate if you used a heavier font weight, or permitted changing the font easily. It's a bit thin-looking and not easily taken in, at least for my eyes.
This could also have applications in tutoring and teaching writing.
> And there are awkward or unnecessary words and sentences, most of which I catch in successive passes near the end. It's interesting how often the last sentence of a paragraph can simply be deleted.
I guess growing up with computers and not being able to spell are not synonymous.
The truth is my job as an intern, as was the job of all other interns that I met while in DC, was to take constituent calls and also open constituent mail. However, no information was ever actually relayed to the congressmen. We had a formatted response to each and every issue that the House could possibly vote on. Everything from internet poker, to any issue you could imagine. We would print out (and alter if necessary) the response to tailor it to the individual that called, emailed, or wrote a physical letter. The congressman's signature was stamped at the bottom of the letter and sent back to the constituent, giving the allusion of due diligence on the congressman's part.
I was extremely surprised and disappointed at the same time at how commonplace this was. Pretty much every intern I asked about it went through the same drill. It's just another thing about our government and "representative democracy" that really irked me. So whenever I see ads urging people to call or write their congressman, I think back to this and realize further how powerless we really are.
The best way to exert influence over your congressman is to donate lots of money and become a memorable name that can get in contact with the actual representative him/herself. Hell, that's how I got the internship. This is one of the reasons I sympathize with the OWS movement.
First, email just doesn't work for contacting Congress. They get entirely too much, and it's entirely too easy to get lost in the pile. It's the preferred means of communication for most of us on HN, but it's just not effective outside our industry. Phone is better, but there's nothing quite like flooding someone's office with paper to convey the will of the electorate.
Second, SendWrite is one of the companies that would be hurt by the bill - being able to generate volume like this shows the reach and effectiveness of their lobbying efforts. Sacks of cash are the backup currency of Congress - Votes are still the coin of the realm.
Finally, you guys are putting your cash on the line for this - that's a powerful statement, and I applaud you for doing so.
Edit: I see you just did. Thx! I just linked to it on DuckDuckGo as well as donated and sent my letter. Thanks again.
One suggestion: since you ask for the sender's home address anyway, why not use that to scrape the contactcongress website to automatically fill in their representatives?
I love this, though I've held back on commenting on SOPA until now. One of the frequent comments on SOPA I see is that the original founders behind the internet believed it should be free and unregulated. While I agree, once you introduce capitalism to the internet, as most companies have, you cannot let it be entirely unregulated. What is happening in the internet now is the same process that occurred directly after the industrial revolution - first there were completely unregulated, grievous abuses in the industry. The entertainment industry is attempting to regulate the flow of information and "capital" in the same way the government had to go "trust buster" on the industrial sectors in the last two centuries.
However, while this is all good and well, as the side video explains, they already have protocols for doing this. They don't need any more methods of stopping piracy and the like. They should shift their attention to different ways of raising capital and earning revenue. The system they have isn't working, but erring on the side of regulation instead of erring on the side of libertarianism is still erring. There needs to be a comfortable balance, and SOPA does not make such a balance - it tips the scales in favor of the entertainment industry, and that is the last sector of the United States the internet should be supervised and moderated by.
If your congressman is supporting the bill, don't bother. My Senator at the time was Fritz Hollings; came from a poor district, so he was dependent on a lot of outside contributions. I recall Disney being one of his largest contributors. I received a response 3 months after it passed that more or less told me I was a enemy of commerce. I won't lie, I was a little shocked to get back such a pointed letter when I was as courteous and respectful as possible.
I learned my lesson from that one. You can send a letter to anyone and generally it is a great idea, but if they get a dime from your position's opposition, it is just pissing in the wind. It's just business.
From my letter:
H.R.3261, the 'Stop Online Piracy Act', is going to be the Volstead Act of the 21st Century. Like Prohibition, creating draconian laws like these to stop online piracy is going to do two things: 1) destroy respectable businesses that thrive on user-generated content and 2) drastically increase the number of pirates online by expanding its definition, and in doing so, massively expand online piracy. SOPA will literally create a generation of internet bootleggers.
The takeaway is, unless these letters are hand delivered, I doubt theyll reach their intended recipients in time.
when the government don't want we to see the truth of something, or something may be a threat to themÔľĆthey will ban it incruely, sometimes they even do it in the name of "for the children" or "for the harmony society" or give their version of totally-bullshit ‚Äútruth‚ÄĚ.
besides the baning of website, they also have some people take salaries from government and speak for the government in every forum when scandals of government officials burn out.and when scandals burns out government also send orders to every website, every press to stop talk and publishing on the scandals, the reason they give is "for the harmony of society" or "don't be mislead by the media in US and Euro" :D
what's more almost every big website/application in china has employees either hired by government or hired by website/software-company to censor the users' activities, including QQ(biggest IM in china, just like MSN), Youku & Tudou(biggest two video site, like youtube), renren(biggest SNS in china, like facebook), baidu(biggest search engine in china, like google).if you said something bad to the government, your words must be deleted, what was worse, there used to be 2 men chatting using QQ, and the owner of QQ--Tencent Compang--give their chats record to the police ACTIVELY, and the result is the 2 men was sent to prison.
so if you allow your congress to pass SOPA, you know what would happen to you all.
Knowing that we could try and focus dissemination of this to people in those districts.
A suggestion: I'd like to be able to send a letter to all of my representatives and senators at once, instead of having to fill out the form multiple times.
To hit up your reps with different communication channels, http://www.contactingthecongress.org has voice, fax, and web forms.
They are a very important constituent.
If a large number of consumers stopped purchasing a certain entertainment company's products for one day, would it have a noticeable impact on their revenues? How about a week? A month?
The industry claims it's losing business to pirates. While it's probably true to some extent, it is speculative and nearly impossible to measure accurately. How many of the consumers of pirated content were never consumers of paid content to begin with?
The products this industry sells are not life necessities.
In summary, a branded entertainment "hunger strike" by actual existing, paid customers. This would cause real loss.And, if it's a noticeable loss, it would send a very strong message.
Guess I'll just email my rep.
I believe that should read "Don't know who your local representative is?", no?
I'm all for being cute, but it shouldn't come at the cost of a basic understanding of what the program actually does and is useful for.
Edit: U+2588 seems like an obvious candidate as well.
[scotty@Scotty-Allens-MacBook-Air ~/bin]$ spark 1,2,3,4,5 ‚-á\c ‚-á\c ‚-á\c ‚-á\c ‚-á\c
Nifty idea, regardless.
For starters, it won't work in dash (Debian and Ubuntu /bin/sh implementation). So the shebang line should be changed to #!/bin/bash (not sure if it would work in Zsh either).
alias updick='/usr/bin/uptime | perl -ne "/(\d+) d/;print 8,q(=)x\$1,\"D\n\""'
$ git clone http://git.zx2c4.com/spark $ cd spark $ make $ ./spark 1 4 2 8 14 ‚-ā‚-É‚-ā‚-...‚-ą $ curl -s http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/catalogs/eqs1day-M1.txt | cut -d, -f9 | ./spark ‚-ā‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-á‚-É‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-...‚-É‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-...‚-...‚-...‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-Ą‚-ą‚-...‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-É‚-á‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-ą‚-Ą‚-É‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-Ą‚-É‚-É‚-Ą‚-...‚-Ą‚-...‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-á‚-Ą‚-...‚-Ą‚-á‚-É‚-...‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-á‚-É‚-É‚-Ą‚-á‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-É‚-...‚-É‚-Ą‚-É‚-É
$ spark 3,4,9‚-É‚-á‚-á
Just an observation.
Slide deck: http://www-rn.informatik.uni-bremen.de/ietf/rohc/ace-033100-...
He's also listed on an interesting Apple patent that was only filed a few weeks ago, "INTELLIGENT AUTOMATED ASSISTANT"(http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/WO2011088053).
Some very interesting implementation details there.
I'd quite like to be able to add calendar entries or tweet without moving to another application.
Because Siri has roots in government contracting (it's named after SRI International, and was originally funded by DARPA) I wonder if the roots of the obfuscation start there rather than at Apple.
From what I've seen, Siri sends compressed audio to the cloud which translates that to text. What happens to the text and how does that translate to action? Where is this being handled? Is there any proof that this is done in the cloud?
So if I'm reading this right, Apple is sending UDIDs over HTTP?
I know it's interesting stuff, but I'm curious what "rights" Applidium have in publishing this information.
With this information, (if I'm not wrong) it wouldn't take long to simply DDoS Siri...
Or port Siri to Android (effectively stealing IP).
(I have no bias either way, just pointing out, if someone figured out how to reverse engineer dropbox, so you could use their space, without a dropbox account, would we all be going "wow, this is so cool!" or would we be crying out "this is such an irresponsible hack!")
Your application determines the initial size and position of a window, which is called the standard state. If the user changes a window's size or location by at least 7 points, the new size and location is the called the user state. The user can toggle between the standard state and the user state by clicking the zoom button in the title bar. Follow the guidelines in this section so that users can have the zoom experience they expect.
Choose a standard state that is best suited for the tasks your app enables. A document window, for example, should show as much as possible of the document's content. Don't assume that the standard state should be as large as the current display permits; instead, determine a size that makes it convenient for users to use your app. If appropriate, you can allow users to take some app windows full screen if they want more space.
Adjust the standard state when appropriate. The user can't change the standard state that defines a window's initial position and size, but your app can do so, based on other settings. For example, a word processor might define a standard that accommodates the display of a document whose width is specified in the Page Setup dialog.
Respond appropriately when the user zooms. When the user zooms a window that is in the user state, your app should make sure that size defined by the standard state is appropriate in the current context. Specifically, move the window as little as possible to make it the standard size, while at the same time keeping the entire window on the screen. The zoom button should not cause the window to fill the entire screen unless that was the last state the user set.
If the user zooms a window in a multidisplay system, the standard state should be on the display that contains the largest portion of the window, not necessarily on the display that contains the menu bar. This means that if the user moves a window between displays, the window's position in the standard state could be on different displays at different times. The standard state for any window must always be fully contained on a single display.
Don't allow a zoomed window to overlap the Dock. You always want to make sure that users have full use of both your windows and the Dock. For more information about the Dock, see ‚ÄúThe Dock.‚ÄĚ
In OSX you can only resize a window in the bottom right corner, in Ubuntu I can resize from any corner, or I can hold Alt and middle click anywhere near a corner of a window to start resizing it. No more hunting for the resize sweetspot.
When I click the Maximize button on OSX, it doesn't actually maximize the window 99% of the time, it just picks a seemingly random size. I saw an app a while ago that would let you control how your OSX apps are resized when you maximize them, but if I have to buy an app just to make my OS do what it should do anyway, there's something wrong.
I need 10 different apps on a Mac just to do what I can do out of the box in Ubuntu. Nautilus can access Windows network shares, SSH/SFTP/FTP access, and can mount NTFS, HFS, and pretty much any other filesystem type there is.
On a new linux machine I can apt-get most anything, but if I do need to compile something I just apt-get build-essentials and I'm ready to go, on OSX you have to download a DVD just to be able to compile stuff from source.
I just want to see hidden files in Finder, why is that so hard? Why do I have to google it and use a 3+ key combination to enable showing hidden files? I'm all for keyboard shortcuts, I'm a keyboard man, but until I learn and memorize them, you should put them in the menu where I can find them with a little hunting.
And that reminds me, why can't I type a path in Finder? I prefer an address bar, where I can type a path to a directory I want to view, but noooo, I have to click around, and if it's a really deep folder I'm trying to get to I'm screwed.
I like Home and End keys. Where are they?
In the default Terminal app, there are no shortcuts (at least none that I could figure out) for moving around the text I'm typing quickly, like going forward and back a whole word, or going Home or End, you have to hold down the left or right arrows for a while.
Maybe for some people this locked down, dumbed down environment works for them. Maybe some people love learning the myriad of keyboard shortcuts needed to get stuff done on a Mac, but I prefer Ubuntu, I can get stuff done a lot faster and without wanting to kill myself.
I find myself appreciating the more controversial changes, like reversed scrolling and hidden scrollers. I followed Gruber's advice and suppressed the impulse to switch the defaults back to Snowpard behaviors and find that I'm less happy when I have to use Snowpard now.
* Mail.app under Lion is the best mail UX they've ever shipped. It's not a small improvement over Snowpard; it has a more reasonable layout now that makes Smart Folders make more sense, and search seems to have been completely rebuilt and actually works now.
* I find myself liking Mission Control enough not to mind not having vertical virtual desktop arrangements.
* Preview can sign documents now!
* The Filevault fix is huge for me (Filevault is now a bona fide block level FDE), since it means I don't have to use PGP WDE, which was a debacle.
My sense of it is, there is zero opportunity for someone to compete with Apple and Microsoft on conventional desktop operating systems, and the problems O'Reilly has with OS X are not generally going to be shared by people like my dad, who are (a) the only people Apple really cares about because (b) they're where all the money is.
Briefly though, (as another user who switched from Mac OS X), I can certainly give examples of what he says:
Not all of these are specific to OS X, its the overall hardware and software that is getting frustrating.
- If you replace your SuperDrive with another drive, you CAN NOT boot any operating system (other than Apple's) off usb drives or even external DVD drives plugged into usb slots. So with two hard drives, you can not install Windows or Linux. 
- Batteries are not considered user-swappable anymore. 
- Battery life degradation when moving from SL to Lion. Apple forums are full of examples.  (78 page thread, no confirmation or fix from Apple).
- We all know how annoying the switch to Mission Control was, right?
That said, I agree that Mac OS X is not getting better. It needs to change. Everything since about 10.3 to today has been fairly incremental, and OS X is showing its age (ever wonder why Apple never changed to OS XI? It's because they're all the same...).
It's also showing that it doesn't have any real push at Cupertino to get better. No-one is driving OS X. Hardware is being driven by Johny Ive, software was arguably being pushed by Jobs, but it's clear that he was only interested in iOS for years. I'd note that iOS is going the same way as Mac OS X: stagnating in the face of competition that is doing more interesting things (amazingly, that competition is Microsoft!).
I feel like Apple is a company that rests on its laurels until the market practically forces it to change. The change that's coming for Mac OS X is that it will go away altogether. I think Steve hated it, and was waiting for the time when they could sell you iOS only. The only reason they keep Mac OS X around is for developers, and Apple aren't exactly known for making them happy.
Microsoft's dual-paradigm Windows 8 shows it's not that crazy. I think Mac OS X has an expiry date of about 5 years from now.
By hiding the Library folder, Apple isn't trying to be hostile: most users never need to access anything in this folder. Users who are advanced enough to be grubbing around inside the Library should also be advanced enough to know that you can easily get to it via command-shift-g "~/Library". Obviously it also shows up in the Terminal. Apple's merely hidden it from view inside the Finder.
His specific complaint was that he couldn't find the Library folder to delete his mail. Two things to keep in mind: first off, people who set up Mail extremely rarely will want to delete their email. So on the list of use cases to optimize for, that one lives near the bottom of the ladder. Secondly, the Library folder is, for all intents and purposes, something that should have been hidden to begin with. The kind of stuff that goes into a Library folder goes into hidden directories on other OSes anyway (think Application Settings on Windows, or .config, .gnome2, .kde on Linux). The fact that Apple only just now got around to hiding a folder that did nothing but clutter up the home directory for most users is significantly more surprising than the fact that it's hidden.
There was another complaint, which was that upon putting the relevant files in the Trash, attempting to empty it yielded file in use errors. That is indeed a problem, but he complains that he can't skip all of them, and that this is an old issue. So how this is related to OS X getting worse is unclear. It's definitely extremely annoying, but then I also don't think people find themselves deleting thousands of files of which several are in use very often. That said, one wonders what was using those files (unless he'd forgotten to quit Mail, but I doubt that).
Basically, ‚Äúthe latest frustration‚ÄĚ, his leading example of something that is ‚Äúworse in Lion than in Snow Leopard‚ÄĚ, seems to not be a very good example at all. What's missing are the ‚ÄĚso many [other] things‚ÄĚ. I want to hear them, because I haven't found too many, and I think it would be interesting to see what others genuinely think is worse. Some disagree with the changes in Spaces, for example, which is understandable. What else?
I'm really just waiting to see what post-Lion OS X looks like, and if they keep moving towards iOS/iPhone, then I really don't want anything to do with Apple. I don't need a computer/OS from a phone company.
OS X is a usability nightmare for me, slowing me down even after many years of using it and trying to adapt to its ways. Lion is buggy on top of that (never ending wifi troubles).
Linux has huge driver issues and the package managers make me think like a data center sysadmin rather than the sole user of a dev workstation that I am.
And Windows is horrible as a development platform unless you stay slavishly within Microsoft's overpriced ecosystem.
But ranting about this is probably pointless. There will not be a new OS any time soon. It's just too difficult even for the largest corporations to start from scratch.
Then a bunch of people will pop up and explain how to achieve most of the things that are complained about; or explain that they're not problems but features. (The green pseudo-maximise being my most frustrating example.)
What people seem to miss is that discoverability is lousy in OSs. HN isn't read by stupid people who are un-used to tech. So why are what should be simple features either hard to find, or not present? Why do HN readers struggle with simple aspects of modern OSs? Apple (rightly, IMO) gets a lot of praise for usability. MS spent a lot of money on usability testing. Both of them have some awful awful things going on.
My example of a hard to find feature: In windows XP when you copy many files from one directory into another directory you'll get a dialog saying "The folder already contains" etc, with 4 options, [YES][YES TO ALL][NO][CANCEL]. There was a secret option of [NO TO ALL] if you held shift and clicked no.
Default Expose was terrible in Snow Leopard too (strict grid layout vs. the old natural spatial layout) but at least then there was a hack to get the old version back:http://superuser.com/questions/118424/old-leopard-expose-on-...
I have some issues with Lion, but they are grounded primarily in my complete satisfaction with Snow Leopard and lack of desire to change (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
When Tim says "there were many things worse in Snow Leopard than in Leopard," I cannot recall a single one. In fact, the Snow Leopard release was undoubtedly a very well received one.
Zooom/2, which lets me move and resize windows with my positioned anywhere on the window, activated with customizable key combinations. http://coderage-software.com/zooom/index_green/index.html
SizeUp, which lets me position and resize the activate window with customizable keyboard shortcuts. One common use case is to make one window take up the left half of the screen, and another the right half, if I'm working on something that needs information from both. http://irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/
Some of my favorites are: mission control is much better than expos√© + spaces which I could never really put to great use. Fullscreen mode is very cool (although it sucks with multi-monitors, hopefully they'll fix that). Finally the ability to resize windows from every corner. Autosave. Remembering open windows. New gestures are great once you internalize them. What Apple is doing with sandboxing is really a revolution in PC security even if the costs are high to user and developer freedom.
I'm pretty concerned about the App Store model and the future implications, but so far Apple is still doing amazing UX work. I imagine at some point I will have to go Linux if Apple keeps tightening their grip, but that day is not yet here.
I remember a time when O'Reilly books were the golden standard for things like Perl, Python et al. Nowadays it seems like they are producing crap, half-written books by the ton.
Oreillynet was also, one time, one of the best places to go for nice, informative articles and tutorials. Nowadays it's just an assortment of lame blog entries and book promotions.
And don't let me get started on "Safari books online", a sub par reading experience if I ever saw one.
Meanwhile the end users adopted it imediately and never looked back. Most of the complaints in the article are about features that we as developers love but that end users could care less about.
As a developer I love getting in to my Library folder and changing stuff around. I love backing my computer up manually and not using Time Machine. I love having complete control of my windows and applications.
But most users don't care. Most users never touch their Library folder and don't need to. Thats why its hidden. Most users don't need to back up their mail because its all on Gmail. Most users love the app store where they don't have to search all over the internet for a simple app.
Mac OS is an end user centric operating system and it always has been. Developers and hackers will have to make some tweaks to the basic OS to make it work the way they want. Honestly looking up a few keyboard shortcuts, enabling hidden folders and installing homebrew isn't that hard.
I still prefer the windows UI to the others. Ubuntu, especially Unity feels always like a step behind the windows UI. In the latest release the taskbar won't stick, they took away the start menu, and menus are stuck at the top of the screen like osx.
I like in windows how I can drag the window to the side or the screen and it expands to fill just the half. Of if I drag the border to the top it will auto-expand the window vertically.
In OSX the max/minimize buttons are too small. And the task bar seems more visually appealing than practical (in windows it fills the whole bottom.) Also the download/install software process, it feels weird. Download a file, have it come up in some jump list, then mount it to the desktop where's there's usually 2 icons one saying to drag the other somewhere. Package management seems more straight forward in windows vs osx/linux. I do like XCode 4 though, I think how it works with tabs is much better.
Take the mail example, Mail.app already lets him export his mail box, delete his mail etc. He never needed to rifle through ~/Library to get at it. However if he's tech savvy enough to want to do it the manual way, then he should know how to fire up the terminal to access ~/Library, or more simply by holding the option key and choosing "Library" from the go menu. I don't this is breaking osx.
While I can't vouch for why he has a magnitude of locked files, given the mail example I have a fair idea of how he's gotten in that situation. While os x does give him the option to gloss past certain locked files. He's likely seeing the error because he's removed files which are "spoken for" (i.e in use), these are often located in ~/Library and it's kind of the point of why ~/Library is hidden. Again, if he wants to be tech-savvy, he should just rm the files, or rm the contents of the trash folder. (Or if it was mail.app responsible, just originally remove the mail from inside Mail.app)
OSX certainly has some way to go in addressing this kind of mixed level behaviour, but it's not going to stop you from shooting yourself in the foot.
About the other features: while I don't appreciate the iOS-ificiation of mac os, it's trivial to turn these learning-curve reducing features off, and on laptops I find they make more sense than they do when using a mouse + keyboard.
Personal recommendation: http://www.archlinux.org & http://awesome.naquadah.org/ -- a nice compromise between easy configurability and the "suckless" simplicity mentality.
1. That issue of windows not resizing is generally a complaint made by native Windows users who are already used to that property. I'm not saying this makes it an invalid complaint, just putting it in context.
2. Compared with Linux, Mac OS X has more support (this doesn't mean it's superior). Compared with Windows, Mac OS X (at least in my experience) is more sensitive to power users and coders, and people who know what they're doing more. Now, I've used different distributions of Linux, and ideally, I love Linux most. But it just doesn't have as much support as Mac OS X because proprietary backing breeds rapid progress (in the sense of universal or near universal support at least). Sometimes you have to fork your own solution when you're confronted with a problem in Linux. This also happens in OS X, but often times, there's more trouble shooting advice or solutions freely available and accessible. Just a perspective.
When you use rm it does not put things in the trash, but removes them directly. The open command can open anything, even "hidden" things.
This transitional period poses a huge problem for Apple and looks to be the cause of most complaints I've seen. What are they going to do about the power users who were their early adopters? Is an 'admin' or 'power user' mode appropriate?
I think most anyone who is willing to accept that the world is undergoing a transition into a world where tablets coexist with laptops, etc., will embrace this time as a period of experimentation, rapid change, and creativity.
I understand what Tim is saying, but I disagree that it's time to start over.
With Mac OS X, Apple definitely seems to have begun heavily focusing on feature development over refining existing UX. But the claim that successive releases of OS X become more user-hostile and encourages more lock-in is a bit of a stretch.
Apple has never developed for the power user, and they never should -- this is part of what makes their products so great; their unrelenting focus on the common case. In fact, complaining about a hidden library file for Mail.app misses this point entirely. It's actually a wonderful feature, since the common user is more likely to mess up their own mail library than to have a need to move it between disks.
+Tim O'Reilly's second point is valid, though, the UX for emptying the trash can definitely be improved. But again, is the common case deleting 400,000 files? Is the "delete whatever you can checkbox" too odd for a normal user to understand? Let's take the mom example; if your mom emptied the trash after deleting a file, would she want to know if it couldn't be emptied, or would she be OK with it being emptied without her recently deleted file actually being removed?
People can yell for a OS do-over all they want. The fact remains though: Apple focuses on UX more than any other company I know. If that UX doesn't cater to your particular needs and you'd rather have power-user flexibility and features, even if it means less polish and more annoyances when dealing with common tasks, use Linux or Windows. Or, better yet, just learn to use the Terminal and you can have the best of both worlds.
OSX is a non-contender in my book because of its complete disregard for the standard Unix directory structure, its use of registry files, its ancient BSD utilities last updated in the '90s, and its lack of a package manager that actually integrates with the rest of the system. Of course the window manager sucks too, but that's only if you judge according to functionality. To be a Mac aficionado, you've got to judge only according to how slick the UI looks. Right?
I would like things to be more consistent. In fact, if I were in charge, I would want this button to be a maximize button by default, while using the Option (i.e. Alt) key should alter the behavior to the second option which is to resize to the best fit for window content.
But this may need debate since now we have fullscreen mode for apps in Lion.
For instance, checking emails in mail.app is shift+command+N. Or changing the presentation mode in iTunes or Preview is alt+command+[3-6]. Because of my Azerty keyboard, it's actually shift+alt+command+[3-6].
Isn't one modifier key enough?
That said, I have my most productive dev environment now on Lion. The speed with which I can move between apps write code, compile, test, etc, is actually starting to push my laptop.
Easy install of apps, auto update of the OS, really easy to use, sync across loads of computers, runs on any laptop or pc that can run XP, and is FAST.
I have it on a netbook and also as a dual boot on y pc, and I now rarely boot to Windows.
Snow Leopard was more solid than Leopard. Lion followed Snow Leopard and does admittedly have more bugs. A "streak" of one isn't a streak at all.
1. They have lost their Zen design philosophy - it has come to the point of ridiculousness with the new features in Lion; features for the sake of features. Since Steve is gone, there is probably no way back.
2. They have lost their perceived moral superiority - system closedness, App Store censorship, sueing people left and right, don't seem to care one bit about chinese labour conditions; they are worse than Microsoft or IBM ever were.
3. They have lost their coolness - the cool kids dig free, independent software; they are not the "Think different." company anymore, they attract people who desperately seek to belong to the masses. They attract sheeple who buy an iPad to tell their friends that they, too, have an iPad.
Summary: The Apple of today is a heartless consumer electronics giant, just like and worse than any other out there. It still sucks the last drops of blood out of the spirit it used to have in the past.
Meh. Give me Linux. In a few years, I'll be 100% Linux I figure.
Apple does certain things for a reason. If you disagree with Apple's reasoning behind something specific and want to change it, then change it yourself. Most commenters complaining about OS X can count the number of grievances they have with their fingers.
In regards to his question about future OSes, anyone think about a browser/cloud based OS like ChromeOS or JoliCloud being able to save him? These are the future of OSes so it would seem natural to look to them to create that simpleness he's complaining about.
Your first problem is that you started deleting stuff from a folder that Apple now deems wise to hide. With all due respect, why on earth would you start from the ~/Library folder? Why not delete these from the Mail client?
You can even "backup" from inside Mail.app. (Right click a folder > Export) Also, if you really want the Library folder, you can just go to Finder > Go > (Hold option) Library
There are real criticisms to be aired, this is not one of them.
Tim says the Library folder is hidden (power users would quickly change this, and several other things), and that the trashing system (or any copying/moving) is not as good as Windows. I do like W7's copy dialog, but it's very wordy, nothing in OSX would be that wordy.
Glad to see you've found success in the iOS realm, while helping improve people's lives in a real tangible way.
The most important part is not that you made $19,000 while teaching yourself how to code, but that you are actually making the world a better place. I would angel fund this idea (if I had the money) the minute I would read gives a voice to anyone who cannot speak. I would venture fund your product that minute I would read replaces a $7,000+ medical device that is bulky and difficult to use.
Additionally, do you think the $199 price point might it out of reach for a lot of people who would benefit from the app but who have tights budgets?
Unfortunately that's not true for good programmers that suck at design.
Concluding everything I think he has a low income, unprofitable, high risk business. Not the position I want to be in, when I quit my dayjob.
edit I just now see that you posted the link yourself, Nathan. Please read all "he"s as "you". ;-)
How many other niche apps are out there? Anything where you carry a computer or clipboard around is eligible. Specific to a task, or a general fill-in-a-spreadsheet-and-email-it app would fit the bill.
1) Get a copy of it in the hands of special ed departments at schools (for free). And the people who oversee the IEP's, counselors etc. You will then get referrals to sell the full priced product after people see a demo.
2) Lower the price of your product so it's a no brainer for parents.
Having the price so high is going to invite competition that will sell the same app at a lower price. While that can still happen with a lower price it is more likely at the price point you are at because people will be more motivated to compete (and anyway you will sell more at the lower price..)
3) Come up with a different name or buy onevoice.com. If the product is recommended you need people to be able to easily find your website. Not only don't you own the domain name onevoice.com but you don't come up (now) in any search results.
Edit: "search results" - as in when someone hears about it and they google it not the app store.
You learned to code for iOS, helped people in need, and made a buck off it. Awesome.
Here's another example, an app that replaces whatever gadget piano tuners used to carry:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tunelab-piano-tuner/id3355683...
I recently saw a short segment on 60 minutes, "Apps for Autism", which demonstrated and explained applications in your applications field, autistic children. Here's the video URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385686n&tag=cont...
Sometime soon I might share the story of how I made $100,000 on the (... what to call it?) browser while learning to code.
PS. I love the UI I see in the screens... and would love to play with it. I wonder what type of animations you're using etc. Also, beautiful and simple website.
Any advice on how you got through that situation? Thanks.
I assume at this point the $7000+ device people think they have some better features that make it worthwhile and are reluctant to do their own iPad app. (Innovators Dilemma).
I like that it is not just another one of those app products that is targeted at the masses.
Instead, you found a niche, talk to customers and found a nice selling price, which from the user's perspective is a bargain.
Although, I'm particularly interested in how you made the decision to quit your full-time job and create a startup based on one-time sales? Is there a service behind this startup?
Well done, Google.
(If you accidentally post something twice, be careful about deleting one. The other one may be automatically killed, but you don't see it when your posts are killed.)
I really don't care about any arguments people might want to make about the visual redesign, or how to properly implement #! paths, or the extra effort involved in generating resilient URLs, or Google paying special attention to how the Android browser handles pages, or what evil things my phone company might be doing my my data stream, and how that's not their fault, or whatever. Permalinks should work. Everywhere. Period.
Personal site (includes mention of his job): http://www.dibona.com/
P.S. Chris, you have http://dibona.com in your HN profile, but it just redirects.
Seems like Chrome OS should be folded into Android and many people would be comfortable using it at home. Same apps could run and sync on all devices.
Could the slight delay in release simply be due to legal issues such as scrubbing patent issues and verification that OSS code isn't infringing?
If the reason is that there's no combination of project commits that can create a building Honeycomb, they should just admit to it and explain why.
The current approach seems like a weird attempt to snow something over - I understand that Honeycomb was a rushed, trashy Android release, and that there's some pride involved, but supposedly all of the rushed, trashy code is in the tree now, and hence there's no going back. The first thing everyone on xda-developers is going to do is go hunting for bad Honeycomb code anyway.
Since then I've added a few features, one of which being the ability to have permalinks so that you could use it as a google chrome search. This is why I push to the url bar as you type. I'm really open to feedback on how to do this without screwing with people's back buttons, since I agree that's pretty bad.
Second is, maybe you should have a sidebar on the right that shows you clickable / keyboard navigatable titles of all the search results so I don't have to scroll down browsing.
* Default to sort by relevence: Put the more relevant matching properties at the top. For example, I type "backg" instead the highest result being the obscure "-webkit-background-composite" ... actually most relevant result "background" which should be the first result instead of the third.
* Default results list to condensed format: Instead of showing the full verbose docs for every matching result instead show a sparse summary of each result with a option to expand it. If there's only one matching result then show the complete doc for it
* Nice example palette for standard colors. How about an example palette for the standard font families?
Takes regular expressions as user input. Probably DOS'able.
After looking at it for a few seconds, I realised that it's doing the regex matching on the client side, so it's ok.
If you ever accept arbitrary regular expressions as user input, be very careful: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Regular_expression_Denial_of...
Edit: ugh, that doesn't actually work. It only gives you p-z. Hey instacss! Please provide us with a link to the actual document. Preferably in plain HTML so we can download it. Alternately, anybody care to scrape this thing and post it in full?
*Support for multiple, comma-separated, background images was added in Gecko 1.9.2.*
;; ANSWER SECTION:www.instacss.com. 300 IN CNAME http://morning-warrior-3377.herokuapp.com/.
CNAME accepts only hostnames or (depends on your RFC-acceptance-level) a FQDN. No URI/URL
edit: Apparently if you've searched something before it does display it on page load (after a brief delay)? So it seems this link might not be a good example URL. But hopefully you can just edit the URL and submit it directly to see what I'm talking about.
also - the automatic URL hashing of the query breaks the back button to a ridiculous degree.
cool content, bad design.
A few comments:In general, what data you capture, always depends on what you want to do with the data. Any data model is an abstraction, which discards a lot of information. This simplification is what makes the data model useful.
Of course, storing social relations as an undirected, graph with a single type of edge, as is done in Facebook, is a gross simplification of real social structure. Everyone knows that; Facebook know that; but the fact is that you can build a lot of useful stuff, with even such a simple model. Is it perfect? No - I'm sure we will do better in future - but you've got to admit its amazingly successful, for such a simple representation.
So, we aren't going to be able to define a format for the social graph that is so rich, that it will capture all possible uses with it - but I don't see why we couldn't define a format that captures enough detail to do many a great many of the things we might want to.
Next point: graphs are amazingly flexible data structures; if you have a multigraph or hypergraph representation, or a set of graphs, you can represent an awful lot of rich information. Don't knock graphs too much. You could build an awful lot of cool communication functionality, if you had really any rich social graph representation, not necessarily the 'perfect' one.
The author also writes: "In other domains, a big graph would be good for recommendations, but friendship is not transitive. There's just no way to tell if you'll get along with someone in my social circle, no matter how many friends we have in common." Of course, friendship isn't strictly transitive; otherwise the giant connected component of a social graph, would be one big clique; but friendship is highly transitive. That's why recommendation works so well in Facebook. If A is friends with B, and A is friends with C, then there is a vastly higher chance that B is friends with C, than with some other random person. Sociologists have called this 'triadic closure' and studied it for years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triadic_closure
So, while the recommendations won't be perfect, as things like friendship aren't perfectly transitive, they'll potentially be very good. But what recommendation engine is perfect, anyway?
Finally, the author refers to the problem of finding an adequate model as 'AI-hard' - well, as I've said, any model - even the most perfect one (unless we go and make a copy of the entire state of the world) - is going to sacrifice something. So I see why coming up with a perfect model is impossible. But as to coming up with a model that is adequate for a great many of the possible things we might want to build; well, I'd say 'AI-hard' is an exaggeration.
- the quality of thinking displayed in this post
- what is in the world is it doing on the delicious clone I signed up for?
This is the same guy that writes about scaling hardware, no? Keep it coming.
That's the best quote in the whole post. I can't articulate it, but that resonated strongly with me.
It's not a graph? Of COURSE it's a graph. It's just a very complex one. Just because you could make many such graphs representing the same relationships doesn't mean it's not a graph.
And it's not social because you're missing someone's crush? Uh, no. It's still social, just incomplete.
A better title for this would have been "The Social Graph is incomplete and complex."
I seems like the post is saying "The Social Graph" isn't a graph 'cause it is a multi-graph with different kinds of connections. That part seems obvious.
But the "it's not social part" is more saying "it's not something to publicly mess with", ie, take the question of signaling interest seriously. That's true but the thing remains a social graph.
I would put it another way. The social graph exists, touching it can be dynamite, yes, can breach some boundaries, yes, publishing a connect is further social act, yet. But technology is about breaching boundaries. Facebook doesn't allow the touchy, fine-grained quality of real world friendships - and there are advantages to this. It has created a lot of connections which wouldn't exist before it. Sure, further refinements may make things more nuanced as in the real world. But the crude, glad-handing Internet world is now also the real social world and won't be going away. There are ways that this is quite good.
I want a way to be able to communicate with all of my different offline groups without having to be in their physical presence. I also want this on a broad spectrum of public-private.
I think adequately (not perfectly) modelling social context is a solvable problem. It's a matter of UI and metaphor. Here's my take on it: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/7072771434/a-new-metaphor-for...
I uploaded a bubble sort in prolog and a b-tree in Haskell ("I'm an enlightened far-reaching hipster hacker").
I quoted Allen Ginsberg on facebook. "Look at me I'm smart and read poetry".
MySpace collapsed and Facebook's clean UI won because most people don't have that much identity.
That's pretty big logical leap.
An imperfect approximation of the social graph still has a lot of value.
yes, RDF has taken a while to mature, but look at the time lag between Codd's paper and the commercial release of Oracle. 1000 flowers have been blooming for years and we know a lot about what works and what doesn't.
the trouble with foaf and other 'distributed social graph' is that muggles like Facebook the way it is... they don't care about data portability or privacy; unless a distributed system can provide a better user experience, it's got no hope.
"The Social Graph is Both"
i've been saying this for ages but this guys puts it so much simpler i'm ashamed.
The article on agilepanda is well written but the site at http://americancensorship.org/ focuses on website blocking, jail time if you "stream a copyrighted work" and the very general threat of "Chaos for the Internet". It's the wrong approach IMO.
The decision makers, or our target market for this if you'd prefer, are congress, the senate and the president. There's an election coming up and we have real power we can wield. So here's my suggestion:
1. Make it crystal clear that replacing the DMCA with SOPA will kill many of the job creation machines coming out of Silicon Valley and the rest of the USA. It will prevent the creation of new businesses like Facebook that can only exist through user generated content and who generate billions in tax revenue and jobs for the US economy. If a representative supports this bill they are making it clear they don't support job creation in the USA.
2. Make it clear that this is not about online piracy, but about government control of a free communications medium. It is tantamount to the US government taking control of the country's newspapers and having the ability to selectively block the publication of editions they don't approve of.
3. Call your local congressman and senator and let them know that if they support SOPA, they don't support job creation in the USA and they oppose freedom of communication. Let them know two things: If they support SOPA you will not vote for them and you will encourage everyone you know to do the same. Secondly, let them know you will contact every major political donor in the area and make them aware of the representatives stance on the issue and how it endangers American business and innovation.
If we simply "protest" by shutting down our websites or sitting in the street, we risk getting lumped with the Occupy movement. However you may feel about that, what our politicians are most afraid of is losing their jobs and losing their funding. So lets hit them where it really hurts and take the power back.
Assuming Google wants to take a significant stance against this bill, they're in a unique position to raise people's awareness of its awfulness. They could put some text on the Google homepage and/or a link to a protest page informing Americans about this threat. (Google might need to set up their own page, to avoid overwhelming an external site with traffic.) Other creative possibilities come to mind:
- Changing the "I'm feeling lucky" button to "I'm feeling very unlucky" and linking to the protest page
- Posting a terrifying, yet appealing Google Doodle that links and lures users to the protest page
- Announcing and then holding a scheduled, minute-long search outage, where all search traffic is redirected to the protest page (which would include an explanation of why searches were temporarily redirected)
Technically savvy users might be aware of SOPA and the threat it poses, yet the "average" American is probably unaware of what their elected representatives are doing to their digital future. They need to know, and hold their representatives accountable.
Disclaimer: I am not an American, but feel a need to speak up, given the huge effect U.S. law has on the whole Internet.
In Germany the law is pushed under the pretense of fighting child pornography. Some people who are against it are now being described in media as people who are against fighting child pornography - even by tech magazines that should have a better understanding.
But are any of the big corporations fighting it? Google / YouTube? Microsoft? Apple? Come on guys! Step up! (or am I just missing their statements on this bad bill?)
I think a "Stop Censorship" black banner across the Google logo tomorrow would go a long way toward defeating this.
Protesting is fine. Donating money to the EFF is fine. But truly angry phone calls by constituents are extremely powerful.
Pretty much a censorship worldwide effort going on.
That said - I feel like we've been here before. Bills that blindly support control of ideas and technologies seem to waft their way into Washington on a regular basis, and each time we're angry and afraid and annoyed.
What can we do to stop this happening again?
Mmm, no. That may be the ultimate result (or maybe privacy died long ago) but SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, not Privacy...
This bill will severely affect the very last growth engine in the US (that is internet) and the US (and the rest of the world) will sunk into even deeper recession. In other words, this bill will slow down or even prevent "paradigm shift in the economy" which is needed to start recovery of the global economy.
And this prolonged deep recession will fuel occupy WallStreet and similar movements and eventually, after a lot bad things (wars, riots, etc.), the new version of democracy will arise: the democracy were the constituents are people and not corporations.
This is my pessimistic view but history seems to be on my side :(
In addition to the real problems with this act, try reading "Three Felonies A Day" by Harvey Silverglate (EFF and ACLU veterine, co-founder of FIRE)
I can confidently predict this legislation will not be stopped.
Some would say "that's why we elect people, to do this for us" don't you get it? Politicians aren't out to help you. They have their own agenda. Unless your padding their campaign coiffer, your falling on def ears.
I'm against SOPA, but the idea that it would permit the U.S. government, should it so desire, to set up Chinese-style censorship of the internet is nonsense on stilts. You can take any power of the government and theorize about what could happen if it ran unchecked: "What if they define talking about Occupy Wall Street to be piracy‚ÄĹ" "What if President Obama declared you an enemy combatant‚ÄĹ"
Our laws don't work that way. For one, when it ends up in the courts, they're going to read it as narrowly as needed to accomplish its purpose (obviously, in this case, copyright enforcement). If the law is stupidly written in such an over-broad way that it can't be balanced against other rights and interests, it will be thrown out. For another, we don't live in a one-party autocracy: We have deep cultural norms favoring rights and freedoms. That permeates not just the electorate, but the people elected and appointed to execute the laws. Obviously we disagree from time to time about the trade-offs to be made, but those very disagreements make it harder for some rogue executive to go off the rails; there's always someone else ready to take his place after the next election.
This is a long way of saying that hyperbole like this is never going to win you a policy argument.
On a slightly related note, does anyone know how to fix the e-mail subscription widget in WordPress? I'm getting complaints that it is giving 'invalid e-mail' errors when people are adding valid e-mails.
1) Most Americans use credit cards because they need the credit. That is something that won't be solved. Many of us also like the benefit of rewards (miles, dollars, whatever). To get payers on board, you need credit, rewards, and exclusivity (i.e. is this the only payment method available at somewhere where I want to shop). The last 2 meaningful companies were paypal and discover card. PayPal had millions of Ebay sellers using PayPal AND they initially paid people to become members. Discover card started the cashback movement and was the only electronic payment option at Sears (largest retailer in the world at the time).
2) Due to the Durbin amendment (which went into effect October 1st of this year), debit card cost to a FeeFighters merchant for the average transaction in the US is about $0.25. (http://feefighters.com/durbin). They now cost 22 cents plus 0.05% of the transaction. The reason that I mentioned a FeeFighters merchant is that most processors do NOT pass through the savings to the customer, you only get that with interchange-plus billing (which only about 10% of merchants are on, mostly big merchants).
3) Doing some quick math, that $350 million in transaction volume gets them to $175,000 in revenue per year ($350M/$500 transaction size)*$0.25 = $175,000.
Still, they have a fantastic opportunity and I for one am rooting for them. Ben has the same roots as FeeFighters (had another company, was pissed off at how much he was paying in processing fees). He chose to tackle it a different way, one that is probably harder to execute on but can make more change in the long-run. Having met him, I bet that he didn't quite say the words in that headline.
Having built the same kind of company from the ground up, I have good reason to suspect that most of Dwolla's transaction volume does not come from mobile payments, if the $350 million / year number is accurate in the first place. Some revenue comes from Bitcoin transactions, which the article doesn't mention, creating the false impression that Dwolla is already a mobile payments juggernaut. It isn't.
Dwolla does not integrate with any point of sale systems to the best of my knowledge, which means that the title of this article is basically fantasy.
Dwolla is also breaking California law by operating in a manner that allows California users to use the service without a money transmission license. (Having an investor that processes transactions for banks does not make Dwolla exempt. Anyone who doubts this should read the list of exemptions: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fin.... If Dwolla were considered a bank it wouldn't need a money transmission license in Iowa, which it has.)
I'm not a fan of that law, so as of yesterday I've sued the State of California over it.
First, they are complaining credit card companies charge them for their service - on the other hand, those companies do have costs for building and maintaining their systems and all costs that come with it. We will leave the question whether their prices are reasonable or fair aside for now.
Another benefit I get from CC transactions: when I send money to the wrong person or got scammed, I can just have VISA cancel it and I get my money back. In the good 10 years I have been using my own CC(s) I needed to do that maybe 2 or 3 times and it worked absolutely flawlessly. You cannot just cancel a bank transaction and get your money back like that.
Also, wiring money abroad is going to be a much bigger problem for them.
But there is a far more fundamental flaw in their logic:
> "We think, in the long term, sending money should be as easy and effortless as finding a friend on Facebook."
The reason anything money-related is so over-regulated and cumbersome and full of regulations and bureaucracy is not just "the man keepin' ya down, bro" and neither is it only stupid people who only try to come up with empty regulations to bill you.All that is in place to fight against money laundry and help make it more difficult for worldwide organized crime to make easy use of their illegal cash. The very reason you can not just send money as easily and effortlessly as friending someone on facebook is: if you could, your first customers would be organized crime. They cannot wait for new possibilities to launder money easier and faster.
I am wondering how they can be moving 50 million a week without all sorts of agencies cracking down on them? This has got to be heaven for small and big time drug (or weapons, humans) sellers as of now.
So ultimately, it makes me sad this doesn't look like a promising replacement for the paypal overlords.
I wish someone would make a real alternative credit processing network, but there are so may laws and regulations, I wonder if it is even possible to ever have something like a simple 1% transaction charge.
If credit cards were not already the dominant electronic payment mechanism (i.e. VISA/MC were just starting like Dwolla is), Dwolla could possibly win out because businesses could refuse CC's. Not going to happen now, at least with regards to business-to-consumers. And I don't think most B2B transactions were conducted through CC's anyways.
They seem to be doing okay now, but I don't see any secret sauce that's going to make them anything more than a fringe player in the payments industry.
Anyways, what I learned is that Dwolla's customer service is terrible. I don't recommend it to anybody.
"The only fee would be if someone paid you. We take a quarter. We really want that quarter. It's all we want!"
He should probably say "25 cents" instead of "a quarter".
* 1.4 billion credit cards held by U.S. consumers
* Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,799
* Total U.S. consumer debt: 800 billion (down from ~1 trillion in 2008)
Yeap, look at that debt, credit cards are amazing.
Let me put my f___ the system hat:
1. $2 trillion in transactions per year.
2. Merchants pay between 2-4% in fees for every transaction
Many people seem to forget about the second - "I'm not paying any fees" :/.
That means around $40 billion in fees per year. A few billion short of the national budget for the US Department of Education. I really, really doubt it's costing all this money to send and track (mostly virtual) money around. And we haven't taken into account the late fees (around $20b/year), overcharge fees, annual fees, banking fees and others.
Credit cards are just money harvesting machines.
Why exactly do we need a third-party to handle our payments? Banks own our data and most of the infrastructure. Electronic payments should be part of the basic account package. "Reward" cards are just another marketing gimmick to get you to use more cards.
Cutting myself short, I'm extremely excited with what Dwolla/Square and others are doing. It's 2011, I want to make payments with my eyes!
No, you can send money to anyone. Only the person sending it has to have a Dwolla account to initiate the transaction. The person receiving it will have to sign up for an account....
In other words, you must have an account to receive money. Technically different, but that is some lawyerspeak if I've ever heard it.
First, most internet shops can do what the mail order companies have done for decades: they send you the product along with a bill that you can pay with a wire transfer. These days it means you go to you internet banking site and issue the transfer directly from your account to the merchant's account.
Second, a majority of big merchants provide "internet banking payment" where the merchant's site is linked with the top ten major banks' internet services. From the merchant's site you choose your own bank and they will redirect you to the online banking services of that bank, along with the amount they want to charge and some other metadata. Now, your bank will ask you to login to your own internet banking account and use it to authorize a wire transfer for the given amount. After that's done (securely, on the bank's own website), the bank will redirect you back to the merchant's site, again with a token that the merchant's software can use to verify that the transaction went through.
Also debit cards are in high use: they are usually free to obtain as well and it costs a merchant much less to charge a debit card than a credit card. This is sort of related because debit card transactions are practically just wire transfers. Some of them, such as Visa Electron, will actually require an online connection to your bank so that the balance can be checked prior to the wire transfer.
It all comes down to the fact that Finland's banks have been historically well interconnected and they also have a long history of electronic inter-bank transactions. Wire transfers have been a commonly supported and cheap way to transfer money since the 80's: also private individuals can use them to move money to each other free of charge. Further, wire transfers are immediate between accounts in the same bank; between two different banks it takes one night to get them cleared.
When I buy electronics with my credit card, I get an extra year of warranty, and buying protection. Dwolla can't beat that.
When I travel, or rent a car, I get insurance coverage with my credit card. Dwolla can't beat that.
When I buy anything with my credit card, and something goes wrong, I lose no money. None at all. Dwolla can't beat that.
Long live, Credit Cards!
Money quote. Makes me want to work there. This is our generations equivalent of Jobs' universe quote.
I don't understand this. Perhaps it's an American thing, but here in EU, I just put my landlord's account numbers into my online banking and I can transfer them money for essentially free. I even set up a standing order so it'll pay the same amount at a fixed day per month. I don't have to worry about paying rent. How does a landlord accept money via their credit card?
"been surprised at the conversion" when someone is sending you money?! I think that's pretty much the ultimate dream - one customer paying another person to sign up!
Usage is effortless.
They make money by charging a percentage on transactions that businesses receive.
Anyway, well played, sir.
From this example, clearly some banks are figuring out how to sidestep the credit card companies and provide value. How would this and other similar products like the ING product not be serious threats to Dwolla?
I played around with Venmo in the past and thought this would be perfect for this use case. Been a while, but I believe you can accept credit cards directly and pay no fees. Seems crazy, but I think the only downside is the amount limits.
Would be awesome to collect cc rewards on rent payments every month.
I don't mean to diminish this effort but just imagine this kind of response every time we decided to declare war somewhere far far away. I'd be impressed. Certainly sending people to be maimed or killed is just as critical?
This text is not coincise, it doesn't draw the attention of the reader to any specific point and it shows several other shortcomings, if the message ever comes across I am pretty sure this page won't help.
Yes, I omitted the words "goals of the" [edit: 's stated goals] but I'm talking about what the average reader will get out of the ad before they flip to the next page.
Not good, imho. And yes, they do care about the average reader. If they were trying to reach people other than the average reader, there are better ways to do that.
Why doesn't anyone just call bullshit on the whole concept of the US extending its law to apply to the rest of the world?
The buttons suck - we knew that a lot of users hated them (it adds 4 * 20 additional HTTP requests to the main page), but they were worth too much traffic to do away with. Social network referrals likely surpass search engine referrals for a lot of blogs and web sites. They have steadily become an important web traffic navigator.
If somebody can figure out how to make those share buttons prettier and more efficient there is probably a product in that. I would guess that most blogs would love to drop the grid of share buttons that can be found on every post.
Otherwise I totally agree with not going for subdomains. We setup each property on a separate domain and initially had some on subdomains. The subdomains didn't rank at all and didn't help our PR or SEO. As soon as we switched each property to a separate domain our search referrals rocketed. For eg. you can now find a crunchbase link within the first 5 results for the name of a startup, while similar records for posts that lived on subdomains wouldn't rank at all. We had around a dozen different domains and frequently linked between them (for eg. each post would have multiple crunchbase links), and it worked really well for search ranking (search engines are ~40% of crunchbase traffic, IIRC) It shouldn't be like that, but it is.
So, about that whole "subdomain" thing, as mentioned in this article. The problem in SEO is that separate subdomains accrue separate Google scores, correct? So if I was to serve my whole site from a third-tier domain, like "www.example.com", that would be okay? Provided I were not foolish enough to also put stuff on "example.com" and "other.example.com" and expect links to that content to contribute to the reputation of "www.example.com"?
Basically I'm looking for confirmation that the classic old "www" prefix is okay, if used carefully. (Lots of people hate it for aesthetic reasons, and I used to agree with them, and then I had to dig into the rules for DNS CNAMEs, and the terrifying results have made me fall in love with "www" again. Unless you tell me it's bad, in which case I guess I'll just have to take to drink.)
Besides using Twitter to:
- build your network and following,
- Twitter can aid in brand/product mentions
- Some reason to believe Twitter links are followed by the search engines, so help with indexation and discovery.
- Some reason to believe Author/Agent/Identity rank of social profiles will start playing a role.
- Finally, there are sites who add Twitterfeeds to the author profiles. Not all these feeds have the "nofollow" property.
The last one is also relevant to the statement: "Wikipedia doesn't matter for link juice". There are many copies of Wikipedia on university domains, where they don't employ nofollow (For study about web crawling or natural language processing). Or people rewriting Wikipedia articles and adding the references without nofollow. A nofollow link can transform into a dofollow link.
>> Don't use the keyword meta tag.
Exactly, but do use its fine on-page alternative: Microdata keywords: http://schema.org/WebPage
If only for internal usage: Writing down the keywords for a page, keeps you focussed. If you don't mind giving this information to your competitors (there are tools to find out these keywords anyway, if not already obvious), do experiment with microdata keywords.
This is a common sense, but I have hard time reconciling patio11 saying that with an actual appearance of his projects. Preaching without practicing takes away a lot credibility from a preacher even if the advice is reasonable.
Love this. There's no reason you can't host the write-up for your github projects / gems on your own domain, and make a much prettier and more intuitive documentation for your code than what you can do with markdown and no pictures. As an example, look how nice VowsJS (http://vowsjs.org/) does this. It makes me excited to clone their module and use it in my project. More people should be doing this!
Use Google Adword's keyword tool to come up with keywords and write pages that speak to those topics. If you're a productivity app, write a page for ‚Äúincreases productivity in Healthcare‚ÄĚ, another for ‚Äúincreases productivity in Education‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúlowers cost in Healthcare‚ÄĚ, and so on. Rather than automating it or having the CEO or head marketing guy write everything, you want to define a process such that a freelancer or team member can create content responsive to those keywords with a consistent level of quality.
It's been working for me but I notice the english version (which is the default one, www, but not the one with most visits) is not working as good as the other languages so I'd say juice is not shared between subdomains, like Patrick said. Still trying to figure out what's the best solution...
Ditto "If you're a productivity app, write a page for ‚Äúincreases productivity in Healthcare‚ÄĚ, another for ‚Äúincreases productivity in Education‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúlowers cost in Healthcare‚ÄĚ, and so on."
This kind of seo-engineering just seems so desparate, as if SEO is the be-all and end-all of running an online business.
Whatever happened to having a site that obeys all the normal 'rules', and provides valuable information / services / products to your target audience. They'll find it.
Nothing wrong with this if you have time on the weekends, heck this could even be a fulltime job as the income will slowly climb.
However, this 'trick' is quite old, but probably new to some people...
Buy KW rich domains and pay some copywriter to crank out 4-5 pages?! Are you serious?
Twitter has no SEO Value?...just so you know...the SE's came out and said that authoritative tweets absolutely have value....While they don't pass "juice", they can help you in the SERPs
I'd hold off on that hug if I were you...
Especially, I just hate how much google gives credit to the terms which are in the domain name. Why is having been able to register a "good" domain first such an important signal about site relevance? On many searches the first page is full of "keyword.com" "keyword.net" "keyword.it" websites that were only made for SEO and Adwords and have no usefulness.
@patio11: could you make your presentation / slide deck available for those of us who were not fortunate enough to attend in person.
I hate being afraid of code. I spent a day with it, got to understand it, then rewrote it as a couple of queries and some Java code, whereupon it took about five minutes to run.
[... then there was the guy who implemented bitwise AND and OR by precomputing some 65536 entry tables. Wow. Why do I find all the really howling bad stuff so close to databases?]
Once you've visually decomposed it, you'd physically decompose it by splitting it inside-out. Then proceed to understand and debug inside-outwards.
Not fun, but not impossible. Just a huge pain in the ass. Making it more fun would be a database with bad RI, nulls, and duplicate data all over the place. Don't get me wrong -- from looking at the image it definitely looks like aspirin will be required. :)
Which of course is much less than the one in the picture, but still very, very bad.
Some so we've refactored the beast. Now it's 2-3 smaller queries (which are much easier to optimize for PostgreSQL and, above all, individually cacheable) which lead to a nearly 100% speedup for common cases. Also, the code is infinitely more readable which means that it's much easier to extend it.
I'm incredibly happy that we've seen the light and fixed it before it grew to proportions like the ones on the original article shudder
I have a very simple rule for myself - "if a user of the application is concerned about a certain attribute or state an element (e.g. person, truck, plane) is in, then a report will be required showing all elements with that attribute or state."
If your database design cannot support that rule, then trouble will happen and you will have serious performance problems.
To give a simple example, suppose you are running a group of storage garages. You have a table with all your customers, a table with all your storage units, an assoc table joining customer and units with active flag + date of start, and a table with all your payments. Good enough to do transactions and figure out for a unit if they are payed up.
On the other hand, writing the report to tell who hasn't paid is going to be kind of a pain. It is a simple example, but not much different from what you find in large systems.
I'm looking at a query here that is 37 printed pages, with 92 joins over 25 unions.
First, both the syntax and the way querying is generally presented in textbooks, lead you to think that your task when querying is to display one unnamed table. The author objects to each of those four words.
Second, many people have found querying with SQL terribly difficult. Even experts find SQL hard to create and read. Do not be surprised if an analyst struggles to understand his/her own SQL. It is impossible for users to understand any but the simplest SQL.
Third, SQL practice suffers from the notion of a "correlated query" -- which has a monolithic subquery that is executed repeatedly via looping, once for each value of a candidate row picked by an outside SELECT.
The book has much more to say on the topic of SQL before going on offer relational algebra (built on top of SQL) as a n alternative.
I'd like to say I rewrote it, but I didn't. I just left.
Dens is a great guy, but I hope I never have to rewrite his code again.
(disclaimer: I work for mcgn)
And all that for inserting the values taken from the three tables into a 4th table. This could have been done with a simple 3-table join query. Hell, it could even have been done with a single insert statement! I wonder how people fail to recognize an N+1 selects problem when it's staring them in the face.
Well, to be fair, this problem I described isn't exactly an N+1 problem is it? More like an N(M(L+1)+1)+1 selects problem. ;-) (Unless I've got my math all wrong there?)
How I hate working with PL/SQL stored procedures! :(
Eventually we got the approval to change to MySQL for the database. When they ran the first stock update with the new version they rang us up to check it had worked because it was near instantaneous.
The moral of the story: Access is BAD! VERY BAD!
I can't read much of the query, but at least a few lines are checking for null values. I wouldn't be surprised if 80-90% of the query is simply output formatting. Depending on the DB platform, some formatting and null-check statements are fairly verbose.
This query could be condensed considerably if rewritten in htsql.
(htsql automatically generates SQL code that covers all corner cases and executes faster than hand-crafted SQL.)
I might have just been lucky enough to always work at professional companies and startups where this kind of stuff can never happen.
But something tells me there is no reasonable way an SQL query can grow to these proportions.
The message communicates exactly what happened in clear terms that don't try to cover anyone's ass. They explain which data was compromised and the potential implications. No double-talk. This could be an email you got from a friend or colleague.
The message conveys Valve's hope that the credit cards are secure but makes clear that users should be nonetheless vigilant about watching for suspicious activity. Just in case.
The message is signed by the head honcho of the company. Not some communications or PR weasel. It's in your inbox, not on some obscure blog.
Finally, it closes with:
"I am truly sorry this happened, and I apologize for the inconvenience."
Accepting responsibility, acknowledging that it's a fuckup, and showing some empathy for the fact that this completely sucks for their customers.
Sony, Adobe and their ilk could learn a lot from this company.
Um. What? Assuming that a PCI-compliant level of encryption was used, "matter of time" is "heat death of the universe" if you don't have the encryption keys.
And with each major (and minor) data breach I'm more happy I use it.
For a moment there I thought all my Steam purchases were, you know, lost.
All passwords are salted and hashed (hope they are using bcrypt), and all CC's are encrypted.
EDIT: updated comment to clarify what I meant with the bcrypt
My first thought is that it should be stored on, and never leave, a completely separate system where you have a very limited number of interactions available (reducing the attack vector and making it much easier to spot suspicious activity).
I.e. Charge customer x with y for game z. Refund customer for purchase i (only valid within the refund-period). Add(overwrite)/delete customer data. Where all interactions must be signed.
And nothing more.
Anything less than that and I'm skeptical as to whether you could be considered careful of you customers data. Storing credit card information in the same database as all other user data for a service like steam should be a crime and if it's closely coupled with the forum it's even worse (not that I know if that's the case).
Disclaimer: I don't know any details about this incident more than that Valve seems to be open about it taking place (great!).
It's great that Steam is letting me know that their database has been hacked. It's not so great when I can't even see if my billing information or credit card number (I obviously only want the last four digits) that Steam currently has on file for me. If I knew which credit card I had used with Steam, I could probably watch out for fraudulent charges. As it stands, there is no way for me to figure out what information I've given to Steam in the past.
Ok, the forum may need data from the account for validation, display name or else. You can still implement it securely.This is a big human oversight over what seems to be an insecure implementation. I just can't believe this.
I would have guessed they learned the lesson from when Gabe was hacked through an Outlook vulnerability (with the HL2 code leak afterwards). It should have made a paranoid out of him.
I think having chosen Paypal as a payment method was perhaps helpful for me.
PS: I do own a lot of games and I very much like the platform. I definitely don't have anything against them. They presented a good notice, their high level of responsibility over this incident is irrefutable.Also, props for them for having an encryption for their preloaded games that wasn't broken so far.
So your Steam account is save. Your email address probably isn't a secret anyway. The password is changed in a second.
Which leaves your payment (encrypted) and billing info. Personally I use Click&Buy which requires a separate authorization from me and I'm actually not sure if I have any billing address associated with Steam. So for me this whole thing is just a minor annoyance in changing my password.
Obviously I might treat the obtained user data different from other people.
I am assuming here that this means certain passwords were cracked at that point - does this mean that the nonce/salt in their password storage was discovered? And how long until they have a cracked user/password file?
Even if your Steam client and forum passwords were the same, your client account still secure as long as your email password is different.
If you are a Steam user I would recommend using the two-step verification process they have. It uses a password sent to your email to verify you when logging in using a new computer. Hopefully you're Steam and associated email passwords are not the same.
This is, of course, no replacement to changing your password - you should definitely do that - but allows us to relax a bit in case something similar happens again.
I would rather prefer to repost the needed details for every purchase.
Edit: I reviewed the information here: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2010/1/5/163631/3181/travel/Ful...and I do not know which type of machine it was. Frankly, it doesn't match the description of either. There were no rotating walls, it did not take 40s, yet it was not a vertical wall. Unfortunate. It would have been nice to know.
Based on what I've read I'm comfortable with the millimeter wave system and have some concerns about the backscatter x-ray system. However, if the backscatter system operates correctly then the amount of radiation exposure is really quite small compared to the amount you'd receive on the actual flight. I still think I'd opt-out of the backscatter system until long term effects and performance are studied.
Tip: Millimeter wave looks like a circular telephone booth, Backscatter x-ray looks like a big rectangular wall you stand in front of.
They aren't allowed to have them and will get fired, problem solved and I have zero pity.
Policy dictates that passengers are not allowed to carry any weapons onto airplanes. The scanners and other mechanisms are used to detect firearms, knives with blades longer than 6cm, and so on and so forth.
The ridiculous part is that you clear security, go into duty free, and buy a bottle of whiskey which you're allowed to take onto the airplane.
If you're so inclined, once on the airplane break the bottle and threaten a passenger or the airhostess with it.
That makes the whole process (at huge cost to the tax payer) a complete farce.
There are other crazy things we're paying for, like finger printing, and forgoing the right not to have our laptops and phones searched. Anyone who wants to get around these measures can. It defies belief.
300+? Needs more context. What's the percentage of false positives and false negatives? And what's the cost compared to other alternatives?
That said, if there is a significant increase in cancer among TSA workers, that should be a cause for concern.
(It turns out that the IRA and ETA are just cultural groups misunderstood by the British and Spanish imperialist oppressors and Baader-Meinhof is too hard to spell so doesn't count.)
And the cost is $0. Now one might argue that a college cuts down on the time it takes to select courses, find and work with other students, get access to mentors, etc. But I doubt it. Whatever learning inefficiencies colleges address, other inefficiencies more than counteract those gains.
Consider that colleges also force you to spend more time on classes you could complete more quickly on your on, plus all the required coursework that might be completely unnecessary for your goals.
- why doesn't it read "list of good programming books"? (the more the merrier, but how about quality?)
- how can such a huge list help anyone? Certainly no-one will read a significant percentage of them.
I'm all for free quality content, but these lists seems to be just for collectors.
I realize the moderators are trying to restrict things to specific questions with specific answers, but it's damn frustrating. Why can't they find a way to take advantage of the open-ended questions that you really want a community of programmers to answer?
Also, the machine learning book is available for free, "Elements of Statistical Learning":
I have no words for Microsoft, they're simply despicable and I don't know how anyone could support such a company that has proven time and time again they will adopt such tactics to destroy their competition. They've probably done a lot of this behind the scenes with Linux and other browsers before. We just didn't find out about most of it. And we almost didn't find out about this, either, if it wasn't for B&N.
But what I don't understand how could HTC, Samsung and all the others agree to this so easily? HTC has grown 3x every year for the past 2 years because of Android, and Samsung has become the largest smartphone manufacturer surpassing both Nokia and Apple thanks to Android, and they say nothing against Microsoft or try to protect the ecosystem that's been feeding them?
Shame on them for not standing up to Microsoft, and kudos to B&N, which wasn't even a manufacturer not too long ago, for having the guts to stand up Microsoft and protect the Android ecosystem.
Groklaw is right to write that. If you write software that will ever be in the public eye, you shouldn't look at software patents because they make you more liable for damages in infringement cases.
The constitution authorized congress to create a system "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" by publishing information that innovators would want to look at. The system we have now hinders progress, not just in corner cases but across the entire software field.
Can you imagine anyone writing that sentence if we had a patent system that worked as intended? I can't. If the patent system promoted progress, innovators would constantly be reading patents.
EDIT: A well reasoned rebuttal is worth a thousand downvotes. But my fault for getting involved in religious wars...
EDIT: I also want to note that whoever is doing this is not content to downvote this comment, but is also looking up my comment history and downvoting old comment of mine (fair warning to anyone posting in this thread)
>Microsoft has shown its intent to drive out other open source software using overaggressive patent enforcement. The Microsoft dominated MPEG-LA consortium recently sent out a request for patents that would cover Google's VP8 video codec, and one company has already filed a private antitrust complaint against MPEG-LA for this behavior.3 MPEG-LA is a patent pool organized to collect and license patents on the H.264/MPEG video codec, a method of digitally encoding video files and decoding them for playback. Google is attempting to introduce its own codec, the VP8 codec, to compete with the MPEG codec. Once again, by seeking non-essential patents to assert offensively rather than defensively, Microsoft intends to drive out competition from open source developers.
Is MPEG-LA really dominated by MS in any sense of the word? Just curious.
MS seems to be actually paying them more for licenses in the end than what they get for a few patents they have in the pool. Not sure about Apple.
In any case, they're supporting VP8/WebM via user installed plugins in IE and have stated that they're not shipping it with the OS because they're afraid of patent trolls suing them for very high damages because they would be liable for hundreds of millions of Windows licenses.
The only way I can describe it is that its like a artery of someone that keeps eating bacon long after their doctor advised them to stop. The space keeps getting blocked up more and more. It is inevitable that serious problems are bound to occur and cause ever greater friction to innovation.
But hey, it's in line with what most of HN thinks about patents, so we're all willing to take it at face value.
It's still very unclear to me what MS is doing that is illegal. They have no mobile monopoly. And "demanding" design guidelines certainly isn't illegal.
BN can sue because MS isn't nice to them, but that's about all I see.
I have a good work ethic, and stay very productive (better than when I'm in a client's offices.) And IM is a life-saver with the teams I'm on.
The biggest challenge to transitioning to WFH was not the kids. They respect my office as a workspace and really go out of their way not to interrupt me.
No, the biggest challenge was my wife. It took over a year -- a YEAR -- for her to recognize that I was working. For the longest time, I was "playing on my computer" or "surfing the Internet" or whatever the daily description might entail.
One day, she emotionally finally reached a conclusion: "I simply cannot count on you as being available to take care of things here at home while you're working." Bingo!
And that was the crux of it -- working at home didn't mean working while living life at home, it meant physically working from home. I explained how I was mentally at work, and not at home. As soon as she accepted the fact that I was earning a living while still being in our home, everything fell into place.
The points about planning are very well made; it's vital to keep yourself aware of what you're doing.
But you do need to work hard at not losing it. I've lost days to multiplayer 8 ball pool on miniclip (I'm like a sniper on that thing). Right now I've been wearing these clothes all week (but I did have a shower yesterday!). It's difficult when there are other people around - my wife used to get in from work at 5 and start chatting to me and I had to continually remind her that I don't finish till 5.30. I miss fresh air, and I miss talking to people, even though I'm something of a recluse.
It can be hugely fun though! You get a massive amount of control over your workflow, and you get as big a desk as you can fit in your room. Right now I have a shelf unit filled with toy robots in front of me! I voice-skype with my boss almost every day, and we chat on skype all the time. I don't have to worry about taking a few minutes off to pop to the post office or whatever. I save time by not having any traveling time, and I get to make the joke that I walk to work every day!
So in terms of the effects on you personally, yes it can be depressing, but it can also be fun, especially if you manage yourself.
In terms of how it affects your work, we have found that we miss the little 'pondering' conversations by the proverbial water cooler. If I have a problem I'm working on and it gets too much and I want to take a break, I sit at my desk, at home, either tweeting or just thinking to myself. If was at work I might wander over to my boss's desk and start chatting about that product idea we had last week, so it's worth trying to build in some mechanisms to replace those kind of chats between you and your co-workers.
Monthly/weekly/daily goals across some main areas of work (planning, production, strategy, promotion, etc) has been a super big help for me.
The biggest help for me is to have very specific overall goals to achieve. Being laser-focused on those makes a big difference towards making the small decisions that take you forward and keep you focused.
- Working from home on my own projects is much more fulfilling than working on someone else's.
- No matter how much money you earn, most people assume that people working from are barely scraping by, or somehow non-ambitious.
Its very nice because, as you said, you control everything. However it is also very bad because you do not have enough contact with other humans.
And I'm not saying this because there no one to chit-chat, but because there is no one to talk about work. As a developer, getting input from others, even if they tell you that what you are doing sucks or does not worth it, is very important because a) In case they say bad things it can help you improve it and b) If they are wrong, it reassures you of what you are doing, giving you confidence. When you do not have anyone to share work with, you can get stuck for hours even if you are writing the best code of your life.
Regarding interruptions I think I learned how to deal with them. I try not to fight myself so if I want to go watch some series or do some other stuff, I just do it. When I need to deliver something my brain naturally does not make me want do other stuff than work so I gave up trying to control this. Instead I use the energy that I get from not fighting my body in work when I really need to do it.
I'm currently working on the sofa, dog curled up by my feet, watching TV :) Most days I take a bath at 2pm. Rock n roll!
(Funny sketch about working from home. Don't click if you get easily offended http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co_DNpTMKXk )
Overall, the thing that I think has kept me both productive and sane is working hard to have external passions. For me, it's outdoor sports like rock climbing and mountain biking, and if you just decide that you're going to get out for a few hours every day and do some non-work thing that you love, then you have a justification for being productive during the portion of the day that you are actually working. I also find that doing these sports brings me into contact with other people beyond my girlfriend and house mate, which is definitely a very appreciated bonus after being cooped up in the house by yourself for so many hours a week.
If anyone else is thinking of doing this though I would recommend making sure you have a room somewhere that you can use almost exclusively for work.
I live in a small house and share with people who are unemployed and since my bedroom is not big enough to fit a desk and a computer I end up having to work in what is basically a communal area of the house and also on the path to the kitchen.
We have a sort of agreement that they will try and give me some space but having people walking to and fro behind me whenever they need to get to the kitchen or coming through 'just to quickly ask me something' is cancer to productivity since they will always interrupt you when your in 'the zone', they don't really understand that 10 seconds of disturbance probably costs me 20 minutes of work on average.
This can also put stresses on your personal relationships since it's easy to be pretty short with people when they disturb you.
I work on the east coast for a west coast company, and that means that scheduling is a constant problem for me. Some people in the office are most productive in the last couple of hours of the core work day (i.e. 3 to 5) and that is tough for me because I'm trying to have dinner with my family and get kids ready for bed.
The wife and kids all understand that when I am in my office I am "at work" and interruptions are considered just as if they were asking me to take time from the office and come back home.
The biggest challenge for me when I was shifting into this method of work is the fact that work is always just a few steps away. When you are passionate about your work and job, your brain doesn't stop working just because you aren't at your desk anymore. When a great idea comes to you or you remember something that you really need to schedule or write down, it is very easy to say, "I'll be right back" and suddenly lose an hour or two of your free time. I won't say I have conquered this challenge yet (my wife would scoff so loud I think HN might actually pick it up and post it as a reply), but being aware of it is the critical part. When you are about to say, "I'll be right back", think about what the ramifications would be if you were gone for over an hour.
a) First and foremost....I will make it a point to go to places where I meet people....Some such places can be gym,yoga classes,bars/clubs if I am single.
b) I will travel as much as possible....How I see it,there is actually some productivity to be gained from working on your friends couch in miami for a month.
c) Be much much more efficient.The shackles of bureaucracy are not holding me back anymore.There is no reason I should not be able to produce 10 times as much than some average kid at xyz corp.10 times is actually a pretty modest goal.
d) Music,Adderall and daily exercise to increase focus.
e) Occasional mary jane sessions with stoner friends to increase creativity.
But then maybe its easier said than done!...Any comments from people who are already working from home independently?
Bart: [walking up] Now for Operation Strike-Make-Go-Longer. [to teacher] You know, I heard Skinner say the teachers will crack any minute.
[the teachers whisper it forward through the line]
Teacher: [to Edna] Skinner said the teachers will crack any minute purple monkey dishwasher.
Edna: Well! We'll show him, especially for that "purple monkey dishwasher" remark.
[everyone shouts their assent]
I love being able to use my own equipment, being comfortable, not being interrupted by the constant office noises and being able to do whatever I want. Plus the time saved on not having to commute I can work overtime and make more money.
In the office I have to use their desk, their chair, their shitty monitor. At home I can use all my own equipment, everything is there and everything works. I can take breaks at my leisure and because I'm more productive I can play games, or watch some TV, or go out for a 20 minute walk.
I also save 4 hours a day on commuting while working from home. Time which can then be spent either working extra, for more money, doing things around my apartment, hanging out with my wife.
After 3 1/2 years of working from home my wife doesn't bother me, or at the very least, she knows when I can be bothered. It's about setting boundaries. I also work with a partner who's also working at home who I can talk to and get assistance from.
I'm sure it all depends on what kind of job you are doing, I provide tech support to customers all around the world. Somedays it can be really busy and some days it can be extremely slow.
If you have kids, I came up with "Ticket Time" to help assuage the guilt over not hanging out with your kids while working and give them something to look forward to so they don't wander downstairs on a whim. It works best in the summer when they're not in school.
The kids get a playing card in the morning and they can use it to come down and spend 5 minutes with me. We'll throw or kick a ball around, play a quick game of UNO or something like that. They love it and its fun for me to have some time with them that I wouldn't have in the office.
Unfortunately, the added focus you get from working in an office is lost to possibility of being able to do anything anytime. And what's bad about that, is that you tell yourself on certain tasks that "you can do it anytime, and I'll just post to HN now".
An ordered todo list is the most important tool you have when working from home.
Also, a gratuitous link to an image of my home office http://bit.ly/sItzcW
I could probably be about as productive as I am at home if I shut the door to my office. I suspect I wouldn't get much more responsive than I am at home, though.
Sorry, I realize this doesn't really advance the discussion.
it will drag over the week for sure, and will seem way too much more fun/important than work.
my stories are from a younger me, but include:
taking the engine of a motorcycle (a vintage honda trail) out to take it to a shop to redo some threads and get rid of an oil leak... ended up dismantling the entire bike to re-paint it.
taking one sunday to fix the horn of a car (a vintage bmw e34)... ended up dismantling the dashboard and rear firewall of engine compartment to fix/clean all the A/C components
bought an old bicycle on craigslist (bike had some 12yr) to get in shape while biking to work... ended up dismantling the whole thing and restoring it to brand new state. I even opened up the derailleurs and freewheel to properly restore it with original components.
Your reasoning however for learning to be interrupted in our life, is something I am not necesarily sure about. Are humans just simply bad at long stretches of focus? I am not sure but i am and thats why I use the pomodoro.
Then freaking do it and return to your work with new vigor.
Stop feeling guilty about it. This always makes you more productive. If you were stuck in a cube you'd just be miserable and reading reddit anyway, or you'd walk around the campus. No different.
For me the social piece was the hardest part. Luckily for me there are a couple of co-working places that I hit up once or twice a week. I try to schedule coffee or lunch as much as possible with people I know, and don't know. I also do the occasional coffee shop session, but I can't stay there too long b/c their chairs usually suck.
So I would recommend that people try to network more. Get out of the house. Go do some co-working. You will find that you are not alone on an island, and that really helps.
I worked from home a fair few years back, and by the time my housemate came home, I was bouncing off the walls with the excitement of someone to talk to. He, who had been in the office all day, just wanted to watch TV and talk to no-one.
I started working from home again earlier this year, this time with Twitter in my life. Twitter/Tweetdeck provides the perfect office banter for me. My friends chat, I join in if I want to. Industry contacts and peers discuss worky stuff - not only do I get to interact with them, but it also means I don't fall behind with what's happening.
I do still find I need to pencil 'go outside' into my diary every day, though...
Working at this large institution I saw how the bonus system, made the supposedly senior bankers act like a group of Mary Kay cosmetic sales girls, seeing how they could optimize their bonuses by playing the game, and how they got the lower levels of the pyramid to play along because of the partial subjectivity and discretionary aspect of the bonus system. Because of this discretionary aspect, lower levels of the pyramid, we're unlikely to question the creation of complex and funky new products specifically designed to overcome impediments to maximize that short term bonus.
When this giant "ponzi" scheme began to collapse, I saw how those same greedy senior executives proceeded to panic and destroy significant strategic parts of the business solely to stop the leakage of their bonus pool and try and cosmetically dress up the banks short term results to justify and maintain those 6-8 figure bonuses they had thought they were going to receive.
Many of these executives later "resigned" or were "retired" by their boards who should have been accountable for the damage reaped by these masters of gaming. Most of them(I think all of them!) retained huge bonuses all at the expense of the shareholders and employees. Writing off 100's of millions of $ of shareholder and depositor value. With middle class retail shareholders, depositors, and employees paying the price of this borderline criminal behavior.
Most galling to me is that one of these executive used some of his "hard owned bonus" to have a faculty/ building at my alma mater named after him. I believe this was probably more driven by ego than guilt!
Nassim is 100% on the ball. Nothing has really changed and history repeats itself, and unless government starts to listen then I fear the outcome will either be financial collapse or revolution (#occupywallstreet?).
Simple and unobtrusive.
When articles that deal with the world outside of startup finance appear on Hacker News, the articles and comments usually have so little knowledge behind them they are practically unreadable.
It would be nice if this community could keep the articles they post based on VC funding, angel funding, debt funding for start ups, option pools, etc.
The comments here are more representative of political ideals and not based on facts.
(Also, I understand that is not entirely true as some comments are actually quit interesting, but I have to wade through so much garbage to find them that it isn't worth it.)
Goldman Sachs was a partnership until its IPO in 1999. A lot of finance houses were closely held partnerships until the late 20th century.
But that's not Mr. Taleb's point.
The real C3F problem is of TREMENDOUS professional interest to creative software folks. Most of us work on systems that can aggregate lots of measurements to try to get a big picture of the system. Some of us look at video and audio signals. Others of us look at web server logs. Today, I'm trying to troubleshoot slow DBMS performance. Our brothers and sisters in banking and trading look at measures of risk.
And we all know what we do to make sense of these measures. We average them. We sometimes throw out the outliers. We measure their standard deviations, or maybe their quintiles if we're sophisticated. And then we track the averages and other aggregates, assuming that it's sound to do so.
My boss asked me today, "is the average query time going up?" I responded, "wrong question! we need to look at the outliers."
This approach to averaging measurements feels like something we got from our mothers' milk as infants. But it's based on Gauss's Central Value Theorem, which shows that independent (repeat INDEPENDENT) measurements tend to have a normal bell curve distribution. (We call that a Gaussian distribution in honor of the Central Value Theorem).
So, what the heck, let's sell mortgages to poor folks, and huge mortgages to rich folks. They can't ALL fail to pay, can they? The ones who fail to pay will be the outliers, won't they? The Central Value Theorem teaches us that the average person will pay up. So we can manage the two-sigma risk by buying a credit default swap (you have AIG's phone number, call them!), and all is well.
Except for one thing. Mortgage defaults aren't independent of each other. When one property on the block goes into default, it becomes harder to sell the others or refinance them. So the Central Value Theorem's premise of INDEPENDENT measurements fails. Big time. Lo and behold, C3F.
Mr. Taleb's point is that in the real world of risk management, things aren't Gaussian. The events he calls black swans are long-tail events (that is, their probability curve falls off far slower than the Central Value Theorem predicts).
Why is this relevant to HN? Because we can easily deceive ourselves by ignoring outliers (black swans) in our fields of work. Hopefully it won't be as catastrophic as C3F, but we should beware.
Seriously, if you haven't read Mr. Taleb's book The Black Swan, it's worth your trouble.
The most obvious is, if a company ever becomes Too Big To Fail, you simply force them to break up. We do this with monopolies because they could harm competition. We have plenty of experience with it. Surely we could do it with companies that represent a massive threat to our economy.
The second one I see is to force any Too Big To Fail company to hold a very large percentage of their value in a bond they hold with the government. Now, they could be a standard federal bond or a special insurance bond, but it would basically mean that if the sh*t hit the fan, there would be enough company assets in safe holding to fail in a more controlled manner.
"Why can banks pay their employees so much?" - because they make so much money, and have so few employees.
"Why can banks make so much money?" - I'm not sure but it seems like banks can take risks, but pass off the real risk to others.
"Why can banks take risks, but not have to worry about the downside of those risks" - ...
I think if you follow that train of thinking you'll get to some structural problem in our current system. It doesn't seem like there is an easy fix here.
> The potency of my solution lies in the idea that people do not consciously wish to harm themselves; I feel much safer on a plane because the pilot, and not a drone, is at the controls.
What about myopia, self-delusion, panic, sheer intellectual dishonesty or even disability, and all the other assorted biases that afflict human judgment? Humans hurt themselves all the time. In fact, there are instances when putting more pressure or increasing the (financial) incentives hurts performance and increases risk.
> I believe that ‚Äúless is more‚ÄĚ ‚Ä" simple heuristics are necessary for complex problems. So instead of thousands of pages of regulation, we should enforce a basic principle: Bonuses and bailouts should never mix.
Having said that, I'm still all for the use and (re?)discovery of heuristics in regulation, combined with judgment on the part of the enforcer. It's high time we moved past the game of who can outlawyer who. There is a reason that posts like yesterday's knife maker capture the attention of many people these days and why firms like Apple or Leica are so successful these days. Life is becoming so complex, we can't write every contingency into a law; so much is becoming possible today that we need more and more conscious, i.e. editorial constraint.
In contrast, most regulatory proposals betray a belief in installing a tough cop of some kind to combat 'evildoers'. Guess what, the evildoers are just people doing their jobs. We need to tweak the system to stabilize it, and for a regulated industry like banking the government has all the power it needs to do so.
I'm sorry but that's not the solution.
The solution is for the government to stop bailing out private institutions, regardless of whether they are deemed "too big to fail."
There are some incredibly elegant natural laws built into the fabric of the universe, one of which is expressed through economic systems in which corrupt, reckless institutions are eliminated because they go broke.
The only way corrupt, reckless institutions are allowed to persist are when they are propped up by taxpayer money.
I'd really like to see someone attempt to express such a condition in the type of legalese that appears in legislation.
How do you ban something based on a hypothetical possibility? How do you write this condition down?
There were even farce attempts to "get them under control" and the banks themselves would have votes in these decisions HOW they were going to be controlled and regulated. Excuse me??? That is like putting the mafia on trial and making their family the grand jury.
"Too big to fail" has proven time and again to be the absolutely best way of gaming the system almost any way you want. We even bent the very rules of capitalism and free market backwards multiple times to accommodate for these behemoth institutions and to this day, justice hasn't happened and nobody has ever been responsible for this mess.
I think this claim contains a pretty elementary mistake. No bonus is a disincentive, because base salaries can be relatively low; not receiving a bonus is a large opportunity cost. If I could get a 400k salary, but I instead opt for a 200k salary with a 400k expected bonus, then if I don't get my bonus I'm 200k behind where I could have been if I just took the salary.
Michael Lewis - Liar's Poker
I had a similar thought when I started reading about fracking (http://www.propublica.org/series/fracking). A simple solution there for the pollution caused by the wastewater is to force the executives and their families from the companies doing fracking to live in the communities they affect and use/drink the water they claim is safe.
Better to regulate the institutions themselves so that they dont get 'to big to fail', don't get to combine access to cheap money with access to the financial markets, don't get to insure themselves and so forth.
Another solution that is more long term oriented and market based: create rival capital-formation pools outside of Wall and Broad, say in the Midwest, South, and West Coast. That way if one pool blows up, we can let them fail and it won't take out the whole economy. It also removes single points of failure from the system. I think the crowdsourcing bill floating in Congress is a great start as it decentralizes capital-raising.
Beyond even that, one might imagine that if US banking regulations get extremely prohibitive, banks will just move offshore. (And still be too big to fail with regard to the US economy)
I think that a little divide-and-conquer is needed to fix some of the smaller sub problems...
How is this different from the bailed-out banks, or an over leveraged banking system in general?