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How I Got Kicked Out of Y Combinator and Then Raised $1.5m for My Startup joncrawford.com
577 points by eoghan 3 days ago   112 comments top 40
101 points by pg 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't you a single founder? What makes you special?
22 points by aepstein 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jon/Storenvy is a case study in refusing to die.
7 points by ztan 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this guy's writing style. Great read.
3 points by boredguy8 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can say all you want about resiliency, but I think it was the ninja-moves animated gif.
8 points by eoghan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love this story and can vouch for its authenticity!
2 points by Mistone 2 days 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!
3 points by budu3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Your wife was really supportive.
1 point by marcamillion 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
ShowedUpWithoutTeamThatWasAccepted = GotKickedOutOf

Rejected != GotKickedOutOf

4 points by jeffreyk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't be more proud of Jon, Janette and Storenvy. Serious ass-kickers.
4 points by micahb37 3 days ago 0 replies      
vision is something Jon is not short on...great post!
1 point by marcamillion 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to know what the traffic is like on this article - because this has just shot through the roof.
1 point by micahb37 3 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 kajecounterhack 3 days 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 phatbyte 3 days 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 3 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 3 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 knowsnothing613 3 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 JohnMaloney 2 days 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 3 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 3 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 luckymurari 3 days ago 1 reply      
The most intriguing point is "Why doesn't Storenvy accept other payment modes than Paypal??? "
2 points by johntmeyer 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. Happy to know you guys
1 point by tianimal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really inspiring story. I can attest you and Janette were experiencing "the trough of sorrow".
0 points by rwebb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post!
Guy commits his genome to Github, smartass forks and issues a pull request github.com
466 points by HectorRamos 2 days ago   68 comments top 17
93 points by cubicle67 2 days ago 3 replies      
that's not a smartarse, that's quite genuinely funny (ymmv)
68 points by po 2 days 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.
10 points by gsivil 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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

6 points by dnautics 1 day 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 2 days ago 4 replies      
shame, I did this a few weeks ago: http://github.com/orta/dna
10 points by machinespit 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Eyelids now close in proper way. Fixes issue #42." I find humor in this.
4 points by epynonymous 2 days 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.

2 points by drdaeman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find those commits to be more fun (because they seem to be real thing): https://github.com/cariaso/dna/commits/
3 points by pdenya 2 days 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

1 point by razzmataz 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
This just blew my mind - mostly because it could totally happen some day.
2 points by sabat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Literally laughing outloud at this.
2 points by creativityhurts 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure he's not worried about Facebook privacy.
1 point by IMBild 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, now!

In the future, common practice.

1 point by zapnap 2 days ago 3 replies      
<insert joke about natural selection>
New Chrome extension: block sites from Google's web search results googleblog.blogspot.com
455 points by dannyr 19 hours ago   191 comments top 53
126 points by Matt_Cutts 18 hours ago replies      
I just wanted to say thanks to all the people on Hacker News who asked for this option. We'll look at offering a "block site" option directly in the search results over time, but it takes longer to write, test, and launch that code.

In the mean time, use this extension to clean up your own search results and tell us which sites you don't want to see in Google.

67 points by dsl 19 hours ago 10 replies      
1. http://bit.ly/gTADhE

2. Click Install, close page

3. Open each of the links below in a new tab, click block on the first result

4. Win.















Edits: fixed formatting, added suggestions

This method is fine. The actual data sent to Google when you block a domain does not contain the search query (or the referrer).

This is what gets sent when you block a domain:


and unblock:


(Interestingly the CSRF token is broken when unblocking.)

15 points by jmillikin 19 hours ago 2 replies      
1. Does this remove results from each page, or from the resultset? In other words, if 7 of the first-page results are blocked, will I see only 3 results on that page?

2. Any plans for a Firefox extension? I'm willing to install Chrome just for running Google searches, but would rather add it to my main browser.

e: After a month or so, I would absolutely love to see the top 10 or so blocked domains. It's OK if you can't do this, but it would be interesting/amusing.

7 points by georgemcbay 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Well played, Google.

Not only did you just make your search engine 50 times more valuable to me, but you've just ensured I'll be spending almost all of my browsing time inside Chrome.

12 points by macrael 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Why make this a Chrome extension rather than a google labs type feature?
6 points by ck2 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Why do I need to use Chrome and then an extension if this is being offered by Google?

Make this a google labs feature directly for Google itself in the personalization options.

(also please make it available via a URL option, not just cookies or javascript)

7 points by vaksel 18 hours ago 3 replies      
would be cool if there was a subscription option where you can subscribe to some master list that gets updated by people you trust.

or just simply a bulk insert

10 points by jjcm 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Any chance we can get the blocklist transfered via sync in the next iteration of this plugin?
5 points by jellicle 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Free karma points to whoever creates a corresponding Firefox extension...
19 points by arnemart 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The website used as an example in the first screenshot (http://thecontentfarm.tumblr.com/) just made my day.
1 point by topcat31 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A few thoughts and requests:

1) I'd love to use this tool but because of my job still need to look at the "official" search results from time to time. Is it possible to allow &pws=0 override the blocked sites so &pws=0 both session-based and browser based personalisation?

2) There's a lot of talk among startups about ignoring what users want because they don't know best. I worry that this move from Google might actually be detrimental to user experience. If you end up blocking a bunch of thin sites then the chances are high that you're not going to get better results for your search query, you'll just get fewer results (since usually Google only returns these thin sites when there's little else to offer). Also - as users get trigger happy and block a bunch of sites they may well be harming their own search experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how Google can mitigate against this? Especially when this rolls out to your average user rather than just the tech-savvy HN crowd.


2 points by WesleyJohnson 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Assuming it's a normal extension and has to abide by the same rules that Non-Google Authored extensions do, the extension manifest indicates the extension doesn't have access to do any cross domain posts so all the filtering is done client side. Digging a little deeper, it looks like the blocked sites are stored in Chrome's LocalStorage, which if memory serves me correctly is somehow isolated per extension.

It should be relatively easy to listen in on the background page while the extension is running and write a script to extract the list of blocked sites or update it with a master list so you don't have to block dozens or hundreds of sites manually.

Not that I think everyone should blindly block everything everyone else does on HN; I personally loathe Experts Exchange, but I do find an answer I needed from them now and then.

I was more curious than anything.

Update: As "dsl" posted above, it does look like the extension makes a call out to a Google Endpoint to record the block as well, but I don't believe that call actually filters the data for you. That's still done client side. So it's probably best not to call the end point directly or update the blocked sites list directly, but actual use the extension as intended?

13 points by brianwillis 19 hours ago 10 replies      
So HN, what sites are we all blocking?
3 points by Kylekramer 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Good work, squeaky wheels.

So: will this eventually be a search settings option once it is less beta or permanently an extension thing?

3 points by lawfulfalafel 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't anyone else kind of bewildered by this?

I mean this is kind of like if a kid pissed all over the floor in wal-mart, and when you notified an employee about it they gave you a mop to clean it up yourself.

3 points by SwellJoe 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like I just got a new upgraded Internet.
3 points by runevault 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Normally I don't post this sort of thing (try to focus on valuable content) but dear god THANK YOU!

I'm cackling maniacally while I block expertsexchange, Mahalo, and several other sites. I'm so happy right now.

4 points by raintrees 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I was just griping about this to my wife yesterday. The noise is drowning out the signal in my recent searches...
1 point by tuhin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally Google accepts the elephant in the room. Just a few days ago a friend while being interviewed had mentioned about search being ineffective for content farm sites and the Google employee was like "No Search is fine. Nothing wrong there".
Finally e-how, about.com, expertSEXchange.com can RIP, atleast for me.
I also hope that over time, Google will use this data from users via Chrome to somehow incorporate crowdsourced search results in it's results not just for one user but all of them.
2 points by zitterbewegung 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Although this is Chrome only this is a great extension that I believe a few people on this site wanted. I remember other people made a mashup but this looks like a slightly better solution. I wonder why they don't want to do this server side though?
2 points by nooneelse 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, I think I "called" this a few days back... yep: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2199498

This little bit of successful nerd prognostication cheers me up more than perhaps it should, but oh well.

1 point by saturdaysaint 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. My first target - every local restaurant result I get that appears before either (1) the official restaurant website or (2) Yelp. Local search results are always gunked up with yellowpages.com and local newspaper spam. Also, I find it highly suspicious that urbanspoon has consistently better placement than Yelp, despite having consistently weaker content.
1 point by freddealmeida 2 hours ago 0 replies      
just wondering what happens if you block google.com? is that a meta-block
2 points by rsoto 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Having a big company behaving like a local one-- listening to the customer's opinions is really nice.

However, this is a feature that Google actually had. Why did you remove it? I accept the Search Wiki was not particuarly a success[1], but the remove option was very nice.

Alas, thanks for listening. I'll be waiting for the server-side option.

1: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/searchwiki-make-searc...

1 point by jonmc12 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Google should make one of these for Bing also - with the option to send google my Bing blocklist.
3 points by enmanuelr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You mean I never ever again need to see a search result pointing to experts-exchange?! This is the best gift ever! And it's not even my birthday.
2 points by ramki 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought i was the only one doesn't want to see "experts exchange" in google search results. No, i'm not alone... :) :)
Looks "experts exchange" is annoyingly very famous...
1 point by Jem 19 hours ago 2 replies      
"If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results."

If that happens, what's to stop this being used by companies to influence the results to get rid of competitors?

1 point by narkee 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Why should I have to be signed in to my Google account to be able to use this functionality?
3 points by atomi 19 hours ago 2 replies      
>...explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results

Democratic censorship.

2 points by kaffeinecoma 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank god. Goodbye to: devcomments.com. osdir.com, and mail-archive.com!
1 point by arkitaip 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there something similar for Opera 11?
1 point by algorias 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks promising, but I'm unsure about the security angle. Google has just added a way for anyone to "DDos" competing websites into oblivion. I hope there are measures in place to prevent that.
1 point by EastSmith 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I know this questions is asked in different forms couple of times in the comments, but here it is again:
1. Will there ever be Firefox extension which do the same?
2 points by RazorSky 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just bitching about experts-exchange last night and wanted this feature. Thanks for sharing.
1 point by barista 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to block Bing from copying search results using this? ;)
1 point by mythobit 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I created a site on app engine that essentially does the same thing via Google Custom search engine. Granted mine isn't as integrated or user friendly but still. The site is: http://blacklist-search.appspot.com/

Why can't Google offer something like this rather than only allowing it via a Chrome extension?

1 point by hackerku 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I know this is a legit extension from Google.

By why is this extension not marked as Verified author? https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nolijncfnkgaikbjbd...

The "nolijncfnkgaikbjbdaogikpmpbdcdef" makes it look suspicious as well.

1 point by stcredzero 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to try it first thing. I hope all of my Chrome instances sync the block entries.
2 points by billmcneale 16 hours ago 0 replies      
answers.yahoo.com, here I come.
2 points by measure2xcut1x 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If this ends up being used as a "voting" system that factors into determining what sites show in public SERPs, folks could crowdsource competitor blocking using say Amazon's MTurk to knock competition off of Google, no?
1 point by ChuckMcM 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I note with mock irony that this works fine on blekko.com in any browser. You push the "this is spam" link in the SERP results and poof, its dead to you.

(Disclaimer: I work at Blekko)

0 points by natmaster 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an excellent feature. Just seems kinda weird that Google would start using user-click data when they were complaining so much about Bing using it.
1 point by donbronson 19 hours ago 1 reply      
When I first read the headline, I assumed it meant blocking all of Google's sites from the SERPs (Youtube, blogger, etc). Perhaps this would be a nice way to rule out any potential nepotism.
1 point by presto8 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome extension!

An option to hide the icon from the toolbar would be nice.

1 point by hedaru 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it also integrated with WOT (Web of Trust) way to block and report bad sites? How if so?
-1 point by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
George Orwell
-2 points by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
George Orwell
-2 points by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell
-2 points by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.
George Orwell
-3 points by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell
-1 point by Upset 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?
George Orwell
0 points by Upset 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this tool will be "Very Misused" by a lot of people just to SQUASH their closest competitors. I can see some companies hiring "paid blockers" to squash competition websites and even in the Search Engine world you watch Microsoft and Google block and report each others sites in an even continuing search engine war what a sad day for free speech George Orwell 1984 :(
Programming languages are being deleted from Wikipedia reddit.com
419 points by budu 1 day ago   262 comments top 41
141 points by jacques_chester 1 day ago replies      
Here's the main offender:


One of his arguments is that these languages are often only mentioned in conference proceedings.

How you get to be a PhD student in computer science without realising that conference proceedings are the leading distribution mechanism for knowledge in the CS research world is a mystery.

I may only be a humble honours student, but the central importance of conferences over journals has been drummed into me over and over by my professors.

52 points by Udo 1 day ago 3 replies      
The implication of deletionism as a philosophy is that readers cannot be trusted to make up their own minds about the merits of an article even if it contains positive and negative feedback markers.

The whole deletionism fiasco at Wikipedia is ultimately a software and UI failure. Misguided people who in most cases could never write a good article (or even improve an existing one) themselves are running amok because the system is re-enforcing the belief that their only talent, destroying information, is also a valid form of contribution. It is no statistical accident that rampant wiki deletionism is even more intense in ..."strict" countries such as Germany.

At the same time it is important to note that a lot of articles have serious shortcomings and are in need of improvement. While deleting them is in my opinion unforgivable as long as they contain useful information, I believe Wikipedia could profit from a more modern approach to article rating and validation. If substandard articles were allowed to continue existing albeit with low ratings and missing validation tags, Wikipedia as a process could focus more on improvement as opposed to gleeful pruning. If they concentrated on more constructive measures and included better ways of gathering user feedback for quality control, they could also provide former deletionist users with a UI option that simply prevents them from ever having to see an article that is below a certain quality threshold. Everybody would win.

As it stands today, Wikipedia increasingly fails at its stated mission of being a repository for the world's knowledge. Sadly, I don't believe it is possible to change Wikipedia in any way, ever. Someday, someone will have to come along and fork it.

21 points by jedsmith 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't remember who said it, but I read something recently which I thought was amusing and not serious (paraphrasing):

> All that donation money, and they still can't afford enough hard drive space to avoid deletionism.

The guy allegedly doing the flagging has responded on his user page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Christopher_Monsanto

Edit: The quoted comment was in jest, and too many missed this, so I'll reinforce that by adding 'and not serious'.

11 points by joshfraser 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Christopher has posted this update on his profile:

Dear internet,

You guys win. I will stop nominating pages for deletion.

I wasn't doing this to troll or to slam any language community. I was just trying to help -- I read the WP guidelines for inclusion, and whenever I came across a language that didn't seem to meet said criteria, I nominated it for AfD. I think, with respect to Wikipedia's established notability guidelines, my arguments for deletion were airtight, which is probably why the articles were eventually deleted. I'm not sure my actions warranted the kind of internet-hatred I received as a result. If anyone thought what I was doing was wrong, they could have just sent me a friendly message and I would have politely discussed the issue. Few took this route, and I am sorry that due to time constraints and an overwhelming amount of invective I could not reply sensibly to everyone.

Since the internet seems to care more about keeping these articles than I care about deleting them, I'll stop. I personally think a lot of the articles should have been deleted. I think that ALL articles I nominated for deletion fail to meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. Here's a challenge, then, for the internet: instead of spamming my Wikipedia talk page (which I don't really care about), why don't you work on fixing WP's notability guideline for programming languages? Otherwise, some other naive editor will eventually try to delete them. Perhaps they won't have as much experience dealing with trolls and flamebait as I have had, and will become very hurt and confused. Nobody wants that :(

This was fun. Now back to real work, I guess...

16 points by tibbon 1 day ago 1 reply      
In reading about this I came across a few things that I honestly wasn't aware of for Wikipedia, which made me feel these deletionists are even more silly than I prior thought



The Notability guidelines often both me really, as they are a somewhat silly set of 'rules' in many ways and not everything fits into a nice and tidy system. For example, Christopher M seems to feel that his understanding of the requirements if that all languages must be cited in well published and cited academic papers and there is no other way around it. That's just silly. There could be new and growing languages that are of importance, or older ones that were important at the time, but that there weren't papers for and aren't being actively used. Do they each have a purpose and for the people who is researching things via the Wikipedia important? Yes. They are.

I feel that there is more to be lost by most deletionist activity than there is to be gained. The risk evaluation here almost always (except in cases of spam and self edits, which are frequent) should lean on the side of having more information available, not less.

8 points by larsberg 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sort of surprised by the surprise here. As a graduate student myself, my peers and I have all come to the sad conclusion that Wikipedia is good for breadth and bad for depth, at least in CS (I cannot speak for other areas). The primary issue seems to be the combination of deletionists and campers. The former we see in this case.

The latter is something my theory friends complain about. According to two of them who have tried, attempting to expand or correct any of the fringe topics in algorithms and graph theory is futile because of the instant-reverters who will simply revert any change they make.

Of course, what's most disturbing to me about this is... dear gods, man, you're at Princeton! If you don't understand what the contributions of Alice ML are to the field, walk down the hall and talk to Andrew Appel! Or David Walker, if Andrew is too hard to track down. I would hope that by this point this student has learned that there is a lack of fidelity in the search engines for anything published in the 90s and earlier, as the scanned PS converted to PDF is neither as well-indexed nor as comprehensively available (e.g. Springer-Verlag work from that time is frequently not indexed in scholar/citeseer due to a lack of non-subscription links, particularly if published by someone who is no longer in academia).

Fortunately, most of the work in PL was done in the lifetime of people still working. If you're too busy to do a thorough search of relevant work, you can sit down and talk with the people who were there when concurrency was first being introduced and formally modeled to understand Alice's place and contributions (or lack thereof, if that's the conclusion you come to).

47 points by protomyth 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tend to contribute money to certain projects. I won't give to Wikipedia because they treat conference proceedings with less respect than an episode of Gossip Girls.
47 points by seancron 1 day ago 1 reply      
The thing that makes Wikipedia useful in my opinion is not the notable topics I can lookup somewhere else. It's these long tail articles about esoteric programming languages and non-mainstream topics.
17 points by gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a reference knowledge-base to complement Wikipedia that will loosen the 'notability' requirement in favor of 'true and useful'. Otherwise, it will share the same licensing and a wiki-centric edit model.

The project codename is 'Infinithree' ('∞³'), and I'm discussing it pre-launch at http://infinithree.org and (Twitter/Identica) @infinithree.

13 points by jeswin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nemerle has 209,000 results on Google, and the first few pages are stacked with relevant, well-written articles. How is this not notable?

I played with this language a few years back and thought it had great promise(when C# was much less capable). I have read the exact Wikipedia page you deleted, and it got me to write some code in Nemerle.

* Btw, this might get some publicity for Nemerle (and the other languages).

6 points by burgerbrain 1 day ago 0 replies      
While reading Nemerle's deletion discussion page, I can't help but notice what seems to me to be some degree of racism on the part of the deletion advocates, particularly Christopher Monsanto. Where the many sources in English, instead of Polish and Russian, I can't help but think that perhaps they would not have been dismissed out of hand. RSDN.ru being dismissed as a "mere tutorial"? Ugh! Read it yourself and make up your own mind though.


12 points by Jun8 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ahh, time for another Wikipedia deletionist pie fight! On the one side, elitist editors who are so saddened by even a single unnecessary HD spin that they want to clean clutter. On the other side, fans of (supposedly) esoteric knowledge.

The narrator of Foucault's Pendulum, when he decides to be freelance researcher, says that his main principle will be that all information is equal, nothing is more precious than the other.

5 points by grav1tas 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the problem is pollution of the main lists of programming language articles by entries that Mr. Monsanto considers to be inappropriate for listing...wouldn't an appropriate compromise be removing them from these programming languages lists? This seems like a shortcoming in Wikipedia's policies? This way the data is preserved, but not related to the main search spaces. If you look a language up on Google, it will still be there because it will be indexed.

Otherwise, Mr. Monsanto has every right to push his agenda on Wikipedia insofar as it is within the bounds of legal play on the site. Attacking his character gets nobody anywhere, and probably adds credence to whatever he's doing. If you're really concerned about deletions of your favorite PL articles, sit on them. If a request for removal/deletion (I don't know the wiki-jargon) pops up, just dump all over it. Even better, improve the articles. He can't get something deleted that's not mediocre. Agents like Mr. Monsanto will actually improve the quality of your average article one way or the other. I'm impressed that somebody would bother reading so many articles and post meta-data about them....especially on a topic that so few people engage in.

It's curious that pages that don't meet Mr. Monsanto's criterion of having been cited in a 'top-tier' publication. There are so many articles on Wikipedia that do not have ties to anything real. Is it really fair to hold PL topics to academic-level standards? What if somebody considers PL an art, or something other than semantics and formalisms? This does happen, and people who create new languages from languages that aren't considered much in the PL community might actually fall into these categories.

I think Mr. Monsanto would do well to spell out his criteria for what isn't desirable in precise and formal terms.

37 points by awj 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure what the solution is, but something seriously needs to be done about the requirements Wikipedia has in place. Especially when applied to open source software, the notability requirement, combined with the definition of reliable sources, make invalid assumptions about the common media for discourse.
8 points by nerfhammer 1 day ago 2 replies      
The solution to this problem that mollifies wikipedia admin culture is to make these pages into sub-pages of huge articles. E.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_in_The_Simpsons .

This is a lot less useful way of doing things but it flies almost completely outside the deletionist radar. There is little cultural dance pertaining to the the concept of notability for mentioning something in a list, and no bureaucratic pseudo-procedure for a deletionist to wield against such practice.

8 points by tokenadult 1 day ago 2 replies      
All anyone needs to do about this is find reliable sources to improve the articles that are being nominated for deletion. Really. If some wikipedian who knows about published, reliable sources about each of the languages simply adds some source citations to the articles, all will be well.
6 points by w1ntermute 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's about time someone created a anti-deletionist (inclusionist?) Wikipedia overlay that keeps copies of pages that have been deleted. Perhaps some kind of framing, while ugly, could be used to keep server load to a minimum while allowing people to access all of Wikipedia through that overlay site.
5 points by cyrus_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming languages are like Pokemon. Only a few of them are strictly notable in isolation (Pikachu). But there are hundreds of others that small communities are interested in, and the metavalue of having all of them described on Wikipedia is high.

I don't understand what the cost is. Why don't you make a list of "notable" programming languages so that people who want to browse around can skip the less influential / new ones like Nemerle. But to delete hundreds of languages (and if you apply these rules, you need to delete hundreds of languages, you've missed lots of them) is a travesty.

9 points by tty 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find it funny that the guy hasn't made a single contribution to Wikipedia. All his edits either directly remove content or nominate it for deletion. Apparently besides the dislike for programming languages, he also hates it when certain scientists have "Dr." next to their names on their Wikipedia articles.



>Raj Reddy ‎ (dr. is so unnecessary)

>Randy Pausch ‎ (dr is unnecessary)

>Benjamin C. Pierce ‎ (Don't need dr.)

and so on

6 points by mukyu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting people to rally around anything that someone is trying to have deleted is a sure-fire way to get it deleted, protected from recreation, and basically never coming back. It is like some kind of 'defend the hive' kind of reaction.
3 points by basugasubaku 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that there is no longer a Nemerle article on the English Wikipedia, but there is one on the Japanese, Polish, Russian, Finnish, Tajik, Ukrainian, and Chinese Wikipedias.

You can see this by going to, e.g., the Japanese article (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemerle) and looking at the language links at bottom of the left sidebar.

So if you are a speaker of one of those languages, you're still in luck :-P

2 points by cabalamat 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently created an article about Sunder Katwala (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunder_Katwala) who is the head of the Fabian Society (a prominent UK think tank).

The article had been up for less than a month when someone requested speedy deletion, despite the article having ample evidence of the subject's notability. Deletionists are out of control on Wikipedia, and need to be stopped. I've thought about writing articles and though "no, why bother, some deletionist will just delete it." and I'm sure many others have been similarly dissuaded.

To this end I'm building an inclusionist fork of Wikipedia. The main difference it will have is there will be no notability guidelines, only verifiability ones.

4 points by cema 1 day ago 1 reply      
When a graduate student, a researcher, spends so much effort in order to delete knowledge (or, more precisely, hide it), I find it mind-boggling. It goes against the very essence of science.
5 points by udoprog 1 day ago 0 replies      
The notability requirements do not sufficiently cover "expert" subjects like PLs. Chris mentioned this himself, yet used it as a justification for these articles, this is known as Doublethink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink) and clearly indicates a second agenda.

Not anyone can invent a programming language, it's not comparable to your pet rock band. Chris, you clearly displayed that you are not capable of handling this subject satisfactory and you've displayed arrogance in response to peoples distress.

Simply put - marking the articles for deletion was rash, and in the larger sense unjustified.

3 points by Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was a time when I didn't understand the need for Wikipedia, as I figured every kind of information would just be retrievable with Google (or another search engine).

Now Google and Wikipedia are failing at the same time. Bad.

5 points by ilitirit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Information on these type of languages is exactly what I expect to find in an encyclopaedia.
7 points by carsongross 1 day ago 1 reply      
@chrismonsanto has this thread (and the reddit thread) caused you to reevaluate what we, the programming community, consider 'notable'?

The easy reaction would be to focus on the flamers, harden your heart and drive ahead. The wise man, here, stops and thinks for a bit.

Restore Nemerle.

9 points by Uchikoma 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wikipedia is about power and the kick you get out of it.
2 points by bane 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody just created a new stub for Alice ML and Nemerle. Let's start filling them out!


Nemerle appears to have been frozen and deleted

Alice has gone down 3 or 4 times, but it's now up for the last 10 minutes.

They're down again, looks like semi-permanently.

3 points by tommorris 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Nemerle article is up for deletion review (DRV), and there is at least one admin supporting overturning the decision:


1 point by mckoss 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia has had deletion issues for a very long time. Note that there are also vague rules that allow admins a procedure called "Speedy Deletion". It lets them remove content w/o debate or public visibility. The deleted page, and all discussions about it just disappear (only an admin on Wikipedia can recover it).

One criteria that can be used for Speedy Deletion is:

    No indication of importance (individuals, animals, organizations, web content)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Criteria_for_speedy_d...

It's a very subjective measure, yet it encourages over-zealous Wikipedians to expunge content.

The spam problem is very real for any user generated web site. I think it would be more ideal if Wikipedia didn't delete anything - but rather marked pages as being of low quality, or not meeting their standards, and perhaps removing those pages from their search index.

Here's what I wrote about this problem in 2007:


2 points by rbanffy 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, what languages were deleted? How much disk space was reclaimed by the deletion? How much bandwidth will that spare?

If someone thinks the language is not notable, there is a discussion page attached to the main article where such things can be expressed. The obscurity of the language can also be communicated in the article itself. While lots of us can be pretty sure Nemerle will have no lasting impact in the field, they can be wrong.

3 points by drallison 1 day ago 1 reply      
I certainly oppose deleting programming languages, obscure or not, from wikipedia. I went to the site to try to register a complaint but could not find a way to do that. It seems that meta-comments are not really handled well withing the wikipedia framework. Or did I just miss the right link.
1 point by gaoshan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw that the language he is working on for his PhD was listed on Wikipedia and flagged for deletion. Then I saw that that page had initially been created that same day solely for the purpose of marking it for deletion.

Seriously, person who did this? I thought wasting time browsing news sites like HN and reddit was bad enough but this... this proves that the internet is a very serious business indeed.

3 points by bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
This kind of stupid crap is why I and many people no longer contribute to wikipedia.
2 points by EGreg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe there are specific requirements for something to be considered "notable" on wikipedia. Simply fulfill those requirements for each language page and you're good, no?


0 points by mrmekon 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The two main arguments for why these articles should not be deleted are:

1) The languages exist, are supported, and are used by many users

2) There are other bad articles on wikipedia

Both of these are, unfortunately, terrible arguments.

In response to the first argument:

Wikipedia's rules state that for an article to exist, it must be proven notable by certain types of accepted references. That does not include tutorials, blog posts, software's official website, or questions on support websites/forums. These rules are unfortunate, and have been sources of much arguing, but they still stand.

We, as programmers, get upset when information that is useful to us is removed. The rules exist for a reason, though; one place where they are often enforced is the addition of video game articles. There are hundreds of thousands of video games with significant user bases. Wikipedia has made it a point that it does not intend to be a catalog of software that exists, and for that reason video game articles are deleted often. In order for software to legitimately qualify for an article, it must be significantly, demonstrably important. Existence and popularity is not enough.

In response to the second type of argument: existence of violations does not justify other violations. If don't think the blue slime from Dragon Warrior deserves its own wikipedia page, mark it for deletion and argue your point, but don't reference it as why your bad article with weak references should remain.

Wikipedia has a LOT of articles that are against its rules. We have become used to these, and depend on them, so we get upset when the rules are enforced. Have a look at the actual rules and I'll bet you can identify plenty of articles you have read that are in violation:




1 point by bane 22 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by mrphoebs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Though, I can see Christoper's Point of view, I wonder about the cost-benefit of this kind a cleanup would be. The main reason seems to be to unclutter the listing of topics in wikipedia. How many people navigate Wikipedia through lists, isn't search more often used? In which case the central argument behind deleting factual information would be more costly than beneficial(even though it doesn't live up to wikipedia' notability standard).

BTW, Why the hostility? and the mob mentality. I thought he articulated his arguments clearly and quite well without malice.

1 point by Perihelion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm offended on behalf of all of the smaller projects who basically just got told that their work is worthless.

I'm also offended that the value of a project seems to be based on how well someone can market it. If your project hasn't made a name for itself, then it's worthless, right? Personally, I'm content to hack away on things that no one has heard of because I enjoy what I'm doing. If someone else happens to find it useful, that's awesome. However, deleting things from the Mecca of knowledge-seekers in an attempt to purify it in this manner is nothing short of crapping on the ideals that Wikipedia was built on.

3 points by petegrif 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is absolutely appalling.
HD 555 to HD 595 mod (or: how Sennheiser cripples cheaper headphones) mikebeauchamp.com
386 points by ryanf 1 day ago   193 comments top 39
82 points by apl 1 day 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...]

81 points by defen 1 day ago 1 reply      
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.
17 points by jasonkester 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of people reacting to this the wrong way.

Rather than getting angry at the company for segmenting its market, why not enjoy the fact that you can buy their top-of-the-line product for a fraction of the price? Rather than raise a stink and force them to do something about it, why not stay relatively quiet about it and let those of us in the know profit from it?

I'm still upset that Baush and Lomb got raked over the coals so publicly for packaging the exact same lenses as monthly, weekly, and daily wear at different prices. I would have been perfectly happy to wear my "daily" lenses for a month each, thus saving several hundred dollars a year. Instead, a witch hunt was raised and they were forced to actually develop a flimsy contact lens to sell cheaply.

It's a good thing, and now you know about it. Try not to ruin it for the rest of us.

7 points by latch 1 day ago 4 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).

4 points by zzzmarcus 21 hours ago 1 reply      
We had two pairs in the office and modded one and not the other. In a blind test two of three actually preferred the non-modded 555's. Our test wasn't great though, 10 seconds of a relatively low quality mp3 and none of us are audiophiles, though the one of us who is the closest to being an audiophile was the one who preferred the modded headphones so, take that fwiw.

If you're going to do it, I found that you have to pull hard, as in really, uncomfortably hard on the foam padding to get it off. It does come off though, and everything went back together fine.

8 points by daeken 1 day 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.
6 points by TimothyBurgess 1 day ago 2 replies      
You know what the most depressing thing about this article is for me? I no longer have the option of being an audiophile. :(

I toured professionally as a drummer with a tech metal band and played with a click track every night. I used Ultimate Ears (high-quality earbuds) with ProTools through a rack amp. I had guitar tracks going behind the click track (metronome) for reference and let's put it this way... the reference guitar tracks had to be louder than the actual live amplifiers/PA and the click track had to be even louder than that. On a scale of 1 to 10, relative to the loudness of the vast majority of electronic music players (computers/mp3 players/phones/etc.)... I'd say my click track was at least 17. It hurts my ears just thinking about it now... constant TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK for 30 (sometimes 45) minutes every night for weeks at a time! I don't wish that upon my worst enemy.

If it was another style of music there's no doubt I could have had it turned down to a fraction of what it was... but it was tech metal so it was always loud and heavy and all over the place. Most of the time I'm playing upwards of 300 bpm and the tempo and time signatures were always changing so the click track was necessary. I remember I tried turning it down a few times and it didn't work out so well haha... Bye bye hearing! I miss you.

21 points by sfphotoarts 1 day ago 4 replies      
This article is good for Sennheiser, I just ordered a pair of the 555's from Amazon for $85
5 points by georgecmu 1 day ago 2 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/...

6 points by ck2 1 day ago 8 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.

4 points by scotty79 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Imagine you are kid and the other kid approaches you with mug you really like:

  - Take a look at this wonderful mug with Mickey Mouse. It's worth 20$
- I'd love to buy that but I only have 5$
- Would you pay 50$ for it if the mug didn't have handle?
- Yes I need a mug, but handle is so convenient...
- I can take 5$ (as he breaks of the mug handle)

Could you really buy this thing and not feel like he spat in your face?

It's not about market it's about psychology of human exchange. Someone destroys value with no purpose other than better conning his peers. How could that not infuriate specimen of social species?

6 points by georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not an audiophile, because audiophiles are the homeopathic suckers of the audio world. I do, however, like high-quality sound.

If you want a good over-the-ear headphone, the Sony MDR-V6 is quite nice. They sound decent, are built a tank, and have been in continuous production since the mid 80's. They're $90 on Amazon.

If you want in-ear, get Etymotic ER-4's. They're the only headphone I've ever found that can compete with my NHT 2.5i speakers. They should be available around $200.

6 points by strlen 1 day 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.
11 points by iwwr 1 day ago replies      
Intel, AMD and Nvidia are also notorious for these kinds of practices.
3 points by gojomo 1 day 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.

2 points by jrockway 1 day 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?)

4 points by deltaqueue 1 day ago 1 reply      
The blog post doesn't mention all of the aesthetic differences--which, at the current Amazon price point, could justify the price difference for some--so I thought I would mention the others here:

-the headband is leather
-cans have a Sennheiser logo on them
-cans have a chrome ring around them
-comes with a nifty headphone stand / mount

disclosure: I own some 555's, and will be trying this mod at the office on Monday.

1 point by javanix 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is wondering, I just did this on my almost four-year old pair of HD555s and you can definitely tell the difference.

Sure glad I bought the cheaper pair now.

8 points by foresterh 1 day 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 1 day 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.
7 points by m3mb3r 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Brought my HD-555 alive.
4 points by Goonbaggins 1 day 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.
3 points by aforty 1 day 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.

3 points by ramchip 1 day ago 1 reply      
According to Amazon, the HD595 is actually heavier by 10g than the HD555. Is the headband different?
1 point by juiceandjuice 1 day 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.

4 points by ent 1 day 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.
1 point by cypherpunks01 1 day ago 1 reply      
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!
1 point by krakensden 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's pricing like this that leads people to just buy the cheapest offering available, without doing any research. If you already know you will be taken for a ride, why not just pay the least amount possible for the 'privilege'?
2 points by teyc 1 day 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.
1 point by scotty79 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You manufacture your product and you intentionally damage part of the volume to sell it cheaper only to make the price of other part of the volume justifiable.

If that's not sign of pathology of free market than I don't know what is.

1 point by troydavis 1 day ago 0 replies      
FWIW, Sennheiser USA's CEO says the mod upgrade claim isn't accurate:
http://twitter.com/#!/SennheiserUSA/status/37092187850153984 "Urban myth deserves no response. Read the specs; do the tests....all factual. Listen to both and you be the judge.")

I interpreted "urban myth" as a slam instead of a firm answer, but he confirmed that's their position:
http://twitter.com/#!/SennheiserUSA/status/37163867276574720 ("Urban Myth=Not True.")

I asked him to comment here, since I'd like to hear more than can fit in a tweet. With 170 comments in 16 hours, it should be in their interest to describe any manufacturing differences in more depth.

2 points by darkmethod 1 day 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.

1 point by js4all 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is called Product differentiation. Every company is doing it. And if not, they will likely lose to their competitors.

This is Marketing base knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_differentiation

1 point by sudonim 1 day 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.
1 point by edge17 1 day ago 0 replies      
looks like you can just pay $150 bucks for HD 595 on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD595-High-Grade-Premiere-H...
1 point by Semiapies 1 day 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 1 day 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!

1 point by omarqureshi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having tried this mod out about a year ago - there is a definite increase in sound quality.

However, it does turn your headphones into the most annoying things ever for people who are in the same room as you as they too can hear, quite loudly and clearly.

1 point by levigross 1 day ago 1 reply      
Man that is one expensive piece of foam.
Hosni Mubarak finally steps down aljazeera.net
329 points by dzlobin 3 days ago   128 comments top 26
54 points by michaelchisari 3 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

94 points by goatforce5 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
Next time, don't take down your country's Internet.
24 points by russnewcomer 3 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 3 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 3 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.

11 points by BvS 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds of 1989 here in Germany! Congratulation Egypt!
4 points by kilian 3 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.
2 points by logjam 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
puppet out, puppet in
-4 points by alain94040 3 days ago 3 replies      
Flagged per the guidelines: if it's on TV, it doesn't belong here :-
-3 points by tybris 3 days ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, Israel is probably polishing its tanks and nukes.
-4 points by mynameishere 3 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.

Nokia Plan B nokiaplanb.com
293 points by wybo 16 hours ago   160 comments top 40
87 points by johnrob 14 hours ago replies      
MeeGo smartphones and tablet devices will offer overwhelmingly superior experiences and applications than iOS and Android based competitor products

That is one bold statement. I don't know if I'd bet the company's success on a claim like that.

60 points by latch 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I know they are saying it's coming soon, but this is really missing 9 bios. You have a definitive plan for what you'll do if elected to the Board of Directors, which is a great start. But writing an open letter, asking for something so serious, without a paragraph-long bio on each one of you is crazies in my book.
77 points by ajg1977 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Plan B: Fire a couple of execs and keep following the strategy that got us to this point.
8 points by mjfern 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the authors are underestimating the challenges of commercializing and then gaining market share with the MeeGo platform.

First, there is a question of development and time to market. By the time Nokia launches MeeGo and handsets, Android, iOS, and others (WP7, RIM, Palm) will be further entrenched in the market (e.g., market share, brand, hardware partners). Second, there is the fundamental issue that succeeding with MeeGo hinges not only on the OS but also on a thriving application market. Because of the application markets, there are strong network effects with mobile platforms. These network effects make it very difficult for a new platform to break into the space.

To complement investments in MeeGo and WP7 for the smartphone market and Symbian for the feature phone market, Nokia should immediately invest in an Android strategy as a fail-safe. I understand this conflicts with Nokia's historical strategy of controlling both software and hardware, but it's quite possible that Android will eventually emerge as the winner-take-all platform in smartphones, aside from Apple/iOS and several niche platforms. If this were to happen, Nokia's singular bet on MeeGo (or WP7) may destabilize the entire company.

In short, I propose that Nokia pursue a four-pronged strategy, pushing forward with MeeGo, WP7, Symbian, and Android -- Symbian for feature phones, which still account for roughly 80% of the worldwide mobile phone market, and MeeGo, WP7, and Android for the smartphone market. As uncertainty is reduced over time regarding 1) the potential of each of the smartphone platforms and 2) the pace at which geographic markets are shifting away from feature phones to smartphones, Nokia can appropriately adjust its investments. By making investments in each area, and adjusting the relative amounts over time, Nokia can better ensure its survival and prosperity despite the quickly evolving mobile phone market.

35 points by harshaw 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I did a bunch of work with Nokia back when I was working at Orange. We had a project to build push to talk software on Series 60 phones. Besides the idea that push to talk is a horrible idea, my job was to work with Nokia to make sure the software worked properly. We had some lower level software from our hardware provider (Kodiak Networks) and some UI code that we had built ourselves.

As these projects tend to go, things didn't go well. due to various issues in the Nokia closed source software layer there were a number of bugs we (Orange & Kodiak) couldn't fix. We decided to fly to Tampere (one of Nokia's R&D locations) to fix the problem.

Tampere is a lovely place to eat Reindeer. However, not once did I meet an engineer who could get shit done. Not once - Nokia never paired us with a serious developer who could even attempt to fix issues in their code. They surrounded us with product manager wankers and threw in a 22 year old engineer who wasn't able to make much progress debugging the problem. The Kodiak engineer was all ready to attack the problem with a dev board and a JTAG but no one would let us in the lab. What a clusterfck. Apparently a good bit of the S60 development wasn't even done in Tampere (or Finland). I think it might have been done in Japan. I think these sort of issues are what the author of the article alluded to regarding distributed development teams.

Perhaps I only saw a small slice of the Nokia culture. But it was really* bad.

I'm glad the guys behind nokiaplanb.com are passionate about fixing Nokia. Much as I think the M$ alliance is a waste of time, I admire Elop's bold actions. I can't see continued development of MeeGo as useful. What I have seen to date has been unimpressive and late. Additionally -why not just use Android as the base OS and innovate on top of it?

20 points by elithrar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a couple of things are obvious, from knowing some Nokia employees:

a) These 9 are young, and likely Finns " who are generally proud people and who are guarded against outsiders (like Elop)

b) They are software developers. Most of their Plan B focuses heavily on Meego and keeping development and R&D in-house. With Meego 'out' (or close to it) and WP7 in, software development resources at Nokia are likely to be slashed, and so of course they'd want to contest the decision.

The biggest problem I have with their plan though, is this:

> Return the company to a strategy that seeks high growth and high profit margins through innovation and overwhelmingly superior products with unrivaled user experience.

Return? Nokia & Symbian might sell a ton of phones in the global market, but they certainly haven't had high margins nor growth over the last few years. They can't 'return' to the way things were, because that strategy is no longer viable in today's market. To carry on as if Apple & Google aren't kicking your ass is a sure-fire way to lose everything.

11 points by dreaming 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Assuming this is genuine, it is too little too late.
Nokia needed someone to come and say this before the decided to jump ship.

Its staggering to think of how many resources nokia have, and how little and slowly they've innovated. Nokia has been falling behind for a long time.
One thing I always found disheartening was their desire to compete against themselves, and ignore others, as illustrated by them releasing an older version of symbian for their business phones, while using the new symbian for their media phones, but it seemed there was no place to get 'the best' nokia. It was always a choice, but one that didn't seem to have an easily identifiable consumer flagship. Just N's and E's and everything in between.

10 points by nl 10 hours ago 3 replies      
http://nokiaplanc.com/ is up :)

No affiliation, but I think it's funny.

(For those who don't get it, Nokia was originally a rubber goods manufacturer)

2 points by eibrahim 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think WP7 + Nokia is a great move. Nokia makes great hardware and Microsoft makes great software and has a HUGE developer base.

I have switched from iPhone to WP7 after 3+ years and I am really happy with it. I do miss some of the apps and games but love other features that make up for it.

Hate Microsoft all you want but they have made great software (and also bad).

Great = win7, wp7, zune, visual studio, expression suite, office suite, sql server.

Bad = well you all know the list: IE8,7,6,5,etc..., hotmail, windows me and a ton of others that I am too lazy to list.

If history is any indication, Microsoft will eventually dominate the mobile marketplace or at least be a very close second.

5 points by cookiecaper 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Supposing they did get elected, I would expect they would cost Nokia a lot of money, possibly ultimately bankrupting the company, from litigation MS would inevitably bring and probably win. It would be a huge embarrassment to WP7 and MS if Nokia backed out, and if there's any way MS can swing damages for that kind of thing given their contract with Nokia, and I'm sure there is, they will definitely do so. I think that the ship has sailed and they're stuck with WP7 for the term of the exclusivity arrangement.

If these guys want to make Meego the dominant smartphone platform, they're going to have to do it with something besides Nokia.

4 points by gnaffle 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think people are forgetting that Nokia _did_ make a very innovative platform back in 2005 with Maemo at the GTK-based Hildon GUI. If they hadn't stopped innovating and had gotten others on board except for Intel, that platform could have been Android today.

It's true that they managed to kill it through sheer incompetence, including alienating a lot of first adopters by discontinuing product support for the internet tablets. But there's obviously brilliant people at Nokia, just like there were brilliant people at Apple before Steve Jobs.

Now, if Apple had ditched MacOS when Steve returned instead of using NextStep, and instead went with Windows, and shipped a WP7 phone instead of a phone with OSX, where would they be today? They _might_ have had the iTunes ecosystem, if Microsoft would have allowed it. Their "differentiating features" would be at the mercy of Microsoft and their strategic plans.

I guess people are right that you need an app ecosystem to compete in the smartphone market today. But the iPhone sold like hotcakes for more than a year before it had apps. If Nokia made a phone that users really wanted, I think the app ecosystem would have followed. Instead, they're using their huge market presence to give Microsofts platform the same boost.

11 points by spiralganglion 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't own any shares in Nokia, I have never nor likely will ever own a Nokia phone, and I don't have any real insight into the nuances of the situation.

But as an avid spectator of the evolving mobile platform "war", this sort of coup d'état would be amazing to witness from the sidelines, no matter the outcome. Therefore, and for no greater reason, I really hope this goes through.

2 points by mambodog 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I think their biggest challenge with going down the MeeGo route would be acquiring the kind of App ecosystem that iOS and Android have. I reckon their best bet would be to implement something like Alien Dalvik[1] to allow very easy porting of existing Android apps to MeeGo, and make their 'app store' as seamlessly alike to iOS and Android's (including working with top app developers to encourage them to bring over the most desirable apps).

Once they can be seen as having the same big name apps as the other two, I think MeeGo has much more of a chance of being competitive, rather than being a 'third world country' of a platform.

[1] http://www.allaboutmeego.com/news/item/12571_Alien_Dalvik_ho...

6 points by artsrc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have an idea, startups.

Have some former Nokia lead engineers and managers, start working on that plan.

Have some other managers and engineers work on the Android plan.

Have some others compete with Nokia to make better WP7 phones.

Gets rid of 100 layers of management, etc.

5 points by c141charlie 11 hours ago 1 reply      
We are seeing the beginning of the commoditization of the smart phone industry. Smart phones will become ubiquitous and intense competition among handset manufacturers will erode profit margins.

While I admire the passion that fueled this letter, their goal to "offer overwhelmingly superior experiences" seems foolishly optimistic. How will Nokia differentiate from the plethora of Android derivatives, iOS, WP7, Web OS, and Blackberry?

5 points by cloudwalking 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't think smartphones can win without apps, and the OS market is getting pretty saturated. If iOS, Android, WebOS, and WP7 all have more users, when am I ever going to get around to writing MeeGo apps?
1 point by jodrellblank 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If they had a clue based on modern software practices, they would make it easy to support them.

From the bottom of the AGM questions page:

Who has the right to participate in the AGM 2011 and what is the last day to buy shares if I want the right to attend and vote in the AGM?
Each shareholder, who is registered on April 19, 2011 in the Register of Shareholders of the Company, has the right to participate in the Annual General Meeting. A shareholder, whose shares are registered on his/her Finnish book-entry account, is registered in the Register of Shareholders of the Company. A shareholder, who wishes to participate in the Annual General Meeting, may register for the Meeting by giving a prior notice of participation no later than on April 27, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. (Finnish time) by which time the registration needs to arrive in the Company.
- http://www.nokia.com/agm/2011/in-english/questions-and-answe...

Although their plan is not in the list of proposals. How does it work? 1 vote per share or 1 per shareholder? Can I buy 1 share (which stock name on which exchange?) and support them? If not, and only big shareholders count, why the twitter popularity campaign?

What specific goal(s) do they have (how many people, doing what?)

2 points by gacba 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I give Nokia Plan B a solid D- for too little too late. MeeGo got a horrible reception today by Intel (http://www.slashgear.com/meego-preview-at-mwc-2011-disappoin...) and it's obvious why Nokia abandoned it at this point, even for a bad choice like Win Mobile 7...what other choice did they have? Symbian? Bleeding market share like gutted cow. Android? Can't differentiate in that space.

So to hear these 9 disgruntled folks say they're going to stick with a bad plan and make it happen sounds like lunacy to me.

1 point by pnathan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the "make Nokia leaner" part. But I don't think they are in touch very well with the marketplace. Personally.

I'm considering putting together some fun and easy mobile games for some mobile device in 2H 2011. I can select iPhone, Android, or, I guess, WP7.

I'm looking for a platform that has these features:

* Nearly free to register and start developing
* Provides app store & DRM mechanism
* Doesn't eat too many profits.
* Ideally, lets me program very fast, think Ruby on Rails or similar framework.

Okay, so that doesn't exist as far as I know. If Nokia can reboot to provide the above - then they can probably provide a fourth option.

Nothing I've read so far indicates that they are going to roll that route.

5 points by pjy04 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like their developer plan. Focus on two areas of main development and eliminate a lot of the waste on the PM/Manager level.
1 point by tjansen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually I think Meego does not have a chance because of C++. It is Meego's main fault. Qt is a great framework, but that won't help if you force programmers to use languages from the stone age. Anyone who wants to establish a new platform should make it at least as easy to develop for as Android. And I also doubt that you can catch up with other OSes while using a less productive development environment.

On the other hand, I never expected Objective C to be as successful...

1 point by innes 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Increase the lifespan of Symbian to a minimum of 5 years. Reap the profits of the existing market share and consumer preference that Symbian already enjoys in Europe and Asia.


Transition to an R&D setup where 90% of all Nokia R&D takes place in only two geographical locations. One of them will be in Finland and the other will be defined later.

actively visit top universities worldwide to screen and and invite top students for interviews in Nokia R&D locations.

That's a lot of long-distance flights to Finland.

2 points by kongqiu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Long ago (~2002) when I lived in Beijing, a vendor at the city's Silk Market had Nokia-brand socks on offer. I suspected they were fakes. The Marlboro-brand shirts were decent, though...
3 points by beefman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Increase the lifespan of Symbian to a minimum of 5 years

Glad you're not going to any shareholder meetings of companies I own shares in...

4 points by ashr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Plan B? Not Really. More like a wish-list.
1 point by jan_g 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, usually shareholders don't run the company. They own it. Stuff like choosing the tools, organization of R&D department and so on should be in the hands of the management. That's why you pay them.
1 point by cageface 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that they see outsourcing and distributed development as bureaucratic and inefficient. I wonder if this sentiment is becoming more common in the industry.
1 point by azharcs 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a quote by Henry Ford sums up the the whole Plan B and their approach.

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." ~ Henry Ford

0 points by bigB 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe if they leave things alone Nokia might just survive. If they do whats in that list, they wont be shareholders or directors for long. Nokia fanboys need to realise that they are on a downhill slope right now, and if they continue on that path Apple and Android will bury them and Microsoft. I have owned Nokia phones from Australia's GSM introduction until last year when the lack of Nokia's software capability, in this country at least, forced my hand to the iPhone. Id give anything to go back to Nokia's quality hardware if it had a decent OS. Windows Phone 7 is a really nice OS, but for now is on some of the shittiest phones I have seen. Nokia + Microsoft should hopefully make a really nice bit of gear.
5 points by jfm3 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Not all top talent is young...
1 point by oomkiller 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like a good start, but going with MeeGo is a fail in my book. Intel and Nokia should throw their weight behind Android and focus on making the best, fastest Android phone, with better features than anyone else.
1 point by gills 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"We're young shareholders, and our plan is...get this...young software developers."


1 point by ReadyNSet 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Well all you want is Nokia's $billion to spend however you want and at the end of the day if you couldn't make it you'll just stand up dust your hands and move on. if the Plan is so good you can take MeeGo which is open source or heck even Android and make the best phone/OS/EcoSystem out there surely you wouldn't have any problem attracting VC funding would you?
1 point by Kilimanjaro 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with all points, except one, spend half resources in meego and the other half in android, just to be sure.
2 points by haguhagu 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Their statement sounds like ones that come out of politicians. That can only end well...

I was watching some meego videos on youtube, it does not look that impressive and launching the phone usually takes a full minute. Whats up with that. Its an early build i guess, but as software ages, it generally gets more bloated meaning even slower.

1 point by olalonde 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Would it really be possible to cancel the deal without getting sued by Microsoft?
1 point by teyc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
young chaps calling for a revolution. Not even listing credentials. This is not going any where.
1 point by Xpirate 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I got sort of an open question: Is there a platform independent API for development for WP7, iPhone and Android? It'd be great to write for one idealized target and have it run on all three ... or more if they make serious inroads.
2 points by billbub 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! Who are these guys? What do they know about building a mobile ecosystem? Young how young? Looks to me like a bunch of kids who are scared to put their name out ..
1 point by paolomaffei 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Do they have a chance?
Standalone sandboxed IE6, IE7, IE8 executables (Recovered after a takedown) iecss.com
272 points by paulirish 2 days ago   69 comments top 20
101 points by AdamTReineke 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you didn't click the speaker icon in the upper right, do it!
24 points by toni 2 days 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/

7 points by ecaron 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
... and they're gone.
10 points by hasenj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sadly it doesn't seem to run under Wine.
14 points by danheberden 2 days ago 1 reply      
4 points by psadauskas 2 days 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.
5 points by herf 2 days ago 2 replies      
2 points by javanix 2 days 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?

1 point by ck2 2 days 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 w1ntermute 2 days ago 1 reply      
> each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year

Does anyone understand what he's referring to here?

1 point by derleth 2 days 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.

6 points by myelin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm getting 404s on all the .exe files. Gone already?
3 points by daakus 2 days ago 0 replies      
This combined with MicroXP resulted in a ~500MB VirtualBox image with IE6,7,8 -- very impressive.
2 points by saurik 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why don't more people use Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview?
3 points by atomi 2 days ago 1 reply      
The IE7.exe wont run on my system (Win7 x64)
1 point by originalgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll stick with my standalone (non-MS dev) VM images, thank you very much.
-4 points by barista 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh! Why not use ie 9 instead?
White House: What's Blocking Innovation in America? My Answer: IP Laws groklaw.net
254 points by wiks 2 days ago   175 comments top 16
25 points by grellas 2 days 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.

52 points by MoreMoschops 2 days 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.

47 points by patrickaljord 2 days 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."


42 points by zipdog 2 days 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.

3 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days 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.

16 points by bugsy 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by mryall 2 days 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 2 days 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.

1 point by beagle3 2 days 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 stretchwithme 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.
The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don't Talk So Much wsj.com
241 points by alexwestholm 18 hours ago   144 comments top 26
53 points by abalashov 17 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the first popular publication article I've seen that has given the very important cognitive overload aspect of nagging--and especially multi-pronged nagging litany, which seems to be the most common kind--the treatment it deserves:

   But when it comes to nagging reminders about what your
spouse still has to do after a long day working for the
man"take out the recycling, walk the dog, write a
thank-you letter, defrost the chicken, fix the
stereo"keep a lid on it. Economists talk about
“information processing costs,” or the costs incurred
from processing, absorbing and filtering information.
When information processing costs get too high, we
tend to become paralyzed.

32 points by hartror 17 hours ago replies      
I would group it all into one tip:

Make an effort with your relationship.

Like everything good in life it takes work to have a good relationship. If you make an effort to have a good relationship, applying thought and energy day to day, you will grow a healthy satisfying relationship.

9 points by narrator 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I think American women forget that marriage is a team sport not a struggle for feudal dominance of one partner over the other. It seems with American women there is always a very precise accounting of slights, perceived or otherwise, that are used to demand payment in humiliation or suffering of the other. It's like they're on the "Women team", always thinking to themselves what the "Women team leaders" will think of them in every situation in their struggle against the multiple centuries of male patriarchy-- instead of being on the family team. They destroy relationships to please the contrived abstract ideals they've been indoctrinated to worship and fight against their desires for a relationship based on team work and mutual shared goals.
13 points by mhb 18 hours ago 1 reply      
19 points by patrickgzill 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Marriage is not "50/50" ... it is 100/100 ...
1 point by webuiarchitect 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You can hardly call that a 'marriage'. Its just another adjustment you would do even with your roommate.

I've been married for last 8 years and also have a kid. I feel, the best of marriage is lived when you share everything - talk out every feeling - help each other achieve the small dreams - LIVE together! Every relationship, even a mother-child/friends/brother-sister - they all have conflicts - and most of it because of expectations. Without 'expectations' there cannot exist a relation. The key is to achieve the balance - try to give enough space/freedom to each other so that both gets to do the things they enjoy the most - try to find your happiness in the same, if you can, or at least support it in some way.

For household responsibilities, it should be equally and mutually shared. But 'don't talk so much' is definitely not the approach to avoid conflicts. We are not machines; the whole point of 'living' is to 'share'; and Humans Do Need to Share. What else do you need to marry for? Better stay bachelor, if you don't think you can shoulder the responsibility to 'share' and handle 'expectations'.

4 points by 3pt14159 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Comparative advantage is the name of the game. My parents have been doing that for years, even when my mom ends up with some manly work (tall house + lots of Christmas lights) and my dad ends up with some non-manly work. It works pretty well for them.

They even optimized which kid helps them, I worked better with my mom (I was all about getting a list of chores and powering through them when I had time, and so is she), so I ended up working with her for the weekly chores. Shutting up and getting stuff done really does make one happy.

4 points by brc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The comments in that article are bizarre - there's a lot of frothing going on. Particularly from young, unmarried women who seem to have missed the point of the article. It's like they hate the idea of being a housewife so much they want to attack anything that even remotely suggests it.

The problem in all this venting is that the advice is given to both sexes - it just discusses using comparative advantage to split up tasks, don't nag each other and slip between the sheets as much as possible. If you realise that the advice could equally apply to a gay couple you can see there actually isn't any gender bias in the article at all.

10 points by megamark16 17 hours ago 0 replies      
That's exactly what I do, and my wife and I agree that we have a pretty happy marriage :-)
1 point by RyanMcGreal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Another perpetually useful perspective is the 2006 NY Times article on using animal training techniques to manage intramarital conflict:


5 points by civilian 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of you are getting caught up in stereotypes. When I read this article I didn't see it as being specifically written for men or women-- shouldn't both parties be doing these things?
5 points by kingkawn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Having fun together rather than parsing out your problems is the key to success. Sometimes you have to do the Talk, but if it becomes the norm you're doomed.
6 points by johngalt 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The secret to writing a linkbait title: reinforce stereotypes.
4 points by theorique 15 hours ago 0 replies      
(warning - ZOMG TEH POTENTIAL SEXISM alert!)

This sounds a lot like the advice to women from the Tom Leykis show:
"Stay slim, Long hair, sex anytime, shut up!"

4 points by rmah 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I posted a link to the book the WSJ article is based on earlier today: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2218045
10 points by yatacc 17 hours ago 0 replies      
it seem ridiculous to tell married people they should have sex (with each other)

lmao on the (with each other) emphasis :)

6 points by chopsueyar 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Do the dishes. Buying a dishwasher was one of the best purchases for our relationship.
3 points by kungfooey 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following the author's blog at http://www.spousonomics.com/ - some fluff, but in general it's pretty good.
1 point by teyc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Comparative advantage does not work in marriages. All hands on is much better. It is the same with family cookouts, spring cleaning, etc. More hands, less work, and there is less cognitive load whether work is being doled out fairly.
6 points by sin7 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Marriage satisfaction = love making - fighting
1 point by kgermino 18 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by jscore 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe in America.

Things work very differently in the rest of the world.

2 points by tt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a saying in Vietnamese culture that goes along the line of "Compatible husband and wife can empty the Pacific." I live by that.
1 point by fefzero 17 hours ago 2 replies      
"But the real reason [married people gain weight] is moral hazard, or the tendency to take more risks and behave more irresponsibly when there are no consequences."

I'd never equated being overweight as behaving irresponsibly. If everyone thought this way, would we all be thinner? If my spouse can't nag me to lose weight (see #1), is there anything she could do to encourage it, or is it all on me?

1 point by sigzero 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"A happy wife is a happy life."
-4 points by OasisG 17 hours ago 7 replies      
Then party like it's 1950.

ETA: With the growing number of men who refuse to pick up every check, plan every date/event, act as sole provider for the family, purchase gifts regularly for their other half, etc. for fear of marrying a woman who is too focused on money... I'm really beginning to wonder what women are getting out of this marriage deal anymore.

Stuxnet is now on GitHub github.com
239 points by steipete 2 days ago   64 comments top 10
20 points by rst 2 days ago 7 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...

29 points by dmix 1 day 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
4 points by NateLawson 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is not Hex-rays output. It is much better than this. This is boomerang, which is a free decompiler that hasn't been maintained much lately. You'll note that not much has been updated on their page since 2006.


This github project is pretty much useless for those who want to learn about Stuxnet. Better to load the binary into IDA Freeware instead.

Stuxnet does appear to be an unusually large project (base classes, ungainly modular structure) for malware. This reinforces what I said earlier about its lack of stealth for the payload.


It does not appear to be sophisticated in any way except for its payload, which some evidence seems to claim was carefully constructed (e.g., with a PLC testbed). The "embarrassing" fact I was referring to in the above post is that its lack of stealth revealed its payload to the world, and no competent intelligence agency has that goal if the purpose of the worm itself is to do some damage.

Perhaps the worm is a way to draw the heat off the real deployment method. Or it is industrial sabotage gone awry. There is still not enough evidence to come to any conclusions on it, except this is not what an eleet cyberweapon would look like if you were to find one.

23 points by forgotusername 1 day 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.

3 points by Tenchi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the fuss this "recent discovery" makes all around the web when this article here: http://ma2moun.com/blog/2010/09/stuxnet-source-code-samples/
is FOUR MONTHS OLD, and contains the exact same code output than the github "source code" (The second screenshot has the exact same content as 016169EBEBF1CEC2AAD6C7F0D0EE9026.c)
2 points by scotth 2 days 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 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if anyone is going to send a DMCA takedown to github.....
5 points by wslh 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's the license? :-)
-4 points by dustinchilson 1 day ago 1 reply      
So I see GoTos in that code. I hope that was the decompiler not the author because thats just sacrilege.
-4 points by yuvadam 2 days 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?)
IBM's Watson starts on Jeopardy Tonight jeopardy.com
239 points by KevBurnsJr 1 day ago   141 comments top 26
23 points by brown9-2 23 hours ago replies      
You can watch the PBS Nova episode about the building of Watson for free on their website (about 60 minutes long, aired Feb 9 2011):


One question I have about Watson that I don't recall being mentioned in any videos or articles so far - what sort of interface does Watson receive the questions over? Is Watson performing speech recognition or getting the text of the question via some sort of interface?

66 points by swanson 23 hours ago 2 replies      
"a';DROP TABLE 'knowledge'; This type of attack is commonly used by hackers."

Game over, Watson.

8 points by kj12345 23 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing I'm interested in is any skew in the questions from normal. In particular I hope they ask linguistically tricky questions where you can't even figure out what's being asked at first. I felt like they went a bit easy on that front in the preview round:


5 points by ugh 23 hours ago 4 replies      
It's a shame that this is (necessarily!) such an insular challenge. Everybody knows what chess is all about, I fear that the impact of this game will be limited to the US or the Anglosphere. Just as an example, there has been no Jeopardy on German TV since 2000, it's not really a part of German pop culture and because of all the puns it doesn't translate well.

(Question for native speakers: When watching the practice round [0] are you generally able to keep up and answer the questions? The speed with which the game was moving made it nearly impossible for me to follow or enjoy the game. I would like to know what the experience is like for native speakers.)

[0] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFR3lOm_xhE

16 points by chaosmachine 1 day ago 5 replies      
Is there somewhere to watch this online?
12 points by waxpraxis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently finding out what information we're allowed to share about how the avatar works and what went into developing it. The problem is we're so far down the totem pole I probably won't know for a while yet. :-/


4 points by savrajsingh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Did anyone else notice that the vignettes about Watson's creation featured IBM researchers using MacBook Pros? So much for "International Business Machines." ;)
4 points by 3pt14159 23 hours ago 1 reply      
13 points by sambeau 1 day ago 1 reply      
A valentine's day gift for us single geeks
5 points by powrtoch 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Anybody know whether this will be live or if it's pre-taped like most jeopardy episdoes?
3 points by phren0logy 21 hours ago 2 replies      
SPOILER Link to final score for those of us who are curious, but not curious enough to watch:


5 points by shortlived 22 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is interested to know Watson's opponents: Watson will compete against Brad Rutter, the current biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!, and Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak [source: wikipedia]
2 points by thought_alarm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
And be sure to stick around for Wheel of Fortune, where two previous champs will take on an Apple II+. Beep.
4 points by Charuru 19 hours ago 6 replies      
Shouldn't IBM start their own search engine if they have algorithms like this?

Or conversely, maybe Google should buy them?

3 points by olalonde 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Suppose Watson scales cheaply (it doesn't), would it be serious threat to Google? My guess is that it would be but I'd be curious to hear HN's take.
4 points by KevBurnsJr 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there somewhere in Silicon Valley to watch this together in person?
3 points by umjames 1 day ago 4 replies      
Much of success on Jeopardy is not just deciphering clues in the answers, but your timing on ringing in to give the question. I'd imagine a machine could get really good at getting the timing down. Does Jeopardy have a way of varying who rings in first to keep things more fair?
2 points by tremendo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
http://twitter.com/robotwisdom has some results from the show, don't know how he was able to see it already.
2 points by icedpulleys 22 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone missed it the first time around, the nytimes mag had a pretty good writeup on Watson back in June -- might be worth instapapering and reading later if you're going to catch the broadcast this week:


As an AI researcher I'm excited to watch this week. Even if it's not the most elegant artificial Jeopardy player imaginable, it raises the public profile of a lot of AI & ML topics and might encourage and inspire other groups to tackle ambitious projects.

4 points by kirpekar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the reminder. DVR set.
1 point by tocomment 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Why does Watson need so much computing power? I don't know of many NLP algorithms that are so intensive?
1 point by jal278 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sure there are those that disagree strongly, but I feel like this isn't as much an advance for AI as it is another interesting combination of filtered human-structured knowledge and computation power. Just as Deep Blue brute-forced chess, this is mostly a brute-force of another, albeit more open-ended domain (i.e. Q/A).

I'm not arguing that this isn't an impressive accomplishment, but that the statistical-learning stream of research is likely a conceptual local optima that yields the best results in the near term but is probably unrelated to the way we ultimately achieve a creative, general AI.

2 points by Kilimanjaro 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see Watson as a web service.
1 point by lorax 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I hope someone writes down all the answers (questions?) and feeds them into google so we can have a Google-Watson showdown. (Oh, we need a third contestant, how about bing too).
1 point by AARC233 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. Way to mix it up Jeopardy
0 points by tpatke 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I assume this is pre-recorded and IBM would have cancelled it if they didn't like the outcome.
Skype's Crazy Regex Easter Egg nyaruka.com
209 points by nicpottier 1 day ago   50 comments top 19
13 points by unwind 1 day ago 4 replies      
I find it highly annoying that this, as far as I understand, really doesn't use regular expressions.

The s/that/this/ syntax is not, of course, a regular expression. The regular expression is the thing that might go into the "that" part, an expression that can match against several different inputs. If all it supports is literals, it's not really worth calling it a regular expression, in my opinion.

The article expresses this like so:

Some experimentation shows that it isn't a full regular expression engine, it will only do straight word substitution.

I think this is stretching it; sure all literal strings are regular expressions, but if that's all there is (i.e. no alteration, repeat etc), then why call it an RE at all?

Am I just being grumpy?

11 points by ck2 20 hours ago 0 replies      
So how does it look in your logs?

I will pay you $1,000 to do this project for me

(at end of chat)


5 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can type in "/help" in a chat to see more options:

    sys: Available commands:
/me [text]
/add [skypename+]
/alertson [text]
/whois [skypename]
For more help please see http://www.skype.com/go/help.chathelp

Clickable link to the full list: http://www.skype.com/go/help.chathelp

13 points by gmac 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was sceptical about this, but it works.

I also noticed recently that, in a somewhat shell-like way, you can press the up arrow to edit your previous message at will (but perhaps this is common knowledge).

2 points by roryokane 11 hours ago 0 replies      
When I first found this feature, I tried to write an email to Skype to thank them for including it. Sadly, there is no way to do such a thing. I looked all over their website for a contact email address, and I finally found one on a hard-to-find page, but when I wrote my message to it, I just got an auto-reply saying basically “please don't send email to us. Call us or open a support ticket.” Opening a support ticket just to say “thank you” didn't seem right. It's sad that the company provides a way for people to complain about the program not working, but not for people to thank the makers of the program. (And I don't think it's because thank yous are useless to the company " knowing what your customers like is valuable feedback.)
21 points by tmachinecharmer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Valentines day special

guy> I love you darling!

girl> GO 2 HELL!!

guy> s/love/hate

guy> s/darling/bitch

1 point by aaronsw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
/topic works as well.
11 points by EGreg 1 day ago 1 reply      
So how do I write the literal version now? I still want it for humorous effect.
1 point by cgart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You do not need to type in /s/blah/anotherblah, it is already enough that you just hit the 'Up'-key on your keyboard. You then can edit previously written text!!!

It is really interesting that nobody points this out ;)

5 points by adam-_- 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has worked for as long as I can remember.
7 points by lemonad 1 day ago 0 replies      
That feature has been around since 2008, iirc.
2 points by kilian 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't work in the linux version :( Skype, can we have an update with new functionality? (the interface is fine!)
1 point by hackermom 1 day ago 1 reply      
words* <- I just saved a few bytes worth of network traffic, and a whole lot of CPU cycles.
3 points by tacoe 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is this an easter egg? Been using it for years.
3 points by kayoone 1 day ago 1 reply      
1 point by s0urceror 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've always wanted to implement this in my IRC client, but been too lazy, it's nice to see it implemented in some form of chat client, although it's a bit lacking. Is the change visible for all participants?
1 point by sygma 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can also right click on a reply and click "edit message" [1] " tested on Skype for OS X.

[1]: http://cl.ly/4Z1R

1 point by stuaxo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool so whats the regex to erase all the previous comments?
1 point by nketas 1 day ago 1 reply      
This doesn't work on windows version of skype.. i guess windows users have to pay for not having regex :P
Nerd Fort nerdfort.com
198 points by mrphoebs 1 day ago   94 comments top 30
11 points by JonnieCache 1 day ago 4 replies      
There's something like this in Brighton on the south coast of the UK called The Skiff.

Membership is £165/$264 a month. However this is the top rate, you can pay £25 a month for 'mates' membership, which means you aren't guaranteed a desk, but you can go there and find a place to sit wherever the hell you want, 2 days a week. It's an odd pricing structure but it must work for them because from what I've heard it's always busy.


Never been there myself. We just have our own little office.

They host some sort of hacker drop-in-centre called "Build Brighton" down there at night time apparently, which I've been meaning to check out. Apparently they made a MIDI exercise bike once...


13 points by jasonkester 1 day ago 9 replies      
I registered geekbeach.org (no site there) a few years back with the hope of one day doing this same thing in some random tropical setting.

I wonder how many people (aside from me of course) would be happy to know about a spot on Nusa Lembongan with guaranteed fast internet, reliable power, a nice slice of white sand and a really nice reef break just outside the lagoon.

Would anybody here take the effort to weasel a working holiday to such a place? Any SV startups that would pick up the whole shop and set up on the beach for a month or so?

It's been raining here in the North of England for six months straight. If I get enough love for the idea here, I might just have to book a flight and start scouting locations.

7 points by tptacek 1 day ago 3 replies      
Price is about 20% higher than the per-person cost of our first office in Chicago's Monadnock building, but our office didn't have the amenities. Is this roughly what co-working spaces cost nationwide?
46 points by aeden 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any photos?
4 points by jollyjerry 1 day ago 3 replies      
I saw the link to Office and Company in Pasadena. The rates are a bit steep for me at $325/month. I've also been to Blank Spaces in Santa Monica. Are there any folks out near Caltech that be interested in sharing a space or just working together? I usually work at home now and I wouldn't want to do co-working everyday of the week; I find I focus better outside an office environment. But I think spending a day or 2 every week with fellow developers and designers sounds fun and interesting. Ping me if you like the idea of part-time coworking.
8 points by travisjeffery 1 day ago 0 replies      
You need to link to some photos.
5 points by younata 1 day ago 0 replies      
I need more information on the zombie apocalypse survivability.

Until I know that it's safer than my bomb shelter, I am not leaving.

6 points by pktm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not looking to appear picky, but please break out the contact info & the address. Right now, prospects are required to thoroughly read the text, even if they're sold and want to sign up right away.


2 points by Legion 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm moving from California (where I work mostly in-office) to Austin (where I will continue to work the same job, but 100% remote), and I have been looking for things like this in the Austin area.
1 point by asmithmd1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work out of http://workbarboston.com in downtown Boston right across the street from South Station. $275 per month for a desk, more for a private office, less for 8:30 to 5:30 access only.
2 points by apinstein 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice branding and story, I like it. I think from a lot of co-working sites it's not clear what the vibe will be. Good luck!
2 points by whalesalad 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice! Something finally exists for those of us in So Cal!
1 point by code_duck 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is so what I'm looking for.

I've been thinking of renting out an office just so I have somewhere to go to and work in a daily routine.

Working at home all the time is not as grand as some people might think it would be.

1 point by mk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool as there isn't much like this in the SFV. It would be nice if there were some photos so we could see what it looks like. I've been to co-loft in Santa Monica a couple times and am hoping this is similar. It would be nice if they hosted some meet-ups like co-loft does as it would be a much closer place to nerd out for people that live closer to SFV.
1 point by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
cool idea. fortunatley in some places you can get an entire private office with door for about double that. more space & quiet, less "co-" so not sure if clearly better or worse
3 points by nhangen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Two words: Awesome design.
1 point by rfugger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice coworking space in Vancouver:


1 point by pvilchez 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a couple of coworking places in the Golden Triangle in Ontario that come to mind:

- http://treehaus.ca in Kitchener, I think they've been around a while;

- http://threefortynine.com, a new space starting up in Guelph

1 point by mrphoebs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi guys, Im not associated with nerd fort,so Im not able to provide any photos. Posted the link because I thought it would be useful to other hackers (and liked the design as well).
2 points by pero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Similar concept with 2 locations in Toronto:


1 point by RobertKohr 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Any places like this in the portland area?
2 points by skullsplitter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Im looking for Nerd Fort Oakland
1 point by whackedspinach 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does coworking work? Is that someplace where you could leave your desktop, or do people just bring laptops in?
1 point by MonkoftheFunk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this similar?
Or is this for more mature startups?
1 point by risico 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish there were more options like this, and not just in US. Even if you are a freelance or a one man startup, working alone isn't always as good as it sounds.
1 point by perlpimp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anything like that around Moscow?
1 point by robotkad 1 day ago 0 replies      
The logo is by one of my fave internet artists - http://goopymart.com/
1 point by jvandonsel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love the name and logo.
1 point by phatbyte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Photos please...
Formula for love: X^2+(y-sqrt(x^2))^2=1 wolframalpha.com
196 points by carusen 20 hours ago   40 comments top 16
13 points by ck2 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Since the human heart looks nothing like the "heart shape" we all know and use, I wonder where that originated...

Dang, wikipedia knows it all:


The seed of the silphium plant, used in ancient times as an herbal contraceptive, has been suggested as the source of the heart symbol.

Oh, also http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28x^2%2By^2-1%29^3-x^2...

17 points by iwwr 19 hours ago 2 replies      
12 points by philh 18 hours ago 1 reply      
3d version: (x^2+(9/4)y^2+z^2-1)^3 - x^2z^3-(9/80)y^2z^3 = 0


6 points by jacobolus 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Mathworld has some better ones:
1 point by ehsanul 5 hours ago 0 replies      
With bezier curves (it's prettier) in Canvas/Coffeescript (assuming an existing global canvas context 'ctx'):

    heart = (scale,x,y)->
p1 = [x-75*scale,y+20*scale]
p2 = [x,p1[1]+60*scale]

p1 = [x+75*scale,y+20*scale]
p2 = [x,p1[1]+60*scale]

ctx.strokeStyle = 'rgba(255,40,20,0.7)'

heart(1.0, 450, 250)

1 point by _corbett 5 hours ago 0 replies      
one of my favorites

"Roses are red.
Violets are approximately blue.
A paracompact manifold with a Lorentzian metric,
can be a spacetime, if it has dimension greater than or equal to two."

3 points by jawee 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This one was fun at school today:


1 point by scorpion032 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Also possible in Polynomial function alone.


4 points by nailer 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Isn't the square root of x squared just x?
1 point by zerd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, this one looks a bit better:


2 points by porterhaney 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Circles rolling around circles http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Cardioid.html
1 point by hoag 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This whole thread is way too cool, loved it!
1 point by GanjaHacker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
1 * (x^2+(y-sqrt(x^2))^2=1) would be a Bob Marley song.
1 point by maddalab 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Who does sqrt(x^2) for abs(x) ? Speak about accidental complexity in love
-2 points by zinssmeister 18 hours ago 1 reply      
so awesome. that's all.
-3 points by tintin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
And ofcourse: 1 + 1 = 1 ;)
Toyota, The Media Owe You an Apology businessweek.com
183 points by AndrewWarner 3 days ago   77 comments top 14
49 points by DevX101 3 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.
30 points by stcredzero 3 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 3 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 3 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.
18 points by cafard 3 days ago 1 reply      
Take a seat in the waiting room next to Audi.
4 points by silverlake 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Buy shares in companies hit by media hysteria.
2. Wait for hysteria to pass.
3. Profit!
17 points by schwit 3 days ago 0 replies      
The media also owes an apology to Richard Jewel and the Duke lacrosse team.
4 points by techiferous 3 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 3 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe true, but they also spent months illegally withholding crash data from government regulators. Let's call it even.
What would Feynman do? msdn.com
182 points by cruise02 23 hours ago   34 comments top 10
21 points by hristov 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Whoever this guy is should try to make a point without putting words in Feynman's mouth. It is downright disrespectful. I know that everyone knows that Feynman did not say these things, but it is still disrespectful.

Also it shows an enormous ego. Mr. Lippert thinks he is as smart as Feynman but he is not; he just makes Feynman sound like a pedantic asshole.

Mind you I agree with his point that those questions are silly, but again he can make this point without bringing in Feynman's corpse and using it as a sockpupet.

40 points by rflrob 22 hours ago 3 replies      
When the original "If Feynman Applied for a job at Microsoft" was posted (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1866305), a lot of people commented that this doesn't actually sound like something Feynman would say. Sheldon Cooper, maybe, but Feynman would have loved the simple, elegant solution that relied on no extra tools.
12 points by teamonkey 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Without wanting to drag the discussion down, it seems remiss not to link to this image that's been going around forever.


3 points by loup-vaillant 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Brain teasers and real life just don't work the same way. The trick is to distinguish them.

If a bridge can only support 2 people, maybe it is better to not cross it at all. If you do have to cross it, maybe you can trust your tamed tiger with the goat. Pirates aren't rational agents that use silly rules for sharing the treasure. An egg that doesn't take a scratch when falling from the 13'th floor belongs to wonderland. Few women would kill their cheating husband right away. Fewer still would rely on the perfect rationality of others, and the mayor's to do so.

And so on. Brain teasers are fun, but many people (not just Richard Feynman) don't accept their weird assumptions right away, and instead assume a real-life setting.

14 points by gwern 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The Feynman I know from the _Feynman Lectures on Computation_ would have quickly disposed of the information-theoretic problem posed, and then have gone on to discuss all the interesting variants.
4 points by tomsaffell 22 hours ago 3 replies      
..And why is the solution you were clearly driving me towards one which takes advantage of an undocumented and unreliable epiphenomenon..

Since when has the thermal performance of a light bulb been undocumented and unreliable? I would think that designers of light fixtures and shades rely heavily on the documented thermal performance of light bulbs, and rate their products for compatibility with a range of bulbs accordingly.

6 points by anupj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think Dr. Feynman talks in such a cryptic language, if you've read his books you would know that he actually talks/writes in a very lucid language. But the person mentioned in the interview does sound like a certain "Sheldon" from the "The Big Bang Theory".
1 point by Confusion 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I find this story unlikely, but probably for a pretty uncommon reason. Here's the thing: I heard this question a number of times before (never in an interview; always on the interwebs), but never attempted to solve it and never read a solution. As I was reading this paragraph:

  Can I assume that the lights and the switches are correctly
wired according to the National Electric Code of the United
States? That is, that the switches interrupt the hots, not the
neutrals, that the switches are standard-duty switches rated
to interrupt 15 amps of 120 volt alternating current, and so on?

I instantly realized the intended answer. I don't doubt for a second that if that just happened to me, it would also have happened to Feynman (because I blame being a physicist for what just happened), immediately after first thinking of that important signalling word that he was supposedly about to speak.

2 points by juiceandjuice 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Feynman would have a better approximation for the resistance of a human. 1K is just way too low.
0 points by shubber 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"Does your team usually write code whose correctness relies upon undocumented and unreliable correlations, correlations whose magnitudes can vary widely as a result of implementation details?"

I loved this implication on a Microsoft website.

Why Non-engineers Think Engineers Are Better Off Joining Startups dbasch.posterous.com
177 points by diego 1 day ago   74 comments top 11
24 points by wallflower 1 day ago replies      
We've done polls here on HN before of where people work. A significant percentage of the HN community work for companies that are not startups.

Sometimes even just reading on HN about people who are succeeding (or persisting) with their side projects or about successful startup founders or failed startup founders is enough to release the tension (momentarily) - to jump from a certain 9 to 5 reality to very real world of a real start-up.

The ability to leave your job at 5pm is very much a benefit, one that 99% of startups will never offer.

That being said, you will never become wealthy[1] without ownership of something that produces income. That will almost never happen at a BigCo. My mom had multiple patents - for which she got a nice lucite paperweight [2]

[1] My definition of wealthy == How long you can maintain your current, preferred lifestyle without working. This means building a semi-passive/semi-active income from your own products. Binging on consulting income isn't the same. Yes, you can adjust your preferred lifestyle to meet median cash flows.

[2] Example from the "Corporate & IP Recognition Company" (LOL)


21 points by mgkimsal 1 day ago 2 replies      
"and then build a crappy, I-hope-nobody-sees-this-code prototype."

And it'll end up being 'production' code because "we already have it and they already paid for it!". And the crappier it is, the longer it will remain in production and the harder everyone will fight against rebuilding it to be not crappy.

18 points by samt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good times are better for working at startups for one reason - switching costs are lower. When you know that if $employer runs out of cash but you can find another job in a week, there's very little risk involved as a startup engineer.

That said, as an engineer being a startup "employee" is a sucker's game. You'll never get enough equity or intangibles to compensate for the risk/effort/opportunity cost.

14 points by zeemonkee 1 day ago 1 reply      
The argument seems to be BigCorp vs. startup. You can also work in a relatively sane, small-to medium sized stable business.
12 points by jswiente 1 day ago 3 replies      
"You will have stability. If you are hired by Oracle or Google [...] chances are you'll be able to work on this specific problem for long enough to accomplish something."

Large companies change all the time. Departments are merged, strategies are changed and projects are stopped constantly. I think this point isn't valid.

3 points by hackerbysea 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to say I'm a bit surprised by the sentiment favoring working at big companies among the majority of comments here.

One possible explanation:
1) Statistically, most engineers work for big companies.
2) By human nature, people tend to stick to their current jobs, most likely a big company job.

Here is a related thread at Quora:

4 points by pestaa 1 day ago 2 replies      
The sad thing is, most engineers are constantly in information-gathering mode, putting them in the front of the hype.

Any logical being would play with the idea of financial freedom. And it is unlikely in a "regular job."

1 point by ashr 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have no idea if there is a specific non-engineer that this post is talking about. The author of the referenced techcrunch article Bindu Reddy is certainly not a non-engineer : http://www.crunchbase.com/person/bindu-reddy

It also seems to me that this post is criticizing two sentences out of the entire article (http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/13/engineers-startups/)
without properly understanding them with rest of the context. All this article is saying is that due to the market warming up, now is a good time for engineers to work at a start up.

That said, I agree with the point that dbasch is trying to make even though I don't think that they needed to be presented as a 'rebuttal'.

1 point by sanj 1 day ago 0 replies      
The "why" question wasn't answered in the actual article.

It was a reasonable debunking of a deplorable TC article, but I was really interested in the difference in mindset.

2 points by lylanm 1 day ago 1 reply      
"it would never cross my mind to make a blanket statement that all engineers should work at startups" --> I completely agree. In fact, such blanket statements about almost any kind of advice is often naive.
1 point by jeanhsu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Totally agree with a lot of the points you brought up. There are pluses to working at large companies, and many people are happy there. I left Google to work for myself and then joined a startup, and couldn't be happier. Wrote a response as well and included your post: http://www.jeanhsu.com/?p=247
I have seen the future and I am opposed core77.com
175 points by cwan 1 day ago   70 comments top 19
31 points by grellas 1 day ago 6 replies      
This is a thoughtful piece written by a tech-savvy author who expresses concerns about the idea that we, as tech consumers, will be subject to the greed-driven restraints placed upon the technology we use by various corporate interests.

The unstated premise of the piece seems to be that, as technology matures, control over it becomes consolidated in fewer hands, each of whom has a proprietary interest to limit its ultimate use in order to serve its short-term profit interests. Thus, service providers charge high roaming fees and structure their charges to serve their interests at the expense of consumers while apps that are offered come increasingly within walled gardens where proprietary overlords dictate all terms.

I believe this is all true but disagree as to its alleged threat to our future as tech consumers. Human innovation in a free enterprise system tends to take on a force of its own that overwhelms individual corporate interests. If this were not the case, then our current overlords would be Barnes & Noble (for books), Tower Records (for music), Blockbuster Video (for video rentals), Western Union (for instant messaging), IBM (for enterprise computing), and so on. These were yesterday's corporate giants and they each declined in their influence specifically because they failed to anticipate key trends in technology and thus became laggards instead of leaders.

Telco service providers, of course, have incredible power and will use that power to further their particular narrow interests if at all possible. This has resulted in a variety of frustrating user experiences. Even here, however, technology will tend to outrun their long-term ability to dictate terms. Those who are old enough will readily remember the outrageous expense, while traveling, of "long distance" charges, of the scarcity of reliable phone systems in many countries, and of the difficulty often incurred while wanting to make a call of trying to find an available phone booth while on the road. We are worlds removed from that old environment today owing to amazing advances in technology, and we as consumers are far better off than before in spite of the hassles, inconveniences, and expenses we experience with our service providers.

I resist walled gardens and proprietary traps in the marketplace as much as the next guy but these too do not threaten my choices in the long run. I may or may not like what Apple does but Apple will not control the future any more than the companies listed above. Corporate control in this sense is powerful but ephemeral - absent government restrictions that give it quasi-monopoly status, it lasts only as long as a company serves important needs of consumers. Once that slips, so too does the corporate dominance (over the long term). I may be wrong about this but, given what I have observed over my lifetime, I take a much more relaxed view of it than does the author of this piece.

20 points by Create 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh dear. Don Norman has discovered why free software is about freedom and what the cloud business model is really about.

"One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control," he said. "It's just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else's web server, you're defenceless. You're putty in the hands of whoever developed that software."[1]

He dismisses GNU/Linux right off the bat, even though the very reason why GNU was even born[2] is the very same problem he is starting to admit (given where he worked, I think he saw this ...but now that he no longer seem to profit from it enough to even get his blackberry roaming payed for him by The Company Overlord -- welcome to the reality of the majority).

Just visit http://www.debian.org/ and download http://www.libreoffice.org/ and do something about it, instead of musing and whining (I am awaiting a functionality he would need that is missing).

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.compu...

[2] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

7 points by joblessjunkie 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This piece is short on big-picture thinking. None of its complaints hold up under scrutiny.

Mobile internet access while traveling abroad is expensive and unreliable because it's new. Yes, there are commercial forces that try to maintain high prices as long as possible, but short-term profits never hold up forever. Fifty years ago, every phone bill in the US was payable to AT&T, and long distance calls could cost dollars (not cents) per minute. Thirty years ago, we gained multiple long distance carriers and prices fell quickly. Twenty years ago, we cut the cord, but cell phones charged by the minute and came with draconian contracts. Today it's common to lease a service with an near-infinite supply of minutes, that lets you call anywhere in the country for a flat rate. It's incredibly cheap compared to long distance of twenty years ago. All this, despite the evil resistance of profiteering corporations.

Sure, Microsoft laughed at Apple and Sun when they approached to develop a common standard platform. Times change, and high profits are constantly under attack. Microsoft completely missed the internet boat -- not a single protocol in use on the internet today comes out of Microsoft. Google and many other corporations offer free products that compete favorably with Microsoft's expensive products of yore. It must have sucked to compete with Microsoft in the 90's, but here we are, and where is Microsoft? Sinking billions into R&D in the race against Google.

Over and over, new technologies lead to incredible profits for a few, controlling corporations, but inevitably these situations aren't permanent. Our internet faces censorship threats from governments and exclusivity threats from corporations, but these controls, like others before, won't last.

So what is Mr. Norman going on about? Short-term profiteering? That's what covers my paycheck, and makes all this possible. Privatization of the internet? Maybe temporarily, but if that doesn't truly benefit the public then it simply can't endure against technological advancement.

3 points by cletus 22 hours ago 3 replies      
It's an interesting post. A few points:

> But what I see developing seems driven by greed and profit...

Yes, it's called "capitalism".

> For me, the future would bring forth solutions to our needs and wants...


> design that provides value in a sustainable and responsible manner...

"Sustainable" is an extremely loaded term. Basically, you get it when the market demands it. If you see it as important, it's not a failure of the producers: it's a failure of the consumers to demand or the governments to require it.

The rest of the post talks about nascent issues of balkanization, which is the natural path of progression. Consider the examples of railroads in the US and the road system in the UK. In both cases, they were initially private endeavours that were likewise driven by "greed and profit". Arguably in both cases the high pricing stifled innovation and in both cases, the systems were eventually nationalized.

In the UK's example, nationalization fostered trade (the roads were all toll roads previously). In the case of the US railroads, nationalization can arguably be seen as a disaster so there are mixed results of this.

Ultimately though the story is one of commoditization. We are still in the pioneering days of these technologies and as time goes on they will get cheaper and ubiquitous to the point where people through the instrument of governments will start to see such services as basic rights, much as is becoming the case with Internet access, which many countries are starting to see as the "fourth utility".

"Greed and profit" propelled us from an a hunter-gatherer and agrarian existence to manned spaceflight and the global Internet. Don't be quick to dismiss or disparage "greed and profit" as there has been no greater catalyst for human advancement.

As for his talk of "open standards", I refer you to Dave McClure's "Open is for Losers" [1]. We may find open desirable philosophically but it is not the natural product of a market--at least not an immature market. Open standards are the byproduct of commoditization.

As for synchronous Internet connections:

> Why would it harm companies to provide equal access?

The predominant form of broadband access in many countries is ADSL. The "A" is asynchronous in this case. ADSL2+ is up to 24M down and 1M up (2M with Annex M). Gain more upload speed and you lose download speed. So this isn't an artificial restriction: it's giving consumers what they most likely want. You can buy SDSL links. They have lower (relative) download speeds and generally higher cost, mostly because they're a business product as a general rule.

> I fear the Internet is doomed to fail, to be replaced by tightly controlled gardens of exclusivity.

I don't. I see such walled gardens as merely transitional. The "greed and profit" that drives them pulls us all forward and makes a bucketload of money for a few in the process. For a time.

> Today it is too easy for unknown entities to penetrate into private homes and businesses, stealing identities and corporate secrets.

Not really. If you run a Windows machine directly on the Internet (ie not via a router that does NAT, etc) then you kinda get what you deserve.

The fact is, the closed devices the OP bemoans are actually much safer for such things and that's almost by definition because as soon as you get a complicated mess like Windows, faults are inevitable.

TL:DR the sky isn't falling.

[1]: http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/19/dave-mcclure-open-is-for-l...

2 points by retube 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the joys of travel is the disconnect. Frankly, the more connected we become, the less time we have for ourselves. I hate it that now I can go to just about the most remote place on earth and no longer have a good reason not be answering emails or phoning home.

Anyone who NEEDS this level of connectivity must be losing all power of imagination, of self-reliance, of self-sufficiency. One of the joys of being abroad is that sense of discovery, finding stuff out for yourself, and more often than not meeting new people in the process. Where's the fun, the romance, in having your phone recommend you a restaurant?

I don't have a smart phone, and am not sure I ever will. I'm in front of the internet all day long in the office, and often at home. Being out and about is a welcome break. And if I need to find somewhere to eat, I'll go find it myself. I'll take in the city, absorb my surroundings, and discover new things in the process.

I have seen the future, and I am opposed too.

24 points by nick_urban 1 day ago 5 replies      
Does it strike any one else as at least a _bit_ disturbing that he thinks his "mind" is in his smart phone, and finds no problem with this other than that service providers are greedy?

An obvious way to avoid becoming beholden to service providers is to retain some independence from our devices. It's not like people didn't travel before the invention of the iPhone.

5 points by zeteo 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"as the business potential became obvious to corporate warlords, they struck, [...] getting willing governments to enact rules, regulations and laws to protect corporate interests"

Aye, there's the rub. Corporate welfare programs are the root cause of everything he's describing, and of a lot of other problems with today's economic system. Restrictions on competition, created by the government, have been a major obstacle to everyone's welfare since at least the 18th century (Adam Smith rails against them at length in Wealth of Nations).

4 points by hammock 22 hours ago 0 replies      
What worries me about this post is that the most salient solution to one of the main complaints (roaming fees) is to have one giant worldwide provider of mobile broadband. And it's not hard to imagine why that might not be so good.
1 point by zecg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
To quote: "My intelligence is in the cloud. My life is in the cloud. My friends, photographs, ideas and mail. My life. My mind. Take away my cloud and I am left mindless.

Mindless, unattached, not clinging... a proper Nirvana.

4 points by jamesaguilar 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. Buy a SIM card in your destination country. 2. Profit.
3 points by wybo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is basically the main thesis of Zittrains 'The Future of the Internet: And how to stop it'


Agree that it is a problem. Quite brave, by the way, that he speaks out about this as a (former) Apple VP...

1 point by zokier 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I for one think that (reasonable) asymmetrical internet connections are mostly a good thing. I mean, could you imagine a residential internet connection that really would handle eg slashdotting? On the other hand, you can get cheapo VPS or a piece of cloud for a fraction of a cost of a actual server, and includes internet connection, probably at least 100M, but likely a Gigabit. And because of high download speeds, you can actually put eg HD videos on your VPS and people will be able to actually consume them.

And that VPS will have probably far less limitations on the content you are distributing via it compared to a residential connection, partly because the higher competition. And if your VPS provider decides to shut your revolutionary website down, it's trivial to move to an another provider, compared to switching your home connection. And additionally VPS is easier to anonymize if you need/want to. Your home connection will always point to your home, and to you.

1 point by joubert 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Exorbitant roaming

Why not get a local pay-as-you-go GSM SIM with a data bundle, pop into your phone, and voila?

1 point by keiferski 1 day ago 0 replies      
My phone translates foreign languages, provides maps and directions, recommends restaurants and tells me the news of the day. It lets me communicate with friends around the world and in general, allows me to function. All my knowledge depends upon access to communication services: my email, my calendar, my maps and guidebooks. But all of this is at the mercy of the service provider.

While I agree with his post on the whole, nearly all of those smartphone apps are available offline. His point is more valid when it comes to content.

2 points by pnathan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of McLuhan's thesis on technology: for each advance, something is effectively lost.

That said, I recommend the author bring a paper book along whenever he travels.

2 points by scelerat 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with many of Norman's concerns.

To the extent that connectivity and access are increasingly becoming essential to a modern way of life, commerce, education, etc. and considering the clear direction towards consolidation, oligopolization etc., ISP/cable/wireless providers increasingly look like natural monopolies. Somewhere on the spectrum of a public national highway system, public utilities, or a regulated broadcast and telecom systems, probably more towards the latter.

There are lots of good reasons for being concerned, and historical lessons abound.

1 point by tjmaxal 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What about consumer responsibility? caveat empetor and all. Capitalism only works when we the consumer are willing to buy what is out there instead of holding out for better offers.
1 point by Synaesthesia 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonder why he writes his column in Word, I can think of no tangible benefit. In fact writing in Word on a Mac is really annoying because you get no spell check access.
1 point by PonyGumbo 1 day ago 0 replies      

I can see that you are.

New string search algorithm volnitsky.com
171 points by akaus 3 days ago   59 comments top 9
31 points by dasht 3 days ago 2 replies      

Note that the worst case of complexity for this algorithm is much, much worse than the worst case complexity for Boyer Moore. Do not use this algorithm carelessly. For example, if you use it in a thoughtless way in your web server, you may open yourself to a DoS attack.

Note that the author nicely characterizes it as of potential use for small alphabets and possibly multiple substrings (in a single search). That immediately made me think he might have devised it for genomics research. In most applications I would think you'd also want regexp features. Interestingly, DNA research and use in a regexp engine is something he goes on to suggest. (If you are searching for a very large number of regexps in a big genome database, I would not use this algorithm. I found that some simple variants on classic NFA techniques work very well for a wide class of typical regexps (e.g., regexps modeling SNPs, small read position errors, small numbers of read errors, etc. There probably isn't any one obviously right answer, though, and a lot depends on your particular hardware situation, data set sizes, etc.).

The HN headline is very bogus hype. "X2 times faster than Boyer-Moore" is far from true in the general case. "breakthrough" is a gross exaggeration: this is a technique that anyone with some good algorithms course or two under the belt should be able to think of an, for most applications, decide to not use because of the limitations of the thing. I can definitely see it being nice for some applications tolerant of its limitations but... breakthrough it ain't.

17 points by mayank 3 days ago 3 replies      
No DBLP profile for the author, no proofs on site, fastest algorithm known "to me" qualifier, no results for "suffix tree" on page, not a good sign.

EDIT: Am I missing something???

Complexity analysis according to the author:
m = search term, n = text

O(m) preprocessing -- that's right, O(search term). And
O(n times m) worst-case query string search, so the worst case traverses the whole text.

Now compare that to suffix trees:

O(n) preprocessing
O(m) string search

where worst case complexity is linear in search term.

4 points by bnoordhuis 3 days ago 3 replies      
The author states that preprocessing takes O(m) time but that is on average.

A quick review of the code makes me think that its worst case is actually on the order of O((s * (s + 1)) / 2), where s = m / 2.

The Achilles heel is the hash function. It's trivial to create collisions and have the insertion time for word w turn from O(1) to O(w).

1 point by tansey 3 days ago 4 replies      
From the site:

>Preprocessing phase in O(M) space and time complexity. Searching phase average O(N) time complexity and O(N*M) worst case complexity.

I don't trust the analysis of someone referring to "average O(N) time"; Big O notation refers to boundary times.

Edit: Okay, based on arguments here and on [1], I'm going to accept that maybe he's just bastardizing the notation.

[1] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3905355/meaning-of-averag...

3 points by matt4711 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pattern matching performance also depends on the alphabet size of the text. In his experiment he doesn't report the alphabet size of the text nor does he provide results for different text collections.

The algorithm itself looks very similar to the one used in agrep proposed by Wu and Manber [1].

I also found the book "Flexible Pattern Matching in Strings" to be a very good reference on all things related to pattern matching [2].

[1] S. Wu and U. Manber. A fast algorithm for multi-pattern searching. Report TR-94-17, Department of Computer Science, University of Arizona, 1994.

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Pattern-Matching-Strings-Line...

3 points by zitterbewegung 3 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a very practical website about the algorithm but where is the theory and proofs of the time complexity of the algorithm??
2 points by aristus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Skeptical but excited. Will definitely be studying this at the weekend. I had been working on a long writeup on string matching but stopped the project for lack of recent progress.
3 points by yhlasx 3 days ago 0 replies      
If i am gonna need a string search algorithm for something serious, i would definitely use KMP (knuth morris pratt). Linear in worst case complexity (wouldn't risk)
2 points by b0b0b0b 3 days ago 0 replies      
it seems that his algorithm is faster because it exploits the model of computation (memory aligned accesses and multi-byte operations). He gets up to a constant factor more comparisons for free.
Continuous Deployment avc.com
171 points by cwan 3 days ago   81 comments top 21
24 points by mrkurt 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the great benefits of continuous deployment is that it really helps you hone in on a useful testing philosophy.

We've been doing continuous deployment at Ars for about 1.5 years. We would generally write tests for our apps before that, but they were somewhat directionless (and awfully easy to blow off for a "minor" change). Once our tests became crucial, we did a much better job of picking relevant tests and feeling their importance.

Many people visibly shudder when we tell them about our deploys. What they don't consider, though, is that manually ensuring a given release is "good" is less reliable than letting a well instructed computer system do it. When you make changes, run your tests, and then eyeball things to make sure everything's cool, you're really just doing unstructured integration testing. You're likely to miss regressions, unintentional bugs in seemingly unrelated systems, etc.

36 points by fleaflicker 2 days ago 5 replies      
I asked how to roll back the changes. He said "we don't roll back, we fix the code."

Not the best idea. I don't debug as well under the extreme pressure of my site being broken with the clock ticking.

16 points by clutchski 2 days ago 1 reply      
"At Etsy, they push out code about 25 times per day. It has worked out very well for Etsy and has led to [...] improved morale."

I am in the opposite situation at work. My company has scheduled, monolithic, all hands on deck releases once a month. It's an insane legacy policy from a time before our dev team had scripted releases and automated tests running against every commit in development. We've solved the technical issues of continuous deployment, but socially, we're stuck in the dark ages. It's a huge morale killer. We've had several great developers rally to change this policy and were stonewalled, and eventually left.

15 points by leftnode 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's great seeing VC's get involved on this level with their portfolio companies. I imagine it makes explaining when things go wrong easier.
8 points by jwedgwood 2 days ago 1 reply      
We adopted continuous deployment at my last company, and it was a huge win for us. It resulted in less downtime, reduced the cognitive load on our developers, and let us turn changes and bug fixes faster, which just made everyone happier. Here is the approach we took --

We got continuous integration working first by setting up an automated test server. We used cerberus, which is a trivially simple ruby gem that simply polls a repo, grabs code, runs tests, and reports the result. You could install this anywhere, even an old Mac mini if you wanted. We spun up a low end server for it. We wrote great tests, got decent coverage, and made adjustments in our automated testing strategy to increase our confidence.

Then we worked on zero-downtime deployment and rollback. This was actually the hardest part for us. With regard to schema changes, if we had to hammer our database (new index on a big table) then we needed to take the site down, but otherwise our strategy was to always add to the scheme, wait for the dust to settle, and then remove things later. This worked for us, but we had a relatively simple schema.

I haven't quite figured out how an ajax-heavy site would pull this off. That seems like a hard problem since you need to detect the changes and refresh your javascript code.

We then combined these two to get automated deployment to a staging server. We could have written monitoring code at this point, but we decided to punt on that, relying on email notification for crashes and watching our performance dashboard.

And finally, we set it up to deploy to production, and it just worked, and we never looked back. It was the most productive and pleasant setup I've ever worked in.

5 points by ajju 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone have good pointers on the best tools for continuous deployment of Django? I know there are tools like Capistrano, Fabric and Django Evolution out there but if someone has first hand experience using some of these it would be good to learn about.
3 points by brown9-2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Continuous Delivery is a great book about how to build such deployment systems and infrastructure (I'm only about a third of the way through it):


6 points by btipling 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's how we roll at Cloudkick. We ship the code. We're going to get all of Rackspace to do this too if we can.
6 points by arrel 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the calacanis article about facebook's developer culture - continuous deployment not only makes updates faster, it democratized the process and gives every developer the power to make things better. Good for the product, and good for the team.
5 points by allspaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just getting to this now, but there's a slight misquote in Fred's post. :) I (and I think Kellan said it at the same time) said "...we don't roll back, we roll forward..."

We do that because it's simply faster and easier to roll forward than to roll back the entire deploy. Rolling forward means taking advantage of the percentage rampups of new code paths, feature and config flags to turn things off/on, and even reverting the 5 line change is simpler than rolling it all back.

So no, I'm not suggesting we let bugs in prod languish while they are debugged for a long while.

3 points by ollysb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug -- we're building hosted continuous integration and deployment for heroku. We'll be opening up our beta real soon, email hn@zenslap.me to get an invite. More information at http://zenslap.me.
3 points by jfm3 2 days ago 2 replies      
You read about these "20 deploys a day" type situations, and it sounds great, and I'm sure it makes VCs all warm and creamy inside. But they're talking about small changes, and not all deploys are small. You can't incrementally change a database engine, for example.

What I would be more impressed by is if they could run tests against a full load of real user input, and have useful/reliable metrics come out the other end. There's no reason for the deploy to fail if you have a real mechanism for testing the deploy. I've yet to hear of a shop of the size of an Etsy that does real production/load testing.

2 points by tzs 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is anyone doing this at a site where serious money is involved? For instance, that 4 minutes of downtime described in the article would be a loss of something like $120k at Amazon.
1 point by code_duck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Etsy exhibits an ever-changing array of glitches and bugs which are difficult to pin down, monitor and understand. These are exhibited in both the web interface and the API.

I think that their plan to 'push code' 25 times a day or whatever plays a role in that. And really, I don't think having their dogs, VCs and first day employees publish changes to the site helps.

I think the issue is which test they have written - their tests aren't catching a few important details here and there.

2 points by laujen 3 days ago 2 replies      
That's pretty cool. This could work in mobile but Apple's review process kills it there and the monitoring part is hard. App stores, though, make this possible. I wish Apple would allow a post-review oath for trusted developers, those who have established a track record of successful releases.
2 points by sajidnizami 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting stuff. I've been doing something similar with my sites for over two years now. Its more of an workflow than just a system really.

1. A staging server where the new changes are first tested
2. Production server which gets the updated and verified working code
3. In case of any trouble (which hasn't happened in quite sometime btw) the old solution backup is kept with a date and time and can be reverted just as easily as code is updated from staging server

You can actually use a load balancer to roll over the servers too while deployment and it takes the factor of downtime away to an extent. But this can't be done with a powershell or any shell script and a network admin has to be present at the time of deployment which makes it difficult.

I have had next to none downtime on my servers. Last I remember my sites going down was during a DNS shuffle well over 6 months ago, never because of some developer or sys admin screw up. Yes I do have more than ten deployments on a single site in a day.

3 points by markneub 2 days ago 2 replies      
So what do you do when you want to make a change that isn't a logical evolution of your existing codebase? Say, for example, you have an ecommerce site, and you're switching payment processors to use one with an entirely different API. Surely you can't just push a change like this straight to your production server.
1 point by makeee 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't even roll out changes really, I edit the live production code, one small change at a time. I always felt this was kind of dumb, and I know it brings my site down for a few seconds to a minute here and there (about 1k visitors are on the site at any given time). But i've always felt this allows to get 5x more work done than I would within structured rollout system with version control, etc.. and has given me a great sense of instant satisfaction that motivates me to keep working.
2 points by babar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have experience trying this in a more enterprise-friendly product? We'd have a struggle figuring out how to communicate these changes to our customers on a daily basis, not to mention the absolute horror if something changed/broke right before or during a crucial production run. There's a lot of things I want to implement from these ideas, but the examples I see are usually high-volume consumer websites, so I am curious if people in other areas have success with this.
1 point by koski 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is a great example of continuos deployment, good tools and methods here: http://vimeo.com/14830327 .
1 point by karterk 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they have some kind of automated test suite just to make sure everything works fine. Having worked on large codebases, it's almost impossible to make sure everything is still alright manually, after a new deploy.
Christopher Monsanto gives up trying to delete PL articles wikipedia.org
170 points by bendmorris 1 day ago   130 comments top 22
78 points by Osmose 1 day ago replies      
Trying to delete stories? He nominated them for an open discussion to be decided by an admin. But that doesn't sound nearly as malicious. There are valid criticisms about the AfD process, but most people are blaming Chris as if he just walked by and deleted the articles on his own.

I fear that this issue has become less about fixing broken Wikipedia policies that encourage people like Chris to delete articles, and more about "teaching him a lesson".

The amount of ad hominem attacks in the original story is much higher than anything I'd expect from HN. And, considering HN is self-policed in a lot of ways, I think the issue needs to be pointed out.

40 points by ramanujan 1 day ago 2 replies      
The first public victory of inclusionism over deletionism. Perhaps it is not too late for Wikipedia. If only similar mobs could mete out rough internet justice to the top ten most notorious deletionists, casual contributors may once again walk the hallways of Wikipedia.

[only partially tongue-in-cheek here...]

24 points by burgerbrain 1 day ago 1 reply      
The damage is already done. "I'm sorry (but I was still right!)" is the kind of apology I would expect to hear from a child. If you're sorry, then make it right and undo the harm that you did. Otherwise, just shut-up, you're not sincere.
59 points by mfukar 1 day ago 1 reply      

  If anyone thought what I was doing was wrong, they could have just sent me a friendly message and I would have politely discussed the issue.

I guess he missed all the subtle indicators people left all over the place saying "Christopher, we are upset".

11 points by silverlake 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a fan and user(!) of Factor, I agree that it fails the notability test on Wikipedia. I can't find any mention of the language, beyond that by the author, which might convince a 3rd person that it is more notable than my own pet PL projects. But this might be true of many implementations of well-defined languages like Smalltalk, Scheme, or C. Take a look at the big list of Scheme implementations[1]. How many of them are "notable"? Is Ikarus or Chicken notable? Many PL papers describe some minor tweak in a homegrown toy language. Are all those languages notable?

I think Factor deserves to have a Wikipedia page (it still does), but I don't know by what general criteria I'm including it. It has a complete, robust implementation and is still actively developed, which is more than could be said of 90% of PLs out there. But how do we codify that into a notability test?

[1] http://community.schemewiki.org/?scheme-faq-standards#implem...

43 points by chris_j 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Here's a challenge, then, for the internet: instead of spamming my Wikipedia talk page (which I don't really care about), why don't you work on fixing WP's notability guideline for programming languages?"

Amen to that. Others have said it many times before and it is still true: Wikipedia's notability guidelines would benefit from being fixed. It's rather annoying to note that what this guy was doing was within the letter of the law but yet seemed so wrong. There is no way that the likes of Factor or Clean should be deleted from Wikipedia so the question becomes how can the guidelines be changed so that they don't allow it to happen.

4 points by davidhollander 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Since the internet seems to care more about keeping these articles than I care about deleting them, I'll stop.

That's how these things work Chris.

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -John Gilmore 1993

14 points by teyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Right... notability guidelines are broken, but he doesn't mind following it to the letter.
35 points by shekmalhen 1 day ago 2 replies      
Even after this "reversal", I'm not sure he understands why people were angry about his AfDs.
3 points by Charuru 1 day ago 0 replies      
This problem is hardy unique to this instance alone, or even to wikipedia alone. This is a question faced by All publications, that of target audience and market. Obviously on a tech forum like HN we're more likely to be interested in langs like factor. But imagine a journalist looking through langs to report on computer sci or a teenager looking for something new to study... It would be a waste of time.

Problem with wikipedia is that it does not have a target audience defined clearly enough to answer these questions easily. And as with many sites, except for the specific use case it was designrped for, it's not useful. For eacmple could a student learn any calculus from the calculus page?

We should stop trying force wikipedia to be the ideal resource for everything, as it's clearly impossible. There are better mediums for that.

6 points by slouch 1 day ago 0 replies      
chris blanked his talk page on wikipedia. here's the content he removed: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Christop...
4 points by j_baker 1 day ago 2 replies      
Has this page been changed since it was posted? Perhaps I'm missing it, but I don't see anything that indicates that he's giving up.
2 points by latch 1 day ago replies      
Not unexpected, but whenever something like this happens, to me the real tragedy is the level of animosity and vitriol shown by the "victims".
13 points by chmike 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pruning knowledge is a dangerous process.
7 points by yzhengyu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Notability is broken, since it is usually subjective and wielded mercilessly as an axe by the Wikipedia mafia to cull material which they deem as not notable. Inclusive? Haha, don't make me laugh.
2 points by rkalla 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people got up in arms when they saw the "Monsanto" and thought a patent-hoarding Satan was running around Wikipedia erasing programming language articles.

This wasn't really a valuable comment, but I couldn't help it.

1 point by VladRussian 19 hours ago 0 replies      
that is the outermost danger of tomorrow - the youngs today are made believe in the rule of rule. They will be cutting each other's fingers (of course after due process presided over by the millenium judge) for pressing a button on their own hardware they aren't licensed to press by the EULA or for not using real name on Facebook/Quora.
2 points by Programma 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What I think is funny: this guy seems to point to a problem with the internet and Wikipedia. But the actual problem is that he is not a programmer (obviously) so he has a skewed view of what is notable when it comes to programming language. In other words, he has no clue what he is talking about.

He then blames 'the internet' for calling him out. That is the problem with the internet: this newbie comes into the scene and has no idea why his actions are annoying and detrimental. He says he's looking for 'policies' but he's just a newbie.

Hopefully in 5-10 years these dramas will end when we all collectively grow up a bit and stop with the ignorant drama queen games.

Good to see that some aren't letting him rest until he acknowledges that he was deleting articles he had no business deleting. Ignorant editor is no excuse.

2 points by yaix 1 day ago 1 reply      
He very correctly points out that people should simply fix the Wikipedia rules then. In an open system, once you start ignoring the rules, everybody will want their exceptions and you end up in chaos. Anyone remember the Wikipedia from ten years ago? Today, it aims to have a good standard regarding its content, that is only possible with rules. So just update the rules and everything is fine. More importantly, it will still be fine ten years from now, when nobody remembers this incident anymore.
1 point by daxelrod 1 day ago 0 replies      
2 points by Flenser 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stack Exchange process for deleting content > Wikipedia process for deleting content.

Having nominations be anonymous until a consensus is reached stops this kind of issue arising. Sometimes complete transparency isn't the best policy.

1 point by jackfoxy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Chris. You did the right thing.
Yes, The Khan Academy is the Future of Education singularityhub.com
164 points by kkleiner 1 day ago   70 comments top 14
21 points by solipsist 1 day ago replies      
I haven't exactly been as amazed by the Khan Academy as everyone else has. After watching a few videos, I decided that we need to focus more on the material that we are teaching - rather than the methods we go about doing it. They will obviously go hand by hand, but in my opinion the material that we are teaching is our biggest weakness and therefore needs the most reform.

A video that everyone should take the time to watch is Conrad Wolfram's TED talk on teaching students with computers (http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_m...). While we may use computers now to enhance the learning methods, we haven't taken advantage of the content/knowledge computers have and can supply for us. The majority of what is taught in grades K-12 in science and math could be done by a computer in almost no time with increased accuracy. Why wouldn't we take advantage of that?

The gist of Wolfram's talk is that we are teaching students mechanics (which computers can do more efficiently) when we should be teaching them the higher orders of thinking and problem solving.

Against popular belief, concepts can be understood without learning the nitty-gritty mechanics. One could solve a quadratic word problem without solving the quadratic equation themselves, and still understand the problem just as well. Think about it: do you need to learn how the engine of a car works before you can drive it?

While all of this is not entirely relevant to the article, I humbly believe that the future of education should be and will be (if everything goes right) orders of magnitudes higher in efficiency as students will spend more time learning the right material. I'm not sure how much the Khan Academy will play a role in that...

30 points by mey 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Khan Academy is A Future of Education.

Talented educators (non-traditional and traditional) and technology are going to keep coming together in new and interesting ways. There will be lots of failures, but Khan Academy will not be the only success. The article doesn't mention things like MIT's effort in this field that predate Khan's efforts etc.

7 points by ilamont 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes, the Khan Academy IS the Future of Education."


There are no guarantees, of course.

Maybe, then, it's time to pull back on the hype machine for Khan Academy. I've used it before, and it's wonderful as a student aid, but it basically boils down to free instructional videos. It's a great help, but it's hardly the revolution that the headline makes it out to be.

6 points by dwc 1 day ago 5 replies      
As an autodidact interested in exploring more mathematics, of course I learned about Khan Academy. One look and I was impressed, but that didn't last long. Though the videos are well done all around, there's no clear curriculum to follow. Or if there is a curriculum, it's not obvious. Instead, I have a bazillion videos to choose from. Which videos depend on knowledge in other videos, and which ones can be done in parallel? No idea.

Education's past is a series of textbooks (plus supplemental info and exercises), providing a clear path to learning. Khan Academy, such as it now stands, is a video analog of textbook chapters as discrete units all in an unorganized pile. Until more is done in the neglected areas, Khan Academy will remain an extremely valuable resource, but not a curriculum. Even if/when these missing bits are done this will only be the future of delivery of fairly traditional materials.

The real future of education is a computerized personal tutor that provides individual assessment, guidance, alternate explanations where comprehension lacks, encouragement to pursue natural ability and enthusiasm, etc. That's pretty ambitious, but not at all inconceivable. We're close enough to being able to achieve it that we should hold up this ideal goal so we know the right direction as we build the pieces.

3 points by jamesjyu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really can't express how inspirational Khan is. The way he is able to break down difficult concepts into bite sized chunks is amazing.

It was really inevitable that someone with his abilities would change the way education is delivered by using tools like YouTube. Of course, his teaching style may not be for everyone, but the mere fact that the Khan Academy exists, and is free, gives me great hope for humanity.

4 points by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Always bet on talent. Talent is rare and the main bottleneck in most human enterprises. Salman Khan is a great talent with a very rare combo of qualities.
2 points by andresmh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have not RTFA but equating content delivery with education seems risky. Yes, Khan Academy videos are engaging and often better than getting content from books, but education is much more than content. Education is also about building, creating, interacting, sharing.
1 point by rick_2047 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Khan Academy takes in external videos (other wise making something functional with google sites is fine with me but wouldn't get nearly as much traction). I have 10min long videos explaining Digital electronics basics. My tech went one step backwards from khan, I just used pen-paper and one webcame. :) Looking into getting my videos reviewed by them, otherwise my deadline would be.... April 1st. (just thought that up now, but people say its good to have a deadline).
1 point by nerfhammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Khan Academy has poked a hole in my heart that needs to be filled: A computer science curriculum
1 point by pixcavator 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am afraid they lack the background to pull off "the future of education", certainly not on the college level. Sorry for being harsh.
1 point by patrickod 1 day ago 1 reply      
The one thing the Khan academy and other such resources is the inspiration, personal engagement, guidance and other things that teachers and tutors do. Granted for some people these things have little bearing on their learning I think that for the majority of students they can make all the difference. No doubt people here have found their interest in a subject at school or college diminished due to a bad teacher or vice-versa
1 point by theklub 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Future of Education is going to be game oriented, getting kids to watch boring videos will be very hard.
1 point by asdkl234890 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lets hope so. While higher education in itself is valuable, the prices most often being asked for it are not exactly worth paying.
1 point by badwetter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Education should be a basic human right!
EFF Finds Evidence Of Over 40,000 Intelligence Violations By The FBI techdirt.com
163 points by DanielRibeiro 1 day ago   18 comments top 5
14 points by jdp23 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a reminder: the House is voting on Patriot Act renewal Monday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Please call your representative! There are plenty of other ways you can help too.

Get FISA Right's action alert: http://bit.ly/feb13aa

EFF: https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=Us...

7 points by GHFigs 1 day ago 1 reply      
The "40,000" figure isn't any less made up than it was two weeks ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2159444
5 points by drivebyacct2 1 day ago 1 reply      
The number was 40,000 4-5 years ago when I was debating this case in policy debate in highschool. I fought against it then, and no one gave a shit. Doesn't surprise me that it has continued to occur.
2 points by aantthony 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a surprise.
Steve Jobs: "I'll just sue you" (2010) jonathanischwartz.wordpress.com
160 points by ootachi 19 hours ago   41 comments top 7
12 points by joe_the_user 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting - Sun didn't fold when Apple threatened them but there wasn't a suit either.

The thing is, it seems there are examples of open source companies or developers folding when presented with the "whiff" of a patent suit. See: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/archive/index.php/t-234073.htm...

Further, as I recall, it has been speculated that Nokia's Apple suit involved a demand by Nokia that Apple cross license its UI patents. http://www.businessinsider.com/did-nokia-sue-apple-to-access...

The thing is, if Nokia had previously been "coding around" Apple's UI, it's not surprising that their UI sucked.

It's easy to imagine that the more timid an organization, the more willing they are to be pushed around by an over broad claim.

Altogether, It would be a good thing to provoke Apple into actually suing someone for violating "their" UI controls: Threats people back away from put a bully in a more powerful position than threats carried through.

5 points by pmorici 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This reminds me of a recent experience I had disputing some parking tickets in federal court. I did some research ahead of time and going in I was certain that if the case went to trial I would win based on the facts alone.

To avoid a trial the prosecutor first offered me 50% off my two tickets which I politely declined citing that I was certain I would win based on certain facts which I laid out.

30 minutes later while I was waiting for my trial to begin he came and offered to drop one ticket and give me 50% off on the other. I again politely declined stating that I was certain I would win based on the facts I had laid out earlier.

Then right before the trial was about to begin the prosecutor came in and dropped both tickets. I know many other people who got a ticket under the exact same circumstances and just paid it.

Point being whether a dispute is about millions of dollars of software patents or 160 dollars in parking tickets it pays to know the facts well and stand your ground convincingly and unemotionally.

24 points by pohl 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For comparison, here is a screenshot of Concurrence:


4 points by nika 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been observing Apple and Steve Jobs since the late 1970s. I'm guessing that many of you were born well after that point, and have grown up your whole lives with this mythology about Jobs.

It's a load of bunk. Jobs is charismatic, but he found early on that due to his charisma, reporters liked to tell tall tales about him. Always looking for the "human interest" side of things, or something to spice up their reporting they'd exaggerate. So he stopped giving interviews, figuring that would give them less to work with, and in doing so he overestimated their integrity. Instead they quickly figured out he wouldn't give them the additional attention of debunking them, so they just started spreading whatever rumor or gossip or fabrications sounded good.

Jonathan Schwartz is not a reporter, but he can say whatever he wants, knowing that Jobs is not going to waste time disproving it. Doing so only brings more attention to the faux controversy.

And of course, Apple haters, who really don't need much prompting anyway, will simply take it as the gospel truth.

I'm sure Apple's right and attempting to point out this is just silly, because those who believe will believe anyway because they want to.

Look at Job's stanford commencement speech. That's the real guy. Always has been.

6 points by dailo10 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Postscript: Oracle bought Sun and proceeded to sue Google with the Java patents it had acquired.

Ironic given the "egregious" Kodak suit he writes about.

8 points by joblessjunkie 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Tip to bloggers: put your NAME on your blog somewhere.
3 points by cyrus_ 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an utter minefield for any startup. While the big companies find themselves in a state of mutually assured destruction, new companies can be attacked by a billion dollars worth of lawyers if they start to compete.
Khan Academy and BitTorrent Partner to Distribute Educational Videos hackeducation.com
159 points by audreyw 3 days ago   21 comments top 7
5 points by pjscott 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is good news for the people who watch these videos sped up. It's amazing how much more engaging some speakers are when you watch a video at, say, 1.4x the normal speed.
7 points by citizenkeys 3 days ago 0 replies      
If this adds legitimacy to the BitTorrent protocol, then the greater good is served.

As for the BitTorrent app ecosystem, that's a real chicken-and-egg situation. People are looking for Khan Academy videos and then use BitTorrent to facilitate that. Not the other way around.

5 points by jokermatt999 3 days ago 1 reply      
They already have all the video files in a .torrent on their website. I downloaded part of it the other day to brush up on trig.
3 points by thefreshteapot 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you listen to this interview by Techzing with th creators of a "web tv show" Pioneer One, they talk about how releasing it on Bittorrent has given them access to many new people and new lead gen.

(Also I note they mention in it in the blurb)

Assuming Khan do a "nice bit of self branding" at the start or end of the video with the link, then I can only see this being a plus, it also keeps the videos more in the public domain, instead on youtube, for instance... I believe ultimately it will bring them more exposure.

8 points by oofoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Three words... "substantial non-infringing use".

Very nice.

1 point by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 8 replies      
I rather see academic books for free on the web, I am not much of a video guy, no time even for a one minute youtuber. Kudos to the Khan Academy for their effort, but more is needed in the free ebooks arena.
-3 points by hsmyers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like this puts Khan Academy at risk given the idiots at Homeland Security--- guilt by association with BitTorrent
Lemmings is 20 years old today scottishgames.net
157 points by sambeau 1 day ago   32 comments top 11
19 points by JacobAldridge 1 day ago 3 replies      
In contrast to the oft-proclaimed response to these sort of things, this news actually makes me feel young. I mean, Lemmings has been around forever, and when forever turns out to only be twenty years I feel much, much younger.

Also, I totally sucked at Lemmings. It wasn't until Worms arrived that I found my cute little animal with a death wish.

Also also - Lemming suicide is basically a fiction created by Disney's Wild Kingdom in 1958. http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp

6 points by seanc 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're looking to recreate the lemmings experience on modern hardware, don't forget Pingus:


My kids and I have hours of fun with this game. My only complaint is that the penguins can't swim.

7 points by akavlie 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"...followed by a cease-and-desist letter from Sony."

I thought that was just a random reference to Sony's recent legal trigger happiness. Didn't realize they actually owned Lemmings until reading comments here.

That was one of the most ported games in history. Imagine all the platforms it could appear on now, if Sony didn't own it.

17 points by homecoded 1 day ago 0 replies      
I loved Lemmings. Is used to write the level codes on little post-it notes and stuck them all around me.
After a few days my room looked like Mr. Nash's garage in 'A Beautiful Mind'.
7 points by localhost3000 1 day ago 2 replies      
One of the most memorable games of my childhood. I don't know what a PS3 version would look like, but I'd love to play one.
2 points by benwerd 1 day ago 3 replies      
I miss Lemmings. Is there a version that'll run on today's PCs? Without using Dosbox, that is.
3 points by Maakuth 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone has taken time to rip some of the music tracks from the game and make them avaiable. http://www.mirsoft.info/gmb/music_info.php?id_ele=NjMz
1 point by Qz 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This came up on another thread a while back, but Psygnosis still officially has the awesomest logo of all time.
2 points by pixelbeat 1 day ago 0 replies      
There were lots of good games from around then,
which I've recently enjoyed playing on dosbox.

You can see screenshots and videos of lemmings et. al. here:

6 points by ctdonath 1 day ago 2 replies      
iPad version please!!!
1 point by matthewn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Lemmini (http://lemmini.de/) is a fantastic way to play Lemmings on modern hardware. (The data files you'll need are easily torrentable.)
Does my company have IP rights to the stuff I do in my spare time? onstartups.com
159 points by SandB0x 3 days ago   116 comments top 37
45 points by grellas 3 days ago 2 replies      
A few thoughts on this:

1. I have done transactional work and litigation in and about these areas for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley. Based on that experience, in practical terms, the risk you deal with in doing side work boils down to this: it is rare that an employer will make a claim to IP you develop on your own time and using your own resources but, when it does happen, its effect is pretty horrific.

2. California gives you more scope only because it has a law on the books that generally prohibits employers, on public policy grounds, from making claims to IP generated by employees working on their own time and using their own resources.

3. Even in California, however, an employee owes duties to his employer and one of those is that you don't misappropriate your employer's IP for your own use. This is why the California law says that you don't keep your side-project IP for yourself if it is in your employer's line of business or anticipated line of business. You can imagine the chaos that would result if any employee could state that, "no, that valuable IP that I came up with might have directly concerned what my employer was paying me to develop, but, in fact, I developed that particular key piece on my own time, etc."

4. In this sense, there is a common sense element to this area of law as applied in California. You typically will sense, without being told, whether the work you are doing on the side is capitalizing on the things your employer is doing or if it is truly unrelated.

5. That said, don't mess around with this sort of thing. It is both contract-specific and local-law-specific. That means general statements you hear from time to time (including those I just made) may or may not apply to you. If what you are planning to do has commercial value, then make sure to get it checked by a good local lawyer who can guide you through the pitfalls and explain alternatives. This is particularly so if you are not in California.

26 points by tptacek 3 days ago 3 replies      
Very often, yes. The boilerplate IP contracts provided by most law firms usually claims one of:

* All software development work you ever do while employed by the company.

* All software development work you do using in any way any resource of the company, from computer to network connection.

* All software development work you do related to the business of the company that employs you.

* All software development work you do that isn't explicitly listed in an exhibit of exceptions you, the employee, fill out.

Before you start asking how enforceable this stuff is, note that unlike with noncompetes (which usually aren't practically enforceable), the way this issue is going to come up is, you're going to try to start a company, and your first official act of business is going to be to start defending yourself against legal actions from your employer that will torpedo any chance you have of getting funding for the year or so it takes for those actions to resolve themselves.

So, 'grellas may chime in and say "don't worry about this", in which case ignore me, but I wouldn't dick around with this issue. If my IP contract precluded me from working on my next company project, I'd get a clarified official path to working on it from my employer, and leave if one wasn't provided.

13 points by btilly 3 days ago 1 reply      
The advice in that forum is an illustration of why you should not believe legal advice that is given to you by non-lawyers. Much of it is wrong, dangerously so.

For example one person claims that by default what you do on your own time is owned by you. Sorry, that varies by jurisdiction and local laws. It is true in CA, but false in NY.

Several people claim that CA offers strong protections. That is true, but the protections are not nearly as strong as they are claiming.

And so on. If you, personally, care about this topic, talk to a good IP lawyer who knows the local laws for your state.

9 points by bugsy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I worked for a company that not only had this clause, but it extended to any and all inventions pertaining to the employers line of business for 12 months after employment terminated.

When employment terminated and I intended to go work for a competitor, I was given a letter explaining that the business of my employer was "software and hardware" and was told verbally they would aggressively pursue that claim. The also notified the company I was going to work for who then withdrew the employment offer. Probably wouldn't have stood up in court if I had a few million to pay attorneys. As it was it cost me around $30,000 in legal fees to deal with and I was unemployable for a full year during a time when my expertise, which I had gained on my own time before working for these people, was very hot.

In the end it doesn't matter one whit what the law says because to maintain your rights you will have to fund lawyers longer than their staff attorneys are willing to harass you. In practice, you run out of money pretty fast.

You must not sign these sorts of contracts or work for these people in any way shape or form if you want to avoid big trouble. When they inform you of these clauses, regardless of what the state law says, they are warning you they intend to create legal problems for you if you ever try to work for anyone else.

Remember this one thing. If you do not have unlimited pockets you have no legal rights in a contest against a better funded party.

8 points by trotsky 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's a seller's market, don't take a job at a company with policies you don't agree with, regardless of how common they are or how enforceable they might be[1]. It's quite easy to find employers in the bay area that don't demand such things or will waive the clause.

Make sure to tell them why you didn't take the job.

[1] I suppose if it's clearly and completely unenforceable little harm is done

19 points by modoc 3 days ago 3 replies      
In general you should avoid signing the standard contracts at any job. I've always made changes to protect my after-hours work, and they've been okayed every single time.
5 points by wallflower 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a condition of employment, back when I didn't know any better, I signed the All-your-IP-belong-to-us contract. I tried digging through my archives at my parent's house last year to try to find it but couldn't. I'm not sure I want to bring it up with my boss and Legal (red flagged). Then again, maybe I want to be the nail that sticks out and doesn't get hammered down.

Now that I am doing substantial freelance and collaborative projects - my strategy is to work on either a) side projects with diffuse ownership b) pro-bono projects or c) projects where we don't own the product - the client does - while I plot my eventual jumping ship. I hope they won't go after me.

Going to another company is kind of ridiculous because they tell you in the interview that 'as long as you don't use any of the code that you work on during the day'. Any good coder knows that reusing code is part of the job - and it would be difficult if not insane to pretend that you can keep code out of side projects. My strategy, if I were to take such a job, would be to open source the code I do on my own time that I might use at the company - and get permission to use my own open source library.

However, I've done enough freelance hours to know freelancing isn't a bed of roses - a bed of roses with thorns. There is no concept of weekends or holidays with client deadlines...

Ah, health care...

50 points by Philbrick 3 days ago 7 replies      
Google, my employer, recently refused a request that I made to release as open source some software that I had been working on in my spare time and without using any of their resources, on they claim that my software would compete with one of their projects. :-(
6 points by SandB0x 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interested to hear perspectives from Europe/UK as well as the US, so if you mention specifics please say where this is relevant.
7 points by motters 3 days ago 0 replies      
I recently came up against this sort of nonsense in a job interview. I do a lot of technological stuff in my spare time, so as soon as they mentioned that I would have to agree to stop engaging in such extra-curricular activities I ended the negotiations.
5 points by zach 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe, but if you don't actually create IP yourself -- you hire a contractor to do what you do at your day job -- you will stay in the clear and gain valuable experience.

Managing a contracted worker in your field of expertise, within the creative restriction that you cannot perform their work for them, is itself a highly educational exercise for someone with entrepreneurial interests.

Be sure to document well, though.

3 points by pyre 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think that the most ridiculous contracts are the ones that attempt to assert ownership of things you have produced before you even worked at the company. (i.e. anything that you have created, are creating, and will create in the future) Companies/lawyers will do this claiming that it's only a defensive measure, but once they have that power over you, they will not hesitate to go on the offensive if they think they have something to gain by doing so.
5 points by RiderOfGiraffes 3 days ago 5 replies      
IANAL, but in the UK, unless you have a contract that specifically says otherwise, yes.

On the other hand, if the outside work provably used no employer resources, and provably is unrelated, then you can probably defend yourself against an action. But you really, really don't want to depend on that.

Get it sorted up front. Get an explicit agreement with your employer that non-competing work done without their resources and without impacting your work, belongs to you.

Otherwise it's murky and dangerous.

4 points by daimyoyo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm in sales and in my spare time I am creating a program for online data management(which will also create leads although they're B2B and my company does B2C). Can I use the "not work related" exemption or should I renegotiate my employment agreement? I work in Nevada. Thank you for any help you can give me.
4 points by Deestan 3 days ago 0 replies      
In Norway, no.

Some companies try to put it in the contract, but it has no base in law and holds no legal obligations. I.e. you can ignore the clause safely.

5 points by mkramlich 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't mind allowing a company to have rights over what I do on my own time as long as I get ownership rights over everything else the company is doing, regardless of whether I'm involved or not. Fair's fair.
3 points by kmfrk 3 days ago 0 replies      
After the whole Bratz debacle[1], I make sure never to kid around with the danger of this.

[1]: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bratz#Legal_a...

3 points by ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very much state dependent, and very much modified by the employment agreement (if you had one) when you joined a company. You can, and should, strike any objectionable material from the employment agreement, have the HR person who is helping you with your first day paperwork sign off on the changes, make a copy of the document, have the HR person sign the copy acknowledging it is a true copy of what was signed, and put that somewhere safe.

If the company won't accept your changes, then that is your signal that not only do they intend to own IP rights to perhaps everything you have done or will do, they also intend to litigate for those rights which you will have signed over to them with the agreement.

That is a good time to decide if you want to work there or not.

For folks who are thinking about changing companys but have yet to make the jump, ask your future employer to give you a copy of the employment agreement before you accept their offer. Have it reviewed by a lawyer. That way you can find out before you give notice that you weren't going to work there anyway.

At least for tech employees there is enough demand on the hiring side to give you an advantage.

2 points by xsmasher 3 days ago 0 replies      
When handed one of these, put it in your desk. Same with second and third copy. If they ask for it before hire, say you need time to read it.

If that fails, write an addendum that neuters the document. "Nothing in this agreement precludes posting online, writing, blogging, coding, or contributions to open source software provided that no code or technology specific to company XYZ is disclosed." Most employers won't pay their lawyer to review your addendum and bang, you have your rights back.

2 points by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sometimes the law and common sense have nothing in common.

I have different hobbies besides coding, so if I create a painting masterpiece my employer owns it? How about my latest culinary invention? The new can opener I just invented? Or my one month old daughter conceived in my spare time?

I call retardedness, but that's the law and we must obey it or fight to change it.

2 points by dctoedt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Links to specific statutory provisions of various states: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1970276

Flow chart for analyzing employer rights: http://www.ontechnologylaw.com/2010/12/diagramming-a-legal-i....

3 points by bcrawford 3 days ago 1 reply      

Unless I'm reading this wrong: if you work on it solely on your time, with your equipment, it's yours (in California, anyway).

UPDATE: Oh, also it can't compete with their business.

3 points by AndyJPartridge 3 days ago 0 replies      
UK Opinion:

I started writing an application 10 years before the formation of a UK Ltd company, and when I joined them I let them use it.

I ended up having to negotiate and buy said software from the liquidator when it failed because it was cheaper than fighting the claim in court to prove ownership.

As many have said, get everything in writing.

3 points by alok-g 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had asked pretty much the same question here:
1 point by snorkel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Generally if your employer wants to take whatever you created, they probably can. So best not to draw their attention to your side project.
2 points by davidchua 3 days ago 1 reply      
This topic has made me relook at my employment contract and I'm a little concerned.

Does this sound like I'm exempt having to hand over my IP for non-work related coding?

"All Intellectual Property developed, created or used by you or with your assistance during your employment with the Company in the context of the business of <Company Group> or any related activities shall be and at all times remain the property of the Company."

It feels like anything that is done outside of work that is not related to the company is exempt, but I'm not sure.

1 point by absconditus 3 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by nihar 3 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on what your contract says... I work for a firm that clearly states that whatever you do, if it involves their equipment, resources, or time, or knowledge gained while working with them, they have IP rights at that point. That being said, some companies allow you to do stuff on your own, e.g. work for a different client / project outside your billable hours, and they don't have rights to those products (as long as you're clearly showing that you're not using shared resources).
1 point by run4yourlives 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not in Canada they don't. The courts will look at every case individually but unless there is obvious malfeasance on behalf of the employee, any "we own you" contracts are unenforceable.

(Point being that it depends on where you live.)

1 point by alok-g 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found this to be an excellent resource for this topic.


While this has "open source" in the title, it's still an excellent book related to this topic.

Another good thing about this book is that it draws analogies between software source code and law statutes, making it very easy for software folks to understand these legal issues.

2 points by drivebyacct2 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Does this seem off-topic to anyone else? " Russell Steen Jan 26 at 14:49"

Is the reason I just get sick of S.O. sometimse.

3 points by gte910h 3 days ago 1 reply      
Depends on where you live. Heavily state dependent.
1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
The following article may be of some interest:
1 point by mtarnovan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pertaining the case cited by the answer, this might be an interesting read: http://bit.ly/gt5BGE Google Books
1 point by aspiringsensei 3 days ago 0 replies      
My employer is hyper-strict about stuff that is directly competitive with their offerings, but has tightly "ringfenced" those offerings and allows us to do what we like outside them.
1 point by gaustin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Link broken? All I get is "Portal Not Found"
0 points by PHPAdam 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting read, its doubtful they can.

If it ever came to a dispute, id follow the guidance of mark zuckerberg and fight it out for the rights to my work.

GroupOn, LivingSocial engaging in questionable practices techcrunch.com
155 points by benwerd 3 days ago   57 comments top 18
58 points by portman 3 days ago 1 reply      
FYI, this is a link to a comment, not to the story.

It can sometimes take 20+ seconds to load the comments, so here it is for anyone who is having trouble:

"when groupon called me and wanted to run a http://socialprintshop.com deal, their sales rep basically told me to double the price of my product for a month to make things work for me giving a 50% off deal. Living Social did the exact same thing, as did another deal site that reached out to me. Living social only required me to lower the price for 1 week after the deal ended."

-- benjaminlotan

24 points by maukdaddy 3 days ago 3 replies      
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has a business background or has ever worked in retail.

I have no doubt their business will continue to be successful, as b&m stores are, but I have serious doubt about their sustained growth prospects as the newness of their model wears off. At some point Groupon is going to have to rely on the same sleazy sales tactics as b&m stores, which will turn off a majority of the early adopters.

33 points by systemtrigger 3 days ago 3 replies      
A Sr VP of a well-known sports equipment brand told me he was planning to create a new product for the sole purpose of selling it on Groupon - in order to maximize his profit margin. The product will be virtually identical to a competing product in his line.
7 points by webXL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, they're making it up to me:

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for your interest in the FTD Groupon.

We try to offer the best deals possible, while also making sure all of the details are up front and easy to understand. The deal's original terms were that the Groupon could not be combined with other offers and discounts. For sale items on FTD.com, this meant that you were not able to realize both discounts. We understand that is confusing and upsetting to a number of people"especially since you expect a great deal from us every time.

To make this right, we've worked together with FTD to make sure that discounts available on FTD.com will now also be available to use with your Groupon. For those of you who already purchased items that were on sale on FTD.com, FTD will automatically issue you a refund on the credit card you used with the difference as additional savings. Please allow 5-7 business days for this to show on your statement.

We're really sorry for any confusion this deal has caused. This resolution should now ensure that you get the maximum value for your FTD Groupon, even if you've already redeemed. We hope this resolution is to your satisfaction.

12 points by elvirs 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can see 70% discounts on most boutique clothes and accessories shops and everybody knew that its not real but consumers still love even the illusion of discount and jump on them. Same with groupon, consumers are looking for illusions to spend money on, after all its not the product they bought that pleasures them but the feeling they get when they buy that product.
6 points by us 3 days ago 1 reply      
The title of this thread should really be changed. First, I get that LivingSocial is of the same type of business and hence was mentioned in the title but then its more than just Groupon and LivingSocial.

Second, it's not Groupon that is engaging in the questionable practices. When you're going through massive deals like this, it can be easy to miss that the retailer you're doing business with is pulling a sly one on you. It's not uncommon to get a separate link and to think that some on here would believe that Groupon should thoroughly go through every link and verify for price discrepancy that may show up is unrealistic.

Lastly, it's also not uncommon for coupons to be honored on original prices rather than sale prices.

4 points by smallegan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Retail stores do this all of the time, I don't see why this is any different. Is it not the responsibility of the consumer to spend his or her money wisely? More and more it seems like the consumers are following the mantra of it's not what you SPEND it is what you SAVE...and with the advent of social buying it is giving lazy deal seekers a great way to "SAVE" every day :-P
7 points by wildmXranat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hold on, you mean there's a markup on those discounts?
2 points by WillyF 3 days ago 1 reply      
Having had a Groupon shouldn't preclude a business from offering other promotions. Typically you can't combine a Groupon with another offer, so if a restaurant has 20% off Mondays and you use a Groupon, they'll probably charge you full price and then subtract the Groupon. If people are truly unhappy with the FTD deal, then I'm sure Groupon will live up to The Groupon Promise and happily refund them.

The comment that this links to is much more disturbing, but it happens whenever you have a huge sales team. The real question is whether deals based on inflated prices are actually being sold. That would be alarming.

6 points by yatacc 3 days ago 0 replies      
word on the street is that Gap-Groupon deal worked out horribly bad for Gap. They were hoping people to spend more than the 50$. And it seems that a very,very small number actually did that. Majority limited their purchases to very close to the coupon amount. I doubt if Gap will be doing a Groupon again.
1 point by smokey_the_bear 3 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on the business type, but I'd suspect most business owners are savvy enough to know it won't help them acquire customers. I got a groupon to eat at a restaurant in Berekley, $10 for $25, and either the prices were specifically marked up to combat the groupon, or the owners are suffering some delusions of grandeur. Either way, the food was good, but it wasn't worth 40/person, and I won't go back.
1 point by wccrawford 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's not unusual to disallow coupons on the sale price of items. I admit that's questionable, but...

GroupOn didn't do this. FTD did. As far as GroupOn knew, everything was good, so far as I can tell. Throwing mud on their name without any proof at all is wrong.

4 points by aikinai 3 days ago 1 reply      
LivingSocial isn't mentioned in this article at all. Why are they included in the title of the submission?
1 point by jasonmcalacanis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Such a lame link-baiting story. These kind of things happen all the time... it's channel conflicts and speed errors typically--not malice.

Look at the headline, look at the author.... it's manufactured link bait.

let's move on and talk about an important startup launching something cool. techcrunch is lost and adrift.

3 points by MatthewDP 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not to mention you can always get 20% off FTD if you do a google search for a coupon.
1 point by malloreon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the scandals that plagued yelp when it was local startup of the summer
-2 points by endlessvoid94 3 days ago 1 reply      
How is this questionable? The business owner is always free to refuse. Always.
-2 points by keltex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another thing I've see (by a 3rd site... Homerun.com) is being added to their list when I've never even visited the site. Somebody in my contact list added me to their list and now I get their spam.
Acetaminophen and the War on Drugs (2009) paleonu.com
153 points by hachiya 2 days ago   58 comments top 13
35 points by MichaelGG 2 days ago 1 reply      
The sillier part of adding acetaminophen to hydrocodone and other opiates is that it's easy to remove the acetaminophen via cold water extraction. Thus, anyone looking to seriously abuse Vicodin can avoid the damage with just a bit of work.
14 points by jberryman 2 days ago 1 reply      
He mentions denatured alcohol which has been around for a century and includes chemicals to make it toxic or foul tasting.

He doesn't mention that during prohibition, the government attempted to discourage the redistilling of industrial alcohol by adding poison or upping the concentration of toxic denaturing chemicals, killing thousands of Americans.


Edit: I'm not sure what the entire story is. It seems as though 10% methanol is standard for denatured alcohol. Not sure if that was the case before prohibition.

12 points by j_baker 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's worth pointing out that the FDA has since voted to reduce the levels of acetaminophen in vicodin.


8 points by InclinedPlane 2 days ago 2 replies      
A bit like shooting someone who is attempting suicide. Prohibition v. 2 has proven to be just as disastrous as v. 1, when will there finally be enough political momentum behind ending it?
12 points by sguelich 2 days ago 4 replies      
Sad to see an HN thread full of conspiracy theories and so little actual science.

Believe it or not, acetaminophen is an effective analgesic, and combined with hydrocodone it provides synergistic pain relief without any increase in side effects over the use of either agent alone. Here's a peer-reviewed 1980 study from the UK showing just that:


Private drug companies didn't pursue testing & selling hydrocodone/APAP in combined form because the government hates drug users. They did so because they can market a highly potent form of pain control. Not everything in life is a government conspiracy!

8 points by apu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Completely off-topic, but: There is a better review in the WSJ today but I can't link to it.
5 points by ojbyrne 2 days ago 2 replies      
So total aside, inspired by the mention of denatured alcohol. How come you can buy bitters, which are up to 50% alcohol (i.e. 100 proof), without having to be of legal age?
4 points by code_duck 2 days ago 3 replies      
One alternative he doesn't mention is Vicoprofen, which contains ibuprofen rather than acetaminophen.
1 point by mannicken 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Not just opiates, cough syrup (with dextromethorphan) too. It's very dangerous for kids who heard of Robotripping but haven't had resources/time to learn that while DXM overdose will make you trip, acetaminophen overdose will slowly and painfully kill you.
2 points by ThomPete 2 days ago 1 reply      
In a hundred years from now. People will look back at the war on drugs and what else it's called in the various countries as a primitive and barbaric method.
2 points by mynameishere 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why you always, always, buy your dope from hillbillies.
1 point by morganw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gah! I shared my concern with APAP with me doctor and she prescribed Norco which has a higher hydrocodone to APAP ratio. Not sure it's still Schedule III in the USA, but if so, there ARE alternatives which Gregory House (who should be dead by now) and those concerned with liver failure deaths should know about.
1 point by Zakharov 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Does anyone think cannabis is deadlier than Jim Beam?

I think the vast majority of the population of America thinks that, which is why cannabis is much more highly regulated. What he should have said was, "cannabis is less deadly than Jim Bean", and provided the evidence to back it up.

       cached 15 February 2011 16:04:01 GMT