If you're a talented developer, but with no marketing or other such skills, you join a company. For the sake of argument, let's call it a Software Consultancy. Then the consultancy finds you Gigs (i.e. takes on projects and puts you on them), and you get money.
Companies, in fact, solve another problem that acting doesn't have - namely, actors are hired alone. Software, on the other hand, is much, much more likely to be built by a team. And having a team brings you all sorts of other difficulties that customers can't deal with:
* You need a team that works well together
* You need proper management of the team
* You need proper processes in place for building the software
* In some cases, even access to equipment is an issue
In short, an agent that can represent a single developer is not the right "level of abstraction" for most clients.
You don't have an Ari Gold because the economics of software recruitment are different from that of the fictionalized A-list acting crowd. See other comments on the quickly apparent disparities between the two economies.
There's more than enough work available in 2012 if you know your stuff. And you can get it easily as a direct relationship with a company. Just ask. They won't want to give you a full recruiters fee but might be cool with meeting you part of the way on what they save.
Consider other agencies, like professional sports teams, can you put together 12 engineers who can win you the superbowl of engineering (what ever that would be)? Perhaps there is a disruption opportunity here.
Linus really is known for his work, huh?
Also the vast majority of authors are paid less (usually much less) than the average software developer.
I would agree that your "5 years" is equally as meaningless as anyone else's generic 5 years. On the other hand, I would like to think that a quick look at your GitHub profile could make a huge distinction between you and another programmer.
10-15% means a lot more in one place than the other.
That's why the Ari Golds aren't scrambling to get you (or any other dev) on their rosters.
I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 Mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.
Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.
I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing, as we also anticipated the continued expansion of humanity into space, that our small mission helped make possible. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.
On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.
May he Rest in Peace, and may his vision for our human destiny in space be his legacy.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.
Operating at telecom wavelengths (i.e., the range commonly used in fiber-optic communications), the new device is completely scalable, from near-infrared to terahertz wavelengths, and simple to manufacture.
To the best of my knowledge, (this isn't my field) nobody has ever made a visible-light metamaterial. The antennas are too small. There's no real physical reason we can't make red-light metamaterials, the problem is just fabrication. (A parallel can be drawn here between metamaterials, desktop nanofactories, and fusion reactors)
Additionally, it would be tricky to make a panchromatic metamaterial lens: metamaterials are tuned very precisely to one frequency, (color) constrained by the physical size of the antennas, and they can't transmit any others.
Edit: WRONG! As sbierwagen points out, even though the press release states that the technology is "completely scalable" [to different wavelenghts of light], it actually works only with wavelengths greater than that of visible light. Too bad :-(
sbierwagen: Thanks for the clarification.
This is certainly beyond my field of expertise, but I don't see how the inability of this new lens to focus in the range of visible light detracts from the main point of it being a distortion-free lens whose "focusing power approaches the ultimate physical limit set by the laws of diffraction."
Although I agree that the press release makes it appear as if this will have direct implications on imaging in the lay sense (this isn't going to make a future iPhone the perfect camera), there are certainly applications of such technology that aren't consumer-focused and don't require visible light that stand to benefit from this research.
As blacksmythe notes, the lens created is not your stereotypical refractive lens, but is more along the lines of a Fresnel lens or zone plate. I'd be interested in hearing more about the differences between the two, especially with regard to the limitations of each. Would anyone who read the write up in Nano Letters or has a better understanding care to comment more on the implications?
I agree the press release is a tad sensationalistic and possibly (intentionally) misleading â€" but what do you expect from a press release? Although the findings presented may not be as earth-shattering as a mass-produceable visible-light metamaterial, I still think it's a noteworthy development that shouldn't be dismissed so easily.
In order to achieve broadband operation, the phase change vs wavelength of the metamaterial needs to approximate a large delay. If a large delay is not feasible to implement, this summary is overstating the importance of this result compared to prior technology.
Many times, patent cases are argued like someone was trespassing: This idea is my property, and you started using it. What Apple did well in this trial is that it portrayed Samsung as a cheaterâ€"someone who looked over Apple's shoulder and copied down its answers. This portrayal obviously resonated with the jury leading to the overwhelming win.
Is that right? No, not really, especially for technical issues. Frankly, the most astounding part of this decision was that Samsung's standard-essential patents were not considered infringed. I fully expect Samsung to file (and win) a JNOV (a judgment notwithstanding the verdict) on that issue. But overall, I doubt this verdict will be overturned as a whole.
...we debated that first patent -- what was prior art -- because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple.
"In fact we skipped that one," Ilagan continued, "so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down."
This, as well as other accounts on groklaw, give the distinct impression that this jury was very much led by the foreman - both procedurally and intellectually. The latter being a little worrisome.
Additionally, the mention that they glossed over their debate on prior art because it was slowing them down is disturbing.
I suppose since they had, according to this juror, essentially made up their minds on day 2 - there was no need to get bogged down in these pesky details.
There are two sides to this trial. On the one side is the emotional appeal: Samsung copied Apple, and documents detail the extent to which Samsung imitated the iPhone. On the other side are the various technical ways in which Apple claimed that Samsung copied them. But just as Apple engineers slaved for years over the technical details of the iPhone, it is incredibly important for the future of mobile innovation that all of the technical parts of the trial are correctly decided. If the jury finds no infringement but finds that infringement was induced, this indicates that technical mistakes were made. But in particular, I wonder if the jury was so swayed by the emotional appeal that sufficient attention was paid to the substantial prior art demonstrated regarding capacitive touch screen phones and multitouch displays.
The verdict form in this complex case necessarily spans 20 pages and requires unanimous answers to more than 500 discrete questions across 5 different legal disciplines. (Dtk. No. 1890.) The likelihood of an inconsistent verdict is a possibility despite the jury's best efforts.
"DESPITE THE JURY'S BEST EFFORTS"
Groklaw even linked to the source of the above quote: http://www.groklaw.net/pdf3/ApplevSamsung-1927.pdf
Seems like a classic case of confirmation bias, by both Groklaw as well as a bunch of people here.
It strikes me as just recording video and doing the standard things that people do with digital video.
From the groklaw article:
> If it would take a lawyer three days to make sure he understood the terms in the form, how did the jury not need the time to do the same? There were 700 questions, remember, and one thing is plain, that the jury didn't take the time to avoid inconsistencies
> Had they read the full jury instructions, all 109 pages, they would have read that damages are not supposed to punish, merely to compensate for losses.
The lawyers for both sides are making more per hour than the entire jury per day. What kind of performance do they expect?
Colors, typography, the massive line-lengths. It's a wall of text. Just an all-round horrible design.
Recruiters are almost exclusively focussed on one thing alone: making commission. They're not necessarily bad people, but they are not interested in how polite you are, how long your response email is, or anything else than the information they require.
Sending long-winded emails thanking them for their time and interest is _wasting their time_.
If I want to reply, the first line gives them the info they need. "Not looking for a job", and the rest gives other information if the opp looked good.
If you want to try and build up a relationship to get out of where you are, then fine. But they are interested in placing you, nothing more. Anything else they're generally faking.
It's how the game works. We geeks have a hard time getting this, because we're essentially honest.
Meanwhile, I was getting emails from recruiters. I was pretty good about replying because you never know where an opportunity might come from and because it feels better (for me) to just reply before archiving that message out of my inbox.
One of those out-of-the blue recruiters ended up working out. What was an hour long drive is now a 5 minute bike ride. I hadn't valued this nearly so highly when I took that far-away job as I do now. See for example:
So anyway, for me this was a clear case of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. An opportunity for an immediate improvement landed in my lap that I otherwise might not have found out about, or might have put off. I can't be too upset about that.
I'm CTO of a web and mobile development shop with about 20 employees. Finding good frontend developers is REALLY hard - to be a great frontend guy these days, working on modern web apps, you need to have strong engineering chops, with knowledge of the html5 apis, css3 and serious JS experience, including an understanding of memory and performance management in large frontend-heavy apps; ideally have worked on a couple of medium size apps with 5-7 person teams; probably have at least some exposure to the current JS framework scene; ideally (for our stack) have experience with preprocessors like sass or stylus and coffeescript; have good design sense and the ability to work in a collaborative feedback loop with a designer, etc etc. It's a really cross-functional role. There's a lot more people who "know HTML and CSS" but have never worked on serious apps, or have solid JS chops but can't produce design with reasonable fidelity to save their lives.
Most say no, though one did toy with the idea but it didn't happen. The no's seem to get a kick out of the unique response though.
The people I talked to were floored by the idea. It's not what you know it's who you know.
If the recruiter hadn't got me an interview at $25 an hour then I would be earning $0 for that period of time. I would have never found that job or got to know the company.
Once I got in that organization I could easily work with HR to buy me out of the recruiter's contract and negotiate a better salary for myself, considering the company wanted me.
The recruiter and me will probably do business again after my contract. I get a new salary after an initial test phase for the company. They get one time fee or recurring income.
Everyone has to eat. Recruiters have to make contacts. They have to pay salaries. They have expenses. I don't get why people are floored when they take a large portion of your salary. Most people don't have an influential network that can land them interviews. If you can then this doesn't apply to you.
If you are a I.T. recruiter in Toronto feel free to provide me with awesome interviews at $40 hour while you are making $100. I won't mind I promise.
+1 for Sartori Bellavitano, it's amazing
One of the things I really used my iPad for a lot is games. The distribution mechanism and purchasing system are super-simple. You could (and can) get high-quality games for a low price. I see I've spent 100+ hours playing Bejeweled 3 alone.
Yet the trend has clearly gone towards in-app purchases. I tried some golf game (Tiger Woods something?) and it was constant nagging for in-app purchases. That got deleted in about 2 minutes.
Then there are the "social games", which to me is really an abuse of the word "game", since they are nothing more (IMHO) than exercises in feeding addiction and inducing compulsive behaviour. There is no element of skill. It's simply who can purchase the most. And I've tried a bunch (spending no real $$$) to see (I'm a sucker for world-building games and there's a dearth of those, sadly).
The second category (normal games with in-app purchases) create the wrong incentives. Whereas Angry Birds originally spread because it was a hugely fun game, the game developer is incentivized to make you fork over more money, typically at the expense of the game itself.
It saddens me that Angry Birds has gone the in-app purchase route too.
Sadly the genie is out of the bottle. Any sensible game developer will go this route. Add to this the "social" layer being foisted on users and it's really looking like dark days ahead for gaming.
We've gone right back to feeding tokens (in-game credits) because now you can distribute the equivalent of an single-game arcade cabinet -- a game that is designed to optimally take in cash at a given rate -- to every mobile device. A good analogue would be to make a beat-em up arcade cabinet that let you start out for nothing, but when you inevitably get KO'd, you have to feed it a few tokens for the privilege of continuing before the 15 second countdown elapses and you have to start from the beginning.
That being said, the revenues discussed in this post are crazy.
On a side-note, I wish the App Store allowed to filter out by apps that have or not IAP. I really don't mind paying for apps and games but sometimes there will be a cool free game available. Nowadays most games are free but with many IAP. If I see a high-ranked free game I tend to turn around when I see it has IAP because I know the gameplay will be around buying more stuff.
On a second side-note, I wouldn't mind the fall of Angry Birds. IMO, the game has received a disproportionate amount of success and the merchandising all over the place has been ridiculous (e.g. a "Angry Birds" Roku box? That makes no sense). The game is ok but not very original or entertaining (again, IMO) but the milking of the brand has been the worst part of it.
For me, that quote about sums up the rest of the article. Too much arrogance in there for me.
> In the last month, this single game generated over $12,000,000 on iOS alone. They have not ported the game to Android yet.
> If this is the case and it holds ranking for the rest of the year, then this single game is worth $109,500,000 PER YEAR on the low side.
Holy fucking shit. $100m a year of high-margin sales for a single iOS games?
World of Warcraft makes, last time I calculated it, roundabout these amounts, and WoW is one of the most financially successful games ever and requires masses of investment in infrastructure, new content, community management, developers, and so on - so big it swallowed Blizzard whole for a while.
If a silly, simple, stupid looking iOS game can make $100m a year of almost raw profit, this is... well, just mind-blowing, really.
Granted I am sure there are some decent free to pay titles, just the mental impression I get before trying new games, based on past experience.
I have no doubt this is how it works, but I never thought I would see the day when something that costs a dollar is considered premium.
Perhaps Angry Birds is dropping on the pay charts because people are finally bored of the franchise? How many years and different ways will people pay to shoot slightly different pigs with birds?
is because trial periods aren't being done? Wouldn't it be a lot simpler to make Angry Birds free, have only the first 20 levels be playable, then pay $9.99 for the remaining 80 levels? (I'm making these numbers up BTW.)
Obviously IAP makes a lot of sense for Farmville-style games that are all about "objects", but when tacked onto Angry Birds Space, or most games really, it feels like the company is just trying to take advantage of you.
Why don't we see any "free trials" like this in the App Store? Is it against Apple TOS or something? Or have studies shown it just doesn't work? (And I don't mean the free "lite" versions of games -- those are annoying because you lose all your progress and have to start the full version from zero.)
It's funny how me doing this is quite comparable to piracy, but - rightly or wrongly - I feel almost no guilt about doing this because by the time I've got to this point I've lost all respect for the game anyway.
It's ironic how Apple's locking down of the device is enough for most developers not to bother obfuscating their game save files so that if you have taken the trouble just for that jailbreak step, you're unlikely to meet much further resistance.
And finally when I do run into a game which has apparently taken cursory defensive steps such that my crude hackery only succeeds in stuffing everything up and losing whatever progress I did have, this too turns out to be funny. As I have no impulse to start playing from the beginning again, I breathe that very same sigh of relief, and forget all about it. Win-win.
Games are supposed to be fun. In a free-to-play game, the game designer's goal shifts from fun to incremental revenue collection. I think it's an abusive dynamic between the game designer and the player. If free-to-play becomes the norm, we might wonder why games are not as fun anymore, without being able to put a finger on it.
Even without this, because so few people pay anything, the dynamic of the in app purchases is skewed so that you have to spend a ton of money to get anything out of your purchases (people willing to pay are willing to pay a lot, apparently). So people like me, willing to spend $5-$10 on a fun phone game but not $50, are sort of left behind.
Angry Birds, as a franchise, is doing anything but falling. Just look around the next time you go to a Walmart or Target. Angry Birds lunch boxes. Angry Birds Halloween costumes. And yes, Angry Birds Cheese Nips, which my kids are consuming even as we speak.
And it's only inevitable that Rovio is or will be working on an Angry Birds game that takes advantage of IAPs over an up front charge.
Instead of forcing users to pay real money to get better equipment, it has another means of earning credits: viewing advertisements. That means that a) I don't feel like I'm actually spending money (except opportunity cost), and b) they can show pretty well-targeted ads to users who are requesting to see them. I don't know the financial details, but I'd guess they can sell for a pretty decent rate. And you have to view quite a lot of them to get as many credits as you could have bought outright for $10.
As an added bonus to them, relying on ads means I have to disable AdBlock for their entire website.
The blue line is the overall grossing rank over time.
I would love to analyze the in-game purchase data across multiple free-to-play games on multiple platforms (e.g. facebook, app store, etc) in order to see the distribution of user spending habits. While I'm sure there are power users who spend magnitudes more than the average, I'm skeptical that they're the main driver of revenue. What I'd like to see is the average % of users who make in-game purchases, the average in-game purchase over time, frequency of purchases and what % of total revenue the average represents.
Unfortunately, I don't think Zynga et al will be releasing this data publicly anytime soon.
Data? Citation? I'm genuinely curious. Is this now the common wisdom for indy games?
I don't know what to make of it, really. I'm usually decent at predicting what will be popular, but this time I completely missed the boat.
It really makes me kind of sad. I remember when I was little I would get a game like Zelda for GameBoy for $30. That game obviously had tons of work put into it and gave me endless hours of enjoyment. Games for phones seem to lack this kind of depth.
One of many mentions on their 12x revenue increase from F2P:http://games.slashdot.org/story/12/03/08/2148224/valve-switc...
Apart from that any old death of Tetris type article were you change the title to angry birds will be relevant in such matters of simple fun games and there lifespan.
I have been touring the US this summer and have been amazed by the number of people wearing Angry Birds shirts. Even grown men. Walmart has huge Angry Birds signs right next to established brands like Levi and Nike.
There have to be other ways of achieving the same end goal however without the constant nagging. Has anyone tried a game where people pay by the hour for instance? First hour free?
do shell script "my script"
With recent talk of video/images from Mars, I'm wondering what is the highest quality that we have for the moon. (The above link includes a high quality photo for Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon and doesn't talk about other moon missions.)
What would be your first reaction? Your first five minutes?
Everybody would react different, no matter how much training you have.
I would have looked around in awe, frozen, thinking what the hell am I doing here? Admiring the desolation, comparing that image with the moon of cheese from childhood memories. Nobody would have taken that moment from me. The moon, the soil I just stepped on. The vastness. I'd take a look at the sky and reach for the stars, then the earth. Contemplating. Fuck nasa, I'd say. Just admiring such a wonderful view. My heart beating a million times, in slow motion.
That would be me.
"Knowing" Linux does not mean you "know" the internet, nor vice versa.
No. This is a common misperception that's easily debunked with two minutes of Googling and I'm shocked to see this in an NYT article. The change is almost entirely due to reduction in infant mortality.
Any present horror is accepted, indeed mandated, by the ape inside - conform, conform, it cries, so hungry to belong and be inside the visible peer group that this instinct overrides any rational consideration of what it actually means to age to death, and just how much might be done to prevent that from happening in this age of biotechnology.
-Population growth. Right now it's pretty well established that three generations will be in the world at any given time, with around 25-30 years between each generation. If we were to live to 150 (much less 750), suddenly that's five or six generations instead of three, potentially doubling the world's population, and that's assuming that people still follow the custom of having an average number of children between the ages of 25-35 and then stopping.
-On that note, if we are given the capability to remain sexually active for hundreds of years, then one person will be capable of multiplying into far more new people, rapidly increasing population growth. If we are not given that capability, then we'd all end up miserable as the period of our lives in which we have sexually fulfilling relationships becomes small.
-If we conquer diseases with such efficiency, then the tragedy of random, accidental deaths becomes greatly more pronounced. People may die from heart disease and cancer at a far reduced or nonexistent rate, but people will still die from car crashes, drug-related violence and suicide at the same rate they do now. Those deaths will become a lot more significant and difficult to handle, and we as a society will become either super-anxious and paranoid about the possibility of losing our lives or either perpetually in mourning (as our lives become longer we will have more connections and friendships and familial relationships, so we'll have more people whose deaths will affect us) or somehow immune or numb to the pain as a coping mechanism. The idea of war will become far more barbaric as suddenly instead of taking 60 years and a family away from a young man, you're taking hundreds of years and whatever else he could have done in that time.
-Any disease we are unable to cure with the potential to permanently affect people will instantly become far more terrifying. Non-fatal sexually transmitted diseases, loss of limbs or appendages, and debilitating mental diseases will be far, far more damaging given the greater lifespan that they will affect.
-Medical care will still, presumably, be as expensive and challenging as ever; however, we will have more people who need it and more reasons that those people need it. Most of these reasons will probably be expensive - for instance, if cancer treatment ends up being very very expensive, everybody will still want it - so our society is going to have to find some way to handle that. In a best-case scenario, most of the money we made would end up going to medical care, and we would never retire. The proportion would probably be far from that though, with 99% of people being unable to feasibly afford to maintain their own lives. Furthermore, we would need far, far more doctors, and therefore we would have to develop even more incentives for people to take that path in life and stay on it for as long as possible.
-Concepts that we have now (some of which I mentioned tangentially above) that are based on the idea of a 70-90 year lifespan and that we rely on will no longer exist. These include the eventual death of all dictators/tyrants, fairly consistent sizes in the nuclear and extended families, the age-based progression of opportunities and decisions, life sentences for crimes, marriage (would you want to keep the same spouse for 500 years?), retirement, etc.
That's what I think, anyway.
"Would you like to live 500 year with the body of a twenty year old?" might give different results from "if the technology existed to avoid aging, would you use it?" and both might give different results than this poll.
If you looked and felt like you were 30 at 130, would you say to yourself, I've lived long enough? You could have several careers. For example, you might decide to be a writer or do research that takes decades when you are 80.
How much imagination does it take to want to live for centuries? I just bought a Wacom drawing tablet today. I can't draw a straight line. I think I'll need a decade just to learn how to draw.
What would it mean to have several or perhaps an infinite amount of time and freedom to figure out what to do with as many lives as you want?
I think most people can't handle that responsibility at this stage in human history so people kind of reject the question.
We've had enough life and we're not going to take it anymore! #occupyCemetaries
Specifically the quote "Hey, since we live for millions of years, let's go make some staggeringly beautiful art that can only be created by synthesizing thousands of years of experience, hopes, fears, triumphs and failures into one transcendental expression of life!"
I think the problem with the question as posed by the author is that he offers no "very long but finite" life span. Most people reject (correctly, I think) the possibility of living forever; "living forever" is actually code for "living until some accident kills you" or "living until society breaks down to the point where your life-extension technology is irrelevant." Moreover, people may realize that there may come a time at which they have accomplished everything they want to do. If you live forever, however, you would be forced to carry on living with no goal in life. Could you endure 10 years of life without a purpose? 100 years? In other words, people may ultimately want to die even though they are healthy. An "infinite" lifespan raises the possibility that you might just kill yourself at some point.
A better set of numbers might have been 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years, etc.
Having read the article: less than 1% share my view. Yikes.
I think for most people, questions like this are what I'd call a "philosophy landmine"; say certain things and it causes people to stop thinking and repeat some standard cultural tropes or go spinning off into faux-philosophy-land.
Kind of depressing.
If you've played with machine learning, many machine learning algorithms are able to "learn" quickly initially but later on, it can less quickly adapt to changes. (Someone more knowledgeable may correct me here).
Consider the possibility that old people can have young bodies forever, but their brain / world view / whatever will not fundamentally change from when they were teenagers. i.e old people will continue to think outdated ideas and use outdated technologies, and not die. Whenever we talk about the establishment, congressmen thinking in outdated ways, these are the exact same people! Unless we can find a way to keep the brain young without continually causing amnesia, people with control over society to its detriment will continue living, forever.
Do you want to be a 250 year old who thinks that the world is wrong and you are right, that the old ways are best, while everyone else tries to convince you to move on?
I'd like to live as a 22 year old forever, but unfortunately that is not possible without freezing time (or resetting my brain using version control every birthday).
On one hand, I certainly don't want to get old and die -- at least, not on nature's time table.
On the other hand, if no one else got old and dies, we'll quickly become an over populated, stagnant society. From a more "objective" perspective, there's something beautiful about life because it's so temporary.
Compare this to our genetic code. Approximately half of our genetic code is passed down in each offspring. Death only partially erases our genetic makeup, and so no one is scared of their genes being lost when they die.
Death is scary because we have no means to pass on our memories and experiences to the next generation. It is as if we were meant to be scared of death, so that we fight against it.
Bring it on. If you can double my lifespan, I can do twice as much good.
Actually wasn't Kurzweil promoting the idea of a downloadable brain? Is this just wishful thinking or is there actually any hope for that?
This would be somewhat an acceptable alternative, i.e. to live forever as a digital element. Otherwise I guess by best try is still with the cryonic guys.
Isn't it more like we discovered an algorithm that they know well, considering that they came up with it first?
I've always been fascinated by the collective intelligence of an ant colony. This drives it home even more.
It's since come down. Here are some things you need to consider
1.) Progressives won't respond well to this. I have some experience here, I spent a year working at the Democratic National Committee in DC on their Labs team. My observation is that unless you're "a name" in the progressive tech sector or have a name attached to the product it is going to be difficult getting notice. I actually respect the Republicans on how they adopt technology: throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. I can cite examples of this if people are interested.
2.) Since 911 Snail mail can take weeks to arrive. Everything that is sent to the Hill in DC is sent out for anthrax screening. It is very difficult to send reactionary issue snail mail unless it is hand delivered.
3.) The best way to get your rep's attention is to send mail, email, or call about a very specific issue. If you say "Support gay rights!" you'll most likely get a very well printed form response letter a few weeks later. If you say "I am one of your constituents and I want you to support SR 1992 up for vote in two weeks" this goes much further. Reps want to know that you are a vote and how you want them to vote on specific bills.
4.) Most hill staffers will actually ignore snail mail that doesn't have a postage stamp (the ones that the post office will put on the letter to mark its origin) from their district or state (for senators). Again, they really only care about votes. If you can't vote for him/her then you don't matter nearly as much as someone that can.
5.) I originally designed MailCongress because I saw a Communicating With Congress report when I was at the DNC. I cannot find the link now but this report comes out every 4 years (right after each mid-term). It represents the previous 4 years after publication of data on how congress responds to different forms of communication. The report I saw came out in 2006 which means it covered 2002 - 2006. At the time Email was way down around 30% efficacy and snail mail was up to 85% effective. I released MailCongress right before the 111th Congress left at the end of 2010. The next report came out that represented 2006 - 2010 and things changed a lot. Email went up to mid-70s efficacy and snail mail dropped to mid-70s. For the 4 years prior to 2010 email was just as effective at communicating with congress as snail mail. The report said the reasons for the swing was most likely because of the major turn over on the hill in 2006. When many new congress people come in they bring a new generation of hill staffers, younger, and more tech-savy. We had another major turn over in 2010. Which means more shift. I wouldn't be able to tell you what the numbers are but my guess is that email exceeds snail mail by now. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the next report's number were very skewed once you take Twitter and Facebook into consideration.
I applaud the effort, I really hope it works. Unfortunately you're fighting a lot of factors here. Your pricing is much better than mine (I was charging $1 per-piece and also would notify the senders when their letters should have arrived so they could follow up with phone calls). You should consider how the printing is going to scale if you get serious about this. I actually built out of mail queue backed by Redis. Scalability testing showed I could print 1000 letters per hour. Which is really not that many if it were to take off, any crazy issue that comes up (and they always do) can be an opportunity to get people to use this. The usage patterns in politics are very spiky so you need to be ready for immediate scale.
TL:DR; I once built something similar, best of luck! :)
The response from the Hacker News community was really encouraging. I want to thank you all for that. I especially want to thank ChuckMcM for his idea to turn it into a way to send a postcard to your congressperson (and his helpful feedback over an email thread), and prasincs for his additional re-enforcement of that idea.
From all that I built https://postcongress.io over the course of this past week. And already it is turning into a venture. A colleague of mine recommended I contact advocacy groups. I've started doing so and have some strong leads and a meeting on Monday.
So, thank you HN.
And there is still tweaks to be done so I'd appreciate any feedback.
I want an App that lets me join a "ring of awared" and execute an action, leveraging the power of Web 2.0/Social.
Very simple example: recently you had something called SOPA being pushed through. You would go to the App and create a thread "call representative X and tell him you are against SOPA". You put Rep name, phone number, and click "submit the project". Then everyone that feels compelled to participate, joins the "ring". Then simple algorithm puts everyone that joined into a chain: now A is calling rep. Once A finished his call, A press the button "done" and focus is switched to B that is notified via email/inapp notification/ etc that it is his time to call. If he wont do it in 10 minute timeframe, system moves forward to C, D, E ... n.
Sorry, but nowadays I think its the only way to get some traction. If rep staff memorize those $1.99 postcards, they will be simply throwing them without even reading, which is the same as clicking "trash" in your gmail judging just by subject/sender.
If you wont get the ICE/DHS ceasing your domain and servers due to "domestic terrorism", this could go viral and grow big. Perhaps then, overloaded with phonecalls from people that care about their future and future of their children, those in charge would start to care.
Good turn around time.
Try putting black edges around your title text. Right now, they are just blending in with the background. The political background is a neat idea. Designing for it dynamically will be hard though. Set up A/B testing and test the various backgrounds you have, as well as backgrounds from subtlepatterns.com (just in case).
Rotate the bottom info bar so that it is horizontal instead of vertical. Nobody cares about the IO name I don't think. At this point the total message should be simple: "Send a postcard to your congressperson, PERIOD".
Not enough social buttons. Seriously, you need more buttons. Tweets and likes from political active people will garner attention from like minds.
Why don't I see any adwords from you here yet? http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mail+your+congressman no sacarsm intended, mostly this link was shorter).
Change the font that the message naturally displays with. Times New Roman doesn't look right to me. Also, include a picture of a real, finished card on the site.
Other than that, looks like a pretty neat concept. I like the emerging trend of producing physical output from digital actions.
See the "How it works" section: http://heritageaction.com/grow/using-popvox-email-congress/
> Unlike electronic mail, which is both free to send and easy to ignore, receiving a postcard sends its own message. It says to the congressperson, "I feel strongly enough about this to go to the expense of sending an actual card."
No. A postcard will never make it to the congressperson. It will be read by a staffer and most likely tossed unless it expresses support or opposition for a current issue or bill, in which case it will be tallied and then tossed in the garbage.
Are you printing/writing out the postcards yourself? Or are you automating/outsourcing it?
Quick feedback: there's a typo in "sign, sealed, delivered"; should be "signed" rather than "sign".
One thing I'd suggest is to send a random assortment of postcards and don't includ your logo or company info anywhere on it. Ie make it look like it actually came from a citizen.
Otherwise congress people will just think they're form letters and throw them out.
I guess the idea with advocacy groups is that they can subsidize the cost of postcards and get a bulk rate?
Great idea, love it. :)
Otherwise, are you willing to share some of the details about the fulfillment side of things? How did you find a printer? How are they receiving the orders?
We were going to allow people to send "SOPA" soap for $8 to their congressman with the tag line "Vote no on SOPA and help keep congress clean".
Then SOPA got tabled. Luckily it was right before I setup the website and place the order with a soap manufacturer I was working with.
In chrome, at least, the background starts loading in, then goes white, then loads in again. It's a bit odd.
Have you thought of saving the image progressive or interlaced? Don't know what the common knowledge is on this at the moment, but watching an image that big and busy load in slowly from top to bottom takes time away from getting to the actual point of the site.
(note: Even though it wasn't the point - this is first time I've read a magazine from (virtual) cover to cover in several years. The advertisements and discussion of prince charles possible wife were fascinating.)
Who says a German's PR company doesn't have a sense of humour?
Brillo offers you the moon. Free.
That didn't take long.
But I digress. This post has it wrong. What he supposedly overheard in a Starbucks wasn't caused by the Apple v. Samsung ruling but was a direct result of what Samsung had been trying to do all along.
Imagine a teenage that could not differentiate between and iPod and some other thing "that is the same".
Yeah, because normal people know how to install a VM, do a grep and an ssh....but they could not differentiate from a computer witch battery last 3 hours instead of 8, or weights double, or is made in real aluminum(and not plastic with metallic paint) or it is actually cheaper than the competence.
This man is wet dreaming.
Maybe now, but if Samsung has to pay a billion-dollar fine, the prices will be more comparable -- assuming that Samsung isn't also ordered to stop building machines so much like Apple's.
The sense of the article is that the lawsuit outcome favors Samsung -- that Apple is outing Samsung's units as being similar to Apple's but less money. This only works if Samsung's business isn't crippled by fines and cease-and-desist orders.
A little later, as more and more people I knew gravitated towards the Galaxies, I realized the flaw in this thinking - the average user doesn't know that the iPhone is geared towards him/her, and is a much better fit for someone who doesn't want to tinker with their phone. Only techies know this.
The average user wants to buy a phone that they can put apps on. As far as they're concerned, the iPhone and the Galaxy is the same product, only with a vastly different price structure.
EDIT: Maybe it was Samsung I'm thinking of. Evidently they have done stuff like that before (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110325/12360313633/samsun...). Netflix has done this too (http://www.avclub.com/articles/netflix-apologizes-for-hiring...).
I'd say people who upvote before they read are part of the problem but I'm more concerned that many people did read and still upvoted it.
Not really news, and I doubt its going to affect sales for now. Eventually they'll have to reinvent themselves if they want to stay cool, though. (Like Sony Walkman failed to do so as a brand)
Check Apple's earnings later to see who was right.
Also after a few months it tricks me into G+ again, nope, still no value for me.
Now Apple has called attention to how similar Samsung products are and people ARE going to make this connection no matter what.
Even if Apple gets an injunction, do you think customers will still be willing to pay that premium over Apple products? They will at least start questioning their choices.
In this consumerist society we might as well see riots and protests so Apple lowers the prices or the govt cancels the injunctions.
apparently this is exactly what Gigaom was referring to earlier today. I didn't think people would care, but apparently they do, don't understand, and Apple is paying the price.
What would have happened had Samsung won??
For Apple, it's all about controlling the minds of consumers. And controlling their access to information about the devices.
For Samsung, it's less about that and more about plain old lack of interoperability: proprietary plugs, crappy Windows proprietary "install" software that was written hastily, and other little annoyances, stuff that will only work with Samsung. Like every other Asian manufacturer for as long as I can remember. (But at least companies like Samsung make SSD's and other components that can be used in any device. They keep companies like Apple afloat. Can Apple make its own components? Not as cost-effectively as Samsung.)
The result is always the same: the consumer overpays for these cheap electronics and gets next to zero customer service. It's "take it or leave it".
Showing a random Starbucks customer OSX in a virtual machine? Priceless.
If they only knew what their iPhones, iPads, "iOS" and "OSX" were really made of. They might never care. But they do care about overpaying.
edit: not to mention that the value of OS X is part of tw cost of MacBooks; running it in a VM on another OS is common, but unfair to portray to random people as a legitimate action as evidence that Apple is ripping peons off.
So for someone who has paid things forward, he certainly deserves help. See the following article from his hometown newspaper in Austin, Texas for more about the good works that he has done:
Update: Thomas Knight reports that they have raised the necessary $50,000. It looks like the Indiegogo campaign is still open, and there's a note than any excess that isn't needed for his medical expenses (if all goes well the $50k should be enough) will go to Reglue, his non-profit which helps children to get access to computers.
EDIT: Here's the link for the Indiegogo campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/helios
While he still needs money, they did find a doctor to perform the surgery. But don't let that stop you from donating, if you're able.
He also answered a question that I had: he's a veteran, so he should qualify for VA medical assistance. According to his post above, the VA system moves too slow to stop his rapidly spreading cancer.
I'm simply blown away, as day after day the outpouring of support for Ken grows. When I put my blog post together, my hope was to help a good friend with a new monitor, and the rest was kindof a pipe dream.
Now, 8 days and almost $40,000 later, I'm at a loss for words.
Thank you to everyone who has donated, commented, passed it on, or done anything else to help us out. Both Ken and I are speechless.
The United States fucking sucks sometimes.
Anyway, donated some money, really wish he gets all the help he needs.
Two days ago, there was a post on HN announcing Watsi, essentially a Kickstarter for healthcare (Sorry if I'm discrediting it's overall value in any way, it's a great idea: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4424081). Most of us in the Western world aren't the target audience for Watsi, but this seems appropriate. Can we not make this happen and see a cohesive case to be made for those asking questions about cause and background?
The $50,000 we collected in 10 days will more than cover all of Ken's medical expenses as he continues through his difficult cancer treatment. Thank you to everyone who helped out, you are all wonderful people. :)
"The cost just to book the OR for Ken's surgery is $50,000, and that doesn't include the surgery itself, nor any post-op medical expenses."
What is the total cost of expenses, or is that unknown? Knowing how much is needed would possibly help raise more funds.
Geeks with heart. You're a lovely bunch HN peeps...
Wishing Diane and Ken all the best.
Most of us, even the most starving bootstrapper of the bunch, has enough change in his/her pocket to make an impact on a real human life.
Let's not brag about what we donated, or how much, or if we donated at all. But please everyone, let's reach out for someone who needs us like every good human should.
Surely you don't expect that your time spent writing a book is going to pay out at $300 an hour, or whatever your consulting rates are.
Buying now. I'm especially interested in the "Oiling the wheels" section.
I'm talking about questions like: how to allocate the different people to different tasks, how/when to hire employees, hiring on-site employees vs. hiring freelancers who work from home (potentially form elance or similar), etc. Does this book get into any of these topics at all?
Fork is a system call.
I don't know why WIRED is increasingly becoming such a snotty, hostile and tabloid publication. I guess it's cool to hate on Ellison for putting money into a wonderful sport.
While we can't afford these huge multi-million dollar boats, we can have much of the same excitement in our own lives racing $20,000-$30,000 boats. And you don't even need a boat-- since crews tend to be 5-7 people owners are often looking for crew!
Good coverage of the Americas Cup will hopefully help bring more people into the sport of racing.
Don't let that stop you from writing 5000 words about it. This reeks of "pick someone to hate, find a reason to hate them, write it up".
I know it's based heavily on GDocs, but my workflow is based around Dropbox. Maybe something could be rigged up there.
Looks very cool!
What happened to affordances? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance
All these people aren't stupid. They're coming up with these crazy ideas because they don't know what else to do.
One task of good design is to make it obvious what I can do and how I can do it. No one likes to discover, 3 months later, that you could do a 3 finger pinch with a middle finger wiggle gesture to do what you wanted. I shouldn't have to sit there and try all the combos of what I can do.
You can thank Windows for this. Back in the day when we went from DOS to Windows, this notion of a "proper shutdown" was introduced, and God forbid you press the power button, or bad things would happen.
I'm not positive Windows was the first to do this, but I think it's safe to say it was the one that started this habit for most people.
And now, it has became so engraved in our brain that it's nearly impossible to un-train. I to this day never use the power button on any device to shut it down out of uncertainty that I don't know what will happen if I do.
These "not bad" changes in Windows 8 also underscore a recurring problem with software: people are forced to choose between "take the good and the bad" or "nothing", they can't just take the "good". Software updates are too big and bundled when the reality is that a lot of components could sensibly be upgraded by themselves.
Changes in Task Manager for instance could have been folded into any version of Windows to date, and if a few programmers had access to the right source code I'm sure they could have added this at least to XP. Yet they can't, and Microsoft won't, and users of any version other than 8 are kept from a perfectly sensible improvement.
Rather than charging $200 for an "upgrade", sometimes I think it would make a lot more sense if you could pay Microsoft $10 for the "new system utilities package" (which would update your Windows XP Task Manager alone, and whatever else falls into that category). In other words, don't restrict access to the truly useful upgrades just because no one wants Metro.
And the fact they HAD a start menu interface until the final release (it was in the beta/candidates) is just a bigger insult.
W8 is actually usable once you add back in the start menu and have it go immediately to the desktop via a 3rd party program. Why microsoft didn't allow that option when they original did, is clear demonstration of them being obstinant.
Once again the lesson is - if you must change your product:
1. change it gradually 2. give an option for the old way
I'm a Windows developer, and I confess that I haven't tried Windows 8 yet. I'm usually eager to try new OS's and learn new things, but this time I'm not. I think it's a sense of dread about having to spent several hours learning an environment that just seems tedious.
It had to happen eventually. Windows 7 and OS X 10.8 are really nothing more than highly-polished iterations of the basic WIMP GUI. Apple has done nice work with iOS but seems loathe to rethink OS X beyond tossing in a few multitouch gestures. Enough has changed in computing technology, from processor power to network connectivity to interface technologies to the whole suite of activities people use computers for, that WIMP is really starting to show its age. And even more will change over the next 20 years - we should prepare ourselves for departures even more radical than W8. The WIMP desktop isn't the pinnacle for UI evolution. At least, let's hope it isn't! It is pretty clunky.
Microsoft, now in the weaker position to Apple, is the company to usher in that shift. We should be glad we have a Microsoft in 2012.
As for Windows 8 itself, I feel like the Task Manager alone is something worth upgrading for.
While I am so thrilled that this power user enjoyed his experience, mine was infuriating for the first two hours and made me feel stupid. Those with dramatically less patience and investment in personal computing will probably feel the same way.
When you have 3 different modifier keys, this increases the number of key combinations exponentially vs 2. So take for example a cross platform IDE that is keyboard shortcut friendly, with lots of actions you can assign to keyboard shortcuts, like Eclipse. In the Windows version you only have shortcuts that can be a combination of Ctrl and Alt plus another key. With OS X (and Linux), you can have any combination of Ctrl, Alt, and Command plus another key, giving many more possibilities. I miss the lack of context menu key support in OS X, though.
As a UNIX/Emacs user, a side benefit of having Command as the primary modifier key in OS X, used for many of the typical actions, is that typical OS X keyboard shortcuts don't generally get in the way of UNIX/Emacs keyboard shortcuts, which use Ctrl and Alt as modifiers exclusively. I can use Emacs keyboard shortcuts right alongside OS X keyboard shortcuts in the same application (I'm accustomed to both; for example, I might paste with either Cmd-V or Ctrl-Y, depending on whether my right hand is on the home row or not). But I don't expect that most Windows users would benefit from that particular aspect. However, I think having an extra modifier key, available to applications, would benefit a good portion of Windows users.
This is because I've basically got everything configured like Windows 7 (I don't really use the Start screen), but the Win+(key) combination is what makes the difference.
Take a typical almost-every-day activity for instance: checking the weather report. On Win7 (unless you had things specially configured for this event), you'd have to go online via a browser, find a suitable website, and wait for results - quite possibly having to physically type in your location if the site couldn't get it automatically.
On Windows 8, I just press Windows + (the letters w e a) and the search instantly finds the Weather app - I've got it open in less than 0.3 seconds, and the app itself fetches the data in just a few seconds. This kind of stuff works straight out of the box, and wasn't possible on Win7. It shows that even desktop-only users like me can make at least >some< good use of the RT apps.
It's just a shame that they bolted on Metro and then force feed it to you by making it your start menu. The metro interface is truly unintuitive. I feel more at home on in OS X than I do in Metro, and I hate OS X.
I have to ask myself, how can anyone think this:1. Looks good.2. Is ideal usage of screen real estate.
And even this:
Now you have a bunch of icons without text labels, how do you know what does what? Obviously the 3rd party apps are clear if you use them, but the main Windows apps aren't clear. For example, what is that purple icon next to the blue clouds? (And what are the blue clouds? Weather? or is the Sun weather?)
Some of the tips in this article are great and the more you dig, the more you find they actually HAVE improved a lot of things in the 'old' OS as well (this seems to get ignored/glossed over in alot of reviews, especially the negative ones).
So far, Metro/Win8 is just a toy without touch. I honestly can't see myself getting much work done here but it seems to keep out of the way enough.
Ultimately (for me), would I use Windows at all unless I had to for work? And would I replace OS X 10.8 with Win8 as my primary OS? Quite simply: hell no. You'll have to pry this rMBP out of my cold dead hands (not just because Retina is such a game changer visually - I still MUCH prefer the speed, power, efficiency, apps and overall experience of OS X. It's no competition IMO).
Whether Win8 is a winner on touch devices like Surface, time will tell. Metro/Win8 is nice enough but there are next to zero apps for it. I'm also still not convinced having the 'old desktop' on a tablet really is what people are going to want. Obviously it's a stopgap until Win8 takes off but is it really much of a selling point? Anyone who has done RDP or Citrix from an iPad can get an idea of what it's like (I've used it enough times to know): It's OK in a pinch, but shoot me if I had to use it to actually get serious work done.
Microsoft have definitely thrown a Hail Mary here, not long to find out if it will work...
Startup/shutdown speed is also totally awesome, even I basically don't power off my computer, never. So, now, when there's no much metro style apps, win8 as desktop OS works great, and in about one year when Store fills up, it'll be even better.
Other things I really like that are much improved over win7: HyperV inside OS, ISO Mount, multi-monitor support (taskbar, wallpapers), cloud integration, copy/delete/move dialogs with speed graph, task manager.
So, how does anyone get anything done using Win8 on a tablet that doesn't have a keyboard?
I have been too long on the MS side. That's my only regret.
this may work great for a 10 inch tablet screen but its a serious problem for any modern professional workstation/content creation setup.
i also had issues (explorer freezing) with my external USB3 drive even for simple things like copying files back and forth.it seems like with each iteration of Windows the basic file copy operation gets slower and slower. all this on hardware that's current. (win7 experience score 7.9)
i'd rather be focused on making cheese instead of figuring out who moved it where.
Isn't it super cute to see these windows "power-users" at work? Pretending that their new OS is for anything other than their grandma checking their email? And look at all you "hackers" congratulating Microsoft for an improvement on the dumbest series of operating systems (per dollar spent on it) of the last two decades. Awww, the intellectual poverty is really adorable.
All of which is to say, if you assume the worst, and brain-computer interfaces become ubiquitous, yes, I can see there being a serious potential for you to leak things you don't want to leak, just by being exposed to something similar. Done on a grand enough scale, the possibilities could be terrifying.
Seriously, this registers barely above a lie detector for me. They have to just guess my password and then, when they get it right, they'll record a different brainwave pattern? Sounds simple enough. Okay, my passwords typically consist of several words with some numbers thrown in. I wager we can go through 40 trials each minute for 16 hours each day. How many millions of years do you have?
Using EEG, you can look for something called a P300 Event Related Potential (ERP). This is a positive deflection from the baseline activity in the brain signals approximately 300 milliseconds after an anticipated event occurs. Note two key facts about this:
1) P300 actually varies by person; it can appear sooner or much later than 300 ms and have different amplitudes. Because of this, a training phase is required to train the classifier.
2) The P300 happens when an event happens the subject is anticipating or recognizes, so they have to be primed in some sense. For instance, the researchers asked subjects to think of an imaginary PIN, then flashed single digits at them one at a time and tried to infer what the first digit of the PIN was by that. Because they were thinking of, say, 1234, when 1 flashed on the screen, a P300 may have been generated.
What the researchers did was interesting, in that they made the case for potential malware in a consumer BCI game. Their accuracy rates weren't that great, however. This is a far far cry from nefarious agents pulling secret info from your brain.
Those two steps will tell me if Mayer, a supposedly "technology" focussed CEO will be able to go head-head with Yahoo! IT. (It should say something that I even have to suggest the CEO of the company needs to go "head-head" with the IT organization)
A real question would be "What do you have to do against company policy in order to get your job done?"
This could very well bring me back to Evernote. Not sure if it's worth $24+, but if it works, maybe... I do take an awful lot of handwritten notes, and I'd love to digitize them easily.
I assume Evernote's products are overly complicated, but I'd like to know if they just botched the Skitch acquisition. Does anybody have any insight into this?
- Address existing need that few other products addresses
- Helps generating new customers by removing some of the barriers - "I like to create my notes with a pen on a paper"
- Involves non-trivial blend of hardware and software
- Involves non-trivial business partnership
- Serves as a test-bed for bringing the solution to more people by refining unskewing algorithms
- etc. etc.
Well executed, Evernote!
But, Evernote's Page Camera feature that was added to the iOS app does seem to work just fine with other paper (I tested Field Notes w/ graph paper). It's just 'optimized' for the paper in these notebooks, whatever that means.
And the idea of taking pics of my notebook pages with my phone is too clunky.
However, I'll grant that this is why this doesn't work * for me * and express envy for those for whom it does work for, since "on paper" all of this seems like a great idea. Having notebook pages scanned and sortable would be wonderful.
I just see a marketing partnering stunt here?? Am I missing something?
Generally in ranges of hundreds of rupees.
Just to clarify: this would really be made for those who have awful handwriting (like me), so only a small part of your page would need to be written carefully and eventually digitized to be searchable.
In my opinion this is a good glimpse of digital and analog life working in harmony instead of dictating you have to live with either one.
Great job! Ordering mine now :)
I use Evernote for nearly everything I do. Task lists, projects, ideas, goals. Evernote saves me one of my most precious resources: time. I've worked Evernote into my daily workflow for getting things done.
And I have a stack of Moleskines I've used for reminders, sketches, random thoughts that I scratch down in a hurry throughout my day.
This is the perfect product for my everyday use. Looking forward to when they arrive (they will ship in October). I just wonder if I bought enough of them.
Does anyone know of a good intro guide to Evernote?