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1
Searching for Mark Pilgrim meyerweb.com
207 points by jlbruno  3 hours ago   54 comments top 22
1
haberman 1 hour ago 3 replies      
https://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/121436177298493440

"Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."

2
GavinB 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Given that
a) Mark is known by his real name, employed by a major company, and presumably has numerous friends, coworkers, and acquaintances in meatspace
b) none of his friends, coworkers, or acquaintances are stepping forward either with information or panicked questions

is it safe to assume that our interest and attention at this time is unwanted?

3
kenneth_reitz 3 hours ago 1 reply      
His GitHub projects have been mirrored:

    https://github.com/diveintomark/

Dive Into Python 3: http://diveintopython3.ep.io/

    GitHub: https://github.com/diveintomark/diveintopython3

Dive Into HTML5: http://diveintohtml5.ep.io/

    GitHub: https://github.com/diveintomark/diveintohtml5

4
natch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's completely understandable that someone would ask the police to do a welfare check, given the circumstances (signs reasonably interpreted as indicators of possible impending suicide).

I'm sure he understands that he brought this annoyance on himself, probably with a good reason that's none of our business.

But, now that his welfare has been established... Let's give this Googler privacy and space. If only we could expect Google to do the same for all of us when we need it. How about it Google? Consider this a feature request: Google Cocoon, an on-request service that hides your personal information from search and perusal in special circumstances. Sounds like a can of worms, but interesting to think about.

5
phillmv 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Mark Pilgrim is an awesome dude.

I remember stumbling upon http://web.archive.org/web/20110724223826/http://addictionis... years and years and empathizing and feeling moved. I hope he's alright.

6
ceejayoz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
https://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/121430050930298880

"Pass along - several people have called Mark Pilgrim's local PD for a welfare check, and they've sent a car just to knock on the door. #hope"

7
akent 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is probably one of my favourite Mark Pilgrim posts: http://web.archive.org/web/20110514133252/http://diveintomar...

"Do not misunderstand me. I don't think the personal web has become boring. I think I have become boring. I've spent too much time tracking statistics, living up to the meaningless ideals of others, and pontificating on matters of no importance. When I should have been writing about lighthouses."

8
wyclif 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Surely someone reading this thread works for GOOG, and can find out if he's still around.
9
firebones 3 hours ago 0 replies      
That's too bad. I checked his Wikipedia page and noted that he requested that it be deleted several years ago, only to be denied.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Mark_Pilgrim_(software_dev...

The talk page mentions his involvement in a computer tampering case nearly 20 years ago...if it is the same Mark Pilgrim (and the ages seem to match) then he seems to have redeemed himself with his subsequent work. I had no idea.

10
azulum 3 hours ago 0 replies      
my hope is that he has retired to an ashram and hasn't been abducted by cyber-terrorists bent on killing f/oss and torturing him by deleting his accounts.

or maybe he has evolved to the point that our invisible alien overlords saw fit to promote him.

be well, mark, wherever you may be.

11
nutmeg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
@textfiles
Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.
12
spullara 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe he is trying an experiment to see whether it is possible to remove yourself from the Internet. Would be an interesting experiment for Google to run.
13
varikin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The firehose and feeds pages on diveintomark are still active.

http://firehose.diveintomark.org/

http://feeds.diveintomark.org/

14
pingswept 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As I've commented elsewhere, there's a precedent for this. He disappeared from his blog for a while in 2004. Check the Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:diveint...
15
jlbruno 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Mark Pilgrim seems to have disappeared from the Internet. Eric is searching for anyone who might know him personally to make sure he is ok.
16
lclaude01 3 hours ago 2 replies      
17
biot 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the URL from one of the comments from the Ask HN thread:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3073836

Not sure it needs another dedicated story.

18
sandyc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
via @textfiles "Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."
19
AndyKelley 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I don't get why, noticing that all his accounts are disabled, you would worry about him being harmed. If he got hit by a truck and died, all his stuff would still be online.
20
wavephorm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Can't a dude just disappear in peace anymore?
21
pitra 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Atlas shrugged
22
nestlequ1k 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Deliberately taking down such a highly seo indexed site is an act of terrorism as far as I'm concerned.
2
Ask HN: Anyone know where Mark Pilgrim went?
274 points by rileywatkins  4 hours ago   75 comments top 25
1
mbrubeck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This isn't totally unprecedented.

In October 2004, Mark stopped blogging after a post titled "Every Exit" which read: "It's time for me to find a new hobby. Preferably one that doesn't involve angle brackets. Or computers. Or electricity." [1] That post sat at the top of his previously very active weblog for 18 months until he returned in April 2006. Of course, that time he only stopped posting new material; he didn't delete all his existing resources. But he did disappear from online life for a while.

[1]: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Mqb93dp...

2
samuel 1 hour ago 2 replies      
He's OK. I don't know how to link a tweet but see textfiles account(https://twitter.com/#!/textfiles)

Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.
...
The communication was specifically verified, it was him, and that's that. That was the single hardest decision I've had to make this year.

3
jdnier 2 hours ago 3 replies      
So check this out: Google "http error code 410" and the second hit is from diveintomark.org circa 2003.

"""
Let's all talk about HTTP error code 410.
...
Error 410 means Resource gone, as in, a resource used to exist at this location, but now it's gone. Not only is it gone, but I don't know (or I don't want to tell you) where it went.
...
Now, there is not a lot of information about error 410... I suppose because it addresses a condition that doesn't come up very often. Also, we've all been brainwashed into believing that all resources should be permanent, which simply isn't true.
"""
Google cache: http://bit.ly/qxdBi5

His servers are returning 410 errors but also the same very deliberate HTML:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">
<html><head>
<title>410 Gone</title>
</head><body>
<h1>Gone</h1>
<p>The requested resource<br />/<br />
is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address.
Please remove all references to this resource.</p>
</body></html>

Clearly Mark's invocation of the 410 error is deliberate.

4
unreal37 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Apparently it has been verified he is alive.

http://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/121436177298493440

@textfiles (Jason Scott)
Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.

@textfiles (Jason Scott)
The communication was specifically verified, it was him, and that's that. That was the single hardest decision I've had to make this year.

6
chr15 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like one of his last tweets:

Hey everybody! Adobe has acquired another batch of awesome products that they will slowly ruin through incompetence and mismanagement!

From http://topsy.com/twitter.com/diveintomark/status/12091889959...

7
solutionyogi 3 hours ago 2 replies      
That's a really sad news.

He hasn't deleted his Hacker News Account yet. He last commented 27 days ago.

http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=MarkPilgrim

[I loved his blog and I wish someone has archive for it. I did not archive it locally because Mark used to write articles about long term archival of his data and I didn't think he would ever delete all his public writings.]

9
alnayyir 3 hours ago 2 replies      
He's making recompense for making JDBC part of the first exercise in a Python book.

He'll return from the self-flagellation in two years after some time spent at a monastery.

I fully expect his enlightenment will bring much into the world of programming.

10
Bo102010 3 hours ago 2 replies      
His github account is gone as well (http://github.com/diveintomark).

This is troubling. I'm glad I downloaded Dive Into Python 3, at least.

11
adriand 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I really hope Mark is okay, and I'm really going to miss Dive Into HTML5. That resource had a truly unique writing style, featured a great design, and was an a absolute treasure trove of valuable information. I was literally on the site just yesterday, reading up on local storage.
12
andyfleming 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Stand down Mark Pilgrim alert. Google, his employer, is on it. Thank you all. Hoping for “he's just pissed off at Internet” as outcome."

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/GlennF/status/121434638282530816

13
rdhyee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd definitely like to know what happened to Mark Pilgrim and hope he is well. It's still reassuring to know that his websites are still archived by the Internet Archive. (e.g., http://web.archive.org/web/20110726001953/http://diveintohtm...)
14
WALoeIII 3 hours ago 0 replies      
_why 2.0.
15
sudonim 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe he and _why are in Galt's Gulch? (Any Atlas Shrugged fans?)
16
robbiet480 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Jason Scott of textfiles.org has called his local police department for a welfare check...

https://twitter.com/textfiles/status/121430050930298880

17
andyfleming 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/121436177298493440

19
wooswiff 2 hours ago 1 reply      
As pointed out by user mikelietz on Eric Meyer's site, http://firehose.diveintomark.org/ is still up.
20
pingswept 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a precedent for this. He disappeared from his blog for a while in 2004. Check the Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:diveint...
21
kyleslattery 3 hours ago 4 replies      
http://diveintohtml5.com/ seems to still be working
22
nostromo 3 hours ago 2 replies      
> Is Mark Pilgrim pulling a disappearing act?

Shouldn't we respect his wishes? If he wants to pull the plug on his online identity, he should be allowed to do so without HN sending out an internet search squad.

23
esigler 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar (though not as extreme) behavior has occurred in the past:

http://web.archive.org/web/20110726001259/http://diveintomar...

24
artursapek 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, I was just using "Dive Into HTML5" at a hackathon this weekend. It helped a ton, I loved the way that site was designed. This is eery.
25
shareme 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Respect his wishes, even his google accounts/profiles gone..

As far as I know he is still working at Google

3
Brazil Drafts An 'Anti-ACTA': A Civil Rights-Based Framework For The Internet techdirt.com
85 points by nextparadigms  5 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1
SoftwareMaven 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Maybe Orson Scott Card is right. Maybe Brazil will be a place of great influence in the future. I would very seriously consider moving to a country that actually focused on governing its people while allowing business to continue in an intelligent fashion.

Sadly, I don't know where that would be at the moment, but I wouldn't feel bad about learning Portuguese if it turned out to be Brazil.

2
bluedanieru 2 hours ago 0 replies      
>ACTA is the last-gasp attempt of the US and the EU to preserve their intellectual monopolies.

If only. No doubt when this fails the bastards will think up something even more draconian, perhaps forced re-education or lobotomies for downloading μTorrent.

Western governments have been thoroughly captured by interests that represent a fraction of a percent of their populations. Anyone who expects this to come to an end while these governments still exist, is deluding themselves.

3
sankara 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
India is doing good in software patents and drug patents as well. Software cannot be patented and drugs have to be innovative (incremental is not good enough).

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-13/india...

4
j_m_f 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great piece of legislation, it's sad that here in Canada we're seeing the opposite with the current government proposing a pretty draconian copyright bill:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/law-cracks-down...

5
thiagofm 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm brazilian and I don't think that its a WOHOO act or something. It's just that US and EU governments are so full of interests(and shit) that it looks good.

We don't have a big(and stupid) elite like the US does, so things stay reasonable.

6
nodata 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
ACTA hasn't been waved around in front of normal people enough to get to the point where everyone can articulate why it is a bad idea.
4
"Sorry Larry, the cloud can't be stopped" thetechscoop.net
20 points by jameshicks  1 hour ago   7 comments top 4
1
lubos 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Salesforce is 12 years old company with around 10% CRM market. What was their profit last year? 80 million USD?

You would have to be naive to think Oracle is afraid of Salesforce. I think it's more to do with Benioff's rude knows-it-all attitude.

2
mkopinsky 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
From Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/10/05/oracle-boo...)

"The Times notes that Oracle said in a statement that it didn't cancel the event, but instead decided to move the session from Wednesday to Thursday. “Due to the overwhelming attendance at Oracle OpenWorld we had to make several session changes,” Oracle said.

But Benioff said he couldn't be there on Thursday morning, and the Times notes that the conference features a Wednesday night concert " Sting and Tom Petty " that would likely run into the wee hours and reduce the attendance at a Thursday morning keynote."

3
sabat 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Salesforce is not "the cloud". It's a company that produces a web app -- a lackluster app, at that.
4
channelmeter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Benioff probably ticked off Ellison's ego when he said Dreamforce was now bigger than Oracle Open World: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/01/...

It'll probably lead to "Who has the best looking beard."

6
Apple's 1987 Knowledge Navigator, Only One Month Late waxy.org
197 points by planb  10 hours ago   30 comments top 11
1
breckinloggins 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Putting aside the dated hardware (and hairstyles!), this technology is still a ways off. Yes, Siri is a good start, but it doesn't come anywhere near the type of conversational fluency and contextual awareness that the virtual assistant in this video does.

Honestly, I think we're still 10 or 20 years out from that.

2
ChuckMcM 7 hours ago 1 reply      
That assistant looks like Bill Nye :-) I wonder if anyone showed this video as prior art in the iPad patent discussion.

Perhaps one of the most salient things to learn from this is that people with a vision, and a will, work continually toward that vision even when progress seems non-existent. A solid idea of what you'd like something to look like, elucidated clearly, can help shape products for years until what you imagine can be made real. When I saw Alan Kay talk about the Dynabook at one of Xerox PARC's lecture series I felt that here was a guy who had basically committed to this vision, and was knocking down objections one by one.

3
rabble 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The video is a mix of two different videos, one from 1987, and one from 1997. The CyberDog / OpenDoc stuff in the second half is obviously not from the 80's as those projects were created in 1996-1997.
4
larrywright 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw this on VHS when it originally came out, at an Apple user group meeting. I was 15 years old. I remember thinking at the time that it all seemed to far-fetched to become reality. I'm glad I was wrong.
5
fady 8 hours ago 0 replies      
one of the best concepts i've seen from apple. yes, siri does not do all that, but, you certainly can manage most of it with all the apps available..nice find, nice find indeed!
6
kinkora 5 hours ago 0 replies      
They seem to have also invented the concept of "checking-in". See video[1] at 0:38 second mark onwards where he talks about a student checking in at Guatemala.

[1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WdS4TscWH8

7
raquo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's sad that we still did not achieve the level smoothness and interoperability imagined in this video. Who cares about talking to the computer. Getting things done is still a bunch of ugly hacks.
8
sp332 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"maren" here on HN founded http://zirtual.com/ , so you can get a real human assistant while we wait for the future :)
9
doomlaser 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Except that Siri has been out on the App Store since 2010.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AohzWSkAU7c

Until today that is. It's been artifically limited to Apple's forthcoming iPhone 4S, and current customers will have the service shut off for them on the 15th.

10
joejohnson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's nice and all but this video is not from 1987.. 1997 maybe. The lady at the beginning of the video mentions Yahoo which didn't launch until 1995.
11
pennig 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Behold, the power of OpenDoc!
7
The Economist names Paul Buchheit 2011 Computing and Telecom Award winner economistconferences.co.uk
48 points by brlewis  4 hours ago   1 comment top
1
bjtitus 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Well deserved. I think the list of achievements speaks for itself.

Congrats Paul!

8
Google's Management Doesn't Use Google+ theunderstatement.com
130 points by thisisblurry  7 hours ago   65 comments top 31
1
Kylekramer 7 hours ago 5 replies      
This thought: Further, I think it's reasonable to assume a correlation between private use & public use kills the whole article. No, it isn't a reasonable assumption. If you look at my Facebook without being a friend of mine, you get a picture of me. Five years of use and that is the only public thing I have published. And I am just another dude no one cares about. I am sure billionaire CEOs and board members who have actual reporters, normal everyday gossiphounds and even crazies caring about their personal lives have even more incentive to be private. Google+'s promise isn't that is a combination of Facebook and Twitter, it is a social network where it does what you want it to. And if Google management wants their sharing to be private, that is good. I suspect a large number of their users have a similar outlook.
2
Lewisham 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Remember that Larry re-org'd Google into product groups, and the SVP of Social is Vic Gundorota. My understanding is that these groups are supposed to work in a more autonomous fashion, with Larry more of a Jobsian gatekeeper and guiding hand.

If you are to make some sort of conclusion based on whether the boss is using it or not, you need to actually choose the boss. Vic is the boss of Google+, and he's made 150+ posts. Seems pretty good to me.

3
larsberg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe they all have their accounts in Google Apps and G+ is just not available to them yet :-)
4
lojack 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really does use Facebook all day. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted at least 30 times just yesterday.

And, likewise, I'm sure Google's management uses Google Search on a regular basis.

5
gojomo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd bet Google management doesn't click on Google ads very often, either.
6
gamble 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing embarrasing here. I'm sure it's just that Google's management are very private people who wouldn't like their personal information exposed and spread about to third parties.
7
hosh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is flawed. It is making an assumption that public posts correlates with private posts.

"Further, I think it's reasonable to assume a correlation between private use & public use: if you were constantly posting things on a service and each time you were given the option to make it public or private, surely sometimes you'd make it public, especially as a somewhat public figure wanting to help your own company's new service get going."

This is fallacy, and it is not even persuasive fallacy.

I make significantly more private posts than I do public posts. I've made exactly two public posts since using it in the early field testing days, and have many more private posts. The friends in my circle tends to share privately, not publicly. You don't have to make public posts to use Google+.

We can say for certain that Google management do not make public posts. We cannot say for certain that Google management do not use Google+ at all.

8
shareme 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The author is wrong..there is a Google+ sandbox and I am told that Google management is in fact using Google+ through that from Google insiders..
9
j_baker 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure this is fair. Google is a large company with a lot of products. You simply can't expect top management to be an active user of all of them. I'm sure Apple doesn't require its top execs to own an iPhone, iPod, iPod nano, iPod touch, iMac, MacBook Air.... you get the idea. The comparison with Twitter is even worse. Twitter really only has one product.

The way this data is organized, I don't see any top executives not using Google+ that "should" be using it.

10
nr0mx 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The correct title should have been: "Google's Management Doesn't Use Google+ For Public Posts". But not so good for pageviews, is it?

"Management caring deeply about their company's products and using them every day is almost always a prerequisite of making great products."

From my time on Google+, the Google+ team seems to be highly visible and doing a terrific job interacting on the site. It seems like a useful update is announced by the team - not management - almost weekly.

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really does use Facebook all day."

Of course, quite obvious from the sheer volume of daily public posts Zuckerberg makes on Facebook.

It seems pointless to continue to dissect this post any further.

11
crag 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
There aren't exactly doing much for their brand are they? It's not about what they do privately.. I mean, hire some PR lackey to post "public" recipes or list your favoriate bands - whatever.

It's perceptions that matter.

12
decklin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What an utterly awful use of a pie chart.
13
Tichy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe they have actual work to do and can not procrastinate on Twitter or G+ like the rest of us.
14
dasil003 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes there might be a good correlation between dogfooding in senior management and great products, but it's not worth shoving a square peg into a round hole to meet this superficial criteria.

The reason Facebook and Twitter executives use their respective services is because that is the core product from the very beginning. Google+ on the other hand is a tertiary product. Just because management realizes they need a foothold in social doesn't mean that they should forcibly try to transmute themselves into the target market. Instead they should have people in charge of the product that care enough to use it naturally, and I think that's what they're doing.

15
vaughan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Google+ has made a point to enforce a real names policy - no pseudonyms allowed. Surely high level executives have things they would like to say publicly or comment on posts which they see. Reading articles is one thing, but taking the time to form a cohesive argument or opinion required to make comment on public articles can greatly enhance comprehension of a topic. Responding to criticism is also a part of this.

Are we to believe that people rise the ranks to a position of power where they suddenly need not debate issues in the public sphere and take the criticism that goes along with it?

Surely not. So wouldn't it then make sense to at least allow pseudonyms?

16
jonmc12 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"Management caring deeply about their company's products and using them every day is almost always a prerequisite of making great products"

..when management is also happens to be in the target market of the product. Quite a broad and incorrect generalization to kick off an analysis like this.

17
alexwolfe 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not to worry, I got plenty of free invites. I'll send them a few.
18
darksaga 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Google+ was supposed to compete with Facebook and having people's salaries tied to something this big, you would expect EVERYBODY to be on board.

I'd be pretty pissed if my salary was tied up in this and articles like this come out basically saying, "Your own execs don't think this is a good enough product to use themselves."

Regardless of how private they want to be, they should be using the product or at the very least have some assistant or intern posting for them. I'm pretty certain most celebs and top tech execs don't do all of their updates. You don't have to post private stuff, just make an effort to show you're using the product.

19
tlogan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really a big news because apparently 25 percent of employee bonuses are tied to the success of Google+.

The news is that Larry didn't convince his management team and the board that G+ is very important for the future of Google.

20
philipmorg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I suppose if Google+ was a conventional product--and one could get accurate information about whether or not Google's execs actually used it--this article might have a point.

But Google+ isn't a product. It's more like an API that uses a graphic user interface to transfer personal data from users to Google. Google then uses that data to provide an actual product to its actual customers: advertisers.

http://investor.google.com/corporate/faq.html

21
dendory 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Google Plus, I post many things every day. But I'm among those worried about its future. Out of over 700 people I follow, only around 30 post daily, most posted at one point (I don't follow people who never posted) but don't anymore. I think people have a use for Twitter, Facebook, but G+ is inbetween and doesn't have enough of an obvious use yet.
22
joshu 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the problems with being somewhat famous and being on these things is that you get barraged with stuff from random people.

I was mentioned in an early Googler's post and I still get barraged with stuff.

23
wavephorm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently they took one look at how Google would be using their information and said "fuck that".
24
spullara 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is perfectly normal. Carol Bartz (and
most of the executive team) didn't use Yahoo's products either...
25
kragen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Larry and Sergey are probably just posting under pen names. ;)
26
natasham25 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an opportunity for the Google leadership to be leaders not only in their company but outside of it by contributing their knowledge and lessons learned to the public. Unfortunately, they are not taking this leadership opportunity, since most of the posts from Larry Page and Sergey Brin are from their amazing adventures and travels, which shows that they themselves don't understand the real power of social media and how they can use it to actually contribute to the world.
27
ditojim 6 hours ago 0 replies      
i'd be willing to bet google execs use hangouts quite a bit, which is technically google+..
28
gojomo 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Why, next you'll tell me Zynga execs don't play Farmville, and TV execs don't watch reality shows!
29
vaughan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange...Alan Eustace has made 3 public posts on October 5, 2011. Perhaps he's a HN reader.
30
badclient 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So will people believe me now that google+ is dead?
31
guyzero 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm really hoping David Drummond will use G+ to tell us all about the lawsuits his staff is in the process of deposing. That's sure to happen.
9
A Tour of Go go-tour.appspot.com
59 points by mhd  6 hours ago   5 comments top 4
1
machrider 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It might just be me, but I found myself asking "why?" on most of the first 12 pages that I skimmed through. I don't really understand why there need to be so many ways to declare a variable or a function. It doesn't make it easier to have several ways to phrase the same thing, I'd rather just learn the one way to do it.

I've never written a Go program so I don't know if it comes up in practice, but it seems like this kind of variability makes it harder to learn and harder to read other people's code (who may not use the same constructs you use). Something I really appreciate about Python is that it's syntactically extremely simple and there are very few surprises.

2
supersillyus 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pretty sweet, but I felt weird clicking "Compile" when I wanted to click "Run" (or "Compile+Run" or "Go!"). A minor quibble with an otherwise lovely tutorial.
3
resnamen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the live in-browser compiling feature. I would love to see this become the norm in programming tutorials in the future.
4
civilian 5 hours ago 0 replies      
10
WebGL Endless Forest moxiecode.com
66 points by DanielRibeiro  6 hours ago   15 comments top 7
1
joahua 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Working on an old PC without supported graphics drivers/hardware - any chance of a video?
2
dubya 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice (in Chrome and Firefox)! Any idea why this doesn't work in Safari? I just get a spinning circle.
3
bitops 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool! Is the source for this available anywhere?
4
jebblue 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks great on my over 5 year old PC running Ubuntu 64 bit (yes PC != Windows!) with an nVidia 6800 and Google Chrome browser.

Both CPU cores were at 70% though.

5
zobzu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
that's pretty cool. It's fluid and nice. Rare enough for WebGL ;-)
6
fybren 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Something innately eerie about this, nice work. Did you come up with the "scene" yourself or is it borrowed from somewhere?
7
mkilling 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, let's please stop posting all those trivial WebGL and CSS3 demos on HN, ok?
12
Kickstarter threatened by business-method patent owner? hollywoodreporter.com
67 points by dctoedt  8 hours ago   21 comments top 11
1
alexqgb 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Turns out that the cooler, evidence-based heads are in no danger of prevailing.

For now, we're stuck with the mindless fundamentalists who view the number of patents issued each year as a clear measure of progress. In a earlier age, these would be the guys congratulating themselves for burning the most witches ever.

2
mmastrac 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There's got to be a tipping point where everyone has eventually seen a company they've followed get threatened by patent trolls with questionable patents like this and gets behind the movement to ban software, business model, and other the other patent forms that are causing more harm than good. I just hope that this happens before we see too much damage to companies like Kickstarter that are doing good work.
3
danmaz74 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I just wished that somebody patented the patent trolling business method, and used that against all the patent trolls...
5
veyron 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Kickstarter needs to crowd-source the legal defense :P
6
mtgentry 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Let Brian Camelio, the CEO of ArtistShare know how you feel:

Brian@artistshare.com

7
daemin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Given that the KickStarter is a method of finding crowd based funding for arts and other small projects/inventions. Could there be room for a startup that does more "classical" artist/inventor funding by patronage? Using the Internet to connect funky arts/inention people with patrons that want to support them.
8
angersock 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working on a project in this same general area (crowdfunding) and this scares the everliving bejeezus out of me.

Perhaps the only real revolution we can do to improve the system of capitalism is to increase the ability of creative minds to gather funding and address the needs of the masses. If everyone is a capitalist--if everyone is able to easily seek funding to address public needs--then things can get better for everyone.

This is the sort of thing that prevents that. :(

9
JVerstry 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What is key in patents are claims. I don't see that this patent passes the new pencil and paper test for process patentatibility.

(see http://www.ims-expertservices.com/blog/2011/the-new-pencil-a...).

I think they are just trying to scare people away with basically nothing.

10
seeingfurther 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Kickstarter actually has 2 of its own very specific patents. So this article is a bit mis-leading. Kickstarter is in a much better position than this article or the behavior of ArtistShare would seem to indicate. Bottom line ArtistShare. Stop wasting everyone's time and get back to building a great business.
11
angersock 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Are we just buying you stuff?
13
An Easy Way to Build Scalable Network Programs nodejs.org
54 points by tbassetto  7 hours ago   27 comments top 6
1
sausagefeet 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Scalable web apps, maybe, but "network programs", I disagree. Just spawning a bunch of Node instances is insufficient to really scale in many network apps, you also need a good way to communicate between them. Preferably one that hides the fact that you are communicating between separate machines. For the most part, web apps can get by with pushing this to the DB but I think it's a bit much to say this is acceptable for all network programs.
2
awj 6 hours ago 1 reply      
...it's not the recent blog posts that are the problem, those are a response to hype huffers in the community spouting scalability nonsense. Having vague wording in the front matter for the project's main page doesn't help.

Many of the people currently "bashing" node are more or less aware of its capabilities. They aren't mad at the technology itself, just that it's being sold as much more than it is.

3
ismarc 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've had to write a few network based applications that each had their own unique performance requirements. Node.js would not have been a fit for any of them. I'd really like to give it a go, but it seems that every scenario where it would be useful is better served by a more specific environment. Granted, I'm pretty lousy at javascript, so getting to use javascript on the server doesn't count, what is Node.js' ideally suited for?
4
CPlatypus 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm going to repeat what I said on Twitter when this first came up - dozba's computationally-intensive-task example doesn't really illustrate the problem. Even if the computation is buried somewhere in a library, you can more or less predict when it's going to happen and make sure it happens in a separate thread/process. The real hurt comes when your single-threaded server takes a page fault. That's nowhere near so predictable or easily solved, and it still results in your entire application stalling. Requests on other connections, which never needed to get anywhere near the page that caused the fault and which could have continued in a better design, will get caught in the stall. That's just as true and just as lame as it was almost a decade when I (e.g. http://pl.atyp.us/wordpress/?page_id=1277) and plenty of others were writing about exactly these issues. Single-threaded servers are only appropriate for workloads where requests are trivially partitionable. In other cases you can still use events and asynchrony but you should do it in a framework that is inherently multi-threaded to take advantage of multiple processors/cores.
5
maratd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In coming releases we'll make it even easier: just pass --balance on the command line and Node will manage the cluster of processes.

Internet trolls do improve software!

6
kqueue 6 hours ago 3 replies      
No that's not the proper way of doing it. You create worker threads in separate process that receive data from node.js, encodes them and send them back. you don't fork on every request.
14
YC Application Checklist (apps due in 1 week) giftrocket.com
95 points by kapilkale  10 hours ago   20 comments top 7
1
fbuilesv 8 hours ago 1 reply      
One interesting point I hadn't seen before is the following recommendation:

Have someone in YC vouch for you

Is this common? How's it transmitted to YC, through the application or do they specifically write PG and crew to let them know about it?

We are in a position where we can get a recommendation from two alumni but we felt it was not a correct thing to do when we submitted our app. Anyone else has experience with this?

2
doc_larry 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting article and I wanted to comment on the bit on outsourcing.
Our project needed an extra hand and that's where we turned to oDesk and some good old word of mouth.
Very quickly we found some coders but we stayed only with one group.
The relationship moved from outsourcing to co-founderness with Tomas after a few months.
He's Slovakian and studies in Poland and needed a way to get some income during his last year at university.

We've been working together for more than a year, and he's used this project to write his thesis and make some money.
It raises an interesting point, as finding founders is sometime a question of good luck and great people.
Regardless of where you look, its all a question of feeling, mutual trust and being open minded.

3
byoung2 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder when we'll start seeing startups created specifically to help people apply to programs like YC. Similar to prep classes for the SAT, these could help you fill out your apps, fine-tune your answers to the essay questions, coach you on interviews, and even polish your videos. Maybe advanced courses could teach you how to launch and market your MVP before applying to YC.
4
saygt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"For a given company, the partners just need to identify that there is some slight promise that makes an interview worthwhile."

This sounds very forgiving and makes me wonder how many out of those estimated 4000 get the interview.

5
spontaneus 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the advice! kapilkale do you remember how many hours (roughly) you put in to your application?
6
tlogan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How many applicants were invited for an interview in the last batch?
7
dgunn 9 hours ago 0 replies      
as per usual, great post.
15
Mozilla Firefox and silent updates brianbondy.com
44 points by mbrubeck  6 hours ago   12 comments top 2
1
calvin 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Summary: "People want silent updates for Firefox; we're working on it."
2
nextparadigms 4 hours ago 1 reply      
That's great news. Firefox needs this if they're going to stick with the 6 week update schedule. But this is just one of the features where they catch-up. They need more features where they differentiate/stay ahead of the competition in a big way, if they really want to get people's attention.
16
A Quick Look Into The Math Of Animations With JavaScript smashingmagazine.com
73 points by aditiyaa1  10 hours ago   10 comments top 4
1
davidsiems 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool article, it left out my favorite function though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoothstep

This is the magic sauce you need. (more visual demo here: http://sol.gfxile.net/interpolation/index.html)

2
tychonoff 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The author shunned mathematics in favor of programming, but this exercise showed why that was a mistake.

Compared to serious mathematics, programming is relatively trivial.

With mathematics, you can do anything in computing.

Without it, you're reduced to this feeble exercise in self-enlightment.

3
jtchang 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This ball is so much fun to play with! Single click to where you want the ball to go.

http://www.robertpenner.com/easing/easing_demo.html

4
unwind 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Very classical material, especially if you've ever been (as the author) writing demos/intros in the 80s/90s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoscene). I have many memories of writing basic programs that spat out sine tables, since it wasn't possible to compute something as complex as a sine in real-time.
17
Flash Game Simulates Living on $9/hr. playspent.org
379 points by driftsumi-e  20 hours ago   317 comments top 52
1
justin_vanw 3 hours ago 2 replies      
What a joke. In the month, I got sick twice, had two 'best friends' get married, had a grandfather die, needed a root canal, wrecked my car (even though I chose to pay the max rent and live 5 miles from work, it told me I still had to to have a car), had my sink break (and the landlord refuse to fix it), got caught hiding pets in my apartment (why do I have a pet? I can't afford a pet, that is just a bad decision.).

I get it, they are trying to make a point. However, the point they are making is crap. It is very hard to live on $9 an hour. However, making $9 puts you in the top 1% of all humans who have ever lived. There are lots of social programs that will help a little. They don't make you rich, but they help a little.

The first thing I ask anyone who complains about being unemployed or underemployed: "Do you have a TV? Do you have cable or satellite tv?" You wouldn't believe how hostile people are when you suggest that they might benefit from turning off their tv and using that time to study or learn a new skill. As a child my family was on food stamps and welfare. My mother raised 4 boys on her own. As it turns out, I am now in the top 1% of wage earners in the US, but I don't have time to watch TV. I have never taken a real vacation. I suffered through 6 years of Army Reserve so I could pay for college. Every free minute I have is spent working, hustling, studying, experimenting.

I don't believe the hype. If you are willing to work your ass off, if you show up to work on time and aren't high or drunk, and you don't steal, it is very easy to get a job, today. It's easy to get 2 jobs. Working 80 hours per week isn't something that you want to do, but it's a walk in the park compared to the conditions our ancestors lived in.

It's really hard to take care of kids when you are a single parent and you can't get childcare, especially if you don't have family that is willing to help. Maybe we should do more for people in this situation, not to help them, but to at least give the kids the opportunity to do better. For everyone else, I say stop whining, throw away your tv, and stop being so entitled and lazy.

2
jasonkester 18 hours ago  replies      
I find that I live a much more active life in this game than I ever have in real life. Back when I was making $9/hr, I can't remember a single week where my dog died, I got injured at work, the neighbor kid broke my window, I decided to see a therapist and one of my co-workers came down with a terminal condition.

I only made it to day 13, but already I've spent more in that game than I did in real life over the last month. I realize it's trying to make a point, but all it's really doing is making me suspect that it's fibbing a bit. More realism might turn out to be more convincing.

3
cookiecaper 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I like the concept a lot but the game is just too rigid to be realistic. It's essentially a propaganda piece and the choices it gives you are no-win by design (so that the game has opportunity to lecture you on the plight of low-wage workers). Real life is not so restrictive.

It seems a bit involved to get across what could have been an infographic.

I'd really like to see someone take a more serious and/or interesting approach to this concept. This game plays like an old "choose your own adventure"; you have "choices", but everything is pre-determined and there are only a handful of available story routes, which in this case are designed to make it difficult to complete the game while selecting any of the presented moral options and then to show that you'll only have a few dollars left in exchange for abandonment of all principles.

4
Dove 12 hours ago 5 replies      
My major reactions while playing the game tended to follow a theme:

    Game: Mobile phone bill's due.  
Me: I have a mobile phone??
Game: Landlord wants pet rent for the dog.
Me: I have a dog??
Game: Car payment's due.
Me: I have a CAR???
Game: How about some $60 internet?
Me: How about the $20 non-broadband type?
Game: You lost your car, so you lost your job.
Me: No, see, that's why I paid extra to live close. We call them bikes.

5
ctdonath 16 hours ago 5 replies      
I played the game, and came out $199 ahead...and that when faced with absurdly limited options (say, the rowdy roommate would see a Mosin/Nagant ($29!) instead of the landlord when told to leave, so no extra $100 cost there). No risky sacrifices (medical bills paid, job attended to), no luxuries until affordable (and sentimentality is a luxury).

I should have taken copious notes (maybe I will on another pass) and comment how, instead of viewing it all as crushing poverty, it is indicative of living in a luxurious society. Opt for the $1 hamburger, and be told "that's why so many poor are overweight"? WTH? If it's got that many calories then cut it in half and eat it across two meals! If you're obese, you're not poor; talk to the half of the world's population which lives on less than $2/day.

So, coming out a couple hundred dollars ahead, I could run this "poverty" scenario for 4 months and have enough to buy a refurbished MacBook Air and join the Apple Developer's Program, with which I could bootstrap an iOS App-writing business. Seems some others played, came out over $1000 ahead, and could jump in to app-writing in one month flat.

Read between the lines in the game, and see the opportunities that abound. Sell the car and take the bus. Focus the kids on learning entrepreneuring instead of sports. Take in a decent paying roommate (and throw out the rowdy one bodily if need be). Use the library for education and internet businesses. Eat the $1 hamburgers featuring caloric abundance. Heck, save the $1 and make two 1.5lb loaves of great bread (coming to my blog soon!). Organize with other "poor" to leverage opportunities (carpooling, babysitting, etc.).

First-world problems indeed.

ETA: Downvoters, take a stand and tell me why this post is wrong.

6
0x12 18 hours ago  replies      
This would be a lot better if it were more realistic, it banks on you not being able to make smart decisions to ram the various factoids down your throat. It would be a much better experience if the basics were spread out over multiple months with the occasional clustering of events.

This 'perfect storm' of trouble is just setting you up for failure, the deck is stacked against you much further than it is in real life. You are also not given the full picture up front, nor are you given the option on which services you subscribe to.

Also, if you can't afford a mobile phone you probably shouldn't have one, and if your landlord does something illegal an alternative option is to tell him to go f*ck off rather than to pay or move out. Good luck evicting me if I'm up to date on payments and the contract stipulates terms that I've lived up to.

That said, it's probably a useful tool to get people to put themselves in the shoes of someone that has it worse than they themselves do.

7
ique 19 hours ago 3 replies      
There are three things I find annoying by this game.

I shouldn't be driving a car if I don't have money for it. I should sell the car and always take bus, since later in the game it says I have that option.

I had to choose if I should stay with an hourly paycheck or work by the piece. I choose piece because then I thought I could put in some more work, but then it just said I couldn't work that much. Well if I had known that I would have stuck with an hourly check, that's math you can actually work out in real life before making that decision.

It says I have a college degree but that wont help me, and then it says I'm probably too uneducated to help out my children with math homework.

All in all some interesting facts about the american low-income society, but the choices and different aspects of it are very strange. You could do a lot more to save money as well as make more money than is presented here. Well basically, kind of annoyingly simplified.

8
hugh3 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, there's already a lot of comments here pointing out that he game is unrealistic and rigged. But I'd like to add to this a bit, and to say that the memes which the game is rigged to spread are not only wrong but pernicious.

There are two views of poverty in rich countries. One view holds that poverty is caused by poor people who make bad decisions, and that it's possible to lift yourself out of poverty by making good decisions instead. The second view holds that poverty is caused by external factors, that it's a trap that poor people can't escape, and that the way to solve poverty is by giving ever-increasing amounts of taxpayer-funded free stuff to the poor until they stop being poor. The cartoon versions of each of these extremes are silly, and there's a bit of truth in both of them.

The real trick, though, is that the first belief, the belief that poor people can pull themselves out of poverty, is true only to the extent that they actually believe it. A poor person who believes he can get out of poverty by making sensible decisions will make those decisions. A poor person who believes his poverty is the fault of, and can only be solved by, other people will not. Convincing a poor person that someone else is responsible for their situation is just about the worst thing you can possibly do for them.

Those who want to support increased welfare are openly hostile to the idea that poor people can take responsibility for their own decisions and start making better ones to solve their problems. And this, I think, is a huge factor in perpetuating poverty.

I want to help the poor, really I do, but I'm certain that teaching them the correct values is far more important than handing them cash.

9
jrockway 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is depressing. But I'm not sure how donating $5 to some mission is going to solve these problems; the game itself says poor people are wary of accepting handouts, and that's all this will be, right?

I'm also not sure I'm comfortable subsidizing people's bad choices. If I have to support someone, it's my nature to micromanage their lives to make sure they are using the money efficiently. No cell phones. No Internet. No music downloads. No nights out drinking.

In the end, I try to imagine how I would act if I were poor, had a child, and had no marketable skills. The first thing would be to find the smallest living space available, to save on rent, heating/cooling costs, and electricity. That means sleeping on mats that come out of the closet at bedtime, washing dishes by hand, cooking everything on the stove, and taking a bath with my kid every night to save hot water. If rich people in Japan can live this way, poor people in America can live this way. I would try to live close enough to work to not need a car (cars are nice, until they break), but if that's not possible, I'd use a car for commuting and a bike for errands. I wouldn't have a cell phone or Internet access; I'd queue up my Internet needs (buying household essentials in bulk online, resyncing my CPAN mirror, whatever) and go to the library. This would also be a good time to get some public-domain music and some books to read for the week.

It sounds primitive but I know I could make it work. If you're dumb, lazy, and have kids, guess what, life is not going to be the same as those Hollywood stars on TV. You don't get to buy everything you want. You don't get to have fun with your friends. You get to work, cook, read, help your kids with school, and keep your bicycle in good working condition. And honestly, I don't think that's a life that's missing anything at all. You get human relationships (family), a chance to contribute to society (work), education (reading), a hobby (cooking), and exercise (cycling).

So I guess the problem is: how do we convince people to want what they can have, rather than to want what they can't have? It's a cultural thing, and it's going to be a very hard problem to solve. We may be able to give people free healthcare, but where will they live, what will they eat, and how will they get to work?

(And I know what you're all thinking: the reason I'm not poor is because I can think things through and be analytical enough to make smart choices. Yes. That's why "solving poverty" is a very, very, very difficult problem. Feeling bad and giving someone money is not the solution. Deep changes to our educational system and our cultural values are probably the only way to make things work.)

10
binarymax 18 hours ago 1 reply      
"Nickel and Dimed" was mentioned in one of the fact-bubbles. I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to learn more about the decisions people face when in situations like this. I was spent for a time (about 10 months) being unemployed and lived on about $40 per week, skirting my rent, not having phone/internet, and getting my power cut (twice). Even though I ended up taking a job I didn't like, it payed well and I pulled myself out of that situation. Never Again.
11
ctdonath 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This sort of sociopolitical whining is exactly why I created http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com - featuring $1 meals.
12
elliottcarlson 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw this on fark.com about a week ago, and decided not to cross post it here because it's far too biased. I understand what it's trying to do, but I don't think it's successful in doing so. My biggest complaint is that it attempts to show that it's not only about making poor choices - but the choices that the character has obviously taken prior to getting to the point where I control it were poor choices, and now I am trying to deal with it. My second complaint is that the simulation should have been one day longer - so you would have to pay rent again - that's when the real issues start happening.

Even with the odds against me, I was able to finish the simulation a few times with over $1200 available (thus being able to pay the rent on the following day).

13
kstenerud 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Meh. I got to day 25, but there were so many dumb economic choices it forced me to make that it was essentially impossible to win the game scenario. There were a great number of future benefit choices to make, but the game forces you to think only for the moment, which is the prime reason why poor people remain poor.

Like, whoa! Suddenly $225 in utilities bills ($225? Seriously??? It doesn't even cost that much in Tokyo!) that I somehow didn't know about to be able to plan for.

And whoa! my car starts acting up, and I can't even think to park it and take the bus for awhile until I can afford to fix it (you know, rather than running it into the ground and wasting even MORE money).

And whoa! that leak in my sink has become a huge nightmare because I didn't handle it when it was a small issue and it was obvious the landlord wouldn't do anything about it.

And why the hell do I remain unemployed for so long instead of taking some part time work to keep my savings up while I look for a real job?

Seriously, a little planning ahead goes a LONG way.

14
cantlin 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Great. Playful (asking you to solve a "train a travels at 70mph..." question when you say you can help your kids with their homework) and creatively designed (cute distance-from-work slider for picking where to live). Of course it's propaganda, but regardless of the realism it does do a good job of simulating the low-income mindset, where every decision ("The ice-cream truck rolls round. Can your kid have an ice-cream?") ends up about money.
15
csomar 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This describes the life of around 50% (may be more) of Tunisians. The probability of bad things occurring to you is increased by the bad infrastructure, evil government, the general hardness of life and the chaos the country is living on.

So for me, this is completely realistic. Just drop the costs (and also the earnings) around 10 times (for poor people) to adjust for the living expenses.

16
Iv 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Time for an anti-American rant.
You buy premium healthcare but still need to pay the doctor ?
You don't have unemployment aids ?
You can get fired for talking to a union guy ? (if that happens to you in France, that is your way to wealth through court action)
17
Unseelie 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't want to simply reply to a comment, there's a theme flowing through this thread, that capitalism makes everyone better off in a society, that our choices lead to where we are. I think you're ignoring a fundamental truth. There aren't unlimited opportunities for every person who works hard...just opportunities for those who work harder, on the margin, than others. Capitalism isn't about working hard and getting rewards, its about being better on the margins and getting rewards.
18
efsavage 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The game is actually fairly accurate in my experience. I came out with $350 left, without starving or killing my dog, making similar choices I made when I was in similarly dire financial straits in real life. My parents kept me healthy and safe growing up, but I did have to miss out on some things that "everyone else" was doing, and I think if anything I'm better for it, especially if things get bad again.
19
joebo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Like many others, I also ended the game ahead at the end of the month with a fair amount to spare. It was't necessarily easy, I had to critically think about each decision. I also consider myself fairly 'financially fit' in making decisions. Many of us are problem solvers and entrepreneurs so the fact that we can 'beat' the game says nothing about the difficulty less educated have in real life.
20
revorad 18 hours ago 3 replies      
This was a very interesting exercise, but some of the numbers don't seem very realistic. For example, is $600 really the cheapest rent a poor person has to pay? Even in a city like London, I've lived on $300 per month, including food, when times were tough for me.
21
TamDenholm 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Morgan Spurlock did an episode of his 30 Days with him and his girlfriend living on minimum wage, it also very well illustrates the same thing.
22
dbingham 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If you want to see another take on the whole problem, go to Netflix and watch the 30 Days episode called Minimum Wage. It's the same guy who did Supersize Me. He and his girlfriend try to work and live on minimum wage for a month. Doesn't go much better for them than it does for players of this game.
23
xenophanes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
why did i -- as a person with no marketable job skills -- start with 7300 in credit card debt? and why didn't i get a roommate for my apartment i can't afford?
24
singlow 14 hours ago 1 reply      
$1500 to recover your vehicle after getting pulled over for expired registration?

I've gotten a half dozen tickets for expired registration in Texas and the result is you pay an extra 30 bucks when you register and a 10 dollar fee to waive the ticket if you register within 10 days of the citation. What state impounds your car?

25
latch 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This flash game (ok, flash video) is a much more awesome way to show the same thing:

http://www.popmodal.com/video/1251/BILL-COSBY--Economics-Les...

26
alorres 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Although people are saying this isn't that good of a simulation because of all the events that happen so fast together, as the saying goes, "There's always someone who has it worse." Just a simple what-if would be fine for this, and this was well-well done (note the double well :] ). Kudos to the creators. :)
27
WA 20 hours ago 2 replies      
So I made it through the month with 3$ left. It has some interesting facts, but altogether it's a bit odd that everything breaks down in a single month.
28
GiraffeNecktie 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile in India, the government is wondering if 60 cents a day would be a reasonable poverty line for urban areas (somewhat less for rural areas) http://the-diplomat.com/indian-decade/2011/10/04/govt-backtr...
29
clistctrl 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's hard to simulate poverty. Of course I can make the right decisions. I'm not hungry, and this is a game. Sure I'll choose to buy the cheapest, and healthiest food I can. Real life is different, after being hungry for a while my decisions would be different. I don't feel this game highlighted how the mentality of the situation compounds itself.
30
dkersten 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Made it through the month with $411 left, a root canal to pay for and apparently I owe a collection agency money for a car.

Wasn't terribly impressed with the choices I was given though, because I've been in similar situations in the past and, while it may be very different in the US, I have never had any significant problems. Also, why do bills like car registration cost more if I choose to pay them later? In real life I once had to pay my electricity bill a month late because I didn't have the money - I called them up and they deferred the payment by a month. They didn't suddenly charge me extra.

EDIT: Just played it again and made it through the month with $274, with no outstanding bills.

31
shawndumas 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"A definition for wealth is spending less than your income." --http://www.dynamicrange.org/2007/05/food_stamp_chal_6.html
32
agentultra 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this game is pretty interesting. It's not realistic by any stretch, but it does get your attention more than yet-another-infographic-with-statistics-on-it. It's a simulation in the very slightest sense of the word, but you probably would have ignored the infographic.
33
michaeldhopkins 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Quite a silly game, but it does a decent job of showing how all the options are not always considered by the people who most need to consider them. It's easy to say "I would make a fun homemade gift, take advantage of charitable dental programs, get a roommate," etc., but the people in hard situations often don't have the mindset to do this.
34
smoyer 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I sit at a keyboard all day typing and earn 100% of my living via the computer. Funny that I couldn't pass the typing test. I'm pretty sure the problem is that I don't have practice copying the text ... my time is spent typing words (and code) that's flowing from my brain.

Does anyone still take dictation? Are there really jobs like this? I had an AA at my last job and in the nine years I was there I don't remember ever having her type up notes, etc.

35
driftsumi-e 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This one hits real close to home for aspiring entrepreneurs.
36
Tichy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a game about trying to survive as a peasant in Haiti. Might have been this one: http://ayiti.globalkids.org/game/

Same problem that it had only options rigged for failure to chose from.

37
pnathan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've lived on $7ish an hour.

It is very, very hard to break even. Any fluctuation in your hours can result in a savings decrease.

38
epicviking 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of one of my favorite flash games! Third World Farmer!

http://www.mofunzone.com/online_games/3rd_world_farmer.shtml

39
tylee78 15 hours ago 0 replies      
in America you are still in a first world country!! have you ever lived in Calcutta??? Oh please come on, stop the whining!
40
CGtM 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone needs to check their numbers. A little research suggests that 275$/month health insurance premium is really high. A good emergency coverage should be closer to 50$. 60$ for internet? I get mine, high-speed, for half that. 75$ phone bill? That's the average for -smart phones-, basic services should only cost 10$.

And I managed to finish with 1157$ anyways. Clearly low-income people need to learn to be frugal. :)

41
sramam 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that almost all comments thus far uniformly criticize the game for propaganda bias and that real-life is not this hard.

A special-ed teacher I work with has a dimmer view than most of the US education system - because she sees so many of its failures and that for a living.
I can easily see how the propaganda perception by an outsider is just the everyday reality in the eyes of http://www.umdurham.org/, one of the two game sponsers.

IMHO the game does a good job of creating a forcing function
to make decisions that atleast I haven't had to make in a long while, if ever.

Imagining myself as the game designer, suspect I too would favour inciting empathy to accurate "real-life"-ism.

42
scotty79 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Too bad the game doesn't allow you to ditch the car. Car falling apart is huge money sink. First thing I'd do is to get rid of it.
43
rhplus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
$225 gas/electic bill on day 6. Do they charge for utilities in advance and without a grace period in Durham?
44
maximusprime 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Political propaganda disguised as a 'flash game' tops hacker news...

I'll bet the people behind it are laughing at their clever social engineering.

45
Hisoka 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I quit in the first scenario: "Find a Job" or "Quit".. Anything but a job!
46
emehrkay 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Way too depressing to play right now as it hits too close to home (or used to). Good game
47
fiesycal 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This game seems loaded as in the message behind it. That's fine but I think its slightly misleading. I paid off registration but later I still got charged 1.5k for my car not being registered. Also is it me or for the maths question no matter what you choose does it say you got it wrong? Despite having a college degree.
48
bennesvig 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Not quite how I remember making $8/hr at an internship right out of college for 6 months.
49
rane 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool, but apparently I have a kid and a family pet. At what point did I make those decisions?
50
dbbo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The game is a lot easier if you act like a total sociopath (e.g. don't buy your mom's medicine, let your pet suffer, etc.)
51
cglace 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For the first year and a half after starting my company I made considerably less than this and got alone just fine.
52
mnml_ 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Life isn't that depressive even with a 9$/hr job.
18
Kindle Fire pre-orders exceeding 2,000 per hour geek.com
151 points by ukdm  14 hours ago   81 comments top 13
1
tylerrooney 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I find it pretty obnoxious that someone leaked this. This is classic "ruining it for everyone".

That app, when I worked at Amazon, was open to any employee. It would totally suck if they had to restrict access because of some idiot. I always thought it was pretty awesome that I could randomly query all sorts of data at Amazon.

2
cletus 12 hours ago 2 replies      
What surprises me about this is the reaction to the leak.

If the leak were about Apple, there's a vocal group that would be defending the leakers as doing the right thing, like they did something moral, and decrying Apple's efforts to keep things secret.

With Google, again there seems to be some sense of entitlement to internal Google emails, products and decisions, although the detractors aren't quite as fervent as they are in Google's case.

But Amazon? For some reason everyone seems to be all over whoever leaked this screenshot of an internal tool.

Why the double standard?

As for the numbers themselves, they look positive but not mind-blowing. This probably translates to selling 1M+ at launch, which is a good, solid start. I own an iPad 2 and am tempted to get one of these anyway, just as an impulse buy.

3
tomkarlo 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The math on this article (taking pre-order rate from the first few days of availability and extending it to the ship date) is silly, as much as I'm an Amazon and Kindle fan. Journalists need to stick to reporting the facts and not making silly projections of the future based on questionable math.

It's similarly ridiculous to expect that orders will "ramp up" as the launch date gets closer. The closer you get to the release date, the less incentive there is to pre-order (because you will be way back in the line anyway) and the more incentive there is to wait a little longer and see the early reviews / user reports. I may be wrong about that but it's not like the reporter provides any support for the assertion that orders will climb as the release date gets close.

4
cek 13 hours ago 4 replies      
People have to get it out of their heads that Amazon believes it will make serious coin on selling the devices.

The estimates of how much the Fire cost to make are hugely speculative and do not account for a bunch of other Amazon's costs, such as affiliates marketing. The pricing at $199 means Amazon's goal is to drive volume. The pricing of the $79 standard Kindle means Amazon's goal is to drive EVEN MORE VOLUME. The pricing of $0 for the Kindle reader on the PC, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and browser means Amazon's goal is to drive EVEN MORE VOLUME.

Why? Because they monitize by selling content via their cloud service and by delivering an end-to-end consumer experience across MULTIPLE devices.

Stop focusing on the shiny device. I know it's pretty and you can touch it, but the value proposition has shifted. Devices no longer matter (in relative terms). What matters is how an experience can be delivered ACROSS these entities:

    experience = people + devices + services

Plural.

5
enneff 14 hours ago 2 replies      
It really irks me to see leaked screenshots of internal tools.
6
orijing 13 hours ago 1 reply      
> If Amazon really is making $50 per Kindle Fire sale that translates to $125 million in revenue on day one

The author doesn't know what revenue really means. Revenue is the total cash taken, not the cash left after paying the manufacturers. He means gross margins, although the 25% GM is dubious.

7
xutopia 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Has anyone actually held one in their hands and made a decent video review of it?
8
andrewljohnson 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is about how many iPads Apple sells, just at a much lower price point. I imagine these numbers are going to grow rapidly once people actually see the hardware. The market isn't even close to tapped.
9
jnorthrop 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if those orders include stores ordering for their inventory.
10
hugacow 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I got one, and the only thing I'm worried about is that the touchscreen might be lame like the Nook Color's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiHH6mdH0WU

I don't have any reason to believe it is, except that I heard it was the same manufacturer. Is that correct?

11
iamdev 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a heatmap I made of Kindle Fire sales by warehouse:
http://yfrog.com/z/kj34txp
12
thirdhaf 14 hours ago 0 replies      
That page is an unmitigated disaster on a mobile device. Round fill-ins to obstruct my fairly small screen, weird auto-snap to ensure I can't get a look at the content I want.

I think this has inspired me to start a wall of shame for mobile device sites!

13
ck2 13 hours ago 12 replies      
Resale of these is going to be crazy. Pick one up on the flipside for $100 after xmas.

  Bluetooth? No
HDMI? No
Camera? No
Microphone? No
micro/SD slot? No
GPS? No
3G? No
Android Market? No (only Amazon Market)

19
Isaac Asimov on Security Theatre. schneier.com
155 points by bdhe  13 hours ago   37 comments top 3
1
Francon 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought the point of "terrorism" is to inflict change on behaviors and confidence of a population? Changing someone's way of life impacts their confidence which seems to be the end goal of terrorism. It stands to reason that in order to make it an ineffective tactic, change as little as possible within the population and do not react.
2
pavel_lishin 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I love Asimov's stories, but it always pains me at how wrong his guesses were in regards to what would be easy and what would be difficult when it came to robotics.
3
dlikhten 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Forget terrorism. This is EXACTLY the same as God and Elevators. Think about it. Lets start easy:

I see people every day come into an elevator and press the door close button like it is the only way to get air. Nobody realizes that the button does nothing. Furthermore many do, but they do it any ways on the off chance that it saves them an extra millisecond here or there of waiting. It never gives any benefit. However "may as well do it just in case it works". Trivial to disprove but still.

God: People worship. Why? Do we know god does exist? no we don't. In fact all signs point to got not existing. Why worship though? On the off chance that god does exist and we won't go to hell. It does not matter that there is no god, people will still worship.

Both examples are ways for people to feel better about something they can't control and makes them feel that they can.

Now the TSA is exactly the same. It makes no difference, or it does, all signs point to the TSA being complete horsecrap, but people want it just in case there is a possibility they can prevent an act of terrorism and save 10 people at the price of insane expenses, time expenses, people unalbe to travel, personal rights violated, etc.

20
Knowing when to quit - an under-rated skill. freakonomics.com
125 points by ColinWright  12 hours ago   14 comments top 7
1
dhbradshaw 2 hours ago 1 reply      
From the examples, it sounds like the answer to the question "when should I quit" comes most easily when you have some source of objectivity.

It's easy, from the outside, to see a baseball minor league player in their early 30s and think "he would be better off quitting." The hard part is to accept that idea from the inside. Sometimes having a dream to be striving for is nearly as rewarding as success itself.

2
gasull 7 hours ago 1 reply      
tl;dr is in the one-to-last paragraph:

“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” In 1937, a self-help pundit named Napoleon Hill included that phrase in his very popular book Think and Grow Rich. Hill was inspired in part by the rags-to-riches industrialist Andrew Carnegie. These days the phrase is often attributed to Vince Lombardi, the legendarily tough football coach. What a lineage! And it does make a lot of sense, doesn't it? Of course it takes tremendous amounts of time and effort and, for lack of a more scientific word, stick-to-itiveness, to make any real progress in the world. But time and effort and even stick-to-itiveness are not in infinite supply. Remember the opportunity cost: every hour, every ounce of effort you spend here cannot be spent there. So let me counter Napoleon Hill's phrase with another one, certainly not as well known. It's something that Stella Adler, the great acting coach, used to say: Your choice is your talent. So choosing the right path, the right project, the right job or passion or religion " that's where the treasure lies; that's where the value lies. So if you realize that you've made a wrong choice " even if already you've sunk way too much cost into it " well, I've got one word to say to you, my friend. Quit.

3
steve8918 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately I had to quit the article about halfway through. It being a transcript of a radio broadcast made it pretty hard to follow, at least for me, but what I read was pretty fascinating, especially the part about the baseball player.

Does anyone know if there's a version of this that is formatted as a article?

4
bennesvig 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Seth Godin's "The Dip" talks about this and knowing the difference between a dip and a cul-de-sac.
5
dangoor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I listened to this over the weekend. It was entertaining, but can be summed up with "Sometimes you quit too early, sometimes you quit too late" from somewhere in the middle of the program.

Not a lot of hard data, but some interesting anecdotes.

6
bedris 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The podcast also highlighted the importance of "failing fast," or figuring out what will or will not work as soon as possible, and adjusting accordingly. This iterative approach to finding success seems to pervade start-up culture, and in my instances, is very sound advice IMHO.
7
bennesvig 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it."
-- W.C. Fields
21
Diveintohtml5 lives diveintohtml5.info
7 points by jonathantneal  1 hour ago   1 comment top
1
scorpion032 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
This was a project Mark worked on his employer's time. Thats why it is different.
22
"Unobtrusive Ruby" in Practice practicingruby.com
47 points by jamesbritt  8 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
ggchappell 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice. But I think the ideas can be restated in a way that is not especially specific to Ruby. Rather, this gives us a way to judge code and languages (does the language effectively support the writing of unobtrusive code?). It also suggests directions in which the development of a language might go (improving such support).
2
sunkencity 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting, I agree that passing around classes in Ruby is not a good idea, it's not easy to work with classes in ruby like dynamically finding them depending on name in a certain namespace. Such things can be handled "better" with a method missing chain or something.

Looking at the code: I'd be wary of chaining << to a custom class since it's a source of error if << does something clever/extra and does not return self.

23
WP-CLI: command-line interface for WordPress scribu.net
17 points by scribu  4 hours ago   5 comments top 3
1
kitcar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
BTW - for anyone interesting in something similar for drupal, there is Drush:
http://drupal.org/project/drush
2
knieveltech 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
I sort of wish that the Wordpress and Drupal projects would merge instead of fighting over developer talent and constantly re-inventing wheels as one project jacks the other for features.

Wordpress could definitely benefit from the added functionality and improvements to core code and Drupal sure as hell needs the facelift.

3
zippykid 4 hours ago 2 replies      
very nice work, we're looking forward to seeing how we can help with this. This should pave the way for more hosting companies to provide some excellent hosting solutions on top of WordPress
25
The Original Siri App Gets Pulled From The App Store, Servers Killed techcrunch.com
59 points by tilt  10 hours ago   26 comments top 5
1
droithomme 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Ok so people purchased this product and were using it. Apple then bought the company, and made the product (which until today worked perfectly fine on current hardware) an exclusive on their new hardware, requiring significant cost of upgrading, and then they dismantled the old product and prevented their legitimate owners from using them any more, all in order to force the customers to do an expensive hardware upgrade if they wanted to keep using their product.

It's pretty amazing that this sort of thuggish strongarm tactic is a legal business practice. It's comparable to car manufacturers using OnStar to disable the brakes on 2011 models as soon as the 2012 ones come out.

2
Splines 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What MSFT absolutely nails in this arena is the experience in the XBL marketplace. If you buy something, it's yours forever (well, longer than in the app store, anyway). Many many games have been pulled, usually because the owner of the game has gone out of business, but if you've bought that game you can go and download it again at any time. Device licensing is also straightforward, whereas if I sync apps purchased under different apple ids to my iPhone I can get really bizarre behavior with on-phone updates and app-purchasing (sometimes it changes who it thinks I am, depending on some combination of who's app I synced/updated last, or something).

It's something that I wish I could to in the App Store. I need to keep tabs on my IPAs in case there's an app that I bought that is no longer available. In this day and age I shouldn't need to do that.

Apple's implementation of this category of stuff feels really rough.

3
ck2 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Doesn't voice processing go "through the cloud" ?

Doesn't Google do this for free on Android via their servers?

http://www.google.com/mobile/voice-actions/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGbYVvU0Z5s

4
erickhill 7 hours ago 2 replies      
For many iPhone 4 early adopters who can't live without Siri but want the experience, this means either 1) waiting until mid-November and doing a "free" upgrade via ATT's 20-month allowance or 2) waiting 6 months and finally jumping ship to Verizon once the current contract expires.

Disappointed this is an "exclusive" app, but I want to live in a Star Trek world, too.

Might as well go all-in and give ATT the bird on the way out, even if just on principle.

5
salman89 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I would guess that Apple will now use the phone to handle most of the Siri computations, and that in this old Siri app it was being done server side. This is why 4S is required.

Having the app out there for a while likely gave Siri great users to test out their system with and improve upon it before launching mass integrated with the OS.

26
Comparing Hacker News & the Slashdot Effect cmdrtaco.net
145 points by CmdrTacoMalda  16 hours ago   50 comments top 11
1
icefox 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Almost 10% of us are mobile. On a small screen with slower bandwidth HN is a lot nicer than /. Almost annoying that even though the site is so efficient already the site icon and the logo aren't the same url or that the arrows are not unicode arrows or just one image rotates or ... :)
2
petercooper 14 hours ago 1 reply      
In other words, Slashdot sent fewer people, but they stuck around a little longer.

His hunch is that it relates to the story. My hunch is that HN users usually have many links to read through on any particular visit, whereas Slashdot's post level is low enough that you can spend 10 minutes on a single item. They're pretty chalk and cheese as far as experiences go.

3
dabeeeenster 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just get "Error establishing a database connection" which is some sort of delicious irony...
4
revorad 15 hours ago 10 replies      
I'm surprised to learn that as many as 2% of Hacker News visitors use IE. Why? Who are you?
5
veyron 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there still a CmdrTaco user? http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=CmdrTaco says no ...
6
wgx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a similar post a couple of weeks back from my (shorter) stint on HN: http://willgrant.org/hn-traffic-stats-summary/
7
0x12 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks as though the HN effect has brought down the site. At last. Maybe 16 cents didn't quite cut it after all.
8
martey 15 hours ago 2 replies      
The article posted 4 days ago ("The Slashdot Effect from the Other Side"), is pretty clearly a different article from this one ("Then Along Came Hacker News").
9
twsted 14 hours ago 1 reply      
As CmdrTaco says, two things reveals that HN users are a little more 'on the edge': more Chrome users, more mobile users. BTW, HN seems to have also _more_ Safari users, even if he says the opposite.
10
jvc26 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Um ... I'm guessing what this says is that the HN effect takes down the site?
11
paulsocal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
worst post ive ever read
27
Bitbucket now rocks Git bitbucket.org
694 points by amitparikh  1 day ago   168 comments top 30
1
johnthedebs 1 day ago 6 replies      
This is great news, very exciting for people who need a nice place to stash all their private git repos but didn't want to upgrade their GitHub plans for not-that-important projects. Very interesting that they've decided to compete directly too.

I wonder if/how GitHub will respond. I strongly prefer their UI and already have a paid plan, but I find myself shuffling repos within the confines of that plan rather than stomaching the (admittedly not very big) upgrade cost since many of the projects aren't super important. I understand why they do it, but I just don't like that they place an arbitrary restriction on the number of private repos.

2
LeafStorm 1 day ago  replies      
You know, I actually expected that the opposite would happen: GitHub would start offering Mercurial hosting.

Because Git isn't what attracts most people to GitHub. It's the sheer fact that GitHub is frickin' HUGE and has lots of people who will show up, fork your project, and send you a pull request. I love Bitbucket, but honestly if GitHub added Mercurial support I would probably move all the way to GitHub because of the size of the community.

GitHub is already pretty firmly entrenched in the Git community. I will say, however, that Bitbucket has one primary advantage over GitHub: Unlimited private repositories, with the cost being based on how many collaborators you have. If Bitbucket really promotes this angle, I could see a lot of small development teams moving to Bitbucket, and possibly taking their talent with them. So, if Bitbucket really pushes the "unlimited private repositories" angle, then they could begin taking back market share from GitHub.

3
j45 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I signed up for Bitbucket the instant they had git availability. I only started using Git regularly for new/small projects a month ago, after quite happily using svn for web projects.

Bitbucket gets what I need. I love the social coding of GitHub and will continue to participate in it. But I can't put my own projects there. There's too many small, private repos that I can't keep paying for.

Bitbucket's approach is good for me. I'd rather pay for storage/users than per repo. If Github is really about promoting source code control, it shouldn't be a barrier for private / personal projects. For now, bitbucket solves this. I hope Github comes around.

Until then, I'm cancelling my $7 github account and giving Bitbucket $10/month even though I'm only using 2 users. They're doing me a real service and favor.

4
ollysb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Free unlimited private repos for up to 5 users; with competition like that maybe we'll see github improve it's pricing.
5
sosuke 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only reason I went with Bitbucket over Github for my own source control was the availability of free private repositories that Github charges for. Now I've got the best of both source control solutions!
6
mark_l_watson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just signed up for a free account and already made 6 private git repos. Nice.

I must say that I wish there was a middle road between bitbucket and github pricing: I like to pay enough money to to be fair. I will eventually have about 20 small repos, most of which I won't use very often. Solo developer.

It would not cost much at all to support a user such as myself, so if the cost were about $5/month that would be better than free. That said, it is so easy to move git hosting back to one of my EC2s, that if they decide to not provide this service in the future it is only a small hassle.

7
mushishi 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a daily Bitbucket user, I appreciate their efforts. But unfortunately I don't see improvement on navigation. It's quite painful to browse source code via web. If I just want to quickly look at someone's repository, I will make a lot of browsing, and it's just way too slow.

Compare it to Github's slick UI: https://github.com/blog/760-the-tree-slider

But I am optimistic Bitbucket will change it for the better.

8
cheald 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm now a BitBucket user. I'll keep using GitHub for my open source stuff, but you betcha that my private repos are going on BitBucket. I'd love to see GitHub step up and compete here, but I'm really perfectly happy to use two products for two different use cases.
9
yesimahuman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use GitHub mainly for private repos. I think I will actually move my private repos over to Bitbucket.

I really like GitHub Issues though. Does Bitbucket have anything similar? I don't see it on their site.

10
dhimes 1 day ago 1 reply      
store every line of code you've ever wrote in one place without paying a cent

Great news (and thanks)! However, please s/wrote/written/

EDIT: I see they fixed the copy.

11
Triumvark 1 day ago 4 replies      
This has probably been asked before, but is Bitbucket really unlimited?

If I encrypt my drive, convert it to ASCII, and upload it, will they host it?

12
dewiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
perhaps they should update the web site:

===
Thank you for signing up for Bitbucket!

You are currently on the 5 Users plan. You can always upgrade your plan to add more collaborators.

We're excited that you're getting started with Mercurial, arguably the best distributed version control system around. We've put together some great resources to get you up and running quickly so that your team can focus on building great software faster.

Cheers,
The Atlassian Bitbucket team
===

13
zemanel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Atlassian (which recently acquired Bitbucket) is well known forJira/Confluence.

Could it be that if they might use Bitbucket as an entry point to their products? Perhaps with more integration.

14
kellishaver 1 day ago 2 replies      
Definitely going to give this a go. I have a lot of repos I'd like to keep private, but they're mostly personal projects and not worth paying more money for at GitHub.

Quick question from someone new to Bitbucket:

I have to authenticate every time I push to the repo. I've added my SSH key to the account, but I assume there's some additional configuration, such as how github has you add values for github.user and github.token to your global git config, but I can't find any such info for what those variables need to be for Bitbucket - assuming that's the reason I'm still continually prompted for a password.

Has anyone sorted this out yet or got SSH authentication working with Git & Bitbucket?

15
MatthewPhillips 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just checked and none of my existing Bitbucket repos have a Git link, nor can I find a way to add Git support from the Admin screen. However when I go to add a new repo Git is an option.

Please tell me (frown face) that this feature isn't just for new repos....

16
flocial 1 day ago 0 replies      
While this is great news, I really don't need an interface for sideprojects (yet). Codeplane's been great so far for private repos.

I just backed up my Github stuff using Github-backup and added them to Codeplane. Honestly surprised nobody challenged GitHub in pricing until recently. As far as social coding goes they are the Facebook of repo hosting (SourceForge is Friendster and Google Code is MySpace).

https://github.com/ddollar/github-backup

http://codeplane.com/

17
uptown 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great news! Wish I'd seen it before I finally took the leap and signed up for a paid GitHub account this morning.
18
6ren 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is this justified, to stay free?

True, it preps users for other Atlassian products; and marginal cost of storage is near-zero these days.

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drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love bitbucket for the pricing it turned out to be a more valuable tool for my private repos. Now it is even better with git.
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tomblomfield 1 day ago 3 replies      
I looked at this and thought "this is like Github, but not as good"

If you're even semi-serious about development, paying $7/month is nothing for the value they provide.

21
tyler_ball 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news and I hope it helps do all that others are saying, like improve pricing.

I've had a Bitbucket account for a while and never used it, mainly because I'm more comfortable with git. But after poking around Bitbucket and importing some repos I'm seeing that you really get what you pay for.

GitHub completely trounces Bitbucket with their ease of use and toolset. I hope Bitbucket can step it up.

22
daemin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still use an installation of Gitosis on my VPS to host my small private git projects. As long as you have a unix-ey box then it's very easy to set it up. Though I would definitely upload public projects to Github, for the community and visibility aspect of it.
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jaip 1 day ago 0 replies      
They announced Git support in 2009 also, but that was an April Fool's joke. Link to that post: http://blog.bitbucket.org/2009/04/01/announcing-git-support/
24
amalag 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was using unfuddle.com just to get a single private repository (didn't want to pay $10 a month for that on github). This is great news.
25
Rotor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great to see bitbucket expanding the offering.

A while back I had chosen bitbucket over GitHub because of the free private repository. And Git was not an absolute requirement, non-Git source control was absolutely fine.

GitHub still does not offer a private repo for free (currently private is $7/month), I imagine this may change at some point soon now.

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heisenmink 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is really good news.

The greatest strength they have over Github right now is unlimited private git repositories (github only allows 1 private repo for free accounts), free of charge.

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dahlia 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really love Bitbucket (over GitHub!), but it seems too late for me.
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dirtyhand 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this is a wakeup call for the Github guys and they start working on their business instead of just the product. This is a great start: http://fi.github.com/
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mtogo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Blog post by schacon trash talking bitbucket in 3... 2... 1...
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rmc 1 day ago 5 replies      
Bitbucket (a popular mercurial hosting site) has added git support.

Has any popular git hosting site added mercurial support?

This shows which DVCS is winning.

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I Think Your App Should Be Free earbits.com
313 points by earbitscom  1 day ago   215 comments top 37
1
davesims 23 hours ago  replies      
If musicians had nearly as much stake in their distributed product, from a percent standpoint, as a startup founder has in his/her business, or if the music industry were remotely as equitable, all things considered, as the software industry, then the essay's apparent allegory might ring a little more true to me. But the practical reality is musicians don't have a similar stake, or a similar chance at making a sustainable living, as software founders.

If I were to reverse The essay's tactic, by way of, for instance, rewriting a paragraph of another certain famous essay about the music industry (which is admittedly dated but still mostly relevant even in the age of iTunes), you could see the contrast pretty quickly. I doubt that anybody would agree that the software industry is this bad. Let's call this hypothetical essay "The Problem with Software" and see if you agree (with apologies to Steve Albini):

"Whenever I talk founders who are about to sign with a major startup incubator, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless Angel Investor at demo day holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed."

Let's say my hypothetical essay goes on to itemize point-by-point in a detailed and authoritative way how startup incubators and VCs virtually always end up screwing over founders and developers every time...well it couldn't because there are no such numbers, no similar data, because in general software startups don't operate that way. The dynamics in the two industries are entirely different and the analogy doesn't work, for various reasons not the least of which is that the average founder has a far higher chance of making money, according to the known risks, than the average musician relying on sales and downloads. VCs, in general are far more equitable (big assumption there but I'll stand by it anecdotely) than the average label, which operates on long-standing numbers-manipulation that rarely if ever compensate artists fairly or transparently. This doesn't make piracy right, it just makes attacking it relatively inconsequential to the artist.

The essay is right, albeit ironically so, about one thing. The music industry has indeed moved on. The future is much more than live events, though, it's innovative business models (like, say, for instance Earbits', which I'm intrigued by and really hope works) and creative manipulation of new media, as bands like Pomplamoose and OK Go have done. The music industry is a dinosaur, and piracy is only a small part of the problem. The main issue is that the music buying public is jaded, fragmented and far less easily manipulated into buying than in the past. The available music is vast in number and the average music fan can listen and partake in countless genres and acts, only a few of which might be shared by friends.

The essay's principles are in the right place -- defending the incomes of musicians, but the allegory ignores a chasm of differences between the two industries, the massive inequity of the music industry towards artists, and the simple truth that there's nothing anyone can do about it, certainly not through the old RIAA/ASCAP/etc. model.

2
kylec 1 day ago  replies      
This is nothing more than a thinly-disguised allegory about piracy in the music industry. There are several big differences between the music and the software industry which I won't go into, except to say that: even taking this story at face value, for the developers to then start suing everyone downloading the fake copies of the app would still be a huge dick move.
3
decklin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I pirated some music today[0]. I went to my usual shops to try to buy it, and for some reason the label had explicitly decided not to offer downloads of any sort. Just vinyl and CD. I wanted it now, and I couldn't really be arsed with those choices, so I stole it.

What would an honest Android-app allegory for this be? Perhaps a consumer is faced with these options:

1. An official shop, which accepts money (yay!), gives only some (boo!) of it to the artist, and offers:

a. The source code to build the app (i.e. a plastic disc that you have to rip yourself)

b. maybe, sometimes, a version of the app compiled for a 320x480 screen (acceptable lossy compressed files)

c. maybe, even fewer times, a version of the app compiled to use any screen size (lossless files, or high-quality lossy or whatever you like)

2. A dodgy (boo!) pirate site, which doesn't accept money (boo!), and offers all of the compiled versions.

Of course this is not even close to reality. No Android apps are compiled by normal end users. All paid Android apps offer 1c. Music piracy does not exist because of religious "information must be free" nuts like this article is talking about -- it exists because people's moral feeling about getting some money to the artist is not strong enough to overcome the inconvenience of 1a (or even 1b). Maybe we should conclude that the analogy has broken down.

Society does not "accept" this sort of piracy like it's a binary switch. The "morals" curve slides down, the "inconvenience" curve slides up, and at some point they pass each other. I see no reason why they can't trade places again -- if we actually try to do something about it instead of spinning clever allegories.

I suspect we need to look elsewhere to understand the motivations of app pirates (yes, I know this was not the point, but if you're going to be facetious...). The real thing is right there, for a few dollars. I've already given Google Checkout my credit card information. I cannot fathom what would make someone deal with sketchy sites (sketchy sites whose entire purpose is to install executable code on your device) to get the same thing they can just pay for. Maybe they are in fact just religious nuts.

[0] Honestly, I can't even be bothered to pirate most things these days. I'm culturally behind because filling in the gaps in what I can actually buy in FLAC would be a part-time job. If a record shop so much as rejects spaces in my credit card number I get bored and go listen to something I've already bought. This is a problem that could use some, as they say, disruptive innovation.

4
Triumvark 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The only argument for getting paid in this article is that sweat deserves a return.

That was Marx's labor theory of value. Marx was wrong.

You deserve a return only when you efficiently meet someone else's needs. The secret to economic success is not sweat, but creative sloth.

We measure value against the cost of substitutes, and other people already entertain me for free (without piracy).

Maybe entertainment just isn't a hard problem. Maybe the bottom 99% of entertainers are basically tagging cat pictures. Maybe we shouldn't encourage them.

I guess if you're an app dev, and want to learn one thing from the music industry, I'd find a way to connect with fans and give them a reason to buy: http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/12695

Then look for ways to be creatively lazy, and make sure your app can't be replaced by going for a walk on a spring day.

5
toyg 21 hours ago  replies      
If you look at the history of smartphone development, you'll find a better analogy.

You see, back in the '00s, it used to be common knowledge that "nobody pays for third-party smartphone apps". It was scientifically proved over and over again, on platforms like Symbian and Palm, by research after research. You see, back then getting hold of a mobile app was relatively hard; you had to go hunting for it online, find it in some sort of online directory, pay tens or hundreds to the directory (which was also trying to sell you some other crap like proprietary downloaders etc or spamming you or generally treating you -- and developers! --- like shit). The market was tiny and tech-savvy, and resented having to pay so much for small add-ons, often of dubious quality.

Then came the Apple AppStore, and lo, all of a sudden people were paying for apps! Why? Because the ease of purchase and lower prices dramatically enlarged the market to people who simply couldn't be bothered to jailbreak and pirate just to save a few quid, or wanted to support authors. The pirate market didn't disappear, but mobile developers flourished nonetheless.

Now replace apps for music, and good streaming services for the AppStore, and I think you can see where things are going: consumers wants a simple and immediate buying experience where they don't feel like they're being ripped off by third parties (even though he still is, by Apple) and with low prices. Give them that, and they're quite happy to pay; try to force them into digital slavery, and they'll resort to the black market.

Now, guess what the music industry tried to do for the last 15 years.

6
baddox 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the tone, it seems that this is sarcasm and the author's point is against music piracy. Despite the seething tone of a few sentences, the points he make sarcastically are actually decent points. From sentence to sentence, I go from being convinced that he's trying to be against music piracy to being convinced of the opposite. When he says

> They tell you your business model is broken. You should make money some other way. Maybe you should sell t-shirts with your company's name on them, or put on events of some kind and charge for tickets. That's where the real money is. Paid apps are a thing of the past, they say.

I can't help but think, Yeah, I actually do think that. Like it or not, distribution of quality media was a big part of the value provided by the music industry before the digital age and the internet. I'm not making an argument for or against the ethics of the piracy itself, but I think music producers (both big studios and "little guys") are unwise to rely on legislation and lawsuits to protect their business.

7
goodside 1 day ago 1 reply      
I must be missing something really obvious here. I haven't used Earbits, but as a streaming service, why not enforce things like this server-side, rather than trying to suppress pirates from distributing the cracked client app?

(No victim-blaming or other moral subtext intended. Just curious.)

8
kalvin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I didn't recognize it as an allegory until halfway through, because jailbroken iPhones already have a very comprehensive free-cracked-app store, and I can only assume Android users have way more options.

Is this one of the reasons games are all going free+in-app downloads? What's the actual state of mobile app piracy today? It seems like many mobile developers are already moving to alternative models not involving direct sales, whether that's a subscription, virtual goods, or pay-for-addons/upgrades.

9
jrockway 1 day ago 4 replies      
What is the moral of this story? "I'm an App Developer, therefore I shouldn't pirate music"?

Ultimately, piracy breaks down to "people want your stuff, but you've priced it too highly". In the case of apps, that's all it is. In the case of music, it's a little different. Music is cheap, but it's rare that you can get it in a good format: everything is lossy, and for people with good audio kit and good hearing, that makes the music unusable. Therefore, people that both Want It Now and want full quality are going to download the FLAC torrent rather than buy lossy MP3s. (They won't buy the CD because it takes too long for the mailman to deliver it.)

The same goes for movies and TV. Nobody will sell you those things without DRM, so if you use Linux exclusively, you have no option but to pirate the content. Make every TV show a standard non-DRM'd HTTP download for a buck, and piracy (among people with money) evaporates instantly. But the content producers want a bogeyman to blame for all their problems, so they intentionally keep piracy alive.

(If there were no such thing as the ability to pirate movies, people still wouldn't have bought the 88th redo of Star Wars. We liked it the first time. But it's easier for Lucas to blame the evil greedy pirates than his evil greedy self.)

10
alexqgb 8 hours ago 1 reply      
People like Mr. Flores are a hazard. Seriously, they have no problem defining piracy as wrong, but make no mention of what would actually be required in terms of surveillance and policing for that moral convention to be reliably maintained.

Beyond his insensitivity to reality, Mr. Flores appears to have no understanding that copyrights are not rights at all. There's noting inalienable about them. To the contrary, they are - very explicitly - privileges. They are given to very limited numbers of people for (theoretically) limited times. For a sovereign society to continue giving out these privileges, it's going to expect something in return. If that includes an obscenely invasive and overbearing police apparatus that has the power and freedom to monitor every bit of data every person exchanges it's an easy deal to reject.

In spite of all his rage (or perhaps because of it) Mr. Flores has never stopped to consider that the crime of theft pertains chiefly to physical property and tangible goods. This has been true for thousands of years, meaning that there is now a very well established body of law relating to misappropriation of physical goods - one that extends, in various forms, worldwide. And there is no popular pressure to change this convention. Nor is there any sense that the policing required to maintain this convention constitutes a serious threat to human rights. Indeed, the creation of property rights, and their attachment to tangible goods seems to be a fundamental feature of societies that advance human rights, and a culture of autonomy.

Extending the concept of property rights and theft to intangible goods is a different matter entirely. A relatively recent idea, it was an experiment that worked reasonably well as long as intangible goods remained wedded to some physical wrapper which could be safely governed by uncontroversial property laws. Now that the wrappers have become obsolete, the ability to allow the safe and ethical extension of property rights into the sphere of the intangible has collapsed. Only reckless, short-sighted, or truly sinister players (the Maximalists) continue to press in this direction.

Smarter - and yes, more ethical - people properly dismiss copyright as an appropriate mechanism for governing the conduct of private individuals. That means they don't get involved in business that can only work if the Maximalists get their way. While copyright certainly retains substantial value as a tool for regulating the conduct of incorporated entities (which are, themselves, intangible entities), it is 100% incompatible with a culture of individual autonomy in the present day.

The world probably doesn't need (yet another) shitty app. What it does need are people who can imagine and build businesses that limit reliance on copyright to engagements with incorporated entities, while treating individual humans with healthy respect for their political freedom, privacy, and autonomy. Indeed, entrepreneurs should focus on products and services that INCREASE these qualities, not misguided attempts to undermine them for the sake of a fast buck with no concern given to the consequences.

11
shabble 1 day ago 3 replies      
For all the potential parallels with the music industry, I think there are quite a few significant differences.

Firstly, what are the current equivalents of a mobile App Store for (pirated) music? There are definitely a bunch of places you can find it if you look, but few of them are as "one-stop-shop" as current app stores.

Secondly, does pirated music often outrank the artists/album name/track titles in general internet searches? Most of the time you'll get the artist, maybe some unofficial fan sites, and some dodgy-SEO lyrics/"free if you pay for our questionable rapidshare style hosting" that probably doesn't even have the content.

If you consider piracy-specific search engines, like TPB or whatever napster/gnutella mutated into, then you're more likely to find real content, but that requires knowing where to look in the first place.

If you consider 'your VC' as an artists music label, then they've probably already got some kind of enforcement system going on. You probably won't have to do all the 'policing' yourself - it's their loss just as much as yours (if not more, due to some of the interesting accounting) if copies aren't getting paid for.

All in all, it seems like a fairly weak metaphor, although I can see how it could become more of a problem in the future.

Edit: I forgot to mention "They're doing the best they can, they say. Most of all, they're complying with the law, they say." - I can't imagine many people who download pirated music do so without realising that it's illegal and/or immoral. Legitimate looking services like streaming sites are harder to judge - they might have a license for the content, or they might not. Compare this to an official platform App Store, where consumers can reasonably expect some level of dilligence in ensuring ownership. And if it becomes necessary, there's some sort of accountability back to the person who uploaded the pirated content.

I imagine the author here chose android because it has a less tightly controlled app store, and it may be possible to create anonymous accounts if you're only dealing with free apps (compared to iOS where you need to have bought a dev license to get any signing keys, even for free apps, as I understand it).

12
glimcat 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really don't care if teenagers with no money run a free copy of my stuff. They weren't going to buy it anyway - and now they're out there increasing its penetration. From a business perspective, it's often a win if you stop fallaciously calculating every illegitimate copy as a loss of the sticker price. From a strictly personal standpoint, I take it as a compliment that they like it enough to go to the trouble.
13
lwhi 19 hours ago 2 replies      
The ideas inherent in selling any form of IP are not sustainable. Our economics are traditionally based on finite resources - and economics involving sale of intellectual property allows an infinite number of transactions.

In my opinion, we can not expect to make money from the straightforward sale of any form of IP for much longer. New models are being developed and services industries are adapting to offer the value that's traditionally been disseminated through IP sale .. this is where the future is heading.

The bleating, repetitive carrion-call of the old guard is becoming increasingly annoying. While their incentive seems obvious; the fact that these organisations are unable to innovate is even more blatant.

14
Tichy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
They should have done some research before creating the app and changed their business model accordingly (yes I know it is supposed to be a parody).

I think the way to approach the issue is to think what does the population want, because the population elects the government which then makes the law.

Since people are copying music, obviously they want free music. But they also want music. The question is, if copying was legal, would music go away (or decline)? I think for a lot of art forms it is obviously not so. People will create art no matter what, as has been shown over the centuries. Even today, getting rich probably should not be your first motivation when forming a band.

It becomes a problem with art that is very expensive to produce, like movies and computer games. I think part of the solution will be to move those things into Kickstarter mode, that is, make people pay in advance for their creation. In the same vein of course it should be easy to pay people after the creation. Already a lot of people seem to be willing to do so.

This I think also has some precedence in history, when artists typically had some sponsor.

Also of course technology will make those things cheaper to produce too - in the future it will be possible to simply add actors to your movie with a mouse click. Computers could simulate Tom Hanks, Marylin Monroe or whomever you desire them to simulate. Already today it is probably quite cheap to create the scenery in movies.

15
6ren 1 day ago 1 reply      
Music or software, it's an interesting point. SaaS is one fix.

Bill Gates had problems with copying way back in 1976. It seems to have worked out OK for him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists

16
ericflo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hint for everyone who has commented so far: this post is not really about apps.
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vacri 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Who are these people that go to 132 different android app markets to find a free version of the software they see on google's market for $0.99? Are they really the kind of demographic you need to worry about?
18
michaelpinto 1 day ago 2 replies      
From day one my gut has always told me that Android users are pretty much like Amiga users were back in the day -- the idea of paying for software (any software!) seems like a bad idea. That may be good news if you're Google or a carrier, but it's bad news if you're a developer.

To me fair if Android is part of the "Google way" and maybe the solution is to have advertising bring in revenue (which goes back to AdSense). On the other hand iOS reminds of the Mac back in the day: The users seem to be willing to pay for software -- however that software better be damn good.

So perhaps the solution is to really think of both platforms as being a very different play from each other. Most developers think of their program as something to port between platforms, but maybe that's not what this ecosystem is about? In the same way the games that you would build for Nintendo DS wouldn't even be aimed at the same audience as the Xbox.

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Volpe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reading this, I sympathise completely with the developers (being a developer myself). And I also see the uncomfortable parallel with arguments I've seen/made about the music industry.

Poignant.

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run4yourlives 13 hours ago 1 reply      
If musicians spent half as much time paying attention in economics class as they did strumming their guitars, they might understand the situation a little better.

"Piracy" exists for one reason and one reason alone: the price is too high for the consumer. There will always be a subset of the economy that will steal a particular good (i.e. for whom the price is always too high), from CD's to clothing to Ferrari's. This criminal element is simply a cost of doing business, really. In a healthy market, their costs are easily absorbed by a much larger subset that is prepared to pay the set price of the good. Match demand for the product reasonably well with supply and everyone is happy.

When a product is priced at a level that is greater than the market values, problems emerge. In open/free markets, you tend to get competition and innovation, and individual business losses. In closed/highly regulated markets, you tend to get black markets, bootlegging and all sorts of evasion if demand is high enough to warrant. This is as true for music and software as it is for gasoline, alcohol and copper wire. Music piracy is simply a black market that is only sustained because enough of the market thinks the price is too high.

The labels that have tightly controlled the market for music (commoditizing something that 50% of the population can supply) have done so by closing all distribution channels and limiting any real supply in order to exaggerate demand. Consumers didn't really know that they were being ripped off, since the supply chain was so tightly controlled. That changed with Napster.

Once the entire industry was exposed, and music began to revert back to a more natural value that one would expect for such a large supply, the market's opinion of the product began to change as well. (To be honest the shift probably went too far to the other side, but it started to regulate as things like itunes emerged)

What's evident is that there is clearly a value above zero that the market will place on music. If this wasn't the case, iTunes wouldn't be around. The problem that most labels - and sadly artists - fail realize is that the particular dollar point could be a lot lower than they would like it to be. Probably more like $.50 a song rather than the current $.99 cent price point.

The market will determine that price though, not the suppliers. Until then, major piracy will continue. Find that price point though, and piracy will go back to meaning peg legs and eye patches.

21
dools 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there not a way of giving your app away for free, and then encouraging users to setup some sort of subscription or purchase from within the app if they like it? People regularly provide voluntary financial support (tips, street performers)when it's easy and they see benefit.

Unless the ev1l pirat0rs actually compiled a different version of your app in order to give it away for free without those messages (which seems unlikely given there's absolutely no incentive for them to do so) you'd make a pretty penny through the sheer volume of users.

Imagin busking to an audience of 1 million people, all equidistant from your guitar case with one dollar in their hand?

The scale at which digital distribution allows piracy is the same thing that will make you money: you have free distribution to millions of people, just figure out a way for them to voluntarily give you money and you'll be sorted.

22
sosuke 1 day ago 1 reply      
I must have missed the back story. Are people really able to just launch cracked versions of apps back to the Google App Store?
23
TheCapn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I know this is only thinly related but I thought I'd post something that I heard from an investor that I met with a few months ago that we decided not to pursue a career with regarding app development for enterprise blackberry stuff... Disclaimer: I'm just posting his point of view and don't necessarily agree with it despite seeing his side of the argument.

My partner (at the time) and I met with him regarding an application we developed during our last year of University that had seen a lot of industry interest during our formal presentation. He wanted to meet with us and discuss helping us market the app because he was close friends with my friend's family and helped students like us previously.

His only real question to us regarding the app was our marketing plan. "Sell it" is not a very good pitch despite us not knowing what-so-ever what we wanted to do with it (or what we were capable of doing without shooing investors away). He brought up the point that whether we want to or not we should not be giving it away for free. Why?

His argument was that if we were to put a few months of effort into development of an app to give away for free we were essentially robbing ourselves. I myself am a strong avocate for OSS and had a hard time agreeing with him, I gave him a perplexing glace in favor of a "wtf". He continued by saying that if we were to dedicate that much time only to give it away we were robbing ourselves of those hours of labour we invested as well as preventing any other student/developer/whatever from being able to make a living from the product line. By us giving away something for free that had a real-world value we robbed others from entering the market to make a dollar.

His argument was that we must charge something for our work and if we don't want to make any money to give the proceeds away to charity. By doing that we could allow others to enter the market and make a dollar to fuel future efforts and development.

Its sort of a funny way to think of things and sometimes I find myself agreeing with him but I'm never certain... I felt the idea of "free software" preventing the developers from making their share of the effort is a good example of how his side of things can be right in many cases.

Again, not saying this is my viewpoint so don't get all "up in my grill" :)

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handelaar 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The main problem here is that in the situation described you would indeed pretty much be an idiot not to make your app free and get revenue from ads or other avenues.

Not as a capitulation to piracy, but because you'd make more money.

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incub8or 18 hours ago 0 replies      
All content producers face the same problem: if their product gains traction, it will be pirated; if it does not gain traction, there will be no revenue.

We just finished a no budget feature film and knew we had to come up with a disruptive distribution strategy to get traction and avoid piracy. Our solution:

everyone who registers to download the movie will get to display a picture, logo or text of their choosing on a billboard in New York's Times Square.

Prices start from only $10 upwards. So for as little as $10 you can get any message / image / logo (as long as it's not obscene and you own the rights) up on a Times Square billboard.

Our strategy seems to be working.

I know this has been mentioned before but filmmakers, programmers, musicians, artists etc all need to think about how to engage an audience as a hook to the content. So by buying the content from the actual producers, they get much more value than just pirating it.

More info on our strategy: http://bit.ly/pgyGaR and on the movie http://bit.ly/n4XQG0 and http://on.fb.me/qcoACw

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crisedward 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there should be a new way of control in the app, like only letting people registered on a database use the app, and in that database there should be only users that had paid for that service, but this is more trouble for the user, and users hate this, also piracy sometimes is fault of the user and sometimes is fault of the developer, i had to get some free apps because getting the app is really hard because of the restrictions on my country, but piracy is a problem every developer has so instead of complaining after the app is done, we have to make a contingency plan so we can be ready for all.
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tomlin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> After ranting endlessly on Hacker News and the like, finally the person who keeps stealing your app posts a reply.

In the entire time I've visited HN, I don't think this has ever happened. This is the equivalent to a politician visiting poor neighbourhoods dressed like 50 cent, hoping to "level" with the community. So contrived.

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redxaxder 19 hours ago 1 reply      
At least two differences between software and music:

- no malware

- possible online updates or other interactions

As long as these differences persist, your distribution method can easily add more value than the pirate copy.

29
samgro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Before commenting about Android, read the article twice, look around the page, and if you still want to talk about Android, read one of the related posts.
30
pagejim 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Search engine services showed us the way, how one could provide an essential service as free and make money using more subtle ways .. Apps (developers) would have to go down that way eventually ..
31
alexwolfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
The reality is that you do pay for stolen music, it just happens over a much longer period of time. The cost is the money you could have made in a society that supports paying for digital content or software.
32
esutton 1 day ago 0 replies      
interesting read, though it wont change anyones mind on piracy one way or the other
33
Triumvark 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for the sequel: "I Think My Patents Should Never Expire"
34
Iv 20 hours ago 0 replies      
> They tell you your business model is broken

And they have a point.

35
barumrho 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe app developers should now form a group like MPAA?
36
alduler 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Well I think you should work for free as well then.
37
hwf829 1 day ago 0 replies      
OMGWTFBBQ!
29
Microsoft Explains Why the Start Menu Needed to Die pcmag.com
48 points by chaostheory  8 hours ago   57 comments top 15
1
cletus 6 hours ago 7 replies      
I actually found the Start menu incredibly useful in Windows 7. Admittedly it was a usage pattern they indicated: I would pin commonly used apps to the Start Menu and would rarely if ever open up beyond that.

I would also use the auto-complete to find things as a second (distant) use case.

One thing that always annoyed me about the Start Menu was how companies would use it. For example, shortcuts notwithstanding I would have to go:

Start > Programs > Firaxis > Civilization IV > Civilization IV Beyond the Sword

The part that really annoyed me was putting the company name in there. I don't care. In fact it may not even be obvious who the company is that makes something you want to use.

I actually bought a copy of Windows 7 retail version for the explicit purpose of using it from computer to computer for years to come, probably in XP-like time frames (ie 5-10 years).

Microsoft needs to realize that these infrequent expensive upgrades (largely for features nobody cares about) are a decade out of date.

Honestly, there's still nothing wrong with XP. Microsoft just went out of their way to kill it by deliberately not supporting it with things they definitely could've. One of the great things about XP was the low resource requirements (minimum 128M of RAM). IIRC 64-bit Windows 7 is at 2GB minimum now. For what exactly?

2
Derbasti 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
So... The Start Menu needs to die, therefore make it a whole frigging screen instead of a popup menu.

Very similar to the New Explorer thing: most people don't use 80% of explorer menu features, so put them in the ribbon where they take up even more space.

I don't get this line of reasoning.

3
georgieporgie 7 hours ago 2 replies      
For years, Microsoft jammed the Start Menu where it didn't belong (Windows CE), now they're stuffing a tablet interface where it doesn't belong.

I'm extremely suspicious of their interpretation of usage statistics. As a "power user" I habitually decline any offer to track my behavior. Also, as discussed in the previous article about Explorer changes, do the statistics speak to the number of people who choose other methods, or to the lack of UI discoverability? Clutter up the desktop of your freshly-bought PC with enough partner icons, and the Start Menu gets lost in a sea of visual information.

The new interface reminds me of the old app-launchers/menus in the pre-Windows days.

4
aresant 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I love that MSFT is building a UI in response to actual data, but something about these posts and the resulting UI seems cold and methodical.

Maybe it's just the writing style that's throwing me but the leap forward in a consumer facing OS that iOS delivered felt like a more organic process.

Reminds me of that quote from Jobs : "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

As a result I wonder how much of Apple's process was reactionary from data / focus groups vs. from Steve / Ives "gut"

5
kinkora 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know about you guys but what I took out of that article is that Microsoft is secretly/stealthily tracking its users? How do they know if someone is using the start bar "11 percent less than before"? Not only that, it goes on to even say:

Instead of navigating through the nested menus within Start, or even searching for apps and documents through the live search function, users began to pin apps to the Start menu or the taskbar for even quicker access. Microsoft data found that most users (above 40 percent) didn't pin a single app to the Start menu, with steadily declining numbers pinning 1 (20 percent), 2 (15 percent), and so on.

It doesn't say anywhere in the article that it was a focus/user group and it sounds like it was generalized to refer to every Windows user so how did they collate all of those data? Shouldn't someone be raising some privacy concerns?

Disclaimer: I've not used Windows since XP. I'm a *nix user.

6
Roboprog 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Oh dear. I remember using Winders 3.0/3.1. They had this thing call "Pogrom Manager" (or something like that). In it, you could make a bunch of little boxes, each of which held several things you could click on and run. It was actually fairly useful, when you weren't just using winders to switch between mess-doss apps. (and frankly, Dr. Dos did a good enough job app switching if you weren't actually running any gooey apps)

Then, out came winders 95 with its fancy pants "start" menu, and some Rolling Stones song about making a grown man cry, or at least some part of that song. I didn't really like the start menu, too much chasing things down multiple levels of moving targets.

So now, start menu will die. Die, start menu, die. Only to be replaced with something that looks much like Pogrom Manager, only with more pixels and bits per pixel to dress it up nice. Just goes to show you the MicroSlop can admit a mistake, even if the mistake is old enough to get a driver's license.

7
Shenglong 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel old when I say this, but: most Microsoft changes make me angry. I don't understand why my desktop path needs to be changed 3 times between ME -> XP -> 7 (for example).

With that being said, I found W7 to be pretty intuitive. I don't use the start menu for much other than quick access to programs that I don't want to clutter. The start menu is on the corner, and easy to click. It's easy to de-click if I need to, and I don't need to minimize anything to access it. This will be a sad day.

8
pmr_ 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I actually found one change to the Start Menu the enabling change for me: Typing the name of something and (often) just getting the application that I wanted to start. Just saying what I want and let the machine to the finding for me just feels like the way things should be done to me.

I'm finding it hard to believe that people are actually pinning infrequently used things like the Control Panel to the task bar or is there another way to access it that I don't know of? Isn't that leading to visual clutter? Users never cease to amaze me.

9
orthecreedence 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm a bit scared and annoyed of this new interface. I use the start menu such an incredible amount that having it bring up an entire new screen would undoubtedly interrupt a lot of the workflows I'm used to.

It seems everyone is converging on mobile, as if it's going to replace the desktop. It's not. Desktop will always be here, and to pretend it's going away and force tablet interfaces down everyone's throat is a pretty bold/stupid move in my opinion. Then again, I'm biased because I'm not a complete moron when it comes to computers. Maybe 99% of the market will LOVE not having a start menu.

Is my monitor a touch screen? No. So let's not pretend it is. I don't care about pretty interfaces or big video buttons that play when I hover over them. I want something I can launch programs with. Is it really hard to do something like

if(is_computer) { show_useful_start_menu(); }
else if (is_tablet) { show_retarded_start_menu(); }

I understand I'm the minority, but if they do away with the start menu, I'll probably stay on windows 7 forever.

10
Hominem 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes sense to me. Many people, including myself, just dump icons on the desktop. Every time I open the start menu it seems like I am digging forever to find what I want.
11
lomegor 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I somewhat agree with Microsoft, but if, and only if, they provide another easy way to run commands and see all other applications...
Either way, I think Windows 7 is too different from Windows 98 to ever go mainstream. People just want a better looking Windows 98.

EDIT: Meant Windows 8, not 7

12
Masse 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I can sort of see why they do it, and it might be good enough for many people, but it makes me think what happens to the rest of the programs. For example I have maybe 5-7 programs I use daily, but every now and then I might need another program. Do I need to clutter my desktop or go search the program files?
13
evanw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
After getting hooked on a keyboard-based launcher like Launchy (http://launchy.net), I pretty much stopped using the Start menu entirely.
14
darasen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Now will they kill the registry?
15
bchjam 7 hours ago 1 reply      
the best feature of win7's start menu (desktop search) is still there in the win8 start screen, but I have to admit that accessing it with any frequency starts to feel a bit too alt-tabby
30
All numbers lead to one jasondavies.com
76 points by zeratul  12 hours ago   11 comments top 6
1
TheEzEzz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Collatz Conjecture nearly killed me. Literally.

For three months I was consumed with the conjecture. I slept, ate, and breathed it. I was sure I was on to a successful line of attack, using some sort of inverse tree approach mixed with a density argument. One day, while working on the conjecture as usual, I heard cars honking but couldn't see what the fuss was. I turned around and realized I had just ran a red light at a busy intersection going 40 MPH.

I haven't thought about the problem since.

2
mdda 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a simple visualization of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collatz_conjecture - and from the Wikipedia article :

Paul Erd's said, allegedly, about the Collatz conjecture: "Mathematics is not yet ripe for such problems." and also offered $500 for its solution.

Which is a very strong indication that this will be a tough nut to crack... Even if many people are given it as year 7 homework.

3
drewda 11 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, Jason Davies has been doing great work with Mike Bostock on the d3 visualization library, which is used in this example: http://mbostock.github.com/d3/
4
Swizec 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If you do this for long enough eventually all your friends will stop calling to see if you want to hang out ( http://xkcd.com/710/ )

I've read somewhere that no other mathematical problem in history has wasted so much time of such brilliant minds. I wonder if it's true ...

5
0x12 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone claimed to have solved this:

http://preprint.math.uni-hamburg.de/public/papers/hbam/hbam2...

Then withdrew it, and is currently busy trying to fix the problem.

6
ciaranbradley 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Cheers for this, I didn't know the mathematical basis for it, but our eldest child brought this "puzzle" home for year 7 homework a while ago. We spent the weekend experimenting with loads of bits of paper on the floor coming to the conclusion that once you land on a base 2 number, you have a path directly back to 1.

He learned binary in a weekend and we had a fun few days hacking math :)

       cached 5 October 2011 06:02:01 GMT