You erroneously conclude I think I am the first person to think of this. I do not. I know my sci-fi and biblical and human history (20 years of studying intellectual and cultural history, thank you). I've read about the tower of babel and grew up on wanting universal translators.
My comment was a bit of bittersweet admiration at a very specific success in implementation. Can we just assume that the average person on HN knows wtf a universal translator is, and not every time someone says, "I had this very idea" that they are making accusations that company/person X is stealing the idea away? Christ. Not a single word was spoken that this idea was "stolen" or "grabbed away". Nor were words employed signifying that "I thought of this first and completely independently".
I was saying it looks like it's too late to be the person who gets to be first to demonstrate it. And by "very idea" I meant, quite specifically, how cool it would be to be able to translate my voice into another language in near-real-time. And by "Rats", I meant "Oh snap, looks like others have been working on doing that same thing and impressively pulled the damn thing off."
If you spent a moment looking at my comment history, you'd see I am usually quite clear in stating what I mean directly. Had I meant to imply an idea was "grabbed away from [me] before I could create a startup", I'd have used those exact words. Instead, I said that I'd had this very idea years ago and only recently thought about how the tech might be there today to make it happen, and maybe make for an interesting startup. I didn't even try to imply it would be my startup.
Nonetheless, point taken. I'll ensure I more specifically couch any future statements about having ideas with the qualifier that I am, in fact, not implying that I had it first or independently in the whole of human history.
Sorry to offend, I was just clarifying why the original guy said you sounded naive - just clarifying what specific implementation you had in mind would have helped in your original comment. I can see how it sounded as if you meant the idea "universal translator", can't you?
Honestly, it'd never even cross my mind that anyone on HN would possibly comment that s/he had come up with the idea of a universal translator 12 years ago.
Anyway, my apologies either way. Your comment read a tad snarky with the "grabbed away before you could create a startup" bit. I was left thinking, "Oh great. Relegated to the company of some kid who thinks his startup idea was stolen." My reply could have been tempered a bit more.