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Facebook acquires Oculus VR facebook.com
1322 points by nav  2 days ago   832 comments top 276
1
lawl 2 days ago 35 replies      
Damn! I don't like this.

I had hoped they jump in bed with valve.

Yes, I just really dislike facebook, so I hate to see them aquiring something i was really excited about.

Also from the article:

> After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home.

Nah, I'd rather not, thank you. I prefer to actually visit my doctor where facebook doesn't get all the data about it.

2
frakkingcylons 2 days ago 10 replies      
Palmer Luckey (founder of Oculus VR) just wrote a statement[0] on the Oculus subreddit:

"Ive always loved games. Theyre windows into worlds that let us travel somewhere fantastic. My foray into virtual reality was driven by a desire to enhance my gaming experience; to make my rig more than just a window to these worlds, to actually let me step inside them. As time went on, I realized that VR technology wasnt just possible, it was almost ready to move into the mainstream. All it needed was the right push.We started Oculus VR with the vision of making virtual reality affordable and accessible, to allow everyone to experience the impossible. With the help of an incredible community, weve received orders for over 75,000 development kits from game developers, content creators, and artists around the world. When Facebook first approached us about partnering, I was skeptical. As I learned more about the company and its vision and spoke with Mark, the partnership not only made sense, but became the clear and obvious path to delivering virtual reality to everyone. Facebook was founded with the vision of making the world a more connected place. Virtual reality is a medium that allows us to share experiences with others in ways that were never before possible.Facebook is run in an open way thats aligned with Oculus culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry. As Facebook has grown, theyve continued to invest in efforts like with the Open Compute Project, their initiative that aims to drive innovation and reduce the cost of computing infrastructure across the industry. This is a team thats used to making bold bets on the future.In the end, I kept coming back to a question we always ask ourselves every day at Oculus: whats best for the future of virtual reality? Partnering with Mark and the Facebook team is a unique and powerful opportunity. The partnership accelerates our vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated.Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although well have substantially more resources to build the right team. If you want to come work on these hard problems in computer vision, graphics, input, and audio, please apply!This is a special moment for the gaming industry Oculus somewhat unpredictable future just became crystal clear: virtual reality is coming, and its going to change the way we play games forever.Im obsessed with VR. I spend every day pushing further, and every night dreaming of where we are going. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined wed come so far so fast.Im proud to be a member of this community thank you all for carrying virtual reality and gaming forward and trusting in us to deliver. We wont let you down."

[0]: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21cy9n/the_future_of...

3
reitzensteinm 2 days ago 3 replies      
As a game developer that's interested in doing some work with the Oculus, I could see this going one of two ways:

1) Facebook could stay hands off, giving the company the company the breathing room and capital to absolutely revolutionize gaming, and then on to other fields.

2) Oculus as a "communication platform" is attempted too soon and the core team is drawn away working on pet projects resulting in a drastic lack of focus, which would kill the product (momentum is key here).

Given that Facebook is the acquirer, I'd lean much further towards #1. If it were Google, I'd bet money on #2 (see the GAE thread today).

I don't think the privacy stuff is going to be a big deal, by the time this turns from being an interface device to an integrated product like Glass, the market will have matured and there'll be plenty of competitors offering the former.

So, it'll either good or bad. You read it here first, folks.

4
lightcatcher 2 days ago 8 replies      
I just finished reading "Masters of Doom" last night. The book is about id software, the company that made Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake and that pioneered 3D gaming. The book primarily follows John Carmack and John Romero, two of the founders of id. Carmack was responsible for developing almost all of the 3D engine code.

After finishing Quake, (what I believe to be) the first fully 3D PC game, Carmack wanted to work on a 3D virtual world inspired by the Metaverse from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. The book at least makes it sound like Carmack believed that a 3D virtual world was the next big thing. Despite Carmack's wishes, the rest of id decided to stick with making first person shooters and other video games.

Carmack is now the CTO of Oculus VR. Keeping in mind Carmack's virtual reality ambitions and Zuckerberg's mission to "connect the world", this acquisition makes a lot more sense than it does thinking of Oculus VR as purely a gaming company.

5
FD3SA 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is extremely disappointing. This technology had the potential to be much bigger than Facebook. The Occulus was poised to create an entirely new industry. They were pioneering a technology never before seen, with a legend like John Carmack pushing the state of the art.

I cannot think of a more colossal mistake to make as a founder. Palmer Luckey has shown he has absolutely no faith in his ability nor that of his team. Occulus had nothing but success in their future. They had investors beating down their doors with money, developers begging for their latest and greatest, and consumers itching to grab hold of their product.

Facebook is the antithesis to Occulus. They have never created any technology, they add zero value to the the real world, and have no future potential in the long run. Occulus selling to Facebook would have been like Tesla selling to Proctor and Gamble after they released the Roadster. A company with a technology so radical it can change the industry, succumbing to weakness and cashing out to an old money company that has no expertise in the field, in exchange for killing their product.

I am filled with sadness and disappointment. I believe Palmer Luckey will regret this decision.

6
sz4kerto 2 days ago 7 replies      
The reason why people haven't commented yet because we can't find the words. I have no immediate idea what can FB do with Oculus VR, even if I read Zuck's comments.
7
neotek 2 days ago 7 replies      
Why on earth would Oculus sell at all, least of all to Facebook? What possible reason could Facebook have to purchase a company so far removed from its core competency?

People in the /r/oculus reddit are already expressing strong feelings of betrayal - eighty comments in under ten minutes, none positive.

What a bizarre move.

8
apetresc 2 days ago 3 replies      
They have some of the best engineers and VPs in their space, huge hype, mindshare, and by all accounts a kick-ass product.

Forget why Facebook is interested, I don't get why Oculus would even consider selling for 10% of a WhatsApp. Their star was rising if anyone's ever was.

9
czr80 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm starting to think that fb thinks their stock is overvalued, and that they should buy as many things as they can before the price drops.
10
georgemcbay 2 days ago 2 replies      
Installing Oculus VR USB drivers...

Please login using your Facebook account to continue.

Email: ________

Password: ________

11
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Now with the new "Live your friends life timeline feature, you can virtually live anyone elses life being projected right into your own set of VR goggles!"

Ok so that is the dystopian view :-(. I really don't get this move yet, much to process. I suppose 'hang out with your friends in a virtual bar'? concepts?

12
RKoutnik 2 days ago 1 reply      
From Facebook investor relations, looks like the price was $2B, $400MM cash, $1.6 stock, with options on $300MM more.

> Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.

13
ghc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am astonished. I wonder if John Carmack could have ever imagined he'd work for Facebook.
14
Kapura 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is probably the most forward-thinking move that Facebook can make. I've personally been kicking around ideas about what society will look like in a post-VR revolution world, and it seems that Zuck et. al. have come to the same conclusion that I have, namely, it will change what it means to interact socially with others.

Imagine a 10 year high school reunion that exists not in the old gymnasium, but in a virtual space where you can catch up with them.

Imagine sitting in the front row of the next presidential debate, where you can see the sweat forming on the candidate's brow under the lights. You can look over and talk to your friend sitting next to you without disturbing the action.

Imagine being able to tour a facebook friend's new apartment without leaving your chair.

This is super duper exciting, but I hope that Facebook doesn't kill it.

15
pavlov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is today what Microsoft was in the '90s. With a soaring stock price and a solid, if somewhat staid, core product that enjoys a near monopoly in crucial markets, the company looks for nebulous long-term innovation by buying interesting startups in various fields and promising them near-term independence.

Microsoft's shopping spree included companies like WebTV, Hotmail, Softimage and Bungie. Maybe Facebook will also splurge on a game studio soon.

16
SEJeff 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I never saw Jon Carmack working for Zuck. To be honest, they aren't even in the same league. This makes me a sad panda.
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lispython 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here is John Carmack's response from twitter:

> For the record, I am coding right now, just like I was last week.I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR.

> I can't follow the volume of tweets today, so if you want a real answer to something, try in a couple days after things die down.

> I have a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace we want for VR will be at this scale.

> I suppose I will get a FB account now, so that may lead to some writing a little longer than tweet length...

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erikpukinskis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm in the minority, but I think Facebook is a fascinating parent for Oculus.

Oculus has a technology head start, but that only gives them maybe a couple years on the cheap duplicators. In order to gain a strategic foothold their real competition is in their "app store"/content portal aspirations. They're in a race to see whose virtual space you start in when you put on your VR headset.

But in that realm they are competing with Sony, Microsoft, and Valve, all of whom have large user bases already using their portals. On that battle Oculus is at a severe disadvantage. By joining Facebook they have a network of users they can plug into, and a much bigger one than their competitors at that.

Second, Oculus is run by hardware and software engineers. They have an extraordinary team in that regard, which has allowed them to hire and expand in those areas very fast and still keep the talent bar high.

In order to build a compelling portal in a totally unmapped design language, they need world class UX and social designers. Because they are so engineering heavy, I don't think they would have an easy time identifying and integrating those people as an independent company, even with Andreesen/Horowitz pulling strings for them.

Facebook already has some great, productive, battle hardened UX teams, and I suspect they have many of the best social designers in the world. By selling to Facebook, Oculus is taking that huge question mark off the table.

In exchange they've taken on the question mark of possibly fading into obscurity in an indifferent parent organization. That's a roll of the dice. But the worst care scenario for them is they quit and start over with a LOT of cash, a rockstar reputation, and a knowledge of exactly what their acquired ghost company is organzationally incapable of doing.

And lastly, I don't think Palmer cares if HE wins. He wants to pull as much resources into the VR project as he can. Full stop. He'd happily sacrifice his company to do that. If Valve wins and he quits Facebook having failed to make it work there, he'll boot into Steam VR with a huge smile on his face knowing that he won.

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aviraldg 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't want a "general-purpose VR headset". There are already many devices described that way (that work well enough for that purpose.) I wanted something built exclusively for the extreme requirements of gaming, and I feel this acquisition is going to distract the Oculus team from that. Facebook has no experience whatsoever in that domain, and the only way I see Oculus benefiting from this is the huge cash reserves they'll have access to once acquired. Truth be told, I was really hoping they'd get acquired by Valve - that'd strengthen their existing partnership (which I'm sure will cease to exist post acquisition), give them a good team to work with wrt. videogames and VR in general, and put them in an environment where their core focus is the same as that of their parent company. In this case, if the "experiment" fails, Facebook will almost certainly dump the project. Every time someone says "... we're going to make X a platform" before they actually have X, a kitten dies somewhere. There are still technical issues with the Oculus headset, and I'm afraid Facebook's "platform" focus is going to draw attention away from that. In short, I don't see this working. If fact, if Oculus fails, it might set the entire VR industry back several years. Luckily, we still have some hope in the form of Valve.

What a waste. I hate Facebook for doing this. And I'm not too happy with Oculus for accepting this either.

20
Mz 2 days ago 3 replies      
Someone shared this with me with the words "RIP Oculus."

Can the megacorps please stop eating our young? Microsoft has a terrible history of buying up companies and then killing the project for some reason. Posterous got bought (I don't recall by whom) and killed. These big companies tend to not develop this stuff. They just eat it.

21
pabb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Notch of Minecraft fame just cemented the folly of this in a Tweet a second ago:

> "We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out."

The guy literally just visited Carmack (whom he admits is his idol) and the Oculus team less than a couple weeks ago, and kept mentioning how excited he was to start working on new VR games. I think this says a mouthful.

22
viraptor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, I get it! SecondLife 2.0 now with facebook integration.

Which may not be a bad idea on its own, but I don't think people would be that interested in it for a long time... (quicker/better/easier mobile integration is what people would appreciate imho) I may be completely wrong though, maybe it's the new thing.

23
dsirijus 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an ideal time for introspection. Here on one side you have the company you hate the most - Facebook. On other, one of the hacker culture produces - Oculus Rift.

And Facebook buying Oculus makes you mad to the point of blood boil.

Think it through. See what angers you. Analyze it. Then destroy it and move on.

24
jstsch 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that was unexpected. Interesting, but unexpected. But not sure if I won't cancel my devkit.

What I find interesting in Oculus' blog post (http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/oculus-joins-facebook/) is that they write about an open connected world, but Facebook is everything but that.

25
evo_9 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fuck. This pisses me off for some reason.
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NathanKP 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well that's too bad. Deep down I was really hoping that Elon Musk would buy Oculus VR so that one day I could jump into my Tesla, put on an Oculus and enjoy a VR enhanced driving experience on my way to the Space X flight to the Mars colony.

But seriously, of all companies that Oculus could have sold to Facebook is the least innovative, and I'm skeptical that they will be able to pull of anything nearly as interesting as other companies that might have wanted to but Oculus VR, such as Google.

27
arjn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting... Is this a play against Google Glass ?

I'm not sure how Facebook could benefit from Oculus VR unless they're starting a completely unrelated business (never mind what Zuckerberg says in the post).

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pekk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something I think people are completely missing is FB's opportunity to gather eye tracking data using the headsets.Eye tracking is one of the next obvious steps for Oculus to implement in their headsets and it's an extremely valuable prospective source of data for Facebook.

Facebook is all about gathering ever more intimate user data. They can already put together a reasonably complete record of all the sites you are visiting anywhere on the net using their +1 button loads. Now they can go beyond clicks to see things you even thought about, actually even things that you weren't even thinking about yet.

For example, Facebook could easily detect if you were gay by looking at where your eyes went during a session. Maybe you haven't even admitted it to yourself yet, but Facebook already has that information ready for advertisers or whoever has an interest in 10 years.

29
comatose_kid 2 days ago 0 replies      
FB gets a lot of hate on HN, but I think this is a really important strategic deal for them.

Consider:

* No one really knows how wearables will play out yet

* It is within the realm of possibility that as headsets get better (end goal: stylish), they will enter the mainstream. This means more content will be consumed there (cellphones are an obvious analogy)

* FB pays to play in this space with a world class team which has shown an ability to produce and iterate on hardware in relatively short time.

* This also gives FB more consumer h/w chops, something it will need as FB integrates with devices that are ever more personal in nature.

It shows that FB is playing offense, working to invent the future, not just resting on its laurels.

30
Sindrome 2 days ago 4 replies      
OcculusVR is dead. Can someone make a new Oculus VR that focuses on video games and not enabling Facebook to control everything you see. Get on it.
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sukuriant 2 days ago 1 reply      
No! Please, please, please no!!! I've actively avoided Facebook for several years and now Oculus is making me choose between awesome tech and not having a facebook account?! REALLY?! What.. why!? What could Facebook be doing with this that they want it. I just. Why? No. No no no no no.
32
fletchowns 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess this probably means I'll never get to use it since I don't have a facebook account
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exodust 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised people even think Oculus Rift will catch on beyond the early adopters.

It's just another 3D TV technology - sounds cool, is cool, but not in a long term way. Nobody cares much about 3D TV anymore because in practice it wasn't all it cracked up to be. It was hype.

When you strap a display to your head and replace your mouse with your own neck muscles, suddenly you are more limited than before. You can't rapidly spin 90 degrees to face an opponent in a fast-paced action game for example, without hurting your neck.

When you're sitting at a normal computer screen, you can look away for a second, out the window, to think or pause. Can't do that when the monitor is strapped to your head.

When you're typing on a keyboard, sometimes it's helpful to quickly glance down to target a specific key. That too, is gone with a monitor strapped to your head. There's a bunch of other limitations that will render any VR tech, no matter how advanced from what we played with back in the 90s, as just a cool gimmick... like the steering wheel controller with pedals. After awhile you sell it on ebay because it's not a long term thing.

34
Oculus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone please explain to me how you can just go on a spending spree and spend $21 Billion in under a month with no one going:

'Hey, umm guys, I know we really like the company, but lets have things cool down a bit after spend 19 billion.'

In the Whatsapp acquisition thread someone made a comment about FB thinking their stock valuation is overpriced. I'm curious to hear what the split (cash/stock) is. If it's stock heavy, I'm almost certain that person was right.

35
zzleeper 2 days ago 0 replies      
A quick question about the valuation:

Six days ago [1] we got an article where the most popular comment was this:

"I'm amused by it. It's a transfer of wealth from shareholders of those companies to founders and VCs. These are also the companies with dual class shares designed to keep control in the founders' hands. They all say it's to be able to focus on the long-term, but really it has bred empire building and poor stewardship of the shareholder's capital."

Since is Andreessen is in the board of both companies [2], do you think we are seeing an example of this problem?

(In finance-ish words, the problem would be that Facebook is doing "empire building". Usually the board is the defense against this, but if the directors own large interests in the potential targets, that may not happen)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7430152[2] http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/03/25/marc-andrees...

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fotbr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Add another person that was formerly excited about Oculus and is now walking away from it. Yes, I dislike facebook and their business practices enough that I'll turn my back on a very promising bit of technology I was looking forward to. I'm also looking into canceling my devkit2 pre-order.
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ChikkaChiChi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone considered that the Oculus team was scared by Sony's Morpheus project and decided to cash out while they were still relevant?

I've not experienced either device, but I consider this at least plausible. Maybe Sony had already figured out solutions to problems Oculus was still toying with.

38
hoopism 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am pretty sure Jeri Ellsworth (AWESOME) had worked with Valve and is now working on a somewhat competing platform to Oculus. Perhaps they could use some attention in light of this?http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/02/technical-illusions-aims-f...
39
froo 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is really astonishing the amount of anti-Facebook hate in this thread.

Yes, this isn't part of Facebook's core competency. They still bought it. Could it mean Facebook is attempting to diversify?

How about lets wait and see what happens before we vilify the Oculus founders.

40
dsrguru 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the most terrifyingly awesome technology acquisition I've ever seen. Facebook chat in two years: put on a headset and get teleported to a room in a virtual world where you can talk to your friends' avatars. Skype and Google+ Hangouts suddenly seem very 20th century.

I've always found Facebook's stock to be a ridiculously risky long-term investment since their entire growth plan is predicated on monetizing an already established customer base, where a single event that causes people to switch en masse to a more private/secure social network would destroy the company. After today's acquisition I no longer think this.

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ac2u 2 days ago 2 replies      
Guess this is now the most successful kickstarter ever.
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richliss 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think that people would have been happier if it had been acquired by North Korea. I was seriously excited by OR, but for me personally its now DOA. It says a lot about a company that Sony is now the preferred alternative.

Everyone expecting an instant turn to the dark side are naive. This is going only one way:

1. Facebook will say "We're hands off".

2. They'll persuade Carmack to stay and they'll burn cash to make it dominant and in no way corrupted by FB or data capture.

3. Once dominant they'll slowly remove privacy from it and other things geeks and people who care hold important. Carmack will quietly move on to something interesting, and few will notice.

4. The rest of the population will stay with it as they don't know/care, and geeks and everyone else will need to use it even though they really would prefer not to.

Classic frog boiling situation.

43
eclipxe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pissed about this? Just wait until MS buys Valve...
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marknutter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone in this thread is being ridiculous. Since Facebook bought Parse the service hasn't been tainted whatsoever. Facebook is just buying promising businesses and startup because - gasp - hitting home runs is hard! You may dislike Facebook the product but hating Facebook the company is short sided.
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whatgoodisaroad 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else reminded of this passage from the prolog to Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age?

> You could get a phantoscopic system planted directly on your retinas...You could even get telaesthetics patched into your spinal column at key vertebrae. But this was said to have its drawbacks ... it was rumored that hackers for big media companies had figured out a way to get through the defenses that were built into such systems, and run junk advertisements in your peripheral vision (or even spang in the ... middle all the time - even when your eyes were closed. Bud knew a guy like that who's somehow gotten infected with a meme that ran advertisements for roach motels, in Hindi, superimposed on the bottom right-hand corner of his visual field, twenty-four hours a day, until the guy whacked himself.

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ama729 2 days ago 0 replies      
That acquisition just doesn't make any sense, even when reading facebook's reasons:

- Who are going to use the Oculus outside of gamers? Just selling a smartwatch is already a tough sell for anyone but technologists, I just can't imagine my dad or my mom putting on a VR headset or anyone not a hardcore geek.

- And even if they would (which is dubious) the move to mobile mean it's just impossible technical wise for a long time (considering they said VR would bring a high end PC to its knee quickly)

- On top of that Facebook brings what? Money? They could already get that with investors, having a lot of users doesn't bring that much to the table.

No really I don't understand.

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mcescalante 2 days ago 0 replies      
As long as they don't turn it into Facebook Glass (which it sounds like it may eventually become) it may not be the worst thing. I think with Facebooks cash the Oculus team might be able to get a quality consumer headset for gaming out a lot faster than as a "startup" without having to worry about multiple additional rounds of funding. The founders also probably couldn't say no to $2b...I wonder if they'll bounce when they can or who even is going along with the acquisition.
48
Kiro 2 days ago 8 replies      
What's with the negativity? What exactly do you think will happen that's so bad?
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namuol 2 days ago 0 replies      
"One day I'd go out and buy all the pants in the world -- every pair of pants -- and just... burn them. Fuck everybody. No more pants. Start over with making pants."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO9PwbtlOIU#t=39

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vicbrooker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a bit of a feeling that this will be a point that people in 20 years will consider a turning point in the bubble that we're in now; it's too premature to say whether this is good or bad though.

That said, I can't come up with a roadmap for FB and Oculus here that involves the facebook.com and doesn't make me slightly uncomfortable...

51
Myztiq 2 days ago 0 replies      
$2 billion in total value [1].

$400 million in cash.

$1.6 billion in facebook stock.

Plus "$300 million earn-out in cash/stock based on the achievement of certain milestones."

1. http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140325-912577.html

52
emperorcezar 2 days ago 0 replies      
The comments on here are starting to look like a Facebook post.
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orky56 2 days ago 1 reply      
I believe all the negativity here is as though David (Oculus VR) has partnered with Goliath (Facebook). What I don't understand is why HN users are already able to rationalize why Facebook is the antagonist here and why Oculus VR might not have a strategy bigger than gaming.
54
morganwilde 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oculus has been one of the most forward looking companies to hit the scene recently. This acquisition shows that Mark is well able to look far into the future. Personally, I find this as a very good sign, since we now have Google and Facebook as two giants unafraid of taking the lead. The more, the better, because it seemed for a time with Apple out of the game, it would be Google alone at the forefront.
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buro9 1 day ago 0 replies      
Once you build the immersive virtual reality where we can live, think of the opportunity for the outdoor and indoor advertising that follows.

An infinite landscape, where every advert is 100% tailored to the person viewing it.

Yeah, I hate it too.

56
benched 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the real Hacker News, or am I being spoofed?

Well, obviously I'm as disappointed as everybody else, but at least there is still Valve's research? Perhaps that could be productized for games in a couple of years.

57
Tloewald 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a bit of a WTF.

I don't think Facebook would necessarily "ruin" Occulus (although it likely will) but I don't really see the fit. Courtside seats at basketball games -- OK totally doable technically speaking, but the hard part would be licensing.

If VR ever takes off in the mainstream it will probably end up becoming a "FRAND" kind of deal, where a bunch of key players pool their patents. Occulus will be a player, but hardly the only player.

I could see Sony or Microsoft wanting to sew up Occulus (although I think it would be a mistake to sell to either). Facebook just doesn't make much sense. Maybe it's just Zuckerberg really likes the technology.

58
pavanky 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand facebook hate. While it is a bad platform in its current state (for me) because of all the noise, it is also a great platform for many people to stay connected.

Their engineering team also seems to deliver some great solutions and plays well with OSS community.

As for this deal, I do not understand how they are going to integrate it into their platform or even what they are going to do with Oculus. I would like to think it is a long term diversification strategy because they feel they have great technology.

59
10098 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure they're going to ruin it
60
gkya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't world be a better place if these huge, hungry companies did not exist? Their greed makes the world a sadder place. Reckon me a zealot, but I really wish Facebook and alike die out of the hunger that makes them the greedy animals they are. Everything one might get excited about, gets sold to a stupid trust, and die of lack of enthusiasm and nonchalance of those companies. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, this, that and whatever. Just, why would these companies not do their own business, but want to own all the f..king world?

Albeit this comment is accompanied by many other similar ones in this thread, I just could not keep myself from posting it.

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cocoflunchy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm kind of speechless here... Certainly did not see this coming.
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mixedbit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Today Oculus is just a display and a controller (sending head movements to the computer). I really, really hope it will stay this way. It would be so unfortunate if Oculus became sophisticated, stand alone device with Facebook controlling software stack on it. Display + controller is a way to go!
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BoppreH 2 days ago 0 replies      
> consulting with a doctor face-to-face

Isn't that physically impossible with current technology? To use the set you have to cover the upper part of your face with the screens, so there's no way to record your whole facial expression.

It feels like this is going to be a disappointment to all involved.

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jarjoura 2 days ago 0 replies      
What other acquisitions by Facebook resulted in that product falling apart? Instagram is still doing its own thing, also Parse as well.

People need to get over whatever negative emotions they have towards Facebook. It's like they hate Facebook for reminding them of a bad breakup.

Congratulations to entire Oculus team, that's an exciting acquisition and I look forward to what this infusion of cash will do to the future of an already incredible product.

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troymc 2 days ago 1 reply      
What next? "Ebay acquires Skype"?
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aresant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Zuck is buying his way into the next generation of consumer digital consumption.

Trying the Oculus for the first time was one of those "this is going to be huge" moments in my life akin to seeing the first iPhone demo.

FB's entire business went to mobile, and pre-IPO there was a lot of discussion around if they were going to figure mobile out.

Now they own arguably the best team and technology that's going to be in front of the next wave of consumption.

Palmer & the early Oculus team deserve the huge success, but man I hope they stay hungry and keep innovating given the brilliance that they gave us with the 1st Dev Kit.

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StillBored 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure this is really all that big of a deal. Mostly because I don't really see hard evidence from the oculus guys that they have solved the two main problems with VR headsets. Resolution and latency. Sure, they talk about it a lot. http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/the-latent-power-of-prediction/ but the resolution is still low, and the frame rate numbers don't appear any better than what I remember from my days at the university in the 1990's playing around with high end SGI's driving simulation systems.

Back then people talked about those problems too, even with systems getting 60FPS @ 640x480. I was a test subject for a number of studies being conducted and overwhelmingly it was an unpleasant experience. It was impossible to suspend disbelief because even tiny (I don't have the figures handy) frame lags, especially during rapid head movements were extremely noticeable, and gag inducing.

Mostly, I think people shelved the systems because the technology wasn't ready, the estimates back then IIRC was it would take a 4x resolution and 4x frame rate bump before it was worthwhile.

Both are probably possible, but the latency numbers are harder than it seems because of the fact that framerate != frame latency due to pipelining in the sensor and graphics systems. The resolution numbers are probably a matter of cost. LCD's providing 1080p in a couple inches are also probably significantly more expensive than the cost target needed to make these things mainstream.

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OedipusRex 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the people who brought you Doom and Facebook...

This could go either way, Facebook could leave it on the path it was on and just act as a parent company and the Oculus will be as awesome as we had hoped it would be.

Or

Facebook brands itself all over the Oculus, closes it down to Facebook's proprietary software and opens it up to ads, killing what some view as the catalyst of the VR bump recently, then Sony takes over as our best hope. I love Sony but I want to see VR on more than just the Playstation Brand.

Here is to hoping that Facebook stays as uninvolved as possible with the Oculus.

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farinasa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oculus has had several competitors coming to prototype recently. Now they have lost their following. I personally think facebook just bought a dud. Oculus just dug their own grave.

Additionally, this is a gaming device. Having utopian visions for a device that hasn't even hit the market for its intended use is not a good PR strategy.

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druidsbane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :'(
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habosa 2 days ago 0 replies      
i HOPE this just gives Oculus more money, engineering talent, and breathing room to make the great product that Carmack and co. are dreaming of.

I fear that something will go wrong and this will change the trajectory for the worse. I don't see the fit here. However there are a lot of smart people on both sides of the deal and I like to assume that they know what they are doing.

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Tiktaalik 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have no idea why Oculus would sell at this point. It feels to me like this is just the beginning of their story and of this technology. Did they just get scared about Sony's Project Morpheus and decide to get out early?
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XorNot 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only sensible interpretation of this is that Facebook is looking at this as a hail-mary diversification. They've got trouble monetizing and they know it. Having an actual hardware wing, in something new that might be on the verge of finally becoming big is a smart move.

Though if I had to fathom a plan, if Facebook buys some telepresence/robotics people then I'd say they might be thinking about how you could monetize global telepresence via virtual reality. Gaming is one app for the Oculus, but it's got an unknown market dimension. Whereas something like that - you could sell it to everyone, and they would actually pay for it.

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LeicaLatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is amazing how Sony has turned things around in the last 18 months. Mostly because their competition (xbox, nintendo, oculus) is simply clueless about treating a community well.

As for Oculus itself, I doubt they would have been funded in kickstarter if they used any of these words in their original pitch - social, communicate, Facebook, etc. Now it feels sad to see them speak a very different language.

Imagine if the iPhone, after being sold for 600$ to early adopters, sold out to Microsoft in 2007. That's how bad this feels for some of us backers and developers.

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ckaygusu 2 days ago 0 replies      
My relationship with Oculus VR were just merely following the threads on HN and even I have this disturbing feeling of betrayal.
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w_t_payne 1 day ago 1 reply      
Damn, and I was just getting myself psyched to put an order in for the new dev. kit ...

Well, I think I'm gonna hold off on that for a little while and see where this story leads.

I don't really want an advertising company inserting itself as an intermediary in the data-stream an inch in front of my eyes. (Yeah yeah, Android mutter mutter mutter ... but at least that's a somewhat more open platform).

If FB make Oculus a hardware-only device, or, even better, an open platform, then I'm probably gonna be cool with it. If, on the other hand, they lock it down so that they can monitor and/or influence and/or control what appears in front of my eyes, then I'm gonna be tempted to stay away from that particular party.

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zenbowman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of people who are filled with negativity just don't understand how hard it is to make VR happen. I was part of a USC/ISI spinoff (www.alelo.com) that built educational mixed reality systems, and the reality is that to make it happen you need a ton of money, way more than we could ever acquire.

Seems like they've passed that hurdle, I wish them the best of luck!

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eigenvalue 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a very smart move. The big tech houses now are basically just curators of the next awesome technology. This is no different from Google buying Nest or Deepmind or Boston Dynamics. Who cares if there is a direct link to their current business? Also, imagine how much more they can do with all the resources of Facebook at their disposal. This will surely accelerate the adoption of next gen VR hardware.
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pbiggar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like Facebook is preparing for the next battle. Google's got Glass and Nest, Facebook has Oculus, and Twitter, Apple and Microsoft have nothing announced yet.

Assuming that this is the reason, that's a shockingly strong and forward looking move.

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tedkalaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a live call right about this right now:

http://www.shareholder.com/visitors/event/build3/stage/stage...

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jobu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook has made some good purchases that align with their overall strategy, but I definitely don't see how this fits. And why would Oculus sell to them?! It makes no sense. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony... The list of better technology matches is huge.
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venomsnake 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am really disappointed. Don't know why exactly, but it just doesn't feel right. I have had really great hopes for the product.

Have you noticed that the giants work relentlessly to prevent any small player of growing with golden handcuffs - thermostat guys, whatsapp, now OVR ...

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mllobet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Huge mistake from Oculus. They had the potential to become a multibillion company and a true giant of the likes of facebook itself...
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thom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gaming is - at its best - a social thing, so this makes _some_ sense. But it only makes sense to me execution-wise if Facebook is lining up an acquisition of someone like Unity, or even (gulp) Valve, to bootstrap an ecosystem.
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ivanca 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's it; Oculus is lost, we need some kind of non-profit working on virtual reality instead of private ventures otherwise this shit is never going to work.
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andy_ppp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never has a tech company been so hated and untrusted so early in it's existence.

Could we not create a human readable social network using email as the protocol. That way everyone's email client slowly starts to integrate social features and everyone not interested in these gets summary mails that they can just bin.

Just a thought.

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tjmc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gutted. Oculus just turned into Orwell's telescreen. Hope the board enjoy their 30 pieces of silver.
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mbrzuzy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm worried this will turn from a gaming oriented device to a general device. A device with a library of apps that require a facebook account to login and use and if you don't pay for some sort of paid version of an app have to deal with ads.

As soon as sony released information about their VR headset I was looking forward more to that one since it will be oriented around gaming.

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JoshTriplett 2 days ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, CastAR is alive and well, and still looking like a better product.
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serge2k 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cancelling order now.
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51Cards 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO Facebook just bought $2 Million of R&D and a whole lot of bad PR for 1000x the going price. Doesn't seem like such a hot deal.

Also I'm wondering what the investors do to FB's stock watching them throw cash away like this.

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laureny 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't say I'm excited about this. I can't see a single positive thing coming out from a non gaming company buying a game focused company (and an extremely promising one at that).
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axx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm so disappointed, and it feels a little like Oculus sold their early investors (including Kickstarter folks) to Facebook.

I mean, in the end it's theis (Oculus) decision what to do with their company, but i don't think Facebook is a good fit.

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dewarrn1 2 days ago 1 reply      
No part of this acquisition makes sense. I just hope that the product doesn't disappear without a trace after a write-down in a couple of years.
95
c0ur7n3y 2 days ago 0 replies      
This sucks so unbelievably bad.
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fasteddie31003 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not super thrilled by this but at least it's better than GM acquiring Tesla.
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mindstab 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read it as facebook wanting to leapfrog google hangouts and skype and become the first next gen video chat client/platform. Games is now a side secondary thing.
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trekky1700 2 days ago 0 replies      
Luckily, the tech exists and the market is proven such that if Facebook fucks this up, someone else will come in and replace them.

If Facebook stays hands off and just infuses them with billions of dollars and massive resources, we could see something amazing come out of this. I'm still cheering for Oculus, and I trust the team and John Carmack to create an awesome product, regardless.

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gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I loath valve because it made drm and always online cool.

But this is worse. Will we have farmvilleVR only now? Either way, they're now in position to make further drm on oculus games, such as Facebook login only.

But seeing that Sony added a share button on their controller this is probably the inevitable future anyway...

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orware 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever brings us closer to the (hopefully not as dangerous) reality from this book:http://www.amazon.com/The-Deadliest-Game-Net-Force/dp/042516...

I understand the frustration I'm seeing in a lot of the comments here, and I don't know how things will play out (I was definitely surprised when I saw this announcement just now), but let's hope that good things will come out of it because Oculus has a good team and Facebook sees the possibilities such a platform could bring to the world...eventually.

In the Matrix, I'm not quite sure if they ever showed whether or not time was 1:1 inside/out of the Matrix.

If it was, then it makes me think of all of the things that happen within our dreams and how much we seem to be able to do within those sleeping hours. Maybe in the future we'll figure out a way to go into a virtual world that fully mimics the rules in the "real" world and be able to accomplish the same amount of work in a fraction of the time because time will be slower (or our ability to process information will be faster in this virtual world, however you want to look at it) so we can spend part of the time in there and more time out in the real world :-).

Anyhow, I'll try and be positive that Facebook will be able to do the right thing here and be able to earn the trust again of those that currently "creeped" out by the acquisition (plus, I sort of have to be anyway...I still have quite a bit of IPO stock I purchased and been holding onto :-).

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sunseb 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's maybe irrational, but I don't trust Facebook and I certainly don't want to use Oculus VR for my private life.
102
swalsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yahoo turned down a deal with Google when the company was still young. But if you imagine, what would happen if the deal went through? Would self driving cars, and glass be a thing today?

I think a world of possibilities just got thrown away.

103
kailuowang 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder does this have anything to do with Sony announcing her own VR project Morpheus. Technology wise Sony's alternative didn't show much advantage, but industry support wise it showed that it's a very very prominent opponent Oculus VR has to beat.

Selling it to Facebook seems to me an indication that the leadership no longer believe that Oculus can be as successful in the gaming industry as they hoped.

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eswat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sudden urge to read Snow Crash again. Reading this makes me feel like they want to take the first step into making a Metaverse[1]. That way they can control it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash#Metaverse

105
simonw 2 days ago 0 replies      
"A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office..."

Anyone know if that Cory is Cory Ondrejka, previously CTO of Linden Lab (Second Life)?

106
prawn 2 days ago 1 reply      
From mid-2013 after Series A investment:

'Also, the plan is still to stay an independent company... not sell to a big fish like Sony, the way Iribe's former employer Gaikai did last June. "We want to stay independent and get to the consumer market, realizing VR the way we really think it needs to be done, and we don't need to take any shortcuts to get there," declares Iribe, adding that his new venture capital bosses are on board with that.'

107
RoboTeddy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect Facebook's acquisition will cause VR to happen sooner. Other companies will build or double down on VR tech, if they haven't already.
108
Kiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although well have substantially more resources to build the right team.

I think this is a good thing.

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calcsam 2 days ago 0 replies      
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die" -- Cersei Lannister
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charlesism 2 days ago 0 replies      
The most exciting consumer technology this year... DOA. On the bright side, I hope Facebook continues this cluelessness and burns through the rest of their bank roll buying decent companies.

With privacy being a huge issue, thanks to the NSA, and kids not wanting to belong to the same social network as their parents... it's over. I think these companies they're buying won't survive being tainted by their association with FB.

I'm aware that 2 billion is a drop in the bucket, but I'm hoping Zuckerberg goes on a buying spree, pisses through enough money purchasing, and eventually trying to bail out, once decent companies, that it quickens the demise of the company.

111
Hominem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Despite my dislike of facebook I think this may have been a smart play. Valve's largely vaporous VR tech was gaining mindshare and Sony has cash, manufacturing, retail presence, the list goes on and on. Without a huge bankroll Oculus may have ended just another piece of tech trivia.
112
sytelus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why Oculus had to sell out? I can't imagine them running out of capital. In current bubble market they should have VCs lined up outside their office if they wanted. I'm unable to think any other reason then plain old cashing out. Did FB used some backdoor to snap them or they actually willingly submitted themselves to cash out?
113
Pxtl 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's...odd. There doesn't seem to be much synergy there, unless oculus us going to be used to power a facebook-branded answer to Glass. Maybe remote meeting? I guess if Facebook wants to develop some kind of metaversy thing it would make sense...
114
pirateking 2 days ago 0 replies      
And just like that, my company and I are done with the Oculus platform before we could really get going. New Dev Kit orders cancelled.
115
Crito 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is disappointing to me, I now have lower hopes for the future of the Oculus Rift, particularly as hacker accessible hardware.

My only hope is that John Carmack is coming out of this well enough to bring Armadillo Aerospace back out of 'hibernation mode'.

116
dombili 2 days ago 0 replies      
Carmack now works for Facebook? Damn.
117
pera 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any way to stop this? Can we start a petition in change.org or something like that? :(
118
heifetz 2 days ago 2 replies      
wow..who's going to use oculus now..???
119
martin_bech 2 days ago 0 replies      
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened...
120
jordanthoms 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's April 1st already?
121
larkinrichards 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think what will be really interesting to see is how Valve will react to this acquisition. Presumably, they've been hoping to make $$$ from selling Oculus VR games via Steam.

With Facebook now owning Oculus they have the resources to completely circumvent Steam and create their own game distribution platform and get a cut of the sales-- they've already started down this path with the App Center.

122
dylanrw 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you've used oculus you learned that it's probably the most anti-social thing (at least to those in the room with you). So the "Social company acquires Anti-social product" dichotomy is humorous to me right now (yeah I know it's short sighted, it's just what popped into my head)...
123
rowdyrabbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really disappointing. I've been thinking about buying the dev kit for the last couple of weeks, I guess this news has made the decision for me :(
124
cmdr2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm trying to calculate the valuation of Oculus VR. Obviously I don't know anything about calculating valuation :)

They have 70 employees [1], funding of $91 million [2], headset sales of 50K for DK1 [3] (although claims sales of 75K). Unknown IP, unknown partnership deals, unknown real-estate cost, unknown inventory, molds, and hardware assets.

I suspect that the valuation isn't entirely for their assets, but I cannot arrive at the 2 billion number. Do my 'unknowns' listed above complete the 2 billion mark?

[1] http://www.oculusvr.com/company/people/[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculus_VR, 2.5m kickstarter + 75 series B + 13.5 m unknown[3] http://www.gamespot.com/articles/oculus-rift-suspends-shipme...

125
tomphoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for "Oculus Chafe", their upcoming virtual reality codpiece.
126
Demiurge 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so disappointing! :(
127
outside1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
This + the Nest acquisition by Google feel like some sort of weird VC payback scheme. Its the only way I can explain them.
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129
lsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've just demanded my order for the DK2 cancelled and to be refunded. I cannot, in good conscience, fund Facebook.
130
orky56 2 days ago 0 replies      
My gut reaction is that Facebook wants to create the VR platform and infrastructure that will enable applications like wearables/3d printing/etc. Google Glass takes the existing world and contextualizes it with the necessary info. FB approach might be to take the same approach to the VR world.
131
thinkersilver 1 day ago 0 replies      
I commented on impusle. I'm going to be echoing the sentiment here. I was seconds away from buying the development kit when I heard the news. It's with a heavy sigh that I contemplate this news. I may just buy the devkit, get comfortable with the platform and then switch once the market has caught up.
132
servowire 2 days ago 1 reply      
My prediction about further buys Facebook will do: 1) Mind control tech (like those headsets that control Betawaves) 2) They will buy some big cloud-music provider (Spotify maybe even) 3) They will buy Tesla 4) They will buy an OS startup and rebrand to FaceOS-1 6) They buy something like Ripple for currency tech.

Then they have all the stuff covered.

133
prawn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Oculus felt threatened enough by Valve and Sony to jump at any solid opportunity to aggressively ramp up their development, hiring and so on?

Sony has the brand name and Valve have a pretty solid community. If either were out there with as-strong or superior technology, Oculus might've been irrelevant within 2-3 years.

134
balls187 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was super excited for the Rift.

Now, I'm torn.

As a tech company, and a social platform, I like Facebook, a lot.

As a gamer, I do not want my gaming tech force integrated into my social network. Not sure that's in their roadmap, or what that would even look like, but there is that risk.

135
qq66 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this.

I sure hope that this is because I lack the information, insight, or imagination to understand what's going on here, and not because this is a terrible outcome for Oculus technology.

136
goombastic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think kickstarter pitches will now need a "I will not sell this off to facebook" clause.
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cmdr2 2 days ago 0 replies      
me: mind, stop going down thought-threads about facebook empire building

mind: fu

me: okay, don't panic. facebook sees the potential in the upcoming VR industry

mind: yeah, they also see the VR marketplace wars coming and want to own it

me: marketplace wars? like apps built for VR accessible from within the headset [1]?

mind: yeah, so (c)blocking Steam from exploiting valve's influence with Oculus, and instead push Facebook as the marketplace for VR content

me: interesting.. mind?

mind: yeah?

me: you're just making up shit to explain why Facebook would buy Oculus VR aren't you?

mind: yeah :(

[1] http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/19/5524336/new-oculus-rift-dev...

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80 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honest, naive question -- what makes human data worth so much? Is it speculation that it will be worth more in future that drives the feverish collection of it, or are there already concrete uses/buyers? It feels bigger and more urgent than to simply help brands sell their merchandise more effectively
139
fmax30 1 day ago 0 replies      
NOOO.It makes me genuinely sad.Oculus has the potential to be a giant. Now it will be limited by what facebook has to offer. Also i am not a really a fan of acquisitions because the parent/acquiring company has a habit of shutting down these smaller companies :(.
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achy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Facebook could make this a promotional win by refunding anyone who funded the dev kit a certain amount of money (down to the material cost for ex.)
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computerslol 2 days ago 0 replies      
Farmville 2: The ultimate farming experience.
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bsaul 2 days ago 0 replies      
Based on all the comments everywhere, i believe the only thing that can save this project now is an official communication from John Carmack to reassure everyone that he received all the guarantees that the project will remain independent from every bad direction FB may want to push it into.

He's the only one that can't be suspected of doing that for the money at this point.

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jpeg_hero 2 days ago 0 replies      
One gets the sense that FB has the market capitalization capability (and inclination?) to buy a large fraction of the remaining "independent" tech sector.
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joeblau 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an interesting view from an investment perspective. The Internet basically bootstrapped Oculus VR via Kickstarter and the result is that the founders get a huge payout while the real risk takers in the product get an Oculus VR or whatever their Kickstarter reward was.
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rch 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's fine if Facebook wants to compete with the PlayStation and XBox, but this does force me to temper my excitement for for the Oculus platform until I see the final devkit terms and costs. Maybe things will be open, or maybe FB wants to roll their own Steam network. The latter certainly wouldn't surprise me.
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tucif 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems odd to me, but after some thought I think they could become something like Second Life, powered by VR.

Otherwise I don't see how facebook could take advantage of the device.

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Springtime 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN needs a better system to deal with a flood of comments for such articles. Currently it's pretty borked for so many comments.

Simply having the most upvoted comment in the short-term leads to the effect of other, possibly more relevant and current comments being lost beneath the ever upvote-collecting top comments.

It works well for up to 150 comments, but at close to 700 comments in such a system the conversation and HN user input becomes vastly less effective (and navigable).

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lihorne 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, after getting over the shock of this, it seems like a good move by Facebook. Ever since I first heard about Oculus the majority of applications that I'd seen people interested in were gaming alone. Based on Zuck's post it looks like they aren't going to change that at all, and it will be the first thing they ship with it, but they'll get a head start on turning it into a social / communications platform.

People here seem shocked that it sold to Facebook, but really I think this means that everything that was expected of it will still happen, but even more interesting things will be done with it at the same time.

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jpeg_hero 2 days ago 0 replies      
pretty bald plan to copy google's "expansive mandate" where you give your company a broader mission and add on these non-core schemes. feels a little hollow.

also, is all company sellers going to completely inflate their price to FB? I get what Oculus is doing, but damn, i would guess that the second highest bidder would pay 10% of that much.

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ldayley 2 days ago 1 reply      
Important to remember that this was initially funded via Kickstarter.
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JabavuAdams 2 days ago 1 reply      
For fuck's sake will you FB hating fanboys stop crying for a moment and realize that this is what makes VR legit. This. Is. An. Enormous. Opportunity.

It's like the moment when I was teaching a game design course and I realized that all the students already used Dropbox. I though I was the only one who knew about Dropbox.

If you want VR, then you should be happy. This just made VR real.

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nhm 2 days ago 0 replies      
More details at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/facebook-to-acquire-...

"... for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones."

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jamesjguthrie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nah, I like the sound of it. It's like, suddenly all the potential that Oculus Rift had is going to be become (virtual) reality.
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midolzzzz 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a big step in the direction of data collection. Imagine gaming with the goggles on and FB is tracking your eye movement, monitoring your heart rate and how you react to certain visuals. Say you are playing DeadSpace or some other jumpy game and they see that when you get "scared" your heart beat becomes abnormal. They could then use that data to insert an ad for a local heart specialist or some fancy new heart medication. I'm not against new tech but people should always be informed on what data is being collected and most of the time that is not the case.
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avenger123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. What an unexpected buy. It's not even Aprils Fool's yet.

This is likely a defensive buy. I would imagine it didn't cost too much either.

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martijn_himself 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whilst I'm exciting by the technology I can't help being cynical and wonder if this is going to further 'devalue' the traditional meaning of the word 'social', i.e. engaging with actual people.

It's hard enough trying to meet with someone who is constantly distracted by their smart phone; does this mean in order to interact with someone I need to meet with their virtual persona?

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microjesus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've heard so much hypocritical anti-facebook on this ... from people ... using facebook. I don't use facebook, and I despise it; and it's takeover, so I agree. But please, only bash facebook if you aren't using it.
158
option_greek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suppose Facebook can now be officially declared as a hedge fund in the disguise of a tech company.
159
malandrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really want to see a comment from Oculus stating that this acquisition came with legal guarantees that the platform will remain open. If Oculus ends up only working with a Facebook login, we all lose. :(
160
kudu 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand all the hate towards Facebook. If this was Google, we would all be bending down to thank the Holy Non-Evil Tech Company for its gracious acquisition.
161
kreeben 1 day ago 0 replies      
The question of why.

Well, Facebook lost their teens and they need them back. Zuck might have looked into the future were he envisioned millions of gamers using oculus rift and what he actually bought were those future (facebook) users, who will whine because the facebook account is mandatory but who will still use it because there is nothing like it.

162
wzy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have just glanced over the comments on the FB post, am i the only one who is amazed at the "thumbs up" comments and general elation by the 45,000+ people liking the 'news' ?
163
mpg33 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like idealism is Silicon Valley's greatest asset...and it's greatest liability.
164
sohailk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Smart move by FB, honestly. I think its safe to say that VR will be a large part of the way we consume content in a couple years. Acquiring Occulus puts them ahead of the competition...for now.
166
shultays 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know how this kickstarter works, I know I should accept it as a charity but people donate money to this project and then they just sell it without even delivering a project?
167
ps4fanboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It amazes me how negative people are acting, this is a very logical move by OculusVR with Sony announcing a product competition is going to be fierce in this space. Now they have just as many resources as Sony.
168
benmorris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well I went from bring really excited to own an oculus one day to not being real sure if I'll ever buy one. I just don't think facebook is the right company to be behind the his device. Really interested to hear what Carmack has to say.
169
thinkofnothing 2 days ago 0 replies      
I distinctly remember Oculus's hiring page once touting "Help us build the Metaverse!"

Then they turn around and blatantly disregard one of Stephenson's most fundamental virtues/warnings from the novel (don't want to spoil it for anyone, but yea, eerily similar to joining L. Bob Rife). Straight PR garbage. And a slap to the face for anyone who actually believed them.

I can't remember the last piece of tech news that made me so disappointed.

170
sandycheeks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are these types of purchases primarily defensive in order to prevent new social networks from appearing that are simpler, more private or somehow more appealing?

I always thought it was inevitable that a solution will eventually evolve that allows individuals to communicate directly with each other and manage their own online social networks without intermediaries like Google or Facebook. Slowing down that evolution seems like a correct strategy for companies that stand to lose from it.

171
sheldor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Carmack tweeted :

"I suppose I will get a FB account now, so that may lead to some writing a little longer than tweet length..."

I guess he wasn't a great fan of facebook either.

172
dsaravel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what is the development approach from both companies. For example, I remember Steve Jobs saying Apple's approach was to start from what they wanted to provide to the user rather than developing a technology and then figure out how to make a product out of it.

From the statement from Oculus VR, they are not clear what experiences they really want to provide.

Right now it is very difficult to see what is this same vision that both companies claim to have.

173
Elof 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is obviously making calculated grabs for data, I get it. But the premiums they are paying seem Ludacris and I don't think spending this much on relatively easily replicated tech seems worth it. I'm going to guess that they are going to ruin the brands that these companies have created and there are probably already legitimate opportunities for incumbent companies or not-even-built-yet future companies to displace the things they are buying.
174
dkersten 2 days ago 0 replies      
And suddenly all my interest in Oculus VR has vanished. What a pity, I had high hopes for them :(
175
mhartl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oof. My gut feeling is... this feels like a punch to the gut. (I hope my gut is wrong, but I wouldn't bet on it.)
176
otikik 2 days ago 0 replies      
My hopes now rely on the Chinese copycats. I hope they are able to duplicate an Occulus without Facebook when it comes out.
177
dshep 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this like an early April 1st joke?
178
Ryel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Let FB pump all the money into VR they want.In 5 years we'll have the company that Oculus was supposed to be, and FB will have already cleared the land and paved the roads.
179
stesch 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Camera in the living room? Nice idea. We should buy this company!" Facebook
180
misterbwong 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Didn't see that one coming. Hopefully this will speed the release of the commercial Oculus VR
181
nercury 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't usually swear, but fuck this shit. I was following Oculus VR development and now it goes to my ignore list. It is no longer cool. Yes, just because it has "Facebook" name attached to it. It is now Facebook VR, which sounds like a nightmare.
182
asadlionpk 2 days ago 0 replies      
This just doesn't sound right. They should have looked good with Valve. Facebook is just trying to not-die and acquiring whatever they are getting there hands on while they have money.
183
orng 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad news. I guess facebook is going to take the Oculus "store" (or "share" or whatever they call it) and try and get the facebook App Center to be the new Steam for VR games or something. Whatever they do I just know I want no part in it.
184
ap22213 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's like Zuckerburg read "Ready Player One"
185
grannyg00se 2 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, John Carmack works for Facebook. I can't believe this.
186
sgy 2 days ago 0 replies      
According to sources close to the situation, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg started his quest to buy Oculus VR, the maker of the nifty Rift virtual reality headset, several months ago, before wrapping up the deal this past weekend. It was signed this morning.

http://recode.net/2014/03/25/in-googles-shadow-facebooks-zuc...

187
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well...that's unfortunate.
188
jv22222 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wish it was anyone but Facebook. I can't rationally explain why, it's just a feeling.
189
MisterMashable 16 hours ago 0 replies      
190
clvrly 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like this. I don't trust facebook and they seem to acquiring many of the promising companies out there.
191
servowire 2 days ago 1 reply      
So Facebook is buying every tech available? AI tech, Drone tech, VR tech - uhoh, are they going to build the Matrix?
192
debacle 2 days ago 2 replies      
You guys need to relax a little bit. Have a little faith in Carmack.
193
OWaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any record of Facebook acquiring and then completely destroying a product?
194
ebspelman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google Glass shows you an augmented view of reality. Facebook Glass shows you a reflected vision of yourself.
195
btbuildem 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, here comes the Matrix..
196
izzydata 2 days ago 0 replies      
Worst news I've heard all year. I am extremely disappointed.
197
teemo_cute 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disregarding whether you like Facebook or not. What we should watch out for is the it decline. Friendster --> Myspace --> Facebook --> ???

What would happen happen to Oculus then? By then I hope it gets bought by Microsoft or Valve.

198
Illniyar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's just me, but if someone had told me that a VR company is bought by facebook, I'd say it was an acquhire for an augmented reality appliance to compete with google-glass .

I don't buy into PR announcements.

199
teemo_cute 1 day ago 0 replies      
Guys I know this ain't a troll or fun site, but you should see this (related to post):

http://9gag.com/gag/a75AdZA?ref=fbp

200
kbar13 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well I guess that's a GG?
201
kkarakk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Device comes into market. Gets played around with by devs and early adopters creating hype. Device dies from lack of support/apps that do anything useful.

Device comes into market. Gets played around with by devs and early adopters creating hype. Device gets bought by a company with a proven track record of stable up-time with immense amounts of data(that is constantly being updated and replicated) about real-world objects and the cash to implement interesting use cases.

Not saying it's gonna happen but i'm cautiously optimistic. A connected social experience is the future. I'm just hoping for AR instead of VR.

202
maxden 2 days ago 0 replies      
How much of this is a symptom of VC funding?

They stand to make lots of money getting in early and selling to Facebook.

Bit of a poisoned chalice from our perspective, but is this something the VC would have been working towards since day 1?

203
iamshariq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like Oculus VR is going to be the next big platform for developers to make software for.
204
spiritplumber 2 days ago 0 replies      
What does facebook have to do with Oculus?
205
eranation 2 days ago 0 replies      
A week too soon. Oh how I wish it was April 1st.
206
letstryagain 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fuck :(
207
javiercr 2 days ago 1 reply      
From Zuckerber's post:

  > Imagine [..] studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world
I think his mention to Education is quite relevant here. Days for traditional Education are numbered.

208
sunseb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the comments, it's truly shocking how FB isn't the cool kid anymore.

And I see this trend more and more with my friends (average users who just leave FB or are inactive.)

Do you share this feeling regarding FB ?

209
Jack000 2 days ago 0 replies      
this probably doesn't bode well for core gamers. At least sony is planning on a competitor.
210
ececconi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is really expanding everywhere.
211
secondhandvape 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a world where WhatsApp costs more than a small country, $2B seems kinda low for the potential next hottest thing in virtual reality.
212
zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
well, fuck.
213
addisonj 2 days ago 0 replies      
The argument for Oculus to push forward and usher in new forms of communication certainly isn't new, but with a company like Facebook behind it definitely legitimizes it...

And also makes it suddenly incredibly scary...

214
joeevans 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am so very glad I didn't buy the dev kit, which I was just about to do last month.

The kit would have gone from being a shiny cool thing on my desk to a shiny turd in my room.

215
clmorg01 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Player_One

Brought to you by Facebook.

Just wait till you see the new Farmville.

216
ecthiender 2 days ago 0 replies      
I opened HN after a long day today and I see this news. Sigh.

Now I wish I open HN tomorrow and see a post, maybe something like - "John Carmack quits Oculus and starts his own VR company".

217
locusm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Double checking its not April 1...Really wonder what vision FB sold them.
218
erikj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are they just acquiring every startup that shows up in news?
219
ericraio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like I am buying a "Project Morpheus" :)
220
catfoods 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, not the best news.

Valve has a strong prototype, so they're also in the game, and they will take this technology in the right direction if Oculus drops the ball.

221
tibbydude 2 days ago 0 replies      
They are going to use VR to build the next Like button.I don't get Facebook .. they are buying everything these days that is not nailed down ... they are the Ebay of Web 3.0
222
martin1b 2 days ago 0 replies      
whoa. didn't see this coming. Doesn't really fit Carmack's style at all. Wonder if this deal was done over him...
223
z3phyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Carmack, don't go to facebook. You are more suitable outside!
224
it_learnses 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so disappointed...
225
nichochar 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really upsetting.
226
jerryhuang100 2 days ago 0 replies      
i thought mark's shopping spree stopped at whatsapp...
227
volune 2 days ago 0 replies      
More money than brains.
228
tinalumfoil 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope Facebook has plans for VR besides mobile gaming. I don't want to see a technology that could really help high-end gaming just be used on phones.
229
briantakita 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope someone makes a top-notch open source/open hardware VR platform.
230
Faryar 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a backer (investor) of Oculus VR, I am looking forward to my share of the pie. Oh wait... my stake is 0%! No pie for me!
231
72deluxe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Farmville in 3D! Real horses! Real poop! In 3D!
232
whyrusleeping 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really feel like playing some vr game and then turning around to be confronted by an ad tailored to the quest I just finished.
233
ebbv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I share the general feeling of disappointment about this. I was previously planning on ordering one of the new Oculus dev kits and excited about its possibilities. Now I want to avoid Oculus.

The good news for Sony is this makes their VR suddenly the best hope for gaming.

234
steeve 2 days ago 0 replies      
What the? Whaaaat?
235
jsutton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hang out with your Facebook friends via Oculus Rift? Seems like this will come to fruition faster than we thought.
236
goshx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook to become the new Second Life?
237
saltyknuckles 1 day ago 0 replies      
FUCKING FACEBOOK. WHY THE FUCK?
238
jtms 2 days ago 0 replies      
uggghhh i am so sad right now... facebook is absolutely the wrong place for this to have gone!!!!
240
superduper33 2 days ago 2 replies      
Couldn't turn down $2 billion :)
241
rglover 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boo. Hiss. Boo.
242
ulam2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think i'd pass on this one...Nothing to do here anymore.
243
xsquare 1 day ago 0 replies      
Clearly, Facebook starts diversification of it's capital.
244
ulam2 1 day ago 0 replies      
So i guess i'll have to learn to play farmville now...
245
clef 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone seen the movie "surrogates" with Bruce Willis?
246
rando289 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should send back the 50k in $10 donations from kickstarter.
247
practicalpants 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yup, no way I'm buying Oculus Rift now, or developing for it.
248
maaku 2 days ago 0 replies      
What. the. fuck.
249
83457 2 days ago 0 replies      
April Fools?
250
bckrasnow 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm done for a while" my ass.

This is really really smart. I'd guess it's a play for a talented team, and a bet that they can become a leader in an industry that will be revolutionary sooner rather than later.

251
falconfunction 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess the youporn with facebook likes finally makes sense now
252
sriram_sun 2 days ago 0 replies      
One week too early!
253
schmatz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope this doesn't kill the Rift's potential.
254
higherpurpose 2 days ago 0 replies      
Terrible decision. I thought they "weren't in this for the money", and it's not like they were lacking money or relationships or hype. Why the hell did they agree to this?
255
MrZongle2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dammit!

This is like the Google acquisition of Nest: something cool, now owned by a large company historically more interested in monetizing my activities than providing me with a quality product.

256
igl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lobby carmack to push open source on this one.
257
zan2434 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oculus needs money. Facebook has money.
258
SteroidsLove 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sony won before even fighting a battle.
259
tsbardella2 14 hours ago 0 replies      
my son said it sounds more like a drug than a piece of technology I think this is for "whales" people who have lots of money and time to spend on games.
260
pdeva1 2 days ago 0 replies      
no more carmack pouring his passion. it will be left to 'product managers' in facebook.
261
happyscrappy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Got mine. I'm out.
262
orasis 2 days ago 0 replies      
WTF
263
sgy 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're taking virtual vacations soon.
264
notastartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

I wanted Oculus VR to stay independent. Now all our VR habits and our minds will be read by the NSA.

    "I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse"    - Don Corleone

265
thinkersilver 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aaargh!
266
tonycoco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ready Player One.
267
keepsmiling 1 day ago 0 replies      
boycott oculus vrfor joining facebook.
268
jsilence 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sucks.
269
kimonos 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't like!
270
lcasela 2 days ago 0 replies      
RIP
271
guidefreitas 2 days ago 0 replies      
huge WTF!
272
richard_cubano 2 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to the bubble.
273
lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
what.
274
nighthawk24 2 days ago 0 replies      
:(
275
cruig 2 days ago 0 replies      
wtf...^2
276
dmead 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is dumb.
2
Minecraft creator says hes canceled talks for Oculus Rift version thenextweb.com
822 points by sethbannon  2 days ago   344 comments top 40
1
skore 2 days ago 5 replies      
> "Facebook creeps me out."

Whether or not you agree with his decision, having Notch pull away from talks with you creates an instant credibility "situation".

It's also noteable that Notch had been meeting with the Oculus team just two weeks ago[0], was tweeting about them in rather gushing terms[1] and seemed incredibly inspired to work on VR ideas[2].

He is now the personification of the a near universal feeling of betrayal in the community. Will be interesting to see how this develops.

[0] https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/443541395543162880

[1] https://twitter.com/notch/status/443461570195378177

[2] https://twitter.com/notch/status/446312677745254400

2
noonespecial 2 days ago 6 replies      
"And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

I'm guessing that pretty much sums up the reaction of everyone who backed the initial kickstarter. Sounds like a serious lapse of "dance with the one who brung ya" to me.

3
elohesra 2 days ago 7 replies      
I can't honestly blame him here.

I doubt the issue is Facebook 'creeping [him] out', so much as it is that it's uncertain what exactly Facebook is going to want out of the deal. Facebook isn't primarily a games company, and it's even less a 3D/desktop games company. There doesn't appear to be any obvious motivation for Facebook to use this tech for its intended purpose, so the question becomes what exactly they do want Oculus Rift for.

I assume Notch is worried about those implications. Will Facebook start demanding that every Oculus Rift game have tight Facebook integration? Will Facebook do something strange, like have Facebook wall updates appear in the game world irrespective of whether it fits into the game? If I were a game developer, this'd creep me out too.

4
DigitalSea 2 days ago 5 replies      
What company isn't creepy these days? Google, Facebook and Amazon are a few companies of many that come to mind when I think of all the user data they hold, what they know and what they could use it for. Thems the breaks unfortunately.

I admire Notch standing up for what he believes in, but I just can't see how Facebook is creepier than anything else or affects the acquisition of Oculus. It's not like the gaming device is going to give Facebook any extra information it most likely doesn't already have on you.

It is also a known fact that Amazon are trying to move into the gaming space, as are others and what better way to move into a space that is largely undominated than buying the Oculus? If Facebook didn't buy Oculus, someone else would have, maybe Google or Amazon.

People keep iterating the statement, "But Facebook aren't a games company" which reminds me of a few years ago when people (especially Steve Balmer) were saying that Apple isn't a phone company and won't gain any market share.

Facebook have the funds, talent and workforce to go into any area they choose. Look at Google, what did they know about clean energy, driver-less car tech, cloud infrastructure hosting when they started? Nothing. And now look at them, through various acquisitions and talent hires, Google have become an empire and this is what Facebook are doing: building an empire.

Through previous acquisitions Facebook have proven that they leave them mostly untouched. Besides tighter integration with Facebook, what has changed in Instagram since it was acquired by Facebook? Nothing.

If anything, this is great for Oculus, because it means they won't have to repeatedly seek VC capital every time they want to iterate and improve the product: we the consumer win out of this.

The backlash is unwarranted and ridiculous in my opinion. People complaining over nothing.

5
ROFISH 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/25/5547584/facebook-buys-oculu...

> Mojang's Notch was more direct in a tweet. "We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus," he said. "I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out."

> We reached out for further comment, and he clarified his position. "Well, VR has huge potential in many fields, including social. I can see why Facebook would want to get in to this," he told Polygon. "As a game developer, however, I don't ever want to get stuck trying to target a platform not focused on games. People have made this mistake before."

6
letstryagain 2 days ago 3 replies      
'Within the last hour EVERY friend I know was developing a rift game has canceled. That's around 11 projects just gone.'

from a Reddit comment

7
cwyers 2 days ago 1 reply      
"And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

The community raised $2.5 million, which (in part) enabled Oculus to build the first round of prototypes. That's great. I'm sure that the Kickstarter money was burned through a long, long time ago. And as far as I know, Oculus has delivered on every backer reward it offered. So backers got to do two things: they got the rewards they were promised, and they got to support Oculus' growth -- as far as I know, that is exactly the premise of Kickstarter.

So now Oculus has grown, and as Notch himself says:

"They had fixed all the major issues, and all that remained was huge design and software implementation challenges."

Huge challenges. Including scaling up from building limited quantities of developer kits to trying to mass produce consumer hardware. Oculus was helped to get to this point by Kickstarter money, but that money wasn't going to get them any further, and there's still a very large gap between where Oculus is now and where they (and their backers) want them to be.

Do I trust Facebook? No. Would I trust Microsoft or Google or Amazon or Apple? Not really. But I don't need to trust; I can simply wait and see what Oculus does with the money Facebook is giving it, and see what Facebook expects of Oculus in return. It COULD be bad. Or it COULD help Oculus grow. But the feeling of betrayal by the Kickstarter backers seems to me misplaced; you paid money to help Oculus grow and succeed, and they have.

8
rjtavares 2 days ago 4 replies      
You could say the Facebook aquisition... took it down a Notch!

(Sorry, had to do it. I accept the inevitable downvotes as long as I make one person smile)

9
neotek 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's a shame, because Minecrift[1] is the most astonishing Oculus experience I've had so far. Just being inside a world I had created, surrounded by peaceful ambience, floating above the treetops (fly mod, heh) - I can't express just how beautiful that experience was.

[1] https://share.oculusvr.com/app/minecrift

10
daturkel 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I did a midnight mind dump on the situation. I'm jetlagged and tired, so it might not make sense: http://notch.net/2014/03/virtual-reality-is-going-to-change-... "

-@notch on twitter.

11
benched 2 days ago 3 replies      
I hope that this illustrates for some that the distaste over this deal is more than a few "irrational" / cynical malcontents on Hacker News. A lot of people have a serious problem with Facebook the service, the cultural shift, and the company.

On another note, I was so looking forward to Minecraft on Oculus. I sincerely hope that Valve picks up the torch here.

12
nostromo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I way off in thinking Zuck wants to make Oculus Facebook's response to Google Glass?
13
epenn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really understand this decision. From an experiential standpoint, the Rift seems like a pretty obvious platform to have a release of Minecraft available. Within a short time it will likely have a solid user base which makes it a good business decision as well. Now support for that platform is being pulled, not because of any technical, financial, or licensing issues, but because Notch thinks the new owner is creepy? That seems like a knee-jerk reaction drawn more from emotion than logic.
14
LoganCale 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's great to see some people maintain their integrity even while others are selling out.
15
mantrax3 2 days ago 3 replies      
Facebook buys WhatsApp - hundreds of thousands creeped out, go to Telegram app.

Facebook buys Oculus Rift, Minecraft creator cancels talks, creeped out.

Feels like that Facebook brand has taken a hit or two with all the privacy violations, huh?

16
loity9 2 days ago 0 replies      
He has my respect. Facebook needs to be shunned by anyone with a brain, until they are a footnote in Internet history. Their privacy violations are unforgivable.

Really disappointed in the Occulus Rift board right now. I guess money overrides any sort of values.

17
s3r3nity 1 day ago 2 replies      
>"Facebook creeps me out."

So you lose out on an audience of 1.2Bn people for Minecraft and comment on the situation on Twitter -- a social network that does pretty much all the same things Facebook does.

18
aaron695 2 days ago 1 reply      
Incredibly immature.

Disappointed in Notch. I guess he's just a game designer at the end of the day, not an activist, so I guess meh.

Oculus is hardware, hopefully Facebooks billions will bring forward adoption, reduce hardware dev times and create some crappy software that people can chose not to use.

How this can been seen as a bad thing, boggles my mind.

I want VR decades ago. At least Facebooks billions might make the current timeline somewhat bearable.

19
xendo 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm wondering, what's John Carmack take on this, he quit idSoftware to join Oculus, which was very open by that time. He always was proponent of openness... right now from a laik perspective it looks it was mistake to leave id.
20
dorkrawk 2 days ago 0 replies      
[an optimistic thought] I feel like a lot of people might be overthinking the Facebook/Oculus integration. FB is a big company with lots of money that is still figuring out how to make money. Oculus seems like a company that could make money in a way that diversifies FB's income. Maybe if they just own Oculus and let the smart people at the helm do what they do best (I feel like Zuckerberg can recognize the smart people in charge of Oculus) it will just be a good company that earns money for Facebook so Facebook can keep doing what it does. I know Zuck mentions VR and social together in his post, but maybe he just feels compelled to justify the purchase in relation to what Facebook is known for.
21
jbb555 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good for him.Not for what he did, I have no opinion on it.But for actually having some principles other than how to make more money.
22
duncan_bayne 1 day ago 0 replies      
"And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

Actually, that is exactly what he did, and I'm somewhat surprised that folks didn't see this coming. If not FB, then it would have been one of the other large and evil (hi, Google!) tech companies.

The thing that makes me sad is that it wasn't one of the 'old media' companies, seeking to update their offerings for a new generation of customers.

23
wudf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now's your chance Sony. Do to Facebook what you did to Microsoft: Nothing.
24
rocky1138 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does Notch speak for Mojang? Can he say what Mojang will and will not do with Minecraft? Carl is the CEO.

I suppose Notch is still majority shareholder, but this is the type of thing I expect the leader of the company to say.

Imagine if Mojang decided to do differently than what Notch wanted here and ended up porting Minecraft to Oculus despite Notch's protests. What an interesting story that would be!

25
ps4fanboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
When will notch delete this page https://www.facebook.com/minecraft. Or is it more do as I say not as I do.
26
tomelders 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone have any insight into Occulus' incentive or motive to do this deal?

Edit: beyond the obvious monetary incentive, which I'm not sure was that much of an incentive since hordes of people seemed ready and willing to throw money at the oculus rift. 2 billion sounds like a bargain right now.

27
trekky1700 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is going to be just like how Facebook ruined Instagram and WhatsApp. Oh, wait. They didn't. I'm quite certain, based on Facebook's history, that they'll let Oculus be their own thing, and we'll enjoy the benefit of Oculus being injected with huge amounts of funds.
28
politician 2 days ago 0 replies      
> "And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."[0]

I'm beginning to feel the same way about participating in Kickstarter.

[0] http://notch.net/2014/03/virtual-reality-is-going-to-change-...

29
BHSPitMonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can understand shying away from any direct integration with Oculus itself from now on, but that doesn't explain why a game dev wouldn't want to still add VR support in at least a platform-agnostic way. I'm under the impression that there's an effort to create a standardized API for capturing head tracking data, anyway.
30
bayesianhorse 1 day ago 0 replies      
Essentially the kickstarter backers feel cheated when the founders sell out? Didn't they know this could happen? That in the case of Oculus VR it was probably bound to happen?
31
Hominem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now this kinda sucks because oculus + minecraft is pretty much the metaverse.
32
neop 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still waiting for Jonathan Blow's take on all of this. He's another one of the "big" indie developers and he had previously stated that The Witness would work with Oculus, I wonder if the acquisition changes that.

He already tweeted about the news and RT some stuff, but no word on his plans yet.

33
skrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good. I hope everyone ditches Oculus Rift for non-facebook-owned-alternatives like they ditched Instagram for (the far superior IMO) Telegram after that acquisition was announced.
34
cordite 2 days ago 1 reply      
Third party mods will likely make it happen.
35
joyeuse6701 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I was initially pretty against the idea. Then again, maybe I'll write a Facebook app called snowcrash >=) and tear it all down.
36
cwkoss 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't blame him.
37
lotsofmangos 2 days ago 0 replies      
A decent open source hardware standard and dev kit for VR/AR would be really popular about now. Are there any good ones out there?
38
idleworx 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 for Notch once again
39
falconfunction 1 day ago 0 replies      
they could have been a competitor to apple, google and facebook if they had gone it alone.
40
balladeer 1 day ago 0 replies      
> And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

That says a lot.

3
ASCII Delimited Text Not CSV or TAB delimited text ronaldduncan.wordpress.com
650 points by fishy929  1 day ago   271 comments top 51
1
Pxtl 1 day ago 6 replies      
I've done this.

Everybody hated it. Most text editors don't display anything useful with these characters (either hiding them altogether or showing a useless "uknown" placeholder), and spreadhseet tools don't support the record separator (although they all let you provide a custom entry separator so the "unit" separator can work). Besides the obvious problem that there's no easy way to type the darned things when somebody hand-edits the file.

2
dxbydt 1 day ago 8 replies      
Don't do this. Tsv has won this race, closely followed by Csv. Anything else will cause untold grief for you and fellow data scientists and programmers. I say this as someone who routinely parses 20gb text files, mostly Tsv's and occasionally Csv's for a living. The solution you are proposing is definitely superior but isn't going to get adopted soon.
3
mikestew 1 day ago 6 replies      
Anyone that's ever had to parse arbitrary data knows of the approximately 14 jiggityzillion corner cases involved when sucking in or outputting CSV/TAB delimited formats. Yet much like virtual memory and virtual machines, we find that a solution has existed since the 60s. For those wondering about the history and use of all those strange characters in your ASCII table: http://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/info/ascii-characters.html
4
mjn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Alas, I don't think this works with the standard Unix tools, which is the main way I process tab-delimited text. Changing the field delimiter to whatever you want is fine, since nearly everything takes that as a parameter. But newline as record separator is assumed by nearly everything (both in the standard set of tools, and in the very useful Google additions found in http://code.google.com/p/crush-tools/). Google's defaults are ASCII (or UTF-8) 0xfe for the field separator, and '\n' for the record separator. I guess that's a bit safer than tabs, but the kind of data I put in TSV really shouldn't have embedded tabs in a field... and I check to make sure it doesn't, because they're likely to cause unexpected problems down the line. Generally I want all my fields to be either numeric data, or UTF-8 strings without formatting characters.

Not to mention that one of the advantages of using a text record format at all is that you can view it using standard text viewers.

5
sigil 1 day ago 1 reply      
Meh. What if some data has ASCII 28-31 in it? If you're not using a "real" escaping mechanism, and instead relying on the assumption that certain characters don't appear in your data, then I don't see anything wrong with using \t and \n (ie TSV). Either way, you know your data, and you're using whatever fits it best.

If you need something that's never, ever going to break for lack of escaping, might I suggest doing percent-encoding (aka url encoding) on tabs ("%09"), newlines ("%0a") and percent characters ("%25")? Percent encoding and decoding can be made very fast, is recognizable to most developers, and can be used to escape and unescape anything, including unicode characters. Unlike C-escaping, which doesn't generalize and accommodate these things nearly so well.

6
baddox 1 day ago 1 reply      
My guess is that TSV/CSV won out simply because anyone can easily type those characters from any standard keyboard on any platform.
7
JoshTriplett 1 day ago 2 replies      
Leaving aside the pain of displaying and typing such characters...

> Then you have a text file format that is trivial to write out and read in, with no restrictions on the text in fields or the need to try and escape characters.

Phrases like that lead to lovely security bugs.

8
rwmj 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is factually wrong about CSV, which can store any character including commas and even \0 (zero byte), provided it's implemented correctly (a rather large proviso admittedly, but you should never try to parse CSV yourself). Here is a CSV parser which does get all the corner cases right:

https://forge.ocamlcore.org/scm/browser.php?group_id=113

9
rgarcia 1 day ago 2 replies      
How about everyone just started following the CSV spec? https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4180

Doesn't allow for tab-delimited or any-character-delimited text and handles "Quotes, Commas, and Tab" characters in fields.

10
revelation 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It is now 2014. The world doesn't use ASCII, you will still need escaping for binary or misformatted data, and overall the idea of mapping control characters and text into one space is dead and dusted. Don't do it, don't let other people do it, use a reasonable library that handles the bazillion edge cases safely if you need to parse or write CSV and its ilk.
11
mikeash 1 day ago 2 replies      
It doesn't solve the problem, although it does make it far less likely to run into it.

For a trivial example, try building an ASCII table using this format, with columns for numeric code, description, and actual character. You'll once again run into the whole escaping problem when you try to write out the row for character 31.

12
htp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Took some time to figure out how to type these on a Mac:

1. Go to System Preferences => Keyboard => Input Sources

2. Add Unicode Hex Input as an input source

3. Switch to Unicode Hex Input (assuming you still have the default keyboard shortcuts set up, press Command+Shift+Space)

4. Hold Option and type 001f to get the unit separator

5. Hold Option and type 001e to get the record separator

6. (Hold Option and type a character's code as a 4-digit hex number to get that character)

Sadly, this doesn't seem to work everywhere throughout the OS- I can get control characters to show up in TextMate, but not in Terminal.

13
tokenrove 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think people are missing the fact that you have a "control" key on your keyboard in order to type control characters. (Of course, control is now heavily overloaded with other uses.)
14
trebor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now I feel silly for having glossed over the control characters since I was a kid. Those characters are decidedly useful on a machine level, though the benefit of CSV/TSV is that it's human friendly.
15
eli 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes sense, but it's practically a (very simple) binary storage format at that point. You can't count on being able to edit a document with control characters in a text editor. And I wouldn't trust popular spreadsheet software with it either.
16
csixty4 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pick databases have used record marks, attribute marks, value marks, sub-value marks, and sometimes sub-sub-value marks in ASCII 251-255 since the late 1960s. Like the control characters this blog post recommends, the biggest obstacle for Pick developers working on modern terminals is how on Earth to enter or display these characters. There's also the question of how to work with them in environments that strip out non-printable characters.

This isn't some clever new discovery. It's begging us to repeat the same mistakes that led to the world adopting printable ASCII delimiters in the first place.

17
susi22 1 day ago 1 reply      
Related: This tool:

https://github.com/dbro/csvquote

will convert all the record/field separators (such as tabs/newlines for TSV) into non-printing characters and then in the end reverse it. Example:

    csvquote foobar.csv | cut -d ',' -f 5 | sort | uniq -c | csvquote -u
It's underrated IMO.

18
Roboprog 1 day ago 1 reply      
CSV is a solved problem - RFC 4180: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4180#section-2

As used by Lotus 1-2-3 and undoubtedly others before there was an Excel.

Example record:

    42,"Hello, world","""Quotes,"" he said.","new    line",x
Now go write a little state machine to parse it... (hint: track odd/even quotes, for starters)

19
Falling3 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a depressing bug I run into frequently. I do a bit of work integrating with an inventory management program. Their main method of importing/exporting information is via CSV. The API also imports and exports via CSV, except whoever wrote the code that handle the imports decided not to use any sort of sensible library. Instead they use a built-in function that splits the string based on commas with absolutely no way of escaping, so that there is no way to include a comma in a field.

It's led to many a headache.

20
DEinspanjer 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I never knew about these which is just a bit shaming considering how long I've been in the data munging field. :)

I agree with several other comments that the biggest issue is not being able to represent them in an editor. If you use some form of whitespace, then it is likely to lead to confusion with the whitespace characters you are borrowing (i.e. tab and line feed). If you use special glyphs, then you have to agree on which ones to use, and it still doesn't solve the problem of readability. Without whitespace such as tab and line feed, all the data would be a big unreadable (to humans) blob, and with whitespace, it would lend confusion about what the separator actually is. Someone might insert a tab or a linefeed, intending to make a new field or record, and it wouldn't work. If the editor automatically accepted a tab or linefeed and translated it to US and RS, then there would have to be an additional control to allow the user to actually insert the whitespace characters that this is supposed to enable. :/

21
peterwwillis 13 hours ago 1 reply      
You know where this is useful? Databases.

No, please, put the gun down... let me explain. Sometimes you have a database that's so complex and HUGE that changing tables would be a nightmare, or you just don't have the time. You have a field that you want to shove some serialized data into in a compact way and not have to think about formatting. You could use JSON, you could use tabs or csv, but both of those require a parser.

With these ascii delimiters you can serialize a set of records quickly and shove them into a string, and later extract them and parse them with virtually no logic other than looking for a single character. And because it's a control character, you can strip it out before you input the data, or replace control characters with \x{NNN} or similar, which is still less complex than tab/csv/json parsing.

Granted, the utility of this is extremely limited, probably mainly for embedded environments where you can't add libraries. But if you just need to serialize records with the simplest parsing imaginable, this seems like an adequate solution.

22
slavik81 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems a little better than it is. Those control characters are appealing because they're rarely used. Making them important by using them in a common data exchange format will dramatically increase the rate at which you find them in the data you're trying to store.

Ultimately, this is a language problem. If we invent new meta-language to describe data, we're going to use it when creating content. That means the meta-language will be used in regular language. Which means you're going to have to transform it when moving it into or out of that delimited file.

There is no fixed-length encoding you can use to handle meta-information without imposing restrictions on the content. You're always going to end up with escape sequences.

23
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've used these in ASCII files and they are quite useful. But as most folks point out, actually using control characters for "control" conflicts with a lot of legacy usage of "some other control." Which is kind of too bad. Maybe when the world adopts Unicode we'll solve this, oh wait...
24
Eleutheria 1 day ago 2 replies      
EDI is actually a wonderful and simple ASCII format for complex documents in use for over 30 years.

The underlaying mapping formats for specific industries are a pain to parse but everything is easily formatted using stars or pipes as field separators

    ST|101    NAM|john|doe    ADR|123 sunset blv|sunrise city|CA    DAT|20140326|birthday
Ah, the joy of simplicity.

25
dsjoerg 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good illustration of how the hard part isn't "solving the problem" -- it's getting everyone to adopt and actually _use_ the standard.

Reminding everyone that an unused, unloved standard exists is just reminding everyone that the hard part went undone.

26
christiangenco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's an implementation of ASCII Delimited Text in Ruby using the standard csv library: https://gist.github.com/christiangenco/73a7cfdb03e381bff2e9

The only trouble I ran into was that the library doesn't like getting rid of your quote character[1], and I don't see an easy way around it[2].

That said, I really don't like this format. The entire point of CSV is that you have a serialization of an object list that can be edited by hand. Sure using weird ASCII characters compresses it a bit because you're not putting quotes around everything, but if you're worried about compression you should be using another form of serialization - perhaps just gzip your csv or json.

In Ruby in particular, we have this wonderful module called Marshal[3] that serializes objects to and from bytes with the super handy:

    serialized = Marshal.dump(data)    deserialized = Marshal.load(serialized)    deserialized == data # returns true
I cannot think of a single reason to use ASCII Delimited Text over Marshal serialization or CSV.

1. ruby/1.9.1/csv.rb:2028:in `init_separators': :quote_char has to be a single character String (ArgumentError)

2. http://rxr.whitequark.org/mri/source/lib/csv.rb

3. http://www.ruby-doc.org/core-2.1.1/Marshal.html

27
hrjet 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I have created a (work-in-progress) Vim plugin [1], that uses Vim's conceal feature to visually map the relevant ASCII characters to printable characters.

It sort of works, but there are known issues which I have listed in the README.

[1] : https://github.com/hrj/vim-adtConceal

28
yardshop 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There actually are glyphs assigned to these characters, at least in the original IBM PC ASCII character set:

Ascii table for IBM PC charset (CP437) - Ascii-Codes

http://www.ascii-codes.com/

They correspond to these Unicode characters

    28  FS    221f  right angle    29  GS    2194  left right arrow    30  RS    25b2  black up pointing triangle    31  US    25bc  black down pointing triangle
They may not be particularly intuitive symbols for this purpose though.

see also:IBM Globalization - Graphic character identifiers: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/globalization/gcgid/gcgid.htm...(then search for a code point, eg U00025bc)

Unicode code converter [ishida >> utilities]:http://rishida.net/tools/conversion/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_page_437

29
binarymax 1 day ago 1 reply      
Protip - if it doesnt appear on keyboards, you can use ALT+DDD (DDD being 000 to 255) to enter a control character. For those on windows, drop into a command prompt and hold ALT while pressing 031 on the numpad. You will see it produce a ^_ character.
30
chinpokomon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Having read through all the comments, I think the only real benefit to using the control characters is in the original intent. That is a flat file that represents a file system, with file separators (FS), group separators (GS), like a table, record separators (RS), and unit separators (US), to identify the fields in the record, storing only printable ASCII values.

This isn't intended to be a data exchange format, it is a serial data storage format. In this way, there may be some valid usages, but modern file systems do not need this sort of representation and it has no real benefit over *SV formats for most use cases. I suppose It could still be used for limited exchange, but since it can't be used storing binary, much less Unicode (except for perhaps UTF-8), other formats are less ambiguous and more capable.

31
yitchelle 1 day ago 1 reply      
The big problem with the two markers mentioned in the post is they are not part of the visible character set. Using a comma delimiter is good as it is visible, you can just use a basic text view to see it.

A tab delimiter is not preferable as it is not visible, and can be problematic to parse via command line tools (ie what do I set as the delimiter character?).

I think that is the whole point of having ASCII delimited text files is to have human readable data in it.

32
Pitarou 1 day ago 1 reply      
While we're on the subject, we should probably be using control code 16 (Data Link Escape) instead of the backslash character to escape strings.

The problem is, of course, that we can't see it (no glyph) and we can't "touch" it (no key for it) so people won't use it. Ultimately, we're all still stick-wielding apes.

33
gwu78 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not use the non-printing char as the comma instead of the record separator.

1. Replace all the commas in the text with the unique non-printing char before converting to CSV.

2. Convert this char back to a comma when processing the CSV for output to be read by humans.

Because commas in text are usually followed by a space, the CSV may still even be readable when using the non-printing char.

I must admit I've never understood why others view CSV as so troublesome vis-a-vis other popular formats.

in: sed 's/,/%2c/g' out: sed 's/%2c/,/g'

I guess I need someone to give me a really hairy dataset for me to understand the depth of the problem with CSV.

Meanwhile, I love CSV for its simplicity.

34
mmasashi 1 day ago 1 reply      
It does not solve the problem. Here is the points which I think.

1. Control characters are not supported in the almost of text editors. 2. Control characters are not human friendly. 3. The text may contain control characters in the field value.

In any formats, we cannot avoid the escape characters, so even I think CSV/TSV format is reasonable.

35
rcfox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've recently had to deal with exclamation mark separated values. It sure is exciting, especially when there are empty fields:

    foo!bar!baz!    a!b!c!    d!!!    e!f!!

36
omarforgotpwd 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Alright let me get you some quick test data. Just need to find the 0x29 key on my keyboard... or 0x30? Wait is this a new row or a new column? What was the vim plugin for this?"

And then someone wrote an open source CSV parsing library that handles edge cases well and everyone forgot these characters existed.

37
rcthompson 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you use unprintable characters in your file, it's no longer human-editable as text. It may as well be XML (i.e. technically text-based but not practically human-readable).
38
snorkel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hah! Wonderful example of a forgotten feature.

It's not often that the tab delimited format is problematic, at least nothing that a simple string-replace operation can't solve, so it's not worth trying to convince every existing text reader and text processors to recognize these long forgotten record separators correctly instead.

39
Balgair 1 day ago 1 reply      
Haha! Oh wow, I just finished a project dealing with this exactly. The obvious problem is that most editors make dealing with the non-standard keyboard keys very difficult. As a consequence, most programs (Python, MatLab, etc) really don't like anything below 0x20. I was reading in binary through a serial port, and then storing data for records and processing. Any special character got obliterated in the transfer to MatLab, Python, etc. I ended up storing it as a very long HEX string and then parsing that sucker. I'd have loved to use special characters to have it auto sort into rows and columns, but that meant having it also escape things and wreck programs. Ces la vie.
40
htns 1 day ago 0 replies      
CSV if you do it as in RFC 4180 [1] already has everything the link describes, plus pretty good interoperability with most things out there. If you abused CSV you could even store binary data, while ASCII has no standard way to escape the delimiter characters.

1: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4180

41
tracker1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually really appreciate this article, though I've known about it for decades now. In fact, I used to return javascript results in a post target frame back in the mid-late 90's and would return them in said delimited format... field/record/file separated, so that I could return a bunch of data. Worked pretty well with the ADO Recordset GetString method.

Of course, I was one of those odd ducks doing a lot of Classic ASP work with JScript at the time.

42
mncolinlee 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought I was one of the few using pipeline-delimited format in my tools. You can handle many of the incidental problems by having both pipeline and quotes like CSV.
43
zenbowman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, Apache Hive uses control characters for column and collection delimiters by default. I commend them for that decision.
44
notimetorelax 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would it work if the file was encoded with UTF8 or UTF16?
45
sitkack 1 day ago 0 replies      
We need a font to display the hidden characters and a keyboard with 4 more keys. Problem solved.
46
Splendor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried to use it but one of the tools I rely on (BeyondCompare) resorts to hex comparisons when it detects these comparisons. In contrasts, it treats CSV files better than anything; letting you declare individual fields as key values, etc.
47
co_dh 1 day ago 5 replies      
How do you enter them ? in console, in editor? Since they are invisible, how do you find if you have entered a wrong character?
48
neves 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. I can't count the number of times that I saw a bug due to a newline, a coma or quotation marks inside a field.
49
hamburglar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I will be sure to use this if I ever encounter data that is guaranteed to be pure ASCII again.
50
kyllo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, but sadly no one is going to use it until Microsoft Excel allows you to export spreadsheets in ASCII delimited format.
51
efalcao 1 day ago 0 replies      
mind. blown.
4
Virtual Reality is going to change the world notch.net
560 points by bpierre  2 days ago   210 comments top 25
1
skore 2 days ago 6 replies      
For a guy who is otherwise rather easy going, Notch can be incredibly pragmatic and strident. Here, he has cut to heart of the issue.

> And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

> Dont get me wrong, VR is not bad for social.

He is right - "social", especially in the way Facebook is doing it at the moment, is terrible for VR. Terrible for any technology that has such an incredible potential to change the world.

This acquisition makes one thing very clear: VR does not need social. Social needs VR.

2
deerpig 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why is everyone looking at VR in terms of what exists? VR is not gaming, though it shares many aspects of gaming. VR is not social, though it will overlap with a lot of how we use social today. It also won't be the Web, though, if it takes off, it will need to borrow the same open network-anyone-can-set-up-there-tent-where-they-want infrastructure.

But will Facebook be the company to make that happen? The great walled garden will turn into the great walled immersive world. If Facebook manages to pull that off we will all be poorer for it.

3
interpol_p 2 days ago 9 replies      
From Notch:

> Dont get me wrong, VR is not bad for social. In fact, I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friends avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like youre actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?

Do people really see this as the mainstream use of VR? Do people really see a mainstream use for VR at all?

I can't see it. It's not the future of computing to me.

VR is incredible, it's magical and amazing. I've used the dev kits and the feeling of presence is awesome. The first time I wore the Oculus DK1 was the first time I felt teleported to a different location.

Despite all this, I still don't want to use my Oculus every day not even once a week. It's a great system but the feeling wears off once you are immersed in the actual experience. It doesn't make my communication or consumption of information any more efficient, not like the way mobile Internet devices have done. Not even like the way my graphics tablet improved my ability to be artistic with my computer.

I see VR as dramatically changing a small but highly focused subset of the entertainment landscape, and being used in many niche areas (such as architectural visualisation). I can't see it replacing the way we use our computers in general. Perhaps I am just shortsighted, and I would be happy to be proven so.

4
hawkharris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Virtual reality has existed for thousands of years.

It began with performed and written stories. When storytelling through film became popular in the 20th century, proponents marveled at its technical potential: the ability to control viewers' eyes and to immerse them in a dream world. There were also critics who suggested it might be too immersive: detracting from face-to-face conversations.

Over time the technical "Wow" factor of film mostly faded. In its absence, viewers started to remember what made virtual reality feel real all along: the quality of the content. Sure, some people still marvel at 3D screenings and similar technology, but we mostly focus on the narratives rather than the medium.

If history is any guide, there is no medium for virtual reality. After the initial "Wow" factor of a new viewing experience subsides, we'll realize that the content is responsible for carrying us into a dream world.

5
sinak 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts.

This seems really true to me. Zuck gives the impression that he's in it for the power, and not for the love of technology. That's what makes this acquisition disappointing.

6
xpose2000 2 days ago 7 replies      
I can see the avalanche of negativity coming, and I understand why. However, I don't think we should automatically assume it's a negative thing like Notch did.

Facebook can try to ensure that the games are geared towards social interactivity that benefits their platform, but in the end, the developers truly pick the direction. Anyone can buy a dev kit and see what they can build with it.

Maybe Facebook wants Oculus Rift to operate as a completely separate entity outside their core business. Maybe it's something they believe in and want to expand into a new genre. Mark has some interesting insights on where to take it: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/1010131905052397.

Think about when Microsoft got into gaming and created Xbox. Now imagine if they didn't.

7
Jemaclus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, that was quick and well stated. I agree with notch, here. I trust Carmack and I'm sure he can pull off something great, but I personally have regretted every tech interaction with FB that I've ever had to build. I'm not sure I would want to work with Facebook either.

And that's a shame.

8
ssully 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really appreciate that Notch seems to always communicate his opinions, whether I agree with them or not, in such an intelligent and fair way. I think he hit all the right points with this post especially about his initial investment in their kickstarter.

As of now I am looking at this acquisition with intense skepticism. I am interested in the Rift from a pure gaming perspective, and facebook hasn't proven themselves in that field yet, or at least not in the way that I agree with.

With that said I do look forward to seeing what happens with this. Good or bad I believe that this is something that will be talked about for a long time.

9
mingmecca 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even though Notch writes that he wants to utilize VR for games and not 'social', I'm open to all the experiences that VR can provide, gaming or otherwise.

But I think the bigger issue here is I just don't want Facebook involved at all. Because all roads for Facebook lead to ads, and that is the last thing I want tagged to my eyeballs when I'm trying to enjoy my VR experience.

Even on the desktop/mobile side, I'd gladly pay the $1.05 (or whatever my LTV as a customer is) to Facebook so that I'd never have to seen another ad from them ever again.

A sad day indeed.

10
fernly 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friends avatar?" -- But that was Second Life! I'm trying to imagine what 2L would have been like with convincing VR.

First, probably not anywhere near technical feasibility for at least several years. Remember the lag when a bunch of avatars were in one place? Or how long it took for a scene to fill in after you teleported? And the bandwidth, good lord...

But then I imagine what it would be like if the bandwidth and server performance issues were magically solved. And I realize that it was all imagined before decades ago, in Snow Crash[1].

[1]http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Crash-Neal-Stephenson/dp/05535626...

11
anentropic 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friends avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like youre actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?"

These all sound like crap ideas

12
mjfl 2 days ago 5 replies      
This seems to be an unpopular opinion, but I don't believe all the hype about VR. You are never going to be able to get sufficiently passable virtual reality to make up for the hardware hassle. If I want to have a conversation with a friend, I just want to see his/her face, I don't need the whole room simulated for me. Oculus will be a flash in the pan, and it's purchase by Facebook is just another example of the company stretching itself thin in order to grab a larger user base.
13
mambodog 2 days ago 2 replies      
VR will be like the web. Eventually it will belong to all of us. Once it gets off the ground, no single company will be able to ruin it.

Just like touchscreen smartphones, initially we had the iPhone which is relatively locked down and controlled by a single vendor, but now we have cheap, commoditised hardware of acceptable quality.

More importantly, the real 'platform' for smartphones is the web, which is as open as any we've ever had. Eventually, VR will have something of the same.

I'm glad to see that at least Notch gets it.

14
rafe33 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm disappointed for oculus that anyone bought them. They had a chance to lead the next generation of companies in revolutionising media... To BE the next Sony. Kudos to Facebook for snatching them up.
15
lispm 1 day ago 0 replies      
What really would improve the world would be clean water for a few more people or a clean energy source.

VR not so.

16
briantakita 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kudo to Notch for taking a moral stance on the Oculus buyout. VR is going to change the world. Let's make it a positive change that respects freedom & autonomy, not a walled garden.
17
neo_cs193p 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Changing the world" is not automatically a good thing, and should never be a goal in itself. Same goes for "making money".
18
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just realized what this means...."free to play" VR games with a credit card slot right on the headset.
19
zachinglis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote about about my views: http://zachinglis.com/posts/oculus-and-facebook-sitting-in-a...

But long story short - As Zuck said, it's a long bet. But one that most gaming companies won't want to be associated with. But they're not going after gaming anyway, gaming was 2 words in the press release. They're going after experiences, of which they have no prerequisites in place (healthcare, sports games, etc.)

I'll be looking forward to whoever shows up in place. It's just such a shame - I felt like they were the awesome people to look forward to seeing help change the gaming landscape.

20
digikata 2 days ago 0 replies      
A CastAR version of Minecraft seems more fun to me anyway.
21
quasque 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems a bit unhygienic having to strap one of these things to your face. Just imagine how filthy it would get after prolonged use. I hope if this stuff takes off then it's designed to be easily washable. The lingering scent of ingrained facial grease would somewhat ruin the immersive experience.
22
BeggarsAll 2 days ago 0 replies      
I completely agree with Notch on this one. Facebook are just buying Oculus because they need to show the investors and board they can innovate. Facebook is a dying product, they're losing users, making bad design decisions and know the only way to remain relevant is to buy up other business regardless of the niche.
23
dinkumthinkum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is really a great statement. I applaud him for this stance. I didn't really expect this reaction but it is a very pleasant surprise.
24
teemo_cute 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprise nobody mentioned its potential use by the sex industry for virtual/interactive porn. Think of the possibilities. If you what I mean...
25
NextUserName 2 days ago 1 reply      
>Virtual Reality is going to change the world

Just like 3D televisions/displays did? I have heard this for over a decade and I am still not convinced.

5
Stripe: Bitcoin Sign-up stripe.com
474 points by cperciva  12 hours ago   168 comments top 29
1
hendzen 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Awesome. Now to see how their integration works with regards to confirmation time. The best solution IMO is to use a risk analyzer to determine the number of needed confirmations. 0 conf for small payments for a merchant with a low fraud rate, with increasing confirmations needed as the size of the payment grows. I would look at BitPay's checkout flow to see the state of the art here.

Also hoping they implement the payment protocol (BIP70), which gives a much better user experience and improved security. Instead of copy pasting an address, a signed payment request is sent to the users Bitcoin wallet with a message stating something like "Bob's shop has requested a payment of 10USD (20mBTC) - accept?". Some particularly insidious coin stealing malware has been developed that modifies the payment address in the clipboard to be changed to an attackers address, and the whole UX around copying long Base58 encoded strings is horrible. Furthermore, the signed payment request serves as a receipt. With BIP70, the UX of bitcoin payments surpasses that of CC payments, IMO.

2
josephlord 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The interesting part of this from my point of view is how Stripe will manage the conversion of received bitcoin back into dollars. Will they directly sell bitcoin to consumers themselves or trade on one (or more) of the exchanges.

Stripe are obviously taking the risk of the volatility so will probably want to keep the bitcoin float that they hold fairly small. They also need to keep a reasonable margin on these transactions and watch for people who don't complete transactions unless the price moves in their favour (after the price has been quoted).

I assume refunds are of bitcoin to the agreed dollar value not the same number of bitcoins as was spent, otherwise there would be risks there too.

Edit: Found this in other story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7481219 http://recode.net/2014/03/27/stripe-merchants-will-soon-be-a...)

Payments will arrive in their bank accounts in seven days or fewer. Neither Stripe nor its customers will hold onto the bitcoin, meaning the businesses that accept bitcoin will not be subject to the volatility of its price. Collison said his company is working with a variety of undisclosed partners to exchange the bitcoin into local currency in near real time.

3
tomasien 11 hours ago 8 replies      
The concept that Stripe may be moving away from strictly supporting Credit Card payments (which are awful, but necessary for now) and into alternatives is so exciting to me that I am literally shaking. We're building infrastructure to make bank-to-bank transfers palatable to consumers and drive their cost toward zero, but it's only if thought leaders like the Collisons embrace the move away from CC's that the move will happen. This is such a huge step!
4
dcc1 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I will stick with Bitpay, thank you very much. They are also actively researching and testing bitcoin stuff > http://bitcore.io/blog/articles/cosign-our-multisignature-wa...

I used Stripe for several months, but then they said my business is "too high a risk" for them, 7 years in business (longer than Stripe), hosting company in Ireland, very low charge-back rate, all customers more than happy, good support etc!

Since then opened a merchant account with Elavon after referal from our bank for credit cards and started using Bitpay for bitcoin, not only have lower fees (0% in case of Bitpay + 30$ a month for professional account), but also registered with Mastercard 3D Secure and Verified by Visa, which Stripe doesn't offer either.

5
jypepin 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've always loved Stripe for their innovative side and the way they made accepting / making credit card payments so easier and nicer.

I'm so glad they integrated bitcoin, which I think will be a really good contribution to make btc spread amongst normal users.

That's great to see them becoming more of a payment processor versus the simple credit card processor they were.

I love stripe, I love btc, and seeing them together is just really cool and a big step for both.

6
deegles 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Given the recent guidance from the IRS regarding bitcoin (it's property like stocks or bonds... http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/0325irsbitc...) I wouldn't try to use it as a day-to-day currency. Every single transaction will represent a taxable event, requiring calculating cost-basis and capital gain/loss. If Stripe were announcing today a "pay with MSFT shares" feature, people would ridicule them. That's essentially what bitcoin payment is. (in the US at least
7
waffle_ss 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see an easing of the "prohibited businesses"[0] restrictions for Bitcoin payments, since they aren't beholden to the credit networks for these transactions. I have a business in the works that tangentially falls under category #2 so I may not be able to use Stripe as it currently stands.

[0]: https://stripe.com/prohibited_businesses

8
jeffgreco 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Definitely enjoyed the email signup placeholder: satoshi@example.com
9
evv 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Pow! Add me to the list of people foaming at the mouth for this. I'm refreshing my email every minute in anticipation of seeing their API.

Now, under one provider, we can easily accept CC and BTC. This is great news for consumers because it means coinbase and stripe are now in head-to-head competition. These are both well funded startups with great usability. Bring on the feature war and lower transaction fees!

This is most exciting because this will enable great micropayment support on stripe, enabling a whole new breed of marketplace. Also, it is now easy to offer paid anonymous consumption of an API. This is a whole new world of opportunity!

10
rebelidealist 11 hours ago 6 replies      
I wish all these resources spent & millions of investment dollars would go to a better version of Bitcoin. BT is a major breakthru but it is still in an alpha stage. The main problem is that it is deflationary, to support a global economy it needs to slightly inflationary. This is because for hundreds of millions of people to use BT, the supply of the coins need to gradually increase to support the flow of spending. Right now more half of Bitcoin supply is already own by someone (a lot of them stolen). The BitCoin owners are holding on their stash in hopes that they will get a return on their investment. They will sell their BT for currency rather buy depreciating goods with them.
11
rjvir 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Stripe doesn't mess around with innovator's dilemma. Bitcoin was one of their weaknesses and now they could turn it into a strength overnight.
12
Smudge 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how this will work. Once out of beta, will it be a default option, or will it require extra steps for both the developer and the end-user? And will we be able to operate primarily in Bitcoin end-to-end, or will everything be converted to/from a preferred currency (e.g. USD) during each transaction?
13
arboroia 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quite an intriguing move by Stripe, and I assume they'll provide a similar service to Neo&Bee, where merchants will be completely shielded from the price volatility in Bitcoin. It would be interesting if Stripe adds this Bitcoin support to the Stripe Checkout by default, being one of the first mainstream deployment of Bitcoin payments. It might also allow them to reduce fees, which have been largely set by the large card processors so far.

[Edit: Fixed bad grammar]

14
dergachev 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Actual article by cperciva about accepting bitcoin via stripe, not sure why that wasn't linked directly:http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2014-03-27-tarsnap-bitcoin.h...
15
richcollins 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Will it have an option to retain some % in BTC rather than selling them all for fiat?

Any plans for an option to accept fiat and convert to BTC?

16
troyk 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish they would add ACH
17
akama 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how Stripe will handle customer disputes. Obviously Bitcoin doesn't have chargebacks, so will customers be out of luck if the merchant doesn't provide the services?
18
bachback 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder whether this something to do with Wells Fargo's stance, which is positive: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-wellsfargo-bitc...
19
elwell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So all this time satoshi has been at example.com; who would've guessed?
20
mcmire 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why are they doing this? It's too late. No one is going to want to make Bitcoin transactions through a US-based company now because you know the Fed is going to start creating all sorts of lawsuits unless people follow the rules. I have zero Bitcoins but if I had any I'd play it safe and put it somewhere overseas (or if I did put it in a US-based company I'd want to make damn sure they were backed by an overseas bank).
21
newaccountfool 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is huge, maybe not for Stripe but this is huge for Bitcoin.
22
Dorian-Marie 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody have screenshots of the Bitcoin integration, the iframes are down.
23
loganu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome.I wanted to integrate BTC as an option to cut out their 3% fee. If they can handle it for 0.5 to 1.5%, I'm happy to keep them in the loop
24
ConAntonakos 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I would like to know more about the animations they used here. :)
25
ertemplin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like we took down their iframes
26
notastartup 11 hours ago 0 replies      
what sort of things can you build with this besides accepting payment in bitcoins.
27
dabit 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that read Stripe: Bacon at first glance?
28
andersthue 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it april 1'st already?
29
pbreit 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Hm...it's only March 27. Is Stripe about to jump the shark?

Edit: the reason I think it could be a JTS moment is that I associate "the addition of bitcoin" with "tired marketing stunt performed by irrelevant companies like Overstock". I could be wrong.

6
Ask HN: Is it me or ...?
418 points by neutralino1  1 day ago   251 comments top 110
1
jfasi 1 day ago 13 replies      
I think it would be helpful to try to understand the perspective of management.

Consider an extreme stereotype: the "business school guy." He went to XYZ school of management, where he learned that a business is an organization that takes in raw materials and creates something more valuable than the sum of the unfinished parts. He learned how to raise money by selling his business idea to other people who think like him. He learned about how to manage people, perform marketing, design products, and set priorities for his organization.

I don't mean to suggest this is the type you're working with here, but I offer a relatable character to which you can add traits or from which you can remove them to fit the particulars of your experience.

For him, running a business is as much an exercise in tradeoffs and compromises as building an engineering system probably is for you:

You end up running with an imperfect design because of time constraints and because you're a slave to shipping. He runs with an imperfect business plan because that's what his board thinks is best and because he's a slave to their opinions. You devote time and energy to a technology only to have it fail when you need it most. He pursues partnerships and deals that fall through because of unforeseen differences, despite his best efforts. You end up rewriting your architecture because it didn't meet your requirements as well as you expected. He pivots the business because his original business plan isn't panning out as he anticipated. Et cetera.

The point is that generally people in management can be assumed to be doing their best. Despite what hacker news and TechCrunch try to convince you, running a company is a job just the same as building an engineering system. Incentives aren't always aligned, you have to cut corners, and conflicts are unavoidable. As someone on the inside of engineering divisions of technology giants, I can tell you that you get this sort of conflict and frustration even at these "engineering-first" sorts of places.

Naturally some companies are better than others. You want to find a manager who thinks of himself as your equal rather than your slaver. Instead of asking yourself "does this management know what it's doing?" ask yourself "does this management make me better as a professional?" If you can say "yes" to the second question, the answer to the first question doesn't matter. The company can fail, but if you come out of it better than you came in, you still succeeded.

2
pg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most startups fail. Bogus plans and an inability to close deals are probably just the signs that failure is coming for that company.

As someone going to work for a startup, you're in much the same position as an investor. It won't be fun or lucrative to work for one that fails, so you're trying to predict which ones will succeed. In fact, it's even more important for you than for investors, because your portfolio consists of a single company. So I would suggest doing what investors do, and try (a) to learn as much as you can about how to predict which startups will succeed, and (b) analyze any company you're considering working for very thoroughly.

I've written a lot about how to predict which startups will succeed. I'd look for a startup with very determined founders who are working on a problem that grew organically out of their own experiences.

3
vinceguidry 1 day ago 3 replies      
John Boyd had this problem.

Boyd was the best fighter pilot in the Air Force. At the Fighter Weapons School, the Air Force's advanced tactics course that the Navy's Top Gun school was later based on, he laid down a challenge to anyone who would take it, in forty seconds, Boyd would maneuver from from having you on his six, to being on your six and winning the battle. It only ever took him twenty seconds and he was never beaten.

Boyd took his immense swagger and put it to work at the Pentagon designing what would become the F-15 and the F-16.

If you think the companies you've worked at had awful management practices, you ain't seen nothing yet. Boyd developed a scientific approach to designing planes based on the laws of thermodynamics. His ideas were constantly ridiculed and attacked, until enough studies were done to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were right.

Using this work, he designs the best fighter plane ever flown by pilots. He almost got that design approved for the F-15 but the bureaucracy, riddled with utterly toxic players, managed to bloat the plane with unnecessary cruft, gold-plating, they called it.

Boyd lost the fight for the F-15, but thinking ahead, he started working clandestinely on his design and, through a combination of back-channel communications with senior leadership under the President, outright neglect of the crap duties the Air Force gave him to marginalize him, he managed to turn his vision of a light-weight fighter into the YF-16, which demolished the competing design that the Air Force insisted have two engines. The YF-17 later became the Navy's F-18.

But the bureaucrats won the day again. After having the F-16 shoved down their throats by Boyd, they again gold-plated the design and the resulting fighter was nothing like the prototype. Boyd gave up in disgust and turned to academics, eventually developing what many consider to be the most important contribution to warfare since Sun Tzu, his OODA loop.

My takeaway from this is that we often limit the scope of our actions unnecessarily. If we focus our energies and efforts on things that management can shut down, then you are bound to be disappointed. I have projects and responsibilities handed down from above that I take seriously and try to do a good job of, but they don't get my passion. That goes into my personal projects and life. You should not sign your passion away for a paycheck. You can't succeed by fighting your opponents, you can only succeed by completely marginalizing them. If management doesn't matter, then they can't hurt you.

4
aculver 1 day ago 7 replies      
You are none of the above.

If you've got a few years of development experience in companies like that, I recommend you "find a boss [you] respect" by becoming your own boss. Start with consulting. These engagements are different than employment because often times they're not full-time and you can stagger a couple of contracts together at the same time. This is to your advantage because you now have two "bosses" (clients) instead of one. I know it sounds counterintuitive that more bosses are better, but if things aren't going as you'd like on one contract, you can move on to another contract as it becomes available without the sort of risk you incur when you're switching full-time employment at one company to another.

From there, you can further increase your independence by building a product that has many smaller customers. Again, many "bosses", but you need each one individually much less, so you're actually more in control of your circumstances.

If it doesn't work out, you can be reasonably confident you can just fall back into regular full-time employment. In this scenario, your definition of failure is most people's definition of success.

5
JonFish85 1 day ago 2 replies      
Personally, I'd say some combination of 2, 4 and 5.

No company is perfect, even if you're the sole owner & employee. "Inability to close deals" is extremely vague, so I don't want to jump to conclusions, but deals fall through all the time. It could be a sub-par sales team, it could be market conditions, it could be a million things, but that's just a part of business in general.

Short-sighted decisions are also tricky. What you call short-sighted might be necessary for a longer-term strategy. Long-term strategies are great, but sometimes $10 now is more important than $100 next week. If it's a code thing, sometimes you need to have a feature done immediately for contractual reasons, even if it's going to require more work down the road.

Petty management techniques are a pain in the ass, but if it takes you over a year to find them, there's not a ton you can do before looking at your next job to ensure that doesn't happen.

Overly frequent pivots also can be tricky. If you don't see profit/upswing anytime soon, you might be forced to pivot if you can't raise money on reasonable terms. Unless you're privy to board meetings and whatnot, it's hard to say.

There aren't many perfect jobs out there. Like other posters have said, you might be happiest if you can save enough to do your own thing for awhile. But keep in mind that in one way or another, you're probably going to have to deal with other businesses, even if you're running your own show. Deals will fall through, your business plan might not go according to script, you might be forced to make short-sighted decisions just to keep the lights on / keep a client / what-have-you.

One thing I might caution about is quitting too many jobs. I'm not in the valley, but here in Boston, a reputation can follow you. If you get a name for being a perpetual flight-risk, it can be hard to shake. Granted leaving after a year or two at each one probably isn't the worst, but as your career develops, it might make it more difficult if you want to become a leader within a company.

6
Balgair 1 day ago 2 replies      
Loads of comments already, but here goes. My brother used to work for Big-DoD. He quit, for reasons you explain here. But, he did tell me about a time his perspective was changed.

He decided to stay late in the cube farm. His original idea was to go around to all the cubes and count to number of Dilbert Cartoons stapled to the oatmeal gray walls. he thought this would be evidence that everyone was cynical and full of shit. Ok, so, her grabs a post-it and goes about tallying it all up. What he saw was not Dilbert and black humor but desperate passion. Most of the cubes were not messy, they were not cynical, they were not reflections of the company. He showed me that ~85% of the cubes were more or less shrines to their families. Pictures of rosy cheeked little girls on swings, little boys with trucks and sticks, graduation photos, school flags and colors, game schedules and rehearsal dates, church functions, pictures of wives on beaches, men dancing the tango, wedding photos with really bad hair-dos, parents with liver spots and tubes in their noses, etc. Most of the cubes were just covered in pictures of family, just every inch. Ok, got it? Most people at this company didn't give a flying turd about the missions or the day to day. They all knew it was some load of horse hockey. It was their families they really cared for. They went in day after day only for those kinky haired girls and those octogenarians. To give their families a better shot at life, to go to college and make a difference. The plant shut down about 5 months ago, leaving all those there in a hell of a lurch.

Honestly, I don't know what the take away is here. That you should work harder, or that families are toxic to a company, or that they weren't dedicated enough to their families. I don't know.

But the people that you work with are just that, people. Forgive them. Love them too.

7
realrocker 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's you. It was me a while ago when I finally realized that I am only projecting my anxiety by not having solutions to problems out of my domain. In the past I used to tag business decisions "good" or "bad" on: 1. Tentative technical implementation issues when the decision hits the work floor 2. Conjecture about those business decisions based upon hearsay and blog posts. I have worked in about 4 startups(including the current one) Only when I attempted my own start-up(and miserably failed) did I realize the unreliability of taking such business decisions. For e.g: I have a new product in a virgin market. How should I price it"? One shot or iterate? Or Long sight or short sight? As programmers we expect our employers to empathize with our work, it's only fair that you show the same empathy back to your employers. Now instead of snickering and bitching about it, I try to calm my anxiety by putting myself in the shoes of the decision-taker. If I am still not satisfied, I attempt to resolve it by asking for an open discussion. More often than not I am able to empathize with the decision-taker. Taking the "Archer" way of doing things, i.e thinking about problems when they actually occur has certainly made me happier and more productive.
8
IgorPartola 1 day ago 1 reply      
From what I've heard/seen most younger engineers have a half-life of 2 years. As in, after 2 years 50% of them will want to move on. This seems to be fairly normal and nothing terrible comes of this. There is also a very neat term I learned about a year ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_relationship_energy. I can see how it'd apply to this situation.

I also found a dangerous situation that comes from commiserating with coworkers. Basically, you can be perfectly happy, chugging along doing your job and one or more of your coworkers is not happy. So you start talking and they start telling you all the things they think are wrong with the company. Next thing you know you are also getting upset with the management, etc. despite them treating you the same as before. You take on your coworkers' misery and adopt their attitude. This has happened to me in the past, sometimes justified, sometimes not. In either case, try to get some perspective on your own situation not just equate it to theirs.

Lastly, is there anything wrong with doing some moving around every once in a while? I don't think so. Or try your hand at freelancing and instead of dealing with a frustrating manager, deal with a whole lot of frustrating customers at once :).

9
copergi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would tend towards guessing 5. It is easy to blind yourself to management stupidity at first as you focus on the work. But eventually that management stupidity starts directly impacting you. I'm trying to figure out how to escape from my current job for exactly this reason. Everything seemed great at first, small company, little management, the president had a good vision for where the company needed to go and how technology was going to get it there. Then 2 years in the president is micromanaging web design saying "I know how easy this is, just add some 1 pixel spacer gifs" as he demands that elements from one page line up with elements from another page but can't grasp that having a scrollbar or not changes the width of his browser window. The web designer quit (obviously) and now I get to try to work with some sketchy web dev shop where every task assigned to me in jira looks like "these ids are not valid you have to change the ids!!!!!". That is more venting than telling you about my experiences, but I think I needed to so thanks for the invitation.
10
dsirijus 1 day ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, I get bored/disappointed/disinterested with anything I do after 2 years.

Jobs, universities, projects, residence, friends, women... You name it. I can trace that pattern to basically anything I've ever done in my life, to the point that I now count on it.

And that's fine.

11
trumbitta2 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'd go with a combination of 1/ and 2/. Most of us are like you.

In 14 years I learned to:

- low my expectancies

- do my job always at 100%, but not 110% (save rare occasions)

- live a life outside work (mine, btw, is a life of wife, side-projects, and mmorpg)

12
benjamincburns 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had this problem in the past as well. Regarding the "is it me?" question, I don't think there's anywhere near enough info to answer, but the fact that you're being introspective on the matter is a very good sign.

I can offer a few pieces of advice. First, be direct but exceedingly rational with your co-workers - especially your superiors. Sometimes it helps to start conversations regarding conflicting ideas under the assumption that you're wrong.

Also, watch your assumptions. Sometimes when people get frustrated about things it's really easy for our assumptions to solidify into fact, and it's just as easy to feel justified launching into a spirited argument fuelled by all this fact.

Finally, if you think you're expressing yourself well, and you don't agree with the direction things are taking, you're 100% totally justified in leaving. I don't care if you're a minimum wage employee, your time is your scarcest resource. Don't invest it in something you don't want to own.

Annnd really long (but hopefully interesting) anecdote time...

I used to work for a very small, now fairly famous start-up non-profit which was cofounded by Edie Widder of Discovery Channel/Giant Squid fame. She wasn't running it because she didn't feel that she had the fundraising or business acumen. She decided to cofound with a former marketing exec, and to make him CEO.

I worked for them indirectly and directly for a combined 5 years. It was the kind of life-consuming work that one only does when they're very passionate. And I was as it was incredibly rewarding.

Our mission was to develop very inexpensive sensors for very broad scale in-situ monitoring of estuarine environments (the mission has broadened since then). When I first came on directly, we made a huge push to win a seven figure grant. Engineering was told by the CEO to push, and to push hard because this would be the money we'd be using to go from prototype to small-scale manufacturing.

Except after we won it, engineering wasn't given a budget. As time went on, our feeling was that we were having to beg for every expenditure. In the mean time lots of money was being spent on marketing, with the justification that it would be bringing in the "real big bucks." Of course, there was also plenty of disagreement over certain expenditures. Was X really marketing-related, or was that a personal expense?

Obviously there was lots of infighting -- mostly by people who typically like to avoid confrontation. People would wait to address something until they were so exasperated that it'd just boil out, and everybody involved would get very defensive very quickly.

I started to wake up to the idea that we were working more on our arguments and less on our mission. I'd spent every second I could over the past five years building a monolithic realtime telemetry system with the idea in mind that this was a step toward literally saving the world. Leaving felt wrong, like I was abandoning my purpose and my friends, but after a while staying felt more wrong.

On my last day there I sat down with Edie for an informal exit interview. For the first time I explained to her my position as directly and rationally as I could. This wasn't out of some new-found maturity, but because I had nothing to lose and nothing to gain.

I stated my observations, listened to her responses, and conceded on the points where my knowledge of the situation was lacking. At the end of the conversation I still felt justified for leaving, but I think she understood my justification. Prior to that, we were always putting her in a situation where she had no other choice but to feel cornered and defensive.

Not long after I left the CEO became the former CEO. For a brief period during this process, there were two separate sets of legal council arguing against each other - I believe with each claiming to represent the company. When the dust settled, relationships were tarnished, names had been dragged through the mud, and most importantly the work had all but stopped.

Fast-forward to today and things are much different. In many ways they've been terribly stunted, but there's better accounting, better employee representation on the board, and most importantly - a unified focus. They have turned into the organization I wanted to be working for back when I left. In the mean time, I've been in a constant struggle to find something anywhere near as rewarding. If I could afford to do so, I'd go back to work for them in a second -- on my own dime.

You'll notice that I spend a lot of time talking about the "evil" CEO here. That's not the point. The point is that a significant part of it was me. Sure, the company had some growing up to do, but I had just as much, if not more.

Although, if anyone reading this happens to be looking to make a very high-impact donation to a great nonprofit - give Edie a call. I promise she won't disappoint.

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runako 1 day ago 1 reply      
You have an obvious lack of respect for the difficulty of running the business side of a business:

>> Bogus business plans, inability to close deals, short-sighted decisions, petty management techniques, overly frequent pivots, you name it...

This presents a killer opportunity for personal growth: go start your own business. You'll either learn that you are a masterful business planner, only making high-minded long-term decisions & closing deals left and right, and you'll be super successful.

OR you will grow as a person and learn that there are at least two sides to every business decision.

Either way, you'll grow as a person through the experience.

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programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not just you. It happens. It really comes down to your expectations from your job. If you over identify with a job and it lets you down, it's like a bad breakup.

Every business wants you to be fully committed and giving 110%, but most businesses aren't as committed to you as they expect you to be towards them.

At some point you need to find a kind of detachment to your job that allows you to do good work and go home and forget about work, or you need to keep moving on to different things until you land in the right spot.

It's tough because society still sort of makes you feel like switching jobs every few years is a bad thing, but that is just the way it is now. Companies tend not to invest as much in their people and so people aren't investing as much in their companies.

In many ways, it's more capitalistic to be taking advantage of opportunities when they come your way than it is to just sit at one company and "put your time in".

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damon_c 1 day ago 0 replies      
I spent 14 years giving 100% at 2 different companies where in both cases, we started with about 5-10 people and I was an important part of building them up to 100 or more people.

Over time, I watched the passion and integrity of the founders/owners dissolve as they bought expensive real estate and had children.

Decisions that used to be about what would be the most "awesome", became about what would be the most $$$.

Quitting those jobs were two great decisions. After the first one, I was still surprised when it happened again at the second one. Now I'm not surprised anymore. This is just what happens.

Now I stay freelance. Everyone has to be happy all the time or you don't work together anymore. Until I'm in charge, and have the opportunity to sell out my own principles, that's how it's going to be!

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pallandt 1 day ago 1 reply      
The healthiest approach is to make time for side projects or other non-software related hobbies you may have.

You're being unrealistic. Try lowering your expectations of other people and if you can't find complete fulfillment in your job, just search for it in something else. A job is just a job at the end of the day, you're primarily doing it for money. Not everyone is lucky to both have money and the ideal job at the same time.

It really isn't worth filling your mind with negativity about aspects that aren't fully under your control, which usually is the case when you're working for other people.

Just do your best, let the higher-ups worry about the rest, continue growing professionally through your side-projects and take good care of your health. It may sound silly, but going to the gym for instance, eating healthier, having a regular sleeping schedule can do a lot to lower your anxiety and in turn make your less than ideal job(s) easier to bare.

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stratigos 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are hardly different. In NYC, for most developers, this is the norm. I used to think there was something wrong with me too, but now that Im at my 7th job in my 10 year career, I realize that something is wrong with society's employment model in general.

We operate a bit differently in this field because we are empowered more than most others in the contemporary western workplace. We have refined skills, engineering backgrounds, and are very high in demand. On top of that, there is a very large amount of average to below average talent in this field (ie code bootcamps, php for dummies readers, etc), so having a track record which demonstrates high level of talent makes one even more desirable for any position. Programming is a hot field right now, especially web development, so again, there is a surplus of jobs. Our role is not rocket science, but its not trivial either. Few other employment opportunities have these qualities - there isnt nearly as massive demand for rocket scientists as there is for web developers. There is a demand for accountants, but their specialization and employment opportunities make them less in demand. We are also very empowered when it comes to base salary negotiations. The point im making is, few people in 2014 have the ability to say "f this job, it sucks, im finding another one next week" and actually go out and find 50+ jobs to choose from.

My first company refused to pay me anything reasonable, but it was my first job ever. I left after 3 years of asking for more money to work for one of the biggest media companies in the world. They paid me a decent salary, treated all developers like dirt, and used fear as a motivation to work harder. I found another gig after one year. In this third job, I wasnt utilizing my skills at all (back end dev), I was basically making mundane HTML changes and surfing tumblr out of boredom. A friend offered me a great job with more money, so I quit, and joined him. Two years after that, they completely forgot to enter my tax information (yah thats illegal), and due to a complicated process I wasnt able to access my payroll for that tax year to even know about it. I got screwed heavily on taxes, the company wouldnt do anything for me unless I sued them, so I quit.

The pattern here is reasonable, rational, logical dissatisfaction with a job. Its odd that someone can just say "f it, im finding a new job" and do so very easily, regardless of their career choice. Like the original poster, I dont care about salary and benefits nearly as much as the product Im working on and the balance I get between life and work. Most people, when tremendously unsatisfied with a job, face a paycut, or a big move to a new area, or both. Software Engineers can just surf the web for a few hours, and most likely find something better in their local area.

Add this to traditional corporate culture in America. Its seen as "better" or "stronger" to have a long lasting relationship with a company, even if its entirely superficial and your experience there was miserable. There is absolutely nothing logical or rational about corporate culture in America - its designed to exploit the worker for maximum yield to the employer. Right now, Software Engineers are empowered enough to escape this situation, although we usually just find the same themes resounding in the next business.

Ultimately, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU. Everything is wrong with the jobs themselves. You arent unstable - YOU RESPECT YOURSELF. You actually have the power to do something about it when you feel disrespected, disenfranchised, or disengaged. Other people simply dont have this power, they can only smile and obey.

...and of course if the tech bubble bursts, we all lose this power as well.

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antirez 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe you are too tolerant? Usually you can say management is shit after a few weeks, don't wait too much before leaving and seeking a better company.
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netcan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think you;ll find one true answer to these questions.

First, honeymoon periods seem to be a general thing: romances, friendships, jobs, etc. People are more 'polite' when you first meet them. You are probably more tolerant when you first meet people. You haven't had time to develop negative repertoire's or patterns. You're not bored with anything yet.

Your expectations also shift over time. You feel like you deserve respect or status or money or whatnot once you feel like a full member of that group. Instead of being delighted to get it, you're neutral when you do and angry when you don't.

Also, a lot of negative stuff takes time to see. The pathologies manifesting over and over and reveals ng themselves.

It sounds like you're pretty emotionally involved with the success of the business too (closing deals, pivoting, etc.). That can be emotionally taxing and you're on a shorter fuse when you're tired.

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benched 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds perfectly normal to me.

Management have to be true believers in whatever management decide. If you disagree with the fundamentals of their decisions, then everything they say will sound like bullshit.

For example, I work at a company that recently decided to change to a 100% in-app-purchase business model. The first try failed, so they decided to do it even more. It seems like cowardly, copycat decision-making to me, so everything the president of the company says sounds like utter bullshit to me. It's like pointlessly rallying troops (and trying to shake out defectors!) for a battle everyone knows we're going to lose.

Also, a lot of managers are just plain bad managers. It isn't quite like hard jobs, say software development, where you could be fired for not having a clue what to do with a compiler.

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pfraze 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't say for sure, but I do know those Dilbert comics didn't used to be funny to me.
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pekk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Isn't it OK to change jobs every now and then?

Publicizing this kind of thing is usually bad, especially when you have had the same experience several times.If your account is publicly identifiable as you I'd delete this post

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dougmccune 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like you have most experience with short term tenures at very young, unstable companies. While that can be really exciting, as others have pointed out here, most of those companies fail. And often that's going to be because the people in charge have various faults. On the other hand, others in this thread have also mentioned that politics and communication issues often crop up when a company grows too large (ie 100 people).

I'd just like to suggest that there might be a sweet spot for you in a small company (10-30 people maybe) that has already figured out a bit of product/market fit. These don't have to be VC-backed startups swinging for the fences. But you'd be able to find management that has to be doing something right in terms of having found a sustainable business. And in a company that small the chances are lower that you get a completely politicized dysfunctional organization (although that's always a possibility with all sizes).

So I guess if you're tired of management bullshit I'd say stop looking at unproven startups and mega companies. There are small businesses that might be a good fit if you can find a founder and management team that has integrity and competency that you really trust.

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allworknoplay 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whether you're 1/2/3/4/5, you're not alone.

My dad has worked at the same company since he dropped out of college around 40 years ago (he runs it now). I do think our generation's (well, I'm 32, don't know about you) job goals are a lot different and a lot more conducive to short-term jobs, and I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that. I tend to place maximum value on doing real work and self improvement, and lots of meetings and doing the same work for years aren't the best way to achieve these (fundamentally unachievable) goals.

But even more than that, I think a major problem is that startups are companies that are by definition changing ceaselessly. They're either growing or belt tightening, adding new people who need to be managed even if the team is still functional. The emphasis goes from core product building to scaling and optimizing. Etc.

So, it might be sort of you, but it may also just be the nature of the work. Don't take it too hard.

I have a friend who's... hard to work with? He changes jobs a ton. But his strategy has evolved from 'join a team then get frustrated' to 'join a project, know what you're going to work on, add a ton of value, then maybe find another project at the same company, or not.' It's kind of mercenary but can be really valuable to both parties if you play it right, and keeps him from feeing miserable.

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DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a serious problem and if you can solve it you stand to make a million.

Even if you don't solve it you could make a lot of money by writing a convincing enough book.

A blog about "today my boss said ..." (With a few ad words ads, and allowing user submissions) would make money. Dilbert has existed for years on management bullshit.

I was watching a programme in England where a consultant was called in to help a company. He spoke to all the shopfloor staff. They started by telling him that it was hopeless and pointless and that management would never listen. He dogeddly worked through that pessimism and got the staff, all of them, keen and motivated. He got some excellent ideas (cheap, legal, easy to implement, would save or generate a lot of cash).

So, then he has to feedback this stuff to management. He starts with one of the great ideas (basically "move this machine to be nearer that other machine" - the programme showed why that had serious advantages).

Management refused. They said that they had already looked at all that stuff and it was as good as it could be. They were so convinced of their rightness that they declined to even look at the suggestion.

That instantly demoralised all the staff, and infuriated the consultant.

It was a great demonstration of why some managers are poor. I wish I Could remember the name of the programme.

I used to work in a factory and I have a bunch of similar stories if you ever want to hear them.

So, put simply, you need to do open source work in your spare tome for the feels and just grind through the workweek to earn enough money for the open source stuff.

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jf22 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a saying that if you look around and all you see are assholes, you're probably the asshole.

I think there is more to that quote but that's the jist of it.

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RyanZAG 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most startups fail. Most entrepreneurs are likely very poor managers who end up stuck in that role because they happened to be the founders. What you're describing is pretty common.

I think the best bet if you're the type of person who can't help but care too much is to just keep trying. Eventually you should find a founder who is a better breed - although you'll only ever know once some pressure builds. You can't measure a founder at the start - only when money is low or something isn't going well.

Alternatively, give it a shot and start up your own company. It's hard but at least you'll be the terrible manager doing frequent pivots.

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onmydesk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is not unique to startups. I have never worked anywhere where I thought everything was done well. Such a place likely doesn't exist. But guess what.. the owner is making money, the employees get paid and get to work in more interesting roles than many alternatives. Its not an ideal world.

Thats phase 1.

Phase 2 begins when you decide damn it Im going to start my own company, it can't be that hard, look at these clowns Ive been making rich all this time. Customers are clearly accepting of any old rubbish and I know I'm better. How hard can it be?

Phase 3 is when you start your own. Then you see it from the other side. And you were right! But can you do any better now you're in their shoes? Does it matter if you can't? You'll only have to deal with the occasional grumpy developer, hey those guys come and go all the time.

Reality is hard to change. Perspectives, less so.

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jakejake 1 day ago 0 replies      
From your description I would say that you are 5 - intolerant of normal bullshit. Every company, no matter how slick from the outside, will have some variety of disfunction going on inside.

If I did believe in my team then I would try to do whatever I could within my domain of expertise to help the company succeed. As a developer there are usually lots of things you can do to help. When a deal doesn't close - find out if there are any technical features that might have make a difference. Give the sales department tools to better sell your products. Give the business people tools to analyze stats so they can make better decisions. Maybe these are not sexy things, but they might be necessary to get a company off the ground.

Depending on the organization you may not feel that you have the authority to do certain things. But, if the team is any good then they would recognize when somebody is trying to step up and help with the big picture. I would probably use that as a yardstick to tell me whether it's me or them.

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smoyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't really matter which of those I think you are ... you need to decide and act accordingly. I will tell you that I've been in your situation many times and my response is to fight against the behaviors that seem to cause you to switch jobs. If you're not willing to play at least a little politics at your workplace, you're going to have a tough time staying at almost any job.
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alecco 1 day ago 1 reply      
We might be in the wrong culture. My friends in [anglo country X] say it's amazing over there. I think it's they have higher empathy and saner goals

Over here, businessmen give you the "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" speech after they screw you. This was their real goal from day 1, it's just they have to sort of believe their lies to make you believe in them. Same old trick from con men and salesmen.

Never take promises from a businessman, always get it on paper. And even so, you might not get it (e.g. bankruptcy protection). The only exception is if you have done business with them for over a decade and they depend on you and their reputation.

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akg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a fairly typical scenario. The "honeymoon" period as you call it is the phase when everything thing is new and you are learning quite a bit in this new environment. Meeting new people, learning new processes, dealing with new problems. After a couple of years you've become the cog in the machine and little new is left to learn -- it becomes routine allowing you more time to pay more attention to management decisions without actually being in their shoes.

Just like any relationship that fizzles out after the initial honeymoon phase when you're learning about each other, it becomes your responsibility to keep things interesting. Take initiative on starting new projects, look for needs and innovate from within the company (being an entrepreneur doesn't always mean you have to start a new company), and most importantly always keep you manager in the loop.

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emerod 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had similar experiences at my first two employers, as far as becoming disappointed with management decisions and company politics. However, I was fired from both because I got angry about it and provoked other people by doing stupid things.

Getting fired repeatedly caused me to re-evaluate my priorities. I decided that, going forward:

(1) I would keep in mind exactly what I wanted to be doing day-to-day and focus on doing that better than anyone else; in other words, I would consider myself strictly as a skilled craftsman.(2) I would keep in mind my "ideal" work environment so that I would always be ready to take the next best opportunity to find it.(3) Every job short of the ideal would be merely temporary. Management missteps, office politics, too-good-to-be-true risks, management changes, cutthroat coworkers, overbearing schedules were all none of my concern.

It worked out for me. After two more "temporary" jobs, I landed a job doing the one thing that I did best. When they had a management split, I took the less risky path, since both sides offered me a higher position. By the time they folded, I had acquired enough experience to be able to freelance part-time. I waited for the best opportunity I could get by personal referrals. One of the things that helped me get the job was my breadth of experience and the fact that they perceived me as "hard to get" (and hard to keep) because of my freelancing work, even though I could never have supported myself freelance. I have been there ten years now and I would say it is my ideal workplace.

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kevinelliott 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately what most engineers tend to misunderstand about the role of their manager is that there are responsibilities outside of the team itself that the manager must perform.

Most managers are in simply supervisory roles, to watch over the team and ensure it's functioning, surviving, and thriving. That is what a supervisor or lead is for. While managers are certainly responsible for nurturing and growing their teams efficiently, they're also highly concerned with managerial duties to the company, which can often be unseen or misunderstood by their direct reports.

Managers often have responsibilities to the management team, the executive team, and other departments entirely. Take an IT department for example. All of the other departments in the company, including operations (where IT often sits to avoid conflict with engineering, and because largely it's an operational focus), are its internal clients, and the management in IT must work with the management of all other departments.

Meanwhile, IT engineers (sysadmins, devops, etc) often under recognize that this intricate dance is going on. The executive team will put pressures on the department, and the manager must delicately balance their needs with what the needs of the team are as well.

Thus, the engineer often looks for a manager that focuses solely on the team. But long term, the manager ends up having to account for the needs of the company. Any manager will need to do this.

It's ultimately important that the staff understands that their manager is superior to them simply because the position requires this of them (not necessarily because of any inherent skill advances). To look for an equal out of your manager is and will continue to be an exercise in futility.

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pilom 1 day ago 0 replies      
The answer is cut your spending and start saving a huge percentage of your income. If you can save 50% of your income you are about 15 years away from never needing to work again if you don't want to. At that point you can work on whatever you want regardless of if a company is working on it or not.
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jwatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a combination between 2/ and 4/.Specifically, building a successful business is really hard.

Looking at something that doesn't work, and pulling the plug, so that scarce resources can be better focused on other things that show more promise, is one of the hard things that management has to do.

It may be that a six-month investment in an API platform would unlock the possibility of OWNING THE CLOUD in the future. But if the company has to worry about payroll between here and there, a shorter-term project, like a two-week A/B split test on better ways of monetizing existing customers, might be more in everyone's actual interest. (It's been a while since I was in a company that close to the margin, but short-term decisions show up for many reasons that are just as compelling.)

I've found that, at good companies, the thinking and data that goes into these decisions is shared with the company. If there's not an all-hands that talks about this with some frequency, at least the managers that make these calls answer questions, and also actively seek and act upon feedback from anywhere in the company.

Some companies don't have that culture, and management is managing mainly through fiat and "it's my way!" I find it hard to be effective in such an environment, and these environments tend to self-select away in the long run, but there's no dearth of such environments alive today. Screening for this in the interviewing process is important, and also hard.

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edw519 1 day ago 1 reply      
I care more about the project than about the salary and benefits.

Great!

I suppose that's the case for most of us.

I don't suppose that. Others may say that, but they really prefer what's in it for them. You are in the minority. (That's a good thing.)

...the only thing I can see is the bullshit coming out of management's mouth...

That's the unmistakable signal from your inner self that it's time to move on.

Am I 1/ Bad at choosing my jobs

No. It's hard to choose the best jobs because, for the most part, they're already taken. Good bosses don't lose their people nearly as much so those jobs simply aren't as available.

2/ Too demanding towards the companies that hire me

No. Don't lower your standards.

3/ Mentally unstable

Maybe, but I can't tell from anything you've posted yere.

4/ Unrealistic

No. The day you lower your expectations to the mediocrity you've encountered is the day you've sold your soul and forfeited your real potential dreams.

5/ Just a normal bullshit intolerant guy

Probably.

Is there any way I can find a boss I respect beyond a couple of years?

Yes. You already have: yourself.

Tell me about your experiences.

35 years & 88 companies:

WorkingForSomeoneElse = WisdomAccumulation

DoingMyOwnThing = WisdomExpenditure // and much more fun!

I think that everyone needs a little of both. You've just had a little too much of the former and no enough of the latter. That's all.

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UncleOxidant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's 5, just a normal bullshit intolerant guy. In fact, maybe your bullshit threshold is actually kind of high. There's so much money out there chasing startup ideas (kind of like 1999 again) due to the Fed flooding the market with US dollars... this makes it very easy to start a startup. The barrier to entry is quite low at this point, really. Much lower from a technical standpoint than it was in the late 90's boom (cloud computing, AWS, lots of free libraries already developed for you, etc.). And those low barriers mean that a lot of folks are starting companies that probably shouldn't be started (certainly wouldn't be started under a tighter money regime).

You jump in a startup that sounds kind of cool on paper but after six months or so realize it's probably going nowhere for the reasons you mention above. And then move on to the next one. That, unfortunately, seems to be the way of the world now. It will continue until the punchbowl (easy money) is taken away and this bubble pops. Lots of developers will once again be out of work. Then slowly, very slowly things will recover to a more sane level like they did in the early 2000's. If history is any guide that will take about 3 to 4 years (the 2001 to 2004 period was pretty awful for tech employment, but by late '04 things were starting to recover).

For now be glad you have other startups to jump to. That may not be the case when the music stops on our current Cambrian Explosion.

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mellery451 1 day ago 0 replies      
For many of us, it comes down to -- as Dan Pink describes: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Very few companies are good at enabling even ONE of these, let alone all three. Startups are among the worst for fostering this kind of motivation.

Without a well-balanced three-legged stool of motivation, a few years is all you are going to be content. Or, like many of us, you will gradually learn to lower your expectations, eventually settling - tolerating lesser situations - for a longer time.

http://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc

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reboog711 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a small business owner and a programmer, I may be offer some perspective--although I'm not sure if I have any answers.

First, it is my experience that for the bulk of people, and many programmers, that their job is all about salary and benefits. Those people wouldn't do well in startup culture, but they are great for 'big business'. I can honestly say I wouldn't be working with any of my current client base if there wasn't some type of monetary compensation built into our contract. For some people, the most important parts of their life happen when they leave work and go home. I have yet to figure out if I envy those people or hate them.

Are you bad at choosing jobs? I would say no! It sounds like you are following your passion and interests. That is awesome, I commend you.

Are you too demanding toward the companies that hire you? I'm not sure. It sounds to me like you may have trouble empathizing with other departments / people about their responsibilities and challenges. I don't think people are capable of understanding the issues around sales or contract negotiations or corporate viewpoint until you do it.

Are you mentally unstable? I am not able to judge; but you may consider seeking help if you are concerned about this.

Are you unrealistic? It sounds to me like during the interview / honeymoon stage you are "eating the dog food" which is slang for believing the hype. It sounds like you going all in. But, hype is just hype; and when reality isn't as rosy as it appears, it is shocking to you.

The hardest thing I find as a business owner is promoting the hype/ideas/ideals while still being aware of the imperfections and problems in what I offer. You, basically, need to be two-faced. Be both positive and negative. Be Idealistic and realistic.

It sounds as if you may be going from one extreme to the other; but may benefit from a more balanced approach to the companies you work for.

Are you a 'normal bullshit intolerant guy'? I'm not sure what normal is. But, don't make the mistake of thinking everything you don't like is bullshit.

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nissimk 1 day ago 0 replies      
What changed towards the end of each of those 2 year periods? Was it that management started screwing up more or that you had become integrated enough to recognize screw ups they were making the whole time?

Maybe you need a change of perspective. As some of the others here have suggested, you can become a contractor, but even as an employee you can think like a contractor. You can still be bought into the project and still be a good team member while thinking about it as "you" working for "them," rather than everything being "we" and "us." If they make bad decisions and ask you to do something that doesn't make sense, you can have a less negative outlook than if we make bad decisions.

So my suggestions are: start out as highly skeptical and assume that management decisions are crap from the start because they probably are and don't internalize the team's failures or poor decisions when you had nothing to do with them.

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Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, this career thing is just not easy to work out. Our school system and hiring system..etc..really don't have a good model in place for how to match people successfully to a very good fit niche. When I got hired at my job, I had been a homemaker for years. After testing, they said "You still qualify for both positions. Which one do you want?" and I said "What do they entail? Those job titles mean nothing to me." I made the decision I made in part because one started two weeks earlier than the other and I was living with relatives. I wanted a job and out of that house.

It happened to work out that I chose the job that was better for me personally. But I really had no idea at the time that I got hired. Only after working for some time did it become clear to me that the other job would have been terrible for me.

I don't know what you need to do to find your niche. But you are not the only person that struggles with this.

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analyst74 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a lot of people, it is difficult to have a boss, especially a boss who you do not respect and is giving bullshit orders. There are a few options:

1) work for a boss who you respect

2) work for a manager who let you be your own boss most of the time

3) be your own boss - either start your own startup, or consulting

And on a side note, most people care about what's in it for themselves. The fact that you see bullshit coming from them means you are not understanding what they think. It's an important life/leadership skill to understand how different people operate, what motivates them, etc.

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_pmf_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
> 5/ Just a normal bullshit intolerant guy

I assume this. The problem with bullshit is that big companies get away with it for years (decades, even) while in a startup, this leads to very short-term consequences.

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bottompair 1 day ago 0 replies      
To turn this the other direction, here's some perspective from a startup exec. This job requires constant compromise between doing what's right for the business, the investors, and the employees of the company. In my management experience I've found that I've always worked FOR my people, not the other way around. My days are full of battling it out with the CEO over a pay raise I know a good engineer deserves, or figuring out a way to provide additional stock option bonuses when more cash just isn't feasible. The majority of my time, however, is spent as keeper of the peace. People are tricky and all very different. Some have thick skins, others don't. I spend countless hours being a therapist and making sure everyone is able to work as close to peak performance as possible without killing each other. This involves a ton of moving parts.

In my last gig I managed five directors who all had their own teams under them. The juggling to make sure these folks were well taken care of and their teams were happy overall is tough. Things do fall through the cracks. A developer might have a big problem with a product manager. I might not hear about it until the developer has put in notice because my engineering director thought he/she could take care of it without me. That engineer more often than not probably thinks "hey, the CTO is ignorant and has no idea what's going on." I accept that as part of the job and understand I'll never have 100% view into everything thats happening. I accepted a long time ago that in some cases a member of my team might believe me to be incompetent. Comes with the territory.

On top of those duties, the overall company strategy and operational plan needs oversight and contributions from the executive management team. The amount of time spent talking about ideas and direction is enormous. By the time a pivot or major change has been decided on its generally been under discussion for several weeks, sometimes even months. The inputs and process for arriving at these decisions are a complex mix of research, customer conversations, cogs analysis, competitive analysis, M&A discussions, go to market strategy, pricing, technical feasibility, margin, etc. When the decision is finally ready to be communicated to the troops it can often cause confusion and the belief that these guys dont know what they are doing. While that may be true in some cases, Ive never been involved in one of these types of decisions that didn't have a lot of well thought-out reasons behind it.

This is only the first step. The way the best leaders separate themselves in this situation is their ability to communicate decisions and make everyone BELIEVE it is the right thing to do. In startups theres never a 100% clearly correct answer. Faith comes in more often than Id like to admit, and getting everyone to drink the Kool-aid is pretty damned important in terms of morale. The rightness or wrongness in the decision wont often be known until a year or more passes. If the decision causes the company to be successful the execs are looked at geniuses. If it fails they are incompetent idiots. Many of the factors that determine the outcome are out of the control of the executives. I guess thats life.My advice is always this: be self-aware about what you want. If you have a passion for a product or space and enjoy your work, try not to let the factors out of your control dictate your job satisfaction. If you are unhappy with decisions being made or company direction, put yourself in a position to have influence. Its easier than you might think.

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PakG1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Spend a few days reading www.randsinrepose.com. The guy does a really good job of explaining management to developers in a way that developers can finally understand and respect management (assuming the management is good).

http://randsinrepose.com/archives/category/management/http://randsinrepose.com/archives/

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ashleyw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds completely normal. You're joining ambitious companies who want to be the next billion dollar hit. But that kind of success isn't formulaic, it's extremely rare and 9/10 attempts will end up flailing around until they either make it by chance or ultimately die. The management each so dearly want the company they're part of to be a big success for their own sakes, they'll try anything and everything to make it happen when things are starting to look south. It isn't pretty.

This isn't unique to technology companies, it's human nature whenever there are high stakes in play. Don't worry about it, just get better at predicting it, and jump ship when necessary.

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peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are experiencing what I like to call "not my company" syndrome. When the company or management isn't making the decisions you want them to make, you get pissed off. You don't seem to internalize the fact that this is not your company, and you don't get the right to judge them. Instead, realize that it's your job to do the best you can with what you have and try to do good, but realizing that people are fallible and the company won't go in the direction you want or expect it to.

This is of course different than if the work environment is toxic or the work is dull, or something of that nature. There's no need for you to stick around at a job you hate. But if it's just management you're upset about, heh, I hate to break it to you, but every company's management sucks balls.

As an alternative, either become a team lead/manager/exec, or start your own company.

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ericedge 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Given your description, I wonder if perhaps you're burning out due to over-committing to your work. Caring about the work one does is laudable, but if it's the only thing one cares about, it will never completely satisfy, and a passion-then-quit cycle like you describe seems to be a familiar result.

There are plenty of suggestions online for ways to avoid burnout, but it seems like it's even harder to diagnose than prevent, and usually involves a lot of soul searching. I unfortunately don't have any good recommendations for either diagnosis or prevention, but it might be worth considering as a possibility.

If you're not familiar with the patterns of burnout, I found this article to be a good introduction: http://nymag.com/news/features/24757/

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eranation 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Is there any way I can find a boss I respect beyond a couple of years?

Yes, be your own boss. You sound like a smart person, who can be a tech co founder. Or you can find your boss from your pool of friends. Find someone you know for a few years that you think will be great to work with.

It doesn't have to be a YC 1 billion$ company that you build. Even doing freelance will give you more freedom. And you will have less attachment to a specific startup as it will be part of the expectation that you "see other people".

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kailuowang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finding a good Startup is hard, really hard. Just think about how a top VC works with startups. How many startups they vet, out of which how many they invest, and then out of which how many of them they even expect to succeed.

How long did it take you to find your next startup when you were looking?

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sailfast 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can definitely empathize. One thing you may try to do to figure out where you stand on the scale is ask for ownership of something and try running it - see if you can meet your own expectations of what a manager should be doing to be successful. If you can't, you may have your answer.

Sometimes expectations are too high, other times, you're just seeing the truth as it is, but it can be difficult to see the whole picture until you've actually got the responsibility. Next tough decision is whether to try and change the place because you like the project and it's too important to fail, or skip out because life's too short.

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hw 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a combination of 2 and 4. I've been in two startups that were working on things that aligned with my interests and things that I thought were pretty awesome. Then after the first year or two, due to the inability to acquire customers or the existing business model not working out, pivots happened, resources and people started getting moved into different teams and projects, and communication started breaking down between the execs, management, and engineers.

Then shit just hits the fan as people leave, sometimes taking others with them, as soon as they realise that things aren't going as well as the company would want them to believe. After all, a company isn't going to outright tell its employees that things are going to hell (until the very end at least). That'll just cause a bigger exodus of talent. So it's not uncommon in a failing startup that management starts BSing - it's all about retaining employees.

In the end I think when you join a startup you have to be realistic about its chances of succeeding. Not every startup's a rocketship. You're going to get bullshit, pivots, short sighted decisions (or indecisions) when things aren't going well.

My advice is to not be too emotionally attached to your job or go in with too high expectations. If you sense bullshit coming out from management, do some due diligence on the state of the company and leave if you must. After all, if you're not happy doing what you're doing, then it's not worth it. There's a ton of startups out there looking for talent, and I'm sure you'll be able to land another job.

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jfrisby 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who's spent some 17 years doing almost nothing but startups, allow me to add my $0.0296 ($0.02, adjusted for inflation1)

Some combination of #1, #4, and #6.

#6 is the one where you don't truly respect the process of management works (in much the same way we all get frustrated at managers who don't understand how the process of software engineering works), and are oblivious to the challenges and concerns involved.

This is an easy trap to fall into and most engineers I know have fallen into it at some point in their careers. Good management is often virtually invisible, but bad management sticks out like a sore thumb -- or so the conventional wisdom goes. Remember:

1. Management is a skill, just like coding. It's deep and complex and multi-faceted and you're only seeing the surface of it.2. In startups, many entrepreneurs are getting their first taste of a completely different world. It's a learning process even for an experienced manager/executive. Imagine being a career web developer and say, cutting over and doing 3D game development on a console system in C++ for the first time. Only it's not a hobbyist thing, it's your job and people are counting on you.2. Startups are not like normal environments. Inaction is usually worse than a bad action, because at least with a bad action you've learned something and narrowed the search space a bit.

You should EXPECT that in a startup, seeing management trip up and make "mistakes" will be a common, everyday occurrence. Oftentimes the right decision will look, externally, like the wrong decision. If you want a well-oiled machine in a well-understood problem domain, go work at Cisco.

Startups are about discovery. Product-market fit, paths of least resistance, etc.

I'm personally inclined to this form of myopia myself, so as a rule, I only work within my personal network at this point because I have a group of entrepreneurs, executive-level programmers, and so forth who I trust implicitly. I may not understand a given decision, and any given decision may be a mistake but I'm entirely comfortable leaving their domain in their hands while focusing on doing my best in my domain. I find it's less stressful, and more rewarding whether the venture succeeds or fails.

(1 - Yeah, I looked it up on WolframAlpha. I'm bored, what I can I say.)

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jusben1369 1 day ago 0 replies      
It strikes me that you can choose 2 out of 3. i) Work for a business where you find their business model/vision to be very compelling, ii) Work for an established company that will (largely) stay the course and not migrate away from that vision too dramatically over time so you don't become cynical/jaded iii) or work for an early stage startup and know change is inevitable.
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eli_gottlieb 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is just you, but it's not that you're crazy or incompetent or entitled. It's just that nothing ever feels as exciting after a year or two as it did at the start. You can't expect to realistically gauge your jobs on the basis of your novelty-excitement.
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sobes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Find a company that:

1. Isn't a "startup" anymore (by Steven Blank's definition of the term).

2. That's been founded by engineers (you might a better cultural fit).

3. That still has a fairly small workforce (so that your contributions still feel significant enough for you).

4. That's profitable, and self-funded (no pressure from investors who don't understand what the business is trying to do, only understand that they need to see +10x returns)

How carefully have you been choosing your jobs? I don't think you're being too demanding. However, you are being unrealistic if you're not vetting the startups that you're applying to.

That's just two cents from a dev who's been working at startups for the past 10+ years.

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joesmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
"I care more about the project than about the salary and benefits. I suppose that's the case for most of us."

No, it's not, and this is probably your mistake. As others have pointed out, most people at any company care more about things outside the company such as family, friends, side projects, hobbies, etc. In other words, they're only there for the money. You don't have to care about the money, but if you start caring about things outside the job, you'll realize you're only there for the money too. Find something outside of work and work won't matter so much. It's much easier said than done, but I can relate to having work as the only or main passion and it's a terrible condition. Also, if you're staying a year or two, it maybe just natural after that much time to lose interest or want to move on. Around three to five years, it's almost be expected in the software industry, especially if you don't want to move into management.

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ceekay 23 hours ago 0 replies      
None of the above. Seems like you've been picking early stage startups where this chaos is inevitable or growth stage startups with bad management.

Some tips if they're helpful:1. Find a growth stage series A or B funded startup with a product market fit where focus is now on scaling up. They are beginning to know what they are doing.

2. I give more weight to the team than the project or idea itself. Ideas change all the time. So its more important to work with great people. Find a place where you admire and like the people.

3. Voice your opinions. You're not working for a "manager", you're working for a "company". You should be open about what you think and feel. If that's not welcome, you're in the wrong place.

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ISeemToBeAVerb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you have to be comfortable with the nature of the industry you're working in. Startups are volatile beasts. One minute you're on top, the next you're picking up quarters off the floor trying to keep things afloat. I think what you're experiencing, more than anything, are the natural growing pains of being an early employee in a fledgling company.

I don't think you're deficient in any of the ways you list, but perhaps you are looking for a more stable work environment with a proven business model.

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allochthon 1 day ago 0 replies      
My experience has been nearly identical to yours. Although it is usually good to assume the problem is with oneself, I wouldn't do so in this case. It can be hard to find work in which the people making decisions are the ones who are adding value. And when people who are not adding value are making decisions, weird things can happen.
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maplebed 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a tech worker who is more focused on the back end than the visible product, I have found a very low correlation between my belief in the product and my satisfaction with the job. I find that my job is pretty much the same regardless of the actual product. This experience is likely different for people more directly involved in the actual product.

I get much higher signal to indicate whether I will enjoy a job from my coworkers and the culture of the company. If I am working with smart motivated people, I will be happy no matter what I'm working on. If I am in an environment where people are continually innovating and pushing the boundaries of the status quo in the field, I will be happy with my job.

This awareness leads to a very different typo of job search. It's easy to start a job search by thinking of a product you like then trying to see if you can work for that company. It's harder to think of a culture you want to join and then look for that.

I thankfully have not been employed by a company whose product I actively despise; I'm sure that would have a disastrous effect on my job satisfaction.

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the_watcher 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sounds like you are a great candidate to start something yourself, and implement all the things you remember about optimal management. Is there a reason you haven't tried to start something yourself (just to be clear, I'm assuming that as a developer, you have made enough money to pay off any unsecured debt, and have the option of freelancing for side income if necessary).
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Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's hard to screen out for these aspects, unless you're told up front that the company got too much work to do due to business development overselling.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could be like me and pick a company that looks good on all these aspects, but adds great stress due to having to catch up on work to meet deadlines due to being understaffed for too long.

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rmason 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're truly cursed. The only thing that you can ever do to achieve career happiness now is to do your own startup.

One of two things will happen, you will either succeed or your patience for the struggles of management will grow and you will be happier at the company you work for next.

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blinktink 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are a few things to consider:

First, management at a startup is inexperienced. Most of them are just a few years older than you and have never managed people before. They're still figuring out how to balance the realities of building a business with keeping the team happy and effective. It's a difficult balancing act, and I'm not sure you ever get it 100% right.

Second, the startup is probably struggling. Most startups fail, even if they've raised a ton of money or built a huge awesome team. Building a profitable and sustainable business is hard. You're experiencing that as seemingly irrational behavior from your boss. It's far more likely that management is doing that they think is best for the company than it is that they're trying to screw employees.

Third, the world needs good technical managers. It's a hard, often thankless job which eventually requires giving up being hands on with code. The tradeoff is that it multiplies your ability to make change in the world. If you think you could do a better job you should. Find a mentor and steer your career that way.

If that's not your path then work with your boss to keep you engaged. Come to him or her with ideas and solutions, not problems. I think you'll find most managers are receptive and will try to align things to keep you happy and healthy.

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Chromozon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ed Weissman's posts will be very interesting to you. He has worked for over 80 companies and has had similar experiences to what you described here. Read: hn.my/edw519
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jes5199 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Things make me miserable that other people are fine with. I change jobs every two years. It's just life.
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seventytwo 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's probably a honeymoon phase for the management as well. There's a reason why corporations have the structures and controls they do - they work at those levels. As a company grows, it will tend to gravitate towards those. Otherwise, if the company is struggling or failing, there may be some cognitive dissonance from management which gets translated into the bullshit doublespeak you're talking about.
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penguinlinux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've worked in all sort of places. There have been places where business used to make the wrong decisions, but the only thing that kept our team together was our manager. He defended us and took one of the team many times trying to shield us from the crazy decision made from above.

Once he left the company I left afterwards. I was loyal to him not to the company. He was my manager and I respected him and always wanted to do my best to make his life easier. I worked with him not against him. I didn't care about the business decisions as long as I got paid. We did great work but as always bad decisions can make or break a company. When I join a company I don't know what is going to happen 1 or two years but I can try to ask questions to my potential manager to see if we are going to be good fit or not.

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softatlas 1 day ago 0 replies      

    Life is a mess[0]:        Don't work.        Avoid telling the truth.        Be hated.        Love somebody.

[0]: http://interesting_posts.quora.com/Don%E2%80%99t-Work-Be-Hat...

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kenferry 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I specifically choose companies whose business I find appealing.

You might try prioritizing the people you work with rather than the business.

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yesimahuman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shit, that's why I became a founder! It's a lot easier to be consistently passionate about something that's yours over time. That's especially true in jobs that don't reward you for going above and beyond, which your own startup might very well do.
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levlandau 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds like what you want is to do is to limit yourself to a startup that's already in growth stage (so series A and above with a clear hockey stick present and future). Within this group of startups you want to find team and passion fit. Companies with good people that are already doing well tend to have less BS going on within them. It's obviously tough to get into such startups but you didn't ask for easy answers. [As for which categories i think you are...my suggestion implies 1) and 5)]
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napolux 1 day ago 0 replies      
6/ You should own your own business. :-)
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shanusmagnus 1 day ago 0 replies      
A job is a relationship. The fictions you get force-fed as part of growing up in Western civilization (not sure about other civilizations) about romantic relationships mislead in the same way.

Most notably, a relationship is different from years [2,4) than it is from year [0,2) and there's no way to make that not true. Maybe you really like the [0, 2) thing -- the excitement, the sense of possibility, the novelty -- and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's an important thing to know about yourself.

Of course, as with romantic relationships, you might find that as you get older it's harder to keep jumping from one [0, 2) gig to another, without facing consequences you might not like: reduced choice in jobs; reduced pay; getting a reputation as someone a company shouldn't invest in, etc.

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tokipin 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you haven't encountered people who are good at what they do ("animals", as PG might say). Probably just bad luck or not enough good luck, or something else.
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vladimirralev 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much stake do you have in these startups? It is a huge difference in perspective if you have 0, 10, 20, 50 %. It makes for a completely different experience. Like totally different, it's like a new job even if you are doing the same things.
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aniijbod 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you finding that you are getting better at asking the kinds of questions whose answers identify potential problems that would have otherwise only been apparent after you had accepted the job? It's just possible that this might be too much to ask, especially if the problems are sufficiently different every time. The answer to the 'is it me' question may quite possibly have less to do with your compatibility or suitability but may have more to do with 'diagnostic skill', in which case, perseverance may just pay off as you get better at it over time.
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saltyknuckles 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like building your own business is up your alley. You may be all of them except 3. It could be that you see yourself as a much better manager and you probably are. Try something small that you hear there is a need for and you might be able to find more fulfillment from that than job hopping. Business isn't for everyone but you can give it a shot.
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wmnwmn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I felt the same way at a company called RealNetworks, hence quit early and thereby missed out on substantial stock option wealth. For a startup to find a paying niche isn't easy. Managers promise this, promise that, in order to keep the game going. To thrive in that arena you just have to grow a thick skin and decide to enjoy being a jerk sometimes. Remember that startups aren't about pursuing a fun hobby project, although they can begin that way, but about realizing a big financial score. Even if some founders still talk like it's their hobby, that just isn't the way it works in a business which actually becomes a business.
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sebmarion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am founder and CTO of a growing startup (Comufy) and I very much see where you are coming from.

The truth is that managing people is hard. Every person is different and you need to understand the personality of each one of your staff and it is not easy. The way you communicate with each person is a reflexion of your understanding of their personality and sometimes you get it wrong.

Suppose that you just realised that despite your best efforts, what you have been working on for the past year will not sell. Your board is maxing pressure on you and you decide to explore a new avenue. You now need to communicate the news to your employees, without making them panic, and to try to get them onboard to your new vision. Well I can tell you it's hard, and it happens! It certainly happened to us more than I wished for. You are going to have to be a politician! You need to minimise the failure while painting a beautiful and bright future ahead, even though you don't know yet whether it will work. This is probably what you refer to as "Bullshit".

And then that's just managing people. Managing a company is so much more than this. You make a ridiculous amount of decisions daily, and some of them will not please everybody. And some of them you will come back on.

Finally, remember that your boss is human too, and if he appears to be an arse at times, it is probably because he learned over time that being the best friend of his staff is a very bad idea. When a staff member is not performing, you are going to have to fix this. And pushing a staff member to improve is a lot easier done if that staff member thinks of you as his boss, and not his mate!

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haenx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've learned to cherish my co-worker and let the boss do his bossy stuff as long as he didn't fight against the team.

Stand together with your co-workers as a team. I think thats more usefull and can balancing out the shity boss stuff.

Maybe one good boss under a million bosses will exist i think. If you can't find it, do it by yourself and be your own boss. But at least, there is no boss like the girlfriend||wife that waits for you at home! :D

Just some thoughts.

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yabatopia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't be too hard on yourself. You're probably just an intelligent guy with a good bullshit detector, but with midterm attention span. After a period of time, you need new impulses or challenges. That can cause some frictions in a business environment, especially as an employee dealing with incompetent management.

Maybe your not 100% employee material. How about a more independent career? Consulting is one possibility, starting your own company another, maybe a so-called lifestyle business?

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FlacidPhil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally, it's always been about trying to separate my frustrations with the company I'm working for, and frustrations with work. No matter what job you have, it's still a job and there will be things that you are unhappy about. The thing you need to figure out is whether those frustrations would be resolved by switching companies, or if they are frustrations that come no matter where you work. Sometimes the grass is damn green on the other side, but when you move over the same problems follow you.
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stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most founders are not exactly who they think they are. Some few succeed anyways out of luck. Even fewer succeed consistently because they have some insight at the level of first principles.
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coldtea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a normal bullshit intolerant guy. There's too much BS in a lot of startups. After all, that's why most fail.
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bananas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Definitely 5 and it's not specific to startups!
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smalldaddy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Luck plays a HUGE role. If the company is doing really well, rather than "limping along," then the environment is motivating in itself. I am ready to bet none of the places you have worked have been doing really well.

When the company is "average" then it is the management team (importantly your direct manager) that hold the keys to you being happy.

The question is, "Would a really good manager stick around at a company that is limping along?"

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antidaily 1 day ago 1 reply      
As if giving 100% for a couple years isn't enough? Don't feel bad about poor leadership from the top. Most startups fail even with good people giving their best efforts. Move on if you have better options. Until then, just make sure the checks cash.
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brianbarker 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sums up my career. We should grab a beer and bitch about work. That's what most of my colleagues do to cope.
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jevin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I think it's a mix of you being too demanding and the company not being sincere. Once the company honeymoon over, you're treated like any other guy no matter how hard you work.

Side note, I wrote a post about this: https://medium.com/maybe-its-fiction/5bac4f20203a

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kross 1 day ago 1 reply      
You are an entrepreneur that hasn't figured it out yet.
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neutralino1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe I should have mentioned I work in Europe (France). I guess it doesn't change any of your well laid out arguments but it was very refreshing to see how similar things are across the pond.Anyway, I quit today so I'm now up for hire (wink wink nudge nudge ;-).
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scope 1 day ago 0 replies      
you're NORMAL by my books

at least you lasted a year, i have quit TWO jobs (well paying i might add) - one in one day, the other in a week.

so, i got a job where i don't have to code shit [network and maintenance]

i stay in the coding scene [which i LOVE] by doing side projects and doing my OWN and OPEN projects [nothing beats the feeling of getting a PR on GitHub]

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ss1111 1 day ago 0 replies      
5. Humans will let you down.. bullshit occurs, its extremely frustrating. I've spent 10 years like you, trying to do the best I can for good companies but the good companies always turn to s* at some point.

The only sane option seems to be: be the boss yourself. Take a leading role somewhere where you can influence the running of the business, better yet start it yourself.

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jmnicolas 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only way to avoid all of what you describe is to work for yourself though you may still bullshit yourself ...
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icedchai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds normal. I suggest you lower your expectations and perhaps take on a more mercenary-like attitude.
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shitgoose 1 day ago 0 replies      
5.

You are the minority, so better adjust your attitude and take it like a man.

100
miles_matthias 1 day ago 0 replies      
I solved this problem by working somewhere that doesn't have managers. We all share the project management tasks for our client work.
101
michaelochurch 1 day ago 0 replies      
However, it seems after a year or two in the company, the honeymoon period ends and the only thing I can see is the bullshit coming out of management's mouth. Bogus business plans, inability to close deals, short-sighted decisions, petty management techniques, overly frequent pivots, you name it...

Those are signs that it's a good idea to move on. Yes, this is common. Sturgeon's Law: 90 Percent of Everything Is Crap.

For me, it tends to happen after 3-6 months. I'm pretty good at detecting bullshit and it's a curse because it's hard to be motivated when you lose faith in the people above.

Am I 1/ Bad at choosing my jobs, 2/ Too demanding towards the companies that hire me, 3/ Mentally unstable, 4/ Unrealistic, 5/ Just a normal bullshit intolerant guy ?

A mix of #1 and #5. Definitely not #3, if you can hold a job for 1-2 years. #2, #4 are what "they" want you to think. (Ever notice how the Boomer whining about Gen-X/Millennial entitlement sounds extremely entitled itself?) Those are subjective calls (over what is "too demanding") but I think that if you can hold your rage well enough to keep a job for 2 years, the problem isn't with you.

You'll get better at choosing jobs as you get older, because you learn the warning signs and get better at finding good people. Then you'll just talk to people you trust to get the true story of what's happening at a company.

Is there any way I can find a boss I respect beyond a couple of years?

Well, there's no 100% reliable way. You have to take risks on people just like they are taking risks on you. However, you get better at this over time.

102
arihantar 1 day ago 0 replies      
It only happens in dreamland :) option (4). In practical, its a human tendency that after some time either we get irritated by each other or we start finding flaws in any decision taken by the management or vice versa.
103
jbeja 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you are either 2 or 4 since i can relate to you and those options the most :p.
104
bhalp1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of these issues can be related to issues like depression in our field. This is a great watch on the topic: http://vimeo.com/72690223
105
bowlofpetunias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every new company goes through a period where the immaturity starts to hurt badly.

One common cause is that people who are good at starting companies are usually not very good at managing them internally, and especially bad at managing people. And they don't realize it because they are too busy being entrepreneurs in the hectic early phase of a company.

The good news is that sooner or later this changes, often by hiring experienced managers, because otherwise the company won't survive.

The bad news is that if often takes big incidents, painful confrontations and some of the best and most dedicated people walking out before the founders realize they suck at management.

Companies for whom this growth is a smooth ride are rare. But if you believe in company, believe in the integrity of the people leading it, it can be worth sticking it out.

The issues you bring up are normal for the stage the company is in. The problem is the way they are being managed internally, or rather mismanaged. The "bullshit" is just a misguided attempt at keeping up appearances. The focus of the bosses is on the business, not the company as a living organisation.

The only way to make it easier on yourself (besides completely avoiding start-ups and start working for mature companies) is to take control of the situation. Just put your foot down and tell your bosses "we're going to fix this now, and here's how".

Unless they have an ego the size of a planet or are extremely insecure (the two are often the same btw), your bosses will love you for taking part of the responsibility off their hands. When it comes to internal stuff, if you are confident enough to make them believe you know what you're doing (and hey, unlike them you've at least thought about it, and have some experience of how not to), they will even take orders from you.

Most start-up founders are utterly clueless about managing a company. Bitching about it won't help, and if you're not part of the solution but still want to work for start-ups, you're just as much part of the problem as they are.

106
piyush_soni 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your best bet is to start your own business. :)
107
acex 1 day ago 1 reply      
it might be the case of a developer who loves to build things more than to be pm. the 'symptoms' you describe are signs of your maturity as a person capable of leading a project.
108
trhtrhth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe you should stop working at startups.
109
julie1 1 day ago 0 replies      
most startups have bogus business plan: the recession is worldwide, and the web2.X gold rush is about selling productivity to startups (mainly).Like in the gold rush the one who are making actual money are not the one digging gold but the landlord selling the "startup ground" (incubators), and the companies selling the tools to dig. Secondly whatever they say no silver bullets appeared in the last 10 years: the mythical good developers with a productivity = 10x average (quantity & quality) are still a resource. They are scarce, I have met some, I don't belong to them. As a result, business plan relies for their costing on a resource that is very unpredictable. As a result companies relying too much on "new technologies" based their hiring policy on a brute force attack.

Wait, you tell me there are a lot of devs on the market? No, there are a lot of clueless young people on the market with a huge student loan that studied CS but that maybe the worst developer ever but have a strong incentive to get hired (cheat): they have to reimburse their loans before they sleep under the bridge.

So, brute force attack require to hire a lot of expensive broken arms. If I were a recruiter, I would never hire a student with a loan to refund that young I would prefer an autodidact that understand the basic of economy: don't spend money you don't have and don't be a sheep.

Lastly the money for startups even if QE is turning in all worldwide economies is not there!Central banks are printing bank notes like mad men (China, Japan, US, Europe...) but this money is directly used in stock options and the bank never landed that few money (or when they do the compound interests are just mad). And public and private debts are fucking high. The economy is on the brink of a bubble explosion for which new startup are responsible.

So there is no money to turn startup that don't master their costing/pricing in real companies. (no money available on the credit market)

Yes basically startups is a phony ecosystem.

My advice: have balls.

Go for companies that do not label them startups that seems unsexy, even with lower wages, and accept the job after you accept and understand their mission/business model.

Maybe helping family planning communicate better on their mission can be more satisfying in life than helping a delusive self made man have is first million before 25 based on a ponzi scheme (buying tools to startups that buys me tools without generating new products is a little mad, isn't it?).

110
marincounty 1 day ago 0 replies      
5
7
Whatever goes up, thats what we do dcurt.is
369 points by uptown  7 hours ago   145 comments top 46
1
steven2012 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is essentially what happened in my group when I was at Yahoo. Our group spent several months on a redesign that made it significantly more modern and easier to use. After it went live, though, this decreased the number of ad clicks by a significant number, and the people in charge hurriedly reverted all the changes back, since they needed to make their revenue numbers in order to make their bonus.

When you are stuck in a company that can't innovate because a shitty site leads to more money due to inertia, then you know you are on your way down. This leads to your best developers thinking "what the fuck did I waste all my time for?" and they will leave in no uncertain terms.

2
akamaka 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Nice theory, but I think Dustin's conclusions are wrong.

I got to use this alternative design on my second Facebook account that I used for app development, while my personal account didn't have it enabled. I really disliked like the new sidebar design. The concept was similar to what GMail has done lately, with text links replaced by only graphical icons. I found it really difficult to remember what each icon linked to, and I'd have to go through and hover over each icon one by one.

My theory (which I think has as much evidence to back it up as Dustin's) is that if the feed performed better in this design, it was because the poorly designed menu made it more difficult to navigate the rest of the site!

3
modeless 6 hours ago 7 replies      
This article makes one big unstated assumption: that users wanted the news feed to change. In fact, users didn't want the news feed to change. Users hate change. And when I say that I don't mean that users are stupid and hate good things. Users have good reasons for hating change that's forced on them: it reduces the value of their previous experience and requires extra time and effort on their part; effort that they'd rather be spending on things they actually care about.

Users didn't want the news feed to change, and the users were right.

4
programminggeek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'll give another way to look at it. Good design is by no means the same as optimal design. A lot of beautiful designs done by talented designers end up being worse than what was before. They might be prettier, but they are very likely worse by many conversion metrics.

Don't think of it in terms of pure design. Think of it in terms of cost. Everything has a cost and sometimes good design's real cost is in user behavior. Pageviews and time on site could go down because people aren't going through so many steps to get to what they want. There are a lot of metrics that aren't that useful without the context of the ultimate conversion numbers for your site/app/product/project.

Facebook and Google are advertising companies. The financial metric they care about is advertising revenue per user and number of users. It's not much different than a SAAS app in that way. Other metrics are important, but that is the metric that pays the bills.

A beautiful design that doesn't improve the core metrics is like a multi million dollar super bowl commercial that flops. Sure, it might be really cool and well produced, but if it doesn't sell your product, you might as well light that money on fire. The net effect is the same.

5
grey-area 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This really reminds me of the depressing way that Google optimised the blue colour of a button, while ignoring all other considerations:

http://stopdesign.com/archive/2009/03/20/goodbye-google.html

If you trust your metrics and nothing else, you have to be very sure that your metrics encompass every aspect of the reality you are modelling. If they just tell you about clicks and sales, they might be missing longer-term objectives like user satisfaction and retention.

6
dsjoerg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The core of Dustin's argument is that Facebook may not have been patient enough; they should have trusted in their beautiful new design and waited long enough for the benefits to bear fruit.

However, it's a cheap argument to make, because the Hard Thing is to decide how many months of crappy numbers are you going to withstand before you admit that your Beautiful New Design in fact isn't any good?

Six months? Two years?

And it's not just revenue you look at. How's overall engagement? Sharing rates? Communication? Discovery?

The article is a shallow snipe; the real issues here are hard, interesting, and unexplored by this piece.

7
swombat 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Of course, because money is the only criteria that is important to any business. There couldn't possibly be anything else, like a sense of mission or purpose, that could inform decisions.
8
notahacker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The alternate design isn't "performing too well" by not telling you which of your friends are online to chat with, like the current version does. It's just decluttering, and relegating that important function to one of many miniscule, unlabelled icons. It's not "performing too well" by rendering links in the same colour as body text, and making the search function look like a header: it's just making them subtly less obvious, which matters when your users are in the hundreds of millions and some of them really aren't that savvy. (Possibly it matters even more with casual users who are web-savvy, in that you're missing an opportunity to encourage them to search by prominently positioning the sort of medium white box that makes them think about searching)

Whatever is cleanest and most elegant is not necessarily the most user-friendly design, never mind the optimal design from the point of view of user engagement.

9
eldude 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the result of placing the burden of proof on vision and innovation. Companies optimize for local maxima at the expense of global maxima because proving that both the mountain exists in the distance and that you can reach it, turns out to be extremely difficult.

And so, in companies like Facebook and Google, it doesn't matter what you know, it only matters what you can prove. Meanwhile your competitors in the market are unburdened by the need for proof and shout down at you from the mountain in the distance when they arrive.

10
k-mcgrady 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A depressing thought but important especially if you are running a startup. It's ok for Facebook to take a hit like this and revert but if you spend 6 months at your startup redesigning your product and even though people like it your revenues suffer massively you might not even have time to test and revert back.
11
waterlesscloud 6 hours ago 2 replies      
What I take from this is that Dustin Curtis plays Farmville and is a member of a shadowy group named "secret group".

Actually, the question of the piece is a good one. It's really about what you're optimizing for. As every halfway decent manager knows, you get what you measure. Which means deciding what to measure is one of the most important decisions you can make.

So, in this case, do you measure user engagement time for individual sessions? Or is there some sort of "engagement longevity" which might show a better timeline keeps people visiting more often over a longer period of time?

The other possible approach would be to see what could be done to make events and profile pages more appealing to spend time on. There may not be a way to do that if the timeline satisfies people, but it would be worth investigating.

12
wpietri 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing that makes me really insane about this approach is how mindless it ends up being. If you're going to abdicate all responsibility to some set of metrics, it's the opposite of thinking. The numbers become a capitalist lullaby that switches everybody's brains off.

If you're going to work strictly by the short-term numbers, you might as well be the bubonic plague. "Good news! We're up 32% in London! Quarterly bonuses for all the fleas, and gift cards for the rats at the all-hands!"

13
ignostic 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> "We're blind." ... "Everything must be tested."

And your solution is to do LESS TESTING? We don't know what we're doing, so let's cut back on the amount of data we can use to inform our decisions?

> "We are slaves to the numbers. We dont operate around innovation. We only optimize."

I don't see why numbers should ever stop you from innovating. The difference between "innovating" and "optimizing" is just a difference of scale. You can make a huge change to your layout or site function and look at the numbers it the same way you'd look at a font and color change.

The quote above seems to say that people shouldn't make decisions based on numbers, and that's absurd for a company like Facebook. What should be the basis of their decisions then? Management's gut reaction? Whoever feels the strongest about a change wins?

Customer surveys and user metrics matter - both are often numbers. The real issue here isn't that Facebook uses numbers too much. If they made the wrong choice, it's because they put too much emphasis on the wrong numbers.

14
nedwin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Speaking of numbers going up, I'd love to hear how Svbtle is going these days.

Don't seem to hear much from the inside since the funding announcement over 12 months ago...

15
thisishugo 6 hours ago 3 replies      
It baffles me that businesses such as Facebook seem to be driven so heavily by the numbers. If I were the FB product manager given the choice between a News Feed that is pleasant to use, or one that at times feels actively user-hostile but provides better metrics, I would want to have the freedom to pick user happiness over the bottom line, in no small part because I would (I assume) be one of those users.

I can't help but feel that something has gone wrong when Facebook - or any company - will deliver its users a worse product for the sake of few more dollars.

16
dhawalhs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
FB could probably do an open graph search to figure out who gave him that information

"Friends of Drew Curtis who work at Facebook"

17
mikeg8 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If that quote at the end is accurate, that would be a very disappointing culture to be apart of.
18
jfoster 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a weakness of ad-supported business models. When users are buying or subscribing to a product, you want them to love it as much as possible so that they will always buy more. Ad-supported models untie the relationship between UX and revenue. In an ad-supported model, you do need users to like the product enough to keep coming back, but small decreases in utility that generate more impressions could be great for revenue.

The people at Facebook are extremely talented. It's a shame they're stuck with this business model. It would be awesome to see how good they could make Facebook if this wasn't tying them down.

19
loceng 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"We only optimize. We do what goes up." Deciding what you want to facilitate going up comes down to governance. If you want to give the user a shittier experience in order to earn more profits, then you can do that. But you leave yourself open to someone providing the better experience and losing them altogether.
20
pixelcort 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One fear I think about is choosing a good UI/UX for an MVP. Users might get used to it and it could be hard to significantly change it later on.
21
mcgwiz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook can afford not to provide an better user experience because it has no competition. Should Google Plus one day threaten Facebook's usage, Facebook may pull this design out of it's archives.

Until then, they will provide the minimal user experience that keeps them on top of the hill with as much ad inventory as possible.

22
calbear81 6 hours ago 0 replies      
... or that beauty doesn't necessarily convert better. We've seen this time and time again with sites like Craigslist and Ebay and recently 42Floors wrote about a similar experience when experimenting with radically different search result treatments.

I really do like the new treatment and I think they should have gone with this and figured out how to recover the revenue stream later. Given how much Facebook traffic is going to mobile instead of desktop, this wouldn't have a large impact over the long run.

23
cliveowen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook stopped innovating 4 years ago, it's become boring. I only use the Messenger app now.
24
mtgentry 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Zuck is brilliant at many things. But when someone says he's great at product, I raise an eyebrow. Seems to me they A/B tested their way to the top. FB today reminds me of Google 5 years ago. Their 41-shades-of-blue-testing days.

But Google learned to listen to more right-brain arguments so maybe FB can too.

25
imjk 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Brings new meaning to the adage, "What goes up, must come down."
26
dreamfactory2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If a better UX turns out to make less money I'd say the problem to be solved is with the monetisation, not the UX
27
tomphoolery 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I would have much preferred the proposed layout as seen in this photo. In fact, it is (almost scary) similar to the most recent Diaspora single-page view that was just rolled out no more than a year ago. We designed our single-page view to focus on content, and unlike Facebook, we don't care about ad revenue, so we don't have these problems. :)
28
apalmer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There are metrics and then their are metrics.If a new design causes the amount of money the company makes to go down... then its not a 'good' design by business standards.

And its more rational to say here are concrete numbers clearly affecting the bottomline vs well our 5 experts think this design is better so we are sticking with it.

29
pjaspers 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the RealNetworks [0] story a few weeks back.

[0] https://medium.com/launching-ux-launchpad/385ff833f9c8

30
tomasien 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't exactly right - optimizing the NewsFeed and eliminating exploration may be a more efficient UX in a way, but that doesn't mean it's better. I don't hear "reduced exploration" and think "that's way better". I'm not saying that's why FB made the decision, but Dustin doesn't know why they made it either. I'd have made the same decision as a UX focused CEO though is all I'm saying.
31
tinganho 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Durtis didn't the "left navigation" made that they browsed the feed more than other parts. I have never thought that the left navigation was any good. Since navigation navigation is a big part of UX and hiding it in the left is not good.
32
atmosx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not sure if there's any take-away from this article. There are too many assumptions.
33
mkbrody 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Culture is internal marketing. The numbers are what really matters.
34
hipaulshi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
which, like the FB employee said, is exactly, what a data-driven company should do to maximize profit. However, Dustin has a good point. CEO needs to make that very risky call if he vouched for the better design. The customer may or may not come. Short term loss is inevitable. One would need strong belief, again, needs to be backed by data, to make that call.
35
adw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The assumption here is that we know, because we're geniuses, what a good user experience looks like.

That's aggressive.

36
goshx 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook's new design is looking a lot like the very old Orkut's design.
37
_wesley_ 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny thing - FADC (one of Dustin's groups seen in the screenshot) is getting a ton of requests today.
38
xg15 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If we assume that the "UI design by metrics" approach actually works, I wonder, why would we need designers at all?

Shouldn't then the most rational choice be to start with a crude initial design an use a reinforcement learning algorithm to optimize it according to the metrics?

39
pbreit 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Making something easier to glance at doesn't necessarily mean it's better. I think a better design for something like Facebook is something that's more engaging. This isn't search.
40
elleferrer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
At the end of the day, data and numbers are powerful. They scream credibility. They shout, "you did your homework!" But they wont be as effective as they could be if you don't use them wisely.
41
higherpurpose 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems Facebook really is going through the Google phases, and they've always wanted to "be Google" anyway. Right now they're in the Google phase of 5-7 years or so ago, when Google was still doing everything by the numbers, even at the expense of UI and UX.

Just like Google of 5-7 years ago, they're also spreading their focus on many projects, and in a few years probably forgetting about them and ignoring them, if they don't turn into big cash cows for them almost immediately. Then expect Facebook to kill a lot of services, just like Google did.

42
abimaelmartell 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate the new design, the content row is really small, it looks ugly.
43
Soarez 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's ok as long as you're sure you're looking at the right numbers.
44
corresation 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This sounds contrived. Being the skeptical sort we should all be, there is no reason to believe the sources (if you believe they exist) regarding supposed cynical reasons they didn't proceed with a considered UI.

Maybe Facebook found that people really actually liked the other variant better? Or maybe they were just ambivalent about it, and if we've learned anything about widely deployed social media sites, it's that you need a really, really good reason to change things.

And to add just a bit more on the "contrived" notion: My Facebook feed looks very similar to the first page, with big, colourful pictures dominating my news food. If my network had people posting short twitter-like missives, I suppose it would look like that. Outside of trivial CSS differences, the only real variation is that I don't have the confusing iconography down the left, instead using that massive area of white space for descriptive text.

45
dudus 6 hours ago 0 replies      
[citation needed]
46
yyyooolll 2 hours ago 0 replies      
who honestly gives a fuck what you think? waste of everybody's time. am I right, am I right?
8
Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death newscientist.com
356 points by Torgo  1 day ago   135 comments top 17
1
Shinkei 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Well this is unfortunate... I came to this thread way too late and I doubt people will see my post. I am a physician and I know a lot about hypothermia and its uses in medicine. Oh boy, where to start...

First of all, death is a really nebulous concept when you understand physiology at the cellular level. We still do not know the signs that represent irreversible death at the organismal level. The heart can be restarted, consciousness can be lost and restored (coma, concussion), and even the entire cardiovascular system can be bypassed in emergency situations (Google: ECMO). I mean, we accept that decapitation is a non-survivable condition, but is that person dead at 10 seconds? 1 minute? 10 minutes? What if they could be revived in body, but their cognition/personality information was all lost... are they alive? It's really controversial and hard to define. So instead we make definitions of cardiovascular death and brain death so that we can make laws and regulations regarding the issue. But scientifically? Yeah, good luck with that.

Now accepting that there is no 'on/off' switch of life and death, we must come up with ways to preserve to most 'at risk' parts of the body to preserve life. In this case, the brain. 5-10 minutes tops without oxygen and you are death for all intents and purposes--an exception (which they kept forgetting to mention in the article) is that you aren't dead until you are 'warm and dead.' There are plenty of cases of hypothermic 'dead' that could be rewarmed and they 'come back.' Are they intact? Absolutely not! Most of them suffer short term memory loss and spastic muscle issues (the most susceptible cells to anoxic injury are namely the hippocampus and purkinje cells in the cerebellum--both of which would be expected to cause these symptoms if injured). Using rats and pigs to model recovery in hypothermia (which has been done as far back as the 80s) is misleading because you can do things to them that you can't do to humans. Namely, subject them to high-risk, experimental procedures without their consent. This is an unusual study because they WILL be doing just that--bypassing consent to give these people presumably the only chance they have to survive. In past studies of hypothermia, people could not be consented fast enough or they couldn't be cooled fast enough (an entirely different discussion). The key is the immediate cooling. If you can get their temperature low enough, quickly... you can preserve almost all brain function. Again, we know this from cases of frozen lake drownings, hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass, etc.

So, yes... this trial is promising... but I am afraid that it will be difficult to do it right. The fact is that getting central arterial access to 'replace their blood and cool them' is not as easy as it's made out to be. Plus, if they have that much blood loss... those injuries need to be repaired and that same fluid being pushed through those injured vessels, is now just pouring out of those same injuries. Yes, it may work in some cases... but overall, traumatic injury is a very heterogeneous group.

In the group that they describe who will receive this experimental treatment, I fear that they will have already had too much ischemic time--too much time without significant blood pressure. High-quality CPR is rare in the field, and even in the hospital can be sometimes missing. Assuming they have been getting 'good' CPR for the 10-15 minutes the ER team spent attempting to resuscitate them, there is still a good chance that their brain was not being perfused.

IMHO, this trial will unfortunately not give positive results. The science works in principle, but not in practice.

That being said, the 'holy grail' would be a drug/chemical that could slow cellular metabolism. Emergency responders could inject this at the point of triage and then hold them in 'stasis.' One day, we will definitely have this... but there are no good compounds in the pipeline to my knowledge.

EDIT: I think I gave the false impression that I don't support the study. Actually, I DO! I was just speaking about the existing human studies that are out there. I think it is both ethical and important that we continue to investigate these interventions.

2
jbattle 1 day ago 6 replies      
> At this point they will have no blood in their body, no breathing, and no brain activity. They will be clinically dead.

Is this right? That seems to imply that brain activity can be restarted from a cold, "electrically" inactive mass of grey matter. I thought brain dead was dead and there was no coming back from that.

Is the article accurate? If so, does the ability to restart the mind from an inert brain tell us something important about how thought and consciousness works?

3
ekianjo 1 day ago 6 replies      
There are other ways to do suspension as well. Certain gases are known to have the very same effect (induce clinical death, slow down your body metabolism) and the body can be restarted when oxygen is pumped in forcefully again.

Alas with the extremely slow state of regulatory changes, many people that could be already saved nowadays using these techniques are just ending up dead.

4
hawkharris 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why are the researchers focusing only on knife wound and gun shot victims? I understand that those injuries are particularly sudden and severe, but so are many of the injuries associated with automobile accidents, which occur more frequently.

Of course, they need to introduce this technology in a small, focused way, but it would seem more logical to use a patient's physical condition as the deciding factor rather than his or her exposure to two specific crimes.

5
olalonde 1 day ago 3 replies      
If this works, could it give some credibility to cryonics?
6
mdonahoe 1 day ago 0 replies      
link to the study:

http://www.ccm.pitt.edu/research/projects/epr-cat-emergency-...

"[T]est the feasibility of rapidly inducing profound hypothermia ... with an aortic flush in trauma victims"

7
barlescabbage 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I emailed my best friend's dad who is a retired ER doc and Harvard grad, this was his response...

"We already do this with CPR survivors. It is not clear that it is helpful.It is logical, but as you know logic is the great deceiver."

8
tdaltonc 1 day ago 4 replies      
If the goal is just to get the patient cold why not use ice cold blood? Why use saline?

You could even use a cardiopulmonary bypass to rapidly cool a patients own blood.

9
DanielBMarkham 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember reading about this research in pigs many years ago and over the years I kept wondering "what's going on with this?"

If they can make this work only in a statistical sense, reviving more people than would have died otherwise, it'll lead to even more research. My firm belief is that this is one of those things that the more we do, the more we'll be able to do. It wouldn't surprise me to see people being "dead" for 4-16 hours then brought back to life -- assuming a decade or two of research.

At that point, all kinds of weird things become possible, like head transplants, or people who have lost their body from the navel down being saved.

Very cool stuff.

10
logfromblammo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Science fiction is becoming medical practice. In Lois Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books, the main character is killed by a grenade to the chest. The emergency medical procedure was to dump the lower-ranking dead body already in the portable body freezer, exsanguinate the corpse by opening the carotid arteries, and pump the circulatory system full of "cryoprotectant fluid". The body is then frozen. Replacement parts are grown from the corpse's own tissues, which are surgically implanted when the body is thawed in a fully equipped, state-of-the-art medical facility.

In the context of the fiction, the procedure was imperfect, and is not without side effects. The frozen dead people often fail to revive. The main character, for instance, was left with a debilitating seizure disorder for the remainder of his life, something that was eventually treated by a neurological pacemaker implant.

Based on existing studies and technology, the fiction is a very plausible future technology. Between stem cells, volume printers, and extracellular matrix, autologous donor organ replacement seems possible. Hibernating amphibian studies tend to indicate that a blood replacement containing glycerine, perfluorodecalin, raffinose, glycogen, and drugs would help minimize human tissue damage from the freezing and thawing process. It would be an emulsion, and would probably superficially resemble the android blood from the Alien movies.

The only question, really, is whether the person that wakes up after surgery is the same person that "died" beforehand. Is it really saving someone's life, or is it just replacing them with a simulacrum that has their memories? And that question hardly matters at all.

11
BehindScenes 1 day ago 0 replies      
There we go, soon will see zombies like in walking dead if something goes wrong.
12
bicknergseng 1 day ago 2 replies      
I haven't seen that many pop up ads since 2003.
13
b6fan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does this mean people live in Autarctica could live longer but think slower?
14
Unai 1 day ago 0 replies      
> "We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction," says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who is leading the trial. "So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation."

Because that doesn't sound like science fiction at all...

15
whitehat2k9 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the human body is anything like the first generation of ACPI this is not going to end well for the patients :P
16
j2kun 1 day ago 2 replies      
Replacing all of someone's blood with anything is extremely scary-sounding.

Also, now I can't help but imagine replacing all of someone's blood with things like jello and cream cheese.

17
downer76 1 day ago 0 replies      
even a tl;dr is long, but worth reading:

  The technique involves replacing all of a patient's   blood with a cold saline solution.   The technique was first demonstrated in pigs in 2002 by   Hasan Alam at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann   Arbor, and his colleagues.  Their blood was drained and replaced by either a cold   potassium or saline solution, rapidly cooling the body   to around 10 C. After the injuries were treated, the   animals were gradually warmed up as the solution was   replaced with blood.  Surgeons are now on call at the UPMC Presbyterian   Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to perform the   operation. Because the trial will happen during a   medical emergency, neither the patient nor their family   can give consent. A final meeting this week will ensure   that a team of doctors is fully prepared to try it. Then   all they have to do is wait for the right patient to   arrive. When this happens, every member of Tisherman's   team will be paged.  The technique will be tested on 10 people, and the   outcome compared with another 10 who met the criteria   but who weren't treated this way because the team wasn't   on hand. The technique will be refined then tested on   another 10, says Tisherman, until there are enough   results to analyse.  "...we don't like to call it suspended animation because    it sounds like science fiction..."   says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who is   leading the trial.  "After we did those experiments, the definition of 'dead'   changed, Every day at work I declare people dead. They    have no signs of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity.    I sign a piece of paper knowing in my heart that they    are not actually dead. I could, right then and there,    suspend them. But I have to put them in a body bag.    It's frustrating to know there's a solution."  says surgeon Peter Rhee at the University of Arizona in   Tucson, who helped develop the technique.
The suspense is KILLING me!</pun>

9
Google Announces Massive Price Drops for Cloud Computing Services, Storage googlecloudplatform.blogspot.com
353 points by westonh  2 days ago   211 comments top 31
1
bcantrill 2 days ago 20 replies      
Full disclosure: I work for a competitor to both GCE and AWS.

tl;dr: Until the fundamental issue of trust is addressed, customers will applaud the price drops only because they look forward to AWS responding in kind, not because they plan to actually deploy on GCE.

In my experience, GCE has not been a factor in the public cloud market to date. They seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding in that they (apparently) believe their problem in the market is price when it's actually something much more basic: trust. After the abrupt deaths of services like Google Reader and Wave and surprises like the GAE repricing nightmare, customers simply don't trust that Google won't wake up one morning and decide that self-driving cars are actually a lot more interesting than running infrastructure-as-a-service -- and announce the death (or repricing) of GCE. AWS, by contrast, generates no such doubts: one can say what one will about Amazon (and there are certainly many reasons why I believe the future is not AWS's alone), but AWS services do not have a trust issue. (Or, to recast it in the aphorism once said of previous giants like IBM and Microsoft, no one gets fired for deploying on AWS.)

It will be interesting to watch the GCE announcement unfold, but previous Google announcements have lacked a critical ingredient: IaaS customers. (Amazingly, journalists don't seem to notice or demand this; smaller companies can't get away with this, but the aura of Google seems to give them a free pass.) If Google wants to really compete in this space, they should pull across a marquis commercial AWS IaaS customer -- at any cost. In doing this, they would probably learn both how profound the trust issue is -- and at the same time learn any remaining technical hurdles that they need to clear to really compete with AWS. There are several high profile AWS customers to pick from, but the obvious customer to start with is Netflix: they care about GCE's putative differentiators of price and performance -- and Amazon is a mortal threat to Netflix as a competitor, which should give some boardroom-level urgency to the discussion. Until Google gets Netflix (or an equivalent) on GCE, I don't think that the price drops will move the needle because they don't address the fundamental issue of trust. (Indeed, one could make the argument that they exacerbate it: if GCE is a money loser for Google, the feared slaying of GCE may actually be more likely, not less.)

Finally, if GCE can't get a marquis AWS IaaS customer, how about just a marquis Google customer? Knowing that new Google services are being deployed exclusively on GCE (by executive fiat if needed) may itself go a long way to make Google much more competitive in the space by knowing that GCE at least has the trust of Google, even if no one else...

2
mjibson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run goread (http://goread.io) on App Engine. Doing the math by hand, I'll get a 25% reduction in costs. This comes from cost reduction of instance hours and datastore writes, and free SSL and datastore small ops. I didn't get the advertised 30% because my largest single cost is datastore storage, which didn't drop. I'm happy with how this all went.

I saw another comment asking about app engine pricing. It is priced based on many different usages: instance hours (where instances are automatically added and removed by app engine itself), writes, reads, and storage to their NoSQL datastore (far and away its best feature, which no other provider in the world offers). They charged small amounts for other things, too. I was paying $9/month for SSL and other small one-offs. This new pricing basically eliminated all the other one-offs, making them free. It reduced the number of kinds of things that are billed. Before the datastore had 3 pricing tiers depending on the operation. They made the cheapest free and the other two the same price (reducing the price of the more expensive). Overall things got much simpler and cheaper.

3
blantonl 2 days ago 5 replies      
The Google Storage pricing of $0.026/GB (or $0.020/GB for reduced durability) made my jaw drop.

I spend over $6k/month on Amazon S3, and this pricing from Google has me flabbergasted. Our architecture just uses S3 as a pluggable commodity, so a few hours of coding is going to result in a new $4000/month in savings from this announcement. Wow!

Edit: misplaced decimal!

4
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Its an interesting choice of battlegrounds. I find the infrastructure vs infrastructure wars fascinating by how Google and Amazon invested in them for their own businesses and are now productizing the 'remainders' and getting less and less for it.
5
boundlessdreamz 2 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone planning to use google cloud storage as an s3/cloudfront alternative to host public content, pay close attention to request pricing. Retrieving an object through its HTTP url is considered a class B XML request type by Google Cloud Storage. That is 1.3x - 2.5x times more expensive than cloudfront and s3 respectively.
6
agwa 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone here have experience using Google's compute engine? In particular, I'm curious to know what the reliability is like, and how performant the storage is.
7
hatred 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh Boy ! This is quite a steep decrease.. So if I am reading it reading right, this makes S3 ~300 percent more expensive ( 2.6 vs 8.5 ).

Sounded more like a April 1 hoax ad to me at first ( too good to be true ). It will be also interesting to see how much this drives down S3 prices.

8
sazpaz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been wanting to build a quick side project for a couple weeks, so decided to give it a try today and put it up in App Engine instead of heroku.

Put simply, App Engine has a higher learning curve. I remember using heroku for the first time a couple years ago, and it was smooth and seamless. Can't say the same about App Engine. Installation isn't a blink, docs are scattered around, and even a simple Flask app isn't straightforward.

I understand they might offer more features, better prices, so side-projects are unlikely their target audience, but nevertheless if they want developers love, it should "just work".

9
bananas 2 days ago 0 replies      
This should drive Azure pricing down as well which is good for those of us using it!
10
bdcravens 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice - it looks like for the Compute Engine, you essentially get "AWS Reserved Instance"-like pricing without requiring an up-front payment.
11
nickconfer 2 days ago 0 replies      
My startup is probably going to use Google storage at this point. We are hosting video that only gets accessed a couple times, but needs to be available for 1 year, so the reduced storage cost is going to be big for us.
12
westonh 2 days ago 4 replies      
From @clstokes

With todays Google Cloud price cuts:- an n1-standard-1 on #GCE is $ $35.38/month- an m3.medium on #AWS is $82.72/month

13
copergi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has there been any talk of getting some of the holes in google's cloud offering filled? I would switch to google in a heart beat but I am using route53, SQS, cloudfront, glacier and VPC. That is a lot to be giving up. I also didn't see anything about any sort of health/service checking/alerting support, but I probably just missed it.
14
mark_l_watson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to see support for both their free git private repo's and github.

There are probably use cases of just using free Google private repo's that might take some business away from github.

15
simon_ 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is this partially an attempt to throw a wrench in the gears of the Box IPO? If there's going to be a price war anyway, better to start it now and prevent a competitor from amassing a big war chest.

I don't understand how much Box is a (potential) competitor in this market, so could be way off base.

16
ballard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google is about 2 years too late. Many startups switched to AWS in droves and never looked back. The failure is that Google would have to give away GAE, GCE and friends in order for folks to switch because the work to change stack tooling would be very costly.
17
hkh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did the comparison with AWS On-Demand and RIs, and I have to admit, very impressive! Here is the blog: http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-cost-analysis/google-sl...
18
jrnkntl 2 days ago 4 replies      
"Prices are effective April 1, 2014". Unfortunate date for such unbelievable price drops.
19
mark_l_watson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't see the automatic price reduction for AppEngine. Did I just miss that?
20
ycaspirant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does Google Drive support symlinks (symbolic links) on OS X like Dropbox does? If so, I will immediately stop using Dropbox and switch to Google Drive, because it's now five times cheaper than Dropbox.
21
drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news for all cloud platforms and product development, amazon, azure and now google, repeat.

Don't you which there were multiple broadband providers like this that could continue commoditizing bandwidth rather than trying to limit supply?

22
asb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now if only Google would announce spot pricing for the cloud compute instances much like EC2 has...
23
asharpe 2 days ago 1 reply      
If and when AWS responds will be quite interesting. GCE launched with lockstep product offering and pricing with AWS. This is the first real movement away from that lockstep position. On one hand it is competitive, on the other hand does it speak to other underlying issues: maybe GCE uptake has not been as expected and needs to do something drastic to compete with AWS?
24
sudhirj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does the managed VM feature mean we can finally run any language / framework on it?
25
imthatguyama 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. I'd drop AWS like it's hot if I was Dropbox.
26
suyash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain the "App Engine Pricing" in layman terms?
27
eie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope there's comparison chart for cost per computation/memory of cloud services, based on benchmarking.
28
geekbri 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm the only one but the lack of ability for me to use GCE for a personal server to become familiar with the service is a huge deal.

AWS offers a free tier. This let me play with AWS on my own time gratis. I think GCE needs this... unless they have it and I'm just not aware.

29
frade33 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is where, Google should keep focusing than going after and pursuing things which other people can do better. I meant I am a die-hard Apple fanboi, But If they launch a search engine, I am definitely not gonna switch at once.

Google is essentially a web-services company a SaaS at its best. Stay focused on these services, and keeping bringing awesome things like this.

PS: I'd love if they would drop Google apps pricing too ($5/user). Please Larry/Brin? and let's put a final nail into office coffin.

30
BaconJuice 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can you deploy and host websites like Microsoft Azure on this?
31
jgalt212 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Larry,

Thanks for crapping on my IPO plans.

-Aaron

10
What it's like to use Haskell imvu.com
351 points by tikhonj  1 day ago   300 comments top 12
1
exDM69 1 day ago 4 replies      
Thanks especially for the "Not All Sunshine and Rainbows" section. It is all too easy to write about the positive things and leave the negative parts out.

Resource leaks in Haskell perhaps a bit trickier to track than in other languages and I would appreciate hearing more about the issue you were experiencing and how you solved the problem. In many blog posts there have been warnings against long running Haskell processes but you guys seem to have fairly successful with it.

Also, the problems you were experiencing with Cabal might be fixed in newer versions with the sandboxes feature which is now built-in with later versions of Cabal.

2
pron 1 day ago 21 replies      
Switching a programming language is a major decision for a company. It requires changing the runtime library and possibly re-writing a lot of in-house infrastructure. While personal affinity to a language is important, making a decision for a company might have substantial business consequences.

For a company, overall language adoption, availability of libraries, tools and talent (and I'm not talking about training someone to be productive; sooner or later you need real experts and training an expert is expensive in any language) are extremely important. That's why when choosing between two languages, assuming both are well suited to the job at hand, a company should always pick the one with the wider adoption unless the other is so significantly "better" to trump lesser adoption. And the smaller the adoption, the "better" the language needs to be.

There's no doubt Haskell is an excellent programming language. I'm learning it and enjoying it. But because it has such low adoption rates, it needs to provide benefits that are orders of magnitude higher than other, more popular languages. I guess that for some very particular use cases it does, but I just can't see it in the vast majority of cases.

Hobbyists can afford playing with different languages, and can (and perhaps should) jump from one to the next. Companies can't (or most certainly shouldn't, unless for toy projects); they should pick (wisely) a popular language that's right for them, and just stick with it.

BTW, I think that if a company does want to try a good, though not-so-popular language, it should pick a JVM language, as the interoperability among JVM languages, and the availability of libraries that can be shared among the popular and less-so JVM languages, reduces much of the risk.

3
amirmc 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's good to hear stories about how FP is being used in industry and I'd like to read more.

For those who have an interest in this, I recommend the Commercial Users of Functional Programming workshop (http://cufp.org). It's where I first heard about Facebook's use of OCaml to create Hack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKWNjFagR9k)

4
Pxtl 1 day ago 3 replies      
Wait, IMVU? As in those terrible banner-ads with the Bratz-dolls-looking avatars? They use Haskell under the hood?

Seriously, this is like finding out that McDonalds' restaurants are powered by nuclear fusion.

Although this does make me very curious about learning Haskell - I've been pretty stagnant about learning new languages.

5
noelwelsh 1 day ago 3 replies      
I can't like this post enough. It affirms everything I believe to be true about developing software using modern languages. I wish more developers would invest more time in learning better tools.
6
kristianp 1 day ago 2 replies      
It always surprises me to see these imvu.com posts on HN. They are often insightful and interesting, but when you see the website you wonder who pays money for this. Do they sell virtual goods for their own virtual world, similar to secondlife?
7
Kiro 1 day ago 8 replies      
The problem I had with Haskell when trying it out was that every time I wanted to use a package with dependencies I ran into "cabal: Error: some packages failed to install. The exception was: ExitFailure 1.". The solution was most often trying earlier versions of the package until it worked or not use the package at all. Cabal just seemed so broken.
8
iaskwhy 1 day ago 9 replies      
I didn't know what Haskell code looked like so I went to the official website and there was this code example[1]:

qsort (p:xs) = qsort [x | x<-xs, x<p] ++ [p] ++ qsort [x | x<-xs, x>=p]

Is this a good example of good Haskell code?

[1] http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Introduction#Brevity

9
hyperpape 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm curious about the claim that it only takes a few days to get people productive working in Haskell. I like the language a lot, but learning it has definitely been slow compared to any other language I've learned. It just seems like there are a lot of changes to how you think.

Is this a feature of the way your code is structured that simplifies what people have to understand about the language before they can contribute?

10
AnimalMuppet 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I wouldnt write an OS kernel in it, but Haskell is way better than PHP as a systems language.

What's the definition of "systems language"? If PHP could even remotely be considered an option, the definition is clearly not what I think it is...

11
auvrw 1 day ago 3 replies      
i'd like to hear more about employers' perspectives on hiring for "an uncommon language without a comparatively sparse industrial track record." there was some debate about it in the clojure 1.6 release announcement. the author of the article didn't find it to be a problem, but then he was apparently only hiring one person.

good post, Tikhon!

12
csense 1 day ago 5 replies      
Haskell is a terrible choice for a production system.

I know well over a dozen programming languages. I have a stronger theoretical background in mathematics, computer science, and compiler design than most web developers. But Haskell has always been utterly mystifying to me.

I've attempted to learn Haskell several times, and I've had monads explained to me several times right here on HN -- but I simply don't seem to be able to wrap my mind around the concept.

To be sure, if I had a year or so to devote to studying the theory behind Haskell's type system, I might indeed become more productive writing web applications in Haskell. And I don't doubt that there are certain problems in logic programming or language theory for which Haskell provides useful concepts and powerful tools, to the point where the solutions to important problems may have trivial implementations.

I've always thought that a major problem with Haskell for web development is: (A) You'll have difficulty finding people who both know Haskell and are interested in web applications, and (B) you'll have difficulty training web developers in Haskell. The author of the article apparently has a training process that gets around (B), and I'd kind of like to know what it is -- a way to learn Haskell without a ton of study.

11
Amazon S3 Pricing Changes Effective April 1, 2014 amazon.com
314 points by tluthra  1 day ago   179 comments top 28
1
callmeed 1 day ago 5 replies      
It would be interesting to go back through the Everpix post mortem docs[1] and see if a big price swing like this could have put them in the black (or close to it).

[1] https://github.com/everpix/Everpix-Intelligence

2
thomaslangston 1 day ago 6 replies      
My concern is what it always been for AWS, no first party support for limiting my bill. The best effort from AWS is just an email notification when they "think" my bill is over a limit. If I can't limit my risk to a surprise bill of thousands of dollars after missing a midnight email, I still can't use their service at any usage based price other than free.
3
thatthatis 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an AWS consumer, I'd like to thank google's cloud team for making this announcement in early 2014 possible.
4
mkempe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Key quote: "We are lowering S3 storage prices by 36% to 65%, effective April 1st, 2014."

http://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/

5
programminggeek 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nothing should ever be announced or "effective" April 1.
6
damon_c 1 day ago 5 replies      
This must be an incredible benefit to companies like Imgur or Dropbox where a significant portion of their costs must be S3 storage.
7
TillE 1 day ago 8 replies      
Storage is cheap, but data transfer out is still $0.12/GB, over 10x more expensive than other options.
8
mkempe 1 day ago 2 replies      
Given costs of storage and data center operations, what's the lowest, commoditization-bound on standard Amazon S3 prices? Now they're reducing to a narrow $27.50-30.00/TB-month, from the current $43-85/TB-month.

I've seen Internet Archive and Backblaze estimates that indicate $60-100/TB-storage installation and $7/TB-year in power. If drives last 5 years, we could expect a commodity cloud-storage price around $20/TB-year? One order of magnitude to go.

9
neya 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it reasonable to expect Paas service providers like Heroku and Engineyard also to cut their prices, or is it asking for too much? On one end, it seems logical to me because their services are built on top of AWS for the most part, on the other, I am not sure if this might happen since their selling point is not the Infrastructure underneath, but rather the convenience and ease of getting something up and running. I guess we'll just have to wait and watch.
10
tedchs 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to propose a new rule for Hacker News: only if you have built the thing you're saying someone should save money by building themselves, may you say the person should build that thing.
11
IgorPartola 1 day ago 5 replies      
This almost brings it down to where I can start backing things up onto S3. Currently my home NAS houses just under 500 GB's of stuff. My requirements to back this up offsite would be (1) full encryption of each file and filename using a key only I hold and (2) reasonable per-month price to where I cannot justify just buying another box with a bunch of drives and sticking them at a friend's house.

I believe I can solve the former with S3, though I still don't know of a turnkey solution. The latter is not quite there but this update brings it a lot closer. At this point it would cost me $15/month or $180/year. That's not terrible, but for that price I can easily have two 2TB WD Red drives. The box to house them would cost just a bit more since I need no horsepower, but just enough to run ZFS.

Glacier is a more attractive option, but the fact that the price is so complex when transferring data out of it, I'd be looking at taking months to restore everything just to not pay to dollar for it.

12
frade33 1 day ago 2 replies      
Much expected after the GDrive prices got slashed.

Currently I am only using S3 for hosting PDF or other big size files which are downloadable by the public, since the bandwidth is pay-as-go.

However for regular storage, Dropbox/GDrive are still the primary choice, due to the fact, the data sync across devices, speaking of sync, what is holding Amazon back from a similar app for S3?

13
aalpbalkan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now for those without context, that was to match Google Cloud Platform's aggressive offering they announced just yesterday. Now it's Windows Azure's turn I guess.
14
Goranek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Waiting for Azure response, should be any minute now i suppose.
15
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Same date as Google's cloud storage price changes.
16
jpeg_hero 1 day ago 1 reply      
nice to see that "GovCloud" is 4x more expensive

http://aws.amazon.com/govcloud-us/pricing/s3/

the $12,000 hammer reinvented!!

17
8_hours_ago 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope this causes services such as Tarsnap to reduce their prices. Doing a full off-site backup, including pictures, is still pricey.
18
pkrumins 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I reading this right that the new pricing is going to be 3 cents per GB and the old pricing was 8.5 cents per GB? 2.8x drop in price! Wow!
19
mkempe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glacier storage cost isn't changing, just adding one decimal (extra zero).
20
hatred 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's pretty interesting that there have been no update to the Glacier prices as of yet. I wonder what could a fair point price be ~ 1 cent per TB ?
21
patrickxb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wish the cost for PUT requests would drop.
22
rpedela 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope these AWS pricing changes are not an early April Fool's joke. The S3 pricing in particular will be cheaper than the current pricing for the > 5000 TB tier.
23
marktolson 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is amazing news. I have a image gallery site with ~500,000 images. It currently costs me $39 a month and now I'll get to spend even less, no idea how they do it.
24
volune 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks Google!
25
mikelbring 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it just the cost of storage that dropped? Bandwidth is still a major burden.
26
MCarusi 1 day ago 0 replies      
We picked a good time to start using AWS! Nothing but positive things so far.
27
atopuzov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now I know why the soap in the toilets is not getting refiled.
28
vlucas 1 day ago 1 reply      
April fools!
12
IRS Says Bitcoin Is Property bloomberg.com
313 points by rbc  2 days ago   303 comments top 43
1
patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
Somebody in the Bitcoin ecosystem would get a lot of attention if they published an authoritative number for the average Bitcoin price in 2013, which would likely suffice for most taxpayers' needs for a reasonable and consistent valuation. (Ask a tax professional if you disbelieve that informal recommendation.)

This is one of the many equally valid options for e.g. calculating the yen/USD conversion if you happen to have many yen transactions which are approximately equally distributed throughout the year. (The Treasury Department has a handy web page listing yearly averages for reference, but you're allowed to use any number which is reasonable and consistent. One of the best reasons to keep good books is that you can try several reasonable methods and then consistently adopt the one which is most favorable to your interests. Welcome to taxes, if that being OK is counterintuitive.)

2
JumpCrisscross 2 days ago 4 replies      
If I had more time on my hands:

(1) Launch a Bitcoin capital gains/losses tax approximation application (the "App") in beta. User keys in their Bitcoin addresses. App searches the block chain for the user's entry and exit times. App searches exchanges for the most favourable pricing source. App then returns an approximation of taxes owed/to be credited (e.g. in case of coins lost at Mt. Gox). App has a prominent disclaimer across the top warning against using it as tax advice.

(2) Bring on board a senior CPA with policy-making experience. Clean up the tax logic of the App under their guidance. Call buddies in the IRS and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Ask them to look over the tax logic of the App in exchange for dinner, drinks and equity. Move the disclaimer from the top of the app to the bottom.

(3) Call TurboTax and small accounting firms with any public posts about Bitcoin. Meet to discuss a partnership. Parlay into an acquisition.

3
scotty79 2 days ago 2 replies      
> The danger is the creation of an electronic black market, similar to the cash economy, Joshua Blank, a tax law professor atNew York University, said in a December interview. Thats what the IRS wants to avoid.

I think demanding over 40% tax on a trivially worldwide transferable, hard to track, easy to secretly manufacture commodity is exactly the best way to create black market.

4
jstalin 2 days ago 1 reply      
The actual notice from the IRS:

http://i.cdn.turner.com/money/2014/images/03/25/IRS_Notice_2...

[EDIT] - added actual notice

5
jcampbell1 2 days ago 6 replies      
It seems there are hypothetical scenarios where your taxes could exceed your net worth. If you mine a bitcoin worth $1000, and then it's value falls to $100, you could owe taxes on $1000, and the $900 capital loss would only carry forward to the next year.
6
uptown 2 days ago 10 replies      
"Under the ruling, purchasing a $2 cup of coffee with Bitcoins bought for $1 would trigger $1 in capital gains for the coffee drinker and $2 of income for the coffee shop."

So if the coffee shop leaves the "property" as bitcoins instead of converting it over to dollars, and the value of those bitcoins falls before cashing-out, they're stuck paying tax on the $2 worth of income despite potentially no-longer having the funds to cover those taxes.

7
pat2man 2 days ago 5 replies      
I imagine a managed wallet like Coinbase would really help here. They could easily create a report on exactly how much you owe in capital gains. Managing this yourself could get a bit messy.
8
Zarathust 2 days ago 6 replies      
I don't see how this law could be enforceable. Hiding bitcoins from the IRS seems to be trivial and lying about the real acquisition value as well. This is very different from stocks where all trades are overseen by the SEC. You can't just go to a neighbor's house and pay for stock in cash without telling anybody else.
9
brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Treating Bitcoin as property might make adoption by business problematic in the US because of UCC section 9.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/ucc-article-9-going-k...

10
ThomPete 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interestingly Denmarks IRS just ruled that it's not taxable.

(in Danish)http://epn.dk/samfund/politik/ECE6587289/afgoerelse-gevinste...

11
IgorPartola 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is exactly why a sales tax would make things so much easier. Who care about historic price points of when you bought and sold BTC, let alone the historic electricity costs and pool fees when you mined it. You buy a milk shake, you pay taxes. Want food, etc. to be taxed differently? Still easier than figuring out if you are operating a railroad/fishing farm in Alaska while running a BTC mining rig to heat your house using sustainable energy from your newly installed solar panels.
12
sergiotapia 2 days ago 6 replies      
And how exactly can they know your bitcoin stash amount?
13
Kapura 2 days ago 3 replies      
>Bitcoin miners would have to report their earnings as taxable income with a value equal to the worth on the day it was mined.

Maybe the rules are more thorough in reality than in this article, but how would the above statement apply to people who mine in a pool? Would only the person who hits the hash have to report the income? Would all of the miners?

Additionally, how does the IRS plan on enforcing any of this? It seems like an anonymous currency would be ripe with disregard for regulators.

14
kevinpet 2 days ago 2 replies      
It still doesn't clearly address the question of how those who mine bitcoin should be taxed. I guess your cost basis is a prorated portion of what you've spent on bitcoin mining. Very hard to do the accounting.
15
thematt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting, but unsurprising. The more interesting aspect is that unlike tangible property, bank accounts or stock transactions that can be audited, this seems practically unenforceable on the IRS's part.
16
fatbat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean MtGox users can claim capital loss when filing taxes now? How will users be able to prove that?
17
rdmcfee 2 days ago 2 replies      
On one hand this makes sense. The IRS is trying to avoid early adopters from cashing out millions by purchasing goods to avoid paying capital gains tax.

On the other hand, this is debilitating for people who want to use BTC for day to day transactions. Imagine the paperwork involved. <- opportunity for a wallet app which tracks gains/losses

18
Xcelerate 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully now that there is some regulation and rules in place, Apple will allow Bitcoin apps. We'll definitely need some since now we have to keep track of a bunch of tiny capital gains and losses.
19
anonbanker 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. I'll be preparing my 1040v's and T5008's accordingly. Thanks for the asset determination, IRS!

Does this decision open the doors to other currencies (linden dollars, Nintendo store points, air miles cards) being similarly registered as assets?

20
politician 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what other "proof of work" algorithms also now generate taxable events. Or whether something mundane like using iterated bcrypt2 turns the resulting hashes into property which I have to report to the IRS?
21
Xcelerate 2 days ago 3 replies      
As a grad student who knows little about taxes (but quickly needs to learn more), what does this mean with regard to the 2 BTC I lost on Mt. Gox?
22
wizzard 2 days ago 1 reply      
What does this mean for Mt. Gox users? I know it would be for next year's return and we're not even sure how much has been lost yet since they are apparently still "finding" wallets.
23
antr 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not familiar with US tax, but isn't property tax in the US something like 200bp per year?

If I understand this correctly this can be a huge blow for Bitcoin users in the US

24
streptomycin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin miners would have to report their earnings as taxable income with a value equal to the worth on the day it was mined.
25
csmeder 2 days ago 1 reply      
What does this mean if a person bought a Bitcoin for $400 last year and now it is worth $583.03. What is the proper way to record this on a tax form? Will they have to pay tax now or when they sell the coin?
26
e15ctr0n 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth going back to read what Reuters finance journalist Felix Salmon wrote about Bitcoin almost exactly a year ago.

The Bitcoin Bubble and the Future of Currencyhttps://medium.com/money-banking/2b5ef79482cb

Why bitcoins rise is nothing to celebratehttp://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/04/03/why-bitcoin...

27
nanidin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Still not clear on what the situation is on stocks that are denominated in bitcoins, and that pay out dividends in bitcoins, such as ASICMINER.

Is it possible for the dividends to be treated as qualified dividends?

28
rch 2 days ago 1 reply      
Compared to getting the general public to accept virtual currencies for everyday transactions, shouldn't it be relatively easy to convince those same people to put pressure on the IRS and congress? In fact, this is a particularly good year to begin such an effort, since the Senate is in play in the midterms. If predictions start to indicate an unusually high turnout of virtual currency supporters, it would throw a big wrench into almost every political playbook (which are presently primed for older, conservative demographics).
29
zacinbusiness 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does this work for a coffee shop that does not exchange bitcoin for dollars? Say they sell a medium coffee for $4.44 (that's the price I pay for my coffee at my normal "spot.") Or you can pay, say, .002 BTC (I'm guessing here on the amount BTC). But let's say if you send them bitcoin that they just keep it or spend it somewhere else that also accepts bitcoin (and preferably that also doesn't cash them out).
30
Snail_Commando 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hypothetically, if a person still had Bitcoin drawn from a btc faucet (by that person), would that count as a gift, treasure trove [+], or something else?

[+] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesarini_v._United_States

31
jcyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
So we should be tracking our bitcoin in our wallets by age, such that when spending we incur long term capital gain vs short term (if possible)?

Or perhaps use the most recent bitcoin purchased if the value is relatively the same as purchase date, thus seeing no gain (vs say 2 yr old coins which have greatly appreciated).

32
timrosenblatt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean that Bitcoin are more legit now and will be picked up by more institutions, or since the IRS doesn't consider Bitcoin a currency, will that stop companies from using it (for regulatory reasons?)
33
Kopion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious, what does this mean for someone interested in operating a Bitcoin ATM? Is a money transmitter license still a requirement?
34
rainmaking 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe "enforceability" is the key word here.
35
vinchuco 2 days ago 0 replies      
would this ruling encourage more Bitcoin hoarding?

>Bitcoins held for more than a year and then sold would pay the lower tax rates applicable to capital gains a maximum of 23.8 percent compared with the 43.4 percent top rate on property sold within a year of purchase.

36
quakkels 2 days ago 6 replies      
I can't tell if this is good or bad. But, does it strike anyone else as odd that the IRS ignores that bitcoin _is_ actually currency? Can they even declare it to be property when the reality is that it is currency?
37
Eleutheria 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin says they don't care what the IRS says.

Take that.

38
mindvirus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does this make it illegal for someone on an H1B to mine bitcoins?
39
dscrd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mm.

Bitcoin owners say that IRS is an illusion.

40
mantrax3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Keep coins in a secret wallet. When you need to change for USD, transfer only that amount to your "public" wallet, and pay taxes just on that.
41
mindcrime 2 days ago 1 reply      
Its challenging if you have to think about capital gains before you buy a cup of coffee, he said.

This is exactly why we need to quit caring what the IRS, Fed, Treasury, Inland Revenue, etc. think of Bitcoin, and focus on it's use (along with Tor, tumblers, and other technologies) as an untraceable, anonymous crypto-currency that lets us avoid dealings with the IRS and agencies of their ilk.

Will this work against "mainstream" adoption of Bitcoin? Maybe. Who cares? Personally, I'm not interested in Bitcoin as yet another way to incur additional entanglements with corrupt, evil and bureaucratic government agencies.

Government is damage, and we, the hackers, should be working on ways to route around that damage.

42
unclebucknasty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I missing something or would this be nearly impossible to track?

You buy some bitcoin here and there and occasionally transfer some to a wallet from which you pay for items. The price of bitcoin is rising and falling constantly, such that when you buy that cup of coffee, you could either be realizing a capital gain or loss of X amount.

How on earth would you track this without losing your mind? And, how would the IRS enforce this?

43
quotha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ummm Bitcoin is not property o.O
13
Microsoft launches Office for iPad thenextweb.com
271 points by msoliman  10 hours ago   217 comments top 33
1
sz4kerto 10 hours ago 10 replies      
MS is changing, and make no mistake, this has started with Ballmer. If you watch(ed) the press conf, it's quite apparent. App store for Android, Office for iPad, AD for Azure.. quite nice stuff, that's what we expect from a software giant: just release stuff for everything, everywhere, and make things be able to work with each other nicely.

Good to see that, competition is always good for the users, and Apple, Google and MS all seem to be quite strong on their fields (although Google is the most fashionable nowadays).

2
mikestew 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I wonder if they aren't a little late on this. I assume that I'm not the only one that found out I can get along just fine without Office on an iPad (or in my own personal case, get along just fine without Office at all). If the free Pages/Keynote/Numbers doesn't do it, I probably need a "real" computer anyway.

That was always the real danger I saw for Microsoft as they delayed supporting iOS. Folks buy the devices anyway, despite their lack of Office. Then folks find out that they can do what they want to do despite that lack of Office. Maybe they've been using it by default, not because they really need it. Then Microsoft comes out with Office for iOS and there's a collective shrug and a "meh".

3
chrisdevereux 10 hours ago 9 replies      
The pricing structure is interesting: Free to view, requires an expensive Office 365 subscription to edit.

Seems like they're missing an opportunity to drive adoption of Office as an online platform. Why would I want to publish using Office instead of Google Docs when I can't assume that people I send the Office doc to will be able to edit it? Sure, Office is better, but not better enough to overcome that.

If it was free to edit, but $$$ to publish, Office 365 would be much more compelling. Especially since the situation w/r/t mobile looks much better than Google Docs.

Edit: My point here is about network effects, not whether the subscription is worth it. Office previously benefited from them, but it's vulnerable as a cloud platform given the free alternatives from Google and even Apple.

4
bane 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Before anybody thinks this is weird, or unusual. Microsoft has quite often been more pragmatic about the platform offerings for their office suite than elsewhere. After all, Office exists and has existed on Apple products for a very long time. It's more unusual that it hasn't been on the iProducts than anything.
5
DigitalSea 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Finally. Yes, there are alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad, but make no mistake, none of them even come close to that of Microsoft Office. I just downloaded Word and Excel, couldn't find a flaw in either of them. The subscription part for editing sucks, but subscriptions are fairly cheap.

We are witnessing a new Microsoft that began when new CEO Satya Nadella took the helm. This is his first of many acts to turn the company around, instead of the previous closed door approach Balmer preferred.

It's good to see Satya doesn't appear to be full brainwashed by the Microsoft cool-aid. This isn't 1998, Windows is no longer the dominant platform and it makes sense to open up your products to other platforms, especially given Microsoft's failure to break ground in the mobile market.

Now all Satya needs to do is bring back the start menu in Windows 9, get rid of that horrid Metro tile interface for non touch devices (or at the very least give users the option of the new Metro interface or classic desktop) and I'll be ecstatic.

6
iaskwhy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Some comments here refer the potencially high cost of the membership for Office 365. It seems like there will be a new plan for $7/m ($70/y) supporting 2 devices[1]. Like the previous plan, it also seems to include 1h of Skype calls.

[1] http://blogs.office.com/2014/03/13/announcing-office-365-per...

7
jmspring 10 hours ago 3 replies      
A review comparing the Apple apps (native and cloud), MSFT Office (native and cloud), and Google Docs compare would be interesting. Specifically usability (touch as well as external keyboard attached), on and offline modes.

Playing up the ribbon in the presentation? Curious as ribbon really has triggered a love it or hate it reaction.

8
gum_ina_package 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really hoping MS becomes a company that offers consistent and great experiences no matter who's walled garden you're in.
9
codeulike 6 hours ago 0 replies      
While we're talking about Microsoft, it strikes me that of the big players in 2014, Microsoft are the most diversified, even if they're no longer in the lead in most areas. Will that diversification (Office, Windows, Enterprise, Azure, XBox, Phones) give them more longevity? Or are they really in danger of fading into insignificance?
11
plg 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If it means we will have an actual word processor on iOS, all the better.

I for one am deeply disappointed with the direction Apple has taken with iWork.

Not least of which is the (a) removal of features and (b) incompatibility with recent versions of their own software [this has rendered large portions of my documents unreadable]

12
mark_l_watson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that it is cool for Microsoft to release Office 360 for OS X and iPad.

I do a lot of writing (I am pretty much addicted to writing books). I use my iPad for lots of casual writing using a good text editor and markdown files in Dropbox (target is leanpub.com). For some writing I like having Pages on both iOS and OS X with iCloud storage.

If Office 360 ends up being a compelling product for iPad and my MacBook Air, then the $99/year is a no-brainer decision.

13
footpath 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like the non-tablet iPhone/Android phone versions of Office Mobile have gone free to use as well, forgoing the previous requirement of an active Office 365 subscription:

http://blogs.office.com/2014/03/27/announcing-the-office-you...

14
mattkevan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's great to see Office on iPad - hopefully it'll encourage Google to improve their terrible Drive app.

Our company moved entirely to Google Docs about 5 years ago. Being sent a Word file is like being handed a CD ROM - a brief moment for a 'Oh, one of those' mental gear change and a few minutes rummaging in the dead tech box for an external drive. Or in Office's case something that can reliably parse the file

15
dudus 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if Apple gets a cut of the subscription pricing.

I also bet any other company would not get away with a model like that. Apple requires that you make payments through their AppStore or in-app Payment systems so it can collect its cut. Good luck trying to publishing something with the same model on the App Store.

16
batoure 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It is with a certain amount of amusement that I note that this version of office (which looks really cool) is significantly more optimized for touch than the version of office that I have for my MS Surface. That is some what disappointing.
17
vmarsy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering what would happen if, without paying for the office 365 subscription, I try to edit a document stored in the cloud. Will it open a Safari tab with the free office.com online Word/Excel/Powerpoint ?

In other words : Is there an "Open with Word Online" button for non office 365 subscribers?

18
dsaravel 4 hours ago 1 reply      
$119 (in Australia, at least) is too much for me to try editing capabilities. How about you keep the price but only prevent me from saving? I need to know how it feels editing the documents before I commit to such price.
19
rafeed 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Office for iPad actually looks pretty great. This is great news for Apple and the Windows users out there who didn't want to use iPad for lack of official MS Office products.
20
eitally 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The issue I find is that spreadsheets are really unpleasant to work with on a tablet (or any touch display). Given that, things like QuickOffice or similar work mostly just fine for viewing.
21
dman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this mean Office for linux is in the works? At least for the corporate distros like Redhat, Suse and Ubuntu?
22
the_watcher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, there needs to be a step change in information input for the Office Suite to be something I'd use on an iPad. Word processing and speadsheet manipulation are so text intensive. Interested to try it out though.
23
msoliman 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Nadella said "Let me go to my iPad"! I bet that wasn't allowed at the time of Gates and Ballmer.
24
rayiner 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It goes to show a lot about the situation in Microsoft that they didn't manage to ship this last year for Surface RT, where it might have done the platform a lot of good.
25
be5invis 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Microsoft releases Office for iPad just looks like that Nintendo publishes Super Mario Bros on Xbox!

So, are they going to discard Windows (|phone|tablet|...) platform and become a pure third-party? It reminds me of Sega.

26
rottyguy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What would be nice if you can read and comment/highlight for free and edit for pay. I suspect one typical use case is to have someone send around a doc to solicit comments and incorporate them subsequent. In fact, this model kind of enforces that flow so you don't have multiple people editing it and forking the original.
27
encoderer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks very well done. This is exciting. Honestly, I've almost entirely transitioned from Office to Google Docs. I could see this pulling me back in.
28
Pxtl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
They missed the competition for IE completely and were way too late with IE7. They missed the competition from the mobile world and dragged their feet a bit with WP7. They're not going to lose Office too, which is their biggest cash-cow. Without Office, entire corporations will no longer see Microsoft as a "must-have" company.

So yeah, iPad.

29
dalek2point3 10 hours ago 1 reply      
i wonder if it will keep getting regular updates and support too -- what product cycle will it be on? will it have clippy -- the office assistant? so many questions.
30
BadassFractal 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonder how astroturfed this comment section is.
31
LeicaLatte 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If it feel this expensive on iOS, this pricing has no chance on other platforms. And Google Docs is not going anywhere with this pricing for sure.
32
zyadsherif 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Finally they've accepted the fact that they need to optimize to apple products, the Gates mentality has been blocking innovation in this area and this might be the breakthrough !
33
amaks 10 hours ago 3 replies      
"Requires subscription for editing"

This is lame, IMO, and so typical for MS.

14
Oculus Joins Facebook oculusvr.com
270 points by kposehn  2 days ago   176 comments top 36
1
JumpCrisscross 2 days ago 7 replies      
Curious to see HN's negative reaction to this announcement. The sentiment appears to originate with gamers.

Gamers, particularly PC gamers, are a minority of computing end users. Minorities get less attention than the mainstream. Oculus VR chose gamers, particularly PC gamers, as its beachhead. The dedicated attention from such a world-changing technology must have been special. The backlash against losing that special status is understandable.

But VR's potential isn't limited to gamers. That is what Facebook recognised and is capitalising on with this acquisition. Oculus, as a (perhaps the) leader in the consumer VR space, is well positioned to shape the future of VR and with it consumer computing. They had a choice between a niche and the market, and they are reaching for the moon.

The expanded mandate means gamers will become a minority of Oculus's customer base. It does not follow that their experience nor expectations should degrade. Premptively burning Facebook and Oculus for thinking big seems petty.

I am open-minded about Oculus's future at Facebook. It is possible that Facebook will mis-manage Oculus and squander its lead. It's also possible that an independent Oculus would have missed the forest for the trees. That by going 100% for gaming, it would have forsaken a greater destiny. Barring back-seat driving by Facebook management, Oculus has more options at Facebook. More options are good for a young company at the beginning of a open-ended road.

2
FD3SA 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is extremely disappointing. This technology had the potential to be much bigger than Facebook. The Occulus was poised to create an entirely new industry. They were pioneering a technology never before seen, with a legend like John Carmack pushing the state of the art.I cannot think of a more colossal mistake to make as a founder. Palmer Luckey has shown he has absolutely no faith in his ability nor that of his team. Occulus had nothing but success in their future. They had investors beating down their doors with money, developers announcing support for the platform before even getting a dev-kit, and consumers itching to grab hold of their product.

Facebook is the antithesis to Occulus. They have never created any technology, they add zero value to the the real world, and have no future potential in the long run. Occulus selling to Facebook would have been like Tesla selling to Proctor and Gamble after they released the Roadster. A company with a technology so radical it can change the industry, succumbing to weakness and cashing out to an old money company that has no expertise in the field for some chump change.

I am filled with sadness and disappointment. I believe Palmer Luckey will regret this decision.

3
vessenes 2 days ago 9 replies      
This is a good move by Facebook. VR is going to be huge, huge huge. It might even be as big as Bitcoin. :)

I think what Oculus did was massively de-risk their next ten years. In their business plans, there were undoubtedly very large gray circles with things like "gain overwhelming market share (how?)" and lists of competitors that included, well, everyone in tech.

If you had to pick a tech company to leverage your disruptive new consumer technology, and make sure it kept the 'awesome', and was hacker friendly, who would you go to?

In exchange, they probably lopped another 10-50x of potential value off the top of their company. Not that they won't see some of that realized in Facebook if this is succesful -- they will. But, they will be sharing the gain around in exchange for getting access to that giant global customer base and being able to tap the considerable resources available at FB.

4
gfodor 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a god damned tragedy. (And the smartest move Zuck has ever made.)

VR was supposed to be a new frontier, I have been so excited to see finally the Next Thing was coming and it feels so much like the early days of the web and computing. But now it's owned by the worst company on the planet when it comes to choosing inspired thinking and pushing humanity forward instead of just trying to get inside of our lives (and now our heads.) I am frankly terrified.

Thank God for Valve, I hope they hit the gas and leapfrog these guys now on the tech and poach as many of them as they can. Thank goodness there is still plenty of work left to do and Facebook doesn't own all the VR patents. I am so fucking scared of a world where Facebook has a monopoly on VR. I really hope it doesn't happen.

5
c0ur7n3y 2 days ago 6 replies      
Oculus just went from something incredibly amazing that I couldn't wait to be a part of to something that I want nothing to do with. I suspect I'm not alone. Humans are emotional creatures, not always driven by strict rationality. Maybe I'll feel differently in a year.
6
aviraldg 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't want a "general-purpose VR headset". There are already many devices described that way (that work well enough for that purpose.) I wanted something built exclusively for the extreme requirements of gaming, and I feel this acquisition is going to distract the Oculus team from that. Facebook has no experience whatsoever in that domain, and the only way I see Oculus benefiting from this is the huge cash reserves they'll have access to once acquired. Truth be told, I was really hoping they'd get acquired by Valve - that'd strengthen their existing partnership (which I'm sure will cease to exist post acquisition), give them a good team to work with wrt. videogames and VR in general, and put them in an environment where their core focus is the same as that of their parent company. In this case, if the "experiment" fails, Facebook will almost certainly dump the project. Every time someone says "... we're going to make X a platform" before they actually have X, a kitten dies somewhere. There are still technical issues with the Oculus headset, and I'm afraid Facebook's "platform" focus is going to draw attention away from that. In short, I don't see this working. If fact, if Oculus fails, it might set the entire VR industry back several years. Luckily, we still have some hope in the form of Valve.

What a waste. I hate Facebook for doing this. And I'm not too happy with Oculus for accepting this either.

7
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ouch, no thanks. Talk about dashed hopes and dreams.
8
curiousDog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish they joined valve. Or even Msft for that matter, we'd atleast get integration with xbox.
9
lyndonh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was excited about Oculus even though I wasn't necessarily going to buy one. But this acquisition is like Elon Musk announcing that Tesla will build a small 1 litre diesel car next, or SpaceX's next mission is to Detroit.

I mean, I'm sure Facebook has some amazing PHP and Python on their backend servers but has anyone not checked out the awfulness that is Facebook's web site ? UX is not supposed to be a four letter word.

What do Oculus gain from this that they couldn't have obtained with their $2.4m Kickstarter ? I don't believe Facebook won't be monitoring every penny spent there.

Oculus was not our last hope, there is another: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/avegantglyph/a-mobile-p...

10
znowi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't imagine Carmack working for Facebook. This is surreal. As Palmer noted in his blog post he was skeptical when Facebook first approached them with the idea. I suppose Facebook eventually made a monetary offer they couldn't refuse. Whether Facebook makes it a VR advertising unit or Facebook Glass, it's likely to be something very different from what Oculus envisioned as an independent company.
11
jstsch 2 days ago 0 replies      
12
kailuowang 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder does this have anything to do with Sony announcing her own VR project Morpheus. Technology wise Sony's alternative didn't show much advantage, but industry support wise it showed that it's a very very prominent opponent Oculus VR has to beat.Selling it to Facebook seems to me an indication that the leadership no longer believe that Oculus can be as successful in the gaming industry as they hoped.
13
dsrguru 2 days ago 3 replies      
I said this on the other thread, but this is the most terrifyingly awesome technology acquisition I've ever seen. Facebook chat in two years: put on a headset and get teleported to a room in a virtual world where you can talk to your friends' avatars. Skype and Google+ Hangouts suddenly seem very 20th century.

I've always found Facebook's stock to be a ridiculously risky long-term investment since their entire growth plan is predicated on monetizing an already established customer base, where a single event that causes people to switch en masse to a more private/secure social network would destroy the company. After today's acquisition I no longer think this.

14
malanj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Facebook is rapidly becoming a seriously dominant technology player. I used to think of them as a "flavour of the year" play, but I'm having to readjust that perspective pretty hard.

It looks like they really are driving a long term strategy of being at the core on human -> human communication.

15
iandanforth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance this deal can be called off? Terrible decision.
16
pera 2 days ago 0 replies      
> We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.

https://twitter.com/notch/status/448586381565390848

17
arjie 2 days ago 0 replies      
So the backlash seems to be:

* Because the Oculus guys are seen to have sold out.

* Because Facebook is seen to be a ruthless exploiter of personal information.

I, for one, was actually days away from buying an Oculus device but I'm going to hold off for now. It's a combination of the negativity from here being infectious and the fact that if Facebook decided to buy now, maybe there's something much bigger on the horizon (apart from the DK2).

18
iambateman 2 days ago 0 replies      
At least some of Facebook's history of arbitrary platform creation and destruction has to do with their youth as a company. They are growing up and we've seen successively fewer missteps in the past two years.

So there is room to hope for a successful partnership. Oculus has a really phenomenal product and partnering with Facebook is going to scale that product MUCH faster than it would've otherwise. This could be the perfect deal for both companies.

Don't get me wrong, my heart sank when I heard it was Facebook. And the WSJ's article on how disingenuous they were with their kickstarter backers is still real. But in the truly long-term, we might look back on today as a big moment for virtual reality.

19
general_failure 2 days ago 1 reply      
I cannot imagine how Carmack is excited about this
20
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seferphier 2 days ago 0 replies      
>...it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook...But when you consider it more carefully, were culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest

Looks like ALL companies in this world would be a good fit for a facebook acquisition.

22
andrewmu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I too am instinctively repelled by this acquisition. I did prefer the idea of the technology remaining independent and supported on multiple platforms.

MS, Apple, Google, Sony all have their own closed(* Android is arguable, I know) devices that they would prefer to limit the technology to. The benefit to Facebook is to have a primary interface perhaps hosted on another platform but not completely dependent on it.

I can think of three obvious negatives:

Carmack's apparently successful work using mobile graphics hardware to generate acceptable output for the Rift could allow a much wider adoption among the casual users who don't have a hardcore gaming PC/latest generation console. Facebook might focus on producing a low-cost version that lacks the resolution/low latency which would be preferable to gamers / professional 3D users. An extensive patent portfolio could inhibit higher-end competitors from easily addressing that market.

The second concern is that Facebook would in political superpower-like ways abuse the power to grant access to a popular VR platform and demand concessions such as mandatory Facebook accounts for gaming, an egregious cut of royalties, banning of anything that "replicates Facebook functionality" etc.

Thirdly, is the probably the most common knee-jerk consumer issue; ultra creepy Facebook, logging and mining everything that you foveate on, from the ad logos in virtual environments to the facial/bodily features of your friends' avatars. They build a more detailed model of your own desires and motivations than you consciously have of yourself.

23
seferphier 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rules of being acquired:

1st rule: you do not talk about the money2nd rule: you DO NOT talk about the MONEY3rd rule: you talk about how the acquirer and acquiree shares the same vision and dreams that would enable the acquiree to build great things.

24
jarmitage 2 days ago 3 replies      
For the sake of kicking off a discussion...

"Facebook [...] a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform."

Can anyone put facts or numbers to those last two statements? Is Facebook putting any concerted effort beyond PR/vanity projects into those goals?

25
megaman22 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't believe Carmack is thrilled about being part of Facebook. His twitter feed seems a little sparse today...
26
will_work4tears 2 days ago 1 reply      
I could be wrong, and I even think this might be an unpopular opinion (I'm not a huge FB fan, FWIW), but I think this is pretty good for Oculus. It's exposure writ large. Also funding, but from a Marketing perspective this can open some serious doors for them.

That said, I'm saddened. A possible greater exposure could have happened from another company purchasing it, Apple for instance, or even (some will shudder), Google.

I'm not going to give up on Oculus just yet though, but I'm somewhat disapointed. Even if Facebook doesn't ruin it, it's... well, it's still Facebook.

27
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sony is probably happy as heck since it effectively resets everything to give their project a chance. Also, I am a little sick of the "joined" terminology. You got bought and are no longer in control of your companies destiny. Unless you pull a NeXT, "joined" is not true.
28
mhartl 2 days ago 0 replies      
At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform.

An "open computing platform"? What are they talking about?

29
wil421 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds to me like Oculus just sold out. Great now instead of a new way to game we are going to have something like Lawnmower Man Facebook.
30
zecg 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The affect heuristic is an instance of substitution, in which the answer to an easy question (How do I feel about it?) serves as an answer to a much harder question (What do I think about it?)."
31
angersock 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's rather entertaining to see the difference in comments between the Oculus announcement page and the Facebook page.
32
jimmcslim 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I thought the real-life James Halliday was going to be Palmer Luckey, Gabe Newell, or John Carmack. I didn't pick that it could be Mark Zuckerberg!
33
noclip 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems from the reaction that for Facebook this wasn't just a $2 billion deal but a $3 billion deal $2 billion in cash, plus $1 billion of Oculus' value wiped out by the announcement.
34
higherpurpose 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope Valve releases their own VR headset now, and locks Oculus out of Steam, with only their own VR headset being compatible. Valve has already done all the same research, and are even ahead of Oculus. I could see them turning it into a product by mid-2015, which is probably sooner than Oculus' own consumer version.
35
the_honorable 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty funny that all the comments on the linked article are tied to Facebook
36
nevster 2 days ago 0 replies      
One word - metaverse. That is all.
15
Mozilla's low-overhead open source replay debugger ocallahan.org
243 points by bzbarsky  2 days ago   43 comments top 17
1
dman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another gem from Mozilla - I am astounded at how much good stuff is coming out of Mozilla in such a short timespan. Keep it up folks. Between this, rust, servo, asm.js and emscripten - you have my attention.
2
sanxiyn 1 day ago 2 replies      
http://rr-project.org/rr.html is a presentation titled "How rr works" from Mozilla Research, with more details on the implementation.
3
gopalv 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just a bit too awesome, yet simple.

Think of it as the "git" for debugging. Take a snapshot, keep going etc ... and then backtrack back to the point where it all started going wrong.

Just very hard to automate easily, yet this uses gdb and all the other macro/command goodness (well, for power users) that gdb comes with.

4
fulafel 1 day ago 3 replies      
Was submitted yesterday: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7458554

It seems to me that a large portion of cool stuff doesn't make it out from /new any more (not just this case, many others lately)

5
nviennot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been very interested in that topic for the past years.

We've implemented an in-kernel linux multicore record/replay engine. See for more: http://velvetpulse.com/2012/11/27/scribe-the-deterministic-t...

We also did a mutable replay engine, to replay on modified program (e.g. replay a bug that happened in a production environment, but this time with the logging verbosity turned into debug mode). Check out Dora: http://viennot.biz/asplos2013_dora.pdf

6
btown 1 day ago 1 reply      
An amazing project. Would it be possible to get to a certain point in a trace, then switch the process back into "live mode" so that further inputs could be made into the program? This could open up all sorts of interesting things, like recording interactions with web applications and then allowing a developer to open up high-level JS/DOM debugging tools to see exactly what went wrong without needing to worry about replicating the exact input sequence that led up to the bug.

It's unfortunate that the no-shared-memory limitation is so hard-baked in, so it would seem that things like Chrome rendering processes wouldn't play nicely with rr (I'm assuming they communicate with shared memory, correctly if I'm wrong!).

7
haberman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very cool! This looks a lot like something Michael Chastain was working on in the late 90s: http://lwn.net/1999/0121/a/mec.html

It also is similar to GDB's record-and-reply functionality, except that I believe GDB is limited to a single process. I suspect that GDB's approach is much higher overhead also, because I think it actually records state changes for every instruction: http://sourceware.org/gdb/onlinedocs/gdb/Process-Record-and-...

Unlike the GDB functionality, this doesn't seem to support reverse-stepping. Hopefully this can be added -- it makes a huge difference when you can reverse-step backwards from the failure to find out where things went wrong: https://sourceware.org/gdb/onlinedocs/gdb/Reverse-Execution....

8
wmat 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really interesting. I hope it doesn't get buried in the Facebook buys Oculus news tsunami.

I can't wait to try rr out.

9
grundprinzip 1 day ago 4 replies      
"rr currently only supports x86 32-bit processes."

While the idea of a replay debugger is really nice, I don't understand where this limitation comes from. I thought, that since years we practically live in a 64 bit world.

10
moyix 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very cool, and will undoubtedly help with most run of the mill crashes. Unfortunately the machine model it uses is single-core, so you're not going to necessarily catch the really subtle concurrency bugs. Good multicore record and replay is hard, and has been the subject of tons of papers in the past 10 years. It would be cool to see some of that research make it out into practice.
11
e98cuenc 1 day ago 2 replies      
The latest gdb also contains a reversible mode. Anybody can comment on how does it compare with rr?

I have only tried myself the reversible debugger in ocaml, and it was an eye opening experience.

12
qwerta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Replay tool is also for Java. It is called Chronon, is Eclipse plugin and was recently integrated into Idea Ultimate.
13
userbinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has some similarities with a project I worked on that provided very advanced analysis and debugging capabilities including instruction-level "bidirectional execution". I can't say much more about that, other than the fact that it was for a whole-machine environment, and was a combination of special hardware support, but it's good to see some of the techniques becoming more widely available to the public.
14
jderick 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a similar idea I'd like to see. A smart tracer that keeps track of function call args and results and possibly local variables in a cache. Then when your program crashes, it can show you not just the backtrace but also recently called functions that may have influenced the crash. With such a tool you may be able to debug some crashes without a debugger at all.
15
Dorian-Marie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Link to the project: http://rr-project.org/

And the github: https://github.com/mozilla/rr

(On a side note, I think the gradient background is worse than a plain white background, when removing it, it become a lot more readable)

16
polskibus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this something similar to Intellitrace in Visual Studio?
17
ArbitraryLimits 1 day ago 2 replies      
No one's going to rag on the post's author for labeling himself "Christian" right at the top? He might have donated to Prop. 8 after all.

Edit: That's sarcasm, people.

16
Steve Jobs's response after getting a Google employee fired. pando.com
237 points by omegant  1 day ago   269 comments top 58
1
bernardom 1 day ago 3 replies      
This article is so sensationalist. They could have just reported the facts without the histrionics and it would have been so much better.

This, especially:"The language is brutal, and as youll see, theres an almost sadistic, military glee on all sides with the way in which the Google recruiter is 'terminated'"

The email following that description was exactly what I would have expected. "Yes, this person screwed up. We have a clear policy that they failed to follow. We're checking to see if they did this more than once. We've fired that person. Please apologize on our behalf, it won't happen again."

Making the story about "brutal" this and "sadistic" that is senseless, naive, and detracts from the real story, which is that they had these (illegal!) policies in the first place. Stop buzzfeedifying the news.

2
simon_ 1 day ago 15 replies      
Although I get that these sorts of agreements may well have been illegal and unethical, all this outrage over the attitudes of the executives seems overblown to me.

Try putting yourself in Eric Schmidt's shoes: from his perspective, the greed of an individual employee to generate recruiting commissions by violating a strict policy endangered a key strategic relationship. This could obviously not be tolerated and the lack of a strong response would make enforcing the whole landscape of mission critical policies harder. These guys HAVE TO think of the system before the individual or the system will not work.

And in general, in any industry and any role, if you start a fire that the senior management team 10 levels up has to put out... you will expect harsh treatment.

3
candybar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think people are overreacting in the sense that non-solicitation agreements are not illegal per se and exist almost everywhere - tons of corporate partnership/vendor/contractor/etc agreements include such language because sometimes it's difficult for companies to work together closely in good faith without such agreement in place.

The main reason that the agreement is deemed illegal here is that they were made with a specific intent to manipulate the market at large and because they are deemed to have kind of market power, being a cartel of large employers. Also, the nature of the agreement is far too broad and the companies involved is far too numerous for them to argue in good faith that their intent was much more narrow.

I completely agree that they overstepped and should be held liable, but some of the outrage seems misguided. The HR executive involved, for instance, may or may not be in position to know that the policy is part of an illegal scheme and the fired employee certainly was not. Also, unless you're one of the star programmers who were highly in demand, it's quite unlikely that your salary was all that depressed over this. If anything, the impact may have been slightly positive for average employees - at a lot of places, superstars aren't necessarily substitutes for average employees, but rather complements and lowering prices of superstars can boost rather than depress wages of average employees:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html

On the whole, this is kind of the replay of the Microsoft anti-trust trials. Bundling web browsers with operating systems is not illegal - the illegal part was the context in which such action occurred. It was seen as an abuse of market power. Sports leagues openly collude on this kind of stuff without most people caring at all or pointing fingers at those involved. Government can have strong interest in such matters in the interest of encouraging a healthier market - though political and career motivations of lawyers/prosecutors involved also play a large part - but to seeing this as a clear morality play is not wise.

Edit: actually this covers the legal issues better:

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/258600/Antitrust+Compet...

Assuming the article is correct, having a general agreement without any specific, legitimate purpose is illegal, but on a limited basic it can be legal. Still it seems far-fetched to assume that the HR executive in question had to know that such an illegal agreement existed, because for all he knows, a much more limited, legal contract could have existed due to their partnership and Google may have had a broader policy to ensure easy compliance. We now know that that's not the case, but I don't know why we can assume that the HR executive necessarily was aware of all this.

4
jroseattle 1 day ago 0 replies      
October 7, 2009: Eric Schmidt, responding to a question about why Google would not go the same way as Microsoft now that it is so large and powerful.

There are many, many reasons why we are not going to be like Microsoft. The first has to do with the culture of the founders, the culture of the company, the value systems. The second has to do with the majority of the users, and usage is one click away from moving to a competitor, which is not true of more embedded platforms in high tech. It is very difficult to move out your database system, it is very difficult to move out of Windows, for technological reasons whereas it is quite easy to move out of these online services.

The third is that, having taken such a strong position as a company, if somehow we went into a room with the evil light, and somehow evil came all over us and we exited that room and we announced an evil strategy, we would be destroyed. We would be destroyed in reputation, we would be destroyed in consumer behaviour, consumers would mass against us, and so forth. There is a fundamental trust relationship between Google and its users.

And the fourth is that none of us would ever want to go through the kind of legal proceedings that would then follow in enough countries to make it painful. So there are positive reasons and there are good negative reasons, plus I do not think any of us are going anywhere and we have not yet found the evil room on our campus.

For those keeping score on the timeline, this quote is two years after the incident mentioned in the pando.com article.

Reference: http://blogs.ft.com/businessblog/2009/10/eric-schmidt-thinks...

5
bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll refer to my previous comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7463419

There are many other things that disturb me about this.

- the HR professionals who participated in this illegal non-solicitation scheme. I mean really, nobody raised their hand and said, "FYI, this is illegal". I'm sure they say it all the time about other HR issues where companies try to eliminate expenses and maximize profit.

- what's the story on how Steve came to know about the solicitation? Did the Apple employee raise the flag to their boss (who should have also known that this was illegal) or where their emails being read? smells like fish.

- what's the word on the wrongful termination lawsuits that must be in the works?

6
victorhooi 1 day ago 3 replies      
I previously had a lot of respect for the Google founders, and figured they were decent human beings.

That behaviour from Steve Jobs I can kind of expect - he's fairly consistently shown that he's basically just a bad seed.

However, the behaviour from Brin also sounds like pretty a*sehole behaviour.

Curious is anybody can confirm if they're actually like this?

Or was this all taken out of context?

Surely he's actually nicer than this in person?

7
a2tech 1 day ago 9 replies      
The smiley at the end is rough. However, I'd like to point out that Google took the action of firing the employee so quickly and strongly. Job's simply asked that Google's recruitment department please stop.
8
dmethvin 1 day ago 0 replies      
In plenty of companies I've seen people get off with warnings for at least their first few offenses of sexual harassment, being drunk or stoned on the job, and abusive language towards others. Yet here is something the execs should have known is clearly illegal and they're firing employees on the first offense. Supposedly recruiters were given a briefing about it but you have to wonder how much it was emphasized or written down, especially if their supervisors realized it was illegal.
9
JeremyMorgan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are people surprised when tech executives act like other power hungry execs?

The worst part of it was "make a public example of this termination". This doesn't make it any more or less illegal but it shows how drunk on power on he is.

10
BrandonMarc 1 day ago 0 replies      
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

- Eric Schmidt, 2009 as CEO of Google, on concerns about privacy and Google's insatiable appetite for info

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/12/google-ceo-eric-schmid...

Yes, people bring up this quote all the time so it seems cliche to do so ... but I don't care. I say choke him on his own words for being so casual about it in the first place -- when it affected others, that is; he had a very public hissy-fit when someone publicized details about him, even blocked Cnet.com from Google for a time if I recall right.

11
neves 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are in a new society where the Information Technology brings enormous increases of productivity. The gains go to a small group of people. The capitalistic way to share this new wealth is to increase the workers wages. The middle class societies of Europe and North America were created this way.

Google and Apple are extremely lucrative companies, seeing them conspiring to decrease salaries is really sad. A sure path to a worse world.

On the other side, to see the American judiciary system attacking this evil behavior shows us why the United became the greatest nation in the world.

12
davidw 1 day ago 1 reply      
This kind of thing is the reason I like working at smaller companies. People do stupid stuff at those too, but there seems to be less of this "just following orders" herd mentality.
13
voidlogic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does this employee now have recourse to sue for wrongful termination since she was fired due to failure to comply with an illegal policy?
14
ctz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't be evil.
15
csbrooks 1 day ago 4 replies      
Are non-solicitation agreements between companies illegal? I'm guessing blacklisting people is illegal, but is not actively soliciting employees illegal?

(I'm not commenting on morality here, just legality.)

My last employer had a non-solicitation agreement in place with partner companies they were working with. Is that illegal, I wonder?

16
programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is most remarkable is a lot of software developers love Google because they are so open and against patents and all of that, yet Google, Apple, and others are all working together to screw software developers out of getting paid more.

For as much flack as Microsoft took over the years for being evil, I can't say that Google or Apple have done much better, even for their own people.

17
k-mcgrady 1 day ago 4 replies      
This has very little to do with Jobs. It sounds like the employee broke a known rule and Google reacted once they were informed (although I'd argue they acted too harshly).
18
boiler_up800 1 day ago 5 replies      
None of the language in the emails seems that shocking or "brutal" (as the article says) to me. I guess the smiley face is a little strange, but I don't think it was particularly malicious.
19
BrandonMarc 1 day ago 0 replies      
What hit me the most is how Google and Apple had this illegal, secret agreement in place (for some reason I've never heard of it 'til now; it ought to be publicized more, for all the good PR these companies enjoy it'd be nice for more people to see the full story) ... and how Jobs (Apple, a.k.a. "cool" incarnate) and especially Brin (Google, known for "don't be evil") are so arrogant about it.
20
c0nsumer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't help but wonder who the recruiter was. I was going through Google's interview process right around this time, knew the recruiter that I was working with had connections to folks at Apple, and one day she was mysteriously no longer with Google. It makes me wonder if it was the same person...
21
outside1234 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think Google should make a public example of Sharon by making her do the perp walk between the building and the cop car.
22
yrochat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brin's reaction is hilarious... and scary at the same time. I never imagined that these people could have so much contempt toward their employees.
23
malandrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do all the HR people in this email thread still have jobs? The only people who should still be employed is the original recruiter from google. Everyone else is complicit in these illegal actions.
24
yonran 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the counterfactual world in which Eric Schmidt were aware that the no-poach agreements might be violating antitrust laws, I doubt that the outcome between Apple and Google would have been any different.

Google and Apple had a friendly business relationship at the time. Apple was using Google search as the default on Safari. They were collaborating to make Maps and YouTube apps on the iPhone. When a recruiter tried to poach the Safari team while the companies were collaborating, I think it was right for Jobs to be angry and tell Schmidt that it jeopardized the collaboration between them, and it was right for Schmidt to stop being rude to a partner.

25
wil421 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could the fired employee seek damages for wrongful termination? I dont recall what brought about this whole non poaching case.
26
coloncapitald 1 day ago 0 replies      
There has been a recurring argument about whether Steve Jobs became successful because of his behavior or despite his behavior. Few days back, I came across a compilation of facts on imgur images[1] which will immediately make you hate Steve Jobs. I also read the tumblr post 'What I Learned Negotiating With Steve Jobs'[2] which is also on the same lines. And then I read NY Times article that Jobs family has been secretly donating money to charity for past 20 years anonymously[3].

One thing is clear. The world is fascinated by Steve Jobs.

[1] http://imgur.com/gallery/neGNG couldn't verify accuracy of facts)

[2] http://heidiroizen.tumblr.com/post/80368150370/what-i-learne...

[3] http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/laurene-powell-jobs...

27
chris_mahan 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, now you know why I like neither Google not Apple.

If these were foreign countries, we'd have invaded them and set up puppet democracies.

Morons. Like they couldn't figure out the public would find out eventually...

28
zhaphod 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was indifferent towards all the hate/worship Jobs got. But seeing that smiley in response to some one getting fired makes me think he was a douche. He could simply have said that Google handled it the way he wanted. No need to take such pleasure in this matter.
29
pessimizer 1 day ago 0 replies      
As with the Snowden leaks, I have to wonder if the number of fully aware collaborators in this crime would be more easily counted in tens, hundreds, or thousands.

I previously thought in this specific case that it would be tens, but if entire departments were being lectured about the penalties for deviation - were hundreds of people aware?

30
outside1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs was a sociopath. there is nothing surprising about this at all.
31
gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
How that lawyer can suck that much? He let someone who wrote an email get away in questioning by saying he was CCed and don't recall it. He wrote emails on the thread dammit.
32
erokar 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is mounting evidence Steve Jobs was a sociopath. Corporations select for these traits in their CEOs and Google is no expection. Not surprising, not shocking, but sad.
33
pskocik 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think English dictionaries should redefine "don't recall" as an idiom meaning "find it convenient to pretend not to remember" :
34
willaa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just wonder how did Steve find out this email? Did the employee hand it in? Did Apple have a scanner on their email server?
35
techhackblob 1 day ago 1 reply      
Colluding to keep down wages, which would attract more people into programming, and then always complaining that there are not enough software developers while, also illegally, discriminating against expensive older programmers.Shows money is the main factor with respect to programmers ability.
36
retube 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wildly successful people exposed as utterly ruthless shock

</sarcasm>

37
angrydev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regardless of the overarching policy, this brief exchange is being brought down to tabloid level discussion by pando, it's really nothing that terrible.
38
pjmlp 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Do no evil."

When will geeks learn there are no good or bad corporations?

39
melling 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's strange that Google was so worried about placating Steve on this issue, yet they went on to redesign Android to be more like the iPhone, after it was announced.

http://mashable.com/2013/12/20/android-iphone-start-over/

40
papasmrf 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Don't be evil." Should have been read as "Don't be evil, unless it helps Google get ahead." This all brings up the age old question..... how much money is enough?
41
boldpanda 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't think we should pile on these tech execs. It happens elsewhere. I'd speculate it's rather widespread.

I worked for a Fortune 500 market research / consumer data company and I know for a fact that the Senior VP of our office would call Fortune 500 clients and kindly request they not "poach" our employees.

Most of it is done casually and "innocently". I doubt most execs even thought they were breaking the law before this came to light.

42
coreymgilmore 1 day ago 0 replies      
These companies are run by cutthroat persons. I'm not too surprised this stuff happens. They all want to compete and dominate their market, and that requires working together at times (even though its still competition...so maybe oligopoly).

But Steve's response is great :)

43
adsr 1 day ago 0 replies      
What an odd spin on this story. Job's response is just a detail, the policy is agreed upon between both companies which is clear from the correspondence and Google's actions here.
44
Wohui 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reads like a UK tabloid article. (the internet should never feel that way)

As in, you're told what to think in advance of all info.

45
general_failure 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get all the hate. But seriously big companies are run by ruthless people. Benovalent dictators are very rare..
46
newaccountfool 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is something people would have thought happened at Wall Street company, just shows that tech is ruthless to.
47
rockshassa 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're trying to make us feel sorry for a tech recruiter, you may have come to the wrong place.
48
afhsfsfdsss88 1 day ago 0 replies      
The sociopathic CEO stereotype is affirmed once again.

I look forward to the coming Apple/Google/XXXX apologists vs. Lucid observer comment war.

49
cjf4 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll avoid the legality of the suit, but I think the smiley face is being spun a bit by the article.

Jobs wasn't sending the smiley face as some sort of grave dancing gesture, he was sending it as a "here, I took care of this problem for you" gesture to the team member that more than likely brought the issue to his attention. HR had a problem with something Google's HR did, so to cross borders they needed the boss to make the comment.

It's still sort of callous, but I don't think the author's framing this the right way.

50
ElComradio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we ask Elon Musk to get rid of Arnnon for being involved in this? Or is Tesla too holy and doing too much good, so they get a pass?
51
codeonfire 1 day ago 0 replies      
We can determine from this story that Apple's corporate email system in 2007 was wholly insecure. If one user can view and forward another users email, the system is broken.
52
criswell 1 day ago 1 reply      
I admire and despise Jobs completely.
53
bowlofpetunias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm... the cold and ruthless way Google deals with its own employees is more shocking than Jobs's "brutal" response to it.

"make a public example of this termination"

And they're calling Jobs's smiley brutal?

54
mavdi 1 day ago 0 replies      
SJ was such a lowlife. Seriously...
55
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I understand that this particular case happens to be considered illegal. However, I am not convinced that a law banning this practice will not make things worse for most people.

A cartel involves an arrangement where members REFUSE TO OFFER a better deal than the others - a pricefixing arrangement. On the other hand, this is very clearly about not going blatantly on each other's turf to solicit / poach.

Consider this ... how did Apple find out about this? Was the employee called during work hours?

How come recruiters - internal HR or external agencies - can be instructed to not advertise job openings in venues like porn sites, but - it seems from all this outrage - cannot be instructed to not advertise on their competitors' websites?

Why can't companies decide that the cost of reprisals for poaching key members is too high, independently and internally, before agreeing not to do it?

To sum up - I do not see this as a cartel AS LONG AS neither company turns away candidates who applied on their own, based on a mutual agreement. To be fair, Google did have such a policy and to the extent that this policy existed, that WAS a cartel. But NOT if the agreement is limited to not advertising offers to each other's key employees. Those employees can easily find out job openings and average salaries just like everyone else can.

If you are going to make the argument that recruiters calling certain key employees of the other company to lure them away will give the majority of employees a better sense of how much they are worth and everyone's salary if going to go up, you'll have to work pretty hard to show the connection. Poaching key members of a team (e.g. to sabotage a competitor's project) seems to mostly benefit those key members. It increases the cost for everyone else including the companies involved. And that cost is very likely to be passed on to the other employees. You would also have to show that the companies will always choose not to pass on the cost of poaching to their employees -- because otherwise, you will have to admit that LESS poaching might actually lead to LARGER salaries. And in fact, the data seems to show this. (Once again, by poaching I mean reaching out and specifically cold calling key people in rival companies to advertise positions that they could have found on their own.)

UPDATE: In fact, in many states the poaching itself of key members can be illegal. Please consider this before you participate in the overblown outrage:

http://knowledgebase.findlaw.com/kb/2009/Oct/64552.html

Here is a court case of the exact opposite of what you are outraged about:

http://blogs.findlaw.com/tarnished_twenty/2010/07/tennessee-...

Here is another example of tortious interference

http://corporate.findlaw.com/human-resources/interference-wi...

56
poofyleek 1 day ago 0 replies      
:)
57
pyrrhotech 1 day ago 2 replies      
Getting fired from your cushy silicon valley recruiting job is far from the end of the world. He probably had another one in a week. Who gives a shit? :) was a fine response.
58
victorhooi 1 day ago 1 reply      
I previously thought the Google heads were pretty cool guys.

However, if you can believe the tabloids, it seem Sergey Brin is engaged in some messy affair with another Google employee:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2579067/Google-CEO-L...

http://www.vanityfair.com/society/2014/04/sergey-brin-amanda...

If you combine that with his pretty callous behaviour in those emails, maybe he really is a bad character.

17
Turkish government takes down YouTube too webrazzi.com
223 points by boolean  13 hours ago   138 comments top 27
1
ljd 12 hours ago 4 replies      
It's interesting to see a country dismantle internet access site by site. It challenges our notions of what we think will always be there.

If your site has a dependency on YouTube, your site isn't going to be functioning in Turkey.

It's like Netflix's Chaos Monkey [0], but in real life.

[0]http://techblog.netflix.com/2012/07/chaos-monkey-released-in...

2
shna 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I am a native Turkish speaker and I listened the recording. For one thing I did not hear anything you would not expect to hear from most of the statesman in the west in a similar situation.

Conversation is about the future stance of Turkey for the civil war in Syria and lack of enough resolve for the last 3 years to intervene properly, and that does not mean directly involving but not supplying ammo to rebel groups against Assad regime. They are complaining that the civil war took a turn toward total destabilization of the region, especially after Al-Qaeda linked group called ISIL[1] started taking over anti-Assad rebel groups. They fear that if ISIL becomes an armed power next to Turkey's border it will be a huge security concern. The head of intelligence agency says that if Turkey going to engage against them in the future it should be done so on their terms but not the other side's choosing. The mention of alleged provocation of the head of intelligence by his minions firing rockets from the Syrian side into Turkish side is correct. He says his men can do that. However he says that in the context they want to be the one starting the assault on ISIL, not the other way around. They argue that if they should wait for the ISIL to attack first. So again it is about engaging al-Qaeda linked group but not starting war with Syria. In this recording foreign minister mention that they want to avoid any conflict with Syria due to their capabilities. I do believe that any war with Syria destabilizes Turkey grossly and it is definitely something they would want to avoid and they did.

The al-Qaeda linked group (ISIL) invaded one the Syrian village about [4] 30-40km away from the Turkish border about a week ago. And like many Turkish I learned something new last week. In that village there's the tomb[2] of the grandfather of the founder of Ottoman Empire. Surrounding of that tomb which is a tiny tiny land in that village belongs to Turkish Republic. The monument is protected by Turkish soldiers who reside there permanently. After ISIL invaded the surrounding village they demanded [5] that Turkish soldiers leave the monument. However that land is part of Turkish sovereign land and Turkey reacted that she would intervene forcefully. Even we have been reading that couple of F-16 fighters are kept ready to take off on the tarmac and special ops can intervene in 90 seconds.

In the recording, foreign minister mentions the option of intervention to ISIL using the Tomb as an excuse, even if they do not attack monument and the soldiers. They mention that world would support such intervention since this is a al-Qaeda linked group. So they would like to attack ISIL fully in the whole region.

They are not warmongering against Syria, and they fear that ISIL's presence could become permanent and can become something of huge security concern for years to come.. In the recording, head of Turkish intelligence mention about lack of resolve of the government. He says if they did not intervene while thousands of people died, still attack on the Tomb of Suleyman Shah is a weaker argument to start an attack.

Probably we need to consider how US would react if an Al-Qaeda linked group starts taking over northern villages of Mexico while a civil war is going on in there.

However the main post is about YouTube ban due to this recording. I just wanted to give another perspective.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_L...[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Suleyman_Shah[3] https://plus.google.com/109044970213631232914/about?gl=us&hl...[4] https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tomb+of+Suleyman+Shah/@36....[5] http://www.worldbulletin.net/turkey/132062/isil-deadline-for...

3
hocaoglv 13 hours ago 5 replies      
After Twitter, this was expected. Just couple of hours ago, leaked audio recordings were uploaded to Youtube which show "Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutolu, National Intelligence Organization (MT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirliolu and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaar Gler are heard discussing possible intervention into Syria and possible reactions from the world"

They were planning to organize artificial attacks from Syrian border and put the blame on Syria and strength Erdogan's position before local elections.

4
zmanian 12 hours ago 2 replies      
It is amazing the DNS system lasted this long. Turkey seems ready to push over this house of cards. Hopefully a namecoin type system will rise from the ashes. Trust without cryptography is dead.
5
nine_k 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The Internet was designed to withstand damage due to nuclear warfare and other external disruptions. It apparently was not designed to reliably withstand serious attacks of malicious third parties controlling some segments of it.

Time to adapt.

6
DickingAround 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Blocking social media sites and expecting it to reduce tension is like turning off TV & radio broadcasting and expecting people to remain in their homes; it's a failure to understand modern systems of control. Orwell doesn't work at all. Huxley is your only hope Turkey :P
7
twobits 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's because of this leak: Turkish top political and military leaders, organizing a false flag attack, to have an excuse to attack Syria:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-27/here-youtube-false-...

8
frade33 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Question of the day!

I am not supporting Turkish Govt here, nor I have any concern with this country.

If a classified video is made live on a Turkish Video website, would US Govt block it or not?

or Do you approve of releasing classified videos or calls?., because according to my understanding regardless of the content of those videos or calls, they are in violation of 'privacy' and perhaps are classified too.?

I am just making sure, that I do not become a victim of double-standards here... :/

9
erichurkman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope enough copies of whatever damning evidence the Turkish government wants to suppress are being disseminated outside of Turkey as well as inside the country.

Long live Sneaker Net.

10
blendergasket 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What's really interesting to me is that it seems like some very, very powerful and well-connected player, who either has access to the communication networks or people at the top of the Turkish totem pole is trying to use social media to destabilize/overthrow a government.

I don't know much about what's going on in Turkey and the corruption that's being exposed is definitely hugely damning, but I'm curious if there is any credible idea as to who is behind all this leaking? It definitely isn't a group of your average concerned citizens.

11
corkill 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This will just push everyone sharing info to Facebook.

Next move bye bye Facebook...or internet.

Any way to build a mobile app that rotates servers enough to circumvent this kind of blocking?

12
spoiler 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't this the wrong approach, though? I mean, sure you can try to block people form finding the truth, but at least be covert about it; this is plain nave.

Their methodology is just putting them (the government) into the spotlight. Shouldn't they try and divert the attention?

This ensures people find the truth sooner rather than later. I feel like they've been played by some high-up in the government techs person who just got sick of the corruption and decided to add a catalyst.

13
tzaman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's sad that one corrupt politian has this much power
14
MimiZ 9 hours ago 1 reply      
They can't cover up their corruption.

It's like the whole world is watching...how could they be so stupid.

What are they going to do next? Block Google? Apparently they top the list of "government requests that request content removal": http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-tops-google-content-...

15
bayesianhorse 10 hours ago 0 replies      
And in the following week some court will take down the takedown...

On some part, yes, the Turkish government tries to restrict free speech, on the the other hand they seem to be abysmally bad at it!

16
stephengillie 12 hours ago 1 reply      
At least we have a Redundant Array of Independent Social Networks to help us route around this intentional damage.
17
theverse 12 hours ago 1 reply      
18
MCarusi 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Since the Twitter block was working just so well.
19
_nato_ 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Q: do embedded videos on other domains (such as fixyt.com) get blocked, too? How does that work?
20
BgSpnnrs 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube."

A bit light on the details there, auntie beeb. This is some pretty damning evidence.

Translation here: http://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/comments/21ib4d/leake...

21
jotm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How can they do this knowing what's going on in Ukraine and Egypt?
22
cturhan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This was expected and it was late than I expect. Now, they will block facebook and this will be their ending.
23
witty_username 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Technically videos could be accessed as they are served from googlevideo.com
24
higherpurpose 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Decentralized (federated) video sharing alternative:

http://mediagoblin.org/

25
mrkickling 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is how you start a revolution.
26
PetoU 12 hours ago 1 reply      
and the next revolution comes to...
27
pearjuice 12 hours ago 6 replies      
All my support goes to the Turkish government for trying to abrupt the Western propaganda and disrupting the influences of American secret national agencies. It is no secret that the protests and revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Tunis and the like were caused by internal fabrications from American soil so they could use the uproar for settling marionettes and proper satellite states instead of having to deal with nations which are against America and Israel.

Hopefully the Turkish government is successful in its endeavors to protect its citizens from a faux-revolution fed by propaganda easily spread in this digital age (i.e. Youtube and Twitter, Facebook is of high concern too).

The only counter-measure is to shut. it. down.

18
The Mill It just might Work engbloms.se
222 points by dochtman  14 hours ago   79 comments top 17
1
Symmetry 13 hours ago 3 replies      
It's really exciting, but here are a few worries I have about their ability to meet their performance claims:

1) I don't see that they'll be able to save much power on their cache hierarchy relative to conventional machines. Sure, backless memory will save them some traffic but on the other hand they won't e able to take advantage of the sorts of immense optimization resources that Intel has, so that fraction of chip power to performance isn't going away.

2) The bypass network on a conventional out of order chip takes up an amount of power similar to the execution units, and I expect that the Mill's belt will be roughly equivalent.

3) I'm worried on the software front. The differences between how they and LLVM handle pointer is causing them trouble, and porting an OS to the Mill looks to be a pretty complicated business compared to most other architectures. It's certainly not impossible, but it's still a big problem if they're worried about adoption.

All of which is to say, I think the 10x they're talking about is unrealistic. The Mill is full of horribly clever ideas which I'm really excited about and I do think their approach seems workable and advantageous, but I'd expect 3x at most when they've had time to optimize. The structures in a modern CPU that provide out of order execution and the top-level TLB are big and power hungry, but they're not 90% of power use.

If they're going to hit it big they'll probably start out in high-end embedded. Anything where you have a RTOS running on a fast processor, and your set of software is small enough that porting it all isn't a big problem.

Also, the metadata isn't like a None in Python, it's like a Maybe in Haskell! You can string them together and only throw an exception on side effects in a way that makes speculation (and vector operation) in this machine much nicer.

EDIT: Whatever the result of the Mill itself, it contains a large number of astoundingly clever ideas some of which would be useful even without all the other ideas. Like you could drop in Mill load semantics to most in-order processors and you'd have to do something different with how they interact with function calls but it would still be pretty useful.

EDIT2: I may sound pessimistic above, but I would still totally give them money if I were a registered investor. The outside view just says that new processors that try to change lots of things at once is pretty bad even if, on the inside view, they have a good story for how their going to overcome the challenges they'll face.

2
ChuckMcM 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I am really rooting for these folks, after going to a talk on it last year about this time and trying to everything thing I could to pick it apart (they had good answers for all my questions) I felt confident that its going to be a pretty awesome architecture. Assuming that reducing to practice all of their great ideas doesn't reveal some amazing 'gotcha', I'm hoping to get an eval system.

The thing I'm most closely watching are the compiler stuff since this was such a huge issue on Itanium (literally 6x difference in code execution speed just from compiler changes) and putting some structured data (pointer chasing) type applications through their paces which is always a good way to flush out memory/cpu bottlenecks.

3
cromwellian 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I actually had high hopes for Sun's Rock architecture, which had a rather elegant hardware-scout/speculative threading system to hide memory latencies, and instead of a reorder-buffer they had a neat checkpoint table, that simultaneously gave you out of order retirement, as well as hardware support for software transactional memory.

Alas, it looked good on paper, but died in practice, either because the theory was flawed (but academic simulations seemed to suggest it would be a win), or because Sun didn't have the resources to invest in it properly and Oracle killed it.

Claiming a breakthrough in VLIW static scheduling that yields 2.3x seems interesting, but the reality made be different, not to mention what kinds of workloads would get these speedups. If you compare the way NVidia and AMD's GPUs work, in particular AMD's, they rely heavily on static analysis, but in the end, extracting max performance is highly dependent on structuring your workload to deal with the way the underlying architecture executes kernels.

If it turns out you have to actually restructure your code to get this 2.3x performance, rather than gcc-recompile with a different architecture, then it's not really an apples-to-apples speedup.

4
vietor 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's easy* to build a dramatically better performing and more efficient CPU than currently available if you don't have to restrict yourself to the code and compilers currently available.

The exciting thing to me is that between wider availability of open source compilers and code, and a larger amount of user level code being written in interpreted languages (so only the language runtime needs to be rebuilt), there might actually be a future in alternative architectures.

* As these things go...

5
dkhenry 14 hours ago 1 reply      
So where do I buy one and test it myself. I love the theory, and some of the claims are awesome, but I am reminded of the Cell-BE and the chatter around it at release time. It wasen't untill we got the Cell into the hands of developers that we learned it's real limitations. I want a Mill I can write programs for and run benchmarks against. My benchmarks on my bench.
6
dochtman 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the compilers would be like. If these guys contribute, say, an LLVM backend, that would make it so much easier to support.
7
WhitneyLand 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Who is this guy? Where can you teach post-doc computer science without ever having taken a course in CS, let alone a degree?

Obviously a degree is not a necessary condition for success and it's always bothered me that people like Michael Faraday had to battle academic and class prejudice before changing the world.

However I don't think it's unreasonable to see a bio of past projects/companies/research papers.

"Despite having taught Computer Science at the graduate and post-doctorate levels, he has no degrees and has never taken a course in Computer Science"

8
Brashman 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What differentiates Mill with Itanium?

Also, what are the 2.3x power/performance improvements based on? Is there silicon for this?

9
rayiner 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a detailed description of the architecture: http://millcomputing.com/topic/introduction-to-the-mill-cpu-....

It describes Mill's approach to specifying inter-instruction dependencies, grouping instructions, and handling variable-latency memory instructions.

10
nly 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My biggest concern is Intel will just buy and bury it.
11
Xdes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to buy a Mill and mess around with it. Hopefully it isn't more expensive than current desktop or server processors.
12
comatose_kid 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked on a VLIW processor long ago and it had a theoretical peak of 700 MIPS (iirc) back in 2000. It was a neat architecture but required fairly low level knowledge to get the most out of it.
13
DiabloD3 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to replace every computer in the world with this.
14
JoeAltmaier 7 hours ago 1 reply      
How is this different from a convention register model, where the compiler stores each result into a new register round-robin? That would be a belt too.
15
panduwana 10 hours ago 2 replies      
If the belt operation can be changed from the current "take any two items on belt, process them, put the result to the front of belt" to "take two front-most items on belt, process them, put the result anywhere on belt", we can save some bits and make shorter instructions (good for mobile):

currently:OP load-address-1 load-address-2 // output is always put at belt's front

to:OP store-address // inputs are always 2 frontmost items on belt

16
klausnrooster 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Soon with Memristor RAM/SSD!
17
al2o3cr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Verilog or GTFO.
19
RoomScan: Get a Floor Plan in Minutes Just By Walking Around the Room architizer.com
214 points by tudborg  1 day ago   74 comments top 15
1
onedognight 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here's an alternative with a more interactive work flow: http://magic-plan.com/ .
2
roel_v 1 day ago 7 replies      
Quite disappointed - was hoping this was done through computer vision. Aren't there are apps that do this? By the time I've 'scanned' a room the way it's shown in the article, and if that method doesn't even give me heights, doors, windows and outlets, and is only accurate to within half a foot - by that time I've measured it with my laser tape measure 3 times over.
3
th0ma5 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems to be in the neighborhood of Johnny Lee's thinking in Project Tango: https://www.google.com/atap/projecttango/ ... a lot of the information collected by the increasingly precise sensors is going to allow for next level of... something... I think Project Tango is an example of not knowing what the future is in sensing and looking for network effects to fill in the gap.
4
dsirijus 1 day ago 3 replies      
I hoped that either they got their hands on Project Tango device or worked with this team in Zurich - http://www.i-programmer.info/news/192-photography-a-imaging/...

Edit:

Btw, anyone who applied for Project Tango got back from them in any way? I didn't.

5
Ashan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tried this app out a few days ago. The measurements in it are surprisingly good. I was finding it about ~10% out at most.

All in all, it is a very good (FREE!) app that can be used to get a decent idea of what might be needed in home renovation.

6
easy_rider 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got a lot more excited when I read about this a while ago (2012) [1]. It also states to be slightly more accurate. It also seems less cumbersome.

[1] http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/126843-think-gps-is-cool-...

I haven't tried anything, but it seems there are already lots of solutions and this is just another approach.

7
bethn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google's Project Tango (https://www.google.com/atap/projecttango/) and Structure.io seem to be the most promising in this area.

I have difficulty seeing any professionals adopting RoomScan as it still seems more difficult than just using a laser measure.

8
LukaszB 1 day ago 2 replies      
Could anyone possibly shed some light on what is used for measurement? gyro?
9
dominotw 1 day ago 0 replies      
This would be nice if I can feed the output to my neato( or roomba).
10
sdfjkl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've tried this a while ago. Did not work very well at all on an iPhone 4S, it would either tell me to re-try or come up with a plan that was completely off.
11
choonkeat 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"Your phone wasn't able to record all of the movement. Please try again"

can't get past 2 walls. iphone 4s

12
donut2d 1 day ago 0 replies      
AppStore link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/roomscan-app-that-draws-floo...

Couldn't find it on my brief scan of the article.

13
wehadfun 1 day ago 0 replies      
HomeDepot should let people use this instead of charging 30 for a measure and loosing it 3 months later
14
kingkawn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I usually Look at it for a few seconds and then think about what I want to do in there in my Brain.
15
prody 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know how it actually works?
20
We may have witnessed a NSA "Shotgiant" TAO-like action erratasec.com
210 points by julespitt  1 day ago   134 comments top 18
1
paul 1 day ago 6 replies      
Where there are security vulnerabilities, I'd rather it be the NSA exploiting them than someone else. The fact that Huawei support engineers have so much power is much more troubling.
2
brown9-2 1 day ago 3 replies      
A backdoor or 0day for a Huawei router would be of limited use to the NSA, because the control ports are behind firewalls. Hacking behind firewalls would likely give full access to the target network anyway, making any backdoors/0days in routers superfluous.

But embedding themselves inside the support infrastructure would give the NSA nearly unlimited access to much of the world. Huawei claims that a third of the Internet is running their devices. Almost all of it is under support contract. These means a Huawei support engineer, or a spy, can at any time reach out through cyberspace and take control of a third of the Internet hardware, located in data centers behind firewalls.

So the companies that use Huawei's products put the control ports behind their firewalls, but somehow are allowing unrestricted access through that firewall to/for Huawei's support mechanism?

Is that common?

3
mjolk 1 day ago 4 replies      
>In 2012, during an incident, we watched in real time as somebody logged into an account reserved for Huawei tech support, from the Huawei IP address space in mainland China.

I'm a little skeptical.

I wonder what they mean by "watched," because I doubt that they guessed the tty for reading or that the hacker joined a screen session. What is the likelihood that one would just "happen" to be staring at that server during an "incident."

4
jobu 1 day ago 9 replies      
What I don't understand is why the US government would point fingers at the Chinese for putting backdoors in Huawei devices when it was really the NSA all along. It seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot by giving pointing out the backdoors. My best guess is that they assumed someone would figure it out eventually and they wanted to spread misinformation to get out ahead of that.

Has anyone else come up with a better reason?

5
noir_lord 1 day ago 0 replies      
The normal guidelines for developing a security strategy is to estimate the resources and capabilities ranged against you and the probability they will be levelled against you and then develop a strategy for mitigation (absolute security is impossible).

The capabilities the NSA and GCHQ have developed are scary enough in and of themselves but the sheer breadth and depth of what they have achieved is far more horrifying, If I was the CTO for a large multi-national or a foreign government I'm not even sure where I'd start protecting against them.

6
peterkelly 17 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the biggest ironies of the Huawei hacking case is that now every time someone detects an attack from a Huawei device or the company itself, they can never be sure if it's China or the US that's behind it.
7
jontas 1 day ago 1 reply      
I dont understand why this level of access (if it is accurately described in the article) would only be of use to American intelligence, and "would['t] interest other intelligence services -- except to pass it on to the Americans."

It seems like something that powerful would be of interest to any intelligence service (or group of any sort), anywhere.

8
tzs 1 day ago 3 replies      
TAO?

Edit: finally found it, with some Googling. There are a lot of things with TAO as their TLA leading to a lot of false leads. TAO in this story means "Total Access Operations".

Edit 2: "tailored", not "total".

9
diminoten 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this is in any way useful, but consider that Ed Snowden himself was in a "support"/administrator role and that's what gave him access to the documents he later then leaked.
10
jnbiche 1 day ago 4 replies      
So what was the SQL query?
11
malandrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
What we really need is a new agency just like the NSA except for it's only mandate is closing holes everywhere even if those holes are actively being exploited by the NSA and CIA. Such an agency would actively discover holes, patch them when possible or disclosing the vulnerabilities to the engineers responsible for the software or hardware in question. Furthermore, the NSA and CIA would need to be barred from trying to get any access to this organization for its own use.
12
danielweber 1 day ago 0 replies      
This blog post is trying to say something tremendously important but it also is not giving us any information to evaluate it. Apparently everything is on fire but they can't tell us how.
13
sgt101 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Witnessing in this way runs counter to my experience of system management. How can you see (in real time) a query, the encryption, the email and the log deletion? I have run sql monitors and I see queries appear and then disappear... but my brain doesn't allow me to understand what the user is "up to" without lots of investigation and so on.
14
einhverfr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This sort of thing is significant. It puts remote support for systems in a very different light. At Efficito, we have plans to release on-premise appliances as well as our cloud hosting options. This sort of story makes me think about how to avoid this sort of problem.

Here are rules I am suggesting.

1. The on-premise appliance should not be directly accessed from the network unless folks at the local environment enable contact.

2. Everything else, regarding services, should be loosely coupled and designed not to give significant access to either party over the other.

This sort of thing strikes me as an area where the industry is going to have to evolve. The danger of "we can connect to your systems" is becoming clearer to a larger section of the market.

15
eli 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why there's a sharp distinction between installing a backdoor and using stolen support access as a backdoor.
16
RankingMember 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's scary to think that a third of the internet relies on any one company's backbone products, regardless of the country that company calls home. Way too many eggs in one basket, but much easier for the humans involved compared to having a ton of different manufacturers who would have their own individual issues. Find an exploit once, employ it (most) everywhere (appropriation of old Java tagline).
17
vampirechicken 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does the support login have the privileges to delete all of the activity log files, and why is a login with enough privilege to delete logs allowed to perform SQL queries?
18
italophil 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's one thing getting spied on by the US government, but one would hope they'd use something more sophisticated than Hotmail to move the information around.
21
MLB.com is using my Google Analytics code websanova.com
201 points by rduchnik  1 day ago   133 comments top 28
1
rduchnik 1 day ago 4 replies      
Well mystery solved. I did a bit of sleuthing and noticed they have a scratch card at the bottom of the page. I had written a scratchpad plugin so I did a quick search for "wScratchPad" and sure enough it's there. They copied my sample code from http://wscratchpad.websanova.com, div's css and all and, you can even see the same `id` and `class` names.

I guess they copied a little too much.

2
dangero 1 day ago 3 replies      
I once hired an offshore developer on ODesk who stole my code and resold it. I discovered he was doing this because he left my analytics code in. Same deal; I woke up one day to analytics showing traffic on a domain I didn't own, so I went to look and it was basically a mirror of my site.
3
rduchnik 1 day ago 3 replies      
There is a comment on my blog from a developer from MLB.com for anyone who is interested:

"Hi -

Engineer from mlb.com here. It appears this goes a bit deeper down the rabbit hole than meets the eye. Apparently theres some code laying around in our tests run by a CI setup that randomly generates a tracking code to mock third party scripts (Google analytics, ad tracking, etc) instead of using our actual IDs as to not mess with our marketing guys numbers (we run a LOT of tests on CI).

The strange thing is that your IDs arent being pulled from your site, but have randomly been generated the same way many, many times and then been shipped out to our production server by mistake.

We cant figure out why this is happening, but are looking into the build system and how it caches data. Luckily I read HN or we might have never caught this!"

4
jrockway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good thing the author didn't ask for "express written permission" to use his code. The irony would have been too much for me to handle.
5
sergiotapia 1 day ago 1 reply      
So you share this hilarious bit and leave out the juicy details!?

How large of a spike are we talking about here? Share your digits bro!

6
seanalltogether 1 day ago 0 replies      
Back in 2003 Sony Pictures hotlinked some javascript code I had created for handling Flash->javascript communication. Back then all I could think of was using it to float a dancing robot over their content. These days I guess you can get away with a lot more.
7
jacquesm 18 hours ago 1 reply      
One day Microsoft (msn.com) to be exact hotlinked a small gif from one of my servers. Support did not respond at all to my inquiries to please have it removed (the msn.com homepage had a lot more traffic than I was used to dealing with) so I replaced the gif on my server with the "netscape now" button.

This was at the height of the browser wars.

8
dalek2point3 1 day ago 4 replies      
I wrote an example for graduate students in the US to create a webpage and directed them to look at my webpage for an example template. Now they all copy my analytics tracking code, and I have like tens of student websites that I'm tracking me. It annoys me. I think we should have some sort of two-way authentication or atleast a way to "mute" certain domains or only whitelist certain domains in the reporting side of GA. Perhaps it exists?
9
ApolloRising 1 day ago 1 reply      
For anyone else experiencing this problem what you can do is simply setup a filter in Google Analytics to only allow your domain to add traffic to your google analytics profile.

Inside google analytics goto filter,create new filter,select custom filter,select include filter,Enter hostname in the filter field,enter your websitename\.com in the filter pattern box,

Apply this filter to your profiles for websitename.com and you should be good to go

10
gkcgautam 1 day ago 1 reply      
@MLB.com

But why are you generating those random IDs at all? That means you guys are sending false tracking data to so many websites using those IDs.

Stop doing this! Create a different tracking ID for testing or something!!

11
bhashkarsharma 1 day ago 1 reply      
One morning, we woke up to see Google Analytics sending us data from an external site. When we opened that link, it turned out to be a clone of our website.

They had crawled the entire site (which was designed by our partners) and replaced the logos and text. The GA code was still there.

12
6a68 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it would have been cool to ping one of the MLB.com developers, not write a blog post and laugh at them publicly/without warning. Just sayin'.
13
fekberg 1 day ago 3 replies      
Doesn't Google Analytics cost money after a certain amount of hits per day/month? If that is the case and the gap was hit, would MLB.com be liable to pay the fees?
14
Brajeshwar 21 hours ago 0 replies      
People usually steals my designs. Well, I stole better but that's another story.

I once had my site's design stolen complete with my CSS, Javascript errors, the Analytic and the Adsense Code. I think I have the screenshots somewhere on Flickr.

The irony was that, mine was powered by a WordPress theme that I designed and was available as a free download.

15
ColdHawaiian 1 day ago 0 replies      
On a side note, when I visited the blog, it triggered a Web of Trust warning because it got flagged as spam: https://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/websanova.com.

It looks like a legit programmer's blog to me, so I gave it a full positive review.

16
untog 1 day ago 3 replies      
FYI (the author, if they're here), your site doesn't load in Firefox for Android. Not sure why.
17
tericho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hilarious. You probably aren't seeing a huge traffic spike because it's a microsite that hasn't been launched yet. It also appears to be outsourced or in some sort of BETA since the script management is atrocious. Run a Chrome audit - it's only a landing page and still makes 37 different JS file requests & 13 different CSS file requests, none of which are minified. Granted many "professional" sites ignore client-side asset performance but regardless, 120+ HTTP requests for a landing page is laughable.

Edit: Might be same shop as mlb.com, they don't appear to care about asset performance either.

18
pa7 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've created an open source project and forgot to remove my tracking code too. The only thing was, I was hosting my own analytics with piwik, so the tracking code came from my domain. Although I marked the code with comments lots of people still left it there.

If I was a bad guy this would be an easy and subtle XSS attack vector

19
patmcguire 1 day ago 1 reply      
What if I steal your GA code for my app, which has such routes as:

/I-know-one-weird-trick-to-save-money-on-car-insurance

/buy-coke

20
gk1 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Meta comment: This thread has seemed to attract more nonsense comments -- many are almost entirely whited-out -- than usual. Why? Whatever happened to the endorsement idea?
21
i_like_robots 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had this issue too with some of my old, Open Source jQuery plugins and even keeping the scripts separated (into the document head and at the end of the body) and commented didn't seem to work. Developers looking for the cheap and easy copy and paste I guess don't recognize the difference. Fortunately GA supports simple filtering to mitigate it.
22
vojant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have seen something similar, when three companies stolen award-winning design of digital agency I used to work for. They just copied whole code (including comments in javascript) and changed logos/texts but they haven't change our ga code.
23
nness 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought GA was tied to specific domains; wouldn't GA not track MLB.com traffic?
24
lurchpop 21 hours ago 0 replies      
mlb://mlb:mlb@mlb.mlb.mlb/mlb.mlb?mlb=mlb#mlb
25
hanswang2013 1 day ago 0 replies      
LMAO
26
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 2 replies      
Now if you can get them to steal your AdSenseForContent code you are golden!
27
z3bra 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice unintentionally linkbait.

But does their code looks similar to yours?

28
mahmud 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone done goofed. Google Analytics and other KPI chew-toys and gadgets are what keeps executives busy while people get work done.

This will not go unnoticed.

22
Amazon EC2 Pricing Changes Effective April 1, 2014 amazon.com
201 points by tluthra  1 day ago   144 comments top 37
1
lamby 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something we should always remember when considering the implications and hermeneutics of AWS pricing (from Brad Stone's book):

Bill Miller, the chief investment officer at Legg Mason Capital Management and a major Amazon shareholder, asked Bezos at the time about the profitability prospects for AWS. Bezos predicted they would be good over the long term but said that he didnt want to repeat Steve Jobss mistake of pricing the iPhone in a way that was so fantastically profitable that the smartphone market became a magnet for competition.

2
fragsworth 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just reserved a series of heavy-utilization m3.xlarge instances for roughly $30k. Apparently, if I had waited a month, I could have saved about $13k because of these price reductions.

I can't help but feel that I got really fucked by poor timing that I couldn't control. It would hurt so much less if these price changes were more gradual and somewhat consistent (perhaps monthly).

3
applecore 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is huge. Startups everywhere are huge beneficiaries of this price war between Amazon and Google over the future of cloud computing.
4
redthrowaway 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is crazy. The savings we'll see from this alone are enough for another full-time dev or two.
5
logn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow the c3.8x large drops by almost a dollar/hr.

Cheers to Google.

6
NathanKP 1 day ago 3 replies      
I see that the prices on the M3 instances dropped a bit more than the prices on the M1 instances did, so they are encouraging us customers even more to move from the older HHD based instances to the newer, faster SSD based instances.
7
eliben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Competition is amazing. Cheers to free markets :)
8
powera 1 day ago 1 reply      
The most striking thing to me is that they seem to be aggressively motivating people to longer reservations. For RDS they only dropped prices for on-demand (which is still expensive) and 3 year, heavy utilization instances.
9
gtaylor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Let us hope that RDS prices also drop as a result of this. It's enough of a value for us at the current price rates to be happy with it, but there will need to be some decrease to make sure that it makes financial sense over straight self-managed EC2.
10
SeoxyS 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whoops, sounds like bitter (but still good) news for companies like ours that have million-dollar contracts of reserved instances. If we were to grab our reserved instances right now instead of a few months ago, we'd have saved more than half a million over the next year. Bleh.
11
shebson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would be so happy if Heroku passed along these price cuts to their customers, but based on past AWS price cuts, I'm not holding my breath.
12
gtaylor 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just to make sure I'm reading this right, the upfront reservation fees are higher, but the reserved hourly rates dropped a good bit. It's cheaper over the duration of the reservation, but you owe more of the term upfront.

Given this tidbit, might you reserve an instance now, pay the lower fee, but still take advantage of the new hourly rates on April 1? Or are you locked in at whatever rate your reservation is for?

13
rcthompson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any time something is announced for April 1, I always have to take a minute to figure out if it's a joke or not. If I wanted to make a change for my company beginning in April, I think I would announce the planned date as April 2nd just to avoid any confusion.
14
WoodenChair 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting how all of the focus of this discussion is Google, Amazon, and Heroku. Why hasn't RedHat's OpenShift gained more mindshare? It's not a bad platform, although I've found their support leaves something to be desired. It's also priced very competitively for small apps (you get 3 nodes free).
15
manishsharan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear AWS, could we also get a price drop on Cloudfront bandwidth ?
16
dalek2point3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone have a sense of how long this price war could feasibly go on? What's happening at the cost side for GOOG / AMZN? How much do you reckon its costs the on the margin for extra cores, memory etc?
17
carlosdp 1 day ago 1 reply      
That only took one day! This competition looks good for the future.
18
j-rom 1 day ago 7 replies      
Just out of curiosity, why would one choose AWS over Digital Ocean? Isn't DO considerably cheaper?
19
dagw 19 hours ago 1 reply      
GPU instances for $0.65 an hour. Wow!
20
ausjke 1 day ago 0 replies      
DO still seems way cheaper for my usage though, but it's good to see Amazon dropped prices.
21
chourobin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if these pricing changes are retroactive for customers that have already purchased the reserved instances?
22
diafygi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hmm, the micro instances don't seem to have changed ($0.020/hr).
23
millioncents 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm very impressed with Amazon's scale and their ability to produce such low prices. Whilst many SaaS vendors (and even traditional brick and mortar business) seemingly keep on increasing prices because of "inflationary" pressures and whatnot... Amazon just keeps on showing - the consumers are being taken for a ride by the rest of the businesses out there.
24
ikarandeep 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm hoping the storage price drops will in return let Dropbox lower its prices to compete with Google Drive.
25
grinich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love market competition. :)
26
warbaker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Google.
27
CoconutPilot 20 hours ago 2 replies      
We are in the middle of deracking and throwing out (no kidding) some 3+ year old machines at my work. Care to take a guess at what a 3+ year old machine's specs are? Cause I know you don't have a chance at getting it right.

Dell C1100 1U (almost 4 years old)2x 6core with HT, 24 active threads144 GB RAM10x 300 15k SAS

I think there are very few use cases where Amazon makes sense. Their VMs are very expensive, and under powered for what you pay.

28
rmcpherson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will there be any change to minimum spot instance pricing?

As far as I know this minimum is set by Amazon, but I don't see that pricing listed in the announcement here.

29
cauliturtle 1 day ago 2 replies      
ec2 pricing is just a small piece of the whole bill. but it is great to see the price drops, thanks google!

wonder if there would be price battle on bandwidth.

30
megaframe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Last time I priced this out for a personal project it was half the price just to build something at home... if I didn't already own the setup this would be pretty great.
31
twistedpair 1 day ago 0 replies      
There went most of the rabbits out of Bezo's hat for re:Invent 2015.
32
paaaaaaaaaa 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Your move, Microsoft Azure.
33
yixizhang 1 day ago 0 replies      
My reaction is Heroku should drop their price too.
34
ing33k 1 day ago 3 replies      
how are they still making profits ?
35
spoiledtechie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Be more constructive and maybe I won't vote you down next time.
36
omarforgotpwd 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Effective April 1 2014, Google should go fuck itself" -- Bezos
37
chris_mahan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Remember, you get what (the reliability, service) you pay for.

And what happens when AWS is no longer a revenue source?

Shareholder (owner)'s decision: cut it.

23
Why doesn't GCC optimize a*a*a*a*a*a to (a*a*a)*(a*a*a)? (2013) stackoverflow.com
197 points by Doublon  17 hours ago   71 comments top 13
1
tikhonj 16 hours ago 7 replies      
Because, of course, floating point addition and multiplication is not associative. This turns out surprisingly easy to demonstrate:

    0.1 + (0.2 + 0.3) = 0.6    0.1 + 0.2 + 0.3 = 0.6000000000000001
and the same for multiplication:

    0.1 * 0.2 * 0.3 = 6.000000000000001e-3    0.1 * (0.2 * 0.3) = 6.0e-3
It actually isn't "surprising" if you understand how the format works. It essentially uses scientific notation but in binary, with a set number of bits for both the mantissa and the exponent as well as a few changes thrown in for better behavior at its limits (like denormalization). This means that it can't directly express numbers which are very easy to write in decimal form, like 0.1, just like we can't express 1/3 as a finite decimal. It's designed to manage this as well as possible with the small number of bits at its disposal, but we still inevitably run into these issues.

Of course, most programmers only have a vague idea of how floating point numbers work. (I'm certainly among them!) It's very easy to run into problems. And even with a better understanding of the format, it's still very difficult to predict exactly what will happen in more complex expressions.

A really cool aside is that there are some relatively new toys we can use to model floating point numbers in interesting ways. In particular, several SMT solvers including Z3[1] now support a "theory of floating point" which lets us exhaustively verify and analyze programs that use floating point numbers. I haven't seen any applications taking advantage of this directly, but I personally find it very exciting and will probably try using it for debugging the next time I have to work with numeric code.

A little while back, there was an article about how you can test floating point functions by enumerating every single 32-bit float. This is a great way of thinking! However, people were right to point out that this does not really scale when you have more than one float input or if you want to talk about doubles. This is why SMT solvers supporting floating point numbers is so exciting: it makes this sort of approach practical even for programs that use lots of doubles. So you can test every single double or every single pair of doubles or more, just by being clever about how you do it.

I haven't tried using the floating point theories, so I have no idea how they scale. However, I suspect they are not significantly worse than normal bitvectors (ie signed/unsigned integers). And those scale really well to larger sizes or multiple variables. Assuming the FP support scales even a fraction as well, this should be enough to practically verify pretty non-trivial functions!

[1]: http://z3.codeplex.com/

2
octo_t 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Basically:

floating point is hard. Programmers get it wrong, compilers get it right.

(normally).

3
Khaine 16 hours ago 1 reply      
4
sheetjs 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Always a great read: "What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic"

PDF rendering: http://www.cse.msu.edu/~cse320/Documents/FloatingPoint.pdf

HTML rendering: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19957-01/806-3568/ncg_goldberg.ht...

5
pkulak 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> Um... you know that aaaaaa and (aaa)(aaa) are not the same with floating point numbers, don't you?

Why would so many people upvote such a condescending comment?

6
willvarfar 17 hours ago 2 replies      
7
d23 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Random sidenote, but I've never seen an SO answer be upvoted in realtime until now. Didn't even know they programmed such functionality.
8
woodchuck64 4 hours ago 0 replies      
floating point in short: computer representation of scientific notation(1) with sign bit, exponent(2) and coefficient(3) crammed in the same word.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_notation

2. base 2, biased by 127, 8 bits (IEEE float)

3. base 2, implicit leading 1, 23 bits (IEEE float)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-precision_floating-point...

9
TeMPOraL 14 hours ago 3 replies      
One thing I always wondered about is why are we using floating point arithmetic at all, instead of fixed point math with explicitly specified ranges (say, "here I need 20 bits for the integer part and 44 for the fractional part")? What is the practical value of having a floating point that would justify dealing with all that complexity and conceptual problems they introduce?
10
jevinskie 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a discussion from today and yesterday on llvm-dev that deals with floating point guarantees and optimizations: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.compilers.clang.devel/358...
11
pygy_ 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I already knew about the lack of associativity of IEEE floats, but TIL that `pow(x,n)` is more precise than chained multiplications.

Good to know.

12
username42 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The non associativity of addition is obvious, but for the multiplication, I understand why it does not give always the same answer, but I do not see why a change of the order could change the accuracy.
13
ww2 14 hours ago 2 replies      
How would a functional language compiler deal with this case? like GHC?
24
Tarsnap now accepts Bitcoin daemonology.net
190 points by cperciva  12 hours ago   40 comments top 8
1
minimax 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I tell them I want to get paid X dollars in bitcoins, and they tell me how many bitcoins I should ask for and what address they should be sent to. Stripe then gives me the dollars I asked for (minus a small processing fee, of course).

How much is the fee? Is it a fixed amount or proportional to the transaction value? How does Stripe set the dollar denominated bitcoin price? One easy way to make a bitcoin payment look cheap is to offer a low fee but offer a slightly inflated exchange rate and take a profit out of the difference between the rate used for payment and the rate you can get in the market (exchanges or dealers). It's hard to compare the economic value of dollar denominated bitcoin payments (relative to credit cards) without knowing these details.

2
gregimba 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Stripe seems to be the default payment processor for tech startups. Especially now they are going to support Bitcoin.
3
mitchellh 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hopefully it is a temporary thing but the iframe is not loading for me in any browser. "Server refused the connection"
4
fpgaminer 9 hours ago 1 reply      
@cperciva, slightly off-topic: I had a curious question this past week about one aspect of the scrypt algorithm. If I recall correctly, it sandwiches the memory hard function between PBKDF2, and uses Salsa20 as the mixing function internally. In the spirit of reducing code, I'm wondering if it makes sense to replace Salsa20 with HMAC, SHA256, or just SHA256's mixing function? It would reduce the number of crypto primitives in the implementation. Not that it really matters much, but just curious (and partially curious if Salsa20 had specific properties that are useful in scrypt's design). Sorry if this is a dumb question; I was going to read back through your scrypt paper, but have been busy all week.
5
Scaevolus 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's strange that Stripe doesn't support paymentiframe.com's feature directly-- I'm sure many have similar concerns about embedding arbitrary JS into their domain.
6
datr 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Is Tarsnap going to drop prices in response to the AWS S3 drop?
7
akama 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how Stripe is going to handle the tax implications of Bitcoins. It may not have an impact because they shouldn't be holding them, but it could be complicated.
8
mhartl 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This is great news. One quick suggestion: I recommend dropping the material on Bitcoin's unsuitability as a store of value or unit of account, or at least softening the language to sound less certain. It's possible that these views, which are shared by most mainstream economists, will prove to be true, but Bitcoin's design is a test of the contrary position. It seems reasonable to concede that there's some uncertainty in the matter.
25
Gnome 3.12 Released gnome.org
182 points by bkor  1 day ago   126 comments top 18
1
dmix 1 day ago 3 replies      
Looks great. I've been extremely happy with Gnome UI after switching from OSX. It's fun being able to play with a desktop that is constantly improving on a rolling-release platforms like Arch Linux, where new updates stream in constantly. Instead of having to wait a year or more for big waterfall releases like OSX (Mavericks was also pretty disappointing).

My only complaint is how every gnome upgrade the majority of gnome shell extensions break and the dev community is really slow to update them.

2
tenfingers 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Gnome is a perfect example of what designing with too much sense for aesthetics and no usage experience looks like.

It's nice looking, yes. On the surface things seem to be good enough. But start using the software, and discover how little though most of the features have been given.

Window cycling is one thing, but the issues go _way_ deeper than that. Small examples come from the file open/save dialog being into "Recent" mode by default, despite being totally useless since the dialog has no notion of what has been done outside of other applications (and come on, on Linux having a terminal open to script is pretty much the norm). There's an option to switch the dialog to directory mode (in "current cwd") [1], but of course there's no such fine-tuning in gtk3. I'm supporting users using Ubuntu in our facility, and they all hate this "recent" mode.

[1] http://askubuntu.com/questions/63202/can-i-stop-apps-from-se...

The list of gothas like this would be so awfully long that I stopped caring about Gnome first, and then Gtk3 entirely, since they are pretty much on the same development line of thought.

Luckily, thanks to XDG and several other common practices, a full DE like Gnome or KDE is pretty much useless on Linux. There are some many alternatives to choose from, that any complaint is largely irrelevant.

My suggestions to people liking Gnome though is this: dont' focus on looks, please try the alternatives. If you miss some "integration", ask for a standard or some consensus, not for any DE-specific feature.

3
mixmastamyk 1 day ago 3 replies      
There are many annoyances in these new unfinished desktops, but one I miss the most was the Gnome2 clock applet. A must if you have people in other timezones:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/1Ftcd.png

Note the map with day/night marked. Allows one at a glance to figure out if it is a reasonable time to make contact.

I've managed to get a version almost as good on a Saucy laptop, but now Locations doesn't stay open by default, and has some new bugs.

These are the kinds of rich functionality that consistently get lost in the "reinvention shuffle" linux software goes thru every 5 years.

4
jmhain 1 day ago 0 replies      
If anybody uses Fedora 20 and wants to test out the new release, Richard Hughes set up a COPR for 3.12. I've been using it for a couple weeks without any major issues.

http://blogs.gnome.org/hughsie/2014/02/24/gnome-3-12-on-fedo...

5
webkike 1 day ago 2 replies      
Perhaps an unpopular opinion, but I love Gnome, and it just keeps improving. It's got some annoying issues, such as when the designers decide to willy-nilly drop important features inbetween releases (like the Ethernet connection indicator, and the backtracking in gparted), but it's been great otherwise. A genuinely good desktop manager for linux.
6
exacube 1 day ago 2 replies      
I still don't understand why they insist on removing window-based task management when they continue to use window-based applications and workflows, so I will continue to complain about this
7
rcthompson 1 day ago 3 replies      
They talk about better Hi-res (i.e. "retina") display support. Does anyone have a screenshot or video of this working?
8
e12e 1 day ago 2 replies      
One of the best news for Gnome is their (updated/clarified) stance on portability, that I found linked in the section for developers[d] linked from the actual release notes[r]:

http://blogs.gnome.org/desrt/2014/02/19/on-portability/

"GNOME is not Linux-only and it never should be. People are running GNOME on FreeBSD, OpenBSD and very many other non-GNU/Linux systems. People are running GNOME on GNU/Linux systems that dont have systemd. This will continue to be the case. We need to continue supporting these people."

[d] https://help.gnome.org/misc/release-notes/3.12/developers.ht...[r] https://help.gnome.org/misc/release-notes/3.12/

9
emehrkay 1 day ago 2 replies      
So it is pronounced "ga-nome" and not "nome"? Interesting.

It looks good too, I like the way modals open from a thin line to its full size.

10
dvirsky 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If any Gnome developers are reading this - please disregard the bullshit (of course constructive criticism isn't bullshit) - you guys are doing an awesome job, and I wouldn't trade Gnome for any desktop environment out there. Period. Yes, including OSX. I think this will finally have me upgrade my 'buntu.
11
nelmaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been a Gnome user since the start of the month and it has been the best Linux experience I ever had so far. I was thoroughly impressed by its performance too.
12
AnthonBerg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey what do you know I find myself not caring very much. After using Gnome 2 for a long while as my main work desktop and actually really trying to use Gnome 3 for a while. Now I'm not even curious to know what's in the new release.
13
jifu 1 day ago 0 replies      
In case there are some people who still avoid Gnome3 due to experiences from the early versions, I strongly recommend giving this one a chance. I myself was a Unity user for a couple of years because I liked the fact that they were trying to do something new. I had tried Gnome3 as well but the first versions were pretty messy. Now, though, after getting fed up with Canonical and switching to Manjaro (highly recommended as a fairly easy rolling release distro), I've been very positively surprised about Gnome's progress. It looks good, fits my usage patterns very well, and the minor annoyances I had were pretty much fixed via a couple of extensions.
14
b6fan 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think GNOME3 is breaking *nix philosophy: do one thing and do it well; to be highly configurable. You have freedom to use compiz in GNOME2, but not in 3. There are a lot of good GTK2 themes but gitg and d-feet have hard-coded styles so only default GNOME3 theme will look sane. Super+p is somewhat hard-coded and you cannot customize it ... and there are more annoying issues. I am happy that mate-desktop is still alive.
15
sanimal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly I don't use any of the extensions anymore. I just install Docky and call it a day.
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orkoden 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Gnome is usable only with gnome do. http://do.cooperteam.net
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chinhodado 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best feature for me is automatic text reflow in terminal. It's finally here!
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hhsnopek 1 day ago 4 replies      
So these updates are only available for Ubuntu 14.04 and other flavors?I'm unable to upgrade from 3.10 to 3.12
26
Threes: The Rip-offs and Making Our Original Game asherv.com
184 points by gkoberger  5 hours ago   112 comments top 33
1
GuiA 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Having a foot in the indie game developer community and another in startups, it's fascinating to see the HN comments in response to this post.

The indie game developers care about originality, passion, the sweat and hard months of work, the dedication to the craft. I think the point of Asher's essay is to show how much love and effort went into it, and that they were indeed the first to ship a full, polished game with that concept. That's where their pride and satisfaction comes from.

The startup people care about end user experience, how good the PR is, and ultimately how numbers matter more than everything else.

I don't think there's a wrong or right vision - it's two very different communities.

Indie game devs dream of making amazing games with other talented, inspiring people - and as long as they make enough money to live not too uncomfortably, they're fine. Their biggest dream is to receive an IGF award and see their game on Steam. Maybe make enough money to be able to start a studio with a bunch of their friends, but definitely not to "scale" to EA-size.

Startup people dream of growing their company to Facebook size, making billions of dollars, scaling, and being on Techcrunch.

It's two very different communities, and it's fun to see the two worlds collide.

Addendum: if you feel like this post is vindictive, bitter, etc.- remember: the best way to interpret a view different than yours is to understand that there is a worldview in which those statements are perfectly coherent, logical, and meaningful. Asher, Greg, and all the other people mentioned in this post are successful, highly respected members of the indie game dev community - not a bunch of guys who are angry for whatever silly reason.

2
smacktoward 3 hours ago 9 replies      
> We know Threes is a better game, we spent over a year on it.

I played Threes, and I liked it. And I feel for these guys having to watch everybody and his brother pile on to the idea they had to work so hard to tease out into reality.

But here is some hard truth: none of that matters.

Nobody cares how hard you had to work to get from idea to product. All they care about is what you have produced at the end of all that work. What makes it better or worse is how it stacks up relative to the competition -- even the competition that is shamelessly riffing off your core ideas -- not how much sweat you put into it.

And I gotta say, having played 2048, 1024 and Threes (the Android versions, at least), I think of the three of them 1024 stands up the best. It takes the core ideas in Threes and sands them down into a game that is easier to grasp and plays faster, without becoming so simple (a la 2048) that it becomes a game a script can beat. Threes makes you swipe-swipe-swipe after every game to get your score and "sign" it (why do I care about signing it?) before you can play again; 1024 just moves you straight on to the next game. Mobile games need to be simple and streamlined, and 1024 understands that imperative better than Threes does.

I say all this to help others understand why I would point to this essay as an example of how not to respond to a problem like a barrage of cloners. It's because this essay sees the world entirely from the developers' perspective -- look how hard we worked! Look how long we labored! Look how subtle our decisions were! -- which is exactly the wrong angle.

You want your communications to speak from the customer's perspective, not from your own. Customers don't give you brownie points for how hard you worked on something. All they care about is how to get the best product for the best price. So if you put your heart and soul into something, and then someone comes along, tweaks your thing and makes it better, the way to respond isn't to ask people to respect how hard you worked; it's to look closely at the new thing, understand why people like it better, and then bring that understanding to your next iteration or your next product.

3
ghshephard 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I loved threes, Played it for close to 20-30 hours during winter break. As soon as 2048 came out, I managed to get to 2048 on my second try based on my experience with threes. I play 2048 in my browser whenever I have a spare 5 minutes, and when I'm on the Bus, I still frequently hop into a quick game of Threes.

The mechanics of the two games are very similar, and obviously 2048 is a direct descendent of threes - but I wouldn't go so far to say that one is better than the other.

Threes has claim to originality, and first publication, so significant credit does need to go to Asher Vollmer, Greg Wohlwend and composer Jimmy Hinson of Sirvo for their original invention.

But, Threes does have some "issue" - one is really poor startup times. It's slow enough that I am more likely to play 2048 in my browser, than bother firing up Threes on my iPhone. The piece assignment in threes, is also somewhat less pleasing to my experience than in 2048, for whatever reason.

Also - sometimes you are looking for nice quick fun - I get a nice rush of (finger mashing) 2048 to the 512 stage, and then very, very quickly racing to 2048 instinctively (plus the crush of defeat if I make a flickering mistake and get my pieces out of place).

Threes requires a lot more attention - I can't really play it at full-key-flick-speed - Not every game has to be chess.

If you read through the emails, and design history on the "making of" - it really, really emphasizes how damn hard it is to build that original kernel of genius. And then the piling on of all the clones/knockoffs/descendants shows how trivial it is for others to stand on the shoulders of genius.

One challenge of the AppStore (and obviously the Android stores, and simply by definition the Web) - is that there is no real way to "reward" the original developers for their many months of hard work, when others can simply clone, tweak the artwork and mechanics (or in the case of Zynga, just the artwork) - and release and market their own duplicate of a game after someone else has done all the hard work.

But, sometimes this opportunity to reinvent is good - I've tried a lot of podcast apps - because I listen to podcasts for about 4-6 hours/day, and, while "Cast" is my current preferred App, I'm looking forward to what Marco does with Overcast. I would have hated it if we couldn't have lots of diversity in that marketplace. (And I would have shot myself if I had to use Apple's (original, horrible) "reel-reel" podcast player).

Another approach though are apps like Vesper - It's "another" notepad app - but the developers (Q Branch's John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus), took months and months to polish and refine till it creates a totally different notepad experience (and, in my opinion, the best one on the iPhone) - isn't it good that they had the opportunity to build something in the notepad category, in a different way?

All in all though, I hope that Sirvo's Asher Vollmer, Greg Wohlwend and Jimmy Hinson get the credit they deserve for building the "first of".

4
gkoberger 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Threes is the original game that 2048 (and its clones) are based on. This site starts off a bit slow (talking about 2048), however the hundreds of emails / screenshots showing the progress is insanely awesome. It's a great look into what it's like to build something from scratch.

Spoiler alert: at one point it was a game about argyle socks and monsters (Argoyle).

5
steven2012 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a friend who works at a successful mobile gaming company (not Zynga). He freely admits that what they do is rip off whatever games are most popular. Period. End of Story.

They even have a SWAT team that will go out and build prototypes in days and launch them on the App store as quickly as possible to get some users. They've even launched games with the exact same name as the popular game in hopes of tricking people into using their version of the game.

The entire thing is despicable to me, but I guess that's just the nature of the gaming industry these days. Most companies are ripping off each other, so true innovation is hard to come by, and isn't really appreciated anymore.

The funny thing is that he also admitted that they have run out of successful games to rip off, so they might actually have to build their own games.

6
austinz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a decently polished open-source clone of 2048 for iOS over a weekend, and from HN's front page it's obvious many could (and did) do the same for a variety of platforms and languages. It's popular to talk about how ideas are cheap and plentiful, and implementation is what really matters. But maybe Threes is an example where the opposite is true: implementation is straightforward, but the ideas, thought, and polish that goes into making the product truly spectacular are the distinguishing factor.
7
prezjordan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I felt the same sentiment when 2048 first landed. I was shocked at how no one had really heard of Threes!

Then the developer put "Gameplay similar to Threes" or something like that on the page. I thought it was a nice gesture.

But, overall, I felt for the Threes developers. I'm glad to see this posted to HN.

8
bobbles 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I love Threes, and I understand where they're coming from.

But this line "Others rifled off that they thought 2048 was a better game than Threes. That all stung pretty bad. We know Threes is a better game, we spent over a year on it. "

The fact that someone spent less time on a game, and based it on your game, does not make it a WORSE game. It's just unfortunate for you.

9
madsushi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been playing Threes for quite some time, so it came as a surprise to me when several commenters on HN assumed that 2048 was the original and Threes was the derivative.
10
baddox 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> We wanted players to be able to play Threes over many months, if not years. We both beat 2048 on our first tries.

I was addicted to Threes when I first got it. I played dozens of games per session, and multiple sessions per day. So it was definitely addictive. But, as it turned out, I only played Threes for about as many days. The flame that burns brightest burns out the soonest, I suppose.

11
paulgerhardt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Threes is a significantly deeper game than 2048 - see for instance this thread on reverse engineering the gameplay mechanics: http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=3133680&postcou...

This is something the developers are known for. Greg's earlier game, Ridiculous Fishing, not only had it's own internal Twitter app ("Byrdr") with it's own ARG mini-game - including a fake website with SQL injection vulnerabilities and a voicemail hacking sidequest.

12
clarky07 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
Rip-offs are sad, but the fact that you spent 14 months doesn't make it a better game. It means you took too long to make it. Threes is a great game that has done well, but the vast vast majority of mobile apps don't make enough money to justify spending 14 months on. I really hope that wasn't full time work.

Also, time/effort/money spent developing a game does not make it better or worse than other games. Some dead simple things are awesome, and some things that took forever aren't. Again, I have and like Threes quite a bit, but the time it took to make doesn't make it better than anything else. I haven't played the knockoffs, but if they are doing well I suspect they are decent games in their own right.

13
honksillet 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great read.

As someone who pooped out a low quality clone of Threes for the purpose of teaching myself d3 ( http://www.kongregate.com/games/honkskillet/menage-a-threes ), I can say that there is a mile of difference between the polish of Threes vs 2048.

Also, I agree with the 3's creator when he says that 2048 is essentially broken. I had played 3s before playing 2048. I got 1024 on my first play through, and the middle part of the game was so tedious I resorted to the alternating up, left strategy just so I could advance the game. It's a little weird that a clone of a clone got so much attention.

14
mgiannopoulos 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Having seen their games ripped off and cloned dozens of times within a few weeks, the developers of popular iOS/Android game Threes could be responding with lawsuits and anger.

Instead, they are expressing grief (having been accused of cloning the... clones), understanding of how ideas evolve and an awesome release of 45,000 words of internal discussions, sketches, prototype designs of their work of 14 months to get to release.

If you're interested in game design, this is pure gold.

15
Pxl_Buzzard 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What a good look into the process of game design. Tons of communication with team members, lots of pictures and scribbles to explain ideas, and the ever-growing list of tasks that take a prototype to a shipped game. It's amazing to think about the scope and scale of games that AAA studios can deliver at given that all of this has to happen between scores of developers.
16
notoes 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
PopCap have a good approach to cloning. It's basically, we love seeing clones because we enjoy seeing good games made, it increases the market size and the bad ones will sink anyway. They're confident in their ability to make really game games that will sell. They're sitting on one of the most cloned games of all time, but still manage to make good games and make money.

People seem to get stuck on the idea that a good game is good because of it's mechanic. Therefore if someone uses your mechanic, you're stuffed. A mechanic is only part of what makes a game really good. It's a similar mistake to having a feature focus in a product company.

It has been fun to see all the riffing off the Threes concept over the past couple of weeks. And I'm sure Asher Vollmer and team will benefit from it all. There is more interest in all the games, they'll have extra ideas from the clones that come out, they find out for free some ideas that don't work. It will help them raise the bar on Threes and make it a better, more successful game.

17
tylerritchie 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is interesting, I don't particularly like the tone, but I would love to see a graph of (even relative) app downloads with the release of 1024 and announcement of 2048 (and all the various forks) on it.

I bet there's an effect there.

I bet it's in Three's favor.

And I bet any freshman-level stats student could rigorously show it.

18
hoilogoi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I just looked at 1024 on Google Play, and I have to say it would really sting to work on Threes for a year then read that "If you played 2048 in Hacker News, That [sic] you should know this is the original one."
19
javajosh 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
I rarely buy apps, but I bought Threes. I would hope that anyone who's played and enjoyed 1024, 2048 or the myriad knock-offs would at least go and buy a copy of the app. It's a great little game and totally worth $2 (indeed, I'd say it's on par with the quality and playability of the early Nintendo "Game Watch" devices, and that's very high praise BTW. IIRC they retailed for around $25 in the 80's, so Threes is actually underpriced.)

Threes invented a wonderful game mechanic, and I'm reminded of the amazing indie games particularly on Kongregate. It's really something special to see all the creativity and joy that a great computer game can create.

My advice to the Threes inventors would be: rise above the imitators. Indeed, see them for what they are, gestures of respect (with the exception of 1024, who's makers are just assholes). One concrete step I'd take if I were you is to request that the web knock-offs in particular at the very least mention and/or link back to Threes (perhaps an iTunes link[1]).

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/threes!/id779157948?mt=8

20
RaphiePS 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have any stats on Threes' sales? I wonder if 2048 has significantly boosted them.
21
Yacoby 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Their comment that no one has yet to "beat" threes is in my opinion part of the problem. I get a kick out of beating something, having reached some goal (often in competition with someone else). So maybe 2048 is broken. Doesn't detract from my enjoyment of it.

Also knowing other people had "beaten" 2048 initially helped to made it more addictive.

22
wudf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I probably would have purchased Threes if it weren't for the clones. Loved the process documentation. All I can say is keep up the good work. Fuck the haters.
23
nicolethenerd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Threes shouldn't be knocking their 'rip-offs', they generated a ton of publicity for the original game. Without playing 2048, I probably never would have heard of Threes.
24
voltagex_ 1 hour ago 2 replies      
On Android, 2048 is 0.7mb. Threes is nearly 30! Surely that factors into some people's decisions.
25
aye 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Who's the "Johnny" mentioned in a couple of the emails? Another game developer?
26
frade33 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I do not recall being addictive to any iOS game, except for Threes.
27
cintiapersona 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There is even an Atari 2600 port of the 2048 game!

http://javatari.org/games/2048

Amazing...

28
devanti 3 hours ago 0 replies      
nice, but simplicity is the key to mainstream
29
nvader 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> Like its not ok to feel the way we do some of the time. But we do.

With that in mind, and with all fairness to the creators of Threes for their hard work, as evidenced in the article, I feel put off by their choice of the word 'rip-off'.

I say this as someone who has never played Threes, and never would have, but enjoyed many of the different forks and iterations of 2048.

30
chubot 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I saw 2048 on HN, but downloaded 1024 because I wanted to play on an iPad rather than a desktop. I like 1024 better than 2048 because it has a little more richness.

Yesterday, I tried to pay and download Threes, but it said it requires iOS 6. I never upgrade my iOS devices after too many screwups from Apple. So not sure if I will ever play Threes.

I don't know much about iOS development, but I wonder why a game which is basically a 4x4 grid doesn't work on every single version of iOS. 1024 works just fine.

31
powera 2 hours ago 1 reply      
From the very end - these guys sound REALLY bitter:

"""If you read this whole thing. Thank you. Wow. If you scrolled down here and skimmed it or just wanted to see if there was a prize at the end, well, you're here. It's about the journey, man.

Hopefully this post points to what we're getting at when we say that making these tiny games is littered with hard and painful times that are full of uncertainty and self-doubt. You never know if something is really going to work. It's not easy. But cloning or ripping off a design in a week, that's a bit different isn't it?"""

32
nashashmi 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Okay, Okay. I get the crying from the threes developers and all, but there is a key difference between why 2048 did phenomenally well and threes didn't.

2048 is a game that was HACKED together and displayed on HACKER news and made open source for the sole purpose of independent HACKING, and indie creativity.

In fact, 2048 has got to be the best case study of how HACKING went viral, not so much about how the game went viral, even if that is what theoretically happened.

From that perspective, the THREEs game is just collateral damage and not really what matters here. The Threes game's developers in effect are all crying about how people are misusing their ideas, copying all the wrong details, and not copying what is the true flattery of the game in the first place. And they wrote a blog post to brag about it all! But little do they understand that people (hackers) take what they like and leave the rest.

33
WildUtah 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a shamefully non-responsive web page design for a company that builds mobile apps. The sidebar is set to cover the main text even with my page width set to almost 1000 px wide. Even worse, the sidebar is a fixed position and on top element that I can't scroll away from or out from under.

I expect better web design from the team behind Threes, which I bought and liked.

27
Crazy Stone computer Go program defeats Ishida Yoshio 9 dan with 4 stones gogameguru.com
172 points by awwducks  1 day ago   125 comments top 15
1
valarauca1 1 day ago 8 replies      
To put in more westernized chess terms, this would be like beating a 2100Elo master without bishops. Yoshio is a professional and very skilled, but he hasn't won a major tourniquet since 1989. Really not an achievement, its nice to see Computer Go advancing.

A 4 stone handicap between master's is massive. The difference between a 9d (dan) and 1d isn't actually 8 stones. With an 8 stone handicap a 1d will play a 9d off the board (provided both are profession dans not amateur). Source http://www.amazon.com/Kages-Secret-Chronicles-Handicap-Go/dp...

Generally I would say that this should put it around US 2-4d (for US Go Association, or KGS online). Maybe 2k-1d in professional amateur circles. I doubt it work warrant a 1-3p 'professional ranking'.

2
thinkpad20 1 day ago 7 replies      
Combinatorically, Go is considered pretty much the most complex game in existence, and computer go programs have been historically weak, so this seems to be quite an achievement (despite that it was against 4-stone-handicapped master passed his prime).

One thing I wonder, though, if computers ever catch up to humans at Go, could we simply expand the board size a few spaces, thus dramatically increasing the problem space and setting computers back a while? I guess that would depend on what kind of techniques were being used by the computers to solve the games.

3
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, I was not aware that Go programs had gotten this good. That is excellent news. No a bunch of new papers to add to my list to read.
4
famousactress 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damnit! I'd finally gotten used to the disappointment that kept coming from expecting to click through a link and read about a game but instead landing in an article about a programming language.

Now I just feel like I'm being punk'd.

5
javanix 1 day ago 8 replies      
On a semi-unrelated note, is there a decent English-speaking online Go community anywhere?

I would like to try my hand at playing but I can't find anything along the lines of FICS, or even a decent-looking client for Android.

6
mark_l_watson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice! I spent a lot of free time in the late 1970s and early 1980s working on my Go playing program Honninbo Warrior (played poorly, but was the first commercial Go playing product).

The new Monte Carlo search technique (used by Crazy Stone) basically blows all previous approaches out of the water. I bought the "Championship Go" app for my android phone, it uses Monte Carlo, and plays well.

7
cjbprime 1 day ago 0 replies      
If anyone would like more background, I have a previous blog post -- "Computers are very good at the game of Go":

http://blog.printf.net/articles/2012/02/23/computers-are-ver...

8
sp332 1 day ago 2 replies      
A note from near the bottom:

For the benefit of readers who arent necessarily Go players, a four stone handicap means that black (the computer) was allowed to place four stones on the board before white (Ishida) made any moves. This may sound like a lot but, while it is a significant handicap, its not really as big as it sounds.

9
username42 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I can play go (I am 1kyu). The game against crazy stones is really impressive. I feel that Ishida played at his best level against crazy stones and that crazy stones would not have won if it hasn't found the marvellous move 52. In the game against zen, I feel the level was lower.

The handicap of 4 stones seems to be very accurate. This means that crazy stones has the same level than top amateur players.

Generally, in Go, fast games are an advantage for computer. I wonder what would give a slower game.

congratulation to crazy stones.

10
awwducks 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is Crazy Stone's account on KGS (a reasonably popular go server).

http://www.gokgs.com/graphPage.jsp?user=crazystone

That AI is 6d on KGS.

11
apw 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those looking for some details behind how Crazy Stone actually works, this set of slides may help:

http://remi.coulom.free.fr/JFFoS/JFFoS.pdf

12
mcv 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool. Computer go has come a long way since the days I still played regularly. Back then I could still defeat the strongest go computer. There's clearly no chance of that ever happening again.
13
unix-dude 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone should implement this in Go :)
14
aalpbalkan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Took me a while to realize the program actually isn't written in Go.
15
89vision 1 day ago 2 replies      
confusing title, I was expecting golang
28
Switch from Photoshop to Gimp: Tips From a Pro rileybrandt.com
170 points by paulloz  13 hours ago   100 comments top 19
1
jjcm 9 hours ago 3 replies      
This was posted to reddit a couple weeks back, and I'll repeat the same comment I made there.

"I spend about 90% of my time in Lightroom and only 10% in Photoshop."

This is why he was able to do this. He isn't using the functionality that Photoshop provides, he's using the functionality that Photoshop Essentials provides. Look at his parity instructions - every feature is found in Photoshop Essentials. If that's all you use, then great, by all means switch over to Gimp. The bigger the userbase it has, the better off it will be.

But don't think that it's going to replace Photoshop in the near future. Non-destructive editing is the biggest thing GIMP is missing in my opinion, but supposedly the move to GEGL will allow them to start development on this ( https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gimp-user-list/2013-December... ).

Smart objects are another huge feature it's missing - not only the ability to downscale losslessly, but also the ability to edit all replicates at once. This is huge for designers. If I'm defining a user control for a design mockup, and I need to make a change to that control, in Photoshop all I have to do is edit the singular smart object source. The source edits will propagate to all the copies automatically. In Gimp I have to do this by hand.There are some minor features too that bug me. The inability to add a mask to layer groups is a big one for me. Layer effects (while often overused and gaudy) can be really helpful for design work - need to change the color of an icon that's raster art? Just drop a color overlay on it. If you have style swatches, it can be really easy to do fast mockups using this. This in conjunction with Layer Comps (also something missing in Gimp right now) can really help in switching between two or more alts.A great way to see what Gimp is currently missing in comparison to Photoshop is to look at the development roadmap ( http://wiki.gimp.org/index.php/Roadmap ). If some of your heavily used features are on that list, it might not be worth switching over to Gimp. If you don't see yourself as a user of those features though, give it a shot.

2
pessimizer 11 hours ago 4 replies      
This is like using Vim-mode to switch to Emacs, or installing Lindows. If people could accept the trivial conventions of the software you're moving to ("How can I use GIMP? The hotkeys are different!") and stop treating it like a free badly-executed Photoshop clone, they might realize that it's really nice to work in.

My problems with GIMP were the CMYK stuff and a few terminology issues. I really love the GIMP interface, and I'm not the only person who finds the Photoshop interface awful.

I think that people just hate to have to learn anything new, and are willing to pay rents for the rest of their lives to fend that moment away where they might have to spend up to a week or more working in something that they're unfamiliar with. It's a bit like the fortune web developers pay to not have to figure out unix, or Apache.

Or like using a guitar tuner to tune each string separately. Maybe I'm just an angry guy:)

3
greggman 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Maybe someday the gIMP will be even close to Photoshop. Heck, maybe it is for some people's needs. But, I'm not even an artist and the gIMP doesn't come close to meeting my needs.

"No decent OpenType typography, no layer styles, no smart objects, no dice." (from the comments on the OP)

If all I need to do is crop or scale an image than sure, I might get by with gIMP though in that case I'd arguably get by better with something simpler than gIMP.

But, I actually use vector layers with layer styles ALL THE TIME. I actually use text layers with layer styles ALL THE TIME. I actually use non destructive adjustment layers ALL THE TIME.

Photoshop layer styles are like CSS. You can declare your styles and then edit vectors or text and the styles apply dynamically.

AFAIK gIMP has no equivalents. Those are not minor features. They're what set Photoshop apart.

4
jordigh 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of the endless bug reports we're getting right now about the Octave GUI not being indistinguishable from Matlab. Makes me wish people weren't so inflexible about the tiniest UI differences. It's difficult to please the converts.
5
dperfect 12 hours ago 3 replies      
If you're using Photoshop for the purpose it was designed for (editing photos, not illustration/painting from scratch), then GIMP is absolutely inferior in its current form.

If you're making edits directly to source pixel layers (or even making duplicate flattened layers and working on those), you're doing it wrong.

Photoshop is designed for non-destructive editing. An essential part of that is adjustment layers. Many serious photographers will never switch to GIMP until it can match the non-destructive features of Photoshop.

Editing photos without adjustment layers is like writing code without revision control.

6
fidotron 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Krita may have a different aim on paper, but that just looks like a way to avoid conflict with the GIMP devs until it's clear to absolutely everyone that they've replaced it.

One of the real shockers with the GIMP is how badly it plays with Ubuntu's Unity, where the menubar will get emptied whenever you change something in a non-image editor window.

7
bayesianhorse 10 hours ago 0 replies      
While I never used photoshop, I also never quite liked the gimp.

I actually sometimes use blender (yes, the 3D software) to edit photos. It's not the same paradigm as photoshop or the gimp, but it lets me do advanced color grading very easily.I can use textured 3D objects for 2D Animations or non-destructive editing.As an added bonus it works for videos and the compositing setup can be reused for multiple photos.Probably if I were really adventurous I could use more of the paint mode and texture paint mode to get even closer to photoshop. But then again I'm not a pro...

8
elclanrs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a Photoshop user for a long time, but haven't looked back since I moved to Linux full time a few years back. The challenge was to use libre software for everything and reduce my business' expenses. It's been 4 years since then and I don't miss Photoshop. I realized in the process the I was terribly misusing it. It was my goto tool for everything, from web design, to photo retouch, to vector, icons...

I have a background in 3D & VFX but my work today is mostly web development, and opensource software covers all my needs. MyPaint for free drawing like brainstorming, illustrations, and blueprints. Inkscape for vector graphics like icons, logos, layouts, mockups. Darktable for simple photo editing. GIMP for heavy photo retouch, and well, it's still my goto tool for those quick screenshots, image cropping jobs. And Blender for 3D work of course. I hardly do print, but when I do I use Inkscape, HTML and CSS.

TLDR; Photoshop isn't the best for every task. There are free software alternatives for everything. Using them all together provides me with all that I need, so I no longer miss Photoshop.

9
skrowl 12 hours ago 3 replies      
If you use Windows, consider Paint.NET (http://www.getpaint.net) instead of GIMP. It's much quicker (particularly the 4.0 beta builds) and has a much more Photoshop-like UI out of the box.
10
th0ma5 10 hours ago 1 reply      
As a developer, I've often felt that if I can't script something, embed it into my own software or service, or even redistribute it, then I haven't really done it with software. This is an unrealistic goal if I was in DTP work still, but by setting this bar, I've been amazed about how my understanding of the context of a problem has broadened my horizons. For instance I feel I now have a great grasp on Nurbs, Voxels, and 3d meshes in general from having done it all with Clojure instead of Blender. Batch processing with Imagemagick is now so second nature to me I can't stomach the idea of having to load up PS or even Gimp.

I think when the process involves subtle interactive hand touches and nuances, then an interactive editor will always win out. However rudimentary, discrete "operations" are things computers should do well, and PS and Gimp fall short in my opinion. Gimp being slightly better sort of with its open scripting.

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Thiz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For web developers and web designers, GIMP is a great tool.

Best of all it is free.

While I'd gladly pay ten or twenty bucks for cropping and texting images for my web properties, I'd never pay hundreds for photoshop and their invasive anti-piracy software.

12
hadem 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've always disliked GIMP's floating windows (especially with a tiling window manager) but never knew of the single-window mode. That is a great tip!
14
elwell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
GIMP is lighter-weight. I use it all the time for web work. If it meets your needs, it's definitely preferable to PS.
15
0x420 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I only use Photoshop to slice the web site designs my coworkers send me. I would have switched to GIMP a long time ago if they all used it, too. GIMP doesn't read their PSD files very well.
16
computerslol 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I expected this to be a joke of some sort.
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logfromblammo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is a mistake to measure GIMP against a standard set by Photoshop. If a person wants a program to work like Photoshop, they should probably use Photoshop. The standard for GIMP should be whether you can use it to accomplish your goal.

You might as well publish a guide on how to make a circular table saw cut like a band saw. That's completely useless both to anyone who doesn't already know how to use a band saw, and to anyone who already satisfies all their wood-cutting requirements with the circular saw. They are different tools; they don't need to work the same way.

18
Dale1 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The only way to get something that works like Photoshop.....

I bet you can guess the answer!

It's a bit like all those people who try to get a PC to run OSX. Just buy a damn Mac for goodness sake!

19
nomadcoop 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I haven't tried it myself so can't vouch for it but GimpShop (http://www.gimpshop.com/) fills a similar niche.
29
How a Swedish engineer saved a once-in-a-lifetime mission to Titan (2004) ieee.org
163 points by ablutop  1 day ago   47 comments top 10
1
jessriedel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully everyone realized that this article is from 2004 and Huygens completed its descent onto Titan in January 2005. The problem discussed in the article was successfully fixed, saving the mission, but an unrelated problem (also with the telemetry) means a modest chunk of data was lost:

> Huygens was programmed to transmit telemetry and scientific data to the Cassini orbiter for relay to Earth using two redundant S-band radio systems, referred to as Channel A and B, or Chain A and B. Channel A was the sole path for an experiment to measure wind speeds by studying tiny frequency changes caused by Huygens's motion. In one other deliberate departure from full redundancy, pictures from the descent imager were split up, with each channel carrying 350 pictures.

>As it turned out, Cassini never listened to channel A because of an operational commanding error. The receiver on the orbiter was never commanded to turn on, according to officials with the European Space Agency. ESA announced that the program error was a mistake on their part, the missing command was part of a software program developed by ESA for the Huygens mission and that it was executed by Cassini as delivered.

>The loss of Channel A means only 350 pictures were received instead of the 700 planned. All Doppler radio measurements between Cassini and Huygens were lost as well. Doppler radio measurements of Huygens from Earth were made, though not as accurate as the expected measurements that Cassini would have made; when added to accelerometer sensors on Huygens and VLBI tracking of the position of the Huygens probe from Earth, reasonably accurate wind speed and direction measurements could still be derived.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens_(spacecraft)#Channel_A_...

2
onion2k 1 day ago 4 replies      
Amazing work by a tenacious and talented engineer. Great story.

(Question: What does his nationality have to do with it though? Seems like an odd addition to the headline.)

3
mistermann 1 day ago 0 replies      
> In proposing this more complex test with simulated telemetry, Smeds "had to argue with those who didn't think it was necessary," recalled JPL's Mitchell. Smeds was persistent and continued championing the test even after it was initially rejected. In the end, with the backing of Sollazzo and Huygens's project scientist, Jean-Pierre Lebreton, Smeds's plan was accepted because it was easy to do, even though hardly anybody seemed to think it was worth doing. On such seeming trivia US $300 million missions can turn: the simpler carrier-signal-only test, Mitchell noted, would never have uncovered any problems.

Is there any place you can go to escape the forces of willful ignorance?

4
jimktrains2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Perhaps I missed it when I read the article: Why did he originally have the hunch that the radio wouldn't work when Doppler shifted?

Also, I guess something like Manchester encoding wasn't use because of the data rate limitations? IIRC Manchester encoding is self-clocking, which seemed like the issue here.

5
_Robbie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Alenia Spazios insistence on confidentiality may have played a role in this oversight. NASA reviewers were never given the specs of the receiver. As JPLs Mitchell explained to Spectrum, Alenia Spazio considered JPL to be a competitor and treated the radio design as proprietary data.

I am surprised that NASA would allow a piece of hardware on a spaceship that they do not have the specs for. Unless NASA/ESA do very extensive testing, this seems like a terrible practice.

6
anovikov 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's like that famous "sce to aux" moment... except in a slow-mo.
7
ludoo 1 day ago 1 reply      
"An Alenia Spazio spokeswoman said that none of the company's officials were available to comment because of a company-wide summer vacation period." Typical Italian... (I'm Italian myself btw)
8
ilovecookies 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 100% sure this was posted by a swedish person. Even saying so i'm pretty proud tbh
9
jgreen10 1 day ago 0 replies      
Typical Sweden.
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andyjohnson0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whats the problem? The article has the fairly vague title "Titan Calling" and the more explanatory subtitle "How a Swedish engineer saved a once-in-a-lifetime mission to Saturn's mysterious moon". The submitter seems to have exercised good judgement in using the subtitle but clarifying that the moon was Titan. There is no evidence of editorialising or intention to mislead.
30
Security Hole in Sendgrid chunkhost.com
161 points by ndaiger  1 day ago   92 comments top 19
1
jtchang 1 day ago 3 replies      
Social engineering will almost always work. I don't really fault Sendgrid for this (though I could see this not working as well if you were using Amazon SES...no support to even talk to!). It sucks that they got caught with their pants down but I bet a good social engineering attempt on ChunkHost might have yielded similar results.

The lesson here is to have multiple defenses. 2 factor auth is a great start and it worked in this case.

2
staunch 1 day ago 4 replies      
Another title for this submission could have been:

"Massive Security Hole in ChunkHost. Non-2FA accounts can be owned."

Because it turns out anyone with a Sendgrid Support account also effectively had potential access to any account at ChunkHost not using two-factor authentication. Which is also true of thousands of other companies that are relaying their password reset emails through third party SMTP services.

SendGrid seems lame, for allowing this and for their response promising to yell more loudly at their support people, but they're an SMTP relay service not an authentication service.

3
MasterScrat 1 day ago 3 replies      
The problem is that it was technically possible, for a representative, to make this change without the proper verification. You just can't rely on humans for that.
4
cjbprime 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like a deeply unsatisfactory response from SendGrid. They don't even know for sure ("it appears .. pretty much confirms") that their own support staff changed the email address?
5
toomuchtodo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Use Amazon SES to generate your outbound emails; ensure proper IAM policies, and that you're using 2 factor auth to login to your AWS account.
6
steven2012 1 day ago 1 reply      
We use Sendgrid and have hundreds of thousands of customers that might be phished by this social engineering trick. It's absolutely unacceptable that such a crucial piece of infrastructure is vulnerable to such a simple trick.

I'm going to bring this up with our team and see if there's another vendor that can more reliably protect our customers.

7
jusben1369 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I found most interesting was they were targeted due to Bitcoin. Today most services would never store credit cards themselves but rather have them stored at a secure payment gateway. So they're unlikely to be attacked to get to those cards. T

Trust me I know that CC's are getting sniffed in transit too often so I'm not saying they're 'safe'. I'm just wondering if there is something unique to Bitcoin that suddenly makes you a target as though you were known to be storing CC's data at rest onsite.

8
ef47d35620c1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Email accounts are the weak link for many things... DNS registrations, web hosting, etc. Get the email account and you have it all.
9
hadoukenio 1 day ago 4 replies      
So what's the answer? Here's two very legitimate scenarios:

1) You sign up, enable two-factor auth, then lock yourself out (lost password and your second-factor). How do you prove to the service provider that you are you?

2) You sign up, enable two-factor auth, then Mallory claims that they locked themselves out. How does the service provider prove that Mallory is not you?

10
foxylad 1 day ago 2 replies      
My first thought was to whois chunkhost.info, which returns a clear name, email address and phone number.

Or is it that easy to register a domain with a fictitious persona?

11
wojcikstefan 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's an important lesson for all of us. I've seen a lot of privacy ignorance when it comes to support (e.g. folks handing over sensitive data after an anonymous request on Olark). We should all go an extra mile and verify the identity of the requestor.

1) If your support chat doesn't enforce authorization, always ask the requestor to send you an email.2) Make sure the domain is correct (that's where Sendgrid screwed up).3) Never agree on replying to a different email address than the one of the sender.

12
IgorPartola 1 day ago 1 reply      
So what they are saying is that SendGrid should have had two-factor auth and this would have never happened.
13
rootuid 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a security hole, misleading title.

Should read "social engineering resulted in security breach" and guess what, this happens all the time whether sendGrid or not.

14
gmansoor 1 day ago 1 reply      
BCC every message is evil, as it can be misused as in this case. SendGrid should never allow that, or at least should flag such behavior. At the minimum, they should notified account owners of this change.
15
16
hoodoof 1 day ago 0 replies      
SMS verifications should be sent out to allow over the phone changes.
17
davesque 1 day ago 0 replies      
Alas, the weakest part of the system is...
18
ogdenogly 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sendgrid seems to be its own worst enemy (Adria Richards debacle, now this).

I suggest we dub the act or state of being one's own worst enemy, being "sendgriddled."

19
callesgg 1 day ago 6 replies      
Send your emails yourself.

It's not like it is hard. At least not harder than integrating to a third party email sender.

       cached 28 March 2014 04:11:01 GMT