Likely the most impactful thing you can do right now is to add the banner to your own site and ask the companies you work for to do the same. We've tried to make it as easy as possible to add the banner; you can find all the options (including a Cloudflare app and Wordpress plugins) here: https://github.com/tfrce/thedaywefightback.js
Pushing for technical solutions to the surveillance is also really important. Friends at Fight for the Future are launching a campaign along those lines as soon as this one wraps up, and there are a lot of open source projects (e.g. the great work done by [Whisper Systems](https://whispersystems.org)) that deserve attention.
But legislation and technology need to work hand in hand for things to change in the long run. Even if we have decent technical solutions, legal measures can easily limit the scope of their success (see Lavabit).
Resolve to push for encryption if there is any PII data in an app that you work with especially if it is a e-mail/mobile/social app. at scale
Refuse to work with/at NSA until their policies change
Refuse to participate in any committee/standards body, conferences, with NSA employees (or their cohort companies who have willingly forsaken the public's interests)
Encourage non-tech folks to adopt stronger privacy practices
"Right idea; wrong methods. Let me explain.An email to your legislators may result in a form letter response and a phone call to the office may amount to a tally mark on an administrative assistant's notepad.But, if you want to get their attention, a letter to the editor published in one of your state's 5-10 biggest newspapers that mentions them specifically BY NAME is the way to go.
That is the crucial thing to know--the rest of this comment is an explanation of why I know this is true.I know this because, when I interned in the D.C. office of a senator one summer, one of the duties I shared was preparing a document that was distributed internally both online and in paper format. This document was made every day and comprised world news articles, national news, state news, and any letters to the editor in the 5-10 largest newspapers within the senator's home state that mentioned him by name. I was often the person who put that document on his desk, and it was the first thing he read every morning after arriving to the office.
I began to suspect that this was standard operating procedure because several other senators' offices share the same printer in the basement of the Russell Senate Office building, and I saw other interns doing the exact same procedures that I was involved in.Since the internship, I've conferred with other Senate and House employees past and present and determined that most--if not all--offices use essentially the same procedure.
Edit:I don't mean to suggest that calling or emailing your legislators is worthless. It isn't--it's just not the most effective route to getting their attention. However, if you don't have the time to writer a letter to the editor, please consider at least calling or emailing them. In fact, there's no reason why you couldn't use multiple tactics by calling them, emailing them, and writing a letter to the editor.If you would like to go the call or email route, tools to help with that can be found at https://thedaywefightback.org/"
Not the final elections - by then the incumbents are in place and it's too late ... for national office, incumbents resign / die more often than they're beat by an opponent.
Primaries are where the action is, for two reasons:
* it's the one time an incumbent is most vulnerable
* very few people vote in primaries compared to election time, so each person's vote makes a bigger difference
Want change in D.C.? If you primary just 10% of the critters there, you'll get their full, undivided attention.
Yes, emails, letters, and phone calls have an effect. So does K Street. Politicians care about their re-election and money / resources to make it happen, so in the game of influence, I (a normal taxpayer with neither the desire nor the ability to bribe them) will always have the disadvantage. That's why I'd rather fight outside their game - in the primary race.
Yes, these links are from a tea partier perspective, but guess what? The tools they describe work for everybody just the same.
http://www.campaign4primaryaccountability.org/One of the organizations in this space; there are others out there.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSib8MfaQLQLeo Linbeck describes the general strategy and how it can work.
It's not ideal, of course, but in the short term since there seems to be no political appetite for relinquishment or meaningful reform then technical mitigation strategies - if they can be sufficiently popularised - may help to reduce the harm resulting from mass surveillance.
Ultimately the solution is both political and technical. When politicians or other public figures make claims that what's going on is "not mass surveillance" or try to imply that collecting metadata is unimportant then they should be challenged.
Mass surveillance, if technically possible, is going to happen. Therefore make services where it isn't possible. If that screws with your business model you're part of the problem.
For those in the US, though, please do call your representatives.
We basically need a publicly audited restructuring of our entire communication infrastructure. The problem has grown to such proportions that we now know that we can not trust governing institutions like NIST, or chip manufacturers like Intel for example. What makes matters much worse is that the U.S. government will just keep playing the same card of supposed reforms, while operations will not cease, but instead will do a illusive dance to more black on black policies.
At the same time, public interest in the matter has already massively dwindled due to over saturation in media coverage. While the cointelpro is working hard to dismiss everything as essentials to provide us with a (sense of) security for the global fight of terrorism and crime, apathy will prevail.
Also I'm referring to U.S. policies a lot, since they are the ring leaders and are influencing international policy and operations at the highest level.
But obviously this is a problem across many if not all governments. The nature of intelligence agencies is to gather intelligence by any means. This will never change, never disappear unless we get full transparency on government. Which will never happen due to concerns for national security. And we know where that road will lead to.. ask how Bradly Manning is doing.
So no, I'm a bit too informed, and have become way too cynical to be counting on a revolution any time soon :(
I also think framing it as a one day campaign where the fighting involves passive action at the individual level is not a game winning strategy. It is still a great rallying signal though, and its effects have already gone beyond the single day, and for every person too lazy to change their avatar back, they will carry on for a good while longer in some way.
However, the motivation for the average person to even think about engaging such an overwhelming and invisible force as mass surveillance is very close to zero. For those who are willing, involvement seems to be passive (donating to a more capable organization, hitting a like button, resharing links), bursty (waiting for organized events to rally around), or demoralizing (low visibility of opponent, lack of support from uninterested peers or locals, extremely slow and indirect feedback loop for any action).
For these reasons, I hope that a campaign modeled as a constantly running open source game engine emerges, because that is actually just the bare minimum required for victory - to at least continue playing the game as long as your opponent is playing, no matter whether you are winning or losing at the moment.
A game model will at least make undeniably clear that there exists a thing worth playing for (your personal information perhaps), that there are actual opponents who can and will take this thing from you, and the visibility and mechanics needed for you to take action to protect that thing.
"Why should I care if they read my emails? I'm not important and I don't do anything wrong. If it helps them catch terrorists, who cares?"
Until this question is answered clearly and effectively, nobody except all those splinter groups represented by so many logos will care about this.
This is a global fight. The perpetrators and the victims are everywhere.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy, June 6 1966 (South Africa address)
But the real danger is with the next battle. I think we are going to see a major showdown over legality of encryption generally within the next few years with a push for legally required back-doors (since it will be harder to guarantee cooperation unofficially and there is almost certain to be a lot of effort into guaranteeing better security). That's the one we should be steeling ourselves for.
So I won't be participating in this "The Day We Fight Back" not because I think it is unimportant but because I think it is too important than to relegate to a day of action.
The point about things like this is that by raising awareness and getting people on board to do concrete action, we move the "collective consciousness" in the direction we'd like to see it go. Imagine if 20 years ago everyone had that attitude about gay and lesbian rights. Imagine if 80 years ago everyone had the same attitude about equal rights for minorities.
You people are jackasses. Just because someone can't dedicate their full time job to fighting this doesn't mean they don't care or are lazy. And even if they did dedicate their full time job to it, what exactly do you suggest they do? The first thing that comes to mind to me is that they should start trying to rally others. Which is, as it turns out, exactly what is being done here.
Presidents lie. Politicians lie.
Now, if every American refuses to work 1 day, and all head to the NSA's office, datacenter (and actually destroy the thing), that'd really mean taking matters into our own hands (extreme scenario, I know). The NSA knew people wouldn't like this, but they did it anyway, because nobody knew. We will never truly have 100% transparency what the NSA is doing. People can no longer trust them. Period.
I think I understand what is going on. The folks at the top look at all the huge centralized information stores like Facebook, Google, Verizon, etc., and I guess they think, "well, it's gonna get collected anyway, so we may as well have access to it." President Obama actually hinted at this line of thinking when initially caught off-guard by the Snowden revelations. Instead of responding directly, he deflected, suggesting that what we really needed was a larger conversation about mass collection of data, i.e. not just the collection by governments.
The trouble with mass data collection, either by governments or private entities, is that it gives the possessors of such information extreme amounts of power. Left unchecked, it will almost certainly lead to severe economic and political corruption. The free market is compromised when a small group of people can spy on the private communications of executives and other business people, for example by stealing trade secrets or conducting insider trading. Meanwhile, democracy is compromised when politically active people, including politicians and activists, are made subject to intense scrutiny. Since virtually no one is totally free from legal or moral wrongdoing, the possibilities for politically motivated blackmail and retaliation are massive. And of course the data collection has serious chilling effects on free speech and freedom of the press.
If no course correction is made, the U.S. will become more and more oligarchic, more and more like China and Russia. This is unfortunate not just for its implications vis-a-vis individual freedom, but also from a larger perspective. This century we are faced with a diverse array of extremely difficult problems: economic, political, social, and environmental. Non-democratic governments have a historical tendency to fight with one another rather than cooperate, so it is hard to imagine how we will effectively confront these problems in the absence of strong democratic institutions.
What worries me is that some of the people in positions of power may actually believe that this massive data collection is somehow necessary to protect Americans from terrorism. But it is patently obvious that terrorism is not, and never has been, a serious threat to the personal safety of most Americans. Over the past two decades, something on the order of 800,000 men, women and children have died in car crashes, while around 3,000 have died as a result of terrorism. If this were a matter of saving lives, we'd be much better off fighting a "War on Car Crashes" than a "War on Terrorism." If this is purportedly an economic issue, i.e. the fear that a dirty bomb will go off in Manhattan and upset commerce, well, the fact is much worse things have happened (i.e. Hiroshima) and economies have recovered. This perspective may sound cynical, but in truth it is idealistic. I am not dismissing the tragedy of the death of perhaps thousands of people, but rather saying that, for the sake of a free and democratic society, such sacrifice is worthwhile.
The idea that "collection is going to happen anyway, so we may as well have access" is not unreasonable, but it is ultimately self-defeating. What we need is real leadership on this problem. Not only is there no strong voice against mass data collection, but the overwhelming thrust of the government is to reach its tentacles as deeply into the data gathering machine as possible. Instead of working to lessen the danger, the government is acting to accentuate it, amassing and centralizing even more data, and meanwhile using its media access to legitimize such activities to the public.
Again, what is needed is strong leadership. We need a group of people at the highest levels of federal power to put up a fight in congress and explain clearly to the American people why, in fact, we are on a very dangerous road. If not corrected for, this road will lead to the end of the democratic experiment, and a very uncertain future for our children. I hope that you, as my elected representative, will seriously consider taking a stand on this issue.
If you look at where we are, today, as a nation, how can anyone have hope? We're a nation that finds it more politically convenient to kill people by drones than to close Gitmo. We're a nation that, quite probably, kills people by drones simply because our leader promised to close a prison camp that would have normally taken said people, but can't now because it would be too visible and too much of a political issue to have people arriving to a place that is supposed to be closing. So America invents remote-control murder from the sky. You can't deny that we're a crafty, ingenious people.
Today we know that George Carlin was not cynical enough.
Self-host your email and keep it secure and encryptedhttps://www.mailpile.is/
Project Tox, also known as Tox, is a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) instant messaging application aimed to replace Skype.https://github.com/irungentoo/ProjectTox-Core
Host your own file sync solutionhttp://owncloud.org/
Torproject anonymous surfinghttps://www.torproject.org/
The invisible internet projecthttp://geti2p.net/en/
GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking https://gnunet.org/
Kali Linux - Linux distribution with security focushttp://www.kali.org/
The blow to trust has been struck. Operating a data processing or data storage business inside US jurisdiction is now a liability.
It's time to leave.
Pissed that the NSA (or insert gov agency here) is running amok? Get involved in your government, vote out the lawmakers who let/made [it] happen, and advocate for and vote in representatives who will invoke the change you want.
Appealing to the public in this manor encourages laziness and while it may be "practical" (as we can't expect everyone to throw themselves into the process) I don't think it's the best long term solution.
Not trying to torpedo this movement but I cringe whenever I see the words "script" when talking about invoking political or societal change.
1. Start the call by asking if they're cosponsoring of the USA Freedom Act.
2a. If they are not, use the script, it makes sense.
2b. If they are, thank them for their support of this bill. You can also let them know how important these surveillance issues are to you and the extent to which your representative's actions on these matters will affect your behavior at the polls and in donations.
Just a heads up to those planning to call (please do!). I felt kind of silly finding out that the first senator on my list was already a cosponsor after reading through the script, and wanted to save others the minor embarrassment. It should feel good to call your representatives and express your support for such important issues!
That aside, this is a really great campaign. Thank you so much to everyone who put it together and made it happen!!
Before we knew the extent of surveillance we saw images like this of Bush:http://www.funny-games.biz/pictures/648-vampire-bush.html
I never had to go looking for the imagery above during Bush's tenure it was everywhere. Where is it now for the current administration?
And would it be enough to deter a significant number of people from putting their details in and showing support?
At the same time... there 54,700 calls made and 114,122 emails sent.
The number of social media shares is almost double the number of people that followed through with the "call to action" here. Why?
If you are publicly passionate about the cause, I think you would do both (social media share + contact legislator). If you were privately passionate about the cause, you would just do the later; contact legislator.
But what is your mindset if you share this via social media, yet don't actually follow through with the call-to-action yourself?
Also, when you call the 202 number instead of having it call you, you the message talks about something related to the trans-Atlantic partnership, not the NSA issue.
Thanks for putting this together. I called and was pleased with the experience. Really hope some good comes of this.
Heroku | No such app
There is no app configured at that hostname.Perhaps the app owner has renamed it, or you mistyped the URL.
It goes like this: let the private companies run wild when it comes to privacy violations, and then gobble up all their data via national security letters, subpoenas, secret taps via NSA tech, and warrants for higher profile stuff and then only if desperate, and that is assuming an adversarial nature between the private sector and the government. In fact the C-levels are often directly approached and goaded into silently and secretly cooperating. (and if they refuse, ala Quest, they get targeted by the system)
Of course there is the matter that it is governments who will take the surveillance information and then act upon it, making them the slightly more evil evil in the room, but that does not negate the issue of private sector mass surveillance that is for sale to the highest bidder.
I've been one of those who has ranted about the dangers of the NSA since the late 90's, and now that it's a mainstream issue, it seems to have taken on a "oh yeah, the NSA is bad! stop that surveillance" kind of hipster social wave that lacks any kind of detailed nuance or explores the origins and destinations of this admittedly huge issue.
Yes, the surveillance is unconstitutional. So have been many of the other activities our American oligarchic powers have been engaged in over the past decade, including the assassination of American citizens without due process.
All of these things point to a much more deeply rooted issue than simply "surveillance", namely, that our fundamental governmental structure is in ruins as a result of a combination of corruption and apathy that has gutted the already precariously positioned checks and balances system.
Russ Tice has said he held in his hand the wiretap papers for a then hopeful senator from IL, who happens to now be in the Whitehouse. Are we really so naive as to think that Obama is clean coming from such a notoriously corrupt political arena? The intelligence agencies have been using the same techniques for ages, namely, bribery and threats. Russ Tice has also said he held in his hands the papers for judges who now sit on the SCOTUS, and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has a source who was responsible for vetting potential judges (up to SCOTUS level), and according to her, he said that anytime a judge came up clean, he was immediately removed from the roster of potentials. The implication being that only controllable people are allowed.
The point is that all three branches of government are corrupt and no longer (if ever, don't mistake that phrase for golden day idealism) functioning as servants of the people and defenders of the constitution (I wonder what the legal importance of oaths really is these days, because I seem to be surrounded by oath-breakers(USMC combat vet)).
And of the three branches, it is the executive which lords it's power over the other two.
The really sad part is that it seems to be the private sector which lords power of the executive. This is the trail of breadcrumbs that truly concerned people need to start discussing, researching, and following. It's very difficult to do. It's hard to track down the global supranational corporate structure. I am still often referencing this paper: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf
Oh, and as far as technological surveillance goes, there are two main starting points. 1) open source EVERYTHING (especially our trackers ahem cellphones) 2) decentralize everything possible. That is how we gain control of our data back... but that's becoming more and more difficult.
Honestly, I think RMS was simply a man far ahead of his time, and the history books (if he isn't wiped from their pages) will refer to him as a visionary in a sea of overly pragmatic corporatists who failed to see the big picture.
I could go on quite a bit about this, but that's where I'll leave it for now.
There's one thing to keep in mind though. I don't think any of us actually hate the NSA (in particular), or your local version. The piece I hate are the policies and their implementation. I'm sure that like all organizations there is some work being done by the NSA/CIA/FBI/KGB.... well maybe KGB was going too far.
I'd love to see links in this thread to the other ways people are supporting the struggle, whether it's blog postings, tumblrs, or something else. In that vein, here's my blog posting:
What is going to happen with the script after the campaign?https://github.com/tfrce/thedaywefightback.js/issues/98
My personal view: I still don't get why it is bad, #pleasesurveilme --> https://twitter.com/stefek99/status/433307672838819840
But I wish there was also a link for a more traditional "here are the phone #s of your representatives and a sample script".
With the latter, I could just print out that page and find a private place at work - away from my desk - to make the brief phone call.
We have an issue of education and clear message. Especially how this counters the Constitution.
Maybe a push for everyone to read "1984" :)
Added to our (moderately large) site.
Well, it is too short notice for me to invest the time to black out my website, so I will not be supporting this. Maybe there will be a similar action next year that I will support, if it is better advertised beforehand.
For example, crowdsourced black hat hacking bad links to any companies funding NSA loving politicians?
That means my petition signature will hold a special weight.
Gotta love slacktivism.
This brings up the interesting question of the general (non)value of a lot of mobile advertising. High impressions, super-low click rates, with many "falsies" because of tricks by the developer, eg where the advert is shown at random, quickly covering up parts of the user interface or extremely close to legitimate user interface elements.
Case in point, the app "Reddit in Pictures" bounces its adverts up and down at the bottom of the screen. If the advert were static, you wouldn't make the mistake of clicking on them, however, due to the bounce it has happened to me at least 20 times in the past month.
In short: for me the only valuable advert is a google advert... visible at the time when people have actually expressed interest in a topic/product, because they search for it. Note: google display network advertising is equally useless/fraudulent.
because in it he lays bare several fundamental structural issues about facebook which 99% people don't realize. Well worth the watch.
Unless fb changes drastically, it will die a surprisingly fast death.
Click farms like every page they can, far more than just the pages they were paid to like; the theory is that they will evade detection this way. Paying for "legitimate" facebook exposure will expose you to the click farms as well, and that will be the absolute majority of your gained likes. In this way facebook ads give a huge, but useless, gain in "Likes".
But in reality I'd be saying that in a weak attempt to make my own Facebook advertising more effective.
Lemme tl;dr this in three bullets:
- It's far easier for non-sophisticated advertisers to waste money.
- The ad platform is pretty technical and nuanced
- Notice I didn't mention facebook in the previous two bullets? That's because it's true for anywhere you buy ads, even print or flyers, radio or direct mail.
So to reiterate:For any given paid advertising channel, it is far easier for non-sophisticated people to waste money as it is to see significant ROI. Any place you can buy ads is far more technical and nuanced than people who don't live and breath it could every imagine.
All on-line ads are mostly worthless - most clicks are from clickfarms, and the genuine parts are mostly by clickjacking or accidental misclicks. Almost no one really wants to buy stuff via ads. Ad agencies keep telling companies that advertising online will generate lots of revenue, but between all those messy, noisy metrics and people generally not understanding a thing about statistics it's hard to see what part of revenue can be really attributed to ads, and whether or not they're worth the money invested.
Instead of deleting your account has anybody tried to "trash" your account via "Liking" everything you can and posting a large sets of unrelated pics? your info is only really valuable because its "true". if you trashed your account, its pretty much the same as deleting. also based on the filtering mentioned in this article, it seems like at some point your friends would just filter you out.
FWIW it makes an interesting way to evaluate Google+.
The accounts also were random like the one in the OP video, a Indian teenage girl liking a Flight Simulator? Why not... Hundreds? nope...
I feel like I've been cheated by Facebook in a way and would like my money back. They sure can find a way to figure out if those clicks are legitimate. Someone has 3K likes of random interests? That's a red flag to me.
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little ("the sky is falling!") I wrote a great deal voicing my point of view, including my very first post on Hacker News (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24742), in which I called Mark a fraud. For expressing my grave and sincere concern, I was met with what could only be described as considerable hostility.
Aware that very few wanted to hear what I had to say, I did everything I could to move onto more interesting and useful work. I don't spend my time worrying about Facebook, so I haven't looked into their ad technology in any depth. Nonetheless, everything in the above video strikes me as spot on, which would also mean that I was exactly right. Facebook's entire valuation appears to be based on little more than false advertising and click farming. As the CEO of a publicly-traded corporation with a supposed market capitalization of $162.61 billion, Mark would still appear to be, as I described here (http://www.aarongreenspan.com/writing/essay.html?id=80), the greatest con of all time.
I hope that based on these findings Facebook finds itself the target of civil actions filed by multiple Attorneys-General and the DOJ, but I doubt very much that our justice system would render a fair outcome even then.
However I think they need to add a modifier to regions. Likes count as a like but overall engagement should be less equal from bot farm areas. A bit like an electoral college or aggregated country value based on fraud/fakes.
In the end advertising is always a small conversion rate and is very thin online so tricks to kick up visibility will always be around on every ad system.
Moreover, an experiment with just ~10$ and ~35 likes seems statistically insignificant. A figure of at least 100$ and hundreds of likes would have been more credible.
Regardless, the need to drive up page fans is probably over, as the value of a fan/Like was always questionable. Target your actual customer base and pay for clicks that matter. Facebook seems to still be a great place for performance-based display advertising.
Could it be that their computer is hacked? That they are part of a like farm without knowing it? A lot of the profiles I've been analyzing seem to be really computer illiterate so it wouldn't surprise me if they are more prone to install viruses and less likely to understand that something is wrong when their feed is filled with updates from random pages.
Guess what? Marketing is a difficult discipline. Pick up a book on communications and a couple more on copywriting and advertising. Then another one on marketing. Do a demographic/psychographic profile, read a ton of whitepapers and case studies.
Then map out your strategy, load your account with money and test, test, test.
You are going vastly unprepared in a space filled with people who do this for living and expect to compete with them. When you fail after your pitiful attempt, you blame someone. Human nature at its best.
And I would like to point out that he might be wrong about engagement of "fake like" audience. Some farms will give you fakes which are very much engaged (I guess to prevent detection of fakeness).
The most interesting thing is to see whether Facebook will do something about this.
On one side, this definitely helps their bottom line. On the other hand, it erodes usefulness of Facebook as an ad platform.
About the video, the guy ran a poor campaign for a pointless page. He was expecting advertising to work like a magic button where you click it and you get engagement. The guy had no product and no target market. He advertised nothing to everyone. Of course he's going to get poor results.
About the click farms. Yeah, they do exist. But it's not Facebook's fault. Just like it's not Google's fault if people use the internet to send spam. You have to think about the scale that Facebook operates. They're the number two website in the world. And the number one social network. Let that settle in for a second. Fraudulent activity is, unfortunately, inevitable when you have a site like that.
The bottom line: become smarter with your ads. Have an actual product and a real audience. Ironically, I know of a copywriter / marketer that made a website for the dog niche. He gets 800,000 engagements a week on it. Every one of his posts gets 500-26,000 likes and tons of comments. The site is basically a news site for dogs. He just does content right. And he knows how to advertise. He doesn't spend time making fancy videos like this guy did. He gets things done. He gets results. He partners with dog related products and services and makes a killing entirely from a Facebook page.
This video is an insult to marketers. It's like me trying to insert a floppy disk into a cdrom drive, then complaining that computer makers are all frauds.
I like the internet, but facebook infested so many websites with those widgets...
If facebook keeps living, I'll say "meeeh".
If it goes down, I'll say "GREAT. Now's the chance for reddit and twitter and G+ and others".
Btw, has anyone had better experience/ROI with FB Mobile app installs ?? How is the effectiveness of those Ads ?
A part of me thinks this video was made to drive people away from FB advertising on purpose.
Still doesn't stop the fake accounts but at the same time it pretty much patches it. I think
And the crux of the problem wasn't that engagement dropped, it was that for this particular client "Likes" were deemed as more valuable than actual engagement. This belief that a Like is the most important conversion Facebook has to offer is something that repeatedly encountered, and one that drives me a little batty.
- wrongly setted advertising: Google AdWords and Facebook Ads work in a completely different way. If you try to do advertising with Facebook the same way you do with AdWords... you are going to fail for sure. I work in a start-up that does Facebook Advertisng (AdEspresso  ) and I struggle to make customers understand the equation new instrument=new things to learn. The problem with fake clicks exists and has a lot of reasons, but is marginal and partially avoidable. It worsen if you do everything to avoid really interested people (fake page, wrong targets), I don't find it strange that you only get fake clicks (and really expensive ones!).
- how to evaluate the effectiveness of an advertising campaign: the classic and easiest way to measure ROI is the LCA (Last Click Attribution) and is when you click on the ad do the conversion, some browsing or less than 30 days in the middle are usually not a problem to keep the connection between those two actions. The classic example is AdWords when you are looking for a new razor. But what happens if I see a cool advertisement on Facebook about a cruise but it's not time yet for my holidays? I may like the page, visit it, and keep in mind that there is this really cool agency that sells fantastic cruises. It will come a time when I can ask for holidays at work, I'll remember the agency name and I'll google it looking for their website, also I may click on one of their ads because is between the top results. Next I buy the cruise: who gets the goal an who is the real dealer? That's why you look for Multi Touch Attribution models (MTA). Brand building and brand awareness are serious stuff.
getting ROI on FB is hard but not impossible. driving mobile app installs with good targeting at a reasonable price can be done. i can't speak to likes but i have to imagine with good targeting and a reasonable understanding of the dynamics of click fraud that for the right domain you can get your money's worth.
Here's the problem with this guy's argument:
He expects people from Somalia to be as responsive to his content at people from the United States.
That makes exactly zero sense.
These aren't "likes", these are people. And the people from Somalia apparently don't like his content.
But, according to his very own numbers, people from the United States are very responsive.
Are fake likes the obvious answer?
Or is he completely ignoring marketing fundamentals?
This point cannot be overstated. I'd never have been a hacker without vast quantities of unsupervised, unfiltered internet time around age 9-12.
The largest enabling step for me was when I got my own laptop which I was free to break (software-wise) and free to take into my room so I could focus away from the distracting noises of the kitchen/living room.
Much of even the HN community would consider this irresponsible parenting. Probably even my parents wouldn't have let a daughter talk to strangers on IRC about something they don't understand. But how else is someone with nontechnical parents supposed to get started?
It's sooo much different when it's something you choose to do with your free time, rather than something half-assedly forced on you by parents or school curriculum. Especially to a kid.
>Dump her in a situation that operates on different social scripts than she's accustomed to, full of people talking about a subject she doesn't yet understand. Then tell her the community is hostile toward women and therefore doesn't have enough of them, all while showing her off like a prize poodle so you can feel good about recruiting a females
This explains, better than I ever could, why I've always felt weird about all of the attention on getting women into programming.
As a kid, I loved programming. When I became a teenager, I got wind that it wasn't something "cool" and got spooked. For someone as insecure as I was, having a hobby that I couldn't really "explain" to normal people was embarrassing. Probably if I had known a single other kid/girl that liked computers like I did, I might have continued on that path and not been distracted for about 10 years.
Couple things we've learned. First, girls default to pair programming. They cluster, they work together, when they have a problem, they solve it for one another before asking the teachers. They work together and don't compete. The boys compete and try to get way far ahead of the teachers, and end up getting lost. The girls all move at the same pace except for the ones who were advanced-class level when they showed up.
Second thing: little girls are not affraid, and not any less able to do this. It's a societal thing that pushes them away. They see the girls in their classes interested in other things, so they don't get interested in computers. Instead, they get interested in facebook, not the computer itself, because their older siblings use it, their friends use it, and they then learn that computers are for socializing. Given the proper environment, they can learn anything a geek would learn, it's just that they don't get spoon fed computer knowledge, they get spoon fed facebook, Snapchat, Pokemon and Minecraft knowledge.
Third: Minecraft cuts across all genders. All kids absolutely adore Minecraft, and about 50% want to learn programming just to make mods for the game.
Finally, girls who come to our classes keep coming back. They have a little social group with the other girls, and they welcome in other girls. The boys are left out, mostly, but that's fine as they're not having trouble learning or keeping up. The girls in our classes are their own support mechanism, and they tend to become friends outside of classes.
So, learn from this what you will.
And that's why we can't use sexism to fight sexism (or mistakenly enforce the same composition of the general population on self-selected subsets).
I'm glad I read on for an interesting and original viewpoint.
More Susan Sons' and fewer Adria Richards', please. The former have meaningful and constructive contributions to make while the latter just make political hay for their own self-interest. As a learner, the perception of an increased emphasis on identity politics is off-putting to me. Not because I secretly want to have a career and interest in tech to further my patriarchal tendencies, but because it's shifting attention away from the interesting stuff - the stuff that makes tech fun and interesting in the first place.
Maybe it's possible that there are plenty of people out there who care about "ephemera", and yet are also capable of programming a computer or soldering things together? I think it's possible. And when I read stuff like this:
"Sometimes I want to shout 'you're not a programmer, what are you doing here?!'"
it makes me think: this might be a problem. Is it harder to be a hacker if you also have an interest in social media and graphic design and popularity and friendships? Are we defining "hacker" to include only people with bad social skills and no interest outside of technology? I hope not.
It was about filling every thing with good open source software - be it desktop, server, embedded. On desktop there was a variety of DEs, distributions, software and all that stuff. There was hope that open source will win.
But nowdays I see open source largely as a server side movement powering large proprietary platforms. Everybody is using these platforms without questioning. There is no longer anything to win. Plus proliferation of walled gardens.
What will new open source hackers work on? Ruby test framework? No they won't.Maybe they will be hacking mobile dev, but that makes you conformist nimble enough to crawl into walled garden.
The politics regarding gender are just a part of politics out there.
I did exactly that. I have a degree in the arts, but always loved physics and pursued that secondarily. I failed physics because I had taken arts instead of mathematics but found that that didn't stop me learning C and building all the arts programs I ever wanted. Quite some years ago now and I was an outlier but it's not too uncommon.
Good schools are now getting girls into robotics and coding before puberty. That's when you get exited. I loved messing with radios and old VHS players when I was a kid, and probably MOST importantly my father was a technologist: exposure at a young age is everything.
> Most of all, I'm disappointed. I had a haven, a place where no one cared what I looked like, what my body was like or about any ephemerathey cared about what I could doand this culture shift has robbed me of my haven. At least I had that haven. The girls who follow me missed out on it.
Well, yes. Computing and programming has become (more) mainstream -- it's no longer a tiny sub-culture free of mainstream bias. I'm sure there are disappointed skaters, surfers and punks out there too.
I don't think the best way forward is to throw out years of feminist research, or think that "if we could all just get along like before, the problem would go away". It's not that it wouldn't go away, it's just that we need to make an effort to get there. One way to do that is to have sex-segregated introduction classes. They shouldn't all be segregated, nor is it the only thing that we should be doing -- but that is one way of creating a safe and rewarding environment. If we have tutors managing to get mixed classes going, in a way that works well, then that's great too (see VonGuard's comment for example). Generally if you can grab kids before they've been hammered into groupthink about toys, fun and gender roles (which is harder and harder to do with increasing tv commercials, product placement etc) -- then kids don't need to be "de-programmed" -- they can just be allowed to be kids. And they'll play and learn by themselves. But the later you start, the more likely you'll need to have a plan of attack if you want everyone to get a fair shake, and similar participation.
I do think she's right in calling out a lot of the crap that people do in the name of "political correctness" -- without much thought about how or why, though. Being righteous isn't enough; if you're not right, you're probably just making things worse.
[edit: I don't usually comment down-votes -- but I'd like to see a comment. The general idea is to down vote submissions that don't contribute to the discussion -- while I certainly expect many to dis-agree I certainly hope this post isn't perceived as vapid?]
I for one don't care what gender you are the rules are the same regardless of gender.
If i happen to have a complaint about your code or anything else for that matter and you happen to be a girl ...well what do i care?
On the other hand every girl in STEM that constantly complains about how awkward the guys are just outed them selves as not a hacker gir.
A real hacker girl knows that the guys are awkward but it's not intentional the just never bothered with social skills.
A real hacker girl also puts as much value into fasion and the likes like any other hacker which is to say very little at all.
So that well dressed and social girl in IT is most likely not really a hacker then again this is just a generalization and would gladly be proven wrong.
Hell if you happen to know someone like that i would love meet her that is quite rare.
The reality of people like us with a curious nature is the we never find time to learn social skills and fasion we're just too busy satisfying our curiosity.
I personally would love to have a better fasion sense but i really need to get that arch install working perfectly :)
> Young women don't magically become technologists at 22. > Neither do young men. Hackers are born in childhood, > because that's when the addiction to solving the > puzzle or building something kicks in to those who've > experienced that "victory!" moment like I had when I > imposed my will on a couple electronic primates.
(Edit: Given that programming careers can be quite lucrative, and that careers in general are now quite long, it makes economic sense that people would want to join in later in their lives. Short of building a time machine to correct past parenting, must these people be permanently excluded from the industry?)
The problem I have with the particular form the tech-feminist crusades have taken is that it seems to me to be diversionary at a fundamental level. Women are not just under-represented in tech, but in the majority of the most lucrative professions as a whole. So, unless we accept the bogus argument that women are just naturally worse at stuff other than babies, we must assume that this is a problem with society as a whole (the dolls-versus-lego thing is a part of that, but not the only one).
Women-only classes and so on may or may not help the particular women involved into the industry - I don't know. Presumably that can be empirically studied by people with the time and resources to do so. But the underlying problem is a matter for 'concerned citizens', not the tech industry as the tech industry.
Crusading, say, for 'codes of conduct' at conferences has the seductive appeal of a modest and realisable goal; unfortunately, there is no nice, pat answer to gender inequality in society, as the last three centuries of 'concerned citizens' have learned. To put it bluntly, it's not dick jokes at PyCon keeping women out, any more than it's dick jokes at law school that produces the gender gap in law firms.
Nitpick: I actually only started learning to program in university as an undergraduate (I was ~21). I have a female friend who had a similar start, so you don't necessarily have to start as a child. It's not gymnastics. The thrill of solving puzzles can be experienced at any time in your life, I think.
Otherwise, great article.
I'm less happy about excluding people who are coming into computing late, though.
in high school i found safety in geeky societies like Academic Decathlon. i went to a science/engineering university and dropped out to work in tech. and as much as i love my work, i have always been aware (sometimes acutely) of being one of the only women in the room.
i'd be lying if it didn't chap my hide sometimes. i have skills commonly found among the male population (i am an entrepreneur, i know how to code) but it's a lonely existence. i still look like a woman, wear heels and makeup for the fun of it when i want to, and am relatively short! my point is, i stand out from the norm and people are constantly being surprised by me/my abilities. which means i have to do a lot of explaining and seeking out of mentors, rather than spending that time thriving in the simple assumption that i am precisely where i am supposed to be.
men have that. the really self-reflective ones realize that.
the awesome thing is, the women in my family have not only been fighting the good fight in STEM, they are passing the baton. each one of my nieces--all 8 of them--is encouraged to build, tear apart, and reconstruct stuff. these kids have to be torn away from Minecraft, unglued from their laptops and iPads. i teach girls how to code and do graphic design in my free time, and one of my favorite questions is: "When is the Maker Faire? When is the Maker Faire!" with sparkly eyes.
my experience in tech hasn't been like @HedgeMage's. although i didn't start coding until later in my career, i have always been a hacker and the dirty little secret is that girls just aren't encouraged to hack.
some of us are born that way, however. and that's a pretty amazing way to be on the inside, regardless of how we look or are treated on the outside.
But some children are raised to think of things as "for boys" and "for girls", and for those kids, a class for girls is absolutely useful. It isn't that those kids aren't naturally smart enough; it's that everything in their lives is telling them that robots are for boys. It's a shame that someone botched the explanation of the robotics class to her son.
Sadly it looks like this submission is dying an even more uneventful death than the first time it was posted.
Im sad now.
Also, just yesterday DHH posted this:"Top income tax rate for California residents is 51.6%. Top for Danish residents is 51.7%. (Kicking at $500k+ vs $70K+, though)."
Which puts things in perspective.
Guys (and gals) of HN, let see if our little community can get to together to help Richard enjoy his last days (and maybe provide a bit for his family if we do really well).
Most of us can miss $20, and Richard and his family need it more than must of us do..
Sigh Someday the govt & banks will catch up with the 21st century.
If someone can put a little extra in the bin on my behalf, I'll look for a chance to pay it forward. Thanks
During the year we worked together, Rich was probably the #1 driving force in PHP support worldwide. This was a time when PHP was still gaining traction and it really needed champions like Rich. He answered thousands of questions, posted sample code, responded to emails from strangers, and basically wouldn't leave his desk night day until he'd helped everyone that came to him (often wrapping up at 2 or 3 am).
Rich is also a huge supporter of local music and when I knew him, he was as much a driving force in the Chicago music scene as he was in the PHP scene. He happily fronted the $$$ to bands to cover the costs of recording and touring with zero expectation of getting paid back and even bought a van to loan out to bands that wanted to go on tour.
Needless to say I kicked in some cash. I'm glad to see he's getting some support here. He truly deserves it.
Then he passed away.
His kids didn't lose their house. His kids didn't lose their opportunity to go to college.
Not to too bad for pretty small city in the middle of nowhere in Mexico.
I wonder how one of the richest nations on earth, with the biggest army, can't provide for the healthcare of its citizens when much poorer nations (mexico, uruguay, etc.)can.
A matter of priorities I guess...
EDIT: I live in Chicago and believe Rich does as well. Looking to help.
He mentioned that he suffered a seizure and that led him to be taken into the ER. Does he mention any other previous symptoms that might have led up to it? In general, what symptoms do exist for this sort of thing?
I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Not in good $ituation now but as someone who had similar problems in the past(medical bills and no money) I do feel it.
Life sometimes sucks but we can make it a little better.
Donate if you feel like it is ok to donate even small amounts.
(Please consider emailing me. I am not trying to derail this discussion. It is just that I have spent years talking about this and I am usually pilloried. It is very frustrating.)
Can someone explain to me why is he asking for donations? Doesn't the insurances cover with these expenses in USA?
My grand father got diagnosed with cancer recently and my mother got cluster headaches. We are in France so everything is mostly taken care of and I couldn't imagine what it would have been otherwise.
FWIW it's retirement homes that broke family around here.
Richard, thanks for your contributions.
The button was a little hard to see for me on the site (particularly on mobile).
The URL that the button sent me to (I forget whether Paypal makes this useless or not, but I'm hoping it works):
PHP is the first language that I ever learnt and it has had a great influence on my life. Thank you for everything you've done Richard. Please spend the rest of your days peacefully.
And maybe there are other sites that sponsor charitable organisations.
I am really glad this made to the front page of HN, it is great to see people helping him and his family out.
I have been coding in PHP and other open source languages for ages but never donated to such open source organisations. I feel should do more. This is my start. Did my bit of sharing :)
In this case, VLC just uses the Windows APIs (DirectSound), and sends signed integers of 16bits (s16) to the Windows Kernel.
VLC allows amplification of the INPUT above the sound that was decoded. This is just like replay gain, broken codecs, badly recorded files or post-amplification and can lead to saturation.
But this is exactly the same if you put your mp3 file through Audacity and increase it and play with WMP, or if you put a DirectShow filter that amplifies the volume after your codec output.For example, for a long time, VLC ac3 and mp3 codecs were too low (-6dB) compared to the reference output.
At worse, this will reduce the dynamics and saturate a lot, but this is not going to break your hardware.
VLC does not (and cannot) modify the OUTPUT volume to destroy the speakers. VLC is a Software using the OFFICIAL platforms APIs.
The issue here is that Dell sound cards output power (that can be approached by a factor of the quadratic of the amplitude) that Dell speakers cannot handle. Simply said, the sound card outputs at max 10W, and the speakers only can take 6W in, and neither their BIOS or drivers block this.
And as VLC is present on a lot of machines, it's simple to blame VLC. "Correlation does not mean causation" is something that seems too complex for cheap Dell support...
Maybe Dell should advise against playing Metal music and should only allow Cline Dion music, because Metal saturates more...
EDIT: more details...
PS: they even provide a BIOS update for the fix... So, of course, VLC was the issue... http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/04/KCS/Kcs...
If the speakers in a consumer device like a laptop can be damaged by maxing the volume then the laptop was not properly designed. This isn't a case of a nutty audiophile mixing and matching unknown preamps, amps, and speakers and managing to blow some cones by cranking it to 11. Dell has complete control over the selection of components in this laptop and, if they cared to, could include circuitry to limit power beneath a point that will damage the speakers. They didn't. Alternatively, they could eschew a limiter and select speaker components beefy enough to handle the maximum voltage that their DAC's can output. They didn't. Bad design.
If Dell did the math and decided the number of users noticing permanent speaker damage would be small enough that the reduced part costs would outweigh the price of the resulting warranty service, that's their decision. However, they should be on the hook to fix damaged caused by their cheap/poor design.
Companies like to talk about "voiding the warranty" for all kinds of stupid stuff, and consumers don't know their rights so they often get away with it, but what the law allows is considerably more constrained.
Ok enough metaphors.
If Dell doesn't build audio properly, how can they blame the users? They really have some gut...
If we had a normal society anywhere on earth they would be sued to the ground there.
Since then I have vowed never to buy Dell.
I have tried to update VLC Media Player on one machine on my home network, and the update fails, suggesting that the VLC Media Player installation on that computer may already be compromised by malware (which has previously been detected on that machine). What is the recommendation for current VLC Media Player users to make sure that they have a recently updated, reasonably safe installation of VLC Media Player that doesn't open up their computer to other vulnerabilities?
I once acquired an audio geologic recording of the tragic Christmas Eve tsunami in Indonesia. It was an interesting listen, with a lot of bass/sub-base frequencies. Played at what seemed a reasonable listening volume, it managed to destroy my iPod headphones. Seems some sounds can be inherently damaging to less robust equipment when seemingly operated well within sensible limits.
(The replacement of said headphones cemented my appreciation of Apple: at a time Apple wasn't selling headphones alone, upon my consternation of not being able to buy a set, a clerk ripped open a random box and handed me new headphones gratis.)
I would have thought windows could limitate the amplitude of the sound sent to the hardware, maybe VLC is somehow bypassing this.
Seems like an odd issue though.
(Yes i suppose that is morally wrong, but so is blaming VLC for your own bad designs)
The whole thing is great, I'm glad I stuck with it past the first few images to see where he's going. These bits stuck out though and his work is so often things I wish I had thought of.
Here's an especially great pair:
But isn't that true on earth too (to a much smaller degree)? As long as the sun's radius is larger than the earth, then sunlight will fall simultaneously on more than a half of the earth's surface, no?
And that's only looking at the character's own "choices." (Is it really a choice if you can't stop yourself from becoming John Wilkes Booth?) The cruelty inflicted by nature would be much greater. Disease, famine, famine, disease, famine, typhoon, famine, rattlesnake bite, famine, tsunami, etc.
Now I wonder if a sugar-coated Lovecraftian horror story was the author's intent. No other kind of god would set up a system where you're forced to repeat the same mistakes for billions of years.
Dont worry, I said. Theyll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didnt have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If its any consolation, shell feel very guilty for feeling relieved.
It's just so human. It's almost confrontational in its degree of, "That's just how shit is sometimes," but it's delivered with utter compassion. That juxtaposition captures so much of how I feel about the human condition.
I always wished this is how Lost ended: with Jack being told by Jacob that he was actually everyone on the plane (which is why they all had a weird connection), and all these lives were him waiting to be "born" into running the island.
Except that, coming from that background, I expected the big reveal to be that the Egg is talking to himself, hatched.
As unprovable speculations about the nature of reality go, I rather like this one.
Edit: I suppose it's just as horrible regardless of whether or not you experience them...
I don't get what's interesting about this story. It's pretty silly and not very enlightening.
The story is incompatible with free will. The only way the universe could be the way it is, with the one person living all those lives, yet always choosing such that the other people (him in another re-incarnation) also always choose as they (he) did, it would be necessary for free will not to exist.
But this would also mean that the "god" in this story also didn't have free will, because the man was "of his (god's) kind".
But if God does not have free will, he isn't the greatest possible being. The universe thus described therefore fails Anselm's Ontological Argument for the Existence of God. The hypothetical God who is identical to the God in this story, with the exception that He DOES have free will, is obviously a greater being.
I conclude that this story cannot possibly describe Reality, as It actually Is.
: http://www.galactanet.com/comic/view.php?strip=1: http://www.galactanet.com/writing.html
... hmm, now I'm a little disapointed in myself that I didn't recognize the domain name too.
But I realized, this is would be an absolute disaster if true. True story: life more or less sucks if you aren't near a local maximum of a food chain.
Of course, it's just a thought experiment - though it is interesting.
The story also suggests that the simulation is heavily parallel and complete knowledge of all episodes (rather all paths) makes you god.
The rate of information increases.
Many gods, one god, whatever it is part of a being to know what is relevant at any point in time. If there are gods, your death is something that becomes information to them.
The implication here is that even in their case, their ends become information to something else.
The first to be surprised to introduce new information doesn't "win" or "sin". What's to be felt about the falsity that
The rate of information increases.?
Thankfully I wasn't smart or gifted enough that I could ride it for long, but when it comes to math and problem-solving I rode it well into my high school years. I never learned to do algebra "by the book," because I didn't need to. Or maybe because I wasn't smart enough to.
The math teacher would teach "3x + 6 = 9." Basic algebraic problem-solving says you subtract the 6 from both sides, then divide by 3. So "3x = 3" then "x = 1." Easy. But I learned pretty early on that I could do it in my head. It was a little bit challenging, but then I wouldn't have to waste the time of writing it out, and I wasn't handicapped like all of those suckers who had to go through the motions no matter how simple the problem was. If the teacher wrote "x + 1 = 6" I didn't have to subtract 1 from each side, I just thought about it logically and knew the answer. Of course, the math got more complex, but I was good enough at doing it in my head that, at least for a long time, it never really mattered.
I thought it was because I just "got" math, and the other kids were on a lower level. But as the math grew in complexity, I fell behind. By the time we reached Calculus I was still doing most of it in my head, as I had never really learned to write it out on paper. And the complexity of the math outgrew my capacity to visualize. I showed up to my AP calculus test without a calculator, partially because I was forgetful and partly for fun, and it wasn't until I got my score back (a failing 2 of 5) that it finally hit me: I was actually behind. In school. I was cocky enough that this was a slap in the face.
I had to start from scratch, and I'm still not sure if I've made up for a lot of that. I ended up in more creative fields, mostly because I felt inferior to those who had learned the rules and not been cocky douchebags like I had been in the beginning.
This really sucks to write. I frequently wonder what could have been.
Curse of being gifted is very real. I wonder sometimes how many people couldn't break out of it and have ended up in bad jobs, or worse.
Probably like many HNers I also suffered from it mightily in K-12 and by the time I realized what was going on, I was already so far behind that escaping school, rather than redoing years of what I missed, was the easier option.
It took me a few years of milling around before I finally got my head together the right way and turned my life around into something productive.
One thing that still comes up to this day for me is a profound sense of isolation and loneliness. It's hard to relate to people because the kinds of problems most people have seem trivially simple to me and are not the kinds of problems I have and the kinds of things people want to talk about are not of interest to me. I try to stay intellectually engaged by turning the issue into one of how to communicate with people who aren't as quick as I? Adult education, how people learn, are a small hobby of mine. I even did a short stint as a teacher.
I'm consumed with relationships with mapping out the other person's cognitive limitations and patterns and trying to work within and around those. This is not a good habit, but I find I end up doing it with most everybody. The people I tend to keep around me are those that I haven't been able to conclusively do this with. I guess they keep me interested? I'm rarely surprised by people.
I remember I mentioned this to an associate one time. He asked me if I had done this with him. I answered yes. He challenged me to prove it. I went down a list of his cognitive biases, how they fed into his decision making process, and how this created a pattern of where I could even start inventorying what I thought he had in his apartment (I'd never been to his apartment). I missed the color of his couch, but guessed correctly where he bought his furniture, what kind of car he drove and was likely to buy and why, what TV shows he watched, what music he listened to (and had listened to in the past), the clothes he did and didn't have in his closet, what kind of food he liked and where he liked to shop, I picked his neighborhood, choice of home computer, where he wanted to retire and even a handful of books he probably had in his home library. I think it hurt him, or his sense of individuality, to be deconstructed like that. It was the last time I ever did this to another person. On the flip side, he tries to mix his life up, make random vectors in his life now and not be so predictable. But I know also that he does it because of what I did. It's just another behavior to slot into his patterns.
Relating to people impacts me in many ways, from coming up with product ideas to finding a mentor, to the closeness of friends. It's tough, I have very few close friends but I hold onto them fiercely. With most people I interact with I feel like we're simply in a status of mutual understanding and shared purpose, but not friendship. Maybe out for some laughs and a good time, but that's it.
I got very lucky and found a wife who's smarter than me, and she keeps me on my toes and from drawing the world down into my brain and further isolating myself with walls of internally consistent, but bad ideas. I've never figured out how to predict her thinking process beyond some high level abstract patterns. I think she does it on purpose, to keep me appreciative of her.
Not having a mentor has probably been the hardest. I feel like I have nobody helping me find my path most of the time and have to literally carve a path in the universe for myself. My parents were simply not equipped to deal with a kid like me at all and made many mistakes over the years. From moving to the country (thinking the quiet would help me grow, when it just isolated me more) to schooling choices, etc. School didn't know how to handle me and in business I've found woefully few people I look up to.
I yearn for a simpler life, but realize I couldn't live that life for long, I would quickly lose interest. I start to crave novelty and surprise. New things are interesting to me. But I've also found that once I start to understand the pattern of newness in something, an entire field will start to bore me.
Actually most of the life skills I have I learned from my school's music program. How to break a problem down, how to communicate with people of various levels, how to tutor and teach, how to lead a group and present, setting and keeping schedules etc. Most of my adult years have been spent trying to adapt these skills from orchestra into the rest of my life, while most people would have learned them in more context appropriate ways.
But I guess I turned out okay. I do not look back on most of my childhood with much fondness, I do look back on it with a great deal of sadness and regret and wish I could redo it all. I found out a few years ago that my mother had saved all of my report cards growing up, lovingly stored in a scrapbook. When I found out she had done this, in a fit of anger, resentment and deep embarrassment I tore them up and threw them away.
There's no solution, it just is this way. I live a very fulfilling life that I enjoy and I try to minimize regrets and find joy. I think I'm on a path towards simplifying my life, but I have a notion that I'll find a more minimal life dreadful and boring after a few months.
I do seek out others who I sense have a similar story, but I find that none of us ever really build close bonds with each other. We exist more in a group of mutual acknowledgment than in friendship. I'm drawn towards groups that promise an intelligent gathering, but I'm frequently disappointed by what I find once I get there.
My mother once asked me why so many smart kids end up in drugs and drink, I responded that, at least for me, it slows the thinking down and clarifies the thoughts. It's like having an engine in your car that's always at full rev, and then finally taking your foot off the accelerator for a bit. It also lets the emotions flow a bit easier, the ones that we have to keep bottled up during the day, the slow accumulation of small frustrations from dealing with people who I can't relate to. It's like a sore I can pop and let the puss flow out for a bit.
It's hard staying positive, not falling into hopelessness and depression. I've had very close scares a couple times where I thought about disengaging from everything and ending it. Feeling like you're in the wrong world all the time is maddening. I found a way to continue on, and it works for me. But that endless well of despair still sits there, but it's like I'm walking around the edge of it, like walking around the edge of a swimming pool, trying to make sure I don't fall or jump in.
Note that noone replied to Eric and the thread continued on. Also go back and read some of Linus's posts before this. Eric writes using vague generalizations about age and experience; Linus writes with specifics about his experience with the kernel. The former style makes for popularly read posts but the latter seems much more effective.
Also, compare this message from Linus earlier in that thread https://lkml.org/lkml/2000/8/22/52 with a post of his from yesterday: https://lkml.org/lkml/2014/2/10/575, especially regarding abstraction.
Everything about it is against your nature: fixed schedule, dictated product and process, micro management and arbitrary accountability compared to the creative freedom of your life when delivering academic performance on a timescale of weeks or months was your only responsibility. Worse still, it's not an "X year work program," it's designed to be endless.
Not that an entrepreneurial career is for everyone, but if you can be dumb enough to try and smart enough to make it work at a sustainable scale, it sure beats a guaranteed slow corporate death.
Not that it isn't relevant, but it is 14 years old and the title should probably reflect that.
For example: https://lkml.org/lkml/2012/12/23/75
ESR is way overrated, IMHO.
And then Linus went on to use Git. I'm not a native english speaker so I may be wrong on this one but I feel like there's quite some irony there: Linus got criticized for not properly using version control and... A few years later he went on to write the most succesful version control system ever!
The same person created both Git and Linux ffs! ESR was probably right: Linus is the 2nd coming of Ken ^ ^
2 examples of many:
As a side note, I can't even imagine how Torvalds worked with others without source control. That sounds like absolute hell.
I was an undergrad with Cary, and he got A's, I got B's with the odd C and this is exactly why. Until I took the Discrete Math course ( w/ the Eggers book - which is fantastic ) , I was floundering. I knew what the rules were, roughly, but I didn't KNOW know them.
I'm not name-dropping Cary. It's just a coincidence, but I googled him and found the essay. I bring up the "we were undergrads" thing because it's a nearly perfect natural experiment.
Use one of the Algebra sections in junior high or high school to teach rigor. There are no moves in a solution unless you name the principle by which the move was made.
I know it seems impossible to implement, but there can't be a better time than 8th or 9th grade to do this. You get exposure to rigor for the kids that aren't pointed at STEM, the kids that are will actually be prepared - win-win. If we have to hire ringers as math teachers - people outside the education industrial complex - so be it. Whatever it takes.
"He who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great. Failure is the test of greatness."
Also see Rich Hicky's talk "Simple Made Easy."  In which he suggests that nobody's that smart; you will always hit a brick wall without the tools to manage complexity. "A juggler can juggle 3 balls. A really good juggler can juggle 9. But no juggler can juggle 90 or 900 (paraphrased)."
 http://www.tele-task.de/archive/video/flash/14029/ http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy
The benefit of recognizing this isn't just avoiding that crunch at the limits of your talents - it's learning to the use the tools, processes and people which will allow your talents to flow most efficiently every day.
The classic example of this for me has been engineers who resist documentation, project management and delegation as if each is wasting away their valuable productive time when it's exactly the opposite.
I once heard of a developer that wanted to make programming more interesting to himself, by using just three names for all his variables. They where banana, apple and another fruit. He used only those names. I am not sure what he did, when he needed more than three, but that was what he did.
It might have made the thing more interesting for him, but made the things far more difficult for us others of the "pack".
Software development is about complexity. To manage complexity is the highest form of software development and the real challenge. Not the clever ideas, the talented implementation -- manage complexity can make your project, even your company succeed or fall.
Pretty hilarious reading this now, considering his contributions to version control in the past several years. I am not too familiar with all of the backstory, but Linus' creation of git seems like one of the most extreme cases of "Not Invented Here Syndrome" since... well Linux itself (half-joking).
I certainly won't complain when someone gets so frustrated with the current tool-o-the-week that they go out an build something superior.
ego urges you to walk into situations wearing nothing but arrogance. (and why wouldn't you? you've been praised since you were a kid for your precocity. by adults!). and while you may have earned some of that praise, it's like your granny chanting your invincibility into your ear. it's a delusion that prevents you from asking questions (acquiring wisdom) and exploring your outer limits (acquiring experience).
with mentoring, that arrogance could be channelled into something else: humility. because it's really impossible to be alert to truth--academic or otherwise--when you think you know all of the things.
it's just that the educational system doesn't really know what to do with academically-gifted kids who have a bit of rebellion/arrogance in them. and there aren't enough teachers or mentors who recognize this variant even among the gifted.
so they're released into the wild, not having acquired the one thing they needed possibly more than an education: humility.
That said, the "curse of the gifted" manifests itself in a lot of ways. One problem is also that "less gifted" see the "gifted" and say, "If they don't have to be disciplined, why do I?"
"...The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The FirstAmendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless thegovernment has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. TheSecond Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear armsuntil some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say youhave the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBIagent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has noright to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances."-- Harry Browne, 1996 USA presidential candidate, Libertarian Party
The solution is to make the gifted people working on something that _is_ challenging to them. You can't expect gifted people to work on annoyingly simple problems in school, yet still develop discipline. If you want them to develop discipline, give them hard problems, that will require discipline of them.
I see this as a failure of the education system, not the gifted people.
Or, put another way, you can't blame Linus for not having discipline if he never needed it. It's the educational system's fault for not showing him he will need it.
At end of the day, we had success choosing the zip archive format. We did not receive a series of zip files, but just one large uncompressed text file in mbox format.
Our last big data dump was down back in late December 2013, so I am not sure if these issues persist regarding bzip/gzip2 and 10GB size archives.
I tried to get a takeout with my emails several times, all I got is on 2.3MB errors.html, telling "service cannot retrieve this item" over and over again.
CloudPull is OS X only. I'm sure there're are other great options to create Gmail backups independent from Google
For every item I tried to export.
Would it be possible to load/import it into Thunderbird and get to view all the same folders as in Gmail now for example?
I myself tried to export gmail contacts out and found it does not work as expected and does not work at all for groups. Nor does it export full data in vc, like contact photos. Why not? It's supported in the file format so why not add it?
Seems like they're making the fixing of export-out bugs a low priority. So low that its not even working at all for some. To me all this seems like deliberate negligence.
From the official description: "a subreddit for tables of recent threads from places such as... /r/IAmA, /r/InternetAMA, /r/AMA, /r/AskReddit, /r/AskScience"
It makes things nice to read.
Of course, Bill Gates' new AMA will not be "tabled" yet, but as an example (and in case you missed it), here is his AMA from February 2013 .
edit: Apparently so, and here's his reading recommendations from 2013 (w/ same library in background):
http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Books <- lots of reviews here
Big contrast from Bezos, Jobs, Ballmer.
Interesting art style and that his assistants choose an old-school method to animate the movie. That gives the "information at your fingertip" a new meaning ;)
I can't imagine they are very much fun after the first dozen questions. Promoting philanthropy to a wider audience? Bringing the spotlight on a specific cause?
Its awesome that someone as busy and important as Bill Gates is willing to take the time to do this whatever his reasons, I'm just wondering the reason why?
Just creating an innovative company is a huge contribution to the world.
OK, here it is: http://instantclick.io
And probably a ton of other application bugs as style and script stuff wont load. like they normally would
There are a couple things that I had on my TODO list that could be handy though:
1) Caching - if you hover back and forth over two links, it will keep loading them every time. Dunno whether this can be alleviated or not.
2) Greater customisability. It'd be great if I could customise whether it was a hover or mousedown preload, on a per link basis. Some links benefit from hover, others it might be overkill.
3) Lastly, it would be cool if it could link up with custom actions other than just links. For example, jquery ajax loading a fragment of html to update a page. This is probably lower down on my priority list though, as the full page prefetch works remarkably fast.
Keep up the great work!
For many companies (Facebook, Twitter, etc) the desire for instant user gratification is paramount, so the push toward instant browsing experience is a very real possibility. One problem is that most people wouldn't really notice, because these websites load pretty quickly as it is.
One interesting direction is if there was some kind of AI in the background that knows what pages you're likely to visit and preloads them - Facebook stalking victims would become an instantclick away.
I set the preload to occur on mousedown rather than mousover, as per the docs, but even with this I noticed near-instantaneous page loading.
One interesting reaction I had: things loaded so fast that I didn't notice one of the page changes and thought it was stuck. For sites like this one where different pages look very similar, maybe it could be worth experimenting with some sort of brief flashing animation (to make it look like a real page load)?
Also, you should take into account the focus event of links, I tried and it seems you doesn't when trying on the "click test" page to tab tab tab on the test link and then hitting enter.
As you mention with JS scripts not working, I had to do things like rebind functions when pjax finished, or load new JS snippets along with each HTML (page) snippet. Not too huge a compromise.
unless you use vimperator or similar. the demo handles this though, giving a hover time of infinity.
>Click Mousedown = 2 ms
>Click Touchstart =
Thanks for sharing :)
can you provide some specific definitions? thank you
What I've seen so far:
A custom scripting language(GDScript) which is roughly Python-esque. The wiki explains that after trying the other common choices(Lua, Squirrel, Angelscript) over a period of years, they rolled their own solution that could be more closely integrated to the engine.
An in-editor help, it has some API docs.
Classes for GUI controls, including layout containers.
A fairly rich audio API, including positional audio, streamed audio, common sample playback controls(pan, volume, pitch, looping), and some effects(reverb, chorus, frequency filter).
Some networking functionality, including HTTP, TCP, and UDP(unclear?) mechanisms.
Keyboard, joystick, mouse, and touchscreen input classes.
And of course lots of rendering and physics-related stuff, including various shapes, cameras, meshes, sprites, animation, tilemaps, texture atlasing, internationalized fonts, particle systems, and multiple viewports.
What would the framework of choice be for a browser-based multiplayer game?
Sorry to go off on a tangent. I've only been into (indie) game development for the last year or so (blog: http://www.ckcopprell.com).
It looks to me like game development has lagged behind web development by decade or so in terms of the democratization of tools. Free (as in beer) and open source game development software have grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Unity, GameMaker, Unreal/UDK, Anarchy, many many others have become both viable and available.
In the 90's and early naughts, did web developers regularly write their own servers, templating engines, databases, and all else that goes into web development? Didn't game developers more-or-less have to write the whole thing from scratch or license an expensive engine?
These are not rhetorical questions. I'd love to hear the perspective of someone more knowledgeable than me.
EDIT: Sorry if this sounded sarcastic. I was genuinely curious. Always happy to see a new engine out in the open!
Very impressive project. I looked at the code in core folder and it looks very clean and there are is a lot of good stuff in there.
This looks amazing!
Most of these games, the programming itself is trivial. If you can't hack it together in Java without a game engine, then you're not going to be able to hack it together in the game engine.
If you want to make casual indie games that look great, you need to be focusing on your artwork, and how to make artwork that works well in games.
And for the love of god, do not neglect sound until the last minute. Good sound in a game can be as complex to create and program as graphics. You absolutely must develop it in tandem with the rest of your program. We are so focused on visuals, but bad sound will ruin a game more certainly than bad visuals, just as bad sound will ruin a movie more certainly than bad camera work. Bad visuals could be a stylistic choice, but bad sound never is.
Also, if someone knows where I can find some free assets I can use. I thought of ripping game sprites from old ROM games but stopped at the thought of hypothetical lawyers rising from the dead.
Got to say, I pity the person who eventually deposits too much money at once, causing the payments to pause while they build up enough to cover his large deposit, in turn causing everyone else to think that the money has stopped paying out and causing no further money to be deposited. That seems like the likely end of this eventually...
Ponzi Scheme Enforcement Actions
Curtailing Ponzi schemes and holding those responsible for these scams accountable is a vital component of the SEC's enforcement program.
Since fiscal year 2010, the SEC has brought more than 100 enforcement actions against nearly 200 individuals and 250 entities for carrying out Ponzi schemes.1 In these actions, more than 65 individuals have been barred from working in the securities industry. The SEC also has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and other criminal authorities on parallel criminal and civil proceedings against Ponzi scheme operations.
Keep in mind that BTC or virtual money is just another asset class.
The experiment is over. We will pay back everyone we can. We are not making money from this.
their "debt" - meaning, what other people have to bring into the system - is their balance + 20%. Right now, their debt is about 42 bitcoin.
Somehow their pulling the plug just really bothers me much more than losing it would have been. Especially because at the rate at which it was going, payout was more or less ensured (300btc * 1.2 = 360. They quit 16 coins short). Right now, two hours after they supposedly would pay everyone back, I still got nothing.
I'm going to watch and see what happens to them. If they don't lose their 1 BTC, then that's at least slightly interesting.
EDIT: It's been more than an hour; no repayment yet.
The domain is registered under a fake name and DNS is from Namecheap. It's a funny whois entry, lacking all the usual boilerplate, so I'm not entirely sure it's Namecheap; some sort of reseller? Doesn't match what I see from Namecheap itself, but Namecheap does take bitcoin now, so it seems plausible.
Hosting is libertyvps.net, a bitcoin-paid host. Hosted "offshore"; company appears to be in US.
If a US authority leans on libertyvps, they can get an email and blockchain address, and maybe an IP. Tracing the person would be hard if Tor was used for setting up (and using) the email and all host access, and a decently anonymous acquisition of the bitcoin.
A US authority could also get to Namecheap. Using the registrar safely requires about the same precautions, notably access via Tor and acquiring the payment BTC (or pre-paid card) in a non-traceable manner. Done right, they could shut the domain down, but not find the person.
Anyway, looks like the top-level bases were covered. But there's a lot of links in the chain. Perhaps the operator got nervous that he didn't cover all of them--and it only takes one. (Against a determined LE agency with jurisdiction or no scruples.)
The best solution is one that doesn't infringe on the "correctness" of the game, and it's a simple one. Simply play the game yourself. Send money in, let the system send money back. Do it a lot. Many small transactions. You will never lose, because when the game ends you are the owner of the actual account and won't get screwed like everyone else.
Right? So, perhaps many of the transactions we're seeing go into this are suspect and the total amounts aren't to quite be trusted?
This is personally why I wouldn't trust any programs to handle currency so openly on the web. The inability of the average user to stress test or put proper testing through applications can cause quite a fault. Having experienced the methods that banks undergo for software cycles there is a tiny chance someone would have the resources to properly engineer something so fragile (relative to money) properly.
Because of this I would assume the main reason the author actually shut the site down (or at least so suddenly) was because of scaling technical issues.
Deposited 0.05859407 BTC ( https://blockchain.info/tx/c5411ae7ad41d6dab5dd879c158cb81f0... )
Recieved 0.0599 BTC back ( https://blockchain.info/tx/ef7f32df518dabb104812ea4a12719026... )
1.2 * 0.05859407 = 0.070312884 BTC
So, somebody owes me 0.010412884 BTC
First, as per the central problem of Ponzi schemes, it is missing an "... if ever" at the end.
But further, it is oversimplified, because people can submit different amounts of bitcoins. Covering up that uncertainty -- which while apparent is not as clearly disclosed as the "Ponzi" aspect -- makes it harder for people to assess the likelihood they will get the promised return.
"Warning, if people stop depositing money, you won't get 120% back, and you could lose all your money."
Also, it seems like the person running the site is not taking a cut. If that's right, he's not making a profit, and he's less likely to get in trouble when things collapse.
"The experiment is over.We will pay back everyone we can. We are not making money from this."
This is totally legit. Seriously.
1.5 hours later 0.30BTC showed up in my wallet! Wow, did not expect that!
I first deposited .1 bitcoin to see if it was real and got 0.11978 back.
Ok, this will be fun.
I then deposited .8591 and got back 1.1999. Ha this is hilariously fun. More gambling!
I then sent 1.2001 and got back 0.8589. Wait what..
The game ended and he skimmed from me to hopefully pay someone else back and not pocket it.
* 100% C code, * support for linux and mac platforms, * console based: uses ncurses, * home grown async network i/o stack, * home grown poll loop, * home grown bitcoin engine, * supports encrypted wallet, * supports Tor/Socks5 proxy, * multi-threaded, * valgrind clean.
its not big or clever. :/
once again disappointed in the community...
The human stupidity in one web, from the same Carlo Ponzi to Bernard Madoff. All Ponzi scheme portrayed in a web.
I love it.
needs more parentheses
Who wants to make some money before the prices get too high ;)
Thou Ye, You Thee You Thine Yours Thy Your
By the way, the "Ye" is not related to the "Ye" in store signs that say "Ye Olde...". Y was sometimes used by typographers instead of the Old English letter (Thorn), which makes a "Th" sound, so those store signs should be pronounced as "The Old..."
The usage of "You" instead of "Thou" began in the 14th century. It was originally used in token of respect when addressing a superior, and eventually began to be used when addressing equals.
EDIT: Removed part about "you all", because some things I said were wrong and others I will have to look up.
My native language -- Sinhalese -- has two forms: written and spoken. The written form, which has a grammar very similar to Latin, does have a universal "you", but the spoken form, which is largely grammer-less except for tense, does not. You literally cannot address someone without knowing their status/relationship to you. This leads to some difficult and sometimes hilarious situations:
- Children, family members and lovers are often addressed "oya". Using this on your boss or teacher could lead to problems. More acceptable when used by women and girls than by men.
- There's no way to informally address a superior without a salutation or a name. This leads to people repeatedly using a person's name or salutation in the same sentence. E.g. "Sir, should I have that report sir asked for on sir's desk before sir leaves for sir's doctor's appointment?"
- Some old fashioned couples have entire conversations (and sometimes marriages) without using second person pronouns because they don't have a single version they feel comfortable with.
- Male friends of roughly equal age tend to call each other "machang" -- a term that is well known to those who have known Sri Lankans, and roughly translates to "dude".
- There's no safe version of "you" that a young man can use on another that he has just met. Most risk using "machang", but could result in offense if addressing someone of higher social standing. This is solved by constructing sentences that avoid the word entirely.
- Most children, especially from my generation, do not feel comfortable using second person pronouns on their parents. They just repeat "mother/father" wherever the word "you" is supposed to appear.
- Sometimes the sentences are spoken with the word entirely omitted (like in Latin) -- "Can come over here?", "Did lock the door?"
For example, the letter "d" in German corresponding to "th" in English:
die/der/das -> the drei -> three Donner -> thunder Ding -> thing daher -> therefore
du -> thou
Of course there are a few exceptions, most notably when addressing members of the royal family. If you ever get to speak with one of them, the correct way is to address them by title, in third person ("would her majesty like fries with that?").
Around 8 or 10 years ago I started to notice a trend, particularly among younger people (in their late teens maybe), typically working in shops and cafes, who started once again to use singular ni with customers, but I haven't lived in Sweden for several years now and don't know if that's continued. I hope not!
I can't add a reply though, because apparently I need 50 reputation. I can't upvote, because I need 10 reputation. You know what, StackExchange? I'll just stay away from your site with all the barriers to participation that you throw up.
I always thought it odd that Esperanto adopted this "feature", presumably from English:
Singular Plural first person mi (I) ni (we) second person vi (you) third person masculine li (he) ili (they) feminine i (she) epicene i (it, s/he)
The informal one, "tu", is common on all the peninsula.
The formal version "voi" (2nd person plural) is more common in the south of the Italy (it's a reminiscent of the spanish invasions).
The formal version "lei" (3rd person singular) is more common in the north of the Italy.
So there was really a 'ye'? Explains the confusion I guess.
We use "friend/friends" (we don't distinguish between plural and singular) for a generic "you". Otherwise, in social situation, we have to figure out the relative social order to address the other person, i.e. calling them by titles/roles such as aunt/uncle/mom/dad etc.
It's a big headache cause it can be very awkward to use one pronoun (for example, calling a woman was "younger sis") and she turns out to be older - it can be impolite, but then some women will be offended if you call them as "older sister" right away, because, ugh, you consider them older. God, it's a convoluted mess of pronouns :(
(next time, examples of present continuous in modern french)
The same thing in German:Formal : Sie,Informal: Du
I am not a linguistics guy but I think that Thou, Du, Tu have all the same origin as they sound so similar.
It's interesting in that the assumption of formality in 'you, sir,' suggests the speaker is about to be rather discourteous in the following clause.
You can't trust much in this particular corner of the internet.
The Bitcoin team did push out a change in 8 hours once for a critical signed/unsigned bug that threatened the whole system , but this problem looks to me like NOTABUG/WONTFIX. The transaction malleability is an annoyance, not a real bug. Basically the support team just needs to spend an extra 5 seconds checking a transaction instead of blindly issuing refunds.
My recent article  goes into the Bitcoin protocol in great detail if you want to know more about transaction signing, which should help explain technically what is going on with malleability.
If people lose all confidence in Gox, but still retain faith in other exchanges, then that means we're going to witness MtGox's price drop while the other exchanges' prices rise. However, this becomes an economic opportunity for anyone who wants to do arbitrage between exchanges. Therefore it seems like the prices won't ever diverge too much.
The conclusion, it seems, is that no matter how bad one exchange is, it will simply drag the overall price of Bitcoin down across all exchanges rather than suffer punishment as an individual company. The fact that arbitrage is doable seems to give MtGox some insulation from consumer outrage.
This poses a question: Is it true that as long as an exchange keeps functioning, then it's "here to stay" no matter how badly they behave? Is there any way that an exchange could go out of business from nothing more than consumers losing faith that one exchange?
Here are 2 easy solutions to this problem which do not require anything to be done by the bitcoin community, and could be exacted by Mt. Gox today:
1. Allow all transactions to go through as before, but state clearly that if your transaction does not go through after being submitted, it will take a long time to clear the transaction, because it will have to be checked by hand. Assuming that 90% of people are not planning to scam Mt. Gox, 90% of people would be able to get their money. The remaining 10% would have to wait a bit longer while Mt. Gox checks transactions by hand.
2. Alternatively, write a system were a user can request to withdraw bitcoins. The Mt. Gox server first generates a new wallet, than transfers the BTC to that wallet, than send the user the public and private keys for that wallet. Assuming that the user (for good reason) does not trust Mt. Gox, they than can simply transfer the BTC from a temporary wallet to a permanent one.
He's a cancer and nobody should be using MtGox. You're supposed to trade coins in IRC decentralized using the web of trust, or localbitcoins in person. Exchanges should only be used if you have a business bank account and are on first name basis with the guy who runs Bitstamp or Cavirtex on IRC otherwise you get delays and holds for identity verification, limits, other problems like your bank freezing your account when they notice wires going to Slovenia too often.
*Edit Gavin just posted a response on the bitcoin foundation blog, confirming Gox is indeed full of shit.
We've been through this several times with Mt. Gox. It's time for everyone to STOP using them and start using something else for trading. Continuing to use them and making rationalizations that things will 'get better' will only result in a global case of cognitive dissonance.
They are threatening an ecosystem that is important and which has a large potential value. In my opinion, they need to be removed from that ecosystem.
The headline is "Largest Bitcoin Exchange Doesn't Understand Bitcoin"
What hope do retailers and any but the very-technical have in managing the risk implicit in digital currencies?
Not to mention, seeing supporting forum posts where people are discussing the parts of fractions of coin being sent around... do people really think 8-10 digits past the decimal can hope to be manageable for consumers? It's bad enough to deal with Yen conversions.
Please tip your server .00343874938239487 bitcoin. When 15% of the value can evaporate while business is happening... when do you bill the customer for lunch? When they order?
Ugh. Local wallets, people. Local wallets.
I feel really sorry for those with funds tied up with MtGox. It was only recently where I used MtGox to store most of my bitcoin and I am lucky to have decided to move them all to paper wallets.
This demonstrates one of the biggest issues holding back widespread adoption of bitcoin, the ability of the layperson to securely hold large amounts of bitcoin.
Magic The Gathering Online Exchange.
Chase Manhattan, they are not.
Cannot the bit coin protocol be used by end users with full features without a third party "wallet" service ?
Are these services purely for people that don't understand files and encryption utilities ?
I do not use bitcoin, but if I did, I assume I would just protect and back up those computer files like many other extremely valuable computer files I have.
What am I missing here ?
Sooo how does it do it? How does it determine a unique transaction id?
I'm in Europe, and I like Kraken very much. blockchain.info recommended them.
I think a lot of the comments here and especially the article detracts from the discussion. The article seems to go on a rant of all the other mistakes mt gox make rather than addressing the issue.
What is the recommended solution by bitcoin implementers to verify a transaction succeeded, with transaction malleability existing ?
The whole point of insurance is that a middle-class family can afford to pay $12,000 or $18,000 in premiums per year, but they can't easily afford a $1M black swan medical event. So the insurance company spreads the risk out over a large pool. The system breaks down, of course, if the pool is too small. A company with 10 employees probably can't absorb a $1M expense either. But AOL has 5,600 employees and it had $1.05B in net income in 2012. They can afford it to cover expenses, even if they decide to self-insure.
Of course, another solution is to make the risk pool as big as humanly possible and to get employers out of the insurance business completely, so that no startup needs to worry about medical expenses. The AMA is a messy political compromise to do exactly that. But Tim Armstrong is also upset about the AMA. So I'm not quite sure what his ideal outcome is here.
Fortunately Google is run by good people, and they were never anything other than supportive. I'm grateful for having had access to the best care for her. I do think our medical system needs some rethinking though.
I'm also surprised that his statements aren't "suable" in some form in the lawsuit happy country that is the United States of America. A friend of mine immediately pointed out to the numerous healthcare privacy laws in place; and another HN commenter pointed out on the original thread the possibility that the employees with the distressed babies would get discriminated against by their coworkers, after Armstrong's statements, due to the fact that they're probably identifiable internally by their team members.
This is the same guy who fired an employee publicly during a company talk for (apparently) taking pictures. (http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/AOL...)
What a sad, sad man. I hope that he gets scared and lonely as he gets older and older, when his billions won't change anything and when he realizes that all of his misery stems from his own choices.
The CEO could conclude that these outlier events create too much unpredictability for the bottom line, and thus move the company to an external healthcare provider. Heck, they could even fire the CFO or whoever made the cost-benefit analysis if it was wrong. But blaming the employees, who didnt create this situation? Unacceptable.
The fact that apparently AOL is on the hook for medical claims by its employees indicates they've made a reasoned judgement that their risk pool is diverse enough that it's worthwhile to self-insure, or they're incompetent.
Either way, it's crazy to set yourself up as an insurer and then complain about having to pay claims. That's kind of the point.
How many distressed babies does AOL pay this guy?
The underlying topic, however, is fascinating. I do healthcare analytics for a living so I see how often a single neonatal ICU incident can consume 30% of an entire company's healthcare budget for the year (note: if you don't really understand healthcare, e.g. what self insuring means, please don't respond with comments that the insurance company pays the bills, this is what insurance is for, etc.).
The economics of healthcare combined with the inability to have a rational discussion on how to allocate resources means that doctors / researchers will apply their research efforts where they will be rewarded. The race to keep younger and younger babies alive is fueled with ego and dollars.
No one wants to talk about scarce resources and how to allocate dollars to have the most impact. I wish conversations stemming from idiotic comments like Armstrong's ended up being productive but they always end up with non-actionable ranting around taking executive pay and giving it to sick people. Unless someone proposes a mechanism to achieve that, it's just a dream / rant.
[Yup, Armstrong is despicable]
1. The costs of the procedures involved are wildly inflated by the private sector healthcare system we employ.2. Regardless of 1 the effort involved in keeping the child alive was extraordinary. 3. The effort involved was disproportionate to the benefit to society.
It's unlikely the reader will agree with 3. That's ok. But I would ask anyone who disagrees with 3 to think carefully about if there is a line where the effort to save a child's life is too great, and if that line exists, how would you determine where it is, and given that method where is that line for you?
> Lets set aside the fact that Armstrongwho took home $12 million in pay in 2012
Assuming the above is factual (and I have no reason to doubt it), he wanted to cut the 401(k) plan for everyone because of an expense that was one twelfth the size of his own pay that same year.
Just a wee bit hippocritical there on his part.
paraphrage (v): to paraphrase in a way to maximize outrage
Tim Armstrong has been widely paraphraged as saying, "we're cutting your 401(k)s because two AOLers had distressed babies last year".
Paraphraging not only brings many profitable clicks, but it removes complicating details that interfere with an audience's offensertainment.
offensertainment (n): amusement or enjoyment felt by taking offense, and expressing moral indignation, usually in solidarity with some larger group
The isolation and individual disempowerment of modern online life has driven many people to seek a compensating sense of joy, purpose, and belonging through offensertainment. Leading offensertainment providers include Gawker, the Huffington Post, and Slate, but the full participatory experience also requires forwarding, commentary, and button-pushing through services like Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and HN.
It's not like CEOs of large companies are selected for being empathetic, but in this case I'll predict that he doesn't survive the publicity surrounding his statements. Children are (and should be) important to a civilized society regardless of their present capabilities or future expectations.
Blame the law for this: clearly those employees who abuse the system should be fired outright, preferably on a conference call with 1000 people in attendance. Sadly, due to government overreach, it is considered illegal.
A large company like aol would have already provided pretty good health benefits. It is very unlikely that the ACA's provisions about mandatory coverage for procedures (such as birth control) would have cost aol anything significant.
Is this how health insurance works? Maybe AOL is "self-insured"? I don't understand AOL having anything to do with paying directly for medical treatment. Except, by virtue of making claims and costing an insurer money, the premiums increase. It's as if the insurers, ever-faithful capitalists they are, want to sell us insurance and can't believe we have the gall to make claims against our policies, and have convinced our employers to be equally appalled.
"The third stage, based on findings from Europe between around 500,000 and 40,000 years ago, sees humans such as Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals developing deep-seated commitments to the welfare of others illustrated by a long adolescence and a dependence on hunting together. There is also archaeological evidence of the routine care of the injured or infirm over extended periods. These include the remains of a child with a congenital brain abnormality who was not abandoned, but lived until five or six years old. The researchers also note that there was a Neanderthal with a withered arm, deformed feet and blindness in one eye who must have been cared for, perhaps for as long as twenty years."
The mean-spirited worldview shouldn't be a surprise. What is a bit brazen is the "turn the poors on each other" behavior. Usually, it's not so obvious. He had hoped that the rank-and-file employees would, as a response to this phony scarcity (health benefits OR 401k, when the real problem is executive overcompensation) imposed from above, turn their frustrations and gripes at colleagues who get sick a lot (or have sick children, or sick parents) and that the environmental change would, perhaps, prune the company of a few sick people. It didn't work. Now everyone hates him. Good. I hope he dies alone, broke, and miserable. (The "broke" part probably won't happen, but one can dream.)
Whenever the upper class tries to turn the rest of us against each other (say, Mission lifers vs. Google bus riders, who are on the same side even if they don't know it) we should always recognize it for what it is, and attack the real enemy with our combined force.
I would also like to know how much costs would be in France, UK, Germany, Japan.
1. Baby born Medical cots $1 Million, INSURANCe COStS $250,00 and yet Tim decides to eliminate 401ks to balance benefits costs over something that does not increase insurance costs? You have to have a significant amount of $250,000 in an insurance pool of AOL employees before that happens..one is not the number that triggers it.
@. He also cited Obamacare. Obamacare is by design to get businesses to pay healthcare for those at-risk employees in the low income brackets so that that preventive health care spent on them decreases the huge medacaid expenses seen later by THE FEDeral Government.Lets not even mention the productivity studies that state employees are more productive when not worrying about uncovered medical expenses.
Seems tome the AOL board shold remove this CEO for gross lacking of clear thinking skills
Ross: The most deadly thing in software is the concept, which almost universally seems to be followed, that you are going to specify what you are going to do, and then do it. And that is where most of our troubles come from.
Fraser: One of the problems that is central to the software production process is to identify the nature of progress and to find some way of measuring it. Only one thing seems to be clear just now. It is that program construction is not always a simple progression in which each act of assembly represents a distinct forward step and that the final product can be described simply as the sum of many sub-assemblies.
(Full transcript of the 1968 conference here. http://homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/brian.randell/NATO/nato1968.PD... It's a really fun read!)
Here's my methodology.
* Figure out what the software does, what the business cares about, and what the users care about.
* Figure out what it kinda sorta needs to be under the covers
* Write prototypes of the technically gnarly bits.
* Flesh out the prototype and start writing integration/functional tests for the system.
* Ensure CI server is live, running integration/functional/unit tests and build documents on push.
* Primary work phase: code review, write tests, write code as you go along. Figure out if features are needed or not. Don't overdesign or underdesign.
* Document subsystems as they stabilize using comments and in-repo text files.
* End of project: everything is tested, documented, and working.
How many people are over weight, who know that all you have to do is eat less, work out and then you will get in shape? It's that simple. Yet because of emotions, eating due to emotion, happy eating, sad eating, or poor self image many people don't get in shape. Likewise many students understand that all you have to do to get great grades is to avoid procrastinating, just start studying on time, study hard, study more, do most of the exercises in your text book, use multiple books and you are most likely to pass with high grades, yet lots of students put it off, poor will power, delayed gratification, it's more fun to goof off.
Same things apply to software, a lot of us know exactly what it takes to make good software, to spec it out, to plan a good architecture, to write good test units, to comment and document the code, to organize the process, to avoid over optimization, to avoid changing and adding lots of new features in the middle.
Yet, a lot of us don't do that, we start writing code before we even code before we spec out, because its exciting! Our emotions in play, we don't practice that delayed gratification of holding off and writing specs. We plan to throw away this prototype, but then somehow, it ends up being what everything is built on. We plan to refactor one day, but feature creep never allows for that. We know we ought to comment, but we understand the code now and don't, then 6 months later we are cussing and kicking the wall. Test units are boring, so we write as little of it as possible.
Until we take into account that programmers are humans, with emotions and different level of discipline, motivations and abilities our software development methodologies will keep to fail us for most projects.
Just my opinion.
In contrast, I've been on SCRUMed and Agiled projects where the resulting overhead on those who can already get work done without SCRUM Master Jar Jar's constant interruptions reduces them to people who quit within a few months.
But hey, acqui-hires rock and I can't imagine a better way to drive the talent out of a stable Fortune 500 company in order to take a chance at a startup than by driving them $%!@ing crazy and reducing their productivity to jack diddly. Ah the cycle of life...
That said, I see the use of methodologies where the talent is both junior and mediocre. But the former is better addressed with good mentoring (ha ha just joking - mentoring is for wimps, am I right? am I right?) and the latter by not hiring the mediocre in the first place (which means HR needs to be disrupted stat and since they hold all the cards they won't be - cycle of life again).
Sing it, brother! Can I get an "Amen"?
I know of one project with a technical lead who, to my knowledge, has never done anything other than support the vendor program the project is replacing; the team has developed a process built primarily around avoiding Subversion merges (which is not necessarily a bad thing given that they seem to actively resist learning anything about how to use Subversion) and secondarily around adopting anything anyone has ever described as a "best practice", including inventing a few new ones. So far, I do not know of anything their project actually does, although there is a great deal of it.
Oh, and their scrum meetings seem to involve the scrum master reading a fair amount of text from PowerPoint slides (which have far too much text on them).
[Edit] Apparently, I can. http://typicalprogrammer.com/why-dont-software-development-m...
Like almost any other skill, "Social Skills" are developed through practice, and they also degrade when they aren't used. People that spend a majority of their time on a computer may struggle when communicating face-to-face. (I've also seen it happen with stay-at-home parents with young children.)
The software we create today is tremendously more complex than the software we created back when I started in the 1990s. Part of that is standing on the shoulders of giants (and the libraries of giants), but part of that is also process.
The amount of process required for clear, effective communication increases with the number of parties involved. Creating good interfaces between components and the teams responsible for them is really a very difficult problem. If you're working on a three person team, it's easy. If there are 30, it's much harder. If it's 100, you probably can't even know every single person involved, much less avoid stepping on each other, not without a lot of process.
So what process does is increase the potential scope of a problem above what a small team can do (mostly by breaking it down into several interacting subprojects). That's difficult, important work, even if it's outside the realm of the average HN startup's imaginations and experience.
Solutions to this are tough. My first suggestion would be to use languages which facilitate correctness, although it's usually at the expense of developer availability: the pool of engineers with experience and know-how in true FP is orders of magnitude smaller than more pervasive languages. My second thought is to further embrace math as the building block for non-trivial applications: mathematical proofs have real, quantifiable value in correctness. I find it no surprise that the larger companies have made foundational maths, such as category theory and abstract algebra, the underlying abstraction for their general frameworks. This is even a tougher pitch than the first since most engineers don't recognize what they're doing as math at all - a big part of the problem. So many of us are doing by feel what has already been formally codified in other disciplines.
I'm aware that both require more (not necessarily formal) education than most engineers have pursued and makes it a difficult short-term pitch point for any company, but I think if we're serious about eliminating sources non-determinism from projects, it's important we address them directly.
And that's crazy. Software delivery is at least 50% design/problem solving - and those aer neither completely predictable or repeatable.
To me a software methodology works if it _improves_ delivery. If the result with the methodology is more predictable, and less likely to go horribly off the rails than if you'd used a different methodology (or none at all) then it's a good methodology.
Looking for something that can perfectly transform any human requirement into code, in a predictable manner, is just silly.
I get why process exists, I know management sees it as a way to make software development less lumpy; to bring below average teams up to average productivity, but it isn't a one way lift. Extensive process might raise the below average toward the average, but it can also lower the above average toward the average.
Twice I've seen situations where a team of better than average developers had no really well-defined process (though not surprisingly a sort of home grown process evolved to suit everyone's needs -- agile, as opposed to Agile, if you will) that was highly productive suddenly have process dropped on them from on-high in an undeniably productivity-killing way.
One time it was because higher-ups at the company randomly decided they needed to standardize on the Rational tools (ClearCase, Rose, etc... still have nightmares about that stuff) and out of that insane decision we ended up with some stupidly strictly defined RUP-based process to tie everything together.
The other was when a team was transitioned from one company to another and the other was one of those stupidly-strict "Agile" shops that fully drank the ritual kool-aid and adopted basically every suggested "Agile" strategy they could slap together without giving much thought to the actual original ideals of why "Agile" came about.
I guess the takeaway is be really selective about introducing new process. It might entirely make sense if your project is building some mostly throwaway CRUD app for an internal company department and all of your developers are, well, the kind of developers you can find who will work on such things and the project is off-track. Or even if your developers are all good, but the project is failing for other reasons like lack of cohesive vision. A little bit of process introduced sparingly might help.
But if you have a highly productive team already, don't fool yourself into thinking that because process "improves" software development that adding more of it will make your highly productive team even more productive. Because it very likely will do the opposite.
What good project managers do is much harder than implementing a Scrum method. It's finding good people, making the hard decisions of removing the bad people and get / make a clear understanding of product scope and goals.
The last point in particular should be a well duh, but in reality it's ridiculously common to encounter projects where the PM (and hence even the customer), have a very vague understanding of what's actually being built. Those projects are guaranteed to go massively over time and budget, or being outright cancelled.
Good process is just the icing on the cake. It should be used, process alone does not make a project success.
I've also been on teams that were not successful no matter what methodology they used. The team just wasn't cohesive, didn't have enough talent, and/or had poor leadership.
Furthermore, if you have a very capable team, you may not even need a formal "Methodology".
Restricting a creative process into some pre-baked confines of thinking doesn't make a sense to me. Some rules are vital thought those should not get too much in the way.
I think only organically growing your rules makes sense and you've got to accept there will be situations where you have to break them or they won't allow you to adjust your strategy. Imagine a huge company that standardized on some well-tested processes/methodologies that served well in the past and were adjusted as it was growing. Staying with the same set of methodologies might kill the company's future if the structure of its workforce changes, technology moves forward, competitor has more efficient methodology for achieving returns etc. Often methodologies are used internally for political gains, pursuing promotions and power and "change agents" don't really care that much about improving efficiency, instead riding the wave of a currently cool methodology as recognized by the upper management.
A simple search proves this is false. Paired with author's other unsupported and stupendous claims I have to doubt the validity and worth of anything else author says.
"Its common now for me to get involved in a project that seems to have no adult supervision". But my bigger problem is that the youth of today seem to have a much bigger ego than the youth of yesterday.
"Once a programming team has adopted a methodology its almost inevitable that a few members of the team, or maybe just one bully, will demand strict adherence and turn it into a religion". Recently working with an off shore team, they called their tech lead literally "God". And he was pontificating procedures and styles left and right without understanding the core of the software first. He stopped when the product start to have big performances problems. One of the ones that I liked the most was his prohibition to use class indexers in C#, backed up by an example in Java.
Problem is that with agile (as I understand and mildly practice it at least) you can't have "identical requirements", because you don't have full, complete and detailed requirements upfront.
What is interesting is why this relates to software more than, say, ditch digging or gardening.
I would say that is because software involves dealing with the most complex situation imaginable as effectively as possible. In other situations, a person only has to mobilize some of faculties, in software, a person has to mobilize all of their faculties - or at least much more of a certain type. But this shows how different people's abilities are at the limit. Not just different in extent but different in kind.
How do you know something is developed in a timely fashion, for example? All we really have is a gut feeling.
We could implement the same project multiple times and use a different methodology each time. Then compare. But you'd want to use people who understand the methodology and care about winning the competition.
Even then, I bet if you ran that experiment with 5 different projects, there'd probably be a different outcome every time.
Most management and process exists to turn 1.0x developers into 1.2x (in theory) but turns the 10x into 3x or 2x or sometimes -2x. When you start enforcing process, closing up definitions of work, and take power away from engineers, you lose so much more off the top than you get from bringing up the bottom.
The problem is that very few executives actually want to create an inspiring place to work where people do their best. ("Fuck you, I've got mine.") They want incremental "improvements" (of questionable long-term value) on what already exists. This hand-wringing about process sounds a lot like early communism: it trudges along happily, inventing new structures, in complete ignorance of the human motivations around it.
1) You can't get around that things don't work as planned, and too many methodologies assume that things will.
2) It is better to have a PM with A level content and B level process, than the other way around. Professional PMs don't have the intuition to solve the daily project problems, but they're the ones selling the methodologies.
3) Too much focus on tools. Using MS Project to keep the plan doesn't work when 90% of the project doesn't know how to use it.
4) Too much change. Rather than settling on a decent methodology that everyone agrees to, companies keep re-inventing their process every few years.
5) Wrong methodology for the wrong purpose. Waterfall methodologies don't work in research. Agile methodologies aren't the "fits every project" panacea.
I can go on, but you can't enforce excellence with formality. The formality can help outstanding people achieve excellence though.
My goal is to provide environment where clients would feel their input is steering project and they are getting results they want, also that developers and others working on a project would like clear direction and ability to show their best skills. Sounds a lot, I know.
It does not work when its used as a magic machine of happy fun time productivity. Sprints and stories dont translate into more productivity. Focus and teamwork do.
I suspect it's the author that has changed, not everyone else. It's probably a combination of a nostalgic bias combined with the author's increasing age making it harder to get on with a typical team of young whippersnappers.
I say this as someone who is over forty and regularly falling into the "things were better in my day" trap (although hopefully self-aware enough to see it).
The advice often comes (including in one of the XP books) that the answer to "bad projects/people/environments that you can't change" is to get a new job; this may work at the individual level (sometimes), but it does nothing to actually fix the broken projects, environments, or people themselves.
There is indeed no silver bullet. All these decades later, and many people still refuse to accept that.
One thing I found that helps a lot is to work on a product that includes EEs and MEs, e.g. not pure software. It really drove home two points:
- process can work if people actually follow it
- the craft part of engineering takes a long time to learn but software is such a young field that practitioners are distracted by shiny objects instead of focusing on learning their craft
As with any process of production the move to change it in to a documented repeatable process complete with middle management has taken place.
I find more problems when there's less focus placed on understanding the data, manually, first, before placing it into a process.
Methodologies don't make it any less important to find, connect and understand the data first, but it seems to happen way too much.
A methodology I see missing is when we developers obsessively focus on optimizing tooling and code, instead of obsessively finding and understanding the data first.
2. Do you have enough experience and do they work well together, if not your mostly screwed. Right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. Takes too long to train new people usually.
3. Are estimates being treated as estimates or is date,team and scope being dictated from above? project triangle anyone. Stretch goals for managers mean long nights and weekends for the team and bonuses for other companies recruiters.
4. Has management been over sold on buzz words and marketing hype?
5. Is there some kind of incentive to come in under budget. So, much for quality.
All of the above can screw up a project quick.
In defense applications, software development methodologies work excellently. For example, MIL-STD-498, which I've used extensively in the previous decade, has worked wonders.
My hypothesis is that when you get engineering and management teams to try and manage out the creative aspect of most projects, things just go poorly.
For example original waterfall was kind of similar to agile methodology, there were re-estimations, milestones, prototyping... But I never heard anyone recently saying that our presumptions were wrong and we need to re-design and re-estimate.
Agile (scrum to be specific) in many companies is practically form of micromanagement. Number of companies are using 'agile' without automated tests and other necessary tools.
Ultimately, it's more about the people involved. Bad teams are going to find a way to screw themselves over no matter what process they use. Good teams don't need a rigid process since they'll just find a way to get stuff done no matter what.
-1 for being too short of an article; I wanted to hear better specific examples, and was sad when I saw the comment section starting :-)
Large corporations like to get everything down to a standard process (typically). A software development methodology lets them do exactly that; it promises a consistent process and (hopefully) quality.
In a way this works well - small firms innovate and come up with new methodologies which may at some point get to a tipping point where everybody wants a piece of the latest craze. Not everyone is in the business of questioning what works well or why - "if the competition is going Agile or setting up a DevOps team, then it must be good for us as well"
I've been a web developer for 13 years. Following a specific methodology doesn't matter, as much as focusing on the important aspects of the project, which are the customers, and what difficult problem the product solves.
The funny thing is that even if a team does this, it is not guarantee of success. If the customer base is too small, or there are lots of competitors, even the best software will fail. Conversely, if the customer base is massive, and there are few competitors, even poor quality software can succeed. Luckily for the software industry, and not for consumers, most teams do not follow these guidelines with the net effect being a TON of poor quality software.
Obviously here, Stackoverflow, and various other programmer focused sites, it's common to focus only on the coding side of the equation. The reality is that the best software comes from the collaboration between customers, designers, programmers, testers, usability experts, and sales. When each group brings their strengths to the table and focus on a common goal and solution, everyone wins. However it's very rare, since often the programmers are seen as the builders, the designers as the painters, testers as a nice to have, usability as a fad, and sales as being helpless.
To clarify a bit: design != usability, functional != usable. A beautiful design does not mean usable, look at the very confusing swipe action based calculators on iPhone. Functional is an auditorium with 20+ projects, usable is having the specific video cable dongle.
3rd or possibly lower is the methodology used. The methodology's main purpose in my opinion is to align everyone's working style to milestones, it doesnt reveal anything about whether the project will succeed, only how we will approach it.
Does a good team deliver solid, quality code? What if it's code the user doesn't want? Conversely, what if the team excels at delivering what the user wants, and they love it, but the code is so buggy that it only works 50% of the time? Would that be better than a solid app the user hates? (Probably yes)
Should a team working inside a large company deliver faster than the organization is able to accept change?
Just what is a good project, anyway? One in which we all had a good time and thought we did a great job? Or one in which the person paying us thought we were awesome?
No matter the criteria, everybody seems to agree that having good people is something like 70-80% of the secret. The big debate is what goes into that other 20-30%
ADD: An interesting thought experiment to play here is to posit that the team sucks -- wrong guys, wrong personalities, whatever. In that case, what would you want to happen? The answer to that should be an important part of whatever you want your process to be. Explicitly define your failure mode. (Because failure is still more often the norm than success in software development)
First of all, creating beautiful furniture takes LOTS of time, as it rests in attention to detail and an uncompromising position towards quality. When you're uncompromising about quality, you require yourself to throw out, to waste, things that are of lesser quality.
Second of all, beginner, poorly trained, and dispassionate employees are never going to produce beautiful furniture. Mostly because of the above: they either lack the ability or the caring to have the attention to detail necessary to do great work.
And the best carpenters aren't going to come work for you unless you're willing to make it worth their time. Coming to work for you means they will have to do a lot more work in a much less comfortable environment than they are used to. Because the best carpenters have their own shop, their own tools, and work on their own time, because they love it. Going anywhere that is not their own setup is automatically worse for them.
It's the same thing in software: great software takes patience, it takes time, and it takes money to convince the best programmers that they should be spending their time on you rather than on themselves.
But at no point does any of that mean that, because Tool X can't magically turn your mediocre working into a stellar one, that means that Tool X is not worth studying. That is completely, 100% backwards. The master practitioner studies all tools, even the ones he or she doesn't like, at the very least to understand what is wrong with them and why they don't produce the results they want. A master carpenter might prefer a hand saw over an electric one because the electric saw chips the corners of the board too easily, or something. But he doesn't know that unless he's studied the electric saw.
You can't have "an absence of methodology" any more than a wood shop can have "an absence of tools". It has to be there. But they all have their pros and cons, and non of them has a pro that includes "makes men out of mice."
Been around long enough to observe 100% correlation, extensively.
And it's a small minority who are competent.
Our culture is so completely and utterly obsessed with money that everyone says he's an idiot for taking down an app without realizing the chaos one goes through in a situation like that. They hurl insults like "weak" and "fragile" as though someone isn't allowed to be shy ever since the internet happened. The sheer amount of greed on display in debates about this game is deeply unnerving, and it seems as though modern culture has forgotten that there are many things that are more important than money. It seems as though our entire country is hopelessly addicted to accumulating more and more pieces of green paper, only to be puzzled when having a large number in their bank account fails to actually solve any of their problems.
The journey of Flappy Bird appears to me like this:
Stage 1: Almost no attention, almost no growth
Stage 2: Some kind of grey market paid downloads / ratings service
Stage 3: Attention of minimum critical mass of early consumers (increase in audience of 1 or perhaps 2 orders of magnitude)
Stage 4: Attention of influencers on other platforms, especially pewdiepie on youtube (increase in audience by a couple of orders of magnitude)
Stage 5: Attention by large community of enthusiasts (increase in audience by a couple of orders of magnitude)
Stage 6: Mass market attention
where each stage is dependent on the one before it, with the exception of stage 2, which is performed externally.
What's interesting to me is that the qualities the game possesses, which were sufficient to carry it from stage 3 to stage 6 without promotion on the part of the dev, were not sufficient to propel it from stage 1 to stage 3. We could say that the true quality of the game was unknown in stage 1.
My personal opinion is that the vast majority of content created languishes in the equivalent of stage 1 for its particular ecosystem. Of this content, the vast majority will be garbage, a small minority will be reasonable and a tiny minority will have the potential to be a widespread hit. But of this last group, most or all of it will never emerge from stage 1 because stage 1 does not provide it with enough attention to separate it from the rest of the (bad) stage 1 content.
Increasingly I think that the journey to stage 1 to stage 3 is the most important, most difficult and most overlooked part of the progression.
For example, when something is submitted to HN, from my anecdotal observation it will typically get something like 5-10 simultaneous visitors from the new page. If it gets a minimum critical mass of votes to hit the front page, this will increase immediately to something like 50-100 simultaneous viewers and increase from there. But often, it only takes 3-5 upvotes for it to hit the front page. So the relatively trivial actions of the small critical mass of early consumers has an extraordinarily large effect on the dissemination of the content. Indeed, as a content creator, it's often struck me that the actions of those first 3-5 people have an equivalent significance, in terms of the world's experience of my content, to me as the creator.
And if you create good content, then just getting to the front page is by far the most difficult part of the process, because once there you will naturally attract upvotes from the vastly increased exposure. But with only a few random bits of cosmic entropy set differently, the creator could create exactly the same content, fail to get those first 3-5 votes, and the number of views on the article/app/etc. could be 10 rather than 10,000 or 100,000.
In my experience, lots of platforms follow the same model. Reddit is a very obvious one, but the same holds to for trying to get press interest: so much depends upon the decisions of a few key journalists, and that decision may depend on how many other emails hit their inbox that hour, or whether or not they've had their coffee yet, or some other particle of background entropy. This isn't a criticism of the press, it's just a consequence of the current system. The same is true for people who run influential blogs or social media accounts with large followings, or newsletters.
The problem is that there is less attention available per item of content than the minimum quantity of attention needed to rate the quality of that content well. When I create something new, my worry is never "Boy, I hope that people don't simply dislike this," it's always "Boy, I hope that enough people see this to give it a shot of achieving its potential, whatever that turns out to be." If it turns out people don't like it, which is of course always a possibility, that's fairly easy to handle. If it disappears into obscurity, that's much more difficult to accept.
When I create content now, my promotion strategy is 99% focused on that first stage. If it reaches that critical mass of attention among a small number of early, influential people, I feel like my job is done and the chips should fall as they may. If it reaches that initial critical mass, people will want to write press stories about it and post it on social media and ask for interviews and tell their friends about it, assuming its any good. This may be an obvious conclusion, but the interesting part, for me, is that the initial critical mass is much smaller, much more random and much more difficult to achieve than most people realize.
Considering that Flappy Bird was made popular by power users on other platforms (particularly YouTube), I think that this point is really important: the app store is probably not the best platform to surface new apps.
A good exercise for entrepreneurs is to think of a better model. If anything, the success of Flappy Bird is one hell of an incentive to find out.
(Also: if you have ideas about this, like me, we should have a chat.)
Nguyen via Twitter: "Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace."Polygon: "We've reached out to Nguyen for comment and will update accordingly."
Good job everyone. Good job.
So I don't know if it's as simple to suggest it was a pay-for-review scheme, but rather just its own thing.
Same thing happened on Amazon milk reviews:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/09/technology/09milk.html
Then everyone in the media calls his game crap and accuses him of cheating the system (without producing any proof). I'd quit too.
I'd decided to hack off a quirky part of a project I was working on into a jQuery plugin and make a landing page for people to play with it.
Nobody went to it. For months. Like not one person. It's still online today, although I've obviously broken the plugin at some point .
Months later my jaw hit the floor when I woke up to an inbox full of emails about this thing. The page had had thousands upon thousands of hits. Not from Belfast, but from NY and SF. It had been featured on a ton of blogs, discussions etc, all in the 6 hours or so I'd been asleep. Traffic had peaked, but it kept coming.
A friend we hadn't seen in a while called into our little co-working space to tell me "that thing you put on Hacker News" had been on the front page for hours. I'd never even heard of HN at this point!
There was no rhyme nor reason to any of this. The page had been available for months. All I can surmise is that something lit the touchpaper that started a chain reaction. And that I've a lot to learn about how virality works and what makes it function.
It makes me wonder did he really engage in some grey market stuff to push Flappy Bird a little. I kind of wonder why he would fork out for something like that when the precedent would indicate he wasn't onto a winner with this game.
In retrospect we know he had a great game, the potential for serious chain-reaction style virality was there, maybe the spark that lit the touch-paper was something innocuous that no-one would ever guess?
The Lemming Economy follows a model where dozens upon dozens up near pointless applications are created in an attempt find just something that will get enough momentum to drive an ever increasing number of lemmings over the cliff (purchase). Upon succeeding more lemmings scramble to create copy-cats of the game to cash in on the stampede. There's no point except to try and generate cash out of they prevailing whims of the lemmings.
This model neither creates a viable business model (because you can't rely on quality equaling sales) nor useful software (because that doesn't drive the lemmings over the cliff).
Maybe Flappy Birds isn't horrible, I don't know. But the developer obviously didn't like getting caught in the stampede and all of a sudden getting exposed to the general population. I would have taken down the app, too.
On top of that, let's face it: the game ain't that much. It's not like there was some special secret sauce he put in there. I can guarantee you that there are another 1000+ games out there just as simple and playable as flappy bird out there.
So this story, aside from the marketing moves (which I would love to find out about as long as my best 40K other HN friends do not at the same time), is just about winning the lottery. Guy writes app, wins the lottery.
This kind of lottery keeps poor schmucks writing apps for walled garden playstores. You get ten thousand people slaving away over little apps, each one hoping to be this guy. He's the guy in the casino who hits on the slots. The casino definitely wants to make sure all the rubes see the pile of money he gets.
It seems that it definitely worked in that case (any many maybe more we don't know about). Are there some white hat review services, with people that actually download the app? Or is it all just black bot spammer'y?
Information costs nothing to replicate, but it's attention that is the great scarce commodity of the information age. I expect to see extreme escalation in the sophistication of methods for getting peoples' attention in the coming years.
From dying you can be back flying again in less than 4 seconds and be back at the first obstacle in less than 8 seconds. There are many games that should learn from that.
1. Make Flappy Bird2. 3. Profits
That's what's most interesting to me. Have we heard from anybody who's actually bought the player from a vending machine? This seems to me to be one of those cases where you don't actually need to do it to get the marketing value from it- all you need is to make a video of the idea. It's a more sophisticated form of "This Ad Was Banned!!"
I could be totally wrong, of course.
EDIT: To clarify, I'm saying I don't think Sony's actually selling their walkmans in bottles of water, they just made a video of the idea of it. Can anbody disconfirm this?
On a side note, do a lot of people really listen to music while swimming? In college I used to do 30 minutes of laps in the pool a couple times a week. I liked doing it precisely because you couldn't listen to music and you'd have to focus on keeping good form. It was just you and the water.
... I wouldn't drink the water.
Water ? lame. What about vodka? At times like this I will side with General Ripper from Dr Strangelove. He never drank water, because the commies were poisoning it to pacify the West.
But apparently HN commenters are not immune to being fooled...
But the larger question is whether the water is actually potable, it being in vending machines after all!
Happily I have a Sony mp3 player with 30 hours from a single charge.
(In other words, I don't buy Sony products any more, since they insisted upon rootkitting their customers' computers some years ago.)
How could I miss that?
To make an analogy, Dong Nguyen essentially tapped into the modern-day equivalent of Pac-Man Fever. In the 80s, it swept the world, to the tune of billions of dollars. It was the highest-grossing arcade game ever produced. People simply loved the game, and they couldn't get enough of clearing boards of dots, power-pellets and ghosts.
Most people probably knew nothing about who made the game, with the small exception of the corporate names on the game (e.g., Namco/Midway). Certainly, I suspect only the hardcore few would be able to name the programmer of Pac-Man, Shigeo Funaki. And I suspect that no one blinked their eyes in disdain when they saw the news reports of Pac-Man's financial success.
In a similar way, Flappy Bird took very simple game-play, and combined it with a simple challenge. This is, of course, not the first game to do this, but it took off so successfully that I suspect that a very high percentage of gamers have it installed, and even some non-gamers could likely brand-identify the game, or have at least heard of it. The power of the Internet has made Nguyen's name known, and quite sadly in some circles, despised for his financial success.
No one bemoaned Pac-Man's programmer, or Namco/Midway's success, but fast-forward from the 80s to today, and you get gems like this article  and its intellectual lamenting with, "[...] I begrudge a society that would turn it into a phenomenon."
I suspect that the author would have said the same about Pac-Man.
Casual games like Flappy Bird do not prevent someone from playing, say, EVE Online, to their heart's content. And, what if you just happen to like both types of games? I guess you are a real outcast at that point; a non-intellectual. To put it another way, just because you intellectually eschew casual games and choose instead to rock, say, Steel Battalion with a full-on controller  doesn't mean that you are necessarily leading the upliftment of society.
Fortunately, there is a game in the world for every gamer.
It's incredibly humanizing to see these people who built indie games that I enjoy greatly go through the amount of stress that they do, all over pieces of software that most people rarely blink an eye at.
It's also completely understanding when people like Phil Fish or Don Nguyen quit the industry. It takes a certain mindset, and I don't think people who start making games for the fun of expressing themselves fully realize it at first.
I really feel for this guy. I don't know what it's like in Vietnam, but given it's part of the far east, I wouldn't be surprised if he's had death threats and similar. Fame and riches don't necessarily lead to a happier life in these places, you need power along with it too.
That said, it's entirely possible that it has nothing to do with the any threat of actual harm and danger from external forces but just the barrage of envy, criticism and perhaps unwarranted attention. That's a problem that can be fixed.
If there are any indie developers out there that ever find them in such a bind or position, I'm making this plain and simple offer to you all. Please feel free to reach out to me. I'll help you work through it. I've helped plenty others in similar situations, and ultimately it's all about just 'getting out of your own shell' for want of a better phrase - and I can help you do that.
Hope that helps if anyone is reading this. Contact details in my profile.
I spent longer than the three days he's supposed to have spent on my latest game and I would love a response like he's got.
People are lazy and selfish and will do whatever it takes to satisfy both behaviors.
Looking back all I can say is I can sympathise with anyone who has this problem and would also like to note weirdly I've never had the same experience with web apps. I can only assume the demographic of usage and ease of commenting on and contacting developers of mobile apps/games affects the feedback and comments you get.
I'm not sure if that'd actually be a good idea, but there are so many trolls out there getting a hardon from sending despicable threats from a position of anonimity and non-accountability, that I think exposing those creeps somehow would be a public service.
This is something more people need to be aware of in general: these kind of messages are processed by two entirely different mental systems that do not cancel each other out, with the negative emotions having a much larger relative weight because they evolved out of the "avoiding things that kill you" mechanisms, which is kind of a big deal in evolutionary terms.
Seriously (in the case of the Nguyen ), threatening a game developer of a (arguably) very mundane and free game because the dev decided it's not worth his time nor is the game's popularity aligned with his moral imperatives? This type of shit GRINDS my gears.
 - http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/02/at-height-of-popularit...
We are entitled to our own opinions. As long as the opinions are expressed in a non-insulting manner, we have the right to utter them. We don't need a PhD, we don't need somebody's permission, we don't need to be rich, tall, fat, etc.
Remain polite but don't refrain from saying what you think!
Fuck it dude it doesn't matter just ignore anything relating to it it will go away eventually.
Give it time the internet has a short attention span. They'll see something more shiny soon enough.
The on going rumor is he bought reviews and that he was found out. The hammer from Apple and Google was going to come down, but now he can save face and come out with a game a few months later with clean reviews.
Glad the programer was able to make $1,500,000 so far it seems. Maybe he just retired and is going to enjoy life, I hope this is the real answer.
That said, this event is extremely encouraging. Not only is the security and the viability of the currency being tested. But more importantly, the communication and cooperation between the major players in the Bitcoin ecosystem is being tested. And so far, the community is kicking ass.
To me that signals that perhaps Bitcoin really is a viable currency for the long term, and that it may really be a great way to think about money and value exchange.
Day two: Uhh... "Stay calm. This is just the expression of that non-issue looking like an issue. We know what we're doing."
Bitcoin has, generally, intrinsic crash protection right now. The price can't plummet if you can't find trading partners. Nobody really knows the price. The dotcom crash was from lofty to zero. As the price eats through panic sell thresholds, pants are shat. At least with commodities, people can point to the ones that went to 0 and stayed there. Since it hasn't happened with bitcoin, people can still sing the "it always bounces back" tune.
I've kicked the dead horse of stability. I've hinted at liquidity issues, but this is a grave lack of liquidity. The only thing left is any belief that there is value. If that starts to deteriorate due to the other issues, poof
Not to be an excuse for the consistent problems with MtGox, but everyone who is affected by the current DDoS attacks should just shut the f..k up.
Basically the reference client allows an edge case where it allows spending an unconfirmed output if that output was generated by the wallet itself as change. This can form a chain of unconfirmed transactions. When the malleable bot modifies the original one they all become invalid. The reference client does not handle this case well, it gets balances wrong, and clogs the wallet up.
It's unfortunate that Mt Gox got a lot of heat for calling out the issue from the foundation and core developers saying that malleability was known and wasn't a bit issue. in fact it is an issue due to this edge case in the reference client.
Better to get these bugs out of the way now than in two years when market cap is much greater.
Maybe foreign government? Heck, domestic government?
Assuming equal reach for would-be-sellers and would-be-buyers, more buyers are capable of expressing their opinion in the market than are sellers.
I mean, the Brazilian Real? Literally almost no payment processors support that. And believe me, I've looked for them.
This is amazing news.
(As a side question, if anybody from Stripe is listening here: how exactly is this done -- via partnerships with local banks, or via dynamic currency conversion? I ask because, in the case of DCC, you will find that there are big problems involved with Brazil specifically, and many legitimate transactions will be refused. Brazil is a very special case, and calling the BRL a supported currency could mean very many different things.)
In either case, this is really awesome. What sets this apart from Stripe's competitors, is that those companies (or at least Braintree) require you to set up a different account for each currency, which is a huge pain in the ass. Or at least this was the case last time I checked.
I've integrated with Stripe several times now for US-based clients and am getting severely jealous!
Quick but obvious follow-ups:
1. How do we look up the currency conversion rates that were applied for each charge? There are various hints on the Stripe page about these new currencies but looking at the corresponding API documentation either I'm missing something or it hasn't been updated yet.
2. Are there any plans to support payment methods beyond the existing card schemes, at least in countries where those cards might not be the preferred form of payment? (For example, there are various European national card schemes like Carte Bleue in France, and in China there is the UnionPay system.)
I did a test charge and was pleasantly surprised to find that Stripe's "market rate" is really the mid market rate and not something else. PayPal's spread is something like 2.5% and then there is sometimes (always?) a 1% cross-border transaction fee, so Stripe's flat 2% fee is looking pretty good.
Awesome. I see Naira. Phew! :)
So if I make my charge in Naira, how do you pay me in Naira considering Nigerian banks are yet to be supported. Of course same question apples to other non supported countries whose currencies are supported.
Stripe has been in beta in the Netherlands for a while now, but with credit card only, choosing between Stripe and old school payment providers (which aren't half as bad as what is apparently is the case in the US) that support all of the most used payment methods, Stripe is really not an option.
Not unless I want to tell 80% of all clients to take their money elsewhere.
For anyone wondering, 4 votes are enough because Bdale's vote (the chairman of the Technical Committee) count as two votes in case of a draw.
EDIT: see this (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7203479) comment below - if the other 4 members of the TC vote F, then systemd would not win.
For the most part it can get confusing for a non day to day system administrator when I am trying to get a program to "run on boot". Between rc.local, init.d, run levels, etc. sometimes it is just frustrating.
For those unfamiliar with Pulseaudio development, it's a third-generation audio subsystem (after OSS and ALSA with JACK forming two previous ones, and ESD being the beginning of the third) that is famous for overcomplicated, non-human-writable barely human-readable configuration procedure, development marred with huge number of bugs that ruined audio on Linux until recently, and suffering from immense number of internal interfaces and system being presented as a huge monolithic piece of software that can not be used in a modular manner except as modules that only talk among themselves.
systemd seems to suffer from the same problems, plus it tries to "integrate" init, udev and syslog into a single "product", with arcane internal interfaces and formats -- just as non-human-writable as Pulseaudio.
Pretty unfortunate it took this long. Even as a casual observer it's looked like they'd eventually pick systemd a month ago. Hopefully this vote is the last one.
tl;dc: systemd replaces the bash scripts you're used to grepping through with unix .conf files that fit on the screen.
And that's what technical (sub)committees are for.
PS I would vote for "further discussion" in a very Debian style.
I'm surprised at the lack of progress in generics for Go. But more than progress, I'm surprised at the lack of a story about generics in Go. Yes, the FAQ waves its hands at complexity, but the lack of discussion and/or proposals puzzle me. The wiki page about it (https://code.google.com/p/go-wiki/wiki/GoVsGenerics) is tiny and feeds from this discussion (http://groups.google.com/group/golang-nuts/browse_thread/thr...). I would be much more interested in Go were there some evidence for the intent to implement generics. A related concern is that adding generics will have a significant affect on libraries and existing code, so adding generics will become harder the longer Go waits.
I would be very happy to have the Go team say: we're going to focus on adding generics to Go in 2.0 and will be considering how to get there sooner than later; that said, we don't know when 2.0 will be released, but building in generics will drive 2.0.
Note: I understand the workarounds, but they're either hacky or have terrible performance. And I also understand that users of Go say that they don't miss generics, but I'm just not comfortable believing that.
I would assume that the NaCl support means that we'll be able to write things for Chromebooks relatively easily?
This presentation also doesn't mention the concurrent GC sweep work: https://codereview.appspot.com/46430043/
You can check out the Makefiles in libtorrent-go and torrent2http
(NaCl supports 32-bit ARM, but we have no plans to support it.)"
- "Clean up and document the code, add unit tests. (Target Go 1.4)"
Oh sure, add features now and add the unit tests later. :-D #joking
Aww. Transliterated C code does not sound like it will take full advantage of Go idioms. Plus, an automatic translator? Unless it is extremely disciplined C code, that sounds harder than just translating it by hand.
This is the most exciting part for me! Although I wish they didn't skim so much on the technical detail here.
"darwin/arm, android/arm: a contributor is working on these, some way to go."
2) Whether your slave DB stopped replicating because of some error.
3) Whether something is screwed up in your SOLR/ElasticSearch instance so it doesn't respond to search queries, but respond to simple heartbeat pings.
4) If your Redis db stopped saving to disk because of lack of space, or not enough memory, or you forgot to set overcommit memory.
5) If you're running out of space in a specific partition you usually store random stuff like /var/log.
I've had my ass bitten by all of the above :)
One thing that drives me nuts is how frequently monitoring agents/dashboards report and graph only free memory on Linux, which gives misleading results. It's fine to report it, but to make sense of it, you have to stack free memory along with cached and buffered memory, if you care about what's actually available for applications to use.
Another often-overlooked metric that's important for web services in particular is the TCP accept queue depth, per listening port. Once the accept queue is drained, remote clients will get ECONNREFUSED, which is a bad place to be. This value is somewhat difficult to attain, though, because AFAIK Linux doesn't expose it.
Starting at a new shop, one of the first things I'll do is:
1. Set up a high-level "is the app / service / system responding sanely" check which lets me know, from the top of the stack, whether or not everything else is or isn't functioning properly.
2. Go through the various alerting and alarming systems and generally dialing the alerts way back. If it's broken at the top, or if some vital resource is headed to the red, let me know. But if you're going to alert based on a cascade of prior failures (and DoS my phone, email, pager, whatever), then STFU.
In Nagios, setting relationships between services and systems, for alerting services, setting thresholds appropriately, etc., is key.
For a lot of thresholds you're going to want to find out why they were set to what they were and what historical reason there was for that. It's like the old pot roast recipe where Mom cut off the ends of the roast 'coz that's how Grandma did it. Not realizing it was because Grandma's oven was too small for a full-sized roast....
Sadly, that level of technical annotation is often lacking in shops, especially where there's been significant staff turnover through the years.
I'm also a fan of some simple system tools such as sysstat which log data that can then be graphed for visualization.
And the best general advice I have is split your alerts into "stuff that I need to know is broken" and "stuff that just helps me diagnose other problems". You don't want to be disturbing your on-call people for stuff that doesn't directly affect your service (or isn't even something you can fix).
I was off work for a few months recently (motorcycle wreck) and removed my e-mail accounts from my phone. Now, I have all my alerts go to a specific e-mail address and those are the only mails I receive on my phone. It has really helped me overcome the problem of ignoring messages.
1. A vendor tomcat application had a memory leak, consumed all the RAM on a box, and crashed with an OOM
2. The warm standby application was slightly misconfigured, and was unable to take over when the primary app crashed
3. Our nagios was configured to email us, but something had gone wrong with ssmtp 2 days prior, and was unable to contact google apps
3a. No one was paying any attention to our server metric graphs / We didn't have good enough "pay attention to these specific graphs because they are currently outside the norm"
A very embarrassing day for us that one.
We're now working on better graphing, and have set up a basic ssmtp check to SMS us if there is an issue. Monitoring is hard.
Also, make sure you don't say No Such Agency or type their acronym. Wouldn't want the article to get censored and fall off the front page. Moving on...
>According to a former drone operator for the militarys Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the [No Such Agency], the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a targets identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.
What could possibly go wrong? What might the enemy do upon figuring this out? Well, it's clear that our own operatives understood the problem:
>One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the [No Such Agency]s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.
So... why are we still doing it? Is there a way that this might become at least a bit more reliable?
>Whats more, he adds, the [No Such Agency] often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.
You've got to be shitting me. The source continues later in the article:
>The former JSOC drone operator estimates that the overwhelming majority of high-value target operations he worked on in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, based on the [No Such Agency]s phone-tracking technology.
>Everything they turned into a kinetic strike or a night raid was almost 90 percent that, he says. You could tell, because youd go back to the mission reports and it will say this mission was triggered by SIGINT, which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.
And the source does at least concede that the [No Such Agency] builds a matrix of characteristics to try and pin down a target:
>In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The [No Such Agency] will develop a pattern, he says, where they understand that this is what this persons voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But its not always correct. Theres a lot of human error in that.
I'm sure this is what the president meant by "near-certainty" of a target's validity:
>In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured the highest standard we can set. He added that, by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.
The highest standard we can set:
>As of May 2013, according to the former drone operator, President Obama had cleared 16 people in Yemen and five in Somalia for targeting in strikes. Before a strike is green-lit, he says, there must be at least two sources of intelligence. The problem is that both of those sources often involve [No Such Agency]-supplied data, rather than human intelligence (HUMINT).
A high standard indeed. But don't worry! The [No Such Agency] insists that HUMINT is involved. After the fact:
>Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs. After any use of targeted lethal force, when there are indications that civilian deaths may have occurred, intelligence analysts draw on a large body of information including human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage to help us make informed determinations about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.
There's also some nice tidbits about the technical manner in which this is pulled off. The GILGAMESH program is described:
>As the former JSOC drone operator describes and as classified documents obtained from Snowden confirm the [No Such Agency] doesnt just locate the cell phones of terror suspects by intercepting communications from cell phone towers and Internet service providers. The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as virtual base-tower transceivers creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted persons device to lock onto the [No Such Agency]s receiver without their knowledge.
As well as the SHENANIGANS program:
>In addition to the GILGAMESH system used by JSOC, the CIA uses a similar [No Such Agency] platform known as SHENANIGANS. The operation previously undisclosed utilizes a pod on aircraft that vacuums up massive amounts of data from any wireless routers, computers, smart phones or other electronic devices that are within range.
>VICTORYDANCE, he [different operator from an [No Such Agency] doc, not the JSOC source] adds, mapped the Wi-Fi fingerprint of nearly every major town in Yemen.
> Since June 2013, article after article about the NSA has been illustrated with a single image supplied by the agency, a photograph of its Fort Meade headquarters that appears to date from the 1970s.
> The photographs below which are being published for the first time show three of the largest agencies in the U.S. intelligence community. The scale of their operations was hidden from the public until August 2013, when their classified budget requests were revealed in documents provided by Snowden. Three months later, I rented a helicopter and shot nighttime images of the NSAs headquarters. I did the same with the NRO, which designs, builds and operates Americas spy satellites, and with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which maps and analyzes imagery, connecting geographic information to other surveillance data. The Central Intelligence Agency the largest member of the intelligence community denied repeated requests for permission to take aerial photos of its headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
> My intention is to expand the visual vocabulary we use to see the U.S. intelligence community.
Might want to ensure it's running on the latest version of WordPress,
Then there's the fascination with the "/"
- "The//Intercept" - https://firstlook.org/theintercept
- "Re/code" - http://recode.net
Not trying to be cynical I am genuinely curious.
I also noticed that it uses HTTPS by default which is, of course, very cool.
Also, I'm glad this content has arrived...
(edit: not so impressed by the desktop version of the site, but I guess I can make it beautiful by resizing my browser)
I mean, it does (theintercept.org) but that just redirects you to https://firstlook.org/theintercept/
When raising children I learned a valuable lesson: you don't educate by telling them. You educate by living up to what you tell them.
Don't get me wrong: I am exited as the next person about this experiment. I laud them for their effort. But I expected better.
- naming: pkgfile mbox || echo looks like a good name - support: sorry, I don't have Mac or Windows.
$ mbox -- git checkout file
This is a cool idea.
./configure make ./mbox ls Stop executing pid=20987: It's not allowed to call mmap on 0x400000
I wonder if there's value in creating a library for intercepting filesystem operations via ptrace...
I wonder how hard it would be to port it to dtrace (also dtrace would defeat the not needing root requirement).
although macs already include a sandbox i find it everything but intuitive to use. it's already ridiculously complicated to setup. see ironfox as reference . since you have to allow all sorts of mach port process execution pasteboard mach port access, etc.
check this app, which is allowed to play music and access the clipboard, but not access the internet. 
Alternatively they could use unshare and aufs to overlay another filesystem on top of a read-only root.
apt-cache search mbox | wc -l 82
> Why 20% on tar? just rewriting path arguments doesn'tseem to be demanding work.
Is most of that the overhead from syscalls being filtered by seccomp/BPF?
Too bad both the deb link and makefile are broken.
post clone update: no i686 support.
"I've got nothing to hide..."
The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision.
Note that "accuracy" and "precision" aren't the same thing. A sharp knife is precise, but if you slice in the wrong place, it's not being used accurately. Noting that the language here isn't a quote but a description from Scahill and Greenwald.
turns out Im really good at killing people. The president added, Didnt know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.
Well, it's not like they believe their targets are human, anyway. Their lives are worth nothing to those analysts, innocent or not.
>>"The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as virtual base-tower transceivers creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted persons device to lock onto the NSAs receiver without their knowledge."
This is unsettling! I always suspected this technology was used by law enforcement but equipping killer robots for live missile guidance?!?!?
Right now I get texts and voice mail from people attempting to contact the former owner of the SIM Identity I have..it happens any time you buy a prepaid phone..sometimes you get a previously owned SIM id..
Guess where this most active as far as buying a prepaid phone?
Developing countries such as Africa and Middle East..
This is a very highly political volatile situation waiting to blow up in a Presidents face.
Its not will it happen but only a matter of when
"no U.S. spy agency was ever able to capture a photograph of bin Laden at the compound"
This is going to get exponentially worse as they move to automated drone assassinations, where they just create an "algorithm" that's supposed to decide who is going to die next.
This is going to be their next logical conclusion, and to them it's "inevitable". Of course, it will be done in secret, too, probably for years before there are even leaks about it. Going by how "accurate" their algorithms are for determining who's American and who's not (there has to be only a 51 percent chance, which is almost like flipping a coin on whether someone is American or not), I imagine this algorithm on who to kill will be pretty loose, too. Better safe and kill more innocent people, than sorry and not kill the right target, is what they will choose for that algorithm.
You could say the rules for killing are already very loose right now, but the killing itself is done manually, and they are somewhat restricted to how many people they can hire for this. Once it's automated, expect the assassinations to rise by an order of magnitude, because it will just be "so easy", and also sending a drone should become much cheaper in 10 years.
Drone assassination defenders have been saying "but would it be any different if they just sent some guy with an F-16 in there to attack the target?". Well, even if such an attack wouldn't be anymore precise and it would still kill a lot of innocent people in that strike, the difference between killing people like that and killing them with automated drones or even manual ones, is about as big as spying on highly expensive targets, and doing "mass collections on everyone". It becomes so easy and so cheap technologically, that their rules for doing that action become radically more loose.
Just as for spying, they will do it simply because they can. Instead of attacking Osama's #2 with an air strike, they will be attacking a lot more people who are just very remotely associated with an organization, and in many of these cases, the decision to kill will be done by loose understanding of what is a target from the NSA mass spying (whether it's the understanding of the people deciding the drone targets now, or the algorithm for the automated drones in the future).
Recommended watching: Daniel Suarez on automated killer robots:
OT: Same picture used in FAZ-article in 2012 . Can you search stockphoto dot com for "Predator drone"?
Error 503 Service Unavailable Service Unavailable Guru Meditation: XID: 1422544503 Varnish cache server
Scratch that, the page finally loaded for me.
Service UnavailableGuru Meditation:
Varnish cache server
Let me caution you though: in most applications, if you concede to an attacker INSERT/UPDATE/SELECT (ie: if you have SQL Injection), even if you've locked down the rest of the database and minimized privileges, you're pretty much doomed.
Most teams we work with don't take the time to thoroughly lock down their databases, and we don't blame them; it's much more important to be sure you don't give an attacker any control of the database to begin with.
The section under "the ideal administrator" is quite eye-opening. I pretty much use PostgreSQL exclusively, and I've found that every time I learn something new, there is another mile of learning to go, and that feedback cycle never seems to end.
I have a few PostgreSQL-specific book on admin and server programming, but I wonder where I would be able to go to really learn this stuff. Are there any classes or places to go for this sort of SQL training?
How does one go about becoming a total master at this? I find that, out of all the programming that I do, I love working with SQL the most and I want to dive deeper into it.
Let's say I run a hosting company, and when a user logs in, I want to limit DB access of this particular connection to rows that actually matter to the logged-in customer (like purchased services, associated accounts) and still allow access to general-purpose information (like list of available TLDs, stock prices for services etc.). Can I do that somehow?
Then I'd use authentication outside of the database (like with LDAP), and only allow access to the database after login; that way information leaks should be pretty much contained to the logged-in customer.
EDIT: Seems it's a work in progress: https://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/Row-security
0 - http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-async/
 You should really be running your web application in its own user account regardless of how you interface to your database.
 Running daemons on a UNIX socket is better security-wise than running on localhost, because you can protect the UNIX socket with filesystem permissions.
Edit: Oh, the article is from 2009 (I'd say it was bad practice even back then though).
> Common practice dictates that passwords have at least six characters and are changed frequently.
Has anyone gotten it to work transparently?
Even if you are hardline nut and totally support the surveillance state it has to be frightening alarming that they were so dead set on harassing this one guy that they would have let the real culprit go free had the Spanish police not called them on their BS.
If you do cross over them, then you find yourself inside the prison system, in a psychiatric ward, or simply disappeared altogether. If large numbers of people cross these lines at once, I suspect we will find ourselves overnight in a totalitarian system, since all the tools for mass control of the population are already in place.
It is not a new pattern, either. Look back to what we (americans) did to each other in the 50's (are You a communist? Do you act like one?). Had we had the tech then to spy like now, we'd have done so. Which means that despite the sensational news stories, I find almost apathy from normal people I meet - the paranoid has known for years (don't talk on that cell phone, they can listen in on those easily... does anyone remember this attitude?). Privacy intrusions simply exist. They are. You aren't escaping them. It might make one angry, but there is nothing people feel they can do about it. I personally disagree, but also feel the path to balance in this area is an uncomfortable one.
I know We're All Bayesian Now, but does this really seem like the way a "laboratory" ought to work? If fingerprinting really is a science, then it's a study of patterns and how they do or do not match. I'm pretty sure we have computers for that sort of task. Why isn't this totally automated by now? From the outside, the reason that springs to mind is because fingerprinting, as practiced by the FBI, is not scientific at all, and exists merely as window-dressing for the prejudice and misjudgment of agents.
In the end what criminal investigators do is they find details and piece together a narrative from those. One huge problem with massive surveillance is the ability to piece together whatever narrative the investigator wants to put together based on a much larger field of information to mine.
Whats happening right now is a organization and its supporting organizations, finding it hard to stay on the line of justice in a world, where America is a small word, compared to what it was like before. Patriotism is nice, but it has reduced meaning today, this is no longer a world, where you can stay within your borders and hurt everybody outside it.
A good example, is from the movie Hobbit 2, where the elf king is reluctant to look outside of his wooden kingdom.
With great power comes great responsibility.. if you have power over Americans, you have responsibility over Americans, but in case of NSA, they have power over the data of all the people, thus their responsibility is towards everybody.
It is normal for law-enforcement to chase down a false lead. Most leads are dead-ends, from my lay understanding of detective work. In retrospect, Mayfield was a dead-end, but the key question is: when should the FBI have realized this? The actions that they took would have been justified, I think, if their suspicions had turned out to be valid. (all except the 2 week incarceration - and even that would have been clearly justified if Mayfield had been charged.)
In any event, this is one of those cases which highlights a growing problem in the US legal system, which is the redefinition of "punishment" to exclude pre-trial incarceration and harassment. Law-enforcement has attained an ever growing list of exceptions and ad hoc powers that override a man's right to a fair trial before being punished. City police can "detain" you for up to 72 hours, for no reason. The FBI (apparently) can "detain" you for at least 2 weeks, again without charges. I believe that these rights to ad hoc, extra-judicial incarceration need to be rescinded, by an act of Congress, as these rights enable systematically arbitrary and abusive behavior on the part of law-enforcement at both the local and federal level. I believe they make the general population, whether they know it or not, unsafe from predatory police behavior.
This is surprising to me, that he knew what he was being investigated for. Is there any reason why they would tell him?
It is absurd to claim that this should not have happened. All detection methods have a false positive rate. Judging by what has shown up in the media, the FBI has a counterterrorism false positive rate of one person every few years. That is a stupendously low rate for such a rare yet politically-charged task.
Let's not forget their other famous false positive terrorism case: the anthrax case. Their needle in a haystack search turned up a false positive, but it also turned up the true positive.
The only terrifying thing here is that they suspected him of being a serial mass murderer, and then proceeded to apply such poor spycraft that a false positive was spooked. There are going to have a hard time catching real baddies being that sloppy.
That's the exact purview of the FBI - they weren't mining databases, all they have to do is send a guy out to chat with some local base personnel, find out where he used to live, look up neighbours etc. This is all active, in-person investigative work.