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Google tracks you. We don't. An illustrated guide donttrack.us
544 points by adityakothadiya 1 day ago   166 comments top 39
89 points by Matt_Cutts 1 day ago replies      
The first sentence when I stripped out the pictures was "When you search Google, and click on a link, your search term is sent to that site, along with your browser & computer info, which can often uniquely identify you."

Referrers are a part of the way the web has worked since before Google existed. They're a browser-level feature more than something related to specific websites. But if referrers bother you, just use the SSL version of Google to prevent referrers from being sent to http sites (or change your browser not to send referrers at all).

The corresponding sentence even for a website that strips referrers would be "When you search on domain X, and click on a link, your browser & computer info is sent to that site, which can often uniquely identify you."

Read more carefully in that light, the first sentence is really saying that third-party sites that you land on after searching or visiting a domain can track you. That's independent of whether you came from Google or any other search engine, of course.

13 points by andrewljohnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is a rash of this kind of marketing I see cropping up on Hacker News, marketing which promotes one company while badmouthing another. We saw it from Posterous, Adioso, and now DuckDuckGo.

* Adioso vs. Bing: http://blog.adioso.com/sorry-bing-adioso-is-still-the-worlds...

* Posterous vs. Tumblr (and others): http://blog.posterous.com/hey-tumblr-users-got-comments-want...

Setting aside whether or not you want to be perceived as cutthroat or just straight-up douchey, the real question is whether or not this the most effective spin.

I think it might be better just to talk about how great privacy is at DuckDuckGo, perhaps in comparison to other search engines in general.

DDG calling out Google individually, Adioso calling out Bing individually, or in the case of Posterous, calling out other startups, isn't how I would play the game.

16 points by Groxx 1 day ago 3 replies      
Or, you could use https://encrypted.google.com which disables the referral[1]. You can also turn off the history[2].

Other info, like your IP address (which they partially anonymize after... 9/18/24 months (conflicting details)) and cookie[3] (which you can clear / block), is still stored. Odds are DDG does this too (edit: they don't, see replies), as it's mostly useful for overall statistics.

[1]: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer...
[2]: http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=...
[3]: http://www.google.com/privacy/faq.html#toc-terms-server-logs

13 points by cletus 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have a question: does this policy of DDG violate their legal responsibilities? Thats a serious question. I believe that law enforcement requires some form of data retention but I'm not sure what.
11 points by aw3c2 1 day ago 4 replies      
That site turned me off. I am using DDG as my primary search engine for many months now.

I really dislike the style and "atmosphere" of that site. The images are seemingly unordered and could use some borders. The images of the dog biting the women or the predator disgust me. Then some "motivationals" and memes that do not help the case.

This site gave me mental stress (the left-alignment of varied sized text and images maybe, maybe the white, maybe the images) and overall broke a chunk off the good impression the DDG creator gave me so far. I'd suggest either not making such weird site or at least make it properly designed.

(When I clicked the link I expected it to be related to the http://hackademix.net/2010/12/28/x-do-not-track-support-in-n... disaster which dramatically "uniquifies" your browser fingerprint so I started with a bad feeling. Thanks for adding ad-blocking recommendations though! And even more so: Tor!)

7 points by gregable 21 hours ago 0 replies      
As a practical matter, surfing from an https:// URL doesn't strictly strip referrers (in Google, DDG, or otherwise). SSL is intended to hide your data from the network, not the destination, so every browser I've tested will send referrers from https://SiteA.com/ to https://SiteB.com/ as long as both the referring and destination URLs are both https://
7 points by joakin 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here goes some feedback, hopefully we can gather some suggestions for Gabriel instead of saying 'Encrypted Google' all the time...

In my opinion (using my designer side) the site lacks basic design, the text is well written, and the images make it really easy to read, but its missing some eye candy.
Something to do would be structure each argument as a page/slide, and make the reading more like slides or a book.

In my opinion, -quite ironic- you should have a look (copy format) from Google's 20thingsilearned [1], the book format, with the beautiful design and the animations would make the site stand out and more attractive to be read than it is now.

But dont do as them, there is a pretty good job done keeping the text short and concise but informative and clear.

If the site is kept well formatted as well as structured and 'playful' will continue to be a pleasure to read.

Good luck with the campaign, happy to help to my default search engine :)

[1] http://www.20thingsilearned.com/

13 points by zackola 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been using Duck Duck Go as my primary search for the last month - it's pretty great! And if you need to fallback to google because you want a map or something else there are a bunch of ! shortcuts to go right there. (!map is most frequently used by me)
9 points by snippyhollow 1 day ago 0 replies      
I switched definitely to duckduckgo one month ago and I'm happy about it. I find that for us, tech-oriented people, it provides very pertinent result pages, plus it is fast enough, and you can always !google or !wikipedia or else if not satisfied... Its recall is perhaps less than Google, but the smart handling of "spam" gives it a really nice precision. Never went on page 2!
16 points by Ryan_IRL 1 day ago 4 replies      
I think it's some valid info here, and it's certainly worth being wary of the info Google collects, but I also sense a little bit of FUD here. The whole "...which can often uniquely identify you" makes me feel like this is playing on fear a little too much. It's not like that "big ebony booty" search is going to come up in a job interview any time soon guys.
2 points by pacemkr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe I was one of the people who requested this. Namely, a better explanation of why DDG not tracking your search history is a big deal.

Implementation details aside, this page must exists and I applaud Gabriel for making it. Why? I must have been living under a rock, but I for one have never heard of https search for Google -- and I'm not exactly a computer newb.

Privacy should be the default, so "use secure Google" is a ridiculous response to legitimate privacy concerns.


1. I really appreciated how fast information is delivered. "One thing leads to another." And its very clear up to...

2. You lost me after the "Your profile can also be sold," with lolcat material. It really threw me off and I almost forgot what I was reading about. On my first run through the page, did not absorb ANY information past that point.

3. I only noticed the multiple (happens) links on the second run. Noticed one somewhere along the way on the first run, but not the reast. This is the important part. It tells me that this isn't a list of "imagine these unlikely events and fear", its a list of "did you know this actually happened."

4. The images establish pace for the reader, but, I can't stress it enough, they must communicate additional information. Up until the parental control cat we get a visual of what happens. I can also relate to the images because I've seen ads for "wacom tablets" follow me for months after I bought the freaking thing and I've seen the Google Analytics control panel. The image of the woman signifies that her profile is slowly building up. What information does the parental control cat or austin powers communicate?

5. The design is a little too bland, but as noted above, that's not the biggest problem. I wanted to link my friends to the page, but then got to the images and felt that the message would be lost on them as it was lost on me.

Hope this helps and thank you for making the page.

7 points by jimmyswimmy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, that finally worked for me. For the longest time I've seen the DDG "ads" on here and thought, "meh, Google works fine for me." Focusing on the privacy angle appealed to me, mainly because I like the idea of decoupling my search and email histories.

But - if you are so focused on not-tracking then how do you know if an advertising campaign such as this actually works? Presumably this is not the only campaign you are currently running. Must be the referrer string from donttrack.us, which is so amusingly ironic that I can't help but twist the corner of my mouth into a smirk.

Nice site, by the way, I found it clean, clear and readable. Scrolling and justification are no matter to me, I liked the simple single-page look.

3 points by Indyan 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I love DDG, and am a DDG user. Nevertheless there are two things in this guide that bothered me:
i) No Referrers: I consider this to be essential information for the webmaster. It allows him to know what is working, and what isn't. If DDG becomes popular, it will kill the search analytics market. It's a niche product right now, and that's why it can afford to do this and Google can't (SSL isn't the default option).

ii) Adblock et all: By advising users to use Adblock, once again you are encouraging users to do something that can cripple the web as we know it.

4 points by olalonde 23 hours ago 0 replies      
In case you're wondering how uniquely identifiable your browser is: https://panopticlick.eff.org/. "Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 1,328,173 tested so far."

Of course, this is regardless of Google.

7 points by rick_2047 1 day ago 2 replies      
I seriously do not get this privacy sham. All of a sudden everybody and there uncle is very concious about some algorithms (that select the ad for you) knowing what they searched for. I mean even if I search for something inappropriate and then google ads algorithm knows what I searched for, big deal yaar whats the harm?

I presume referrer headers existed even before google and this privacy outrage. The thing I do not understand is, why this sudden conciousness about some database of what you searched online?

4 points by motters 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been using DDG for a while, and have been very happy with it. IMHO they should focus on this privacy aspect, trying to be the most privacy respecting search engine, because it's a key product differentiator and it's also an issue which is only likely to grow in importance.
8 points by fwdbureau 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sure google is not as "evil" as those recent bashing campaigns tend to insinuate, but the fact is, if google could publish clearer, more-defined data-privacy or data-retention policies instead of the vague assertions you can find in their TOS, things would be clearer. The current situation is just feeding doubts, and nothing serious or accompanied by hard facts comes to contradict this illustrated guide
6 points by Skywing 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know what? I'm one of those people that can probably say "who cares", but I think I'm going to try out DuckDuckGo over the upcoming week.
10 points by yuvadam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Strangely enough, and with all the anti-google hype lately, this really makes me want to ditch google for web searches (Gmail is harder to leave...)
3 points by eddieplan9 1 day ago 3 replies      
Kudos to DDG. Finally a good alternative to the big G.

What scares me the most sometimes is when I think about how ubiquitous Google's ads network and analytics network are. Most of the websites I visit use AdSense and/or Google Analytics. Some are using Google's copy of popular javascript libraries like jQuery. This means that when you are moving from site A to site B to site C, there is a good chance that even though A or B or C does not know about it, Google knows your full browsing path and even how you move from one to another. I am not saying that Google is actually doing it, but it is scary someone has the capability to do it and to know more about you than the government and your mother do. It is important a significant portion of the website and our browsing activities are outside of Google's networks.

1 point by pedanticfreak 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the more appropriate summary is that DuckDuckGo proactively guards your privacy. Google is completely aware of privacy issues, but allows privacy to slip through the sieve by being indecisive about what to do about it.
2 points by pragmatic 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does duck duck go make money?

I saw something about adding affiliate links to Amazon results. What else?

1 point by alexfarran 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Does it really matter that DDG works around the referer header when embarrassingillness.com/herpes has your IP address, and anything else your browser sends to them.
3 points by danielhfrank 1 day ago 3 replies      
Could anyone comment on how much of this stuff could be sidestepped by just using an incognito window in Chrome? I don't mind ads targeted to, say, me as a Java developer. But, if I'm going to look up anything I'd rather others not know about, I simply pop open an incognito window and... am I good to go? Is there anything besides my IP address that can be read when I'm doing that?
3 points by ignu 1 day ago 4 replies      
"which can often uniquely identify you."

"and potentially show up in unwanted places,
like insurance, credit & background checks."

yeah, i'm pretty sure that's not a thing that can happen.

also, if you like the internet being free then you shouldn't mind seeing ads for your demographic that get a better roi and make more money for publishers of the content you don't pay for.

3 points by shimonamit 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm still dreaming of a search engine that parses regular expressions. When that happens I'm there. Yesterday.
3 points by mitko 1 day ago 0 replies      
This page converted me. I'm giving DDG a test as my primary search.
2 points by rmc 1 day ago 0 replies      
But isn't the referral header and search terms good for the webmaster? It allows them to customize the website for their customers and allows them to find out what their customers are looking for.
2 points by crnixon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like DuckDuckGo. I use it and it's a good search service. But I'm left with a question after this site:

Isn't Google's tracking a _good_ thing in many ways? I want sites to know what I've come searching for so they can present me peripheral content I want and I want Google to know my interests so that they show me ads related to those interests.

I agree Google could do more to alert users about what privacies they are giving up, and I'm glad there's good alternatives if you don't want that info tracked. I think not enough is made of the good side of Google's personalization, however.

3 points by jeromeflipo 1 day ago 4 replies      
1 point by kolinko 18 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a thin line between "fighting for what's right (privacy)" and "building paranoia to earn profit" and I think DDG just crossed it :(

I like the search engine and I wish them all the best (seriously), but this method of advertising is bad.

3 points by requinot59 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good explanations of privacy issue using Google for the neophyte. Thanks for this, I'll use this link when I tell someone about the online privacy stuff.
1 point by lisperforlife 22 hours ago 0 replies      


I rest my case. Don't get me wrong. I like DDG but this campaign seems like spreading FUD. BTW, I use https by default.

2 points by marcusEting 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't want to be tracked but still want to use google there are three great browser extensions which make that possible: http://techblog.willshouse.com/2011/01/03/three-extensions-t...
1 point by klync 10 hours ago 0 replies      
bookmarking, delicious-ing, resending to ( / spamming) all my friends and family ....

ddg rules and this finally puts my pov into nice, simple, pretty pictures.


1 point by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome promotional/marketting angle. Smart way to compete against Google.
1 point by sz 1 day ago 0 replies      
There ought to be a browser plugin for the paranoid... surely someone must have tried to make one?
2 points by vitorbal 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the reference to the austin powers' "in a nutshell" scene, heheh.
1 point by ssn 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Too much FUD.
Cambridge University refuses to censor student's thesis boingboing.net
489 points by r11t 5 days ago   61 comments top 19
74 points by blhack 5 days ago 2 replies      
>Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin.

This is a very elegant way of giving them the finger.

61 points by jburwell 5 days ago 1 reply      
First, he thrusts the knife in, then violently twists it -- "Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent....". Classic.
38 points by liuhenry 5 days ago 0 replies      
4 points by fleitz 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tend to disagree with the banks' assessment that it will undermine public confidence. The research gives the public one more piece of information to judge the risks for placing their money in a financial institution.

The banking sector as participants in a free market who frequently advocate for opening of more sectors of the economy to the free market (and rightly so) should be encouraging such research. The research gives consumers of banking services more accurate information to consider when deciding how accessible their money should be. Additional information allows consumers to make more informed choices regarding the trade offs between security and convenience. Banks could offer insurance to their customers to protect them against the risks while still keeping the benefits of increased convenience.

It's an opportunity for the banks to differentiate their services and cater to the needs of their customers. Yes, not having a PIN is less secure, but it's also more convenient, with proper positioning of their products banks should be able to offer tailored solutions that better address the needs of their customers.

10 points by rlmw 5 days ago 1 reply      
To be fair I didn't read this the first time it was on HN - I'm inclined to think that the title of the post is more descriptive than the original, and its deserving front page material, even if it is a duplicate.
36 points by instakill 5 days ago 1 reply      
Brilliant. If only more institutions had a spine like the one displayed here.
12 points by yesbabyyes 5 days ago 1 reply      
Link to original letter - oh boy this is a good read: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/ukca.pdf
7 points by nsdsudf 5 days ago 1 reply      
Prof. Anderson shows good character.

Let's talk about the other side. Businesses have always acted this way when it comes to computer security (for at least the last 15 years, feel free to cite earlier examples). By now they probably understand that what they're doing is wrong, from a security perspective. They may even understand that issuing takedowns increases publicity. Still, business are sociopathic, they don't care about the legitimacy of their actions. They have a staff of lawyers they're already paying for, and a responsibility to defend trade secrets and protect their product base. So they marshal their lawyers, essentially for free, and maybe they get something out of the effort as a result. If they don't, nothing much was lost, and they generally don't care about their perception in the security community. Same old story. This incident is less about someone standing up to a bully and more about someone weathering another wave coming out of the ocean.

4 points by emilepetrone 4 days ago 0 replies      
BBC video on chip & pin findings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yyfcHSXZLc
1 point by marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Intentionally or unintentionally, this has got to be one of the best pieces of marketing for research inclined students and faculty that they could have ever produced.

So much so, that the skeptic in me thinks this was intentionally leaked.

I had always considered possibly applying to the University of Cambridge, and I know they are Ivy League...but this letter, firmly solidifies them as a contender for any higher education I might pursue.

2 points by revorad 4 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by drivebyacct2 5 days ago 0 replies      
For the third time, we get it.
3 points by isomorph 5 days ago 1 reply      
He's a good lecturer too. Funny how being a good lecturer and being a badass correlate.
1 point by GrandMasterBirt 5 days ago 1 reply      
"we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material!"

Reminds me of a Frankin quote: "Sir, I disagree with you, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

1 point by koski 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder when Cambridge starts to be blocked by the banks then ... :)
2 points by kwoks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Am proud of being in the University of Cambridge.....we don't produce apps.
1 point by raghava 4 days ago 0 replies      
>You complain that ... and indeed to censor it.

The penultimate para in the original letter, wow! A befitting answer to a bully, and how! :)

-4 points by Tarski 5 days ago 3 replies      
Wouldn't it have been far nobler to approach the banks affected by the exploit with these findings rather than publishing schematics for the exploit into the public domain?
Trouble In the House of Google codinghorror.com
448 points by ZeroMinx 1 day ago   162 comments top 28
25 points by cletus 1 day ago replies      
This is really just a rehash of other posts from the last month (linked in article).

This post basically complains about two things: the finer points of SEO and content farms.

Content farms is an easy one. They're the Web equivalent of spam and I'm talking about the likes of Associated Ontent and Demand Media. They re a relatively new (last few years) phenomenon.

My personal view is that no one is better placed to deal with this new threat than Google. Email spam is basically a solved problem on Gmail. Thats not ss there aren't false positives and negatives but it's oohing like it used to be or could be. It'll take time but I believe that content farms are a transitory and doomed business model.

As for product searches, this encompasses many things. Anecdotally I recently searched for "<camera make and model> review" and found what I wanted no problem. Prices I found on pricegrabber (they have an iPad app).

SEO is a trickier beast. For one it's a constantly moving target. A combination of suboptimal source SEO and content farm SEO gaming allows the scrapers to survive. I can't say that keyword position matters all that much. Anecdotally Jeff claims it does but many factors are at pay so it's always best to be careful about making absolute claims.

Jeff claims not to want to be acquired. I'm reminded of a story I heard. Basically: if you wanted money (from angels) ask for advice. If you wanted advice, ask for money (IIRC this story came from either Mark Suster or Jason Calacanis, can't remember).

So, if you want to be acquired, say you don't?

Lastly, I'll reiterate my own opinion that social search isn't the answer in the general case (ie it will have specific use cases).

Content curation is a mixed bag. I believe there will (for at least a very long time) be a place for niche verticals. For example, dpreview is a vertical for cameras. General purpose models like Mahalo I think are doomed for much the same reason that Jeff and Joel have contended that general Q&A sites are doomed.

48 points by gordonguthrie 1 day ago 4 replies      
Its that old issue. If you are paying you are the customer - if you aren't paying you're the product.

With Google the customer is the person placing the ads and the product is you.

The content farms are the middle man - they try and place you (the product) onto a paying page (the customer) and stop you going to a non-paying page (that doesn't pay-per-click).

Google has 2 business models:

* I search for an advert and Google sells me directly to the customer

* I search for something and Google takes me to a middle man who sells me to a customer

The first business model works great and I often search Google for an advert.

The second business model is broken - because I (the user) want a search engine that takes me to my destination - if something that triggers a purchase happens along the way, fine).

1/3 of the web now consists of Google's Middlemen selling Google's ads for Google.

When my (then) colleague Dale had 500,000 page views from his HTML5 pacman (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1549056) he didn't put Google Ads on it because 'Google Ads are Cheap'.

But then my (non-technical) customer Tim specifically said he wouldn't put Google adds on http://cyclingbibliography.org/ which is designed to make him income, I thought, Oh!.

At Xmas my 12 year old was moaning about Google when looking for something.

It has now reached the point where a page ranking algorithm which penalises sites with Google Ads would be welcomed by many people.

Google's problem is that only way out is to reduce its income - when it has been tweaking its software to increase its yield.

25 points by bambax 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's certain that annoying gadgets such as "Instant" reflect poorly on Google priorities.

The mission of Google is to help users find stuff, not generate the maximum possible number of ad impressions per query (which would be quite short-sighted).

But, is it really getting worse? It's never been possible to use Google effectively to research dishwashers. Never. I remember using a Firefox extension to block specific domains from Google search for a long time (it's now called "OptimizeGoogle" but had another name before that).

Dishwashers aside, I still find Google pretty effective.

Jeff's post starts with a chart that shows that 88.2% of SO's traffic comes from Google; if Google was that bad, wouldn't users start to use something else? Where is the increase in traffic from Bing (0.9% from the same chart!)? Where's the nascent but so powerful traffic from blekko...??!?

24 points by roadnottaken 1 day ago replies      
It's not a very difficult problem to solve. 95% of the content-farm spam comes from a few domains. In the same way that spam-blacklists have proved to be the most-effective way to combat e-mail spam, Google just needs to decide to shut these content-farms out. They don't need to do anything sophisticated like tweak their algorithm... just shut them out. The fact that it hasn't been done yet suggests to me that Google doesn't want to.
14 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand what people are complaining about when they use google for generic product searches like this.

What do you expect "iPhone 4 cases" to return?

Links to reviews? Links to Apple's online stores? Links to other retailer's stores? Links to information about what the cases are manufactured from?

I don't understand what a search engine is supposed to do in this use case. How can it divine which of the many things related to iPhone cases you're interested in? This generic search could go in many different directions.

Personally I would never think go search google directly for a product review like this. Amazon is the best-known place to find reviews from fellow general-consumers.

When you use a search engine, I think the key to efficiency is having a firm idea of what type of results you'd like it to return before you press the "Search" button.

16 points by ComputerGuru 1 day ago 2 replies      
when was the last time you clicked through to a page that was nothing more than a legally copied, properly attributed Wikipedia entry encrusted in advertisements? Never, right?

Jeff gets it wrong yet again. Has he never heard of (or clicked a search result that led to) answers.com?

13 points by richcollins 1 day ago 0 replies      
We want the whole world to teach each other and learn from the questions and answers posted on our sites. Remix, reuse, share " and teach your peers! That's our mission. That's why I get up in the morning.

However, implicit in this strategy was the assumption that we, as the canonical source for the original questions and answers, would always rank first.


We thought syndicating content would give us Google juice but it backfired ...

27 points by rabidsnail 1 day ago 1 reply      
It looks like the biggest thing that efreedom.com (the most prolific stackoverflow mirror) does to rank higher in google searches is put the category as the first word in the title. What stackoverflow titles as "How do I use MediaRecorder to record video without causing a ..." efreedom titles as "Android: How do I use MediaRecorder to record video without causing a ...". So when I search for "android mediarecorder segmentation fault" all other things being equal efreedom wins.
5 points by randallsquared 1 day ago 0 replies      
He seems to think this has never happened before, but I can remember Google search quality apparently declining repeatedly in the past... sometimes it seemed to return all the way to where it had been, and sometimes part way, but it isn't as though this is unprecedented. Additionally:

when was the last time you clicked through to a page that was nothing more than a legally copied, properly attributed Wikipedia entry encrusted in advertisements? Never, right?

It's not too common, but it's not like it never happens. Again, at times in the past, this has happened regularly for a while, to the point where you have to add "wikipedia" as a search term, but it has always returned to normality after a few days or so.

Since this happens from time to time for me, I'm wondering now if Jeff has been doing something right that I'm failing to do when searching.

2 points by DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 3 replies      
Google has always had "bad neighborhoods" -- places where results weren't so good. What folks are finding is that the bad neighborhoods are on the rise, at least when it comes to short, popular searches. Now it appears the screen scrapers are busy at work targeting tech questions. In the last couple of months, when I had a technical question I got total junk for an answer -- lists of questions that took me to landing pages, re-dos of Stack Overflow pages, and random questions that didn't even have answers.

I use Google extensively for search. About once a month or so, I'll be looking for something in a bad neighborhood. It's not a pleasant experience. It's a shame to see tech questions end up like this.

But the problem, as another poster pointed out, is that nothing is for free. You are either paying money, in which case you are the customer, or you are the product. There's no "in-between" In Google's business model you are the product.

I think the business model can continue for a good, long time, but there is always going to be cross-incentives between people who want free stuff and providers who have to pay money to provide you with stuff. Not everybody can be a wikipedia and raise money with pictures of Jimmy Wales. They are an outlier.

My conclusion is that these are browser problems. After all, it's none of my business what people put on the web, and aside from liking Google and wishing them well, I really don't have a dog in the fight for their struggle. In fact, it's better for me to have a dozen search companies all using different algorithms -- makes it harder to game the system.

So what I want is a browser. A browser that uses multiple search engines automatically and completely eliminates any "fluff" from rendered pages -- perhaps even combining various pages into much simpler displays.

I'd pay for that, and that would make me the customer. Then I would have whatever web experience I desired, instead of the one that I get for free. I'd much rather be in the position of writing a check to the best browser provider that condensed and filtered information than the situation we have now.

(By the way, if anybody is interested in this browser project, please contact me, as it's been a pet project of mine for some time)

8 points by jorgem 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's why they're called "search engines" and not "find engines".
3 points by w1ntermute 1 day ago 0 replies      
The search "iphone 4 case" seems to be particularly susceptible to crap results. Even DDG (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=iphone+4+case) and Bing (http://www.bing.com/search?q=iphone+4+case) give shady results.
4 points by iwwr 1 day ago 1 reply      
In evolutionary terms, Google are gaining a very solid advantage every day. If Bing were to start growing suddenly, their tools for beating black-SEO and spam would be more primitive due to the lack of natural "predatory pressure". Bing's lack of immunity against some attacks would then set them back.
3 points by AlexMuir 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just don't understand the problem that Google is having. Why can't they simply penalise sites/domains that are full of rubbish? Or manually boost domains and sites that aren't.

The lack of innovation in search worries me - there are big commercial incentives for Google's results to be poor. Though the emergence of viable alternatives will change this.

I'm sure I read that the average revenue per search was $0.08 or something around that mark. At that level it's worth having some human intervention. Perhaps Yahoo had something after all!

1 point by rapind 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why this is such a hard problem to solve.

I assume that every business that manages to farm content and SEO it up to the first page must be making a decent investment in time and resources to achieve this. It doesn't happen overnight.

So wouldn't it be easy enough to maintain a blacklist or at least a de-value list that would bring the return below the investment? Shouldn't there be a streamlined process for assembling this blacklist? They must already be doing something along these lines and no doubt quite a bit more involved than what I'm describing here.

Could they add in a crowdsourcing flag link next to all search results. This wouldn't blacklist anything automatically obviously but would assist in identifying which results should be investigated further?

Why is it still an issue? Is it a legal problem? Can they be sued for maintaining a blacklist?

I'm not trying to say I know better, so I must be missing something. Maybe someone can shed some light on my ignorance?

2 points by aamar 1 day ago 2 replies      
What happens if other sites are scraping content faster than Google can crawl it? In these cases, will Google really be able to guess which site is the original? For all they know, SO is scraping a lot of its content from other sites.

If this kind of uncertain-originator is any part of the problem, one solution might be for Jeff to temporarily block robots other than google/bing/etc. from retrieving new content, until say, ten minutes later. This gives the search engine a chance to figure out who the original is, while still (I think) remaining within the spirit of CC-SA. A Google API call (I'm high reputation, please crawl this new page now!) might be even better.

edit: clarified API suggestion.

4 points by suprgeek 1 day ago 3 replies      
It is almost as if a dam has cracked and we are seeing the first trickles of "Google sucks lately" stories. It is increasingly becoming an arms race - Google tweaks its algorithms to defeat SEO, Spam and other Gamers and the gamers tweak their tactics to outwit Google's tweaks.
Anybody else see an opportunity in this phenomenon to supplant algorithmic search with curated search?
2 points by jrussbowman 1 day ago 0 replies      
An easy easy to get better results for searches when looking for reviews as well a getting up to date content for searches has become my personal goal for unscatter.com. My first piece is up, using the blekko api. I will be adding more search filters powered by different apis in the future. At the moment it's basically a wrapper around the blekko api I admit but already useful for searching for iphone 4 cases I think. http://www.unscatter.com/search/?q=Iphone%204%20case&f=r...
1 point by aufreak3 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The current search situation as described by such posts seems analogous to the search quality deteriorating during the emergence of blogging. Google stepped in and cleaned it up rather well. I'd trust them to do the same with whatever tricks the rehash sites are using.
2 points by easyfrag 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suspected the search results I was getting over the past few months were of a lesser quality but thought it was just an aberration.
2 points by jcfrei 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this contributes to an ongoing trend and even bigger threat for google. The way we access the content of the web isnt the same way it was back in 2000. Back then a search engine was your only starting point for the web. Now a growing part part of redirects comes thru in some way curated (mostly social) channels. The poor search results will only increase this trend.
1 point by sabat 1 day ago 0 replies      
spammers, scrapers, and SEO'ed-to-the-hilt content farms are winning

Spammers, scrapers: sure, they're a problem.

SEO'd sites: there is nothing wrong with optimizing your site for search engines. And a site that's optimized ought to win.

1 point by tybris 1 day ago 0 replies      
Extrapolation is such a tiring business. Google is constantly changing and developing. How can you make generalizing comments about the future without knowing what they're working on?

For future reference, replace Google by pretty much anything.

2 points by hwang89 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lately, I've been exploring the theory that too many Google employees exist:

Thousands of highly motivated employees attempt to expand their resumes + make an impact -> blind expansion of site features + sources of ad revenue -> loss of company character + restraint

Once the profit appears, no one dares to backtrack.

Does that make sense, or am I just speculating?

2 points by giberson 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems like the obvious solution is a crawl on demand service provided by Google-so that when you publish new content, or your content is updated you can get Google to index your new content, and associate it as original content based on first appearance.

Then, it would be up to Google to prioritize content originators over farmers.

0 points by mike-cardwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
There should be an attribute which you can add to html elements to state that this is the original content source. Then if Google comes across a large website that has a tonne of "original source" content which lots of other sites are claiming "original source" for, then they can automatically identify it as a scraper site and penalise/flag for manual checking. Something like this, but more extensible:

<p original-source="true">

   This is some content which was generated on this website


0 points by njethwa 1 day ago 0 replies      
The scrapers are probably doing lot of SEO optimization. It is time for stack overflow to hire some SEO services. Wikipedia is not monetizing in anyway other than donations whereas stackoverflow does display ads of its own so why not hire someone to do SEO and stay on top?
1 point by ashutoshm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
that's why I use DDG with !so
Dating Denial of Service attack reddit.com
361 points by mcantelon 1 day ago   116 comments top 17
53 points by DevX101 1 day ago replies      
There was another pretty interesting post a while back along similar lines. The guy set up a fake profile with a very attractive guy, a great job, and an exciting persona. Basically every woman's dream guy.

He then used this fake profile to message the girls he was interested in. Pretty much every woman opened up their souls, dreams, and wishes to this fake Cassanova. He then uses this inside information to make his real self more interesting and the conversation more engaging when he messages them and goes on dates.

41 points by keiferski 1 day ago replies      
So they created fake accounts and pretended to be attractive women, just to get with a random girl? If that's not the definition of creepy, I don't know what is. The fact that he doesn't want the girl to find out should make this obvious -- any woman who found out you were doing this would be put off immediately, as they should be.

Instead of spending so much time with some weird scheme in an attempt to put down the "hunks," how about just becoming a more attractive and more interesting person on your own? Newsflash, guys: women are attracted to confidence and a sense of self-worth, among other things, not complex mechanisms to distract the other guys.

There are two ways to be the biggest building. One is to tear down the other buildings. Or two, just build the biggest building.
- Gary V

Sorry, but this is just really strange, and the lack of ANY negative feedback on here or Reddit is even more disconcerting.

27 points by ck2 1 day ago 3 replies      
Guys, if you do this, just remember that when they use their best friend to hit on you to see if you'll cheat, and how upset that makes you when you find out.

Turn-about is fair play if you aren't going to be straight-up about things.

12 points by vaksel 1 day ago 1 reply      
i don't see how this would work since most guys use the shotgun approach, so none of the women would stop receiving messages.

+ most women get something like 200 messages a week..so even if the numbers went down, they'd still have plenty of messages.

Granted it might work somewhere in the middle of Montana with 20,000 people within 200 miles.

3 points by klbarry 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me the woman would only be impressed by his resourcefulness, and flattered, if he told her how he got her in a joking way over dinner. I, personally, would be impressed if a woman did it.
13 points by bobf 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems like a great answer in response to the YC application's "hack" question.
5 points by noodle 14 hours ago 0 replies      
i think that the fact that (1) they perceived this was necessary and (2) this worked, shows that online dating needs a better way of doing things.
9 points by shadowmatter 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is similar to the Sybil attack in peer-to-peer networking. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_attack: "A Sybil attack is one in which an attacker subverts the reputation system of a peer-to-peer network by creating a large number of pseudonymous entities, using them to gain a disproportionately large influence."
12 points by iamdave 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone else slightly reminded of that scene from A Beautiful Mind reading this?
17 points by ambirex 1 day ago 3 replies      
I saw this earlier today and thought, while it was a less than honorable thing to do, it was a pretty clever bit of social engineering.
2 points by wallflower 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Highly recommend the Catfish Movie if you have not seen it. A variant of the same technique is employed.


22 points by pharrington 1 day ago 0 replies      
Survival of the fittest in 2011.
2 points by dantkz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Somehow reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbJHkwHZCCM

Will this approach work on the job offers websites?

8 points by DarrenLehane 1 day ago 0 replies      
A visionary, to say the least.
0 points by AdamGibbins 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Service Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later.


-4 points by Strunk 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Haha! This is f-king awesome! :)
-2 points by skbohra123 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Reddit posts are generally useless talks. Cross posting from reddit, solves anything ? This looks out of scope to me.
New cave found in Vietnam: "A skyscraper could fit" nationalgeographic.com
310 points by cwan 2 days ago   47 comments top 17
27 points by erreon 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's amazing and kind of freaky how often explorers still find new things on Earth. I cannot wait for more money to be spent on undersea exploration.
23 points by frou_dh 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's gorgeous. Reminds me of the kind of scenes you see in adventuring video games, only more intricate.
8 points by rickmode 2 days ago 1 reply      
10 points by TGJ 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's almost painful to see them drilling holes into the rock face. I understand the need but a part of me wants to get all greenpeace and kick the human invaders out.
4 points by jarin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing natural wonder. Although I will say that a small part of me wants to see it transformed into a real-life version of Ironforge.
4 points by jcfrei 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wonder how they took the pictures. Was there enough light in the cave thru some holes in the ceiling? Did they install huge lamps or did they use a very long exposure (seems unlikely by looking at the people).

either way stunning and surreal photographs!

6 points by veb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh wow at the Jungle inside it... that's pretty amazing. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful cave.
5 points by kylelibra 2 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't this part of the plot of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon?


3 points by harscoat 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even after reading the text version, wondering how come these caves were not discovered before, especially after such a military focus on the region.
1 point by chanux 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brings back memories. I've been in a similar (very) small scale limestone cave in Sri Lanka.

The entrance, the great wall, the waterfall and the cactus garden were some very similar to what I see in photos. Unfortunately I couldn't take any good pics with the point and shoot and the flash light I had at the time. Above the cave was a forest with huge trees. There was a stream going through the cave and in rainy season it makes it impossible to go inside the cave, just like in 'Hang Son Doong'.

Sorry for the useless rant. I was too excited :)

Some not so detailed pics of Wawulpana I found in the Internet. http://pics.kathe13.de/thumbnails.php?album=40

And some more information http://www.srilankanwaterfalls.net/waterfalls/wawulpana.htm

3 points by shkb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice 3D fly-through. Nat geo also made a documentary about surveying the cave (World's Biggest Cave).


1 point by joshfraser 2 days ago 2 replies      
Beautiful. This is the first time I've ever wanted to visit Vietnam.
1 point by epochwolf 2 days ago 2 replies      
The photo gallery requires flash which my iPad does not have. :(
3 points by slacker2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to find the set of pictures in hi-res.
1 point by t3rcio 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's like a Prehistoric cenaries
-4 points by rrival 2 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't reddit
Visualization of stock market performance over time, adjusted for inflation nytimes.com
287 points by noahlt 1 day ago   82 comments top 18
33 points by vanschelven 1 day ago 2 replies      
IMHO the colors are somewhat misleading.
Since the data have already been corrected for taxes and inflation positive returns are net-positive and should be green. In the original picture even 0-3% returns were red.

This is what it looks after shifting all the colors one step towards green:


6 points by noahlt 1 day ago 6 replies      
Investing in index funds has been lauded around here, but the goodness of that strategy revolves around its consistency in returning 10% over ten to twenty years. This graph makes index funds look much less consistent!

Does this graph debunk the index fund strategy, or am I missing something?

5 points by jmulho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is a summary of the 71 20-year holding periods on record.

color return occurs chances

red <0% 8 11.3%

pink 0-3% 18 25.4%

beige 3-7% 31 43.7%

light green 7-10% 14 19.7%

dark green >10% 0 0.0%

Here is the 20 year growth multiple at various returns.

return multiple

-0.02 0.67

-0.01 0.82

0 1.00

0.01 1.22

0.02 1.49

0.03 1.81

0.04 2.19

0.05 2.65

0.06 3.21

0.07 3.87

0.08 4.66

0.09 5.60

0.1 6.73

0.11 8.06

Optimistic conclusion:

If you hold a diversified portfolio of large domestic stocks for 20 years, you will likely double (and maybe even quadruple) your spending power.

The chances of ending up with less than your original spending power: 11.3%.

The chances of quadrupling your original spending power (exceeding 7% per year): 19.7%.

The chances of achieving 6.73 times your original spending power (the elusive 10% per year): It hasn't occurred yet.

8 points by MarkMc 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great visualisation - it's easy to understand, and punches you in the face with information that would be difficult to convey through words alone.

One example is that the first few years give no clue as to your long-run outcome. In fact, the first year may as well have been a coin flip. This shows what rubbish articles with a 1-year timeframe like this are:

6 points by harscoat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great submit to HN: not because of the money stuff but because of this great visualization. Me thinks, to emulate and try to produce such great data visualization for our users, that's our best investment plan.
4 points by grammaton 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is this only tracking the S&P 500? Wouldn't a saavy investor be choosing from a wider range of stocks than just the ones in the S&P?
2 points by jond2062 1 day ago 1 reply      
Although it may spark some interesting conversation and debate, this chart isn't really all that relevant in light of modern portfolio theory and asset allocation. While I don't disagree with the data itself, the premise that a reasonable retirement portfolio would include a single mutual fund (or ETF) that is composed of 100% stocks, not to mention the fact that they are primarily large-cap growth stocks (the S&P 500), is illogical at best.

Not only should a retirement portfolio be exposed to a much wider range of risk factors than simply large-cap U.S. growth/blend stocks (bonds, TIPS, international stocks, REITs, small-cap value, etc.), but holding only a single asset class eliminates the possibility for an investor to rebalance their portfolio to maintain an appropriate asset allocation that is in line with their ability, willingess, and need to take risk (not to mention the fact that rebalancing, by definition, requires an investor to sell investments that have increased in price and purchase those that have decreased in price).

In my opinion, a more interesting chart is The Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns: http://www.callan.com/research/download/?file=periodic/free/...

Quite simply it demonstrates that the performance of different asset classes relative to each other can change drastically from one year to the next. It would actually be a much better chart if it included more asset classes, but at the very least it shows that returns are unpredictable in the near-term and that diversification doesn't simply mean holding a bunch of stocks (especially when they are all large-cap U.S. growth/blend like the S&P 500).

6 points by pama 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how inflation was adjusted?
1 point by gojomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great chart. Would love to see something similar as an option on finance sites, with controllable assumptions/coloring, for any investment/portfolio (or pairwise comparison of two).

I suspect a reversing of one or the other axis might help: putting the shortest, most-recent holding periods top-right, for example, so those periods overlapping living memory are most prominent.

9 points by alexk7 1 day ago 1 reply      
The chart is not color-blind friendly :(
1 point by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this all depends on how you measure inflation.

If the S&P 500 is compared against something more stable than paper money like gold, similar things emerge:


The declines on this graph map to the red areas on the nytimes graphic.

1 point by myth_drannon 1 day ago 1 reply      
This chart is pretty useless following the current world events. Right now stock market(US & EU) is supported by QE,QE1.5,QE2 and the next QEs. The tools that could be used to analyze the previous years are worthless.
1 point by iwwr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Compare a stock portfolio with a simple precious metals basket. The stock market is a poor longterm store of value.

It's very hard to stay ahead of inflation with securities whose value can be fudged by cheap money. In fact, pension funds can't even make +inflation guarantees, only best efforts through low-risk investments. And even if they did, they would be lying.

1 point by jvdongen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a noob regarding investing, so bear with me if I use incorrect terms or kick open doors that are already open etc. but if my interpretation of this graph is correct, it also offers some guidelines for investing in funds (not individual companies):

1) from the visual it seems to me that the starting year is the most relevant. If you start in a good year, it will mostly turn out right, regardless whenever your end (exceptions aside, for which see point 2). If you start in a bad year it will mostly work out badly unless you really have some time to spare or manage to run into a very rare occasion (e.g. starting in 1947 and ending in the mid 1950's). But that's just from the visual, which can be very misleading, so the raw data points would be interesting to do some statistic exercises. If that holds true though, it could be a good guideline - assess the current returns of a particular fund and do not invest [in it] if the current returns are not high enough. While this would make you, by definition, miss out on any really spectacular returns, it could reduce risk enormously without sacrificing much in terms of returns.

2) if you happen to have invested in a fund that took a nose-dive, hang on to it and don't sell for a long while, as in the long run you're apparently very likely to end up at the 20-year median (guess it's called a median for a reason ;-) which is not too bad. At the very least your loss is going to be minimized with time.

1 point by kevinburke 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does the chart take into account the fact that returns compound over time? How were the values calculated?
1 point by NHQ 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Conclusions: deflation is good, and you should put all your money in the stock market for a short period of time.
1 point by thinkdifferent 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just finished reading "A Random Walk down Wall Street" and I must confess I expected more consistency and less volatility in index funds returns.

Great eye-opening graph.

@MarkMc very good point

-1 point by 1010011010 1 day ago 3 replies      
"High inflation led to negative returns."

True, dat. Printing money doesn't make us richer.

Breaking a WoW addiction pixelpoppers.com
272 points by dreeves 4 days ago   193 comments top 43
26 points by cletus 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'll add my perspective to this as someone who was addicted to a similar game.

I started playing Everquest (EQ) soon after launch in 1999 and leveled pretty quickly hitting the max level cap at the time (50) not long before the first expansion came out. At the time played wi an American guild (I'm Australian) and the time difference stopped me doing things with them most of them time since I had a 9-5 job. My server split and I went with them. The new server was fairly desolate and I ended up getting booted from lack of participation. That, combined with how my class had been screwed by the expansion, caused me to quit.

But I ended up selling my stuff on eBay for ~$3500 so it wasn't all bad. But the story doesn't end there.

Atually anoeth factor was that I was moving to the UK for work. That first year the was one of the most productive of my life. I had no Internet access at home (2001), no TV and a fairly active social life. Due to living in a cheap area of London, renting a flat and subletting the rooms and the low rate of effective taxation of contractors I SAVED in excess of $100,000 that year.

After some drama with flatmates (subletting was financially beneficial but a hassle) I moved closer to work. Suddenlyinsread of an our commute each way I had a 5 minute walk. I got cable Internet and bought a PC and a TV.

I started playing EQ again. New server, new class, starting from scratch. I leveled quickly and went through a series of guilds. Raiding can be a huge timesink. This period was the most fun I had in an MMORPG ever.

Later that year I got laid off as in the aftermath of the telco bubble bursting the previous year (it was 2002 by now).

I'd always wanted to learn a foreign language soi moved to Germany and enrolled in intensive learning classes.

But I still kept up with EQ. I transferred servers to a high end guild. The guild was American so I ended up sleeping from 7pm to 1am, playing EQ from 1am to 8am, going to classes til 1pm and then playing til 6pm. I never really adjusted to sleeping at these times.

But I did go to classes. After they ended I stayed and was playing up to 16 hours a day. In the end I got kicked from the guild for doing something I shouldn't have, which was probably the best thing that could've happened.

Still I view that time now as a wasted opportunity. I did learn the language but not as well as I could have and I certainly take full advantage socially or even to see and do things there.

But not before I'd gone back to my old company (they were hiring again) and my weird schedule had brought me into conflict with a toxic project manager, ending that job only a month after it had started.

2002-03 was a pretty terrible time in the UK contractor market (39% unemployment amongst those who hadn't left the industry). It took months to find a new job. I'd also lost that "social" outlet of EQ so was pretty cut off. It was actually a fairly dark period for me.

I have played MMOGs since then but never to the same intensity and, frankly, I think the magic was gone. I'd seen it all before. Even now I think all these games are fairly formulaic with the same basic mechanics and psychological devices (compulsion loops, etc).

What I learnt about myself is that I'm fairly singleminded. This can be used advantageously as I'll dwel on a problem at work until I solve it. But if I have an unresolved issue personally it can, in a way, consume me--or at least consume my attention.

I do think I'd be better off without a TV or even without a home Internet connection. But I guess balance is my personal cross to bear.

Are these games dangerous? Possibly but I tend to thinkpretty much everything is dangerous to some people. Alcohol. Gambling. Trading. Even working out. It ultimately comes down to personal responsibility.

EDIT: One last thing I'll add: one problem with this kind of game is the longevity (timesink) nature. You see a similar (but much less severe) problem with tabletop RPGs. Because you invest so much time it increases your threshold for putting up with crap, basically.

In RPGs it might be a 7 hour session where nothing happens. In MMOGs it's spending 1-2 hours LFG (looking for group), a week figuring out a raid encounter, spending an our doing a CR (corpse recovery) and so on.

These days my leisure gaming activities are dominated by tabletop board gaming of the Euro variety (Agricola, Age of Steam, Reef Encounter, Le Havre, Dominion and so on). These tend to last 2-3 hours tops and, as such, have very little "downtime". I find it a much more rewarding experience than huge timesink games of any variety. Plus it's actually social.

On a side note, if there is anyone in NYC with interest I playing such games, contact me via my info. :)

EDIT2: fixed some typos (typing on an iPad is error-prone), :)

46 points by xal 4 days ago 5 replies      
It seems to be stated as a fact in this discussion that you can't play a game such as WoW and do anything other productive on the side, but it's a lot more nuanced.

Anecdotally, I've been playing WoW almost non stop since it launched and have been raiding once to three times a week. During this time I also got married, had a kid, founded Shopify, overtook the CEO role, grew it to be a multi million dollar business. In this community that seems far from being a failure.

I'm engaging in anecdotal junk science here but my theory is that the people who really loose themselves in games like WoW are people with very poor time management skills. I'm convinced those people have always been around before. However, previously almost all activities came with some inherent caps on the time you can productively spend on those. All sports wear you out and force you to stop after some time. TV repeats pretty quickly and there is no original content during the night. Reading works but that's a socially fully acceptable timesink.

WoW is just extremely good game that fulfills a lot Maslow's needs, especially the top ones. There is a great asymmetry in the lure of this game and the established defenses of some people.

I think one of the key parts of parenting for our generation will be to equipt our children with the time management skills and the willpower to handle and enjoy games like WoW properly.

36 points by ramanujan 4 days ago 3 replies      
What WoW needs to do is start hooking in-game rewards to real-life rewards.

For example, a deal with 24 Hour Fitness where you need to attend for 30 days in a row to unlock some kind of sword. The biometric system at 24 Hour is now sophisticated enough to permit this kind of tracking [with your permission of course].

I'm completely serious. This is an inversion of the Zynga model in which real life money is exchanged for worthless virtual goods. It's more like worthless virtual goods are dangled as an incentive for real life improvement.

There's a lot further you can go with this concept (hooking it up to location based apps, for example), but if we're talking about a "game layer on the world", start with converting an unhealthy dependency into a healthy one.

50 points by forensic 4 days ago replies      
Caveat: it's very easy to extend the criticism of WoW to life itself.

Working all these years to be a paramedic, going to school, going to work, for what? To drive some people to the hospital? They're all just going to die anyway. Life is meaningless!

What the author is really saying is: "I find more meaning in the real world than in WoW."

But this isn't necessarily true for everyone.

Having said all that, I think WOW is more dangerous than heroin.

7 points by stevefink 4 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't had a chance to read the article yet - but I already see where this is going. I essentially lost a chunk of my life from 21 to 23yo playing EverQuest with a guild that was rated one of the best to ever play the game. With that came the caveat of constantly being the first at conquering new expansions, leveling as fast as possible so you CAN conquer the new expansions, and end less other power play moves (questing for keys, blah blah).

Long story short - my life was rather pathetic during these times. I found myself so immersed in the MMORPG world that I'd pick raids and my friends in the game over family/friends for any circumstances. Birthday parties, engagement parties, night out with friends at the bars, hacking all night on something that can potentially change the lives of people one day -- all gone. Zero motivation, zero care in the world except to get that new robe for my necromancer.

I remember my friends would drive by the window and start screaming for me to come out with them for once. I would literally turn off the lights in my room so they couldn't tell if I was home or not. Sad.

We had raids that lasted from 6pm on a Friday night and wouldn't end until 12am on Saturday. Anyone remember Veeshan's Peak in Kunark for EQ? Not only was my social life directly impacted by way of never having a significant other, I wasn't picking up any new programming skills, my family was constantly on my case, and my close friends eventually just stopped calling, they gave up. What was more embarrassing is the once in a blue moon when I would show up some where, the comments were unbearable. "Oh look, Steve decided to join us instead of his MMORPG friends for a change."

I am not exactly sure where I am going with this - but one day when I woke up and saw five empty 2 liter bottles of coke with ten boxes of pizza collecting, lying next to my desk, I was disgusted with myself and my lifestyle. I was over weight. I probably didn't shower as much as I should have. I was disgusted with myself and my lifestyle. I was burning the most crucial years of my life away on something meaningless. These are the times to be learning and exercising your brain beyond its capabilities as learning only gets more difficult through out the ages. I bet most of you were writing bad ass code when you were 21,22,23 and learned a lot faster then than you do now if you're part of the older HN crew.

Given my competitive nature, I was never able to play an MMORPG casually. I had to be #1. Being #1 requires a lot of dedication (ie, time invested), and if you are not willing to put in the time, don't bother, you'll never be as good as the other guy or have the same inventory or capabilities as them. You'll be average at best. I have the sense that a large population of HN does not settle for average given the intelligence of the community.

Long story short, the only escape I had was to go cold turkey. Going cold turkey doesn't mean saying "Ok, I'm not going to login ever again" - that never works out. You always get sucked back in at some point. I had to go the drastic route. I had to sell all of my assets, which sold for $5,000 USD at the time. There was times when I was going through withdrawals and wanted to purchase my account back, but the original buyer refused. Thank god he did.

Saying that this was one of the smartest things I've ever done would be a huge understatement. I've achieved things I'm personally proud of since quitting playing any MMORPG including the following:

- I have a healthy balance of a social life and work life.

- I am respected among my peers for building new technologies/infrastructure out.

  - I got married to the love of my life and had a baby girl with her, which is now the most important person in my life.

- I have worked at startups where I've learned priceless lessons.

- I bought a house that I would never be able to afford if I stuck to MMORPGs as my skills were no where near as blossomed as they are now - I'm assuming I'd be working an entry level job somewhere filling in Excel spreadsheets if I kept it up. Even then, I'd be lucky.

Good riddance. Do I still think about the days I played and get a small itch? Sure. I even keep in touch via Facebook with a lot of the people who suffered a similar addiction to me. Will I ever touch another MMORPG? I can guarantee you on my daughter's name that I will never get involved in one again. Fortunately my addiction now includes a healthy balance of time with my family, building awesome technologies, eating right and working out.

8 points by slyn 4 days ago 3 replies      
eeeeehhh. As a very avid WoW player of some years now, I would say WoW is something that can easily be something that holds your "life progress" or whatever you want to call it back, but it can also just as easily be played at a successful level (define that however you like) without that effect as well.

In the guild I'm in now and a guild I was in in the past I see both: players who are quite literally on welfare or unemployment and just play WoW and other games all day (colloquially "living the dream", mostly tongue-in-cheek), while others have what I would consider successful lives. One of our best priests works as some sort of company programmer or server maintainer/admin. Our best healing druid entered his first bodybuilding contest sometime in September of this year and plans on doing another next August iirc. Our guild/raid leader has an office 9-5 selling toys to retailers or something like that. Lots are in college, myself included. An old guild officer of mine was a Googler. A decent amount have wives/kids/gfs/main squeezes. etc.

I think the best argument of the post is the social obligations point. There are definitely some people who do "no-life" for the guild and such, but again, I think this is a some do some don't thing (as well as being limited to basically people in guild leadership situations). For every guild leader or officer I know who hasn't left a dead-end guild because of a feeling of obligations to the guild, I probably know twice as many officers who did left anyways, and 3-4x as many raiders who did as well. Anecdotally speaking, I left a guild where I was probably next in line to be guild/raid lead for a much better one, and am now debating doing some sort of ESL teach/travel program next year despite having been an officer in my new guild for roughly 6 months now.

10 points by merijnv 4 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who has played and stopped WoW for significant times over the past years. I think the article has some valid points about the addictiveness of WoW, on the other hand I feel that the choice between "real" work and WoW as presented here is a false dichotomy. "Real" work and WoW are not mutually exclusive.

The writer says he started playing he has spend his time working out. I started swimming for 40 minutes each day while playing WoW, a habit I continue now that I stopped.

He also states what if you spend the time you invest in WoW into achieving your goals. But you can't just work 24/7. I spend 8 hours a day doing research and hacking at the university, when I get home I just don't have the focus left in me to code or study. In the past I spend this time playing WoW, right now I spend this time reading fiction or hanging in front of the TV.

Now probably there are people who lose themselves entirely to the game and can't bring up the discipline to also work on their goals, but as everything in life, its really just about balancing yourself.

PS - I actually found myself being more productive during my WoW playing times then during my non-playing times. Reason? If I needed to do something I would not allow myself to log in until it was done. WoW was more addictive then procrastinating so I'd just knuckle down and do it. Now if I need to do something I find myself reading HN instead of just doing it...

11 points by bretpiatt 4 days ago 4 replies      
Is playing a social game where you interact with other people any different than going out to a club or bar? Joining a bowling league? A cycling group? A health club where you go to regular group exercise classes?

The meme that video games are inherently evil needs to go away. Why is it socially acceptable to join many clubs and spend time with those people all the time but not "people on the Internet"? Like the Internet is somewhere only people that can't make "real friends" go..

Addiction to anything is bad but playing WoW or any other online game doesn't mean you're automatically "a loser" in the rest of your life -- and I don't mean just casually playing. There are people in all of the top guilds achieving high ranked world kills on new content that are also successful in other areas of their life.

9 points by awt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here's my perspective as the friend of someone who became addicted to WoW:

I lost a potential programming buddy/co-founder. we used to collaborate on projects, but eventually WoW took up all his spare time. We both graduated with CS degrees, but he is now unemployable. He played WoW instead of working (he worked from home), and has never spent any time outside of work maintaining his skills. I say worked because he no longer works. Hasn't for the past 3 years. Right now he's into starcraft. It's frustrating to me that he and others I built relationships with in college have chosen this path.

7 points by DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 1 reply      
Game makers (and some website owners) are discovering what some religious and cult leaders have known for thousands of years: you don't have to give somebody a drug to make them an addict. People are perfectly capable of generating their own addictions without external chemical help.

I _think_ what's going to happen is that we come up with a new moral code -- much like the thing where drinking before a certain time was considered bad, or the idea of doctors prescribing pain pills for themselves anathema.

But really, it beats me. We have a generation of people addicted to a sedentary activity in a way that's never happened in human history. It's very difficult to predict how all this will play out.

5 points by amh 4 days ago 1 reply      
I know a guy who's really, really into football. Watches hours of games every other night or so, has a "fantasy" team that he's constantly fretting over and checking online stats for, etc.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that distinguishes this obsession from a WoW habit is that more people like to watch football, so it's accepted.

People who get seriously addicted to WoW are usually either looking for any escape from reality, or they have the type of personality which tends to get addicted to something, whether it's online games, math puzzles, tracking railroad schedules, or whatever. There's no question that these people might act in unhealthy ways, but WoW is the symptom of their problems, not the cause.

(disclosure: I used to play WoW regularly)

5 points by Luyt 4 days ago 2 replies      
I play WoW for five years now. When I started, I used to be an occasional player. But when I hit level 60 (that was the highest level a few years ago) it was impossible to advance further without being in a regular raiding guild. So I started hardcoring: obligatory raids from 19:00 to 23:30, each evening, five evenings per week. Lower attendance was not tolerated. And gathering/grinding materials for potions/powerups afterwards, util 01:00 or so. This took place in a few months around the summer of 2006. The reward was worth it: access to all high-level content, epic items, and being member of the most succesful guild on the server. However, after a few months hardcoring like this, the game felt more and more like a boring job. One day I realized that with this playing style, I would quickly lose all interest in this game, which I didn't want, so I quit the guild (only hardcorers were allowed to stay in) and changed to a casual player, which I still am today.

I didn't want to quit altogether because there was so much more game content to check out (I enjoy the sights & sounds of WoW very much), and so many other classes to try. Up until then I played exclusively Holy Priest.

Blizzard must have somehow realized that players weren't able to get any further without hardcoring. The last years they have created more and more features for the casual player: the Dungeon Finder system, player-vs-player battlegrounds, cross-realm instances, other reward systems; all these have lessened the dependence on a guild.

I now sometimes fire up WoW, not everyday, and play a few hours. I still like it, after all these years (and 3 expansion packs).

6 points by ThomPete 4 days ago 3 replies      
The problem for me with games like WoW, EQ and so on is that they aren't based enough on skills so to compensate you need to spend a lot of time in the game.

To contrast. In a game like Quake you are only as good as your Rail-gun aim it's pure skills. Or StarCraft for that matter again skills based.

The advantages from these kind of games in combatting addiction is that they are hard to become good at. you can't just get powerleveled up the latter.

The skills stays with you, the same is not true in WoW.

Having seen a couple of friends dropping out of university for a year because of games like EverQuest and WoW my advice is:

Don't play games where it's the avatar that gains power. Only play games that makes you a better player.

6 points by paraschopra 4 days ago 1 reply      
patio11, we need you here. Where are you?

From what I know, Patrick used to spend a lot of time playing WoW. It will be interesting to know what he actually got out of the game and what made him stop playing the game (assuming he has indeed stopped playing the game)

4 points by dfischer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Meh, quit gaming a while back but recently want to try it out again but more just to cool off as a "hobby."

I used to think games were evil and against productivity but no longer. I work a lot. I just want to chill out and relax some times and blow shit up. Maybe do a raid or two, so what?

It's no different then spending 3 hours watching a TV show on Netflix or something similar.

It just depends on how you want to spend your time. If it makes you happy, sure.

I think you need a real job before you can consider gaming a hobby though. Otherwise it can lead to a "full time life gig."

Girlfriend will also help make sure you're not wasting your time.

I'm lucky if I can squeeze out 8 hours a week on games. If that. There's weekends though that I have the whole day to myself and I prefer to play a game for a few hours than go to a club and get drunk.

6 points by dreeves 4 days ago 0 replies      
Related is Paul Graham's essay on the acceleration of addictiveness: http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html

(And to add a shameless plug, my own article on akrasia: http://messymatters.com/akrasia )

2 points by ryan-allen 4 days ago 1 reply      
How interesting.

I had been playing like mad since the new expansion came out. The other night in a dispassionate drunken decision I cancelled my subscription AND permanently deleted my characters. I wasn't a hardcore player but over about 14 months I had 1500 odd hours racked up across maybe 10 characters. Around 65 days play time.

I woke up the next day with a pretty bad hangover, but suddenly had a lot of spare time that I usually didn't feel that I had.

I went for a bike ride, caught up with friends, read bits and pieces of some books, played piano and hung out with my dog. Instead of a 16 hour stint trying to 'gear up for the new cata raids'.

Last night I had dreams that I was playing though... But I can't go back, everything is gone! To go back would mean starting again and I don't feel like sinking two months of my spare time into 'levelling up' again.

3 points by swombat 4 days ago 1 reply      
My own experience: http://inter-sections.net/2009/02/21/destroying-the-world-of...

Yes, if you have the right kind of mind, WoW is a soul-sucking, life-destroying monster. Don't let it into your life.

3 points by brianwillis 4 days ago 0 replies      
>Although WoW is a much better game than Farmville, with a substantially different business model, their tactics are fundamentally the same: use your social obligations to keep you clicking. Exploit your friendships, sense of reciprocity, and the joy of being part of a group with shared goals. Turn it all from something commendable to something frivolous that serves mainly to increase the game developer's profits.

This put into words something I've been thinking about for a while, but struggled to articulate. There's something wrong when we start doing this to friendships.

3 points by lwhi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't ever played WoW - and I doubt I ever will, but I would have imagined that the skills gained as a 'guild leader' would be commutable to a lot of management level jobs?

Is this a fair assumption?

4 points by Sharanga 4 days ago 0 replies      
How do you avoid this trap? How do you prevent [subject] from hooking you into a shadow of what you really want? The answer is simple: don't [do it] blindly. Consider what it is you get out of [subject] . Nearly everything the [subject] provides can be found better and more real elsewhere.

Fattening foods? Alcohol abuse? Sex Addiction? oh, WoW.

This is written with the assumption that the reader cannot think for themselves and is quite insulting to anyone that reads past half of these subjective assertions.

"at the same time there was something disquieting about the fact that all these people were still around"

Sorry your friends didn't die, change all of their habits entirely, or live up to your random expectations of what constitutes too much and too little involvement in a computer game.

Seriously though, its been out how many years, and using plenty of comics and quotations to express this point, its taken you 18 months to regurgitate this same tired public service announcement? This is just trolling literate people that have thought about playing games in the last decade!

1 point by charlesdm 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here's my perspective --

I've played WoW pretty hardcore for a little bit less than two years before I quit. For me, I can actually say that the experience was beneficial to some extent. This was around 4,5 years ago, before I even knew HN existed.

Before I started playing the game, I heard some of my friends talk about raiding. For people that are not familiar with the concept, once you reach the maximum level in the game you join a guild. Once you're in that guild, you can go into dungeons with people from your guild and slay bosses. These bosses drop items that in turn allow you to upgrade the gear of your character. The cool thing about these bosses is that some of them actually quite challenging to beat. Once every couple of months, the developers of the game add a new dungeon that you can clear with your guild. They were also talking about these high end guilds that apparently consisted of insanely good players that would clear these dungeons before the masses did.

To give myself a challenge I decided to play the game but with a goal in mind, join one of these guild. Once I managed this I would quit. I began as a noob. I levelled up a character and joined a guild. Once I outgrew this guild I joined a better one.

I played for around a year in this specific guild. While playing here I actually met two people that I would call friends. Their background is so different from mine that the chance is so slim that I could have met them in real life. We've met up several times (in real life) and if I needed their help they'd be there for me. In this guild I was also in charge of leading the group of players through the dungeons. You're in charge of communicating how to do certain things and during the fights you give guidelines if something goes wrong. I raided 4-5 days per week from 19:00 - 23:00ish in this guild.

I then managed to join the guild that was N°1 at that time, together with one of my friends from my previous guild. In this guild, it was all about achieving the world first kill of a boss. It's great when you arrive at a boss and you have no idea as what to expect and how to kill it. It can be a pretty hard puzzle sometimes. If you're not there as one of the first you can read up on proven ways to handle the fight, which is less challenging. Also, contrary to popular belief, these guild usually play less then the other guilds. They go all out when a new dungeon is released (1-2 weeks) and then they play one 5 hour day a week for 4-5 hours a day and they wait for the next one. The funny thing is, the majority of the people that were playing here were also working as lawyers, programmers or were entrepreneurs. I spent a couple of months with the guild and once we cleared the last dungeon and had to wait for the next one, I quit. After that, I also quit the game.

Many people told me I was addicted to it, but considering it was rather easy for me to quit I'd say I wasn't. I was working towards a goal.

So what have I learned? I personally see life as a game. You win some, you lose some. Regardless of what you want to learn or achieve, you can. Also, communication is important in whatever you do, especially when you're in a leadership position. Oh, and I had a great time playing it. :)

1 point by cheald 4 days ago 0 replies      
The author touches on something that is very important: if you're playing WoW as a substitute for accomplishing things/meeting people/etc, therein lies the problem. At the end of the day, WoW is cheap entertainment, and needs to have priority as such.

I've met friends through WoW, but that hasn't supplanted my need to have real friends. I've accomplished things in WoW, but that hasn't been a substitute for accomplishments in my actual, real life. Heck, to extend the metaphor, I've even made good money with WoW, but it's not a replacement for my normal income.

When you let the the serotonin rush from a raiding achievement replace your desire to accomplish tangible things, then you're in trouble. If you use it as entertainment, an augment to an existing healthy life, it's an entirely different story.

At the end of the day, your gear and achievements and whatnot don't mean anything; they are just trophies of time committed. That's fine, as long as that's all they are; when they become a substitute for real success or social involvement, you've crossed over from entertainment to dependence, and it's a long, dark road from there.

3 points by somethingdotcom 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to add my 2 cents relating to gaming addiction. I've never played WoW so I can't comment on that. But I was kicked out of college indirectly due to my addiction to Counter Strike.

I dunno if the same is true for WoW but one of the reasons I believe Counter Strike is so addictive is the time you have to wait after you get killed, before the next round starts.

I believe this is due to the fact that variable reinforcement schedules are more resistant to extinction:

"Skinner also looked at variable schedules. Variable ratio means you change the “x” each time -- first it takes 3 presses to get a goodie, then 10, then 1, then 7 and so on. Variable interval means you keep changing the time period -- first 20 seconds, then 5, then 35, then 10 and so on.

In both cases, it keeps the rats on their rat toes. With the variable interval schedule, they no longer “pace” themselves, because they can no longer establish a “rhythm” between behavior and reward. Most importantly, these schedules are very resistant to extinction. It makes sense, if you think about it. If you haven't gotten a reinforcer for a while, well, it could just be that you are at a particularly “bad” ratio or interval! Just one more bar press, maybe this'll be the one!"

Counter Strike is a variable interval schedule. Once you die you have to wait an unknown amount of time before you can play again. This makes counter strike playing behavior more resistant to extinction and I believe one of the big reasons why people get so addicted to it. If you respawned the second you died in Counter Strike (as you do in deathmatch) I'm fairly positive there would be a much fewer number of people addicted to the game.
I believe this is quite a big factor in addiction. I haven't heard of anyone addicted to any FPS deathmatch multiplayer game. I'm sure there are some, but much less so than games like counter strike where you have to wait.

3 points by trotsky 4 days ago 0 replies      
5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted


1 point by adriand 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's all part of the culture of entertainment we've developed, that is surely partly to blame for the economic situation that western societies are finding themselves in. These anecdotes about individuals extrapolate easily to millions of people who are fixated on various ways to waste time.

I played WoW for about six months when it first came out, and since stopping playing it (and most video games in general) I've often wondered what our society could achieve if the immense creative and mental exertion spent on games was spent on tackling real problems instead.

Certainly some people are working hard at meaningful things and using games as downtime, but I suspect they're a minority.

1 point by jimfl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been playing WoW for 4 years, now off and on. My co-workers at the time, some of whom are still my co-workers at a different job, got me into it.

I have found that a good way to moderate my play is to refuse to make appointments to play with others at a specific time. This effectively keeps you from hardcore raiding, and minimizes real-world conflicts around the game (affectionately referred to as "wife-aggro"). Eventually, I get pretty much capped on gear and stats, get bored, and set the game aside until there is new content. (Yes, I am playing Cataclysm after a hiatus in the Fall).

I am 44, and pretty much in the best shape of my life, because my attitude is that I'd MUCH rather have skis, snowshoes, hiking boots, or Five Fingers attached to my feet, than a game keyboard under my fingertips. I have never been to a gym.

I don't have as many side projects as before WoW, but I try to make sure I'm getting that out of my system at work now: making interesting things out of interesting technologies.

1 point by trotsky 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like the problem is the addiction. The author seems to acknowledge this is the title, but goes on to mostly treat WOW or gaming addiction like it is semi-unique. Granted, blizzard intentionally includes many elements that are more or less designed for addiction (quite common in the industry/genre) and that intention is troubling.

But otherwise it does seem like it shares a lot of traits with other addictions. You can waste your life away watching TV, playing games, shooting heroin, blogging, gambling, refreshing facebook, whatever. To be sure certain of those tasks seem much more likely to lead to addiction (warcraft/heroin) but it's clearly not the only factor.

There is also the question of whether addiction can be a pre-existing condition more or less waiting to go off. I am far from a psychologist, but I know that drug addicts often suffer from depression or other mental problems and it seems likely that instead of the drugs causing them, at least some times it was the condition that lead to the drugs (though I'm sure they become heavily intertwined). Are WOW addicts more likely to be depressed or agoraphobic? It seems quite possible. Would they have all developed this because of the game? I don't know.

I would like to see the industry self police itself a little better. Online games may always be addictive, but are lots of "brain hacks" intentionally being used by the genre to extend lifetime engagement. They're easiest to see in the more transparent copies - Zynga, foursquare, xbox live achievements. Maybe they should need to cut the most manipulative of these out or suffer chinese style regulation. We do, after all, try to shield kids from alcohol and tobacco.

8 points by stuaxo 4 days ago 2 replies      
Exactly why I don't play these, also why I don't try crack or heroin.
1 point by araneae 4 days ago 0 replies      
I quit Reddit cold turkey by deleting my account. I have only occasionally looked at the front page since then, but it hasn't re-hooked me; getting rid of the orange-red compulsion and the karma score was really effective at breaking the addiction.

Now if only account deletion was enabled on HN...

2 points by Void_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Short version:

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other."

Long version:

Compared to other kinds of entertainment (books, TV, sports, friends) -- World of Warcraft makes you think about it even when you don't play it. The longer you play the game, the more addicted you are, the more you think about all the things you're gonna do. That's how the game's designed.

You think about the game when you're not playing it. It's hard to really focus on something else if you're thinking about the game.

Does that sound familiar to you? If you're a hacker, if you are excited about computers, then it must. It's same with hacking and programming. It's the same principle. For example I tried a little Node.js magic the other night and the first thing I did in the morning was getting live comments to work. Then I found out there could be another cool feature, and so on. Excitement. That's what drives hackers. Call it addiction, whatever. Unlike, WoW, you're doing work, you're making money.

So please, don't be ever excited about WoW. You don't wanna waste your precious excitement thanks to which you make wonders with programming on WoW.

You can do both, but you can't be addicted to both. Which one will you choose?

1 point by nevinera 4 days ago 0 replies      
I dislike this type of article, because it seems predicated on the notion that everyone experiences these games in the same way. I've had no trouble keeping my gameplay moderate; it's not that difficult.

The problem is not the game, it's that people don't know how to directly improve their real life. The steps aren't obvious, and you don't get to start with the knowledge that simple persistence will win nearly any task you can set yourself.

The game is a symptom, not a disease.

1 point by Tycho 4 days ago 0 replies      
An article about the psychology of gaming which I found quite interesting:


Personally I'm finding my interest in games is waining. A whole bunch of very impressive AAA games came out this year - in the past I would have played all of them, this year I only played Bad Company 2 and Halo Reach. I think I no longer have the time/energy to make that initial investment in a game, where you jump through a bunch of frustrating hoops until the fun starts and/or you feel immersed in the game world. However, I still enjoy the competition online - outsmarting other humans in a game of skill and strategy. So I play Bad Company 2 on Live frequently, but I don't pursue the social component of it (friendlists, clans etc). I'm not sure if I'll ever get bored of that.

And for that reason I avoid WoW like the plague: endless human competition, massive social aspect. Bound to be addictive (mind you, i'm not sure what you actually do in WoW gameplay. the adverts are all cutscenes)

2 points by scotty79 4 days ago 0 replies      
No game in my life was nearly as addictive as reading HN (or digg before that, or watching news on tv before that).

Games in my life reach at most level of wikipedia reading. 12 hours grind once in two months and casual use now and then.

WoW ? if I wanted to do chores all day, I'd get a job.

2 points by drndown2007 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fantasic write up. I don't know if anyone has seen "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (pretty good - I enjoyed it), but there is a part where the heroes enter a casino. Everything you could wish for was there and so nobody left. And it was a trap -- it's sole reason was to entrap people so they never did anything with their lives. Your description made me think of WoW in that way. I'm sure WoW's intentions aren't evil (they just want your money!) but the outcome is the same.
1 point by jshen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think people are primarily motivated by social status (after basic needs are taken care of). The deal with WoW is that it becomes your social status to the people you spend most of your time with, the other people in WoW.
6 points by ezf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Drugs: My anti-World of Warcraft.
1 point by rnernento 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good read. I'd like to add that a lot of the good parts of WoW, (PvP, Social Interaction, Character Customization) have equal or better equivalents in other games that take up far less time. League of Legends, Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Warcraft/Starcraft can all easily be played with friends and in moderation.

Devils Advocate:

Who are we to say what a "real" accomplishment is. Maybe spending 6-8 hrs in a virtual world every day makes that world real to someone. If that world becomes reality then goals met in the virtual world are real accomplishments to them. In the grand scheme of things isn't life just trying to be happy killing time until we die. If I go to the gym every day but spend most of my life miserable is my life any more fulfilling than someone who spends 8hrs a day playing WoW and loving it?

1 point by Keyframe 4 days ago 0 replies      
If I could only do this with reddit and hn, but work instead of working out!
1 point by harscoat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Gaming like cigarette, do it once and you are smoker forever.
0 points by SeanDav 4 days ago 0 replies      
Actually it all comes down to a simple choice - Do you want to take the red pill, or the blue pill....
-1 point by lessallan 4 days ago 0 replies      
See this video? "Rogue Complex" funny shit.
-4 points by rcavezza 4 days ago 0 replies      
Haha, this shows how much of a jock nerd I am. I thought WoW meant Work Out World, haha.
RSS Is Dying, and You Should Be Very Worried camendesign.com
268 points by sant0sk1 2 days ago   187 comments top 57
107 points by angrycoder 2 days ago 4 replies      
I have used RSS for years now. I check google reader about as often as I check hacker news. I start my morning off with a cup of coffee while I read my feeds using Reeder on the iphone or ipad.

Not once have I used any of the RSS features of a browser. I really don't see the point. I guess google doesn't either.

21 points by patio11 2 days ago 8 replies      
RSS saves me from having to load up 100 different sites several times a day just to check what's ‘new'.

Everything wrong with RSS in a nutshell: this is a problem real people don't have.

21 points by stanleydrew 2 days ago 3 replies      
RSS isn't dying because browsers are deciding not to build native readers into their UIs. It's dying because it's not terribly easy to understand for most users. The article readily points this out.

And even for technical users like me, it isn't solving the main problem I have which is discovering new and interesting content. Sure, once I've found some new source of content it's nice to put its RSS feed into a reader. But really, bookmarking is pretty good too. Yes there are clear benefits to RSS over naked bookmarks, but the discoverability problem is still paramount.

Anyway this is kind of inconsequential to the point of whether native RSS functionality should be included in a browser. Mozilla is right to kill this "feature." RSS is an application-level protocol on top of HTTP, itself an application-level protocol. Browsers are built to perform HTTP requests. In my opinion they shouldn't do much else. A feature that displays and helps you manage RSS content falls into the category of bloat.

23 points by corin_ 2 days ago 4 replies      
I can't imagine that browser button pursuading anyone who doesn't already understand and appreciate RSS to start using it. Anyone tech-savvy enough to see it, and start googling to find out how to use it properly has certainly already heard of RSS.

And on the other side, anyone who does use RSS, and anyone in the future who learns to use it, won't be put off using it by the loss of that button.

The worse statement in this article (other than the french man smoking) is:

  Mozilla's mistake here is to associate low usage with user dis-interest.

Ummm... they're correct. He claims that, just because only 3-7% use it, it must be kept in because "what regular user wouldn't want this feature!?" Clearly the answer to that question is "93-97% of regular users". Touché?

12 points by TomOfTTB 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is not dying.

There are very few individual users of it but there are literally millions of web sites that use it. Almost everyone on the Internet uses a portal site of some kind and the only way to be included on one of those sites is RSS/Atom feeds.

So as long as people want to use RSS for a personal reader it will be there to do it. And there will always be RSS readers because every programming environment I can think of has a pre-built library for feed reading meaning a programmer could whip a reader up in under an hour.

As far as the button disappearing from browsers that just makes UI sense. Chrome Browser taught the rest of the industry that most people hate clutter in their browser. So buttons that 93% of the users don't use are being taken out. But they can be added back with a simple browser extension/plug-in/whatever. So even here the people who want to use an RSS reader aren't losing anything

(and even without an extension/plug-in/whatever any user savvy enough to be using a reader will know how to cut and paste a url)

11 points by Lagged2Death 2 days ago 3 replies      
The implementation of RSS in Firefox was always an "ultra-lite" version that I doubt will be missed by any serious RSS enthusiasts. A full-featured RSS reader feels a lot like a mailing list, so I think it's appropriate to keep RSS in Thunderbird rather than Firefox.

In some respects, a web-app RSS reader (like Bloglines or Google Reader) is better. You can access your feeds from any computer, the read/unread status is kept synchronized between PCs, and the centralized web-app arrangement makes more efficient use of network resources. Better to have Google Reader poll a site every 30 minutes than to have 10,000 Firefox installs each polling it every few hours.

The only browsers I know of that ever had good in-browser RSS readers were Opera and Seamonkey. But even in those cases, RSS was included as part of the mail client, not shoehorned into the browsing paradigm.

10 points by GBKS 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the user flow, RSS doesn't make much sense. Clicking an RSS button shows you the same thing you just looked at, except without the site design and only partial content (Safari). Currently, in Chrome, I just see a dense block of text.

RSS is an amazing tool, but maybe we just haven't found the right UI for it yet. Exposing it in the browser doesn't work very well and treating RSS as an Inbox (like Google Reader) where every item needs to be marked as read is too overwhelming. Personally, I think a social approach to RSS that puts content and personal preferences at the fore-front would solve a lot of this.

6 points by bretpiatt 2 days ago 11 replies      
It is pretty clear why Google doesn't like RSS, it stops you from browsing the web and that is how they get paid. As a user though I also don't like it anymore and I'll share why...

This isn't 1970 anymore where I want to read "What's New" from a small list of new sources. I prefer to go each day to a list of curated aggregators like HN or what the people I follow on Twitter or saying. This is vastly superior to RSS and this is why at least one technical user no longer uses it.

11 points by ghurlman 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's hard to take the author's concern seriously, when I can't even find the RSS link on his/her page.
10 points by k33n 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Mozilla outright refuse to listen (33 bloody votes!)

Wow, 33 votes. They're really ignoring the masses on that one.

4 points by ryanwaggoner 2 days ago 0 replies      
The replacement for RSS isn't Facebook and Twitter...it's email. People don't understand RSS but they understand: "Enter your email address to subscribe to updates." Hence the reason that CPM rates for email are so much higher...
17 points by petervandijck 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS isn't dying, it's become so pervasive that it's now invisible infrastructure.
4 points by bl4k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Users shouldn't need to know what RSS is to use it just as they don't need to know what HTTP is to read a website or what SMTP is to send email.

The interface to using RSS has always been flawed, that is where the problem is.

6 points by pamelafox 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS readers may be dying (I admit that I once was a Google Reader fanatic and now only log in time to time), but RSS/ATOM as a format for communicating between websites is still pretty decent. I often setup an ATOM feed for the data on whatever webapp I'm building, and usually end up using that feed to integrate with other webapps. (And as a bonus, I can hand it out to techie users).

I don't know, do you think that RSS readers dying will mean websites will stop producing RSS feeds? The output seems to be built in to many systems these days already.

4 points by Groxx 2 days ago 1 reply      

Based on what causal chain? At best, it's an incredible stretch of a slippery slope fallacy.

3 points by gregory80 2 days ago 0 replies      
just b/c rss is dying, thank god too, doesn't mean syndication is dying. already ideas like pubsubhubbub have provided realtime syndication in a more compact format.

The web is just moving to realtime and ingesting a big long text file and determining deltas sucked. For that matter, XML as a data transport vehicle should end in favor of more compact and type friendly solutions like JSON.

Don't be so alarmist that a crappy tech is being phased out. Now, where's my Tandy 1000.

2 points by beej71 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is really cheap to set up compared to the cost of an entire site, and for news sites, it makes economic sense to add a feed on the off-chance that you might get 0.1% more readers.

The technology that is the RSS reader is not the driver of RSS. The feed is what drives it. NYT is putting up a feed even if is has zero browser support, I'll bet.

Until it's not worth the practically-zero cost of setting up a feed, there will be piles of feeds out there. Publishers will use anything they can to get more eyeballs, and feeds like RSS fit perfectly into that strategy.

I use RSS all the time. That's how I got to this article. And I'm not worried about it one bit.

6 points by jonnii 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad my browser doesn't support RSS natively when other apps offer a far greater experience. Have you tried the safari rss reader? It's awful.

As a chrome user I'm happy that it does one thing well and that's displaying web pages. Now I'm free to use any online RSS reader I want and be able to access my RSS feeds from anywhere.

5 points by smcl 2 days ago 1 reply      
"It gives less of a shite than a French man smoking a cigarette in public"


1 point by bambax 2 days ago 1 reply      
An interesting point of this post is that Twitter is effectively about to replace RSS, and that in order to use Twitter one has to have an account with it and "follow" such and such.

But is this really true? Wouldn't it be possible to build an (authorized) interface to Twitter that would serve search results according to topics/keywords without actually creating an account with Twitter?

Something along the lines of


I'm sure this already exists somehow?

1 point by tel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Recently Flipboard added a Google Reader section. I've started using this and never turned back. It solves perfectly pretty much every problem with RSS via attractive presentation, quick access to full content, social connectivity, and getting rid of the "inbox feel".

Like a few others here, I look at RSS in the morning. As it turns out, what I really wanted was a sort of newspaper/magazine format. Flipboard delivers that perfectly.

1 point by Create 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it is plain and simply facebook and twitter which are killing RSS. Most normal people have heard about twitter and facebook and have no clue about the cryptic acronym RSS. Which, by-the-way requires a technical degree to understand, and to use (should it rather be v1 v2 or atom? does my pc support the best option?). Is it really a bookmark? Or an inbox? Or a notification? Now one should go through hidden features and install new apps. No sane person would set this up as opposed to a single click in a browser to a twitter feed or the push of a like button.

Like webmail displaced most "normal" people's imap/smtp (with all the firewall misery). Google groups/forums displaced NNTP.

I also feel sad, because RSS was free, while twitter and facebook are careless computing.


1 point by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is not dying! One of the traditional applications for RSS (a browser-based RSS feed-reader) is becoming obsoleted because most browsers aren't particularly good at managing feeds.

I can understand why the benefits of RSS aren't more widely understood by the general public; the technology makes use of an abbreviation (an abbreviation that isn't actually much more comprehensible when its spelt out).

RSS is a service, used by applications to make content portable. It's not a final solution, it's a tool that can be integrated into a number of different applications. It's quite likely that many of the applications it could be used for haven't been created yet.

A slightly ridiculous article.

3 points by tlianza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Curious why none of the comments, nor the original article, mentions Internet Explorer. They've continued to add new features in this area ever since IE7. The icon is hidden now in IE9 (as are most of the icons... less browser chrome is fashionable) but I believe they still consider this a first-class feature.

They are still the world's most popular browser... and presumably their users are less technical, so presumably it's usage is less than what Mozilla reports, but it remains.

1 point by zzzeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is primarily used by aggregation widgets and sites as a server-to-server protocol for retrieving lists of links from blogs and news sites, and I see no evidence offered that anything is changing in that regard.

As far as people actually using their "RSS" buttons to read websites, I've actually never heard of anyone doing that. The author appears to misunderstand the primary rationale of modern RSS.

7 points by corywilkerson 2 days ago 1 reply      
This. "Every website should not look like a NASCAR advert for every sharing service in existence."
4 points by Kilimanjaro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Change the RSS button for a 'Follow' button.
1 point by mmphosis 2 days ago 2 replies      
Okay, I haven't really used RSS before. I'm diving in. In Safari Version 5.0.3 (6533.19.4), I view all of the RSS Feeds by choosing the following (buried) menu item:

Bookmarks > Bookmarks Bar > View All RSS Articles

I can't find a "View All RSS Articles" button. By default, I hide the "Bookmarks Bar" toolbar (because I want as much vertical screen real estate as I can get.) The "View All RSS Articles" item does not appear in the "Bookmarks Bar" toolbar when I make this toolbar visible.

I am looking into the NetNewsWire app for Mac.

No RSS feed for Wikipedia portal:Current events?

Hacker News RSS is broken?

3 points by bendauphinee 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is not dying. It's just not based in the browser, and I'm fine with that. I use an RSS aggregation program, and if I really wanted to, there is open source software available to build and host my own RSS portal.
4 points by zoul 2 days ago 1 reply      
RSS is dying because browser vendors do not want to implement or maintain integrated RSS readers? That does not sound very convincing.
1 point by omaranto 2 days ago 0 replies      
I won't miss the RSS browser button: I hardly ever use it! While I read many RSS feeds I almost never subscribe to them (which is what I've used the button for). The average number of times I've subscribed to a feed I read is extremely close to 1, and the average number of times I've subscribed to each existing feed in the world is extremely close to 0.
2 points by geoffw8 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is the pipe, its not a solution. Your average joe doesn't "know" what TCP/IP is and frankly its the same for RSS. Something needs to sit at either end and actually make use of the RSS "pipe".
1 point by shaver 2 days ago 1 reply      
What would an RSS reader good enough for Kroc's grandmother and 419,999,999 other Firefox users look like? I would be genuinely interested in his designs for one. Of the many different RSS reader add-ons I've tried for Firefox, for example, there haven't been any that made me say "we've gotta put this in Firefox, let's delay $otherwork instead". If we had an energetic contributor like Kroc, though, it's quite possible that we could end up in a great place. I'm not trying to say "patches talk, chump", though of course they do speak quite compellingly. I'm trying to indicate that via open projects like Mozilla technical people can have agency beyond voting in bugzilla (!) or a letter-writing campaign.

It'll be interesting to test Kroc's thesis, though: if he's right that RSS will be harmed a lot by Firefox removing the RSS icon, then hits to the RSS stream from Firefox UAs should change trend-line between 3.6.x and 4. I look forward to such a follow-up, it would be interesting data!

1 point by draebek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lack of a browser button doesn't put me off using RSS, as many have pointed out. There are browser extensions and GreaseMonkey scripts for me to add feeds to Google Reader.

I'd be more concerned that RSS is dying because many content providers--from big media to bloggers--seem to prefer to only show me a short excerpt, or even a title in their RSS feeds. I don't want to leave Google Reader to read your articles! When I have to open every single RSS item's link (in a new tab) from Reader, that either discourages me from visiting your site... or discourages me from using RSS, as it adds little to no value, and indeed just introduces frustration.

The other reason I avoid RSS is for sites like HN and Reddit, where the order of links, their scores, and their ages are important. Maybe RSS should be updatable (which may be what PubSubHubbub is designed for?).

1 point by agavin 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS brings me 90% of my outside information. And by doing it with programs like Reeder that use Google Reader to sync the feeds and what's been read allow me to do it on 3 computers, an iphone, and an ipad without ever seeing the same junk twice

But, it does require some computer savvy to setup and operate. You need programs, you need to sometimes figure out your feed URL's. Good reader has a really weird and lousy interface.

As a computer guy I don't care, but I rarely recommend it to even medium tech savvy friends because I don't see them dealing.

1 point by doorty 2 days ago 2 replies      
I frankly never got into RSS until I started using RockMelt about a month ago. Now I use it all the time to tell me when there are new Hacker News post, etc. But unfortunately the only clickable link for the Hacker News RSS takes me to the story, which is often an external link. If I want to see the "discuss" of the story I have to manually go the website and find the post and click the discuss link. Perhaps RSS needs a more robust protocol that wouldn't require others to make their own API. Then I think browsers like Rock Melt might bring this new kind of RSS to the masses.
2 points by bsg75 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is a tool for technologists. The average user will not find it attractive enough, so RSS will always be used by the minority. This does not necessarily make it a dying technology however.
1 point by antidaily 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of what I need to read shows up on HN or Reddit or Twitter. I know that sounds incredibly lazy, but I don't have time to mark 233 Lifehacker posts as read every week.
1 point by nycticorax 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Google Reader, because I want to know when there's new stuff on certain sites without visiting them all, but I don't like it that much. I prefer to read the stories on the web site, with its "native" formatting and whatnot. Is there a tool in any of the common browsers that will highlight a bookmark (or something like that) when there's new content on the site? I think I'd greatly prefer that to the whole business of using a feed reader. Am I the only one?
1 point by axod 2 days ago 1 reply      
RSS never really caught on beyond a geek crowd. I've never used it.
1 point by u48998 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Mozilla is getting rid of it and if Chrome doesn't have it, than that's just proof enough that big companies are conspiring against RSS. My fingers crossed for the Adblocker.
1 point by hsmyers 2 days ago 0 replies      
I only indirectly depend on browser based RSS feeds as I use Google Reader. Which does precisely what I want it to and is available without regard to browser.
2 points by macco 2 days ago 0 replies      
RSS is dying only if Bloggers don't support it anymore. But I can't see that.
1 point by mcnemesis 2 days ago 1 reply      
am probably contributing late, but i have recently worked on something that might solve this "rss hunger" or at least provide a better alternative eventually. am calling my creation "razor" and it runs right in the brwser, is totally free, doesn't sacrifice privacy to corporations, is customizable by the user (only knowledge of regular expressions required - in case one wants to craft their own feeds)

i've developed my solution as a firefox addon, and you can download it from here -- http://fixx.yolasite.com/razor

i'd never used rss feeds before (probably wouldn't have invented razor then?), but razor is different and to me is more powerful!

i use razor to check newest stuff from hacker_news using the following saved razor-expression:

http://news.ycombinator.com/newest)))<a href=".+">.</a>%%%>[^<]<%%%[^>].[^<]((([0-9]+.ago---[0-9]+.point---\sby\s---^[0-9]\.$---^\s\(.\)\s$---^[0-9]+[ ]comment.\s$---^\w$---^\s[\|\[]\s$---^Feature Requests$---^Y Combinator$---^Hacker News$---^(News\s)$

It might look "geeky" and intimidating, but check the above razor link (it has docs too) and you'll see why this solution is promising.

nice feeds hacking!

3 points by kinnth0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't we just use Google reader and be done with it?
1 point by EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. First of all what about the ATOM format? I don't think it's dying.

Anyway, why not simply have an RSS plugin / extension as some have suggested? You can do this in all the browsers.

0 points by gurraman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have -- without giving it much thought -- stopped using RSS. Many friends have done the same. Now browsers seem to be dropping support. Maybe this is proof that RSS/Atom wasn't the panacea we thought it was. Maybe it is actually time for RSS to die?
1 point by stan_d 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested to know the number of people using Google Reader as their primary tool to read stuff from the web.
I'm sure the numbers would skew heavily towards the tech/geek crowd. But I have no idea how popular it is.
1 point by zandorg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Dave Winer, basically inventor of RSS, would disagree.
1 point by stretchwithme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cobol's been dying too and I'm not concerned about that either.
1 point by peterbotond 2 days ago 0 replies      
many users use webkit and write a program that evaluates, stores the content effectively building a personal rss.

moreover.com has many precompiled rss feeds for various subjects.

1 point by eitan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I find myself more & more use blekko to replace my RSS feeds, maybe this is the future of feeds.

But then again maybe blekko doesn't have a future....

1 point by asadotzler 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only problem with Kroc's rant is that RSS auto discovery and UI wasn't removed from Firefox. It was moved from the addressbar to the Bookmarks menu.
1 point by dennyferra 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to read my RSS feeds like a newspaper. I think formatting is really the issue. I don't necessarily want a list of links.
1 point by yycom 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why should this particular <link> incantation receive special treatment over others?
0 points by ThePinion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just want you to know years ago I vowed to use RSS in all of my websites for the rest of my life. I would hate an Internet without RSS feeds (and Google Reader!)
1 point by emef 2 days ago 2 replies      
If there was really enough demand for RSS, it wouldn't die.
What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2011? duke.edu
240 points by follower 2 days ago   127 comments top 14
54 points by cookiecaper 2 days ago replies      
Copyright law is really disappointing here. How do such long terms contribute to the progress of sciences or the arts? The writers and main contributors to most of the pieces named are dead. The publishers have made their cash time and time again and now most of these pieces are by no means "hot sellers", though they may be of cultural or historical interest. And, there's 40 years left before the copyright expires.

All this does is allow two extra generations to leech off of the creativity of their fathers without actually contributing anything themselves. Same goes for the two subsequent generations that fill the publishing houses that originally print these works.

Do we really believe that Lord of the Rings or Lord of the Flies would not have been written or published if the copyright term was only 28 years (in fact, they _were_ published when the copyright term was 28 years)? It should be evident that cultural experiences will be generated even if the money doesn't flow down for 100-200 years (not that there won't be money anyway -- they'll just have to do something useful with the property, just like anyone else).

The whole thing is just patently ridiculous. What do we gain by refusing to allow free commentary or contribution on Lord of the Rings? Tolkien is dead and gone and made a comfortable existence on his work I'm sure. If he was concerned with ensuring his posterity and publisher would have money from his work, he could have taken various measures to do so, like divesting large amounts of money to them in his will.

It is ridiculous that all of society and culture has to suffer because of corporate lobbyists that don't want Disney et al to lose money. It's not like the publishers are being robbed here, they've made more than enough money on these properties and now it's time to share. Intellectual property was never meant to trap ideas -- it was meant to make their sharing plausible and reasonable (before the internet, there was significant overhead involved with publication and wide dissemination of such material). Now we just have leeches looking to ensure their own fat paycheck at the expense of free culture.

I would be very happy to see a copyright law of 28 years since publication or less with no extensions, applied retroactively to all works under copyright in the United States. I don't see why life of the author should be considered -- if someone writes a good story, that's great, but 28 years of unlimited monopoly on that is quite enough. And note that public domain doesn't mean the copyright holder can't make money anymore -- it just means he has to provide something that the market deems valuable, instead of standing as a gatekeeper and profiting off of everyone else's imagination.

32 points by ajays 2 days ago replies      
The current copyright law is a prime example of the impotence of the electorate in the face of the power of Big Money. It is in the public interest to have works move into the public domain, so that others can build upon them (I'll refrain from linking to the myriad talks by Lessig and others about how the current copyright system is broken).

And yet Hollywood keeps buying the legislators and perpetuates this broken system.

16 points by praptak 2 days ago 1 reply      
The deal between copyright holders and society was changed retroactively in favor of the former. Why then should the latter uphold their end of the deal, i.e. not pirate?
6 points by xenophanes 2 days ago 2 replies      
About copyright in general: Micky Mouse is still in active use. Can anyone tell me some reason that Warner Brothers should be allowed to make a Mickey Mouse movie just because it's old now?

One other example: sales of Ayn Rand's books currently help fund the spreading of the ideas from the books, after her death. That seems fair enough to me. Why shouldn't books sales be able to fund promotion of the book's ideas as long as people keep buying the book?

2 points by Sukotto 1 day ago 0 replies      
According to Rufus Pollock of Cambridge University, the optimal copyright length is 14 years.



3 points by follower 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if anyone has ever considered that existing copyright legislation puts authors' lives at risk by making the term: date of death + N years? There's a short story in that at least but now I'm too afraid for my life to write it. :)
2 points by julius_geezer 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Under the pre-1978 copyright law, you could now teach history and politics using most of Toynbee's A Study of History (vols. 7-10 were first published in 1954) or Henry Kissinger's A World Restored, or stage a modern adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's A Time to Love and A Time to Die for community theater."

As far as I know, you can teach a class using Toynbee or Kissinger; the students just have to find copies. As for community theater, they put on works far more recent--one friend appeared several years ago in "Dancing at Lughnasa" (1995), another in "Lips together, Teeth Apart" (1991; or whichever MacNally play gave him a chance to shed his clothes--"Love! Valor! Etc" of 1994 maybe). What the terms are, I can't say; but it doesn't seem to run anyone broke.

I do agree that the copyright extension gone beyond reasonable bounds. The critic Hugh Kenner made an interesting case that the extension of copyright in the United Kingdom about 100 years ago had a dramatic effect on the public's impression of what literature was, creating a discontinuity in perception that made the modernists' work appear to have come about without its actual context.

3 points by bhickey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why was Eldred v. Ashcroft argued on 1st Amendment grounds?
There seems like a relatively straightforward argument from the Takings Clause.
2 points by forensic 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do international books fit into this?

Lord of the Flies and Tolkien among others are British books. If they enter the public domain in Britain, does that enable Americans to use them even if they are still copyrighted in the US?

8 points by mrleinad 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'd like to know what DID enter the public domain, more than getting sorry for what did not.
2 points by panacea 2 days ago 0 replies      
The 'public domain' hasn't been what's acceptable to share according to lawyers for quite some time now.
2 points by 2mur 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by jleyank 2 days ago 1 reply      
I might be mis-remembering, but doesn't (L)GPL rely on copyright law for its status? If so, then there's at least one bit of IP that's "properly protected" by copyright law.
2 points by leon_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least our dark lord Cthulhu is public domain.
How to build an 8x8x8 LED cube mine.nu
236 points by bvi 21 hours ago   36 comments top 13
9 points by apu 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Our research lab recently created a more involved version of this using fairly cheap materials that's much more expressive:


(Don't miss the video at the bottom of the page.)

18 points by makeramen 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder how much it would take to mass produce these and sell as programming toys/tools? I'd buy one.

PS: if someone else would be serious about pursuing this, i'd love to be a part of it

4 points by msluyter 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is so cool, it makes me salivate a little. The author said it took 4-5 days for the construction and another 4 or so for the software. Anyone know how long it takes for someone without much electronics background? I have a vision of a bunch of unfinished components sitting around on my kitchen table for... months.
8 points by CWIZO 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to have this. I'd make a 3D snake game out of it. Unfortunately I don't have the time and knowledge to build something like this cube.
13 points by jrockway 20 hours ago 3 replies      
The instructabliss site is almost as excellent as the LED cube!
5 points by latch 15 hours ago 1 reply      
We built a shitty oscillator in passive circuit classes. This type of thing, and Mythbusters, always makes me think how awesome school ought to be.
5 points by lwhi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently building a 4x4x4 cube with full fading/multiplexing, using a bunch of TLC5940 ICs. Placing it in a dark perspex obelisk; it's very dorky .. but I can't wait to complete it.
1 point by euccastro 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Suggestion for cool side project: attach an accelerometer and do some fluid dynamics simulation. A bit heavy on the math side; you'd need a good foundation of calculus for engineering. All the rest is here:


4 points by yycom 17 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Could have put some more movement in the camera work to show off the parallax.

2. Next: RGB for 4D.

6 points by marksands07 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone should implement Pong in this cube. Now that would be cool.
1 point by Murkin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Any EBay mass seller willing to buy bulk and sell a package with all the components needed ?

Don't mind paying extra to have it shipped in one box.

2 points by imaginator 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Das Labor (a hacker space) has been doing these cubes for a while. They even have a multi-colour cube now: http://www.das-labor.org/wiki/Blinken_Borgs
0 points by daniel-cussen 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You could make holograms with this.
Ask HN: What are the best technologies you've worked with this year?
233 points by Athtar 5 days ago   148 comments top 90
58 points by samdk 5 days ago 2 replies      
2010 was, for me, the year of JS-related technologies. (I'm actually rather disappointed I haven't had more time to check out Clojure and to use Haskell and Scala more--I was doing quite a lot of front-end web stuff.)

1. Socket.IO (http://socket.io/)

It lets you use websockets and automatically fall back to flash sockets, long polling, or several other real-time communication methods if websockets aren't supported by the client. There's a JS client and node-compatible server, as well as in-progress server implementations in a few other languages. Node is nice by itself, but it's with things like Socket.IO that it really shines.

2. Coffeescript (http://jashkenas.github.com/coffee-script/)

Coffeescript is a nice-looking and nice-to-type syntax on top of JavaScript. It's made JS development a lot friendlier, and I now miss things about it every time I'm programming in Python and Ruby. I now use it whenever I'm doing any significant amount of coding in JS.

3. Node.js (http://nodejs.org/)

Node should, by this point, need no introduction. Server-side JS. Plays very nicely with websockets thanks to Socket.IO, making it very easy to write the server-side part of real-time webapps. I've also found it very useful when trying to quickly prototype simple non-webapp things that have to communicate over a network.

I haven't had a chance to check out Backbone.js (http://documentcloud.github.com/backbone/) yet beyond a very quick look, but I expect to use it (or something like it) next time I'm developing something that uses a significant amount of client-side JS.

I'm also very excited by the continued development on (and Yehuda Katz's participation in) SproutCore (http://www.sproutcore.com/).

39 points by patio11 5 days ago 3 replies      
Twilio. Ringing phones is pure magic, and provides so many disruptive opportunities it is staggering.
52 points by dstein 5 days ago 2 replies      
The iPad has changed everything. It's an entirely new type of computer that turned out to be substantially better than anyone imagined. Watch a 5-year-old use an iPad for the first time and you will immediately see and understand why this is a major paradigm shift. It's the first "socially acceptable" computer -- at Christmas I can pull out my iPad, plop it down at the dinner table and share pictures with the family, and it's not at all considered rude.
25 points by spudlyo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Varnish, the reverse proxy, has been my favorite new-to-me technology of 2010. It sits in front of Apache and caches static content (or anything really) based on rules you define in the Varnish Configuration Language (VCL).

Varnish is cool because it is very fast. It was written by Poul-Henning Kamp, who has a lot of experience in FreeBSD kernel development. He makes effective use of virtual memory, is careful to avoid memory operations that result in expensive bus transactions on mutli CPU systems, and knows how many system calls it takes to serve up a cache hit. All of this work has paid off. Varnish can turn a plodding CMS into a site that screams, and your profiling tools (siege, apache ab) will fall over before the site does.

Of course it helps if your CMS supports cache control headers, and isn't utterly laden with cookies, but that's where the VCL language comes in. You can write code to strip bogus cookies (like google analytics) coming from both the client and the server which vastly improves your cache hit ratios.

I like the way Varnish uses a shared memory pool for statistics and logging -- a wealth of information about the system is available to you but it doesn't generate a ton of I/O logging it to a file unless you ask it to. I love how you can use the telnet admin interface to compile new VCL code into a running system and then switch to it, while keeping old named configurations around in case you need to revert back.

Varnish has really helped me make slow sites fast this year, although it hasn't happened without some VCL coding effort and some understanding of how the sites operate.

46 points by apu 5 days ago 2 replies      
Redis. Fucking awesome database. Does exactly what it's advertised to do, with no unexpected surprises. Great documentation. Finally we can go beyond the simplistic key-value map/reduce datastores, for when you don't need all the guarantees that traditional SQL forces you to have.


(I still use postgres and sqlite for other database needs, but I'm strongly considering moving a few of those over to redis if I have time.)

20 points by DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 0 replies      
I continued to work with F#, deploying a couple of small apps.

The really cool part came when I realized that with F# I was programming at the language level -- that I could effectively and easily write my own languages. So I decided I would like rails-like entities, where the entity reads the structure of the table and then conforms itself to whatever is in the table.

Couple hundreds of lines of code later, and presto chango, I could simply say "give me a list of customers" and point it to the table and I had a list of customers. This totally disconnected the database data structure from the code. Add a new field in the database and there was nothing to change in code. Or add a new field in the type and have it percolate out to the database. Change database providers and it was only a few function changes. Very cool. The kind of simple fix Microsoft should have done with data access instead of writing ODBC/ADO/OleDb//EF/etc

Then I had a blast with mailboxes, er monads, agents, and threads. Ended up writing a small app that was purely functional and all ran in the background. It was so automatic, at first I couldn't figure out how to start the dang thing!

This led to a venture into MPI and other technologies which has just begun. I'm also trying to wrap up my language work with a full DSL sometime soon (if I have a project that needs it). Looking forward to parsing and setting up trees and walking them. I also broke out of windows and started working in a linux environment using Mono, Apache, and MySQL.

Incredibly fun stuff. Looking back, I really had a blast this past year. Next year should be even better.

20 points by sophacles 5 days ago 2 replies      
These aren't new to the world, but they are new to me this year, and a lot of them sort of hit some sort of "usable by those without active interest in the continuation of said tech".

1. Mongodb -- This year it really hit its stride and have been able to use it without worry for storing test results and experimental data. This is much nicer than the textfile logs -> sql -> processing datapath I was using previously.

2. flask: this little framwork is in my sweetspot. It does all the annoying crap of webby stuff, without all the "use our orm/routing model/way of thinking of http" so common in the space

3. mongrel2: I like it because it uses 0mq as the backend and sanely integrates some components in a way I feel could be better for many use cases than traditional stacks.

4. 0mq: This gets special mention, because it has been around for a while and I was actively using it, but 0mq 2 came out sometime this year, and is different enough from the first round, that it could be considered a separate technology. It isn't revolutionary in the MOM space, but it is a cool lightweight approach, and the core team has the type of dedication I like to see in OSS projects.

5. ABSOLUTELY NOT NEW: Haskell -- this year is the first year I've had time to sit down with Haskell for real, and start understanding the weird FP thing. This has made everything I do feel shiny and new, because even though I never actually use Haskell, I find myself writing very short hsskell programs in python and c and the other languages I use in my day job. When I started coding I remember thinking "This must be what a wizard feels like!", Haskell has brought back that feeling for me.

17 points by SandB0x 5 days ago 1 reply      
New to me: Numpy/Scipy. If you're using Matlab you should know there's a Free and worthy Python based alternative
22 points by swannodette 5 days ago 0 replies      
Clojure - it's the gift that keeps on giving. It keeps getting faster and the feature set for writing robust object-oriented software (minus the broken stuff) just keeps getting better. In fact, it's changed how I assess the feature set of other OO languages old and new.

miniKanren - logic programming w/o the Warren Abstract Machine. Has opened my eyes to a ton of incredible literature on this under appreciated programming paradigm.

10 points by PStamatiou 5 days ago 3 replies      
Jekyll (https://github.com/mojombo/jekyll)

First touched it two months ago just to tinker with but didn't really do anything with it. Then after numerous frustrations with my current blogging setup, I spent the last 5 days hacking on it over the holidays and I think it's almost ready to launch. Had to do some custom stuff that I'll write about in a post. It's extremely hackable and I love it. The only thing that doesn't work for me is LSI for related posts. Even with a fast computer and gsl/rb-gsl it still takes 10+ hours with my 1,000+ posts. Anyways, having a super fast site is going to be a breath of fresh air. Google was saying 88% of sites loaded faster than mine ( http://paulstamatiou.com ), though likely due to the images in many of my reviews.

Also installed Google mod_pagespeed and all is well so far.

* Though to be fair most of that is just my redesign that is more minimal, less ads, etc, but there's something extremely attractive about simple, flat files. No worrying about if your database will get corrupted. Everything is in git..

16 points by railsjedi 5 days ago 1 reply      
1. MongoDB / Mongoid have blown me away this year. Is now my default database for new rails projects.

2. CoffeeScript language is an amazing replacement for Javascript. I can't see myself going back to pure JS at any point in the future.

3. Rails 3 finally feels like a stable and maintainable web framework. All the web frameworks now all seem to work together using Rack. The ruby web development world is really a nice place to be at the moment.

4. Bundler really nailed the gem dependency management issue (though the journey to 1.0 was very painful)

5. Sass / SCSS / Compass got really good. It feels unimaginable to go back to regular CSS.

Wow, now that I think about it, way too many great technologies to list. 2010 was an insanely good year for ruby web developers.

16 points by rdl 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm kind of ashamed to admit it (at the end of 2010!), but I did some Objective-C/iOS apps for the first time this year, and I was pretty amazed by how good the Apple dev tools and the iOS simulator actually are.

The other thing which impressed me is kvm, in contrast to Xen.

21 points by datapimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
I am a huge fan of Vagrant ( http://vagrantup.com ) which is virtualized development environments, package-able. Works with chef and virtualbox. I don't know if I can state just how game changing this is for me.

DocumentCloud really dropped some bombs this year. backbone.js, underscore.js are really great.

Socket.io saved my ass. I promised some big clients that I could make websockets driven apps for the iPad and then apple pulled websockets support without saying anything. So I was able to get socket.io for the win.

20 points by binaryfinery 5 days ago 2 replies      
Solid State Discs in everything.

Ok, perhaps not what you were asking, but they made a big difference for me. I have two, raid0 in my desktop, and a sandforce in my MBP. What a difference. Compiling, linking, copying, everything not just faster, but almost instantaneous. Yum.

10 points by zefhous 5 days ago 0 replies      
All thanks to jashkenas: CoffeeScript, Underscore.js, and Backbone.js.

Using those tools has helped me to really enjoy writing JavaScript and to start doing it in a much more organized manner. They have been a huge catalyst for my growth as a JavaScript developer.

Also, using MongoDB has been awesome!

6 points by ja27 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is the first year I've really used the real released Windows 7 - on my new SSD-loaded work laptop and on my personal netbook. It's amazing to see Windows more or less work and do what I want it to do most of the time.

GPU-accelerated VLC on my netbook has been amazing.

I got a Canon T2i / 550D this year. It shoots some amazing HD video and will only get better as I spend more on lenses and develop better techniques.

The Kindle 3 (brighter display and cheap price) have me reading books I've been putting off for years. It's great to have a device that's great at one thing and not very good at random browsing, Facebook, Twitter, HN, etc.

10 points by jlangenauer 5 days ago 1 reply      
JRuby. It's just rock-solid, wonderfully fast and easy-to-use, it's now at the center of my product. Many props to Charles Nutter et al for this!
6 points by peteforde 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was shocked by how powerful SproutCore was, once I actually started hacking on it. I suspect that it will be a very big deal in 2011.

I am also really excited by socket protocol tech advancements in the browser. I was able to pull off seriously cool stuff using http://pusherapp.com/ and also http://faye.jcoglan.com/ which is a nifty JS implementation of the Bayeux protocol.

6 points by DanHulton 5 days ago 1 reply      
1) MongoDB - I started off using it in place of a few tables that had some varied column requirements, and I'm now in the middle of converting my entire DB to it. So awesome.

2) Kohana - I love working with this framework. I never really worry about the ugly warts in PHP, because honestly? I'm not programming in PHP any more. I'm programming in Kohana, and I only occasionally fall back to PHP for "low-level" stuff.

7 points by davidedicillo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not directly but I'd say Erlang and Redis, definitely the most "exotique" technologies I've been in contact this year that made http://mysyncpad.com possible
9 points by clemesha 5 days ago 0 replies      
Redis. Makes working with a database fun, just like jQuery made JavaScript fun.
5 points by endgame 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not new, but I've really enjoyed working with Lua (http://lua.org). The C API is really nice and I like how you can start from a known-safe, minimal interpreter and add new procedures carefully.

libev (http://software.schmorp.de/pkg/libev.html) was also a lot of fun to use for multiplexing sockets, plus it has a whole pile of other useful watchers that can use its event loop.

5 points by mrkurt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Firesheep, actually. It took a scary-to-people-who-know problem and made it scary to people who don't know. I didn't ever expect to explain session hijacking to my dad.
4 points by morganpyne 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these are not new to 2010 and some are quite old, but here goes:

- All the Amazon offerings. They are innovating like crazy and improving and expanding all their offerings all the time.

- Compass/SASS/SCSS - All the pain gone from CSS

- Capistrano - All the pain gone from software deployment

- Apple laptops & OS X. A bit on the clichéd side now but it really makes my life easier.

- SSDs. Damnit I really need to buy one of these things. After having tried them out it's hard to go back to spinning platters.

Also things I wish I'd worked with but haven't had the chance yet:

- anything in the CNC milling, laser cutting, desktop fabrication and 3d printing fields. This is a huge area to watch.

3 points by jrockway 4 days ago 0 replies      
PSGI/Plack: http://plackperl.org/

node.js for HTTP-related activities. (I needed a rate-limiting proxy that returned a special HTTP code when the rate limit was exceeded. 20 lines of node.js later...)

0MQ: the way network messaging should be. (Did you know that the same socket can be bound and connected multiple times? Amazingly flexible.)

4 points by donniefitz2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Normally, I'm a software producer and I've worked with a few technologies that are great, but this year (as of late) I'm becoming a software consumer.

I've finally gotten to experience the Kindle 3 (Christmas gift) and the Google CR-48 is pretty sweet too. I believe the Kindle will change the amount I read. I have so many books on deck. My biggest challenge is balancing development time with watching movie time and more reading time.

8 points by gfodor 5 days ago 0 replies      
Clojure & CoffeeScript are the one-two punch this year.
4 points by RoyceFullerton 5 days ago 1 reply      
In 2010 I fell in love with:

1. Groovy - a programming language, it rocks because it less verbose and more powerful than Java and I can fall back onto standard Java syntax when I don't care to figure out how to do something in the 'Groovy' way. (http://groovy.codehaus.org)

2. Gaelyk - a groovy framework that runs on Google App Engine. Google App Engine is great for launching apps. It's free until it gets traction. (http://gaelyk.appspot.com)

3. Objectify - The simplest convenient interface to the Google App Engine datastore. Takes a lot of the pain out of using Bigtable. (http://code.google.com/p/objectify-appengine)

These all pack a mean punch and let me work on my night/weekend projects quite productively after overcoming a small learning curve.

I built http://icusawme.com and http://chatroulettespy.com with all three.

I'm looking forward to diving deeper into Appcelerator Titanium Mobile in early 2011.

9 points by crawshaw 5 days ago 0 replies      
Protocol Buffers (http://code.google.com/p/protobuf/)

Not what you would call cool technology, but definitely the best technology I have used this year. Protobufs get out of the way so you can get work done.

5 points by locopati 5 days ago 0 replies      
Erlang - playing with serious functional code for the first time in a long while has done wonders for my day-to-day Java job.
4 points by elviejo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seaside - a WebFramework based on smalltalk and continuations that make developing complex WebApps extremely easy.
Seaside led me to learn:

Smalltalk - What a powerful language. This is what OOP should look like.

Object Oriented Databases - Gemstone and db4o. Not having to deal with the OO and Relational mismatch is a breath of fresh air.

3 points by jfoutz 5 days ago 1 reply      
makerbot cupcake cnc.

It was an on again off again sort of project mostly off, but i finished it up a week or two ago. Now I can print plastic in any shape i can draw in art of illusion. It's satisfying fiddling at the computer for a while then printing and having a real 3d thing.

3 points by mkramlich 5 days ago 0 replies      
#1: SSD

#2: MongoDB

#3: iPad

though I have not used them significantly, I have sort of drooled from afar over: Twilio, Redis, Node.js, Clojure and Kindle

(ok some of the above are not super new-new, but new enough to me)

5 points by justinchen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Redis. It has ton of different data structures that make it an interesting alternative to the relational DB and memcache.
2 points by ihumanable 4 days ago 0 replies      
Flourish Unframework for PHP (http://flourishlib.com) I've looked at it in the past, but this was the first time I was able to work in it professional thanks to a change in career.

It's a really great core library for building web applications, takes the 1389408103 functions in PHP and produces a nice modular library that gives you everything you need and nothing you don't.

3 points by endtime 5 days ago 0 replies      
CoffeeScript, Raphael.JS, and Django (not new this year, but new to me) were definitely my favorite tools of 2010. I've just started playing with Tropo as well, which is better for my purposes than Twilio.
6 points by niels 5 days ago 0 replies      
Backbone.js! Hits the sweetspot for a lightweight clientside MVC framework.
4 points by catshirt 5 days ago 0 replies      
node.js was already mentioned as someone's third, but I'd like to cast a sole vote. seriously, it's awesome.
1 point by andrewljohnson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here are some great open source iPhone libraries I use:

* Mopub - mix and match ad networks, server side - open source SDK (brand new start-up that just got funded, out of AngelPad)

* ASIHTTP - makes networking easy

* TouchJSON - the fastest JSON library, AFAIK

* Appirater - easy drop-in widget for prompting for reviews

2 points by cageface 4 days ago 0 replies      

It makes cross-platform native app development easy, and is a huge leg up for audio work.

2 points by mindcrime 4 days ago 0 replies      
The closest to "cool, shiny and new" I got was Scala. And I never found time to dig as deeply into it as I wanted, so I still haven't done any meaningful coding in it yet. But I did sit down last week and spent a couple of days working through the Programming Scala book, and one of my major goals in 2011 is to learn Scala well.

Other than that, the stuff I did this year that was merely "new to me" was mostly about Groovy and Grails. I spent a ton of time working with Grails, and I'm really liking it.

7 points by neduma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody mentioned GIT. I went too deep in Git this year.

Others would be Sproutcore, Rails3, Coffeescript, Erlang.

4 points by schmichael 5 days ago 2 replies      

I've worked with MongoDB, Cassandra, and a host of other tools, libraries, databases, and frameworks, but beanstalk is the only one to never fail me. It's not a full swiss army knife like Redis or the sexy app of the year like MongoDB: beanstalk does 1 job and does it, as far as I can tell, perfectly.

2 points by wensing 4 days ago 0 replies      
haXe + FlashDevelop. http://www.flashdevelop.org/wikidocs/index.php?title=Feature... Lightning fast compilation and IDE plus a language that can target multiple platforms = major time savings for a bootstrapped startup.
3 points by yankoff 4 days ago 0 replies      
This post made my day. I've found some new interesting stuff from the comments. Thank you.

2010 was a year of discoveries for me. I started learning and using technologies like Ruby, Rails, Sinatra, HAML, Google Maps API v3. I started reading HN. Just in the end of the year I've discovered that with technologies like Rhodes framework, Appcelerator or Phonegap I can create iPhone/Android applications with HTML/Javascript or Ruby without knowing objective C. And this is just the most recent excitement I got.

3 points by kefeizhou 5 days ago 0 replies      
1. MongoDB - I see several people also listed mongodb but I particularly want to mention the simplicity of setting up the database and using the API.

2. AndroidOS - It came out few years back but it really took off in 2010. I can't wait to see the new features for 2011 and how it'll fare against iOS.

3. Python - even though I've been using python for several years I'm still constantly surprised by it's core features (recently coroutines) and it's plethora of awesome third-party libraries.

2 points by AndrewGreen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Apologies for blowing my own trumpet, but pound for pound, the neatest thing I've worked with this year is a C++ template I wrote. I like to have the tightest possible scoping of names, but a common pattern makes that difficult. If you've got a function that produces a good value or indicates that it couldn't do so one way to write it is:

  Type theVar;
if (theFunction(theVar)
{ /*do something with theVar*/ }

theFunction returns true if it set theVar, false otherwise.
The problem is that theVar's visibility extends beyond our interest in it. The ZQ template lets me write this:

  if (ZQ<Type> theQ = theFunction())
{ /*do something with theQ.Get()*/}

and all of a sudden I don't have to come up with anywhere near as many meaningful names as before.

To me it's neat because I've found many unanticipated uses for it e.g. wrapping the values in option-specifying structures where a default is cleanly indicated with a default-inited (or subsequently Clear()ed) ZQ, rather than having a separate 'use default' boolean, or 'set default' function.


3 points by wil2k 4 days ago 0 replies      
#1 - MongoDB: see comments above. :)
#2 - Redis: also see comments above. ;)

#3 - new to me: Twisted as a server framework; more specific Cyclone which is a Twisted-based clone of the Tornado server framework.


Comes with built-in MongoDB (TxMongo) and Redis (TxRedisAPI) support too! :)

1 point by jamesbritt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just realized that I need to add Mirah (http://www.mirah.org/) to my list of cool 2010 tech.

I only started using about a week or so ago, but, hey, that;s still 2010.

I was trying to manipulate Kinect data in JRuby, but it was too slow. However, I may be able to use Mirah instead, and if all goes well get Rawr to auto-compile Mirah files as part of the build process. Mirah's still a bit rough, but knowing Charlie I expect it to rock.

I'm pretty excited about 2011. Which should be starting in about 30 minutes for me ...

Happy new year, all!

2 points by enneff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Go. I've had more fun writing Go programs and working on the Go project than any engineering work I'd done before.
2 points by ljegou 4 days ago 0 replies      
- WebServices, to provide access for R, Python, and spatial calculations (WPS norm). Complex calculations without installing any client software, anywhere with an Internet connection.

- PostGIS raster capabilities (at last some raster storage and computing inside the database).

- Devon:Think / Bookends / Nisus Writer : Scientific papers and books intelligent storage, bibliography management and scientific writing.

3 points by pederb72 5 days ago 0 replies      
GLM (http://glm.g-truc.net/) - A C++ mathematics library based on GLSL. It's not a new library, but I didn't know about until 2010. It's really convenient to use (almost) the same syntax in C++ as you do in GLSL.
3 points by jamesbritt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Physical/wearable computing: Arduino Lilypad, and the Kinect.
9 points by Rendy 5 days ago 1 reply      
The Google Map API v3 is pretty nice.
1 point by kingnothing 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ruby on Rails 3: It's much more succinct than Rails 2.

Ruby 1.9.2: It was time to move up from 1.8.7.

MongoDB: I introduced this new technology to the company I work at which has now adopted it for two significant projects. One was the project I researched it for initially, which handles millions of writes per week, and the other is a rewrite of something we used to use MySQL for. It currently has a hundred million or so documents and is going strong. It's new and fun. My collection uses dynamic sharding; I think the other one does as well. One is hosted in our data center, the other is in the cloud. Both are in production and running with 100% uptime so far.

3 points by naba 5 days ago 0 replies      
At work, I've used the Java Play framework and absolutely loved it. Been recommending it to only java guys ever since. Learnt python and django this year and was blown away.
3 points by seivan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rails 3
Chipmunk Physics

Anyone who says MongoDB without having a proper use will get a very angry stare from me.

2 points by lionheart 5 days ago 0 replies      
A bit late to the party but I finally learned and started using Ruby on Rails this year and I love it.
2 points by dgudkov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Vertica (http://vertica.com) - massively parallel columnar DBMS for querying multi-terabyte databases. BTW, heavily used by Zynga in 200+ nodes cluster.
2 points by Luyt 4 days ago 0 replies      
The combination of CherryPy, memcache, oursql and DBUtils. This is a kind of lean and mean Python webapp stack.
2 points by mkeblx 5 days ago 0 replies      
three.js (https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js/)
An easy to use wrapper for doing 3D graphics via JS using canvas, WebGL, and SVG renderers. Check out the cool demos. I'm betting 2011 will see a lot done with this and similar libraries.
1 point by elithrar 4 days ago 0 replies      
For me?

· Rails 3 became everything I wanted Rails to be " I've come from Django and am really loving the ecosystem and the way the documentation has matured.

· Varnish " just an awesome piece of software. Fantastic job of caching, from small sites to large, without having to write mountains of config files. It's something you can drop it from an early stage with little cost in time, and know it'll be ready to help an application as it grows/scales.

· SSD's: didn't realise how good they were until I got a machine with one. I don't think I can buy a new machine without one now.

1 point by j_baker 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm actually beginning to enjoy writing things in Haskell. It's the first statically typed language that I enjoy using (although I do still miss dynamic typing).
2 points by mjuhl24 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is not a new technology, but new for me this year was working with MVC frameworks for web development. My workflow has vastly improved because of it. Specifically, the Play Framework (java/scala) and Rails 3.0 (ruby) have been great new additions to the many available.
2 points by ww520 5 days ago 1 reply      
The Play Framework is amazing. Its rapid development capability allowed me to finish one project with highly compressed schedule ahead of time.
1 point by sea6ear 4 days ago 0 replies      
Neither of these are truly "new" but maybe new to mainstream?

1.Haskell or "how I learned to stop worrying (about monads) and just do io." Still fighting with the type system occasionally but I think it's getting better.

2.Erlang - I so love this language. The concurrency support makes me think about programming the way I want to think about programming. I also like that's it's most of the fun of functional programming (Haskell style) but without having to deal with types.

4 points by jmonegro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rails 3 and HTML5
1 point by enjalot 4 days ago 0 replies      
OpenCL - this year I've been learning about GPU acceleration, and while it may not be good for everything it is looking very interesting for various applications.

While my area is currently graphics/simulation I'm wondering how effective adding GPUs as accelerators to large scale web problems would be. It's really taking of in the Super Computing area, so I'm sure there is room for it!

4 points by kokoloko 4 days ago 0 replies      
Scala - It's what Java should be.
2 points by thomasknowles 4 days ago 0 replies      
Redis, that super quick key value pair data store which integrated support for hashes has made my life easier for message queuing and session management.
1 point by nRike 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, i still was in the university but i've had chance to play with a few ones:

LCDS, WebORB specifically and Flex 3
Lift Web Framework

And in the Q4 of the year i used all my time to learn Android and a lot of cool API's:

Overlay-Manager to recognize gestures in Android
Geocoding and reverse geocoding
Notifications by vibrating

I really enjoyed developing Android stuff, and i'm keeping up with these for a while.

2 points by keegangrayson 4 days ago 0 replies      
iPod touch, flip video recorder, droid 2 global, linux mint on usb, 1.5 TB drive, and a remote control helicopter... good year
2 points by herrherr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Google App Engine.
1 point by lscharen 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have to develop a from-scratch application for work and have been pleasantly surprised with the current crop of .NET technologies and how well they can be integrated with open-source systems.

MVC.NET 3 + Entity Framework 4 + OpenRasta + Membership Framework + MEF + LINQ + dojo has been a good experience so far.

3 points by nivertech 5 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by squar3h3ad 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not new technologies - but I got started with Django and jQuery. Delved deeper into numpy - loved all of them!
1 point by rick_2047 4 days ago 0 replies      
I worked on LPC2148, an ARM7 based controller. A refreshing experience I guess. Made me realize how easy AVR series actually is. Started working with Atmega8s again this Wednesday and realized that I find it easier to work on.
3 points by michaelty 5 days ago 0 replies      
Clojure. I miss map and reduce already.
3 points by tarikjn 5 days ago 0 replies      
PHP and Visual Basic

...kidding :)

1 point by dho 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bundler (http://gembundler.com/) for managing the dependencies of Ruby/Rails applications.
2 points by zppx 5 days ago 0 replies      
LDAP, particularly 389 DS.
2 points by nsm 4 days ago 0 replies      
redis, node.js, socket.IO, ccache (not new, but new for me), QML
2 points by maxer 5 days ago 0 replies      
faceboook graph/api, always learning :)
1 point by SeanDav 4 days ago 0 replies      
Probably redundant to mention it here but hands down and by a country mile: news.ycombinator.com aka Hacker News.
2 points by rviswanadha 5 days ago 0 replies      
1. Node.JS
2. ExpressJS
3. Mongoose
4. MongoDB
1 point by bauchidgw 4 days ago 0 replies      
video + canvas + v8 js engine

2011 we will see in-browser video editing

1 point by EricR9 4 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely Rails 3 for me. I've started taking it more seriously and developing with it professionally.
2 points by d3fun 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by tfs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Web2py :-)
2 points by ecounysis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why We Desperately Need a New (and Better) Google techcrunch.com
214 points by vyrotek 3 days ago   184 comments top 24
73 points by danilocampos 3 days ago replies      
An obvious improvement to Google whose absence shocks the hell out of me would be this:

Personal domain blacklist.

There's a lot of spammy bullshit on the web and Google seems to have given up on keeping this away from me. Fine. But for my specific searches, there's usually a handful of offenders who, if I never, ever saw them again, it would improve my search experience by an order of magnitude.

So let me personalize search by blacklisting these clowns. Why can't I filter my search results so that when I search for a programming issue, I never see these assholes from "Efreedom" who scrape and republish Stack Overflow?

I don't, personally, need an algorithmic solution to spam. Just let me define spam for my personal searches and, for me, the problem is mostly solved.

(Also blacklisted: Yahoo Answers, Experts Exchange.)

31 points by cletus 3 days ago 4 replies      
This issue in a roundabout kind of way touches on Facebook.

The issue of social search has a lot of mindshare. Some think it is the future of search. I disagree.

One of the things that made search successful anduseful early on was scale. Instead of having to go to the librar or ask your friends you can effectively canvas the connected world.

I find the notion that friends' recommendations will replace that as nothing short of bizarre. It's like a huge step backwards. The argument is that you can filter out the garbage as your social graph will provide a level of curation.

Let me give you a concrete example. If I wanted t buy a camera I'd stil need t go to dpreview and other sites. It's highly likely that my friends don't really know a lot about this (but some will have an opinion anyway).

This same idea of human curation is behind such sites ad Mahalo and the garbage sites themselves to a degree. Of course at some point computers will be powerful enough to generate this garbage content.

Blekko's idea of slash tags s interesting (to a degree) but if it's successful its easily reproducible. Google is still in the box seat here but of course that's no barrier to a link-baiting TC title.

Personally I'm an optimist. I believe that, much like email spam, the garbage from AC, DM and others I'd a transitional problem (email spam is basically a solved problem now if you use a half-decent email provider). If they succeed we won't be able to find anything. I don't believe that'll happen so these services are therefore doomed.

So betting on Demand Media is (to quote Tyler) like betting on the Mayans (meaning betting they're right about the world ending in 2012: it doesnt really matter if you're right).

So my money is on Google being the better Google.

40 points by Matt_Cutts 3 days ago 5 replies      
"Google does provide an option to search within a date range, but these are the dates when website was indexed rather than created; which means the results are practically useless."

I believe the author is mistaken on this point. Quick proof is to do a search for [matt cutts] and you'll see the root page of my blog. Click "More search tools" on the left and click the "Past week" link. Now you'll only see pages created the last week, even though lots of pages on my site were indexed in the last week.

20 points by DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is exactly what blogger Paul Kedrosky found when trying to buy a dishwasher. He wrote about how he began Googleing for information…and Googleing…and Googleing. He couldn't make head or tail of the results. Paul concluded that the “the entire web is spam when it comes to major appliance reviews”.

So I happen to know somebody who is taking a small section of the home appliance market and creating content around it -- reviews, news, advice, a place for other consumers to talk to each other.

Of course to do this you need to have income, so they are going to use some sort of ad-supported model.

My question is very simple: is their project a spam site or not? To some, I guess it would qualify. To others, not.

You see, there are two questions when it comes to search results: 1) Am I being presented results that match the query I entered? and 2) Am I being presented results that match what I want to know?

These are two entirely different things. A third-grader looking for information on a movie star might find a games page with all sorts of information on that star -- all sponsored by some kind of adsensey stuff. And he's very happy. A researcher typing in the same question gets the same page? He's pissed.

There is no universal answer for any one question. It's all dependent on the culture, education, and intent of the user -- all of which are not easily communicated to a search engine.

Look -- this is a real problem. I hate it. Sucks to go to pages you don't like. All I'm saying is that it's more complicated than "we need a new Google" Finding what you want exactly when you want it is a difficult and non-trivial problem. We just got lucky in that Google found a simple algorithm that can be helpful in some situations. It may be that we're seeing the natural end of the usefulness of that algorithm.


20 points by replicatorblog 3 days ago replies      
It will be interesting to see how this impacts the Android/iOS battle. Search revenue funds almost all of Google's other activities so if people start using other search engines or find alternate ways to get their content it could impact the level they can spend on phones.

With a push to a mobile first world the Android model is especially sensitive to spam. On a full size browser you have a lot more context and results for a given search. 5 Results may be spam, but you can work around them. If the average phone screen shows 3-5 results and all of them are spam you will quickly find alternate tools.

Google ignoring spam is like Microsoft ignoring the cloud.

33 points by klbarry 3 days ago 3 replies      
Isn't the issue, of course, that spammers have no incentive to game other search engines since they're not worth the time? Any search engine that gets big will have the problem.
4 points by tokenadult 3 days ago 1 reply      
Let me see if I correctly understand the learned professor's article. In his view, the problem is that a user using a free search engine to find information will find a lot of information about people who want to sell products and services, gaining money by exerting their time and effort. What he hopes to obtain for free is email addresses of persons to whom he wants to send his survey, so that he can use their time and effort without compensating them to produce something of value to him. Exactly how is this a problem?

People who actively like to be contacted by random persons surfing the Internet make their contact information readily available (and answer questions sent through those publicly visible contact channels). But to many other persons, not being readily visible on the Internet is a feature rather than a bug. (Disclaimer: my contact information is readily visible on the Internet, so readily visible that it has been used by point-of-view pushers on Wikipedia to give me harassing telephone calls.)

3 points by buro9 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love Google products, but I can't help but agree. I'm currently trying to find a colour laser printer that has good performance (quality vs speed) with a reasonable running cost over the life of the printer (at least a few years).

All I'm getting is either the manufacturers slant (PR) or spam sites all harvesting the same reviews.

To solve this I now look for vertical based search sites. In this case http://www.printershowcase.com/small-officecolorlaser.aspx is the best I've found... but it's hardly to printers what dpreview is to cameras.

I stick with Google because it largely works well, but when I know what I want to see and that it must exist but cannot find it... then I find myself looking elsewhere all the time. DDG and Blekko I use in these cases, but even they're not solving these kinds of needs.

11 points by JusticeJones 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tell me, how exactly is writing a sensationalized article that targets one of the Internet's oldest and largest communities to get fed by CPM advertising any different than what they decry? People have said this time and time again, but they never seem to debut let alone promise any sort of technology to address the issue. They just leave that end of the deal up in the air. As if to say that it's o.k. to spin topics as long as they strike a social nerve, but those who're less graceful at the craft are undeserving of the benefits which they themselves reap.

If the search giants had any balls they'd cut the "Internet Marketing" community off at the knees. Because the money making methods pushed by that community either don't work or are unsustainable, so they're entirely reliant on a steady stream of new recruits. If they want to promote gaming your system don't let them reap any benefits from it.

3 points by d4nt 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that the way of "gaming" Google appears to be in having thousands of people generating SEO friendly content. I think Google's problem is that it's pushed SEO to the point where the definition of Spam depends either on a subjective view of what kind of site the user is looking for, or it's just mildly worse than something else that's out there (e.g. When I search for something coding related and get one of the stackoverflow scrapers).

Where do we go from here? Well, I don't think the answer is just a radically new way of indexing/ranking websites. That might work in the short term but the spammers will soon catch up. The answer probably lies in a combination of better language interpretation, context sensitivity using browsing history and location, and user profiling based on the social graph and search history. All of which google seems to be working on.

13 points by petervandijck 3 days ago 3 replies      
The argument being that Google is loosing the war against spam. A new and better Google will likely be Google itself. What we really need is a way to discover content that's not search.
3 points by ams6110 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why would it be so difficult for Google to filter out spam sites? E.g. DuckDuckGo filters out eHow.com results, because they are low quality and tend to be spammy.

Oh of course, it's not in Google's interest to do this, because they make money from the spam sites. So I don't expect Google to really "solve" this problem.... their trick is to stay useful enough that users don't abandon them, but allow enough spam into the search results to provide revenue. A tricky balance...

3 points by didip 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just created a blekko account after reading this article (good job TC! It works this time.)

They seriously need to hire a capable UX person. The logged-in interface is full of problems:

* Twitter-like status update. I believe this has nothing to do with search.

* Form with 10+ fields on creating a slashtag. You cannot possibly expect me to enter all domain names I could think of into that tiny <textarea>?

* I finally created /python but I have no idea how to improve or update the slashtag. I cannot update that slashtag from search results page.

Overall, very frustrating experience.

2 points by jrussbowman 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the new things I am working on with unscatter.com is getting quicker access to reviews and blog posts using the blekko api. The next release will be a major change as I've dumped most of the current search providers in favor of blekko and have moved realtime search to it's own page with analysis by providing lists of links in the realtime feed.

Nothing is released yet unfortunately. The site is officially a hobby for me write more but I hope to have the new stuff up in the next week or two. I may just hide the realtime stuff and get the blekko feeds up sooner rather than later.

Now that I am focusing building the site to fit my needs getting up to date info about products and technology, the bulk of my personal searches, is the top priority. Have to admit the blekko api has helped.

In the mean time I would suggest the slash tags /reviews and /blogs with /date on blekko would be very helpful if you are doing product searches. With unscatter I am really only providing shortcuts for the with additional ui tweaks.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with blekko other than having been given permission to use their api for a personal project.

3 points by meadhikari 3 days ago 0 replies      
Professor, you could've proved your point by linking to
at least one example of how Blekko found a founders
work and listed it by date (as the task required), instead
you have hashtags on health, finance, etc.
The truth is that nobody has arranged that information
in the way you want, if it existed at all, that venture
database where you found the 500 companies
would've been the natural place to look.. CrunchBase

Thought Worth mentioning

2 points by mark_l_watson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just tried two test queries on blekko and google. Small sample, but there did seem to be less link-bate results on blekko. The issue is whether their results are close to being as up to date as google's results.

I was interested that blekko seems to have done a lot with a modest amount of funding.

Also, I wonder if they are getting some monetization with the association with Facebook.

3 points by apollo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This may be a bit of a tangent, but I want to see the results of the VC system survey.
2 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
He couldn't make head or tail of the results. Paul concluded that the “the entire web is spam when it comes to major appliance reviews”.

A simple solution to this: Consumer Reports. A subscription is well worth it! The likelihood that it will pay for itself in the next year is very high.

2 points by kmfrk 3 days ago 1 reply      
How does yegg deal with this on DuckDuckGo? A lot of us use his search engine, and it's a great one at that, which is not worth forgetting.
1 point by EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, so what you are basically saying is, "the best computer algorithms in the world" (you know, Google has like > 578690 Ph. D's) are not good enough to have effective search, so we should introduce the human element.

Fair enough. There is the Open Directory Project (which is pretty old) and of course there is Facebook, Twitter, and other, human-curated services. Starting a whole new company to do search and compete with Google (and Bing)? Seems like a waste of time as Google can just copy what you are doing and incorporate it into its already massive site (complete with traffic, audience, and lots of other goodies). Instead, why not get Google to add more social recommendation and feedback features?

1 point by DTrejo 3 days ago 0 replies      
http://duckduckgo.com/ works very well for me.

  - less spam
- programmer oriented results, when relevant
- more legible search results

3 points by kokon 3 days ago 0 replies      
CMIIW, but is that the reason why Google acquired MetaWeb a few months ago? I'm expecting to see some improvement on that front.
1 point by Dramatize 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to have the option (like facebook has when you mouse over a post in your feed) to hide all results from X website.

If you tied that with the ability to follow other people and their search edits, the number of spammy results could be reduced.

1 point by oliverdamian 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about a P2P search/bookmarking platform where peers could publish search/bookmarking histories ranked by like/dislike/spam votes which other peers can subscribe to. Publishing peers can also be ranked according to number of subscribers. Actually P2P curation could be the next level up from raw centralised search. Is there anything like this out there already?
Paul Buchheit: Angel investing, my first three years paulbuchheit.blogspot.com
209 points by paul 1 day ago   83 comments top 8
7 points by nod 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised that the average investment is actually that small. (Yes, we've been hearing of this trend overall, but still, ~30 companies per million?) Is an average of < $38K all that companies want/need, or all that they will take?
4 points by CytokineStorm 1 day ago 2 replies      
"A few companies (such as ScanScout) were acquired by other private companies, so I include those in the "still alive and doing well" category, since it was not an exit from the investor perspective (no liquidity)"

How common is it for investors not to get liquidity in this situation?

15 points by ctl 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's ironic that YC membership might become exactly the kind of credential to investors that a college degree is to employers, given PG's distaste for such things. Makes me a little sad, actually.
11 points by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would be nice to hear what you have learned from those six companies two of which are dead and four are zombies.
3 points by johnrob 1 day ago replies      
I find myself asking non-YC companies why they aren't yet in YC

Are there any legitimate excuses for a startup not to be in YC, other than rejection? I can't think of any (especially when you read http://paulgraham.com/equity.html).

4 points by zacharycohn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looking back, what are some warning signs that you can identify from some of your failed investments that you'll look for in the future?
1 point by joshfraser 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminded me of the Ignite talk David Cohen (TechStars) gave on the math behind angel investing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54vmDhBImkw

These are GREAT returns when you remember that most angel investors lose money. But I'm not surprised Paul is doing well. It's obvious that his motives are in the right place and he's been hands-on with enough technology that he understands this stuff better than most. Paul is a huge asset to YC. This just goes to show (again) how lucky YC are to have him on their team.

2 points by ivankirigin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried to estimate the value of the still active but illiquid startups?

Heroku was winter 08 not summer, btw

Rich Hickey stops Clojure funding appeal from 2011 onwards clojure.org
194 points by zaph0d 14 hours ago   59 comments top 11
64 points by jacquesm 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Good for him, no donations should translate in to obligations, they're donations, voluntary and are considered to be a reward for services rendered in the past, not the future.

Typically when someone is as driven as this and you get the output of all the labour that went in to it the proper words are 'thank you' and if you feel like rewarding the creator then that's great. But that does not entitle anybody to future preferential treatment or even any guaranteed output level.

24 points by praptak 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh well. I hope that the majority of the community is not like that. Just to restore some balance in the universe: I have donated and I don't expect any obligation in return.
8 points by masterponomo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
From what I've seen, Rich does things to end controversies quickly rather than talk them to death. There was a religious war developing in the user group some time ago over licensing terms of products that were developed in Clojure. Rich didn't take a side, as I recall--he simply intervened after a few days and asked people not to carry on this discussion but to focus on technical issues. At least one heavyweight (Jon Harrop) seemed to disappear from the user group upon being asked to cut out the licensing jibber-jabber, but peace was restored.

Given Clojure/core potential earnings and the bigger bang for the buck of corporate sponsorships, requests for individual donations are not worth the ill-will that they apparently cause. I like his techniques for time management and choosing his battles carefully.

Onward with Clojure development!

5 points by bphogan 13 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

He's basically complaining that people think they own him (or his time) because they donated money. I've seen that, and it's terribly unfortunate. I was right with him until I saw

    "I encourage businesses using Clojure ...to discuss options for corporate support for Clojure."

Seems to me he'd run into similar problems from corporate sponsorships. Am I missing something here?

6 points by mark_l_watson 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Rich: I am sorry that you did this. Please add the PayPal donate button back onto clojure.org.

I never make large donations to open source projects, etc., but I give small $2 to $10 donations for things that I use. What this allows me to do is to contribute a modest $30 to $40 per year to projects that I use and not feel like a total freeloader.

18 points by zaph0d 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Possible reason behind the decision - http://news.ycombinator.net/item?id=2053908
1 point by tomfaulhaber 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
"my/our continuing work on Clojure is an ongoing gift"

and what a gift it is! Thank you Rich (and the rest of the Clojure community) for this wonderful language.

Personally, it makes my work more enjoyable when I use it and I look around and see folks all over having fun with it. Plus it's creating jobs and competitive advantage.

Not everything is awesome, but from where I sit, Clojure sure is.

8 points by pmorrisonfl 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, now I want to contribute anyway, as a token of respect... and I don't even use clojure!
2 points by cemerick 13 hours ago 1 reply      
tl;dr: Rich is no longer accepting donations from individuals, but businesses (and presumably not-for-profits as well?) are still encouraged to contribute to the development effort.

There are a bunch of corporate sponsors of Clojure, and the list continues to grow: http://clojure.org/funders

FWIW, Snowtide was the first announced corporate sponsor of Clojure in the 2010 drive, and we'll be renewing that sponsorship for 2011 (I just need to dig myself out of the stuff that accumulated over the past 2 weeks first!).

2 points by zacharypinter 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting to see Steve Yegge on the funders list, hadn't noticed that before: http://clojure.org/funders
1 point by philjackson 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not accept donations with the explicit disclaimer that under no circumstances will Rich's development efforts be swayed?
Github 404 page github.com
184 points by config_yml 4 days ago   43 comments top 18
26 points by nanexcool 4 days ago 0 replies      
Octocat's name is Octobi Wan Catnobi (view source)
12 points by siddhant 4 days ago 3 replies      
The 404 page on Blippy is worth a mention too - http://blippy.com/404
24 points by config_yml 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love the github guys for their attention to detail, the 500 page is also worth seeing: https://github.com/500
5 points by substack 4 days ago 0 replies      
For extra fun, type this in the address bar while on the github 404 page:

    javascript:var theta = 0; setInterval(function () { theta += 0.05; parallax({ pageX : (Math.sin(theta) + 1) * 1000, pageY : (Math.cos(theta) + 1) * 1000}) }, 50)

33 points by danpker 4 days ago 1 reply      
Make sure you move your mouse over the image.
4 points by bootload 4 days ago 1 reply      
Reddit has/had a good 404 ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/2835213914/in/set-7215... though I liked their general error report better ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/98158858/in/set-721576... "sorry broke: looks like we shouldn't have stopped using lisp..."
6 points by eam 4 days ago 2 replies      
Their 503 https://github.com/503 collection of random github-approved youtube videos.
13 points by effkay 4 days ago 1 reply      
this is the most awesome thing i've seen in 2011 so far
2 points by jrockway 4 days ago 0 replies      
So I tried moving my mouse left and right while closing my right and left eyes. Alternate fast enough and it really looks 3D!
1 point by aw3c2 4 days ago 1 reply      
All those creative error pages make me think that it might be a great "dear team, maybe you fancy hacking some funny or exciting non-related webdesign stuff in your free time. If you create something nice and want to, we can use it as our error page" motivation to have your programmers space out and hack as they like while still contributing to the project.
2 points by kacy 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is so cool! Imagine the future of web based gaming where it detects your head movement (like the mouse). So close to 3D! :-)
1 point by savrajsingh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it would present some ui allowing you to enter the code for the page. "page not found? This is github, so you write it. :)"
2 points by marcinw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Cute, but damn onmouseover on the iPad.... :(
1 point by meatsock 4 days ago 1 reply      
sorry this page doesn't seem to load for me.
2 points by aesacus 4 days ago 0 replies      
The 3d effect is achieved using JParallax
1 point by ianl 4 days ago 0 replies      
This made my day.
-3 points by landhar 4 days ago 0 replies      
The link seems broken, it didn't get me where I wanted.
-2 points by laughinghan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the first person to go "Woah! That's cool!" then look at the code and instantly go "WTF?!"?

  - Browser sniffing using `document.all` to test for IE

- Browser sniffing at all!

- Aborting `trace` rather than just removing it

- In `init`, repeatedly calling `document.getElementById` with the same `id`
instead of storing them in variables

- Calling `document.getElementById` every time `parallax`, the `mousemove` event
handler, is triggered rather than `init` storing them *once* in variables that
`parallax` has access to

Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting lesswrong.com
182 points by ab9 3 days ago   46 comments top 15
17 points by edw519 2 days ago 2 replies      
The best hack I ever learned to avoid the "pain of getting started" problem:

Never finish.

I always leave something easy, even trivial, undone when I knock off each day. So no matter what else I'm doing the next day, it's easy to change a format, add another data element, or change a few variable names. Then once I get going, it's much easier to keep going.

Things that don't work well with this method: debugging a nasty problem, reworking architecture, scaling, or major additions. Those are best left for later in the day.

29 points by te_platt 3 days ago 6 replies      
And all this time I just thought I was lazy.

Actually, this article made think about what the relationship is between being lazy and being a procrastinator. Once I get going I enjoy working and it feels so good to get things done. Still, I have the hardest time getting started. So what are the best methods to get going? It seems avoiding HN may be one of them.

12 points by angrycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
After a day of procrastinating, you usually feel like shit. You are worried and stressed because now you have even more work to do. So by taking the day to 'relax', you have actually worsened your mental state.

After a day of working, assuming it was a productive day where you actually solved problems, you usually feel pretty damn good.

13 points by csomar 2 days ago 2 replies      
Success and happiness cause you to regain willpower

I discovered this a while ago and found a good hack for it. I created a fake index, and within this index, I listed companies. Each company means something: progress in work, proficiency in English, learning, reading, self-improvement...

The day opens at 10 A.M, when I wake up. The trade begins. If I work or make money, the index rise (one of the company indexes or more). If I procrastinate, I lower the index. This makes me uncomfortable, because I'm looking to grow the index and not actually lower it. So, I get back to work to get the index up or reduce loses.

Sometimes I'm very productive; I don't even check it out. I don't rise it a lot after that. But other times, I procrastinate a lot, so I return back to the index and drop it dramatically. I feel like I'm obliged to safe the situation, so I work to reduce the loses.

This also keeps me with all my goals, as I care about the global index and also companies indexes.

hint: You need to make this index a part of your life. That's necessary if you want that it forces you to work.

19 points by schm00 2 days ago 3 replies      
I learned a long time ago that I could cure the pain of procrastination by opening an editor and typing

  int main(int argc, char **argv) {

I still do this... just opening the appropriate program -- emacs, MS Word, whatever -- and typing a line that looks like it might actually be useful is enough to get me started doing real work, even when I have no idea how to complete the project (which was what was stopping me from starting in the first place).

4 points by wisty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps meditation is a good cure for this type of procrastination? It shouldn't take any effort to close your eyes for a few seconds, and "meditate" to regain your focus. Then, it's easier to decide what to do next.
3 points by nazgulnarsil 2 days ago 0 replies      
it's easier to pull yourself across activation costs than it is to push yourself across them.


1 point by mannicken 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found that having certain rituals, like ingestion of certain substances (caffeine for programming, e.g.) or listening to certain music, or visiting certain forums before doing an activity pretty much removed procrastination from my life. With substances, I found (by accident) that placebo works just as well.

Of course, now I have to battle different drug addictions but that's a completely different story :)

4 points by Jabbles 2 days ago 0 replies      
A very interesting perspective. Now hurry up with HPMOR!
1 point by Jach 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Action precedes motivation."

Ludum Dare ( http://www.ludumdare.com ) is a great way to free yourself from some procrastination chains for a weekend. I typically start with a menu screen if I haven't gotten into the mood, since it's easy, it should be necessary, and it lets me digest my planned game some before I start on the main bits.

1 point by ntoshev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is more than this: e.g. it's easier to procrastinate when you're tired and this theory doesn't account for it.

I wonder if RescueTime data contain really important insights on productivity. They should try to mine them, probably Netflix-prize style would work well.

2 points by taiyab 2 days ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is, this isn't just a problem in the developer community, it's across all creative fields (OK, it's not funny, you know what I mean :P).

I've always found that just starting with something very small to get into it always helps tons. I know it's a simple point, but it really does work wonders. Once you start, you'll just naturally progress and want to continue for a while longer.

1 point by tom_ilsinszki 2 days ago 0 replies      
I also fear, that I start working on a problem, give it my best and still fail. It's easier to explain why I failed if I've procrastinated.

I don't think that the pain of context switching explains procrastination fully...

3 points by codyguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting observation. I've observed many times it's just about opening the appropriate file/IDE and the rest takes care of itself.
1 point by sn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm considering making a morning playlist of songs that get me motivated for when I wake up.
The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People zenhabits.net
182 points by evac 2 days ago   55 comments top 19
35 points by sudont 2 days ago replies      
Nope. The most effective habit of highly creative people is persistence, the ability to work and work and work while resisting burn-out.

The best graphic designers I've ever met would put in 8-10 hour days, then go home and work on their personal projects. It was effective, they all had at least 3 AIGA awards and about 10 HOW awards, each.

22 points by solipsist 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article left out the following quote of Albert Einstein:

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind

4 points by narrator 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unplugging and just staring at the wall for a couple of hours alone is good for creativity. It tends to lead to a good mental environment for "image streaming". "Image Streaming" is watching a movie in your mind made up of as many memories and things you can imagine pieced together, usually focused on a particular topic. It's basically a way to access the enormous power of the right-side of the brain.
2 points by iamwil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, I've found that the "Top idea in mind" is how I do it, and figured someone would have mentioned it already.


I just never put a name into it, until I read that essay. When you mull over something in your mind all the time, you're bound to come up with something as you get more new pieces of information in your day to day life.

7 points by pmichaud 2 days ago 1 reply      
The habit is "solitude."
2 points by Stormbringer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think solitude and deep thinking time are crucially important to programming. However, I have been becoming more and more aware that programming is also performance art (audience of our peers), by which I mean that programming is also a social activity.

In order to be appreciated, it must be shared.

2 points by dzuc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Might I recommend: David Bohm wrote a very accessible book on creativity--what it is, how it works, etc.


3 points by JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, maybe its not #1, but it is important.

Newton did his best work hiding out in his country house during Plague season.

Einsteid flourished in a Patent office - nobody bothered him much, he could spend all day thinking.

2 points by ramidarigaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really? I don't think so. Some of the coolest ideas I've ever had have come during discussions with friends. I'm most productive when I'm alone, but rarely do I have creative ideas by myself.
1 point by etal 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is also called "flow" or being "in the zone" -- focusing on one thing, intensely, without interruptions. It's one more reason to lump programming in with the other creative arts.
2 points by mcnemesis 1 day ago 0 replies      
to a good extent, creativity == (ability to generate alternatives && identify / pick out the best)

and i believe 'ability to generating alternatives' is one of the most important issue here, as often times, most / all existing solutions to a problem have failed or are poor, and it is then required of a 'creative' person to come up with alternatives - obviously the bonus is when the best is picked from these alternatives.

1 point by alexwestholm 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article notes that solitude should be balanced with participation and awareness of one's space. Upon reading that, I realized that's why sites like HN are so valuable to me: I get both without much hassle.
2 points by daimyoyo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the fact that most historically creative people were nite owls, and the fact they score better on iq tests (see http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200911/intelligence-...) could be linked to the solitude that inevitably happens when you're up late.
2 points by bettie03 1 day ago 0 replies      
It amazes me to no end how many people believe that all study stops after the completion of the prison sentence some call school.The TV, the Xbox, Playstations and chat rooms all become the new classroom. If you are not reading and attempting to expand your mind through the books of some of the worlds most gifted people, you should. The person that does not read is no better off than the person that can't read.
1 point by mbesto 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this idea that somehow creative people are somehow "special"; I really like the articles preface of "Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly " how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?"

Here is a good interview with Craig Wynett ("Chief Creativity Officer") at P&G, in which he attempts to explain how they at P&G are trying to approach creativity from a scientific approach:


In my opinion, cognitive science will be a huge topic in marketing in the years to come.

1 point by dave1619 2 days ago 0 replies      
I resonate with the article. As I've grown in the practice of tranquil and contemplative solitude, my creativity has grown. "Creation comes from within, inspiration comes from without."
0 points by pier0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Stopped reading the article when I saw listed as a highly creative person the "actress best known for her awesome work in Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
1 point by byteclub 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or, to put it another way: meditation.
2 points by gareth_at_work 2 days ago 0 replies      
creating != producing
Google Will Become an AI Company mattmaroon.com
175 points by cwan 1 day ago   152 comments top 31
68 points by abstractbill 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was very impressed when I found out Google was running a free 411 phone information service just so that they could gather a ton of data to train new voice-recognition algorithms. That's real long-term thinking, and definitely makes them an AI company in my book.
28 points by nowarninglabel 1 day ago replies      
Did no one stop to think about this? It is extremely far-fetched at best.

>safety regulations could be greatly relaxed.

No, at least not if the author's vision of 200mph average speeds is to be taken. When a mistake or malfunction happens at that speed, safety mechanisms will be imperative. Furthermore, having a mechanical car does not prevent: someone else running into you, a deer running in front of the car, etc.

> children could own cars

But they wouldn't, because the purchase would still be in the name of the parent. Furthermore, do you see parents sticking their 6 year olds on the subway just because they can? No. A very few do it and get ostracized by society.

> 3. The beverage industry will go.

False assumptions without supporting data, but I have no facts to counteract it.

>4. Speed limits will be unnecessary

Oh really? So we won't need limits for the existing drivers who aren't using driverless vehicles? How will the 200mph traveling car navigate around all the 60mph traveling ones? Furthermore, is every car going to be programmed to go slow in pedestrian zones? How do you enforce that without speed limits? The current Google Car wasn't jetting 200mph down the 101, it was driving under the speed limit in residential neighborhoods.

> The map will shrink greatly.

No. Fuel costs and traffic don't just magically disappear because of your fantasy land.

> Urbanization will reverse. Why pay $3,000/month for a flat in Manhattan when you can get from 100 miles upstate to work in 30 minutes?

I will. Just because you can live outside the city and travel to it at a faster rate does not make it a given that one would choose to. Urbanization has been the greatest driving factor of population trends in the last century. If anything, if what is proposed came to pass, you would see increased urbanization of small towns/suburbs.

>Airlines will be devastated. Why fly from New York to Chicago?

No. It will still be faster to fly. Are you serious? I mean gee why fly from New York to London when I can take a speed boat and have it take three days? I mean, seriously?

>9. Other forms of public transport won't fare much better. A driverless cab won't cost much more than a bus (which also will be driverless) but will be a hell of a lot nicer.

I'm sorry, I don't live in fantasy land where fuel costs suddenly become irrelevant. Fuel costs make up at least 16% of the overall cost. And there will still be a premium because people will be willing to pay it.

Yes, a driver less car will make someone a lot of money. Does this equate to the above points? No, the author's hypothesis has no basis in reality and no facts to back it up.

34 points by jonmc12 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google has ALWAYS been an AI company. From the beginning, pagerank indexed information, made meaning out of this information, and could predict the most relevant url better than anything else in the market. Search was simply the first application.

AI is not a market - AI is a tool. Google is NOT poor at product development. However, it does seem that they have failed to build some products around AI tools (like Google Wave).

Sure Google (and others) will continue to make products by applying AI to market problems.. but they've been doing this their entire existence.

9 points by nihilocrat 1 day ago 2 replies      
2. Children could own cars. Don't feel like schlepping your kid to soccer practice? Just buy them a car

6. ... Make my car driverless (freeing me up to watch TV, read a book, catch up on emails, etc.) and able to travel at twice the speed, and spend the entire trip at top speed (rather than slowing down and speeding up on the highway) and I could feasibly live as far as 100 mph away.

7. Urbanization will reverse. Why pay $3,000/month for a flat in Manhattan when you can get from 100 miles upstate to work in 30 minutes?

This is bascially an apocalyptic scenario in my mind. I hate what the automobile has done to US cities, making everything the same vanilla spread and causing the car to become necessary to participate in modern life. I'm sad this blogger doesn't even think twice about the advantages of public transit (see: 6.) or more clever urban planning to reduce travel distances.

I like his basic thesis but I'm horrified by this example he puts forth. We should be moving away from the car, not towards it.

16 points by DanielBMarkham 1 day ago replies      
This is a great article. Every now and then Matt can really knock one out of the park.

Of all the tech that we talk about on here, there are only a few items that really catch my attention. Christmas tree machines are one of them. Auto-drive cars is the other.

These two inventions, when complete, will massively change things. Good luck guessing when they'll be complete, though. Could be a decade. Could be a couple of hundred years.

If cars could become more like rooms that automatically go places, instead of complex machines that require constant care and oversight, vast amounts of productivity and leisure opportunities would open up.

13 points by alextp 1 day ago 3 replies      
What's the point of owning a driverless car? Apart from luxury/status, it should be far cheaper to rent one as you go, in the driverless cab fashion.

Also, I can't help but cringe inside when people act as if the only benefit of living in the city is less commute time. As far as my life goes, I'd trade more commute time to live inside an urban centre with all the facilities at a walkable distance plus all the nice benefits of density.

8 points by 100k 1 day ago 4 replies      
Traffic is caused by human error? I suppose flooding is caused by "water error", then?

Traffic is caused by too many vehicles attempting to use a limited resource at the same time. Driverless cars may make this more tolerable (certainly riding the bus does) but the idea that this will make traffic obsolete is laughable.

6 points by andrewljohnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
Saying Google is poor at product development is just trolling. List of well-designed, dominant Google products include:

* Search

* Gmail

* Docs

* Reader

* Images

* News

* Maps

If only other companies failed at product development so well...

6 points by Micand 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brad Templeton delivered a superb talk on robotic cars at the Singularity Summit 2009 (http://www.vimeo.com/7337628). It expounds on the technology's implications, supporting Maroon's assertion that even a small slice of the market will easily eclipse Google's stake in search. Of particular interest:

* Transportation is more dangerous than we think, and this is largely due to human factors. (Driver inattention is a factor in 80% of crashes; alcohol in 40%.)

* The purchase of private vehicles forces us into a "one size fits all" model. If someone goes skiing only once a year, he will purchase an SUV; if someone spends 90% of his mileage traveling alone to work, he'll still purchase a five-person sedan so he can haul around friends occasionally. By moving to a grid-like service that provides cars to us on demand, we will be able to choose the vehicle best suited to the type of trip we're making.

* Robotic cars could eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Energy usage would be dramatically lower due to people using a vehicle only as large as they need for a given trip. Vehicles powered by alternative energy have a chicken-and-egg problem -- no one wants to build the infrastructure to deliver energy until people buy the vehicles, but no one wants to buy the vehicles until a ubiquitous energy infrastructure is in place. Robotic cars, however, would have no qualms with traveling halfway across a city to refuel, nor with waiting two hours in a lineup before refuelling.

* The transportation infrastructure will also become substantially more efficient, as cars will be able to travel much closer together without compromising safety. As a consequence, energy usage can be reduced another 30% by having cars draft one another.

* Before robotic cars would be accepted by the public, they'd have to meet much more stringent safety standards than we apply to human drivers. No one would accept a robotic car that killed a human, even if robotic cars on the whole were twice as safe as human drivers. Templeton figures we'll need cars on the order of 100 times safer than human drivers before they will be widely accepted. To convince people of the cars' safety, Templeton proposes the "school of fish" test -- imagine walking out onto a track swarming with cars travelling at 40 miles per hour, and having every car swerve around you no matter how hard you try to make them hit you.

* Robotic vehicles will record video everywhere they go, for this will prove invaluable in determining the cause of accidents. Any modifications to the driving software will then have the ability to be tested on the "trillion mile road test" -- they will have a corpus of testing data composed of the recorded footage of every trip ever made. New software will be tested against every vehicle accident that has ever occurred.

* The privacy implications of this universal recording are disconcerting. Templeton raises the spectre of a situation like that in Minority Report, where police can remotely override your control of a vehicle, locking you inside and transporting you to a destination of their choosing.

13 points by izendejas 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd say google IS an AI company. They do doc classification, nlp, speech to text, vision, etc. They may not be great at some parts of it, but their systems are constantly being trained and getting smarter as they release more products and acquire more data.
3 points by javanix 1 day ago 1 reply      
This might be the most rose-tinted article about Google I've ever read.

There are nothing but complaints about Google's lack of personal customer service in regards to their AdSense program - what makes you think that future AI projects from the company would be any better?

Just because Google's made a self-driving car doesn't mean they're automatically the front-runner in that category. What about all of those teams that compete in the DARPA robotic car competition every year?

Also, the advantages that Maroon mentions (especially the safety ones) would most likely only come to fruition once self-driving cars become ubiquitous - something that its hard to imagine happening within the near future (or at least during the current incarnation of Google as we know it).

20 points by Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've bought some Google shares as an insurance, in case they develop true AI. I hope the robots spare me if I can prove that I financed their creation.
6 points by Travis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else a little put off by the sentence, "To put that another way, if Google managed to scoop up just 2% of that industry they'd have more than doubled their revenue"?

That sounds an awful lot like the refrain from naive entrepreneurs to investors: "the market is 100 billion dollars; if we capture 1%, we're a billion dollar company!" In fact, I think we could describe it as a basic entrepreneurial fallacy.

OTOH, Chrome went from 1.5% market share in Jan 2009 to 9.9% at the end of 2010. So I'm not going to say they can't do it, but I think Matt's piece is weakened by the presence of the 2% fallacy.

I do agree with the overall gist, however.

14 points by kleiba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rename that article to "Why driverless cars would be nice."
2 points by asnyder 1 day ago 1 reply      
After reading through much of the discussion regarding Matt's many interesting points, it's somewhat troubling that nobody addresses the most obvious problem with the realization of sufficiently good AI. In both cases mentioned, in regards to cars, taxis, buses, and call centers, you displace thousands to millions of human workers. While this is all very nice in our tech fantasy lands if these scenarios come to pass you have another mass displacement of low -> middle skilled workers.

It's of my opinion (I also remember reading about a global conference regarding this issue),that our current society can't withstand another displacement event of this size, even if it does come gradually. In the United States anyway, we can already see massive unemployment due to certain jobs just not existing anymore, for example, token booth clerks, replaced by automated kiosks, cashiers replaced by automatic kiosks, conductors replaced by automated trains, etc. etc.

Furthermore, there is always less need for highly skilled workers as the top, so say you displace 1000 construction workers due to automation, you may only need 100 foremen, leaving those previously 900 workers unemployed with no prospects of employment even with sufficient education. It's a major problem in my opinion, and possibly a problem we'll have to deal with in our lifetime, especially if we see minor to significant improvements in AI and automation.

2 points by dasil003 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that the responses on plausibility seem to be based on technical or social feasibility. My gut instinct is that resource shortages are going to change the world in unanticipated ways, and what is currently imaginable due to the inexorable march of "progress" will no longer be economical. Hopefully the transition is smooth so we can keep the best of technology (such as the internet) without the waste and depletion of the environment that capitalism so far has failed to account for. Maybe after we figure out the sustainability thing, fully automated ad-hoc transportation could be worked out in the far future.
5 points by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not only will children be traveling by robotic car without the need for parent or bus driver, so will that quart of milk you need from the store, that dry cleaning and your grandmother.

Oh, and cab fare from the airport will cost less than the tolls. In fact, cabs will be so cheap and numerous that most people won't bother owning a car for anything other than recreational purposes.

2 points by rythie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Trains, buses and taxis do much of this already. I met people in Japan 5 years ago that were do daily commutes of 30-45mins of much bigger distances than a car could in that time. London to Paris is quicker and easier by train than by plane already.

Public transport has long been used by the young and/or intoxicated.

1 point by monos 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Self-driving cars will be important in 10-20 years that is obvious. You can look into that certain future by watching how far R&D has come in recent years.

But I strongly doubt that cars as we know them today will still be around. Todays car design - fast & heavy - is absurd and only serves to satisfy the image we have of a car. 'Sensible cars' are often not perceived as cars at all <http://www.google.at/images?q=smart>.

Making cars slower triggers a positive cycle of being more efficient (half speed = 1/4 energy), safer and allowing for lighter designs.

The problem of efficiency is not somehow magically solved by making cars 'electric' but only by making cars slower and lighter.

1 point by aufreak3 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that the whole AI argument made in this post centers around self-driving cars, when the fact that google can recall for you very relevant results from its multi-billion page memory in a jiffy doesn't seem AI enough.

As for self-driving cars, it seems to me that public transport can provide much of what the poster wants. I travel by bus for about 2 hours every day -- seems taxing, but I'm productive on my rides since I always get a nice seat and can hack on.

1 point by nkassis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This post and thread make me feel like I'm watching a 50s futurist vision of the world. I like it ;p The driver less cars need to fly too.

I hope google expands and manages to make money from more than just ads. Driverless cars would be awesome if they can pull it off soon. I just drove from Florida to Canada and back and I was thinking all trip I needed a driverless car. Most of the road could have been driven by todays AI no problem. Driving is so mindless.

2 points by EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like this article. Yes, if Google can pull off AI solutions like cars that drive themselves and appliances that cook for you (all are pretty straightforward problems that can be solved with programming) then they will really OWN.

The problem with the former is the huge liability risk. When a car's breaks fail, we blame the car manufacturer. Imagine if a car crashed, or caused some sort of accident -- any accident! The blame would rest solely on Google's shoulders, whereas right now it's split between the driver and the car.

2 points by ujjwalg 1 day ago 0 replies      

this seems a perfect stepping stone... an awesome move on Google's part.

1 point by paganel 17 hours ago 0 replies      
> The map will shrink greatly. Right now I live about 30 miles from my office and the commute is on the very edge of what I can stand. Make my car driverless (freeing me up to watch TV, read a book, catch up on emails, etc.) and able to travel at twice the speed, and spend the entire trip at top speed (rather than slowing down and speeding up on the highway) and I could feasibly live as far as 100 mph away.

The metro already does that for me pretty well. Granted, I live in an European city.

1 point by rms 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Google leadership has repeatedly said that search is an AGI hard problem. The social graph is also an AGI hard problem, for what it's worth.
2 points by zandorg 1 day ago 4 replies      
I keep telling everyone that I don't need to learn to drive - we'll have automatic cars in 10 years or so thanks to Google.
1 point by SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder where my motorcycle will fit in this world. Oh, well, I'll be so old I probably won't be able to ride anyway, unless rejuvenation has come about as well.
1 point by yesbabyyes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see it as Google's role to index all information, scan all the books and so on, to make sure that the AI will see that our histories are intertwined, that man and technology evolved together and it shouldn't eliminate us.
1 point by richcollins 1 day ago 3 replies      
Has Google had any successes with AI other than its search heuristic? (which I hesitate to classify as AI)
1 point by maeon3 1 day ago 5 replies      
Self driving cars are 15 years away. The self driving cars will have to deal with the chaotic human drivers, and this will require Strong AI. Once we have this, driving around will be one of the small issues of the day.
1 point by metabrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps during the transition we would have automated-car lanes, like we have carpool lanes today.
Goldman Sachs invests in Facebook at $50 Billion valuation nytimes.com
166 points by organicgrant 2 days ago   115 comments top 25
48 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 4 replies      
Goldman's special purpose vehicle sounds like something you'd design if you wanted to piss the SEC off and get into trouble.

Also couldn't help but laugh at this line:

The stake by Goldman Sachs, considered one of Wall Street's savviest investors, signals the increasing might of Facebook, which has already been bearing down on giants like Google.

One of Wall Street's savviest investors is investing in Facebook in 2011?

14 points by kragen 1 day ago replies      
Is that reasonable? Suppose that Facebook eventually needs to settle at a P/E of 10:1. Then it needs $5B/year of profits. If Facebook is like Microsoft in that it can maintain a high profit margin due to continuing to successfully exclude any competitors from its market, just as it has so far (in Microsoft's case, through a combination of government-granted monopolies, criminality, and consistently not fucking up; in Facebook's case, perhaps not) then it could have profits like that with as little as $6B/year or so of revenue. Presumably, within a couple of years, the majority of the internet's users will be Facebook users, which is something like two or three billion people.

Is it reasonable to expect Facebook to extract US$2 to US$3 per year per user? It's hard for me to imagine how they could fail to extract several times that. If nothing else, the blackmail value of the data they already have on hand ought to be larger than that. ("Upgrade to Facebook Premium today in order to have the option to keep your past private messages from being visible to all your Facebook friends!" But it probably wouldn't be done in such a public way, in order to dampen backlash.) They can probably also sell preprocessed datasets of people who read subversive literature online to national intelligence agencies: not just the US and UK, but also Egypt, China, Pakistan, Syria, Italy, and Russia. If laundered through some kind of data broker, they could even get plausible deniability.

That would be out of keeping with the kind of privacy invasion Facebook is currently well-known for, though, so it probably wouldn't happen without a change of control of the company first.

So the mere $50B valuation represents an assessment that Facebook's popularity could be short-lived, or that it could become subject to much more intense competition than it is today, driving its revenues down toward their costs.

I hope to God that Goldman is right.

7 points by erikpukinskis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was curious how their valuation has changed over time, so I hit up Google New Timeline* and put together a spreadsheet with a nice graph:


Unrelated: The "trend" graph type in Google Spreadsheets is pretty awesome. I don't know when they added it, but it rawks.

* http://newstimeline.googlelabs.com?date=2004-04-01&zoom=...

16 points by powera 2 days ago 2 replies      
Did somebody say bubble?

From later in the article, it's a total of $2 billion, with 1.5 billion being in a special fund designed to make a mockery of SEC regulations: "As part of the deal, Goldman is expected to raise as much as $1.5 billion from investors for Facebook at the $50 billion valuation".

18 points by organicgrant 2 days ago 1 reply      
At this valuation, I want to put money into SecondMarket stock, not Facebook.

Facebook is a great company, with tremendous prospects. Its growth curve is going to slow significantly, however.

3 points by A1kmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
If $US 810^8 (from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/infotech/internet/Facebo...) is a good estimate of Facebook's revenue, then, assuming fairly stable advertising income (a reasonable assumption, as Facebook has a market share nearing saturation, and the market in social networking is mainstream enough that it probably won't grow too much), a valuation of $US510^10 is 62.5 years of growth. Facebook's brand has a lot of valuable goodwill, but they are still vulnerable to competition, and might not last 62.5 years - so the valuation seems way too high.
13 points by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks like GS found a place to spend all those billions we gave AIG to give to them.
4 points by flipbrad 1 day ago 0 replies      
This deal comes 6 months after AOL (an experienced tech player, mind you) sells Bebo for about $10m rather than the $850m it spent to acquire it. The context is markedly different, of course, notably since Facebook was the reason for the collapsed value over at Bebo.
2 points by 16s 1 day ago 0 replies      
Social media in general seems to be a fad. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just have to wonder out loud. When Farmville and fart apps are worth 50 billion dollars and everyone is into it, I just have to shake my head and wonder if we are squandering some great technology while this fad passes

Don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for this sort of thing, but it seems too front and center today.

4 points by anigbrowl 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are Facebook's users worth $100 each to the company - all 500m of them? Really?
3 points by motters 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this is a sign that I should get off of Facebook ASAP. I don't want to be doing anything which boosts the bonuses of Goldman Sachs.
7 points by anta 1 day ago 4 replies      
Can someone explain how fb is worth 50B? I.e. how much revenue are they making/projected to make, and how was this number arrived at?
2 points by nitrogen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are the extremely high Facebook valuations a result of the company's stock structure? I'll admit my only information on the subject comes from The Social Network, but it sounded like only ~35% of the stock was actually sold. So, since investors are fighting over 35% instead of 100% of the company, a more accurate valuation would be .35*50bil = $17.5 billion. Is this remotely reasonable, or am I way off?
3 points by Abid 1 day ago 1 reply      
2 points by organicgrant 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google has users. Facebook has watchers.
What did Yahoo have?
1 point by maayank 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fellow HNers, a real question - what would be the risks of buying Facebook shares in an IPO? Facing (no pun intended) past IPOs like Google's and other tech dears, where the stock multiplied in a very short time and profits in hindsight seem practically guaranteed, what are the risks?
1 point by 1010011010 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's the scam? The vampire squid is involved.
0 points by chailatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, yes. The magic of dollar printing. It's a shame it will all come to an end soon.
1 point by dave1619 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats to Facebook and their team. Well-deserved for building a site millions love.
1 point by kayoone 1 day ago 1 reply      
how much does Zuck still own of FB ? I read 25% percent somewhere, is that true ? Hes almost up with the google guys in terms of net worth then.
1 point by iphoneedbot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Apples to Oranges comparison:

Porsche -> Mkt cap 11.72B
Volkswagen-> Mkt cap 54.59B

1 point by codyguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, the new year. People are gambling away to glory again. Maybe they are sure someone will bail them out.
1 point by curtisspope 1 day ago 0 replies      
money in the bank counts. not valuation.
1 point by curtisspope 1 day ago 0 replies      
clear sign of an ipo. also why are they raising more capital?
-1 point by aditya 1 day ago 4 replies      
Interesting. Does anyone know how many options a newbie engineer gets at Facebook?

at $50B, 0.1% of the company == $50M and 0.01% = $5M not a bad payout vesting over four years, when the stock is probably going to go up... no wonder Google is having trouble keeping talent!

EDIT: This might shed more light: http://www.quora.com/Is-this-a-good-offer-for-working-at-Fac... that says 125k options)

Revealed: The guy behind IMDb alexandrosmaragos.com
164 points by pielud 3 days ago   40 comments top 8
95 points by dholowiski 3 days ago 2 replies      
6 years as a hobby, and another two as a business. 8 years before he sold to Amazon. Remember that the next time you're complaining that you aren't making any money 30 days after launching a site.
27 points by lmz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sources / Words / Images from the Daily Mail article[1]? Why not just submit the Mail article? Is this wholesale lifting of content even allowed?

[1]: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1342663/IMDb-...

17 points by bcl 3 days ago 4 replies      
IMDB has become so ad and video ridden over the years that I've stopped using it for the most part. Their recent redesign of the detail pages has made it even less useful. There is a open project at http://tmdb.org which is more like what imdb used to be, and it has an API allowing you to integrate it into your own projects.
6 points by wallflower 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have to contrast IMDB with CDDB a.k.a. Gracenote. The CDDB guy is popularly held to have screwed over the contributions of thousands of dedicated users when they made their crowd-sourced database proprietary and commercial. Some people I know obsessively catalogued their entire collections, in the spirit of community knowledge, sharing. You have to at least consider that this was Steven Scherf's plan from the beginning, from when it was one of the first, if not the first, popular crowd-sourced sites.


4 points by sjs 3 days ago 1 reply      

Seriously? x-small?! No matter how pretty you think your site looks if people can't read the fucking text it doesn't matter. On top of that the contrast is terrible making it even worse.

    font: x-small "Trebuchet MS", Trebuchet, Verdana, Sans-serif;
font-size/* */:/**/small;
font-size: /**/small;

Sorry for the tangent I'm just tired of having to bump up the font size 2-5 times on every damn site I visit. And now I feel old. Shit.

(If you reply mentioning readability I will punch you :p Readability is not a cure-all and messes up some pages)

8 points by inovica 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a classic case of where the guy followed his passion/dream. He wasn't in it for the money but wanted to create the best site (actually database at first) for movies and ultimately was rewarded by Amazon buying it. Shows how passionate he is that he's still there
1 point by jasongullickson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let me just say that as an indie filmmaker, dealing with IMDB sucks. The submission and update process is terribly confusing and the criteria for what films (and attributes) are acceptable makes Apples App Store rules seem clear and open.

I was very pleased to find several alternatives listed in this thread, thank-you!

-1 point by StavrosK 3 days ago 4 replies      
So it's one guy? Where does he get the data? What happens to all the IMDb Pro subscription money? Does he really run it all alone?
The MOS 6502 and the Best Layout Guy in the World swtch.com
161 points by skymt 1 day ago   49 comments top 7
18 points by commandar 1 day ago replies      
>The most amazing part about the whole process is that they got the 6502 right in one try. Quoting On the Edge:
Bil Herd summarizes the situation. “No chip worked the first time,” he states emphatically. “No chip. It took seven or nine revs [revisions], or if someone was real good they would get it in five or six.”

In some ways (and I'm speaking in a general sense) situations like that actually make me more nervous than when I know there's a problem. I get this uneasy "there's no way it really went that smoothly" feeling that can be hard to shake.

Then again, my personality is to approach most things in life iteratively, so that probably plays a part as well. Great read either way.

8 points by wallflower 1 day ago 0 replies      
From Jordan Mechner's diary of the development of Prince of Persia (POP was originally coded in 6502 Assembler. It took him four years). Reading Jordan's full diary will take you at least eight hours but it is well worth it.

> We chatted for an hour about peripherally related topics. Broderbund, corporate America, the rat race, capitalism, freedom. I was seducing him. 

At the critical psychological moment, I remarked: "You know, all my clipping is done on the byte boundaries."

There was a pause


April 3, 1989

6 points by mmphosis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Intel Core 2 - Yorkfield, 45 nm process technology, Number of Transistors: 820 Million

MOS 6502, Number of Transistors: 3510

So in theory, a chip with 65536 MOS 6502 cores each with 64K of internal RAM (4Mb cache) could be made.

2 points by Luyt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The whole 'Reverse Engineering the 6502' talk Michael Steil gave at CCC congress is on YouTube. I posted this earlier in a separate topic, but it didn't pick up.

Clickable links to the 6 parts:







2 points by VMG 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here it is in all its javascript goodness: http://www.visual6502.org/JSSim/index.html
1 point by exception 1 day ago 1 reply      
I loved the 6502. Around that era I programmed the SC/MP, Z80, the 8080 and the 6800. Although the Z80 was more powerful, the 6502 holds a special place in my heart as it was the first CPU I worked with and I loved the simplicity of the instruction set.

My crowning achievement was a multi-threaded kernel for a CNC punch. Since the stack was at a fixed memory address and there was no PUSHA, I had to change threads (in response to an IRQ) by sequentially pushing the registers on to the stack and then swapping the stack with a block copy. It worked! Crazy :/

I loved reading this article - thanks for posting. Awesome stuff! Makes me want to code my own circuit emulator :)

2 points by eru 1 day ago 0 replies      
The CCC congress yielded some great talks this year.
PHP 5.3.3 hangs on numeric value 2.2250738585072011e-308 exploringbinary.com
157 points by anorwell 22 hours ago   78 comments top 23
25 points by jrockway 21 hours ago 3 replies      
If you have any thoughts on what the bug is, please let me (or PHP) know.

Here's what you do. Step 1: compile PHP with debugging symbols. Then run the test case in GDB:

    $ gdb `which php`
(gdb) set args testcase.php
(gdb) run
<program hangs>

Then hit C-c, and see where the program is:
Program received signal SIGINT, Interrupt.
0x0000000000703898 in ?? ()

    #0  0x0000000000703898 in ?? ()
#1 0x00000000006aae40 in execute ()
#2 0x00007ffff4400116 in ?? () from /usr/lib/php5/20090626/suhosin.so
#3 0x000000000068290d in zend_execute_scripts ()
#4 0x000000000062e1a8 in php_execute_script ()
#5 0x000000000071317a in ?? ()
#6 0x00007ffff5475c4d in __libc_start_main (main=<value optimized out>, argc=<value optimized out>, ubp_av=<value optimized out>,
init=<value optimized out>, fini=<value optimized out>, rtld_fini=<value optimized out>, stack_end=0x7fffffffe9c8)
at libc-start.c:228
#7 0x000000000042d4b9 in _start ()

Now you have some idea of where to look. (Note: this is not the actual bug, as I can't reproduce it on my machine. This is <?php while(1){} ?>, which is just as good for demonstration purposes. Also, no debugging symbols, so we don't really know what's going on.)

No offense, but this is like programming 101.

51 points by lifthrasiir 20 hours ago 3 replies      

This problem occurs due to IA-32's 80-bit floating point arithmetic. The simple fix: add a "-ffloat-store" flag to your CFLAGS.

The problematic function, zend_strtod, seems to parse the mantissa (2.225...011 part) and the exponent (-308 part) separately, calculate the approximation of m*10^e and successively improve that approximation until the error becomes less than 0.5ulp. The problem is that this particular number causes the infinite loop (i.e. the iteration does not improve the error at all) in 80-bit FP, but does not in 64-bit FP. Since x86-64 in general uses the SSE2 instruction set (with 64-bit FP) instead of the deprecated x87 it does not have this problem.

7 points by thamer 20 hours ago 1 reply      
As the author said, it does hang in zend_strtod.c, and it seems to happen in 32-bit only.

Debug trace:

    #0  0x0832257f in mult (a=0xe1931e82, b=0x8781590)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend_strtod.c:720
#1 0x08322757 in pow5mult (b=0x8781590, k=1)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend_strtod.c:803
#2 0x08324443 in zend_strtod (s00=0xb7a7d01d "e-308;\n?>\n", se=0x0)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend_strtod.c:2352
#3 0x082e03ce in lex_scan (zendlval=0xbf94dd34, tsrm_ls=0x8648050)
at Zend/zend_language_scanner.l:1382
#4 0x082fa849 in zendlex (zendlval=0xbf94dd30, tsrm_ls=0x8648050)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend_compile.c:4942
#5 0x082dcc47 in zendparse (tsrm_ls=0x8648050)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend_language_parser.c:3280
#6 0x082dd232 in compile_file (file_handle=0xbf9502d0, type=8,
tsrm_ls=0x8648050) at Zend/zend_language_scanner.l:354
#7 0x081ad3cc in phar_compile_file (file_handle=0xbf9502d0, type=8,
tsrm_ls=0x8648050) at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/ext/phar/phar.c:3393
#8 0x0830acc5 in zend_execute_scripts (type=8, tsrm_ls=0x8648050, retval=0x0,
file_count=3) at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/Zend/zend.c:1186
#9 0x082b660f in php_execute_script (primary_file=0xbf9502d0,
tsrm_ls=0x8648050) at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/main/main.c:2260
#10 0x08388893 in main (argc=2, argv=0xbf9503b4)
at /usr/src/php-5.3.3/sapi/cli/php_cli.c:1192

7 points by stephenjudkins 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Though the author doesn't seem to be malicious in any way, he really should have reported it to the PHP core team as a security vulnerability before writing a blog post. This could easily lead to denial-of-service attacks.
9 points by texeltexel 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Bug appearing at my Core 2 Duo / Win7 / PHP 5.3.0.

This is really serious. In fact, I've just tested if the problem happens for GET passed values and it does. Not all the passed data to a website is treated as a number, so not all websites with the PHP versions and configuration that could fail with this bug will be vulnerable, but definitely there is going to be a huge amount of websites that will do. This is really scaring.

I hope the PHP team patch it soon.

Meanwhile, a possible workaround would be adding this line at the very top of the execution of php website:

if (strpos(str_replace('.', '', serialize($GLOBALS)), '22250738585072011')!==false) die();

This will stop execution if any decimal version of the number were passed as parameter. Note that 222.50738585072011e-310 cause problems too, and any of the other possibilities to write it.

Do you know if there are any other possible ways to write the number that causes trouble too?

11 points by lifthrasiir 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Some of my friends verified the case. Highlights:

- PHP 5.3.3-1ubuntu9.1 i686 build (built on Oct 15 2010 14:17:04) hits the bug.

- PHP 5.3.3-1ubuntu9.1 x86_64 build (built on Oct 15 2010 14:00:18) doesn't have the bug.

In the i686 build ltrace shows the memcpy call repeating infinitely, suggesting the bug originates from 32-bit and 64-bit problems.

4 points by roel_v 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can everybody who posts php -v (in as far as that is necessary...) also post uname -a, otherwise there's not much to go on...
2 points by tptacek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't hang for me:

  [1:26am:~/Downloads] RIDGELAND:root [0:16]# php -v
PHP 5.3.3 (cli) (built: Aug 22 2010 19:41:55)
Copyright (c) 1997-2010 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2010 Zend Technologies

1 point by calloc 12 hours ago 0 replies      

    %php -r 'print(2.225073858502011e-308+0);print("\n");'
%uname -a
FreeBSD unknown 8.1-RELEASE FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE #0: Mon Jul 19 02:36:49 UTC 2010 root@mason.cse.buffalo.edu:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC amd64
%php -v
PHP 5.3.3 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Oct 17 2010 13:41:11)
Copyright (c) 1997-2009 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2010 Zend Technologies
with Suhosin v0.9.32.1, Copyright (c) 2007-2010, by SektionEins GmbH

4 points by istvanp 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Rasmus Lerdorf just tweeted that it's a gcc optimizer issue:

  Works fine with -O0 but not -O2


1 point by mhansen 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I can't reproduce.

    ubuntu@ip-10-130-57-139:~$ php -v
PHP 5.3.3-1ubuntu9.1 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Oct 15 2010 14:00:18)
Copyright (c) 1997-2009 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2010 Zend Technologies

1 point by Jach 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, this catches HostGator's PHP 5.3.3 (which isn't used by default, have to turn it on yourself) too. I knew there was yet another good reason for always casting expected-int input before doing anything with them... Something as simple as

    mysite.com/page/1 ===> $page = 1 ===> href="/page/' . $page + 1 . '">next page

could mess you up...

1 point by robryan 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Good advertisement in a way for more type safe languages, given I'm passing something as a string into JSON then using it as a string but PHP still converts it to a double which triggers this error.
1 point by yuvadam 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Check out the last lines for

  strace php p.php

lstat64("/home/ubuntu/junk/p.php", {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=59, ...}) = 0
lstat64("/home/ubuntu/junk", {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0755, st_size=4096, ...}) = 0
lstat64("/home/ubuntu", {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0755, st_size=4096, ...}) = 0
lstat64("/home", {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0755, st_size=4096, ...}) = 0
ioctl(3, SNDCTL_TMR_TIMEBASE or TCGETS, 0xbfe51238) = -1 ENOTTY (Inappropriate ioctl for device)
fstat64(3, {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=59, ...}) = 0
mmap2(NULL, 68, PROT_READ, MAP_PRIVATE, 3, 0) = 0xb78d1000

The next thing that should be hapenning is munmap for that very same address, but something hangs...

2 points by cantprogram 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This must be it then:

do {
z = (x & 0xffff) y + (xc >> 16) + carry;
carry = z >> 16;
Storeinc(xc, z, z2);
z2 = (
x++ >> 16) * y + (*xc & 0xffff) + carry;
carry = z2 >> 16;
while(x < xae);

Hit up gdb and watch xae and x...

I'll try myself but I don't have 32bit.

3 points by yuvadam 21 hours ago 0 replies      
And so, the race after affected websites starts...
1 point by scottmac 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've fixed this now in all the PHP branches.


1 point by thefox 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't reproduce under Debian:

  PHP 5.2.6-1+lenny9 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Aug  4 2010 03:25:57)
Copyright (c) 1997-2008 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2008 Zend Technologies

1 point by srslynao 16 hours ago 0 replies      
glaceon:~ $ php -r 'print(2.225073858502011e-308+0);print("\n");'

glaceon:~ $ php -v
PHP 5.3.3 (cli) (built: Aug 22 2010 19:41:55)
Copyright (c) 1997-2010 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2010 Zend Technologies

glaceon:~ $ uname -a
Darwin glaceon 10.5.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.5.0: Fri Nov 5 23:20:39 PDT 2010; root:xnu-1504.9.17~1/RELEASE_I386 i386 i386

1 point by christophe971 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It does hang on my Ubuntu desktop:

  PHP 5.3.2-1ubuntu4.5 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Sep 17 2010 13:41:55)

1 point by bengtan 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Ouch, this hangs if PHP is run from the command line on Lucid Lynx.
1 point by wrijnders 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hangs with the php version installed with xampp 1.7.3 on Windows 7.

PHP 5.3.1 (cli) (built: Nov 20 2009 17:26:32)
Copyright (c) 1997-2009 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2009 Zend Technologies

1 point by motto 21 hours ago 0 replies      
PHP Version 5.3.0 via a default WAMP install on Windows 7 hangs as well
Wikipedia Raises $16 Million to Remain Ad-Free readwriteweb.com
155 points by rwwmike 3 days ago   130 comments top 10
60 points by clemesha 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why are people so consistently negative about Wikipedia?

Just looking at the top comments here, and other places around the internet - I think it's far too common.

Let's be more positive. Wikipedia is amazing - congrats to them for successfully achieving their fund-raising goals.

12 points by kprobst 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wasn't aware that not meeting that goal would result in slapping ads on articles.

Also, Wikipedia itself was fully funded a while ago through next year, the foundation was trying to raise money for other projects and programs that aren't the encyclopedia itself.

31 points by StavrosK 3 days ago replies      
Great, now how much more money do they need to buy the disk space necessary to stop deletionism?
11 points by ck2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is their budget public? I'd really like to see how you spend $16 million.

Is there actually paid staff/benefits? Because $16M is more hardware/bandwidth than I can fathom.

39 points by Ryan_IRL 3 days ago replies      
I'm aware it is temporary, but I'm surely not the only one thinking that banner is more annoying than the occasional ad would have been.
2 points by d2viant 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've always thought Google should just buy them. If you're going to index the worlds information, this is a good start. Google has the resources and power to make sure it remains alive and well.
2 points by solipsist 3 days ago 2 replies      
If someone was asked, "Would your rather use a website that has ads or one that has no ads?", they would most likely choose the latter. However, Wikipedia has shown the world something that no one would have expected; it seems as if most people would rather have the ads given the circumstances.
1 point by corin_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm now seeing 'If everyone reading this donated £5, our fundraiser would be over today. Please donate to keep Wikipedia free.' banners.

If they've already hit the target, presumably they must have already set a new target in order to make that statement?

1 point by gopi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why they are so adamant about ads... A small adsense block (with 2 text ads) will cover all their expenses and more. It will not be intrusive and useful to visitors in most situations (as their content is well suited for a contextual ad system like adsense)...Also there is precedence in non-profits doing this like firefox with their google search deal (which makes them $100 million or so a year
0 points by known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wiki is really worth $16 million.
Ask HN: Who's Hiring? (January 2011 Edition)
151 points by scorchin 3 days ago   147 comments top 83
14 points by lkrubner 3 days ago 4 replies      
In New York City there are a lot of jobs. I went to 3 job interviews and got offers from 2. All 3 had tests of my programming skill, though the 3rd was ruthless about minor syntax errors. For instance, the guy talking to me asked me how to find all of the Apache servers running on a server. He just wanted the number. I typed:

ps aux | grep apache | wc -l

but this wrongly included the command I was typing. We were working on their dev server and I was typing the commands into the terminal. I got back 12 when the real answer was 11. He eventually showed me what I should have typed:

ps aux | grep apache | grep -v grep | wc -l

The grep -v screens out the line I had just typed which had "grep apache" in it. Of course, there are other ways to do this, but this was the first thing I thought of. Of my error, I thought that was somewhat minor, but this guy had recently been hired to clean up a sloppy programming department, so he was looking for programmers who were flawless.

The other 2 tests at the other 2 jobs covered the usual questions (write a JOIN statement, write a sub-query, what is the difference between GET and POST?). On one of the interviews, 2 programmers came in to talk to me and they gave me a short PHP script which was working but which was badly written. They asked me how I would re-write it. Easy enough.

My sense is there is a lot of hiring going on in New York City. Possibly not enough local talent to fill all the jobs, but the businesses are here for other reasons (other than programming talent) so I think eventually programming talent from elsewhere will get drawn to New York City. There are some cities in the USA that are in deep economic decline, and will probably remain so for the next 5 years, so perhaps some of the programmers from those cities will migrate to New York City.

23 points by jasonfried 3 days ago 0 replies      
37signals is hiring two Rails programmers:

Chicago preferred, but we hire the best we can find no matter where you live.

11 points by tptacek 3 days ago 5 replies      
Chicago (or remote)

Matasano Security


YOU BRING: experience in a key role shipping a web-based product, systems programming chops, comfort with performant network code. Interest, but not not necessarily expertise, in web security.

WE BRING: deep and commanding mastery of software security, a fun product†, a customer list, a small team with a minimal viable working offering, a profitable and growing company with a 5 year track record and nice offices†† in NYC, Chicago, and SFBA.

web scale, big(ish) data, search, security; we're a Rails/Ruby/EventMachine shop. We don't care if you already know Ruby.

Full-time in-house non-consulting dev. Health, dental, 401k, commute, &c.

HN is one of our best hiring vectors (ask 'yan, 'wglb, and 'daeken). We hire two roles: vulnerability researchers and software developers. HN has killed for security researchers. Not so much for developers. Ironic!

Just mail me: tqbf at matasano dot com.

††here's Chicago, on top of one of the coolest buildings in the city, with Intelligentsia Coffee and a serviceable bar on the first floor: http://img228.imageshack.us/g/img0226yl.jpg/

7 points by jeffbarr 3 days ago 4 replies      
The Amazon Web Services team is hiring for on-site positions in Seattle (WA), Luxembourg, Tokyo, Herndon (VA), and Cape Town (South Africa), Dublin (Ireland), and Slough (UK). We don't offer remote work, but some of the positions do include relocation assistance.

I've scraped our official job site and used the data to create a tag cloud of the jobs at http://awsmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/jobs/all_aws_jobs.html . I'm still working on the styling.

The official AWS job site is at Our official job site is http://aws.amazon.com/jobs .

There are too many types of jobs to list here. We need developers, business developers, managers, solutions architects, trainers, and technical support.

10 points by shaver 3 days ago 3 replies      
tl;dr: Mozilla is hiring, and we have many different kinds of positions open. Main offices are in Mountain View, Toronto, Auckland, Paris; remote work very much a possibility, esp for people with experience doing it. I know most about engineering, but the fullish list is off http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/careers

Platform engineers: the native-code guts of Firefox, you could work on things ranging from network protocols to scripting performance, 3D graphics to parallelism, performance tuning to debugging and instrumentation. And you get to deliver new web capabilities to about half a billion people. Want to make contentEditable not suck? Want to fix the CSS layout model so people don't miss tables? Want to make Flash and Silverlight sweat more bullets? Us too.

Firefox engineers: 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for Firefox, and we have lots of ambitious work planned. There is lots systems work as we move to a multi-process model, as well as lots of "app logic" and more traditional front-end stuff. Client-side web skills map well, and we want to make them map even better; you can help with that too.

Web developer tools: we're going to be significantly increasing our investment in developer tools, to improve the web development experience dramatically. Package up the complexities of the web platform and make it grokkable to everyone from a grade-schooler to jeresig.

Engineering management: we need more people who know how to make developers successful and satisfied, and get joy out of doing it. Our engineering organization spans the globe, has a scope as broad as the web itself, and competes against the biggest software companies in the world.

Developer infrastructure: we run a large software operation on open source tools, and want to make everything from crash reporting to bugzilla to mercurial to the build system work better. Take the hard information problems of software development, make web apps and other tools to help understand and solve them. If you have partially automated your breakfast routine, and want to play with some pretty large-scale data, this could be a lot of fun.

Security: program management and penetration testing both. Your purview is security at the full breadth of the web.

Web development, apps big and small: top-25 web properties (without ads), software update systems for 420M+ users, demos for new web technologies, crash analytics systems backed by dozens of Hadoop nodes.

Mozilla is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the web. We pay competitive salaries, have great benefits, and work in the open. Wake up every morning glad you get to do the right thing!

4 points by lethain 3 days ago 0 replies      
Digg is hiring on-site in San Francisco (Potrero hill) for frontend and backend developers, with a preference for people who work all the way up and down the stack. We're willing to take chances on newer developers who seem like a good fit, and also want veteran engineers who will to come in and challenge our assumptions and shake things up.

We're working at a scale where performance and data storage decisions start to matter. We're working with a modern stack (Redis, Python, PHP, RabbitMQ, gevent, Hive, etc), and the team we've put together is truly fantastic. 2010 was a topsy turvy year for us, but setbacks build character, and there are many reasons to be excited about where we are going. :)

Job specs are at jobs.digg.com , and feel free to send questions/resumes my way at wlarson@digg.com . If you're interested but concerned about the press or trajectory of Digg, definitely send an email my way, and I will send some of my optimism your way!

5 points by bretpiatt 3 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco Bay Area, CA / Austin, TX / San Antonio, TX

I'm hiring devops integration consultants that want to work on OpenStack helping enterprises and service providers deploy solutions based on it (it is posted as only San Antonio on the job listing but all 3 locations are great, Bay Area would actually be ideal).


Rackspace is also hiring for many positions: http://jobs.rackspace.com/content/map/

5 points by stanleydrew 3 days ago 1 reply      
Twilio is hiring. We've got a lot of interesting problems to solve and are looking for senior/junior/intern software engineers. We use php, python, java, nginx, twisted, mysql, redis, appengine, and a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting. Check out http://www.twilio.com/jobs or email me at andrew@twilio.com.
3 points by pchristensen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Groupon (Chicago or Palo Alto) wants to hire 25 devs in January 2011.

Great developers. We develop in Rails but we'd rather hire a smart, motivated, skilled developer and teach them Rails than hire any Rails dev and hope they turn out to be awesome. Lots of problems to solve in data mining, personalization, scaling, business support tools, etc. My first month here I released code supported millions of dollars of deals.

Good coding practices, weekly releases, code reviews, pair programming as needed, MacBook Pros + Cinema monitor for all devs, etc. Full benefits, real (not startup-sized) salaries.

Contact peterc@groupon.com with any questions and I can connect you to the right people.

4 points by kiscica 3 days ago 1 reply      
1010data is hiring in NYC. Standard black-and-white descriptions of the current job openings are at http://www.1010data.com/company/careers/current-job-openings warning: links on that page are to PDFs) and you can find out what we do at http://www.1010data.com/company, but here's a little extra color especially for HN:

(1) We are looking for someone (v. 'Infrastructure Engineer') who'd be excited to take on the challenge of helping to run, and ultimately running, a rapidly expanding cluster of hundreds of high-performance servers at several datacenters. The environment is pretty unconventional (99.4% proprietary software, for example, and we prefer to use an "exotic" language - K - even for infrastructure purposes); I'd say it's much more comparable to academic/scientific clusters than to your typical web application company. So that kind of background wouldn't hurt! At the same time, though, you need to know Windows, 'cause we don't use Linux yet, and you need to know Linux, 'cause we will sooner or later, and you need to be really au courant on the standard datacenter stuff (networking, firewalls, security, backup and replication, racking hardware, receiving -- and making -- urgent phonecalls at inconvenient times, etc.). As you can imagine, this is a bit of a hard job to fill... you need to be highly experienced (because we need your experience to support the serious growth we're in the middle of) and yet have an extremely flexible mindset (since we do things in such an atypical way). But if you're the right person to fill it, the rewards will be substantial. Be the guy in charge of hundreds of some of the hardest-working servers out there: 1010data is the fastest analytical database on the planet, and our customers are pounding the cluster 24/7...

(2) We are also looking for a 'Web Application Developer'. But again, the dry job posting belies the fact we need something a bit unconventional. What we really mean by this is a hacker who just happens to really love hacking in JavaScript. This is, I sense, a rare combination. But it does exist (we have verified examples at 1010data). We are developing cutting-edge browser-based interfaces to aforementioned fastest analytical database on the planet and since JS is the Language of the Browser... well, that's probably why you, JavaScript Hacker, chose JS. Right? Oh, you say it's because it's kind of an awesome language in its own right? OK, well, whatever the reason: if you hack JS and want to develop cutting-edge browser-based interfaces for manipulating and visualizing large datasets... please, please apply for this job. You're going to love it at 1010data.

(3) We are looking for a 'Systems Developer'. We're not 100% sure how to define this, to be honest, but to paraphrase Justice Stewart, we'll know you when we see you. You need to know a lot about Windows internals, but ideally also Unix/Linux, since one of the major projects you'll be involved in will be a gradual environment shift. You'll be diagnosing performance issues. You'll be trying to wring more speed from our already very efficient cluster. You'll be writing code (bonus! in an exotic language!) to move data around, to do logging and performance reporting, and who knows what else. You're going to be the guy we all go to when it comes to the low-level arcana, so you're very familiar with the Way Things Work. You know who you are. Let us know too.

If you think any of the above is you... then write to jobs@1010data.com and mention that you saw Adam's post at HN.

1010data, by the way, is a fantastic place to work. We've got a whole floor in a grand old midtown building populated with a small but growing bunch of very dedicated, very smart, very happy people. We're growing fast, so there's a lot of energy, and you'll be working hard, but what you do will matter. No one is doing superfluous work at 1010. Your stuff will be used. You get all the startup excitement, but without the startup risk - 1010's a well-established company; we've been around since before the turn of the century. Which, these days, is almost as long as it sounds!

5 points by akalsey 3 days ago 0 replies      
We're hiring Java wizards to work on the core of Tropo. http://tropo.com/

Bay Area preferred, but we'd also love to talk to you if you're located near any other large US city or technology hub (Seattle, Boulder, Austin, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Philly, etc). We're already a distributed team (China, London, Orlando, Philly, Phoenix, and Bay Area) so we're adept at working remotely.

Job description at http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?...

We're also looking for a NOC engineer in Las Vegas. http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?...

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

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

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

5 points by ccheever 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quora is hiring in Palo Alto, CA.

Quora is a question and answer site focused on really high quality, authoritative content. The service has a lot of traction and is growing very quickly, especially recently.
We are hiring software engineers and product designers.


For software engineers, we are mostly looking for generalists--who will work on scaling the service as we grow, including work on our real time web framework LiveNode, building and improving rich web application itself, and building new tools and features.

Product designers design and implement the interactions and visuals for the site.

We are also planning on building out our mobile experience more, so anyone interested in iOS or Android should apply.

The company is well funded by Benchmark.

E-mail jobs@quora.com or if you want to get in touch with me directly ccheever@quora.com

4 points by bkrausz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mountain View, CA

GazeHawk (YC S10)

Web Engineer, second hire

Full description at http://gazehawk.com/jobs/

Long story short: we do cool things with Javascript!

8 points by xlpz 3 days ago 1 reply      
We are looking for good hackers with experience in free software. We work on WebKit (maintainers of the GTK+ port), networking, multimedia, javascript, etc. Working remotely is perfectly possible.

The company is Igalia (http://www.igalia.com), and we have a sort of cooperative structure (no bosses, all major decisions taken democratically).

If it sounds like your kind of thing, the email is in my profile.

2 points by dogas 3 days ago 0 replies      
PipelineDeals (http://www.pipelinedeals.com) is looking for a full-time senior sysadmin to maintain our production stack, hosted on amazon ec2.

If load balancing, Mysql clustering, maintaining dozens of servers, working with a great group of smart guys, and having an endless supply of fun and interesting projects to work on sounds like your cup of tea, drop me a line.


PipelineDeals is 5 years old, bootstrapped, quite profitable, and steadily growing. We are based in Seattle and Philadelphia. Remote applicants no problem!

4 points by ahuibers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bump is hiring in Mountain View, CA (soon maybe SF/SOMA as well), mostly local.

Our immediate needs are: Operations, HTML5 development, Android development, Design, R&D including someone who knows both CS and prob/stats.

We have enormous traction (25M), a breathtaking pipeline, and a clean codebase. We may already have and are definitely building one of the best mobile shops in the bay area. Our senior founder (me) has 10 years of startup experience and is an engineer obsessed with making Bump the best place for engineers and designers to produce great things: this includes compelling work in a professional yet very informal environment, above-market pay/equity/benefits, minimizing meetings, high quality food and special events, company-wide carte blanche Amazon prime account, surf team. We are 15 people growing to 30 and now is a great time to join us.

http://bu.mp/jobs, mail hackernews@ourdomain to get special treatment. Tech is iOS/ObjC, Android, Python, Scala, C, Haskell, Redis, MongoDB. Funding is YC, Sequoia. We are near Caltrain (Castro).

3 points by donohoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
The New York Times is looking for a Snr Software Engineer and sys admin in NYC

Follow this link and choose 'Production' for Major Department:

Email me if you apply and I can help ensure your resume gets seen directly or answer questions you might have.

Not advertised there are Web Developer roles (CSS/HTML/JS/PHP/etc) - email me (my HN username @ nytimes.com)

3 points by troels 3 days ago 1 reply      
Copenhagen, Denmark. Remote not possible and we can't help with relocation.

I've just been hired as CTO for a well-funded startup, Greenwire. We recycle used consumer electronics (Primarily mobile phones) and send them for refurbishment and resale.

I'm looking for a developer to help me build the IT infrastructure. We'll be working on LAMP technology, probably PHP.

Have a read at http://greenwiregroup.com/

3 points by DanBlake 3 days ago 0 replies      
NYC - Tinychat is looking for a hardcore server admin. We use nginx, apache, php, mysql and other linux junk.
This would be a senior position, so expertise is required.

jobs@tinychat.com - pay/equity based on experience.

2 points by tkiley 3 days ago 1 reply      
InQuickER (YC W08 reject ;-]) is hiring on Vancouver Island, British Columbia (Parksville/Nanaimo area, onsite preferred but not required).

We are bootstrapped, profitable, and proud by 37signals' definition. Today we are an 8-person team, and we're looking to add another senior ruby/rails developer and a user acquisition engineer.

Contact tyler@inquicker.com.

2 points by buro9 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yell Labs in London, UK is still hiring (slowly but surely).

We're currently looking for great developers with Java and/or Python skills.

We mostly make web apps and mobile apps and the backend services for these.

It's all full time, London based, salaried... a regular job but in a buzzing product development environment. We're all very understanding of side-projects and actually encourage it.

Contact david.kitchen@yellgroup.com

4 points by tocomment 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gaithersburg, MD - A payment processing software company I used to work for is hiring an internal applications developer. You'd be working with Python, SQL Server, IIS and other technologies to automate internal processes.

They'd prefer someone local but working remotely might be ok.

Email me (in profile)

1 point by natrius 3 days ago 0 replies      
Austin, TX; on-site.

We're looking for experienced developers to join our team at The Texas Tribune. We're a non-profit, online news organization that covers state politics and policy in Texas. State and local governments spend more money than the federal government in America, yet far less attention is paid to what's going on outside of D.C. We aim to fix that.

We're currently working on improving and open-sourcing our CMS to allow other similar organizations to get off the ground much more quickly. We also build data apps that help our readers visualize, browse, and search through various data that the government puts out[1]. It's fun, fulfilling, and well-compensated work.

If you're interested, email me at nbabalola@texastribune.org. Include GitHub and HN usernames if you have them.

[1] Some examples:

Government Employee Salaries: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee...

Prison Inmates: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee...

Elected Officials: http://www.texastribune.org/directory/

5 points by x5315 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this.

Twitter is hiring in San Francisco. I just started there.

Here's a list of the positions available: http://twitter.com/positions.html.

I wasn't originally going to post this, but i saw this http://mashable.com/2011/01/01/twitter-jobs-2/ and thought it might be worth adding.

2 points by randfish 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seattle, WA - SEOmoz is hiring a product manager with mad wireframing/product design skills - http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/sof/2120238146.html

We're also hiring engineers - http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/sof/2091255814.html

1 point by timr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yelp is hiring software engineers, product managers and designers right now, along with lots of other kinds of jobs:


Or email me (my HN login at yelp.com), particularly if you're interested in search and data mining.

1 point by jaaron 3 days ago 0 replies      
Los Angeles funded startup: web developer and visual designers.

Still in stealth, but launching within next 6 months. We have 15 people worldwide and are well funded. Actual LA office is in Santa Monica and we need people on site there. Looking for a lead web developer, ideally with exceptional JavaScript skills (not just playing around with JQuery), and we're looking for another senior visual designer.

It's a great team and if you're in the area or willing to relocate to LA, it's a fantasic opportunity to have the startup experience while not sacrificing competitive pay. Email & twitter in my profile.

2 points by thinkcomp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Think Computer Corporation, Palo Alto, CA


We're looking for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry developers to continue developing our mobile payment system.

1 point by pquerna 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rackspace (now with more Cloudkick'ers) is hiring.

Lots of open positions in San Francisco, most are for parts of the Cloudkick team:

1 point by tomh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Waltham, MA (no remote)

Akaza Research LLC is looking for a Software Quality Assurance Lead. Contact me for more details.


2 points by lovitt 3 days ago 0 replies      
SB Nation is a media/technology startup in Washington, DC. We're hiring Ruby developers and visual designers (local preferred, remote considered):



We're a network of 290+ sports news sites & communities. As newspapers are shutting down their sports sections, we're quietly reinventing the media model with profitable, high-quality, innovative coverage by and for fans. Our investors include Accel Partners, Allen & Company, Comcast Interactive Capital, and Khosla Ventures. We get around 16 million unique visitors every month.

Our small product team develops the custom publishing and community platform (built on Rails) that powers the sites. The interesting problems we face range from editorial analytics, to social distribution, to scaling the system to handle our rapid growth.

Here are some of the humans you'd be working with: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlovitt/4507489423/in/set-72157...

And some recent press:

* Why sports is driving innovation in journalism: http://markcoddington.com/2010/10/08/why-sports-has-taken-th...

* NY Times profile: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/business/media/07fans.html

* Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab: http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/06/sb-nation-ceo-on-how-were-f...

1 point by tednaleid 3 days ago 0 replies      
We've got a development opening for a full time position at my startup, Bloom Health.


Bloom Health is a VC funded startup with about 20 employees (including 5 developers currently).

Our offices are in downtown Minneapolis and are connected to the skyway. 100% remote working isn't an option currently, but we're flexible enough that working from home a day or two a week isn't a problem.

We develop on macbook pros with external monitors, and deploy our solution on Amazon's EC2 platform. Smart and fun people drinking free soda and working with groovy and grails, continuous integration, test coverage metrics, user stories, distributed version control, etc. All the things you'd want and expect in a startup, plus a business model that actually has a shot at paying off as an added perk.

3 points by c4urself 3 days ago 0 replies      
Changer is small and growing company and is hiring in Leidschendam, Netherlands. Contact us at http://www.changer.nl. We're looking for someone who loves building web applications. We use Python/Django and .NET/MVC.
1 point by jehirsch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Syapse is looking to add some key people to our team (Syapse.com/jobs).

Syapse is Salesforce.com for product development, focused on the biomedical space.

We were started at Stanford, and are based in Palo Alto. Our goal is to accelerate biomedical product development by organizing biological results, and enabling scientific project management and collaboration. We utilize semantic technologies and biomedical ontologies to deliver scientifically intelligent web applications to biomedical companies of all sizes.

Our customers include a number of prominent biotech, pharma, and diagnostics companies in the fields of biologics, biomarkers, and molecular diagnostics. Our team is a multidisciplinary group of successful entrepreneurs, developers, and scientists. We have started twelve companies worth $15 billion, and created foundational web technologies such as the first e-commerce, webmail, and document management applications, and the Netscape Enterprise Server platform.

Syapse is looking to hire biology-savvy Web Application Developers, Web Interface Designers, and Python Server Developers. Our main technology stack is HTML, JS, Apache, Python / Django, and MySQL.

For more information about the positions, and information about how to apply, here: Syapse.com/jobs.

4 points by cheriot 3 days ago 1 reply      
OPOWER is hiring in DC and SF: opowerjobs.com/engineering

(we're a Java shop)

Feel free to send me questions.

3 points by dlo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do you hack on a programming language after work? Do you read Lambda the Ultimate religiously? This job opening will appeal to the many programming languages enthusiasts here on Hacker News, particularly to the subset that has an accompanying interest in secure code.

Fortify Sofware has an opening on its static analysis team. Our products help companies write secure code. Please email me at dlo@fortify.com to make inquiries.

We are based in San Mateo. But we will consider outstanding remote workers.

1 point by NateLawson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Root Labs

SF Bay Area

Software developer

We're building a system software product with a web frontend. Security experience not necessary, but deep understanding of scalability, compilers, algorithms, databases, etc. is. Built from components including Python/C/Ruby/Redis.

Instead of a job posting, we've got a description of the types of projects we do in addition to developing this product to give you a flavor for our office. (It also has a link to the job description at the end).


Email me: nate / rootlabs.com


1 point by aresant 3 days ago 0 replies      
In San Diego hiring full time LAMP developer for conversion voodoo, hiring Ruby contractor (20hrs a week long term). Both require in office, no remote sorry - email me via profile for details.
2 points by marcinw 3 days ago 0 replies      
We have several positions available in New York City AND London. If you have an interest in breaking stuff, can code in C, Java, C#, Python, or whatever, come talk to us! Send me an email at <my yc username> @ gdssecurity.com


2 points by nigelk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Puppet Labs is trying to rock the DevOps/Sysadmin world with our model-driven approach to config management.

We're based in Portland, OR, and aren't looking for remote workers as yet.

We're looking for both Core Developers and Pro Services Engineers, and no matter what, you'll be working with open source software and a highly engaged user community, as well as on a project that is included in most of the major *nix distributions in one way or another.

Puppet itself is written entirely in Ruby, so strong experience in Ruby is great, but experience in an equivalently flexible language is fine too.

We've recently moved into our new offices:
(things are more organized than that now :)

Portland is freaking awesome.

I moved up here recently after working for Google in the Bay Area, and I couldn't be happier. Cheap rent, amazing food and beer, huge bike culture and a city full of incredibly friendly and nice people.


3 points by gommm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm hiring Rails programmers in Shanghai.. Also looking for interns.

Email is in my profile

4 points by amduser29 3 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco

You: First and foremost, a talented hacker. Secondly, PHP/MySQL experience or mobile experience.

Us: Life360. We are turning mobile phones into the ultimate family safety devices.

Contact: alex@life360.com


2 points by daveambrose 3 days ago 0 replies      
Scoop St. in New York City is hiring sales and social media savvy folks who are passionate about discovering their city. We believe in the power of group buying online today and our team has been working in the space over the last two years, as things were really getting started.

NYC metro preferred but remote positions for social media is possible. See http://www.scoopst.com/jobs or email dave@scoopst.com

2 points by mikeytown2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Datasphere is hiring php, java, .net, and front end hackers. We are an ignition backed company.


We are headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and led by a team of Internet veterans with backgrounds from Amazon.com, IMDb, Microsoft, RealNetworks, AltaVista, Trendwest and other leading companies.

1 point by icco 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Luis Obispo, CA

iFixit.com is hiring Software Developers, Designers and a Marketing Director.


I'm a software developer there and love it. Mainly a LAMP shop, but really awesome people and incredibly flexible. Kyle (our CEO) is very approachable, and we are a bootstrapped 30 person startup. If you're interested in having a huge impact on the world of repair and gadgets, come check us out.

2 points by js2 3 days ago 0 replies      
RockMelt is hiring a variety of positions - http://www.rockmelt.com/jobs.html

Mountain View, CA preferred. jay@rockmelt.com

2 points by apgwoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Meetup.com, New York, NY--no remote. We're hiring developers, QA folks and also someone to manage our data repositories (MySQL, MogileFS, HBase). http://www.meetup.com/jobs if you're interested.
1 point by sx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pattern Insight is hiring in Mountain View CA. We are looking for software engineers, QA engineers and tech sales:


We are building search products for semi-structured data.

We are cash flow positive and growing fast. Our customers are some of the biggest tech companies in the world. That said, we are still early and looking for people that want to be part of the core team and shape our future.

Contact us at: jobs@patterninsight.com

2 points by kristoffer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gothenburg, Sweden (I wonder what hitrate that will get on HN?)

At Aeroflex Gaisler we are looking for a talented embedded hacker that will create software for our system-on-chips based on our own LEON (SPARC32) processor. Previous experience with real time operating systems (e.g. VxWorks, RTEMS), device drivers, and other low level hacking is necessary.

We are also looking for someone interested in developing simulators for our systems. Computer architecture and C/C++ skills needed. Qt a plus.

Toolchain wizardry (GCC, Clang/LLVM) is always a bonus!

Drop me a line at $HNusername@gaisler.com if above sounds interesting.

1 point by eof 3 days ago 0 replies      
Burlington, VT


We are looking for a smart, entry to mid level programmer. Geeks are treated well in this media company, this is the last position in a department that will have grown by 300% in the last 9 months by the time you get there.

Php for our existing site and apps, everything new is python. If you can think well, I don't care what your resume looks like. Lots of room for growth in this very profitable company, you report to a programmer, great benefits, food, dog friendly office, rural office setting.

3 points by intridea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Intridea is looking for someone to run one of our flagship products. More details here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2064402
1 point by arupchak 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon.com Seller Services - Seattle WA - No remote, but willing to relocate based on experience.

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

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

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


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

-Diagnose and troubleshoot new production issues that affect our customers

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

-Automate operational tasks to assist with our scaling needs


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

-Familiar with SQL databases

-Comfortable navigating a Linux environment

-Basic understanding of web application architectures

Bonus points:

-Written a Rails application

-Deep knowledge of Oracle databases

-Troubleshooting experience

-Ticketing experience

4 points by doorty 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would be interested to hear from YC companies (or companies at SF incubators) that are looking for tech co-founders.
2 points by petewailes 3 days ago 0 replies      
A client of mine is looking to hire a lead developer (LAMP) to start an internal dev team. The site is http://www.oakfurnituresolutions.co.uk/

Message me for details. Bristol (UK) location preferred.

3 points by ccoop 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm looking for a tech co-founder for an education software start-up. Location will be either Boulder or SF.

Interested in learning more?

Contact me: letsdobigthings [at] gmail

3 points by Andaith 3 days ago 0 replies      
Between Bath and Bristol, possibly relocating to Bath, England.

Looking for a PHP developer to join a small web design agency.

Email: andrew [AT] moresoda [DOT] co [DOT] uk

1 point by svec 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ember is hiring in Boston, MA!

We're looking for embedded/firmware, QA, and ops right now. It's a great place to work. I've only been here a short while, but I love it so far!

Email me at: emberJan2011 [and then the at sign] saidsvec.com


3 points by hshah 3 days ago 1 reply      
We're always looking for people to join our team at KISSmetrics...


1 point by phillytom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Monetate - Conshohocken, PA (Philly suburb)

Local only. Will relocate for the right person but no remote. We've hired 2 great people from HN.

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

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

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

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

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

2 points by jobsatraptr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Location: Mountain View, CA (a couple blocks from 101)

Remote: Sorry, no remote work

Raptr is hiring for frontend web, backend web, and desktop client application software engineer positions.


We help people get more out of their (video) games. (Finding games, tracking playtime & achievements across multiple platforms, etc.)

We're looking for folks with a solid CS background, and a good top to bottom understanding of large scale web applications.

Backend web positions work on scaling, data, and providing apis to the frontend team (80% PHP, some Python, a tiny bit of legacy Perl).
Frontend web team writes html, javascript, and view layer php code using backend apis.
Client Application team writes a python + QT application for chat + friends + gameplay tracking.

Take a look at the job descriptions at http://raptr.com/info/jobs, and email me (chris-jobs@raptr.com) with resume for quick consideration if you're interested.

1 point by buymorechuck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA - Flipboard: Web Developer

We are looking for developers with interest and experience working on web tech and know how browsers tick.

Flipboard Pages is one example of our HTML5 auto-pagination, auto-layout framework for making the web beautiful.

http://flipboard.com/jobs or drop me a line.

1 point by bconway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sendza - central MA

Software engineers (any of the following: HTML/CSS/JS, PHP, Java, Python, iPhone Dev)

bconway - at - sendza dot com

1 point by plnewman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Foster City, Ca
Rearden Commerce is hiring a devops engineer to focus on building our deployment platform, primarily in Python. For details, please contact me, my email address is in my profile.
2 points by tudorg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Berlin, Germany. No telecommuting but we can help with relocation. At IPTEGO we're a bunch of HNers that would like to meet you.

We're a well funded company doing an analytics and troubleshooting product for next generation networks (NGNs). We use C/C++, python and javascript. Please email jobs@iptego.com and mention HN somewhere.

1 point by drewvolpe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, no remote work

Locately (early-stage startup, funded by Hacker Angels)


Our software analyzes location data from mobile phones to understand where people go. We then sell this research to large retailers (Target, Costco, ...), "out of home" advertisers (ie, billboards), and city planners and developers.

We're looking to add two engineers. We use some Java and lot of Python (with Scipy), though if you don't know these that's fine, we just care about hiring good hackers.

You get to work here:

Email me directly: drew+hn@locately.com

1 point by ksowocki 3 days ago 0 replies      

Ignighter is hiring PHP developers. Both junior and senior levels.

http://www.ignighter.com/jobs , jobs at ignighter.com

1 point by gnubardt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Brightcove (an online video platform) is currently hiring in Cambridge, Seattle and London.


I work in Engineering and it's a blast! We're mostly using java and flex with python at times, but the scale we operate at means it's always interesting.

1 point by abailer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Arlington, VA looking for a Sr Software Engineer and a Software Engineer for online, content-driven health site. Check out the postings at http://www.healthcentral.com/about/careers/!
1 point by aaronkaplan 1 day ago 0 replies      
The work week is just starting on the east coast of the US and this has already dropped to 123rd place. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to post it over the weekend, particularly a holiday weekend.

On the other hand, it got more posts than last month's, so maybe I'm wrong.

2 points by mcfunley 3 days ago 2 replies      
Etsy.com is hiring in Brooklyn, Berlin, San Francisco, and Hudson, NY. This should explain everything:


Feel free to email me directly with questions, resumes, etc.

1 point by chipmunkninja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Adylitica is hiring software development interns for iOS, web apps, WP7, or Android development. We do contract and boutique mobile app development.

We're based in Beijing, and will help you take care of everything you need to come out and work with us. It's a super fun city with tonnes to do and great food to boot.

Our website's pretty bland, but feel free to get in touch with us:


1 point by JaredM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nashville TN - No Remote

Big global company, smaller shop here in town. C/C++ software engineers.

Great place to work :)

Shoot me an email if intersted jantix5ATgmailDOTcom

2 points by anonymoushn 3 days ago 0 replies      
imo.im is hiring software engineers, operations engineers, visual designers, marketers, and software engineering interns.


1 point by arasakik 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Thinking Ape is currently looking for extremely talented software developers to join our core team in Vancouver, BC, Canada: www.athinkingape.com/jobs
3 points by supernayan 3 days ago 0 replies      
AudaxHealth is hiring Software Engineers: http://audaxhealth.com/?page_id=16

Washington, D.C.

Corporate is boring. Startups = fun!


2 points by mustafakidd 3 days ago 0 replies      
We Are Mammoth is hiring a .NET developer: http://blog.wearemammoth.com/2010/12/were-hiring-net-develop...

We're in Chicago.

1 point by martian 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thumbtack is hiring engineers in San Francisco. http://www.thumbtack.com/jobs
1 point by dshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
HubSpot is hiring in Cambridge, MA

We're a software company that delivers marketing software for small businesses. We reach millions of users every month.

We were voted one the best company to work for in the Boston area this year (Google was #2).

We use a combination of Java, Python and PHP. We're one of the top 1,000 most trafficed websites in the U.S. -- so we've got some interesting software challenges.

I'm the founder/CTO. You can email me directly at dshah {at} hubspot {dot} com.

1 point by rdschouw 3 days ago 0 replies      

Shapeways (create / sell personal designed products / 3D printing) is looking for her Manhattan office talented BACKEND and FRONTEND DEVELOPERS. We use LAMP stack with some Java stuff. Please see our job page at http://www.shapeways.com/jobs

Salary / equity based on experience

1 point by MPSimmons 3 days ago 0 replies      
We are.

We need java developers with math backgrounds, as well as operations folks.


1 point by locandy 3 days ago 0 replies      
SF Bay Area

Location Labs is a fast growing start-up that's doing lots of interesting things around location-based services. The whole gamut of work: Ruby, Python, Obj-C, Java; both server-side and mobile (iPhone, Android)


QA, UX design, and product management roles as well

1 point by jdenglish 3 days ago 0 replies      
Energid Technologies is hiring robotics and machine vision engineers with C++ expertise for our new lab in Burlington, MA, and remote work. http://www.energid.com/contact.htm
Firefox overtakes IE in Europe (statcounter.com
151 points by rmc 18 hours ago   48 comments top 7
7 points by ZeroGravitas 16 hours ago 6 replies      
I'm amazed by how regional things are, e.g. compare Germany with the UK. Firefox to IE is 62/22% in Germany, 23/52% in the UK.



Globally, IE is at insane levels in South Korea (94%) and China (90% of which IE6 is 54%), Firefox is doing well in the Philippines at 47% with Chrome following close behind at 34%.

I guess the key take away is, as usual, know your own market.

edit: I wish you could easily see the countries with IE above 50%, I was surprised to see that by these stats the US just dropped below this level, mostly thanks to a strong showing from Apple's Safari compared with the rest of the world.

4 points by joakin 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This makes me really happy, I was really afraid that Chrome would cannibalize usage from Firefox users, and even it does at a certain point, its really small compared to the users it takes from IE.
3 points by shimonamit 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Corporate-land is still IE in the high percentages, including IE6. Hoping, wishing Chrome's new "ready for business" features will dent that...
2 points by lwhi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see Google providing aggregated browser stats from the data it collects via Analytics.
1 point by riffraff 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess this could mean the enforced browser ballot is having a large effect on the market?
It would be nice to see growth rates compared between regions.
1 point by vanni 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This post title should be: "Firefox overtakes IE in Europe (thank you Chrome!)"
0 points by nice1 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this mean the Europeans are smarter? Can't be ...
Important Safety Notice from WakeMate
145 points by tptacek 4 days ago   106 comments top 19
68 points by bilbo0s 4 days ago 5 replies      
"...The USB chargers were sourced through a Chinese vendor. We paid to have the proper certification and safety tests performed here in the U.S. for the chargers. However, tonight we were informed by a customer of a safety incident with the black USB chargers..."

You think it is appropriate to say this in a recall notice...

and this is why you fail.

Sony has problems with their products, so does Apple. Neither of them blame their sourcing in communication to customers. Why? Because your problem is not Chinese manufacturers, or Stateside testing companies, your problem is YOU and YOUR PROCESSES. Take ownership and move forward.

I am reminded of how you handled getting a bad review, here -> http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2029052

I think there is an attitude at your company that is incompatible with the relentless pursuit of perfection that is required to pull off a successful hardware startup. What you guys need is a 'Come To Jesus' talk, not more clumsy attempts at deflecting culpability.

67 points by noonespecial 4 days ago replies      
It's likely that the chargers that were tested and the chargers that actually ended up shipping are quite different inside.

This seems to be a constant battle when going the Chinese route. You have to cut open a few from every shipment and check to see if inferior components have been subbed in since last time.

57 points by tlrobinson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Man these guys can't catch a break. I really want to love WakeMate but they're making it hard.
11 points by jrockway 4 days ago 3 replies      
Dear electronics companies. I am willing to pay more money if you build your products in the US / Europe / Japan and actually do QA.

(Actually, I have nothing against making stuff in China. But it seems that people outsource to China only to save money, and you get what you pay for. In this case, your house nearly burning down because someone wanted to save a fraction of a penny on capacitors, or something.)

Example: I have a Soekris router instead of a random Netgear or Linksys. It cost $300 instead of $25 that a WRT-54G would cost, and it doesn't even have wireless. But, it actually works. The VPN works. The firewall works. It doesn't drop packets. It doesn't overheat. It doesn't burn down my house. Is this worth a 12x price premium? Yes.

12 points by eitally 4 days ago 0 replies      
For everyone bashing Chinese manufacturers, it's really unfair unless you qualify the statement. All of the big EMS companies have a significant presence in China (Celestica, Jabil, Flextronics, Sanmina-SCI) and Foxconn is part of a Taiwanese holding company. They, and many smaller EMS providers, will build exactly to spec and many of them are happy to do ODM/JDM work, too (ref: Quanta & Compal, the two biggest laptop ODMs and manufacturers in the world).

Where people get burned is when these don't perform a risk analysis while deciding on a hardware partner and end up going with some back room company that probably builds their stuff using components sourced from Shenzhen electronics malls. This isn't necessarily bad, but you get out what you put in, and if you're minimizing the time & money parts of the equation, the quality is likely to suffer.

9 points by mmaunder 4 days ago 1 reply      
Way to handle this WakeMate. While this may cost a lot in the short term, history has shown that companies can bounce back from costly recalls like this and dominate the market down the road with the increase in credibility and trust they gain:


36 points by dwynings 4 days ago 3 replies      
16 points by callmevlad 4 days ago 2 replies      
I stopped using mine the day I got it because it emitted a annoying loud whiny noise the second I plugged it in. I immediately thought "cheap Chinese manufacturing" and started using my white iPhone charger instead. Glad I did.

What makes this more serious is that the WakeMate seems to be really power hungry and needs almost constant charging - I've noticed that it usually can't go 2 straight nights without a recharge. Since that's the case, I imagine most people just plug it into the defective charger each morning, so it's plugged in for about 16 hours per day. But maybe my battery is also defective ...

Not sure how these two are different technically (both probably have similar accelerometers), but I also have a FitBit that I wear all day long - yet I only need to charge that guy maybe once a week.

Hoping the WakeMate guys get through this, though ...

13 points by delackner 4 days ago 1 reply      
So the logical next question is are the battery paks in the band safe? What sort of safety cert was done on them?
11 points by koichi 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd worry about this more if my WakeMate would actually arrive... :(

This is pretty sad, though... I've been cheering for WakeMate since the beginning, but it's getting harder and harder... Are they at least sending new charger bricks at some point, perhaps a year or so from now (har har har)?

9 points by donniefitz2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Man, this is big. What a bummer for Wakemate. I admire your honesty though. Thanks for not keeping quiet.
5 points by rman666 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a lurker on WakeMate, thinking I'd like one, but not yet taking the action to buy one.

However, because of their honesty and quick action on this issue, I will buy one now as soon as the charger issue is resolved.

@WakeMate: You will recover fine from this issue ... in fact I think you will end up in a better position because of how you are handling it. Good job!

2 points by matthew-wegner 4 days ago 0 replies      
I could actually hear my charger audibly buzzing when I plugged it in for the first time today. Glad to hear it will be replaced!
2 points by klbarry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can we ask what the safety issue is? I don't have a wakemate, and I understand if there is a legal reason not too, but I am curious. Is it bursting into flames...?
5 points by flip 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else feel like a complete fool for having thought these guys were capable of pulling this off?
0 points by btipling 3 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly though, can you imagine recovering from a video of your product smoldering and smoking, a product that people attach to their arms while sleeping?

After having seen that video that's all I'm ever going to think about when someone mentions the product. And can you imagine recommending it now to anyone? How do you think WakeMate has spread? Probably word of mouth, which if that channel hasn't closed forever will now come with a big bold asterisk.

I wish you guys the best. It's going to be hard work to not only improve your product, deal with the financials but recover consumer trust. A good idea might be some new awesome, but some what gimmicky feature, that will wow everyone.

2 points by natch 4 days ago 0 replies      
What exactly is the safety issue?
3 points by lwat 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does this also explain the problems Engadget had with the battery life?
1 point by Ein2015 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love my WakeMate and the Wakelytics web app. It's super cool.

My only complaint is that it seems the wristband can be a bit tight, but I suppose this is necessary to provide accurate movement calculations.

Good job WakeMate team. I know it's been tough, but I'm proud of you! Thank you for handling this situation in such an appropriate manner.

Hotlinking to jquery.com will be disabled on January 31, 2011 jquery.com
143 points by Uncle_Sam 4 days ago   97 comments top 13
27 points by cletus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Frankly I'm surprised jquery even allowed this to begin with. Now there will be sites that rely on this tha break, some of which won't be fixed for ages (if ever).

I guess I shouldn't be but I'm still surprised people would even do this given that Google s offering the service for free. Hotlinking has always been antisocial.

34 points by zbanks 4 days ago 2 replies      
Crockford used to prevent hotlinking to his JSON library (its now on github) in an interesting way: right at the top there was an alert() line that you had to remove before using.

This would probably be the best way to transition. If they add an alert to their library and leave it up a week, most people should notice and fix it.

40 points by DanHulton 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like the one comment about serving up evil.js to hotlinkers instead (https://github.com/kitgoncharov/evil.js/blob/gh-pages/evil.j...).

How have I never heard about this hilarious script before?

26 points by ajpiano 4 days ago 1 reply      
We did a lot of analysis of the sites that were actually hotlinking, and are planning to reach out to those that are above board and should know better. By and large, however, most of the sites that were hotlinking were porn/phishing/generally nefarious, which weighed heavily into our decision to pull the plug relatively soon. Serving people who need jQuery and jQuery UI documentation, etc., is a higher priority than not-pulling-the-rug-out-from-under networks of porn sites - people who have more than adequate access to their own hosting and distribution resources.
6 points by dedward 4 days ago 1 reply      
Always seemed to be to be a bad practice from a security point of view - you are putting the security of your site in the hands of whoever is hosting the .js

This also applies when .js is dynamically included as a type of API call to embed widgets and whatnot - but in those cases there's a necessary reason - it's the only practical way - but for a simple .js, you should be managing your own .js library and publishing on your own (including all the speedup tricks you know you should be doing)

7 points by jasoncartwright 4 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps a little harsh. Is the problem bandwidth or connection quantity? If it's bandwidth then they should just 301 to the Google CDN.
2 points by mark_h 4 days ago 0 replies      
Now is probably a good time for a reminder: http://scriptsrc.net/

(Up to date CDN links for a bunch of javascript libraries, including jquery)

1 point by rbanffy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ways to solve the problem once and for all:

- Listing the sites that hotlink it would be a nice idea.

- Changing the script on the hotlinked files to pop-up a warning that the site is doing something improper and urging people to contact the owner.

- When that doesn't work, break the sites.

1 point by iwwr 3 days ago 0 replies      
The jquery people are being incredibly generous. Others would have just tweaked the JS to produce some shock site or text to the effect "you are a bandwidth thief".
1 point by mike-cardwell 4 days ago 2 replies      
It should be trivial for them to scan their access logs for referrers, and then send a mailshot out to each domains webmaster address.

To me, that seems like the polite thing to do.

2 points by quinndupont 4 days ago 1 reply      
Damn shame. I used to hotlink during testing when I was too lazy to download the actual JS and host it. It was a nice way to build wicked fast little sites.
1 point by Fluxx 4 days ago 0 replies      
When the change is made, changing the results of the HTTP GET to some javascipt comments explaining what happened and pointing them to some CDNs which offer the same service would be a good idea.
People will never line up for Android phones engadget.com
137 points by mcantelon 3 days ago   88 comments top 22
24 points by edw519 2 days ago 3 replies      
Android's problem is that it has no problem...

         People Who Buy Cell Phones   

| . .
| . .
| . .
| . .
| . .
| . .
| . .
| . | | .
Those | The great | Idiots
who | masses who buy | who stand
don't | what their | on line
buy | friends bought | all nite

61 points by erikpukinskis 3 days ago replies      
This is probably referencing John Gruber's quote from http://daringfireball.net/2010/12/emotional_rescue:

"There will never be an Android phone that people line up for like they did for Windows 95 " or like they do today, once or twice a year, for major new products from Apple."

I like Gruber. I think he does some great analysis sometimes. And he loves to call "gotcha" on other peoples' "claim chowder". But his love for Apple gets the better of him sometimes, and I doubt he will call himself on this.

53 points by ck2 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think the real news here is there is a growing middle-class of consumers in China that can also afford $400 luxury devices.

I'm more worried about their (less regulated) growing car purchases but it's still something to consider as we compete for resources (and jobs).

8 points by zdw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks as close to an iPhone as possible, as with most other Meizu products:


Combine the fact that these are probably being sold exclusively through those 2 first party stores, it being a holiday, and that there's a thriving resale market (people buying the maximum number of phones they can, then turning them around on the internet), I'm not surprised.

Edit: People even line up for bags of all the extra overstock junk they throw in bags at Apple's stores in japan:


Not comparable, IMHO.

43 points by ams6110 3 days ago 3 replies      
I guess there might be a social aspect to it, but it's absurd to stand on line to purchase a commodity piece of hardware.
10 points by drivebyacct2 2 days ago 1 reply      
And why do we care? Yes, a lot of yuppies go out and buy iPhone 4s so that they can be cool. They'll never install more than 3 applications, will pay out their ass for texting and will be perfectly happy flashing their iPhone to their friends. Meanwhile, 4 more Android phones are activated without any excitement, where the respective user also probably never installs a wide range of apps and pays the carrier's exhuberant SMS fee.

Is Gruber suggesting, or am I supposed to buy the notion that the emotional appeal of a product is some sort of important measurement? Who's activating more phones, who's making the revenue.

I'll never stand in line for an Android phone, I won't even stay up late to press "Buy" on when the purchase link goes live for the HTC Thunderbolt. It will still be there and will ship at the same time if I order it at 8am.

25 points by est 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chinese here. To be honest, it's a very smart marketing strategy for Meizu. Lots of people preorder M9 phones months earlier, and Meizu just calls everyone that their phone is available on a particuliar day, so there are tons of people line up on Meizu M9 launch day.
20 points by alexbosworth 3 days ago 1 reply      
Different standards here in China - people were literally fighting with the Apple store employees when the iPhone 4 came out
16 points by tsotha 2 days ago 2 replies      
Getting a few thousand people to line up in a country of 1.3 billion doesn't seem all that impressive to me, actually.
16 points by foljs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Emm, this is China. There are lines 2 times like these for the salad bar stand at most restaurants.
11 points by codyguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
People shouldn't have to line up for any phone. I own an iphone but I'd never line up for it.
4 points by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Want more people in your nightclub? Make them queue...
6 points by elvirs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, what can I say, it turns out people like lining up.
1 point by sandGorgon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can the reason also be lack of forced obsolescence?

I have a HTC Magic (also known in the US as a Mytouch 3G). It is a first generation Android phone. I thought about upgrading recently and was beginning to look around.

What I did instead was to download the latest version of Cyanogenmod (and contribute some of the money saved to the project). I can actually say that I am putting off upgrading for the second half of 2011.

Has the Android space become synonymous with Windows XP ? Because I now see people upgrade phones to play Angry Birds (which I cant on my phone).

IMHO, a large upgrade happened in the PC world around the time Doom3 and Half Life 2 were released - so instead of people lining up for Android phones, they instead line up (figuratively) for the next killer game ... it would still be a solid reflection of the platform.

1 point by code_duck 2 days ago 0 replies      
It makes sense that people would not line up for Android phones and would for iPhones. There is only one iPhone, and a new one only comes once every 12 or 18 months. There are 100 Android phones, and a new one comes every month. The suspense and excitement just isn't the same.
3 points by dotcoma 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand these people (nor people who line up for an iPhone). I wouldn't line up like that even if they were distributing admission tickets to 'heaven'.
1 point by FiddlerClamp 2 days ago 0 replies      
We got this back in August for the Galaxy S in Toronto:


1 point by cormullion 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect that they're lining up to see Jack Wong. I hadn't heard the name before, but it seems he's a bit of a draw all by himself:


   "Every time (Wong) makes a comment on his 
company's online forums, there's this groundswell
of pandemonium around those posts."

so perhaps it's not so much the phone that they're going to buy...?

1 point by andreshb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are people lining up because it's Android or because it's Meizu? It may likely be that Meizu built their brand enough to cause the lines, not Google's Android.
1 point by shareme 2 days ago 0 replies      
check china news..they are in fact lining up for Android in China..Gruber is wrong as usual..

There are 12 news reports this morning in Google News..about Chinese lining up for android devices..

1 point by vegai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Because Android users are smarter?

Oh, sarcasm. That's original.

-4 points by known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Android phones are draining battery very quickly.
       cached 5 January 2011 05:04:01 GMT