When I was younger I tried to play a trick on my friends by making them think Google had hired me as their youngest employee. Turns out I not only tricked my friends but half of the tech news/blogosphere, despite my press release being full of spelling and grammar errors.
I learned a lot that week about the internet, the media, and my parents...
That certainly means they miss out on a lot of awesome programmers though - I work with absolutely stellar people who are college drop-outs, and have fired people with good degrees who did not perform.
At least Google's policy gives start-ups more room to find amazing people.
It's not the normal path, and you need to fill that blank in your resume with interesting personal projects and work, but Google is perfectly willing to hire designers and engineers without degrees. We do it all the time.
I graduated college with a CS degree. My college CS friend did not. I am not a professional programmer today. My friend is Hampton Catlin, the inventor of Haml and Sass.
Over-generalized moral of the story:
People who have the patience to get a degree, aren't impatient enough to invent web changing technologies like Haml and Sass.
Over-generalized, indeed: http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/
Hacker News has submissions from press-release aggregation services all the time. (I'm thinking of PhysOrg and ScienceDaily, among quite a few others.) Many of those submissions reach the front page. Knowing how to write a gee-whiz press release about yourself is a skill that appears to go a long way in the tech community.
Comments about PhysOrg:
"Yes Physorg definitely has some of the worst articles on the internet."
"Straight from the European Space Agency, cutting out the physorg blogspam:
http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1116/ (press release),
"PhysOrg: just say no."
"The physorg article summary is wrong, I think."
"Phys.org is vacuous and often flat wrong."
Comments about ScienceDaily:
"Original article (to which ScienceDaily has added precisely nothing):
"Underlying paper in Science (paywalled):
"Brief writeup from Nature discussing this paper and a couple of others on similar topics:
"Everything I've ever seen on HN -- I don't know about Reddit -- from ScienceDaily has been a cut-and-paste copy of something else available from nearer the original source. In some cases ScienceDaily's copy is distinctly worse than the original because it lacks relevant links, enlightening pictures, etc.
" . . . . if you find something there and feel like sharing it, it's pretty much always best to take ten seconds to find the original source and submit that instead of ScienceDaily."
Comments about both PhysOrg and ScienceDaily:
"Why hasn't sciencedaily.com or physorg been banned from HN yet?"
"What ScienceDaily has added to this: (1) They've removed one of the figures. (2) They've removed links to the Hinode and SOHO websites. (3) They've added lots of largely irrelevant links of their own, all of course to their own site(s).
"Please, everyone: stop linking to ScienceDaily and PhysOrg."
"Those sources don't have RSS feeds, and ScienceDaily and PhysOrg have a bad habit of not linking to such things."
"Added value in PhysOrg article: zero.
"Please, everyone, stop submitting links from PhysOrg and ScienceDaily. I have never ever ever seen anything on those sites that isn't either (1) bullshit or (2) a recycled press release with zero (or often negative) added value. (Sometimes it's both at once.) It only takes ten seconds' googling to find the original source."
' I, an individual with no previous worldwide recognition save for a frontpage Reddit post, managed to alter the behavior of people in Russia, Japan, Uzbekistan, and Italy within the course of 24 hours, all from the comfort of my home while exerting next to no effort.'
'The internet is still in its infancy. The mobile space is a goddamn zygote. Stand tall, Mr. Dev and Mrs. Entrepreneur; don’t be discouraged. I get it, you’re burnt out, but there’s so much more we can do in this space. We can all make our marks, make some money, and change peoples’ lives.'
This quote sums up why the tech news business can be such a miserable grind for writers (people burn out all the time), and why online news will never make the kind of money that print did. The fact that the tech news scene can afford to throw ~250 man-hours (though it was way more if you count the time spent prepping & promoting the posts, not just writing) at a trivial hoax like this is indicative of three things:
1. The barrier to entry for all of this is pretty low. If you can type and you have some hustle, then you, too, can help fill the internet with ~300-word stories about the latest (fake) phone. And because the barrier to entry is so low...
2. ...Talent is relatively cheap, so sites can afford to pay writers and editors to chase nonsense like this. And because talent is so cheap....
3. ...Talent is desperate, because the only way you advance in the business is to get your name at the top of the pageviews leaderboard again and again. So you'll literally cover anything if it will get hits.
All of the above leads to a massive glut of words and, ultimately, ad inventory in the tech news space. You don't have to have a Nobel Prize in econ to see what this miserable dynamic means for publishers' bottom lines.
Seriously, the real news in this hoax isn't the power of the Internet to "mobilize human capital" -- it's the power of the Internet to boost the supply of said capital to the point where it's just not worth anything close to what it used to be.
There's room for good websites with well-paid staff who are experts and they can make profit too. Rather than talk about an example from my company, a higher profile one: TechRadar. Their target audience is a little less tech-savvy than me, or most HN readers, but trust me when I say that their staff know what they're talking about - I obviously don't know them all, but I know a few from management down, and they're the bees knees. And they make money. There's plenty of other examples including sites that don't simplify for the audience quite so much.
What the current situation with online tech coverage has done isn't to make it impossible to succeed financially, it's just made it far easier to try and do it badly, and with so many more people trying, the percentage of those who succeed naturally drops. It's like if tomorrow anyone could buy an F1 race car - the average ability of drivers would drop way down, but it doesn't mean it's any harder to be a professional racer.
Problem is not only in quality of writing. Problem is that most of sites don't have other sources of news than other sites and can not afford to don't write about stories reported by competitors. There are same news on all of them from Engadget to Techradar. And when some story is reported with significant delay readers usually complain about it in comments.
There are quite a few telltales that it's a hoax (e.g. he fails to match the DOF of the photo), but they're far more obvious in hindsight. Kudos to Android Police for picking up queues such as the mismatched times -- I'm surprised, based on this discrepancy, they didn't call hoax rather than suggest is was a mockup or prototype.
Hoax: welp, we erred on the side of caution.
Prototype: You saw it here first!
longer version - I have no idea how your comment relates to the story I just read
I created a 3d Model in 7.5 hrs and posted on Picasa. ~1 day later 500+ news articles, 90K web results. Did it for the lulz. btw, no one bothered to contact me to verify anything.
But what most people do is to look at the images, notice some bright graininess somewhere and then say "Aha! look at that area over where it's all bright and grainy... this is a fake!" In short, roughly 100% of the time, if tries to use ELA to support a hoax claim, they are full of shit.
The fact some of these get covered by major tech blogs only makes it harder for people to get legit news on stuff they care about.
Blogs get paid by the click, not the accuracy. If they can get you to click on the rumor, then click again on the correction, they are ahead 2 clicks that they wouldn't have had if they fact checked in the first place.
I think he should have toned down with the bump and specular maps. The nature of the "scuffiness" was what tipped me off immediately. Also the pogo pins just didn't look right. Could have done without those too.
I'd say this whole story supports an exactly opposite conclusion. People are predictable and easy to manipulate, and it was to be expected that various blogs and news sources would pick it up; they live on eyeballs anyway.
It's sad to see that:
- political news suck
- general news are usually full of shit
- science news are most often completely inaccurate
- tech news just proven itself again to be as reliable as the others I mentioned
Because, hell, it's all about clicks and eyeballs and ad impressions. I wonder why people still read this stuff if it is to be expected that most of news out there will be false.
"Blogs get paid by the click, not the accuracy. If they can get you to click on the rumor, then click again on the correction, they are ahead 2 clicks that they wouldn't have had if they fact checked in the first place."
Meh. So is there anything we can read to get some reliable information?
The supposedly leaked photos of the LG Nexus have it looking like an iPhone clone, albeit a very good one: http://bostinno.com/2012/10/19/lg-nexus-4-release-date-lg-ne...
To my eye, the "Nexus X" is one of the freshest designs in the phone space in recent memory.
I can accept mistakes made on good faith or a benign April Fool joke, but not this kind of deliberate lies and manipulations. It is a waste of everybody's time with no real value in the end.
Journalists indeed should check their reference sources, but it doesn't mean it is OK to deliberately faking news just to check if the journalists have done their job. Their time could be used in other much more productive ways. I am quite appalled to see people are implicitly encouraging this kind of behavior, little did they realize this is eroding the trust we have had in the tech community.
If we don't do something, more and more fake news will appear. I presume all of us love interesting and trustworthy news articles, no?
Bottom line: I recognize there are always fake news articles on Internet, my point is we should condemn and put a stop to this kind of deliberate hoax to prevent the further deteriorating of news quality.
We need more scrupulous journalists, not more scrupulous community members.
It's like you're blaming people who bribe cops for police corruption. What's needed is police who won't take bribes, not to have people stop attempting to bribe them.
More hoaxes, I say. Let's see how quickly web "journalists" can be pushed into doing some actual work.