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Aaronsw indicted for hacking MIT network to download millions of JSTOR docs documentcloud.org
441 points by Estragon  7 hours ago   250 comments top 49
prosa 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Demand Progress PAC's website is down, but they released a statement:

(from: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9k5ryiX... )

Cambridge, MA" Moments ago, Aaron Swartz, former executive director and founder of Demand Progress, was indicted by the US government. As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many scholarly journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading said articles is actually felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.

“This makes no sense,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal; “it's like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”

“It's even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they've suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal added.

James Jacobs, the Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University, also denounced the arrest: “Aaron's prosecution undermines academic inquiry and democratic principles,” Jacobs said. “It's incredible that the government would try to lock someone up for allegedly looking up articles at a library.”

Demand Progress is collecting statements of support for Aaron on its website at …URL…

“Aaron's career has focused on serving the public interest by promoting ethics, open government, and democratic politics,” Segal said. “We hope to soon see him cleared of these bizarre charges.”

Demand Progress is a 500,000-member online activism group that advocates for civil liberties, civil rights, and other progressive causes.

About Aaron

Aaron Swartz is a former executive director and founder of Demand Progress, a nonprofit political action group with more than 500,000 members.

He is the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion. In conjunction with Shireen Barday, he downloaded and analyzed 441,170 law review articles to determine the source of their funding; the results were published in the Stanford Law Review. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.

He has also assisted many other researchers in collecting and analyzing large data sets with theinfo.org. His landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia?, has been widely cited. He helped develop standards and tutorials for Linked Open Data while serving on the W3C's RDF Core Working Group and helped popularize them as Metadata Advisor to the nonprofit Creative Commons and coauthor of the RSS 1.0 specification.

In 2008, he created the nonprofit site watchdog.net, making it easier for people to find and access government data. He also served on the board of Change Congress, a good government nonprofit.

In 2007, he led the development of the nonprofit Open Library, an ambitious project to collect information about every book ever published. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed, web.py.

Press inquiries can be directed to demandprogressinfo@gmail.com or 571- 336- 2637

_delirium 6 hours ago  replies      
The repeated use of "stole" in the indictment is interesting, even beyond the usual metaphorical usage to discuss copyright infringement.

In this case, the indictment alleges that the documents were stolen from JSTOR, which does not even own them! In the vast majority of cases JSTOR scanned documents whose copyright is owned by someone else, and acquired or was donated a non-exclusive license to distribute copies via its service. In many cases the documents are even public domain. The indictment continues the theft metaphor by discussing the effort and expense JSTOR incurred in scanning the documents, and the alleged attempt to render this less valuable by redistributing "its" documents, analogizing this to the loss someone suffers in a theft.

But effort expended to build a private repository consisting of copies of things you don't own doesn't give you ownership of the result, any more than Google Books doing the same has given them ownership of the documents that they've scanned. If you scraped Google and "stole" their scans, you would be violating Google's Terms of Service, and Google might indeed feel subjectively like you've taken something of value (their exclusive access to this repository of scans), but I think it would be a stretch to say that you've "stolen" "their" documents.

dgreensp 5 hours ago 4 replies      
What Aaron did sounds seriously sketchy (sneaking into MIT wiring closets, trying to download the entire database, etc.), a fact that Demand Progress and several commenters here seem to be ignoring.

Defending his actions would require a very strong, multi-pronged version of the argument "if it's physically / technologically possible, it must be ok." Can MIT legally limit guest access to its network? Can JSTOR limit access to its content? Well, technically, their software didn't limit it, right? He just changed his IP address and they let him right back on, gave him permission. And then he had to change his MAC address. And then physically move to a different building.

But it doesn't matter anyway, because legal restrictions are legal restrictions. It's impossible to enforce every legal restriction in software. Put another way, we don't have to read JSTOR's server code to figure out if there's a violation of policy here -- the policy is written out as a legal document.

In the hacker world, there's a tendency to think that if something's possible, even easy, then it shouldn't be considered "breaking in" or "stealing." If my Gmail password is "password," then of course you're going to read my email! I had it coming. In the real world, though, this is still a crime.

mbreese 5 hours ago 4 replies      
JSTOR's statement

JSTOR Statement: Misuse Incident and Criminal Case

The United States Department of Justice announced today the criminal indictment of an individual, Aaron Swartz, on charges related to computer fraud and abuse stemming from his misuse of the JSTOR database. We have been subpoenaed by the United States Attorney's Office in this case and are fully cooperating. While we cannot comment on this case, we would like to share background information about the incident and about our mission and work with the academic community and the public.

What Happened

Last fall and winter, JSTOR experienced a significant misuse of our database. A substantial portion of our publisher partners' content was downloaded in an unauthorized fashion using the network at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of our participating institutions. The content taken was systematically downloaded using an approach designed to avoid detection by our monitoring systems.

The downloaded content included over 4 million articles, book reviews, and other content from our publisher partner's academic journals and other publications; it did not include any personally identifying information about JSTOR users.

We stopped this downloading activity, and the individual responsible, Mr. Swartz, was identified. We secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken, and received confirmation that the content was not and would not be used, copied, transferred, or distributed.

The criminal investigation and today's indictment of Mr. Swartz has been directed by the United States Attorney's Office.

Our Mission and Work

Our mission at JSTOR is supporting scholarly work and access to knowledge around the world. Faculty, teachers, and students at more than 7,000 institutions in 153 countries rely upon us for affordable and in some cases free access to content on JSTOR. Since our founding in 1995, we have digitized the complete back runs of nearly 1,400 academic journals from over 800 publishers. Our ultimate objective is to provide affordable access to scholarly content to anyone who needs it.

It is important to note that we support and encourage the legitimate use of large sets of content from JSTOR for research purposes. We regularly provide scholars with access to content for this purpose. Our Data for Research site (http://dfr.jstor.org) was established expressly to support text mining and other projects, and our Advanced Technologies Group is an eager collaborator with researchers in the academic community.

Even as we work to increase access, usage, and the impact of scholarship, we must also be responsible stewards of this content. We monitor usage to guard against unauthorized use of the material in JSTOR, which is how we became aware of this particular incident.

runningdogx 6 hours ago 6 replies      
This is the most technically competent charging document I've ever read. I guess there must have been some hackers on the grand jury.

Paragraph 35 & 36: which "protected computer" on MIT's network did he access? Certainly they're not trying to claim his laptop was a protected computer? Are they talking about the DHCP server or whatever registration frontend MIT has for the DHCP assignments? I have trouble with the concept that a violation of a computer use agreement (when there are no operative security barriers in place) constitutes a violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. Then again, I've always thought that act was vague and therefore overbroad.

Obviously what he did was bad in some sense (at least from the perspective of JSTOR and MIT), but even if it should be a crime rather than a civil dispute or internal disciplinary action at MIT, I don't like the fact that just about any misbehavior on the internet becomes a federal case because the probability of no interstate resources being used is very low.

Finally, I take issue with the notion that someone who is accessing a service through a public interface is criminally responsible for downtime if too high an access rate causes service degradation or an outage. The claims that JSTOR's servers were overloaded and (one?) even went down at some point are clearly there to set up a later claim of damages. Haven't they heard of rate limiting (in this case, since it was a rogue laptop stashed in a data closet, rate limiting by IP)? That wouldn't work against a concerted denial of service attack, but this was no denial of service attack. JSTOR seems to have been relying on manual intervention to stop article leeching that could lead to a (partial) outage. That's naive, and not a good idea.

guywithabike 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This is almost too good:

"As Swartz entered the wiring closet, he held his bicycle helmet like a mask to shield his face, looking through ventilation holes in the helmet."

acangiano 5 hours ago 1 reply      
When someone risks 35 years in jail for something like this, you know your justice system is broken.

I know he won't get 35 years, but it's nevertheless outrageous that it could happen.

maxniederhofer 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This reminded me of Jacques Mattheij's list of ideas for startups (see http://jacquesmattheij.com/My+list+of+ideas+for+when+you+are...):

"(45) OpenPapers

A place where all academic research that has been funded in part by
public funds is published, journals be damned. Hopefully with deep
pockets to fight off the lawsuits."

mukyu 6 hours ago 1 reply      

“It's even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they've suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal added.

Nowhere do they say he did not do it however.

cached: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://...

mbreese 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This all hinges on what he was going to do with the documents. If he was looking to perform some large-scale analysis (such as he has done before) and publish the results academically, then this would fall under the academic mission of MIT, and therefore be legit. But if this were the case, why go through the hassle of hacking the system? Why not just ask JSTOR for cooperation? Or maybe he did, and they rejected it?

There has got to me more to this story, because I just can't for the life of me believe that he would download the documents to "free" them on internet (as is alleged).

mian2zi3 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Aaron Swartz lived in the District of Massachusetts and was a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Ethics.

Oh, the irony.

troutwine 6 hours ago 3 replies      
The indictment asserts that Mr. Swartz intended to distribute the files downloaded but did not substantiate this claim. I wonder what proof they have of this? (There are, of course, a great many laws dealing with probable intent that need only convince a jury of said intent without demonstrating it's validity.)
carbonica 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what they'll push for. He sounds pretty screwed if this evidence pans out. Looks like he could even end up with a few years' time if the prosecutors want.

1. Wire fraud maxes out at 20 years outside of a presidentially-declared emergency. No fine cap, it seems. http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C63.txt

2. Computer fraud under 1030(a)(4) caps out at 5 years with no prior offense, no fine cap. http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C47.txt

3. 1030(a)(2), (c)(2)(B)(iii) looks to be another cap of 5 years. Ibid.

4. 1030(a)(5)(B), (c)(4)(A)(i)(I),(VI) looks like another cap of 5 years. Ibid.

IANAL, just trying my best to read the code itself.

jgilliam 6 hours ago 2 replies      
He posted on his blog yesterday that there would be a "major announcement" on blog.demandprogress.org today, but nothing has been posted.


mukyu 7 hours ago 5 replies      
The title is inaccurate.

It is alleged that he signed up for guest accounts on their network with different laptops, changed his MAC address and re-registered if the IP he was using was blocked (by JSTOR) or cut off of the network (by MIT), and finally connected a laptop in a basement networking closet.

I guess you could say that is 'hacking' in the unauthorized access sense, but not in any meaningful sense. It isn't breaking and entering if someone repeatedly trespasses somewhere (say, banned from a store) even if they change their clothes to avoid detection.

ojbyrne 5 hours ago 2 replies      
From the JSTOR website (http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/worldwide-access)

"Our ultimate long-term objective is to make JSTOR available to everyone who wants access to it, while doing so in a way that ensures sustainability of the service."

Cynically, it seems like the bit about "ensures sustainability" can be translated as "we will aggressively prosecute in order to protect our bloated salaries."

woodall 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Posted in another thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2782752

This is not the first time he has done something like this if memory serves me. In late 2008 Mr. Swartz and Carl Malamud went to select libraries, ones with free PACER access, and proceeded to download ~700 GB of information that was behind a paywall. After which they made all of it available on Mr. Malamud's website.


snikolic 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Ignoring legality, Aaron's actions, case specifics, etc., I have to admit: I really wish that the data in question was free and publicly available.
keane 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why the US Attorney is suggesting he be charged with such ridiculously inflated charges.

Reviewing the Indictment report, "JSTOR did not permit users... to download all of the articles from any particular issue of a journal." Further, "JSTOR notified its users of these rules, and users accepted these rules when they chose to obtain and use JSTOR's content."

So basically JSTOR is claiming Aaron violated their terms of use. Their terms of use are likely an adhesion contract with a passive shrinkwrap notification. (remember ReasonableAgreement.org ?).
It is not certain that Aaron did in fact agree to such terms, or what consequences doing so and then violating said terms should have. Regardless, JSTOR proclaiming certain terms may not be sufficient to deny Aaron of his rights as a consumer, citizen, and human.

The report goes on to claim that Aaron took action to "avoid MIT's and JSTOR's efforts to prevent this massive copying". MIT and JSTOR allowed users to access their network, with no system in place to ensure that a user was a student (by design, as MIT admits) or that they were using their real name (or a single MAC address). A researcher accessing JSTOR is really less of a concern than other potential types of access so perhaps this is not a good system. The report suggests Aaron took action to "elude detection and identification" but courts have held that anonymous speech and action are valid parts of society. They take issue with his using a Mailinator address but such an email address is just as valid as any other and simply allows others to read ones mail.

The report whines that the "rapid and massive downloads and download requests impaired computers used by JSTOR to service client research institutions". This inconveniencing of other users could have been avoided and the blame for how JSTOR allocates resources lies with the architects of JSTOR.

MIT acted to ban the IP ranges that they believe were in violation of their rules. Users were to use the network to support MIT's research, or at least not obstruct it. However, very likely Aaron was conducting research. Any hindrance to other users may have been the responsibility of MIT's infrastructure team.They further request users "maintain the system's security and conform to applicable laws, including copyright laws" seemingly suggesting Aaron was in violation of copyright. Very importantly, MIT should remember that when it comes to copyright "Reproduction for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." The last point of MIT rules is that users "conform with rules imposed by any networks to which users connected through MIT's system" which makes little practical sense and is certainly selectively enforced. Assuming a JSTOR web server is now a network, so is my personal web server. On all html files on my webserver I link to a ReasonableAgreement-style notification that no user may browse such files between 8am and 11pm EST. Any MIT student, faculty member, or guest who connects during those hours is in violation and should be kicked by MIT, for if a rule is to be fair it should be consistently enforced. This third rule is simply a CYA clause and is its selective enforcement is arrogant.

To conclude, the document does suggest that perhaps Aaron did violate the JSTOR terms of use for their website. When a normal business decides to deal with a violation of their terms of use they deactivate that customer's accounts. However, Ithaka Harbors Inc., a “non-profit” organisation (Presidents yearly compensation is over $400,000 " see their 2009 Form 990 at http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/133/857/2009-1338... ) funded by the Mellon Foundation and the Gates Foundation and committed to “the core values of higher education” and to a “deep understanding of technology” (ha), decided to alert the feds. As to MIT's claims that Aaron broke their rules for using their internet connection, it seems he neither obstructed MIT's research nor violate laws or copyright laws. As to their third claim, he may have violated the terms of a "network" but so do a significant portion of MIT's users everyday.

Why is the Obama administration pursuing an investigation in Wire Fraud and Computer Fraud?

sp332 7 hours ago 5 replies      
How did Aaron get access to the for-pay articles (page 9)?

Also: nice going, Aaron! Drag research access into the 21st century, kicking and screaming!

Does anyone think it's odd that an Acer laptop could write these files to disk faster than JSTOR could serve them?

tlrobinson 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ballsy, considering his previous brush with the FBI over similar things: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/fbifile
rryan 6 hours ago 2 replies      
"Aaron Swartz ... was a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Ethics"
sigil 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Consider showing your support for Aaron here:


Demand Progress is an organization Aaron co-founded. They've done some great watchdog work on things like PROTECT IP, the Patriot Act, the Internet Blacklist Bill etc.

andymboyle 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The Boston Globe's got an article written on this that they're updating: http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/07/cambridge-man...
feydr 5 hours ago 2 replies      
can someone please explain what the deal is here for us uninitiated? sounds like they are throwing the book at him for stealing books? seriously? why is the prosecution being so aggressive? did he profit from it or something? this sounds so petty
blinkingled 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Why the hell is MIT stashing information in closed systems in first place? I thought the idea (OCW etc.) was to enable more people to learn, participate and benefit from work of academics and researchers. Hell I even donate a few hundred bucks every now and then to OCW.

It is mind boggling how the supposedly smart people are not getting their heads out of their asses so late in a world frighteningly short on distribution of knowledge that can be effectively used to solve the wicked problems that are crippling it for so long.

We really need a global, openly accessible knowledge network and a platform where all eligible can contribute and collaborate to research at least when it comes to areas that impact human society at large - medicines, natural resources etc. It is hard otherwise to see how things like Cancer and Energy shortage can be tackled.

peterwwillis 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Wait a minute. All he needed was a guest account to access JSTOR? That's like saying, ANYONE IS ALLOWED TO DOWNLOAD FROM JSTOR. This isn't just bad security, this is no security.
spinchange 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the DOJ trying to 'make an example' here? JSTOR and MIT aren't pursuing this, the Feds are.
a3camero 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Context: JSTOR blocks you automatically if you download articles in quick succession.
teyc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is beyond belief. If the prosecutor tries enough charges, some of them will stick, especially before a jury who may think this is a hacking case or a file sharing case. He'd do well to avoid the "hacktivist" label in court.
ramidarigaz 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Why would he do this? What is the purpose of having all those documents?
bricestacey 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why he was so desperate to access it via MIT. There are dozens of libraries in the Boston area with access to JSTOR with guest access to their network. If he wasn't in such a rush, he could have easily bounced around campuses and likely have avoided detection.
tibbon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If all academic papers were released under a Creative Commons license, would this even be an issue?

Aside from the allegations about breaking into various physical hardware infrastructure at MIT, wouldn't that be like being charged with downloading too many Jonathan Coulton albums?

Deutscher 6 hours ago 2 replies      
33. Swartz intended to distribute a significant portion of JSTOR's archive of digitized journal articles through one or more file-sharing sites.

How do they know this? Has he said something to that effect?

--edited for formatting.

budu3 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this what our tax money is going into. Aaronsw just presents a soft target for the Feds.
jpeterson 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Alternate link, in case these are taken down: http://pastebin.com/9vjfkigY
cpeterso 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> The indictment alleges that Swartz, at the time a fellow at Harvard University, intended to distribute the documents on peer-to-peer networks. That did not happen, however, and all the documents have been returned to JSTOR.

All the documents have been returned?!

acak 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Aaron's Twitter page which has been active today.


andreyf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do the charges all end with "and aided and abetted the same"?
xer0x 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I admire Aaron's persistence. Sadly it was quite rude of him to repeatedly crash JSTOR's servers. If only he'd throttled his script back a bit.

Liberating those documents from JSTOR would have been quite a gift to society.

neuroelectronic 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Did he ever manage to republish the articles? Doesn't look like it.
danso 6 hours ago 2 replies      
So he allegedly goes out and buys a laptop just to do this heist...and then he blows his cover by doing a scrape fast enough to apparently bring down some of the MIT servers? Why was he in such a rush?
ErikRogneby 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This was a good reminder of the importance of physical security.
keane 6 hours ago 0 replies      
white_devil 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There must be a reason why the US government wants to harass/bully/imprison Aaron.
kaerast 4 hours ago 1 reply      
One hopes he is smart enough to have a solid legal argument for what he has done. If he loses the legal battle then it's going to set a bad precedent for all these academic document stores to continue keeping hold of this information. On the other hand, if he were to win then it may make it harder for groups like JSTOR to continue restricting access to their data.
executive 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Fantastic news! He deserves to rot in jail for wasting so much precious bandwidth.
asciilifeform 6 hours ago 5 replies      
The man is a heroic martyr, who risked everything to set knowledge free. (Knowledge most of which was produced at the public's expense!)

He may very well die in prison.

Or perhaps he will be forced to publicly recant and merely be forbidden from using computers. I hope that in the latter case he will have the good sense to emigrate.

One day, his tormentors will be harshly punished. Unless, of course, "the future is a boot stamping on a human face " forever."

"Keeping medicines from the bloodstreams of the sick; food from the bellies of the hungry; books from the hands of the uneducated; technology from the underdeveloped; and putting advocates of freedom in prisons. Intellectual property is to the 21st century what the slave trade was to the 16th."


JS is Assembly Language for the Web: Brendan Eich, Crockford, & others comment hanselman.com
61 points by mbrubeck  3 hours ago   8 comments top 3
dreamdu5t 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
What a horrible, horrible analogy. It doesn't even make sense.

Why not just say "JS is the common language of the web" without the horrible analogy.

consultutah 2 hours ago 1 reply      
For an example of JS truly working like assembly, see here: http://jsil.org/
cdcarter 2 hours ago 2 replies      
"Javascript is the x86 of the web"

This won't be fully true until everyone is on the same page with ECMAScript5.

Google+ for iOS is out apple.com
218 points by davidedicillo  8 hours ago   93 comments top 26
saturdaysaint 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Huddles are even more confusing here - when I target my "Friends" circle, it populates the field with specific the names of everyone in that list, including people who aren't in Plus yet. Are they going to get an annoying nag e-mail that I do NOT want to send? I don't know, so I'm not using Huddles yet.

This problem is arising frequently for me with Circles - I'm not exactly sure what the impact will be beyond blanket posts to Friends and Public.

joshu 7 hours ago 4 replies      
this is impossible to find in the app store.

conveniently, i have a meeting with the plus folks so i will tell them :)

pnp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I found it on my iPhone by searching for "google social huddle" as that seems to hit the description.
chacha102 7 hours ago 7 replies      
Can any experienced iOS developers please tell me if it is really 'that' hard to make an app iPod Touch compatible?

I mean, come on, you just alienate a ton of users without implementing iPod or iPad compatibility...

injekt 7 hours ago 6 replies      
Interesting. I'm running iOS5 beta3, and when I attempt to hit the Stream, the app dies. Does this happen for anyone else? EDIT: Also when I click on someones profile in the 'cirlces' list.

I can't really give any impressions on the app without these things working, but viewing photos and photo comments feels nice and responsive.

jonknee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Quicker than the mobile site and supports photo uploading (annoying attribute of Mobile Safari). I like it.
nc 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Can't believe they went for the same Facebook style launcher, when it's a) used by Facebook b) only got 5 icons c) it's explicitly regarded as bad UI design by Apple (at this WWDC).
rryan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently there was some kind of bug in the app store and it started serving up an older test version. If you downloaded within the first hour or two of release, you should re-download.


Groxx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't test it, as I have an iPod (which is wtf-worthy...), but from what I'm seeing... have they released an API yet? Surely someone can come up with something better.
j79 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're having a hard time finding the app via search, try going to Categories -> Social Networking -> Release Date

I was able to find it there.

beej71 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Searching for google+ in the app store got me nothing. But searching for "google+" (with quotes) in the app store found it.
inam 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm using 2-factor authentication. Couldn't create an application password. Had to use my main pwd+token which is only good for 30 days. Shouldn't they allow the use of a 2-factor application password for an iOS app?
dstein 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I would much rather them spend the time to make the regular website iPad compatible. But Google has some funky JavaScript on the inputs capturing every keystroke and sending each keypress to the server and none of it works on iOS. You can't type, and you can't paste anything in the textboxes. And similar bugs effect Firefox, like you can't select text in the textareas using the keyboard.
dkokelley 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The link is not working for me, and it doesn't show up in the app market search. Released and pulled? False alarm?

Update: I'm reading that it's only available on the iPhone currently. Alas, my iPod Touch and iPad are not the iPhone. If this is the case, then that's too bad.

robert-boehnke 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It only works on iPhones with GPS, that's probably why it does not work for you.

(That's what it says when I try to install it on my Wifi iPad and it did not show up in the App Store on the iPad either)

jdelsman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Using this app, I'm able to use Google+ in China. However, going to plus.google.com doesn't work. Does this use a different communication method we & China aren't aware of?
sbarre 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I couldn't fine it in the App Store on my iPhone, but I installed it via iTunes to my computer, then went to the App Store on my phone, went to Update -> Purchased and "Not on this Phone" and it showed up there, and I clicked to install/update from there, and voila!
dxShen 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Very interesting to see how much an improvement this is to the mobile site, which is a chore to use on the iPhone. Also here's hoping for a decent iPad app, since the mobile Google+ site looks ridiculous on the iPad and the desktop version is buggy.
joejohnson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not showing up for me in the app store yet :( Must be rolling out slowly or regionally.
carvaka 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't use it to post a message to a specific person (can only select circles). This means I can't use Agent G to post to FB / twitter. Will stick with the mobile app for now.
clobber 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool - another medium for more baby photos and emoting.
adig 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Since google+ launched I thought that the "Photos from your phone" is a really good idea. I haven't found any option for syncing in the iPhone app. Is it only available on the Android app ?
kodisha 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Not available in Croatian store.
farnulfo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't find where huddle messages are stored on the web interface !?
bhartzer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I really need to ditch the blackberry and get an iphone.
Titanous 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that Apple allowed Huddle, which is a direct competitor with iMessage.
Staircar: Redis-powered notifications engineering.tumblr.com
15 points by jcsalterego  1 hour ago   discuss
Google Spending Millions to Find the Next Google nytimes.com
49 points by ekm  3 hours ago   11 comments top 7
maeon3 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The next Google is "IBM's Watson" patched in through your smart phone so someone can punch in a natural language question and get back a reasonable natural language response from a simulated person with IQ of 5000.

If you can build even a primitive version of this deployed well, it would be the Google-killer. Have it answer everything from 'how do you make a for loop in php' to 'what cinemas near 32807 are playing Cars 2'? I don't want pages of links, I want concise understandable objective correct answers.

duopixel 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Taking a look at Google's data set would sure settle a lot of arguments:

1. Does age matter?

2. How important it is to be in Silicon Valley?

3. Are biz devs really important?

4. Are cofounders really important?

sliverstorm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Not surprising that Google would be on the hunt for the next hit among startups. We've seen them do it within their own products, ala GMail, Google Maps, Google Voice, etc. Tech companies don't tend to stick around unless they move with the times, and of all companies I'd bet Google knows it.
jordank 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's mostly a journalistic device, but the notion of the next ______ (Google, Scorcese, insert popular thing) is flawed. There won't be a next ______, and that is okay.
nolite 3 hours ago 0 replies      
spend millions to save billions.. sounds about right
throwaway73120 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Google Ventures, like 500 Startups, is one of those funds that you have to be invited to pitch for?
redorb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
At Google's revenue aren't losses kinda a good thing? (tax right off) I mean as good as losses can be. Does this give them an advantage against other VC's? and if so any idea on how much?
The Netflix Simian Army netflix.com
45 points by abraham  3 hours ago   5 comments top 2
saurik 2 hours ago 1 reply      
While Chaos Monkey sounded like an interesting way to force people to be prepared for failure, Doctor Monkey just seems downright dangerous: removing an unhealthy instance from service may correlate to causing other instances to become unhealthy, thereby removing them from service as well... Chaos Monkey might cause such behavior, but it will be random and transient, whereas with Doctor Monkey you would imagine a sudden health-collapse leading to all instances being terminated by our new friend, the good doctor.
commanda 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess this begs the question - was it one of their monkeys that caused their outage on Sunday night?
Show HN: My self-coded, lonely founder startup. A Bitcoin casino with 23 games. strikesapphire.com
95 points by noduerme  5 hours ago   48 comments top 15
jackpirate 5 hours ago 6 replies      
I would guess most bitcoiners are mathematically inclined people, and not super into pure gambling. That said, I think poker might take off, especially here in the US where things have gotten super murkey. This has the potential ro revitalize the bitcoin debate amongst naysayers.
I wish there were more "obviously legitimate" services that use bitcoin out there.

If this takes off at all, there is no way that a lone programmer can provide adequate security for a project like this. You will get hacked, there's just so many potential attack vectors.

preinheimer 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd be rather wary of using any small time online casino. Apart from people simply skimming the numbers, there's tonnes of issues behind reliable random number generation and shuffling. Real casinos & lotteries screw this up all the time (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/ff_lottery/all/1) with people who (in theory) should be good at this.
ch0wn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You should add a warning for users without flash. I'm just looking at a large, black browser window.
gfodor 5 hours ago 1 reply      
bitcoin casino is a tautology
dsl 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Are you happy with your web host (whom I will not name) in Panama? I've been looking for decent overseas hosting.
crux_ 2 hours ago 0 replies      
An interesting combo, even just as a thought experiment: bitcoin + mental poker. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_poker)

Wonder if there's a way to distribute a pot that doesn't require trusting a central server?

JohnnyBrown 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity, where do you live/host? I've been thinking about creating a bitcoin poker game but it would probably be foolish from the US
braindead_in 4 hours ago 3 replies      
"Your computer or another computer on your network is compromised with a virus. This allows online criminals to use it as part of a botnet to send spam and attack websites." Very disturbing message. The details says that my IP Address is associated with a Zombie computer and sends spam. The only suggestion is the run the Anti Virus. Very unhelpful since there are no Windows PCs on my home network.
seanalltogether 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I expect moving to bitcoin will become very popular within the gambling community soon.
cabalamat 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Your software appears to be broken. I input my email address and it said you already had it. Then I got an email with a verification link, so I clicked on the link, tried to log in, and the page said I needed to verify.
Arxiss 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldn't enter the site. HEre is what i get:

Your request was blocked by BlockScript based on the policies of the strikesapphire.com website.

BlockScript is security software which protects websites and empowers webmasters to stop unwanted traffic. BlockScript detects and blocks requests from all types of proxy servers and anonymity networks (such as web-based proxies, open proxies, Tor, VPN servers, etc.), hosting networks, undesirable robots and spiders, and even entire countries. For more information, see: www.blockscript.com

daniel-cussen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a bitcoin bank instead? BTW, how much are you spending on lobbying?
PaulHoule 4 hours ago 3 replies      
this is insanely illegal in the U.S. -- it can get you in trouble and it can get Bitcoin in trouble
pkteison 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Bitcoin is for the distrustful (for those who are more trusting, credit cards are sufficient.)
Casinos require trust.
How to reconcile the two?
earle 4 hours ago 3 replies      
You're also probably in violation of some rather serious laws. Talk to an attorney.
How does Google pay 2.4%? cameronkeng.com
26 points by camz  1 hour ago   12 comments top 5
mahyarm 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
If your not attached to the USA you can just move you and your business to a territorial based corporate income tax country (singapore, etc). Income not repatriated into the country and not generated from the country is tax free. If your an american citizen you'll still have to pay personal federal income tax to the USA, even if you don't live in the USA, and to your country of residence but you can work with that much better with the ~$100k not living in the USA tax deduction that the US gives you.
shawnee_ 1 hour ago 1 reply      
There's a great slide from my "Taxes for Hax0rs" (SHDH 44) presentation http://www.transparentaccounting.org regarding the history of the Federal Income Tax. In a nutshell, the way it was originally written was meant to tax corporate income only and only the most wealthy Americans, not common folk.

One needed to make >= $4000/year in deflated 1893 dollars to even be eligible to need to pay any taxes. The goal was always to tax corporations more heavily than people.

Even the poorest Americans end up spending more than 2.4 percent (effective annual rate) in taxes when their employers "withold" earnings.

So when corporations go out of their way and spend a lot of money to accomplish tax avoidance, that seems kinda wrong.

georgieporgie 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Just searching "Double Irish" should explain it well enough.


VladRussian 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
and we were laughing at the mobster furious as his 4% percent in "The Firm"! Ultimately, he happens to be right, paying 4% instead of 2.4% - seems to be a pretty valid reason to be furious...
ppereira 1 hour ago 0 replies      
With Double Irish slices of bread and Dutch cheese in the middle, the Dutch Sandwich "leaves no tax behind to taste".
If Dropbox Used GitHub's Pricing Plan usersinhell.com
222 points by joshuacc  9 hours ago   107 comments top 28
patio11 9 hours ago 7 replies      
Dropbox is targeting a B2C market and started with poor twenty-somethings.

Github, and virtually every other thing that costs more than $20 a month, targets primarily a B2B market. It might be popular with some local poor 20-somethings, but honestly, you're just an infection vector to get your day job on board.

The pricing is designed to extract maximum value out of business customers. If they have 125 simultaneous projects, they officially have More Money Than God. "The price of a residential Internet connection" is not a pricing anchor to them. (Should they need one, they're probably going to be persuaded by "We have 500 man-years of labor in our projects, one man-month costs us $15k, lemme break out Excel for a minute, oh it seems all my options cost pigeon poop.")

I strongly, strongly encourage you to listen to the Mixergy video about Wufoo or talk to anyone who runs a SaaS business if you do not understand where most of the money is likely getting made. That topmost plan which costs $$$$$ prints money, primarily from people who don't need all that it offers and couldn't care less because it costs less than pigeon poop on their scales.

If you don't use Github for your projects because $100 is a lot of money for you that's perfectly fine for Github because it does not make them meaningfully worse off.

pjhyett 7 hours ago 4 replies      
We're trying to fundamentally change how people write, collaborate, and discover code and the sooner people stop thinking of us as just a repo depository, the better, because we've never been about that.

Ask yourself what kind of markup we'd have to charge on storage space and still be able to grow our business when most of the repos we host are less than 1 MB.

We charge what we do because it makes money. Money that allows us to continue hiring really talented people that are all focused on building an even better service.

Doing things like including private repos with our free plan would eat into our margins and only satisfy the people that are likely to never convert to a paid plan. Frankly, I think being able to use all of the tools we provide for the price of a pint of Guinness every month is a damn good deal.

programminggeek 9 hours ago 6 replies      
Nerds are so cheap it's ridiculous.

Let's look at the standard plans for smaller teams - it maxes at $22/month for 20 private repos and 10 collaborators. Not bad.

On the business side the max is 125 repos for $200/month.

Even in the midwest a full time dev costs say at least $4,000 a month. Assuming you have a team of 10-20 devs, that is what $40,000 - $80,000 a month.

So, at the high end to keep your team of 10-20 devs happy it costs you an extra $200 a month on top of the $40k+ you are spending in salary and so forth. Drop in the bucket.

And if you're an indie dev and you can't afford $22/month for awesome code hosting for all your projects, you are the kind of cheapskate that you might as well look elsewhere. Also, there are a TON of options out there like bitbucket, assembla, and so on if you want "cheaper" hosting.

Seriously, you could put out a crappy android app that makes you $100 a month in a weekend and that pays for your github hosting.

Why complain?

grandalf 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think people are misinterpreting the frustration with Github's pricing.

It's not that people have a problem paying $22 for 20 repos, it's that the 21st repo costs $23 per month!

Github's pricing structure has friction in this area. Without a controlled experiment it's impossible to determine whether this pricing model is best for Github or not.

Imagine if when you bought toothpaste there were two options, a small travel-size tube for $1 or a crate full of 500 full size tubes for $250. Or imagine if a restaurant served ice cream at $0.25 for a spoonful and then your next option was a full gallon.

The friction occurs b/c people don't like wasting money, and the pricing model Github has chosen feels like unused repos are costing money but not being put to use.

In other words, there is a nonlinear relationship between money spent and usefulness gained per dollar, which makes it difficult for people to maximize utility over. This is friction and it probably has mixed results. I think the most important thing to note is that we don't know whether it helps or hurts Github's business to do things this way. Assertions that it does one vs the other are only speculation.

davidedicillo 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't mind GitHub pricing, but I wish it had a "Archive" option for the private repo, for those projects that aren't active anymore but still want to keep the repo on GitHub just in case. And of course the archived repos wouldn't count towards your total repo unless they are reactivated.
skrebbel 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's called "Software as a Service" for a reason. Hint: it's not "Data storage as a Service".
masnick 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why https://codeplane.com/ was created. 2GB worth of private repos for $9/month.

See http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2674417 for the discussion of Codeplane on HN.

frankus 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess I always saw github as more of a flickr for code than a private repo hosting service for hobbyists.

I'd still like a good way to back up my private solo-project repositories off-site using git, but I suppose DropBox works pretty well for that?

zavulon 9 hours ago 4 replies      
And that's reason #1 we don't use Github. Assembla lets us host all of our git, SVN and Mercurial repos for free.. currently we have 32 and counting, no issues ever, without paying a single penny.
watty 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Many of you are missing the point. It's not as much about the actual cost but about the model of charging per repo rather than data usage (or both options). This model is not cost effective for small businesses and contractors who have many small projects.

For example, my company has two full time devs and a few contractors for small projects. We have accumulated over 30 projects and that number will continue to grow. It's not uncommon for an older project to be re-opened after a period of inactivity for new features or fixes. It's not cost effective to shell out $100/month. We've moved to Springloops which allows 10 active repos and unlimited archived for $15/month.

Revisor 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's a simple price segmenting. No one says the axis of projects makes financial sense on the expense side. It makes sense in distinguishing the type of customer.

Ironically it's nicely illustrated by the employee/owner of a web agency complaining in the comments. Obviously it worked and Github managed to extract more value from a larger customer.

DannoHung 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Man, I totally would love it if my company would let us use github for our source control. Unfortunately, we are strictly not allowed to store anything outside of the company servers for security reasons and I'm reasonably sure the local github service cost would necessitate making a successful case that we should transition the entire company to it. Which involves not just proving that github is a better source control management suite, but that the git model is superior to the centrally managed, monolithic perforce model we use.
g123g 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about providing a github like interface on top of dropbox? Has anybody done this? The best thing about this will be that 2GB of storage is free from dropbox which is quite sufficient for most of the needs.
canistr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why BitBucket's price plan makes more sense.
bphogan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't get the problems that people have with Github's pricing.

I can have all the private repos I want by creating repositories on my computer. Git is decentralized. Putting it in a central location is centralized. :)

But seriously, I can have as many private repositories as I want - all I need is a server with SSH support.

What I want is the user interface for adding comments and collaboration on my private repos that I get for public repos. If I find that valuable to me, I'll pay it. If it's a "toy" project that I'll never touch, a local repo and a backup of my computer is all I need - I don't need others to have that code.

nzoschke 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just make your small projects public, and with a proper copyright. It's incredibly hard to get someone to pay attention to you and your code even if you want them to. Nobody will notice one way or another.

GitHub is the Library of Alexandria, not a safety deposit box.

chow 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny article, but it misses the fact that GitHub's pricing is less about code separation, and more about access management.

There's nothing stopping a customer from cramming several projects into a single Git repository. You could theoretically take advantage of GitHub's "unlimited" storage for cheap this way. The problem is, you need separate repositories if you want to manage access for different collaborators.

Folders aren't expensive, but access management can be. Github understands this, which is why their Business plans, which are differentiated by having finer-grained access control features, are more expensive.

jedbrown 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Academic research is one more data point. Sometimes you have faculty and students from multiple institutions. It's not so much the cost that's the problem, rather the paperwork to bill it to various grants over the lifetime of a project. In many ways, it's simpler for one of the leaders to just pay for it personally.

I personally prefer doing public development, but this has been cited by a number of colleagues as a reason not to host at github.

nivertech 2 hours ago 0 replies      
When using git every library/dependency is a separate repo. So 125 private repos limit for $200 is only enough for 3-4 real life projects, or one really big project.
Duff 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I know this is pretty much a joke, but never underestimate the ability of people to do ridiculous things.

I've personally witnessed individuals with email Inboxes with over 50,000 items in them -- total size 30GB. No use of folders, no meaningful search capability.

rmc 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Not really a fair comparison. GitHub is aimed at open source development, and is doing quite well at that. So for github you want your data to be visible to everyone in the world.

Imagine if someone thought a blogging software was like a diary in days gone by. "You mean everyone can see what I write in my diary?! How terrible!"

eLobato 8 hours ago 0 replies      
To be fair, the markets of Dropbox and Github are dramatically different. In fact I'd say that the Github pricing model is quite better in terms of adjusting the price to the demand. As I've read in some other comment here in HN, if you don't use Github because $100 is a lot of money to spend in your project, then you probably shouldn't be using Github.
Still, they offer great and FREE micro accounts for students (I have one) and the support is great.
mcantor 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah! What a bunch of dickbags.

What if Western Digital used Dropbox's pricing plan?

marcf 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For businesses looking to be cost effective, remember there is www.projectlocker.com

Not as sexy as GitHub but it has Trac (or Agilo Trac) and a choice of GIT/SVN. Unlimited projects, but it has disk space limits and user limits that differentiate the levels (similar to dropbox.) Cost structure is here:


There is no public visibility on projectlocker.com, thus it is best for teams that don't want their stuff public (which actually most companies.)

Disclaimer: I have used PL as a paying customer for 4 years at the Equity level (<30 users, <30GB of repos) and am a very happy with it. I haven't noticed it go down in all that time.

a3_nm 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Actually, "all your files are visible to everyone" isn't a restriction at all if you're using crypto.

Likewise, it's funny to think that you could encrypt your git repositories and use github public hosting for private projects. I wonder if someone already did, but I guess github wouldn't care (if you're doing this, you wouldn't be paying for the service anyway).

dools 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't actually understand why anyone pays for github when it's so trivial to set up a central git repository on a $10/month VPS and you can have unlimited repositories.

Surely developers aren't that desperate for a nice UI for their git repos?! I assume that there are a bunch of web based repo browsing tools you could install for free if you were that hell bent on looking at your code in a web browser

necenzurat 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.syncany.org/ will kill you all
roel_v 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I expected this to be a post on how Dropbox is too expensive.

Also, putting my grumpy hat on, what's with all the cheapskate whining? "Give me more, I want it FREE!"... bleh.

FBI arrests 16 in Anonymous hacking investigation cnet.com
6 points by lucasjung  32 minutes ago   discuss
If History is any Guide, You've Got Two Years thomvest.com
79 points by Thun  7 hours ago   20 comments top 11
gojomo 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. Although every cycle is different, there will always be people who call a top too early, and others who predict further expansion on the eve of a crash.

There are similarities to 1998: enough of a boom that's unlike safe historical value-anchors to make the skeptical scared, but also enough novelty to suggest continuing upside as the opportunities are explored.

The recent memory of the dot-com boom, and the general malaise in the rest of economy, changes the expression quite a bit. Are we hiding the exuberance that would otherwise signal excess, and thus don't realize how late in the cycle it already is? Or are we proceeding at a measured pace, keeping perceptions closer to sustainable valuations, meaning we're still early in a now longer, slower cycle? I wish I knew for certain.

wccrawford 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Looking at those charts, it looks like he could have claimed the same thing 2, 4, and 6 years ago and would have been wrong each time.

Things never fell back to the 1994 level. In fact, it looks like they didn't fall too far below where they're at now.

I was a lot more worried about a tech bubble -before- I saw those charts.

dkarl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to work for a couple of guys who are running their own scientific computing startup and are still in business after more than ten years. They've been very good at finding people who can benefit pretty quickly from their work and who pay them to develop it further. I haven't been in contact with them in a while, but as of a year ago, they've been working on the same core technology for ten years and developing it further every year. There's no need for speculative funding, because they create R&D plans that result in commercially useful, albeit prototype-quality, products.

They're very special in that they have a lasting technical edge, or you could say they've gotten lucky. I think major companies that could compete with them think the technology they're using is so hard to work with that it's a permanently boutique business, but they have always had a cautious eye towards scaling the business, and I don't see any reason why they can't accomplish it someday.

amirmc 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Google cache version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sx1uHnu...

(edit: seems the site is back now)

(edit2: maybe not)

mikeocool 5 hours ago 0 replies      
History is maybe not a great a measure in this case. In the late 90's/early 2000's the entire US economy was in a major boom, not just the tech industry. Then in 2000 the economy came crashing down, as economies tend to do about every 8-10 years. The bottom falling out of the tech sector was a fairly significant contributor to the downturn, and then 9/11 happened shortly there after further hampering the recovery process. The US federal reserve worked to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates. The economy started to flourish again in the mid-2000s. But then those low interest rates greatly contributed to the next crash when the housing bubble burst in 2008 (8 years after the last major economic downturn!).

As the graphs in this article show the tech industry has recovered at a fairly constant rate since 2000. There was a drop in funding in 2008, corresponding to the drop in the rest of the US economy. The tech industry managed to bounce back from the that incredibly quickly, resulting in what everyone is now saying is a bubble.

However, looking at the entire situation, not just the tech industry, we're in wildly different economic times now than we were in 2000. The US economy as a whole is still fairly depressed, while the tech sector is sort of an anomaly that's doing extremely well.

It's certainly a possibility that this is a tech bubble that'll burst and drop the tech industry back in line with the rest of the economy. However, to look at history as a guide once more, it's much more likely that the rest of the economy will continue to recover and enter boom cycle (which shockingly also happens roughly once every 8-10 years) and catch up to the tech industry. At which point a lot more than just tech companies and investors will have a lot of money to spend. Until, of course, something else triggers the next major economic down turn sometime between 2016 and 2020.

dstein 6 hours ago 2 replies      
But if you bootstrap and find customers willing to pay for your product you've got a lot longer than that.
amirmc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The basic premise here seems to be along the lines of "The environment looks a bit like it did a couple of years before the bubble burst" and then a leap-of-faith "...therefore you've got 2 years"

I don't find the argument as laid out particularly convincing, though it's nice to have data to look at.

bh42222 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When thinking about bubbles, I like to turn the question around and ask myself: Is it possible to grow for many years without any bubbles?

I would say no. And that is why while I suspect what we're in is no where near as big as the .COM bubble was, the road ahead is also not smooth. But then gain, ups and downs are also nothing new or worth worrying much about.

The very early stages of .com 2.0 produced some of my favorite startups. And the most optimistic part of me is curious about what great things will rise form the ashes of this/next bubble.

joejohnson 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Those opening sentences are a grammatical nightmare. I like the piece, but that's a harsh opening... might want to fix that.
Vivtek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That is a handwavy graph if I've ever seen one.
neelm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The other perspective is that a good number of very successful companies were founded in a recession / downturn:




There are a lot of lists like this.

I Broke Justin.tv socialcam.com
73 points by mjdipietro  7 hours ago   34 comments top 6
rglover 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool to learn that a bigger site tosses programmers into the ring from the start. What's even better is that they don't have meltdowns over mistakes and make sure every event is a chance to learn and improve rather than be concerned about losing one's job. There should be more of this in the dev community. I think I'd be much more comfortable in an environment like this where I'm being challenged as opposed to spending 3-6 months working under someone else and only half getting it. It may have some implications on their business, but they're confident enough to figure out a fix so more power to them.
jrockway 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Finally, a few months into the job, I wrote “break” where I meant “continue,” and caused our payments servers to shutdown one-by-one over the course of several weeks.

So, they don't write tests at justin.tv, and they don't do automatic deployment? Sounds like a great place to work at...

websymphony 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Really good article. Purpose of article is to motivate talented people to join Justin.tv and I think it does that very well. First thing I did after reading, was to look for the available positions and actually found one that excited me.
Didn't apply though. Why you might ask.
Although article promotes the "doing" more than "doing absolutely right and best way". Job description is asking for more of "doing right and best way" than "getting it done". And I don't blame them for it, as they have successful product and they would like to keep it that way. What better of doing that than hiring best of the best.
For now, I am just going to wait and work on improving my skills to that point.
freebsd 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I followed Dreamhack's streams on Justin.tv and it was really an awful experience for me, with several downtime right into the live performances and such.

I do remember someone from the staff coming into the overcrowded channels and expressing their astonishment feelings toward the fact that the chat was actually standing and surviving the load.

Besides that, some phrases they translated into my language are just preposterous, usually it's just better off to do not translate a site at all if you manage to do it in such a way.

I did read all the comments where they've pointed out their many improvements, i hope it will get better and better since a platform like that has great potential.

TechnoFou 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You will learn from the biggest mistakes, but you will damage a lot from them. It's all about balance !
wildmXranat 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I would like to see how many happy OSX users are on Justin tv. It feels like they didn't test for usability at all. I asked them how it could be possible to code a player that is capable of playing HD flash at 1fps. Yes - 1 f p s, whereas other sites can play it fluidly(1). It's as if breaking stuff is their motto and answering user questions on how to solve it or explain why it happens is not.

Overall, their product is good enough to make me pay for a stream or two. But, as a user used to free video, that eventually pays for yours and you can't deliver, - ouch.

edit: (1)

Downvotes, pfft . What a joke.

Unix V5, OpenBSD, Plan 9, FreeBSD, and GNU implementations of echo.c github.com
151 points by dchest  10 hours ago   65 comments top 11
chaosfox 10 hours ago 0 replies      
slightly related but, I also find it funny that most of the time we are running none of these..

  $type echo
echo is a shell builtin

scythe 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Okay, so... from UNIX v5, OpenBSD added a -n flag that prevents a trailing newline, Plan 9 adds the -n flag and pushes the argv into a buffer (why?) before printing, FreeBSD does all that and also prevents a trailing newline if the last argument ends with "\c" (why?), and GNU does... something complicated.
IvarTJ 10 hours ago 1 reply      
That must have been one of Ken Thompson's more productive days.

(alluding to a quote from him that I can't source, “One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.”)

mikelward 9 hours ago 4 replies      
The "-n" option was added to UNIX around v6.

The "-n" special case opened the floodgates for many more options. And what if I actually wanted to print "-n"? There's no way to do it.

mikelward 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can see the original UNIX sources at
pixelbeat 9 hours ago 1 reply      
One should avoid echo anyway due to portability issues.
Use printf instead.
gose 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's Mac OS X's:


It's close to the FreeBSD implementation.

hackermom 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Following the general software trend, it just keeps growing bigger and slower while still doing nothing new. But is this used anywhere, really? At least Bash uses its builtin.
brown9-2 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I do not have much experience reading C code. Is the use of gotos and labels in the GNU code common?
nvictor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
wow :O
Bash on Balls: an MVC web framework for Bash, powered by netcat github.com
109 points by laughinghan  9 hours ago   23 comments top 10
chuhnk 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have nothing but praise for this piece of insanity. I love bash and truly enjoy watch it being taken beyond is intended use cases.
tlrobinson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I wrote a CGI webserver and microframework in bash awhile ago too: https://github.com/tlrobinson/wwwoosh/
laughinghan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It basically pipes a fifo into netcat, and pipes the output of netcat to an HTTP parsing script, which calls router and model "methods" (which use Bash's built-in "namespacing") which runs the Bash templating language esh and pipes the the HTTP response back into the fifo.
lysol 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What a great name.
Calamitous 5 hours ago 3 replies      
But can it scale?
koenigdavidmj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
ikbear 8 hours ago 1 reply      
So how can we use that? Is there any tutorial or examples?
patrickgzill 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds painful to use.
nzoschke 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Shell is my favorite programming language these days. For systems programming there's really no way to get terser or more accurate programs with a scripting language. Once they work, my shell scripts are essentially side effect free.

That said, I use it for true pipelines. An MVC framework sounds insane. But I already learned some new Bash tricks from reading the code so keep up the madness!

tathagatadg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Think I found true love ...
Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet for mankind physorg.com
37 points by juiceandjuice  5 hours ago   23 comments top 14
gjm11 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Blogspam, as usual from physorg.

Original: http://home.tudelft.nl/en/current/latest-news/article/detail... which, unlike the physorg blogspam, includes links to sources with more information.

rodh257 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm glad Bill is putting some money towards this. It seems quite complex but if they can make it cheap and easily maintainable it could save a lot of lives.

For anyone who doesn't think this is a big problem, picture taking DOUBLE the population of the USA, moving them to an area ~1/3 the size and having them defecate in the open with no sanitation. This (from what I've read) is pretty much the situation in India, where more people have mobile phones than access to proper toilets.

bambax 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> In the first step of Delft University's new technical approach, the human waste will be dried. Then the waste will be gasified using plasma, which is created by microwaves in tailor-made equipment. (etc)


The brother of my grandfather lived on a farm for all of his life; there was never any kind of toilets on the farm. While there always was access to clean water from a well (which may not be the case in the poorer parts of the world), running water was installed inside the "house" only in the early sixties. "House" is between quotes because it looked more like "the part of the stable to be used by humans".

We used to go there often during the summer. We did our business behind the house, like everyone. We loved everything there.

And what about health? My grandfather's brother died past 80; when he died his wife moved to the "city" where she lived to see her 94th birthday.

They would've had a hard time believing people would ever want to gasify their poo with "plasma created by microwaves".

In fact, so do I.

rbanffy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So, you don't have sanitation, but, somehow, they figure out you would be able to maintain and operate a self-sustaining facility that gasifies your waste using microwave heated plasma that's also, somehow, compact enough you don't have to build the sanitation system you didn't have in the first place to drive your waste into the facility.

What baffles me is that the people bright enough to invent it didn't come with a similarly brilliant excuse to deploy it.

synnik 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Solar composting outhouses? Just like already exist in some campgrounds?

Is this really a problem that needs a new solution?

pitdesi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very worthy cause, but I think they might be overdoing it. The issue is major - the number of people without access to toilets is roughly equivalent to the number of people with internet access... last chart of this infographic: http://feefighters.com/blog/ff_infographic/tech-boom-or-bubb...
watmough 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Aren't there already cheap composting toilets that safely and relatively odorlessly compost human waste, without he assistance of a bunch of grant-hungry, plasma torch-wielding scientists.

If I recall, you can't pee in them due to ammonia, but there are separate ways to handle fluid wastes.

Perhaps the articles is just trying to disguise the use of incinerators.

epo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Aren't they over-thinking this a bit? This seems like the Microsoft-ification of crapper design, i.e. gratuitously complicated, unmaintainable and essentially irrelevant to the basic problem.

We are talking mostly about places without proper sanitation, how are they supposed to have (and sustain) facilities for generating plasma?

Left to itself human waste degrades and the residue can be used for fertilizer or maybe even fuel. A cesspit or septic tank provides for safe storage until it is ready for disposal, preferably in a way that aids the local population.

Jacob4u2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a Radiolab podcast about parasites and the improvement of productivity in the deep south as a result of the introduction of outhouses.


(it's the part about farmers, not sure about a specific seek to point, sorry it's been a while)

jleader 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If it needs "high throughput of human waste matter", it's not a toilet, it's a sewage treatment plant.
pesco 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> microwave plasma gasification may be energy self-sufficient, provided that [...] high throughput of human waste matter can be obtained.

EPIC way to say "for god's sake keep shitting"

VladRussian 3 hours ago 0 replies      
good that he decided to address the issue at the receiving side of the system, not at the producing - i mean, with his money he could have commissioned a some "human anatomy and physiology improvement" research ...
scythe 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How robust can you make a system that seems to require constant energy input? That is to say, what if nobody shits in it for a while?
matmann2001 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"We will apply microwave technology to transform human waste into electricity."

Not sure how this works, but it sounds like it would only worsen the situation.

Apple Earnings: A Big Beat as iPad, iPhone Sales Soar - MarketBeat - WSJ wsj.com
16 points by sahillavingia  3 hours ago   9 comments top 2
petercooper 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Now with $76bn cash/cash-like to hand. It'd be fun to see some big acquisitions but I wouldn't bet on it.. Perhaps a few million into the MacRuby project? ;-)
ojbyrne 3 hours ago 1 reply      
And the stock is down (ever so slightly) in after-hours trading (as of 4:58 EST).
Girls sweep at Google Science Fair nytimes.com
89 points by gopi  9 hours ago   86 comments top 11
credo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
>>Dr. Cerf said. "This is just a reminder that women are fully capable of doing same or better quality work than men can."

I hope those those who needed a reminder about the capabilities of girls or women see this news.

However, (and I realize this will be controversial) imo this result doesn't contradict the general notion that girls (in mainstream American culture) are discouraged (by societal and cultural pressures) from engaging in science and engineering. Two of the three girls are Indian-American and these girls presumably don't face the same pressures that most other American girls face.

For that matter, I think that women in countries like India, China, Russia etc. are much more represented in science and engineering (in their countries) than native-born women in the US.

ricefield 7 hours ago  replies      
I didn't read the article in is entirety, but one line popped out at me, where one of the finalists says something like "Yeah! Girl power!"

Am I the only one who feels like, although men may 'dominate' the hard sciences, one of the reasons (among many others which I won't discuss) why girls may succeed at stages like this is because of the encouragement from a "girl power!" (perhaps, underdog?) mentality?

If boys won and went with "guy power!" they would simply be accused of being sexist or even misogynist rather than fair-minded, or intrinsically motivated.

grannyg00se 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Dr. Cerf [google's chief Internet Evangelist] said. "This is just a reminder that women are fully capable of doing same or better quality work than men can."

I somehow find this quote to be rather unfortunate. I know he meant it in a good way, but it makes it seem as though the general public needs to be reminded that women aren't less intelligent than men. Perhaps for many that reminder may be required, but I guess the fact that we need such a reminder saddens me. I would have preferred something like that not be mentioned. Or perhaps I would prefer that it need not be pointed out at all.

emily37 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm. To me, the problem with "girl power", etc. is that, as a young female scientist, you're inundated with suggestions that girls are your "team" and boys are your rivals. If you hear enough about "girl power" growing up, you start to feel that you have to represent your gender well: that you have to beat boys on tests (though it doesn't matter if you beat other girls on tests), or that knowing more than a male colleague is something to be proud of. "Girl power" was what I said in elementary school when the girls beat the guys at soccer or something, but when you start to use that sentiment in relation to intellectual abilities, you foster a hostile work environment and you encourage intellectual competition rather than collaboration across gender.

On a related note, here's a NYT blog post that I saw recently that highlights the science fair winners' gender and just goes up in flames: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/girl-power-wins-at-...
It ends by suggesting that Google hired Marissa Mayer and Susan Wojcicki because they would help recruit more women, which made me cringe, even though I know that the author probably didn't intend to make exactly that point.

meow 7 hours ago 4 replies      
The winning entry was for finding a way to overcome the resistance to a drug by cancer cells. I'm curious, how does a 17 year old get access to labs, chemicals, cell cultures required to conduct the study ? Is it common in US for students of this age to have access to such things ?
scythe 7 hours ago 1 reply      
>For the winning research Ms. Bose looked at a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly taken by women with ovarian cancer. The problem is that the cancer cells tend to grow resistant to cisplatin over time, and Ms. Bose set out to find a way to counteract that.

Original study: https://sites.google.com/site/ampkandcisplatinresistance/

Doesn't seem to have been published yet, but presumably it will be.

timdellinger 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This reminds of research showing that
"Over 80% of high school leadership positions are now held by girls (Fiscus, 1997.)"
( from http://cfge.wm.edu/Gifted%20Educ%20Artices/GenderGenius.htm )

It still remains to be seen how doing more of something (or being more successful at something) in high school translates to being successful at that endeavor later in life. Time will tell!

FraaJad 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Paging Vivek Wadhwa to write an article about Immigrants' children doing well in STEM. (6 out of 20 finalists are Indian-American) [1]

[1] http://www.google.com/events/sciencefair/finalists.html

duggan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I definitely thought this was going to be an article about the juxtaposition of an all female cast of cleaning professionals with an all male science fair as a broad analogy for the "glass ceiling" effect.

Glad to see I was mistaken :)

fjabre 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't care if they won specifically because they were female. It's a sausage fest in the bay area. Time to get the women on board guys. They need to be part of the 'future' too.
gooberdlx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Go Fort Worth!
Infographic: Are We in the Middle of Another Tech Bubble? theatlantic.com
29 points by PixelRobot  4 hours ago   12 comments top 6
rwolf 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am confused. The "Q2" on the x-axis makes it look like we're comparing half of a year's total to previous years' totals. My squishy human brain wants to put each point on equal footing.

Edit: I see, the graphs are continuous.

bgentry 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best infographics I can remember. Really puts a lot of things in perspective that I had forgotten about from the 1999 bubble. CueCat?? AllAdvantage??? Doesn't even compare.
trotsky 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Like most writing on the subject, it seems the creator had an opinion on the subject and then created the presentation to persuade the reader it is correct. Which is quite normal in the field, of course, but when presented with a chart or graph a reader often believes that they're making up their own mind based on the raw data. In some cases this is true, but it is very easy to cherry pick only the data that supports your point - which is pretty clearly what the creator has done here. I'm not saying that means there is private tech asset bubble, but a bunch of pre-selected data points also doesn't prove there isn't.

It's really difficult to conclusively prove anything until you're looking back at the event. Until then there will always be two sides to the argument.

bproper 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes - A boom implies the rising valuations are justified. In a bubble the rising prices are based on speculation and hysteria.

We are not in a tech bubble that resembles the dot-com days. There is a ton of money at the seed and early stage for untested ideas (Color) and many VCs and angels will lose money. But more entrepreneurs will get funded and that instinct to gamble is why America has such a terrific tech sector.

cpeterso 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Boom or bubble? Is there a difference? (Honestly, I don't mean this as a rhetorical joke.)
yakshaving 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who appreciates great information designer, I was thoroughly impressed with this graphic. Nice work Kissmetrics/Feefighters teams!
Bloomberg begins quest to challenge the West Coast for supremacy in tech crainsnewyork.com
6 points by jamesteow  1 hour ago   6 comments top 4
redthrowaway 44 minutes ago 1 reply      
Well, they've got one part right: tech centers flow from strong universities, not industrial parks. That said, I think the focus on entrepreneurship may be misguided. MIT, CMU, Stanford, and Berkeley didn't spawn tech loci because they focussed on entrepreneurship, they did so because they were destination schools for the best and brightest Eng and CS students from around the world. If they focussed on building the best possible engineering school, rather than the one most likely to spawn startups, they would paradoxically have a much better chance of spawning startups.

Also, I can't speak for anyone else, but New York simply doesn't appeal to me as a wannabe hacker. I like San Francisco and the surrounding area. I like the culture and the people. New York really doesn't have that same draw for me. That said, for those from the East Coast who would otherwise go to MIT or CMU, a top tier engineering school in New York might well be a viable alternative.

ziadbc 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think it's great that New York wants to step its game up in science and engineering, and should be applauded.

However, I think the idea that New York needs to be the capital of technology over Silicon Valley is like if New York tried to become number one in Chicago style pizza, it's just silly.

Technology is going to be a driving force in our economy because technology simply means producing useful things we don't yet have. To make it about some kind of dominance over another state within the same country is unnecessary, just grow your own legacy.

btcoal 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
I suspect this is more about the temporary employment boost that having a major university in a city can bring than the long-term employment benefits that an economy based on scientific and technological prowess can bring.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the picture today implies that the technology sector doesn't tend to create a lot of jobs, even when it creates extremely useful inovations or novel avenues of entertainment.

MatthewB 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Anything that brings more interest to math and sciences is good in my book.
Epic Marketplace caught stealing history by Stanford Security Lab stanford.edu
59 points by mikeleeorg  8 hours ago   11 comments top 4
jrockway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How come it's illegal for aaronsw to steal thousands of documents from a document repository, but it's not illegal for advertiser to steal thousands of history entries from my browser? If anything, this sounds significantly more illegal: code that I don't want to run is injected into my browser, and then it steals personal information that I make an effort to keep secret. If this isn't unauthorized access to a protected computer system, what is?
gallamine 7 hours ago 1 reply      
For those that were confused by the title (like me), here's the TL;DR:

Online advertiser, Epic Marketplace, is using a very sophisticated javascript script to do "history stealing", where they iterate through thousands of URLs to determine if a user has visited them. With this data, they can serve highly targeted ads.
It's highly shady at best, and illegal at worst.

ohashi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see how they've used it. I remember seeing a proof of concept a while back checking the most popular sites against your browser history and pointing this flaw out. Now it will be interesting to see the repercussions of actually abusing this.
andrewcooke 4 hours ago 1 reply      
so what would block this?

noscript would, but (imho) it's too intrusive.

would adblockplus have blocked it? what about ghostery, disconnect, et al?

       cached 20 July 2011 00:02:01 GMT