hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    14 Dec 2010 Best
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What does it feel like to be stupid? An anonymous Quora user explains. garrysub.posterous.com
506 points by zhyder 4 days ago   149 comments top 29
162 points by alanh 3 days ago replies      

This, to me, is a fundamental problem with the Posterous culture. Here we have a post on a Posterous blog made by a Posterous co-founder which copies, in its entirety and with no significant commentary, a work published elsewhere.

It's attributed with a link to the source " barely, in lowercased, tiny font, at the bottom. The headline is a link to the Posterous page, not the source (unlike Daring Fireball “linked list” items, for example). How many people will actually follow the link? Why is this Posterous blog entry #1 on HN when a permalink to the original source on Quora is readily available?

Let's be clear. This is not “fair use.” It's not plagiarism, as Garry doesn't claim he wrote the anecdote; but it's a violation of copyright. It's publishing without permission of the copyright holder.†

My first submission to Hacker News was an original item I posted to my own website. It got quite a few reads " but a lot of people were re-tweeting a link to a full copy of it hosted on someone else's Posterous. That user didn't add much (A sentence expressing “me, too”). I was conflicted: Glad people found my writing interesting enough to duplicate and share, but disappointed that they were reading it on someone else's site for no good reason.

I see now that if the company's own bloggers consider copyright a joke, if they believe posting other people's articles verbatim is kosher, well, can we be surprised their users do, too?

(Postscript: This differs from Tumblr's “re-blogging” in one important way: You only re-blog other Tumblr posts. “Re-blogging” is part of the Tumblr system. You expect it there if you post there. You don't “lose” anything by it. I have no problem there.)

† I don't know if Quora's terms of service mean that consent is implied, but honestly, in this case and this case only (the case of a Posterous employee), it doesn't matter, because it's about setting precedent for the community.

99 points by nkurz 3 days ago 6 replies      
I've had a similar experience. I got out of computer programming because I became ill with West Nile Virus and couldn't think well enough to continue. Even after I recovered from most of the physical aspects of the disease (approximately equal to having mono for a year) I was still unable to continue working on the relatively complex recommendations algorithms that I had been doing before. The math just made no sense to me.

I consider myself generally intelligent and capable, and while ill I was definitely neither. I once failed twice in a row at following the directions to make instant mashed potatoes. It wasn't really a joke that a good day was keeping the toilet seat clean and remembering to flush. It's been about 5 years, and my health is mostly back to normal other than no longer being in decent physical shape. I'm currently doing non-computer work (http://screamsorbet.com) but I'm eager to someday get back to the programming problems I abandoned.

Unlike the author of the article, I didn't find it made me happier. Perhaps it's a general personality issue, but it made me even more depressed. Books and movies were mostly beyond me, and there wasn't much I found to take any joy in. I presumed I would eventually recover (and think I have almost completely) but the overall feeling was one of intense mortality --- a dread of the eventual senility that will probably come with aging, and a realization that when it happens again it will likely be once and forever.

21 points by kmfrk 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should read Flowers for Algernon[1]. It's a piece of fiction, but it's a great read and reference in discussions like these.

The sad thing about being "stupid" is being unable to put your predicament into compelling writing.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dap...

28 points by crazydiamond 3 days ago 4 replies      
The title says stupid but the details are about slow and forgetful. Forgetful people can be quick witted and brilliant.

I can tell your from personal experience that being stupid does not feel good especially when you know it. You never "get it" when others talk, you never have anything to say, you are always saying and doing the wrong things, or not doing what should have been done.

I do agree there's a lot more to enjoy. One is not critical and cynical. I like a lot more people, food, music than my smarter siblings. I am very happy walking in parks, looking at trees, or petting animals. Life is simpler.

21 points by jessor 4 days ago 1 reply      
I no longer had the arrogance of being frustrated with slow people [...]
I got on with people much better. I developed much more respect for one of my friends in particular who I always considered slow - it turned out he is much deeper than I thought, I just never had the patience to notice before. You could say I had more time to look around.

Reads like the way to cure narcissism.

35 points by pinchyfingers 4 days ago 8 replies      
I need regular confirmation that some people really are slower. My whole life, I've refused to really believe in intelligence. Although I loved the attention of being the 'smart kid', I've always insisted that I just liked reading and puzzles and things, and if anyone else spent as much time reading and writing as I did, they'd be pretty smart too. Of course, some people really don't like reading the kind of nonsense that I do and all the other stuff that comes with it, and it might be more than just preference.

I might really enjoy slam-dunking basketballs if I just did it more, but there is a really good chance that its never gonna happen, no matter how much I try.

This is a fact of life that I'm often unwilling to admit. I'm sure that contributes to the impatience a lot of people feel, we have very little empathy for people who don't comprehend and analyze the same way that we do. Where would that empathy come from? Analogous experience with slam dunks, maybe.

57 points by endgame 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, sounds like Flowers for Algernon in reverse. That would've been an interesting experience and I'm glad it was shared.
6 points by hugh3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this made me paranoid.

"Wait, I enjoy walking in the park. Is it possible that I'm not as smart as I think I am? omg, maybe the blood supply to my brain is blocked!"

7 points by anthuswilliams 3 days ago 0 replies      
I went through a period like this, and it was awful. Diabetes isn't a particularly rare illness, but I am the only one I know who has it, and I had no idea what symptoms to look for. Since it took a while for me to develop the good sense to check into an emergency room, I spent six months essentially insulin free, shedding muscle mass, water weight, gasping for breath, and exerting every ounce of energy I had to climb flights of stairs.

I was basically incapable of complex reasoning because I couldn't expend the required mental energy. I did not become laid back or socially competent; instead, I was irritable and frustrated at my shortcomings. People could take advantage of me more easily. I generally stopped being interested in esoteric things of any sort. I don't think I derived anything of value from the loss of my mental acuity.

One tangential benefit I did receive, however, from having DKA, was an increase in motivation and willpower. I had taken my health and cleverness for granted, and now it was slipping away, and I didn't know why. All I knew was that I wanted it back. I forced myself to slog through, to finish the CRM I was working on, and I started working out more. It didn't help me health-wise at the time, but now that my condition is being managed, I find I am much more aggressive and resourceful in the way I conduct my life.

13 points by rorrr 3 days ago 7 replies      
One thing has been bothering me for years. What if I'm retarded and I don't know that? What if people around me pretend that I'm ok, being polite, or maybe I'm so retarded that I can't notice their reaction to me.

I haven't been able to find an answer.

5 points by lwhi 3 days ago 1 reply      
What does it feel like to be different.

The world isn't full of 'stupid' people and 'clever' people. The human race doesn't function on a linear spectrum; the full variety of personality types and abilities is far more diverse.

Perhaps some people value their intelligence above all else, when other areas of their lives are lacking?

3 points by petercooper 3 days ago 4 replies      
Most of the traits of "stupidity" raised in that piece (reduced arrogance, less anal retentiveness, enjoying obvious movies, patience, going off of sci-fi, being slower and more laid back) are all things I've recently noticed I've gained gradually over the last 10 years.. Early senile dementia? ;-)
8 points by moconnor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Without wanting to detract from a fascinating read, s/stupid/high on C02/ is another interpretation.
11 points by mkramlich 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be curious to know if his political leaning shifted going into and out of his "stupid" period.
4 points by silverlake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Intelligence is the ability to rationalize your stupid opinions. Dumb people just have opinions without the elaborate rationalizations. I prefer dumb people.
4 points by forza 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to me like these "effects" could have a lot more to do with a change of lifestyle and self image, rather than becoming "stupid".
2 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post reminds me of taking some classes with a certain professor of mine. Most of us in the class would regard ourselves as pretty bright, but this prof was a half step ahead of us. He had a habit of blurting out the answers to questions just as a bunch of us had gotten close to formulating the answer or had just opened our mouths to say it. I never thought he was mean spirited about it. He was just faster than us and a little impatient.
2 points by crazydiamond 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another thing i can tell you about how it feels. You'll have to get used to being a loner. It's not hard to make friends since people find you to be open and simple. But then when you have nothing to say, they vanish. It's strange how ultimately friendship can be more about what the other person says rather than what the person is.

However, one learns to accept this as how the world is, and there's no ill-feeling or depression associated with it.

1 point by mcantor 3 days ago 0 replies      
What this man did was find compassion for less intelligent people by becoming one. It is the habit of humans to condescend to less intelligent people, and to envy or undermine those who are smarter. Reaching across the boundaries of what is familiar to us and nurturing compassion there is difficult; this is a case where someone was forced to take a new perspective, and couldn't help but grow that compassion, because people who were previously so unfamiliar became uncannily like himself.

I'm not trying to trivialize his journey; he just as easily could have spiraled into a feedback loop of self-hate and self-pity. It's admirable that he accepted the change within himself, and I enjoyed reading about how awestruck he was as he observed the emotional change within.

6 points by srbloom 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone with a medical background chime in on whether or not this is even possible?
3 points by grav1tas 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the author could take away the story of what it feels like to be slow vs quick. I'd probably be overly caught up on the "almost dying" aspect of the story to hover over much else, to be honest. It's great to see this level of introspection from people.
1 point by capedape 1 day ago 0 replies      
“Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating that intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none. To observe a profoundly stupid individual can be very enriching, and that's why we should never feel contempt for them.” Claude Chabrol
1 point by Supermighty 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I just never had the patience to notice before.

I think with a little patience and humility we can notice the deepness of our stupid friends, and relax enough to enjoy what we are doing without worrying.

2 points by CallMeV 3 days ago 1 reply      
It often breaks my heart when some of my best friends and family reach the limits of their cognitive abilities and display all the intelligence of a Labrador. I love them all unconditionally nonetheless, even if they don't get half of my jokes or most of what I say in the course of the day.
1 point by takameyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience after recieving a concussion this summer. My memory was shot, I had to write everything down constantly. Basically it forced me to become more organized and really simplify my lifestyle. I was really close to getting burned out. It's been a rough trip, but I'm starting to get a good foundation built again. Learning to cut down my projects and not working like a dog has helped out immensely. I would not like to experience that handicap again, as I'm still often struggling with the effects.
1 point by jaekwon 4 days ago 2 replies      
compare with smoking pot daily for X years.

also, can you train yourself to be smarter by forcing yourself into such a state, much like weight training or high altitude training?

2 points by TechNewb 3 days ago 4 replies      
There are many definitions of stupid, but I would not classify speed as one of them. As a dyslexic I'm very slow at reading, but I can use technology to augment that slowness.
2 points by jalfrezzo 3 days ago 2 replies      
>I had an arterial problem for a couple of years [..] this made me forgetful, slow, and easily overwhelmed

Zoom out a bit. Everyone middle aged and above in our society is expected to have some degree of arterial plaque. Nowadays it is considered normal. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise.

Doesn't this mean that many supposedly healthy people are already more slow and forgetful than need be?

How I Screwed Up My Google Acquisition codusoperandi.com
458 points by jayro 5 days ago   103 comments top 27
54 points by grellas 5 days ago 3 replies      
Prospective acquirers will often pursue potential targets simultaneously and, if they go silent on you, this may have little or nothing to do with whether you followed up diligently or not. In my experience, when an acquiring company wants to move, they know how to do so quickly, at least to engage in sufficient due diligence to see whether they might want to do the deal. Thus, when you do get in a situation where you are getting slow or evasive responses after an initial expression of interest, or where things go silent after an initial set of exchanges, I am not sure there is much you can practically do about it unless you have options to sell to others and use this as a lever to speed the process. You can be as aggressive as you like in such cases but, if the acquirer is simply trying to keep options open, you won't be able to force things absent a credible threat of going elsewhere.

That said, this one may have simply fallen through the cracks owing to the early failures to follow up more aggressively. Only the Google people can know for sure.

15 points by patio11 4 days ago 0 replies      
There was a no-holds-barred discussion of the realities of being acquired by s soulless megacorp at Business of Software 2010, by Eric Sink, who sold a product to MS. He had a similar hot cold hot cold reception, and the deal was totally dead twice, prior to it working out. It appears to be the nature of the beast.

If BOS publishes the video of that, I'll post it -- it was one of the most eyeopening talks at the conference for me (and that is saying something, since they were virtually without exception outstanding).

P.S. Google is a soulless megacorp with above average PR.

86 points by joshu 5 days ago 3 replies      
Another one I learned that pops up in this tale: get on the plane if the meeting is important.
39 points by jlees 5 days ago 2 replies      
One thing I have learnt since joining Google: everyone inside Google is always infernally busy.

I'm British, so my concepts of bothering people, being a nuisance, and being impolite are already vastly out of skew with the American work culture -- I've had to relearn a lot of that behaviour since coming to the USA and Google.

IMO it's not really specifically a Google thing. I think the lesson to be learned from this post (and as a founder, I'm wincing along with you jayro) is simple: when dealing with a big company, keep yourself in the radar or you'll vanish altogether.

But please don't be too crazy or in your face. I administered Summer of Code for our open source project this year, and one very keen applicant kept IMing me for status updates. Unfortunately, he was based in India, and so this meant my phone buzzing at 3am. Suffice it to say (and for mostly unrelated reasons), he didn't get accepted.

Be sensitive, be fresh, be relevant, be interesting.

16 points by trickjarrett 5 days ago 5 replies      
A great read about politeness (though it had some negotiating impacts) causing a missed opportunity. I too err on the side of politeness when it comes to business interactions and I've learned that more often than not, when I'm dealing with someone remotely whether it be a colleague or a point of contact, that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

I think it was a mistake to let it ride for so long. A few weeks, maybe two months, and I would have called them up and followed up. Even a short email positioning myself as asking more out of curiosity than need for an acquisition, etc.

Anyone else agree? Would you have followed up?

16 points by johnrob 5 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely a frustrating story to read. That said, two things stand out:

1) Deals fall through. PG et all write about this all the time. It's probably easy to figure why they fail in hindsight, but that doesn't make them any easier to manage in the future.

2) It seems like the main premise of the idea was to get bought by google/yahoo/microsoft. That is a dangerous strategy to employ out of the gates (although back in 2005 there was no hacker news and a whole let less general knowledge about the black art of startups).

18 points by jordanmessina 5 days ago 2 replies      
Preezo sounds like it was built to be acquired from day one. I think that mindset makes it a lot more difficult to deal with missed opportunities and can really make the entire experience of building a product unenjoyable. This is probably why so many people suggest building something you want instead of what you think others will want; at least you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in the process.
10 points by robk 5 days ago 0 replies      
The "get on a plane" advice is crucial. Product managers lead acquisitions at Google and are the hardest to reach. If you get any interest expressed from them, try to get in person w/ them within a couple weeks max, even if just for coffee. From there, it's helpful to send them a monthly or bi-monthly ping just to keep them abreast of any developments. They might not be ready to acquire now, but it's very helpful to remind them of you when they're ready or thinking of an acquisition

*disclaimer - ex-Google PM

4 points by noonespecial 5 days ago 0 replies      
It also says something about the randomness of the startup scene. You can have just the right product at just the right time and still lose.
5 points by Maro 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have any relevant experience, but this sounds odd. If the product was good (better than Zenter), than why didn't they acquire Preezo at that later point in time?
4 points by bherms 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the moral here applies to more than just dealing with big companies, but anything in general. Persistence can pay off big time.

Quick example: I interviewed with a company back in August and was told I'd hear from them in a week. I didn't so I began emailing the CEO (who I'd interviewed with) at least once a week for almost three months (never got a yes/no, so I kept "checking in"). Because I kept myself on the radar and kept pursuing it, when something finally opened up, I got the job and was told that they admired my persistence. Don't be afraid of annoying people -- if the answer isn't final yet, keep trying.

3 points by kenjackson 5 days ago 2 replies      
Jonathan Rochelle repeated wryly and with a smile, "Yes, time to go. Google is here,"

WTF? Is Google the mob or something? Almost seems like the next line should have been, "And I was never seen or heard from again."

3 points by zandorg 5 days ago 3 replies      
I (a UK developer) just dealt with a company who were interested in my Pretext software, which finds text in images. I rang at 2PM their time when I rang, and when his development committee finally rejected me after a month of waiting, he said "You have written very capable and useful software - however, we want to develop in-house", I was polite and said goodbye, etc.

Everything to gain. Nothing lost but a couple transatlantic phone calls.

2 points by deyan 5 days ago 1 reply      
Seems to me that your analysis suffers from a fundamental attribution error (blaming you rather than circumstances). While it is possible that you could have done a few things better (with the help of the ever so omni-potent captain hindsight), my experience is that such deals are complicated and involve a lot of people. So I think it is much more likely that the final outcome was more out of your control than your essay implies.
2 points by harshaw 5 days ago 1 reply      
A somewhat similar story: around the same time I was working on Numbler, a collaborative spreadsheet that I launched (unluckily) a couple of months before google spreadsheet went live. Numbler had some cool features that would enable you to see real time changes from other collaborators, see dynamic updates when someone else changed cell formulas, integration with internet data sources, etc.

I got the attention of Google and was flown into NYC for an interview / talk with the spreadsheet team. Similarly, I was also a one man shop since my founder had bailed on me and left for Google 3 months prior! Things went pear shaped when I failed to get through the algorithm gristmill. I had one poor interview with a beaver/rat ringed kid who was eager to demonstrate his intellectual superiority (or so it felt at the time).

The frustrating part is that as an entrepreneur your thoughts are ranging from how to make money/business model to UI design to backend engineering. I was expecting that the googlers would at least show some interest in Numbler - but that wasn't how the meetings were structured. The google PM (Fuzzy was his name) was interested, but seemed hamstrung by the google process. Google never asked me about any of the tricks I used work to build the UI, COMET style networking for responsiveness, etc.

In retrospect, Numbler was an acquisition play and needed a much better strategy and larger vision to succeed. I did end up with a google NYC t-shirt...

1 point by melvinram 5 days ago 1 reply      
Man, that royally sucks. I can't add too much to the conversation except to say that I hope your AppIgnite system works out to be a nice hit. I heard you on some podcast recently and it sounds pretty neat.
3 points by waterside81 5 days ago 0 replies      
I gotta say hearing about things not going one's way is more informative and educational than hearing about when things all go peachy and a founder walks out with $X million. If you only read TC you'd think every startup in the world is cashing in.
5 points by splatcollision 5 days ago 1 reply      
This has inspired me to send some follow up emails on some leads I've been chasing, thanks!
2 points by TotlolRon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think you "screwed" anything. You can't force a relationship, and it is a waste of time to think about the email you didn't send. Had you sent it and got no reply, would you feel better? How about the email they didn't send? Maybe they are the ones who "screwed"?

"Still what could've been. Is better than what could never be at all" -- Tiffany

2 points by sportsTAKES 5 days ago 1 reply      
I know I've had experiences in life where I look back and say 'what was I thinking?!?'

As difficult as it is, nicely done on recognizing the situation, holding yourself accountable and chalking it up as a lesson learned. No doubt about it, this experience will help you somewhere down the line...

I'm really impressed with your articulate re-cap of the story.

2 points by newobj 5 days ago 0 replies      

I know one of the Zenter guys. He is definitely a closer.

1 point by seltzered 5 days ago 1 reply      
I would say the problem is that you divulged technical details before getting a written "intent to acquire" from google.

While keeping the line of communication is important, it's also important to ensure it's worth your time.

1 point by elvirs 5 days ago 0 replies      
considering that Google's acquisitions are about about technology as much as about talent, and the fact that you hired another guy to help you with coding it is possible that they expected a team behind the technology to join them, but were disappointed when learned that you hired outsiders to help with building that technology.
1 point by oogali 4 days ago 0 replies      
Comment from my friend, Jason Snell (@syn3):

"Ouch. That really sucks. Lesson learned. Sometimes you have to take off your engineer hat and stop pretending human communication works like TCP."

1 point by rickdangerous1 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be rather interesting if the google folks involved in this could provide their side of the story. Just wishful thinking of course...but maybe someone from HN could try asking the question...
1 point by psnj 5 days ago 1 reply      
I used to work at OT when Glazer was there, and I attended a workshop once where he gave a talk. Very impressive guy -- I remember thinking "I want to work for the company that guy's working for!"
0 points by cavilling_elite 5 days ago 1 reply      
This should also be a lesson about using engineering notebooks and other such legal documents in programming a new product, especially with new ideas such as the DOM manipulation indicated in this blog.
Gawker Website source, databases & passwords now on BitTorrent thepiratebay.org
359 points by tenaciousJk 1 day ago   181 comments top 38
36 points by alanh 1 day ago replies      
I think I am going to be checking the dump to ensure my password is not among it…

Remember, don't use the same password across the Internet. Here's why.

Edit: It's there, apparently as a DES hash. …

Update 2: The first two characters are the hash. So if you use a tool like https://hash.online-convert.com/des-generator you are going to put your password in the “Text you want to convert…” box and the first two characters of your hashed password in as the “Salt (optional)”. Then you will see the “Calculated DES Hash” which will be the same as the hashed password from the torrent if you knew or guessed the password correctly.


Your Lifehacker password is “hackern”, but in the torrent, it's just “8h48GPxmwy.EA”. Just to show the torrent is legit, you go to the website I entered above, enter “hackern” and “8h” as the salt; it will spit back “8h48GPxmwy.EA”.

Update 3: “OFFER HN”: The most paltry “Offer HN” ever " send me your username or email address and I'll grep both files for you to see if your password and/or hash is in one of them. My email is contact-at-<HN username>ogan.com

48 points by danilocampos 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My credentials were in the pile.

So, uh, how come I and everyone else affected don't have an email in our inboxes from Gawker right now, marked as urgent, explaining the situation?

Doesn't that seem like the right thing to do?

63 points by kacy 1 day ago 5 replies      
This is serious. I just checked out the torrent with the text file of the 200,000 cracked passwords. I searched for @me.com account and logged into someone's apple account. It was possible for me to order stuff via their account. I quickly emailed the guy to let him know to change his password. Gawker needs to take responsibility of this situation and email everyone in their database.
12 points by jbm 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like it is quite easy to shut off ads on Gawker. They do a simple boolean check to see if you have a "noad" cookie set. Try entering this into the console.

    javascript:document.cookie='noad=true; expires=Thu, 2 Aug 2021 20:47:11 UTC; path=/';

This shuts everything off, except for one ad at the top.

(Put a bookmarklet for this if anyone who wants to try it out: http://bit.ly/exvive)

8 points by paulitex 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I've download the torrent, convenient of them to give an email address with each cracked account.

I'm currently writing a little script that parses all the address and emails the owner a heads up. I gotta step out so I won't have it done for 2-3 hours and I thought I'd post here in case anyone else has that idea (don't want to flood the victims).

5 points by brandnewlow 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Random datapoint: My e-mail was one that got hit in this hack. 15 minutes ago my Twitter and Gmail both just locked me out. I was able to set new passwords via mobile verification, but that was pretty spooky and clearly someone is going after the people who got exposed here.
16 points by watty 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a huge breach yet users have to scroll down a full page on Gizmodo.com to find a small article about it.
5 points by Q6T46nT668w6i3m 1 day ago 3 replies      
Has anyone checked if source/ contains the source for their proprietary CMS?

From Felix Salmon:

Most of the value of Gawker Media lies in Hungary"but how much value is there, really? To a large degree that depends on what Denton decides to do with his proprietary technology. Other blogging platforms are worth nine-figure sums"Tumblr just got a valuation of $135 million, while Automattic, the parent of WordPress, turned down a $200 million acquisition offer three years ago, when it was much smaller than it is today, and subsequently raised money at a valuation north of $150 million. I know a lot of people at big media companies who struggle with the limitations of WordPress, and who would pay good money to license an alternative web publishing technology, if it was robust and proven. Big companies are already licensing the NYT's Press Engine mobile-publishing technology, and it's rumored that at one point Denton was talking to Bonnie Fuller about licensing his technology to her nascent website, although that never happened.


4 points by kmfrk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Having seen the pastebin link, these guys use really, really poor password. Only alphanumeric - usually just one of the two - rarely with capitalization, and nothing else.
9 points by wippler 1 day ago 2 replies      
For anyone who is interested in more details, check out the readme file for how it actually went, atleast a rough sketch of it..


4 points by quellhorst 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The torrent has been removed. Is there another place to download?
2 points by fendrak 23 hours ago 0 replies      
For a little background information on DES password hashing, check out this assignment from my Computer Security class at UT Austin:


It gives a little bit of background information on password hashing and salting, and on simple password cracking techniques.

4 points by philfreo 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Seriously, use 1Password... it's great.
3 points by sams99 20 hours ago 0 replies      
When will people learn to use bcrypt for their passwords, and on that topic, when will a "security expert" bless it http://stackoverflow.com/q/3722780/17174
4 points by lotides 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can Gawker be held legally liable for maintaining poor security standards and incompetence leading to this? Can anybody cite related laws or cases?
1 point by liedra 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I have an io9 account (that's a Gawker site) but my email isn't showing up in a grep of the db dumps. Perhaps this is not the entire database after all? (I didn't use Facebook Connect.)

I must admit I'm a bit intrigued as to why mine's not there. Anyone else in this boat?

3 points by ShabbyDoo 1 day ago replies      
So, were these "passwords" stored as salted hashes?
7 points by beaumartinez 18 hours ago 0 replies      
TPB have removed the torrent.
7 points by dholowiski 1 day ago 1 reply      
At this point, I wouldn't trust an email from gawker with a password reset link, considering they've just been hacked. Sadly I think most users would.
3 points by wizardishungry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have any information on changing all their account passwords at once? I don't use the same password for any sites, but unimportant sites like blogs, etc. I use fairly similar passwords on.
1 point by ericflo 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Was this a Campfire hack, or did they happen to know a username/password combo and try Campfire first?
1 point by dacort 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like somebody decided to spam the heck out of Twitter with those compromised passwords. http://twitter.com/#!/delbius/statuses/14235293116792833
1 point by redthrowaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is what mailinator and, failing that, tenminutemail accounts are for. Why people sign up for random sites with their personal emails just to comment on articles is beyond me.
1 point by arn 1 day ago 2 replies      
2 points by jdbeast00 1 day ago 1 reply      
does anyone know if their other sites db's were compromised aside from gawker.com?
3 points by flexd 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I had no clue what gawker was until i saw this. Am i expected to
1 point by olalonde 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone how they got access to their Campfire account? (That's where they found the server passwords)
1 point by anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
The passwords aren't very important, although I can see why that'd be an issue. But those internal chat logs are going to be a bit of a problem. For Nick Denton, that is.
2 points by dataminer 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Its a good idea to use Keepass and Keyfox to generate different secure passwords for every site instead of using one weak password for all the sites.
1 point by jtagen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if there's an option for an ISP to proactively secure these accounts. GMail has phone verification for backup, they could temporarily disable the account of anyone who has a matching password.

Odd, I'm sure I had a lifehacker comments account, but my username isn't listed. No complaints though.

1 point by nhangen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in there, and I'm grateful to the HN community for showing me how to find out. This is rather alarming...I've passed it on to my newsletter subscribers, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Kind of ironic really, considering the whole secrecy vs non-secrecy debate.

3 points by trucious 15 hours ago 0 replies      
torrent not found..
1 point by bhrgunatha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have a list of sites that gawker owns - I have no idea which sites I need to potentially check.

EDIT: Nevermind - it seems that resetting your password at gawker.com resets for all of their sites.

1 point by norova 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently sending emails to the first 50,000 addresses listed in the database dump via SendGrid. I only have 50,000 credits left for this month, but at least that many will get notified.
1 point by Keyframe 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Early Christmas for spammers. What a disaster.
1 point by enko 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Damn, I'm on the list as well. This is the straw that broke the camel's back - I'm buying 1passwd, and converting to it wholesale.
0 points by iphoneedbot 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Im curious, how come it only shows 65k email addresses, but everywhere Ive read reports email addresses totaling over a million
-2 points by drivebyacct2 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Weird... One of my throwaway accounts appears with a name I know I've never used before. Then again, I had someone sign up for a Facebook account with that email address once too...
The Day MAME Saved My Ass ppl-pilot.com
341 points by jeff18 1 day ago   42 comments top 13
40 points by Sukotto 1 day ago 3 replies      
Tip for next time: Make deliverables relative to the time you get the initial assets you were promised.

BigCo promises you the original source code + game assets.

Instead of promising Alpha/Beta/Release from the signing of the contract, promise X/Y/Z business days from delivery of those critical assets.

(Make sure you have a timeout clause in there too, "Assets will be delivered by BigCo within 60 days of the signing of this contract or we will not develop that title and BigCo will pay a penalty of $X")

[edit to add] Be careful to define what "assets" mean to you. Assume what you write will be read by a lowest-bidder consultant, with active disincentives against showing initiative, and who can barely read. (Not stupid though)

49 points by joezydeco 1 day ago 0 replies      
MAME saved my ass too.

I was working on a coin-op game for a mid-level manufacturer in Chicago. Let's just say they were the last dinosaur in the tar pit and they didn't have a stellar hardware engineering team. They tended to copy other people's designs and not really understand the architectures, so things like in-circuit emulators and IDEs were scarce or non-existant. You debugged via trial-and-error and, if you were lucky, printf().

So I was working on this title and started working from home a couple of days a week to take care of a family member. That made things hard, and even harder since you tend to have the physical machine next to you while coding. It was frustrating to code for a day, get to work, then find half of it wasn't working.

Then I discovered that the MAME kids had already supported the platform. With a small amount of work I could develop on the emulated platform. I could work remotely and I had access to things the in-house guys didn't even have: hardware breakpoints, live RAM viewing, scripted testing for example.

Without MAME I would have seriously been suffering on this project.

59 points by julian37 1 day ago 5 replies      
"Fortunately, [...] a SpyHunter fan [...] had extracted the sound effects himself and put up WAV files on his web page."

"I wanted to give the guy a game credit [...]. The publisher refused....their legal team were already writing up a cease-and-desist letter ordering him to remove the assets from his fan page."

Guy saves the day and instead of a cookie he gets a CnD letter. Do things really have to work this way?

"But you have to defend your trademarks or they become worthless!" Right, because the publisher would have been so much better off if those WAVs wouldn't have been out on the Internet in the first place.

26 points by iuguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an incredible example of the 'zombie code' problem. You lose the source to something and are somehow expected to maintain it anyway.

Years ago at a previous employer, we had an old xenix system that ran a library book lending system. The company that maintained it had gone bust long ago and noone knew how to migrate the data, in fact noone really knew xenix either. I ended up (as the Linux and y2k guy) working with one of the smartest guys I've ever met to hunt the data down. In the process I learnt xenix and Geoff learnt xenix x86 assembly. Geoff patched the library system to start dumping out csvs. Then he patched an import function, then an extra field to indicate the year starting with 19 or 20 (to solve the y2k problem all we had to do was shutdown for Christmas, bring the box up in January, set the date to 1900 and we'd be fine. It didn't quite turn out that way but that was another story) and after a significant post y2k problem Geoff took over maintaining a defunct piece of software on a defunct platform, for 3 years. The library didn't migrate because they didn't need to, as long as they had Geoff. After I left, Geoff took over xenix admin (to be fair, not a lot to do) and a few years later fell very ill. While the library thought they'd saved money, ultimately they trapped themselves in an expert system that could only prolong the inevitable disaster on the horizon.

15 points by joeyh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I especially like the bit where someone else had embedded Mame with a pirated ROM as a "port" to a major console. Especially amusing if you read Mame's license, which includes:

> MAME is free. The source code is free. If you paid for it, you've been
ripped off. If you sell it, you are a thief.

> You are not allowed to distribute X-Mame ( source or binary) and
ROM's image in the same package or physical medium.

> If you distribute the executable, you should also distribute the
source code.

> The source code cannot be used in a commercial product without a
written authorization of the authors.

9 points by mgkimsal 1 day ago 1 reply      
"but the publisher insisted that we had signed a contract, and that with-or-without assets we were expected to deliver the alpha version on time....which at this point was a week later."

Crazy, yet all too common. We didn't hold up our end of an agreement, but YOU have to. Does this happen in all industries, or just software?

"We didn't provide the plants or mulch or dirt for the garden (which we were supposed to do last week), but you still have to provide a flower bed tomorrow."

I'm assuming there was something in the contract that the original party was required to provide assets for the port. Perhaps it wasn't.

"No... no need to contractually obligate us to deliver - just believe us, we'll get you the files!"

18 points by Clarity1992 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love the bit where he gets the best guy in the office to play through the game with cheats and grabs the image data from the sessions in order to reconstruct the maps.

Perhaps because I've always been an, er, "dedicated" gamer, there's something about a solution involving playing the game which is really satisfying.

5 points by praptak 1 day ago 1 reply      
Stories like this make me thing that we should have some legal basis for telling the suits to fuck off. Professions like aircraft pilots and medicine doctors do this.
3 points by malkia 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I had similar experience with Metal Gear Solid port for the PC.

We did not have the source to the midi/mod library playing the music (they were composed of short samples).

Instead we found .wav files of all music tracks on one of the fan-page sites. We even found the samples to a lot of our sounds. We simply grabbed and used them instead

5 points by mdaniel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sigh: I say we have a new rule that unless the linkee is a major webserving force, that we systemically use Corel Cache.

OB cached link: http://www.ppl-pilot.com.nyud.net/mame.aspx

3 points by JeffL 1 day ago 1 reply      
So why is someone who sounds as awesome as the guy who wrote this article having to deal this sort of nonsense?
3 points by gilgad13 1 day ago 0 replies      
So moral of the story: Making unreasonable demands and threatening to completely cut off funding for related projects works as a way to force a contractor to deliver despite "setbacks" on your end?

Looks like the suits won this one.

1 point by andyv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although it was more like "The Week MAME Save My Ass"...
The answer to "Will you mentor me?" is...No. pindancing.blogspot.com
322 points by nochiel 2 days ago   42 comments top 17
39 points by patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
I generally default to "Yes", but the alternative is "Put this off for later" and folks who are not elementary school English teachers very rarely receive another look to their email if I can't address it immediately. I don't keep track of it but I think this means about 60% of people get yes these days.

Things which induce me to drop what I am doing and immediately get to work on someone's behalf:

1) Demonstrating that you know me well, either through familiarity with what I've done, what I've written, myself personally, or someone close to me.

2) Demonstrating that you have put a lot of work into something and can benefit from specific application of my expertise.

3) A precise request which I can satisfy. ("Can you teach me about running a business?" is not a precise request -- well, OK, it is, but only if you accept "I could." as a complete answer. "I have built an application which does X. I want to increase its organic search rankings for X, and having done my homework about SEO, I understand this means I need to get links to my website. Can you give me an idea for an X-related piece of linkbait?" is a precise question.)

Things which people frequently try that are not as successful as they probably hope:

1) "Help me, Obi Wan, you're my only hope." I enjoy backing underdogs, not losers. There is a difference. Pluck and vim and tales of what you've managed to do make you sound like an underdog. Apologies and lack of confidence and telling me who you've already asked who ignored you totally make you sound like a loser. (By the way, it very rarely improves any negotiation to tell the other party that they were the first person you thought of after the first four people you thought of said no.)

2) "This will only take..." Asking me to drop what I'm doing is much more disruptive than many people would assume it is. Also, folks have a tendency to underestimate how much work is required or how thoroughly I tend to answer requests which I answer.

3) Napkin stage ideas. Most of them will be culled before shipping. Why should I dedicate my limited time on a project which will probably be shelved, when I could instead work on something which will, with certainty, help people?

22 points by SandB0x 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Not for one moment did I doubt that you were the Buddha, that you have reached the highest goal which so many thousands of Brahmins and Brahmins' sons are striving to reach. You have done so by your own seeking, in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment. You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think, O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings. To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teachings what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment."

- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

45 points by plinkplonk 2 days ago 4 replies      
D'oh I am somewhat embarrassed that my rants land up on HN.

On HN I try to have a measured tone. On my personal blog,I just write(rant!) without regard to "voice" and so on. It doesn't help that, while I enjoy meeting people and parties and such, I am equally content to stay in the shadows and don't care about "personal brand" or building a group to bring change and so on.

I just got frustrated at receiving the nth "please mentor me and send me some code so I can do a cool AI project for my bachelor's degree requirements. I need this next week." email.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=670453 is the original thread , with many nice comments.

11 points by ekidd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mentoring other programmers can be a lot of fun.

I knew a student once who was messing around with Java, and I pointed him at Lisp and some code for a metacircular evaluator. He figured it out in no time flat. It's fun to blow people's minds, and to watch them learn.

But as the article says, you can't help people who aren't willing to roll up their sleeves and go to work.

15 points by lenni 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can only agree. Recently I wanted to get better at C and started to poke around in wget's bug tracker. I found an appropriate bug and asked twice on the mailing list if my suggested implementation would be okay. No answer in both cases.

Then I just went and wrote the code, put up a repo on Launchpad. I was soon getting many helpful comments.

20 points by dannyb 2 days ago 2 replies      
Excellent post. Take responsibility for your own intellectual development and you will do much better than if someone were to show you the exact solution to a problem you're working on.

I see this a lot with students in introductory physics. If they come to me and say "I don't get it" or "I can't get started" I actually invest less time than if I get a good student who has hit a wall and can't get through. The student who won't/can't start will get sent to the tutoring center and I will spend the time with the kid who works hard. There's only so much of me to go around and I want to make it count.

2 points by jseliger 2 days ago 0 replies      
In other words, when you asks for a busy person's time for "mentorship" or "advice" or whatever, show (a) you are serious and have gone as far as you can by yourself (b) have taken concrete steps to address whatever your needs are and (optionally. but especially with code related efforts)(c) how helping you could benefit them/their project.*

Funny -- this is almost exactly the advice I wrote in "How to get your professors' attention -- and coaching and mentoring": http://jseliger.com/2010/10/02/how-to-get-your-professors%E2... . The big thing you need to do if you're trying to get someone's attention is show that you're worth the investment.

Most people either don't do this or don't know how to.

5 points by kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
The same applies to job applications. Some companies don't know that they could use your service - so prove it to them!
4 points by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is good advice; maybe it could be paraphrased - don't ask to ask (dive in).

I think people are often quite hung up on being courteous, and are keen to gain permission to have that initial conversation.

While I think that's understandable, this is a nice example of why it's useful to a) be persistent, and b) get to the point of the conversation efficiently and effectively.

3 points by ig1 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is true even outside of programming, I occasionally get emails from students at my alma matter asking for advice on getting into investment banking, and in general I'm much more likely to respond if they show they've already put some effort in.
5 points by gwern 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am struck by how much of that seems to echo http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
2 points by sizzla 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think what the author is saying is that having done projects on your own helps your credibility.

I disagree that ML is something that can be picked up through just an OCW site and such. "Real" ML involves way too much mathematics and does not overlap much with programming. ..unless your idea of Software Engineering is writing stuff in MATLAB.

There are so many books and the path to knowledge can be daunting.

In the spirit of the blog-post's advice I was trying to gauge whether to take the author's advice seriously, but after some short searching I could not come up with publications in ML. I definitely found several moderately complex projects with an ML "flavor." And that's already way better than most people who try to get into this by themselves and shows Ravi picked up on a bunch of stuff.

Ravi mentioned 5 years ago that reading the literature felt like banging your head against the wall and I think most of people who attempt the self-taught route are going to feel the same.

You're looking at a year or two of full-time college-like preparation during which you will learn lots of math but little to no ML. Only then can you begin to really learn ML. The books by themselves are simply not enough to learn this stuff. One needs to literally go through as many lectures as possible in the relevant coursework online, and do the labs. Various CS departments that actually have some traction in ML spend a large chunk of time designing the course and labs are incredibly illuminating.

If you just want to learn how to apply an ML algorithm taught in an undergraduate-level course, disregard my post.

Truly understanding anything written by Bishop or even going through ESL completely is something that is going to take an enormous amount of time (on your own easily a year, if you have the background) and mathematical skills that are typically way outside of what a Software Engineer deals with in any of the projects. I mean Bishop introduces hyperpriors in Chapter 1 or 2 for chrissake.

I can see how getting into patricle-filtering based probabilistic robotics can be easier, but try some EKF-based methods and feel the pain, that is, feel the amount of math that you don't know yet.

Extra hint for HN readers: take a look at the CVs of hot-shots in ML. Lots of Math and Physics undergrads, and a PhD in Theoretical Physics or Mathematics is not a rare occurrence by any means.

I'd also take a risk and say that traditional mentor/student relationships in India are quite different from the less formal ones in the West. My experience with colleagues from India is that they are much more likely to observe the authority ladder. Just look up Anil K Bera's interview with C.R.Rao (of Rao-Blackwell theorem) especially w/regards to how things were going at ISI.

2 points by wyclif 2 days ago 0 replies      
My experience has been that anyone I would want to mentor me is too busy running their own company to have time to mentor.
3 points by jawartak 2 days ago 0 replies      
So your answer isn't 'no'. It's 'If you've shown significant effort on your own, then yes; otherwise, no.'
2 points by anthonycerra 2 days ago 0 replies      
We need to define a time associated with the word "mentor" or "mentorship". I'm sure most people that ask someone to mentor them don't expect a Mr. Miyagi style time investment. You'd be surprised how far the occasional IM chat or email will go.
1 point by jwu711 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the comparison of the arts industry to the technology industry. The same can be said for finance and consulting industries. I feel there has been a complete loss of the apprenticeship and mentoring model because of the growth of information. When you discover that the majority of people are selfish, it really turns you away from mentoring. I want to help people that are willing to give back to the next generation and 'pay it forward', but most people take the help and just leave it at that.
-1 point by known 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you compete with me I'll not mentor you.
I solved the embedded Chrome OS ad equation and won a Cr-48 sylvainzimmer.com
315 points by tonyskn 3 days ago   85 comments top 12
31 points by pavs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now its time to figure out how to set up a server that can handle few thousand viewers.

Cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://...

11 points by jacquesm 3 days ago replies      
From the article:

> most people I know including myself couldn't live without Chromium/V8 anymore.

Is this a common sentiment ?

11 points by codeglomeration 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the screenshot of the secret page: "Also, we can only give you a Chrome notebook if you live in the United States and ... "

I find it such a shame that these types of conditions are so popular for most contests / easter eggs, etc.

Are the legal issue regarding this that complex?

I'm assuming Google is not really that cheap regarding postage costs, since we're also only talking about 1 notebook here.

Also interested how it all worked out for Jamendo, since (from what I see) they're based in Luxembourg.

14 points by sylvinus 3 days ago 1 reply      
hi guys. I'm Sylvain who solved the thing, thanks for relaying the info here! :)

The blog indeed crashed, it's on a very small VM with a remote filesystem and even with a WP cache plugin.. not so much luck, even with apache stopped.

However our company blog has a proper sysadmin ;-) So after I setup a redirect there no more issues... until we get on slashdot maybe ? :)


4 points by mcav 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos. Too bad that special page didn't also include a job interview offer.
9 points by Soupy 3 days ago 2 replies      
5 points by daok 3 days ago 3 replies      
I dont get that : "we realized “900.91″ did actually reference the goo.gl url shortener"

I do not see how he did that?

9 points by kilovoltaire 3 days ago 0 replies      
24 occurrences of ";-)" " true happiness!
4 points by flawawa2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, now please make Jamendo a joy to use...
3 points by duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I figured that out and won a Cr-48 I would be all smiles too.
1 point by xaverius 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google Chrome blog has a post about this. Congrats to the Jamendo guys.
2 points by johnrdavisjr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can only view the cached version. Looks like he needs a mirror.
Staging Servers, Source Control & Deploy Workflows, And Other Stuff kalzumeus.com
308 points by revorad 1 day ago   52 comments top 17
22 points by nostrademons 1 day ago 5 replies      
A few other things:

One-click rollbacks. It's really, really important that when you deploy a release to the production servers, you can un-deploy it with a single click or command. That means all changes should be logged, and all the old files should be kept around until the next release. You hopefully won't have to use this often, but when you do, it's a lifesaver to be able to say "Okay, we'll rollback and fix the problem at our leisure" rather than frantically trying to get the servers back online.

Staging/production configs. If you do need to have differences between staging & production configs, try to limit them to a single overrides file. This should not contain app config that changes frequently, and should be limited to things like debug options and Patrick's "don't e-mail all these people" flag. Check in both the staging and production config overrides, but don't check in the actual filename under which the system looks for them. On the actual machines, cp the appropriate config to the appropriate location, and then leave it there. This way it doesn't get blown away when you redeploy, and you don't need to manual work to update it on deployment. (I suppose you could have your deployment scripts take a staging or production arg and copy it over appropriately, but this is the poor-man's version.)

Deployment schedule. I'd really recommend having a set, periodic deployment schedule, maybe even run off a cronjob. The problem with manual deployments is they usually happen only when people get around to it, and by then, dozens of changes have gone in. If something goes wrong, it's hard to isolate the actual problem. Also, deploying infrequently is bad for your users: it means they have to wait longer for updates, and they don't get the feeling that they're visiting a living, dynamic, frequently-updated website.

The holy grail for deployment is push-on-green. This is a continuous-integration model where you have a daemon process that continually checks out the latest source code, runs all the unit tests, deploys it to the staging server, runs all the functional & integration tests, and if everything passes, pushes the software straight to the production servers. Obviously, you need very good automatic test coverage for this to work, because the decision on whether to push is completely automatic and is based on whether the tests pass. But it has big benefits for both reliability and morale as team size grows, and big benefits for users as they get the latest features quickly and you can measure the impact of what you're doing immediately. I believe FaceBook uses this system, and I know of one team inside Google that has the technical capability to do this, although in practice they still have some manual oversight.

Third-party software. I know Patrick recommended using apt-get, but I'm going to counter-recommend pulling any third-party code you use into your own source tree and building it with your own build tools. (Oftentimes you'll see all third-party software in its own directory, which makes it easier to audit for license compliance.) You should integrate in a new version when you have a big block of spare time, because it'll most likely be a long, painful process.

There are two main reasons for this. 1) is versioning. When you apt-get a package, you get the most recent version packaged version. This is not always the most recent version, nor is it always compatible with previous versions. You do not want to be tracking down a subtle version incompatibility when you're setting up a new server or deploying a new version to the production servers - or worse, when you rollback a change. (If you do insist on using apt-get, make sure that you specify the version for the package to avoid this.)

2.) is platforms. If you always use Debian-based systems, apt-get works great. But what if one of your devs wants to use a MacBook? What if you switch hosts and your new host uses a RedHat-based system? The build-from-source installers usually have mechanisms to account for different platforms; open-source software usually wants the widest possible audience of developers. The pre-packaged versions, not so much. And there're often subtle differences between the packaged versions and the source - I recall that PIL had a different import path when it was built & installed from source vs. when it was installed through apt-get.

10 points by mixmax 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...until that day when I accidentally created an infinite loop and rang every number in the database a hundred times."

A developer that worked for me did exactly this a few years ago, only instead of ringing numbers he sent them overcharged SMS messages. I had to call up every single affected customer and explain to them why they had just received 50 SMS messages that cost them $5 a pop. After that I of course refunded the money - only problem was that the SMS gateway charges 40% on each transaction, which I couldn't get back.

Very expensive mistake.

17 points by SkyMarshal 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Git is very popular in the Rails community, but there are probably no two companies using git the same way.

For anyone not already aware of it, I recommend checking out Git Flow. It's a set of git extensions that standardize the git workflow:


Some articles:



7 points by thibaut_barrere 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good post! I especially appreciated "staging = production - users", simple and easy to remember.

It is so useful to have very similar setups in staging and production.

In particular, I really try to avoid having a different architecture (eg: 32bits vs 64bits, or different versions of ubuntu, or passenger just in production etc). It makes it easier to catch issues earlier.

5 points by larrywright 1 day ago 0 replies      
An excellent article - these are lessons most people learn the hard way. I'll second the recommendation for using Chef or something like it to manage your system configuration. It makes building new servers based on your configuration trivial (say if you wanted to move VPS hosts). Additionally, if you use Chef, you can use Vagrant[1], you can replicate your production or staging environments locally in VirtualBox.

Also, not to pimp my own stuff, but I wrote a thing about generating test data with Ruby some time ago. I've used this strategy a number of times and it works really well: http://larrywright.me/blog/articles/215-generating-realistic...

[1]: http://vagrantup.com/

3 points by lylejohnson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Please don't upvote me, I just felt like commenting: It's threads like these that make me want to check Hacker News every day. So much good information, both in the post and the comments. That is all.
6 points by pmjordan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry for nit-picking on an otherwise great post, but:

It is virtually impossible to understate how much using source control improves software development.

Shouldn't that be "overstate"?

7 points by enlil 1 day ago 2 replies      
I also recommend to have a demo server, to which you can push your latest changes without thinking twice. This way, demoing new features to the customer or testing your deployment script does not change the staging box.
This way you can have your staging deploy be a much more realistic test run of your production deploy. You only push to staging, when you are about to push to production. Otherwise you might get state differences between the two like outstanding migrations that need to be run on one server but not on the other one. Typically things like that beak you neck during deployment to prod, so you want to test that. But you still want to have a faster way of getting features vetted by your customer. So you should have demo and staging.
2 points by bryanh 1 day ago 3 replies      
"...but I'm not Facebook and having capacity problems means that I am probably already vacationing at my hollowed-out volcano lair."

So now we finally know patio11's grand scheme!

But seriously, thanks for the writeup. I am using the lazy man's version control (Dropbox... ;-) ), but I definitely need to more to Git ASAP. I guess before now the time spent learning and setting Git up was better spent doing something else (at least in my mind).

3 points by Goladus 1 day ago 4 replies      
A third option for the staging database is to do a dump and then scrub the data for security compliance. You may be able to use that database through several development cycles.
4 points by PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
I figured out much of this the hard way. You don't hear people talking about it much because most people who know how to do it are too busy to write about.
6 points by swah 1 day ago 2 replies      
What is a seed script?
3 points by koski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Other cool stuff that i haven't seen in many places is an environment that is automatically testing that the backups are working.

That's something worth of having as well.

1 point by jluxenberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm planning to use this git-based deployment workflow sometime soon:


Seems pretty nifty.

1 point by inovica 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a sandbox for AWS we've just started using Zettar (http://www.zettar.com/zettar/index.php). I'm not affiliated with the company, but I found them when they purchased one of ours.
1 point by cpr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Patrick, how do you compress such hard-won wisdom in such a young person's head, and express it so well at the same time? ;-)
1 point by swah 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm using Git and I have a question: when do you commit?
How to detect a toxic customer softwarebyrob.com
280 points by swombat 4 days ago   114 comments top 13
170 points by spolsky 4 days ago 15 replies      
This detection process doesn't detect toxic customers, it detects corporate customers at large companies.

It's fine for a small startup to cater to small startups, but the big companies have big budgets, and eventually, you'll be making 80% of your money off of them, so learning how to deal with them can be helpful.

1. Big companies often have purchasing departments actually do the purchase. They are trained to expect discounts and the people in the purchasing department know a lot more about asking for discounts than they know about software, because that is their specialized role in the organization. If you politely tell them that you have one price for everyone, they'll still purchase, because the purchasing department ususally doesn't have the power to stop the purchase.

2. Those 80-question checklists usually come out of the following, typical corporate process:

* A team of people identifies a need for software

* The team meets to agree on everything they need

* The junior person on the team is tasked with evaluating 12 possible products to see which one is best

* That person makes up a spreadsheet and sends it to each of the vendors hoping that they will do his homework for him

* The vendors who have decent presales support or sales teams fill out the spreadsheets by marking everything as "Yes" or "Yes with a footnote" and get the deal.

This also explains the "multiple questions that can be answered from a website" -- it's a sign of a person who has been put in charge of evaluating multiple products, not a sign of a toxic customer.

3. Multiple contacts through multiple channels are usually the sign of multiple interested parties at the client site. You can't sell to big companies without touching multiple people. One of a salesperson's most important jobs is helping the customer themselves get organized and make a purchase. A good salesperson helps the person who wants your software navigate their own corporate purchasing politics.

Summary: while it's fine to turn away truly toxic customers, and you are welcome to decide that you'd rather sell to the starving startup founders on Y-combinator who would rather spend 2 hours scouring your website than deal with a salesperson, the corporate customers turn out to be remarkably price-insensitive, once they make a purchase they will keep paying you maintenance for years long after the product is not even in use, and they're just as likely to leave you alone as the small guys, but they do have "multiple stakeholders" and if you want to sell to them you need a process that matches their reality.

32 points by patio11 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am convinced there exists a breed of customer who needs to feel a human is in the loop to buy something. I mean, "Yes ma'am, it does make bingo cards." has made me three sales. They're not noticeably pathological customers.

(Those certainly exist, though. Charge more, and they'll mostly inflict themselves on your competitors instead.)

20 points by jacquesm 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, funny, I think I've had that customer too!

I ended up referring him and his company to my worst sworn enemy competitor, haven't heard from him since.

6 points by wccrawford 4 days ago 2 replies      
I totally agree with this. I'm a very customer-oriented person, but there are a few customers that just aren't worth supporting. If you can reject them gracefully, it's in your best interest to do so.

One of the problems with that is that even jerks have friends. If you reject them, they'll tell those friends and you could lose even more customers.

In this case, when they were going to have to write a custom solution for this customer, it was definitely the way to go.

As a side note, my father asks for 'discounts' all the time. He almost never gets them, and doesn't act entitled when he doesn't, but it sometimes works. So he keeps doing it. I really have to start doing it myself to see what I get.

3 points by mark_l_watson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I pass on consulting work if I have any strong feelings that the customer and I are not a good fit. Many years ago, I had a potential new customer spend a lot of time telling me about the problems he had with developers, mostly that they wanted to walk from his projects. I ended up accepting work from him anyway because he was a nice guy and interesting to talk with. It took me a few months to finish promised tasks and extricate myself from his project, becoming another "walker."

I have had experience of clearly being at fault also: twice I have let myself be talked into projects in tech areas where my experience was really thin, and within a short period of time, had to notify the two customers that I was not a good fit to their needs. I was very apologetic both times and obviously did not bill them, but they were out the time documenting the tasks for me.

4 points by protomyth 4 days ago 0 replies      
I went through this process with a large company, and one of the interesting things that was done was a check with Dunn and Bradstreet (www.dnb.com). It seems they would not buy from someone without a D&B number and "sufficient" history.
5 points by shay 4 days ago 0 replies      
/Warning Sign #1: Disrespectful or Abrupt/

I've found that people who email with no explanation or "sell" of their own but just immediate, terse requests like "What are your rates?" or "I need a copywriter. You available?" are typically NOT interested in finding the right person for themselves or their product; instead, they're looking to just outsource what they think they COULD do themselves, if only they had time/energy/desire.

People who know they're considering (hopefully carefully) how to add value to their product/life are the ones who will take the time to build trust from the beginning, will be honest about expectations, and are more likely to give the freedom and flexibility necessary to maintain a healthy working relationship over time.

3 points by waterside81 4 days ago 0 replies      
The timing of this is uncanny, we were just having a discussion about this internally. I've found that a great technique to dealing with difficult customers is to show them that you don't mind them taking their business elsewhere, as the OP mentions. It always amazes me at how quickly this disarms people and completely changes their attitude and approach.

And another example of toxic customers: people paying with Groupons.

1 point by kls 4 days ago replies      
Warning Sign #2: Asks for a Discount (With No Reason)

The funny part about this one, is I always ask for a discount for no real reason. Even if I am only buying a single piece of software. Why, because it lets me know up front if a vendor is going to be flexible with large volume purchases and OEM arrangements.

Funny story, I was evaluating some screen capture software for OSX not too long ago for a client of mine. I was building a web app for them and part of the work flow for their content was screen capture. Anyway, I emailed a company that had a reputable product and basically told them that I had no need for the pro version, would not be using the pro version for any commercial work but that I would like to use the pro version to teach my daughter about video editing. I then asked if they would consider selling me the pro version at the basic software packages rate. I framed the story in this fashion for several reasons. I had just told the developer/owner that I would be using it for non-commercial and educational purposes both of which usually get some form of pricing plan that is below the commercial mark-up lack of having a plan to deal with either tells me that they do not have a competent pricing structure, and quite possibly that they lack a formal sales organization and negotiating deals later on would be difficult due to lack of attention to pricing structure for the various fringe purchasing needs. Dealing with companies that do not have flexible pricing policies can be difficult when you are dropping large purchases in which no one realistically pays full price per seat.

Anyways, point is be careful of putting earmarks on customers, this small developer lost a $75,000 purchase (what we set aside for a site license) for seats on his product due to the fact that he showed that he was not flexible in his pricing structure. Allowing me to purchase the pro version at the basic version price would have cost him nothing and given the purpose it was purchased under "non-commercial and educational" there was a need to reduce price to be competitive. Instead, I got a dismissive response that the basic version was good enough for my needs and that if I wanted the pro version I would have to pay full price. Needless to say, his competitor was very happy with the $75,000 purchase order.

I guess, long story short, bargain shoppers are not always bad, some people negotiate over what seem to be inconsequential amounts because rather than haggling over dollars they are finding out up front whether a relationship with your company will be tenable.

1 point by kenjackson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't you have forums for your product? If you're doing invoicing software this would make sense. I've had that for multiple products and almost all of these issues get hashed out in the forums, often by existing customers.

And in particular, if you're seeing people asking multiple questions that could answered from the website then there's probably something wrong with the site.

3 points by brewski 4 days ago 1 reply      
After poking around his site, I laughed a little after he described Emacs as a "stripped down, no frills text editor".


1 point by icey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a faster way of telling if you're dealing with a toxic (corporate) customer: See how they react when you say "no" to something. This is them on their best behavior too; if the reaction is nasty then you have your answer.
2 points by hammock 4 days ago 0 replies      
The moral of this story is not to detect toxic customers.

The moral is that he almost lost a sale, were it not for the other guy stepping in. The moral is that he should have asked to speak with someone else at the company to continue the selling process.

This guy almost blew it.

The ASF Resigns From the JCP Executive Committee apache.org
258 points by davidw 4 days ago   57 comments top 19
57 points by kqr2 4 days ago 2 replies      
For people who are unfamiliar with all the acronyms:

ASF : Apache Software Foundation

EC : Executive Committee

EE : Enterprise Edition

JCP : Java Community Process

JSR : Java Specification Request

JSPA : Java Specification Participation Agreement

SE : Standard Edition

TCK : Test Compatibility Kit

13 points by nl 4 days ago 1 reply      
For people confused about the impact of this:

Having Apache on the EC (Executive Committee) strengthened Java by giving an official voice to the (large) open source Java community. This was useful for Java because Apache often agitated to make sure specifications were licensed under terms that are compatible with open source implementations. Open Source implementations have kept Java competitive with .NET in terms of price, and many specifications have grown out of open source Java projects.

The Eclipse organisation remains on the EC, so Oracle can point to them as a voice for open source. However, Eclipse is different to Apache in that it is primarily a pay-to-play organisation, whilst Apache is a meritocracy.

In terms of specifications themselves (JSRs), Apache will no longer automatically have a representative. Individual experts can still be invited, but Apache's withdrawal (as well as that of people like Doug Lea & Bob Lee) makes it less likely experts will want to serve on a JSR committee.

15 points by abp 4 days ago 3 replies      
Further, the project communities of the ASF, home to Apache Tomcat, Ant, Xerces, Geronimo,
Velocity and nearly a 100 mainstay java components have implemented countless JSRs and serve
on and contribute to many of the JCPs technical expert groups.

And then:

To that end, our representative has informed the JCP's Program Management Office of our resignation,
effective immediately. As such, the ASF is removing all official representatives from any
and all JSRs. In addition, we will refuse any renewal of our JCP membership and, of course,
our EC position.

Holy crap!
That just sounds like Java is really bleeding now. Anyone knows how significant the real impact of leaving representatives on the JSRs is?

14 points by bad_user 4 days ago 0 replies      

     The Apache Software Foundation concludes that that JCP is not an open
specification process - that Java specifications are proprietary technology
that must be licensed directly from the spec lead under whatever terms the
spec lead chooses

So much for Java being an open standard.

5 points by bobbyi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is Google going to follow suit? They were the other ones to vote against Java SE 7 on the same grounds and seem to share Apache's concerns.
6 points by adamc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Given the conclusion (that JCP is not an open specification process), I wonder whether they will move away from implementing JCP specs, and towards other technologies.

Huge loss for the JCP either way.

5 points by timtadh 4 days ago 1 reply      
My, perhaps naive, question is: will there now be a bifurcation of the Java community? Specifically, will there be an open community with its own standards and implementations, and the Oracle community with theirs.
4 points by mark_l_watson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am firmly supportive of ASF. I was unhappy with Sun for witholding the TCK, and I am now unhappy with Oracle. Major languages should have multiple high quality implementations. I understand the business issues but something like Java needs to have at least one foot firmly in the 'commons.'
8 points by abhikshah 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always thought it was odd that ASF, one of the early open-source successes, was so heavily Java which has always been semi-open at best. Stuff like this lends more credence to the ideological purity of the GNU guys..
3 points by mbyrne 4 days ago 2 replies      
As pro-FOSS CTO with a JIT-compiling VM userbase, the ASF exit from JCP EC makes it CYA time for us with the FOU restrictions in the TCK and JDK 7/8. Agreed?
3 points by tlrobinson 4 days ago 0 replies      
So what does this actually mean for Java and ASF?
2 points by roman-m 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oracle shooting them selfs in the head. The open unrestricted competition in Java world moved that
comunity since the begining and everybody got profit from that. The tools were improved and preselected
by the user experience only. It was a win win. If your product was not good enough you got the valuable
information: that you should to improve yourself. That is the basic foundation of capitalism: don't concentrate
on your competitors but on your own products. Now Oracle is trying to block that open market of ideas.
They will be the first to get hurt.

“The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” (Ayn Rand)

1 point by ChristianMarks 1 day ago 0 replies      
The acquisition of Java by the intellectual monopolist Oracle is good for programming, because Oracle's rent seeking will discourage programmers from using Java. There are far better languages that have more versatile typing operations than mere subclassing.
5 points by ebtalley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Uninformed question: How does this affect Apache projects and their further development?
1 point by yewweitan 4 days ago 1 reply      
As commentors have mentioned, you can't simply roll-your-own-Java without being at risk of a legal battle.

Zooming out. What are the biggest technologies being affected by this, and what are the alternatives available to the creators and developers of those technologies?

Would we end up in a situation where someone like Google would have to revamp their entire Android runtime?

1 point by russellperry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Java by itself as a commercial entity is not extremely valuable. Not really having any clue how to get an ROI out of Java, Oracle like Sun before them is simply hedging their bets that owning/controlling Java IP (of any stripe) may in the future provide commercial returns or business leverage when a Java-based app or framework succeeds (see: the Android lawsuit, the MSVM lawsuit 10 years ago). I guess it's the only logical approach for a company that otherwise has no clue how to monetize a technology as widespread as Java.

Seriously, what did we actually think Oracle was going to do with Java? Get all open and community-minded and crap?

1 point by DjDarkman 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this was wise of Oracle. They only seem to view Java as an asset they can make money of. But I don't think it's wise to turn the tide against them for a few cents.
1 point by tamersalama 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe Oracle's doing the right thing for Java afterall. Assuming Ownership.
1 point by xentronium 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is their blog down?
Web Programming Is Hard shubharamani.com
251 points by grayhairmomma 3 days ago   154 comments top 32
115 points by patio11 3 days ago replies      
I periodically think "Man, I really shouldn't be getting paid for this. Any idiot could stick these two APIs together."

In my more sensible moments, I remember that that idiot only needed to know HTML, CSS, the DOM model, Javascript, jQuery, HTTP (mostly headers and status codes), Ruby, Rails, basic MVC design, Oauth, SQL, SQL performance, five-ish APIs to support the two that needed integration, how to configure and maintain a server, system architecture, a bit of security, etc.

[There's also object oriented programming, class inheritance, polymorphism, algorithms, time complexity, discrete math, data structures, imperative programming, and a few other things I forgot the first time around. Lest we forget, we might take these for granted because we've been programming since we were $ARBITRARILY_YOUNG, but to most people these are just black magic. My girlfriend, a smart cookie, asked to see "how I made the phone ring" and, after I showed her the code that did that, told me it had never even occurred to her that every program she's ever seen was once a collection of special words placed in a particular order.]

After that, it was pretty much done, except for the marketing.

On the plus side: you can learn one or a few of these things at a time, and get more comfortable with how deep the rabbit hole goes as you go along. I coded my website in static HTML written in Notepad with no JS or CSS, crikey, only four years ago. (And my brain still recoils at how much better I'd have to get to do e.g. web scale work.)

18 points by edw519 3 days ago 0 replies      
But upon studying CSS, HTML and Javascript over the last month, I can honestly say I'm humbled.

About half the time, I feel humbled whenever I encounter some new technology.

The other half, I wonder why anyone bothered.

The trick is knowing which half is which.

25 points by dasil003 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a web developer I appreciate the concession from an embedded systems programmer that I am in fact not simply a monkey, but the quoted section probably goes a bit too far.

For instance, terrible UIs on the web are just as common as terrible UIs in GUI applications. And making a cross-platform GUI application that looks good on all platforms requires familiarity with tools specific to each platform, which is much more involved than learning browser quirks.

The hardest thing about the web is probably how fast it moves, but that's also what makes it exciting.

17 points by ibagrak 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am not sure which particular flavor of "embedded" the author is referring to, but the argument, in my view, is completely off the mark, and here is why:

The main challenge of embedded is that you are in charge of controlling and managing everything. The developer is closer to the hardware and the cost of things breaking is far higher because you cannot for one second forget about some part of the technology stack that's below you. Everything is suspect, and nothing can be ignored.

On the web, you get used to your automatic garbage collection, your GUI toolkits, your nice browser sandbox with infinite memory that gets automagically replenished, your in-browser JavaScript debugger and all that jazz. You get to enjoy none of it in the embedded systems I've worked with.

Fixing embedded systems in the field is freaking hard, so the quality of code matters is in a completely different dimension from what's on the web today. Now, I am not talking about Linksys router or your iPhone. That's just a fraction of "embedded" devices. I am talking about things that don't have a TCP/IP stack (or any connection to the outside world), don't have a GUI, and are installed at the contractor rate of $1,000/hr and must exist in the field for 10-20 years. There are millions of these devices shipping every month, and they are all around us.

Are you telling me these systems are easier to design than a webpage that can be twiddled with at your whim a million times a day?

Don't downvote just yet! Just so you know where I am coming from:

I am a product manager for a 100K LOC embedded stack that runs in 128K of flash and 8K of RAM. It's all C code, no OS, no toolkits, no MMUs, no garbage collection and no dynamic memory allocation. These devices get 15 years on a single battery and go inside your house. I've also had good exposure (not an expert) to the online technologies the author mentions. Yes, things may be tough to learn (I don't actually believe they are), but the web is a lot more forgiving of mistakes too.

22 points by jemfinch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, it's hard. Unnecessarily hard, which is why I hate when I have to do it.

The complexity of web development is not intrinsic to the problem, but an extrinsic reality imposed by widely differing implementations of a number of overengineered technologies.

9 points by groaner 3 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who has only dabbled in web programming and done webdev-ish work at a company that doesn't "get" the web, I was in shock to see how much I didn't know that was really the bare minimum:


14 points by verysimple 3 days ago 2 replies      
One common mistake when one tries to tackle the web is to do it all at once. What you need:

- get familiar with HTML and css. That is, learn the basics, their purpose and how they interact.

- get familiar with some basic JavaScript and how you use it on the browser.

- learn one of the prominent web languages for the server-side. Python, Ruby, PHP, etc. I used to recommend PHP as a first language because compared to other languages, it was ubiquitous amongst hosting providers. Nowadays, I recommend against, especially if you already have some programming experience. Python and Ruby also have a decent offering and they have the added benefit of a community that generally promotes better programming practices than PHP.

Having an overview of the entire development process, you should now be able to pick one area where you'd like to expand. Being a programmer I suspect you might pick either server-side or browser scripting (JavaScript). Stick to one at first and learn it well. When I started the web I rarely did any front-end at all. I concentrated on the server-side and was aided by some CSS and JavaScript coders. Likewise, I often worked with JS programmers who didn't want to know anything beyond the realm of what they were doing. It's a symbiotic relationship.
- It may be tempting to do everything vanilla at first, but quickly switch to using a framework, they're often packed with lots of best practices. They're like training wheels, you can always take them off later when you feel confident.

As you get comfortable with one field you can expand on others. After years playing in the server, I'm only now expanding my client side skills. Also, beyond technologies, other areas of interest that can expand your overall understanding and web expertise, are interface architecture, usability and various other optimizations. As you go, you'll stumble upon many.

23 points by newobj 3 days ago replies      
First, she thought implementing a linked list during an interview was hard. Then, she says that web programming is hard. And I'm not saying it's "easy", but talk about blogging yourself into a professional grave?
6 points by rbranson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Working for any primarily software driven company is going to be challenging. Working in an expensed IT department is what most developers do, and the work is pretty pedestrian. This seems to provide the most clear line of delineation in software development.
4 points by PhrosTT 3 days ago 1 reply      
Web Programming is nigh impossible for 1 person any more.

To build a legit website:

1. Mockup a pretty design in photoshop. Use color theory, design principles, UX theory, typography skills, etc.
2. Convert the design into HTML/CSS. Make it degrade gracefully, it should be cross-browser compatible, validate, be lightweight, meet accessibility standards.
3. Add unobstrusive javascript if you want, site should work without it.
4. Run YSlow, convert all images into sprites where possible, condense/minify your JS/CSS.
5. Do SEO tweaks and best practices.
6. Oh wait, does the site display well on iPads? build a mobile version and a tablet version.


We haven't even gotten past the front end. Learn good db design, code your middle tier. Choose or roll your own framework. TONS of work.

Once it works, go back and secure everything for the OWASP10 and other potential holes. Also make sure it will scale gracefully.

Maybe you should optimize your cacheing scheme? Maybe tweak your php config so it runs faster.

AGhghghsdhdshf%@!$^#$ it never ends!

3 points by iamwil 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not the sort of thing we should have pride in--that web programming is hard. For me, it goes to show that web front-end programming has a long way to go to make it better for developers.

We're still looking for X to do to front end web programming that Rails did for back end web programming.

3 points by MarkPNeyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
They're hard for different reasons. In my experience, games, scientific computing, trading, and 'real' web backend work (i.e. not 'move this shit into the database' but 'make the database scale to a million users') are hard because they challenge you to solve difficult problems. Web frontend and simple backend work are hard because of the pain in the ass of managing all the different languages and paradigms involved.
3 points by arohner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, Web Programming can be hard, but it's probably harder than it needs to be. The whole ecosystem of HTML + CSS + JS + IE6 is a mess.

Something along the lines of Cappuccino will help a lot. Then you're "only" left with the problems of UI/UX, scaling, security, A/B testing, big data and marketing.

3 points by pocoloco 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm currently working on a set of SOAP web services using tomcat, cxf, mysql, and hibernate among others.

I decided to do a switch from embedded to web development about a year and a half ago after being laid off. My paycheck is smaller but I now work on a whole new set of problems. After working about 10 years in embedded and everything around it, I felt that I needed a change. It was as if I was solving the same problems over and over. And don't get me started in the state of the tools. I remember thanking the heavens when we switched platforms to PowerPC and ELDK.

At first I did not know were to start in web development. But I did decide to concentrate on the back end quite early. At first I approached each technology separately, mostly because of my ignorance. For example, I saw that tomcat was very popular, so I decided to take a look into it. But I quickly realized that I needed a birds eye view of the whole web service stack and not its individual components. At least not yet.

I started to look into frameworks. After realizing that there are lots of those and that I learn about a new one almost every week, I had to narrow my search. I've been working and learning Groovy on Grails which is all based on the JVM since then. What sold it to me was the fact that Groovy is a language very similar to Python, which I know, and that Grails is a web framework that integrates all the necessary technologies to get a decent site up and running thanks in big part to the amount of plugins available for it.

Like grayhairmomma says, it's a humbling experience.

1 point by jacquesm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, web programming is hard. The amount of techniques and the haphazard way in which they interact (jsonp??) are terrible compared to 'real' software development in a controlled environment.

But you really should be grateful for that. If it were easy a large number of us would not be earning what we do because things that are easy tend to devalue quickly.

Remember when being able to write HTML would net you $80 / hour?

Ten or fifteen years from now, when web programming is 'easy' you just might long for the times when web programming was hard but you could basically name your price if you were competent at it.

2 points by curiousyogurt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made the jump from Objective-C/Cocoa development to web app development after Startup School this year. Two things surprised me when I really got down to coding my initial project. First, the sheer number of technologies involved in developing my web app. For me, that's Ruby on Rails, Javascript, jQuery, Ajax, HTML, CSS.

Second, the lack of integration between the various technologies was surprising. I often knew what I wanted a particular page to do, and the solution was to learn a new technology, and then figure out how to shuffle data between the new technology and those technologies I was already using.

Integration problems also crop up in the form of mismatches between technologies. For example, I use bignum integers in my code; but ran into all sorts of interesting problems: Ruby/Sqlite work fine; but as soon as I uploaded the app to Heroku, I uncovered issues with how these integers were being stored in the PostgreSQL. And Javascript needs special routines if it is going to handle bignums. I haven't encountered this sort of mismatch on the desktop.

That said, now that I've got a working app, I think the learning curve was in some ways (though not all ways) less steep than the desktop. A couple of reasons for this, I think:

1) The communities share code prolifically. It is not that there is no code sharing going on in desktop development, but code sharing seems much more prevalent in web development. As a new web developer, this makes my job a lot easier not only because I can just plug in code, but also because I can read that code and learn from it.

2) You can get minimal results quite quickly, which is very encouraging. Again, you can get minimal results quickly on the desktop, but the standards are different on the web. In my experience, a desktop app needs a lot more to be minimally functional than a web app, probably because the level of complexity is different. Yes, web apps can be just as complex as desktop apps; but I think a minimally functional web app is in many ways less complex than a minimally functional desktop app. Just think about all the menus, help files, and other accoutrements you need to get a desktop app minimally functional; web apps can get away with less.

3) The web technologies I depend on are more modern. Compared to Objective-C/Cocoa, Ruby is like a dream. Javascript and less so, but only because it seems more like what I'm used to on the desktop. What can I say, I like syntactic sugar and the readability that comes with it.

So, perhaps web programming is hard, but there are several ways travelling the path is made easier - maybe even easier than on the desktop.

2 points by tibbon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Conversely, I think traditional programming seems really hard compared to RoR. I have to think about memory? I have to tell the computer what the variable type is? What are all these funny characters and symbols? I can actually crash the computer with this? What is this compiler thing and all these funny options?

I'm (slowly) trying to re-learn C/C++ after getting decent with Ruby and honestly it just hurts. Few things I do need speed or system access on this level. The verbosity is painful, and you need so much (ugly code) to do so little.

2 points by petercooper 3 days ago 0 replies      
It was funny to read this as I now find client side development ridiculously hard (I last did it frequently > 10 years ago) and difficult to get my head into, whereas even large scale Web development feels quite surmountable or even easy to me. I think it merely proves that what you keep doing, you eventually find natural.
2 points by jallmann 3 days ago 0 replies      
Front-end web work, at its basic level, is not hard in the traditional "let's go shopping!" sense, but what I find maddening is how unintuitive some of it is (CSS, I'm looking at you). Then you have to worry about how broken or incompatible browsers are. I think "pain in the ass" is a more apt term.

When you get deeper into the UX, things like A/B, optimizing load time, scaling the backend, etc, and that is where it becomes less tedious and the domain knowledge required is more respectable.

1 point by Aegean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Web programming is hard but not necessarily intuitive. That's what I dislike about it. Its a heap of different technologies put together in unstructured fashion. This applies to individual technologies as well, take CSS and see how unintuitive a syntax it has.

Web programming is popular because it drives the web. I don't necessarily find it an intuitive programming experience. This way of thinking is the biggest obstacle ahead of the likes of me (hackers for pleasure) for business success, i.e. primarily focusing on what's interesting from an engineering perspective. This approach is sure to fail in business because people always care about the end result. Technology is just a tool to get there.

I guess part of the problem is when you study computer science or engineering in university, you try to learn the best engineering approaches out there and improve on your engineering skills. Then you face real life where the result matters. I cannot really say CSS or javascript is the best technology out there, but they play a crucial part driving the web.

2 points by jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like there's always been a little bit of a rivalry between compiled language developers, web developers, and network administrators. Having done all three at high levels, I can say that in my experience web development (top to bottom) requires the most diversity of knowledge, which also makes it the most enjoyable to me. At any rate, I'm going to show this to my game developer buddies next time they give me crap about "working with toy languages"!
1 point by siculars 2 days ago 0 replies      
When people complain to me about so and so technology related I tell them to relax, breath and consider the millions of things that need to go right in order for you to watch the latest Lady Gaga video on youtube.

I am constantly reminded of this by Louis CK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk

1 point by csomar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the main difficulty for Web Development is the separation between the Front-End and the Back-End. In Desktop development, the two are linked together, so if you want to handle a button click, you do that in the back-end and no other hassles.

However, for Web Development, you'll need something called HTTP POST or GET and you want to improve it with AJAX (and make sure that it still works even without JavaScript). The user input become sensitive, and you have to take into account many other thing to secure your server.

Still, Web Programming is fund. Having a server that answer requests is funny, for me. The author found Web Programming is hard, because it underestimated it.

2 points by catshirt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I oft encounter Java, C++ programmers, etc. who don't understand the fragility of the client. This is difficult to deal with.
1 point by nathanwdavis 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are frameworks full of very high-level abstractions that can make it a lot easier up front. BUT, that only delays it being hard down the road when the abstraction you got for free has to be replaced. Often that time comes very quickly.
3 points by fjabre 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes - it is indeed hard to make something do what it was never intended for.
1 point by donaq 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've not done any embedded stuff, but I've had jobs doing low level c/c++ to interface with poorly documented serial devices passing bit-masked instruction codes and status codes around and I'm now doing web programming and man, all I can say is this: Nothing is easy. If it looks easy for some reason, someone has probably done a lot of difficult work for you previously.
1 point by wnoise 3 days ago 0 replies      

Yes, it's a somewhat different skillset working with somewhat different software, but there's not that much difference.

1 point by englishVoodoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a need to learn it all though?
I'm a designer at my place and here I do all the html/css work and a bit of jQuery fluff on top of that whenever it's quite basic. I do think that's how most places work.

Of course for a developer it's necessary to have some knowledge of html primarily, but no real need for deep knowledge. Not in my, somewhat limited, experience anyway.

1 point by jaspero 3 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the author for recognizing web development. I often stumble upon my 'programming' friends who think web development and especially front-end is boring and trivial. I have hard time explaining how important and how complex things can get.

It's something my fellow hard-core programmer friends will never understand. I love my job and what I do.

Web Development rules!

1 point by mfukar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, web programmers are regular geniuses.
0 points by ataranto 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Desktop GUI can easily be made cross-platform."

lol wut?

I always forget the argument order of the `ln -s` command reddit.com
245 points by pepsi_can 5 days ago   123 comments top 49
44 points by terra_t 5 days ago 9 replies      
I used to have this problem. Then I realized that if I want to really copy a file, I type

$cp file_from file_to

and that

$ln -s link_from link_to

has a very similar effect to the cp command above. I haven't messed this up ever since.

11 points by dboyd 5 days ago replies      
Does anyone know why C calls like 'strcpy' and 'strcat' are the opposite of this?

  strcat(target, source)
strcpy(target, source)

But, in SH...

  cp source target

I feel like these things were developed around the same time, by the same community. I've always wondered if there was a reason for the different perspective.

13 points by frossie 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've always used complex numbers as a mnemonic: real + imaginary, a + bi (obviously the file is real and the softlink is "imaginary").


7 points by muhfuhkuh 5 days ago 1 reply      
For me, it's always the recursive options in (s)cp and chown/chmod and which one is capital -R which one is lower case -r. Simply vexing.
5 points by hasenj 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's the same argument order for mv and cp, also the same for rsync and scp

Hell, it's even the same argument order for git-clone.

Pretty much all command lines use "source destination" order.

Why is 'ln' confusing? Because people think of "linking" in a backwards way, it seems that if you're creating a link from A -> B, A is the source and B is the destination. But that's not the meaning of "source destination" that command lines expect

  mv B A

A is the new B

  cp B A

A is the new B, but B is still there

  ln -s B A

A is the new B, except it's just a link, and yes, B is still there.

B is the source, A is the destination. B is the source of the data, A is the destination for that data; the command will create 'A' (or modify it), that's why it's the destination.

For the link itself, B is the destination, but for the operation of creating the link, B is the source, and that's the meaning that's consistent with all other commands.

4 points by daten 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can create multiple links with the original names at once with commands like:

  ln -s path1/files* path2/


  ln -s path1/* .

Doing that helped me remember the order because I knew my command could end with a directory as the destination and links would be created there.

Sometimes hardlinks are useful too. You don't always need -s

Edit: Why was this downvoted? I didn't see anyone else mention it until after my post and to me this was an easier way to remember the order than comparing it to "cp".

7 points by jvdh 5 days ago 3 replies      
My god, this thing always keeps biting me. It seems so obvious now with that cp-mnemonic. But it makes me wonder, why does everyone do it wrong in the first place?
4 points by enneff 5 days ago 1 reply      
The way I remember it is "ln -s target [filename]", where filename is an optional argument to override the default, where the default is a link created in the CWD pointing to target. Easy.
4 points by shimon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just read the -s as "source" even though it really means symbolic.

ln -s source fakename

9 points by newobj 5 days ago 1 reply      
That's funny, I do too. I always thought it was just me...
2 points by Timothee 5 days ago 0 replies      
The worst part with that kind of mistakes is that you end up never knowing for sure. :)

You start with "ln -s A B" and realize you always make the mistake, so you force yourself to do the opposite of your natural instinct: "ln -s B A". It works until this becomes natural but you still think you always get it wrong, so start doing the opposite of your new natural: "ln -s A B". You'll now be very confused until you force yourself to learn it for good.

This happens to me all the time for various binary things.

2 points by pbhjpbhj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why don't we have better shells that give hints on these things?

I'm thinking like an IDE will pop up some help text when you begin typing a function name or a recognised special word. Why doesn't the standard sh (bash for me) give me similar help, as I type "ln" it could give me a pop-up with the possible completions and then as I get to "ln -s" it could remind me with "TARGET [NAME] // will create a file named NAME that is a soft link to TARGET, or use TARGET's name if NAME isn't specified". You get the picture.

In a pure text env the help could appear on the next line highlighted appropriately or could be to the right of the cursor or somesuch.

I'm hoping someone will say $CONSOLE does that already ...? Anyone?

2 points by phaedrus 5 days ago 0 replies      
In CP/M the order really was "cp to from". So chosen to match the assignment operator in programming.
2 points by rythie 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just remind myself that second argument is optional (and it couldn't be the other way around for that to work)
2 points by stretchwithme 5 days ago 0 replies      
a copy points to the original (for an instant anyway) the same way that a link points to the original:

  cp original copy

ln -s original link

3 points by tedunangst 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you leave off the second argument, you don't need to remember it. Much easier.
4 points by cdonnellytx 5 days ago 0 replies      
The annoying thing is that the mklink command in Windows uses the opposite order, so you have to do

mklink link_to link_from

EDIT: formatting.

2 points by nene 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, the UNIX ln command is full of trouble.

* The arguments order is just the opposite of common sense. It has taken me years to really remember it, and I still have to think a little every time I use it.

* The default is to create hard link, which you almost never want. And if you do want them, you are probably doing it wrong. Making hard links is just asking for trouble.

I've read that Plan9 has somewhat corrected this whole problem. At least there is no ln command at all. Instead one uses bind, mount, and unmount. Of which bind is most similar to ln -s, but with arguments in reversed order.

1 point by manvsmachine 5 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who always had that problem, I think it's because I always mentally picture a command as saying "do <action> from <arg0> to <arg1>", ie, "copy this file to that file". But this construct doesn't hold up for linking, so I just have to remember it arbitrarily by remembering cp. function(src, dest) just generally seems to be the unofficial "right way" of ordering things.
1 point by ollysb 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the source of confusion is that linking is closely associated with chains. When you add a link to a chain you always add the new link to the existing chain or

ln -s new_link (onto) existing(chain)

Obviously the target isn't a chain but the association between links and chains is a strong one.

In other words I don't think of creating a link as creating something new _from_ something that already exists, I think of it as adding something new _to_ something that already exists.

3 points by streeter 5 days ago 1 reply      
I stopped remembering what the order was and just use the `lns` script found here: http://interglacial.com/~sburke/pub/lns.html
2 points by seles 4 days ago 0 replies      
Every comment except this one is just a repeat of the stuff said in the original reddit discussion
2 points by frankus 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think up to the 100th time reading the man page I would forget, until I memorized the following mantra:

    ln -s target link_name

1 point by stevefink 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ruby's alias_method(new_name, old_name) always gets me also because I'm so used to ln [-s] (src, tgt).
1 point by orangecat 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ditto. I just remember that it's the reverse of tar, but the cp trick is better.
1 point by sibsibsib 5 days ago 0 replies      
I used to get this wrong all the time too. Mentally, I'd be thinking "ln -s source destination", where source was the link and destination was what it pointed to. Of course, that's completely backwards. 'man ln' on OSX didn't help either, since they use the terminology 'source_file [target_file]' which just re-inforced my incorrect thinking (target sounds like something that is pointed to, does it not?).

As other people have mentioned, thinking of it in terms of the files created (ala cp) has helped to learn the correct behavior. I think this is a case where some minor change in the documentation might help to avoid the whole problem.

3 points by austintaylor 5 days ago 0 replies      
Someone told me 'fact before fiction' a long time ago, and I've never forgotten it.
1 point by endtime 5 days ago 0 replies      
My mneumonic is "lentil", since it's ln (-s) <T-for-target> <L-for-link>.
2 points by sidawson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Think about boobs.

Everyone prefers real to fake*

  ln -s real fake

Now you will never forget.

* Yes, I realise this isn't strictly true

1 point by dminor 5 days ago 1 reply      
I also occasionally forget the -s, and really wish it was the default since I'm almost always creating a symbolic link.
2 points by inanedrivel 5 days ago 0 replies      
Its like a black hole in my mind. Every single time I screw this up. I've.... just had to learn to live with deleting my first crappy link. :)
1 point by jpr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I use emacs and dired as a condom that shields me from the stupidity that is remembering this kind of trivia.
1 point by tpinto 5 days ago 0 replies      
when I noticed that I was messing up when using ln, I started thinking this way:
"write what you already know first, so you have time to think about what you'll write next

"what you already know" being the existing file and the second part being the name of the link to the existing file.

I never got it wrong again.

1 point by joubert 5 days ago 0 replies      
think like so: ln -s {source} {target}

(not "from"/"to", which is ambiguous)

1 point by its2010already 5 days ago 0 replies      
My mnemonic for this is to remember that the link name is optional. When you specify only one argument the link name is the base name of the target (in the current working directory). Therefore the link name must be the second argument.
1 point by Florin_Andrei 5 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine there's an arrow pointing left between the arguments. You know - "the symlink is pointing to this file".

ln -s file <== symlink

Always remember that. Pointing left. The symlink is pointing at the file.

1 point by fleitz 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah it seems backwards to me as well. I always thought it was the only one.
1 point by kaens 5 days ago 0 replies      
"ln -s something somewhere"
1 point by funksta 5 days ago 0 replies      
The way I think of it is that the path that exists first (the target file), comes first.

It's kind of a dumb way to think of it, but it seems to work for me.

1 point by cgs1019 5 days ago 0 replies      
My mneumonic is that in "ln" the "n" comes second, and n is for "name" so the name of the symlink comes second. But I still have to think about it every time...
1 point by mattwdelong 5 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, I have a similar problem with scp.
1 point by joe24pack 5 days ago 0 replies      
remember real first fake second ...
1 point by duncanj 5 days ago 0 replies      
Keepin' it real fake...

ln -s real fake

1 point by grourk 5 days ago 0 replies      
A co-worker once told me to remember it like: "I have a (src) that I'd like to call (dst)"
1 point by dools 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just think of the "-s" as "source".
1 point by dclane 5 days ago 0 replies      
$ ln -s javac javac

Not like that.

1 point by PeterWhittaker 5 days ago 0 replies      
exist want

from to

source target

1 point by known 4 days ago 0 replies      
ln -s source destination
1 point by aeurielesn 5 days ago 0 replies      
I always forget the argument order of the `ln -s` command...

...because I met the `man` command.

Anonymous stops dropping DDoS bombs, starts dropping science boingboing.net
246 points by fredoliveira 4 days ago   86 comments top 9
51 points by pigbucket 3 days ago replies      
The focus of a large portion of media coverage here in the United States since the cables were released has been on the political response to Wikileaks' action, on the allegations of Wikileaks' criminality, on the severing of ties with the organization by major corporations in response to Lieberman et al., and on Assange and his legal woes. All of that is newsworthy, but it has come at the cost of focusing on the stories told by the cables themselves. The things said and done by US agents, in the name of the American people, have been, to judge by the cables I've read, sometimes good, sometimes innocuous, and sometimes unconscionably unethical and criminal. I'm all in favor of any action that brings the focus back where it belongs, and tries to defeat what I suspect has been a deliberate, massive US campaign of noise and distraction, albeit a campaign that increasingly seems of a rather dated style. I'll be massively impressed if Anon can achieve anything close to those stated ends. I understand people's skepticism, and even the occasional condescension, but I'm not ready to dismiss a phenomenon I don't really understand just because the participants are unseasoned and untutored in the art of studied apathy.
13 points by zachbeane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, cool, they used my Lisp program to make it.


8 points by bittersweet 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems interesting and a lot less 'illegal'. There has been 1 arrest so far that I know of, a 16 year old kid from the Netherlands has been arrested for being a part of the MasterCard DDoS. [0]

[0] http://tweakers.net/nieuws/71259/politie-arresteert-16-jarig... dutch)

66 points by jdp23 4 days ago 2 replies      
Good pivot.
24 points by lhnn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Let's see how many anons go from downloading and running LOIC to analyzing documents and uploading audio on Youtube.
18 points by knowaveragejoe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dunno about science, but this seems like it may actually further wikileaks' goals, as opposed to attacking corporations that are only defending themselves legally.
22 points by Rhapso 4 days ago 0 replies      
Much better Anon, much better.
6 points by orblivion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not the first time, they did the same thing with Scientology. Though back then it seemed to be an outgrowth rather than the core group that did it.
6 points by trotsky 4 days ago 6 replies      
Boing boing cherry picking the only thing they approve of out of the chaos? There's no evidence that any of the ddos'ers are on board with this at all.

The most amusing thing is the comments section getting bent out of shape at the use of 'gentlemen' in the image as not being inclusive to females. Talk about a culture clash.

Visa.com Now Also Down Under DDoS cnn.com
241 points by thecoffman 5 days ago   256 comments top 33
69 points by tc 5 days ago replies      
I'm reminded of the country song whose chorus goes:

"I've got friends in low places."


[1] I agree, as noted by Nathan below, that this isn't helping Wikileaks' reputation any (despite, of course, WL having nothing to do with this). That's the problem with (and sometimes, benefit of) friends in low places -- no one ever accused them of being sophisticated.

[2] A related thought.... The system consisting of [ Person who leaks info + Wikileaks ] seems to be a modern instance of the Robin Hood archetype. Instead of "robbing from the rich to give to the poor," this system takes information from the powerful and gives it to the (relatively) powerless. Just as with Robin Hood, there's room for debate about the moral characteristics of this approach (particularly on the taking side). And just as with every Robin Hood reincarnation, this system is despised by modern aristocrats.

As I believe pg noted in an essay, during the time-setting of Robin Hood, wealth was nearly a zero-sum game. Today, wealth is not zero-sum, but power still is -- making this archetype all the more fitting.

19 points by DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 9 replies      
So I'm some average merchant, anywhere in the world.

Because of this action, Now I can't make money and support my family.

Aside from your personal feelings, what are the odds I blame Visa, and what are the odds I blame Wikileaks? All of a sudden Visa doesn't work, MasterCard doesn't work, some sites can't be accessed, sometimes the net is slower than it should, etc.

Maybe I'm smoking crack, but from where I sit, the more hackers thrash out over WL, the more ticked millions of people are going to become at both Wikileaks and the hackers involved.

This is a very sad development. People of all opinions need to take an active hand in trying to settle this down as quickly as possible. This is no good for anybody. No good can come from this.

EDIT: If you want to support the idea of leaking to fix governments (and not the massive attack of government nodes through information overload), which I do, then WL needs a standard of conduct: what it will and will not publish. It needs a standard of acceptable behavior: what cyber protests are in line with it's mission and what protests are not.

Without these things, I can't support WL, they're going to lose track of their message and the larger media narrative, and they are going spectacularly shoot themselves and the rest of us in the foot. This is becoming dangerously nihilistic.

49 points by geuis 5 days ago 4 replies      
Is it wrong to think of this at a very high level, where basically the internet as an system that relies on information to function properly has turned on its immune system?

I know this is a very meta idea, and its extremely easy to break this down to the component entities (Visa corporation, thousands of individuals, etc). But under the meta concept, wouldn't that be like individual t-cells talking to each other?

36 points by chailatte 5 days ago 3 replies      
Finally something has pissed off enough geeks. I thought the government's lack of respect towards due-process, the systematic breakdown of basic freedom or the massive wealth transfer to the rich via dollar printing/bailout would've done it.

V for Vendetta.

16 points by netcan 5 days ago 0 replies      
What this whole wikileaks payment processing issue has made me aware of is how bottle-necked this whole area is.

A client of mine a couple of years ago selling personal protection equipment (smoke & hazmat masks, mostly). They were based out of Australia and selling globally. Apparently they breached some US advertising restriction with one of their products (disposable hygienic suit) by having the words bird flu in the description.

Simultaneously to contacting (apparently they tried to contact earlier during US work hours), they contacted paypal and had the account shut down entirely. The US was never a major market so they put a big red sign on the product page: "Not for Sale in the USA." Getting paypal back online took weeks. Whatever department shut them down was not concerned with reversing the damage and paypal seemed like they knew which side to stay on.

Basically, paypal (and apparently visa & mastercard) is the on/off switch that various players within the US government can use. It does not take a high level one off phone call. This is an issue.

19 points by pointillistic 5 days ago 2 replies      
Considering that the Jesus was the original revolutionary and one of his major acts was throwing the money changers out of the Temple, I am stunned about the internalized commercialization of Christmas and the comments that put into question the current protest.

And I am saying this even though I hate DDos viscerally, my business was a victim of such an attack. But I have to say, as long as no one gets killed or injured this is a legitimate form of protest.

6 points by chailatte 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillence coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
9 points by joshfraser 5 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder how much money Visa and Mastercard have to lose before they regret their decision.

For the attackers, instead of positioning the DDOS attack as revenge, you should give them as an easy-out. Stop blocking wikileaks and we'll stop the DDOS. Since Visa/Mastercard are loosing millions of dollars for each hour they are down, it would turn the issue into a simple business decision and they could change their position without losing face.

11 points by nod 5 days ago 5 replies      
Is this really an attempt to support free speech with a DDOS? Or is there some sort of meta/irony motivation here?
6 points by cosgroveb 5 days ago 3 replies      
The attack on MC supposedly took down SecureCode affecting those payments... Seems like Visa's equivalent, Verified by Visa is still up:


4 points by jonknee 5 days ago 2 replies      
Rumor has it the next target is Authorize.net (I assume not because anything they did but because that's how you actually take down the ability for Visa and MC to function). That would be quite dramatic to say the least.
7 points by goldenthunder 5 days ago 2 replies      
A co-worker Engineer just went down to get frozen yogurt. They couldn't process his card. Apparently they route transactions through their domain DNS?

Suddenly corporate powers don't seem as strong. It's amazing how vulnerable something man made is.

9 points by 12341sa 5 days ago 1 reply      
I find outrageous that compagnies like VISA or MASTERCARD take the right to forbid people to do what _THEY_ want with _THEIR OWN_ money.

Please continue the DDOS until they bankrupt.

3 points by morganpyne 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anybody have any details on the the technical side of these attacks and what happens when anon decides to fire all phasers at a target? My impression is of a loose group of individuals herding a diverse range of botnets and attacks which they bring to force on command from an agreed upon leadership (or a target consensus is reached)?

Are they using the latest bunch of 'best-practices' to take down a site? (e.g. slowloris, UDP flooding, DNS or TCP amplification, TCP SYN attacks, whatever is flavour of the month)

With all the fluff and the bluster being written about them I haven't seen a good technical analysis so I'd love to hear any info you might have.

7 points by binaryfinery 5 days ago 0 replies      
Akamai's stock should be going up.
4 points by hammock 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's not surprising to me why the shutdown of Wikileaks donation channels, as opposed to TSA or any of the other civil liberties breaches, triggered such rage.

The answer is simple: People get fucking pissed when they can't spend their money where they want to.

And it holds throughout history.

2 points by araneae 5 days ago 0 replies      
I should point out that Visa itself hasn't actually decided to stop payments to WikiLeak- only Visa Europe, its subsidiary. The people that run Visa.com are only responsible for selling Visa Europe the rights to use the name.
3 points by goldenthunder 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is a weird subject because it is totally dual sided.

1) It promotes freedom of speech and taking action as a community to promote change.

2) It is completely illegal which goes against the laws and freedoms they are trying to promote.

Right Idea - Wrong Method

2 points by sukuriant 5 days ago 1 reply      
There are so many active topics on the DDoS's happening today. I now wonder. What happens if Anonymous wins? If, under the pressure, Visa gives and succumbs to their wishes? What happens then?
1 point by frisco 5 days ago 0 replies      
CapitalOne account center is down for me; I was trying to log in to access a Visa card. Coincidence? I have no idea why they'd be synchronously connected, but odd timing.
1 point by llimllib 5 days ago 0 replies      
They had all day to prepare for this and they failed?

edit: up for me, at least.

1 point by futuremint 5 days ago 0 replies      
I pity the poor sys-admins whose pagers are interrupting their late-night hacking. Visa & MC probably don't care at all (they're swimming in plastic money!), its the front-line guys that are feeling this the most!
1 point by tocomment 5 days ago 1 reply      
Does this actually hurt visa? Wouldn't visa.com just Be a showcase type website eg "hey here's what visa is, here are some ringtones you candownload"

I'd imagine all their transaction processing happens elsewhere.

1 point by sdizdar 5 days ago 3 replies      
Both Visa and MasterCard are down. This just shows how fragile the internet is and how 'easy' is to shut down the entire economy and system.

The point is that coordinated attack by terrorists or plain old criminals can cripple the entire world's economy and there is no easy and effective way to prevent it.

We do need to think about how internet can be re-organized to be 100% distributed system to prevent this of happening again.

1 point by FirstHopSystems 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like Paypal is down too. Well only the server that redirects you to the secure page.

Just use the full path "http://www.paypal.com or "https://www.paypal.com

We took down Chevron by spray painting over one of the signs at a gas Station. CHEVRON IS DOWN!!!!!

3 points by keiferski 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like they're redirecting it to USA.visa.com
1 point by tkahnoski 5 days ago 3 replies      
DDoS strikes me as a violent form of protest.

Has anyone started a non-violent protest (offline or digitally) for WikiLeaks?

EDIT: Rethinking my statement on DDoS as violent. I am still interested in knowing if there are other non-DDoS protests surrounding WikiLeaks.

0 points by InclinedPlane 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure it's the US government! Or... not.

Turns out that DDoS is a dime a dozen today, they don't necessarily mean anything.

0 points by b1tr0t 5 days ago 1 reply      
And I haven't even seen any comments on the possibility of this being a smear campaign to tarnish Wikileaks further in the media?

I'm just saying, if you wanted to completely discredit an organization what's the fastest way to go about doing so?

Step 1: Manufacture accusations against it's founder for which there is no defence, where the individual is guilty before a trial even begins. Oh, I don't know, how about accusing a man of a sex crime? (Especially a funny looking foreign one!)

Step 2: Manufacture scary "hackers" who do scary "hacker" things. Hide your children!

Step 3: Let CNN and Fox do what they're paid to do. Spin and spin and spin.

1 point by balac 5 days ago 0 replies      
You have to think that paypal is also being attacked, in that case I am pretty impressed that they are managing to stay up while mastercard and visa get sunk.
0 points by faragon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Better attack: reduce the credit card usage, and try to pay more with cash. Spread the word.
0 points by itsnotvalid 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unless someone reputable stands out and make a statement, no one could be sure if this act is associated with WikiLeaks.
-1 point by toephu 5 days ago 1 reply      
its up now
Dropbox for Teams dropbox.com
237 points by johns 4 days ago   105 comments top 24
37 points by zefhous 4 days ago 8 replies      
This is pretty exciting. Great news!

I would love to use this for a number of things I'm involved with, but I am surprised by the package that is offered.

I'm not saying that what they offer (1 year of 350 GB for $800) is not worth the price, but I am disappointed that there isn't a smaller package.

My needs for this kind of thing are more like 10-20GB. The team features are very attractive, but there's no way I am going to sign up for a package that large.

I'm sure Dropbox has put a lot of thought into the decision though. I'm very curious about where they are going with this and if they will ever offer a smaller team account.

Personally I'd love to see a team account somewhere around $10 a month for 10 GB and 5 users. Basically same price as their Pro 50 individual account, but with 5 users and 1/5th of the capacity.

9 points by smoody 4 days ago 6 replies      
I've read through dropbox's security PDF and I still have a lingering question: What prevents employees/intruders from looking at your dropbox files stored on the server?

As I understand it (and perhaps I'm wrong), your dropbox password is not your encryption key. The fact that I can change my password and then still have instant access to all of my data (ie - it is not batch re-encrypted with new key) all but confirms this, correct? If that's the case, then it implies that, somewhere on their servers, they store an encryption key for each user (or gasp a single encryption key for all users).

If that's the case and someone is able to access those keys (employee, breakin, etc.), then they can decrypt the data for any user.

If this is all true, then this makes the service too risky (for me) for anything that could be considered medium to high security. I'd prefer it if the good folks at dropbox offer me the option to provide my own encryption key that is only known to me and is provided by me each time I want to gain access to the dropbox files.

12 points by hop 4 days ago 4 replies      
If they charged $65/month, rather than $795, I bet they would have 10x more customers for this. How many people would buy cable if it was $1000/year, ditto for cell phones, Basecamp, Salesforce, etc. A little pricing psychology can make a massive difference.
6 points by swombat 4 days ago 2 replies      
That's a pretty steep price point for small startups that need to watch the pennies. So if you have 7 active team members who need to save files as well as read them (quite a lot for a bootstrapping startup), it's still cheaper to get 7 Pro 50 accounts than to get this.

In fact, given that Dropbox Pro 50 is $100/user/year and this scales up at $125/user/year, Dropbox Pro 50 remains cheaper forever. So the only reason to upgrade to this is if you need more than 50GB of team storage.

Bad pricing for startups.

12 points by gst 4 days ago 4 replies      
Although the website mentions that "files are encrypted to military-grade standards" that doesn't help if secure client-side encryption is missing.

The best encryption doesn't help (me as a user) if I'm not the one in control of it. And even if I would fully trust Dropbox this does not help, as Dropbox must still surrender the data if, e.g., requested by law enforcement (which would not be an issue if the data were encrypted on the client, so that the user is the only one able to decrypt it).

Using software like encfs inside a Dropbox container does not help either. Once I start hacking around on such solutions it's easier to just use a service with client-side encryption. So if anyone from Dropbox is reading this: Consider this as a "feature request". I absolutely love the way how Dropbox works, but right now I don't really use it due to this security issue.

14 points by BvS 4 days ago 2 replies      
Honest question: What's wrong with using the normal Basic, Pro 50 or Pro 100 Accounts with a whole team? Obviously you have to share an account but if the dat should be available to everyone, what's wrong with that?
5 points by telemachos 4 days ago 2 replies      
The idea sounds great, but I really think that they need a few more pricing points/models. As an example, I work at a school. It would be great to be able to use this for students and teachers, but my use case is far more than five users but far less than 350GB of storage needed. Some flexibility in the plans would be great.
11 points by drpancake 4 days ago 1 reply      
I work at a large corporate. We're not allowed to use Dropbox, but I do and so do many of my co-workers.

Value + convenience > Consequences of being caught

This concept is great - and no doubt you've thought about what I'm about to suggest. But how about an on-site managed solution? These IT departments simply aren't allowed to put stuff in the cloud!

Remember, there's pretty much ubiquitous hate all-round for Sharepoint.

4 points by strooltz 4 days ago 0 replies      
We use dropobox pretty much as a "file server" at the office and my biggest issue has always been the lack of ability to assign permissions/roles. i'm glad they incorporated this much needed feature but at that price point there is a 0% chance we'll be upgrading. The attraction of dropbox, at least for myself and other small business/startups, seems to be the low cost of entry for

1) reliable and relatively secure backups

2) access over multiple computers, networks, devices

3) versioning

i only wish they had remembered the "low cost" part when adding the new functionality because at that price point it's better for me to just set up X number of s3 buckets and assign users/roles to each bucket and let them mount the drive via transmit 4 or sign up for jungledisk. yes, not as eloquent but it'll work for our needs.

11 points by aristidb 4 days ago 0 replies      
One question that I don't find the answer to:

Is it possible to link a computer to both a personal and a team account?

4 points by whereareyou 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aaaaaaaaaaand this is the best news I have heard all week. We have eight 100GB accounts at my company. Shared quotas and central admin are what we have been dreaming about. I started using Dropbox in its beta, and it is beautiful to watch this baby grow up.
4 points by thibaut_barrere 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't be surprised to see this becoming their main income at some point (time will tell). Well done!
5 points by jeffiel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Needs to have more admin permissions, like seeing all the shares, restricting sharing outside of the team, enforcing deletion of shares when people are booted, etc. It's a good start though to replacing the old file share box.
3 points by urza 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well I am staying with Wuala.. Just as easy for teams to collaborate as with the new dropbox team feature. In fact it is easy to be part of multiple teams or groups, have your private space and public sharings, no space limits (if you share space), better security.. I think Wuala deserves much more love.
(I am not affiliated with Wuala in any way, I am just a happy user wandering why such a great product is not more popular)


2 points by jason_slack 4 days ago 1 reply      
I had a simple e-mail exchange with a DropBox Sales person about Team a few days ago where I told them I was interested because I need more than 100gb of space, but $795 was huge.

They never got back to me......

3 points by Imagenuity 4 days ago 4 replies      
A lot of businesses can replace their file server(s) with this setup. No backup worries. Can get to it from anywhere. Files are automatically sync'd. The local server is archaic. Server in the cloud!
1 point by jfb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmm. That's almost a low enough price for me to take it, even as I don't need the enterprise features. I do need the extra space, however.
1 point by kineticac 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to see this work for smaller startups. Dropbox has always been for smaller consumers, at least the free version. Dropbox for Teams seems like a good step for bigger companies that share a lot of large files. Internet startups probably can just upgrade their individual plans and manage their files wisely.

I'd like a small team version, that would be pretty sweet. 50GB would suffice.

1 point by roel_v 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. I couldn't find any info on how locking would work though - Word's temporary files that it uses to detect simultaneous opened filed aren't sync'ed to Dropbox (for good reason). Anyone any idea how this works?
1 point by pclark 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know tons of companies that'd pay this much just for the versioning of local files. (non developers
2 points by jkahn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great and a much needed product... But isn't it a bit of an expensive entry point compared to the alternatives? Check out the current prices of box.net and sugar sync.
1 point by Mistone 4 days ago 1 reply      
more appropriate name would be: "Drop Box for Big Companies, or Drop Box Enterprise edition."

I was really excited until I hit the pricing page. Should so a small biz edition at $25-$50 per month for 3-4 people.

1 point by esun 4 days ago 2 replies      
Jungledisk workgroup is a smaller package, but for a lot less money. Also, storage fees are per gb, which is nice. We use it for our 4 person team and pay about $20 a month. Same encryption and shared storage features.
1 point by thibaut_barrere 4 days ago 1 reply      
really curious - the linked twitter account shows an "ENTP" profile.

Is this classification widely used in the US ? I'm in France and only saw that with psychologically-savvy consultants.

The frontpage with a threshold of 100 points ycombinator.com
235 points by pg 1 day ago   106 comments top 28
55 points by andrewljohnson 1 day ago replies      
Not that this type of experiment is bad, but why is the UI so completely neglected? Is this a matter of thinking it's not important, because it's not fun work, or because it can all be customized with grease monkeys? Or what?

I think the quality of stories on HN is pretty good. What I'd much prefer to see any amount of attention given to is things like:

1) Let me take back a vote. Particularly on mobile, I misclick those tiny arrows a lot.

2) Let me comment inline. Having other comments, besides the parent around for examination while commenting would probably help overall comment quality.

3) Fix the mobile interface. It's impossible to use HN on mobile iPhone and Android handhelds. Making a slightly modified styled sheet with JavaScript is trivial.

4) Support someone making an app, or commission one. As far as I can tell, the current HN apps are all kind of buggy and have little updating. There are lots of young neophytes who'd love to work on this, particularly if sanctioned, and a funded effort would lead to a better product.

These basic UI improvements don't even seem to be on the radar. Also, I'll add, the story-killing on this site is pretty heavy-handed, yet capricious. Same with the title-editing. What constitutes a "hacker-centric" story changes with the mood of the moderators, and the tendency to just change each title to the original headline is misguided. I also think that the special privileges given to YC companies corrupts the whole system.

If there were any other community like this, people would be driven away by the neglected UI and the Star Chamber that governs the content. But there isn't, so there's no pressure to do anything but midnight HN science experiments. I should just pray for some competition I guess...

25 points by _delirium 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any chance of a ranged version, like "over 5, but under 200"? For some reason, while upvoted stories are mostly good, the most upvoted stories less often interest me, since they seem to be disproportionately about politics, business, self-help/motivation, or some sort of drama. This list is almost a perfect list of stories I'd like to filter out: http://news.ycombinator.com/best ok, there's some good stuff in there too, but it's not bad as a heuristic).
17 points by gcv 1 day ago 1 reply      
While this is a really, really tempting front page, won't this just encourage groupthink? HN doesn't suffer from this as much it might, but it has its share. In addition, interesting stories languish unnoticed on /newest all the time, and if enough people switch to an >100 front page, articles with just 5-10 points have an even smaller chance of being noticed.

pg, I'm sure you considered this problem; could you talk a bit about your thinking behind this filter?

11 points by ary 1 day ago 2 replies      
This has probably been suggested before, but can we just get rid of the points display (story, comment, & user) altogether? The automated sorting on this data has always been enough for me, and I can't think of a reason why any of us needs to know the exact point total of any of these things (except maybe karma).

I suppose there are some out there that would like to know an individual user's karma as a quick indicator of worthiness for X. Aside from this I'd be thrilled to see the number games and measuring sticks go away.

20 points by Encosia 1 day ago 2 replies      
Of course, if many people used that threshold, almost no story would ever reach 100 points in the first place.
5 points by Groxx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't seem precise...

http://news.ycombinator.com/over?points=489 (489) doesn't see a thread with 490 points, but http://news.ycombinator.com/over?points=484 (484) does. Caching? Rounding? Thread in question: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1990498

Still, awesome, many thanks! Especially because it drags up a bunch of good-but-older entries that I may have missed.

5 points by blehn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or have the front page point totals exploded in the last few months?

pg " care to share any traffic data?

6 points by jeffmiller 1 day ago 1 reply      
Twitter feed with a threshold of 100 points: http://twitter.com/newsyc100
3 points by resdirector 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like an option alongside noprocrast and showdead:

* hidekarma

For your view only, it hides the karma in the top right, and hides the number of points next to each article and comment.

I, personally, find karma to be a distraction...I'm not afraid to admit that I subconsciously check my karma score every time I log in, and very occasionally catch myself "karma whoring"...that is, writing comments or submitting articles in a way that will improve my karma, instead of concentrating on writing something intelligent (yes, they should be the same, but they're not).

1 point by gjenkin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be a great addition to the nav. I can imagine having 3 modes of viewing submissions: "top" (the current default), "new", and "popular" (for >100 votes). I already switch back and forth between the default (or "top") view and the "new" view. This allows me to get a good mix of seeing what the HN algorithm thinks is interesting, as well as what interesting stuff the community is discovering out there on the web. I can see this being well augmented by a third view that presents what's popular to the HN community.

Of course, adding another nav element gets tricky. How many nav links do you need before you start culling or redesigning? FWIW, it seems that grouping nav into 2 sections might be useful. One section would be focused on sorting the stream (top, new, popular). The other section would be focused on filtering the stream (threads, comments, ask, jobs). "Submit" is more of an action than a filter or sort, and might be better positioned as a control outside of the nav.

2 points by swah 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm seeing duplicate entries, for example on:


The last 4 entries are duplicated.

2 points by abecedarius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Upvoted just 'cause it was at 99 points. [Added: I think the temptation to do this shows a (minor and obvious) misincentive, like we used to see on IRC when I published weekly stats on the chat in #C.]
4 points by Nogwater 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can we get filters like this for the official RSS feed?
1 point by bootload 1 day ago 0 replies      
the choice of 100pts is pretty good though it's spread over 2 pages. I tried a quick graph hack to visualise, "Number of points required to fill 1 page of stories (30)?" ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/5256341554/
2 points by jscore 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great, as I was JUST thinking of making a chrome extension to filter posts with 100+ points.
1 point by da5e 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is great as an option where we can fill in our own threshold. It's another way to play with the feed. I prefer the "newest" setting myself. It's incredibly quick to scan the headlines to see what I'm in the mood for that day. Or I can search with "news.ycombinator.com: searchterm" if I'm looking some particular subject matter. But sometimes it's fun to visit the lists too. news.ycombinator.com/lists Perhaps a couple of those options should go on the top menu.

Maybe the top menu should be Hacker News new 100+ searchterm best active bestcomments etc.

1 point by ojbyrne 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a thought that occurred to me. Why does there have to be 2 levels (new and frontpage)? Why not 3 levels. New, Frontpage, "Best" or something.
2 points by quizbiz 1 day ago 1 reply      
It just occurred to me that while I vote up great comments, I don't remember the last time I gave an up-vote to a thread. Am I atypical?
2 points by dholowiski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even better I changed it to 200 points and found some great gems I had missed.
1 point by gasull 1 day ago 0 replies      
Twitter and RSS feeds for HN stories over 20, 50, 100 and 150 points:


EDIT: Why the downvotes?

1 point by damoncali 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd prefer under?points=x

The very highly upvoted articles seem more likely to be trendy and/or sensational.

1 point by wowfat 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Good but if everyone starts to filter by 100+ then how will good new submissions make it to the top? We need people looking at new submissions and upvoting good ones all the time!
1 point by spoiledtechie 1 day ago 0 replies      
any chance with making it dynamic? I tried changing the number from 100 to 10 and it didn't work. Went back to 100.
1 point by cmadan 1 day ago 0 replies      
the tablet article by pg twice is listed twice here. bug? http://news.ycombinator.com/over?points=300
1 point by itsnotvalid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there any link to this new feature instead of manually typing this or saving this to a bookmark (or any other ways besides a proper hyper-link)?
1 point by revorad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, looks a lot more interesting.
1 point by robwgibbons 1 day ago 0 replies      
This post itself has almost 100 points. Soon it will be on the 100-point threshold page!
What's really wrong with BlackBerry mobileopportunity.blogspot.com
236 points by macrael 2 days ago   73 comments top 15
15 points by mortenjorck 1 day ago 1 reply      
The story of the Torch contacts list debacle is just astounding. How on earth could a system ship with redundant, easily-desynchronized versions of the contacts database? To me, that says the architectural problems run deep, and further, that there's no effective user experience apparatus in place to even try to deal with the usability problems that inevitably bubble up from it.

One thing the author doesn't really touch on, though, is the acquisitions that would appear to be directed right at remedying these problems. QNX has already been integrated into the Playbook, and by all appearances it's destined for BlackBerries, where hopefully it will sport things like a non-ludicrous contacts list API. The acquisition earlier this month of Swedish UI design firm TAT shows they understand that need, and could actually be a huge turnaround if TAT is actually given enough latitude within the company.

26 points by alanh 2 days ago 6 replies      
Remember how everyone likes to note that Apple is never afraid to obsolete itself? Killing OS 9 to start completely new in OS X… Aggressively and constantly re-imagining the iPod… Replacing the iPod (effectively) with a completely new touch-based system (iOS)… beginning the revolution from PCs to iPad-style devices (they are selling as many iPads as they are computers, now).

When has Blackberry ever really dared to cannibalize itself?

8 points by Legion 2 days ago 2 replies      
>> "Yes, Android is doing well, but neither RIM nor Apple is giving away its operating system, so it was close to inevitable that Android would eventually get the unit lead"

How is that any kind of rebuttal? How does saying that it was inevitable Android would eat up a bunch of market share hand-wave away the fact that it was really bad for RIM's situation that it happened?

>> "Yes, RIM's not good at sexy marketing, but it has always been that way."

Again with the rebuttals that don't actually make a point that helps RIM's case. The fact that RIM has always been poor at marketing doesn't somehow make it OK. Especially since now, as pointed out above, Android is eating up share. RIM's inability to market is becoming more of a liability. Saying "gee, it's always been that way" does not legitimately hand-wave the issue away.

Saying that the criticisms against RIM are "superficial and petty" and offering those kinds of nonsense counterarguments against them drove me up the wall.

18 points by timtadh 2 days ago 9 replies      
"Yes, Android is doing well, but neither RIM nor Apple is giving away its operating system, so it was close to inevitable that Android would eventually get the unit lead."

If that is true, why doesn't the Linux desktop have the unit lead? I mean its free, installable on everything, and easily obtainable. This kinda of reasoning simply does not hold. There a loads of reasons why Android is doing well, but I don't think that being free is necessarily one of them.

[Edit: I should note that other than that one line, I thought his analysis was excellent.]

5 points by Silhouette 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the Torch is going to be RIM's Vista. They released a supposedly premium mobile device that in practice had obvious deficiencies even relative to products that rival brands had already established in the market for some time. When has that ever worked out well?

FWIW, when I was looking into mobile support for a start-up I'm involved with, using Blackberries was the obvious choice: business focus, we all prefer keyboards to touch screens, etc. Unfortunately, after much time looking through RIM's web site trying to figure out which of the various centralised IT systems we're setting up could easily be hooked into Blackberries for mobile access, I had gone nowhere. Their web site is full of buzzword bovine excrement, but it told me little or nothing about what sorts of protocols were supported for e-mail, calendaring, etc. They kept mentioning integration with a couple of big name tools like Exchange Server, which might be helpful for larger and more established businesses that use that kind of tool, but the fact is, we're a start-up on a budget and we don't. We're also a start-up with finite time to consider our options for infrastructure stuff like phones that don't actually make a product we can sell, and RIM's time expired before I had even scratched the surface of knowing what I needed to know.

8 points by alanh 2 days ago 1 reply      
The argument that Apple has a much rosier future than RIM cannot possibly be distilled to “Apple has better marketing.” They do… but their phone also don't make you want to tear your eyes out. (I am not under the impression that our author thinks it's all marketing, but Business Insider sees it more or less that way.
17 points by Isamu 2 days ago 4 replies      
Very insightful analysis. At the very least read the section "How a computing platform dies" - this is the first I've seen that perspective. I wouldn't mind reading more about this.
1 point by SandB0x 1 day ago 2 replies      
In the last year I have seen a lot of new BlackBerry users in London. However, the majority of these have been teenagers on the bus using some entry level model, which is available on pay-as-you-go, or with a very cheap contract. I get the impression this was not their first choice of phone, and I think this (anecdotal evidence) matches the author's analysis.

All the older BlackBerry users I know have switched to iPhone/Android, and at most carry their BB as a secondary, mandated work phone. One friend complained that "it's like they took an old desktop pc and just decided to shrink all the icons".

I hope RIM can pull it together but it doesn't sound too healthy.

4 points by gbhn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I found the claim that RIM's market is saturating to be suspicious. What was smartphone penetration in the US three years ago? It is only about a third even today, after huge growth. In many parts of the world growth in the last three years has been even more explosive.
3 points by juiceandjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
I heard that blackberry has completely separate teams that work on each OS subrelease, meaning that the 4.6 guys don't talk to the 4.7 guys, who didn't talk to the 5.0 guys. Developing anything for the blackberry over more than one OS release is a complete and utter nightmare. Even after that, you have to worry about carrier differences, BES vs. BIS devices, and a ton of other things.

In the App driven world, BB development cycles tend to run 1.5-2x longer than iOS and Android because of the inconsistencies, even for seasoned devs, at least at my last company.

BB will die because nobody will develop for it.

2 points by Isamu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Several years ago I did some development on the BlackBerry platform and was shocked at their api - got the distinct impression they were coasting. I think they only started to get back in the game in response to iPhone and Android. I still get the feeling they wouldn't have updated as much if not for the competition.
1 point by AlexMuir 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just compare the share prices of RIM, Apple, Nokia and HTC (shows as 2498):


It's clear that HTC and Apple are taking off. Nokia's peak was around 2000, with a second (dead cat bounce) at the end of 2007. RIM's peak was 2008 - and that correlates with my experiences.

2 points by VladRussian 1 day ago 0 replies      
once i saw who were among recent RIM's hires, it immediately gave me the understanding what the environment inside RIM is like.

>it seems to have lost the ability to create great products.

yep, that's natural in such an environment.
Pundits can discuss various small details of marketing, product, leadership ... It all just noise. Once the rot has spread through the company ... Everybody who worked in similarly failed companies can recognize the symptoms.

1 point by ntownsend 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIM has extremely talented engineers and developers, but it does not have a culture where engineers can say "We are doing the wrong thing" and have any decision-makers take notice. This is the fundamental problem with RIM. They have completely failed to effectively use the talent they have. If I were another technology company, I would definitely be trying to poach talent from them.

(Disclaimer: I'm a former RIM employee.)

1 point by rorrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIM is a one trick pony. If they don't innovate like Apple, they will be irrelevant very quickly.
Mark Zuckerberg Agrees to Give Away Fortune wsj.com
237 points by jakarta 4 days ago   193 comments top 32
41 points by lionhearted 4 days ago replies      

I wonder if all these very public proclamations are going to shift people's attitude towards taxes? Most people think of the government as wasteful, inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt to more or less degrees, and I know I'd prefer to see money allocated by smart people like Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg than by politicians who need to keep constituents happy and win votes.

I committed a while back to giving 10% of my income to charity henceforth, probably for my whole life. I know I've felt much better when I raised money for St. Jude's or Grand Ormond Street children's hospitals than when I wrote a check to the IRS to fund the latest special interest-fueled debacle.

There's a "the evil rich are against us" narrative in movies and stories a lot, but I wonder if the perception will start to change when all the good from these endeavors is realized. I think it's quite likely that smart people allocating resources intelligently will do 10x, 20x, 50x more good with the money than a politician possibly could.

72 points by DevX101 4 days ago 3 replies      
After someone asked Warren Buffet why he wanted to give away all of his fortune, he replied:

"I want to leave enough money to my children that they can do anything, but no so much that they will do nothing".

26 points by petenixey 4 days ago 3 replies      
I happen to have just watched a brilliant TED talk on the value of angel investment (not aid) in Africa. The talk underlined how it is capitalism rather than charity that creates wealth.

It would be wonderful to see some of SV's glitterati create more for-profit investment networks (bigger than Kiva, smaller than VC (...YC?)) in other hungry markets.

Kudos to Mark for committing to this. If he applies his product-brilliance to how he goes about it I'm sure he will do wonderful things.

(Alexis this has your name written all over it BTW ;)

27 points by narrator 4 days ago 3 replies      
I think if Mark wanted to give back to the world he should do what Elon Musk is doing and start high risk businesses that can create widespread beneficial change in the world.
5 points by grandalf 4 days ago 5 replies      
I think of this as sort of a cop out (on the part of all the people who do it). If you're good at business, then you can have a far bigger impact by creating businesses than by simply giving your money to some charity.

It's ultimately a socially lauded thing to do that divorces the donor from any ultimate responsibility for the amount of "greater good" done with the funds. I think they do it out of fear that they were a lucky, one-hit wonder... and out of low self-esteem or fear of the angry mob.

YC is a great example of a way to use wealth to make a real difference. PG uses his acumen to help a lot more people level up. This multiplies wealth. Spending it on charities simply redistributes it.

It makes me very pessimistic to see that the world's wealthiest people feel the need simply to pledge the money away, and no need to risk total failure by going out on a limb to do something bigger than whatever got them there.

What if Bill Gates tried some long shot idea and it flopped? What if Zuckerberg or Case did? That would take real courage. This pledge nonsense reminds me of the self-satisfied smirks people emit when publicly putting money into the collection basket in a church. Why isn't one of these rich guys going to bat for Wikileaks? (Probably because it feels a lot better to be praised all the time for being such a great person by all the sycophants trying to get you to write a check!)

13 points by quizbiz 4 days ago 3 replies      
How much liquid wealth does Mark actually have? Isn't the vast majority of it purely theoretical based on Facebook equity purchases?
19 points by burgerbrain 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'd rather see more people following the lead of Elon Musk than Bill Gates. Instead of throwing money at problems that will always exist and producing no real value, Musk is creating high-tech jobs and advancing the state of humanity.
6 points by markbao 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really great to hear. We need more of this.

I'd pledge if I had any hugely significant sum like the others in the pledge, but alas.

5 points by j4pe 4 days ago 2 replies      
There is no reason for Facebook to go public anytime in the near future. It will be more and more revenue positive as it refines its advertising model. Zuckerberg's contribution is therefore worth very little at the moment, outside of the tremendous commitment it implies for Mark. At some point, he will probably control huge amounts of wealth and it's bold of him to sign away most of the cash before he ever has control over it.

But wouldn't it be amusing if Facebook were to go the way of preceding social networks, and leave the "world's youngest billionaire" looking a little silly for pledging a fortune that never materialized?

8 points by Jun8 4 days ago 1 reply      
AFAIK, Jobs has still not committed.
3 points by yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
If I had billions I would certainly pay great attention to where I would put that money to work in order to create most goodness and wealth out of it. I would be wary of many charities as groups can get as confused from big money as individuals do.
3 points by keiferski 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's certainly commendable to give away a vast fortune, and I don't want to take away from this honorable act in any way.

But I wonder why more ridiculously wealthy entrepreneurs don't, ya know, preneur? Especially in the nonprofit "make a difference space".

A billion dollars to charity is cool. You know what's really cool? A billion dollars towards a celebrity billionaire-spearheaded do-good project. (Or 1 million dollars each towards 1000 projects, etc.)

Maybe I'm missing something, and I'm certainly no billionaire, so I probably am. But if I were a billionaire, I'd be more interested in angel investing (in promising, impactful projects) and my bringing my own ideas to life.

But I digress. Bravo to the billionaires. Really, this is awesome.

1 point by ramanujan 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is at least one billionare who is thinking different:


That's a story about the eight philanthropies Thiel is funding, which are much more oriented along the lines of "give a man the plans for a new fishing machine" than traditional philanthropy.

2 points by meric 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great; Rather than having government's and or NGO employees who pulls normal salary and aren't experienced in efficiently managing the spending of billions of dollars of development aid and end up harming the recipients, we are now getting the billionaires - people who excel at efficiently investing billions of dollars to reap billions more - to allocate these resources.
3 points by nhangen 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is from the PDF on the giving pledge website:

"The pledge does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. The pledge asks only that the individual give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations either before or after their death."

Interesting way to do this. I still don't really understand the need for a pledge of this magnitude, but at least they aren't pooling the money or soliciting for specific causes.

That being said, I still think Zuck is far too young to make such a strong commitment.

3 points by scorpion032 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if you can buy real groceries using facebook stock, yet.
2 points by paulitex 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sergey, Larry, and Steve, heads up.

These guys all have around the same net worth as Zuck, but much more liquidity. Sergey "don't be evil" Brin's absence from the list is a particularly curious... Anyone know what his philanthropic track record is like? Is it mostly through Google.org?

3 points by code_duck 4 days ago 2 replies      
I find it odd how people such as Gates and Zuckerberg obsessively stomp down their competition through any means possible, and then turn around and grandiosely pledge to give away their gains.
3 points by webXL 4 days ago 1 reply      
You can give it away while you're alive, or split it between your loved ones and the state when you die. I think it would be more fun giving it away to those most in need rather than enriching those who've already had a pretty good life... and your loved ones, too.
1 point by iterationx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stating that the global population was heading towards 9 billion, Gates said, “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services (abortion), we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”

Another billionaire signs up for Gate's depopulation agenda.

2 points by jiganti 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's commendable for anyone to give away their money, but especially so when it's a guy in his mid-twenties.
2 points by chopsueyar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yet since his wealth is from his ownership stake a company that has yet to list on the stock market, much of that wealth is theoretical at this point.
2 points by reneighbor 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like that it's about thinking how to give responsibly and effectively, pledging early in life so they can put their creativity to good use, as the article says. People who sign are trading ideas and logistical advice, it's like a book club for philanthropy.
1 point by tomjen3 4 days ago 6 replies      
Well, this will properly be nice for those who receive those founds, but I have to wonder why he did it. Why get a fortune just to give it away?
1 point by beeeph 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone once said, "No man is rich enough to buy back his past." If you ask me, this just might do it for Zuck. Congrats Man! I hope you find yourself surprised by how many other young entrepreneurs follow suit. But seriously, do yourself a favor, quit renting your little college house and buy yourself a little home while interest rates are still low.
1 point by SoftwareMaven 4 days ago 1 reply      
The big question will be does Zuck's fortune liquify at anywhere near the level that it is now. :)
1 point by toephu 4 days ago 1 reply      
zuckerberg doesn't even have $10mil cash, let alone billions.
it's all on paper.
0 points by stretchwithme 4 days ago 0 replies      
After much cajoling, I have agreed to accept it.
0 points by minow12 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would be better spent donating that money to research. Technology helps way more people than food stamps do.
-4 points by RtodaAV 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't.
-1 point by jrockway 4 days ago 0 replies      
This makes it okay that he sells my list of friends to advertisers!
-1 point by nhangen 4 days ago 0 replies      
With great wealth, comes great power, and with great power, comes the ability to change the world.

Though I loathe the way he's built Facebook, I trust someone like Zuck with several billion more than I trust someone without the ability to earn it. Who is going to be managing this money, and where is it going? Is this just a pledge, with no strings attached?

The article isn't very forthcoming, and neither is the website: givingpledge.org

I don't understand what's happened with Gates, and though I admire his sentiment, I think putting pressure on young entrepreneurs, who already have thousands of voices in their heads, is a wrong move.

Call me callous, but this whole thing seems insane. Mark can do more good with his money by building new technologies than this fund could do manage multiple billions of dollars. It's rare that money on that scale is managed well.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page formstack.com
221 points by jaybol 10 hours ago   51 comments top 22
22 points by ccollins 9 hours ago 5 replies      
No, this is the anatomy of a perfect landing page:

  <% ab_test('determine_the_best_page_with_numbers_to_back_you_up', ['page1', 'page2']) do |action_name| %>

render :action => action_name

<% end %>


9 points by paraschopra 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I had written a post long back: Landing Page Optimization tips: analysis of 50+ sites to find out what increases sales and conversions http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/split-testing-blog/landing...

You may find it a nice complement for the infographic

9 points by merraksh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Is the not-so-impeccable title "Impecabble grammar" there on purpose?


3 points by chunkbot 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My favorite landing page is the one for Buckyballs (http://www.getbuckyballs.com/). Thanks to it, I'm sure they moved a lot of product on the day Google doodled "buckyball".
6 points by AndrewWarner 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Unbounce.com has templates that look like that. So does WooThemes.com
2 points by jsackmann 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone here have first-hand experience testing w/ the VeriSign seal? The parent link gives an example of a very substantial sales increase thanks to the seal. For $299/year, though, it's a bit beyond the range of "eh, what the hell, I'll give it a try."
2 points by fbnt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
While I don't think there isn't a single canonical form for a landing page for the obvious reasons, I really appreciated the color-mood pairs at the end of the article.

I'll keep them in mind the next time I'm choosing the colour scheme for a new site.

Plus, now I can see why Facebook is all blueish.

1 point by JonathanFields 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Solid basic template and core items to focus on. I've also found a lot of value from the free resources and webinar replays on optimization at http://www.marketingexperiments.com/. Lot's of case-studies and examples with specific conversion change percentages.
1 point by rwhitman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think its a 'perfect' landing page, but I think its a good framework to start with when designing a new product. And something to point to when working with clients. I'll definitely keep it bookmarked
1 point by ssharp 8 hours ago 3 replies      
ASK YC: Are there any recommend sites that provide results of A/B tests and maybe show some best practices. There are some good fundamentals here but I'd like to see some concepts backed up by data.
1 point by zachinglis 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently Formstack haven't seen this gem entitled "Surprise, surprise! Having no secure icon on a page increased conversions by 400%" http://zachinglis.me/3cpN
2 points by Mizza 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know where I can buy a template that's similar to this? I've looked on ThemeForest but they all violate some of these rules.
1 point by phlux 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As an aging user, who has been online every single day for the last 15 years, I disagree.

I think this page is far too cluttered.

I like less and less content on a landing page for anything other than a link aggregation(LA) site (HN/Reddit/etc)

I am at your place (if not said LA site) for a specific reason; get me to that reason asap.

More and more, I have less time and less attention..

1 point by swah 6 hours ago 0 replies      
More like this: an average link but great discussion! How much can the first comments determine the quality of the discussion?
1 point by ameyamk 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Another great resource to build perfect landing page. Makes great reading to compare these two resources together

0 points by wheaties 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What, no brown? Don't tell me users see that as a big pile of stinky...
0 points by kmfrk 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this was satire, but they sound sincere.

Get a check list to go through and design it however you (and your users) like it. If you're patio11, don't add any social media fluff.

1 point by jscore 8 hours ago 0 replies      
No, but it's an example of a perfect linkbait.
1 point by sgallant 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it strange that formstack.com published this but don't use it on their own homepage...maybe they followed item #10 and iterated away from it ;)
0 points by nico_h 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting basis, but ARGH! I hate these fake infographics.

Why not put the picture just at the top and write their 10 points in html ?
They could have linked to their reference in context, the text would be easier to correct, possibly prettier and definitely more accessible. And I could adjust it to a decent font size. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh.

0 points by jcfrei 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A "guideline" to a perfect landing page? That's just wrong. If I could define a perfect landing page, it would be the one which sticks out the most!
Crafting it after one guideline just ensures that it will look like all the websites already out there.
1 point by pwnguin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if their content was determined by A/B testing?
Apple engineer uses Lego to rebuild Antikythera mechanism cnet.com
209 points by gommm 3 days ago   42 comments top 22
20 points by jacquesm 2 days ago 2 replies      
What should really blow your mind is the precision of the original metalworking and gearing, well before the age of clockmaking and watchmaking.

An item like that to spring in to existence without any record of a history leading up to it or a history of devices descending from it really makes you wonder whose imagination it sprang from and why it wasn't recognized that these principles had further application, or, alternatively could point to lots of stuff (including knowledge) getting lost.

16 points by noonespecial 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've always thought that "Math with gears" would be a fascinating elective course and should be included with most engineering programs.
12 points by bryanh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check out the guy's actual site with tons more technical detail: http://acarol.woz.org/antikythera_mechanism.html

What an impressive achievement. I think this is what we want all of our pet projects to be...

6 points by pavs 2 days ago 0 replies      
He is a long time redditor. Gave some more info in this reddit post: http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/ej948/lego_antikyth...
9 points by jonursenbach 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is probably the first time in my life that my jaw has literally dropped while watching an invention/recreation in action. Absolutely incredible.
17 points by kunjaan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kudos to the director as well. The video wowed me as much as the machine it self.
6 points by spanx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just a clarification on the source story. I work at Digital Science, who commissioned this video. Andy had actually already built this device (we didn't sponsor building it), along with a Babbage difference engine. He brought them a long to Sci Foo this year, and i believe the filming took place around that time.

I've seen both the devices in the flesh, and they are little works of art. Not sure if he's planning on building any more.

8 points by evgeny0 3 days ago 1 reply      
The video is definitely very impressive, but I'm still far more impressed by the fact someone made this in 100 BC than that someone re-created it in 2010 AD. I had never heard of the Antikythera mechanism before.
2 points by Luyt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Brian Dunning wrote an interesting article about the Antikythera Mechanism:


"Astronomers and astrologers probably could not have afforded it. It could have been used as an education tool. Most likely it was built for wealthy Romans who had some interest in its features, probably not too different from early adopters who wanted to have the first iPhone with all the cool apps."

3 points by Clarity1992 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me the professional production of the video makes a ridiculous difference to how much I enjoy news like this. It's really nicely put together.

Related to that, the way it was posted on CNET added nothing to the information in the video and reminded me that I'm getting increasingly irked by reposting culture.

Hacker News is good because it links to original content with a snappy title and then space to discuss below. Which leads me to wonder why this item links to the CNET article and not straight to the youtube video?

7 points by cbo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Say what you will about Apple, their products, or their business model, but I've always found their engineers to be the pinnacle of quality and hacker culture.
2 points by dmoney 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is offtopic, but it makes me angry every time someone uses Lego (singular) as a collective noun. When I was a kid they were always called "Legos". I never heard someone say "I built X out of Lego". I don't know if it's worse that they try to enforce this artificial use of language, or that everyone goes along with it. "Lego bricks" sounds artificial too, but at least it sounds plural.
3 points by jonhendry 3 days ago 2 replies      
The same engineer also built a Lego Babbage difference engine:


Anyone know what Mr. Carol works on at Apple?

2 points by damoncali 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those interested in mechanical calulation, check out the Curta Calculator: http://curta.org/

I have one of these. It's amazing.

4 points by ygd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this:
3 points by davidchua 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful! When I first read about Antikythera sometime back, it fascinated me to learn that 2000 years ago, someone has created what seems to be the first computer.

I wonder if the Ancient Astronaut theories could actually hold water.

2 points by ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gears doing math and the adding is especially amazing.

Then realize they figured that out over 2000 years ago.

1 point by curiousyogurt 2 days ago 0 replies      
According to Aristotle, we uncover theoretical knowledge by exploring that which has no practical (action-based) or productive (product-based) result; and what we possess is that which is known only for its own sake, for the sheer pleasure of knowing.

I've often thought a similar distinction can be made in engineering, where the product is created for its own sake, for the sheer pleasure of seeing it exist. This is one of those. An amazing piece of work. Bravo.

1 point by neovive 3 days ago 0 replies      
Truly amazing level of detail! Hopefully the plans are made available for others to learn from.
2 points by CallMeV 2 days ago 1 reply      
Their next task will be to build the Babbage Difference Engine out of Lego.
1 point by gsivil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if some body has created an emulator for the Antikythera mechanism?
FreeBSD/EC2 lives daemonology.net
201 points by cperciva 10 hours ago   38 comments top 16
10 points by Ixiaus 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great work Colin! I'm definitely going to jump on the free usage tier and experiment with it. I've been holding out, entirely, for FreeBSD to come to EC2.
1 point by gry 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thank you. I've heard fantastic things about FreeBSD for a while now, and now in combination with the micro instances, I can learn and experiment. My EC2 playground is already ported over to FreeBSD, portsnap updated, extracted with a fresh nginx install.

It's been a pleasure to use thus far. Thank you, again, Colin.

8 points by tshtf 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Colin, excellent! BTW, how should we file bugs if/when we find them?
3 points by jonhohle 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for a way to move off of Joyent shared (solaris) and onto EC2 with FreeBSD for quite some time. This is awesome news. I honestly didn't know if this day would ever come.
2 points by listic 5 hours ago 1 reply      

Could you explain in layman's terms, where did the difficulties lie in using FreeBSD on EC2? Since I think I heard an announcement that FreeBSD 8 supports Xen domU, though I can't find any information to this effect now and FreeBSD Handbook doesn't mention it either: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/vi...

2 points by listic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Should I be able to use FreeBSD on Spot Instances? I'm more interested in this for the future, when larger instance types will be available, but still.

Looks like I can't use any of the Community AMIs on Spot Instances at the moment.

Update: Yes, I can run ami-c01aeca9 on us-east as a Spot Instance! Though any other Community AMI I tried (e.g. Turnkey Linux AMIs) refused to work for me. Any comment on this is still welcome.

5 points by Dobbs 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks so much Colin. I'll probably be switching my play linode over to ec2.
5 points by dazzawazza 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this. As a long term FreeBSD user it's great to have more platforms to deploy on.
3 points by cmer 8 hours ago 2 replies      
What are the benefits of BSD vs Linux? I could never quite understand why people would chose BSD, but that's likely just ignorance.
5 points by comice 8 hours ago 0 replies      
[self-promote]: We at Brightbox have had FreeBSD 8.1+ support for a few weeks now: http://blog.brightbox.co.uk/posts/freebsd-cloud
3 points by pan69 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I hope Linode and Slicehost follow soon. We could use more low cost *BSD virtualization.
4 points by eddanger 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been waiting for this for years! Amazon EC2 might have just jumped from a being novelty to something useful! (for me at least)
3 points by sullrich 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really great news. Thanks a lot Colin and other FreeBSD devs!
1 point by ifdnrg 5 hours ago 2 replies      
its quick to get a usable instance running, to get a usable ports tree,

csup -L 2 -h cvsup.FreeBSD.org /usr/share/examples/cvsup/ports-supfile

looking forward to seeing stable on here

0 points by gonzo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
very, very cool
-4 points by tibbon 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Wait what? I thought that Netcraft has confirmed: *BSD is dying
How to impress Joel Spolsky stackexchange.com
195 points by rlmw 3 days ago   76 comments top 18
61 points by jasonkester 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to believe that we used to get a new story like this every few weeks.

Joel is such an enjoyable author to read that it really doesn't matter what he's writing about. He could be writing about some random Distributed Version Control system you have no intention of using (and he has) and you could still be pretty sure you'd be in for a pleasant 15 minutes.

I hope somebody can convince the guy to put stuff like this up on JoelOnSoftware. I mean sure, somebody might accuse him of blogging again (god forbid), but selfishly it would be nice not to have to rely on HackerNews to find little gems like this for me.

39 points by kevinpet 2 days ago 3 replies      
I thought about writing a blog post once because I think I've finally found the key insight to being a successful engineer. Then I realized it isn't long enough for a blog post.

Simple rule: if you're the smartest person in the room, go look for a room with smarter people in it.

37 points by timmorgan 2 days ago 7 replies      
I don't mean to be dumb, but I really don't get it. How does that story answer the question, other than to imply that in a few years, nothing the OP will have done will matter at all. Sort of sad.
12 points by tptacek 2 days ago 2 replies      
Oh, come on, Joel. Grand Haven isn't that bad. It's only slightly colder than Manhattan, and just 15 minutes further inland you're in a weird Michigan microclimate where they can grow decent wine grapes. The beaches are fucking beautiful --- those are the beaches they shot the end of Road to Perdition on.

And I bet the chairs they give you at that company are awesome.

44 points by kylec 3 days ago 0 replies      
You could start by spelling "Spolsky" correctly
7 points by sizzla 2 days ago 0 replies      
What the story might leave out is that Ashton's family is in a lot of trouble, Mom alcoholic, Dad MIA a long time ago. Mom's boyfriend is a physically abusive guy and thinking about that prick gave him strength to do just one more rep on his 200 lb bench-press routine. He could never quite fit in with the rich "middle class" kids from the big cities, preferring to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon with his high-school buddies, get stoned and listen to 80s hard-rock. On one or two occasions, he read Hacker News but thought ... well, the readers here might get angry but our farm boy thought all of them were sheltered dweebs who did not know a damn thing about how real life is like.

On one of those occasions where their crowd was full of freshman girls who were really looking forward to getting wasted and laid that night, in drunken stupor Ashton heard Wayne calling out to him. He hasn't seen Wayne since he joined the Army 2 years ago. Man it was good to see him again, he's the kind of buddy who'd get in a fight for you without asking a single question. Wayne knows what's up, Ashton thought to himself as they talked about Wikileaks and f__king sh__ up. Giggly girls just kept interrupting his conversation and, irritated, he asked one of them if she would give away a government secret if all it was doing was covering someone's ass for raping some 9 year old dancing boys in Afghanistan. Janice just clammed up and some of her ditsiness immediately disappeared. Not having much to say, feeling put on the spot, a bit shamed and a bit embarassed, she remembered him well that night, but that's another story.

Wayne and Ashton went to Bobbie's Diner to sober up with some greasy burgers and shoot the sh_t. Soon enough they weren't talking about tits, even though Janice had a really nice pair... Wayne kept telling him how much of cool stuff the military really does and how he could hook him up. Man, Wayne knows what's up, he thought to himself. Besides, if it came to working with guys like Wayne or the dweebs in San Francisco, it was a no brainer....

That's at least how Ashton thought about things back then... but then again, he was only 20. Nowadays he spends his time working for DISA on new worms. Everyone needs a botnet nowadays, even the government. It's really cool work, he learned a lot. But he knows damn well that's something he's never going to be able to talk about. At least Wayne gets to post bullshit on Twitter as th3j3st3r, he thinks to himself. His $80k salary is pretty damn good, and even his Mom is better, she dumped that dickwad. Though she is really getting old, all that alcohol just turned har brain to mush and she sometimes doesn't make sense. Maybe it'd be better he went to Silicon Valley, but then, just glancing over at the picture of him, Janice and their adorable 3 year old made him say "fuck no!" loud enough that his officemate looked up at him with that "dude, are you allright?" look.. He would've never met Jen and would probably still be chasing money like a wannabe pornstar in Los Angeles...

27 points by AlexeyMK 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like Joel really misses blogging. Good writing is just kind of pouring out of him, spilling here and there.
5 points by bluesnowmonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best way: build something that you know will break, then be prepared to swoop in and fix it. Whenever you fix one bug, add another. Repeat ad infinitum. Some people will be impressed by your resourcefulness. Others will be angry that things break at all, but over time these people will get fed up and leave. Eventually a culture will develop wherein it is accepted that IT systems are just fundamentally unreliable. You will get stable long-term employment, a good salary, and regular (though superficial) praise and deference from everyone around you, including your boss.

This strategy is extremely reliable. I have seen it used successfully at every company I've ever worked at, large and small, in multiple industries.

Another approach is to develop an internal professional ethic and pursue it irrespective of office politics. It's not as good for career stability but you sleep better.

21 points by duck 2 days ago 1 reply      
Funny how the guy that doesn't do anything in the story is named Jeff.
5 points by RiderOfGiraffes 2 days ago 1 reply      
This was a good read, yes, but did anyone here really learn anything new from it? I don't understand why it's go so many upvotes, and I'd really like to know what I've missed.

"Write code that people use, and ship it."

Was there anything else?

7 points by softbuilder 2 days ago 2 replies      
All I can think about is Batman vs. Spock. I mean, it's Spock, right? It's gotta be.
9 points by X-Istence 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think I may be missing the point of the story ...
2 points by rayvega 2 days ago 0 replies      
The writing style of both the posted question and Joel's response gave off such a "Dear Abby" advice column vibe that it was a pleasant, surprising piece to read on a usual by-the-numbers Q&A site. If he ever returns to blogging, a "Dear Joel" format might be an entertaining read.
4 points by rlmw 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Ashton even wrote a macro for Jeff that automated that one task. Jeff didn't want to get caught, so he refused to install it. They weren't on speaking terms after that. It was awkward."

My favourite quote.

2 points by jonsagara 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! Spock vs Batman! I never thought about it!
2 points by trobinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
by spelling his lastname correctly?
How to Fly 35,000 Miles, Visit 4 Continents, 9 Countries, and 15 Cities for $418 nerdfitness.com
192 points by vamsee 4 days ago   108 comments top 20
22 points by mgkimsal 4 days ago replies      
It's certainly cost this person a lot more than $418, because most of this seemed to be earned with credit card reward points. Spend $4k in 6 months and get 75,000 points, etc. So.. great. Spend a lot of money (possibly buying more than you intended to) and get a reward.

I guess being on the other side of the table - a merchant - I resent the whole 'rewards' racket. A) I end up getting charged more as a merchant, and I can't not accept your card. B) It's encouraged a culture of chasing after rewards that often aren't really something you need or end up being hard to use for most people (airline miles).

Yes, there are a few people who can really 'make out' (like this guy) but in the end this is mostly just another way for banks to make extra profits off people's greed ('something for nothing').

"If I were to pay for this adventure with cash and book individual flights, it would cost almost $6,000"

I'm guessing there was a lot more than $6k spent on 'stuff' to get this.

9 points by travisp 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you spend 250,000 frequent flyer points on a vacation, it's not free. This is not just because you had to spend money to get those points (which might have been spent on cash back credit cards for example), but because those points have value (almost as a separate currency) that could be spent on other things (and not just flights).

But, he still got a great deal using the OneWorld Awards program and it's definitely a great option for those who have the free time to do this.

7 points by acgourley 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel it takes so much mental energy to hack rewards cards that it's a net loss. He's obviously bright, I'm sure he could have used his time simply earning enough money to take his dream vacation.

As far as rewards go, amazon's reward card gives a good return without cognitive effort.

3 points by goatforce5 4 days ago 2 replies      
If you're flying a fair bit anyway, I recommend you look in to doing an AA Platinum Challenge.


It'll help you get bonus miles for flights you're doing anyway, and AA is actually not a bad airline when you have decent status with them.

5 points by ssharp 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was going to be about some super-ineffcient international route, featuring multi-day layovers that was offered for $418 by a carrier.
2 points by snewe 4 days ago 1 reply      
Important caveat:

"I'm not kidding when I say that I spent probably more than 24 total hours in the past three weeks having a blast on this thing creating itineraries, checking mileage, and figuring out where the heck I could go without going over the limit."

1 point by bonsaitree 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but be reminded of "hacking" casino comp systems. Please.

In truth, this trip cost well in excess of $418 due to the other purchases and time tie-ins involved.

I'm all for leveraging advantages, but there's leveraging, and then there's outright "gaming". The former can yield value when you factor in your time & attention, reasonable workflow safety margins, and compliance with spirit of a policy. The latter is merely a mental exercise to optimize a series of transactions around a single parameter, in this case the present dollar cost, to the complete exclusion of externalities.

At least he got some follow-on web traffic for his efforts.

2 points by stevenwei 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool scheme. For that amount of travel I feel like he should have collected more miles and gone for the first class award (280,000 airline miles required for the same distance flown).

Sure, it requires twice as many miles, but if you're going to be flying multiple transcontinental flights, first class is nothing to scoff at. The total cash value of that many first class flights is going to be far north of $100k, so in some sense you're also getting more value out of it.

2 points by xutopia 4 days ago 3 replies      
I heard about a hack that allowed you to purchase bonds or something with your credit card and then reselling those bonds while racking up air miles.

It was all possible until there was a crack down. This guy essentially did just that.

1 point by chrisaycock 4 days ago 1 reply      
He gets most of his points for sign-up bonuses. He doesn't say the exact number, but it looks like he registered for at least four cards in the span of a year. Applying for a lot of credit in a short amount of time is a great way to hurt his credit score! I wish he'd write a follow-up about what happened to his credit after this experiment.
1 point by rjett 4 days ago 1 reply      
How does a stunt like this affect your credit rating?
5 points by AlfaWolph 4 days ago 0 replies      
So he's Tim Ferriss Jr?
1 point by noodle 4 days ago 0 replies      
huh... interesting post, because i'm in the process of building up miles in order to do the exact same thing. glad to know it works
2 points by Edmond 4 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe he travels for work...easy to do if you charge expenses to your personal card and get reimbursed.
2 points by aeurielesn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, I am not my own boss so I am more concerned on how to get those 6 months to spent.
0 points by kondro 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like fun but the guy must shop to get to the following points in 11 months:

  130,000 American Airline miles
105,000 British Airways Miles
40,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points
25,000 American Express points

I'm only guessing at the spend required for that many points but surely that is $200k - $300k in spend. Surely this blog post isn't accessible to everyone.

Having said that, I admire his sense of adventure to just pull-up stops from his life and travel the world for 9 months. It is something I really need to get around to myself.

1 point by megaframe 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's anice idea... If I could only take a 9 month vacation and retain my job :-(
0 points by gregparadee 3 days ago 0 replies      
$5000 to the winner? Wasent Facebook Chat developed my an intern? I would assume $5000 and a chance to work for Facebook would be a better price.
0 points by ashconnor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Refferal code in the ebook link, you have to be kidding me.
-3 points by jsvaughan 4 days ago 1 reply      
and be personally responsible for nearly 7 tons of CO2 emissions
A reminder for us all: The Hacker News newcomer welcome page. ycombinator.com
188 points by RiderOfGiraffes 3 days ago   59 comments top 13
42 points by retroafroman 3 days ago replies      
My favorite part, which clearly shows that PG understands what the dynamic of a news site and it's users, is when it states:

"The worst thing to post or upvote is something that's intensely but shallowly interesting."

Frankly, I think this happens way too much. Any post about Zuckerberg, Assange, Arrington, and others probably gets way more upvotes than necessary. While they have definitely created interesting things, the product is probably more important than the person.

10 points by dholowiski 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's great- I'm a relatively new user and I didn't know that page existed. I think you should have to read it (like a terms of service) and check I agree before you can create an account.
2 points by praptak 3 days ago 1 reply      
As I'm posting this, the top submission on the /news page is "Why Microsoft Sucks: Hotmail dev team questions need for open standards".

I am guilty of upvoting it. Five seconds of thinking before upvoting would have prevented me from doing so - the linked comment just doesn't support the headline and Microsoft being hostile/oblivious to open standards isn't such big news anyway.

My point is that maybe we should be able to cancel upvotes. This would give upvoters the chance to read the comments (shallow stories usually have some comments pointing out that they are not that interesting) get convinced that they made a mistake and fix it.

Well, I understand that this might not be as simple as decreasing the counter. I suspect that there might be some impact on the ranking algorithm and probably a dozen things I haven't thought about. Still it might be worth it.

3 points by T_S_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Essentially there are two rules here: don't post or upvote crap links, and don't be rude or dumb in comment threads.

Where there are no bright lines, your side of the road becomes mine. Rudeness banned (mostly). Condescension, upvoted. Dumb, downvoted. Groupthink, upvoted.

My favorite condescension indicator: Post that include the sentence "Sigh."

7 points by Semiapies 3 days ago 0 replies      
People who don't like the posts showing up on the front page should flag more posts. Even if it's too highly-rated to kill a story, flaggings reduct the amount of time a story spends on the front page.
3 points by ajaimk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Probably the greatest reason for Hacker News' success is the fact that PG and many YC associated founders have the access to kill posts. This keeps the trash out and the content in. Also, we need to keep in mind that these people are users of hacker news and not just moderating it.
2 points by jdp23 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very useful. Wish I'd seen it when I first got here ... it'd be great to include a link to it on the main page and mention it in the FAQ.
1 point by ojilles 3 days ago 1 reply      
While it's relatively easy to comment on the stuff that gets to the homepage that shouldn't be there, the actual stories/discussion that don't make it there are a loss to our community.

F.ex. I found the 7 comments and a brief appearance on a thoughtful article like the "Tracking all releases by Etsy" [1] disappointing. That would have been a great discussion, we all together didn't have.

[1]: http://codeascraft.etsy.com/2010/12/08/track-every-release/
(Couldn't find the HN article anymore)

1 point by jschuur 3 days ago 0 replies      
While the welcome page does a great job of explaining the kind of atmosphere it has created and how people should behave, it doesn't explain how it encourages it. In short, blunt words, how do we keep the jerks out?

Someone who wants to be a troll isn't going to be discouraged by a few words in the welcome page. That type of user isn't likely to even read the page in the first place.

On the other hand, that's not the point of a welcome page either. It's to welcome those people that do want to be a friendly new user. However, then I read HN's hypothesis about popular community sites declining in quality, the first thing that went through my mind was 'Oh no, how does HN solve that?'

HN has obviously been successful at it so far. Maybe it's the utilitarian nature of the site. Perhaps HN's biggest benefit here is its name. The subject matter might not be limited to 'hacking', but the thought lingers in people's head when they hear it, and probably keeps a good number of people at bay who would otherwise post the latest Justin Bieber gossip.

1 point by PrestoManifesto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this, I'm new and was brought here through a link on Reddit so this info is handy. It appears Reddit is slowly falling into the Digg world of phantom upvotes/downvotes and stolen, resubmitted content. I'm assuming this was posted because this website has gotten several refugees from those sites looking for intelligent conversation in the comments and posts.
1 point by jsarch 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would find it very helpful to have a little blurb on the "Submit" page detailing how to submit to the different subpages (e.g., "ask", "jobs", "offers"). From what I can tell, submissions are automagically placed into the different subpages; one can help this sorting by adding "ASK HN" "SHOW HN" etc. to the title.
-1 point by bhavin 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Does your comment teach us anything?"

HN approach to comments in a nutshell!

-4 points by rokhayakebe 3 days ago 2 replies      
Frankly I believe Hacker News should not allow new registrations any longer.

Edit: Or at least make it invite-only.

Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate torrentfreak.com
183 points by lockem 13 hours ago   163 comments top 12
42 points by krschultz 11 hours ago replies      
I've seen the following argument a thousand times:

"Well the marginal cost of a copy of [some digital good] is 0 so it isn't stealing!"

That argument is actually completly irrelevant.

I took a train the other night, and there were only 2 people in my whole car. The previous week it was packed. Both times I had to buy a ticket at the same price.

If you don't see what that has to do with pirating music (or software, or movies, or TV), then you don't really understand economics.

Everyone compares it to widgets where there is some fixed cost and some marginal cost, and suddenly the marginal cost is 0 so we should be able to have it for free right? Right?

Wrong. The train has 0 marginal costs, and all fixed costs. Whether that train is empty or full, they pay for the conductor, the engineer, the maitanence and the gas. But you are expected to pay for your ride whether you are 1/1000th of the total population on the train or 1/20th. And if you don't pay, you are breaking the law. Stealing services.

Digital goods are things with a high fixed costs (software developers, authors, directors, actors etc) and 0 marginal costs. There are plenty of other things out there with the same economic model and you are expected to pay for all of them. The only difference is that it is far easier to steal from content creators than service providers.

So please correct everyone you see making that arguement. The fact that copying the music costs nothing really doesn't matter. It comes down to dividing the fixed costs by a certain amount of customers, or there simply won't be content creators anymore. Maybe the songs need to be 2 cents each, I don't know, but the fact is there are high fixed costs and they need to be covered somehow by someone. The lack of marginal cost just doesn't matter.

39 points by WillyF 12 hours ago replies      
I think that humans have an inherent problem with seeing piracy as theft unless they are the victims. Theft in a traditional sense is almost always zero-sum, and piracy isn't. We weren't really built to deal with this. The closest thing that I can think of is having someone sleep with your spouse"it's kind of like stealing, but it's not zero-sum. And it's not illegal.

It also doesn't help that our intellectual property laws have a lot of inconsistencies. If I steal your ideas for a startup, that's ok unless you have patented technology. But if I make a copy of something that I own and share it with a friend, that's illegal.

Up until now there had never been a way to take a material possession and duplicate it at essentially no cost. I think that we have a long way to go before we develop strong cultural norms on how to deal with intellectual property.

27 points by pdx 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel for the kid. I still grimace when I think of bragging to the game warden when I was 4, about how my dad caught a salmon with his bare hands. Of course, it wasn't fishing season, nor did we have a license. Even at 4, as soon as I said it, I knew I had screwed up. Luckily, everybody just laughed, as the game warden was a friend, but to this day, that slip of the tongue reminds me to think before I speak.
40 points by pmichaud 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I sell e-books and they almost all get pirated. I don't care, I just focus on the people who want to pay for my stuff. No skin off my nose if they don't.
22 points by c0riander 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem most authors (artists) face is not piracy, but obscurity.

Not condoning piracy, but simply an observation. (I'm skeptical that people who pirate the e-books would necessarily otherwise purchase them, so I'm always uncertain about estimates of "losses" like in this article. Many times someone will download it to just check it out, similar to flipping through it in a bookstore, which you don't have to pay for.)

12 points by rick888 12 hours ago 6 replies      
This still doesn't change the fact that piracy does hurt authors.

The sad fact is that piracy is only getting worse. Even when you can get a song for 99 cents with no DRM or restrictions, music piracy is still rampant. I'm waiting for the next set of excuses.

In '99, it was because music was too expensive and the artists were getting screwed (which is a funny excuse, because 1% of something is something, but 1% of 0 is 0). Later, it was because DRM made it too difficult to play music. This is why you don't negociate with criminals. They will just keep bleeding you dry. The music industry is learning this lesson at the expense of their profits.

Now there is a new generation of kids that feel entitled to music, software, and movies for free.

This is one of the main reasons why I no longer sell applications. I have converted them all to services. This way, there is no way someone can pirate it.

6 points by T_S_ 11 hours ago 0 replies      
.. no one possesses the less because everyone possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me receives [it] without lessening [me], as he who lights his [candle] at mine receives light without darkening me. --Thomas Jefferson

And so the progress of virtual goods has turned their producers into teachers. The consequences are still unknown.

4 points by xtho 11 hours ago 3 replies      
> “Books are priced too high”

I don't think he (the "pirat") has an idea of how much time has to be invested in the production of good books. I personally think that books are drastically undervalued and that people are not willing to pay enough for good books which has the consequence that they are either served well targeted bestsellers, which can be produced at that price, or junk. Big publishing companies and bestseller authors don't have that much of a problem selling their books at a lower price so that people are less inclined to download a pirated book.

1 point by ctkrohn 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh come on. It's easy to call someone a hypocrite -- everyone agrees its wrong, whatever their other moral principles might be. The failures of an individual don't really have much bearing on whether the individual's moral beliefs are right.

EDIT: changed "everyone agrees its wrong" to "everyone agrees hypocrisy is wrong"

2 points by nene 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What struck me most was this passage:

In order to thwart piracy, she refused to allow her latest novel to be released as an audiobook since the format is popular with file-sharers and also denied the publication of Russian and Chinese versions.

Isn't it like taping on the cover of the book: "Only for white"?

2 points by EGreg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
All I can say is: ha ha ha. And: we need to come up with a better system for selling intellectual art these days!
0 points by cafard 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Bogus Prada bags hardly seems to compare. Maybe if one took fancy dust jackets (Hennessey and Patterson, Musil, whatever) and wrapped them around Readers Digest condensed books one might have a comparable case.
Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees fastcompany.com
171 points by monkeygrinder 12 hours ago   36 comments top 7
26 points by JanezStupar 11 hours ago 1 reply      
There is corporate "ethos" and "greed is good" etc... But what I find disturbing is that these wankers (corporate and government) are stupid/greedy enough to fuck over honeybees.

The same honeybees that are providing us with 1 in 3 meals every single friggin day! Maybe big-pharma is confident that it can feed the humanity - but I see it as an incredibly shortsighted strategy that WILL cause us our lives - before global warming or nukes - since we're apparently trying extremely hard to exterminate the little critters.

21 points by maukdaddy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI the ORIGINAL Grist article much better and full of detail:


20 points by Alex3917 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Considering the EPA's past lies about the air quality at ground zero, the mercury levels in fresh water fish, etc., let's just say that if you believe anything they say then I've got a boat load of perfectly safe shrimp from the gulf to sell you.
9 points by BrandonM 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there any reason these beekeepers can't sue Bayer and the EPA for the side effects of the pesticides? Couldn't such a suit call for an injunction preventing its use pending the results of the lawsuit?
19 points by alecco 10 hours ago 5 replies      
I don't understand how politicians are allowed to campaign with corporate money.
6 points by qeorge 10 hours ago 0 replies      


The timing seems incredible.

0 points by byteclub 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's ok, we'll just replace honey with high-fructose corn syrup - problem solved!
HN: We're starting a "Move to Silicon Valley" wiki. We could use some help. svstartup.com
170 points by iamelgringo 18 hours ago   41 comments top 18
6 points by hugh3 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Why just Silicon Valley and not the whole SF Bay Area?

edit: Actually, now I look at your wiki it seems to be focused on the whole Bay Area while just claiming to be about the valley. This is wrong: San Francisco isn't part of SV and certainly the East Bay isn't either. (San Jose is debatable.) Now, while most of the early errors made in a wiki will get corrected eventually, giving it the wrong name is an uncorrectable error, so I'd recommend changing the name before you do anything else.

6 points by arfrank 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just started something very similar for the DC area (http://dcstartupwiki.com/). It makes sense to have a centralized location for all this startup in, but delegated by locale. That way, there only needs to be one location to goto to get started and from there you can choose where you are looking for relevant startup info about.

I know PG owns http://startupwiki.com, and has some longterm plans for it, but it'd be nice to see a easily rememberable centralized location for all this information. Somewhere down the line it could gain sponsorships in order to pay for itself, and (BFAD) become a centralized location for startups to lobby for things then benefit all of them (i.e. legislation, at least in the US)

5 points by iamelgringo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
By they way, incoming links from blogs, etc... are always welcome. We really want this to be a community resource that becomes useful for years.
22 points by rabc 16 hours ago 5 replies      
My suggestion: a section about immigration and a list of startups hiring people who wants to work in U.S.
3 points by hwijaya 15 hours ago 0 replies      
We are working on something similar in Australia - http://www.startup-australia.org/thevalley. I am moving to SV early next year. I'll try to add to the SVstartup wiki based on few bits of information I have gathered.
1 point by pmjordan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you! I wish I could contribute. I'll certainly keep an eye on the content that does turn up as we're getting increasingly restless in Vienna. In addition to the immigration related stuff mentioned in another thread, I'd be much obliged to anyone who could contribute cost-of-living related info. Basics like rent, utilities and food and any expense I might not be expecting coming from Europe...
1 point by cmelbye 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not a great resource of Silicon Valley startup advice, but if you need any help with the technical aspects (such as rewrite rules so you don't have URLs that look like /~svstartu/index.php?title=Main_Page ;), or if you need a skin, MediaWiki extension, etc, I'd be happy to help. I have some experience with the internals of MediaWiki.

EDIT: Also, for others looking where to start, take a peek at this page for a full list of pages that need to be created: http://svstartup.com/~svstartu/index.php?title=Special:Wante...

1 point by phlux 2 hours ago 0 replies      
http://padmapper.com is the best tool for finding a place to live.
2 points by equivalence 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a good idea not only for those seeking to move to the Valley but also those just there for a visit. I was there for a week before and after Startup School this year and I would have loved to have had a definitive hackers reference for the area. It might also be worth asking pg is you can use some of the content from his "Where to see in Silicon Valley" essay.
2 points by bandrew 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I gave a presentation at FOWA in London recently on this exact topic - you can see my slides at http://www.slideshare.net/bandrew/fowa-2010-fighting-and-thr...

Hope you find the content useful.

3 points by Dramatize 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much. This is very helpful.
1 point by pclark 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Quora is a more appropriate destination for this content, it already has a great critical mass of users, and a more accessible UI. (you also know it won't just vanish tomorrow)
2 points by sero 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow, what perfect timing, I'm planning on moving out there in 6 months and just started my research :) I'll add my thoughts to the wiki after I go through the whole process
1 point by dsantos 8 hours ago 0 replies      
also you can find some references/links in this post http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1586027
1 point by spyrosk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
On the job boards page you were linking to startup.ly which is a parked domain.
I've edited it to link to startuply.com, I hope this is the one you meant.
1 point by lfnik 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be invaluable to me. I plan on quitting my job at the startup where I currently work to move to SF/SV (Prefer SF) and look for work. Resources for networking, places to work on projects and cheap places to crash.
1 point by Nate75Sanders 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea.

Anybody know of similar resources for Seattle? I'm moving there inside of 6 weeks with a half-time telecommute job and I'm looking to get involved in the tech scene and find people to hack with.

1 point by kpdvx 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of a "Move to New York" wiki? One specific to startups would be great, but a more generic guide would be great, too.
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