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Gmail: Trap my contacts now (warning when exporting contacts to Facebook) google.com
459 points by bjonathan 1 day ago   168 comments top 33
165 points by ck2 1 day ago replies      
I approve a warning 1000% - it's not like they are stopping you from exporting.

This will slow down my AOL-using friends who gave away all their contact info to Facebook and now I get pelted with spam from Facebook using my name and list of friends (and I don't even have a Facebook account).

Google has never spammed me or share my name and location, Facebook does it all the time, pick who's more evil.

31 points by portman 1 day ago 6 replies      
Le sigh.

I think Google has lost sight of something very simple in this fracas:

With Google Contacts, the user directly manages his contacts' email addresses.

With Facebook, the user delegates management of email address to his contacts.

These are not the same thing. The Google contacts team seems to think that Facebook is an address book just like them. They are not. And to me, that failure to understand the differences is the root source of all this tomfoolery.


Edit after some very welcome discussion downstream:

On GMail, my contacts' email addresses are MY data.

On Facebook, my contacts' email addresses are NOT my data. The FACT that I am connected to my contacts is my data, but any information about those contacts does not belong to me.

This is why Facebook is not an address book, and pretending it as an address book where "your data gets stuck" is bound to lead to frustration for everyone.

3 points by kmavm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's what Google had to say about social networks and email exporting less than one year ago:

"Mass exportation of email is not standard on most social networks ‚" when a user friends someone they don‚t then expect that person to be easily able to send that contact information to a third party along with hundreds of other addresses with just one click."

The occasion was Google disabling exporting of contacts from Orkut to Facebook. I happen to think that both Google then, and Facebook now, are perfectly correct. However, I am curious how those who see Google as clearly in the right, and Facebook as clearly in the wrong, would reconcile Google's statement and actions of a year ago with its statements and actions of the last several days.

Edit: citation http://techcrunch.com/2009/10/26/orkut-slows-hemorraging-to-...

26 points by nkassis 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm just waiting for the backroom deal between the two that will allow two way sharing between only them.
9 points by ukdm 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is this a new warning page that has been added following Facebook's actions, or one that has been around a while?
17 points by RoyceFullerton 1 day ago 2 replies      
"I recognize that once it‚s been imported to another service, that service may not allow me to export it back out."

I could see how this could scare the average user into thinking their contacts are moved from Google to facebook and stuck there, thus loosing their ability to use them within Google's products.

Do you think this is the intention?

15 points by corin_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's so nice of these two companies to be spending their time and money creating this great entertainment for all of us
1 point by phjohnst 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is a point that hasn't yet been mentioned here about the fundamental difference between an address book, and Facebook.

Facebook is okay to be a dead-end for contacts' emails, since the email upload is used once to find others on the service. After that, if you need to contact someone else on Facebook, you can do so with a wall post or an inbox message. The email address is irrelevant.

With an address book, you need it to be portable, since the medium is accessible from many different locations and services.

The fact is that you dont need to get your friends' contact details out of Facebook. You sign up for Facebook to make Friends on Facebook and communicate over Facebook. Not to communicate over email, etc. (And certainly not over a rival network.) When you add someone to your address book, you do so to communicate with them over email, or phone, or whatever, which are inherently completely open and interconnected systems. [Surely there is a debate to be had here about the ubiquity of Facebook as a platform and that it should be open - could you imagine Facebook Clients? But I dont believe that's a debate about exporting existing contact info.]

To that end, Google warning users about the terminal nature of their exported data is unnecessary and only confuses the process of finding friends for users (who, by the way, aren't thinking about data portability, or building up an address book/contacts list on Facebook, they're thinking about making Friends on Facebook, to communicate over Facebook)

TL;DR: This whole mess doesn't matter, and Google is only making things complicated for users.

1 point by jasonkester 1 day ago 8 replies      
As luck would have it, I picked today to set up a Facebook profile for me girlfriend. I'm now really angry with Google.

It used to be a 30 second task to sift through your address book and check off people to send friend requests to. Now, thanks to Google behaving like children, I need to figure out how to export her contacts as a text file so that I can upload it to Facebook.

Google, please stop.

You are pissing off your customers.

Edit: subsititure Users for Customers in the previous sentence if it helps you to parse it. The end result is still the same: The people who use Google's service are being punished by Google for the actions of a 3rd party.

4 points by scrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting how the tide seems to turn. My Conspiracy theory:

I think Facebook might have gone to far with Facebook Deals. Now Groupon, its friends and other bystanders start to react less kindly to Facebook's business model: Copying ideas from other websites with nothing in return. Oh, well.

2 points by chrischen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google should also point out that if Facebook lets you export your friends' emails then your friends can do the same to your email. And that if that happens one bad or compromised friend can give yours and everyone else's emails to spammers.

Same thing can happen with Google Contacts, but the difference is that on Contacts you give out your email. On Facebook you signup with an email and then you "friend" someone.

1 point by trevelyan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google is being silly. First because they're breaking the usability of THEIR own site out of an invented vendetta against a company that is just using the feature they created and made available. If they don't believe people should be able to export data from Gmail they should stop offering it generally and compete against other email providers with a more closed platform, not whine about reciprocity from sites that are not in their business.

Second because they are in the wrong. The last thing in the world I want is my friends on Facebook to be able to give MY email address to random third-parties in return for free virtual pets or whatever Zynga is giving away this week. Google's moralism would mean much more spam and a far worse experience with Facebook. My being a "friend" with someone does not imply permission to let them give my contact information to third parties. Who is Google to say otherwise?

1 point by illumin8 1 day ago 2 replies      
The warning says: "Here‚s the not-so-fine print. You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn‚t allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends."

I think this is misleading - Doesn't Facebook allow you to download all of your data, just like Google? As much as I dislike Facebook's privacy policies, the mudslinging seems a little thick from both sides.

Facebook and Google - two of the biggest privacy violating companies on the planet. May you live in interesting times, indeed.

5 points by joakin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fortunately this gives more info to average users about their data and what's happening with it

Maybe they will care some day ...

4 points by atourino 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that their wording pushes their anti Facebook data locking agenda, intimidating novice users. To me, this goes against their "don't be evil" company motto.
2 points by kwamenum86 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not sure if the back and forth between Google and Facebook is intriguing or just childish at this point.

Neither is doing this for the users. They are doing it to help their services grow and ultimately to help their bottom line grow. Believing anything else would be naive at this point.

4 points by paraschopra 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Select one or more options. Cancel and go back"

I liked this. So Godfatheresque!

1 point by itsnotvalid 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently, it's just for Facebook only.


By the link of this, one can see that only exporting to Facebook would render this confirmation message.

3 points by janulrich 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great how they used check boxes to make the submit button appear. It makes it more likely that people will actually read the warning.
1 point by sdrinf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there any publicly traded betting pool for this? I've got 10 bucks saying FB will open up their data silos (at least for Google) within the next 12 months :)
1 point by sssparkkk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe google is trying to get facebook to open up now, so it'll be in time for everyone to be able to use it to migrate to Google Me.
1 point by pama 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just used this link and saved my contacts, just in case this story leads to more dramatic actions. I also tested the register complaint button and, sure enough, my complaint was duly registered (though nobody explained what this means). Interestingly enough, I could have done both in one step, by checking both boxes and getting a long button reading: "download my contact information and register complaint".
0 points by dsplittgerber 1 day ago 1 reply      
It allegedly registered my complaint without me being logged-in, so whatever they do, it's for show only?

This reeks of a cheap shot.

1 point by oemera 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a really clever move from Google and I think many people will read this and stop giving there data to Facebook.
I have a dump feeling about giving all of my data to Facebook cause they have sure enough.
Otherwise: it's free and they are making money with your data right?
1 point by kyledreger 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I want a page to see the total number of "complaints" Google has collected so far. Just curious as to how many people actually picked that option.
0 points by gizmomagico 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is such bullshit.

A service that won't let me "get my contact information out"? Nice way to frame this in terms of "openness" too, apparently riding "open" for all it's worth with Android is not enough.

Can I just "get out" all of my personal information from Google? No? Isn't Google "open" enough to let me do it?

We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there.

Did you also think it was super duper important with a cherry and smarmy bullshit on top to let me know before you gave Facebook my GMail contacts behind the scenes when I was registering there earlier this year?

No, and I was disgusted when Facebook started suggesting them for "friends" right away.

1 point by eiji 1 day ago 2 replies      
Facebook could allow users to "Opt-in" an email export.
If I'm not "Opt-in", only my name would be exported by me and my friends.

We all know that Opt-in is like "does not exist", but they could at least say they are open.

edit: They could even sell it as a privacy feature ...

1 point by zoowar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ironically, control of personal data ends once the data has been shared, by you or any of your friends. Terms of Service often enable a company to collect and share your data as they see fit.
1 point by luckyland 1 day ago 0 replies      
But does it work with Orkut?
0 points by ajaimk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Alternate heading: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
-3 points by gabrielmazzotti 1 day ago 0 replies      
jajajaja Gmail rules!
-3 points by wooptoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
A big middle finger to FB.
-4 points by alain94040 1 day ago 1 reply      
What bothers me is that Google is taking the stance that they have the right to lock my data in their service if they feel like it.

That's why that position, to me, is untenable. Don't do evil indeed: you just conceded the other side (Facebook) their main argument (that they don't have to be open, only if they feel like it).

The Myth of the Immortal Hamburger seriouseats.com
366 points by jacoblyles 5 days ago   34 comments top 6
44 points by mechanical_fish 5 days ago 4 replies      
I'm upvoting this partly because it's by J. Kenji (Lopez-)Alt, whom I have regarded as a sort of culinary god ever since I first encountered his awesome piecrust recipe in Cooks Illustrated a few years ago.

(The piecrust is made by substituting vodka for much of the water, which allows the dough to be rolled out without encouraging too much gluten formation and thereby making the crust tough. It is perhaps a shade too much on the crumbly side but makes up for that by being outstandingly tasty, it has now utterly spoiled my taste for the majority of store-bought pies, and it has convinced my friends that I, in turn, am some sort of culinary god, even though this piecrust recipe is idiotically simple, actually simpler than regular piecrust, if such a thing is possible. The lesson here is: Subscribe to Cooks Illustrated and make your loved ones' lives better.)

16 points by geuis 5 days ago 5 replies      
I love examples where people use the actual scientific method to test conventional wisdom. This is a good experiment. I would love to see it replicated by other groups (.e.g Mythbusters) to confirm or deny the results.

There is also a similar myth for McDonald's french fries. It would be nice to see those tested as well.

3 points by latch 4 days ago 1 reply      
half way through and having a hard time not running to the local McDonalds to buy a burger (to eat!!).
1 point by jemfinch 4 days ago 0 replies      
For those interested in a related Wikipedia odyssey, check out Water Activity <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_activity>, then hit the "shelf stable" link and move on from there.
-4 points by Charuru 4 days ago 0 replies      
Come on guys, this belongs on reddit. Stop screwing up the S/N ratio.
-2 points by CamperBob 3 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped eating McDonald's burgers years ago, when I accidentally dropped one on the floor at home while taking it out of the bag. I tossed it out the window for the birds to deal with.

A week later, it was still untouched. Even the goddamn crows wouldn't eat it.

That's when I realized that the critics were pretty much right about McDonald's. Whatever those guys are selling, be it harmful or benign, it doesn't qualify as "food."

Kinect reverse-engineered; open driver available adafruit.com
364 points by jgrahamc 1 day ago   84 comments top 9
18 points by iamwil 1 day ago replies      
The code for the camera.c is here:

I've always wondered how people reverse engineer these things. Do they just guess what the interface might be based on the chips? Or are they able to probe it somehow through the port?

27 points by st3fan 1 day ago 1 reply      
So much for "With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering" ... :-)
7 points by InclinedPlane 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a misleading title. The Kinect sensor has been hacked, but Kinect proper is a combination of hardware and software. Arguably the more interesting aspects of Kinect are in the software.

That being said, this is still pretty cool, it'll be interesting to see what people come up with using this technology.

9 points by markbao 1 day ago 3 replies      
Oh man. Ordering one ASAP. So much cool stuff could be done with this. Going to try to create a gestures thing so I can browse my email from bed.
34 points by olalonde 1 day ago 2 replies      
That was quick.
2 points by joshu 1 day ago 3 replies      
I would have thought there was some onboard CPU on the kinect, based on the power requirements (it can't be powered by a USB port alone.) If so, I suspect that any heavy lifting the unit does is probably by software that uploaded to the camera via USB at startup.

Anyone have further details?

2 points by shogunmike 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an exciting achievement and I'm very impressed that it was carried out so rapidly. Good hacking indeed!

Although, I have two questions which HN may be able to answer for me:

1) What are the benefits of the Kinect over building a servo-driven IR bar with audio yourself out of cheap commodity hardware? Is the price far less when all components are integrated? Is the construction just that much simpler?

2) Presumably now that the "easier" task of reverse engineering the comms protocol has been achieved, the next step is to understand/replicate/replace the "proprietary" algorithms in use by Microsoft that run in the XBox in order to have some meaningful interaction with the device. Is it possible to use some FOSS such as OpenCV with Kinect? I know it's early days and many of you probably haven't had time to look at the protocol yet, but I am curious.

3 points by augustl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I always wanted to be able to set focus on windows by looking at them. Perhaps that can be achieved with a Kinect.
2 points by andrewcamel 1 day ago 0 replies      
What would be very interesting, is if you could mod the device to work with a better camera. Then, it would probably be useful in the photography industry. Maybe it would allow you to correct issues with lighting? It would allow someone editing pictures to easily select a part of the picture in the foreground or background. With selections being much easier, you could enhance specific parts of photos to make them stand out around other less-important parts without much effort at all.

I'm sure there are many more applications for this technology in the photography and even videography industry. Any ideas?

Life Hack - The 30/30 Minute Work Cycle Feels Like Magic chetansurpur.com
367 points by chetan51 2 days ago   133 comments top 30
51 points by edw519 2 days ago 7 replies      
The concept is excellent, but the ratio doesn't work for me.

I prefer 42/18.

42 because it is the Ultimate Answer of Life, the Universe, and Everything:


and 18, because it is the Gematria for the word "life":



If I'm going to adopt a system, my inner nerd insists upon increasing efficiency by using components with multiple purposes.

37 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 3 replies      
I did 50-10s for many years -- and was productive as hell doing it.

I think the numbers vary depending on the person and the project, but absolutely, having the discipline to push away from the desk and change context puts your productivity in warp gear. It works by allowing you mind to work on the problem while you play.

By the way, to let another secret out of the bag, this process of engineered distraction also works very well with teams.

Many times we confuse stubbornness with determination. Sitting there staring at the screen does not a work product make.

But I'll add one caveat -- the reason I got away from this (and am now only getting back to it) is because the internet itself has become the "getting away" activity. This leaves you at your desk checking emails, updating twitter, etc. In such a case, you're not allowing your subconscious to work on your problem at all. Instead, you're throwing a bunch more stuff at it. So in retrospect I think its critical to physically detach yourself from your technology. A stand-alone game would be fine. Sitting at the terminal listening to your email and IM chimes while you play a flash game would not.

EDIT: It's also interesting to note how hard it is to pull away from your work -- both when you're loving it and when you're hating it. I don't think it's ever easy, but after a while you get into a "rhythm" and it all just kind of flows.

25 points by ojbyrne 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're flexible about the second 30, I find this works really well with working from home, because the second 30 can be typical personal chores. Wake up, work for a bit, then make coffee. Work some more, then eat breakfast. Work some more, then have a shower. Work some more, go for a walk. Etc, etc. Sometimes 5-10 minute breaks, sometimes an hour or more.
15 points by jamesjyu 2 days ago 5 replies      
People who know my previous comments might think I sound like a broken record -- but, this is the exact reason why I love having a table tennis table at the office. It's the perfect distraction to coding that focuses on pure reflexes and hand-eye coordination.

After a game of ping pong, my mind is usually cleared and can tackle the next problem. Lots of +1's to the idea of zoning your brain out of the problem area for a while to get your subconscious working.

17 points by gcv 2 days ago 9 replies      
For people who do something like this: how do you manage logistically? Do you set an alarm? Do you just know when your 30 minutes (or 42, or 50) are up? Do you always keep an eye on the time? I'm curious because the concept seems like it could work, but I lose track of time easily.
18 points by hackoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real magic? Learn your body/mind's rhythm. Sometimes you'll do productive work for hours. Sometimes you'll need frequent breaks.

Intrinsic (type of work, work environment, deadline, depth) and extrinsic factors (such as food, relationships, etc) will affect this rhythm and you'll have to be smart enough to realize when to respect your body's wishes and when to ignore them (feeling bored may have to do with not getting enough sleep, or maybe you just feel like procrastinating. Learn to figure out which).

16 points by JoelMcCracken 2 days ago 1 reply      
For a long time now, I have wanted to code in a cabin in the country.

Just imagine going outside and chopping wood, hauling it back in, and setting your fire correctly. I can hardly imagine a more ideal alternative activity to coding for that second length of time.

11 points by dpatru 2 days ago 0 replies      
This just reinforces the suspicion I've had for some time now that time working is not tightly related to accomplishment, especially if the work is intellectual.
3 points by JimmyL 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did an hour-on/hour-off cycle when I was in school studying for exams each semester, and it was great. Working for an hour meant that I could nail a solid two concepts, and then go do something else for an hour, and then come back and spend an hour on some practice problems that used those concepts. I remember initially trying a shorter 30-30 cycle, but when a problem takes 20 minutes to do (by design) subbing out at 30 didn't really get much done.

I also found it let me work much longer. I'd get to the library at 10am, work one-on/one-off until 11pm or so, go home and watch a bit of TV, and repeat - for three weeks straight, only interrupted by days when I had actual exams, on which I'd do about four hours off after the exam and get back to work.

11 points by amanuel 2 days ago 5 replies      
This reminds me the Pomodoro Technique. http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

I bought a pomodoro iphone app and tried it for about a week or so, alas 25 mins was just too short for me.

I generally find 45/20 to be about right balance for me. I now use Vitamin-R (Mac App) to track time/goals.

6 points by andrewce 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use this work pattern when I'm doing particularly distasteful work, and it generally works well.

The only thing I'd advise is that if you're in a state of flow (in which the passage of time just disappears and your focus zeroes in completely), don't worry about maintaining a rigid time schedule.

Every so often, when I'm writing, I forget to check the clock and then it is 3 hours later and I realize that I've missed a meal. I wouldn't trade those times for very many things.

5 points by nikster 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is why smokers have a huge advantage. They go out for a smoke break every hour. Doing _nothing_ but smoking.

I will try this, sans the smoking, starting now. Goodbye.

3 points by topherjaynes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Definitely, this model did wonders for me in Gradschool, but I am wondering if anyone has tried doing this in a corporate environment?
I just started my first gig at a large company. I take "walking breaks" to circle the block several times a day to clear my mind and people seem incredulous that I am not tolling at my desk. Wonder how they would feel if I was devoting 4.5 hours of my day to "fun."
2 points by JimboOmega 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really don't see how you can do this in a normal work setting. If I work for 30, take 30 off... an 8 hour work day takes 16 hours...

Even if I got 16 hours of work done in that time, it does not matter really to my employer, who would still see it as 8 hours. Because we bill by the hour, what matters is the # of hours that are worked, not how much work gets done in them.

That said breaks in a lot of tasks are immensely useful. I can't remember how many times I've given up after getting stuck on a work task to come in the next morning and figured it out in 30 minutes.

I wish productivity mattered more :(.

1 point by rguzman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the concept and I personally use variations of it. However, I find that 30/30 is not only the wrong ratio (1:1) but also the lengths don't work too well for certain types of activities. c.f. http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html
3 points by adorton 2 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds like an interesting idea for personal projects. My boss might raise an eyebrow if he saw me playing games or surfing the web for half of my day.
1 point by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the key is to (1) really work when you're supposedly working (don't check email, don't read RSS, etc.) and (2) take breaks to refresh. Both of these are very old and well known techniques for maximizing health and productivity. Whether there's something magical about the 30/30 split, and forcing yourself to always switch hats like that, regardless of the actual specific situation: that, I'm not so sure of the general applicability of. I often find it takes me a while to get in The Zone, and when I'm Hot it's best to keep Pounding Out The Code and not force myself to stop and go play a game or whatever.
1 point by manish 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely worth a try. I am concerned about my discipline to come back to work after playing a game for 30 mins. May be playing TT would be better idea, since I feel playing physical games refreshes me more that video games.
2 points by anon8712 1 day ago 1 reply      
A question to all the excellent commenters here.
I work at a place where the company culture considers developers the same way as Macy's employees.
10 minute breaks for every 4 hours you work.
Surf the net, chat on IM, everything counts as work....except stepping away from the computer. Be seen away from your desk more than necessary, you get warned of 'not being available during core hours of business'.
I am a contractor and I get paid very well to care too much about the company culture.

My productivity is not the best but according to them, I am a star performer. I, personally can't sit longer than an hour without needing a break. I worked for startups with ping pong tables and one large workstation vendor that recently ceased to exist. I miss the culture at those companies.

The company culture where I work has gotten to me, where I am considering leaving my contract to focus on my personal projects.
What would you do?

1 point by tnt128 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use a similar pattern, but instead of 30/30, I do 75/30, here are the reasons,
1. I need at least 5 to 10 mins to pick up what's left.
2. Work without distraction never happen(people talk to you, have to open the door for someone, answer the office phone etc). If that happens, I need another 5 mins just to remember I was doing.
3. My productivity picks up after the initial 20mins, and it lasts about 45 to 60 mins.
4. A few things could happen after 75mins of coding a) feature done or bug fixed - checkin code, git push. done take a break b) encounter a problem, internet searching - stop and take a 30 mins break, helps a lot. c) starting checking facebook, hacker news, email etc - stop and take a break. d) feature is not done, and I have not encountered a problem - this is the only time I might not take a break, but every time I didnt, I found myself ended up checking email and facebook a lot :)

30/30 sounds great, for me, 75/30 give me enough time to finish a feature or fix a bug.

1 point by khookie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess any rational sounding justification will do eh - 30mins work and 30mins break? Gimme a break... you're wasting so much time it's not funny.

But I guess you are what you want to believe - http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/october/willpower-resourc...

Not saying the principle is bad, you just need to make the reward significantly cheaper than what it is now.

1 point by egb 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those who use Merlin Mann's (10+2)*5 ratio (http://www.43folders.com/2005/10/11/procrastination-hack-102...) and have an iPhone, check out my timer app for it:


1 point by craigbellot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Already using this. Can't stay off facebook for more than 30 min anyway...
1 point by sdizdar 1 day ago 0 replies      
The concept is excellent. And here is what I use to achieve the exactly same thing: http://senadreport.com/post/1472323819/how-to-stay-focused
The ratio for me is maybe 15/45.
2 points by seejay 1 day ago 0 replies      
up voted for the statement: "Time is now my bitch" :D

The idea itself sounds pretty awesome too... will definitely try it.

1 point by javan 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would really like a timer app that blocks social, distracting sites during the work sprint so I'm reminded if I start to stray and then unblocks them during the rest.
1 point by Dramatize 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to give this a try for my after work side projects.
1 point by MarkNederhoed 1 day ago 0 replies      
The great debate: Do you start with 30 minutes of twittertime or do you start your day working?
1 point by Void_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if I could get back to work easily after 30 minutes on Facebook or playing World of Warcraft. Probably not.
-1 point by devmonk 2 days ago 7 replies      
To start with, the author says he switched to Colemak keyboard layout. Interesting, but about as useless as Dvorak. Unless you get everyone to switch to it, you will be disabled whenever you switch to someone else's computer, a kiosk, etc. Why bother?

He mentions having switched to biphasic sleep. If he said- I don't use electricity at night and just go to bed and wake up with the light, then if he got up during the dark hours, that's fine. But scheduling it and forcing your body into a strange deprived sleep pattern is bad for you. Napoleon slept ~4 hrs a night. He was successful for a time, well- except for attempting and failing to conquer the world. Poor decisions may not have been made with more sleep.


So, that leads us up to the 30/30 work cycle. This actually doesn't sounds that bad. But, it is totally not something that would work in a professional setting. When you are in the middle of an important meeting with the board, or working on getting a product feature out that day, you can't walk out of the meeting or walk out on your team to go play video games. I take time out periodically for a walk, but seriously- grow up.

The 18 things you must do when launching a new website seomoz.org
341 points by danshapiro 2 days ago   26 comments top 12
59 points by olalonde 2 days ago 3 replies      
17 points by carbocation 2 days ago 2 replies      
Please consider cropping the number out of the title: http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
13 points by rhizome 2 days ago 1 reply      
Next up: 24 mistakes people make when launching a website, then 41 things people who have websites should do more often, then 58 mistakes people make when maintaining websites, followed by the 4 things you should do when canceling your webhosting account.
6 points by alnayyir 2 days ago 0 replies      
Flagged, title is garbage and doesn't adhere to HN guidelines as stated elsewhere.

Keep this out of HN and leave it for your blogroll crap, and don't pretend you didn't know any better either.

5 points by ari_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
This list is banal. About the only thing I Can agree with is installing some analytics software (preferably NOT Google Analytics) to monitor goals and traffic sources. The only thing you need to do when launching a website, or any business, is market your product off. Adding yourself to the various webmaster tools, tracking brand keywords via Google Alerts is all a huge waste of time and only makes sense (if it makes any sense at all!) once you actually have traction - links to look at, brand mentions to follow etc.


2 points by lkozma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another tool I've found very useful, that I don't see on either lists is http://www.webpagetest.org/
More comprehensive than YSlow.
2 points by daveschappell 2 days ago 1 reply      
this is an awesome list -- we've been at this for almost 3 years, and while we had most of them, I just realized that we never set up Bing Webmaster Console -- given their continued rise in % (combined with Yahoo), it can't hurt.

other great recommendations as well -- we're also SEOMoz subscribers, so some of this is also just a great reminder about tools we're probably underutilizing

2 points by MrJagil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excuse me, but why does this have 320 points if everyone thinks it is garbage?

As a newbie entrepreneur, I am utterly confused as to whether these steps really are helpful/necessary or not.

2 points by cubtastic71 2 days ago 1 reply      
Really some of these are things you do BEFORE you launch a web site. Do you really test the performance after its live? Really?
2 points by muppetman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that "Have a business model" isn't there somewhere.
-4 points by daryn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great checklist of things to remember!
-2 points by aarong 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet post... this should be a great blog to follow. Thanks for doing Rand!
Implementing the auto-buying bot from xkcd #576 bieh.net
325 points by bensummers 3 days ago   82 comments top 19
93 points by niyazpk 3 days ago 4 replies      
I am tempted to write a bot to submit $1 items that his bot is likely to buy.
27 points by mike-cardwell 3 days ago 5 replies      
A neat bot would be one which automatically buys and then resells things with a markup. It would figure out the usual price an item goes for on a website like Ebay, and purchase it if the price is set far enough below.
13 points by jimfl 3 days ago 0 replies      
XKCD has likely inspired more code than any other comic strip.
23 points by bieh 3 days ago 5 replies      
Heh, cool - I was going to submit this myself after it bought a few more items, but I guess I was beaten to it.

Any questions, or suggestions for smarter ways to select items to buy, feel free :)

3 points by Robin_Message 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the artwork by Caleb Larsen, A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter. It's a box that sells itself on eBay for a higher price. As a condition of buying it, you accept it can sell itself again, and so on.

Recursion, profit, AI - what's not to like? You can see its latest auction at http://atooltodeceiveandslaughter.com and more about the artwork at http://caleblarsen.com/projects/a-tool-to-deceive-and-slaugh...

5 points by heyrhett 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is clearly some confusion in this thread.

He didn't actually make the $1-buying ebay bot from xkcd.

He made a completely different buying bot for some new zealand auction site: trademe.

2 points by happybuy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very similar to some of the automated logic I needed to create for price tracking & prediction for my new startup www.happybuy.com.

What I found was that the biggest savings list:


Needs to be quite intelligent to filter out a lot of product noise.

A lot of this is due to pricing manipulation whereby a price is low but the shipping is high. Also a lot of the products with the biggest savings aren't that useful :)

We've managed to improve the value of the list but are constantly tweaking it to get a good balance of savings and useful products listed.

Its especially important as we use a bot to auto-tweet the best saving of the day through twitter & facebook. Trying to get a bot to do this sometimes produces unintended (and often interesting) results.

3 points by vog 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just a small announce on HN, and the site is down.

Why does most blog software fail at simple tasks like delivering static content? Apart from comments and quick corrections, blog articles _are_ nothing more than static content. And I'd be happy to not see any comments due to high server load, as long as I can read the article.

2 points by patrickk 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the book "Webbots, Spiders and Screen Scrapers" by Michael Schrenk, there's a topic that deals with automatic procurement and 'sniping' for those who are interested in reading further.

See #19 on the section list for a description:


(Not affiliated in any way.)

2 points by ryanjmo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would pay $20 to have this set up for two weeks for me. That would give you $6 you could keep for yourself. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Business here possibly?
1 point by hallmark 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the Apple App Store had an API, I would be tempted to write a bot to buy me a highly rated app every ~3 days.

Didn't try very hard, but I was unable to determine whether the Android Market has an API for purchasing paid apps. In that case, the Android phone could be the bot! "Bzzzzztt. I bought this app for you. Hope you like it."

3 points by danio 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why just restrict the search to buy-now items? In my experience more of the esoteric stuff seems to go on straight auctions and buy-now is used mainly by commerical retailers.
2 points by gokhan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The script has 341 followers on Twitter. I love technology :)
1 point by user24 3 days ago 2 replies      
Amazed it took so long for someone to do this! Start a blog with a post for each item that it buys!
1 point by Seth_Kriticos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Silent prayer for your soul, only $1, no shipping cost!

No, seriously, I like his crazy optimistic attitude. Probably get some fun stuff out of it. Non the less, there are really people selling this kind of enlightened service on eBay, not for $1 though.

1 point by trotsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
Considering the environmental impact of door to door shipping and the low chance the items will get any significant use, it's almost like the program is optimized to promote global warming over any other goals.
2 points by known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Imports goods from China.
Refurbish those goods and export them back to China.
1 point by cahit 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would be much more interesting if he spent the money on auction items, instead of "Buy Now" stuff where the value is not much more than the price.
-2 points by michael_dorfman 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be (much) more impressed if he implemented this one: http://xkcd.com/816/
Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you... sebastianmarshall.com
298 points by kapilkaisare 8 hours ago   267 comments top 70
72 points by Legion 6 hours ago replies      
I firmly believe that earnest efforts to suppress any and all physical violence in schools has created an environment where bullies are able to operate without repercussion.

Good kids don't "fight". It's so ingrained into the head of the good kids that they are terrified of fighting even to defend themselves.

Thus, bullies get to bully with no fear. There's no consequence. Whereas when a weaker kid fights back, even if the bully is strong enough to "win" the battle, he still gets hit in the mouth and does not like it. Bullies much prefer low-hanging fruit that doesn't fight back.

My children, when school age (maybe not 1st grade, but certainly by junior high), will be sat down and have the following explained to them:

"You are allowed to defend yourself. You will avoid physical conflict whenever possible, but should you ever be physically threatened or subject to ongoing torment, you have the GREEN LIGHT to use physical force to protect yourself, OR to assist a friend who is unable to protect themselves."

"You may get in trouble with your school. THIS IS OK. Your well-being is more important than their rules. If you get suspended for three days, then I'll take three days off work and we'll keep up with your studies. I will be on your side. Do not let concern over the school rules stop you at all from defending yourself."

"However, you will never use force to do anything but protect yourself or your friend. If I find that YOU have been the aggressor, I will smite you."

I'll probably need to work on that speech a bit between now and then, but you get the idea. :)

I was lucky. I was never the small or weak one. Even still, I can think back to a couple of situations where fear of parental response prevented me from protecting myself as well as I should have. My children will have it made known to them that they will not be "assumed guilty" when a situation comes up where they physically defend themselves. No aggression towards others will be tolerated, but they will be trusted to properly use their discretion, and until they prove themselves guilty, they will be assumed innocent.

52 points by maxawaytoolong 6 hours ago 8 replies      
It's sort of embarrassing this is the number one story on hacker news. Especially since it's 6 weeks old and was already posted before, and mostly seems fabricated. It reads like some fat kid ender's game revenge fantasy. I guess maybe this is what happens in white suburban schools? Cuz fights in the schools where I used to teach math would end up with kids in the hospital or dead. Or, I guess I don't really know, because both parties would both never come back to school.

I guess if Bobby Bully is putting beans in your pants you can try your karate kid routine on him. Maybe Eye of The Tiger will start playing and after you make him cry by ballet kicking him in the nose you and Elisabeth Shue can go share a milkshake at Pop's and then make out at the drive in. But in real life Jesus and Jose and their 20 cousins and homies just show up after school and steal all your clothes, your bike, your money and throw you into the dumpster.

I guess I don't ever really believe these stories, because whenever i've seen someone fight back it just turned into a drawn out war, not some fairytale DeGrassi afterschool special outcome where the bully "learned his place"

64 points by ErrantX 8 hours ago 8 replies      
Not even slightly controversial here.

I suffered 5 years of bullying at school; and tried everything to get it to stop, without success.

Until one day I just got fed up, walked up to the main tormentor in class and, unprovoked, hit him really hard in the mouth (I think I broke his nose, I'm not sure). Was in weeks of trouble (with the staff) :) but once that was out of the way no one touched me again.

I've never outright recommended this approach to anyone; and indeed it's probably not the right thing to do all the time. But some sort of short-sharp-shock can work just as well (so... barging them to the ground etc.) as long as it is sufficiently hard.

12 points by seldo 6 hours ago replies      
Fuck this.

I'm not a violent person. I never have been and never will be. I do not consider it a valid way to solve problems. Reverting to our animal nature is rejecting the progress we have made in our brains overriding unproductive basic survival impulses in favour of smarter solutions.

That's not to say this approach doesn't work. For some people it works perfectly. But hitting back only works if you're stronger than them. Otherwise they'll just kick your ass and things will get worse. And even if it works, all you've done is validate the world view that might makes right.

The world is full of idiots who ruin the lives of others, both at the micro level of domestic abuse and the macro level of dictatorships, because of this principle. It's the law of the jungle, and you know what? We don't live in the fucking jungle any more. We live in a civilized society, where intelligence can triumph over brute strength.

Nobody should know that better than HN, a community of nerds who dream of changing the world one keystroke at a time. I'm disappointed to see how much support there is for this idea.

The smart solution to bullying is to make it socially unacceptable. Kids don't take dumps in the hallways because there's no payoff to doing so. But if you beat up the unpopular kid, you get some credibility. Rob them of that credibility, rob them of their motivation, and you end bullying, without swinging a fist.

23 points by pragmatic 8 hours ago 7 replies      
"This comment will be controversial, especially for North Americans and Western Europeans."

No not really. It will perhaps offend the bizarre establishment that has invaded school administration. However, this is bully repulsion 101.

If the system doesn't protect you, you must find a technique that does. Would we avoid school shootings,etc, if we taught our kids to stand up for themselves, don't let yourself get bullied? Real self respect vs the artificial "everyone's special" of today's thinking?

Sidenote: Why is this behavior (bullying) tolerated in school? What other part of our culture accepts bullying as "part of growing up" or "just the way it is?"

50 points by _pius 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm reminded of what Malcolm X said to the civil rights demonstrators:

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.

25 points by steauengeglase 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Essay time.

In my freshman and sophomore years in college I did some substitute teaching. It was easy money. The state gives you $90 if you can pass a TB test and everyone makes it through the day with all digits. Simple enough.

So one day I was subbing in a high school math class. I looked over the lesson plan and noticed that one kid was marked as a "disruption". As I'm going over the roll I'm looking for him. Football player? Nope, not him. Thug kid? Nah. Smug asshole attention seeker? No. Oh, there he is and holy shit it's me! White kid with glasses, either over or under weight and reading Musician's Friend, probably has a copy of Elektor hidden in there somewhere. His bookbag has every one of his books in it because he doesn't want to go to his locker. Either someone keeps messing with him or he subconsciously doesn't want to remember his combination.

Soon the disruption became obvious. Every few minutes someone would hit him or yell something at him and he kept withdrawing into his shell. After I threw a couple out it stopped. After class I stopped him on the way out and chatted for a few minutes. I was right, there was a copy of Elektor in his bag and no, he couldn't remember his combination.

During lunch I hung out in the teacher's lounge and chatted with a few of the teachers. Finally I asked them about him. It was a consensus, he was a disruption and they couldn't wait to find a reason to expel him. This was the point where I realized I'd never make it as a teacher. After years of being angry at the other kids it never occurred to me that they were also the enemy. Suddenly the codes made sense. How many times had I heard teachers say that students should be able to "learn in a non-disruptive environment"? Fuck, they wanted me to get thrown to the wolves; it was always a part of the plan. I was just a cancer in the education system's body, something that didn't just work its way out, despite their best non-efforts.

The following year I took a job in a call center and moved to their IT dept. Subbing was easy, but at least IT didn't feel like blood money. There was a silver lining. I ran into that kid a few years ago in a restaurant. He was married with a kid of his own. He rushed and grabbed by hand. "I just want to say thanks. You were right, they were all assholes."

That was by far my most satisfying job related moment. Only Hallmark moment I have to offer.

8 points by mcantor 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh for fuck's sake. People, there are many reasons why bullying occurs, and there are many types of bullies, and there are many types of kids who get bullied.

Does anyone out there honestly believe that there's a single solution that will work in every situation? I hate to be so condescending, but really now! On a site like this, where we make careers out of handling edge conditions, we should know better.

If a kid punches you because he hates himself, should you punch him back? What if a kid punches you because he's trying to fit in with a circle of friends, and they hate themselves, but he just kinda has low self-esteem? What if a kid punches you because you remind him of a kid that bullied him last year? What if a kid punches you because he's having a bad day, but he feels bad about it after? What if a kid punches you because he likes you, but he has an abusive family environment and punching is the only way he knows to express affection? What if a kid punches you because he hates himself, but he hates everyone else too? What if a kid punches you because he has low self esteem and he's jealous of how smart you sounded in class just now?

The answer to everything up there is not "JUST PUNCH THE FUCKER" or "JUST HUG THE FUCKER." Come on. They are all unique situations in their own right, and they all must be considered separately. In fact, each of those has different solutions based on who the target is. They're schoolchildren. They're humans. They're not computer programs! They're not predictable automatons! If you're new in school and you fuck someone up on the first day, that's completely different from being bullied for six years and then finally punching back. The first has a higher likelihood of getting you left alone. The second will probably make it worse! If you're a small kid and you try to give them a hug, that's different from if you're a big kid. They could say the small kid is only being friendly because he's too wimpy to fight back. They could say a big kid is only punching because he's too stupid to think of a comeback. IT DEPENDS. It fucking DEPENDS.

The whole reason "bullying" remains an "unsolved issue" is because people keep suggesting silver bullets, and there fucking isn't one. Instead of attacking each other's silver bullets, why don't we take the difficult but arguably more worthwhile path of identifying different motivations for bullying and how the psychology of differing responses works? Because this "be friendly"/"punch them out" bullshit sounds more and more like emacs vs. vim to me.


15 points by ahoyhere 7 hours ago 4 replies      
You don't need to hit a bully to break his power.

The trick is to emasculate them. Show them you don't care. When they insult you or hurt you, laugh at them. You just have to mean it.

I was bullied for years until I realized one day why they bullied me - I smelled of fear, and I didn't react, I just stood there and looked at them. Suddenly it all made sense, they were like braindead sharks to blood.

So I started smiling and laughing at them.

Took the wind right out of their sails, and they weren't able to force me to come down to their level.

I won.

Play their game and they still win on some level, because hurting another person hurts yourself.

21 points by lhorie 7 hours ago 1 reply      
>> I had two guys try to mug me the other day in a dangerous area. Bad mistake, doubled one of them over with a kick the stomach and shouted at the other one, YOU WANT TO DIE? BACK DOWN, STAY BACK. He did, he let me walk away while his criminal buddy was doubled over.

Where I come from, the third kid, who was pretending to be a bystander all along, with the gun under his shirt, would've shot you from behind your back.

Just because resorting to violence to deal with bullies works doesn't mean you should go all rambo with actual criminals.

53 points by nhashem 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I liked this post until he started talking about fighting the Chinese mafia and jump kicking criminals. At that point I wasn't sure whether his point was, "take your own bullying into your own hands" or "watch me brag about how badass I am on the internet."
1 point by blhack 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe my experience with high school bulles is atypical. I went to a very small high school (my graduating class had 32 people in it), and I was also a big kid. I was (and am) 6'4", I played tennis constantly. Despite being in alright shape, I was definitely a "fat" kid, definitely a nerd, and I definitely took a lot of flak for it.

Until I stopped taking flak for it. Bullies are just trolls in real life. Letting them make you feel dejected (or showing it) just feeds them...it's just like internet trolls.

Responding back to them, not violently, but trolling them back meant that you were no longer a victim, but were just playing the same game. Eventually, I made friends with the kids that used to tease me.

I really don't think that responding violently to bullies is the answer. That just further serves to enforce an "us" and "them" mentality. Bullying them back, just playing their game back at them makes it into a game. Eventually, at least for me, bullying turned into friendly jabbings.

15 points by jbooth 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I was with this guy until he started talking about mouthing off to a mafia guy in Japan.

Kid stuff is kid stuff, adult stuff is different. That 9th grader had almost certainly never tortured someone with a car battery. Same with the muggers - who's to say that they're sane in the least? What if they're really strung-out and have knives, now you're going to the hospital.

5 points by msg 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

Reading this thread, it occurs to me once again how countercultural the Sermon on the Mount is, and how hard it is to seriously live it.

I wouldn't recommend this as a plan of action for somebody else's kid. Or for others, in a pluralist political context. Or for nations. Because hey, this goes down to a very basic belief about how to live rightly and wrongly in the world, and how to respond to violence and evil.

2 points by maxklein 7 hours ago 4 replies      
You don't end a fight by starting a fight. It works in theory, but it just causes a culture of violence.

People who are bullied are bullied because of they way they are perceived by others. You notice how there are a lot of neutral people who nobody bullies?

There are the bullies on one extreme, then there are a lot of neutrals, then there are the bullied on the other extreme. Asking a person who is bullied to hit someone is not solving the problem at all, it is actually contributing to the 'weirdness' factor that made that person bullied in the first place. The people who are bullied are not bullied just because they look physically weak, but because they are giving off the wrong social vibe. Doing something like hitting someone is not addressing the real issue.

To stop a child from being bullied, you need to address the short term problem, and you need to adress the long term problem. The short term problem is that the people need to stop, and the long term problem is that he needs to gain a lot of confidence and properly learn how to integrate himself in a social situation. He needs to learn to assert himself, and not be weak.

The short term solution can be solved without violence. If a person is bullying you, and you just say nothing, just scowl and lean towards the person with your arms swinging free, look straight into the eyes of the people without blinking, speak in a low cold voice, then walk away without looking back you can almost always stop further aggravation. Most bullied people make the mistake of smiling and trying to laugh off the problem, then going into a body posture that says they are defensive, and hopping from foot to foot or fiddling with clothes, and looking down. This encourages the bullies, because you are displaying beta-male behaviour.

The long term solution involves forcing the child into a lot of social activities, so that he learns how to establish and build social hierachies. Also, a lot of physical activity, particular where he can get to dominate, and also team sports where he is working with people less competent than him will also help teach him to assert himself.

Saying somethin like "punch the person" is not only not very clever, it's also practically undoable for most bullied people. Most bullied kids are small wimpy and non-assertive kids. They can't punch anyone. Don't give this pointless advice.

4 points by marcamillion 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to re-iterate many of the above comments. When I was in 7th grade (in Jamaica you are about 11 in 7th grade), I was perpetually bullied by one guy. Another 7th grader, but because I came from a middle class upbringing and he from lesser means, perhaps he felt a need to exude a 'gangster' image.

Given that I was one of the smallest guys in the class, that naturally meant I became a target.

At first I would try to ignore it, but it never went away.

Well, one day I decided I wasn't going to take it and I fought back. I hit him a few times and we rumbled together and I ended up having him in a 'sleeper hold' - i.e. my arm around & in front of his neck, with my other arm locked around the back of his head - with him fading quickly.

In a fit of desperation he quickly pulled out a compass (the one that had a 1-inch long point) and stabbed me in my arm - to get me to let go. Well, it worked, I let go instantly.

The pain was intense - but he was able to get his breath back. As soon as we both realized what he did, I turned to walk to the bathroom (because it had started bleeding by now), but he thought I was going to the principal's office. Naturally he ran after me apologizing profusely and literally BEGGED me not to go to the principal.

I bluffed a bit, and indicated to him that if he ever troubled me again I am going straight there.

That was the end of that...for the rest of my high school career he never troubled me again. As a matter of fact, if he ever saw anyone else try picking on me, he would kinda take up for me.

So while I wouldn't say 'take something hard and knock them in the back of their head' but simply fighting back and standing up for yourself can help significantly.

Although, a word of caution, I could have easily been stabbed elsewhere (like my eye, or head). So take that for what it's worth and advise your kids of the real potential consequences of fighting back - not to mention further retribution by the bully's friends (which is a very real possibility here in Jamaica).

That being said, I am definitely going to advise my son to hit back - but do it wisely and make sure not to do TOO much damage. i.e. once they back off, stop, leave, and report it (or not, as my case proved) or call me to at least let me know there was an issue.

Edit: Oh and for the record, the wound took about 2 months to heal properly and hurt like a mother-lover, for what it's worth.

15 points by brianmwang 8 hours ago 1 reply      
His account of the 9th grader reminds me of the advice to punch out the toughest looking guy in the room on your first day of prison to establish a reputation of unfuckablewithness.
5 points by kenjackson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Why don't parents do something? I'd have no problem, as an adult, confronting a kid and telling them that if they touched my son again I'd personally deliver them to juvy where I can make accomodations for buddies they don't appreciate.

And unless they're already hardened gang members, this should work pretty well, and probably breaks no laws. And if they do do it again, live up to your promise, to the extent possible.

If they are hardened gang members, you should probably get your child out of the situation, because fighting back is a losing proposition.

1 point by lmkg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My only problem with this article is when the author considers the antagonists to be animals. It encourages thinking of the bullies as sub-human, and beyond redemption, and treating them like that encourages them to keep acting like that. People are complicated, life is complicated, and completely dismissing someone as an "animal" and ignoring anything else about them is an arrogant effort to make yourself feel morally superior for taking what is an essentially pragmatic option.

Like I said, that's the only issue I have, and I condone the advice to fight back. I do think that bullies, or at least some individuals who are bullies, have the potential to be talked to. However, I think it's unlikely that they can be talked to by the person they're antagonizing, while they're in the process of antagonizing them. If you're being picked on, you have neither the responsibility, nor the ability, to redeem your tormentor. Concern yourself with your well-being, defend yourself, and leave the redemption to a professional counselor. No one has the obligation to act in the interest of someone who is acting against theirs (although I have deep respect for those who volunteer to do so).

The difference between fighting back as a deterrent, and fighting back as moral superiority, is rather fine, and in the moment of fighting back, probably indistinguishable. But there are downstream effects of thinking of others (and especially of treating them) as less than human, or even as inferior to you. Thinking that the current situation will never change blinds you to ways to change it, and in the long-term, that results in things failing to change.

5 points by JabavuAdams 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I would phrase the advice to sound less hair-trigger, but I essentially agree. "Ignore the bully", or "don't fight back" are terrible advice that put the (your) child at risk.

I think where parents get confused is on the individual vs. group distinction. We look at the world, see all the various tribal wars with their counter-attacks and counter-counter-attacks, and erroneously conclude that violence doesn't solve anything.

We're not talking suicide bombs and airstrikes, here. If Alice shoves Billy, and Billy shoves Alice back, there's often no escalation, and no-one else is harmed. The issue is settled, and everyone's still alive and well. This is much better than ongoing bullying.

5 points by swombat 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like Ender's Game 101. Thoroughly agree, and wish I'd had the balls to carry it through when I was bullied as a kid.

My dad gave me this very advice at the time, but I was too cowardly to follow it...

2 points by anigbrowl 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is wrong.

But son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you, they‚ve crossed a line. Fuck them up. It‚s the only thing these vicious freaks understand. They‚re wild animals. They make violence on you, you need to show them that you‚re the stronger, bigger animal. When someone attacks you maliciously for no reason, you need to impose your will on them.

All unwelcome contact is considered to be enemy contact, and nuclear retaliation is offered as the solution.

And yet not all contact is roughhousing, not all roughhousing is bullying, and not all bullying justifies maximum retaliation. Of course, implicit in this advice is the ability to distinguish how offensive or aggressive an unwanted contact actually is, and to measure one's response appropriately...exactly the sort of thing kids (usually) learn by experience, but (frequently) miss when receiving knowledge transmissions from a trusted moral authority.

This is not an argument for pacifism or passivity: I am well aware that not all aggressive people secretly want to be loved or are just having difficulty making polite conversation. I was a small child and remain a fairly small adult; I've been bullied (in school) and attacked by various street criminals (as an adult) - more than most people, I'd guess. I dislike fights and haven't started one since age 8 or so, but I will finish one if it is forced upon me, and also enjoy non-competitive martial arts (ie fighting with other students for enjoyment of skill rather than pursuit of belts).

Going all-out in response to attack is a poor strategy, rooted in fear rather than confidence. It may not be appropriate in the first place; indeed, bullies and criminals frequently exhibit a victim mentality and complain that the target of their aggression 'made them do it.' Overlooking this factor assures that sooner or later a person will end up wondering how s/he ended up being the bad gal/guy - if not for physical fighting, then in an employment or domestic context. Secondly, it may not be necessary: the aim of self-defense is to end the confrontation and deter future attacks, and most attacks are experimental or opportunistic. Such opponents will quickly fold in face of equivalent resistance, and often when confronted with far less (eg a push in response to a punch). Violently revenging your hurt feelings, rather than merely defending your hurt person, forces your attacker into defending themselves with an least an equivalent degree of fervor. You win by holding your ground and seeing your opponent quit; to withholding this option is to rob yourself of your own victory. No outcome that takes place under duress yields certainty to the immediate beneficiary. Thirdly, if your attacker is serious and dangerous, then going all-out can be quite dangerous. Such moves are more apparent and less calculated, and an experienced opponent can easily exploit this to use your own strength against you.

Having been on both ends of this equation, I feel comfortable in saying that the person who loses their temper will lose any resulting fight too. Conflicts are mental problems, to which the physical aspects are often only a footnote.

3 points by toast76 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm the youngest of three boys. We all went to the same high school. When I arrive in Year 7, there were apparently quite a few kids "lining up" to have a go at me. My brothers were well respected academics as well as both celebrated for their Basketball and Athletics achievements, and I was the geek.

My group of geek friends and I took our share of hassling in the first week. It was probably day 4 when one of the bullies had a go at a friend of mine (over a paper aeroplane if I recall) so I stood up to him. I then got backed into a corner by 2 or 3 of them who started really hammering me.

Something snapped in me.

I started kicking, punching, kneeing, throwing windmills and swearing like a crazy person. I don't know how long it was before a teacher came out and broke it up. But I'm sure it wasn't long, and I'm dead certain that I barely made contact with anything. We all sat in the principals office and got a stern talking to. The older kids were suspended, I was let off...probably because my brothers were star pupils.

They thought I was bat-shit crazy. For the next 6 years I wasn't hassled again.

11 points by iwr 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's strange how a society supposedly obsessed with safety nonetheless thinks normal to place a child in such an environment, then do everything to prevent them from defending themselves. It's a prison environment, only the inmates did nothing to deserve being there.

The problem could be that kids don't interact much with people outside their age group. They have no reference point of how adults behave. It becomes a sort of Lord of the Flies world.

3 points by castis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In my findings, this method is not near as effective as having something you said get taken way out of context.

I got bullied a little in middle school. However, in a completely unrelated event, I said something with one feeling and someone nearby thought I said it in anger I guess.

Next thing I know, SWAT and local police are at my high school and somehow everyone knows who they're looking for.

Apparently "Really? OMG Im gonna kill her! lol" directly translates to "I'm going to bring a gun to school and murder her".

I was never messed with again and no one asked.

3 points by kno 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I grew up in a tough neighborhood, lower middle class, where we fix issues with fists fights. My dad, a tough guy, hated bullying period. He did not tolerate his child being the bully; he made us understand that is was shameful to mistreat the weak and the young. He always told us to stand our ground when attacked, he said if the attacker was stronger and bigger we could use a stick, a stone or anything that could really hurt the attacker. My dad said we should not respond to a push with a push, he thought an attack should be met with a response x times. A punch for a push; my two brothers and I were known for our fierce defense abilities, which made us safe from bullying growing up.

Today as a parent, I give the same advice to my children. We are a minority in our neighborhood and my kids go to great school. They have been through multiple attacks from bullies. My son is in middle school and so far has been able to fight back at many would be bullies. I made it clear to the principal and some parents of bullies that my children are permitted to fight back when attacked, that I will stand by them in all circumstances.

So far it has been working pretty well next year my daughter will be in high school and my son is a reputed defensive player in the basketball team.

6 points by ck2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
But how do we teach kids when the "authority" puts their hands on them?


5 points by magicseth 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a really fine line. This type of response can just as easily backfire on you. One punch back can escalate things well beyond the original infraction, the next thing you know, you are in the hospital. Embarrassing someone who fancies themselves the leader of a pack is never a good idea. Even if you escape unscathed one day, the very next day you may be met with an even larger pack of people.

It is this very mindset that perpetuates violence, it doesn't end it. For Sebastian, the line is clear "as soon as someone puts their hands on you," but everyone has a different line. Taunting someone every day for months can push someone beyond their line, and when they push you away out of desperation they have "put their hands on you."

Being strong and standing up for yourself does not require physical violence. Understanding the reason someone is picking on you is perhaps the best way to actually stop it, and perhaps even address the root cause, making the road better for the next person in line. When complaining about the bully in my elementary school, my parents explained to me the social situation that he was brought up in, and how we were so lucky in comparison. I didn't "love" them, but I understood them much better, and learned how to avoid getting in their way. Hitting back wouldn't have solved anything.

3 points by zaidf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I was bullied quite a bit when I started 1st grade at a new school. Luckily I had two older brothers at the school. A couple times I pointed out the dudes responsible and they would go have a word with them and that'd take care of it.

I guess you get bullied when the other party things they have little to lose and lots(of pleasure) to gain. Soon as you signal they might have something to lose and they believe you they move on to the next victim.

A few times I remember just cursing out the bullies OUT LOUD. I was considered so weak that they never thought I'd do that. Once I did, the bullying stopped.

2 points by armandososa 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with responding to physical abuse with violence. But hitting someone for verbal abuse seems nonsensical, dumb, and animalistic.

Growing up being a short, brown-skinned, fatty-snotty nerd gain me a lot of verbal abuse, but I always was very good with wit and snark and more than once, the abuser ended up crying.

Funny enough, this ability gave me enough respect that almost nobody ever tried to physically abuse me.

2 points by mattmaroon 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It does crack me up that people think being nice to a bully will work. They realize that bullies act out of misery due to self esteem issues, but they think one high school kid, who the bully sees as a helpless victim, saying something like "I value you as a person" is going to turn around the bully's self esteem.

Humans don't work that way. Years of ingrained low self worth take years of effort to correct. Going Joe Pesci on one of them works in minutes.

4 points by Reclix 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say every situation has an escalating set of responses, and I certainly don't believe that violence is always unacceptable, especially when nonviolent means have failed.

I'd suggest that a large part of why MLK succeeded is because Malcolm X was loudly stating the alternative.

I've never been physically bullied, as I've always been both a dork and an athlete, but I was teased relentlessly early on. My dad's advice was always to ignore, and this just didn't work well enough. That's how I discovered the power of personality - the power to fire back is (sadly) what wins respect of children.

The challenge once you've gained the skill is to reign it in - to be intentional in your response, and to sometimes decide that nonviolence, or silence IS actually the way to go.

2 points by nadam 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Good advice generally. Although there are rare very serious cases when even this does not help. There was a mentally ill guy in our primary school who was strong, wild and agressive like an animal. (He has done weight training every day being 11 years old!) He had no respect of his own life, so if someone fought back he would fight until really dangerous levels. The older the guys are the more dangerous this whole thing can get. In an extreme situation the best thing someone can do is to tell everything their parents. The serious bully in our school was first 'met' by the father of a bullied girl and later were fired from the school.
1 point by rapind 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I was with you until the fight dirty part. Often but not always bullying is due to insecurity. While I will definitely recommend to my son to stick up for himself and others he cares about (sorry but turn the other cheek is not my thing) I would never tell him to fight dirty.

Win or lose, getting beat up is not the end of the world. Some people are tougher and that's just the way it is. Winning a fight against a bully is not nearly as important as showing the balls to fight even if you don't think you stand a chance. It won't always produce good results one-off, but overall it'll be worth it.

As for some of these comments advising trickery like showing strength, staring, talking crap etc. Doesn't work. Once you've been in a few fights you understand this. A lot of it's on a subconscious level and your body language will make it obvious that you're trying to avoid a fight while pretending to act mean. People sense that and it's the absolute quickest way to lose a few teeth. So what if he's bigger and stronger? The quickest way to end a fight is to hit hard and fast with an utter lack of fear. If you really are at a huge disadvantage then yeah it won't go so well. But if that's the case you weren't going to scare him off with intellectual techniques either.

3 points by WalterBright 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's essentially the tit-for-tat response, which turns out to be a very effective strategy for all sorts of things, not just bullies.
3 points by pinaceae 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree and can confirm the effectiveness of this approach. My dad saw me being bullied in kindergarten. Rather than stopping the bullying himself, he taught me how to do a choke-hold.

The next day he had to pick me up earlier as I was accused of violent behavior - for choking the bully until he turned blue.

This lesson, learned so early, helped me a lot in later school life as I was that overweight small kid with thick glasses. And every time someone tried to bully me, I simply slammed my elbow in their nuts.

Kids can be mean monsters, they can be worse than any grown up. They have no idea how much harm they are causing.

Defending yourself against predators is a very important lesson in life.

1 point by alexandros 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This article is the seventh result on Google for "make violence on" (quotes included). Can a native speaker comment on this use?

It sounds odd/interesting to me and given that the rest of the article is well written, this puzzles me quite a bit. I normally associate such uses of 'make' with native speakers of Arabic, which obviously doesn't apply.

1 point by postfuturist 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you really want to fight back, fight smart and fight dirty, call the police immediately after anything illegal (violence and threats of violence are illegal). File a report with the police after they arrive, photograph any bruises, etc. Upon repeat or grievous offenses, file appropriate lawsuits against the school and parents of bully. Yeah, it's lame, but not as lame as fighting fire with fire.
2 points by andrewl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with the author. In the meantime, the authorities should be doing something about the bullying themselves. Here's an interesting article about an unusual bullying-reduction program:


And if it works, that's great, and I'm all for it. But while we're waiting, I agree with the author's post.

4 points by krsgoss 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Does this advice help at all with girls? Girls seemed to bully socially rather than physically when I was in school. What do you tell a young girl who's in a similar situation? "Punch her in the nose?"

I had a similar experience (and resolution) in middle school and I agree with the author's conclusion. But now I have an 8 month old daughter who may experience this type of bullshit one day, and I'm not sure what advice I'd give her just now.

2 points by a_m_kelly 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you find yourself to be interested in this sort of thing more broadly, in the justification of violence or it's utility, I recommend William T. Vollmann's exhaustive, intricate attempt to establish a framework for understanding the motivations, morals, and ethics of violence in his work Rising Up and Rising Down: Some thoughts on Violence, Freedom & Urgent Means.

To give some idea of what the text is like, here's a little bit of it from a section called "Where Do My Rights End?":

   Justified Choices of the Self:
1. Whether or not to violently defend itself against violence;
2. Whether or not to violently defend someone else from violence.
3. Whether or not to destroy itself.
4. Whether or not to help a weaker self destroy itself, to save it from a worse fate.

1. No attachment to nonviolent creeds.
2. No attachment to collectivity or authority which might prohibit the self from removing itself from "the line of fire"
Caveat to (1) and (2): So-called involunrtary attachments are not binding..." (pg 81-82. Abbr. Edition)


The abridged edition from which I quote above is over 700 pages and includes case studies and narratives of people, nations or groups acting a certain way, which Vollmann slotting them into his "Moral Calculus," I haven't had a chance to finish it yet but I remain interested in the elaborate thought experiment that is the book and the vividness of the historical anecdotes it contains.

Vollmann would fully support responding to violence in kind, there's a long section on non-violent movements and their utter hopelessness in the face of regimes unwilling (like bullies) to tolerate any dissent.

[The classic example of this is perhaps Harry Turteldove's story "The Last Article," which proposes Ghandi campaigning in a Nazi occupied India and ends just as you would expect it to.]

1 point by TallGuyShort 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy is right on. I have a brother who is very reserved and quiet, and would be the last person you would expect to get in a fight. He and I were both bullied when we were little, and he had this one guy that would never give him a break. One day it went too far and my brother decided to involve a cricket bat. Teachers came and broke up the fight, they both got taken to the principals office, etc... My brother was willing to apologize, but of course the bully just kept being a dick in front of the principal. Brother? Got off the hook. Bully? Suspended - never bothered him again.
1 point by joelbm24 2 hours ago 0 replies      
i agree with what he is saying. I don't believe in picking fights. I do believe in standing up for your self and others. If they say that they are gonna punch you call them on it ask them to punch you. The whole reason why they do it is because ppl turn around and walk away. i am 16 right now and have been training in various martial arts since i was 7 and i still get bullied, the difference is that i don't hesitate to fight. I also get angry when i see a bigger kid picking on smaller kids. When i see that i go and rough the bigger kid up a bit. From doing this i have seen a huge difference in the bullies at my school. on the note i do recommend going to the teacher first, but if that doesn't work then your on your own
1 point by chrischen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do we encourage more violence when we can just get schools to tolerate bullying less, and then encourage kids to report the bullying. I mean if they're shoving food in your mouth and throwing things at you they should be expelled.

Sure you should defend yourself if someone is physically about to harm you but I think most kids being bullied don't do this because they are weaker/outnumbered and it's just going to anger the bullies more. The smart thing to do is to report them because the system shouldn't tolerate them.

3 points by dkl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I moved around a lot as a kid, so I was the convenient target, too. My 10 yr old is in martial arts and has a green-brown belt. He absolutely loves it. I've told him to only use it as a last resort, but to use it.

I recall being bullied by a rather dull kid when in elementary school. I remember him relentlessly telling me he would kick my ass. I told my Dad and he recommended that if it push came to shove, to just punch him in the face. So, one day the kid came at me and I hit him (don't even remember where). I was never bothered again at that school.

Bullies reign when no one stands up to them.

3 points by cb33 7 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone who used to be somewhat of a bully, I think this is the best advice. Bullies pick on smaller kids because they're insecure about themselves and bullying a smaller kid is... well, easy. If a smaller kid makes it difficult for bullies to pick on them (by fighting back), the bully will most likely stop (and move on to another victim).
2 points by sliverstorm 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have never quite figured out how I'd teach my kid this. I never had to deal with violent bullies myself (even though I was totally a geek, I kind of made friends with skaters and druggies etc, and I later heard a lot of them respected me) so I have no life-experience with fighting back.

Only time things ever came to blows, the other guy (who struck first) was 8-10 years older than me, muscular and a good 2-3 feet taller, and that is a fight you do NOT fight.

1 point by ryanelkins 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with this as it pertains to kids in school. I wish I better knew how to defend myself as a gangly teenager. I fully plan on making sure my son know knows how to defend himself and when it is appropriate to do so.

However, the author goes on to describe attacking people trying to mug him - that's a bit foolhardy I think. Sure, it may work with some people who thought they had an easy mark, others might pull out a knife and gut you. I'm not saying you hug they guy and tell him how swell he is - but for the sake of yourself and anyone that might be with you - just give them your wallet or car or whatever it is. Now if you feel they are going to put you in a situation where you won't be able to defend yourself (they want to cuff you, tie you up, etc) - now you have an argument for going on the offensive.

2 points by dnautics 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Four words:

Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma; Retaliating.


2 points by dnsworks 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In 9th grade I threw a bully down a set of stairs, then proceeded to beat him with every bit of energy I had (not much, I was a fat kid). After he got out of the hospital, in casts, he stayed far, far away from me. That was the last time anybody tried bullying me. "God" isn't going to stop the bullies, a good old fashioned ass kicking is.
1 point by jchonphoenix 4 hours ago 0 replies      

Bullies are animals. The only thing they respond to is something so simple that they can understand it.

If you try to explain that society expects more of them and they are disappointing society by not being a contributing member, you will fail because they are too dense to understand.

They do, however, understand violence. And if they cross the line, don't hesitate. Fight back. Otherwise you risk being branded an easy target.

2 points by ScottBurson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The "love the bully" approach actually worked for me on one occasion. But you know, if it hadn't worked, I wouldn't feel bad about slugging him back.
1 point by chrisclark1729 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Statistically speaking, I would say this is not bad advice.

My guess is that less than 5% of bullies are prepared to actually fight. Therefore, even if you are setting your kid up for a beating it's only likely to happen with 4% or so of bullies. I would say this lean risk is far preferable to the daily torment that comes along with consistent bullying.

Just a different take on it. Comments have been good otherwise.

1 point by zephjc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
And never forget the old Klingon proverb: Revenge is a dish best served cold
2 points by mrr2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably the soundest advice to dealing with bullying I have ever seen. As a kid that has been to 7 different schools in 2 different countries (and learned English in '99), I assure you "hugging it out" with the bully will lead to you getting humiliated.

They do not respect loving them.
They do not respect constructive dialogue.
Your peers will not respect you for trying to reach out to them. In fact they will see you as a kiss-ass, or worse a "bitch" (sorry but that's the term).

I moved to the US in '02. Attended a great Catholic school for 8th grade. Was accepted despite the funny accent and funny name. Went to high school and had a miserable 1st month of school thanks to a group of jackasses. One of them had the gall to touch me after which I took a lunch tray to a kids face. God my butt handed to me but guess what? No more bullying. Hell I got elected to the student council, dated some great girls, and had a great high school experience.

Stand up for yourself. It might hurt but you will get respect. Kids/teens are animals. No need to go cerebral on them.

1 point by icegreentea 7 hours ago 0 replies      
We had a discussion on another blog post regarding this book a month ago or something.


1 point by othello 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny that the standard response is to fight back the bullying kids. Another possible reaction is to outsmart them.

Just make fun of them. Make them the laughing stock of the whole class. Bully them verbally. Make fun of them and suddenly you'll become more popular - which will likely insulate you from any further bullying.

Maybe I was lucky, but this strategy worked wonders for me back in the days.

I'm sincerly surprised that a community as educated as HN only suggests brute force as an effective response to school bullying.

1 point by dmn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more with this article. My father was old school and told me to do whatever I needed to do (to not be bullied). Stand up for yourself and you gain respect for yourself and from others.
(and it most likely wont happen again)
2 points by paolomaffei 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This can also apply to the business world: As soon as some other company tries to damage you in an unfair way you are supposed to fight.

But like for kids, the other guy can be just too big for you to fight back.

2 points by kapilkaisare 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me, oddly enough, of one of the early sequences in Ender's Game. Ender beats a guy to mush, so that it will never happen again.
1 point by holychiz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good advice for my kids. I've had similar experiences, since I lived in many different places and at each place, I had to go through it again. After awhile, I started to do it pre-emptively by scoping out the assholes and wait for them to say anything even remotely provocative then I pounced. Since I'm smaller and weaker, I can't say I win even half the time, but they leave me alone 100% of the time after the fights. Some even become my friends.

Don't underestimate the element of surprise! Hit first, hit hard, son! :)

1 point by chrisaycock 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Michael Lewis had a line in "Liars Poker" about dealing with asshole traders: lift weights and take karate.
1 point by bhoung 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a fine line really, knowing when to fight back, retort or walk away. If you never teach/encourage your son how to hold their own, then you are doing them a disfavor. Probably the caveat I would throw in is that the older your child is, the higher the stakes are (in physical terms), and the more likely something very ugly will result.
1 point by pshapiro 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It isn't real love to "talk it out" with them anyway. If it doesn't bless them and yourself it's not love anyway.

Things as they actually are is the only way that they are in truth.

So the teaching that it's loving them is what's false -- not that love itself couldn't help. In this case, it was a kind of love of oneself to fight back and protect oneself.

1 point by axod 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Whatever happened to 'just ignore them'. Personally, I think that's always the best policy (Unless you're in imminent danger).

Also can work well in business. If someone is being a pain, just ignore them and don't give them the publicity they're seeking.

1 point by brockf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess they believed this too? Or maybe not until too late?


1 point by Figs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Given current events, I'm surprised this wasn't about the TSA.
-1 point by MoreMoschops 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The off-topic HN posts are getting silly. This isn't coding, or business, or some kind of cool interesting hack. It's not even interesting and could be summed up in a few words instead of a long, rambling .... ah, fuck it, HN is over anyway.
-1 point by jrockway 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, good idea. If someone bullies you, just bring some guns and bombs to school. The result is always positive.
Full CSS3 Lightbox - Absolutely no JavaScript deaxon.com
247 points by js4all 3 days ago   109 comments top 21
32 points by aw3c2 3 days ago 5 replies      
So I will get lightboxed even with my no-javascript browsing habits? I liked that most sites simply serve the direct image url to me. Lightbox is an annoying eye-candy.
16 points by krmmalik 3 days ago 2 replies      
Dont like how when i press the back button i get a history of pictures i have viewed. If i am at liberty to choose whichever picture i want then i dont need the back button to preserve my selection history. When i click back, i want to go BACK to the site i just came from.

I assume this isnt some bug or some flaw, and that it can probably be coded to behave differently, but as things stand that would prevent me from using this particular lightbox.

19 points by jluxenberg 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is it just me or is the Lighbox effect really annoying? What's wrong with middle-clicking an image and having it open in a new tab?
21 points by deaxon 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've been tweeting this today but I think it could be useful to repeat it here: my CSS demos are only experiments. The goal is to test all those new possibilities, show the power of CSS3 and, basically, having fun. They aren't intended to be used in production and actually you shouldn't. Most of them are not accessible and not cross browser‚
11 points by cmer 3 days ago 3 replies      
Nice! It breaks the back button however...
7 points by Semiapies 3 days ago 2 replies      
Neat that you can do that. Not a technique that I'd ever want to use.
2 points by krosaen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting to see this is possible, but this is beyond what I would want to use css for, how far will "look ma! no javascript!" go? Seing the logic in a jquery click handler seems at least as readable / maintainable as a bunch of css rules for the same reason I prefer to have more logic in java in android applications than in various xml layout and manifest files.
2 points by blhack 3 days ago 3 replies      
Out of curiosity, what is the point of a "light box"? I tend to open lots of images into new tabs while I'm reading articles, and it's really annoying to have the rest of the article go black when I do.
2 points by dmix 3 days ago 3 replies      
Looks great. Does this work cross-browser? (besides the transition effect)

Also, is there any documentation/github repos?

1 point by dpatru 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's done by using the :target selector. Targeted images are lightboxed. There is a link in the lightbox that resets the target to dismiss the lightbox. Crudely:

a.lb:target {display:block; text-align:center;}
a.lb {display:none;}

<a href="#img">show image</a>
<a class="lb" href="#" id="img"><img src="image.jpg"></a>

4 points by bradlane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Works great in Chrome; Firefox has a border around each pic, since they're links.

Of course, it's horribly, horribly broken in IE. Then again, that goes without saying ;)

3 points by TamDenholm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Works beautifully on the iPad. Very nice work.
2 points by IChrisI 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool. Suggestions:

  - respect my back button [1]
- allow me to click outside the picture or press esc to close the lightbox
- allow middle-click to open the image directly

[1] We can argue about transitions and correct behavior all day, but this implementation is different from other lightboxes I've seen, and thus it is "broken" to me.

1 point by EGF 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is actually quite nice because it allows permalinks to the lightbox items. This makes for a rough browsing experience if you need to go back, but I like the detail that lets you link somewhere that someone can actually find in the future vs. "go to this page, then click here, etc...."
1 point by torme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very neat, I checked out the other stuff you've got on there and it's pretty sweet.

Seems like a lot of people have missed the point that this is just a hack to see if a light box in JUST CSS and HTML could be made. Because theres no JS or actual logic, this demo just leverages the browser to maintain the state. It's a necessary side effect that the back buttons behave this way, and it could be coded to behave differently, but that would defeat the purpose of the exercise.

1 point by lurchpop 2 days ago 0 replies      
kind of annoyed me there was no explanation.

- 2nd UL list is opacity:0
- :target psuedoclass applies to element whose id is in the url
- targeted element has opacity:1

1 point by bradlane 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you go up a directory, there are some other neat things in CSS:


2 points by akivabamberger 3 days ago 1 reply      
can someone post a screenshot of this in IE6
1 point by unicornhorn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know of a minimalist JS variant? There are so many JS lightbox versions I don't even know where to start. I need something super simple.
1 point by DjDarkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that not all browsers support CSS3.
-4 points by jon_hendry 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slow, like all lightbox implementations. And the flash of the background color is likely to give someone a seizure. (Ok, I'm being facetious there, but it looks jerky.)
Q is too damn close to W squishtech.posterous.com
224 points by sprsquish 3 days ago   105 comments top 40
25 points by thought_alarm 3 days ago 3 replies      
The reason it's not normally a problem is that if you're working on a document and you hit Q (or W for that matter) you will be prompted to save your changes.

However, this does become a problem in web browsers and file browsers where there are no changes to save.

Apparently in the early days of OS X the NEXTSTEP guys wanted to add a Q shortcut to Finder, which would log you out of OS X. As the story goes, some people at Apple really hated that idea, so after some lively debate they settled on Q instead. (As a bonus, it's now a global shortcut, so you don't have to be in Finder to use it.)

Similar problem with web browsers. You can give it a different shortcut, or you can enable a prompt to warn when closing multiple tabs. Most people opt for the latter.

25 points by jemfinch 3 days ago 9 replies      
Do people really not know that Chrome has an option to reopen itself with the tabs you had open last? Preferences > Basics > On Startup > Reopen the pages that were open last.
20 points by dedward 3 days ago 2 replies      
Most browsers warn you if you are about to close multiple tabs.... I guess chrome doesn't? Weird.

That would be an implementation problem for chrome - every other OSX application tends to properly warn you if you are about to close multiple context windows with cmd-q.

EDIT: Just researching a bit- this seems to be a conflict between the Chromium design goals and the OSX UI guidelines... the Chrome team absolutely refuses to add a warning dialog if you try to close multiple tabs, but it would be the expected behaviour on OSX.

I tend to fall on the side of OSX - part of what makes it great is UI consistency - and this is one case where Chromium is making things worse, not better.

30 points by slig 3 days ago 1 reply      
Latest chrome (9.x dev) has an option in "about:flags" to show you a kind of confirmation box before quitting.
7 points by katovatzschyn 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Opposite of Fitts' Law - The Ejector Seat Analogy"


8 points by martingordon 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've had this happen to me in Chrome a few times recently (I switched to Chrome full time a few weeks ago), but I've never had it happen in Safari since Safari prompts you if you have multiple tabs/windows open.
4 points by scott_s 3 days ago 2 replies      
In vi, I use control+w to shift between the sections of a split window. You can imagine the hilarity that used to ensue. But, it's not an issue anymore. I haven't made that mistake in well over a year.
2 points by mhd 2 days ago 0 replies      
German hackers represent: On a German keyboard on Windows or Linux, you have to enter a few characters with the right Alt key (the "AltGr" key). This includes the "@" sign, which is located on the "Q" key. A lot of first-time switchers thus cause their browser to close every time they try to enter an email address.

Incidentally, the "@" sign, as many other characters, is on a different key on the German Mac layout. Never understood why e.g. the US layout stays the same on every system, but the German one doesn't. Good time that I switched to the US one long ago. Now I only have to fight with different ways to access umlauts‚

12 points by kamechan 3 days ago 1 reply      
no keymap is without its annoyances. in DVORAK, w is right next to v (paste). i close windows all the time :(
5 points by megrimlock 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's really needed here is not more distance between hotkeys, but instead universal lightweight undo for user interactions.

The most precious resource is the user's time. There should be no interaction that irreversibly discards the user's work. We have fairly universal undo for editing operations; there should be just as much undo support for closing windows, tabs, or apps -- carefully constructed artifacts of the user's workflow.

4 points by zaius 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use this to map it to Q

defaults write com.google.Chrome NSUserKeyEquivalents '{"Quit Google Chrome"="@$Q";}'

1 point by ewjordan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Huh. I guess that's true, for some reason I've never noticed it before.

I usually keep my left hand on my "home keys" when browsing (Firefox user here), in order from pinky to thumb, q-w-e-f-, of which I use w, f, and on a regular basis, and I guess that usually keeps me from mis-hitting q when I mean w, I'd actually have to push the wrong finger, which is pretty rare.

Right thumb goes on the trackpad for mouse interactions (much easier now that the MBP trackpad presses in rather than having a button), other four fingers on that hand go on j-k-l-; (+j/k/l I use all the time for downloads/search/address bar, ; is wasted, of course). Scrolling is the only thing that sucks, but you can get pretty far with space/shift+space (hit space with left thumb, shift with right pinky).

If I had a problem with this, I'd probably go with the WoW shortcut for quitting, alt+command+Q, which is pretty hard to do accidentally (Double-thumb keypress? Expert move...) and doesn't tend to be bound to anything else. Command+1 seems like a bad idea because some of us are very used to Command+(number) to switch to tabs.

3 points by limmeau 2 days ago 0 replies      
On German Windows keyboards, @ is on right-Alt-Q. Recently, I had a (Windows-trained) guest who wanted to write an email on my Mac, but Firefox kept "crashing".
4 points by jrockway 3 days ago 3 replies      
C-x C-c is too close to C-x C-b.
1 point by cookiecaper 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has bitten me several times and it really sucks. The "Restore Tab" function doesn't restore the state of Flash applications and it doesn't restore content in some input boxes (like those on Facebook, because they are hidden by JS initially).

If you're in Private Browsing mode and this happens, you lose the whole session forever, and that just happened to me the other day. It was really frustrating. :(

1 point by erikano 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm using Firefox and Vimperator [1] with a TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030 [2] mapped to US-Dvorak under FreeBSD 8.1 with xmonad [3] + xmobar [4].

This means that:

- When my fingers are resting on the home row, they are on keys a, o, e, u and h, t, n, s.

- When I want to close a tab in Firefox, I press d, which is left of h.

- When I want to quit Firefox completely, I press :q.

I can't remember the last time I closed a tab I didn't want to close or exited Firefox without meaning to do so. The only problem I had for a while, was that I started "record macro" with q when I meant to scroll with j - that hasn't happened for quite some time now.

I mostly only use Chromium if I am logged in on various sites in Firefox and I need to use my server as proxy to access a web service bound to on the server (meaning that it is not publicly accessible), while also using the sites I am logged in on in Firefox. I always quit Chromium by closing all tabs, and as mentioned by others, Ctrl+w is far away from Ctrl+q.

[1]: http://vimperator.org/vimperator

[2]: http://typematrix.com/ezr2030/

[3]: http://xmonad.org/

[4]: http://hackage.haskell.org/package/xmobar

3 points by jolan 3 days ago 1 reply      
In Chrome, I just use Ctrl+Shift+T when this happens.
1 point by arohner 3 days ago 0 replies      
My real problem is that M-w is too close to -w, especially when I have meta mapped to on my external keyboard.

I would really love to have a consistent set of shortcuts across emacs and everything else I use.

1 point by meelash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never had this happen to me if I recall. Do the people who have a problem with this not keep their hand in "typing position"? It seems really difficult to me, with my left hand in position (which can be assured with the F dot) to hit W with my pinky or Q with my ring finger.
3 points by tedge 3 days ago 0 replies      
With a bit of practice, you can train your hand to do -W as a 3-finger "chord" by touching your middle finger to the 'Q' key before allowing your index finger to depress the 'W'.
1 point by d0m 3 days ago 0 replies      
In theory maybe but in practice I've never typed cmd+q instead of cmd+w. (A little bit like I've never typed ctrl+a (which select all) instead of ctrl+s (which save)).

However, I've pressed f1 instead of escape a couple of time so I make sure to bind f1 to escape in vim

1 point by mcritz 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is like complaining that he keeps getting a spoonful of Cheerios up his nose every morning because his nostrils are too close to his mouth.
1 point by FluidDjango 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's why for applications that I do not want to quit easily I set "Application (keyboard) Shortcuts" [ OS X ] to require something less commonly used (like cntl-opt-cmd-Q) for quitting. [ OS X System Preferences -> Keyboard ]
2 points by Argorak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Huh? I never had that problem and do actually like it that way. Train yourself to use the middle finger for "W" and the ring finger for pressing "Q" and the problem vanishes. It will still happen to you perhaps once per month, but I can live with that.
1 point by drivebyacct2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I will give plenty of karma to anyone who can tell me an easy way of doing something even remotely similar in Linux. I'd love it.
1 point by linhat 2 days ago 0 replies      
well, this is not really a solution to his problem, but instead intended as an informational bit.
i am actually using a dvorak(-programmers) layout. then the Q and W keys are quite far apart, with the Q key right above the left key, and W right above the right key, a really handy addition to an (already) awesome layout.
1 point by edge17 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the worst design decision was putting the print button next to the save button. I've definitely sent code files in excess of 50k lines to some unknown printer before by accident.
1 point by shawnwall 3 days ago 1 reply      
you just changed one of the consistent features of all os x applications, how to close applications and close windows/tabs of applications.

for some reason i always use the finger motion/press of thumb on left -key + index finger on q key to quit things and i've never experienced the q w issue.

1 point by hexley 3 days ago 0 replies      
I could have sworn somebody made a SIMBL plugin years ago to provide confirmation for Cmd-Q in all apps...or am I just going crazy?
1 point by wdr1 2 days ago 1 reply      
This doesn't seem to work for me using Firefox on Snow Leopard. The menu changes to the crazy keyboard shortcut I give to Quit (and sure enough the crazy combo works as well), however Cmd-Q still quits Firefox as well.
1 point by ankushnarula 2 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW... This is a useful resource when trying to remap shortcuts in Safari. I used it to remap Cmd-L to "Google Search..." to better mimic Chrome.


0 points by duopixel 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm willing to bet the author is either A) not a touch typist or B) Comes from Windows/Linux. It's not the author's fault, of course, but it has been around since 1984 and it's unlikely to change. The 'native' way to type commands on a Mac is using your thumb to press Command and your pinky to press Q, or your ring finger to press W.

It feels awfully weird pressing Q with your ring finger.

Window/Linux users use the pinky to press ctrl, taking your hand out of the usual touch typing position, and thus making it more prone to mistakes.

2 points by dmaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome for Linux addresses this by using Ctrl+Shift+Q.
1 point by foenix 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just did this to a blog entry after reading your post. I should have written in out in vim like I normally do.
1 point by jlees 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good thing we're fixing this!
1 point by stretchwithme 2 days ago 0 replies      
very true.
0 points by hippich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you close tab with Ctrl-W in Mac (like in Ubuntu and Win)? If so - just use it. Ctrl-Q do not quit browser =)
1 point by kuroir 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is indeed to close, but it's not worth it modify it since it's a system wide standard.
1 point by invertedlambda 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, yes and yes.
1 point by gmatty 2 days ago 0 replies      
A F#$#@$* men
Why I bill hourly orestis.gr
219 points by cwan 4 days ago   57 comments top 18
50 points by tptacek 4 days ago 5 replies      
Why you should never quote prices in hours: because it provides prospects with a frame of reference for price negotiation in which (a) you always sound very expensive, and (b) price movements that seem reasonable to the prospect can end up being very painful for you.

If you're going to end up haggling over your price, far better for you to be doing it over numbers like $15,250 which are tied to the specific project than over numbers like $125/hour which are affixed to you for the rest of your relationship with the client. You should never, ever be budging on your rate anyways. Give an inch on your rate and you will never get it back; companies hire whole departments to ensure that rate concessions, once taken, are never surrendered. Negotiate over project scope, not rate.

The question of whether you should go fixed price or time-and-materials is a reasonable one (and it's a negotiating point), but if you're going to bid time-and-materials, price in billable weeks, and estimate the number of weeks up front. Save the details about billable phone call minutes (and, seriously?) for your S.O.W.

29 points by bambax 4 days ago 2 replies      
I sometimes would like to be able to bill hourly, but find it impossible:

1) When I'm thinking about the project in the shower (where all the real thinking is being done) shouldn't the meter run? Apparently from the original post, the only billable time is the typing time, which is a little bit funny.

2) How do you know if you're fast or slow? Are you even consistent? Sometimes a stupid feature takes me half a day; sometimes something really complicated snaps together in an instant.

3) Even more so, the client has no clue of what time it takes to do something (and how could he, given that I haven't got many clues either, beforehand). If I tell him that it took me 3 hours to do X and 5 minutes to do Y he will be shocked! He will think I'm crazy, or bullshitting him, or that I'm trying to convey some other message that he'll spend the next week trying to decode.

4) What about warm-up time? When I get back to a project I left a week ago, it takes about an hour to get up to speed; how should this hour be billed?

Besides, every theory of pricing tells us that price should NEVER be based on costs. Price should be based on value because that's what it is: price == value. The problem of course is that the client won't tell you what the value is.

What I end up doing is:

- if I can get an idea of the client's budget, and I find this budget acceptable, then that's my price

- if not, my personal rule of thumb is (maybe counter-intuitively) to bid low on things that are new for me (and interesting), because I really want to learn the skills and get the reference on my portfolio; and to bid relatively high on things I know well, because I don't really care to get the project or not, and if I do get it I expect it to contribute financially to all the other stuff.

(So if you want to hire me cheap, make me do something I've never done).

Also, it's been my experience that clients care about the price before the project begins, but never after.

32 points by pan69 4 days ago 3 replies      
I tend to bill on a daily basis. I will present my clients with my hourly rate and then explain to them that I bill per day instead. My daily rate is slightly slower than 8 times my hourly rate. The reason I do this is to prevent nitpicking on time sheets etc and to be accountable for every single hour of the day. The last thing I want to do is have a clock sitting next to me measuring my every single move. Some days I do some overtime (1 maybe to 2 hours max) and other days I find myself working slightly less. In the end it all works out fine. The estimates that I give my clients are based on days, not hours. If they want me to do a 4 hour job, cool, I still charge them for the entire day. Most clients are cool with that. Since most projects I do tend to have time-frames that go into weeks it's much easier that way for everyone involved.
10 points by mattwdelong 4 days ago 3 replies      
tptacek hit it dead on. Don't bill hourly; bid on a project basis. Why? First of all, you can end up doing work for a client and you know how you can save them $2,000/month by fixing something they can't. It only takes you five hours to complete the project, so what, you bill them 5 * hourly rate? You just saved him $24,000 year. Thats worth much more to him than an hourly rate. Know what you want per hour, ALWAYS get that, but quote what you're worth to your client and nothing less.

Secondly, tptacek is right again. Once you bid $125/hour, you're stuck at $125/hr. Even if you save your client that $2,000 month for 5 hours work, theyll expect to pay you $625 and nothing more.

Be warned, this post is spot on if you always want to earn the same amount of money but you will never grow a company with this billing method.

6 points by ora600 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find that billing hourly can make for a more pleasant relationship with the customer. Provided that you give good justifications for the hours you bill.

On fixed price contracts there is lots of haggling over the exact scope, requirements, changes and meaning of words in the contract.

Hourly billing lets me smile and say "sure thing" to more requests, something that I actually prefer doing.

3 points by Tichy 4 days ago 0 replies      
One reason why I think hourly works better than fixed price: might help getting priorities right. For example, suppose the budget is 20000$, and you have 2000$ left to spend on the almost finished software. With hourly, the money could be spent on useful enhancements, or on the most useful features still missing. With fixed price, you probably agreed up front on some stupid things like "all source code has to be documented", so you probably spend the remaining hours on writing crappy documentation everybody will hate to read anyway. Since you agreed on features x,y and z up front, you might end up doing a hush job on features x, y and z, rather than doing a good job on x and negotiating that y, z will better be scoped.
7 points by nfriedly 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a faster loading coral cache link: http://orestis.gr.nyud.net/blog/2010/11/06/why-i-bill-hourly...

(The site took > 60 seconds when I first tried to load it.)

2 points by rapind 4 days ago 1 reply      
I agree whole-heartedly this is a great way to work if you're client is cool with it. In my experience that's a big if though.

If you can always afford to walk away then this could actually work.

I always give my client's the option of fixed or hourly and really emphasize the benefits of hourly. However I've only been taken up on the hourly offer a few times with recurring clients.

I think it's a great thing to strive for but my advice to freelancer's starting out is not to flat out refuse fixed quote unless you can afford to. Fixed, while not quite as accurate, is still workable once you get a feel for defining requirements on smaller projects. And any larger project can be broken down, so long as you're getting paid for the spec.

Whatever you do don't spend a riculous amount of time specing out a large project without being compensated. I've gotten so many RFPs that are obviously the product of spec work and I'm positive most were unpaid. In fact I guarantee there are forums dedicated to tactics and advice for getting spec work done for free.

4 points by geekdesigngirl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have to agree with a lot of the posters here that fixed bids are better than hourly. I've been doing the freelance thing for a while, as well as working for another company, and have a very good understanding at how long it takes me to complete task X.

When looking at a new project, I can usually estimate the time it will take me to within a few hours and then I always add an additional 25%. I don't ever bill a client for phone calls or emails and even when the project is completed will answer emails/phone calls from them to assist. Yes, my prices are a bit higher than average but my clients don't mind paying it and don't mind passing my name along.

When dealing with a new project that I haven't a clue as to how long it will take me, I give an estimate about how many hours I believe it will take me and, if it gets close to that, the client is immediately told and we decided together how to move forward.

My contracts are also pretty detailed. I learned early on that specs that aren't spelled out in a contract have a way of coming back to bite you.

4 points by gte910h 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find iterative fixed fee kinder to people hiring out their first few times. It gives them strictures on what they can do so they don't shoot themselves in the metaphorical foot.

However, hourly definitely has it's place as well. I find offering both a good compromise.

2 points by three14 4 days ago 2 replies      
We would love to bill hourly. We tend to work for large companies, and they need to figure out how much to budget, so we then end up saying, "this will take between 10 and 12 hours," and then being forced to swallow the costs when it takes us 14. And of course, if it takes 8, they win. If anyone has suggestions other than "just tell them it will take what it takes," we'd really appreciate hearing them.

Edit: Usually, just stopping when the hours run out isn't a good choice either, because most of the projects we have won't provide a partial solution. It's all or nothing. Example: converting data between two formats. We discover a quality issue when we've run out of time, so the converted data is unusable.

6 points by juddlyon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fixed bid gives you a greater incentive to be efficient in my experience. If you're significantly quicker than your peers (e.g., have your own processes, frameworks, macros, etc.) then you can have large margins and happy clients if you can estimate decently. Another reason: you only have so many billable hours.
3 points by kristiandupont 4 days ago 0 replies      
For larger projects and clients, I recommend you look into agile contracts:
2 points by quizbiz 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those that bill hourly, do you go off of a monthly retainer and sort of use that as a budget for hours? If I am starting to outsource (not off shore, just with partners, specific tasks), I'm just struggling about how to approach that from a billing perspective. I would like to make a small margin.
3 points by hippich 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am doing hourly work. But this is for clients I have high level of trust. They believe me.

Most other clients are more concerned to know fixed amount of time and if project took less - they want to get it back, although I negotiate that successfully so far =)

The worst case is - estimate in hours. =)

1 point by mattiask 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, there's two sides to that coin. By having the client pay hourly you put the "risk" of the project on his shoulders, but you also limit yourself to earning only a hourly rate. Why is that bad? An experienced programmer might accomplish a task/project quickly due to having done similar projects and have an arsenal of code/examples/tools at his disposal. An experienced programmer might be able to get 20%-30% markup on his hourly fee but he might finish the project five times as fast as another less experienced programmer might.

You won't be able to leverage your gray hairs and the time they save you as efficiently with an hourly fee.

If the project is well-defined you might be tempted to accept a fixed price and crank it out quickly which will net you more money per hour. I'd advice holding of atleast a week even if you do it in a day or two or the customer will start questioning your price ;)

If the project/customer is fast and loose with the spec and functionality (as most projects are) you're in dangerous terroritory where constant changes keeps eating away at your time.

If you can get a high hourly fee and the project is fuzzy, go for it, meetings and stuff like that will earn you a bunch anyways.

Another strategy is to split the project into discrete parts and charge a fixed price for each (negotiating each one), that way it's easier to define the scope of the project and it eliminates risk both ways. It also gives you and the customer have a chance to get to know each other before committing to the project and helps avoid being in the clutches of a psychopath customer.

3 points by loewenskind 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about using Scrum and billing by the story point?
1 point by thibaut_barrere 4 days ago 1 reply      
I find that using acunote to lay down the estimate (then remaining work with burndown) and freckle to track the hours and remaining budget works nicely.
World's largest association of pilots boycotts body scanners bigbrotherwatch.org.uk
216 points by mcantelon 3 days ago   108 comments top 6
49 points by aresant 3 days ago replies      
Did you know that they had full dose radiation-driven "shoe fitting" devices in over 10,000 shoe stores up until 1970?

They were eventually pulled when reports of burns and stunting of bone and cartilage began to emerge.

It's the little vignettes of history like this that remind me how many grand-experiments there are out there using us all as the unwitting test subjects.

Is the Pilot Union‚s boycott a kneejerk reaction to the measured warning about potential radiation damage?


But never underestimate how quickly politicos helping to equip our airports with $100 - 200k a pop units will happily ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Citation for shoe stores - http://www.hemonctoday.com/article.aspx?rid=28218

11 points by blahedo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hang on, do we know this is for real? I followed the link to news.com.au, and I can find one or two other blogs that are referring to this, but the APA site itself (http://public.alliedpilots.org/) makes no reference to anything like this, including in their "For the Media" section (press releases and such).
27 points by jfrancis 2 days ago 6 replies      
The key is to make the pat-down as time consuming and embarrassing as possible for the TSA staff. Follow these steps:

1) Refuse the body scanner and request a manual pat-down.

2) Ask to have a supervisor, or a second TSA staff, present during the pat-down. Explain that this is to ensure that no sexual harassment occurs.

3) If you are a guy, ask to have a female TSA staff member perform the pat-down. If your request is denied, calmly explain to the TSA guy that you are homosexual and that a pat-down by another guy will turn you on and will make you sexually extremely uncomfortable.

4) During the pat-down, make comments such as "Oh yeah, I like it when you touch me there!", or "Can I get a happy ending?"

3 points by IgorPartola 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that the debate in the comments here is on whether to give the TSA employees a hard time (with suggestions) or to try to pressure the politicians who let this happen (with no concrete suggestions).

I wonder if the pressure really should be applied to the airlines. Obviously they are in a tough spot, but once they start to really lose profits, they would be sure to run to DC screaming. Just a thought.

5 points by tomhenderson 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was an interesting opinion piece in New Scientist about radiation safety levels recently (31 July 2010). It looked at health studies from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and studies of chemotherapy patients that suggest that the current recommended radiation limit (1 millisievert per year) is overly cautious. The article went on to suggest that the recommendation be raised to a lifetime total of 5 sieverts at no more than 0.1 sievert per month.

The article is here, unfortunately behind a pay wall: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727715.800-whos-afra...

2 points by xutopia 3 days ago replies      
I wonder what happens when a normal person refuses to be scanned by these newfangled scanners?

I'm going to the US soon and I don't like the body scanners.

Things You Should Do Immediately After Launching a Website sixrevisions.com
215 points by abraham 3 days ago   33 comments top 15
23 points by ary 3 days ago 1 reply      
After launching? Not to nit pick, but I'm pretty sure nearly all of these should be done before you launch.
4 points by bryanh 3 days ago 1 reply      
The same thing I said in their comments (dunno if they'll approve my blatant self-promotion):

If anyone is interested in automating their fetish for checking their organic SEO rankings, I‚d be happy to give you a free spin in my app http://rankiac.com/. Basically, you enter your keywords and domains, and we email you daily with changes in ranking.

Hit me up at contact@rankiac.com if you want your account sprinkled with some free ‚Pro‚ subscription magic dust!

Regardless, this is a good list and contains a few things I ALWAYS forget to do (site-map & Google Webmaster tools).

8 points by thingie 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is only one thing on the list that is not completely obvious -- dmoz still matters. Is it possible? Sure, it's a valuable list of sites touched by a lot of care and bureaucracy, but does anybody who wasn't online 10 years ago know about it?
10 points by bill-nordwall 3 days ago 1 reply      
Be careful with these robots.txt suggestions.

Disallowing your css/js files in your robots.txt is probably not a good idea - Matt Cutts said as much himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNEipHjsEPU

If you're running Wordpress, disallowing your /uploads/ directory will nuke your Google Image Search prospects, as Googlebot won't be able to crawl any of your images to begin with.

Also, submitting to a paid directory such as Best of the Web or the Yahoo! Directory would be a much better use of your time. DMOZ is still a valuable directory (for a lot of reasons), but the likelihood is small that they will review, let alone add your site to the directory in a timely manner (if ever).

A few other things worth doing:
- Create a Twitter account for your site.
- Create a Facebook page for your site.

8 points by gabrielroth 3 days ago 2 replies      
OK, to everyone who read this list and said, 'That stuff is all obvious': What would you add to the list?
4 points by olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
7 points by yread 3 days ago 1 reply      
+1 for not saying "8 Things You Should do..."
2 points by citizenkeys 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good organic seo is almost always the best way to advertise your site. Spending money on fleshing out your site with lots of pages with lots of relevant specific copy and keywords is much more cost-effective than simply spending money to advertise the site.

A couple important things the article leaves out:

1) Create a cron script or otherwise automate sitemap creation. Otherwise, its easy to forget to manually add new pages.

2) Put a useful succinct meta description in the header of all your pages. Otherwise you leave the little blurb of text that shows up on google search results to chance and miss potential clicks on search results.

1 point by Towle_ 3 days ago 0 replies      

Sifting through sixrevisions.com ... they have some fantastic shit. Good writing, sure, but GREAT topics-- and that's such a rarity.

A big* high-five to abraham for the submission.

*The kind that makes your hand sting. Because I love you, that's why.

2 points by joshrule 3 days ago 0 replies      
As someone just starting up their first website (http://wayofthescholar.com), there's a lot of helpful material here, and a lot I still need to work through.

Although each item may be obvious and discussed in greater depth a thousand other places, a list is sometimes really helpful.

6 points by RtodaAV 3 days ago 0 replies      

Good Luck getting in.

1 point by terra_t 2 days ago 0 replies      
uhhhh... i can't believe so much blogspam is getting in here
2 points by iworkforthem 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would also redirect my feeds/rss to FeedBurner, just to have an idea the number of subscribers I might have, and which are the more popular items people read about me.
1 point by coffee 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Submit Your Website to Dmoz" Are you kidding me? Please, please don't waste your time...
-2 points by seociety 3 days ago 0 replies      
XML Sitemap along with Google notifications goes a long way!

Many sites do not notify google when their XML sitemap is updated yet it is a very efficient way to achieve instant indexing for new content!

While large sites with high PR are crawled frequently, crawling rates for small/medium sites will never result in instant indexing unless they use this method.

Use it and gain some search engine results momentum!

Full Hacker News database for download (posts, comments, points, date, username) ihackernews.com
210 points by ronnier 4 days ago   83 comments top 15
61 points by Silhouette 4 days ago replies      
Am I really the only person who has dubious feelings about this? I contribute my words to HN, where they can be seen in context and where they are viewed by the same community that I am interacting with. I don't contribute them for arbitrary other uses off the site.

Unless I have missed something, posters who submit their comments here do not automatically release them into the public domain. In fact, I have seen no legal statement anywhere about transfer of copyright as a condition of posting, so it's not clear that posters give anyone any rights at all, other than probably the operators of HN an implicit licence to publish them on the site and visitors to HN an implicit right to read them while browsing the site in the normal way. That would make downloading and sharing the entire HN database in this way an obvious infringement of the copyright of every poster here.

Sorry if this seems a bit OTT, but some of us watched many comments we contributed to the community in the Usenet days being appropriated by long-term Usenet archives that then republished them out of context, covered in advertising, with comments/ratings attached to them that aren't open to the rest of the Usenet community, etc. That is basically profit-making on the back of others' work without their knowledge or consent, and potentially at the expense of the community the poster originally wished to support, and I have a problem with that.

12 points by dejb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool. Now in XX years time, after all my expressed opinions are proven to be correct, I can fire up an intelligent program to try to track down everyone who's ever dis-agreed with me and say 'I told you so'.
8 points by il 4 days ago 3 replies      
I can't wait to see what everyone does with this data, there could be lots of interesting insights gleaned from this.

For example, a more comprehensive list of top domains, domains with most upvotes, domains with most unique people submitting, etc.

5 points by Smerity 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks! This opens up a number of really interesting possibilities when mixed with people's expertise in search and machine learning / natural language processing.

A long time ago I got hold of a large chunk of Slashdot's stories and comments. The text and karma ratings for each post lead me to try some fun experiments automatically extracting the community's sentiment towards certain topics or trying to mine Slashdot memes.

I've wanted to play around with the comments of Hacker News for some time due to the wealth of knowledge most comments hold but felt that crawling would be a bad idea as I certainly didn't want to cause PG's bandwidth cost/server load to increase.

Think about it - HN's a community full of people like me and if we all crawled HN to get that data it would be somewhat ugly, so thanks for sharing your data ;)

4 points by chasingsparks 3 days ago 1 reply      

I have actually been crawling HN restricted by PG's "a couple of pages per minute" limitation for the past three weeks. This is far more convenient.

2 points by pak 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now this is neat. I spent a bit of today reverse engineering the Better HN chrome extension to see how it looked up url's on HN (http://json-automatic.searchyc.com/domains/find?url=%s, for anybody who wondered, I can't find this API documented anywhere). Now, if this API holds up, it seems like there might be a more sustainable way of doing what I was planning.
2 points by bambax 3 days ago 1 reply      
It looks great but it appears to be down? Every request of the form




and this page


says this

Server Error in '/' Application.

3 points by robryan 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the problems with hacker news is that while there is great discussion whether it is one a short lived story or evergreen advice it pretty much fades into obscurity a couple of days after it is posted.

There have been curation efforts in the past and collections like this make it even more accessible and feasible the someone will apply some good NLP to organise the data in such a way to provide the benefit of the older content which is still relevant.

2 points by aditya 4 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by codefisher 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is a pity that the API does not have a way of getting what appears on the front page. I was planing to soon create a script that scanned the front page, and then applied pg's algorithm from "a plan for spam" to remove links that I think are off topic. Actually turning that into a desktop client would be rather cool, or maybe a Firefox extension as that is more my kind of thing.
1 point by nl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Based on the front page example, it looks like the database doesn't contain the comment structure (ie, what comments go with what article, and which comments parent others)

Am I missing something?

5 points by mattyb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you.
1 point by Anon84 4 days ago 4 replies      
I was hoping for a dump of the actual database...
1 point by jacquesm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cue dozens of made-for-adsense sites based on this in 3,2,1...
2 points by Sevki 3 days ago 0 replies      
its taken down
Netflix wins a longbet from 8 years ago. longbets.org
207 points by JustinSeriously 1 day ago   55 comments top 16
14 points by drats 1 day ago 4 replies      
Esther Dyson's bet "By 2012, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times will have referred to Russia as "the world leader in software development" or words to that effect."


The Computer History Museum gets $10,000 if she loses, I guess they should start planning an exhibit on old Russian computer technology.

But to be less smug for a moment why anyone would think this is beyond me. While the Russians did achieve significant technological advances in the 20th century, and implemented an impressive education system with regard to mathematics and computer science there are so many other factors which play into this. Namely Russia obtaining a score of 2.7/10 for corruption in 2002 from the Corruption Perceptions Index and sliding down to 2.1/10 in the most recent ranking putting them in 158th place. Further they are ranked 143rd on the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom. India with 87th on corruption and 124th on economic freedom, not great, has plenty of English speakers and a more impressive computer science educational infrastructure, as well as being cheaper. The stories of people dying in Russian prisons after resisting corrupt government shakedowns are just horrific and I am not aware of any Indian equivalent. But I suppose if you invest there as she does, you need to talk it up.

12 points by cobralibre 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maciej Ceglowski had a similar, if less grandiose, site called Wrong Tomorrow, but it looks like it's down:


I don't know if the site is only temporarily down, or if it's been abandoned, but it's a shame if the latter. The idea behind Wrong Tomorrow was chiefly to hold pundits accountable for their frequently bad predictions. You can read his site announcement, where he explicitly mentions sites like Long Bets and how Wrong Tomorrow differs from them:


14 points by chrisaycock 1 day ago 0 replies      
"By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks."

Vint Cerf challenges with, "At some point, laptop or smaller devices with high quality displays and suitable access controls for intellectual property will make the sale and consumption of books, sound and movies through these devices practical." He goes on to cite the "iPOD" as an example.


16 points by klochner 1 day ago 0 replies      
David Peterson nailed it in the comments in 2003:

  NetFlix claims to have more than 13,500 titles and more   
than one million members. You order the movie on the
Internet, you just can't watch it until all of the bits
of the movie arrive. They just happen to be delivered
to your mailbox and you have to put the bits into your
computer or dvd player.

-- Posted by David B. Peterson on May 16, 02003 at 12:32AM PDT

10 points by icegreentea 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reading the comments (I love that the years are written as 02002) this one particularly strikes me..

"...The net works differently than that... and Content owners have missed (and will continue to miss) it for 3 reasons: 1) Technophobia coupled with crippling ego (too cool to look dumb they fear the pipe) 2) Misguided content protectionism (go back and watch 'The Power of Myth'... again! It's the 'story' damnit!) ..."

This is 8 years old (and proven somewhat wrong), and we're still saying it, in some form today.

12 points by blaines 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow good find. I especially like this bet, Warren Buffett v. Protege Partners, LLC.

  ‚Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on
December 31, 2017, the S & P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds
of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees,
costs and expenses.‚


6 points by steveklabnik 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like the RESTful urls, check out bet #1: http://www.longbets.org/1

We've got a while, but it feels like an appropriate bet.

6 points by antidaily 1 day ago 0 replies      
Service Temporarily Unavailable

Cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:cyGf1Tn...

4 points by alextgordon 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's amusing that Eric Schmidt is the challenger on http://www.longbets.org/4 in light of Google's autonomous cars.
3 points by stellar678 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or did this seem completely inevitable and kind of on the cusp by 2002? We were building fileserver-based VOD services just to save our Internet connection from the torrenting masses in shared housing situations around this time.

This seems like a risky one to bet against, at least from a technical perspective.

I suppose it is true that it was still a pretty open question whether anyone would manage to negotiate licenses with the media producers to do VOD, but Bell doesn't even touch on that issue.

6 points by blntechie 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would love to see (or not see) how the predictor wins this bet,long bet making a decision and awards the stake.

‚Large Hadron Collider will destroy Earth.‚


1 point by tjmc 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool site. My prediction is that by 2025 electric vehicle sales will overtake ICE vehicle sales. I don't want to spend 50 bucks to put it up there though!
1 point by herrherr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another proof that you may look like a fool when trying to predict the future (Bell's argument).

Also interesting in this context: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1887215

1 point by iwr 1 day ago 2 replies      
For a foundation thinking ultra longterm, they have a flaky server.

"Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
Apache/2.2.11 (Ubuntu) Server at www.longbets.org Port 80"

-1 point by rudasn 1 day ago 0 replies      
now this is an interesting site!
-1 point by WingForward 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the contribution to the bet has been from Xbox.

Connecting the Internet to the television is one of its great accomplishments.

The day Steve Jobs dissed me hard sivers.org
205 points by grep 3 hours ago   31 comments top 9
9 points by netcan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading this I realized how scary Apple's reputation is, like you should expect them to do spiteful things. I hear invited to be pitched by Steve, pissed off their legal department, no answer... I would be wetting myself.

Reading this in 2003 probably wouldn't have had quite this effect.

10 points by wccrawford 3 hours ago 1 reply      
A good lesson about dealing with corporate giants.
7 points by jamn 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Playing the devil's advocate here.

I have bought more than a couple of CDs from CD Baby and thanks to them I've been able to connect with more than a couple of wonderful artists.

However, from Apple's perspective, it must have seemed like CD Baby was simply trying to make a profit simply by guaranteeing access to the Apple Store, and therefore Apple decided not to move forward in order to protect its brand.

6 points by dshep 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow. Really interesting to see Steve spin the smaller music collection of iTunes as a positive. I think this is going to make me consider his words more closely in the future.
1 point by redthrowaway 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"I asked again, saying we had over 100,000 albums, already ripped as lossless WAV files, with all of the info carefully entered by the artist themselves, ready to send to their servers with their exact specifications. They said sorry - you need to use this software - there is no other way.

Ugh. That means we have to pull each one of those CDs off of the shelf again, stick it in a Mac, then cut-and-paste every song title into that Mac software. But so be it. If that's what Apple needs, OK."

It would take about a day for a competent programmer to figure out how to automate this process.

3 points by tiagok 1 hour ago 0 replies      
congrats, really, you had an amzing spirit of humility! my admiration goes to you!
-1 point by danielnicollet 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This posts proves something that I feel many seem to forget at times. Despite great products, Apple is human after all.
-1 point by blr_hack 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Steve jobs may be a much greater innovator. But surely, can learn a thing or two, on integrity, from Derek Sivers.

Also this is a lesson in on how to have only loosely-coupled relations/dependencies with other companies (particularly, if they are big).

When need to go for tightly-coupled ones dependencies, expect it to break, and have a back-up plan.

-1 point by angryasian 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really don't understand everyone's reverence for Steve Jobs, but to me this shows how evil and manipulative he is ( not the first time hearing this about him). What people call timing, I call intentional to openly put it out there they want these independents, have others follow their lead and open their stores to independent artists, and then openly and publicly call every other service out there a joke because they let anyone on. Then the next day signing the contract. I highly doubt its all just coincidental.
Opera holds the web's most valuable secret theregister.co.uk
197 points by andyking 3 days ago   56 comments top 11
17 points by aw3c2 3 days ago 4 replies      
Opera Mobile will be released for Android tomorrow. I can't wait to finally have a great browser on my phone (the tab limitations of the default one make it unusable for me. All alternatives have major faults or drawbacks). http://www.opera.com/mobile/next/
19 points by dtf 3 days ago 4 replies      
Opera Mini on the iPhone 4 is a pretty bad experience. Hope they get time to update it soon.
27 points by axod 3 days ago 5 replies      
In summary, Opera does proxying and caching for its mobile browser.

The article does very little to tell us why that's 'valuable' or indeed a secret.

9 points by zitterbewegung 3 days ago 3 replies      
It sort of begs the question will opera still be relevant in a few years down the line as rendering on phones gets cheaper and faster.
2 points by tzury 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really do not see how this all proxy thing makes it "most valuable secret"
1 point by ashish_0x90 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am wondering though how the content providers themselves will react to opera deciding ad strategy on content provided by them if this happens. Right now opera is stripping all the ads and so even now content providers are only getting traffic and are not actually making money by any ads that they may be serving or any other content monetization strategy. How much benefit the providers will get really by opera's this move if any? Will the providers be then asked to pay to be in control of ads served on their content? Will they will need adapt to different ads system if the user is using opera as compared to some other browser?
1 point by thezilch 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those, like myself, that were wondering why there is talk about Opera Mobile being released, tomorrow, for Android -- I thought I already have Opera on my phone. After brief gleaning, I have Opera Mini, and here is what to expect with Opera Mobile: http://www.opera.com/mobile/specs/ -- mostly just the rendering engine being available to the device, as opposed to being server based.
1 point by stygianguest 3 days ago 3 replies      
But what to do with such a cache? Build a new search engine to compete with google? I sincerely hope they will do that, but it cannot be easy. That said, if you have the cache, you might as well try.

By the way, what about online banking etc. They are introducing yet another weak point by playing the middle man.

1 point by celticjames 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's another company, Skyfire, that's been pushing a similar solution for the past few years. I've never met anyone who actually uses it.
0 points by BerislavLopac 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny thing is that, as bandwidth keeps increasing, server side caching will be less and less meaningful.
0 points by DjDarkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Opera Mini is a HTML/Image viewer, not a real browser, it's too crippled to be called a web browser.

Comparing Opera's cache to Google's cache is not a good idea, they work differently.

We're moving. Goodbye Rackspace. mixpanel.com
193 points by suhail 3 days ago   172 comments top 16
39 points by zemaj 3 days ago 2 replies      
I moved all my services from EC2 to Rackspace Cloud about 2 years ago, but I'm regretting it.

Rackspace Cloud does one thing well - small instances have great value CPU & local IO performance. If your app is CPU or local IO bound, splitting it across multiple 256MB instances on Rackspace Cloud will get you huge performance relative to price. I've been worried that this would degrade as the service grew, but that hasn't been the case.

Unfortunately many other 'features' of Rackspace Cloud have been poor to awful recently. Some anecdotal stories;

1) We haven't been able to make images of our server or restore ANY backup of our servers for months. There is a bug in the backup service where if you have spaces in the names of your Cloud Files containers (completely unrelated to the backup service) then all images fail to be able to be restored. We can't remove the spaces in the containers because you can't rename containers (only delete) and there's too much data tied to different parts of our infrastructure in there.

2) In relation to the issue above, we have had a ticket open for over 2 months which we continually post updates with new information & asking for issue resolution. We never receive updates to the ticket itself and only receive information when contacting their live chat. The response is always "we're working on it". I could live with it if this was a short period, or not an absolutely vital part of their service, but come on - all backups broken for 2 months! No timelines on resolution. No ticket responses. No happy.

3) While CPU value is great on small instances you get the other end of the stick on large instances as other posters here have said. You don't get significantly improved performance above the 2GB servers. CPU capacity certainly does not double as their documents say.

4) Cloud Files latency is awful. Individual read/writes take 300-1000ms. Fine for a small number of large files. Impossible for a large number of small files. (Having said that, being able to upload files and publish to CDN in a click has saved me lots of time for static files I need to quickly publish).

5) Resizing mid to large instances is impossible. We recently tried to resize a 1GB (40GB disc) server to a 2GB (80GB disc) and it took OVER 3 DAYS. No really. It didn't complete. The resize process takes the server down towards the end. We had to get Rackspace to cancel the resize and manually spin up another server and transfer the files ourselves. To make it worse, we couldn't act on this issue initially because Rackspace insisted that the process was "almost complete" from 12 hours onwards. 2.5 days later we just gave up. We managed to do the manual transfer ourselves in a couple of hours. Even worse Rackspace seemed to not think that it was unusual for the process to take 3 days or express any desire to investigate further.

6) The web interface has awful performance at scale. Once you go above 20 cloud servers every single page load takes 10+ seconds. As the original poster says, the number of errors it spits out about not being able to complete operations is insane. It's rare I can go in there planning on doing something and not have to contact support to fix something broken on their end.

7) They're taking the entire web interface and API offline for 12 hours this week! You won't be able to spin up or take down any of your servers. Why? So they can fix a billing issue related to Cloud Sites (a service we don't use).

I've always been a champion of Rackspace Cloud and Rackspace in general, but sadly I would no longer recommend them to people. I'm starting to make contingency plans and looking for other providers again.

39 points by xal 3 days ago 7 replies      
My honest question is why there is this odd loyalty to virtual environments in this community. I realize that it may be boring but you guys are passing up insane savings that can be had by using colocation. All cloud providers are very expensive when you actually do the math and you need more then 10 servers.

Our example may be a bit extreme, but we are just building out a new datacenter at a colocation and will recover the entire up front investment ( about 150k, we have the cash to not need leasing ) in a bit over half a year.

29 points by newobj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that's a brutal under-the-bus-tossing. But well deserved. Most of the points are spot-on.

I've operated a several dozen machine fleet for 2+ years on EC2 and I can tell you that the number of times boxes have gone down never to come back (which most people tend to think happens regularly on EC2) is incredibly small.

We actually run a Hadoop cluster (including DFS) on a spot instances. We never lose the spot bid. We pay way less than the going rate for the compute time. Less than the reserved instance rate. It's awesome. Yes, you obviously need a plan to deal with your cluster vanishing in the blink of an eye. It's not too hard.

I would second another commenter's caution on EBS though. We never put it into production. Personally I never experienced an ephemeral drive failure that had repercussions - when they (rarely) occurred, the drive was RAIDed or in our Hadoop cluster (e.g. redundant). We made two experiments into using EBS with our DB's, and both times, literally within 24 hours, we experienced a catastrophic failure of the EBS volume, one time unrecoverable. So that put me pretty well off EBS.

I can't say that the performance is necessarily the best, and we do experience the occasional odd asymmetrical inter-machine latencies (e.g. 300ms to establish a tcp connection in one direction, but normal <1ms in the other), but for the most part AWS is just awesome.

12 points by jread 3 days ago 0 replies      
CPU is a major bottleneck for Rackspace Cloud. All instance sizes get the same 4 cores and about the same compute resources. CPU performance is roughly the same on a 1GB cloud server as an 8GB cloud server, you are just paying for more memory. Rackspace also uses ONLY Opteron 2374 2.20 GHz processors. EC2 on the other hand offers linear CPU performance improvement on larger sized instances. EC2 also uses a heterogenous hardware ranging from Opteron 2218 or Xeon E5430 for m1 instances; Xeon E5410 for c1 instances; Xeon X5550 for m2 instances and Xeon X5570 (hyper-threaded to 16 cores) for the cluster compute instances. EBS on the cluster instance is also much faster than local disk IO in the Rackspace Cloud based on testing I've done (due to non-blocking 10G network). Here are a couple of references for this:


8 points by adriand 3 days ago replies      
This is a rather unpleasant review of a service we were about to move over to.

For companies that have moderate performance requirements (e.g. visitors in the range of 30k or 40k per day across a range of web apps and sites), reasonable but by no means expert level server administration skills, the need for a redundant environment to satisfy SLAs with clients (e.g. two app servers + load balancer + master/slave db servers), and the desire to focus mainly on software development instead of server admin, what companies does the HN community recommend?

We've been considering Rackspace Cloud and Linode, but are open to any suggestions. We also have a quote for a standard, managed four-server + hardware load balancer deployment in front of us but it is pricey ($3000+/month).

12 points by dangrover 3 days ago 2 replies      
Rackspace cloud's DNS stuff stinks. No way to add TXT records -- you have to open a ticket! Sure you can host it yourself, but every other cloud provider has this in their UI.

I get the feeling they're just in "maintenence mode" over there and don't have anyone working hard on improving the offerings.

12 points by cperciva 3 days ago 3 replies      
Quoth the article: Lastly, we moved over to the Rackspace Cloud because they cut a deal with YCombinator (one of the many benefits of being part of YC).

Can anyone say what this deal is, or is it secret?

6 points by jread 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another distinguishing factor between Rackspace Cloud and EC2 or Linode are bandwidth caps. Rackspace limits outbound public network throughput to 10mbps for 256mb instances to 70mbps for 16gb instances. EC2 and Linode both provide an uncapped GigE Internet uplink for instances of any size.
22 points by powdahound 3 days ago 3 replies      
Make sure you explore the limits of EBS before assuming it's a perfect solution. We've found it to have incredibly slow throughput at times.

Some reference links:

  - http://orion.heroku.com/past/2009/7/29/io_performance_on_ebs
- http://victortrac.com/EC2_Ephemeral_Disks_vs_EBS_Volumes
- http://stu.mp/2009/12/disk-io-and-throughput-benchmarks-on-amazons-ec2.html

4 points by jread 3 days ago 2 replies      
<quote>Amazon has a CDN and servers distributed globally. This is important to Mixpanel as websites all over the world are sending us data. There‚s nothing like this on Rackspace.</quote>

Actually, Rackspace cloud offers CDN services with Cloud Files through Limelight, although it does not support some features that CloudFront does like CName and streaming.

7 points by yesimahuman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Another control panel complaint: DNS. For some reason beyond me you have to choose a server just to configure DNS. Added on top of the fact that the control panel is really slow, it just becomes a pain to use.
7 points by barrydahlberg 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm suprised to see a setup using 50+ instances running on RackSpace cloud, wouldn't it have made sense to start moving towards dedicated servers by then?
19 points by powdahound 3 days ago 3 replies      
Goodbye code.mixpanel.com too? Page won't load. :(
2 points by lisper 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by mikey_p 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd also add that their billing software can't keep things straight. I've had a couple of servers that I spun up for a demo at a meetup, that somehow ended up with the same name, this prevented me from deleting them, and tells me that their control panel has concurrency issues, since you shouldn't be able to create two servers with the same name.

I didn't notice the issue until 2 months later (I thought I had successfully deleted the servers) because all of the sudden I received huge bill that contained over 1100 hours of usage for each instance, for that month alone. WTF? Turns out their software failed to bill me the previous month so I didn't notice any change.

Their response to my ticket about not being able to delete servers was to tell me the steps that I had to take to fix it (renaming the servers). I really wish when you had a ticket for stuff like that they'd actually act on it instead of just telling you how to fix stuff and expecting you to do it yourself.

-4 points by joecode 3 days ago replies      
One potential reason not to move: Security.

A good friend deep in the security community once told me, off hand, that EC2 was "owned." I didn't take this too seriously until another good friend, who has been working at Amazon for the past several years, told me that engineers at Amazon were generally forbidden from using AWS due to security concerns.

That much said, I still decided to use EC2/RDS/S3 to host the infrastructure of my latest startup. It is just too convenient to walk away from. Once it matters, I can move the critical stuff to dedicated servers.

EDIT: To clarify, I'm not suggesting that Amazon knows AWS is "owned" and offers it to others anyway. I'm only noting that, for certain critical services, they themselves do not appear willing to take the risk.

Wherein I help you get a good job aaronboodman.com
177 points by malbiniak 2 days ago   93 comments top 15
24 points by tjmc 1 day ago 8 replies      
An easier alternative - I'm really surprised that out of work graduates from the US aren't getting Australian working holiday visas and flooding down here. Due to a resources boom (thanks China) unemployment is only 5% here. There are skills shortages in most technical areas and particularly mining. The Reserve Bank of Australia just raised interest rates again because it was worried about the economy overheating.

The working visa has some restrictions - you must be between 18 and 30. It's only valid for 12 months and you can only work for a maximum of 6 months for any one employer. The last provision is a bit tough, but there are still plenty of 6 month contracts around.

Why do Americans have such a strong reluctance to travel abroad for work? I've never understood it. It's a great opportunity to get some work experience, live a little and, particularly for the mid-west and east coasters, skip winter!

36 points by wccrawford 2 days ago 1 reply      
Actually, that's a 103 step program, but I agree with the advice. If you want to get a job, you need experience... And the internet is full of projects that need bugfixes. That stuff looks -great- on a resume. Take that from someone who interviews hirees.
12 points by asolove 2 days ago 4 replies      
If this article is targeted at people with no experience (ie it mentions learning how to use IRC), is recommending that they fix bugs in C++ code really the right answer?

Why not start with a Python project or something more realistic?

6 points by KevinMS 2 days ago 5 replies      
But there are a few fields that are hiring like crazy. One of them is mine: software engineering. Major tech firms cannot hire fast enough. It's so competitive that you do not need to have a degree (I don't).

Was this written in the late 90's?

I follow job listing sites almost daily, and I'm just not seeing this. I'm also not seeing it in the volume of headhunters contacting me.

And thirdly, what job listings I do see, they have absurd ideas of what qualifications they require. Yesterday I saw a job listing for perl scripter for system automation tasks requiring a BSCS, MS preferred, and a little while ago I saw a sysadmin job requiring a BSCS.

I'm not in the middle of nowhere, I'm in the Boston/128 area.

So do I have the worst job hunting skills ever or is this guy living in a bubble?

7 points by ximeng 2 days ago 4 replies      
Advice is to contribute to Chromium, fixing 50 bugs over the course of a year or so. Might not be an easy path though, personally when I tried to compile Chromium, it took my PC 8 hours compiling before coming up with a fatal error. Been thinking about getting EC2 instances to compile it, has anyone tried that? Software license costs for Visual Studio put me off a bit.
13 points by rrrhys 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've never contributed to open source before - this might be just enough of a 'its easy just do it - like this' type tutorial to get me started.
3 points by bhoung 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's great that the community is giving advice on what steps to take for getting a programming job, but I would like to add that finding a job is a short term fix. If one is only trying to work out how to get a job for the sake of getting a job, it will only be a matter of time before one is bored. But then again, you'll probably only realise this only having gone through the process. Try to find something that interests you, which may or may not be programming.
2 points by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article is like a breath of fresh air. One of the few things you read about the industry that doesn't make you feel vastly underqualified. I'll definitely take aboodman up on his offer (coincidentally I logged onto freenode for the first time in my life a few hours before reading this...), although I expect he's inundated with responses right now so I'll leave it a few days.
2 points by Mongoose 2 days ago 2 replies      
What's the most effective way to mention open source work on resumes? I generally mix it in with other non-school- or -work-related stuff in a "projects" section, but is there a smarter way to emphasize it?
2 points by celticjames 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great advice, but two caveats:

1. Employers are often focused on hiring very specific skills sets. Having fixed a C++ bug in Chromium should impress them, but if they need a Django expert they still see you as a novice. It can be hard to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate if all your experience is with one project.

2. In a couple of interviews I've had, I've noticed a distinct bias towards valuing paid work more than open source contributions. It's often hard to get interviewers to understand that something I've done for free is on the same scale (or greater) than things I've been paid for.

1 point by usedtolurk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Part of me loves this kind of inspiring advice ("you too can grow up to be president"). And it certainly is true for some people.

But the truth is that most people who try this will fail. Very few people have the right combination of aptitude and attitude to do this (especially considering that the intended audience is people without an IT background).

[edit] Perhaps the message to take away is that there is a low barrier to entry in our field, so it's worth giving it a shot.

1 point by bsk 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Work for me for a year w/o salary and I'll help you get a job." /jk

There are better routes for new programmers IMHO.

Start at http://rubyonrails.org/ and build a website you find useful.

Learn SharePoint or BizTalk, those are boring but in very high demand now.

Even more boring, sing up for a cheap 6 month Cobol course in India.

1 point by jkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting path to get a good software job. I agree that when it comes to software jobs, a good resume with a lot of techno buzz words does not mean anything. An interview that gives coding puzzle can easily tell a person if he's capable or not. But a non-tech hiring manager will not be able to carry one out, a few references of open source projects, bug fixes definitely boost up your scores quite a bit. I've hired some good people and some bad before, at the end of day, your project success is not based on how many PhDs there are on the team, but how many coders that can deliver.
1 point by smh 1 day ago 0 replies      
A good complement to this would be to work through the exercises in K&R.
-1 point by RockyMcNuts 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't help wondering if CodingHorror.com posted this because they were running out of material.
What It's Like to Work at Apple aol.com
175 points by rams 3 days ago   77 comments top 6
98 points by novum 3 days ago replies      
Secrecy: Apple's secrecy is comparable to the U.S. government's in terms of "need to know" and compartmentalization.

This. My roommate is a hardware engineer on the iPad team, and he won't even confirm that there will be another iPad. He takes extra precautions when working at home - he won't take work calls if I'm in the room, and he set up the furniture in his room in an awkward fashion solely so that his computer monitor didn't face towards the door.

Several times I've brought friends or family down to Cupertino. He lets us inside to walk around the inner campus and eat at Caffe Macs, but that's truly all there is to see. Certainly we can't enter any other buildings on Infinite Loop.

One thing this article doesn't mention is work-life balance. We live in SF, and my roommate has a 90-minute commute (each way) on the Apple shuttle, and he usually works 12 hours on top of that. He's out by 8am and doesn't usually return until 11pm. He tells me this is a common topic of discussion at Caffe Macs - the balance between working on groundbreaking technology and, quite simply, having zero personal time during the week (and often on the weekends).

He can be called to go to China with no more than a few days' notice, and the duration of his stay there is never known ahead of time. He often estimates 7-10 days but it frequently ends up being closer to 2, even 3 weeks. Apple covers all of his expenses, of course, but he doesn't much care for Shenzhen.

He really likes working at Apple, but I think he recognizes that it's not a sustainable job for him for more than 3 or 4 years.

26 points by yardie 3 days ago 4 replies      
Reservists called up to active duty are put into a military-leave status and they remain Apple employees while Apple makes up the salary difference between their military pay and their Apple pay until they return.

I wonder if other companies do this. I know by law they are required to keep those positions for active reserves but I don't think they are required to continue to pay their salary. In the past, I've worked temp positions for employees that were deployed.

13 points by smiler 3 days ago 4 replies      
Would be great if he had expanded on the 'no career path' section - that will probably be something that most people want to know about - surely there must be different levels of developers to some extent? Moving from development to management?

Any Apple employees on here like to comment?

26 points by adamesque 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worked at Apple for 5 years (ending in summer '08), and one of the most amazing things about the experience was how well most people understood the core vision of the company, even in departments where you wouldn't expect that ‚" like call center management.

I've worked with other big tech companies and frequently heard people talking about doing things "more like Apple". It was funny to think that was exactly the way people inside Apple talked too. Everyone's on board.

3 points by nhangen 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a former Army Soldier, it was very cool to read the piece about the military. Props to Apple for taking a strong stand.
2 points by davidj 3 days ago 1 reply      
A friend of mine worked at Apple as a consultant for a ERP system that ran on Windows NT and I used to pick him up all the time. They would let me walk right in no problem. I remember walking across a parking lot where there was a wine bar where he liked to hang out. Of course this was in 2000 though.
My Android development income report kreci.net
170 points by kreci 3 days ago   83 comments top 23
75 points by maxklein 3 days ago replies      
I think you are the person who has achieved the most here on hacker news. You lack the ego of a lot of the people who are constantly writing advice articles on how to run a startup (where they don't even have a startup). And you started with small doable things, and worked your way up to a pretty high income (for where you live).

The courage to go through this, and the lack of ego in selecting the products is quite inspiring for me. I think people like you should be our real heros, not the people who constantly write comments for upvotes and write fluffy articles about startups.

Like I always say: making money on the internet is not hard! If you want to make money on the net, there are many many ways to do so. But most people are out there trying to do stuff that will impress hacker news users. Just keep your mouth shut, make money and forget about all the critics here.

There are many, many people who really just care about being lauded by their peers. These are people that are trying to insert themselves into a startupy group of people. They are more interested in the social than in the money. The ones interested in the money are not writing idle comments about various unimportant stuff.

Kreci is doing it right. He has found ways to make money, he keeps finding new ways and every month his income keeps growing. Is that not what this game is all about?

14 points by DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 2 replies      
These are great numbers!

I'm not going to get into blowing smoke up your ass or tell you that you should be saving the world. Remember, there are three types of apps: useful, popular, and money-making. Unless you are independently wealthy, #3 is a must-have: the others are optional.

Now -- take what you've learned with these apps and figure out where the next level is.

On a side note, I've found that the best projects to launch are projects that turn other programmers off -- much less likely to have competition there and much more likely to find a need to fill. "Programmers don't like it" is quickly moving up my list of tags for a successful startup. It's probably around #4 or so now.

Totally awesome. Very well done.

20 points by greyman 3 days ago 2 replies      
Seems like kreci just discovered a new way of making money:
1. find some easy to implement iPhone app
2. rewrite it to Android
3. profit!
7 points by rmc 3 days ago 1 reply      
How did you get users? Did you do any promotion or marketing? Or did you just upload to the android market with a 'build it and they will come' attitude?
6 points by atleta 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most interesting part of the post for me was that how these totally non-useful apps had a lot of downloads and how the only meaningul one had a fraction of the others. (OK, one can say that the virtual drum is also a meaningful one.) I mean no offense at all, as (unlike with the post from a few days ago with the 4-hour work-week iphone guys) these apps are free and of course anyone is free to sell or buy anything.

However it tells a lot about this market. I mean the newly found smart phone market. People run to buy and download totally meaningless apps most of which could have been done (and probably has been done) on other smart phone platforms (or plain j2me) at least 5 years ago. But this is just a small market disturbance, now as iphone opened the eyes of a lot of people that these gadgets are not merely (or mainly...) phones they download every stupid app. But this will go away soon.

5 points by es 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that WP Stats is the least popular app. Even simple Big Red Button ("Don't push this button" app) beats it!

Actually it's a bit sad to see that market is more favorable to some "cool" simple apps rather to useful, but more complex.

4 points by wgj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kreci, you used to do monthly income reports. It looks like you're not doing those anymore? I'm probably not alone in being curious how your photography and other streams are doing lately. Thanks for the interesting Android report!
2 points by jrockway 3 days ago 1 reply      
This just goes to show how worthless mobile ads are. Eventually advertisers are not going to want to pay for the presumably pitiful conversion rate.
5 points by gcb 3 days ago 0 replies      
how do you serve ads on "cracked screen"?

also, i'd love to see an ad implementation that would ask "Did you clicked the ad on purpose? YES NO" before opening the browser. ha!

5 points by rmc 3 days ago 2 replies      
What do you use to sell ads?
3 points by sigzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it a good model that all the money is actually coming from ads?
6 points by kreci 3 days ago 0 replies      
Comments welcome and very desired =)
2 points by bignoggins 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just as a point of reference from the iOS world. My free apps have < 80K downloads total but last month I generated 4K from ads. You really can't beat the eCPMs from iAds.
Android is a great platform, but the app market really is miles behind iOS. Rampant piracy, poor app market organization, and difficulty for most users to purchase paid apps means that if you want to actually make a living developing apps, iOS should still be far and away the #1 choice imo.
1 point by revoltingx 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is good news. Even with simple apps that aren't games he's making a decent amount of money off ads alone.

Too bad he didn't mention what ad network he's using.
I'm getting ready to launch my game/app (http://developingthedream.blogspot.com/) in the next few months and I'm going into it with no expectations.

Good to hear i may gain a bit of extra cash from this project. I'm using mobclix and it was really easy to integrate into my app. However, I don't like that the view doesn't auto resize or fill the parent.

2 points by tocomment 3 days ago 2 replies      
What do you mean by updating apps? Do you have to make minor changes every few days to make sure it's at the top of a list somewhere?
1 point by eapen 3 days ago 0 replies      
You wrote the "Cracked Screen App". I installed it and love it... it is so realistic. Haven't really had to install it and I didn't notice any ads in it - oh wait... that's probably because I have an adblocker installed on my phone.
2 points by gtdminh 3 days ago 0 replies      
i wish he will earn more money doing this way. there is a news here about Quoc Bui and Mike Moon from thefreeapps.com who did earn 80k/month by ads from their iphone apps.
i hope android apps will yield the same.

Thanks Kreci, you inspire me

1 point by Nemisis7654 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done. I recently released my first app in the app store, EasySal Calculator. As I live in America, I uploaded both a paid (adfree) version and a free (with ads) version. I noticed that my free version makes more money as well.

I like to hear stories like these. I have been gaining a strong interest in Android Development and these stories make me think that maybe I can be semi-successful at it as well. I don't expect to make loads of cash, not even close to what you're making, but even a little bit makes me feel good.

1 point by tomjen3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice to see some numbers, but those seem to be more "fluffy" apps (I mean, really it doesn't enable you to see xray does it?).

Apps that have some greater utility might be more popular.

1 point by robryan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be interested in the difference in CPM for something like this in comparison to similar download stats for the iphone. My hunch based on figures we have seen on here from time to time that similar numbers would monetize better on the iphone.
1 point by ompemi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good article, it is good to show that there are lots of indie devs that earn money with Android.

We started last year with Android, and we are making around $2000/month (1M downloads in total) with really simple applications. The majority of the revenue comes from ads, but more and more paid apps revenue is higher!

1 point by yatsyk 3 days ago 1 reply      
Did you evaluate different ad networks and which performed best?
1 point by avgarrison 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see how your profits may differ if you were able to sell the apps on the Android Marketplace (without ads). I've been leery about trying ad-based monetization, but it looks like it is working fairly well for you.
Battle of the Business Cards printingchoice.com
169 points by kmfrk 1 day ago   69 comments top 27
34 points by jasonlotito 1 day ago 4 replies      
Or, you could just go to a local print shop. My wife used to work at one before moving up in the world. Practically ran the place for the owner. Good quality cards, and if something was wrong, they'd fix it. You got to see the options before you made a choice, and much easier to get exactly what you wanted. Also, from what I see in the chart, you'd get it a LOT sooner then most of the places.
8 points by Anechoic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having ordered business cards from Vistaprint and Overnight Prints, let me make a couple of observations:

* Vistaprint had decent print quality, but IMO their paper quality left something to be desired. The biggest issue with VP (again IMO) is that their business cards are standard-sized, they are slightly smaller. It makes the card stand out a bit, but you have to decide if it stands out in a good way or a bad way

* I've used Overnight Prints for the vast majority of business cards. I've only used the "Value Cards" products (basically printed on a laser printer" as opposed to the offset press printing of the Premium cards. They use a very thick stock, and I often get positive comments on the "feel" of the card stock. At first glance the print quality looks pretty good, but upon a closer look you can see that the cards were printed on a laser printer (I presume that the offset-printed cards look better).

* The biggest 'gotcha' with Overnight Prints (at least the Value cards) is the color consistency - that is to say, there is none. They don't pay attention to embedded color profiles, and every order I've made the colors come out different. I don't mind too much because I know that my clients aren't comparing colors and I figure most of my cards either get scanned/transcribed into electronic address books and then put away, or get tossed out. But if you're someone who obsesses over the color consistency of your printed material, definitely stay away from the Value Cards (again I don't know if things are better with the Premium Cards).

15 points by kmfrk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Mirror, in case HN or reddit breaks the non-WP Cache'd site: http://i.imgur.com/vokDd.jpg. (Again.)

Edit: Looks like it did indeed buckled.

5 points by neilk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Given this information, I don't see how the author recomended VistaPrint in any way.

It looks to me like it's Moo for quality and speed, Overnight for price, and everything else is significantly worse in every dimension.

3 points by jackowayed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just ordered 1k business cards from Overnight Prints in preparation for RubyConf. I was impressed by the quality, given how cheap they were. They were thicker than I expected.

My one complaint is that you either pay a lot for shipping or get them fairly slowly. (I upgraded one level from the bottom and it took from Tuesday to the next Thursday.) Even that shipping was expensive--it was $8 shipping plus $4 "handling". Others may be just as bad though.

Overall, I was quite happy. I paid $40 with shipping and CA tax for 1,000 high quality, double-sided color business cards thanks to a half off coupon I found on retailmenot.com.

And if you're coming to RubyConf, find me and I'll give you one.

4 points by limedaring 1 day ago 1 reply      
It always surprises me how many people don't know about Moo.com. Fast, fairly cheap, and really fantastic quality. And if quality isn't great, they'll reprint it.

A few years ago I was ordering Christmas cards for my company, and I accidentally had a typo. I contacted them to see if I could get a discount at least since I was ordering them all again, and they insisted on reprinting them for free and even expedited the shipping to me.

Compare that to OvernightPrints, when our business cards came back with streaks all over them, and after I called and emailed them several times, I never got a response. Of course I'm going to use Moo.com for everything now.

9 points by davidw 1 day ago 2 replies      
Seems like he's leaving money on the table by not linking those to the relevant affiliate programs.
3 points by nkurz 1 day ago 0 replies      
The quality comparisons here are quite helpful, but the pricing isn't that useful. If you're willing to do a little digging, you can find 30-50% off coupons for the big guys like PSPrint and VistaPrint. Not sure if this is also true for the smaller places like Moo. Also, the prices dive sharply at larger quantities.

We're currently using PSPrint for business cards, and would agree with this assessment: "flimsy, but otherwise nice". For our recent order with coupon, we were at final price of $130 for 10000. If you are in the Bay Area, you can pick up for free from their warehouse in Emeryville.

4 points by clistctrl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always assumed what you get is going to be about the same anywhere so price is the only comparison, but its great to see just how much worse the quality of vistaprint is.
8 points by yoseph 1 day ago 0 replies      

This is a great piece of marketing. It provides me with some very useful information while selling me on your value prop.


18 points by alinajaf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Woohoo go us! (dev at moo)
2 points by eli 1 day ago 1 reply      
Worth noting that Overnight Prints very frequently has coupons for significant savings: http://www.retailmenot.com/view/overnightprints.com

Currently it's 50% off premium biz cards. I think they're very hard to beat at that price.

4 points by brixon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Your local print shop might not be printing their own business cards. My dad owned a print shop and he has been outsourcing the printing of business cards for over 10 years. He makes a little profit on outsourced cards (@$5 per thousand) and no profit on in-house printed cards. The only cards he prints in-house are car dealerships that have mass bulk with only the salesman contact information changing.
Now, he can help you pick the stock, ink and other options and will make sure the order/product is correct before you pay him, so there is some benefit to local.
2 points by mbubb 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just got my new cards from zazzle today. Used them before and was happy but wish I had this info. Next time will try moo.

Question: what do others think about a large business card size. I like that because i inevitably jot something on the card when i give it to someone. The last example was that I was talking to a dogrun acquaintance about vyatta (ie the router project) and gave my card with the word 'vyatta' on it.

I have a minimal amount of information - name, email, google voice number as well as a small qr_code barcode which links to my online profile.

I think the oversized card (called a 'calling card' I believe) enables you to have a nice a mount of room for a graphic and room to write something.

2 points by mikeryan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have no relation to this company, but I've always been very happy with my cards from 4by6 http://www.4by6.com/ not covered in review
3 points by thomas11 1 day ago 4 replies      
The final recommendation based on cost is Vistaprint, when their price was $25 compared to Overnight's $9?
1 point by camtarn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funky and very useful website :) I had some cards printed out by VistaPrint a while back (using one of the free business card package fliers from an Amazon parcel) and was relatively impressed - having a stack of business cards with my name on them felt very professional to my just-graduated-looking-for-work self.

However, you'd think the creator of such a nicely designed site would spell check their copy: in the footer, 'compareproducts' has no space between words, and there's a misspelled 'annoucnements' on the front page :/ Also, the 'DIY Printing' link in the menu bar 404s.

2 points by hedgehog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Avery 8871, they look good and you can print a few cards when you need them (and change them when you want).
1 point by terra_t 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm just astonished at how much blatant link bait is getting voted up on HN these days. It's starting to look like Digg.
1 point by sbierwagen 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the winners in the shootout was Moo.

I went up to the top level page and searched on two sided, 50 count, whatever's cheapest business cards... and got four hits. All of them for Moo.


1 point by snprbob86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Been very happy with cards, shirts, and service ordered from Zazzle!
1 point by PonyGumbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm glad that Vistaprint got the drubbing it deserves.
1 point by gallamine 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've recently been ordering from Clubflyers. I got a batch of 4x6 cards and business cards. The price was better than I could find elsewhere and they did a great job. The cheap printing is glossy only though.
2 points by lowglow 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know of a great print shop in San Francisco?
1 point by crgwbr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never done business cards through Printrunner, but their Matte-finish postcards are super high quality
0 points by blaines 1 day ago 0 replies      

  "Error establishing a database connection"

-1 point by shin_lao 1 day ago 0 replies      
Off topic but when reading this article I couldn't help thinking about the famous business card scene from American Psycho.

Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!

The 3 Programming Languages you need to Know mathgladiator.com
166 points by mathgladiator 23 hours ago   124 comments top 38
39 points by edw519 15 hours ago 4 replies      
Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: Assembly
Bread and Butter: COBOL

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: FORTRAN
Bread and Butter: BASIC

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: C
Bread and Butter: QBasic

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: C++
Bread and Butter: Visual Basic

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: C#
Bread and Butter: PHP

Happiness Language: Lisp
Hack-it-out Language: Python
Bread and Butter: Ruby

[EDIT: Added "s" to change significance from year to decade.]

32 points by jrockway 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Meaningless. I do not have a thinking language or a bread and butter language or a GTD language. I have apps (or tasks) that involve thinking, or are "just programming", or are "just get it done".

Sometimes I write quick scripts in Haskell. Sometimes I write them in Perl. Sometimes I write complex web applications in Haskell. Sometimes I write them in Perl. I choose the language based on good libraries for the task I am trying to achieve? I use Perl for network servers because libev performs better than GHC's select-based threads. I use Haskell for things that need to start up quickly. I use Perl for glue.

I don't think in Perl or Haskell or C or anything. I think in programming. I often find a nice way to express what I mean in the language I chose. Some problems look nicer in Haskell than in Perl. In the end, though, it's just programming. And while the programming part is 90% of the work in creating a working application, the other 90% is interacting with the outside world built by other people. Elegant syntax and beautiful algorithms are meaningless if you can't connect to the Foo server and get your data.

Incidentally, I always use C for libraries that need to be used my many people. C is not my favorite langauge, but I've accepted that if I manage memory correctly (client always allocates, data structures are structs with foo_ok flags) and don't use cstrings, C is not that bad. You just kind of tell the computer what to do, and it gets done. And then I can use it from Perl and Haskell with only a few more lines of code. And you can use it from OCaml and Python with just a few more.

25 points by CoreDumpling 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I strongly suspect that these three are not intended to be mutually exclusive.

For me, Python has at some point or another been in each category, though at most two simultaneously.

And for those of us who do web development, "bread and butter" can easily include a half dozen languages or more. After leaving a project where I personally (no joke) used AS3, Awk, C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, and SQL (sqlite, MySQL, and Postgres!) [1], my current position is just a trivially "polyglot" mix of C++ and Java desktop apps. Before that, I was constantly afraid that I'd forever be doomed to be a jack of all trades, master of none, but now the majority of my time is gobbled up by languages I don't like very much. Can't have it both ways...

[1] mostly by accident, as the powers that be could never make up their minds about what they actually wanted

20 points by cubicle67 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Ruby Ruby Ruby

For some reason I feel this taints me with a stereotype that doesn't necessarily fit, so (somewhat defensively) I'd like to preempt that by saying I've been writing code for the last 25 years (give or take a year or two). Also, I've never been to Starbucks and I don't use TextMate (but I do own an aging MacBook).

11 points by drblast 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Lisp is my happiness language, and everything else isn't. So for me there are really two types.

Every language that's not Lisp, while obviously inferior, usually has some domain-specific use.

I do get a huge kick out of C and assembly when I get the chance to do something low-level. It's a lot of fun to get in there and make something totally non-portable that runs 1000 times faster than the equivalent C++ program.

Getting small things done quickly used to mean Perl, but recently I've started to use Lisp for short scripts because Perl's built-in data structures are so poorly implemented. Last week I was playing around with parsing huge volumes of U.S. census data, which should have been Perl's bread and butter, but ten lines into the Perl script I missed map and nested lists so I switched to Lisp and was done in short order.

I've done a few things with Python, but nearly every design decision they made early on rubs me the wrong way.

I like Javascript for the same reasons I love Lisp. I have a feeling I'd really like Haskell if I could find the time to learn it fully.

And then there are the languages I consider to be abominations, like C++ and Java. Still, they have some great IDE's and libraries which make up for the language in some cases. I haven't gotten around to C# or F# yet. I don't know if I want to.

There are so few honestly awful programming languages. I have been forced to use a few, including Visual Basic for Applications, Matlab script, and a few other proprietary domain-specific languages that I've long since forgotten.

So three languages? Pssh. Learn as many as you can, enough to complete a useful project or two in each. After you do that, you'll realize that Lisp is the best by far and you've wasted most of your time. But at least you'll KNOW.

23 points by SkyMarshal 21 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the best related comments I've seen on this topic was by coffeemug a few weeks ago:


"1. Be good. Be very good. Don't be the "front-end guy" or the "back-end guy", or some other "guy". Once you know what you want to build, building software is about five things: algorithms that solve your problem, programming languages that express your algorithms, computer architecture that makes your algorithms run efficiently on real hardware, the practical toolchain, and the management of complexity of real software. So study algorithms, and then graduate algorithms, and then advanced graduate algorithms. Do every challenge problem online. Study programming languages to express those algorithms. You can get away with three: C, Lisp, Haskell. Everything else is crud.

I interpreted that to mean that C, Lisp, and Haskell are best at expressing the most difficult algorithms and concepts in computer science and software engineering, while simultaneously giving one the conceptual understanding and ability to quickly use easier languages like Python or Ruby for glue, utility, etc.

22 points by djcapelis 20 hours ago 1 reply      

  Fun: C
Hack it out: BASH
Bread and Butter: LaTeX

Welcome to systems research in academia.

19 points by endlessvoid94 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Seriously, Python fits the bill for all three categories for me.
14 points by mkramlich 21 hours ago 2 replies      
C is the only language that there's a strong argument for it being a fundamental language to know. Because almost every other language, OS and device driver is written in it. Not everything, of course, but it's a huge percentage.

I really like some other languages other than C. But it's hard for me to make as strong of a case for any other language as a "must know" language.

2 points by DanielBMarkham 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, the generalizations are running strong and swift with this article.

If I ever sit around wondering about what your "happiness language" is, you guys all have my permission to throw a pie in my face.

Seriously, one can personalize and over-generalize these things very easily. Programmers are famous for taking three examples and trying to build a templated framework of reality around them. It's probably the worst stupid people trick we have..

I love OCAML and F#, C++ and C#. I can tolerate Javascript and VB in a pinch. I do databases and all sorts of web programming.

But no thanks. I do not need or have a happiness language.

3 points by cageface 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a lot more interested in algorithms than in languages these days. I used to be a big language aficionado but I get a lot more out of, for example, teaching myself a new machine learning technique than picking up another language now.
2 points by ryanwaggoner 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I've got my bread-and-butter (PHP) and Python is rapidly becoming my Hack-it-out / GTD language, but I don't have a happiness language. However, Python is making me pretty damn happy...maybe that means I'm just a practical programmer.
2 points by thecombjelly 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually a GTD language means that the Happiness/Bread-and-Butter language is not powerful enough. If your Happiness/Bread-and-Butter language is powerful enough, and you really do use it whenever you can, then you should know how to either find all the libs that you need, or have hacked together the ones that you can't find.

Second, the Happiness language should be your Bread-and-Butter language. If you have a few years to work at learning a language really well, you should devote it to the most powerful language that exists. If you make your Bread-and-Butter language the most powerful language, and your Happiness language the same, you will have a very large programming lever and will be able to get the most done with the highest quality.

2 points by loewenskind 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Happy: Lisp, Haskell, Smalltalk, Ocaml, Self, Newspeak, Erlang

Hacky: Lisp, Python, Bash, Ant

$$$ : C# at the moment, but this one doesn't matter much in practice. My selling point is that with my language experience I can come up to speed on most any language quickly.

Personally I think it's important to learn the most advanced (and pure to that category as possible! [1]) language in each category to get the most tools in your tool belt you can.

OO: Smalltalk (classic OO) and Self (prototype, changes a lot about OO), Lisp (most advanced OO system I'm aware of and different than the rest)
Functional: Haskell and Ocaml (for functors).

[1] Multi-paradigm is good for practicality but gives you an easy out when learning something new.

1 point by 8ren 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Language you think in is constraining... unless your language is the best that could ever exist. Of course, if you can only think in it, you couldn't imagine anything better.

Mathematical notation might be a better language to think in than any programming language; but even that is constraining - since mathematicians are constantly inventing new notation, and many mathematicians think in pictures or even... intuition.

Of course, he really meant for coding; I just wanted to note the bigger picture.

7 points by clinton 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I like how MathGladiator managed to say something meaningful about programming languages and mostly steer clear from inciting the language war the headline implied.
5 points by fleitz 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Happiness: F#

hack it out: ruby

Bread and butter: C# / php

5 points by vankap 22 hours ago 1 reply      
No one language can keep me happy for a long time. So my happiness language changes every year.

GTD - Python (Also my happiness language)

Bread and butter - Java (although that might change too given the recent developments)

1 point by buster 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Actually: no.

I don't get the reasoning behind this.
If there should be some languages everyone should atleast now, it would be one of each of these categories:

  hardware (asm or atleast some basic knowledge of how the thing works you program for)
low-level (C, good base for procedural programming)
high-level (java, good base for object oriented programming)
script (.pl, .py, lua, etc.)

Somewhere in between there may be a functional languague (erlang, lisp, haskell, etc.) but i, myself, never needed one.
What really came handy overall is to know some basic stuff (assembler) for insight in how stuff works, plus C knowledge because the tools, libraries and languages you use are likely based on C. Plus Java, because it's almost everywhere and some script language to get things done ;)

2 points by kapilkaisare 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a combination of Python, Javascript and Lua. I use Lua with my editor(Textadept), Python for most server side work and Javascript client side. Am currently working on using JS server side as well.

Three languages is too limiting though - I plan to reintroduce Haskell and Scheme at some point into the fold.

3 points by safij 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess "Happiness language" and "Hack-it-Out" might overlap.

Happiness - LISP is becoming a BLISS!!

Hacky - Python :):)

Day Job - Very sadly :( :( .... JAVA!!

2 points by nivertech 21 hours ago 0 replies      
* My own DSLs

* Erlang,Python,Octave/Matlab,awk

* C/C++,Java,JavaScript,VBScript,PHP,bash

1 point by greenlblue 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Anything with first class functions works for me. I pretty much program with closures and have no idea what classes and objects mean. Incidentally the first language I really learned was Ruby but I fell in love with how it handled blocks/lambdas and I haven't really looked back since.
3 points by kamechan 20 hours ago 0 replies      
3 languages you need to know: 1) a functional language, 2) an imperative/OOP language, 3) an interpreted language.
2 points by Corrado 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess mine would be:

Ruby - happy language

Perl - hacky language

Java - $$$ language

3 points by eliben 21 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Python (used to be Lisp)
2. Python (used to be Perl)
3. C++ and occasionally Python
1 point by cowpewter 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Happiness language: Actionscript 3

Hack-it-out: Python

$$$: Sadly at the moment Javascript (ugh)

I realize in the current 'zomg everyone hates flash' environment my choice for happiness language might make people look at me a bit strange, but AS3 is really a nice language. As ECMA dialects go I would rather write for the AVM than the browser any day. And when I think in code, it's usually Actionscript. Three years of hard-core Flex hacking will do that.

Python shows some signs of edging its way in as a replacement for my brain-speak, but I sadly don't use enough in my job right now for it to take over.

1 point by devinfoley 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Like others, for me these overlap a lot.

My happiness language isn't the one I think in. I think in Java, and a bit of Javascript for functional programming. However, neither of these are very fun for me. When I have spare time to hack for fun, I'm usually using Ruby or Scala.

My GTD language is PHP, and Java when I need things PHP doesn't provide.

My $$$ languages are Java, PHP, Javascript, and Objective-C (iOS). All of these are languages I'd rather not be coding in, but it's where the jobs are mostly.

There is a lot of overlap there. I think it's because for me productivity IS fun.

1 point by boyter 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Happiness - Python or oddly PHP
Hack it out - PHP for web or Python for anything else
Bread and Butter - C# and Java but I throw in Python to keep me sane
2 points by kaylarose 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Happy: Ruby, javascript
Hacky: Ruby, bash
BnB: php, javascript, java
2 points by mkramlich 20 hours ago 0 replies      
happiness+GTD+bread&butter = Python at the moment, thankfully
2 points by fragmede 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Python, Bash, PHP
1 point by cgopalan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Happiness: Python, Scheme, Erlang
Hack-it: Python
Bread/butter: C#
3 points by nolite 22 hours ago 0 replies      



1 point by nickik 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Clojure --> FUN!
mmhh maybe bash for hacky stuff
and VB to make money <-- bhh
1 point by soitgoes 21 hours ago 0 replies      
For me it's:

Perl - Hacking

C# - Bread and Butter

Python - Happy

Although, there's quite a bit of overlap.

2 points by jijoy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Python Python Java .
1 point by cactopi 19 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Euskara (Basque)
2. English
3. Mandarin
Japan's Latest Rock Star Is A 3D Hologram - Draws Huge Crowds singularityhub.com
166 points by kkleiner 2 days ago   70 comments top 28
33 points by BjornW 2 days ago 4 replies      
Wow! This reminds me of the book Idoru by Willam Gibson.

Idoru on Wikipedia:
"In the post Tokyo/San Francisco earthquake world of the early 21st century, Colin Laney is referred to agents of the aging mega-rock star Rez (of the musical group Lo/Rez, and seemingly very much styled after former The Smiths frontman, Morrissey) for a job using his peculiar talent of sifting through vast amounts of mundane data to find "nodal points" of particular relevance. Rez has claimed to want to marry a synthetic personality named Rei Toei, the Idoru (Japanese Idol) of the title, which is apparently impossible and therefore questioned by his loyal staff, particularly by his head of security, Blackwell.[...]"
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idoru

16 points by camtarn 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a good documentary on Hatsune Miku here - it's in Japanese but with English subtitles (click the 'CC' logo in the bottom right of the YouTube player to turn them on):

I find the Hatsune Miku phenomenon somewhat amusing at the moment, given the trend of overt Autotuning in pop music - while virtual singers' voices are getting more realistic, real singers' voices are being manipulated to sound impossibly accurate and digital.

It's also an interesting study in image and marketing: Crypton really pushed the concept of associating a character with the voice, as if Vocaloids were virtual pop stars whose services you could buy, rather than just another virtual instrument.

7 points by joelmichael 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here are some famous Miku Hatsune videos.

Po pi po (the vegetable juice one):

"Yukkuri shiteitte ne", which means "take it easy", a Japanese meme/philosophy based on the "yukkuris":

Disappearance of Miku Hatsune, about someone deleting the vocaloid program from their computer:

It's worth noting that all of these videos and songs are completely fan-made. There is no official representative of Miku Hatsune; that's sort of the point. You can make her sing anything you want. She's more of a platform than a star.

There are several other vocaloid singers besides Miku. The whole thing is very popular on the Japanese video site Nico Nico Douga.

17 points by joezydeco 2 days ago 2 replies      
This looks more like rear-projection video (note the starburst in the back of the stage) or Pepper's Ghost, although the scrim is too vertically oriented to be that.

Nothing here looks 3D, but of course these videos are very carefully shot and enhanced from all appearances.

17 points by zdw 2 days ago 4 replies      
Life imitates anime - anyone else get a Macross Plus flashback about the concept?
3 points by whalesalad 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Genki Rockets, which also has a "vocaloid" singer synthesized from a couple of female singers. I first found out about this sort of think when I was working for Henk Rogers (Tetris mogul) down in Honolulu. The office was always full of really big names from Japan, like the guys from Square Enix, Nintendo, etc... The guys that made Lumines II were in the office playing some sick blu-ray footage of a Genki Rockets concert and from that moment on I was hooked. The DJ was wearing an astronaut suit and there was a hologram projection of Lumi singing and dancing above the crowd. So sick!

Here is a link to Genki Rockets -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genki_Rockets

5 points by Vivtek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have to admit, I'm getting a little uncanny-valley vibe from that. The movement is too crisp (they've got to be digitizing the movement of a human dancer?) in combination with the cartoony appearance.
6 points by daten 2 days ago 1 reply      
I previously heard of Hatsune Miku because she did a cover of "Still Alive" from the computer game "Portal".


11 points by tocomment 2 days ago 2 replies      
We can make computer controlled, real-time holographic displays now? That seems like bigger news than a rockstar.

Isn't that the holy grail of 3D displays?

5 points by Timothee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wasn't expecting an anime character, but more something like in the movie S1m0ne (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258153/).

In that movie, the movie/pop star is computer generated but is a "real" person and there actually is a scene with a 3D hologram of her on stage.

As someone else mentioned, though I find that to be fascinating, I'm more interested in what they mean exactly by "3D hologram" and how it works.

7 points by cullenking 2 days ago 0 replies      
If we are talking a "virtual" rock star, I prefer a hybrid approach, like sushi k in snowcrash. A real, single musician writing and performing, but using different mediums - the metaverse in snowcrash, or maybe even holograms in real life.
4 points by RodgerTheGreat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm reminded of NG-Resonance[1] from Deus Ex 2. Of course, in that case, it was based on a real person.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Ex:_Invisible_War_characte...

5 points by agotterer 2 days ago 0 replies      
An unrelated observation, is the layout of this site completely ripped off of techcrunch?
6 points by djtumolo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this really that different from Gorillaz? They are also cartoon personas that perform music.

If it gets to the point where an artificial intelligence composes and performs, then we will be in Gibson's Sprawl.

3 points by ENOTTY 2 days ago 0 replies      
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I looked into this when Hatsune Miko made the rounds on reddit a month or so ago.

I think the technology used is done by a company called Musion. http://www.musion.co.uk/

And it's based on an old visual trick called Pepper's ghost http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper%27s_ghost

1 point by waterlesscloud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile American labels waste time suing people when they could be rolling in the dough by producing American vocaloids.

I wonder which one of them will figure that out first?

2 points by locopati 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want a t-shirt that says 'Gibson FTW!'


EDIT: Looks like BjornW and I had the same idea

1 point by runjake 2 days ago 2 replies      
This disturbs me beyond words.

It seems like a real loss for humanity and a real gain for special interests (although it can be argued that humans can be manipulated as easily as this hologram for such purposes).

In any case, this isn't part of any future I'll be embracing.

6 points by FiddlerClamp 2 days ago 2 replies      
They really missed the boat by not naming her Jem.
1 point by Towle_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have the Japanese hit such an enormous creative block that they're investigating our PBS cartoons from 1998 in hope of business plans?
1 point by hasenj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! Japan never ceases to amaze me.

Would be interesting if the 3d hologram can be controlled by a human in real time.

Although that would probably suck for the self-esteem "I'm not good enough, they put a fake anime hologram in my place".

1 point by tomjen3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm, interesting. Can't wait for the first time they have to sue a real flesh and blood human being over the copyrights to a song by a hologram.

Still, the future its going to be awesome.

2 points by jrnkntl 2 days ago 0 replies      
'Rock'-star? That's not rock.
2 points by swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only the crowds could also be an hologram.
1 point by NewHighScore 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't know it was possible to have video 3d holograms like that! Does anyone know where to find out more about the technology used?
2 points by perplexes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hate the future.
2 points by cafard 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess The Archies were ahead of their time.
1 point by damncabbage 2 days ago 2 replies      
The otaku subculture is getting creepier.
Turns out, it is a river in Egypt discovermagazine.com
162 points by chanux 3 days ago   42 comments top 11
28 points by simonw 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm in Egypt at the moment. We're in Dahab, on the Sinai peninsular - but we spent several weeks travelling on the Nile from Cairo to Aswan and Luxor before we got here.

The experience that really brought home the importance of the Nile was taking the overnight train from Cairo to Aswan. You wake up in the morning to sunrise over the Nile. If you look out of the left hand window of the train, you see desert - nothing but sand and rocks. If you look out of the right hand window, you see literally just a few hundred metres of lush green farmland followed by the expanse of the river. It makes you realise that a large chunk of Egypt's usable land is hundreds of miles long but less than half a mile wide.

10 points by gojomo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Of course, pictures like this are more profound for what you don‚t see: country borders.

There are some borders you can see from space, such as the transition between North and South Korea:


3 points by kloncks 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm Egyptian. One of my absolutely favorite parts of Egypt is Nuweba (North of Dahab, South of Taba) in the Sinai.

You stand in the Gulf of Aqaba and just a few hundred meters in front of you is the coast of Saudi Arabia. To the Northeast, you can have a glimpse at the port cities of Eilat in Israel and Aqaba in Jordan.

I've never been in a place with so many countries right next to each other. The profound thing, like the author mentions, is that there's absolutely nothing in that nature dictating or talking about any borders.

From that perspective, all those lands look pretty much the same: gorgeous.

3 points by tjic 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Of course, pictures like this are more profound for what you don‚t see: country borders.

Except, some country borders are phenomenally obvious from space - those that separate totalitarian / communist countries from free market / democratic countries.

Look at the border between Israel and Syria.

Look at the border between North Korea and South Korea.

Look at older pictures of the border between East Germany and West Germany.

Capitalism lets people grow, innovate, and develop. Authoritarian governments stifle that.

Thus, in pictures from space, capitalist countries are well lit (if at night), or covered in crops (during the day), and countries with large governments are dark (at night) and barren (during the day).

5 points by nlwhittemore 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty amazing. On the books, Cairo has 11 million people. Most people think its closer to 20, and that, day to day, another 20 or so come in from outside for work. I lived there on and off for a few years, and it's truly one of the most remarkable places in the world.
5 points by alexyoung 2 days ago 0 replies      
The airglow in that photo is beautiful, I don't think I've ever seen that effect appear in such a way before.
3 points by paulgerhardt 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone know what this article meant by "enphaoronate"?
2 points by KevinMS 2 days ago 2 replies      
Back on the ground, most of the land area around the river is dark, of course, because it‚s desert.

Maybe I'm weird, but now I want to know what those lonely spots of light are.

4 points by shawndumas 2 days ago 0 replies      
‚enphaoronate‚?! Embiggen; I say. Is enphaoronate cromulent?
1 point by VladRussian 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Many astronauts come back from long-durations stays on the ISS with a deep new sense of citizenship not of just their country, but of their planet."

watched "Independence Day" yesterday again. I don't think there is another way short of that to make majority of human species on Earth to feel as "citizens of planet". Things like ecology/green movement doesn't seem to be a way to do it as it is subject to tragedy of commons... at least until it will be out weighted by an order of magnitude bigger tragedy

2 points by shivam14 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looking at a composite night picture of the world, another river with a heavy relative concentration seems to be the Indus in Pakistan. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights2_dmsp_big.j...

In general, the picture provides a great insight into both the affluence and population density of various parts of the world.

How I built 7books in under 4 weeks 7bks.com
161 points by revorad 1 day ago   74 comments top 26
15 points by kyro 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jesus, 4 weeks? That's awesome. I've been learning on and off for a few years now, and have recently buckled down to finally get something done. What are some lessons you learned for building your next project? Also, it seems like you've got a good eye for design. With a bit more practice and experience, you could likely make some great looking sites. It certainly looks a lot better than sites I've seen made by more seasoned coders.
46 points by nopal 1 day ago 3 replies      
Thank you, thank you for creating a product blog whose header links back to the actual product page.

It seems like every other product blog that I visit is intentionally keeping me from being able to navigate to the actual product!

31 points by almost 1 day ago 1 reply      
First thoughts: yeah yeah 4 weeks isn't that impressive. But then... that included learning to program from scratch?!? Wow.
7 points by topcat31 1 day ago 1 reply      
Holy wow - thank you so much everyone for your feedback and comments! I leave for 2 hours (taking a tour of Zappos in Vegas, amazing and life changing btw) and this thing goes crazy!

I've enabled billing in appengine as I'm nearly over quota:


If anyone has any tips to optimise my outgoing bandwidth it would be very much appreciated! Hopefully I caught it in time to avoid any real outages. I'll try and keep an eye on it though.

Ok - right off to trawl through the comments and responses and reply!

Thank you all :)

3 points by zzzmarcus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I built a similar site - http://www.instabrary.com awhile back which is pretty much the exact same idea. It's running now but since I moved to Heroku you can't register. I should look into that.

The Rails source is here: https://github.com/marcus/Instabrary

7 points by topcat31 1 day ago 2 replies      
Update - the site just fell over :(

I've activated billing in app engine but no idea how long it takes to come online. Really sorry guys - I assumed the free quotes would see me through! Hopefully it comes back soon.

edit - looks like the billing just kicked in... Phew. Sorry about that! looks like I caught it just about in time. If you saw the 404 page my apologies. I've loaded it up with credits so it should stay up now

3 points by javery 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome - I built a site called 22books a couple years ago as a way to learn Ruby... it took me a little longer than 4 weeks but I think I launched with more functionality.

I haven't done much with the site but it actually ended up getting used by teachers and librarians so I would feel bad ever shutting it down.


3 points by tommusic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great job learning a language (and an infrastructure) with such speed!

I've been building something with a similar aim on and off for a long time now, and it's neat to see in the comments that there are at least three others already out there.

I wonder if there is something that will lead to more widespread awareness/adoption of sites like these. Or are we better off trying to pick a target market smaller than [all book readers]?

Some good food for thought as I try and finally finish my own entrant into the space.

5 points by zachster 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is really great. I love the concept and simplicity.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Use the Amazon API to autosuggest book titles and author names.

2. Normalize the lists. That is, count up which books are recommended the most and use those statistics to recommend books.

3. List similar lists on each list :) Lists that list the same books might be related. If they list two or more of the same books, they're probably related.

But even if you don't change a thing, it's still a great little project!

7 points by neilkod 1 day ago 3 replies      
As someone who within the last two weeks picked up app engine and created an MVP of my own http://www.pubcontweets.com, I can not only relate to your story but also applaud you for sharing the it as well as your code. Thanks.
4 points by tlack 1 day ago 1 reply      
to go from not knowing how to make a <form> to doing all of this in 4 weeks is majorly impressive. and the site has a really nice, unique look and feel. good work!
6 points by Jabbles 1 day ago 2 replies      
How much did that domain name cost?

These are similar, they may help inspire you for features:

Keep it up!

2 points by vidar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good for you, it always warms my heart to see someone taking these first steps. Try to notice your own reactions, its good to be reminded of when you yourself were a novice.
2 points by milkinm 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So I notice that you are taking images off amazon's API and are reposting the covers... how are you getting away with this. I had a similar idea that i half implemented and had to abandon because amazon's API policy is very specific about hosting and grabbing their images from their API. They also supposedly don't want you to cash almost any of their information ...
2 points by jessor 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I'd strongly recommend anyone starting out developing something to find some kind of mentor. I wish I'd had someone I could have asked for help but in my case...

So is there already a hn spreadsheet up somewhere where one could find a, say, rails mentor? :)

3 points by MisterWebz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very impressive. I've been learning Python for almost a whole year and I haven't even got one completely functional app. I've got tons of unfinished ones though.
2 points by dp7531 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Very nice. I'm impressed with turning that out in four weeks based on starting with no programming/html knowledge. As far as the CSS goes, one thing that helped me was using one of the many CSS frameworks out there. You might try that if you run into more issues going forward. I'm using blueprint for now, but there are several out there to choose from.
2 points by zhyder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Feature request: show book cover art.
4 points by johnconroy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hell of a good job. Learning to code & build a web app from scratch in 4 weeks is mighty impressive.
1 point by joubert 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Kudos for posting the source code as well.
1 point by phlcastro 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I had to subscribe myself just to say you rock man! Great idea, amazing history and huge willpower! Congrats
1 point by SanjayUttam 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great job taking into account you learned along the way...but most of all, kudos for sticking with it. Sometimes, that is the most difficult part.

Love the simplicity of the site, as well. Good luck.

1 point by Cafesolo 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Impressive - good work!

I love the blog theme. Is that a WordPress blog? What's the theme's name?

1 point by whatrocks 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Did you purposely use orange lines to appeal to this community?

It worked.

1 point by kingkao 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if you can pull in some images from amazon of book covers.
1 point by dmel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Did you learn Python first?

or did you learn it as your learned google's app engine?

The Airport Security Grope pixiq.com
161 points by tswicegood 4 days ago   176 comments top 28
55 points by vaksel 4 days ago 3 replies      
I think the president, the VP, every senator, every representative, every supreme court judge and their wives/husbands should be required to go through this.

And the scanner print outs should be publicly available, as well as videos of the groping...eh "pat downs".

Surely they wouldn't require the cattle to do something that they themselves would object to? Surely.

BTW filling out a complaint form is a complete waste of time...if you want to get attention, actually call your senator/representative.

32 points by duke_sam 4 days ago replies      
I'm hoping that this is finally the straw that breaks the camels back and people start to push back on these "security" measures. Not traveling via air is an option for some people but for most when they fly they aren't any reasonable alternatives. Making these invasions a prerequisite to flying means you are going to have strangers looking at you naked regularly or being groping (which I'm presuming is meant to be as invasive as possible to encourage use of the scanners). The alternative to this is turning down a job away from anybody you would like to see regularly, or any job that requires frequent travel or going to college in another state etc. And boy is your life about to suck if you travel with kids or someone elderly.
17 points by jerf 4 days ago 0 replies      
A thought comes to mind: Is it arguably illegal now for a job to require you to fly? It may not be sexual assault in the legal sense when the TSA does it, but that's partially because you can be said to have consented. If someone else is "forcing you to consent" (quoted for oxymoronicity) then that is a different thing altogether, and given the extreme attention the law pays to sexual harassment in the workplace it would not surprise me that while the government and the TSA agents are indemnified, your company may not be.

Actually, let me refine that to merely point out that one could plausibly file a very expensive and uncomfortable-to-your-employer lawsuit over this; I wouldn't guarantee victory, but I wouldn't guarantee defeat, either.

42 points by waterlesscloud 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've written to the airline I use for most travel and explained why this holiday season I'll be driving to my destinations.

The airlines have the power in this situation, if they protest, this will be changed.

21 points by nagrom 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder: can I claim to be gay and would therefore prefer to be patted down by a woman? Can we make this a standard thing to claim?

I would imagine that if they did not adhere to this request, then they would be guilty of sexual discrimination. I can equally imagine the scene if 95% of male travellers claimed to be gay and demanded to be groped by a lady 'for American values'. I cannot imagine that there will be that many women willing to grope a man on command.

Other things to try: not washing for several days before the flight, telling the patting-down officer to be careful because you have lice, feigning injury from an aggressive pat-down and rolling around on the floor clutching your privates, like a soccer player who's been roughly tackled. Air travel has been turned into a fucking circus; let's go along with it and have some fun at the same time!

29 points by alanh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a dress code at airports? To make a point, I‚m considering showing up to the security queue in a Speedo.
35 points by ScottBurson 4 days ago replies      
I think we're at the point where if you offered every traveler a choice of a screened flight or a non-screened flight, most would take the non-screened flight.

I suggest we all write our Congresscritters and explain this. I don't think protesting to the TSA, at any level, will accomplish anything at all.

6 points by DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 0 replies      
I fear that the military-industrial complex has finally found something to be afraid of that can't fight back: its own citizenry.

Sadly enough, this is not an issue of good people or bad people -- I think the vast majority of TSA screeners are good people who want only what's best for the public. This problem has two parts, framing and execution.

The framing is a one-sided issue: who's going to argue that we need less security? It's a system designed to continue to turn the screws. Mark my words. It will not stop here.

The execution is even worse: top-down, one-size-fits-all, factory-processing of people. This makes for an expensive, cumbersome, and inflexible system. Oddly enough, the more standardized you make security practices, the easier you make it for real terrorists to take down the system. It's the entire basis of asymmetrical warfare. Small groups of highly-nimble adversaries working against a huge standardized behemoth. The U.S. should have made a conscious decision not to play that game. But it didn't.

When you have a problem that's defined poorly and executed poorly? Not much chance of improvement, I'm afraid.

6 points by physcab 4 days ago 2 replies      
The actions by certain TSA employees as depicted by recent articles on HN are reprehensible. No doubt about it.

However! I fly about every 2 to 3 weeks in and out of big airports and small airports. I have had pat downs and swipes and millimeter wave scans. I have even worked on next generation explosives detection technology(THz,Long Range, Surface UV). Yet, over the past 3 years of this type of mobile lifestyle, I have never observed or have been subjected to the types of harassment recent articles have detailed. Surely it happens, yes. But my experience both on the inside and out of this industry tells a different story. Privacy IS respected by people developing and deploying these technologies. Privacy IS respected by TSA employees who are concerned for the safety of each passenger.

Whether these policies or technologies are effective is another debate, but I just think there is a great deal of overgeneralization going on here. Maybe I'm just an outlier.

7 points by toast76 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm from Australia, but we will be flying to the US in the next few years with our son (and we have a second on the way).

My question is, are children subject to the requirement of either a scan or a pat down?

I find it hard to believe that any law would allow the photographing of a child effective nude, much less the touching of "genitals". I would never allow my child(ren) to be subjected to either of these measures. Does this mean I should find another country to visit?

Even for adults, call me ignorant, but how is this not sexual assault? In any other situation, if I was subjected to a genital grope I'd be pressing charges.

12 points by p2phs 4 days ago 2 replies      
The solution is rather simple tho requires a fair bit of determination and ground swell to achieve.

The Gandhian strategy of civil disobedience, TSA wants more people to pass thru the porn machine. We as a country should request not passing thru the machine. Assume that more people require individual attention resulting in greater lines and longer delays at the airports. Delays that will not be acceptable to the airlines, TSA or even us the traveling people.

Small price to pay to secure the freedoms of those after us.

There are a couple of consequences that could happen as a result, (a) mandatory porn machine scan for everyone no exception or (b) a change in policy.

For a president who claimed that we were winning the war because the terrorist hated our freedoms, this loss of freedom should come as a shock. We might be winning the battle of the guns, we are losing the war of the minds.

--- Interim recruiting slogan for the TSA ---
Come one , come all, we grope them all. White or color, young or old, women and men. Gay straight and transsexuals we like to feel them all.

(Small print): TSA is an equal opportunity groper. Guarantor : United states Govt.

4 points by lsc 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the interesting bit is this choice between getting groped in public vs. private.

Personally, I'm much more comfortable with an authority figure in public than in private. I mean, photos of some TSA guy with his arm halfway up my ass are going to be a whole lot more embarrassing for him than for me. I mean, he could loose his job, while for me, the worst that would happen is my friends would tease me a bit.

Really, "what you would be willing to do when other people are watching" is often a reasonable ethical shorthand for 'the right thing' - allowing people to (optionally) release the recording of their interaction with law enforcement would go a long ways towards reducing abuses by law-enforcement.

On the other hand, what I'm really afraid of is getting put on some secret list, and video taping doesn't protect me from that.

8 points by sixtofour 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to think of a procedure that would encourage more disrespect and fear of government, its personnel and policies than the aggressive pat down.

It's clearly meant as intimidation. Your government disrespects you so much that it will subject you to a humiliating experience to intimidate you into accepting a different humiliating experience.

When my government shows me this much disrespect and intimidation, I start to wonder whether they're serving my needs, and whose needs they really are serving.

This is thuggery, and the only difference between the aggressive pat down, and slapping me in the face until I agree to go in the scanner, is in degree, not in kind.

6 points by chrischen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Let's hope the next terrorist doesn't hide the bomb up his ass or ingest it, or else politicians will make sure those places are checked too.
4 points by tswicegood 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not explicitly tech related, but since a lot of tech folk are photographers and we all tend to fly a bit more than the average person, thought it was good info to have here.

Just wait until someone tries to smuggle something onboard using their iPad or Kindle. shakes head

25 points by daimyoyo 4 days ago 1 reply      
The war on terror is over. The terrorists won. God save us.
3 points by maxawaytoolong 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to note that if these machines produced a regular "skeleton" x-ray image, instead of the "nude" image, nobody would care that much, and it might even be an improvement, if it sped up the lines.
3 points by bshep 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd drive or take a train if I could avoid flying. Unfortunately, I live on an island, not much I can do except take a plane if I want to visit family in the continental US.

I pretty much have to do what they want or be stuck here.

11 points by ChristianMarks 4 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty soon they'll be taking random innocent people away--for good. I've stopped flying, myself.
2 points by spectre 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reading these stories it makes it sound as if American Airports are becoming a virtual Police State (I haven't been to the US since 2002).

I live in a first world country (New Zealand) and we only have metal detectors and x-ray machines (and you only have to go through them if your plane has more then 50 seats). They're quite lax about it as well I've gotten knives through (accidentally) both in my pocket and on a tray through the x-ray machine. Also our inbound customs care more about fruit than drugs or explosives: http://www.customs.govt.nz/nr/rdonlyres/9bec875b-dc37-4309-9...

3 points by drags 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm flying for Thanksgiving, I plan to get to SFO a little early and hand out some of these flyers that a Flyertalk user created: http://www.dontscan.us/downloads.html They're not perfect, but pretty accurate all-around.

Whether you prefer to let someone see you naked or grope you is a personal decision, but I imagine there are plenty of people who haven't flown in the last 2-3 years, and they should at least know their options before they get into security and blinded by authority.

4 points by lesterbuck 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am reminded of the old Rodney Dangerfield joke:

"If it weren't for pickpockets, I'd have no sex life at all."

Now available in a new, updated TSA version:

"If it weren't for TSA genital groping, I'd have no sex life at all."

3 points by joeshaw 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think I am going to start wearing a protective cup whenever I have to fly.

Hmm, for that matter, would those protect you from the high tech strip search?

2 points by gasull 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is making the US look like a country with a repressive government. Many countries with repressive governments don't look this bad when you visit their airports.
1 point by tomjen3 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why do people keep insisting on flying under these conditions? Seriously, you can find pictures of pretty much any place you want online, you can have a video call to the other side of the planet for free through Skype, and you can buy pretty much anything you want online.

It makes sense for the photographer, but it makes no sense for most people who fly.

0 points by NickPollard 4 days ago 2 replies      
As a counterpoint to what everyone is saying, there is no point in any pat-down if it's not thorough.

A pat-down that doesn't touch the genitals or other sensitive areas is not going to find any terrorists, it just gives the impression of security.

1 point by michaels0620 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this will ever get bad enough that we'll see people start to use trains again, even if it does take significantly more time.

Of course, if rail were ever to get popular enough again, they'd just institute the same scanning procedures there too.

-3 points by davidw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't we had enough of these articles already? They're not about startups or technology, really, and I think we've all formed our opinions at this point. Posting them here won't change a thing, in any case.
       cached 12 November 2010 05:04:01 GMT