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Watch a VC use my name to sell a con jwz.org
2307 points by jwwest  6 days ago   292 comments top 44
grellas 5 days ago 6 replies      
"Those who work hard make good" is a profoundly American theme that dates back to Horatio Alger and before - it can hardly be said to originate from a cabal of VCs trying to "put one over" on hapless founders and startup employees in Silicon Valley. No doubt Mr. Arrington adds his peculiarly abrasive touch to the debate (toughen up, don't whine, and let's applaud Zynga for what it did to its employees), but he did something very similar not too long ago in chiding investors who were whining about being in the "middle of a terrible blubble" (http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/24/were-in-the-middle-of-a-ter...). Like it or not, this is his philosophy and outlook about what it takes to play the startup game. It is his expression of ideas and social commentary. One can disagree with it as much as one likes but it is unfair to say that this is nothing more than a con job. It is also unfair to take him to task for quoting from a publicly available source to support his idea of what the experiences of startup employees have been like in Silicon Valley - if the goal is to illustrate such experiences, then what better source to use than a diary whose purpose was precisely to document them. If the author of that diary wants to say, "no, that's not what I meant" in response, that is fine but that doesn't justify an ad hominem attack on the person using it to illustrate ideas he wants to espouse.

My point here is strictly about fair argumentation, not about the merits of the debate. Whether right or wrong on the merits, I think the author takes an unfair shot in the way he makes his points here. We all have ideas and core beliefs, even those who are VCs. We all should be free to express them without being accused of nefarious motives.

antirez 5 days ago  replies      
Humans are not designed to:

1) Stay long hours sitted, immobile. It ruins your health.

2) To provide a steady high quality output in creative disciplines (writing code qualifies) for more than a 4/5 hours a day (add to this the time to do breaks, install your updates, check news sites, fix the email client, and you'll reach the 7/8 hours per day figure).

It makes sense in a startup to work hard in crucial weeks, you can sustain that for a few days both from the point of view of your body and your productivity, but making this the rule is just plain silly.

Also, remember that a startup has a small percentage of probabilities of making you rich, so better for you to also enjoy life while working at a startup. Try hard in your working hours (but it is more a matter of doing the right things than the wrong things for a lot of hours), but enjoy life when it's 6 pm.

What's silly is that also VCs are likely to don't really get more return from you by overworking you, but there is nothing than humanity has seen more often than a silly boss that feels more comfortable if you are overworking yourself.

dschobel 5 days ago  replies      
I love that this is the top story on HN. I only wish that PG got as much flack for his startup economics hype piece[1] and proposition to compress a lifetime's worth of work effort into four years.

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

tom 6 days ago 4 replies      
I hope this signals the end of folks walking on egg shells around Arrington. He's no longer a "newsman". He's no longer going to make or break every startup that ends up on AOLCrunch. He's just an investor hoping for deal flow. An investor who's proven he's probably not the guy you'd want to work with, probably not the guy you'd want to partner with, probably not the guy who will ever be on anyone's side but his own. Kudos to Zawinski for calling him out.
felipemnoa 6 days ago 2 replies      
>>Follow the fucking money. When a VC tells you what's good for you, check your wallet, then count your fingers.<<

This is just gold.

prawn 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'm glad he finished with a note for the people who actually get something out of hard work on their personal project because I doubt I'm alone in getting a lot of personal satisfaction in performing like that. It's not all the time that I pull an all-nighter or a couple of weeks of hard slog, but I often feel better for them.

And I'd rather be doing that for myself on a side project or in the start-up lottery or within my own business than for someone else. If that isn't possible, then even for someone up the chain. If someone else (VC, client of mine, landlord, etc) also profits from this endeavour, so be it.

Sometimes you have to know the lows to fully appreciate the highs.

Further to that, I tend to enjoy weeks of fulfilling hard work with those glimpses of recreation more than I do the ones where I'm procrastinating, spinning my wheels or at a loss for something I can be bothered doing that day. Hard work, or hard holiday - that half-arsed stuff in the middle rarely satisfies.

betterlabs 5 days ago 2 replies      
I would love to hear PG's comment / viewpoint on this whole issue.

I have done 3 startups so far (1 VC funded, 2 bootstrapped) and I work very hard because I love it BUT I never ever work at the expense of the time with my kids and anyone saying you have to give up your life to find success in the startup world is just misleading in a big way. There are tons of examples of highly successful people across many industries who have made a fortune without giving up their lives. And its wise to look beyond such myths which are made to seem like the "norm" sometimes.

rwmj 5 days ago 0 replies      
And don't forget the people who worked hard, slept under their desks etc and then got ripped off and ended up with no lottery win at all.
Joss451 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've lived through a programmer's career already. Everything was good until age 50 when my body punished me for punishing it for 25 years.

Seven heart surgeries. High blood pressure. Damaged kidneys. Removal of an inner ear (from flying while ill and not getting to a doc in some place or another).

Take care of your body, blokes. It's the only thing keeping your brain intact. The cummulative effect of stress over a number of years is to attempt to kill you.

someone13 6 days ago 4 replies      
Some people may not enjoy the green-on-black text, so this might be of use:


bl4k 5 days ago 5 replies      
wait, does jwz really expect us to believe that he doesn't know who arrington is? I mean, the techcrunch conference afterparty two years ago was at his night club .. and I am pretty sure i saw both of them there.
alexwolfe 5 days ago 0 replies      
Some good advice and wisdom in this post. Getting rich from a startup is a lottery, I've personally worked for many over the last ten years (most fail). What isn't a lottery is your time and how you use it. If you do something that makes you happy every day, you don't need to win the lottery to be successful. Nice article.
bigohms 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. I didn't expect this one bit from Arrington. I'm surprised he is choosing to mine Internet archives for blog fodder over putting that much more time into guiding his portfolio to fewer mistakes and possibly 1% more potential.

Startups, hard? Yes. We ALL know this. Are his opinions skewed towards his agenda? Also yes. There is no hiding the fact that he's in the money. The problem is that the "thought-leader" portion of his rant was lacking. And it's a bit of unfair baseball to bring up a random blog post from some guy nearly 20 years ago. My bets are that he didn't even bother doing follow up on this guy after the fact.

dlikhten 5 days ago 0 replies      
While reading this post I was thinking of a few funny things about life and money:

Money makes money. An example is Kim Kardasian. What does she produce? Nothing. Does she actually make anything better than others? No. She has money. Using that money she was able to be part of a TV show, which she used as an oportunity to make herself a character people liked, used that to up-sell whatever crap she made, used that to make shittons of cash on her wedding.

How is that relevant?

Well, same happens here. If you have money, you can invest, money that is much needed for business to get off the ground. Now you may argue that "don't get investment money, start small, then make a bigger business when you can affort it" which is actually quite valid. However if that is not what you want then you are basically asking people for money. They made the money, and are reaping the benefits of that money.

So basically you get rich, they get rich. You did the work though. However once you get rich, you can now make the bigger business that you wanted to, this time bootstrapped.

agentultra 5 days ago 1 reply      
For the argument that "my father taught me to work hard...":

If I get more done in an hour than you do, should I continue to work as many hours as physically possible just to get ahead? What if the experience I've gained over a decade of doing this allows me to do twice the work that you do in an hour?

Simply working more hours is just a race to the bottom. There's nothing there. In fact I'd argue that it stifles the mind from seeing the bigger picture. A good mind built for solving problems doesn't try to exhaust itself with repetitive, menial tasks. You may work 16 hours a day but I argue that you will get less and less done per hour. And in the end whether you get rich or not all you'll have to show for it is diabetes, some form of erectile dysfunction (if you happen to have those bits), coronary disease, and an amphetamine addiction.

Instead cultivate your mind and aim higher.

Perseverance does pay off. That should be the lessons of your fathers/mentors/etc who "worked hard."

mmaunder 5 days ago 0 replies      
This argument has been painted as VC's vs employees. You're either one or the other and a VC gets rich and employees do all the work. What about company founders that get rich and work insanely hard?
aspensmonster 6 days ago 6 replies      
> What _is_ true is that for a VC's business model to work, it's necessary for _you_ to give up _your_ life in order for _him_ to become richer.

Isn't this more or less the case for any profits-go-to-owners business model? Or rather, any business model where employees are viewed as calculated costs and not owners worthy of a commiserate portion of the profit?

I've often wondered how a different ownership model would work for a company. One where the owners still make more money than the VPs, who still make more money than the engineers, who still make more money than the techs, who still make more money than the CSRs, who still make more money than the cleaning staff, but everyone is seeing a salary that is at least XX.X percent higher than it was before. Or perhaps a function of CPI, per Capita GDP, and a few other variables. Honestly, company ownership just seems like one big game of who can grab the most power in a given time metric. Rather than money being a means to an end, it is the end. But that's just my inexperienced, undereducated take on the whole thing thus far.

kanwisher 6 days ago 0 replies      
Makes total sense, enjoy your work and don't buy into you have to kill yourself to make it big in a startup. And the payout might not be worth it in the end unless your in a lucky percentage.
beachgeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
This has been a great discussion all. Being a tech guy myself, I agree with the majority of you. Its pointless working oneself (to death?) for someone else like we do, especially when the end result isn't even cast in stone.

But every time I think my job sucks, its too hard, my boss sucks etc, I think of this guy. I took this pic in India when they were laying a road near where I live. It was 100F and 100% humidity. The guy in the picture was carrying hot rocks and tar in a metal pan and spreading them across the road:


In general, I am thankful and immensely grateful. If you are reading this you should be as well.

aaronf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Working consistent long hours does not mean you're getting more done. I believe RescueTime has data showing the average person at work 8-hours a day is only working 2-4 hours. The people I know who are consistently first in and last out are not getting more done - in fact they're usually doing it to make up for something. One theory on productivity says procrastinators and workaholics have the same core issue - but respond to it in opposite ways.

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when George Castanza leaves his car at work so his boss thinks he's always there.

We need to stop measuring productivity by hours worked. Instead, productivity should be about finishing what you set out to do. If that only takes 4 hours, GO HOME. Plan the next day. Get some rest. Your output will be higher, and you'll be healthier and happier.

neilk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Please check out erinn's comment, which is as good as the original post if not better:


staunch 5 days ago 3 replies      
It's the height of ridiculousness for someone who retired, at like age 30 to run a nightclub, after working at a startup to say it's a "con". What kind of terrible "con" turns the victim into a millionaire.

There are far more startup employees that have become rich than founders or investors. Tens or hundreds of thousands of them. Of course they don't get as much money as the founders or investors, but how is that anything other than perfectly fair?

Empirically it does require extremely hard work to make a startup successful. You can't point to any major success like Netscape or Google that didn't involve someone at some point sleeping under a desk. That's really all Arriington is saying, and it's quite obviously correct.

For some people it might be no better than playing the lottery, but for other people their odds are going to be very high. Someone like Bill Gates would have been hugely successful as a McDonald's franchisee or anything else he chose to do.

Just because some people are delusional about their odds doesn't make it a con.

kamaal 5 days ago  replies      
Oh, C'mon.

So I'm not supposed to work hard and get rich because as a side effect that some one else also is?

My dad is a cab driver. He really works his life off. Under absolutely dismal financial conditions he and may mom have given their whole lives to bring us out of poverty. They got me and my sister decent education. They did what every poor family in India does. They worked hard, saved money, invested it and got their kids good education so that we could now stand on our own legs.

He still pushes a 12-16 hours schedule everyday. You know what? Compared to most of his cab driver peers we are like 1000x better. He has achieved what none of them have ever or will ever achieved.

He pays a lot of commission to the travel office which gives him rentals. And sure they are getting rich too. He is using them and they are using him. That's how it all works. But he would not exist without them and vice versa.

He can of course sit back at home, he is old too(like he is nearing 65) and tell the travel office is getting rich because of his work so he won't go to work. But, he doesn't do that. He works hard for everything he has every earned.

Of course most of his friends and peers call him merely lucky. And that he is also a fool to be working hard not smart.

I really want people to define smart work. Its like people try to say there is some magical way to produce wealth and value out of nothing and that only smart alecs are capable of that.

mythz 5 days ago 0 replies      
Massive respect for jwz.org for disregarding popular opinion and dropping truth.
pithic 6 days ago 0 replies      
To succeed, one must work hard and smart. Overwork is rarely smart and, if done regularly, practically a guarantee of failure.
someone13 4 days ago 0 replies      
COMPLETELY unrelated, but I do wonder - is this the most upmodded submission here on HN? I know reddit has the /top/ modifier you can add to links (e.g. http://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/top/), but I was unable to find anything similar here.
brk 6 days ago 2 replies      
I find that I really connect with about 1 in 4 of jwz's rants.

It is a general rule that anytime there is someone above you in the hierarchy, they are going to make $2 for every $1.50 you make. Of COURSE the VC's will make more money than you. And the people who put the actual money into the funds should make even more than THEM.

The startup world, and economy in general has changed dramatically from the last time jwz was heavily involved, IMO. It's good that he made what qualifies as his own fuck you money and can now look in on things from the outside and comment thoughtfully. For a lot of people though, working 80 hour weeks grinding out a startup or 3 is still the most probable way of banking a decent retirement fund AND still having some life left to enjoy. I don't think that I'd advise many people to do a 30 year career of crazy startups, but it's kind of a geek lottery and worth the gamble for lots of people.

I don't really see where this is using his name to sell a con. If that were the case, I would think Arrington would pick someone who hadn't dropped out of the game a decade ago to sell his 'con'.

snowwrestler 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth pointing out that while Arrington is a VC now, he also started his own company (TechCrunch), worked very hard to grow it for years, and guided it to a nice exit to AOL. So this is not necessarily a case of "do as I say, not as I do." He was famously hard working when he was growing TechCrunch.
mncolinlee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would argue that some of the best code I've ever written didn't take long to write. If Arrington understood both the physical and mental nature of bug-quashing, he'd have a more nuanced view of the slavish work sessions he's advocating.

Sometimes it makes sense to pull overnighters and sometimes it simply burns a coder out and drives him to poor productivity and an infectious bad attitude. It takes an expert to know the difference.

thewisedude 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think just talking about only hard work being a means to success is a over-simplification of working of this complex world. Working smart as opposed to working hard is also important if you want to benefit financially.

Lets say a kid works hard in his college days and gets to be a dentist or a lawyer or somebody like that. Lets say another kid in similar circumstances chooses not to work that hard or makes a bad judgement and ends up in a not so rewarding area- rank and file job. It is totally fathomable that the dentist kid could end up making twice as much by working half as hard as the rank and file kid for the rest of their lives.

All in all, the idea that working harder will reward you in the future seem fair or karmic. The real world probably is not that simple. I would think there are many other equally important factors like opportunities, luck, judgement etc.

EGreg 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is the comment I left on Uncrunched:

(PS: if you feel inclined to downvote, cool -- but I would like to know the reason. Maybe you can reply and tell me why you seem to disagree.)

LOL Mike. Our company gets things done without having to live like slaves.

There is a reason http://qbix.com/about has pictures of all of us in nature. It's subtle but it all fits together with our company's vision. We want to have fun and enjoy LIVING LIFE as we enjoy creating the tools that improve other people's lives.

Yes, we work hard. And we create things together. But with the internet, 3G, and Wifi we are able to work from anywhere! This is more than can be said for any other industry, and we are lucky to be around in this time when we can travel and still get things done. Not only that, but the geographical constraints are now loosened. Not too long ago you could only choose among engineers that live nearby. Today you can hire engineers that do great work even if they live halfway around the world, and you can connect over the internet, Skype, and a host of other tools that just work.

We are building more of these tools. We believe in liberating people from their computers and focusing on just living their lives and getting things done. We love freedom. We want it for others, and we want it for ourselves.

It takes a careful system and a focus on process, but it can be done. With the right tools, the right guidelines and habits, we can be productive without sleeping under desks.

After all, you have one life, and work is a part of it. We have a motto: people live lives, companies create products.

frouaix 5 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow I fail to equate Zynga with "dent in the universe". Netscape did make a dent. Google did make a dent. If you have the choice of where you'll work, and you want to work that hard, you might want to pay attention to how what actual value will come out of your work for the rest of us...
jorkos 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think Mike is writing in the spirit you suggest; he's just arguing that you have to work hard to achieve something great. Is there something wrong with that argument? Of course, VCs want the people they invest in to work hard....does that surprise anyone? No one has to take VC money.....know what you're signing up for.
AznHisoka 5 days ago 0 replies      
Overworking yourself sounds sexy, and glamorous until you experience what it's like for your brain cells to literally attack itself due to not getting enough sleep.
joshontheweb 5 days ago 0 replies      
From all of these comments it becomes apparent why Arrington doesn't allow comments on his blog ;P
codeslush 5 days ago 1 reply      
I LOVE, absolutely LOVE his home page! http://www.jwz.org/ WELL DONE SIR!
Chirael 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are there I <3 JWZ shirts yet? :)
jebblue 5 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't stay on the web page for more than three seconds, all black.
barce 5 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: don't get played by Arrington.
lwat 6 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone got a readable link please
rbreve 6 days ago 1 reply      
the goggles they do nothing
dylangs1030 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not a very helpful comment. Opinions aren't facts - there are two sides to the story. If you agree with the author, there's a better way to go about it then ad hominem insults.
moonchrome 5 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah VC's have it easy, it's all hookers and cocaine for them...

His advice about "do what you like" is true in general but doesn't really account for the fact that you choose to work for a startup and you choose to accept VC money, with all the ups and downs attached to it. If you can't stand the heat - get out of the kitchen.

mike_esspe 5 days ago 1 reply      
What do you care about someone becoming rich due to your work, if you are becoming rich too?

Let's consider two situations:

1) You work X hours, paid Y dollars for that

2) You work 2 * X hours, paid 100 * Y dollars for that, and some VC is paid 1000 * Y dollars.

Should you chose the first?

Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps theregister.co.uk
682 points by thomasjoulin  4 days ago   189 comments top 31
DevX101 4 days ago  replies      
There are a handful of comments here giving CarrierIQ the benefit of the doubt, because the video did not show CarrierIQ sending the logged data over the network.

If you're still inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, just read the CarrierIQ website. Their ENTIRE BUSINESS MODEL is based on collecting data about mobile phone users!! Here's a choice excerptI found on their website after browsing their site for 30 seconds[1]:

Carrier IQ's Mobile Service Intelligence Platform (MSIP)...receives raw data (known as Metrics) from phones and converts them into reliable, repeatable Measures which feed into analytic applications.

Or you can read this comment from a discussion last week where a CarrierIQ recruiter told an HN member that they collect 10s of gigabytes of data PER DAY.[2]

These guys are indeed collecting RAW DATA from actions on your phone. There are tremendous opportunities for abuse here, should CarrierIQ decide to do so. CarrierIQ in blatant violation of privacy norms and could do enormous damage to national security of many countries, conduct corporate espionage, or simply violate the citizens' expectation of privacy when using their phone.

This is dangerous and should be stopped immediately.

1. http://www.carrieriq.com/overview/mobileservice/index.htm
2. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3264264

runjake 4 days ago 1 reply      
It should be noted that there's no evidence (yet) of what is sent to other entities, only what is captured by the software on the device.

This is bad enough, though. But, let's keep our head about this and calmly demand an explanation from HTC. Why them? Because they signed the binaries with their certificate, presumably at the request of carriers, but HTC is the first in line.

And don't believe the response from CarrierIQ. Just prior to that response, they still had very informative high resolution screenshots of their "Device Analyzer" product which showed a scary level of data mining of end user devices. They were probably great eye candy for their customers (carriers), but creepy for anyone valuing their privacy.

I agree that this information is likely for improved QoS, but what can (has) it been mis-used for? Employees can't be trusted, and the government can't be trusted. An end user can't even opt out of it.

Edit: According to Google Image Search, others are mirroring some of the prior shots. Note that nothing is anonymized in the least (nevermind that anonymizing data is practically a myth).

I'll try and tack the URLs below.








This one doesn't need to be big to get the jist:


cbs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its much easier to invade privacy in the name of providing a better product than to actually figure out what the customer wants. Collecting huge swaths of data allows product to be tweaked to find a local maximum of profitability. Its an easier and safer alternative than to actually understand one's own product from a consumer perspective.

I fear this is where we're going in all corners of tech. Even moreso because we're already quickly eroding at any expectation that one should provide privacy to their users. All the while users are ignorant enough about tech in general and have no idea that their privacy can and is flying out the door. Software exists in such a way that the lay user can't ever understand the boundaries or capabilities of software to do things that they are completely unaware of. The numbers of people who do understand what is going on is so small that they are neither a significant portion of the market, nor a "reasonable person" in the eyes of courts.

Privacy will be dead before anyone even notices.

jgrahamc 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does it really?


There's no evidence that it sends this information to the company and no evidence that it actually logs it. Only that APIs are called containing it.

mcritz 4 days ago 6 replies      
Remember when people were up in arms about how much location data iPhones stored locally?

This is 1000 times worse.

alkimie 3 days ago 0 replies      
After looking at the screenshots of the carrier-side it seemed to me that the Carrier IQ system allows much more interaction/control from the carrier side. Pending patent applications sometimes can tell you a lot about where a company is heading.

Here are a couple of quotes from Carrier IQ's pending U.S. 20090207749 USER-INITIATED REPORTING OF MOBILE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM ERRORS:

"...This configuration enables the system 200 to dynamically generate and download to a population of wireless devices rule-based data collection profiles. Data collection profiles may be generated manually by a network administrator, a software developer or other personnel involved in the operation of the network (hereinafter referred to as "network administrators"), created offline as a portion of a data analysis solution, or automatically generated based on network parameters or other events. Profiles define what information is to be collected on the devices in response to which conditions and events, as well as the conditions and events that cause the device to upload the collected information.

[0038] Conditions or events include any occurrence in the network or on the device that the device can sense, such as a call dropping or a user pressing a button on the device. Conditions and events also include the passage of time, or a request from a network administrator that the device report information back to the server. Conditions and events which cause a device to collect information or upload the collected information may generally be referred to as "triggers." "


"[0080] In the exemplary embodiment, triggers may be included in the data collection directives of a data collection profile, and their inclusion causes the client to initiate, abort, and terminate data collection activity as appropriate when the associated trigger condition is invoked by the wireless device 400. A trigger invocation that matches the initiating trigger causes data collection activity to begin. A match of the terminating trigger causes the data collection activity to end, and a metrics package is then prepared for uploading. An abort trigger causes data collection activity to cease, and a metrics package is not prepared or is not uploaded. In the example used earlier, launching an application caused the client to be invoked with an "application launched" trigger event, which is matched against triggers in downloaded profiles and causes data collection activity to begin on a user's device. The user's entering of a particular key sequence, pressing of a dedicated button, or selection of a particular menu option while the application is running would cause another trigger to be activated, and the SQC would match the event to a terminating trigger in the profile, cause data collection to stop and a metrics package to be prepared and uploaded. As can be seen, the inclusion of a trigger in a profile effectively selects the condition under which a specific action associated with that profile is to be executed. The trigger is not strictly within the profile, rather it associates specific profile actions (start, stop, abort) with a specific event on the device. "

And the claims from their pending "USING MOBILE DEVICE TO CREATE ACTIVITY RECORD" application No. 20090210516 is quite interesting to browse:

1. In a communication system, a method for creating an activity record, the method comprising: recording data at a device, the data including one or more events and event-related data that describe activities of a user; uploading the data to a server, wherein the server organizes the data based the event related data; and generating an activity record using the data that can be presented to a user, wherein the activity record represents at least a partial log of the activities of the user.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein event-related data comprise one or more of: a time an event occurs; a date the event occurs; a location of the device when the event occurs; a filename of an event object associated with the event; a mobile device number (MDN); and a contact name.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein generating an activity record using the data comprises creating an entry for each of the one or more events describing where and when an event occurred.

4. The method of claim 3, further comprising presenting the activity record on a website, wherein the website is accessed by the device or using another device.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the one or more events comprise at least one of: making or receiving a phone call; sending or receiving a message; taking a photograph; recording a device location; receiving and playing a broadcast; connecting to an 802.11 or Bluetooth access point; and using a device application.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the location of the mobile device is recorded periodically and independently of other events. ....

funkah 4 days ago 3 replies      
Before reading, I guessed that "millions of phones" meant millions of Android phones. Because if this was happening on iPhones, that would merit mention in the headline. Funny how that works.
kevin_jacobs 4 days ago 2 replies      
As a WP7 user, I emailed HTC yesterday asking whether or not this software (or similar products) are used on their WP7 devices. Here's the response I got:

"Dear Kevin Jacobs,

I understand you would like more information about the Carrier IQ software, or any software of this nature on your device. I understand your concerns about this issue and protecting my privacy is definitely one of my top priorities as well.

We have not had any reports of any kind of software like this on any Windows Phone 7 device. This type of software has been used on Android devices, but since Microsoft developed this operating system I am sure they did not include any software of this kind.

Let me know if I have successfully answered your question, please click here to complete this.

To send a reply to this message, please click here.




cookiecaper 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a good case study in support of "never trust an internet-connected electronic device directly from a vendor". There should be a universal policy to unlock, root, or blow away any software that exists and replace it with "known good" software, like CyanogenMod, Ubuntu, or a new copy of Windows.
sdizdar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can somebody clarify this story for me?
What are the facts here?

* Did they implemented key-logger? Yes/No

* Do they write keys into some local log? Yes/No

* If they have key-logger, then why do they have key-logger? (Company statement - please)

* If they write key strokes to some log file, is that log file related to logs which are send to "mother ship"?

1010100101 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it unreasonable for a consumer to want complete control over a device from the moment she powers on?

Is there a certain level beneath which it is not reasonable to give consumers (optional) access? (Should consumers be prevented from "rooting" devices? Should we allow companies to maintain control over devices, e.g. having them "phone home", after they sell them?)

If yes, why?

Maybe a rootkit should just be viewed just like the crapware that comes pre-installed on a PC. Sure it will help some company and perhaps the consumer herself, if she decides to use it. But it's _optional_.

Maybe they could give consumers an easy way to opt-out.

qqqqqq 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am surprised the internet took this long to respond, considering that the HN discussion on this was started almost a week ago[1][2]. That said, after watching the video I'm all kinds of sceptical about the dude's claim.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3263955
[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3273416

ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
This guy needs prison time for lies like these - or at least hauled before congress:

  Carrier IQ VP of Marketing Andrew Coward rejected claims the 
software posed a privacy threat because it never captured key presses.

“Our technology is not real time,” he said at the time. "It's not constantly reporting back.
It's gathering information up and is usually transmitted in small doses.”

Coward say[s] that Carrier IQ was a diagnostic tool designed to give network carriers and device manufacturers
detailed information about the causes of dropped calls and other performance issues.

runjake 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're worried about Carrier IQ intercepting SMS messages. Don't be. The carriers have been doing this for a number of years and even share them with government agencies:


EwanToo 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is no evidence the data is being logged and sent.

Accessed yes, logged, well nobody has found the log yet, and sent, nobody has found any network traffic.

It's still bad, but the reports seem to be over-hyped by journalists looking for a scoop.

thedjpetersen 4 days ago 0 replies      
First of all, it is excellent to see this type of hacking and reverse engineering.

This is rather brash. I am surprised to see this on a such an open platform as Android. Even as some of the comments are suggesting they are not sending the data in non crash situations, keeping it logged is rather brazen.

On the flip side though, I have to wonder how would one determine crash behavior before the phone crashes? It seems to me that the phone would need to preemptively log some behavior that would then be indicative as to what caused the crash.

babebridou 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just checked on my Motorola Atrix. I didn't see any CarrierIQ process, but the Blur framework is logging tons of stuff on ADB, such as all key inputs for the autocompletion software or every swipe movement on the home screen, but no https query appear to be logged at first glance. "Search Intent" terms on the other hand are logged. I never really trusted Blur because until the latest few versions of the ADT the LogCat console was messed up with debug messages from EON & Blur and it was a pain to keep it somewhat static and readable for my own devs, but these couple reports on keylogging frameworks make me look twice at my own phone now.

I'd like to run wireshark to check out what's really going out of my phone when I'm on the wifi - I'm a bit of a novice in that area (network monitoring), does anyone have any pointers of things to look for?

DrManhattan 4 days ago 0 replies      
From a Wired article on this: "it cannot be turned off without rooting the phone and replacing the operating system. And even if you stop paying for wireless service from your carrier and decide to just use Wi-Fi, your device still reports to Carrier IQ."
narrator 4 days ago 0 replies      
Which is why I use the ACS third party ROM, which has CarrierIQ removed, on my Sprint phone . It also runs MUCH faster than the normal Sprint ROM.
vm 4 days ago 1 reply      
CarrierIQ provides a valuable service for all us. They relay data that optimizes carrier networks, so that we can call, text, get data, etc more reliably.

The problem this thread highlights is poor marketing and transparency. No one at CarrierIQ gives a damn what we text. Breaking those basic privacy tenants would destroy their business, which seems to be going nicely if their software is on >100M devices.

The company just does a crappy job explaining what their technology does and how it helps consumers. Uncertainty around our private information spooks people, which leads to distrust and conspiracy theories. Let this be a valuable lesson for entrepreneurs who touch consumer data, even B2B solutions.

Gmail and Bluekai provide excellent counter-examples of ways to squash these concerns:
-Gmail -remember the ruckus about Google reading your email for ads? Google publicly explained this and now no one cares.
-Bluekai -the company tracks data for online ads. Touch subject. But they're transparent and lay everything out on their website, including an opt-out: http://bluekai.com/consumers.php

CarrierIQ clearly needs to address these issues. Let's call on them to do that. In the meantime, take a moment to imagine how much more we'd hate carriers if reception was even spottier (cough...AT&T iphone...)

tibbon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any evidence that any of this is uploaded to a carrier or app maker? Can any app developer access this log from their app? It seemed essentially that the debug logs just kept a super verbose log for debugging.
dangerboysteve 4 days ago 1 reply      
three words.


Lawyers fire up your infomercials.

salem 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a lawyer, but unless there is some fine print in the notifications sent to subscribers, it is quite possible that they have broken the laws regarding the interception of communication. This sounds a lot like what killed phorm in the US.
throwaway30 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are one disturbing thing here:

A handful of comments are saying that is ok because CarrierIQ is probably not sending all data (probably not in Europe, but probably they do in Saudi Arabia). This is disturbing because people making these kind of comments are entrepreneurs and in general great people. It seems like we are loosing our moral compas in Silly Valley. Fuck. Please please don't do things like this.

1010100101 4 days ago 0 replies      
I do not want a "smartphone".

I want a "blank slate". With the right specs and form factor.

killnine 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why is this whole company and all of it's employees not indicted for trespassing, breaking and entering, burglary, etc?????

How is stealing the most sensitive of data off my phone without my knowledge/consent ANY different then walking into my house and taking my passport??

hamoid 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to think I better avoid installing a custom ROM in my phone because it might contain software exactly like this one. This really upsets me. Time to check CyanogenMod out.
salimmadjd 4 days ago 0 replies      
The issue is not how many bit or bytes this is sending. The fact that you have never given permission to this and you can't switch it off tells me something about Google and their priorities. Steve Jobs fought hard to prevent any carrier pre-install apps on the iPhone. No such a leadership from google!
ksadeghi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this comment i'm typing on my phone being sent to CarrierIQ? :-S
kunle 4 days ago 0 replies      
This cant be real right?
PLejeck 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm so glad that my iPhone only lets Apple spy on me.
Amit Gupta hasn't found a marrow transplant match; today's your last chance. amitguptaneedsyou.com
640 points by ryanwhitney  4 days ago   234 comments top 27
nostromo 4 days ago  replies      
Since I'm still gay, I'm not allowed to help, no matter how many times you ask. I get why they do this and I shouldn't let it bother me, but emotionally it feels the same as if they just said, "Please become a donor, nohomo." edit: Of course I still wish the very best for Amit.
freemarketteddy 4 days ago  replies      
I am a south asian male living in the US.I tried to sign up as a donor.Here is my experience.

>Your password needs to be between 8 and 15 characters long, must contain at least 1 number and 1 letter and cannot contain spaces.

Seriously WTF....I am sure half of the people who wanted to sign up did not just for this bs!

Okay chill...password abcd......

> In the past 5 years have you taken money or drugs in exchange for sex?.. (Men only) In the past 5 years have you had sex, even once with another male?

Half of the people who passed stage 1 probably said "fuck it" at this stage.I am close but am willing to go through this for amit.

> SSN? Driver License Number ? HomePhone ? Current Mailing Address? Permanent Address ? Employer Information ?

Should I also give you my bank account username/passwords?At this point I am really mad!..Luckily the SSN and DL fields are not mandatory

> First Contact Information ? Spouse Information ? Second Contact Information

Grrr....what the fuck!

> Race Information? Not Hispanic or Latino ? Black ? Asian ?

Wtf...take my DNA and figure it out!

After a cpl other irritating forms I am finally able to get a kit sent to my address.

-My advice to Amit's friends would be to please do something to improve the signup workflow.

-Also I have my genome phenotyped with 23andMe.I am totally willing to share it with Amit's Friends or Amit.I am sure a lot of other south asians on 23andMe would be willing too but there is no way to do this!

jcr 4 days ago 2 replies      
A good friend of mine, Eric Drew, survived two failed fully oblative bone marrow transplants (partial match) and was out of options, so he "qualified" for an experimental "Cord Blood Transplant" which cured his Acute Lyphoblastic Leukimia. I believe it was done through the University of Wisconsin, but I'm uncertain if the procedure has gotten out of research trials. If Amit runs out of options, he should look into it.

EDIT: I do know the fancy medical terms, but I don't pretend to really understand what they mean. You need a real serious medical education to understand this stuff.

kevinelliott 4 days ago 5 replies      
I feel absolutely helpless. I hate this situation. I don't know anyone who qualifies, and I certainly don't. The idea that Amit may not find a donor furiously irritates me. What's worse, none of my Facebook and Twitter followers have relayed the message further the several times I've posted about it.

Then there's the swab kit sign up form. Oh my, what a pain. And then the guilt sets in where I begin to think 'Why am I ignoring the thousands of other people that likely need bone marrow too?'

I can't be alone in this thinking. But what can I do next? I certainly can't sit idle and watch this guy die.

SandB0x 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain what the November 30 date means? Is there another treatment route they will try if they can't find a donor? How is the cut-off date chosen?
ryanwhitney 4 days ago 0 replies      
Brought back to my attention by today's GOOD article "Bone Dry: Amit Gupta and the South Asian Bone Marrow Problem"


frankiejr 4 days ago 0 replies      
In 2005, my friend Rich went to the hospital because of headaches that had been lasting for months. He was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, went through treatment, and went into remission in January of 2006. Later that year he went on to start a foundation to raise awareness about the disease and make it his mission to educate people about the urgent need for donating blood, and even more so, bone marrow.

I joined the bone marrow database and encourage everyone I know to do the same. The donor card comes with me everywhere I go. Whenever I hear about someone like Mr. Gupta, I try and think of every person possible that might not know one of two very important things:

1. Becoming a donor is not as painful as you grew up beleiving it was.
2. A single day of your discomfort could give someone the rest of their life.

Over the course of the next several years, Rich pretty much kept his immediate condition to himself except with his family and few very close friends. This did prove difficult for him since he was someone who was "notable" (a term those of us on HN would understand), but upon publication he would always see the silver lining since it helped promote his foundation.

On September eighth, 2010, Rich was only 36 years old when he passed away after suffering a stroke secondary to leukemia.

Please, do what you can. Every day, do what you can.


eric-hu 4 days ago 2 replies      
I went through the signup process a month or two ago, but got flat-rejected at the last step (after about half an hour of reading fine print).

The issue: I had temporary hair loss in high school, due to an autoimmune disease according to a dermatologist. I was never tested for it, and figured I could still get tested, but the signup process just stopped me.

I'm in the LA area and willing to drive somewhere to get tested for a match tonight if someone can shed more light on if/how I can do it.

cullenking 4 days ago 0 replies      
I finally sent my kit in today, took about five minutes, plus another five to walk it to the post office. It sat on my desk for two weeks :(
palish 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm American, but I'd happily do one of these kits and also go through with the operation if it would save Amit's life...

...but I see no way to actually do that. Does anyone else? Where are the kits?

sax 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a thought: Is there a correlation between bone marrow match and genetic closeness? If there is, it would be a good idea to specifically target people who are from the same community as Amit back in India as well as in the US.

In Indian society, marriage is often within tightly knit communities. What if we track-down people who share second names with Amit's Father and Mother (maiden second name). Would then, the probably of finding a match in such people increase?


sontek 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not a gay male but refuse to be part of organizations who discriminate against them.

I know they are trying to save lives but eliminating potential matches and discrimination is not the way to do that.

febeling 4 days ago 0 replies      
The risk to the donor is quite low. It requires general anestesia, and so a night in the hospital. But serious complications have a probability of 1:20000 (wikipedia German). The english article gives some more differentiated figures.

The spine is not invaded, the "marrow" means technically stem cells extracted from blood, in most cases.


I'm not a doctor.

jamesrcole 3 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, it might help if the site mentioned what 'South Asians' means. Not everyone is necessarily familiar with that term.

I've never heard it used here in Australia. We don't have a term for that area. I had to look it up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia).

(I've emailed them this feedback).

jason_slack 4 days ago 1 reply      
At the sake of sounding incredibly naive...Is it only South Asians that can help Amit? Being white, I would not have a potential match at all?
uptown 4 days ago 2 replies      
How difficult is it to find matches for patients? Anybody know what the odds are for the average patient in need? I ask because I registered a couple years ago but haven't ever heard anything since.
blhack 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also if you're already in the registry, make sure that you're contact information is up to date.
sk_0919 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just applied, You should too.
rorrr 4 days ago 6 replies      
Why doesn't he simply offer money? If I needed to survive, I'd offer something like all my savings, plus 50% of my net salary for 10 years.
jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I sent in my kit about a week ago and I'm half Thai, so here's hoping!
troubleshooter 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am a bit curious. How exactly is the procedure of marrow transplant carried out?
Irfaan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really do wish this reminder had came sooner; I have the swab kit sitting on my desk, waiting for a free moment for me to swab and send. While I'm obviously still going to send it in, I was really hoping to help Amit. :(
medius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am an Indian living in the US and I registered for the marrow donor program after my wife forwarded information about Amit . I sent the swabs more than a week ago. Not sure how it works, but hopefully there will be a match.

They said it will take two weeks for me to get the kit, but it was surprisingly fast.

mooli7dm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I may be a bit late, but I registered nonetheless.
da_dude4242 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm Russian who probably has some asian DNA(ural region/mongolian?). Can someone explain to me the likelyhood of being a compatible match?
sgoel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just registered at one of the last minute donor drives in San Francisco. The form is rather daunting, as they request your Social Security Number and your Driver's License number.

Either way, I am glad to help!
- a south asian

mcteapot 3 days ago 1 reply      
wish I knew about this before. why was this posted on the last day...
I regularly hire women for 65% to 75% of what males make reddit.com
593 points by amirmc  5 days ago   277 comments top 36
patio11 5 days ago  replies      
Having been a male engineer for a couple of years now, it is very disquieting to learn that there is any population of people anywhere who are getting ROFLstomped by male engineers in negotiating savvy. A potted plant could handle a salary negotiation better than many people (myself included at one point) -- at least the potted plant wouldn't divulge a salary history when asked.
lionhearted 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've hired a lot of people recently, so maybe my opinion here will be interesting.

With one notable exception, all the women flagged "negotiate me down" signals harder and more often than the men. I asked, "So your salary ask is $X monthly?" And instantly returned, "Yeah, but we can talk about it..."

That just screams "negotiate me down."

I don't do it, because I want to pay my people top of market, have them think of themselves as the best, and build a culture of inspired performance. I actually negotiated that woman's pay up 25% of her ask (which was too low), but even with cultural considerations in mind in a high-margin high-dollar industry, it was still painful for me not to negotiate down.

To be very blunt and crass about it, hopefully for helpful illustrative purposes, it's like the guy who has a, "Please don't kick me" sign on his ass. You can restrain yourself not to, but it's painful.

Peroni 5 days ago 2 replies      
In the UK the pay difference between males & females under the age of 40 in Tech roles is nominal. There is a difference but it's not even remotely close to the disparity you would find 20 years ago.

That being said, over the past twelve months, female candidates consisted of approximately 5% of the people I represented. There are very few women in the industry and I've rarely come across any who are afraid to argue their worth. On the contrary in fact. Occasionally I have come across one or two women who were demanding a salary that was simply far beyond their worth and I imparted the same advice to them as I would to a male candidate and both women were incredibly offended by my feedback and refused to budge whereas almost every single male that I challenged actually listened to my advice and adjusted their rate to suit.

The idea of negotiating salary offers still appears to be a relatively unknown phenomenon here in the UK. You'd be surprised how few candidates stand their ground and push for more than 5% of the original offer regardless of gender.

bravura 5 days ago 2 replies      
This phenomenon was studied in a book called Women Don't Ask.


'When Linda Babcock asked why so many male graduate students were teaching their own courses and most female students were assigned as assistants, her dean said: "More men ask. The women just don't ask."'

Incidentally, for a while, the authors would give a free copy of this book to women who would ask for one.

mhartl 5 days ago 0 replies      
If this practice is generally true, it suggests an obvious gender arbitrage strategy:

    1. Hire women instead of men.
2. ???
3. Profit.

Unlike the usual case, here ??? actually has a value:

    ??? = Save massively on labor costs vs. your competitors.

As other companies discover the same strategy, demand increases for a fixed supply, thereby bidding up the equilibrium wage and hence dramatically improving the negotiating position of women. (Nothing improves the results of your negotiation faster than a better negotiating position.) In a competitive market for labor, the equilibrium is for everyone to be paid based on their productivity and their risk profile. Whether the latter factor favors women or men isn't a priori obvious; for example, men are more likely to die in a fight or a car accident, whereas women are more likely to take time off to have kids (and so on).

Unfortunately, market interventions typically have the opposite of their intended effect. Rules that punish companies for paying women less than men increase the risk of hiring women; rules that punish companies for not hiring enough women increase the risk of interviewing women; rules that punish not interviewing enough women increase the risk of recruiting women. All of these factors, ceteris paribus, lower the wages of women. (Those who depend on the gender rage industry, on the other hand, make off like bandits.)

Duff 5 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like one of the upsides of working at a place where I work now, where there is a salary scale.

Places that play these kinds of games with salary really annoy me. For my first post-college job, as a DBA, I was offered $29,000/year (this was in 2000). I knew they had just lost key people and had a bad reputation for compensation, so I laughed and walked out of the room.

In the parking lot, we agreed to $65k + stock. Most of my colleagues didn't bother, and got stuck with lousy pay for a couple of years.

officemonkey 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think this goes beyond just salary negotiations.

My wife typically comes to me when she has "business politics questions" (despite that she's been working longer and more successfully than me.)

Most of things we talk about involve how to get something (usually work or money) from a client without seeming like they're bothering them.

I'm definitely in the "just matter-of-factly send them an email." She's more in the "I don't want them to get irritated by me contacting them" camp.

This isn't universal though. I've had two experiences where it's been reversed. One male I recently hired accepted a position when he knew money would be a problem and didn't bring it up even though it's a bit of a hardship for him right now. A female I'm in discussions to hire has told me flat out what her salary requirements are. I actually appreciate this kind of discussion.

joshfraser 5 days ago 5 replies      
I've coached several of my female friends in how to ask for a raise. Often they'll complain that they're not making enough but are scared to ask for more. I'll tell them "your boss might say no, but they're not going to fire you". Of course, if your boss does say "no", it's a good opportunity to ask what progress you need to make to get the raise you want. You then have a concrete roadmap for getting where you want to be. For the guys on here, encourage the women in your life to speak up. Often they just need someone to tell them it's okay and that they're worth it.
iwwr 5 days ago 3 replies      
Strictly on economic terms, how much of a discount would you get on a developer if he/she is likely to take 1-2 year off at some point? During that time, you have to hire another person, train them and then tell them to leave.
mootothemax 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I was offered my current job, I replied that I thought the pay was on the low side, and asked if they could improve their offer. Two hours later, I received an email with a 15% improvement!

I'm really not very good at negotiation, but getting a 15% raise just by asking? I'll be doing that again :)

danielrm26 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, I'll be that guy.

1. Testosterone promotes risk taking (http://goo.gl/s2gf4)
2. Men have more testosterone.
3. Salary negotiation is a risk game.

Now for the important part: this doesn't mean it's right. That would be the naturalistic fallacy, i.e. that because something is natural it must be o.k.

So, yes, absolutely combat this. Learn techniques to overcome the disparity. But do not, in a forum full of smart people, wonder WHY this is happening. The answer is obvious to anyone who doesn't mind unpleasant truth.

johngalt 5 days ago 0 replies      
I discovered this a few years ago, about a large number of women and some men.

My wife got a job and the employer glossed over salary negotiations with an "assumed sale" of minimum wage! I asked why she accepted that, and she said "There wasn't an opportunity to negotiate salary. They just gave me the 'standard rate'." She's not a meek woman. No one had ever told her that you could ask for more. With my help she got a 2x raise just by assertively asking for it.

She's bragged to her parents about it and I learn that her mother had never negotiated a salary or raise in her entire life. So I ask all my female friends: same thing, my mom: same thing, then my ardently feminist sister: same thing! It was a twilight zone moment for me.

The reasons why varied, but they could be generalized as an expectation of fairness combined with a small amount of irrational fear.

ahoyhere 5 days ago 6 replies      
I'm so tired of the double standard.

If men are raised and "socialized" that they are the rightful leader of the family, and it's not only okay but right to hit their wives, we hold them personally responsible for their actions.

If women are raised and "socialized" not to negotiate, we blame society. Because… women aren't smart enough, or whole humans enough, to do anything but what they're told?

Ladies, take control of your own destiny, or be a victim of your own making. It's your choice.

MarkMc 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook) gives an excellent talk about different attitudes that women have in careers:
berntb 5 days ago 2 replies      
Is it really smart for a company to press down salaries so far that they underpay?

My experience is that if someone is underpaid, they won't be around for long. It is expensive with high churn rates.

dan00 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm just sick of stuff like this.

An employer is expecting that an employee is loyal,
but nevertheless he's trying to noble the potential
employee from the beginning.

But you would be dumb doing it the other way, right?
Sorry, but this kind of smartness harms the whole

So all the humble and self-doubting people are getting
less than the loud and playing ones. Sure, the loud
ones are the better, more loyal employees, right?

But you have to learn to be louder! No I don't have to
and I don't want, because I like it the way I am.

rbanffy 4 days ago 0 replies      
A long time ago, I hired a PhD from a highly prestigious Brazilian university. She passed the interview with flying colors, way beyond my expectations, and I was a bit ashamed to tell her the maximum budget I had - it was much less than someone with her experience was worth. She seemed more than happy to take my offer (which was as far as I could possibly go). Later I learned I was paying her more than 4 times what she earned as a researcher at the university. I don't know whether her male colleagues earned much more, but I was shocked by how little she made as a scientist.

To this day I am bittersweet about this. I am embarrassed I never paid her what she deserved - and I should have, for she is an outstanding professional - but I am also happy I helped her transition from an dead-end job at an academic institution to a fast-paced tech company and that this transition had a very positive impact on her career (last time I heard, she had a team of kick-ass programmers solving some devilishly hard computer-vision-related problem). I left a couple months after hiring her, but it's still a great story.

Well... There are better stories around here, sure, but this is still a good one.

stfu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the same statement could be made about introverts. Not quite sure if this is a gender issue or just a personality/mentality issue.
pedoh 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what would happen if you tried to make the negotion process as transparent as possible; something along the lines of:

"Look, I've read all of the negotiation strategy books, and clearly you're an expert in your field, so let's agree on the value that I bring to your company and find the right compensation package."

codezero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Women aren't the only ones who suffer from this, and I don't even know if it is something that can be attributed to all or even most women.

I remember when I worked at Red Hat, several years after being hired, I found out that there were people making half as much as me... it blew my mind. I asked for a lot when I got hired, more than I was worth, but I stuck to my guns and they gave me slightly less than I was asking.

The people who made half as much only asked for half as much. What manager wouldn't hire them if they were willing to work for half the salary? These were great people, too, by the way, they worked hard and were very skilled, but they were interoverts and were happy to take the "prestige" of working for a company like Red Hat as a sort of currency. Fuck that. Word hard, but don't aim low, ever.

deltaqueue 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a bit bewildered there's an entire discussion about this based on a reddit post. While the OP's circumstances may be true at his or her company, is it still universally accurate? I don't actually know the answer, but based on several articles released in the last year I would wager this discrepancy is no longer uniform for all industries:





There are still some statistics floating around that compare salaries without factoring in control variables (mostly based on generic census data), but these tend to be less accurate.

vaksel 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think a large part of the problem is that there is no way to figure out how much each person is actually worth.

Sure we have sites like indeed and salary.com that can give you estimates for the position and you also have glass door that gives you some salaries in your area...but they aren't solid numbers.software developer" makes, is pointless since there are so many alternatives, a VB developer is going to be making less than a Python developer.

Same goes for glassdoor...sure the numbers help, but you don't know if the number you are looking at is current...or if it was added 10 years ago when the site launched.

So here is a startup idea...create a site like salary.com but one designed solely for programmers/developers. Then create an interface, where someone can build out a job description/location to get a good feel of what a fair salary would be for that specific position.

baltcode 5 days ago 1 reply      
From a free market perspective, do the women then have a competitive advantage in being hired? (Since the company can get the job done for less). Also, why does the company simply hire at the lower end of the wage level since they can apparently get a lot of women and some men to work for that kind of pay?
ramblerman 5 days ago 2 replies      
if you read the actual text it ends with

the one person who got the most out of us was a highly aggressive, very smart, very confident woman

I guess they wanted to point out women, in general, aren't as aggressive in demanding higher salaries. Which whilst being an interesting observation seems kind of a non issue, there is no discrimination here.

creativityhurts 5 days ago 1 reply      
But that's not a rule, it's because women don't negotiate well.
This title can create a bit of unnecessary controversy, imho.
highfreq 5 days ago 1 reply      
Another factor could be that earlier interviews weed out the forceful negotiators among the women, because that personality trait makes women less likable. On the other hand, a lack of aggressiveness makes men appear weak.
budley 5 days ago 1 reply      
I also hire people for as little money as I can.
michaeldhopkins 5 days ago 2 replies      
This article is behind the times. By the time most professional women have learned to ask for raises like some men do in 2011, those men will have moved on to a more advanced strategy to make more. It's similar to how an expensive university degree is becoming less useful just as women are earning more than 50% of them.

My point is that these men are competitive and they have momentum and the current salary-negotiation-education strategy won't result in parity. I don't see any reason it has to be that way, of course.

cq 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is bullshit: it is passing the buck. This is strictly blaming women for their problems, without acknowledging the structural sexism that exists in virtually all tech fields.
ericdykstra 5 days ago 1 reply      
If women will do the same work for less money, why don't we see companies that rely on high volume and low margins hire a lot of females (so that 90%+ of their employees are female)?

A 30% cost savings on staff seems like it could be a huge competitive advantage.

If such a company exists, I would love to have someone point it out.

hendrix 5 days ago 0 replies      
What is the big deal? This is a reddit post in the feminist subredditum.... IMO this is just fear-mongering and exploiting the sensitivities of the (mostly male & slightly nerdy) tech workforce. The point is that women are NOT being actively discriminated against. If women do not want to ask for more salary, that is their own fault. You could say the same for recent immigrants/visa-applicants who do not want to piss off their employer and will work for pennies so that they can remain in the country.
thenduks 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I really see the problem, or even how gender is at all relevant.

I generally don't bother negotiating salary either. Money isn't (even close to) the most important thing to me and I will take the first offer that puts me in a comfortable financial position -- assuming I actually want the job and I am excited to work for the company, of course.

Clearly there are males who don't negotiate hard and females who do. It's not about their gender, it's about their negotiating tactics!

Seems to me the correct title for this would be "I regularly hire people who don't bother negotiating higher salaries at 65% to 75% of people who do." (And that's ok!)

prophetjohn 5 days ago 0 replies      
So for those who think this is a societal problem or a symptom of structural sexism in the tech field or etc., a genuine question. The OP seems to state that he negotiates with all people in the same manner, but the women are less likely to fight for themselves. What kind of solution do you suggest to combat this symptom of structural sexism? Should HR managers negotiate easier with women? Offer a higher starting point for negotiation?

It's a genuine question and interested in what people would see as a fair way to combat these kind of systematic biases toward women. I think there should be a way to combat these effects of society, but I certainly can't come up with a solution to this problem that seems fair to all parties involved.

moonchrome 5 days ago 0 replies      
A very obvious question arises - why aren't they preferring to hire women - it sounds like they are ideal employees - lower pay expectation for the same work and rarely ask for a raise.
___o___ 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why does HN keep pushing these sexist posts to the main news area?
tycho77 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh thank goodness! It's all the women's fault. I was afraid people would have to address the residual sexism left in the corporate world.

Not to detract from the story, which by all anecdotal evidence in this thread appears to be valid, but this is a dangerous train to jump on - I would say akin to blaming racial disparity on 'cultural issues'.

US judge orders hundreds of sites "de-indexed" from Google, Facebook arstechnica.com
423 points by gigawatt  5 days ago   215 comments top 43
danilocampos 5 days ago  replies      

I know it's HN and we're all very serious business here.

And I'm not trying to be age-ist " my condemnation is strictly confined to mental state.

But what. the fuck. do we do with these dinosaurs who know nothing of technology policy but have decided to go and make it anyway? What do we do? The strategy of waiting for them to retire or whatever doesn't seem to be paying off.

zeteo 5 days ago 2 replies      
It's very unlikely that this article is correct. Here is the legal ruling:


This is a temporary restraining order. Chanel is posting a bond for any damages to the defendants, should the trial prove them innocent.

Regarding de-indexing, there is only one paragraph (10) which says the domains "shall immediately be de-indexed and/or removed", without specifying who will do this action. This is vague, but I don't think it can be interpreted as an order to Google / FB because:

- the list of search engines / social sites is open ended

- the previous paragraphs require actions by the plaintiff or by the defendants (e.g. preserve computer files). Among others, paragraph (8) states that the plaintiff can use Google Webmaster Tools on these domains.

- the (temporary) transfer of DNS records is specified in small technical details (including multiple technical solutions for the redirection involved) in multiple paragraphs, while this arguably much more complex requirement receives minimum treatment.

While the language is indeed a bit vague in paragraph (10), I think consideration of all these factors seems to indicate it is the plaintiff and the defendants who are to take action to see the sites de-indexed (using, e.g., Google Webmaster Tools) and not the indexing companies.

ChuckMcM 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh, don't panic, the system will work, just legislative time is not internet time. As far as I can tell by reading the order [1] the order is temporary, and as its from a district judge [2] really only holds for Nevada at the moment. If it gets to the appeals process and the circuit court upholds it, it will apply more broadly, up to the supreme court where it will apply to the US as a whole. However what that means with regard to Chanel I'm not sure as it really only means that from within the US are these things outlawed.

But having such cases is useful because it gives the system something on which to chew, and then publish opinions (not all cases get published opinions) which set case law. So the good news might be that it gets to the circuit court which then has a chance to publish an opinion that our courts can't make these kinds of claims, and that gets upheld in the Supreme court and life is better because all the judges have to follow along.

The system is cranky, and obtuse at times, but its remarkably resilient in the face of unexpected challenges.

That being said, for the folks who are complaining about the institutions in the US being subverted, I point out that nearly all the elections in this country are won or lost by at most a 10% difference in votes. Further, in general more than 20% of the registered voters don't even bother to vote. So one could argue that if 20% of the 99% really cared about stuff they could actully vote in whomever they chose to vote in and no amount of money, croniesim, or stupidity on the part of the voters who are being lead around by their noses could stop them. The math says it is impossible (short of fraud) but fraud on that scale is really really hard to cover up.

[1] http://servingnotice.com/sdv/038%20-%20Order%20Granting%20Se...

[2] Federal courts have 89 districts, feeding into 13 circut courts, feeding into the supreme court. http://www.uscourts.gov/Common/FAQS.aspx

DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 1 reply      
So if I decide to sell my wife's (imaginary) 3 tons of Chanel goods, and open a site called chanel-goods-for-cheap, odds are my site gets lifted and I become a part of this action no matter whether I am selling counterfeit goods or not, right?

I agree with the attorney. Why get upset about SOPA? They can screw you over just the same way today without all the extra laws.

This will eventually reach the point, if left unchecked, where large corporations will completely own all of their internet distribution channels -- resale, wholesale, damaged goods, you name it. If it's got "Brand X" as part of the offering, folks over at Brand X are going to want to control it.

I really hate the fact that so many of these stories remind me of people running around waving their arms with their heads on fire. It's always the end of western civilization as we know it. But damn it, the problem is that there are many separate issues where there are real threats to common sense and to liberty. It's like living in a town where several large buildings are on fire. Being alarmed seems appropriate, but why bother? The whole place is hosed.

kogir 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's counterintuitive, but things like this are actually good. We need more of them to happen, and for it to affect more people more often.

Right now the core of the internet is broken from a security perspective. DNS[1], BGP[2], and SSL[3], despite being key to daily internet function, are all completely inadequate for the important role the internet now plays in the world and society. The thing is: right now they all work, almost all of the time. Any change will be really painful. Even incremental changes like DNSSEC see scant adoption[4] and obviously needed changes like IPv6 are put off until the last possible second[5].

We need things to break before we'll see real change. And by break I mean really break. When enough money is lost because of meddlesome, malicious, or ignorant government and other intervention, we'll finally see real change. But not one second before. After all, if it works, don't fix it[6].

If you really want to see change, exploit these laws to take down legitimate and government websites. Post infringing links, ideas, etc, in the most visible places you can. Try to get major news and other sites that allow user generated content taken down. In the process you'll hopefully break things for enough people that we see change, or you'll at least demonstrate how blatantly inequitable most of these laws are. Both are good steps toward real change.

[1] http://www.dnssec.net/dns-threats

[2] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4272.txt

[3] http://www.darkreading.com/taxonomy/index/printarticle/id/23...

[4] http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110330006919/en/IID-...

[5] http://ripe59.ripe.net/presentations/botterman-v6-survey.pdf

[6] Yes, I know it doesn't technically work in all cases right now, but did you notice when any of these sites went offline? I didn't. I see an increasing frequency of these types of reports, but have yet to be personally affected.

dchest 5 days ago 1 reply      
Reading this order: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73773870/Chanel-Inc-v-Does-11-Cv-0... I wonder who is responsible for de-indexing and/or removing the domain names?

Other points begin with "Plaintiffs shall...", "Defendants shall...", but in this point there's no party stated that must do the action:

"The Group II Subject Domain Names shall immediately be de-indexed and/or removed from any search results pages of all Internet search engines including, but not limited to, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and all social media websites including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter until otherwise instructed by this Court or Plaintiff that any such domain name is authorized to be reinstated, at which time it shall be reinstated to its former status within each search engine index from which it was removed."

mindstab 5 days ago 3 replies      
Is there really infrastructure available for this yet? Also "All Internet search engines"... Possibly the judge underestimates how many there are out there who will never even hear of this ruling without horrible SOPA legislature and infrastructure in place. Till then they can't seriously expect random search engine in my bedroom to track all legal rulings in this space. This is fantastically impossible.

And it raises the point of how tricky it will be to even suggest enforcing SOPA with out providing massive centralized services listing blocked sites etc.

cube13 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh. This is pretty much a classic case of "THE INTERNET IS NEW AND SCARY".

Assuming that Charnel's claims are accurate(that counterfeit goods were being sold), then the standard procedure 20 years ago would have been to work with law enforcement and the courts. If the defendants were found guilty, the counterfeit goods would be seized and profits off of them would be awarded to Charnel. With the invention of the Internet, the exact same thing should have happened. Charnel should have worked with law enforcement and the courts, and if the defendants were found guilty, the goods should have been seized, and the story should have ended. In either case, it would take a while(especially if the shops were in countries that had very lax copyright laws), but there should not have been really any difference between now and 20 years ago.

Only in this case, the judge, in his infinite wisdom, went the "OMG INTERNET IS NEW AND SCARY" route, and decided to just remove the sites from indexes. Aside from the fact that this doesn't actually fix the problem(hello, eBay), this is a pretty new(and dumb) "solution" to a pretty settled problem.

stellar678 5 days ago 1 reply      
How can a judge possibly be so daft as to put a judgement against companies not even party to the lawsuit?

If we find out these counterfeit goods are also coming over from China, should we tell UPS and FedEx they can no longer fly planes out of there?

maqr 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is a strong need to keep a very public list of every host that is blocked in this way, so we can keep track of what's being censored. Has anyone set up a wiki or something similar for this purpose yet?
craigmc 5 days ago 1 reply      
I liked the use of the "whack a mole" analogy. Here (for those who don't know) is how this industrial-scale counterfeiting scam works:

1. Set up OSCommerce or Magento site with design roughly copied from legit rights owner.
2. Get local 'middleman' to donate paypal account in return for small cut
3. Buy a bucket load of adwords
4. Run massive scale xrumer / scrapebox / etc 'SEO' campaign
5. Repeat thousands of times over

Getting domains de-indexed via the DMCA process on Google, never mind taking after-the-fact legal action, is just treating the symptoms.

Given that Paypal and Google are at the forefront of this issue, they are where the responsibility lies in terms of preventing the sites from transacting: by denying them a payment method and heaps of traffic respectively. I am sure that both companies are working hard on this issue, but having looked at the problem over the past couple of years, it hasn't always seemed to be that much of a priority.

Beyond that it is basically a question of international trade treaties and better local law enforcement in the territories where the offenders operate (predominately China) - i.e. NOT an easy fix.

You can understand the frustration of rights owners who are obviously going to take every opportunity to use legal action domestically. If they get a fairly tech illiterate decision in their favour that has potential dangerous consequences for the internet at large, then this is as much because they are just swinging at everything (back to those moles) than any great desire on their part to restrict legitimate rights and freedoms.

Finally, it is important to realise that this is not a victimless crime. What brought this home to me was a few years back when I overheard a nurse in the neonatal unit my son was being looked after in at the time excitedly talking about a pair of brand name boots she'd bought on the internet.

I realised that she had absolutely no clue they were fake because why should she? She had found the legitimate-looking site on the first page of Google and had paid with Paypal.

This was not a transaction carried out 'out the back of a van', where caveat emptor might more readily apply. A lot (majority?) of consumers don't realise that for all the brand loyality they might have in respect of Google and Paypal, etc^, they are services that are easily misused by unrelated third parties and so should not be taken as any sort of 'trust mark' in they way that shopping in large well-known department store does.

^Amazon and eBay deserve honourable mentions as being popular conduits for counterfeit scams too (although eBay in particular deserves a lot of credit for taking the subject more seriously than most).

dsplittgerber 5 days ago 4 replies      
Not to be overly political, but:

This is what you get when you support a modern liberal state. It's always going to over-extend and over-regulate, because that's just the way the bureaucracy works - it's preserving itself by always finding new areas of society and the economy that "just have to be regulated for the common good".

It's a matter of basic principles, really. It's just never going to end unless you stand up for individual freedoms and very limited powers of the state.

scott_s 5 days ago 0 replies      
I find Venkat Balasubramani's post linked to at the end of that article worth reading in full: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/11/court_oks_priva...
madmaze 5 days ago 0 replies      
Even if some of these websites sell fake/counterfit goods, they should only be taken out of the ads.
Otherwise we are starting a trend of black-listing website once again. This could be another seedpoint for the freedom of speech and firewall-of-america discussion which was raised with SOPA
jakeonthemove 5 days ago 1 reply      
"All search engines and social media sites" - hehe, I can imagine the dialog:
- But your Honor, they're based in another country!
- I don't care if they're from Florida, they will remove the site or else!

But seriously, the Judge may be just as tired of it as we are, and just made a quick ruling to please Chanel, at least for another month or so...

ComputerGuru 5 days ago 1 reply      
To all the people suggesting we approach this and other political problems from a technological/engineering perspective: how do you think it could be pulled off?

Put aside all the technical limitations - they can (have been or will be) solved. The real question is adoption. What's a darknet without Facebook, Google, etc. worth? Who will use it? There are already countless projects implementing parts of suggested darknets, some of them very cleverly. They've been around for literally decades. None of them are perfect, but they're not so fatally flawed either.

The fact of the matter is, the internet is one big, huge de facto standard. No one will use your pet project. No one will look at it. People would far rather shoehorn or build on top of existing infrastructure (thereby being bound to the limitations of the underlying architecture and design requirements).

Just look at IPv6. It's a new technology with the full force of all the giants in the industry.... and it hasn't gone anywhere.

Actually, IPv6 would have been a good place to add the support for decentralized everything, as it is pretty much the only "authoritive" replacement for the current generation of technology. But it doesn't and it's not.

You can build it, they won't come. History proves it.

ebzlo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook? Twitter? De-index? It sounds to me like the judge doesn't know much of what he's talking about. Taking down the companies and their assets I'm all for, but de-indexing them from search results seems a little bit unnecessary, especially since they'll go away on their own once the domains are dead.
nathanb 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just out of curiosity, were Google to simply not comply with this ridiculous abortion of justice, what would be the result? Could Google appeal any sanctions imposed as a result of their non-compliance?

What a mess.

VonLipwig 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its backward decisions like this which make me want to make sure that future ventures are not using a domain with a US registrar. I would go further and say its decisions like this which make we want to avoid dealing with any business in the states at all.

The thing of most concern isn't the seizures themselves. It is the lack of due process. The litigant finds 3 websites from 228 are selling counterfeit goods. The litigant says the other 225 are also selling counterfeit goods.. the judge takes their word. Websites disappear!?

I don't have a problem with counterfeit websites being taken offline. They can ship goods which are dangerous to the public. What I have a problem with is the lack of due process and the ordering of international websites which everyone depends on to press the delete button also.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the lack of influence Silicon Valley apparently has on US law. The western world's internet is dominated by US tech giants. Yet US law seems to be moving against the tech sector. I say its about time Silicon Valley started lobbying Washington.

bane 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, at least DuckDuckGo wasn't named in the court order.
ImprovedSilence 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious, how are there not "offshore" domains yet, much in the same fashion there of offshore shell corporations for tax havens? Somebody tether me a server farm in the middle of the Atlantic, and tap on into the cables down below or something. Heck, got your water cooled farm right there. All jesting aside though, does anyone think domains name registration is going to start soaring in other countries because of all this bickering going on lately? I see business models waiting to be found here.
VladRussian 5 days ago 0 replies      
how it was managed before the Internet? Did they order to blacken specific phone number(s) in all instances of yellow books?
electromagnetic 5 days ago 3 replies      
I'm waiting for the day that a 15 year old files a patent on a new style of Capri's and ends up owning Levi, Wrangler, etc. for selling counterfeit products.

Oh wait, that would never happen. (Incidentally in about 98, before capri's got fashionable again, my friend took to folding and stitching her jeans, in a few weeks all the girls were doing it throughout the summer; about 4 years later she was pissed when Levi and Wrangler jeans started selling them, manufactured from regular jeans and stitched almost identically)

I dislike the whole anti-counterfeit programs because companies want you to spend $2000 for a leather bag with their name on it, but the bag is only really worth $20. They're not even complaining that you're not willing to pay for it (like pirating a movie), they're complaining because you're unwilling to spend a massively unreasonable amount on it.

There's no reason to target the counterfeitters as they're not hurting your business model. They're selling to people who know they're getting ripped off, but Gucci and what not are selling it to rich idiots who don't know they're getting ripped off.

kevinalexbrown 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the appropriate (humorous) response would be to de-index federal government websites, or websites which were pro-SOPA, or refuse to provide services the judge, or those who work with him, use.

After all, it's aiding and abetting someone who's not acting in their interests ...

jinushaun 5 days ago 0 replies      
As the article demonstrates, why wait for SOPA?
dholowiski 5 days ago 0 replies      
When the kindle fire comes out and it's not available in Canada, it drives me crazy. When I had to wait years before Netflix was available in Canada I was really mad. When Apple launched iTunes music, the iPhone, TV shows and Movies in the US only I actually illegally obtained a US itunes account.

It sucks living in Canada. Most days. Not today.

yaix 4 days ago 0 replies      
"poshmoda.ws" has a hidden domain owner. But the "toll free" phone number on their shows the obvious +86... Chinese copycat.

While I don't approve the methods they use to go after the Chinese copy industry, I also dislike a lot how China has built a huge industry that just profits of the good names Western companies have built up over decades, sometimes centuries of reliable products.

The Chinise gov't is no help here either. So, what do?

gst 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a non-US-citizen I honestly don't see any major problem with that. com/net/org domains are handled by US companies and it's therefore clear for me that they fall under US jursidiction. If I want a domain that the US cannot take away from me I just get one under a local TLD (which the US does not have access to).
jeswin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let me be the devil's advocate here. If the pricing is more for the exclusivity than its utility, you could argue that counterfeiting diminishes the brand. And while it isn't the general opinion, it is a fair argument.

Isn't this case similar to a DMCA takedown notice? IMO DMCA take-down notices make sense; it puts the onus on the content owner to correctly identify infringement and report to the website. (OTOH, SOPA is ridiculous.)

andrewfelix 5 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the oversight? Where's the appeal process? Who's deciding whether or not the evidence is solid enough to de-index a site? What about outlets that got dodgy handbags from their supplier amongst legitimate merhandise?

The precedent here is terrifying. They're shutting down entire businesses on some private dick's say so.

FreshCode 5 days ago 2 replies      
Picketing around the Google search box doesn't seem like the way to fight counterfeiters, but I symphatise with Chanel on this. What would the ideal solution be?
kevinburke 5 days ago 1 reply      
Practically, this ruling won't have much effect. There's a team of people at Google already dedicated to removing results like these from the index, as they aren't that great for users. Any counterfeit goods site with enough SERP already gets on their radar, and gets removed/demoted, without action from Us courts.
beedogs 4 days ago 0 replies      
☐ Understands how the Internet works.

' Renders a (faulty) decision anyway.

rokhayakebe 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why can't these companies simply give a unique ID to each item they sell and allow owners to register them online, just like the DMV with cars. In this way you will know what is fake, who bought what, ownership exchange etc...
teja1990 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why does Google/Facebook have to de-index? Its their site and they have right to do whatever they want. If Chanel has issues with counterfeits , they have to deal with that themselves ,petition with ICANN but not asking Google to de-index. I dont get why these people take everything for granted and think as if Google is doing some public service.
desireco42 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think judges should be able to order unreasonable things like this one. From article it shows that they don't even have proof that some of the sites have done anything illegal. I understand Channel and sympathize with them, but this judge should never be able to order something like this.
vaksel 5 days ago 0 replies      
it's not like this stuff even works...most of these counterfeiters make their cash by spamming people
capkutay 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is why we need more software engineers in the US. If we have people with law AND engineering backgrounds making policy, we would see a system much more rational/practical/just toward new technology. These types of issues only occur because current policy makers have little understanding of the consequences of their own actions (or perhaps they don't care.
therandomguy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Somewhere right now the world's greatest minds in the network/cryptography space are designing the next version of internet which will be beyond the reach of governments... I hope.
abrichr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would anyone be able to recommend a good non-US domain name registrar? I think I'll be looking to switch.
scottshea 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am really curious how Google and Facebook will handle this...
nextparadigms 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can't they appeal this?
Zarathust 5 days ago 0 replies      
I posted a few sites on my facebook page, I'm waiting for the US to take it down
Show HN: Entire concerts algorithmically "reconstructed" from YouTube videos switchcam.com
419 points by brettwelch  5 days ago   129 comments top 54
angusgr 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wow. Many thoughts arose:

- Is this more, less, or equivalently legal (copyright-wise) to just posting the youtube videos on youtube in the first place? It seems like the act of compositing them in this way would be significant, but maybe not?

- The normalisation of audio could use some work. SwitchCam seems to do something (the youtube volume on each clip was different for me), but it didn't quite work.

- I'd be really interested to know how automated this is, and how much human curation is required to get it right.

- Presumably, the next step is stitching the multiple videos together to make 3d models, allowing you to pan to places between the various camera operators. :)

OoTheNigerian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool stuff!

A little suggestion.

The first video I picked had only one camera angle for the first two tracks of the concert. So it was an effort for me to understand how it works.
I would suggest you have a prominent link to a 'model video' that has multiple camera angles so new visitors can easily see it in action.

Very good job lads!

Of course, I presume the bigger play is for switchcam to be the default app that people use to record at concerts and other events. Smart!

mambodog 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool, just a slight niggle about the 'lightroom' colour scheme (dark area surrounding the video) which I see being poorly implemented time and time again: it doesn't really work when you have elements of bright white on the page, because they just end up looking even brighter next to the dark parts. The glaring white strips are distracting while watching the video, moreso than even an all white background.

TL;DR: lose the strips of white from the video viewing page.

georgieporgie 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome for two reasons: 1) it's just plain cool and 2) it finally gives a reason to tolerate annoying people who hold up their cell phone cameras during concerts.
baddox 4 days ago  replies      
Cool idea, but I was sad that it wasn't finally an implementation of an idea I've had for a long time. My idea is to actually use video and audio information from distinct sources to create a single video/audio stream that is of better quality and/or completeness than any of the constituent parts. Essentially, my idea would do to video what Photosynth does for photos.


evan_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of "Awesome, I Fuckin' Shot that", a Beastie Boys concert filmed by 50 audience volunteers and edited together:


andrewfelix 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet execution. Finally a use for all those dickheads who hold up their phones in the middle of a live performance.
wittjeff 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Watching Ocean's 11 last night it occurred to me that other contexts in which intelligent multi-camera stitching might be profitable are casino security and retail loss prevention.
jjcm 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. My only suggestion is to allow the user to switch angles without changing the audio track. Since these are concerts, the audio track is going to be one of the most important things. Often times one video will have significantly better audio than the other ones. It'd be nice to be able to choose that one to stay constant. Alternately, it'd be awesome if there were a way for the bands themselves to upload the recorded concert audio.

I realize that often times getting the recorded audio for a concert can be a finicky matter, but maybe you could partner with one of the many music festivals that are cropping up to make it happen.

ianbishop 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is really cool.

I went to add a concert with time/date but landed up getting lot of videos that didn't meet the criteria. The concert was part of Osheaga (a festival in Montreal) but the listing shows up as Parc Jean-Drapeau, where the festival is held. I think including the ability to indicate what event it was part of might narrow down your search a bit.

Since most of the 300 videos found were unrelated, I decided to go through manually and select only those which were relevant. By default, all 300 videos are checked with no easy way of unchecking them. Your average user isn't going to be able to just use a jQuery one-liner like I did, so this is something else you should consider!

Overall, great job and I look forward to seeing how you guys progress with this idea!

wittjeff 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had been thinking about something like this, but in the context of recreating riot crime scenes. After the last riot in Toronto the police received over 1M stills and thousands of hours of relatively low quality cell phone video. The main task for them is to connect different shots of individual offenders over time to build a) a coherent story demonstrating premeditation, b) an unbeatable description and connect it to some identifying info that might not necessarily be present at the exact time of the offense.
cleverjake 5 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly one of the coolest things i've seen in a while. If they can get around the legality of it, im sure they'll be snatched up quickly.
jamesgagan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool. Looks like they are a 500 startups project, formerly Veokami. Guess they used some of their funding to buy a better name! http://www.startupsmart.com.au/growth/veokami-among-500-star...
ansonparker 5 days ago 1 reply      
Site seems to be struggling under load.

I am excited about the concept - was thinking about this very idea while watching Coachella streaming live this year and then seeing all the cams people were uploading.

catshirt 5 days ago 0 replies      
this is awesome. seriously. maybe you could package the technology in a way that lets other platforms use this without youtube. i am reminded of the original Color app.
chartley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry guys, probably should have sured up servers for HN load - my bad =\ On Caltrain, brb...
phil 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to work. That is incredibly cool/terrifying.
phil 4 days ago 0 replies      
So if you can do this with concerts, presumably you can do it with any collection of video shot in the same place, if there's enough audio in common.

That makes me think that all kinds of crowd video (protests, speeches, etc) should be stitchable, which seems like it would open larger (and potentially morally ambiguous) markets.

PaulJoslin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool concept, fairly good execution.

I think I would advise not to just focus on concerts, but potentially other mass events, e.g. sporting events.

I guess you're using the audio stream to do some form of sync / time stamp though, so that may limit potential uses.

unreal37 5 days ago 0 replies      
I want. Love the idea. Site is down so I can't tell if it works. But plus 1 for the idea alone.
mitjak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool indeed. A question though: how much of a need is there for a service like this? Beyond the more mainstream artists and festivals, most of the artists whose shows I've seen have typically had more respectful audience members who didnt put recording with their cellphones ahead of enjoying the show.
hospadam 5 days ago 0 replies      
This. Is. So. Cool. Wow. I tried several concerts, several angles, and everything works pretty smoothly. Any critiques I might have are quite minor.
citricsquid 4 days ago 0 replies      
My out loud comment when I tried it was "Holy shit this is genius if it works".
wingerlang 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. However - the timeline should be default. I was pretty meh'd until I found it, works great.

Now it would be nice with an underlying concert-track or / per song mp3. I don't like the crappy cellphonesound. I guess the syncing will be hard though, with the videos lag not very constant (most often, seems to work good now but I have a nice broadband connection)

aclements18 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive. Very cool. I assume this will eventually extend beyond concerts to all kinds of other live events (sports, plays, etc). This is going to be big.

What's also interesting is how much the effect of SOPA will have on such an awesome service like this. So disappointing to think about how the copyright holders would rather shut you down then come up with a great way to enhance the service and share revenue with you.

Best of Luck. We'll all be rooting for you guys.

mitchellhislop 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the coolest things I have seen. While there are some little bits of feedback, I can admit that I spent the last 30 minutes watchings concerts, amazed at how great this felt.

MPAA: More of this, less of SOPA. If you give us great ways to get content, we will pay for it.

pavedwalden 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love it. Any chance you would expand to more general "news" applications? The audio wouldn't be as good for syncing against, but I've always wanted an interface like this for watching protest videos.
lisper 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ummm... am I missing something? Every video I click on is a rickroll.
jhealy 4 days ago 0 replies      
This perfect circle gig is a good sample:


Some of these concerts may have bootleg audio available, often recorded by audiophiles with decent equipment. It'd be amazing if supported syncing that up so you'd get great audio with multi-camera video

blcArmadillo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool. One thing... after switching camera angles from the first camera I can switch between all other camera except I can never get back to camera 1.
balbaugh 4 days ago 0 replies      
First thing I thought of was the Nine Inch Nails fan project "This One Is On Us". It works. Very cool and I wish you all the best.



jwblackwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really awesome. I hope you don't have any issues with copyright though. Best of luck with the project!
mrjasonroy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely amazing, great job. I just got chills from watching the National and feeling like I was back there.
tomkinstinch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. What about other applications? News reports?
fat0wl 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone believe that this is done algorithmically? All the examples I checked seemed to be really poorly sync-ed, & as a DSP engineer I don't believe this task to be incredibly difficult...

would also be cooler to have a seating chart to click around to make sense of perspectives

nico 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks a lot like Hadza http://hadza.com/ ex Wesync
nodata 4 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent work!

It says a lot that the music industry didn't invent this.

aslewofmice 4 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely one of the better ideas I've seen lately! An original idea with a lot of wiggle room for future growth.

I think it could be pretty cool if users had the ability to reference a higher quality audio source (when available - something on Archive.org or uploaded mp3s).

minikomi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe a next step could be a video app which had some kind of time code embedded in the resulting video - for much easier syncing.
smackfu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad some artists apparently take down concert videos.
inspiredworlds 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great concept and like how you can change views! Been following them since they were veokami.
jkap 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had the idea to do this (albeit, manually) a while ago, syncing the audio from Justice's "A Cross The Universe" with Youtube video of the concert it came from.
Really cool to see it done, though!
njloof 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is music a requirement? I'm trying to add Henry Rollins' spoken word at Coachella from April 18 2009, but your YouTube search always seems to fail. I can see the videos on YouTube just fine if I search for myself.
giulivo 4 days ago 0 replies      
to me, it looks amazing

some techie questions, how does it work? how do you get to know which videos are actually part of a specific event? how do you match the video with the actual song?

meatsock 4 days ago 0 replies      
great idea. do you have any solution to all of the shaky and unsteady video?
devinmrn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great work, hope you can handle the traffic that is coming your way. I would be surprised if you didn't get bought by Google.
saltwatershane 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is freakin awesome! Keep it up! How big is your company?
berberous 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mind blowing. I don't know that I'd ever really use it, but this is super cool and really well done!
autrefoius 4 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe it's just me, but the site rick-rolled me on each concert I tried to check out.
loboman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, thanks!!
ChrisArchitect 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff. This is like Photosynth for videos! Remember Photosynth?
pirko 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool idea but when I tried "Arcade Fire - Austin City Limits" 2011 http://switchcam.com/event/arcade-fire-austin-city-limits-20... it was far from correct.
gmatty 5 days ago 0 replies      
wow. super cool
aDemoUzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
very cool. worked swell.
Learning Modern 3D Graphics Programming arcsynthesis.org
390 points by julian37  4 days ago   51 comments top 16
exDM69 4 days ago 3 replies      
This one of the only tutorials on OpenGL that is worth reading. This is the one we recommend at ##opengl in freenode.

Most GL tutorials use deprecated legacy OpenGL 1.x, which is terrible from an efficiency standpoint and has very little to do with modern 3d hardware. In addition to using legacy API's, they are often plain badly written.

The same applies to many books on OpenGL. They use legacy GL and/or are written by clueless people who know very little about the hardware the code runs on. Then they get branded with a silly name like "Writing 3d apps for iPhone", because the books stand no chance in comparison with better GL books.

Don't ask me for book recommendations, I don't really know. The only one I've heard good things about is the very latest edition of the OpenGL Superbible.

exDM69 4 days ago 1 reply      

Here's another one that's pretty good. Not as long but maybe a even a bit more thorough.

jacobolus 4 days ago 0 replies      
rdouble 4 days ago 1 reply      
What is considered the canonical graphics book these days?
Back in my time it was Foley and Van Dam.
nicolasp 4 days ago 2 replies      
PDF versions (including one in Kindle format) are available in the archives at https://bitbucket.org/alfonse/gltut/downloads
davidwparker 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for great resource!

I've been making some screencasts recently, and I'll admit that they're not exactly "modern", as I'm using OpenGL 2.1. The main reason I'm still there is due to OSX-- I should probably invest in a modern Windows/Linux machine that at least runs OpenGL 3.3, so I can make something more up-to-date.

Anyway, bookmarked- thanks!

angerman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. I wonder if there will be a kindle version available. Does anyone know how to automatically convert that website into a kindle ready format?
fishtastic 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've started reading this after I found it on an old HN post. I went through everything except chapter 12, 13, and the latest one that just came out. I would highly recommend learning OpenGL from this tutorial if you have no prior experience with opengl or computer graphics. This tutorial dives right into shaders in the very first chapter, where as the other sources (the red book, opengl superbible) still tries to teach your fixed pipeline rendering for several chapters before introducing glsl.
bbrizzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is learning OpenGL from wthe ground up really the best way to go? The trend nowadays in programming seems to be to dive directly into the deep end. Wouldn't it be faster to just download a game engine like Unreal Engine 3 and go through its tutorial, learning about OpenGL along the way?

I'm using the example of Unreal Engine, first because it's extremely popular but also because their online "developpers' network" seems pretty well done: http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/TechnicalHome.html

frankc 4 days ago 1 reply      
Could anyone recommend something similar for 2D programming in opengl, or anything else, or would that be covered in this tutorial? I'm mostly interested in building custom data visualizations beyond what is offered in the kind of visualization libraries I use like ggplot2.
felipemnoa 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wished it were in pdf. Is really annoying to have to follow the links in HTML.
ejenkinsiii 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been been eyeballing this tutorial as an introduction to OpenGL/3d graphics, my question to HN is what's your opinion on learning 3d graphics with OpenGL vs. something like libcinder.org or www.openframeworks.cc which has bindings to OpenGL I'm not doing any game design mainly learning and understanding what the facilities of the API are and the logic of graphics programming
pcestrada 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a paper book version? Didn't see it on amazon.
octopus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a great first book on OpenGL, written in a tutorial style. One can read this book first and then approach more complex (complete) books like OpenGL SuperBible.
gizmo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has anybody found a PDF version?
miloco 4 days ago 2 replies      
A Java version of this would be great. A lot of it I can follow but there are some parts which look totally foreign.
Swiss Government: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal torrentfreak.com
376 points by Uncle_Sam  2 days ago   201 comments top 15
VonLipwig 2 days ago  replies      
Wait.. what is this? A Government talking sense! Wow!

Most of my friends 'acquire' digital content. All spend money on cinema, entertainment events, video games and legit DVD's and box sets of things they really like.

In all cases the decision to go pirate is convenience + cost. A DVD at £14 is seen as too expensive. Similarly 79p for a single audio track file which you only need to play on your iPod seems a little pricy. Since Spotify came about everyone I know has cut back on music downloaded. Apart from iPod tracks there is no reason to get the actual file.

If pirated content disappeared overnight I personally would mostly live without. If I did buy a DVD for a silly price, that would mean I wouldn't be visiting the cinema that week. I think the majority of my friends would do the same.

The trouble with law makers is the influence the music and film industry have on them. The facts are there to be seen. Someone who goes out of their way to get a pirate copy of something will typically spend more on entertainment than those who don't.

The music industry likes to believe that every track downloaded is 79p they could have had. That isn't the case at all. If you took away all pirated material you would restrict discovery of new entertainment. Film / Music people may get slightly more money from certain people but the majority of this money would come at the expensive of other things.

I am not saying piracy is good but it certainly isn't the devil which many law and policy makers make out it is and its nice to see this acknowledged by an EU state.

CaptainZapp 2 days ago 5 replies      
Well, yes. It always was.

Using services like allofmp3.com in Switzerland was and is perfectly legal (if you can find a way to pay for it).

There's a reason for that: Swiss legislators believe that it can not be up to the user of a download site to judge if this site is legit and is licensed to sell downloads to Swiss customers.

This doesn't mean that uploading is allowed. As soon you upload files or even fragments of files you crossed the line into illegality.

The whole "It is very terribly illegal what you're doing here, downloader!" hokum was basically pushed by IFPI and the content industry.

It's a lie (at least in Switzerland).

tomlin 2 days ago 3 replies      
> ...the Swiss government has been conducting a study into the impact downloading has on society, and this week their findings were presented.

This is where I stopped and took a moment. The government did research. Proactively. For the good of its people.

To the Swiss government, the people of the country (or, the impact to the people of the country) are/is considered before an external interest. That isn't to say the external interest isn't important, just not as important as the people.

That's the difference. In North America, we concern ourselves with jobs so much that it actually makes them go away. If you sympathize with the industry, the industry takes advantage and cements itself to a position of necessity.

Artists will continue making movies and music because that's what artists do " with or without the entertainment industry.

The entertainment industry needs us, we don't need them.

dbrannan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is my experience:

• I took my family to see the Incredibles - cost $7.50 x $5.00 = $37.50

• I like it so much we purchased the DVD - cost $19.50

• Somehow the DVD broke, so in a fit I purchased it through iTunes - $14.95

• Lost that hard drive and had no back up - torrents save the day.

My philosophy is pixar has already made their mint on me. This one movie cost my family $71.95, and I'm not about to pay for it again.

Kesty 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's worth mentioning that in Switzerland only downloading copyrighted material for personal use is Legal, not uploading.

So P2P and file sharing is still illegal since you are uploading while downloading.

hammock 2 days ago 5 replies      
"I buy the music of bands I really like. I buy their albums as a conscious choice to support them."

This argument is made a lot, but it's weird. Music isn't CHARITY! It's a manufactured good. I don't give KitchenAid $150 for a stand mixer to "support them and the great things they create." I do it to buy their stand mixer.

Just to be clear, I'm not a copyright advocate. Just think it's a twisted frame of mind to think about music as above.

Archio 2 days ago  replies      
What is it about European countries that make them so reasonable and open to progress? This is great news, because for once there's actually a law on pirating that's based on research, unlike US laws centered around "job creators" losing money.
jgeralnik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would argue that what copyrights should do is give rights holders the exclusive right to make a profit off of them - other people should not be able to simply steal your ideas and sell them. That said, copyright does not mean that you must be paid for your work. If you can offer a service that people want to pay for, by all means go ahead. If people are not willing to pay for your work, find another job.

Back when distribution cost money, it was a reasonable service that was provided. Specifically, rights holders allow corporations to use and distribute their intellectual property and then people would pay for the service of distribution.

With distribution free in today's world, there is no longer profit to be made by controlling distribution. However, those corporations want to create artificial scarcity so that they can continue to use their old business model. We do not have any responsibility to sustain obsolete business models.

With no money to be made in simple distribution, content creators must focus on different services if they wish to make a profit. There are many different ways to do this. One option is to reform digital distribution - make it more convenient to purchase than it is to pirate (Netflix, Spotify). Another option presented earlier in this thread is live performances, but obviously that does not work in every industry. Yet another option presented is to monetize creation - appeal directly to fans, run kickstarter campaigns, etc. Find people willing to pay money for you to create more content.

Because at the end of the day, people focusing on the old model of distribution are offering me a service I don't need. I can obtain information for free - the costs of digital distribution are zero. Profits must be found elsewhere.

The exclusive right to make a profit should continue to belong to the content creator, so you still cannot sell copies. However, since distribution is free, I see no problem with giving away copies.

killnine 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wait... what is this? A Government doing research? Weighing solutions?

We should all print this article and mail it to our government

fla 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's also worth mentioning that entertainment is quiet expensive in Switzerland. For example watching a 3d movie at the local theater will cost you around 21CHF (~17€ or ~$23). Wich is really expensive IMO.
edanm 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn't. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing."

Hate to burst the bubble, but this is a pretty stupid conclusion if you're trying to advocate for piracy. People who download more tend to buy more. Why is this surprising? Obviously, the people who download more are the same people who care more about entertainment, so of course these are also the people who'll pay more.

That is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion of whether piracy is a net benefit. It's mixing up causation with correlation. Download more pirate content is not causing people to go to more concerts - the people who would "naturally" go to more concerts are the same people who would "naturally" buy more music, but are now simply downloading more music.

Note: Or at least, that's another theory, which is also the correct one in my opinion. My point is that this fact doesn't prove in any way that piracy is good.

mattee 2 days ago 3 replies      
Easy for them to say. But are they also ok with people creating counterfeit Swiss watches?
rglover 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but think of this scene from Cool Runnings after reading this article: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVrcnyn5ZZ4
tux1968 2 days ago 0 replies      
Time to get a Swiss proxy account. ;o)
michaelfeathers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The MPAA and RIAA could declare war on Switzerland, but there are all of those mountains.
How does SOPA threaten Stack Overflow? stackoverflow.com
374 points by sathyabhat  5 days ago   74 comments top 11
16s 5 days ago 1 reply      
I was once the registered DMCA agent for a large organization. All of the registered agents are listed on the US Copyright's Office website so that rights holders can look-up the names and addresses to send notices when an IP address within that organization is found to have content that is thought to be infringing (P2P, music, movies, etc).

Fewer than 1 in 10 came to me (the person registered to receive the notices). Subcontractors working on behalf of rights holders would send notices to any email address that they could find. Some went to retired employees, transferred employees, etc. It got so bad that we put a comment in ARIN that specified the agent's contact address to try and stop it. Didn't work.

The DMCA requires a proper notice be sent to the registered agent and grants the organization safe-harbor. It is very well defined. Here is the official list of registered agents (the one and only list... but DMCA subcontractors don't read it):


alttag 5 days ago  replies      
I participated in the recent EFF push for contacting elected representatives regarding SOPA. I customized their pre-packaged letter greatly, adding both my experience and qualifications and expounding on the distrust from the tech industry to SOPA.

The response from my (Republican) Congressman was a form letter telling me I was wrong, and regurgitating a the pro-SOPA talking points.

I've been contemplating a rather severe letter in response, but I haven't gotten to it as I don't believe anything I can say to him will be effective.

bradleyland 5 days ago 4 replies      
Did anyone ever think we'd see the day where we were using DMCA as an example of the preferrable alternative?
ghurlman 5 days ago 2 replies      
Thanksgiving was the cutesy (but needed) Upgrade Your Parents' Browser Day.

$winter_holiday_of_choice should include a Explain SOPA To Your Parents Lunch or something - we need to get as many level-headed against SOPA as possible.

maeon3 5 days ago 2 replies      
The global internet is quickly becoming a more powerful entity than all the rulers in Congress. Congress will not stop trying to put a leash on it. The more powerful the internet gets, the more you will see Congress trying anything to establish control. Child pornography, digital rights, copyright, Chinese hackers, national security, containing the terrorists, fud... Congress will use military force if necessary if the global internet challenges its supreme authority as global sovreign. Which one day it will.
ilaksh 5 days ago 2 replies      
The fact that its even possible for this law to be considered should give people another hint at how dangerous and negligent our "representatives" are. Other obvious hints are apparent also, such as the Patriot Act and about 100 other things I won't mention.

People just need to face reality. Its a corrupt system. The government is full of fraudsters and even mass murderers. I know its hard to accept that, but that's the truth.

The other problem is that its the very structure of our government and society that creates these outcomes over and over again.

We need to do some agile engineering on society, starting from base premises.

jamesmoss 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is great but surely we need to be targeting a wider audience? SO is made up of tech enthusiasts, I imagine a large percentage of them have heard of SOPA and understand the issues. However they probably represent a tiny fraction of the population.

Really we need the eBay's, AOL's and Craiglist's of this world to be running campaigns like this, getting the message out to the more casual internet user.

smackfu 5 days ago 1 reply      
Odd they didn't do this on the day that every other site did. Or has it been up since then?
TomGullen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very good, I already had a lot of respect for SO now I have a lot more!
randymorris 4 days ago 0 replies      
The whole SOPA and PROTECT IP thing is a power play to leverage the Internet community into a compromise which would allow the acceptance of a removal of anonymous internet usage.
flyingyeti 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm used to seeing a close button on these types of messages on Stack Overflow. Kind of a nuisance to have it stuck there even after I've signed the petition. Maybe if it were a different color, or I hadn't been trained to read all of the yellow status messages on each SO page, it would be less annoying..
"What I Miss About Counterstrike" - Blog authored by CSS legend JonMumm eseanews.com
335 points by janineyoong  5 days ago   101 comments top 25
gwern 4 days ago 5 replies      
If I may, David Foster Wallace (as so often) said it better:

> “But it's better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing…the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one's mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think. Note the way”up close and personal" profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life " outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what's obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It's farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child's world, is very small…[Tennis player Michael] Joyce is, in other words, a complete man, though in a grotesquely limited way…Already, for Joyce, at twenty-two, it's too late for anything else; he's invested too much, is in too deep. I think he's both lucky and unlucky. He will say he is happy and mean it. Wish him well."


(A quote I come back to on occasion, thinking about my essay http://www.gwern.net/The%20Melancholy%20of%20Subculture%20So... )

jiggy2011 5 days ago 6 replies      
I spent a fair amount of my youth playing counterstrike and still have fond memories of it. I also learned to program roughly around the same time and found the later far more fulfilling in the long run. I learned skills in programming in those years that I still use today, but whenever I even touch a public counter strike (source) server these days I get hopelessly owned by a new generation.

I now see video games as pure downtime in the same way as watching a movie or something, I used to be very competitive and my scores in public servers and clan matches deeply mattered, despite all of this I really wish I had spent more of my CS time learning programming or taking up a completely different hobby (e.g real sport or music). I sometimes wonder where I would be now if I had spent that time doing something else.
The problem with video games is that you are spending your time perfecting something that is useful only in a very specific virtual world which can be radically changed or even destroyed at any time.
A very small minority of people may become "professional gamers" but for the most part it feels like almost completely wasted time in hindsight.

Will it make you money? No
Will it get you laid? No
Will it help you express yourself? No
Will it make you healthy and fit? No
Will it better mankind in some manner? No

I'm not hating on video games, just if you are going to spend that amount of time becoming awesome at something it does seem like a very poor choice.

sev 5 days ago 3 replies      
To be the best at anything, means that you must live abnormally and do abnormal things. This is why being the best at everything is nearly impossible, since each thing to master would require different kinds of abnormalities and different ways of living abnormally.

This is why you find "geniuses" in a particular field, like math, or music, and they're usually not-so-genius in most other fields. "Genius" is attainable in my book, it's a matter of being focused and "putting your mind to it" as the article states, and this focus and "putting your mind to it" require being and doing abnormal things.

windsurfer 5 days ago 4 replies      
CSS being counter strike: source, though he may be talented at using cascading style sheets as well.
noobface 4 days ago 0 replies      
I started competitive play at 15, eventually peaking at 18 with 2 CPL showings. I probably played vs. juan at a couple LANs.

The amount of focus, time, and sheer mental fortitude required showed me what it took to truly master something. When I could drop 35 kills in a half in a tournament, or kill 10 people in a round in a pub, I understood my level of commitment had led to that success.

I spent the past few years at a telecom/networking company doing sales as an engineer. Multi-million dollar deals, complex designs and high-stress situations. Learning to communicate only what was relevant and necessary, eliminating all extraneous information, was essential to success. My co-workers looked to me to quickly prioritize targets, shift strategy, and keep morale high as we focused on the end goal of closing.

Counter-strike taught me that. No other "group project" or random nonsense in college prepared me to work with the most highly regarded and ardent professionals in the world. My team would put egos aside, drop all sense of the individual, and focus on beating an enemy that was composed of the very same caliber.

It taught me the value of "ideal scenarios" or "how it's supposed to work". The immaculate plans leading up to a meeting, that required innumerable changes during practical execution. Without the ability to communicate as fluidly as possible between individuals any slight shift in the plan would create utter confusion and chaos, quickly exploited by a foe just begging for you to make a mistake.

I'd like to grab a beer with JonMumm. There's just something about the high-level Counter-Strike people that has reassured me that there are others out there can place so much of themselves into something that it doesn't become second nature, it becomes you.

kang 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is a place called Kota in India. It is a hub of coaching institutes trying to assist highschool students get admission into top engineering and medical colleges(IIT,AIIMS) of India.

>5000 hours of counterstrike is pretty common game-time that students living there spend and you would easily find >25000 kids of age 15-16 such types. Millions of students go there each year. Competition is so tough that hardly top 2% get admissions into IITs.

As a result, >90% do not study.

You see them playing they are experts! Most of them don't even know how to log into a server. The cybercafe would set up the LAN for them. All they do is play, all the time. As per rule the shops are supposed to close after 11 pm. But these shops have eating/smoking and toilet arrangements inside. They pull down the shutter, as if the shop is closed from 11 to 6. Students stay 'voluntarily trapped' inside for a LAN party at a discounted rate of 1-2$ for the whole night. Once the course is over, the gig is too. they go back to their hometowns, never playing again.

I work in Delhi and I see clans participating and even winning international competitions like WCG. But even the gameplay of the best, is only at par average as per Kota standards.

All this time spent for happiness, curing boredom. Rajasthan would be the biggest consumer of CS, DoTA, Tekken, AoE if pirated stuff is counted for.

bprater 5 days ago 2 replies      
League of Legends has become my modern-day Counter-Strike. The buzz the author mentions is exactly the buzz I get playing the game over hundreds of hours. The rules of the game are fairly simple -- and inside of that simplicity a desire for perfection emerges. It's fun and challenging -- likely why I'm a programmer, too.
intended 4 days ago 0 replies      
Gaming taught me a lot and made my life better. I was depressed and with few positive catalysts.
Warcraft 3 made me play with other people, meet people who I am friends with today and also taught me to be excellent.

I got to compete, set up a clan which trained other people, and held tournaments, and taught me how to take responsibility for my team.
Like someone else mentioned, I learnt how to maintain morale, how to take on the jobs no one liked and to excel at them. Having people have faith in your strategy, making people follow your plan, knowing how important it is to even have one, no matter how bad, I learnt that from gaming.

But above all, like the OP, i learnt what it means to be the best at something. I look back at that time and am glad I did it. It helped me start building myself back up and taught me the basics of team work which I use everyday.

cdk 5 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for the great article. Counter Strike was the game that really got me interested in programming. I got introduced to it in early 2000 and was blown away that this game was made by hobbyists who created a mod (expansion package) for Half Life which in itself was revolutionary at the time. Eventually Valve acquired Counter Strike and the rest is history. I still think fondly of the many hours spent on de_dust and cs_assault.
kaichanvong 4 days ago 1 reply      
Having read this, there are so many skills you can pick up from the gaming culture that helps you integrate with working as a programmer.

He probably knows how to do scripting from IRC... maybe he's written a bot or knows how a bot works from IRC. I remember lots of bots that work in different way and what you can learn from watching it run.

At 16 I remember seeing my very first bot and being amazed by it. The problem was that I was on a Windows box and everyone around me was on Linux. Then the problem was which language did I pick. Then the problem was that the most popular language was a bitch to install... then there was the problem I had no idea what the error was and if it was something I had done.

Oh the list goes on.

What I'm trying to say is, not everything is a waste. Knowing when something is valuable enough to spend time of is a skill in its self.

+1 procrastination proclaimer

rkon 5 days ago 2 replies      
Cliff notes: being great at something requires spending a lot of time on it.

Not exactly groundbreaking insight, and I disagree entirely with the assertion that such dedication makes one "weird". Any sane person would be jealous of someone who's so passionate about their career that they gladly dedicate signifant effort to mastering it. The fact that he chose to spend 10,000+ hours mastering Counter Strike is the "weird" part, although I'd personally love to see gaming become more accepted here as a professional sport.

taylorfausak 5 days ago 0 replies      
Based on the title, I expected Jon to explain the things he missed about Counter-Strike, the game, with respect to Counter-Strike: Source (CSS), the sequel. That's not what this is about. It's a retrospective on his career as a professional CS player.

I then wondered why he didn't pick up another game or hobby. Turns out, he did. "Earlier this year I stumbled my way in to the world of tech startups."

tsotha 5 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: You can do anything you want to do, but you can't do everything you want to do.
cliftonk 5 days ago 0 replies      
I played with and against him for years. His old teammate n0it was chatting with me on facebook for a while about my start-up-turned-company as he uses our software on his campus. I had not talked to either of them for a few years at minimum.

Jon's a great guy. Good read. Very surprised I saw something like this on HN. Small world, eh?

baby 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think I'm also very close to those 10.000 hours in cs 1.6. I can really relate to this guy story. I don't think many people will ever experience that adrenaline you get when you're in high level competition. That is sport or esport. It's like a first girl friend, I will never experience that feeling again and that kind of makes me sad.

I know I've wasted a big part of my life playing this game, but I don't regret because of that competition feeling, that stress, that happiness when you win a tournament, that solidarity between players of the same team, the nights spend training and practicing...

whunut 5 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. I thought this would be a critique of modern day first person shooters.
kgosser 4 days ago 0 replies      
Love the shoutout to Aaron Rodgers! lol

But seriously, as a former Cal-I vet myself, I know exactly what he's talking about. And I can relate to how it feels like that in the world of start-ups.

In my opinion, a lot of it has to do with the book "FLOW". We should all go read it.

Good stuff!

ggwicz 4 days ago 0 replies      
"When you pursue something difficult, eventually you have to make a choice between being balanced, normal, and conventional, and being different, weird, and exceptional. I chose the latter."

Wow. You are not a normal writer. More writing needs to come from the heart like this. I don't even care about video games and loved this article.

mafro 5 days ago 0 replies      
"all of a sudden I'm in a de_dust pub server and I just picked up my first mp5"

Ahh the memories..

muffs 5 days ago 0 replies      

It's a great feeling, being the 'best' or better than the majority. I've also experienced the void created after deciding to move on. I still feel as though I'm on an endless search to find something that I can be as passionate about.

Thanks for the great read!

junto 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looking back to a few years ago, I would actually say that I was addicted to CS. Playing matches in a clan is a sure fire way to drive the addiction because it becomes hard to leave without letting your teammates down.

Luckily, due to Steam's awful user account tools via the client and the website, I am unable to recover my Steam password. The only way to recover it is to deface the CD box by writing the support ticket number on it, taking a photograph of that defacement and the product key and then sending that photo to their support email address. Then they will reset your password.

You know what, I'm really not that bothered!

deepkut 4 days ago 0 replies      
Few news articles (even on HN) 'move' me, but this one did. To all those whom were among the best at a popular game, you understand.

Some interesting comments: like whether playing CS, or any other game, is "worth it." I agree with kejadlen, "does it make you happy?" Though heroin, at some point in time, makes addicts "happy." One thing is for certain though, the feeling of mastery gets harder and harder to find later in life, at least with regards to professions or wealth.

DutGRIFF33 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Nicely said. I help out with Ninja Girl's party in D2 which is a Counter Strike Source server and I never hear anything about Counter Strike outside of the server anymore. I am curious to see what Counter Strike Global Offensive will be like. Our server is the most popular in the US and I am pretty sure we can keep that status in CS:GO. I am kinda hoping it brings the spotlight back to CS.
erikb 4 days ago 1 reply      
What is a stratcaller?
robbiet480 5 days ago 1 reply      
Oh Janine, you so funny.
Dwolla: transactions under $10 are free dwolla.com
325 points by rarrrrrr  3 days ago   90 comments top 19
patio11 3 days ago 5 replies      
For historical reasons, ACH is approximately as fast as airmailing someone money. When all the stars line up correctly, it is as fast as Fedexing money. Credit cards are like emailing money (and Paypal was, very explicitly,about emailing money). Dwolla is based on ACH.

There's probably a lot that can be done with cheap, user-friendly ACH in an API, but I don't know if folks really understand the "Your transaction takes 100 hours to settle" bit.

dmethvin 3 days ago 5 replies      
Based on our collective confusion it is clear that the number one obstacle to using Dwolla is their own web site. When the "how it works" page starts with "First there was bartering, then there was coinage, and of course paper tender followed with checks right behind." I'm fading fast.

I want a description of how a transaction goes down. I got that you set up Dwolla by attaching to a bank account for ACH. I got that you use your phone--somehow. Can anyone explain the somehow? How about sending cash to a friend, is there any online demo of the interface for that?

rgarcia 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've been following Dwolla for a while now, and I think this is a good step for them. I still have two big concerns, though:

1. Credit cards. Consumers like using them--they offer something that debit cards don't: an "undo" option. Dwolla seems to have gone all in on pleasing merchants, but I think there are still huge barriers to get consumers to use their service. What's the value proposition? Why should I deposit money into a Dwolla account when I can just swipe a card?

2. This might seem petty, but their site needs a re-design. When it comes to payments, your site needs to inspire confidence and trust. Compared to Square [1] and Stripe [2], Dwolla's blog and main site all look like amateur hour. Until recently their developer docs consisted of stickies in phpBB-esque forum.

[1] https://squareup.com/
[2] https://stripe.com/

bad_user 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tried registering - the 20 chars limit on their password field is not mentioned. For a company that should be aware about security implications, an upper limit should not be there.

Also, I connected my Facebook account from the start, so Dwolla should know my country of origin before my attempt to register. However, only when I got prompted for my address info (third screen) I saw the message "U.S. only...for now", but hey, my city name got filled in.

And before that I tried looking around, going to their Help section, searching - I found no mention of this US-only thing.

vinhboy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand how this thing works. How is it different from paypal?

Someone at Dwolla should make a nice infographic explaining it. And a chart comparing Dwolla to paypal, google checkout, etc...

The 25 cents flat fee is the big selling point, but its well hidden in the support page.

thinkcomp 3 days ago 3 replies      
The question here is really "for how long?"

Ben isn't running a charity. If he thinks this strategy will help increase the user base, he could be right. The only problem is that if that strategy works, he'll be losing money on almost every transaction. (ACH transfers are cheap, but they're not free.) Dwolla also has pretty limited fraud detection at this point, and no bonds in most states to serve as nominal protection (see http://www.facecash.com/legal/brown.html). So at some point the price will need to rise again.

If the strategy does not work, then this will just hasten the company's demise. There's a remote chance it could help catalyze an acquisition, but that's really remote.

I then thought for a minute that perhaps this was a step toward operating legally in states like Pennsylvania (see http://www.thinkcomputer.com/corporate/whitepapers/heldhosta...), which waives its money transmission regulations only if you do not charge a fee (a la Venmo), but since you'd have to pay a fee at $10.01, that doesn't make sense.

So honestly I'm not sure I get what's going on here.

smackfu 3 days ago 2 replies      
My two questions are:

1) As a consumer, if I see a Dwolla payment option and a Paypal payment option, why would I pick Dwolla?

2) As a seller, if I only have a Dwolla payment option, how many sales would I lose?

kgtm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do my _users_ need to be in the USofA to enjoy Dwolla?[0]

> Currently yes. We are exploring which market to enter next :)

Not a criticism, just a heads up for developers not targeting solely USA clients...

[0] http://getsatisfaction.com/dwolla/topics/do_my_users_need_to...

sgornick 3 days ago 0 replies      
What's the quickest way to load funds to a Dwolla account?

If you already have bitcoins, then you simply trade them for USDs on an exchange such as Intersango.com or MtGox. Then withdraw those USDs to your Dwolla account and the funds are available for spending right away. From bitcoins to Dwolla USD, in a matter of minutes -- even including the time it takes to sign up for Dwolla!

If you don't already have bitcoins, you can probably find someone willing to trade their Dwolla funds for your PayPal funds. The #bitcoin-otc marketplace has traders who have Dwolla USDs but for whatever reason need to move those funds to PayPal. Oftentimes they will accept a 1:1 trade (e.g., your $50 PayPal buys $50 Dwolla USD.)

mc32 3 days ago 2 replies      
I imagine they have a mechanism to detect abuse? I.e. a $100 transaction broken into ten $10 transactions to avoid the fee.
fossuser 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is Dwolla a competitor to https://www.simple.com/ ? I'm not sure exactly what their service does - I know it's different than paypal and google checkout from previous articles. Can you use it to pay at brick and mortar stores like a debit card? It seems like it would only be useful if all merchants already accept it. Am I missing something or can someone explain it to me better?
dholowiski 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh... US Only... as usual...
nchuhoai 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting article that was on HN earlier I think:


mncolinlee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Based on earlier comments by their founder, I imagine it's only a matter of time before they compete directly with credit cards using NFC. He's suggested that their goal is to compete directly with credit card companies like Visa.

Dwolla is currently making most of their revenue and customers from large landlords on rent payments. If Dwolla can produce an NFC badge or keychain (until NFC catches on in more phones) and can somehow become synonymous with NFC payments before the credit cards become big there, then I can see a huge market opening up for them. Vendors hate transaction fees and customers love convenience.

jarin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like what Dwolla is doing, but unfortunately without a faster way to move money out of Dwolla (transfer to PayPal, debit card, etc.) it's pretty useless for me right now.

The devs have told me that's completely against all they stand for, blah blah, but I think if they're trying to take down PayPal and the credit card companies they really need to budge a little bit to make the transition more palatable. I don't mind eating transaction fees until I can get some clients to use it.

nchuhoai 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how hard it is to spin up a service like this on their own? Given they use relatively cheap ACH transfers, wouldn't you just need to find a bank that manages the money for you, and the rest is just doing a bunch of those ACH transfers?

Also, I'm not very familiar with US banking system, but it seems as Dwolla can withdraw funds from your account after you "verified" the account. It's a pretty common thing in Germany, but I have never heard of that in the US. Can any business do it or is it a Dwolla-specific thing?

epscylonb 3 days ago 1 reply      
And this is unrelated to their upcoming big announcement on the 15th, there has been speculation that they will start accepting bitcoin.
hugs 3 days ago 1 reply      
This could be a boon for taxi drivers. They hate credit card fees, especially for quick trips that are <= $10.
treelovinhippie 3 days ago 0 replies      
Still only available for US bank accounts :(

I'm in Australia, any way to easily/cheaply open a US bank account?

Carrier IQ references discovered in Apple's iOS theverge.com
299 points by acak  3 days ago   87 comments top 23
Kylekramer 3 days ago 4 replies      
Companies love data. Every last of one of them from your local grocery store to Apple. Love it, want as much of it as possible. Heck, most of the major publicized features of iOS 5 put your data on Apple's servers (iMessage: your texts and MMS; Siri: pretty much every thing including searches, calendars, and email; iCloud: it is called iCloud).

Long and short of it is that if you want privacy beyond "I'm boring, so no one cares", a device that holds pretty much every important bit of info about you made by large corporations that is nearly always connected to the internet via carriers isn't really for you.

nirvana 3 days ago 4 replies      
Several issues with this story:

1. The reference is found in a 2 year old version of iOS.

2. "IQAgent" sounds like things Apple could name, e.g.: I've seen no evidence that this has anything to do with CarrierIQ. There's been no disassembly (unless I missed it) so it quite possibly could simply be the fact that at one point Apple used the two letters "IQ" in an obscure file.

3. People watch the data iPhones transmit pretty closely, I know I have on occasion watched iOS devices talking to the cloud. If "every keystroke, every SMS" were being logged, I'd think people would have more than just a filename to go on.

4. As mentioned it seems this file is not used outside of diagnostic mode, which makes this much ado about nothing at this point.

I think its fine to be suspicious, but these things really should be approached with some objective detachment until actual transmission of user data that shouldn't happen is uncovered.

I don't know how many of the points above apply to the "indications" in android as well, but I think we should have more neutral, unemotional, and detached coverage of it as well.

I think spying on people is bad, and I think that americans are spied on more today than ever before. I think that's also why we have to be really careful about reporting it.

Edit: Deleted a digression that pointed out that the government is including language in recent legislation that allows them to collect data about us that previously would have been illegal. This was a distraction from my main point.

gurkendoktor 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I upgraded to iOS5, I was asked if I wanted to help Apple by automatically sending anonymous usage data. Doesn't this sound like exactly what CarrierIQ would be doing? If this is really what it is, then this is a total non-issue on iOS.

See here (for those not on iOS5): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxBsKO2lJQk#t=42s

But if this is CarrierIQ working there, then it means it's also being used in Europe. And it probably also means that the media will get in an iOS vs Android fight again instead of highlighting the issue. And FWIW, it surprises me much more that RIM would do crap like that.

X-Istence 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wish we could get straight answers from Apple, HTC, Nokia, Samsung and others as to whether this tracking technology is located within devices they are selling, on what carriers and what is happening with the data, what is logged, where is it logged, what it shipped from the device up to remote servers, and exactly how is that data being used?
jritch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Apple would like your help to improve the quality and performance of its products and services. Your device can automatically collect diagnostic and usage information and send it to Apple for analysis " but only with your explicit consent.

Diagnostic and usage information may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your device and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally. Personal data is either not logged at all or is removed from any reports before they're sent to Apple. You can review the information by going to Settings, tapping General, tapping About and looking under Diagnostics & Usage.

If you have consented to provide Apple with this information, and you have Location Services turned on, the location of your device may also be sent to help Apple analyze wireless or cellular performance issues (for example, the strength or weakness of a cellular signal in a particular location). This diagnostic location data may include the location of your device once per day, or the location where a call ends. You may choose to turn off Location Services for Diagnostics at any time. To do so, open Settings, tap Location Services, tap System Services and turn off the Diagnostics switch.

You may also choose to turn off Diagnostics altogether. To do so, open Settings, tap General, tap About and choose “Don't Send” under Diagnostics & Usage.  

To help Apple's partners and third-party developers improve their apps, products and services designed for use with Apple products, Apple may provide such partners or developers with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner's or developer's app, product or service, as long as the diagnostic information is aggregated or in a form that does not personally identify you.

For more information, see Apple's Privacy Policy at www.apple.com/privacy

epistasis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps now this story will get the media storm it deserves.
doe88 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here are the result of the current investigations made by @chpwn http://blog.chpwn.com/post/13572216737

I'm an iOS user and I'm concerned by this, I know that maybe these data are not sent to any remote server or maybe it depends on the carrier, but still I'm concerned that Apple would integrate a third party binary on its system. That's plain wrong for me. I want them to tell us what their phone collect, what their phone send to remote servers and for what uses. It is a matter of trust, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose and I think that Apple should handle this asset with great care.

1010100101 3 days ago 1 reply      
I imagine there might be other software/consulting companies in the business of stealthily collecting GB and PB's of personal data about consumers using wired and mobile networks who are thinking "Am I next?"

And I imagine some of their employees' minds might now be filling with thoughts about how to justify what they do, or to discount the need for anyone to make a big deal about what they do.

Will consumers care about what's booting when they turn on their phone, or what connections their phones are making? This will be very interesting.

brisance 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently some folks on androidcentral picked it up a little more than a year ago. http://forums.androidcentral.com/sprint-optimus-s/45729-ever...
mey 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone compiled a list of devices confirmed with CIQ, confirmed not to have, unknown and suspected?
rytis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just another angle to approach the problem:

I suppose one way to fight this is to develop some sort of "multiple personalities" behaviour and habits.

There's "normal A" me, who goes to work every day, using the same route, checking the same webpages on route, doing the same web searches while at work, sending the same type of messages on IM during the day, etc, etc.

Then there's another me, "normal B", with his own habits and hobbies. But normal A and normal B should not overlap in terms of devices, friends, maybe even (online) behaviour. Location is bit more difficult, especially when you're at home. Home should be associated with only one "persona".

Once you make a conscious effort it might become easier with time, and thus hiding your real "identity".

Drawbacks?... Well, sounds bit like DID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder), so don't get caught accidentally :)

aheilbut 3 days ago 0 replies      
Surely whatever this is tracking is covered under the contracts with the carriers. Someone must have read them...
justinweiss 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested, you can see the data the iPhone has collected so far -- Go to Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostics -> Diagnostic & Usage Data.
tlear 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone seen any specifics about CIQ on blackberry? I hear reference to it in the original Eckhart video but can not seem to find real data
OoTheNigerian 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why is Carrier IQ being made the villain here? From what I understand, they provide a service which has been abused by the phone manufacturers probably in conjunction with the carriers.

Logitech makes web-cams, would you hold them responsible if you found them hidden in hotel rooms and they were put there based on request by the CIA?

Let us hold the right people responsible. That will mean Apple, HTC, Samsung, RIM etc.

Samuel_Michon 3 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. That leaves Windows Phone and Bada as the only mobile OSes where no Carrier IQ references have been found so far.
mikerg87 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will give he befit of the doubt to apple right now. Remeber that Steve was talking about iAd and one of the benefits was that they hated how personal data was just taken from users. And privacy was a problem in apple' link up to FacEBook which didn't happen.

If it's active - its going to leave a huge huge mark.

kumarm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will Fortune Pay losses for (non Apple) Smartphone Manufacturers for costing them sales now?


berend 3 days ago 0 replies      
What i wonder is, who gets the data? Is it the carrier or Apple?
alantrrs 3 days ago 0 replies      
uhmm...this sound more and more like a Carnivore reloaded
naico 3 days ago 0 replies      
naico 3 days ago 0 replies      
leoh 3 days ago 1 reply      
It turns out the setting to disable statistics is a bit tricky to get to. On the latest version of iOS, I found it at Settings>General>About>Diagnostics & Usage.
Facebook buys Gowalla cnn.com
299 points by mitchellh  2 days ago   102 comments top 24
whalesalad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Definitely a talent acquisition. Gowalla has always been absolutely gorgeous, through all of it's various designs. I could never really use it for a long period of time though, because it was only useful with fellow web-dev like friends. In the real world, I think it's pretty useless. Unlike something like Twitter, which managed to grow some legs and start gaining traction with virtually everyone in the world. I'm excited to see what these guys can do at FB.

Also, does anyone else find it amusing that CNN broke this news and there isn't a single mention of it anywhere on TechCrunch?

oldstrangers 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to hear the conversation at foursquare right now. I wonder if they're happy for their competitors, or maybe sad? Perhaps concerned that the check-in novelty is really dying off?
tzury 1 day ago 1 reply      
Off topic to the acquisition, however, not being a Gowalla user, I went to gowalla.com and looked what they have to offer.

Naturally, I look at my town, Tel Aviv[1], and was shocked. Tel Aviv has much more to offer than what it is listed in that guide, and in my opinion, it is far more attractive city than it appear at gowalla (for instance, some photos are rotated upside down, others by 90 degrees).

Perhaps it takes more than just "snap a photo, type short description, we will get the location" to make a tourist guide.

[1] http://gowalla.com/guides/tel-aviv

elbenshira 2 days ago 1 reply      
I remember an article about how Gowalla was bringing SV talent to Austin. Heh.
webandy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hacked together a "recipe" (requires a few steps) to migrate your gowalla checkins to foursquare. I moved 350 of my check-ins this way a couple weeks ago. I wanted to preserve the record of where I'd been, and more of my friends use Foursquare anyway. Unfortunately the 4sq API did not provide a way to back-date the check-in, so they all occurred on the same date (date of the API post). Perhaps that has changed? Take a look, fork/extend/add features etc., hope it is useful for someone else! https://github.com/webandy/migrate_gowalla_checkins_to_fours...
brianbreslin 2 days ago 2 replies      
this has to be a talent acquisition. i wonder how long before gowalla product is mothballed? also wonder how little of a return their investors got?
unreal37 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the purchase price was. And as a side note, Jason Calacanis is one of the angel investors right? Any comment by Jason as to whether he "did ok" or even got his original investment back?
bmac27 2 days ago 1 reply      
It was a very elegantly designed product; cleaner, crisper design than Foursquare's was in my opinion. But I always had difficulty checking in. I literally had to be inside a venue to register a check-in; and even then it was finicky. 30 feet away? Forget it.
bitsoda 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is well-deserved. I could never understand why Gowalla didn't gain as much traction as Foursquare despite their eye for sumptuous design. I often found myself rooting for the company, and I'm glad Google took notice of their talent. I look forward to whatever comes from the team. Congrats, Team Gowalla.
pmf 2 days ago 3 replies      
Facebook has now the best design team in the valley. Hands down.

Gowalla plus Made by Sofa plus Push Pop Press

rwhitman 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Social travel" is kind of a startup black hole. That was a bad direction for a pivot.
hkarthik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Gowalla's been doing some interesting things with Cassandra, so this sounds like a great fit. Congrats to all involved!
kin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gowalla's gorgeous. And right when Google is in process of beautifying all its products, makes sense as a talent buy to me!
raheemm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why did Facebook wait this long? And since they waited this long, it probably means Foursquare rejected whatever offer was made. I wonder what that was.
fourstar 1 day ago 0 replies      
When Facebook goes public, will they be sharing how much this sale was for, or not since it'll be after the fact by the time they have their IPO?
damoncali 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ouch. I was sort of hoping they'd make something of it.
msie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Uh oh, what will happen to the Gowalla api?
pacomerh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gowalla's team has very good eye for design and user experience, so this is a smart move from facebook if this is a talent acquisition move.
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
What ever happened to Gowalla's first product, the game Alamo Fire?
vicngtor 2 days ago 2 replies      
I thought facebook was moving away from checking-in. Is this a talent or product acquisition?
cliftonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats Gowalla!
mindhunter 2 days ago 0 replies      
"buy all the brilliant pixel pushers"
sheraz 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the outside looking in I would say talent acquisition as well.
heyrhett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you Gokidding me?
WikiLeaks: The Spy Files wikileaks.org
292 points by Tsiolkovsky  3 days ago   61 comments top 11
blhack 3 days ago 4 replies      
Wow they really need to redesign the layout on that page. It took me about a minute and a half to realize that this was more than just a blog post about echelon.

The actual files are on the left, in that ~100px wide container.

Here are some brochures from companies that do this stuff:


(The 3G thing is the only part of this that is really surprising. Intercepting wifi isn't really that impressive)

Here is a pricelist of some tech that is, I guess, being sold in Europe:


(Honestly none of this seems very...leaky. Isn't most of this fairly common knowledge to anybody who even reads about hacker conferences?)

mithaler 3 days ago 6 replies      
Wikileaks should not be editorializing.

Feeding us a party line about a "mass surveillance industry" and "Orwell's World" and "Selling Surveillance to Dictators" is not going to bring people to their cause. All it does is make them look like someone with an agenda to push, and I'm not in the habit of going to people with an obvious agenda for a primary source about someone they don't like.

What I want is the old Wikileaks back. Anyone else remember the days when they were actually a wiki? Whistleblowers would approach them with documents from all manner of sources from governments to corporations to religious institutions, they would be subjected to source verification, and then they would be published and indexed for the world to see with minimum fanfare. Back then, I at least got the sense that they were devoted to aiding whistleblowers, not some silly and ineffectual crusade against the US government, no matter how right that cause may be. Can anyone really say that that's gotten us anywhere useful?

Let us see the documents and judge for ourselves what they mean.

runjake 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone point us to a torrent for these files?

If not, why not? Every time the Wikileaks site(s) get taken offline for one reason or another, we lose access to valuable data.

The bottom of the page states "courage is contagious". I'd submit that torrents are even more contagious. Get this stuff on torrents, so it never leaves the Internet for pete's sake!

billpatrianakos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not to minimize the seriousness of the potential for this to invade a sovereign citizen's privacy, but this really counts as a leak?

I didn't read through all the sources but here are the problems with the slant wiki leaks is spinning:

1. First off, this reads like an editorial. We want facts, not spin and their extremely biased writing takes their credibility from wherever it is to far lower now. Orwell's World? Maybe. But let me decide that and don't try to plant the idea. I think an organization that would spin this as anti-government propaganda is just as bad as the some of the things they're opposed to. Give me facts and let me decided - don't throw in opinions to guide me to the "correct" view.

2. I couldn't read every brochure nor do I want to but the brochures and videos I saw weren't all that evil. At least not as evil as they want me to believe. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be spied on and I do see the potential for abuse but the brochures here are things I can get by myself. The HP brochure, the Hacker Team video, and others aren't hiding in some dark government lab. They're out there trying to sell this stuff to the right people! I don't come across it because I have no need for it nor am I interested in it. But anyway, they're pretty quiet about selling this stuff but they do know how to get heard by the right people. That doesn't mean it's a secret. They don't make secret brochures for spy products if their products and services are supposed to be considered sensitive information like wiki leaks wants us to believe.

3. Don't we all know about this? It really isn't a secret anymore that there are companies creating software and hardware specifically meant to take over devices and spy on people. We hope it doesn't happen to us but we know it sometimes does. That sucks. We should know. We should make a fuss and we do. But wiki leaks isn't sharing anything groundbreaking here. We all know about Carrier IQ, right? Maybe CarrierIQ is a little more benign but then we also know about the cyber attack on Iranian nuclear program via Stuxnet so we all know it goes on, already know the abuse potential, and already know about some but not all abuses. Nothing earth shattering again.

4. This could have come off as a jumping off point for discussing the seriousness of the problem in terms of how we can spot and stop the general public from being spied on but instead they just created tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist fodder. I know it did spark some constructive discussion but I'll be damned if it didn't sound like the stuff you can find on anti GWB sites or "Obama is a member of the Skull and Bones, hey look at the secret symbols on a dollar bill" type sites.

Also, I want to see The sources for where they got the information on these spy products being used in Egypt and Lybia. If its there then it's hard to find. And the site needs a better layout. Nothing fancy, just make it easier to navigate and read.

I think WikiLeaks took what could have been a great jumping off point for debate and made it into a joke with their very generous helping of spin and what seems to be an antiestablishment agenda just for the sake of having an antiestablishment agenda.

dangrossman 3 days ago 6 replies      
It's somewhat disconcerting that clicking through to some of these files, I worry there's probably some government agency somewhere along the round trip recording the fact that I've read Wikileaks documents, and that could be held against me any time in the future.
GHFigs 3 days ago 0 replies      
The introduction appears to mix fact, speculation, and editorializing.

For instance, under the subheading "Weaponizing Data Kills Innocent People", it talks about "Intelligence Integration Systems, Inc" (IISi) and "Netezza", neither of which appear in the files. In fact, the story described was covered in the press last year[1]. The implication is that civilian deaths from drone strikes is somehow related to this release...but it isn't.


iamwil 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it not well known that these companies do what they do? I dunno, a lot of the files are just brochures. It doesn't seem very leaky to me. I guess I'm not terribly surprised. Now if they had files that point to concrete instances of the adverse affects of these companies, that'd be more leaky.
billpatrianakos 2 days ago 4 replies      
This discussion has gone south the more people that joined in. There's a lot of people expressing sentiments along the lines of being fearful that they're being tracked and that government agencies are spying on them personally.

Let's get something straight. The real issue here isn't that you're being personally spied on. If the government is tracking you specifically and is willing to hold the data they collect on you against you then you should play the lottery too because you're one lucky person.

If and when data is collected it is used most often to analyze groups of people, not individuals. It's very rare that an individual would be tracked and that would only happen if you were influential or a true danger to them (at least a perceived danger).

For example, let's say the government was tracking Occupy Wall Street protesters. If they were targeting individuals then they'd be targeting the very few "leaders" if there are any. Otherwise they'd just like to know about you as a group. What you think, like, listen to, and read. Even so, they're not going to come after you. They're going to use that information in a way that allows them to spin a narrative or in some other subtle way. They just aren't going to bust into your living room.

Also, in the rare case they collect data on an individual and actually try to do something to you personally, they sure as hell aren't going to bring it up in a court. You'll be black bagged or something but you're not going to go to trial with the prosecutor coming out saying "well, we surreptitiously collected this data from John's phone and home computer which proves he's a terrorist". They'd be shooting themselves in the foot! They'd much rather have you know they collect data while still retaining plausible deniability.

You can look up anything you want all day long including how to make bombs and no one will bust in your living room until the day you somehow are in a position to influence a large group of people.

So please everyone, let's take off our tinfoil hats, quit thinking we're important enough to track individually, and just generally stop sounding like conspiracy theorists. I mean, this stuff can really do damage and it isn't right but this discussion is heading in the wrong direction with that kind of rhetoric.

Edit: Seems everyone doesn't like what I've got to say yet only one person is willing to say why. There's way too much group think and karma policing going on around here.

nextparadigms 3 days ago 3 replies      
It seems like every other day one more of those "conspiracy theories" is confirmed and proven true.
adunn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I don't see Carrier IQ in the list ;)
fsaintjacques 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look at this file:


Was it intended that a typical shady lawyer/congressman secret deal appears on the left?

[Django] Python 3 port - all tests now pass on 2.7.2 and 3.2.2 google.com
276 points by praxxis  2 days ago   52 comments top 11
jacobian 2 days ago 1 reply      
You can find the code here: https://bitbucket.org/vinay.sajip/django. I'm still trying this out myself, but one interesting thing to note is that Vinay chose to use a single-source strategy instead of running things through 2to3.
jtchang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Freaking awesome. I have been watching the Python community slowly move to Python 3 and to be honest it seems like the smoothest and most well planned transition I've gone through.

Really early on they said Python 3 would break backward compatibility. Normally I'd bitch and moan but they gave us plenty of time and knew it would be a slow process.

Hopefully everyone will move to python 3 soon and we can just leave 2.x cleanly.

yuvadam 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is an amazing milestone.

Once the Django community starts adopting Py3K, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the Python community follows suit.

Slimy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm one of the students from UofT that helped with this project. Basically, my group for one of our Software Engineering courses had the assignment of helping with this enormous task. We didn't finish (this was two years ago), but we did make a lot of progress (fixing bugs to get the tests to pass in both versions). It was one hell of a goal so it's great to see this finally done!
LeafStorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I thought that the WSGI spec for Python 3 wasn't entirely settled yet. Was it finished and approved while I wasn't looking?
random42 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a wonderful effort, but I dont understand point of the single source approach, as 3.x branches are not backward compatible with 2.x branches.

Can someone (Vinay?) explain a simpleton (like me :)), the reasoning behind using the single-source approach?

thedjpetersen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to the Django team. This is a big step towards to the adoption of python 3. The more big libraries that are ported the sooner we will see wide spread adoption.
myoffe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like great news!
Will this be merged into the official Django project?

And, what does it mean for developers using Django? Will I be able to run official Django 1.X on Py3k soon?

flexterra 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this was really fast. Congrats to the team.
briancurtin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this based on Martin von Löwis' previous 3.x porting work?
shuzchen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is totally cool. I applaud these efforts. That said, I'm more interested in switching to pypy than to py3 at the moment.
Ivo " a reimagined Unix terminal system lubutu.com
276 points by lubutu  3 days ago   150 comments top 36
snotrockets 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'll answer with a Koan, it's author long forgotten (if you know him, do tell me his name!):

A UNIX wizard hears cries of torment from his apprentice's computer room where the apprentice is studying, and goes to investigate.

He finds the apprentice in obvious distress, nearly on the verge of tears. "What's the problem?" he asks. "Why did you cry out?"

"It's terrible using this system. I must use four editors each day to get my studies done, because not one of them does everything."

The wizard nods sagely, and asks, "And what would you propose that will solve this obvious dilemma?"

The student thinks carefully for several minutes, and his face then lights up in delight. Excitedly, he says, "Well, it's obvious. I will write the best editor ever. It will do everything that the existing four editors do, but do their jobs better, and faster. And because of my new editor, the world will be a better place."

The wizard quickly raises his hand and smacks the apprentice on the side of his head. The wizard is old and frail, and the apprentice isn't physically hurt, but is shocked by what has happened. He turns his head to face the wizard. "What have I done wrong?" he asks.

"Fool!" says the wizard. "Do you think I want to learn yet another editor?"

Immediately, the apprentice is enlightened.

pshc 3 days ago  replies      
While text editing interfaces could be more polished and modern--the underlying problem that causes your dissatisfaction is the text. Storing code as text is an evolutionary dead end. Storing code graphs in text requires the use of plaintext names for graph references, which binds logic and presentation together. The gap between the goal-completion logic a user comes up with and how they turn those mental instructions into plaintext is an unnecessary jump--an encoding--that produces no end of trivial but infuriating miscommunications.

Storing code as pure structure (not XML or anything silly, the serialization is trivial) avoids a huge class of artificial problems we've had to deal with since the dawn of compilers, due to the disconnect between human meaning encoded in plaintext and machine parsing.

Visualizing code as text--text as the primary view in the MVC, complemented with colours and annotations and hyperlinks and hints--is extremely useful. What we really need is a structural editor with the familiarity and ease of use of a text editor. But that is a hard problem, and more polished text manipulators are a nice stop-gap in the meanwhile.

reirob 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the rare delightful articles. I came to understand, after 6 years of non-programming work, and now back in front of the console, that what I like the most is the freedom that the shell provides and the room for creativity when accomplishing a task in a readable composition of tools in one line.

Certainly the provided successors of the Bourne shell might be more elegant. Certainly when piping data through several tools needs often transformation of the data representation to match the required input format. Sometimes the transformation uses different principles (regular expressions, shell wildcards, awk, sed, ..) which pollutes the logical flow of problem resolution. But I came to the conclusion that despite not being optimal, this data transformation noise holds information that, when reading or when needing to explain to others, helps to understand, or maybe remember the data model from the source to the sinks. However I believe, more uniform but more universal data transformation techniques would be a progress.

Until now this comment is more about shell than terminals, but for me, these are the biggest advantages of working on a command line - freedom and creativity in the usage of available tools.

Now, to come closer to the terminal aspect.

I am a typing fan. I went through hell when moving from Germany to France and having to re-learn a new keyboard layout - none of the both layouts are good, but if you are used to one it is very annoying to get to used to another. After having had some missions in other countries with different keyboard layouts, I found a solution, that is in line with my philosophy of using typing tools: Learn US keyboard layout, to the point to use it blindly without needing letters on the keys - it is installed on all OSes in all countries. At home use the extension US International with AltGr dead keys - I can now write all German, French, Turk and many other Latin based accents with a single layout. When in mission at a customer I ask if in the open session I can switch to US layout (if needed) - until now there were only some raised eyebrows, but no objections. And at least for ThinkPads you can order them with US layout, even with the € sign. So for keyboard I tackled the problem.

For text editors I resolved the problem already 10 years ago. I use VIM. VI is on all UNIXes, VIM is on Windows (I did not yet have to work on Macs).

On the UNIX shell the first thing I type is: set -o vi
Like this many VI shortcuts and commands are at the command line.

One quote in the article made me smile the most:

"... However, it's worth noting that we don't avoid the mouse because it is slow " if one wants to move the cursor to an arbitrary location elsewhere on the screen, one can often do so faster with a mouse than a keyboard. The problem is the transition from the keyboard to the mouse. It's an expensive context switch, which should not be done lightly. ..."

Yeah, this is the reason I use a track point instead of a mouse. Nothing to care with you, takes no space and you don't have to lift your hands from the keyboard. The only problem is the craving when having to sit at a customer at a keyboard that has not track point - I find myself sometimes searching for it with the fingers until I realize that I am not on my ThinkPad. It is a shame this device is disappearing on most computers.

At last: I think what unites the aficionados of the command line is the choice to spend more effort and time in learning tools which are more difficult than their alternatives (mouse vs. track point, command line vs. GUI, ten finger typing vs. two finger typing) at the beginning but pay big times off in efficiency in the long run and as a plus give the pleasure of creativity and freedom.

I encourage the author of the article to progress with his ideas! We absolutely need innovation in this space. It is just that the bar is huge because of all the tools we became used to.

joeyh 3 days ago 1 reply      
The idea of using an obscure unicode code point to indicate the start of metadata, in the expectation that nobody will use it, is probably self-defeating. As soon as that's is use, there will be a reason to use that obscure code point (in documentation, in code, etc), so you will still have to deal with escaping it.
adambyrtek 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reading the introduction, I was really excited. I fully agree with the premise, but the proposed solution seems inadequate. Putting shell in an editor, adding hidden metadata, and making the output hyperlinked just don't feel radical enough.

Also, some parts of the proposal are very vague (description of MVC), while others are extremely specific (whole paragraph about an obscure Unicode delimiter), which makes it hard to get the big picture. That said, improving the terminal is a really challenging and important problem, so I'm glad there are people thinking about it.

pnathan 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wholly agree that splattering chrome over a terminal isn't the best way forward. Emacs shell mode gets me all?most? of the way to the interface posed as the solution (text editor as interface to terminal). Being emacs, I am sure I could finish up the proposed solution with "a few lines of elisp".

And I don't think it's the solution. These issues are spawned deeper in the design. Multiple streams of information are being spawned, and must be handled sanely: pipe redirection starts breaking down here because it's a line - what's needed is a graph of management that's able to handle different cases and join back for the next approach.

One approach might simply be to develop a higher-powered programming language environment that calls directly into the system.

haberman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my six-year-old rant about how crufty terminal technology is. It's not a visionary re-imagining of terminals like this article is, but personally I think that one of the biggest barriers to innovation in terminal technology is that the current stack is so incredibly baroque and difficult to program or extend elegantly.


johnwatson11218 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sometimes when I have text files open I want to be able to run command line tools against them. I know I can go write a shell script but sometimes I want to write grep against my inbox or against all the windows I have open at the time. I want to be able to high lite some text (possibly in more than one window) and then have a transparent shell appear that lets me write expressions to work with that text, like sort it in place. Often I have to move things into and out of text files, spreadsheets,databases to be able to apply all the tricks that I like. I wish those tricks could just appear and work with what I'm looking at.
cturner 3 days ago 2 replies      
You can and should separate view and controller. Imagine if you could spawn windows at monitors, and then have things display on them via pipeline.

You might type into a tiny window on one monitor that never loses focus, but sends graphs and text and streams to these windows.

There's no reason that the place you enter text should correspond to the output display, and a lot of value to be had by separating them.

Imagine being able to plug display consumers into a port so that you could do visual demos.

Semiapies 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am skeptical about total reimaginations, and when I read this I started to take it as one of those airy "Dude, someone totally revolutionize this for me..." posts, but then I hit:

I'm working on this in my spare time, starting with...

and now I'm curious to see what the author comes up with.

There's just something about an actual tool, no matter how prototypical, that improves the discussion of new tools.

jwhitlark 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are some interesting ideas here. One thing that occurred to me while reading it was using a message queue to implement the pipeline functionality. I've been interested in Apache ActiveMQ/Camel for a while now and excited about some of the things it can do. With that model, each 'line' could have it's own set of headers, allowing for transformation by aware tools, but transparent by default. This would also blur the line between running commands and having background filters. It would also work nicely over the network.

I did some experiments with clojure/camel at one point, and came up with stuff like this:

(defroute context
(from "file:/home/jw/scratch/inbox?noop=true")
(to "file:/home/jw/scratch/outbox"))
; from http://codeabout.blogspot.com/2010/06/using-apache-camel-fro...

Which is basically a continuous file copy. I could see different flags for "do now and exit", "do at HH:MM:SS", "do until I tell you to stop", "do when system is idle", etc.

joebadmo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that there is too much focus on "intuitiveness," but I'm neither a programmer (I'm working on it) nor a sysadmin, and I'd like a more robust user interface too! I have a lot of work to get done, and I'm willing to learn a different set of interface axioms than the ones we've been working with for the last few decades.

Here's the beginning of my thinking on the subject: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/9325300749/a-different-kind-o...

It's great to hear other voices in this discussion, though!

sp332 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about something like Archy? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy#Features It was never polished but you can still play with an old (windows) build: http://users-www.wineme.fb5.uni-siegen.de/home/SebastianDrax...

Edit: or for a gui, something like Enso (for the whole OS) http://humanized.com/enso or Ubiquity https://wiki.mozilla.org/Labs/Ubiquity/Latest_Ubiquity_User_... for the browser) Both are abandoned open-source projects with a lot of the hard work already done (the internationalized parser in Ubiquity is very nice).

user911302966 3 days ago 2 replies      
"And we, the users, play along, pretending our machine is a video terminal presenting a grid of ASCII characters in all of 256 colours. This is ridiculous."

Not everybody uses their terminal to churn out HTML pages and add 'Nyan mode' to our 'newly discovered' emacs program. For those who do that, just buy a Macintosh or whatever is this week's hip flavor of Best Buy PC. Otherwise, use a language that doesn't require >256 different colors to be represented meaningfully.

"Typography is the future"? Thank goodness X.org/XFree86 has supported custom fonts since the 1990's.

"Opening a man page would scroll gently to the top of the page, letting you scroll down and read, or search through it as you would any text"


"We then add syntax highlighting and hyperlinks, so you can easily navigate between man pages"

Many terminals and shells support these features already.

"Finally we add visualisations so you can view plots of lines of code, etc., without having to context-switch."

Huh? I read that as 'code folding' and clang compilation.

I think the main takeaway here is that most of his "ideas" can be easily achieved within the current ecosystem of available programs, most of which are stock on modern UNIX-like OS distributions. I do think he misfiled this article under "Ideas"; it's more akin to a polite rant.

edit: colours/color killed due to conflict with reality (and irrelevance anyway).

mooism2 3 days ago 1 reply      
The author confuses a terminal with a shell running in a terminal.

I'd like for my terminal to be able to open a stream of html in my web browser. Use case: running `man blahblah` in a ssh session opens a nicely formatted page in a local browser window.

I'd like for my terminal to be able to open a stream of text in my editor, and accept a stream of text back from my editor to save somewhere. Use case: running `sudo -e /etc/blahblah` in a ssh session allows me to edit the remote file /etc/blahblah in a local text editor, and save my changes back.

ddelony 3 days ago 2 replies      
Acme seems to come pretty close to the author's idea, combining both a terminal and an editor.
peterwwillis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't forget that the terminal should be useful to just get work done without programming. It's also all designed to have a human interface - all the output can be grok'd by a human and not some complex tool or parser. This is what prevents things from just magically working and forces us to come up with hacks to pipe and grep and cut pieces of data to do what we want.

If you really want to "reimagine" it, throw out the box and make a new one. If you redesigned all the standard unix tools to have a universal API and added hooks for each function they contain you could just specify a workflow to execute and the tools would figure out how to transmogrify the data internally. So for example:

  rehooliginator --store=val1 --filesystem=/proc/cpuinfo --rowname='model name' --match='([[:digit:].]\+)GHz' --store=val2 --filesystem=/proc/meminfo --rowname='MemFree' --match='([[:digit:]]\+) kB' --store=val3 --cmd=ps --fields=rss,comm --sort=rss --match='java' --field=rss --sum --math='$SUM*1024' --store=val4 --cmd=vmstat --samples=5 --field=cpu-idle --avg --output="Stats:\n\tCPU: $val1\n\tFree Memory: $val2\n\tResident memory used by Java: $val3\n\tCPU idle time: $val4\n"

Not the greatest example but you get the idea. If this seems more complex than traditional one-liner scripting it's because you're trying to do a lot of little things on a single line. It may be better to shove all this into a little file in easy to understand non-programmer language and save it for later. (Also, the long GNU options could be replaced by short options for quicker use, depending on the API/module being used)

This is obviously not getting away from the 'old school dynamic' of a fake terminal, but it does remove some of the need for it when we have tools robust enough that the terminal doesn't have to be as user-friendly as it is. You could combine a tool/framework like the above with a text editor to write multi-liners, sample the output and execute them on the fly. Build in hooks to execute commands over an ssh connection - or even gather output from various hosts at a time - and you could automate sampling your whole network from a one-liner.

For a "friendly interface" I think a simple tree view file browser would work nicely. So basically an "explorer"-type app with an embedded text editor and output window to let you explore a system rapidly and also automate tasks on the fly. Hell, you could build an IDE or other friendly GUI to build your query tool's arguments using quick mouse clicks.

Groxx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think they're seriously misunderstanding both TermKit's goal and the difference between running commands and editing text.

TermKit, for instance, is not just a widget-infested terminal. The core idea behind it is what >50% of this post is about: data interchange that's not un-tokenized text that you have to `awk` to hell and back to do basic things.

Meanwhile, text editors do two things incredibly differently than system-control interfaces: they edit blocks of text, and they can un-do almost every action. Next time you `rm` something accidentally, try pressing `u`, and see if it comes back. Or rewind that `drop database production;` your cat typed into your ssh session.

I also don't want Bash to be my editor for similar reasons why I don't want to manipulate my filesystem with Vim - I rarely need to enter visual select mode when composing something in Bash, and Vim is poorly-suited to piping streams of text through multiple programs.

derleth 3 days ago 1 reply      
Weak typing and implicit coercion are not the same thing. They're not even close to the same thing. Haskell does (things equivalent to) implicit coercion when it adds a floating-point Number to an integral Number and nobody (sane) says Haskell is weakly-typed.
sedachv 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to waste less time reinventing the wheel, why not try a Lisp-machine style terminal system with "live" objects (presentations)? It's proven to work, and many people liked it more than a terminal-based command line. Use polymorphic lines (http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/msg/02782906f6...) to get a very concise, powerful presentation. OpenDylan (http://opendylan.org/) and its IDE/editor Deuce implement these ideas.
jes5199 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone try to distill out some sort of concrete proposal from this? I had trouble understanding what he was implying.
kickingvegas 3 days ago 1 reply      
While perhaps off-topic, I'll chime in with an anecdote in remote computing I had this past Thanksgiving. Short version: If you're an emacs veteran, tramp is the ssh version of ange-ftp. Long version: was down in the San Diego area for Thanksgiving and my development environment (Linux) was up here in San Francisco. Had ssh and VNC access to my Linux server in SF, however the latency was still pretty bad making VNC just barely usable. However I had access to a Mac in San Diego with MacPorts X11 emacs installed. I could then run emacs locally and use tramp to transparently access my remote files via ssh just like the old ange-ftp package. Another benefit is that running a shell within emacs with current tramp buffer will automatically ssh to that same server. Tramp would also work with version control (in this case svn). So the big wins here: 1) local editing speed. 2) efficient network communication (only the file data is transferred) 3) shell and version control support 4) can still use emacs.



nevinera 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article appears to be functionally describing emacs.
skrebbel 2 days ago 0 replies      
> our primary interface emulates a DEC VT100 terminal from 1978

Huh? I didn't know the DEC could run software like Visual Studio, Explorer and TortoiseGit.

Whether you use an interface from the past or not is entirely a choice. Many developers apparently prefer it, and that's fine. I don't prefer it, so I use tools with a rather modern and well-designed interface, tailored towards developers.

ImprovedSilence 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kind of off topic, but this article just reminded me, I was thinking how nice it would be for a linux distro to be made for programmers. Bundled with every bit of programming language (from c to hakell and back), the standard editors with their syntax highlighting (the .vimrc already set up a little), cool special tools that maybe only serve a special purpose (stuff like gnu radio..) I was just thinking it'd be nice to have one big package, a here ya go, have at it, kinda linux. Maybe even with some alternative (but vetted) how-to documentation. For some reason I just can't get used to the flow and syntax of Man pages... And it can leave out lots of the fancy gui sidebars and stuff (not sayin get rid of the gui, just dumb it down, I'm here for the terminal, and maybe some IDEs.. maybe).
Quequau 3 days ago 2 replies      
This sort of reminded me of TermKit, which I think is still on Github... but sort of stagnant the last time I looked.
bitcracker 3 days ago 2 replies      
The beauty of Unix is its simplicity.

This made Unix so reliable. If you want to write a beautiful terminal as _addon_ I have no problem with that. But I would not accept a _replacement_ of the old fashioned terminals. Because they are so simple, they just work.

dfc 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "We then add syntax highlighting and hyperlinks, so you can easily navigate between man pages"

GNU info?

tbourdon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking about a user interface for a long time. One that, leverages the graphical capabilities of the browser and the linguistic capabilities of the command line.

The two enhancements over the command line that I envision are the discoverability of commands and the ability to select the output of commands. So what you'd is an Enso/Vimperator like command interface where the output would be rendered as an 'object' or list of 'objects'. Each output object would be selectable and able to be used as input for other commands able to digest them.

You can sort of do this now with the command line but there are a few issues. The first is the inability to render graphical results in a terminal. The second is having to now something about the output of a command apriori before piping to the next command. Finally, it is difficult to know the commands available to your fingertips on the $PATH.

The more I meditate on a system like this the more I think it would be wildly productive because a wide host of problems can be solved with this single workflow.


etanol 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find the article a bit confusing. Given this statement:

In addition, the keyboard is often more effective than the mouse for our work, since instead of floundering around in nested menus we can just type what we want. However, it's worth noting that we don't avoid the mouse because it is slow " if one wants to move the cursor to an arbitrary location elsewhere on the screen, one can often do so faster with a mouse than a keyboard. The problem is the transition from the keyboard to the mouse. It's an expensive context switch, which should not be done lightly.

I don't really understand the following:

We then add syntax highlighting and hyperlinks, so you can easily navigate between man pages, or click on a grep result to visit that line in a file. Clicking on a hyperlinked directory in a file listing would reveal the contents of that directory in a nested list, slightly indented; clicking on a file would open it in a new tab.

Too much clicking for my taste.

_chendo_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
iTerm2 already has the feature where you click on a filename and it opens the file. If you're running a newish iTerm2, give it a go: do an ls, then command click.

I've called it Semantic History. It also let's you drag files out of the terminal as well. Old video walkthrough: http://vimeo.com/21872771

It does not require any special ls. As long as there's a legit filename, it should work.

hamoid 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is text editing in OpenGL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O5DJTOy6EA I'd like to have such a terminal.
shepik 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some months ago I tried to improve shell while keeping all it's features. So i made webkit-based terminal emulator (pseudoterminal; like xterm) with special esc-sequences to turn on html output (in a console, yes).
Screenshots: https://github.com/shepik/wkterm/#readme
VMG 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be 90% satisfied if we just got rid of termcap and friends.

Let's just replace escape codes with some kind of markup language (or s-expressions or whatever).

sepposade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eshell (The Emacs Shell) is a lot of what the original post already describes in terms of power: http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_mono/eshell.ht.... Too bad it isn't being very actively developed anymore.
BonsaiDen 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I like the terminal... I don't want to be one.


The mental gymnastics involved in having a high security clearance. motherjones.com
256 points by pavel_lishin  4 days ago   150 comments top 13
DanielBMarkham 4 days ago  replies      
There's a flip side to this as well: as a voter, I don't know what information my elected leaders have when making decisions.

In theory, with a small amount of secrecy needed to make diplomacy and security function, this makes sense. The problem is that it's not actually working in practice. There are so many un-elected people who have jobs for life and also the ability to classify broad swaths of information that the incentives are all set to increasing amounts of classified data. There's no correction mechanism. In theory, you'd have Congressmen aggressively using their oversight powers to correct the system. In practice, elected officials are mostly in for life (or as long as they choose) and are easily manipulated by the system. In fact, they don't want anything to do with making tough decisions. The more things are secret, the less they have to worry with those nagging voters giving their opinions about things. I read about intelligence oversight committees being told they don't have clearance to see things and it just blows my mind: our entire system of using force rests on civilian oversight. Thousands have died because civilians have made mistakes with information they've be given -- and that's the way it is supposed to work. Somehow we've forgotten all about this critical principle.

As an example, I'll pick a topic where you guys can all call me fuzzy-headed: UFOs. I pick this topic because of its ludicrous nature. Heaven help me if I were to pick something that was diplomatically sensitive and start hammering on it. I've been studying sightings and evidence as a hobby for many years, and based on credible eye-witness testimony I'm comfortably convinced that the United States government knows a lot more about intermittent atmospheric phenomenon than they are letting on. Why? I don't know. Why not a little more openness? I don't know. What part of this information is being used by my elected officials to make decisions? Again, I don't know.

This leaves the door open for all kinds of crazy speculation. It's an insane way for a democracy to treat its citizens. Yet this is just par for the course. All I did was pick a way-out example. Laugh off my UFO example if you wish, but for every thing like that there is a thousand other things that drive public policy -- and you and I will never know about them. Taken to this level, it is a very unstable way to maintain consent of the governed.

Not only does it make it impossible for an elected official to take advice, it makes it impossible for voters to make reasoned and educated judgments about the actions of officials. Secrecy corrupts everything it touches. That's why it must be aggressively minimized.

secthrowaway 3 days ago  replies      
Thought I'd make a throw away and tip in as there are lots of people here who've never had a clearance and don't really understand what it's all about (I've had one for more than a decade). I'll try and answer some questions in the threads as I can.

In the U.S. here's how it works (I'm writing this from the perspective of a contractor):

You are hired to work on a government contract, that contract requires you to work on xyz project that requires you to handle information classified at a certain level (or with certain caveats or handling requirements). You fill out a bunch of paperwork (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-qip) and it's submitted to the government. The information you put down isn't really a whole lot more interesting than what you might put down on a home loan application, but you sign some consent forms that the investigator can do some credit checks, that sort of thing. You also put down some references they can contact.

Depending on the level you are applying for, the investigation may take longer, particularly if they interview your references. The interview questions are usually simple things like, "did you work with so and so at such and such place?" "have you ever heard them talk about overthrowing the government?" that sort of thing.

If you're a normal person, no serious prison record, drug addiction, serious mental health problem, or threatening political viewpoints (card carrying member of the nuke the US party) there's really not a lot that can prevent you from getting a clearance. Even prior drug use doesn't necessarily prevent you from getting one.

A Secret clearance has a very low bar to entry. You can get one after application in perhaps 3-6 weeks. I can't even get a cable guy to come to my house in that length of time.

A Top Secret clearance takes a bit longer, and is slightly more involved, but it's on the order of months to a year.


Most of the time people either get a Secret clearance of a Top Secret clearance -- there is no such thing as a "clearance" above Top Secret but people can often be confused by special accesses at those levels (explained below).

Operating at the Secret level, you'll have access to most of the information that is classified at that level. If you've read any of the wikileaks State Department stuff or the Afghan and Iraq war diaries you've seen what kind of stuff it is. Most of the time it's just information that the government would rather not go public with, but isn't really all that interesting in nature. Records of events, meetings, general information reports, troop movements, that sort of thing.

Probably 1 in 150 Americans has at least a Secret level clearance, and probably 1 in 50-70 have had one at one time (there are a lot of people that move through the military and/or for the military).

The Military's information systems are generally geared around the Secret level of classification and done on an Internet-like network called SIPRNET, There's even a Wikipedia analog and a Google search on it. It's like using a slightly shoddy version of the Internet as it was 5-10 years ago.



To be honest it's not really much more interesting than using your regular run-of-the-mill corporate firewalled intranet, except it's an unusually large organization.

Not all Secret information can be shared with our allies. Why? Well, we may be fighting a war with say, New Zealand at our side, but also investigating a case of attempted bribery where NZ is trying to smuggle sheep into California or some such. We don't share the bribery investigation data for example.

To deal with this we use what are called "handling caveats". Something shareable with say Canada and Great Britain might then be marked as SECRET//REL TO USA, GBR, CAN or similar. There are also group handling codes like NATO, ISAF etc.



There are also other classification markings that are used as caveats. They look kinda the same and are called compartments. It's generally just more restrictions on who can see the information.


People use 'SCI' like it's the same as "SECRET" or a some super high level classification. But what it really means is that it is information gathered in some way that we would really really rather keep private and thus you need another level of need-to-know to get access to it. Typically it's this way because billions of dollars was spent getting that information gathering capability and replacing it would be billions more or revealing it could expose people to severe risk, harm or death.. SCI compartments exist at all levels of classification.

Often knowing what the information is showing can directly inform somebody how it was gathered as well. So it's not just the means that's protected directly, but the data as well.

To see this information, you need to be working on a program that requires you to work with information in that compartment (need-to-know). And you will be "indoctrinated" or "read on" into that compartment. Which usually involves filling out some more forms, submitting the application, and watching a boring video telling you what the compartment is all about. There are many compartments. Compartments can also have sub-compartments.

However, in some cases, the information is so super sensitive (almost always meaning that people could be killed if it becomes known) that the government wants to make sure you can be trusted with it. So you might get polygraphed. Usually they just ask you things like "have you ever considered trying to overthrow the U.S. government" and other similar. You might also go through a slightly different polygraph with highly personal questions about your sex habits.

Even more restricted are Special Access Programs (SAPs)


These are things like the Nuclear Codes. Even the names of the SAPs are super double probation classified. Often they are one super specific kind of information, and they are managed very closely by the agency that creates them. Very few people will be granted access to the SAP.

All of this holds true for Top Secret clearances and information, except everything is just that much more carefully controlled. You have to have a reason for accessing it, most people don't, and you have to fill out lots of paperwork and have lots of background investigation stuff.

You are encouraged frequently to try and accomplish as much as possible at the lowest classification possible. Mostly so we can share the information (all of which is declassified after 25 years max). But sometimes we just can't and things have to move up in classification.

Everything has a legal hurdle. There's lots of lawyers and other bureaucrats involved in everything. You have to report where you are everyday or establish where you'll be if you'll be out of contact for any length of time or you lose your job. If you did something bad while missing, then you'll probably end up in Federal prison for a very long time.

There's definitely too much stuff classified. What most people who don't know anything about the classified world complain about is this problem. It's actually reasonable to argue this. What they don't realize is it's a pain in the ass to keep stuff classified. What they also don't know is that everything declassifies after 25 years (or sooner) unless it's something super special sensitive (nuclear codes). This is a tremendous pain in the ass for the government to go through, but in the interest of stopping information that should be free from being locked away, it's done and most people I know in the field think this is great. Because keeping this stuff secret is a drag, you can't talk about most of what you do everyday at work with anybody outside of your work. You can't talk about it at home, even if your spouse is cleared.




To put this in perspective, we're almost halfway to the point where everything about the lead up to the mistake of the Iraq War will automatically become declassified and available via FOIA requests.

All of this is done in special facilities called SCIFs


(technically work that is not SCI protected doesn't occur in a SCIF, but that's what everybody calls them). They usually have all kinds of access controls, some have several layers.

For example (a real one), you may have to pass through a gate with an armed guard, an armed guard at a desk who checks ID, a proximity badge and keypad turnstile, a locked door with badge and keypad, an elevator with badge and keypad, a finger print scanner badge keypad combo, and then a safe to get to your hard drive, which is then protected by an encryption key, the login user/pass for the system, then a user/pass encryption key for the database you are accessing and finally a special decryption password for the file you need to download and unarchive from the database. This doesn't even include all of the signin/out logs and other paperwork required to get through a day.

Depending on your clearance, you may end up with several different computers at your desk at the same time, usually connected by a KVM of some sort. Something like this isn't all that unusual


mmaunder 4 days ago 6 replies      
I wonder if any game theorists have thought about whether a country with no secrets could be militarily stronger.

It's similar to the Linux vs Windows debate: at first glance it seems ludicrous that an open source OS could be more secure than a closed source OS. But with enough eyes and enthusiasts, all problems are quickly fixed.

A small inner-circle who have access to the inner workings may find it hard to compete when their competitor has the whole world helping debug and fix the system, including the goodwill associated with that.

teyc 4 days ago 3 replies      
If anyone has seen the comedy series "Yes, Prime Minister", they'll often understand how a leader can be manipulated by his mandarins through selective disclosure of uncorroborated information, present consequences couched in politically unacceptable terms, force the hand by setting the agenda.

This is especially true if dissenting opinion is filtered before it gets handed to the President etc.

I apologize if the following sounds a little leftist. I only intend to make a point about how mistakes come to be made, and what governments may need to do to arrive at better decisions:

Over in Australia, an ASIO analyst chose to resign rather than see Australia join the Iraq war on the basis of WMD pretexts. (Andrew Wilke is now a Member of Parliament).

The trillion dollar mistake US made was due to influencers being able to feed super-classified information to the willingly gullible people.

It is not easy for a President to call bullshit. I believe the reason is because there isn't sufficient accountability that is built into the system. In days past, members of the royalty are expected to fight in wars. Even during Roman days, only landowners could join the army. The appearance of the professional soldiers lowered the personal risk of the people in power who rush into war.

The Chinese emperors surrounded themselves with eunuchs thinking that the absence of offspring give some assurance that these people will be less biased, but it didn't work out that well. Influence is still peddled, particularly because power itself is very addictive on its own.

Some cultures resort to shamans to try to get an outcome that is independent of any one person's viewpoint. The most interesting one that I came across is the use of ibogaine, where people have a "spiritual" moment, where they see the big picture instead of worrying about themselves.

For a complex society to survive and transcend humanity's limitations, we may need to create a supermind. Some elements of this already exist. One is the idea of "opensource intelligence" that can be used to corroborate otherwise secret accounts.

throwaway31 4 days ago  replies      
I used to be in the intelligence field, and I held a top secret SCI clearance for about five years.

What most people don't realize about classified information is that it's not the information itself that's so sensitive; it's the means via which such information is acquired that must be protected. If this were not so, targets could simply sidestep our intelligence collection vectors.

I rarely dealt with any classified information that was interesting or surprising. It's mostly stuff you would expect. The technologies and methods used to acquire a piece of intelligence were always more interesting than the intelligence itself.

falcolas 4 days ago 2 replies      
A side note to the content of the article, which was interesting, but I couldn't zoom the text.

I'm using Chrome, and when I zoomed in, the pictures, headers and footers all grew appropriately, however the text remained a constant size.

I'm not sure how they managed that, but it makes for a terrible user experience when you want (or need) to increase the font size to make it more readable.

Palomides 4 days ago 1 reply      
for those interested in US governmental secrecy stuff, http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/ is a very interesting blog/newsletter
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know of any research into compartmentalized network protocols? Specifically I'm wondering about protocols where components co-operate to acheive some goal but don't know enough to compromise the entire network. I'm sure the botnet guys have done a lot of work on this but I'm wondering there are any good references in the open literature.
Tossrock 4 days ago 1 reply      
When I first heard about the Bell-LaPadula model ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%E2%80%93LaPadula_model ) in my security class, it was pretty eye opening, especially the notion that once you're given a certain level of access, you can no longer write at lower levels. I think it might explain in part the explosion in the amount of classified material generated each year.
bediger 4 days ago 6 replies      
Well, this sure puts a different spin on the arrogance of the US Government. The new Aristocracy, those with "clearances", receive and can act on information that the rest of us can't be allowed to have. The Fed's "We just know better than you" attitude probably derives directly from this secret pool of knowledge.

But why would you divide up information into 15 or 20 categories? I bet that even at "Top Secret" levels, the narrowness of view is stultifying.

jhuckestein 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. Perhaps the comment about not being able to learn from people who don't have these clearances also applies to highly knowledgeable individuals in any field that have trouble listening to people with less information or understanding of matters. Perhaps it even explains how years of "knowing more" can lead to resistance to change (the kind that I've found to be characteristic of bad professors or some people I used to work for)

I think it's important to be aware of this. If I ever find myself not listening to someone because I think the person doesn't know all the facts, I hope that I'll become aware of it and try to zero in on what facts they are missing. Luckily I know very few secret things (I have even been known to intentionally make secret things un-secret) so I'd gladly share those facts and see for myself if it changes the other person's opinion.

lwhi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think there's a big danger here.

Of course the idea of being initiated into a secret circle is extremely attractive. It appeals to our sense of ego, intrigue, romantic notions of the other. It's the stuff of novels and films .. it's the beginning of a great story. The personal advice given sounds good. But the dangerous part for me is the inference that we need to consider that those above us necessarily know best, and we should, by necessity, capitulate control.

The fact that such layers of information, access to information, and access to power exist should not supplant the fact that this system embodies one single way the world can be ordered.

What would happen if everyone had access to everything?

JosephHatfield 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even given the variations of security clearances in use, there is the requirement that classified information is always and only distributed on a "Need to Know" basis; two people with exactly the same level clearance may still have official secrets from each other.
If Everyone Else is Such an Idiot, How Come You're Not Rich? theatlantic.com
252 points by CWuestefeld  2 days ago   112 comments top 20
sskates 2 days ago 5 replies      
If you've ever run a company or any sort of organization, you'll realize that walking around blind is the default. It takes effort to get information on what's going on. Because you can't wait forever for perfect information, you end up taking calculated risks like Netflix did with Qwikster where it's not clear in advance if it will pan out.

As the OP realized, this results in Monday morning armchair quaterbacking from people who ask "why didn't they make the right decision in advance, are they stupid or something?" When in fact, no, they are not stupid, they just don't have perfect information about what will happen.

Incidentally, this is the largest advantage of startups- the cost of a risky bet is much lower because you don't have to risk hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of customers each time you make a bet. As a result, you can take many more risks and come to a better solution more quickly.

edit: downvotes? what?

joebadmo 2 days ago 6 replies      
One of the important points I've heard Clay Christensen make is that incumbent companies often get destroyed (disrupted) by small players not because they're incompetent, or even because they're making bad decisions. Each decision along the way seems perfectly rational. Christensen frames it ultimately as a problem of measurement, that people are measuring the wrong thing, therefore optimizing for or solving the wrong problem.

I think this article correctly points out that Hastings isn't stupid, but he's in a tight spot, just because of the circumstances.

tsunamifury 2 days ago 2 replies      
After working in finance I've come to believe that most wealth is accumulated through brute force. You get money by using leverage to take other peoples money -- its actually very simple from an intelligence perspective. It may take some genius to gather the resources necessary to forcefully gather wealth, but the actual gathering of it is not a matter of 'smarts'.
sanjiallblue 1 day ago 5 replies      
This article ignores a very central tenet of becoming rich:


Most people didn't get in the position they were because they were geniuses. Few individuals fill that role. They get there because they were lucky. Bill Gates certainly wasn't the best programmer of his day and he most definitely wasn't the most adept businessman and he wasn't the most brilliant thief.

He was lucky.

He turned out a product that everyone wanted at exactly the right time. Now, as businesses have evolved alongside technology there certainly is slightly less luck (I would personally contend only slightly). But the founders of Netflix probably weren't the first people to think about mailing rental DVDs to customers, they just had the money and the capital to make it happen when the market was just enough ready to accept their existence. They developed expertise in that particular business, mailing DVDs to customers, and killed an entire other industry (for all intents and purposes) in the process.

How the author relates this to their streaming model (what was motivated the change) is baffling to me. Her entire premise seems to try and imply that the wealthy are somehow more intelligent and that, pardon the frankness, is fucking idiotic.

Netflix didn't become a giant through streaming content. They parlayed DVD money into a streaming business because the whole industry was making a very obvious shift in that direction. I mean hell, if they were half the geniuses that the author makes them out to be they wouldn't have selected Silverlight as the backbone of their service.

All I saw was a group of lucky people in one industry try to jump into another industry that appeared deceptively similar, and just because Hastings is their CEO doesn't make me think he's intelligent. If anything he's demonstrated that he doesn't fully understand the economics of splitting media.

The Quickster Announcement came off to me as a very stubborn businessman, tricked into thinking himself intelligent and a captain of industry by his fabulous luck, making a rash decision to vindicate a strong opinion he had behind closed doors.

The only thing I can take from this article is that money does a very good job of making the rich think that they're intelligent.

nostromo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the issue is more about timing your business decisions, not making smart or stupid ones.

Netflix is worried about the end of physical media, as they should be. They are looking 3 or 5 years down the road and trying to position the company to be successful then (as well as today).

However, for the average customer today, DVDs are still very important. And for the average investor, next quarter's earnings are much more important than earnings in 2015.

I think Netflix made the right decision for next year, or maybe 2013 -- but made it too early; they got ahead of their customers. (An easy thing to do when you live in Silicon Valley.)

starwed 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the following Terry Pratchett quote:

>A European says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with me?" An American says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with him?"

>I make no suggestion that one side or other is right, but observation over many years leads me to believe it is true.

This post is about exactly those two attitudes, though here it has nothing to do with what side of the Atlantic you're on!

jonnathanson 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I am opposed to blatant armchair quarterbacking, we must be careful to avoid the "appeal to accomplishment" fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_accomplishment), or any derivative thereof. Analysts can be justified in critiquing a CEO's strategies, even if they've never been CEOs themselves. Critics can knock a bad movie, even if they've never personally directed a movie. Sports commentators can critique a basketball player's performance, or a coach's call, even if they've never played or coached. Etc. You don't have to have done something in order to form a cogent opinion of it.

Of course, it is certainly unfair to label Reed Hastings an "idiot," or to claim that Netflix, as a whole, has "no idea" what it's doing. History has proven both of those positions wildly untrue, barring a few hiccups here and there.

onedognight 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Hastings wanted to get the DVD-only customers off of Netflix so that he wouldn't have to pay for streaming rights they weren't using (or paying for).

I've heard this argument multiple times now, but it flies in the face of the much more logical argument made in the very next paragraph that the content companies want to replace their cable income (no matter what). Meaning in this case if he splits the company in two then they double their prices on the streaming. Given this, splitting seems like a big step for a temporary reprieve.

bryanh 2 days ago 5 replies      
Wealth does not necessarily correlate with intelligence.
mikeash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can think of a couple of counterarguments.

First, the video rental business was ripe for disruption once DVDs became sufficiently popular. Once you had a video medium that was small enough to cheaply ship through the mail and durable enough to keep in circulation for a while, it was inevitable that somebody would challenge the incumbent brick-and-mortar stores and win. Netflix may have simply been in the right place at the right time through sheer luck.

Second, intelligence isn't a single thing. It's a blanket term for a huge collection of disparate characteristics. The intelligence which lets me write code at a level well beyond most of the population is not the same kind of intelligence that would make me succeed in business. Perhaps the kind of intelligence that lets a person build a successful business from scratch is not the same kind that lets a person sustain an existing large business.

I think the article makes a good point, that we tend to ignore complication and subtlety in favor of simplistic explanations like "he's stupid", but I think it goes way too far in the other direction. Rather than assume the CEO is stupid because his company is having trouble now, the author assumes the CEO is smart because his company had success in the past, which is no better.

sinzone 2 days ago 2 replies      
You're assuming that all the smartest want to become rich.

Maybe not.

CPlatypus 1 day ago 0 replies      
This same principle often applies to reading others' code. It's common to look at it, see something inscrutable, and decide that the author was an idiot. Then you try to rewrite it, trip over all the same bugs that the author had learned to avoid, and maybe - if you're smart and honest with yourself - accept that you had unfairly maligned your colleague. I've written about this before, as have many others including Joel Spolsky. My favorite is this:


If you re-read the article with an eye toward how it describes the behavior of programmers even more than it describes that of business people, it becomes much more valuable.

BrokerChange 2 days ago 1 reply      
A company in the 70's sold 500 of it's restaurants (it's main source of revenue) and the "pundits" called them crazy. The stock took a hit but the CEO remained on course. He stuck to his guns.

30 years later, it is one of the most successful companies in its industry. You may have heard of them- Walgreens.

The CEO of Netflix is not dumb. He killed Blockbuster. He knew what he was doing when he split the company to save the future of his company.

His only mistake was not sticking to his guns.

27182818284 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was a good plan executed too quickly. First price increase to make mail less attractive, then split the companies down the road, then get rid of your part with mailing DVDs completely and then truly become the Netflix company you want to be. The only thing they seemed stupid about was how fast they could execute those steps. They did it too quickly and it unnerved customers and investors.
alexholehouse 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this boils down to the fact that if you look at historic proceedings the outcome seems obvious, because the details which make it obvious are the ones reported. There is a total bias to write what looks like a progressive narrative, when the reality is usually far from it.

i.e. A->B and B->C then CLEARLY A->C. Except when A went to B, A could also have gone to D, E, or F, but you don't write about that, because clearly covering all your bases would be ridiculous, and it's generally difficult to evaluate the likelihoods of any options except B, where the likelihood of B is 100%.

pasbesoin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Because the idiots compromised my health before I knew better, or rather knew how to get away from and effectively avoid this.

This is the part of abuse that people persistently don't get: It often works, by chronically if not permanently disadvantaging the victim. There are people who succeed in spite, but you're down to talking about individual circumstances and variables, then.

quinndupont 1 day ago 1 reply      
The answer to that question is simple, but unpopular: ready access to capital (i.e., being rich). There's a reason why all the money in the world is held by less than 1% of the people, and this has nothing to do with the 1% being the smartest.
chippy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The rich don't think everyone else is an idiot - they think everyone else as marks, johns, consumers, customers.
Sherlock 1 day ago 0 replies      
MS. McArdle is a journalist with strong insights in tech and finance. Her blog is a good read, if you skip the politics content, which isn't so bad either.
zobzu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just to take the headline without the context:
being rich and being smart are not necessarily synonymous and one never required the other.

In other words, smart people often do NOT aim to be rich. They have more interesting goals and they usually either sacrifice "common wealth" for them, or are just ok with a decent amount of money. Money's nothing. Money's not a goal. Never been.
Smart evil people go after power control and knowledge. Money is a side effect. Dumb people only go after money (which comes and go, really).

Rand Fishkin: Inbound Marketing for Startups hackersandfounders.tv
240 points by smilliken  2 days ago   39 comments top 16
danberger 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best content came out of the Q&A at ~69m. A guy asked two questions: (1) how do you find the angle about what to publish content about and (2) when do you start publishing content to get inbound traffic?

Rand responded: He goes to topsy top 1000 [1], alltop [2] to find featured blogs that are getting the most buzz, Google Plus popular section, the subreddit most relevant to you, and followerwonk [3] to see what the top 100 twitter accounts in your industry are talking about

Basically, all of the above actions get you immersed in the market you're trying to penetrate and gives you an understanding of what will be of value to them. You can then use this information to generate content that will go viral.

Unfortionately, he didn't answer the second question :(

[1] http://topsy.com/top1k
[2] http://alltop.com/
[3] http://www.followerwonk.com

Jd 2 days ago 3 replies      
Got an email that if I upvote this item on Hacker News I get two free months of SEOMoz. How much of that sort of stuff happens here? How many of the 127+ points this item has are from incentivized SEO?
gabaix 2 days ago 1 reply      
Rand, why did you choose to use the Hubspot term Inbound Marketing? Inbound Marketing is more often used as a replacement for Market Research. Your definition really means Permission Marketing.

In 2009, Hubspot decided to coin the term Inbound Marketing in a new way so they can claim the space ("first inbound marketing software"). Since then, they changed the entire Google results (starting with Wikipedia) so that they come up on most queries. The rare times I used Inbound Marketing with traditional marketers, they always meant Market Research.

gabaix 2 days ago 0 replies      
Back when I was doing SEO, Rand Fishkin was my hero. You could not find a more humble person, while delivering tremendous value in the white-hat community. I am glad he still speaks and educates as much as he can.
dools 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was a really fantastic summary of why you should do inbound marketing and how you can get started delivered in a lively and entertaining fashion.

Congratulations Rand! Looking forward to seeing more from you on the speaking front.

I can personally attest to the value of "mining the social web". When we first launched decal mockups[1] to get some eyeballs amongst designers my only strategy for getting traffic was to post it on HN.

When it slid off the newest page and into oblivion I was really down in the dumps but I just added a stream in hootsuite for the word "mockups", then anytime someone mentioned mockups I posted a link to the site and got 70 people signing up within the first week.

It's a fantastic way to engage with early adopters (although I would warn against automating it - I think possibly it was the fact that each message was personalised that meant I got very few negative reactions - only one that I can remember which was some guy telling me to "diaf" :)

[1] http://www.decalcms.com/mockups

chalst 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this video worth watching? Why?

This comments thread contains several comments from people who seem to have got something valuable from this video, but I have not been able to gather what that something is. There also seems to be a lot of SEO fluff here, which should be downvoted.

apurvamehta 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was there last night. Rand is a supremely talented presenter and did a great job of explaining how early stage startups can gain traction through organic (inbound) marketing.

He explained the basic concepts of online marketing and the basics of marketing strategy in a supremely succinct and inspiring way. It was golden! It was entertaining! Highly recommended!

rcavezza 2 days ago 3 replies      
When asked about paid marketing. Starts around 74:30

"Holy crazy crap does retargeting work."

"If you do great inbound, the first money you should spend should be on retargeting... people that were sort of interested but left"

"...uses a company called has offers in Seattle - they've been very effective for us".

"would not recommend raw display. It will perform poorly for you."

iradik 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a great speaker Rand is. Definitely makes me interested in the service. Loved the examples of real marketing such as urbnspoon, dropbox, seomoz, and simply hired.

Also, he gave 2 months of his svc away for free for the talk: http://www.seomoz.org/partners/hackers - Found this in the hackers and founders site.

dshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rand is a great entrepreneur and one of the world's foremost authorities on inbound marketing.

If you're a startup founder, you should watch this video. It's great content, well delivered.

tuomasb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a bit ironic given the nature of the talk that the link on the video page to seomoz.org has rel="nofollow" while comments down below don't have. No link juice for those who provide content(talk) and all the link juice for commenters.
BrentonG 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rand killed it last night! Well balanced talk from story, strategy to tactics...extremely powerful to see the juxtaposition of paid and inbound marketing. Earned media converts so much better on all levels. However he didn't talk about the speed of user acquisition...comparing both channels.
firefox 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a fantastic presentation, it brought me from a "I want to shoot myself" mood to "oh yeah there's hope!"
portentint 2 days ago 0 replies      
"You can't just do awesome shit in your products"


dontbelame 2 days ago 0 replies      
My personal favorite is towards the end of the talk when Rand left great tips (the last 15 minutes or so before QnA) The top 10 ways to get in bound traffic are practical and insightful for any early stage startup. It kicks ass!
Zendesk CEO calls Freshdesk a freaking rip off - Freshdesk responds ripoffornot.org
222 points by girishm  7 hours ago   130 comments top 50
teyc 4 hours ago 6 replies      
HackerNews readers, watch and learn. I'm about deconstruct what is going on.

Anybody who brushes off FreshDesk because of its Indian roots is doing FreshDesk a favour. This is a sharp mind at work and it is lethal.

FreshDesk is executing the standard modus operandi of upstart against an incumbent.

Jobs is a master at it (I'm Apple I'm Microsoft), Calacanis too (remember the SEO controversy, and then the Angel controversy?), and Girish is in the same league. The idea is to frame everything as a controversy, and linkbaits people into discussing it.

Notice how a custom domain is used and it is a mini website, not just a blog post? It is a custom website intended to fuel controversy and will drive a lot of SEO juice from bloggers all over the world. Sit back and watch its PageRank explode.

Girish is also running very hungry by executing a social media campaign. People may not buy from Twitter, but it buys mindshare. It will be a matter of time before FreshDesk gets a good recall rate, as long as it acts heads above other people. The name itself enjoys co-recognition from Freshbooks as well as ZenDesk.

Don't forget, Girish comes with a Zoho pedigree, and this is a company that has bootstrapped itself in India and no one would say the software is anything but world-class.

As for ZenDesk, Girish has stuck a fork into Ben Keepes for the lack of disclosure (by the way, I've been a long time reader of CloudAve, always insightful, even if [I now have to perceived it as potentially] biased), and then masterfully weaves ZenDesk CEO's twitter reply with the overtly racist overtone that cloudavesyd (onya Aussies) "Indian cowboys"-tweet. Note that mikkelsvane wasn't party to the "Indian cowboys" comment, but the way it is put, mikkelsvane sounded like he was in agreement (although to anyone who pays close attention to this type of things, he clearly was talking about something else).

Girish, if you are reading - I'm in Australia, if you could - please don't turn this into a wider "Australians enjoy India bashing meme". We already have a hard time here, and race doesn't factor much if at all in business.

As for ZenDesk, the important thing is to stay above the fray, establish their incumbency, but emphasize their own underdoggedness. Both can play the jingoist game and appeal to emotions.

ecaron 5 hours ago 3 replies      
As much as I'd like to side with the guy getting picked on (Freshdesk), Zendesk is completely right. Ignoring the interface and naming similarities, you can't complain about ZenDesk on Twitter without multiple Freshdesk spammers bombarding you. Sure there's nothing illegal about it, but they're obnoxious with the "a customer of a rival is complaining, I MUST CONVERT THEM!" concept.

(I called them a rip-off of Zendesk back in late October - http://mobile.twitter.com/ecaron/status/123594375560302592 - and it took several days for @vshankar90 and @mrgirish to stop harassing me on Twitter...)

hajrice 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Disclaimer: I'm the founder of Helpjuice.com. We compete with Zendesk's knowledge base.

This is so rude from Zendesk. In case you think someone has ripped of your product, in any way, you (as the CEO of a 30+ company with 10,000 customers) SHOULD NEVER, EVER write something like that.

I'm 100% with Freshdesk on this one specifically because of the tone of Zendesk and Freshdesk. The way Mikkel responded to Freshdesk is silly and childish.

If someone were to make a knock off of my product, I wouldn't tweet at them like Mikkel did. Or support one of my buddies (who is perhaps disguised as a blogger for blog XYZ) that's trolling a company's image, saying that they're the same as Zendesk. Or calling them Indian cowboys.

Zendesk, I hope you understand that you've turned me (an actual person who supports everything you do, and someone who talks to the folks at Assistly with a great and friendly tone) into someone who honestly hopes you loose this "battle" and have left a nasty look in a lot of people's eyes.

I don't know much about Freshdesk's product, but I know the way they reacted was nice and professional (exactly the opposite of how you responded). +1 on that.

Lesson learned: You don't do marketing by bashing on someone's product without looking like an ass (and perhaps loosing a couple customers).

P.S.: (to the Freshdesk folks) Congrats on stepping up and putting time in to create a page like this. I would have maybe included screenshots of the product to further help your customers understand that you're not a knock off of Zendesk.

sunir 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Christian Marth (@cloudgroupsyd)
has a lot of explaining for that ridiculous and risible "Indian cowboy" dig. Twenty times worse because he doubled down on it while backpeddling.
jen_h 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're on the right track, competitors are going to rip you off.

If you're on the right track, competitors are going to try to poach your customers.

If you're on the right track, some competitors are going to talk trash about you when they think no one's looking. Or even when everyone's looking! Using profanity in their Twitter feeds, even!

But just because you're on the right track doesn't mean you can't derail; take the high road and let your customers decide. How you deal with unethical competitors is just one mettle-proving battle in a much larger campaign.

I sympathize with Zendesk, but there are times where it's wiser to just let your tongue bleed out. Let that extra salt sustain you for the more important battles ahead.

mmaunder 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Regarding the initial dispute over trademark: The "desk" part of the name is 'descriptive' and so isn't the strong part of each trademark. The "zen/fresh" parts are arbitrary so are the strong part of each mark. These are distinct, so I don't think there is a valid claim to trademark infringement here. One could argue that "desk" is 'suggestive' in trademark law which makes it a bit stronger, but I don't think that would fly.

If one of the companies can show actual instances of customer confusion, then there may be a case as this is an important test in a trademark case.

The fact that zen haven't filed suit speaks volumes.

tzs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The help desk field is crowded. A quick search reveals that at least half a dozen of the large number of companies in that space have "desk" in their name. Any analyst that thinks that putting "desk" in the name of a help desk product is a "blatant attempt to piggyback" off of another help desk product with "desk" in the name is an idiot or is being paid to make that observation. (In this case, it was the latter, although that doesn't preclude the former).
DevX101 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey girish,

Can you write a post in a week to let us know how many customers you gained from this? If you can find out how many came from ZenDesk, even better.

alex_c 1 hour ago 1 reply      
All I see are a bunch of self-promotional trolls, on both sides of the "issue".

Is setting up an entire website really a proportionate response to a dumb tweet? (Obviously, it is if you're stirring up controversy).

Seriously, guys... don't feed the trolls. You should know better than this.

dotBen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to point out this was posted to HN by Girish Mathrubootham himself (the Founder/CEO of FreshDesk).

It's worthy of debate, but we'll all feeding this PR stunt (and if some people feel Girish is a troll, then you're feeding a troll too).

And usually it's considered 'poor form' to submit your own stuff to HN.

omfg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Zendesk should've left this alone. I can't even fathom why they'd start. The products don't look alike. They are takes on the same name, help / support desk, which is a standard name.

I don't want to rag on Zendesk. I've been using them for years. But with stupid remarks like this, their incredibly slow / almost non-existent development on the product, and lackluster support have me keeping an eye out for replacements.

Kind of dangerous with stuff like Assistly looming out there.

That said, I'm not sure an entire domain name was warranted for this. I thought it was just a blog post at first.

j45 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This might be a good lesson in don't feed the monster so it gets more attention.

When the big guy talks smack about a presumably smaller guy, it's because they're threatened?

Who cares if their pricing is a rip off, it's good for Zendesk if Freshdesk is a ripoff, because no one will use it. By saying and doing nothing Freshdesk could spiral into a blackhole of me never hearing about it.

Instead Zendesk put Freshdesk on it's own level by talking about it as an equal.

Zendesk used it's brand power to legitimize Freshdesk as an option just by talking about them like this.

Instead of never seeing Freshdesk, I checked out a Zendesk competitor because of Zendesk, with more than normal scrutiny. One feature I now like about Freshdesk is that it manages multiple SLA's.

P.S., I use neither Zendesk or Freshdesk.

kevingadd 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey, look, Ad Hominems on a domain name registered for the express purpose of an internet flame war between two competitors! It must be Sunday.

I wonder if these tactics actually have a measurable impact on sales?

bjtitus 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks like I won't be using either of these products.

Think of all that could have been accomplished on the product had they not been squabbling and setting up websites to argue with one another.

No one comes out on top in situations like this. I think it's best to end it with something like: "I'm sorry you feel that way. We'll let the customers decide."

eduardordm 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Both sides look silly to me. That's exactly the type of emotional reactions you get from young, technical entrepreneurs. EQ is just as important as IQ if you really want to be relevant in business.
preek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi and then immediately writing your name and title under it just seems wrong.
jmedwards 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The whole thing is completely overblown (intentionally so and calculated, of course, by Freshdesk) and was very unnecessary to begin with (on Zendesk's part).

As an Indian-started helpdesk software company ourselves, the 'Indian cowboy' comment raised our brows a bit. It was very unfortunate. But then I realised it was said by a relative nobody. That didn't stop it being used to inflame the situation, though.

Disclosure: I'm from Kayako.com, competitor, the original Original helpdesk and bemused bystander ;-)

freejack 3 hours ago 0 replies      
All I want to know is how this got to be the top story on HackerNews. Its a blatant PR grab on one side, and borderline infantile on the other.

Yuck on both counts.

coryl 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is some sort of PR stunt marketing ploy?

Either way I'm not really impressed (I'd guess most consumers aren't impressed) by pointless personal bickering. Marketing based on negative sentiment is not effective.

taylorbuley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Related discussion from when this company launched almost a year ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2341454
stfp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interestingly enough, Freshdesk apparently got started when Zendesk raised their prices - and a comment on HN about how this created a market for a cheaper competitor gave them the initial idea. So, at least partly a rip-off in my book.

Source: http://blog.freshdesk.com/the-freshdesk-story-how-a-simple-c...

yangez 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This whole thing is really juvenile. The Zendesk guys look a lot worse here, but by making such a big deal out of it and turning it into an obvious PR stunt the Freshdesk folks aren't doing themselves any favors either. I understand it's difficult and highly offensive when a competitor blatantly bashes you but don't overreact and bring yourself down to their level.
jerhinesmith 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I was with them up until the quote at the end. At best, it's disputed[1]. It's strange how one small oversight took the wind of the entire argument's sail (so to speak).

[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mohandas_Karamchand_Gandhi#Disp...

mstroeck 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Being first is worthless in and off itself. Execution and customer service are what counts. If you are:

a) an entrepreneur; and

b) think that "rip-offs" like this one are in some way unethical...

... you need to get your head out of your ass, ASAP!

Taking other peoples' great ideas and applying them to make your own product even better is not called "ripping somebody off". That process is called "business".

kennystone 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely a rip-off, but Zendesk was stupid to comment on it.
tbrooks 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a political saying that should be heeded, "never attack downward."

You risk more by attacking downward and you have less to gain.

polemic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This whole spat just highlights one of those truths that's evident to those in the industry:

There is no such thing as a good idea, only good execution.

Being first doesn't count for anything. Having a vaguely similar name doesn't count for anything. In the end, only how well your product works, how many users you can attract and retain, and how much value it provides matter.

smoyer 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I like how MRGirish admits that FreshDesk wouldn't exist if it wasn't for ZenDesk. Doesn't that prove the point?

So my question for FreshDesk is this ... How is your service more innovative than ZenDesk?

lucianomt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"Rip-off"? It's a help desk service for Pete's sake, not the Xerox GUI or the Page-rank. If Freshdesk can deliver the same value to customers for a fraction of Zendesk's cost, kudos to them.
WestCoastJustin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You know you are doing something right when people hate you.. Seems like a odd thing for them to get into a pissing contest with these guys. First of all, you're acknowledging their existence and what can you do to prevent them from doing what they're doing?
chintan100 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great response. :)

I will be reminded of this incident every time i see the Zendesk logo when i submit a ticket on a site that uses them.

What an awful way to lose respect and damage credibility.

wildgift 6 hours ago 1 reply      
They're all freaking rip offs of Request Tracker. :
foobarbazetc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's kind of irrelevant, since both services are handily beaten by Assistly.

Well, Assistly before they got bought and couldn't keep their service up.

collypops 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think everyone's still getting caught up in the Steve Jobs-ness of the past couple of months. CEO's are acting cocky, cause that's what Steve would have done. They're calling out people who they think have stolen their ideas, cause that's what Steve would have done.

What they're completely missing is Steve's greatest lesson: If you want to trample your competitors, just build a better product.

tlrobinson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm less likely to give my money to either of these companies now.

I hate when companies publicly bash each other, even if it's in retaliation.

jtchang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow what a craptastic response from Zendesk. I think it is fine to have a bit of a spar over features in competing products but you have to keep it civil.
kumarm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If desk part of the name is Zendesk's issue. There exist multi billion companies with desk in their name (Autodesk) much before anyone thought of Zendesk.
Freshdesk really did good with their response. I never heard of them before and now anyone talks about Zendesk, I will remember Freshdesk.
orthecreedence 4 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Nu uh!!!! ='''( [Quote comparing us to Gandhi]

I think their response was a bit too involved. They were insulted by some blowhard (CEO or not) and instead of rolling with the punches, they write an emotionally-charged, whiny blog post. Not to mention a name is the stupidest thing to fight over. If you want to see a real rip-off, check out github vs bitbucket.

Just focus on making your product. If you're doing well, some people may turn into little girls and get jealous and throw tantrums. Ignore them and focus on your goals. Engaging in back and forth like this shows nothing but weakness.

Just noticed they actually bought a domain for this. Even worse. I don't see good things in the future for Freshdesk if this is how they respond to an affront. Also, why are they comparing themselves to Gandhi? You've got to be kidding me...?

sarahsflowers 2 hours ago 0 replies      
An obvious PR campaign that damages Freshbook's brand perception in my mind. I had no opinion of them before, but this sleazy tactic creates a negative image. I think it helps them to build awareness, but at what cost...
diamondhead 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What Freshdesk tries to do is redirecting your attention to the similarity of the names. If you really check out Freshdesk, you'll see that they copied Zendesk with no piece of difference!
keeptrying 4 hours ago 1 reply      
There's nothing like bad publicity. I never heard of freshdesk before this.

Use the publicity That you've been given freshdesk but don't overdo it!

blissofbeing 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used both freshdesk and zendesk and have to say I prefer zendesk, freshdesk offers nothing substantial over zendesk.

Having said that I am grateful freshdesk is there to spur some innovation.

dools 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Man this is classy. Well done Freshdesk.
therandomguy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You must be awfully naive to think that there will be no competitors (with similar features) when you build a product which is relatively simple. If it wasn't listed in bold under the "threat" section of your business plan then something is off.
omouse 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's funny because they could be co-operating instead of competing and be making much more money by targeting different markets.
jblow 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is this here? How do I downvote the post or recommend it for the "stupid twitter he-said-she-said" category?
BadassFractal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Delicious drama. Go on.
therandomguy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Without much research it sounds like Kepes and Svane got pwnd hard.
itmag 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Slightly off-topic: anyone got any ideas on how to innovate in this niche? I am always looking to add to my idea pile :) (See here: http://ideashower.posterous.com)
diamondhead 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If the Hacker News people need a guide to notice how FreshDesk guys are motivated to draw the attention of people by making bullshit, I'm going to stop reading HN. Shame on you the readers voted this article up.

This is completely bullshit. If you take a look at the website of Freshdesk, you'll see that they stole the design of Zendesk. They probably did it to draw the attention of Zendesk and gather some angry tweets that can be used in such a way you see.

This is the last article I've seen in HN. I'll never enter this website again. Seriously, enough bullshit for a coder.

Time to leave HN alone with the embarrassing promoters and gossip girls.

LLVM 3.0 Released llvm.org
211 points by wisesage5001  3 days ago   32 comments top 2
stephth 3 days ago 5 replies      
As an avid reader of HN I'm surprised it's the first time I hear of many of these many (LLVM backed) projects. Some that stood out to me:

- The VMKit project is an implementation of a Java Virtual Machine (Java VM or JVM) that uses LLVM for static and just-in-time compilation.

Am I reading this right? A faster Java that doesn't require a virtual machine? Does this mean faster Java, Scala, Clojure, or even Ruby, and deployed anywhere that LLVM can build for (which means pretty much everywhere)? Sounds too good to be true.

- LanguageKit is a framework for implementing dynamic languages sharing an object model with Objective-C.

- Eero is a fully header-and-binary-compatible dialect of Objective-C 2.0

Has anyone tried Eero? It looks interesting (and seems to be compatible with Objective-C code): http://eerolanguage.org/from-objective-c-to-eero. One thing I didn't get from the documentation is does Eero still require header files?

sixtofour 2 days ago 4 replies      
Off topic suggestion: When you have a home page for a project, if the name is an acronym, you should spell out the acronym in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence or the title.

From http://llvm.org/ I looked at Overview, Features, Documentation and FAQ, and did not find the definition of LLVM. I ultimately had to go to Wikipedia.

You'll be dead soon - Carpe Diem steveblank.com
210 points by Maro  4 days ago   41 comments top 12
mechanical_fish 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if professional coaches have a vocabulary word for that feeling. The one you get when you watch a student creep right up to the edge of success and then stop dead and start flailing around in apparent desperation.

I guess the term for the actual failure is choking, but what's the word for having to sit there and watch a student choke? Either because it's the only way for them to learn, or because it's impossible for you to help?

Whatever it should be called, it's painful. My best teachers seem to have been pretty good at it, though.

Mc_Big_G 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is where failing a few times gives you the insight to know when you have a winner on your hands. Those of us with a lot of attempts but no winners would kill to have users waiting to pay.
gallerytungsten 4 days ago 1 reply      
re: "Bob was in the wrong business, not the wrong market. He wanted certainty, comfort and security."

This is a key point of difference between those who are cut out for startup life and those who are not.

pghimire 4 days ago 3 replies      
I think this is where proper mentorship is extremely valuable. If the student was consistently coached from the get-go he might have pulled it off.

On that note, is there a community online where one can seek out mentorship. It doesn;t have to be a community of who's who - just some decent nice people with common sense and desire to succeed should suffice. I am at a stage where I could use some advice as well.

brd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a victim of his own fear of failure. Knowing you're about to start an endeavor that will truly test you is overwhelmingly scary for someone who isn't ready to be tested. I've watched a lot of people (myself included) give up before starting instead of risking a chance of actually failing and facing their own limitations.
herdrick 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the product / prototype was.
Herring 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like he was burnt out. It's not that hard to recognize when you have a good product.
Jach 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Remembering that I'll live forever is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything " all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure " these things just fall away in face of endless time, leaving only what is truly important." --The immortal Steve Mobs

We shouldn't need death as a pretty bad excuse to seize the day.

mrleinad 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great advice.
I find a bit more interesting the "Memento Mori" motto. Same idea, though.
dean 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how bad a developer you have to be in order to get someone, who is only following along in "bits and pieces", really concerned for the startup that hired you.
mapster 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is one thing to learn engineering, but one also needs to study leadership first hand for a while before attempting it themselves. Bob couldn't find it within him to pull the trigger when he should have. Or he is more risk averse than he considered himself to be.
capdiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
You only live once. So make it count.
What Powers Instagram: Hundreds of Instances, Dozens of Technologies instagram-engineering.tumblr.com
210 points by systrom  2 days ago   41 comments top 12
armandososa 1 day ago 3 replies      
I like posts like this a lot. I'm just a web designer, but I found scaling web sites fascinating, like some kind of dark art or secret craft.

Where do you learn this stuff? Do you need a CS Degree from stanford or something? I like the black magic aura, it's romantic, but I'd really like to understand how to scale websites doing stuff like the OP describes.

jphackworth 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a little surprised so many machines are used to run Instagram. TechCrunch mentioned their peak has been 50 photo uploads per second (which they say go directly to S3, so Instagram's servers only need to pass a token). Of course there are other forms of requests, but just back of the envelope it seems like it should not require anywhere near "hundreds" of machines.

Not to be too harsh - it's just three engineers, so it makes sense if the setup is still evolving.

d_r 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know that this is probably a recruiting-inspired post, but detailed posts like this genuinely benefit the community. Thanks for specifically mentioning the reasons for choosing particular technologies (i.e. why you switched to Gunicorn from mod_wsgi) -- this makes the already excellent post even more helpful for someone trying to build things.
latchkey 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess my question is, how do they make money? I really like instagram images. I've used the site myself, but it certainly isn't something I'd feel the need to pay money for.
cagenut 1 day ago 0 replies      
With that big a monthly AWS bill, I could pretty easily justify my salary and the costs of building out a 4 - 10 rack colo setup. With room leftover for a dba consultant on retainer and a pro-serv budget for ad-hoc stuff.
latchkey 2 days ago 3 replies      
Those Quadruple Extra Large instances are $2/hr. The 24 of them used for postgres would be like $35k/month just for that part alone. I'm guessing they are spending >$100k/month on just hosting 100+ instances. Not to mention disk, bandwidth, dns, s3, public ip's, etc.
apu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a collection of these kind of blog posts somewhere? i.e., for comparing the stacks of different sites?
geuis 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing about how Instagram's load balancing that I don't like is that they rate-limit their proxies on image requests. In my recent testing, its roughly 5-6 requests every 3 seconds or so. Any requests more frequent than that return 503 status codes. I don't entirely understand why they do this, since their load balancer simply does 302 redirects to the S3-hosted image resource.

I can guess at some of the reasons, such as they didn't foresee a user loading more than a few images at once. Perhaps they perceive rate limiting as a protective measure.

However, I've done testing on Twitpic, imgur, and yfrog and haven't run into the same issues. Twitpic, for example, generates a lot more traffic than Instagram and they don't have the same rate-limiting.

mkjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad to see other people using vmtouch. It's also great for keeping large codebases in the filesystem cache on [shared] dev machines.
vidar 1 day ago 0 replies      
What was your take on Gunicorn over uWsgi?
sant0sk1 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's a lot of instances! It'd be interesting to run the numbers and get an idea of what their monthly AWS bill looks like.
mcginleyr1 1 day ago 0 replies      
For their load balances, why aren't they assigning elastic ip. Then they would have to wait for DNS just reassign the ip...
US Road Fatalities 2001-09 mapped with OpenStreetMap itoworld.com
200 points by harrylove  4 days ago   100 comments top 27
AmericanOP 4 days ago  replies      
Not quite sure yet how this influences my recent urge to start riding motorcycles.

There seems to be a (near) 1:2 ratio between motorcycle and vehicle fatalities. I already knew motorcycle riders were 5 times more likely to get in accidents, and those accidents were 35 times more likely to result in very serious injury. In my life so far I've been in one small fender bender.

This does confirm some of the self-imposed safety rules I'm planning. No car commercial road joyriding. Lots of yellow in the hills. Highway driving seems to be relatively safe, which is comforting. Extreme caution at intersections (look at the bay bridge on-ramp). No riding at night.

dmvaldman 4 days ago 1 reply      
For a benchmark for comparison, the design firm Fathom made a map consisting of only the roads of the US and no other geographical features. It's also an awesome poster I have up in my room. It's interesting to overlay these two maps with each other.


xbryanx 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really wish maps like these would display their data on cartograms related to population - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartogram. The open west always makes my eye come up with false conclusions at first glance.
freejoe76 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is an interesting dataset -- too bad it's such a boring map.

Two ways it could be improved:

1. Allow filtering by year, by type of death.

2. Allow data to be compared (deaths by state, by type, by year) in a non-map based form.

I'm sure there are more...

forgottenpaswrd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I saw the death of a motorist. We were on the mountains, he was at more than 120mph in the straight part of the road(he passed over us), and as he took a curve super fast, a van appeared on the other side of the road. Instant dead, looking at him was the most horrible vision in my life. His friends(also riders) will came later and cry.

It is strange, three people I knew from my college died on a very small motorcycle with a very small curb on the road(two young girls and one boy, no helmet). I could not believe it, it made no sense for three people to die on such a small danger(I have seen MBT riders so much times do things x10000 more dangerous).

Four young men and women from my village also died as they return from a Spanish fiesta on the night.

In the North of Spain and Portugal non official "rallies" are the first cause of dead on young people.

What is strange is that until looking at this map, I strangely believed those accidents were "special", but it seems there are not.

jamesbressi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very well done. It would be interesting to have the ability to click on one of the reports and get details--something I'm sure you would have done if it was available or possible.
tobiasSoftware 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think a per-person version of this chart would be interesting as well, dividing the map into regions, counting the number of accidents, and dividing it by the number of people in the region. Placement of accidents is less interesting than chance you will have an accident if you live there IMO. Still cool though :)
laconian 4 days ago 1 reply      
Found my friend that died in 2002, though it only reported his death and not his fiancee's as well.

What a sad nitpick! :(

JshWright 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find this a little... disquieting... I know the story behind a dozen or so of these little icons. Like any traumatic event, they'll come to mind from time to time (some are more memorable than others, for some reason). Being reminded of all of them at once is actually a little overwhelming.

It's also a bit of a disconnect seeing the chaos and trauma of some of those scenes reduced to a tiny graphic.

danso 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a link to the NHTSA pick-a-checkbox data finder, but here's the link to the FTP site for the raw data:


Maps like these are visually interesting, but I think a stats analysis of the many characteristics the data include, such as previous DUI offenses and weather conditions, could be even more fascinating.

benvanderbeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was involved in an accident where I caused a fatality in 1999 (guy sleeping in my lane on a rural highway at 3am), so it's not on here. Otherwise I would be able to say something about its accuracy and completeness.
eande 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great chart and SF downtown has a denser deep blue color; always suspected that is a more risky place for pedestrian.
steauengeglase 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, looks like the previous owner neglected to tell me that someone was killed in my driveway back in '07.
tsumnia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very awkward to see the number of deaths that I drive past daily...
Even more awkward to think I could have been a statistic on this site a few years ago!

The searching functionality could use some work. I was unable to input the actual address of my accident and had to guess-timate. Like others said, filtering would be highly appreciated as well.

spec 4 days ago 0 replies      
Something very similar has been done years ago: http://www.city-data.com/accidents/acc-Chicago-Illinois.html. Per-city mapping using Google Maps with additional info and Google street map when clicking on each marker.
ry0ohki 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a similar map of airplane fatalities for those that are scared of flying for a reassuring comparison...
vcadambe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a similar map of UK - http://map.itoworld.com/.
tibbon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems driving in Barrow Alaska is much safer than I thought!

I wish I could switch on and off things. I want to see motorcycles only.

hesdeadjim 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see this map annotated with fatalities involving blood alcohol content > 0.08. Not sure if that information is made available though...
Florin_Andrei 4 days ago 1 reply      
Far more fatalities in the CA Central Valley than in the SF Bay Area, even though the respective population densities are the other way round.
s00pcan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is not very interesting without any ability to add a filter.
motters 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anything like this for the UK?
tux1968 4 days ago 0 replies      
The age of pedestrians killed in accidents was surprising to me. Of course I didn't do an exhaustive scan, but everywhere I looked they were much older than I imagined they'd be. Many seniors.
vishaldpatel 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that walking is more dangerous than driving in San Francisco.
wavephorm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am never driving again.
RobSpectre 4 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of loved ones on this map.
PLejeck 4 days ago 3 replies      
This has just reaffirmed my fear of east-coasters.
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