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Bastion hosts are your alternative.

Mike Monteiro - "Fuck you pay me"


See his comments on contracts, starting generally at 7m 20s

Scope creep is included. Renegotiate. It's a new project.

What's behind the data breach is:

1. A culture of woefully inadequate security over personal data.

2. An infrastructure in which a laughably low standard of identity proof is sufficient.

3. A lack of liability for those who either facilitate or approve fraud.

4. A mis-labeling of impersonation fraud. It's not "identity theft". It's impersonation fraud. And those who accept transactions with insufficient proof of identity are to blame.

I'm increasingly questioning the merits of utilizing the Internet for personal transactions at all. Richard M. Stallman has had some good things to say on this, recently posted to HN.

I'd really prefer some latitude offered for stories which:

1. are generally significant, particularly

2. about a company closely followed by the HN community, and where

3. no obvious english-language alternative exists.

Sometimes it's through just such postings that the English language coverage is initiated.

If you're basing deploys on image builds, you're not "rolling back" anything, but are building a new host (or host image) based on the correct dependencies.

That process relies on your platform's own dependency-resolution system, and I hope you're using something sane such as Debian/Ubuntu, or are building from source via Gentoo. RPM distros can work but tend to be far flakier.

Start with a base install, have a package for your own source which specifies deps, including if necessary _maximum_ version numbers for deps, and build the target image. Once that's built, you can generally deploy that directly rather than re-build for each deployed host.

Packaging and image preparation _aren't_ tasks which can be abstracted away entirely. It's this point which the containers craze founders on the reefs of reality. Yes, packaging software properly is a pain. But not packaging it properly is an even bigger pain.

I think that the "real" problem here is that Python's package management and apt/yum don't really interface well. I've built .debs for Python packages before, and it was a huge pain in the ass, even with the scripts and automations that I was able to find for it.

It's 'simple' for me to build a virtualenv in a directory with `pip install -r requirements.txt` in my source repo, but everything I've read about making those virtualenvs portable (even moving them between directories on the same server you built them on) is that it is a path fraught with peril.

The 'real' problem is that you shouldn't have to install dependencies in OS-level locations for an application-level product.

In other words, the app should be able to bundle dependencies without having to use a crazy opaque container system, and those dependencies should be easily auditable.

This is the case for Java, where dependencies are 1) bundled with the application, 2) declared explicitly, 3) signed, 4) centrally managed with maven repository software.

In Python, you get similar things with the exception of "bundled with the application" and IIRC "signed" only happens when uploading to the Python Package Index.

Arguably, yes.


Educational debt is non-dischargable. While it can be "easy money" for now, the debt will stay with you until you die.

And while specific skills training may help, more education won't bring clients online.

APUS is, despite its "public university" name, a private, for-profit institution, owned by American Public Education, Inc.




Those interested in changes to U.S. bankruptcy code, including educational loans, might care to look at the Student Loan Bankrupcy Exception at FinAid:


Student loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy prior to 1976. With the introduction of the US Bankruptcy Code (11 USC 101 et seq) in 1978, the ability to discharge education loans was limited. Subsequent changes in the law have further narrowed the dischargeability of education debt.

>the debt will stay with you until you die.

You're wrong. It will stay with you until you pay it off, on relatively easy terms, and payments only begin after you graduate.

> And while specific skills training may help, more education won't bring clients online.

Most people seeking a degree aren't in fields where they are looking for "clients". Most people want a degree so they can get a job. If you are referring specifically to learning to code, I wouldn't recommend that anyone use any paid school. There are more than enough free online resources to teach yourself to become a very proficient programmer.


Most online schools, and indeed most online businesses, have one or more "Ripoff Reports" posted. That site is hardly credible, and I question the motives of anyone that would even post a link to such garbage on a site like HN. Most of those "reports" are written by competitors of the business at issue, angry ex wives, the owner of Ripoff Reports himself etc...it's an extortion scheme, asking people for money in order to modify posts. Posting there is SOP among scumbags. Their PageRank is their only asset, and they use it for extortion.


I had no idea that they were publicly traded on the Nasdaq, but that bolsters my confidence in them.

I only mentioned Apus because that is where my sister is going and it is working out well for her. They are fully accredited, and a big chunk of the money my sister is getting is in the form of Pell grants, which do not have to be paid back (your eligibility for both loans and Pell grants can easily be determined at http://fafsa.ed.gov). Yes, you have to pay back the loan portion once you have graduated and have a bachelor's degree. My point was that in a situation like OP's, this would be the first thing that I would do. If you were homeless or close to it, this would be by far the best and lowest cost way to access cash, especially if more education was in your plans anyway. When helping my sister look into this before she enrolled, I was amazed that more people aren't using online schools.

There's a huge difference in the risk you are taking when you take on debt that can be cleared with bankruptcy and debt that can not.

This is why I always say that the first thing your business should pay for is an accountant. Same thing. Business mistakes? bankruptcy is the worst case. Sure, it's not that weird for even smallish businesses to sign leases that are worth truly intimidating amounts of money. My own company's co-lo contract would cover a very high-end Ferrari. Leases are debt. But they can be discharged through bankruptcy. Tax mistakes? Tax mistakes are for life (or, as you say, until you pay them off, along with penalties and interest.)

I mean, I'm not saying that I'd never take such a loan, just that it is money at what I consider completely brutal terms, and for me, at least, it would be a last resort.

As an aside, I think that only taking loans that can be cleared by bankruptcy is something of a sanity check. Nobody, right now, would loan me the money to buy a Ferrari, because I can't afford a Ferrari (well, not a new one, anyhow.) and this fact is obvious if you look at my finances, as a bank would before loaning someone that kind of money for a car. I mean, I probably could usually make the payments, but one financial misstep on my part, or some slight flutter in my income stream and I'd be in bankruptcy territory.

Now, on the other hand, if that loan couldn't be cleared by bankruptcy? I think it would be a reasonable risk for most banks to loan me the cash for the Ferrari. I mean I'd be eating ramen, but I could make payments as long as nothing went wrong, and even if I screw it up and they've gotta repo the thing, It's pretty likely that my lifetime earnings, which they'll get to garnish in this hypothetical world where car loans operate like student loans, are going to be enough to more than cover the loan plus interest and penalties.

The point being that operating without bankruptcy really moves the bar on how much effort the bank puts into figuring out if you can afford something.

> I mean, I'm not saying that I'd never take such a loan, just that it is money at what I consider completely brutal terms, and for me, at least, it would be a last resort.

Please look at my comment in the context of OP's story of living at Starbucks and being beaten and mugged at gunpoint in the park where he was sleeping. I would say that's last resort territory. Hmm...that or take a loan that you have to start paying back in 4 years? I'm guessing that these negative responses about bankruptcy discharge are mostly from people that have never been in such desperate circumstances.

Also, even in less desperate circumstances, (such as my sister's, where she simply got tired of working in her field) going to school and (hopefully) dramatically raising ones earning potential isn't exactly a worthless pursuit.

Yeah, if I didn't have a safe place to sleep, I agree, taking loans that I couldn't clear with bankruptcy would be something I'd be willing to do. Again, your point that I've never been in any situation that desperate is quite true. I've never experienced anything like that.

My real worry though would be that:

>going to school and (hopefully) dramatically raising ones earning potential isn't exactly a worthless pursuit.

especially if you are going to a for-profit school? I... really think that this idea that formal education means more money is a lie that we sell vulnerable children, and a lie we sell ourselves, because we don't understand how to end the cycle of poverty. Then we sell them loans they can't get out of. It really seems pretty terrible to me.

I went to a pretty poor high school - I make a lot more money than most of the people who went to school with me who have gone on to get two year degrees or four year degrees from low-end institutions.

I'm not saying that education for educations sake isn't valuable; it is. I'm just saying that when it comes to ability to earn a living, for me and most of the people I've known, for the people who did well after going to school? School was part of a life that meant you were going to be successful; if you took someone who otherwise didn't have that life and sent them to a low-end school? it doesn't seem to help them much. college doesn't seem to do it without the parents... and at least in my experience, if you have the parents, they will push you in to college, but if you resist, it doesn't seem to depress your earning ability much.

See, my real worry would be that I'd go to school and at the end of those four years I'd be no more employable than I was at the start, and at that point I'd be way worse off, because I'd have this big bunch of debt.

None of this, of course, invalidates your suggestion that you take out the loans and use them to live while you get a regular job again, doing whatever minimum work is required to keep the loans. Obviously, having a place to sleep, shower, and basic transportation is going to make getting a job way easier- so yes, your suggestion is a completely reasonable last resort suggestion.

I think the pushback you are feeling is that I felt like your attitude towards those loans was that they were no big deal, and personally, I think they are a very big deal, especially if you are trying to live on the salary you get if you have a for-profit degree and nothing else.

> This is why I always say that the first thing your business should pay for is an accountant.

For my company (which we started up only 5 months ago), we hired an accountant in the first week. He saved us 3x his 1 year cost in the first 5 minutes. How I wish we had hired him before we started the business. He could have saved us about the same again.

If you are ever even thinking of starting a company, follow this advice. The accountant is the very first person I would talk to. It's amazing the pitfalls you can get into even when you are being relatively careful (as we were).

Student loan debt isn't dischargeable. We're talking about someone who's already in financial hot water. Of course, if you like putting out fires with gasoline, that's your thing.

I've known people who've used student loans for both ongoing living expenses and to put off repaying ... student loans. The balance ... accumulates. And compounds.

Non-student debt, or non-debt forms of aid, have other ways to be discharged. Student loans have two: sweat of your brow or your life.

Re "looking for clients": you've missed my point: that sometimes the problem isn't your skillset but (variously), the state of the economy, the sector you're in, or the location you're in. "Educating your way out of this mess" doesn't work when the fundamental problem isn't your skills.

Otherwise, you're simply tapping into a fairly readily accessible tar-baby.

Funny, that, how accessible it is....

Ripoff Reports (or other such sites, Consumerist is another) is a good place to check up on businesses. I didn't go looking for that, BTW, just plugged in "American Public University and it turned up. Yes, read carefully and consider the sources and/or possible motives.

But for-profit colleges, make no bones about it, have some exceptionally massive problems, perverse incentives, and criticisms.


How many of the top n colleges in the U.S. are publicly traded?

Damned few.


NASDAQ listing has no goddamned bearing on educational quality. Negative if anything.

If you are going to recommend the "go to school and buy time" route, I'd strongly recommend a community college over a commercial one. Lower tuition costs mean far less overhead on top of living expenses.

Better yet, find a state (or country) that doesn't suck as hard as Texas and/or the US does to live.

>Student loan debt isn't dischargeable. We're talking about someone who's already in financial hot water.

So you suggest being mugged at gunpoint and living at Starbucks over taking on some small payments you'll have to begin repaying in 4 years. Got it. Clearly you've never been in such a situation.

>Ripoff Reports (or other such sites, Consumerist is another) is a good place to check up on businesses. I didn't go looking for that, BTW, just plugged in "American Public University and it turned up.

Of course it did. For whatever reason, Google has aided in Ed Magedson's extortion scheme for the past several years. That doesn't make the site any more credible. Ripoff Report is far from "a good place to check up on businesses" unless you want to read angry rants by competitors and angry ex's. Here are a few more of your awesome and very credible reports:




This (and a couple of other comments you've made to this thread) would make a very good "lessons learned" coda to your blog post.

Living below your means, and having an emergyency fund / "fuck you money" in the bank is hugely valuable. Not always possible.

This is also a powerful argument for why social and emergency services should be accessible.

Consider alternatives such as DDG or YaCy and their cost structures.

The alternative need not replicate all of Google's infrastructure.


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