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Captain Crunch needs your help (savingcaptaincrunch.com)
195 points by andrew_k on Dec 5, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments



There's no mention of this on John Draper's personal website or MySpace page. How do we know this message is from John Draper?

http://www.webcrunchers.com/

http://www.myspace.com/jdcrunchman

(Found webcrunchers via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Draper and found MySpace via webcrunchers.)


There is a Facebook page, but it doesn't look more legit than the savingcaptaincruch website. They might both be fake. http://www.facebook.com/jdcrunchman?v=wall

EDIT: On inspection, the stuff from early October and back seems pretty OK. I'm more inclined to believe this now.


None of my doctors are online to make comments, nor are they legally able to put anything public about their patients.. I was able to get Doctor Roy Ashcroft to make a statement on my condition but he cannot legally go into details, and if you look on both my Facebook page, and "savingcaptaincrunch" page, is a complete diagnosis on my condition including diagram of my spine, and how this condition is deteriorating the nerves that control my hands...


People just want to make sure it is you requesting the money and not a scammer. You just need to convince people that you are you and then HN/reddit will be happy to help. Hope you get well!


Hope you get well soon with the help of the community...

You are one of the reasons why I picked up programming before I had full computer access in 6th grade..


Mark Abramov said the following on the Facebook page you linked. I hope John Draper follows this advice (and that the surgery goes well):

"Captain, it would be great if you connected your known web identity (webcrunchers.com) with your identity on facebook (this account) and/or the donation website. Put a link on the sidebar or something because some people get suspicious.

Hope you get well soon."


Judging by the people listed in the friends list in the Facebook page, the Facebook account seems genuine to me, but you don't have to take my word for it.


Whois says the domain was registered by this person: http://www.blogher.com/member/christinemarie She doesn't look like a scammer.


Christine owns the domain, she setup the domain and web site, and her loyal supporters have done a great job, Bless her heart for this amazing support. She is also publisher of Technorazzi, also Gingerbread TV, and was one of the en2go officers.


http://technorazzi.com/?p=1254

It looks like Christine Marie is at least aquainted with John Draper, and Christine posted this site on her twitter: http://twitter.com/digitalginger


I almost donated, but dug around and can't find verification of his situation. Anyone got anything more concrete?


What do you need for verification? Do you want to talk to my surgeon? Usually, they don't like to talk about their patients unless you are next of kin. I did ask him to mention what the condition is, and more details on my condition is outlined in "savingcaptaincrunch.com"

I'm fully aware that webcrunchers and wiki have no references, but that should be fixed by tonight.

I'm barely able to type (have to use my thumbs). I got stacks of mail I haven't even read, but hope you understand my limitations.

Crunch


Usually (at least on reddit IAmA, where I'm a mod), verification is done by the poster uploading a picture of himself holding up a sign with the current date and something like "I'm Captain Crunch". If you want to do an IAmA there, I'd be happy to verify it (and, consequently, everything else), and it might get you some more donations...


>What do you need for verification? Do you want to talk to my surgeon?

I think that's the opposite of what people want: it's a matter of authentication -- how do we know the person that put up the website is forwarding the money to the real John Draper? Most people would trust you, if they could verify it's really you. You could put a link to this fundraiser on your website or myspace, or make a youtube video saying it's a real fundraiser, and that would be enough to convince people. How it is now isn't enough to convince people that the money really is going to you.


I challenge you to rebuff my claims. You contact me personally, I will be happy to give you the name of the doctor's physical therapists, and any and all medical staff that can substantiate my claim. And I find it totally offensive to say that people don't believe me. I'm have anything else to say, I'll leave you to judge based on what you can find out on your own.


FYI - I made the appropriate changes to webcrunchers.com like I said I would. The problem has been my hosting company who is hosting Webcrunchers was out of town on a mission, and had left before my volunteers put up the fundraiser site.

Early on, it was mentioned that this had to be done. Somehow, it fell into the cracks, next time, I'll pay more attention to such details.

You all please have to understand, that I'm going through tremendous amount of pain, and none of the pain medications work, and now I'm having to have stellar ganglon nerve root blocks, which kills the nerves, but only for certain periods of time. I'm told by the doctor, thereby increase this frequency, it may end my problem. I'm now having them three times a week. And I do want to say this, when you have a shot in the front of your neck with a needle going all the way back to the root nerve, it is a very painful experience.

But another doctor, insists I have surgery right away. I see said surgeon on the ninth, to find out what this is going to cost me above and beyond that Medicare can pay, and whatever is left over, I'll send back. I know who you are, I'll contact each and everyone of you individually, to ask if you want me to return what you paid. simple as that. And nice and fair. Again I want to thank everybody who donated, for your information, I am almost but not quite 2/3rd the way done to the goal of $10,000.

I remain

Crunch


Something on the person's main page directly acknowledging the scenario would be more useful - I wasn't the only one who wasn't sure about this. I thought wikipedia might have some update on the situation but there's nothing there. FWIW, just updating the site(s) would have been enough - if it's really that hard to type, that was a lot of typing to do! :/


The link has been posted on his twitter and facebook.

Here is the link to twitter status. http://twitter.com/#!/jdcrunchman/status/11219584119996416

His Facebook posts are seems to be for friends only, though.

http://www.facebook.com/jdcrunchman

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1229269/Screen%20shot%202010-12-05%2...


The profile for that Twitter account has a broken link:

http://www.en2go.com

It is common for celebrities to be impersonated on Twitter, and this is not a verified account.

John Draper is a security expert. His MySpace page has a video of him talking about how to avoid getting scammed online. Surely he understands the need to establish his identity before asking for money online. Yet, I don't see any mention of this situation on his website.


en2go web site was shut down months ago. The investors shut down the company in July. So yes, en2go is en2gone.

The reason why I haven't been able to put the link on my website, has been due to my disability, and huge amounts of response I'm having to answer.

My webmaster, maintaining Webcrunchers.com is going to be putting up the links. Plus, since I have not gone through my wiki entry, I have not been able to make any additions to that as well. In actuality, other people have put up this wiki, with my blessing of course. Since I just located and found my webmaster, we're going to make these corrections as soon as possible.

There's a lot going on my life right now, in spending a lot of time doing research on my condition, finding and interviewing doctors, I found someone who I trust who is willing to perform open surgery on my neck.

However, there are other institutes out there that do non-invasive surgery using endoscopic treatments. I have interviewed and looked into one local outfit, and they charge $25,000 for the treatment, but unfortunately after looking at my MRI, denied my request for treatment due to the severity of my condition. I have several others I am investigating, and I have to be careful not to raise more money than I need, and if I exceed that, I have to return it.

Anyway, I hope that my webmaster will find the time to go in and fix it tonight.

NOTE: This is a repeat on what I said above, I tried to edit it because Mac Speech had some errors I missed. The owners of hacker news should be notified I updated, after editing, the update button was presented, I pressed it, it returned back to editing, did it again, and it still didn't seem to accept it, so I submitted a revised message.


To unkink your neck, hang upside down and pull on your hair or wear a heavy helmet.


Actually, that was one of the physical therapists treatments. But I don't hang upside down, use a pulley with a strap around my neck, going up over the doorway, with a water bag for weight. Recommended weight: 25 pounds. It feels pretty good, but it doesn't get rid of the pain in my hands. I have very little muscle control and my fingers right now, this nerve has to be released soon, or I'll lose all muscle control in my fingers.


en2go web site was shut down months ago. The investors shut down the company in July. So yes, en2go is en2gone.

The reason why I haven't been able to put the link on my website, has been due to my disability, and huge amounts of response I'm having to answer.

My webmaster, maintaining Webcrunchers.com is going to be putting up the links. Plus, since I have not gone through my wiki entry, I have not been able to make any additions to that as well. In actuality, other people have put up this wiki, with my blessing of course. Since I just located and found my webmaster, we're going to make these corrections as soon as possible.

There's a lot going on my life right now, in spending a lot of time doing research on my condition, finding and interviewing doctors, I found someone who I trust who is willing to perform open surgery on my neck.

However, there are other institutes out there that do non-invasive surgery using endoscopic treatments. I have interviewed and looked into one local outfit, and they charge $25,000 for the treatment, but unfortunately after looking at my MRI, denied my request for treatment due to the severity of my condition. I have several others I am investigating, and I have to be careful not to raise more money than I need, and if I exceed that, I have to return it.

Anyway, I hope that my webmaster will find the time to go in and fix it tonight.

Now I have to get back answering mail, I have a lot of mail to catch up on.

Crunch

John


Suggestion: donate any excess money to a well-regarded charity, perhaps one associated with your condition. I'm sure most people donating will be as willing, if not more willing, to donate if you tell them this up front.


If I receive more money than needed. I will contact each and every donor, and asked them if they want it returned. Simple as that. It's only fair. I know Who you are. I know much you donated, and will happily pay that back if it's not needed.

The most out-of-pocket expense I have is post surgery care or, other costs not covered by Medicare. I will say this, Medicare does not cover everything. I can assure you that. You'd be surprised at how many clinics are not covered by Medicare. And I've heard nothing about Obama care, even if that exists.


To whomever downvoted this: care to say why you think this is a poor idea?


This is in my things to do - my webmaster has been unavailable, so seeking details to do it myself. I appreciate you pointing this out. Wiki is also on my list. I'm already posting a lot of stuff on my facebook page. But don't want to come across as "Self Serving". I'm also unsure of the $10k cap. If I find another laser surgery outfit, and they charge more, how would my donors feel.


The amount of money could be discussed in more detail on http://savingcaptaincrunch.com/

There is already a paragraph towards the bottom that discusses how the money will be used. It could also say that you are still researching treatment options. $10,000 is an optimistic estimate for what it will cost to save your arms, and you're collecting up to $30,000 which will help you to get the best medical care possible. Any money not spent on medical care will be returned.

Just throwing out an idea. I've never run a charity campaign and don't know what works. Just make sure to get those links on webcrunchers so everyone knows that it's really you who's asking for help and not some scammer. ;-)


Yes, that's absolutely right. Plus, if I am accepted for endoscopic surgery, I may have to increase the cap. Right now, I am not even sure that I qualify as a candidate for this procedure, and one of my surgeons is advising against it while another one says to give it a go.

I will say this, it is my body, I'm going to do the best I can to make sure I get the best possible treatment, and not turn down endoscopic surgery, even though it is $25,000.

I will say this, so far endoscopic surgery costs is about $14,000 per disc, plus $7500 for each additional disk.

You will note that I am only asking for $10,000. Making sure I don't ask for more than I should. This figure was discussed between me and my advisers, and we think it's a fair goal to try to reach.


Finally contacted my webmaster, but he's out all day, and plans to get back tonight... So lets see here...

1) Link from WebCrunchers to my Facebook page 2) Link from Webcrunchers to "savingcaptaincrunch" site 3) Make changes to my WIKI with links to all 3 of these sites, plus a statement on my current health. Is there anything else I should do? I'm trying to distance myself from all this promotion so's not to appear "Self Serving".


It's fixed now. It was on my things to do, the person hosting my site was out of town, and had left long before I had to put up three donation website.


I have it on very good authority that this is serious and totally legitimate.


The US healthcare system never fails to shock and horrify me. I am so thankful for my dual citizenship every time I hear a story like this. Pathetic and sad.


I just wanted to post _exactly_ the same.

I imagine that John Draper has some sort of health insurance. So why are those things even an issue? Healthcare is one of those few areas where I think that a government backed approach provides more benefits than a private approach.


According to the Wikipedia, Draper was born in 1944, which mean that he ought to be covered by Medicare, which is the federally-run insurance program for individuals over 65. However, as other commenters have noted, even with insurance, it's not uncommon to find out that a particular procedure isn't covered by one's plan, and even very good insurance policies often don't cover costs 100%. For example, very good private insurance policies often only pay 80% of inpatient costs- the other 20% will be billed to the patient. That said, there's usually some sort of upper limit to the patient's financial responsibility, after which the insurance company pays 100%... but that limit can sometimes be in the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the plan.

Furthermore, many insurance plans will cover a surgical procedure at one rate, but will cover ancillary costs (such as anesthesia, follow-up care, and medications) at a different (often lower) rate. This is all a long-winded way of saying that it is quite common for major medical procedures that are nominally "covered" by one's health insurance to end up costing the patient quite a bit of money when all is said and done. Look at the stats on medical bankruptcies in the US over the last few years- most of those people had insurance, and still ended up screwed.

Also, I'd like to point out that if Draper had been born a few years later (i.e., if he was younger than 65 years old) it seems quite likely that he might not have had any insurance at all. Many older people- especially people whose careers haven't been a stead string of stable corporate jobs, but have instead been independent contractors or otherwise self-employed- find themselves in the position of being 55 or 60 years old and suddenly unable to afford (or even be allowed to purchase) health insurance. Also, there are also quite a few people (especially these days) who are laid off from what had been formerly stable corporate jobs around that age, and find themselves uninsured for the first time in their lives just as their bodies are starting to break down. I know a number of people who celebrated their 65th birthday by going to the doctor for the first time in a few years.


stevenbedrick - I stand to correct you on my age. I was born in 1943 not 1944. Yes I am covered by Medicare, see my earlier statements. I was not aware that Medicare would cover 100% of my costs because of my current financial situation, which is pretty much nil, because I cannot program anymore because of extreme pain in my hands.


Thanks for the correction. I am shocked- shocked, I say!- to learn that the Wikipedia contained an incorrect datum! ;-)

Best wishes with getting the treatment you need, and for a speedy recovery afterwards (both medically and financially).


Precisely. Even if you have insurance in the US, you may not really have coverage when you need it. And even with insurance, bankruptcy is still a very real possibility in the long run.


All I have is Medicare, they do NOT cover new and innovative treatments recently approved by the FDA. However, such organizations like LSI (Laser Spine Institute) has had a series of complaints about their post-surgery support. See link below... and I'm Still looking for a reputable alternate who would accept me as a client for treatment. So far, I have none, but my last surgery on my back, costed me about $6000 in co-pay, plus the hospital "out of pocket" stuff like my back brace which costed me a whopping $250, other stuff like a walker, which I needed for the next five days after back surgery.

If I choose to have the open surgery, my costs are estimated to be around $4000. Of course medication I have to pay for fully.

However, I am still seeking and looking for another Institute other than laser spine Institute.

Below, you'll find some links I changed my mind about having LSI treat me.

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/lsi-treats-their-e...

So you think our health care is a bad, take a look at this link above, and why I'm looking for another replacement Institute to treat me. I'm hoping with the generous support, that I don't have to go through invasive surgery, which means several months recovery time, wearing a neck brace, and having to think a lot of narcotic painkillers which really wipe me out. I know morphine can be thought of a recreational drug, but I need my brain and the mind, and the side effects are not very pleasant.


I wouldn't assume he has health insurance. He's gone through long periods of unemployment.


Agreed, not only have a not too long periods of unemployment, I cannot be employed in my current condition, let alone the fact that I'm a convicted felon in the eyes of the credit companies, and databases. I was quoted at $12,000 to fix my records and get them straight. So head hunters who access this database will see that I am falsely stated as a convicted felon. When in actuality during my initial court hearings on my past crimes, it is stipulated that after successfully completing probation, my felon would be expunged. Unfortunately, the databases like Equifax and others, have me mistakenly put down as a felon.


Why so much money? It's obviously not in Equifax et al.'s best interests to have incorrect information in their databases. One would think they'd be glad to fix the records, at least for a reasonable fee.


I was told that by the time of my inquiry, that I would have to hire a private detective to go in and see information I'm not entitled to along with my personal information that I know to be in there and needs to be corrected. The fees for this at the time is $100 or was. But I don't have any money right now, so it's really a moot point at this point. Excuse the pun!


Agreed. Intelligence does not equal financial success. Here's a story the WSJ ran on Mr. Draper in 2007: http://on.wsj.com/ckUc6D


USD 6000 + 2000? I don't want to seem insensitive, but a guy with Crunch's talent should easily be able to make the payments. He could take it across several years if he wanted to.

(Or he should have just gotten medical insurance in the first place, although I've heard some nasty things about private health insurance in America.)


Agreed. I mean, according to his Wikipedia article, he was the CTO of En2go a company "that delivers music, video and other digital content to desktops."

Most definitely shenanigans of some kind are going on here...


He almost certainly does have insurance. A "Co-pay" is the small amount of the medical procedure cost that the insurance company bills to you.


The co-pay is the portion the insured pays. It isn't always small. It isn't even always a small percentage. A procedure my wife recently had, the co-pay was about half the total cost.

Co-pays depend the insurance company, the plan, the health care provider, and the procedure.


the co-pay I wind up paying is 20% of the total cost in medical care including hospitalization. The cost of my surgery last December was more than $175,000 if I had to pay it myself. The operation like an open surgery operation, in my neck, is going to run around $100,000. Co-pay pays 80% of that, which leads me to pay $2000.

However, there are other charges that I'm responsible for paying for, I do want to go into those, but there are many.


There are barely visible links at the bottom of the page for "Shop the Best Verizon Wireless Deals" and "Thanks to Top CD Rates, Bank Rates and Bad Credit".

Nobody can verify the affiliation with John Draper.

I suspect this is a both a scam and black hat SEO.


She is using wordpress, and many wordpress themes have these sponsored links out of the box. These themes are called sponsored themes and have generated quite a bit of controversy in the past.


yes, i think you may be right. if yes, then this is an insidious tactic to get seo-juice, but sadly probably very effective..


FWIW the 10K number is about right. The average cost of removing spinal hernia in Mayo clinic is 11K as of a year ago, and I expect his case to be similar. That's covering the whole stay, and excluding any follow-up physio.

However the site does look fishy... or if CC in fact can't afford a 10k expense, then things are just plain sad :|


The last few times he came up on HN I'm sure there were several accounts of him being accomplished but not a particularly nice person. I have no idea. Can that be balanced out?


In the scene ~10 years ago a lot of people talked about crunch being a creepy old guy who hung out at raves hitting on young guys who were high. He would offer backrubs, massages and 'energy transfers'.

I only ever saw him at a single conference, but the general word was that he was a very creepy guy.


john draper excelled in an area which doesn't make much money. bill gates, larry ellison, etc might not be too nice people, but they don't need your help financially.

i've had a couple of interactions with him and he was nice to me. he's a little odd but i think it comes with the territory.


One friend of mine (very reliable source) told me that he met Crunch once and he was an annoying d-bag. Apparently what happened was my friend, who is a smoker, stepped out discreetly for a cig far away outdoors but Draper saw him anyway and raised a whiny fuss, so much so that my friend wanted to slap him into next month despite the respect he had for his past exploits.


excuse me! I'm highly allergic to that of smoke. It is a medical condition I have no control over. When people smoke near me, I get extreme nausea, headaches, and I find it very annoying and repulsive, not to mention it being a very filthy habit. I have every right to complain just like anybody else. You're all entitled to your own opinions about me, that's fine, just don't lie about it.


I have been inundated with an amazing response, I know I need to update "webcrunchers.com", My "wiki", and my Facebook page. But due to my lack of being able to type at normal speed, I'm forced to use Mac Speech Dictate, which breaks when I get a skype call, or type with my thumbs. I can use a few more volunteers... "


Webcrunchers has been updated.


Hugged into submission by an overzealous fan?

...

Really?


Almost certainly just a coincidence (i.e. the condition was going to occur, this was just what kicked it off)


Yes, I believe that was the particular trigger to the RSD.

I was at the party at defcon at the top of the riv. one is grossly overweight apparent fan had grabbed me around the neck, and a friendly gesture I might add, it twisted my neck and pulled me down because the pressure was too great on my back, so to protect my back I dropped down. Smashed both of my hands on a table, even that caused problems in my hands, but it was dark, and the person just fade away into the crowd, so I was not given an opportunity to approach him.

Yes it was very unfortunate, but when people around me they need to be respectful of my frailties. I mean, I'm friggin 67 years old, and I still go to these, primarily because younger folks enjoy seeing me there, and hearing some of my stories. But you don't have to wait long, I'm working on a book, and I bet you can't wait to read all about it.


Someone I know suffered a stroke from an overzealous hug. Old people are fragile.


No, people are fragile. They can have underlying health problems no matter what their age. Broken bones, recent surgeries etc.

If you're going to go up to someone and grab hold of them you have a responsibility to make sure you won't hurt them. It is my opinion that you should just never do this to someone you don't know.


Yup. Last Thursday I watched a co-worker grit his teeth in pain when someone came up and gave him a friendly slap on the shoulder that had just undergone rotator cuff surgery. I personally give big, hearty hugs; but only to people I massage or spar with.


Could they have added any more self promotional links at the bottom?


If you are pledging for money the least you should do is introduce yourself.


that shouldn't be necessary, if you make a donation I know who you are, which is going to make it very easy for me to return your money if I don't need it.


Being such a skilled programmer, one would think he could get a loan for a measly 10k and be able to easily pay it back with the kind of salaries we're paid these days...


The demand for 6502 assembly programming isn't what it was.


That's a bit of a problem my friend. I have RSD in my hands, it's going to be 4 - 6 months before I can even begin to think about typing normally again. And probably a good three months after that to get my skill levels back up.

Has any of you know, if you've been away from programming for a long time, like over a year, and go back to it, it could take you quite a while to get your skills back up. And the older you are, the longer it takes.

Just the other day I needed to write a Python program that would go through my PayPal mail, and sum up the total amount of donations I got. It took me more than a day to write it. I cannot believe how rusty I am. I'm having to friggin look up everything.

But I really like programming. I miss it so much. But right now, they also need to focus on writing the book. Thank goodness for such capability programs as MacSpeech dictate. I'm impressed by its accuracy, but sometimes very annoyed when I have to use words that are not in its dictionary, and have to type them out, with my thumbs. When I pressed a finger to keyboard right now, it's excruciating pain. Not so much today, because I had the stellar shots Today. everyone in my postings was done using MacSpeech Dictate, it may have screwed up in places, but I'm too lazy to fix them. Enough said! I'm going to crash, I spent three hours on this forum, answering questions, and hopefully making some clarifications.


Sent you a few bucks, best of luck with the surgery.


Who are the engineers that built the systems he broke into? How is their health these days?




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