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Dear Google: please let me ban sites from results
418 points by nervechannel 2 days ago   205 comments top 51
39 points by AndrewO 1 day ago 7 replies      
I see a lot of people asking what happens when a group of people downvote a site just to ruin its ranking. Sure that's a problem, but there's an easy solution on Google's end: your blacklist only affects you. Yes, that means all of us have to hide efreedom ourselves. Doesn't seem like a problem to me...

Plus, we are talking about a company whose core business demands that it can identify groups of bad-faith voters. Given time, they may find a way to incorporate this data safely into the ranking data (if anyone could, it would be Google).

And I know there are extensions to do this (mine mysteriously stopped working recently), but doing this on the client-side in a way that's bound to a single browser install just seems wrong to me, especially for Google.

26 points by SimonPStevens 2 days ago 6 replies      
No, it's not particular hard, but it will make the problem worse.


99% of users are non-tech oriented.

Those users will not really be aware of the specific problems with the search results, they won't understand the concept of a good vs bad result and they certainly won't bother to tweak/ban/filter their results.

The 1% that do care and are currently being vocal about it will start filtering their results and they will perceive that the problem is solved. They will stop making a fuss.

So now, the complaints have gone away, but 99% of users are still using the broken system, so the good sites that create good original content are still ranking below the scrapers and spam results for 99% of the users.

The problem must be solved for all (or at least the majority) of users.

(And you can't take the 1%s filtering and apply it to all users in some kind of social search because the spammers will just join the 1% and game the system)

35 points by al_james 2 days ago replies      
Yes that would be good. They could then look at the number of people blocking certain domains and de-weight them in the global results.

Traditionally google seem against human powered editing (as this would be), but I think as the black hat SEOs run rings around them, its needed badly.

17 points by radley 1 day ago 3 replies      
Google does provide this service: it's called Google Custom Search. You can prioritize or blacklist sites and it's pretty easy to add it to your browser searchbar. I don't always use it, but I'll switch to it when I encounter a spammy topic, usually dev-related searches.


14 points by Luc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Also, I would like '[any widget] review' to take me to an actual review, not pages upon pages of spam. I usually end up looking at comments on a few trusted sites (e.g. Amazon). This seems broken...
6 points by Pewpewarrows 2 days ago 1 reply      
Gmail already does it, and the global system uses an algorithm to look at reported spam results in order to automatically move future emails from that party to the spam folder automatically, not just for the person that reported it, but for everyone.

If they're not looking into integrating that nicely into the existing search results page (not a separate form that the average user will never find or use), especially after all the internet chatter about it recently, then they definitely should make that a top priority in 2011. I definitely don't want them to do a rush job on it though. I don't want competitors to start reporting each other as spam in search results to try and game the system even further. I'm assuming they have anti-gaming measures in place for Gmail, so they won't be completely starting that from scratch...

3 points by andrewljohnson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd definitely make use of this feature. Some ancillary features might include:

a) Google could warn you if it thinks the sites you have blacklisted seemed to have regained credibility.

b) Google could suggest additional sites you may wish to blacklist, based on other user blacklists.

c) Google could allow outside parties to curate blacklists.

d) Google could list the most commonly black-listed sites publicly. For the webmasters that find themselves listed who want to run an actual honest business, this is a good sign they should change their tactics. For the folks that aim to spam and profit... well screw those guys.

5 points by pragmatic 2 days ago 2 replies      
Proof that true AI is a long way off?

If the best and brightest (arguably) on the planet can't figure out how to filter out search with algorithms, what makes us think we can mimic true human intelligence any time soon. (I think it will happen, just not as soon as some claim)

11 points by djhworld 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think the worst culprits are the ones that skim StackOverflow questions and rehash them into their own supposed original "question and answer" site
7 points by pixelbeat 2 days ago 2 replies      
Google were experimenting with voting on results:

Also there is this form for reporting spam sites:

Integrating the above into standard search results would be difficult unless it was restricted to users with a good "karma".
That might be possible in our increasingly socially networked world

5 points by shimonamit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this could be implemented in the way of sticky search operators?

So for example, I could define -site:efreedom.com as an operator to be applied silently for every search I make.

10 points by krschultz 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd ban eHow.
5 points by hessenwolf 2 days ago 1 reply      
How many gmail accounts do we need to band together to lower the rank of stack overflow against our super-duper question-and-answer site QandAdsWithMe.annoying.com?
1 point by Sukotto 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want a search results page similar to the "Priority Inbox" we got recently in gmail. Set sane defaults and let me override them with "Important/Notimportant" buttons (or thumbs up/down or whatever) next to results.

Let it learn what I think is a good result for my needs.

If you make it a little bit social, make sure you weight other people's opinions by how much they agree with my own in other areas (making it harder for sockpuppets to muddy the waters)

4 points by coffeedrinker 1 day ago 0 replies      
As programmers, our typical complaints are for sites that bog us down in common (expert's exchange, stackoverflow scrapers, etc.).

What I found interesting: I was doing a search on something I normally have no interest in (a sewing machine manual for my wife) and I was amazed by the level of spam I was encountering.

We have no idea how bad the problem is for others whose topics we do not usually see. The web is far more full of spam than we even realize.

10 points by foljs 2 days ago 2 replies      
And no more bloody experts-exchange...
3 points by charlesju 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is a conspiracy theory for you guys.

1. How does Google make money? Search Ads.

2. How do people click on search ads? Bad real search results.

1 point by thinkbohemian 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone remember when google had this feature?

Well sortof, you could block individual responses from coming up under a specific search term.

There was a little x by each result if you were signed into google and it said "never show this result again"

Not enough people used the feature for it to stick around...

I would love this ability but google please, good UI and consumer education. I love your features but don't love when they get taken away because users don't know they exist.

2 points by Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Didn't Google have downvotes for results - shouldn't they be sufficient to achieve the result you want? Presumably Google would learn that you consistently downvote wareseeker and exclude it from results in the future.

I haven't used it because I don't want Google to remember my search history. But if you are willing to stay logged into Google (which would be required for your proposal), it would not be an issue.

6 points by dawgr 2 days ago 2 replies      
That will never happen, if they ever did that it would be an admission that there is something inherently wrong with their algorithm. They won't do it.
1 point by alnayyir 1 day ago 1 reply      

Is there something I'm missing here?

It's not in Google's financial interest to provide this feature, but it already exists rather trivially.

3 points by twir 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like a lot of people are assuming a solution would some sort of voting system like stackexchange, etc.

Why not allow individual users to hide sites from their own search results and save the info in their google account? For example, provide a "hide this site from my results" link next to each result. Each person decides which site they don't want to see and SEO and global results remain unaffected.

1 point by joshrule 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems that it might be more helpful to whitelist sites. The web grows too quickly, and the mass of spam sites overwhelmingly so. If I had some way to blacklist sites, I'd end up spending a lot of time doing so. In fact, it could quickly take up most of my search time.

If, though, we could whitelist sites, it seems that results would get cleaner faster. I don't care about how many bad sites are out there, as long as helpful sites make it to the top. Plus, I typically use just a few sites to access reliable information anyway (the number's about 7, right?), so if I can whitelist results from those sites, I'll probably find my desired content more quickly.

What about the case when there are 30 spam sites listed before 1 good site? That hasn't happened too often for me. Instead, the results I'm looking for are usually just 4 or 5 spots down the front page, and very occasionally on the second page.

White listing seems like it would still be faster and easier for now.

4 points by aquilax 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wasn't this a problem Google Search Wiki tried to solve?


2 points by balakk 1 day ago 0 replies      
How about decentralizing the search page? Hear me out for a bit.

My theory is that these complaints are coming from specific interest groups, not the general public. For example, spammy-content is created and targeted at a developer/programmer audience, and that is the source of some of these complaints.

So my suggestion is Google should platformize their search; and give out dedicated search instances to specific communities. The community should have enough levers to govern/influence what is spam or not. In addition, the community can promote certain high-value resources, which are otherwise unfairly listed in search results.
Invite some high-profile communities for a test-run, and let the communities make their own choices.

The public Google can still handle the general public. This can also bring in some transparency in the way spam is determined.

4 points by iwwr 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the interim, you can do your searches by adding -wareseeker -efreedom to the search string.
1 point by michaelhart 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google Domain Blocker: (userscript/greasemonkey), for those interested.


You can also sync them for Firefox across multiple machines using Dropbox, as the preferences are stored in your profile (IIRC, in a javascript file).

2 points by davidk0101 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure how this would be implemented. Where would the blacklist be held and how would it influence the search results? I know that they already do a lot of search customization but most of it is just aggregate statistical computations. It's not that they return results specifically tailored to you but more like results tailored to a very fuzzy average version of you. A blacklist seems way too specific to each user to be susceptible to meaningful aggregate statistical operations like spam filtering which is one of the reasons that spam filtering in google is so good. Each user contributes something and everyone benefits. I don't see that happening with blacklists. I think to make it worthwhile they would need to figure out how to feed the information from blacklists into providing more meaningful results for everyone.
1 point by cygwin98 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds to me the web search is not yet a solved problem. As the hardware (storage and memory) is getting cheaper and cheaper, and the emerging enabling technologies such as cloud computing, building your own search engine may not sound impossible any longer. Wonder how feasible it is to apply anti-spam algorithms that work well on emails to web pages.
1 point by Rhapso 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems like a obvious answer, but why not just use "-site:annoyingpage.com" in you search? In fact "-TotallyUnRelated" has helped me narrow down searches effectively too. You are asking for a feature that only a small subset of the users will benefit from and use, it makes more sense for google just to find a way to rank sites better then it does to build a additional filter on top of the current system.
1 point by coffee 1 day ago 2 replies      
"This would solve a lot of people's complaints in one fell swoop."

And doing this would spawn a lot of people's complaints in one fell swoop.

If you owned a site, and created enemies, they could band together and flag your site as spam.

1 point by pilom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Startup idea: Create a service around google custom search. Select the "Search the entire web but emphasize the selected sites" Then create a gui to allow people to prioritize or ban their search results.
2 points by ScottWhigham 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those wanting Google to put a penalty on the sites who are banned/removed from the user's view, what's to stop someone from gaming that system via Mech. Turk (or some other way)? Just pay people $0.12 to open gmail accounts and ban a competitor or whatever.

That's the only negative I can think of - other than that, I say bring it!

1 point by scotty79 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the old days we had killfile. Why can't we PLONK content sources like authors or sites by handles like nicks or domain names? There should be some standard protocol for that. Httplonk.
1 point by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
great idea. Let this be the first question asked at any Google event.

In fact, let there be a sea of hands all gesticulating wildly to present it.

1 point by GrandMasterBirt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use duckduckgo.com. Its pretty good with excluding spam. And with a new service there is an indicator of how spammy a site is.
1 point by richbradshaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just use Google SearchWiki.

Oh, yeah " they pulled it.

2 points by retube 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe blekko does
2 points by diegob 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't implementing this feature be a tacit admission that there's a problem with search results?
0 points by RP_Joe 1 day ago 1 reply      
So what we are talking about is censorship. You are suggesting a non-traditional type where a government does not do the censoring, but a few people do. How many votes would it take to put a website on a blacklist? 50, 100?

Who decides if a site is spam?

So is free speech dead under your proposal?
What is I build a site that criticizes the Governor of your state. Or a federal agency. What would prevent my site from being blacklisted in your proposal? Even if I had great content (your argument is about poor quality content) my could be voted into a black hole in a few hours.
Lets think about this carefully. Is that the price we are willing to pay to get rid of EE?

1 point by serveboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use a Chrome extension called Google Search Filter which solves this exact problem - https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/eidhkmnbiahhgbgp...

It lets me sync my config accross multiple machines.

Has nice hacker-ish config. Basically a text file you can share with others. This is my current config:

# Make these domains stand out in results










# SPAM - never show these results



1 point by eliben 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't this be done with a browser plugin?
2 points by ajayjapan 1 day ago 1 reply      
My question is why stackoverflow hasn't banned efreedom yet?
1 point by pilooch 1 day ago 0 replies      
you can do it with seeks...

on your local machine and/or remote server... and it's free software.

blekko ? try this query, http://blekko.com/ws/?q=debian
duh ?

1 point by svlla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see an option for searching only ad-free sites, or perhaps just sites that don't use AdSense, as well. Surely Google would have no problem with that.
1 point by alexobenauer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although it's sad because it speaks volumes that we're fed up with all the garbage in many of our search queries.

I do hope those working on the algorithm are taking note.

1 point by jeffg1 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't seem like it would be hard, but if the rankings aren't driven by money, then there will be attempts to game the system. The problem I feel is Money. As long as everyone has to compete for it (meaning money doesn't work for the people, people work for money - in a system owned by the few), we'll have shady marketers, shady products, spammers etc... so, I think that it will remain a cat and mouse game.
1 point by podperson 1 day ago 0 replies      
simply add -site:foo.com to your search request.

And no, this doesn't solve the problem.

1 point by forkrulassail 2 days ago 0 replies      
YES. Like the useless chromeextensions.org

This would be an awesome feature.

1 point by hoofish 2 days ago 1 reply      
the problem I have with this is that some black hat people can do this to any site they feel they are competing with. what would prevent someone from blacklisting a legitimate blog or website just because they did not like the content?
1 point by AussieChris 1 day ago 0 replies      
blekko . com is doing this and much more
Dating Denial of Service attack reddit.com
380 points by mcantelon 4 days ago   123 comments top 17
57 points by DevX101 4 days 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.

45 points by keiferski 4 days 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.

29 points by ck2 4 days 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 4 days 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.

14 points by bobf 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a great answer in response to the YC application's "hack" question.
12 points by iamdave 4 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone else slightly reminded of that scene from A Beautiful Mind reading this?
9 points by shadowmatter 4 days 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."
17 points by ambirex 4 days 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.
4 points by klbarry 3 days 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.
5 points by noodle 4 days 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.
22 points by pharrington 4 days ago 0 replies      
Survival of the fittest in 2011.
2 points by wallflower 3 days ago 0 replies      
Highly recommend the Catfish Movie if you have not seen it. A variant of the same technique is employed.


8 points by DarrenLehane 4 days ago 0 replies      
A visionary, to say the least.
2 points by dantkz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbJHkwHZCCM

Will this approach work on the job offers websites?

0 points by AdamGibbins 4 days ago 0 replies      
Service Unavailable

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


-4 points by Strunk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Haha! This is f-king awesome! :)
-2 points by skbohra123 4 days ago 1 reply      
Reddit posts are generally useless talks. Cross posting from reddit, solves anything ? This looks out of scope to me.
NYT Review of ‘The 4-Hour Body' nytimes.com
373 points by tysone 1 day ago   193 comments top 42
73 points by edw519 1 day ago 3 replies      
If nothing else, the staying power of this shit is a testament to the power of marketing.

Now imagine what you can accomplish when you combine that with something that actually offers value to others. Hack away!

89 points by pchristensen 1 day ago replies      
I'm the rare defender of Tim Ferriss on HN. A lot of what he says is common sense, a lot of it is crazy, a lot of it is probably wrong, but here's why I think he doesn't deserve the scorn given to him:

Everything he says is backed up by this premise: "Don't just accept this - try it! I'm only recommending it because I found it to work."

I've done his slow-carb diet before and am doing it again now. I lost 25 pounds in two months the first time, and I've lost 5 pounds this week since I restarted it. These results, which are on par with what he claimed, make me hesitant to flatly deny anything else he recommends.

38 points by lionhearted 1 day ago 1 reply      
You know what's missing from this review?

It doesn't have any "I tried this and it worked" or "I tried this and it didn't work" or "This goes against XYZ scientific study, so I'm hesitant to try it."

In fact, I don't see any substance at all really, aside from gathering that the guy doesn't like Tim Ferriss.

64 points by AlexC04 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've read 4 Hour Body and think it was terrible. Self indlugent, misleading (at best) and dangerous (at worst).

There were numerous 1 star reviews on Amazon.com that summed up my thoughts pretty well, so I'll not drone on here about it... I do however wonder about all the legions of 5 star reviews that are in there.

I wonder if Tim tore a page out of 4 hour work week and outsourced an indian marketing firm (brickwork?) to write a large number of 4 and 5 star reviews.

37 points by teye 1 day ago 2 replies      
4HB reads like a hacker's book, and that's why I loved it.

Conventional wisdom says you kill yourself at the gym to bulk up. But a muscle isn't strengthened by fatigue -- it's strengthened by the body's response to that fatigue. So shouldn't your goal be triggering the response?

That makes for an exciting read. The book is full of it -- tracking down the extraordinarily successful in a given field, taking their advice himself, and sharing the results.

32 points by SandB0x 1 day ago 2 replies      
This book sounds like it was written by Ron Burgundy.
24 points by phren0logy 1 day ago 4 replies      

>Here's a better analogy: “The 4-Hour Body” reads as if The New England Journal of Medicine had been hijacked by the editors of the SkyMall catalog. Some of this junk might actually work, but you're going to be embarrassed doing it or admitting to your friends that you're trying it. This is a man who, after all, weighs his own feces, likes bloodletting as a life-extension strategy and aims a Philips goLite at his body in place of ingesting caffeine.

Just... wow. The book sounds ridiculous, and the review is fantastic.

10 points by DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the things I've noticed from my earliest days on the net is the degree that folks seem willing to be humbled and belittled by what they think of as celebrity. Geesh, I remember some YC application deadlines that the sucking up got so bad I was afraid I might get pulled into the screen of my laptop.

Ferriss seems to be capitalizing on this. He's the guy that had the new book over on Amazon with something like a thousand positive reviews. A thousand! Something has gone wrong somewhere.

This was a great review. I am reminded of the beer commercial with "with most interesting man in the world". Sounds like Ferriss could have been a model for this idea.

Obligatory link for those outside the states who haven't seen "The most interesting man in the world" beer commercials and don't know what I am talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bc0WjTT0Ps

21 points by fooandbarify 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hahaha okay, awesome review. Still (and I've said something similar on HN before) for all Tim's giddy arrogance I still think he brings something valuable to the table. Yeah, he thinks his shit don't stink and yeah, he sort of sounds like a walking infomercial but guess what? So does almost every wildly successful person I have ever heard of. (Exceptions might include the likes of Bill Gates.) Tim is out there getting things done (commercially successful author, entrepreneur, etc) while a bunch of bloggers sit around making fun of him for having confidence and for maybe being a bit of an ass.
22 points by DanielRibeiro 1 day ago 1 reply      
The author's comment on this[1]:

NY Times - Dwight Garner's snarky review of The 4-Hour Body: http://su.pr/16Eh4w For 100% ad hominem, it's pretty funny.

[1] http://twitter.com/#!/tferriss/status/23166933377486848

55 points by judegomila 1 day ago 0 replies      
I lost 15 pounds in 4 hours after buying the book. This was uk currency though.

- it's an entertaining read.

5 points by Eliezer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm amazed by the similarity between the way some people seem personally offended by the existence of Timothy Ferriss and the way some people seem offended by Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. I wonder if they're the same people.
12 points by keeptrying 1 day ago 0 replies      
The part of the book that you MUST take seriously is the part about the methods of rehabilitating your body after an injury.

Most of you will be sitting for in a chair for a good chunk of the next 10 years, so bad backs and bad knees are a given. So understanding why this happens and on how to fix it is huge.

Getting all that info in one place took me 2 years of learning as only leading strength coaches know this stuff. Your doc probably won't.

19 points by _pius 1 day ago 3 replies      
One of the most intellectually lazy book reviews I've ever read. All snark, no substance.
18 points by jsmcgd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally I thought this review wasn't funny and quite shallow. I got the impression the author had only read the introduction and one or two other chapters.
34 points by tgrass 1 day ago 3 replies      
a friend recommended to me the 4-hour workweek. After the first few pages, I bound the entire book in duct tape. I didn't want to be responsible for anyone else reading it.
7 points by mhd 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only interesting thing that I got out of the 4-Hour Work Week was the idea of traveling somewhere long-time to learn a new skill. Hardly groundbreaking, but a new idea to me.

The rest of the book varied between obvious, sleazy and cheating. So I'm not surprised that the new one is pretty much the same, only this time with health risks instead of financial ones.

Not that this is particularly new. It's basically Charles Atlas in the age of twitter and ADHD. The review is pretty fantastic, though.

3 points by runjake 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've scoffed at his claims of 5K to 50K in 12 weeks, in the past. I went from couch potato to runner. I've run several marathons and ultras and have done quite a bit of experimenting on my body over the years. I managed to borrow a copy of this book tonight and pounded through quite a bit of it.

From what I read, it's actually 4 weeks of bone/muscle/ligament conditioning, followed by 12 weeks of running training -- IF you can run a 5K at an 8:00 pace or faster. If you can't, then yep, you guessed it, more training time.

This is doable and pretty much falls in line with conventional training (though Tim reorganizes it a little bit, and throws in the all important and generally under-emphasized benefits of cross-training), but it isn't "in 12 weeks" at all.

I've done quite a bit of iterative experimenting with cross-training (especially cycling and swimming) and it unilaterally improved my running speeds and my long run recovery times.

His graphs and charts seem rather superfluous to me. Meant to intimidate rather than inform.

I'm not so concerned about permanent damage because of the initial 4 week conditioning process. If you're not already a seasoned runner, this program will take you as long or longer as Galloway or Joe Henderson's training plans.

His advice and data are solid, but don't meet his "in 12 weeks" mark. As far as I know, he still hasn't actually run 50K. The book links to http://www.fourhourbody.com/ultra for his results, but its still a dead page.

4 points by zackattack 1 day ago 3 replies      
The worst part about the 4-hour body is how inconsistent Ferriss is. Are you support to take PAGG 3x a day? Why does he only take it once or twice when he details his hour-by-hour schedule?

The second worst part about the 4-hour body is how much bullshit he fills the pages with. His section on jumping higher (for me, a major selling point of the book) is totally worthless and difficult-to-follow. (A few black and white diagrams did not do it for me... I would have preferred a workout routine.) Mostly he just spends the pages waxing poetic about some sexy ex-NFL gym trainer, and then he talks about how he set the one-day record at his gym for improving vertical leap.

The third is that it's just very difficult to distill any practical information from the book. Man, I just want ONE workout plan, ONE meal plan, and they don't want to think about the rest of it. In order to properly synthesize the 4HB you'd have to do a lot of research, bring a healthy sense of skepticism, and basically spend a lot of time. I don't want to think! I want someone trustworthy to tell me SAFE things I can do that will more or less bring me results.

But it motivated me to buy a caliper, and measure regularly, so I guess that's pretty good. And maybe I'll start stocking up on Brazil nuts.

P.S. I am vegan.

25 points by doyoulikeworms 1 day ago 9 replies      
5 points by micaelwidell 1 day ago 1 reply      
The big question here is: is Tim Ferriss that self-righteous naturally, or does he do it on purpose to gain more attention?

Few people can deny that being so self-righteous that other people get provoked is one hell of a personal marketing strategy. I just keep wondering if the people who succeed in personal branding have thought this out and planned their self-righteousness strategically, or if they just are that way naturally and got lucky.

5 points by 100k 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Some of this junk might actually work, but you're going to be embarrassed doing it or admitting to your friends that you're trying it."

Truer words, never spoken.

4 points by treeface 1 day ago 0 replies      
I greatly dislike how the NYT hijacks my browser's text selection. I'd much rather be able to right click the selected text and search for it on Google than have that silly word lookup hover.
3 points by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to write a book with two pages in it. Page one will say "Eat Right!" in a big bold font. Page two will have "Exercise!" on it. A few years later I'll release revised versions with extra chapters, er, I mean, pages, with statements like "Sleep Well!" and "Relax, Don't Worry!", etc. I mean, all I have to do is just promote the hell out of it.
6 points by tchock23 1 day ago 3 replies      
I read it as well and thought that deep down it was really just a rip off of other studies and advice, just done in a quirky (and sometimes downright crazy) way.

For example, his "diet" is really nothing more than a suggestion to cut carbs and "anything white," eat a few square meals a day and take a day off once a week to convince your body you are not on a diet. I've read that same advice hundreds of times before. Disappointing (not that I had high expectations going into it).

6 points by Aaronontheweb 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is it just me, or does every self-appointed culture snob find the need to make the gratuitous digs on Dan Brown's work? The man's an amazing storyteller.
4 points by pohl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dwight Garner: if you can hear me, I just want you to know that this review was all kinds of awesome.
2 points by brianmwang 1 day ago 3 replies      
The one thing that absolutely drives me up the wall is the recent touting of "Tim Ferriss's 'Slow-Carb' Diet" as if this was some sort of revelation previously withheld from the masses. Every time I hear somebody saying they're following it from 4HB I think, "These principles have been freely available and many times presented through a variety of media channels for years. Why is this news now and why is it being credited to Tim Ferriss?"

I won't downplay Tim's mastery of self-marketing, but seeing this kind of thing makes me go bonkers.

3 points by ojbyrne 1 day ago 1 reply      
The funny thing is, the scathing review almost makes me want to read the book. Almost.
1 point by yters 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The only body hack I want is infinite will power for all practical purposes. Everything else is just a footnote.
3 points by catshirt 1 day ago 0 replies      
imho, it's equally negligent to deny it entirely as it is to accept it entirely.
2 points by awongh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
tl; dr: “The 4-Hour Body” reads as if The New England Journal of Medicine had been hijacked by the editors of the SkyMall catalog.
2 points by kylecordes 1 day ago 1 reply      
If the book is half as entertaining as this review, it'd be a great buy.

"Timothy Ferriss .... is an unusually beguiling humanlike specimen.


1 point by zavulon 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Mr. Ferriss used a hormone-slash-drug called human chorionic gonadotropin and more than tripled his semen volume. “Happy days,” he writes.

This is where I lost it.

1 point by nir 1 day ago 0 replies      
It says a lot about where our industry is in right now that Ferris is celebrity for us. There's a lot in common between the 4 hour body and the 50 billion dollar Facebook.
1 point by thinkdifferent 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have developed an interest in health and longevity and I read this book.
Full of many interesting ideas, but I was left a bit lost.
I'm going to try his Occam mass gaining protocol, which is entirely taken from Doug McGuff 'Body by Science'.

I'm still a bit skeptical because I think that if something really works,sooner or later it will be adopted by the professional in the field.

But bodybuilder (even natural ones) are still trainig in the classical way...

2 points by omeega 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find that aggregate amazon reviews are fairly accurate. Im surprised by the high reviews.
2 points by timsco 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've read most of the book and it's an entertaining read at worst and full of fitness tips you may use at best.

You just have to glance around America to see that whatever the media spews at us about health isn't working. I say, good for him for trying to hack away at the medical / weight loss / media / diet establishment.

1 point by protez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Loved both the book and the review. Tim is damn crazy and his lunacy, but practical one is what makes 4HB distinct from the other average books claiming nothing new, nothing to make fun of.
1 point by alecco 1 day ago 1 reply      
And don't miss his upcoming book "The 4-hour hair-loss"!
1 point by oldstrangers 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm curious if he has a 4-Hour hack for curing his male pattern baldness.
1 point by jschuur 1 day ago 0 replies      
They had me at 'beguiling'.
RIP Bill Zeller metafilter.com
359 points by joshfraser 2 days ago   129 comments top 32
111 points by edw519 2 days ago 3 replies      
Many thoughts that flashed through my mind as I read the suicide note, but I decided to file them all away and share only this old story:

The old town drunk died. His two sons, the bank president and the new town drunk were at his funeral. An onlooker, surprised at how different the two sons were, asked each one how he turned out the way he did.

The bank president responded, "With a father like that, how else could I turn out?"

The new town drunk responded, "With a father like that, how else could I turn out?"

FWIW, I am like the bank president. I have no idea why. All I know is that no matter whatever anyone ever did to me, it didn't matter. I have no idea if someone who turned out like the new town drunk can change (although I imagine it happens all the time). All I do know is that it is possible for a victim to succeed and overcome all of his "darkness".

If anyone has any history remotely close to OP's and is entertaining similar thoughts, feel free to contact me off-line. I will tell you right now what I'll respond with: absolutely nothing. Because I don't know what to tell you. I don't know how to become successful after being abused. But I do know that it's possible; I am living proof. Sometimes, just knowing that something is possible is enough to pursue it until you get it.

I'm truly sorry that OP's story ended like it did. Especially sorry because I know it could have been different. I just don't know how. Now no one will.

64 points by cduruk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I went to a boarding school in high school. Being a relatively nice school, we had campuswide wireless and and the last two years of my education there, we were also allowed to have our laptops in the dorms. So when I discovered MyTunes which allowed every single student in the dormitory to access each other's music, it was an instant hit. Pretty sure everyone with a laptop and iTunes had it installed and there was one particular time I remember the IT guys realizing the awkward amount of traffic originating around the boys' dorm.

I met Bill when we interned at the same company during the summer of 2009. He was a very reserved guy, not shy or introverted --or maybe a little--. During a boring afternoon, I remember googling him and finding out that he was the who wrote MyTunes.

This was then my first foray into the tech industry and right there I was chatting it up with the guy who wrote that random piece of software that became a hit at my school. It was very weird for me and I think I made it weird for Bill for a while too because I made such a big deal out of it.

I'd not say we became good friends but I became someone Bill would at least come say hi when we had stuff together as interns and that made me feel special. We talked about random things several times, we had one particular fun conversation about life in CT and another about deanonymizing data from AOL search results.

During that summer, Bill transformed from being a rather chubby guy to a decent looking man; I think he had put pictures of himself before and after the summer. It was kind of humbling as I was kind of trying to do the same but couldn't pull it off like he did.

Once the internship was over, we became friends on Facebook and talked randomly every once in a while. Maybe a few times at best. I liked his status updates, he liked mine. Stuff like that.

So few days ago, I woke up sick at 6AM (PST) and kind of involuntarily logged in to Facebook. I saw his status update which was just "Note: <link>". I clicked on it and there it was, that note. Sitting in my bed, reading the first paragraphs, I wasn't sure if this was something he wrote, something he wanted to share or some sort of random writing. It took me a few passes of the first few paragraphs to realize that this was what I thought it was.

Once I realized that, I started shivering. I knew I had to do something but wasn't sure what I had to do. I saw my RA from college was online; I told him that I think I saw a suicide note on Facebook and I was calling the police. He told me that I should first call my friend but I didn't have Bill's #.

So I looked up the Princeton PD's phone number and gave them a call. As soon as I mentioned "Bill Zeller", they transferred me first to a "safety official" and then to another.

The gentlemen on the phone told me that "someone has found him" and they "took him down for treatment". I asked him about his condition but all he'd say was "he is receiving treatment". They took down my phone number and my name and I hung up.

As a response to what I realized has happened, I sent Bill a pretty lengthy message on Facebook. I told "him" that I wasn't qualified to say anything about his pain but I would be very upset to see a man like him perish. I told him a part of the MyTunes story, probably the 10th time now. I told him that things, however shitty, might become would get better. I felt like I had to tell him that I cared. I told him to "hit me up" when he comes to SF. I think we had a brief conversation on Facebook when I posted something about moving to SF and how he'd say hi.

It feels very weird that I sent that message now. No idea if anyone is going to read it. If I believed in god or after-life, I would have hoped that he'd see it.

Now I saw the news, weirdly on HN before anywhere else. I read the MeFi link and all the comments here; I saw Karan's comments about how he called Princeton PD too. This is all weird to me and I have no idea why I am writing this. Some sort of self-help, I guess.

I checked his Facebook account. It's bizarre, it really is. This is not the first suicide of someone I knew or the first suicide of someone on Facebook whose profile I can see. People are commenting, posting things. There are a few comments like "I hope you can pull thru", posted around the time his condition become public and then it becomes all condolences as the news of his passing is heard.

It is weird to see him posting photos of a random desert he made a few days before he hung himself.

I don't want to turn this into a cheesy "how technology has life and death" thing so I'll stop here.

When I read the note, what stuck wasn't that he was abused but how big of a secret he had and still couldn't do anything about it. Or even more than that, how something like this ate him up from the inside, consumed him. That just makes me look at people around him and wonder. And then I feel childish, for wondering for things like that.

I had a really big mistrust for most people around me, caused by a rather traumatic incident. Nothing too extraordinary, I just took it badly. I felt like everyone around me was out to get each other. I don't think I ever considered suicide but I remember thinking that I'll carry that scar for the rest of my life.

I wish that Bill could get help. As others have said, there are people you can trust your secrets with, maybe not your friends but professional counselors. I cannot get myself to say "I respect his decision" as this is someone taking their life and I wish he didn't perish like this but part of me feels that at least he won't suffer the way he had been apparently.

I'll take a few moments today to think about my issues, things that make me upset and will try to talk to someone about them. Maybe I'll drink a bit, talk to some friends about some of my issues, most of which are admittedly minor. I hope everyone who reads the news of Bill takes a few moments to think about their life and how they can help themselves. Maybe that way, he'll have helped others handle their problems and not do what he did.

92 points by BigZaphod 2 days ago replies      
A note of caution: If you choose to read the actual suicide note as I did, be prepared for a rather intense emotional trip. I don't mean to say that to dissuade anyone from reading it, but just that... I was not expecting what I ended up reading and it really made me sit back and, I dunno, just be sad for awhile. Such a shame.
3 points by jodrellblank 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I've no business commenting on this as I haven't ever suffered a similar sort of trauma, you could argue. However I did start reading this note and found myself strongly flustered at this part:

I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling.

I'm annoyed at how stupid it is. And how, until recently, I wouldn't even have noticed. Let me translate to illustrate:

I desperately wanted to see what was on top of that hill over there. I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would find out what is at the top of the hill. But nothing I did made a dent in my knowledge

Wouldn't that be silly? Wouldn't that make you wonder what he was thinking? Wouldn't you say "so go climb the hill. That's what you need to do and that's all you need to do. Forget the distractions. Go over there. Climb the hill as high as you can and keep trying every few days until you build up the fitness to get to the top".

Yet you see the note of the guy and you feel sorry for him and how hard he tried to keep living and how much he struggled and what pain he was in and he missed this concept completely. If you want peace you need to work on peace and why you can't be at peace and changing yourself so you can. If you want to not be haunted you need to work on not being haunted and if you want to be happy you need to work on being happy and how you can be. Not on grad school or weight loss or gym work or anything else. Your life isn't unhappy, your thoughts are unhappy. Don't improve your life, improve your thoughts. It might not work, but the other way cannot work.

If your code isn't working right, you'll never ever ever fix it by going to the gym. You will only stand any chance of fixing it if you look for the bugs in the code that isn't working and out from there. If you have been hurt and can't be happy, you need to work out how to feel happy even though you got hurt. That's it. That mental adjustment is where the bulk of your energy should be going. Learning to change it and trying repeatedly until you succeed.

It's so frustrating to look at it and see him basically saying "I skirted around my problems all my life and suffered horribly, and when they didn't magically go away I decided they were completely unfixable".

You can feel however you like about whatever you like. This definitely extends to feeling good even when bad things happen. Maybe not all bad things, but many. It may not extend to PTSD. What's frustrating is that he believed he was unfixable without any solid basis for that belief - without talking to a single expert, even - then made the biggest and last decision of his life based on this conclusion.

It's not cowardly or morally inferior or anything like that, it's just ... a strategy that stands a low chance of helping.

11 points by brandnewlow 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is a sad story. I am reminded of another Princeton suicide, Manzili Davis '06 drove to California during spring break of his senior year, rented a storage unit and took his life inside of it. It was weeks before he was found. http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S14/54/83M99/

We had mutual friends and I met him a few times. He had his own "darkness" just like Bill Zeller.

I do wonder if places like Princeton bring out the darkness in people there. I enjoyed my time there but spent the last year of it in and out of counseling and more depressed than I ever hope to be again.

There were some good counselors there in the health center who were kind and patient. It's too bad Bill wasn't able to connect with one of them.

A lot of the problem is with the town. The "town" of Princeton is a sham propped up to impress visiting students. There's really not a whole lot there. Meanwhile, students are required to live in dorms all 4 years, which gives them a really artificial "home life" that doesn't help ground you very much either.

I lived and worked in the town of Princeton for two years after graduation and it was a thoroughly depressing and isolating experience. Unless you're a member of the university community, there's just nothing there to get excited about. You have to leave on the train for the day to do anything interesting.

16 points by zackattack 2 days ago 4 replies      
This might be a good time to mention that we are looking for volunteers for http://CompassionPit.com/. It was created by people who have struggled with depression for most of their life. The other day someone commented about it, "I used CompassionPit for the first time this week. I really like the idea of it. Reminds me of when I reached out to an online videogame friend when I was 12 years old when I was super depressed." I think many people here can relate to this. Anyway, if you want to contribute you can do it in two ways. You can either just join and be present for other people, or you can help with the source code. It's written in python. Your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Edit: the source is available at https://github.com/zackster/CompassionPit - looking to add a few features... send me an email if you are available.

29 points by yogipatel 2 days ago 3 replies      

Having grown up abused by my own parents (in all ways except sexually), I identify with a lot of what he says. I used to think of suicide daily, now I just think of death. Counseling (sans drugs) is what helped me get there. It's good and bad now, but there's a positive trend.

I think what saddens me most about this note is his experience with counseling professionals (though he does use the word doctor, so "counselor" might not be totally accurate). My counselor's office is where I most feel like myself, it's where I feel safe. If only Bill had a situation like that, he might still be here today.

I didn't know the guy personally, but I've read stories like this before, and one thing that stands out to me is how amazing some people that have been through trauma like this are. He went through all the hell that he did, dealt with it on a daily basis, yet still had the capacity to do great work, to make people laugh, to attract others to him, and to generally do awesome things (http://blog.from.bz/2009/03/01/sudo-make-me-a-sandwich-stub-...).

Do yourself a favor and read the note all the way through. Pass it around. Remember that in general, half of the people you see every day have it shittier than you do. Try not to be a jerk.

33 points by flipside 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who once planned to take a secret to my grave, this whole thing saddens me.

I was luckier in a way that altered the course of my life, I let slip to a friend in college that I had a secret. I had no intention of telling him of course, but then he went ahead listing dozens and dozens of possible secrets until he skipped over mine. So I took a chance and I told him and he accepted me.

Looking back, that was the first crack in the darkness. People like me and Bill Zeller might only drop a hint that something is wrong once in our lives, don't be afraid to go chasing after it.

Thanks for finally sharing Bill, rest in peace now.

5 points by SkyMarshal 1 day ago 1 reply      
'You may wonder why I didn't just talk to a professional about this. I've seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I'm positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever.'

I hate that word 'actionable'. Every time I hear it used it is with the implicit assumption that the only information of value is information that is directly 'actionable', which is completely false.

There is also information that enlightens, that expands our understanding of ourselves, other people, or the world, that changes our perspective, or answers why things are the way they are, that is equally or more valuable. That kind of knowledge is not directly 'actionable', but often shows the way forward.

The psychologist Milton Erickson showed that people innately know what they need to do overcome internal problems, but sometimes need an external impetus to realize and do it. Erickson found ways of providing that impetus with mirroring, indirect logic, and reframing, among others. Too bad Bill never found someone like that.

5 points by elliottcarlson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Without going in to many details, I understand where he is coming from. I don't have the same history as Bill did, but I have lived through a generous amount of trauma that has left me to be diagnosed with PTSD, much as it seems he was dealing with. I have seen myself in his shoes in the past, and thankfully for me I have been able to move on and share my life with someone who understands my past, and let me understand her past which has been filled with similar trauma.

While it is a shame to see someone take their life, I can't help but agree that it is not selfish to commit suicide, but rather it is selfish to make someone live with the pain they are enduring. This doesn't make it OK, nor should people take that route, and at all costs should someone do their best to get the help they need - because no matter what, there is someone who can and will listen to you when it comes down to it. In the end though, don't hold it against the person if this is their ultimate decision - and think about try to remember them for the positive things that they stand for. When my best friend killed himself in front of me, I didn't know what to do, or how to react - I now understand and forgive him for everything, even though I think it could have been better for him in the long run if we had spent 15 minutes talking about his problems...

My condolences to his family and friends. I wish him peace and serenity - he deserves it.

10 points by jaysonelliot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I so wish people would write out "Rest in Peace."

I know the intent is not to be disrespectful in any way, but the letters RIP just seem so inappropriate for such a serious and important sentiment.

12 points by beej71 2 days ago 4 replies      
Brutal! How can we help if we don't even know something's wrong?

He was so afraid to let the secret out... maybe that needs to be made easier...?

I have no idea--I can't even begin to empathize with how difficult that must have been to live with.

11 points by kiba 2 days ago 1 reply      
All I can say is that I am angry. Not sad, but angry! Angry at what? The world? The fact that this can happen? The person that molest him? The incomprehensible miserable feeling that I cannot hope to understand?

I don't know. I just can't comprehend it.

12 points by mitsche82 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of this letter described what I felt like up until just a few months ago. I have also had experience with physical and emotional violence (no rape though) and felt absolutely worthless most of my life. One year ago I decided to seek out a therapist, which was one of the hardest things ever to do for me. Therapy has been painful at times, sometimes leaving me completely in shambles. But today I can say that I'm happy to be alive, and I feel worth of being loved and I escaped the dark cloud that used to surround me almost constantly for the majority of my life.

What I'm saying is: seek professional help. If you feel like you can't go on anymore, seek professional help. Talking helps. Let go of the secrets that keep eating you up alive. Share them with at least one person, be it a friend or a professional. But under no circumstance keep them to yourself until they kill you. Some of them weigh too much too carry them alone. Let someone help you.

15 points by oomkiller 2 days ago 1 reply      
Damn, I saw the original (now deadened) post about this, and quickly sent him a Facebook message to try to convince him to choose life. Looks like I failed. Such a shame for such a bright mind to end so sadly and suddenly. Rest in peace.
15 points by yeahsure 2 days ago 0 replies      
A very dear friend of mine just committed suicide a month ago. He was a very intelligent guy about to become successful.

I wish he would have left a note like this behind to know why he did it.

I realize this comment doesn't add much value to the conversation, I'm just thinking out loud. Thanks.

5 points by staunch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like he was a really smart guy. It's sad no one was able to help him. Rest in peace Bill Zeller.
3 points by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are always unknown factors in any relationship, friendship or acquaintance. We can never know the full sum of another person's experiences, or how these have shaped the way they see the world.

More than anything, the next time I feel wronged or judgemental - I'm going to make more of an effort to give the benefit of the doubt. The world isn't black or white - the shades of grey seem to increase with every day.

Really, really sad.

1 point by expressive 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a sad day for all programmers, and also for those who have been molested in any way. I cannot honestly understand the true pain he must have felt, but I believe his pain was unlike anything most of us can understand.

What was most telling was his utter disgust for his parents, to the extent he loathed them even more than he loathed the person who molested him and caused darkness to reign over his life. And most ironic is that his parents believed abandoning him for the love of God was in their and his best interest. I am a Christian, and it sickens me what they have done because of what they believed as him not being "saved."

I want to believe him, that he took his life because of the "darkness" in his life, resulting from being molested as a child. But I am still puzzled that he never spoke a word of disgust about the person who molested him. This was shocking, considering he laid into his friends who couldn't keep a secret, he mercilessly criticized his parents, yet never mention a bad word about the molester, only the "darkness."

Unless, and this might be huge, the "darkness" is his father. He said his mother loves him at one point, but he never said a good word about his dad. He only criticized his father (while criticizing both parents). I am beginning to think his father is the one who molested him, considering everything in his letter.

The letter was very important, because it allows the reader to carefully study and try to understand what might have caused this young man to take his own life. Though being molested caused him much trouble and "darkness" throughout his life, I believe his parents are partly to be blame for his mindful decline into frightful and terrifying non-existence. And the big secret in his letter is probably that his father molested him.

3 points by cookiecaper 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been wondering what the outcome was since the suicide note was posted here briefly the other day, and have been meaning to look for an obituary. It was a very powerful note. I hope he can finally access the peace he sought.
10 points by atomical 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. That was intense. Not expecting to read such a well thought out note.
3 points by rudyadler 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Bill's family & friends have set up a Memory Page to share memories together online.


If you knew Bill, please join his page.

2 points by chanux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just like any opinion, one very well written, it kind of made me feel that he can be right.

But No. I don't want to believe in that.

Also, I really don't understand his situation. Only the one with the injury knows how painful it is. But I really wish the nice people don't leave the world so soon for a stupid reason.

It was scary to read his explanations why he can not open up. We can send some peace Bill's soul's way if we learn the situation a bit better and try to be more helpful to people who might be in trouble.

5 points by postit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bill is like many others, haunted by his past, but appart from that he was a great men. Others would have killed many people rather than avoid much pain.

see you some day bill.

5 points by leppie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sad story, but this is what depression feels like, if I had such a skeleton in the closet, I probably would have done the same. :*(
1 point by _pius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Terrible, shocking news. I knew Bill in passing, as we'd talked about doing a project together. He was a very nice, very smart guy. He will be missed.
1 point by RP_Joe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its a very sad story. Its a sad ending to a sad life. I have known many people with a horrible past. I cannot understand their pain. I cannot understand their depression because I have never experienced it. I can understand their desire to end it all. By observing and listening to their pain that goes on year after year, I can believe their life is very sad. When I was younger I wanted to become violent against the perpetrators of such crimes. Now that I am older, I realize this just adds to the problem. As a parent, his note is very revealing to me. A warning about how I could make mistakes with my children. I did not find it to intense. I am very grateful he took the time to explain everything. I am grateful he talked about his family. I will spend quit a bit of time thinking about his family and the mistakes they made. We can learn from his pain.
1 point by VeXocide 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm just truly lost for words, hope he finds peace.
1 point by michaelty 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIP Bill. Hopefully, the pain has stopped now.
1 point by basseq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Strange to see a name on HN and think, wait, I knew someone with that name. Wait, the guy I knew went to Princeton. Wait...

I never met Bill in person, but we collaborated on a couple projects and used to exchange random e-mails and IMs. He was a bright guy and I enjoyed our correspondence. His note is heartbreaking, and I hope he has finally found peace.

1 point by chewedwire 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow...I knew him at Princeton in a passing sense, we were in the same computer graphics class and he advised my group for another class. He was without a doubt a brilliant guy.
-3 points by nickl 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think he should have joined doctors without borders, peace corps or whatever it is called, or one of those Christian mission (even though he had a problem with Christians) . He may have found peace in helping those who suffered more then him
Google's decreasingly useful, spam-filled web search marco.org
318 points by ihodes 2 days ago   170 comments top 37
42 points by patio11 2 days ago replies      
I think people, possibly including me, get irked with Demand Media et al more because they're more successful than we think they deserve to be rather than because they actually decrease the value of the SERPs. For SERPS where DM ranks well, the results prior to DM existing generally pretty much sucked. Maybe that is a Google issue, maybe that is an Internet issue (memo to Internet: middle aged women exist, please write for them, kthxbye), but for whatever reason, if you routinely Googled for [how do i make a blueberry pie] every week for the last ten years I don't think you ever had an awesome search experience.

DM pages are adequate for much of what they rank for, in much the way that USA Today is an adequate newspaper, your local state school provides adequate degrees in history, etc etc. They're adequate in a scalable manner, though, and they understand Google much better than the average publisher, which means they get visibility in excess of what some people might expect.


Demand Media: http://www.ehow.com/how_2933_make-blueberry-pie.html

Virtuous publishers on the Internet: http://www.pickyourown.org/blueberrypie.php

If I wanted to bake a blueberry pie, I'd go for that second page every day of the week, but it is highly non-obvious to me that it is a better result qua search engine result than the DM page. I love this example because I think Google fundamentally doesn't think [how do i make a blueberry pie] is looking for a blueberry pie recipe. Most searches will not actually convert to pies. For the 98% of searchers who merely want to satisfy their pie voyeurism need, the DM content may well be better.

64 points by moultano 2 days ago replies      
We're working on it (as always.) There is a big improvement inspired by the stackoverflow post on its way shortly.

If people want to help out, the best thing to do is to post examples of specific queries. Those become the "fixed points" around which we can tune until we get it right. The more example queries the better, and I'll make sure they get to the right people.

A good way to get example queries is to look through your search history, which if turned on can be found here: http://www.google.com/searchhistory

16 points by tumult 2 days ago 1 reply      
Neal Stephenson's novel Anathem has a section that talks about how the 'reticulum' (the internet, in the book's fictional world) was overrun with false copies of documents with slight changes made to them. 99.99% of all of the information on the internet was spam.

A huge industry of commercialized systems connected to the internet for the sole purpose of filling it with spam, and then the corporations would sell back filters and knowledge of which documents weren't spam to customers. Eventually, the algorithms used to modify documents developed a malicious edge, so that the thousands of spam copies of an original document would be deceptive in ways that would harm people (e.g., in Marco's electrical plug wiring example, the document would have been modified so that it could get you killed by telling you to touch the wrong wire or something.)

Inevitably, it spiraled out of control, and a sophisticated system of social trust and ranking was put in place by IT workers and systems administrators, which are a caste and race of people in the fictional world.

Good book. Prescient, even.

6 points by cletus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sites like Demand Media see a gap for particular content and churn out cheap crap.

Blogs see an idea in the public consciousness and jump on the bandwagon with derivative posts.

Anyone see the parallel? ActualLy there is a difference: the DM writer got paid.

Product searches have been screwed for years. I've often wished I could filter out any price search engines and/or retailers from results. What's worse is that all these sites have places for reviews (of which there are never any) but hey the review keyword is there.

But as for this post there's nothing new here. It's a rehash of a bunch of other posts from the last month.

I can still find what I want with ease on Google. Am I just some kind of gifted searcher? I seriously doubt it.

It's like these posts are all making slippery slope arguments ("there are two content farm results in the first page. If this trend continues there will be 7000 content farm resets") rather than complaining sbout the actuality.

The other mistake made here is to assume Google's algorithm is static. This is false. It's a rapidly moving target.

Like another comment says: such noise (spam) isn't unique to Google so is the "problem" with Google's index or the Web itself?

If nothing else these posts all make the case that Google's index is algorithmic. I say this because at different times you'll see conspiracy theories about Google promoting certain properties over others.

Here's a question: if Google started blacklisting sites, how soon would the complaints of censorship or favoritism take?

19 points by andrewljohnson 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is much ado about nothing. Google has a few search problems, and they always have, and they always improve.

Also, if Marco is going to list some problems, how about listing some problem searches? I search for what he lists, and the top result is fine in most cases, and debatable in others.

You folks think Google sucks? I don't. It's awesome, and I rely on it more everyday.

18 points by noibl 2 days ago 4 replies      
In a lot of the comments around this lately, people have been saying that this is something Google can fix, or needs to fix.

I would suggest that the content farms' success in gaming specifically Google's algorithm was an inevitability (whatever the current state of the arms race) and the only thing that will weaken the effectiveness of their techniques is to expose their business model to a greater range of algorithms. If you have three or four search engines all working on slightly different principles, it becomes a lot harder to game them all with the same content, even if gaming any one of them would be trivial. In other words, competition in the SE space at the algorithmic level is something we sorely need to see.

In parallel, my suggestion for one new search engine to add to the mix: a crawler for unsubsidised content. That is, the results consist solely of pages that don't carry advertising of any kind. This wouldn't exclude ecommerce sites but would exclude most kinds of affiliate marketing. Subscriber-only sites could pay to be indexed at a flat rate, though guaranteeing that this fee wouldn't affect rankings might be tricky. Alternatively a journal-access style of subscription model could see the SE paying the content site owner when one of its paying users consumes their information.

10 points by ergo98 2 days ago 2 replies      
One solution may be for Google to radically change their algorithms and policies for web search to de-emphasize phrase-matching and more strongly prioritize inbound links and credibility.

Inbound links and the calculated "credibility" from the same are what killed the web the first time around. There was once a democratized web era when that actually worked -- when millions of people had their little Goecities pages and were linking the cool stuff -- but in the modern era it's 99% consumers who cast no votes, and the last 1% is extraordinarily incestuous circular link love: Marcos links to Coding Horror who links to Daring Fireball who links to Scoble who links to Marcos, etc.

People with neither information or authority end up being the credible authority on matters they have aren't authorities on. Scoble a few years back pointed out the fact that according to search engines he was the most important Robert in the world. That is a frightening concept.

We will move from an era of search engines to an era of expert engines. Many of the questions I used to "ask" Google I now ask of Wolfram Alpha, and its approach has turned out to be quite useful. Expand that computer knowledge more broadly, and improve the human syntax parsing. and we'll have a winner. Several such systems are built around computer learning of the wikipedia corpus.

16 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wonder how many duplicate topic and mostly duplicate content articles we're going to see about how Google provides duplicate content and duplicate topic answers to searches?

My irony meter is pegging.

7 points by fhars 2 days ago 2 replies      
What really irks me in the last few month is that google increasingly doesn't actually answer my questions. More often than not, none of the results on the first page contain all of my search terms, and most of the time it is the most specific term that it is missing everywhere. Or the big G has replaced that term with something completely unrelated. I have to prefix every search term with a + if I want to get a result quality that is even remotely similar to what use to be the default.
5 points by petercooper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Decreasingly? This has been a rollercoaster for years. I was more of a Webmasterworld regular a few years ago than now but around 2005-2006 a lot of people thought Google had gone to pot.


Plus ça change..

3 points by wheels 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started writing out a comment on the somewhat heretical notion that biasing search results against AdSense click throughs would probably be a strong predicter for spam detection, but the comment got long enough that I folded it into a blog post:


4 points by Osiris 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that I notice about the spam sites and scraper sites is that they often have very similar content and/or layout. What if Google was able to determine how similar certain sites where and consolidate those into a single result, like they do with Google News?

Then when I search for AMD Bulldozer news and there are 20 sites all with the same article, from the same date, I don't have to change my search parameters to show just the last month. Instead, it would determine that the content was similar, smash into a single result, and leave room for 9 more less-similar results that may better include what I want.

5 points by ivankirigin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could it possibly be at google is in the middle of an innovator's dilemma?

Twitter, hacker news, tumblr, and quora are all really shitty google replacements. But I use them to get certain kinds of information. It isn't enough to justify a radical change at google -- especially if they are even slightly focused on maintaining revenue.

There must an an opportunity for a more curated experience where the browsing behavior of a few thousand selected people can be used to juice authority. I don't think the human editors need to know they are doing that job. Maybe they should use chrome data for this.

3 points by ja27 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I using a different Google than him?

I type in "how to wire an outlet" and all the top results look useful. Sure there are some ads embedded on the pages and the top hit is about.com with a 10-page slideshow, but every hit looks like it explains exactly how to wire an outlet.


Even when I try the spammiest searches, it looks like they're returning pretty relevant results:


2 points by bambax 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's easy to filter out spam once we identify it; so the question is: "what is spam"?

Some argue that content farms such as Demand Media aren't spammers, because the content they produce actually satisfies better the casual searcher than elaborate, savant exposés on the same subject. Casual content for casual searchers.

Others consider that content farms-issued pages are the epitome of spam: spam that doesn't look like spam, and that ends up cluttering search results. Spam is not irrelevance: spam is clutter.

A corollary to "what is spam" is: "who should make the call"?

Originally, Google tasked itself with making this call, and it did a pretty good job at it.

But why not me? It should be possible for Google to make a difference between "casual" and serious content, and then let the user decide which they prefer.

Well actually, that is already possible: it's called "reading level" and it's accessible in the advanced page.

Searching for "how to wire an outlet" gives ~12 M results, the first of which comes from about.com.

When filtering the search to display only "advanced reading level" results, there are only 264,000 results left, the first two coming from Wikipedia (and the 3rd and 4th still coming from ehow.com).

So Google already knows what is "casual content" and already lets users filter it out.

Maybe a simple solution would be to add the filter directly in the search results page instead of having it buried in the advanced options.

3 points by bambax 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't it possible that all of this recent bad press about Google would be a consequence of "Instant"?

Here's my thinking:

- to get good results, one needs to type as many relevant words as possible

- Instant encourages people to type less and less words (not even words: a few keystrokes and you're on)

But if you type very few words, or if you search for "frequent" queries (generated by Instant in response to your few keystrokes) then all you get is spam.

Spam is optimized for frequent queries, not very specific ones. Instant should be renamed Instant spam.

9 points by jacques_chester 2 days ago 0 replies      
A first step would be to hide the queries data (especially trending queries). It was an interesting curio but its major consumers now are spammers.
3 points by FiddlerClamp 2 days ago 0 replies      
My guess for the near-to-mid term is celebrity curation.

I keep thinking about how Roger Ebert, after decades of movie reviews, started branching out into political (anti-Tea-Party) commentary and other articles. If you knew that a trusted brand (for many) like Ebert was curating home TVs, or projectors, or blank DVD media in an unbiased way, wouldn't you want to see what he had to say?

Or Thomas Dolby on audio equipment, Sting on Tantric books, and so on. They'd make money through affiliate links or even subscriptions.

2 points by randrews 2 days ago 2 replies      
This kind of worries me.

On the one hand, Google isn't the best web search tool. I've switched to DuckDuckGo, and so has everyone who's seen me use it. But, I think Google still provides a valuable public service: indexing the entire web and handling that much traffic is not an easy task, and a lot of other things (like DDG) depend on that humongous cluster.

So on the one hand I want to see the best search engine win, but on the other hand if Google goes out of business (or more likely, starts losing money and canceling projects) then I'm afraid it'll take a lot of things out with it, with no clear replacement.

3 points by stcredzero 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's impossible to do any meaningful product research with Google.

Right now, I often start my product research within Amazon. However, that's only a start, as Amazon isn't great for everything. For large appliances, Consumer Reports is a good starting place. I guess I'm an example of the switch from search engines to "expert" sites.

2 points by prawn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a huge incentive for Google to improve if a lot of the content farms are monetised by AdSense and actually return Google money?

You could argue that they might lose their spot as the default search engine for a lot of people, but Microsoft has presumably thrown a huge amount of money and expertise at the problem and hardly dominated. I suspect this is not going to be a significant problem for Google in a hurry.

1 point by aheilbut 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not quite sure how it will happen, but at some point I think it will be beneficial to commoditize the underlying crawl and index data, so that there can be more domain specific focus and more diverse sources of innovation applied to solving this and other search problems. One or two sources trying to be all things to all people and all problems isn't going to scale.

Blekko's slashtags are a good start, but it needs to go much further.

3 points by gallerytungsten 2 days ago 0 replies      
One wonders if Google is becoming the new Yahoo. If so, a big opportunity for the likes of DuckDuckGo and other nimble searchers. Today's upstarts can also run on the cloud, sidestepping the need to build Google-scale data centers (at least initially).
2 points by radley 2 days ago 1 reply      
I set up a second, filtered search using Google Custom Search and added it to my browser. I don't always use it, but it's easier to switch to when I encounter spammy topics (like code look-ups). It's pretty easy to blacklist fakes... and even useless SEO-heavy sites like experts-exchange, bigresource, etc.

Here's how, if interested: http://radleymarx.com/blog/better-search-results/

1 point by mhb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this how Facebook topples Google and completely dominates the internet? By incorporating your social graph into your search results, your relationships can influence what is returned by the search.

Suppose you could create some sort of "friend" list with HN users and that were used to prioritize your search results.
If you get a result you don't like, click that you don't like it and the software will reduce the weights of the parts of your social graph which caused that result to be highly scored.

1 point by jonknee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think search quality would go up if Google gave me the option of blocking domains from SERPs. I never want to see results from a content mill (eHow, Mahalo, etc) in addition to all the made for Adsense sites I come across less frequently. They could also use the collective blocking data to help tweak the spam filter.
1 point by PaulHoule 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if prioritizing links over keywords is really going to help matters.

I know a lot of 'little guys' who know something about a topic and can write prolifically, but who suffer under the delusion that 'If I build it, they will come.' Success in SEO is largely possible because 95% of webmasters have no idea how to promote content.

I've also developed 'digital libraries' for major academic organizations and a common thread there is a complete lack of interest in indexability. There's a lot of fantastic content trapped in the ivory tower because nobody considered the 'unwritten standards' for how the web worked.

A big part of the problem is that it's very hard to get legitimate links these days. You used to be able to get into the Yahoo directory for free, but now you have to pay a $300 a year bribe. Before 2000, it was common for people to create large collections of links they liked. Today, major players like Engadget have a policy of not wasting their PageRank on other sites. Afraid of spam, many blogs and forums are on a hair trigger to stop people from dropping links in comments, relevant or not.

If legitimate links are harder to get, that 'lowers the bar' for spammers.

A real answer to spam would be to strengthen the signal so it can break through the noise. It might be helpful to be able to get more feedback from web users about the quality of pages, but this is tough. The horrible truth is that there are more pages on the web than there are viewers, so even if you could get feedback from 10% of viewers, many pages would be badly undersampled. Spammers would also target any feedback channels that exist, and with low response and sampling rates, it might be easier to overload the feedback chanel than it is to create link noise.

Another answer is to beat Demand Media at their own game, the same way that Stack Overflow has beaten the spam sites that dominated programming questions two years ago.

2 points by stretchwithme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have to say there's some truth to this. Why is it that I increasingly must search through the search results just to find the site that originally published the string returned in the first 3 to 8 results?

I don't want to patronize all these sites repackaging content created by others, yet they continually appear before the creator.

1 point by micaelwidell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't part of this problem be solved with an algorithm that identifies when several pages have roughly the same content (ie. original wikipedia article + 5 copies of it elsewhere on the web) and then giving the oldest occurance in the index a much higher rank?

That would kill incentive to create these spam-sites and give the user the result s/he was looking for.

1 point by apedley 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the integration of social media is a possible solution. Recommendations and likes (from Facebook) or other places are hard to artificially jack up and can also offer great results if it ties them to your friends. I like the direction Bing is going with this. It is the only way I can see to get large human edited results of the web.

Unless Google develops highly advanced AI (which is a possibility) computer algorithms can be gamed. Humans can be gamed as well but because we are all so different I don't think there is a single approach that would fool a large segment of the population at once.

1 point by didip 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google, can't you solve these problems with money?

Pay army of users pressing ham/spam buttons, mechanical turk style.

1 point by jeisc 2 days ago 0 replies      
These bad search results are not an IT problem, they are the results of top Google executive policies: act like you want to be good and do better for the Google users but keep on serving up the same old stuff because it is tied to the revenue cow and the paying clients. This problem would never have existed if Google considered the end user experience more important than the advertisers.
1 point by jl6 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why does Google no longer offer the option to permanently remove a specific domain from your search results? My personal search quality would be dramatically improved if I could specify even a short blacklist.

In fact, dear lazyweb: is there a browser extension or greasemonkey script that makes Google return 100 results at a time and then filters out the best 10 based on a blacklist?

1 point by jv22222 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe Google could scrape DDG on the fly for each search, then do a diff, and filter out any results that arn't in DDG... that would be the fastest way to remove spam ;)
0 points by iconfinder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think this is surprising - the top management seems more interested in building OSs and social networks. Search doesn't seem like their highest priority anymore.
1 point by shadowpwner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please, not a rehash of what we've been reading for the last couple weeks.
1 point by yhlasx 2 days ago 0 replies      
People just can't come up with right search queries and guilt search engine. I always find what i want via google.
Chart of YC companies' hosting decisions, 2010 edition github.com
292 points by jf 21 hours ago   151 comments top 31
48 points by lacker 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Our company (Gamador) is listed as hosting from "Global Net Access LLC" which I had never heard of - we just use Linode. So there might be some Linode undercounting going on.
30 points by redstripe 21 hours ago 4 replies      
So despite the vociferous defense app engine received here about a month ago after some criticism it looks like no YC companies actually use it?
29 points by birken 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Very surprising so many people use Godaddy for their DNS, given it is very slow as far as DNS servers go. I've been running a Pingdom speed/reliability test for a few popular DNS servers for the past few months, and here is the data:

<dns provider> <uptime %> <downtime> <outages> <avg speed>

Godaddy DNS 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 68 ms
Dynect SMB 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 31 ms
DNSMadeEasy 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 39 ms

Godaddy DNS 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 67 ms
Dynect SMB 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 26 ms
DNSMadeEasy 99.98% 0h 10m 00s 1 43 ms

Godaddy DNS 99.99% 0h 05m 00s 1 58 ms
Dynect SMB 100.00% 0h 00m 00s 0 28 ms
DNSMadeEasy 99.00% 7h 25m 00s 22 40 ms

So basically Godaddy DNS is reliable but slow, DNSMadeEasy is relatively fast but had some uptime troubles in December, and Dynect (Dyn Inc) is fast + super reliable.

As for pricing:

- Godaddy DNS is free (I think?)

- DNSMadeEasy runs about $2-5/month (max of 10 million queries/month)

- Dynect SMB runs between $30-95/month depending on what you need (max of 1.8 million queries/month)

4 points by ghshephard 18 hours ago 5 replies      
I find this chart fascinating - though I'm wondering how much of Rackspace is Rackspace "Cloud" and how much of Rackspace is "VPS". Also, I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd never heard of SoftLayer as a server hosting company - I wonder what the attraction there is.

For Web Hosts it comes (roughly) to:

  o Amazon EC2
o Rackspace Cloud
o Self Hosted (Surprisingly large number)
o Slicehost
o Hurricane Electric (which is likely self hosted? EDIT (per jedsmith) Linode?)

Two things I found very, very surprising.

  #1 - Small use of Linode 
#2 - How much Rackspace is used more than Slicehost.

Anybody care to comment on why SoftLayer is so predominant?

8 points by d_r 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised not to see more alternatives to GoDaddy for registrars (say, NameCheap.) GoDaddy interface and upselling are simply infuriating and I've always thought of it as a "Wal-Mart for domains/etc," not something a tech-savvy startup would use.
8 points by Sukotto 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm interested in seeing aggregates of technology choices like: primary database, main programming language(s), frameworks, etc
6 points by klochner 21 hours ago 5 replies      
Anyone that's self-hosting email care to explain why they're doing it? Seems like something that makes no sense to do internally until you start getting more "enterprisey".
8 points by haribilalic 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to move my email away from Google Apps, for various reasons, but they have the best spam filter by far. It's worth sticking with them just for that.
12 points by philfreo 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't YC have a special discount with one or more of the hosting providers, which might be influencing decisions?
4 points by jedberg 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this only pre-acquisition companies?

Where's reddit? ;)


Web Host: EC2 (Amazon)

Email Host: Self hosted

DNS Host: Akamai

Registrar: Corporation Service Company

SSL Issuer: None

Certificate Type: None

4 points by daniel_levine 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not affiliated with the company in anyway, but I'm a big fan of http://iwantmyname.com/ for domain registration. Super quick and easy especially if you're using Heroku or GAE.

It's depressing how little GoDaddy has innovated and how dominant it still is.

8 points by olalonde 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised Slicehost is not present. Perhaps is it included in Rackspace?
6 points by Encosia 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Surprised to see no one using Linode.
3 points by c2 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Loopt is self hosted? Is that actually cost effective? I can understand a company like justin.tv being self hosted, but loopt makes less sense to me.
1 point by vaksel 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I think it's very telling that something like 60% of YC companies have a SSL certificate...means they are most likely processing some financial transactions, so they charge their users directly

it's also interesting that so many are using the hurricane electric host...never even heard of them before

1 point by eurohacker 1 hour ago 0 replies      
would have been even better if the "language decisions" would also be included - what programming language each startup has
3 points by onteria 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh, a bit of a side note on hosting for startups. I know many people want to save costs by centralizing hosting, but as a word of advice keep your database, mail, and web servers separated. By not doing so you've created a single point of failure. Not only that, but it makes securing things appropriately more difficult (ie. you are unable to create only web server specific firewall rules for the server).
3 points by callmeed 18 hours ago 2 replies      
So, no YC companies on Rails use Heroku? (or is that lumped into Amazon?)
3 points by dtran 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty cool Joel! Small nitpick - Zerigo is spelled incorrectly as "Zeroigo".
2 points by Aegean 17 hours ago 1 reply      
what is the catch with google as email hosting? we use rackspace, it seems nobody is using rackspace for email. What is the criteria in choosing email hosting?
4 points by xsc 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like a few companies have chosen WebFaction for email hosting. Any specific reason?
3 points by dguido 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I love that despite all the Firesheep business, about half of the companies on that list don't even own an SSL certificate. :-(
5 points by blahpro 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that no"one is using Linode.
1 point by aneth 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Great to see godaddy successfully disrupting the ripoff ssl certificate market.
1 point by ivankirigin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Missing are data stores. Web store isn't the same thing. I'd like to see the percentage that use S3.
1 point by corin_ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Surprised to see none of them using Route 53. Suspect that won't be the case in a year's time.
1 point by jim_h 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see any prgmr.com hosting. I've seen it mentioned quite a few times in when people were looking for hosting.
2 points by dsmithn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Google Apps uses Go Daddy for domain registration. Would that be why there are similar number of Google Email users and Go Daddy Registrars?
2 points by xhtmlweaver 18 hours ago 0 replies      
i am very surprised that linode is not in the chart for webhosting section! something must be wrong
1 point by tsycho 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I am surprised to see no heroku.
1 point by bauchidgw 15 hours ago 0 replies      
best charts ever
Game Preview: Voxatron - voxel-based, destructible environment, 8bit soundtrack lexaloffle.com
275 points by dstein 3 days ago   65 comments top 23
44 points by mambodog 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you're interested in what can be done with voxels with a more realistic aesthetic, have a look at the Atomontage engine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CCZIBDt1uM
12 points by herrherr 3 days ago 1 reply      
If the author is reading this:

Add a signup form. It's not often the case that I want to be notified when a product becomes available, but this time I would love too.

22 points by chrismealy 3 days ago 1 reply      
The perspective is absolutely brilliant. I love it. I feel stupid for not thinking of it.
8 points by vessenes 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks surprisingly fun!

It's funny how different a voxel-based game looks to my eyes than a 3d-pixel game. I suppose the voxels offer a lot less resolution right now, but they just seem to work in a different way. I wonder if they will feel more or less engaging in 3d than a triangle-mesh type game.

4 points by wccrawford 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is yet another thing that I said, 'Man. I wish I'd written that.'

It's not outside my ability, it's just that I never think of these things first. And creating a clone doesn't have the same feeling as a new thing.

I'm betting a lot of other developers feel the same way.

Of course, that won't stop me from enjoying -playing- the game. :D

11 points by jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love it, it's like Minecraft HD.
6 points by waterlesscloud 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder what it is that makes 8-bit music so compelling. Just nostalgia?
7 points by chrisbroadfoot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool graphics. The explosions are awesome!
4 points by ThomPete 3 days ago 0 replies      
The last time I heard of voxels was in the late nineties. Good to hear they are back!
11 points by jessevondoom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Great example of turning a limitation as a strong aesthetic. Can't wait to try it out!
3 points by sbierwagen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting how constrained the view frustum is, with the top down view. I wonder how many voxels the rendering engine can handle.
4 points by 6ren 3 days ago 2 replies      
This seems like it scales well (important for our 1000 core future). Does it?
2 points by jawngee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was a big fan of 3D Dot Game Heroes:


1 point by ElbertF 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hopefully a Linux version will follow soon, the author commented on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/ewnhi/this_game_needs...
1 point by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I were Lego, I'd be chomping at the bit to license this and set up a casual chat/social network oriented virtual reality. (Sort of a voxel-based Disneyfied Second Life.) The marketing possibilities for Lego would be huge.
1 point by wazoox 3 days ago 0 replies      
The perspective and general look remember me of Battalion, the old IRIX game, see http://www.evl.uic.edu/aej/AndyBattalion.html .

Couldn't find a video, alas. I could power up my Octane ... :)

1 point by MrJagil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know/guess what tools/engines he used?
1 point by SpacemanSpiff 3 days ago 0 replies      
awesome, I look forward to trying it out.
1 point by jodrellblank 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's 3D Llamatron!
1 point by simon_kun 2 days ago 0 replies      
This game is perfect for the 3DS
-2 points by timinman 3 days ago 0 replies      
That looks fun
-3 points by timinman 3 days ago 0 replies      
That looks fun.
-4 points by Uchikoma 3 days ago 0 replies      
Want one. Now.
How to build an 8x8x8 LED cube mine.nu
259 points by bvi 4 days ago   37 comments top 14
11 points by apu 3 days 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.)

19 points by makeramen 4 days 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

15 points by jrockway 4 days ago 3 replies      
The instructabliss site is almost as excellent as the LED cube!
4 points by msluyter 3 days 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 4 days 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.
6 points by latch 4 days 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 4 days 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.
4 points by yycom 4 days ago 0 replies      
1. Could have put some more movement in the camera work to show off the parallax.

2. Next: RGB for 4D.

1 point by euccastro 3 days 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:


2 points by imaginator 4 days 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
6 points by marksands07 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should implement Pong in this cube. Now that would be cool.
1 point by Murkin 4 days 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.

1 point by fractallyte 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finest example: hanging from the ceiling of Zurich's Central Train Station. 25,000 lights in 24 bit color... Enthralling!


0 points by daniel-cussen 4 days ago 0 replies      
You could make holograms with this.
Hard Core: What Porn's Ubiquity Says About Men and Women theatlantic.com
230 points by wallacrw 1 day ago   148 comments top 28
118 points by Eliezer 1 day ago replies      
Thinking that the flood of badly made, poorly scripted porn on the Internet reveals the secret darkness of male sexuality, is like thinking that an endless succession of awful movies from Hollywood reveals that people secretly want a poorly scripted sequel to the last blockbuster. What it reveals is that making good movies is difficult. It's like thinking that a flood of nitwit Web startups reveals that the economy really wants nitwit Web startups. If you're a venture capitalist, you may want better, but you'll have trouble finding it. Likewise if you're a movie viewer. And likewise if you're a man.

If you look at what the Internet has done to written pornography, you see exactly the reverse effect as what the article describes. I once picked up a book of published erotica that wasn't online, and holy crap was the quality vastly worse than what I now expect. Tawdry, pointless, plotless, emotionless, needlessly violent encounters - because, I presume, that is what the publishers think men want, because the publishers conceive of pornography as a sordid dirty thing and imagine themselves as exploiting it. But if you look at what men write, and what men want, when they are free to produce their own written erotica, then you find that the rise of the Internet has created, from scratch, the genre which I think is now known as the "erotic romance novel" and means, roughly, "well-written sex stories with plots and emotions in them". Publishers of erotica are only now just beginning to think about trying to sell books like that, after the Internet showed them there was a huge pent-up demand.

"Seduction is always more singular and sublime than sex and it commands the higher price," said Jean Baudrillard. In the days when written erotica was produced by publishers who looked down on it, no publisher knew how to write seduction. And today, when visual erotica is still seen as a tawdry and exploitive affair by the people who produce it, who still see themselves as pandering to the base desires of men, who still see plot as the domain only of real movies, there is no seduction in that visual erotica. You cannot find it, no matter how hard you look online. There are big-budget porn productions but not productions that spend more than five dollars on the script.

But in the domain of written erotica where getting started is as simple as owning a keyboard, and people don't bother writing if they're not having fun writing, and the producer is a lot like the consumer - people who like erotic literature - there you find plot. You find seduction. You find the "erotic romance novel".

That's not what all men want, I suppose; not what all men want all of the time. But it's what I demand as a matter of routine in my written erotica, and what I can't find in online movies (even if it's advertised as big-budget or woman-made, it just doesn't seem to exist).

And before anyone writes the obvious dumb reply, yes I have a girlfriend and no I do not apologize for consuming the form of art known as erotica anymore than I apologize for writing Harry Potter fanfiction.

56 points by axiom 1 day ago replies      
"While sexual aggression and the desire to debase women may not be what arouse all men, they are certainly an animating force of male sexuality. They may be unattractive and even, if taken to extremes, dangerous, but they're not, perhaps alas, deviant."

That's a pretty ugly thing to say and requires a bit more evidence than just the pervasiveness of online hard-code porn.

Inexplicably the author seems unaware of the contradiction in her article in pointing out (correctly) that the various porn sites online are dominated by mundane amateur content (housewives, random teenagers etc.) while claiming that online porn demonstrates how the male psyche is fueled by the need to hurt and humiliate women sexually (for example the double anal porn she cites about 15 times.)

31 points by praptak 1 day ago 1 reply      
"One of the most punishing realities women face when they reach sexual maturity is that their maturity is (at least to many men) unsexy. Indeed, we now have an entire genre of online smut politely called “Lolita Porn.” This is not actual child pornography, a genre still blessedly beyond the reach of the casual Web browser."

Ok, but for any X, X is (at least to many men) unsexy, as there's a lot of porn based on the opposite of X. Young age and beauty included, as evidenced by "mature" and "ugly" porn categories.

So the above statement does not really add much information, except maybe some indication of the author's bias. Picking this particular fetish of some men, associates the whole group with socially unacceptable behaviour. Moral panic, anyone?

35 points by cosgroveb 1 day ago 1 reply      
The article talks a lot about how male sexuality has a darker side and violence and coercion come in to play and perhaps is exemplified by porn. One of the examples she uses is the scene from Last Tango in Paris where Marlon Brando forces Maria Schneider's character to have anal sex... It gets a little meta when you look up that film on Wikipedia:

"I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can't force someone to do something that isn't in the script, but at the time, I didn't know that. Marlon said to me: 'Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie,' but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real, I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn't console me or apologise. Thankfully, there was just one take."

18 points by ErrantX 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh god, not this old chestnut again (admittedly wrapped in some stylish writing).

The horrid fallacy is that pornography doesn't really tell you all that much about male sexuality and how they act in the real world.

Take another example; how people act in anonymous online forums. Often pretty douchy right? Does that tell us anything dark about how they are in the real world; well, probably a little, I could guess that a really awkward guy on a forum is likely a bit awkward in the real world.

But not as bad as he is when arguing random nonsense over the latest and best video game.

The internet emphasises those darker aspects of our personality; do men watch porn that humiliates women - sure. Do they want to humiliate their lovers in real life? Probably not.

It gets even worse because the assumption is that the style of porn created and posted on the internet is representative of the desires of most men.

Of course, it isn't really. It represents the desires of a subset of men - for whom internet porn is often their sex life. Other men may use the content, but is it about convenience and fantasy, not a critique of their bedroom desires.

Look at it another way; lots of people adore fantasy films - say Lord of the Rings. Would you actually, in reality, want to live a fantasy epic? Probably not, the reality wouldn't be all that fulfilling (no internet for one thing! :)). Same applies to porn, I think.

And what of female sexuality? When I'm poking about in peoples computers (legally, for work) women's computers don't usually contain porn. They contain idealised erotic stories about alpha males who also have a soft sensitive side. Their internet history is usually crammed with hunks with their tops off. It's still "pornography" (in how it is used); it's just that some people prefer the sexuality of the unknown (i.e. clothed). There are dark fantasy aspects to female pornography too; the male is often a love slave, dominated by his desire for the woman.

Bottom line is: Sexuality is not simple. And the internet is not a good way to make broad judgements about male or female sexuality.

32 points by Qz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sometimes I fantasize about strangling my boss. Do I want to actually strangle my boss? No. Not because I'm worried about the repercussions, but because there is a fundamental difference in the way we process fantasy and reality. In almost all cases, porn is about fantasy and should not be considered indicative of what men actually want.

(disclaimer: I don't actually have a boss)

22 points by Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
TL; DR: Woman with baggage projects her negative experiences onto the entire world. (XXX) Film at 11.

My reason for saying this:

Armed with a “Take Back the Night” pamphlet, we were led to believe that, as long as we avoided the hordes of date rapists, sex was an egalitarian endeavor.


This is an intellectual swindle that leads women to misjudge male sexuality, which they do at their own emotional and physical peril.


At the heart of human sexuality, at least human sexuality involving men, lies what Freud identified in Totem and Taboo as “emotional ambivalence”"the simultaneous love and hate of the object of one's sexual affection. From that ambivalence springs the aggressive, hostile, and humiliating components of male sexual arousal.

Never was this made plainer to me than during a one-night stand


in a moment of exasperation, he asked if we could have anal sex. I asked why, seeing as how any straight man who has had experience with anal sex knows that it's a big production and usually has a lot of false starts and abrupt stops. He answered, almost without thought, “Because that's the only thing that will make you uncomfortable.” This was, perhaps, the greatest moment of sexual honesty I've ever experienced"and without hesitation, I complied. This encounter proves an unpleasant fact that does not fit the feminist script on sexuality: pleasure and displeasure wrap around each other like two snakes.

(Before I am accused of misogyny, please note I am female.)

28 points by donaldc 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the article: The granting of sex is the most powerful weapon women possess in their struggle with men.

I'm pretty sure I don't want to be having sex with any woman who views "granting" me sex as a weapon in her struggle with me. That's just wrong on a number of different levels.

12 points by nkurz 1 day ago 5 replies      
This is a really good article, and just the fact that it's published in a mainstream publication like The Atlantic shows how much internet pornography has changed American sexual mores in the last few years. And I think the author makes a good case that it indeed is technology that has changed the thinking:

"When a 13-year-old girl can sit in math class, hide her Hello Kitty smart phone behind her textbook, and pull up such an extreme video in less time than it would take her to text a vote for her favorite American Idol contestant, we've certainly reached some kind of new societal landmark."

The writing is solid and bold. I'm impressed. Author's website is here: http://www.natashavc.com/?page_id=62

20 points by ryanpers 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a male who was raised by a feminist and in an all-female household, including the pets, I have a lot of things to say about this matter.

First off I find that a lot of feminism in the 80s was implicitly anti-male. Take back the night is great for women, but what is the message you are sending to young boys who are often there? It's a subtle message and may not be a big influence on all males.

Or the anti-rape messages? The more extreme is the mis-attributed quote "all men are potential rapists". This is a horrible message to be sending to young men, not as bad as "women are things", but if our goal is to raise fully formed males, "you are a rapist" is not a good one to give.

Bringing it back to the subject at hand, this author reminds me a lot of the kinds of messages, rhetoric and material that was common in the mid to late 80s feminism. The material I grew up suffused in. I think it is very harmful for the normalization of male-female relations. Are there differences between male and female sexuality? Yes. Does this article overplay them? Yes absolutely.

As long as we have articles describing male sexuality as a negative force that must be controlled and tempered I don't think the goal of a better society will be reached. The implicit message of "female sexuality is normal and healthy" and "male sexuality is dark and evil" is really disturbing to me.

In the end this article is completely and utterly sexist. If we reversed the genders we'd just have tripe from the 1800s about how female sexuality needs to be controlled and how women are evil. If that isn't acceptable, then why is this?

15 points by sev 1 day ago 4 replies      
> He answered, almost without thought, “Because that's the only thing that will make you uncomfortable.

I think this article is well written, albeit a little extreme with some of it's points. The behavior of the man the author had anal sex with is obviously not the norm, and yet she uses the event as a way to describe the norm.

23 points by kiba 1 day ago 2 replies      
I believe she suffer from the typical mind fallacy, thinking all males have overly aggressive/violent sexual desire.

Note: I am a male.

8 points by macrael 1 day ago 0 replies      
The most interesting writing I've seen on this subject came from McSweeneys: "The Conflicted Existence of a Female Porn Writer". You can find her first column here: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/pornwriter/column1.html
18 points by Herring 1 day ago 1 reply      
>the Internet porn aesthetic verges on unvarnished realism.

I'm thinking she doesn't know much about Internet porn.

14 points by Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some people look at sex-drive as something like a God-given gift, whereas others see it as basically a (fun) evolutionary side-effect. Varying degrees of sanctimony ensue.
36 points by MBlume 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ugh. Slightly interesting for the first third, then a random swerve into misandrist bullshit.
2 points by SkyMarshal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else just not grok the idea that sex is about all these terribly negative things? I have never in my life desired to degrade or debase women through sex or any other means.

I know it's hard for women these days, and there are probably more screwed up guys out there than normal ones, but I feel like the latter are getting tarred with the same brush as the former.

I can't think of any guy in my immediate social circle that's not a true gentleman inside and out, not even a suppressed, closeted woman-hater.

Reading feminist articles like this usually makes me go WTF. On the hand I'm very sympathetic to the fact that it's not easy being a woman, but on the other I can't help but suspect the author has been a victim of bad luck with men and is projecting on the entire sex.

4 points by sdenheyer 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Noticing all the hidden assumptions - if a woman does amateur porn and puts it up on xtube, she's trying to please her husband - can't be that she's turned on by it.

Somehow, even cuckoldry fantasies are about the male being dominant.

Paul in Last Tango is a brute, but no mention of Jeanne being a status-climbing bitch for abandoning him when she finds out he's poor - she may have pointed it out obliquely, but all judgment-loaded language is pointed firmly toward the y-chromosoned.

4 points by PostOnce 1 day ago 0 replies      
Girls watch porn too. That fact apparently eludes the author.
2 points by marcusbooster 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree with the author's characterization of rhetoric in the 1990's, though I wonder if the reexamining of the whole "communicating boundaries" thing is a result of these women now raising boys of their own, or a more general societal trend that emphasizes aggression.
1 point by johngalt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't describe this article as misandrist. In many cases the author hints at female desires being worse.

"...the sex that occurs in between relationships or overlaps with relationships where the buffers of intimacy or familiarity do not exist: the raw, unpracticed sort. If a woman thinks of the best sex she's had in her life, she's often thinking of this kind of sex, and while it may be the best sex in her life, it's not the sex she wants to have throughout her life or more accurately, it's not the sex she'd have with the man with whom she'd like to spend her life."

So debasing sex is great so long as it's not with someone you care about? Sounds like men and women aren't that different.

1 point by RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 0 replies      
> at the heart of human sexuality, at least human sexuality involving men, lies what Freud

And I'm done with this steaming pile of misanthropy. An essay on sexuality that falls back on Freudian ideas is beyond redemption.

5 points by WalterSear 1 day ago 1 reply      
That woman is ignorant to everything that I have observed my male sexuality to be.
1 point by lizzard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Literary and artistic fashions are quite different across cultures and across time. They're a poor data source to come up with an essentialist view of gender, if you pick one time and place. If you look at how, say, romanticism was gendered at first, it was described as essentially masculine -- tempestuous and powerful. Over time that perception changed and the very same material was described as something essentially womanly that reflected how women "are". While I have plenty of other criticisms of this article, this is the most basic one that I don't think has been expressed here yet.
1 point by anamax 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Mz. Vargas-Cooper is related to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Vargas .
-1 point by nlavezzo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why exactly is this on Hacker News?
-3 points by gribble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Banning links to The Atlantic would greatly improve the quality of the site.
-2 points by metal 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure what the author is trying to say. Just because porn is easier to get now than before (as has been since day 0 of porn), so what? Yet another jee-whiz look at what the internets have done to us article.
Engineering management at Facebook algeri-wong.com
223 points by sk_0919 1 day ago   41 comments top 10
21 points by wooster 1 day ago 2 replies      
I spent a few years at Apple writing internal tools.

IMHO, this is the way to have an effect on a company completely disproportionate to any other activity I know of. The tools I wrote at Apple have enabled projects which, AFAIK, are completely unheard-of at any other tech company.

That said, don't expect a payoff proportionate to the effect of the tool.

From a company owner's perspective, however, excellent tools can provide an advantage that is difficult for competitors to match. That's worth an awful lot.

20 points by unoti 1 day ago 0 replies      
His thoughts on internal tools and support are very insightful. It's why I am typically sad when a company outsources its support.

When a company does its own support with internal personnel, it has a vested interest in making the customers happy and also serving them as efficiently as possible.

When a company outsources its technical support, there is no real incentive for the outsource partner to let the company know how the processes and tools can be improved and automated. In fact, quite the opposite. If doubling the business means double the support costs, that works out great for the outsourcing partner.

Perhaps it's still possible to outsource the support work, but still care deeply about the details of how that work is done, and how the process can be improved/automated with systems. I haven't seen it work that way, however.

13 points by randfish 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like much of the advice, but the style and presentation of the message is, like so many things I've seen associated with Facebook, lacking any sense of humility. There's no "we did this because it worked for us and we're sharing in hopes that it may help others." Instead it's "Other people think this. They are wrong." Or "A commonly held belief is X. It is false."

This hubris has certainly been a powerful ally to Facebook's founder, but like so many other powerful people, companies, governments and organizations that came before them, I can't help but think it will ultimately lead to demise (unless tempered).

8 points by Isamu 1 day ago 1 reply      
So the problem of "hiring the best" is solved by making hiring your top priority. Likewise the problems of development are solved by making tools your top priority. Presumably along with everything else that is a top priority, like making something insanely great.

I'm sorry, I just sensitive to how many times I've seen "top priority" in somebody's management presentation, as if it solves something.

That said, I mostly agree with the gist of what he's saying here.

10 points by sdizdar 22 hours ago 1 reply      
With all due respect to Facebook and many great engineers at Facebook, if you look at quality of Facebook API ( documentation, bugs, reliability, compatibility), I don't think they followed "hiring the best" in the division working on Facebook API.
3 points by danielharan 1 day ago 2 replies      
"You will begin to get the (objectively) best candidates"

If "it's [everyone's] job to say no-hire" when they're "not sure" about a candidate, I'd like to know what is done to avoid systemic bias in hiring decisions.

Anyone here from FB able to comment? How diverse is the work force, especially compared to applicants?

3 points by dacort 1 day ago 2 replies      
The processes section intrigues. As the "CTO" in a 4-person startup, I'm constantly juggling between getting $hit done and documenting what the heck I did to get $hit done. Seems to be a fine balance.
1 point by Swannie 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A number of good responses about writing good tools. That's a no brainer.

It's scary to how many project managers I've had to explain why I have allocated 20% of my project planning to writing a new tool. They see it as wasted time because they don't think that we will be redoing the task again... when it's something sales try and sell with every project?!

The biggest thing that struck me were the strong statements about technical managers. I think the sentiment is correct, technically experienced managers are great. But it reads like you expect all technical managers to be up to date on their coding? Or just be competent at writing pseudo-code? Hopefully it is the latter!

2 points by spitfire 1 day ago 4 replies      
He's wrong. You should not focus on tools, focus on people and ideas. The people will then make the tools (and throw them away when they cause too much friction) as needed.

But Facebook is still young, they're still learning. Unfortunately they don't seem to be learning from the past, which means they get to repeat everyone else's mistakes.

1 point by gabaix 1 day ago 0 replies      
impressive insights.
Paul Buchheit: Angel investing, my first three years paulbuchheit.blogspot.com
221 points by paul 4 days ago   85 comments top 8
7 points by nod 4 days 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 4 days 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?

11 points by elvirs 4 days 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.
15 points by ctl 4 days 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.
3 points by johnrob 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Have you tried to estimate the value of the still active but illiquid startups?

Heroku was winter 08 not summer, btw

SOAP: The 'S' stands for simple (not really) cat-v.org
221 points by preek 1 day ago   79 comments top 31
25 points by lkrubner 1 day ago 1 reply      
The original article is here:


I am glad to see it get more attention. It is a classic and it is really about more than SOAP. It is about the way technologies get hyped and over-sold and over-promised, and then made unusably complicated. SOAP is just the example.

14 points by Sidnicious 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great. My (so far, only) experience with SOAP started when my boss asking me to investigate the new version of a (very big) vendor's SOAP API. Support for the old version of the API was being dropped in a few days.

It turns out that our framework has SOAP built in, so I had it suck in the WSDL and make a sample request. It was rejected with a generic error. As it turns out, our framework was generating requests that looked like this (simplified with much SOAP nonsense stripped out):

<Authenticate xmlns="http://bigcorp.example.com/elements/global">…</Authenticate>

…and the requests in the API documentation look like this:

  <SOAP-ENV:Envelope xmlns:bigcorp="http://bigcorp.example.com/elements/global">

the difference being that our framework declares a "default namespace", while their API expected a "namespace prefix". As far as I could tell from reading the spec (always a bad sign when you're using a standard that both ends support) the difference shouldn't matter.

- - -

I went to my boss. He showed me the old code; all the requests it needs to make are hardcoded based on the docs, and substitute XML-encoded variables in the right places.

Save a few minor changes, that's the process we still use today, and it fucking works.

14 points by Jeema3000 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I will now share my secret SOAP API Pro Method:

Step 1: Ignore all tools which supposedly make things easier (very important)

Step 2: Find the web service API documentation

Step 3: Ctrl-C example XML request

Step 4: Ctrl-V example XML request into program, replacing appropriate parts with program variables

Step 5: Parse the response. You're on your own here... Godspeed. :)

16 points by jan_g 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Must be ~5 years since I last used SOAP. Needless to say I hated the stuff. Complex to build, complex to use (interoperability between different stacks - java/.net/... - was like 'cross your fingers and hope for the best'), complex to debug and walk through tcpdump network packets. It's complex in every way but the name.

Of course, since that times I've alway advised against web services and so far I've succeeded in avoiding them.

22 points by chrisbroadfoot 1 day ago 1 reply      
My worst memory of SOAP was dealing with an attachments API that required each byte in a byte array to be wrapped in an XML element.

You ended up transferring ~10x the size of the file. I suppose gzip would have helped somewhat.

6 points by orangecat 23 hours ago 2 replies      
We have the misfortune of dealing with a third party SOAP API at my office. My coworker did it the "correct" way, autogenerating thousands of lines of C# from the WSDL and trying to get the objects transparently serialized and deserialized. That turned out to be a multi-week effort, so finally I got fed up and spent 4 hours writing code to directly extract the values we needed from the raw XML.
14 points by dminor 1 day ago 4 replies      
I think it's a law that any protocol or technology with 'simple' in the name invariably isn't.
10 points by st3fan 23 hours ago 0 replies      
SOAP really just exists to keep a tools/consulting/appserver/softwarestack business alive. Pretty sad.
12 points by ahupp 22 hours ago 1 reply      
At one time SOAP wasn't too bad, until it tried to solve a lot of complicated problems (via WS-*), and in the process made the simple problems complex. Contrast this with HTTP which is being used for ever-more complex problems yet is really no more complicated in the simple case than it was in 2000. This seems like an important principle in protocol design.
6 points by bockris 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the "Why I hate frameworks" essay by Benji Smith.


6 points by RyanMcGreal 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This wonderful Socratic dialogue has articulated my professional hell over the past six months.
1 point by Confusion 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It's easy to rant, but hard to come up with a viable alternative, that encompasses the same scope. XML-schema and WSDL are mocked as an aside, but I dare you to provide me a REST alternative for those, as standardized as those. For all the horror stories, I have used Java to interact with a C# webservice without any pain, including WS-Adressing. The WSDL and XML-schema were a godsend compared to the earlier spec.

Like people that think you can just replace XML with JSON: you are missing stuff.

4 points by colinloretz 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I do a lot of Salesforce.com development and the use of SOAP has been the bane of my existence. They have recently introduced a new REST API that will be going GA in the spring.

"Dev: What happens if I GET the endpoint's URL?

SG: Don't know. Using GET is undefined.

Dev: Hrrm. And what happens if I move the service to a different endpoint? Do I get a 301 back?

SG: No. SOAP doesn't really use HTTP response codes.

Dev: So, when you said SOAP uses HTTP, what you meant to say is SOAP tunnels over HTTP."

The beauty of REST is that it is representative of how the web works. With SOAP you're almost always limited to the use of POST methods and when I go to read another developer's code, I see their own defined nouns and verbs for resources they are sending/receiving like "getUsers", "getContacts", and "createPerson". These often are ambiguous or don't match up with the actual resource they are trying to work with.

Endpoints in REST are self documenting, you can read what it is that you're trying to do based on the endpoint and the HTTP verb (put, post, delete, et al)

6 points by tomelders 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel a bit sad for all those people who worked on SOAP. I assume most of them simply wanted to make the web better and now we all point and laugh at their efforts with the 20/20 vision that only hindsight can allow.

Thanks for trying SOAP people, it was a noble effort but it's game over I'm afraid.... oh wait, I just saw on Wikipedia that these were Microsoft people. In that case, screw em. SOAP is wank! YOU'VE WASTED YOUR LIVES!!

11 points by grnknight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. This sums up my entire exposure to SOAP over the last few months. Thanks for the humorous, yet factual exchange of information!
3 points by Aaronontheweb 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing I like about SOAP's modern implementation is that it comes packaged with a WSDL usually - I would welcome a world where most REST APIs included a WSDL so I could just automatically stub a wrapper library.
2 points by aidenn0 22 hours ago 0 replies      
SOAP has always seemed bizarre to me. It's something like "We think CORBA was a good idea, but they messed some stuff up, so we'll toss the entirety of CORBA and make something with a completely new set of problems while completely ignoring most of the mistakes we learned with CORBA."

I'm still luke-warm at best on the whole ORB idea as-is, but even thinking from the point of view of someone who thinks object brokers are the best thing since sliced bread, I feel like the SOAP people got it very wrong.

2 points by dedward 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It crosses some layer boundaries too.... having to manually edit (or I guess dynamically generate) wsdl files so that we can add a reverse proxy or load balancer in front of a webservice machine to access it several different ways in .net was definitely a pain in the butt.
6 points by erikstarck 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Design-by-committee in action...
2 points by ojbyrne 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The "Simple" in SOAP is seriously overtrumped by the "Simple" in SNMP.
1 point by iwwr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it be that SOAP never had a solid set of test cases? Implementing a reasonably complex API should involve passing a series of public and very specific tests.
2 points by motters 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I never did anything using SOAP, and thought that this technology died many years ago.
1 point by Rabidgremlin 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Love it. However at least SOAP is a spec and generally works.

REST is an architectural style there is no spec, just a idea! Added to that most folk also only build REST-like services.

Implementing a client for REST based services often requires a bunch of (generally simple) coding which takes time and is error prone.

Also pure REST is really good for building data access/CRUD services but makes it hard to build RPC type services without mangling the semantics.

5 points by bediger 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Why did SOAP win, and XMLRPC not win?
2 points by mike-cardwell 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Eurgh. Reminds me of writing Perl code to talk to .NET SOAP services in a previous job. Never again.
1 point by otoburb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some previously implemented projects implemented a SOAP prepaid account balance billing interface that runs in production today. Nobody is willing to touch the interface for modifications because every developer tasked to review proposed changes complain that it's way too brittle and prone to complexity.

This article is bittersweet because it sums up everybody's feelings pre- and post- implementation.

1 point by naba 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Sigh. this article made me a little sad. I keep wondering why the corporates who have all the money and resources keep using a technology that is just so old and has so many issues, when they have the better alternatives.
My entire week was spent in just trying to get the configuration and a hello world service up and running.
0 points by ph33t 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Let me preface this by saying I'm not particularly a microsoft basher, however this smacks of their history of interface development. Remember COM in the 90's? It was so complicated no one really knew how it worked. The only way to use it was to use a compiler that had native support for it ... MS Visual Studio and MS VB. Delphi came a long way quickly and made it work. Anyway whether intended or not, the result was you were initially tied to using a MS tool to use the technology. SOAP seems the same. Odds are if you're writing one end of it or another (client or server) somewhere the mix you're going to have a Microsoft tool. If you want to talk to the product of that Microsoft tool by far the easiest way will be to use a Microsoft tool. So despite being "open", their implementation of it ties you into some vendor-specific tools.
1 point by mcherm 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh god... that's my life!
0 points by yogipatel 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I stopped using SOAP in the shower a month ago and have never felt cleaner. Showering is a more efficient process now:

- I spend less money on resources (SOAP, lotion, etc)

- I get clean faster -- SOAP used to slow me down

- Using someone else's shower is easy, I just take my towel. I don't have to worry if their SOAP is compatible with me.

0 points by nervechannel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As an ex-SOAP-dev... Yeah.
Rich Hickey stops Clojure funding appeal from 2011 onwards clojure.org
210 points by zaph0d 4 days ago   68 comments top 11
65 points by jacquesm 4 days 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.

26 points by praptak 4 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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.

19 points by zaph0d 4 days ago 4 replies      
Possible reason behind the decision - http://news.ycombinator.net/item?id=2053908
3 points by cemerick 4 days 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!).

4 points by tomfaulhaber 3 days 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.

9 points by pmorrisonfl 3 days 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 zacharypinter 4 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why not accept donations with the explicit disclaimer that under no circumstances will Rich's development efforts be swayed?
The Dubai Job gq.com
209 points by paulgerhardt 3 days ago   58 comments top 14
32 points by wyclif 3 days ago 1 reply      
Al-Mabhouh's number was clearly up. The article sensationalises the diplomatic damage between Israel and the US/UK-- it's called blowback and the Mossad was willing to pay the price if mistakes were made. Operations this complex rarely come off flawlessly, but it was very well done, "good enough" you might say. With their objective accomplished and their agents disappeared before Hamas knew what was going on, the mission was a success.
15 points by yuvadam 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a very interesting article.

Ronen Bergman is a very well known journalist here in Israel, but this article sheds new light on details which haven't been made public up until now.

The fact that head of the Caesarea unit offered to resign following the Dubai operation has not been known up until now.

4 points by praptak 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is interesting: "Any operative trying to reach a colleague"whether in the hotel down the street or at the command post in Israel"dialed one of a handful of numbers in Austria, from which the call was then rerouted to its destination. But since dozens of calls were made to and from this short list of Austrian numbers over a period of less than two days, the moment that the cover of a single operative was blown and his cell phone records became available to the authorities, all others who called or received calls from the same numbers were at risk of being identified."

Given that the agents have had enough time to leave Dubai, I wonder how did the authorities identify the initial phone number whose billings were checked. Have the agents called an easily identifiable hotel landline?

8 points by tome 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like the operation was tactically a great success, but strategically a failure.

The agents seem to have been very well trained and carried out their task very effectively.

There has been serious negative fall-out, though, including the unmasking of a number of important agents, and worsening ties with Dubai and the countries whose passports were forged.

5 points by raheemm 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Take yourselves and your bank accounts and your weapons and your forged fucking passports and get out of my country," - Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, chief of the Dubai Police
3 points by kevinskii 2 days ago 1 reply      
...they somehow managed to chain the door from the inside.

This to me has always been the more curious detail of the operation.

1 point by johnyzee 3 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is interested in further reading I can recommend "The Other Side of Deception" by former Mossad officer Victor Ostrovsky. (Note that this is the sequel to "By Way of Deception" by the same author, it is more informational and matter-of-fact than the first book.)
3 points by vitorbal 2 days ago 2 replies      
This was a really interesting article. I like this subject, does anyone know of any books, websites or articles that might have more of the same?
3 points by veb 3 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome article. No bullshit, no advertising... just plain win.
1 point by chanux 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article was really inspiring to me. I realized that "I don't do enough of what I do", reading it.

...the lock picker practiced disabling every type of lock in use in all the major hotels in Dubai.

2 points by koudelka 2 days ago 0 replies      
The late 70's British spy show, "The Sandbaggers" might also be of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sandbaggers
1 point by vinodlive 1 day ago 0 replies      
How did the assassins exit room 230, chained from the inside?!!
-4 points by badmash69 3 days ago 3 replies      
Downvote me if you will, but I do not think this article belong on the front page of Hacker news. It is a interesting illuminating article but it belongs on Reddit or even Slashdot.
Mac App Store: Open for Business apple.com
201 points by shawndumas 2 days ago   275 comments top 32
39 points by pclark 2 days ago replies      
Is it just me or is the .app an abomination of a UI?

Why does Apple now have three different window control styles? http://dl.dropbox.com/u/20635/Screenshots/r3da.png

Why are there back buttons ("like a browser") but you can't click hold to get the contextual drop down?

The navigation (Featured, Top Charts, etc) are so far away from the other controls (Back and Forward) its insanely awkward to use.

It feels kind of ... weird using an app store on my Mac. I guess because I'm fortunate in that I know where to look for Mac applications, I don't really have the burning need for a central place.

26 points by pavlov 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm impressed with the Mac App Store so far. Pretty bold of Apple to push it so prominently onto every Mac user's Dock as part of a point update to the operating system.

My little landscape generator app, Turtledoveland, is currently at #5 on the Top Paid list for the Graphics & Design category.

I'll be sure to let HN know what kind of sales numbers that actually means, once the numbers come in...

31 points by rudd 2 days ago 6 replies      
I will say this: Apple is not afraid to leave old technology behind. While website XYZ aims to support multiple versions of every browser, including those released a decade ago (IE6), Apple won't even support Leopard with its new store, which was the version that came with the Mac I got just over a year ago.
30 points by ugh 2 days ago replies      
Arrrg! No way of uninstalling apps in one central location. Why, Apple, why? There is this nice list of installed apps, why doesn't it have an uninstall button? It doesn't make any sense.

I guess you are expected to drag apps to the trash like before? That sucks.

17 points by ceejayoz 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you get an error 100 (http://yfrog.com/h4b9kkp) attempting to download any apps, clear /Library/Caches and ~/Library/Caches. Something to do with the Terms and Conditions acceptance not firing.
8 points by kleiba 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is this like synaptic et al.? I mean, do you get updates automatically? That would be great! Also, a central packaging tool helps avoiding multiple installations of the same software, when dependencies can be tracked and resolved. If that is what this is: cool.
4 points by powrtoch 1 day ago 2 replies      
Disappointed to see Twitter among the most popular apps. For mobile devices the native-app-front-end-for-existing-websites was arguably necessary and beneficial, but for desktop clients it really feels like a big step back to start moving back out of the browser.
4 points by watty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is adware prohibited from everything in the store? It seems like every windows application I download has some sort of toolbar bundled but maybe this isn't a problem on Mac.
9 points by pstinnett 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of apps that I'm surprised to not see in the store on launch day. Versions, Kaleidoscope, Skitch. I'd like to see a way for open source apps to show up here too, because I think managing my applications from the Mac App store will be nice.
3 points by ThomPete 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty similar experience to the itunes store but I have to say it's interesting to see more professional applications on here.

Nice little detail it knows whether you installed an application even if you didn't do it through the app store.

One interesting little thing though.

It seems like the different applications icons still need to catch up to the quality of the ios app icons.

7 points by fwdbureau 2 days ago 5 replies      
Call me old fashioned, but I fail to see how implementing a corporate middleman between developers and users can be a progress... OK, from a developer's stand point, this could be really beneficial (distribution, centralization etc), but as a user, it feels like seeing independent record stores about to be crushed by a shiny new Virgin Megastore.
I can't help to hope this will be an immense failure
5 points by neovive 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else feel that the word "app" is already branded to mean fast and cheap? Perhaps, it's just a perception that will diminish over time. I guess it sounds better than the "Mac Desktop Application Store".
12 points by vasi 2 days ago 1 reply      
TextWrangler is available, but has removed the command-line 'edit' command, and the ability to authenticate to edit root-owned files. So it begins...
19 points by evilmushroom 2 days ago 2 replies      
As long as this doesn't become the only way for me to put apps on my Mac. :P
3 points by igravious 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why does Apple permanently want the 3 digit security code on the back of my credit card? Shouldn't that be asked for at the time of each payment transaction?
9 points by scorchin 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's just like a massive computer magazine shareware cover disk.
7 points by zppx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Aperture is US$ 79,99 in the Store, Lightroom now seems so expensive...
4 points by dgroves 1 day ago 4 replies      
My x-wife purchased a substantially number of songs from iTunes - we are talking a 5 digit investment. When I moved over seas to England; I was no longer able to partake in my music due to the DRM placed on it by Apple and my new "jurisdiction."

I am very deeply suspicious about the 'app-store' what if I purchase an application while I am here in the UK? Is it going to work when I get back to the USA - or will they force me to purchase it again the way they are attempting to do with my music?

4 points by bengl3rt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm at #20 in Top Paid Music, and climbing...
2 points by awakeasleep 1 day ago 0 replies      

    class UIComplaint(BikeShed.colorComplaint):

3 points by troels 2 days ago 2 replies      
Distribute Mac apps on the Mac App Store


Hm ..

1 point by naz 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Mac App Store is not showing in software update here (UK)

edit: never mind, it is showing up now.

1 point by wenbert 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever the comments on this, Apple is creating another new way/market for developers to make money and at the same for itself. Genius.

fyi, i do not develop apps for apple. i gave my mac to my brother about a year ago. i figured that i could do the same with my cheap acer without worrying about dropping or losing it.

2 points by vokoda 2 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone else feel like https://chrome.google.com/webstore makes this seem old-fashioned? Seriously who's going to be running software on their local machine a year from now (apart from hackers obviously).
1 point by tyng 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, this is a major step towards creating an uniform marketplace for not just mobile and tablet but also traditional computers. It does seem like a natural next step, it should even have happened earlier, how come nobody thought of it until today?
2 points by jadedoto 1 day ago 1 reply      
They allow redownload. How nice... I got burned by the removal of this in the iTunes app store when upgrading my iPad failed.
2 points by pepijndevos 2 days ago 1 reply      
Creative icon... If it was black, it would fit nicely with iTunes.
1 point by cbguder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Categories aren't working properly in the Turkish store. More often than not, I get the "One Moment Please..." message when I click on a category, and I have to go back and click on the category again.

Is anybody else experiencing the same thing on non-US stores?

2 points by egb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bummer - no way to create promo codes for Mac apps as of yet in iTunesConnect...
-2 points by tyng 2 days ago 1 reply      
iTunes should be renamed, it's not just about the "tunes" anymore
-1 point by elvirs 2 days ago 3 replies      
Buy, download, and even redownload.
its amazing how apple expected customers to pay for the same digital product over and over.
-1 point by mcantelon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ubuntu's had an app store for years (although paid apps are a more recent addition).
Google's library for dealing with phone numbers (Java/JavaScript) google.com
187 points by kondro 3 days ago   39 comments top 10
7 points by jokermatt999 3 days ago 2 replies      
Somewhat unrelated, but I've grown to dislike the Skype addon for Firefox because of its phone number recognition. It gets far too many false positives. Even numbers several digits short of being a phone number are often mistaken as one, throwing off the formatting of the page.
7 points by kondro 3 days ago 4 replies      
Found this today whilst I was looking for a solution to standardised formatting of phone numbers. I was hoping for a ruby solution, but this is an extremely complete library supporting formatting and validation for 228 countries/regions.
5 points by eneveu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Now I feel bad for not posting it here as well (I posted it on reddit a few days ago: http://www.reddit.com/r/java/comments/et5az/libphonenumber_g... ) :(

I often avoid posting java links to HN, thinking that the HN community is more focused on Rails / node.js / python. Guess I should reconsider :)

Funny how this intangible karma stuff affects me :)

5 points by bluedevil2k 3 days ago 2 replies      
This would be good for Twilio, which doesn't have any phone number validation methods in its libraries.
2 points by pilif 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fun fact: The swiss phone number they use in the example apparently is the phone number of Google's Swiss Office in Zürich.
3 points by damncabbage 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've looked around and haven't found a PHP port of this.

Given the usefulness of this library, I've been inspired to give it a go: http://github.com/damncabbage/libphonenumber-php

(Java --> PHP is tough going. Come back in a month. ;) )

2 points by elvirs 3 days ago 2 replies      
invalid country code for 994 (Azerbaijan) tried both with 00 and without
1 point by chronomex 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! I'm currently working on a project to deal with all sorts of phone numbers in bulk. I've already duplicated some of this in my own way, but I think it might come in handy for the rest.
1 point by coverband 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool -- how do they deal with changes to the metadata, like when a country has a new code?
3 points by ramki 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been looking for similar lib in C\C++.
Princeton Grad Student And 'Brilliant' Programmer, Dies In Apparent Suicide huffingtonpost.com
181 points by covertparadox 18 hours ago   57 comments top 16
7 points by maxklein 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been pushing this idea: "A half-way house for suicidal people" Basically, if you're intending to commit suicide, you simply register for the project, and you get an all-expenses paid trip to Iraq, Afghanistan or Congo or some other really dangerous place. Spend two to three months helping people out, then feel free to commit suicide after that.

No counseling, no attempt to talk you out of it, just a chance to be somewhere that will put you within a new world.

33 points by noonespecial 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad indeed. It might just be semantic, but it seems that this person died from wounds inflicted during childhood, it just took a while for him to succumb.
10 points by DLWormwood 13 hours ago 0 replies      
While I never suffered the molestation, I can still relate to this guy. I also came from a fundementalist background that I'm only now coping with in middle age thanks to health consuling, a support group, and a family who have likewise forsaken those closeminded ways in favor of a more loving, “truer” version of the faith.
22 points by rianjs 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Just FYI, here's another HN thread:


1 point by eurohacker 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
one must probably understand while reading this that the mental abuse was in his life constant,

tried to get rid of it, go to school etc. , but had to communicate with his family and probably that nullified his self-help totally every time.

Its probably something like working like mad on some programming project for a year and then someone hacks your system and deletes everything... after that one year to restore the system and then someone again comes and deletes it ..one more year to restore , and back to zero again

3 points by angrycoder 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Terrible loss.

Based on his note, he is a compelling writer. If it were not published posthumously, it could have done a lot of good for himself and for others. It probably would not have received the same amount of attention though.

3 points by jhamburger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't fault him for what he did and I'm sure his state of mind wasn't anything most of us could relate to- but the one thing I feel like he could have done before this was to open up to _someone_ about what happened to him. Maybe it wouldn't have changed anything but maybe it would have been the first step to dealing with this a different way. I understand why people commit suicide, but at least try _everything_ first.
7 points by nopassrecover 14 hours ago 4 replies      
It's quite incredible that the Huffington Post posted the entire suicide note, particularly without a warning before it.

In any case, I'm disturbed and outraged by the religious comments (ranging from wishing him well in the next phase of his life to saying how much God loves everyone even despite this to how he should forgive himself for the suicide). I thought respect was fundamental to religion.

8 points by DrStalker 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there any doubt it was suicide, or is the word "apparent" in the article heading unnecessary?
2 points by scotty79 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If something bad happens to you that you can't forget or forgive go to chats and tell your story to anonymous people over and over as many times as necessary until you get eventually bored with it. It may take a year or more.

You will be then less likely to tell it to yourself again in your head.

2 points by ladon86 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You know, me and my friends were talking just the other day about how massive myTunes was in college, pretty much everyone was using it. What a sad loss of a fantastic talent.
1 point by kilian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It always makes me feel sad how goddamn unfair life is to some.
4 points by rudyadler 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Bill's family & friends have set up a page on 1000Memories to share memories of his life.


If you knew Bill, please join his page.

5 points by ssiddharth 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Why the quotes around the word brilliant in the title? Am I missing something?
2 points by blahedo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Eternal rest grant him.
-4 points by kwoks 11 hours ago 5 replies      
You don't solve a problem by running away from it. This guy would have been very useful. He just needed counselling, attention and love to overcome the 'darkness and his ghosts'. But I don't think he was smart. He might have been clever in class and books but smart and brilliant people don't take their own lives. Brilliant is misused here. Anyway R.I.P.
Nvidia announces Project Denver ARM CPU for the desktop engadget.com
180 points by zhyder 2 days ago   112 comments top 9
32 points by matthew-wegner 2 days ago 2 replies      
And Microsoft just announced ARM support in Windows 8...
8 points by zhyder 2 days ago 1 reply      
8 points by jcl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kind of amusing, considering that the ARM architecture was originally created for desktop computers.


5 points by sliverstorm 2 days ago replies      
Man, I wish I was working for them, but I haven't even graduated yet. It'd be really cool to be involved with this stuff.
7 points by iwwr 2 days ago 6 replies      
Are there particular advantages to an ARM CPU on a desktop machine? Assuming software compatibility is not an issue.
3 points by cyrus_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a big win for nVidia on the supercomputer side of things. They will soon have to face integrated CPU-GPU solutions from Intel and AMD which greatly simplify the process of building and programming a supercomputer. They've just one-upped them both by creating a similar offering with better performance on the GPU side (where the FLOPS are) and better power efficiency on the CPU side. In the race to the exaflop, nVidia just changed the odds dramatically.
2 points by Charuru 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes sense in the era of webapps and python and java. If people were still reliant on programs explicitly written for x86 this would never go anywhere.
1 point by coryrc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used to think the alternative-CPU-taking-over-the-desktop would be cool. In P4 days of 120W+ processors, ARM looked like a savior.

But now, the only difference would be who is pocketing the $50-100 I'd spend on a new processor.

0 points by jdavid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Risc is good. ;-)
The power of that p6 chip is too much for you.

nvidia congrats, this has been a long time coming. if feel like nvidia is tron in this case and intel is the mpc, fight for the user.

it's time to embrace massive parallelism. this will change everything.

I am really excited and happy to be a shareholder of nvidia now.

Google Will Become an AI Company mattmaroon.com
182 points by cwan 4 days ago   157 comments top 32
70 points by abstractbill 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

16 points by DanielBMarkham 4 days 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.

9 points by nihilocrat 4 days ago 3 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.

13 points by alextp 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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...

20 points by Tichy 4 days 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.
13 points by izendejas 4 days 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.
6 points by Micand 4 days 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.

3 points by javanix 4 days 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).

14 points by kleiba 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rename that article to "Why driverless cars would be nice."
6 points by Travis 4 days 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.

2 points by asnyder 4 days 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.

5 points by stretchwithme 4 days 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 dasil003 4 days 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.
2 points by rythie 4 days 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.

2 points by EGreg 4 days 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.

1 point by nkassis 4 days 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.

1 point by aufreak3 4 days 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.

2 points by ujjwalg 4 days ago 0 replies      

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

1 point by monos 4 days 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 yesbabyyes 4 days 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.
2 points by zandorg 4 days 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 rms 4 days 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.
1 point by SoftwareMaven 4 days 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 richcollins 4 days 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 4 days 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 paganel 4 days 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 metabrew 4 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps during the transition we would have automated-car lanes, like we have carpool lanes today.
1 point by invertedlambda 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will become? Is.
New "How Airbnb Works" video (shot at 13 locations around world) airbnb.com
177 points by brianchesky 1 day ago   56 comments top 22
33 points by brianchesky 1 day ago 4 replies      
Fun facts (directly quoted) from Adam Lisagor, who made the video:

* All the locations are real Airbnb places.

* The pretty lady in the video is Venetia Pristavec, who does all the in-house video content for Airbnb, traveling around to different countries and interviewing hosts. She's great.

* Where you see people, those are real Airbnb hosts.

* The site is neat, but you should download the iPhone app. It's one of the best-designed, most beautiful and functional apps I've ever used.

* The cinematographer is my friend Rachel Morrison. She's great.

* That villa with the credit card logos in the pool? It's in Puerto Vallarta. The crew stayed there for a few days. It's great.

* My side of the Scrabble board spells out “COOTYS RAT SEMEN”. Venetia's spells “BEANS”. I won.

13 points by PStamatiou 1 day ago 4 replies      
I spy Adam Lisagor.. or some similarly bearded man. He worked on Square and Birdhouse's videos.

Square: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBieYjxUj5Q


.. wow square has a lot of videos

Birdhouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8yRaWY1xV8&feature=playe...

7 points by ryanwaggoner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some more facts by video creator Adam Lisagor http://lonelysandwich.com/

I wonder how much something like this would cost?

7 points by samd 1 day ago 2 replies      
One of the most compelling things about AirBnB is the gorgeous photos of all those unique places. I don't know how they get them. Do they just have lots of hosts with amazing photography skills or do they send people out to take pictures?
5 points by ryandvm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great video - but man I must have trust issues; because there is no way I'd be letting someone stay in my place if I'm just out of town for the weekend.
9 points by BenSchaechter 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is going to sound so fan-boyish -- but I really respect what team Airbnb has done. Its so exciting to see them continue to kick so much ass and grow.
3 points by jjcm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just used Airbnb for the first time last week. Had a pretty good experience with it. Stayed at a fellow HN'er's ( ngrandy ) place. A very pleasant experience overall, I'll probably keep using it in lieu of hotels when I travel.

The culture of the site is interesting in itself - it attracts people that don't mind having a stranger in their house. You really have to be a sociable person to allow that, and it shows in the personalities of the hosts (and guests). Makes for a very friendly and welcoming environment.

11 points by anemitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
It passed the "my parents understood it test":) Great vid!
1 point by billpaetzke 1 day ago 0 replies      
I rent an 1-bdrm apt in a small building (about 16-20 tenants) in Los Angeles, CA. It might be obvious if I am having a "guest" over every weekend I'm gone--or for longer trips (like 1-6 weeks traveling).

Would I need to get my landlord's permission? Or is it my right according to CA tenant law? Or somewhere in between?

3 points by jeremydavid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautiful video.

I might be moving to London for a few months, and the "stay for a month" line certainly persuaded me to take a look when I do.

2 points by plaguedr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Over the past year, I've kept Airbnb in mind while doing my travel planning. I've made numerous inquiries to book for multiple trips, but am always rejected. One example would be a trip to NYC I took two months ago. I sent out 10 inquires to hosts but they were all rejected. The typical response is a curt, "No longer available," but in all cases I filtered based on availability.

So, it's not as easy as this video implies. For me, it has been something of a headache and a time waster, which is unfortunate because I think their idea is excellent.

(Maybe it is easy if you're a hot hipster waif?)

1 point by brandnewlow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great video, but wasn't it fiendishly expensive to make? I assume that means Airbnb is doing well?
2 points by samratjp 1 day ago 0 replies      
And the tipping point is reached :-) Congrats and hope the virality ensues!
2 points by miah_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Watched the video, its definitely interesting. Looks like a super commercial version of http://www.couchsurfing.org/.
2 points by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
how do they prevent renters from robbing the places?
1 point by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
nice to see startups produce great videos about service themselves not involving 'creative' studios that would add boring marketing taste
1 point by dsulli 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I first heard the Airbnb idea - I was really skeptical. This is one of the cases where the actual implementation of the idea turned out better than the pure idea itself.

I've booked a couple of places through the site when I was traveling in California, and the result in both places was better than I would have expected.

1 point by prayag 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been a couchsurfer for years and love the commmunity. airbnb seems to be exactly like couchsurfing except you have to pay to surf somebody's couch.

Comparing airbnb and couchsurfing experience would be a great exercise in understanding the altruism and economics of the internet and online communities.

2 points by dshankar 1 day ago 2 replies      
Great video - who made it?
1 point by spacehaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great video. At first I wondered "what does she do for a living?" then it inspired me: I work from home now. I'm going to seriously consider renting out my house and work from other people's homes instead.
1 point by anonymouse1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
awesome video!!! like, i kinda teared up at the end. really.
-3 points by dirtyhand 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could It Be? Spooky Experiments That 'See' The Future npr.org
171 points by zafka 3 days ago   115 comments top 29
39 points by nostromo 3 days ago replies      
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -- and I wouldn't count these small studies as extraordinary.

Unfortunatley, publishing these kind of claims prematurely help the more gullible among us to fall for ridiculous claims from psychics and others who would take advantage of them. (The authors of "The Secret", I'm looking at you.)

Commenters on NPR's website (not exactly the dumbest audience online) have already shown this problem; "All of you criticizing this need to open up your minds" and "The future, as well as the past, influence our dreams."

17 points by maxklein 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is trivial software to write. Why does someone not quickly whip up a web app that does the picture thing as described in the experiment, then we can personally test if we have ESP senses or not?

Specs: Two buttons - ESP mode or non-ESP mode. In non-ESP mode, 60 random pictures are shown and we are to guess. Then it gives the correct one. In ESP mode, add some porn. If the results are different, then we have ESP. Use Javascript for the randomisation algorithm so that we can be sure there is no server trickery being done.

50 points by garyrob 3 days ago 4 replies      
See http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Wag... "Why Psychologists Must Change the Way They Analyze Their Data: The Case of Psi".) It demolishes the study referred to in the npr article.
46 points by mcritz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I knew this comment would be up-voted before I wrote it.
16 points by simon_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps NPR celebrates inverse April Fool's Day (1/4)?
5 points by zdw 3 days ago 2 replies      
Krulwich's NPR Science pieces has some of the best verbal delivery, storytelling form, and production values - it's worth listening to the audio version of them.

Highly recommended if you're thinking about making a podcast.

6 points by forensic 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone investigated Dean Radin's work? It demonstrates similar statistical effects in a huge number of experiments. He has put forth quantum entanglement as the explanation.
9 points by bluekeybox 3 days ago 1 reply      
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The classic 5% (or even 0.1%) statistical threshold is sometimes not enough. See here for an easy-to-understand example of why that is the case:

In other news, capital punishment has been installed for science journalists publishing articles that contain a question in the title that can be succinctly answered with "No."

6 points by ibejoeb 3 days ago 2 replies      
So it looks like I'll be studying my Mega Millions picks tonight. My methodology:

1. Buy ticket

2. Go AWOL until after the drawing.

3. Study numbers

4. Look up results

5. Profit

2 points by nwatson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I e-mailed a link to a related article from a few months ago (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19712-evidence-that-we...) -- I sent it to some co-workers and also copied my wife.

My wife (a psychologist and a Christian) defended the (mostly psychologically oriented) experiments as posed in the paper and the method behind them, whereas several atheist/strictly-causality-believing coworkers and also a conservative Christian with a strong anti-psychology bias dismissed the idea of spooky action from the future outright. The stormy e-mail exchange raged on (and I did not contribute to the discussion). The conservative guy accused me of abandoning my wife in the argument. I believe she's well capable of handling herself.

In any case I wrote this (bad) poem in response:

  My act is mostly mute and unseen,
I wear no costume, I don't vent my spleen.
Spending most time behind the stage,
Conceiving a plot I prepare the cage.

I have few resources, can't sponsor M-M-A,
Must find some other way to while away the day.
I step out briefly to address the crowd,
I hope today they'll surely be wowed.

My mind's been active, reading Hacker News,
What's this I see? Some interesting views,
on whether the future can affect our present,
I'm sure this will stoke plenty of dissent.

I have my materials for a good time today,
Setting the stage is just an e-mail away.
My fingers fly fast, the idea's not hokey,
My actors will soon be addressing the spooky.

I press ‘Send' and my time on stage is done,
I've set the parameters, now it's time for fun.
The actors appear to have done my bidding,
I just hope it doesn't end in too much bleeding.

Sure, I'll show up from time to time,
The audience gets tired of hearing everyone whine.
They need to see larger schemes at play,
The actor's philosophies won't save the day.

Arguments, screeds, reasoning galore,
It's exciting for a time, not yet a bore.
I'll step back just about now,
It's time for some more.

This audience of one will now sit back,
Got a few more bugzillas to whack.
I won't make it to peer-reviewed journals,
But empirically it's great to see what sprouts from a kernel.

8 points by Fargren 3 days ago 0 replies      
6 points by qiqing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hypothesis #1:

53% in an experiment that has 36 trials? Really? 50% is 18/36, but 19/36 is 52.7%, and 19/35 is 54.3%. Depending on experimental design, if it just so happens that near the end of the 20 minutes, the subject has a tendency stop on one of the last erotic pictures they're like to guess and let the time run out.

Hypothesis #2:
Depending on how the computer's random number generator was seeded (and they might have a relatively short repeating sequence), subjects may have, however unconsciously, "learned" to predict the randomness, something they would have insufficient motivation to do in the other set of pictures. [We can test for this by seeing if they were getting better at it over the course of a session.]

3 points by tokenadult 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's time to post a link to Peter Norvig's article "Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation"


here on HN again. How well does Bem's set of experiments hold up?

9 points by joeld42 3 days ago 3 replies      
My bet is a crappy pseudo-random number generator, or other software bug.
2 points by david927 3 days ago 0 replies      
This violates our common sense, but it doesn't necessarily violate physics. We've known for a long time from quantum mechanics that time may not fit with our preconceived notions of what we want to think it is. Entropy only means that time moves forward. The rest, such as that we can't know the future, we've just assumed.
1 point by mbrubeck 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is some very good discussion of (failed) attempts to replicate the study, and at least one possible methodological flaw that could invalidate some of the results:


"The real lesson? This is the level of methodological scrutiny every paper should receive, and not just the ones you think are crazy: the ones you like and rely on for your own work should get a good working over like this too (especially these ones; and I'm as guilty on this as everyone else)."

3 points by hc 3 days ago 0 replies      
and how many studies did he throw away, when they didnt get the statistical significance he was looking for? now lets average all of them together
1 point by tlrobinson 3 days ago 0 replies      
The test didn't include the obvious control group: have the subjects pick a door but don't show them whether or not they picked the right one.
1 point by yters 3 days ago 0 replies      
People have been getting results like this for a very long time. The Soviets took these phenomena very seriously and were trying to establish physical mechanisms.

Here's one IEEE paper:
"a perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distances - historical perspective and recent research"

Can't find the online version anymore, so here's the version I found (9.5MB pdf):

1 point by barmstrong 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good discussion of this sort of research:


1 point by jamesbressi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am embarrassed to ask, but can someone explain the word flashing test a different way? For some reason something is not clicking for me the way it is written on NPR.
1 point by raphar 3 days ago 0 replies      
"There was nothing surprising about the results of the psychological experiments conducted by Dr Bem. The porn used was OURS"

A (future) message from <your favorite porn provider name here>

2 points by comice 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was discussed by people on the James Randi forum back in October: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=188366
1 point by Rickasaurus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very disappointed in HN for voting up this unscientific garbage.
1 point by Sauce1971 3 days ago 1 reply      
The question is. Do they see the future or make the future. Somedays I'm convinced computers react to my moods.
1 point by blago 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure this experiment will meet "cosmic habituation"(http://nyr.kr/fkzAaQ) very soon. Pretty sure Bem knows it. His time would be better spent studying why does the truth "wear off" (as The New Yorker put it). What happend to science!
-2 points by maeon3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Figuring out what time is may be what causes civilizations to go extinct. Once you figure out how to probe the earlier states of the universe you find everything vanishes, along with the evidence that the civilization ever existed. This may be why our visible universe is not teeming with chit-chat.
-3 points by Qz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, the word retyping test seems like a total scam. Of course you're better able to recall words after a test in which you were already better able to recall those words. It's called memory. Correlation, not causation, as the maxim goes.
PHP 5.3.3 hangs on numeric value 2.2250738585072011e-308 exploringbinary.com
173 points by anorwell 4 days ago   91 comments top 26
28 points by jrockway 4 days 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.

54 points by lifthrasiir 4 days ago 4 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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

2 points by calloc 3 days 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

1 point by yuvadam 4 days 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...

4 points by istvanp 4 days ago 3 replies      
Rasmus Lerdorf just tweeted that it's a gcc optimizer issue:

  Works fine with -O0 but not -O2


4 points by cantprogram 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
And so, the race after affected websites starts...
1 point by mhansen 4 days 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 4 days 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 dovyski 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't reproduce on CentOS:

  $ php -v
PHP 5.2.6 (cli) (built: May 5 2008 10:32:59)
Copyright (c) 1997-2008 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2008 Zend Technologies
with eAccelerator v0.9.5.3, Copyright (c) 2004-2006 eAccelerator, by eAccelerator

$ uname -a
Linux hostname 2.6.18-128.1.10.el5 #1 SMP Thu May 7 10:39:21 EDT 2009 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

3 points by scottmac 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've fixed this now in all the PHP branches.


1 point by jflaxen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am confused. Does this only affect people with older cpus that do not support SSE2?

I am not affected by the bug, yet am on a 32 bit CPU and PHP 5.2.16 was compiled with -O2.

uname -a:

Linux www 2.6.9-67.0.22.ELsmp #1 SMP Fri Jul 11 10:38:12 EDT 2008 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

Running the test script outlined above comes back immediately. No hang.

CPU is Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5430 @ 2.66GHz which support SSE2.

Since my CPU supports SSE2, would I not be affected by this?

1 point by thefox 4 days 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

0 points by robryan 4 days 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 christophe971 4 days 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 aircraft24 3 days ago 0 replies      
We have slapped together a quick workaround that can be found here:


Its a quick+dirty fix for site-owners that cannot immediately upgrade php.

1 point by srslynao 4 days 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 bengtan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ouch, this hangs if PHP is run from the command line on Lucid Lynx.
1 point by wrijnders 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
PHP Version 5.3.0 via a default WAMP install on Windows 7 hangs as well
Cwora - taking the piss out of Quora cwora.com
170 points by instakill 1 day ago   62 comments top 15
49 points by cagenut 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey guys I'm busy flipping my convertible note into what I'm calling a "second seed" round from a bunch of big name Angels for my social-mobile startup and I was talking to an advisor (totally gonna be on the board when we get our Series A) about how its time to add a technical co-founder who can really take the lead on all the implementation stuff we've got in mind and I was wondering if anyone knew the best places to find technical co-founders who are interesting in joining a startup (no salary, 5%)?

Also if you have ideas for the product we should start with, we haven't decided yet, we just really wanna own the social mobile space.

edit: also, can anyone recommended the best bars and restaurants in nyc to network with other social mobile startups?

5 points by achompas 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm really disappointed by the state of Quora in the last week. There has been a flood of useless answers into once-useful questions and terrible questions into once-excellent topics. The state of the "Entrepreneurship" and "Startups" topics must be abysmal right now.

Quora could remedy this by identifying redundant questions for new posters. Let's say someone asks where to find the best technical founders in City A. Instead of accepting that question, Quora should suggest that they look at topics on "how to find technical founders" and "how to develop enough technical skills to produce a MVP." Many message boards use this right now.

I've only posted one (unique) question, so maybe Quora filters posts in this manner and I haven't come across it. Regardless, I'm amazed at how a crowd-sourced site can lose quality as it gains traction.

12 points by kongqiu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cwora - that's Welsh for "Yahoo! Answers", no?
3 points by nicholasjbs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Suggestion for anyone inundated with Quora auto-follow spam: Go here: http://www.quora.com/settings/index

and click "Email Settings" -> "User-related" and then uncheck "Someone starts following me"

3 points by jrockway 1 day ago 8 replies      
What do you do with the piss once you extract it? I have always wondered...
4 points by cfontes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it painfully hard to post a question there, it's always pointing to some kind of error, but we get no feedback from the site to what is wrong...

Nice Idea but I think It will take some time to evolve into a nice business, it's like twitter, the business model there will be very confusing.

Cheers from Brazil !

3 points by ddkrone 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Good thing I got kicked off for running a script to follow every possible person and every possible question on the site.
3 points by Zakuzaa 1 day ago 2 replies      
Gorilla Marketing. (for himself
1 point by look_lookatme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone could do this for Hacker News but merely focus on Facebook rage.
1 point by elvirs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seriously, one needs a detailed filter set to navigate through overwhelming stream (or mess) of questions on quora.
2 points by jpcx01 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Funniest thing I've seen all year
1 point by user24 1 day ago 1 reply      
funny, but rather pointless...
-4 points by kgosser 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't get it.
-4 points by kubaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
what a waste of time (creator time)...
-4 points by paraschopra 1 day ago 4 replies      
This guy should simply stop using Quora if he is pissed off by endless stream of discussions. Why go great lengths to mock it? I don't see any point in this effort.
The MOS 6502 and the Best Layout Guy in the World swtch.com
168 points by skymt 4 days ago   50 comments top 7
18 points by commandar 4 days 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.

10 points by wallflower 4 days 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

3 points by Luyt 4 days 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:







6 points by mmphosis 4 days 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 VMG 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here it is in all its javascript goodness: http://www.visual6502.org/JSSim/index.html
1 point by exception 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
The CCC congress yielded some great talks this year.
Technical job post tips for the desperate hirelite.com
166 points by nathanh 2 days ago   115 comments top 16
49 points by Silhouette 2 days ago 4 replies      
So basically, recognise that you are employing human beings rather than machines, and treat potential candidates with respect rather than going for obviously one-sided positions that good candidates are going to see right through? It's a little sad that this isn't just common sense, isn't it?

What I don't understand is how nearly universal bad employment conditions seem to be. I can understand businesses wanting to maximise the benefit from investing in hiring staff. However, all the evidence I have ever seen shows that sustaining long hours is counter-productive, supporting a good work-life balance keeps happier and ultimately more effective staff, etc. The big improvements in productivity I've seen have all been at companies that have dramatically improved their staff's working conditions, for example by experimenting with shorter working weeks, complete flexi-time, allowing off-site working by default, etc.

How is it that even large companies with dedicated HR departments, training for managers, etc. still seem to push in the opposite direction? I suppose good working conditions, particularly those based on flexibility, are always open to abuse, but surely staff who are going to take advantage regardless will just find other ways to do so if you judge them by bum-on-seat metrics. Meanwhile, I wonder how many people take advantage of employers in some way mainly because they consider the deal to be abusively one-sided otherwise, and how many good people never get hired in the first place because they wouldn't work under those conditions...

30 points by samd 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another thing I like to see is when the posting talks about what sort of projects you'll be working on.

The latest example of this was GazeHawk's job posting:

"Eye tracking gives you a ton of data with a lot of dimensions. We want to show that data to our users in a way that's easy to parse. That means interactivity: HTML5, Canvas, JS."

Just a single sentence, but it engaged me, got me thinking, and gave me a good idea of the sort of projects they're working on.

24 points by snorkel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ooh can I play too?!

* Don't require 10 years experience with a language or technology that less than 10 years old
* Don't list hundreds of unrelated skills required because you're hoping this position will do the work of 5 employees and 2 consultants.
* Don't mention "self-motivator". Who would describe themselves otherwise?
* Don't call the position a "Director of" when it has no direct reports, no hiring budget, and itself reports to an intern in marketing.
* Don't ask how many ping pong balls would fit in a school bus unless your business is directly related to filling buses with ping pong balls.

20 points by alexophile 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't look like a recruitment agency - Absolutely. Even when my job search was in its most desperate throes, I was reluctant to apply for any job that wasn't straight-forward about who they were or what they did.

Guarantee a response - I don't think a guarantee is all that necessary, but a timetable for the process is always nice. Along those same lines, I always greatly preferred postings that had an email address, even better if it's a person's. But really, just something that indicates an active, rather than passive process. Filling out a form and hitting submit just has a hopeless, waiting-at-the-dmv feel to it.

19 points by wccrawford 2 days ago 1 reply      
How about listing requirements that are actually requirements? If you don't need 7+ years Mirah experience, don't ask for it. I never apply for jobs that I don't actually fit the 'requirements'.

Every time I see someone ask for more experience than is possible for a language, I wonder what other lies they're going to tell me or unreasonable things they are going to expect.

9 points by ig1 2 days ago 3 replies      
The problem is that a lot of these suggestions are very superficial and don't consider the underlying reason companies are doing what they currently do.

For example if you specify a salary you end up anchoring the negotiations, if a candidate is not quite up to the level you're looking for but you want to hire them anyway, the candidate is much less likely to accept a job offer where you offer a salary below what you stated in the ads, even if they would have accepted it otherwise.

Furthermore you need to consider the impact disclosing salary levels has on current employees, if the market is tough you may have to offer a salary above what current employees are earning, which can be very damaging to morale and can make your staff feel hostile towards the new hire from the start.

23 points by drivingmenuts 2 days ago 2 replies      
I usually avoid anything that has the word "rockstar" or similar wording. To me, it implies unrealistic expectations of knowledge and/or performance.

I will also avoid anything that has a long list of prerequisites. If there's more than maybe five or so disparate technologies requiring multiple platform knowledge, then the job you're offering should probably pay double what you're offering.

8 points by bphogan 2 days ago replies      
When I post job ads now, I ask interns for their blog URL, websites they've done, URLs to open-source projects, and their Twitter account if any. I'm not looking to find out personal stuff, but I want examples of what they do, how they learn, and if they'll be a fit for us.

When I used to just ask for a cover letter and resume, 99% of the people who interviewed with me were just awful. Now I tend to get good dev interns who want to be here and have similar drive and ambitions.

I'm not saying that a person who doesn't have any OSS experience, a blog, or a Twitter account wouldn't be a good developer, but then if they're not interested in OSS, teaching, doing things on their own (outside of work/schoolwork) or sharing, then they may not be a good cultural fit.

8 points by kp212 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would add as a couple of other tips:

1. Provide a contact email, esp. for larger companies, filling out a n page submission form is a killer.

2. Use LinkedIn and the other boards not headhunters, Dice and Monster feel like headhunter spam. At least with LinkedIn you can connect from a posting, to a company to an HR person.

Personally I would love it if Dice had a filter headhunter option, but it probably would kill their #1 revenue stream.

7 points by unoti 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Hirelite is on a mission to put headhunters out of business. We host speed interviewing events using video chat where 20 job seekers talk to 20 companies for 5 minutes each..."

Hey, what an awesome idea!

11 points by tocomment 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just saw a job posting that said they were looking for a "young and energetic person". Isn't that illegal?
2 points by nhangen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this looks like the exact opposite type of person I'm looking for when I hire.

I'm willing to pay high wages and even stake in the company, but if I do, that person should be willing to work hard and be dedicated to the building quality projects, rather than clocking in and out.

Is this how all developers feel? Do they all expect remote work?

I understand the need for working from home, but as a business builder, I like being able to sit with a developer and plan and build together.

1 point by joe_the_user 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are generally really excellent points. I'll just quibble with a few:

* Say that you're comfortable with remote work

Uh, excuse me but don't say that unless you know how to make a remote situation work for someone. I would say instead, "be open to someone relocating but make clear whether you'll pay for that or not". Ads saying "local candidate only" are really obnoxious (what, does the person needs a California passport or something?)

Further, a lot of this advice is along the lines of "be an absolutely fabulous employer". And while I like the idea of employers becoming the absolute best, on the way to that ideal they'll still be hiring employees. So really, I want an ad that's going to reflect the real pluses and minuses of a less than perfect employer. For example, don't say 40 hours a week unless you mean it, etc.

1 point by fbnt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, If I were recruiting developers/creative/technical people the least thing I'd be doing is write a job post.
1 point by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
So do companies prefer it when candidates apply to them directly, or does that just irritate them (ie. If they've used agencies/headhunters to advertise their vacancies)?
-4 points by axiom 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think this list doesn't go far enough.

Minimum salary should be $300k per year. Guaranteed zero overtime, and you get to spend 25 of your 30 work hours per week on side projects or learning new languages (from home, of course.)

Anything else is just oppressive and restricts creativity. If you say otherwise you're probably just a lame business guy who hates hackers.

Firefox overtakes IE in Europe statcounter.com
164 points by rmc 4 days ago   49 comments top 7
7 points by ZeroGravitas 4 days 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.

5 points by joakin 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see Google providing aggregated browser stats from the data it collects via Analytics.
1 point by riffraff 4 days 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.
2 points by vanni 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post title should be: "Firefox overtakes IE in Europe (thank you Chrome!)"
0 points by nice1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean the Europeans are smarter? Can't be ...
Facebook hype will fade cnn.com
163 points by sdizdar 18 hours ago   92 comments top 27
55 points by klochner 17 hours ago replies      
facebook growth went something like this:

  college --> high school --> young adults --> everyone

Trendy stuff generally follows the same cascade, more or less, where you don't see college students emulating the dress habits of the elderly.

facebook's biggest potential for failure is in not capturing the next generation of young users. The young users pick up some other social network, everyone else follows suit, and facebook withers, slowly starting to resemble an '85 buick.

9 points by winternett 16 hours ago 0 replies      
All social media sites these days are bound for backlash because of the sins of their fathers, Thats why its so hard to get a great idea to catch on, people are growing skeptical about social media's benefits in a sea of high priced commercial promotion.

People make sites like facebook popular, commercial entities buy in and then corner the initial value that these sites created. All of the marketing potential individual users had in the initial stages vanishes once commercial ads and user tracking appear, and once a value is placed on a site. Myspace still gets great hits, but mostly from spammers and bots, which makes it value worth less than the computers its hosted on. Its their own damn fault. Tom played the game right when he sold early I tell you.

These social media sites aren't doing anything substantial in order to help productivity nor promotion for individual users. They have features that encourage users to spam each other, which make their added peers end up blocking each other because of incessant tagging and messages to user inboxes that require tedious manual deletion, etc [all tactics to generate empty clicks]...

These social media sites all make the same mistakes in not emphasizing their talented users, and helping to build followings, while promoting businesses and services that are reliable and relevant to their own users. I'm a firm believer in a future of micro-social sites that focus on specific user communities rather than trying to warehouse everyone into a huge template. Facebook, as it is really doesn't provide much in terms of letting "like minds come together". There should be no reason why I can't communicate [through a social media buffer of course] with Jay Z about rapping, or Kanye about being a douchebag, or ask the real Ivanka Trump out on a date, and they all should be able to block me if they get pissed off in the process, thats what happens on Twitter, and thats why this year Twitter will capture a large percentage of Facebook's user shares, because its much more fulfilling than fake user profiles [for the moment]

American Idol has made a lot more people "famous" than Facebook, yet there are many more musicians and artists on Facebook, how is this possible? I see that as a problem. YouTube has been the only consistently unobtrusive and highly functional/useful social media tool that has survived. They do have user profiles, they host content, allow comments, sharing and communication, and do it all pretty much in an amazing and unobtrusive way. YouTube also allows its users to cross-share content on sites completely unrelated to itself, a major hosting expense, but really solid in terms of usefulness to site users, no idiotic "like" button required. Based on this, the concept of YouTube, perhaps, should be used as a key "roadmap" to social media success in the future.

Instead of working on promoting normal users you don't know, most social media sites are geared towards the "celebrity machine", for celebrities that are already popular. Promoting the same stuff that's on TV, and the radio, because someone paid for the ad space. Following this "celebrity machine" is a losing battle because it has to put on a new expensive outfit every time its launched, and it fails once people uncover its motives, or once innovation can't disguise it.

Facebook makes it appear to users that the only method to generate 5,000 followers requires landing a major record or movie deal, so much for being a talented musician. Programming and monetizing is only a tiny part of creating a successful social media site, this is why most get it wrong. If you want 4 years of profit, who cares, make the next big social media warehouse, if you want a lifetime of success, think carefully of the benefits your site can provide to the average joe, and make sure you keep that in your mantra for as long as your site lives. The motives have to be clear cut, highly functional, and it must offer fair and equal promotion for all of its users while limiting spamming and upholding privacy, otherwise it will stay the game of rise and downfall. There's a reason why YouTube has been a great site all of these years, it sticks to its user base and keeps them content.

22 points by jdp23 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"This week's news that Goldman Sachs has chosen to invest in Facebook while entreating others to do the same should inspire about as much confidence as their investment in mortgage securities did in 2008."

Well said.

Sounds like a bubble to me.

7 points by kprobst 16 hours ago 3 replies      
"We will move on, just as we did from the chat rooms of AOL, without even looking back. When the place is as ethereal as a website, our allegiance is much more abstract than it is to a local pub or gym."

I disagree with this, simply because grandma wasn't on any AOL chat rooms, but she _is_ on Facebook. The only reason I'm on FB is because Aunt Tilly and Uncle Bob and grandma are also on there, and I can connect with them that way, and know what's happening in their lives in real time, instead of seeing them once a year at Christmas.

Grandma isn't going to sign up for IM or get a blog. She's on Facebook.

That's the difference between FB and everything else that came before it. The thing creates its own gravity field that attracts everyone, and as long as everyone I care about is on Facebook, so will I. Even though I really hate the thing.

That's the genius of FB, I think. Hate it or love it.

7 points by ibejoeb 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"...the merger turned out to be a disaster: AOL's revenue stream was reduced to a trickle as net users ventured out onto the Web directly."

So facebook will fail when people venture out and socialize in real life?

Seriously, though, I get the point generally, but I don't think it's quite the same. AOL and MySpace were assimilated and stifled by their parents' ways of doing things, whereas Facebook will likely continue to do things its own way. This is a company that is able to convince its investors that it knows best, and I don't think things will change with the Goldman investment.

I don't know if Facebook will be on top in 10 years, but I don't think this is the beginning of the end.

5 points by michaelchisari 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I agree that popularity of social networks is faddish, and that Facebook will follow that rise and fall pattern, however...

I think that an open, distributed social networking protocol is a game changer. If there exists the ability to move between social networks while maintaining your social graph, that makes the way that social networks rise and fall very different than when sites hold your social graph hostage if you try to leave.

7 points by pharrington 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A bubble created around a legitimate service does not itself kill the service; the service becoming obsolete does.

The author seems to completely miss this. AOL didn't die because it was bought by TW, it died because broadband became commonplace and people realized there was much more to the internet than AOL's walled garden. Myspace died because it was the last vestige of the "personal homepage" style internet and never ran with its burgeoning use as a network for musicians.

Facebook will fade when the next major gap in social connections+communication is filled. Simply saying "something more popular than Facebook will happen" seems a horribly obvious and empty statement. Now talking about what we still need or might discover with connections would prove insightful, but of course no one's going to blog about that until it's launched.

1 point by malloreon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the comparisons of FB to AOL, besides their seemingly common goal to sandbox the internet.

People who use AOL who discovered "the real" internet had no reason to go back. Everything they wanted was just as available + more. There's no friction to switching, beyond learning how to use a search engine.

Facebook has billions of photos, posts, comments, friend requests, updates, registrations through connect, all being added to the site every day. The longer someone uses it, the higher the cost to stop using it, or switch to another.

That's why FB has the staying power AOL did not.

6 points by aridiculous 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't necessarily agree the article but I'd be interested in hearing opinions on the interesting point the author presents near the end of the article: That social networking sites are like physical social spaces that will rise and fall in popularity.
1 point by gaiusparx 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook is definitely waning among my friends, but strong areas remains:

1. Social graph. Many are not active Facebook users but are keeping the accounts cos all their contacts are there. Facebook has actually helped people found their long loss friends and classmates.

2. Sharing links, picture and video. Facebook is replacing email as a means to share interesting contents. One friend actually visits Facebook just to read those contents posted by friends instead of going to the source such as YouTube. "It is easier". Twitter is an obvious alternative.

3. Facebook is the new Flickr.

4. Games. Hopefully when people think of FarmVille or CityVille they think of Zynga and not Facebook. Zynga should seriously break loose of this eco, build its own currency/credit system and focus on iOS/Android platforms.

5. All-in-one ness. Grandmas and aunties love this. Contacts, photos, video, links, cute apps are all-in-one. But this will mean less and less, as this group of not savvy web users will decrease with time.

1 point by krosaen 16 hours ago 0 replies      
related from 2007: "How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook" http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/webdev/showArti...

It certainly hasn't, but can facebook be the first social network to somehow help people maintain their different personas and keep their social circles unentangled when appropriate? Over the summer I facebook updated something about hacking on my front porch, and my wife's aunt commented asking how I got sick. Stuff like that isn't creepy, it's just awkward, and keeps me coming back here and to friendfeed or to reddit or wherever the community feels right for having a discussion.

1 point by ojbyrne 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When you have so much traffic, it's easy to find other avenues for product changes. You can move into new niches. You gain flexibility.

But when you also have a high valuation, and have been taking money off the table, those choices become limited to those that are perceived as the highest growth. You lose flexibility.

Frugality is good, at all levels.

2 points by imkevingao 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook needs to generate more revenue or if they go public, their stocks are going to tank like crazy after the speculation fades. Facebook's P/E ratio is out of proportion. Doesn't matter how many users Facebook have, if the company doesn't generate the proportional profits to match its valuation, then the company is going to go through some tough phases.

Many people are looking at the Facebook stocks like it's a Pablo Picasso painting, and with users twice as the population of United States, it's bound to be valuable. However, in the economy of supply and demand, the bubble will pop if it decides to go public. Unless Facebook can think new ways to earn more money.

But that's hard, because Facebook users hate changes. They aren't exactly Obama fans.

3 points by fkeidkwdq 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Comparing Google with Facebook. I was using google since it was pretty unknown, I think it is still, after all these years, a good tool for searching. I will never use facebook, I think local solutions for meeting people will emerge soon and they will be much more appealing and useful.

Facebook only can exists if it can find a way to be a local tool.

4 points by whenisall 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Some people will get a lot of money in shares. The difficult question is when to buy and when to sell. The hype will fade and shares will fall down very quickly but to win in this game you have to determine when it will happen. I don't know when, but I think that the fall down will be the extraordinarily stiff, in one day or two a complete collapse. Wait and see.
1 point by robryan 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook has the advantage of being built into way more mobile devices than anything before it ever was. Many phones now come with a facebook icon on the main page when you first turn it on.

Also the amount of free advertising it gets from companies using it's logo everywhere with add us on facebook and have your say on facebook, how many other companies get their logo and a call to action to use there service for free on TV every day around the world?

2 points by ryanwaggoner 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Stupid title. Doesn't hype always fade, by definition?
3 points by adamokane 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It will take more than something "cool" to knock off Facebook - 600m users isn't fad-ish. A competitor has to have a MUCH better product and be very cool. It could happen, but Facebook is much more in the driver's seat than MySpace or Friendster ever were.
0 points by dmvaldman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know how people can seriously believe facebook is a bunch of hype. Or even that it's at the top of its success, as this article claims.

The $50 billion valuation, yeah there's some hype there. But whether Facebook will one day surpass such an evaluation is I believe a strong reality.

I'm just amazed at how well-run a company Facebook is. I'm in awe of how it is in a constant state of evolution and constantly being tinkered with. Usually when companies get big you see them play the game more conservatively. Facebook is exciting because it doesn't do this. I see so much room for Facebook to grow and surpass my expectations for it, as it has time and time again.

1 point by zinssmeister 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I see so many people compare facebook to (late '90s) AOL these days. But the two never had much in common with each other.
I think if facebook continues to bring out innovative ways/products/features that connect people with each other it will continue to be successful. Will it one day fade away? Probably. As do most huge dotcoms. But some even stay relevant for well over a decade (ebay, match, expedia, google). Most of them get a bit smaller and cruise along.
3 points by mrleinad 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Hypes will fade. By definition.
1 point by wilschroter 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't it safe to just say that every technology fades with time? The only constant in our industry is that we will all become less relevant in time.
1 point by Hominem 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Just wonder if all these people were incredibly good at cashing in at the top or the overwhelming tidal wave of news stories about them cashing in is what caused their decline
1 point by thefox 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook sucks!
0 points by Synthetase 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I really think he doesn't know what he's talking about. Let's look at his qualifications. He's a professor of "Media Studies" at the New School. I think he's going to be taking everything with a lot of lit crit palavering.

Myspace to Facebook is a shallow analogy. If we would like to make an analogy with that analogy it would be like comparing Yahoo and Google. Facebook has far exceeded the market penetration of MySpace. Facebook has one of the best engineering teams around while MySpace attempted to some sort of media company (failing miserably at that). Facebook has a fairly credible revenue stream while we are never sure if MySpace every developed that.

0 points by popschedule 6 hours ago 0 replies      
in the future your time will fade
3 points by T-R 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Post ordering doesn't work that way on HN; from the FAQ:

> On the front page, [posts are ordered] by points divided by a power of the time since they were submitted. Comments in comment threads are ranked the same way.

For clarity, this post isn't getting down voted per your request (which would have no effect on your other post), it's getting down voted for not adding content to the conversation.

Google shows off Android 3.0, the 'Entirely for Tablet' Honeycomb (video) engadget.com
159 points by tomeast 2 days ago   75 comments top 16
35 points by cryptoz 2 days ago 4 replies      
I am so excited for the future. It's so clear to me that tablets are a stepping stone, and a very very exciting one. They're going to be the first time a consumer computer has lived up to their dreams and expectations of the future of computing: it works, it's fast, it's easy, it's safe and it's fun. Using Windows on a desktop is none of those things. It turns out that iPad was a glorious thing; not in that it was physically incredible, but that it opened up a world that Google understands and is preparing for. We're going to have Android and iOS running HTML5 applications (and native apps of course) on nearly every device in just a few years.

Guys, that promised future is coming!

8 points by archgrove 2 days ago 1 reply      
One can't really tell from a promotional video, but the main thing that stands out to me is the improved home screen over iPad. It's too "technical" to be mass market in this version; viz. "Books \n 3x3" type stuff - my parents won't know what 3x3 means, even after explanation. Even I'm only guessing is the size the widget takes on the home screen. However, assuming they fix that, it's rather an improvement on Apple's iOS SpringBoard, which is looking rather dated (alongside their notification system). Here's to competition accelerating an upgrade in iOS 5!

The rest of the applications, one can't really tell in short clip. A lot of them - mail, video chat etc - seem very similar to what one would find elsewhere, except with the Honeycomb chrome (take it or leave it, as personal preference dictates). In others, I worry they've gone for eye candy over usability. For example, in "Books", the circular scroll is all very well, but I can't see any way of telling how far through your collection you are, nor where the book you want might be. Of course, the is prerelease promo, so it might be obvious in the real thing. What most people don't seem to get is that Apple tend to use eye candy only when it's useful - not just to look like something in Minority Report. Even they don't get it right all the time (I'm looking at you, Time Machine animation!). Eye candy is really cool for promotional videos, but when you're trying to use the application for the 4562nd time you really hope that it's added just to enhance usability, rather than impress CES visitors.

22 points by TomOfTTB 2 days ago 3 replies      
More and more I'm forced to face the reality that ChromeOS is doomed.

Conceptually I still like the IDEA of ChromeOS more but I just can't see a consumer choosing what is essentially a browser over something like this.

My only hope is that Google will try and move Android to a place where Web Apps are just as powerful as native apps on the platform.

8 points by oneplusone 2 days ago 1 reply      
Man, functionality aside since I haven't used it, it is not very impressive. I would describe it as ugly as sin. It looks like the graphics were all thrown together in an afternoon. I hope it is placeholder.

- They replaced the nice soft gray/blue Chrome UI with a harsh gray one.

-The keyboard buttons are flat and lifeless.

-Arrows for selecting text has no depth and high contrast border.

-The page turning looks like something from the 90s

-The Youtube videos pop in from the left

This has really set my expectations low for what was suppose to be a significant UI upgrade. As a designer this makes me cringe.

6 points by aaronbrethorst 2 days ago 2 replies      
This looks fantastic, but I'm concerned about what isn't being discussed: namely, what happens to small form factor devices in the Android 3.0 timeline, like my Nexus S?

Is Google going to pull an Apple: temporarily bifurcating Android between tablets and phones, and then later reunite them? Or is Honeycomb going to ship for phones, too, but with less of the large-screen optimized UI goodness?

8 points by roadnottaken 2 days ago 0 replies      
The demo is nice, but I'd like to see it running on real hardware.
5 points by blinkingled 2 days ago 0 replies      
They seem to have checked all the right boxes on this one - Eye Candy, Tablet UI optimizations, Video Chat (Great stuff if it works well - all GTalk users even on desktop can use this), No physical buttons, Dual Core minimum (easier on devs - they don't have to worry about crappy hardware), HTML5.
3 points by miah_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a long time Android user I'm definitely looking forward to
a tablet. I've been holding off on buying anything until a good tablet comes out. I really wish I could watch this video without an ad preventing me from reading all the text in the video so I knew more about what to look for and not just stare at the omg eye candy.

As far as ChromeOS being dead, I dunno. I have been playing with my cr48 a few weeks now and love it. Its a great system for most things. The things it prevents me from doing well right now (ssh to hosts and doing dev/support) are minor.

In general I have a browser, IM App, and terminal open on my computer. If a good and secure way to remotely manage hosts via ssh is added into ChromeOS it will quickly become my goto system that I drag everywhere with me. I doubt I would ever say that for a tablet, unless its really good and has fantastic keyboard support. I just hate having to deal with wireless keyboards and their aaa batteries that never seem to last long enough.

*edit: i can spell

1 point by tiles 2 days ago 2 replies      
My impression of the video was that Android 3.0 applications will be entirely a Google stack... where does that leave developers?

I applaud Google for finally taking on the role of owning the whole OS experience, like Apple, but if they are going to do this then they'll also be judged on those merits. I give Android OS a lot of leeway for what it lacks by saying "a developer can fill that niche"... It looks like their tablet will be much closer to an iPad experience in having a singular vision.

2 points by orangecat 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to tell from a 60 second video, but that looks pretty darn awesome. Like a MovieOS(tm) that actually works.
1 point by CitizenKane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really impressed by the video, it looks like there are a lot of cool ideas and the tablet form factor really brings the homescreen widgets that android has to life.

That being said, I find the prospect of this not ending up on Android phones disappointing. Android 2.2 is fantastic to use but definitely needs some love in terms of UI.

3 points by zachallaun 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can only hope that Android 3.0 will be available on the swath of 2.1 and 2.2 tablets that have been released thus far. Neither of those operating systems were well optimized for tablet use.
2 points by Kylekramer 2 days ago 3 replies      
Torn. I like that it isn't just a grid of icons and some apps with split views, but I doubt Google can really pull off a great tablet OS by forking Android. I still think there needs to be an OS built from the ground up to be a tablet and a tablet only. I want an revolution like the iPhone was went it was originally announced, not a half hearted evolution.
1 point by dkl 2 days ago 2 replies      
First, I had to watch an annoying commercial. Then, there was an ad overlay to the video that obscured part of the video. Goddamn that's annoying, so I didn't watch.
1 point by zmitri 2 days ago 0 replies      
The look and feel remind me very much of Bumptop. Looks like a more complicated, although more effective way to organize the tablet versus the iPad.
-1 point by flip 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks great, but... Come on... Bring back single tasking...
       cached 8 January 2011 16:04:01 GMT