Initially I didn't like the genetic bottleneck created by just having one pair (i.e. that they should go back and get more now that they know how to care for them, perhaps as a swap) - but then I realized the original source on the island was probably a single individual, so they are all probably virtually clones anyway.
Once they have enough they should sell some - tons of people would be delighted to keep them as pets, and it would remove the risk of having them in just one location.
They look just about damn disgusting, but the mental image produced by that paragraph was just so... heart-warming.
"The ultimate goal is to produce a large population for re-introduction to Lord Howe Island if the project to eradicate the invasive rats is successful."
I wonder what the 347 residents of Lord Howe Island think about this? It's an amazing story and all, but I sure wouldn't want a bunch of these insects introduced into my neighborhood.
I despise rats. Yet I find it disconcerting that the author just brushes this off as a triviality. We are perfectly happy saving one species by wiping out another.
Just imagine how fulfilling it felt as the first insect escaped from its vacuum pack...serious wow moment i imagine. I wish i was that valuable to this world...
> When the team went back to collect them, it turned out there had been a rock slide on the mountain, and at first they feared that the whole population had been wiped out.
This is why you just do things, bureaucrats be damned. Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.
I do not envy being in that situation, where a mistake seals the fate of a pretty awesome bug.
Something that annihilates both mice AND giant insects
Not only do they deliver, they are sold out in absolute record time with the sites simply collapsing under the load.
I'd chalk this one up as a success, definitely not a failure and I fully expect the second (and subsequent) runs of the RaspberryPi to have a similar effect. Kudos to Eben, Liz and the rest of the team, you guys really rock and I hope that you won't let the sourpusses ruin your fantastic day for you.
I've watched the RaspberryPi saga closely from day 1 and I'm very very happy to see it come to fruit ;)
Edit:Seriously, you send them a big box, and they mail out all the little boxes. Check it out: http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon....
Sorry for the preachy tone (it's not intended), I am sure that most people feel the same way (or something similar), but it feels like we have lost some perspective while getting up at 6am to order some electronics over the internet. This is a great day. (I have a son and the Raspberry Pi feels like the most exciting project I have seen to date)
Guess I don't get one from the first batch. Woe is me. Somehow I will survive!
You know, as problems for a startup to have go, "demand for your product is so strong the servers selling it go down within twenty minutes" is a PRETTY GOOD PROBLEM.
Of course, their servers (at the suppliers) seem to be meeting their little digital Gods at the moment. They just went static at the org.
To me this is the key point. No need to fight through the rush tonight, there will enough to go around.
In short: in Germany or Austria, you cannot buy the Raspberry Pi unless you go through an intermediary. This seems to be a really bad choice for a platform aimed at education.
And judging by the Twitter comments, at least (potential) customers in Sweden and the Netherlands have the same problem.
I guess what bothers me is how they don't seem to care too much about not being buyable by private entities in a number of European countries, or how they at least didn't bother to check up-front...
Still, I hope I can get one of the next batches somehow
I'm only being half sarcastic. I really would like to see people do cool things with these. And I will be disappointed if it turns out that 9500 of them end up in a drawer after the first weekend.
The delivery date is quoted as "week 16", which is mid-April. Oh well.
The only thing I'm a bit sad about, is that probably the distro companies will evade any consequences. And even if they didn't, it would probably hit some random guys and not anyone really responsible for the incompetency.
Edit: I think I would feel some evil (bad, bad me!) satisfaction if R-Pi Foundation would punish the distro corps by not letting them distribute any further batches of R-Pi for as long as possible. But again, that would probably hurt most the common employees, not the management.
"But you don't have to wait. With our world class system you can be confident you can get what you want when want it. Did you know while you listened to this message you could have placed your order online."
The Raspberry Pi is now listed on Newark/element14 (Farnell's US site): http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/dp/83T1943
It's $35, although there's also a 30 day lead time and a $20 handling fee (because it's shipping directly from the UK).
RS Online: +44 8457 201201 Farnell: +44 8447 111111
Given the nature of HN I'm intrigued to see what unique and innovate ideas people here may have...
(7:45am Wednesday 29th Feb)
The traffic for those websites generally is very low, I can't imagine that they are ready for anything to what they are seeing right now.
I do wish they had also launched with Digikey my favourite electronic parts distributor. Their shipping is always top notch and their service is absolutely fantastic.
They tweeted at 6am to link to the page, then not since.
Farnell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/farnellnews
They at least tweeted at 6.30 to say they are trying to fix the problems.
> Site unavailable > Our websites are currently unavailable whilst we perform a scheduled system upgrade.
Not being snotty or anything, I just literally can't find any information on the site.
So the extra $10 will only buy you an ethernet and spare USB port now; makes the $35 a harder sell (but not tonight, of course).
Apparently someone from RS sales has now said they aren't selling any until the end of the week! How insanely disorganised.
And 10K was also clearly never going to be close-- there were even far more forum members than this. I wouldn't be so grumpy if they didn't make me get up at 6AM for this crap.
I've got a BeagleBoard C2 and a BeagleBone to play with until then...
(but the servers are still melting, so the buy links weren't working)
If you want to build the killer app for the 21st century, figure out how to help people route money and physical objects globally, with all these obnoxious borders abstracted away. ;-)
Availability: Awaiting Delivery
... so back to work...
OLPC comes with: screen, case, power supply, battery, cam, Source Code, wifi, training, & doesn't require Â£400 TV that can run code already.
I guess in the end it is worth it though. The amount of hype that surrounds selling out is great.
That's from RS's Twitter feed. Not exactly the praises I'd sing right now.
This does not bode well to the quality of the product itself, the lack of basic skills and forethought is frightening. After all that "we know what we are doing" talk I guess we can now point and laugh.
Facebook has done a really good job solving the problems of information overload and would provide a good model. The most important step is to group updates from each project. Right now half of my news feed is comments on a single repository. Those should take up only one or two slots.
The next step is to filter according to some metric of "interestingness." This is more challenging, but clearly solvable using machine learning (let us tag posts as interesting or not interesting to train the classifier).
I'd love to see GitHub make the news feed more useful. It's currently the most unpleasant part of an otherwise nearly perfect experience.
There's a lot of projects I want to remember but don't necessarily care about the daily activity.
And no, browser bookmarks aren't good enough. A nice faved/starred page would show stats and maybe last commit/activity. That's it.
No need to turn off anything, just make it smart.
I've often wanted to write and broadcast a note or short msg (not a commit), that is deemed more important than a commit, about project goings-on and updates. Would be good to announce properly when there are serious changes or new features. Perhaps done with tags, but it needs to be prominence some how, it is all lost in the commit feed atm.
"Little Forgotten Project has two updates? Cool! I'd forgotten all about that neat idea, let's see what they've been up to."
I watch projects where I actually care about and want to see the changes. Because I'm doing actual useful things and the social aspects of github help me do that.
I'm not on github to engage in some kind of social network circle jerk popularity contest to collect the most "watchers". I know a lot of people are and it makes them feel really important to follow a bunch of projects and pretend they're "in the know" or part of the project just because they clicked the watch button.
But every site doesn't need it's own different kind of bookmarks, that's a stupid waste of time. Other startups do it to drive viral growth or to "increase engagement" or some other BS reason. Github drives growth by being useful to developers and other collaborators. As soon as they start sacrificing power for people collaborating on code projects in order to satisfy the fanboys they risk losing their primary draw, the good projects that use github because it's useful.
I doubt this will happen, although I can definitely see why they would add an in-site bookmark to appease this crowd since they apparently don't know how to use client side bookmarks.
I generally only care that a thread/project was updated. If I'm interested, I'll go in and look at what's new. Letting me know more than once just makes it harder to actually keep track of things you care about.
There are a lot of interesting projects, but I only want to follow those immediately relevant to what I am doing.
I don't think having a timeline where you see all commits of all projects sorted by time really helps. The commits in project A don't effect the commits in project B, so they do not need to be viewed in sequence or relation to each other.
Let me have a dashboard where I can see all my projects then some recent/popular issues and commits to that project, keeping all projects separate.
Don't add a like/favorite/bookmark button, I think that's too many options. Watch already says "I'm interested in this", so we don't need additional buttons to express the same thought.
In the mean time you can checkout the video of it working or if you're feeling brave download the alpha version of the extension.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/110983919160550210204/11098391... [video & download links]
What I see is that it is incredibly rare for a project to lose watchers. It seems that people are using GitHub's watch feature as a bookmarking service.
On a side note, GitEgo tracks two[1,2] of paulasmuth's GitHub repositories, and neither of them has "lost lost around 30 watchers by the evening." He may be referring to other projects on GitHub, but even Twitter Bootstrap (the most popular GitHub project), almost never loses watchers. Granted, these projects could all be gaining just a few more watchers than they are losing per hour, but the net effect is almost always a gain each day.
I think the real problem is that watching a repository doesn't engage a user in its contents. Watching commit messages fly by isn't as entertaining as reading 140 characters someone groomed for public consumption.
It's not twitter, stop playing the "follower count" game.
Activate a 'quiet' mode? In quiet mode nothing is sent to people's feeds.
Daily Digest mode. Daily digest would do just that. Lump all update in a day into 1 news feed.
I'd be happy with either option.
In my opinion as git being a tool to transparently see any and every thing changing. If you some how want less than that, perhaps you shouldn't subscribe to (aka watch) a "repository."
Ultimately, maybe the right thing for github to do would be to group nearby commits, but still summarize them and easily let you dive into them. This is code after all and almost any time I've updated a dependency, it's been because of the small details. In my accounts of the companies I've worked for, subscribing to the repositories we use, seeing every commit has served a lot of value. Just watching because it's some popular repository did not.
[watch] [fork] [watchers] [forks]
With this I often click "watchers" when I want to watch a repository. To me, much better solution would be something like this:
[watch | watchers] [ fork | forks]
I have the same problem with RSS. I feel like this is a generic problem that needs solving.
Better yet, RubyGems collects that information without any user input.
It would be awesome if the # of downloads could be shown on a GitHub project page.
Then, make tags the exception -- since they are likely being used for releases.
>If you commit "too often", people will get annoyed and unwatch you.
So don't watch projects you're not interested in watching and leave the Facebook mentality at Facebook. Issue closed.
I couldn't imagine not working on my projects out of fear that somebody who's feigning interest might stop feigning interest. Who thinks like this?
I'd really like to see the browsers take on this practice. Safari, for example disables 3rd party cookies by default, but leaves open this huge hole via Flash.
> If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
Mozilla, of course, offers a free browser. Their funding ultimately comes from the "collusion" they're talking about here and the search traffic they generate feeds it. More directly, you can argue that they sell our search data to the highest(?) bidder. Why isn't DDG the default search provider? Why aren't third party cookies disabled by default and the Do Not Track header enabled by default?
These are actually hard questions, and trite soundbites that ignore actual economics and the tensions inherent in the internet we have today do us no favors. Transparency is the answer in many of these problems we've created for ourselves, I believe, but we need to be able to talk about them with equal intellectual clarity.
edit: as an example, I really liked EFF's Peter Eckersley's quotes in the ars technica article on DNT today:
1. Tracking ad frequency and performance (e..g, did you buy something after you saw an ad; don't show you more than X ads for a given product)
2. ID synchronization between ad exchanges, ad buyers, and data targeters
3. Retargeting (e.g., showing you an ad after you've been to a site)
4. 3rd party data: things like guessing whether you're interested in cars or ceramic figurines and selling the ability to target you with ads
5. Site performance data (omniture, google analytics etc)
To answer an issue which Nostromo and others have brought up, I am well aware that the addon is incomplete until it also includes data on Flash cookies, tracking pixels, localstorage, iframes, useragent fingerprinting, etc. I plan to add all of these things; the bug for adding Flash cookies is at https://github.com/toolness/collusion/issues/22 and I would greatly appreciate help with implementation from anyone who's interested (hint, hint!)
I'm also working on making the graph actionable, i.e. you should be able to click any node and say "Block" (or "whitelist" for sites you are OK with). Firefox already has the ability to set site-specific 3rd party cookie policies, but the interface to it can charitably be described as "for experts only". Collusion could provide a much more usable way to control your browser's policies.
The graph, for those who asked, is drawn using d3.js and SVG.
The demo does not require flash; it uses SVG. You just have to click "click here".
This demo only showed me 3 cookies from IMDB (which I browsed in this session I guess).
Note: the "restore my last session" link in firefox will work against this setting and reload your cookies from the last session.
My config is as follows:
1. AdBlock (+privacylist)
4. HTTPS Everywhere
5. /etc/hosts with common tracking hosts pointing to 127.0.0.1
7. Disable 3rd party cookies
8. Uninstall Flash (when I need Flash, I use Chrome)
9. Configure Chrome Flash to not allow any local storage
10. about:config set dom.storage.enabled to false.
This is just a start and it would be nice to have some consistent way to disable localstorage.
I know it sounds strange, but it doesn't bother me one bit.
It also seems to want to push some graph nodes off the screen.
It sniffs your local packets and tells you all the sites that connect to your computer while you browse.
Then I organize them by number of times connected to your computer. It reveals some really weird sites. Like somehow pandora knows my age and sex....
Will try it out on OS X later ...
- They are not friendly, have a real attitude problem and treat you as if you are guilty before proven innocent. You are the face of the country, the first impression every traveler gets. When i say "how are you doing?" as i approach, its what i say to everyone. Have the common decency to say "Yeah i'm ok" or "Not so great" rather than just looking at me like i'm an idiot.
- The TSA doesn't make it clear that they are just specific to the USA. When boarding planes in another country you hear about the "TSA" and you're like "who the hell is this International body that rules transport?". They are private agents of the US, no different to the guards that any other country has. This should be explicitly clear, because they act like gods.
- They seriously invade my privacy and treat me as if i have no rights just because im from somewhere else. Nothing says "Welcome to the USA" like having your body photograph, fingerprints taken (the finger printing seriously bothers me...i cant explain why because i dont know why, but it seriously bothers me is all i can say) and some border guard with an attitude problem treating you like you've turned up to take all the jobs. So much freedom, give me a break...
Moving all invasions of privacy aside, forgetting about how effective or ineffective the TSA is...i just hate the way they treat people. They have a reputation to up hold, they are everyone's first impression of the US and...given the USA's global reputation today, they could really do with some advice from Rackspace on how to deal with customers.
EDIT: Fixing my spelling of "planes" :-(
Don't get me wrong, the agency can be full of the most wonderful and talented dedicated intelligent people imaginable. I kind of doubt it, but it doesn't make a difference. If the paradigm of the agency is seriously broken, it'll never do anything but prolong the problem. If anything, it'll make the problem of terrorism worse (for many reasons too involved to go into here.)
After 9-11 we overreacted and created a monster. We've created a system where the general public is the "enemy". Is the system so broken that even after this is obvious to 90% of the public we still can't get rid of the TSA? </rant>
I know when I go on like this about the TSA that I sound like somebody running around with their hair on fire, but dammit, out of the dozen or so major intrusions on my privacy and life by the security state and corporate system over the last 20 years, the TSA is like a poster child for what's went wrong. Good intentions, a real (but very small) threat, bipartisan support, a mission to support air travel safety (something everybody is for). The problem is although it's great at getting votes, it's just not worth the trade-off. And it's such a political football that nobody can touch it. We're giving up too much for way too little in return. And it looks from here like the change is going to be permanent, no matter what we say or do about it.
His argument for random screening was more original (to me, at least): Certain terrorist organisations shy away from risk. Make the risk of failure high enough, and they won't strike. He proposes that 10% risk of failure is the sweet spot (based on his own experience with Al Qaeda) and says that thoroughly searching a random selection of 10% of the passengers will result in 10% failure.
Two things don't add up there, in my eyes. First of all, you just told us that there is no security anyway: the iPod cable thing, naked tied up people. What if a terrorist was among the 10% "unlucky" ones, and he had simply been clever enough to think of a solution not covered by your screening process? Granted, the more thorough searches will be harder to "beat", but allegedly even very ordinary items can be used to do bad stuff. And while the fact of the search will be unpredictable, the process of the search will probably be just as predictable as before: with 10% of all passengers being searched, the procedures can't hope to remain secret. So I guess you have to rely on being extremely thorough; with the thoroughness of a search probably coinciding with the amount of inconvenience caused by it.
Secondly, he does rely on the failure probability of 10% being enough to stop an attack. That might be what it takes to stop some organisations now, but other organisations might not be as risk averse, others might change their mind in the future (particularly if such a strategy is adopted). Obviously operations other than random screening will increase the failure probability beyond 10% anyway, but that is beside the point; as is the fact that he only addresses screening while also reporting that many threats originate from persons that are never screened because they are not passengers.
Apart from the random screening argument, he addresses the impropriety of backscatter scanners. There is nothing new there at all. Apparently this is a huge issue to a large percentage of the population. Apparently, having a person of the same sex look at your naked picture would be an improvement. I don't really get it, personally. Maybe I'm a hippie.
All that said, I guess his random search procecure would be a net improvement to most passengers, with his argument standing and falling depending on whether or not you buy into the risk-aversity argument. And of course if you assume that neither procedure gets you any notable amount of security, as could be argued from his first point, the procedure with the least amount of convenience -- his -- wins.
(I didn't flag this article; it's pretty great.)
Say what? I see the same people railing against both, all the time.
I always just assumed that sooner or later they'd start issuing us some sort of jumpsuits and we wouldn't be allowed to fly in "street clothes". Sadly that sounds almost reasonable in this climate. Or at least no less reasonable than some of the other stuff they do.
The worlds most expensive security theater. Making you feel safer for your troubles.
E.g., "Another time, I was bypassing screening (again on official FBI business) with my .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a TSA officer noticed the clip of my pocket knife. "You can't bring a knife on board," he said."
"With the congressional spotlight on the organization, TSA is finally feeling what it's like to be screened."
A friend of mine was traveling through various airports in the states. He had accidentally left his pencil bag in his back pack which had a pair of scissors in it. The scissors were over the length allowed on a plaine (Something like 4" is considered safe.)
He went through 2 security checks in the states, and boarded planes with these scissors in his back pack. It wasn't until he went through a simple, small security check in a small Canadian air port that they were found and confiscated.
I find it funny that he made it through all this elaborate security in the States, and a simple security check in Canada with a Security guard who did his job well found the scissors.
I couldn't believe he didn't finish the last paragraph of his background with "I am the most interesting man in the world."
This doesn't sit quite right with me. I could be wrong but I don't imagine a conservative would fancy themselves a "supporter of the United States government." That sounds more like, right or wrong, what a liberal thinks of a conservative (and what a conservative thinks of a liberal, for that matter).
Supporter of "the troops" or "the nation" sure, but "the government" seems a bit off.
A stronger argument could be to show that in none of the countries that do not adopt TSA-like measures there have been any terrorist attempts, let alone successful.
How easy would it be to board in, say, Mexico or Canada, and hijack the flight to the US?
EDIT: looking at the comments (and the downvotes) I have the feeling that I wasn't clear. I agree with the article pretty much on everything, I'm just trying to say that where there are no body scanners deployed, for example in Europe, there have been no terrorist attacks, and I think that this is a stronger argument than "the TSA hasn't prevented any attack".
He says there was no outcry over the backscatters. That's just out of touch; it was all over the Internet and even major news media back around November of 2010. Liberals and conservatives alike found the idea of their nude images too far. This kept backscatters from being deployed for the most part; have you ever seen one?
Seems to me that the TSA has changed their backscatter approach since then. Instead of showing the full images to security personnel it will do some computational analysis of the images and then represent any anomalies on a simple drawing of a human. The people going through the machine will see the same images the TSA will. See this image: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2012/02/TSA-Bo...
Nobody likes waiting in line or taking off their shoes. But I'd much rather do that than let people get onto my plane with explosives. Forget patriotism, it's a matter of your own personal safety.
And how well's that working for them?
â¢ All of the revenue for the thousands of vendors in the Apple App Store together for 2011: $3.6 billion
â¢ Oracle's revenue alone for 2011: $36 billion
Notice that decimal point there? There's a reason it's in a different place. I don't like the enterprise sales process â" being on either side of it, and I have to be on both at times. But the reason I'll do it is because our customers demand it and folks at that level, when a deal closes, pay enough to make it worth it.
It's the same on payment methods, actually. We got dragged, grudgingly, by our enterprise customers to allow paying by purchase order / ACH because that's how their purchasing departments expect to do things. It's not like we were going to tell them, "no".
There's no software priced between $1000 and $75,000. I'll tell you why. The minute you charge more than $1000 you need to get serious corporate signoffs. You need a line item in their budget. You need purchasing managers and CEO approval and competitive bids and paperwork. So you need to send a salesperson out to the customer to do PowerPoint, with his airfare, golf course memberships, and $19.95 porn movies at the Ritz Carlton. And with all this, the cost of making one successful sale is going to average about $50,000. If you're sending salespeople out to customers and charging less than $75,000, you're losing money. The joke of it is, big companies protect themselves so well against the risk of buying something expensive that they actually drive up the cost of the expensive stuff, from $1000 to $75000, which mostly goes towards the cost of jumping all the hurdles that they set up to insure that no purchase can possibly go wrong.
The second paragraph is the key. Alex, these people aren't trying to piss you off, they're being driven by what BigCo wants from them. BigCo won't let a manager try some software and declare that it meets their needs. BigCo demands that vendors respond to RFPs and RFQs, and if one vendor puts no-nonsense pricing on their web site, all of their competitors will undercut them by a penny or so and they won't get any sales.
I could go on, but Joel has made the point: These annoying vendors have evolved to sell to those annoying customers. It isn't the vendors that need to go extinct, it's BigCo. BigCo buys cloud services in 2012 the way it bought time sharing in 1972, so the vendors are still using 1972 sales processes in 2012.
I agree with the first part -- always ask people for permission, probably by kicking them a sweetener (e.g. "1 month email course on X"). I have data that I cannot show you which is in you-could-run-your-company-on-just-this-trick violent disagreement with the second point here. If you don't like email, cool, but email is worth serious money in B2B software sales. (So are salespeople, by the way, even at pricepoints lower than you'd think would warrant a salesman. Think "4 figure LTV." + )
Also, at the risk of stating the obvious, every email-deleting-salesmanship-hating engineer in the world could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow and neither buyers or sellers of enterprise software would notice until several months later when trying to figure out why the sales engineers stopped submitting expense reports.
+ Addendum: Joel Spolsky's famous Camels and Rubber Duckies article talks about there being basically two price points for sales now, but a combination of a better delivery mechanisms - SaaS - and better sales procedures/technologies opens up a bunch of very interesting options in the middle for something between BCC $30 "Every email from a customer is a wonderful opportunity to fix that from happening ever again" and steak-dinners-and-Powerpoint-decks enterprise sales for $75k+.
I have some amount of knowledge about this these days, since I help my clients implement it. If you're interested in hearing more, say so, I'll try to blog it (some day when I get out from a mountain of work and email).
But in real enterprises, I don't have a credit card. I don't even have authority to purchase. (There is a whole department named "procurement" for that.) But I need to see "sales decks", do webinars, talk to salesmen trying to understand my needs and saying yes to every question I ask, download trial versions, spec out requirements, do a business case, write up a recommendation to management, and figure out how complex software with lots of optional modules fits within our existing environment. It could take months to make a purchase decision on some software. In the past year, my current client has paid to fly me 500 miles away (a few times actually) to talk to salespeople face to face to get product demos and talk strategy before the ink is signed on the purchase order. These decisions are not easy nor quick nor cheap.
I understand the frustration in this post. I respect this model doesn't work at smaller scales. The current model is not perfect at larger scales. But $50,000 a year software doesn't get sold by credit card online nor through "app stores". Any company that tried to switch away from the old model and follow the new model at that level would fail, I believe.
There are also pretty obvious economic reasons why companies with 5-figure customer LTVs might avoid credit card billing. There are services that work well with metered billing, but many others in which customers will demand flat licensing.
I can also absolutely see why Github would would to keep a pretty tight handle on who's trialing what is in effect a packaged-up version of one of the most important software sites on the Internet. We're a FI customer. Incidentally, on the scale of "enterprisey" sales processes, they were an absolute dream to work with.
You will not go to the Oracle app store and it will not have a database of all the large corporate IPs in the world with which it can reverse engineer your available funds and likely chain of purchase decision, and it will not then just put up a few million dollar for that year figure that you can click and instantly pay with your credit card.
Strippers must be witnessed, steaks must be consumed, conferences must be attended, rounds of golf must be played, lip service must be paid to ridiculous conceptual bugaboos, the purchasing bureaucracy must be reverse engineered, the chaff must be sorted from the wheat, starched collars must be preened, ignorant men in suits must be consulted as if their opinion had worth. And this is of course only the parodied incomplete summary of the entire horrifying affair.
Oracle and their ilk are feasting on elephants. Some would even fairly say mammoths; they are big, fat and move very slowly. The entire idea that a strategy could be formulated, evaluated, shopped for signatures to the relevant parties, signed off on by the law department, agreed to and generally made in the amount of time it takes to make a purchase with the paradigm offered as an example in this scenario is likely terrifying if not utterly extraterrestrial to them.
Practically everyone buying software for mobile or from Apple? In the rest of the world almost no desktop software is selling through app stores, one click or otherwise.
our current sales cycle includes a lot of the negatives that you point out. however, we're up front with our pricing while our competitors aren't.
we actually created a product that did nearly exactly what you said. we didn't get nearly as many customers with that method. people would sign up (sometimes) and when they did, they tended not to pay once their 30 day free trial was up. our conversion rates sucked. we ended up canceling that product and removing it from our site after 8 months.
when we have a webinar with a sales call, our closure rates increase dramatically. customers tend not to pay by credit card even when given the option.
i actually think you're 100% right for many, many products. but i don't think it'd work in my boring b2b industry.
edit: we probably didn't do enough experimentation on the small product as we should have, so i take some of the blame for that.
Products that are more expensive tend to also be more involved. A lot of times, the sales team needs to understand how the customer is going to use the product and help them get it up and running. HubSpot is probably a good example of this. From my understanding, the way they nailed their retention problem back in the day was to go through extensive training / onboarding with each customer.
Simply leaving customers to their own devices on a complicated product is quite often horrible for conversions, which is a wasted opportunity for the vendor and inconveniences a potentially customer that might have otherwise been perfectly happy with the product after learning how it works.
Here's the logic re: Alex's points:
1. Requiring a sales call helps qualify real leads.
2. Lack of trialing the software is in part due to wanting to have a conversation with you.
3. Hiding your pricing is simply the way to have a conversation and to qualify leads. It makes price discrimination also possible. Think about selling a startup vs. IBM.
4. Whitepapers are just old school. It's useful for when lower-tier decision makers need to present something.
5. Newsletters are simply a way to be in the conversation with your company prior to when you buy--constantly.
6. Larger organizations sub-divide their resources into people who can do X or Y. Where X sometimes primes the customer for Y. It's not done to the customer's benefit, but rather to the organizations.
7. Old school.
8. Well, the truth is, cold calling can work even though it has a fairly low conversion rate. You have to start somewhere.
I am not saying we do any of this at Mixpanel necessarily, but it's the simple logic of enterprise.
But, then again, I'm thinking more in terms of "companies who are willing to host their own software, want 'best of breed' solutions, have extensive integration requirements," etc. Sure Google Docs is fine for plenty of firms, but there are firms who want an DMS that integrates with Active Directory, ties into their workflow / approval systems, etc.
I guess the point is that "enterprise software" covers a pretty broad swathe of scenarios and situations...
Don't require that I waste my time on a sales call â" or, worse, in a âwebinarâ â" before I can give you my money. Instead, provide all the information I need about your product on your website.
We'd love to. The truth is it is the customers who ask for demonstrations, walk-thoughs and tours of the software. I spent weeks training to learn how this software works, who it is a good fit for and who it is not a good fit for. It's simply not realistic to think every product can be explained on a website and comprehended without misconceptions. Also, a robust software suite has many, many user needs. Creating a web site which is custom tailored to each need type is a very high permutation.
Don't make it hard for me to try your software. If I can't play with a trial version or sandbox immediately, I'm moving on.
Don't assume you know how to use it and can make an adequate evaluation in that 2 - 10 minutes you will spend on the trial version. Also, the purchaser is often not the same person as the user. I want them on the phone as well to make sure they have the need and skills to utilize what I have to sell. If you buy something that is a poor fit, I may have your money now but you will bury me with support and complaints later on. That's not worth it.
Don't hide your pricing behind a sales process, and don't play pricing games. I can find and talk to your other customers basically instantly in order to determine what they paid for your product and if they're getting the value they expected from it. I will do this. So just put the price of what you're selling on your site and skip the games.
How much is a website? Just tell me how much it costs to build a web site and skip the games. /snark. How much is a house? It depends on if you are talking about an outhouse or the White House. I don't know what kind house you want when you are looking at our site. Also, if you could teach everyone to do that competitive research you claim to be able to do, I would appreciate it. If all customers could become as educated as you claim you can become before buying my stuff, I'd be printing money.
Don't make me read a whitepaper in order to get essential information about your product. Put it on your website. In HTML. Not in a PDF, not in Flash, not in Silverlight or ActiveX or whatever. What your product does, on your website, in HTML.
That's just a way to collect your contact info to follow up. It is a poor method. I am in sales and I am not giving anyone my contact info for a white paper either. But if you are getting something of value from me, I want something from you.
Don't automatically sign me up for a newsletter about your company or product when I give you my contact information. Ideally, don't request my contact information at all until I'm giving you money.
If you went through the white paper form mentioned above, you probably never read the text next to the submit button saying "okay to contact me". Businesses should not use this method, consumers should not patronize it.
Don't make it hard for me to talk to a technical person at your company about the nitty gritty details of how your product works. If you don't provide a forum for those discussions, someone else will, and you won't control it.
Sure, you can speak with my development folks. You and everyone else who wants to know how we built what we built before spending a single dollar with us. Also, don't assume that your sales person doesn't know. Ask them. If they can't answer your question, they should be able to find the answer quickly. If they can't, you just learned you shouldn't buy their product. Move on.
Don't make it hard for me to pay for your product. I have a credit card. I also have a PayPal account, a Google payments account, and an Amazon payments account. Any of those are fine (although PayPal is not ideal). Any other billing process is not.
If I charge $10,000 for something, I'm not going to give PayPal a cut of that as well. Also, you having access to those payment methods doesn't mean you have the authority to use them. I've been burned by that quite a bit.
This should go without saying, but don't cold call or spam me. If your product is good and meets my needs, I promise that I'll find out about it.
This is just a pollyanna way of looking at it. Spam is wrong, nothing to debate with on that. But yes, I will cold call you if I identify you as someone who may need what I have. If you don't want my product, don't ask me to call later, don't refer me to the intern to while away the hours with pointless questions. Just say no, you are not interested. I will listen and be happy to move on to the next customer.
Now the company I worked for had a policy to only obtain computery things through a supplier, which would be a local vendor or shop selling this software. The trick is, nobody does that for some random software on the interwebs that's only $50. The purchasing process itself also cost something like $700 for any individual invoice.
So two minions and a purchasing manager set off on a journey to find a supplier for this software, with my boss, my office manager, and me constantly nagging them, as it was urgent. After two weeks they came back and said it was sadly impossible to buy this software. We ended up shipping our software late due to the delay, and buying the tool from Amazon, expensing it as a book.
Moral of the story: the old BigCos indeed force this behaviour out of suppliers.
If they think they are, there is an astronomically high chance something will be wrong. And you know who takes the blame for that? The company with the logo on the software that doesn't work right. That and the guy who did it wrong. The argument scales as the software and customer does, but it's still a truth. Unless your software is dead simple, if you give people enough rope they will cause problems. That prevents the company from more opportunities, makes the customer's life difficult, etc.
The solution to this is to be hands on as much as possible before things are implemented. Properly done, it's mutually beneficial spent time. It would be logical to compare the complexity of the product solution (see steps above) to the amount of pre-sales steps required.
Disclosure: Pre-sales engineer for big software/hardware
It'd probably be best to serve a company to be able to test whether or not it serves you best to force customers into a hand held sales process or let everything remain DIY.
I've created a ton of self serve from the get go.
For example: In one thing, we have so many tire kickers startup their site and do their thing, but then we find out, that they completely screw up how to even get started. It might be we just haven't figured out how to design it better. But we've been designing it and iterating on it for years. It's simply something that's a bit hard to understand until someone explains it in words. And since people tend to hate reading and skip the manual, without knowing what's going on, they screw up, and think the product doesn't work. So the solution to that might just be "lets force them into a process so we can make sure they have the best startup experience possible, and we'll be more successful with more sales". That could very well be an outcome. But you never know unless you split test that sales/conversion process.
The Enterprise software sales process is about navigating big businesses' procurement processes, and helping the buyer build a business case that the enterprise will accept.
I'm going through this pain myself. I work for a startup, and some of the vendors we are talking to are clearly geared up to sell 'Enterprise' software to 'Enterprises'.
But I'm CTO of a small startup, and I just want to know what the damn software does, and how much it costs. There's no procurement process, probably not much of a (detailed) business case. I need to buy or build something, and I need to know how much it will cost to buy.
What I do think the writer is correct about, is that software selling is moving towards a self-service/appstore model (not that I see Enterprise software sales disappearing very quickly) and eventually the Internet is likely to disrupt it like many other industries.
All that said, I also found the Enterprise Software sales model really painful when I worked for an Enterprise level business ("Hello IBM, can I buy a database from you?" "Yes, please meet with our sales team of 24 people as a first step")
Want placement on that rocket? 10.9 million regardless of who you are. From there, if you're a serious customer they'll begin the onboarding process. I love it.
"How Not to Sell Software [to Small Companies] in 2012."
This blog post should be titled "How Not to Sell Software to Alex Payne".
They'll change their minds when they become an enterprise.
Listen: we don't do things that way because we like layers of bureaucracy, and long, tedious meetings.
Well, some of us don't.
Enterprise customers and vendors operate that way because it's the easiest, most painless way to get stuff done.
If it wasn't, we wouldn't do it that way.
- Edit for typos
I work in the semiconductor industry which is rife with webinars, field sales/apps engineers, etc. I hate it, but in some ways it's a wacky industry where you have a garden variety of customers ranging from grad students wanting free samples for a science project, to Apple/Dell wanting to cut your margins to nothing while lying that their volumes will be huge when they're also just testing out a science project.
You end up with a problem where you don't know how much effort your apps engineers will have to spend working with a customer and whether their time was worth working with them. So you end up with negotiators called sales people/field engineers. In theory it works unless those negotiators are bent on extracting as many commissions as possible, and/or don't walk into the right markets.
Given that, I'm not sure why I should pay too much attention to the rest of the post. I'd rather take advice from people who successfully sell a lot of software or otherwise have experience in buying it.
> Practically everyone who's paying for software is doing so through an app store
This is a very myopic view, though unsurprising given the previous disclaimer.
Besides the enterprise "shrink-wrapped" software market (see wheels commment), there's also a huge market for custom software.
If you're product targets early stage companies and doesn't cost 5+ figures monthly, and you sell software this way, then, yes, you're doing something wrong.
1) Don't ask me why/when/where/how I will use my brand-new software
2) Don't force me to "try" other software just because I bought one
3) Don't force me to give you informations that are not strictly correlated with the purchase
That's the biggest reason it's still done this way. I think.
Wasn't open source the first mover here? apt has been around for.. 13 years?
The joke is, quite a few enterprise vendors will ask you to sign some sort of NDA before they'll even show you a demo. And of course you'll pay before ever having tried the software. "Trials" â" are you mad?
> Heck, even free/open software people have an app > store these days
Little off the cuff remarks can expose ignorance quickly. Not something you want to do when trying to convince your readers of a more complex point.
It also makes the reader wonder what else you just threw in there because it sounded kinda right and you maybe heard it somewhere.
If you couldn't get that little thing right, I have so much less trust when I get to a part of the post that I don't know as much about.
Part of the problem Alex is seeing (and I've seen) is that the startup/small business segment just isn't that big, and vendors are usually fine with ignoring it and losing out on revenue. I do a lot of stuff on the side and have tried to buy licenses for some enterprise products, and even mid-sized vendors aren't really interested in talking to me. Large vendors like Oracle and IBM are heavily optimized toward selling to big businesses who need a purchasing process to take months and aren't as sensitive to price. The App Store model is 99%+ consumer-oriented.
Unfortunately, a lot of startups and small Enterprise vendors end up recruiting sales and marketing people who have been successful at larger vendors, so the same practices get implemented.
I blame this mostly on purchasing practices that are largely centered around managers mitigating risk. The risk they are most interested in mitigating is the risk that they'll get fired for making (or approving) a bad purchasing decision. Vendors are happy to play along, since it usually means they can make more money out of the deal.
This is to solve the problem that when I stumble upon a service that has a trial period, I have a strong urge to see what it's like, but am afraid that I will forget about the service for n-1 days, when I will get an email telling me that the trial has ended and I haven't gotten around to explore it fully.
Say, for example, I want to try out a project management suite. If I have a split trial period, I can explore the features and overall feel of the product for myself on a day and then prepare my workmates to use it in a test project, and only start the second part of the period when we are ready.
Has anyone thought deeper about the advantages and disadvantages of this?
I am personally in 100% agreement that it should be App Store simple but reality proves more complicated than that. It is disappointing but not surprising.
You have to talk to a sales person.Then watch a webinar.Then take TRAINING?!?!!
Just to maybe get a demo.
If you assume that he's correct about the demographic changes and the consumer tastes, do you think he'll be right about the benefits of the Enterprise Sales Process evaporating over the next 5-15 years? I think that's a good bet.
It is hard to optimize for _both_ kinds of customers, but it is certainly not impossible.
I wrote about 'The Other App Store' (organic search) on similar lines - http://blog.roveb.com/post/12003627967/the-other-app-store
Making the buying process time consuming significantly reduces the value proposition for those who are time constrained.
At first I was pretty supportive of Stratfor, and thought that Anonymous attacking Stratfor was completely stupid.
However, a couple of things from the news release caught my eye. I guess I was naive, but I believed that Strafor was more like a news agency, and they would do their best work to uncover information, analyze breaking situations, and supply information to its members.
However, from reading the news release from Wikileaks, I get the vague sense that maybe Stratfor was gathering a lot more information than I thought, using it to their advantage, and then throwing a bone to its subscribers every now and then, just enough to keep them subscribing and generating income.
It certainly seems like there's a lot more going under the covers than I anticipated. The comment about "Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase." makes it seem like Friedman is more than willing to make anyone their pawns, including subscribers.
Also, the idea of their StratCap Fund really kind of makes me question exactly what they are. I thought their motivations were really about analysis and information, but I kind of don't believe that now. At first, I didn't think the emails themselves were important, but now I'm definitely going to be keeping a close eye on whatever gets turned up from this point on.
(Side note: it's entirely possible to support Wikileaks and still think Assange is kind of a jerk.)
TLDR: US Government got mud on its face, but dictators around the world faired much worse, and the fallout for them is ongoing.
If Wikileaks were truly about bringing secret information to light, wouldn't they be protecting other leak organizations, rather that exposing their sources?
"WikiLeaks is about to launch a distributed, encrypted "Facebook for revolutionaries" (https://wlfriends.org/)."
I see no evidence it's truely distributed though.
At one point in time Wikileak's stated mission was just to leak information, and this was done without â" comparatively â" much fanfare.
What we see now is a change of tactics. If the ultimate goal is not simply to leak information, but to effect change, then what is the best way to do this?
A coordinated, simultaneous release has a better chance of being noticed by more people and thus a greater chance of effecting some meaningful change.
We can disagree on tactics. Assuming you believe their goals are reasonable, what else could they do? I'm not suggesting there are not other options, but I rarely read any suggestions of a better way.
I was beginning to wonder what kind of job that skill set can land you.
I bet there'll bee som interesting, actionable material in there.
A glossary of the intelligence jargon that they use, written in an entertaining style.
If stratfor was gathering intelligence and buying silence for Dow, then it would be indictment and self implication
* Fuck yeah, america!!!! killing our own troups just because* Fuck yeah, amerida!!?! killing everyone just because.
I'm getting tired of Wikileak's bullshit. Either you have proof about this and you should just publish it in a pastebin, or you shut up. You don't publish 5 million emails and hint that there is material in there that could take down governments.
The same pertains to overtime rules for employees. The U.S. does have a body of protective laws that require employers to pay overtime for excess hours worked, either by the day or by the week. But the historic relationship between employer and employee had a strong bias toward freedom of contract - that is, if an employer and an employee agreed to a certain working relationship, that was their prerogative and the government had no say in the matter. Again, this older form of unrestricted freedom led to consequences deemed repugnant as a matter of social policy (e.g., sweatshops). Thus, laws were enacted to abridge the older unrestricted freedom of contract (wage and hour laws, in the example considered here). But, as in the case of at-will rules, these laws did not disturb the large measure of freedom of contract that formerly prevailed except for the specific situations where a policy judgment was made that the workers were most vulnerable and in need of protection. Thus, U.S. overtime rules apply without question to low-skilled jobs and to low-paying jobs and to jobs where the employees have little or no independence or control over how they perform their duties. But these protective rules can and do peacefully co-exist with an equally important set of rules providing that high-skilled employees, skilled professionals, employees with substantial administrative responsibilities with managerial functions, and like positions are expressly exempted from the overtime rules. The idea is that, in a free economy, as a matter of policy, it is better for parties to retain freedom in defining the work requirements of a position than for the government to dictate protective rules where the parties are not deemed in need of protection. In other words, the employer-employee relationships for such exempt categories are deemed to be healthier if the parties are free to negotiate salary/bonuses or other compensation that is not tied to rigid rules about overtime. The laws let the parties have much more flexibility in deciding how to frame their relationships, and this basically reflects the old-style freedom of contract that has always characterized the U.S. economy. Protections were adopted as deemed necessary but they are limited as a matter of public policy. This can be seen as good or bad but it is the law in the U.S.
What does this mean in practice? It means, for example, that a computer professional can be paid a salary of $100K/yr and be asked to work like a slave, all without overtime compensation. But that same professional, if paid $30K/yr, is required to be paid overtime for excess hours worked, even if that person is on salary. One case is treated as appropriate for free choice by the parties without overriding restrictions; the other is not. And the difference, in this case, turns on the amount of salary paid - the highly-paid worker is treated as being able to protect his own interests while the relatively low-paid worker is not.
Europe clearly has taken a different approach and this too can be seen as good or bad depending on one's perspective. In general, in Europe, the idea of open-ended freedom of contract is suppressed in favor of more sweeping protective laws favoring employees. Whether this leads to a robust economy or chokes enterprise is open to debate but it clearly differs from the U.S. approach.
In this piece, the author criticizes the U.S. employment pattern as, in effect, requiring exempt computer professionals to work for free when they are required to work excessive hours tied to a fixed salary. In making this point, the author admits that his European biases are showing. The "U.S. view," if I can call it that, is not that the worker is being made to work for free but rather that the worker has not agreed to be paid by any hourly measure but rather for an overall performance to be rendered, no matter how many hours it takes. This might be regarded as "slavery," but (taking, for example, the exemption for executives) does anyone really believe that top executives have as their focus the exact number of hours worked as opposed to broader goals related to their job performance. The same can be said of professionals, as many computer professionals look primarily to the task and not to the hourly measure as the mark of their jobs. In my field, lawyers too see the hours worked as entirely secondary to their jobs. For every such executive and professional who would be deemed "helped" by overtime laws that might be extended to apply to their jobs, there would undoubtedly be many who would recoil at the limitations of suddenly not being able to do their jobs without regard to the scope of hours worked. I don't believe that most such employees see their work as "slavery" when they have to work excessive hours. I think they see it as career development. And, in any case, the U.S. law gives such employees freedom to become "slaves" if they so choose for their own reason. It is the old freedom of contract and highly skilled, highly compensated workers in the U.S. retain that freedom to choose, as do their employers.
Work-life balance is very important as well, a point the author emphasizes. He seems to have made that choice later in life (as did I) and I commend him for it. But, while I can exhort others too to strive for such balance, I will not begrudge them the choice to work exceedingly hard (especially as they are first developing in their careers) to achieve other "unbalanced" goals. People do accomplish insanely great things by working insanely hard. If they choose to do this in their work as employees, that is their privilege and, as long as they are highly-skilled and highly compensated, I say more power to them if they do it without the benefit of protective labor laws.
If I make a promise to my team that I can reasonably keep, I owe it to them to do so.
I'd generally aim to under-promise and over-deliver, while feeling like I'm making a comprable (or bigger!) contribution in comparison to my peers. After some practice at this, I got reasonably good at estimating work. I'd work 20 to 50 hours per week depending on how accurately I estimate, usually aiming for (an achieving) about 35 hours of work. Only once or twice did I ever feel like I really put in any serious "overtime" and I blame that on estimation inexperience.
I made it a point to explain this philosophy (sans actual target hours) to every manager I've ever had. I always fed them the "Work/Life Balance" party line and reminded them that if I wanted my work to be my life, I'd join a startup (I have since founded one). They all seemed to appreciate my being forthcoming.
Once or twice I got a panicked email. The team was going to miss a deadline unless I stepped up to help out! Each time I replied that I had expressed my concerns about scope and timeline during the planning meetings. I'd remind the panicked person that we could simply cut the feature (always an option for a previously shipped product) and would offer my help and time in doing so. No one ever took me up on it.
No employer has ever, ever given me free money, and I have never expected it. There for, I have never ever given an employer free time, and never ever will.
To do different is insane. It lowers one's worth since the deal is an exchange of money for time. It makes the employer think your free time is theirs to exploit and frankly damn wrong.
Like I say, the day employers give out free money is the time I give out free time.
Management decided to let me take a crack at the boot loader. Now, I was in my early 20's. I had bars to drink at, a girlfriend to get some lovin' from, and parties to go to. I didn't want to spend 60 hours a week at my desk. So, I did what any lazy hacker would do: I found an open source project that was close to what we needed. The project I started from was PPCBoot and it was started by Wolfgang Denk for the purpose of booting hardware running a Power PC processor. I spent 2 weeks telling everyone else in the company that I needed their help on X, Y or Z; getting them to write some code; and burning the new version of PPCBoot onto the flash chip. After 2 40 hour weeks, something amazing happened: it worked. It configured the hardware and handed control to linux which booted up.
Anyway, that's my reason not to spend more than 40 hours at work in a week. All of the people who I've seen put in all those hours aren't really working. They're just playing with a neat project because they've always wanted to write a boot loader. The purpose of you job isn't to write code, it's to ship a product. If you keep that in the front of your mind at all times and focus your efforts on shipping product, you can "work" 40 hours a week and code a pet project on your own time.
The author points out a lot of exceptions (eg working at a startup or somewhere where you might get something out of it). If you take out all those exceptions, you basically end up with the crap jobs.
The real problems with a crap job isn't the unpaid overtimes... it's that it's a crap jobs.
The fact is though, you get as much out of pretty much anything in life as you put in. If you want to working 9-5 5 days a week, you can probably find a job that'll let you do that if you try, which is fine, but I probably wouldn't expect anything but stagnating in it.
I too have been a contractor. Never again. It's the ultimate in transactional work . When I did do it though, I always negotiated an hourly rate. Employers love a daily rate because what is a day exactly? An hour is unambiguous.
Health insurance in the US is a problem. This is known. The lack of vacation here is (IMHO) a problem too.
I now have a great job and I have it because I put in effort (both at work and outside). YMMV.
However, he thinks that in Europe there are more human conditions. Well, this is rapidly changing towards the american system. E.g. the bail out for Greece was offered with the exchange of passing new employment rules. Some of them are enabling employers to demand for more work time without extra compensation, or to fire much more easily without specific reasons. Another nice change, not yet implemented but soon to be, the employee will not get the full monthly salary if he had any sick days.
Furthermore, the public pension funds and health care is being demolished. Soon the only option will be to get in a insurance plan offered by your company (big companies have already started to offer such plans). So except if you're one of the very few top talented people, soon you'll be very depended on your job and will be forced to accept to work more working hours without any additional benefit.
Romania has already moved that way, and Italy will follow soon. And the rest of Europe after that.
This mentality that you must sacrifice your life for the benefit of your company, it is just absurd. If the law was enforcing less working hours and bigger compensations for overtime, there wouldn't be any competitiveness excuse. And the developed world should enforce the same work rules to the developing countries.
It's absurd, especially if you think about how much the unemployment rates have risen and how much the technology today automates tasks so no humans are needed, and the production of material goods is so high that most products are never sold and end in the recycle bin. It screams about lowering the working hours and the retirement limits instead of raising them.
I've had bad jobs in my day. One I left (I was a "partner" @ startup) and it was a financially bad decision, yet it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Here is the difference between slavery & a crappy job; a person can choose to leave the crappy job even if it means living hand-to-mouth a slave can't.
I generally agree with what this author is saying. The best way to start thinking about your job is as though you are a contractor and your employer is your client. Remove the boss/employee template from your mind and start using the client/contractor template.
"I work for money. If you want loyalty, get a dog."
No, you'll pay the same as you were paying. Its just that before, you thought you were being paid $100,000 when in fact you were being paid $120,000, and out of that came your health insurance and the other (more-than-) half of your social security and income taxes.
I feel that the author's post doesn't apply in my case, because:
- Some of the problems i work on are amazing. They're interesting and fun, and i enjoy them outside the normal "work hours".
- Twitter has an "unlimited"â"be respectful to your teamâ"holiday policy. I've probably taken about 6-7 weeks off in my one and a quarter years here.
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served for free. While you might not count that as 'being paid overtime', the costs of food can add up.
- This behaviour is not required. I know people who do 9-5 and that's it. They get their work done within deadlines, and there's no issue with that.
So, am i to assume that Twitter is a huge exception? I'm not so sure. I think that while Twitter is a special environment, there are many companies that offer similar benefits.
Maybe the real statement shouldn't be "don't do unpaid overtime", but:
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." - Steve Jobs
The crazy overtime that people in the medical profession are expected to put in is probably one of the most egregious examples, because lives could literally be lost as a consequence of errors made due to lack of sleep and overwork.
Lawyers are typically worked to death at law firms.
Wall St is famous for making people slave away virtually non-stop -- making work your life and having no life outside of work is quite common. Of course, big bonuses are promised -- and delivered to senior people -- but more junior people often aren't so lucky.
Even teachers, who many people think "have it so easy", actually spend a huge amount of time outside of school hours grading papers and making lesson plans. Their "long vacations" are also typically filled with work-related activities.
And don't even get me started on how low-wage employees and undocumented workers are typically treated.
It seems no matter where I look, people are working their assess off in America -- and suffering the consequences: burnout, a shitty life/work balance through which their families, friends, and their non-work lives suffer.
And for what? It's not like many of the companies these people work for couldn't afford to hire more people to reduce the workload to sane levels.
I'm really amazed at how highly skilled employees at prestigious law firms and Wall St firms are made to work like mad. Those firms could easily afford to hire more junior people to pick up some of the lower-level work -- but they don't.
As a result, a lot of these firms are like revolving doors, with people dropping like flies. The carrots of money are dangled in front of their faces, but otherwise the firms don't really seem to care about their employees -- and will often drop them without a second thought (even if business suffers as a result, which it often does).
And it's just so incredibly dangerous and downright unethical to make doctors and nurses work a crazy amount of overtime with little or no sleep.
Why is it so difficult for these companies to offer their employees a healthy life/work balance? Why is a big paycheck is supposed to solve everything? Why don't more companies offer their employees a healthy amount of time to sleep at night instead of just more cash?
Business will improve as productivity improves as a result (and business should know this well by now, as there have been tons of studies to show it). Employees and their families will be healthier and happier. Healthy and happy employees are clearly better employees, especially compared to the super-stressed near-burnout heart attack candidates that so many of these firms seem to prefer to cultivate.
Improving the life/work balance seems like a huge win-win situation for both employers and employees, and a no-brainer. What am I missing?
Now, if the employer would not fire you if you put your foot down, it's a matter of knowing your true worth. And I definitely agree it's worth doing this if you end up in this sort of situation. Either you part ways from a job that isn't worth it to you, or you get the conditions that are worth it to you. Negotiations have some leeway, you don't really know what the other person is willing to give up.
In context, it sounds like he means "which is not uncommon in this industry."
I push 16 hours work day packed with productivity at the extreme, why? Sure I don't get paid for all that immediately. But bear in mind incrementally over the years I have learned tons more than the average guy. I am also better trained to perform on my current job than my peers. The chances of me doing some thing big are higher, I am better aligned to a good job/promotion or a raise.
Basically when somebody is talking of career development and over time this is what they mean.
I joined this industry 5 years back. Without fancy degrees, Ivy league brand, marks and grades. Today I'm far ahead of most of my peers who joined with me then. Ofcourse I have faced a lot of ridicule, mockery as to why like a fool I do so much work for free. I am not doing anything for free, I am just ok with temporary loss in compensation for a premium later.
In you and your research by Richard Hamming - http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.html , This point is mentioned:
Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode's office and said, ``How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?'' He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, ``You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.'' I simply slunk out of the office!
What Bode was saying was this: ``Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.'' Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity - it is very much like compound interest. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime. I took Bode's remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done. I don't like to say it in front of my wife, but I did sort of neglect her sometimes; I needed to study. You have to neglect things if you intend to get what you want done. There's no question about this.
And trust me this incremental learning and productivity give mindblowing results over time.
Everyone has their own reasons for staying, or for leaving. One big reason is the 120k yearly salary they make (in SF). But NONE of these people are slaves. Anyone who uses the term slaves loses all credibility. Feel free to call them sheeple all you want, but they're not slaves.
People need to learn from their own mistakes. You can't teach people lessons on a grand scale. Everyone needs to find their own career paths.
The biggest problem with employment is not that we need more regulation (no no no we dont), its that we have a culture where we view jobs as privileges rather than simply: me exchanging my time for your money. (as others have pointed out, health care issues are a big factor here)
This is a paraphrased quote from a weird version of the Stoic Philosophy of Seneca; I'm sure the correct quote is out there, but hopefully you get the point:
Your time is your most valuable asset. Dole it out like your employers (or clients, etc.) dole out their money: carefully.
I know people who'll complain about taxes, drive further to get to a cheaper gas station, order goods in bulk to save money, etc. all to save some cash. Rarely do these people have this diligence with the allotment of their time.
Be careful and cautious with how you use your time. View it as something being spent, and if higher dollars means less free hours then don't do it.
This philosophy, in my (albeit small amount of) experience, helps you avoid a lot of the issues OP brings up.
Be careful, people. Paper money can blow away in the wind but then be recouped fairly easily. The few seconds you spent reading this comment, for example? Permanently gone. Be wary of how you spend your time...
I consistently see programmers, even in my own team, who happily stay 60-70 hours per week because the idea/concept they are working on means something significant to them.
I find this phenomenon to be the exception of what your post has mentioned. Although the post was mostly accurate, I encounter this exception on a daily basis.
While those 60-70 hrs./week aren't at 100% efficiency, the idea that a programmer will stay the extra time to produce high quality work while maintaining their own personal life says a lot about their view of their job and career. To some, it's just that - a job. However, others see it as an art (just as any profession, I suppose) and strive to increase their skills - they understand that invested time equals increased knowledge and a more refined skill set.
This statement is just wrong. In Estonia, health insurance is subscription based, paid as a tax from your salary.
"I'd rather have a work and life balance that I can enjoy."
Which has nothing to do really with working overtime and everything to do about how you approach work and life. I think one could boil down the philosophy into 'if you're working too much and your balance is out of whack, then quit.' And it is quite reasonable. In the Bay Area families can be especially hard hit by people who over commit.
That being said, in spite of the Author's disdain for economics, the interrelationship between who is available to work, pay, and whether or not they are willing to stay, does 'fix' the problem magically.
If 2 developers are working 60 hours a week they are essentially putting a third developer out of work. (I understand that studies show you can't be as productive over a certain number of hours but the principle remains the same) Unless there is a large pool of unemployed developers in the market this need for developer number 3 will in turn drive the cost for a developer up as the market will be more competitive. This is simply supply and demand at work.
The real question is, "How much do you want to work?" If you are a talented hacker, you can answer that however you want. If you are 21 and looking for someone to teach you a trade while paying a good wage in a tough job market, it is a more difficult choice.
So I've never done it. I get in at 8:30am and leave at 5pm every day.
[IANAL] In the United States, for a person in a salaried position, work week hours beyond 40 are not legally classified as overtime.
For salaried positions, the length of the workweek and compensation for additional hours are always subject to negotiation (for hourly positions compensation for overtime is also negotiable but cannot be less than the statutory minimums).
In my opinion, the author's analysis of economics entailed by salaried positions is rather naive. Hourly rate of pay is often less important than the monthly or weekly or yearly rate, i.e. cashflow is often the more important consideration. For example, if one's household maintenance is $10,000 per month, then monthly income, rather than hourly rate, is likely to be a more critical issue in regards to compensation.
I made the mistake of doing that to 'prove' myself and I ended up working very long hours at a place which I wasn't particularly fond of. The person sitting close to me worked exactly 8-5 from day one. Everybody knew he wouldn't be at work after 5 and they never expected it.
In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act, which defines all of this (and a lot more) has a ton of exemptions. Here's the exemptions for "Information Technology Professionals":
Notice that we are exempt from "Hours of Work", "Daily Rest Periods" and "Overtime" to name a few. This means that, aside from your employment contract, there are no laws that protect your right to refuse unpaid (or paid) overtime.
I regularly work more than 40 hours a week, not because I have to, but because I want to learn. One day I'd like to go freelance or perhaps start up a business, but I need to skill up first. I'm lucky that I have a job in my chosen sector of mobile web development, something which pays me to learn about the technologies I am passionate about. I am seizing the opportunity to learn as much as possible so I can be in a position to just work when I want to in later life.
IMO the author is looking at this from an experienced point of view. Juniors and those starting out often have no choice but to work a little longer to get where they want to be in 20 years time. There's nothing wrong with that, surely?
Paying overtime is an easy way to spot these area as its immediately visible to any half brained manager.
With no feedback there are less reason to change the company for the better.
Here is how to edit someone else's mockup for your own post:
1) edit the original question/answer containing the mockup you want to improve 2) copy the part between <!-- Begin mockup and End mockup --> 3) hit cancel 4) .. more steps
But otherwise, I think this is a very positive and helpful integration. Perhaps similar positive integration might be sites like JS fiddle that allow you to run code in the browser would be great integration for the programming stack overflows.
Strategically speaking it's awkward because Flash is literally deadâ , and unavailable on the most popular couch computer ever, the iPad.
What's the UX look like for someone coming across one of these posts on their couch, now?
â Officially abandoned on mobile & Linux, as Adobe realigns Flash to niches like gaming
My first words after reading, (and I'm alone in my office, so totally unsolicited) "Ohhh, how awesome is that!"
It's always nice when you can do something to make the world a better place at scale.
The domain itself (bodog.com) was unused. The operation continues under bovada.lv (for US) and bodog.eu/co.uk for European custom.
Nearly all US-facing gambling operations have been moved to non-dotcom domains (dot.eu, dot.co.uk and dot.ag - for Antigua and Bermuda - the most common) for this very reason.
To read more from an industry perspective [full disclosure, i am co-editor of this site]:http://pokerfuse.com/news/law-and-regulation/undercover-inve...
The domain seizure itself was of interest only as it showed the DOJ/DHS have a continued interest in trying to take down what it sees as illegal online gambling operators; that they can order a dot-com domain name seizure is par-for-the-course these days.
LOL what? "You can't flout the law just because you're outside the jurisdiciton of the law".
Also, the crux of the article is that a .COM domain registered an operated by Canadian entities was "taken over" by Verisign at the behest of DHS. Verisign added NS records at the root to redirect the affected domain to a takedown page.
i) Doing trade with someone who is located in America means you have to obey those American laws? This seems reasonable, unless you've taken measure to exclude Americans ("Click here to agree that you're not in US" and using filters etc) and you're still getting done.
ii) It doesn't matter what domain name you use. But if you use a .com (and some others) the US can seize the domain names.
iii) Depending what country you are in the US may ask for an extradition because you broke an American law; even if what you did was legal in your country. Depending what country you're in (UK) that extradition request may be granted.
The analogy for finance, my industry, would be a hedge fund registered in the Caymans either trading US securities or trading with Americans in the United States (it gets sketchy if an American citizen comes to Switzerland to do a transaction) not getting to ignore SEC rules just because they're "not based in the US".
I'd get concerned about jurisdictional over-reach if a Spanish company doing business primarily in Spain (where American customers aren't specifically marketed to but may be picked up indirectly) got DMCA'd :). Though at this point I'm starting to think any content-based company should have a non-US domain and server at the very least ready as a fall-back in case of regulatory lunacy on the order of SOPA/PIPA.
The internet-age wrinkle is that by virtue of ".com" domains being property located in the US, they can be seized pursuant to these charges. Jurisdiction over property is very specific to the locality where the property is located. Maryland couldn't, for example, seize the company's real estate assets in Canada pursuant to its criminal charges for violation of Maryland law. Since all ".com" domains are logically located in the United States, that becomes a pretty substantial piece of leverage the U.S. has over other countries.
While not something I necessarily agree with - I don't think this particular move indicates all .COMs are now threatened.
The big question is whether U.S. jurisdiction can extend beyond U.S. based border based solely upon the fact that Verisign is located in the U.S. For instance, if a Canadian set up a .com gambling site, but only did business with other Canadians, could MD prosecute the site owner based on MD state laws against online gambling? I would guess no. But I'm not a lawyer.
Verisign seizes .com domain registered via foreign Registrar on behalf of US Authorities.
I hope to be able to contribute toward some real progress in this area.
What's the reasoning behind this? I agree that we will likely not see a new body in charge of that which ICANN currently does, but there's no reason why a parallel system couldn't arise should DC go overboard with its malfeasant retardation.
ICANN has inertia, but if it continues to fail to protect the Internet, something else will pop up.
If you want to work under the laws of the UK, acquire a co.uk site.
That being said, it would also be useful to characterize features that are completely unique to a given language. For example, Python has 1) a unique and powerful version of super() for working with multiple inheritance; 2) it has generators (the yield statement) that allows state to be suspended and restarted (and allows data and/or exceptions to be passed back in to the generator); 3) the with-statement for managing contexts and for providing a new way to factor code; 4) easy-to-write class and function decorators; 5) metaclass support that provides full control over the creation of classes; 6) and descriptors for fine-control over attribute/method binding behavior.
Collectively, these capabilities make the language more than just another syntax for expressing the same ideas as other languages.
$a = array(1,2,array(3,4));
$a = [1,2,[3,4]];
$var === null // omitted isset($var) // actually checks if $var exists and is not null (apparently-- I actually didn't know about the not null part)
Add time duration
strtotime('+10 minutes') is more typical than the objects
Thanks for sharing, ill pass it on whenever a comparison is needed.
awk begat perl.
perl begat python and ruby.
python will get you a job at google.
ruby will get you a job at twitter.
php will get you a job at facebook.
A suggestion: For people doing some work in Perl, a review of the OO syntax might be critical. Both Moose and the old way.
A note, re the repl part: I don't use a repl for Perl, I just write one liners in shell. Afaik, Perl is the best command line tool that exist, it is even a superset of awk.
Edit: For named parameters the page might want to reference one of the CPAN modules doing that. Same goes for exceptions. The use of do to create blocks most everywhere might also be noted in e.g. the ternary operator. Unicode support should probably also be discussed. And so on.
def foo s s.concat 'foo' end a = 'bar' foo a a # => "barfoo"
Edit: Found Lua compared on the same site here: http://hyperpolyglot.org/embeddable
x += 1
x -= 1
He never even uses Perl's foreach in equivalency examples!! WTF.
These languages are essentially the same thing. I often write code in at least 3 of these languages most days, and I simply translate the minor differences between them in my head.
"Hyperpolyglot" -- excess in many tongues -- I don't think so.
Learn at least some static languages, assembler and some functional languages, and then post something interesting on HN.
Well, I have plenty of karma to waste on noobs.
The tagline is "The Device the developer community is waiting for." That's great for the developer community. Unfortunately, the developer community is a small minority of people and honestly, people don't really care if their device is easy to develop for. People care how good their device is. If a device is easy to develop for, but it's slow, or clunky or crashes all the time or doesn't have features that people expect out of a mobile device, what's the point?
I guess a big difference is that the driver here is Mozilla, a foundation that most players in the field don't see as a direct competitor, and which already has a very good name in the web space.
I think this is a bad idea. Why would you want to lock down the hardware at such an early stage?
One of the biggest problems with native apps on iOS and Android is support for moving from one app to another, but still allowing the user to easily return to the originating app.
At the moment, the only native support for this kind of feature that I can think of is maps support. For example, if you click on a Google Maps directions link on OS X, the Google Maps application is opened automatically instead of maps.google.com in the web browser.
Dunno if this would require a dedicated link button that remembers the app you came from to take you back there or not. Perhaps there is a more elegant solution. It's possible that Hypermedia JSON APIs could play a role in helping people move between apps.
Whatever solution is adopted, making it easy for the user to return to the originating app with ease is of utmost important, because this will create an environment where app developers will fill comfortable partnering with other app developers by including inter-app links.
And how well they deal with background tasks. On Android I can upload my photos in the background, or play music through Spotify (or my MP3 app) while I'm doing other things. Will I be able to do similar things here?
I hope an app built for Chrome will work for OpenWebDevice & vice-versa.
Sites like caniuse.com vastly overestimate what has been sufficiently implemented.
Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57385707-78/facebook-ai...
Talk is cheap.
I wish people would announce projects when there is actually something to look at rather than just having a vague list of goals. It's like the "I have a great idea for an app and just need somebody to do the software development". I always like to think of products consisting of 15% Idea and 85% implementation.
If you don't live up in any respect, they're happy to let the next batch of trainees have your job. In fact, they prefer it; those with 5+ years of experience have the most to fear, as they acquire raises and cushier benefits over time, and so are often fired for the same infraction that gets a newbie a write-up.
I suppose that call centers are preferable to warehouses, in that there is little risk of injury, and there are more opportunities to move up or transfer careers. Still, this is one of the human costs of corporate capitalism in general: if you don't have rare or specialized skills, you have no negotiating power, and have to take whatever you can get. And don't even think about uttering the word "union".
Oh and I don't just mean the right wing, fun fact, Hillary Clinton was a bigtime lawyer for walmart to help them prevent unions. Walmart even has a swat-like team to respond to possible union formations.
About 12 years ago I was working in a warehouse at -25 C slogging sides of beef at 25 to 50 Kg for at least 10 hours, my record shift was 26 hours. The pay was even less, $10/hr. It had to be -25 in the freezer because there was ice cream in there too and if it didn't leave at -25 it would melt by the time it got to the destination.
The only odd thing about the job was the look I got like I was crazy when I left to work tech support in the city for a dollar an hour less.
This to me actually sounds illegal. I've worked in other industries where significant hoops were jumped through to make it possible to call workers contractors. If I recall one test often used is whether the worker is on a set schedule, which the situation described would utterly fail.
That's right; it's an Amazon link. Ironic, I know.
I have been selling for the past 5+ years. They put a review on my account and when I called them to find out some more information about it, I was met with a call center rep in India who gave me absolutely no help.
They don't actually have call support for marketplace sellers. You have to email them. When you do, you get mostly automated responses.
After this ordeal, I finally left them for good. I still can't believe people are giving Amazon this much money (most categories are between 8-16% commission) to sell their goods (plus $40/month if you have a pro-account).
It's a slap in the face when you can't even talk to someone when you have any sort of account issue. On top of this, Amazon doesn't even abide by the same harsh rules they expect all of their 3rd-party sellers to follow.
It took me a while to realize that my work is making other people obsolete and replaceable, but I guess so does a big portion of software and technology in general. But it was surprisingly refreshing to switch off your brain for a few hours and do whatever the scanner tells you to do. Though of course I didn't have any pressure to do more than 1,000 picks a day, that is insane!
This was in Germany though, so the unions and worker's council made sure that the working conditions were more humane than described in the article.
> He looked at me for a long time, "A computer is telling you what to do on the job? What does the manager do?"
> "The computer is the manager. Manna, manager, get it?"
> "You mean that a computer is telling you what to do all day?", he asked.
In this case, it doesn't seem unreasonable. The pay rate and overtime they get means they make around $40,000 a year. In rural America with no skills other than the ability to walk and use a barcode scanner, that's not bad money. I'm all in favor of educating people so they can work 8 hour days behind a desk, but the reality is that that won't work for everyone. So having jobs available that let people good at manual labor have a decent life doesn't seem that horrible to me. I may be wrong, though.
I don't know if the industry as a whole has changed, or if the place the author worked is far on the bad end of the spectrum.
Likewise, the meatpacking industry is infamous for its brutal working conditions and low wages. It has bred many low income, working poor communities plighted by gangs, crime, and despair. The solution to righting the industry and its communities is obvious- pay employees real, middle class wages. But the industry has been fighting a race to the bottom, as the wholesalers of meat products will obviously pick the meatpacking company that can sell at the lowest cost. Because better wages would only increase the price supermarkets pay for meat by several cents per pound, one meatpacking company CEO has openly called for imposing higher wage levels across the entire industry (easier than done). The introduction of higher wages would boost local economies and in aggregate that contributes to the nation's prosperity.
The industries are examples of capitalism at its most efficient and of capitalism utterly failing society as well.
This has always been the nature of these kinds of businesses, and until robots and technology take those jobs away completely (which opens up a whole other can of worms), it will just keep happening
Great quote there. That's really a key to being happy in any job. Her description of this job doesn't sound all that bad you get exercise and paid above minimum wage plus overtime.
They didn't outsource to a temp agency, instead they had their own HR department. The starting pay was far above average for similar jobs with other companies and they readjusted for cost of living increases every few years, and the employee discount was wicked.
It's interesting to read about perspectives from employees of other warehouses, it sounds like I had it good.
Then you weren't a slave.
And somewhat related, a wonderful book called The Victorian Internet:
If you ever wondered whether the Internet really is a "series of tubes", here are the tubes:
That photo is from an interesting article (by my namesake James Geary) about undersea cables:
> Because the [TAT-8] cable was the first fiber optic cable and not coaxial cable, the electrical interference shielding for the high voltage supply lines was removed. This removal did not affect the fiber, but it did cause feeding frenzies in sharks that swam nearby. The sharks would then attack the cable until the voltage lines killed them. This caused numerous, prolonged outages. Eventually, a shark shielding was developed for the cable.
Edit/Add: The cable length is 2,714 km.
And a simplified diagram of how it operates:
Here in Kenya we only have 3 cables. Since last week the internet has been very slow after the main cable was severed by a ship anchor. The second cable seemed to have problems upstream so all the traffic has been routed to the third cable.
I can only guess it has more to do with whether you cross national boundaries (since even the US has underwater cables bridging the mainland to Alaska) than land features.
Its where many of the first underseas telegraph cables came ashore, and was a hub for the British Empire's telegraph network.
It was later dug deep into the rock to protect it during WW2.
A great day out- highly recommended.
1. I'm always amazed that anchors can seemingly hit a cable at the bottom of the ocean floor. Given how hard it usually is for us to find anything on the ocean floor with any precision, we seem to be able to drop anchors and cut cables with surprising accuracy.
2. Do the cables have slack in them to account for continental drift? I don't know how much we drift, but I'd imagine over time the cables would need some slack in them to make up for it.
The thing that shocks me is how recently these were added. I was checking out the cables in Australia, expecting them to have been added in the 60's or something....however most are around the year 2000-2010.
This mash-up paid for by... ?
What failover capability does the USA have?
"Anti-authoritarians" are people who question and/or reject authority aggressively.
"Assholes" are people who have emotional and/or maturity issues that cause them to irritate others.
Neither of these are diseases, and you can be both, but don't confuse one with the other. I'm a fairly asocial person, but I've learned to be more diplomatic at times. On the other hand, the world is full of angry immature people who just want to "tear it all down!" without actually at heart being for or against anything. They're just a bundle of emotions looking for a place to vent.
But the underlying thesis here, that the professionals diagnosing people as mentally ill carry lot of bias with them that even themselves are unaware of? Spot on. Psychiatry has always been about introducing conformity (both in a good way and in a bad way) to society. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of really mentally ill people who need help, just that when you have a hammer, the world is your nail. :)
ADD: I would just be very careful about working this problem backwards, from effect to cause. That is, simply because somebody or another supports a cause you believe in doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't emotionally ill. My personal opinion is that there are a lot of emotionally-struggling people who choose politics as a socially acceptable way to vent on the world.
A large number of mental disorders are extremely debilitating and often fatal to the patient. When successfully healed, sufferers are usually extremely grateful to their psychiatrist, feeling that they owe them their life.
You only hear in the media and online about the times when it all goes wrong, because it makes a good story. Who wants to hear blog posts about how someone was sick, and then they got well? Especially when talking about your experience with mental illness is seen as an admission of weakness or personal failure by society, which it is.
This is not to discount the fact that there is a huge amount of malpractice, abuse, and just plain poor quality thinking out there in the world of psychiatry. Most of it is connected to big pharma and their big dollars, as you might expect.
You also can't absolve the patient of all responsibility. Go to any psychiatrist, particularly here in the UK with our NHS where doctors don't sit around hoping for more ill people, and they will tell you that they are sick and tired of the parade of perfectly healthy middle class idiots shuffling before them with non-problems, or worse, dragging children with non-problems.
You can't really just turn these people away, it's unethical (illegal?) to just deny someone treatment. Unless you can invoke something like MÃ¼nchausen syndrome, you have to treat these people or their charges in some way if they are in distress. Doctors are reduced to giving them some pills and complaining to each other behind closed doors about the endless stream of "worried well" affecting their ability to help those with the actual problems discussed at the start of this now overly-long comment. Actually, increasingly they send them off to a homeopathy clinic or something like that. That in my eyes is the one good use for alternative medicine, it keeps little jemima off the hard stuff when her dangerously irrational mother decides she needs to be fixed.
The DSM and it's ilk make this worse by giving the public cosmo-style checklists they can run against themselves, without all the other contextual understanding that a diagnostician has. It is then made worse again with the DSM published on the internet.
Yet I've been told multiple times in the past five years that I'm undermining authority. By both management and peers. (Sometimes admiringly, by colleagues who think I'm the only person who isn't subject to the leader's reality distortion field.) I've asked what I can do to not be as "disruptive" and nobody can quite produce anything concrete.
I think there's something about my attitude that people can detect -- I do believe that authority needs to be earned with results. And even though when I have defended the current authority, again this is not good enough, because I'll do it in terms of "we need to be unified", "we don't know everything X knows", "X has taken on this leadership role and it costs him a lot, no one should question X's dedication", etc.
The one thing I'm not saying is that we should all bow down to X just because "he's the man". There is something about this atavistic concept of authority which demands a posture of submission, often literally. You don't look the other person in the eye any more, you allow yourself to be swept up in his obsessions, his sense of humor leaks into yours, and you treat his ideas as automatically superior. You're supposed to be happy even if he snatches a slice of cake right off your plate. I just don't have it in me.
It's kind of frightening that views haven't changed in the 40+ years since the book was written. I guess the difference is that they will simply overmedicate rather than lobotomize.
Of course, the way I see it, being anti-authoritarian is just a corollary effect of being a mature, competent, self-validated man who is following his own purpose in life. Of course such a man is going to have trouble with those who want to foist their value-systems on him through threats, psychological manipulation, or subterfuge.
First, I'm no psychologist or historian, so feel free to disregard everything that follows...this is just a hypothesis.
I've noticed (but I'm probably far from the first) that every seemingly "modern" human behavior can be traced back to a handful of primitive instincts or tribal behaviors (fear, greed, prejudice, etc.). So my guess would be that diagnosing someone as mentally ill because they act anti-authoritarian comes from the tribal instinct that allowed, or even required, all humans to work together without questioning their orders. It was necessary to hunting, protecting the tribe, etc. that everyone act as one. Not acting as one would cause the hunt to fail or the tribe to lose a battle, either way they would die. It's the same way that packs of animals like wolves behave. Shun the outlier because he could put all our lives at stake.
So expanding on this theory, maybe the reason we as humans act this way is because our cousin species died out because they didn't act as one. Perhaps those other semi-human species that died out were more independently-minded, but for the first few hundred thousand years that was a negative thing that led to natural selection filtering them out?
I guess I get this idea from Seth Godin's talk about "Quieting the lizard brain." Pretty interesting, if anyone is interested: http://vimeo.com/5895898
Beware political positions quick to write off differing views as clinical insanity. When they start committing people, that's a sign the line has been crossed.
I had severe allergic reaction to shrimp. Ended up at the ER where I was treated with Epinephrine, Prednisone and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl administered directly to bloodstream though).
Guess what, I had serious panick attacks for another2 days. When the following day I showed up at the ER, I was told by a Doctor who originally treated me day before that I clearly have mental issues because this reaction shouldn't last so long. Psychiatrist didn't even ask questions and prescribed me anti-depressants. Obciously, anxiety diminished on its own next day. FDA.GOV confirms that all 3 medications I was given may cause anxiety (severe) and panick attacks. Including benadryl that does cause anxiety in me. This was widely studied and is believed to be caused by liver enzymes. So, all in all I had never had mentall issues before, never had issues after. But had 3 days of panick attacks and severe anxeity causeb clearly by medication. Hey, but I'm considered depressive, anxious now. It is in my medical records. Just amazing how fast they are to label you and how difficult it is to clear the record. All result of ignorance, but what can I do? Recently I went through cholestycomy procedure outside my insurance, just because I didn't want to be treated by medical stuff with suspicion.
I don't believe psychiatrists now at all. I mean this is some type of witchcraft, not science for sure.
I find it an amusing corollary that later in life, no one was able to convince Einstein of the truth--or at least the usefulness--of quantum mechanics. A failing of the anti-authoritarian mindset is that if you have an opposed opinion to an authority on an issue--and that authority happens to be right--you'll never figure this out until you work it out for yourself.
I suppose it's the same with many doctors who stamp "mentally ill" diagnoses on people. "If you disagree with me, then you should be treated."
"Have temper tantrumsBe argumentative with adultsRefuse to comply with adult requests or rulesAnnoy other people deliberatelyBlames others for mistakes or misbehaviorActs touchy and is easily annoyedFeel anger and resentmentBe spiteful or vindictiveAct aggressively toward peersHave difficulty maintaining friendshipsHave academic problemsFeel a lack of self-esteem"
Those aren't authority problems, those are major social issues that must persist for greater than 6 months and make the home or school environment hostile. Also, he acts like all psychologists and psychiatrists do is prescribe medicine. This is silly, most psychiatrists and all psychologists would advocate combined therapy or behavioral therapy to help them with parent child interaction and problem solving skills. These authoritarian behavioral treatments include things like "Recognize and praise your child's positive behaviors, offer acceptable choices to your child, giving him or her a certain amount of control." ODD should NEVER get a drug prescription except in the case of comorbitity. Read more here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oppositional-defiant-disord...
ADD and ADHD are over-diagnosed and ODD might also be, but there are people who legitimately suffer from major crushing behavioral deficits which can make properly learning difficult. Sloppy historical analogy with 'famous people would totally be ADD' is a terrible marginalization of this disorder and it's sufferers.
Also, lots of people are mentioning the Rosenhan experiment and claiming that psychology hasn't changed at all since then. This is largely inaccurate. I would direct them to this askscience thread http://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/orf88/how_has_ps... about changes that have occurred including the rise of counseling and patient bill of rights.
But that doesn't work as well anymore because there's so many of us, so much stuff to do and so much information. That's why we've been moving towards increasingly democratic societies and organizations for the past several hundred years, and the trend will only accelerate.
Questioning authority usually stopped the whole organization, and people couldn't move forward unless they found a consensus. Today it's easier to question/review/change authority without having to stop everything - it's like it's a separate module instead of a core piece, but obviously, that doesn't sit well for those whose authority is questioned, hence the struggle against anti-authoritarians...
This is not science, it's opinion untethered from the constraints of evidence. If we want to have a long conversation about this, it would behoove us to start from science so that actual facts might be involved.
Even in the United States, the automatic reply to any significant claim of criminal behavior against the US government is "bat-shit crazy conspiracy theorist".
http://thejcl.com/pdfs/munro.pdf The Ankang: China's Special Psychiatric Hospitals
Governments, including the United States, project through their propaganda and education, a false reality in which the most important state actions are always moral and justified.
There is a type of mass pathology going on in which almost everyone ignores facts that contradict the official reality presented by authority.
I think this is unfortunately a normal aspect of group behavior because I have observed it even in a small technical group where the manager decided that Windows Communication Foundation worked differently than it actually did and everyone went along with it even though the documentation clearly stated otherwise.
Here is what I see:
These content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content:Entity: UMPG Publishing Content Type: Musical Composition
These content owners have reviewed your video and agreed with your dispute:Entity: Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society Content Type: Musical Composition
Your dispute is still awaiting a response from these content owners:Entity: Social Media Holdings Content Type: Musical Composition
What should I do?
No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.
What can I do about my video's status?Please note that the video's status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.
Please take a few minutes to visit our Help Center section on Policy and Copyright Guidelines, where you can learn more about copyright law and our Content Identification Service.
The first is Google's algorithm incorrectly identified something as another work. This is bit is a bit "yeah, whatever". False positives will happen, what's important is the processes that are put in place around the algorithm to help resolve the errors.
And that's the second bit and the foobar bit, where a "human" check has confirmed it. Now, I may be skeptical but it feels very much like no-one ever looked at this, that Rumblefish basically automatically reply "yeah, that's ours" to any request or question and then leave it up to the poor video owner to show otherwise.
What I'd suggest needs to happen here is, at the very least, Google, Rumblefish or whoever need to state the piece of work that's being infringed. On Google's part this should be trivial - it's algorithm must have got a match against something specific which is cataloged.
The "copyright owner" at that point has a far more straight forward check (if they bother with it) and the video producer at least knows more about the claim rather than ending up in a slightly Kafka-esque position.
However, it seems pretty clear that the DMCA is not fine. There need to be better protections against this sort of thing - no hiding behind "it wasn't a DMCA takedown notice" when your automated takedown bot fraudulently implicates someone.
Also, and this almost goes without saying, we need to modify the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA to at least legalize jailbreaking, whether the device is an iPhone, a PS3, or whatever. Though ideally the anti-circumvention provisions should be repealed wholesale, since they're unreasonably broad and create huge damages for a wide class of perfectly valid uses.
Anyway, it's good news, I've just received this email.
Thank you for your note, just read your email and I share your concern. Â The YouTube content ID system mis-ID'd birds singing as one of our artists songs. Â We reviewed the video this evening and released the claim that YT assigned to us. Â One of our content id representatives made a mistake in the identification process and we've worked diligently to correct the error once we were made aware of it earlier today.
Thank you for voicing your concern. Â Very much appreciated. Â We're doing our best to improve the process as it's very challenging for our team to keep up with the massive amount of claims coming through which grow every day.
All the best,
Paul Anthony | Founder and CEO | Rumblefish
Also, report Rumblefish for sending fake DMCA requests, it's illegal.
They aren't doing anything illegal by not having the tool, which means they are doing it voluntarily, and since the tool is not perfect, Youtube itself can be more abusive than the copyright owners asking for takedowns. Google needs to stop this practice.
5,345,377 Social Soundtracks Licensed(and counting)
Due to the low quality microphone the sound is a bit metallic. Perhaps that throws off YouTube's recognition software. But if there are a lot of false positives then Google should adjust its algorithm.
Rumblefish presumably gets thousands upon thousands of copyright infringement claims every day. And so far, there has been one guy who had birdsong mistaken for music. Instead of just writing an email and getting it fixed, he decides to make a post about it to make people angry, and then once Rumblefish hears what happens it gets fixed.
Let's look at the key elements here.
1) It got fixed!
2) Of course they use an automated system for confirming copyrighted audio content. It's a second line of defense after Google's initial scan. The third line of defense is called customer support, and in any other situation that would be the obvious and trivial solution.
3) It's one guy! This happened ONCE!
4) It got fixed!!
And if you're still worried about your own stuff being falsely identified as copyrighted music, rest assured you can always make an internet s*storm about it and your problem will be solved (this is clearly the ideal solution, yes?)
Now can we please get on with our lives?
I much prefer C when writing systems-level code. It's simpler and a lot more predictable. You don't get the illusion that things like memory management are free.
I /have/ written drivers in C++. Here you have to be very careful about memory allocation (calling 'new' in an interrupt handler is usually death, though I've also written very specialized allocators that work in IRQ contexts). STL isn't going to cut it, especially if you're writing something real-time that needs very predictable performance.
So, my basic prejudice is that while you can use C++ for systems stuff, you still really need to be close to C semantics, so you're basically buying namespaces and "C with classes" at the risk that some yahoo later on is going to #include <map> and utterly hose things . . .
Anyway, Linus may be a very experienced C programmer, but that doesn't mean his opinion on C++ carries much weight... I'd be more interested on what someone who actually has a lot of experience in using C++ says. Especially with modern C++ and recent tools, libraries etc, which are very different from what was around five or ten years ago.
I suppose it is nice for a change for someone bagging out C++ (however inaccurately) to be advocating C instead of a managed or interpreted language though!
I wish Linus had added more detail. Is the complaint that the binaries are too big (not quite, if you strip them of the unnecessary symbols) ? or is it that it can be a tedium to go over the reams of error messages that compilers spit out when things go wrong. The second point I am willing to concede, it requires you to read messages inside out, which lisp does train you into doing. Or is the complaint about something else entirely ?
Something else that I hear often that bothers me is the claim that STL adds huge runtime overhead. Maybe it was true with the old compilers, but with the current ones, GCC4.5, Intel its not true at least not in a noticeable way. The whole point of STL was the ability to generate optimized code. I have actually verified that the iterator based access patterns on vectors for instance gets optimized away into simple pointer based indexing into memory blocks.
I like STL, in fact I will go so far and admit that I will not code in C++ unless I sense that I will benefit from STL and or templates. Though STL gets used often merely as a container library I think you get more out of it when you use its algorithms. I really like it that I do not have to write for loops (and potentially get the indexing wrong).
If one squints the right way, it has map, reduce, filter and map-reduce all built in (transform, accumulate, innerproduct) though I miss a vararg zip function. An un-ignorable side benefit to using the STL primitives is that if a parallelized version comes along the way, you get a fairly painless way to make your code parallel. You do have force some of your snippets to be sequential to account for the fact that there is not enough work to parallelize. This is the direction were GCC's STL library is headed with its parallel_mode. http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/libstdc++/manual/parallel_mode...
@cube Appreciate your comment. For writing kernels and VMs I gladly buy your argument, to add to what you said there is the ABI mess.
There are plenty of applications for which c++ is a perfectly sensible language choice. Git isn't one of them.
The fact that he leads with "language X sucks because it attracts type Y programmers" is quite possibly the worst, cheapest, and lowest attack I've ever seen in technology. It's sad that a technical hero like Linus would basically behave like such a tantrum-throwing child. It reflects poorly on the whole tech community.
Git compiles on lots of (arcane and ancient) Unix flavors, and has to deal with the compilers on those platforms. C is still the right choice for git.
It was basically C with encapsulation. So using C++ as a better C.
It worked well. It didn't use STL nor boost and the exceptions weren't as you'd know them. Memory management was much more carefully counted than is normal in C/C++ programs, and reservation meant commit.
It was programmed by a pretty clever disciplined bunch. Well, most of us were ;)
One thing I love about Torvalds and that makes him great is that he has zero respect for fads. CS is unfortunately very, very faddish. Good ideas like OOP and Agile become fads, and then become universal hammers with everything becoming a nail, destroying whatever virtues these ideas once had.
Probably Linus is right that C++ does not belong in the kernel but for application level code reinventing all the basic C++ things in C seems like a waste of time. Linked lists, virtual methods, some form of exception handling.. why waste your time? I laughed pretty hard when I understood how the linked list implementation in the Linux kernel works (pointer arithmetic tricks + sizeof). People don't even invent anything different from whats already in C++.
The key to using C++ is to find a comfortable subset and stick with it. I haven't used C++ on projects with more than 3 people yet so I don't know the pains of agreeing on exactly which subset to use but I imagine it could be done.
Then, the BSD guys would have even more reason to call Linux garbage and the OS/language/superiority wars would rage on for even more generations. Wouldn't that be so cool.
STL and Boost may not make sense for the kernel, but there's nothing wrong with using C++ classes at their most basic. The kernel would be far more readable if it used classes and simple inheritance rather than re-inventing the wheel with structs full of function pointers.
C++ gives you more flexibility with regard to encapsulation as well - it's hard to argue that that doesn't lead to cleaner, safer code.
Bad programming is language agnostic. Disliking a language generally implies that you don't know enough about it to really get it.
IMO Objective C gets much farther in implementing polymorphism and dynamic binding than C++ can even dream of.
Although I hear good things about Boost, I think thats like patching the language instead of fixing the fundamental flaws in its design.
Also Darcs was written in Haskell and Bazaar with Python.
I hate C++ too (over 10 years of experience). But Linus is full of BS too.
Yes, choice of C language in Git is right choice. But source code of Git is horrible and unmaintainable mess.
It makes some good points, despite the inflammatory technique of characterizing Linus' rant as being caused by a "C-hacker syndrome".
Today, we know a lot about how to make documents that have complex formatting (think micro formats, links) and even more about making abstract document formats that can be presented and styled in different ways (think XML and stylesheet type separation of data and presentation). Having a standardized scientific publication format (with open-source user or publisher generated extensions as needed) would completely change the way we produce and consume the literature. Imagine the possibilities for meta-analysis!
Yes, code should (in most cases) be released together with a paper. But even better would be if the code were released as part of a standardized data format that would allow you to, for instance, selectively download raw data and re-run the computational experiments on your own computer (think: re-running simulations in Mekentosj's Papers as you read the paper).
Even simpler (and possibly more useful): provide both low and original (high) resolution versions of figures that can be examined separately from the main document. I can't tell you how many times I've been annoyed by the low quality of the published images and wished I could zoom in to the level of detail I know was in the original image. Even more frustrating: why should I have to take screenshots of images in Preview to add to a figure in my lab meeting. Separate the presentation and the data!
although some now include intra-document links from a citation in the text to the reference in the coda
Most science is based on physical observation of the experiment the code is just a offshoot of the test equipment.
In the case where you are modelling some thing you do experiments to prove your mathematical model. I once spent a sweltering afternoon in a bunny suit and rubber gloves and mask helping prepare a dummy fuel rod from a Breeder Reactor so that we would do experiments to see if our model of two-phase flow was valid.
And surly saying you can reproduce my experiment but only using my code can everyone not see the danger here - you would want to repeat the experiment and implement ones own version of the maths behind it.
The real question we should be asking is whether opening and sharing these code bases will result in an increase in quality that offsets the loss of experimental independence.
By way of example, my postdoc work was all completed using FieldTrip (http://fieldtrip.fcdonders.nl/), free for both MATLAB or Octave. All the source code is on Github (https://github.com/eykanal/EEGexperiment), and anyone could reproduce the majority of my analysis on their dataset.
I know it is offtopic, but it makes my blood boil that we allow scientific research, in great part paid for with tax dollars, to be locked up in what basically are proprietary journals only a few privileged have access to while they should be freely accessible to absolutely everyone.
I can't wait. I've been doing some GPGPU research, and less than 10% of the authors of _published_ papers are willing to release their code or even a binary for benchmark comparisons.
On a serious note, I agree source should be available. But it isn't, because these sorts of specialized packages are very, very hard to write.
However if everyone had to publish their code, I know the elements of my code which cause me distress would be nothing compared to a variety of other implementations people create.
Oh also trying to reproduce someone else's algorithm from a paper is so painful. There are a number of experimental values that exist which aren't really mentioned in papers as they are deemed trivial so you've to do no amount of tinkering to get similar results.
Let me add to a few points here about the practical obstacles to this.
1) Journals don't support this data (raw data or software).
* You can barely include the directly relevant data in your paper let alone anything additional you might have done. Methods are fairly restricted and there is no format for supplemental data/methods. Unless your paper is about a tool, then they don't want the details, they just want benchmarks. Yes, you can put it on your website, but websites change; there are so many broken links to data/software in even relatively new articles.
* As many people have said, lots of scientific processing is one-off type scripting. I need this value or format or transform, so I write a script to get that.
2) Science turns over fast or faster than the lifetimes of most development projects.
* A postdoc or grad student wrote something to deal with their dataset at the time. Both the person and the data have since moved on. The sequencing data has become higher resolution or changed chemistry and output, so its all obsolete. The publication timeline of the linked article illustrates this. For an just an editorial article it took 8 1/2 months from submission to publication. Now add the time it took to handle the data and write the paper prior to that and you're several years back. The languages and libraries that were used have all been through multiple updates and your program only works with Python 2.6 with some library that is no longer maintained. Even data repositories such as GEO (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/) are constantly playing catch-up for the newest datatypes. Even their required descriptions for methodology for data-processing are lacking.
3) Many scientists (and their journals and funding institutions, which drive most changes) don't respect the time or resources it takes to be better coders and release that data/code in a digestible format.
* Why should I make my little program accept dynamic input or properly version with commentary if that work is just seen as a means to an end rather than as an integral part of the conclusions drawn. The current model of science encourages these problems. This last point might be specific to the biology-CS gap.
Software that is in use for scientific purposes must be open to review and assumptions about their efficacy or correctness should not just be taken for granted. They need to be checked and their outputs verified for correctness.
Even when flaws in commercial proprietary code are found it can take years (or never) before they are corrected. Chances are that if the same flaws show up in OS software they be fixed sooner. Failing that, you can fix 'em yourself -- or at least be in a position to potentially detect them and alert other users.
I attach here some links and example works done in the reproducible research style of org-mode.
"A Multi-Language Computing Environment forLiterate Programming and Reproducible Research"
"THE EMACS ORG-MODE"Reproducible Research and Beyond
Example work: https://github.com/tsdye/hawaii-colonization
Org-babel wiki: http://orgmode.org/worg/org-contrib/babel/uses.html
I'm currently working on a platform for scientific programming. One of the ultimate goals is to include a provenance system which will be able to tell you everything about what generated the final results, including that of input data if it was derived on the system. That way you might be able to have a complete history of where a particular result comes from.
I now live in Tokyo; I enjoy synchronous gigabit fiber access for a similar price. (It's actually closer to $50, but that's because my whole building is wired for it, and the building management has negotiated a group price.)
The difference is, here in Japan, pretty much anybody in any major metro area can get cheap gigabit Internet service (or synchronous 100Mbps at the very least). That's because here we do have a level of (intelligent) regulation; precisely the kind of regulation that this article points out the FCC eliminated during the Bush administration. There can obviously only be a tiny number of companies who run last-mile cables (telco and electric utilities here). So if those companies aren't required to reasonably resell that acess, you will never achieve the kind of competitive landscape that drives rapid progress.
It's pretty awesome that Sonic is able to do this in sleeply little Sebastopol, but it's pretty sad that most of America languishes under with barbarously primitive connection speeds of just a few Mbps because of its dysfunctional government.
EDIT: My anecdote about their service harkens back to when DSL was fairly new. My connection was flaking out one day, so I called. It rang twice. "Hello, Sonic.net." What, no menu tree? I explained the gist of the problem. "Do you mind if I connect to your DSL modem and check it out?" Of course not. "OK, I'm seeing the problem. Some of these units unfortunately shipped with slightly incorrect settings. I've updated those for you; is it working now?" It was. Total time on the phone was maybe 90 seconds. Even getting a human on the phone in that time was pretty astonishing (and still is).
I live in San Francisco. I've been reaching out to my supervisor about this community fiber thing, but to no avail. In the meantime, he goes along with AT&T's plan to install 100s of refrigerator-sized boxes on sidewalks, to provide their "uverse"-brand Internet (which is not GbE). A handful of citizens -vs- highly-paid suits of AT&T? Citizens always lose.
Here's the problem with letting AT&T build out these boxes: they then become a monopoly. If Sonic wants to come in and provide fiber, they also need 100s of such boxes. And then Comcast. And maybe MonkeyBrains (there is such an ISP here). And so on. This is not sustainable! You can't have every ISP putting up large boxes on sidewalks!
A solution is for the City to lay fiber and maintain it; and then you buy access from AT&T/Sonic/MonkeyBrains/Comcast. Only 1 set of boxes; and Internet access can come from any of the myriad gateways available. As for funding: thats what bonds are for. And plus: the increase in property values will pay for this in no time at all (via increased tax revenues).
But trying to convince the politicians to listen to a citizen is impossible. They just go along with the lobbyists, who are just looking after their own short-term interests.
I know in America we have the completely stupid system where electricity is at a regulated rate but privately provided by a given monopoly company at any given household.
That is actually another example of the problem. If governments didn't suck, and our collective interests were not clouded and in general ill thought, we would have fiber to the home be a national works project to help pull the country out of the recession.
It is currently so expensive to lay fiber because the demand and supply are in this convoluted state, where no one demands it due to the monopolies so no one makes it in great quantity so prices are artificially high so no one wants it.
If we had a gov't project to lay fiber, the massive demand (unless the gov't did the entire supply chain like they did with the NHS) would spur industry growth, and we could then export our huge fiber industry (which is high tech manufacturing, like carbon nanotubes would be in bulk) to everyone else and actually have industry again.
Of course, that would never happen, because governments almost never do anything right. And if they do it right, they do it insanely over budget and late. But it is nice to dream.
I think it might possibly work at the local level. It doesn't have the huge instantaneous demand boom of the material as a national project, but regions that have access to the raw components used in fiber tubing (sand is a silica right? Not pure enough I assume, we make the stuff somewhere out of silicates though) could subsidize and start the industry, and then sell the company after they spur demand by using their own fiber supply to give every home 100 gigabit internet connections.
Fast forward a decade and the initial cost investment to build the industry would be paying dividends in national productivity and the export market we would have for fiber. Rather than go from (on average) 56 kbps internet in 2000 to 300kbps in 2012, we could have a third of the population on fiber in a decade.
It really comes back to infrastructure. Nobody makes subways or national transit systems or lays railroads across the nation unless there is a huge unrealistic demand that forces businesses to act or if the collective power of representational government uses the investment potential of taxpayers to create and fund the services that make everyone's lives better but no one can justify giving on a case by case basis for a quick profit in the next quarter financial report.
Alas, pipe dreams. I wish I had sonic, I get the lovely fun of picking between the staunchly competitive only ISP in my area that provides single banded DSL at 300 kbps for $50 over the copper phone lines that have been in the ground for half a century. God bless America.
I have 20mbps FiOS, and I feel like my connection is almost never the limiting factor in delays online. Sites that are actually serving at full speed load in a fraction of a second. Lots of sites are slow, but it's almost always the server side or intervening networks (overseas sites, etc.)
For the vast majority of content, 20 reliable mbps completely meets my needs. I can stream HD video with no buffering. I can download ISO images in much less time than it takes to boot a VM. My Dropbox syncs within a few seconds: I can't recall actually having to wait for a file to be available.
Not saying that gigabit internet isn't awesome. But I don't feel like connection speed is the major bottleneck on the internet experience right now for those who can get a > 15mbps connection. I'd rather focus on expanding the availability of that, before we move on to the next tier of bandwith-heavy applications.
We got Sonic for the reddit office and it is awesome. One day, a Sonic rep stopped by, unannounced, just to make sure everything was satisfactory. It was amazing.
Their service was absolutely amazing. No phone menus, techs who wouldn't make you run through their script if you knew what was going on, simple pricing. I miss having them as my ISP.
(The 4 static IPs were pretty awesome too)
I've heard everything from geography (even in NYC, one of the densest population on Earth, we couldn't get it together for consumer gigE) to culture (yes, culture! As I understand it from various explanations, we're too culturally "heterogeneous" for gigE connections. No seriously.)
I wonder how Sonic made the highly improbable not only possible but, apparently, profitable?
It's actually meant consolidating a lot of my non-critical stuff back home, I've been able to decommission a couple of Linodes and AWS instances in favor of a machine running XEN in the closet.
If you take the UK as an example, a lot of the country (outside major cities and metropolitan areas) is still stuck on 512kbit. The same is true worldwide with even parts of SA on dialup. Shouldn't we be concentrating on throwing more resources into getting these connections usable rather than feeding crazy large bandwidth to the rich?
As the broadband speeds are controlled pretty much by consumer demand, isn't it better to have more people than an elite few?
On the same subject, I'm sitting here on approximately 12Mbits and I genuinely have no problems with it streaming HD iPlayer and with three computers on it. I don't need any faster and it costs a whopping $20 a month equiv (unmetered consumption).
Also, if you consider the cost of bandwidth and caps thrown on people in Europe, a gig connection would suck up your entire allocation in about 48 seconds...
I noticed Hamilton Ontario (and much of it's south-easternly towns) of all places has unlimited 100mbps available via Shaw Hamilton. That only costs ~$100/month: http://www.shawhamilton.ca/index.php?internet
I am seriously considering moving to hamilton after I move out of this place literally just for the internet connection.
Update: the initial version of this article mistakenly listed the price of Sonic's gigabit service at $79.95; it is actually $69.95.
That's amazing. Here I thought I was getting a bargain with 15Mbps SDSL for $25 per month (our mid-rise condo building in downtown San Jose, CA struck a deal with our ISP if some percentage of residents signed up).
So what are you really getting for $80/mo? If you try to really use (or abuse in some people's minds) that last mile gigabit, how long till you get cut or prompt crap like deep packet inspection and throttling? The "Internet" as we know it is a tricky thing.
I'd prefer something like 20mbps sync to the home that you're free to use as you see fit at that price point. The economics of this should work out fine.
"Eventually, after months of negotiation, Shaikh says, he got a $50,000 severance payment. He agreed to sell his 317,000 shares in the company for $73,000, less than a fourth of what they had been worth in the Series A round."
Does this mean the company was uncertain about whether he was really stealing? I don't think it is normal to pay someone a severance payment when they've been fired for good cause. I think one would have to conclude that the company was unsure of how much it could make stick, and therefore paid some small amount simply to make him go away. Or possibly the severance was in exchange for his agreement to sell his shares at a discount? That would make more sense to me.
The FBI was not involved over this incident. Instead the FBI was involved over this:
"So, on a chilly Tuesday morning in December, Shaikh ran a piece of testing software, called ApacheBench, that flooded YouSendIt's servers with traffic. The servers keeled over immediately. Later that day, a sentence appeared on YouSendIt's Wikipedia page: "Looks like the company may be out of business, their site is down." (Shaikh says he didn't write it.)"
The FBI took this very seriously, and got a friend of Shaikh's to wear a wire and get him talking.
I appreciate that the FBI needs to look into any incident where there has been hacking, but it strikes me this cooperation between the FBI and the various corporations is open to abuse.
I once had a bad breakup with a company, and the ending was frightening to me. This was in 2009.
There was a fellow acting as impresario for a startup. He called himself the CEO, though he also ran a small investment firm, and he had multiple investments that he had to keep an eye on.
The goal of the startup was to build something like Quora, but find a way to get people pay for information (they would pay to ask questions).
The CEO lined up 4 investors who put in a total of $100,000 to get the operation going. 4 programmers were hired, including me. 3 of the programmers were remote, and I was in the New York, where the CEO and project manager were. The other 3 programmers were in the USA and Europe.
We worked hard during the spring and early summer of 2009 to get to the point where we could launch.
Half way through the summer, the decision was made to hire an Indian firm to do the development. They were much cheaper. I would be the technical point of contact. We relied less on the programmers in the USA and Europe and more on the team in India. However, we had very serious problems with the quality of the code coming from India. Almost every time something got checked into Subversion, something broke. I raised my concerns to the project manager, and I cc'ed the project manager on several emails to the team in India, where I tried to educate them on the mistakes they were making. I was inclined to get rid of the team in India, although the CEO and the project manager liked how cheap they were. I suggested we find a different company in India. We all knew that firms in India were of uneven quality -- some good and some bad. If you want to hire a team in India, one often has to do a lot of digging to find a good team.
I tried selling the project manager on implementing unit tests and functional tests, and he suggested that we wait till the site was launched. There was an attitude that we could clean things up once we launched.
There was some funny business with the money that I never fully understood. I was working as a contractor. I was billing at the end of each month, and the company had 30 days to pay, so it was a 60 day cycle from start to finish (from the 1st of one month to the end of the next month).
They only paid me for June at the very end of July, which made me wonder about their money. However, the project manager and his wife invited me to their house upstate, and we spent a week working together, and the project manager assured that there was enough money to pay me. They cooked some wonderful meals and it was a pleasant week and we got a lot of work done. At that moment, I thought of the project manager as a friend, and our work relationship seemed very positive. I was single at the time, and his wife said she had a friend that she wanted to set me up on a date with.
Still, I was suspicious about the money, so half way through August I stopped putting in billable hours. I trusted the project manager, but I did not trust the CEO.
As of September 1st and they had not yet paid me for the work I did during July. This was in violation of the work agreements that we had signed.
I demanded to know whether they had the money to pay me. I wrote to the other contractors and asked if they'd been paid. None of them had. Most of them were only owed small amounts. At this point, the company owed me $10,000. I had been the main programmer for most of the summer.
September gave way to October. For awhile they made vague declarations about paying me part of the money. I began to suspect that they had no intention of paying. I found out that they were still using the team in India, and apparently the team in India was being paid.
In November I had my lawyer send them a letter, urging them to send me the money. I notified the other contracts in Europe and the USA of what I was doing.
After that, everything changed. They had their lawyer write up a counter letter that basically said that all of the bugs on the site were my fault. There was a suggestion that I had maliciously tried to undermine the site, and that I had interfered with the team in India and damaged their ability to move the site forward. The CEO was apparently especially angry about the fact that I'd contacted the other contractors in the USA and Europe, and their lawyer's letter referred to this as tortious interference with their contractors.
The purpose of that counter letter was to frighten me, and to some extent it worked. I realized that if I wanted to get my money, it would involve an ugly fight, with a lot of ugly accusations. I gave up the fight.
I never got paid.
After reading this article at Inc, I have to wonder how far the company could have gone, if they had wanted to take a very aggressive approach with me. On the personal level, I could wonder: If they had made accusations to the FBI, would the FBI have investigated me? What would that entail, and would I have the prove the bugs in the code were not my fault? But aside from the personal level, there is the general issue: companies with aggressive lawyers could potentially use these aggressive tactics to get out of paying contractors. I wish that I could have faith that the folks at the FBI are smart enough to avoid being suckered by these companies, but I don't really have such faith.
Obviously if you're running out of runway, you take whatever terms you can get, since your company is worthless if it goes bankrupt; but if your company is profitable and your only concern is about allowing it to grow faster, why the heck would you take a deal which is practically begging your investors to fire you?
 We're not told how much Cambrian Ventures took, but for $250k it presumably wasn't a huge amount. I'm going to arbitrarily guess 25%.
 Based on the way the numbers work out, I'm guessing they kept 20% of their stock outright and gave back the remaining 80% to be four-year vested. This fits with the fact that the company was about a year old when they took the funding.
Porsches and houses worth well over a million $US within 6 months of picking up $250K funding in a year when revenues were projected to hit 1M makes absolutely no sense.
They should have simply matched growth to income and ridden the growth-curve instead of diluting and splurging on luxury goods.
Lots of bad decisions here, including vesting for founders, a culture of blame and so on.
A really nice read. Worth every word. I wish everything were written like this. Straight and to the point. Constantly progressing, no BS, no filler. The writing was transparent and didn't get in the way.
That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the management and board. The clowns probably included a one-way non-disparagement clause as well, which is quite humorous in light of this article.
BTW: Standard etiquette in the valley is for the employees to contact anyone who has just left the company, usually in email from the company, so there is a written record of who initiated contact.
These days it happens more and more often that I will not read an article if I can't get it into Instapaper.
2) This seems to be the inevitable consequence of third-tier investors, weird family politics, and founders with less than fully developed ethical sense (which is fine; I would expect young founders and first time founders especially to learn somewhat what things are considered ethical, starting from a personal moral framework -- that's what advisors, lawyers, investors, etc. are for).
3) The Mahler character's first instinct (this will end in tears and disaster) perhaps was right; gut instinct is a good check on decisions like that. Necessary but not sufficient.
4) Wow, now I remember what it was like when people still built stuff on windows. Using linux (or bsd) was a huge competitive advantage 1998-2005 or so; I guess like having the Internet was in the early 1990s. Macs for desktop/laptop use became this in the mid-2000s; what is the current unfair advantage held by anyone competent? Maybe the cloud, and devops vs. individual system sysadmin? Single-command deployment?
But when you happily engage in vengeful DDOS attacks, shitty app spam, and flip apparently stolen websites, it paints a pretty clear picture of your character. I know I sure wouldn't want a guy like Shaikh working for me. Not in a million years.
Fundamental to them all is the idea that being "funded" equals "arrival." It doesn't. Revenue and customers equals arrival. Ideally it would be best not to be "funded" at all, since OPM == debt.
"The three co-founders would each be left with less than 3 percent of the company."
Yet they hired an advisor to guide them through the raising stage? Is this normal?
Shaikh has obviously made some big mistakes but take a minute to feel for the guy. He literally bled for the company to save some money so I can imagine the emotional rollercoaster he must have been on.
Well written piece Inc.
Memo: when writing an antidisparagement agreement, the first rule of antidisparagement agreements is that you agree not to disclose the existence of the antidisparagement agreement.
My favorite line.
The other thing is that simple thresholds aren't the only solution to using the output of naive Bayes for determining whether a message is ham or spam. Back in 2007 I looked at calibrating the output to deal especially with the problem of messages that have a probability near 0.5: http://blog.jgc.org/2007/03/calibrating-machine-learning-bas...
Also for spam filtering it's worth testing whether stop word removal and stemming are actually worthwhile: http://blog.jgc.org/2007/03/so-how-much-difference-do-stopwo...
Some resources and other reference implementations that were useful in building it:
http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/practical-a-spam-filter.html - Siebel's "Practical Common Lisp" book has a very readable implementation
http://www.paulgraham.com/spam.html - pg's essay that revived interest in using NBC for spam classification
http://spambayes.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/spambayes/trunk/... - a Python implementation that's been out there in the real world for about 10 years
https://github.com/WinnowTag/winnow/blob/master/src/classifi... - a C implementation used in another news classifier
I wrote my own Naive Bayes function for helping me tag my blog posts back in January. I did a longish explanation and implementation (PHP), it'd be cool if someone wanted to check my math/intuition since while my button has worked out so far (that is, no really surprising results have crept to the top as most likely) I wouldn't be surprised if there's an error or justification for a better calculation of a particular probability term that I missed. http://www.thejach.com/view/2012/1/an_explanation_and_exampl...
It's a very powerfull toolkit, with a lot more functionality than is needed to write an NB classifier, but may be of interest to anyone looking at NLP!
Here is a full project I started to to the same backed by redis adn built to scale for large applications: http://github.com/tawlk/synt
In my experience, all variables are important, but on testing, using only the ones (i.e., the words) observed in the text to test yields the best effectiveness rates, following the implementation from Manning, Raghavan and SchÃ¼tze (2008).
In addition, the considered Laplace smoothing is of utmost importance to deal with out-of-vocabulary words, thus avoiding the annoying 0's.
"We really liked Windows 7 when it launched. It felt like a big step forward in the short time that had passed since Vista. Now, as we creep closer to a likely release near the end of this year, we can't shake a sense of doubt. Windows 8 still feels like two very different operating systems trying to be one. The potential is hugely alluring -- a single OS to rule both the tablet and the desktop -- and with each subsequent version we keep hoping this will be the one that ties it all together. Sadly, as of the Consumer Preview, we're still seeing a lot of loose threads.
As it stands, Windows 8 is a considerably better tablet operating system than any previous version has managed to be. However, it's still a clumsier desktop OS than Windows 7. That's a problem Microsoft must fix before release."
I feel the same way. By trying to please everyone, Microsoft will please no one, and will frustrate 95% of the Windows users out there who will be very confused not just by the tile interface, who is much different than what they are used to, but also by the disconnect between these two interfaces.
Microsoft is trying to win the few who want a tablet interface at the expense of the vast majority who want a PC, mouse-oriented interface for their...PC's and laptops.
Take the Zune and Windows Phone 7. People who own them love them, especially the Zune. My neighbor had an iPod and Zune and always stood up for his Zune despite loathing Microsoft. But everyone else refuses to touch them. Why? Because they're Microsoft products and the stigma around them is that MS products have no future and become abandoned quickly or go nowhere fast. A reputation that's going to take consumers at least a decade to forget about and move on. So hopefully MS keeps these "revolutionary redesigns" going at a constant rate and not just kill them once profit comes in and market share returns.
Live coverage of the preview event here.
Is Microsoft still doing the silent update for IE?
Metro UI is quite cool, but you can spend most your time in the desktop mode if you wish (you'll have to use Metro to search for stuff and open apps).
One big drawback is that my favorite tool, Dexpot (virtual desktops manager) does not work - I hope it's not because they removed VD support, that would seriously suck...
Metro is also surprisingly intuitive - I've picked up everything on the first try (the corner actions are cool, too).
Now, what I don't like:
- All of the advanced settings (Control Panel and everything) are hard to access;
- WIN-TAB shows only Metro apps, but ALT-TAB shows Metro and the normal apps, cluttering the interface.
- While I like the Metro apps and will probably use them, the desktop should be loading by default on a laptop/desktop - there's no reason not to do it, and it looks like it's easily doable with some tweaked settings;
- The dumbed down everything feeling of Metro is cool at first, but gets annoying on a laptop after a while;
- I had to register a LIVE account to login to the OS - what if I don't have an Internet connection?
But that's about it - Windows 8 looks like a great OS, I like it. I still don't get why Microsoft had to make it an all-in-one OS for tablets and desktops when they could've packed Metro only for a tablet edition, but whatever...
If this isn't something you feel comfortable discussing in public, feel free to email me â" address in my profile. I don't have a job to offer you right now, but would like to talk. When you get to SF, lunch or beer on me.
You should reach out to people from your class (and years around it) that ended up in SF. Check out RethinkDB for example - part of their team is UChicago. Lollihop is another one.
Also, you should try Dwolla, who are awesome, committed to building the Des Moines hacker ecosystem.
EDIT: Emailed to offer help.
kozjob at yahoo.com
Also I see you have some writing skills too.You can be a great asset for companies who are trying to get some good content on their blogs and gain traction.
Good luck man :-)
I know C++ and Python ok
(never took math classes at U of C, but spent lots of time in Eckhart library)
We've got lots of opportunities for smart guys like you and we love C++ here at Room77.
We may not have the "big data" opportunities like Twitter has but we have a big dream, to build the best hotel shopping site in the world and we've got amazing VCs and people backing us and we have a lot of interesting problems to solve.
Your quant and derivatives background is especially interesting since we have a new project that's basically custom made for someone who wants to build a highly algo-driven engine.
Send me an email roger[at]room77.com if you're interested in finding out more or just shoot us your resume here and complete a few of our problems https://www.room77.com/jobs/se_resume_form.html?p=SWE&s=...
Id be happy to help in any way I can, my email is rick_developer at gmx dot com
Give one of our competitions a shot - http://kaggle.com/. They're a good way to experiment with algorithms and machine learning on well-defined problems, and collaborate with people who have similar interests. Also, we love hiring people who win competitions.