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Comment Take cash, not options (Score 1) 135

In the startup world right now, there's a lot of evidence of a bubble in privately funded companies, but less of one in the public markets. But there are two differences between now and the .com bubble. Specifically:

- most companies have real cash flows this time
- investors are smarter

As valuations have gone up, investors have started transferring risk back to the founders and employees with things like liquidation preferences. What that means is that if you take funding at some ridiculous valuation, you'll need to exit at an even higher valuation to actually make money as a founder or employee. But there doesn't seem to be the same appetite for these high valuations in the public markets right now.

The upshot is this: take more cash than options right now. There's a good chance your options will be worthless at this point. If you want equity, ask for actual shares instead.

As for worst cases, you'll likely see weaker companies fail and stronger companies reduce headcount to better manage costs.

Comment Re:Rewriting Would Be a Mistake (Score 4, Insightful) 232

I remember reading this back in the day, but this article has not aged well. Joel is a smart guy, but this advice is frankly ludicrous.

In Joel's world, Apple would have never scrapped Mac OS Classic and launched OS X. And Microsoft would have never scrapped the old DOS underpinnings and started over with the NT kernel.

Starting over happens all the time in software projects, and I'll admit that in many cases it's a waste of time. But quite often, it's an excellent idea. The world changes, and despite what Joel thinks, software really does age.

In the case of Netscape, I would say that their rewrite worked out pretty well. Mozilla was a big jump forward in browser technology, and then Firefox (which itself was a rewrite of Mozilla) has become a truly successful browser.

Comment Re:Finally! (Score 2, Insightful) 85

I've been telling people that Drupal 7 is coming real soon now for two years! We've developed and redeveloped entire sites, all the while hearing from our developers that Drupal 7 was coming out and that we would need to think about our upgrade path.

As far as I can tell it's vaporware. Release it already.


Submission + - SORBS blacklists the internet (

anonymous writes: Last night, the SORBS anti-spam blacklist (no link — their site is slammed right now) accidentally updated their databases to include an enormous number of the Internet's mail servers and networks. Large portions of IP addresses owned by Amazon, Google, Rackspace, and others were included in this blacklist and marked as unacceptable for email. Details here, along with a reply from Michelle Sullivan at SORBS about the troubles they've been having.

Comment Great on paper - but in real life? (Score 5, Insightful) 227

This system assumes three things:

  • Everyone participates - voters have to validate their vote afterward to make sure it's still correct.
  • Everyone is perfect - people who incorrectly cast their vote will always suspect fraud, calling the entire election into question.
  • Everyone is sane - individual voters do not lie about about their vote to game the system, cast doubt on the election, etc.

Submission + - Prizes for Finding Browser Bugs

fremen writes: uTest, a software testing company, is running a competition to give away cash prizes to anyone who discovers new bugs in IE8, Firefox 3.1, and Google Chrome. They're promising to send the final bug reports to all three companies (and credit the discoverer), so this seems like a fun way to do some testing while helping make each browser better. Sign-up is free, and they've already found over 200 bugs in 12 hours.

Comment Re:A few tweaks, and... (Score 5, Insightful) 362

What you're really saying is that "if only the chip had been a little more expensive to produce things might have been different." Adding a few little tweaks to devices was a heck of a lot more expensive in the 80s than it is today. The reality is that had Intel done what you asked, the x86 might not have succeeded this long at all.

Feed Science Daily: Animated Beer Smooth To Pour (

Researchers have developed innovative fluid special effects software that can pour a most realistic-looking stein of beer. Fluids researchers say the physics of bubble creation in carbonated drinks like beer is complex. “As you pour beer into a glass, you see bubbles appearing on what are called nucleation sites, where the glass isn’t quite smooth,” the developer said.

Submission + - Mars mission borrows technology from PS3, Xbox 360 (

jbrodkin writes: "The same IBM processors in your Xbox 360, PS3, the car you drive and some of the world's fastest supercomputers are leaving for Mars today to support a NASA mission searching for extraterrestrial life. And this is no mere coincidence. Lessons learned from the incredible video throughput of the PlayStation 3 and the extreme scalability and reliability of mainframes factor into the processors being used on the Phoenix Mars Lander. Similarly, the experience building processors that make the most efficient use of energy on a spacecraft is helping IBM make data centers on Earth more efficient in a time when limitations of space and power are increasingly important. "This is the onboard machine that runs all of the functions that will have to be performed somewhat autonomously on Mars when it lands," explains Dave McQueeney, chief technology officer for IBM's federal contracting business. "These are the computers inside the spacecraft that are responsible for the navigation, control, scientific instruments, power management ... the things that are the brains of the Lander itself.""

Forensic Analysis Reveals Al-Qaeda's Image Doctoring 285

WerewolfOfVulcan writes "Wired reports that researcher Neal Krawetz revealed some very interesting things about the Al-Qaeda images broadcast in the mass media. Analysis shows that they're heavily manipulated, a discussion meant to illustrate a new technique that can spot forgery in digital media. 'Krawetz was ... able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri's head was added to the image afterward. In the second picture above showing the results of the error level analysis, the light clusters on the image indicate areas of the image that were added or changed. The subtitles and logos in the upper right and lower left corners ... were all added at the same time, while the banner writing was added at a different time, likely around the same time that al-Zawahiri was added, Krawetz says.'"

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