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Guy Asks For Software Crack, Creator Provides Free App Instead (techdirt.com)
262 points by zohaibr on May 19, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments

I can't believe this simple, kind of stupid thing I did has gotten so much attention. I also can't believe so many people hate Stella. It's not the greatest beer I've ever had, but it's no bud light.

I loved your reaction.

But this isn't about your attitude, this is about far more serious things: Beer. Leaving Germany for good end of this month and - well.. Israel's beers are f...ing (well, it's kind of on topic with your app, isn't it?) baaad. So my choice in the future, after being spoiled in a country of beer drinkers, is

* Local brand starts with G (Ugh...)

* Local brand starts with M (Really. Life's too short to drink that)

* Weihenstephan (which seems to be from Germany, but the fact that I never heard about it here gives away how decent it is. Seems like an export-only product)

* Stella

So - rest assured: You're not alone. If you remove all the better alternatives, Stella is really okay. Kind of.

I actually like G. Also, in Tel Aviv/Herzliya you have good choices (Guinness, Kilkenny, La Chouffe and Mc Chouffe, Bischoff Dopplebock, ...[1]). Pubs that have many kinds of beer in Tel Aviv:

* Norma Jeane - you can find anything there

* Beit Ha'bira ("house of beer")

* James' Beer Factory - this one in Petach Tikva, kosher (opening times wise as well, so no drinking on Friday night) and actually doesn't have much choice. But they serve self brewed beer which is decent.

There are others I can't recall now, but I can ask friends.

If you want to go out for a spree with me and other hackers, make sure to drop me a line here or at maayan@maayank.com! :)

EDIT: Googling for it, Beit Ha'Bira might have closed shop. I suggest as an alternative Norman. I don't recall visiting it, but I've heard (and after googling, read) only good things. For exact addresses google for the names of the pubs with "Tel Aviv".

[1] it's very late here so I'll leave it at that.

First of all - it's not James', it's Jem's Beer Factory, which is indeed very good. The stout there is awesome.

Now a few more if I may -

Mike's Place is nice

Porter & Sons on Haarbaa street has a huge selection - http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=10911&...

Thanks, great additions.

Mike's Place is a good place to meet foreigners. Notice the beer selection is relatively limited: https://docs.google.com/View?id=dfdfk37q_410g7h8vwhf (relative to the other places mentioned here)

Yeah, I guess as a Guiness lover I forgot Mike's doesn't actually have a great selection.

Weihenstephaner is very good and well known (outside of Germany). For example "Hefe" is one of the best Weissbiers in the world (http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/weihenstephaner-hefe-weissbier/...) and certainly the best of widely available ones. Absolutely no reason to complain. Stella is only average (gets 18/100 vs Hefe's 99/100 at Ratebeer), but it is also different type of beer - lager.

Do yourself a favor: try different types of beer, not just brands.

I'm an Israeli living in Austria for over 6 years now & I honestly don't see much of a difference between Goldstar/Macabi and any other (Czech, Austrian - supposedly renown for their quality) lagers I can get here.

Seriously, beer is a working-class beverage: find something else to be a snob about ;)

You can get Weihanstephaner in Germany. You shouldn't, but you can.

Don't the Bavarians have a beer-research facility in Weihenstephan?

I have no idea. I do know that Weihanstephaner market themselves as the world's oldest brewery. Not the best. The oldest ;-)

If you find yourself in the neighborhood, the Golan Brewery (http://www.beergolan.co.il/english_main.php) in Katzrin brew its own, and they are pretty good. You can even buy some bottles to take with.

How about Tuborg? It's everywhere here.

Also, plenty of pubs have decent beers these days in Israel.

Is there some kind of Taboo about spelling out the names of the beers?

I live in Israel and it took me a while to guess Macabi, but maybe that's because I don't like lagers (stouts are the real beer anyway :)).

Make sure you taste yourself some rauchbier before you go.

Seriously, try it.

The 'G' and the 'M' are undrinkable, but we also have Leffe and Guinness which I find pretty good. If you want more quality choices in Israel you should consider switching to wine...

Or learn how to homebrew.

Care to do an analysis of the impact to your app's sales when this is all over?

sure. i'll probably post something about it tomorrow on twitter. @funkmastabaker

Europeans think its sewer water, and you have to wear (or be) a wife beater to drink it. North American's think its gold -- At least here in Vancouver, its usually the most expensive thing at the bar and people only buy it if they're really treating themselves. I think it tastes fine (not great, but definitely not bad).

I'm in Vancouver too... Stella is the beer that people who drank Corona when they were 19 drink when they are 25.

In other words, it isn't beer.

(Especially here in Vancouver where there are so many outstanding small breweries that everyone should recognize good beer)

> Europeans think its sewer water

That's not completely true, that would be the 1667 ("the kro") and other similar french non-beers. Stella is simply the base beer in Flanders (the base beer in Wallonia being Jupiler). Not good by any means, but still drinkable.

I never had it. But I wonder why someone would want a filtered beer, when there's extra-cloudy stuff available.

When you say "extra-cloudy", I picture Hefeweizen, and I think that answers your question quite nicely.

I've only seen the clouds in Hefeweizen. But you can leave the yeast in in any beer.

I've always thought Stella was the beer hipsters drink now that everyone knows about Pabst.

Stella is a cheaper and more readily available version of Heineken, to me.

Stella's evil, nick-named wife-beater over here in the UK. It's stronger than Heineken and seems to make people aggressive compared to Kronenberg for example.

I won't drink it now after an incident one night where I managed to insult every person in a group of friends.

Evil hangovers too from what I remember.

Stella in the UK is basically the same as Carling's 'chemical' lager, it shouldn't be surprising that the hangovers are so bad.

Most lagers on sale in the UK (outside of city 'mini-marts') are brewed in the UK and all seem to taste the same (terrible) and give me hangovers before I have even stopped drinking. We have no beer purity laws like there are in places like Germany either, sold out brands that are brewed in the UK like Carlsberg / Stella / Kronenburg etc are nothing like their native counterparts. The difference when drinking duty free (real) Stella is like night and day (but it does go flat very quickly). The EU just wouldn't put up with such terrible lager, us Brits seem to lap it up though. Another one is Fosters, we seem to love it, apparently Fosters is Australian for 'horse piss'.

In Belgian off-licences, even the 'real' Stella is relegated to the bargain bin alongside Juliper. They 'reassuringly expensive' advertising campaign is a total sham.

Imported Heineken, Becks, Budvar (the original Budweiser brand from Czech) etc. seem to be the only decent lagers you can still find in the shops here, rip off prices though.

Since we're on the subject of alcoholic beverages that taste better than your average beer, I'm honour-bound by my West Country upbringing to suggest some decent quality cider. I'm talking about Henney's Frome Valley, Weston's Organic, or (if still and cloudy cider is your thing) Addlestones. This is, of course, unless you can get hold of some proper West Country homemade scrumpy. Cheers!

It's also nowhere near as bad as heineken.

Stella is the beer which snobs love to hate- because it's marketed different in America than Europe. (Note to self- don't ever let your brand fall into that trap)

There are few topics as polarizing and annoyingly superficial as which beer is "piss-water" and which beer is "good beer."

Foster's in Australia is similar. Domestic Foster's is so bad that we won't drink it. Foreigners seem to think that Foster's is a good brew... and they might be right, because Export Foster's is actually a different beer. Causes no end of confusion.

How undrinkable is Fosters? We had a '70s theme party once (Foster's is iconic of the 70s here) and I bought a six-pack of Fosters for the humour value (and copped some abuse, too). In the morning, every drop of alcohol in the house had been consumed, even left-overs in the back of cupboards. It was a hell of a party, with empty cans and bottle everywhere, and the punch bowl would have been bone dry were in not for fruit remnants. The six-pack of Fosters remained untouched, pristine in it's carrier in the dregs of the ice tub...

I am yet to encounter a UK opinion that Fosters is anything even vaguely approaching a "good brew".

It's still a popular drink over here though, competing with Carlsberg and Carling as the standard lager in every pub.

Every pub in a town center will have one of those 3 beers on tap, unless it's very trendy and has no taps. Every off license stocks it too.

I'm in Canada and will gladly tell you that Fosters is crap here too. :-)

Budweiser in Australia is drinkable, though very much generic tasting.

Over all, Australia has better beer, but there are some pockets in the U.S. where there is some kickass brewing culture. I lived in Wisconsin for a bit and they do have a better drop than we do in the East Coast. I mean, Leinenkugel & Stevens Point both brew stuff that's widely available and very much enjoyable, up to bar with Boag's here in Australia.

I live in Madison right now, and I fear that I'm being spoiled on good beer. Between New Glarus, Capitol Brewery, Ale Asylum, and Lake Louie the selection is amazing. I went down to Orlando for a conference not too long ago, and found that the only thing drinkable to me was Guiness.

When I went to London a couple of years back, I found that the beer was actually quite enjoyable, though I can't remember which beers I had while I was there. (More as a result of time rather than of the beer)

please dont speak favorably of Madison online, or hipsters might find it.

Madison sucks, move along, nothing to see here..

I fear that you will find Madison is already infested with hipsters. :P At least, that was the case last time I checked (Mar. protests).

Hipsters are easy to disperse. Concerned citizens should sponsor four back to back shows by Larry the Cable guy. He can reduce any Seattle or Austin to a Raleigh or Jacksonville.

Foster's is fine in India. Not one of the best brands, but it sure is good enough.

When in India I will happily drink anything that is cold and contains alcohol.

Kingfisher is not bad at all, but the alcohol content approaches 6% sometimes, so, count your blessings ;-)

Yeah an unassuming brew, goes well with curry in that manner.

Moving into off-topic waters here (Edit: Erm, wrote it and it got quite long. Thought about scrapping it, but it might be either amusing or annoying to read. You judge): I guess I can give a very nice example for these kind of things..

I currently live in Cologne [1] (~1.000.000 people, west Germany) ~40km away from Dusseldorf [2] (~600.000 people, but capital of the state). These cities are the prime examples for rivalry between cities all over Germany. Both are cities that heavily rely on tourism, both are very much into carnival (one of the topics that are discussed to death) and both are _the_ place to be for (different types of..) beer.

Here you get 0.2l (i.e. tiny) glasses of rather light beer, brewed in a way that is even (as far as I know a first!) a protected regional trademark akin to Champagne. You can create it somewhere else, but you cannot use the name (a derivation of the name of the city, Koelsch [3, contains a reference to the rivalry as well]).

Dusseldorf is famous for (larger glasses, 0,3l or 0,5l) stronger (in taste), sweeter and dark beers. Not protected by law, but they are more or less _the_ city for these types of beer.

This leads to a lot of (mostly friendly) discussions like the one you used. In fact, since the local beer here is very light and served in these tiny glasses, ~most~ of Germany compares the 14 different brands of beer here to a kind of 'diluted water'.

It always amuses me (moved here, so I'm kind of an outsider) to see these kinds of discussions and I think like to be reminded (thank you!) that this is a global phenomenon..

1: http://maps.google.de/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&...

2: http://maps.google.de/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&...

3: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/K%C3%B6lsch_%...

One of the local microbreweries in Canberra, Australia makes a Kolsch - they serve it by the pint glass, though.

Alaskan summer ale is a kolsch, and available in the pacific nw. Quite good, and I'm not normally a fan of anything lighter than an amber.

I loved my engagement in Köln. So does your keyboard have the Kolsch key?


It's nice to remember that real people are there behind the apps.

Have your sales increased due to it?

Wow, I just watched the fucking promotional video for your app. I laughed my ass off. If I wasn't so fucking lazy, I'd buy it on principle.

Although I find this fantastic, I also find it quite odd?

I think his attitude is fantastic for someone who is having their apps ripped off, I find it strangely odd that in the comments people think this is the attitude that developers are meant to take when their work is ripped off, humbled.

I purchase all apps from the app store, I had Cydia but I took the jail break off my phone. I think the 59p - £3 for an app is nothing for all the hard work that has gone in and I am more than happy to make the purchase.

I think the whole episode has been strangely rewarding for him but again I think it makes people think that all developers should have this attitude. I think it's funny that in the comments that someone said that developers should treat all consumers with positive and constructive humbleness. I'm sorry but the meaning of "Consumer" is "A person who purchases goods and services for personal use". There is a keyword here, "Purchase".

Kudos to the guy for some great PR but I really hope that all "consumers" don't get this mentality when trying to rip off apps

I'd note that jailbreaking and Cydia are not about piracy or encouraging piracy (they're about much more - tons of people even buy jailbreak-only tweaks/themes/etc. from the Cydia Store). Some percentage of people do find ways to get pirated apps after jailbreaking, but those people have to go out and install additional sources/tools beyond the default Cydia install.

The Cydia founder talked about app piracy in a talk a while ago: http://www.tuaw.com/2010/04/13/360idev-saurik-on-the-mobile-... - it fits in:

"Saurik said that many of the pirates he's dealt with are just kids, no more than teenagers, very smart but with not much solid life experience to speak of. And he said that like children, they were both vengeful (they will give bad reviews and attack developers who attack them), and easily won over -- sometimes, by just sending a nice email, he was able to get a former pirate to cooperate with him or even '...come over to the light side.'"

"The best solution to piracy, he said, was to convert the pirates -- don't disable their app or attack them (because likely, they will simply blame the app rather than learn a lesson), but instead inform them that they're breaking the rules, and give them an easy way to do things right. One app Saurik described simply put a one-time notice in the app that the user was using a pirated version, and saw sales spike when the notice went out."

I appreciate it's about more. My reservations towards jail breaking were more about performance and use rather than piracy to be honest. I should have expanded on my point further.

I don't believe you should be tied into your phones "terms" of operation but in my situation I found the hack pointless and unnecessary. Not to say that it doesn't suit everyone though!

If I take Cydia out the equation there, I stand by my point that I prefer to pay for the goods. Jail breaking and Cydia were used just to get my point across.

I don't think people expect developers to react like this, actually he's being praised for exactly the opposite.

People would expect and probably would understand, that he'd choose to adopt a more antagonist position when encountering someone wanting to crack his software. That's what makes his reaction a class act. He decides not to take it in the first degree and opts to rather approach the whole thing with empathy, as a result a more interesting situation unfolds.

This isn't to tell you that you need to be understanding of people stealing your stuff, but it's just a reminder that sometimes we don't have all the facts and that during a situation perceived as a conflict, it could be worth it for adverse parties to take a bit of time to walk just a few steps in one another's shoes. It might clear up lots of misunderstandings.

I know he is being praised for this attitude but he didn't know from his original post what his intentions were.

I hate to point out the obvious here as well but what if the original poster was simply just lying? What if he was back tracking as he felt guilty and was just showing some empathy to the developer?

As he did, he gifted the app to him. Why didn't the guy get a friend to do that? Why didn't he get a voucher?

I must admit, if my true intentions were to crack the app because I had no means of paying for it officially, I would have stated that in the first post as I would have felt a moral guilt to do so.

It has turned out well for the developer and I really wish him the best of luck. I hope he does make a lot of cash out of this.

The biggest thing to come out of all of this is not that it's best to take the moral high road or karma is rewarding him etc etc. Its the unexpected power of a viral news article. Not to say that this was scripted conversation, I truly believe that this is authentic but I bet you find a lot of similar stories erupting with this type of behaviour now.

That is the inherent contradiction of IP in a digital world.

One one hand you are supposed to be paying for a scarcity: someone expending time and resources to produce something. On the other hand you are supposed to be paying by buying a copy: something that is an abundance with a natural price of zero.

Buying is not just setting a price according to the seller being a nice guy or having indirectly done something else. Buying is a market interaction: you aim to pay the lowest price available (Don't we want functioning markets?). Well, that is zero, because copies are infinitely available.

No matter how much the law tells us copies are restricted, they are not in fact, and we know it. The market will always drive toward making things available at the real physical cost of their production. As long as IP tries to force prices so far away from their real level, people will respond in odd ways.

I hate to make a comment like this, but it should be noted that this was a side project of his. I would speculate that he would have a different reaction if it were his bread and butter.

Note: original forum post at http://xsellize.com/topic/137904-the-f-ing-word-of-the-day/

If this is your bread and butter, you might want to take note of the fact that his was an effective tactic. Freaking out probably wouldn't have helped.

I absolutely agree. It's just that I think he meant that normally, when someone feels threatened about something that might really hurt him, it will be quite hard for him to react smartly and calmly and much more likely that he would freak out.

This is the google alert that started it all: http://imgur.com/wovz3

How do you get Google Alerts in Reader like that?

When creating an Alert, there is an option to choose feed as the "deliver to" destination.


This is awesome. Especially because now his app is going to get tons of attention for his good attitude with this post being #2 on Hacker News. Being generous pays off in the end :-).

Lesson here: be human. It seems the response capitalism (among other things) has taught us is a stance of defensiveness, even abusive.

But this guy dug deep and figured what the heck! Lost a bit of money and made someone happy. And it's not even Christmas

And the point is he didn't lose money. Other people bought the app who wouldn't, it seems, off the back of his generous gesture.

Note that this certainly would not work for a large company - it only works for a (very) small-scale outfit.

I believe it could and already does work for large companies, but differently.

It works so well that we take a lot of it for granted. Look around you, do you know of any big company that came along, offered something with such seemingly good intentions that their offering made the competition look like crooks? I'm sure we could come up with a few examples. Off the top of my head:

- I'm reminded of the days when hotmail would delete my emails without my consent, because I was going beyond the 2mb they were giving me. While they were trying to get me to pay for 200mb, gmail appeared out of nowhere with a red cape and saved me with a free 1Gig that quickly turned into 2Gigs. How could I not look at Google like a superhero and at Microsoft like the villain?

- Similarly, while I visited France a few years ago, I saw that they had this system called the Freebox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_(ISP), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freebox), that literally revolutionized telecom in a country otherwise very conservative when it comes to technology. Free's offering was so compelling that it created a real disturbance that dramatically affected market pricing (tv, telephone, internet). Even now, in North America we have to look hard to find equivalent pricing and I'm not even sure we can come close. At the time it started the Freebox, Free came like a liberator and in the process racked up subscribers and made billions.

I think we're talking at cross-purposes :-) Did you donate any money to Google or Freebox because of their kind and generous offers, or did you use their free service and just expect them t figure the money part out themselves? (For what it's worth, I switched to GMail and I sure as hell didn't pay Google any money for it voluntarily!)

You're talking about amazing smash-it-out-the-ballpark-and-out-compete strategies. I'm talking about being generous for no obvious reason and letting it float back in on the tide.

This is a common problem, people who are unable or unwilling to sign up to iTunes with a credit card.

Potential service idea: hook these people up with gifted apps that they can pay for some other way? Maybe payment in kind?

You don't need a credit/debit card. At least around me, iTunes gift cards can be purchased for cash at pretty much any supermarket or pharmacy or convenience store.

... in the US

... in Austria

... in France and Netherland too.

Australia too

and Canada

and Spain

or on the internets

For a second, I thought that meant the author made the app open source :)

Nah, that would be too much for such a small PR stunt.

$8 for a Stella? Ouch. That said, I paid £4.30 for a Carlsberg Export the other day. Goddamnit Islington Academy :/

And don't knock Stella, it's one of the best of the "mainstream" lagers.

itd be more like 5.60 (after apple takes its cut)

I met this guy at Startup Weekend in Manhattan last fall.

His "Sausage Status" pitch was hilarious. He started off by running and jumping onto the stage. A very spontaneous individual.

haha! That was actually my friend jeff greenspan. I'm not that good with crowds.

Ah! Good to know.

He definitely had the most memorable--and cathartic--pitch that night.

Fine article, but what's up with the hate against Stella Artois?

It depends where you hail from.

Brits and Americans will drink it because they have a HUGE advertising budget.

The Japanese won't drink it because imported beer is hellishly expensive and Asahi isn't that bad.

The French won't drink it, because wine is much cheaper and much better almost everywhere.

Germans won't drink it, because if you want something better then there's umpteen different domestic beers that are fresher, tastier or sharper. Especially Flensburger.

The Czechs won't drink it because they more or less invented clean, refreshing beers and their domestic beers are the only foreign beers that Germans will admit to being fantastic. Especially Pilsner Urquell.

Belgians won't drink it, because they only like beer that's made from raspberries, blueberries or pansies. I don't know why.

Americans or Brits who don't drink it suffer from 'intensely educated beer drinker' syndrome - sort of a "now you've seen how big the world is, how can you make do with this?" aspect. American and British small breweries are fantastic, alas no huge marketing budget...

This leaves the vast majority of the beer-drinking market to make Stella Artois money hand-over-fist and puzzled at the rest of the world's intolerance. Truth is, it's not that bad - it's just that there are things that taste so much better without the stigma of a huge multi-national faceless corporation ;-)

TL;DR - Something like Windows vs. the rest of the world. The popular choice will always be sneered at by connoisseurs eager to distinguish themselves as educated.

"Belgians won't drink it, because they only like beer that's made from raspberries, blueberries or pansies. I don't know why."

Ouch! ;) With about 150 breweries and over 450 different beer varieties, Belgium has way more than just the fruit based ones. Please find somewhere near you that has Kasteelbier (preferably on tap, but that could be hard to find anywhere outside of Belgium as bottles aren't that easy to locate here in NY) - you won't regret it.

As a very uneducated beer-drinker I hated Stella with a passion. (Later I discovered I just hate lagers in general.)

I think your point is wrong in the general case, and that it is hated for its quality rather than its popularity. But there are two important issues:

1) If you are not a discerning consumer of beer, you will follow the path of least resistance. Stella is well-advertised, easy to buy and widespread, so you're more likely to choose it over other (probably unknown) beers. That's what makes it popular.

2) More people are aware of the popular choice (by definition), more will have tried it than a less-popular beer, it will be mentioned more often, and will be sneered at more often. The frequency at which it is sneered at is a consequence of its popularity rather than caused by it.

They pitch themselves as the "Gold Standard" of beer, put the stupid useless neck wrappers on the bottles, refuse to use twist-off caps, and the beer just isn't that good. It's not bad, but it in no way warrants their pretentiousness. Budweiser tries to market itself as a good beer, but at least it's cheap and it comes in cases of 30 so they make no pretentions there about what they really are. Stella just doesn't have the chops to back up the hoity-toity image they try to project.

Also, that neck wrapper is really annoying.

Awesome. The guy was a decent human being, but more than likely made 20, 30, 100 times back his purchase in goodwill. Brilliant.

thread tl;dr: boring post, let's discuss beer instead.

Alternative: release the source under the GNU GPL or some other open source license. No such thing as piracy then ;)

I'd argue that violating the GPL is a form of piracy.

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