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Servers in the Garage! Whee!

Greetings again, readers! 

This has been a challenging few days. Just as it seemed the Pied Piper team was about to move into luxurious new offices once inhabited by Zynga, today…we find ourselves once again back at Erlich’s.

Why? Well, our contracts to rent server space suddenly vanished like Julia Roberts in Sleeping With the Enemy! And we didn’t need to find a wedding ring in the toilet to know that a certain CEO of Hooli—who I will not dignify by naming—must have pulled some strings. Fortunately, Gilfoyle has impressive hardware skills, as well as a disturbingly apocalyptic worldview, and offered to stand-up servers himself in the Hacker Hostel garage. And that is how I was…discovered. 

I have a confession, readers. Sometimes my solicitude for the fortunes of Pied Piper comes at the expense of my person, whether it be my sleep, my digestive system or my apartment. You see, in an attempt to cut our budget I slashed my salary rather drastically and then discovered I could no longer afford my apartment. And so that was I came to be secretly living in Erlich’s garage, between a broken hydroponic tank and an apparently functional but abandoned NordicTrack.

Of course, once Gilfoyle needed the space, I cleared right out. Fortunately, our wonderful CEO Richard Hendricks graciously allowed me to sleep on a cot in his room. I felt so tiny and safe in that womb of innovation that I cannot describe the feeling.

In any case: Our new data center is up and running, our team continues to build out the platform and I have found an affordable place nearby, though I am occasionally bitten by a stray ferret in my sleep. (Long story!)

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  1. Those were the old offices of Zynga? Seriously?
    I used to work there and we never had a modeling agency upstairs.
    Of course, that was five years ago…

  2. You must have a really great connection and bandwidth for a residential area to be able to serve so many potential customers 🙂

  3. Hmmmm…German, ferrets, what’s next? Bowling? A fake kidnapping? Art commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men?

  4. Jared, thank you for the update as we are so excited to see where Pied Piper goes next… My friends at Hooli will not admit this when asked, but they are nervous about nucleus!

    That and I’m in love with you.

  5. Hello again Jared (Gerky).. So you’re talking German in you’re sleep. Hmm, I hope those Liechtenstein rumors are not true. But no worries, your secret is safe with me, I guess (wink, wink). It’s just that it would be comforting if you sent me an email. See, I was digging around and found some old photos of Gerky’s Prancing Poodle Puppet Farm! I also found a $13 IOU from you for that used sewing machine, remember that? You used it to make costumes for your puppets. But as you’re in a financial low, I will let that slide. In fact, if you need a place to stay, my sister Dorene lives in Los Gatos and she said she can "put you up"; that is if you don’t mind sleeping in her son’s old tree fort and doing some odd jobs around the house. Regardless, I hope things get better for you soon.

  6. Well, a ferret-infested space is better than no ferret-infested space at all… er… that sounds a little off but you know what I mean. Congrats on your new ferrets! X)

Problem 1:

Single Points of Failure

Libraries are vulnerable to losing their collection because all of their books are contained at a single location. Say, for instance, that there was a fire, or a flood, or a vandal defaced John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America by giving all the Warblers human genitalia. Even worse, if the vandal recruited bird haters from other neighborhoods and got ahold of all the copies of the book in existence, it could be lost crude doodles forever. It would be a tragedy on par with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

The Problem

Because Birds of America is centralized in one public location, it’s susceptible to permanent deletion. The same goes for content on the Internet — storing all your family photos on a single account in a cloud service? They could all be wiped away if someone hacked your account or corrupted the host servers.

The Solution

Our solution: In our decentralized library, we would duplicate and distribute multiple copies of Birds of America to your neighbors — if you need a copy, you would just go to your neighbor’s house. As our Pipernet town of mobile devices grows, so do the number of neighbors who might have a copy of your book. And the more potential copies there are available, the more secure the book is.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: spread your personal files on devices across the world, so they’re completely safe from bad actors manipulating or deleting them.


All copies of your files in a well-known, hackable location = RISKY!

Files copied and distributed to multiple locations = SAFE!

Problem 2:

No Privacy

In order to check out books, you must have a library card — an ID that links back to your real world identity. That library card reveals all the books you’ve ever checked out, where you returned them, and whether they were returned on time.

The Problem

The tech titans collect data profiles on us too, and theirs are far more comprehensive. They amass thousands of personal data points by tracking our activities in both the online and physical worlds.

Users don’t own or control their own data, so it can be used against them. Take, for instance, Richard’s lawyer Pete Monahan, who had his probation revoked when the state retrieved his library records. Which was… probably a good idea. But for this metaphor’s purposes: bad that they can access that information!

On the web, our data profile is far more detailed, the laws around privacy even looser, and more freedoms are at stake. For example, what if Hooli sold your search data to an insurance company who then denied you coverage because you’ve HooliSearch-ed “kindest Palo Alto based Cardiologist” a few too many times?

The Solution

Replace library cards with anonymous identification cards which are impossible to connect to your real world identity. Instead of using a library card (linked to your name, address, etc.) to check out books, you would swipe a nondescript card (containing no personal details). Your activity would be tracked to keep the system stable, but your identity would not be siphoned and sold. I, for example, would no longer check out books as "Donald Dunn," but rather the nom de guerre "h3w0vbk37vpm."

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: use its apps and services without compromising your privacy.


Trading your identity and data for online services = RISKY!

Using services anonymously so nobody can target you = SAFE!

Problem 3:

Censorship and Manipulation

Because a town’s library is run by a small group of administrators, they could theoretically decide what books are available to its people. They could even decide to ban Birds of America, depriving young birders of Audubon’s elegant illustrations, pored over page by page under a government-issued blanket after lights out, giving you hope that even a slender-framed, shivering boy could grow to be as majestic as a Hooded Merganser.

The Problem

On the internet, multinational corporations can screen content, or even “adapt” their services to fit the local government’s requests. In both libraries and on the Web, we’re susceptible to data being censored or manipulated by intermediaries.

The Solution

A peer-to-peer lending system backed up by a fully public ledger, allowing you to send and receive books freely to anybody in the world without worrying about censorship or interference. Want to add Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, or your controversial essay on Audubon’s coloring techniques? No problem, even if the town surrounded you with pitchforks to ban them, these vital texts would be available to share neighbor to neighbor, impossible to delete.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: exchange messages and files directly with their intended receiver, disperse ideas and information free from threats of censorship.


Pushing all transactions through a central authority = OPPRESSIVE!

Establishing a peer to peer exchange system based on an immutable public ledger = FREE!

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