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1
Money Won't Buy You Health Insurance nytimes.com
578 points by epall 4 days ago   421 comments top 44
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191 points by acabal 4 days ago replies      
This really highlights how utterly insane our system is. I'm living off of my own business, which means that I don't have an employer to cover me under group insurance. But I really only make enough to live frugally and save a tiny amount each month--to me, an affordable health insurance plan would be between $50-$100 a month.

Fat chance of that happening. And if it did, the deductible would be so high as to make the plan worthless for anything short of a car-crash-emergency-type-situation.

But not only would it not happen at that price, but as the article says, it wouldn't happen period--even though I'm a healthy, nonsmoking, active 26-year-old male, I've had cubital tunnel problems in the past (typing) and surgery on my wrist (badly broken in an accident). If I applied, I would surely be denied--and again, as the article states, if you're denied once, your chances of being accepted in the future just dropped by a big percentage.

It literally makes more financial sense for me to pay minor expenses out of pocket and declare bankruptcy in the chance of crippling bills than to be insured.

Healthcare in America is utterly, utterly broken; it's damaging poor, middle-class, and rich people alike, and stifling innovation. I have the ability to innovate with my company because I'm young, single, and healthy; but many smart people have existing medical problems, families, or other factors that make them indentured servants to the company that pays their healthcare. As a nation we're under the thumb of the insurance companies, and instead of doing anything serious about it, we've done almost the worst possible option: require every one of us to be a customer of these monstrous companies, with little regulation on cost or other government oversight. I'm the first person to back health insurance reform, but we've reformed it in the name of shoveling more money into the pockets of industry instead of for regular people needing real care.

It's crap like this that's compelling me to make my current expat lifestyle permanent. America might still get the tax dollars my business generates (the only country to still tax you if you live abroad) but it won't get my brain or my talent within its borders.

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86 points by SandB0x 4 days ago replies      
I would have died at the age of 19 if it weren't for the help of the UK's National Health Service. My parents and I didn't have to worry about hospital bills, future insurance issues, being tied to a job, any of that crap. Just get some rest, get better, go out there and be productive again. The American system looks like a horrible joke from over here. I just can't understand any of it.
3
83 points by krschultz 4 days ago replies      
The subtle but crazy part about this is at the bottom when it details the author: "Donna Dubinsky, a co-founder of Palm Computer and Handspring, is the chief executive of a computer software company."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say money is not an issue for Donna, yet she still can't even buy insurance if she wants to. I've always thought healthcare access was a bigger hurdle for entrepreneurs than tax rates. If I make a lot of money with my startup, great, I really could care less if I pay 15% or 40% of that to the gov't, because it will be a whole lot more than I make now. But not having health care insurance (or worse, having crappy insurance that denies you all the time like most individual plans do) is so damn risky it makes me afraid to step out on my own.

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14 points by mrshoe 4 days ago 5 replies      
Can someone please explain to me why five thousand self employed people can't form a corporation together and get group insurance? Do shell corporations like that already exist?
5
13 points by ryanwaggoner 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm no expert, but isn't this one of the major issues that the health care reform bill of 2010 is going to fix? Granted, it doesn't go into effect (for adults) until Jan 1, 2014, but I thought that insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage or charging higher rates based on pre-existing medical conditions. Am I mistaken?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordab...

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7 points by SoftwareMaven 4 days ago 1 reply      
Health insurance is broken because the people who pay the bills (the insurance companies) are not the people receiving the services (patients).

If patients were actually paying the bills, they would be much more price-conscious and you would see price competition on that stupid-expensive MRI (for evidence, look at how much cheaper LASIK surgery has become and how much better it has become, yet insurance does not cover it).

Doctors, on the other hand, are far more concerned about making sure the people paying the bills are taken care of. The proof that you aren't the customer is the 90 minute wait that is expected when you see a doctor. What other industry would force their customer to wait that long after making an appointment? But, since you are not the customer, that's OK, isn't it.

Having had a gastric bypass, I will never be able to get insurance outside of a group plan. My wife can't get coverage for other reasons. One of my four kids can't get coverage, either. I'm 9 months into my COBRA for the start-up I'm working on. If we don't have a group plan in the next 6 months, I will have to bail on the company.

And our government can't even bother to have a real dialog on the subject. Pisses me off.

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9 points by ajays 4 days ago 1 reply      
The irony is: the same Congresscritters who vote against universal health insurance get top-notch health insurance paid for by taxpayers: http://www.suite101.com/content/health-care-for-the-us-congr...

After 5 years of service, they get lifetime health insurance, the same as all federal employees and retirees:http://www.opm.gov/insure/retirees/index.asp?MainQuestionId=...

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9 points by georgieporgie 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm 35, single, and paying something like $120 per month for Blue Cross coverage that I found on ehealthinsurance. I've used them each time I've not been actively employed, and I've always found an acceptable deal.

Mind you, I took the high deductible route since I'm only concerned with catastrophic illness at right now. Also, the moment anything serious comes up, they can cleverly drop me, since they have ludicrous things on their forms like, "have you EVER received ANY medical treatment not listed on this form." It would be essentially impossible to answer that question unless writing about a newborn.

By the way, Blue Cross tried to ratchet up my rates last year. I went back to ehealthinsurance and found a plan for about 25% less than the exact same plan directly through Blue Cross. There is no loyalty incentive whatsoever.

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18 points by nhangen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I left the Army where I had free healthcare for me and my family - I got spoiled. I really can't afford it now that I'm out and not with a big company. I've thought of going into the Reserves just to have the option to buy it again.

Healthcare really does suck.

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6 points by tom_b 4 days ago 0 replies      
In the past three years, I have made significant career decisions based on the insurance costs and coverage of the employer.

In one case, I turned down what was clearly a great hacking gig with a hacker whose work I really respected. The root issue there was that not only was the position a lot less in salary than I was previously making (this was fine and known when I started looking into the job), but the huge cost of obtaining a private policy for myself and my family blew me away. I was quite naive and assume I would be paying a small multiple more (2x or 3x) but the numbers looked to be at least double that.

So, the cost of health insurance prevented me from taking a pay cut to do more interesting work. Of course, the employer was pretty strapped, if they had higher money to offer, I would have been all over it. The private health policy costs just took me by surprise.

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6 points by _delirium 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have any experience with small-business health-care pools as an alternative to buying individual insurance? They've been talked about for a long time, and some states supposedly have programs for them, but I haven't heard much about how or if they work. Can you join one and get insurance at any sort of vaguely group-negotiated price with fewer of these kinds of problems?
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4 points by GFischer 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, people in the U.S. are billed an astronomical sum for a MRI, even with insurance?

The most expensive MRI bill for someone in the "mutualism" system here in Uruguay is U$ 100.

I tried to explain the Uruguayan "mutualist" socialist health system here:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1627862

"Mutual organisations do not have external shareholders - they are controlled by their members. Members may be users of the mutual, employees, other stakeholders or a combination of these Mutual organisations are either owned by and run in the interests of existing members, as is the case in building societies, cooperatives and friendly societies, or, as in many public services, owned on behalf of the wider community and run in the interests of the wider community"

A HN member compared them to credit unions, I think it's a valid analogy.

The mutualist system is always near bankruptcy and is perfectible (and the government is always meddling), but it doesn't bankrupt it's users and it kind of works (life expectancy here in Uruguay is the same as in the U.S.).

Edit - funnily, it seems it's very similar to the Japanese case (and MRI's cost U$ 98 there too):

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2247969

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5 points by tapp 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "If members of Congress feel so strongly about undoing this important legislation, perhaps we should stop providing them with health insurance. Let's credit their pay for the amount that has been paid by the taxpayers, and let them try to buy health insurance in the individual market...Health insurance reform might suddenly not seem to them like such a bad idea."

Hell yes. While we're at it, lawmakers should be required to do their own taxes at least once every few years as well.

In terms of systemic change, I think requiring our legislators to eat their own dogfood would do much more for our country than all of our disjointed attempts at campaign finance reform and the like.

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10 points by gersh 3 days ago 0 replies      
The US government spends $793B on medicare & medicaid, and give $215B in tax deductions for health insurance. This total $1.008 trillion/yr on healthcare costs, which totals $3272/per capita/yr.

Japan spends $2249/per capita on healthcare. The UK spends $2317/per capita on healthcare. Sweden spends $2745/per capita/yr on healtchare. You get the idea.

You are already paying the government for healthcare. You pay higher taxes to offset the loses for the health insurance deduction. The IRS collects medicare along with the Social Security.

However, you don't get the healthcare you pay for. Instead, you have to pay again to actually get healthcare. In some countries, they call this a bribe. However, America has institutionalized it.

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3 points by mrkurt 4 days ago 1 reply      
> The difference is significant: my recent M.R.I. cost $1,300 at the “retail” rate, while the rate negotiated by the insurance company was $700.

The shocking thing is, if you get an MRI at a cash only diagnostics facility it can cost as little as $300.

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11 points by Dramatize 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm glad we don't have these issues in Australia. The American healthcare system would be one of the only reasons not to move there to start a business.
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9 points by coffeedrinker 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have my family on a $10,000 deductible per person ($30,000 for family). That still costs over $500/month.

Unless you have cancer, heart surgery, or some other major thing, and are in good health you'll save far more over buying a lower deductible plan.

We used to have reasonable insurance, but the annual increases have been enormous, without any claims.

More people will drop insurance, leaving the companies with only the sick, if they keep pushing younger, healthier people out of the system.

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4 points by hnl2sea2nrt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've had some luck with hacking my family's healthcare expenses in the last couple of years. I am a healthy 26 y/o with a wife and son. We were living in Seattle and healthcare was the most expensive when I was employed full-time and my wife was pregnant.

Luckily, the company nearly tanked and let me go along with my entire department. I've been a self-employed consultant since then (almost 3 years) and went without insurance for about a year just so I could afford to pay for my wife and kid.

Then I figured out some hacks. I found a startup health practice called Qliance in Seattle which Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos and Drew Carey have funded (nice article about it here: http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/04/jeff_bezos_michael_...).

For about $50/month each for my wife and I and $40 for my kid (total of ~$140) were able to see a doctor any time we wanted for non-emergencies without co-pays.

I can't tell you how much weight this was off my back. Staff was friendly, service was great, modern offices, experienced doctors. Couldn't have asked for more. We got a high deductible family plan along with it which added about $200 to the costs. If you are in the Seattle area and are self-employed, this is probably your best option.

The second hack was that we moved to Japan about a year ago. As others have mentioned, they have a very consumer-friendly system over here. I had a big health scare when we first moved which required lots of medication and several doctor visits, but it didn't set us back more than a couple hundred bucks.

I'm really worried about moving back to the US now. I hope things get better before we move back in a couple of years.

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5 points by health-anon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an entrepreneur with a wife and son. I'm 23. We pay $360/mo for individual insurance and it is pretty crappy. The deductible is high and there are several "up-front" visits, which means the first X times we go to the doctor the insurance pays nothing and deducts one of our up-front visits. Each of us have X of these, so the first X times wife goes in, and then the same for me, they are not taken from the same pool. This accumulates to several hundred dollars of visits before insurance pays for anything, and then we still have the deductible to churn through, and they've applied regular visits to that as well.

We're struggling to make ends meet here; our clients are good and we're trying to build a steadier base, but the pay is irregular and sometimes we have trouble meeting monthly obligations.

They make it such a hassle to do anything and they rip us off so hard (providers and insurers alike) that we usually just don't pay our medical bills except what we have to pay up-front. It's too much crap to deal with, the insurance always makes up a reason not to cover things, and it's absurdly expensive. Every time we have tried to pay the people have come back saying we'd owe literally 10x more than they we were originally told we would owe. It's just not worth the headache or the hassle, much easier to silence unrecognized numbers from bill collectors and let their corrupt and evil system rot in on itself.

We don't really have the option of not getting health care and dying, we don't go to the doctor for fun, we only go when we have to.

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2 points by hartror 4 days ago 2 replies      
I might be living in a socialist paradise (Australia) or some thing but my last visit to the doctor (broken toe) was free.

I am truly horrified by the state of the US health system, sure Australia's might be a bit messed up at times but it is so much better than what Americans have to deal with.

Move your startup to Australia! Seriously, cheap/free heathcare for minor->medium problems (the bad stuff is still going to throw up some major bills but not bankruptcy worthy). As a plus we have a superior economy right now, better living standards and hot women.

Not sure the state of the laws regarding Americans access to our healthcare but worth a look.

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2 points by harold 4 days ago 1 reply      
My wife and I are healthy. But we've seen our rates more than double in the last year. I've heard many stories like the one referenced in the article where healthy people are having hard time even finding insurance.

A friend (a plumber) told me the other day that he was really struggling to afford insurance for his family because his premiums had more than doubled as well. He said he had incurred 3 rate increases in 3 months.

I'm just curious how many people have seen any benefit yet from health care reform? I know most of it doesn't go into effect until 2014. But something is seriously out of whack here.

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2 points by zmmmmm 4 days ago 0 replies      
The cost of healthcare and college basically scared me away from migrating to the US. It's a definite trade off but here in Australia, having paid off my house, I can live almost free of overheads. It is incredibly liberating to get up in the morning and know I can go to work on my own business without worrying that some freak accident or illness will destroy me financially.

On the other hand, I do think that the lack of these other costs is one reason that we have some of the highest house prices in the world. When you take away these other costs people just devote their disposable income elsewhere. Even so, I think it's better used that way than paying executives in health insurance companies.

23
4 points by herf 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Group of 2" in California can be husband and wife. (We did this, because the plans are better, the rates are better, and they can't limit you based on pre-existing conditions.) Just make a partnership and pay the state taxes annually (ugh).
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2 points by sportsTAKES 4 days ago 2 replies      
I find it absolutely impossible to believe that her coverage was denied for the reasons she described - I have been approved for and paid for my own insurance for years (including my family's insurance) with medical issues far more serious than those.

I concede that the system is totally messed up and the new health care bill makes it even worse.

Employers shouldn't be required to provide health benefits - eliminate the necessity of group plans.

Open up the state lines, allow insurance companies to compete for your business and watch prices drop dramatically. I'm certainly in favor of some basic oversight but not the egregiously burdensome regulation of the current system.

Anecdotally speaking, I have several friends, colleagues and family from various backgrounds that are doctors and nurses in different states and I have yet to find one of them that agrees the new health care bill is a good idea. They all think it dramatically complicate how they treat patients and ultimately marginalize the overall quality of care they will be able to provide. (Again, this is anecdotal but has definitely influenced my opinion. I have been shocked to find out that not one of these people I know actually support the new bill. Having said that, I know there are those that agree with the new bill.)

25
2 points by ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just wish her report include some mention of WHAT the new legislation will in reality do for her?

Because I suspect it will do little for serious health problems. IF they can pay for it, all it will do is prevent the insurance companies dropping her when she gets sick someday or stop paying out when they hit a limit like on cancer.

I say that's not a lot because they ARE allowed to raise the premiums so high that the patient has to drop the insurance on their own because there's no way to for it.

So the legislation is useless for the serious stuff.

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6 points by andrewpbrett1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: I'm working on a startup that, while it won't be able to directly fix people being denied coverage, will hopefully help people to understand their coverage a bit better. http://cakehealth.com. Not yet open to all but you can sign up if that sounds interesting to you. We <3 beta users.

And on a related note, I have noprocrast enabled so apologies for the n00b-looking account, real uid = andrewpbrett. Someone alerted me that this was being discussed.

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2 points by thinkingeric 3 days ago 1 reply      
Something to add to the discussion: She says "my recent M.R.I. cost $1,300 at the “retail” rate, while the rate negotiated by the insurance company was $700."

I have insurance and the insurance company (BCBS) will only pay what it thinks is appropriate for a service, not some negotiated rate. That is, if the doctor, hospital, or lab says that it costs $1,300, but the insurance company wants to pay $700, I'm stuck for the other $600. The result is that in order to meet the high deductible (at which point I no longer have to pay out of pocket like this), I pay way beyond the amount of the deductible since only the approved rates are applied. In practice, I end up paying out 175% or more of the deductible amount.

I suspect that our experience will soon become the norm, if its not already.

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4 points by jjcc 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be a long-time believer of free market. But for health care and Education system things are quite different. All the participants taking care of their own interest doesn't mean the interest of the whole society will be maximized. Some poor countries might be better than the States. Believe or not, check the healthcare of Cuba!
29
1 point by ChristianMarks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't get surgery approved on my employer's health insurance. I eventually decided not to let that stop me from changing jobs and doing what I wanted to do, despite not being able to afford surgery out of pocket and despite an inferior choice of health insurance plans. I suppose I could emigrate to England if all else fails. I can do this as my mother was a British citizen otherwise than by descent, though it is an involved process.

The present system is designed to impose a huge negative externality on would-be entrepreneurs and others who might have left their jobs to pursue other opportunities. And you are subsidizing the profits of the industries that benefit from the relative immobility of labor. That negative externality you pay is someone else's subsidy. If it were up to me, I'd rather pay into a universal health care system than pay the negative externality to stay tied to an employer on account of health care coverage.

Another negative externality is the administrative burden imposed on companies to handle employee health care.

30
2 points by sabat 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an example -- I have private health insurance out of necessity. It was an arduous process, and I'm lucky to have managed to get it -- even though I'm healthy. If I had so much as one serious problem, I'm convinced I would have been turned down.

It is broken. Seriously broken.

31
2 points by ashbrahma 4 days ago 1 reply      
Countries like India, Malaysia are starting to see a boom in Medical Tourism. It costs approximately $4500 for a open heart surgery at the best hospitals compared to $15-$20K in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism

32
2 points by quattrofan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I went down this path myself, the company I was with in California went under and I had ended up consulting, COBRA runs out after 6 mos so I decided to buy some health insurance and I got denied. The reason being that years previously I had "asked" a consultant about a procedure that I never actually went ahead with and that was in my records which they dug up.

I moved back to the UK and now enjoy the wonders of the NHS and this was one of the biggest reasons I left since I really didn't want to lose my house to pay medical bills if I got seriously ill.

33
1 point by Uhhrrr 4 days ago 1 reply      
The article does not mention that money _can_ buy you health _care_. Given this, there should be market opportunity for a company which courts the supposed legions of people denied for picayune reasons.
34
1 point by ylem 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was in France not too long ago and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. The wait was not much longer than in the US--we started talking about payment (I didn't have my insurance card on me...doh!. Finally, I asked them what the bill was--around 20 Euro. I paid cash...I talked to a doctor on the bus ride back and part of it is a combination of low malpractice suits (I think a minor part) , taxes, and the fact that doctor salaries are much lower than they are here in the US...

I agree that the system is broke here.

35
1 point by hparra 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to revolutionize medicine, you need to revolutionize how everyone in medicine is paid.

The revolutionary technology already exists: telemedicine (TM) through live video conferencing, store & forward of image data for dermatology, radiology, or ophthalmology, home health monitoring, wearable monitoring systems, online health management systems, personal health records, genome sequencing, its all here! So what's the problem? Doctors can't get paid for any of this.

Despite common belief, doctors don't get paid that much, particularly doctors that work in the public setting and must deal with Medicare (and in California, MediCal) patients. If a neurologist in San Francisco sees a Medicare patient in Los Angeles through video conferencing they can't bill Medicare because LA is not a non-Metropolitan Statistical Area. No doctor wants to deal with dismal MediCal rates. There are little to no codes to bill for home-based monitoring, and if even those exist, there is no code for a specialist to diagnose remotely. We have 30 years of academic literature praising TM. So who's holding everything up?

We need a new insurance company that focuses on TM and monitoring technologies from the start to usher in what everyone and their mom has been describing as "preventive" healthcare. Sure, we'll still need traditional methods for surgeries and catastrophic events, but I'd pay out of pocket to be able to forward an image of a rash to a dermatologist or the back of my throat to my physician any day. Fast, instant, convenient.

Someone in the comments mentioned Qliance, which looks promising. I'm surprised someone in SV hasn't taken advantage of something similar there. Geeks love to be on the cutting edge, why not be the cutting edge medical patient?

36
1 point by rms 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I am back in the USA next month, I am planning on cancelling my virtually worthless health insurance ($90/month) and signing up for cryonics ($30/month).
37
1 point by imechura 3 days ago 0 replies      
the problem in this country is that not enough people are paying for their own health care or insurance.

Some people are getting medicare others are getting medicaid, others have benefits from the VA or a government job. Others get it from unions or employers. Only the people who are responsible for paying their own bills truly understand the state of our health care industry.

Because of that it is always someone else's problem and no one really minds paying 48k for 2 nights of saline drip in the hospital when the only cost to them is the 500.00 deductible. The hospital collecting the 48k certainly does not want that to change neither do any of the other predators in that food chain.

Put a high tax on employer sponsored insurance plans so that all employers stop offering it as a benefit. Then we will see real reform.

38
2 points by jasongullickson 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an industry ripe with opportunity for the right hacker.
39
1 point by danbmil99 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone shed some light on the oft-repeated "let them compete across state lines" conservative argument? Is there any chance that less regulation could actually foster some healthy competition?
40
1 point by yaix 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is broken ...and expensive.

My health insurance (not from US) has worldwide 100% coverage, except for the US. To get a US coverage, I would have to double what I am paying now.

The US health system is twice as expensive as any other health system in the world.

41
1 point by scottshapiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's simple. The US needs to stop subsidizing the bad calories (i.e. sweetners and hydrogenated oils) and enabling the treatments (i.e. dialysis, statins) that treat resulting diseases of civilization (i.e. diabetes, heart disease).
42
1 point by theoj 4 days ago 1 reply      
Link without registration: <removed>

Edit: Apparently you need to go through Google for this to work. See comment below.

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-1 point by jacoblyles 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ug, this kind of article brings out the worst in Hacker News. Less like this, please. I can get this on reddit.
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24 points by jacobolus 4 days ago 3 replies      
> That makes it a political article.

Expressing political opinions has been the entire point of the New York Times's op-ed page for 40 years. What did you expect?

2
An Open Letter to Apple on the Readability App rejection readability.com
473 points by bensummers 4 days ago   198 comments top 35
1
149 points by Niten 4 days ago replies      
> To be clear, we believe you have every right to push forward such a policy. In our view, it's your hardware and your channel and you can put forth any policy you like.

It isn't Apple's hardware; let us not forget the hardware belongs to the people buying the iPhones and iPads out there. Apple's enforcement of what can and can not run on these devices is not some fundamental property right, but an artificial construct.

2
16 points by mjfern 4 days ago 4 replies      
I posted this to my blog a few days ago, but I think it's worth repeating here because it applies directly to this open letter:

While apps and content are just break even businesses for Apple, they are instrumental to the company's financial success. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad are each technology platforms that bring together consumers, apps, and content. The value of each platform (iPod, iPhone, and iPad) to consumers hinges on the availability of apps and content; and the value of each platform to app developers and content publishers hinges on the number of consumers that have adopted the platform.

In short, there is a virtuous circle in effect; hardware sales to consumers attract more app developers and content publishers, and more apps and content drive more hardware sales to consumers.

Apple's new subscription model might strain or even break this virtuous circle. First, since Apple is only requesting 30% of revenues if content is subscribed to through iTunes it will likely cause content publishers to encourage consumers to bypass iTunes and purchase content directly. Over time this may reduce the relevance and significance of iTunes. Second, this 30% cut will compel app developers and content publishers to find alternative, less-expensive distribution channels. Google is the natural alternative given Android and the Android Market, and the company has already launched the “One Pass” payment system, which charges a lower fee (10%).

If this new subscription model is potentially damaging to Apple's financial success, then what's motivating Apple to launch such a model?

It's possible, though very unlikely, that Apple failed to consider the implications of the model and the strain it would place on app developers and content publishers. A second, more likely scenario is that this subscription model reflects efforts by Apple to generate greater revenues and profits from its apps and content business. A third likely scenario is that Apple is trying to create barriers to entry for competing distribution platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon, which will find it cost prohibitive to offer their service through iTunes given the 30% in fees. These barriers may give Apple time to further develop its own content distribution business. The immediate risk that content publishers will turn en masse to Android is low given the delay of Android-based tablets and other connected devices (e.g., connected TVs).

This subscription model may boost iTunes revenues and profits, and it may create a barrier to entry for competing distribution platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon. That said, I believe this move is a strategic mistake. There may be some short-term benefits to Apple, but overall it will strain the company's relationship with app developers and content publishers. Over time this will reduce the selection of apps and content available via iTunes, reducing the value of Apple products to consumers, thus putting downward pressure on hardware sales. In the meantime, partners and resources will migrate away from Apple, towards Android. Over time this will add further energy to Android adoption for app developers, content publishers, consumers, and hardware producers. Android is already emerging as a force in smartphones. With the launch of Motorola's Xoom and other tablets, Android will soon gain significant share in the tablet market as well.

3
29 points by nika 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think it is worth noting, because everyone seems to have forgotten, that this has always been the rule. I remember it from the very first reading of the terms and conditions (back when they were under NDA).

It has always been against AppStore rules to monetize apps outside of the AppStore. Apple has been lax in enforcing it, primarily because Apple didn't offer a subscription mechanism.

Now they offer a mechanism, and so now people can comply with the rule, and so now they are enforcing it.

4
29 points by statictype 4 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps this will be the one that gets enough publicity to make Apple come to their senses and see the collateral damage being caused by their War on Amazon.
5
22 points by OpieCunningham 4 days ago replies      
If I understand Readability's issue, it breaks down like this:

What they want:
For a $1 subscription fee, Readability keeps $0.30 and the publisher/writer of the articles viewed through that $1 sub get $0.70

What Apple requires:
For a $1 subscription fee, Apple keeps $0.30, Readability then has the option of keeping $0.30 (30% of $1) or $0.21 (30% of the remainder after Apple's cut) and then the publisher/writer gets either $0.40 or $0.49, respectively.

Why does Readability feel they deserve $0.30 but Apple doesn't? If Apple doesn't deserve $0.30, shouldn't the publisher/writer get the full $1? Without the articles, Readability is worthless. Without Apple, Readability for iOS is worthless.

6
14 points by kmfrk 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like to think of Apple's side of all the negative stories, but this time, I can't come up with a cogent excuse for what they are doing - save inept App Store policies/reviewers.

By this logic, flattr will never get a native iOS app. And when are Apple going to shut the Instapaper app down, when Marco decides to let his one-dollar monthly subscribers[1] receive premium benefits?

Apple really hates newspapers and magazines.

[1]: http://www.instapaper.com/subscription

7
16 points by petercooper 4 days ago 2 replies      
My satellite TV provider has an app I can only use if signed up to them. Do they now need to offer TV subscription through their app? What about the 37signals Campfire clients? Do they now need to offer Campfire subs via inapp purchase too?
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6 points by toast76 4 days ago 0 replies      
I picked up an iPhone 3GS when they came out with intent of developing iOS apps. Even at that time it was clear that playing in someone else's yard meant playing by their rules, and that it was highly likely that I wasn't going to like their rules. I decided to not make an app. Simple decision really.

A lot of developers are now complaining that they're getting burned by what is a reasonably obvious profit motive from Apple. They're not offering an app store because they're good guys. They're offering an app store to make money.

They take 30% of purchases. It only makes sense to take 30% of in-app purchases and related subscription services as well. Did anyone honestly believe that apple would fall for the ebay $0.90 purchase with $90 shipping fee-dodging trick? Letting subs through just opens the door for people to ship free apps with subscription "unlocks", thus cutting out Apple.

The simple fact is that Apple owns the mountain, and if you want to mine their gold you can expect to pay their taxes.

Of course the simple solution is to just build a web app (as these guys have done). Why restrict yourself to Apple's yard and Apple's rules when you can target every device without rules, without restrictions and without a 30% tax? The sooner ever developer realizes this the better off we'll all be.

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10
12 points by jrockway 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish these open letters said, "we are ebaying our iPhones, removing our other apps from the App Store, and switching to Android and Windows Mobile" instead of "we are going to change our business model just because the default icons you guys pick are so great".

Apple does not care about whiney letters. They might care if there are no more apps for or users of iOS.

11
17 points by jammur 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly quick to defend Apple, because a lot of the flack they take is BS, but in this case I'm really struggling to find the upside.

Richard says that their 30% would account for a tiny sliver of Apple's overall revenue, but lots of tiny slivers start to add up eventually. The problem though, is that if the cost of those slivers is to drive the developers away from the App Store, then those slivers disappear. Considering that third party apps are possibly the most important feature of the platform, it doesn't seem like a smart idea.

The 30% cut on App sales is understandable, because software generally has high margins, but it doesn't sound like the same is true for content subscriptions. Maybe it's a case of trying to keep their policy too uniform (i.e 30% on everything)?

Does anyone know where the subscription content comes from? From my understanding, the subscription content will usually come from a third party, rather than Apple's CDN, so there's no marginal cost to Apple.

12
16 points by maguay 4 days ago 1 reply      
If the subscriptions policy isn't the absolutely craziest move Apple's ever made, I don't know what is. iOS has converted me into an Apple fan, but not if stuff like this continues.
13
17 points by russnewcomer 4 days ago 2 replies      
I really don't understand Apple's moves here. They have a terrific platform, and much of the value of their platform comes from third-party apps. If app devs start leaving for WebOS or Android in droves, much of their traction is going to be lost. I think if they would have gone for 10% or 15% they wouldn't have gotten this kind of response.

I predict either reversals or abandonment of their platform. I still maintain that HP or RIM have a great opportunity here to announce that they are going to build app stores that are low fee for subscription apps. I think you'd definitely see a move there from numerous devs.

And I too worry that my beloved Instapaper may be going to face trouble soon as well.

14
4 points by ajays 4 days ago 1 reply      
I believe what Apple is trying to do is to head off the possibility of being scammed: app writers can give away their apps for free, but unlock the full potential only when you "buy" a (lifetime) subscription. This way the writer can keep 100% of the price of the app, instead of just 70%.

Do I agree with Apple? No. But I think this is where they're coming from.

15
6 points by EnderMB 4 days ago 6 replies      
This may be a stupid comment to make, but one I feel should be added to the conversation. Why are people so willing to develop for Apple when Android is now the larger platform, and has a far easier barrier to entry?
16
4 points by guelo 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a developer I made the decision a few years ago to move away from Apple's platforms because of their capriciousness, their extreme secrecy, and their lack of respect for their developers.

I don't know how people invest in their platforms, I'd be constantly scared that Apple would turn around and screw me over.

17
2 points by thought_alarm 4 days ago 0 replies      
The App Store does have the potential to drive a massive amount new business for an app like Readability. Apple believes they should be paid for that publishing and marketing service and it's hard to argue about that, particularly when comparing to the relative poor performance of other "app stores."

If the App Store fails to bring these developers new business then it doesn't cost the developers anything. If the App Store does bring them new business then it's up to the developers to weigh the cost of the App Store vs. the new business it brings.

Is 30% the right price? Ultimately the market will decide that, because if there's one thing this industry doesn't lack, it's competition.

18
6 points by MartinCron 4 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't heard anything about this subscription model and Netflix. Will Netflix be able to continue to provide their iOS apps without giving a cut to apple? Seems crazy that they would have to.
19
4 points by damoncali 4 days ago 1 reply      
The reason this doesn't work is because Apple had to pick a number - 30%. For some businesses, that makes perfect sense. for others 1% or maybe 70% might make sense. But rigidly adhering to 30% (no doubt because of the massive complexity of the alternative) is going to cut lots of business out just because it doesn't make sense. Apple needs to rethink this - it's clumsy.
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4 points by nnutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apple, I bought an iPad because I could watch movies in Netflix and read bookmarks in Instapaper, news in Reeder, and books in Kindle. Please send each $37.50 (30% of the iPad sale shared four ways) to each developer for bringing you a customer.

Or, optionally, stop acting like you, as a middle man, provides more added value than the developers that make your platform so damn profitable.

P.S. WebOS still looks pretty damn nice.

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2 points by joe_the_user 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not impressed with anyone here...

Readability was trusting enough to release their code with a license which allowed Apple to put the code in their product and then freeze readability's product out of Apple's store.

And now the readability folks don't seem inclined to admit their trust was a might miss-placed.

But perhaps that's because the readability model is aiming for a kinder, gentler version of Apple's monopoly. They distributed a "product" that reworking website in a manner that steals the original site's advertising revenue. And then they "offer" to give the authors a different revenue source (along with "offering" a lack of choice concerning how their product is presented).

Edit: And problem with readability isn't in it just distributing a web-site-rewriter in itself but it doing that AND then asking revenues from content providers...

22
5 points by kenjackson 4 days ago 0 replies      
DHH, if you're reading, is this what you were talking about?
23
4 points by talbina 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why do these types of letters have to start with the headline "An Open Letter to...". If you're publishing it, it's obviously open.
24
2 points by nhangen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I tend to agree with Apple's right to do this, but I can't tell if it's a genius move or a stupid move.

I think this move could further empower Apple, in as much as to put people like Rhapsody out of business. On the other hand, it makes sense to create a hospitable ecosystem, and right now it feels like they are carpet bombing what was once a nice place to hang out.

More of my thoughts here (podcast) http://bluerize.com/free-market-anarchy-020-apple-subscripti...

25
2 points by T-hawk 4 days ago 0 replies      
We don't like it, but Apple's got every allowance and reason to do this. Either Readability will cave to Apple's pricing model, or somebody else will come in with the same technology and do so. Apple believes that the competitive position they have attained allows them to dictate pricing terms. The market will decide whether they are correct.

The only argument against Apple that holds water is abuse of monopolistic power, but I don't think that will fly given that the whole market of Android and Windows and other phones also exists.

26
4 points by joebananas 4 days ago 1 reply      
So basically: "We totally think your policies are right and groovy, but please make an exception for us"?
27
2 points by tel 4 days ago 0 replies      
P.S. We'd we be glad to deliver Readability for iOS " with in-app purchasing " if you'd carve out 70% from your 30% fee and share it with writers and publishers, just as we do.

This will never happen, but if it did I'd be ecstatic. It could be a great PR move and really help Readability's goals to fund independent content producers online.

28
2 points by lwhi 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think Apple may have decided to enforce an untenable rule, simply so it can be used as a reasonably large concession when the antitrust machinery slides into gear.

If you are going to be required to give up ground - you might as well grab all the ground you can prior to any punitive action.

29
3 points by ascendant 4 days ago 0 replies      
Through all of this I wonder if they knew there'd be so much angst and now they will "concede" to something like 15% with that being their plan all along. When you make a policy that's really really really bad to then scale it back to just being really bad, people think they're getting a deal.
30
3 points by joshmanders 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why Apple is putting themselves in this situation.. Bad for business. Apple HAD the market, then Google came along with Android, now they're being snobs and just forcing their own users to switch to Android powered phones just because of this exact thing. Shame really.
31
1 point by devin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Avoiding a lot of the discussion here to make a quick but important observation: I suggested in a comment I believe I posted here months ago that Apple would add its "Reader" to the iOS platform.

This is a calculated move on Apple's part to make sure that when they deploys Safari Reader for the iPhone it is /their/ idea and not the folks at Readability.

Shame, shame, shame. I know you're name.

32
4 points by iPhone1 4 days ago 2 replies      
What a slap to the face. Apple uses their technology then tells them they can't use it themselves without offering in app purchases?!?!
33
1 point by sacrilicious 4 days ago 2 replies      
Believe you me, I want these guys to succeed as much as anyone else, but... wouldn't keeping the payment processing for subscriptions OUTSIDE of the iOS app solve the issue? I must be missing something critical to the functionality of the app?

There are no non-profit or even strictly business-related terms under the umbrella of the App Store as far as I know. There are no corporate/business iTunes purchasing accounts, no escalation to root-level privileges allowed for apps in the MacAppStore(postponing backup and other more powerful apps). This seems like another oversight on Apples part due to treating it as a lower priority.

And although they have every right to be proud of their achievements, it seems a bit like "you owe me" to remind Apple that they used the Apache-licensed Readability tech for Reader. Their proposed app could stand on its on.

34
1 point by trout 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the legal ownership fuss of their decision. If they had decided to take 5% instead of 30% there would be no discussion here. The only difference between 5% and 30% appears to be whether or not it's a good business decision. It does alienate a number of applications that have less than 30% margin, but that appears to be Apple's motivation. I would not go so far to say this should be expected, but it's a risk you take when you play with a company that likes to own such a large portion of the experience.
35
0 points by jpwagner 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think they might have a point, but their ineffective communication style and adversarial tone will surely guarantee they are ignored this time around.
3
The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2 eurogamer.net
392 points by twidlit 4 days ago   124 comments top 20
1
40 points by chaosmachine 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was in a similar position once, many years ago, in the early days of the web. I had managed to get parts of the source code to a popular online game (no real hacking here, they left a tarball in an open directory I stumbled upon), and being a foolish young kid, I decided to brag about my insider knowledge of unfinished features on a website. A few weeks later, the company contacted me with a job offer... they just needed my name and address to start sending me checks. Fortunately, I wasn't that dumb.
2
80 points by jcw 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm happy to see that, while he did something wrong, because he was honest and openly remorseful throughout, he ended up not going to prison. The cops even seemed cordial, they let him get breakfast and a smoke.

I wonder how differently things would have played out if he lived in the US.

3
38 points by ztan 4 days ago 4 replies      
I found the story to be quite tragic. This kid really saw the people at Valve as his heroes. Valve knew this and totally abused of that fact. They tricked him and was planning to hand him to the FBI, despite the fact he was (still is) their biggest fan and that the leak was accidental. I would have really hired him if I was in Gabe's position. He had both passion and skills. I think he would make an awesome YC applicant if he directed those to creating a web startup.
4
13 points by bluesnowmonkey 4 days ago replies      
Am I the only one who thinks what he did was not only criminal but morally wrong, and that he deserved to go to prison for a long time?

I realize that everybody likes to call themselves a "hacker" because they can program a computer, but this is an actual black-hat hacker. There are bad guys in the world and he's one of them. He wrote malware. He stole source code and gave it to the world. And this wasn't some evil corporation he was trying to bring to justice for its crimes. This was Valve. All they do is make cool games for the world. It's incredibly difficult work and they do a fantastic job. What kind of asshole do you have to be to shit all over them like this kid did?

5
16 points by jasonjei 4 days ago 1 reply      
Considering that he's been sentenced and assuming he has served the term of probation, if he were to set foot on the US, could he be tried and sentenced again, or does Double Jeopardy protect him even if he already had proceeded through the German court system?
6
5 points by jarin 4 days ago 2 replies      
Glad to see it had a relatively happy ending.

At the risk of repeating a tired Internet cliche, I think the leak may have helped Half-Life 2.

If the project was already months behind schedule and had a year before a GM build would be ready, having the source code leaked may have given hardcore gamers reassurance that the game was actually coming along and would be finished at some point.

Of course, there's also the newsworthiness and buzz coming from the leak itself.

7
16 points by tkahn6 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm impressed by the shear amount of knowledge the kid had. Especially at the age that he did it.
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3 points by linuxhansl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unless it is a small project and works without a dataceter the sourcecode itself is useless.
Yet, so many people believe that there is actually any (usable) value in the source code alone.

I flunked (thank god) an interview with a company once that ended up going belly up.
The capital came from angel investors (mostly lawyers). When they ran out of money they locked everybody out of the premises (even though all their stuff was still in the building) for the fear somebody would take the source. This was 6 or 7 years ago.. To this date these lawyers still sit on their precious source code.

9
3 points by mukyu 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the reddit thread ( http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/fpkav/the_boy_who_st... ) he* has answered some questions.

* I'm not actually sure it is him, but he is plausible enough.

10
29 points by temptemptemp13 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd really like to hear Gabe's side to this story.
11
6 points by Scaevolus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I liked this quote:

"For some reason they thought there was a connection between me and Sasser, which I denied. Sasser was big news back then and its author, Sven Jaschan, was raided the same day as me in a co-ordinated operation, because they thought I could warn him.

"My bot used the same vulnerability in the LSASS service that his did, except it didn't crash the host system, so I guess they thought I gave him the exploit code. Of course I denied this and told them that I never write such shoddy code."

12
2 points by jrockway 4 days ago 1 reply      
Automatic weapons were pointing at his head and the words "Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard" were ringing in his ears.

Would they really have shot him in the head if he touched the keyboard? My guess is no.

13
2 points by oemera 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I learned from this is: Never trust any of your friends or family when you have such important things in your hands.

You know in everyone of us is this little devil and if you have something which is important you can earn something with it (money or even credit in the community) there is a good chance that people will go the devil way.

I even would consider saying I even DON'T trust myself on such important and valued things!

14
3 points by joelhaasnoot 4 days ago 1 reply      
Story reminds me of the book "Cuckoo's egg" by Clifford Stoll
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1 point by Tichy 4 days ago 1 reply      
What I don't get is why the police had to wake them up with a gun pointed to his head. Is this standard procedure for hackers, or criminals in general? Is it because some time ago it was decided that hackers are terrorists?

Suppose I cheated on my taxes (which I would of course never do, but I think many people consider that fair game), would the police also wake me with a gun pointed at my head?

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1 point by sathyabhat 4 days ago 0 replies      
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1 point by l0nwlf 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder why Valve didn't offered him a job. He was naive but talented and passionate about gaming.
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1 point by eordano 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh! So it was real? I remember downloading a file called "HL2 Source Code.rar", long time ago, from eDonkey network. Never payed enough attention to it, thinking it was a fake!
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1 point by JacobIrwin 3 days ago 0 replies      
End of page two: "The cat was out of the bag," says Gembe. "You cannot stop the internet."
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1 point by incently 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great attitude, almost civil-disobediencesque.
4
Solving The Hacker News Problem al3x.net
380 points by tianyicui 3 days ago   270 comments top 68
1
89 points by edw519 2 days ago 5 replies      

                 Quality of HN Comments Over Time
| . .
| . .
q| . . . .
u| . . . . . .
a| . . . . .
l| . . . . .
i| . . . . .
t| . . . you are here -->. .
y| (that's all)
|________________________________________________________
N D J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D J F
'09 '10 '11

(It must be that time of year again...)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=926604

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1646871

2
104 points by pg 3 days ago replies      
I think if we could see random frontpages from days a few years ago, we'd find that the top stories weren't that different, and that there was the same "jack of all trades, master of none" aspect to the site that Alex complains about. It may be that a site whose design spec is to satisfy hackers' intellectual curiosity would necessarily feel that way.

Maybe I'll write something to regenerate past front pages, so we can check if things are different now. That should be possible, because news.arc has always logged vote times.

3
62 points by jacques_chester 3 days ago replies      
Ah yes, the cycle of website life.

* Hot new community forms at Site X.

* Site X residents refer to themselves as the New Wave of whatever. Much better than older Site W because of features/members/dynamic/demographics 1, 2 and 3!

* Site X's reputation spreads to former hot new sites T, U, V and W. Site X begins to attract more and more new users.

* Site X denizens begin linking articles at T, U, V, W and vice versa.

* Site X begins to exhaust natural topics of conversation. Denizens of more than 3 months standing become sick of 100th
"What does Site X think about AlphaGamma?" post and begin to slap down newbies.

* Someone reminisces out loud about the Golden Days of Site X.

* Discussions on Site X become more and more about Site X. Extremely intelligent individuals begin to earnestly argue that their proposed feature will save Site X from itself.

* Someone proposes or launches Site Y. A how new community begins to form there ...

I've been watching this same story play itself out since Slashdot circa 1998.

4
59 points by tptacek 3 days ago replies      
For what it's worth: I feel safe saying that most high-karma users of HN have a variety of severe concerns with it. My experience asking this question over email has generally been one of getting gigantic essay-length responses.

In my official capacity as "representative of people dorky enough to have karma this high", we do officially declare: stuff's broken. Needs unbreaking.

5
15 points by johnrob 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another reason HN may be boring: we've beaten a lot of the common topics to death. It only takes a handful of articles about "how to pitch a VC" to soak up most of the relevant advice on the subject. While posts often present a unique combination of previously mentioned ideas, it's becoming increasingly rare to actually find something new if you are a regular here.
6
6 points by icey 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would very much like to have http://startups.ycombinator.com/startups/ and have a more narrow focus on startup related news and entrepreneurship.

The constant stream of front-paged political arguments and noticeable increase in mean-spirited commentary in the threads has caused me to spend most of my time on HN logged out. It used to be that I'd read the comments before I'd even read the story to see if the story was worth reading. I wonder if it's possible that pg doesn't notice the degradation in comment quality as much because the trolls have been here baiting him since the very early days.

I don't think HN is irrevocably broken; I'm glad that pg is helming the ship and I think he's doing an admirable job of it so far (I think the ranking algorithm in use for the front-page stories is one of the best anywhere). But HN used to be great, and now it's merely good.

I think that a lot of people who have been here for a long time have thought about what's changed here, and how it could be fixed. I know I've littered more than a few mailboxes with lengthy emails about what I think is wrong, and what I think the solution is. Reading this thread kind of tells the story - a point has come where the community is large enough to have factions that value different things. "Anything that good hackers might find interesting" works when you have a small group of people engaged in conversation. It's less useful when you have mobs of people who have come with different ideas of what they want to get out of this site.

In the early days, HN felt like it was a problem solving tool; a way to find out what cool things people were working on, and occasionally to ask for advice. The community was humble, competent, and full of people who actually made things. Those people are still here, but there's a self-aggrandizing element here as well. The group of people who seem to think that someone else's success somehow reflects poorly on themselves, the bloviators and blowhards who believe that a volume of arguments somehow makes up for the measurable factuality of arguments. I don't really know what the solution is to this. I thought if there was a way to ignore people it might make a difference, but after some experimentation I think that that's a dead end - there is too much chance of missing something truly interesting from doing that.

All this being said, HN has had an immeasurable positive impact on my life - The people that I've met through HN (both in person and virtually) are some of the smartest, most amazing people I've known. I'll get to use the things I've learned from HN (and more importantly from the people in it) for the rest of my life. I can't think of another site on the net that has come even close to making such a huge impact.

I can't imagine missing out on all of this if HN had been invite-only when it launched. I didn't know anyone when I first came here. I didn't even know who Paul Graham was.

Instead of complaining about it, I think those of us that have been here for awhile owe it to pg to actively try to improve the community. It's become too large for him to handle on his own. Yes, there are moderators, but they're an invisible hand that only act as a corrective force.

We're a creative lot. I'm sure we can figure out some way to improve this community from the inside.

7
12 points by redthrowaway 3 days ago 1 reply      
All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. HN is succumbing to the problem pg tried to address: dilution. Thing is, reddit already came out with an excellent solution with their subreddit system. This simply wouldn't be an issue if there were different sections for tech, hacking, programming, startups, science, finance, and general interest. Keep all of the deeply technical stuff in one place, the cruft in another. Let's face it, the people who are complaining about lack fo deep tech are also likely to read and enjoy one of Spolsky's blog posts. There's no need to ban the latter to protect the former, just keep them in separate sections.

Now, HN isn't trying to grow, so there's no need to have user-created subreddits (sections, I suppose). Just make 8 or so that people care about, and add another if there's sufficient demand.

I really shouldn't be crediting reddit with this, as the solution existed long before them. All HN needs to do is follow the forum model and have different sections. It's too big to only have the front page.

8
14 points by sachinag 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a longtime MeFite and a longtime member of this community, I believe that most of the issues could be dealt with by having obvious and active moderation.

As MetaFilter, not only do we know who the mods are, we know which mods are on call at what times. (And there's 24/7 coverage.) HN relies very heavily on a flagging system, but it's just not as responsive to stuff that is broken as is a human who's responsible for what's on the front page and what's in the comments. Having a handful of humans who are responsible for curating the front page (and possibly also pinning really good stories from new onto the front page) would solve most of these problems. Is this less democratic? Sure it is. Would the unfairness be worth it? In my opinion, yes.

This problem just isn't solvable with code; it takes benevolent dictators.

9
11 points by malandrew 3 days ago 2 replies      
Forking of sites has the same problems as forking open-source projects. It exacerbates conflict, forces people to choose sides, and ultimately both forks typically end up poorer because of members lost.

Instead, the best solution is to evolve Hacker News as a product.

My personal opinion is that we should put Hacker news in the hands of the YCombinator alumni. Founders and first employees (CEO, CTO, lead designer, first engineer hire and first design hire) of YC startups would probably make the best moderators and admins.

In fact, I would say that it's probably time that PG spin off YC as a full-time startup, assigning control of the design and codebase to one talented UI designer, one talented developer and one talented product manager.

For the site to keep growing in a way that maintains quality, it needs more functionality that it has. The two features that lack the most are filtering and combinatorial game mechanics.

Filtering is necessary so it is easy for the the hardcore tech articles to be easily found by high-karma members, so they can vote those articles up. If it's not findable, it's not voteable. Filtering is also necessary for people to extract the most value out of hacker news. Most users don't want 100 front-page articles everyday. They probably want 10-20 of the highest value articles. Less is more.

Combinatorial game mechanics like those on StackOverflow would help as well. Upvoting/downvoting is limited in that it will always fall victim to the masses. Giving special voting/tagging/burying rights to distinguished members (very high-karma users and YC founders and employees) would go a long way to helping eliminate the crap.

I think I speak for most members here, when I say that I don't want Hacker News to be a democracy. I want it to be a technocracy. I want the smart and accomplished people to control what is good and should be visible to all. I've got only 260 karma points, and personally I don't think that should be enough karma points to allow me to upvote a submission. 500+ karma points should be the threshold to be able to vote an article to the frontpage.

10
10 points by dschobel 3 days ago 6 replies      
How to solve the signal/noise problem? Amplify the signal.

Call it undemocratic, but insight and perspicacity is not uniformly distributed so it's absurd that pg/$whoever_you_respect's upvote on an article counts as much as anyone else.

As a simple experiment, it would be interesting to see a view of the frontpage based only on the upvotes of people who are above a certain avg-comment karma threshold (since the site is predicated on karma as a quality indicator) and the idea that people who write insightful comments won't upvote crap stories.

11
5 points by mkramlich 2 days ago 2 replies      
My suggestions for tweaks to improve the site:

1. hard ban on purely political news ("Egyptian leader stepped down! OMG!")

2. hard ban on gender-specific things ("i'm female, went to bar during hacker conference, got groped, OMG!" -- yes it was hacker conference, but gosh subtract the 'during hacker conference' and you have real life, it's independent of tech, not specific to it or due to it, just a life thing with guys and gals)

3. particularly if hard bans (enforced by a set of trusted admins) on the above topics are not added, then allow submitters and admins to add/edit content tags for each post; then allow logged-in users to submit content filters so that when they see, eg., the front page, it can suppress all posts with certain tags (eg., pure-politics, gender, sports, religion, etc.)

4. optional for-small-periodic-fee premium accounts, which allow those users to exercise extra features like smarter content tagging/filtering, sorting, user following, user submission/comment filtering (so you can blacklist blowhards and pedants from what you see, even if they are not banned from the site overall)... I'd personally love to blacklist anybody that ever does a comment reply to me that is (a) rude, or (b) idiotic, or (c) overly pedantic (some is fine, we're nerds, goes with territory, and some precision is valuable, sometimes). Blacklists could be flat files, one user per line. We could share them among each other privately. I've bookmarked a few "ahole-or-idiot" users but I'd love it if I could have them automatically stripped from anything I see on HN in the future. Actually, I'd love to have this feature on all social/forum/news sites I visit.

5. fix the "type comment, hit submit, get error page saying something doesn't exist, so you have to go back, copy your text, hit Refresh, paste the text back in, hit Submit again" bug/feature. that drives me nuts. feels like impl side-effect rather than intentional UX

6. don't have the up/down arrows so close together when viewed on iPhone

7. don't allow just anyone to downvote any comment. or at least, they can't downvote it beyond 1 point, below which is penalty land. right now, any dumbass can downvote a comment of mine from 1 to 0, which then reduces my overall lifelong site karma by 1. Just because they disagreed with me. Or they're an asshole. Or they accidentally hit the downvote button (see 6). Instead, have a minimum karma requirement to issue downvotes, and/or only admins.

HN is great, despite it's imperfections. But I'd gladly pay up for premium features. HN Gold? HNGold.com (YC-W11)?

EDIT: added a few items

12
4 points by pclark 2 days ago 0 replies      
Come now, I can't be the only one that finds the Hacker News quality "good to great"?

If Hacker News is about hackers in a startup sense, it's good that the front page has everything from: Movies being in decline - Ruby concurrency explained - A torrent meta search engine - Windows 7 SP1 launch - iPad2 being unveiled.

There are far more elements to hacking than programming, just as there are far more elements to startups than programming. And I dig that Hacker News is so varied.

I think there is a vocal minority of people that get irritated by bicycle shed debates (+1 from me to allow collapsing comment threads on my machine) or people wanting to only read about programming or hacking - the latter of which is laughable because I am pretty sure you'd be sick of Hacker News if it was 100% a specific topic (I have some scars in the field of sorting content users will enjoy...)

Guess what: there are millions of non technical silent people on the internet, and a huge amount of those people visit Hacker News every day - and love this destination. The amount of random non computer scientists I meet in Cambridge that love Hacker News is staggering.

13
5 points by davidhollander 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simplest solution

Limit the number of links submitted per account per day to 1.

Why

Prevents spammers and karmafarmers from submitting the entire TechCrunch\Wired back-catalog at a rate of 25+ a day.

Further Analysis

Increasing the scarcity of a resource (link submission ability) will increase the value of items it is traded for (links).

HN already gets the independent code submissions people want. They just die an early death on the new page due to overcrowding by webzines\newspapers with builtin linkbait titles. This reduces the rate of dropoff for independent news.

14
9 points by Mz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm probably one of those darned newbies who isn't a real hacker and is screwing the place up. (Sorry.) So I wasn't around in 2008 (or whenever the Glory Days were). I don't feel like this article or other discussions about the issue have really given me a good idea of what HN supposedly once was that it isn't anymore. I wish I could get such info. I think that kind of information would hold out some hope of figuring out a real solution -- a means to raise the bar or deepen the discussion or whatever it is that people are wanting.

I know there are other large forums on the internet but this is the largest one I have personally participated in. I think such large forums are breaking new ground, socially, in ways that do not compare to sites like Facebook. Where else can I actually speak with my 80K closest friends? If I am in a room of 500 at work (and not on the stage, because I am not one of the big wigs), only a handful of people around me can hear anything I say. We all can listen to the presentation, but we cannot converse. Here, any and all of us can converse. It is unlike anything you can do "IRL". I suspect that is part of the issue: No one really has a model for how you manage that kind of social interaction. And the models we do have break in that setting.

Just thinking out loud.

15
5 points by petercooper 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's definitely not what Alex is semi-proposing but I've been running RubyFlow - http://rubyflow.com/ - for a few years now and it totally stole the MetaFilter model, just for Ruby-only stuff. No "votes" and points scoring - just interesting posts from people in the Ruby community coupled with me editing posts for format and deleting anything that's blatantly spam or offtopic. Seems to work though I have been tempted to go in the voting/Reddit/HN direction with it.. maybe I shouldn't!
16
5 points by doron 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gated communities are effective means of preserving the identity of communities, they all employ some bar of entry whether racial, religious, ageist, or economical.There are many social maladies that are also unique to the gated community, the insularity often breeds all sorts of creepiness. Preservation all to often morphs to Stagnation.

Artists are often the shock troops of a neighborhood gentrification, after the studio loft, comes the artisan coffee, some renegade youths, a young lawyer or two, and before you know it, the neighborhood just ain't what it used to be.

I would Posit that a website calling itself "Hacker News" immediately opened itself to all kinds of interpretations. The term "Hacker" seems to be as hotly debated as "Artist" and justifiably so.

The Hackers, introduced others who identify with the Label, and still others who probably do not, but nevertheless find it of value to their venture.

When the neighborhood changes, you are free, within your means, to move to another place. Sometimes you yourself change and require a change of scenery.

When a startup grows to a full company, many times you lose something while gaining another, and vice versa. Many in this forum have made those choices on their own, so it should be familiar ground.

It is almost heretical to mention it here, but perhaps there is no algorithmic solution (if there is a problem) to the complexity of human relation, expression, and motivation.

More people, more heat, Entropy.

17
17 points by jmm57 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a low-karma, long-time lurker, I'm not sure I've ever really seen the kind of submissions he is looking for. Can someone provide examples of submitted content that would meet his criteria of deeply technical discussion worthy news?
18
2 points by krschultz 2 days ago 0 replies      
In theory, centrally planned things make a lot of sense.

In practice, democracy usually comes to a better solution, even if it is not perfect.

HN is driven by votes, the community is getting what the majority wants right now. The only way to really improve HN is to change or limit the community. You can tweak the rules only to limit certain actions to high-kharma users, but if there is pent up demand for some kind of story it will make its way to the front page.

19
3 points by peterbraden 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think that if you stay at any online community long enough, you begin to perceive a drop in quality - even if that drop does not exist.

IMHO opinion, there is plenty of signal in the stream. What has happened is that the interests of the community have diverged. I'd be far more interested in ways to focus on things that I was interested in, within the stream, than narrowing the flow of information.

On my wishlist is a way to pipe the HN stream through a Bayesian filter based on articles I've enjoyed, and make an RSS feed of articles I'd be interested in.

20
3 points by doorhammer 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the crowd has cycled so much, I wonder if maybe this isn't the best solution for the desired outcome.

Granted, I haven't been visiting tech-specific boards for more than a few years, but I'd generally agree that the more technical articles are what I'm interested in.

I think I'd be interested in a board that was geared toward programmers/hackers, but didn't use a typical karma/point system. I'd like to see one that perhaps utilized karma, but under a collaborative filtering system. So, in a simple for-instance, if a small subgroup of people tend to upvote articles that I do, those articles would be given more weight, and similarly those who downvote articles I upvote would be, from my perspective, given less downvote weight, while at the same time there might be a different subgroup that was weighted to value their downvote more. Perhaps give people the ability to tweak the tolerances of their collaboration. Give them the ability to say "if this guy has X karma and ignores someone's articles and votes, then I want to ignore them too"

Of course, this might be
1. a completely naive idea,
2. an idea that's already been tried and failed
3. an idea that's already being used
4. something to time-consuming for people with real work to do or
5. an idea that's unworkable and that I'm only having because I just started reading books on, and experimenting with, machine-learning ;)

Though even if it existed, I probably wouldn't use it. I already waste half my day reading the few articles that interest me on hacker-news, heh

it sucks that when you design any system or any set of rules, and humans are going to interact with it, you have to think "how are these shady bastards going to subvert my beautiful creation?"

21
4 points by teyc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the data that shows HN has degraded? We aren't seeing kitten pictures. A scan of the front page shows the mix of articles being programming, startups, tech.

I'm not sure what Alex wants? More discussion around PG's hackers and painters?

22
3 points by rubashov 3 days ago 0 replies      
The basic complaint is that social sites grow into mobs. The solution is rather obviously: halt growth. You have to limit the number of active users to some vaguely Dunbar-ish number or you inevitably wind up with a lowest common denominator mob.

Metafilter did this, right? For a couple years they said "No new accounts."

I think scaling a social site to a very large number of members without deteriorating badly is impossible. It's a matter of human nature and mobs.

23
3 points by vidar 3 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps pg is too busy these days to really tend to HN? God knows I would be if I were carrying his load.
24
1 point by protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Almost all sites that have comments and user moderation concentrate on the comments and up voting / down voting them. Normally, when dealing with people, I don't remember the individual quote that made me think they were brilliant / a troll, I wrap that up into my sense of them. If I'm flipping channels and see someone who has struck me as a brilliant commentator, I stop based on the visual cue of their face. Names are kind of hard (is this the guy who called me a $%$% or was he the one who really knows python?).

I guess I wonder if the same thing keeps happening on
"comment moderation" sites, isn't it time to look at the ways your view could be based on your (not the group's) opinion of your fellow commentors? I don't have a technical suggestion, but I will probably think a lot on it.

25
3 points by jefe78 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've come to realize in my short time here, that dissenting opinions are dangerous. I've learned to respect the karma gods and pander or, post my opinion and delete it before taking too hard a karma hit.

Its sad to see that an informed, but non-conforming opinion is taken as fact and karma-nuked.

26
3 points by doron 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Illustrated Guide to Flame Warriors is a handy reference: http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/index.htm
27
2 points by danenania 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly new, but I think HN is great. The level of discussion is way, way higher than other similar communities I've seen, and I think the general focus on tech issues with splashes of other topics is perfect. Seems like a successful self-regulating community if I've ever seen one. People just like to complain.
28
2 points by Pooter 3 days ago 0 replies      
The solution, ultimately, is for the site to wither and die, and be replaced by something else that will have the same fate. This is what happens to all things, and to all human social groupings in particular, from ancient Rome on down to your nuclear family.

If you're tired of it, start something else. Or hang out and jump ship when the next great thing comes along. Trying to preserve the golden age is rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.

29
2 points by RiderOfGiraffes 2 days ago 0 replies      
In response to some of the points being raised in the thread, and to provide some sorely needed data, here are some snapshots of the HN "newest" page taken since Feb 2009:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2254397

30
1 point by jcsalterego 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems there's always been reluctance to add features, for the sake of simplicity. Personal messages, for example, would have been useful in many, many instances, but instead we find ourselves checking out the plain-text profile and finding alternate methods of communication.

This limitation has also sprouted ancillary sites attached to the HN Tree of Life, such as searchyc.com, hackermonthly.com, and hnrecap.com as mentioned in the post.

In a similar vein, carving out a sub-HN seems to be: a) downloading the source code, b) bringing it online at another domain and c) announcing via "Tell HN".

All in all, unless someone with >10^5 karma decides to take the time and add some community features to HN (for various values of "community" and "features"), we're all going to continue and see more noise and many different signals.

As an aside, I wholeheartedly appreciate the name, "Bloomfilter."

31
1 point by mcav 3 days ago 1 reply      
HN would be better if it were invite-only like Dribbble. I'm not a member of Dribbble, but it's a good example of why restricting community growth is beneficial.

We're too late for that here. I don't think PG has enough bandwidth or interest to truly solve the problem. New users will continue to join, adding noise to the signal, unless HN changes course. It's going to become more generic and more biased the longer the site stays open.

I hesitate to suggest more moderation as some posters suggest. I'm already uncomfortable with the murmurs of unfair moderation in the system here.

32
1 point by bootload 3 days ago 0 replies      
"... I think HN does a crappy job with general tech news and a so-so job with content that's specifically relevant to startup founders and employees. These days, HN does a downright terrible job with deeply technical topics; that's the area I hear the most complaining about on Twitter and in private. Since deep tech is HN's weakest point, let's go after it. ..."

The weakness of the argument is that the engineer/developer/programmer view is a subset of the interests hackers, founders and entrepreneurs. I draw a clear distinction between tech guns for hire who only want depth as opposed to those who want to solve technical problems and maybe innovate which requires both depth & breadth.

33
2 points by hammock 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone here has seen this same lifecycle play out at just about every online community there ever was. Doesn't matter whether it was open or closed. It's a fact of life.

The solutions offered are top-down culture modification and just plain don't work. Adapt, and wait for the next HN to come along. You can't stop the train.

34
1 point by zaidf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Or may be after a while our perception about something changes disproportionate to the actual change?

That's basically boredom--and it can happen even if you consume something good for a long time. That "good thing" doesn't change so much as your perception of it.

35
4 points by tianyicui 3 days ago 2 replies      
IMO, a tag system like StackOverflow or Quora seems a good way to go.
36
1 point by T_S_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Put some teeth into karma. Make more karma mean bigger upvotes and downvotes, say 1 extra point for every 500 points of karma. It doesn't have to be linked to when a person joined. It's elitist like a journal or university, but at least anyone can read HN, and good posters will rise. Problem solved?

EDIT: Oh yeah. 1 week comment lockout for negative karma, with a grace period for newbies to learn how to comment.

37
1 point by jpwagner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, obviously posts/discussions like this can actually be contributing to the "problem" as some see it, but I'll make one point I don't see made here.

For me personally, I've learned a lot and grown a lot over the course of the 4 years I've been lurking and occasionally contributing here. So for me, a smaller percentage of the stories/articles/posts/discussions appear as insightful as they once did. I don't mean to knock HN in any way, in fact my point is that that fact is not a "problem" to me. New users are joining everyday and everybody who makes the effort to learn and contribute gets something out of HN.

It's what brings me back 17 times a day.

38
1 point by nhangen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to speak up as a relative newcomer that feels I've learned enough about this place to speak my mind without being afraid of retribution and can do so with a basic understanding of what works/doesn't work here.

I really like it here, and it's my 1st stop after Gmail every day, and often more than once per day. Nothing is perfect, but as far as I'm concerned, this is as good as it gets.

39
1 point by cmars232 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is no hacker news problem if you realize that all sites up to this point in internet history are either heavily curated for quality and limited in scope or self-moderated with a one-dimensional, imperfect karma game, and thus chaotic and ephemeral.

Such is the nature of suchness until someone figures out a better game that more properly engages human nature.

Crying over the demise of HN is like crying over a naive hill-climbing algorithm when it gets stuck.

40
1 point by georgieporgie 2 days ago 0 replies      
If sites want to claim some sort of community and continuity, they're going to have to place newbies into virtual reeducation camps. Want to see the newest links? You have to read through 10 comments from an '07 post first. Posted a link to an internet meme? Back to the virtual reeducation camp with you.
41
1 point by kedi_xed 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's simple really. Digg was good, then it got popular, Reddit was good, then it got popular. I've increasingly visited HN more than Reddit to get my old Reddit fix, as I assume others have, and so popularity has increased and now the quality is degrading as people want their karma fix or 2 cents.

There should be a brainstorm on this. I'm starting to realise I want comment submissions from well known or quality submitters. Not just your average kid or someone who is trying to troll.

The other issue is one-off opinion pieces on some guys blog. HN feels like every programmers chance at 15 mins of fame. Why Ruby On Rails is X times better than this (adudecodingblog.com), My way of speeding up Python (pythonlover.com), etc. having someone like pg, of Joel, or big wigs viewing items or articles like these, offering actual real world advice, and providing comments.

Maybe a subscription based hackernews, where the kudos goes to the legends of the industry, interns are made, and I get my intelli-fix and boredom disguiser because I'm stuck in a cube-farm polishing PL/SQL wondering how the hell I got here and when can I play that stupid COD:Black Ops with its really crappy hit detection. Why do I keep playing it?! Why haven't I asked for a bigger paycheck? Why am I not contracting? How is it that the kid I use to teach programmer is now earning more than me? Oh well, keep surfing...

42
2 points by mickeyben 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very well written article. I think he has some good points. I'd really like to see a 'deeply technical' alternative to HN and hope he'll find the good guys !
43
1 point by cfontes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Every single community driven website on earth have being thru this kind of cycle the only way to stop this is to start a new one that will end getting into this cycle again. It's a matter of the amount of people using it, on the beginning only very early adopters and people passionated about that specific topic (here tech startups)are in, as years go by more people that have more interests start to join and post things they think is good, and then the topic changes to a more general subject.

I like this community and I think the quality will always fluctuate but the most of it will always be very good content for people in a hurry.

Thanks for all of you who help this place being nice.

44
2 points by reedlaw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could this phenomenon be in any way attributable to nostalgia? Personally, I find any online community loses attractiveness after a certain period of time.
45
1 point by wyuenho 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why can't HN force categories on every posts? Have the community create and curate the categories, and select their own categories on HN to read. Just a blanket vote up/down button hardly measures how valuable anything is for any particular group if that group is not constant.
46
1 point by SeanLuke 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was discussed before: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=1934367

I had a comment which I guess I should link to rather than repost: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=1934605

47
1 point by ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remove points from users (keep on submissions/replies for positioning).

Problem solved by changing motivations/behaviors.

48
1 point by d0m 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe experienced HN (read as a mix of high karma + there since the beginning), could have a bigger impact on which articles are chosen. I honestly don't mind a "dictatorship" selection where chosen members could remove useless post / select useful one.
49
1 point by nbashaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to separate concerns, and I think there are three main things people are complaining about:

1) quality of submissions
2) quality of comments
3) quality of community

It's the second and third that I think have declined. It's not because the people are any less smart, it's that there are just too many of them. It becomes difficult to keep a mental model of everyone in your head, so you start seeing everything as disembodied text, rather than human beings speaking to one another, with a history of shared experiences.

IMO, this is a solvable problem. You can use avatars and display our locations next to our comments, or even just make our names a little bigger. Anything to humanize the conversations.

50
1 point by JoshCole 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing worth noting is that reversion to the mean doesn't have to be a bad thing. For example todays mean level of education compared to the mean level of education a few hundred years ago is very different. A good question to ask might be, would submitting this increase the mean level of discourse on Hacker News? It is the same sort of thing as what is in the guidelines, but reworded for greater relevance.
51
2 points by alexknight 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly I'd love to pay for a Hackernews account if it meant weeding out some rather distasteful people. Not saying that is the be all/end all solution to the problem though.
52
1 point by jaekwon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm taking on this challenge. Al3x, can you send me an email at jkwon.work@gmail.com?

Also, I'm taking suggestions for seed users. There will also be a HN Karma cutoff where everyone above a threshold can join. You can nominate HN users or yourself here.

53
1 point by adrianwaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with Alex, I think the success of HN has led to an overflow of people dissatisfied with HN who have made HN a success in the first place (and some with YC itself.) I posted two ideas that could be of interest to such people here:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2253752

54
2 points by alienreborn 2 days ago 0 replies      
One solution can be to give read-only access to new users and charge a very low one time fees for upvoting, submitting and commenting. Only people who are serious about contributing will pay for it.
55
1 point by jsmcgd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I now check 'new' articles more often. There are a lot of gems in there that are not voted up.
56
1 point by howlingmime 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has probably been said before (and/or above), but perhaps each article should be tagged and users should subscribe to only those tags of interest to them. In addition, a social component to HN would be useful -- for instance, allow me to recommend a story for someone or for stories of interest to my friends to be ranked above the norm. Our friends make great filters!
57
1 point by tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wait... he complains on his post about not submitting his blog posts to the community.. which then gets submitted to the community and upvoted (albeit probably not by him). Does that sum it up?
58
4 points by mthreat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Case in point - this article.
59
2 points by gabaix 3 days ago 0 replies      
what about tagging? automatic or crowd-powered.
Seems a great way to sort through the noise.
tags could be "technical", "startup", "YC" etc.
60
1 point by mkr-hn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like (s)he wants a Less Wrong for startups.
61
1 point by dave1619 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another HN challenge... as discussions get longer (like this page), it gets more chaotic and more difficult to follow.
62
1 point by aDemoUzer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Part of the problem is the basic UI look, hence I am working on a new UI for it: http://peri.me/2B1A/
63
2 points by newguy889 2 days ago 0 replies      
Political stories simply need to be killed with prejudice.
64
1 point by adrianwaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here think crowd-sourcing due-dilligence on startups would be a good idea?
65
2 points by ddkrone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reeks of elitism.
66
1 point by pdaviesa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty soon you guys will be telling the kids to turn down that damn music and stay off your lawn :)
67
-4 points by p90x 3 days ago 0 replies      
This.
68
5 points by mcav 3 days ago 0 replies      
If he wanted to advertise for BankSimple, he could've done a heck of a lot better than a passing reference in a blog post about HN.
5
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Startups 4 Years Ago amirkhella.com
355 points by amirkhella 2 days ago   55 comments top 27
1
71 points by pg 2 days ago 2 replies      
He's right. The most important thing we tell each YC batch, immediately after interviews, is start now. Startups should be building stuff and talking to users, and not much else.
2
23 points by edw519 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great post!

AFAIC, Success = (BuildingStuff) * (TheValueOfEverythingElse)

If you're not building stuff, it doesn't matter how much value you get out of everything else. Zero is still zero.

Sorry it took you 4 years to learn that lesson. It took me a while too. I don't really know how long because I don't look back. I suspect none of us should.

3
21 points by mattmanser 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am a little more pragmatic about this whole thing, without HN I really wouldn't have realised the benefits of MVC, Memcached, JQuery, SEO, github, the options for charging for an app, Python, the concept of bootstrapping, timing attacks, how easy it is to become a contractor, incubators, even the realisation that you don't need funding to setup a web app. And many more that don't pop into my head now. It's made me a more confident programmer.

There is a lot to be gained in coming here and reading the blogs, the advice. Perhaps more from the comments. Admittedly there is a fair bit of noise and distraction too.

There are benefits as well as negatives, I think it's one of these cases of all things in moderation. I go to the occasional startup meetings and developers meetings near me for fun and relaxation, not because I think it will gain me riches. Because it interests me. Occasionally it motivates me (seeing Rob Wilmot (freeserve) and Joel Gasgoine (myonepage/bufferapp)).

While get it done and ship is a lesson I sorely need beaten into me at this last stage of development, I for one do not begrudge myself these distractions.

4
13 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is better to make $5 a month on something you created than spend a million dollars on learning how to build the perfect startup.

The more I learn about startups the more I realize that the answers are not found in a book or on a blog somewhere. Startups are about synthesis, not instructions. That means until you execute, you don't know what you're doing. Hell, you don't know what you're doing even after you execute.

Also the more I learn the more I realize that me sitting around and writing comments like this are a big part of the problem. Both for me and others.

Back to work.

5
36 points by sabat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't be an entrepreneur by association. Be an entrepreneur by action and results.

That's one of the best things I've ever seen on HN. It (unfortunately) hits close to home.

6
11 points by tjmaxal 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am Milton from Innotech and I hate my life. I'm stuck where I am because I am working full time and a full time student. But neither is really satisfying. I can't seem to raise enough capital to get my ideas off the ground and I can't seem to think of any good ideas that require no capital and can be completed with only a few hours a week.

But I will graduate eventually, then I will make more money and get out of debt. until then all I can really do is watch
things from the sidelines and keep learning.

7
5 points by TimothyBurgess 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever I get an idea nowadays, I do something to pin it to my reality, and to make it tangible. I do it in a quick and ugly way, then figure out how to do it better, and learn only what I need for that.

Perfect.

After reading a number posts/articles similar to this, I feel like I'm pretty lucky to have gone the route I've taken. Being young and full of myself and thinking I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to is also a big factor, I'm sure. But it's also of course had negative impacts.

When I left my old lifestyle ("rockstar" lol emphasis on the quotations) I immediately dove into the little side project I was working on while in the band... and said, "Alright I'm gonna turn this into an actual business. Should be pretty easy... there's definitely tons of bands and management out there who would use it and I've already gotten most of it done." Little did I know, after working on it for a month, I saw vast potential in the basis of the project and decided to start over but make everything insanely flexible. Being arrogant as I was, I figured it wouldn't take more than a month or two. But of course it added on a few more months of (hard!) work and now almost 8 months later I'm literally less than a day away from actual release. (Look out for a rate my startup thread, hopefully tomorrow! ;))

Now, my determination (more like obsession) to get it 99% to what I'd imagined it to be months ago has led me to probably a situation that could be better. I probably could have released the app months ago at 50% and received awesome feedback along the way molding its design to exactly as customers want... while having a much larger customer-base and awareness than I do currently (practically none! :()... but I was afraid it would get a bad reputation early on and turn off more customers in the long run. But now in retrospect, if I'd known this from the beginning I'd have gone in a direction that allowed me to release much earlier without compromising the app's reputation. My mind was just so set on that one full idea I had from the beginning. I guess next time I'll be more prepared!

8
5 points by lsc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think networking, from a business perspective, is a lot like display advertising. It's more about building credibility for when you need it later than about the immediate sale. You want people to say "Hey, I've heard of that guy before."

Several competitors, when they wanted out of the business, approached me about buying them out for cheap. I even went through with one of the deals (the customers and some of the other assets, but not the name, of tilenetworks now belongs to prgmr.com. We'll be announcing a KVM product at some point based on the tilenetworks stuff.)

But much like advertising, it's not much use until you have something to buy or sell.

9
6 points by light3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of my favorite violinist, his one of the cleanest players you'll find:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mixnMzHUYxA

Once he was asked what music piece he thought was most difficult to play, his reply was something like:
"Either you can play a piece or you can't, there is no difficult, difficult leads to friction in your playing"

The 'not best' players when faced with difficult passages will consciously or subconsciously have fear of it and stress out, this is will cause tension and can be picked up by the viewer.

Milstein's was known for taking any musical piece he liked and 'hacking' it till he knew it inside out, for every passage he will try all sorts of fingerings. An average player will be content to play one fingering well, relying mostly on muscle memory, but Milstein would study a piece and really play from his head, at each moment he could choose between different fingerings. Thats how he thought and practiced, and if you look at his performance he is always relaxed because his preparation is so thorough and he played from his mind.

10
5 points by dlevine 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know a lot of people who could tell you the name of every startup that launched on TechCrunch last week. Pretty much none of them have been successful. My advice to most of these people is "take a month off of the blogs and actually do something."
11
3 points by r00fus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the "wasted time" the author refers to is, in fact, time needed to get ready. Some folks won't need as much of it (or any at all), others will need more.

In the end, finding that "fear of not starting" is incredibly important, but I posit that could only be found by the author after his "walk in the wilderness".

12
13 points by jonny_eh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great article despite the irony of advising people to not read it.
13
3 points by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with all the blogs/interviews/features about strategies or lifehacks or whatever is that if it hadn't worked, would they have bothered to write a blog about it?

Meaning, hundreds of other people might have tried and failed with the exact same thinking, but you don't hear about them, making success stories seem more significant than they really are.

14
5 points by laf2019 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good post, I've been through a similar situation. I worked for some large evil company, and needed all of those meetups and blog posts to validate the idea that I wanted to work on or at a startup. But I am not sure that cutting them out totally is a good idea. They do help you build your network, and some people you meet at these events CAN actually be helpful. Maybe like with alcohol, it is good in moderation. But I agree, it is easy to get swept up in the spirit of entrepreneurship but never become one.
15
5 points by Macsenour 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great post!

I would add one thing about momentum: don't be afraid to say "I'll get back to that problem" and focus on keeping the momentum going. This has made a HUGE difference in my project. A feature could have stopped me in my tracks, I bypassed it to keep development going and now it turns out that I don't need that feature. It could have stopped my process for weeks, but now, not at all.

Just, keep track of those things so you can get back to them later.

16
2 points by Zakuzaa 2 days ago 1 reply      

    I stopped reading startup news and blogs for few weeks, and I realized I didn't miss anything related to my products.

Fallacy?

17
2 points by bconway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. The discrepancy between the title and the URL made me smirk, even though it was probably not relevant.
18
2 points by phankinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bhahaha. I bursted out laughing when I saw Milton.

I agree with most of the points, but one thing I've learned in my years doing web startups is making sure their is a need for your product. Lots of Lean Startup principles are unbelievably useful at showing your idea has legs before investing any time or money into it.

19
2 points by jrubinovitz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use technology entrepreneur sites for inspiration when I'm getting sluggish after working the day job all day. Devoting more energy to "learning about being an entrepreneur" can be really unproductive. The best learning will be done by doing. I agree with this link.

Now it's time to go back to work!

20
3 points by visava 2 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped reading techcrunch a year back.
I will stop reading HN for the next 60 days
21
1 point by rblion 2 days ago 0 replies      
Truth. Theory and practice are not separate, they are one. I am learning this myself right now. I finally realized the only way to change the fruits (results) is to the change the roots (actions). Consuming empty information are like consuming empty calories. It adds nothing but confusion and wastes nothing but time and energy.

BTW: Favorite HN post of the month. :)

22
1 point by davidwparker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good advice; Do you have other startup advice? I'd love to read all about it!

Isn't irony great; momentum and actually doing work is super important. Really good post.

23
1 point by bfe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think a valuable complement to this is the idea of finding the fastest minimum viable product you can create and start getting feedback on, and if the original idea would take months to launch, then trying to plan a path to it through a space of increasingly involved products that are viable at every step from the most quickly launchable initial product, even if that doesn't bear much resemblance to the original idea.
24
1 point by bo_Olean 1 day ago 0 replies      
"work now and talk later"

this is just dead simple lesson in theory but why it takes time to actually practically feel this?

i think i will read and re-read only this post for few days. no more popurls.

25
1 point by spydertennis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish someone had told me about startups 4 years ago :-).
26
1 point by pxstock 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, great post. To honour it's spirit: it should also be the last post I read on HN. Before long another four years will have passed by.
27
1 point by hetaoblog 1 day ago 0 replies      
really great!
6
Show HN: HackerBooks.com hackerbooks.com
338 points by thibaut_barrere 3 days ago   140 comments top 38
1
9 points by DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 3 replies      
I like it!

Just last week I had two people email me with similar site ideas to hn-books.com, and when I launched hn-books 2 completely other people emailed me that they were working on similar sites.

Must be something about hacker books that's in the water. Lots of sites with lots of features and such means better resources for all hackers, plus lots of folks getting experiences doing stuff like this. Most excellent!

Since I've done this, I guess I should say something pithy or insightful. I think the trick is the navigation piece. I see you have categories -- that's probably a good place to start. I started with questions, you can go to my main page, click on the hacker-related question you have, and be presented with a sorted list of answers based on your experience. (see http://hn-books.com/ )

I'm not sure if questions are the way to go either, though, as there are a zillion questions hackers might ask. I'd still like to see somebody come up with some new ideas in this area.

I also ran into the "just what are hacker books, anyway?" question that we get over here all of the time. I finally said screw it, I'll just put things that I believe are hacker-related. But I don't think there's any easy answer to that one, either.

Outstanding site, though! I hope some of these other guys that have spoken to me will post what they've done as well.

2
10 points by swombat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting resource. Another related site would be DanielBMarkham's http://www.hn-books.com/ ...
3
18 points by thibaut_barrere 3 days ago 4 replies      
My wife and I made this site to make it easier to find tech-related books.

It's fairly simple so far and more features are planned.

I'm submitting early on to get some wider feedback. Thanks to all the HNers that reviewed this before today already!

4
4 points by benwerd 3 days ago 2 replies      
Useful, and also a neat way to make some side-cash via your affiliate link. I suspect I'll be checking this regularly.

One thing that would be really handy - or at least interesting - is a "most recently mentioned" list. For example, when people were talking a lot about Program or be Programmed a while back, it would have been fun to see that rise to the top.

5
4 points by dansingerman 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea. Simple, yet effective, and well executed.

I wish I'd thought of it.

6
2 points by TheSOB88 3 days ago 1 reply      
Site looks great - really great - on a macro level, but when you get down to it, it doesn't really have the content I'm looking for.

There's extreme misuse of the space on the page. When I was looking at Code Complete (a book I've been trying to get my hands on for a while), there is very little content about the book. The synopsis is cut off (!) and there are no reviews. But if you were trying to save space, why on the hells are there over 9000 books following in "quoted discussions"? You need to switch what you're truncating here. Also, I would suggest at least copying Amazon's ratings for some measure of book quality.

For reference: http://www.hackerbooks.com/book/code-complete-a-practical-ha...

7
7 points by KishoreKumar 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Which is the most quoted book"? or "What are the top 10 among most quoted books"? these were the questions going in my mind, while I'm browsing.
8
3 points by tejaswiy 3 days ago 0 replies      
On a slightly unrelated note, are there any UX/UI books that are targetted for programmers? I'm a complete noob with photoshopping and can't create a button to save my life. Working on side projects, this is really annoying.
9
2 points by adrianwaj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd track the comments page. http://news.ycombinator.com/newcomments

In this respect you'll see new Amazon links every so often in: http://twitter.com/hackerlinks the tweet will begin with Amazon) http://hackerbra.in/links

This site is really a good idea. The Amazon links can get quite popular (I know from looking at my Amazon stats on @hackerlinks when I had the affiliate code inserted.)

10
5 points by instakill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome site. Is there any way you can add a filter for "free" for ebooks?
11
2 points by codeslush 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is really nice looking. I am working on a concept that encapsulates part of what you've done here and I would love to have a discussion with you. I'm not ready to launch yet, but will be in a couple weeks. I gotta get moving quickly and you provide good motivation!

Congrats!

12
3 points by marijn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Needs more Eloquent JavaScript.
13
2 points by rhizome 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like it! You might add links to the questions so people can see from the references what ground the book covers.
14
1 point by d0m 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, good idea. I've browsed it this morning and it's an excellent website. Some things I might add is a link to the context of where the book was cited and also better categorization. (i.e. effective C++ in compiler book). But otherwise, amazing. Thank you
15
1 point by marknutter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder sometimes if it'd be worth creating a site that aggregates all the most useful and interesting information from social news sites like Reddit, HN, etc. like this site does for books on HN. I spent a long time finding all the best "life hacks" on Reddit the other day and really found some gems.
16
1 point by tallanvor 3 days ago 1 reply      
You need to adjust your tokenization settings. --Searching for C, C++, and C# all return the same results right now.
17
1 point by nathanlrivera 3 days ago 1 reply      
For books published by the Pragmatic Bookshelf, you should link directly to the publisher, in my opinion. PragProg.com sells DRM-free ebooks (in pdf, mobi, and epub) for cheaper than Amazon. They are a great value and I bet the PragProg folks keep more money this way, which is a good thing.

For example http://www.hackerbooks.com/book/rails-for-net-developers-fac...

Should link to http://pragprog.com/titles/cerailn/rails-for-net-developers instead of Amazon.com.

18
1 point by Jem 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it possible to sort in different ways? Am guessing it's sorted by latest recommendation at the minute?

I searched PHP and would like to see by # of recommendations...

19
2 points by chintan100 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome site! Verrrry useful for SOers and HNers.

I dont know if there is an API for it or not but if you can get the Amazon rating of a book and display it on the book description page, it will be great. :)

20
2 points by davidjhall 3 days ago 1 reply      
Minor bug report: I did a search on xbox (hoping to see Hacking the Xbox) and the Kinect system came up -- you are probably scrubbing against Amazon and it came up.
21
1 point by NnamdiJr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for creating this!(and thank to the community for voting it up so i could see it)... I've been searching everywhere for book recommendations to help expand my knowledge of NLP and ML, then I suddenly click on this link and there it is! Great site!
22
2 points by soapdog 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really liked the site, congratulations. Just because I am a stack freak, can you tell us more about your technology stack and how fun (or not) was to develop this?
23
3 points by HackrNwsDesignr 3 days ago 1 reply      
What language/tools did you use to build it?
24
1 point by iconfinder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Have you been inspired by the design/structure of Iconfinder.com?
25
1 point by tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am probably echoing many when I say: Great job! How can we rate individual books?
26
1 point by dmarinoc 3 days ago 1 reply      
just curious... how do you parse (and find the titles) from SO and HN? Only checking from publishers/distributors links?

Keep the good work. I love it :)

My only suggestion is to offer a ranking and order the results by # of quotes

27
1 point by lefstathiou 3 days ago 1 reply      
i would appreciate a link to google books so i can preview the site.
28
2 points by techarch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love it! Nice clean and simple without the clutter of non-hacker type books!
29
1 point by thurn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd really love a feature where people could submit exercise solutions for books that don't include them. I find exercises a lot more useful if I have a solution to compare against.
30
1 point by conjectures 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great tool. Will save me a few awkward google queries site:ac.uk "reading list" x
etc
31
1 point by Sakes 3 days ago 0 replies      
I knew exactly what your site offered and how to use it in the first 5 seconds. Awesome job, nice info layout.
32
1 point by mcn 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like it. I would love to see the comments without having to click through to hacker news or stack overflow.
33
1 point by krat0sprakhar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this amazing initiative. Looking forward to more features.
34
1 point by gauravgupta 3 days ago 1 reply      
You should sort the books by the number of times they have been quoted.
35
1 point by savramescu 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't see any book details / list now. I haz error 500.
36
2 points by blparker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love it. Thank you.
37
1 point by jwomers 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea, and executed well! Awesome!
38
1 point by mikecaron 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wicked cool!
7
Calculus Revisited - a complete self-study calculus course from MIT OCW mit.edu
316 points by stiff 1 day ago   43 comments top 14
1
13 points by treeface 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great resource, thanks. Another great resource is, of course, the Khan Academy. See their precalc videos here:

http://www.khanacademy.org/#Precalculus

And their calc videos here:

http://www.khanacademy.org/#Calculus

2
12 points by tricky 1 day ago 1 reply      
I dug out my old calc textbook last weekend because I need derivatives for my latest hack. Every time I get stuck Khan Academy saves the day.

just sayin'.

3
15 points by steve918 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also recommend Prof. Strang's book http://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-18-001-calculus-online-text... and series of lectures http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/courses/highlights-of-calculu... He explains Calculus in a way that make it really easy to understand.
4
6 points by barista 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hope this is how the future of education looks like. Curses like these are too valuable to be locked in the ivory towers of ivy league schools. Kudos to MIT for releasing it and hope many other premier schools follow this lead.
5
1 point by ssx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome! A great refresher. {nostalgic of the simpleness of life back in highschool...study and learn}
6
1 point by SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
I kid you not, just this morning I was thinking "I want to brush up on my calculus", then I go for my morning dose of HN and see this. I like reading prescient web sites.
7
1 point by Radix 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If you go looking it isn't too difficult to find material like this. Many of the posters hear have jumped in with their favorite resources. But, where do you all go when you want to ask potentially dumb questions as you would an instructor in class or of classmates? Khan Academy has a nice Q/A section for each video, but the best I've seen is PhysicsForums. Anything better?
8
2 points by binarymax 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this - just watched the first video. Clearly spoken and well explained. Will be going through the rest of the course.
9
2 points by patricklynch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another recommendation -

Keisler's Elementary Calculus: An Infinitesimal Approach
http://www.math.wisc.edu/~keisler/calc.html

(pulled from this old slashdot thread)
http://books.slashdot.org/story/04/03/04/028253/Five-Free-Ca...

10
2 points by davidsiems 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you've never read it before this book is a very intuitive introduction (and refresher): http://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Made-Easy-Silvanus-Thompson/d...
11
2 points by stcredzero 1 day ago 2 replies      
What are the Calculus applications for startup people?
12
2 points by balloot 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone know of a resource like this where you can take problem sets and/or tests? For the way I learn, it just doesn't stick unless I can do problems and correct my mistakes.
13
1 point by steve918 1 day ago 0 replies      
14
1 point by aguki 1 day ago 1 reply      
Aside from iTunes U, is there any other method to download an offline copy of the modules (inclusive of a/v content)?
8
Pattern: A web mining & natural language processing system for Python ac.be
314 points by rbreve 1 day ago   22 comments top 11
1
11 points by logjam 1 day ago 0 replies      
For we who have had to roll some of the same functionality piecemeal out of tools like the Stanford NLP Core, tregex/tsurgeon, Wordnet, Beautiful Soup, and python nlptk, this looks on the surface to be pretty sweet. BSD licensing.

Here's a cool application - tagging negation and speculation clauses in some text (their demo has been trained on biomedical text):

Example sentence:
When U937 cells were infected with HIV-1, no induction of NF-KB factor was detected, whereas high level of progeny virions was produced, suggesting that this factor was not required for viral replication.

Result:
When U937 cells were infected with HIV-1 , [NEG0 no induction of NF-KB factor was detected NEG0] , whereas high level of progeny virions was produced , [SPEC2 suggesting that this factor was [NEG1 not required for viral replication NEG1] SPEC2] .

2
5 points by tswicegood 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is all really cool stuff, but I can't help but thinking they've got a dozen or so separate packages here. They've also re-invented the wheel at every turn. All new wrapper for the Twitter API and every search engine? All new graphing library for JavaScript.

Don't get me wrong, this is all awesome, but a lot of it could have been re-used from better sources without having to spend time working on random API wrappers and the like. I would definitely like to know the reasoning behind creating everything from scratch.

3
5 points by stdbrouw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks nice, though less full-featured than the NLTK. I'd be interested to see how nice they'd play together and whether applications could exploit the strengths of both at the same time. The only thing that's better than one good NLP framework, is two good NLP frameworks, after all.
4
1 point by syllogism 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to be involved in teaching an NLP course this semester, and we're debating what to put in it. What are some things you want to do with NLP, and what would you hope to learn (or have a future employee learn) in an honours and masters level course?
5
2 points by soulclap 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know a whole lot about text analysis and the mentioned algorithms, can this be used to analyze articles and determine which are dealing with the same subject? Techmeme-ish? Or what would be a good starting point for this? (Or would this be better off in an 'Ask HN' post? I am one of those horrible new people on here.
6
1 point by phreeza 1 day ago 1 reply      
Project thats been in the back of my head for a while, but have no time to do:

Analyze HN comments over time with some NLP techniques, maybe sentiment analysis. Then if the next wave of "HN is turning into Reddit" posts comes, point people to the analysis, whatever the conclusions are.

Seems like this would be well suited for the task. Any takers?

7
4 points by raufrajar 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like a very nice tool and many hackers would want to play with it. However, it will be really convenient if the project is put on GitHub.
8
1 point by derrida 1 day ago 3 replies      
Imagine spidering twitter for phrases of the type "x is a type of y" in order to form a database of real world objects in an inheritance hierarchy. Now imagine when you have these objects, finding out what these objects do by looking at verbs that occur around them. Boom. You have objects, and you have the methods you need to write. Now you just need someone to write the code! The methods writing could become a sort of captcha exercise.
9
3 points by TuxPirate 1 day ago 0 replies      
10
1 point by ericxtang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really fantastic piece of software. It's about time we move away from using java wrappers for NLP stuff. Anyone know a similar project in Ruby?
11
-4 points by derrida 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually just literally drooled on the keyboard!
9
Thunderbolt apple.com
304 points by arnemart 1 day ago   196 comments top 35
1
49 points by hallmark 1 day ago 6 replies      
I am delighted that Thunderbolt isn't reusing the USB plug form-factor. Early rumors showed Light Peak plugs that were the standard rectangular USB shape with fiber optic channels blended in: http://www.macrumors.com/2011/02/19/apple-to-introduce-light...

The outer rectangular, doubly symmetrical shape of USB is a usability nightmare! You know what I'm talking about. Good riddance.

2
51 points by _delirium 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pleasantly surprised that it's backwards-compatible with the mini-DisplayPort. Was expecting another round of buying dongles.
3
47 points by CrLf 1 day ago 7 replies      
Technically it seems nice, but what's up with reusing the "high voltage" symbol for this? And "thunderbolt" is a very tacky name...
4
27 points by sandipc 1 day ago 1 reply      
So I guess the official branding of Lightpeak is Thunderbolt, even from Intel? And the standard connector (even outside of Apple products) is essentially Mini-Displayport?
5
41 points by zppx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Two questions:

Is it royalty-free?

If the answer is negative, what are the licensing terms?

6
4 points by spitfire 23 hours ago 0 replies      
So thunderbolt is PCI-E at the end of a cable, Cool.
I can see people building neat, cheapo numa boxes with this.
Think sgi altix on the cheap.

For those that don't know, the SGI Altix has a special chip that intercepts memory accesses and maps other systems memory to be seen as "local" on each system. If thunderbolt is just pci-e on a wire, you may be able to connect a few systems together and just map memory across systems. It'd take some trickery, and wouldn't be quite as fast as infiniband, but the thought of building a ghetto supercomputer would be useful to many people.

7
15 points by estel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Intel's page sheds some more light on it, too: http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm
8
17 points by yread 1 day ago replies      
So the whole USB2.0/Firewire is going to repeat? Sigh.
9
8 points by kayoone 1 day ago 1 reply      
The problem with USB 3.0 is that it still isnt supported by Intel and probably never will since they developed Thunderbolt.
If you want USB 3.0 today, you need an extra Chip on your board because its not integrated in any chipset. When Intel integrates Thunderbolt nativly the game is over for USB 3.0
10
4 points by pyre 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is this peer-2-peer like FireWire was or it is a client-server model like USB? I see people talking about this being copper or fibre. If this is fibre, then it can't supply power to the device like USB? I don't see that catching on for most portable devices (e.g. hard drives). It's extremely convenient to just have one cable for a device that needs connectivity and power when it comes to portable devices.
11
5 points by cal5k 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can't seem to find an answer to this in the materials - is this optical or copper? Light Peak was supposed to be optical, but the Wikipedia page has unsubstantiated claims of it initially being copper.
12
3 points by beaumartinez 1 day ago 1 reply      
Codenamed Light Peak.

Intel's page on Light Peak (not the same as theirs on Thunderbolt): http://techresearch.intel.com/ProjectDetails.aspx?Id=143

Wikipedia has a very informative article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Peak

13
4 points by doron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anybody shed light on the possibility of DRM or some implementation of Tilt-bits to restrict output from this port to high resolution screens etc?
14
2 points by frankus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not that it hasn't been possible strictly due to lack of a suitable interconnect technology, but I wonder if this could facilitate using your mobile device as a sort of "personality module" that could plug into a monitor with a built-in graphics chip and maybe some additional processing power (accessed via OpenCL).

Obviously the OS would have a long way to go to support that kind of thing, but I would be surprised if in five years your typical "home directory" isn't either entirely cloud-based or uses a scheme like this.

15
2 points by hop 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wonder how many monitors this can push. Also, what will happen to Apples 30pin connector on their iPods,iPhones... I guess we will know Tuesday. Are there any external hard drives with thunderbolt yet?
16
7 points by DarrenLehane 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anybody notice how it shares the name with HTC's 'ThunderBolt' 4G phone being released, and how it looks like both Intel and HTC have trademarks on the word?
17
5 points by s00pcan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone considered using an external video card with this? That would be a great use with desktop replacement laptops since it would actually be upgradeable.
18
3 points by marknutter 1 day ago 2 replies      
How long before we can buy external graphics cards that utilize thunderbolt? It'd save me the hassle of having to build gaming PCs every couple years.
19
4 points by kayoone 1 day ago 1 reply      
i sense multiple external screens on a MBP :D
20
1 point by reeses 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I might have missed it shooting through the threads, but has anyone announced a PCI express card with thunderpeak? I'd love to have 10gbit between my workstation and my NAS without having to buy multiple FC HBAs.

In fact, I'd probably take all of my current DAS and add it to the NAS pool as well. It would make my home office much quieter if I could hide all the spindles in another room and still have fast storage access.

21
1 point by callumjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
So if PCIe x16 is rated between 8GB/s and 16GB/s would it be possible for someone to come out with a PCIe enclosure so I could hook up a semi decent nVidia or AMD/ATI card to my MacBook?
22
1 point by jkahn 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Two monitors on a MBP with Thunderbolt. Now, where the hell is the adapter to buy that will actually let you connect two monitors?
23
1 point by 83457 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a moment I thought the device on the left side of the image was an apple version of this on its side ...

http://gemsres.com/story/apr08/536976/ENGELBART_2.jpg

24
2 points by tantalor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can a Thunderbolt device (eg display) expose USB to peripherals? With my current setup, I connect my display via USB and DVI to my MBP in order to connect USB peripherals via the display. I'd love to break that redundant USB connection with Thunderbolt.
25
3 points by splatcollision 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be awesome if iPad2 had the same port... I say it's a possibility!
26
1 point by joebananas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kinda cheezy name. Also, the plugs on the Intel site don't look like mini displayport. Is the Apple version proprietary?
27
1 point by skorgu 1 day ago 3 replies      
What happens if I plug a PC into another PC via thunderbolt?
28
1 point by ghc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Five years ago I would have been eagerly anticipating this, but I can't really get excited anymore. USB3 has probably already won, and while I love the idea of monitors and other devices all using the same port, I don't think it will be enough to drive adoption.
29
0 points by bugsy 1 day ago 2 replies      
It really seems to me a lot of this is about making your current peripherals obsolete so they can sell you new ones.
30
1 point by ilmare 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now the question is how long it would take market to catch up with adapters/hubs or updated hardware.
31
-1 point by dpapathanasiou 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this why Apple dumped FireWire a few years ago?
32
-1 point by paolomaffei 1 day ago 1 reply      
On another note the new MacBook Pro is nothing special:
- still no SSD drive built-in (+$250)
- still no 8GB of RAM built-in (+$200)
- less battery duration than last generation
33
-3 points by smallegan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the sequel to Steve's Disney "classic" Bolt(2008).
34
-4 points by Goldstein 1 day ago 0 replies      
no doubt it is a great innovation, but it is a Epic Fail with its logo or symbol or branding whatever you call it. it should be something special like USB, Ethernet, Sound symbol etc.
35
-1 point by patrickgzill 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't be surprised if the 10Gbps chips are interoperable with 10Gbps Ethernet chips at some level.
10
Buying VMWare Fusion: A lesson in how to drive customers away bitquabit.com
289 points by tghw 3 days ago   98 comments top 23
1
54 points by ironkeith 2 days ago 6 replies      
I recently bought Parallels, and it wasn't much better. From the email I sent them (after I finally found an email address):

- When I arrived on the checkout page (from the link in the nice email you sent), you had tacked on a $8 digital backup fee. That is a complete bullshit charge, and you added it by default with no explanation as to what it was, or why I would want it. It was also not particularly obvious whether or not I could remove said add-on. It is a shameless, low class, money grab.

- I switched my pricing from USD to CAD, and you added $10 despite the two currencies trading at parity (I quickly swapped back, and just paid in USD). Another shameless, senseless money grab.

- You require my name, home address, email address, and phone number in order for me to purchase downloadable software via Paypal. You do not need any of that information. You want it so that some tool in marketing can have pretty powerpoints. It should be optional. (Making it required simply requires me to make up information; a waste of both our time.)

- The “send me email spam” checkbox was checked by default. The only reason for this is to get permission to spam people too lazy to pay attention to the checkout. It's another tasteless scam formulated by a greedy, customer hostile executive tool.

- After purchasing, I entered my serial number, and was informed that I would have to register to receive updates to the software I just purchased. I cannot explain to you how incredibly asinine I find that policy. 

- The registration process once again required information I didn't want to give you (requiring me to give you fake information)

- After registering, and confirming my registration via email, and entering my email/password combo into the application I was told that I had given invalid credentials, and to try again. (I hadn't. I'm pretty good with copy/paste.) So I guess NO UPDATES FOR ME?

2
18 points by tzs 3 days ago 2 replies      
He guesses VMWare stores credit cards based on them using the last 4 digits to help identify orders. Actually, it is probably Digital River, not VMWare. VMWare uses Digital River to handle actually process orders. (That's why the site he went to for order lookup was findmyorder.com, not vmware.com. Findmyorder.com is a Digital River site).

You can't really infer credit card storage from them keeping the last 4. Merchants need to keep the first 6 and last 4 in order to process chargebacks and refunds. When a customer charges back all the bank tells the merchant is first 6, last 4, and amount of charge back (oh, and the date of the charge back). Furthermore, the amount does not always match an amount the merchant charged. So, the merchant needs to be able to look up orders by first 6/last 4, approximate amount, and date-that-it-must-have-been-before.

PCI allows first 6 and last 4 to be stored unencrypted and kept as part of general customer information. The strict security requirements (encryption, kept off of networks not involved with actually using the card, and so on) only apply to the rest of the digits.

3
34 points by wh-uws 2 days ago 4 replies      
If you are not in need of customer support the answer to this problem is to use Virutalbox

http://www.virtualbox.org/

Its just about as fast, has all the same features (including 3d support) and best of all its free and opensource

4
17 points by rosser 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've pinged a friend at VMWare about this. It's not her department, but she should be able to pass it along towards the people whose problem it should be.

EDIT: Word's been passed along. Don't know if anything will actually come of it, but (at least some of) the people whose problem it should be are aware.

5
17 points by samlittlewood 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Humble Indie Bundle games pack did this so well:

- Very simple purchasing - a single page

- Perpetual download codes

- No DRM

6
7 points by sudonim 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah... I've been buying VMWare for my team. After buying it twice online, I started buying it from amazon boxed because it's cheaper than the digital version from VMWare and you can still get the stupid rebate they are currently offering. (I hate rebates).
7
36 points by embwbam 2 days ago 2 replies      
I actually ended up using a pirated serial after I'd purchased VMWare because it was easier to get than the legitimate one.
8
13 points by Pooter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had roughly this same experience with buying VMWare Fusion two years ago. Nice to see they're paying attention to customers.
9
18 points by devicenull 2 days ago 0 replies      
findmyorder.com really looks like your typical phishing site. I don't think I'd be giving them any of my information.
10
4 points by rimantas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well… I got Parallels as boxed software sent to me (was working from home). Alas, I got an older version, and upgrading required some mind boggling stupidity (some proof of purchase I did not have, some personal details, etc.) So I decided it was not worth the hassle and bought VMWare Fusion (with my own money) online instead.
11
7 points by mwsherman 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is what's selling me on OS-vendor-provided App Stores. Of course there are many reasons a self-respecting hacker would turn up their nose at such a thing. But product activation and billing really should not be novel experiences in 2011.
13
3 points by Locke1689 2 days ago 0 replies      
I got my VMWare Fusion key in the email. Two seconds, confirmed. I guess YMMV. I've been a closed beta tester for VMWare Fusion for ~2 years as well.
14
2 points by jrockway 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently downloaded VirtualBox. It runs Windows perfectly and it's Free software.
15
2 points by wazoox 2 days ago 0 replies      
And this is why I use Free Software only. Thanks for the reminder.
16
2 points by denimboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been using VirtualBox on Mac and Linux for a couple years now with fantastic results. Easy upgrades and free as in beer and (most of it) as in speech too.

Recently started using Vagrant http://vagrantup.com/ to configure virtual machines with VirtualBox and Chef. Awesome. I recommend this combo to all devs.

17
1 point by nailer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this. I use and love VMware products (Fusion now, other products since Workstation 1.0) and I'd forgotten how hair-pullingly painful it was buying Fusion for the first time. This re-jogged those memories.
18
1 point by jbhelms 2 days ago 2 replies      
I notice that no one has mentioned Hyper-V yet. While it isn't perfect it is free. Mind you, you do need to be running Windows Server, but if you are already running windows you should consider it.

I am curious how it stands up to all the others. Virtual Box didn't have it in their grid.

19
1 point by aelaguiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
You think that's bad, you should hear my experience trying to buy a license to the virtual center for the free version of vmware server in 2009. At one point I had a 3 way call going with VMWare's local vendor and VMWare corporate where they were both denying such a thing as a "free" version of vmware server ever existing.

The last few years of dealing with vmware have shown me quite clearly that vmware doesn't care about little guys. They obviously make all of their money from large business customers.

20
1 point by Uchikoma 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I bought November last year, I did get the keys in the confirmation email.
21
1 point by hdragomir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm relieved I will never go through this process. This does not sound like a normal checkout process to me.
22
-1 point by bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, to recap:

- I bought a product that needed a license key;

- in order to use it, I was sent to a 3rd party site I had never dealt with before that provides the keys;

- the site requires me to enter part of my credit card as my proof of purchase to use it;

- it then takes me to a totally broken page, which, thankfully, has a license key;

- that license key is rejected for some indeterminate amount of time by vmware.com due to a known slowness problem with their key distribution system;

- once it's finally not rejected, vmware.com still merrily asks me to give it an email that it knows damn well it didn't give me but still accepts just the correct key from the key distro site anyways

There, I fixed it so it's not such blog spam, buy software much?

23
-4 points by Ahmes 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm sorry, but how is this news worthy?

As far as I can tell, some guy bought a copy of VMWare Fusion with a moderately poor customer experience, can't activate it within the first half hour, writes a blog post to complain and gets his buddies at Fog Creek to upvote.

Why on earth did you think other people would be interested in this?

11
New MacBook Pro series apple.com
271 points by frytaz 1 day ago   343 comments top 37
1
81 points by SandB0x 1 day ago replies      
Didn't get as much coverage, but there are also new ThinkPads this week: http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/22/lenovo-trots-out-new-thin...

The 14" models look good: 30 hours (claimed) battery on the T420, 0.83" ultrathin T420s with discrete graphics.

Edit: Here's the official announcement, which took a bit of digging around to find: http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1421 . synacksynack has posted a good link now.

2
40 points by wheels 1 day ago replies      
Color me disappointed. I was hoping for:

• Ditching the optical media for longer battery life

• 4 cores in the 13"

• Max RAM of 12 GB (this one isn't listed ... maybe?)

• The higher resolution 1440x900 resolution in the 13" that the Macbook Air has

Altogether it's a pretty wussy update. Basically it looks like the diff (on the 13" model, which is what I care about) is:

• Faster CPU (finally!)

• Thunderbolt port (count on buying another $30 display adapter like every generation)

• 3 hours less battery life

3
17 points by sandGorgon 1 day ago replies      
hmm - you need to go to 1799$ before you end up with a half decent graphics card and 2199$ for a decent card.

Compare it with a Dell XPS 15 Sandy Bridge - $1049 for i7 2620M, 1920X1080 display, nVidia GT525 Optimus card, HD Camera.

For a first time possible mac buyer (me) - is it well justified ?

4
7 points by CrazedGeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was about to post something to the effect of "I'm disappointed that the 13-inch model replaced the Nvidia GPU with an Intel one", but it seems to be decently better: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-320M.28701.0.htm...
5
9 points by joshfinnie 1 day ago 6 replies      
I never understood why the 13" version is such a second class citizen? Is it that different of a footprint that Apple can't fit the same technology in it... or is this Apple's plan?
6
6 points by billybob 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thunderbolt is the coolest thing here to me. The way I read this, Intel at least partly owns the IP on it, so it should be available on PCs in the future, too? (I hope so, because that will create a bigger peripheral market.)

UPDATE: Answer appears to be "yes."

"...the fastest way to get information in and out of your PC and peripheral devices..."

http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm

7
6 points by wippler 1 day ago 2 replies      
may be they should've relabeled the 13" MBP as Macbook and retired the white Macbook, frankly the specs are quite low except for the CPU.. display at 1280x800 :(

But the 15" and 17" inchers look awesome with quads

8
4 points by jonpaul 1 day ago 1 reply      
Bummed that you can't get more than 8 GB of memory on even the i7. Why are the i7 mobiles only limited to 8 GB? That seems silly for today's standards and memory costs.
9
2 points by trezor 1 day ago 3 replies      
Will you be able to get a MBP with a builtin 3G-adapter yet? No? Ok, I'll just go back to Dell then.

Edit: While my comment may come off trollish, this is a requirement for me when buying any mobile gear. That Apple still doesn't provide this for their top of the line laptops still baffles me.

10
3 points by zefhous 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anyone know if you can boot from a Thunderbolt Connected drive?
11
2 points by swannodette 1 day ago 0 replies      
Consumer laptops where the OS sees 8 processors. Now is a really good time to pick up Clojure, Erlang, Haskell, Scala and see what the fuss is all about.
12
1 point by code_duck 1 day ago 2 replies      
I dread this because it makes the model I bought last year feel outdated! I can't see upgrading something like an MBP more than once every two years, though. That's reassuring since I know whatever that model is, it will be fantastic by current standards.

The only time my MBP breaks a sweat as it is, though, is on games: Half Life 2 and the PlayStation 2 emulator make the fans come on like it's trying to dry my hair.

I'm not 100% sold on my next laptop being an Apple, though. While my MBP is very impressive, it is also a quite expensive piece of hardware... and I'm not impressed by Apple's policies regarding iOS and the App Store. But what is the alternative? It doesn't seem like there is any other manufacturer successfully designs elegant, high performance luxury notebooks.

13
1 point by Groxx 1 day ago 1 reply      
>Thanks to the new microarchitecture, the graphics processor is on the same chip as the central processor and has direct access to L3 cache.

I've been waiting for this kind of thing for years. Up until the iPad, I never would've guessed it'd be Apple that beat everyone out the door. That kind of proximity has the potential to change how we use GPUs, because moving data back and forth can be so much faster.

14
4 points by xster 1 day ago 0 replies      
unfortunate that almost all the rumours were false
- hybrid ssd
- better battery
- higher resolution
- bigger trackpad
- thinner body
15
1 point by NathanKP 1 day ago 2 replies      
It seems as if for the last couple years every time Apple releases a new device it gets less expensive than the predecessor. I wonder if this is just an economy of scale effect, if as Apple grows they can afford to make less expensive computers, or if the lower prices are driven by falling hardware costs, or if they are deliberately driving the price down to grab a larger market share.

Either way the Apple product line up is just getting better and better in my eyes.

16
3 points by nicksergeant 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if Thunderbolt will support multiple displays? If I hear a yes, I'm off to the Apple store.
17
1 point by mrinterweb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find the benchmark graphs on http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/performance.html frustrating. What is the baseline Apple is comparing to? I have a MacBook Pro with a core 2 duo 2.53GHz processor. I am sure that the 2.2 GHz quad-core processor on the new MBPs is faster, but by how much. How do the processors stack up when running single treaded applications? I suppose I'll need to wait for the third party reviews.
18
1 point by mcantelon 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Mac I'm working on is the last Apple product I plan on buying. Not interested in further subsidizing their attempts to normalize restrictive computing models on their iOS platforms.
19
1 point by Torn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting they've included an integrated graphics controller (Intel) but also a discrete ATI card with 1GB of its own memory.

I wonder if real-world gaming benchmarks will really have near the promised 3x improvements over the last gen MBP's...

20
2 points by tsycho 1 day ago 6 replies      
Interesting that they are now offering a SSD drive......does this mean they have now added the SSD TRIM command (or planning to add it in Lion)?
21
1 point by nagnatron 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm disappointed that the 13" still has no high DPI screen. I think Apple will start pushing higher DPI screens into their laptops when their OS becomes more resolution-independent.
22
2 points by bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somehow the shot of the side made me feel very old, I hardly recognized what half of the ports were. :(
23
2 points by emilepetrone 1 day ago 4 replies      
Ask HN: Get an old 13in MBP or new 13in MBP?

The battery is more important to me than Thunderbolt.

24
1 point by cosgroveb 1 day ago 1 reply      
So who's getting ready to sell their old MBP?
25
2 points by Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently bought an Acer TimelineX (14'' version) for my mum, installed Ubuntu on it, and my impression is really good. Of course it is not all-aluminium, but apart from that, the specs are nice. It cost 620€ - About half of a 13'' MacBook Pro.
26
1 point by didip 1 day ago 0 replies      
They took out the AMD Radeon graphic card on the 13" unit?

Make up your mind, Apple.

27
1 point by tjmaxal 1 day ago 3 replies      
I just bought a MacBook Pro last month. Why can't they announce these kinds of updates so us poor fools don't get caught with old tech.
28
2 points by shareme 1 day ago 1 reply      
Its the first MacBook Pro that I have wanted to buy
29
1 point by raymondh 1 day ago 0 replies      
The new SDXC slot is limited to 64GB. That's an odd limitation given that Lexar has already released a 128GB SDXC card. The spec tops out at 2TB, so this slot could have provided a great way to load huge filesystems.
30
3 points by philthy 1 day ago 1 reply      
sucks i bought a MBP two months ago...
31
1 point by eof 1 day ago 4 replies      
No USB 3.0 is surprising/bad.
32
1 point by ssn 1 day ago 2 replies      
What's new?
33
-1 point by xubz 1 day ago 3 replies      
No BluRay combo drive.. I was very much expecting it to be present in the series update.
34
-2 points by PHPAdam 1 day ago 0 replies      
In other news Dell XPS Laptops Add Premium Audio, 3D Video, Sandy Bridge Processors.
35
15 points by jokermatt999 1 day ago 2 replies      
Because a lot of people here use a MBP as their main development device, at least from what I've seen in the comments.

However, this topic being near the top of the front page does amuse me, because I saw several accusations of HN having a strict anti-Apple bias. That's not to say that there's a strict pro-Apple bias, however, just that the community seems to be genuinely split.

36
-4 points by brudgers 1 day ago 1 reply      
TL;DR A year and a half after quad core i7 mobile processors become available (and two and half years after the first quad core mobile processors were released), the MBP gets them.
37
-4 points by marknutter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember when Apple used to have events for their notebook releases. Sigh.
12
Amount of profanity in git commit messages per programming language andrewvos.com
272 points by AndrewVos 3 days ago   183 comments top 34
1
80 points by edw519 3 days ago replies      
Out of 929857 commit messages, I found 210 swear words (using George Carlin's Seven dirty words).

That set only includes [shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits], so these are probably not meaningful results.

I have personality commented "asshole forgot to increment the counter" 527 times in 4 different languages.

[EDIT: 528 times in 5 different languages. Sorry, bitches.]

2
23 points by jakevoytko 3 days ago 0 replies      
I never curse in my commit messages. That doesn't mean I don't want to! Cursing is a vice of mine, acquired through summers of cleaning bathrooms and picking up trash at a state park in high school. I use euphamisms when coding professionally, but it's easy to map my commit messages at old companies back to my original swear.

"Blameless" bug:

   Original: Now recalculates the height of the container element after repopulating
the content.
Translation: Did Bob test this fucking thing ONCE before he committed this?

Fixing my own mistake:

   Original: Tweaks the NUM_PATHS config value.
Translation: Wow, I apparently have shit-for-brains. I hope nobody ran a build in
the past 20 minutes.

Overdesigning:

   Original: Updates the object creation code per Bob's feedback.
Translation: Another Goddamn FactoryFactoryBuilder?! I officially don't
understand this codebase.

Major cleanup needed:

   Original: Style tweaks needed for GCC compilation.
Translation: OMFG. This isn't even valid C++. It doesn't even compile.

OK, I'm not perfect:

   Original: Fuck IE7.
Translation: No seriously, fuck IE7.

3
43 points by nostrademons 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd kinda like to see which swear words appear most often in commit messages. I'm guessing that "shit" and "fuck" are much more common than "cocksucker" and "motherfucker", and if that's not true, I want to know which language has the most cocksuckers and motherfuckers.
4
48 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
How to offend members of 3 different programmer communities in 9 different ways with just one sentence: "It somehow makes sense that C++, Ruby, and JavaScript are all equally profane."
5
15 points by snprbob86 3 days ago replies      
Pie chart? I have no idea how to interpret this...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amit-agarwal/3196386402/sizes/l...

6
28 points by twymer 3 days ago 2 replies      
Given that there were only 210 total swear words, the accuracy of this seems pretty questionable. It's possible that one guy could be responsible for a large percentage of swearing for a given language.
7
10 points by rflrob 3 days ago 1 reply      
A neat idea, although I think the pie chart isn't really the right format. I'd prefer to see a bar graph, with the y-axis as (swears/million messages) or similar.
8
5 points by r00k 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wrote a post on my blog 4 years ago (!) with lots of examples of profanity in code comments.

It took a half-hour to write and has consistently gotten more traffic than the rest of my blog.

Ah well, give the people what they want: http://codeulate.com/2007/12/fcking-programming/

9
12 points by jrockway 3 days ago 1 reply      
No Perl? I fucking swear all the time...
10
28 points by csphy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to know the proximity of the curse to 'IE' in the Javascript commits
11
11 points by PonyGumbo 3 days ago replies      
I'm completely stunned that PHP is on the bottom here.
12
6 points by damoncali 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite:

- fuck it. let's release

13
2 points by mgrouchy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised there are so few commit messages with curse words in them. 210 out of 929857, thats like 0.02%, I would have thought that developers were more vulgar then that(I know I am).

Maybe if we looks at comments in source code we would get a better representation of the vulgarness of developers.

14
2 points by davidw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hah, maybe I should add that to http://langpop.com - are you interested, Andrew?
15
2 points by jcw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, this is funny, there is novelty here, etc. A story counting profanities in source code/commits/etc. pops up every now and then.

I've found that the only real profanity in a source code comment is "HACK".

My swear jar overflows with quarters.

16
2 points by jefe78 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well played!

I wonder if this has anything to do with:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2247962

I know I plan to comment my python code a little differently now! Maybe that will help balance the numbers?

I know I'd be pretty vulgar if I programmed in C++/Javascript all day!

17
1 point by jxcole 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is an example of bad poor graphical representation. The proper way to do this would be to take the swear words per word for each language and then map this to a bar graph, then you could easily see which has the highest vs the lowest.

A pie chart is good for things that add to 100%. The number of swear words that occur in something is not appropriate for this type of graphic.

18
2 points by khingebjerg 3 days ago 0 replies      
19
3 points by jerguismi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not statistically signifant, but interesting idea.
20
2 points by mrcharles 3 days ago 1 reply      
This would be more interesting if it scanned comments from source files for profanity.
21
3 points by cfontes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it ok statistically to get for example all Ruby commits and 25% of C++ ones and compare them ?
Another kind of chart would be nice... also some other params.
22
2 points by m0hit 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. Of course I am thinking of the many ways that the results might not be representative, but that doesn't make it any less of a cool weekend project.

Would be great to see some context around where the most _profanities_ occur by language, and the kind used.

23
2 points by chrismetcalf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Relevant:

https://gist.github.com/198320

A one-liner I wrote that uses git blame to seek out who swears the most in a given codebase. Pretty fun.

24
3 points by JCB_K 3 days ago 0 replies      
Next time they do a test they should include "git". Let's see what happens.
25
2 points by tomwans 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems that python devs are practicing the Zen of Python :-)
26
0 points by billybob 2 days ago 0 replies      
One might assume that more profanity in a langage = more frustration with that language. But I'd bet that proportion of business use has something to do with it, too.

If you're hacking on a personal project, you might feel freer to swear in your commits. And my guess is that you're more likely to code Ruby for personal projects than C#. But I could be wrong.

27
1 point by edge17 3 days ago 0 replies      
i'd like to see this same comparison, except comparing different version control systems
28
1 point by mleonhard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perl might beat C++ if it was included.
29
1 point by mcarlin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sample size is too fucking small. Also, as others have pointed out, you've allowed far too few swearwords.

Good job though :-)

30
1 point by michaelschade 3 days ago 4 replies      
Even ignoring that which other commenters have pointed out, I simply don't buy it for one reason: that PHP slice is way too small.
31
2 points by boctor 3 days ago 1 reply      
No Objective-C love for the iPhone/iPad crowd?
32
1 point by dustingetz 3 days ago 0 replies      
how about 'chainsaw'?
33
1 point by dcdan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Numbers of committers sampled per language might be helpful in identifying potential bias.
34
-1 point by kunley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go Ruby go!! ;D
13
What happens after Yahoo acquires you 37signals.com
253 points by JacobAldridge 3 days ago   145 comments top 30
1
102 points by SandB0x 3 days ago replies      
I once witnessed the moment when the messenger from the new management team comes over to explain to the brilliant engineers who built the company up from nothing about these "timesheets" they need to fill in, and how it's "really not a big deal". You could feel something dying over the course of the conversation. It was one of the most uncomfortable things I've ever seen, and I'm sure it's far worse if you are one of the original engineers.

Is it something every acquired company has to go through? Is there a right way to do this?

2
34 points by wheels 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hmm, for some reason they forgot to include:

You sell your company for $50 million in Yahoo stock, which over the course of your two year tenure at Yahoo will see a tenfold increase in value up to $500 million and your team will use that wealth to go on to create a disruptive seed-stage funding group called Y Combinator.

Must have been an oversight. I can't imagine 37signals only telling half of these stories to make it better fit with their mantras.

3
23 points by gamble 3 days ago 5 replies      
This article is mistitled. It should read 'What happens after anyone acquires you'.

These anecdotes will sound familiar to many people who have been through an acquisition. Acquisitions are not something any company is naturally good at, and they inherently threaten the bureaucracy of the acquirer. Despite good intentions, the corporate immune system usually kills off the interloper before it becomes established. Not to mention that the founders and best employees usually bail within a couple of years.

4
31 points by bigbang 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are 2 companies which Yahoo! acquired:

1) Overture. If you look at the financial reports, nearly 50% of Yahoo's revenue is from search. They acquired Overture for ~1B

2) They acquired RocketMail (essentially Yahoo! mail). Most people I know, when they think of Yahoo, they think of Yahoo! mail.

So, while its easy to say they messed up many acquisitions (esp the infamous 3B offer for Broadcast.com), the 2 acquisitions they made is what keeps them "in the game" today. You win some acquisitions, you lose some. Just like investing, if you make few smart ones, it can easily pay off and create more value than the money spent on many failed ones. Same with Google - Youtube was handled very well, but many acquisitions are essentially just shut down or never integrated into other products(Dodgeball,Jaiku etc)

5
13 points by kenjackson 3 days ago 8 replies      
So why does Yahoo buy these properties? While I'm sure we'd all like to think the decision makers at Yahoo since day 1 were all idiots who like to spend millions of dollars on companies and then let them die, but is there actually a rational reason?

Were they trying to keep them out of the hands of Google? Did they do it purely for the eyeballs and thought with no additional spending they'd get their money back out of the property in X months?

I just find it hard to believe they'd do the same thing over and over again for no reason, but to lose money.

6
21 points by davidw 3 days ago 0 replies      
The founders get to cash out is what I'm seeing. That's pretty nice, and may allow some of them to go on to better things.

For instance, I think YC is far cooler than Viaweb.

7
25 points by joshu 3 days ago 0 replies      
When Delicious was acquired, we desperately needed inverted indexes, which yahoo (eventually, slowly, painfully) did actually provide.

I do find the "there's no business model" talk in the comments pretty annoying. Of course we had one.

8
15 points by JacobAldridge 3 days ago 1 reply      
At the risk of preaching to the choir, here's some more input from another Yahoo acquiree - pg on 'What Happened to Yahoo' (Aug '10) http://www.paulgraham.com/yahoo.html
9
15 points by mscarborough 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't speak to the examples from 2005 or 2007 (or any others really), but I was part of the Associated Content acquisition process and am an engineer with Yahoo now.

For our group it has been a good thing and we are happy where we are. Our group's culture is the same, we are engaged in the larger company strategy, and are excited about the upcoming year. We have had a couple integration points take longer than expected but that's what happens when you go from 50 people to a company of thousands.

YMMV I guess.

10
5 points by markszcz 3 days ago 0 replies      
So what I'm getting out of this is that if your passionate about your company and its doing well, think twice before you decide to get bought out because its possible that life might not be better/greener for your company once your assimilated.

Reminds me of Brew Masters when the owner of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione, mentioned that he had an offer to sell off his company for a nice amount but in the end he would still obsess about the fate of his company, and the name he built up for it, that it wasnt worth selling.

11
5 points by randall 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what do we do? Obviously this sucks, but how do we build a company and get investors liquidity without Sarbanes-Oxley-riddled IPOs or Yahoo-level-incompetent acquisitions?

Do we just keep being regular companies? Is there an alternative? How do we build things that matter (and require outside investment) and end in real change instead of just getting rich?

12
4 points by vegashacker 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised this is a common scenario. I would think, due to the pervasiveness of the sunk-cost fallacy, that companies would stand behind their aquisitions to a fault even--just cause they spent so much money on them.
13
5 points by earl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ouch. That's a pretty damning list Matt compiled.
14
3 points by ojbyrne 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think, once you're in the VC system, you have to compare an acquisition to what happens if you go through more funding rounds and lose control over your company that way. Many of the same symptoms.
15
3 points by zavulon 3 days ago 0 replies      
The article missed a pretty significant counterpoint, which I'm surprised wasn't mentioned here so far: Viaweb. As Yahoo Stores, it went to become a de-facto leader in online stores, which it's still is to this day.
16
2 points by roel_v 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've just joined Flickr but I'm finding it awkward in some places, and the 'community' (at least that of extension/tool developers) seems to have died in 2008 or so. The upload tools are atrocious, no reliable way to download stuff for backups, the UI is unpolished and doesn't seem to get updated much.

So, where do I go for online photo hosting / backup? Picasa / Web Albums isn't better, plus it's very desktop focused. Are there any modern offerings that can step into Flickr's shoes?

17
4 points by neworbit 3 days ago 0 replies      
An awful lot of acquisitions end up this way, though. Consider the firms acquired by Amazon or Google or Microsoft. People remember IMDB and Alexa; Android and Youtube; Hotmail and Bungie... past that not so much.
18
4 points by jfm3 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's all true, and Yahoo is probably one of the better companies that could acquire you.
19
2 points by bengebre 3 days ago 0 replies      
It kinda makes you long for the days where the exit was a speculative IPO. At least some of the resources went to founders that way and they often retained a sizable chunk of equity (i.e. control of the product).

Related (Why Ten Million Dollar IPOs Matter): http://www.urgentspeed.com/applied_disruption/2010/04/why-te...

20
1 point by cletus 3 days ago 0 replies      
You seriously weigh up how much the earn out is really worth to you.
21
3 points by ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
They forgot MusicMatch in 2007, there was a company that was on track to be iTunes became, except it ended up not going there.
22
1 point by ajhit406 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think google has done a much better job of targeting services they know they can integrate into their core. Yahoo has really just had a bunch of different silos operating (for the most part) on their own.

When the founders lose their ability to control the product and their economic incentives, then they're really fked.

Facebook has integrated their acquisitions' technology in some cases, but it seems they're mostly in it for talent acquisitions. They've done a good job so far in retaining (they're still pre-IPO) but we'll see what happens when they get old and some new hotness appears at school (might take 10 yrs)

Scorecards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Yahoo!-owned_sites_and_...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Google

23
2 points by omeega 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're an employee it sucks.

If you're the initial owner you'll be happy to let Yahoo buy your product for multi-millions of dollars, and you'll be even happier to leave the company as quick as possible to start up your next app.

Its a pattern: sell, get out ASAP, start next project, (allude to what could have been).

24
1 point by kamdar 2 days ago 0 replies      
But Yahoo acquired these commpanies for cheap rate. I think other than flickr none of them had good model. Upcoming was aquired for only 1M? If it doesn't match the expectation, Yahoo will definitly won't sink millions more in it! Google aquired Youtube for more than 1.5 billion dollars so they paid attention. Someone should also research in to Google or Microsoft's small aquisitions.
25
1 point by Jgrubb 2 days ago 0 replies      
You know what this whole article sounds exactly like to me? This sounds exactly like the major label record system of yore. Replace the instances of "internal executive champion" with "A&R guy" and "web service" with "band".

God knows how many absolutely awesome bands were signed to major labels over the decades by A&R that "got it" only to be left high and dry when that person was fired or moved somewhere else internally. Very little new under the sun, I suppose.

Great read.

26
1 point by mkramlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
summary: hear about goose laying golden eggs; buy that goose; then kill it, forget about it or let it starve to death
27
2 points by gojomo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
28
1 point by renofwon 2 days ago 0 replies      
New companies get acquired. Old philosophies stay the same.

"But today it seems like the old is doing the plowing. Let's stop that. Let's build great companies that are here to fight, here to win, and here to stay until the next generation after us comes along and kicks all our asses. And again and again and again. That's how better happens."

http://37signals.com/svn/posts/1927-the-next-generation-bend...

That quote is from nearly two years ago, but it's just as relevant today.

29
1 point by carlhu 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very thorough analysis by 37signals. I wonder if they are being vetted by Yahoo, and decided to do some due diligence on the fate of prior acquisitions?
30
1 point by reubenyeah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do you start a startup incubator?
14
Homeowner forecloses on Wells Fargo office, becomes folk hero agentgenius.com
248 points by gregory80 4 days ago   122 comments top 13
1
91 points by zdw 4 days ago replies      
Anyone else think that nearly the entire financial industry is ready to be replaced with a lot of very short shell scripts?

It seems to me that their value add is negligible compared to how they're rewarded.

2
26 points by nhangen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm actually more impressed that the courts, even locally, didn't try to stop him from pressing buttons and ruffling feathers. Bravo to the entire town.
3
12 points by hippich 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wait.. I am new to all this US legal stuff. So because bank did not response to his letter, sheriff put bank building on sale? or I misunderstood article?
4
4 points by mryall 4 days ago 1 reply      
What does "forecloses on [an] office" actually mean? The article didn't explain that to me.

From what I read, it sounds like the guy just won a court claim in local court against WF, and got the Sheriff's office to concur that the company was somehow in the wrong. I thought foreclosure was repossession of a house when the borrower is in default?

5
4 points by winternett 4 days ago 0 replies      
If your house is being foreclosed upon, look into filing a Lis Pends, foreclosurefish.com has brilliant information on the process, Filing that prevents most buyers from making bids on the house while you sort out your case. Always save all of the paperwork you get from your mortgage company, Hire a lawyer, don't file for Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy lawyers will tell you that's your only option because they want your business, but that will put you in financial jail for years! A lawyer can work wonders if they know what they're doing, and they can also get your legal fees back. Its rough to get laid off, but if you take hold of the situation, work on being marketable for a job, and educate yourself about foreclosure, you'll recover.
6
4 points by edkennedy 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's a bit more info, including more photos and a scan of the poster over at the consumerist: http://consumerist.com/2011/02/how-this-philly-homeowner-for...
7
2 points by Evgeny 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think I don't quite get how the mortgage system works in the USA. In Australia it is fairly easy to go to a competing bank or other financial institution if you're unhappy with you current lender, discuss the terms and maybe get a better deal, get a loan from the new lender and pay out the outstanding loan with the previous lender. You may have to pay some fee for paying out your mortgage too early, but it's usually not that huge.

Is this not possible in the USA?

8
3 points by gregory80 4 days ago 1 reply      
RESPA ftw?

--snip--
He learned about RESPA which allows a Qualified Written Request (QWR), a letter that a loan holder can send to their mortgage servicer who is legally obligated to acknowledge within 20 days and take action within 60
--snip--

9
3 points by joseacta 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a matter of statistics for Wells Fargo. Of all their clients, maybe 1% do protest. The other 99% just go to the bank and pay the fees.

Maybe the other 99% doesn't even read the statements and just go and pay.

For them, it's all profits. Even paying this man and their attorneys to get to a settlement doesn't make a dent to the revenue they're receiving of the other 99%.

10
3 points by tjmaxal 4 days ago 1 reply      
So what can we do to help the situation?
11
-2 points by megaframe 4 days ago 0 replies      
ok thats hilarious, well done sir
12
-3 points by RK 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the moral of the story is: don't get an adjustable rate mortgage.
13
-2 points by kolektiv 4 days ago 4 replies      
I can't resist it. I know pedantry is to be discouraged here, and I apologise in advance. But...
"a century old 6 bedroom 3 bath Tudor home"
grates against the part of my mammalian hind-brain responsible for breathing, basic motor control and throttling estate agents. Downvotes will be sadly accepted.
15
The Colour Clock thecolourclock.co.uk
231 points by huangm 20 hours ago   85 comments top 22
1
39 points by naz 19 hours ago replies      
Awesome idea. I took some time to rewrite in HTML5: http://brisy.info/colors/

Though the colours I'm getting are different. I wonder why.

2
3 points by JonnieCache 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The state of the art for custom geek clocks is in hardware AFAIC.

RGB LED color clock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKT-0qB9l8A&feature=relat...

I also enjoy the classic 'pong clocks' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHxbknBYYAQ&feature=playe...

Clocks are a common beginner project in DIY hardware, they are both simple to make and have good potential for adding stuff like RSS readers and so on when you want to branch out.

http://hackaday.com/?s=clock

3
17 points by dshankar 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Simple & beautiful.

Small criticism: Why Flash?

4
4 points by george_morgan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Very similar to the Chromo http://prote.in/chromo colour clock, which has been around for a few years.
5
1 point by madcaptenor 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see what would happen if the colors were given by following a space-filling curve in three dimensions, like the last figure at http://mathworld.wolfram.com/HilbertCurve.html
6
9 points by mikeknoop 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like this would make an awesome desk or wall clock.
7
2 points by joshes 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how well the color blind can detect second to second changes in hue? Not a complaint, just a genuine curiosity.

Any color blind out there care to comment?

8
2 points by crassauto 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I had done something similar around 2000 though I wasn't very sophisticated at programming so I think it's off...

http://minus20.e-2.org/artists_projects_chriso.html

Last year I re-made it as a free iOS app which takes the time and converts it using a RGB>HEX function I found that I think is correct:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-as-color/id335133255?mt=...

I also made one that sets Hour, Minute to latitude,longitude
in Google maps which I like looking at:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-as-place/id336539483?mt=...

(edited second link)

9
4 points by jefe78 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty impressive. Would you consider porting to other OS'? I.e., Linux.

I know I'd be happy to run this on my monitors!

Regardless, great job!

10
4 points by jablan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if the colour was meaningful, i.e. if one could, at least roughly, guess the time based on the colour. Say, that the brightness would reflect time of day (brightest at noon, darkest at midnight) and the hue the time within the hour.
11
3 points by kfogel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Jim Blandy wrote a similar program for X Windows around 1992: a beautiful color clock that would sit on your desktop's root windown and slowly cycle through the colors over the course of an hour. It didn't even show digits -- you just had to learn the colors :-). I think it depended on X supporting writeable color cells, though, so it would need to be rewritten to work on most modern systems (which generally seem to not be set up that way).

  http://svn.red-bean.com/repos/circles/trunk/

Hmm, but that's after I started making some mods. For best results, try an earlier rev (this was converted from CVS, hence the weird log message):

  http://viewvc.red-bean.com/circles/trunk/?pathrev=3

12
3 points by callumjones 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is cool, but does the screensaver also have to be in Flash? I'd prefer my fans to not spin up when my screensaver kicks in.
13
3 points by cormullion 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's also on the iPhone app store (for £0.59), but it might be a different author.

Associating time with colour has been tried many times - eg the Chromachron watch was briefly famous:

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2006/11/chromachron-too-advanced-fo...

14
2 points by rottencupcakes 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The switch from 22:59 to 23:00 was stunning.

I can't wait for the switch at midnight (#FFFFFF -> #000000).

15
2 points by regularfry 18 hours ago 2 replies      
A shame that the fastest-moving value is placed in the portion of the spectrum where we have the least colour sensitivity. I'd have put hours in blue, myself. If I'd thought of it.
16
2 points by kevinburke 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I still like the Polar Clock best... http://blog.pixelbreaker.com/polarclock
17
1 point by wladimir 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like one that doesn't show the seconds (but does change the color every second). This is too distracting for me to really use.

Funny and original idea though!

18
1 point by th 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The hex clock seems to jump every once in a while, probably compensating for the large difference in the number of hexadecimal color values and seconds in a 24 hour day.

How are the color values related to the seconds here?

19
1 point by chrischen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've turned off sleep mode so I can actually see this as my screensaver now.
20
2 points by grigy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice job, but why screensaver only for MacOS?
21
1 point by edge17 19 hours ago 0 replies      
that's quite beautiful
22
1 point by JoeAltmaier 12 hours ago 1 reply      
iPhone app?
16
HelloFax (YC W11): Sign And Send Faxes From Your Browser, Without The Hassle techcrunch.com
209 points by ssclafani 4 days ago   103 comments top 40
1
43 points by pg 4 days ago 3 replies      
YC has switched over to HelloFax and we love it. With 250 companies we have to deal with a lot of faxes, because every later funding round or acquisition means we have to sign stuff. So not having to deal with actual paper faxes makes a big difference for us.
2
10 points by jasonkester 3 days ago 0 replies      
So the only thing that differentiates it from the thousand-odd online fax services that have been around since the 90s is that it lets you skip the "photoshop my signature onto this image" step?

I'd say this would be a tough business to be in, unless of course you had the schmooze power of YC behind you. Amazing how that can transform a site like this that would otherwise live out its life in a little crack on the 3rd page of Google for "online fax" into a viable business.

(I suppose it also helps if all your competitors stop improving their products in 1998.)

3
12 points by 100k 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, a thousand times, yes. This is great, I hate having to dig up a fax machine when I want to fax something. Unless I can find one at an office, I have to go to Kinkos, because I don't even have a phone line.
4
8 points by johnrob 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a very crowded and somewhat mature space, which makes for an interesting marketing problem. I'd love to hear about how you guys approach it in some future blog posts!
5
8 points by JunkDNA 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great. I have a fax/printer/scanner at home for this purpose, but I am lucky if I send 5 faxes a year. Plus, if I ever drop the landline, it won't work. I really like the idea of paying per fax. None of the subscription services make sense for a casual user. Good luck HelloFax.
6
10 points by yarone 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just a comment on HelloFax.com: the headline says "Throw away your fax machine!"

I don't have a fax machine. I'd guess lots of visitors don't either. Just saying, maybe there's a better headline to be written.

Good luck guys, efax is terrible!

7
6 points by cmer 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you could allow me to receive fax with the same kind of pricing, that'd be awesome.

Whenever someone ask me for my fax number, I start sweating. It rarely happens, but when it happens, I'm stuck.

Let me buy a "disposable" fax number for 12-24 hours for $2. I don't want to pay monthly for something that I rarely use, but I'd be happy to pay a flat fee to receive a document.

8
14 points by allangrant 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love HelloFax. Really, I do. Started using it a few weeks ago, and discovered undocumented features that were EXACTLY what I wanted. Before when I ran a web dev company I had to sign contracts all the time, and this was my process: save from email -> word -> enter text / insert image (signature) -> print to pdf -> efax. Now I can do it via HelloFax in about 1 minute.
9
3 points by il 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the launch! HelloFax is a fantastic product, and an excellent example of launching an MVP when you have just enough features to make some group of users very happy.

The ability to sign documents within the app alone has been an incredible time saver. It makes you think "How is this not the default way to send faxes yet?"

10
8 points by dirtae 3 days ago 1 reply      
As co-founder of an online fax service[1], I'll be watching HelloFax closely. It's a mature market, but most of the existing players are crappy, so I think there's a big opportunity here. It's a difficult marketing problem, though. AdWords advertising for fax related keywords is very expensive, and there are services out there that offer completely free faxes (even if they are cluttered with ads). Perhaps the signing functionality offered by HelloFax will give them enough differentiation to generate good word-of-mouth awareness.

[1] https://www.faxfresh.com/

11
4 points by damoncali 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. Now if we could just get people to accept these electronic signatures reliably, things would be golden.

Yes, I'm talking to you, Wells Fargo.

12
6 points by jtagen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Little misleading... it says "throw away your fax machine" but has no support for receiving faxes.

I'd love to use a service like this, even at $1.99 per fax, but without receive support (so sad that companies sign first and want to fax to you) it's no good to me....

13
2 points by dctoedt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not to be a downer, but this brings to mind Fred Wilson's warning the other day about bridge-technology startups: "Most of the time they do really well while the transition pain [from old- to new technology] is high but once most individuals and enterprises have made the change, their business slowly disappears." http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/02/bridge-technologies.html
14
2 points by Sandman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really one of the most useful startups I've seen in a while. I would definitely use their service.. but, unfortunately, I usually need to send faxes to non-US numbers and that is, at this moment, still not supported.
Still, great job, you guys, I wish you all the luck!
15
4 points by leek 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're like me and looked to cancel your eFax subscription, here is the related URL: https://www.efax.com/cancelLiveChat.html
16
1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will you guys have an API? Also I guess the problem for the infrequent user who wants to receive a fax is the id problem...Say for example that I want state farm to fax me a document. If you go with a pool approach and match by phone # expected, then there could be interceptions. The safest way seems to be to have a dedicated # (if it were always from a savvy source, you could have them post a unique code that you could ocr to identify, but you can't rely on that for the general case)....How much does it cost for that? The other difficulty is what happens if I use the service, get my state farm fax and stop using the service. If the number is then recycled, then if state farm decides to fax me something else without notifying me, it then goes to someone else (and may have data in it)...A difficult problem. Good luck!
17
1 point by mcculley 3 days ago 0 replies      
D'oh. I was excited that I might actually be able to throw out my fax machine. I just sent a fax through HelloFax and the service seems to be very useable. I went through the interface trying to figure out how to add a credit card to my account and determine how expensive the service is. But they don't have pricing yet.

My small business uses Packetel for incoming fax-to-email and a real fax machine for outgoing faxes. I would love to get rid of the fax machine and the stupid copper phone line it requires.

18
2 points by aymeric 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey guys, I love how each page has a clear goal. I'd suggest to add a call to action at the end of this page: http://www.hellofax.com/content/learnMore
19
1 point by jlgosse 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing looking service. However, there's a typo on the "About us" page, which I thought I'd bring to your attention.

"Joseph Walla
Enterepeneur with a soft spot for the public sector."

Good luck with everything though, you guys are going to kill it.

20
1 point by quickpost 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you figured out your pricing yet? It bothered me that I couldn't find any pricing info before signing up for the service....
21
5 points by kevingao1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats guys - huge moment and just a sign of bigger things to come
22
1 point by Groxx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love how this could essentially be used as a way to bypass physical signatures which are still required by some painfully-useless laws. I shall keep this in mind if I'm ever required to fax something.
23
2 points by mahmoudimus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everytime I have to fax something, it used to be such a huge hassle.

Here's the heuristic:

1. Find the nearest Kinko's/FedEx Store

2. Find my old or get another Kinko's card Kinko's/FedEx Store card

3. Put 1 dollar on it

4. Fax for $0.25

Two or three months later, repeat the same process.

HelloFax is a great example of a solution to serious pain point.

Good luck and congratulations!

24
1 point by RK 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have previously used the subscription-less http://payperfax.com

Anything I should know to make me use hellofax? (20 free faxes is definitely a nice start!)

25
3 points by sandipagr 4 days ago 0 replies      
signed up for the 20 free fax! would last me a lifetime :)
26
2 points by niccolop 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used hellofax recently for the first time, much better than pamfax, and no hidden charges like efax.
27
1 point by ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
All I have to say is, Thank God! I look forward to using this the next time I have to deal with sending a fax. And once you can receive faxes and do everything in one place...For the dedicated fax #, do you have any plans to do this for infrequent users who don't need a regular #?
28
3 points by yayitswei 4 days ago 0 replies      
We used HelloFax to sign our incorporation documents- was a real timesaver!
29
3 points by jabrams2003 4 days ago 0 replies      
These guys really identified a pain point. This is hands down the most useful application I've used.
30
1 point by nailer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't web to fax gateways a 'bridge technology' as recently discussed (interms of avoiding investment) on HN?

Ie, immediate use, dwindling long term prospects?

31
1 point by 6ren 3 days ago 2 replies      
Will it send faxes internationally, i.e. outside the states?

As a specific example, if I'm in Australia, and I want to send a fax locally, can I use HelloFax?

32
2 points by jefe78 4 days ago 1 reply      
You have a typo on your sign-up page:

"Get 20 fax fages free"

Otherwise, cool idea.

33
1 point by d0m 4 days ago 1 reply      
You know the "Try it" in the learn more section, I found it a little bit annoying that it takes you to the homepage instead of back to the learn more section.
34
3 points by steve918 4 days ago 4 replies      
What's a fax? Wasn't that my grandmother's email provider or something?
35
1 point by davidmurphy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats! This is awesome. Looks like a GREAT idea and looks like you executed really well. High five!
36
1 point by nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
It will take a lot of work to steal me from Faxzero.
37
2 points by edna_piranha 3 days ago 0 replies      
thank god i don't have to worry about buying that blasted fax machine!
38
1 point by ditojim 3 days ago 0 replies      
does it have google docs integration like echosign?
39
0 points by alienreborn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neither did I send any faxes in the last few years nor did I use any other online fax services, so I refrain from commenting about your site but please do change the favicon to your site logo. :)
40
0 points by mkramlich 3 days ago 0 replies      
faxing? talk about early adopter!
17
Show HN: Remote Jobs (our answer to "Who Is Hiring Remote Workers?") remote-jobs.com
203 points by sleight42 3 days ago   83 comments top 22
1
53 points by vaksel 3 days ago replies      
charging before you have mass adoption is a recipe for disaster...you should wait until you have mass adoption then make a premium listing and charge for that.

As it stands now, you'll have a dozen or so jobs, interest will fade, and employers will stop posting when they get few resumes

2
38 points by there 3 days ago 0 replies      
as someone said in a previous "who is hiring" thread, there's a reason why people post their job opportunities on hacker news and not on the dozens of job board websites (hint: it's not because they don't want to pay $75).
3
11 points by johnohara 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems a shame the unhyphenated domain name has been parked for 10 years. The good news is it expires in August.

The trademark for it is dead as well: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4007:lt...

The trademark registrant and domain registrant might be related or one in the same. Both were registered in 2001. Looks like it was intended for a remote job entry app.

Worth watching.

4
13 points by sleight42 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm one of the founders of Remote Jobs -- also the same shlub who posted the first "Ask HN: Who Is Hiring Remote Workers?" http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1857051.

We're giving away coupon codes for a free month-long posting. Just email me at evan AT remote DASH jobs DOT com. The first few folks win!

5
5 points by jmcc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting discussion here. I've also been working on a remote jobs website: http://WheresTheRemote.com/. I've had the idea for years, but it "opened for business" last year. I've considered many of the issues raised here.

It's definitely a chicken and egg problem. Allowing free ads might help get the ball rolling, but I've resisted that since I'm concerned it will lead to low quality, which is one of the problems I have with other job sites. I don't want to hurt the site's reputation right out of the gate.

Moderation is one way to address that, but one of the core ideas of my site, which I think sets it apart from a lot of other job sites, is to require advertisers to include rate of compensation in their ads, and encourage accuracy by basing the fee for posting the ad on the advertised rate.

Trying to charge for something like this right off the bat without a lot of traffic is a difficult proposition, in my experience. But people seem to be willing to use mediocre web services and job sites, so allowing free ads to begin with, even if it results in low quality ads, might be a more realistic way to get something like this started.

So far I haven't compromised any of the original ideas for my site, but it hasn't gotten any traction either. I hoped that offering a money back guarantee would encourage a few advertisers to give it a shot and get the ball rolling, but so far that hasn't been enough. It's also difficult to figure out where / how to advertise something like this to even reach the right audience and make potential advertisers aware of it, at least without spending a ton.

If I'd known that all it takes to get people to start advertising jobs is to post the site on Hacker News, I would have done that months ago! I suspect that the activity on remote-jobs.com also has to do with the coupon offer though.

I'm considering making some changes to my site to get the ball rolling and then start charging or return to the original ideas for the site if and when there's enough traffic, as some have suggested. I don't think there's anything greedy about charging for such a service. If people are willing to pay it right off the bat, great, if not, that's another story. It might be more realistic to not charge or charge a small fee at first, and I agree that even charging a small fee would help to weed out the worst kind of posters who have free reign on some other sites.

I have problems with all of the job sites I've seen and the goal of my site is also to provide a better venue for finding remote jobs, and to try to level the playing field for job seekers, e.g. by requiring rate information in ads, backing that up with the fee structure, limiting the time ads are displayed moreso than most sites to reduce the opportunity for lazy or busy advertisers to waste job seekers' time with stale ads, etc.

6
4 points by soulclap 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it's just me but I think it'd be great to see where the company is based (the country) in the initial list. At least that'd be handy if you get more job offers. As I am in Europe, I'd prefer jobs where I can call someone up during Euro working hours. (Then again, my sleeping patterns are way off anyway.)

Just a suggestion though, the site looks sweet!

7
3 points by pchristensen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Site looks nice. Right now there aren't a lot of jobs, so a good feature to attract seekers is some way to track jobs as they come in - email/sms/mobile updates, or even a simple RSS feed of jobs. This works well for other infrequent job sites like Top Ruby Jobs.
8
1 point by Groxx 3 days ago 0 replies      
>1-3 on the front-page display for http://remote-jobs.com/jobs/32_NLP___ML___Python_contractor

1-3 what? Hours per day? Years? Months? Fortnights? Somewhere / somehow, you should inform what unit you're using. Add it on the end, or maybe a mouse-over. Or, if there were enough listings to make it clear (ie, a 4-5h/day entry), it'd be fine-ish the way it is.

Similarly, I notice that the Mobile Developer falls into a second line - trim it, inform it's been trimmed (...), and a mouse-over would be useful.

All in all, looks quite nice, and fast to use from a consumer standpoint. I'll have to keep an eye on it!

9
3 points by ditojim 3 days ago 2 replies      
how many qualified individuals visit that site? i can pay about 2x as much and get a listing on linkedin for 30 days, which is, well, better..give me the value prop for this site and if it is good, i will post several jobs.
10
1 point by bdclimber14 3 days ago 0 replies      
A related question, but slightly off topic: People who have worked on or built job boards, what do you think of a Shopify for job boards?

It seems that all job board shares 90% of the functionality, but the best choice is still to develop one from scratch. You'd never think of developing an online store from scratch anymore, but I don't think job boards should be any different. Then you'll get all the customization and metrics that Shopify gives you for products. I'm in the process of validating this idea.

11
2 points by doki_pen 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would be great if you required companies to post pay ranges. Some jobs that I may not find interesting might become interesting if the pay is right. Without pay, it's very hard to determine which are worth pursuing.
12
1 point by bdclimber14 3 days ago 0 replies      
Question related to charging: Did you charge for the initial posts on there now?

I think the best strategy is to publicly advertise that you charge $75 for a post, but to get content up (and it looks like you have) give it away for free strategically (again, sounds like you're doing this).

Also, to make sales, tell potential posters that you'll put in an inordinate amount of advertising for their job to drive overall traffic.

13
4 points by stephen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks cool. RSS feeds would be nice.
14
2 points by Groxx 3 days ago 1 reply      
Down? I'd love to check it out, but I'm getting a "We're sorry, but something went wrong." message every time.
15
3 points by dylanrw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Finally, I hate the stigma people have with remote workers. I have made 90% of my income over the past 10 years this way, but it is tough to find people willing to work like this.
16
1 point by duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea! Whenever I include the "Who is Hiring" posts in my Hacker Newsletter it always has a high click rate. Another great resource to send people to now if you can keep it going.
17
3 points by ndaugherty18 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://telesaur.com is another telecommute job board.
18
4 points by sjmulder 3 days ago 2 replies      
Really nice site. Any chance of EU-based jobs on there in the future, or is it strictly USA?
19
3 points by br41n 3 days ago 1 reply      
tip: add an "operations" category, for sysadmins and so on
20
4 points by pdenya 3 days ago 3 replies      
Love the design and the idea.
21
2 points by JohnTitus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like it, and think it's a great idea. Site looks pretty nice.
One general design comment: The search bar is a bit hard to notice.
22
2 points by shimi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love your work guys!
18
Google Forecloses on Content Farms with "Farmer" Algorithm Update searchengineland.com
205 points by InfinityX0 1 day ago   101 comments top 29
1
46 points by OmarIsmail 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's a specific query moultano:
"ikea malm bed"
before: http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...
after: http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...

The ProductWiki page moves from rank 5 to 9 being beaten out by eHow and Scribd.

The ProductWiki page contains more than a dozen reviews and a slew of comments/discussions.

Seems like we got hit as a "low quality" site while scribd and eHow didn't. Amazing.

2
38 points by starnix17 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know if it's live yet, but my concert listings site is now number one for a lot of common searches (philly concerts, philadelphia concerts).

It used to be like 2 or 3 pages down below a bunch of content farms, very glad about this.

Edit: Actually, now I'm number 4 for philadelphia and number 1 for Philly, still pretty happy though.

3
6 points by ary 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't help but wonder if this small change will upset the economic incentive to publish oceans of garbage onto the web. At the end of the day it's about the money, and the farms have a very good understanding of how much they can make off of their various "offerings".

What has been troublesome over the last two years is not so much that Google seemed to look the other way (until now), but that larger media companies like AOL and Yahoo were turning to this kind of behavior as a "viable" strategy for the future. It's amazing how many people will work for very, very little an hour writing garbage as opposed to minimum wage with possible tips at a restaurant. The allure of easy money has corrupted people's incentive from the top to the very bottom.

For once I see an actual way to compete with Google. Bing could outright ban sites that produce garbage and make their search results look pretty good by comparison. The question is whether Microsoft is willing to drop the pretense of objectivity to do so. Would users care? Would advertisers?

4
7 points by bluethunder 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"best digital camera under 300"

Before:
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...

After:
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...

ReviewGist page moves from rank 1 to 5.

ReviewGist listing might not have original content but it is the most relevant and accurate. Every other page lists the best cameras under $300 for the previous years, from 2008 to 2010. Only ReviewGist page has the cameras that you should buy right now for under $300 as we update our lists every week. Ask any shop keeper who knows the latest models and they will agree with ReviewGist recommendations more than any of the sites listed from 1 to 5.

5
12 points by ehsanul 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This could be very painful for the likes of Mahalo. I remember Jason Calcanis mentioning, perhaps when he first noted a change of direction for Mahalo to high-quality content, that he'll make sure Mahalo is the number one Google result for "how to cook a turkey" and similar queries, where they've spent hundreds of dollars (maybe more) on quality content, notably videos. I just Googled "how to cook a turkey", without quotes, and Mahalo is nowhere to be seen! Not sure if tha
t's a good thing or a bad thing, but the guys at Mahalo might just be freaking out right now.
6
22 points by nhebb 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic. I just googled a few programming topics and the difference is very noticeable. Kudos to Google.
7
7 points by a5seo 22 hours ago 1 reply      
So I started tracking rankings on 164 of eHow's top keywords (selected based on SEMRush report of their most-valuable, SearchVol * CPC).

Anyway, here's the downward movement since the algo started rolling out:

http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+build+a+robot+from+scr... -1 ranking)

http://www.google.com/search?q=eurotop+bed (-1)

http://www.google.com/search?q=watch+live+cable+tv+online (-1)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=find+answers+to+cro... (-1)

So while this may have hit eHow to some degree, 4/164 doesn't seem like a massacre. That said, seoMoz only updates rankings weekly, so maybe next Wednesday will be a different story.

8
4 points by mvandemar 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Actually, I was wrong. The results are US only, so (for now, anyways) you can view what the results looked like before the update by changing the language parameter (&hl=) or the &gl= parameter in the url. For instance, pre-algo rankings (Mahalo #1):

http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...

Same query after the update (Mahalo at #7):

http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&...

9
9 points by InfinityX0 23 hours ago 5 replies      
It'll be interesting to see where this goes in the next 24 hours: http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=DMD. And by "where this goes", I mean how much it tanks.
10
11
3 points by ilamont 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Coincidentally (or maybe not, if someone at Google has a wicked sense of humor) PaidContent published an interview this morning with the CEO of Demand Media:

http://paidcontent.org/article/419-interview-demand-medias-r...

Check out his response to the question: What happens if the company you're most synergistic with turns you off? Is that something you think about? Do you have to make sure you have other revenue that isn't reliant on this synergy with Google?

12
1 point by DanielBMarkham 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Today will be an interesting day to watch web stats.

I'm really happy they are doing something about the programming/scraping sites. Asking the same question and getting the same answers from top 3 or 4 results was driving me bonkers.

Playing contrarian, though, I wonder how much of these changes are generated by actual user feelings? I am concerned that there is a very vocal minority (which is probably represented the most strongly inside the hacker community) who is now starting to determine what makes a good site or not. If Google starts getting swung around by 2% of its user base simply because they're the loudest, I don't think that would necessarily result in a better product for all -- even though so far, so good.

13
3 points by kalvin 23 hours ago 3 replies      
I googled "sharpen a knife" yesterday early afternoon and I'm pretty sure I got ehow high on the front page. Now it's halfway down the second page.

Appropriately, the summary for eHow is: "on 3/31/2009 This article provides a high level overview of sharpening, but doesn't provide enough detail to enable a beginner to sharpen a knife ..."

Is there some tool SEO people use to compare results before/after Google algorithm changes? Would be interesting to see.

14
10 points by tomwalsham 23 hours ago 2 replies      
It will be interesting to see if this negatively affects the traffic to some of the 'newspapers' (Daily Mail, Telegraph) who just recycle PR in the guise of journalistic endeavour. cf. http://churnalism.com

Does the algorithm update also apply to Google News?

15
3 points by Charuru 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm vaguely disturbed by all the talk about "sites people want to see fall". That sounds like almost manual bias against certain sites to me. Didn't hear anything about language analysis and figuring out what is high quality vs low quality content.
16
4 points by ojbyrne 23 hours ago 0 replies      
So a question came up tonight - "How to use an oscilliscope" - googled it and no ehow. Wonderful.
17
2 points by blauwbilgorgel 16 hours ago 0 replies      
How you view this algo change, I guess depends on if you control websites that might be classified as "content farms".

Job sites, classifieds sites, news archive sites, social sites like HN or reddit etc.

There are a few legit businessmodels (as in, not against Google TOS) that feel the heat from this update.

I am all for banning scraper sites, especially if they outrank the source. But I don't like this update at all: There are still too many what-if's and classification problems (where do you stop?). Do the giants get a free pass, and do the new sites have to fight an uphill battle?

What do I tell new clients? I've seen the same with Keyword-In-Domain's outranking more established sites. What is a whitehat SEO to do, but claim a few Keyword-In-Domains. Now KID's start to become more and more greyhat. Not because claiming a KID is so bad, but because Google has problem ranking relevancy over KID's.

Having a curated content farm, in itself is not a problem and perfectly whitehat. If its a good idea after this update, time will tell. I would really like to know if curated content farms with an editorial staff will be hurt by this update. I don't feel safe right now at all.

P.S. I guess I've found the first blackhat technique to combat being classified a low-quality non-unique site. Google says to add value. So you pull in content from multiple sources, instead of a single source, you article spin the content a little, you add reviews and comments, and then you comment on/review your own stories. Content farms will turn into comment/review farms, and no one will be the wiser.

Also affiliate sites (Google always had you in her sights) and ecommerce sites that used the supplied product descriptions will have a harder time now. Realistically that would include smarter affiliate sites like hackerbooks.com (no unique content, just an Amazon storefront for all Google cares)

18
1 point by jswinghammer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat the example I posted is fixed. In fact me talking about the search in another thread shows up fairly high on the first page.

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8...

Only downside is that the explainextended.com article shows up below stackoverflow.com which is too bad because that article would teach you far more than the stackoverflow question would.

19
3 points by mkramlich 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much longer it will be after Google's changes go live that we start to see the exact same changes "magically" appear in Bing as well.

cough

20
5 points by nickbp 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them

I wonder what those domains are.

21
3 points by Zakuzaa 23 hours ago 2 replies      
12% is HUGE. I fear the inevitable false positives.
22
2 points by jeffreyrusso 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a decent list of queries I've been collecting data on to compare once word came that a change was rolled out. This is an interesting one that I saw in a comments thread somewhere...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=how+to+renew+an+expir...

The Demand Media angle is really interesting too. I love the bit quoted in the Searchengineland article from the CEO, wondering how they got tagged with the "content farm" label. Pretty sure this is where I first saw it...

http://www.theawl.com/2010/11/my-summer-on-the-content-farm

23
1 point by saturdaysaint 18 hours ago 0 replies      
News results look much improved. Yellowpages.com and variants (yp.com) continue to clutter up local search results.
24
2 points by dools 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this means no more "Big resource gettin' bigger" in my search results ...
25
4 points by cwbrandsma 22 hours ago 1 reply      
does this get rid of expertsexchange? <cross fingers>
26
3 points by Dramatize 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Please please roll this out in Australia too.
27
1 point by ngsayjoe 15 hours ago 0 replies      
See the drastic drop in alexa: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/efreedom.com#
28
1 point by blhack 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Google is now as far ahead of their competition as they were in 2003.
29
1 point by nickconfer 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone think the HuffingtonPost is glad it sold two weeks ago... Could you imagine what a 12% shakeup did to a republisher.
19
How to Sell your Company jacquesmattheij.com
198 points by ZeroMinx 2 days ago   17 comments top 9
1
74 points by sivers 2 days ago 2 replies      
I never thought I would sell, but I got three offers in one week. I told them all no. But after thinking about it a while, I told them all yes.

Thing is, Amazon was not one of the three. And I always thought that Amazon would be the perfect daddy for my baby.

So after the first three companies were looking at my books with NDAs and LOIs, I asked a connected friend to introduce me to someone at Amazon, and told him why. I was surprised how quickly someone at Amazon got back to me, and they were a contender until the end. (I chose a different company - one of those first three, after all.)

It makes all the difference in the world to have multiple interested buyers.

Any time you hit a snag in negotiations, you really have to be 100% sincerely ready to walk away. Actually believe, to the core, that until the final signature and wire transfer goes through, the deal might not happen, and you're OK with that.

2
7 points by duck 2 days ago 1 reply      
with the thread now deleted (for good reasons, which is why I'm not linking to it here)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2154106

Why was it deleted?

3
6 points by tchock23 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best articles on selling a company I've come across, and I've read my fair share of them... I recently had a negotiation that went to a few days before closing and we stepped away. I've since been through various up and down periods of regret for stepping away, followed by relief. It's a nightmare, and I think Jacques accurately captured what to consider in this article (I wish I had this available before!).

I would be really interested to read articles around market timing of acquisitions if anyone on HN has come across something as good as this post by Jacques. I've found a few articles here and there, but mostly written by M&A guys who are pushing to have more deals to broker.

4
6 points by rexf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very long, but very worthwhile read. It's about how common sense isn't common sense. Assume the worst will happen, always be ready to walk away, and only a final signed contract with money in your bank means anything.

One specific thing I learned from reading this:

> Typically value that is there today should be reflected in the 'cash' portion and value that is still to be built in the 'stock' portion.

This makes sense because you are getting paid in cash for the value at the time of selling your company. Whereas the stock is contingent on future performance and not a 100% sure thing.

5
2 points by bconway 2 days ago 0 replies      
If it was to stop working for a big company and to chart your own path, think about whether or not selling to a large company with a mandatory employment period (with serious consequences in case you break that contract) is for you at all.

Could someone give an example of a mandatory employment period with "serious consequences"? Most discussions I've had with people who have left early from a post-acquisition environment centered around forgoing their stock vesting or retention bonuses (to them, it was worth the loss). Assuming no one's breaking non-competes or NDAs, I'd be curious to hear what else is under consideration.

6
1 point by barmstrong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great post.

One question I had is whether it ever makes sense to agree to a "no shopping" clause in a letter of intent. This seems to be a big disadvantage because if company A you're dealing with passes or plays hardball, then companies B and C you were previously talking to will assume they passed for a good reason. Is there any reason you can't have multiple parties still competing during a period of due diligence?

7
1 point by rexreed 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good article - I noticed that my comments from HN were quoted a few times in there... might have been good to put a bit of attribution, or at least highlight them so it's obvious they are HN quotes. Some parts show the quote marks, but others don't. Specifically the two deals mentioned (the lowball and the bait-and-switch at closing) were ones I posted about in the original HN post.
8
2 points by bencollins 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have any insight into what point (size/complication of the deal) you transition from getting representation from a lawyer versus lawyer + investment bank. I could imagine a good M&A lawyer would be enough representation to navigate a less complicated deal but when is an investment bank necessary?
9
1 point by tjmaxal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else note the different mentalities between seeking more capital and outright selling the company?
20
Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret lifehacker.com
197 points by shawndumas 11 hours ago   81 comments top 38
1
24 points by edw519 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Right next to my monitor in plain sight is my dedicated low tech $8.95 yearly wall calendar like this one

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_05083134000P?sid=ID...

I color every day either black (1 or more things completed) or red (0 things completed). Then I have to look at it all day every day for the rest of the year. Very humbling.

[EDIT: A monthly calendar doesn't work as well. Redemption comes too soon. I need to suffer much longer to affect my long term work habits.]

2
29 points by smalter 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Coincidentally, fellow HNers rguzman, peng and I recently built a simple web app which was inspired by this article.

It's called http://idonethis.com.

We email you on a daily basis asking you what you got done today. We put your email response into a calendar and check off the day. Look at your calendar to see your streak from yesterday to motivate you today.

We posted the site on HN back in January and got some great feedback which we incorporated (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2064038) along with some nice press coverage (http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2011/01/03/idonethis-have-yo...). We're at a few hundred users, a good proportion of whom email us on a daily basis and tell us that that the site is helping their productivity, helping them quit smoking, reminding them to exercise & diet, etc.

3
10 points by jasonkester 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Sweet. My very first LifeHacker "entire site replaced by the homepage" sighting.

As a result of their genius idea to use hashbangs instead of proper URLs, in conjunction with their use of 3rd party (and therefore guaranteed thoroughly debugged and awesome) ad-serving javascript, that link takes me to the LifeHacker homepage with no Seinfeld article in sight.

Opening Chrome's inspector, I see this:

  Unsafe JavaScript attempt to access frame with URL 
http://uk.lifehacker.com/#!281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret from frame with URL
http://www.facebook.com/extern/login_status.php?api_key=82da475aae3dff17ef28332d6a2f9501&extern=2&channel=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.lifehacker.com%2Fmodules%2Fblog%2Fxd_receiver.html&locale=en_US.
Domains, protocols and ports must match.

Note to self: Keep using actual URLs for URLs.

4
21 points by InfinityX0 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Read Stephen King's "On Writing". It'll change your game, even if you don't write.

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Stephen-King/dp/0743455967

5
4 points by slapshot 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of ordering on Amazon, I just printed my own hardcopy calendar (starting this week) at
http://www.pdfcalendar.com/12-weeks/

I set it to start this week and to put the next 6 months on the calendar (I don't need a full year). Mine is now next up to my desk. Thanks! (NB: I have no affiliaton with the site; just found it Googling.)

6
4 points by petercooper 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Trivia HN: Kyle Bragger (now of Forrst fame) did a Show HN about a service he developed using this technique several months ago - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1665467
7
20 points by ChristianMarks 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This has been on HN before. Keep reposting and don't break the chain.
8
4 points by matthew-wegner 9 hours ago 1 reply      
http://www.joesgoals.com/ is a great web app for tracking daily tasks (including longest/current chain).
9
3 points by harscoat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We are in not-complete Beta but if you are signed up to http://www.Quantter.com (log in via twitter for now) you can record things you do just by including in your twitter message this microsyntax: #label:xMetric eg. #run:5miles or #thingsdone:2 ...

If you go to your Quantter settings (top left of profile page), select your "favorite activity" (=the hashtag you 'Quantt'/quantify) and you will seen a green check each time you do that activity at least once. The number of consecutive days you did this activity is your streak (given at the top of your Quantter profile page).

Finally you can follow 5 other people's streak, just by going on their Quantter page (while being logged in): http://www.quantter.com/user/TwitterUsername (eg. http://www.quantter.com/user/egadenne)
and you click on "Follow Username" link under the grid.

As mentioned here, another very good implementation of Seinfeld "don't break the chain" is Kyle Bragger Streak.ly.

10
5 points by marknutter 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing about productivity hacks is that their mileage varies pretty wildly from person to person. That's why there are literally hundreds of thousands of GTD apps out there. It's as bad as informercial exercise equipment. People love the idea of being productive, not the actual act of being productive.
11
6 points by stevejalim 11 hours ago 4 replies      
O/T but ARGH -- the 'hashbang' URLs are failing for me here every other time, and my wife (who I sent the link to) got the wrong page too. Anyone else suffering similarly?
12
5 points by Hovertruck 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what http://calendaraboutnothing.com/ is about. Which reminds me, I haven't committed anything in a while...
13
3 points by saturdayplace 11 hours ago 1 reply      
When I'd heard about this, I found http://dontbreakthechain.com/. Once I get a streak going, it's a pretty powerful motivator.
14
1 point by scrame 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I did this with a set of projects (mostly writing / creative) for all of 2010. It was pretty effective at first, but I definitely hit a few stretches of burnout. I was sure to record an entry for each day, but would occasionally fall behind.

At the beginning of this year, I moved away from it because I felt like it was a bit too much: it was forcing me to just output and quality generally suffered. I am still trying to find a good balance for it, but the calendar method is really a great way to motivate you to work and also shows you that you really can just keep moving forward.

15
1 point by alexophile 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Not only is this good advice for getting your own things done, but it's good to keep in mind if you're building an app that helps other people get things done. When I was writing "full-time" I loved using 750words.com - it's a sort of freeform journal platform that does a great job implementing measurement-based incentives like this.
16
2 points by hbt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If I may, here are my productivity tips:

- find/build a good todo system using GTD (Getting Things Done) methods (capture, organize, review)

- use it to capture all your thoughts and things you have to do. Get it out of your head.

- make weekly and monthly reviews of your work. The things you have accomplished.

- keep a daily log/journal not necessarily of things you have done but make side notes of things that affected you. New articles, a movie that changed your perspective on things, a new idea etc. If it comes back over and over, consider writing more about the subject

- clarify your long term goals vs the short ones. That's the difference between being busy doing client work for money to pay bills and being busy working on projects that will change your life (i.e scratching your own itch)

- track your progress: I track it using three columns. What I have planned for today, what I actually did and what I failed to do. My TODO system automatically assigns a score to that day and reschedules tasks.
In my calendar, I do not have "completed" days, I have scores tracking my performance.

- define what is important to you and develop the habits you want to have: Exercise every day? (20 points), Work for clients (20 points), work on your weekly/monthly personal goal (e.g learn zsh) (50 points). Obviously, the number of points is subjective and based on what you believe is important

I'm sure there is more but that's the basic idea. I see my productivity as a system consistenly looking to be improved and become more efficient

17
1 point by zach 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For tasks with an "every few days" nature, it would be handy to have a calendar with, say, a box for each three days.

But you can adapt this method to a regular calendar by marking X's on that day and connected days when you do the action.

So for something like resistance training that you want to do every four days, you can "catch up" on the second, third or fourth unmarked day, but if you go more than four days, the chain is broken.

Note that you can potentially go a week between sessions by being early once then late the next time, so it's a little different than a calendar with multi-day intervals. But that extra flexibility might be helpful for some tasks.

18
1 point by thecoffman 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Two of the github guys: kneath and technoweenie I believe, implemented exactly this for measuring contributions to open source projects.

site: http://calendaraboutnothing.com/
blog post announcing it: http://techno-weenie.net/2008/10/6/calendar-about-nothing/

19
4 points by sharadgopal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous Discussion of the same article:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1033433
20
1 point by VladRussian 6 hours ago 0 replies      
similar, yet distinctive approach - especially about when to stop:

http://www.secondactive.com/2009/08/boost-your-productivity-... :

"The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don't think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start."

21
1 point by scrrr 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The key here is doing things every day. You don't need a special calendar on the wall.

Humans are creatures of habit. If your habit is to slack off five days of the week then you will find it difficult to be productive on the remaining two days. If on the other hand you just start doing things, after a couple of days it's normal. I've been there, I've done that. Whatever you want to do, just start doing it. Even if you suck at first.

It's like quitting smoking. First few days are a little difficult. After 3 weeks you don't think about it.

And put a nice picture on your wall instead. ;)

22
1 point by tmcw 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This tends to work pretty well - I got into it via Joe's Goals, but got sick of the interface and tech, so built a command-line tool to do the same kind of thing - http://tmcw.github.com/habiter/
23
1 point by khill 8 hours ago 0 replies      
That doesn't work for me. If I don't take a day off here or there, I get burned out - my creativity starts to fail me and I end up making mistakes.

Maybe it's just me but I find that I sometimes need a break of a day or two to solve certain problems or put tasks in perspective.

24
2 points by orky56 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I admit this does accomplish the motivation to routinely complete certain tasks. The problem I have with productivity tools is that they can't take into account all the constraints that are important: type of tasks (routine tasks + 1-time tasks), categories of tasks (project-related, home, work, hobbies), priority of tasks (most important to least important), time sensitivity of tasks (now, today, tomorrow, whenever) as well as size, scope, yada yada yada. Various tools seem to accomplish some but not all of these. What I am left with is a handful of tools that I get notifications for and am feverishly trying to check and manage. Productivity has now become managing all these productivity tools. Still waiting for that killer app that can match my (and I'm sure others') complicated mental model.
25
1 point by zeteo 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If he shares it freely with people he barely knows, it's not a secret. It's dishonest to call it a "secret" just to bait the headline.
26
2 points by 6ren 10 hours ago 2 replies      
A deep truth, though literally "daily" doesn't work for everything e.g. weight-training.
27
2 points by veidr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Although not of interest to most here (sorry), I'd just like to point out that if you are in Japan when you click that hashbang URL--or any lifehacker URL that comes up in e.g. a google search recently--the server pukes on itself and redirects to www.lifehacker.jp. I'm guessing their links are broken anywhere in the world where they have a localized site? Kinda sad.
28
1 point by wastedbrains 9 hours ago 0 replies      
for those that don't know the awesome Calendar About Nothing tracks your commits to open source code. The whole goal is to get the longest chain

http://calendaraboutnothing.com/

29
2 points by acavailhez 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a very good piece of advice, it has a "gaming" feeling in it.

It reminds me of the automated test suites you have in IDEs such as Netbeans, which display a huge green bar when 100% of your tests pass. It's such a goog feeling to see this green bar that you work harder to make tests pass again.

30
1 point by Dramatize 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I made this poster a while back: http://dailycheckbox.com
31
1 point by dalys 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A quick PHP script just to generate a printable calender http://pastebin.com/zrHCRAQH (just HTML http://pastebin.com/vi8FWybe
32
1 point by xyzzyb 9 hours ago 0 replies      
TwoShay has a great writeup of this technique: http://www.two-shay.com/articles/habits-calendar
33
1 point by ptm 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This very article was the inspiration for my recurring todo app - http://www.dailytodo.org/
34
1 point by consultutah 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This quote was exactly the motivation behind my Unbroken Chain app for iOS: http://goo.gl/u4W93
35
1 point by mannicken 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The general time period for building up an addiction, breaking an addiction, or a habit is three days. After you've done something daily for three days, you are more likely to continue doing it.
36
1 point by gfiltefishrmn 7 hours ago 0 replies      
this story was on hacker news so long ago, why did it get picked up again? it should have been flagged as OLD!!!!
37
2 points by galuggus 11 hours ago 2 replies      
see the iphone app streaks

and a new site

tasksmash.com

38
-3 points by triggercityFL 8 hours ago 0 replies      
So his productivity secret is calendars and Xs? Weak sauce.
21
Rate my startup - Slowcop - measure your website's speed slowcop.com
198 points by marketer 3 days ago   89 comments top 48
1
15 points by snowmaker 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool. We've been looking for a tool like this for Scribd for a couple of years now.

If you built this out so it handled multiple locations, browsers, pages, etc. we would pay big bucks for it.

2
17 points by bigwally 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nice. Very useful.

Suggestion, try changing your URLs.
instead of

http://www.slowcop.com/reports/4d6468ff34b95f3cbb000554

try
http://www.slowcop.com/reports/www.slowcop.com

by doing this you will get a lot of link traffic.

3
7 points by kamens 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really helpful. Using this to improve www.khanacademy.org results right now. I find this slightly easier to parse than pagespeed/yslow and look forward to the "performance changes over time" reports.
4
7 points by lazyjeff 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice, the suggestions seem more useful than some of the other tools I've seen. Is it possible to combine this with an SEO checker, spellcheck, and browser incompatibility check?

PS: running slowcop on slowcop.com yields a few areas of improvement ;-)

5
17 points by kqueue 3 days ago 2 replies      
How is that better than webkit's inspector?

And why every tool on HN now is called a startup?

6
3 points by dtran 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Automated YSlow is definitely something I would like to have. If I pushed something and it's making my pages load slower and that's costing me users, I need to know.

I know some Mozilla folks were working on an automated YSlow tool called Cesium, but progress seems to have stopped there, so I'm glad someone picked up the torch.
http://blog.mozilla.com/webdev/2009/07/09/cesium-01/

Interesting to note that a lot of the suggestions I received were about minifying external JS files. It is kind of ridiculous how much external JS every page has now.

7
3 points by timinman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for creating this. It helps a novice 'see the forrest for the trees' to make significant improvements easier. I love some of these suggestions, too.

How about this one?: Make it game-ish. "Your rank of 88/100 means your site loads faster than 75% of the sites we've tested," or "Congratulations! You've unlocked the Road Runner Badge!" Make the following improvements to unlock Speedy Gonzales."

8
3 points by boyter 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty useful. I did some quick mods and went from a 89 to 98 pretty quickly which isnt too bad.

Only complaint is that I had to click to expand out the page speed problems. You might want to add a horizontal triangle or some other visual indicator there is more to look at. Either that or expand them all by default but allow people to close them.

Only issue was that it suggested I could minify my JS and gain a 0% reduction in a few cases.

9
1 point by URSpider94 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very clean. Some quick suggestions:

Make it clear that a higher score is better for page download speed. I think this is true, but there's no real indication of this on the page

Some kind of explanatory histogram showing relative performance vs. other web sites would be useful. It might even be useful to group load time by page type and size (landing page vs. web app internal page, for example)

For the tune-up items at the bottom of the page, you've reversed the scale -- high numbers are now less significant than low ones. Also, it seems that a 100-point scale here might be overkill.

10
6 points by idoh 3 days ago 3 replies      
How is this better than Y!Slow?
11
1 point by gokhan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice.

- On the report page, call to action should be highlighted more.

- Call to action may be positioned at the bottom of the page. Since I immediately want to scroll down to see my site's result, I will most probably skip the one at the top.

- Graph does not show time (at least for me). Just colored bars and the legend.

- I don't know if you're heading to the page execution side of the problem, but if you'll do it, when you show specific vertical bars, add a hint to explain the significance of that bar (This is where JQuery's document ready fired, etc.) on the graph. Hover popups would be much better for inexperienced folks.

- Allow me to exclude some warnings from the report, future reports. Google Analytic script gets a caching warning but it's given and not something I can improve.

- Results can be collapsed by default.

12
2 points by jbarham 2 days ago 0 replies      
Given that you're the guy behind web.go, is Slowcop is written using Go and web.go? If so, how are you finding writing production web code in Go? Can you share any info/tips on the hosting setup behind Slowcopy?

(FWIW I'm an avid Go programmer and filed an issue on httplib.go when it was broken by release.2011-02-15. Thanks for the quick fix!)

13
3 points by epoxyhockey 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like it! It's nice and fast and comparable services make me wait in a queue before receiving a report.

One issue is that I'm going to forget about your service by tomorrow. I only optimize my website when I make significant changes to the design or template, which is just a handful of times per year.

It would be nice if there was some kind of hook that would remind me about your useful service in the future. Maybe if you were able to detect when I change my website layout or add a javascript widget, you could send an email notification like "we've detected some changes in your website, visit us again to optimize page load times."

14
2 points by miles 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would it be possible to show sites that scored in the same range? The site I tested garnered a score of 100/100. How is that score calculated? There must be sites served faster/better than mine - who are they? Also, how about a "Top 10" list of fastest, slowest, etc?
15
3 points by whackedspinach 2 days ago 1 reply      
the suggestions are really nice, but can you eventually link to tutorials for those of us who need a bit of help?

For example, under "Minify CSS", you could say: "Need help? Here's a CSS compression tool."

16
2 points by huhtenberg 2 days ago 0 replies      
The site is really quick, which is very impressive.

Question though - the page loading times are measured by... WebKit? Gekko? Home-brewed page loader?

17
2 points by frederickcook 3 days ago 2 replies      
It says our web host is Amazon, but we're definitely on the Rackspace cloud. Does Rackspace have a dirty little secret?
18
2 points by jhrobert 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice indeed.

In the Resource Timeline, when hovering, it would be nice to have the exact millisecs in addition to the existing proportional colored rectangles. The absolute total time could be added on the black hovering div on the left.

Thanks to the tool I discovered that the DNS time of my domains was far from perfect, thanks! (my host in on amazon EC2 west, but my DNS is french Gandi.net...)

Also nice would be the performance on reload (ie with a hot cache instead of a cold one).

19
2 points by pardo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice site and design. It seems it doesn't really add much to YSlow but it's nice anyway.

It does have the same problem that all the other speed checkers that I've tried. When you have a decently optimized page, most of the errors or problems it founds have to do with external services over which you do not have much control.

For example, facebook widgets and google apis (analytics, charts, ...).

It is always a little frustrating when you are told to change something that you can not really influence:

There are 5 JavaScript files served from static.ak.fbcdn.net. They should be combined into as few files as possible.

    * http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/y1/r/...js
* http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yB/r/...js
* http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yQ/r/...js
* http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yg/r/...js
* http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yg/r/...js

20
2 points by dialtone 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice.

Better than tools.pingdom.com in that it loads all the javascript and code form the site.

Next features that would make it very useful to me are (in order):

- Display timings on the timeline (in Chromium I can't see them, maybe display them on click or hover)

- Recurring checks (of course this is your core. You are already working on this I imagine)

- Different locations in the world (including being able to slice up my reporting based on the location)

- Custom alerts on specific urls (url X cannot take more than Y seconds to load inside my page, beyond more classic ones like total page load time and such)

- Hot cache-Cold cache

- In case of alert also generate a tcptraceroute and compare it to one that is collected every X minutes.

- Ability to set the host header separately (so I can use the IP address in the site url and the host for a specific virtualhost, this is useful when a site is geographically distributed and you just want to cut out the DNS lookup).

Also have a look at many of your potential competitors like Gomez.

21
2 points by acdha 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice - how closely have you looked at yotaa.com? They seem to be doing a very similar play but are further along with UI and with testing from multiple locations.
22
1 point by mike-cardwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Error generating report for https://grepular.com/ - Could not resolve address"

Is this due to HTTPS? This site really should support HTTPS...

EDIT: If I enter "http://grepular.com/ instead, it works. That URL simply redirects to the HTTPS version...

EDIT2: The only listed "problem" for my site is:

  Remove the following redirect chain if possible:
* http://grepular.com/
* https://grepular.com/

Don't think I'll be doing that thanks ;)

23
2 points by nuxi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't parse URLs correctly, e.g. this works:
www.google.com

but this doesn't:
www.google.com:80

See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2616.txt, section 3.2.2 for the spec.

Otherwise, looks very useful.

24
1 point by ElbertF 3 days ago 1 reply      
It looks like you're not following your own advice. :)

http://www.slowcop.com/reports/4d6468ff34b95f3cbb000554

25
2 points by steveklabnik 3 days ago 1 reply      
I tried it: sat on the 'building report' screen for a while, and then when I hit refresh, said "report not found."
26
2 points by jefe78 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like what you've done. As an aside, I noticed you're using Slicehost. You can get better performance, for cheaper from Linode if you want. I've switched many a client to Linode and never heard a complaint.

Just a suggestion.

27
1 point by joshfraser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Neat. Another great tool for measuring performance is webpagetest.org. It gives you the ability to choose a browser and a location to test from -- both of which are really important factors to consider when timing a site. It's open-source too!
28
2 points by netnichols 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice start, and some good comments/suggestions here for you to follow up on.

My own suggestion: make sure to reference relevant tutorials in the 'Academy' section from within the reports. I made a couple of reports before really finding the 'Academy', which could be a very valuable resource.

29
3 points by grsites 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice indeed! Increased page score on grsites.com from 92 to 96 in 5 minutes. More convenient than YSlow. Bookmarked!
30
1 point by aquark 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great implementation!

Obvious UI, works fast presents the information in a very clean and clear format.

The blog & academy pages could do with some of the polish of the main site, but that is understandable! I also wasn't totally clear on what the NN/100 numbers represented on the report page?

31
2 points by stoked 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've been using http://www.webpagetest.org which is pretty well known in WPO circles. It's not as "pretty" as your site, but offers more features like recording video, Dynatrace recordings, firstview vs 2ndview, etc.
32
1 point by aik 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great. Few issues:

1. The "generating" process didn't do anything until I hit refresh, then everything appeared.

2. The "Forward a copy of this report via email" link doesn't do anything? (I'm in Chrome 8)

3. Reading the improvements under each header could be formatted in a much more easy to read format.

Thanks!

33
1 point by bkhl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. However, you said this is a "startup". How are you going to monetize this besides the obvious (ads)?
34
1 point by ultrasaurus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love it, but I find myself re-running it 3 times to get an average. Any chance that can be automated?
35
1 point by Inviz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very good tool and gives fairly optimistic results (slowcop.com gets 95/100) and quite some interesting tips. Going to use this next time instead of YSlow.

The only thing is that it really is into minifying the css and gives high numbers of potential savings. It'd be more helpful to display a number that takes gzip compression into account. Something like "Minify this css to save 31% (5% after compression)"

36
1 point by maguay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, looks like the Facebook widget takes the longest to load on my site :)
37
1 point by dadro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Would you mind (very briefly) describing some of the infrastructure/tools/backend used to build Slowcop?
38
1 point by yoshgoodman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News only scored 88/100 where google scored 98/100 http://www.slowcop.com/reports/4d64d9ef34b95f5bbe000126
39
1 point by wyck 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand all the website speed tests sites, this second new one I have seen this week. And calling it a startup????

What about the firebug net tab, or yslow or chrome resources?

40
1 point by sv123 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like, could be good competition for keynote. Is there a way to show client time in the chart?
41
1 point by benzheren 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long does it take to generate the report? I just submitted one url and after several minutes it was still loading.
42
2 points by BenVoss 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like it, nice job. Fast, clean and simple UI.
43
2 points by insight 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. Name is great.
Simple and useful
44
1 point by d_c 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like loadimpact.com :)
45
1 point by pkchen 3 days ago 1 reply      
nice and clean -- i like it. how is it different from tools.pingdom.com though?
46
0 points by workhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody has mentioned Firebug in 59 comments?

Am I on Hacker News? I had to check the site header real quick.

47
1 point by nands 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff. The analysis is better than YSlow.
48
1 point by vegai 2 days ago 0 replies      
https?
22
JQuery Waypoints - execute a function whenever you scroll to an element github.com
184 points by moeffju 2 days ago   26 comments top 6
1
14 points by joebananas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool and all, but... It's stuff like scroll analytics that keep NoScript in my list of must-have addons. That kind of stuff is just super creepy in a working-for-the-feds-in-snow-crash kind of way.
2
11 points by chrisbroadfoot 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is it just me or does this feel really slow?
3
3 points by shib71 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nicely modular functionality. Would be even better if the events were implemented as actual jQuery events.
4
1 point by some1else 1 day ago 1 reply      
Useful idea, although the implementation makes Safari stutter on a CoreDuo MacBook. I didn't check the internals, but I have a feeling that some value checks would benefit from caching.

Either way, I wouldn't deploy this just yet. But I also wouldn't deploy a PNG background that's position: fixed, because I remember it crippling old versions of Firefox on Windows..

I guess it depends, but us users with slow computers avoid websites that point out the fact that we haven't upgraded for 4 years.. I think the web is most definitely the one place where you can't presume everyone is on par with Moore's law. You just can't increase performance requirements according to your workstation (at least not on the client-side).

Remember any leet Flash websites from 2001 (besides 2advanced, err) where the stop-motion effect would reveal your CPU's inferiority to the developers machine? Exactly, me neither (there were a lot of them though).

I hope the plugin takes off, but it won't happen until it performs. Making websites slow on old computers is much like making type too small for the visually impaired.

5
4 points by sramam 2 days ago 1 reply      
cool use of waypoint scrolling to mimic tab traversal on the homepage.
6
5 points by skilesare 2 days ago 1 reply      
This didn't work on my iPhone. I wish it had.
23
You win, RIM (An open letter to RIM's developer relations) jamiemurai.com
185 points by jammur 5 hours ago   76 comments top 23
1
50 points by btipling 4 hours ago 3 replies      
The complaints are:

$200 price to develop with 10 app limit.

Multiple registration forms.

Requiring multiple downloads.

Requiring to purchase vmware fusion.

Installer that just copies an iso.

Having to password protect the simulator.

Bad documentation on how to load an app on the simulator.

The comparative ease with which you can do these things with android and ios.

2
11 points by alanh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't forget Kik (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1935093) and the arbitrary way RIM may decide to not only take your app down, but sue you (http://www.kik.com/blog/2010/12/a-sad-day-in-waterloo/), to boot.
3
6 points by leon_ 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Hmm, I expected something ... well ... something really bad. But it looks like the guy has just a very thin skin.

I'm an iPhone developer who signed up with the program as soon as it became available and I can tell you: Becoming an iPhone developer was a major PITA. It started with the registration (Apple let you wait for weeks after you purchased the membership), then with taxes formalities (as a non us-citizen I had to call the I.R.S. and get a w8-ben number ... mix a polish name with a german address and an overseas phone call and you get a really fun time). Oh, and I had to print out all my contracts, sign them and send them via snail mail to some Apple subsidiary in Texas.

And then the fun just started - I spent days getting all the provisioning profile stuff working (only to get my app to run on my device). Uploading the finished app to the store was another story (there was no build & archive & submit 3 click way - you had to build the distribution package yourself).

Considering RIM has just started their developer program for their playbook I'd say that the blog post is exaggerated. The only thing that I think he's right on is the 10 app/$200 limit ...

4
13 points by veeti 4 hours ago 3 replies      
"Knowing what a pleasure it is to use Apple and Google's tools,"

I haven't used the iOS SDK, but the Android SDK is far from "a pleasure to use". The 3.0 emulator is so unusably slow that it makes it practically impossible for me to adapt my app to the new tablet UI without going insane in the process.

5
3 points by hrabago 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
The way I understand it, the $200 price is for 10 submissions, not 10 applications. So if your app has a bug, and you submit a version of the same app which fixed the bug, and/or added features, that counts against the limit.

Think of it as a $20 fee for app review, bought in blocks of 10.

6
8 points by ianbishop 4 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I am surprised to not see in this list is that, as an individual, you are required to have your form faxed back after been signed by a notary. AFAIK, this is not practice of Google or Apple either.
7
4 points by DrewHintz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The simulator in the BB SDK reloads the BB OS every time you run an app. This lead to a 60+ second delay every time I updated the app and wanted to run or debug it. I gave up and thankfully someone else wrote the app: http://code.google.com/p/google-authenticator/source/browse/...

Disclaimer: I work for a possible competitor.

8
6 points by mishmash 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> You wanted me to print off a notarized statement of identification form....it goes without saying at this point, but neither Apple nor Google require you to do anything even close to that.

Actually, just a few months ago when renewing an Apple Developer Connection membership, they asked me to do the exact same thing.

To their credit, I emailed, summarized my history with ADC, bitched a little bit, and someone took care of it the next day.

edit: typo

9
1 point by tjarratt 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
All of this rings true, with the exception of having some forms notarized.

My name on my forms did not match the name on my credit card when I paid for my Apple Developer account. A short time later Apple deactivated my account and left it in that state until I could provide them with notarized proof of my identity. That is not terribly unusual, as far as I am concerned.

10
8 points by SriniK 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Totally agree with the author. I too quit porting one of my apps to BB.

This is the reason why shortcuts (not making well integrated system) always fail.

11
6 points by spacemanaki 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If you think that's bad, try writing an app for a BlackBerry phone.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1959433

12
2 points by apinstein 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As developers, we don't want all of these platforms. RIM is very developer-unfriendly, and frankly so is Adobe, so I propose that we all do the sane thing here; ignore RIM to hasten its death. Or at least make them switch to Android.
13
3 points by joelhaasnoot 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, you definately have never developed for any sort of linuxy or embedded hardware that requires a full moon and the right software version every step of the way.
Oh, and the Android installer isn't flawless either: it does require some setting up of cumbersome paths, but the installer of individual SDKs (which to be fair are seperate files/downloads) works like a charm...
14
2 points by fleitz 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The fundamental problem is that their devices works the same way as their developer model. It's unintuitive, clunky and overpriced. The only thing RIM has left is BBM. It's not worth developing for.

I got the legal bullshit from Apple too. Seriously, it had to be notarized, I had to send Apple docs that had some kind of embossed type seal (I'm surprised they didn't require it in wax) like I was delivering a proclaimation from the King in the 12th century.

15
8 points by circuitbreaker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for showing me that I wasn't the only one that had the same HORRIBLE experience! I gave a valiant effort for a good 3 solid days, at which point, I was much MUCH further along with the same tasks on iOS. For shame, RIM.
16
5 points by kin 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Yeah, the $200 was a major blocker for me. As a student, I just want to make silly free game apps. $200 for $0 income? Well that's certainly not appealing. On the other side, don't they not take any cut of your income from their app store?
17
5 points by shimi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I was participating in a developers survey by Rim around a year ago (one of those where they grab 10 engineers and put them in a room for some cash) and the complaints were exactly the same!
18
1 point by foobarbazetc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
RIM is a very developer hostile company, and they definitely don't care.

Most of the listed issues still exist for "legacy" BlackBerry development, plus about 100 other things that we could go into (e.g., still no way to do HTTP without having to worry about 6000 different connectivity methods and managing them all is up to each and every app).

19
1 point by DougBTX 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is quite similar to my experience. I installed Adobe Builder 4.5 beta trial too, which after a bit of fiddling around (and confusion on my part about the differences between 4.0 and 4.5 while following the tutorials) does eventually get you a Build and Run button.

Edit: This page looks new, at least it lists all the downloads in one place: http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/adobe.jsp

20
1 point by westajay 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I went through the same process, but didn't think it was that bad.

RIMs web signup download process needs to be cleaned up, and the Mac installer thing was a bit weird, but I thought the docs were straightforward, and only took me a couple mins to get the sample app deployed.

My gosh.. A command line program to remote install to the vm image! At least there is a full intel compiled image, and not some buggy emulator.

You can also build decent apps using HTML and JavaScript, much like webos.

Is it just me, or has the HN crowd deteriorated to "enterprise-ey bad, apple good"

There is a lot of opportunity in this platform, but not for consumer apps. They will be very prevalent in business environments, and the os is damn responsive.

21
1 point by tajddin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually have an approved app for the PlayBook and actually found the entire process quite straight forward, especially considering that both the sdk and simulator are both in beta.
22
0 points by vnchr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
RIM: The next Nokia
23
-2 points by mb1 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The post is factually inaccurate.

- $200 per registration fee is waived for now. In fact its been waived for over a year now.

- 10 app limit is not enforced either.

24
Breakup Notifier Shut Down By Facebook techcrunch.com
184 points by ssclafani 2 days ago   158 comments top 26
1
56 points by edw519 2 days ago 4 replies      
In the brick and mortar world, it's extremely difficult to secure financing, investment, or even revenue if you're more than 50% dependent on an outside entity for your survival.

Yet in the digital world, 100% dependency on another entity is becoming more and more common. Sounds like a high wire act without a net. Best to find other distribution outlets before you lose your balance.

2
73 points by theli0nheart 2 days ago 9 replies      
It's been a crazy 36 hours since I last posted here about my weekend project. This morning, I woke up to an email from Facebook Platform, saying that the application has gotten disabled.

Full text of the email is at http://lts.cr/PRh

I'm not using stream.publish, and I'm checking for updates as little as possible. Also, it seems it was deleted from my apps...so they didn't just disable it. It's gone for good.

I may open source the code, if anyone wants to run copies. Let me know.

Update 1: I just messaged Zuck, hopefully he can respond with some more details.

Update 2: I tried to appeal the decision using Facebook's little form (http://www.facebook.com/help?faq=17553), but it wouldn't go through for my account. My friend tried it, and it worked. Don't really know what to think about that...

Update 3: Maybe this is a Harvard v Yale thing?

3
36 points by raganwald 2 days ago 7 replies      
Meta-question: Will this termination inspire the same anti-"proprietary walled garden" rhetoric as Apple's imposition of new terms for subscription sales? If not, why not?
4
74 points by jdp23 2 days ago 1 reply      
And they disabled his personal account too. Not the best way to get yourself to be seen as a good platform for developers.
5
18 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 2 replies      
This introduces a new way to get kicked out of a walled garden: become too successful.

I hate to be cynical, but of course it's always been that way. The only way to get punished in a walled garden scenario is to embarrass the garden owner or bring too much attention to yourself.

6
20 points by il 2 days ago 4 replies      
And has reached 3.6 million users overnight. That's incredible! I bet the developer is kicking himself for not monetizing with ads right away, that's a lot of traffic and a lot of money.
7
17 points by douglasp 1 day ago 3 replies      
I work on the Platform team at Facebook and wanted to respond to some of the comments on this post.

Breakup Notifier is an interesting idea and an example of the sort of engagement that developers can get on Facebook Platform (according to our stats this app had ~13k monthly Facebook users).

That said, we've built a number of automated systems that track people's response to News Feed stories generated by apps to ensure they have a positive experience and to determine if a given app is violating our policies. These systems have worked well, cutting spam by 95% last year alone.

In this particular case, Breakup Notifier triggered one of our automated systems due to an excessive number of negative user reports. The system automatically shuts down access to the app while immediately notifying the developer via email; which is exactly what happened for Breakup Notifier. We take this action to preserve the user experience while giving our developer relations team time to work with the developer to correct the issue. We have been in contact with the developer since he followed back up with us. We hope to get the underlying issues resolved and get Breakup Notifier running again.

We want Facebook to be a great place for both people and developers " and we work very hard to ensure that we are balancing all the factors at play. We think our systems do a reasonable job helping us strike this balance, but we are open to feedback and constantly look to tune how we react to these situations.

Comments, flames, etc. welcomed.

8
44 points by soulclap 2 days ago 0 replies      
Breakup Notifier's relationship status: It's complicated.
9
12 points by shrikant 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2243708

I wonder if he's feeling honoured yet? :-)

10
6 points by acangiano 2 days ago 0 replies      
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20 points by ggordan 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Facebook has also, inexplicably, disabled his personal account."

Sure they can try and justify blocking the application by saying it made 'excessive API calls', but how do they justify disabling his personal account?

12
15 points by rorrr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a warning to you. Don't develop for Facebook. They essentially are a tyranny, you can't really take them to court for blocking you.
13
3 points by 100k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else remember singlestat.us? They did the same thing (on MySpace) back in 2006. They were shut down almost immediately.

http://techcrunch.com/2006/06/15/myspace-nukes-singlestatus/

14
7 points by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
They're probably mad they didn't think of it first.
15
5 points by initself 2 days ago 0 replies      
My dreams were crushed exactly like this with MySpace. That's why I don't touch the stuff anymore.
16
2 points by jacques_chester 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes, when facing an sudden, arbitrary decision with no appeals process, high ceremony seems like a good thing.
17
3 points by rexf 2 days ago 1 reply      
> "We're willing to comply with whatever they want us to (within reason)."

This app wasn't taken down because of "an inordinate number of stream.publish calls."

The question is how this app falls within acceptable behavior. Is it closer in nature to the acceptable practices (such as the FB Newsfeed where you see friends' recently changed statuses)? Or is it closer to behavior that FB wants to dissuade (such as an app showing how many times a given friend has viewed your profile)?

18
3 points by kevt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what can get an app shutdown by facebook? Apparently, Dan received this from fb: "For example, if an application is making an inordinate number of stream.publish calls and receiving a large number of user reports". What exactly is an inordinate number of post? Was Breakup Notifier spamming signed up users' post stream to get the word out? Or was it just an extraordinary number of api calls that FB was not use to getting?
19
2 points by makeee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did you post to a users facebook stream without asking them explicitly if they wanted to share breakup notifier on facebook? What exactly resulted in the stream.publish calls?
20
1 point by ot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the TOS prohibit this usage of the API? For example the "unfriend notifier" applications are forbidden and Facebook strictly enforces this rule (I remember at least a couple of iPhone applications that got shut down).

Even in this case, they should have given some explanation.

21
7 points by Peaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
We will miss the open web.
22
2 points by motters 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can always be kicked out of a walled garden.
23
1 point by jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well that was quick. Who's gonna notify the notifier?
24
1 point by paulnelligan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure that Zuck is trying to 'own' the internet. Big pity since Tim Berners Lee originally gave it away for free.
25
2 points by davidk0101 2 days ago 0 replies      
This started to interfere with facebook's own stalking experience so they shut it down. Don't need to be a genius to figure out that out.
26
0 points by vchien 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could I get a copy..:P
25
We Are the App Store alexyoung.org
184 points by sstarr 3 days ago   68 comments top 12
1
17 points by InclinedPlane 3 days ago 4 replies      
Walled gardens are great when a medium is brand new. Without history and without a critical mass of knowledgeable individuals it's very much more difficult for individuals to find offerings of sufficient quality, and then from there to filter based on individual preferences and needs. Such was the case with mobile apps when the iphone came around. The quality of mobile apps tended to be rather poor at the time and there was a bewildering array of them. The iphone introduced a huge new chunk of people to smartphones, the appstore model was an attempt to raise the quality bar of mobile apps and to make it easier for users to find and buy apps. And it worked spectacularly well, propelling a once questionable development arena to enormous heights of popularity (and in some cases profitability).

If you look back on, for example, video game development you can see the problems that can occur without such walled gardens. The home video game market boomed in the late 70s and early 80s, with families buying new games like hotcakes. A lot of game makers jumped on the bandwagon and pumped the market full of low quality games. Whereas in previous years the total number of games for the Atari 2600, for example, had been in the low dozens in 1982/83 this number ballooned to hundreds. Consumers could no longer have much confidence in which games to buy and so they stopped buying, leading to a massive crash of the video game industry in the US that lasted until Nintendo came along with its own walled garden approach.

However, the video game industry has matured since then, and walled gardens are no longer very helpful (there are far more than sufficient resources these days to determine which games to buy and which to avoid based on individual preferences).

As the mobile app market continues to mature it will strain against its walled garden confines more and more. Increasingly such hand-holding is less necessary and more and more restrictive. Apple has a choice to recognize that the market is changing and to adapt or to ignore the changes and pretend as though it's still 2008 while the world passes them by.

2
14 points by EnderMB 3 days ago 2 replies      
As bad as this sounds, I think that those who wish to get in bed with Apple deserve what they get. There are plenty of other platforms that can make money, and after my post on the lack HN thread regarding why people don't move over to Android produced few answers. It is also a topic of much discussion on the Readability blog post; a topic the author has yet to address.

The App Store can be very good for those who work with it, but in the same way that using Adsense can be good for those who use it. There are other options; they may not be the industry leaders, but they are viable options and you'd be a fool to turn down a platform with 100 users just because a tough platform with 110 users is better known.

In the same way that some men are attracted to insane girls, it seems that some developers simply cannot get enough of Apple's tough, kinky, anti-trust-bound love.

3
35 points by rodh257 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Both Apple and Google have demonstrated that they want to be the only source of commercial apps for their platform."

Have Google really done this? Isn't there soon to be Playstation app store among others? And you can always download files away from the Market?

4
11 points by dpcan 3 days ago 3 replies      
A year ago I would have laughed at the final statement that people will dump their iPhones faster than Apple is ready for.

Today, after working with Android for a year, I could care less if I had an Android instead of my iPhone. In fact, I find myself carrying around my development device for various apps and usability reasons.

I'm over angry birds. I'm tired of seeing all the polished over-done games in the app store. I prefer the simple, indie games of Android, I like the personality of the Android Market, I like the browser on my Galaxy, etc, etc.

Side note. My kids do not. They think my Android games are stupid.

5
12 points by saturdaysaint 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well said. I've been using the iPhone since September 2007, but if Apple loses the Kindle app and Netflix app, I'll have no qualms about jumping to Android. Strong support from top tier web services companies (Rdio and Amazon come to mind) is my favorite thing about iOS - Apple underestimates how quickly they could lose that pivotal advantage.
6
19 points by leon_ 3 days ago 3 replies      
for every dev who leaves the app store there are 100 waiting to join. that's the main problem - you can't pressure apple as long as there are masses of devs willing to play by apple's rules.
7
8 points by kristiandupont 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't like the new restriction even though Apple obviously is in their good right.

But beneath this there is a deeper concern that is now making me consider choosing the web over learning to develop for iOS: I don't trust Apple. I love my iPhone and iPad, but these frequent and unpredictable changes to the TOS makes it quite a liability for me as a developer. Making a product/startup always involves the what-if-google-does-it risk, but this new what-if-apple-shuts-you-down risk is more disturbing imo.

8
2 points by code_duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the same sort of thing I've noticed with sites like eBay and Etsy. Particularly the latter - the administration and a certain brand of users act like all glory and power derives from the establishment, and you need them and should be thanking them for their existence. Another group of people feel that the credit goes to the people who fill empty gray templates with content and bring the site to life.

This actually works out to be somewhat similar to politics. Reading forums and blogs, you can observe people's politics in their feelings about companies like this. Conservatives and religious folks often feel you should give respect to the site authority, while liberal people feel the customers deserve more credit and need more power. It's just like unions vs. management.

9
1 point by nopal 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's part of Apple's thinking that if an app can be satisfactorily built as an HTML5 app, there's no need for it to be in the App Store. If an HTML5 app meets consumers' needs, then there's no need for a native app.

But the crux of this entire debate is whether users will demand iOS versions of applications. Apple thinks they will, and they think they deserve a cut for it.

There are lots of emotional arguments being made right now, but it seems like this is a simple business decision for developers. If a developer doesn't see enough value in iOS (given its development costs), then he shouldn't build an iOS app, end of story.

10
2 points by ableal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Apropos RefinedPixel's comment (in the post's page) about webapps, the other day I accidentally found http://www.apple.com/webapps/

However, the current 'most recent' entries are dated December 3rd of last year. The small print does say "Apple is providing links to these applications as a courtesy [...]"

11
2 points by AbnormalGun 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently considering my first smart-phone, and I want really want to go with Apple because I do like the refinement of iOS and the hardware that runs it, but their App Store policies are giving me pause. It seems to me that Apple's greed is getting the better of them.

I really hope that Apple will realize that even if they aren't getting a cut of in-App purchases, these Apps do add desirability to the iOS platform.

12
2 points by geekosky 3 days ago 1 reply      
Until we have viable alternatives, it seems rather fruitless to complain about the power that Apple has in terms of dictating App Store policies. I'm a fan of the HTML5 developments, but it doesn't offer anywhere near the level of sophistication available to native apps on iOS. To get developers like myself to abandon the investment we've made in terms of mastering Objective-C and iOS, a web-based alternative must at least offer comparable functionality.
26
Fabric Python with Cleaner API and Parallel Deployment espians.com
179 points by tav 3 days ago   32 comments top 14
1
7 points by polvi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Another cool trick: Integrating Cloudkick tags with Fabric. Using the Cloudkick API - you can express things like "run certain_func on everything tagged 'loadbalancer'".

https://support.cloudkick.com/Integrating_Fabric_with_Cloudk...

We dog food this for all of our production deployments. For example, when we ship a new version of cloudkick.com, we just run "fab ship", which looks for all servers tagged "cloudkick.com" and runs the appropriate deployment script on each of them.

Tagging can be done through the CK UI, automatically with the agent, or with things like puppet or chef. This allows you to fully automate deployment and other tasks around groups of servers.

2
5 points by sophacles 3 days ago 2 replies      
While I like a lot of the stuff you have incorporated into your fabric, it seems to me that you are trying to take credit for things that have existed as branches to the main codebase of fabric for quite a while. Just off the top of my head: task decorators, parallel execution, better host management and command-line task listing all exist in other people's patches. If you have redone the code, good for you, but at least mention that the ideas and prototype implementations aren't yours. (I don't think a claim to ignorance of such is really that valid either, since the Redmine for the project has tickets for most of the things you've done, and has links to the branches containing them).

As to getting stuff into fabric: a very valid complaint (and one I have myself, since like a lot of people I run my own hacked version of fabric) is that fabric development moves very very slowly. There are several different feature branches in several people's code-bases that could have been released 6 or more months ago. Perhaps if you start pulling other patches that have a lot of functionality complementary to yours, you could have a product good enough to push development on the mainline too (ala gcc/egcs of old...)

3
10 points by tswicegood 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just a quick note: these features are definitely experimental. The @task decorator has been in stable forks of Fabric for over a year at this point (this is the 3rd, if not 4th independent implementation of it). Likewise, parallel tasks have also been relatively stable for quite a long time.
4
13 points by bitprophet_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fabric maintainer here -- Tav's been quite active on our IRC channel while developing much of this, and it's great to have more people excited about improving the tool!

As tswicegood says in another comment, some of these changes (@task, parallelism, etc) aren't unique to Tav's work, so when it comes time to merge we'll draw on the various implementations to see what feels best.

The features unique to his fork will be evaluated like any other contribution and merged in if they fit well and are generally useful (which many seem to be).

The plan right now is post-1.0 (1.0 is scheduled for Pycon or earlier) to round up a lot of major contributions and get them into core, so people like tswicegood don't have to work off of their own forks quite as much :)

5
2 points by cagenut 3 days ago 1 reply      
I admit to substantial ignorance here, but can anyone who's using fabric, or for whom these patches to fabric are an important improvement, speak to any kind of pro/con comparison they did with func (https://fedorahosted.org/func/)?

I've been using func for parallel deployment to 15 - 20 servers for about a year now, but I have to admit I didn't really do any research into other options at the time. Its written by the guys who wrote yum and cobbler, which are already core to my setup, so it seemed natural to just stay in their ecosystem. Thing is I never hear about anyone else using it, so I'm curious if anyone did more diligence than I and had specific reasons of choosing one or the other.

6
2 points by jedsmith 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've just started playing with Fabric, and I like your take on its functionality better. If they're resistant to merge you, why not fork into something new?

You definitely have something very useful there, from a casual read.

7
3 points by ghc 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks nice, but I have to be honest...I'm not going to switch from the version of fabric I use to this. Why? Even though I do have to deploy to more than 30 hosts at once, the thought of the time that would need to be spent verifying that there are no bugs in this would make it impractical to switch. I have to imagine there are others like me who feel the same way. It's a shame that the people this would most benefit are probably the least likely to switch.
8
4 points by traviscline 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did some filter-branching and rebasing to get tav's work on top of current master: https://github.com/traviscline/fabric/tree/tav
9
1 point by carlhu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautiful work. I've always felt that Fabric strikes a effective balance between simplicity and flexibility and love how you're extending it without breaking its spirit.
10
4 points by rch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Plus one for the task decorator.

Very nice work all around.

11
2 points by _Fil_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is definitely some cool stuff in there. I particularly like the @task decorator, the directory support, the context and of course the parallel tasks.

Nice work tav.

12
3 points by encbladexp 3 days ago 0 replies      
The @task decorator is a real good idea. Many good changes in 1.0.

The only thing i miss is a virtualenv context manager (with virtualenv(blupp):...).

13
2 points by askedrelic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool ideas. We're just now moving from a 1 machine deployment to a 4 (and probably more) machine deployment at work and I can already see the value in this.
14
1 point by simonz05 3 days ago 0 replies      
I cant see how adding such a wast amount of features makes the API cleaner. You made the library more complex than what it already was. Fixing Fabric should in my opinion be done, not in a backwards compatible way, but by forking it and taking away all the crap you don't want, then build a cleaner API. Adding more features to something which already is bad doesn't make it better.
27
You Owe it to Yourself to be Old-School codelord.net
175 points by abyx 3 days ago   66 comments top 17
1
30 points by fleitz 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think a more relevant portion of what Joel what talking about is the 'full stack'/'ductape' programmer. The number of times I've seen people optimizing their for loops instead of their DB queries or their caching mechanisms in a web app is simply astounding. Few people realize that there is far more 'slow' code in the parts they didn't write than the parts they did write.

Think about it, in the 'full stack' of browser -> client -> interweb -> web server -> app server -> db server the little bit of code that you wrote is minuscule compared to what you didn't write. Tune up your TCP stack, tune your webserver, add cache headers, add indexes, etc. Most apps can drastically increase their performance with out even changing a single line of code. And when you're tuning up your code, look for single lines of code to change.

Definite protip in there on debugging with wireshark.

We had a client once that we could only login to their IMAP server but not download mail. A little bit of digging with wireshark and we figured out that he had some old POS router that couldn't handle window scaling. Solution? Turn off window scaling on one of the servers.

2
5 points by angrycoder 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another worthy pursuit: buy all of Brian Kernighan's books, not just The C Programming Language. It is well worth the pain of becoming slightly familiar with Fortran and Pascal to read these little gems.

Being familiar with how things work is undoubtedly useful, but I argue if you are an application developer, learning software construction is equally if not more important.

See also: Code Complete, Programming Pearls, and C interfaces and implementations.

3
6 points by iuguy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yorkshireman #1: "Bah, C programmers. They don't know how good they have it!"

Yorkshireman #2: "When I were t'lad, we'd have to use assembler by hand!"

Yorkshireman #1: "Assembler? Luxury! We never had an assembler. We had to poke the data in by hand!"

Yorkshireman #3: "Poke! Oh what I wouldn't have given for poke! We used to live int' shoebox int' middle of road, and we'd bootstrap the OS using toggle switches on't front of case."

Yorkshireman #4: "Oooh toggles! What I wouldn't have given for toggles. We used to live int' hole int' ground, and all we had to go on were scraps of hard stale bread, on which we'd punch holes and use as hollerith cards!"

Yorkshireman #2: "Holes? Holes? Bliss, oh what I wouldn't have done for holes!"

*shamelessly plagiarised from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eDaSvRO9xA

4
6 points by derleth 3 days ago 0 replies      
You also owe it to yourself to learn the newer techniques.

The article is true and useful and contains many good pointers, but my god is it annoying when you either misunderstand the concept or take it too far. This kind of rot sets in when you refuse to use a tool or technique for no good reason.

Maybe this is a function of age or, more precisely, maturity level: Young people use bad tools to be 'hardcore', old people use bad tools because they stop learning new ones. Either way, the image I immediately dredge up when someone says 'old-school' in this context is someone writing a program using a machine code debugger instead of getting a decent text editor and development tools. Unless you can actually tell the difference in the resulting output, and I guarantee you almost certainly can't when it's assembler vs debugger, use the best (most likely, newest) tools you can get.

(The above doesn't apply to people doing things a certain way for fun. Heck, I run obsolete OSes on emulated hardware for fun. I just don't confuse that with reality.)

5
9 points by bryanlarsen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not that long ago "old-school" meant assembly language. Knowing assembly language makes one a much better C programmer.

And we had to walk uphill to school both ways.

6
8 points by stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
The other side of the coin: I've seen frequent indications (even on HN) that there a hordes of programmers out there that know about almost nothing outside of their web app server, HTTP, and their database of choice. This isn't to say such specialists aren't valuable. Specialists are valuable, but if I see a medical specialist, I want them to have a good grounding in general medical knowledge. Likewise, I would prefer all of my computer colleagues to have basic general knowledge as well. Sometimes such knowledge can avert a disaster.
7
7 points by sliverstorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
How can you spot and truly understand memory leaks without having to manage memory allocation by yourself?

My peers (students) and I have discussed this several times. It's a good example, and we use it to argue for continuing to teach C to new CS students at our school.

(It often seems the CS department is trying to move in the Java + Python, and nothing else, direction)

8
7 points by Murkin 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the #2 reason I am sorry I didn't grow up during the 60's.

A competent programmer could known the whole stack, down to the micro-controller. (Mainly because there wasn't much stack there..)

* Free love&drugs is #1

9
6 points by jfm3 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that it is good to be a "generalist" or a "full stack programmer". I try to be one myself.

Be careful when you hear these classifications coming from recruiters. Whenever I have heard "generalist" what was meant was "someone who can magically already do everything within our narrow domain of concerns."

10
13 points by reedF211 3 days ago 1 reply      
The House example is horrible. In the show rarely does house diagnose an illness thorough intellectual debugging. In most episodes House sits around and insults his team while they run tests and about 5 minutes from the end he out of nowhere has an epiphany (while talking to Wilson most of the time) which often has little to do with what tests the team ran and he solves the case.
11
5 points by Starmonkey 3 days ago 1 reply      
A good article, but intimidating, in a way. And I see this quite a bit in terms of budding programmer advice. It boils down to "you need to read this, and then read that, and then read this," and then the comments section will have even more suggestions for reading.

As I get older, and have kids, I find my ability to sit down and read all of this, and somehow retain it, decreasing. I've recently decided to "get back into" coding (won't go into the history as it isn't tangential to the discussion). I've been having some fun with very, very tiny beginner level programs in Ruby. When I build a list of jobs I would want with Ruby involvement, I find I also need to brush up on my Javascript and learn JQuery. I need to get a full understanding of Git/Github. I should also learn Rails and Sinatra, VIM, and get reacquainted with CSS.

On top of that, it really does seem that C is a requirement to really understand what is happening in Ruby. It seems a lot of things that _why_ wrote for Ruby, he wrote in C.

Then there is all the additional readings, such as in this article, and comments section. All of which seem incredibly legit, but leave me feeling like I will never actually find the time to write code due to all the reading I don't have time to do.

Is there an order of importance with all of this?

12
5 points by silentbicycle 3 days ago 2 replies      
I fully agree, but all it really says is, "learn how things actually work, people!" This is still mostly fluff and identity politics, hoping people who know they're old-school will upvote it. Flagged.
13
2 points by zby 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ironic - this newfangled wireshark seems more usable then the old-school tcpdump that I used to use.
14
1 point by 16s 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. This is why I use and love C++. It will be used for the next 50 years or longer. Learning it (or any other foundational, open source programming language) is a must.
15
3 points by davidk0101 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think he's just saying develop better debugging skills, the stuff about the good old days is irrelevant.
16
0 points by JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
Baby, I played truant from hacking school.
17
-1 point by alphamancer 3 days ago 0 replies      
You got me at the House reference. Good one.
28
Redditors earning $100k+ a year, what are your secrets to your success? reddit.com
173 points by acangiano 1 day ago   195 comments top 28
1
77 points by tastybites 1 day ago replies      
$100k isn't successful, it's the bare minimum as a professional. If you're an engineer, all that's required to earn that much is show up on time and be good at your job.

The cold, hard truth is if you don't earn at least that much, you either suck at your job or suck at negotiating. Your bosses and many of your peers earn twice as much as that.

Edit: IF you work in the corporate world. Clearly if you're a lifestyle-biz/consultant working over wifi at the beach in Thailand this doesn't apply at all. In fact, congratulations, if you're this guy, you probably win the game.

If you asked a lawyer, a CPA or a banker if they'd take $100k to work their ass off for a corporate master, they'd laugh in your face.

Edit: It's quite typical of HN when this topic comes up for someone to be downvoted by people who make very little money when they come out with the cold, hard facts. This place is full of millionaires and super-successful entrepreneurs who mostly stay quiet in threads like these. Wake up and smell the coffee.

2
27 points by flyosity 1 day ago 2 replies      
One thing I've noticed (throughout my career, and by talking to friends in the software industry) is that there seems to be a ceiling on how much you can make as a software engineer at "a company". The exact amount really isn't important, but if you're relying on one company to pay you a higher and higher salary every year, at some point they'll probably stop jumping you up the salary ladder. Or you'll be forced into management to get the bump you want.

On the other hand, if you're a consultant/contractor, you're spreading the money across a number of companies. A company might not want to pay a full-time employee $200k/year, but they won't fret over paying a contractor $150/hr for a few weeks/months of work. The company is happy because, on paper, the one-time payment to a contractor is a lower number, and the contractor is happy because they can jump to the next company after this contract is up. My friends in the software industry who make the most money tend to follow this route. Or, they wrote a Top 10 Paid App in the App Store and got rich that way, but that's a little tougher :)

3
26 points by Locke 1 day ago 4 replies      
Earnings are important, I'm sure -- but don't mistake them for wealth. I've known people with ludicrous earnings who still lived pay check to pay check. In fact, I suspect it's all too common.

Here's an eye opener: You're a mid-level employee at a medium-sized company and you realize you're as wealthy as your spend-thrift CEO who is making >10x as much as you are.

4
16 points by jswinghammer 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I think being the sole provider for my family for the last ten years I've just assumed I needed to make more money year after year. I can't really ask my wife to go out and get a job to make up the slack so I get out there and try to be the best programmer I can be. If a company sounded cool but wasn't willing to pay me what I need to provide for my family I just move on. Given the lack of tech talent there isn't much excuse for not making that much if you're a programmer.

I always laugh when I read people say that great developers (not saying I'm a great developer) don't care about money. Often times that's written by people who don't have children to provide for. I have no choice but to care what I make and therefore it's an important factor for me when choosing a job.

5
53 points by xenophanes 1 day ago 3 replies      
Tip 1: Be born American. If that doesn't work, emigrate.
6
13 points by Terry_B 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised by the lack of answers talking about market forces.

I know many people who think that doing a job that is complex and hard automatically entitles you to money and complain about people with much easier jobs, who aren't as smart, making more than them.

7
25 points by Tyrant505 1 day ago replies      
From someone who's been failing startups since 2000, I can't imagine what I would do with that much money... It's really baffling..
8
7 points by feverishaaron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Be careful about chasing a dollar amount. $100K is pretty baseline for someone who has technical/design etc. skills. Moving into the $200K+ salary range often means working a lot of overtime, which leaves little time for enjoyable pursuits, or side projects which may eventually earn far more than that extra $100K a year.
9
6 points by rmundo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
alwaysagoodtime had one piece of advice that really resonates: Find the right woman/(man) or don't have one at all.

And I recently reread a PG article where he says he only had a gf two months in the three years he was working on Viaweb. Good to keep in mind, but I read it, and then promptly forgot. Lesson learned!

10
6 points by jsavimbi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Time and experience. A kid out of school isn't going to crack that figure because a) they have no real-world experience and b) if any of the more experienced people find out they'll have a brain drain on their hands. Yes, you'll hear stories about this and that, but always ask for a pay stub as proof when someone opens their mouth.

I've been making over $100K for several years now and even though I recently joined a startup, I held the rate up over other offers. The key is to work somewhere that requires specialized skills and understands the value of hiring someone experienced who can self-manage their work on various aspects of a project and produce results that will win more business. Make your contributions a positive part of the bottom line and you will receive no hassles.

I tend to work with technology-first firms, avoiding business-first firms as they tend to view developers as resources, not assets. Also, in this day and age, if you don't write code or have an intimate IP unique to the product, you don't get a seat at the table and you should steel yourself for a sales job or worse.

Also, keep your skills fresh (edge, not bleeding edge) and avoid dreamers, MBA types and serial wantrepreneurs.

11
5 points by jrockway 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have some clue about programming. Work for a company with money.

I hear college grads are making $80k out of school at tech companies these days. A few years of keeping your chair warm and you should have no problem getting to $100k.

12
16 points by bnr 1 day ago 1 reply      
13
13 points by rdouble 1 day ago 3 replies      
Move to Australia and become a tiler.
14
3 points by andr 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Perhaps this is off-topic, but going from $0 income and $0 savings two years ago to mid-6 figures has not affected my happiness. The things that have made me happier have all been free or fairly cheap.
15
3 points by teuobk 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The secret -- the difficulty -- isn't one of having a $100k+ income so much as it is not spending it all. Live like you have a $60k salary, and not only will you still be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle, but you'll also be able to put away tons of cash.

As for actually finding those jobs? If you're willing to do consulting/contracting, ask your friends who are doing consulting/contracting for large companies. They're the ones who are most likely to be in the know about opportunities.

16
1 point by megamark16 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting comparison of Software Developer salaries, according to Indeed.com. I kept trying to find a city with a lower average than Kansas City, where I live, but of the ones I tried we still get paid the least (on average).

http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=software+developer&l1=Ka...

17
6 points by pdaviesa 23 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO the largest salary jumps happen when you switch companies. Once you start with a company, you're pretty much locked into their payscale and salary increases happen in much smaller increments. Ideally, you would stay at a company long enough to get the requisite experience for the next career level and then switch to a new company and negotiate a healthy salary bump. With that said, my highest paid friends are typically the most dissatisfied with their jobs - something to consider.
18
4 points by ww 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Alternate between billing really high to fix really really screwed up projects and billing a bit lower but taking interesting projects that you can use to update your skillset. I've made 125kish a year contracting this way in the non-major, low cost-of-living cities. Plus these contracts typically last up to 5 years so you have better stability than contracts of 6 months. This is just one way, but its an easy way. I've been doing this since 1996 throughout the midwest and southern states.
19
5 points by harshaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Marry someone making $$ in a different field. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned more :) I'm married to a dentist but I know plenty of hacker types married to professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc).

side note: it is very easy to get to a point where you have no time to spend your money - and you won't know it until all of a sudden you have no time anymore for the fun stuff.

20
4 points by loboman 1 day ago 3 replies      
How much is 100k a year in the US? I thought it wasn't so much for good programmers, at least in SV. Is a 100k programmer something unheard of in the US?
21
3 points by waterside81 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of tangential, but here's a list of people on the so-called "Sunshine List" - public employees making over 100K in Ontario (Canada). By law, they must disclose their salaries to the public.

There's lots of them. And they're not all super-qualified engineers or hackers. We're talking transit employees, teachers, principals etc. Not to demean those professions, but not typically the professions that come to mind in the US when people talk about 100K salaried positions.

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications/salarydisclosure/20...

22
6 points by kujawa 23 hours ago 1 reply      
1) live in San Francisco and code for a few years.
2) there is no step 2.

2a) on St Patrick's day, despair that you've already paid more in rent this year than your father in Montana will pay all year.

23
2 points by natch 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you mean to ask what are the secrets to earning more money? Keep learning valuable skills, do good work, ask for more money (or ask for ways to potentially earn it, e.g. stocks), all while changing jobs from time to time.
24
7 points by jdbeast00 1 day ago 2 replies      
work for the government? i wouldn't call it success though
25
1 point by eliben 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How should such sum ($100k) be counted?

Do you take a company car into account?

Bonuses?

Yearly stock grants?

Employer deductions into pension?

Or is it just the base salary?

Because all of this can make a big difference

26
1 point by mlgrinshpun 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There are a couple of comments in this vein already, but I still feel compelled to clamor against such an unreflective regurgitation of the word "success." That so many commenters are diving headlong into this cesspool by applying back-of-the-envelope statistical analysis and makeshift sociology to establish some mythic threshhold for entry into this elite is dismaying and speaks to a serious cultural void in the community. We might as well start whipping out the rulers and unzipping our pants right now.
27
3 points by jsna 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha. For the record, I'm an artist and make less than 6000 a year, for nearly a decade now. As you can imagine, I have very few expenses.
28
1 point by bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get a valuable skill, some experience and carefully build your resume.

It doesn't even have to be a skill in high demand, even a hard to find skill can be extremely valuable to an organization.

29
Changes to my life as a result of just four weeks of daily meditation philosophistry.com
175 points by philipkd 4 days ago   93 comments top 19
1
27 points by papaf 4 days ago 8 replies      
As a counter to this I have stopped daily meditation (2 hours a day Vipassana) after about 7 years of practice because I hit a rut where it didn't seem to be improving things. I certainly remained calm through all the years but cannot honestly say that it made me a happier person.

I was certainly content with the results at first but after much serious practice I found it less and less effective. I'd recommend most people to try serious meditation but think that its important to manage expectations - a tiny proportion of Westerners that start with meditation feel enough benefit to continue it for the following years.

In my own experience, Yoga had more noticeable effects and a better 'buzz' - this as someone that also gave up Yoga a few years ago. The advantage of Yoga is that you also feel healthy. I hope fight off my current laziness and restart Yoga again.

2
45 points by eelco 4 days ago 3 replies      
The book the article links to in the end, Mindfullness in plain English is also freely available online (and as a download): http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html
3
6 points by mhartl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I recently tried Natural Stress Relief (NSR) meditation per Alex Payne's suggestion (http://al3x.net/2010/09/07/startup-health.html). The technique requires carving out around twenty minutes for meditation twice a day (morning and evening). Even with a schedule as flexible as mine (i.e., extremely flexible), I found this virtually impossible to maintain; forty minutes a day may not sound like much, but it is, especially since it has to happen at specific times (before meals, not before bed, etc.). For example, I work much better if I eat within 30 minutes of waking; since (according to NSR) you're not supposed to eat before meditating, that leaves almost no slack in my morning schedule. It's also incredibly easy to forget to meditate until an hour before you have to be somewhere, and then you have to (say) shower, dress, eat, and meditate in order to keep up with the program. (Actually, per the eating rule, you would have to meditate and then shower & eat. And possibly be late to your thing.) And you know how hackers operate on the Maker's Schedule? For me, meditation became one of those things that breaks big chunks of time in two. Not good.

NSR emphasizes the importance of doing two sessions every day. After a couple of weeks on the program, I found that the stress of scheduling the meditation, combined with the stress of missing the occasional session (and hence, horror of horrors, not following the program), completely overwhelmed any stress-relieving benefits from the practice. I abandoned it within a month.

I'm not sharing this experience to show how much meditation sucks; I'm inclined to believe those who say meditation works wonders for them. I'd appreciate some advice from those who have faced and overcome the problems I've described"if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

4
4 points by Quiark 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been meditating for about the same time according to the instructions at audiodharma. I'm not sure it was _that_ beneficial for me. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Maybe I already acquired some of the world-views he describes. I'm a pretty calm person overall, not driven by emotion very much.

I do feel better about a breakup I had some time ago, but that might simply be because enough time has passed. Anyway in a moment of emotional pain, I concentrate on my breathing and close my eyes which puts me in meditation mode (because I got used to it) and I'm more or less able to remove thoughts about the pain and after I while I start thinking about something different and I do feel better. Sometimes when I really manage to clear my mind and think of nothing, it feels good. Partly because I'm glad I managed to do that :) In general, I must agree that the idea of being mindful of the present moment and not indulging into fantasies about the past or future are a good idea.

But still it's hard to find the 20 minutes a day. I might even say that meditation is a harder test for your willpower than physical excercise. Not to say that the 20 minutes are pretty boring, in the beginning anyway.

EDIT: So I'm a little confused about the benefits of meditation. If anyone more experienced has any tips, please share your ideas. Also, I'm probably going to visit a local buddhism center.

5
6 points by topherjaynes 4 days ago 1 reply      
I meditated for the throughout grad school to keep my sanity, but slowly transitioned into running with no music and no talking if I am running in a group as my form of meditation. Basically I combined my mediation time with my running time. It wasn't a conscious change, but I found that actively not thinking during long (13 mile+)runs gave me the mental benefits of meditating (focus, relaxation, spurred creativity) but also gave me the benefits of being an active runner.

You might say how can you focus on not thinking during a rain, well like anything it takes practice--it won't happen over night.

6
4 points by enduser 4 days ago 1 reply      
I highly recommend "I Am That" by Nisargadatta Maharaj for anyone who has been meditating for a while and is looking for some orientation in the face of changing reality. "I Am That" is a pure, direct discussion on understanding the nature of reality, with no dogma, no particular Hindu leaning other than some of the language used.

edit: PDF: http://www.maharajnisargadatta.com/I_Am_That.pdf

7
6 points by ccarpenterg 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why not boxing or exercising? It's healthier. I do 60 sit-ups and 50 push-ups every morning before breakfast. It definitely changed my life.
8
4 points by mdink 4 days ago 2 replies      
Actually I also have a question. One of the main reasons that I wish to start meditating is to stop being so negative about BS stuff. I hear things on the news, get cut off in traffic, shit breaks at home, have to pay unexpected bills and I tend to get bitter. I need to just CHILL the F OUT. I am not sure if you can relate to this, but I would be curious to hear anything that might be a motivator to use meditation to decrease negativity.
9
6 points by gohat 4 days ago 1 reply      
He doesn't spend much time visiting Reddit anymore - except to submit articles saying he doesn't.
10
1 point by rmundo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've read so much writing on meditation from Tibetan monks getting MRI scans to finding peace and becoming ready for love in Bali. This one is by far the most compelling argument I've read. And if it can start having an effect in four short weeks, there's no reason not to give it a try.
11
3 points by heyitsnick 4 days ago 0 replies      
Because it clearly piques the interest of many. You may wish to check up on your definition of fad; it may have grown in popularity recently [1] but a a practice dating back over 1000 years isn't really a fad [2]

[1] http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=meditation&ye...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

12
1 point by kunley 4 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting.

Who was/is your meditation teacher? I think I missed it from the article.

13
1 point by hellodude129 4 days ago 1 reply      
In my experience people who are very much into meditation are those people who are still seeking the holy grail of how to feel better about life and about themselves, people who have experienced a lot of pain in their lives or periods of depression. Meditation won't solve that.
14
1 point by dfan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The main thing I noticed from meditating for a month was that my posture got a lot better. That alone made it worth it.
15
1 point by mdink 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is really interesting - thanks for posting. I have a goal this year to meditate for 3 weeks straight and have not started yet. Very inspiring.
16
1 point by mromano 4 days ago 0 replies      
thanks for this reminder. I've witnessed good things from meditation as well but find it very difficult to do. I am inspired to try again.
17
1 point by tfs 3 days ago 0 replies      
What meditation technique(s) do you use?
18
-1 point by sfphotoarts 4 days ago 0 replies      
What has become of my beloved HN? Doesn't a devout 20 minutes three times a day on HN count as meditation.

Next we'll be discussing horoscopes...

19
-2 points by haploid 4 days ago 2 replies      
This sounds like an excellent use of one's time. I wonder if the health benefits of "meditation" are as significant as those of "hatha yoga", "chiropractic", or any other such Eastern mystic pseudoscientific charlatanism.

Why spend 30 minutes a day volunteering, working, or doing something else to benefit humanity, when you can spend it sitting on a pillow, indulging yourself in an act of inducing the all-powerful placebo effect to convince yourself that all the "stress" of an upper middle class American lifestyle can be magically washed away by breathing and thinking of fat bronze statues and waterfalls?

Hope these amazing changes to your life continue.

       cached 26 February 2011 03:11:01 GMT