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Why Do Google Maps's City Labels Seem So Readable? 41latitude.com
670 points by ugh 2 days ago   101 comments top 26
43 points by zmmmmm 2 days ago replies      
It's really interesting that Google seems to be at times able to pull off wonderful UI design bordering on genius (Chrome, Google Maps) and at other times just barely able to be at par (most of Android with select exceptions). I guess this just reflects different teams within Google, but it's a shame they can't apply their best UI talent across all their products (and particularly, the products that most need it, like Android).
56 points by lionhearted 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm amazed that a post about such a potentially dry subject - UI/typeface on maps - is the most fascinating thing I've read today. Extraordinary well done by the author.
14 points by blahedo 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I saw this I could have sworn I had read it before, but in fact what I was remembering were earlier posts by the same guy (also comparing Google, Bing, and Yahoo maps); if you liked this post you might like them too:


38 points by adambyrtek 2 days ago 1 reply      
The author had to put a considerable effort into preparing the post, and got to some interesting conclusions. I can wholeheartedly upvote such a well researched article. The animated images really show the difference and his alternative variants of Yahoo and Bing demonstrate the point.
37 points by curtis 2 days ago 2 replies      
The blank space around major cities is the most surprising idea to me.
33 points by bryanlarsen 2 days ago 4 replies      
A common complaint is that Google is engineer-driven rather than design driven. Some very impressive counter-evidence in the article -- lots of nice design hacks.
4 points by cmurphycode 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article made me realize that Google's engineering/metrics based approach is more suited to some tasks than others. There are far too many possible views of the map to "design" by hand, but the algorithmic tricks that Google is so good at can handle it no problem. Even if a traditional usability expert could design a map of a given location at a given zoom level better (e.g., http://www.kickmap.com/), they couldn't pull it off at Google Maps scale.

Very good article, and the visual aides helped a lot.

6 points by mike463 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google has better thought out color contrast too. The other ones are either too monochromatic, or the map details overwhelm the labels (think 90's web page color contrast)
7 points by jcampbell1 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author forgot to mention that Google renders the text, then places it on the image. Bing and Yahoo positions then renders, which leads to bad font aliasing.

Better to explain with a picture:

Notice how the google's 'i' is perfect. No grey hinting.

1 point by buro9 2 days ago 0 replies      
What surprises me most about this is that this is a solved problem.

Labels on maps, proximity to their data point, shades to represents importance, placing of labels to ensure clarity... all of this has long been solved in the area of automated report generation, and specifically things like bubble charts.

All that I see when I look at a Google Maps is all of the solutions to the problem of producing legible and clear reports applied to a map.

All that I see when I look at Bing and Yahoo mapping are solutions that have only looked at the domain of mapping and haven't considered whether other domains have solved these problems.

I don't see "tricks" by Google, I just see a set of solutions from one area being applied to the same essential problems in another area.

5 points by peter_l_downs 2 days ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one who thought the Bing maps were more "readable" than the Google maps? I do agree that the Yahoo maps were by far the worst, but to me the Bing maps were better designed (other than the color scheme) than the Google maps. Maybe it's just me?
1 point by jasonfried 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know the actual people involved in these map design decisions at Google?
1 point by roryokane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found the animated GIFs annoying in that they changed too fast. It was hard to look at the important points of the map shown quickly enough before the image automatically changed to the other version. For instance, I wanted to try viewing Bing's map on its own and test how long it took to for me find a certain label on it, but the map always switched to Google's version too quickly. I would prefer that the different versions of maps would be different images that I could open in tabs and switch between at my leisure.
2 points by kadavy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This brings me back to the days of working at a planning & architecture firm where I edited Illustrator maps with 500,000 objects in them.

The thick white outlines do a good job of ensuring that the letterforms aren't impeded by other design elements.

The cleared-away areas around cities are a good use of "white space" to increase the hierarchical dominance of major metropolitan areas.

There are some nice detailed observations here. Bookmarked.

1 point by terra_t 2 days ago 0 replies      
Halos around your text are quite important if you're trying to draw titles on television, particularly the old NTSC television. You see them all the time in video games too.
1 point by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
great article.

several of the qualities he pointed out were already obvious to me. but while not officially a "designer" i've been creating software/graphical/print interfaces for almost 30 years in one form or another. i do notice tricks with fonts and entity positioning.

1 point by adg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else wonder how the author made the white outlines on the Yahoo Maps text? Seems super tedious to do this by hand.
1 point by davidcann 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that Goole Maps look the best, but I think this more so highlights the ineptitude of the other mapping sites. Using contrasting text borders over complex patterns and decent spacing are common design principles that the other sites should adopt.
1 point by cma 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think the shading effect is really intentional; it is just an artifact of all labels being anti-aliased. A small font will be lighter than a large font in order to indicate/approximate a smaller stroke-width.
1 point by w1ntermute 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance of a screenshot (guessing copypasta won't work because there are images)? The site is down.
1 point by pragetruif 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that Bing actually brought in an outside team (Stamen Design) to design (version 2 of?) their maps: http://content.stamen.com/i_like_bing_maps_and_I_cannot_lie
1 point by newyorker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've gotten so addicted to Google Maps, its very hard for me to use a Garmin or Nuvi GPS. I appreciate the clean UI of Google Maps, hope they make standalone GPS device (will save battery drain from your phone).
1 point by Garbage 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yesterday I heard someone saying "Google is not a designer's company. Its just engineer's company".
0 points by drivebyacct2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it wrong of me to scoff? It's pretty obvious from the screenshots that the text density and outlines are the most important and easily noticed factors.
1 point by kondro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Probably the most highly used piece of software to come out of Australia. Just in front of Samba and Rsync :-)
0 points by stuaxo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Arg, that term "pop"
Ben the Bodyguard: Gorgeous HTML5 Website benthebodyguard.com
575 points by bjonathan 3 days ago   97 comments top 33
52 points by jasonkester 3 days ago 6 replies      
Might want to start it scrolling automatically, or otherwise do a better job of communicating that there's anything to see on the page.

I got all the way back here thinking it was just a pretty splash screen, after trying for 30 seconds to click on things above the fold with no success.

Only after reading comments did I go back to see if there was anything I had missed. I suspect a lot of people clicking through will simply hit the back button and remember nothing but having seen a slow-loading picture of a face.

59 points by sgentle 3 days ago 1 reply      
In case anyone's not familiar with Javascript/HTML/CSS and is curious how this works, it's actually pretty simple and elegant.

Ben is just an image positioned in the centre of the screen using a CSS property called "position: fixed", which means he doesn't move even when the content scrolls.

The walking animations are created using a technique called CSS sprites, where instead of having multiple images, you just create one and move it within the frame so that only one image is visible at a time - sort of like a film strip. The CSS property to do that is called "background-position" - and you can see an original image here: http://benthebodyguard.com/images/bensprite.png

The whole thing is driven by a function called "scrollEventHandler", which is registered with the javascript "onscroll" event, so it's triggered every time you scroll. It updates the animations for Ben, the thief, train, textboxes etc based on how far you've scrolled in the document. Source here: http://benthebodyguard.com/js/speechBubbles.js

The other animations (flickering lights and such) are all animated gifs, and the background is just a really long image: http://benthebodyguard.com/images/city-background.jpg

103 points by mathias 3 days ago 5 replies      
Calling it an “HTML5 website” is a bit of an overreaction IMHO.

Other than the DOCTYPE, there's not much “HTML5” to it. It's just good old HTML, JavaScript and CSS, wrapped together in a document that happens to use the HTML5 DOCTYPE.

35 points by gregschlom 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome.

They could have put the same message in two paragraphs of text and a bullet-point list, and I would have quickly glanced over it and forget it the same minute. Instead, I had a lot of fun reading each point, several times.

It's amazing how user experience IS the key.

16 points by jacquesm 3 days ago 1 reply      
If this is the future of the web count me out.
11 points by trotsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very neat design, no question. Kind of the antithesis of the functional web, though. It's like a flash only website without the flash.
6 points by trezor 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see html5boilerplate.com is getting reused properly :)
4 points by buro9 3 days ago 1 reply      

I want it.

But what is it and where do I get it?

1 point by tlrobinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Neat site, but I'm mostly curious how they implemented any sort of security software for iOS. I didn't think iOS provided APIs for doing anything interesting in that respect.

"Protecting your passwords, photos, contacts
and other sensitive stuff on your iPhone® or iPod touch®"

1 point by Vivtek 2 days ago 0 replies      
It took a long time to load and gave no indication that it was doing so, so when I realized I could scroll down, Ben wasn't actually there yet. I wondered why that guy was standing there talking on the phone.

Perplexed, I scrolled up a little and ... Ben was standing there, waiting for me. At which point the page became extremely cool. But I almost missed it.

5 points by JoachimSchipper 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks very nice. A bit heavy on the FUD, though.
3 points by jscore 3 days ago 2 replies      
Any idea how they did the graphics? Is it straight photoshop + illustrator or something else?
1 point by sjs 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are HTML comments in the JavaScript at the bottom of the source, sandwiched in between the GA tracking code and some Google optimizer stuff. I didn't get any JS errors, so is that legal? Are the comments stripped before the text content of the script element is processed? If so that's pretty wild! Never knew that was possible.
3 points by nhangen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it rocks. Scrolling through was a great user discovery process and the story/art combo had me hooked.

I really don't have a need for the service (maybe I do, not sure), but I do like watching the way people market their services. This is something unique...well done.

3 points by kingkawn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ben is a decent fall-back when Leon is still under copyright.
3 points by DamonOehlman 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have to admit I was hoping Ben would fall in a open manhole cover towards the bottom of the screen, but alas he did not.

Just shows you can always make improvements, even on something as clever as this ;)

2 points by whiskers 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea - the style, the artwork, the way the story progresses...

However I think that clicking on the "scroll" popup should either:

- Cause a slow continuous scroll all the way to the bottom of the page

- or (even better) take you between each speech bubble and reappear so it can be clicked again.

A really unique approach. It was nice to see something genuinely fresh and captivating instead of the usual "Web 2.0" style sign up pages.

1 point by GiraffeNecktie 3 days ago 2 replies      
So the fact that people are using HTML5 to do what people were doing with Flash ten years ago is somehow interesting?
3 points by mrinterweb 2 days ago 1 reply      
How many Frenchmen do you know named Ben?
3 points by evo_9 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suddenly have the urge to watch The Professional.
1 point by mark_l_watson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice site! I have been using Dojo, but I read Mark Pilgrim's HTML5 book. My hope is that Dojo will eventually wrap HTML5, providing a smooth migration for me since I am not a Javascript/UI expert.
2 points by bound008 3 days ago 1 reply      
subscription email:

Thank you for connecting with Ben the Bodyguard. In order to receive updates on Ben and his app for iPhone and iPod touch, please confirm your security clearance...

(followed by NON-HTTPS link) ... LOL

3 points by uast23 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hm. Not a lot of sites tell a story. This one does with a suited dark theme.
4 points by Jackel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think he did a great Job! Go Ben!
1 point by alextebbs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautiful site, but did anyone else think the image of a naked person tied to a bed being whipped was a little overkill (its about halfway down the page)? Not sure why the devs needed to include that one.
1 point by shareme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a question why did the website creator only use pngs?

I mean you could have used svgs and a js library like raphael to use svg instead to decrease the load times, etc..

1 point by markkat 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't want to visit that site regularly. It looks nice, but it isn't easy to navigate.
1 point by ses 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like this, I'm not usually one to go for flashy looking websites but it communicates the idea very effectively in what is clearly a unique manner.
1 point by lurchpop 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only reason i knew there was more than meets the eye was the title was "gorgeous html5 site". without knowing that i probably would've bounced.
1 point by Andrewski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mystery meat is never gorgeous.
1 point by tonycore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent concept. Great execution.
1 point by mangool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the interactive design, nicely done.
-1 point by chopsueyar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Haskell Researchers Announce Discovery of Industry Programmer Who Gives a Shit steve-yegge.blogspot.com
405 points by pchristensen 3 days ago   109 comments top 19
35 points by jmillikin 3 days ago replies      
140 points? Really?

I know it's fashionable in these parts to make fun of Haskell, but it's just not funny unless the writer knows something about the language. Would you upvote these articles?

* Why C++ is More Object-Oriented Than Smalltalk

* Stupid Ivory-Tower Academics Claim "Perl Is Too Slow for Weather Simulation"

* LISP: It Would Be a Lot More Useful Without All the Parentheses

It's especially galling considering pg's various articles on language expressiveness; remember this quote, folks?

"""As long as our hypothetical Blub programmer is looking down the power continuum, he knows he's looking down. Languages less powerful than Blub are obviously less powerful, because they're missing some feature he's used to. But when our hypothetical Blub programmer looks in the other direction, up the power continuum, he doesn't realize he's looking up. What he sees are merely weird languages. He probably considers them about equivalent in power to Blub, but with all this other hairy stuff thrown in as well. Blub is good enough for him, because he thinks in Blub."""

When somebody tosses around phrases like how to subvert Haskell's type system to accomplish basic shit you can do in other languages, it's a big red flag that they've never used Haskell, and possibly have never even seen Haskell code.

23 points by mixmax 3 days ago 1 reply      
If Douglas Adams were to write about programming this is how he would do it.

That's a compliment.

22 points by davidmathers 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Avoid success at all costs."

I mentioned this at a talk I gave about Haskell a few years back and it's become quite widely quoted. When a language becomes too well known, or too widely used and too successful suddenly you can't change anything anymore. You get caught and spend ages talking about things that have nothing to do with the research side of things. Success is great, but it comes at a price. -- Simon Peyton Jones

30 points by j_baker 3 days ago 2 replies      
"We crafted a fake satirical post lampooning Haskell as an unusable, overly complex turd -- a writing task that was emotionally difficult but conceptually trivial." - This is pure gold.
21 points by angusgr 3 days ago 2 replies      
I chuckled, and I'm happy Steve Yegge might blog some more, but this feels a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.
8 points by tumult 3 days ago 0 replies      
GHC Haskell actually supports mutually recursive generic container types, but you must enable type class system extensions which make type checking undecidable.
15 points by JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't find this funny, then you really need to examine your sense of humour, because this is not about making fun of haskell. It's barely about haskell at all. It is fantastically well constructed exercise in comic writing.

Stop thinking about the programming language wars for one minute and reread the text again, and look at the multileveled semantic games the author is playing. I thought most here were good at that?

Doug Hofstadter would be proud.

6 points by yters 3 days ago 0 replies      
She explained the trap they set for Briars: "We crafted a fake satirical post lampooning Haskell as an unusable, overly complex turd -- a writing task that was emotionally difficult but conceptually trivial. Then we laced the post with deeper social subtext decrying the endemic superficiality and laziness of global industry programming culture, to make ourselves feel better. Finally, each of us upvoted the post, which was unexpectedly contentious because nobody could agree on what the [HN] voting arrows actually mean."

Apparently their approach was more successful than they thought.

7 points by presidentender 3 days ago 1 reply      
Will there every be a satirical Steve Yegge post on HN that spawns any discussion other than quotes from the article itself?
14 points by nickik 3 days ago 1 reply      
"I believe the root cause of the popularity problem is Haskell's lack of reasonable support for mutually recursive generic container types."
-- Super funny!
0 points by edw519 3 days ago 1 reply      
This was actually a personally test disguised as a blog post. See how you scored:

If you didn't understand it: You're not a hacker and never will be; go get your MBA.

If it upset you: You are a hacker without a sense of humor. You belong in a room without other people. Fed Ex will deliver your circuit boards tomorrow.

If you laughed once: You are an aspiring junior programmer. Keep on working hard and best wishes to you.

If you laughed more than once: You are a seasoned hacker. Nice to see you here.

If you sprayed Mountain Dew on your keyboard: You have that rare combination of understanding both bits and people. You must do great work.

If you are cutting and pasting these gems for your bulletin board: You and I must be kindred spirits. Email me. Let's do a start-up together.

6 points by brian6 3 days ago 1 reply      
This successfully trolled me, because I think Haskell is really good stuff made by really smart and cool people. Surely there was a better target for satire.

I'm an industry programmer (in C). I also have a bunch of packages on Hackage.

4 points by csantini 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Finding a person who gives a shit about Haskell is an inherently NP-complete computer science problem. It's similar in scope and complexity to the problem of trying to find a tenured academic who didn't have the bulk of his or her work done by uncredited graduate students."
1 point by rapind 3 days ago 3 replies      
Loved the article, but someone please explain "faster than a teabagger with a grade-school arithmetic book". I'm pretty sure I got all the others.
1 point by natmaster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook uses haskell.

https://www.facebook.com/careers/puzzles.php They only accept answers in languages they actually use.)

1 point by mkramlich 3 days ago 0 replies      
my new favorite Yegge post. very funny. and so true. :
1 point by stylejam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly I think this is my personal funniest post of 2010. And no, it's not making fun of Haskell.
-4 points by alphaoverlord 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sniff sniff. Whats that smell? O right, Onion worthy.
-4 points by codexon 3 days ago 1 reply      
<Insert Dons and the usual angry Haskell fanboy diatribes here> </satire>
Tablets paulgraham.com
375 points by timf 3 days ago   248 comments top 48
43 points by edw519 3 days ago replies      
Developers have used the accelerometer in ways Apple could never have imagined.

That sentence is one instance of this sentence:

Developers have used <platformFunction> in ways <inventor> could never have imagined.

What better argument for open standards, APIs, and community cooperation?

37 points by replicatorblog 3 days ago 5 replies      
This is absolutely right. My company been working on a medical device accessory for the iPhone and the possibilities the "tablet" form factor are amazing.

Lower Cost Structure - In our industry (diabetes) you give away hardware to get ongoing disposable revenue. This hardware is expensive to produce and develop. Plus you spend a lot of effort on areas that don't add much value e.g. reinventing the wheel re: display drivers. This completely changes the economics of the industry.

Higher Product Quality - By taking advantage of the core Tablet attributes like color touch screen display and processor you can do things feature wise that would be prohibitive with custom hardware. The amount of "ooohs" we get showing off our iPhone UI vs the current LCD one is staggering.

New Revenue Opportunities - Again our business has thrived on a single revenue stream, the disposable test strips. With connections to the web all manner of "virtual good", subscription services, and other digital business models get opened up.

Overall it is a huge win for both user and entrepreneur and is going to fundamentally change a bunch of hardware businesses.

If you want to see our product, here is a nice review (http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662351/blood-glucose-monitor-fo...)

33 points by Chris_Newton 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Many if not most of the special-purpose objects around us are going to be replaced by apps running on tablets.

I respectfully disagree.

The trend for specialised vs. generalised devices seems to go in cycles over a period of a few years, in a similar way to the classic thick vs. thin client cycle. Consider games consoles vs. gaming on PCs, the iPod vs. mobile phones with media storage, etc. Neither extreme is ever going to take over entirely, and the bias moves as technology evolves.

I think this is mostly driven by trying to balance convenience and power. When new tools come along that are generic enough to make a certain broad class of jobs easier, we tend to jump on them. Many jobs get moved to those devices, and specialist devices that used to perform those jobs become obsolete. On the other hand, if you get too generic, you start to introduce waste and therefore inefficiency, which pushes things back the other way. Also, if your generic device is OK at doing lots of things but not particularly good at any of them, there is still a market for specialised devices that do a particular job better because their priorities are more appropriate.

We used to write software that ran on desktop PCs, but it turned out that a lot of practically useful software is essentially a simple user interface to a simple database. Native applications had common pain points in this field that could be overcome by hosting the code and data centrally, in areas like installation/updating/backup. Thus Web apps were born.

However, today, we're seeing major players in the industry trying to turn just about everything into such an application, and they are failing. It turns out that while Web apps are great for presenting relatively simple database UIs, they are relatively weak at performing most other tasks. Cloud computing is a pretty direct extension of the same argument.

I suspect things will go the same way with phones/tablets/mobile devices. A generic mobile device with a bunch of common built-in peripherals and sensors will solve a wide variety of real world problems, and thus various kinds of mobile app have been born. No doubt many more variations will follow over the next few years, as these devices support new functionality that was not previously available and ideas will spring up to take advantage of that functionality. The devices will be good enough for these purposes and will be widely adopted as a result.

On the other hand, Swiss army phones could easily start to suffer from both overspecification in breadth of features and underspecification in performance of individual features. For example, the suggestion in the article to replace reading glasses with a smart phone seems unrealistic and oversimplified to me: it sounds great initially, given that we have cameras and screens on these devices, but then you consider the vast range of different reasons that people are prescribed glasses, the consequent individuality of each prescription, and the fact that glasses do not generally require holding in your hand to use them.

In short, I'm afraid I don't buy pg's argument here at all. A certain class of applications, some of which already exist and some of which will be developed, will probably move to handheld multipurpose devices. However, specialised tools aren't going away any time soon, because any generic device is always going to be either a poor replacement for a good tool or too highly specified to be efficient for a broad market, even if the technology exists to combine high-quality implementations of all the required features within the required space and cost constraints in the first place.

23 points by pg 3 days ago 3 replies      
Incidentally, I know the Wikipedia article has been deleted, but I'm assuming someone will fix that.

(Is this the current world record for deletionism, or have there been more egregious examples?)

22 points by DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 4 replies      
Worth noting here that most analysts feel that the reason the original iPod was successful was that it only did one thing in an extremely friendly format.

I think the key question here is whether or not the app-universe grows in size until consumers desire separation of widgets again.

I know from my own experience that I found I maximize productivity by having separate devices responsible for separate things. For instance, when I pick up my blue iPod it's for education -- I keep books and lectures on there. But when I pick up my black iTouch it's for fun -- I keep only tunes there. My phone -- although it has all kinds of neat wizardry in it -- I use solely for talking to other people.

Perhaps both trends are true. Perhaps we end up individually separating our apps into physical devices based on preference instead of tradition. Neat stuff.

18 points by Vivtek 3 days ago 2 replies      
What blows my mind is that I might have been able to see this coming in the 80's - but Buckminster Fuller saw it coming in 19 fricking 38. That man was incredible.
19 points by drcode 3 days ago 4 replies      
> I wouldn't be surprised if by playing some clever tricks with the accelerometer you could even replace the bathroom scale.

Galileo might take issue with that: http://www.jimloy.com/physics/galileo.htm

19 points by pkulak 3 days ago 1 reply      
"I wouldn't be surprised if by playing some clever tricks with the accelerometer you could even replace the bathroom scale."

I'd be surprised. Very, very, very surprised.

12 points by ziadbc 3 days ago 0 replies      
The naming convention for these goes back to some research at Xerox PARC http://www.ubiq.com/weiser/testbeddevices.htm

Ubiquitious Computing is upon us, and much like the PC revolution, it will have been invented at Xerox and perfected at Apple.

11 points by sanjayparekh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just tweeted pg this but thought I'd say it here too. This is exactly what iRobot did when they saw the Roomba platform being taken apart and used for projects. They gave hackers the tools to use their platform and now sell quite a few Roomba based development kits instead of just plain old robot vacuums.
3 points by RyanMcGreal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Last summer, I rather surprised myself by using my android phone as a level while working on a backyard building project.

Also in the summer, I was camping when my flashlight died en route to the washroom. On the side of the path, I downloaded and installed a flashlight app, and then used it to find my way.

I volunteer in an after-school guitar class at my son's school, and use my phone to tune the kids' guitars before class starts.

A few weeks ago, a website I maintain went nonresponsive and I used my phone to ssh into the server and restart apache.

Just for fun, I installed an app that measures my heart rate using the camera.

Just five years ago, if you had suggested these uses for a phone, I would have thought you were nuts.

6 points by seldo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I look forward to the day when fat people everywhere will pulverize their iPads using them as bathroom scales.
7 points by duck 3 days ago 5 replies      
The fact that you can change font sizes easily means the iPad effectively replaces reading glasses.

Really? I mean it might help someone not need reading glasses for the tasks they do on the iPad... but they still have to have them to read the dinner menu, instructions on the box of food, and so on. If you can't replace it fully how good is it? The iPhone replaced regular cell phones because of the fact you no longer need two devices.

Or... I read too much into that.

4 points by luigi 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think they're still just computers, and will be thought of as such. Sure, they're computers you hold in your hand, not the kind that sit on your desk. Gaming consoles and set top boxes are morphing into general purpose computers too. Those are computers that sit on a table near the TV. But they're all computers the same.


7 points by tomjen3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Replacing keys sounds like an interesting idea, but on one hand you have the problem that the tech needs to be rock-solid (if github is down I get mildly annoyed. If I can't get my door to open, I freeze to death) and you are competing against an already established technology that works really well (rfid tags) and isn't very expensive.

That said, I would love to hear more about your idea, if possible.

4 points by ulf 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think a really disrupting and interesting field will be tablets as replacement for textbooks in education. The possibilities to create amazing educational material are endless.

On the other side, you have textbook publishers, who generally learn a lot of money with ever slightly changing editions and will do a lot to not see that income stream dying...

3 points by acgourley 3 days ago 0 replies      
This raises a question of how Apple will deal with "Made For iPod" interfaces that get increasingly generic. Right now they have a good framework for evaluating apps and hardware produced by one company to work together. They don't have a good way to understand hardware from company A working with software from company B.

What happens when someone wants to release a NES inspired D-Pad controller for iOS but wants to allow existing game makers to create apps that support it? Right now that is sort-of possible but it's very high friction.

Apple is a company who likes to build the whole stack from hardware to software; they feel like is necessary to create beautiful experiences. Will they compromise on this to facilitate a world where you can connect your iphone to any device in the house?

If they don't, progress may stagnate, hacks (like communication over wifi) will persist, and potentially they are giving up market share. Obviously they need to maintain the integrity and stability of the iOS devices but in my opinion they error too far on the side of caution.

3 points by patrickk 3 days ago 4 replies      
Other stuff being replaced by smart devices: watches, alarm clocks, portable radios, cheap digital cameras, spirit levels, dictionaries and perhaps soon your wallet and physical mass-produced books. Looking at some of the creative stuff people do with mounting their iPad in vehicles, perhaps iPad-like devices will replace traditional dials in cars in the near future.

The only reason we even consider calling them "mobile devices" is that the iPhone preceded the iPad. If the iPad had come first, we wouldn't think of the iPhone as a phone; we'd think of it as a tablet small enough to hold up to your ear. Hence the joke calling the iPad a giant iPhone. That was a pretty good description. If the future of telephony is VoIP, then that is pretty much bang on.

5 points by roadnottaken 3 days ago 10 replies      
Tablets are obviously great, but does anyone think they'll really replace cameras or GPSes? It seems to me that tablets will cut the bottom out of these markets (those with casual interest in photography or GPS or computing won't need to buy a dedicated device) but they'll never approach the quality of an SLR or a dedicated GPS. Or am I just being short-sighted?
2 points by timdellinger 3 days ago 1 reply      
In general, the tablet enables all the ideas that people have had over the years that were perfect "except you'd have to carry around a computer to run the thing". I'd love to see communications protocols and hardware (next gen bluetooth?) developed to allow devices that need a computer to wirelessly use the one in my pocket.

I'd also like to see more innovation in the space where users hold tablets while they're facing a television set. The tablet-as-remote-control where the program listings are on the tablet. The tablet-as-gaming-controller where you and your opponent both have tablets (draw a path on a map to move a character instead of guiding the character turn-by-turn).

10 points by devindotcom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't we been calling them tablets for ages? People have been designing around the idea of tablets for decades. They had the ideas for the applications of tablets fifty years ago. I'm not sure I understand what this article says that is in any way original.
4 points by lian 3 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't that surprising or revolutionary, it's all just part of the inevitable movement towards ubiquitous computing. It's obvious that we won't always be reliant upon one device's built-in sensors to constantly gather and supply relevant data in real-time, and inevitably we'll have an incredibly integrated network of real-time, physically collocated devices.

For now, tablets are great. And Apple is great at supplying them. But by no means does this mean anyone will be enslaved to Apple in the long term " someone else has the opportunity to create an open platform that enables any and all technologies to communicate with each other. Someone else will have to sell this platform to businesses, governments and, most importantly, consumers. And someone else will have to create the other, new interfaces by which we access and derive meaning from this data collection. And the challenge of preventing this from being too closed, too proprietary, is what will distinguish the best approach from the most profitable approach, and where we as users can choose to avoid a "client monoculture."

The tablet approach is just a step in an ongoing direction. It's way bigger than this.

6 points by pedalpete 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't the etherealization of hardware mean that we won't be referring to tablets, mobile devices, or laptops at all?

Isn't the only difference between an iPad and iPhone the screen size. So really, we're starting to refer to these devices based on size rather than power/memory/speed.

6 points by rdl 3 days ago 3 replies      
What's the YC funded startup which is a replacement for keys? As in "We funded one startup that's replacing keys."
4 points by pinko 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only person who thinks the iOS usability is declining as its feature set and resulting complexity grows? It's still simple for me, but while my mother could handle the original iPhone, I think she'd get a little confused by the current one. (Double and triple clicks on the home button, cut and paste UI popping up unexpectedly, etc.)
2 points by walkon 3 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that you can change font sizes easily means the iPad effectively replaces reading glasses.

I disagree. Reading glasses are close to the eye and magnify without sacrificing the amount of text to viewable surface area. People who need to significantly increase the font size (i.e. the same people who would use reading glasses) are going be constantly interacting with the iPad to tell it to pan/scroll the viewable (magnified) surface around so that they can see everything. Pagination is only a partial workaround (still have to interact, just deal with the large increase in page turns) and only makes sense with text-type data (e.g. pictures lend themselves to panning, not paging).

1 point by blahedo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here's the thing: people who aren't geeks often like and even prefer single-purpose devices. There is, as has been noted (see http://g4tv.com/videos/44277/DICE-2010-Design-Outside-the-Bo...), a "pocket exception", but for larger devices, people who aren't us are often intimidated or confused by devices that do many things.

And of course there are dangers in making a machine more general-purpose than it needs to be. Machines that are too general-purpose becomes more susceptible and sometimes tempting targets for hacking. (As usual, ground well-trod by xkcd: http://xkcd.com/463/, http://xkcd.com/801/)

5 points by ludwigvan 3 days ago 2 replies      
"For historical reasons, the device in your pocket or purse - the one that you use to browse the Internet and send email, is called a "phone." We need a new name for that thing." Scott Adams. He suggests calling them "head". http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/phone/

On a side note, I really need an innovation for keys, they scratch my iPhone! So, go, that new yc company, go!

2 points by kenjackson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tablet is the wrong term. In fact I fear the use of it becoming the term to use as I think it immediately prunes potential avenues of exploration. I think mobile or personal device is a better term as its really about the intent of the device, which is to be with you always. Tablet really seems to describe the form factor. I'm not convinced that the form factor is all that important.
1 point by someone_here 3 days ago 4 replies      
The real thing that makes these "tablets" interesting is the number of features they have packed into them. The "ease of use" that people are talking about when referencing Apple's products is just a part of Apple's marketing for their devices. Android (and Maemo and MeeGo and etc) devices are much more capable and much more hackable. Why the praise for such a bland device such as the i-OSes when there's an awesome OS and device market sitting right next to it?
3 points by chr15 3 days ago 1 reply      
In 2001, Bill Gates said that by 2006 tablets would be the most popular form factor for PCs. They obviously weren't back then. It's funny how Apple changes ecosystems.


2 points by prakash 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's another good example of etherealization: With Skype one can get a US (and a few other countries) number that gets routed to my skype id.
1 point by rbarooah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's clear that Steve Jobs is fully aware of this. It's why he changed the name of the company to Apple Inc, just before announcing the iPhone - he wasn't indicating that he was going to start building hundreds of different consumer electronics products - he was telling the world that a the iPhone and it's variants would replace most of them.
1 point by quickpost 3 days ago 0 replies      
The other question is for Apple - what other sorts of addressable hardware could be added to the iPad to make it even more versatile (temperature sensor, various transducers, etc.).
1 point by bfung 3 days ago 0 replies      
seems like there's still a lot of work todo, and a lot of room for growth. A survey of how people use their ipads, coincidentally from today: http://www.businessinsider.com/ipad-survey
2 points by albemuth 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that now seems ridiculous is the bank authenticator tokens, the blizzard authentication apps are a great example
2 points by aditya 3 days ago 1 reply      
Typo in the last line: "and inch" should be "an inch"
2 points by replicatorblog 3 days ago 1 reply      
FYI, the link to RFS 8 is broken.
1 point by xenophanes 3 days ago 3 replies      
Another possible recipe for a startup (not saying this would be easy) is to find an important way that Apple is handicapping their devices and overcome it on Apple's own platform in a way that Apple will allow. If you can do that, users will love it and buy your product.
4 points by AN447 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always thought of these devices as 'casual computing'
2 points by moontear 2 days ago 0 replies      
Was Paul trying to coin the word "tablet" for these kind of devices? I don't know how this is anything new, I have read of the iPad "tablet" or "tablet computer" many times.
1 point by charlesju 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just can't wait for the Kinect sensors to be an open standard with a commododized component in every electronics we have.
1 point by extension 3 days ago 1 reply      




2 points by buss 3 days ago 0 replies      
I fancy the term "communicator," personally.
1 point by anthonycerra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple's tablets are just one aspect of this etherealization. The real hero here is software. From the ability to create a physical three dimensional object to the manipulation of DNA - software makes it possible.

What's reassuring is that Apple doesn't have control over all the hardware interfaces that make (and will make) this possible.

1 point by bergie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a bit surprised that there was no mention of Jef Raskin's information appliance concept


1 point by gasull 3 days ago 0 replies      
In Spanish the word "tabletas" is already used for this.
1 point by orionlogic 3 days ago 1 reply      
i wish there is direct rss feed for the essays other than some intermediary channel.
Thanks HN: Goodbye, Golden Handcuffs
336 points by jriley 3 days ago   115 comments top 37
74 points by patio11 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on making the most important decision of your life and, secondarily, on opening the business. Words cannot express how much better self-employment is than what I used to do for a living.
106 points by suhail 3 days ago 2 replies      
jriley: Email me suhail@mixpanel.com -- You just got free Mixpanel, good luck when you launch we're here to help.
50 points by staunch 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Thought you should be the first to know.

Good and good luck. Now please tell your fiancée!

11 points by toast76 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I have two pieces of advice I can share,

1. Pick up some contract work - you can easily turn 6 mths into 12 mths, and then 2 years, then 3...no matter how many projects fail to get off the ground, if you have a bit of side income, it'll help in the long run.

2. Don't ever forget why you quit - if that is to "pursue your dreams, not an income". Write it on a wall above your monitors and don't ever forget it.

EDIT: Oh, and good luck! :)

11 points by jey 3 days ago 2 replies      
Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwG_qR6XmDQ

Rumor is that the "boss" was actually David E. Shaw himself.

5 points by jeromec 3 days ago 3 replies      
Let the [work] begin.

FTFY I hope you're prepared to work at least five times harder than you did at your safe job, and for little to no guaranteed reward. Actually, if you're only giving yourself six months, make that ten times harder. I would say good luck, but considering around 90% of startups fail, work hard, be persistent and expect difficulty, seems more helpful to say. The success stories appearing on HN can give a skewed impression on how hard it is to succeed. Congratulations, though, for bucking a potential path of regrets.

Edit: A bit more advice is release early, and often. The trick is finding the balance between minimum viability and having enough value for traction. Iterating on an idea is almost always necessary, so be on the lookout for how that can help and possibly even save your endeavor. A six month deadline to succeed means you're really going to be up against it.

12 points by dstein 3 days ago 2 replies      

  Once you have mastered time, you will understand how
true it is that most people overestimate what they can
accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can
achieve in a decade.

-Tony Robbins

10 points by sreitshamer 3 days ago 2 replies      
You might need a lot more than 6 months. But, like my wife always tells me, you don't fail as an entrepreneur until you quit. And the ride is sure worth it. Life is short.
2 points by efsavage 3 days ago 0 replies      
"the best example you can set for your kids ... is to pursue your dreams, not an income"

My father did this, in several ways, and failed massively at all of them, and yet for reasons I can't really articulate I 100% agree with this.

9 points by kaffeinecoma 3 days ago 1 reply      
What are you planning to work on?
4 points by PStamatiou 3 days ago 0 replies      
jriley: Email me paul@notifo.com Would love to intro you to someone you should meet in Austin.
3 points by seejay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dear fellow HNer,

This is to help you when you visit this page again in a difficult time...

Shit happens... thats completely normal. Awesome things will definitely come your way. You only gotta do one simple thing...

Keep swinging!.. Don't ever give up!

Tattoo this on the back of your hand if you want... it's totally worth the trouble.

With the very best of luck,


PS: And thank me on that day when you read this post again with joy...
Oh just for the record, No! I don't have it tattooed on the back of my hand... I make sure I have it on my mind instead. ;-)

3 points by kj12345 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck! One odd piece of advice I have is to recommend limiting the amount of startup advice you read online. It's too generic now that you've committed. Focus on what you're creating, not on making your venture look like the internet's current concept of "startup". Look, for example, at the popular phrase "Minimum Viable Product". You'll find a lot of excitement around the "minimum" part, but the "viable" part matters also and is fully dependent on what you're doing. There are many things that are unique about individual businesses, but generic online advice by necessity exaggerates the shared aspects.
8 points by arianb 3 days ago 0 replies      
It'll be a tough and long road, but if you're really set on it, you'll be happier than ever. Good luck, man.
1 point by marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Firstly...let me say...Congrats.

Secondly, brilliant that you made sure to lock in the girlfriend at the beginning of the journey, not after you started when she realizes what a crazy person you are - and how crappy the emotional roller coaster will be.

Thirdly, I wish you all the best. I would recommend that you quickly setup a landing page to ride the support you are getting from the community - collecting emails from people interested in what you are doing. You have to take advantage of all of these opportunities right now, because you officially have a clock strapped to your back (i.e. before you run out of money). So leverage every opportunity to the most you can. On the landing page, put something about the project that people can figure out if they would be interested or not.

Fourthly, definitely keep us posted - even those that might not be interested in your product, will be inspired by your story.

4 points by dorkitude 3 days ago 2 replies      
Congrats :)

If you're in SF, let me know

We have a sweet co-working space for hackers with all of the three C's: coffee, camaraderie, and a fast connection

1 point by csomar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still a student but I'm building my small Internet Empire, so that I don't need to apply for a job when I finish studies (or better, don't think about it). I completed around 35% of my studies and yet, this month, made (around $400) what an Engineer would make in my area.

I'm enthusiastic about the future, especially the next month, when I'll release my Wordpress Premium plugin (and estimate $1K in sales in one month).

Even if you have a nice job, make sure you always have an alternative, in case of... you don't get sucked, by anyone.

1 point by eande 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I kicked off my startup in Jan 2010 I thought in 6 months the bootstrap period will come to an end. Now 12 months into it and still some more time needed. My advice check on the six month bootstrap timing you plan, might be a little short.
5 points by skbach 3 days ago 4 replies      
6 mos ain't enough, but otherwise, great idea.
1 point by noelchurchill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Your account is less than an hour old. Did you create a new one since applying to YC in 08?
2 points by gshannon 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the best thing you will ever do.

You will look back at this moment and realize it is the defining moment in your life.

5 points by danielson 3 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by keeptrying 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats! Reread pg's essays on how to startup etc ... As u read them this time around, the words will prtain to your immediate situation and will help unwhen things look bleak.

Best of luck.

1 point by ncarroll 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, jriley on not one, but two monumental decisions. The ring for your girlfriend should turn out to be a contribution to your success equal to your decision to leave your job. Good luck to you both!
2 points by checoivan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear this kind of stuff. Your words encourage me to do the exact same thing.
1 point by whiletruefork 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just did the same thing, albeit - I only gave myself 6 weeks to make acceptable progress on something (anything) before I start working full time again. It's my mental safeguard against procrastination.
1 point by raghava 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful! Wish you a ton of good luck!

  >>underwhelmed by my safe, boring corporate gig
I know how it feels! :( And am yet to break those handcuffs.

2 points by nerd_in_rage 3 days ago 1 reply      
how much cash do you have in savings? i'm thinking of doing the same thing.
1 point by middlegeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good deal, I am happy for you! Get some stuff done.
2 points by rrrhys 3 days ago 1 reply      
Best of luck, very envious over here!

Do you have a blog?

1 point by narsimham 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is a great way to go.

i left my job with no savings and intending to do the same thing, because i was just not happy with my position at my new employer.

within three months i was completely broke, but with a github account with hundreds of commits.. and then my old boss from my second-to-last job called, and offered me job back, at a huge raise, and allowing me to work remotely, and pursue my own codebase/startup dream on the side.

quitting for the right reasons can have wonderful side benefits. :)

1 point by tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best of luck! If things look grim, don't give in.
1 point by gawker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck and do let us know how it goes!!
1 point by d8niel 2 days ago 0 replies      
You only live once!
1 point by donaq 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck!
1 point by Semiapies 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck!
-3 points by doublez 3 days ago 1 reply      
Medical researcher discovers integration, gets 75 citations fliptomato.wordpress.com
314 points by robertk 2 days ago   118 comments top 22
50 points by dmlorenzetti 2 days ago replies      
The author calls out med students for approaching physics through rote memorization. It reminds me of an experience my older brother and I had with a doctor friend.

Our friend, an OB/GYN, mentioned how hard her work is, because "the average baby is born at 3am."

We laughed, but then my brother asked, "What does 'average' mean when you have a 24-hour clock? It must mean the modal time or something like that."

I contributed that this is an issue in defining average wind directions, as well. The basic problem is that if you record times on a 0-24 hour scale, or wind directions on a 0-360 degree scale, and then naively average the numbers, you get meaningless results (for example, 180 degrees if the wind steadily rotates through every point of the compass).

A quick glance at our doctor friend showed she had checked out of the conversation entirely. Possibly she just felt slighted that we were not bowing down in awe at the terrible hours she keeps. But my main impression was that she lives in a world where one receives a piece of information, notes it, and stores it away. And when repeating that received information, one's listeners duly note and store it away.

Chasing down the source of the information, calling it into question, relating it to other things in the world-- these just weren't things she seemed to find pleasurable.

57 points by noonespecial 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'd laugh a lot harder when people struggle for days and then reach a half-assed piece of some algorithm that's completely well know if I hadn't been there a dozen times myself.

Programmers are especially vulnerable to this. Who hasn't made a 4 page case statement when 3 lines of recursion would have done it, especially when starting out? Then again, I've never named my case statements after myself.

No matter how brilliant one is, its ridiculously hard to know what you don't know. In fact, sometimes being very advanced in one field makes it doubly hard to think of in one you're poor in.

46 points by niels_olson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a doctor who majored in physics, and I agree with this post. Watching these folks come up with formulas in physiology was excruciating. People get their names on things that physicists wouldn't even bother noticing as something other than a single step in a derivation. Hacker News and Python have been come my group therapy and secret addiction, respectively.
35 points by kenjackson 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's another paper:

"Tal's Formula is the Trapezoidal Rule"

A rebuttal doesn't get much blunter than that.

31 points by carbocation 2 days ago 3 replies      
For my next New England Journal paper, I'm going to use a random number generator to simulate whether conditional, probabilistic health outcomes occurred or not.

I'll cycle through this thousands of times to obtain stable estimates, and then call this the Monte Carbocation method.

11 points by jasonkester 2 days ago 0 replies      
Or, as your Engineering professors used to say:

"A week in the lab will save you an hour in the library every time."

17 points by alphaoverlord 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just to be clear, and this might be tangential, but she is not a physician - I think she is a dietitian. I think its a fallacy to assume that only physicians publish in medical journals and there is a negligible link between over-the-top premeds and this article.

Mary M. Tai



I can't access the article, so I can't make any comment on the actual methods, but I think it seems a little presumptuous to flippantly make broad strokes about a paper from a different field solely by looking at the abstract.

He does make a good point about overeager premeds (and for good reason), but this post seems to be more airing out grievences and stereotypes than an argument about education or differences between diciplines.

31 points by philelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
looking up the paper on pubmed reveals a flurry of letters to the editor published in the subsequent issue that call out the 'tai method' for what it is. i would actually bet a good number of the 70 citations that so worry 'flip tomato' are actually criticisms or commentary papers like this, as opposed to earnest citations.
11 points by silverlake 2 days ago 1 reply      
My brother is a medical researcher. Much of his work involves statistics, but he's never taken a statistics course nor read an intro book. So a lot of his results are just basic high school stats and pretty graphs, nothing deeper. It would be funny if it weren't medicine.
24 points by mbm 2 days ago 1 reply      
According to Google Scholar, it's actually been cited 137 times. Another paper published in '98, cited 499 times, reads:

The integrated area under the curve (AUC) analysis for glucose and insulin was determined according to the formula of Tai et al.


10 points by rue 2 days ago 1 reply      
Come on now, many of you proudly tout how you were taught integration in secondary education. Big deal. This person discovered it for themselves, and that is an achievement to be celebrated.
7 points by brianlash 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think Michael Williams (third comment) has the right idea when he says "I'm sure you can find plenty of physicists saying spectacularly naive things about medicine...". Of course OP's discovery is amusing - even alarming - but approaching it with an air of condescension won't do much to advance either field.
20 points by abhikshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Peer-review failed here. It might be forgivable that a medical researcher doesn't know Calculus (maybe..), but if an article is making a mathematical claim, the journal should find appropriate reviewers. And this is not even remotely advanced math.
11 points by sciboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I often help (good) researchers with experimental design and statistical analysis of quasi-experimental data, and it's shocking how little they understand. It pains me to think how much waste there is in science at the moment because the researchers do not have the statistical or numerical background to even know what questions are possible.
6 points by praptak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tai's model? Naming things after oneself is +20 points in The Crackpot Index.
21 points by manicbovine 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a mathematician, I see this as a sign that my field needs an evangelist.
2 points by roel_v 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly off topic, but the other day someone asked how to do well in academia. Well, interdisciplinary work like this is a great way to get many well-cited papers - be well-versed in two or three fields (a lot of work, but not very hard) and apply things from one to the other(s). Don't call it '<your name>'s Method' but just present it as something groundbreaking (which it even may be, in that new field).

You can generate a paper mill out of this after 10 or 15 years of studying the various fields (including undergrad and grad school) - it doesn't require much hard thinking, just a lot of work.

3 points by pge 2 days ago 0 replies      
The lack of interdisciplinary collaboration is one of the major flaws of the US university system (I can't speak to other countries). The grad students I knew each had a specific toolkit that they had learned in their field but there was little or no sharing of those toolkits from domain to domain. That is unfortunate. Of particular importance in today's world are a toolkit of mathematical techniques (calculus, statistics, differential equations are probably the top three categories) and a category of basic programming skills (the ability to automate routine number crunching in particular, maybe "scripting" is a more appropriate word than "programming" - even recording and writing macros in Excel VB would go a long way).
3 points by finton 2 days ago 0 replies      
My outsider's opinion is that I think that a lot of cited articles are not always thoroughly examined, or of they are examined they are used to confirm the biases of a particular researcher.

I recently became interested in the idea of possible anesthetic neurotoxicity in infants and looked at a number of papers. The basic research seems solid, but the conclusions drawn are strangely inconsistent.

Neonatal rat, mouse and pregnant guinea pig models are used, and recent studies have been done on monkeys. It appears that there is a high incidence of cell death after exposure to anesthesia, but there is a relatively narrow window of vulnerability, which apparently peaks at 7 days postnatal in rats and rapidly diminishes. 5 day old monkeys were affected by prolonged exposure to ketamine, and 35 day old monkeys were not. Similar results were seen in guinea pigs.

What strikes me, is that this window of vulnerability is differently equated to human development by researchers, despite years of research into ethanol neurotoxicity (anesthetic studies seem to be more recent). Estimates for 7 to 14 day old rat-human equivalents range from pre-term infants to full-term newborns, to mid-gestation human fetuses and to children up to 3 years old. Two monkey papers, one using ketamine, and another using isoflurane also came up with different vulnerability periods based on similar data by using different sources of information on neurodevelopment, one published in the 1970's and one more recent.

I cannot understand how so many studies could have statements about possible windows of human neurotoxicity, without any certainty about what phase in neurodevelopment they were dealing with. And, oddly enough, the paper describing the model that is used to claim a mid-gestation vulnerability (based on a "bioinformatics approach") clearly states that it cannot be used to predict the "coordinated surge in synaptogenesis just prior to birth in primates", which is hypothesized to be the peak period of vulnerability to anesthetic-induced cell death. So why is it used as a source?

4 points by nickolai 2 days ago 0 replies      
To be fair, this letter followed soon afterwards :


Tai's formula is the trapezoidal rule.

Monaco JH, Anderson RL.

Comment on:

    * Diabetes Care. 1994 Feb;17(2):152-4.

3 points by Shorel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Given that this is Obesity research, I'm just a little more inclined to believe all the claims of the NIH syndrome and biased analysis as described in Good Calories, Bad Calories.
1 point by SeanDav 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I just dicovered gravity :) In all seriousness though this does highlight a problem with modern research - the sheer volume of information out there.
I just need a programmer uni.edu
275 points by bgray 3 days ago   99 comments top 31
52 points by raganwald 3 days ago 2 replies      
The trouble with thinking "I have magic beans, I just need water!" is that you don't understand water. You don't know good water from bad. You don't really know how much water to use and when. You can't watch the beans grow and adjust your watering schedule because you think it's all about the beans. You don't get water.

That's my problem with "I just need a programmer" entrepreneurs. I can work out how to get paid, but I can't work out how to make them understand software well enough to make good business decisions about a software company.

(The same thing is true of "I just need a salesperson," of course.)

65 points by Kilimanjaro 2 days ago 4 replies      
So, you are looking for a programmer? Well, I am one. A goddamn good one. I can make a computer cry twisting its inner wires with just my thought. And I happen to be looking for a partner too.

Are you a solid-brass-balls entrepreneur not afraid of rasing money? Can you knock down every tabloid's door to get our story told? Can you set up appointments across the globe with people richer than god? Can you bring a thousand customers just the first month and two thousands more the next?

I can code the whole fucking app in one month and get version two ready the next month if that is what you need. See? That's execution, my friend. I can code apps blindfolded and with my hands tied. Can you do business like that? I don't want dreamers, I want doers.

Now, stop wasting my time with an idea, I have had plenty every day of my life since I started programming and I have spent twenty years perfectioning my skills. I know what I can do.

So, I ask you again, what are your business skills? Besides having an idea?

21 points by geebee 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is a good post. I'd take it one step farther. To say the idea is nothing without the execution still (kind of) suggests that they are different things. I think that where it comes to software, the execution is the idea.

I wouldn't quite claim that ideas aren't worth much. I know a few academics, and they are rightly careful about sharing their ideas before they get far enough with the implementation (lab work, publications) to ensure that they will be credited. If I'm going to agree that "idea stealing" is a problem, then I'm committed to agreeing that raw ideas do have some value.

Software can be like this, but in general, I think most software "ideas" are more similar to an idea for a novel, painting, or screenplay than a blockbuster pharmaceutical drug. Give two programmers the same "idea", and you'll end up with two different products - maybe almost as different as two different novels. Hell, give two writers or programmers the same detailed outline, and you'll probably end up with two different outcomes.

When I was in college, "business types" walked through shopping malls and appended "dot com" to what they saw, and thought they had a valuable idea. Now, people tend to prepend "social networking for" or "wireless". "Social networking - for surfers! for moms!"

Now one warning - however much I may feel this way, the law isn't necessarily on my side. IANAL and everything, but some IP lawyers came to talk to a startup I worked at once to tell us about how important it is to shut the fuck up, and evidently simply being "the programmer" doesn't mean you have to be included on a patent. So to that extent, the law does recognize a separation between idea and implementation.

14 points by angrycoder 2 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who has spent most of his career at a consultancy, people like this put food on my table.

The ones who end up being successful understand that they need to learn just as much about the process of software development and usability as we need to learn about their vertical. They understand that a good product is a result of give and take with your developers and analysts.

The ones who fail are the type A alpha dogs who just want you to do whatever they say because they are paying you a crap load of money per hour. They generally have the right mindset for an entrepreneur, they are trying to solve a problem they have. A couple of common problems are:

1) Everyone in their vertical may have this problem, but they assume everyone does business the same way that they do and follows the same process. They weigh down their system with too many requirements and business rules. As a result, they bury the one or two useful nuggets and end up with a product that is only suited to them.

2) They want to make some monolithic end to end solution right out the gate. They want to jump straight to being a WalMart sized franchise when they need to start as a mom and pop corner store (aka a MVP).

5 points by _delirium 2 days ago 1 reply      
I somewhat but not entirely agree with this. I definitely agree in the case he discusses: there are way too many people with vague ideas who "just need a programmer". I don't think the root problem is that implementation is the source of all value, though. In their case, they don't understand how to develop computational ideas in a useful way at all. It's not the lack of C++ knowledge or Ruby knowledge, but the lack of a general understanding of computational thinking.

A computationally-literate idea that's well developed, on the other hand, can be very valuable, and can account for probably 90% of the interestingness of idea+implementation. Not always: sometimes you find really major things in the implementation that cause you to rethink the idea. But there are many times that I've implemented a theoretical idea myself and not really learned anything in doing so. You read a paper, or even a blog post, which explains an idea in detail, motivates why the author developed it, gives a broad sketch of how you'd implement it, etc., etc., but the author hasn't actually implemented it. Then I implement it myself. Have I provided the majority of the value, because I'm the first person with working code? Not really; in many cases the implementation was a pretty straightforward translation of the idea into code.

A computationally literate and well-developed idea is arguably something close to "execution", but not quite the nuts-and-bolts variety. To use a physics analogy, my ideas on space travel are not very well developed or valuable, but Freeman Dyson's are valuable, even though he's implemented his ideas to the same extent I have: neither one of us has ever attempted to build spaceships. He's a pure idea-person, but his ideas are developed quite fully, so readers can understand what he proposed and why, what its pros and cons might be, what possible pitfalls await, what the broad outlines of possible fixes for those pitfalls might be (even if they depend on materials or other things not currently available), etc.

I'd say the same of people even further into idea-land, like Isaac Asimov, who provided valuable ideas with nothing close to an implementation. The trick imo is that most ideas either just aren't novel enough to be interesting, or aren't sufficiently well developed and explained to provide value to a reader.

51 points by porter 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems funny to me that so many people want to be software entrepreneurs, but refuse to learn about software.

Six months ago I quit my banking job of five years to learn how to program. I am taking discrete math, data structures & algorithms, and computer organization courses as a non-degree student. I am also up to speed with python/django/HTML/CSS/JS, or at least I know them well enough to hack a prototype together.

Programming is overwhelming at first, but seriously, it's not that hard to learn enough to test out your ideas.

17 points by CoachRufus87 3 days ago 2 replies      
that was me 2 years ago. I considered elance (couldn't afford it), recruited 1 cs buddy I went to high school with (he was busy doing his own things), so I figured I had no choice but to learn to program. I found HN, which introduced me to Michael Hartl's Ruby on Rails Tutorial, and I just launched my first app: http://www.fanscription.com
Oh, and I'm an Econ/Business Major.

"Just Do It" -Nike

13 points by sgentle 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see a lot of "just learn to program" around here, and I think it's all a bit glib and far from reality.

Firstly, programming is hard. It's not the sort of thing you pick up in a few weeks. Hell, there are people who manage to make it through a CS degree and several years in industry without actually knowing what they're doing. What makes you think it's a valuable use of your time to do something mediocre that other people have spent much of their lives learning to do well?

Secondly, good programming doesn't make a good business. It's as important (I would even say more important) to have a solid revenue model. Who are your customers? Why are they buying? How can you get more? These are questions many programmers wouldn't want to touch with a barge pole. Don't waste that symbiosis.

To me, the real message is that ideas aren't worth shit. Implementation is king. It seems like a lot of people (angry ex-startup programmers?) confuse real business people (who can contribute a lot to a team in sales & biz dev) with useless "ideas guys". If you're one of those then, y'know, stop it. You should go learn an actual skill (programming or otherwise) that will allow you to contribute to the idea's realisation.

(I should clarify, though, that I think anyone working in software should learn about programming. But encouraging business guys to write their own code is like encouraging programmers to draw their own art.)

5 points by fbnt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the majority of developers/startup founders have no problems sharing their idea or plan before launch date. They talk about it to attract new prospective clients, collaborators, create interest and so on. Very few operates in stealth mode nowadays.

So when you freely share your idea before launching the product you already consider the value of the idea alone basically zero, while you think the value resides all in your execution.

That's why I believe that if you have an idea you'd better be an exacutor or a sales person, otherwise there no or little value in your contribution. There's no shortage of ideas.

7 points by yesno 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very unfortunate situation in our industry.

BizDev guy says he needs one of them "programmers" who can code and don't talk back to him. BizDev guy knew almost nothing about software development or the "properties of a system software". Business didn't work out because the software is flacky. BizDev guy blames them "programmers" when changes are hard, software is super buggy.

BizDev thinks he's awesome cause he has 3 things: Money, Network and Idea. Everybody should bow down to Money.

Programmers became hateful against the BizDev guy. They say "I can do this by myself, screw you guys". Then programmers try to re-create their ideal world: solving cool problems, working with cool gadgets, in a cool office environment. Some said programmers have to work in a close office, alone GASP. Of course these silos came up with a chunk of code that probably hard to be integrated. Them programmers try to hire BizDev guy cause now the VCs are on their butt asking how money could be made. Of course it'll be hard for them programmers to hire BizDev since they have a very strong bias. They probably ended up hiring Sales Engineer instead of bright BizDev.

Programmers think they're awesome cause they have 3 things: Knowledge, Skill and Idea. Knowledge is everything they say.

This... is why 9 out of 10 startups failed. That 1 startup that succeed? the BizDev guy has an MBA and BS in CS or EE. The Programmers? they took minor in economics/commerce or accounting.

3 points by wccrawford 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, so they're surprised that they can't find students willing to work hard in return for some vague hope of money in the future?

Wow. Color me shocked. /sarcasm

And the advice that they could just learn programming themselves? I don't think anyone ever says 'I need X, but don't know anything about it myself. I'll just learn it.' (At least, nobody that thinks logically.) It doesn't work that way. (Okay, granted, some small number of people might think that and actually succeed at it. But at the cost of things they could have been doing efficiently, instead.)

7 points by nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm one of these guys.

Why didn't I learn to program? I had maybe an hour/day in between my job and my side hustle, and I just didn't have enough time to get through the problems in order to be a good programmer.

Since then, I've found that watching projects come to life, while learning on the side, has made it much easier to pick up Objective C, Javascript, Ruby, etc. Of course, I didn't expect programmers to work for free...that would be ridiculous.

That being said, it's kind of like learning HTML or CSS, unless you're doing it actively, full-time, for months or even years, it's going to take some time to feel like you know what you're doing.

Lastly, there are so many languages. There's Ruby, Python, PHP, C and its variants, etc. Do you learn web languages or something like Objective C?

Those are some of the things that went through my mind when I started.

6 points by vog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'm really impressed how quickly this page loads!

Or, maybe I'm just too used to the masses of those annoyingly slowly loading blogs.

13 points by scrrr 3 days ago 3 replies      
Funny, I have the opposite problem. I need a biz-guy!
3 points by zavulon 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's another option, without having to learn how to program.

Be good and make money at what you do so you can afford to pay good programmers what their time is worth, so they can make your idea happen without too much hassle.

(Disclaimer - I run a company that does just that)

4 points by RoyG 2 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't just a programming issue; it reminded me of my younger days as a freelance designer, where I would meet with many prospective entrepreneurs who would tell me something like 'I'm very good at design, I just need somebody to work the software.'

Invariably, there is more to both programming and design than meets the eye. While learning can help obviate this problem it's not a cure-all; it is also important to learn how to a.) prioritize and simplify when your reach exceeds your grasp and b.) have realistic expectations for outcomes vs. budget.

It's a good idea to learn both, but again, the execution is more problematic.

4 points by rcavezza 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be one of those people before I learned how to program. Best investment I've made in the last 10 years.
3 points by Ataraxy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am a marketer. I am also fairly technical and think that I have a firm understanding of how things work but lack the capabilities/aptitude to properly code them. I managed to cobble together a functional prototype of some analytics software we needed. It was fine until it became quickly apparent that my coding skills suck despite a more or less understanding of it all. We had to hire a coder to write it all from scratch to be able to handle hundreds of thousands clicks per day. It has been bumpy but it was still the right decision in order to allow our business to grow.

My point is, even if you want something bad enough that you will sit there for a couple of weeks straight to cobble your vision together, nothing beats having it done by a professional that understands what they are doing.

I wish still we had a full time developer and ui designer available to us to make my much grander/awesome/profitable vision a reality. In time we will...

3 points by ssskai 2 days ago 2 replies      
Question: If I were a "BizDev" guy and wanted to create a website that has similar functionalities as, say, Groupon or PayPal (I understand they're different), what languages would be best to learn?

I would suspect some front-end GUI paired with a back-end database system would be needed, but what languages specifically would be best?

As an entrepreneur with a degree in Mech. Eng. and Entrp., and I have done programming in MATLAB, some VBA, and some HTML. So I understand the logic behind programs, but don't necessarily know all the languages.

Any and all suggestions are most welcomed!

3 points by joe_the_user 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that the punch-line is also "but I don't intend to pay hourly industry rates".
3 points by anthonycerra 3 days ago 0 replies      
What it really boils down to is the drive of the individual. If you're not willing to do whatever it takes to make the dream a reality then you're not an entrepreneur.

That might mean growing your network to find a co-founder or it might mean buckling down and learning to program yourself.

There's so much free information out there today that ignorance is no excuse.

1 point by rwhitman 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I'd say is that I don't believe programmers are the only profession afflicted with this scenario.

Who knows how many times I've had a 'brilliant' idea for something outside my domain where I've said to myself "this is a great idea, now all I need is a ____". I am just thankful that I'm smart enough not to start asking successful people to buy into my stupid idea until I've done some research first...

1 point by commieneko 2 days ago 0 replies      
That post was much better than I expected.

Ideas are important (although the usually mutate in the process of implementation.) The ability to implement is important (although the tendency to go after low hanging fruit rather than what is actually needed is strong.)

The last ingredient, though, is the ability to communicate the idea and the implementation to customers/investors/users/etc. Marketing, UI/Human Factors, and Sales are often as important.

1 point by dools 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have quite a few people I know who are on the "business side" of the entrepreneurial merry go round that quite often call me with their latest idea.

The remarkable thing is that no matter how many times I get back to them with a time estimate of 6 months - or a cost investment of $50k - $100k to get it live etc. the first sentence they always speak is "it's just a simple site that ... "

In fact it's not really limited to these guys. Everyone who calls me to get something done starts off by telling me how simple it is. "It's just this simple thing that ... " as if that's somehow going to make me realise that it IS simple and I can actually do in a weekend what I had thought would take months!!

If it's that simple, DO IT YOURSELF!

2 points by TotlolRon 2 days ago 1 reply      

If you have an idea and you learn how to implement it you might find yourself a single founder/creator.

You know what they say about those, right?

"What's wrong with having one founder? To start with, it's a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn't talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That's pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best." -- Paul Graham, 18 mistakes, 2006.

1 point by andyidsinga 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked this post.
Jumping into execution/implementation, especially when we're naive about all of complexities is a valuable learning experience. It seems we're also likely to meet folks and make new friends who do understand the complexities ..and from that group we'll find our project partners.

He also makes a good point about discouraging people ...it seems we need to do more of pointing people down the path of learning, implementation and discovery.

Yoh ho ho.

1 point by kaiwen1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great quote:Learning to program used to be an inevitable consequence of using computers. Sadly, that's no longer true. The inevitable consequence of using computers these days seems to be interacting with people we may or may not know well and watching videos.
2 points by disgruntled 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with offering equity is that it's often just a dangling carrot that never materializes. I've worked for several startups offering stock options over the years and observed an alarming pattern: programmers are treated as commodities to develop the idea, then laid off before the product launch. The C-levels reap all the gains and the product builders go collect unemployment.
1 point by megaframe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm with this guy, if I have Ideas I learn to implement them myself, if nothing else even if I got other people to do the work I know what they're going through to do it so I can plan for it, and as issues arise I can help not just sit around trying to motivate.
1 point by naithemilkman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am currently one of these guys in transition. Using Gladwell's 10,000 hour as a proxy for mastery. I estimate getting between 100 - 250 hours of programming time is good enough to get a working MVP out.

Does anyone think this is overly optimistic or unrealistic?

2 points by JMWes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Too many business people think programming is a commodity that can be easily outsourced. Too many programmers think business people all have vague ideas. They are both wrong.
Google responds to NY Times article by improving its algorithms googleblog.blogspot.com
259 points by Matt_Cutts 3 days ago   78 comments top 25
40 points by CWuestefeld 3 days ago 3 replies      
Before making a non-trivial purchase online, I typically do a search for "$vendorname sucks" and/or "$productname sucks", and this has saved me headaches on more than one occasion.

I hope that Google's solution won't interfere with finding bad reviews in this case.

14 points by _delirium 3 days ago 5 replies      
While I can understand not giving out details, to avoid gaming, this post as a result doesn't have much content! As far as I can tell, this is the entirety of the description of the change:

we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide a extremely poor user experience

The explanations of what Google didn't do and why are informative, though.

13 points by patrickaljord 3 days ago 0 replies      
"But if we demoted web pages that have negative comments against them, you might not be able to find information about many elected officials,"

Good one Google.

6 points by JangoSteve 3 days ago 0 replies      
How cool would it be if the guy behind this site did a writeup now to show what happens to search traffic and income when you shit on customers, then get your very own article in the NYTimes, and then Google tweaks their search algorithm specifically to hurt you?
17 points by arman0 3 days ago 2 replies      
This post is a great rebuttal to those who think that Google is becoming a lumbering giant. I wonder how long it would have taken Microsoft to respond to a similar situation.
4 points by martincmartin 3 days ago 1 reply      
When the NY Times article first appeared, the merchant still showed in Google's and Bing's results, but interestingly not in Duck Duck Go's.
3 points by daten 3 days ago 5 replies      
But if we demoted web pages that have negative comments against them, you might not be able to find information about many elected officials, not to mention a lot of important but controversial concepts. So far we have not found an effective way to significantly improve search using sentiment analysis. Of course, we will continue trying.

Google admits, and I agree, that this is a bad idea. But then why are they continuing to attempt it? Wouldn't neutral search results be better than those that favored a subjectively positive or negative business?

3 points by kenjackson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why not just put sentiment analysis directly in the search results?

Search for: Designer Discount Glasses
and maybe this page still is on the first page, but have a frowny face by the link, to indicate that sentiment analysis is largely negative.

Don't hide anything, but make how the site is relevant more apparent.

2 points by adammichaelc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems to have worked (not like I was expecting it not to). This search term used to show DecorMyEyes on the 1st page, but no longer does:


4 points by econner 3 days ago 1 reply      
I couldn't help but fix on these two sentences:

"We know that people will keep trying: attempts to game Google's ranking, like the ones mentioned in the article, go on 24 hours a day, every single day. That's why we cannot reveal the details of our solution"the underlying signals, data sources, and how we combined them to improve our rankings"beyond what we've already said."

Doesn't this sound like the exact things security people used to say before realizing that they needed to make their mechanisms public in order to ensure their security.

1 point by mixmax 3 days ago 0 replies      
derefr actually proposed using sentiment analysis in the discussion on the original NY Times article. Not a bad call.


3 points by dcdan 3 days ago 2 replies      
This feels like mostly a PR piece to me. And reports seem conflicting.

Google doesn't seem to say what they did beyond that they "developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience."

Danny Sullivan claims they are "Using Online Merchant Reviews As Ranking Signal" (http://searchengineland.com/google-now-using-online-merchant...).

Techcrunch claims Google "compiled a list of hundreds of merchants (including DecorMyEyes) that provided “bad user experience” and algorithmically forced them lower" (http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/01/googl/).

edit: typo

2 points by pzxc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now if they could only get rid of BigResource.com pages. They come a lot on my searches, especially coding specific ones, and that site has no content of its own. It just aggregates forum threads from other forums (not its own), and what's worse it's usually in such a broken way as to not let you read the thread on the page you're given OR find the original forum thread it was scraped from.

Yeah, I know, there are a lot of questionable sites cropping up more and more as everyone is going all DemandMedia on monetizing SERPs without providing much real value. That's kind of my point, and why I don't bother reporting BigResource even if I thought it would accomplish something (which it wouldn't) -- because it is by far not alone.

Google used to be so good at identifying scraped sites or made-for-adsense and it seems more and more are not only slipping through the cracks but in fact dominating the search results. To me this is a much more important issue than that of people getting a ton of backlinks from negative stories/comments which anyone with half a brain would be wary of giving money to if they actually checked (by searching for the company itself directly and discovering all the bad press instead of just searching for "$mycity $productname" and then giving their credit card info). Yes, I know that's too much to expect of most people. But really, I think google should try to help people who can effectively use their engine and try hard to do so but get poor-quality results before people who can't or won't bother to use it effectively.

3 points by tomger 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why people think the internet works any different than real life.

You don't just buy products in a dodgy shop, even if it's the first shop you see.

Google is as responsible for this as a phonebook company would be for giving you a bad phone number.

5 points by ry0ohki 3 days ago 2 replies      
So can I essentially destroy my competitors search rankings by getting enough people to disparage them on the Internet now?
1 point by subbu 3 days ago 0 replies      
And thanks to Google Earth, he can faux-stalk his customers without leaving his house

Add google streetview and their latest Google Earth 6 (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/introducing-google-ea...), it makes it even more easier to stalk people without leaving your chair.

2 points by ankimal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rule number one in online retail is looking up the vendor before you buy anything, no matter how much money you are saving. I dont see why any one should blame Google for this. Next thing you know, people are gonna want directions on google maps which others recommend as opposed to other metrics. If I got car jacked on a certain route, blame Google, it gave me directions.
3 points by TotlolRon 3 days ago 0 replies      
"A wise old owl sat in a Valley,

The more he saw, the less he believed,

The less he believed, the more he saw,

We never ask: what is the last straw?"

-- @taylorbuley in TC comments regarding something else, 2010

1 point by skm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would anyone else like sentiment controls in google's search tools sidebar? Three settings I'd use would be:
• Show more results about which people talk positively
• Show more results about which people talk negatively
• Show results which generate strong opinions, both positive and negative

Alternatively, a "show sentiment for this search" which added a small indicator next to the search results might do the trick. (Just to be clear, I'm not proposing adjusting the ranking of pages based on the sentiment on the page itself, interesting though that might be, but rather based on the sentiment in the text surrounding links to that page.)

From Google's blog:
As it turns out, Google has a world-class sentiment analysis system (Large-Scale Sentiment Analysis for News and Blogs). But if we demoted web pages that have negative comments against them, you might not be able to find information about many elected officials, not to mention a lot of important but controversial concepts. So far we have not found an effective way to significantly improve search using sentiment analysis. Of course, we will continue trying.

1 point by shasta 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they're going to apply this filtering technology to their sponsored links. There are paying scammers, too.
2 points by jeffreyrusso 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was an artful response. Google took what was essentially a piece of negative press from the New York Times and used it as an argument against the call for transparency in the algorithm that so many major media sources are pushing for lately.
1 point by jalpino 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Google took into consideration their own customer service into the equation? Non-existent support is just as bad as being a douche.
-3 points by aristidb 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Improving algorithms" now involves writing a blacklist? Blacklists are fine, but please don't call them algorithms.
-3 points by Google_franke 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now mute google conversations the smarter way. The unmute feature added to More Actions on Emails. http://bit.ly/gX0roM
-3 points by mcritz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google's headline is “Being bad to your customers is bad for business”.

I always thought “being bad” was analogous to “evil”.

The only script in your head headjs.com
241 points by timf 4 days ago   33 comments top 10
33 points by dinedal 4 days ago 7 replies      
I wish it was just the script loading and the other stuff was in a separate library. For a script that purposes to make less loading times I find it ironic that it would also throw in the kitchen sink.
16 points by CWIZO 4 days ago 1 reply      
The idea seems nice, I'd have to test it out to actually see if it really delivers. One thing that bugs me tho is the tone of the text. It's all "this is the best thing since sliced bread" and "authors surly must be at least demi-gods". This comment in the page's source says it all really:

"headjs :: possibly the most important script after jQuery"

I'm all for cocky and confident attitude, I just think it has no place in a presentational web page/docs

8 points by Sephr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand the whole dynamic class selectors for "Screen size detection". If it's trying to add support for standards, it should support media queries instead.
3 points by kqueue 4 days ago 1 reply      
IMHO, websites should include a single js file. In development you can have 100 js files, but in production these should be combined into a single file.

The downside is that you might include things you don't need in all pages, but that's not an issue because the file is transferred once, and cached. This will also minimize future conditional GET requests that check wether the cached file has changed or not.

4 points by Griever 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been reading up alot on javascript loaders lately to see which one I should use in the webapp I'm currently building.

So far I'm checking out LABjs, RequireJS and now apparently headjs. Unfortunately I am not so sure which will suit me best. Has anybody had any luck with any of the aforementioned three?

4 points by forgotAgain 4 days ago 1 reply      
If most of your javascript is made up of libraries like jQuery wouldn't it be simpler to use a free CDN like Google or Microsoft so that the library is most likely already on the user's machine? That would appear to be have a better payback than adding another library to load.
2 points by tjarratt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've wanted something exactly like this for a while now. Looking forward to trying this in a few projects over this next week.
1 point by tonyskn 4 days ago 0 replies      
RequireJS does this and includes a module system for managing dependencies. It is also available as a JQuery plugin.
1 point by adamstac 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by aaront 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. Will have to try this for some of my projects.
Grooveshark's new Javascript/HTML interface grooveshark.com
240 points by codejoust 1 day ago   122 comments top 29
38 points by invisible 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is an amazing rewrite from the Flash version - well worth the time they put into this one. They have some really dedicated staff members and some great talent on the team.
8 points by zhyder 1 day ago 2 replies      
How come the RIAA is okay with Grooveshark streaming any music at any time? Pandora has many more restrictions in their free version to qualify for "internet radio" licensing rates.
18 points by pogos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great work! Linux users now officially love you :-)
10 points by asnyder 1 day ago 4 replies      
Apparently the latest version of Opera isn't modern enough. I'm really sick of projects blatantly not supporting Opera. There's nothing wrong with it.

Update: Come on there's no reason to downvote this. At least explain why you're downvoting this, for example, Opera killed your puppy.

3 points by Locke1689 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic -- I'm a Grooveshark VIP member and have been since shortly after launch. I still think it was one of the best investments I've made in the past couple years -- it's completely changed how I listen to music (especially with the mobile versions).

I wish you guys the best of luck and thank you sincerely for continuing to innovate.

3 points by kuldeep_kap 1 day ago 0 replies      
This an awesome step for Grooveshark. Now let the greasemonkey or chrome extension customization scripts begin. Would love to see, what users come up with. I already coded new ad remover for my self. Couple ideas I have are as follows,

1. Last.fm scrobbler
2. Lyrics plugin (same as winamp has)
3. put 'now playing' list at the right sidebar
3. make 'now playing' list thinner.

4 points by pvsnp 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing I noticed is now the ad blocker (on Chrome) catches the ads and doesn't show them. Since I don't have a VIP account with them and the ads aren't as intrusive as Pandora/Last.fm services, I decided to whitelist listen.grooveshark.com to show ads.
It works beautifully though, Flash on Linux was such a pain.
3 points by HaloZero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Question for the developers.

How was JVMC? Was it very useful using the MVC format in your JS, did you end up using it mainly for classes or did you do the whole MVC format?

Why JMVC over something like Backbone?

A write up on this in a blog would be awesome.

Was Javascript templating useful? It seems to be me that it would be very slow (though faster than doing async request to servers I suppose).

3 points by ralphc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work on the Galaxy Tab. Tried Browser, Dolphin, Skyfire & Fennec. Best I get is the spinning pinwheel after I pick a search.
1 point by lg 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Never used GrooveShark before but this is pretty cool. Wonder why they don't have playlist ratings though (as far as I can tell)? When I do a search for playlists I'd like to see what other people thought of them before I click through each one.
2 points by keyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow they've done an awesome job. Another massive blow for Adobe, losing the battle once again (and I'm a flash developer)
1 point by meese_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Defacer Safari & Chrome extensions (http://babelstudios.se/defacer/, https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/ikfbfahhinbemoji...) seem to break this (just shows up a blank page)... any way to fix this?
5 points by codejoust 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks like they're utilizing js templates and localization along with a lot of jQuery and JMVC.
1 point by simonista 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Really weird scrolling on Safari 5.0.3 on snow leopard. The background flickers through the search results. Otherwise really cool.
2 points by n-named 1 day ago 0 replies      
You guys are my number one favorite. I hope you don't get shut down. <3
2 points by VMG 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what is the plan for Grooveshark Desktop?
4 points by tech_and_beyond 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am a big big fan of grooveshark. I work in a user interface team for a large blue chip company. The amount of work, time, dedication, motivation that goes into developing an intuitive user interface is huge. This guys just make it look as if it was a breeze.... If you could do a blog post as you have done on the architecture part, it will be great :).
1 point by decadentcactus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I visited Grooveshark just yesterday, and I just thought it was a flash rewrite. I did like the theme a lot, but the only sad part was my playlist was gone >:( (didn't have an account, it was just saved as cookie or whatever)
3 points by mynameisraj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know what this is written in/on, specifically? JavaScript/HTML seems a bit vague to me.
1 point by jdbeast00 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there any way to make a grooveshark desktop version that uses this same html5 interface? I love how the next/prev buttons on my mac work with that interface (using gs desktop helper)
1 point by quizbiz 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do they hide the source code if it's all Javascript/HTML?
2 points by enanoretozon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love it! I can finally use middle-click to open stuff on another tab.
4 points by MykalM 1 day ago 1 reply      
you have just became my favorite website :)
1 point by ubojan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've spent a couple of minutes searching for 'My Music' and 'Favorites' lists. Just click on your username and they are in menu bar left to the search field. Beside that, great interface and fast loading.
1 point by sgt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Apologies for my ignorance, but I've been listening to a couple of songs now, and I can't figure out how to purchase them?
1 point by neuromancer2600 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the design! Got me going intuitively. And there's even some rare songs up. Nice work!!
1 point by CopyrightTroll 1 day ago 0 replies      
I switched back to http://retro.grooveshark.com It's more refined, runs fine on Windows, and it has more features. The Javascript version is too chunky for my taste. I can't see the song titles, overlays don't work, I'm not getting tips, etc.
1 point by flexterra 1 day ago 0 replies      
awesome job
-4 points by bbulkow 1 day ago 3 replies      
Whatever you think of the user interface, please don't use Grooveshark. Their business model is either illegal or immoral. You will get mail from copyright owners telling you cease and desist from accounts that you've closed in the past - Grooveshark will claim that you're sharing the music, and you have legal responsibility, not them. Mails to close accounts go unanswered.

And if you work there - shame on you.

Bitly News bitlynews.com
225 points by razin 2 days ago   53 comments top 28
36 points by shrikant 2 days ago 1 reply      
For those wondering wtf (like I did for a couple of minutes after clicking through), from http://bitlynews.com/about.html:

It works by automatically discovering bit.ly links on Twitter in real-time, then posting stories with high click activity on bit.ly. Each story's score is periodically updated with recent stats from bit.ly, so the most clicked-on stories bubble to the top.

35 points by jeffmiller 2 days ago 8 replies      
I'm the developer of Bitly News.

One thing I'd like to add to the site is automatic categorization of links, like on Google News. If anyone has suggestions on how to accomplish that, please comment.

I'm also struggling with intermittent 502 proxy errors on the server where Apache has problems proxying to news.arc on localhost.

17 points by zachbeane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uses a version of news.arc vulnerable to the identity stealing problem described in http://xach.livejournal.com/228481.html

That's still the latest version of news.arc publicly available, though.

19 points by jgv 2 days ago 0 replies      
This just won the bit.ly api contest. Congrats to the developer(s), it looks great!
11 points by hammock 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would be REALLY awesome if it also scraped the text of each tweet (sans link) and converted it into comments on each thread. Identical tweets would translated into 'upvotes' on the comments.

This is great.

4 points by bretthoerner 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would like this for just my "network", maybe people I follow and people they follow.
2 points by jgv 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just got picked up by tech crunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/02/bitly-news/
3 points by davidu 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. I will be bookmarking.
7 points by dchs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks familiar!
2 points by mike-cardwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. It would be even nicer if it could intelligently handle deduplication. At the moment there are 6 World Cup news stories on the front page.
2 points by lanstein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forgot I had clicked the link, was wondering how the technical level of content plummeted so quickly. I need more coffee.
1 point by icey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Heh, whoever put this together didn't remove the user account stuff. I just created an account there and was able to comment & submit stories.

Although, I guess that might have been intended functionality.

1 point by wallflower 2 days ago 0 replies      
See also http://pulsememe.com top 10 story list generated from Pulse news app usage
2 points by bigmac 2 days ago 0 replies      
This thing has real potential. Props to whoever put it together.
4 points by nj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry for being off topic, but where can you get the news.arc code?
1 point by markkat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure why, but I feel reticent to comment on an aggregated link. I think this might be an issue. Not sure why, but I want to know that someone had a stake in the submission.
1 point by subbu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why is there a login button and register form if all stories/links are picked from bit.ly automatically. I mean, there is not much registered/logged in users can do.
2 points by Rygu 2 days ago 1 reply      
502 Proxy Error

Proxy Error

The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.
The proxy server could not handle the request GET /.

Reason: Error reading from remote server


Dead already? edit: it's up again!

1 point by hkuo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love it. I finally have a one-stop resource for breaking news for popular culture and other things outside of the web/tech/digital news that I spend the vast majority of my time reading.
1 point by yosho 2 days ago 0 replies      
heh if this takes off, I can imagine almost every aggregator site having a HN clone of some sort.
2 points by cagenut 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very very cool in concept. In practice... the content is borderline unreadable. Though I guess thats a me thing.
1 point by pepijndevos 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by jorkos 2 days ago 0 replies      
categories are needed as you don't have a unified community submitting content
1 point by initself 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the "welcome" feature.
1 point by kevinburke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised so many of the links are in English.
1 point by royrod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great site, fun summary of popular links.
1 point by tonycore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simple. Effective.
The Full Stack, Part I facebook.com
225 points by dimm 2 days ago   22 comments top 8
20 points by nerfhammer 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Well, if the table is in InnoDB format it will result in one disk-seek, because the data is stored next to the primary key and can be deleted in one operation. If the table is MyISAM it will result in at least two seeks, because indexes and data are stored in different files. A hard drive can only do one seek at a time, so this detail can make the difference between 1X or 2X transactions per second.


Innodb has clustered primary keys, which means that the row data is attached to the leaf nodes of the primary key index as the author correctly states. However, the leaf nodes and the non-leaf index nodes are actually stored in different segments of the table space! While in the same (giant) file, it is unlikely that they would ever be in contiguous space on disk enough to be read in a single random IO operation.

But it's more complicated than that: if any of the index pages or data pages have been read recently they will probably still be in the buffer pool, which means that they will require no disk operations.

But that's just the seek operation to find the row. The write operation is a different story yet.

What innodb will do is modify the row by marking it with the transaction id in which it was deleted. It will keep the row in place so readers with an older transaction id will still see it until all those transactions are complete. The change in the row and the row page will be written to the copies of the affected pages in memory only. Eventually the data pages and any affected index pages will be flushed to disk, potentially grouped with other changes to the same pages. IO operations occur on the level of reading and overwriting whole pages only, if not more.

Concurrently it will record in the log buffer every change it makes to the pages in memory. This won't get written to disk right away either, it will flush the log buffer to disk once per second in the default configuration.

So there are many more potential disk operations required of innodb than myisam. Generally innodb is preferably because it is vastly more reliable, and because it can handle concurrent read/writes to the same data -- MyISAM basically can't. MyISAM will in fact generally be FASTER for any single operation than InnoDB, because it simply does less.

10 points by tom_b 2 days ago 2 replies      
I started as a performance software person, from memory and cache conscious algorithm design in grad school, to network stack testing, to web server/db server/client-side performance testing and optimization. It is an excellent way to develop that feel for the big picture of how things are working. In enterprise software, there used to be a lot of low hanging fruit and it was fun to get "heroic" results with simple SQL tuning.

The flipside of that experience and mindset is that now, as I try to shift my way towards more functional and declarative programming styles is that I sometimes get sucked into the premature optimization black hole - I overthink rather than just doing some simple exploratory programming.

I keep telling myself I'm going to implement some fairly large project using nothing but lists and a Lisp to break it down.

4 points by tedunangst 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think I agree with the conclusion that performance will "depend almost completely on the random seek time." You can store the entire 10TB library on 5 2TB spinning drives. 5 drives can easily serve up 500mbps (that's only 60MB/s, one drive territory). So, on to seeking.

2000 streams, 5 drives, that's 400 per disk. Let's say we have the world's worst disks, that can only do 10 seeks per second. 400 / 10 means we have to buffer 40 seconds of data per stream (per seek) and we have to read it in 0.1 seconds before moving to the next stream. 300kbps * 40s / 8 = 1500K of data. 1.5M / 60MB/s disk transfer takes 0.025 seconds, well under 0.1.

I guess that's alluded to by "non standard prefetching", but I don't think it's that advanced. Especially since in a streaming video application, the client software is already going to be doing buffering for you. The bottleneck is bandwidth.

Check my math please? :)

4 points by aw3c2 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very interesting and well written so someone "dumb" like me can learn a lot about planning and optimisation from this. Riht in the third paragraph I just realised why some SQL query I wrote is so slow, embarassing but true, heh!
6 points by brown9-2 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reading this makes me really curious how Netflix's Instant Watching service is architected. Anyone have any details?
1 point by efsavage 2 days ago 0 replies      
A company well-stocked with full-stack engineers who can communicate makes the execution of good ideas so frictionless and the death of bad ones so quick and painless that it cannot help but to succeed.

If this is the caliber of engineering talent that Facebook values, there should be no surprise they are taking over the world.

5 points by gcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the ex-yahoo who got 'famous' by using a microwave near his wifi laptop to simulate dropped packages.
2 points by ajays 1 day ago 1 reply      
A much more readable, FB-free version of this is at his blog, http://carlos.bueno.org/
Plea HN: Any work?
222 points by throwaway911 19 hours ago   44 comments top 23
37 points by neilk 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey, I know you must be on an emotional rollercoaster right now, but just one question: why use a throwaway account?

You're just looking for work. There's no shame in being in this position, at least in this economy. And if you're going to refer to your reputation, why conceal your identity (which is probably already pseudonymous anyway)?

18 points by randfish 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I love that this post got 50+ votes and that so many people here are stepping up. Despite some occasional negativity in the comments, HN is something special.

And throwaway - if you're not deluged with other offers, drop me a line (rand at seomoz dot org). We're a Ruby shop, but might have some opportunities.

48 points by tptacek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Mail me? Thanks!
4 points by tibbon 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Mail me. While I'm not in a position to hire, I have a good friend that often is able to hire for python-based consulting work in Django, Plone and Zope. He might be able to help, although I can't make any promises of course. Please attach your resume or github link to your email so I have something solid to send him.
2 points by buro9 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you in London, UK? If so, email me and we could have you in for a quick interview this week. Email me, the address is on my profile.
9 points by jdavid 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I was just asked about a python job. Where do you live?

What does your wife do? How can we help her?

5 points by asanwal 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My lord - this is why I love HN and why it's unlike any other place on the web.

Just emailed you. Given the outpouring of offers, you may have found something (congrats if you have). If not, look forward to hearing from you.

7 points by iuguy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a Django project that might be worth discussing. Please contact me through the mail account on my profile.
3 points by eggoa 16 hours ago 1 reply      
If the title of this post is intended to be analogous to "Ask HN", "Tell HN", and "Thank HN", then it should be "Plead HN". Plea is technically a noun.
(Sorry for such a nit-picky comment -- I hope you find something soon.)
7 points by alexsolo 18 hours ago 3 replies      
It would be helpful if you mentioned where you are located.
14 points by cmbaus 17 hours ago 1 reply      
We're looking to hire a python developer. Email me.
1 point by inovica 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi there. I hope that things can be resolved quickly for you and I'm sure that there will be someone on here who has enough work to help you out, even short term. I also hope that your wife can find another job soon, to enable you to work on your startup. I've just dropped you an email also.
4 points by jollari 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This may not be the most glamorous option, but my company is looking for a contract QA person. Someone we can hire on a project by project basis and QA our apps. The work might work for the 'nights' half of your schedule and offer a good amount of flexibility. Feel free to email me.
3 points by kmfrk 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Check authenticjobs.com in your area just for good measure.
6 points by ssutch 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ever check out http://djangogigs.com/ ?
2 points by idlewords 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have contract work that needs doing. Email me your CV and rate.
2 points by zackattack 11 hours ago 0 replies      

I need someone to add a login/user registration process to CompassionPit.com (build on pylons + cogen) as well as add a wordpress blog (i have no idea how you're going to accomplish this since the web server is "paste") but if this is something you can do, shoot me an email with an estimate

1 point by wazoox 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually why not looking for a job for your wife? What is she up to? It looks like she has more available time than you at the moment.
3 points by maxer 16 hours ago 1 reply      
i need a flash designer/developer whos reliable for freelance work chris@justni.com
2 points by known 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried odesk?
1 point by pconf 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Your best bet IME, other than word of mouth, is to query Indeed(.com)'s job search engine using your favorite RSS reader.
-3 points by bennyk 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry I don't know all that lingo but I do need help fro my web site I need built. Good luck
-4 points by Nierika52 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi!! firt of all, don't worry, I can tell you for this moment that every thing is goingo to be all right (somehow). I find this page and may be it can help you.


I think you can also teach to the "non programers" (like me) how to do stuff in the web maybe some "personal" classes.

Will think on something!!! HOLD ON THERE!!

It's not an arsenic-based life form scienceblogs.com
221 points by tokenadult 2 days ago   33 comments top 6
25 points by hartror 2 days ago 3 replies      
This whole thing is yet another symptom of the science reporting ecosystem. Continual attempts at big bang news stories by institutions and their PR companies as well as a science media that goes for attention grabbing headlines.

Is this interesting and significant news? Absolutely, but the way it has been reported devalues the actual science done and misrepresents the science (and science as a whole) to the wider public.

Science is rarely about big bang eureka moments, it is long hard years in a lab building on someone else's work with a team of brilliant coworkers.

19 points by yosho 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is the best article I've read on the subject so far, short of the actual scientific publication.

I like how the author dives deep enough to give a you a good understanding of what actually took place while not making it sound like a scientific journal.

5 points by amichail 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone think that the self-promotion done by Felisa Wolfe-Simon is a little strange?



1 point by seanalltogether 2 days ago 4 replies      
So I'm curious if these cells can survive if reintroduced back in to the wild?

"Next, what they did was culture the bacteria in the lab, and artificially jacked up the arsenic concentration, replacing all the phosphate (PO43-) with arsenate (AsO43-). The cells weren't happy, growing at a much slower rate on arsenate than phosphate, but they still lived and they still grew. These are tough critters."

That seems to indicate that they wouldn't be able to compete with their cousins outside of a controlled environment.

1 point by wccrawford 2 days ago 2 replies      
Where in that article does it say that it's not an arsenic-based life form?

In fact, it says exactly the opposite. It goes into detail about why it shouldn't be the much of a surprise. (Not that I agree with him.)

1 point by athom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Favorite line: biochemistry is all about CHNOPS.

Pronounce the "CH" like "SH".

Close the Washington Monument schneier.com
207 points by psadauskas 2 days ago   54 comments top 12
22 points by jameskilton 2 days ago 2 replies      
Don't forget the most recent success of our information agencies, the printer bomb that was intercepted and defused. That was a big success to our current security systems.

What does the TSA do though? Ban printer cartridges on planes. WTF?! I thought this was a success? Now it's being treated like a failure?

I'm waiting for the first congressman to openly call out the TSA as a terrorist organization. He or she will get my vote for the rest of my life.

Great article Mr Schneier, couldn't have said it any better.

36 points by jdp23 2 days ago 2 replies      
beautifully written ... brings tears to my eyes.

"We can reopen the Washington Monument when we've defeated our fears, when we've come to accept that placing safety above all other virtues cedes too much power to government and that liberty is worth the risks, and that the price of freedom is accepting the possibility of crime."

11 points by stretchwithme 2 days ago 2 replies      
Someone might do something bad so no one should be allowed to do anything.

If the people that founded this country lived by this, they never would have left Europe.

4 points by zacharycohn 2 days ago 6 replies      
"The day after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to blow up a Northwest jet with a bomb hidden in his underwear, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said "The system worked." I agreed. Plane lands safely, terrorist in custody, nobody injured except the terrorist. Seems like a working system to me."

If he got on the plane with the bomb in the first place, doesn't that imply the system doesn't work?

13 points by cschmidt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't it be great if Bruce Schneier was in charge of the TSA? (not that he'd probably want/enjoy the job). Then, I'd feel a lot better about things.
2 points by TheSOB88 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally in agreement in theory. But sadly, people in general are knee-jerk reactors who aren't really interested in abstract thought of this level. Or am I being too cynical?
1 point by jodrellblank 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want him to write more about interesting security and less about America's reaction to 9/11. We non-politicians and non-Americans get it already; the response is disproportionate, knee-jerk and terrified (terror-ified?). But that's been the case for a long time now.
1 point by BenoitEssiambre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should really start an "Americans Are not Chickens, Wimps and Wusses" campaign. Proclaiming loudly that Americans are not going to be manipulated into losing their freedom by politicians and fear of terror.
1 point by NoSalt 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by davidst 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes our fears can get the best of us. This is one of those times.
-2 points by chrischen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could it be that sone people sacrifice a little of their liberty for the safety of... others?
-3 points by TomOfTTB 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't find this kind of thing helpful.

The question on things like the TSA policies is one of degree and not absolutes. So his claim that we should “conquer our fears because they are the real problem” doesn't hold a lot of weight with me. Fearing a terrorist attack is perfectly rational the question is how much liberty we're willing to give up to prevent such attacks.

So painting this as a “living in fear” vs “not living in fear” question doesn't really address the problem.

Beyond that there's the issue of disagreeing respectfully. Though he couches his point in flowery language the purpose of this type of article is to demonize the people who disagree with him. “They are the fear mongers and I am the rational one” is the point he's making. He's just making it in a way that sounds nice. That type of statement doesn't lead to productive discussion and it certainly doesn't do anything to convince people who disagree with him (people who I assume are the intended audience here)

Microbes use arsenic in their DNA: Proves phosphorus is not required for life scribd.com
205 points by roadnottaken 2 days ago   127 comments top 19
15 points by cstross 2 days ago 5 replies      
As Mono Lake is of volcanic origin and formed around 760,000 years ago (per Wikipedia) I'd be astonished if the arsenophile(?) evolved there in that short a time span. Which leaves open the question of where it came from, and whether arsenic tolerance is present but dormant in other extremophiles.

Other points of note: never mind the cellular DNA integrating arsenate, the whole respiration cycle seems to be affected, presumably running on ATA rather than ATP. Which implies huge amounts of molecular booty in the shape of enzymes that are powered by a different reduction gradient (ATA-AMA rather than ATP-AMP).

Possible down to earth applications? Lest we forget, Pakistan has a monstrous problem with arsenic-contaminated wells ( http://www.irc.nl/page/16331 ) and a bacterial culture that thrives on arsenic could offer new approaches to arsenic sequestration. And that's just off the top of my head. (My biochemistry is, alas, too rusty to go much further without a refresher course. Hmm ...)

11 points by TheSOB88 2 days ago 5 replies      
Why people constantly stick to the idea that all possible organisms must have similar biochemistry to us is beyond me.

Think about it: Out of the humongous search space of chemicals, the ones we use happened to work for us. A combination of randomness and building on what worked before got us to where we are. Why should life not be able to use chemistry in completely different ways in order to replicate itself? Why are we so arrogant as to think that our design is the only design?

Edit: My point is that our ratio of "shit we know" to "shit we don't know we don't know" is infinitesimally small in the field of possible lifeforms' biochemistry. That is, we only know stuff very close to us on a cosmic scale; we effectively have blinders to all other possibilities. And there's already a lot of biochemical variation on Earth: To give some small examples, viruses don't even have DNA, and plants use less amino acids than animals.

The self-similarity of what we have so far can be explained, I think, by evolution. We all started out from the same point, so there's very little incentive to "reinvent the wheel" as it were. Only under extreme conditions like we have here, or the geothermal vents underwater, do we observe marked differences.

12 points by drcode 2 days ago 2 replies      
OK, this news is very interesting, but it does not prove much about extraterrestrial life.

We know that organisms can adapt to their environment. Incorporating some fraction of arsenic into a cell's dna is an example of such adaptation.

The question that really matters is "has life originated more than once in the universe?" This experiment has no bearing on that: They took a standard terrestrial cell, with a carbon-based history, and simply subjected it to some new conditions. This is NOT a new life form that originated from a novel environment and using a different chemistry. However, NASA is getting awfully close to selling it as such in their press conference, which is misleading.

4 points by stavrianos 2 days ago 1 reply      
bicycle discovered constructed entirely from wood: proves metal not required for transportation


3 points by dnautics 2 days ago 0 replies      
high resolution Mass spec is such a shitty technique and is completely non-quantitative. How do you know that arsenic isn't associated with, say, a protein that makes the DNA resistant to being taken apart chemically. I will believe this result when they stain the DNA and run samples of the DNA down a density gradient ultracentrifugation and show that arsenic content in the media correlates with increased density of DNA, as you would expect if the arsenic is replacing phosphorus. If you don't know what i'm talking about, it's this classical experiment:


Here is my personal scientific experience speaking: If you see it everywhere, then it's likely to be an artefact. Clean up your technique, clean your instruments, and go back to an old school technique. Remember how the physicists who discovered CMB cleaned out the pigeon scat from their microwave horn telescope before they started to believe what they saw.

5 points by civilian 2 days ago 3 replies      
Huh! Biochemistry major here... So I guess that the bacteria just rarely uses Sulphur-Sulphur (thiol) bonds in it's proteins, since Arsenic has a high affinity for it (and that's what causes arsenic toxicity in everything else).

"suggesting the possibility of a biochemistry very different from the one we know"
Seems like a bit of an exaggeration, but news will be news. Thiols are important for the structure & enzymatic activity, but this bacteria is proof that there are ways around it. Besides that difference, I'm guessing they're the same.

3 points by sorbus 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The researchers isolated the organism and found that when cultured in arsenate solution it grew 60% as fast as it did in phosphate solution " not as well, but still robustly. The culture did not grow at all when deprived of both arsenate and phosphate."
0 points by frisco 2 days ago 5 replies      
This seems silly. Phosphorous not being required for life seems obvious to me: ok, maybe it's believed to be used in all Earth-originated, carbon-based life, but why would we believe a priori that it's an absolutely necessary component of any biological life anywhere (which seems to be what's implied by NASA and the relation of this to exobiology)? If we develop silicon-based artificial intelligence (how do you define life, anyway? That matters when you're talking about astrobiology), would we run a headline, "Researchers prove carbon not required for life"?

I've always thought the scientific community stated that alien life may use a totally different biochemistry from us?

Edit: so, in some senses this is like P!=NP being proven, except less important, since it's only one component (phosphorus). It's scientifically a big deal but doesn't change the world because it's largely what we've always expected (the metaphor breaks down that this doesn't have the major secondary consequences like N=NP would).

1 point by gort 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you have access (i.e. from university or whatnot) the actual paper is now online at:


2 points by roadnottaken 2 days ago 0 replies      
4 points by jaysonelliot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Felisa Wolfe-Simon's name is going to end up in the history books along with Leeuwenhoek and Darwin.

Talk about a life-changing discovery!

1 point by olalonde 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most theories[1] agree to say that replicating life predates DNA. Wouldn't that mean that we could still have a common ancestor with this life form?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis#Other_models

1 point by dnautics 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know. You would think, but you can autoclave a solution of "deionized ultrafiltered water" which should have "no" carbon in it at all, and bacteria will find a way to grow in it if you get it contaminated, they will concentrate the trace trace trace amounts of carbon.

How carefully did they prep their DNA? These days nobody is careful and they use these crap kits which are good enough, convenient enough to get molecular biology done. The other day in lab I suggested someone isolate DNA using caesium chloride gradient ultracentifugation and the only people who knew what I was talking about were the two old (70+) year old senior scientists but they agreed that it was the way to go.

1 point by bld 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the press conference in three ~10 minute parts:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu5dXnCUs7I
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LsihAsX4z8
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu0VvxuicLw

The lead author gives a talk at 2:26 in Part 1 that I thought was an excellent example of how to communicate science (or other technical subject) and implications to a general audience.

1 point by joelburget 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps NASA should be more cautious about holding a press on astrobiology, and with a Science embargo. Clearly everyone will immediately think of aliens, and for good reason. It's NASA, it's about astrobiology, and it's something big enough to embargo Science. They're just asking for all the alien stories. And let's be clear, these are not aliens.
2 points by akharris 2 days ago 2 replies      
Two weeks ago: antimatter contained long enough to be studied.

This week: life without phosphorous.

Next week: flying skateboards?

1 point by vibragiel 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by bradfordw 2 days ago 1 reply      
It has its own twitter account!
-1 point by EGreg 2 days ago 7 replies      
Don't mean to get all religious on ya, but I wanted to ask here...

Is there any evidence of macro-evolution having ever taken place in recorded history? I'm asking this with no agenda, but curious. As far as I know, no new species have ever been produced, despite natural or unnatural selection.

So what makes us say that there is no other force or process that causes speciation? How are scientists so convinced that mutation and natural selection is all that is required, despite never having observed a single instance of speciation?

To be scientific, a theory has to make some potentially falsifiable, non-obvious predictions. Then we can test those predictions, and if our experiments confirm them then the theory survives. I totally agree that the hypothesis "natural selection occurs" has been proven in ample ways (ok, maybe the white->dark->white butterflies was a bad one, but bacteria and their resistance to antibiotics is proof enough). But to form a completely new species...

Species is defined as "as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring" according to Wikipedia. Two animals are of different species if none of their offspring have ever been observed to be fertile. At least, that's a good working definition.

It bothers me that scientists have been interbreeding literally thousands of generations of fruit flies and despite all selection pressures, artificial or not, were never able to produce a single new species. Sure, it's hard to try and mate every fruit fly with every other fruit fly, so maybe there were divergent species, but after a few generations, this should have revealed itself. If this is really the case, then how come we take it for granted that humans, homo erectus, neanderthals etc. were all divergent species that had a common ancestor something like 50,000 years ago? Am I way off? If you take the fruit fly lifetimes and human lifetimes, in those 50,000 years we had about as many generations as the fruit fly generations. And we got all this speciation supposedly, using nothing more than mutation and natural selection. But where is the proof?

I'm not necessary arguing that one of the religions is right and there is another force. But are scientists being biased here when they simply assume there isn't any other force? It's as if I was looking at cars from the 1920s all the way up until now, and I saw gradual change, and based on this I decided that there was no designer of these cars. I don't think that follows at all.

Just curious if someone knows links that can resolve this for me :)

The dark side of open source conferences [about women being harassed] lwn.net
192 points by rythie 2 days ago   211 comments top 21
51 points by acangiano 2 days ago replies      
A few thoughts:

* This is one of the most factual, well written articles that I've encountered on the subject.

* It's just sad to see socially awkward people manifest their sexual frustration in this manner. And it's even sadder to see that the few women we have in our profession feel threatened at conferences. The overwhelming majority of good people need to intervene to interrupt any form of harassment towards anyone and above all report them to whoever appropriate.

* It's important to remember that sexual harassment is not simple unwanted attention from someone you find unattractive. magamiako deleted his comment, but he was right on the money when he said that certain actions will be interpreted as innocuous flirting if the person perpetuating it is attractive, and as harassment if their are not. It may not be PC to say this, but it's important to distinguish unpleasant, but fundamentally innocuos flirting from awkward people, from bona fide sexual harassment like groping or inappropriate touching. The latter must be eliminated from tech conferences.

* Sexism and unprofessionalism can be avoided without being prudish about the content of your presentation. This is a slide I used in one of my Italian presentations. The title reads "Eye candy is important": http://grab.by/grabs/bd8b294c0aa850b4b577012a258979a3.png Actual slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/antonio.cangiano/tu-vu-fa-lamerica...). This was just after the "CouchDB performs like a porn star" scandal, and several women at the conference complimented me for pulling it off without objectifying anyone.

59 points by btilly 2 days ago replies      
Ah, yes.

I remember once casually joking at a get together, Someone needs to tell ESR that he's not God's gift to women. When everyone was done laughing, it turned out that both women present at the table had actually been propositioned by ESR. (And had turned him down.)

A small minority of men cause the vast majority of the problem. Unfortunately it doesn't take many to create a real problem.

24 points by gyardley 2 days ago 3 replies      
The gender imbalance at open source conferences means that the small proportion of men throughout society that harass women have a much smaller pool of targets to choose from.

The result - while open-source conferences might have the same amount of harassment per male attendee as any other conference, the percentage of female attendees affected by it is much higher.

This creates dramatically different perceptions. As a male, I haven't seen any more sexual harassment at tech conferences than I have at academic conferences on Russian history, so it doesn't feel like there's much of a problem. But from the female perspective, the situation looks like an epidemic.

I have no solution to this unfortunate situation. Perhaps open source conferences should ban alcohol, so everyone can stay properly inhibited. This hardly seems fair to those of us who enjoy having a beer and can do it without molesting others, but a minor inconvenience to the majority is usually acceptable when it prevents a devastating experience for a minority.

28 points by seanc 2 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't get over how powerful the message was when presented in clear technical language. By articulating the problem in a simple factual manner and offering specific concrete solutions, some of which are already under way, she makes it impossible to dismiss her concerns.

The medium is the message I suppose.

I wonder if this style, applied to this issue, is powerful only for technical people, or it it would be equally compelling to other groups.

18 points by rb2k_ 2 days ago replies      
What annoys me is that the article talks about a "problem of a sexualized environment", but the [post](http://blog.nerdchic.net/archives/418/) that is being refered to describes things like this:

> I lay across the bed, sat on laps, generally tried to squish in to any available space and get time to talk to all the fabulous people thronging the place. [...] I had a few drinks. I was wearing a skirt of such a length that I had cycling shorts on under it to make me feel more comfortable getting up on stage and dancing. I had been flirting with a couple of other boys at the party.

Way to be professional...

19 points by JonnieCache 2 days ago 2 replies      
The thing that shocks me is that people seem to describe so many of these incidents, yet they just seem to have passed by with little fallout. At least none was described in the article.

In most circles of independent minded, proactive people (like those in the OSS scene) that I have moved in, such blatant acts of sexual assault would lead to a massive commotion, probably violence. How can you walk up behind a stranger in a public place full of your peers, grab them on the ass and proposition them for sex without getting something broken over your head, or at the very least being shouted and screamed at?

Sounds like people need to be more willing to stand up for themselves and their friends, to more clearly establish group norms of what is and isnt acceptable.

Articles like this are very depressing to me as a young idealistic developer who sees the open source world as a progressive and egalitarian model for how to live our lives.

9 points by masterponomo 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm sure this will sound sexist as well, but the chivalrous guys far outnumber the jerks. If someone crosses the line, by all means call the cops but also consider making an immediate and loud protest, and you might get help from an ad hoc group of temporary big (or little) brothers. A black eye and split lip might be the quickest way to teach some of these guys the right way to act.
8 points by alexh 1 day ago 0 replies      
This happens in a lot of organizations.

One that I think is most relevant is CUSID( Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate )

It was very much an organization which had a problem with women feeling pushed out, harassed, and uncomfortable. The result of that was that very few women were getting involved or staying involved.

In 2001 they decided to do something about it. They had a long discussion, and implemented a very strict policy about offensive conduct. You can see it here http://www.cusid.ca/documents/official-documents/cusid-code-...

The TL;DR; of it, is that every tournament is obligated to have an approachable "Equity Officer" as well as an anonymous way of submitting "Equity" complaints. These are comments on things that made someone uncomfortable, feel offended, or feel harassed. The equity officer then takes action, at their discretion, usually informing the offender that what they did was not cool, with no tangible punishment. Sometimes ignoring the complaint. Or in rare cases, taking drastic action against an individual.

Having been at the receiving end of two complaints, they take this policy very seriously. There is a very vocal group that believes that the policy is harmful, because it is too restrictive. There is another group that feels it is necessary and should get stronger. It is a political debate, and the two groups keep each other in check, at the current level.

The IMPORTANT result. In 2001, very few women were involved, particularly in upper levels of the community. This year, female involvement has risen to the point that fully half of the 32 finalists in the BP Nationals held two weeks ago, were female.

There are still issues, and a new discussion is being had on refinements to the policy. The point is that confronting the problem head on, did a lot of good. Particularly the point of having a formal way to complain and have the offensive parties made aware of the inappropriateness of their actions, and hold them accountable.

6 points by Yaggo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'm truly shocked. I mean, it's 2010. Apparently there are minority of people how can't behave and ruin the reputation of the whole community.

> Later someone was caught taking up-skirt photos of my friend's partner.

Would be interesting to know if he was kicked out of the conference, and whether the harassment cases were reported to authorities / organizers.

11 points by follower 2 days ago 5 replies      
While I'm pleased to see this article on HN, is it appropriate to use a "subscriber link" in a public forum like HN?
2 points by viraptor 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is an interesting part to some of those stories... kind of captured in some of those paragraphs. For example "If I go to CES in Vegas I go with the understanding that porn is part of the business of that conference". Many gamers' expos would have naked girls with game logos painted over them if they could get away with that.

Also, have you lately been to a students' club? In some places (and not even of the lowest quality) kissing and proposing sex to people you barely know is pretty much a normal behaviour. (this happens from both genders)

Now you have lots of people coming out of that environment and expect them to figure out by themselves that this is a different environment? Of course there will be someone who doesn't quite get it.

It also doesn't help when in some environments women are ok with as much attention as they can get. I've seen a couple of IRC channels of open-source projects where there's a regular female user appearing there. Strictly no-offtopic channels suddenly switch to 2h "what's new in your life in any details you want" discussions between her and 10 random guys that includes innuendos every once in a while. Again - do you expect those people to figure out themselves that it's not the same environment?

I really don't think this is a problem "of open source conferences". It might be something that manifests there more often than in other places.

5 points by geedee77 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a good article and a great reminder to us all about the underside to the world. I do want to say, though, that the 'men' (and they are only described as such due to their gender) in this story are a very small minority that you would find in any group of people.

I'm not so naive to say that sexism doesn't exist in our industry, because it clearly does, but I would say that the vast majority of people would neither encourage or stand for any sort of sexism, whether overt or not.

I think it is tempting to create a link between the stereotypical 'geek' - who is a guy that lives in his mom's basement and never meets women - and the sort of overt sexism and abuse as described in this article, but that is dangerous. That stereotype no longer exists, if it ever did, and there will always be men, from whatever industry or walk of life, who view women as objects and not equals. We need to work on this attitude in every walk of life, not just in the tech world.

7 points by theophani 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've [only] been to three tech conferences. The only "sexism" I observed was excessive delight: "Oh wow, a woman!" which I hardly consider harassing. No one meant disrespect; rather the opposite. Possibly offensive is the notion that it would be a surprise to find me there at all. I might say something similar to a man at a needlepoint conference.

Yes, I got sexual attention, but only in a social context, and nothing inappropriate. I've also gotten "Let's be friends!" attention from people, including other women. In other words, we are there to meet people who share our interests, on a social as well as professional level.

2 points by binspace 1 day ago 0 replies      
My personal experience is that tech conferences tend to encourage cliquish and hierarchal (based on popularity and tech-sphere influence) behavior which feels dehumanizing.

I think there is a common thread with my observation to sexual harassment at conferences. When people relate to each other on a human (rather than hierarchal level), people tend to respect each other more.


Women also bring greater social cohesion to groups.


The fact that women are sexually harassed could be solved by having more women at conferences.

7 points by StudyAnimal 2 days ago 3 replies      
That reminds me, what happened with the Florian Leibert scandal? Any word from him since the event?
2 points by robryan 2 days ago 2 replies      
An interesting question would be if those men which did the wrong thing were regulars to these conferences or new to the scene? From similar things I have been to I just couldn't imagine a community in which the core regulars would have anyone doing these kinds of things.
1 point by timelinex 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a general rule: Don't shit where you eat. Some of the incident she describe are legit sexual harassment and others are a male trying to pick up a lady. Don't do that ever where you work or have important business to attend[your technique maybe lacking].

I Genuinely think this is not really a Geek problem. There is statistically large number of people with sexual deviation. For instance, it is estimated that between 3-9% of the population are Pedophiles[1]. At a conference with about 100 people there maybe 3 persons there with a sexual deviation. But it only takes one of those guys to approach all the women in the conference and spoil the whole thing for all of us.

My suggestion is if ever you were to encounter a situation of sexual assault report it immediately to the police[not the conference organizer]. I don't want that guy who hits ladies on the bum to be walking around freely in society. He would not be operating at Conferences alone.

As a side note to how important it's to report these things:"nonincestuous pedophiles who molest boys had committed an average of 282 offenses against 150 victims"[1]. As I said previously, just one deviant can crash the party for a whole lot of people.


1 point by pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 0 replies      
>Cat says, "If I think an event organizer turns a blind eye to questionable behavior I'll pass on the event."

I'm surprised that conference organisers would ignore sexual assault particularly with the bad press it must bring - assuming that these women are reporting the sexual assaults (someone fondling your genitals against your express will is pretty clearly sexual assault IMO).

But then if the women assaulted choose not to report such things to the police (I think the onus lies with them as opposed to any witnesses) how can the conference organisers act? They can't assume an uncharged person is guilty, can they?

-2 points by lhnn 2 days ago 6 replies      
I get tired of women complaining about sexism in the startup/tech field.

Yes, ladies, you will be hit on a lot at a conference filled with mostly guys. You are an attractive minority. Now, to the point:

There is no excuse for physical assault. I can even almost excuse a guy going in for a peck, but grab-ass and worse are not cool. If you're going to proposition a girl, do it with your wits and your words, not a firm, open palmed slap on the behind.

On behalf of all young, healthy, mate-seeking males, I apologize for the few who make us all out to be classless jerks.

Of course, it can be argued that you shouldn't be looking to hook up at a FOSS conference, but really... when ISN'T a single guy looking for a woman with similar interests (inside and outside the bedroom)? This isn't a 'geek' problem, it's a 'human' problem.

-2 points by calebgilbert 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess the 180-degree alternative to "women being harrassed" is the the Drupal community, in which a small, but very vocal, women run around and use 'women being harrassed' as a sledgehammer to intimidate and enforce their own standards of values/behavior on anyone and everyone.

No one seems to mourn that kind of harassment. Until they do, I remain suspect when I read titles like this. Based on experience I believe that as often as not someone just needs to call the wahmbulance and/or quit using their gender as a weapon of control.

I will add as a side note, and I have no idea if it pertains to this particular article or not, but many (even most) of the women I have seen complaining about 'being harassed' in the Drupal community are openly lesbian. I could care less about someone's personal sexual choices in the bedroom, but it does raise more questions about what is going on with many of these 'harassment' complaints, at least in my mind. There is something dishonest to me about those who have sworn their life to not-include men, also simultaneously want to tell all the men exactly how they are allowed to act/speak/think.

UPDATE: For the record I do acknowledge the very real possibly/problem of actual harassment. I do not wish my comments to diminish the seriousness of those cases. Just sharing my experience of seeing 'harassment' complaints being weaponized, and calling for some balance/sanity.

-4 points by rmc 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of complaints about sexism in FLOSS conference mainly refer to sexual references, or (semi-)pornography. If you want to have a professional conference, then yes you should have a 'no sex' policy.

However, are women really that anti-sex?

BankSimple Launches Preview Site banksimple.com
188 points by ssclafani 4 days ago   110 comments top 27
26 points by jakarta 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm still trying to nail the business model here.

"BankSimple account plus BankSimple debit card replaces your existing personal bank account. Make deposits, withdraw cash, pay bills, earn interest, and more.

However, BankSimple is not a "bank." We partner with chartered banks who provide FDIC-insured products, leaving us free to concentrate on designing the complete consumer banking experience, via the web and your smartphone."

From the looks of it, it appears as if Bank Simple is going to be gathering deposits for the actual banks they partner with. In exchange, those deposits will be fenced in and administered by Bank Simple via the online and mobile presence.

The mention of debit cards at first made me think that maybe they would be able to split fees, so Bank Simple would get a cut of the interchange fees that occur whenever a debit card is used... but those fees will go away because of the Durbin Amendment (this is putting the squeeze on every major bank in the US and will result in an increase in fees for customers -- see Jamie Dimon's comments at the recent Barclays Conference).

Maybe the partner banks will split some of the interest they make off of the deposits? Presumably, Bank Simple's value proposition to them would be that they are providing something that is slightly more than zero cost funding but less than a CD rate. So they could earn a little bit in that area.

The only thing that is left then, that I could think of, is that Bank Simple will mainly try to make money by cross-selling products. Bank Simple Brokerage Accounts. Bank Simple Mutual Funds. Bank Simple Pre-Paid Debit Cards. That sort of thing, where they'd be able to gain market share. This would work out pretty well I think.

For reference, the average American uses 16 different financial products, with about 2 products per bank. A good bank like Wells Fargo boasts a ratio of 5.5-6 products per customer. Your typical bank earns its money on an 80/20 split, where 80% comes from the interest spread (borrow at 3%, lend at 6%, net 3%) and 20% comes from fees (overdraft, interchange, fees for other products). But a trust bank will have a 60/40 split, where they earn extra fees by offering wealth management services to the majority of their wealthy customers.

25 points by Lewisham 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'd pay for Mint + Bank in a single package. It looks great. However, it's hard not to be a little disconcerted when the "meet the team" bit doesn't have a single person who has any sort of financial title like "accounts manager" or anything. It's just a group of devs. That doesn't scream "we know finances" it screams "we know how to make web apps, hope you trust us with money too... it can't be that hard, right?"

Mint got away with this by simply being a front-end, and never touching your money. BankSimple should try a little harder to prove that it's not just a company that can identify why banks suck (not all that hard, really), but a company that can actually be relied upon to safely handle your money.

* I know that BankSimple are putting all your money into an FDIC bank, but as the intermediary and the company you are doing business with, the buck stops with them (pun somewhat intended)

8 points by spolsky 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering how they got around the state banking laws requiring them to be a chartered bank if they want to use the word "Bank" in their name (for example, in New York, Banking Law Section 132). All the confusion in this forum as to whether they are actually a "bank" makes me think they may not yet have heard of these laws...
18 points by rms 4 days ago 5 replies      
In the meanwhile, I've been very happy with Charles Schwab's checking account. Free as in beer, you're allowed to overdraft with no overdraft fees, free ATM fees at all ATMs (including international!
7 points by Qz 4 days ago 3 replies      
The signup form doesn't work if you use autocomplete to enter your name and email address. Had to delete random letters and retype them to get the button to light up.
8 points by nathanwdavis 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's unclear what Bank Simple actually is. Hopefully (for their sake) it will be clear when they launch.
3 points by yummyfajitas 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm just curious - what exactly is banksimple selling? Just regular banking + better UI?
2 points by simonista 4 days ago 2 replies      
Good work guys. A few text/spelling errors you might want to fix. On the careers page after clicking for more detail in the "smart and talented?" section, there are about 5 places where two words are getting smushed together. Maybe a line break problem or something. And then in the thank you email after signing up, the first line, "thank you requesting ..." should be "thank you for requesting ..."
5 points by callmeed 4 days ago 1 reply      
My email has a . before the @ and was deemed invalid ...
2 points by joshuacc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Love the reference to Joseph Schumpeter in the debit card image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Schumpeter
3 points by corin_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has been said before but: if it was available in the UK, I'd sign up in an instant.
1 point by marcamillion 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it is a testament to how messed up the banking industry is, that I actually dream (quite literally in my case) about the launch of this bank/site.

The most annoying thing is that I don't live in the US any more, so even when this launches I won't be able to partake - but I have been longing for tech entrepreneurs to take a stab at some 'traditional' foundational businesses.

Banking is one of those things that really needs some TLC. Plus, there doesn't have to be branches.

We need a bank for tech entrepreneurs. Not just based in the US dammit.

2 points by arithmetic 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the UI for signing up for an account (the bank check-like interface). That's a nice touch.
1 point by irons 4 days ago 0 replies      
The first time I connected, Safari 5.0.3 threw an invalid-issuer SSL warning. Can't seem to reproduce it, though.
2 points by csomar 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this going to support third-world countries? Will I be able to sign up and get the card and bank account running?
1 point by vamsee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, probably this might be a bit beside the point, but I really liked the red-tinted logo. The new blue one looks boring. I'm guessing "blue signifies stability" or some reasoning for that, but still, the old logo looked much more distinctive.
1 point by jond2062 4 days ago 0 replies      
This bank "overlay" concept appears to be very similar to what SmartyPig (http://www.smartypig.com) has been doing for a couple years. The revenue model is slightly different (SmartyPig partners with retailers to offer cash back bonuses to customers if they convert their savings goal into a retailer gift card or load it on to the SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card), but the general model of leveraging existing banks for client deposits is the same. I will be interested to see how competitive BankSimple's interest rates are and if they can differentiate themselves in a meaningful way from the many great online banks that already exist (INGDirect, Ally, etc.).
2 points by Andrenid 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm very excited to see how this pans out. Even though i'm not a country they're going to support, if they do well it will set a good precedent and maybe we can finally see banking stirred up a bit. Banks are my most hated companies as a whole.
3 points by clofresh 4 days ago 1 reply      
SSL. Respect.
1 point by jamn 4 days ago 1 reply      
I got a message from BankSimple telling me that I was going to get an invite soon and asking me for feedback. I got really excited and responded with an e-mail, but never heard back from them. I'm not sure if I misinterpreted the original e-mail, but this was a huge letdown.

Did this happen to anyone else? In any case, best of luck to BankSimple. I can't wait to actually get to try the service. :)

2 points by julius 4 days ago 2 replies      
The site has an easter egg.
Keyboard navigation:
Try j,k,Esc,1-7

(its explained at the bottom of the page)

1 point by rkwz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Alex talks about BankSimple and more in this podcast.
2 points by benmccann 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like new design. Very cool. Good luck guys.
1 point by haribilalic 4 days ago 0 replies      
I understand it's not the only thing behind BankSimple, but I'd love to see that UI on top of my current Internet banking.
3 points by jaywalker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Only for the US
1 point by muffinman2010 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, but scrolling is choppy on my computer
1 point by x0ner 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone else having issues signing up for the beta?
The Rise Of The Gentleman Hacker techcrunch.com
173 points by ericflo 2 days ago   37 comments top 11
27 points by wheaties 2 days ago 3 replies      
So, um, where do I sign up with these folks?
20 points by grevutsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's no need to wait for a $100 million dollar exit to do this. If you have a lifestyle business (say, a web design company, or an online agency) that throws off enough cash, you can set up a team of hackers and UI people and start throwing stuff at the wall.

In fact, if they are truly free to be creative, yet have some constraints in terms of time and money, its likely to work better.

8 points by sasvari 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe this is the small-scale return of private research units like Bell Labs or (Xerox) PARC (although both of them still exist, they are not as significant as they once were) for the Web: put a group of awesome guys together and just let them cook a bit and see what's coming out ...
6 points by tomjen3 2 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds like a really good solution to the classical problem about what to do, once one has made enough money in a successful exit event.
4 points by trotsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
Get someone really young who wants responsibility and they may even work for next to nothing in exchange for big equity stakes in their projects " sort of a modified Y Combinator model.

It doesn't sound very gentlemanly to me to be rich enough that you've decided to open a business just to screw around (hence force referred to as "the club house") but to target employees that are young and dumb (tm) enough to accept little to no compensation while you drive your SL class into the office every day. If you can afford to pay a baseline wage but seek not to it's just a type of exploitation.

1 point by marciovm123 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's like the cost of meaningful tech research has dropped so much with software that the "public money -> universities" model can now be replaced by "wealthy individual -> hacker shop" model. Interesting parallels to art world; worked well for the Medicis.
2 points by orblivion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this shirt:


Maybe this could be the official emblem of this new breed.

1 point by noodle 1 day ago 0 replies      
can't we have both? a gentleman hacker farm? a small countryside farm where you can go to bootstrap your own startup. i mean, we've kind of discussed similar in the past and i still actually kind of like the idea.
1 point by pluies 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article is interesting, but dear... The picture he uses is awful. The basic composition is fine, but the blatant overuse of HDR is incredibly annoying.

Sorry for the off topic, but I had to get that off my chest. :)

-1 point by mybbor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sign me up!
-4 points by krmboya 2 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe then, they can focus on 'real' problems like global warming and green energy.
Lisp developer walks away with Google AI contest zdnet.com
174 points by janzer 3 days ago   71 comments top 12
31 points by pietrofmaggi 3 days ago 5 replies      
Lisp was clearly a fine tool for this kind of challenge, but the programmer was, as usual, the important piece of the solution. Otherwise I'll expect to have some other of the 33 lisp based entries in the top spot (the second lisp entry is ranked at the #280 spot: http://ai-contest.com/language_profile.php?lang=Lisp).

What about the top ten solutions?

  4 Java 
3 C++
2 C#
1 Lisp

So is Java the real king of the AI challenge?

[edit for formatting]

84 points by silverlake 3 days ago 1 reply      
A better title: "3 Time Winner of Computer Games Olympiad Wins Yet Another Contest".
15 points by idan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a classic comic strip:


10 points by StavrosK 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a summary of the algorithms he used anywhere? I don't see how it was the language that won the competition, rather than the code he wrote in it.
3 points by ihodes 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know at least a few people who had bots written in/were prepared to write bots in Clojure. They didn't end up adding support for it, however. I still can't wait for the next contest"wouldn't Pentarow be cool? Or Pente?

Anyway, cheers to Waterloo for putting this on again!

2 points by Xurinos 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are many comments here that he won because of his programming/thinking skills versus using the Lisp language, and I think this true in comparison to the other contestants. However, one thing he mentions that is an interesting piece of the puzzle -- and a common theme in language competitions that include Lisp -- is:

Lisp doesn't get in my way as much as other languages. After getting hooked I learned to value the interactive development environment, the object system, etc.. What's good about Lisp is rapid development and speedy execution.

This might be a small effect, and you can have good programmers in every language, but if he was just as familiar with Java as he was with Lisp, could he have accomplished the same results in the same time with Java? How would the code look?

9 points by aufreak3 3 days ago 3 replies      
Hmm .. maybe I should consider settling in Hungary.
3 points by ld50 3 days ago 1 reply      
"You can win 6, 12 or 24 months of membership to AiGameDev.com PREMIUM if you place third, second and first in the contest respectively. We'll also provide any single person team that ranks higher than our official bot three months of AiGameDev.com PLUS " our brand-new part of the site that launched last week."

he must be excited. until google puts out non-trivial problem sets and offers non-trivial prizes i'll save my upvotes and cycles.

1 point by trezor 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting stuff. Is the source for the various bots posted anywhere? Is it even a requirement that you disclose your source or that it will be made public after the results are published?

I looked around but couldn't find any obvious place to find the source for the bots used.

1 point by richcollins 3 days ago 2 replies      
Bocsimako is the proof that Lisp is best for AI algorithms

Cargo cultism at its finest

-2 points by mfukar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not a bad article, but did you have to make the title a Lisp promotion fest?
-2 points by lr 3 days ago 1 reply      
The matrix will be programmed in Lisp...if it's not already...
Ask HN: Who's Hiring? (December 2010 Edition)
172 points by scorchin 4 days ago   159 comments top 119
14 points by tptacek 3 days ago 1 reply      

WANTED --- Girl about 13 to help during day. Apply 238, Kilmore street

WANTED --- a general servant for the country. Apply T.B. Williams.

SUDDEN CLIMATIC CHANGES give you "that tired feeling." The real cause of rheumatism is disordered blood. Dr Williams' Pink Pills make rich, red blood and invigorate the system, so that rheumatism is dispelled. By their tonic action on blod and nerve they also cure anaemia, debility, liver trouble, dyspepsia, sciatica, consumption, rickets, ladies' ailments, etc. Sold by chemists and storekeepers.

WANTED --- a cook for the Newmarket Hotel. Apply at once.

WANTED --- energetic and intelligent persons to lead and commence at once the design and construction of ingenious new search engine contraption for MATASANO and SONS, reputed software security concern, to be used and appreciated by banks, manufacturers, and all manner of heavy enterprise. A1 references & experience required. A SOVEREIGN OPPORTUNITY FOR ENTERPRISING SOULS. Inquire with "tqbf" at Matasano.

F. J. PETHERICK has commenced business as a SADDLER and HARNESS-MAKER in premises next to Messrs Gorton and Son's, Fielding, and hopes, by strict attention to business, combined with moderate charges, to merit a fair share of patronage and support. REPAIRS OF ALL KINDS UNDERTAKEN AT THE SHORTEST NOTICE. A trial solicited!

3 points by jorgeortiz85 3 days ago 0 replies      
Foursquare, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA: http://foursquare.com/jobs

iPhone, Android, Blackberry Developers

Front-end and Back-end Developers

Engineering Interns

Developer Advocate

Foursquare encourages you to explore the world around you, discover new and interesting things, and have fun with your friends. We're changing the way people interact with the physical world, and we need your help to do it.

HQ is located in New York, but we recently opened an engineering office in San Francisco. We're hiring aggressively for both offices. There are currently only 4 people in the SF office, but we're looking to grow it to a full-fledged 10-person office in the next few months.

We're using Scala, Lift, and MongoDB on the back-end; jQuery and HTML5 on the front-end.

NYC and SF only at this time. We can help relocate you.

Learn more at http://foursquare.com/jobs

Please contact me at jorge@foursquare.com

4 points by jeffbarr 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Amazon Web Services team is hiring for on-site positions in the US (Washington State and Virginia), Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UK, and South Africa (Cape Town).

More info at http://aws.amazon.com/jobs tedious search-based UI) or http://media.amazonwebservices.com/jobs/all_aws_jobs.html all 260 or so jobs on one page albeit with poor styling).

3 points by coffeemug 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mountain View, CA. RethinkDB (http://www.rethinkdb.com/jobs).

Hard systems problems. Fun people. Good pay. A chance to build something meaningful and own a significant chunk of the company. Tired of rails-based clones? Join us, together we will rule the [database] universe.

This is everything we stand for: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1747713

2 points by akeefer 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Mateo, CA

Guidewire Software - We do software for the P&C insurance industry, but we build a lot of cool stuff to let us build those systems (like the Gosu programming language, http://gosu-lang.org). We need people both to work on the applications and to work on our platform, including our web framework, our Eclipse plugins, and our ORM layer. The company was founded back in late 2001 and is still privately held, but at this point we're very stable and successful.


You can e-mail me directly (akeefer at gmail) if you have any questions or if you don't want to get lost in the HR shuffle. I'm the Chief Platform Architect, so if you end up working in our platform group you'd be working with me.

3 points by tghw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fog Creek Software - New York, NY (no telecommute) - http://fogcreek.com/

Current Openings:

  * Software Developer
* Marketing Analytics Focus
* Sales: FogBugz and Kiln
* Intern in software development (Summer 2011)

Fog Creek Software is a small, friendly software company in New York City that was designed from the ground up to be a great place to work. We work on interesting projects with smart people, treat everyone like royalty, and eat lunch together every day.

Software developers at Fog Creek get spacious, sunlit private offices, unlimited computer gear, electronic height-adjustable desks, Aeron chairs, and a plush office featuring marble showers, a library, a salt water aquarium, professional espresso machine, daily gourmet catered lunch, unlimited snacks, video games and movie nights, and the opportunity to work with a great team.

We've been profitable since inception, and are growing rapidly, developing software products that help software developers make great software. We offer world-class compensation and benefits and a terrific work environment. We're always on the lookout for great people to join the team.


4 points by philfreo 3 days ago 0 replies      
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - (on-site only, we can help relocate)

Quizlet (http://quizlet.com/) - creating a better way to study, over 1 million users, great JavaScript games, voice recognition, text-to-speech audio

Check out jobs page for real-time stream of what people are studying: http://quizlet.com/jobs/

Looking for: great back-end (PHP5, Memcached, MySQL) and front-end (JavaScript/Ajax) developers who want to work on products to help making studying better for 3 million people/month.

FULL-TIME and January internships!

Tell me about yourself - Email phil@(our domain)

4 points by sama 3 days ago 0 replies      
Loopt--Mountain View, CA

Here are some particular areas we need help with:


but we're always looking for anyone smart.

email sam@

6 points by 0x44 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pavia, Italy/Zurich, Switzerland.

Global Earthquake Model Secretariat is hiring a Senior Software Engineer who is familiar with large scale computing, has serious Python chops, and some experience in open source development. GIS, numpy/scipy experience is a plus.


5 points by speek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Boston, MA

We're looking for a Rails (we use a lot of cool tech, like rails 3 and mongodb) and/or Android (wanna port our app over to scala?) guy to help us out. I'm the CTO of Zazu -- http://getzazu.com --, where we're building the Smartest Damn Alarm Clock (but we're so much more than that). Get in touch with me at marc@getzazu.com

We're based out of Boston, but you can work from anywhere.

2 points by brandon 3 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco, CA - Elation EMR

Telecommuting considered for the right candidate http://elationemr.com/

We're a small (there's only four of us!), angel-funded startup building revolutionary electronic tools for physicians. Our investors include Ron Conway, who recently named us one of his 12 startups to watch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/16/ron-conways-crystal-ball-12...

We're doing some really awesome things with a number of technologies.. Our stack includes Python/Django, MySQL, jQuery, Java. We'd like to add at least two more people to the development team in short-order (more details here: http://elationemr.com/jobs.html).

Please be in touch. We'd love to tell you more about what we're up to!

8 points by paraschopra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Delhi, India. We're looking for a Software/Support Engineer (everyone in our startup does support). Remote work is a possibility.

http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ (no jobs page yet)

Contact paras@wingify.com if interested.

EDIT: Added location at the beginning

2 points by blizkreeg 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA.

TechCrunch is. We're looking for an intermediate-level Rails developer to help us out on CrunchBase (the versioning complicates a seemingly simple product quite a bit). We are doing a back-end rework of the existing code base and this needs to be deployed soon. There are also interesting features that are planned after the deploy.

I reckon majority of your time will be spent working on CrunchBase. Since TC runs on the WP platform, some portion of your time would be spent on operational stuff as well (at least until we find a dedicated person for that). Additional PHP background could be put to good use here as both operational requirements/small new projects keep coming up from time to time.

We are understaffed currently (I'm the only in-house Rails Dev/Tech everything person) and we definitely need a smart, hands-on, motivated person.

Contact me directly (email in my bio).

3 points by shadchnev 4 days ago 0 replies      
Forward Internet Group in London, UK: http://www.forward.co.uk

We're a young entrepreneurial company that bootstrapped its way from its founder bedroom to a 150-strong company with very healthy profits in 6 years without any external capital.

We are behind uswitch.com, getinvisiblehand.com, omio.com, justcages.co.uk, petvillas.co.uk, forward3d.co.uk etc.

You can take a look at who we are and what we do at http://www.forwardtechnology.co.uk.

One of our guys created statefulapp.com during the recent Rails Rumble (been on the frontpage of HN recently), many others contribute to open source.

We have been doubling our revenues every single year (up to £100m in 2010) and plan to continue to do it as long as possible. So, we need great people!

We're looking for great developers (and many other roles too) to work on a variety of exciting online projects. We use Clojure, Ruby, Hadoop, Node.js, Sinatra etc.

Above all we're looking for smart, ambitious, entrepreneurial people. Full job spec is here: http://www.forward.co.uk/careers or here: http://www.forwardtechnology.co.uk/

And it's fun to work here: you choose the hardware you want, you buy the books you need, the hours are flexible, no dress code, the people are reasonable and the entertainment budget is generous: for example the entire company hangs out in Las Vegas night clubs and casinos for 4 days every December (meet us all there next Thursday) and we've recently returned from Disneyland in Paris (birthday celebrations).

To find out more email me at evgeny.shadchnev@forward.co.uk with your CV.

p.s. sorry, all our devs are on-site, we don't hire remote devs. Also, given the recent changes to the immigration laws in the UK, it will be very challenging (maybe even impossible) for us to arrange a visa unless you're an EU national or already have a work permit.

5 points by intranation 4 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK: Smarkets Limited, a social gaming site, is looking for a front end developer (Websockets, Python, JS, CSS3 a bonus) and an Erlang developer to join our small tech team. yourlife@smarkets.com for more information.

Unfortunately remote working isn't a possibility for us, but we're located in central London!

3 points by agotterer 4 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY

Lot18 - http://www.lot18.com/careers

We're looking for backend developers, frontend developers, mobile developers, designers, customer service reps, account managers and a few other positions.

Lot18 is a membership by invitation website for wine and epicurean products. We're an agile, early stage, venture backed technology startup.
Our company is a great place for smart, hard working people who want to make a difference and help change the wine world.

2 points by bdotdub 3 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY

Gilt (http://www.gilt.com/), Gilt City (http://www.giltcity.com/), Jetsetter (http://www.jetsetter.com/)

We're hiring in many areas to support our rapidly growing businesses.

    * Software Engineers!
* Creative/Designers
* QA
* Businesses analysts

And more :)

The company is growing very rapidly and killing it in the market. And there will be a lot of opportunity for new businesses as well : http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/30/flash-sales-site-gilt-group...

Software stack consists mostly of Ruby, Java, Postgres.


3 points by shafqat 4 days ago 1 reply      
New York, no remote but will relocate people.

NewsCred - a global news distribution platform. Lots of interesting technoloy, great VC backing, product in market with strong revenues.

Looking for an engineer with background in search, information retrieval, solr, lucene or a strong desire to learn.

More here: http://platform.newscred.com/jobs

Great office in Union Square in NYC, unlimited vacations, and other perks. Great office atmosphere - think "Dunder Mifflin."

6 points by kchodorow 4 days ago 1 reply      
MongoDB (10gen)

New York City and Redwood City, CA.

Looking for software engineers, QA, support engineers, interns, and more: http://www.10gen.com/jobs. Working remotely depends on the job.

Working on MongoDB is great: there are tons of interesting programming problems, an awesome community, my coworkers are brilliant, and you get paid to work on open source software.

4 points by ericsilver 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pittsburgh, PA (no remote)

We're looking for Semantic Web and Ruby Developers but if you're a strong developer who doesn't know Ruby yet that's no obstacle. We have extremely flexible hours, collaborative coder DNA, and we provide good tools, lunches, and great health care.

Pikimal is working to change how people use the web to make decisions. Once users tell us what's important to them, we can tell them what's best for them. Since all of our recommendations are based solely on facts, users receive results separate from marketing.

Please include a link to public code you've written or your Github repo when you apply. Feel free to reach out directly to my first name @pikimal.com

3 points by roder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, San Francisco, Remote

Basho (Riak)

  * Software Developers
* Developer Advocates


6 points by pcowans 4 days ago 1 reply      
London, UK: Songkick (YC07) is looking for a Systems Engineer and an Agile Tester. In both cases we're looking for someone who can work on-site with the rest of our team.

See http://www.songkick.com/info/jobs for details, and contact joinsongkick@songkick.com if you're interested.

6 points by maverhick 4 days ago 1 reply      
Mumbai, India. Only full time positions, on location

Looking to hire
a) System Developers
b) Software Developers
c) Frontend Engineers
d) Graphic/Web Designers

Technologies/languages used: Scala/Python/Cassandra/Tornado/Redis


4 points by squirrel 4 days ago 0 replies      
London (UK) and Boston (US) - youDevise, Ltd.

We're a 60-person financial-software firm committed to learning and improvement as well as great web software and agile development. We're hiring developers and other smart folks of many kinds. See http://www.youdevise.com/careers and https://dev.youdevise.com.

No remote working, but we do help successful candidates relocate to London or Boston. We relocated a HN reader from Denmark earlier this year for example. We sponsor London HN meetups and wouldn't mind doing so in Boston too.

2 points by far33d 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA

Zynga Boston is hiring in Game Design, Product Management, and Engineering. We're having a party to meet and greet candidates:


or email me (email in profile)

We were an acquired studio, so we still operate like a startup and have all really talented, smart people. We're also working on new games!

2 points by mattculbreth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Endgame Systems, Atlanta GA: http://endgames.us and http://www.iptrust.com

With $29 million in a recent Series A round we are rapidly expanding. Endgame Systems is a security software and services company. Our recent http://www.iptrust.com app shows one of our applications.

We are current hiring two types of developers:

* Python: Django, JavaScript, Cassandra, MySQL. We use Python all throughout our stack and in our big NoSQL backend systems.

* Visualization: we have petabytes of security related data, and presenting this in a sharp UI is challenging. We're looking to build with HTML 5, Protovis, Flash, and other related technologies.

Sadly no remote work is available right now, but our midtown Atlanta office is cool.

Please email me at mattculbreth AT gmail.com.

1 point by thinkcomp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Think Computer Corporation, Palo Alto, CA

We need experienced iPhone and Android developers to help us improve the FaceCash (http://www.facecash.com) apps. Remote is OK if you're in the Bay Area and can visit our office as needed. Part-time is also OK. Apply at:


2 points by g0atbutt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Codesketch " Holland, MI

We're looking for iOS developers (objective-c) that have strong design skills, and can create custom U.I. We're looking for people for just a project or two. Remote workers are fine. Our site can be found at http://www.codesketch.com .

If you're interested email me at paul@codesketch.com

2 points by e1ven 4 days ago 0 replies      
Waltham, MA- Savewave is looking for a few more Ruby/Rails programmers to help us with a new fully-electronic coupon solution. Experience with Mongo is awesome.

The full description is at http://savewave.com/jobs/ or email me if I can help.

WRT Remote- We're mostly looking at people who are in the local area, and can come into our new office and work with our team here.

1 point by cliff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seattle, WA - ArenaNet

Looking for Web, Mobile, and Server (C++) programmers for an upcoming AAA MMO's extended experience -- bringing our game to web & mobile.

Web - http://tbe.taleo.net/NA5/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=NCS...
Server - http://tbe.taleo.net/NA5/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=NCS...
Mobile - http://tbe.taleo.net/NA5/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=NCS...

Neat fact about our web servers - we host V8 (like node.js) so web server logic is written in asynchronous javascript.

Contact cliff - arena.net

1 point by jw84 3 days ago 0 replies      

AppMakr is hiring for the following positions:

- Python / django senior dev
- Android senior dev
- Product Manager

If you're interested, shoot us the AppMakr skillset form at http://www.AppMakr.com/hiring so we can learn more about you. There is a $1000 referral bonus if you can help us fill the open positions.

Here's some recent press:

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/25/appmakr-iphone-apps/

Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5673309/appmakr-helps-you-create-your-...

1 point by wrs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seattle, WA & San Francisco, CA; remote is possible.

Informed Biometry (a.k.a. pictureofhealth.com) -- semi-stealthy description: we make tools that help people take care of people. The company is self-funded but well-funded (the best way to be!), with two experienced founders looking for help.

We need great developers and great designers. We're building on the Rails stack right now, so we'd like experienced Rails folks, but general-purpose abilities are important.

Our work environment doesn't exist yet, so you get to help define it! If you care about fancy computers, unlimited books, good coffee, etc., sure, we got it. Also, the freedom to figure out the right way to do something and go get it done.

Contact me at walter@infbio.com, or http://www.pictureofhealth.com/jobs.

4 points by afshin 4 days ago 1 reply      
New York City, 1010data


We're looking to fill a couple roles: Web Application Developer, Systems Developer, Infrastructure Engineer, and Data Analyst.

We're a 'big data' company and the problems we work on are pretty interesting. Among other reasons to be curious, our programmers all learn K. Contact jobs at 1010data (and mention HN).

2 points by ropiku 4 days ago 0 replies      
Edinburgh, UK

We need more experienced Ruby on Rails engineers to join the FreeAgent team. We're a growing startup building an online accounting software (and believe me, it can still be fun).

The team is excellent and super friendly and it's just a pure joy to work for them.

Ideally we're looking for people to work full-time with the team in our Edinburgh office, but we would consider a remote working arrangement for exceptional candidates.

More info: http://www.freeagentcentral.com/company/jobs

3 points by arosien 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wealthfront (formerly kaChing), Palo Alto CA (no remotes)

Wealthfront is intent on disrupting the $10-TRILLION mutual fund industry, an industry that's seen little innovation in the past 25 years. To reach this goal, we put our customers and our technology at the heart of everything we do. Java, Scala, JRuby on Rails. We have a 5-minute commit-to-production continuous deployment system. Read our eng blog at http://eng.wealthfront.com.

Lead UI Designer /
Frontend Software Engineer /
Backend Software Engineer

Email jobs@wealthfront.com /
More at: https://www.wealthfront.com/jobs

2 points by zackattack 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mountain View, CA

Awesomeness Reminders LLC

Our first product is still very profitable and I have some more curveballs in the pipeline. Looking for a technical cofounder. I'm technically competent (I code, fairly well, and can hack my way around pretty much anything) but looking for someone way stronger than me. You should be good with python, pylons, cogen, PHP, JavaScript, Linux, etc. You should be about 20-26 years old, good at math, looking to make a lot of money (I have specific targets), and not lost in delusions about "changing the world" and chasing VC funding. Products must have a clear monetization strategy from day 1. Looking to do some cool stuff combining nerdy genius with internet marketing. For the right person I'll fly you out to Mountain View, etc. Please "keep it real."

2 points by arupchak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon.com - Seattle WA - No remote, but willing to relocate.

We are looking for a strong Systems Support Engineer. We like to describe our team as a 'Startup' within Amazon, as our part of the business is still growing rapidly and our engineers can have a lot of influence on where the product goes.

Job description below. Contact me at ${hn_username}@gmail.com if you have any questions.

The Amazon Services team is looking for a great Systems Support Engineer to keep our systems running. You should be comfortable in a Linux environment, be able to automate everything you did yesterday, and willing to troubleshoot and solve new problems on a daily basis. Come join one of the fastest growing teams within Amazon.


-Maintain stability and performance of our systems via tickets during oncall shifts

-Diagnose and troubleshoot new production issues that affect our customers

-Create and maintain standard operating procedure documents for new issues identified

-Automate operational tasks to assist with our scaling needs


-Proficiency in a scripting language (Ruby, Perl, Python, Shell)

-Familiar with SQL databases

-Comfortable navigating a Linux environment

-Basic understanding of web application architectures

Bonus points:

-Written a Rails application

-Deep knowledge of Oracle databases

-Troubleshooting experience

-Ticketing experience

3 points by tlipcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cloudera is hiring engineers in Palo Alto and San Francisco, plus a few customer facing travelling people (eg support/consulting/services) based around the world. Also various sales/PM/other roles.


Getting paid to work on an open source platform (Hadoop) is pretty sweet, plus we have a fantastic team:

1 point by jonah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Santa Barbara or San Francisco

Citrix Online - UX positions for GoToMeeting & GoToAssist

Will relocate you to Santa Barbara or San Francisco. Excellent salaries, competitive benefits, fun work environment and amazing products to work on. What more could you want? Oh we also have a gym & cafe on premise, bocce & basketball courts, you can bring your dog to work and wear flip flops year round!

Manager, UX Design, GoToMeeting

Manager, UX Research

UX Architect, Mobile

Lead UX Designer, Audio & Video Conferencing

Senior UX Designer, GoToMeeting

Senior UX Designer, GoToAssist

3 points by eliast 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge, MA - http://www.performable.com/

Performable, a Web Analytics startup, is looking for engineers that want a key role in helping us take our analytics platform to the next level for our customers.

We have serious skills in large scale infrastructure, python, big data, hadoop, and JavaScript. If you are an expert in any of these, please email me at elias@performable.com

2 points by qixxiq 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cape Town, South Africa

SnapBill - http://www.snapbill.com

Looking for experienced PHP Developers to help work on a clean system (with clean code) for automated service billing.

1 point by jplewicke 3 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA

MDT Advisers " We're a small quant investing shop working with machine learning, financial analysis, and the hardest dataset in the world. We've got two main types of positions that we're hiring for: a dedicated developer position, and a general analyst position that's about 60% programming and 40% financial and statistical analysis -- http://www.mdtadvisers.com/careers/qea.jsp . The people, problems, and pay are good, and we aim for good work-life balance(e.g. no 60 hour weeks).

You can email me at jlewicke@mdtadvisers.com with any questions you have.

2 points by BenS 4 days ago 1 reply      
Palo Alto, CA

Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com) is hiring engineers - both front and back-end (python/django experience a plus). We're a 4 person team now.

We can relocate. Email me: ben-at-pinterest-dot-com

1 point by takrupp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Los Angeles, CA - Global Systematic Trading Firm - Permanent/Requires Relocation (onsite only)

Looking for a C++ guy to work with a group of mostly Java developers. Part of the system (mostly low level order routing and data feed management) is built out in C++, so they need a resident expert to be the go to fixer and developer on those parts of the system. This role has a lot of responsibility, if you are into that kind of thing.

Ideally you should have some experience with financial data systems in a trading capacity. Other big things are socket programming and strong knowledge of the network stack. Some core Java is good as well. Very high compensation, and a great location to work.

Apply online http://rcrt.me/gltSHx or check my profile for my email.

1 point by sanj 3 days ago 0 replies      
TripAdvisor: Newton, MA

Read this: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/09/a-new-twist-on-data-driven-...

If that gets you psyched, drop me a line. Sorry, no remote work.

1 point by eof 4 days ago 1 reply      
Charlotte VT (13 miles south of Burlington)
No remote: EatingWell Media (www.eatingwell.com) but relo package available for the right person.

Two programming positions: one 'junior' one 'mid level'. Our flagship site is Drupal with new tools coming out in Python.

A quickly growing company, still small (~35 people), stock options after a year, good benefits, great atmosphere, dog friendly office, good eats from the kitchen.

Your supervisor is a programmer; we are taking an afterthought of a department and growing it into the main revenue stream. Tons of room for growth, lots of freedom, and your input will be taken seriously.

Strong sys admin skills are not necessary but a huge plus (reverse proxy, managing clusters, etc)

2 points by richhalliwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK

we're hiring for experience Ruby on Rails and C# developers. Fun team to work in - lots of interesting challenging work from video compressions right through to front end site and syndication delivery. Full time job in our Clerkenwell offices - competitive salaries. Full job specs here:


also looking for a good iphone developer for odd updates to our apps, and a good android developer to build out a new app (1 month contract).
all positions available immediately.

1 point by crad 4 days ago 0 replies      
New Hope, PA - myYearbook.com

No Remote but with relocate.

One of the top 25 most trafficked sites in the US, lots of cool projects going on. Well funded and profitable. Still startup minded.

Looking for people with Android, iPhone, Flash, PHP, and Python backgrounds.

Drop me an email if you'd like to talk: gmr@myyearbook.com

2 points by jbarmash 4 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY (no remote at this time)


Looking for great developers. Our stack is Groovy/Grails/Java, but languages matter less than being a great technologist. Looking for both UI and Backend developers.

We also have other positions, such as account management and support / qa.

We are an early stage startup in energy efficiency space. We have been spun out of a larger company . What we do is an intersection of software, statistics / data analytics and energy expertise. Seeing significant traction and have revenue (need to staff up - a few deals currently in the pipeline are about to close).

Please contact jean at energyscorecards.com

1 point by pvo 3 days ago 0 replies      


We are looking for a Sr. Python Developer who is interested in solving some of the most pressing problems in our industry such as how to scale the enormous demand for utility computing and how to fit that within the traditional business model of a managed IT offering. With cloud servers being the most basic building block for services that Rackspace will offer, our ability to deliver on features and scalability are paramount.

In addition to our primary goal of building our next generation cloud offering, we are building all the necessary tools and utilities to manage and sustain an ecosystem of users and developers of the Rackspace Cloud Servers platform. CloudFiles, Drizzle, Cassandra and other tools in development will be used.
We are looking for passionate advocates of technology. We're looking for people who don't just use these these tools and services, but people that write them. It is one thing to start a virtual machine on a host, it is another to have the curiosity to read the source code and figure out how it all works.
We are looking to balance the "been there, done that" with the "why can't we do it that way?" mentality of thinking. The ability to challenge assumptions and conventions is important.

3 points by brianwhitman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boston (Somerville, MA) - no remote

The Echo Nest. Music data platform. We're looking for python people, data people, music people


2 points by benjaminlotan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Social Printshop - California (bay area or elsewhere) - http://socialprintshop.com

Marketing/Sales - PHP developer - Front end Web developer

We're looking for a Marketing Strategist / Sales Person to fill out our team. We've got big ideas and lots of organic interest. We'll be seeking funding in january. But for now there is pretty big potential for commission based work for larger projects (see 'mashable wall'). + ownership opportunity.

php and front end web developers, please be in contact!


2 points by gduffy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dropcam, SF, CA (no telecommute)


1 point by 3pt14159 4 days ago 0 replies      
Before leaving for my startup I worked at the great FreshBooks here in Toronto, ON. Great company to work for and a whole heck of a lot of positions open.


2 points by christkv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Barcelona/Hamburg, Spain - Xing.com

No Remote but will relocate. Hiring Ruby developers for our office in Barcelona and Hamburg. If you don't hold a European work visa it's still possible for Hamburg but not Barcelona Spain.

We are a 10 million user site with 240+ employees (60 developers), profitable and with lots of interesting projects. The Spain office is in central Barcelona and is a tightly knitted group of 10 international people.

So if you are interested in a change in lifestyle and job ping me on christian.kvalheim@xing.com

1 point by chrislo 4 days ago 1 reply      
London, UK

Systems Engineer, BBC R&D (Prototyping team) : http://bbc.in/dWNewX

Multi-talented developer / Systems Engineer. Lots of exciting, forward-thinking projects in a small team environment within the BBC.

1 point by btstrpthrowaway 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge, MA, USA (On Site Encouraged, but Remote Possible)

We're a Very Profitable online retail/games startup based looking for someone to fill a full-time position as a Lead Developer of web applications.

We compensate very well, paying market rates or above for real talent. You may choose to substitute some equity for salary, but that is not mandatory.

We are looking for someone who:

- Has experience building complex web apps (think Facebook) and in PHP*
- Has experience with AJAX/HTML
- Is somewhat familiar with the LAMP stack ("full stack") and doing web app deployment to live servers.

*Though PHP doesn't need to be your favorite language; I'm looking at you Python/RoR evangelists!

A little about us: we are a small startup that is highly profitable. We bootstrapped our way to profitability by using minimum money and time (8 months). We are expanding to take on larger challenges and need a great programmer to work with us.

Further Information: http://careers.stackoverflow.com/Jobs/9293/

Contact me at ao.hiring@gmail.com

2 points by abahgat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not a position, but rather a note.
In addition to specifying whether working remotely is accepted or not, it would be very useful to know which positions are open to foreign candidates (especially for US based companies).

I know for sure that some of the companies that posted positions below are open to international candidates, and some are not. It would be great if we could distinguish positions according to that criterion as well.

2 points by keturn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Portland, OR - Decipher http://www.decipherinc.com/

We make surveys for market research; not collectible trading cards. We'd like someone with Python and Javascript web development skills to join us for a full-time position in our downtown Portland office.


1 point by javery 3 days ago 0 replies      
Raleigh/Durham, NC (no remote)

Adzerk is building a next generation ad server to help make the web a better place. Looking for software developers who want to learn C#, Ruby, Mongo, and much more.

Please email me at javery at adzerk.com.

2 points by bjpirt 4 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK

Pachube (http://www.pachube.com) is looking for an experienced javascript / front-end developer to build some awesome widgets to display live data coming in to our system form thousands of connected devices.

See http://community.pachube.com/jobs/fd1009

Great place to work - excellent team and some good meaty problems to get your teeth into!

2 points by nickdunkman 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - RentJuice - http://www.rentjuice.com
Back-end engineers

We're still small but growing fast. Looking for smart, creative, and hard-working people who think that finding an apartment in big cities is way too difficult.

- awesome group
- early stage equity

contact me - nick@rentjuice.com

2 points by aterreno 4 days ago 0 replies      
Camden Town, London, UK


Forward is a collection of innovative online brands based in Camden, London. Our success is driven by talented people who are given the freedom to experiment with technology in a low ceremony environment. Forward is reliant upon developers who actively engage in the business and go beyond a traditional role. Technology is at the core of how we solve problems, from testing new businesses in a day to discovering how the weather affects web traffic. This has made us one of the top ten fastest growing privately owned technology companies in the UK.
We're looking for people across and group and are interested in programmers who:
Have a polyglot coding background: Clojure, Ruby, Java, and any other languages you feel are convincing
Understand the Internet and what makes it work: HTTP and REST, HTML and semantic markup, and CSS
Contribute to, or have their own, open source projects
Like to experiment with technology to solve problems
Are pragmatic and focused on delivery
Have courage when expressing opinions regardless of how controversial
Post Agile ;-)

No remote

1 point by phillytom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Monetate - Conshohocken, PA (Philly suburb)

Local only. Will relocate.

We're hiring at Monetate. We've hired great people from HN.

We're a SAAS provider of testing, targeting and personalization tools (i.e. segmentation, A/B testing, MVT) to internet retailers. We've got existing high-volume customers. We're small, profitable, and we're growing fast. We're funded by First Round.


* We're looking for backend engineers who want to work on data and web problems at scale.

* We're also hiring front-end developers who want to help build and test experiments and own our client facing UI. You should be experienced in working with production-quality cross-browser HTML/CSS and Javascript with and without frameworks.

We have fun problems at scale, great people to work with, and we get instant feedback from our clients on everything we put out! We're having a blast.

Feel free to email me any questions - tjanofsky monetate com.

1 point by abstractwater 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Goodreads - We are looking for engineers (including interns). Preference for Ruby on Rails knowledge but not strictly required as long as you're smart.


1 point by abdinoor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge, MA

HubSpot is developing an Inbound Marketing platform to help businesses do transform the way they do marketing. We have some of the best large scale distributed web apps using cutting edge technology. Projects we have built include a Hadoop processing cluster for a web-scale analytics system; a Solr-backed entity search tool; and a realtime social media monitoring system processing over 5 million messages a day.

We need brilliant engineers to join our growing team developing our SaaS product. We use Java, .NET and Python. We do not hire based on a specific technologies skill set, or a buzz-word compliant resume.

If this sounds like your kind of challenge please go here to apply:

1 point by bluelu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Luxembourg, Europe. (No remote)

Looking for 3-4 more java developers in the field of:
- distributed large scale crawling, content extraction, data analysis
- web applications

We crawl, analyze (extract article, author, date, theme, sentiment,...) and monitor websites (news, blogs, ...) for our clients.

Please see http://blog.trendiction.com/tag/jobs for more details or contact me directly under t.britz@trendiction.com

2 points by mscantland 4 days ago 0 replies      
Columbus, Ohio: http://www.covermymeds.com/main/careers

Ruby / Python folks who want to work on a successful healthcare product with a team that knows what they are doing. Great work environment and management that respects and understands software development.

No remote.

2 points by joshuabaer 3 days ago 0 replies      

OtherInbox is kicking ass with more than a half million users and our first revenue coming in the door. We need a kick ass Ruby on Rails developer to join our awesome team in Austin.


1 point by myelin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ning - http://ning.com/ - Palo Alto, CA

Looking for various types of hackers:

- PHP/Javascript hacker, ideally pretty good with HTML/CSS also. This is the team I'm on -- remote working is a possibility.

- Java hacker, good with web services, databases, algorithms. On-site in Palo Alto, CA, or Seattle, WA. (Not certain if we're hiring in Seattle).

- Analytics hacker, good with Hadoop, data mining, web analytics. On-site in Palo Alto, CA.

Other teams are hiring also: http://about.ning.com/careers/openings.php

Email pp@(the obvious domain).

2 points by maxcameron 4 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Big Bang Technology is currently seeking a Full Frontal Interface Developer.

We just bought you a sweet computer, an awesome new desk, an extremely comfortable new chair, and a comfy pair of LL Bean slippers.


2 points by donmullen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Durham NC
- Remote developers working on east coast.

Relevance has openings for Ruby/Rails and Clojure developers and project managers with experience in agile. Our headquarters are in Durham, NC, but we are open to hiring remote developers (full-time and contractors) that are on the east coast.

For details see: http://thinkrelevance.com/jobs and http://howwework.thinkrelevance.com/

No agencies please.

2 points by tritchey 4 days ago 0 replies      
San Mateo, CA

Scale Computing has a couple position open for C/C++ developers. Preference would be for working on site but we are open to people working remote (I work remote myself). More info at http://www.scalecomputing.com/careers/

2 points by freyfogle 4 days ago 0 replies      
central London, UK

Lokku - http://www.lokku.com/jobs/

We're looking for full time devs, both experienced and intern types looking to learn. Great team, interesting problems, international focus. We look forward to hearing from you.

1 point by abailin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA

Looking for PHP/javascript and/or CSS ninjas who want to work in a fun and fast paced environment. From where I'm sitting, I can see three bouncy balls, two nerf guns, and a giant bean bag. I have three huge monitors on my desk (you will too) and a screaming fast computer. This is definitely a great place to work if you like to work hard and hack hard.

We were founded by some smart MIT dudes and got acquired by Rakuten (very large Japanese internet company) but we definitely still operate like a startup.
Feel free to message me for more details. Company is FreeCause (http://www.freecause.com for more info)

1 point by jackfoxy 3 days ago 0 replies      
CoreLogic in Concord, Ca.

We're looking for .NET engineers to work on our web SaaS. We'll also consider Java experience. Our developers do it all, front-end (jQuery), server, DB.

Contact me directly. I'm the hiring manager.

1 point by SoftArtisans 3 days ago 0 replies      
Watertown, MA

SoftArtisans - http://softartisans.com/

Current Job Openings:

  * Junior Software Developer
* Junior SQA Engineer
* Junior .NET Developer/Technical Services Engineer

After over 13 years, SoftArtisans still maintains the exciting atmosphere of a startup, giving employees exceptional opportunities to significantly impact the company and the products we develop. The SoftArtisans team is a close-knit group of people who like to both share new challenges and have fun. Every day, we collaborate at our desks, over lunch in the common kitchen, or over the foosball table - whether it is to come up with solutions to new programming challenges we've have run into, to discuss ways to improve the company, or to make plans for a laser-bagel-cutting-toaster and continuous bread machine. We are encouraged to pursue our individual interests, with hackathons consisting of multiple days dedicated exclusively to work on personal projects or to pick up new skills. In one such hackathon our team members built a model car controlled remotely by an Android AI via Bluetooth, picked up a new language, created a browser based game with HTML5, modified git to improve the log interface, and tried out a new restaurant for lunch, all while finishing a release package. We also hold various after work activities ranging from a night of board games to jumping out of a plane.

For more information, check out http://softartisans.com/careers.html or send your resume to hr@softartisans.com with the position(s) you are interested in.

1 point by dawson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge, UK. (No remote)

Looking for Ruby/Rails(3) developer to join a funded healthcare start up. Email: dawson@nhs.info

2 points by 20thr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Helsinki, Finland.

We're looking for Javascript developers, for both backend (node.js) and frontend work. Also Java developers, looking to work on something new.


1 point by sunkencity 3 days ago 0 replies      

Rails developers needed! Experience developing iphone/android apps a plus. Full-time or part-time (students welcome!).


2 points by jedediah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Portland, OR

Looking for a Ruby on Rails developer at AboutUs.org


2 points by axiak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA: http://jobs.crunchtime.com/

CrunchTime is looking for Groovy / Java / perl / javascript developers to help us scale out to more and more customers.

2 points by ThomPete 4 days ago 0 replies      
T-Mobile Product Design is hiring Designers, UX, Managers, Hardware hackers. Germany, UK

Contact me for details.

1 point by fatjonny 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bouncing Pixel - Houston, TX

We are looking for developers (PHP, node.js, Actionscript, CSS, Javascript, or able to learn those), working remotely is not currently a possibility. We have client work as well as our own properties that we are working on. See http://bouncingpixel.com/jobs.php ... we are very small and looking for the right person to fit our company culture. We have a rock wall behind our office that we built for bouldering. Feel free to contact me for any reason.

1 point by emilyboyd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sydney, Australia (but you can work from anywhere)

We have several positions available at Remember The Milk:

  - Systems Administrator
- Software Engineer (Database)
- Software Engineer (JavaScript)
- Software Engineer (Scala)
- User Interface Designer

For full details see: http://www.rememberthemilk.com/about/jobs.rtm

1 point by barclay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Readyforce, Menlo Park, CA

We're still kind of in stealth mode. Great company, fun team, interesting market, good leadership.

Looking for:

UI/Visual Designer

Sr. Product Manager

1 point by aculver 4 days ago 0 replies      
Virginia Beach, VA. Must relocate.

Looking for an outstanding software engineer. We help people find apartments. We're an Agile development team for the flagship division of a well-established Internet advertising company. We run multiple sites receiving over 3 million unique visitors a month.

Our company is primarily a PHP shop, but we care less about your knowledge of PHP and more about your understanding of object-oriented programming and interpersonal skills. (If you'll invest in us, we'll invest in you.) Also, we maintain a lot of mobile apps and are developing some new applications with Ruby on Rails. We're looking for people who at least have an interest in design patterns, unit testing, test-driven development, and Agile project management.

In addition to just running traditional big websites, projects focus on mobile websites, mobile apps, client-side awesomeness, SMS services, web analytics, reporting, automated testing, highly available systems, user experience, web services, data distribution, email marketing, search engine optimization and various administrative tools.

It's very rare to work more than 40 hours a week here. As a new team member, you'll get a brand-new iMac and a 24" second monitor. You can run whatever OS and IDE you like. Your meetings will be focused on collaboration rather than process. We focus on working software, not comprehensive documentation. We hire motivated individuals so we can give them the tools they need and trust them to get the job done. There are frequent technical training sessions. There are various user groups within the company that meet once a month and lunch is always provided. We also provide tuition reimbursement.

Call Andrew at (757) 739-0397.

1 point by JonM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pitchero ("Pitch Hero") - Leeds, UK

Sports startup looking for Senior Frontend Developer / Engineer (Fulltime; onsite only)

- ~1 Million monthly UVs
- 45% of English Rugby Union clubs use our platform
- Football clubs all the way up to Blue Square
- Small startup where you can make a big impact - possible share options
- Current dev team is 1 person (i.e. me!)


1 point by provy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Austin, TX (not required, open to remote workers)

Graphics Designer

1 point by dctanner 4 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK (remote also considered)

We're looking for devs for both of our products.

Pusher - our hosted websockets service: http://pusherapp.com/

Panda - our video encoding service: http://pandastream.com/

If Ruby, EventMachine, Redis, AMQP etc.. make you happy, drop us a line: jobs@pandastream.com / jobs@pusherapp.com

1 point by jbox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver, BC, Canada - Mobify


We're building great mobile experiences using HTML5.

Looking for smart people with a background in web development.

We're based out of downtown Vancouver - right by the water, mountains and nightlight. Weekly yoga classes, flexible schedules and all the latest gadgets :)

Mail me a john at mobify dot me.

1 point by askedrelic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pittsburgh, PA (no remote)


Looking for a few more PHP developers (or interns) to help with platform and end-to-end feature development. LAMP stack, but a bit of Python on backend, working on integrating Redis/MongoDB.

We're a full-service ticket sales company trying to make it easier and cheaper to sell tickets.

2 points by axod 4 days ago 0 replies      
UK (South east)

Mibbit, we're looking for an intern, PHP/sql/js/java/etc
No remote work available.


1 point by i2o 3 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto, Canada - Threshold Financial (www.threshold-fti.com)

Looking for Windows/AIX systems engineers and production support analysts to join a growing team supporting Canada's premier provider for financial transaction switching to major Canadian financial institutions and retailers.

Email colin.bowern@ for more details.

1 point by windust 3 days ago 0 replies      
Optionscity Software: Chicago, IL http://www.optionscity.com/jobs/seniordeveloper.htm

Looking for Java J2SE Senior Developer for financial app working on rules engine (Sorry, no telecommute)

2 points by adamfblahblah 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA - http://www.itasoftware.com/careers/

No Remote

We're looking for a software developers, ops people, and QA people, working in a Linux environment with Java, python, LISP & C++. We're a leader in flight search and other travel technologies.

Drop me a note at afletcher at itasoftware.com for more information.

1 point by jaredhansen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oakland, CA: http://www.breezyprint.com/jobs

Recent Founder Showcase winner BreezyPrint is looking for mobile and web engineers.

Remote work is a possibility for now, and if/when it ceases to be we will consider relocation assistance.

2 points by msales 4 days ago 0 replies      
Karlsruhe, Germany: mSALES GmbH. We're looking for a Ruby Developer (on site, german speaking)

http://www.msales.com/jobs/ruby-developer (in German)

http://goo.gl/DeBp1 (the above in English)

1 point by boinger 3 days ago 0 replies      

HQ Office: Mountain View, CA
Remote offices: Auckland Beijing Paris Tokyo Toronto Vancouver
WFH possible for many jobs (depends on position)


1 point by mlntn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Phoenix, AZ or Redwood City, CA

Recovery Database Network is looking for a Software Engineer to help develop our PHP-based (symfony, MySQL, Doctrine ORM) web application.


1 point by henrik_w 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stockholm, Sweden. No remote.
Java developers, charging and messaging solutions for mobile operators.
1 point by darose 3 days ago 1 reply      
NYC - Demdex, a well-funded startup in the Internet advertising industry, is still hiring for numerous tech (and some biz) roles.


1 point by eor 4 days ago 1 reply      
Washington, DC (no remote at this time)

National Geographic Education is looking to hire two engineers to help us build a platform for geospatial Citizen Science: http://goo.gl/1aRLZ

1 point by danecjensen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Austin, TX no remote
Cam.ly (http://cam.ly/jobs
1 point by rjamestaylor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rackspace is hiring! Over 100 open positions in all areas of tech & business roles at http://rackertalent.com

Robert "Robot" Taylor
robot AT rackspace DOT com

1 point by patd 4 days ago 1 reply      
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium - Babelway

We're looking for a XML/Java developer. No remote.

http://bit.ly/gxfbDI or email info[AT]babelway.com

1 point by kellysutton 4 days ago 1 reply      
blip.tv in New York, NY:


All sorts of positions incl. finance, design and systems engineer.

Edit: No remote.

1 point by garysieling 4 days ago 0 replies      
Philadelphia, PA

Wingspan Technology, we're looking for Java/C#/JS developers, we do Documentum and Sharepoint integration products.



1 point by tzeskimo 3 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco, CA

Identified (www.identified.com) - Finding a job sucks! We think we can make it better, and we're looking for solid front-end and back-end engineers to help us prove it. You'll be working with a small but well funded team where every line of code you write matters. We use the standard tools of a modern web stack - rails, postgres, memcache, jQuery, etc, though we're always open to (and encourage) new ideas.

Interested? Shoot me an email with your resume at keith@identified.com (or signup and apply via www.identified.com)

1 point by dan_manges 4 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by bgporter 4 days ago 0 replies      
100% Telecommute (US/Canada only)

At the moment, mostly looking for people strong in
- Python (esp. with TurboGears)
- iOS & Android
- client-side web development, esp. HTML5
...but see website (below) for a more complete list of the tools and tech that we work with.

We do all kinds of custom development - web apps, desktop apps, and drivers. All developers work from home.

Start here: http://www.artlogic.com/careers

1 point by tony584 4 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago, IL

Domu looking for a Drupal Ninja: http://www.domu.com/jobs

1 point by tabbott 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA

We're looking for hardcore C hackers (kernel experience ideal but not required) at Ksplice. We're a dozen-person, cash flow positive Linux server software startup.

For a different engineering position that's highly customer-facing, we're looking for software engineers who aren't afraid to talk to e.g. Fortune 500 customers about the guts of Linux.

For either position, get in touch with me at tabbott@ksplice.com.

1 point by swapper 2 days ago 0 replies      
swap.com is looking for .NET developers. We're in Boston and growing quickly.

No remote, unfortunately. Take a look here: http://www.swap.com/careers/

Please include "Hacker News Job Post" in the subject.

1 point by swaits 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Diego, CA; Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC.

I'm looking for a Senior Graphics Game Programmer.

1 point by prthings 4 days ago 0 replies      
Denver,CO (but work remotely from wherever!)

Idea2 is hiring a full-time dev.These are some ideal skills: programming (CS degree preferred), UI/UX or HCI work, linux admin and scripting, automated functional/unit/load tests, distributed VCS systems, Documentation/standards. Please see the details located at http://idea2.com/?page_id=1031

1 point by cloca 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge, MA

Localot is hiring developers for the backend, web UI and data acquisition. The stack is Java, Jetty, Solr, MongoDB and GWT running on Amazon EC2. We're doing applied analytics on web and other data in some interesting domains. We have angel and government funding.

Find out more at: http://localot.com/jobs.html

1 point by rpilani 3 days ago 0 replies      
Foster City, CA, Locals only.

Senior Software Engineer at Navigenics Inc. - We are looking for backend web engineers that are experienced in Hibernate, web frameworks (we use Wicket) and looking for a fun and exciting opportunity in the personal genomics space.

Our website: www.navigenics.com
Email me at rpilani@navigenics.com

1 point by bleonard 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco / SF Bay Area


Rails engineers helping people get stuff done.


You must learn JavaScript thenerdary.net
170 points by platypus 2 days ago   95 comments top 22
35 points by aplusbi 2 days ago 6 replies      
JavaScript isn't really important for non-web development. I used to program video games for hand held consoles and JavaScript was the last thing on my mind.

Okay, maybe I was working for the unmentioned 1% (and for what it's worth, the company I currently work for uses JavaScript). And really, it's not a bad idea to learn JavaScript - it's pretty ubiquitous and chances are you will work for a company that uses it at some point in your career. But honestly, I'm getting a little sick of all these articles that seem to forget that there is more to programming than web apps.

Edited to remove snarkiness.

9 points by reduxredacted 2 days ago 2 replies      
I very reluctantly conceded this point a few years ago, but in a slightly different way. I've been doing JavaScript-as-a-kludge-for-whatever-server-side-framework-I-happen-to-discover-the-limitations-of for a while. I'm discovering that the complexity of every browser's quirks means I'm going to have to do more than just "learn it". And therein lies the problem.

JavaScript isn't an awful language (all languages have their pluses and minuses and developers are so touchy on this subject, I don't even want to broach it). It's the sheer number of platforms (browser/hardware/OS combinations) that make JavaScript painful to learn properly. Every browser on every device must perform adequately. It's not a matter of supporting Windows or MacOS, it's every variant of RIM device, i* device, every browser on Windows Mobile taking into account the performance/memory footprint (to a lesser extent anymore), and devices with browser variants running on Android.

For the sake of my current set of projects -- requiring reasonable compatibility across platforms, but not a universally good user experience on all, learning jQuery became a necessity. Though I'd prefer to not be framework dependent, I've found that understanding how to use jQuery has also improved my understanding of the various quirky implementations of JavaScript in general.

I have no doubt that future projects will require a good user experience on most platforms. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding good, comprehensive resources in this area? The blog post mentions several online resources for folks wishing to learn/understand the language (some of which I haven't used before), but I'm wondering if there are particularly excellent tools beyond that (IDEs, good debuggers beyond Firebug) or anything else out there that can assist in identifying code that won't work, or won't work well in cross platform scenarios (for free or not).

9 points by Mongoose 2 days ago 2 replies      
I agree that JavaScript is a very good thing to learn, but it seems odd that the article doesn't even mention server-side JS. Yes, jQuery is wonderful, but a large share of the things that are getting people excited in the JS community lately revolve around Node, Socket.io, and other attempts to break JavaScript out of its DOM playground.

Criticism aside, it's good to see articles like this. There are more subtleties to JS than a lot of people realize. Instead of getting frustrated and blaming the language when it doesn't behave like [insert favorite language here], one should take the time to study its fundamentals.

6 points by chrisaycock 2 days ago 6 replies      
While we're on the subject, why is JavaScript the only language available for the browser? I can run tons of languages from the command line since they all follow the shebang (#!) convention. Why can't I run Python or Ruby with the <script> tag?

It seems like any language that had appropriate DOM bindings should be able to run so long as the user's browser has the appropriate interpreter. (Kind of like a plugin, but for embedded interpreted languages.) For example:

<script language="Python" version="2.5+" downloadfrom="http://www.python.org/dompython ">

Is this just too much to ask?!

3 points by moron4hire 2 days ago 5 replies      
"Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars."

This isn't a game, there are no hard and fast rules. You can be successful in this world as a highschool dropout and you can live in abject poverty with a PhD in economics.

Learn JavaScript, or don't. In about a year, you'll be able to do Python and Ruby in the browser. I'm pretty sure there are JavaScript libraries that will do a conversion for you right now, but Mozilla is pushing to have native support for it anyway. I mean, what was the point of having the DOM if you weren't ever going to access it from anything but JavaScript? You can do C# and VB in the browser right now, too (SilverLight).

But really, learn every language. There is no "killer language" to learn. You should be learning them all. And once you get 10 or so under your belt, the others come with little effort. Languages aren't special. They're mostly all the same.

edit: and if you thought 6 years ago that PHP was the hot language and 3 years ago Ruby was the hot language, you have only been paying attention to your little corner of the world and need to get out more.

19 points by 3am 2 days ago 3 replies      
"If you asked me 3 years ago what language you should learn I would've said Ruby. If you asked me 6 years ago, it was PHP."

You should have concluded that you're not the best person to give advice on what programming language a person should learn. Anyway, the right answer is C++, and the rest will follow.

6 points by jhrobert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Since 2005 JavaScript has become the underground Lingua Franca of Internet.

And now the underground is reaching the surface, JavaScript isn't that slow anymore.

At this point, I see no solution to escape it. I agree, unfortunately, you must use JavaScript. Or die in obscurity (that later one is a little bit an exageration).

It simply "makes sense" to have the client do as much of the job as possible so that the server does as little as possible.

4 points by dkarl 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is "you must learn JavaScript in the browser," isn't it? JavaScript I don't mind. Programming in the browser, ugh.
4 points by giardini 2 days ago 1 reply      
Back in the heyday of Netscape, I did JavaScript client-side development as part of web development. It was often frustrating work.

Recently I began reading Crockford's "JavaScript: The Good Parts". I must admit that, as I make my way through the book, I find myself shaking my head in amazement at the idiosyncracies and weaknesses remaining in the language. It was a clumsy language then and remains one now. But it's the only show in town where the browser is concerned.

Crockford claims that, by restricting oneself to a subset of JavaScript (i.e., the "Good Parts" of the title), one can do what is necessary. He writes also about the bad and awful parts of JavaScript. I am thankful that Crockford had the skill to discern signal where I saw noise, and the patience to carry out and publish his reorganization.

But reading about JavaScript is still good for laughs!

2 points by jberryman 2 days ago 2 replies      
Knowing JavaScript well is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do as a programmer

Do others agree with this (the importance of learning JavaScript the language well)?

As someone just learning JS and jQuery and just starting out with web development, JavaScript seems like a rather boring language that is strangely ill-suited to manipulating the DOM.

If JavaScript was jquery then I could see myself thinking of it as a really cool language worth exploring beyond "how can I do x".

2 points by asnyder 2 days ago 2 replies      
I vehemently disagree with the message of the post. It's unnecessary to suggest that anybody must learn anything, let alone JavaScript in the browser. Plenty of technologies exist that abstract away the need to know JavaScript and allow a developer to focus solely on their application rather than the underlying technologies that allow their application to run on a target platform (note, I'm a co-founder of one such technology, http://www.noloh.com).

Similarly, I wouldn't demand that anyone learn assembly or C. While it can be useful in certain situations to have that knowledge it's most definitely not necessary. It's perfectly acceptable to learn and use a higher level language, whether it's NOLOH or one of many other tools and languages that generate the necessary JavaScript or other underlying code. This has the benefits of freeing the developer up to concentrate on their application, while allowing the producers of such tools to worry about the numerous implementation details regarding the many different target platforms. This also has the benefit of allowing for easier porting to non JavaScript platforms.

Clearly if you're somewhat religious about having to know and being able to reproduce all the underlying architecture that runs your application then you must learn JavaScript, but for many others, using a language they know, or learning a higher level language can fully allow them to focus on their applications is ideal.

There also exists a middle ground, for example in the case of NOLOH, if the developer knows some of the basics of JavaScript they can create, or wrap existing 3rd party JavaScript widgets or modules, but extensive knowledge of JavaScript is not necessary, and the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of developers are not of that type, but rather looks to use an existing module created by someone of that type.

Thus, I would argue that if you're a developer of a particular type, either one that's religious, or one that plans to create certain types of client modules or wrap/integrate client modules with little to no API, then you must learn JavaScript, but for the vast majority I believe it's becoming increasingly less necessary.

2 points by beambot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've spent considerable time becoming an "expert" in other non-web languages. I'm curious about others' experiences with projects like Parenscript ( http://common-lisp.net/project/parenscript/ ):

"Parenscript is a translator from an extended subset of Common Lisp to JavaScript. Parenscript code can run almost identically on both the browser (as JavaScript) and server (as Common Lisp)."

Does anyone have experience with such tools? How about suggestions for similar tools in Python / Ruby?

4 points by mikebike 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Atwood's Law: any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.


2 points by binaryfinery 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agree. Started with assembly language, then C, C++, C#, Java. I'd been dreading doing anything in the browser, and was playing with GWT and other esoteric things. But I'm finally getting my head around javascript and its just a heck of a lot of reward for very little effort. Its fun!
2 points by sayemm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I second this. Learning JS really opened my eyes to the web and made me appreciate it more.

There's a reason why it's tied with RoR as the top language on Github: https://github.com/languages

2 points by anmol 2 days ago 0 replies      
if one agrees with the idea that js will be everywhere, why learn a skill that will be commodity? there will be lots of people you can hire to do it for you.

real world example. say my html is sloppy. but I'm really good at core components (python, django, machine learning bits). So I can just hire a less skilled person off oDesk and pay them $10 an hour to review my HTML code, while I spend time on more important things.

1 point by random42 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know python, SQL and actionscript and learning JS now.I totally agree to knowing the importance of JavaScript. even if its just for the sheer joy to have the ability to write little addons for browsers, and customize the internet little for yourself (and potentially for others).
2 points by dstein 2 days ago 0 replies      
End-to-end web programming in JavaScript using NodeJS is breathtaking to see in action.
1 point by Sakes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Frameworks are nice. They are helpful. If anyone scoffs at you for using a framework while you're learning, don't listen to them.

I'd take this a step further. If you are doing heavy javascript development always use a framework like mootools or jquery. They remove over 95% of the browser compatibility issues that you will run into. (I personally like mootools)

1 point by pshirishreddy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, I have just bought the book "JavaScript : The Good Parts" from www.flipkart.com(India) to read it, but really getting no time to read.
1 point by brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The truth value of "You must learn JavaScript" is true if and only if "You must learn HTML" is true.
1 point by axod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also make sure you learn js. Don't end up learning something like jquery.
Excellent analysis of Assange's Wikileaks motivations (from the horse's mouth) zunguzungu.wordpress.com
170 points by RickHull 4 days ago   104 comments top 16
43 points by CWuestefeld 4 days ago replies      
tl;dr version (and it is quite long). I've copied out what I think are the key bits, the following is all quoted:

He begins by positing that conspiracy and authoritarianism go hand in hand, arguing that since authoritarianism produces resistance to itself -- to the extent that its authoritarianism becomes generally known -- it can only continue to exist and function by preventing its intentions (the authorship of its authority?) from being generally known. It inevitably becomes, he argues, a conspiracy ...

the most effective way to attack this kind of organization would be to make "leaks" a fundamental part of the conspiracy's information environment. Which is why the point is not that particular leaks are specifically effective. Wikileaks does not leak something like the Collateral Murder video as a way of putting an end to that particular military tactic; that would be to target a specific leg of the hydra even as it grows two more. Instead, the idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy's information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire ...

The leak, in other words, is only the catalyst for the desired counter-overreaction; Wikileaks wants to provoke the conspiracy into turning off its own brain in response to the threat. As it tries to plug its own holes and find the leakers, he reasons, its component elements will de-synchronize from and turn against each other, de-link from the central processing network, and come undone.

... he quotes Theodore Roosevelt's words from his 1912 Progressive party presidential platform as the epigraph to the first essay; Roosevelt realized a hundred years ago that "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people," and it was true, then too, that "To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship."

18 points by lmkg 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's a pretty good analysis, and Assange seems to have put a lot of thought into it. However, he's making an assumption that I think is unfounded, which is treating the concentration of political power as monolithic. If you assume that an organization is concerned about the power of the organization, then I think he's correct in his logic that authoritarianism leads to conspiracy and communication is important to having power. However, if you assume that most members of an organization are concerned with personal power rather than the power of the organization, then the importance of communication goes down sharply, as the only coordination is opportunistic. A bureaucracy, as opposed to a dictatorship, is quite content without having goals, coordination, or communication[1], and can expand its authority based entirely on the mission creep of lower-level individuals within it.

How valuable the disruption of communication is in fighting a "regime" depends on how you model that regime. And, of course, in practice you will find that reality is some bizarre chimera of any group of models. My intuition is that Congress (plus lobbyists) act more like a decentralized bureaucracy, executive administrations act more like dictatorships that fight against each other for territory, and that the closest things we find to Assange's "banal conspiracies" are small, ad-hoc, opportunistic alignment of objectives, much smaller, less powerful, and less stable than the government as a whole.

[1] In fact, lack of coordination could help a bureaucracy grow by fostering redundancy.

18 points by joshes 4 days ago 0 replies      
> These leaks are not specifically about the war(s) at all, and most seem to simply be a broad swath of the everyday normal secrets that a security state keeps from all but its most trusted hundreds of thousands of people who have the right clearance. Which is the point: Assange is completely right that our government has conspiratorial functions. What else would you call the fact that a small percentage of our governing class governs and acts in our name according to information which is freely shared amongst them but which cannot be shared amongst their constituency? And we all probably knew that this was more or less the case; anyone who was surprised that our embassies are doing dirty, secretive, and disingenuous political work as a matter of course is naïve. But Assange is not trying to produce a journalistic scandal which will then provoke red-faced government reforms or something, precisely because no one is all that scandalized by such things any more. Instead, he is trying to strangle the links that make the conspiracy possible, to expose the necessary porousness of the American state's conspiratorial network in hopes that the security state will then try to shrink its computational network in response, thereby making itself dumber and slower and smaller.

A long quote, yes, but I could not think of a way to shorten it without severely hindering its meaning.

This is a perfectly articulated description of how I initially felt about cable release. Wikileaks (and necessarily, at this point, Assange) is not trying to reveal a huge scandal, to embarrass or to destroy connections. If one or more of those things happen then so be it. The goal is to reveal, to expose the standard type and content of information that is traded like currency amongst the few who govern the very many.

The leak is an attempt at provoking forced honesty; if Wikileaks exposes a vast amount of cables enough times, the veil and shroud of secrecy that governments use as a personal cloak will continue to shrink and shrivel until it is non-functional. And voila! Now governments can no longer act in complete isolation from its people and governments such as that of the United States, which promise to be of and for the people, are forced to live up to that promise, out in the open. If you force the government into that situation harshly and fully enough, eventually it has no choice but to act that way. And finally it can be held accountable for its actions, positive or negative.

In short, the goal with all of these leaks is first and foremost to poke and prod through the secrecy and conspiracy until there is a large enough hole for the public to be able to view what its own government is doing on its behalf. Whether or not you feel that this is morally or ethically correct is up to you; this is just my take on the rationale.

16 points by gasull 4 days ago 1 reply      
Any political system with secrecy evolves into authoritarianism. Why shouldn't it? Secrecy ensures politicians/bureaucrats won't be accountable.

When did we start thinking that we can have democracy and freedom without accountability?

It isn't about conspiracy theories. It's just common sense that some people will abuse their power if they can't be held accountable.

2 points by dkarl 4 days ago 3 replies      
With respect to the potential for popular opposition to government policy, I think he drastically overestimates the impact of exposure and drastically underestimates a "conspiracy"'s need for secrecy. Perhaps if he paid more attention to domestic U.S. politics, he would see that the standard response to revelations like this is boredom and disinterest. Did Abu Ghraib morally discredit the Iraq war with U.S. voters? No, the ones who still supported the war found it easy to shrug off an isolated incident caused by bad apples. Did it shock any Iraq War supporters to discover that the guys who pushed the Iraq War in 2002 and 2003 had already been looking for ways to sell another war against Saddam Hussein for almost a decade before to 9/11, and that their motivations had nothing to do with terrorism? No, people who had listened to the arguments and made up their minds to support the war did not care about the motivations of the obscure policy wonks advising politicians in Washington.

Anyone expecting the public to be shocked and outraged by a revelation ought to temper their hopes by reminding themselves how much publicly available information they find extremely shocking, and how different the typical voter's response to that information is.

7 points by paulgerhardt 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a side note, can we go easy on the appeals to emotion in headlines on Hacker News?

Yes, this article is good; yes, some robots are incredible; as far as titles go though, it's a distasteful use of rhetoric.

6 points by yoyar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Assange is poking at the illusion of democracy and it makes people damn uncomfortable as far as I can see. I think most people know that they are ruled by rulers and that the idea of the state as benefactor is dead, but to admit it is another thing for most. They will fight very hard to retain the comfort of the illusion. And the state will act to retain it also, by any means necessary.
3 points by smokeyj 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a citizen I like to remain ignorant to the dealings done on my behalf. I think it's sinful for Julian, or anyone else to seek information that isn't blessed by the State - and anyone seeking knowledge that is not sanctified by my Representatives is unacceptable. Now I'm going to stick my head in the sand because I hate learning about facts.
2 points by gfodor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone in another thread put it best: when did I vote for Julian Assange? Who is he accountable to? Where are his secrets?
1 point by Maro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have not followed all the previous Wikileaks, but I definitely disagree with this latest one.

I don't see what purpose is served by releasing internals memos about what some diplomat located in Germany thinks about certain German politicians.

There's nothing evil in having a negative opinion about German politicians and communicating it to your boss. The People certainly don't need to know such micro level details. OTOH it does harm your diplomatic relations.


This is kinda like somebody hacking your Gmail account and releasing all your work emails to your startup's investors, because, after all, they're your investors, they deserve to know what's going on?

3 points by cavilling_elite 4 days ago 2 replies      
The question I have (and I will start the linked pdf tonight) is if unjust systems are nonlinearly hit vs. just systems in the event of a leak. What happens if the new communication or propaganda tools start a copy cat organization to "leak" their own agenda.

It might work both ways: complete openness and complete falseness.

3 points by danielschonfeld 4 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is interested here is the full PDF that is quoted throughout this article dubbed "State and Terrorist Conspiracies":


1 point by joe_the_user 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say it's a mistake to either reduce Wikileaks to Assange or reduce the leak-dynamic to Wikileaks. Technology has made leaking very easy. Someone is going to do it.

There are many justifications you could come up with, someone will use one of them.

Leaking, for example, seems inherently easier than file sharing and that hasn't stopped for a while now.

1 point by ENOTTY 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interpreting this article to say Assange's goal is to decrease the effectiveness of the conspiracy (eg, US government function) by killing off information flows within the conspiracy.

If that is so, then I really fear a world with Assange as the head of Wikileaks.

One of the major reasons why the government failed to prevent the 9/11 plot was because nobody had all the information in one place so that they could connect the dots. The 9/11 Commission recommended that different parts of the government increase the amount of information they share with each other. (Indeed, the State Department posting certain cables onto SIPRNET that was the source of this leak was part of the response to that recommendation.)

If Assange's actions induce a return to the world of stovepiping, then the future might not be so rosy.

Then I guess my only question is why does he want a world like this? Will society be better off in this kind of world?

2 points by gcb 4 days ago 0 replies      
funny how for years all that [USA being an authoritarian conspiracy] was even promoted as the "correct" action in sci action movies.

how many times the hero agrees not to disclose some alien invasion or something as to not create mass panic and help the government act in the dark and so saves the day?

0 points by known 4 days ago 0 replies      
As Michael Caine said in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Knight_%28film%29

"Some people would enjoy seeing the world burn"

It All Changes When the Founder Drives a Porsche learntoduck.com
168 points by bensummers 1 day ago   92 comments top 14
14 points by al3x 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm kind of surprised that this conversation is solely about founders (well, and which Porsche to buy). There's only a few founders out there, and a lot more regular ol' employees.

Here's the thing about the scenario in this post: the founders and investors that are swinging for the fences and taking big risks probably have their nest eggs in place. But what about their employees? A modest exit could mean security for them. That exit may not cement the founder's "legacy", but it might give a few, a dozen, or even a big group of people a stable financial footing for the first time in their lives. What's more important? What has the most utility? I'm honestly not sure.

Having been an employee in that scenario and now a founder, I can see both sides. Personally, I'm glad to see more investors making sure that early employees get an opportunity to get a bit liquid if their founder bosses decide to shirk acquisition offers and spin the wheel of IPO fortune.

27 points by flyosity 21 hours ago 5 replies      
The title of the entry put me off to the overall premise, which, I think, even the author may have missed.

Basically, the article should've been titled "It All Changes When The Startup Is Making A Lot Of Cash". Supposedly Groupon is making nearly $2 billion a year in revenue. The decision to turn down an acquisition has more to do with "we're a real company making a TON of cash and we don't need to sell" than the founder thinking about their legacy.

What's the point of an exit? Mostly it's to get a gigantic payday. If your startup-turned-cash-machine is already making a ton of cash every month, the founders are already getting a payday... all the time.

If you're already making FU money from the revenues of your business and someone offers you more of it, the benefit of the FU money is you can say FU to the offer.

4 points by mixmax 22 hours ago replies      
"I have worked hard to get my founders as little as $25,000 to pay off credit cards and student loans. Or, in a small deal that closed this week, I was able to get a founder the money so he can pay for his wedding and not have to worry about taking on debt."

Am I the only one who finds this despicable, and probably bad business too? The one person in the company making the most sacrifices, taking the biggest risks and working the hardest is the one that can't even pay for his own wedding. Even when there are millions floating around in VC money.

5 points by WillyF 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Not that it's actually relevant to the point of the post, but Andrew Mason rides a Vespa and lives in Ukrainian Village (not the most expensive real estate in Chicago). Apparently his big splurge was on a grand piano.

Source: http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/shopping/90800/groupon-2...

28 points by ChaseB 23 hours ago 4 replies      
"Today, Groupon did something that all entrepreneurs, in their heart of the hearts, wishes they could do: spur the big acquisition offer and swing for the fences."

6B isn't a home run these days?

6 points by SteveC 21 hours ago 0 replies      
While not related to the content of the article, the title reminded of Eagle Computer. Its CEO, Dennis Barnhart, bought a Ferrari and accidentally drove over a cliff and was killed on the day of their IPO.


8 points by hc5 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know if Groupon made a mistake, only time will tell, but this statement irked me a bit:

VC: “Founders make different decisions when money doesnt matter. He doesnt HAVE to sell, so he can wait. He can do what he thinks is right for the business. He can focus on his legacy.”

This can easily be the other way around: the founder chooses to focus on his legacy instead of what is right for the business.

9 points by daemon 22 hours ago 1 reply      
It's possible they were turning down the terms of the deal. If someone offered me 1M for my site, I'd take it in a heartbeat. If someone offered me 1M and I had to dance nude in the lobby for a year... I'd still take it. But some people wouldn't and observers would say they turned down 1M.
2 points by whatusername 18 hours ago 1 reply      
And when you drive your own custom branded supercar -- we all know that you're never going to cash out: http://zondahh.com/
1 point by danwolff 8 hours ago 0 replies      
When the author implied that driving a Porsche means not caring about money is exactly when I lost interest in his opinions.

The most interesting and successful (same traits, different present situations) owners in the Porsche communities I participate in cringe at the type of people who see it as a status symbol. It's about the connection to the planet/universe that you get from driving such well designed and engineered machines.

To the author's point, though, if they're driving it for the purpose of that alone, yeah, I'd question their integrity, too.

edit - spelling typo

1 point by asanwal 22 hours ago 0 replies      
For folks thinking of working at a startup where stock options (and their potential) are part of the decision criteria, it is important to ensure that there is at least high-level alignment of goals and incentives between employees and founders.
0 points by CamperBob 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Never invest in a startup where the parking lot is full of Porsches and Ferraris... and don't ask me how I know.
1 point by piney 20 hours ago 0 replies      
the rest of us are scrambling up the slope to get to $5m, then we can relax. Founders who reach that goal and still command the helm and less inclined, nowadays more than ever, to jump ship and sit at a cafe with their laptop, trying to look busy and tweeting about their comeback. Its cold outside baby!
-4 points by jfb 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Porsches are gauche. There's some lunatic who parks his DB9 on the street (3rd & King, if you're interested), which is a statement of utter contempt for us proles. "I don't mind parking my quarter-million dollar car at a meter because I have four more just like it at home".
The Best Free and Open Source Data Mining Software junauza.com
167 points by fogus 4 days ago   25 comments top 10
9 points by tibbon 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I may plug the 140kit (http://140kit.com) which is an open source Twitter mining and analytics solution that uses the streaming API to make downloading millions of Tweets in easily accessible formats quick and easy for anyone.

(doh, it looks like its down for some reason. Well, when it's back up- its there. I'm sure you could find the github repo and run it yourself since it is open source). Written in Rails.

5 points by Swizec 3 days ago 1 reply      
How cool is that! I'm studying Computer Science at the University that makes Orange (the first on the list). And the professor who originally came up with it is an advisor for my startup.
8 points by kanak 4 days ago 1 reply      
I guess R is a bit more DIY than these frameworks, but it has a very large collection of tools. I've found libraries for everything from CART (classification and regression trees), to SVM, to HMM learning, to clustering, to EM. R with libraries from CRAN is my go-to tool for statistical learning.
3 points by bluedevil2k 3 days ago 0 replies      
Weka isn't limited to the GUI if you want to mine your data. It's a regular JAR file you can drop in your server-side web application and make calls to it like any other Java library. I've used it in some of my apps for some clustering algorithms (the easy stuff, since it can get complicated).

I've also written a few articles on Weka if you want to read a few nice tutorials on how to use it. I'm not a Data Mining Expert, but I've had a few semesters of it in grad school.




5 points by earle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mahout should clearly be on this list!
5 points by mark_l_watson 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good list, but I would add NLTK.
2 points by elblanco 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen some great stuff done with Rapid Miner. Really cool package -- plus I've heard it supports all the Weka components.
1 point by thingsilearned 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chart.io (YCS10) is building something like these as a service. If you're interested in getting on the private beta email me at dave@chart.io.


1 point by NHQ 3 days ago 1 reply      
google bought a company within the last couple years that had made a really smart open source data app that ran in the browser or something. Anybody know what it was called?
With Domain Name Seizures Increasing, It's Time For A Decentralized DNS System techdirt.com
155 points by chaostheory 14 hours ago   68 comments top 12
46 points by wibblenut 12 hours ago 3 replies      

1) ICANN has nothing to do with ICE seizing domains.

2) wikileaks.org was NOT seized by ICE, in case you didn't know (their nameserver operator, everydns, terminated service due to alleged AUP breach). They should probably just run their own nameservers if it's too much for a free provider to handle.

3) DNS is hierarchical in structure, but very decentralised from a technical point of view. In fact, you might call it "P2P", since anybody can join the network and run their own resolver.

4) #dnsissexy - the average user doesn't even know it exists.

5) Not happy with something? ICANN is a community. (I'm not saying it's perfect - nothing is!).

6) Really really pissed about something? Free speech, courts, democracy.

7) Really pissed AND lazy? Use a ccTLD. I hear .ly is cool.

What are people like Sunde proposing? The PR is sensationalist and contradictory, with talk of an alternative root (where would it be located? who would control it?), and a new bittorrent-like protocol (no idea how this could even work).

Anyway, I'm standing up for the status quo. It works phenomenally well.

3 points by mike-cardwell 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A distributed DNS platform wont stop censorship. Governments will just find a different method of censorship.

Null routing IPs would cause collateral damage, but to block illegal content that the hosts refuse to take down? They might go ahead and do it anyway...

I would still love to see a distributed DNS platform. The issue that needs resolving for a distributed platform is trust. We will always need a trusted authority. That could be split over 50 hosts over 50 countries, but we still need one.

10 points by andrewcooke 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's a quick, dirty, temporary hack I threw together today. It's a script that manages entries in your hosts file (it can do things like merge, pull from web pages, etc).


Feel free to fork and improve.

9 points by runjake 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for all the new logistical & security issues that come from a decentralized system. It will make the old DNS system seem like Fort Meade.
7 points by corin_ 13 hours ago replies      
Here's my problem. It's great that some censorship will be prevented, but what about stuff like child pornography. I'm worried that, if successful, this will turn into a "we don't like our government so let's go create our own country where there are no laws", without thinking about the laws that we actually do want enforced...
2 points by watt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Please do not propose technological solutions to political problem, one that needs political solution.

Meaning, centralized DNS system will work just fine, we only need a law prohibiting government blocking or removing domain entries. That is, we need similar prohibition that limits government actions like first amendment.

2 points by NHQ 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think another big problem with ICAAN and our DNS is the TLD. The fact that somebody who wants to represent their self on the internet might not be able to do so in a manner of their choosing because the domain they want is "owned" across all major and minor TLDs is very anti-internet-philosophy.

Top-Level is anti-web, because the web is not meant to be a top-down system. To me, this is a fundamentally flawed implementation. And why not? In terms of mass web, it was the first. When are first iterations ever correct?

Destinations are IP addresses. We all have em. What you want to call yours should be up to you. Ever since there was a postal service, people could be reached at the address they had. Even phone numbers weren't top-down (area codes), so that you could reach a local address, even it was the same as one in another county, without pre-(or post-) fix. I don't have the solution, but it wouldn't hurt for the public to learn and understand their IP address same as they do their home one.

Google alone, or with the help of other major "linkers", could go a long way in changing our DNS structure, by indexing different systems.

Decentralization is every nerd's dream, aint it? Eventually the serving capacity of consumer devices should be adequate to resolve standardized requests.

I think this holds promise: telehash.org

10 points by Mithrandir 14 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by cosmicray 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A decentralized DNS has nothing to do with solving the (presumed) problem. The solution is a registrar (and DNS) that is not answerable to any nation state.

The corollary to this demands an answer: are nation states that afraid of information (and the truth that may lurk within) ?

2 points by antimatter15 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm still not sure how a decentralized DNS would handle registration, if domains were free-for-all, what's to prevent squatters from ruining everything. What if someone's domain is totally abandoned? Is there any way for someone else to take it?

From what I understand from the dotp2p wiki, there's still going to be a registration party, OpenNIC (which is an existing alternative DNS root that runs .geek, .free, etc. I'm guessing it's a DHT but it would use some public key crypto so that each entry needs to be signed by OpenNIC.

But this still leaves OpenNIC as a central point. It wouldn't be a point of failure, but it would prevent scaling if it was taken over.

1 point by jimmyjazz14 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if a decentralized DNS system could ever be secure, instead the current management of the top level domain space should be taken out of the hands of ICANN and placed under the control of a internationally governed body.
2 points by swixmix 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's time for IPV6.
Protect yourself from FireSheep with Amazon EC2 + OpenVPN for $0.50 a month stratumsecurity.com
158 points by packetwerks 2 days ago   76 comments top 18
24 points by prosa 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's worth noting that the quoted "$0.50 a month" only applies for the first year, after which it will cost $0.02 an hour or ~$15 a month.
17 points by ronnier 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm use my LinkSys router loaded with a Linux firmware to do this at no additional costs.

I wrote up how I did it,


8 points by slay2k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ah, so easy! Only 28 steps filled with remote Linux shell commands, certificate creation, and downloaded software! I'm sure that's exactly what his wife wanted to hear when she asked how to avoid being Firesheeped.

Whatever happened to good old ssh -ND ? Wouldn't that solve 90% of most casual hotspot users' problems ? And I'd be wary suggesting even that one-liner to someone who isn't a techie, which I'm assuming his wife isn't since she asked the question.

4 points by jey 1 day ago 1 reply      
How to start a SOCKS proxy on localhost:12345 proxying through your account foo on bar.example.com:

  ssh -D 12345 -N -f foo@bar.example.com

4 points by noodle 1 day ago 2 replies      
this sounds like a pretty viable business idea, actually. in the past, i've looked for a simple VPN service provider to help secure non-techie friends' laptop work at a starbucks or whatever. couldn't find anything decent. seems like people might be willing to pay some $ for this if it were turned into something commercialized.
11 points by trueluk 2 days ago 3 replies      
I normally just do my tunneling with ssh -D. Is there an advantage of using SSH VPN instead of SSH as a SOCKS proxy?
5 points by ary 1 day ago 1 reply      
28 steps, and he didn't think to create a new AMI to share with the world.
1 point by dhess 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just found out a few weeks ago that my ISP, Sonic.net, offers an IPsec VPN endpoint to all of its customers, with no additional fees. I highly recommend them if you're in the SF Bay Area.

Note that while their help page suggests that you use the Cisco client software to connect to their VPN endpoint, the service works just fine with Mac OS X's built-in Cisco IPsec client, as well as with the IPsec client in iOS. Dunno about other platforms, but Sonic.net provides the Cisco client for Windows and GNU/Linux, at least.


3 points by trotsky 1 day ago 1 reply      
Better choice than a lot of the VPN services out there. The free services should be presumed to have some sort of ulterior motive to get a look at your traffic (including, potentially, much more nefarious ones than a firesheep user). Even premium services should be considered carefully, you have little way of knowing what amount of tracking or inspection of your packets is going on - and such concentrators make an excellent target for hackers.
4 points by epo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just curious, if you already have decent hosting couldn't you just implement this by installing openvpn on your existing virtual machine (or whatever)? Is there anything which specifically requires EC2?
4 points by m0shen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not just setup something like PFsense ( http://www.pfsense.org/ ) at home with OpenVPN configured?
3 points by jorgem 1 day ago 2 replies      
What's a good solution for iPhone/iPad over wireless?
2 points by badmash69 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apologies in advance for being off-topic, but am I the only one who hates people hunched over their laptops while hogging starbucks' chairs for hours . I work in a downtown location and its impossible to have your coffee at starbucks as there is no place to sit. I really wish Starbucks could charge for seating ;-
1 point by david_shaw 1 day ago 1 reply      
To anyone who desires this level of security but doesn't want to have to go through the trouble of a VPN, using SSH tunnels works just as effectively.

Assuming you have access to a remote Linux/BSD box, you can (from Linux) `ssh -D 1025 remote.host.address` then proxy your browser's SOCKS proxy to localhost:1025.

On Windows, using PuTTY, one can simply go into the Tunnel menu, hit the "Dynamic" radio button, type in 1025 and click "add" to achieve the same effect.

1 point by mfringel 1 day ago 2 replies      
This looks like a great way to get started with EC2, VPN or no. I've been thinking about it, but one thing still puzzles me. You choose an AMI, but does Amazon effectively create an EBS instance for you and populate it with a copy of the AMI?

I don't see any mention of an EBS instance being created, so I'm not quite sure how you can write to the filesystem at all. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but I'm not quite sure what. Thoughts?

1 point by Florin_Andrei 1 day ago 1 reply      
I keep a server up-n-running 24/7 anyway, doing lots of things (file server, UPnP, the whole nine yards), it's on cable Internet with a dynamic DNS. So I installed OpenVPN on it and all my laptops automatically connect to it when they boot up. The server also runs a proxy.

So I've a secure proxy available any time, from anywhere.

1 point by marklabedz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good timing - I just had this thought "in the shower" a day or two ago. I wouldn't utilize a VPN enough to make some of the more traditional providers cost-effective, so something along these lines is probably Just Right.
1 point by andre 1 day ago 0 replies      
28 steps??
Amazon Bows To US Censorship Pressure: Refuses To Host Wikileaks techdirt.com
154 points by abrudtkuhl 3 days ago   82 comments top 11
19 points by fab13n 3 days ago 2 replies      
Cool, they'll have to distribute their content over hard-to-control media (Tor, P2P etc.), thus helping such technologies becoming widespread.

Throw in a P2P-based DNS sponsored by COICA, and those elder, digitally illiterate baby-boomer leaders will have done a lot for a freer Internet, although unwillingly.

34 points by joshes 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is completely and utterly preposterous.

If you are a citizen of Connecticut, or, hell, anywhere, please email Lieberman and tell him that his actions and comments are completely ludicrous and, in fact, anti-Democratic.


24 points by sespindola 3 days ago 2 replies      
As an Argentinian who admires the entrepreneurial spirit
of the USA, I'm amazed and appalled at how quickly it is
becoming politically intolerant and borderline fascistic.

I can't help but draw parallels between cablegate and
watergate and wonder if, had watergate occurred nowadays,
would there be Senators trying to declare the Post a
"terrorist organization" and wanting Bob Woodward dead.

Assange should zip all the documents and release them on
Tor. Although I doubt the onion routers could whitstand
that ammount of traffic.

4 points by awt 3 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds like a job for freenet. http://freenetproject.org/
9 points by nikcub 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon defended the child pedo guide based on free speech rights. They completely collapsed here to political pressure.


2 points by roboneal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honest question: Based on the general sentiment here, is there anything that a government should be legitimately allowed to keep secret?
2 points by lukev 3 days ago 4 replies      
We wouldn't allow Amazon to host DVD rips. Doesn't classified government information deserve a bit more protection than mere copyright, not less?
5 points by rprasad 3 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon didn't bow to political pressure. It made a business decision to protect its other clients from interruption of services that constant, government-level DDOS'ing would cause.
-1 point by ataggart 3 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see the overlap between those decrying this government pressure to infringe upon the free speech rights of an organization, and those decrying the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United that such organizations are protected by the First Amendment.
-4 points by guelo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lieberman is an authoritarian scumbag and a traitor, his loyalties lie with Israel over the U.S.
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