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Is the threat itself not illegal? He's effectively threatening to file a patent suit solely to force Palm to spend money on legal fees. It doesn't feel like the kind of thing you should be allowed to do.

8 months ago on Steve Jobs threatened Palm’s CEO, plainly and directly, court documents reveal

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It's going to be an enormous cock up. In the UK, most specialist IT teachers don't have computer science backgrounds, so from September, you'll have people who can't code teaching kids how to code. What could possibly go wrong?

8 months, 2 weeks ago on By September coding will be mandatory in British schools. What the hell, America?

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@KevinChristner @jholyhead  It's not stupidity, its barely even naivety. The dog-eat-dog world you seem to long for would suck for pretty much everyone. Restricting bad people from taking advantage of good people is not a terrible thing. 


The DCA is taking a common sense approach here - they've basically said, 'behave and we'll leave you alone, but if you step out of line, we'll shut you down'. What is the downside to that? Who is affected in any way other than the scam artists? Are you a scam artist? Is that why you are so set against such lightweight regulation? 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Last week in fear mongering: No, the state isn’t shutting down coding bootcamps

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@KevinChristner  To ensure that people aren't being ripped off. How would you feel if someone you knew went to one of these boot camps and came back talking about how they'd spent thousands of dollars to learn an awesome language called Visual Fox Pro and how they were promised interviews at Google and Facebook?


Regulations aren't a dirty word and when they are used sensibly (check that out for a caveat), they actually improve market conditions for everybody.

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Last week in fear mongering: No, the state isn’t shutting down coding bootcamps

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SQL injection is so 1998. You have to do something impressively stupid to leave a database open to that kind of attack nowadays.

9 months ago on Think your company’s information is safe? Well have you secured your databases?

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@josephwachira It's about the trend.


If you assume that the number of people who search for facebook rather than direct addressing remains at a constant level proportionate to the total number of users then it is a perfectly valid measure.


The mobile app access issue is more interesting, but if you are sat in front of a computer, do you take your phone out of your pocket to access facebook or do you use a web interface whenever one is readily accessible? I don't know the answer to that, but without that answer you can't just assume that the mobile app is a highly significant factor in the experimental results.

9 months ago on Bad science: No, Facebook won’t lose 80% of its users by 2017

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"The only trouble is, the study’s pretty much full of shit."


No, it's full of science. They've proposed a model, they have validated that model using MySpace, they have applied that model to Facebook and have made a prediction based on the output of the model. The use of epidemiological models has been justified by their prior use in the literature when modelling the spread of ideas. 


I see nothing particularly bad in there. I'm not sure one datapoint is enough to say anything categorically, but the author's don't say anything categorically. They simply present their work. 


9 months ago on Bad science: No, Facebook won’t lose 80% of its users by 2017

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@JordanThaeler If the Jury is a group of 12 Fox News viewers, then they might still be out, but a Jury of 12 highly educated experts who have seen and understood the evidence - those guys have had a verdict ready for a long, long time. 


There are two types of people who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change - those who aren't smart enough to draw conclusions based on the available data and those who are being paid to lie about those conclusions.

9 months ago on The newest climate change numbers are out and they’re not good

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@thejohnmarc  I'm going to be generous and assume that you didn't read the full clause that you quoted and not that you deliberately quoted only the part that supported your argument, omitting the context.


The full clause: "So long as you comply with these Terms of Use, you are authorized to access, use and make a limited number of copies of information and materials available on this Website only for purposes of your personal use in order to learn more about Humor Rainbow or its products and services, or to otherwise communicate with Humor Rainbow or utilize its services. Any copies made by you must retain without modification any and all copyright notices and other proprietary marks. The pages and content on this Website may not be copied, distributed, modified, published, or transmitted in any other manner..."


The copies he made using the bots were made within the restrictions of this clause. He made those copies in order to utilize the services made available through the website. That is 100% authorized. I can't see anywhere in those terms of service that forbid the use of bots. OKCupid tried to stop the bots because they believed the contents were being scraped for other reasons or because the bots were using an unacceptable high amount of system resources.


As for Weev - he's where thieves belong. In Prison. 

9 months ago on Did the mathematician who hacked OKCupid violate federal computer laws?

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@SJKopischke It's more than enough to identify a trend.

9 months ago on The newest climate change numbers are out and they’re not good

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I think this is slightly different to the Auernheimer case because he was scraping information that he was authorised to access, he was just accessing it in a way that was (presumably) against the terms of service - that's not illegal (last I checked).


Auernheimer was not authorised to access the information he scraped from AT&T and that is why he is now in prison. 

9 months ago on Did the mathematician who hacked OKCupid violate federal computer laws?

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@JordanPosell @carmeldea less than 1%. Probably less than 0.1%. But that probably represents a majority of the smart thermostat market, which is going to explode in the next 10 years.

9 months, 1 week ago on While Nest and Google are popping champagne, plenty of others should be concerned

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@elpollo @jholyhead @anon248 The percentage of salary SF tech workers spend on rent is already higher than other hubs with large startup communities. That gap will continue to close as rent increases - it has to. Your rent has no impact whatsoever on the revenue generation of your employer. No company in SF can afford to raise wages in line with living costs. 

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Awareness accomplished. Now let’s actually do something about San Francisco’s housing problem

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@elpollo @anon248 @jholyhead If your rent was two, three times what it is now, would you consider moving somewhere else then? Would you at least concede that it would convince a lot of people to leave/refuse to relocate there?

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Awareness accomplished. Now let’s actually do something about San Francisco’s housing problem

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"There’s no sign that the epicenter of Silicon Valley is ever going to move."


If nothing changes in the next few years, it will have to. The current rate of growth is unsustainable. More and more startups will do the maths and realise that the benefits of being at the center of the action are not worth having triple the wage bill of cities like Austin or Denver and employees will start balking at the idea of living in a city that is openly hostile to them.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Awareness accomplished. Now let’s actually do something about San Francisco’s housing problem

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all agree that not every 20-something tech worker in San Francisco was an invading parasite sucking the life out of the city and the surrounding area and that not every longtime San Francisco resident hates tech workers?


Wouldn't it be wonderful if those well adjusted people on both sides of the divide were able to come together to discuss and propose solutions to some of the problems that are harming the city and the people who live and work in her?


And wouldn't it be wonderful if the media refrained from hyperbolic and harmful rhetoric (no matter how tongue in cheek the delivery) that serves only to deepen those divides?


We can dream.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Young techies, know your place!

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@thomas99 Hawk-Eye is never 100% sure of it's result. 


I hear what you are saying and I think it would be reasonable that if Hawk-Eye claims the ball is within some small distance of the line (that reflects the accuracy of Hawk-Eye) the original call is respected, but I don't see how that would improve the game except to cast doubt on the usefulness of Hawk-Eye, which would inevitably lead to the McEnroe style tantrums of yesteryear - something the sport could do without.

9 months, 4 weeks ago on Out! Goal! The ball was in! But could Hawk-Eye get it wrong?

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@davepaz @jholyhead 'Guesses' is not a fair description. They are estimates, as are pretty much any sensor reading. Hawk-Eye is upfront about the accuracy of the system (it's on Hawk-Eye's wikipedia page).


Professor Collins' findings are about the public's perception of technology - that in general they overestimate the performance of systems like Hawk-Eye. This is more useful when you are talking about things like medical systems, because Hawk-Eye does its job well enough and so an assumption of 100% accuracy, whilst incorrect, is equally inconsequential.

9 months, 4 weeks ago on Out! Goal! The ball was in! But could Hawk-Eye get it wrong?

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The technology doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be more reliable than the human line judges, which it is. Professor Collins' work on HawkEye deals with the public's understanding of technology, but from a practical and in this case sporting perspective, it is entirely irrelevant - the system uses the information at its disposal to identify the most likely landing position of the ball in relation to the line and so long as its decision is more accurate than a human could provide by eye, why would you choose not to use it?



9 months, 4 weeks ago on Out! Goal! The ball was in! But could Hawk-Eye get it wrong?

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It's sad that this post, brilliantly brutal as your take-downs always are, will send a pile of traffic to ValleyWag and reinforce Biddle's belief in this strategy. Of course he's unlikely to stay silent; I expect at least one rebuttal post that will attempt to stoke the flames of a clickgasm inducing feud.

10 months ago on Look Who’s Gawking: Inside Nick Denton’s phony, hypocritical class war against tech workers

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tl;dr News sites haven't missed the boat, they've just done their research. 


"Let’s hope that by the time that happens the major news outlets will be able to tell when someone’s reading one of their stories on a smartphone and when they’re reading it on a laptop."


They already can. You don't need a responsive site to manage different device types, sites have been using user agents for years to manage mobile versions and they come with the added bonus of allowing the user to choose how web sites will be displayed on their device. I've just checked the BBC, Fox News and the Huffington Post and they all manage device detection in this way and the Huffington Post and the BBC resolve to the correct device version regardless of the url provided to it. The WSJ (and Fox News, incidentally) are just badly developed, it isn't a flaw in the methodology itself. 


You seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that responsive design is the be-all and end-all of web design. It's not - it has it's pros and cons just like any other fad. Adjusting for screen size is probably the least difficult aspect of designing a mobile friendly website. What about optimizing for slower internet connections? The Huffington Post front page (desktop) at the moment weighs about 3MB, the mobile site front page in total weighs about half of that and uses lazy loading so only a fraction of it is downloaded initially. Not everyone is lucky enough to be in an area reliably covered by 4G, so page size is still very much an important factor for mobile sites.


There are other reasons why you might reasonably spurn RWD, but I think the speed optimization issue is the key contraindication when you are discussing news sites in particular.

10 months ago on No response: When will news sites catch up to the rest of the Web?

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@davepaz it's not legitimate help. It would be like if someone started selling bulletproof children's clothes, 'for when the schoolday comes to a sticky end'. It's in horrible taste and comes with the implied message that 'you should expect to have men try to rape you'.

I don't think people are outraged, so much as they are astounded that there are people tone deaf enough to think this is a good idea.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on High tech anti-rape panties are pissing people off, despite best intentions

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The only surprising thing about that Max Read tweet is that someone who works at Gawker is capable of spelling the word 'beautiful'.

1 year ago on NSFWCORP’s race to survive… The results are in

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"Automattic hires by trial. They don’t care what degree you have or what skills you list. Instead they ask candidates to do actual work on a trial basis."

So Automattic takes on every applicant on a trial basis without any sifting beforehand? 

1 year, 1 month ago on WordPress.com and the future of work

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Tim Cook is safe because there is no one else in the tech world the board would want to replace him with. You probably wouldn't want to replace him with another Apple exec because they might be seen to be part of the problem (and who else on the board is high profile enough to prevent a stockholder panic?). 


1 year, 2 months ago on It has not been a good week to be Tim Cook

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@g8Rojas @jholyhead Ok, so rather than try to come up with an N tier system for all of STEM, I'll just list some software/IT jobs that are not the top tier - that is, those jobs for whom there is no shortage of qualified applicants.

Tech Support 
Networking (except in certain industries like finance)
Information Security (except in industries like defence/finance etc)
DBAs (except in certain industries (I'm sure FB/Google's DBAs are all smarter than me, but they are the 1% of DBAs))
Webmaster/Website Administrator/Manager etc etc etc
Front End Developer
Web Designer (except for the few (very few) rockstars)
System Admin (again, except in a few industries)

If it's not already obvious, I think there are top tier exceptions to all the above job titles (except Tech Support, I can't think of an industry where you need to be a genius to be a Tech Support worker), but in the main, the people with these job titles are not the people that SV CEOs are trying to get into the country on H-1B visas. 

And as someone said above, there's nothing wrong with doing 2nd tier work, I was doing 2nd tier work before I decided I'd rather kill myself than write another line of CRUD code. 

1 year, 2 months ago on STEM talent: It’s a distribution problem

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@rabidwombat Which is odd given that it doesn't really belong on a site about startups. (i get why it's here, I'm just saying it's strange that you would cite an off topic article as the reason you keep reading the site)

1 year, 2 months ago on Olivia Nuzzi won’t defend herself against the latest lies, so allow me

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@factchecker2000 @jholyhead Neither. But believe what you will. 

For the record, I don't think the majority of H-1B workers belong to that top 10-15% either. They just represent a cheaper source of second tier workers. 

1 year, 2 months ago on STEM talent: It’s a distribution problem

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@LonnyLot @jholyhead Experience as a STEM graduate and person responsible for hiring STEM graduates for technical roles. It's a conservative estimate.


1 year, 2 months ago on STEM talent: It’s a distribution problem

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These studies don't take into account the fact that most STEM graduates are not well suited to STEM careers. In a typical Computer Science cohort, maybe only the top 10-15% of graduates are actually capable of becoming competent developers. The rest are left with a choice between 2nd tier STEM jobs (for which there is no shortage of applicants) or getting out of STEM entirely.


1 year, 2 months ago on STEM talent: It’s a distribution problem

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@david pratt @jholyhead No one is talking about legitimate patent infringement suits - inventors absolutely have the right to enforce their patents. Patent trolling is completely different and no amount of homework will protect you from them.

1 year, 2 months ago on How to slaughter a patent troll in 5 steps

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This is fine for people who can afford to throw $1m at lawyers, but how is this relevant to a small just-seeded or bootstrapped startup where the founders can barely afford to pay their rent? 

Don't get me wrong, I love that you are taking the fight back to them, but this isn't an option for new-to-the-game founders without access to expensive lawyers. How do they avoid settling frivolous lawsuits if not settling will bankrupt their business?

1 year, 2 months ago on How to slaughter a patent troll in 5 steps

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@Teenseagull  It's not a zero sum game. Men are allowed to experience societal pressures without minimising the problems women experience.

1 year, 3 months ago on For men, “leaning out” just isn’t an option

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@WordTipping Men have to choose to be failures? That's an incredibly dumb thing to say. Please choose not to suck so hard next time.

1 year, 3 months ago on For men, “leaning out” just isn’t an option

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@MiaMcNabb @jholyhead @BrianZ1980 I don't think you can make that assumption based on a collective memo. If they all came out publicly denied the story, that would be different. Is it OK to burn a source if that source is burning you?

1 year, 3 months ago on How we’ve responded to BeachMint’s most recent demands

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@BrianZ1980 how do you know that none of the sources are on the board?

1 year, 3 months ago on How we’ve responded to BeachMint’s most recent demands

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Sounds like they are trying to make the story go away by destroying PandoDaily's reputation. Davis gets Sarah to refuse to print a retraction, he runs to the LA Times to tell them that Sarah is being completely unreasonable. I particularly love this line from the LA TImes piece - " 'I thought I could reason with her and didn't want to humiliate her or embarrass her' " - he says as he attempts to deliberately humiliate/embarrass her. What an ass!

1 year, 3 months ago on How we’ve responded to BeachMint’s most recent demands

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@darrellsilver @chonapuch @jholyhead I'm not convinced I'm an edge case, but regardless, I bet that the largest group of students are  those who sign up because they are generally curious about the subject of the MOOC and want to investigate it a bit. Most of those people wont finish the course because they satisfy their curiosity and move on to the next MOOC - I don't see why that is a bad thing. Those people achieved their own personal learning objectives and therefore their experience was a successful one.

There is a genuine issue with people falling behind. I'm enrolled on half a dozen MOOCs (or more) at a time and it is impossible for me to complete all of the requirements of those courses in the time I allot to them. If sites like Coursera open their courses to a more open-ended learn at your own pace model for those students who are not interested in earning formal credit, I think they would see much higher completion rates across their courses.

Thinkful might allow people to jump around at their own pace, but the costs mean it's not accessible to those of us who just want to satisfy our curiosity.

There's certainly room in the market for all the different approaches we are seeing, but I don't like it when people make unreasonable comparisons between those models. How would you like it if every time someone wrote about Thinkful they implied you are failing because your enrolment numbers are an order of magnitude smaller than Coursera's?

1 year, 3 months ago on Learn-to-code site Thinkful is carving out a niche between MOOCs and expensive schools, with retention rates to prove it

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I dont understand why 'retention' is a useful statistics for assessing MOOCs. Isn't the percentage of people who got out of the course what they wanted a more useful statistic? I don't sign up to earn a PDF certificate, I often sign up because I'm interested in a specific part of a course. I make use of those materials and I'm done and satisfied with that.

1 year, 3 months ago on Learn-to-code site Thinkful is carving out a niche between MOOCs and expensive schools, with retention rates to prove it

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@Todd Dunning @MatthewCase If the gap was a result of the rich getting richer and the poor getting less poor, then I'd agree, but that's not what's happening. If the poor continue to get poorer, who will buy the products the rich are trying to sell?

Capitalism works when everyone benefits. And if you think that nobody is asking the question of 'how do we make the economy work better for everybody?', then you're even more clueless than I thought.

1 year, 3 months ago on Silicon Valley’s ugly rich-poor gap: What’s the tech world gonna do about it?

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The word will naturally fall away as the 'smart' devices become the norm in each industry. Even now it is becoming much less common for people to talk in terms of smartphones as opposed to just phones.

1 year, 3 months ago on Let’s kill the word “smart”

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@Todd Dunning @jholyhead Yes, all those poor deprived Stanford grads. 

1 year, 3 months ago on Silicon Valley’s ugly rich-poor gap: What’s the tech world gonna do about it?

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@Todd Dunning You realise that 'the disadvantaged' and 'trustafarians' are polar opposite of one another, right?

1 year, 3 months ago on Silicon Valley’s ugly rich-poor gap: What’s the tech world gonna do about it?

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Treatings sounds like a great idea. I can imagine it being of great use to students preparing for their first job hunt, but how do you plan on incentivising the other half of the connection? I can easily see job seekers wanting to make use of your service, but with the exception of a few good apples and recruiters trolling for fresh meat, I don't think a free cup of coffee is going to be enough to get people to come and rep their profession/company/industry.

1 year, 3 months ago on The less-than-glamorous life of a young entrepreneur

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They probably put out to tender and picked one of the cheaper options, which means you get less talented engineers. Happens all the time - it can be hard to justify paying for premium software development.

1 year, 3 months ago on Seriously, why is software so hard for non-software companies?

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You assume that all of the changes will be negative. What you describe is the worst possible case. There are middle ground solutions that lead to increases in efficiency that don't result in us being diagnosed by HAL. 

1 year, 4 months ago on When human interaction becomes a luxury

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@nathanielmott @jholyhead I think improvements to the outlets themselves (such as improved child guards) are valid, but I think trying to drive home automation from an outlet perspective is absolutely the wrong approach - with lighting being a possible exception.

If these technologies were being introduced 10 years ago, they might have had time to get some traction, but as it stands, I think devices like the WeMo will be obsolete far before they become affordable and sophisticated enough to gain widespread appeal. Belkin would have been better served putting its resources into appliance connectivity.

1 year, 4 months ago on Plug ‘em in: Let’s make electrical outlets a little smarter

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I don't see a business in smart outlets, not when the era of smart appliances is just around the corner. Home automation will be done at an appliance level, not an outlet level. 

1 year, 4 months ago on Plug ‘em in: Let’s make electrical outlets a little smarter

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@davemholmes @jholyhead I hear you. I think I'm just touchy because a lot of the reporting on the NSA's ability to mine this data has been like reading bad science fiction. It's actually refreshing to read an article on the subject that isn't batshit crazy.

1 year, 4 months ago on What, me worry? The NSA is working on powerful quantum computing technology

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