It's unclear to me whether there is anything theoretically new in here yet. The algorithms are all familiar to me except for the P^2 + 1 and P^2 + P + 1 algorithms. But don't read too much into that. They are probably well known.
What I can tell you is that there is an extraordinary amount of work in implementing all those algorithms. I do this stuff for a living and it is a tremendously impressive feat for a single individual over any span of time.
I'd be interested in hearing how fast the MPQS is. The state of the art for factoring a number like 840931001586212064794450601167289569811131781103613687750579 on a single core is probably around 6s or so on a modern 2GHz x86 processor.
UBASIC already had a 32 bit x86 assembly optimised MPQS in it, and it performed pretty well actually. So it would be interesting if your uncle improved on that, especially if he had theoretical improvements.
The state of the art for the number field sieve should factor the 79 digit number here: http://www.loria.fr/~zimmerma/records/rsa.html in around 10-20 minutes on a single core, though in general the GNFS is for much larger integers. It seems unlikely that a little UBASIC program could manage those, however.
Having said that, I am still in shock that your uncle actually implemented the GNFS. That is a staggering accomplishment and is something to be genuinely impressed by.
I don't know if you have a gold mine there or the cutting edge life's work of someone from yesteryear.
Stuff in BASIC coded by somebody in the anonymity of the pre-Internet. Maybe something truly novel in its time or even now. There's something extremely romantic to this, like a rescued roll from the Library of Alexandria.
Naturally, most of that anonymous work will be lost forever. Heck, most of my 8-bit era stuff stored in tapes and 5 1/4 floppies must be dead by now. I had some original Sountracker mod files from Amiga times and when I tried recovering those it was too late.
The group contains experts in this field that manage to do a commendable job of responding to questions at many levels.
It's a shame that your uncle didn't have a chance to connect with them.
Thank you so much for this.
No more need for DynDNS or another third-party DNS service for this simple but useful feature! Once enabled for a domain, you can simply use an update client to regularly update the IP Namecheap servers point to.
See Namecheap's knowledgebase articles to enable and use it: http://www.namecheap.com/support/knowledgebase/category.aspx...
ddclient (unixy) - http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/ddclient
inadyn (unixy) - http://www.inatech.eu/inadyn/
Namecheap's DNS update client (Windows) - http://www.namecheap.com/support/knowledgebase/article.aspx/...
Also, as some people said before. This attack on Godaddy maybe a godsent diversion for SOPA supporters.
Ironically you'll be able to transfer back to GoDaddy in a year when they make some kind of "come back to us" offer for a few dollars to transfer in.
I started the process yesterday afternoon. Still haven't seen anything on the GoDaddy side indicating any pending transfers. I imagine this sort of delay will only be worse come the 29th.
Update: just got a slew of form mail from namecheap. Apparently every EPP/authorization key code I entered, taken from the list generated by GoDaddy, is wrong. Now I have to re-do every transfer.
Just consolidating vendors (domain and hosting) to simplify management.
Despite what you may think about the righteousness of the Truth, people get offended. People get offended at even the slightest of things. Even if they're completely obvious.
We have social filters because they help people get along. The people around us don't want to know our real thoughts and opinions because they are often hurtful or awkward. It shouldn't matter, in the normal course of interaction, what I think about you, your clothes, how you talk, or what I think about anything. By filtering out some of my thoughts & opinions, I avoid pouring sand into the gears of interpersonal relationships.
In short: Honesty and indiscretion are not synonyms.
I think this whole thing could maybe work, though, if you take great care to be very aware of what you are indirectly communicating and head off those assumptions. In many cases, this may simply require that you first qualify things with "Don't take this the wrong way, since I'm trying this Radical Honesty thing, but..." or "Can I be blunt with you? [yes] I think..." In other cases, this could be more specifically addressing the feelings you expect to elicit, "I know this is going to make you feel bad, but I think it will be better for you to hear this from me now, ..."
I consider myself pretty honest but I don't tell people truths unless they ask my opinion or its a problem for me.
They wrote about this problem 3000 years ago. "Correct a fool and he will hate you, correct a wise man and he will love you".
What happens is the moment you take this resolve to speak only truth, your actions and thoughts become aware. So there is a very subtle refinement going internally as you keep practicing speaking the truth.
But I think it is more appropriate to speak only when you are asked about it. Just telling your thoughts just for the sake of speaking truth does not make sense.
In some neutral situation (is there one?) telling a woman that you are attracted to her simply conveys a fact. Telling your domestic employee this may lead to her pushing the desk against the door every night before she turns in.
Sometimes it hurts her, sometimes I say something and wonder if I should have lied instead, but ultimately I think it makes everything so much healthier between us. If I'm in the middle of something and she's telling me a boring story about shopping for clothes, I'll tell her right out, I'm busy and I don't really care about your clothes shopping. She'll be annoyed but she'll also listen, and doesn't harbor any long-term resentment over it. I don't know that this would work for everyone, but I think it's a good thing to do.
I don't think I have the courage to do this with everyone, though.
mp3 link: http://fancyandawesome.com/cm/?tag=starlee-kine
Original source: The Moth podcast.
(( Spoiler: it goes beyond being merely unflattering towards Blanton, to downright disturbing. ))
For me, it's less about talking/gossiping about others, and judging others. I'm talking about universal stuff like the unfairness of life(genetic lottery), death(do 80-year olds go to bed thinking this might be the day? do older parents wake up, thinking this might be the day their parents are dead?). Opening up about what we're thinking.. not about others, but about life.
But both seemed to suffer the same problem, they are quite monolithic, everything is build around the fact your app is a 'backbone' or an 'ember' application, they arent just libraries that provide specific functionality.
They both seemed to miss out really basic functionality that I run into all the time building these type of applications, the example here shows one of the problems, when I am not looking at the recent tweets, I dont want to be polling the data source, I havent seen a good example in either of how to properly setup and tear down views, I came up with something incredibly simple that helps, I will try and blog about it soon.
Also I find the general tone of the article pretty rude and condescending
What exactly would they be fighting over?
Presumably you want to reach space for resources, so asteroids, planets and moons with minerals, stuff like that. You might also want planets/asteroids/moons that are 'good' for colonization (easily terra formed or already life sustaining).
You probably wouldn't see many fights where you are firing at the resource itself. No one with the money to fire at earth, will actually fire at earth, because it is more valuable as an inhabitable planet. If each side can obliterate whatever is being fought over, you basically have an instant MAD scenario.
Similar with moons/asteroids. I'm not going to fire a massive kinetic weapon at a moon or asteroid (and blow it to pieces) if my objective is obtain that object to profit from it. More likely I'll pay people very well to infiltrate and sabotage it, repeatedly. I wouldn't even bother trying to invade.
Why not an invasion force?Well, you could send an invasion force, but that would be fairly pointless. It is easy to defend an entrenched position that your enemy does not want to shoot at (sabotaging just the defenses might be too obvious, and i think would have too high a possibility of failure). On top of this they can use massive force to repel you, and you cannot (you don't want to obliterate your objective). So an invasion fleet is probably not likely.
A far more likely scenario would be to simply drive your competitor out of business. If they keep getting sabotaged, it becomes unprofitable for them to operate (it becomes a 'cursed' outpost, wages go up, you have to make repairs). Then you can easily take their stuff (or buy it on the cheap when they are going out of business).
This gets you into interesting things, you would end up with extensive background and history checks, genetic tests to prove that you really are who you say you are, mental/psychological screening, mind-reading, brainwashing, complex hacking of the computers that do background checks, genetic 'doping' to make a person pass as someone else, brainwashing.
Your competitors will also likely try to assassinate you if they every figure out that you are the one ordering the destruction of their outposts (it should be easy to figure out, as there will be few entities with resources to profit from this).
In fact, that whole book is crammed full of good "things we currently believe to be true about physics extrapolated as far as theoretically possible" ideas:
"How do you navigate this thing?" "Point." "Point?" "Yes, point. It's all about having enough power. Fiddling around with calculations about DeltaV is really just a sign that you don't have enough power."
1) Why put humans on warships at all? Algorithms are probably better at it. Computers would obviously do the heavy lifting anyway (calculating burn times). An algorithm knows no fear, shows no mercy, and does not flee or surrender unless programmed to do so. The only thing left is target selection, and it doesn't seem worth bringing a human along just for that.
2) If you don't need to put humans on warships, then you quickly realize you don't need a warship at all. Just send a bunch of missiles from wherever the warship would have launched. It's harder to take them all out at once with a "mine" or something. You also get to build more missiles if you don't need to build the warship. Sure, you might attach a collective nuclear rocket "booster" to many missiles to build that initial velocity. There's no need for that rocket to be anything more than an engine temporarily attached to the missiles. It's also not really required to begin with.
3) If you're sending lots of missiles, there's no reason for them to be any larger than the smallest size permitted by design and manufacturing practicalities. For something that amounts to a liquid-fueled rocket, that smallest size is preposterously small. A liquid-fueled rocket can be fit into an object the size of a soda can with current technology. This makes the notion of point defense completely laughable: divert ten thousand missiles out of one hundred thousand, and you've reduced the incoming energy by 10%.
It includes a chase between star systems that goes on for years and "close" (ie within a few light-seconds) combat that involves a lot of interpolation of enemy position, movement and actions.
Personally I still have serious doubts about the viability of any kind of prolonged manned presence in space. Its simply too expensive and the distances involved in interstellar travel are so vast that even perfect mass to energy transformation would make the process prohibitive in terms of cost and time.
But it's fun to muse about.
Tl;dr: it's much cheaper and much more effective to lob comets at your enemy's homeworld than it is to fight with ships.
Your ships are closing at 1000km/s and your cloud of missiles have a 10km/s Delta? A cloud of slugs would be almost the same, and you could put up a lot more of them. Of course a hybrid approach is likely, with shrapnel filled missiles. Better to impact like a shotgun than a needle.
Edit: Also gets it wrong on point defense. If you have enough energy weapons to mount an effective defense you'd make yourself such a large/vulnerable target that you'd be impossible to miss. Once again putting a cloud of slugs in the path of an inbound missile would be easier and more effective. With the speeds/distances involved all of the missiles would be approaching from a very narrow cone, and a small deflection would mean a miss.
First, it requires that FTL ships be cheap enough that criminals can acquire them. This is another area in which the analogy between the age of sail and the space age breaks down. Sailing ships were skill-intensive but materially cheap. You had to have people with the right skills, but once you did all you needed was wood, rope, and cloth. But spacecraft are going to follow a post-industrial revolution paradigm of being materially expensive as well as skill-intensive. They are likely to require sophisticated, precision-manufactured components and expensive fuels like helium 3, fissionables, or antimatter. Imagine Captain Jack Sparrow commanding a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and you'll get an idea of the kind of difference we're talking about.
If technological trends continue, the degree of technology available to the average citizen and the average criminal will continue to increase. As an individual, I have access to more media distribution than Queen Elizabeth could even imagine. As an individual, I can build a device like a CNC machine or a 3D printer from off the shelf parts.
Skillfully crafted wood, rope, and cloth would seem like miracle items to someone from the stone age. A CNC laser cutter would represent miraculous technological savvy and princely embodied wealth to someone from the 1400's. The equivalent to an Orion ship might well be within the rech of rogue elements of the late 21st century.
That said, space piracy probably won't happen, or at least won't resemble piracy from old movies in the least, but the technology being out of reach won't be the reason why.
Bearing this in mind, suppose that you built a small, camouflaged satellite which would just sit there at ambient temperature until it received instructions, upon which it would point itself at a given patch of sky, do the finest bits of the aiming using its own passive sensors and then fire a nuclear bomb-pumped x-ray laser at whatever has the misfortune to be there. With something like this, one could probably swat any reasonable craft out of the sky before it had time to respond. You could perhaps also use such things offensively by putting them on orbits that will take them within their effective range of whatever you want them to shoot, though they would stand out a bit more that way.
The only real countermeasure to these I can think of would be to move your spacecraft rapidly back and forth at all times, which is probably infeasible given the amount of reaction mass it would take.
I'm not sure what the implications of all of this are, but I suspect they would be interesting.
I think the writer starts out with the a priori assumption that there will be spaceships with a crew at one end and an engine at the other and works from there. I suspect you'll just have a swarm of networked drones. Why put so many eggs in one basket?
(We're already seeing this approach being experimented with on nuclear hunter killer subs, where firing at an enemy gives away your position, and giving your position away gets you killed -- the US Navy has been working on submarines tha launch drone firing platforms.)
This however is my favourite point so far as I had never really thought about it this way when watching popularized SciFi.
Another thing about motion in space is that changing your ship's orientation does nothing to your speed and vector unless it is accompanied by firing your main engine, because there is no friction. This means that all those space dogfights where one fighter gets behind the other and the other one has to try and shake it like in air combat are very unrealistic. There's no comprehensible reason why the pursued pilot can't just turn his fighter around and blast the bugger.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series has just been ruined for me. Wait, no, it still had Wilma Deering, so all is not lost.
No two democracies have gone to war, ever, and that's an important indicator of our future. Don't get me wrong, we have A TON of human rights, poverty, and equality problems, but things are rapidly improving directly proportional to our technical capabilities.
By the time we can even construct two ships capable of having a realistic fight in space we're more likely to send them exploring rather than duke it out. All current governments even capable of dreaming of getting in to space work together on the problem, sharing resources and knowledge.
To recap, we'll never go to war in space. I also doubt any other intelligent life with the capabilities to do so will need to attack us because they've solved any problems requiring them to do so.
1. You can see a spaceship from the next solar system for sure. But it would take years for you to see it.
2. I doubt the future of combat will involve humans. I envision giant fleets of spaceships that are too big for humans to control. Thus, I forsee space combat as being driven by complex algorithms.
Plus, certainly people would be fighting over the planets or the technology (or maybe the amulet of Endor) so simply throwing comets and obliterating things wouldn't make much sense except maybe defensively or to help with a gennocide.
Terrestrial battles to take over usable land would probably continue to be the name of the game. Followed with setting up tonnes of drones and sensors for defense.
That is, most of the kinetic energy of the bomb is directed (like discussions for the bombs in the Orion project). The bomb would be optimised to send tungsten bullets off at X km/s.
Then put that as the payload of a missile.
Edit: Fragmentation bombs was discussed in the second page of the article. Hmm... this would need a very tight spread of the heavy pellets, which is probably not possible with a nuclear weapon?
Edit 2: Add a 2nd level of explosive drive to the fragments? They disperse a bit (to make them hard targets) but know where the target will be and when. More like submunitions, I guess.
Edit 3: Rail guns to send (small) kinetic missiles at a high initial speed? These could potentially run in stealth mode for quite some time, before doing final course corrections.
The closest we'll ever get is probably the development of ASAT weapons, and even those aren't likely to see much use.
Also, it's worth watching this scene from Mass Effect 2. It's amusing :)
It would allow for ambushes, and fake-ambushes.
A lone-ship running from a fleet, carrying a local governor, running past an uninhabited planet, away from a chasing enemy fleet. The lone-ship passes right next to the planet and keeps going. The enemy fleet follows. When the fleet is passing next to the planet, will there be an ambush waiting? Will missiles hidden in the moon orbiting the planet emerge and fire in a cloud of <"thunder" replacement>?
The algorithm deems the chance of an ambush springing from the planet atmosphere as "possible", and the fleet retreats.
Large scale space combat will play out only when humans can build these weapons cheaply, and have an incentive to build them at all. That is decades from now. By the time a human society decides to construct the ridiculously expensive space warships and defenses the author talks about, we will have much more advanced technology (that is probably a lot cheaper to.)
This is how Free Software projects work; people that want a feature implement it. It's great that you want something and it's possible that your desires will line up with those of someone who can easily implement them ("oh yeah, great idea, i want line numbers too"), but more often than not, the people with experience on some project are more interested in some deeper problem. If you're hacking on the JS JIT, line numbers just aren't important to you; you never "view source" in the browsers and may not even run the browser all that often. It's likely that your "extracurricular hacking" will be on something like a better test harness or better Emacs integration with your development workflow.
Ultimately, a free software project lacks feature X because you haven't added it yet. Remember that when you submit complainy titles to HN. Don't rely on someone else to make your life better because you're going to be pretty disappointed when you realize that you don't matter much to the world at large. Everyone else has other things to do too.
I can't say I even noticed line numbers on the page source in Chrome either. The formatting of source on a rendered page can be a bit messed up when the request is served, with tabbing and whitespace ended up all over the place, especially with loops. Then there's minified source if you're using someone else's code.
Most of the time it's easier to note the error, try and identify where it occurred, then find it in your editor. And with things like Chrome's developer console, sometimes using view-source is redundant when you have a DOM inspector and a number of ways to traverse it.
And even then, with a good linter you can avoid making basic mistakes like typos or missing parentheses or whatever, and in some cases even have undeclared variables or functions highlighted (Sublime Text 2 has one that in some places can appear quite fascist in how strict it enforces its policies, particularly with Python). At that point, usage of the browser for debugging code is most useful for capturing errors you couldn't reproduce elsewhere, and errors that only appear in minified code.
Not that I'm saying the browser tools aren't a great productivity boost. Because they obviously are. Just that I rarely find myself using the view source feature, really.
you could always go to a specific line (edit>go to line, or Ctrl+L), which is over 9000% more useful from anyway you look at it.
you also could have seem the line number on the statusbar.
So even though errors are reported as to which line number they are on the line number is not displayed on screen by default!?
Is there reasoning behind this?
Classic. Leave IP issues to the plagiarist.
There is no way that Obama hasn't taken the temperature on SOPA by now. Obama's most vocal liberal base will transform into an internet hate machine to rival the likes of the tea party if SOPA is signed. There is also the Ron Paul crew capturing more and more Democratic voters by the day, a signature on SOPA would be an incredible windfall for them in terms of people who would refuse to vote for Obama out of pure anger.
I don't underestimate the influence of these interests in Washington, but SOPA is really unpopular right now and getting more so by the day.
If the law is amended to allow Tor (as was attempted) and then passes, then how long before Tor becomes a household name?
This post is on the mark. "The Internet's" problem is that it doesn't have anything to hold over Obama's head. Yet.
Not a particularly strong argument, but I don't think a strong case will win this fight. Many different people from many walks of life need to be angry about SOPA before Obama could walk away from the bill easily with "The people don't want this." Nerds on the internet probably won't convince him alone.
As I read this piece, however, I was most struck not so much by how the small claims remedy is particularly effective (in reality, this is a highly variable forum at best) but rather by what a joke the typical class action settlement can be. While that vehicle has occasionally proven effective in high profile cases, for the run-of-the-mill class action case you can often get a plaintiff's firm that is pretty much gaming the system to get a fee windfall for itself even as it puts a relatively low priority on the remedy it gets for the class of victims supposedly being represented. That is why remedies rarely take the form of significant cash payouts to members of the represented class and why the first instinct you have whenever you get one of those class notices is to simply throw it away rather than bothering to read all the fine print that might lead to your getting a $10 recovery or some such thing.
It is interesting to see how enhanced connectivity in our modern era is threatening to disrupt the cozy sorts of settlements so achieved through this vehicle. Probably the biggest losers will be the plaintiffs' class-action lawyers themselves, who might wind up having their back-room settlements more easily rejected and be left actually having to work hard to get a real recovery for the victims in lieu of taking a quick and inadequate deal that benefits primarily the lawyers.
Edit: for the downvoters: it is a genuine question.
Compare this with low cost arbitration: Internationally recognized, final, binding and a lot of procedural freedom.
Disclosure: I am launching judge.me, a binding internet arbitration service that charges $299 fixed price and offers awards that are recognized and enforced by court systems in 146 countries.
EDIT: I see many other claims that could go through the small claims, one thing that does come to mind however, is it possible to go through small claims when you buy online and you don't get what you want? (Avenger controller for example)
My short response is that the repository is public once again, with a notice that it is deprecated. I personally apology for the churn.
My long response is that we haven't supported this SDK for some time and with our recent move to OAuth 2.0 across the board, the SDK does not support the latest cookie format. The reason we made the repository private was to avoid confusing developers with a public SDK that just didn't work and that we already said we didn't support.
You may be wondering why we don't support this SDK. The answer is very simple, resources. What we have been doing all year is reduce the surface area of our platform to a place that we can actual provide good support. This is the reason that we are removing FBML (https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/568/), deprecating the REST API (https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/616/), moving to support OAuth 2.0/HTTPs (https://developers.facebook.com/docs/oauth2-https-migration/) across the board and deciding what SDKs we are really going to support.
This isn't just to prevent getting caught with your paints down when a developer deletes a repo from a hard-coded URL. PyPI itself is known to go down more than [insert NSFW comment here]. You can either keep a local hard-copy of dependencies in your repo (ugly), or run an internal PyPI server using something like Chishop (which is now called djangopypi) .
Best-practices rant aside, thanks lincolnq for providing a backup fork of the project. And thanks Facebook for deleting a resource that developers have become reliant on without any notice whatsoever. Although that really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that's had the displeasure of using their excuse for an API.
I have nothing but contempt for Facebook at this point. As a user I don't trust them, and as a developer I can't stand them.
"Just delete it."
EDIT - Relevant HN link: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2737965
"""This is pretty lame, apparently it was really out of date and we're having trouble finding the resources internally to support it.
For now we're pointing people here: https://github.com/pythonforfacebook/facebook-sdk"""
Although I think the sudden disappearance wasn't a smooth move, I guess the community will have to step up and maintain the library. Nothing wrong with that, it was open source to begin with.
This is the only significant change: https://github.com/sjuxax/python-sdk/commit/9aa42acaef53a7f5... , to fix crashes when handling profile picture downloads. It's hackish but it was all I needed for my project so I rolled with it.
This version of the library installs as sjuxax-facebook. I'm not sure if it still works, I haven't tried to use it since October.
“The HTML5 Filesystem API is only supported in Chrome. Therefore, the library only works in Chrome.”
This isn't internic. It's just a company in a commodity market whose service and policies people seem to dislike, but are about as far from a monopoly as you can get. They are relevant because we keep talking about them.
It's true that other projects manage to combine collaboration with some traditional revenue sources such as advertising. But, rightly or wrongly, this is the community's choice, and it seems to be how the general public feels about the site too. There's something about a mission to promote knowledge that people want to keep mentally, physically apart from commerce. A friend of mine (non-techie, non-wikipedian) describes Wikipedia as a "sacred space".
Finally, and this is my own take on it, I think there's something valuable about having the reader community take ownership in something, rather than just be eyeballs to be packaged.
Disclaimer, I work for the WMF, although not on fundraising.
If competition is essential to capitalism, and if "capitalism won", then why doesn't the author create a competing service? Certainly, if Wikipedia is doing something so obviously wrong, then it should be trivial to out compete them in the marketplace, no?
Ok, maybe the author doesn't have the time to put in the effort that would be required to create a competing service. In that case, maybe we can ask the nice people at the Encyclopedia Britannica to help? Oh, or maybe the people that work on Google Knol? I think maybe they could shed some light on how "capitalism won"...
This applies to all free culture, including the OSS world. It would be a tragedy to change it.
(Obviously in the OSS world, people do pay for services, but the important thing is you can always choose not to. Just as you can choose not to send money to wikipedia.)
Ads that make money: the readers are wikipedia's product.
Capitalism won, try it.
Also, by having "sponsors" you open yourself up to "change this article to be like this, or we'll pull our support from Wikipedia." This may seem like a far-fetched scenario, but unless you only use the ad revenue for extra income and don't depend on it at all, you are vulnerable (no matter how many levels removed you are from the advertiser).
It's also extremely difficult to have a steady source of income and not become dependent on it (like ads). My point being that even if they did run ads, they would have to still depend only on community donations if they didn't want to be held on the puppet strings of the capitalist dollar, which is a hard thing to do.
Note that I'm not against capitalism, but once you depend on it for your income, you and your free speech are at its mercy.
I completely agree with Wikipedia for not running ads. It would open a door that once opened is very difficult to close.
He politely pointed out that most of the companies that tried to maximize profit that way went bankrupt in the recession. Meanwhile his company was chugging along, free to do what it wanted, delivering a product its customers loved to a global audience with minimal staff, costs, or conflicts of interest.
People don't give you money for nothing.
Note to the original blogger, statements like "Capitalism won, try it," when referring to one of the most successful projects on the net, don't make them look bad. They make you look like you missed something. But that's just my perspective.
Would that action be lawful evil or chaotic good?
What if it multiplied the WMF budget by 20X or more while reducing server expenses?
What if Bing did it? Blekko? DuckDuckGo?
Does it help at all that by the CC-SA license, the preferences of the Foundation or community really shouldn't matter: this is a completely legal tactic? (Could that help solve the potential financial-motivation-crowding issues: the fact that such a bonanza occurred "against the community's wishes"?)
But that point is moot. The true risk you run is alienating contributors. The beautiy of Wikipedia is that they have (almost) completely eliminated the influence that Wikipedia itself has on the content. It set up the rules and lets the crowd do the work, and lets the crowd be incentivized by the contribution it is making to society, like most other crowd sourced projects. It has created (or is striving to create) an autonomous encyclopedia.
If Wikipedia were to have ads, even if it weren't a for-profit company, it feels like contributors should receive something in return, a la BleacherReport.
Bottom line: It's not about conflict of interest, if Wikipedia accepts advertising it starts to feel like a business, and the incentive of contributors to keep contributing is greatly lessened.
An extreme example of how far this goes was the Apple iPad ad that ran on yahoo.com a week or so ago. It WAS the upper fold of the front page. Fixed in place at 974px by 500px just below the search bar and logo. Bam. Here I am. Buy me now. No doubt paid some bills but made me think "this organization has a price."
My impression is wikipedia values the way users interact with its content and would rather not introduce distractions.
I think their current logic is that affiliate links force them to choose which online store they want to support, which is something they appear loath to do.
Look at the page they send you too when you do try to buy a book in an article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0802130984 . It's so large and completist that it has two tables of contents, and it's so obsessively non-preferential that it does a good job of hiding the one amazon.com link that most people are probably looking for.
Personally, I've bought 100s of books and DVDs after reading their Wikipedia articles, and I'd be happy to let the WikiMedia Foundation get my affiliate dollars.
If Wikipedia were to become dependent on a revenue stream generated from advertisements for products then over time they would become beholden to those interests.
This plea brought to you by Encyclopedia Britannica, please support Wikipedia with a donation.
* Macbook power bricks (we were having arguments over them, because people would borrow them from other desks; now we have a stack of them).
* Macbook video dongles (same; note: it's not enough to just have one attached to every monitor, like the article says, because sometimes people need to take them out of the office)
* Whiteboards (everyone has one on their desk now)
* Hard disks (same deal; they're so cheap, we just buy new ones any time there's any storage issue, rather than have people scavenge for space on their existing drives)
* Books (everyone gets infinite free books, and to head off time-wasting discussions about who bought what book so they can borrow it, the policy is, you order the book & it's yours full stop; we have many copies of several key books in our office)
We're probably missing lots and lots of opportunities to trade small amounts of money for substantial amounts of time. What are other people buying? An obvious next example would be "soda", since people trek down to the convenience store to get bottles --- but I feel like stocking soda is also a bit unhealthy.
- the micro-kitchens are restocked once or twice a day and have all manner of drinks and snacks;
- micro-kitchens are only so far from every desk (they're in every building in MTV and on every floor in NYC);
- stationery cabinets are also in close proximity. Take whatever pens, whiteboard markers, etc ou need;
- tech stops are a little further away generally but have self-service for many things (power bricks, cables, mice, keyboards) although I wish the self-service was open out-of-hours;
- you can file tickets for things and it just turns up at your desk;
- you have a credit card you can expense things with (nobody likes keeping and submitting receipts for small items);
- if you need a book just expense it;
- all of the conference rooms have display adapters and power bricks (although there could be more of these);
- whenever there is a mass desk move (it happens a lot) your labelled boxes and equipment gets moved on the weekend and at your new location there'll often be a triage station with cables, power bricks and the like; and
- whiteboards are plentiful.
I'd always viewed this as not penny-pinching, which I guess it is (apart from the micro-kitchens, which I'm sure are a significant cost) but its interesting to view this in terms of reset and transit costs.
Another important part of this (IMHO) is not making people make decisions about stuff they don't care about, which has a cognitive cost.
Imagine if a company gave you a book budget of $X per year. Even if it's more than you would likely spend the very fact that you have a limit makes you think about what else ou might need later rather than just "do I need this now?"
So I'd argue that whiteboard pens are frustratingly close to the category boundary between "things that are so cheap that you should just buy them in bulk and spread them all over the environment" and "precious personal tools, where the optimal strategy is to buy the best that you can afford, carry them around with you in a special holster, and never let anyone else touch them on pain of death". The latter category includes things like a chef's knife, a mechanic's micrometer, a microsurgeon's favorite tweezers, and your cellphone.
Whiteboard pens are legendarily annoying because they're not clearly in one category or the other, so no matter whether you fanatically carry around a personal set or choose to rely on their ubiquity you're inevitably going to end up kicking yourself at one time or another.
My friends joke that I'm OCD, but I argue that an OCD person wouldn't need the labels to nail down a routine. :)
The article was a pleasant surprise; instead of arguing the trite, it made a point that was rarely made. For me though, I just write off these "wasted" minutes of walking up the stairs to get the scissors as "exercise."
* Server space. We had a shared server where, for some reason, /home had been placed on a tiny partition. Someone must have thought this would encourage responsible use of space, but in practice it just prevented real work from getting done. It was a 2000's solution to a 1990's problem.
* Coffee. It's extremely valuable to have one or two varieties of coffee on hand, hot and fresh at all times. Assign someone this task. We had infighting over pots left empty, and angst over cold left-over coffee in the morning. All because the office manager thought it was beneath her to make coffee.
* Books. I have never worked at a company that had a book allowance. When asked, I was told it just wasn't in the budget. Meanwhile, I've been sent, along with coworkers, to awful, multi-day conferences for "training" (it wasn't training, it was a conference).
For example, there's a cost to having data in more than one place and keeping it coherent. Before version control reduced this friction, I kept having issues where my desktop and laptop would have newer versions of files in one place or the other, so I stopped using both and switched to just a laptop. I know people who keep everything on a USB drive for similar reasons.
But for something you just need to grab and use, and doesn't have data persistence, sure.
Ex: Pens used at cash registers that are intentionally giant / ugly / unwieldy so you don't walk off with them. See here: http://karentl.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/design-artifact-plas...
Reduce the clutter and spend some calories reaching for things man.
What you really need is a body slave so that you can be free to be maximally efficient.