This benefits no one. No real Chinese hackers or security professionals would ever risk coming to the USA in the first place. And Chinese government officials involved in cyber security would never come without a diplomatic passport. So really all this hurts are academics.
There's also a language barrier -- a lot of engineers in Chinese companies aren't as fluent in English as would be necessary to have a good or productive time at DEF CON, so it would have to be more senior/management type people.
This only seems useful if it is automated and extremely fast. If you are law enforcement there are faster ways to do this. Like just calling in the city the "bad" guy last checked in at.
And if you aren't, there are much easier ways to get info on the room someone is using, like social engineering. Which I'd actually one if the examples the author gave when he simply asked the victim in twitter what floor he/she was on.
I haven't seen criminal scenarios where the bad guy takes a photo if his view or checks in on four square, that doesn't get rounded up fairly quickly.
I signed up for app.net when it first offered the paid option and was billed for the renewal, but honestly I haven't touched the site in a year. I just forgot to cancel my subscription. I really want to support it but I have no reason to engage with it.
I'm willing to support the company, so I can't understand why they don't pivot to something people are happy to pay for? I might even pay for a light social media dashboard. No reason to wind down in my opinion...
Not enough people willing to pay to pivot to something people are (possibly) happy to pay for. That's what App.net was. It had good signs of support at the start and they dove in head first -- I think a wise decision.
The odds were against them; as they are with all startups. This just happens to be their day of reckoning.
I came in to say this. "Oncle Tom" translates to "Uncle Tom" in English, and in the US it has an extremely derogatory meaning towards African Americans. It's essentially a "black man that sold out to the White Man".
The name choice probably wasn't motivated by this, but it's an unlucky choice if the goal was to grow in North America, similar to the Chevy Nova, which in Spanish was equivalent to "No Go".
It's from a book Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe who was staunchly antislavery. In Europe it was very popular, and there was even an U-Bahn station in Berlin called "Onkel Tom's Hütte". Also, the story of the Chevy Nova in Spanish has been debunked many times, but for whatever reason it's a nice story and keeps getting retold. I suppose it's like JFK allegedly proclaiming himself a donut, coincidentally also in Berlin.
I do agree with you though that it's probably not a great choice for a name, if only because people in the US will be hypersensitive and might completely misconstrue the meaning.
The term is very loosely derived from the character from the book. Speaking as an American not given to hypersensitivity on this issue --- my immediate association was with the epithet. If I polled my block, which is majority African American, I'm guessing you'd get the same association from them. If you want to evoke the book in America, you probably use the whole title.
Not that there's anything wrong with the name, at least that I see. I'm just affirming the feedback you got previously. This isn't hypersensitivity; it's simply a cultural difference.
(PS: we chose the name "Matasano" for our software security firm because we gave up on naming and flipped through a list of cool-sounding plant names; turns out, in South America, a "Matasano" is an incompetent doctor.)
The best answer you could have given was, "it's from the name of our favorite Warrant song."
I agree. My intention in using the term "hypersensitive" was to mean "very sensitive" and not to conjure up the connotation that someone should not be sensitive about it.
Given the history of prejudice and intolerance in the US, there absolutely is reason to be sensitive about it.
Or, it could also be that Africans make up ~13% of the US population, and as much as 30-35% of the population in urban America, compared to 3% in France and less than 1% in Germany, and so we're just more familiar with African (American) cultural signifiers.
"As of 2004, French think-tank Institut Montaigne estimated that there were 51 million (85%) white people or European origin, 6 million (10%) North African people, 2 million (3.5%) Black people and 1 million (1.5%) people of Asian origin in Metropolitan France, including all generations of immigrant descendants." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France#Ethnic_g...]
So Africans make up 13% of the population in France as well (granting that "North African" does not typically conjure the same image as "African American"). It seems odd to deny that America's history doesn't affect its cultural sensitivity toward certain terms (especially the term in question).
You think I'm being more charitable to the US than I am. I'm implying that white people in the US aren't hypersensitive to racial stuff, which makes "Uncle Tom's" associations all the more significant.
Discussions of racism/discrimination are different in Europe than USA. Europe doesn't quite classify people by a small amount of 'races' (like white/black/etc.), instead using local ethnicities, which can get much more complex.
Haha! we named our software Marica for "Management des risques et des contrats d'assurance" (we're a French company).
We have since translated the software in several languages. It appears that marica in spanish means something like queer in English when used against homosexuals, only _more_ derogatory amongst these macho people :-(
While the name "Uncle Tom" comes from the book, the character of Uncle Tom from ~1865 onwards was portrayed almost exclusively in minstrel show retellings of the novel. Minstrel show's didn't quite... capture the anti-slavery sentiments of the book .
The novel's Uncle Tom was resistant to the harsher institutions of slavery, sometimes standing in vocal opposition to his masters. The minstrel show Uncle Tom was almost exclusively played by white men in black face, going for cheap laughs by exaggerating the perceived mannerisms of American blacks. Essentially, the novel was radical, progressive and extremely popular. In the process of turning it into a minstrel show, everything radical and progressive was stripped out and replaced with cheap, comfortable laughs for an audience with a concept of how black people are "supposed" to act.
And that's how people who have just read Uncle Tom's Cabin don't get why Uncle Tom is now an epithet for people perceived to be subservient, or cooperating with their oppressors.
Well, "Oncle" translates as "Uncle" and Thomas is my first name. It is a French pun I chose 10 years ago; and I definitely not meant to promote slavery or whatsoever. I am more a humanist kind of person.
Sadly at the time I missed the point it could eventually be pejorative in North America (and probably elsewhere). Especially as the book is about getting access to freedom through hard work. A beautiful outcome.
"Oncle Tom" sounds friendly and familiar in French. You could read it as "Bro Tom", a guy you can speak and what with easily.
I bet on people intelligence rather than their ignorance. I will eventually have to scale my explanations only if I remain for a too long time on the first page of HN ;-)
Actually this is the very first time I hear a comment about being nicknamed "Uncle Tom". So far in Europe it did not even started a single spark of debate.
If I appear to become a fashionable talent in North America I might consider changing the username to avoid controversy. At that stage I understand it can offend people.
Now is a bit prematured in my opinion.
Thanks for raising the issue, I would have not figured that on my own :-)
One of my earliest memories from childhood is of my uncle, Tom, picking me up and strapping me in a carseat. (Considering carseat usage habits in the late 1970s I would have been quite young.) I still thought of the derogatory sense first, when I saw that phrase.
I wouldn't offer it for free. Especially not for a year. Thats a long commitment.
I would go in with a price and then offer them a free trial. I think assigning a monetary value will be important for feeling out potential price points your market would tolerate. And it will make them take you more seriously.
Have you considered finding a sales partner? Someone that already has the relationships with buyers in your target space? For example, educational book publishers?
I always prefer to partner if I have technology that is useful to a niche market I don't have strong contacts in. They will be able to get to those who really have purchasing power and give you immediate feedback on whether there is really a market or not.