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How I Got Kicked Out of Y Combinator and Then Raised $1.5m for My Startup joncrawford.com
568 points by eoghan 2 days ago   112 comments top 40
100 points by pg 2 days ago 4 replies      
Every batch there are some groups that fall apart between when we agree to fund them and when YC starts. Sometimes we tell them not to worry about it and do YC anyway, and sometimes we tell them they should take some time to repair the damage and reapply for the next cycle. It depends on how bad the breakage is. If a team of 3 loses 1 person, that's no problem. Whereas if a team of 3 loses 2 people, that's bad.

In this case, the breakage was not only on the bad end of the spectrum, but we weren't told about it till the last moment. IIRC Jon told us an hour before he got on the plane here. That affected our decision more than the breakage itself. At the scale we operate on, we can't afford to have people around who aren't upfront with us.

I'm glad Jon got funded though. As he says, I was quite enthusiastic about what they were working on.

25 points by Timothee 2 days ago 2 replies      
In 2010, I got accepted and kicked out of Y Combinator, lost my cofounders, and raised $1.5M from A-list investors

Sounds like it was more "our team was accepted even though they had no idea what I was up to, I subsequently lost my cofounders, and Y Combinator revised their decision based on that."

I'm surprised that YC accepted "them" after meeting just one of the co-founders. Also, what is not very clear is why he went by himself to get money and how he continued the company by himself without his cofounders. Meaning that it sounds like it's just that they didn't want to move to SF with a week-notice, not that they gave up completely on the startup...

40 points by alexophile 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was kind of hoping this would be a story of Yuri Milner tracking down the one that got away.
18 points by physcab 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use storenvy at grooveshark (http://www.storenvy.com/stores/3605-grooveshark and http://store.grooveshark.com/) and its super awesome. I love the emphasis they place on community as that is something we value very highly internally as well. Great work and thanks!
33 points by scottkrager 2 days ago 4 replies      
Wow really shows how Y Combinator values co-founders...

No co-founder....no soup for you!

To be fair, they did get accepted based on having the whole team.

Do you think you would have been excepted if you applied as just yourself?

22 points by joshu 2 days ago 1 reply      
As my cofounders are no doubt tired of me saying: "Keep your hat on, we could end up a long way from here."
4 points by zackattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't you a single founder? What makes you special?
22 points by aepstein 2 days ago 1 reply      
Jon/Storenvy is a case study in refusing to die.
7 points by ztan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious in how things would have turned out had he not been kicked out of YC. My guesses are he probably wouldn't have been that much better off. My analogy for this would be the situation of a Harvard drop out. You've already accomplished the toughest task - getting ACCEPTED. Whether you graduate or not seems pretty insignificant since it's so much more unlikely for an average high school student to be accepted into Harvard, compared to an average Harvard student finishing the program he was accepted in. Ultimately he was able to demonstrate his ability to network and raise fund despite not completing YC. What I don't know is how much did having that YC stamp of approval (despite being taken away later) helped in those endeavors.

Edit: rephrased my question a bit, still seems awkward...

3 points by run4yourlives 2 days ago 2 replies      
The article makes it sound that PG and co allowed this guy to pick up and move to SF only to tell him to suck it the next day.

If that is what happened, they deserve some scorn for playing with a person's life like that. That's just not on. If, however, they were clear about their reservations and just wanted to meet the guy again to discuss, it was really stupid of him to transport himself from his home to a hotel.

Such a cavalier attitude to risk actually might be a very good reason that this guy should not be running anything, and YC made a sound choice.

Either way, don't know any of the actors in the story and wish them all the best. Thanks for sharing this rather strange story.

7 points by dariusmonsef 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad I could be a part of this story of boy meets incubator, boy loses incubator... boy still gets the funding. :)
3 points by jacoblyles 1 day ago 0 replies      
YCombinator has a very narrow niche for the kind of companies they fund. They reject many companies, not because they aren't good companies, but because they don't fit the YCombinator style. This isn't a bad thing for YC. Everybody needs to specialize. And it means there are plenty of good startups out there that aren't getting funded by PG/Yuri Milner.
10 points by jeromec 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this guy's writing style. Great read.
3 points by boredguy8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good job.

I'm curious why you list SF as the location, giving how well everything started out for you even though you were spread out geographically.

7 points by dh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love Jon and Janette and everything they are doing. I remember getting calls from Jon when all of this happened and so happy to see where he is today.
2 points by bootload 2 days ago 1 reply      
"... Still, a couple hours later, I boarded a plane with my wife, dog, and all the necessities for the summer stuffed into a suitcase and flew to SFO and hoped for the best. Seven days isn't nearly enough time to find a proper housing setup in SF, so we checked into an extended stay hotel where we would end up living for an entire month.

The next morning, Paul emailed and arranged a meeting with the entire YC team for us to discuss the future of Storenvy in YC. Since we didn't have a car, and I didn't have enough time to figure out something better, Janette and I took a $100 cab ride down to Mountain View. ..."

Anatomy of determination.

7 points by erichurst 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can say all you want about resiliency, but I think it was the ninja-moves animated gif.
2 points by Mistone 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMHO - one of the very best HN posts ever. no way for YC to be right about founders every time but the rejection feels devastating (we got interviewed then rejected for Winter 2010). But truth is that the vast majority of startups don't do YC or other incubator programs. Hustle, more than anything stands out as the factor that turned a rough situation into a success. good stuff Jon!
8 points by eoghan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love this story and can vouch for its authenticity!
3 points by budu3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Your wife was really supportive.
1 point by marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. One thing about storenvy though, if I were to trust my business with you guys, I would want to know that there is a future and you aren't just figuring it out as you go along.

I would say figure out a way to monetize it in the short-term (perhaps transaction fee on all the sales), that way, your sellers can be confident that you are a going concern.

Just my $0.02.

19 points by Zakuzaa 2 days ago 0 replies      
ShowedUpWithoutTeamThatWasAccepted = GotKickedOutOf

Rejected != GotKickedOutOf

4 points by jeffreyk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't be more proud of Jon, Janette and Storenvy. Serious ass-kickers.
1 point by marcamillion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to know what the traffic is like on this article - because this has just shot through the roof.
4 points by micahb37 2 days ago 0 replies      
vision is something Jon is not short on...great post!
1 point by kajecounterhack 1 day ago 0 replies      
On another note, storenvy.com is really well-crafted. I just spent an hour browsing the products on the many stores. The UI is really a job well done.
1 point by micahb37 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its important to note that YC isnt "at fault," or "did something wrong." They did what they thought was best, and that decision drove Jon down a different path. The end result (at least at this point) is net-net positive for both. Being in YC as a single founder would have been really hard on Jon, and would have probably netted a different short-term result, given the learning and potential shift in direction an accelerator can bring (YC, TS, etc.)
1 point by phatbyte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing storry. I just wished I was one of his co-founders, I would never say no to that. But I guess this just goes to proof that not everyone has a startup goal in their minds.

I wish you the best of luck on your project, it is a true inspiring story. Congrats

1 point by wmboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great story! And guys, I personally think the discussion should focus more on "...and Then Raised $1.5m for My Startup". He clearly has no hard feelings for YC and even said "they did the right thing".

To me the story speaks of the rewards of true hustle. That and making sure you're family is 100% involved in your start up too, as his wife sure helped too!

0 points by KMStraub 2 days ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, Paul was willing to take a huge gamble on this company from the outset because of a strong gut feeling. Y Combinator didn't have to let them in and was being incredibly generous, going as far as setting aside their own rules for this one special case. They went above and beyond the call of duty. And then, to hear word that they'd have to yet again do things differently than they are accustomed to for this one company probably just didn't feel right anymore. I am happy for the writer and I bet he'll be very successful, but where he went wrong (if my facts are correct) is expecting YC to allow him to stay in the program because of "protocol." They made the first decision based on a gut reaction, and they reserved the right to make a second decision "on gut" as well. Also, to be clear, they didn't kick him out, they respectfully asked the founder to apply again next quarter. My purpose isn't to declare a winner. I have a lot of respect for the author and his perseverance. But I hope he sees just how much he was asking from YC, what an incredible achievement that was to convince Paul to take the first leap of faith, and why he probably should have just swallowed his pride and accepted YC's decision with genuine gratitude.
1 point by JohnMaloney 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great post, Jon. This mix of tenacity/hustle/risk can't be learn. DNA.

After reading this I'm even more excited to be an investor

1 point by thematt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why did you have to move to San Francisco? I understand the benefits, but I thought YC funds companies based outside CA, so was that a condition of the funding that they made?
1 point by mdoerneman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome story! I am building a startup in a small town in Nebraska (not too far from KC, MO) so I feel like I can relate to a lot of what you said.
1 point by knowsnothing613 2 days ago 0 replies      
So are you like a competitor to shopify? It seemed like you'd disrupt their market with your free shopping stores.
1 point by luckymurari 1 day ago 1 reply      
The most intriguing point is "Why doesn't Storenvy accept other payment modes than Paypal??? "
2 points by johntmeyer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome insight Jon. Thanks for the honest look back. I never found you inspirational, but you fake it well, ha.
1 point by michaelpinto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a way that I can apply to be kicked out of Y Combinator without being in Y Combinator?
2 points by bmull 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. Happy to know you guys
1 point by tianimal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really inspiring story. I can attest you and Janette were experiencing "the trough of sorrow".
0 points by rwebb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post!
Nokia CEO: Nokia is "standing on a burning platform" engadget.com
503 points by ldayley 5 days ago   195 comments top 41
88 points by andrewljohnson 5 days 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.

113 points by vessenes 5 days ago 2 replies      
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.

36 points by SandB0x 5 days 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.

32 points by erikstarck 4 days ago 1 reply      
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:


13 points by erikpukinskis 4 days 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.

24 points by bambax 5 days 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).

22 points by avner 5 days 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.

7 points by oconnore 4 days 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 5 days 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.

7 points by jasonkester 4 days 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.

8 points by Peaker 4 days 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?

4 points by paganel 4 days 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.

5 points by nazgulnarsil 5 days 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 cookiecaper 5 days ago 0 replies      
A good memo and he's certainly correct about the phone market. I hope that Trolltech/Qt makes out OK.
9 points by callahad 5 days ago 1 reply      
I would work for that man.
9 points by bni 4 days 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.

4 points by edderly 5 days 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 5 days 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.
8 points by elehack 5 days 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.
2 points by donaldc 5 days 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...

4 points by cloudmike 4 days ago 1 reply      
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 mhartl 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth noting in this context that Nokia has reinvented itself before; for instance, the company started in 1865 as a pulp mill and paper manufacturer. They've pivoted a few times in the years since.
2 points by Geee 5 days 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.

7 points by Jayasimhan 5 days 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.
1 point by ramanujan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nokia should ally with Facebook to make the Facebook phone. That is the only thing I can think of that would put them back in the game.

The downside is that MS probably has the inside track on that with Windows Phone 7/8.

3 points by kefs 5 days 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


4 points by kooshball 5 days 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 allenbrunson 5 days 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.

2 points by laujen 5 days 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very curious how this will effect QT...
2 points by foobarbazetc 5 days 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.

1 point by Unosolo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not really impressed, yet. And here is why:

Zero points for coming out: Mr Elop was brought in by the board exactly with the goal of rescuing Nokia in mind. Looking from that angle the memo is a bit overdue.

Zero points for opening the letter with a metaphor - this is the way someone steering a major technologic corporation is expected to convey the direction - by projecting a vision.

Negative ten points for picking wrong metaphor. It broke down immediately. See for yourself: should Mr Elop's best employees take his advice literally and jump the burning platform? Followed with a change in behaviour meaning never again joining a severely fragmented bureaucracy ridden company? What was the lesson learned by the oil rig worker? What could he have done differently in the situation when he woke up on a burning platform in a middle of a sea?

I'd award one point for openly enumerating the challenges. But these are the symptoms of Nokia demise, he hasn't dug deep enough, the list is known at this point to every man and his dog.

Negative ten for the actual lack of a credible vision at this point. Let's wait till the strategy comes out.

3 points by lhnz 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great PR campaign from Nokia. :)
1 point by gamble 4 days 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 grego 4 days 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 msh 4 days 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...
1 point by np3000 4 days ago 0 replies      

Looks like Nokia is going with Windows Phone 7

2 points by hook 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it obvious to everyone that he is preparing Nokia for a transition to Windows?
1 point by adsr 4 days 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 meemo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is anybody else thinking "Manchurian candidate"? I mean if he decides to go with Windows phone 7.
0 points by elboru 4 days ago 0 replies      
absolutely agree
Guy commits his genome to Github, smartass forks and issues a pull request github.com
424 points by HectorRamos 1 day ago   64 comments top 16
86 points by cubicle67 1 day ago 3 replies      
that's not a smartarse, that's quite genuinely funny (ymmv)
61 points by po 1 day ago 2 replies      
You know... what would be interesting is if he convinced his parents to submit their data and then he had his data as a merge commit.
9 points by gsivil 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sometimes I do not understand HN.
There is the original post of the guy that posted his DNA on github.com (with the link of course) and a decent discussion on


(5 hours ago)

and still this post is the most upvoted

9 points by solipsist 23 hours ago 2 replies      
If only we could truly activate noprocrast mode in our genetic code by simply changing 3 base pairs...

Imagine how much money the people who discovered it would end up making!

5 points by adulau 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe "genome" should be replaced by "a part of his genome".

For more information about the raw format used by 23 and Me: http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/23andMe

4 points by dnautics 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see why Github couldn't be used to version track actual genomes of engineered small organisms... It would be great, you could curate changes that are 'virtual', changes that have been made, tested, and validated.
12 points by orta 1 day ago 4 replies      
shame, I did this a few weeks ago: http://github.com/orta/dna
2 points by drdaeman 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I find those commits to be more fun (because they seem to be real thing): https://github.com/cariaso/dna/commits/
9 points by machinespit 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"Eyelids now close in proper way. Fixes issue #42." I find humor in this.
4 points by epynonymous 1 day ago 1 reply      
ignorance is bliss, i had to look this up since i use mercurial.


makes sense now, pretty funny comment about the nipple.

1 point by razzmataz 15 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a huge difference between releasing his fully sequenced dna and the data from a genotyping chip.... I went to the github site expecting to see several large fasta files for each chromosome.
2 points by barmstrong 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This just blew my mind - mostly because it could totally happen some day.
2 points by pdenya 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy made real changes to the genome: https://github.com/cariaso/dna

ie: removed increased risk of coronary artery disease at rs1333049

Pretty awesome

2 points by sabat 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Literally laughing outloud at this.
1 point by creativityhurts 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sure he's not worried about Facebook privacy.
1 point by zapnap 1 day ago 3 replies      
<insert joke about natural selection>
How one man tracked down Anonymous"and paid a heavy price arstechnica.com
425 points by steveklabnik 4 days ago   154 comments top 31
90 points by SwellJoe 3 days ago replies      
I can't believe this guy has a job in a security company doing work for the federal government. I'm getting a strong vibe that he's schizophrenic. I've known an unmedicated schizophrenic, and this is the way they talked and acted. Self-aggrandizing, convinced they have comprehended great secrets based on little to no data (schizophrenics often believe that have "other ways of knowing" or extremely heightened intuition), and a belief that once they tell the whole story of the truths that have been revealed to them the world will take notice and be amazed.

The coder in this story is an hero (OK, just a reasonably nice guy, not afraid to tell the moronic "analyst" to go to hell), and obviously prevented a lot of damage by actively working against Barr's insane plans.

I feel the tiniest bit sorry for Leavy and the rootkit guy, as they clearly weren't encouraging this stuff, but really, they knew this guy was a whack-a-mole and they kept him on anyway, I guess because his crazy ego managed to close sales. It's really hard to take pity on someone that knows there's a crazy guy using company resources to go on a personal jihad against random kids on the Internet, and doesn't do anything to stop it.

The level of invasion of privacy this guy was taking part in, against children, is pretty much inexcusable. He's not law-enforcement, and should not be allowed to act as though he has a warrant for rifling through the personal lives of dozens or hundreds of children. All 50 states have laws that cover cyberstalking, cyberharassment, and cyberbullying; in a just world, this nutjob would end up in prison. Whether these kids have done anything wrong or not is irrelevant. Barr is a private citizen, and adult, and he ought to leave law enforcement activities to the police or FBI.

Edit: I should point out that I don't think anyone should be arrested for browsing facebook or twitter or whatever. I was a bit rambling in this comment, and the entirety of my thought processes are not exactly made clear by the text. The stuff that I think is probably illegal is the stuff he was doing outside of his actual research: Dropping hints and threats in mainstream media and in IRC about the data he was gathering, using his fake persona to stir up a shitstorm by leaking that a security company was gathering data on the people he was talking to, etc. I had to google cyberstalking to even know if there were laws about this stuff (and there are, and in all fifty states). While I don't know if those laws are reasonable or not, I'm pretty sure he crossed the line into breaking some of them, particularly in the case of his underage targets.

35 points by iuguy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've resisted discussing this but I think it's late enough after the event to chime in.

First off, disclaimer: We sell HBGary's products in the UK, I know Greg and Penny personally, as well as Jussi (who runs rootkit.com but as far as I'm aware does not work for HBGary). I'm not claiming to speak for anyone or company, just for myself on a purely personal level.

After looking into this, what happened is that HBGary invested in 15% of HBGary Federal, a company set up to do work HBGary didn't want to do. Now presumably (from TFA) they were looking at selling this off.

I don't know Aaron, but it sounds to me like he's a bit of a character at least (I'll leave it to others to resort to namecalling) and completely misunderstood what Anonymous are and how they work - FWIW we investigated Anonymous' years ago for some clients who'd been DDOSed and concluded that the simple solution is (to paraphrase Greg's irc comment) not to poke the wasps nest.

Penny, Greg and HBGary in general are in a bit of a tough situation now because of Aaron's actions and appear to have no ability to impose anything on HBGary Federal. This should serve as a warning to others that if you're going to use the name elsewhere, you better have a way of enforcing unforseen issues that may arise.

The sad thing about all of this is that Penny and Greg are really great guys, and HBGary is a good company with some insanely great technology. I'm sure they'll pull through, but I imagine there will be collateral damage for them resulting from this for some time to come.

82 points by DrStalker 3 days ago replies      
Isn't anonymous less an organized group with leaders and more a bunch of people who hang out and occasionally someone says "hey, it would be cool if we all did <thing>" and whoever is listening joins in?
23 points by citricsquid 4 days ago 2 replies      
Based on my own minimal experience, the majority of these IRC channels are just a small group of "Anonymous" doing whatever they want, different channels will get publicised at different times through different means, "Anonymous" doesn't exist in any way beyond being a label people use, I guess it could be compared to "emo" or "jock" in high school; they have no "leadership" but people join these groups and label themselves as such.

> The show was run by a couple of admins he identified as "Q," "Owen," and "CommanderX""and Barr had used social media data and subterfuge to map those names to three real people, two in California and one in New York.

isn't Q the bot that runs on quakenet as a proxy admin?

14 points by JonnieCache 3 days ago 1 reply      
This guy is clearly a dangerous moron. This kinda makes me feel better for being so cold about this whole affair in the other thread.

The terrifying thing is that there are still people in government who believe sentences like "specific techniques that can be used to target, collect, and exploit targets with laser focus and with 100 percent success" through social media.

I mean, who claims one hundred percent success at anything?

EDIT: Also, that coder hopefully shouldn't be buying any drinks for a while.

37 points by colanderman 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm astounded at both the CEO's (Aaron's) lack of basic grammar skills, and predeliction for "script kiddie" talk. How do you get to be CEO of anything when you communicate (even informally) at the level of an 8th grader?

(edit: I meant Aaron; Penny was decently well spoken)

31 points by Helianthus16 3 days ago 0 replies      
He thought that Anonymous was affiliated ("strongly linked") with Wikileaks, as if there was some secret backdoor agreement between them. Nutcase. There doesn't _need_ to be any agreement or promise between Anonymous and other parties.
17 points by jdp23 3 days ago 1 reply      
The log where the CEO of the parent company joins the IRC chat room is great reading. http://pastebin.com/x69Akp5L -- search for "HI it's me"
27 points by wipt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why is it so hard for some people to grasp that Anonymous are just what they claim to be - everyone and yet no one person? There is no roster, no voting, but they are still organized.

Maybe one could call it a mob mentality?

13 points by prpon 3 days ago 1 reply      
A great read. It's amazing how Aaron Barr completely believed his hunches even when his programmer said that the data doesn't backup his analysis.
He is a business man trying to get paid big bucks from FBI for his hunches.
20 points by corin_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
Where's Sorkin when you need him to write a screenplay?
14 points by leon_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
> so I can give all those freespeech nutjobs something

That says everything about Mr. Barr that needs to be said.

4 points by mcantor 3 days ago 1 reply      
FTA, from one of Barr's e-mails: "... accept during hightened points of activity..."

Did this drive anyone else bonkers? I think "accept" or "hightened" alone wouldn't have bugged me. But for some reason the juxtaposition of the two in this sentence made me nerdrage.

5 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
My read: The piece is based on Anonymous propaganda. Anonymous itself is actually an amorphous propaganda outfit. The primary purpose of their actions is to produce media. Anonymous achieves these ends in part by taking on opponents with good story value, but no consequential power. They also engage in actions against significant players, like credit card companies, but these actions are most effective in creating media while only resulting in momentary financial damage. Anon is a media entity, not a financial one.
4 points by dalore 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reading the story, time and time again his programmer warned him about anonymous, and said he shouldn't be messing with them.

Then what do you know, he gets attacked by anonymous. Do you think maybe his programmer is in anonymous? :)

7 points by scotty79 3 days ago 0 replies      
You just need to program as good as I talk bullshit. I think I've heard something along those lines in my professional expeirience.
5 points by johnmack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone, please, bring eggs and throw them at Aaron Barr during BSides security Feb 14-15! Literally: bring eggs. Please, I'll by you a beer
4 points by hardik988 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this was almost like a cyber crime thriller! Anyone for writing a book on Anonymous ?
2 points by nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've yet to see anyone address the behavior of anonymous, and it appears as though it's been justified by most because this dude was an asshole - but why not point a finger at them both?
2 points by michaelty 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The coder said he didn't support all they did, but that Anonymous had its moments. Besides, "I enjoy the LULZ.""

Who among us hasn't?

2 points by eam 3 days ago 1 reply      
A message from HBGary Federal: http://www.hbgary.com/
3 points by shareme 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 First lesson: All data on Internet until verified is suspect.
1 point by bdclimber14 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think someone needs to read "The Starfish and the Spider"
0 points by shareme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone see the wikileaks connection?

Some DOD contractors were attempting to hire them to put out miss-information to discredit wikileaks..

Which might explain the original Anonymous insvestigation

1 point by rapicastillo 3 days ago 0 replies      
On a related note, what he was trying to do reminded me of a Kaggle.com winner on social networks, deanonymizing social networks: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~shmat/shmat_oak09.pdf . The latter, of course, is better than gut feel.

Also, his coder is fun. :D Taco!!!

1 point by justinj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Guess he got what he wanted - there's no such thing as bad publicity.
1 point by micah63 3 days ago 0 replies      
I never really felt safe on the Internet, but wow
1 point by buckwild 3 days ago 0 replies      
good story.
0 points by peterpaul 3 days ago 0 replies      
I <3 anon
-1 point by mcs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Type cookie you idiot!
-3 points by freedrull 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this article supposed to make sense?
Hosni Mubarak finally steps down aljazeera.net
329 points by dzlobin 2 days ago   128 comments top 26
54 points by michaelchisari 2 days ago 0 replies      
‎"The struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience."

- Howard Zinn

92 points by goatforce5 2 days ago 4 replies      
Watching Al Jazeera's live stream and they had one of their journalists on the phone from the square. She expressed excitement and delight that Mubarak was gone. The host guy back in the studio pointed out the journalist on the phone had been impartial up until now, and basically apologised for her expressing her opinion.

I thought that was pretty classy.

38 points by motters 2 days ago 1 reply      
The difficult part is always what comes after a revolution. Having the military in charge isn't necessarily a good thing, and whether Egypt does get a democratic government will now depend upon how the military behaves.
22 points by othello 2 days ago 0 replies      
And Mubarak's Wikipedia entry is already edited:

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak was the President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. [1]

History unfolding live indeed.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosni_Mubarak

23 points by siculars 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am so happy for the people of Egypt. This is one for the history books. Our kids will be reading about this revolution as an example of the peaceful power of the people.

I have to congratulate AlJazeera for their tremendous coverage of unfolding events. They have been very professional and fearless in their reporting. Western media should take notes.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring but for now Egypt and the entire world can smile wide and celebrate.

Mazal Tov to the people of Egypt!

7 points by eftpotrm 2 days ago 2 replies      

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said the announcement caught everyone by surprise, and all over the city drivers honked their horns and people fired guns into the air.

But the army takeover looks very much like a military coup, our correspondent adds.

The constitution has been breached, he says, because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. So far the Egyptian military have been on the right side of this situation but we have no guarantees what happens next. This is the end of the beginning, not the end.

48 points by michaelty 2 days ago 2 replies      
Next time, don't take down your country's Internet.
24 points by russnewcomer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Mubarak handing power to the army probably means that the regime lives on, Mubarak's just not in charge of it anymore. Egypt's issues aren't settled now, this is only a step and it remains to be seen if real, true, democratic change is going to happen.
9 points by elvirs 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm very happy for Egyptian people. People of Egypt deserve a better leader, a better government.
The guy who said 'I am ready to die' yesterday on CNN almost made me cry. Thats the spirit, and that spirit deserved a victory which they finally achieved.
I hope the same happens for other nations that have been held under dictatorship for decades.
5 points by netmau5 2 days ago 2 replies      

This is one of the better images I've seen showing the pure scale of the protests. In the US, we had our "million man march" which questionably had so many people. In Egypt, many millions have been involved over the course of far longer than one day. With relation to their total population, the size of the movement is pretty mind boggling.

4 points by kilian 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can, I urge you to get a look of the live stream at aljazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/ The Tahir square is absolutely euphoric.
11 points by BvS 2 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds of 1989 here in Germany! Congratulation Egypt!
2 points by logjam 2 days ago 2 replies      
Another example of nonviolent action leading to real political change.

Now if the U.S. government gets on the ball, they will redirect some substantial portion of the Egyptian ~$2 billion military aid and announce we will help build science and technical schools, universities, and hospitals.

Thanks to those of you who have been hosting and continue to host Tor bridges in support of emerging democracies:


6 points by shareme 2 days ago 2 replies      
the bad thing is that HM stole $50 billion from the citizens of Egypt..and the USA does nothing and UN does nothing
5 points by yalforreca 2 days ago 0 replies      
Portugal had a revolution in 1974 that ended an dictatorship of more than 40 years. The Army was fed up with the colonial wars and persuaded by the left-wing illegal parties, took control of the country. Democracy exists in Portugal, but corruption and widespread cleptocracy by a small number of elite families still rule. I hope Egypt avoids that.
2 points by buro9 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's great live coverage on the BBC at the moment: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

It looks like a carnival erupted at Tahrir Square when word got out. It was pretty vibrant before, but euphoria is clearly evident.

2 points by philsalesses 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a side question and I'd like to get any/all opinions since I have yet to find a suitable answer to this.

How do I, as an American citizen, minimize cognitive dissonance when the following disparate events occur?

America's stance: democracy and 'freedom' are fundamental rights of all people.


America's actions: refusing to recognize a democratically elected body because the resulting will of the people is openly hostile towards America and Israel (Hamas winning seats in Palestinian elections).

1 point by jim_h 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's indeed been a roller-coaster.

2/10 morning - He's going to step down.

2/10 evening - He's not stepping down.

2/11 morning - He's really stepping down.

Hopefully the rest of the ride will be less bumpy and more pleasant.

1 point by jackolas 2 days ago 0 replies      
The swiss have frozen his assets:


I'm glad to see this, its the first step to sending him to the Hague.

1 point by fourspace 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever outcome may result over time, I'm happy for the people of Egypt. Once again, the desire to be free eventually overwhelms the arbitrary tyranny of a dictator.

It will certainly be interesting to see if this leads to a domino effect in the Middle East and how it affects US foreign policy.

1 point by arepb 2 days ago 0 replies      
The live stream is just incredible to watch. Just inspiring to hear these cheers http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/
1 point by xbryanx 2 days ago 0 replies      
When do we get to see who is really in power now? It's hilarious to me that all the pictures of the 1-10 powers in Egypt are grainy screengrabs from old TV programs.
1 point by xster 2 days ago 0 replies      
puppet out, puppet in
-4 points by alain94040 2 days ago 3 replies      
Flagged per the guidelines: if it's on TV, it doesn't belong here :-)
-3 points by tybris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, Israel is probably polishing its tanks and nukes.
-4 points by mynameishere 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ok. We'll see what happens.


In the most fundamental matters, President and Mrs Mubarak are incomparably more enlightened than the Egyptian public.

Ditch Starbucks and work at the library 52tiger.net
327 points by apress 5 days ago   209 comments top 63
53 points by edw519 5 days 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.

37 points by alexophile 5 days 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.

10 points by SwellJoe 5 days 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 5 days ago 5 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 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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.
7 points by anthonycerra 5 days 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.
6 points by silentbicycle 5 days ago 2 replies      
Previous discussion of a similar post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=758458
2 points by neild 5 days 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.

4 points by erikpukinskis 5 days 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 dlevine 5 days 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.

5 points by T_S_ 5 days 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 siculars 5 days 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.

2 points by sudonim 5 days 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

3 points by peregrine 5 days 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.

2 points by ConceptDog 5 days 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 akgerber 5 days 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.
3 points by wave 5 days ago 2 replies      
It doesn't have to be either Starbucks or a library. It can be both.
2 points by motters 5 days 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 b3b0p 5 days 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.

1 point by nir 5 days 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.
1 point by aplusbi 5 days 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 5 days 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 justinph 5 days 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 famousactress 5 days 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 SystemOut 5 days 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.

2 points by tylerrooney 5 days 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).

2 points by d5tryr 5 days 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 DanLar75 5 days 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 neworbit 5 days 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 krosaen 5 days 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 :)
1 point by dfox 4 days 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.
2 points by eduardo_f 5 days 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 :)
2 points by bricestacey 5 days 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 noodle 5 days 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 sgt 5 days 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.
1 point by trevorturk 5 days 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 stevejalim 5 days 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 5 days 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 sabat 5 days 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 mkramlich 5 days 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 cowmixtoo 5 days 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 tarellel 5 days 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.
2 points by JoeAltmaier 5 days ago 0 replies      
...while they still exist.
1 point by marknutter 5 days ago 0 replies      
Libraries are terrible for one reason: the hours are terrible. End of story.
1 point by socialized 5 days 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 5 days 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 localhost3000 5 days 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 thesash 5 days 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.
1 point by acconrad 5 days 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!)
1 point by krschmidt 5 days 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 5 days 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 JacobIrwin 4 days 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 psb 5 days 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 shortlived 5 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like people need to open more hacker work spaces.
1 point by hyperbuddha 5 days 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 joelrunyon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stay at Starbucks. I'll take the Library & keep it to myself.
1 point by p90x 5 days ago 0 replies      
Don't go to the library. I don't want people taking my seat.
1 point by pdeva1 5 days ago 0 replies      
or you could just work at home...
-2 points by sfphotoarts 5 days 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.

Random Startup Generator ykombinator.com
319 points by omergertel 5 days ago   52 comments top 20
55 points by gojomo 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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.

22 points by hendrik-xdest 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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...

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

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

2 points by paulitex 5 days 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Click on their about page: http://www.joinfireplace.com/#topics/d1e41f00330b11e0a86e27b...

Then click on their logo.

Love the instant load.

4 points by middlegeek 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not quite complete, nowhere does the description say the team is "passionate" about technology and/or design.
1 point by wheaties 5 days 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 nhangen 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll admit to spending 5 minutes flipping through - well done :)
2 points by armandososa 5 days 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.

3 points by fedd 5 days 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

9 points by giladvdn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the love guys :)
3 points by lurchpop 5 days ago 0 replies      
hahah i always suspected my NoSQL database was missing A SOCIAL TWIST!
1 point by OoTheNigerian 5 days 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 5 days 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
StumbleUpon for startup ideas. Awesomely amusing!
Broken Links tbray.org
298 points by martey 3 days ago   90 comments top 19
36 points by zemaj 3 days ago 2 replies      
Despite all the FUD around hashbangs, the genuine problem I see with them is that they optimise for internal page loads, not the entry into a website. For example with hashbangs, requests to twitter when logged in go like;

1) HTTP GET http://twitter.com/some_account [~500ms for me]

2) 302 redirect -> HTTP GET http://twitter.com/ [~600ms for me]

3) HTML tells browser to download some JS -> HTTP GET bundle.js [~500ms for me] (concurrently here we start getting CSS)

4) JS reads hashbang & request actual data -> HTTP GET data.json [~500ms for me]

... only after about 2 seconds can we start(!) rendering data. Now there's about another 2 seconds for all json data & CSS calls to complete. It takes upwards of 4 seconds for a twitter page to render for me (the Load event lies as it fires well before actual data shows. Try it yourself with your favourite browser inspector).

When not using hashbangs, a single HTTP request can get all the data for the page and start rendering it. One blocking CSS call (possibly cached) is all that's needed for styling.

Hence when I see an external link with a hashbang it frustrates me (barely perceptively) because I know that when I load the page it's going to take a longer than a normal HTTP request. Significantly longer. While subsequent page loads are faster, it's not these you want to optimise for if you care about bounce rates. This issue affects every new link you click into a website, so it affects an even larger number of requests than normal bounces.

Hashbangs are a good solution to an important problem, but I don't see them as a tool to build entire websites upon. Fortunately I see the performance issue as one which will result in people voting with their browsers and choosing sites which only use hashbangs when they genuinely improve the user experience - especially since they're easily visible in the url.

21 points by pilif 3 days ago 3 replies      
With pushState not widely implemented, you have three choices:

1) don't use AJAX in response to actions that alter the page content in a significant way. This of course forces page reloads and prevents the cool emerging pattern that is to not serve dynamic HTML but just have a REST API and do the rendering client side.

2) you do the ajaxy stuff but you don't touch the URL. This leads to a nonworking back button and prevents users from bookmarking or sharing links to specific views. You can work around this google maps style with some explicit "link to this page" functionality, but I would guess, people just don't get that.

3) you do the fragment change thing which allows for ajaxy page content changes but also makes the back button work and keeps links inherently shareable and bookmarkable at the cost of that one redirect, at the cost of screen-scrapability and maybe confusing to techies (normal people probably don't care either way)

pushState can look like a salvation, but keep one thing in mind: to keep the page working for browsers without JS (and screen scrapers), you will have to do your work twice and STILL render dynamic content on the server which is something people are now beginning to try to avoid.

Finally, as pushState is yet another not widely deployed thing, for the next five to ten years, you would have to do all of this three times: dynamic HTML generation for the purists. pushState for the new browsers and fragment change for IE.

Personally, I really feel that fragment change is a good compromise as it works with browsers and even in IE while still allowing the nice pattern of not rendering anything on the server and keeping the URLs shareable.

Maybe this current uproar is based on a) techies not used to this (normal people don't notice) and b) badly broken JS that sometimes prevents views from rendering AT ALL, but this is not caused by an inherent problem with the technology: if I screw up the server side rendering the page will be as empty as it is if I screw up on the client side.

28 points by othermaciej 3 days ago 4 replies      
HTML5 "AJAX History", also known as History.pushState, can solve this problem. It allows a website to update its contents with AJAX, but change the URL to a real URL that will actually retrieve the proper resource direct from the server, while maintaining proper back-forward navigation.

See <http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#dom-history-pushs...; for spec details.

It's in Safari, Chrome and Firefox. While Opera and IE don't have it yet, it would be easy to use conditionally on browsers that support it. I'm a little surprised that more sites don't use it.

EDIT: This chart shows what browsers it will work in: http://caniuse.com/history

10 points by bruceboughton 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't the underlying problem that web applications are often displaying combinations of content that doesn't have a natural URL?

Take New Twitter, for example. If I click on a tweet in my stream, it shows related tweets. If a drill down a few of those, at some point it becomes impossible to represent the address of the current state in a sane manner.

I think URLs are particular to the web (desktop apps don't have them) because the web is traditionally about content. Web applications are increasingly breaking that. Perhaps web applications and URLs don't go together all that well.

Don't get me wrong--I love URLs, and it's crazy for content sites like Lifehacker to break them for so little benefit. But maybe the reason for this hashbang trend is that URLs aren't expressive enough for some of these sites.

10 points by Isofarro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ran into another interesting shortcoming of hash-bang URLs last night looking through my referrer log. Loads of referring URLs of http://gawker.com/ and http://kotaku.com/ to my blogpost. But no mention at all of my blog-post or a link to it on the homepage.

First I thought they were referrer log spamming, then it dawned on me that fragment identifiers get stripped out of HTTP referers, so making hash-bangs useless as a means of joining up distributed conversations on the web.

Somewhere on those two Gawker media sites there's a conversation going on about the use of hash-bangs. But nobody outside knows about it. It's a big black hole.

2 points by nostrademons 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not really that bad. The people using hash-bangs are following a spec proposed by Google to make AJAX webpages crawlable:


So when you see the lifehacker URL in the article, you know that there's an equivalent non-AJAX URL available with the same content at:


There's no need to execute all the JavaScript that comes back from the server - if they're following the spec, all you have to do is escape the fragment and toss it over to a CGI arg.

Another option is progressive enhancement, where you make every link point to a valid page and then add onclick event handlers that override the click event to do whatever JavaScript you want it to. I think this is a far superior option in general, but it has various issues in latency and coding complexity, so a good portion of web developers didn't do it anyway.

3 points by aamar 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem in this situation is that you have a smart technical person arguing for technical purity, while at the same time (seemingly) ignoring the mostly non-technical considerations of user-experience and economics.

Yes, the old, conservative model of HTML is very simple, but when people use AJAX well, the user experience is enormously and materially improved. We're still early in the development of this medium, and many people will do it wrong. But even the people who do it right will probably seem inelegant and kludgey by the standards of the old model.

And yes, you can get both AJAX and clean URLs via (still poorly-supported) HTML5 History API and/or other progressive enhancement methods, but these may require a significant amount of additional effort. Maybe worth it, maybe not.

This topic reminds me of when sound was added to movies. "Tight coupling" and "hideous kludge" sound a lot like the arguments that were made against that too. The conventional wisdom was to make your talkie such that the story worked even without sound; one can still sometimes hear that, but it isn't, I think, a standard that we associate with the best movies being made today.

7 points by Bockit 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can't it work both ways? Serve the #! links and provide canonical content located at the (almost) same uri sans #!.

If you visit http://mysicksite.com/article/1 javascript changes all the links to the #! format. Then when the user clicks the links they enter #! land.

Now the user copies a link from their address bar and puts it into the wild. Someone gets that link, http://mysicksite.com/#!/article/1, and visits it. Rewrite with htaccess or whatever method you employ to serve the content at http://mysicksite.com/article/1, using javascript to change all the links to the #! format.

I posted this in the reddit thread about the Gawker/lifehacker problems recently, but was too late for anyone to really give me a response. For those of you that have worked with these kind of systems before, would this solve the problem the original link was describing?

EDIT: Ahh I think I get the problem now, of course after I post it. Server doesn't get the data from the uri trailing the #! I think?

3 points by jvdongen 3 days ago 0 replies      
[EDIT: never mind, missed this response, similar in style but 2h earlier ... http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2197064]

May be I'm missing something, but it seems to me that there is a way to have your cake and eat it too in this case.

Say we have a site with a page /contacts/ which lists various contacts.

On this page there are completely normal links like '/contacts/john/', each link preceded by/wrapped by an anchor tag - <a href="john"> in this case.

If you visit this site without javascript enabled (e.g. you happen to be a web crawler), you just follow the links and you get just regular pages as always.

If however you've javascript enabled, onclick events on each url intercept a click on a link and fetch just the information about the contact you clicked on (using an alternate url, for example /contacts/john.json), cancels the default action and (re)renders the page.

Then it does one of two things:
- if pushState is supported it just updates the url
- if pushState is not supported it adds '#john' to the url

If someone visits '/contacts/#john' with javascript enabled, /contacts/ is retrieved and then john's data is loaded and displayed.

If someone visits '/contacts/#john' without javascript enabled, he gets the full contact list, with the focus on the link to john's page, which he can then click.

By using this scheme:
- search engine and other non-javascript users can fully use the site and see completely normal urls
- XHR page loads are supported
- XHR loaded pages don't break the backbutton
- XHR loaded pages are bookmarkable
- Bookmarks to XHR loaded pages are fully shareable if the recipient has javascript enabled or pushState is supported, and at least not totally broken if not.

The only drawback I can see is the 'sharing bookmarks with someone who has no javascript support' issue - is that a real biggie? In addition of course to the 'made error in javascript, now all stops working' issue - but that is something that has not so much do with the #! debate as well as with the 'is loading primary content via XHR a good idea' debate.

To me it seems that current users of the #! technique have just gone overboard a bit by relying only on the #! technique instead of combining it in a progressively enhancing way with regular HTTP requests.

2 points by siddhant 3 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook had an outage some time back (I think this one - http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=431441338919), and when everything got back to normal, the hash-banged URLs were gone. Was it related?
1 point by zachbeane 3 days ago 0 replies      
This rant would be more effective and persuasive if also directed at the Google engineers who made this hashbang style pervasive in Google Groups. I didn't think it would be possible to get deep links to old articles even worse than before, but they managed it.
1 point by il 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's interesting how many upvotes this is getting in a very short time. However, I don't think the average Twitter user cares about performance and URL elegance, so I doubt Twitter will change anything.
1 point by garrettgillas 3 days ago 0 replies      
The point of mainstream sites indicating that the page has ajax with the URL path is to tell search engines. I have a feeling that what the author doesn't get is that it is very hard for search engines to tell the difference between ajax pages, static pages, and spammy keyword stuffed pages.

To me, it seems that Google recommends indicating ajax content in the path in the same way that our government issues concealed weapon permits. Yes it okay to have concealed content that can loads on the fly as long as you are very clear of your intentions. Once again this is a usability issue that wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for spammers.

1 point by vanessafox 3 days ago 0 replies      
I posted more as a comment on the original story, but I have covered this issue in depth (from when Google initially proposed it, to when it was launched) here:




Of course, a better solution is some type of progressive enhancement that ensures both that search engines can crawl the URLs and anyone using device without JavaScript support can view all of the content and navigate the site.

1 point by zaius 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think people are missing a huge benefit of the hashbang syntax: readable and copy/paste-able URLs. Without them, it's impossible to have an ajax application with a decent URL scheme.
0 points by alexkearns 3 days ago 4 replies      
Yet another annoying pontificating article about hashbangs. Why can't people accept that there are more than one way of doing things on the web.

Just because you don't like using hashbangs does not mean no-one else can.

Sure, use of hashbangs might make seo of your site harder. Yes, it might make it harder for hackers who want to do curls of your site's pages. But maybe this is not your aim with your site.

Maybe you want to give your users a slicker experience by not loading whole new pages but instead grabs bits of new content.

The web is a place for experimentation and we as hackers should encourage such experimentation, rather than condemning it because it does not fit with how we think things should be done.

1 point by rushabh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't understand how hard would it be for someone writing a crawler to replace a hashbang (#!) with _escaped_fragment_

For developers of AJAX apps it:
1. Improves productivity
2. Improves user experience
3. Is more efficient on the server as it prevents a lot of initializing code.

I think the old school needs to wake-up a bit!

1 point by jcfrei 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just a thought - but could a lot of people complaining about hashbangs still be browsing the web with lynx?
1 point by dtby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, HTML/HTTP are the second worse application delivery platform available. Try not to be shocked.

Sorry, your other choice was #1.

Want to be a leader? Wash the Dishes When Nobody Else Will. thesash.me
288 points by thesash 5 days ago   149 comments top 33
62 points by grellas 5 days 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.

52 points by nhashem 5 days 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.

31 points by edw519 5 days 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.

25 points by clofresh 5 days 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."
19 points by sloak 5 days 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.' ]

13 points by jrockway 5 days 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.
10 points by brudgers 5 days 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.

28 points by divtxt 5 days 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!

11 points by JoeAltmaier 5 days 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.
4 points by ajaimk 5 days 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.

5 points by hammock 5 days 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.

2 points by bugsy 5 days 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?

10 points by zefhous 5 days ago 1 reply      
It worked for Jesus...
4 points by Xrissley 5 days 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 5 days 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.

9 points by luminarious 5 days ago 0 replies      
I do believe humility is a seriously underrated trait. You do the thing that needs to be done, no fanfare necessary.
2 points by bootload 5 days 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

2 points by jiffylu 5 days 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.

1 point by elq 5 days ago 0 replies      
7 points by TWSS 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this would have been perceived differently if the CEO was a woman.
0 points by mcantor 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like leadership is a balance between two things:

1. Protecting your subordinates from ugly work (like doing dishes, emptying the garbage, or doing laborious maintenance coding) so they can focus on fulfilling their responsibilities

2. Delegating ugly work so you can focus on fulfilling your responsibilities

1 point by VladRussian 5 days 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 skrish 4 days 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.

1 point by OllieJones 4 days 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!"

2 points by curtiswashngton 5 days 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...
1 point by dancavallaro11 5 days 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ha ha - compare and contrast with the Gervais Principle!
2 points by j_s 5 days ago 0 replies      
My source might stop at "Wash the Dishes" in this age. (Mark 9:35)
1 point by jai_vasanthan 4 days 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 willhf 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm the dishwasher...bitch!
-4 points by trustfundbaby 5 days ago 0 replies      
That was a pretty profound lesson I just learned.
-4 points by justin_vanw 5 days 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 5 days 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.

Breaking the web with hash-bangs isolani.co.uk
279 points by Terretta 5 days ago   93 comments top 18
35 points by raganwald 4 days ago 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.

45 points by burgerbrain 4 days 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.

12 points by drdaeman 4 days 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.

45 points by jbermudes 4 days 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.
9 points by antimatter15 4 days 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.
3 points by evandavid 4 days 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
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

2 points by colanderman 4 days ago 1 reply      
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.

3 points by poink 4 days 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.

7 points by timb 4 days ago 2 replies      
Newer browsers ( http://caniuse.com/#search=history ) can manipulate the url without needing the #! hack.
1 point by dennisgorelik 4 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like URL of that article is case-insensitive and page does not specify canonical URL.





render the same content, and <link rel="canonical"> does not exist in source code of that page.

1 point by billswift 4 days ago 1 reply      
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.
2 points by eapen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even worse, they dont appropriately use the canonical meta tag.
0 points by MichaelApproved 4 days 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.

2 points by carbonx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did they do any sort of beta testing on this before they rolled it out?
0 points by nathansobo 4 days 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 kehers 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the first place, y should a news publishing site even use hash-bang url? U r not a web app built on ajax
HN now serving a million page views on weekdays ycombinator.com
277 points by pg 4 days ago   80 comments top 22
50 points by edw519 4 days ago 1 reply      
As we approach HN's fourth birthday, traffic is now around 90 thousand unique visitors and 1 million page views on weekdays.

Funny, before jacquesm retired from hn last week: 90,001 unique visitors and 2 million page views per day.


(just kidding - we miss you, jacquesm. ping us sometime)

17 points by lionhearted 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations and much gratitude to you Paul, all of the YC team, and all of the editors for tireless and thankless work to keep things running well.

> As we approach HN's fourth birthday, traffic is now around 90 thousand unique visitors and 1 million page views on weekdays. (Http requests and page views are identical except for votes, of which there are about 25 thousand on a weekday.)

Interesting, interesting... btw, one set of stats I was curious on - got any numbers on how many people who browse are registered and what percent of registered users vote? I'd be fascinated to hear about it if the numbers are handy and not confidential.

Thanks again and congrats on news.yc and all the recent cool developments and successes at incubating.

8 points by barrkel 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Judging from the classic view, the stories on the frontpage are not much different from those we'd have had in the first year

I'll repeat (the gist of) my comment in a less crowded context (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2157384):

First-year users will only vote on what they see, and if they don't consistently use the classic view - which I expect very few would - then they will most likely only vote on what everyone else has voted on. Thus, classic wouldn't be expected to be significantly different from the regular home page, and thus it cannot measure any decline.

41 points by Sukotto 4 days ago 1 reply      
pg, please consider including the year in the dates on the news page.
10 points by antirez 4 days ago 2 replies      
HN is my favorite site, what a wonderful community.
PG: thank you for putting it together.

However, the site is not fast, seriously, a site that's so simple containing just a few text should be blazingly fast. It does not take too much science to reach this goal.

I understand that it can be interesting running it via an Arc program, but you hit millions of page views, and there are people that are using this site every day to get together, to share their knowledge, and so forth, and it's a shame that there is to wait too much at every page view.

32 points by mrspeaker 4 days ago 4 replies      
A million! Imagine how much bandwidth HN could save if each comment didn't use nested font tags and inline styles ;)
8 points by webwright 4 days ago 4 replies      
I know this is a contentious question, but have you ever considered turning HN into a business with YC as the primary investor? The question is: could you advance it as a business without killing the magic and the splash benefit to Y Combinator. I think the answer to both is yes.
12 points by staunch 4 days ago 1 reply      
HN became my favorite site when it launched, it's my favorite site now, and I expect it will be my favorite site four years from now.

Thanks for keeping it good.

5 points by cosgroveb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Paul for running an amazing site. I think I get a lot of value out of it. I hope YComibnator does, too.
2 points by axiom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the classic view, isn't there a bit of bias there? since people mostly only look at the front page, then the stories they vote up are chosen from ones already on the front page. So comparing what the front page would look like if only votes from old accounts counted doesn't say much since in all likelihood you'd see the same stories.

Maybe a better metric would be to track only the first few votes that stories get to see if the same ones would make it to the front page?

4 points by Jsarokin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully with the amount of hits and new users the site is getting, quality doesn't decline. HN has (In a matter of 4 days) taken the #1 spot on my "TechNews" bookmark folder, so as of now the article quality is great.

As a new user, I'm quite surprised with how civil and helpful everyone is.

Often times when you put a lot of extremely intelligent and strong-minded people in the same place, things can get heated really quickly. Granted, strong-minded people are usually not offended easily.

4 points by misterbwong 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the yc crew. It's no easy task to cultivate a community while keeping quality high.

As a side note, does anyone know what kind of hardware setup they are using to serve up HN?

4 points by iuguy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd congratulate you but I'm not sure if that's the right thing. It is hopeful to see that the quality isn't significantly affected though.
3 points by maeon3 4 days ago 2 replies      
When HN goes to 10 million page views, HN will no longer be HN. It will be another digg.
2 points by someperson 4 days ago 0 replies      
PG, I think you should write the year when you write a "news news" post.

This site has been around for long enough that certain older posts on that page have some ambiguity.

1 point by acconrad 4 days ago 1 reply      
What I never understand about the "more exposure will dilute our membership quality" is that it's a social voting site. If you're going to share something with a community that has open registration, and gets exposure by sharing links to other networks (such as Digg and Reddit), this sort of thing is inevitable. I'm glad it's received the exposure it has because it's become such a great content generator. I don't really see the harm in this growth.
1 point by da5e 4 days ago 0 replies      
" the stories on the frontpage are not much different from those we'd have had in the first year."

This is the real story. I noticed that about 4 months ago the nature of Hacker News seemed to veer out of its original emphasis and now it's back to what it used to be.

1 point by dpcan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have just one thing to say:

Please do not change the site.


1 point by js4all 3 days ago 0 replies      
> 1 million page views on weekdays

That's impressive. Congrats.

So why is it still PR6 ? I guess the 136 Errors and 6 warning(s) from the HTML Validator give a big penalty.

0 points by rudiger 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are your plans for monetization? Advertising to such a targeted audience could be very lucrative, and I'm sure lots of startups would be interested in advertising here! Currently, all we have is "organic" advertisement through interesting submissions and comments. What kind of revenue could one expect from 90K unique visitors and 1M page views on weekdays with an audience like HN's?
-4 points by macov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't we supposed to work hard, LOL?
-4 points by marknutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
The beginning of the end.
Web based Textmate like editor that saves to Dropbox google.com
278 points by jkatka 4 days ago   91 comments top 40
53 points by stevejohnson 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing "Textmate-like" about this Chrome extension is that it has a file list on the left and a tabbed editor on the right.

That said, this looks quite convenient, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention!

18 points by ErrantX 4 days ago 6 replies      

Now drop in some version control (mercurial for my own preference :)) and we are onto a winner.

Dropbox is great for syncing between your development machines, but version control is essential for deployment and team development. Combining the two is really powerful.

5 points by JoelSutherland 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome -- but badly needs some interface work. We've built a similar tool for our CMS also on Bespin/Skywriter/Ace. Here is a screenshot:


Little things like icons on the left are really helpful when trying to browse a file structure. In any case, I'll likely be using this once and a while in a pinch since I keep all of my client files in Dropbox.

I'm also excited for the Ace update. This appears to be using a pretty old version. Rendering text in the DOM is much faster.

4 points by yafujifide 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic. This is exactly how I foresee the future documents and editing. Dropbox, or something like that, provides the service of saving the files. Then web apps are granted access to them and can edit them. Local storage becomes a cache, and Dropbox is where the files are "really" stored.

The advantage of this, of course, is that all your stuff becomes device-independent. Log in from any device that has web access, and you'll have access to all your apps and all your files.

This is much better than having each web app manage files on their own. For instance, you might have documents saved in Google Docs, notes saved in Evernote and Catch.com, and emails saved somewhere else, etc. It sure would be nice to have a single service provide the file storage so that you always have all your stuff and don't have to worry about some web app going obsolete and losing your data along with it.

Now what I would really like for backwards-compatibility is a web-based Linux environment to access my files. Someone recently created a web app using the HTML 5 canvas element (I think) to run an X GUI. (Anyone remember what this was called and where it is located?) Attach a Linux system and that GUI technology to your Dropbox, and then you have an entire computer that can be accessed from any device. Either the browser itself would load all the files and run them by emulation, or a server could run them natively and just print the results to your browser. Either way, once that becomes possible, I would be able to convert to an all-web environment.

11 points by DanI-S 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want this to interface to GitHub. That would be badass.
24 points by joshuarr 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really cool. I have absolutely no use for it.
10 points by jroes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet. Now rip it out of Chrome and make it work on my phones and tablets!

This is probably best as a web app, not a browser plugin.

5 points by mattmillr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very promising, it'll be a good companion to the iPhone PlainText app.

Two suggestions: (1) Word-wrap. (2) Let me pick a dark-on-light color scheme.

4 points by ffffruit 4 days ago 1 reply      
I only wish the real Textmate followed up on the huge list of todo's and feature requests people have been submitting. I think a core update is long overdue.
21 points by heffay 4 days ago 0 replies      
So how is this web based? I have to install chrome and a plugin?
7 points by mkilling 4 days ago 3 replies      
I hate being negative, but I really don't see the use case. I have a text editor and Dropbox installed on my machine, why would I want to install this editor?
3 points by Timmy_C 4 days ago 0 replies      
What kind of syntax highlighting does this app support? I copy/pasted some HTML with script and style tags and none of it got any sort of coloring.
2 points by netghost 4 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is curious about online editors, I recently wrote about Cloud9's Ace Editor, IBM's Orion, and CodeMirror.


1 point by ladon86 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it would only sync to a single folder on my Dropbox, but no, I can edit any text file AND it has syntax highlighting.

Very neat and useful, thanks.

2 points by kayoone 4 days ago 2 replies      
doesnt mozilla work on something similar ?

it was previously called Bespin and is now part of a cloud based IDE as it seems. Interesting.

1 point by 27182818284 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm angry at myself for not thinking about the Dropbox portion of the application. I had already thought that a TextMate-like editor for Chrome would be really nice to have, but I couldn't think of a solution for. If I used traditional saving methods, I couldn't figure out why I wouldn't just use emacs, coda, textmate, etc. The Dropbox portion is what makes this app for me.


1 point by kenneth_chau 20 hours ago 0 replies      
SourceKit 0.6.2 is OUT! No more asking for email, pass; now with more Dojo and Ace! http://bit.ly/dRvLmb
2 points by lucraft 4 days ago 0 replies      
How does this work when Dropbox only allow mobile uses of their API?
1 point by euroclydon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Speaking of DropBox integration: I have the DropBox App on my iPhone, and the 1Password App too, which has "DropBox integration", but it asks for my DropBox password. Is that the way it's supposed to work? Shouldn't 1Password be able to access DropBox files via the phone itself?
2 points by dmd 4 days ago 1 reply      
Nice, but you're (egregiously) violating Dropbox API TOS by asking for the user's password.
1 point by mkramlich 4 days ago 1 reply      
The problem of editing text files, synching them across many machines, versioning them and sharing them via web or email is I think a well-solved problem.
2 points by podperson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does it "undo" one keystroke at a time?
1 point by Sephr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why would I ever give this extension my Dropbox credentials when Dropbox supports OAuth?
1 point by signa11 3 days ago 1 reply      
just a quick question here: why using your standard editor and saving stuff onto the 'Dropbox' folder on the local-machine is not sufficient ?
1 point by quinndupont 4 days ago 0 replies      
It looks handy, but upon realizing that it doesn't actually do very much (beyond simple text editing), I discovered http://kodingen.com has a Chrome app, but really it just sends you to their website). It looks pretty amazing and fully featured so far.
1 point by navs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice find. Since this is a text editor, it would be nice to just display text files.

PlainText, my favorite iOS app for note-taking, displays all files from a specific folder within Dropbox. It may be limiting to others, having just have one folder but it keeps things organized. I'd like to see this either support that one folder model or alternatively, hide all content (images/video etc) that don't apply to the editor.

1 point by murrayb 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm behind a corporate firewall where Chrome isn't allowed, any-one know of an equivalent which will run on Firefox?

As an aside the Chrome Web Store tantalizingly says "Sorry, we don't support your browser just yet. You'll need Google Chrome to install apps, extensions and themes."- are they planning to go cross-browser at some point or just teasing me?

2 points by jason_slack 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good start and on my CR-48 opens up some ways for me to develop on the road...
1 point by rmason 4 days ago 0 replies      
Got it installed but when I try to access the getting started guide I get format not supported? I have no problem viewing web pdf's, even have Acrobat Pro installed. So what's going on?
1 point by loevborg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very interesting. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I would love to use something like this for editing English-language text such as articles, letters, and so forth. This requires decent support for line-wrapping, proportional fonts, and configurable line-spacing. I write my documents in markdown and convert it to whatever is needed - ODT or LaTeX - using the fantastic pandoc. I don't actually write a lot of code; I do write a lot of articles.

I also really like vim keybindings, which makes my usecase even more exotic. Web apps might make this niche interesting.

1 point by askar 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing I like about this is the code pane as it renders code decent enough. Everything else is a bit unfinished work it looks like. Time to change my Dropbox password then!
1 point by BerislavLopac 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the Firefox version?
1 point by kenneth_chau 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm collecting these feedbacks and compiling some user stories for SourceKit. Stay tuned!
0 points by bryanh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome app, would be even more awesome decoupled into a true webapp.
1 point by wslh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Right Click - Inspect Element? Please...
0 points by rokhayakebe 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, I would pay for this app.
0 points by da5e 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is very helpful for my CR-48.
0 points by bowmande 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great work. Looks really nice.
0 points by micah_moo 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool, but I'm having some issues here, when I open up a directory more than once the directory's that are in that folder duplicate, like say a folder called css, I have a folder named img in it, if I re-open it then it displays to img folders
-1 point by giberson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just created a dropbox account to test this out. Obviously there are no existing files in it. I looked for a button to create a new file and could not find one.

If dropbox does not have a create file call for you to use, perhaps you could have the app create an empty filename and upload it automatically and then edit it as an existing file?

Edit: Never mind, I finally noticed the buttons on the bottom left. That was quite unintuitive for me--I never look at the bottom left for application buttons. Is this something that textmate does?

Microsoft just bought Nokia for $0 jacquesmattheij.com
272 points by plinkplonk 2 days ago   155 comments top 37
38 points by maxklein 2 days ago replies      
When I read such articles, that's when you realise that people are resistant to change. It's like those people still using Windows XP because it's the best. Tech is in constant change, but at some point, some people just give up and decide not to join in anymore: not to make facebook accounts, not to join twitter, not to upgrade their OS, not to switch browser.

That's what this post is: someone refusing to face the changing landscape of tech.

Mobile is greater than what it seemed to be at the start. Mobile operating systems are no longer button phones, they are computers, and they are going to integrate with the desktop tightly. That's the new world, and in such a world, there are only going to be just a few platforms.

Nokia had almost zero chance of being the new platform. Microsoft continues to maintain strong platform presence on the desktop, browser, gaming console/set-top, and they have brought in a strong mobile platform, even if sales are lack-luster now.

Android provides a free, single platform for everybody else.

Apple has their iPhone eco-system, which is not open to others to use.

If Nokia stays on their platform, they will surely fade into irrelevance, and at some point they will need to switch to Android, and be years behind all the other Android clones. That would be the end of Nokia.

The Microsoft-Nokia deal basically has given the Microsoft mobile platform relevance, and it means that a big chunk of the mobile market will be MS/Nokia, and that will ensure that Nokia remains relevant.

With this move, the integrated platform market has basically been divided into three equal chunks (Android, iOS, MS) and for the new few year people are going to have to choose between those. Nokia as a hardware manufacturer - if it does good deals with MS, will basically form one-half of the third major platform. That's how it will stay relevant.

After this deal, Android is likely going to become more popular, because most other hardware manufacturers will bet full-scale on android. However, the problem is that Android lacks a desktop environment, so canot be as tightly integrated as the other two platforms could.

So I expect Android to take the role of feature-phones now, while MS and Apple control and split the high-end market.

I'm not sure what role blackberry will play in all this.

18 points by noonespecial 2 days ago 3 replies      
The whole thing feels like shark-jumping if you ask me. I'd watch Nokia stock today and see if investors don't agree. I'm betting they do. I wish I knew a damn thing about investing, I'd short this one for sure.
10 points by latch 2 days ago 3 replies      
Some reports suggested that [considerable] money was part of the deal. Do we know for sure whether this is or isn't the case?

"Microsoft invests $300 million in a strategic partnership with Nokia" is a lot different than "Microsoft just bought Nokia for $0."

22 points by arethuza 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think the "the same happen without any risk to MS" is an excellent point - the downside for Microsoft is limited and the upside is pretty good. For Nokia the upside is limited (at best you are yet-another Windows Mobile 7 handset manufacturer - it's not like they have an exclusive) and the downside is huge.
11 points by bambax 2 days ago 1 reply      
This post is so true and so sad.

> most of Nokia's brand loyalty is because of the indestructible and unbelievably reliable phones they made in the 90's, since then they've been steadily dropping on that front

Nokia phones are still the most reliable and solid, by far... for now.

6 points by ErrantX 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok really thick comment. If the mass market is being stolen by Android... why didn't Nokia start using Android?

It would seem the logical idea; if the platform is burning rather than trying to stand on a piece of planking that has a history of falling in the ocean.. why not dowse yourself in petrol and fling yourself into the inferno.

I mean; if the argument is that Android is eating up the market Nokia wants... then why not have the easiest slice?

10 points by wippler 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think the post is unnecessarily harsh on both Nokia and Microsoft. Windows Phone is now a lot better and is comparable with iOS/Android, only thing it is lacking is apps.

Nokia making this decision much late in the game clearly knows that Microsoft also came late to the game. It needs MS as much as MS needs Nokia. Together with huge marketing muscle of MS, they can surely make something out of the partnership.

10 points by pietrofmaggi 2 days ago 1 reply      
The main problem of the late Nokia is the (lack of) speed in innovation.

If they jump on the Android boat they'll have to fight against Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, etc.. Look at the current performance of Sony-Ericsson.

On the Windows Phone 7 boat they are the big fish, and they can try to deliver some good products without to much competition (in the WP7 environment).

12 points by ghenne 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's what is happening. Microsoft wants to buy Nokia, but not with all those buildings full of people. The announcements mean than Nokia can now get to work laying off tens of thousands of people. They don't need 120,000 employees anymore. Everybody involved in Symbian can go. Most of the Meego staff, too, as well as lots of middle and upper management. It won't cost Microsoft a cent in severance pay.

Once it's all cleaned up, Microsoft can complete the purchase. The stock price should be lower too, reducing the total cost further.

4 points by Swannie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nokia were clearly the leader 10 years ago.

Whilst at the front of the race they took their eye off for a little distraction called Symbian. The problem there was the complete lack of control over the UI. Symbian forked their UI for phone and tablet, and phone producers forked their own UIs again (UIQ, Series 60,80,90), making upgrading the existing UI centrally practically impossible. The only option was to start from scratch... oops. The committee appears to have made a big deal out of binary compatibility. Yet with today's consumer, that is not important on a smart phone, when we want to get apps from a store.

Nokia looked up and has realised it's now running on a different track to everyone else - the finish line moved and they can't catch up (3 years to get from the old UI's, and we've still not got shiny new Symbian in mass market products). Time to get into the current race.

The problem with branching Android, is that it puts them back in exactly the same sort of situation they were in when they backed Symbian. By going with Microsoft they have moved to a much more controlled system. Microsoft have buckets of experience with smart phones, and I believe that WM7 will be the XP of mobile. Let's just hope they don't Vista it.

3 points by rodh257 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why is this on the front page? Come on. Anyone who thinks this deal isn't good for both parties is kidding themselves. After years of trying to create their own operating system Nokia have finally admitted they need to invest in an ecosystem. If they were to take on Android they'd be late to an already full party.

With WP7 there's no one seriously pushing it, Dell, LG both aren't famous for their phones. HTC owes most of what they have to Android. Nokia and Microsoft working together is a partnership not to be written off. It's a point of difference for Nokia, and Microsoft isn't going to be out of this game, they'll invest and invest and they will be a major player, you watch.

A lot of ridiculous statements have been made by bloggers of late when discussing smartphones, but I don't think I've heard any as silly as this:
"And to those whose Nokia/Windows smartphones will give them the mobile variation on the MS 'BSOD' while calling 911, my condolences to you too."

3 points by ThomPete 2 days ago 0 replies      
As always here in HN we tend to focus on the actual technology and platform rather than what it do for normal people.

This is a great win both for Microsoft as it is for Nokia and as it is for the millions of people who are just regular phone users.

Yes nokia will have to build an ecosystem (http://000fff.org/the-power-of-digital-ecoystems/)

But they still have huge market share with people who are not likely to care that there exist an iPhone because it's too expensive.

And if the market is in fact trending smartphones in 2011-2012 nokia will have great opportunity to develop a market into a smartphone market with their existing base.

2 points by iuguy 2 days ago 2 replies      
My favourite phone was the Nokia 6210. That thing was damned near indestructable. The 6310i was also great but it only really added bluetooth and had no authentication on the AT modem profile (which meant anyone could connect to it and dial up to the Internet, snarf data and so on whenever bluetooth was on).

The problem with Nokia was that they kept messing around with Symbian and didn't really know what it was for, making clunky interfaces that while better than Windows Mobile at the time were just blown away by the iphone.

Instead of trying to provide a better experience than the iphone, they went crazy trying to imitate it and as a result failed to innovate. Ultimately Nokia's marriage to Symbian pretty much screwed the pooch. They had to ditch it but for what? If they're just another android OEM they're going to have some interoperability issues and it'll still be quite expensive. Switching to Microsoft means that if the tech is good it'll be well supported with a long term roadmap by guys with a good track record elsewhere. Nokia won't be just another OEM - they will be able to influence Microsoft's development. They still shift huge amounts of phones especially at the lower end of the market, and Microsoft will recognise that.

Sure Nokia are down but not out, and I think this is better for both than the title suggests.

5 points by abijlani 2 days ago 1 reply      
I completely disagree with the article. He treats both Nokia and Microsoft as though they have no idea what they are doing. Microsoft has decades of experience in coming up from behind place and crushing the competition. As for Nokia, they make really good hardware. They got caught up in selling cheap handsets because it was great business for a while but that does not mean they cannot make great hardware. I think this is a great move for both companies and even better for consumers.
5 points by martythemaniak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now imagine what Nokia could have done had they picked up Palm and installed Jon Rubenstein as their CEO instead. facepalm
4 points by cincinnatus 2 days ago 1 reply      
A fair bit of hyperbole and fanboy-ism happening here. Which is completely understandable.

It is pretty clear that WP7 is not Windows Mobile, that Microsoft does in fact finally get it.

Jumping on the Android bandwagon is not in any way clearly a better or safer move. In fact from a market perspective those waters are considerably more bloody and getting worse every day.

This is a desperation play by Nokia in the high end of the market for certain, but of all the bad choices they had available this may be the least bad. I is also likely true that there is no move they could make that would ever result in bringing them back to the heights of their past. Innovators dilemma in action.

4 points by Uchikoma 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nokia wants to be Apple but acts like Dell, this does not make any sense.

Disclaimer: Being Dell is nice, but you need to think like Dell concerning their, much lower, margins. And whatever Microsoft tells you, you're just one of many and compete with HTC, not Apple.

10 points by therockhead 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nokia made a lot of mistakes in the past but I think the biggest one was not buying Palm/WebOS.They could have had a great OS and have total control of there future.
3 points by ig1 2 days ago 1 reply      
I sincerely hope that Elop sold all of his Microsoft shares before he joined Nokia, otherwise he could be breaking all kinds of laws right now.
1 point by jsz0 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a ridiculously bad article that glorifies Nokia as something they haven't been in many years. It was sink or swim time for them. Choosing Android 2 years ago may have been a really smart move but there are already established leaders in Android handsets. It was too late for Nokia to go anywhere with Android. They will be a first class citizen of WM7 and get a tremendous amount of support from Microsoft who will be willing to piss away millions, if not billions, of dollars to promote WM7. They could have never got that type of treatment from Google. They'd be just another player in an overcrowded market. At least this gives them some potential to offer a unique product.
1 point by aniket_ray 2 days ago 1 reply      
Contrary to everyone else I actually think this is a smart move. Personally, I didn't find Windows Phone 7 too bad compared to an iPhone.

The only thing that Apple has in its favour is the RDF.

Nokia needs a differentiating OS, Android is not that OS. I don't think Nokia wants to become a bit part commodity hardware manufacturer. So Windows Phone 7 might turn out to be a smart move.

Nokia is in a position to capture the cheap smartphone category, a category that is still up for grabs.

1 point by johnyzee 2 days ago 0 replies      
What do you mean $0? From what I heard Microsoft paid several hundred million dollars in this deal.

Ah, here it is:


Note that a couple of hundred million was on the table from several bidders. If there are more than a few living braincells left at Nokia they probably got significantly more out of it than that.

3 points by shareme 2 days ago 1 reply      
Considering that Nokia's decision to stab other Symbian partners in the back form way back and do an UI and than have the failure of Symbian for years blow up in their face I would state that Nokia is about worth $0.
1 point by tewks 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great article, but the conclusion is flawed in that high point for Nokia was not the Nokia 2110!

It was instead Series60 third edition, which included a WebKit browser and SIP support in 2006.

Afterwards, nothing happened... it was as if the company threw its hands up in resignation post-iPhone.

1 point by teyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are two key drivers here:

1) Smartphones will replace feature phones

2) Nokia still leads in feature phones in terms of ruggedness and reliability

If my wife is replacing her current Nokia, she'd certainly weigh towards Nokia. But she'd want something a little more current, as long as it is just as reliable.

As nice touch phones are, the form factor required for finger interaction means it is not as convenient as a smaller phone. Symbian will continue to have a life for a very long time.

1 point by ashr 2 days ago 0 replies      
No doubt that MS has a great opportunity now and so has Nokia. Their partnership better move fast otherwise it won't be able to benefit.

Without knowing the details of the partnership, the content in the OP sounds mostly hyperbole and opinion at best.

3 points by pessimist 2 days ago 0 replies      
I predict that Nokia will sue Android for patent violations soon.
1 point by SudarshanP 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nokia to developers: no Qt for Windows Phone development as posted on another HN thread.


Linux(KDE) has a lot of Qt stuff. Will the Nokia Microsoft marriage hurt Linux badly in some way?

3 points by paolomaffei 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wasn't the 3310 the Nokia high point?
2 points by innes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but reflexively mentioning 'the BSOD' is pretty much a red flag for me when it comes to taking an argument seriously.
1 point by sunstone 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is true. And Nokia just bought WP7 for 0$. The question that remains is... How are they going to split the revenue from mobile search.
1 point by mariusmg 2 days ago 1 reply      
"And to those whose Nokia/Windows smartphones will give them the mobile variation on the MS 'BSOD' while calling 911, my condolences to you too."

Just a giant frustrated douchebag who likes Android. Why is this even submitted? It's clearly trolling

1 point by nickzoic 2 days ago 0 replies      
When jumping off a burning oil platform into the freezing North Atlantic, don't look down and think "Oooh, I'll jump into the burning oil slick, that'll be warmer!"
1 point by ericmsimons 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems pretty naive to say Windows Phone 7 is a bad platform when you haven't even touched it...
2 points by tomelders 2 days ago 0 replies      
um... didn't Microsoft pay Nokia a lot of money for this deal?
1 point by jogjayr 2 days ago 1 reply      
So months ago, using an external OS (Android) was like "Finnis boys peeing their pants to keep warm", but now it's a good strategic partnership? And especially given Elop's very recent Microsoft ties, could there possibly be some other agenda?
-1 point by andrewljohnson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I dislike when essays swear at me, particularly long ones. If you want me to take what I am reading seriously, I expect you to choose your words carefully, and using the word "shit" doesn't smack of careful word choice. I kind of swear like a sailor when I talk sometimes, but not when I write.
How Much Money I Made From Side Projects In 2010 pseudocoder.com
269 points by mattcurry 5 days ago   49 comments top 15
15 points by patio11 5 days 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 5 days 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.
6 points by muhfuhkuh 5 days 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 5 days 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.

4 points by mcantor 5 days 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!

12 points by damoncali 5 days ago 2 replies      
Nitpick - I think you mean "revenue" not "earnings". Nice article though - very inspiring.
2 points by getsat 5 days 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.
2 points by rmc 5 days 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 5 days 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 prpon 5 days 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 guynamedloren 5 days 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
5 points by mdoerneman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the inspiration. I needed it.
1 point by fady 5 days 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

1 point by toadi 5 days 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 5 days 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!
Standalone sandboxed IE6, IE7, IE8 executables (Recovered after a takedown) iecss.com
268 points by paulirish 1 day ago   67 comments top 20
99 points by AdamTReineke 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you didn't click the speaker icon in the upper right, do it!
23 points by toni 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is another package called "Utilu IE Collection"[1] which I have found more stable than Spoon.net versions. You can even install IE 1.0

[1] http://utilu.com/IECollection/

6 points by ecaron 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is really one of the only solutions for testing against the various IE images. The IE team tries to have people use their VPC images (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=...), but they expire every 6 months (and twice I've had to remind the team that they haven't updated the images post-expiration).
5 points by necolas 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great. I copied these .exe files out of my temp internet files a couple of years ago and have been using them ever since. Far more practical, and portable, than using VMs.

I've got them in my Dropbox so I can even run a bit of cross-browser testing when I'm coding on someone else's PC.

5 points by gmac 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do IE6 testing in a Win2K VM, which has the advantage of being rather light on memory.

But I find MS's apparent determination to make webdevs' lives as difficult as possible extremely frustrating. The time-limited VMs that used to work on Fusion weren't perfect, but they showed good faith, and the Spoon solution was really nice.

What possible loss do they think follows from this exploitation of their IP??

15 points by ojbyrne 1 day ago 1 reply      
... and they're gone.
9 points by hasenj 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sadly it doesn't seem to run under Wine.
14 points by danheberden 1 day ago 1 reply      
4 points by psadauskas 1 day ago 4 replies      
The benefit to the VPC images is that they can be converted to something VirtualBox understands, and used under OSX and Linux, as well. Still a PITA to have to do that every 6 months, though.
1 point by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
It was always really easy to "recover" these around the web, I've had all their old VMs for a couple years - including old Chrome and old Firefox.

IETester may be a better way though http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

But find me a better way to run IE9 though on XP than a vmware box running Windows7 ?

Two gigabyte image just to run IE9, yuk.

2 points by javanix 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm having a tough time running the IE7 executable in Windows 7. The VM popup shows up like IE6 and IE8, but the program window closes immediately.

Before I dig too far into it, is anyone else running into the same thing?

4 points by herf 1 day ago 2 replies      
1 point by derleth 1 day ago 1 reply      
A way to get even older IEs working on, say, Linux with Wine is IEs4Linux: http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Main_Page

This package largely automates the process of downloading and installing IE5, IE5.5, and IE6, with beta support for IE7, IE8, and IE9, and support for IE1, IE1.5, and IE2 almost as a joke.

(Note: To install it on Ubuntu, update Wine using the PPA found at this website: http://www.winehq.org/download/deb)

So it's not quite overlapping, but it's a similar project.

2 points by w1ntermute 1 day ago 1 reply      
> each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year

Does anyone understand what he's referring to here?

6 points by myelin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm getting 404s on all the .exe files. Gone already?
3 points by daakus 1 day ago 0 replies      
This combined with MicroXP resulted in a ~500MB VirtualBox image with IE6,7,8 -- very impressive.
2 points by saurik 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why don't more people use Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview?
3 points by atomi 1 day ago 1 reply      
The IE7.exe wont run on my system (Win7 x64)
1 point by originalgeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll stick with my standalone (non-MS dev) VM images, thank you very much.
-4 points by barista 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ugh! Why not use ie 9 instead?
HD 555 to HD 595 mod (or: how Sennheiser cripples cheaper headphones) mikebeauchamp.com
258 points by ryanf 6 hours ago   128 comments top 26
60 points by apl 6 hours ago replies      
I understand that this raises eyebrows, but it's hardly fraud.

Do people actually think that retail price is a function of production/R&D cost? It's not, never has been. Dropbox charges 20$ for something that consumes marginally more ressources and incurs identical R&D costs when compared to the 10$ product. Chip manufacturers do this all the time. Discounts for electronics and groceries are fully artificial.

A much more realistic model is price as whatever the market can bear. I sincerely doubt that there is a moral obligation to set price points in any other way.

[This may be relevant: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandRubberDuckie...]

1 point by cypherpunks01 1 minute ago 0 replies      
I just did this, and performed a very rough A/B test with one earpiece modded, while leaving the foam on the other. The bass (on a bass-heavy song) was very noticeably more muted on the stock earpiece, sounding almost completely dead compared to the one without the foam. Needless to say, I quickly removed the other, and now they sound better than ever. Highly recommended!
62 points by defen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How long until we get a DMCA-like law preventing these kinds of blog posts? He'd be guilty of trafficking in technology which aids in the circumvention of profit-enhancing business practices.
5 points by latch 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I understand people defending the practice, but this nonetheless offends me. For me, it isn't about the 555 owners getting a crippled product, but that the 595 owners are paying a huge markup.

People are talking about market behavior and what not, but I don't feel like Sennheiser is behaving in good faith here. They are intentionally relying on opaque information (this is obviously news to almost everyone), and making price the only way consumers have to reliably differentiate between the products (you can't even test drive the products to tell). Also, with respect to the "luxury" part of the discussion, they are competing against themselves, the branding and "Sennheiser" name you get with the 595 or 555 is the same.

I've been considering getting 800's, I'm a huge Sennheiser fan. I think this has put me off though (even knowing that everyone else probably does the same thing).

1 point by sudonim 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
If only there were a mod to add an Apple headphone connector and a Zalman microphone to the sennheiser 555, that would be an amazing VOIP headset for the Mac.
5 points by ck2 5 hours ago 6 replies      
I've got a better hack for you.

Buy a $20 pair of Koss KTXPRO1 http://amazon.com/dp/B00007056H

Read the reviews. They sound almost as good as $200 headphones.

I own a couple of Sennheiser, and I prefer the Koss unless I need closed cans for some reason.

6 points by daeken 5 hours ago 1 reply      
For what it's worth, I picked up a pair of HD595s back in early 2007 for $150, refurbed. They're still in absolutely perfect quality (despite more abuse than you can imagine) and by far the best headphones I've ever owned. Worth every cent, no questions asked.
13 points by sfphotoarts 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This article is good for Sennheiser, I just ordered a pair of the 555's from Amazon for $85
3 points by jrockway 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So the plastic bag that supposedly contains the driver is labeled, "System with resonator left side". Is "System" what they call the driver?

I'm interested in seeing what Sennheiser's justification for this is. It seems odd to piss off buyers of high-end products, because they're the ones that do the research. You can't just go to Target and buy some HD5*5 cans; you have to order them from an audiophile-y place (or Amazon).

(The processor manufacturers make their price structure clear. They make the good ones, part of it is broken, so they turn off the broken part and sell it to you as a lower-end model. And if there is no demand for the fully-working ones, and they don't have enough broken ones to meet the demand for them, they just cripple the good ones. But like unscrewing the headphone and taking out foam, you can just change the multiplier and enjoy the increased performance. So why complain unless you already bought the high-end product?)

3 points by gojomo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Years ago, I recall reading (almost certainly on Usenet) a parable which involved a king who needed some bricks, but the cost of getting them could only be recouped by creating some artificial distinction between 'gold' and common bricks, to sell some at a low-price/high-volume and others at high-price/low-volume. In a contrived manner, it neatly illustrated the case that some arrangements that offend one's intuition are actually the best way to get certain things everyone wants financed.

Would love to find a link; it's stumped all my search attempts (including at Google Groups) ever since.

3 points by georgecmu 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A related pricing quirk that I found interesting.

HD 555 MSRP in the States is $170, and you can buy it for $85 on amazon.com[1]. Right across the border, the MSRP is 200 CAD (202.5 USD) and you could get it for 180 CAD on amazon.ca[2]. In other words, the discounted price in Canada is higher than the nominal price in the States, which in turn is almost twice what consumers actually pay for these headphones.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD555-Professional-Headphon...
[2] http://www.amazon.ca/Sennheiser-Open-Hi-Fi-Stereo-Headphone/...

4 points by strlen 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Sounds similar to IBM's practice of inserting 'nops' into software of the AS-400s on otherwise identical hardware to create price gradations.
8 points by iwwr 6 hours ago replies      
Intel, AMD and Nvidia are also notorious for these kinds of practices.
1 point by juiceandjuice 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Sennheiser is a company I've always tried to steer clear of because of this. There's a lot of companies that take advantage of their branding (i.e. M-Audio, Monster cable, etc) to jack up the prices on mediocre hardware.

Once stuff hits guitar center and best buy, you're probably going to be getting ripped off somewhere. You can buy better quality Mogami mic cable from a pro-audio supplier than you can from Guitar Center for half the cost. The audiophile world (along with the "guitar aficionado") is a very strange place.

3 points by aforty 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I just performed the mod. Was really easy and I hear an audible difference (even to my untrained, non-audiophile ears).

For the record, the practice does not offend me. This has been done for ages. R&D costs for creating the HD595's were no doubt great and to recoup some money they created a cheaper, crippled version. With headphones you aren't paying for the parts but for the engineering.

2 points by darkmethod 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As for the mod itself. I just tried it on my 555 and I noticed only a subtle difference. As odd as it may be, I think I prefer the foam.

As for Sennheiser's strategy to cripple the product line to handle a different marketing segment; it reminded me of a Steve Blank's post.

3 points by Goonbaggins 2 hours ago 0 replies      
While this is really neat, the 595s also feature some nicer padding on the headband. Probably not enough for the price difference, but I just wanted to note that the piece of foam is not the only difference between the two.
8 points by foresterh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
On Amazon, the headphones are closer in price... $85 for the HD555 and $150 for the HD595. Still paying $65 for one less piece of foam.
2 points by xal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great bargain. Additionally, the HD-555 can be had for about 100 on eBay. I've been buying my Sennheisers there for years, always the 570 model but that's a bit dated now.
2 points by teyc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Actually, this is an article that'll make Steve Blank proud. His SuperMac cards were all the same, but tuned slower for the cheaper versions.
2 points by ramchip 2 hours ago 0 replies      
According to Amazon, the HD595 is actually heavier by 10g than the HD555. Is the headband different?
4 points by ent 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In case anyone is interested, I just did this mod for my hd555s and can confirm that it does seem to make the sound clearer although I can't really make a good comparison for obvious reasons.
5 points by m3mb3r 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Brought my HD-555 alive.
1 point by Semiapies 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm just cheap, but $200 for the cheaper headphones sounds ridiculous to begin with, and well into "anyone paying that much probably deserves it" territory.
1 point by spiralganglion 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The added piece of foam has to cost them something. So, really, the "broken" headphones should be more expensive, right?

In any case, my friends and I have long held the belief that "If you can't open it, you don't really own it". If my toaster breaks, you can be sure I'll open it up and try to fix it before I think of buying a new one.

Though before anyone thinks of flaming, I'm ok with my iPad. I can make an exception for this type of tech!

0 points by levigross 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Man that is one expensive piece of foam.
White House: What's Blocking Innovation in America? My Answer: IP Laws groklaw.net
247 points by wiks 1 day ago   174 comments top 16
23 points by grellas 1 day ago replies      
IP laws are flawed today in their implementation but it is a serious mistake to say that they are what is blocking innovation in America.

It is easy to pick some extremes of flawed implementation of IP laws and to ridicule their effects. Software patents have been seriously abused to block innovation, with the prototypical troll being, in effect, the equivalent of some lawyer sitting in a back room endlessly "conceiving" ideas from which extortion-style demands can be exacted. So too with things like the RIAA-led lawsuits demanding millions in damages for the downloading of 20 songs or the Disney-inspired extensions of copyright terms to ridiculous lengths having nothing to do with protection of any conceivable right of an author. Such items can readily and rightly be mocked and cast as the absurd anti-innovative creatures that they are. Nor does it help that the beneficiaries of such legal aberrations are often large and powerful companies, lawyers and lobbyists, and others who might be characterized as the antithesis of innovation in any productive society.

That said, IP laws do not in any sense categorically block innovation and, indeed, remain essential to it.

To understand the true importance of IP laws, we need to look at fundamentals. Property is both tangible and intangible. You can touch the former and physically transfer it to someone else. It is a thing that is possessed by someone and such possession excludes or limits possession by others because it is a finite resource that can only be shared so much. In the modern age, in contrast, intangible property is capable of almost infinite replication with few, if any, incremental costs. The temptation exists, then, to say that all such property should be commonly shared because it can be so shared and because people will use it to make advancements for the betterment of themselves and society. In other words, there presumably is no cost to making all information free, legally unprotected, and infinitely shareable. Or so the thinking goes.

But this assumption is not sound.

IP laws are designed to protect all forms of intangible property having commercial value. This means patents (which protect inventions), copyrights (which protect any tangible embodiment of an original work of authorship), trademarks (which protect the distinctiveness of the origin of goods or services), and trade secrets (which protect any form of valuable confidential and proprietary information).

These laws are so built into the fabric of the startup world that we normally just take them for granted.

For example, no startup could hope to survive without laws protecting trade secrets. Without such laws, whatever information or knowledge base you have in your startup that is unique and valuable could be lifted at will by any passing person: an employee who passes through and copies such information wholesale to give it to a competitor; the janitor who comes in at night who decides to publish it on the internet; someone who breaks into your network, copies it all, and then shares it with the world or, worse, if it is a competitor, who uses it to compete against you. If you once take the legal position that all information is free and freely shareable, then all protections for your confidential business plans, for your technical innovations, for your execution strategy, for your database of key customers, personnel, marketing data, etc. evaporate and you can no longer derive any competitive advantage from any of this as long as anyone gets his hands on it and makes it public.

Founder groups would have the same problem in pre-formation situations. Say, four founders build something that they have worked on for a full year and are prepared to launch. One of them defects and says to the group, "I am going to take everything that we have worked on and take it for myself." Of course, that is outrageous. Buy why? Because laws exist that declare it illegal for someone to misappropriate what the founders have been working on. Those are IP laws. They protect the interests in intangible property. Without them, every founder would be vulnerable to such defections, without any form of legal recourse.

Copyright serves a similar function. Whenever a startup relies on proprietary code, it is copyright (along with trade secret laws) that ensures that the work product of the company can't simply be lifted at will and used in any way that the person taking the code desires.

Open source is no exception. It relies heavily on rules of copyright law and on licensing to make its system work. If everything were freely shareable without any form of restriction, one does not have open source - one has freeware.

I could go on with this but, having already noted the potential for serious abuse when such laws are ill-formed, I think I have said enough to show that IP laws lie at the foundation of the startup world and are not in themselves the enemy. There are philosophical arguments to be made that all information should be freely shareable but any society based on that premise would be radically different from the one in which startups thrive today.

Startups depend heavily on IP laws. Such laws have great value in today's startup culture and ought to be recognized for that contribution. Reform them, absolutely; abolish them, don't even think about it (unless you are ready to embrace a philosophically extreme position about all forms of intangible property ownership). I don't believe most people are prepared to embrace the extreme position and, hence, one ought to be careful about castigating that which is good while condemning that which we can agree is bad.

Bottom line: IP laws do not kill innovation and, on the contrary, are vital to it. Flawed IP laws stink and need to be reformed.

46 points by patrickaljord 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Let's take Android. It's something new and the world is loving it. So what happened once it became a hit? Patent and copyright infringement lawsuits up the kazoo. Is that going to encourage innovation? And it's not just Android. It's any successful technical product. They all have to spend millions in litigation. And it's a drain on the economy too, because when the plaintiffs win, that money isn't a win for innovation, not when the law allows patents to be owned and litigated by entities that make nothing at all but litigation.

See what I mean? When the law overprotects, it kills innovation. That's what protection means. It means protection from innovation. Let's call a spade a spade."


52 points by MoreMoschops 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's crippling innovation before people even begin. I was chatting about encryption with some young chap, and I suggested a good way for him to learn about the practicalities of it would be to just sit down and code. He was astonished; he genuinely thought that the principles behind common encryption tools were in some way exclusive property of various companies and that he was legally forbidden from coding up his own implementation.

This is a true story and it's a belief that is on the streets right now; some people believe even mathematics is legally owned by someone and they can't use it. If people won't experiment, they can't innovate.

Note that the countries that don't give a damn about so-called IP happily copy everything they can get their hands on. It will not take them long to start innovating on top of what already exists.

3 points by DanielBMarkham 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I kind of groaned when I saw this title on HN.

Problem? The title told me it was going to be a highly-emotional appeal to an audience already primed to agree with it. And the vote score only confirmed that assumption. Time to put on the old critical thinking hat.

What a great article! It was a wonderfully-put-together rant about what is wrong with IP law. I agree with every point -- including the outrage the author felt.

The only thing I didn't agree with? The premise -- that IP laws are blocking innovation.

Yes, as the examples show, there is a great amount of innovation that is being stifled by IP laws, and something is desperately needed to fix it. But let's not get caught up in all that emotional outrage at how screwed up things are. Instead, ask a simple question: to what degree is all innovation stifled by IP laws? Because that's the claim: that every kind of innovation is being stifled by the current crappy state of IP laws.

Clearly that's not the case at all. The newspaper boy who invents a new newspaper folder isn't being stifled. The restaurant owner who comes up with a way to wait more tables with less staff isn't being stifled. The media creator who packages his product in a way to increase stickiness isn't being stifled. It's just a bunch of examples that members of this audience already know and are sympathetic with.

I could go on. And on and on. So yes, in this one area in which we are all pretty damn angry to begin with, IP laws are totally destroying innovation. But in the other thousand or so areas from which most of us have little experience, they are not.

I loved the rant. And I love a great title and this article had one. A little hyperbole is good for the soul. So while I have no faults with the article, I'd just recommend a little bit of common sense when dealing with a premise so over the top. People have a tendency to take whatever they're really angry about -- and then apply it to whatever problems the world is facing. IP law is not stifling all innovation. It isn't even coming close. But it's definitely horribly broken and needs to be fixed.

42 points by zipdog 1 day ago 4 replies      
One of the foundations of America's success in the earlier years (up to the beginning of the 20th C) was its general disregard for IP laws. British manufactures were constantly complaining about American's using their designs, manuscripts, etc without payment, as well as state to state infringement (Hollywood started in CA to get away for legal oversight).

The article is spot on: legal protection is protection from innovation.

16 points by bugsy 1 day ago 2 replies      
The answer is not quite correct. Corporate protectionism is what destroys innovation. Abuse of the patent and copyright systems is part of corporate protectionism.

Patent and copyright are great things to protect the little innovator guy that starts a new business from being sodomized by the big corporations that lobby congress for laws that benefit only themselves.

Reform is necessary. Right now, companies are patenting things that were invented by other people. Right now, little people with patents are getting their IP stolen from big corporations with lawyers who file legal action solely for the purpose of bankrupting the little guy and taking his property.

These things are not a problem with the concept of protecting innovations through IP law. They are a problem with corporate abuse of the system and a corrupt government.

5 points by fleitz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lawyers and Bureaucrats. Pretty much every single branch of gov't save for the DOD and DOJ stifle innovation (DOJ in the grand scheme of things stifles innovation by enforcing the laws for other branches). Start by letting parents send their children to a school of their choice. Continue by making it easy for those children (when they reach adulthood) to start businesses, and continue by making the burdens of running that business as few as possible. It might be a little burdensome to file a tax return for the company you buy a computer from. (Medicare tax code changes)

Continue by allowing the free flow of information and creating transparent gov't so that the private sector may also innovate gov't.

If Obama went back to his election night speech and started governing like that I'm sure he'd find the answers quite quickly. However, a rhetorician as skilled as President Obama knows that the point is not to find the answers but to be seen asking the question.

9 points by tptacek 1 day ago replies      
Yes, this is true, if you want the President of the United States to advocate for a Total War in the legislature --- one, by the way, which he will lose --- solely for the sake of clearing the way for entertainment content startups.
14 points by Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 1 reply      
Somebody invented the knife you use to eat, the pants you're wearing, the mattress you sleep on, and you are not paying a dime in royalties. You are standing on the shoulders of giants and you pretend those who come after you to pay you for your invention, even if many unlucky people invented the same thing but were just seconds late to the patent office? I have a word for you, damn parasite, fuck you.
6 points by neutronicus 1 day ago 1 reply      
1 point by beagle3 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's relatively easy to downsize IP laws with a single change: If they are property, tax them as property.


Every year, a patent/copyright/trademark owner has to state the value of their "property", and pay 1% tax on its value. That entitles them to sue each defendant for said value (maybe 3 for wilful infringement, but that's it). You can make it easier by declaring the value of the "property" at any point in time during the year until 15-apr the following* year, so you can evaluate in retrospect.

Now, all of a sudden, it doesn't make sense to hoard patents or copyrights as much - If you value each song at $100K, then it costs $1K/year to maintain that copyright.

I'm sure Intel/Microsoft/Apple would actually evaluate what does and doesn't need patent protection when they have to pay millions of dollars per year to maintain it.

Furthermore, it's only reasonable - paying tax for having the state enforce your "property" rights.

2 points by mryall 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great article full of examples about why IP law has hampered innovation. But it fails to answer a very important question: what should be done by the government to remedy it?

The first and simplest part of lobbying is identifying the problem. The much more challenging part is following up with useful recommendations on what should be done to fix it.

In terms of software patents, should the executive branch propose a bill to forbid them? What would the outcome of that be? How should copyright law be reined in? These are the questions that the next generation of policymakers need to solve and the recommendations we need to be sending to our respective governments.

4 points by pgroves 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know which places with relatively developed economies have the weakest IP laws? I would guess Hong Kong, Singapore, or China but I don't really know.

I've been working on a rather ambitious piece of software and I'm definitely worried that I'll get sued into oblivion over some minor user interface feature before I ever really make any money off it. I've lived all my life in the U.S. but would entertain the idea of leaving.

In fact if I'm going to leave my home town I feel like I might as well go someplace more exotic than Silicon Valley or New York. IP laws and other business concerns would definitely be an important criteria if I got serious about it.

2 points by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Patents are one way people can make deals with innovators that can make some innovation more likely, but its not the only way this could be done.

I think the coercive element, the idea that someone can be sued for doing something they have an inherent right to do is the problem.

It is one thing when people agree that they need something and offer to buy it exclusively from whoever creates the first viable product. It is quite another to coerce everyone to do so.

That said, we should not hand out monopolies that are not in the interest of most citizens. And what is in our interest is determined rather badly with winner-take-all elections and the power they give to lobbyists.

3 points by ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
So I have been known to make the claim that the next great re-flowering of tech will begin in 2015 and grow solidly through 2020. I base that claim on the observation that patent silliness really ramped up in 1995 and grew exponentially to 2000, those patents expire between 2015 and 2020. And while technology overwhelmed the ability of patent examiners to credibly evaluate its novelty or newness, that doesn't matter once the patent is now public domain.
1 point by adsr 1 day ago 1 reply      
The answer is probably not to get rid of all protection of IP though. I think a change to the law to prevent obvious patent trolls would be beneficial on the other hand.
1000+ Nokia workers have walked out in protest (in English via Google Translate) googleusercontent.com
246 points by benwerd 2 days ago   164 comments top 20
54 points by marshray 2 days ago replies      
Let's see

1. Hire someone from Microsoft to run the company

2. He says "our platform is burning, we have to do something drastic" which most people interpret as "prepare to come up with a strategy and fight like hell to win".

3. Guess what, he already had something in mind! It was "throw out our current reasonably successful development efforts and become a licensee of Microsoft's failed platform instead". And piss off all our QT-based app developers at the same time.

What could possibly go wrong?

I seriously wonder if this guy might not end up having to leave and not set foot in Finland (or the EU) again for fear of arrest. I have a feeling some Finland business regulators will be going through his emails with a fine-toothed comb.

83 points by beagle3 2 days ago replies      
Does this remind anyone else of SGI?

- Total domination of their own field

- Resting on laurels while others snatch the market from under them

- Panic

- Get a CEO from Microsoft

- CEO quickly decides that the O/S developed in house is not worth maintaining. And that the right O/S is no other than Microsoft's offering

- Company continues dive to irrelevance, albeit at a much faster rate than before

Well, the last one hasn't happened to Nokia. yet.

Goodbye old Nokia. You will be missed.

22 points by davidw 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whether it was Android, Microsoft, or slowly dying, people working there would be affected, so I'm not sure the choice of Microsoft changes things too much from that point of view. With Android, perhaps they could have kept more people on board to hack on it and customize it, but still, the axe was going to fall.

Should be interesting to see how this is handled in Finland. Stock is down, layoffs, and some "arrogant foreigner" in charge would be a recipe for even more change in some places.

21 points by brk 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I interpret the page correctly, somewhere between 1000 and 1500 employees at this location ALL worked on the Symbian OS.

THAT might have been part of the problem. 1000+ people for a mobile OS? And people wonder why Nokia can't innovate fast enough to keep up with iOS or Android?

15 points by stcredzero 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's exactly this sort of tech expertise revolt that happened at the largest Smalltalk company at the time -- when out of touch management announced the company was going to go the direction of Java/JVM.

This is not an indication of mismanagement. This is mismanagement (of employee expectations, culture, and perception) plainly visible in public.

Nokia needs to figure this out right now, or they are going to bleed intellectual and technical assets.

26 points by Kilimanjaro 2 days ago 5 replies      
No PR campaign can save Nokia from this well-deserved disaster.

Btw, NOK is down 15%

14 points by eiji 2 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one happy that WP7 is NOT dead?

I very much prefer a threesome!
Every mobil user will benefit from this. And this is not like Desktop. Everybody will have to bring their A-Game.

6 points by bigB 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess its a ballsy move, but it was much needed. Going with Android would have killed Nokia anyhow as they would be just another face in the already crap filled Android market ( and before anyone shoots me down, for every decent Android handset out there, there are 3 other really crappy ones)

Think about it though, what do they have to lose. The company was dying rapidly, There are relatively few WP7 products on the market, so they can stand out in the crowd, Microsoft have absolutely 0 to lose and everything to gain as Nokia may just pull this off.

But then again, I actually thought that Paul Thurrot had a good idea when he suggested that Microsoft and Nokia merge. Its not quite a merger but if this move actually works I think a merger is in the future.

9 points by xbryanx 2 days ago 2 replies      
If I understand the garbled translation, the Nokia workers took advantage of extremely flexible work time to stage a coordinated, but totally non-rule-breaking walk out. I've never heard of this sort of half-strike method, but it's interesting. Is this something that is common in Europe or Scandinavian countries where a more flexible work schedule is common?
10 points by tituomin 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by latch 2 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of behavior makes me wish at-will employment was the norm throughout the world. If you aren't happy, quit. Change was clearly needed and change was made. Work hard for your company or find a different place to work that'll make you happier. Everyone thinks they could make better decisions.
2 points by Flam 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Nokia n900 (Maemo) albeit with some flaws, is the greatest phone I will ever own. Allow me to explain.

I live in Canada. We get a lot of snow over here. Last winter, I lost my Nokia phone. I remember it was a night we had a huge snowstorm, and I stayed in drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace only to wake up the next day stressing out because I couldn't find my phone. After an hour of searching, I came to terms that I must have lost it in the mall the day before.

I end up leaving later that day, and find it on my driveway buried in snow. Snow plows came twice and cleaned my driveway and they must have driven over it with the plow part of the truck. Not only that, it was completely submerged in snow for over 12 hours. I picked it up, brushed off as much snow as I could, and tried using it.

It still worked. It didn't even have any scratches (1 minor one). I've owned many phones in my life, and most of them break in the stupidest ways. Nokia is the rambo of phones.

3 points by majorlazer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well maybe if Symbian wasn't a total piece of shit they wouldn't be shutting it down. Seriously, I owned an N97 for a while and that was the flagship product of Nokia for sometime, the OS is complete shit. Hardware was awesome but the OS was almost as bad as the old Windows Mobile OS.
1 point by runjake 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll miss Series 40 phones. A basic, no frills dumb phone OS with a UI that made sense. I'll miss the flexibility of Python for Series 60, even though the Series 60 OS was crud.
3 points by shimi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what was the reaction if Nokia would have decided to adopt Android?
2 points by fosk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nokia share price has a 15% drop (http://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3ANOK).

Time to speculate?

1 point by yason 2 days ago 0 replies      
The end of the last ten years of Nokia's downhill: a quiet disappearance into a puff of irrelevance.
0 points by taylorbuley 2 days ago 4 replies      
Regardless of whether you agree with the CEO's position I think it's pretty childish to walk out on your job.
1 point by mise 2 days ago 1 reply      
Heh heh, try to back-button yourself out of that page.
1 point by p90x 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess we won't be seeing a RIM, Microsoft merger any time soon then.
Mubarak to step down tonight usatoday.com
244 points by shortlived 3 days ago   98 comments top 21
27 points by lionhearted 3 days ago 7 replies      
True story, three nights ago at a bar in Saigon:

Friend of mine: Mubarak is sharp. That motherfucker has been hated for a long time, but is still in power... he'll weather this, he'll still be running the country next year.

Me: I don't know dude, the city is literally on fire. Has any revolution ever hit this point and had the leader keep control?

Him: They're rioting. It'll get settled out. Besides, Mubarak's got the military.

Me: Does he? Really?

Him: Well, if you think he'll be out of power, put your money where your mouth is. 100 bucks says, Mubarak is still in power at the end of this year.

Me: I don't know dude, I guess I don't know as much about this as you do...

Him: I don't know much. But I think he's got it. What do you say, 100 bucks?

Me: Well, what's "in power"?

Him: He's still got the title President on December 31st.

Me: In Egypt, not in exile?

Him: In Egypt. He's still president, and in Egypt.

Me: And no foreign occupying army stabilizing - no U.N. peacekeepers or transition force.

Him: That wouldn't happen, America has the securi -- okay, fine, yes, no foreign forces. So the wager is - Mubarak has the title of President on December 31st, is in Egypt, and there's no foreign troops occupying.

Me: Okay, I'm going to go with history here. You can break riots earlier, but once they hit this point it's over...

Him: We'll see. I want that hundred bucks in December.

Me: I'm good for it. You're on.

We shook on it. I'll take him out to a nice dinner with some of the money.

55 points by cma 3 days ago 6 replies      
The vice president that will take over was trained in Fort Bragg, NC. He has been the head of the Egyptian side of the "extraordinary rendition" joint-US torture program.

If you want some scale for the corruption going on in Egypt, look into why Mubarak is wealthier than Bill Gates.

35 points by benwerd 3 days ago 3 replies      
Hooray! Mubarak to concede power to his vice president, who has said that Egypt isn't ready for democracy, effectively deflating the protesters' demands while changing pretty much nothing, and leaving the door open to come down harshly on dissenters once the eyes of the world have moved elsewhere. That's great!

Seriously, this strikes me as propaganda of the worst kind. All of us here are in the business of making things better - the promise of the web is all about democratization and equalizing hierarchies. What can we do to help, both here and elsewhere?

9 points by goatforce5 3 days ago 0 replies      
The AP is saying there might be a military coup in progress:


It seems as thought Mubarak is being pushed aside tonight (indeed, if I play connect the dots it looks like Mubarak is trying to flee and the army is trying to make sure he can't). Looks like there's more than one party who could take power over the next few hours. Whether they can hold on to that is another question entirely.

13 points by torme 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is this really any different? They're just instating the VP instead, who I imagine is probably not much better.

This might make sense if they're planning to hold another election shortly thereafter. That way, at least the figurehead is out of office, and there's the potential for a peaceful transition for a replacement. Given the level of corruption though, is that even a possibility?

4 points by giberson 3 days ago 1 reply      
It occurs to me, that this information may be a coup. Imagine that Mubarak's original intention to address the protesters tonight was to propose some compromise other than his immediate stepping down. An opposing party could use the opportunity to force a step down. According to the USA today article, the military addressed the people "all of your demands will be met tonight". Was this really the instruction of Mubarak to the military? Or could it be the instruction coming from the opposition. By spreading a rumor that Mubarak will step down through official channels and generating real expectation for that to happen tonight a strategic coup could be set. Because tonight, if Mubarak doesn't step down, because of the expectation, it would stir the protester's riot past the boiling point. It would force the riots to the next stage of civil decent requiring military action against or for the people. At that point, absolutely the only way to appease the riots would be the forced removal of Mubarak.

It would be certainly interesting if that were really the case, and Mubarak now faced the realization that despite it not being originally his intent tonight--must step down from position.

9 points by warfangle 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's more detail over on Al Jazeera English:
5 points by eibrahim 3 days ago 3 replies      
What a proud moment for Egypt and all Egyptians? I didn't think I will see a revolution in my lifetime but here we are watching one unfold in front of our own eyes.

This is what wikipedia says about the french revolutions - sounds very similar - doesn't it. Except egyptians did it in 2 weeks and not 3 years.

"The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in French and European history. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition succumbed to new Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights."

9 points by JoeAltmaier 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Demands will be met", "Mubarak will meet with the people". Hopeful! But the headline should be "Mubarak may step down tonight"
4 points by jim_h 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reuters just said that president is not stepping down. He is just transferring power.

Saw this on Al Jazeera, but no source/link yet.

2 points by kprobst 3 days ago 0 replies      
He's speaking now on TV over there and the BBC says he'll stay in power until elections in September, which is basically the same thing the protesters were offered before.
2 points by marze 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are the Egyptian people really stupid enough to be happy the former head of the notorious secret police is taking over as president?

Unless I've really missed something, this makes little sense.

1 point by NY_USA_Hacker 3 days ago 1 reply      
Let's see, the headline is:

"Defiant Mubarak vows to stay in office until Sept. elections"

and the article has:

"Hundreds of thousands of protesters respond to Mubarak's speech with 'get out, get out!'"

So, Egypt is a country with some tens of millions of people, and some "hundreds of thousands" are unhappy. Also, Mubarak has been in office for a long time and, thus, passed whatever process Egypt has for picking a 'legitimate' government. And, the "protesters" apparently are claiming mostly just that they don't like what Mubarak has been doing and not that the government he heads is not legitimate.

So, in a country of some tens of millions of people, "hundreds of thousands" are trying to bring down a legitimate government and replace it with, what? Anything more legitimate or less? And of the "hundreds of thousands of protesters", their process of changing a government is some tiny fraction of the population "shouting" in a public square?

So, in the headline:

"Defiant Mubarak vows to stay in office until Sept. elections"

with "defiant" and "vows", the suggestion is that Mubarak is doing something wrong.

Then am I the only one here who concludes that the article is being irresponsible and trying to create violence, maybe Egypt with some tens of millions of people without a clearly legitimate government and, thus, a good chance of a long, bloody, civil war that also disrupts the world including the US economy?

It very much looks like

Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY

wants a war, in particular a religious war, with Jihading Muslims, that might kill some millions of people in Egypt, might spread from Casablanca east to Afghanistan and on through South and South East Asia, might kill some tens of millions of people, might so seriously disrupt the world economy, say, about little things like oil, that we could have WWIII and kill nearly everyone?

So, my understanding is that Mubarak's term is up in September. Then to preserve their process of selecting a government, definitely Mubarak should stay in office and try to do what he was selected to do until September, and apparently that is what Mubarak just announced he will do. I'd say he did the 'statesman' like thing.


Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY

apparently he's just a 'newsie' and a brain-dead, disconnected, clueless, irresponsible, blood thirsty one at that. Maybe he wants a "scoop"; someone please rush down to Petco and get the brain-dead newsie a "scoop", hopefully used.

3 points by jcsalterego 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm seeing this everywhere else on my internets, but I will have to play the "OT for HN" card.
4 points by patr1ck 3 days ago 0 replies      
YouTube / Al Jazeera has live video here: http://www.youtube.com/aljazeeraenglish

Pretty amazing stuff.

2 points by zeteo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sensationalism and an unverified story, in the rush to grab attention at any cost. Kind of typical for today's mass media.
2 points by d3fun 3 days ago 0 replies      
as per the latest new he is not resigning
2 points by callmevlad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Based on the number of mentions of the "concerns of the Muslim Brotherhood", it seems likely that the Egyptian people are either in for a) military rule or b) a religious theocracy. I'm hoping for c) a true democracy, but the track record on that is pretty bad in the Middle East.
2 points by axod 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's no escape from politics. Even on HN.
3 points by barredo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, he didn't
Airplane Mode minimalmac.com
245 points by flapjack 6 days ago   68 comments top 14
41 points by corin_ 6 days 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 5 days 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 spitfire 6 days 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.

14 points by run4yourlives 6 days 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.

15 points by T_S_ 6 days 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 6 days 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 6 days 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.
3 points by codebaobab 6 days 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.
4 points by kevinburke 5 days 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 kevindication 6 days 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 6 days ago 1 reply      
As soon as my head hits the pillow, my iPhone goes into Airplane Mode.
1 point by _corbett 5 days 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 PhatBaja 6 days 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 6 days ago 3 replies      
Airplane mode is also good for keeping your sperm count up when it's in your pockets.
The Next Six Months daringfireball.net
236 points by thushan 4 days ago   217 comments top 26
77 points by kenjackson 4 days ago replies      
Microsoft AND Intel being effectively missing from the tablet race is staggering. And there are a few reasons why its staggering:

1) Both have known it was coming, maybe longer than anyone else. But got the core requirements all wrong.

2) No one really seems to care.

3) Related to (2), there is no belief that they have anything up their sleeve.

4) Their existing ecosystem, probably a billion units strong, doesn't seem to help their situation at all.

5) Both CEOs seem firmly in place still.

While Intel and MS will make money hand over first for years to come, it does appear to be the end of the consumer market for these two companies. Their focus will be business class computers, workstations, and servers.

32 points by pkulak 4 days ago 5 replies      
"Apple was willing to announce it months in advance because they had no competition..."

What? They announce the first version of a product early because, being the first, it can't stop people from buying the previous version. If they announced the new iPad now, iPad 1 sales would tank.

13 points by naner 4 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think the market for these things is huge as he suggests. Why would anyone buy a non-Apple touch or tablet device? I can see the argument for smart phones from different vendors, but not for these causal computing touch devices.

And this is coming from someone who has never paid a cent to Apple. I haven't drank the kool-aid but none of these touch devices appear to really be competing with Apple. They look like they are struggling to catch-up. These devices always have some combination of a bigger price tag, buggy interfaces, crappier specs, and/or way less software available.

I'd rather see these other vendors go a completely different direction. Microsoft releasing an iPad clone this late in the game would just be embarrassing. The Kinect was a good response to the Wii. The Playstation Move was not. (I'm making assumptions here since I'm not a gamer. I have no idea whether the Move/Kinect are successful or not.)

4 points by cletus 4 days ago 3 replies      
I mostly agree with Gruber but disagree on a couple of major points:

1. Releasing the iPad in September makes no sense simply because it was such a massive hit in the holiday season. Generally speaking, you want to spread out your demand as much as possible. It took 2 months to get the previous iPad from the US to the first round of international markets and another 3-4 months to do the full round. You can only produce so many. Actually not being able to buy one because demand is so high is not Apple's style;

2. I don't see Apple releasing a new version 6 months after the previous, particularly when, in all likelihood, the iPad 2 won't have been in some markets for more than a month or two.

As far as conflicting reports on parts and specs, that's nothing new. Just like there were reports of a CDMA iPhone YEARS before there was one. There are two reasons for this:

1. Apple produces far more prototypes than they release (eg the CDMA iPhone was tested for about a year before release); and

2. People just make stuff up for page views.

I also fully agree with Gruber on a rear-facing camera making very little sense on a device that large.

8 points by pclark 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wrote an entire comment about how great it is for Apple to work in secret and release and "blitzkrieg" the competition. But it turns out Apple announced their iPhone ~Jan 2007 and it shipped ~June 2007.

So why did HP announce their entire 2011/2012 line up and direction of products without a price and or release date?

I think that this means HP has stake holders breathing down their neck, and they had to publicly show their hand asap. Thoughts?

6 points by alanfalcon 4 days ago 1 reply      
If Apple does have two separate iPad releases in 2011, I definitely think the first announcement will replace the current iPad and the next announcement will be a product that augments the iPad line, an HD or Pro model, as Gruber predicts. But I sincerely doubt there will be two different iPad announcements this calendar year.

Ever since Gruber's initial review of the iPad, I've been intrigued by the possibility of a Pro model with more RAM and possibly some extra horsepower. Again, it doesn't seem like Apple's plan though.

6 points by gojomo 4 days ago 3 replies      
Two iPads in one year is possible, and Gruber has better Apple-watching-skills than most. But I also think Apple is long overdue for a true "AppleTV", an all-in-one product with big screen, deeply integrated with everything else iOS/iTunes. That would also fit well with a late-in-year but in-time-for-Christmas release.
6 points by roadnottaken 4 days ago 1 reply      
"...[tablets] are the future of the entire computing industry..."

That's more than a little hard to swallow...

4 points by roc 4 days ago 1 reply      
The logic doesn't hold up for me.

Are holiday buyers really the same kind of people who will have even heard gadget rumors, let alone coordinate their purchases accordingly? Do we have any reason to think many of them held off this year?

Furthermore, I thought the speed of iOS updates has been a good thing. Why are three iOS targets undesirable or problematic?

It just sounds... flimsy; like someone shopping for justification after they'd latched onto a conclusion.

4 points by dschobel 4 days ago 1 reply      
"The next six months are going to set the foundation for the future of personal computing."

Gruber needs to make the leap and become a political talking-head on cable news already.

Unleashing lines like that without a hint of sarcasm or irony? You can't teach that, folks, that's god given.

3 points by thushan 4 days ago 3 replies      
Though I think Apple is the only one that can pull it off. I'm a bit surprised that they'll be able to keep to a one year product cycle with things like the iPhone/iPad when the rest of the market is hitting a new product every couple weeks. Not that they've been one to match the rest of the market, but a lot happens in a year.

Then again, maybe the biggest lesson out of the touch screen revolution is that its not the hardware - it's the software, and Apple has been certainly setting the pace on that front.

3 points by spaghetti 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'd really like to see a laptop with two touch screens: one replacing the regular screen and another replacing the keyboard and trackpad. This tablet/laptop hybrid would have some awesome benefits. For example one could comfortably use the device while seated at a table (display and input area can be at about 90 deg relative to each other... something that's not possible w/ the iPad). Another awesome benefit would be replacing the on-screen keyboard with far-out stuff like a painter's palette, Scrabble tiles, dominoes or even two turn-tables like a DJ uses.

Imagine mixing digital paint with your fingers (on the touch screen that replaces the physical keyboard on current laptops) then actually painting on the other touch screen (the touch screen replacing the non-touch screens on current laptops).

4 points by maguay 4 days ago 0 replies      
One interesting thing to see will be whether newer tablets with webOS, Android, or anything else will get advanced, full-sized tablet apps like Apple's iWork apps. The iWork apps definitely are some of the very best on iPad, and it wouldn't be nearly as useful of a device without them. Docs to Go and QuickOffice are a joke in comparison (except each of them are much better at file sync and orginization...). It's the more advanced apps like these, though, that will really enable tablets to take over traditional PCs.
6 points by scottyallen 4 days ago 3 replies      
If you're an iPad/iPhone developer: How does the prospect of a new iPad being on the horizon affect your development/product strategy?
5 points by gsaines 4 days ago 0 replies      
I actually clicked this expecting the article to be parodying the Friedman Unit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedman_%28unit%29) only to find utter sincerity!
5 points by Roritharr 4 days ago 5 replies      
I dont get why everybody is falling for the "end of pc era" hype that is surrounding tablets and smartphones.

Can someone explain to me why the ability to browse the web from the couch without sufficient text-entry possibilities is going to challenge the amount of pc's in a world where textentry is our main method of searching, sorting and creating data. Honestly, this is not a rhetorical question, i feel i'm missing some part of the picture here.

2 points by gaiusparx 3 days ago 0 replies      
My prediction:

* Apple will keep April as the refresh month for iPad. Putting iPad in the same iPod event will steal thunder and is no good. And component supplies is tighter for iPad thus it takes few months to meet the demand and September is too tight to the holidays season. When iPad 2 is launched in April, the rest of the world will get it by Jun-Aug which ensure Apple can manufacture enough to meet year end holiday demand.

* There will be no iOS 5 this year. At June WWDC, Lion will be the focus and Apple will give sneak peak of iOS 5 at the event, with beta available in early 2012, ship in June 2012. Aple needs to get its developers ready and it takes time. iOS 5 will share the code base of Lion and will ship after Lion. iOS 5 will include user interface elements changes. I think Apple is keeping two years release cycle for major OS release.

* There will be iOS 4.4/4.5 this year for: iPhone 5, NFC capability, AppleTV 3, App Store for AppleTV and App/Games on AppleTV.

3 points by lshepstone 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's going to be pretty interesting watching this play out. But Apple and Android have an unfair advantage right now...apps, and lots of them. If you've got an iOS or Android phone and already own some apps the other guys are going to have to ship something amazing or dirt cheap to get your attention.

As great as the new HP stuff looks, I wouldn't like to be HP, RIM (or Nokia and their potential Meego tablet) right now...tough road ahead building app ecosystem momentum. Who cares if the tablet is slightly better when I can't get my favourite apps.

I find it greatly amusing the roles are reversed from back when Apple struggled on the desktop due to lack of apps while microsoft dominated. My how times change in 10 years. At least this time we might have more than one platform that dominated 90% which is good for everyone.

1 point by onteria 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is of course a subjective opinion, but something doesn't quite feel right about HP making a tablet PC. They seem to put out quite a lot of things without much of an overall guiding principle. HP PCs, laptops, printers, servers, now tablets. I ask myself "Why HP?" and can't seem to come up with a very reasonable answer. Nothing jumps out at me as seeing this as the best thing ever.

With Apple they have the whole underlying principle of "Think Different" or something along the lines of changing the status quo. Apple didn't really do anything new with the iPhone and iPad in essence. Smartphones and tablet PCs were already out there. However because it went with their overall message, it made sense. People wanted to include it in their "Apple Lifestyle" so to speak.

Just my .00002 cents.

2 points by stcredzero 4 days ago 1 reply      
Re: Rear Facing Camera.

This would be most useful on a device with a daylight readable transflective screen. Then you could use it outdoors with augmented reality apps.

3 points by sigzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am hoping for some strange reason that WebOS wins out over them all.
1 point by endlessvoid94 4 days ago 2 replies      
Apple's touch strategy is definitely awesome, but the only reason it's spectacular is because of the app store.

HP's new TouchPad won't have that. It will probably do well, but it won't even touch the success of the iPad. Nobody writes apps for WebOS.

1 point by code_duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think Apple will release two significantly different versions of the iPad within 6 months.
1 point by toadi 3 days ago 1 reply      
The end of the PC era is always announced. But don't see how I can do my daily work on a Ipad. I need a laptop or PC.
1 point by sinkercat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible that the new product announced during the Fall event is actually a 7-inch retina display iPad? Apple might find it expensive to build a 9.7-inch retina display and that could explain the $3billion+ investment that Apple has put in (possibly for the 7-inch retina display screens). Yes, Steve Jobs did say that 7-inch tablets are DOA but it was the same Steve who said Apple doesn't see e-books as a big market.
-2 points by barista 4 days ago 3 replies      
"One startling omission from that list: Microsoft. Their former hardware partners are heading off into the touch-computing future without them. We could have four competing tablet platforms six months from now " iOS, Android, WebOS, and Playbook " and not one of them is from Microsoft"

Microsoft clearly seems to have taken their own sweet time to make an entry but they clearly have an intent and when they do, the biggest thing that they will have going for them is the knowhow of the platform and a plethora of apps that are already existing there that will be easy to port.

Just like mobile this will end up being a 3 horse race in a few years. Apple, Google and Microsoft. The rest of them are just wasting their time and money in competing. None of them have existing ecosystems or platforms that they can leverage to fight with the three big players.

Convore (YC W11) Wants To Be The Easiest Group Communication App Yet techcrunch.com
236 points by ericflo 4 days ago   52 comments top 32
22 points by simonw 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've been hanging out on Convore for a few weeks and they're definitely on to something - it's entirely replaced Twitter as my online water cooler.

In a way it's similar to IRC, but the ability to create new topics which have their own chatroom-style thread (while still being alerted to conversations elsewhere) means you can duck out and come back again a few days later and pick up the same conversation.

19 points by alttab 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've seen some amazing, incredible collaboration tools come out of the web.

The main issue isn't the technology or the software or the CSS they use - but the fact that a majority of people don't know how to communicate. I say fix that first.

Also, the problem isn't being able to create groups or include or invite people as much as it is getting people to consistently use it to make it meaningful. My company has a wiki where we convey information, but guess how much information from the one-off conversations we have ends up there?

10 points by tptacek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sort of idly hanging out on https://convore.com/appsec/ now, if anyone has appsec questions; happy to field them.
12 points by jonpaul 4 days ago 3 replies      
It looks beautiful. But I must be missing something... what problem does it solve that forums or Twitter don't solve? Or how does it do it better? I just signed up and I'm not seeing the utility. I'm asking this sincerely.
17 points by simonista 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very cool. Looks like there's a Hacker News group, for those that are interested: https://convore.com/hacker-news/
9 points by peregrine 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool but feels a lot like Wave and I cannot help but feel the goal of Convore is to replace it. More power to them I know several people that loved it(students mostly) and miss it now that its gone.
7 points by tomjen3 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems useful, but there is no way to see what it does different than all of the other chat apps on the front page.

So I guess I will skip signing up for now.

6 points by kingkilr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Convore on the launch, I've been using it almost since its inception and it's become a staple of my communication platforms.
8 points by ryanb 4 days ago 1 reply      
The YC W11 class has been using Convore nonstop. It's pretty amazing.
1 point by bonaldi 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would be great for use inside our company, but only if it's on the Yammer model where everything is company-private. Don't want staff to have to go through hundreds of external groups, just want them to see ours.

If Convore is like IRC, what we need is a private IRC server. Is there any service like that? (Campfire ain't it)

5 points by swanson 4 days ago 1 reply      
So did Leah Culver's other web-chat project (http://leafychat.com/) get rolled into this?

It looks interesting, I wonder if these type of projects will eventually replace IRC. I could definitely see popular open source projects using this over IRC, especially if they have features like snippet embedding.

2 points by icey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome, well done!

I created an entrepreneurship group here to test it out: https://convore.com/entrepreneurship/

2 points by _grrr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how they will monetize this? A white-label chat platform for websites that want a chat facility would be one option (StackOverflow rolled out chat recently, but this would have been a good candidate for them). Branded in-house chat for corporates would be another, especially those with distributed project teams that want to communicate around a project. I like the fact that the chat sessions are persistent and revolve around a topic - this makes them very useful in a project environment.
3 points by bretthellman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fun design. Though, doesn't Facebook groups make group conversations like this a lot easier as using FB groups does not require having another tab open? Seems like FB has the social groups nailed. Very curious to hear convore's thoughts... And no, I don't work for FB.
4 points by daniel_levine 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Convore for a bit over a week and it's great so far! Keep it up guys
3 points by cj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems a bit like the first version of Gravity (now convo.io) from the ex-myspace crew, plus chat.
1 point by edanm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats - this looks very impressive.

One tiny nitpick - on the "discover" page, the first item on the left-side menu is "your friends groups", and it should be "your friends' groups".

2 points by kin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Convore!

My initial impression of the site is great. Immediately I was able to jump into the Hacker News group and switch between various topics seamlessly and chat.

I'm excited to be using this for small projects. Create a group and not just chat in one room but switch off between several topics in one group. Just the idea of that I can imagine would make collaboration on projects so much more organized. Great job guys!

4 points by rkudeshi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does it support file uploads, like Campfire?
1 point by kmfrk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it me, or do I have to go to the frontpage to be able to sign up? Silly if that is the case, but I'm probably missing something.
2 points by agaton 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea. Combining the best features of traditional online forums with topic based threads and the easyness of IM communication. Instead of defining the chat by the people in it, Convore define it by the threads topic. Definitely an interesting take on group IM/chat. Also - easy to use, clean design. Me like.
2 points by widgetycrank 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't if it's me but the position:fixed layout makes the page scroll noticeably laggy. I'm using Chrome on a 2.0GHz Mac btw.
4 points by krambs 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a fantastic product. Definitely try it out.
1 point by u_fail 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll leave my feedback here, but unfortunatley I think they took forums and actually made the problem worse.

I joined the convore.com/feedback group, intending to leave feedback , but theres just no good way to see if what i want to say in an existing topic, and too many topics to view. Shouldn't be that much work for me to tell you about the product. Another problem is overload, it might just be me.. but topics and conversations are moving so fast, its overwhelming, and its like chore by itself.

2 points by RaRic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice app! I'm not a designer, but I think some of the buttons look disabled. In particular, the "Mark group as read" has gray text on gray background with very little contrast.
4 points by cactopi 4 days ago 0 replies      
sounds like a meat-eating hooker
1 point by zwadia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff Team Convore!

That being said, I think Convore will face serious competition from Twitter in the very near future.

@ev will be launching Twitter Events very shortly which is the most charming and best implemented part of Convore.

Full disclosure: I am biased because my gig, @SecretSocial, will be better than Convore... http://secretsocial.com

2 points by piranha 4 days ago 0 replies      
We did small dumb console reader: https://github.com/foobarbuzz/convoread :)
5 points by kevingao1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats guys - huge!
1 point by madewulf 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently viewing https://convore.com/django-community/there-arent-enough-djan... but it keeps reloading the page from time to time, interrupting my current reading... in both Safari and Chrome
1 point by mtw 4 days ago 0 replies      
it throws me an error upon connecting with Facebook connect
-1 point by devin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't find Convore interesting. Give me IRC over this garbage any day of the week.

Flowdock, Convore, Chatterous, and on, and on. The same idea as IRC but less accessible.

I hate to be so glib but, if you can't script it, who cares?

Stuxnet is now on GitHub github.com
211 points by steipete 13 hours ago   50 comments top 8
19 points by rst 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Decompiler output; product of the HBGary/Anonymous dump. The most interesting thing here is probably the emails from HBGary folks about StuxNet in the accompanying blog post[1]. (For public purposes, the CEO wants everyone to know, they know nothing about it, but Aaron Barr was talking about it with various people anyway.)

Unfortunately, the decompiler output doesn't convey much as it stands, unless you like sorting through pages and pages of

    local199 = local191;
local203 = local191 + 0x6f02418d;
local3 = proc2(0x10021238, param1, param2, param9, param5); /* Warning: also results in local190 */
local208 = local3;
local209 = local190;
local211 = local203;

That being one of the more interesting sections; there are stretches with dozens of lines in a row of the form "localfoo = localbar".

It does seem to suggest, at least, that this dump didn't have the actual source.

[1] http://crowdleaks.org/hbgary-wanted-to-suppress-stuxnet-rese...

21 points by dmix 11 hours ago 3 replies      
For those curious, a Microsoft employee broke down each of the exploits that Stuxnet used at a conference recently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOwMW6agpTI
20 points by forgotusername 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Title insults the intelligence of HN readers, that's obviously nothing more than minimally annotated Hex Rays decompiler output.

There is nothing new to see here. A quick Google search for "stuxnet.zip" reveals other samples, undamaged by some PR whoring idiot running it through IDA.

2 points by scotth 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Man oh man. That would take a long time to figure out. Is this really the best a C decompiler can do?
6 points by levigross 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if anyone is going to send a DMCA takedown to github.....
5 points by wslh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the license? :-)
-4 points by dustinchilson 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So I see GoTos in that code. I hope that was the decompiler not the author because thats just sacrilege.
-3 points by yuvadam 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This decompiled output shows a very nice example where C can really be no more than "glorified assembly". (Anyone help me with proper attribution for the quote?)
Google Rolls Out Two-Factor Authentication For Everyone. techcrunch.com
208 points by icey 3 days ago   92 comments top 22
17 points by ekanes 3 days ago 2 replies      
Tried it, and now regretting it. I log in with 6 devices, and the idea that I'll have to go through re-authenticating them each month isn't fun.

Each re-auth requires a fresh code from the app.

I access google apps via Safari because Apple's mail app has no real search function. Since the codes expire in 60 seconds, I'm on a timer for writing it down, launching safari, refreshing to get the "login failed" screen, entering in my username and password without errors and then entering in my code. Totally doable, but irritating. Imagine you're in a hurry, and checking your email as you walk down the street. You open your client and instead of your email you get an error. The error doesn't tell you what's wrong, it just says there's a problem with your login. Hopefully you remember that 30 days ago you reset your token, and that's the problem. Now you can pause everything else, and setup your email.

Don't have a pen to write down your code while you switch apps? How's your memory?

I totally get that good security involves expiration dates, but I want things that "just work", not that "usually work".

In principle it's a great idea, and if I could choose how often it expires I'd be a happy camper.


29 points by alanfalcon 3 days ago 2 replies      
My largest worry is that coupled with Google's infamous lack of customer support, it might be very difficult to get into your account should something happen to your phone. I know it's something of a pain to have an authenticator removed in World of Warcraft if you lose it or it breaks, but at least there you have a phone number you can call that will let you eventually talk to a human being.

Does anyone know what Google's plan is for lost/broken authenticators?

9 points by kalvin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using this on my Gmail account for a couple months in beta. (It was also available for Google Apps Premier/Education/Gov).

Surprisingly it hasn't been a hassle at all-- anyone who uses their Gmail for "everything" should start using it.

It takes 15 minutes to set up (you have to / should generate tokens for each of your mobile and desktop apps, e.g. Apple Mail, iCal, Adium, Meebo, Voice, Latitude) but after that, it's super easy as long as you always have your smartphone+authenticator with you.

Spending 30 seconds extra/month/device to enter a 6-digit keycode isn't a huge price to pay for better security (at least for me-- I have one phone and one computer.)

11 points by kprobst 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been doing this with PayPal and their free security token fob for three years and I couldn't be happier. This kind of thing should be the standard for any 'critical' accounts like banking and email. If you don't have a token you probably have a cell phone anyway.
5 points by roc 3 days ago 3 replies      
How does two-factor cut down on phishing again?

Instead of a fake login page with 2 boxes, a phisher could just create a fake login page with 3 boxes and pass the keycode along with everything else.

The only increased difficulty in phishing, is if the user notes they're seeing a keycode prompt, decides that they probably shouldn't have to enter that again and doesn't just key it in anyway.

When we're talking about people who fall for phishing scams, does that sound all that likely? I mean, these people have a history of ignoring red flags and being blissfully ignorant to what should even raise a red flag.

Now, what two-factor will help mitigate, is casual sniffing, keylogging, shoulder-surfing and saved password cracking.

9 points by drivebyacct2 3 days ago 2 replies      
Also, apparently HN is having a reading problem today.

>Over the next few days, you'll see a new link on your Account Settings page that looks like this:

Yes, it's not available yet. And the second password page is very clear about what it's used for. Reading people, it helps a lot.

9 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google should publish a good API for this, and allow everyone to use it. I'd love to have opt-in TFA for all of my sites.
1 point by jasonkester 2 days ago 0 replies      
This would seem to be a good thing to offer if you were a company that had any form of customer service.

If I were to lose the little thingy that lets me into my bank account, I can walk into a bank, verify myself, and get another one sent out. Simple and effective.

Can you imagine the process that you'll have to go through to get back into your GMail account after losing your phone?

Considering that you can be an AdWords customer giving them ten thousand dollars a year and still receive nothing but computer-generated form letters in response to questions about your account, I think I'll pass on this one.

2 points by beoba 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like it's currently broken. The article says "You can activate it by hitting the ‘two-step verification' link on this page[1].", but it's definitely not there.

However, if you go into "Authorizing applications & sites" it has a warning box which says "An application-specific password can only be created when you are signed up for 2-step verification.", with no mention of where or how that can be done.

It'd be nice if this feature allowed me to have secondary passwords for eg google talk. I don't much care for having to hand out my full credentials just to use things like bitlbee/meebo.

[1] https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount

4 points by EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great going, google! Banks have been using those RSA dongle thingies for a long time. Now with mobile phones that isolate one app from another, who needs em! And you get OTP codes just in case. Nice.

Now I wish my bank would do this.

2 points by imajes 3 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be nice if i could use my own 2 factor, e.g. if i had a securid or something similar to do. I'm not all that excited to have to open my phone to get to an app to get my passcode out.
2 points by drivebyacct2 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why does the Android app "Google Authenticator" require ZX Barcode Scanner when Google Goggles has a faster barcode scanner built in? Sometimes I just don't understand Google's inability to be consistent. For example, why do Goggles and the Gallery hide the notification bar. Attention to details Google...
1 point by motters 3 days ago 1 reply      
This wouldn't work for me. I own a mobile phone, but I only use it for specific purposes and don't carry it around with me routinely. Mobile phones are not something that I care about to any significant extent.
1 point by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't tried it, but I don't like being bothered with extra stuff, I can't even imagine my mother dealing with this stuff.

If we can't simplify our users lives, we have failed. Is security hard? Hell it is. But we can do better and we MUST do better, for the love of science.

1 point by tomjen3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean that I can't use the build in email on my (Google) Android to use my account?

Because if not, this is pretty awesome.

1 point by bdonlan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Where exactly is the option to enable this? I can't seem to find it in my google accounts page - is it being rolled out gradually?
1 point by chalimacos 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very good for activists.
-1 point by VMG 3 days ago 0 replies      
do they still have the dreadful "security question"?
-2 points by acconrad 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some people are going to find this to be awesome (mostly the paranoid), while others will just be frustrated they now have to remember two passwords.
-1 point by synnik 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have no phone. Not at all, not a cell, not a work phone, not a home phone.

I suppose this is what I get for being both a hacker and a luddite.

But this definitely will NOT work for me.

-3 points by hammock 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is anyone else concerned that Google is now basically forcing this on us, so it can build a database of not only our online history, contact info, etc... but now linking it to a real-life phone number? Think of what the NSA could do with data like that.

Not to mention the whole MAC address collection they did with the Streetview cams as well (allowing them to tie a MAC address and/or IP with a GPS coordinate)

I'm prepared for the down-votes on this one, but it's something to think about.

-2 points by dublinclontarf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can see why everyone is so happy, but something to note is the erosion of privacy. You you wont be able to use a gmail account without a phone.

In countries(China) where you need your id to get even a prepay phone there will no longer be any anominity.

Top this off with the fact that google doesn't say how often or if at all whether they give information to the chinese government because its against the law in China for them to say so.

State secrecy and all.

I personally think this should be optional and not mandatory. Otherwise I will stop using all of googles account services.

UBS Whistleblower Finds Himself in Federal Prison cnbc.com
203 points by rmah 4 days ago   109 comments top 12
57 points by lionhearted 4 days ago replies      
I've got a perspective here that will likely run contrary to the dominant view, but I encourage you to think about for a moment -

I'm of the belief that the ability to keep your work, voluntary exchanges, and assets private contribute to a free society in the same way that attorney/client privilege, priest/community, and spousal privilege all exist.

Now, in the United States, we don't have that and people know that and live with that. But people doing business in Switzerland are under the impression that they have a very private, safe relationship with their banker, the same way you'd have with your lawyer, psychiatrist, priest, or spouse. This man breaching that is doing a very serious thing.

This goes beyond politics. When you have a private relationship with a professional, sanctioned by the local law, that says that you have private confidence and that's betrayed... that's serious. If you don't believe in the Swiss banking system, not working there is acceptable. Protesting it is acceptable. Taking on a fiduciary duty of loyalty and confidence, and then breaching it... that's serious.

The average American might not think this way, because they don't have a private relationship with their banker. But generalize this to all duty - this man pledged duty, people were under the impression that he had a duty of confidence to them, and he breached that. This doesn't get into right/wrong, but it's something worth thinking about.

25 points by jfager 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this story was fascinating, so I did a little bit of background digging, since this article is pretty thin.

There are a bunch of relevant legal documents and news stories up at http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/alerts/whistleblower-issues/w... Note that this is very much a pro-whistleblower site, and so is slanted towards the idea that Birkenfeld shouldn't be in prison. I'm not so sure, though.

According to Birkenfeld's own request for clemency, the sequence of events that led to him going to the IRS was: after ~4 years of working with wealthy clients at UBS, in June 2005, he found an internal legal document prohibiting many of the actual practices of the bank. He wrote an internal memo to his superiors about the discrepancy, and then resigned in October 2005. When UBS didn't pay him a bonus he thought he was entitled to, in early 2006, he invoked whistleblower protection claiming that UBS was retaliating against him, in an effort to recover that bonus.

He didn't approach the IRS and DOJ, though, until early 2007, and didn't actually talk until June 2007. And while he described UBS's practices, he didn't go into specific details about clients except for one, Igor Olenicoff, for whom he had, among other things, smuggled diamonds in a toothpaste tube. It's his activity dealing with Olenicoff that he's in prison for, and he pleaded guilty to those charges.

Tellingly, though, Olenicoff was already under IRS investigation in - drumroll - 2006 (http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/1009/042.html), and he eventually pleaded guilty to tax evasion in December 2007 and paid $52M in back taxes and fines (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=212163,00.html).

To me, Birkenfeld's actions look a lot more like CYA than principled whistleblowing.

25 points by eftpotrm 4 days ago 2 replies      
While this seems a strange way to encourage whistleblowers to come forward, for perspective -


Mr. Birkenfeld pleaded guilty to helping Mr. Olenicoff evade $7.2 million in taxes on $200 million in hidden offshore assets. Mr. Birkenfeld will be sentenced in August. Mr. Olenicoff pleaded guilty last year to filing a false 2002 tax return.


"With regard to whistleblowers: those who seek to be treated as true whistleblowers need to know they must come in early and give complete and truthful disclosures.... Mr. Birkenfeld did not come in and give complete and truthful disclosures. Therefore, he is not entitled to whistleblower status."


Zloch, who didn't explain his reasoning, could have given Birkenfeld a maximum five-year term. Prosecutors had noted that Birkenfeld didn't initially reveal his role in the scheme when he first came forward as a whistleblower.

9 points by iwwr 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's somewhat fanciful to think the government, upon receiving this windfall of 'reappropriations' will turn around and put them toward paying the national debt (or at least reducing the deficits). More tax income doesn't reduce the individual 'working man' tax burden, spending just increases to cover the windfalls.

BTW, this is very revealing:

"I'm going out of my way,” he said in a prison interview. “Risking my career. Risking my reputation. Risking my life. And trying to unfold the largest fraud in US history."


Birkenfeld's attorneys argue that he's entitled to a percentage of all the tax revenue recouped as a result of his whistleblowing.

5 points by cletus 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to remember tha whistleblower statutes protect you from retaliation by the company when you expose illegal behavior.

They do not protect you from prosecution for any illegal activity you've done.

That being said, often the DA or US Attorney (as appropriate) will offer lighter sentences and/or immunity to secure a prosecution.

8 points by steve19 4 days ago 0 replies      
Birkenfeld, a US citizen, was helping US citizens commit tax fraud. He now expects the IRS to pay him a percentage of the money he helped steal from the US goverment/citizens?

He is crazy.

2 points by ajays 4 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of people seem to be saying that "he broke the law" and "he was a part of the scheme" , so he deserves a prison term.

But this is ridiculous.

Think about it: all of his activities are a subset of the activities that UBS is accused of. He is being accused of helping 1 person hide his assets; but UBS helped 19000! So how can he be sent to prison, but no one from UBS? Shouldn't there be other UBS executives being charged?

2 points by hippich 4 days ago 0 replies      
deal with cash, digital one - http://bitcoin.org:
- no central issuing center
- all transactions are open, but no information about ownership by particular person is shown
- almost no fees for money transfers
- and transfer itself takes as little as 10 minutes (if you trust another person - instantly)
- limited supply of bitcoins - meaning you will not loose value over time and inflation.
1 point by ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Government asks you to spy on your neighbors all the time.

But report on big money doing something wrong and you are screwed.

Oh and the IRS just waived sanctions for offshore accounts recently too.

2 points by DFreed 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting article and interview from CBS 60 Minutes


1 point by trustfundbaby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that he never actually denies the allegations of tax fraud
0 points by Cadsby 4 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of well written exchanges in this thread. Too bad much of it is an apologetic for the wealthy evading their civic obligations, yet again.

Meanwhile the average working American is lectured daily on the values of "personal responsibility."

The Zen of Python by Example artifex.org
188 points by pjo 3 days ago   62 comments top 15
10 points by hblanks 3 days ago 1 reply      
By way of an afterword, I'm both pleased and surprised with the
thought and attention people have given to these slides, which I made
for a perhaps too hastily prepared, 10 minute talk at this Tuesday's
joint PhillyPUG / philly.rb meeting. (Many thanks to the organizers,
other speakers, and attendees -- it was a great turnout and a good time,

I agree with several commenters that, like any collection of aphorisms,
the lines in PEP 20 are not real rules but rather rules of thumb.
Nevertheless, rules of thumb, or heuristics, are surprisingly important
to the practice of engineering,* and perhaps even more so to the work of
writing software. As such, nothing in PEP 20 should be followed hard and
fast, but almost all of it is worth considering. Also as such, there's
nothing (except for the comment on Guido) that makes PEP 20 relevant
only to Python. It happens that these rules have a particular currency
in the Python community (i.e., when people talk about being Pythonic,
they're often talking about something described in the Zen of Python).
But if you work in a different language, there's probably something
worthwhile in it there, too.

On a different note, it is flattering to find this code, hacked out such
as it was, has been reviewed by a far larger number of peers than the
(comparably) few, albeit exceptional, engineers I work with at Monetate.
Although it was hardly intended to be read on its own, or to run beyond
the feeble purpose of generating its own slides, I have tried to correct
what errors people have found. Ambiguities, of course, remain, but you can find an updated document at the
original URL, or a diff of the changes at:


To respond to a few specific or general points:

- Yes, of course, importing from within in a function is almost always a bad idea (the only exception I've ever seen is Google App Engine, and that's obviously just a performance hack). Nor would you ever want to actually convert your floats to strings and back -- my only point there was to illustrate the fact that yes, those are the rules of floating point, and so you can't expect Python to break them for repr().

- The order of examples is not necessarily bad first, good second. (Alas for inconsistency!) So, for instance, ORMs may be complex, but they're often much better than writing your own SQL, which even in this trivial example starts to get complicated. Similarly, doctests often make code more readable than unit tests hiding in some other file -- although in honesty the doctest/unittest split is probably a false dichotomy; for some things, doctest is much cleaner, for others (like things that require setting up a DB schema first), unit tests are.

- Finally, I still didn't have the wherewithal to call pygments directly (it's certainly easy and better; I just knew the command already). But I did add HTML output, since this the web, after
all, to:


* Cf. Billy Koen's enjoyable discussion of engineering heuristics,
Discussion of the Method or Discussion of the Engineering Method.
(Some chronicle is available at

6 points by KirinDave 3 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't help but feel irritated by this document. It's cute and all, but it implies Python is somehow unique"culturally or technologically"in grasping at these concepts. You could easily have written this as a Ruby or Scheme manifesto with nearly identical wording and had a valid message.

And then, in our very first example, there is a use of lambda, a misnomer of a concept Python doesn't really support? My brow furrowed slightly more.

I can't help but feel like these people are celebrating their investment in their tools rather than the virtues of the tools themselves.

6 points by j_baker 3 days ago 1 reply      
You know, the Zen of Python makes a for a really cute thing to read, but even Guido himself has admitted that it requires quite a bit of interpretation and doesn't apply in all cases. Generally, I feel that applying it directly to code is tricky (except for trivial pieces of code like these). I think it's better to treat the Zen of Python as a broad vision for how Python code should look rather than as a concrete set of rules for code.

For example, explicit isn't always better than implicit. I mean, by that standard alone, the idea of a garbage collector going around implicitly freeing memory would be terrible.

4 points by d0mine 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is a bug in #1. The condition should be `i % 2 == 0` to get even numbers:

  def halves_of_evens(nums):
for i in nums:
div, mod = divmod(i, 2) #NOTE: it might be slower
if mod == 0: #NOTE: `not mod` is not explicit enough
yield div

#2: Function level import is a bad practice though it might be justified in this case.

#3: `users` is not defined. `sqlalchemy` names are not defined. The file should be opened for writing in the json example.

#5 It is simpler to allow the animal to know its kind:

  def identify(animal):
return animal.__class__.__name__

or just:


#6 `elem.xpath('./a/@href')` is simpler than

for a in elem.find('./a')
if 'href' in a.attrib]

Also `elem.iterlinks()` could be used

There is no `lxml.CSSSelector` (python-lxml 2.2.6-1). Use `elem.cssselect`

#7 You don't need to add `ifmain` stub in every module:

  $ python -mdoctest module_with_doctests.py
$ python -munittest module_with_unittests.py

# 8 & 9: The first variant of `make_counter()` won't work without `nonlocal i` -- it leads to `UnboundLocalError` otherwise.

Despite the fact that it works on my machine on all available Python implementations such code should be avoided:

  assert float('0.20000000000000007') == 1.1 - 0.9 #XXX horror!

# 10 & 11: Use stdlib's version:

  try: import json
except ImportError:
import simplejson as json

It is a matter of preference but it makes testing more predictable.

#13 `__builtins__` is not defined on jython:

  try: import __builtin__ as builtins
except ImportError:
import builtins # py3k

5 points by baddox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Here it is in a paste bin with syntax highlighting:


5 points by ff0066mote 3 days ago 2 replies      
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that section 1 contains mistakes. In the implementations of evens_only, shouldn't both of the places where modulus is used be preceded by "not"?

This isn't meant to detract from the truth that "Beautiful [code] is better than ugly," I merely thought the implementation should be correct.

4 points by dorkitude 3 days ago 2 replies      
I love this document. This stuff is my porn.

That said, I'm having quite a hard time grappling with section 4.

First, what is the 'users' keyword all about in the "bad" area?

Second, why is ORM the "bad" approach, and manual construction of SQL strings the "good" one? It seems to me that the abstraction and centralization of query language is paramount (examples: to afford oneself an easy one-day migration to GQL/BigTable, or to a document-oriented database like MongoDB or the upcoming Couchbase).

2 points by l0nwlf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the history of "Zen of Python", aka ">>>import this" :

http://www.wefearchange.org/2010/06/import-this-and-zen-of-p... , a blog post written by Barry warsaw.

On a side note, other eggs are :

>>> from __future__ import braces

>>> import antigravity

4 points by singingwolfboy 3 days ago 0 replies      
A quarrel -- Pygments is written in Python, and is appropriately modular. Why did the author use subprocess and create new Python interpreter to run Pygments, when he could have just imported it and run it directly, without kicking off a new interpreter?
1 point by baddox 3 days ago 7 replies      
This is a bit off topic, but what are your opinions on the validity of the 80 character width restriction? I think the 80 character limitation is increasingly rarer to actually encounter these days. Even people developing via a shell will almost certainly have much more than 80 characters of width to play with.

We've finally accepted that web developers can expect visitors to have a higher resolution than VGA, and those are potentially non-tech-savvy users. Can't we expect developers to have more than 80 character width editors? Plus, I think splitting lines is pretty ugly.

1 point by sausagefeet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a hard time agreeing with this document. In many cases it is hard to tell which part of the wrong solution they are actually correcting. For example on the one where they write measurements out to a file, in the first case they use sqlalchemy to write to a sqlite db and in the 'correct' case they write json to a file. So what is the issue that is be corrected here? Is using sqlite without sqlalchemy ok? Both?
1 point by ludwigvan 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by suraj 2 days ago 1 reply      
I do not like example 4 "Complex is better than complicated". Use of string concatenation is going to lead to SQL injection bugs and SQLAlchemy version actually looks better to me.

Can somebody please enlighten me on how using raw sql is preferable?

2 points by coolgeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, I was at the RedSnake meetup where this was presented on Tuesday night!

Go Hunter!

1 point by nmb 3 days ago 2 replies      
For the evens_only implementation, is there a reason to use map/filter vs a generator? eg:

   evens_only = lambda nums: [n/2 for n in nums if n%2==0]

seems to work just as well.

Toyota, The Media Owe You an Apology businessweek.com
181 points by AndrewWarner 2 days ago   75 comments top 14
49 points by DevX101 2 days ago 3 replies      
Call me a cynic, but the fact that this witchhunt happened during the very short timeframe where the government owned GM and had a significant incentive to show returns on the 'bailout' investment makes me think there was more to the regulatory investigation than public safety.
29 points by stcredzero 2 days ago 4 replies      
A part of the problem is that so many of the people in news seemingly didn't even pay attention in grade school science classes. I remember one local newsroom's momentary collective embarrassment when it became obvious that one of their number a) had no concept of how fast orbital velocity is b) apparently had an Aristotelian concept of momentum and c) held the 19th century belief that just going a certain speed could somehow harm or stress the human body.

In the US, a lot of news which has technical content is presented by people who don't understand it.

4 points by cookiecaper 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Toyota thing was obvious propaganda, constructed just as a story was needed to boost sales from American automakers.

The businessmen that run these monolithic media corporations, for whom news is only a small part of the total holdings, need friends with political power. The politicians need someone to make them look good. It's a mutually beneficial relationship; the businessmen get a fast track to DMCA et al, the politicians get a fast track to making their choices from earlier look good (bailing out American autos, in this case).

10 points by protomyth 2 days ago 1 reply      
After what Consumer Reports pulled with Suzuki and the media reporting on that, I am pretty sure Toyota shouldn't hold their breath.
4 points by silverlake 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Buy shares in companies hit by media hysteria.
2. Wait for hysteria to pass.
3. Profit!
18 points by cafard 2 days ago 1 reply      
Take a seat in the waiting room next to Audi.
17 points by schwit 2 days ago 0 replies      
The media also owes an apology to Richard Jewel and the Duke lacrosse team.
4 points by techiferous 2 days ago 5 replies      
By the way, what's so scary about a gas pedal getting stuck? Can't you just put the car in neutral?
2 points by Jun8 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's not that Toyota didn't have any problems with the cars, they just found that there was no electronic malfunction.

From CNN (http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/08/autos/nhtsa_nasa_toyota_fina...):

"Toyota recalled nearly 8 million vehicles in 2008 and 2009 for defects related to gas pedals -- including sticky pedals and floor mat obstruction -- as a result of complaints of unwanted acceleration."

2 points by atlantic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uncontrolled acceleration is a real phenomenon, although I don't think it is Toyota-specific. This happened to me half a dozen times when I owned an Opel Corsa. While going uphill in low gear for long periods (usually in mountainous terrain, in the French Alps), the car would suddenly bound forwards for no reason, and keep going on a steep uphill even if I took my foot off the accelerator. I had a couple of near-misses with oncoming cars and rock walls.

I don't know how this works if you have automatic transmission, but the principle must be the same. If you drive at very low speeds for prolonged periods, especially on uphills, the effect would probably be replicated.

Presumably, this effect would hit learners more than experienced drivers, since the former have a tendency to stick to low speeds and/or low gears.

I don't have an explanation, but from the accompanying noise I know it was something taking place within in the combustion engine itself. It was not a problem with the brakes or transmission.

2 points by mckoss 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great article. Will CBS apologize? Will they learn anything from this? Since they don't seem to have suffered financially from their irresponsible reporting, I am afraid the won't change a thing.
3 points by currymesurprise 1 day ago 1 reply      
People generally agree that there was not a malfunction in the electronics.

But whatever happened with Woz's car? He claimed he could reproduce an uncontrolled acceleration bug in the electronics. (However, this is unrelated to the alleged malfunction affecting other people.) Last I heard, he turned over his car to Toyota, and that's it.

Anyone know more details?

2 points by siika2000 1 day ago 1 reply      
> After all, brakes always override the throttle

Huh? Is this only in cars with automatic transmission or something? Since with a manual transmission you couldn't get going uphill if this were true.

-1 point by eli 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe true, but they also spent months illegally withholding crash data from government regulators. Let's call it even.
House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers wired.com
178 points by tshtf 5 days ago   39 comments top 12
42 points by Encosia 5 days ago 2 replies      
There's not much to celebrate here, unfortunately. The bill was brought to vote using an accelerated procedure that requires a 2/3 vote. When it goes through the regular process that only requires a simple majority, it will pass easily if the vote is remotely similar (277-148).
24 points by 3pt14159 5 days ago 1 reply      
Though encouraging, this is most likely bad news. I remember when the auto bailout was rejected. I was happy! And then two weeks later they passed one with ten times the pork.

I bet it gets worse, not better. They'll update it to reflect the current state of the internet and its widespread adoption while still keeping all the authoritarian provisions, if not in name.

12 points by fakelvis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Content aside, the words chosen to construct the article's title is intruiging.

The same piece of news is currently on the HN front page twice [1][2], framed in two very different ways:

Wired: House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers

BBC: House rejects extension of 'Patriot Act' powers

[1] Here [2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2196126

10 points by nika 4 days ago 1 reply      
It really is a shame that we cannot count on an automatic veto from Obama. This is an area where I really would hope for some change.
3 points by tocomment 5 days ago 2 replies      
So this means no more patriot act? Isn't that a good thing? The tone of the article makes it sound like a bad thing?
2 points by JacobIrwin 4 days ago 3 replies      
Government needs the flexibility to exercise the pending three acts in order to protect citizens. However, it would be nice to know they are being held accountable.

In other words... which ever division gets this almighty power to tap phones, businesses, etc. needs to be transparent to a "non-affiliated" (a loose term to describe two government agencies, I know) almighty power. Something like the relationship between the fed reserve and the treasury.

Also, the authors should re-word the act and say these powers only apply to suspected terrorist groups... just to give us a little piece of mind.

2 points by stevenrace 5 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I misread the article, but it seems the Patriot Act is still firmly in place - with only three sections expiring: Section 215, 206 and 6001.

'Section 215' seems questionably undoable - in the days of deep packet inspection and tower specific RSSI/locational based queries. It's sorta impossible to not infringe upon privacy concerns...

Section 215: 'which permits the government to secure wiretapping orders without disclosing the identities of its targets'

1 point by tocomment 5 days ago 3 replies      
Come to think of it, why was an expiration put into the original bill to begin with? It's not anyone would have been able to stop them if they passed a permanent law to begin with.
2 points by jackolas 5 days ago 1 reply      
It was shocking to see republicans switching votes in the final minutes, I was surprised no one could mention on CSPAN if the remaining 10 congresspeople were gone...
1 point by rdl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow I suspect they'll try again.
0 points by shareme 4 days ago 0 replies      
This might be good news..

Remember their promise that US Patriot Act would be reviewed and debated before being renewed..the accelerated procedure did not allow for that but the regular process does in fact allow debate and review and reading the full act.

1 point by jdabney 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this is really a failure.
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