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"You've angered the hive" arstechnica.com
511 points by acconrad 1 day ago   209 comments top 23
42 points by steveklabnik 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, the satirical: "Anon concedes defeat" http://anonnews.org/?p=press&a=item&i=377

Then, the 'actual' press release: http://anonnews.org/?p=press&a=item&i=378

Some choice bits:

> The lack of quality in Aaron Barr's undertaken research is worth noting. Aaron Barr missed a great deal of information that has been available online, and in fact failed to identify some of those whose identities were never intended to be hidden.

> It is also worth noting that Aaron Barr was also providing this documentation as an example of investigation protocol. This would introduce a systematic flaw to the FBI's investigative woodwork. The risk of institutionalising a flawed procedure exponentiates a problem, and it does so at the taxpayers expense in every sense. Had the FBI indeed bought this information from HBGary Federal, it would have been paid for by taxpayers money, and many innocent people would have been marked as leaders in actions they may not even have been associated with.

145 points by JonnieCache 1 day ago replies      
"So why can't you sell this information to the FBI like you intended? Because we're going to give it to them for free."

As ill advised as messing with the FBI may be, this is a masterstroke. Hats off.

107 points by smbwrs 1 day ago 3 replies      
What interests me most about Anonymous is the fact that it's actually two groups: the small group of technically-competent individuals, and the LOIC script-kiddie griefer minions who can be dispatched at will. The griefers get the media attention and do it "for the lulz", while the folks with actual skills penetrate systems and expose private information. If I had to guess, I'd say that HBGary got a little information on a bunch of the griefers, and near nothing on the people who can do real damage.

If I were a hacker, Anonymous - that is, the 4chan script-kiddie bunch - would make for incredible front line. They generate an unbelievable amount of noise, and a very particular kind of hacker-ish noise, which I'd imagine is fantastic for redirecting attention and covering tracks as necessary. The recent FBI raids, for example. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110128/tc_afp/britainarrestwik...

26 points by kbutler 1 day ago 1 reply      
The comments of "It's hard to be really secure, so don't make people mad" are very short-sighted.

As society becomes increasingly reliant upon network infrastructure, those who oppose society will increasingly target that infrastructure.

When terrorists can cause billions of dollars of losses by hacking the airlines, why bother trying to smuggle weapons on planes?

When opposing nations can cripple military and economic infrastructure through computers, why bother developing nuclear weapons?

We are rapidly entering a world where our computing infrastructure is both our most critical and our most vulnerable asset.

"Speak softly" is completely insufficient without the "carry a big stick" part.


34 points by steveklabnik 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh, and check out this pastie: http://pastie.org/1535735

Social engineering. People are always the weakest link...

11 points by BrandonM 1 day ago replies      
It's kind of gross the admiration people are expressing here. I work for a security firm that does work with all kinds of organizations. At the heart of the matter, we are scientists investigating the truth. If a break-in occurred, who was responsible, and what was compromised? If someone is being charged with distribution of child pornography, did they willfully download and distribute it, or was it part of a wide net that was cast to download a whole bunch of porn at once? This DDoS occurred: who was responsible? You have security in place: is it sufficient to protect the data in an appropriate manner?

We are a small firm. Our yearly revenue is probably nearly $1-1.5 million. Including the founder, we have eight people employed: a mother of two, three people who have poured over ten years of their lives into building the company to its current level, a cancer survivor still undergoing treatment, and three others who are doing good work while making ends meet and paying down school loans.

Something like this happening to our company, an event that led to $1MM+ in losses, would wipe us out. It would end a company that provides a valuable service to dozens of law firms and other organizations (colleges, hospitals, local political entities, etc.) each year. It would immediately put eight people out of work and negate 50+ man-years of effort.

Call me crazy, but I am not patting these guys on the back. It's all fun and games until you're ruining lives.

10 points by catshirt 1 day ago 1 reply      
in the pdf anonymous posted of the research [1], several (if not the majority) of the names were unquestionably fake. how does this affect the integrity of the whole document?

additionally, how does this whole fiasco impact this agencies possibility of continuing work with the fbi in the future?

[1] http://hizost.com/d/zjb

10 points by stcredzero 1 day ago replies      
People keep on getting hacked. Is it really that hard to prevent that from happening, or is this another case of widespread incompetence and "It won't happen to me" thinking?

EDIT: I've commented here before about the scary potential of the /b/ crowd if some of them ever tried to organize and become activists.

10 points by mkr-hn 1 day ago 0 replies      
"So it's a case where the hackers break in on a non-important system, which is very common in hacking situations, and leveraged lateral movement to get onto systems of interest over time."


"We're too lazy to make sure each level of security is protected from the last."

19 points by evo_9 1 day ago 0 replies      
My admiration for this group just went up another big notch. Very well played.
6 points by j_baker 1 day ago 3 replies      
> They also vandalized Barr's Twitter and LinkedIn accounts with harsh messages and personal data about Barr, such as his social security number and home address.

Ok, I respect what Anonymous is trying to do, but this is a step too far. I'm all for civil disobedience, but this crosses the line in my opinion.

7 points by freescale 1 day ago 1 reply      
The most polite spin I can put on the cheering of these sorts of techniques, is that too many Hacker News members lack sufficient historical awareness to realize that these tactics are reminiscent of the public humiliation and crowd intimidation techniques employed by Italy's blackshirts in the 30s.

There are reasons why we have rule of law and courts. There are reasons why it is not acceptable for one group to retaliate against another group, no matter how strongly they may feel they are in the right.

3 points by Jun8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although I find the anons a bit creepy, in this case hats off to them. I find this move to be more or less equivalent to Wikileaks, so it's impossible to defend one and vilify the other. I actually think that it's much better for our society than Wikileaks since it exposes the type of clueless people/agencies that FBI pays (our) money to.

BTW, I'm a member (since a true anon would never reveal this, that's how you know I'm not one of them).

2 points by light3 1 day ago 0 replies      
From http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/201106/6785

"There was a distinction made that HBGary only owns 15-percent of HBGary Federal, and that attacking both was wrong, as one had nothing to do with the other. The networks shared many common elements, that they are only moderately related was irrelevant to Anonymous."

"In addition, there were several calls for Barr to be burned by HBGary, but given that he is a partner, that is unlikely. At this stage, HBGary's response is unknown. At the time this article was written, aside from the conversations on IRC, there has been no official comment."

1 point by olalonde 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't these guys have something more productive to do with their time? Seriously, don't tell me 4chan is a freakin' political movement. If it really is, why don't they start by cleaning up the child porn that gets posted on their board daily?[1]

The "noble cause" they are supposedly defending is nothing but a pretext to go on their power trips.

[1] (NSFW) http://boards.4chan.org/b/

3 points by pdenya 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the writing as much as the quotes in this article.

"It would appear that security experts are not expertly secured,"

"It's unlikely that Anonymous cares about what Hoglund thinks"

I haven't laughed out loud at something I've read like this in a while.

1 point by stuhacking 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anon hacks HBGary and all they get is a lot of already public information? Maybe Anon just stuck their hand in the honeypot...

Just thinking out loud.

2 points by hysterix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well done gentlemen. I don't give a fuck that I'm on that list. I use bounce email addresses and multiple, very difficult to crack passwords for a reason.

Good for exposing their 'security' company.

1 point by jayzee 1 day ago 1 reply      
If this is this the website: http://www.hbgary.com/ then it is even funnier.
1 point by vilya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anonymous begins to remind me of the rabbit from Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End"...
-1 point by juiceandjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ladies and gentleman, the definition of pwnd.
-4 points by bgurupra 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is like the Fight Club of the internets!
I'm a pregnant hacker. Please review my side project. babyli.st
475 points by natgordon 5 days ago   177 comments top 61
117 points by natgordon 5 days ago replies      
I'm 8-months pregnant. When I went to create a baby registry I was pretty disappointed with what was out there (I ended up using Amazon Universal Wishlist). I found myself with some time on my hands waiting for baby, and decided that I'd build a better baby registry. I partnered with a great designer I met on forrst.com, and this is the result.

I'd love any feedback, suggestions etc.

22 points by frossie 5 days ago 3 replies      
Here's my number one feature request that wishlists never seem to support: partial contributions. This is even more the case with baby registries, where families might want help with high-cost items (carseats, cribs etc) but where well-wishers are generally going to contribute something in the $20 range.

Ideally, I want to be able to contribute $20 towards that $80 carseat. If A, B & C also contribute, the item should be sent as coming from me, A, B & C. If only myself and A contribute, you should be given the opportunity to put in your $40 to complete the purchase.

Just my 2 cents.

[Edit: Basically I would like the lovechild of a wishlist with something like http://www.chipin.com/ - do that and you can really differentiate yourself]

35 points by sanj 5 days ago 2 replies      
One followon idea. If you know the approximate birthdate of the delivery, you can contact customers a year later suggesting first birthday present ideas.

And second birthday ideas.

And third birthday ideas.

You get the idea.

19 points by bdclimber14 5 days ago 4 replies      
I love the site, although I am certainly not your market (male, don't want kids).

However, a month ago someone posted an almost identical concept to HN. I think it was for wedding registries though.

Overall, great concept, attractive website, and a real need.

My only criticism relates to it being fairly obvious. What hacker hasn't bought a wedding/baby gift and thought "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a registry for any store?" My point is, I'm sure this has been tried hundreds of times. So you have to ask yourself, "Why didn't those become mainstream, despite solving an obvious need?" and figure out how yours will execute differently. I really don't know the answer, but it has a lot to do with the ease of saying "I'm registered at Bed Bath & Beyond" (which everyone knows) over, "I'm registered with a new universal registry, which shows you what you can get at any online store, it's Babyli.st BABYLI.ST"

I'd really love to know your thoughts, because this same problem applies to a lot of different ideas where large brick & mortar stores still reign king, despite obvious inefficiencies.

14 points by shawnee_ 5 days ago 3 replies      
It is very well done.

Somebody already posted this on your suggestion forum, but I do like the idea of allowing people an option to offer item suggestions. Expand that idea by also allowing people to alternately "buy" something like a gift card (redeemable credit) for the moms; this would be helpful for the people out there who want to buy a gift, but who don't necessarily want to swoon over baby items. (e.g. Target gift card)

Congrats for the mom-to-be!

6 points by mildavw 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great!

When we had our first child, I couldn't find an online registry that I liked, so I scripted a rudimentary one up one night. It worked really well. My wife loved that she could register for intangibles like "Bring us dinner", or any gift from any store. When the baby was born, I took a lengthy paternity leave and, like you, thought I'd build a web app for others to use the registry. I actually took the idea to a local startup bootcamp and it was torn apart by the instructors/angels and left to die on the boardroom floor. Too hard to generate sufficient revenue. Here are a couple of tidbits from my experience for you:

1. One angel had invested in a universal registry and said it took them three years to find any revenue at all. What they did was pivot into a wedding registry that enabled guests to contribute to the couple's honeymoon fund. They made money on travel agent referrals to the couple.

2. This is a crowded market.

A lot of the comments in this thread (like mine!) note how great your site looks. When I showed my site to the bootcamp people, I emphasized my slick design. They essentially said, "No one gives a crap! What problem does it solve that isn't already solved by someone else!"

I thought, "But, but, but... everyone is like me right? Tech savvy and appreciative of good design and UX?"

Check out http://wishpot.com. They are a universal registry. All web 2.0 with social integration. They've got some funding (http://www.centernetworks.com/vc-funding-docstoc-wishpot-kaa...). Been around a few years now.

Here's a competitor: http://www.findgift.com/Services/Gift-Registry/. It was founded in 1997 by a couple from Georgia.

And another: http://myregistry.com. Second spot on Google for "gift registry".

Now check it out:


Good luck!

4 points by capstone 5 days ago 2 replies      
I had had the same idea when I was pregnant but there were several key problems that I concluded were unsolvable. I am both curious and skeptical as to how/whether you address these. (I am basing my questions on an understanding that yours is a registry and not a simple a wish list, as per your own description).

1. How to mark items as purchased. Relying on gift givers to "reserve" and "unreserve" items may be a step up from restaurant reservations but that's not saying much. I wouldn't be surprised if your honor system led to close to half of every registry ending up in a black hole of forgotten reservations.

2. How to keep up with out-of-stock items and price changes. Baby registries usually span months, so how do you deal with outdated information or dead links? From my own Amazon baby registry experience, about 30% of my wish list went MIA by the time of the actual baby shower, when most of my friends and family made their purchases.

3. How do you deal with bad UIs. Drawing again from my Amazon experience, a lot of older relatives almost bought the wrong item because of all the "you might also like" items all over the screen. I wouldn't be surprised if a large chunk of your purchases got diverted by bad 3rd party UIs.

4. Varied URL standards. For example, some shopping sites get product options from user session so non-logged in URLs link to an item's default color and size. So once you are off to a 3rd party website, there is no guarantee the gift giver would buy the correct item.

As far as I can see you've built a wish list that you are marketing as a registry and I am not sure if that's a good thing. The key feature of a registry is that a retailer makes sure that the correct items get purchased (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_registry) so I think there is a broken promise there.

6 points by imperialWicket 5 days ago 2 replies      
We recently experienced similar frustration with the lack of a good universal registry mechanism for babies. While this makes sense, in the same way that most stores try to keep all registries internal, from a consumer standpoint it remains quite lacking.

I think it's great. Color scheme and style are very appealing and appropriate. The one awkward point for me is the "plus any other online store" tag after the noteworthy logos. It seems a little too much like an add-on. Maybe something a little bigger (to draw attention to the fact that your service is universal), with text suggesting, "BabyList registry works with any online retailer!" and then have an "including:" or "featured" listing over your images?

Just my two cents.

3 points by brc 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a good idea. The idea isn't new but I hope your execution gives it the push it needs to become mainstream.

On a personal note, if this does start to have success, I hope you've got plans in place for someone else to carry the workload once your baby arrives. I'd be putting those plans in place now so someone else is largely running things as you enter the final weeks. It's a cliche to say 'your life will change' - but it will change so much it would be a shame to have a new project die because you can't devote time to it in the first couple of months of your other more important project.

2 points by araneae 5 days ago 0 replies      
You might want to think about a "size" field for clothing, maybe even a drop-down, or allow people to ask for 1 of each size or something. This is a general complaint I have about wishlists. In my fantasy world of wishlists there would be a number field for each size so you could ask for 1 nb and 1 6mo or something.
2 points by WesleyJohnson 5 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't read through all the posts here on HN to see if this was already report (though I did do a quick search), but there is an issue with the "View By Store".

If I look at the example registry and goto purchased items, there is 1 purchased at "etsy.com". If expand "View By Store" and uncheck "etsy", the item disappears as intended. However, if I uncheck "Amazon" and then recheck "Amazon", new items show up that weren't originally there. I'm assuming they're from the "All Items" list even though I'm still under "Purchased".

As others have said, I'm not in your target market, but I think the site is very well down.

3 points by codypo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent idea and very nice execution! The design is great, plus it's incredibly easy to signup and share your registry. You're definitely on to something here.

In terms of suggestions, I'd suggest you tweak your index page a bit. When I landed there, I was most interested in seeing what one of these registries looked like. I assumed that clicking the image of John and Jane's Baby List would show me an example, but it's not currently linked. To actually find an example, you have to think a bit and either find the text link under your Create button or realize that the Showcase link is what you're looking for.

Also, the Vendors page needs a bit of work. I'm sure that's number 7273 on your priority list, but I don't think it'll be very successful in engaging vendors as is.

7 points by what-to-do 5 days ago 0 replies      
1. Keep it simple. Do not add features like people ask!

2. Your domain name sucks. Look for something better. This is impossible to recall.

6 points by martinkallstrom 5 days ago 0 replies      
Design is awesome. First impressions last.
4 points by rajeshrajappan 5 days ago 0 replies      
If I were you , I would give the users the option to login using Facebook Connect or Twitter. I think People doesn't like signups anymore; Its another password to remember. Also if they are Signed-in using of one of these sites, its more than likely they share it and spread the word. Nice work by the way.
1 point by cookiecaper 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hacked together a quick and dirty wedding registry when we got married. We didn't want to favor any retail store or vendor over another. Almost nobody used it. :( I think people are used to going to stores and using their registry programs, especially since stores with registries will often give you a list and/or give the registrant a scanner to go through and scan all the items he/she wants to add.

My experience was that it doesn't work out very well, but your thing is definitely more polished than mine, and maybe with the right promotion you can make it click. :)

5 points by jsherry 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd add Babies R Us and buybuy Baby logos to the site. Granted you say it works for all online retailers, those are 2 huge ones that together prob own a good % of the market.
1 point by bdclimber14 5 days ago 1 reply      
Question (and I apologize if I missed it): How do you track purchases across multiple stores to show registrant purchasers' purchases? (say that 3x fast).

I can see how it would be done with exact matches, but a lot of stores don't carry the exact same items, in order to remove price competition. The items may look and function the same, and be under the same brand, but they will be distinct models.

If I list a 4 slot, extra-wide, chrome toaster on a registry under one model number from Target, how could I know if I should buy a toaster matching that description at WalMart without scanning the list of purchased items? The model of one store offers the convenience of being absolutely sure there aren't any duplicate purchases since once an item is purchase, it is removed.

I just realized a toaster is a bad example for a baby registry, but you get my point.

1 point by jdp23 5 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent site, very nicely designed.

On the privacy policy, the principles you state are excellent. It would also help to be a little more concrete, for example under what circumstances (if any) will you share information with partners and advertisers?

I love the idea of creating connections between vendors. Is there anything more community-oriented than a mailing list? A LinkedIn or Facebook group for example if most of the vendors hang out one place or another.

1 point by d0m 5 days ago 2 replies      
Usually, in the about, I find "we" to be better than "I". I did that, I did this, I'm the founder, I'm the developer, I contacted xyz, I hope you like it..

"We" would sound more professional.. Just to be clear, I'm not saying you should remove that friendly tone which I find great, especially for that kind of website. However, I'm not sure if it is worth it to put so much emphasis on you as you are not the goal of the website..

We were looking for "bleh". Thanks to xyz designer who join our team and help us create this [etc.].

My 5 cents, good luck :)

(I know it's kind of ironic that I suggest being more professional when I can hardly speak English correctly, but anyway..)

1 point by roryokane 5 days ago 1 reply      
Your site never explains what a baby registry is. The example registry doesn't really help, nor does your About page. There is no Wikipedia article for “baby registry”, and Google searching “what is a baby registry” doesn't produce anything helpful. I gather that it's a wishlist of some kind, but that doesn't explain why one would want to have one, and why it's called a “registry” instead of a wishlist.

I'm definitely not in the audience for this site, so maybe all parents-to-be learn what a baby registry is from their friends or something, but it would be nice if you explained to random internet surfers what the site is for. Just a sentence would suffice.

1 point by araneae 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm getting an error when I try to edit an item on my list: "We're sorry, but something went wrong. We've been notified about this issue and we'll take a look at it shortly."

But it's inconsistent; I can edit other items.

2 points by richcollins 5 days ago 1 reply      
You might want more instruction on how bookmarklets work. Most people have no idea WTF a bookmarklet is.
1 point by tansey 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great!

One quick note would be that the logo is linking to babyli.st/index when it could really just link to babyli.st. That way I don't have to click the Back button twice. :)

1 point by TheCondor 5 days ago 2 replies      
Auto-register people. Circle back with people after 6 months and find out how they would have registered differently. Develop some profiles, identify the popular products, and you can allow expecting mothers to auto-register with the recommended items.

And buy yourself some kid-o-potamus swaddles. We never would have picked that out but someone gave us one and that was a life saver the first 6 weeks or so. Never would have though being all straight jacketed was the preferred way for babies to sleep...

1 point by yock 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic! My wife and I just found out we're expecting and I sent this to her immediately. It looks great, I can't wait to try it out!
1 point by Tichy 5 days ago 0 replies      
LOLs for using "Sophie" as demonstration. We don't have one yet, but I was told a friend already bought one for us, as it has been a favorite toy for decades. Apparently if you have kids, you also have Sophie.
1 point by blauwbilgorgel 5 days ago 1 reply      
Do you offer a simple input field for users, where they can enter a URL?

I think the bookmarklet is a bit high threshold for some (if not most) users. Telling them to copy+paste a website URL and enter it into a field on their control panel is not.

For SEO your site could use a little work. Perhaps a blog about pregnancy could help get your domain ranking for some niche related terms. You are probably aiming for social sharing here, and organic search might be a lesser priority. Make sharing on Facebook and Twitter a lot easier (API helps) and visible (icons help). I might not sign up, but still like or recommend your app.

Also adding just that extra page to convince users to sign up, or a even demo video, can help with user engagement.

Finally I'd have a small look at making your site canonical, by rewrite or specifying canonical: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-y... because /about and /about/ return the same content. And to quote W3C "Always declare the encoding of your document" (declare a meta charset like ISO or UTF-8 in your header http://code.google.com/p/doctype/wiki/ArticleUtf7).

1 point by run4yourlives 5 days ago 0 replies      
Market the crap out of this. This is a great idea, and you can easily extend it to weddings, etc.

You need to get those stores on board in some way as well... big risk if they decide that you aren't "needed".

Well done!

1 point by lurchpop 5 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful design. Functions well,

As mentioned a few times here, the bookmarklet is a big barrier to entry. I think a walkthrough video would help that substantially. I can't imagine a regular person understanding they can just browse around the web shopping and your site can pick it up. Browser plugins are also a big entry barrier to people who aren't very savvy.

I wonder if you linked out to sites like amazon in a frame where you persisted a top bar around those sites as the user browsed. Might be janky though. *edit: just noticed amazon throws a JS error when framed. damnit.

Another thought is perhaps you cobble some api+scraping stuff together and provide the user a simple search+add to registry function inside your site.

So is your business model based on affiliate programs for all those retailers? How are you tracking whether or not something was purchased?

1 point by donohoe 5 days ago 1 reply      
Minor CSS/HTML quibble - on the example list when you switch between "Show unpurchased items" and "Show purchased items" views the browser scrollbar makes the main content jump. Minor issue - otherwise I love the look and feel.
2 points by mendable 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea. Also like the natural virality of the service.

If the system does not support it already, something worth considering is a function allowing the person making the list to upload a photo of themselves to be displayed on their wish list page.

This will re-assure the "buyers" they are on the correct page, not just some random list of products on the internet :)

1 point by Swoopey 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just had a baby myself (2 months ago) and would have LOVED this service during my pregnancy. I too tried using Amazon, but it sucked. So, I ended up going with Babies R Us, wasn't pleased with their service at all.

Blogher would be a great source for you to find testers and get solid feedback from a group of mommies and mommies to be :). Also, one thing that I liked about Amazon and Babies R US however, is they had list recommendations. It may be a good idea for you to add some cool lists to you site such as "Top 10 Must Haves for Green Moms" or somethng like that. I was clueless when registering and appreciated the guidance of the lists.

I'll be sure to promote it here in Tokyo to the American moms! Good luck with your pregnancy!

1 point by shortlived 5 days ago 1 reply      
As everyone else has said, it's a really nice looking site and a great idea.

How stable are the product links you use? Do you do any type of periodic validation?

If I click on a link to view a product, it might be nice to open that window inside a frame (or modern equivalent) with a babyli.st "reserve" button at the top.

1 point by gyanguru 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great job!
Site review :-
* Clean and neat!
* Easy to get started <1min to create account to a baby registry.

Feature request :-
* Would love more info about the item in line.
* Who is buying what (if it is socially acceptable!) as I might team up with a friend but not with a stranger.
* Baby journals et. al.

Other helpful info for you:-
* Did you knew about http://www.thebump.com ?
* Thebump has reading info + baby name help + videos + registry.

A question to you:-
Now that you know about a site which has already solved same problem as you, would you still pursue this idea? If yes then what will be the thought process?

With every idea I start hacking with I tend to over research and find a solution and then steam goes off! I want other people's experience with this phenomenon who tend to overcome this.

5 points by samdelagarza 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm shocked that this hasn't happened yet. Good job, looks great.
1 point by btipling 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure how much time you expect to be able to spend on this once your baby is due. Probably 0 hours for the next few years! Congratulations though. Also the site looks very nice.
1 point by nathanh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great. One point of feedback: when I first looked at the logo, I didn't know what it was. I had to sit and think about if for a bit. Granted I'm not your target market (male, mid 20s, married but no kids).
1 point by geekfactor 5 days ago 0 replies      
What rev share percentage is reasonable for an arrangement like this?
1 point by NEPatriot 5 days ago 0 replies      
One thought I have is when clicking to create a list you ask me to sign up... I haven't used your product yet and am not sure if I want to sign up yet. Is there anyway you could allow people to create the list first and thus be committed and then get their email?
1 point by freerobby 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great execution and slick-looking site. Referral programs make this an easy product to monetize.

On the marketing front, one way to pitch it is that a decentralized registry makes life easier for your friends, too. I am so sick of having to pay top dollar for gifts just to get them off of a registry, when better deals can be had elsewhere for the same products. How many extra dollars have gone to Bed, Bath & Beyond instead of Amazon simply for that reason?

1 point by thinkingeric 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry I don't have time to go through your app more, but here some things that occurred to me (I have 17 month old and 3 yr old, so just out of your target):

1) Try to collect data and offer up suggestions
2) Try to get a good Facebook presence. (etsy.com). Your target market lives on Facebook now.
3) Can you email your registry?

Gotta go. Good luck

1 point by grannyg00se 5 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't the URL unnecessarily complicated? You can't say "check out babylist.com" you have to say "check out babylist with a dot between the i and the s" or "it's not a dot com it's a dot st so check out babyli dot st".

It just seems to be more difficult than necessary to verbally communicate how to reach the site.

1 point by olivolive 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea, and looks very nice! Several of my friends are pregnant right now, and they are all registered at multiple places. This would be very convenient.

If I'm buying a gift for a friend, do I need to know their mailing address in order to have it shipped to them? It would be amazing if this took care of that for me.

1 point by tjansen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Idea: to differentiate your list from Amazon's universal wish list and others, make your list prettier and more memorable than theirs. Decorate the list, offer several themes to chose from, allow users to upload photos of themselves and to add some text...
1 point by naqabas 5 days ago 1 reply      
Great design - looks really good at first impression. One thing I would suggest is an About page. Something explaining your frustrations and why you created the company. I think the fact that you were pregnant at the time puts a really personal touch to other pregnant women.
1 point by wonster 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great site. What are some of the libraries you're using for this site besides using Ruby on Rails? It would be great if you can share on a broad level. I'm always intrigued by the speed of development with other solutions than using .net.
3 points by benedwards 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Great looking site.
1 point by gabaix 5 days ago 0 replies      
UI thought: list of items in the showcase section has a lot of white space. While this is a good practice, you may want to allow more than 4 items per screen by reducing top & bottom white space for each item.
1 point by djwebb1977 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great looking site and definitely fills a void for new or expecting parents. My wife definitely would have used this when she was pregnant last year.

Congrats on your forthcoming arrival!

1 point by xteemarie 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks great, particularly when compared to MyRegistry.com. Is there a way to pull in existing registries from Target and Babies R Us? That seems to be where most pregnant ladies start, and then end up desiring more from other non-registry sites.

If I put babyli.st on my shower invite, I imagine having some extremely confused Aunts and Grandmothers... but if I can say "Babyli.st, Target and Babies R Us" that would be more generation friendly. They can go to Target, and it updates on Babyli.st for my savvy friends.

1 point by hellweaver666 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice - you should create a similar site for weddings at weddingli.st :D
1 point by imajes 5 days ago 0 replies      
nice job - will love to use this soon!
1 point by slowpoison 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where are you hosted? Development environment? And other similar details?
1 point by johnnyn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Natalie, love the site - it's one of those ideas I wish I would've done! Wish this was around when my wife was pregnant.
1 point by dayjah 5 days ago 1 reply      
Keep an an eye on the domain, all too often people type 'bitly . com' when I say 'bit . ly' - do you have babylist.com?
1 point by narad 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome design. I have not heard about forrst. Will try to find someone for my projects.
1 point by bryanallen22 5 days ago 0 replies      
You might want to consider allowing mothers to select items from a basic list for first time mothers.
1 point by flexd 5 days ago 1 reply      
Cool project but your 'works with' icons are all in a big bunch here on Chrome. :-)
1 point by markentingh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Your web site looks amazing! The colors go well and the storks in the footer is a perfect addition to the design.

As far as usability goes, the home page is very easy to understand, and you'll definitely get a high conversion rate because of this.

1 point by adiamas 5 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me a lot of www.isbornyet.com

Similar idea, but with the variant of your own domain and the ability to announce to friends etc, when your baby is born.

Cached OkCupid Article: Why You Should Never Pay For Online Dating googleusercontent.com
478 points by JacobAldridge 6 days ago   80 comments top 17
65 points by pyre 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's sort of funny how removing the article has spawned a bit of the Streisand Effect, though I gather it's probably only limited to our little corner of the web. And even at that, it would probably just 'look weird' if they were still hosting the article after the acquisition, regardless of the attention that removing it draws.
69 points by siculars 6 days ago 4 replies      
hey, i'm all for selling out but im not into rewriting history. either leave the post or write a new one saying why it was wrong or what has changed. dont go rewriting history by trying to delete it.
16 points by dangero 6 days ago 2 replies      
I have liked OKCupid's posts in the past, but this one is clearly propaganda. There's a pretty obvious flaw in this argument:

"It turns out you are 12.4 times more likely to get married this year if you don't subscribe to Match.com."

The data to back it up is based on Match.com press kit:

"12 couples got married or engaged today thanks to Match.com"

What they're missing is that a lot of people get married or engaged while subscribing to Match.com, but not due to Match.com. Heck, my roommate did. It's not an exclusive arrangement. In fact, it's pretty likely that if someone is subscribing to Match.com they are also dating outside of Match.com.

1 point by timothychung 6 hours ago 0 replies      
the original link is dead to me.
Clicked text only version and it works.
18 points by citadrianne 6 days ago 1 reply      
4 points by maeon3 6 days ago 0 replies      
Google Cache copy (for when the Google Cache expires)
9 points by rhizome 6 days ago 1 reply      
I must have missed the story on this page's apparent disappearance or whatever.
1 point by kenjackson 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's unclear to me why I shouldn't pay for an online dating site from reading that article? The only thing that he says that really drives that point is that they're incentivized for you to fail. But I'm not sure I buy that, since churn is probably higher when you get no dates than when you're dating but maybe just haven't found the "one" (if that's what you're looking for).

The main argument seems to be that number of profiles and active profiles are different. It seems like the takeaway to me is to be cautious and try to learn the number of active profiles.

1 point by weeksie 6 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with free dating sites is that they have to be fucking enormous to make any money. OkC is an amazing product with a huge user base and guess what? They had a tiny office and weren't making much money, then they were bought by (shock) a dating site with a sustainable business. IAC/Match sucks but they understand something the OkC guys don't"how to make money from their product.
1 point by citricsquid 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure it's the end of the world it was deleted, it was a conflict of interest and leaving it up would have been something they got criticised for, but on the whole I don't think the article was that bad. It just pointed out that paid dating sites are tricky with their marketing.
8 points by pointpointclick 6 days ago 1 reply      
We have always been at war with Oceania.
5 points by alphadog 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's called "harmonization". China does it all the time.
2 points by bmm6o 6 days ago 1 reply      
It appears to be gone. Anyone have a copy?
1 point by GrandMasterBirt 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love this article, and I always loved OkCupid for their statistical analysis and myth debunking. I am very saddened that they had to join their competitor. O well.
1 point by jewgonewild 6 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope that OKC keeps publishing articles about the online dating scene. They had some good insight about a lot of different online dating phenomena.

Match seems like a shady outfit that would not want to publicize this type of data.

1 point by joelrunyon 6 days ago 0 replies      
Still wondering why I should care...
-4 points by chailatte 6 days ago 0 replies      
For most American women a $19/month subscription is a good investment for them to sleep around for a while with some bad boys, and when the time comes, marry a chump who will pay her to quit her job, go to coffeehouses and have nice lunches with the other married girls, or get her nails done at the cost of maybe $15k a year. Then maybe divorce him a few years later for a nice change of $100k. Not a bad return at all.
Isotope - An exquisite jQuery plugin for magical layouts metafizzy.co
440 points by bkudria 2 days ago   57 comments top 24
33 points by NathanKP 1 day ago 2 replies      
Isotope is fairly nice, but it is still missing fluid width on the layout elements. In other words, although it does respond fairly well to horizontal resizing of the browser, it still doesn't do a good job of dynamically adjusting the width of elements horizontally while at the same time stacking them vertically.

I made some custom modifications on the original jQuery masonry plugin to get the effect I needed for my upcoming web app. You can preview it at http://test.bookflavor.com This is an in-development sneak preview so don't expect everything to work perfectly, but you will be able to preview my personal modification of the jQuery masonry plugin.)

15 points by sfphotoarts 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate to make such a banal comment, but when I see things like this I cannot wait to redesign my website and use this ultra-cool technologies. After programming for 25 years I am grateful to this plugin and the developer(s) for the excitement that playing with the demo just gave me. Buried under all those years of coding standards this rekindled some of the feelings from the kid in me that would eagerly look forward to the next issue of E.T.I. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronics_Today_International....
7 points by krosaen 1 day ago 0 replies      
very cool. for those interested, a similar plugin is jquery quicksand http://razorjack.net/quicksand
11 points by fredleblanc 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you go back to the homepage, he's offering the plugin for commercial use for $37. I like this idea of monetizing the use of plugins, especially ones so well-built. (He's also offering direct support for $17, another interesting idea.
3 points by JonnieCache 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice! It's a more up to date version of http://razorjack.net/quicksand/
7 points by bkudria 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the creator of jQuery Masonry.
1 point by KevBurnsJr 1 day ago 0 replies      
The buttons on the site are broken. The click events are all waiting for page load which is taking 20 seconds due to an unrelated request timeout for a javascript resource from a different domain. Probably some sort of analytics.

Same thing has been caused by ads on pastie.org lately http://pastie.org/1538368

Register your click events BEFORE page load, kiddies.

Especially if you have blocking embedded links to resources that are not in your control.

1 point by anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. The individual demos are also very impressive. The only thing I didn't really get was the variable sizes option, where the sizes seemed kind of arbitrary (for example on the elements demo, I expected it to be proportional to something, such as the abundance of the element).

Small note, on Chrome (d10) the option highlights on the Elements Complete demo are broken. Buttons still work but the highlight doesn't update correctly.

1 point by Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic. With stuff like this I can see web-app interfaces surpassing (Mac) desktop applications. You might argue they already have, visually, but here the responsiveness is particularly impressive while the complexity is ramped up a bit.
2 points by nwjsmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the ring of "An exquisite..."
1 point by neovive 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting library. I see some interesting use cases for photos and media browsing. It would be interesting to hear some other suggested use cases where this plugin can be applied over existing solutions.
1 point by jp_sc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice. I did something very similar, as an experiment, even before jQuery Masonry, but never released it. I should've known better.
2 points by infocaptor 1 day ago 0 replies      
really cool. Developing web apps is becoming like a no-brainer. Who builds for desktop when you can create the same responsiveness in a web app.
1 point by Geee 1 day ago 2 replies      
How does it run on lower spec computers or devices like iPad? I'm just wondering where the line should be drawn when considering the website performance/user experience.
1 point by battlehorse 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting library, I'd like to suggest another similar alternative : Rhizosphere, http://site.rhizospherejs.com (demos at http://www.rhizospherejs.com ).

Compared with Isotope, I think it has some extra features, but also is still missing something.

1 point by netmau5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very very cool and I even have something to use it on!
1 point by lucasr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty nice plugin. The transitions look a bit choppy on Firefox 3.6. Very smooth on Chrome.
1 point by crizCraig 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love how it works with the page zoom.
1 point by cemregr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dave DeSandro is a web development genius.
1 point by moe 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by MaxGfeller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome, trying to find something where i can use that.
1 point by asdfadjoin 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is Sridhar
1 point by chewbranca 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks interesting. I've been using his masonry plugin for quite a while now and its worked out very well. Excited to see that masonry appears to hook into isotope as well.
Nokia CEO: Nokia is "standing on a burning platform" engadget.com
424 points by ldayley 15 hours ago   168 comments top 36
73 points by andrewljohnson 15 hours ago 4 replies      
A well-written email is more powerful than many people comprehend. We used to call them letters, and they were powerful then too.

You can change a person's or a group's mind about something, even after a decision appears to have been made. You can clinch a job, win a contract, stop a lawsuit, regain a friend, woo a lover, and change history itself with just a few words.

I'm not sure if people realize quite how powerful an email can be, directed at the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. And the flip-side is true too. A badly written, poorly directed, or mis-timed email can have terrible consequences. You can make or break a company with a single email.

Regarding this memo, it's a truly inspiring, and well-timed. I think this will be a Gettysburg moment for the CEO, and may mark a turning point for Nokia.

104 points by vessenes 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an excellent, really excellent call to arms from a new CEO. I have a few takeaways -- first: the board brought Elop in for a four to seven year turn-around. He's going to make enemies, but that's okay. If he executes the turn-around, they'll put someone more finnish back in to sooth the old guard after they're making money again.

Second -- this guy has the Microsoft internal criticism DNA, through and through. This isn't quite a Gates-level memo, but it's in the ballpark. I'd love to see some leaks of him reviewing his experience using different phones, Gates style.

Third -- he's totally correct. Nokia f-ed this up, all by themselves. I STILL miss my Nokia E-90; it had 7mb up and down, a beautiful keyboard, video chatting, first-class SIP phone account support, and an 840x320 screen in 2007, for God's sake! The UI sucked, the apps weren't there, and there was no touch interface. Apple cleaned Nokia's clock. Then Android did it again.

One reason HN readers should care: Nokia is probably the only carrier in the world with the balls to just go ahead and release unlocked phones with things like VOIP accounts built in. They may be the only company who doesn't have to play nice with US carriers around; innovation from them will be excellent for consumers.

31 points by SandB0x 15 hours ago replies      
> The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

Please, please, Nokia, adopt Android and put your efforts into making great hardware to go with it, without ruining the interface like so many other manufacturers do.

22 points by erikstarck 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for Sony Ericsson when the iPhone was revealed. My job was to translate the thousands of pages of operator requirements that came in (within my technology area: Java) to a technical roadmap for the coming 2-5 years. So I have a fairly good picture of how the market for mobile phones work wrt to the interplay between operators and manufacturers.

It's hard to grasp just how revolutionary the iPhone was. There are so many tiny things that's not by itself a revolution, but adding them all up and you're going disruptive.

I tried to compile some of it in a list here:


10 points by erikpukinskis 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This memo is spot on, except for the optimism at the end. I think Nokia is toast.

At the end of the day, you can't create a best-of-breed product out of nowhere. You need the core competencies to be already present in your company's DNA.

Palm came back out of nowhere and created in the Pre a phone with great usability fundamentals, and an incredibly innovative contact/data management layer. But that didn't come from nowhere.... those are exactly the things that the Palm Pilot excelled at.

Apple created a phone with incredible industrial design that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in a category of device. These things, also, have lots of precent at Apple, in the Macintosh, the iPod, OS X, and the iTunes music store.

Google, in Android, built a phone OS that has incredible integration with networked apps, and is built on a well run open source project. But before they started, they already had the best network app development teams in the world, and many world class open source developers and evangelists on staff.

What does Nokia have? I'm honestly not that familiar with their history, but they appear to have had (at one time) world class supply chain management and global distribution. And solidly built hardware? Is that it?

Honestly, I think Nokia had the right DNA to make a huge contribution to cell phones when they were a brand new, untested product with limited global reach. But now that those issues have been nailed, the distribution channels are in place, and everyone's phones, from Motorola's Android phones to LG's crappy feature phones are "good enough" for the people who buy them.

My guesses for the big future developments in phones are the web maturing as a development platform (Google seems positioned to ride that wave), powerful new software APIs (social, location, augmented reality, AI, etc), new media distribution models (Netflix, iTunes, Shopify, etc), and of course design-driven expansion of the user experience (Flipboard, FaceTime, Google Maps, etc).

I don't see product teams at Nokia who appear to be executing in any of these areas at the level that would be necessary to dominate in them. And they would need to dominate in two or three to stop hemorrhaging customers.

I think they're toast.

20 points by bambax 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I worked for Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) in Paris in 1995 when a new team of Englishmen were brought in from London to "turn the French practice around".

Their theme? "Burning platform". The exact same story that opens the memo was their story too.

Maybe this Mr Elop is really an original thinker that will do great things; but the "burning platform" analogy is the most tired image EVER.

Oh, and did it work in Paris in 1995? Not really. It was not an absolute disaster, but in the end (two years later) the British threw the towel and went home, and the French partners who were there before stayed on (are still there to this day).

20 points by avner 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Stephen Elop has finally put in writing what the market has said about Nokia ever since the iPhone came out. Props to him for finally initiating this intervention at Nokia; it has been long overdue. Someone has finally said "we have fucked up, its now time to get back on the horse and make it right" to the Nokia management.

Less than a decade ago, nobody could touch Nokia in the mobile handset market, Nokia defined quality... and then they got complacent and instead of innovating, they stuck to old principles. Its like Nokia witnessed the age old fable of the tortoise and the hare firsthand.

4 points by jasonkester 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A helpful tip for those arriving late: Skip the entire article and read the email directly.

The article is longer than the mail, says less, and says it less eloquently.

6 points by oconnore 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm predicting an HP-Palm/Nokia combined effort. HP and Nokia already collaborate, and webOS is the closest Nokia will get to an existing "ecosystem" that they could thrive in. Palm has crappy hardware, and awesome software. Nokia has excellent hardware, but crappy software. Both of them are getting slammed by Apple/Android. The solution is obvious.

Also, Nokia's work on Meego would transition well to webOS, since they are both linux based.

4 points by nl 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think they might be looking at Android rather than WinMo7 (ok, maybe I'm just being hopeful...)

The memo repeatedly mentions innovation and market leadership.

With WinMo7 locked down as tightly as it is it is very difficult for a company to be innovative in that market.

OTOH, Android already has quite a diverse ecosystem, and would allow Nokia the opportunity to do it's own thing while still supporting an active developer community.

If Nokia was interested in WinMo7, why would they invest heavily in a Silicon Valley Engineering office (as opposed to a Seattle office)?

Finally, there is already a (very active, community) port of Qt to Android (http://code.google.com/p/android-lighthouse/). If Nokia got behind that it would give them a roadmap that would avoid alienating app developers who were hoping to support MeeGo.

3 points by paganel 5 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO, this does nothing else than hurt morale. It's not that the Nokia engineers were so stupid as to not know where their platform stands.
This memo only contains lamentations over lamentations, with only a small, general call to action towards the end: "We are working on a path forward -- a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. "

The way I see these types of memos work is like this: spend the first part of it describing the problem, and the second part should include the suggested solutions. I know a former boss of mine who , if I didn't do that in my "lamentation" emails, i.e. not suggest solutions, would have smashed my head against the nearest desk.

6 points by Peaker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Nokia have repeatedly been making really dumb decisions about both their marketing and implementation.

Some examples include:

* Code-naming their phones obscurely, making it nearly impossible to remember and later buying a phone you like. Compare "Galaxy S" and "iPhone 3G" with "N6310".

* Not bothering to place the phone's name anywhere remotely visible on the phone, so you have to yank the battery out if you want to know your friend's phone model.

* Repeatedly implementing really dumb design decisions without ever fixing them: When calling someone, the "Speaker" button temporarily means "End Call" in addition to the "End Call" button. What possible purpose does this serve? It means you need to bother your eyes and hands with the phone when explicitly need an eyes/hands-free experience!

Many more of Nokia's decisions seem simply stupid. Does anyone see justification for these dumb practices?

5 points by nazgulnarsil 14 hours ago 1 reply      
idea for how to create value in your brand when you're "just another android phone".

1. create a really awesome skin like HTC has.

2. create a suite of really awesome apps and release them on the apps market, but give them free to users of your specific phone.

8 points by bni 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nokia had something good gooing with Maemo on the N900, they should just have pushed on with that. They had a software platform that was competitive with iOS, technology wise. Lighter, smaller and sexier phones with the Maemo software, it would have been awesome.

But instead they decided to start over with Qt and a partnership with Intel.

They ripped all progress out from under them.

8 points by callahad 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I would work for that man.
7 points by cookiecaper 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A good memo and he's certainly correct about the phone market. I hope that Trolltech/Qt makes out OK.
4 points by edderly 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Ignoring the problems with WP7, if Nokia were to produce phones with other 'external' OSes why would they stick with just one?

No one criticizes Samsung and they are pretty much a mobile-OS whore: SHP, Bada, WP7, Symbian (albeit a year or so ago), Android, Limo, etc.

N.B. Regarding SHP: I can't remember the name properly but this was the old/existing Samsung feature phone platform, it probably has got rolled into Bada, although Bada has two configurations (with and w/o the Linux kernel).

14 points by quannum 15 hours ago 2 replies      
The idea of a Nokia device running Android is pretty appealing. They've always had good hardware, but Symbian has become a develpment dead-end, and Meego isn't yet here.
7 points by elehack 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully they're able to restore competitiveness, but I hope they don't do it by simply adopting WP7 or Android. I'd really like to see them make something like MeeGo viable. IMO, the mobile space could use an open ecosystem without the Google tie-in.
3 points by cloudmike 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Nokia is standing where Nintendo once stood: struggling to hold market share against powerful juggernauts, and in dire need of a bold product that eschews conventional wisdom, challenges consumer's expectations, and tickles developers' imaginations.

The problem is that Apple already did that recently. The iPhone was Apple's Wii, and now it seems incredibly difficult for Nokia to innovate that much that quickly without creating something the world might not be ready for, like the N-Gage.

I hope they pull it off though. Respect for the candor in the memo.

2 points by donaldc 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought that this was the most interesting part of the article:

and that Elop would start looking to Nokia's new Silicon Valley campus as its center of gravity, with execs and senior management expected to start spending more time outside Finland.

That's quite an endorsement of Silicon Valley as a tech hub...

7 points by Jayasimhan 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is exactly where Steve Jobs found himself in 1997. He stood by and did what he wanted to [or may be not yet]. Hope Elop does it as well.
2 points by Geee 14 hours ago 2 replies      
That's really interesting read, but doesn't tell anything about specifics. I'm not really sure what they will announce on Friday. As we can see however, it's about ecosystems, not about the OS.

1. Qt is really valuable asset, they are keeping it. Actually they are keeping everything they have now.

2. Joining WP7 or Android as an OEM would cut Nokia out of their ecosystems, not going to happen.

3. Adopting WP7 or Android as is would require Nokia to cut back some custom hardware features and make differentiation harder.

My best guess is WP7 with Qt allowing Nokia's services and apps on those phones. This would be additional to Symbian and MeeGo devices. However, I'm pretty sure they are starting to ramp Symbian down.

1 point by allenbrunson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
compare and contrast with this statement from the company, several months ago:


this new memo makes me think better of them. if Nokia can get out of the new CEO's way and let him execute, then maybe they can turn it around.

1 point by gamble 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the point where someone argues that Nokia is doing just fine, since they still have 110% market share in Tanzania...
2 points by foobarbazetc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The only way forward is to embrace WP7 and become the WP7 phone. Build apps and an ecosystem around that. Hell, get Microsoft to acquire Nokia and make WP7 exclusive. WP7 is a much better platform than Android anyway (in a couple of OS updates at least).

There is no way that Nokia will ever win using Symbian/MeeGo or Android.

If they stay the course then Nokia's dead and will never recover.

2 points by laujen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A strong Nokia is good for smart phones. I hope Elop is smart and doesn't get bogged down in the tablet fight. Nokia needs to focus on doing smart phones well. Plenty of market there as 6 billion people will be buyers.
4 points by ylem 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm very curious how this will effect QT...
1 point by msh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There are at least one reputable source that claims it is false: http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/02/the-nok...
3 points by kooshball 15 hours ago 1 reply      
wow, that is one way to motivate the troops. The lack of mentioning of WP7 at all and the re-emphasis of Andriod as a competitor makes me think it's unlikely they will be running Andriod any time soon.
1 point by grego 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If they don't want to alienate existing developers, a logical choice would be official Qt support for Android.
Meego could also be tweaked to run Android, as it is already being done by others, see for example http://www.aavamobile.com/
1 point by lhnz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great PR campaign from Nokia. :)
2 points by hook 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it obvious to everyone that he is preparing Nokia for a transition to Windows?
1 point by adsr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is interesting, but wouldn't a move to say Android or Windows make them "just another Android or Windows phone".
I understand the reasoning behind this but it seems to me that they would also lose something here.
1 point by kefs 13 hours ago 1 reply      
In case anyone is curious about the full story behind Mike Williams and the "burning platform", watch the following video. You won't be disappointed.


edit: part 1 for those interested


0 points by elboru 10 hours ago 0 replies      
absolutely agree
Aerial footage of uncontacted Amazon tribe uncontactedtribes.org
403 points by timf 4 days ago   362 comments top 59
85 points by raganwald 4 days ago replies      
You know that Golden Rule?" Not the one that VCs quote, but the one that goes "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?"

We should think about that when we choose how to deal with uncontacted tribes. It may be that one day another intelligence will need to decide how to deal with us, and on that day I hope we can say, "Yes, we used to have a habit of massacring technologically inferior peoples we encountered, but we grew up a little and we don't do that any more. Then we used to keep them alive but destroy their culture and identity while mouthing platitudes about how we were helping them, but we grew up a little and we don't do that any more either."

23 points by jbrennan 4 days ago 7 replies      
I wonder what kind of disturbance just the helicopter (or whatever method was used to capture the footage) caused on the tribe.

Obviously the tribe was aware of it, but if they've never been contacted, would they be able to even fathom what such a thing is? I'm genuinely curious because I'm also genuinely ignorant on how "uncontacted" tribes like that are and what their civilization is like.

Could anyone enlighten me? It seems like such a fascinating area of study.

36 points by zachallaun 4 days ago 1 reply      
"If illegal loggers or miners contact these people, they won't shoot images... They'll shoot guns."

Very few realize that there's more to protect in the Rainforest than trees.

22 points by bradleyland 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man charged with the task of protecting indigenous people from intruders flies overhead in a plane named after the Cherokee indian tribe.

Insignificant in the great scope of things, but I smirked a little.

10 points by narrator 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am really getting a kick out of the ironic juxtaposition of the most technologically primitive segment of the world population getting space up here at the top of Hacker News. After all, the Hacker News audience represents arguably the most technologically sophisticated segment of the world population.
6 points by russell_h 4 days ago 1 reply      
Absolutely fascinating stuff, and for me anyway it raises some interesting ethical questions. Making contact with these tribes would (I would imagine) destroy a lot of culture, to say nothing of the obvious issues of disease, etc. On the other hand, in a society where we claim to value innovation and progress, failing to offer these tribes the benefits available to others feels a little wrong. Given the choice between our lifestyles and theirs, how many of us would choose theirs?

It raises some interesting legal questions too. In the United States for example, I believe (and I could be wrong on this) starting in 2014 we would fine these tribes for failure to purchase health insurance. To say nothing of the "Republican Form of Government" guarantee in the constitution.

10 points by rglullis 4 days ago 1 reply      
This "footage" hit the news a couple of years ago in Brazil, and a couple of days later was challenged as being fake. I could look more into details and see if there is any translation from the articles back then, but I will stand that this is NOT an "uncontacted tribe".
5 points by sukuriant 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been skimming over the comments in here, and I have come to two thoughts. First off, I don't have a well-established stance, but our god-like observation of their civilization is ... strange. I wonder what would happen if they all were struck by a terrible disease as the scientists with their kilometre-spying cameras watched. Would they go and help? Where's their "don't contact them" nature, then?

But that wasn't the thought I intended to contemplate. Some people have said that their culture is lost. Why is their culture lost? And this is terrible, but, does it matter? If their culture is full of things long since dis-proven, what has been lost? If they choose to leave their old ways upon discovering/learning (through whatever means) our ways, what does that matter? Please explain why these things are bad to me. If a people has chosen a different way of life upon experiencing it, who cares that it's gone? The anthropologists that were having fun? This desperation to keep these people isolated reminds me of another article I read on HN a while ago that discussed scientists that were very sad about the situation that polar bears and grizzlies were beginning to breed. I thought it was beautiful to see their joined species able to survive, but I can only imagine the people that wanted to keep them separate were disappointed, in part, because there wouldn't be any pure-bred polar bears anymore.

My other thought is a request to HN for this very type of article. Please, please, please, for heated debates like this with the numerous tree-like threads. Please make a way to collapse sub-threads so the train of thought that brought someone to a particular point can be clearly seen.

9 points by idm 4 days ago 1 reply      
The idea of uncontacted tribes - still in existence - is awesome. ...but it's a little scary too to consider the famous Arthur C. Clarke quote "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Sure, these tribes may not have been contacted, but what mythologies have evolved to explain the strange, huge bird in the sky that circles around them from time to time?

8 points by jim_h 4 days ago 2 replies      

This has better photos. According to NBC report in 2008, an agency has been aware of the tribe and have been tracking (and not contacting) them since 1910.

10 points by bendmorris 4 days ago 0 replies      
To avoid any confusion, from the site's FAQ:

"Is this an ‘undiscovered' or ‘lost' tribe?

No. This is empty sensationalism. It's extremely unlikely there are any tribes whose existence is totally unknown to anyone else. The uncontacted tribe in these photos has been monitored by the Brazilian government for 20 years, and lives in a reserve set up to protect uncontacted tribes."

4 points by zeteo 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's so easy to play God hovering in the skies, and make decisions for these people's future, isn't it? Maybe they actually don't enjoy 50+% child mortality, dying of appendicitis, and having to barter a truckload of plantains for a pot and a steel machete. Why don't they send someone on the ground, to explain to them that there's a big world out there that can change their ways forever, and give them a choice whether they'd like to be a part of it or not?
6 points by radicaldreamer 4 days ago 2 replies      
Meta about some of the comments on this post: I've never seen such unbridled arrogance and xenophobia in a post on HN before. The our way or the highway attitude is shocking.
6 points by elliottcarlson 4 days ago 1 reply      
A trail to the articles pronouncing this a hoax/fake back in 2008:


8 points by Keyframe 4 days ago 1 reply      
Uncontacted tribe has had some contact http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/pb-1... - I see a metal pot in that image.
6 points by Eliezer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I say it's time to send them their Hogwarts letters.
28 points by donpdonp 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this undisturbed group of Emacs users is allowed to continue their peaceful way of life.
4 points by nhebb 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's something appalling about this, as if remote tribal people are to be watched like animals on the Discovery channel. It's creepy. They're not there for your viewing entertainment.
3 points by Mz 4 days ago 1 reply      
As far as the argument of contact or no contact, I don't have an answer but I think the issue is that contact often destroys the culture rather than helps it grow and evolve.

I have read some things that indicated native americans lost in part because they adopted guns and abandoned bows. They lacked the means to make or money to buy the type of oil that would work in cold weather and used lard instead, which firms up in the cold. They would keep their guns under their blankets with them to keep the lard warm enough for the guns to work. Just adopting one piece of technology did not resolve their problems and it was a technology they were ill equipped to adequately maintain.

I am reminded of a scene in "Lawrence of Arabia" where he tells the Arabs "If you take English engineers, you take English rule."

Where you have a large, "evolved" culture with a density of people, material goods, information and so on, contact with a culture that is less "dense" (in terms of numbers of people, amount of material goods, etc) tends to simply wipe it out, sometimes literally killing all members (because microbes in large communities evolve rapidly and become more virulent -- Americans who move to Europe, which is more densely populated, routinely wind up with a horrific flu shortly after moving there, far worse than the flu bugs typically caught in the U.S. This is common knowledge in the military community/among military families who have ever lived over there.).

I wish a knew a means to gently make contact and offer options. I think that would be the ideal. I have no idea if it is achievable.

3 points by tokenadult 4 days ago 0 replies      
As the BBC reports, the advocacy group that is promoting these images acknowledges that the persons shown have steel machetes, which must be trade goods. So to call them "uncontacted" is stretching a point.


4 points by bradleyjoyce 4 days ago 0 replies      
as I am currently living in Peru, this is pretty moving to me. the argument here on both sides is pretty powerful, and you can easily find passionate people telling you it's real, or it's fake, etc etc. The president's (Alan Garcia) accusation that environmentalists are making "uncontacted people" up seems pretty ridiculous to me though, as there seems to be a lot of evidence supporting the claim that there a number of uncontacted peoples in the remote regions of the country.
5 points by sabat 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is blowing my mind. Do I understand this right? There are people living in the forests of Brazil that have no idea about the modern world?!
3 points by harshpotatoes 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sucks that if these uncontacted tribes were to try to make contact, the only people that would be there to meet them would be loggers. I can't imagine loggers would treat them with the same dignity/respect that a trained professional might.
3 points by mynameishere 4 days ago 0 replies      
Realistically, they're on borrowed time. I mean, the common cold (etc, etc) isn't going to play nice once it finally hits them.
10 points by goldins 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did this shatter anyone else's perception of how well-connected we are, as a species?
4 points by jseifer 4 days ago 2 replies      
Did anyone else notice how healthy they looked?
3 points by eneveu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of "Guns, Germs, and Steel". I've started reading it a few weeks ago, following recommendations on another HN thread. Great book so far.

Part of the book focuses on diseases, and how epidemic diseases only spread in large populations. Problem appears when small tribes with no immunization are exposed to these "common" diseases...

5 points by olivercameron 4 days ago 1 reply      
Watching this clip was one of the worst Flash video experiences I have ever had. Ridiculously laggy.

On another note, watching this video was also one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had.

2 points by mkconor 4 days ago 0 replies      
This issue is tricky and not for some of the reasons I've seen listed in this thread. My maternal grandparents were both the children of indigenious South Americans so this is somewhat personal for me. One the one hand if we contact them then we are dooming everyone in the tribe above the age of about ten to dependency for the rest of their lives. They will go from being autonomous, skilled members of a sovereign tribe to illiterate, unskilled Peruvian citizens in one fell swoop. In their world they own their land, have their own system of wealth and acheivement and customs that are tailored to their own strengths. In our world, they are penniless and barely subsist on land that is actually owned but the Peruvian government. Unless the proponents of contact are willing to provide the extensive resources they will need in order to assimilate to our way of life, I say we leave them alone. I saw alot of mention of technology and medicine and all the other comforts of modern life, but those things are not free for the taking. There are hundreds of thousands of
1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
Given loggers, or just the general expansion of modern civilizations, they will run into the outside world. Wouldn't it be better if they were given a gentle introduction? Send in some speakers and voice/video feeds. Eventually send in people. If they want to be left alone afterwards, it's their choice. If some people want to explore the outer society, let them.

If you look at say, Malaysia, the Iban have done pretty well in Sarawak--contact doesn't have to result in the destruction of the natives...

3 points by malkia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Makes me wonder if aliens are not treating us also as uncontacted tribe but on a larger scale.
1 point by AndrewMoffat 4 days ago 2 replies      
How is it that some peoples can remain in this state for so long? Please don't read disrespect in the question, I mean it neutrally. There seems to have been very little innovation or growth in terms of technology when you look at people still living like this.
1 point by T_S_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's absurd to say they are "uncontacted". They are humans after all. How can such a smart crowd fall for that headline stuff?

Concerns about their public health and inability to defend their property rights (our interpretation of those rights, at least) may be well founded. However, this whole episode says more about how Brazil tries to control loggers than it does about indigenous people. They are finally starting to slow down deforestation, using any tool they can.

1 point by twidlit 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the best way to do this is observe, document and study as much of their culture as we can without contact, After that contact them to with the goal of medical help and protection. And proceed carefully from there.
2 points by njharman 4 days ago 0 replies      
I saw pictures from this video months ago. I thought it was demonstrated then to be a "hoax" or faked.


1 point by yoyar 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm astounded (perhaps I should not be) that so many assume that the lives of the people in these cultures must be short brutish and unpleasant. For a culture, or set of cultures to survive and likely thrive for 1000s of years in the jungle it must be a rich life. Take a look at the decoration these people paint on their skin for instance. They have free time to decorate and adorn themselves. They have farms. They have technology and knowledge beyond what your small minds can imagine. Yes, technology, they can light fires, create traps for the food they need, farm and make tools from all manner of naturally occurring materials that surround them in abundance. I'd wager they live an abundant happy life. Sure, they have their difficulties. But I live in modern society and I have lots of difficulties too. These people live in a tightly knit family and society. I envy them in some ways. I certainly wouldn't be sitting here thinking how much better I have it from them. They have a different way of life. To assume their way or our way is better can only stem from ignorance, and oh of course, no shortage of arrogance.

If someone took you and immersed you in the jungle you'd be lucky to last a day or two.

Think of what would happen to one of these people if you put them in a city.

1 point by ebaysucks 4 days ago 0 replies      
We shouldn't impose anything on them, but why not make contact?

Offer them our technology and let them decide whether they want to use it.

I wouldn't want to be treated like a primitive animal in a zoo incapable of making their own choices by a technologically superior way of life.

1 point by tectonic 4 days ago 0 replies      

  "The house of ‘The Last of his Tribe', a sole surviving uncontacted man who lives on his own in the forest after the rest of his tribe were massacred"


2 points by glenjamin 4 days ago 1 reply      
With the amount of comments on this page it's unlikely anyone will even see this, but am I the only one surprised at how many people still use the term "Indian" to refer to natives populations who look a bit like Indians?

As far as I'm aware, this is the sole reason for the origination of the term in this context (as opposed to, you know, people from India).

2 points by mhewett 4 days ago 0 replies      
I once attended a talk by Carl Sagan where, during the question-answer session, someone mentioned how much we could learn from "primitive societies". Sagan replied that we should not glorify such lives. In addition to other things, he said that in 1900 the average life span in civilized countries was 35. As artificial and commercialized as we have become, technology has improved our lives.
2 points by grn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find it extremely disgusting. There's nothing wrong with contacting others. Everyday I'm contacted by lots of people: colleagues, marketers, head hunters etc. They give me choice. Let members of the tribe enjoy the same freedoms. Stop treating them like animals in a ZOO.
1 point by evlapix 4 days ago 0 replies      
How do uncontacted people view us? They seem to be mesmerized by the plane, and even chase after it for a longer look. Can't we just ask them how they want to relate with us? I'm sure we can find some way to discuss the matter with them and still not be invasive.
1 point by drndown2007 3 days ago 0 replies      
gokhan's comment is buried quite deep, but needs to be seen:

"Check the FAQ first:

But could this be because they don't see the benefits of ‘our' way of life? If they knew, might they want to join us?

They won't get the chance. In reality, the future offered by the settler society is to ‘join' at the lowest possible level often as beggars and prostitutes. History proves that tribal peoples end up in a far worse state after contact, often dead."

1 point by Tycho 4 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me think of those Waco cult members that felt the wrath of the authorities - because they had children within their community I think.
1 point by yaix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Knowledge is misery, so better leave them alone.

Having knowledge about the world only shows you how much you don't know. And the more you learn, the more you are aware of all the things you have not yet discovered and will never learn in your lifetime.

So, its much nicer to be able to know "the whole world" (i.e. the isolated village you live in). You know everything and everybody in the "world" and for the stuff you can't explain (lightning, death) you just make up a god and blame it on him/her.

What a great life!

1 point by kmfrk 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be a good opportunity for Amazon to spend some money on charity. Benefits both parties.
1 point by hasenj 4 days ago 1 reply      
The footage almost looks like clips from the movie Avatar.
2 points by pshapiro 4 days ago 1 reply      
Uncontacted? It looks like they're looking right into the lens!
0 points by lwhi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Poor poor people - they'll be better off if we stay away.

EDIT: There is absolutely no chance that our western society has 'got it right'. If you think otherwise, I'm afraid you're deluding yourself.

1 point by knv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Time to send Missionaria Protectiva to spread the Panoplia Propheticus among them!
1 point by Baadier 4 days ago 0 replies      
Throwing my 2 cents in here but I just wonder whether by giving them right to choose culture we would inadvertently have already made that decision for them.
1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
I must say that the footage is amazing!
1 point by wowfat 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. This would have been 1000X awesome if this was a video captured by one of our space telescopes looking at another galaxy!
1 point by StaxBread 4 days ago 0 replies      
To everyone saying that they should be given the opportunity to join our civilization, it's not like they have a choice. They'll die if they get the common cold or flu or at the very least come close to death.

And how do we know that our civilization is "better" for them? It's not like they could become incorporated into our society anyway (not the current generation). Contacting and converting them is more an act of self-righteousness than anything else.

1 point by adsr 4 days ago 1 reply      
In my opinion they would have left their forrest a long time ago if they where really curious to seek out what was beyond it. The fact that they stay, indicates to me that they are happy with the way life is.
1 point by Karhan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did anyone else notice that one of them shot an arrow at the plane? lol.

In all seriousness I wonder how they would treat someone like him if he just showed up one day. Probably depends on the day of the week.

1 point by flip 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone else feel a little guilty just watching it?
-2 points by bane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Zuck is probably wondering how he can get them on Facebook at this very moment.
-1 point by logjam 4 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant: "cultural imperialism" -


This may be the best resume I have ever seen jimplush.com
324 points by beagledude 3 days ago   147 comments top 40
186 points by tptacek 3 days ago replies      
Not good.

* Has a graphic which must be interpreted simply to find the last few projects the candidate worked on.

* Uses a proportional diagram scheme that is (a) worse than pie charts (an achievement) and (b) requires a color coded legend to illustrate the simple clause: "[Project Name]: Rails, CSS, jQuery".

* Straightjackets the candidate's work experience into "technology used" instead of "accomplishments earned".

* Attempts a comparative analysis of experience with different tools both as a "developer" and a "designer" without explaining the significance of either term; what's a "Photoshop CS5 Developer" or a "Textmate Designer"?

* Or is the blue "frequency" and the orange "expertise"? Why is the graphic laid out so that the cutesy venn diagram looks like a color key?

* Spends something like 1/3 of the real estate of the graphic on an almost entirely uninteresting attribute of the candidate (what terminal she uses, what text editor she uses, what browsers [seriously.] she uses). Designers can be expected to know Photoshop. Nobody cares about your editor.

* I have no idea what the subway-map illustration of command line tools and web services even means; the impression I get is, "this person will add baffling complexity to things in order to avoid boredom". Whoah, where do I sign?

* Extraordinarily inefficient representation of the candidate's Rails experience; a simple resume would lead with "Rails developer with over 5 years experience" instead of burying the lede in another cutesy picture.

* No reasonable employer cares about college credits earned in high school, the age you were when you coded your first website, or what platforms you tech-supported in school, and yet that material consumes more visual weight than the number of years the candidate has doing Rails development.

Resume tip. Here is the terrible thing about spending time on your resume pointing out your favorite dog breed or color-coding your choice of text editors: people with real accomplishments would never, ever do that, because they only have two pages of heavily-bulleted text to convey those accomplishments in. What you say with a resume like this is, "I hope someday to have major accomplishments" --- whether that's true or not.

It's not just that infographics are a crappy format for resumes (and, they simply are.). It's that this is not a good infographic. In fact, since we're all so familiar with resumes here, it's actually a really good example of the problem with all the cheesy infographics that have been floating around for the past year.

The blogger who highlighted this "graphical resume" did a disservice to the person who created it; I have no doubt the author is an totally reasonable human being who sends normal resumes to people when resumes are what's called for.

51 points by mgkimsal 3 days ago 0 replies      
This sort of CV is going to exclude this person from certain positions and companies - probably exactly the companies and positions this person does not want to be hired at. Jamie is doing her own filtering by being "in your face" about what sort of worker she will be, and you can instantly tell whether or not to exclude her from consideration. Whether to hire automatically, that's would take more time to determine.

She'll instantly get discarded from consideration for most 'sit in a cubicle all day and take directions from 5 committees' jobs, and that's probably exactly what she wants.

13 points by Maro 3 days ago 1 reply      
This infography resume scores high points for standing out and being memorable, which is important as many companies receive many CVs.

It completely fails as a tool for communicating how good she is at what she "does". I guess it's Rails? The CV is confusing.

Also, it gives the impression that the person is more interested in style than substance. I guess that's okay if you're an artist/designer (?), not so good if you're a programmer. The CV gives me the feeling this person is a programmer, but probably not a good one, she should really be a designer.

Overall, I think the problem is what's communicated in the programmer /\ designer Venn-diagram. She's trying to communicate that she's a designer programmer, but it comes across "forced". Her designer part made this infographic, which isn't very good, and we can't really tell if she's a good programmer, and suspect that she's not.

15 points by ceejayoz 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I were hiring someone to make infographics, this would be a useful (but not necessarily positively received) resume.

For anything else, particularly development, it'd be in the discard pile pretty quick.

6 points by mkramlich 3 days ago 1 reply      
The best resume is no resume. Don't tell me where you've worked show me what you've made. Don't tell me what certificates you have, show me what you can do no. The best way for me to know what you can do in the future is to see what you've done in the past, and are doing right now. I hope resumes die out. At least in software anyway.

On a related note, I think I just might be at a point in my career where I never need to send a resume out ever again. I definitely bias to not sending them. I think resumes are, like the commute-9-to-5-yes-boss job paradigm, just another relic of the Industrial Age for blue collar workers.

Can you imagine Roger Waters of Pink Floyd "applying" for a job as a musician/singer? "Sir, you'll have to fill out this form and submit a resume, k thanks." He hands them The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, etc. "Sorry sir, not good enough. Yo have to eat all your meat like everyone else otherwise we can't give you any pudding."

6 points by gte910h 3 days ago 1 reply      
To those who dislike it: Jamie Kite has succeed in doing far more than most people with their resumes: She's gotten thousands of people to look at it and talk about her resume.

Is it the best infographic? Parts are pretty serviceable. Is it the worst? Not by a long shot. Does it use a lot of common styles seen today, yup.

Will it infuriate some people? Oh hell yes from Ptack's reaction. But did it work? Yes.

"Logical" left brained types get hung up on exact meanings of graphics when sometimes it's the fact you have a visually interesting doodad out there is all that counts to get the attention to your whatzit.

Does she have some stupid stuff on their and weird phrasing? No more than most people who haven't looked at lots of resumes. (Apple terminal caught my eye).

Would I hire her for a top level rails position? Likely not without more convincing. Would I think about hiring her for a midlevel position where there is significant art issues, yeah, I'd definitely consider calling her for an interview.

She should likely redo parts of it to sound better, (like many people have to do with their resume).

4 points by Tichy 3 days ago 0 replies      
A fun exercise, but somehow I distrust infographics on principle. Overly big fonts make feel stupid and foolish for example. OK, I got it he programmed for FIVE years

FIVE!!!!!! 5555555 5 5 5 5 5 55 5 5 Five five five five five






That's how it makes me feel. In general if you treat somebody as if he is stupid, it'll make him feel stupid. Infographics treat people as if they are stupid - bright shiny colors, big fonts, short sentences...

Maybe it already has to do with chunking. "5" is really just one chunk, the number 5. But a big, ginormous 5 doesn't fit into one brain slot anymore. It fill the whole brain and bounces around inside of it.

Anyway, I don't like infographics...

13 points by gst 3 days ago 1 reply      
The best resume I have ever seen is this one: http://www.squicky.org/cv/
11 points by sliverstorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but think of my long-standing opinion of infographics- they are often just a way to make a tiny little bit of largely inconsequential information take up a lot of space.
5 points by catshirt 3 days ago 0 replies      
i actually believe resumes like this hinder the application process. the problem this seems to solve for the author is "Ok great, we use Java and PHP and Python but how competent are they in those languages?"

it's a fair concern, but i don't agree this is the right way to solve it. imo, brevity can speak louder than pictures and colors. even if i were to give the author the benefit of the doubt here, this particular resume/graphic doesn't strike me as exemplary.

4 points by tptacek 3 days ago 3 replies      
Incidentally, to see this style executed (from a designer perspective) competantly, check out: http://feltron.com/
22 points by gensym 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would be great if you wanted a job at USA today.
6 points by jrockway 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not a fan of this. Not because of the garish colors and graphics (though I don't really care for those), but because of the implication that there is a "perfect sweet spot" between a "developer" and a "designer". Copying and pasting shit from a Ruby on Rails tutorial does not make you a good developer.
7 points by 27182818284 3 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't take it seriously because of how popular(cliché) infographics are. The first thing that came to mind was that satire on infographics which included the text:

2: The number of cats I own.

5 points by watmough 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting, but I'd much rather see a chronologically-based bubble diagram for recent experience.

Definitely eye-catching.

17 points by dbcn 3 days ago 2 replies      
The best resume you've ever seen includes that the candidate is a PRO at WEB BROWSERS?


3 points by ajju 3 days ago 0 replies      
Along similar lines, a friend of mine built a life map a few years ago:


3 points by sukuriant 3 days ago 0 replies      
My greatest wonder of the whole thing is how this information is entered into one of those text-only resume systems; and, how office workers with laser printers print this appropriately and see all the important details
4 points by jwwest 3 days ago 1 reply      
Love it. It takes a certain size of balls to send something like this to a potential employer.

This kind of thing targets a certain type of company. This could be a way of flushing out the type of companies you don't want to be involved with (stodgy, old-school traditional).

3 points by siddhant 3 days ago 3 replies      
For designers, okay. But what's wrong with a simple LaTeX CV? Its clean, gets the point across, and frankly, it stands out from the other badly-formatted Word documents.
3 points by slavak 3 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to all the (valid) comments that have been posted so far, there's one more thing that bothers me:

When I was looking for a job, a fair number of the resumes I sent out were either sent by fax or given out in printed form. Either way - they were in black & white. Requiring your resume to be in color in order to be readable seems like a terrible way to actually go looking for work.

2 points by stopbits 3 days ago 0 replies      
This may be the best resume I have ever seen, too. She would be on the top of my list without a doubt.

The color coded tree is animated and reconfigures itself as you hover over the various items in the legend. We are seeing a static screenshot. There is also a text version available which we are not seeing.

She does hit the spot between developer and designer. That statement seems to be confusing a lot of people. I am not confused by that. Those are exactly the type of people I need. I guess it is just not in everyone's argot.

Maybe there are some nits to be picked, but just the fact that she broke new ground in this manner says a lot to me, and it is all positive.

This is just true of me. Maybe it is not right for everyone. I thought the HN crowd would dig this a lot more. My mind is a little blown by all the nitpicking and bashing. Maybe there is a little bit of pissing contest going on here.

5 points by imcqueen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's effective because it's polarizing. Any recruiter who likes it will REALLY like it and immediately want to pursue the applicant.
3 points by agnesberthelot 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, this still doesn't solve the problem of beefed-up resumes. Or one can spend 40% of his time working on PHP doesn't tell exactly how good he is in PHP. The best is still to have the candidate really showing how good he is, for example to have the candidate work on customized puzzle targeting the skills an employer needs.
1 point by marshray 3 days ago 0 replies      
Say what you like about the style/substance and form/function angles, but if I were trying to get a job as a graphic designer I would hate to have my conventional resume on the stack under this one.
3 points by JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
Accidental satire cuts deepest.
1 point by jhamburger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't the cartoon representation possibly crossing a line with having a headshot on the resume?
2 points by StayuKasabov 3 days ago 0 replies      
a) Design - good idea, bad execution. To much clutter. This is typical problem for web designers nowadays, they simply don't get it. FUNCTION over FORM. To much color. To much fonts. Bad management of white spaces. Info-graphics must have a balance and accents. Logic over artistry. KISS. Not Web 2 crap.

b) Developer-for developer we need to see code. Way of thinking and way of writing. Cool tools or technologies are irrelevant to see quality of programmers.

If you are CEO, entrepreneur or business owner, and you don't have any designer/developer background, hire someone with enough professional experience to pick right people for you. Don't think that because you pay the money or manage business you know everything. Don't fool yourself with assumption. Good teams are built by design or by accident. But accident ones always bring disaster.

1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
This person's resume is getting a lot of useful feedback. Outside of volume, is there a legal reason why most firms don't tell people why they weren't hired? Or is the typical, "It was a difficult decision, with many excellent candidates..." just simpler?
1 point by sbradley 3 days ago 0 replies      
"If I knew they spent 70% of their time on Java and they have around 5% familiarity with Ruby now that's telling me something of value. (...) While obviously nothing is perfect I think the idea of adding weighted cues for skill sets is something missing from the current resume model."

Odesk includes the hours worked on a given project. Even so: I'm not sure that tells me if the programmer has any real fluency. I suppose measures like that and/or certifications are the closest thing to what you're asking for... But maybe a Topcoder ranking and/or contractor satisfaction index for the sought-after skill set would be more relevant...something/anything which quantifies narrative comments from hiring parties, or contextualizes a programmer among their peers...that would be more valuable to me.

"If you were to pair this with a data output that is machine readable, google's problem of 75,000 resume's per week could be significantly made easier to wade through. HR people in enterprise companies look for keywords, bottom line."

People who sift through resumes look for keywords. Interviewers, hiring managers, business owners look for something else... How many interviews have you been on where the interviewer picks up the resume, glances at it, sets it down, and then proceeds to ask questions clearly indicating they did not read the resume? That's the real disconnect in the present resume model. Rather than build a machine readable way to screen fluency, or allow oneself to be charmed by the most visually disruptive document, why not build a better way for employers to simply test--en masse--for certain personal qualities AND technical qualifications? (Heck...deficiencies in psychometrics and testing methodology is a real bottleneck in America's capacity to suss out competency...in any number of domains. I love tests like the GRE which offer questions, for example, like "An Apple is to an Orange like a Doctor is to a A) Veternarian, B) Osteopath, C) Architect, or D) Accountant." How the hell is someone who's not a native speaker supposed to answer a question like that?) Often what's needed to get the job done is too subtle to communicate on any number of pages...or "pages" as they exist now, and it'd be a stretch for any machine to vibe out a candidate to such an extent. It's probably why video resumes are so useful.

1 point by Swannie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found it quite surprising that Jim doesn't get CVs where people rank their skills. My first proper CV had that on, and my CV does to this day. Pretty basic stuff.

That said I reviewed a friend's CV two weeks ago. He was lucky it was over the net and he wasn't in the room... I think someone 10 years younger could probably do a better CV. Sheesh!

2 points by OasisG 3 days ago 1 reply      
The many negative responses to this resume are exactly why I've let go of the job hunt and embraced the path of the entrepreneur.

Even when you go above and beyond, winning over the hiring director is still a game of chance.

1 point by bobobjorn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt any professional recruiter would read more then 10% of it.
It takes way to much time to read, it is hard to understand and says nothing about accomplishements.
Resumes is not about what you have or should have done, it is about what you have accomplished.
That resume is alot faster and easier to read.
The podcast that goes with it:
1 point by zandorg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Witb his skill in non-ASCII text, he should be able to get a great job at Wolfram Alpha.
1 point by _corbett 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's a great resume. Does the job quickly: Do I want to schedule an interview with him/her y/n? y
1 point by methodin 3 days ago 0 replies      
My overall impression of this resume was that I wanted to go see the actual websites this person made. Which is a far better impression than a cookie-cutter bulleted list of facts that flower what you actual did at your job. As the meme states, "Haters gonna hate" - which certainly remains true judging by the lengthy responses here.
1 point by mfukar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple Terminal Pro. That's how long I dragged myself through. Sorry Jamie.
1 point by known 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.tahlent.com/ is working on similar lines.
1 point by mediamaker 3 days ago 1 reply      
the best resume is no resume. They give hiring managers too many things to find wrong
1 point by Papirola 3 days ago 1 reply      
where's the app that gets linkedin data and renders this?
Random Startup Generator ykombinator.com
316 points by omergertel 1 day ago   52 comments top 20
54 points by gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yuri Milner is investing $150K in each reload of this page.

But seriously: sometimes randomness breaks assumptions and generates great ideas. See also:


Added: Sites with working online decks: http://www.joshharrison.net/oblique-strategies/

51 points by gersh 1 day ago 3 replies      
I propose the ycombinator turing test. Can you generate an application which will get accepted by ycombinator? This may require generating additional content to establish team credibility including twitter posts, blog posts, etc.
4 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had an idea for a similar joke website a few months ago, but their algorithm is much smarter than mine. Looking at their code, it looks like they are essentially randomly combining sentence fragments together in order:

    var A = ["A new and improved", "A better, faster", "An awesome", "A vibrant", "An innovative", "A faster", "A rapid", "A quick and dirty"];
var y = ["Searchable", "Virtualized", "Cloud-based", "Mobile", "Application-aware", "Viral", "Friendlier", "Online", "Web-based", "Streamlined", "Performance-oriented", "Next-gen", "Revenue-shared", "Professional"];

I attempted to mine Crunchbase profiles and then build "descriptions" of a startup based on a markov chain, but I found that there was too much noise in most of the Crunchbase descriptions to produce text that sounded at all plausible. Their method is a lot smarter (and easier).

11 points by callmeed 1 day ago 5 replies      
Funny, a few of the startups I generated are actually available domains (and kinda catchy):

crunchmob.com <-- considering buying this one

Good design, btw.

21 points by hendrik-xdest 1 day ago 1 reply      
"CloudPerfect is a creative new way of getting you upvoted on Quora. Between trolling /b/ and marriage, people believe they can't learn how to paint. This is where CloudPerfect comes in, with lots of coffee and an army of monkeys, CloudPerfect will revolutionize your social experience."

Sounds reasonable.

6 points by dschobel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Great execution but needs more "$X is a dead simple way to $Y" so as to properly channel TC/Arrington.
4 points by maxdemarzi 1 day ago 1 reply      
What do they call that style of illustration that looks like it was done with a fish-eye lens effect. (City with guy playing golf picture).

Is there a stock image site that has a collection?
Edit: Found it here, but no mention of what the "style" is called. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-10284891-beaut...

2 points by paulitex 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Pure Javascript, HTML and CSS. No server side at all. Simple and easy."

Surprisingly surprising - the average framework X programmer would automatically use framework X. What a great example of using the right tools for the right job.

4 points by Dramatize 1 day ago 0 replies      
Click on their about page: http://www.joinfireplace.com/#topics/d1e41f00330b11e0a86e27b...

Then click on their logo.

Love the instant load.

5 points by giu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the text it proposes to share on Twitter:

"OMG ShopMob is the next Quora!! #omgnextquora"

1 point by wheaties 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great website. Can't be viewed in landscape mode on android. The socks and twitter link obscure the text. At first I thought that was part of the joke. Whatever. Gave me a laugh this morning and that is worth its weight in gold.
4 points by middlegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not quite complete, nowhere does the description say the team is "passionate" about technology and/or design.
4 points by nhangen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll admit to spending 5 minutes flipping through - well done :)
2 points by armandososa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great! This is how you make a generator. The Malcom Gladwell one was dumb and totally not funny. This one make me laugh.

The names were very catchy too.

9 points by giladvdn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the love guys :)
3 points by fedd 1 day ago 0 replies      
is it a parody on the startup bubble?

how funny it would be if some sophomore really implements one of these mock ideas and become a blnaire

3 points by lurchpop 1 day ago 0 replies      
hahah i always suspected my NoSQL database was missing A SOCIAL TWIST!
1 point by OoTheNigerian 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hehe. Nice one. it is a good way of scanning through a bunch of crowd sourced ideas though.

Back to scanning through.

1 point by localhost3000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you make it so we can submit silly/lousy ideas we've had or heard from others? Or maybe ideas that were rejected from YC? That would be a fun collection to look at.
2 points by hydrazine 1 day ago 0 replies      
StumbleUpon for startup ideas. Awesomely amusing!
Space Stasis (Neal Stephenson) slate.com
313 points by chwolfe 6 days ago   71 comments top 14
22 points by sophacles 6 days ago 5 replies      
This is a pretty thought provoking article. I've always really enjoyed Neal Stephenson's odd perspective on things -- in fact, I always want to smack people who complain about his stories' content and ending situations, and tell them "That's not the point, read the descriptions of things dammit.". The thing I really enjoyed was the bit about "the catch is it has to be the size and shape of a hydrogen bomb".

Anyway that aside, it really brings up the old infrastructure problem -- Large investment in infrastructure is a two-edged sword, bringing both benefit and lock in, and when it comes time to change there is lots of debate. I think Neal either misses or avoids a big part of the argument here -- infrastructure is turned into the bad-guy and the good guy. People don't see the benefits it has brought for a myriad of reasons - they have internalized it, they are not in the class of society that directly gets money for it (and the general improved life isn't apparent because their neighbors are in the same boat), they are afraid of tax increases (or lack of tax cuts), they don't understand the current tech, and figure that "it has problems so anything else we do won't fix it either", it has broken society in the following ways...

Really all of this though is just setup. The way I see it, large scale tech and infrastructure projects are hard to get at and harder to revamp because they are just too easy to target with populist attacks from all sides. The issue is usually complex, but easy to attack with a simple disingenuous quip. Doubly so when the alternative is something that sort-of works, because then the quip doesn't even need the effort of disingenuety, just a mean spirited "they are trying to change the perfectly good stuff we have just to take it away from us, and ignoring everything else to fix"

I have no idea of the solutions we could offer to these types of scenarios, but I do think that somehow we need to find a way to look at these piles of infrastructure we have an find ways to make them better. To do that we need to get around the "infrastructure problem".

27 points by hartror 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am sure many people are wondering about the alternative to giant explosive tin cans:


12 points by mbrubeck 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's not mentioned in the article, but in addition to his work as a writer, Neal Stephenson once worked as an advisor to Blue Origin, the spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin is focused on suborbital space flight using rockets. But I remember Stephenson making some vague statements about his work there (at a reading of Quicksilver at the University of Washington) that included research into space elevators and other less-proven technologies.

11 points by quickpost 6 days ago 4 replies      
I'm surprised Stephenson didn't touch on SpaceX's potential as a game changer. The biggest "next" step to increased space access, is a vastly cheaper, more efficient, and potentially more reliable orbital rocket. And, SpaceX is doing exactly that!

As Musk is so fond of saying, the existing options are the Lamborghini's of launch vehicles, whereas he's trying to build the Honda. Safe, reliable, and cheap!

I have a lot of hope that we will have a new Space Renaissance in our lifetimes and I think the work that SpaceX, and other companies is doing will be instrumental in getting us to Mars and beyond.

12 points by bkudria 6 days ago 1 reply      
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to read "Mother Earth Mother Board", written by Stephenson and published in Wired in December 1996. It's a long and fascinating look at the world of undersea cabling, and it's chock-full of super-interesting facts.

Full giant extremely-long and interesting article here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr.html

10 points by Vivtek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ha: "[After all,] the modern petroleum industry is a direct outgrowth of the practice of going out in wooden, wind-driven ships to hunt sperm whales with hand-hurled spears and then boiling their heads to make lamp fuel."

God, that guy has a way with words.

5 points by uvdiv 6 days ago 2 replies      
>The above circumstances provide a remarkable example of path dependency. Had these contingencies not obtained, rockets with orbital capability would not have been developed so soon, and when modern societies became interested in launching things into space they might have looked for completely different ways of doing so.

>Before dismissing the above story as an aberration, consider that the modern petroleum industry is a direct outgrowth of the practice of going out in wooden, wind-driven ships to hunt sperm whales with hand-hurled spears and then boiling their heads to make lamp fuel.

Is he seriously citing the adoption of petroleum fuels as an example of path dependency?

6 points by mncolinlee 6 days ago 1 reply      
This article reflects a constant theme in American innovation. Capitalism by itself does not demand innovation, but its militant thirst for resources does. What Stephenson calls lock-in is a product of a system that demands maximal efficiency of resources within an organization, but huge waste across the culture. Think of the empty flatbeds driven across Iraq to inflate cost plus contracts, drug companies competing to produce chemical analog drugs, or three drug stores selling identical products on a single corner.

The modern Capitalist attitude among modern business schools is that research and development is a cost center which must be minimized. This was a major element of Carly Fiorina's plan to cut HP to profitability. However, tremendous resources are thrown into marginal technologies in order to redundantly market and protect them.

Most great innovations in American culture seemed to occur due to a great existential need by our military. The Internet was designed as a communications network to survive nuclear attack. Rockets, as Stephenson pointed out, were improved for ICBMs. Most alternative fuel research is funded by the DoD to provide alternatives for tanks and jets in case our nation gets cut-off from its oil supply.

As someone who has run for office twice, I deeply understand that lobbyists exist largely to make money flow regardless of the suitability of a given contractor or product. I doubt our current military-industrial-congressional complex is independent enough to provide groundbreaking developments when incremental improvements suffice. Military lobbyists have become too powerful and too monetarily influential to the candidate that wins.

4 points by crikli 6 days ago 7 replies      
Reading this article raises a question that I ask as devil's advocate (mostly): why do we need to get into space?

I can think of three reasons:
1) We need to put up comsats.
2) Military superiority
3) Because we can and it's cool.

To the first, as the article stated the sky's already getting a bit full as there are only so many comsat "slots"

To the second, SDI never really worked and that threat doesn't exist anymore.

To the third, well...is it worth the brajillions? I personally think it is because we don't know what's out there, but that's a really poor sales pitch. :)

Perhaps it's my limited imagination and understanding, but I'm unable to conjure the reward that offsets the risks/costs.

2 points by tsotha 6 days ago 0 replies      
>But we are not making any serious effort as a society to cross those valleys. It is not clear why.

Because what we have works well enough for the task at hand. The problem, which Stephenson alludes do earlier in the article, is space just isn't proving to be as useful as we had anticipated. We're already doing pretty much everything that you can justify from an economic perspective. Activities like asteroid mining and space solar power aren't going to make sense for centuries even if we dramatically cut the cost of $/kg to orbit.

So sure, we could do the same things more cheaply after a huge investment in, say, tethers. But so what? How does it make sense to spend trillions on a new launch technology when you could use that money to buy all the conventional rockets you'll need for the next 50 years.

4 points by l3amm 6 days ago 1 reply      
TL;DR version (though you should just read it): The space industry is a great example of path dependency and lock-in in innovation. The reasons why we use rockets to launch satellites are historical dating back to the days of Hitler and the H-Bomb. After trillions spent on developing ICBMs capable of crossing the world, our governments are 'locked-in' to using rockets to get things into space. Using rockets for this purpose is not nearly as efficient as other methods, but we have perfected that practice to the point of perfection. In order to increase space accessibility we need to "cross-the-valley" to another technology, but since it has taken so much money (path-dependent) we are locked-in, and it will be very hard to innovate in this space.
2 points by neutronicus 6 days ago 0 replies      
His points translate more or less directly to nuclear fission - Uranium-fueled light water reactors are the result of another "hill-climbing process" and other reactor designs (HTGR, LFTR, etc.) receive almost no commercial attention, in large part due to the regulatory, accounting, and insurance burden of proof that any new design has to meet.
1 point by ZeroGravitas 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth noting that the article that always gets cited every time the Dvorak keyboard gets mentioned, ("Fable of the Keys", claiming that it's a myth that it is more efficient than Qwerty) is based on the near religious belief amongst certain groups of economists that path-dependency of this sort doesn't exist.

They believe we use rockets/Qwerty/Windows because they are the best and the all seeing market has chosen wisely, not because of a series of effectively random decisions and coincidences that occured in the past.

0 points by bioh42_2 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great article but the modern oil industry did not grow out of whale hunting. In fact it bankrupted whale hunters because it provided cheaper oil.

Also we would only end up as "the Ottoman empire of the 21st century" if someone else creates a radically superior technology which we spectacularly fail to copy, reproduce, or simply license form them.

I think the sad truth is, there just isn't much to do in space if all you have is a cheap and easy way to escape earth's gravity.

Sure space tourism would be fun for a while. But at some point we need to either terraform something or decide to live in city sized spaceships, THEN you'd have a real incentive to innovate launch vehicles.

Ditch Starbucks and work at the library 52tiger.net
315 points by apress 1 day ago   205 comments top 63
49 points by edw519 23 hours ago 6 replies      
Maybe we're lucky in Pittsburgh, but we have the best of both worlds at the main branch of the Carnegie Library. You can take a tour of where I work 2 or 3 days per week:


It's fantastic. It was built by Andrew Carnegie in 1895 and most of it is original. I get inspiration from the 20 foot ceilings and hand made ornamentation everywhere you look. They simply don't build things like this any more. There are quiet reading rooms, large tables, plenty of light, and oh yeah, a Crazy Mocha coffee shop in the building. I use a cell phone dongle on my laptop and most people know that email is my preferred communication method.

If I need a break, I can look at priceless artifacts in the Carnegie museum through the windows in the open stacks. Or just get the world's most disgusting hot dog at the "O" a block away. If I need inspiration, that'll either make me or break me.

One of these days, I'd like to make the claim that some incredible technology of the 21st century was conceived in an edifice borne out of the some of the best technology of the 19th century.

"My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth." - Andrew Carnegie at the Dedication of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, November 5, 1895.

36 points by alexophile 23 hours ago replies      
In my (biased, but well-founded) experience, it comes down to a question of whether I'd rather be distracted by a cute girl or an old man getting reprimanded for looking at dirty pictures.

[bg: I really like libraries - worked at one in the suburbs in high school and have since moved to the city, which exaggerated the weird bits]

One thing that's worth noting: if you're on a college campus, a great place to find some legit quiet time is in departmental libraries, especially the social sciences.

9 points by SwellJoe 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I have a 3G/4G modem with unlimited use (from Clear), and no longer consider WiFi availability as an important part of the decision making process of where to work. I'm currently camped in the desert in Southern California, 35 miles from the nearest "big" city (Brawley, which is not very big, but it does have a Walmart).

But, I never have been able to work in coffee shops. I can't think long enough with all the distractions to do anything of real value. Email, sure. Browsing reddit, no problem. But, actual work? No way. Library would probably work, though I've only tried it a few times when I was in Canada and didn't have 3G; it didn't work very well, as the Internet was always too slow or broken.

12 points by dhyasama 23 hours ago 4 replies      
I work out the Columbia University libraries, although I'm not a student. For $500/year you can become a Friend of the Libraries and have access to all the libraries. It's a bargain if you consider how much you would spend at a coffee shop. Also, like the article says, fewer distractions and much more space.
20 points by Roritharr 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, actually i did work at the library, but i changed for one reason to my local coffeeplace: taking and making calls.

Thats the one reason i've left the library. I tried a starbucks for working but he is right, the tables are not big enough etc, so i actually went to a local coffeeshop and talked to the owner about me liking to work at his place.

I made a deal with him, i did all the quick-wins of online advertisement for him, (it's in germany so: qype, facebook, twitter, simple page with a fair amount of seo).
For this i got my special table, big enough for everything i would ever need(i could easily place 2 macbooks + papers on it) + a coffee and bagle flatrate for a year.

I think we both made a good deal.

6 points by ben1040 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Best thing I've ever done. I work for a university and happen to live a few blocks away, so I will go to their library to work on my side projects. They close at 2AM and I've found a nice room there where undergrads don't seem to want to wander, so it's a perfect place to work.

It's quiet, and I've been conditioned from years of schooling that when I'm sitting at a table at the library, I ought to be working and not slacking. And, I can access journals, news archives, Safari/O'Reilly books, and all sorts of other useful resources while on the library wireless network.

I can still even get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop in the library for cheaper than Starbucks, and it comes right out of my paycheck.

11 points by eavc 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great point. For the less mature, I think the library helps strip away the pretense a bit too. Sipping lattes and being on Twitter seem to go together. Being at the library and doing real work seem to go together too.
11 points by pavel_lishin 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Starbucks still charges for WiFi? I thought they did away with that.

In any case, I always got around it by pretending to be an iPhone. :)

6 points by abyssknight 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My wife actually works at and for the library. Trust me when I say, you definitely don't want to work there. The amount of riff raff that hangs around that joint is just not worth it. People get trespassed, throw fits, steal DVDs, look at all manner of inappropriate material, and even straight up make scenes. The bathrooms are often vandalized with bodily excrement and the couches, as comfy as they may be, are also covered in the same if the cleaners haven't come that day. There are plenty of other coworking spaces you could join or support. Do yourself a favor, check them out.
1 point by dfox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I actually like to work in establishment that is weird amalgamation of coffeshop and rock club. During normal day hours it is almost empty and distraction free, but you can distract yourself if you want to.
6 points by silentbicycle 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Previous discussion of a similar post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=758458
2 points by neild 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the distractions of a good coffee shop. I like being someplace with music playing and people wandering through. It provides engagement for the parts of my brain I don't use when working.

My favorite coffee shops are loud enough that I'm not distracted by other people's conversations. Either the music is loud enough to drown them out, or enough people are talking at once that it all blends into a meaningless susurration. A place which is too quiet--like most libraries, actually--amplifies distractions.

7 points by anthonycerra 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Working in a library is second to none, but the advantage Starbucks has over the library is the late closing. University library hours are one thing, but regular ol' public libraries close too early.
3 points by dlevine 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I've tried working in the library on a number of occasions. The one bad thing I've discovered is that the WIFI sucks at pretty much every public library I've worked at. And I think that's a sample size of 4 or 5 libraries. I live almost right next to the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, and every time I've gone there to work, I've left after a while because the Internet was too slow or didn't work quite right.

So if I want to get any coding done, and need access to the Internet, I have found the library to be a pretty bad place. If I'm just doing some quiet reading, the library can be great.

4 points by erikpukinskis 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've tried to work at libraries in the past, but more often than not they block port 22, which means no workie for me.

Yes, I could set up a proxy server on EC2 or something. Or I could go to a coffee shop.

3 points by siculars 23 hours ago 1 reply      
++. I don't know why more people don't do this. The library is a great place to work - for free - and it comes with built in offline distractions for when you need to step away from a problem. I used to spend a lot of time at Columbia University's Butler library.

Libraries are also a great place to get internet access. I spent a lot of time in local libraries while traveling around New Zealand.

1 point by sudonim 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A few years ago when I was trying to start something in Boston I was working in the Public Library but ran into the same problem with the homeless. I wrote about it a little tongue-in-cheek. I was younger and maybe a little looser with my words:


It was later picked up by the Boston Globe

5 points by T_S_ 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Or a hacker space. Lots of like minded people to share ideas with, help, and be helped by.

My favorite is Hacker Dojo in Mountain View. What's yours?

3 points by peregrine 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is spectacular for small towns or smaller regional libraries but have you ever been to a large city library? It brings out some of the weirdest people.

Collegiate libraries in my experience are nice, but can get crowded at times.

1 point by akgerber 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Libraries are also available just about everywhere in the US. I was bike touring this summer and was doing a little freelancing on my netbook. I could stop in a good library in just about any town of 500+ (and definitely a county seat) and pick up wifi & charge everything in a power outlet.
2 points by ConceptDog 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll echo the same as most other posters: Internet is the limiting factor.

I love working there. No distractions is a great way to shut out the world and focus. My local libraries limited internet access to an hour a day. If 3g was cheaper in Canada, I'd just man up and get a stick or tether to my cell, but I'd need a line of credit to make that happen.

1 point by nir 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I find that one of the most productive places for me are hotel rooms. For some reason I seem to get a lot of work done in a hotel room in a foreign country. If you need to make a living while working on your project, a Sales Engineer type role that has you traveling a lot (trains/planes aren't bad for concentrating as well) is in my experience a great way to do that.
2 points by motters 18 hours ago 1 reply      
That's ok provided that you have a local library. In the UK at present there is a concerted campaign on behalf of the government and local councils to shut libraries down.
1 point by justinph 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The internet at the Minneapolis Public Libraries block port 22 and filter the internet. No looking at Flickr for you!

The Minneapolis Public Library merged with the county a year ago, and I'm not sure if the policy changed.

1 point by b3b0p 21 hours ago 0 replies      
For the introverted moonlighting hacker who doesn't get out much except for the coffee shop, libraries are great for getting a ton of stuff done.

However, for social interaction and meeting people once in a while the coffee shop is a good change and/or alternative. Taking breaks more often works and being strict with your time management works well, but you have to be strict when your in the coffee ship from my experience. Meet lots of new interesting people too.

I like both, it will depend on my mood too. I say use both if you can. Where I live the coffee shop (not a big chain), is much more convenient though and mostly filled with students from the local university.

3 points by wave 23 hours ago 2 replies      
It doesn't have to be either Starbucks or a library. It can be both.
2 points by d5tryr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I work at a large public library that actively encourages work of all kinds within.

Free wifi, power points for recharging laptops (indoors and in the gardens surrounding), free bookable meeting rooms, designated quiet and non-quiet areas, a cafe, and even a recording studio.

Libraries are torch bearers of civilisation, and in an age when Alexandria has been reborn in an ethereal form, they are devoted to sustaining culture and knowledge in whatever manner is required.

1 point by aplusbi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have occasionally brought my laptop to the library near my office to work. However if I'm at home and want to head out, the nearest coffee shop is 4 blocks away and the nearest library is 20.
2 points by nhangen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This debate is exactly why I'm looking at co-working. I've yet to try it, but the local shop (ideafield Tampa) is only $99/month + a $25 one-time desk fee. That's not bad.
1 point by DanLar75 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally did this for over a year (Springfield, Missouri) in our kickass library downtown. Great coffee shop nearby, quiet, plenty of books (doh) and magazines to read as break entertainment and just fantastic.
2 points by tylerrooney 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wondered this as well when I lived in Seattle. The public library system in that city is phenomenal. Many of the small branches have nice modern designs and you can always go to the Central Library which has tons of desk space, power outlets, and window seating. Internet access wasn't blazing but I never had issue with blocked ports nor was it ever "too slow to do work".

Not sure about all the branches but the Capitol Hill branch has a decent sized meeting room which a monthly Tech Startup meetup used to use (though that was 3 years ago now).

1 point by SystemOut 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the library over Starbucks (or other coffee shops) but our local county libraries aren't open 7 days a week anymore due to budget cuts.

I'll have to try the local community college library though -- I hadn't really considered it in the past.

1 point by mkramlich 13 hours ago 0 replies      
good article! more accurate to say that libraries are different, better in some ways, worse in others. take advantage of this fact.
2 points by neworbit 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Combine the two and work at your local Barnes and Noble - they often have a coffee shop and areas for you to spread out and read/work/etc
1 point by famousactress 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Good reminder to finally go try this... but honestly, it is the phone usage that's worried me. I hop on Skype many times a day, and the overall noise-floor at a coffee shop makes it possible to do so without bothering anyone (I use earbuds, so hearing isn't generally an issue). I think our library has a nice outdoor area though.. might be okay to take calls out there.
1 point by krosaen 22 hours ago 0 replies      
we conduct our monthly usability studies at the library in two adjacent study rooms. quiet and no bullshit internet, skype screen sharing is no problem :)
2 points by eduardo_f 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That's how we got started. Our university let us book private rooms for 2 hours in a row, so we reserved 6 hours every day (we're 3). We did that for 3 months. The library manager thought we were doing some class project and helped us get a good room every day :)
1 point by trevorturk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working from the British Library in London lately, and it's been great. If you're working at a library, though, please do consider making a donation. Sure it's free, but...
1 point by sabat 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My local branch of the SF Peninsula library (Redwood Shores if you have to know) has a cafe with wifi and plenty of wall sockets. Nice place to work.

As others noted, hacker work spaces are also good.

1 point by sgt 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This may seem radical but... how about working in an actual office? You can get your own office. Room to spread out, no noise. You can still go out to Starbucks in your break, to get that vibe feeling.
2 points by bricestacey 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Many academic libraries are open to the public and have better accommodations. I live in Boston so it's academic library heaven.
1 point by JacobIrwin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to take this advice. The math alone tell me I could afford 2-5 new startups a year with the money I waste on the impulse purchases of food/drinks.
1 point by noodle 22 hours ago 0 replies      
love the idea, in theory. in practice, i'd have to drive to library, but can walk to any number of coffee shops or book stores instead.

much easier to execute for a student.

1 point by stevejalim 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Before I got a proper office, I'd have loved to have worked at my local library when I needed a break from working in the house. Only problem: the library (like most UK ones, I imagine) won't let members of the public plug in laptops for power. :o(
2 points by freddier 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I tried, I honestly tried. The result was they have really uncomfortable chairs and the bandwidth is really bad. The silence and concentration is good but I have a headset anyway.

The chairs are not really a deal breaker, but the bandwidth totally is.

1 point by marknutter 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Libraries are terrible for one reason: the hours are terrible. End of story.
1 point by thesash 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I have the same problem today that I had back in college- no caffeine at the library. I love working at the library, especially university libraries, but I need a steady stream of caffeine in order to do my best work. If they had a coffee maker at the UCLA library, I'd be sold.
2 points by cowmixtoo 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, I echo many of the reservations of working at my local public library: can't make calls, horrible hours of operation, etc.

I'll add one more thing: horrible network filtering.

1 point by localhost3000 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Boston public is a fantastic place to be productive. Beautiful structure. People are very respectful of the 'this is a library, stfu' rule, free wifi, and in the summer they host live music in the courtyard. One of the most laid back and under-estimated places in the entire city.
1 point by tarellel 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer to find a nice quite place at the local college (which I graduated from years ago). Its got highspeed and unrestricted internet, since its a learning environment its generally distraction free and usually somewhat quite. And no one frowns at you if you've spread paperwork, plans, books, a laptop, etc. all over a desk or table. And I for one seem to be highly productive doing work in a learning environment.
1 point by socialized 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This holiday season I was in State College, PA and the local Schlow Library was a great place to work and much quieter and more comfortable than the coffee shop. - http://www.schlowlibrary.org/ - Since then I try to find a library when I am on the road.
1 point by kadavy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I did some work at the main branch of the Chicago Public Library yesterday. It was okay, but full of homeless people and not really all that quiet.

The Lincoln Park Whole Foods is my new favorite spot. I work all afternoon, have a really healthy dinner, then do some writing over a wine flight.

1 point by acconrad 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This post is neglecting to list the most obvious reason of all to work at the library - a wealth of reference information (in...gasp!...something you can hold and read in any light!)
2 points by JoeAltmaier 23 hours ago 0 replies      
...while they still exist.
1 point by krschmidt 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Internet speed can also be an issue, for good or bad. I'll hit the coffee shop if I'm syncing with a server regularly or know I'll be researching a bunch, but the I'll hit the library if I want the internet to feel like dial-up.
1 point by timmins 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I would agree with working at library. But I haven't been able to overcome one notable issue:

Saturday 10AM - 5PM
Sunday 12PM - 4PM

Saturday is a possibility but Sunday is a joke.

1 point by psb 23 hours ago 2 replies      
My bank has a little lobby with a coffee machine where I and a couple others hang out and work. I like to stand up while I work and they have a couple taller tables that work nicely for me.
1 point by hyperbuddha 18 hours ago 0 replies      
May I recommend coworking. It's the best of the library and Starbucks with the added bonus of great networking opportunities.
1 point by shortlived 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like people need to open more hacker work spaces.
1 point by joelrunyon 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Stay at Starbucks. I'll take the Library & keep it to myself.
1 point by p90x 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't go to the library. I don't want people taking my seat.
1 point by pdeva1 17 hours ago 0 replies      
or you could just work at home...
-2 points by sfphotoarts 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"one time a woman asked me to troubleshoot her connectivity issues. Sorry, lady, but I'm trying to work here."

I stopped reading at that point.

Show HN: My 4-hour project, already profitable snowday2011.com
307 points by guynamedloren 6 days ago   141 comments top 34
100 points by guynamedloren 6 days ago replies      
I know this is not the norm for projects here on Hacker News and I realize that it may be seen as rather exploitive, so here's a very very brief background and my thought process:

- Idea was conceived around 2am this morning. Saw a few events on facebook picking up speed (hundreds of thousands of attendees) so decided to leverage that instant-market

- Wasn't sure whether or not it would work, but I didn't have too much to lose ($8 url and a few hours) so I went for it and started hacking away

- Around 10am the project was launched, complete with a website, domain name, and orignal t-shirt design, all done by me

- 4 minutes later the first orders came in, thus paying for the domain name and becoming profitable (minus my time value)

- Since then the site has gone slightly viral, with several thousand hits, hundreds of "likes" and a bunch of tweets (not to mention t-shirt sales)

- Became the "official t-shirt" and event photo for the Snowpocalypse 2011 facebook event with 300,000 attendees. That's a nice little market to advertise to, no?

This is really just a social + eCommerce experiment with a taste of vitality. While I have designed t-shirts and sold them online before, I have never done anything quite like this, ie "hopping on the bandwagon" and riding out a live-fast-die-fast trend. I have also never experimented with any sort of viral platforms. I hope to implement some potentially viral features in my current startup/project, so I figured it would be worth it to test the waters with this mini-project. It was indeed. I learned a lot, and hope to do a case study with detailed steps and statistics in the near future.

8 points by mmaunder 6 days ago 3 replies      
What would be cool, and a nice courtesy gesture since HN gave you so much traffic, is if you shared actual numbers with us. Data we can use. I'd like to see:

Cost price of your tshirts, how many you sold over X time, conversion rate on the site, main sources of traffic, highest conversion source, lowest conversion source, fraud levels if known yet. Thanks.

20 points by bigiain 6 days ago 2 replies      
You might want to keep an eye on that Pay Pal account - the "pay me now and I'll send you $stuff in a few weeks" pattern is exactly the sort of thing that trips their "might be fraud, lock the account and keep all the money for 6 months" response.
6 points by guynamedloren 6 days ago 2 replies      
For what it's worth, I just remembered two somewhat interesting points:

1) There were several copycat shirts that came out on Cafepress/Zazzle shortly after mine started gaining traction. The shirt concept itself is not completely unique as we've all seen "I SURVIVED ..." shirts before, but the copycat shirts used the same font, word placement, and everything. Am I upset? Absolutely not. Those just validate my idea. And I wasn't too worried about losing sales as the copycats were way overpriced ($24+s/h vs $16) with lower quality and far inferior presentation. I would be surprised if they sold any at all, really.

2) The copycat shirts went as far as using very similar descriptions for the shirts. Not only does this show a complete lack of creativity, it shows that I may have been onto something with the humorous/witty/questionable description that has been mentioned here a few times. Is it offensive? Possibly. But I think it did more good than harm (in terms of measurable things like sales and hits).

Just thought I'd throw those thoughts out there for pondering.

18 points by soamv 6 days ago 0 replies      
These costs are already factored into the price of the shirts, so you don't have to pay any additional costs for shipping

Nice touch -- both for including the shipping price in the advertised price and for not calling it "free".

I also thought it's a good idea that you de-emphasized the "2011" in the design, so the shirt remains mostly relevant if there's another "snowpocalypse" sometime :)

5 points by kmfrk 6 days ago 0 replies      

    > Shipping & Handling
> These costs are already factored into the price of the shirts, so you don't have to pay any additional costs for shipping. All shirts will be shipped via USPS First-Class Mail. Shirts will only be shipped within US/Canada/Mexico.

I can't emphasize how brilliant this is. It really is a privilege to only worry about people on in three countries.

You've really done a great job of refining a website - one that was made in four hours to boot!

13 points by komlenic 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow on the idea, wow on the execution, and wow on the design! Out of curiosity:

Domain Name: SNOWDAY2012.COM
Created Date: 03-Feb-2011
Expiry Date: 03-Feb-2012
Registrant Name: Paul Jefferiesr

4 points by joelmichael 6 days ago 1 reply      
Nice work, your good site design is a big part of why it works. Maybe you can turn this into a brand that makes more ironic t-shirts about overblown current events?
8 points by djahng 6 days ago 2 replies      
Where are the shirts being made? Are they made to order and drop-shipped like Cafe Press/Zazzle? Or are you building up inventory?
7 points by genieyclo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would love a blog post describing the steps you used to get to a MVP; how you got the shirts en masse to be printed and shipped, platforms you used to quickly iterate, etc. Really inspiring.
18 points by pitdesi 6 days ago 1 reply      
I would suggest a shirt that says "SNOW MY GOD!!!"
3 points by hartror 6 days ago 1 reply      
Could you post a follow up statistics in a week or so? As this is a one shot sort of deal I wouldn't imagine you feel the need to keep the numbers under wraps.
2 points by jcromartie 6 days ago 1 reply      

Did we already forget about the blizzard last year?


3 points by danielhfrank 5 days ago 0 replies      
I suppose I'll be in the minority on a site run by a VC, but I'm pretty disappointed that a get-"rich"-quick story like this can outpace technical articles here - no doubt the word "profitable" in the title helped. I certainly don't think there's anything "wrong" with what you did, it's just not what I come here to read. I'd always kind of held the belief that this was a site for lots of really smart folks talking about current technical issues, but maybe I've been fooling myself a bit.

Credit where it's due though, the site appears to have been coded up pretty well

6 points by mrchess 6 days ago 3 replies      
What if your orders go viral. How can you possibly fulfill them?
2 points by xtacy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! This reminds me of a similar sieze-the-moment kind of situation: When pluto was no more recognised as a planet, someone printed a shirt that said, "Pluto is still a planet!" (and several variations)...
2 points by Tycho 6 days ago 1 reply      
What did you use to build the page, if you don't mind me asking?

I've been wondering for ages if pages like that share some common tool/template, or it it's just that the 'full width' idea makes them look cut from the same cloth.

7 points by anonymouslambda 6 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats. I suggest a "Snowmageddon" t-shirt as well.
2 points by andresmh 6 days ago 0 replies      
how are you dealing with shipping to Mexico without paying for importation costs?
1 point by random42 6 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very polished for a 4 hour effort. Congrats on being profitable. :)
1 point by u48998 6 days ago 1 reply      
So are we expected to wear these T-Shirts in summer in Chicago? Nice idea at the right time but I am not sure why people would buy such things. But then again, you'd know better.
1 point by cpeterso 6 days ago 0 replies      
This success story reminds me of the just-in-time fashion design companies. They track the big runway shows and can quickly turn-out copy-cat fashions.
3 points by aith 6 days ago 0 replies      
Created an account just to upvote this. Brilliant. There's nothing stopping you (or one of us) from doing it for every significant event in every country...
1 point by ramanujam 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are you taking care of the shipping (after printing the T-shirts locally) or is the wholesaler taking care of everything? Congrats!
2 points by happyrichpinoy 6 days ago 0 replies      
it's only a matter of time until someone will try to capitalize on what's happening right now in Egypt...something like "I survived Mubarak"
1 point by naithemilkman 6 days ago 1 reply      
what stack did you build it on?

Really impressive from conceptual to live site in 8 hours. Your profile says you're currently learning RoR. Is that the stack you built on?

1 point by kalpeshjoshi 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love online shirt designs / prints / creativity. I'm a regular fan of shirt woot, threadless, design by humans, etc. etc. Great job capitalizing on a fast trend, you can use the income to reinvest into other ideas and fast trend products.
1 point by icandoitbetter 6 days ago 0 replies      
You found the opportunity and owned it. I can't see how that deserves any criticism. How much did you make so far?
1 point by lurchpop 6 days ago 0 replies      
keep us appraised of your sales, dude!
1 point by joelrunyon 6 days ago 0 replies      
any word on revenue figures for this? kudos.
1 point by parkq 6 days ago 1 reply      
It might be a sensitive question for you. If you use PayPal as a payment platform, do they charge you income tax or will you have to claim income tax by yourself?
1 point by HackrNwsDesignr 5 days ago 0 replies      
how much are you making?
-4 points by zoowar 6 days ago 1 reply      
When you earn enough to eat, let us know.
The 4-Hour Dentist bygonebureau.com
293 points by zdw 6 days ago   100 comments top 20
56 points by ryanwaggoner 6 days ago replies      
Huzzah! A straw man attack!

Am I seriously the only person on HN who has gotten useful, effective stuff from both of Tim's books? Does everyone just hate him because he's such an effective promoter that they assume he must be selling snake oil?

4HWW led me to quit my job and start freelancing, spend three months traveling through Asia, build some online passive income streams, and generally have a healthier respect towards my time and how I spend it. The 4 Hour Body has led me to completely change my diet over the last 6-8 weeks and I feel incredible, better than I have in a long time.

I know I'm not the only one, but am I the only one on HN?

67 points by jacques_chester 6 days ago replies      
I haven't read any of his books, but as an Australian, Mr Ferris's tone fills me with dread, suspicion and an instinctual need to take the piss.

I've seen various endorsements here on HN of the diet and the training regimen. In both cases I have a point to make: almost all of you are seeing novice gains.

Strength coaches recognise this phenomenon. The novice can see amazing gains in hypertrophy and strength in a short time with very little stimulus because they have never had to adapt before. Their capacity for adaptation is barely tapped by infrequent training and they're coming off a low base. It is not uncommon to see total newbs put on a decent weights program add substantial weight to both bar and body in 8 weeks.

In fact, novices are so underadapted that almost any training at all will see improvements in strength. Riding a bicycle will improve squat maxes, for the novice.

Likewise with diets. Often folk swear by diet X because it works for them. One of three things is usually happening:

1. It's their first diet, and they're simply having a caloric deficit for the first time in their lives.

2. They're still enthusiastic and regimented when they make the endorsement. Boredom has yet to set in and sabotage the gains.

3. They're an experienced dieter, having tried quite a few; but this particular diet just so happens to fit their particular combination of taste, hormonal cycles, insulin resistance, adipose senstivity juuuust right.

It's not linear. Did you gain/lose 10kg this month? Don't count on it next month. Maybe 9. Don't count on it for a year, either. In my first month serious weight training I added 60kg to my squat max. If progress was linear I should be squatting several tons by now.

But it isn't. Eventually you require more and more stimulus to disrupt homeostasis, to force new adaptation of the muscle, bone, tendon, nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

Take my sport: Olympic weightlifting. When I first started I went from naked bar to snatching 60kg in about 6 weeks. On a linear basis I would be snatching 750kg or so at this point, which would make the world-record holder by a factor of 3. Of course that doesn't happen, currently I am just shy of snatching 120kg.

With a goal of snatching 130kg in March, I am now training twice a day, four days a week.

Elite-level international competitors in my sport will train 3-6 times per day, 6 days per week. At the elite level it takes enormous stimulus to cause adaptation. 4 hours per month, let alone per week, just isn't going to work.

One more thing. Apparently Feriss mentions hCG in his book as an aid to sexual performance. Does he mention that its major use as post-cycle therapy for steroid users? Because, to be quite honest, I would be surprised to find any iron sport enthusiast using hCG who wasn't also performing the twist-and-jab exercise first.

33 points by joshkaufman 6 days ago 2 replies      
Much of what Tim Ferriss writes is genuinely useful, particularly when it comes to experimentation, testing, and questioning assumptions.

Unfortunately, these messages are (1) packaged in the form of breathlessly-sold, instant-results snake oil; (2) explicitly modeled on the past 20 years of Men's Health and Cosmopolitan magazine covers; (3) contain obnoxious levels of social signaling and influence-via-association.

The reality is the above three factors are what have contributed the most to his renown. People want to instantly become wealthy, famous, and desirable with zero effort. They want to believe that someone (anyone) can provide these things, and they're willing to pay money on the off-chance they're able to deliver. They want to be associated with someone who travels around the world, hangs out with famous people all day, and seemingly succeeds in everything.

Ferriss promises people exactly what they want, so they buy. Simple as that.

The operative question for all of us on HN: what Ferriss does clearly works. Do you choose to emulate him? Why or why not?

19 points by chrisaycock 6 days ago 4 replies      
That's precisely what I've been thinking about Tim Ferriss. His books look like get-rich-quick nonsense pawned off on the gullible. No notion of the hard work (and natural talent) required to build a great business or become a successful athlete. His next book will surely claim that we can all make Carnegie Hall with minimal practice.
4 points by JacobAldridge 6 days ago 0 replies      
In case you missed the word 'Humour' at the top (I originally did, but I recognised the parody), this link may help save you from wasting the next 3hrs 54mins planning to mutilate a patient - http://mixergy.com/timothy-ferriss-four-hour-body-interview/

I'm hoping somebody can provide a direct link that demonstrates just how wonderfully the OP nailed the style of Tim's book!

6 points by runjake 6 days ago 1 reply      
I lost over 20lbs in January by lazily following Tim's Slow Carb Diet, as described in the book. I'm currently working on a blog entry about my experiences and observations.

I anticipate losing another 15-20lbs this next month. I'll report back then, the next time a 4HB criticism is posted here.

11 points by surlyadopter 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is a hilarious take on Tim Ferriss's style.
4 points by neworbit 6 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoy Tim's books (and find them somewhere between entertaining and useful depending on chapter) but I found this darn near keyboard-kill amusing.

"Be careful of reading health books. You might die of amisprint." - Mark Twain

3 points by zacharycohn 6 days ago 0 replies      
After I watched the Mixergy interview a few weeks ago and read snippets of his books... this is so spot on.
1 point by zdw 6 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else get the Steve Martin Dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors in their head while reading this?


2 points by Dylanlacey 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is a nugget of value to be taken from TF and every single successfully sold diet.

People love a system. LOVE A SYSTEM.

Anything that promises to take the work of determining what will lead to success out of an equation will be wildly popular.

"Always Eat Before 9pm"
"Don't Sell on a Monday"
"Drink 43.2mL of water per dollar you earn"

will all, ALWAYS, be more popular then "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Why do we need to know this? Because your startup will be more likely to succeed if it presents a systematic solution to a problem (OMG OPINION).

1 point by c0riander 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a written, Tim-Ferriss-ized version of those Old Spice commercials!

"Hello, ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he's me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're on a boat with the man your man could smell like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have it, it's an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I'm on a horse."

3 points by kmfrk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes, there is a fine line between parody and imitation.
1 point by wallflower 6 days ago 0 replies      
This essay reminds me of the classic College Admissions Essay from Hugh Gallagher.

    I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone
playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with
unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in
twenty minutes. I...


1 point by stcredzero 6 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by Groxx 6 days ago 0 replies      
>Success comes to those who force reality to bend to their will.

Words of wisdom in any age. Utterly fantastic.

2 points by lanstein 6 days ago 0 replies      
All this talk and not one person has discussed the fifteen-minute O?
1 point by trustfundbaby 6 days ago 0 replies      
I bet Tim Ferriss is somewhere laughing at all this ... all the way to the bank.
3 points by dlsay 6 days ago 1 reply      
I just choked on an almond. That was hilarious and dead on.
2 points by KeyBoardG 6 days ago 0 replies      
Brb... Searching for cod liver oil Syringes on Amazon.
E-ink writing pad, Noteslate. noteslate.com
287 points by markkat 4 days ago   115 comments top 46
32 points by lukifer 4 days ago 3 replies      
I would love to have something like this for sketching out UI/design ideas. Digital tools are typically too bulky, and awkward for collaboration; pencil and paper lack the ability to save and re-edit easily. And at $99, it's cheap enough that I'm willing to gamble on it. Consider me sold once it's available for sale.
5 points by SwellJoe 4 days ago 8 replies      
The last thing I need is another place to write by hand. Handwriting is an incredibly inefficient way to transmit information from brain to computer, especially for me (I'm dysgraphic).

I just want a very long-life note-taking tablet with a decent keyboard. There's a reason the old Tandy 100 is still in use by a handful of journalists. Nothing has really taken the place of it, as far as I know.

The Kindle keyboard isn't comfortable enough to write a book or an article on; phone keyboards are too small and editing too much of a chore (I'd use vim on my Nexus One if it weren't such a damned hassle to hit Esc and some of the other special keys). I currently use a netbook for this purpose, but the battery life is too short at only a couple of hours. I can't go to the park and knock out a chapter in two hours, and rebooting to change batteries every two hours would be a productivity killer, even if I wanted to spend a bunch of money on spares and go to the trouble to keep them charged.

I guess I'm just not the niche for this device, as I can't imagine ever using it for anything.

36 points by kmfrk 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like how they emphasize "lack of internet" as a feature. :)

It really can be the bane of productivity.

10 points by famousactress 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome concept. I was thinking about this yesterday actually (while looking for the pads of paper I like, which are virtually impossible to find!).. I really think for these products to be successful, there needs to be an obsessive level of thought and craft put into how it feels. For one thing, in some of the screenshots you can see a shakiness in the lines... I've found any of the electronic writing surfaces I've used too sensitive, and without enough tactile feedback. There's a certain friction to pressing a pen into paper that makes for confident lines. I'd like to see this sort of product done really, really well... I'd certainly love to abandon my obsession for pen & paper.
14 points by dsplittgerber 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is this a joke or is this really just a legal pad for $99? (Serious question.)
12 points by micheljansen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am pretty sure this is a hoax (too many jokes in the copy below the image), but I think an "e-ink thin client" seriously is not a bad idea. Think livescribe, but bidirectional (not just the writing on the pad is saved, but it can also be viewed). Link it to a web service a la Evernote and go :)
6 points by jarin 4 days ago 0 replies      
At first I thought "Oh, that's a pretty cool way to sketch wireframes." Then I thought "Holy crap, if I take this to client meetings I can easily raise my rates by $20/hour."

Kind of like how it was bringing an aluminum Powerbook to a client meeting before Macs got popular again :)

3 points by mikedouglas 4 days ago 3 replies      
Isn't the poor refresh rate one of the disadvantages of e-ink displays? And isn't the long battery life a function of use (ie. e-ink displays only use significant power when refreshing)? Writing on displays also has texture and resolution issues that can't be ignored: it needs to look and feel like a paper drawing.

Lots of hard questions, but if they pulled it off, I'll be first in line.

8 points by GBond 4 days ago 0 replies      
14 points by juiceandjuice 4 days ago 1 reply      
This would be twice as cool if it had two nobs and shake to erase.
6 points by DanielStraight 4 days ago 1 reply      
I could see myself buying this on one condition: absolutely zero lag. If I move the stylus and then watch it fill in after me, I'm not buying. Otherwise (especially with the possibility of solar power), I might buy.
11 points by tjpick 4 days ago 2 replies      
Perfect. This is exactly what I've been waiting for - a low power consumption e-ink input device.
3 points by amalcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice. Take one of these, stick an Eye-Fi[1] in it, set up a few background jobs that interact with my calendar, and not only can I take an unlimited amount of notes (with a pen!), but they can be automatically categorized by date and context with no special action on my part. Throw up an Apache instance, and I can access them from anywhere.

I don't exactly wish I were taking classes just so I could do that, but if I were, oh man would this be useful. At that price, it's probably worth picking up as-is when it comes out.

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Eye-Fi

8 points by eli 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since their server seems to be buckling: http://noteslate.com.nyud.net/
4 points by Tcepsa 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very promising, and I hope that they're able to pull it off (especially at that price point--it has enough potential that I might be willing to buy it sight-unseen for $99... heck, I'm considering putting in a pre-order already!)

Reasons that I want one:
* Optionally in color! (I like the blackboard aesthetic, to say nothing of green-on-black)
* Lightweight
* Long battery life
* Ability to read text files (on the dev roadmap, at least)
* Open-source firmware (in case the ability to read text files doesn't manifest itself quickly enough for my tastes, and for general hackability)
* Central place that I can keep all my notes and easily take them with me pretty much anywhere

Additional things that I probably need in order to have it be more than a fun toy:
* Responsiveness (as others have mentioned, too much lag between pen motion and stroke appearance is probably a deal-breaker, though if it only happens occasionally it's okay; my current tablet has the same problem and it's still usable for me)
* Better navigation (it seems pretty shoddy; I don't want to have to flip through a hundred pages to find a particular note... and once I do, how do I get back to the front page?)
* Hierarchical ability to group pages together (so I can keep my shopping lists in one place, my notes for classes in a different place--sets of pages grouped together by specific lecture, which are then grouped together by class--and my todo list in another place...)

Additional things that I want but don't need:
* Ability to use external keyboard to write to text files (this would be awesome, but I can also appreciate that it might go against their ethos)
* PDF and text file annotation
* Infinite paper with scroll and zoom (I'm less certain of this, though; seems like it would be great for mindmapping and stuff like that, but it also seems like it could be easy to lose things off in the middle of nowhere)
* Ability to rearrange text (rectangle/lasso select and then drag/cut/paste)
* Tactile sense of drawing on paper (This would be awesome, but my tablet works pretty well for me without it)

6 points by divtxt 4 days ago 5 replies      
Am I the only one who thinks this is an obvious fake?!!!

180 hrs battery, usb, SD, wifi, mp3 player - all for $99! Hardware guys please let us know if this is even feasible and what the BOM would be!

I'm guessing us doodlers & sketchers will have to wait a few more years.

EDIT: just saw the Boogie Board post and clearly I'm wrong about the feasibility of a basic slate. Someone please make one: just needs sketch and USB for charging and export. All day battery and raw bitmap is enough to start!

4 points by jcr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great submission markkat and don't worry about it too much. Whether or not this specific company is real, I'm not sure, but I am certain the tech to do a product like this exists.
3 points by misterbwong 4 days ago 1 reply      
If this existed, I'd buy it on the spot even though I'm far from an early adopter when it comes to electronics.

Too bad it doesn't-the lack of a next page button and actual product pictures (among other things) signals this.

Oh well, back to dreaming about the MS Courier Concept.

4 points by joeld42 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great, I hope it's real someday.

one thing was funny: "No superfluous features" then a paragraph later "it's an MP3 player!"

3 points by hsmyers 4 days ago 0 replies      
If it would display a background of my choice, grid or typical notebook lines then it would very quickly replace several of my 'must have' travel items--- where travel is a variation of 'don't leave home without it'...
2 points by aneth 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by lunchbox 4 days ago 0 replies      
E-Ink has a very slow screen refresh rate, so I'm skeptical this can deliver a snappy writing experience. I have found writing on a laggy screen to be quite unpleasant.
3 points by marknutter 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this truly better than a real notebook and pencil? I'm having a hard time convincing myself it is...
1 point by Sidnicious 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Boogie Board (http://www.myboogieboard.com/) is worth a look for anyone interested in this sort of thing.

It's technologically MUCH simpler than this concept " you can't save what you draw " but the response time is instant and it's a real thing, today.

1 point by Groxx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Only black & white? How much more would it cost to get one in, say, 4 levels instead of 2? A couple greys go an extremely long way to making handwriting readable.

4 color model + solar back = note-taker's dream, though. Very interested to see this thing come out. And please please please leave it programmable in some way / shape / form.

3 points by Soapy_Illusions 4 days ago 0 replies      
This seems absolutely perfect for note taking during lectures
Right now I either:

Use a pad of paper and lose all my notes over time
Use my laptop and cringe every time the professor uses a symbol I can't easily type

This seems perfect

1 point by dschobel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Paper for everyone!

Silly slogan when you're trying to replace something low cost and pervasive.

2 points by ashwinl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Expandable memory via SD + PDF viewer + hierarchical folder structure + E-ink in a form/fit as shown would be perfect for my academic needs of reading through journal papers.
1 point by guynamedloren 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can we call this "the last notebook you'll ever need"?

Just brilliant. This is one of those things you kick yourself for not thinking of. Ridiculously simple, yet infinitely useful. I wish the price was just a bit lower, because for the same price (maybe slightly more) you can have a low-end Android tablet with similar functionality and more bang for your buck.

2 points by vamsee 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think this has a LOT of potential. As a web developer, it would help me make quick wireframes and share it immediately with my client. This is priceless.
1 point by leif 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apart from "cool", is there a tangible advantage to this over a pad of paper? I don't see one. It looks to me like a future expensive thing I forgot on the bus. I'd also for sure lose the pen and end up using it to support real paper to write on.

Now, if you could do things like zoom, copy/paste, and connect (wifi) with a computer/projector, I could see buying one.

1 point by colbyolson 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like the concept, but one feature that would make this rock is audio recording.

When I'm in class, writing away on notes, I have a hard time listen and writing at the same time. Let me scribble away while the pad records in tandem. That would be neat.

2 points by brokentone 4 days ago 0 replies      
This seems really interesting, and the price is right. Some uses close to my heart could be website wireframing, photography lighting diagrams, drawing out complex math in lectures that isn't easy to type. However, I personally don't have enough art skill to make these work on paper, so this probably isn't for me.
1 point by tungwaiyip 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kindle DX - 24cm diagonal $379

Noteslate - 33cm diagonal $99

I will buy one just for reading PDF. But like a few other commenters, I seriously doubt this is a real product though.

1 point by tychonoff 4 days ago 0 replies      
The NoteSlate is trying to define the product itself, archetype, electronic paper. We are trying to define this archetype for general public, bit against their today`s usual network expectations.


Memo to vendor: edit your copy before releasing it.

3 points by droz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would be cool if you could have something like "crayon physics" on this.
1 point by olalonde 4 days ago 0 replies      
Server seems down. Anyone kind enough to post a link to cached pictures?
1 point by retroguy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been looking for something to replace pen and paper for quite sometime and have never quite taken to any of the available solutions (Livescribe, Tablet PC) but this looks spot on.

I'd have liked to have seen a video though, too early to tell whether it will actually make it to market, as advertised, as polished looking and as low priced.

Fingers crossed.

1 point by kgarten 4 days ago 0 replies      
posted this one two weeks ago, nobody cared ... :)

looks like a neat idea. still I wait to get one to play with.
pdf support seems to be interesting ...

1 point by Vivtek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for this for thirty years.
1 point by gcb 4 days ago 0 replies      
10" is already too big...

A4 is fine for paper because you can fold it if you need.

1 point by newtini 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like it is either a hoax or wishful thinking from someone looking for feedback on a product concept.

1) At $99, the profit margins will be near zero or negative. Remember that Kindle and Nook are both subsidized by the sale of content and this is for 7 inches devices, so it would be hard to make money from an 13 inches e-ink screen with resistive touch at $99.

2) e-ink has a very slow refresh rate, so it won't be able to keep up with someone writing on it.

3) "wi-fi module on request with order", do they have multiple models? One with and one without wi-fi both at the same price, definitely a hoax.

1 point by shawnbaden 4 days ago 0 replies      
A beautiful and dedicated note-taking device.

Microsoft should buy NoteSlate and rename the device the Microsoft OneNote. Have it sync with Microsoft Office OneNote and Office Web Apps.

1 point by kno 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this is pretty, this is the tablet I actually want to use, the price is just the icing on the cake!
2 points by pepijndevos 4 days ago 1 reply      
Service Temporarily Unavailable
0 points by geoffw8 4 days ago 0 replies      
Errr, thats incredible.
Paul Buchheit: The two paths to success paulbuchheit.blogspot.com
284 points by paul 6 days ago   87 comments top 23
59 points by uuilly 6 days ago 3 replies      
The most depressing people I know were the results of either laissez fair parenting or overbearing parenting. If you let a kid do what he wants, he'll eat coco-puffs, watch TV and eventually turn to drugs and booze. If you're constantly on top of him, and if he doesn't burn out, he'll work incredibly hard for a goal that means nothing to him.

I know 30 year olds who can't put a month of work together. I also know 30 year olds who have no idea why they became bankers and they ask their mom permission to switch jobs. Each one is depressing and there is a balance.

44 points by inmygarage 6 days ago 7 replies      
My favorite story from the Quora discussion on Chua's article (http://www.quora.com/Parenting/Is-Amy-Chua-right-when-she-ex...) was this one: "At one point, I attended a "piano camp" with other equally talented white students, and what struck me is that those students actually practiced for hours because they loved music, and genuinely practiced for hour after exhausting hour because they couldn't get enough of the emotional expression that piano afforded them. Piano held none of that for me."

I think it's obvious when someone is truly passionate about something versus just doing it because they think it will get them another carrot.

Is it possible, though, to have a functional society where everyone follows his or her passion? I believe it is, but would be curious to hear thoughts.

18 points by coffeemug 6 days ago 3 replies      
What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it.

Whoever wrote this must not be very good at what they do (assuming they agree with the opinion). Programming was an enormous amount of fun for me, I would have never gotten good at it if it weren't. In fact, everything I ever got good at was tremendous fun. Sometimes it was work and pure misery, but for the most part it was fun. Perhaps others tick differently from me, but based on conversations I had with people that are very good at what they do, I doubt it.

38 points by paulitex 6 days ago 2 replies      
"One of the problems I've faced throughout life is that I'm kind of lazy, or maybe I lack will power or discipline or something."

- The guy who invented Gmail and founded FriendFeed

30 points by tastybites 6 days ago 2 replies      
I wish this tiger mom thing would just die. It's so embarrassing for Asian people that didn't have insane parents.
30 points by SMrF 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ironically my mostly intrinsically motivated life was extrinsically validated while reading this piece.
11 points by zachallaun 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not lazy, I'm just intrinsically motivated. I love that characterization.

In all seriousness, this article hit home for me. I went through high school bored and came out with well above average, but not stellar, grades. I was accepted into a good enough college (where I'm currently enrolled) and have plenty of time to pursue my own interests, one of which is launching a startup. Which I'm doing.

6 points by yarapavan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love this:

It's often said that people become entrepreneurs because they can't handle a regular job. Perhaps these people are simply too "defective" to fit into any mold, or maybe they lack the extrinsic motivation necessary to care about bosses, performance reviews, and other things which are so important for success in the corporate environment.

9 points by derwiki 6 days ago 4 replies      
glad to hear paul thinks my alma mater (CWRU) is 'good enough' ;-)
7 points by ajju 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great post. The reference to Alfie Kohn is worth following up on. His book "Punished by Rewards" changed my world view about what motivates people.
6 points by farout 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you. This is so true: "It takes time to find your internal voice, learn when to trust it, and stop fearing outside opinion."

When I was young I did as I was told. It was easiest way for people to leave me alone so I would have time to do the things I wanted.

Later I always wondered why I was never competing for prizes or honed a specific skill; I was having too much fun doing things that others could care less about. It was a great way of learning about being comfortable with myself.

What great blog post. So well written, I am envious.

2 points by sanj 6 days ago 0 replies      
This rings true to me, and I'm finally following my own intrinsic motivation.

But it can be really hard to find a job that lets you do this. If you do, the first step is to realize you're in a rare position and take advantage of it.

I'm lucky to have a work environment (go ahead and ask) and a home environment that lets me follow this path to the extent possible.

2 points by briancooley 5 days ago 0 replies      
The final paragraph resonates with me. Of all the reasons I have ever considered for finding a more enjoyable but potentially less gainful way to make a dollar, the idea that my four-year-old is watching me both frightens me and builds my resolve the most.
4 points by pyjug 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like to think I'm intrinsically motivated, because I don't like to do the boring, repetitive things at work. On the other hand, I haven't done anything creative myself either. Jeez, I'm confused.
2 points by toadi 6 days ago 0 replies      
People tend to keep telling you have to follow your passion. I'm happy the guy who picks up my garbish every week is doing his job. Will he do it with great passion? Di I care.

Luckily not everyone follows his passion but brings food on the table.

3 points by stevenj 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be interested in reading paul's thoughts on creativity.
2 points by crjvice 6 days ago 0 replies      
The cultural environment has a lot do with it too my friend. As a foreigner, my parents always taught education is the key to success. Obviously, they also forced me play the violin which I profoundly disliked.lol. However, being foreign, as we see the U.S as the land of opportunities, our parents want to make sure that we have a better future than they had back in the motherland. Thereby come the pressure our parents put upon us. Don't you think it is also important to see life from Chua's lenses?
2 points by farout 6 days ago 1 reply      
At Exxon, they used to switch people every several years. The way it worked was:

year 1 - learn to do this new position

year 2 - actually do it correctly

year 3 - now that you can do it correctly, can you improve it? Do you enjoy it and want to stay doing it?

2 points by 6ren 6 days ago 0 replies      
On not wanting to amount to anything, chapter 33, The Tao Is Silent, Raymond Smullyan, p.150-4
1 point by robryan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I guess as a parent you don't really want to encourage your kid to take it easy in high school if they do want to get into college as they might take it to easy. Best I guess to encourage them to do their best without being overbearing so they will only slack off a bit under that level.
1 point by macco 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't believe in the Chinese model, too. But I think it is hard to say what is right or wrong. A lot of really succesful people were forced to work (z.B. Andre Agassi, Paco de Lucia, Mozart ...).
Probably you need both for exelence:
1. you need to absolutely love what you do
2. but sometimes you need some preasure to stick to it.
1 point by alikamp 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice post, but if you just applied yourself more and not be in a rush it would have been better C+
2 points by stretchwithme 6 days ago 0 replies      
I cannot upvote this enough.
Want to be a leader? Wash the Dishes When Nobody Else Will. thesash.me
279 points by thesash 23 hours ago   142 comments top 32
60 points by grellas 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Want to be a great leader? Work hard to develop extraordinary skills. Become an independent thinker and have the courage to follow your ideas. Show respect to others and never think more highly of yourself than you ought. Avoid bad habits of sloth, dissipation, dishonesty, and other qualities that would cause others to lose respect for you. Set goals that challenge you to do your best and follow diligently after them. Apply all this consistently to every part of your life, always striving to better yourself in even the smallest ways while maintaining integrity.

In my student days, I worked in restaurants. I worked with a guy who was a Mexican immigrant, who washed dishes with me for several years in a busy restaurant. He worked hard. He was always upbeat. He never complained. And he radiated a sense of joy all about him. Why? Because he was content with what he was doing while obviously striving to improve himself at the same time. He would often sing while he worked. And that was inspiring. That man might never make a mark in the broader society but I could see he would be a fine leader wherever his life circumstances took him.

These same qualities can be found in the startup world, as nicely reflected in this piece. But they are by no means limited to those who seek success in business. They are life qualities. It profits us all to follow them.

30 points by edw519 21 hours ago replies      
This reminds me of the litmus test my father had in his small business years ago. Every new employee, no matter where they worked, had the same first task: clean the bathroom. Lots of people never made it through the first day.

I guess he figured that the best way to have employees who would "wash the dishes when nobody else will" is to only hire those who would.

51 points by nhashem 22 hours ago 3 replies      
All these "now you're the dishwasher, gg idiot" comments I think are taking this too literally.

We've all probably been "the nice guy" in some situation that did some mundane/tedious task, ended up being that guy forever, and ended up resentful and vowed never to do it again. I don't think this is the point here though.

In my opinion, the easiest way to command respect is to not think about commanding respect. If there's a problem, just solve it, and your peers and subordinates will respect you an order of magnitude more than if you just tried to motivate them with some "problem-solving" Power Point slides.

One of my favorite examples I've seen of "washing the dishes:"

- At a startup myself and four other engineers wanted attend a conference across town. Our cab was running late and we were in danger of missing the first sessions. The CEO chucked his keys at us (he drove a minivan) and his credit card and said, "take my car, it needs gas though so fill it up with my card on the way back."

Did we expect we now had unlimited use of this guy's car forever and abuse it? Of course not. Did we totally respect him for trusting five guys to drive his car and made sure we had enough gas? Yes. Did we notice that he didn't even use the corporate credit card because only about 10% of that full tank of gas would be used for work purposes? Yes.

24 points by clofresh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's funny, when I went to visit a friend at Etsy after work hours, we were chatting in the kitchen and their CEO, Rob Kalin was washing dishes. My friend said to him, "That's awesome that you're the CEO and you're washing the dishes, Rob." And he replied, "Oh, it's better than when I was cleaning the bathrooms."
18 points by sloak 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Reminds me about the story of Netflix CEO. From http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/0...

[... Huffington coaxed Hastings to talk about leadership -- and one early experience that informed his leadership style.

Hastings recalled how, as a 25-year-old software programmer, he would stay up all night, propelled by coffee. He'd leave an array of mugs on his desk. Once a week, he would discover the cups cleaned. One day, he arrived at work at 4 a.m. and walked into the bathroom to discover the company's CEO, sleeves rolled up, washing the collection of nasty cups.

"That whole time, I thought it was the janitor," said Hastings, who said this had been occurring for a year. He asked his boss why. "He said, 'You do so much for this company, this is the only thing I can do for you.' ]

10 points by brudgers 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The article isn't "Want to be a CEO, Was the Dishes..."

Leadership is facilitation, and being a leader ain't the same as being the boss. If dirty dishes are dragging on the team, taking care of them is just being part of the team. People respect supervisors when they believe the supervisor won't ask anyone to do something they wouldn't do themselves.

27 points by divtxt 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Early in my career, I asked a co-worker why he didn't complain about doing the shitty maintenance coding which no one wanted. His reply in essence: because someone has to do the crappy stuff.

My respect for him went up that day, but I discovered the leadership aspect of that attitude only years later when I applied it as a manager. Thank you, Paul!

13 points by jrockway 22 hours ago 6 replies      
Nope, now you're the dishwasher. At least in my experience; if you do something that other people don't want to do, you're now the "that thing" guy for life.
3 points by bugsy 13 hours ago 1 reply      
When I am a guest at someone's house I always stay and help clean up, and wash dishes. Love to do my share.

But it is foolish to be doing janitorial duties at work. A situation a few years ago will serve as an example. As an expert, my time was being billed out to clients at $150/hr and I was getting paid $50 of that. The company did not want to hire more engineers so I was working 60-100 billable hours every week, working massive overtime for which I was not paid since developers are "salary". I had not had a Saturday or Sunday off in over a year.

On top of all this, the company decided to save money by firing the janitorial service, which was being paid $15 an hour, and whose workers earned minimum wage. It was announced that engineers would take turns vacuuming, taking out the trash, and cleaning dishes and and even cleaning out the fridge.

I quit over that. Obviously because I wasn't a team player, right?

4 points by ajaimk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to run the student advisory board for our college. We had a new dean and we were hosting an event for the first time since he arrived. After the event, many people left including some of our members and we had 2 rooms to clean up. We all went into the first one cleaned it up and came to the second room to find our dean wiping all the tables. We hadn't asked or expected him (He's the fricking DEAN!!) but he took it on himself to help out.

The trust he built in the students carried on and we still have a great relationship. Washing the dishes indeed.

11 points by JoeAltmaier 23 hours ago 1 reply      
...once. Just show that even you aren't too good to do the hard stuff. Don't waste your time washing dishes when you actually need to be doing other things.
5 points by hammock 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't actually see washing the dishes as a "morale boosting" action. It's more about taking initiative. Dirty dishes is one of those public goods problems, where multiple people's dishes build up in the sink and no one washes them. The one who takes initiative and washes the whole sink as opposed to just his own is looked at as a leader, someone responsible and trustworthy, not necessarily a dishes bitch.

Being a real leader is recognizing that there is no glamour in being responsible for the lives and fates of many; that's only a perception that others project onto you. It's a humbling job.

10 points by zefhous 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It worked for Jesus...
4 points by Xrissley 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Puzzling, the underlying arrogance of most people commenting against the article here.
They really seem to have such a high view of themselves, their time, their value, the optimal use of all this by their employers, and a very low level of humility.

Sounds like most of them really never had to work (just work, do a job to get money in) hard for food, and are bathed in the comfort of having learned a bit of computer science or something modern that doesn't get you too dirty, being equipped with a well functioning brain, and with all that, theydo really seem to think that it makes them a marvel and a gift to mankind.
Wonder how many of them will end up being good leaders.

Somehow they haven't motivated me to work for or with them.
Guess that is a first clue.

(and _I_ am the first to know that _I_ don't have leadership quality. But I have had the chance to observe and work for amazing leaders. Humility always was a key point of their personality)

4 points by nuclearsandwich 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I love to do the dishes. Does this make me a natural born leader?

In seriousness though I feel like the best way to manage in situations of ambiguously shared responsibility is not to be afraid of getting stuck with it because the slackers start to feel embarrassed around you and either pitch in or leave.

There's little more cathartic in life than actual physical toil and while doing the dishes isn't all that rough, it presents an opportunity to occupy the hands and let the mind wander.

1 point by OllieJones 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Right on.

Also, clean up the bathrooms when somebody's coming for an interview. Wipe the floor under the urinals and around the crappers. Why make a potential co-worker wonder whether working with you is worth living in filth?

But, it's also good leadership to put up a note saying "There's a rumor going around that this kitchen (or bathroom) is magic, and cleans itself. It's false! false! Please do your part!"

9 points by luminarious 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I do believe humility is a seriously underrated trait. You do the thing that needs to be done, no fanfare necessary.
1 point by elq 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by jai_vasanthan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article. In a startup environment, you should always see people taking responsibility whenever there is a crisis. They inspire the people around them to come up with solutions for the pressing issues.

If you see someone who doesn't take responsibility and is always trying to run from it, or is always whining and never a part of the solution. Fire Them. Those who take responsibilities and are atleast willing to be part of the solution have the DNA to be in the startup culture.

2 points by bootload 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"... Want to be a leader? ..."

Don't do what I say, do as I do ~ http://www.eduqna.com/Quotations/792-quotations-11.html

1 point by skrish 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In my first job at a startup, the bathroom was dirty on a rainy day & realised the janitor had not come into office. I knew customers were visiting office in the next hour, so I just cleaned it up and went back to work. Nobody ever knew about it. Similar such events like cleaning up our kitchen sink with lots of coffee cups has happened, but I never realised as if its not my 'job'. It was there to be done & when I realised the person responsible for that was not around I just did it.

But later on when I worked for a bigger organization it hit me, how I felt about the company, as if I was running it and was wondering if I would ever do the same in this 'BIG' organization.

2 points by jiffylu 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think people are getting too caught up with the dish washing element of the story. The point of the story is about taking ownership and doing whatever it takes to move the company forward.

Early on at Reddit, Alexis Ohanis did all the "bitch" work so that Steve Huffman could focus on coding.

But if we must analyze the dishwashing aspect of the story, I think there's an element of "caring for your coworkers / employees" there. If no one washed the dishes, the company wasn't going to go bankrupt, but it would make other people's lives more miserable.

As I'm working on my own startup, I can relate to that sentiment, because I not only care about growing the company, I also care about my cofounders' well being.

6 points by TWSS 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this would have been perceived differently if the CEO was a woman.
1 point by VladRussian 21 hours ago 0 replies      
such a motto is actually an easy trick that skillfull leaders utilize to make their reports wash the dishes. To maintain its magic, you actually need to promote only one of the 100 dishwashers into a leader once in a 100 years, and fanfare that fact for the rest of the time.
1 point by dancavallaro11 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this sentiment applies to more than just startups, but really any organization where there's a tendency to say "that's not my job" or "oh, if I don't do it someone else will". I think a lot of organizations could be more successful if more of their members -- employees of a startup, volunteers at a nonprofit, members of a club -- were willing to pitch in above (and below!) and beyond their title, experience, or pay.
1 point by zby 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha ha - compare and contrast with the Gervais Principle!
2 points by j_s 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My source might stop at "Wash the Dishes" in this age. (Mark 9:35)
1 point by curtiswashngton 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like great advice, and it probably is in the right situation.
I can tell you that at my current company I behaved in this way for years, and metaphorically, and sometimes literally, washed the dishes and went above and beyond to end up being pushed aside by office politics.
When you treat the company as if it were yours or you were its CEO don't forget that it is not yours and you are not the CEO, otherwise you'll be in for a big wake up kick in the butt...
2 points by willhf 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm the dishwasher...bitch!
-4 points by trustfundbaby 22 hours ago 0 replies      
That was a pretty profound lesson I just learned.
-4 points by justin_vanw 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Now you're the dishwasher. You failed 'wanting to be a leader' when you didn't convince anyone to wash the dishes, which is why now you have to do it.
-4 points by wccrawford 22 hours ago 5 replies      
The CEO only accomplishes 1 thing by doing the dishes: He shames everyone who sees him doing their job.

He doesn't get my respect for it, especially if he does it more than once. It means he failed as a leader to get people to do their job, or even to have someone to do that job.

Sometimes, it's necessary to roll up your sleeves and get some work done, but if you are doing other peoples' jobs, it means you aren't doing your own.

How Much Money I Made From Side Projects In 2010 pseudocoder.com
258 points by mattcurry 1 day ago   47 comments top 15
12 points by patio11 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Hat's off, that was some fantastic growth last year. If you're ever in the mood for chitchatting, I also sell to your market and know a few things about a few things.
31 points by lylejohnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is very inspiring! Matt, for your next post(s), in addition to the monetary costs I'd like to hear about how much time you put into maintaining and supporting these projects. I can imagine that with a couple of thousand users you could easily spend a lot of time answering support emails.
5 points by muhfuhkuh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Is that market averse to monthly subscriptions? Charging $5/mo. Could triple your revenue and turn a side biz into the main stage. And 5 bucks is a latte a month.

I recall patio11 speaking about marketing to the educational market but not sur if he covered recurring subscription revenue vs. Flat annual rate or not.

3 points by johnohara 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice article Matt.

I taught high school CS for ten years and can tell you from personal experience that you are scratching at the surface of a very promising market. Most schools hand out the traditional lesson plan books at the beginning of the year during faculty meetings and in-services. They are a pita to fill out and maintain and frequently change year to year if you are worth your salt

However, I believe your sales would increase dramatically were you to target administrators and department chairs instead of individual teachers. $20 per instructor is well within their annual budget and they are very open to ideas that make day-to-day operations smoother.

Making it possible for parents to view the lesson plans would enable you to engage entire districts without much difficulty.

Well done.

12 points by damoncali 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nitpick - I think you mean "revenue" not "earnings". Nice article though - very inspiring.
3 points by mcantor 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hey Matt, out of curiosity, why do you want to avoid this blog post showing up in Google searches?

Thanks for these posts, by the way--I find them patently inspiring. It's nice to know I'm not the only developer with a million ridiculous project ideas. Keep up the good work!

2 points by rmc 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If you haven't already, I recommend you read what patio11 says here (and on their blog), they are in a very similar market with similar customers.
2 points by crocowhile 22 hours ago 0 replies      
As I see it, both your renewal rate and the number of free users are high enough to launch a promotion (e.g.: $10 instead of $20 for the first 12months).
1 point by guynamedloren 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Very, very inspiring. I love posts like this (as we all do) because it's a good way to benchmark my own projects and gives me hope for future projects. When I finally round the numbers up (hopefully later this week) I'm going to make a post detailing the financials of my little 4-hour profitable project (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2176771)
1 point by getsat 18 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI: Matt, your "redacted" links on the 2008 and 2009 versions of this article still link to the site in question. The Twitter link on the 2009 article actually links to the Twitter account in question, too.
1 point by prpon 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What caused the signups and new orders to go up compared to an year ago? Other than AdWords, are there any strategies that worked well for you?
1 point by fady 19 hours ago 1 reply      
nice post. really. I bet if the UI of the sites were refreshed for something more intuitive, easier on the eyes, and a better layout (rsstalker) - i bet you would see an increase in signups.

http://planbookedu.com/ - seems to have a better design than the others. The UI of a site really is important to me, and how I perceive the company or outfit, not sure if that is a good thing, but its important. You will attract the more web-savy peeps - IMO

5 points by mdoerneman 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the inspiration. I needed it.
1 point by toadi 1 day ago 3 replies      
So you have spent 100k in adwords and over the years you haven't earned that amount back?

Or did I mis something?

1 point by tomthorns 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great post. Do you have some sort of referral scheme whereby current users can recommend the product to their coworkers and get a discount if someone signs up? I think that could help you grow it if not, your existing users spend all day alongside your target users - give them a reason to talk about it!
The unfortunate math behind consulting companies asmartbear.com
247 points by thomas11 2 days ago   125 comments top 18
74 points by tptacek 1 day ago replies      
I really like most of Jason Cohen's posts, so this article is especially disappointing.

The most fundamental problem with Cohen's analysis is how he arrives at bill rates. "Everybody knows", he says, "that your consultant isn't worth $100/hr --- you only pay him $30/hr!". Well, no, Jason. Nobody knows that, because it's not true. Companies that engage consultants pay a significant premium to: (a) retain talent for the exact duration that they need them, (b) on often little-to-no notice, (c) with the flexibility of picking and choosing the right consultants for the right jobs (d) with no obligations on benefits and severance. And the consulting market is more liquid than the employment market (full-time jobs are "sticky"), so prices more closely track value.

So it is the case that an hour of Rails/jQ consulting might bill out at $140, while the talent delivering that work might effectively make $40/hr. The talent is, in addition to base comp, also getting a stable job, experience working alongside iPhone developers sharp enough to start a successful consultancy, health, benefits, and all the other things that are the reason that big companies have to pay so much to staff projects.

This model works so well that there are branches of the industry that are difficult to staff outside of consulting. For instance, the very very high end of software security bills north of $400/hr. Even discounting for FTE benefits, nobody can afford that person full-time. This sets up a virtuous cycle whereby consultants amass expertise, drive scarcity in their field, and increase their comp.

It should also go without saying that when your bill rate is very high, you don't need to add consultants to make time for product development. You can work half-time and still beat a bigco salary.

The rest of Cohen's arguments are somewhat blunted by the fact that the underlying economics of consulting are way better than he thinks they are. To wit:

* The cost of fully loading headcount isn't scary when you're priced properly.

* Similarly, if you price with the market, the cost of "scaling" isn't scary. Offices are cheap compared to salaries.

* Most consulting firms deliberately aim to keep utilization below a threshold, and recruit to "cool off" when things get crazy. 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year isn't desireable even as an owner.

* Lots of consultants have written blog posts about firing dysfunctional bigco clients. Yeah, in the real world, you have to deal with the 25 page MSA contracts; that's what you pay lawyers for. Yes, being in business is annoying. If it wasn't, everyone would do it.

* Yes, it's hard to build and ship products in "off hours". But you don't have to do that. Instead, you can scale to the point where it's cost effective to hire full time developers. Most YC companies get to market with 2-3 team members. It isn't a stretch to scale a consultancy to the point where it can fund 2 developers.

Against all these concerns about consulting is the unbelievably huge upside of bootstrapping a company this way: you get near-unlimited lives. It is the JUSTIN BAILEY of startup plans. In virtually every other model of bringing a product to market, product failure ends the company. That's bad, because most products fail. They really, really do. There is no reason that a product miss should zero out all the hard work you put into building a team and a business.

44 points by pdx 1 day ago 4 replies      
While I agree with the general "consulting is not the path to riches" tone of the article, I have a small nit.

What the author is doing is adding up all the worst case scenarios into one big ugly pile of bad.

It reminded me of an mp3 player I designed once. I had to allocate z-height for the LCD. An LCD can have a lot of subcomponents (EL Backlight, FPC cable, rear reflective film, glass, front polarizing film, plastic protective lens, etc. All of these have min/max dimensions on the spec sheet. An inexperienced engineer, such as I was, would just add all the max dimensions to get max z-height of the LCD and design for that. But I also needed it not to rattle around, so I needed my design to also work if all the dimensions came in at their minimum. Woops! It's thickness could apparently vary wildly. I didn't want to burden my product with the complexity it would take to handle so much variance in one component.

I then learned that tolerances are never added up "worst case" or you'd never get anything built. Instead, you do a root mean square of them. The chances of every component in your subassembly coming in at it's absolute maximum are minuscule. The root mean square method accounts for this.

Anyway, I felt that the author of this piece was doing a little max tolerance stacking.

23 points by raganwald 1 day ago 2 replies      
I long time ago I was playing bridge with a genius named Arno Hobart. I asked him what he was up to, and he told me he was in the vending machine business. "Oh?" I asked, surprised that such an intelligent man would work with such mundane products.

"One of the things I like about this business," he explained, "Is that I make money while I sleep." Yes, he really is smarter than the average bear.

27 points by rubyrescue 2 days ago 2 replies      
i've grown from 1 (me) to 10 since october. we're trying to scale and it's tough. i'm exhausted. i'm working A LOT. i've got too many clients... but i can see the light toward having a stable set of clients with solid revenues - and i'm creating jobs for 10 people in a developing country, which i'm getting more satisfaction out of than i thought i would.
14 points by gaius 2 days ago replies      
I think the author of this article has no experience with consulting companies. $100/hr is well below what Accenture, IBM Global Services or any of the other big names charge. And clients, by and large, are fine with it; it's just a cost of doing business. And it's hard to argue that any of them haven't "scaled"; Accenture is 200,000 people!

Remember, in business there is no such thing as "cheap" or "expensive". There's "worth the money" or "not". A decision maker has decided that paying a consulting firm $250/hr/consultant is cheaper than it would be to do their own SAP implementation (and in turn, that SAP is worth more than it costs...)

FWIW a consultant as a rule of thumb would probably see 1/5 of his billing rate, tho' I have seen some get 1/3 and some as low as 1/8.

5 points by lsc 1 day ago 0 replies      
eh, I have done this... contracting paid for prgmr.com. And really, I've had a /whole lot/ more luck renting myself out and paying people to work on my product than renting out my underlings. So yeah, I think he has many good points.

On the other hand, some of the problems of being a contracting company and being a product company cancel themselves out. You have time you can't sell to other people? work on developing new features for the product. Hiring someone new who you aren't sure about or who needs training? Pay them trainee wages while training them up as they work on the product, then as you know their capabilities, rent them out.

But overall, I agree with the "renting yourself out at exorbitant rates is easier than renting out your underlings" advice, though this is at least partially due to a lack of sales skills on my part; but yeah, there are a lot of less obvious costs to renting out an employee.

4 points by m0nastic 1 day ago 0 replies      
My initial reaction to this article was that I disagreed vehemently with most of his points. Upon further reflection, nothing he's talking about is applicable to anywhere I've worked, or anywhere in the industry I work in; so my disagreement doesn't really matter as I guess "consulting companies" apparently means different things to different people.

The only issue that presents itself in my industry regarding consulting is that it's basically a linear scaling revenue model, and the pitfalls around scheduling engagements.

My company's hourly rates for consulting are now about half of what they were 7 years ago, but it's still both immensely profitable and significantly cheaper than what the client would pay to hire someone to perform the requisite services.

3 points by PaulHoule 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ugh, I've seen small-town web development shops charge $130+ an hour for work done by the grunts who get more like $30 an hour.

Some of these shops are very profitable and successful, and some of them aren't.

Either way, the person who's got the most to complain about this situation is the grunt, not the customer who imagines they could get the work for cheaper. The grunt is very aware that he could produce a lot more value for someone, and capture it, if he can get rid of the middleman. Although the work in a consulting shop is varied, and can keep you on your toes, the need to bill 40 hours of project time every week leads to a lack of self-investment and eventual burnout.

15 points by JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's no leverage in consulting. Granted. Doing it anyway - as long as I'm working for the man, I want to be the man.
2 points by bretpiatt 1 day ago 1 reply      
You have to share the upside with your consultants, put a target to bill 1200-1500 hours per year depending on your average engagement length and how much they will have to be on pre-sales work. Then split every hour after that with them 50/50% up to 2000 billed hours and after 2000 hours billed give them 75%, keep 25%.

I know tech folks love to reinvent and learn things on their own and sometimes it yields new and better results but in other cases we'd be better off to look at how BigLaw has been billing out hourly associates for hundreds of years very profitably.

4 points by zavulon 1 day ago 0 replies      
This just made me very depressed. Very, very depressed, because it hit so close to home.
1 point by trustfundbaby 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody clarify the tax portion for me on this ...
Don't companies only pay half of social Security and Medicare on each employee? ... plus the employee is also a tax writeoff for them right?

So is that 15% number accurate?

4 points by sudhirc 1 day ago 2 replies      
This article generalizes too much.
Top Indian IT giants are consulting companies and they are making a ton of money.
1 point by sciboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I still find it weird that people charge an hourly rate. My company has been doing fixed price projects, with changing scope, guaranteed bug fixes & payment on delivery for the last eight years. We regularly beat out the "big boys" and have never lost money on a project, even though some have gone on longer than we planned.

I don't see the value for a customer in an hourly rate. If I am charging you by the hour, I have an incentive to be slow. If I am charging fixed price, I want to be fast, and if we are "liable" for bugs, we have an incentive for bug free code.

I see it as putting our money where our mouth is. I'm confident that even if your scope changes we will still deliver for this fixed price. Why is this not the norm?

2 points by palehose 1 day ago 0 replies      
While some of these issues will happen from time to time, all of those exceptions will not occur all the time, so it really isn't an accurate assessment. This is more like the worst possible bounds of a successful consulting company.
1 point by thinkingeric 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This kind of analysis is required for any service business. Having done so for our company, I have the following observations on 'What to do?":

Scale -- Bingo! The goal is to make the fixed overhead (incl employees) an increasingly smaller percentage of revenue. But to handle the increased revenue (ie, workload) you have to concentrate on increasing efficiency/productivity. This has a lot of influence on decisions about process. Obviously, the more routine those processes are, the cheaper (and more easily replaced) the labor can be. Also, if the work is done under a fixed price contract, you can achieve a greater effective hourly rate if you are efficient and manage risk well.

Charge more -- "charging more pushes away your existing client base". This is not such a bad thing if you have your eye on 'scaling' (ie bigger projects). Bigger clients have deeper pockets (although they also have more unique needs, which introduces more risk).

Build a product -- See Nassim Taleb's discussion about 'scalable work' in "The Black Swan". The odds aren't good that this will pay off.

2 points by jister 1 day ago 1 reply      
While most people disagrees but my experience was different. I used to work with a US firm years ago and my hourly rate was $12 however our company charged $80 to $120/hr to our clients. This is how offshore companies operates...
1 point by vineet 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is hard to pull off - but I think part of the solution is in somehow not competing with the average employee that you can get on the street.

For example, you can provide a skill that is not otherwise generally available on the market. Or perhaps by doing consulting but on a closed source product (by doing a per project sale instead). It will be great to brainstorm other such ideas and approaches.

Poll: How old are you?
250 points by TimothyBurgess 5 days ago   148 comments top 70
16 points by timr 5 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting comparison from 1998:


In 1998, 22% of respondents were ages 16-20, 53% were in their 20s, 15% in their 30s and 5% over 40.

As of this writing (and assuming that I did my arithmetic correctly), ~7% of respondents on this poll are ages 16-20, ~60% are in their 20s, ~25% in their 30s, and ~7% are over 40.

Obviously there are a lot of caveats here, but the slight increase in the overall age of techies between these two polls is nothing like you'd expect if everyone who started in their 20s in 1998 stuck around until today.

*edit: fixed arithmetic error. D'oh!

36 points by 51Cards 5 days ago 4 replies      
All I know is that this post just made me feel a lot older. Good God, I'm a 'seasoned vet' at 40.
14 points by c2 5 days ago 1 reply      
Funny pattern in responses. People on the younger side (<25) tend to be eager to prove themselves by listing their accomplishments, and people on the older side (>30) seem to be humble and self-deprecating, but still with that unmistakable hacker spirit.

I'm 28 myself, seems like 25-30 are the 'inbetweeners'.

10 points by zachallaun 5 days ago 1 reply      
11-20 seems like a pretty uninformative range, assuming you want to draw conclusions (maybe you don't!) from the results, as it is in this range that you experience the most noticeable increase in both maturity and knowledge.

11-15 and 16-20 would have been significantly more telling. (As an aside, this is especially strange considering ranges such as 41-45.)

23 points by nhangen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I really expected the demographics to tilt towards my age group (early 30's). Looks like I was wrong.
11 points by thingie 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm 23 and it seems to me that this poll is missing 21-25 group. Or I'm indeed blind, that's also possible.
11 points by mnwcsult 5 days ago 0 replies      
56-60 Senior Software Engineer, still enjoying coding, hacking and figuring things out. Don't spend much energy on the good ole days, whatever they were. Still prefer C over everything else. Question: What is the best programming language? Answer: Whatever the client was sold on at the trade show. Wrote a really nice bash shell web scraper yesterday. Amazing to still get so much mileage out of sed,awk,grep, and others. All I did was setup a windows share and mounted the filesystem in ubuntu. I like the idea that there are so any platforms around and no one way to do anything. Tonight Labview and robot vision to do line following.
23 points by dustinupdyke 5 days ago 0 replies      
Shout out to those > 66, may your passion for "teh codez" never grow old.
12 points by harold 5 days ago 0 replies      
45 and still love to code. I still feel like I'm 25. I attribute this to exercise, a sense of humor and beer. (not necessarily in that order)
4 points by Silhouette 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the one time we old fogeys are allowed to complain that HN is getting more like Reddit every day? ;-)
7 points by rh32010 5 days ago 1 reply      
I am 22 and still absorbing lisp, currently running through "ANSI Common Lisp" and learning how I can apply this language to potentially my own startup. Only been visiting ycombinator for a week now and I already love it! So much information that is useful. Finally registered today.
9 points by kgutteridge 5 days ago 1 reply      
30, nearly starting to come down the other side of this curve
4 points by Nemisis7654 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 21 and will graduate with a degree in CS at the end of the year. I'm fairly new to the HN community (127 days to be exact!) and just wish I had found this a little earlier on in my college career.
6 points by olalonde 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are there seriously 0-10 year old HN readers?
1 point by X-Istence 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 22, almost 23, and as such I am one of the young guys here. I've already done a lot at 22 years of age, but reading the posts here and seeing what some of the older people have accomplished is just simply amazing. It is always fantastic to read someone else's take on various different ideas especially those who are older than me.

I currently work at a small startup with people who have been in the game for a long time (I along with 1 other programmer are in our 20's the rest of the team is 40's or more) and it is an absolute blast learning new things at an extremely rapid pace.

It was after only 3 months at this small startup, in the middle of things (I'd done my own startup but this was when the ah ha moment happened) I realised that my passion was to be a part of a small team that changed the world, and not be stuck in a big corporation somewhere chugging away with no real way to differentiate myself from everyone else there.

That is why I am really happy to be a part of the HN community where I can learn more information, and hopefully someday soon in the near future I too will have a successful small business with millions of dollars in revenue.

3 points by anonymoushn 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm 20. I acquired a 4-year degree using black magic and work somewhere in Palo Alto.
2 points by kmfrk 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd rather like to see pg answer what age demographics comprise YC's start-ups. That data would be awesome (and probably daunting).
15 points by tritchey 5 days ago 0 replies      
Get off my lawn!
1 point by artmageddon 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll be 29 in a couple of months. Started programming in high school but didn't get really serious about it till college. Have been working professionally for 6 years. Overall I'm proud of what I've accomplished but after scouring this site for even my limited amount of time, I wonder if I've been slacking too much as I don't consider myself a senior developer. Some days I wonder if I'll feel like I'll ever reach that point, given just how much there is to know out there.
3 points by acctng 5 days ago 2 replies      
Although I'm 57 I might as well be 27 for the amount of time I've spend developing and building start-ups. I played saxophone professionally until I was 40, then gave it up as just too much work. I must be a glutton for punishment.
1 point by portman 5 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by arethuza 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd have thought that more appropriate ranges might have been:


Which are a bit broad, but why not:


Or something like that :-)

8 points by artiegold 5 days ago 1 reply      
Better than dead. Much.
3 points by cgopalan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Will be this 39 in March this year and started a company. Planning to be a micropreneur and hopefully generate income from the company by 40. Self-sustaining by 41.
3 points by jefe78 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why were you wondering about this in the SHOWER?!
1 point by timinman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't tried, because I don't want to throw off the results, but it looks like you can vote more than once (only the arrow for your selection disappears). If that is the case, consider this a bug report.
1 point by mumrah 5 days ago 0 replies      
Waited until this morning to respond so I could answer 26-30. Wouldn't want to be counted with all those "early 20-somethings"
1 point by TimothyBurgess 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm also curious about the ratio of genders as well:

Someone pointed out (in the gender poll) that HN allows more than 1 vote on a poll at a time so sorry for splitting it up! I had no idea.

1 point by ra 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great to see some young folk lurking here. These whipper snappers will have a head-start over us 30/40/50 somethings.

TL/DR: "There was nothing like Hacker News in my day"

1 point by mkramlich 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can't wait til I turn 66 knowing that by my next birthday I'll become 11 again. ;)
2 points by mannicken 4 days ago 0 replies      
It should look this perhaps:

0 - 8

8 - 16

16 - 32

32 - 64

64 - 128

1 point by jhuckestein 5 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see how this curve developers over time. Is the audience getting older or are young people filling the ranks of older members that left the site?
1 point by wilkie 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think a second dimension on this discussion would be fascinating. "How old are you AND how old do you feel?" Although I'm not sure how to word that just right.

For instance, capturing situations like: Are you a 65 year old grandfather that feels younger through the interaction with the core crowd here? Are you a 12 year old aspiring hacker that seeks the maturity of the seemingly 20-something base contrary to the peers of their own age?

1 point by kunjaan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Turned 26 yesterday! Started work last week. In a whole new category now!
1 point by csomar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously, anyone in the 0-10 range?
1 point by hardik 5 days ago 0 replies      
It just hit me that from last month I am in 26-30. And its scary.
3 points by mimmo 5 days ago 0 replies      
21-25's death is poisoning results :)
1 point by shriphani 5 days ago 1 reply      
19 years old. Currently working towards a bachelor's degree (I graduate in spring 2012 yay!). I'll be applying to PhD programs next semester and hopefully working at the boundaries of human knowledge will help me solve some cool problems :)
3 points by madeself 5 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see I'm in the majority. Sometimes I feel on the old side of the industry at 26.
2 points by dennisgorelik 5 days ago 0 replies      
I suddenly feel so old at 36


2 points by natmaster 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can't be 20-26?
1 point by younata 5 days ago 0 replies      
Woohoo, another ten years, and then I'll be in about the center!
1 point by emrahyalaz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Timothy, Emrah here.
How did you set up this poll?
I'd like to do one.
(I answered both and found useful)
Thank you:)
1 point by AbyBeats 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is 21-25?
2 points by john2x 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that there are 10 year olds.
3 points by Jarred 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 15, seemingly a small minority.
1 point by KeepTalking 5 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing to see there are 500+ ppl in the 20-30 range.

Curios If i could link a poll of how many are married in the respective agr groups ?

1 point by sim0n 5 days ago 0 replies      
18 years old and been working professionally for almost 3 years (since I was 16) :)
1 point by thomasfl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would be great if someone made diagram out of this.
1 point by rexreed 4 days ago 0 replies      
What happened to 21-25?
1 point by Unseelie 5 days ago 0 replies      
21-25 please?
1 point by mathnode 5 days ago 0 replies      
25 and not allowed to vote! DISCRIMINATION!
1 point by takameyer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like we lost the 21-25 category.
2 points by stanislavb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Where is 21-25?
1 point by NicuCalcea 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be 17 in a couple of weeks.
1 point by 1reza 5 days ago 0 replies      
Where is 21-25???
I'm 22.
1 point by hendrixjoe555 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by mconnors 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm old :(
1 point by pWneD 5 days ago 0 replies      
Almost 16 :)
1 point by johnnyjung 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see some young people here!
1 point by partoa 5 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by mindcrime 5 days ago 0 replies      
37, here.
2 points by monkkbfr 5 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by thefox 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice!
0 points by golgo13 5 days ago 0 replies      
-1 point by Electrostar 5 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by felipepiresxxx 5 days ago 0 replies      
im 20
-2 points by leif 5 days ago 1 reply      
Missing option: "I am eternal."
-1 point by rcavezza 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 25 and I just upvoted everyone who had negative scores because they listed their age. :-)
Airplane Mode minimalmac.com
242 points by flapjack 1 day ago   68 comments top 14
41 points by corin_ 1 day ago 5 replies      
I've read this three times now on the assumption that its point was going over my head - I'm now fairly sure it's not.

The lesson I've learned is not to turn my phone off, in case I want to show someone pictures stored on it.

8 points by noonespecial 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tow knights, upon meeting, show their mutual respect for each other by extending their hands away from their weapons and towards one another.

A modern equivalent is born?

14 points by run4yourlives 1 day ago 1 reply      
My first thought was, wow, what a show of respect for me and our time together.

It saddens me that not being a rude ass is somehow worthy of blog-post out of the ordinary praise these days.

13 points by spitfire 1 day ago 5 replies      
The nokia E-series E72 has the neatest feature. If you put it face down it silences all alarts. Nokia had a great ad campaign for real face time using this - "Somethings are more important than email".

The iphone and android badly need these features.

15 points by T_S_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why are people always feeling "honored and humbled" these days? I think they must be confused. Just feel honored and get on with your day.
6 points by gvsyn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very respectful, and awesome closing off of the world temporarily.

Another 'use' I find - in areas where you know you'll have no signal. With the cell radios screaming to contact a station, drains the battery worse than more or less any other part (unless you have the display on 100% brightness as well as on all the time)

2 points by antimatter15 1 day ago 2 replies      
I feel like this is a misuse of Airplane Mode. If your photos, etc. are "on the cloud", via Dropbox or something, they may require internet access to use. I think a more appropriate feature, which as far as I'm aware, doesn't exist, would be a no-interruption mode (probably needs a better name) that holds all notifications and calls during the time it's enabled.
4 points by kevinburke 1 day ago 0 replies      
More or less why I got an iPod touch instead of an iPhone. Still have a crappy $10 phone off Ebay.
1 point by _corbett 1 day ago 0 replies      
I put my phone in airplane mode for exactly this reason--it's not just being super busy, but I have lots of push notifications setup which in my daily life are helpful but while I'm sleeping or socializing not. However I need various other functions on the phone (e.g. my alarm) so turning it off not an option, moreover switching from airplane mode->non much faster.
1 point by kevindication 1 day ago 4 replies      
The irony is that Airplane Mode doesn't permit you use your phone on an airplane (at least per US airline policy, despite the FAA indicating that airlines may let passengers use phones in airplane mode).

At least it lets you have a conversation without being interrupted.

4 points by togasystems 1 day ago 1 reply      
As soon as my head hits the pillow, my iPhone goes into Airplane Mode.
3 points by codebaobab 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I thought Airplane Mode only turned off the cellphone radio. But, nope, I just tried it and it does turn off the WiFi as well. You can, however, manually turn WiFi back on, leaving the cell radio off.
1 point by PhatBaja 1 day ago 1 reply      
This makes sense but is not "hacker news". It should not have made it to one of the top news - it's just obvious common sense.
1 point by khookie 1 day ago 3 replies      
Airplane mode is also good for keeping your sperm count up when it's in your pockets.
The Size of the Human Radio-Broadcast Bubble in the Milky Way Galaxy jackadam.net
235 points by thegrossman 3 days ago   108 comments top 27
31 points by mechanical_fish 2 days ago 4 replies      
"Space... is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is."


And, really, this picture is just a fraction of a fraction of the down payment on the concept of big: This is merely an illustration of how big one galaxy is. There are eighty billion galaxies. [1]



[1] Tune in tomorrow for a new estimate, of course.

49 points by johnohara 2 days ago 2 replies      
This makes me feel small, sad, and alone.

One man's opinion.

For me, I am grateful I live in a time when I can use a human invention to view images, taken by another human invention, of galaxies 13.5 billion light years away that probably no longer exist and be educated enough to sit down and calculate in terms of miles just how far those specks of light have traveled.

Aristotle, Caesar, DaVinci, Newton, Kepler, Napoleon, Faraday and Einstein never saw what I have seen from my desktop.

Sad? No. Privileged.

7 points by zoomzoom 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and more steadily we reflect on them; the starry heavens above and moral law within. . . The former view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates, as it were, my importance as an animal creature, which must give back to the planet (a mere speck in the universe) the matter from which it came, the matter which is for a little time provided with vital force, we know not how. The latter on the contrary, infinitely raises my worth as that of an intelligence by my personality, in which the moral law reveals a life independent of all animality and even of the whole world of sense--at least so far as it may be inferred from the purposive destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination which is not restricted to the conditions and limits of this life but reaches into the infinite." (Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, 1788)
16 points by JonnieCache 2 days ago 4 replies      
Try this if you want to feel really small AND really big at the same time: http://htwins.net/scale/

WARNING: You may become nauseous, dizzy and afraid if you sit playing with this for too long.

13 points by yuvadam 2 days ago 3 replies      
This kind of stuff always blows my mind away.

How insignificant we all are, in the grand scheme of things.

(Then my mind overflows when I ask myself the question of "what the hell is the universe?")

13 points by ecaron 2 days ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one that sits and thinks "wait, I can barely get my local AM station to come in clear enough to be understood - how could any signal possibly be distinguishable beyond 1 lightyear?"
5 points by Swizec 2 days ago 4 replies      
Pale blue dot feels like an apt comparison --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pale_Blue_Dot.png

If you don't know yet, that's what earth looks like from just beyond Pluto's orbit.

Also interesting to note in these discussions is the Hubble deep field image. These 3000-ish galaxies are covered by a quarter at arm's length when you look into the sky --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HubbleDeepField.800px.jpg

We are indeed small and insignificant, but alone? Doubtful at best.

4 points by pohl 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see this plotted on two dimensions, where the horizontal axis is the year, starting when radio emissions began, and the vertical axis is the number of non-sol star systems that are within the bubble at that time. Binary or trinary systems would count as 1 system, not 2 or 3. This function would obviously be monotonically nondereasing.

I wonder if wolfram alpha could rise to the challenge.

4 points by meric 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is the milky way really large or is 200 years a really short time?

Galileo was born only about 164000 days ( ~ 4 million hours ) ago.

And that's already over twice as long as 200 years.

It makes me sad when I think about how a life time is a mere thousand months.

2 points by ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
But maybe, just maybe, our industrial and scientific development is producing an occasional side-effect of some kind of as yet-unknown faster-than-light wave which has made it much further out, and significantly more advanced civilizations have the ability to detect it.

Sort of how an archaeologist can look at the surface of earth in a sat. photo and determine there was once human activity in a location based on ground disturbances, etc.

6 points by robotomir 2 days ago 1 reply      
"...there is an ever-expanding bubble announcing Humanity's presence to anyone listening in the Milky Way."

This 200ly sphere does not equal detectable radio signals from Earth. SETI is looking for radio signals from the stars, yes, but they are looking for a focused and high-energy attempt from ETs to contact someone by beaming at specific stars. Radio "leaked" from regular transmissions typically does not carry a signal over interstellar distances.

3 points by teaspoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even more discouraging than the size of the bubble is what the bubble's cross-section looks like:


1 point by iwwr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly, it would not be possible to discern manmade radio transmissions from further than a few light-days/weeks.

Also, as communication capacities increase, more and more of that is moving into cables and not radio transmitters. High-power Earth-Satellite and Earth-Earth transmitters are being replaced with low-power point-to-point wireless links. The power of radio traffic leaking off the Earth is not growing very much, if at all.

2 points by rdamico 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to know how much of the Milky Way SETI has scanned so far. In other words, if someone else out there was running their own version of SETI, how long before they would be likely to find our little radio broadcast bubble?
1 point by Jach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, it's a blog entry! There really should be a noscript warning, I thought it was something like http://www.phrenopolis.com/perspective/atom/ at first.
2 points by evo_9 2 days ago 0 replies      
To me this is really inspiring.

I look at that and think 'Wow, our presence is already felt that far/wide and we've barely started to walk'. Incredible.

1 point by gaius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh, what is that horrible font? Whatever typekit.com is trying to do (in Firefox 3.6 on Windows 7) isn't very working...
1 point by aufreak3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! .. and all this discussion reminds of a line from Calvin and Hobbes - "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
1 point by jaekwon 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me more hopeful of getting a response from other beings. Perhaps we're not so alone after all.

Relax, it's PhysEx.

1 point by dhughes 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's odd how you look at that and go "hunh" but then realize, wait a minute who took the picture of the Milky Way Galaxy?

It's a graphic of course but still you forget what you're looking at and how far away and how big it is.

1 point by pessimist 2 days ago 0 replies      
To put the blue dot in perspective, its unimaginably beyond the scope of our current technology to travel that far. Pluto by comparison is 13 light-HOURS away and it takes about 10 years to get there. At that rate, it would take approximately 150000 YEARS to reach the same distance to reach the perimeter of that blue bubble. And blue bubble is almost insignificant in relation to our galaxy, which is one of about 100 billion galaxies!
1 point by derleth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ha. So, we don't even rate a single pixel on the blank, white screen that is the Universe? Sounds about right.
1 point by athom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sure-fire way to feel small, sad, and alone: typekit.com

Seriously, the page was completely empty until I unblocked that scripts on that and his main site.

1 point by ogrisel 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should cheer up that we are living in the Slow Zone. That should make us unaffected by the "Straumli Perversion" and other Powers from the Transcend and messing with the Beyond for quite some time.
2 points by tow8ie 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the opening scene of “Contact” (1997), the movie adaptation of Carl Sagan's novel by Robert Zemeckis:


2 points by VB6_Forever 2 days ago 3 replies      
Curiosity apart what good could it do us to discover or be discovered by aliens?
1 point by malkia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some alien might think - hmmm.... Human Spam again :)
IPv4 is depleted: Final five blocks allocated to registries nanog.org
235 points by jedsmith 6 days ago   104 comments top 18
29 points by JacobAldridge 5 days ago 4 replies      
I asked this question on a similar article that gained no traction here recently: what do I, as a regular user of the internet, hosting no domains, and with no real responsibility for any website technicals, need to do about this? (Or what can I do about this?)

Do I need to request something from my ISP? Lobby them to see if they take it seriously? Or do I have little choice but to hang around, feeling smug because I've heard of IPv6 before this week, but waiting for someone else to ensure I transition?

8 points by hapless 5 days ago 1 reply      
IPv4 is only "depleted" in a very technical sense. The last free /8 was allocated to a regional authority. This does not mean no IPv4 addresses are available.

The regional authorities (RIRs), the guys who actually allocate the addresses to user organizations, still have many, many blocks to allocate. The first RIR isn't expected to run out of ipv4 space until October.

That's when the shit really hits the fan -- requests for IPv4 space start to be rejected, ISPs start deploying NAT or 6RD, network administrators start jumping from windows etc.

8 points by jedsmith 6 days ago 1 reply      
Now it's up to the registries. From a nearby thread on NANOG, the forecasted exhaustion dates of the individual registries: http://www.tndh.net/~tony/ietf/IPv4-rir-pools.jpg
53 points by sshconnection 5 days ago 1 reply      
Best tweet of the morning: "I came here to kick ass and assign IPv4 addresses. And I'm all out of IPv4 addresses."
5 points by 51Cards 5 days ago 2 replies      
I always thought that when we ran out of IP4, that some of the companies holding on to Class A blocks would release parts of those for use. I'm not a master of how blocks are assigned or if addressing wise it would be feasible but really, does Ford fully use its Class A block? Prudential Insurance? Eli Lilly? GE?
9 points by noonespecial 5 days ago 1 reply      
Get used to 192.168.x.x y'all.
9 points by yread 5 days ago 0 replies      
An IPv4 address space walks into a bar. He says to the bartender, "A strong CIDR please. I'm exhausted."
8 points by ajb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how the transition in China is going? My employer sells networking products there, and all Chinese customers require IPv6 support. It would be interesting to know if it's rolled out to consumers yet.
4 points by BoppreH 6 days ago 4 replies      
Let me get some popcorn.

Any ideas of what will happen next? How far are we until some home users with outdated ISPs be blocked from the internet?

2 points by sprachspiel 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder how long it will take until there is a market for IP addresses. I suspect once such a market is in place IPv6 will not see widespread adoption, since most IPv4 addresses are not really used.
6 points by kbyers 6 days ago 1 reply      
Enough with the fear mongering headlines already. Yes, IANA allocated the last 5 /8's to the regional registries. IPv4 is not going anywhere anytime soon.
2 points by pdx 5 days ago 2 replies      
I can't wait till everybody has an IPv6 modem/router. No more of this NAT hole punching or long polling crap for pushing notifications.
6 points by snipsnipsnip 5 days ago 0 replies      
IPv4 space, 2006
2 points by eekfuh 5 days ago 0 replies      
I heard Egypt isn't using theirs.

(edit: i can feel the down-voting coming)

1 point by nuxi 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's still the complete range left (class E), but unfortunately it's probably too late to make use of them now.
1 point by yummybear 5 days ago 1 reply      
I suspect some workaround for IPv4 depletion will be created so ISPs wont have to upgrade to IPv6.
1 point by Perihelion 6 days ago 0 replies      
Panic! At the RIR
0 points by squeed 5 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of the mobile telcos are going to be using DS-Lite or NAT64. What does this mean? Well, NAT64 relies on modifying dns entries. So, take this as a reminder to NEVER EVER hardcode pubic-facing ip addresses if possible!
Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released debian.org
225 points by mariana 3 days ago   45 comments top 8
11 points by telemachos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Debian's website also received an upgrade[1]:

> On the occasion of the release of Debian 6.0 Squeeze, the Debian website team is pleased to publish a new design for Debian's web presence. After roughly 13 years with nearly the same design, the layout and design of many of the websites run by Debian changed together with today's release of Debian Squeeze. Debian's main website and its wiki, lists archive, blog aggregator planet and package information system now have a consistent new layout. The new layout is meant to give Debian's web presence a cleaner and more modern look as well as making the web pages easier to use and navigate.

[1]: http://www.debian.org/News/2011/20110205b

12 points by KaeseEs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Good to see my favorite distro moving forward! I only wish they could have managed to ship Perl 5.12 rather than 5.10.
4 points by srean 3 days ago 3 replies      
Debian and Arch are my two favorite Linux distributions. If only Debian distributed a version compiled for an i686 also. I know it probably wont make a huge difference for most programs. But it niggles at my sensibilities that I am not using the architecture to its full. Arch is pretty awesome in that field, but I would be wary of running it on production servers. For me Debian testing has been the best compromise, and I have never faced stability issues with that.

Edit: corrected by removing "and x86-64"

4 points by moe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also don't forget to read the upgrade-guide for the proper upgrade procedure, link: http://www.debian.org/releases/squeeze/amd64/release-notes/c...
8 points by squeezingswirls 3 days ago 1 reply      
Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) has been released!


Use torrents for download the isos, please.

You can find the seeds under every architecture in the directories beginning with bt-

For instance:


And keep seeding 'til you're bleeding ^_^

Edit to add this new Debian-installer page (within a brand new design site):


3 points by swaits 3 days ago 2 replies      
Debian userland on top of the FreeBSD kernel? Was there demand for this? Or, was it primarily to sidestep the GPL stuff and incorporate ZFS?
2 points by angrycoder 3 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone know if these images work with any of the popular USB key installers?
2 points by preek 2 days ago 0 replies      
$ apt-get clean; apt-get update; apt-get -u dist-upgrade

782 upgraded, 162 newly installed, 22 to remove.

Darn, all this terrible upgrading work in Debian. Sometimes I wish I had a real OS. Why can't we all just run WinXP - those guys _never_ have to upgrade and they still run the best OS on the planet!

Super Awesome Sylvia shows super simple Arduino makezine.com
218 points by kmfrk 3 days ago   25 comments top 10
46 points by techninja42 3 days ago 3 replies      
Sylvia's dad here,

Great to see the hacker news crowd has found the show entertaining and useful! We glossed over a lot of the programming aspect because the physical aspect of making something is far more immediately comprehensible for kids (which is why we emphasize getting out and making -something- above all else).

We made sure to get the source code as commented and as easy to handle as possible, but introducing it in the video not only requires a substantial programming background overhead, but may scare a number of newbies off a lot quicker than if they just copied and pasted something into an simple IDE.

Getting something working, that kids can feel some kind of accomplishment with, no matter how simple, can psychologically push them over the initial barrier of fear that an come with new, seemingly difficult things.

The Arduino itself as a dev board platform does a great job of erasing a lot of that fear with a friendly usb connection, holes you can plug things directly into and an open IDE with only a few simple buttons and configurations. The remaining hurdles exist beyond, in attainable projects that lets you poke and prod at the internals and get a good feel for how and why something works, or how to break it. Hopefully our little starter project are simple enough to get kids (or anyone for that matter) out there and -trying something-, no matter how silly or simple. If all you do is do something once and never again, you are still the better for doing it.

19 points by kmfrk 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wanted to share this (from reddit), because it inspires and encourages me the same way Khan Academy does. If I had kids, I'd definitely show them the channel. It feels like a mix of Mythbusters and Jørgen Clevin[1].

Maybe one day, we'll have enough YouTube content to create a TV package for children that will actually merit the time spent in front of the TV.

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnlVPv5TwGQ

10 points by msarnoff 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's interesting is she just glosses over the programming aspect. This got me thinking. The C language presents a pretty big barrier to entry for young tinkerers, who have never heard the word "integer" before.

I learned to program when I was 6 or 7 years old, using Logo. Unfortunately, Logo is all but dead, but I still think it's the greatest educational programming tool ever. We even had a version of Logo that could interact with Lego motors and sensors called "Lego Logo."

So why can't you program the Arduino in Logo? I posted a quick proposal for such a system at http://github.com/74hc595/Arduino-For-Kids and hopefully I'll get around to implementing it soon. Feedback is welcome.

aside: Yes, there is a version of Scratch for the Arduino, but I personally think the merits of visual programming languages are questionable...

10 points by TimothyBurgess 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is amazing. The line in the article, "gives me hope for humanity," is spot on.
15 points by anthonycerra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best. Parents. Ever.
4 points by bradfordw 3 days ago 0 replies      
My kids love this show and has gotten them sincerely interested in electronics (and putting cut-outs on sticks for puppet play) - keep up the good work!
1 point by mkramlich 3 days ago 0 replies      
very cool. in the age of the web and YouTube, this girl can serve as a role model for millions of others throughout the world. keep it up.
1 point by patrickod 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely superb. Hopefully videos like this will inspire the younger generation to actually look into how things work and not just how to use them. Projects like Arduino really lower the barrier to entry to allow adults and children alike to explore these areas. Great work!
1 point by TwoBit 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wanted to use Arduino for a project, but gave up on it because it has such a tiny amount of memory. http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Memory
1 point by sharmajai 3 days ago 0 replies      
BTW, for those of who don't know, that natetrue guy she mentions is the same dude from cre.ations.net who built tap tap revolution for the iphone first unofficially and then officially.
AOL buys Huffington Post for $315mm in cash allthingsd.com
217 points by akharris 2 days ago   89 comments top 15
70 points by jarin 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think the key news bit here is that Ariana Huffington will be in charge of all of AOL's blog/news properties.
21 points by earl 2 days ago 3 replies      
How is Ariana going to justify not paying almost all contributors now?

Amazing that she built this on the backs of authors, most of whom got paid nothing. Am I alone in finding this exploitative?

4 points by simonsarris 2 days ago 1 reply      
Immediately an article I saw in December comes to mind:

AOL Investigation: No Proof TSA Scanners Are Safe


Back then my first thought was: Wait, AOL does investigations?

I think this is a win for both parties and for readers. With a sort-of 'proper' news site maybe AOL's own journalism can be taken more seriously, and conversely maybe they can make HuffPo more journalistic in the first place!

13 points by thought_alarm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Send your comments and feedback to arianna1950@aol.com
15 points by l0nwlf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tim Armstrong is getting AOL to do all the deals that Bartz should be doing at Yahoo.
41 points by beagledude 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm just amazed AOL still has money
2 points by jtchang 2 days ago 1 reply      
AOL is very different from what a lot of us remember it as. The moves they are making will position it very well as a strong content provider. It's kind of nostalgic in a way in that AOL started out providing premium content in a very organized fashion for the web.
4 points by ojbyrne 2 days ago 0 replies      
1+1 = 11. Inspired idiocy. Or something.
6 points by veb 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long would it take AOL to make $315 million + profit from HuffPost?
6 points by juanefren 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a non native English speaker, the first thing my head thought was AOL paying with banknotes.
7 points by MatthewDP 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is HuffPo really worth 7-8 times what AOL paid for Weblogs, Inc. and TechCrunch?
4 points by KMStraub 2 days ago 0 replies      
This after the About.me buy. I'm excited to see how this reinvention pans out.
0 points by spoiledtechie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this a good thing or bad.

First AOL is a giant when it comes to news these days. Along with Fox, CNN and MSNBC. I guess this allows for another competitor to hit the market. But also allows for News to be under control again by a large corporation and that corporations views on how the world should be reported.

I would gladly see Huff Post move to Television and Maybe more investigative like Reuters.

Those area's would gladly and happily be invested in, if I owned a large New Corp.

1 point by ActiveIndian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now Thats a price which certainly deserves attention. This is the second acquisition after about.me from AOL. Lot to come i am sure, but anyways users would be benefited,
1 point by boh 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if AOL will try to buy Gawker too.
Breaking the web with hash-bangs isolani.co.uk
215 points by Terretta 12 hours ago   66 comments top 16
30 points by raganwald 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I accept the brittleness of a content-oriented site switching to a javascript-driven SPI implementation, however I'm confused by the assertion that the strongest reason to switch is because it's cool. I can't speak for Gawker, but some sites may switch because they want the browser to do more of the rendering work, such as rendering templates. Others may want to avoid the overhead with a full page refresh as users navigate the site.

The author clearly dislikes what's going on, and the post would be stronger if he simply stated the disadvantages and let others speak to the benefits rather than putting up a strawman and claiming that people implement this sort of site because it's cool.

32 points by burgerbrain 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain to me why a site like lifehacker even needs javascript at all, let alone so much? It's a blog, presumably it's value should come from the value of it's textual and pictorial content.

It's just nuts that I have to burn so much CPU just to read some text.

9 points by drdaeman 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Even not considering that HTML5 History API, is it hard to just consider "/1234/spam" and "/#!1234/spam" synonymous and use the latter when you navigate with JavaScript enabled?


1. You visit "/1234/spam", and get served full HTML page with some (optional) JavaScript for progressive enhancement.

2. You click on "/4321/ham" link, but JavaScript hooks it up and replaces URI with "/#!4321/ham" (if your browser don't support HTML5 history API, of course). Yes, there is one full-page reload.

2.1. (Alternative) Or - even better - you can be redirected to "/#!1234/spam" on step 1, so you won't notice the glitch on your first click.

3. You continue to navigate with AJAX, now without reloads. You can bookmark pages and so on (and if you somehow happen to lose JavaScript support you could just remove "#!" to get a valid URI).

Very simplified implementation cost:

1. `$("a[href]").attr("href", function() { return this.href.replace(/^\/(?!#)/, "/#!"); });` on every page

2. `if (location.pathname === "/" and location.hash.match(/^\/#!/) { $("#content").load(location.hash.replace(/^#!/, "/") + "?format=content-only"); ... }` on / page.

3. Ability to return undecorated ("article-only") content on `/1234/spam?format=content-only` requests.

8 points by antimatter15 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I was building an app that used pushState/replaceState recently instead of the hash bang syntax, but getting content navigation isn't easy. For example, when attaching the event handler to the links, you have to be careful not to make it trigger on middle or right clicks and you have to keep track of the scroll state so going back keeps the same behavior and also to take a copy of the previous selected text. Without all of that, intra-page navigation feels unnatural and uncanny.
36 points by jbermudes 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like gawker sites show up pretty much empty with javascript turned off, and on top of it there's no warning that it has to be turned on? What ever happened to graceful degradation? Give me 1996 text only if you have to, but please, don't break the web by forcing javascript. Even Gmail, the poster child for javascript/Ajax detects that you have it disabled and shows you an HTML-only version.
1 point by poink 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
The more complex your site gets, the harder making /foo/bar => #!/foo/bar dance becomes. This is hampered by the fact that, when you bring these issues up with business folks, it'll probably go something like this (from experience):

1) How many of our users will be affected?
2) How much harder (i.e. how much longer) will it be to do it right?
3) Don't we depend on JS to inject ads anyway? Ads are the whole reason anybody's paying for this...

When you truthfully answer #1, if #2 is more than about 5 minutes, nobody's going to budget for it.

Overall, the hash-as-URL argument is hampered by the fact that Gawker is a prime example of going single page just because you can. Other than fancy page->page transitions, I don't see what their new setup buys them.

1 point by colanderman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Proposal: extend Transfer-Encoding to allow gzip encoding of multiple responses in a persistent connection as if they were a single stream. This way, a browser which expects to request multiple pages from a site can keep the connection open, and the repeated content on each page will be gzipped into oblivion.

The problems I see is that this would require both server and browser support, and that leaving persistent connections open for minutes could be problematic.

5 points by evandavid 10 hours ago 6 replies      
For the time being, I will personally continue to build #!-only websites, designed exclusively for javascript enabled browsers. Maintaining two versions (along the guidelines of progressive enhancement) is just too much work (maintaining and testing html view templates as well as jQuery or moustache templates) considering that so few people lack javascript. I wouldn't let a release go live without running a selenium suite across it in any case. My perspective would be different, I imagine, if I worked on a large team that could 'afford' to take the progressive enhancement route.
6 points by hybrid11 9 hours ago 1 reply      
We had a similar problem with our site, and we solved the issue by using <a id="linkID" href="pathToContent">title</a> links with a jQuery event handler that prevents the default behavior of the link.

With this implementation, when the link is clicked the appropriate content is served through an Ajax call, and the crawlers are able to index the content.

You can see it in action here http://lynkly.com

7 points by timb 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Newer browsers ( http://caniuse.com/#search=history ) can manipulate the url without needing the #! hack.
1 point by billswift 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hash bangs obviously aren't the only way to break web pages; has anyone else noticed that the current Google homepage has broken the keyboard shortcuts, at least in Firefox? You can't (or at least I can't) access the menu with the Alt key now.
1 point by eapen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Even worse, they dont appropriately use the canonical meta tag.
1 point by MichaelApproved 8 hours ago 2 replies      
>Being dependent on perfect JavaScript

You're almost always dependent on perfect code to keep your site running, be it server side or client side. If code breaks on the server side you're just as screwed.

3 points by waqf 11 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by nathansobo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Please. I for one am using the fragment hack to build a richer user experience on a widely available platform. The interactions I am building wouldn't be possible without it (or the HTML 5 pushState replaceState equivalents). Rendering my content on the client in JavaScript makes me a lot more productive, and the interactions I facilitate on my site would be impossible without it. The implementation choices of a single web site cannot "break the web". I trust that the author of this post has a lot of experience and also valuable things to say about building accessible sites, but accessibility and graceful degradation aren't the only god in my pantheon.
1 point by carbonx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Did they do any sort of beta testing on this before they rolled it out?
Brutal New York - 1965/95 skyscrapercity.com
210 points by px 2 days ago   73 comments top 13
26 points by Dn_Ab 1 day ago 4 replies      
1965ish. This is where, when Hip Hop was born. Probably a lot of you turn your nose down* at this angry crime glorifying inferior 'form of noise'. But look at the conditions of these kids and what they had to work with, is it any surprise that they would be so pissed?

Now look at today, not so many years after and against large odds; those kids have created an international culture with music, dance, stories, poetry - a veritable complex art form that touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world and gives, gave hope to those who had nothing else. This, at least is something that a community of hackers and entrepreneurs can appreciate. That is the true message of hip hop that has been lost by the bastardizing filteration process of media and people not so intimately connected to its origins - including descendants of the visionaries, who despoil the art and see it as only a means to get rich quick and stack up on some biches. Damned Entropy.

It speaks something of both the human ability to persevere and the unique aspects of the U.S. where people in such adverse coordinates can still go on to create. such great things.

I was a teeny bit hurt (not offended) by the Cr48 warning agains't exposure to rap.

yes i am aware that rap, heck music is a subset of hip hop


12 points by ilamont 1 day ago 0 replies      
I visited NYC on a regular basis from 1987 to 1990, to see friends in Brooklyn, NYU and northern NJ. It seems hard to imagine now, but I95 had abandoned, jacked cars on the shoulder, right in the middle of the city. At some grim housing estate visible from one of the train or aboveground subway lines, I remember seeing thick trail of garbage a hundred feet long covering a wide stairway going down an adjoining hillside to another street. Lots of people sleeping rough in Penn Station, and aggressive panhandling. Natives warned me not to take the subway past a certain time.

Despite this environment -- or because of it -- there was also a lot of interesting cultural activity taking place in the city. Someone mentioned hip-hop originated there; it was also where American punk rock got off the ground, not to mention all kinds of art and theater activity. The food then, as is now, was excellent.

14 points by maxklein 1 day ago replies      
The U.S has come a long way since then. I wonder what happened to all those drug addicted people - where do they live now?
7 points by b_emery 1 day ago 4 replies      
The decrease in crime in NYC over the lase few decades is just remarkable. I remember reading about the problems of AIDS and crack, and just thinking there was no hope. I would have never thought it could turn around like it did. Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" had some pretty good evidence that crime can be thought of as an epidemic. I'd love to read more on the subject if anyone has suggestions.
3 points by javanix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, places like these still exist.

Read 'The Corner' by David Simon (creator of The Wire and Treme) if you're interested in a more modern take on the ghetto.

Take home message: the war on drugs in its current form is not working and the side effects are places like this, completely cut off from normal society, almost completely out of reach outside of an economic revival (like happened in Harlem).

6 points by VladRussian 1 day ago 1 reply      
very familiar pictures - that was depiction of life of working people in the US in the Soviet media when i was a child.
7 points by Duff 1 day ago 0 replies      
My family moved away from NYC in the late 80's because they couldn't afford to send us to the Catholic school, and the middle school that I was going to be sent to had some issues with violence. Violence like kids burning up cars with molotov cocktails.
1 point by rlmw 1 day ago 0 replies      
For some reason when I clicked this link, I assumed it would be picture of brutialist architecture [0]. Interesting photos nonetheless.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutalist_architecture

1 point by mikecane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it odd that this link has gained such traction. Months ago I posted a link to Holdt's original American Pictures site and it sunk like a stone. I'm sure this has happened to other people here too. No figuring out what will or won't pop.
1 point by Jun8 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read the book excerpt that is linked (http://www.american-pictures.com/english/book/book-9.htm) an it's fascinating!
1 point by godber 1 day ago 0 replies      
Later in that thread there are links to other threads that include pictures of Harlem in recent times:



0 points by AlexMuir 1 day ago 4 replies      
Three years ago people would read that and feel glad that those areas have improved. Today I read it and feel sad that we are inevitably heading back into similar days.
-1 point by flip 1 day ago 1 reply      

The author needs to read this and get a life. Stop focusing on the downsides and actually do some work. It's as though people want to entirely forget the past and merely see the present.

This post is, entirely, ignorant and racist.

The Type of Employee You Really Want: Porn Star pseudocoder.com
204 points by vlucas 4 days ago   52 comments top 19
144 points by jrockway 4 days ago 6 replies      
The Type of Blog Post I Really Want: One With Some Substance
20 points by johngalt 4 days ago 2 replies      
Excellent satire. I think most startups would be better off managing a small team of specialists rather than trying to get the rockstar. There are exceeding few people that truely have end-to-end knowledge, and as systems become more abstract that number will only shrink.

So don't look for a guy that "makes the computer do X" where X = infinity. Just map out what the different major areas are and how they interact.

20 points by jarin 4 days ago 3 replies      
The funny thing is porn stars DO get paid very well ($2000-3000 for an hour or so of work). Well, the female ones anyway. The male porn stars get something like $600.
12 points by jorgem 4 days ago 1 reply      
"pizza guy", "all girls catholic school", "server repair man"... sounds pretty male-centric... you sure a woman couldn't do the job?
12 points by krakensden 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the plus side, HR departments will never, ever jump on this bandwagon.
10 points by intellectronica 4 days ago 0 replies      
Almost as funny as "if airlines were operating systems".
5 points by autalpha 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like humour and satire; but somehow, this one just didn't do it for me. In the back of my mind, it feels a bit sexist and degrading. Perhaps it's the stigma the porn industry had created. As a developer, I feel conflicted :/
3 points by rbxbx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everything about this thread is awful. Please flag.
4 points by shadowspar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly, folks who complain about the locker-room mentality of the tech industry don't have a leg to stand on. >_<

What next, a blog post about fart jokes?

2 points by blahblahblah 4 days ago 1 reply      
This metaphor needs to die, stat (and hopefully take the ninja and rock star metaphors with it into the dustbin of history). It adds nothing useful to the discourse about programming and, worse, is demeaning to the profession.
2 points by kemayo 4 days ago 0 replies      
"will be compensated with tons of really enjoyable work"

From all I've heard, porn-sex is not terribly enjoyable.

2 points by sixtofour 4 days ago 0 replies      
All he did was describe a rock star ninja, and call it a porn star.

Or did I just hear a "whoosh" go by my head?

1 point by ErrantX 4 days ago 0 replies      
This describes an excellent employee (for some, anyway). But it doesn't describe a porn star.
3 points by kgtm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't put my finger on what exactly turned me on about such a job listing, but it did (no pun intended). Any places for amateur fetishist porn stars (Perl)?
5 points by millerc 4 days ago 0 replies      
After 30 years, no wonder I feel dirty.
2 points by iamleppert 4 days ago 0 replies      
You know, I hope they end up with some starry-eyed dumbass who doesn't know his own hole. Maybe someone who just watched the social network and picked up a book on facebook markup language?

What about the product? I'm a pretty talented guy and can get jobs easily. What is going to make me quit my well paying job at a _successful_ startup and jump on your bandwagon? The romantic notion of risking everything and working at a coffee shop?

I'm sorry, but whoever else said the "ninja" and "rock star" metaphor needs to die said it best. Please, please get rid of these things and replace them with some substance!

1 point by cpeterso 4 days ago 1 reply      
Startups are always looking for coding rock stars and ninjas. Where are coding pirates and zombies supposed to work? :)
2 points by Steve_Baker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously not for me. I finish all my programs in under 5 minutes. :-(
5 points by TheAmazingIdiot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it really IS "Put Out or Get Out".
Things to Never Say While Negotiating inc.com
206 points by mjh8136 3 days ago   72 comments top 7
31 points by joelmichael 3 days ago replies      
I am guilty of the "Fuck you" one. The offered terms insulted me so much I no longer wanted to do business with the person. Had I taken this article's advice, I would have stayed calm and moved toward some highly unsatisfying "middle ground" purely to "close the deal". We are faced with innumerable opportunities in our lives, and we need to filter out the best ones; for most negotiations, a successful outcome is not making a deal.
8 points by semanticist 3 days ago 3 replies      
Perfectly optimal financial value doesn't always equal perfectly optimal social value.

For my current job my employer's first offer was exactly the amount I'd been looking for. So I said 'yes' and didn't negotiate at all.

Maybe I could've talked them up, but I got what I was looking for and we closed the meeting in under 15 minutes with everyone happy.

If someone offers you what you want, why waste time negotiating for more?

3 points by gfodor 3 days ago 1 reply      
I definitely think there are certain people who are born with negotiation skills, and those that are not. You can always get better of course, but some people have a natural ability (a specific form of empathy) to know what exactly the other party is thinking, feeling, and expecting, and can exploit it as much as possible. Its just as much a skill as a talent, and can be used for both good and evil.
2 points by keefe 3 days ago 5 replies      
>1. The word "between.

I largely agree with this article and even this point in particular, but I think you will often end up in a situation where stating a range can move things along quickly. If you qualify it properly, it can be a useful way to turn the tables. For example, if you are discussing rate you could say well, from the other people I've been talking to it looks like positions like this one pay between $45 and $65 an hour, depending on various factors, but of course more detail is required to pin the number down exactly and it varies for each individual, so what kind of budgetary, time and code quality constraints are on this project?

I think this is a nice way of turning the tables, it would be socially weird for them to just ignore the question and be like, "so what EXACTLY were you looking for?"

Of course, they may end up offering you at 45 to start, but you can just kind of scoff at that (if you want) and be like well this seems more complex/difficult because... there's nothing wrong with continually edging away from the question until they get frustrated.

6 points by imcqueen 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I'm the seller I would prefer to throw out a number. That way you can simply pad the starting point, coming down in price is much easier than going up.
2 points by atgm 3 days ago 1 reply      
If someone said "fuck you" to me, I would no longer want to negotiate with them, plain and simple.
1 point by chanri 3 days ago 7 replies      
Is there any way to gain practice on negotiation? As an entrepreneur, are there any resources on the internet where you can "practice"?

The only thing I can think of is playing poker or something at the casino...

The Google I/O freebie I'm hoping for: Nothing justinsb.posterous.com
189 points by justinsb 1 day ago   55 comments top 16
15 points by ary 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can you imagine the shit-storm if Apple gave away iPhones at WWDC? At least I can attend that conference knowing full well that I'll be surrounded with developers who are there to learn & network.

I'm really disappointed that I won't be making it to I/O this year. 2009 was a blast (I missed 2010 out of laziness). Thought all I had to do was register within the first hour and I'd be fine.

Honestly, I blame Oprah for this.

35 points by justinsb 1 day ago 3 replies      
A quick TLDR: It seems probable that a lot of the people are just going for the freebies, and by announcing that there will be no giveaways and offering refunds, that will open up spots for people that actually want to go to the conference
20 points by Jun8 1 day ago 2 replies      
It got sold out in 56 minutes! What a bummer. I don't care for the swag they give out, I was looking forward to meeting the people.

How about this idea: A parallel I/O Error Conference at the same time?

9 points by dotBen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've not missed a Google I/O event since the first "Google Developer Day" in San Jose in 2007 and so I'm bummed not to be attending this year.

Google did offer me a 'pre registration" but I didn't anticipate the level of demand that would occur :(

If people are indeed registering just for the (potential) freebie, I wonder what impact that will have on the conference in terms of people sticking around to actually attend sessions and participate.

I might lobbycon it anyway.

5 points by nl 1 day ago 1 reply      
They should have coding requirements for the freebie. Nothing crazy - just enough to prove the person knows at least one language or maybe even a bit of HTML.
5 points by crizCraig 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google gives the freebies away so that developers will have devices at hand to make apps for. If non-developer freebie seekers are going, that obviously defeats the purpose. Maybe they should have some sort of coding exercise that you have to complete to be eligible for registration.
2 points by kbutler 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least we can get the technical content, if Google continues to post the videos:


4 points by abraham 1 day ago 0 replies      
5000 developers is to big anyways. Once all the scalpers leave with their swag everyone who is left can have a more intimate conference.
3 points by DFectuoso 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been there for the last 2 years, and I was able to pre-register this year. I go for the talks and the awesome energy that the event irradiates. I am pretty sure the quality of the talks and the energy will be just better than last year.

Developers like conferences and free gadgets, yea there might be some people looking to get some "free" $500 gadgets, but I don't think that will ruin my experience of awesome tech stuff and meeting the teams from all the different technologies that work on stuff I use every day.

1 point by ConceptDog 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm just really starting to get into Android and was hoping for the chance to really get in and get excited about the technology. Much like it was in my first experience with the web all the way back in 2007.

I'm really disappointed that I won't have the chance to go. I hope it's not because tons of people are going for the free device.

I've actually become a huge Android advocate to my friends, but things like this irk me something awful.

1 point by kenjackson 1 day ago 2 replies      
Do you have attend to get the freebie? I can't imagine spending the money AND the time to get a freebie of their choice, when I can buy something of my choice w/o having to leave my house.
1 point by juiceandjuice 1 day ago 1 reply      
It'd be interesting to find out how many people are actually developers using google technologies at this year's event.

Admittedly, I would have loved to get and get a freebie, but I would have enjoyed all the GWT and web sessions more than a freebie.

2 points by arron61 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google IO did not sell out yet. This is how you register.


1 point by mquander 1 day ago 0 replies      
If their event sells out in 59 minutes, why don't they raise the price dramatically?
3 points by herdcall 1 day ago 0 replies      
If people signed up just for the goodies, why did the bootcamp (reportedly) sell out in 2 minutes?
1 point by slowpoison 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although one can't blame Google for it, what's really sad is the loss taken by people who had booked flights and hotels in anticipation. Google definitely needs to come up with a better system to address all the nuances. A tech conference need not be like a rock concert.
A favicon? That'll be £585 please. whatdotheyknow.com
188 points by mathias 5 days ago   102 comments top 36
84 points by larrik 5 days ago replies      
1) They said that the favicon was not quoted from the contracter separately. Clearly the listed price is from some weird government formula. (Although, the original document DOES list it separately)

2) I'll bet something like Google's favicon cost WAY more than that.

3) 600 pounds isn't all that much when consulting work hourly rates are compared against it, and is practically nothing if they paid an actual designer.

It's easy to say "I could do that in 5 minutes." (cite: from the email exchange) But, could you? Including the design? And making sure after you shrunk it down it still looked okay? There's a good chance you'll need to go in there and draw each pixel by hand to make it look right (and it better be right).

Favicons are important, it's a mistake to believe they are always a 5 minute project.

(edited to add "always" to the last sentence)

24 points by DrStalker 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've charegd a client over $1000 for a one-line script that used SCP to copy a file from one place to another. I even told them upfront it would be a trivial one-line script, and made no pretense it was not a really simple thing to do.

But by the time you cover quoting, invoicing, documentation for the change control process and arranging the required access there is a whole days effort spent on the task.

Just because something is easy to do in an environment where you have complete control and no need to justify and document changes doesn't mean it's easy to do in a production environment, and that's assuming the icon itself wasn't properly hand-crafted pixel by pixel to get the best result.

51 points by burgerbrain 5 days ago 4 replies      
£1 for the new favicon, £584 for knowing how to do it.
4 points by csomar 5 days ago 0 replies      
If it's for the creation of a new favicon, so that's actually low. Let say, 3 designer hold a discussion together to exchange ideas and mock-ups. They'll need to know what the website is about, what is its' logo, what should the favicon include... If it takes 3 hours, that's 3 x 3 = 9.

Then a designer will need to draw the real favicon from that mock-up, don't forget that he'll need to make many resolutions and then tests them. Let say that take 2 hours, including a final discussion with the other members of the team.

So in total we have 11 hours, if you consider $150/hour a good rate for a professional, then you'll have $1,650.

22 points by jasondavies 5 days ago 1 reply      
Somewhat ironic that the favicon was for an organisation called ICO.
5 points by corin_ 5 days ago 2 replies      
"I can advised [sic] you that the work needed to put the favicon live was complicated by an old environment (which has since been updated) that caused issues and extended the time taken to carry out the work."


6 points by rriepe 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you factor in the time for bothersome, inane e-mails, then their 585 figure makes more sense.
6 points by lukosan78 5 days ago 0 replies      
Some factors to bear in mind before balking:

1) The work was done under a support contract, therefore it was probably billed on time and materials and there may also be a minimum or call-out charge (it's the goal of a lot of companies to be able to charge a daily-rate instead of an hourly one). When they say it's not quoted for separately they mean that they didn't put out an RFP, tender it and agree a fixed price beforehand, they asked Reading Room to do the work under an existing contractual agreement at pre-agreed rates.

2) If the work is of a high priority then the hourly cost is greater.

3) It's a government site therefore they probably have a change management process in place which would mean that before anything touches a production server it has to be signed off. If they do things properly (which I honestly don't believe for a second) then there's no way in the world a developer or designer would be able to touch a production server (let alone two) and this would be someone else's job.

4) the design process may have not been as straightforward as just reducing the size. Perhaps they wanted to try it different colours, etc. ? All we can see is the end result and not the process.

Of course, they may have just been ripped off. But then so have we by making pointless requests under the Freedom of Information Act which isn't going to accomplish anything more than an inflated sense of our own self-worth.

5 points by rwhitman 5 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that they were ready to supply an honest answer to the inquiry is pretty cool. Regardless of how steep the cost of that favicon was, I'm impressed by how they can be held accountable for it
4 points by axod 5 days ago 2 replies      
The irony is that entering into a debate with them about how much it cost, likely cost far more than £585 in their time spent finding out.

Reminds me of the whole "MP's expenses 'scandal'" - the inquiry cost more than was paid out originally in expenses.

£585 is nothing in that sort of context.

5 points by paulirish 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastical coincidence: the most expensive favicon.ico was charged to an organization whose branding is a lowercase 'ico'
7 points by ebaysucks 5 days ago 1 reply      
If upgrading to a two server environment causes the price of a favicon to balloon to $585, web designers are going to make millions when the government starts hosting in the cloud.
8 points by m0th87 5 days ago 2 replies      
£0.57 ($0.92) per pixel (it was 32x32 :)
2 points by javanix 5 days ago 0 replies      
At my current salary, it would take me about 10 days of work to reach £585 in straight labor costs.

Honestly, that doesn't seem to be too overly ridiculous to me. There is a lot of work that goes into designing them (and installing them into each page of a website, especially if the favicon was new and not an update). If the company in question didn't have someone perfectly familiar with the site in question, I can see it taking a week or so to get it out the door. What costs would be added by going through the process of taking bids? I wouldn't be surprised if those in themselves ran to £100 - £200.

2 points by famfamfam 5 days ago 0 replies      
You could assume that the time allocations could be broken down as follows (billable by the hour), which makes it more believable that the total cost could be approx £585.

* 1 hour - Account handler discusses with request with client, adds to studio traffic scheduler

* 2 hours - Icon development by designer

* 3 hours - Developer wrestles with old website platform to try and add relevant <link> to every template

* 1 hour - Project Manager reviews and discusses with client

* 1 hour - Developer deploys to production environment

Making 8 hours at approx £75/h (£600) which all sounds perfectly believable for a London digital studio.

One of the issues with the low barrier to entry to web development is that a class of people exist who believe that the job is entirely a process of making a website (or a favicon) and uploading it via FTP, maybe even installing Wordpress. Complex client relationships, business/deployment processes and old web systems do not factor into their equation for cost. It is important that these people exist, otherwise the cost of being involved with the web would be astronomical for businesses at the lower end, but there _are_ good industry practices for quality work and jobs required at the higher end which they are putting in jeopardy with sensationalist headlines such as this one. Some clients have more available money, but require much more effort than throwing up a few plugins and shooting them an email once it is done. Nor is favicon design a case of taking one of my Silk icons are throwing it through a dynamicdrive favicon maker.

That said, there are still a few examples of UK website procurement which goes beyond what you might call value for money, such as Birmingham Council's website which cost £3m (http://www.birminghampost.net/news/politics-news/2009/08/04/...), although my concern with that website was not so much the cost but the quality of the work (from a quick scan I don't have the same concerns about the ICO website).

3 points by arnorhs 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen much worse. One being a client billed 7 hours x roughly $150 for... wait for it... modifying a dns entry...

This is not a joke, and it was a pretty sizable dev shop here in iceland

2 points by gte910h 5 days ago 0 replies      
It only cost 585 pounds to add a favicon to a government website?

I'm surprised it wasn't more.

Working wit the government is not cheap. It is not easy. It is not something that lends itself to lean development shops. That development work is supporting a bevy of sales and process people to deal with government stuff. 585 pounds is cheap

1 point by singular 5 days ago 1 reply      
I spent a long time trying to get mine right, and it's still looks a bit shabby in my mind - http://www.codegrunt.co.uk/ - I'm not actually that surprised by the cost.

This seems to me to be classic non-tech manager thinking - 'how on earth can a 16x16 icon cost that much?!' - but once you factor in all the various factors it's not so obvious. Just because the instinctive reaction is 'that's ridiculous!' it doesn't mean that should override an actual analysis of what might actually be involved.

3 points by electrichead 5 days ago 0 replies      
You know, making an effective favicon probably would take a lot of time. There is just not enough room. I would say it is akin to shoving a complex program into a handful of bytes.

That being said, this particular favicon was not so much designed as resized, and so I totally agree that they got ripped off!

4 points by kpeel 5 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one impressed with the speed and (relatively) decent and detailed response by the government in this case?
1 point by pclark 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the company: http://www.readingroom.com
1 point by lwhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
My guess is that someone who isn't knowledgeable about web development drew up this list of costs.

Perhaps they transposed a list of requirements / features and assigned the breakdown incorrectly - assigning too much cost/time emphasis to favicon design.

1 point by VladRussian 5 days ago 0 replies      
common guys! the 53 miles of US border fence cost 1B.


It is about $300/inch. That would be 53 miles of new favicon/inch ($300 vs 585 pounds - thats 70% volume discount given by Boing to teh US government). Look at the picture at the link above - it is a really hi-tech fence.

1 point by Tichy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think another government (France?) paid several million EUR for a jingle for the World Exhibition. It was made by the band Kraftwerk, but still.
1 point by radley 5 days ago 0 replies      
client -> agency client rep -> in-agency meeting -> agency talent rep -> studio(s) -> studio rep -> studio art director -> studio art grunt -> photoshop / favicon.cc
1 point by michaelpinto 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you are retouching a favicon pixel-by-pixel I can see that racking up a few hours: £585 = $944, so if a designer is say charging $150 to work on a complex logo that would quickly add up. It's actually much harder to create something good in the space of just a few pixels as opposed to a social media icon which might give you 100 pixels.

By the way I noticed yesterday that Hacker news is going to start a designer's directory because there "are so few good designers". I submit the problem really is that there are so few programmers who can be bothered to learn anything about designers or how they work.

In fact the very notion that designers are some secondary set of dumb hands is quite insulting. The reality is that product design (of any sort) should START with a designer and not an engineer. VCs should give more serious thought that an BFA or MFA is worth far more than a CS or MBA.

1 point by linker3000 5 days ago 0 replies      
Scary thing is I encountered a similar 'issue':

The quote was to modify a piece of linux-based kit to work with a regular screen and keyboard instead of a touchscreen. The cost? £3300 for 'development'.

I was asked to grab a piece of sample kit and liaise with the development company to have the work done. To cut a long story short, one of the developers called me back a day or so later and gave me instructions on how to change one line in an XML file from TOUCHSCREEN=YES to NO.

After I had completed the work, I reported back to the man in charge of the project and queried the cost. He said that since it was being passed to the customer it was not an issue.

2 points by scsmith 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to know what the cost of getting this response was, sure the icon's expensive but at that rate it probably cost another couple of hundred to give all this information (I know it's internal and not a contractor but someone has to do it).
1 point by noginn 5 days ago 0 replies      
"the work needed to put the favicon live was complicated
by an old environment (which has since been updated) that caused issues and extended the time taken to carry out the work."

Sounds like their old CMS system made it difficult to actually add a favicon in the template. I very much doubt the quoted price is just for creating the icon.

2 points by ethan 5 days ago 0 replies      
favicon was not quoted separately, wasn't 585 pounds, non-story
1 point by dolphenstein 5 days ago 0 replies      
<sarcasm>Great point! The government should source all their development work from craigslist from now on!</sarcasm>
1 point by switch007 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know whether I'm disgusted or full of glee that my company is working hard on government tenders.
1 point by tomelders 5 days ago 0 replies      
So is this guy trying to make the point that "design is worthless"?
-1 point by lachyg 5 days ago 1 reply      
That's disgraceful... I don't know what else to say.
-1 point by razzaj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Dude... where i am from... you ask such a question to the government they will laugh to your face ! should you insist security is called... If you come back you will be thrown in jail...
On another note... a FAVICON generator website business startup anyone (of course based out of the UK)? lol
-3 points by JonnieCache 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is why the UK is so broke. Corrupt government procurement procedures. Departments overpay like this for various reasons, having to spend the whole budget is a good one. The UK is very corrupt, but our establishment is very good at hiding it and making it all legitimate. Look up some data about Private Finance Initiatives if you want to be really shocked, a £550 favicon is nothing compared to the billions that have been taken from us. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/24/pfi-nhs

In many of these cases, the procurement procedure is ITSELF contracted out to a third company that will charge a "procurement fee" as a percentage of the value of the final contract. Obviously this incentivises them to pick the most expensive supplier.

I'm trying to find a source but coming up short, google gives me pages and pages of worthless drek from the government websites themselves. I'll try to edit in a link later.

       cached 9 February 2011 16:04:01 GMT