hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    10 Mar 2011 Best
home   ask   best   8 years ago   
I took "abusing the HTML5 History" to the next level. probablyinteractive.com
657 points by probablycorey 1 day ago   61 comments top 30
39 points by mrspeaker 1 day ago 1 reply      
After playing for 10 minutes I thought "this is EXACTLY the kind of insane time-waster that I would like to read more content from..." So I tried to remove the # from the title bar as to navigate to your home page.

Turns out that that's harder than the actual game. I won in the end though.

46 points by spiralganglion 1 day ago 2 replies      
Feels like we're back in the days of the Apple ][, only with a much, much smaller monitor. Things I'd like to see done in the URL bar using the History API:

  • Rogue-like text adventure game
• Hitchhiker's Guide
• A reading app with page-turning animation
• Color

Whoever cracks that last one, mega kudos. Woz, you around? Feel like doing some magic?

It's also tempting to ask for a text-editor, but then, we sort of already have that!

48 points by pkulak 1 day ago 2 replies      
I look forward to dealing with this on shady sites that want to disable the back button.
20 points by taylorbuley 1 day ago 5 replies      
Around the launch of IE9 beta I asked Dean Hachamovitch (IE honcho at MSFT) what he thought about people typing random things (besides URLs) into the navigation bar. I'd noticed not entirely tech-savvy people in my life using the navigation bar as sort of a launch bar for their whole browsing experience, using it for new searches, history exploration, etc.

Hachamovitch reminded me that this was not really a new thing, as people have been using the command line since the dawn of time. Never did this really sink in until I saw this demo: The URL bar is a command line for the people. Behold its power.

25 points by ry0ohki 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool concept, just make sure you open it in a new window or you'll never make it back to HN!
20 points by slashcom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Took me a while to come back here to comment. :)

Very fun, very creative. Abuse is most definitely the correct word.

18 points by v21 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wish I'd thought of this. And that I'd made it.

And that it doesn't catch on.

6 points by TorKlingberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
So now we can play games in both the address bar and the favicon:
14 points by itsnotvalid 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks to your work my browser history in firefox have hundreds - if not thousands - of lines more just for your site.
7 points by amitvjtimub 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the game.

I also played with browser history to create something more useful http://bsearch.heroku.com/ i.e. access other search engines by clicking back button while on Google.

3 points by thaumaturgy 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's pretty clever. I could see using location.hash for posting scrolling banner messages in the URL bar, ads ... all kinds of stuff that I'm really not looking forward to.
2 points by noonespecial 1 day ago 0 replies      
<Khhaaannn!!!> My back button! MY HISTORY!!!! </Khhaaannn!!!>
4 points by itcmcgrath 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, after viewing my history from going to this page, I think that browsers are going to have to come up with a way to group history into collapsible groups. Most likely by a combination of tab and host.

Definitely not looking for to companies using the URL page as the new scrolling status bar...

5 points by flexd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for completely fucking up my browsing history. Kudos.

(Horrible hack though, how is that possible without the browser saying no?)

2 points by ibejoeb 22 hours ago 0 replies      
30 seconds later, my laptop fan is full throttle. I think you win the watts-per-byte medal.
5 points by bryze 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ouch, my history! Seriously, this was an experience. I might go as far as calling it art.
1 point by tfh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This game is even better on firefox with vimperator.
2 points by fady 1 day ago 0 replies      
similar to this via twitter: by @paulrouget


1 point by nuxi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else think this could be used as a captcha?
1 point by timinman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I killed 4 in 23 seconds. Getting back to this post wasn't easy, though I can't say I wasn't warned!
2 points by cobbal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fun bug: press escape tons and watch the animals move faster and your browser freeze.
1 point by retroafroman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very creative. Actually a somewhat addicting game as well!
0 points by angus77 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Look up at the url bar!"

I'm using Conkeror, so I had to look down.

1 point by ddinch 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the most creative things I've seen in a while. This wrinkles my brain and the best way.
2 points by measure2xcut1x 1 day ago 0 replies      
What, no 8-bit sound effects?
1 point by philthy 1 day ago 0 replies      
probably interactive is in my history hundreds of times now :)

"Points 4"

1 point by hoprocker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, so much for back-nav'ing on that tab.
1 point by Sujan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice idea.
1 point by mikesurowiec 21 hours ago 0 replies      
No fun on the iPad :(
1 point by _mayo 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems to work in IE6 too.
Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie mensjournal.com
569 points by light3 5 days ago   350 comments top 46
51 points by jasonkester 5 days ago replies      
If you really want to get fit, there's one easy thing you can do that actually works:

Take up a sport that gets you fit as a side effect.

I have two obsessions in life: Rock Climbing and Surfing. I'm pretty good at the first, and borderline hopeless at the other, but I'm committed to the point where I've arranged my life so that I can travel for months at a time to pursue one or the other each year.

When I'm working a contract to save up for the next trip, I'll find myself slowly fattening up on fish tacos and 12 hour days coding in a felt cube with only the occasional after work or weekend fix of rock or salt water. After a few months I'm decidedly soft, and quite a bit heavier. But put me on the beach in Thailand for 5 months and holy crap, what a difference.

It's like Fat Camp out there. There's so much fun climbing to be had right on the beach. Overhanging routes that work you into the sort of shape that lets you literally hand-over-hand your way out a horizontal roof by your fingertips as your feet dangle out in space. Without anybody forcing you, you spend your entire day working yourself silly, then you come back and eat rice. You can imagine what that does for your physique. It's like a convention of Men's Health cover models out there.

I come back to the world, and watch people going to the gym and clearly hating every minute of it. I can't understand why they would do that to themselves, when there's a climbing gym just a few miles away.

45 points by msy 5 days ago 4 replies      
Given he calls Crossfit sadistic it's ironic he's basically describing it. Free weights, core strength, a focus on overall fitness and all aspects thereof over abstract weight numbers. It's not complicated and plenty of people know it.

Hyperbolic headlines are intensely irritating.

24 points by georgieporgie 5 days ago 2 replies      
I have one bit of specialized weight training advice. We all spend entirely too much time in front of our computers, typically hunched or slouched back, deep in thought.

Ten years of doing this professionally led to shoulder/neck problems, culminating in a pinched nerve between my C6 and C7 vertebrae. It improved with physical therapy, but was never truly fixed, and has bothered me off and on for two years now, despite my adherence to the therapist's rubber band and stretching routine.

I heard through a relative about "Upper Cross Syndrome". Whether that's specifically what I have or not, I don't know, but the symptoms match quite well. Read about it, and you'll probably see that it perfectly describes so many tech people:


Exercise 6, "External rotation top to bottom" has literally changed my life, and it did so within the first week. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I maintain proper posture at the keyboard (and while walking around). I still get nerve issues if I spend too many days in a row at the computer, but I can't describe to you how much better I feel now than I did after physical therapy!

14 points by mmaunder 5 days ago replies      
This is a one sided view of fitness. e.g. there is zero focus on cardio. Would be interesting to see one of these guys do a light 5 mile run. Look into real world training: running, hard hiking with a pack, mountain biking, swimming/surfing. These types of exercise have been the most rewarding for me in terms of skeletal, muscle and cardio fitness.

The only thing I agree with in the article is that cardio machines in the gym are a waste of time.

19 points by mkramlich 5 days ago 3 replies      
I sometimes wish we could delete the entire fitness industry from the world and replace it with a few lines of text, something like this: eat right, exercise, get adequate sleep, reduce stress, get variety, use natural motions, breathe deep, get yourself winded intentionally from time to time, when in doubt walk, etc. The vast majority of people probably never need to go near a fancy weight machine or even lift artificial weights of any kind. Just carrying out normal actions in the Earth's gravitational field, putting your body through all the natural ranges of motion it's capable of doing, is actually pretty darn adequate, and can build muscle and improve figure and physical capabilities. I believe most of the industry is not much more honest than a shyster trying to sell snake oil.
6 points by dualogy 5 days ago 2 replies      
I swear by bodyweight-only resistance / circular strength training. Currently doing TacFit -- despite their ridiculous hard-sell marketing which is uselessly and pointlessly "spec ops" and warrior-themed (I won't link as I'm not affiliated other than a legit happy user). But there are more body-weight approaches than that one. Google circular strength training / CST and much cheaper than buying the TacFit videos would be getting a used paperback copy of "You are your own gym".

It's body-weight only, unlike gyms no machines, unlike crossfit no other weights.

BENEFIT: keep travelling without buying equipment you don't want to carry in your luggage. Don't maintain x gym memberships around the world.

It burns fat (don't really need that too much yet) faster and more efficiently in less time than hours doing aerobic running / swimming / cycling would. Aerobic exercises may be good for heart and lungs, but for calory burning they're laughable.

BENEFIT: muscle building and calory burning in one workout.

(Of course, if you wanna look like The Hulk you'll need to have weights at least kettlebell dumbell or indian clubs, daily protein counting and all the bodybuilding stuff. BUT you will look incredibly impressive with just bodyweight / Tacfit after only 20-30 days of good form, and it only gets better from there -- you even retain a good amount of the goodness after pausing from it up to 2 months afterwards, which a longer hospital attendance may force upon you).

No rep-counting, time-under-tension matters. This matches your bodily clockworks. Your muscles don't count reps either. Time under tension, whether you only get 2 reps under perfect form (important) or 20.

BENEFIT: no counting, just stopwatch.

There are no off-days, you cycle through 4 consecutive days (no intensity day 1: 20 mins, low intensity day 2: 20 mins, moderate intensity day 3: 40 mins, high intensity day 4: 40 mins) all the time. After 4x7 days, it is time to level up, adding sophistication, more challenging movements etc. to keep the body from adapting. TacFit in my view is a pretty unique mix of exercises and movements recombining elements of martial arts, yoga, classical bodyweight exercises and more, that help you on joint mobility, flexibility, core strength, muscle building, posterior improvement and both injury prevention and proofing -- all in a pre-defined package that will last you 9 months in a row without having to customize, modify or tweak the program. Afterwards, add weights, take 5 days off and start from scratch, mix or match, etc.

BENEFIT: minimum time investment gets you results in all areas that matter, including but not limited to mere appearance and looks.

Boy I sound like a marketer but this is really hacker-friendly, entrepreneur-friendly, productive-but-time-pressed-busy-person friendly. It revolves around so much research and experimentation done by the coaches who composed this after decades of experience. They're on Facebook, real people giving sensible advice to everyone and anyone dropping by asking questions. They get 70-80 year old people incredibly fit that couldn't survive neither a gym nor a crossfit session. (But rest assured their exercises are not granny material, they will kick your butt no matter your stage of physical development.) I'm seriously impressed with their stuff. You can browse my past comments here over the last 3 years, I'm not usually writing marketing copy for commercial digital goods around here at all. So this is really simply "everything I need to know about fitness" and I really do think it's the most hacker-suitable option out there.

11 points by gexla 5 days ago 3 replies      
I think a lot of the comments here are missing the point of this article.

Free weights are vital for muscle strength, mass and edurance. That doesn't mean free weights take the place of your other activities such as skiing or mountain climbing. That doesn't mean that you cut out cardio, that's something else entirely, even though some people work on cardio in the gym along with strength training.

Free weights are also great for building the entire structure of your body. There is nothing which can stress the major muscles of the legs, bones and supporting muscle groups like throwing a huge weight on your shoulders and squatting that weight multiple times. Swimming, isometrics and all that other stuff won't do it. Machines also don't do this because you don't have weight to stabilize in both directions. The power move of the squat is to push upwards with your legs but you still have to lower that huge weight in an orderly down movement to start the exercise.

7 points by momotomo 5 days ago 4 replies      
I get the logic and intent behind these kind of articles but at the same time they infuriate me, because this is the kind of crap that people read and use as yet-another-reason as to why they don't try to get fit.

Sure, machines aren't perfect, and they railroad your form, but it's better than nothing. I train on machines, _and_ with free weight, _and_ doing bodyweight / crossfit stuff. They all have their place.

There's no way I'd try to pull the rep max on a free barbell that I would on a smith machine, but it says nothing about how effective one or the other is.

It's like the whole internet self defense huff. A billion words written on the technicalities of all the different martial arts but most fights are won by punching the other guy repeatedly hard enough to stop him hitting you. Sure it's not perfect, but its taking action and it gets results.

7 points by toadi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have lifted weights for 15 years. But now I ditched the gym all together. Got bored with neon lights, the smell of sweat and watching fat people run on a treadmill ;)

Now I only sport outdoors and for muscle strength I use kettle-bells: http://www.amazon.com/Kettlebell-Strength-Secret-Soviet-Supe...

Just read http://www.amazon.com/Kettlebell-Strength-Secret-Soviet-Supe... and you know enough. No expensive equipment needed and it takes only 3 times 30 to 40 minutes a week to gain considerable strength and cardio!

5 points by brown9-2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Mainstream men's fitness magazines have no larger mission than profitable advertising sales, which means endless pitches for useless (if not outright dangerous) dietary supplements and articles on “Seven Steps to Great Abs,” always omitting the all-important Step Eight: In order to make your six-pack even remotely visible to the naked eye, reduce your total body fat to an inhuman 10 percent.

This describes just about every issue of "Mens Health" magazine, by the way.

6 points by jules 5 days ago 5 replies      
[citation needed]

Here's another anecdote: No lifting weights, only running & cycling and lately swimming. Pretty much the opposite of what the article is arguing. Since I started this I'm doing I'm doing fairly well, six pack included. I went to the gym once, and saw bulked up guys getting 5 pull ups. So I tried that and could easily do 30. Lifting weights may make you look like a bodybuilder, but are you really fit?

20 points by emeltzer 5 days ago 4 replies      
Prisoners are among the most fit people in the world, despite an absence of good machines, good diet, coaches, and instructional material.

If you want to be fit, start exercising--a nice way to get started is to truly understand that any kind of exercise is very much better than doing nothing.

10 points by ez77 5 days ago 0 replies      
Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie

If you just learn this 'fact', then some of the facts you know about fitness will of necessity be true, consistency willing.

6 points by baddox 5 days ago 4 replies      
These links to auto-printing pages are unacceptable. Link me to the normal display article in these cases. I'll take it from there.
2 points by jnorthrop 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll start off by stating that I disagree with you whole-heartily about the benefits (or dangers) of lifting heavy weights -- that is when done correctly and with a full range-of-motion.

I think your 3 point philosophy for life-long health is dead-on but I think the second point "move your body through space, sometimes with volume, sometimes with intensity" is too abstract and certainly open to interpretation. Does the hour of pickup soccer I played last night count? (A pretty intense hour of sprinting) To me, yes. To others maybe walking the dog with a brief jog to the door from the end of the driveway is as intense as it gets. I would argue that "walking the dog" doesn't cut it if that is your "sometimes with intensity" definition.

Every person needs to squat and deadlift heavy things from time to time. And that does not need to happen in a gym -- a good sized rock suffices. Doing so will help with mobility, bone density, strength and balance. And if those movements cause injury then they need to fix the disfuctions that aren't allowing proper movement. Not addressing those issues will lead to hip, should and back problems down the line whether they lift or not.

5 points by chipsy 5 days ago 1 reply      
The article's conclusion: Lift big with classic lifts. Gain strength.

What I actually do: Take walks and do isometrics on convenient bars, poles, etc. Max power, 5-10 second holds, multiple angles. The better I am about those rules, the more progress I make. More effective than any gym I've ever been in.

2 points by sofal 4 days ago 1 reply      
Okay I got up to 175 lbs for squats and then I started getting a severe, stabbing pain in my knee when I did them. Seems to me that squats are not so good for my knees. Leg press does not give me this problem.

Additionally, I've been doing deadlifts, and just this weekend I pulled a muscle in my back doing 245 lbs (and no, I was not rounding my back).

As you can tell, I am becoming hugely dissatisfied with these so-called "core" exercises. I haven't seen much improvement from them at all, and I've only ever gotten injuries from them.

3 points by kenjackson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Kind of odd that there's virtually no data in this article. I feel like I could write an article that said the complete opposite and be just as compelling. Seems like a typical "health magazine" article. No data, just conjecture dressed up as fact.
2 points by xiaoma 5 days ago 2 replies      
The author clearly equates fitness with strength, and some of his claims are way off.

Here's one: "...maintaining cardiovascular fitness doesn't really take much more than breathing uncomfortably hard for about 20 minutes, three times a week"

As a former competitive runner, I've read hundreds of studies and abstracts about improving various cardio-vasuclar metrics. 20 minutes, three times a week is barely enough to generate even modest VO2 max improvements. Ideally it takes 40-60 minutes, five times a week, plus an extra long session of over 90 minutes. This is about the minimum training you'll see in a 5k runner or 1000m swimmer. Top 10k runners generally require 70-90 minutes a day, even when doing interval work and have long runs of over two hours. The results of this sort of training are measurable. LT, VO2max, resting HR and a variety of other metrics show a dose dependent response.

Many studies[1] have also demonstrated that even recreational distance training results in a wide variety of benefits that weight training does not, even including increased rates of neurogenesis and longer telemeres than average for one's age.

Weight training clearly is superior for increasing muscle and bone mass, but it isn't a magical silver bullet that improves everything.

[1] I've cited all of these on hn before, most don't have paywalls and they should be googleable.

4 points by neutronicus 5 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who just tried to start this kind of thing (heavy squat/deadlift every couple of days) and hurt my lower back pretty good, I just don't know about this advice.
2 points by Groxx 5 days ago 0 replies      
I dunno. I was always told free-weights are better than isolation (because you'll exercise complementary muscles), don't train the same thing until the second day after, and you won't get far if you don't push yourself.

For a massively-super-summary: that's all they said, in 6 pages.

The rest of it is a lengthy exposition about how his motivating force was someone who told him how pathetic he was, made him realize it instead of just hear it, and then made him do the above.

5 points by Herring 5 days ago 0 replies      
I recently started on "starting strength" & I'm seeing that exact same linear progression. It's really awesome.
3 points by indrekj 5 days ago 0 replies      
I started going to gym 3 years ago. My weight was 55kg (122lbs) and height was 182cm (~6ft). Very underweight. I knew nothing about training. So I paid for a personal trainer. He made me program where almost all exercises were on the machines. At least he put squat and bench press there too. I trained when I had time, 2-4 times a week.

Last summer I did some arm wrestling with my friend. I lost. I thought what's wrong. I weighed less than my friend, but he didn't do any weight training. So I started looking how to get more strength.

I started doing core strength (Squat, bench press, dead lift, press, power clean, pull-ups). No more machines, biceps curls, calf raises, wrist curls, etc. Also, I started eating much more. With last 2 months I've gained 4kg (8-9lbs). My squat is currently 102.5kg (226lbs), that is ~1.4x of my body weight. I've gained more strength and weight with 2 months than I usually did in a year. And what's most important, now I beat my friend :).

2 points by stcredzero 5 days ago 0 replies      
First, I realized that we all live in a kind of Fitness Fog, a miasma of lies and misinformation that we mistake for common sense, and that makes most of our gym time a complete waste.

The big news here, is that there are many kinds of such mental fog. You can read this article and learn how to get fit more effectively, but there is an even deeper lesson here.

2 points by pge 5 days ago 1 reply      
would you take coding advice from someone that couldn't write "hello world" in C? Then don't take fitness advice from someone that, by his own admission, could only squat 40 lbs before he wrote the article...
2 points by phil 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's funny because this kind of article always ends up recommending a simple, classic free weight program. Then you look at the gyms they refer to, and they've got people doing stuff like this:


1 point by nickg 2 days ago 0 replies      
My thoughts on "diet" vs. "exercise": they're two pieces of the same puzzle, and I prefer to manage the "exercise" side of the equation more proactively. Reason is because eating in (esp. in America) today is HARD. There's a lot of crap out there, portion sizes are whack, fat, sodium and empty carbs are everywhere. And you must eat multiple times every day, so that means you make many DECISIONS about eating every single day (hundreds?). Fighting against the grain (pun intended) of what food is readily available and easily accessible is an uphill battle, filled with guilty, uncertain, and constrained decision making.

Don't get me wrong, I still try to eat healthy (and I'm lucky to live in San Francisco where there are more healthful options). But, the nice thing about exercise is that you only have to make ONE DECISION every day. And that is to do it. Once it's done, it's done. And it's not too hard to find a fitness activity you really enjoy doing, plus the endorphin rush you get from a good workout is amazing. When you build exercise into your lifestyle as a healthy habit, it's not even a decision anymore, it's automatic.

I'd much rather live a healthy lifestyle with a daily (or almost daily) fitness routine than to painstakingly count calories or awkwardly ask the waiter to 'hold the bun, please, and remove the excess butters, sugars, fats, and salts..' every time I go out to eat. That just makes it awkward for you and everybody else.

3 points by drstrangevibes 5 days ago 1 reply      
great article , the only question I have is how to accurately measure when your muscles reach super compensation peak?
2 points by grobolom 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hate articles like this. Not because they don't highlight what a steaming pile the actual fitness and training industry is, but because they're way too slow. Proper training articles have existed for a long time, in easily reachable spots. For all the stupidity at BodyBuilding.com, their forums biggest stickies are those about the 'Starting Strength' workouts - the ones where you deadlift, squat, and bench. T-Nation, another big one, has never advocated anything else for a starting athlete.

I just hate when someone posts something like this and goes 'Everything You Know Is A Lie!" No, it's not. I just happen to have read this shit eight years ago, and that was late already.

3 points by tintin 5 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by sabat 5 days ago 0 replies      
maintaining cardiovascular fitness doesn't really take much more than breathing uncomfortably hard for about 20 minutes, three times a week

While that will help, I would not call someone who exercises at that level "fit" or "in shape". I'd call him something less than out of shape.

There are a lot of weight-lifting people who have convinced themselves that weights are the key, and that aerobic exercise is an afterthought.

Here's the funny thing, though: how many fat weight-lifters have you met in your life? I've known plenty.

How many fat runners have you ever met?

2 points by mixmastamyk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, a ten-page article that says almost nothing, despite the shocking title. I think anyone serious about fitness knows that free weights and sports are the most effective and fun ways to get there.

Also haven't heard it mentioned yet so I'll share some other good ideas for the geeks. One is to move about a mile or two from work ... arrive every morning refreshed instead of cursing traffic. Two, take up salsa dancing and chat up the hot latinas. Three, get a cheap bike and ride the local hills. Catching a beautiful sunset with a view is a fantastic reward. Also helps me catch up with my podcasts.

2 points by ryanfitz 5 days ago 1 reply      
When it comes to lifting the only real "fact" is that what works best varies from person to person. People with great genetics can do heavy volume lifting 5 or 6 days a week and make amazing gains. Meanwhile, others will struggle to make any progress even with a low volume 2 day a week routine because their body doesn't recover well.

Just go out there, experiment and see what works for you.

1 point by TimothyBurgess 5 days ago 2 replies      
I strongly disagree about the "stretching is bad for you" part... but I guess he did say "without your body warmed up"... you always want to stretch before working out but get your body warmed up first by jogging in place or doing jumping jacks or something for a few minutes. You want ballistic stretching and static stretching. It has without a doubt helped with my overall fitness while reducing soreness.
3 points by Bvalmont 5 days ago 0 replies      
Or: just go for the skinny pale look. Really works thanks to those twilight and social network movies.
1 point by macco 5 days ago 0 replies      
My two cents on fitness:

1. Do something you like. This way you stick to it.
2. Don't overthink it, if you are just doing fitness for your health. There is not such thing like a perfect fat burning workout, etc.
3. My ideas don't count if you are an athlete who wants to improve on performance.

No go out and do something, dont read this crappy article

1 point by withoutfriction 5 days ago 0 replies      
As a bible for starting fitness training, might I add that Starting Strength [1], by Mark Rippetoe, is a must read.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2287803

2 points by anukulrm 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to lift free weights, a great place to start is Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
1 point by xster 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the China Study
where the author argues that we spend so much time and money figuring out what individual nutrients do that we don't pay attention to the type of food we eat anymore
1 point by chicagobob 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been wondering about getting fit for years, then suddenly one day out of the blue, my doctor told me the secret: "Eat Less & Work Out More"

smashes forehead, why has everyone been keep this a secret for so long :)

1 point by acconrad 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hate commercial gyms. Give me a barbell that I can clean and a tire for me to flip and I'm a happy guy.
1 point by XFrequentist 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Throw us in ice-cold water every day and we'll sprout subcutaneous fat for insulation"

What? Everything I know about physiology and the effects of cold exposure make me believe that this is the opposite of the truth.

1 point by puredemo 5 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Stronglifts.
0 points by sigurrostyp 5 days ago 0 replies      
This was a good read.
0 points by peteriliev 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's interesting :)
-4 points by barista 5 days ago 5 replies      
That's right because us hackers really care about fitness
Man upgrades Windows 1.0 to Windows 7 (video) winrumors.com
517 points by brown9-2 7 days ago   115 comments top 28
52 points by jacques_chester 7 days ago 6 replies      
God, the memories. I remember booting up Windows 95 for the first time -- I was so stoked. Everything was so new and smooth and perfect.

Plus -- and this is the important thing -- PPP worked much, much better than 3.1 + trumpet winsock.

Some time around 98SE I was dual booting into BeOS, which was so damn fast it wasn't funny. But it wasn't to be.

And I remember browbeating Red Hat 3 into connecting to the internet as well.

64 points by zdw 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is a testament to how much trouble Microsoft goes through to maintain compatibility.

I wonder whether malware from those early days would continue to run, or if newer versions of the OS would block it.

29 points by potatolicious 7 days ago 5 replies      
Impressive, but I have to wonder how many compromises had to be made, and advancements abandoned, to keep apps like Reversi and Dosshell all the way up through Win7...
16 points by redthrowaway 6 days ago 2 replies      
When people wonder why Windows is so big and seemingly complex, and why it still uses stupid things like a registry, this is why. Microsoft deserves accolades for maintaining compatibility on this scale, while still working on just about any combination of hardware under the sun. I'm sure they would have loved to be able to do what Apple did with OSX, but there are things you can pull off with 3% market share that are completely out of the question with 95%.
8 points by maayank 7 days ago 1 reply      

A number of comments:

* He mentions there is no multi tasking in dosshell. I'm not 100% sure about MS-DOS 5.0, but in ver 6.0 you could switch between tasks in dosshell [EDIT: this is also true for version 5.0, you can see the option at 1:13 in his video]. To switch tasks you need to first enable it through the "Options" menu ("Enable Task Swapper") and then you can either switch tasks by the all too familiar Alt+Tab or pressing Ctrl+Esc to bring up an ancient Task Manager (then titled "Active Task List").

* I may be mistaken, but in later service packs Win2000 had much better DOS emulation... Just mentioning it because he did test XP SP2 and later versions of Win2000 may have handled Doom2 better.

This video got me to dig out my old DOS book to make sure I remember correctly... ah, the memories :) Very interesting to see many dialogs we all know from Windows even in DOS (i.e. the Run and Associate File extension dialogs in dosshell)

17 points by mildweed 7 days ago 1 reply      
Site is Farked. Youtube direct link:


20 points by billybob 7 days ago 2 replies      
I had to turn that video off to maintain my personal pride.

I may be a nerd, but by gosh, I do NOT watch Windows installation retrospectives for entertainment! :)

15 points by phreeza 7 days ago 3 replies      
He left out Windows ME. I guess that would be too much to ask.
6 points by athom 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft first introduced Windows 1.0 on November 20, 1985. Since the introduction of Windows the operating system has dominated personal computers ever since.

Not to be pedantic, but I don't seem to recall Windows "dominating" anything until version 3.1 came out. At that time, you still had a lot of software running in text mode, or firing up its own graphical environment from DOS. Berkeley Softworks' GeoWorks was out, then, too, and looking like pretty decent competition at the time. Windows' ultimate dominance may have been inevitable, but I don't recall it looking that way before '92.

10 points by jessedhillon 7 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome stuff. I would have enjoyed a detour through Microsoft Bob, somewhere around Windows 3.1 or 95.
21 points by nrkn 7 days ago 0 replies      
Now let's see someone do this on real hardware, upgrading the machine as they go.
14 points by sktrdie 7 days ago 1 reply      
This gives a great deal of assurance for Windows developers. You don't have to worry about your app not working in future versions of Windows.
4 points by jackvalentine 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd actually have liked to see him to install more applications, perhaps Microsoft Office (circa 1990) and upgraded them as he went along too. I wonder if you can do Office for Windows -> Office 2010 as well.
3 points by pmsaue0 7 days ago 1 reply      
He applauds MS for continually supporting their legacy software... my opinion is that such legacy support is what continually hampers their rapid development
9 points by ReadyNSet 7 days ago 0 replies      
brilliant a testament to MS software compatability
2 points by simonw 6 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone know why the Windows installer takes so long? What's it doing for an hour and a half?
6 points by alphakappa 6 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that noticed that his account username in Windows 2000 was 'twatface'?
5 points by megaframe 7 days ago 1 reply      
It's like taking every upgrade I've ever done with Windows and condensing it down to 9:49 (omit the various reinstalls)
4 points by pbhjpbhj 7 days ago 3 replies      
Looking forward to someone doing the same sort of thing with other OSs.
6 points by bengl3rt 7 days ago 1 reply      
No Windows ME? ;-)
1 point by Someone 6 days ago 0 replies      
I look forward to the full version (starting at DOS 1.0 and with http://www.bricklin.com/history/vcexecutable.htm)
1 point by zandorg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a VB3 (or VB4) application which uploads samples to my hardware sampler over MIDI. But it doesn't work on XP, only 95/98. So there's a counter example to it being totally backward compatible.
4 points by imsky 7 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, 26 years condensed into 10 minutes...
2 points by olalonde 7 days ago 0 replies      
God I hate this in-text advertising thing.
1 point by Groxx 7 days ago 0 replies      
Best possible music choice. Period.


1 point by stretchwithme 7 days ago 0 replies      
Quite an achievement. And we are all the richer for it when these things go smoothly.
1 point by MarinaMartin 7 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite part of this experiment is that he tested with Monkey Island. Go Guybrush!
1 point by arrowgunz 6 days ago 1 reply      
It feels so nostalgic. I started using the Computer even since Windows 95 was launched. I first tried installing the Windows 98 on my PC. Man, I really appreciate this guy's patience.
Steve Jobs' reality distortion takes its toll on truth cnn.com
506 points by ssclafani 6 days ago   325 comments top 37
110 points by corin_ 6 days ago replies      
Completely agree. I'm not exactly an apple fanboy, but I do love my iPad, and there isn't yet a competitor's device I'd want to replace it with (although I'm hoping BlackBerry's will change that).

If he had come out and given all the ways that the iPad 2 is better than the iPad, I'd have been impressed. But spending half the time criticising competitors just came across as the kind of tacky tactic that really shouldn't be needed unless you're trying to catch up to them - not if you're trying to prevent them from catching up to you.

Oh, and that's just for the attacking competitors. Going even further than that, and attacking them with incorrect spin, way too far.

71 points by Kylekramer 6 days ago 5 replies      
Lot of nitpicks and to be expected framing/number fudging by Steve, but straight up misquoting the Samsung rep was very odd. That had been widely corrected, so either Apple did not research their presentation (unlikely) or just knowingly lied (yuck).
50 points by Tycho 6 days ago 2 replies      
Somebody rebutted the points in one of the comments: none of the dual-core are really shipping over 100 000 a month (threshold for volume considering iPad ships 1,000,000 per month); Samsung admitted miscalculating their end-sales; iPad 2 has some intense minitiarisation, which as with other 'features/improvements' doesn't come free; Apple bore the entire cost of developing the OS themselves; Kindles, Nooks etc. aren't tablets. Not sure if his/her points were sound, just reporting them.
72 points by Jun8 6 days ago 1 reply      
How much of an Jobs/Apple hater do you have to be before you include Nook and Kindle in the tablet market to argue that the iPad share is actually close to 50?
34 points by scott_s 6 days ago 1 reply      
You see, Apple loves to talk about specs when it is in its best interest (speeds and feeds).


You see, [companies] love to talk about [what] is in its best interest.

40 points by nopal 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are we really debating whether a CEO over-hyped his product in a keynote? Next we'll be taking apart a sales rep for saying his product is better than its competitors.
9 points by gamble 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was surprised to see Jobs hit Samsung with the repudiated 'quite small' quote, but at the same time Samsung hasn't exactly been eager to release their sell-through numbers. They haven't been shy about claiming their tablets are big sellers, though. Where is the condemnation of their claims that the Tab represented a third of tablet sales, when it's obvious from the near-total absence of them in the real world that they're nowhere near those numbers?

If Samsung is bothered by Apple's claims, they're easy to refute - just release the numbers.

6 points by ary 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a whole load of conjecture, but the product announcements coming out of Apple for the last few years seem to be converging on a pattern.

1) Update on success / market share / etc.

2) Possible update on retail.

3) Compare product that is about to be obsoleted with its competition while putting said competition in an unfavorable light.

4) Make the magic happen and take the press to their happy place.

#3 intrigues me. I can't help but wonder if casting the competition in a negative light is just an excuse for being able to talk about the competition at all. Given the possibility of government interference in any industry it is in the best interest of most businesses to maintain the perception of healthy competition. What has struck me about Apple's portrail of their competitors is that they preset what appears to be a finely tuned mix of recognition, disdain, and paranoia. It's almost as if they want you to remember that there are others out there. Any company that mops the floor with their competition is going to have to deal with the losers running off to the FTC, Congress, etc and whining about anti-competitive practices. At times Apple's presentations seem to be attempting to preempt that sort of thing.

Let me preempt any emotional responses by pointing out that I'm not saying Apple/iOS is better than Google/Andriod, etc, etc. I'm saying that in terms of financial success and overall market/mind share they're doing some serious winning (and not in the Charlie Sheen sense of the word).

10 points by grav1tas 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious if specs in mobile devices have become less important when the device is only supposed to do more or less what it's advertised to doand what the user bought it to do, and not much else. Apple advertises all the apps that work on the iOS line of devices, but these apps are (should be) designed to fit "inside the box" of functionality on the device. Android seems to take a different philosophical approach where users are the big deciders in what is good and appropriate for them on their devices. In the face of advertising versatility, specs do become a bigger issue...especially when you compete with multiple devices on the same platform...like PCs. Apple devices don't have the spec issue, except where it's relevant to show difference between generations of devices. At least that's my two cents. I think both platforms put forth their design philosophies pretty well, and both are respectable options for users. Why people fight over what's better so much is a source of both hilarity and sadness for me.
6 points by Stormbringer 6 days ago 1 reply      
And lo, at the slightest bit of Apple bashing in the media, suddenly the floodgates open and the hatorade pours forth.

Do any of you Apple haters hold any other company to the standards you claim that Apple or Jobs has violated? No, you do not. You huff and you puff on their vapourware, but if Apple puts a single foot wrong you pounce.


Why the double standard?

I'm not defending Apple†, and I think perhaps if all companies were held to the same high standard that you hold Apple to, the world would actually be a better place.

Let's hold all companies to the same standard.

†They're big enough to fight their own battles, and as I've said before they are far from perfect and there are plenty of valid things to complain about, just not the ones that people pick on (for some bizarre reason that escapes me)

6 points by Bud 6 days ago 1 reply      
Let's just take the bull by the horns here. Seth Weintraub's first sentence in this article, and ostensibly his main point, is:

"Apple twisted facts (or worse) to try to convince crowds that all other tablets had no shot at de-throning the iPad in 2011."

I'll put up $100 right now that says no competitor will sell more units than the iPad this year. I'd be surprised if anyone cracked 50%.

Does anyone seriously doubt that the iPad will kill its competition this year? I think it's pretty obvious. Weintraub is just dreaming if he thinks otherwise.

So who's guilty of reality distortion, here?

12 points by phatbyte 6 days ago 1 reply      
I hate when people compare Apple products specs with the other competitors.
I mean, if a device runs smooth including apps, and no crashes. Why the hell do I need to know if Xoom as 1GB and iPad2 has only 256mb ?

This will only shows that the iPad was better developed in terms of memory optimization then any another other >= 1GB device that does the exact same thing.

4 points by brisance 6 days ago 0 replies      
The author must've missed the entire range of keynotes from the late 90s through the mid 2000s when the highlight of each was to have a shootout between a Power Mac and a Wintel PC at Photoshop.

My memory is poor but they seemed to stop this practice maybe 5 years ago.

So, this practice is really nothing new. It's marketing. Google did the same thing when they trotted out specs about how Android browsing is much faster than the iPhone during Google I/O. Horses for courses, etc.

3 points by kmfrk 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's a great piece, but I don't agree that Jobs focuses on specs. Apple is great in that they do their utmost to explain what is good about their products and simplifying the purchase and customization options for the user.

The iPhone 4 wasn't interesting because it had x more DPI clocking in at a total of y; it was interesting, because they had achieved so many DPI that the average person would not be able to discern the pixels.

The Android handset manufacturers are losing the marketing battle partly because they get caught up in numbers and data: x megapixel cameras, y RAM, z megahertz. To the average consumer, all these extra parameters to consider before buying a product makes it all the less likely and rewarding to pick out your next phone.

13 points by fredBuddemeyer 6 days ago 0 replies      
ill never understand why someone so far ahead lowers himself like this. in american politics this is what a vice president is for.
4 points by stcredzero 6 days ago 0 replies      
That's not including all of the Android-powered Nooks out there,

I like the look of those.

those cheap $100 Androids you can buy at Walgreens or Amazon

Those aren't doing Android any favors.

and even Windows-powered Tablet PCs (which are mentioned two bullet points above!).

Have one of those. While it is great that I can use any Windows software I want on it, I only use the iPad nowadays. It's just more comfortable to use. Not sure they're the same category as the iPad.

3 points by wglb 6 days ago 1 reply      
First, I don't think this is really a reality distortion field. Yes, he does do it, but I think this is simply marketing.

Let's clarify a little what might be going on, and I don't think that many of the commentators here are thinking this way.

Have you noticed that a lot of the Apple advertising and marketing is directed towards those that already have apple products? Obviously people who favor android devices are going to be put off by this talk.

But if one is already invested in Apple products, then he might be addressing that little doubt such owners might have.

All of this hoopla reminds me of how for the better part of 30 years commentators were standing in line to underestimate Bill Gates.

And seriously, if this kind of talk, or john gruber's columns annoy you to the extent indicated in the threads, I suggest the following alternatives:

1) Look the other way, perhaps at something pleasant.
2) Figure out why it is working for Apple: can it work for you? (And that is what you are here for, right?)

5 points by dr_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
Disagree, although it was wrong for Job's to misquote Samsung.
Regardless, just because Samsung's tablet sales are "smooth" rather than "small" that doesn't mean that it's selling particularly well. It's not. Nor is the Xoom.
I mean c'mon, honestly how many people do you know who own a Galaxy tab or a Xoom? Or anyone who is even really looking forward to buying one?
And now how many people do you know who own an iPad or plan to purchase one?

Jobs didn't even need to waste his time attacking his competitors. To be honest I, like most people out there probably, never even heard of the Samsung quote until he brought it up, so he may have even given them more credibility now.

And the smart phone game isn't over. Nobody I know who live in other countries wants an Android phone. They want an iPhone. But a lot of people can't afford it.
Trust me that will change too.

8 points by cwisecarver 6 days ago 0 replies      
The misquote was the straw that broke the camel's back. Everything else in that presentation was exactly like every other presentation given by Apple or any company touting a new product: Bring up the places you're better and leave out the places you're falling down.

If it wasn't for the obvious misquote, in bold type, nobody would have batted an eye.

3 points by Bud 6 days ago 2 replies      
It's a bit hard to take CNN seriously as a tech commentator, frankly. They published this today:


I've rarely seen a tech article that was less useful or more silly.

10 points by kill-9 6 days ago 2 replies      
How does a link like this make it to the top of HN? It's nothing more than petty, spiteful Apple bashing by a Google guy.
3 points by js4all 6 days ago 1 reply      
Since when is it not okay for a company the emphasize the pluses over the competition and leave out what's not so good. This is common practice.

If you want a full comparison, you have to do it yourself or use independent tests. I always rely on my own tests, if possible.

Mr. Job's keynotes are rhetorically first class and most people can't wait to get hands on the products after they have seen the show. This is no reality distortion, this is perfect marketing.

8 points by henrymazza 6 days ago 0 replies      
Case is it's a bad article by a frenetic journalist. Bad written and more biased than Jobs. His 90% "math" is ridiculous.
1 point by AbyCodes 1 day ago 0 replies      
"To the author:

You have been warned. Take down this article based on lies or else we will sue you. You have 24 hours to comply.

Apple Customer Relations
Posted By Apple CR, Cupertino, CA: March 7, 2011 5:41 PM "

fanbois are always entertaining.

Those comments there are the bread and butter of this article. I am pretty sure that, even lolcats won't hold a candle against those commenters.

1 point by aufreak3 6 days ago 0 replies      
Look at SJ's talk as "entertainment" .. which is what practically all of Apple's products are about :)

Rgd Samsung tabs, I believe the writer's choice of "last quarter" itself shows bias, 'cos the debate on what "smooth" means seems to be about post-Christmas sales. It is indeed a vague word which can be interpreted as "slow" in comparison to "faster than expected". Bottom line is that we don't know what the sales figures are with any degree of accuracy if Samsung can say "2 million sold" .. and later on add quietly "to retailers".

The real bottom line is, do you care about these numbers when making your decision to get one of these things?

3 points by michaelpinto 5 days ago 0 replies      
How come Fortune didn't predict the 2008 bubble? Isn't that a much worse reality distortion field that hurt too many people...
2 points by casschin 5 days ago 0 replies      
At the end of the day, none of Jobs' points or of Weintraub's rebuttals have any bearing on how the quality of the product. It's really just a bunch of bickering. I just want to see the new gadgets and what they're capable of, not how much one company can one-up each other.
1 point by gaiusparx 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure why an article to rant about a common marketing practice? Earnings call bashing Android, Google IO attacks Apple, so on and on. Is Steve reaching the status of a saint and not allow to bash?
4 points by ryanisinallofus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this just called marketing?
1 point by pdaviesa 6 days ago 0 replies      
You actually expect any company representative to be truthful in what essentially amounts to a sales presentation? The naivety in these comments is astonishing - I mean, it's not like Jobs works for a non-profit doing humanitarian work in third world countries. I'm not saying it's right but this is the world we live in.
0 points by shareme 6 days ago 0 replies      
SO when will the FTC catch Apple in the Truth IN Advertising gaffle..[sarcasm]..

You see keynotes are not covered by FTC truth in advertising but if I was an Apple stockholder right now I would be worried about all that fibbing by Steve Jobs.

0 points by johnyqi 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's not important what is a fact, it's important whether masses will believe him. An they will. Period. Steve Jobs is marketing expert and showman of the century plus he produced few most revolutionary products in the world. Nobody really cares whether he gets his facts right because they are completely irrelevant for majority of people. He does what it takes to sell it and it works. When it comes to stretching the truth I don't think any company out there is clean but we only notice those things with top ones.
2 points by mreine 4 days ago 0 replies      
When will steve jobs just die already so apple can go out of business.
1 point by nachteilig 6 days ago 0 replies      
When did CNN start hiring Dvorak-style Apple trolls to generate traffic?
2 points by mreine 4 days ago 0 replies      
die steve, just die already.
-4 points by runjake 6 days ago 3 replies      
Link bait.

I'm tempted to label the author a "socialist", keeping with recent trends. Apple markets well. Other people market and make similar claims. Your soap, your window cleaner, your vitamins, your TV set. It's the nature of our culture, our marketing, and our capitalism.

Why is this a me vs. you thing? Corporations selling Android devices do it, too.

Check out any Android-based "4G" device on AT&T: 1) virtually no one actually has "4G" coverage, and upload speeds are HORRIBLE on 3G (allegedly because AT&T or the OEMs decided to disable HSUPA on these devices for god knows what reason).

Why must Apple always be called out like this? Because they do it so much better than their competitors. If you don't like this, I urge you not to buy their products.

-4 points by martythemaniak 6 days ago 1 reply      
Well, there wasn't too much to talk about other than these lies. "We got the iPad2. Same hardware you saw at CES, same OS you saw last year. Have a good day everybody"
Accounting for Computer Scientists kleppmann.com
499 points by martinkl 2 days ago   74 comments top 27
82 points by tc 2 days ago 7 replies      
"User-friendly" accounting software (such as QuickBooks) tends to obscure the fundamental simplicity of double-entry accounting.

If you want to actually understand your books, use something simple and powerful like John Wiegley's ledger:


32 points by jacques_chester 2 days ago 1 reply      
Two observations.

First, coming from computer science, introductory accounting - the bookkeeping mechanics - is quite easy. I took a 101 class and was surrounded by future Lords of The Universe who complained about how "hard" it was to add and subtract numbers according to a small system of rules.

Accounting is a system of metrics. The system under measurement is your business. Its purpose is to give an accurate readout of business performance. The nice thing is that accountants produce lots of metrics and these can be used to probe the behaviour of different parts of the system.


> One thing to watch out for: profit doesn't say anything about your bank account ... That's why it's possible for a company to be profitable but still run out of money!

This is why accountants produce a third document, the cashflow statement. It shows how cash is coming in and going out. This is different from the P&L statement, which deals with revenues and expenses, both of which may include future events as opposed to actual cash changing hands in the period covered by the report.

If there's one thing you absolutely must learn from accounting, it is that positive cashflow and profits are not the same thing. But if you run a business without both of them, that business is doomed.

30 points by mixmax 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's always enlightening when someone manages to explain a somewhat complicated subject in terms of an abstraction that the audience understands. This is a great example of that.

And it works the other way too.

When you've read this article and understood it you wil know how to explain graph theory to an accountant - "see it's actually not that hard, it's just like bookkeeping"

22 points by jcromartie 2 days ago 3 replies      
Having recently taken an accounting class, this is amazing.

The course I took was chock full of "because that's the way it is" explanations of terms and practices, which without fail left me feeling confused and unsatisfied. I think most people here are like me and really need deep explanations of the lower level concepts in order to be able to apply higher level concepts. Accounting coursework is absolutely horrible at this.

18 points by seanstickle 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you have a formal systems bent, as I do, you might enjoy "Algebraic Models for Accounting Systems" (http://www.amazon.com/Algebraic-Accounting-Systems-Salvador-...).

"This book describes the construction of algebraic models which represent the operations of the double entry accounting system. It gives a novel, comprehensive, proof based treatment of the topic, using such concepts from abstract algebra as automata, digraphs, monoids and quotient structures."

Think of it as a primer for building yourself an exceedingly awesome and utterly-unnecessary Haskell-based QuickBooks.

18 points by shawnee_ 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you're a real accountant reading this, please forgive my simplifications; if you spot any mistakes, please let me know.

There is one pretty important section of the P&L / Balance Sheet that's missing . . . taxes.

On that note, I am hosting a tax workshop on 3/15 @ Hacker Dojo in Mtn. View (very close to YC's office)


6 points by aristidb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This analogy seems a bit off, and I don't see how it simplifies things.

I guess this is similar to the "Monad tutorial" problem, where the author forces a (typically way off) analogy onto the reader.

One concrete problem with "accounting as graphs" is that a transaction typically involves more than two legs, while Graph edges are ALWAYS associated with exactly two nodes. You can emulate this, of course, and the author hints as much in his description of complex "deals", but it raises the question whether graphs are the best analogy.

7 points by billswift 2 days ago 0 replies      
David Friedman wrote a very short post 5 years ago on accounting:

"I have been teaching a new course that includes two weeks explaining accounting to law students. To do so, I first had to understand it myself. I think I now do, and in the hope that the information might be useful to others ... ."


10 points by Helianthus16 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who both 1) checks the comments to see if I should click a link I think might be dodgy, and 2) thinks a lot of links look dodgy, including this one at first, let me give a hearty recommendation to this article. Well worth reading from start to finish.
5 points by crux_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am not an accountant. That said ...

There are a few key pieces of functionality missing from this description, and what (I think) is a really important insight that wasn't really emphasised.

Key pieces missing: the hierarchical chart of accounts, and grouped transactions. (You want to be able to find each 'transaction' with Dell, even though one given transaction might include $4000 in depreciable assets, $1000 in extended warranties and other services, shipping, tax... each of which could be a different 'edge' on the graph itself.)

And the insight is that it's the edges that count; nodes don't matter -- if you're storing "account" objects with a "balance" property, it ought only to be for caching.

9 points by Vivtek 2 days ago 3 replies      
OH MY GOD! I finally understand why Sales is a liability on all the balance sheets I translate! !!!
4 points by beza1e1 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a programmer I'd rather explain it in database terms. It's a single table T, which basically contains the edges of Kleppmann's graphs.

  amount  source  target  (metadata like date ...)

For each account X you get the left and right side with simple SQL queries:

  select * from T where source=X
select * from T where target=X

All the other mumbo-jumbo about double-entry bookkeeping is implicitly baked in. For example, "The double-entry bookkeeping system ensures that the financial transaction has equal and opposite effects in two different accounts." Of course, each entry subtracts amount from the source and adds it to target.

While this representation is easy to implement (see ledger, i suppose), it does not lead to pretty graph pictures.

6 points by farnja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Loved this post. Starts to convince people that Accounting really can be beautiful, in many of the same ways that software can be beautiful. It does tend to get overrun with terminology, edge cases, and other necessary issues given the consequences of ambiguity, but at the lowest level, accounting is just telling a story. Wonderful post!
2 points by prodigal_erik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it'd be worth mentioning this is accrual basis accounting. In cash basis you wouldn't write down things which haven't already happened, like the anticipated payment from customer 2.
2 points by koepked 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone willing to recommend a good book that introduces graph theory?
4 points by lenary 2 days ago 2 replies      
This i found very enlightening to read. I wonder how many accounting apps actually store their data as he describes in this article, to aid their calculations
1 point by gersh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Accounting gets interesting when you get derivatives and the fed involved. You own a volatile asset, so the price can go up and down, everyday. However, you don't necessarily know how much said asset is worth. So, you have no P&L. You can possibly borrow against said to cover cash flow, but if asset declines in value, your creditors can demand payment.

Furthermore, your balance sheet can look great. However, if your debtors go bankrupt, a solid balance sheet can quickly deteriorate. If your customers pay late, and you can't borrow money, the delicate balance can collapse.

1 point by archgoon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting. One of the side effects of having the zero sum rule for all transactions means that graphs can be superimposed on each other and also get a valid balance-sheet graph. Cool! Are loops possible? What do they mean?
2 points by drindox 13 hours ago 0 replies      
A good effort but all the sign flipping gets confusing
1 point by vdm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tony Bowden described an accounting system built on Semantic Mediawiki in 2006.


1 point by gcb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was a fun read. But you don't have to get complicated.

Accounting is just taking notes. No matter how you write then

2 points by rsl 1 day ago 0 replies      
substituting programmer jargon for accounting jargon is the answer?
0 points by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
There should be an app for this. A dashboard even.

( I mean one that actually displays and lets you edit your books as a graph)

0 points by oceanician 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone should write one of these for aspiring MPs. I'm pretty certain most modern Western Governments seem to have forgot the basics.
1 point by mikecarlton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nicely done thanks. Much clearer than quickbooks or quicken.
1 point by regehr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hard to believe this article didn't contain the word "invariant."
-3 points by bakintunde 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check out accountingcoach.com
Microsoft made their own IE6-countdown site. ie6countdown.com
492 points by Klonoar 5 days ago   165 comments top 40
44 points by jsdalton 5 days ago 5 replies      
I think this is great, personally. The only things more I'd wish for from this site:

* It'd be great if it was more clear that Microsoft itself was behind the site (there's just one little logo at the bottom left).

* The home page seems targeted at developers. It'd be great if they had another page targeted specifically at end users spelling out in clear terms why a.) it's bad for them to still be using IE6 (e.g. throw some scary warnings about viruses in there) and b.) what they can do about it (e.g. upgrade or install an alternative browser if upgrade not possible.)

* Now that I think about it, they need another page like the one above but targeted at enterprises. Again, lay out in clear terms all the horrible reasons for using IE6 on the open Internet. Convince them to install alternative browsers on desktops for general browsing and to restrict the use of IE6 to only those specialized applications which absolutely require it.

My wish list is probably already three items too long, so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.

53 points by davidcuddeback 5 days ago 2 replies      
I was about to "like" the page, but the like button is for facebook.com/internetexplorer. Liking ie6countdown.com means you like Internet Explorer. That's the opposite effect from what I was expecting.
12 points by jasonkester 5 days ago 3 replies      
And then for the irony:

Internet Explorer 9 is only available for Windows 7 and Vista. However, we still recommend you download the latest version of Internet Explorer for XP. Get it here:

That's what I see when I click their "Download IE9" link. Looks like we'll get to go through this all again in a few years.

16 points by rudiger 5 days ago 5 replies      
Anyone know the story behind IE6's huge presence in Asia (especially China)? Why haven't they upgraded? Is it because Windows XP is still very popular? If so, why? Also, is there a popular "native-land" browser, the way Xunlei is the most popular BitTorrent client in the world?
11 points by Samuel_Michon 5 days ago 0 replies      
From the page:
"As of February 2011, 12% of the world was using
Internet Explorer 6, which was 9%
lower than the previous year"

They're using NetApps stats. IE6's share was 21 percent in February of 2010, according to those numbers. That means IE6 share has gone down 43 percent in the past year. I'm guessing the author doesn't know the difference between percentages and percentage points.

13 points by zdw 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm guessing there's a high correlation between people running non-legit copies of Windows and IE 6 users.
11 points by jgilliam 5 days ago 2 replies      
new slogan: Only Communists use IE6
16 points by rodh 5 days ago 2 replies      
This might just be me, but when I scan over a map, my automatic action is to hover my mouse over the countries I'm looking at (I do the same with my finger when I look at a physical map). If I do that here though, the map disappears.

I can't stop myself from doing it. It's driving me nuts.

2 points by hinathan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Or there's a lot of pirated Windows XP running in China.
5 points by amalcon 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny if you have scripts turned off. Apparently, 100% of the world was using IE6 in Feb 2011, which is 9% lower than the previous year.

Nonetheless, very good to see Microsoft doing stuff like this.

6 points by dreamux 5 days ago 2 replies      
I blame customers for poor adoption, not developers. Its obvious that MSFT would prefer all of their customers update to the newest versions of their software.
4 points by code_duck 5 days ago 2 replies      
I hope Microsoft has learned lessons from how difficult it has been to get people to stop using IE6. Mainly, they need to make it easier to upgrade IE.

IE needs to be a standalone application that can be upgraded easily without the risk of breaking everything.

7 points by hanifvirani 5 days ago 0 replies      
A good number of people in the tech world hate MS, at least partially, and IE6 has been one of the influential reasons for this hatred. Till date, a lot of people avoid IE like the plague and even the modern IE browsers have suffered because of the tarnished brand image. People need to understand that IE6 is a decade old browser and heck it was a good browser for its time. People not moving away from the browser has been a bigger cause of pain than MS itself. This is a good initiative by Microsoft.
1 point by tomkarlo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe older versions of Windows were easier to pirate or more widely pirated, and people avoid upgrading in case they run afoul of anti-piracy measures.
2 points by blahedo 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's very confusing and unobvious what the percentages are percents of: the country's percentage of total IE6 users, or the IE6 users' percentage of the country? Based on the fact that they add to >100%, I guess that the per country numbers you get when you hover the map are % of that country still using IE6.

But then what are the percents on the ring/pie chart to the side? They don't add to 100%, so they're not percentages of the pie (total IE6 users). But China's percentage there (5.9) doesn't match its percentage in the map (34.5). So, 5.9% of what?

This is a terrible infographic.

2 points by kenjackson 5 days ago 7 replies      
Interesting... if you get rid of China and S. Korea, IE6 is probably less then 5%. I think IE6 is close to becoming a footnote. With IE9 not supporting XP, I'd love to see MS recommend FF4 or Chrome for XP users, although frankly I don't think it would matter... if you're still on XP a modern web browser is the last thing on your mind.
3 points by rsoto 5 days ago 1 reply      
While it's a very good thing MS is endorsing this, they are very incongruent. They continuosly state that they love the web, that IE9 will deliver a more beautiful web and all that stuff.

But here we are. We have a 10-year old browser that still has a huge 12% global usage. Ok, that was a huge error, the good thing it's that MS is actually doing something, but are they learning from the past? I think they don't.

What will IE9 look like in 5 years? I think it will likely be just like IE6-- holding back the web. A little less, but still, barely support for basic CSS3 declarations, struggling with HTML5, no offline web applications, with no history.pushState support, using still old web forms and much more.

IE6 was great for its time. We have learned a lot from it, but the one thing everyone gets is that no matter how good you make it, it will get old. That's the real problem, there's no an easy way to upgrade those users or give them an alternative for their needs (like a standalone version for corporative software crapiness). And IE9 is heading in the same direction.

4 points by Legion 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fun, but I'd prefer if it were simply "iecountdown.com".
15 points by phillco 5 days ago 1 reply      
Aha! ie7countdown.com and ie8countdown.com are still available!
3 points by elliottcarlson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly, 99% of our clients (pharma-sector) are on IE6 due to corporate policy...
2 points by JonoW 5 days ago 2 replies      
MS really don't help themselves though. My company won't upgrade from IE7 because they are worried about breaking a legacy,critical web-app. If MS could build a feature into IE9 that allowed you to specify a white-list of URLs/domains (set by AD group policy) that always used the IE6/IE7/IE9 renderer/js engine for the tab it was opened in - boom corporates could start upgrading. It's also holding back adoption of Windows 7.
2 points by robin_reala 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's an ultimate deadline on dropping IE6 of April 8th, 2014. That's when XP, and consequently IE6, fall out of support. Continuing to support sites for browsers that aren't receiving security updates is actively harmful to users and should be avoided wherever possible.
1 point by dgallagher 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of my friends who is a designer, completely sick of IE6, puts this Javascript on every site he develops: http://ie6update.com/

Click: Click here to see a demo!


Recently I finished a CSS book, maybe 500 pages long. About 80 or so pages were dedicated to "and to get this to work in IE6, you have to do this hack." IE7 maybe had 10 pages, and IE8/Firefox/Chrome/Safari/Opera were merely footnotes sprinkled about.

3 points by lovskogen 5 days ago 2 replies      
Forget about IE6, countdown to IE7 instead. Still craps up alot of CSS, forcing designers like me to hack around, use graphics instead of CSS, both or create a sub-experience to a large audience.
1 point by ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
IE6 is not Netscape Navigator 4.

We'll still have to code for it at least through 2012.

Come January 2013 though, all bets are off.

Then we'll have the IE7/IE8 bugs until 2020 (thanks Microsoft!)

1 point by aneth 5 days ago 0 replies      
The most important insight: unless you are targeting Asia (namely China and Korea,) you can pretty much dump IE6 support as Facebook and Google have done. The US number is under 3%. I'd like to see a breakdown of that 3%, but I'd guess it's mostly public schools and stodgy companies.
2 points by Aqwis 5 days ago 1 reply      
Some errors:

- Turkey is purple on the map, despite being within the 1-5% (blue) bracket.

- According to the map, Finland has 0.7% IE6 users, but according to the list you get when you hover over the map, it has 0.9%

That aside, it puzzles me that the numbers in East Asia are that high. South Korea and Japan are both wealthy countries with a large number of Internet users. Even if we exclude North America and Western Europe, Eastern Europe does far better, for instance, than South Korea and Japan.

2 points by mitjak 5 days ago 1 reply      
Nobody seems to have asked this yet: where is the data coming from? I find it hard to believe U.S. is at 2.9% IE6 usage, for instance.
1 point by tomdeal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: My experiences are based on the current german web landscape, so I don't know if this is true for other countries.

I don't include IE6 anymore in my web pages. If it works, ok, if not, well... too bad. In the last year, no customer ever really wanted to have an IE6 site.

The Problem with a site like this from Microsoft is, it is not the normal household PC which is still running IE6. There might be a few, but that number should be close to zero. It is the big companies, who are not switching to a newer version, because they have special software programmed for IE6 with funny activeX elements and big domain stuff behind so they can't simply flip the switch, and if it works, why should they upgrade? They don't want to throw a whole bunch of money at this problem. Thats sad, but you can't do anything about it...

1 point by mdink 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chinese hackers love IE 6. This would be my guess as to why IE 6 has a higher count there then anywhere else. I don't say this out of spite, our site just uses an exception notification system that floods my inbox with tons of bogus requests from china. They can't all be proxy servers and have a user agent indication IE 6. Just a thought, not meant to be negative...
2 points by digamber_kamat 5 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great if they start the initiatives to take IE7 IE8 and IE9 off the world and scrap any plans to have IE10.

Hopefully Google Chrome and Firefox will kill IE10 in the womb itself.

2 points by rbanffy 5 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone wants to do something with it, microsoftcountdown.com is available...

edit: it's no longer available.

2 points by kevinburke 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wondering why the site's in English.
3 points by kumarshantanu 5 days ago 0 replies      
They should retire IE7 too.
0 points by GrandMasterBirt 5 days ago 0 replies      
#1 Yay

#2 Korea and China are only heavy (>5%) ie6 users. Whewh I don't support those languages anyways so YAY DEATH TO IE6.

1 point by joelackner 5 days ago 1 reply      
who chose those colors? unknown & 1-5 % are practically the same, out of order and make it next to impossible to glance over the map without reading the numbers.
1 point by markneub 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully the notion of developing for IE6 compatibility will soon be as laughable as that of designing for Netscape compatibility.
1 point by grizzlylazer 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only people who visit this page are probably already on a different browser.
0 points by AngeloAnolin 5 days ago 1 reply      
It says the target is to bring it down to less than 1% worldwide.

What happens to the remaining ones?

1 point by ashishb4u 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer 6"!! (who thought that Microsoft would say this one day)
Anatomy of a Crushing pinboard.in
469 points by mbrubeck 1 day ago   68 comments top 18
19 points by SwellJoe 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I think is sort of interesting is the difference in what makes a small company happy and what can satisfy a behemoth like Yahoo.

This was an epic day in the life of Pinboard, and possibly took them from making ramen money into maybe pizza and beer money. For Yahoo, signing up a few thousand users at 6 bucks a pop is possibly not worth speaking of, much less devoting a team of developers, designers, marketers, system administrators, etc., to.

I'm not saying Yahoo hasn't been making mistakes left and right for the past...I dunno, decade or so. Nor am I suggesting that delicious had to come to this ignominious end; had it been kept on target throughout the years since acquisition, this story probably wouldn't have happened this way.

I'm just saying that this might not be an agonizing defeat for Yahoo. That's the cool thing about being a tiny company. You can do things that just aren't sensible from a business perspective when doing it on a larger scale (right now). A small company can completely ignore huge swaths of the market, for instance, and make one niche really happy and do nothing for the average user. Or, a small company can come in with a just the basics product that's simply easier to use than the big, complicated, product that's been in development for a decade or two. These are freedoms big companies simply don't have (as is the freedom to make thousands rather than millions on your primary product).

66 points by rimantas 1 day ago 5 replies      

   I lived in constant fear of forgetting a WHERE clause.

For those in constant fear: http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/mysql-tips.html#safe-...

40 points by zeemonkee 1 day ago 1 reply      
"" This is especially true in the world of Rails and other frameworks, where there is a tendency to treat one's app like a high-level character in a role-playing game, equipping it with epic gems, sinatras, capistranos, and other mithril armor into a mighty "application stack"."

Excellent article, giving balance to current "best practice" thinking.

56 points by javanix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this. Easily the most interesting sysadmin-gone-right I've ever read, and a type of article I'd love to see more of on HN.
47 points by Vivtek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Money quote: Of course, had bedbugs been found in the Delicious offices, our server would have been doomed.

This is excellent writing!

18 points by bgraves 1 day ago 0 replies      
Posted under "Things that went well":

We charged money for a good or service

I know this one is controversial, but there are enormous benefits and you can immediately reinvest a whole bunch of it in your project sips daiquiri. Your customers will appreciate that you have a long-term plan that doesn't involve repackaging them as a product.

If Pinboard were not a paid service, we could not have stayed up on December 16, and I would have been forced to either seek outside funding or close signups. Instead, I was immediately able to hire contractors, add hardware, and put money in the bank against further development.

17 points by thaumaturgy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really enjoyed this article in a way that I enjoy so few like it. It had just enough detail in the right places while being a really fun read.

And thanks for mentioning apachetop -- I somehow wasn't aware of it, and as one of my hosting customers is expecting 6 digits of page views over the course of a couple of hours tonight, it now has a terminal window all to itself.

61 points by kawera 1 day ago 2 replies      
It was my experience that people approached an online purchase of six dollars with the same deliberation and thoughtfulness they might bring to bear when buying a new car.

Much like people complaining about the price of a gorgeous $2.99 iOS app while ordering a $6 coffee.

24 points by CountSessine 1 day ago 0 replies      
But now the Senior Vice President for Bad Decisions at Yahoo had decided to give us a little help.

Jeez - who keeps hiring this guy? I think we had him or his brother at the next to last company I worked at.

13 points by code_duck 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's great - you never know when your competition can unroll a red carpet for you.

Also, apachetop. How did I not know about this?

9 points by erickhill 1 day ago 0 replies      
"And a final, special shout-out goes to my favorite company in the world, Yahoo. I can't wait to see what you guys think of next!" Seriously - you should send Senior Vice President for Bad Decisions a bouquet of flowers.

One of the best posts I've read on HN in a long time, and I'm not even a sys admin. It was compelling, informative and funny - nice job!

2 points by DuncanIdaho 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it quite surprising how little users pinboard actually got overall. But on the other hand - most of them are premium customers.

Maciej I'm curious is this endeavour profitable for you? I understand the point of an itch that needs to be scratched and all. But still I'm curious - I find the service excellent (I'm a devout customer) but for all the resource intensiveness that your service requires to offer caching and search and the time sunk into implementation and maintaining, well I find the fee kinda low (on a over thumb estimate that is).

Are there any other ways you are monetizing this? Since all those bookmarks are true "human powered search engine"?

7 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what tool is generating these very-pretty load graphs?
5 points by cschmidt 1 day ago 2 replies      
Pinboard has a slowly increasing price as more users join. It was only $4.21 the day I signed up, and is now up to $9.25. I'm really glad I joined before the onslaught. :-)
2 points by tnorthcutt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
We charged money for a good or service

I know this one is controversial

How unfortunate that this should be the case.

2 points by maguay 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read, and I've personally used Pinboard more than I ever would have thought. Best small web purchase ever!
2 points by mise 17 hours ago 0 replies      
He was paying something like $500/month for the servers, right? Were the two hosted projects worth that monthly spend? In retrospect, of course it was, but maybe not on a month-to-month basis.
1 point by iancanderson 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best reads I've had in a while on a tech blog.
Peter Tattam created Trumpet Winsock and got very little: Let's set things right
464 points by jacques_chester 6 days ago   151 comments top 70
114 points by seldo 6 days ago 2 replies      
Donated. As a closeted gay teenager, Trumpet was the software that got me in touch with the people who literally saved my life. I could never thank this guy enough.

(Edit: if you felt like making another worthy donation, the Youth Guard mailing lists are the people I'm referring to -- http://www.youth-guard.org/youth/ . I cannot overstate the impact they had on my life.)

26 points by patio11 6 days ago 1 reply      
Suggestion: pay him by Mass Payment. You end up kicking in $0.50 in paypal fees, he doesn't have to pay to receive. It ends up that more of your donation reaches him net (if you donate above, let's see, $7.25 or so).

You'll need to save a text file. I think you guys can probably manage, but to make it copy/paste easy:


payments@petertattam.com (tab) 25.00 (tab) USD (tab) winsocks_rocked (tab) This is a totally optional comment.


Thanks for Winsock, by the way. You saved me hours of frustration when I was trying to get Compuserve and Warcraft 2 to work together, back in middle school. Crikey I feel old.

162 points by p_trumpet 6 days ago 13 replies      
I can confirm that the email is the one I passed on to Jacques. The PayPal account is a legit one I have used in the past and is registered under the business name Tattam Software. If I encounter any problems I will look into the other option.

Thanks all... I had honestly thought the Internet had forgotten about me.


22 points by ck2 6 days ago 1 reply      
Just a warning, if it's a new paypal account and there are a bunch of donations, PayPal will lock the account and keep the money for themselves until he runs their gauntlet.

Actually, they'll sometimes do that on accounts that are a decade old, but new accounts especially.

Maybe use WePay instead with a target amount?

16 points by angrycoder 6 days ago 3 replies      
How much did a license for the original Trumpet Winsock cost?

Nevermind, in 1993 a single license for Trumpet Winsock cost $25 usd. Adjusted for inflation that is $38.10 today.

10 points by acabal 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea. With all the Paypal horror stories out there I honestly hope you've set up the account so that it doesn't get wrongly frozen if the donations start ramping up.
13 points by InclinedPlane 6 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like Dr. Sam Beckett, travelling back in time to put right what once went wrong.
5 points by benwerd 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated $38.10, the amount declared as the inflation-adjusted registration fee. My message:

Thank you for my career.

I've run open source projects, built e-learning systems, helped charities in Colombia work together, worked with people revolutionizing journalism and (once, by accident) made a large number of Utah Mormons very angry. None of this would have happened without the software you created. Thank you.

8 points by jacques_chester 6 days ago 2 replies      
Update: I've created a very simple site you can refer people to.


8 points by jedsmith 6 days ago 2 replies      
Hacker News giving Reddit a run for its money? Bravo.
5 points by petercooper 6 days ago 1 reply      
You rich folks in the 90s.. all my computer could run was DOS so I used the then-popular KA9Q by Phil Karn. If anyone wants to start a donation drive for Phil... ;-)
3 points by henrikschroder 6 days ago 1 reply      
So, how do I?

I don't have a PayPal account, and I'm trying to navigate their site to find out how to do a donation, but I can't find anything like it? The closest match is making an "International Payment", is that the one? And why do I need to select which country he is in?

Or should I sign up and perform some other action when logged in?

3 points by xd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Demon internet used this, and I think maybe still do: http://echannel.www.demon.net/helpdesk/technicallibrary/sdu/... Funnily the images on the page actually show that they are using an evaluation copy!

I've sent them an email referencing this story to see if they step up and at least make a donation.

Would be great if some more people could email them as I don't see them taking a random email like I've sent seriously.

EDIT: Demon internet is an ISP based in the UK.

1 point by jacques_chester 1 day ago 0 replies      
3 points by davidmurphy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Literally don't have any extra money right now (and I used a Mac back in the day), but I tweeted this to help get the word out, and want to at least my thanks to you, Peter, for your important early role in the internet (I heard about this, even if I didn't use it as a Mac user), even if I can't give money, let me say: well done.

Pat yourself on the back and know your efforts were useful for a great many people. Well done, good sir!

5 points by nl 6 days ago 0 replies      
I lived on Winsock + SLIRP + a university terminal account in 1994. Donated!
5 points by rmason 6 days ago 1 reply      
Truly one of the unsung heroes of the Internet. Actually met him at a BoardWatch conference where he received a well deserved award.

Fondly remember Trumpet as the key that unlocked the door to using Mosaic. Jumping from text only to a browser was like going from black and white to technicolor.

5 points by eps 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a way to make a donation without needing to create a PayPal account?
4 points by prawn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. Thanks Peter. I had no idea that all of that mucking around trying to get things connected back then would lead to my career for the last 15 years and my own business for the last 13 years of that.
2 points by lukeh 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I too have fond memories of Trumpet. I remember even then (I must have been 15 or so) thinking that this software was so important and likely undervalued. Of course, I used it and never donated as I didn't have any money - something I intend to rectify now! For a while in those days, I was behind a SOCKS firewall, and I convinced Peter to add SOCKS support to the stack itself - something which perhaps ignited my love of somewhat abstraction violating clever hacks! And of course it helped start my career in computing, as did APANA and a bunch of other very kind Australians.
3 points by Whitespace 6 days ago 3 replies      
I used to wake up in the middle of the night and sneak downstairs with my brother, lugging our family's first computer, a Compaq Presario all-in-one (similar to the gumdrop iMac) onto the dining room table so we could connect to the internet. With a 486DX2/66 and 4MB ram, we'd load up Tabworks and use the /worst/ browser in existence (don't recall the name, but it was probably a rip off of Mosaic) and dial out to IDT.net to connect to the internet.

Later on, after saving money to upgrade to a whopping 12MB ram and Windows 95, that same computer allowed to to play multiplayer Diablo, which was my first taste of IRC. Naturally it was all downhill from there, and I played Diablo for two years straight.

There were a lot of fights in our household over phone bills and busy dial tones, and I'm sorry that my sister was left stranded at school with no ride because I was busy downloading FreeBSD, but now I'm a successful software engineer and budding entrepreneur in the education space, and it's all thanks to those formative moments panicking at 3 am, trying so hard to muffle the sounds emanating from my 9600 kbaud modem as it connected me to an exciting new world.

Thanks, Peter. Thank you so much.

5 points by yuhong 6 days ago 0 replies      
XP and later has a built-in IPv6 stack, but I remember reading that Trumpet Winsock later provided IPv6 implementations for older versions of Windows for the few people still using them.
14 points by jacques_chester 6 days ago 0 replies      
10 points by koudelka 6 days ago 1 reply      

Even though I was kicking around the net on my Macintosh SE/30, using MacSLIP/MacTCP, this is a great idea.

5 points by MichaelApproved 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there an official story from Peter about how all this happened?
9 points by lanstein 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. Winsock + Slirp - truly life-changing.
5 points by true_religion 6 days ago 2 replies      
This actually sounds like a job that WePay would be better for.
1 point by VSpike 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Trumpet was a fantastic piece of software. Strangely, I was only talking about it a couple of days ago. Happy to donate for the hundreds of hours I spent online with it, and the fun I had creating dialup scripts in it.
15 points by cema 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by gbhn 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm happy to be able to say both that I realized how awesome Trumpet was back in the day, and that I made the choice to send Peter the $25 registration back when that was a harder choice than it is now. It's nice to be able to remember and renew my license, as it were. :-)
4 points by p0ppe 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. From one Peter to another.
3 points by gkn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hello HN.
Here is a campaign I set up today for this cause


It might help to get the message out to a wider audience.

Shameless plug: This is a part of my Internet Startup. You can opt in to have your name (or alias) published.

2 points by trumpit 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Contribute? Absolutely - but never using PayPal. Find another method.
1 point by kingofspain 6 days ago 1 reply      
I had to pester a schoolfriend for weeks until he copied me this onto a disk when I was a poor 14 year old (no idea if he paid for it, but I doubt it given his rep!)

I probably would've gone into this field without it but I got a big head start regardless. I'm donating.

I should probably send some money my parents way too. Long distance modem calls weren't exactly cheap back then!

10 points by tobych 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. Warm thoughts, Mr Tattam.
2 points by ghostDancer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just when i think nothing can impress me more, i find that in HN you can, i'm not technician, not a programmer and not and entrepreneur. I follow HN because i like the news and mainly the discussions, seeing different points of view, etc ... and from time to time in HN you make a thing that surprises me and show the power you have inside you. Like now from a video , came a comment about the old days , you found the person and so many years after you organize a tribute, because apart from the money this really is more of a tribute to a man whose work you admire. HNers you are great. Maybe the vets say that this is not the original HN but i think the spirit of HN is there.
3 points by hanifvirani 6 days ago 1 reply      
There is a big difference between thinking of doing something good and actually making it happen. Kudos to the guys who arranged this. It's great to see everyone donating. Just goes to show how many lives Peter impacted with his work.
1 point by richardtallent 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Peter, your software made it possible for me and three other guys to start a local ISP in 1995 and support Win 3.11 for many years until Windows 9x finally penetrated the market. This start-up cemented my career in web app development.

On principle, I no longer maintain a PayPal account, but next time you're in Beaumont, Texas, a pint is on me!


1 point by Asuyuka 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I will donate ASAP. This man's work allowed us to get on the net with our old 386sx and Win 3.1 machine using Mosaic. I don't know if it was paid for or not, I'm too young to remember, but this guy deserves it for his effort and how its affected me. Thank you.
1 point by heresy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Being online via Trumpet Winsock was how I downloaded my first Linux distribution.

Knowing Linux at the right time (1998) was how I got my first job.


1 point by Asuyuka 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I will donate ASAP. This man's work allowed us to get on the net with our old 386sx and Win 3.1 machine using Mosaic. I don't know if it was paid for or not, I'm too young to remember, but this guy deserves it for his effort and how its affected me.
1 point by jacques_chester 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Peter never received any money from Microsoft.
3 points by evgeny0 6 days ago 0 replies      

Thank you for opening up the online world to me, back in the days when just trying to connect to the Internet was a bit of an adventure!

1 point by zaivala 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I know my life would have been much less without Trumpet Winsock. I hope I can remember to donate when I get some money late in the month. It's great to be able to help someone who helped me so much.
2 points by floatingatoll 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would be happy to donate to Peter personally, except that Paypal is will likely freeze his account in the next few days specifically due to a high volume influx of varying dollar amounts from a variety of sources without a physical product or service provided. So my donation must go elsewhere than him personally, and that makes me very sad :(
15 points by onethumb 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by Daryl_Hatton 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm Daryl Hatton, CEO of FundRazr. As an "old guy" in this industry, I really benefited from Peter's work. I've set up a FundRazr campaign on Facebook to help collect money for Peter. The money goes directly to Peter's PayPal account. I will refund our portion of the PayPal fees back to Peter when the campaign is finished so that this doesn't make us any money.

Check out the campaign at http://bit.ly/fDzVOF

Make a donation but, at the very least, share it with your friends so that we can get Peter some of the money he deserves.

5 points by joshfraser 6 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by metageek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. I never used Winsock, but I worked for Netscape, which would've been worth a lot less without Trumpet getting users online.
14 points by bennytheshap 6 days ago 0 replies      
13 points by aedocw 6 days ago 0 replies      
13 points by bpfh 6 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by gfodor 6 days ago 0 replies      
Trumpet was a truly magical piece of code, basically the gateway to the world we live in today. Donated.
3 points by cdeutsch 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated! Trumpet Winsock was the gateway to my first internet experience. Thanks Peter!
2 points by Kukasauto 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well, it appears that I cannot send the money I wanted because Paypal has assigned my credit card to another account.

Thanks, Paypal, I didn't authorize that. I do not WANT you to lock my account, or have anything to do with you and your freezing account policy crap. I just want to donate to worthy causes.

That said, I'm in Finland. US-Only solutions don't work for obvious reasons (among them, outside the US we don't have 30-day-waits for check cashing...) so I'm looking for a way to set this right that I can use here.

5 points by petdog 6 days ago 0 replies      
He should do a reddit AMA
1 point by zandorg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I never knew what a 'winsock' was, but at my college in '97, we used dial-up to connect to Demon on Windows 3.1, and it worked great. I used to FTP Amiga demos.

Will donate!

1 point by asdfasdffdsa 22 hours ago 1 reply      

BTW: What was the original cost of Trumpet? (for an end user)

2 points by georgeott 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated. Ah, the memories of surfing the real web in 1994. (Not some Prodigy/AOL version of it)
8 points by abend 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by nicpottier 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by michaelcampbell 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by jhuckestein 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by guruz 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by ljonesfl 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love this.
1 point by marcing 6 days ago 0 replies      
donated and twitted around
1 point by echion 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work; donated.
2 points by ak1394 6 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by laxbobber 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love it, spread the word people! +1 donation from me!
1 point by ramarnat 5 days ago 0 replies      
If iPads are “post-pc devices” why must I sync with iTunes before I can use one? thestartupfoundry.com
434 points by g0atbutt 4 days ago   220 comments top 37
89 points by raganwald 4 days ago 2 replies      
In "Marketing Warfare," Al Reis and Jack Trout give a rule of thumb: Never build your strategy around an opponent's weakness. Build it around their strength. Why? because weaknesses can be fixed. Strengths cannot be fixed without undermining an opponent's own strategy.

From this, I get that there are two kinds of problems with a product or service: A weakness, which is something bad that is orthogonal to a product's value proposition, and a drawback, which is an integral part of the value proposition. An example of an Apple drawback would have been its one button mouse for many years: During the period when many Mac buyers were first-time computer users, the single button was part of the simplicity of the interface, but it also was annoying to those who had more experience and wanted more power at their fingertips.

I remember this when thinking about tethering my iPad. This is a weakness, not a drawback. It can certainly be fixed without undermining the iPad's value proposition. If somebody starts selling a lot of tablets that sync to the cloud, Apple can release a firmware or iOS update that syncs to the cloud and boom, no more weakness.

It's annoying but it isn't deeply tied to the iPad's value proposition. So I predict that if and when Apple thinks it is more of a hinderance than a help, it will be changed, and the change will be fairly painless.

49 points by jsz0 4 days ago 5 replies      
We're in a transitional period. The vast majority of people who have iPads do have a PC of some kind also. For now it's the most practical way of doing backups, updates, and syncing large amounts of content. I do think Apple will move in the direction of not requiring a PC for these things but it's non-trival. How do you sync 16-64GB of data over 3G? Do you push 300MB+ updates to someone with a 150MB/month data cap? 2GB? How, and where, do you sync purchased content? How do you backup the device? This is a very important feature iTunes provides that most people won't even notice until they have some need to restore a device.

The newest iOS update has modified the way OS updates work by not erasing/re-syncing the device. I suspect this is one of the first steps towards moving to a more OTA existence for the iPad. They still need to trim down these updates so they're not killing people's caps. Everything on the content side is going to require a lot more work. If you look at Android for example that does just about everything OTA you realize that a) Google doesn't really sell content so they don't care how or if you get anything on your device. Figure it out yourself. b) Android doesn't backup automatically. Some of your data is synced to Google Services but if you flush your Android phone down the toilet by mistake you're going to lose all your application data and content you synced, or created, on the device. Again -- figure it out yourself if you want a good backup c) Google doesn't update all their devices at the same time. There will never be 100 million+ Android devices trying to download android3.0.tar.gz at the same time. It's a bigger challenge for Apple to do OTA updates given their strategy to update all compatible iOS devices at the same time. I'm not trying to bash Google, their system is fine, but people make it sound like this super trivial thing to divorce post-PC devices from the PC. It's not. Google has been able to do this through minimalism. They don't take any responsibility for updates/backups/syncing so it's a bit easier for them to pull this off right now. If you use Google Exchange with an iOS device you get most of the same benefits in-fact.

Apple could easily divorce the activation-via-PC step but it would set the expectation that you don't need to connect it to a PC ever for normal operation/update/syncing. When they do remove the activation-via-PC step you can be sure everything else won't require a PC connection. It will be all or nothing. That's how Apple tends to operate.

54 points by hristov 4 days ago replies      
This really really annoys me about the ipad. Furthermore, for some extra annoyance, Itunes does not run on linux, so I cannot run it. And even after I secured a windows computer to run itunes, I discovered that itunes is a really slow, extremely badly designed, confusing and annoying piece of software. It took me forever to upgrade my ipad to the new os.
56 points by siglesias 4 days ago 3 replies      
actually they'll unlock it in the store if you don't own a PC.
14 points by SoftwareMaven 4 days ago 2 replies      
We talk a lot about "lean startups" here. I think this is an example of Apple being lean and going where the market has taken them. My guess is that, as they were building the iPad, they had a hunch things could go this way (e.g. "post-pc device"), but weren't sure. Rather than spend billions building out an infrastructure on a hunch, they build the device and have followed the market.

The market is saying the iPad is "post-pc", so Apple will (eventually) get there. And we'll likely be charged for the privilege (most likely through MobileMe).

Personally, it is a huge complaint I have. I would love to switch my mother to an iPad, but the requirement to continue having a PC doesn't make things easier.

7 points by ugh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Realistically, people will continue to own multiple computers. Computers have become very cheap, households can usually afford more than one.

For tablets to be successful “post-PC devices” it's not necessary that people stop buying and using PCs.

Still, it should be possible to get by without a cable. I don't want to transfer my 40GB media collection wirelessly just yet but the iPad is useful without my media (and can wirelessly sync contacts, calendars, notes, e-mails), there is no reason why I should be forced to connect to iTunes.

30 points by richbradshaw 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's called "post-pc" because you use it after using your PC.
4 points by noonespecial 4 days ago 3 replies      
My iPad won't even charge right without my macBook. My brother works for Apple and gave me the party line about how "some motherboards are not capable of supplying enough power to their usb ports."

I started Parallels on my macBook, plugged in the iPad and let it connect to the virtual XP that was running: "Not Charging". Shut down Parallels without even unplugging the iPad, well, boy howdy, its charging now. No OSX/iTunes? Purposely broken.

9 points by allertonm 4 days ago 4 replies      
The author seems to assume that Apple is either unaware of the contradiction or aware of it with no plan to change. In other words, that the management of Apple is either stupid or blind. Recent history does not suggest that either is the case.

It seems more likely to me that Apple is very much aware of the contradiction but has plans to change this, but no intention of telling us about it yet.

Gotta wonder what that huge data centre they are building is for, eh?

24 points by patrickaljord 4 days ago 2 replies      
Android devices are post-pc.
23 points by mooism2 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is one reason I don't have an iPhone. None of my laptops can run iTunes.

(Yes, I know running Ubuntu makes me an outlier, but still.)

4 points by code_duck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do iPads actually let you manage your music without using iTunes on a desktop? I know my iPod doesn't. You can add music to it directly by purchasing in the iTunes store, but not delete music. I can't see any clear reason why, but this restriction must do something for Apple.
8 points by sliverstorm 4 days ago 0 replies      
"post-pc devices" is marketing pitch. He knows it just as well as you.
2 points by suprgeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
The primary reason I have not purchased the iPad is iTunes (the software). It is an abomination on Windows as others have noted and most puzzling is so badly designed that most common consumers make several basic mistakes wile trying to figure it out.
For a company that has "intuitive in their DNA", I find it very strange that a piece of Garbage like iTunes is the crucial bridge between PC and the "Post-PC" products. Something is very wrong somewhere.
2 points by nickpp 4 days ago 6 replies      
Because syncing a 32gb personal collection of music, movies and photos wirelessly takes too long?

Funny I think it's only people without any iTunes purchase complaining about this. The ones enjoying the media capabilities of the iPad, capabilities completely missing from Android, have no complains.

5 points by wriq 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would guess thats one of the motives behind them seeking a deal to get unlimited music downloads for itunes.

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-04/apple-said-to-negot...)

3 points by rbarooah 4 days ago 1 reply      
Post-PC is just a statement about where the growth is. It doesn't mean PCs are suddenly useless or going away.
1 point by mikecarlucci 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think that Steve Jobs himself has already set the groundwork for breaking the ties with (a local computer copy of) iTunes down the road.

Jobs talked about Cars and Trucks. The desktop, and many laptop computers, are trucks. They can do the heavy lifting, converting, number crunching, graphics processing etc. Tablets and smartphones are cars. Calling them "automatic transmission" cars is probably even better. The learning curve is low, the uses are "limited" compared to the trucks but most people don't need a truck for their everyday lives.

The MacBook Air is on the threshold. It's a device that looks like a truck and has the inners of a "sportscar" with a truck-style processor, but the interface of the truck. It's manual transmission but not useful for all truck jobs.

If Apple could ensure that everyone had a data plan maybe they would cut out iTunes. Of course, they still make a nice profit on all those Macs...

2 points by bergie 3 days ago 1 reply      
I bought my iPad from San Francisco last spring, and asked the Apple Store staff to activate it. That was the last time it has been connected to a computer. Calendar and contacts sync nicely from Google, as does email. And Kindle does its own syncing. What else would I need?
4 points by joe_the_user 4 days ago 0 replies      
The iPad - A post-freedom device
1 point by acqq 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I don't understand: Apple makes it very hard to copy the files to the iPad, then expects me to be happy about the possibility to edit movies, which must be copied to the iPad in order to be edited.
1 point by rimantas 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's half way there. Or both ways sans saving to device.
Home Sharing on iOS 4.3 allows to get your music from your computer and play it. AirPlay allows you to upstream media from your device.
I am pretty sure OTA sync is implemented and working somewhere on Infinite Loop.
1 point by thailandstartup 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple is using the popularity of its mobile devices to turn its consumer electronic customers into media distribution customers.

It makes good sense for Apple - an iPad owner is a customer for maybe 3 years, but get the same user locked into iTunes, and that's a multi-decade revenue stream. Media distribution is the real game for Apple.

4 points by joelackner 4 days ago 1 reply      
this is one area that android as an os is better at. it's ready to go out of the box, syncs data from your google account and upgrades the os over the wire.
2 points by mikecane 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only devices that have acted as post-PC out of the box have been running webOS. That's not to say they've been a sterling example, but at least they thought that way from the beginning.
2 points by molecule 4 days ago 0 replies      
As an iPad owner who just ordered a kindle, pre-config'd w/ my amazon account, I wish Apple would fix the must-sync-w/-iTunes problem

1. Allow selection of Mac or Win file-system type during iDevice ordering, default to FAT32 otherwise (3rd party sales, etc.)
2. Configure iDevice w/ ordering account before shipping, or as on-site set-up @ brick & mortar
3. Customers purchase content without syncing their iDevice on PC
4. Profit $$$

1 point by lwhi 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't need to sync with iTunes - you don't need another Apple computer.
1 point by codex 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've always assumed that Apple required wired sync because otherwise syncing would drain the battery unacceptably. USB syncing doesn't use a radio transmitter, but more importantly, USB supplies some power to offset the drain from sync. When battery life improves I expect this requirement to go away.
1 point by davidedicillo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure, but I think in this way Apple also bypass the carries' control over the upgrades (see Android and WP7).
1 point by ericmsimons 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I know it's definitely possible to have it be completely independent. Palm did a fantastic job of having the Pre be completely separate. I have never connected it to my computer and everything is done OTA...updates, app downloads, etc. Apple is just dealing with the original way that iOS was developed. It will take a bit for them to swap everything to OTA :(
1 point by WalterBright 4 days ago 1 reply      
What annoys me is I cannot copy files from my PC to the iPod.
1 point by snoozer 3 days ago 0 replies      
The question strikes me as a link-baiting deliberate obtuseness. If we're in a post-industrial age, why do we still have factories? If my Mac is a "personal" computer, why can other people have accounts on it?

"Post" means "after". It usually connotes some sense of replacement, but does not necessarily imply wholesale obsoleting of the thing that came before it.

I think "post-PC" is a calculated marketing term, but to criticize it based on the most absurd possible interpretation is, well, absurd.

1 point by adsr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Big deal. It's an embedded device just like a gaming console, that some people now use to do things that previously was only possible in the PC domain.
1 point by brackin 4 days ago 0 replies      
You can install pretty much all the files you'd need on the device so you're right. Music, Books, Apps or TV Shows.
1 point by tomelders 4 days ago 0 replies      
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But all in all, it's a tiresome, dull, petty point to raise.
-4 points by marze 4 days ago 1 reply      

- Steve

-4 points by zyb09 4 days ago 1 reply      
If all you ever do is consume digital media, yes the iPad could replace your PC. But PCs are also widley used to produce content, which is something the iPad can't do at all. Where does Apple think all the stuff they sell on iTunes, the AppStore, iBooks comes from? It's not being made on the iPad, thats for sure.
The blind man who taught himself to see mensjournal.com
384 points by philk 6 days ago   84 comments top 24
88 points by tc 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Running into a pole is a drag, but never being allowed to run into a pole is a disaster," he writes. "Pain is part of the price of freedom."

Pain is part of the price of freedom. That's a truth that could use to be applied more widely.

30 points by edw519 6 days ago 4 replies      
Kish figures it would require $15 million to prove whether or not his idea is feasible. He fears he'll never get the opportunity.

Sounds like he needs some real angels, those who measure the success of their investment in something bigger than dollars. How does one go about finding and pitching to them?

20 points by aplusbi 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a teenager who could do the same thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBv79LKfMt4

The video is from when he was 14, he died from cancer at 16.

6 points by zalew 6 days ago 1 reply      
He's not the only one. Here's a documentary about a boy who uses the same technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLziFMF4DHA

I have once seen tests in some popular science tv show. They blindfolded a few people and let them walk in front of a door (or sth like that) to check if they'll stop before they reach it, and somehow they managed to do it. We can use echolocation by nature, we just don't develop this skill.

5 points by stevejohnson 6 days ago 4 replies      
I really enjoyed this article. I do take issue with a couple of sentences:

"We hear in stereo 3-D." This is not true unless we move our heads. We hear in one dimension, left-to-right.

"We hear better than we see." This is an apples-to-monkeys comparison.

13 points by estel 6 days ago 2 replies      
Please please please don't link to pages that open the print dialog :(
4 points by markszcz 6 days ago 0 replies      
"He's tired of being told that the blind are best served by staying close to home..."

Kudos to him. It's amazing how people have the ability to reprogram their bodies in order to break their handicap.

Reminds me of a story "Blind Teen Gamer Obliterates Foes" http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/news/2005/07/68333

6 points by modernerd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Daniel Kish was featured in Derren Brown's 'Misdirection' series. The clip here shows him using echolocation to describe the shape of a car and ride a bike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjFcvixIRxs

'You might think of it like being in a choir or an orchestra... The world is like a living symphony... This car is kind of like an instrument, except that, instead of making its own sound, it's reflecting sounds I'm making.'


3 points by JulianMorrison 6 days ago 0 replies      
This, along with sign language, are things I as a sighted, hearing person want to learn. (Even with fully operational eyes you can't see in the dark, or in smoke. Even with fully operational ears you can't hold a conversation beyond shouting distance.)
6 points by rokhayakebe 6 days ago 3 replies      
How do you "explain" to someone who was born blind that he is "blind"?
4 points by maeon3 6 days ago 2 replies      
Not sure why he wouldn't use this, this seems vastly superior to the system he uses:


1 point by 6ren 5 days ago 1 reply      
Higher frequencies, as bats use, give finer resolution. This seems impossible for humans, but since we have cochlear implants, there's no reason they couldn't respond to a shifted audio spectrum. Or, just have an external hearing aid that frequency-shifts the sounds (and cancels out the original), together with a higher-frequency sound source.

OTOH, eye implants are probably not that far off.

> Just the auditory cortex of a human brain is many times larger than the entire brain of a bat.

This really startled me. It seems plausible that we could do as well, with early training etc. Plus, I imagine that some of the higher-order processing of the occipital cortex would also be seconded.

3 points by peterbotond 6 days ago 0 replies      
my great grandfather gone blind years beofre i was born. when i was 5, he pointed out the birds by kind in flight and distance, and built all kind of house furniture, home repair. strangely to me, he was able to somehow 'see' the tape measure, maybe just he had a keen sense of measures. a few years later, his sight started coming back he said, then he passed. this is not such a great story, just an example the human brain and personal encouragement can go a long way. hats off to mr kish.
2 points by aneth 6 days ago 0 replies      
So incredible. I would love to learn to do this myself - seeing the world with sounds must be so different. If I were a billionaire I'd pay invest that $15M and hope I could learn.
1 point by danssig 5 days ago 0 replies      
>Others, like a commenter on the National Federation of the Blind's listserv, consider him “disgraceful” for promoting behavior such as tongue clicking that could be seen as off-putting and abnormal.

Appalling. Forcing people to be cripple because solving it might be "off-putting" or "abnormal" [1]. Blind people being able to do all the things the sighted can do (and more in some cases) is worth hearing a few clicks now and again.

[1] I say "solving" because Kish doesn't seem to be at a strict disadvantage. He has disadvantages and he has advantages in areas we don't (e.g. finding the way out of a car park, "seeing" around corners, etc.).

1 point by Tichy 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've read such a story about somebody else before (I think it was somebody else - younger, and colored). So it seems the same trick has been invented several times by blind people.

Still very cool.

1 point by whackedspinach 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to learn echolocation without being blind? as a kid, my doctors were worried my deteriorating vision would leave me blind, so I learned Braille (that never happened). I wonder if I could have learned this skill with vision (if your auditory senses weren't compensating for loss of sight).
0 points by Groxx 6 days ago 1 reply      
No more print articles, please. I'm tired of print dialogs popping up, un-asked-for. Use Readability if you don't like the layout.


1 point by jhaglund 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know I've only been thinking about the problem for about an hour, but seems like you could hack together a solution involving a kinect processed to do audio output for a lot less than $15 million. The kinect's range isn't 1000 ft (i think more like 10, tops) but it's a "the future will inevitably upgrade" part. Audio output would be in normal hearing ranges, no surgery required, and could be adaptable to different users.
2 points by baby 6 days ago 2 replies      
What the ? How is this even possible ? Am I the only one doubting the story ?
6 points by mconnors 6 days ago 1 reply      
He's Daredevil!
1 point by moblivu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty amazing. It is quite difficult to understand echolocation since we are able to see, but it is also difficult for him to understand vision since he can't. I think that vision is the lazyiest sense we have, it's too easy and the body have a great potencial to use our senses to the max; we're just not using it.
1 point by tintin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing that his mind adapted so that he in fact sees (the echo as a flash of light). I don't think this is a fake story since what we see happens in the mind, not in our eyes.
1 point by younata 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. What an incredibly uplifting story.
IE6countdown.com " a wolf in sheep's clothing statichtml.com
364 points by Isofarro 5 days ago   143 comments top 23
87 points by maukdaddy 5 days ago replies      
Do geeks always need something to bitch about? Microsoft is at least making an effort to do as most people wish, getting users to upgrade from IE6.
85 points by ghurlman 5 days ago 2 replies      
Sooo... Microsoft links people to Microsoft's browser. This counts as controversy? Shady behavior? Please.
10 points by tommi 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Given that everyone using IE6 is, at best, running Windows XP, and given that Microsoft have stated that IE9 won't be available for pre-Vista SP2 OSs, the most recent version of Internet Explorer they could ever hope to upgrade to is IE8."

unless they upgrade Windows. Which they should.

9 points by akamaka 5 days ago 1 reply      
They're trying to get XP users to upgrade from IE6 to IE8. This is a problem because IE8 is already obsolete.

It would be preferable to encourage people to run pretty much any other browser on XP, because they are all being actively updated with new features.

The point, which doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft-bashing: Don't run this banner on your site.

13 points by walkon 5 days ago 0 replies      
To some extent, it is a good thing that the warning banner is ugly because it will annoy the users, increasing the chances that they'll do something (i.e. upgrade to a newer browser) to get rid of it.
4 points by EnderMB 5 days ago 1 reply      
My bosses aren't the most tech-savy people on the planet, but even they realise that it costs them more to pay their developers to build with IE6 in mind than to simply supply people with IE6 a unstyled page to use.

Developers need to cut the nonsense and just stop supporting IE6 completely. Hell, our sales tripled (three purchases) from IE6 users when we unstyled their pages. In this day and age there is no need to support such out-of-date browsers.

24 points by mtogo 5 days ago 1 reply      
This banner is less ugly and has a choice of multiple browsers: http://www.ie6nomore.com/
4 points by nathanwdavis 5 days ago 0 replies      
> And while you're at it, find a designer friend to create a banner that wont make your users want to poke their eyes out with a stick.

I think that's the idea - startle the IE6 user with a logo that is so atrocious that they give in ("Uncle, uncle, OK, I'll do it!!")

1 point by acabal 5 days ago 0 replies      
I already do this on my own site. Visitors on IE6 get a big warning at the bottom telling them they're using a dangerously out-of-date browser, and provides a link to Firefox first, then IE8 second. Even if I can get just one person to use FF instead of IE, the world will be a better place.
1 point by defroost 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why do Microsoft have such a difficult time, to this day, developing a decent web-browser? With their near infinite financial resources, surely it is no accident that IE has so many issues, uses tons of proprietary code, and doesn't support, for example, the <canvas> tag until IE9.

Like a good capitalist you may argue that MS is not in the business of supporting standards, or it is not their job to make the lives of web developers easier. You'll argue that they are a business, and by locking in companies by using proprietary code, MS is being smart. To this I'd say that Google and Apple aren't exactly running charities yet they manage to produce web browsers that a truly first rate.

7 points by gavreh 5 days ago 0 replies      
The banner is supposed to be ugly - that way people will notice it and not mistake it for part of your beautiful site.
1 point by coverband 5 days ago 1 reply      
With Win7, using Chrome, the site offers IE9 only, not IE8.

I'm quite pleased to be seeing this from MS, no need to be snobby about it and put down IE overall. If it wasn't for the free availability of IE in Windows, we wouldn't be using the web 24 hours of every day.

1 point by abp 4 days ago 0 replies      
And while you're at it, find a designer friend to create a banner that wont make your users want to poke their eyes out with a stick.

Yeah, prettiness, that's what IE 6 users really care for.

1 point by DjDarkman 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is a better way: simply develop your site without hacking it up to work in IE 6, and users will notice the difference eventually.
1 point by EGreg 5 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by slowpoison 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has anybody tested that the banner renders find in IE6 ;-)?
1 point by marckremers 4 days ago 0 replies      
How long until someone plays on this idea and makes one of these warnings that work on any outdated browser, including ie8, and points them to a choice of chrome, opera, firefox etc... has this already been done? I'd so use it on my sites.
1 point by sid_g 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its come to this. That its almost that a company is sorry that it ever made a piece or software like IE6. When people do insane things for a really long time. The next insane move starts to look really sane...
1 point by BasDirks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't design for tech impaired ducks, but if I would I'd refuse to suggest to them an upgrade from one pile of shit to another. Maybe pile of shit 9 will smell less, let's pray.
-1 point by Trufa 5 days ago 0 replies      
That is sooooo Microsofty of them!
-1 point by andrenotgiant 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh, we all know 99% of English-speaking users on IE6 are forced to use it at their workplace. That's going to be so annoying.

Maybe those IE6 Business-users should get their user-agents changed to:
"Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1) - YES I KNOW IE6 IS OLD, TELL MY BOSS"

-4 points by reustle 5 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft agrees with IE6countdown.com - http://twitter.com/Microsoft/status/43753653189885952
-4 points by rbanffy 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is why I registered microsoftcountdown.com. It's not the browser the only thing we need to dump - we need to get rid of the whole company.
Facebook bans Adsense in all applications, driving Google out of Facebook.com facebook.net
353 points by ignifero 4 days ago   147 comments top 24
16 points by DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 4 replies      
Warning: rant ahead (pet topic)

When HTML came out, it was purely academic. People said sure, it's cool, but how could you ever make money from just text with pictures and little links?

Now we have the answer: you create content -- text, video, pictures, games, etc -- that actively interacts with the user. Then, if you're smart, you make it so they have to "visit" your site to see this content, and, once there, they can only see whatever you choose. It's called a walled garden. All is beauty and loveliness. As long as you stay within the walls and don't piss off the gardener.

But this idea of "visiting" a site is only there because people type some text into a navigation bar and the browser loads material from a certain server. There's no reason or law that says I have to type in an address -- or that once I type in an address I am limited to seeing things from one server only. There's not even a reason I should see the information in some certain format or another. Why not type in "weather" and see various weather forecasts put out by various sources? After all, I want weather, not Joe's weather or Amit's weather. With all due respect to Joe and Amit, weather is weather.

Google is already doing this, of course, but only as a gateway. And they've got their own walled garden they're working on. Play by the rules and you'll appear on Google -- exactly where we want and alongside ads we feel are relevant to your page (and ads we make money from)

But what if you took the "location" idea completely away from HTML? Then you wouldn't be "visiting" anybody's site, and there wouldn't be any gardens to build. What if you simply interacted semantically with your computer and it gathered information from various sources and condensed it into plain text for you to consume? Gone would be "site stickiness", "addictive gaming", and "landing pages" and all sorts of other nonsense that's grown up around the idea of internet locations.

You could still consume multimedia and interactive material, of course, but only under terms you set, not terms the various site owners set. Perhaps you would want no ads, or no hyperlinks, or a time limit each day that would be acceptable for you to play games.

This puts the user back in control of their internet activities, the way it should be. It destroys many business models, but the internet is data-based, and it must evolve. I do not want the same internet in 2050 as we have now. It also gets back to the true meaning of HTML -- separating the data from the presentation. The designers of HTML realized that the purpose was structuring the data so that it relevantly linked, not creating a walled amusement park in the form of Facebook.

The curating and presentation of data is inherently a personal matter and best not left to others. We either fix this problem or it will continue to get worse, as recent events keep showing.

43 points by swombat 4 days ago replies      
Somehow people are surprised that Facebook (a company that makes most of its revenues from advertising and is competing for "Top internet dog" spot) and Google (a company that makes most of its revenues from advertising and is competing for "Top internet dog" spot) are not in harmonious agreement when it comes to having each other's ads on their properties.

Seems pretty predictable to me. Facebook will do whatever it needs to win the battle. My commentary here: http://swombat.com/2011/3/5/facebook-predictably-bans-adsens...

32 points by DuncanIdaho 4 days ago 9 replies      
The game is on! Please place your bets!

So now we see who is the real powerhouse and if the Facebook is the Google killer hype lives up to its expectations.

I place my bet on Google, I also see in my crystal ball that Zuckenberg is going to do something so stupid and greedy that he will shadow Rupert Murdoch. And I also divine that this will happen in next 5 years. By 2016 you will see headlines: Facebook is dead, Larry Page reads obituary. Stock options worthless.

9 points by phoboslab 4 days ago 4 replies      
So, who has any experience with one of the allowed Ad Providers[1]? I visited a couple of sites from that list, but most of them don't offer _any_ information of what their rates are, how you get paid (per impression vs. per click) or what their ads look like (I don't want overly distracting, blinking ad banners). That is, without signing up first.

Finding a good ad provider seems to be exceedingly difficult :/

[1] http://developers.facebook.com/adproviders/

15 points by ohashi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I see an arbitrage opportunity! Create ad company, get into facebook list, backfill with Google ads.
9 points by spyrosk 4 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder what would happen if google dropped facebook from their search results in retaliation. At least for tech-savvy users it won't pose a problem, but for the rest it will cause major problems (e.g. the RWW article).
Will it be legal though?
7 points by foobarbazetc 4 days ago 2 replies      
All Google have to do is agree to these terms:


Should be a piece of cake. :)

4 points by eddieplan9 4 days ago 1 reply      
I know i might get downvoted. But, how is this different from places that show a sign saying "no outside drinks or food"? It's not like fb has a monopoly advantage in anything. On the other hand, google has a near monopoly in online ads. This might be a good thing for smaller ads companies.
5 points by plusbryan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This will not end well.
1 point by mkramlich 4 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook lets you use the fruit of their labor for free. Then they do something to encourage revenue growth. But you're free to opt out (you don't have to make a Facebook app, or page, or place ads there, etc.) One may not like it but it's well within their rights to do it. Beggars can't be choosers. And vote with your feet. (And believe me I've hated some of Apple's walled garden decisions too, and yes I'm already voting with my feet there: more webapp-centric and, to lesser extent, Android.)
2 points by suitcase 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is pretty bad form on both sides.

On Facebook's part, they shouldn't be using a "certification process" to try and exclude competitors from making money from their app ecosystem. From what I can tell, the developers trying to make a living creating apps and even the Facebook platform itself can ill afford this sort of disruption right now. This sort of action will hurt the developers who invested in your platform the most.

On the Google side, they should be thinking about how to structure some sort of revshare agreement to help app developers get back to using Adsense and getting on the list of networks blessed for Connect sites.

Concerning arbitrary and unexplained actions, participating in Adsense alone will get you subject to more than a few of them. Consider what will happen to you as a publisher if you share your eCPM or a screenshot of your Adsense account.

And the same thing with advertisers when they have their creatives pulled for no apparent reason.

In other words, both sides use bully tactics when it suits them, and in this case, a peace treaty would probably be more mutually profitable than a prolonged slugfest.

But it's not like corporate egos haven't fueled destructive behavior before...

3 points by thefreshteapot 4 days ago 0 replies      
With the google app store coming into effect with html5 games(and apps), those game creators on fb maybe lured or tempted into trying their games in a new segment. I for one use facebook less and less. Purely as a place to go when I want to communicate with a friend who likes fbmail over email.
1 point by ryanelkins 4 days ago 0 replies      
Google also recently removed Facebook contacts from Android with the Gingerbread 2.3.3 update. Facebook had an exemption up to that point where they played by different rules with regards to how/where contacts are stored when syncing contacts using the Facebook app. It will be interesting to see how this back and forth goes.
1 point by csomar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any official announcement? I feel that Google don't like that their ads are displayed the way most of the Facebook app developers do (with many other ads, driving people to click and very low CPC).
1 point by EGreg 4 days ago 1 reply      
The real question is, does this include websites that simply USE facebook APIs?

If so, it would be extremely uncompetitive :)

1 point by rbanffy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any good experiences with the providers listed?


1 point by moblivu 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's simple all the money passes through Google; they don't have any control.
Now they want to see or even collect some of that money; they want control.

Result, an army of angry developers, Google loses a lot of clients, a war has begun between two of the biggest web companies.

1 point by Slimy 4 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by entrepreneurial 4 days ago 0 replies      
If facebook is going to ban google, it should provide its own revenue possibility for its app dev's.
0 points by originalgeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Poor Google, using up their favors at the DOJ to go after MPEG-LA, when this is a more direct threat to their business, and also more likely to bear fruit in an antitrust probe.
1 point by ScottWhigham 4 days ago 4 replies      
Wait - I must be the only one who doesn't "get it": what does AdSense have to do with Facebook? Can someone explain how AdSense and Facebook advertising worked before The List?
0 points by ddbbcc 4 days ago 1 reply      
It is facebook. What would you expect? It is the same thing if Google didn't allowed facebook in their search results. Both "own" a monopoly and shouldn't be allowed to do such things.
0 points by theturtle32 4 days ago 1 reply      
You guys realize the linked forum thread is from all the way back in 2008? :-)
-4 points by TallGuyShort 4 days ago 0 replies      
There goes the business plan for the 4 "businesses" so far this year that have asked me to build their website that's going to compete with Facebook. That's a shame. They all seemed so talented. </sarcasm>
51 hours left to live reddit.com
319 points by processing 3 days ago   112 comments top 28
30 points by DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 4 replies      
I found this post on reddit uncomfortable, and I'm not sure why.

It's not because of death with dignity -- I'm a big fan. It's not because of not wanting to face my own mortality -- I know death awaits us all, and for me or some others it may come very soon indeed. Who knows when we will die?

But something about it just didn't ring true as something I would want to make happen over and over again. I think perhaps it is the forum and mechanics involved here. Would I want a site where people posted about their deaths and then others voted that post up or down? Then each comment was accordingly ranked? I don't think so.

Your life isn't the same as a news article or a blog entry, and it shouldn't be treated as such. Perhaps there is a site for broadcasting your last words to the world at large, and it sounds like something I would want to visit and participate in, but reddit ain't it.

30 points by billpaetzke 3 days ago 2 replies      
His best quotes:

On life:

Nothing we have is worth hurting anyone else for. It's all fleeting, people. Stop seeing race, color, sex, religion, etc... They're all just people, and if you try to love them you won't lose anything.

On suicide (of an otherwise healthy person):

It's not living that's failed him, it's life. We can always change our life as long as were living.

On regret:

Yes, one. I bought my high school sweetheart an engagement ring and never gave it to her. Life happened, meaning I was dumb. I went in the military after a dumb fight and... yeah just one.

On fear:

What long term risk is there in saying hello? I can't find any. Worst case is you get some possessive asshole that thinks your hitting on his sister, and you get a black eye. Total pain and shame lasts maybe a month. Meeting the right girl though lasts forever. So you tell me, would you trade a month of shame for a life of happiness?

21 points by jedsmith 3 days ago 4 replies      
> 12,588 up votes 10,018 down votes

That's a fascinating look at peoples' reactions to this. A reminder of mortality split right down the middle.

12 points by holdenc 3 days ago 1 reply      
For some reason I am reminded for Steve Jobs' Stanford graduation speech when he says "you will die one day." In the video, it seems to roll off the audience as a cliche. But, it seems to have tempered much of his career with fearlessness, and the willingness to take risks.


14 points by old-gregg 3 days ago 1 reply      
The most shocking to me was this quote:
"I don't have a home, it was consumed in medical bills."
10 points by Mz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Someone on HN once suggested I do an AMAA on Reddit. I didn't get it. This post makes me want to do one.

I wish Lucidending well. My impetus has nothing to do with "rebutting" the idea of right to die. I got well in part because I stopped trying to live. At one time, my whole goal was to just hurt less. Suicide would have been gladly welcomed, so I understand why one would do that. I just think it's sad that this is what conventional medicine has to offer.

Of course, I completely suck at starting conversations and can't think of a Reddit handle to use.:-/ So this may never fly.

17 points by j4pe 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Why do ordinary thoughts gain such credibility just because their source is dying?"

I feel a bit guilty for thinking like this while reading the thread. Maybe a raw vision of mortality makes us emotional, less cynical, and we're more receptive as a result. Maybe we look to last words as an encapsulation of a person's life philosophy, as if they became wiser in the knowledge of imminent death. Or maybe an overly detached analysis is just another reaction to a reminder that we're going to die.

8 points by dustingetz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I felt compelled to collect his responses.


11 points by dralison 3 days ago 0 replies      
What does this have to do with startups? If you're an entrepreneur there are times you wonder how you can get through the tough times. This post helps put that into perspective.

Most profound thoughts I think I've ever read on the interwebs. Hard for me not to get emotional reading through them.

3 points by davidedicillo 3 days ago 1 reply      
That thread provoked two distinct reactions in me. One was I shouldn't spend more the necessary at my desk working, when there's is an entire world out there to live and experience because you never know when the day will come. The other is I want to really accomplish what I'm working hard for, so that I could feel like I succeed in my goals.
4 points by georgieporgie 3 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't it a bit odd that everyone takes this at face value? Doesn't it seem like a bit of a fantastic story to appear on Reddit on Saturday? I'm suspicious that people are having their emotions toyed with for someone's entertainment.
9 points by fecklessyouth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy HN commentary about Reddit. It's like an audit--a smaller, more focused group offering insight about all the stuff that goes on in the bigger group.
1 point by soulclap 1 day ago 0 replies      
just wanted to say 'thank you' for submitting this.

the amount of love in the comments is overwhelming. (and it might be a naive and inappropriate thing to say but it's odd that it takes 'facing death' in order to gather that amount of love on the webs. or wherever.)

1 point by runjake 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel saddened but fortunate this person shared their last days on Earth with a bunch of us strangers. I've done a lot of reflecting on what was said & discussing it with my family, one of whom (my mother) having terminal cancer herself. We faced a lot of uncomfortable issues honestly after we had read the thread.

I avoid Reddit these days, but this is gold. I'm indebted to this man/woman for their effect on my life. This person will leave strong echoes in the world after their passing.

1 point by elliottcarlson 3 days ago 0 replies      
He just created a second thread within the last 10 minutes:


1 point by Jach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Made a reddit throwaway to ask why he's not on a cryonics plan, I wonder if he'll reply.
5 points by edo 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by camdykeman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was going to write on this yesterday but decided not to at the last minute for whatever reason. At that time there were 4 comments on this post. Between then and now there have been an additional 104.
Whether you approve of the post or not, I think we can all agree that there is value to be found in the level of response it has received. Maybe the post is appropriate, maybe its not. But its gotten people talking about something we often try to ignore and in that sense I cant help but appreciate it.
1 point by charlesju 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is way too sad for Sunday morning. I wish you the best if you read HN.
3 points by whateverer 3 days ago 1 reply      
And CISCO predicts that in 2011 30,864.50 Petabytes of data will be transmitted in the Internet, among which will be your 176-character message. Why are we discussing this again?
1 point by resdirector 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just an observation, the difference between Hacker News and reddit, in this instance, is stark.
7 points by swankpot 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is AMA?
1 point by csomar 3 days ago 2 replies      
Really sad, it made me think that I'm going to die in some unknown day and circumstances...
0 points by statictype 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like downvoting this post simply because it's so depressing. I think I just shot the rest of my day.
0 points by mkramlich 3 days ago 0 replies      
way off-topic post for HN. halfway to pictures of kittens.
1 point by louislouis 2 days ago 0 replies      
only in death are you truly free.
-4 points by rick_2047 3 days ago 7 replies      
Okey this is ridiculous!!!! First the guy who patches a software with Morse code and then this guy who would rather have a AMA with strange people before he dies. News flash people, there are actual human beings around you who you should talk to rather than computers or an anonymous crowd you do not know.
Sleep is more important than food hbr.org
321 points by panarky 12 hours ago   133 comments top 27
85 points by winestock 11 hours ago replies      
Schools such as Caltech and MIT have rigorous curricula that proverbially requires constant study every day of the week just to stay in the middle of the pack. Naturally, most students cut back on sleep. Proponents of this approach are aware of this, even boast about it, saying that this is the best way to learn the material.

On the other hand, numerous studies -- including the link at the top of this page -- conclude that this is the worst way to get anything done.

They can't both be right.

15 points by jonmc12 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised this article is at the top of HN. 1) It is not the announcement of a research study, rather it is just referencing previous hbr blogs and sleepfoundation.org's general guidelines for sleep. 2) It offers no unique advice. 3) The title is basic linkbait (ie, its not really about food vs sleep).

Why the upvotes? is it because everyone is tired?

8 points by nopassrecover 11 hours ago 2 replies      
"So how much sleep do you need? When researchers put test subjects in environments without clocks or windows and ask them to sleep any time they feel tired, 95 percent sleep between seven and eight hours out of every 24. Another 2.5 percent sleep more than eight hours."

The broken link there is meant to point to (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-m...) and I can't spot where it mentions this study.

In any case, you put me in a room with no clock or windows (and presumably no serious stimuli as it's likely to influence the results) and I can bet you I'll sleep twice as much - out of pure boredom.

6 points by ylem 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I have mixed feelings about this. I'm someone who sleeps on average 6 hours/night. When I have experiments, then I sometimes drop down to 4 hrs/night. I've found that I can manage with 4 hrs/night for about a week (it has gotten a bit harder with age)--BUT I know that I'm not as effective or creative when dealing with such little amounts of sleep. I also know that I'm more prone to make errors and try to develop habits so that I do the "right thing (TM)" when I'm too tired to think (it's like martial arts where you train reflexes...). I also try to know when to throw in the towel and just go home because if I stay I'm likely enough to make a mistake that will cost me more time in the end, or I need sleep so that I can think about something.

However, in normal running mode, 6 hrs (as long as I'm getting exercise) feels normal to me and it's what I sleep even without an alarm unless I'm recovering from severe sleep deprivation (I don't drink coffee and generally just drink tea when I really need to stay awake...). What are other people's experiences? Somehow the dark room scenario in the article seems unrealistic. I do agree that for creative work that more sleep (in my case 6 hr/night) seems necessary--but if I find myself sleeping longer (like say 9 hrs), then I just end up feeling more tired...

6 points by giu 11 hours ago 4 replies      
A tool I've been using for the past days: http://sleepyti.me/

I'm currently testing it. The last two days I went to bed at a time which the tool suggested; getting up wasn't much of an issue, and I felt some improvements, but it's definitely too early to say that it works for me.

2 points by nostrademons 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I totally agreed with the headline, but the evidence in the article doesn't really support it. You might as well say that water is more important than sleep, because you die if you go more than about 3 days without water. The length of time your body can go without something has little relation to how your body acts when deprived of small amounts of that thing, or how it acts when faced with short-term, quickly corrected deficiencies.

Heck, breathing is more important than all those things. Go without it for 4 minutes and you're dead. However, many people recommend controlling and slowing your breathing as a way to relax. Is that breathing deprivation?

2 points by sp4rki 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I am guessing that the 2.5% that needs under 8 hours of sleep is composed mainly of people in the tech industry. If I sleep under 5 hours I feel a bit groggy all morning, but if I sleep more than 6 ~ 6 1/2 hours, I feel like utter shit all day long. Incredibly, I was speaking about this same topic with some fellow coworkers and 5 (counting myself) out of 7 felt the same. It might be that they're bullshitting me or maybe the statistics are wrong, but the lack of sleep (as in the people that actually need less daily sleep, not the one's that do so because of lack of 'time') seems to have a correlation with professions that require staring at a screen all daylong. Anyways, in my experience, the number of people that need less than 8 hours of sleep is hugely over 2.5% of the population.
8 points by amitraman1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sleep rocks! I am in the 2.5% that sleep 8 hours or more. I am much more productive during the day as a result. I am alert, my brain spins faster and I can take on more challenges. My friend is a superstar scientist/M.D. and he sleeps 9 or more hours a day.

The "executives" who sleep < 7 hours need to fine a hour more. If I was a board member, I'd insist my C-level team sleep 8 hours!

4 points by matthodan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone ever successfully sued a company for sleep deprivation? I know investment banks are notorious for requiring junior staff to work without sleep, lest they lose their bonus (or worse).
3 points by briandoll 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in a more anthropological perspective on sleep and its importance, check out "Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival" (http://www.amazon.com/Lights-Out-Sleep-Sugar-Survival/dp/067...)
4 points by brd 11 hours ago 6 replies      
"Sleep is important" has been a recurring theme for the last couple of years but I am one of the few that don't buy into it at all. Maybe I fall into the 2.5% but if I sleep 8+ hours I feel overslept and groggy. I function moderately to exceptionally well on 6 hours of sleep and often times end up getting more like 3-5 hours of sleep.

I've read articles about high functioning executives that barely sleep at all and seen studies about less sleep improving lifespan along with all the standard sleep is so important articles. I think its safe to say the jury is still out on this subject and keep hoping it doesn't continue to over saturate the news/science pipeline for much longer. Until there is a definitive answer you'll continue hearing me say "sleep is overrated".

5 points by gordonbowman 8 hours ago 5 replies      
I was hoping to see some sleep hacks in the comments here. The author cites a few in the article:

1) Naps
2) Go to bed earlier
3) Start winding down at least 45 minutes before
4) Write down what's on your mind

Does anyone here have any other sleep hacks to share?

2 points by orijing 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Something I observed from reading the comments here:

A lot of us can function on much fewer hours of sleep regularly and don't believe it adversely affects our performance (It does affect mine though). Does anyone think there may be some selection going on here?

What I mean is, perhaps it's true that HN's distribution is more skewed toward the side of people who need less sleep (and hence has more productive hours in the day) and are willing to sleep less in order to get things done. Maybe we don't really represent the general population.

Just a warning in case anyone takes our testimonials too seriously.

1 point by Jach 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Just take some melatonin and force yourself to sleep in 30 minutes. (Plus it makes 7 hours feel like 8 hours.)

If you're still unconvinced: http://www.gwern.net/Melatonin.html

5 points by Splatchar 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sleep may be more important than food but, interestingly, there seems to be a relationship between sleep and food. When fasting, less sleep is required. However, when sleep is curtailed, there is a greater desire for food.
2 points by TorbjornLunde 5 hours ago 2 replies      
“If you leave items in your working memory, they'll make it harder to fall asleep, and you'll end up ruminating about them if you should wake up during the night.”

Avoiding thinking about things when you go to bed is something I am struggling quite a bit with. I will sure try out to write down my thoughts.

Any other advice to avoid your mind thinking too much when it should be winding down?

1 point by miles 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently not for everyone:

Ngoc Thai: The Man Who Doesn't Sleep

2 points by kgtm 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish there was a way for me to sleep less than 9 hours. At least now i have a great excuse for people calling me lazy. I am special!
3 points by JoeAltmaier 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey! Put me in a locked room with no windows and no clocks, and I'll sleep 7 hours too - out of boredom.
1 point by jmulho 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> I still take the overnight "redeye" from California to New York, but I'm asleep by takeoff --even if takes an Ambien.

Seriously? I bought the guy's argument up until that point.

1 point by mikecarlton 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't think straight because you're too tired? !Try a power nap! A 15 minutes nap in the afternoon (use the timer on your iphone to not oversleep) and you'll be good as new.
1 point by mhitza 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I was suffering from insomnia for almost 6 days last December, it was an experience, but not one I would ever like to happen again.
0 points by jcromartie 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Subtext: we're torturing Bradley Manning.
1 point by atrevisan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't Red Bull the same thing as sleep?
0 points by webuiarchitect 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is obvious to notice that, this is yet another useless research stat.

Everything is equally important for life to survive, breathing, drinking water, food, sleep, exercise. How does it matter if breathing is more important that exercise? It is common sense; you obviously breath more than you do exercise.

-4 points by mrspandex 10 hours ago 0 replies      
People say that you'll die... faster than without water
but we know it's just a lie
Scare your son, scare your daughter
-2 points by emilyjp 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For more information about how to adjust your schedule so that you can fit in the essential 7-8 hours of sleep, why powering down before sleep is so critical and how to do it, and the secret to falling back sleep when you wake up and begin ruminating, register for Tony Schwartz' webinar, Sleep or Die, on March 22 at 1pm EST. Sign up at https://theenergyproject.webex.com/theenergyproject/onstage/...
Google finally has a 404 page that isn't ugly google.com
307 points by ladon86 7 days ago   106 comments top 24
27 points by siddhant 7 days ago 3 replies      
I liked the older one better - http://www.google.com/tisp/notfound.html

You might have typed the URL incorrectly, for instance. Or (less likely but certainly plausible) we might have coded the URL incorrectly. Or (far less plausible, but theoretically possible, depending on which ill-defined Grand Unifying Theory of physics one subscribes to), some random fluctuation in the space-time continuum might have produced a shatteringly brief but nonetheless real electromagnetic discombobulation which caused this error page to appear.

33 points by kgermino 7 days ago 0 replies      
A part of me is sad about this. The old page functioned just fine and acted as a relic of the old Internet. I thought it was kind of cool how they left it alone, especially since it served it's purpose just fine without costing anything. Not that I'm denying it was ugly as all hell :)
18 points by bradgessler 7 days ago 4 replies      
Google has been really been stepping up their design over the past few months. I really like the subtle tweaks they made to the top bar across all google pages:


45 points by tnorthcutt 7 days ago 1 reply      

   <title>Error 404 (Not Found)!!1</title>

13 points by andrewingram 7 days ago 5 replies      
Given the size of Google, I wonder if there was a whole team tasked with this development. A 404 page for a company as big as Google is an awfully big responsibility for just one person :)

To be honest, I prefer the idea of a more intelligent 404 page. You'd think Google would have sufficient horsepower to make a good guess at what you might have been trying to find.

25 points by nathan82 7 days ago 4 replies      
View the source. All the css is inlined, the images are base64 encoded, and there's no closing tag. That's one efficient 404!
4 points by jeffbarr 7 days ago 1 reply      
> "That's all we know."

Not true. They know the sub-domain and the path. Either or both could be used to do something more intelligent.

7 points by joetek 7 days ago 1 reply      
So, the new 404 page isn't really useful. They could maybe add some links to help people find what they were looking for.

Maybe someone at Google should take a look at these very helpful tips on what to include on a 404 page:


2 points by dmaz 7 days ago 0 replies      
The response says the server is "sffe". It seems to be used for static web hosting on android.com and providing HTTP error codes for other sites. I'm guessing it's running on the edge servers, but Google hasn't publicized what it is, that I could find.
2 points by marcamillion 6 days ago 0 replies      
So what is the key take away here ?

When you launch, as a matter of fact for the first 10 years, having a clever error page is not a "MUST-have".


Btw, this comment is just as much for me as for the next guy.

3 points by kordless 7 days ago 2 replies      
Check out ours: http://loggly.com/404
8 points by kaisdavis 7 days ago 0 replies      
And the page doesn't include a search bar?
1 point by rlmw 7 days ago 0 replies      
Does it matter whether 404 pages are ugly or not? I mean its a nice experience for a confused user, but I'd frankly rather it made suggestions as to similar urls that might exist, where possible.
1 point by gohat 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is nice, but more developed, cutesy ones with animals and such are all the rage. Maybe they should ask the guy at The Oatmeal comic if he'd be willing to help; he did the Tumblr one for free iirc and it's fairly awesome.
1 point by alanh 7 days ago 0 replies      
Awkward verbiage.
1 point by moblivu 7 days ago 0 replies      
Haha, a nice simple error page! Still, nothing beats that one http://www.abovetopsecret.com/404.html
1 point by joshmanders 7 days ago 0 replies      
Love it. Especially the changes they have been making. Keeping Google's signature simplicity, but also adding a little modern look. to it.

Kudos to Goog.

1 point by kamdar 7 days ago 0 replies      
Google should at least put search bar on 404 error page. Isn't that the most basic thing?
1 point by viviensin 6 days ago 0 replies      
I thought "That's all we know." is cute because this is probably the only moment in Google's history to admit not being able to find/ know the reason why as a superpower search engine! =)
1 point by ewanr 7 days ago 0 replies      
"That's all we know." but is it 'useful' ?
0 points by nicklovescode 7 days ago 0 replies      
that page also has no body tag
1 point by mikeivanov 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is that Salo?
-4 points by nitinsingla 7 days ago 1 reply      
yea typo in the title !!1,
-4 points by absconditus 7 days ago 1 reply      
Who cares? What interesting discussion is there to be had about this?
How rich kids already won the career game michaelochurch.wordpress.com
290 points by violetmae 2 days ago   263 comments top 42
70 points by zeemonkee 2 days ago replies      
"I believe my generation will overthrow the arbitrary and brutal authority of corporate capitalism and bigoted conservatism in favor of rationalistic, libertarian socialism driven by a scientific approach and a concern for universal social justice."

That's what my generation believed. And my parents' generation. And their parents....read some literature from 100 years ago, for example by the Fabians or other socialist writers. This little blasted thing called human nature always seems to screw things up....

Regarding the main point of the OP, I have a counterexample. I have a friend whose career has never taken off, who usually gets fired after a few months, and has never acquired any useful skills beyond blustering self-confidence. Why ? His father is a multi-millionaire who has arranged every job he's had, and bailed him out of every financial difficulty. He's never had to work a day in his life and has absolutely no ambition or drive.

That's not saying all rich kids suffer from what you might call the George W. Bush syndrome - but taking away the need to make money can also make people over-confident and lazy.

28 points by pg 2 days ago 4 replies      
The career game is not nearly as important now as it was a couple decades ago, though. Now you can easily opt to be judged directly by market, by starting your own company. Customers don't know or care what your social origins are.
35 points by michaelchisari 2 days ago 2 replies      
Much of this essay is based on the idea of social capital,


I've found a lot of people, especially in the upper- and upper-middle classes, often deny the importance of social capital, but I find it to be very important.

Someone from wealth can lose all of their money, and still have the social capital necessary the maintain their class status.

49 points by ShabbyDoo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Of the 100+ comments so far, relatively little has been said about the benefit to one's career of knowing upper class (or even just upper middle class) social rules. I'm not referring to the obvious ones like which fork to use at a restaurant but rather to the more subtle ones like what constitutes appropriate small talk. A 23 year-old from any socio-economic background might not have sufficient knowledge to contribute in a particular high-level meeting with a client. However, the kid from the upper class background is more likely to have proven in subtle ways that he is unlikely to be an embarrassment. So, the upper SES kid gets to attend the meeting as a learning experience. That the kid might be able to relate socially to the client (I went to Ivy XYZ with your neighbor's son, etc.) is icing on the cake.
61 points by scrrr 2 days ago 3 replies      
Exactly same dynamics as in dating: If you appear like you've been single for a year, you'll have a difficult time. If you look like you just came back from the bedroom of a runway model you'll be surrounded by women.

The key here is attitude. While your upbringing influences that, you can always make a choice to be the relaxed rich kid. Even if your parents' income says differently.

30 points by ShabbyDoo 2 days ago 3 replies      
When I used to interview a lot of college kids, I found that I could guess accurately within a few minutes of conversation which had lived in a dorm/frat house/whatever and which had lived at home while going to college. The differences in social skills and worldliness/perspective were immense. Was this due to the effects of being surrounded by a bunch of relatively ambitious young people or was it due to the socio-economic selection bias inherent in the decision to live at home while attending school? Although I have read nothing to back up this claim, I presume that there is a positive correlation between high family income and the decision to go "away" for college. Living with one's parents implies going to a local college/university vs. the one which is a tight fit with one's goals. Also, it seems that those kids who live at home socialize with their local friends who, more often than not by virtue of still living in the town where they grew up, are less ambitious and worldly. Causation is hard to tease out, but correlation is definitely present, at least based on my sampling from doing college interviewing in the Cleveland area (another cause of selection bias, of course).
42 points by grammaton 2 days ago 5 replies      
"The difference is that children of wealth traverse it at a height of one meter over a mattress, while the middle-class and poor traverse it at a height of 20 meters over a lava pit."

I notice no one is commenting on this part. Namely, that for children of financial privilege, the risk/reward ratio for a career is markedly skewed compared to their middle class peers.

27 points by hartror 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think this article is preaching to the wrong crowd here on HN. A entrepreneur is by definition an upstart, an usurper who is out to break the conventions. You can't do this by being a quite yes man.

That said what percentage of entrepreneurs, successful or not come from rich backgrounds? This article's ideas would apply two fold to the startup arena where you cannot get anywhere simply by running on the hamster wheel.

25 points by ig1 2 days ago 4 replies      
Maybe it's different in the US, but in the UK there's no statistical difference between earnings 3.5 years after university graduation due to parental background once you adjust for university/degree subject.

(children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to go into good universities or study high-earning subjects, but if they do then they'll earn as much as their better off peers)

15 points by numeromancer 2 days ago 0 replies      
He missed some of the other reasons a son-of-a-rich is more likely to have it better in the workplace: experience with business. A SOR is more likely to have grown up around people who talk the talk of high finance, and have friends with the same experience. They are more comfy with those in the business, and those in the business are more comfy with them, because they can speak the same language.

My father worked in a factory, as a member of a union, and I grew up not having the first clue about how the market or business works.

In technical fields, those who grow up in the middle class probably know someone with intricate technical knowledge, and who is a master of their art, even if it is a mechanic, electrician or HVAC repairman, and have picked up at least the feel of the technical jargon from them.

Slightly related, on This American Life over the week-end, they interviewed several people who work in finance at some of the firms who were bailed out by TARP, and they all swore that they had their high-paying job because of their superior talent, and deserved to get payed their tax-payer inflated salaries because they were smarter than most other people. They all complained that Pres. Obama was a meanie to big businesses, trying to tell them what to do and all, and should just leave them alone.

16 points by watty 2 days ago replies      
This was an whiny and awful post about "life isn't fair". The socially outgoing and confident worker will always outperform his socially awkward counterpart of equal intelligence. It doesn't matter that he came from a wealthy family, what matters is he has MORE skills. It isn't discrimination until you start hiring the less wealthy (with less skills) because of the fact that they're less wealthy.
17 points by clueless123 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a citizen of both worlds, I'll say the authors story rings very true. When I first came to the US, I did totally entitled from years of being upper class in a small third world country.. it took me several years to realize that I was now a very small fish in a huge pond where opportunities didn't just materialized for you and problems easily faded away.

20 years later I find myself moved up to a pretty good on that big pond mainly because of good opportunities in the tech industry but I would strongly agree with the author that a lot of that success was achieved through the Mojo that a complete lack of fear of failure gives you.

15 points by Tycho 2 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr: people with FU Money perform better in their jobs

I suppose on the other hand you have to consider that rich kids have less motivation to succeed than middle/lower class people, if they already have all the material things they can realistically desire

(the article also didn't site any studies to back up its statistics or claims, so you have to take it at face value)

18 points by CaptainDecisive 2 days ago 3 replies      
The article seems to me a just-so story. The author might be ignorant of the rich kids who end up as drug addicts or at the very least entirely economically unproductive simply because they can. They've got nothing to loose by not kowtowing to the bosses but nothing to gain by working hard either as they've already got everything laid on a plate for them.

However I think there often is something different in the attitudes of people with rich and poor upbringings. But from the article the kid whose parents earn $125,000 and who was bright and went to a top tier school will likely have all the doors open to him and the self confidence to take advantage of it. Any attitude difference above that level of income is mostly accounted for by individual personality and intelligence. Someone however who was born to a working class family and grew up surrounded by people in blue collar jobs might not have the confidence or social network to climb as high. Or at least the path is noticeably steeper.

And on a personal note, I disagree with the comment
"He has the right air about him, and the same freedom from anxiety and free-flowing creative energy of a college student because, for him, college (i.e. the time of life in which most middle-class peoples' lives peak) never ended."
At university things were just starting to get really fun. I'm mid thirties now and looking forward to the fun that's around the corner. Not only is the glass half full, but it's champagne and the cute waitress is coming round with refills.

12 points by yurylifshits 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see the similar dynamics between American citizens and immigrant workers. Immigrants, in general, are more risk-averse. They do not want to lose a work visa or to disrupt the green card process. As a result, they become yes-men and avoid challenging and unsolicited projects. Of course, it is not always the case, but I feel that in general Americans have some psychological advantage in career advancement.
14 points by Eliezer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow did that last paragraph ruin the article.
15 points by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR - Self-confidence makes a difference to success in life. People who come from privileged backgrounds naturally exude confidence.
11 points by TGJ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow does this ring true to me. I'm working at wal-mart for gas money while going to college. I had a customer call and complain and I had to go talk to management. Such a scary ordeal since I need this job. I have nothing to fall back on, with no gas money, no degree. My fate is in their hands and that is the most sickening feeling I've ever had. But this is temporary. When I'm done with college, wal-mart customers are going to get a piece of my mind since I won't be worrying about getting fired.

The guy is right, when you have everything to lose at the slightest mistake, you don't take chances.

7 points by rdouble 2 days ago 3 replies      
This seems totally fictional. If the deck was really so stacked, why would a super rich kid be working as an entry level analyst with the plebes in the first place?
6 points by Symmetry 2 days ago 2 replies      
Yes, being rich can make you confident which can do well for your career. But there are plenty of other unfair advantages that also bring confidence, like height or good looks. And then there are really horribly unfair things like intelligence.
8 points by rickdangerous1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll always hire a middle class guy with something to prove over an ivy leaguer. The fire in the belly is what resonates with me the most. They work harder and don't take success for granted.
2 points by chegra 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the problems lies in trying to control something out of our locus of control. We can't control the rich having an advantage, so much thoughts shouldn't be given to such matters[as related to personal advancement, not social]. What's within our control[concern] we have the quality of our work, how much we take initiate, building a social network etc.

I find the author built a prison for himself by attacking the problem through an avenue he has no control over.

7 points by scott_s 2 days ago 0 replies      
Using an anecdote as data is bad enough. Using a madeup anecdote is even worse.
18 points by donohoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
{citation needed}
3 points by zmitri 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's unfortunate that they mention rich, yet don't mention the advantage of coming from an entrepreneurial family. Whether rich or not, if your parent is self-employed or an entrepreneur it will have a huge impact on how you take on corporate jobs versus someone who's parents didn't start their own company.
3 points by BrandonM 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never realized how poor I was until I started seeing articles like this. Growing up in rural Ohio, my dad made something like $15-20K to support a family of 5. It's a completely different world for someone who has a $40K+ student loan and a substantial amount of credit card debt hanging over him the day he's done with college.
2 points by nazgulnarsil 2 days ago replies      
"I believe my generation will overthrow the arbitrary and brutal authority of corporate capitalism and bigoted conservatism in favor of rationalistic, libertarian socialism driven by a scientific approach and a concern for universal social justice."

so, did you just take poli-sci to learn buzzwords and impress dumb chicks? I'm guessing you failed to comprehend any of the material. Before you call a fortune 500 company a "brutal authority" you might want to READ A FUCKING BOOK.

5 points by trooon 2 days ago 0 replies      
"rich kids don't fear the boss."

So true. And if you start acting like a boss, you'll start being treated like one. Of course, this is a tricky business (as Michael mentions), and a lot depends on your role and the company's culture. But with the right approach, a mix of social skills and "knowing your stuff", it's possible. Especially in the field of technology.

3 points by njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you are so "controlled" by your generalized/stereotyped upbringing you don't deserve to lead/manage.
1 point by enduser 2 days ago 0 replies      
This specifically has to do with fear, social fear, and how it plays out in the workplace and in one's relationships.

You cannot change your social background, but you can choose to recognize and transcend fear. You can treat everybody respectfully as a social equal regardless of your background.

Meditation helps.

1 point by petervandijck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rich family drives 5-year old to doctor's visit. Mom: "Remember honey, you can ask the doctor anything you want, and if he does something you don't like just tell him no."

Poor family drives 5-year old to doctor's visit. Mom: "Remember honey, be respectful and do as the doctor says. And be quiet or there will be trouble."

From an actual study.

1 point by johngalt 2 days ago 0 replies      
You're right it's hopeless and unfair. We are all losers that should stop trying immediately. We should spend our time wishing for impossible utopian communism that will somehow arbitrarily add fairness. Then we can complain that we aren't as tall as other people, or as strong.

Or we could act like winners. Turn the tables and determine where life is unfair in your favor and play that game, or at least push the game closer to that direction. Rich kids are pushed into certain roles/behaviors as well. There are risks that they fear that you do not.

1 point by presidentender 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am fearless because I was poor and it ain't so bad. Being born middle-class must suck.
1 point by ecaradec 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another explication might be that rich kid not needing a job, do the right thing instead of the boss thing as they work lending them more opportunity.

'Linchpin' by Seth Godin defends this thesis that the job market has changed and that opportunities are given to (or taken by) the one that don't follow the rules.

The beginning of the article is nice, but the end nearly fall in fatalism. Saying that a sociological and behavioral issue is unsurmountable if you're not in the right dispositions first is just incredibly wrong. The world is changed by people doing things everyday even if the stars are never aligned; waiting a scientific approach to the world is very, very useless and a bit frightening too.

1 point by giardini 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be better to attempt to cast these ideas in an evolutionary biological framework rather than in a typical static classical rich-poor, capitalist-marxist, liberal-conservative values framework that we use in voting? Might something more closely approximating the truth be revealed by doing so?
1 point by ozziegooen 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's not where you are. It's where you're going.

I liked this article, but my experiences have been different. From what I've seen, it seems like broad career choice is also incredibly significant; and that's something rich kids often get wrong (from the perspective of an entrepreneur). They want to have happy lives in prestigious jobs, and there lies the problem. They want stability instead of the ability to change something.

Now I'm studying abroad, and have met up with a bunch of rich kids. They all want to party. Sure, if I get a job with them it's possible they'll do better than me. So I won't get a job with them.

Let's look at the top entrepreneurs right now. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. All of them were well-to-do but weren't rich. But that didn't matter for them at the time. Because their ambition was far more powerful than their income.

1 point by mikecane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend Lubrano's book: Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047126376...
2 points by keytweetlouie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have any evidence or case studies to back up your claim? That rich kids earn more than middle class kids on average?
1 point by MatrixBai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, rich kids already take the whole world. I know this far before because I'm a Chinese lives in China Mainland. I'm not sure what's the real career game in western country, but I know the Chinese one. Rich kids inherit everything from their parents the most important thing is social relations which is very important in China.Other kids work for them. That's it.
1 point by VaedaStrike 1 day ago 0 replies      
The idea that rich kids are more liberated is wrong headed. It's'simply myopic. There's'not even an attempt to explore the inherent advantages of the "other."

Insight a rich kid can never have being merely one of dozens that shot into my fatigued head.

1 point by michaelochurch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. I'm thrilled that this essay has received so much attention. I went from 50 pageviews per day, on average, to 20,000 in one day. I'm very busy with work and I don't have time for a point-by-point reply to everyone, even though there are a lot of great comments here and many deserve replies. I just don't think I will get to it in a timely fashion.

To address some of those critiques, last night I wrote a follow up to this essay here: http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/follow-up-on-... .

-3 points by usejoy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Holly Crap. People that go around here don't question capitalism. They dream to sell their souls to the highest bidder. And than when water and food are so crappy (because of the corporate masters) they will give all money to health corporations.
Oh my....
Everyone thinks they're hiring the top 1% joelonsoftware.com
281 points by niyazpk 6 days ago   105 comments top 27
52 points by edw519 6 days ago 4 replies      
In fact, one thing I have noticed is that the people who I consider to be good software developers barely ever apply for jobs at all.

Good point. The best developers I ever hired were (a) already working, (b) not looking, (c) referred, and (d) without a current resume.

Therefore, the people who I consider to be good software developers probably don't have a current resume.

Therefore, the top 1% of good software developers probably don't have a current resume.

Therefore, if you have a pile of current resumes, it probably includes none of the top 1% of good software developers.

Therefore, if you're hiring from current resumes, your probably not hiring the top 1%.

[The only thing worse than sloppy probability and statistics is sloppy logic. But that's OK, because I'm not in the top 1% of either.]

39 points by patio11 6 days ago 4 replies      
This is one of my favorite Joel articles. The conclusion is relevant to us both as business owners and job seekers: any publicly available job will get spammed to death with offal, accordingly, the best jobs and the best candidates for jobs will both be placed privately.

I literally have not had a resume since I read this, with the exception of a pro-forma one to give my ex-job so that they could pretend I was hired on the basis of what was written on my resume as opposed to, say, hired as a favor to a vendor who owed me a favor. We brought the resume to the job interview that happened after the decision had been made to employ me.

43 points by agentultra 6 days ago 2 replies      
What I like about the concept of the mythical "top 1%" is that every company must hire only these cream-of-the-crop developers.

It's quite presumptuous to believe that you could convince someone with a PhD in CS and probably at least a bachelors in Math to work on your web application. This is someone who could literally be considered in the top 1%: think Norvig, Sussman, etc. The truly great programmers who taught the rest of us everything we know. Let's be realistic -- your company may be innovative and fresh in the marketplace, but the technical challenges you're likely to face are hardly interesting to these sorts of programmers at the stratosphere of technical achievement.

My advice would be to forget about hiring the top 1%. What you're really looking for is someone who is serious about the job and has their head on straight. Someone with practical sensibilities and whose ambitions align with the goals of your company. It doesn't take a genius CS PhD to do good work.

42 points by joe_the_user 6 days ago 2 replies      
One great take-down of this kind of thing.

Another point to consider is that there's more to people than just good or bad. Sure, some people just don't have the skills they need. But there are a lot of situations where someone can be great at one job and terrible at another depending on the fit.

The posturing about "the 1%", "A-players" and so-forth misses the idea that you want an optimal team, not magic people guaranteed to give you results.

Of course, to build an optimal team, you need a skilled organizer. So, for example, you can take someone who's otherwise low-skill, low-motivation and give them what they need to improve.

34 points by nailer 6 days ago 1 reply      
Last year I was interviewed by a company that frequently proclaims they hire the top 1% of candidates. The role was working on infrastructure apps using Python, as a Site Reliability Engineer...

The interviewer proclaimed he knew Python. Later, during a programming question, after he didn't quite understand the code presented as an answer, I reconfirmed this.

His response, quoting: 'I do know Python, but I'm not familiar with the curly brace style of creating a dictionary'.

8 points by singular 6 days ago 0 replies      
Though I agree with Joel on this central point here, I think it's important to take into account the randomness that applies to technical recruiting - it's hardly perfect (full disclosure: I am a lower-tier member of the 99%, having interviewed at 5-6 [internal, so not even as challenging as top tier software house] places and being rejected every time), the proliferation of 'puzzle' questions of the crossing-the-bridge-with-a-flashlight-and-some-pals ilk is a pretty good indication; I doubt many people would now agree that those kind of questions are a good means of hiring good engineers.

Steve Yegge writes at length about how tech hiring sucks, pretty much (cf. [1]), and how random chance plays a big role, and that's based on a great deal of hiring he's done himself.

I hate to be negative; I just think it's important to accept that hiring good engineers is hard. There are great people out there who interview terribly, and average people out there who interview wonderfully.


19 points by georgieporgie 6 days ago 1 reply      
My theory is that people have absolutely no idea how to evaluate job candidates whatsoever. Interviewing trends come and go (e.g. Microsoft puzzle questions of the 90's), but I think people just latch onto whatever they hear as 'the' way to discern good developers. Along with that comes the superstition that if you're not rejecting x percent of applicants, you're not hiring the top y percent of talent.
19 points by grammaton 6 days ago 2 replies      
One assumption I never see questioned is the assumption that you actually need the top 1%. I would argue that in the vast majority of cases, you don't.
12 points by Peroni 6 days ago 0 replies      
The top 1% don't actively look for work. They are already working.

The top 1% is the gold dust that every head hunter in the country wants to get their hands on but how do you quantify it? As an earlier commenter stated, the top 1% is entirely subjective. If you asked ten different companies to select the top 1% of candidates, all ten would produce different results.

Those reading this article hoping to discover how to include themselves in this illustrious 1% will once again be left dissapointed because the final decision is always made by a human and humans are fickle, contradictory beings meaning that the golden formula just doesn't exist.

I work in the recruitment industry and I hear people say all the time that recruitment is a science. Whilst the process may have a scientific element in theory, when it comes to hirirng managers perception of candidates suitability, all science goes out the window and is overruled by ego, emotion and greed.

7 points by joelmichael 6 days ago 0 replies      
Even amongst those available on the job market, the "top 1%" is highly subjective based on an employer's interpretation of employee virtues.
11 points by praptak 6 days ago 2 replies      
Remember this article when you hear the "hundreds of resumes per job opening" argument in a debate on immigration laws.
11 points by sliverstorm 6 days ago 3 replies      
They only ever applied for one or two jobs in their lives.

Does nobody work in high school or college anymore?

5 points by kaerast 6 days ago 1 reply      
If you're hiring then this may hold true, but it doesn't fit with my experience of contracting. Whilst the best organisations are looking to contract out to the best people, there are many companies looking for the cheapest subcontractor for short-term gains.
3 points by tuhin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Besides the obvious brilliance in every single word in that article, Joel;s strongest advice is the part about hiring summer interns and also begging for people to intern with them. Of course the underlying assumption is that you are not giving offers to people who are too qualified for your job and that you/your company/company culture are/is not trash.
6 points by goldmab 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a top 1%? It's hard to really tell, but I think software development isn't a single rankable skill but a bunch of different ones, sometimes skills that are directly opposed to each other. The best person for a job depends on what kind of job it is.
3 points by hessenwolf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Relying only on employers/employees through connections is like only finding a partner through friends - you are really limiting your sample space. Is the best of what you know really the best there is? If so, how do you know?
2 points by goombastic 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hiring is such a huge shot in the dark. I've seen HR guys and hiring managers give elaborate reasons about a profile they want, more often the person they are looking for doesn't exist. More like wanting people with 30 yrs of Java exp. The thing about today's hiring is that companies aren't willing to allow people to learn anything on a job since it's a cost.
2 points by Murkin 6 days ago 1 reply      
This article might of sounded a bit less of a "WHAM" if the real quote was put it:

Everyone thinks they're hiring the top 1% of developers currently on the market.

But still, valid point

2 points by moomba 6 days ago 0 replies      
This phenomenon isn't something only present in tech companies. I think the stat was, the congressional approval rating floats between 10-20% while the reelection rate floats around 80-90%. Humans have evolved to trust those fewer edges separating them in their social graph more than those with more edges.
7 points by mduerksen 6 days ago 1 reply      
For similar reasons, every programmer thinks he is the top 1% - including me ;)
2 points by snippyhollow 6 days ago 1 reply      
All my friends that are really good "never went on the job market" and got hired following to their summer internship, and a few others (good ones) and I went forward to a Ph.D. This proves nothing, but brings some evidence.
2 points by trustfundbaby 6 days ago 1 reply      
This explains why recruiters become even more aggressive in trying to contact you when you actually have a job ... never understood that.
1 point by supervillain 1 day ago 0 replies      
The top 1% programmers are drop-outs, who spend all their college years hacking/programming.

Some of them are oversees who can't acquire H1B visa's due to lack of diploma.

With those circumstances, do you think they hired them? can they go abroad to work? No.

They are not even close on getting those guys.

1 point by ulf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Another way to look at it: If all companies only hire the top 1% of software developers (as a lot say), and in total employ 100,000 developers, this would have to result in 10,000,000 unemployed developers. Sounds a little unrealistic, doesn't it?
2 points by palewery 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommended hiring people that are the best fit for the position. There are plenty of reasons to hire someone that will do a good job, rather than a code ninja that finishes projects in 15 minutes.
1 point by cldwalker 6 days ago 2 replies      
Why are we submitting 5+ year old content?
0 points by damoncali 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is no such thing as the top 1%.
The mother of all Android malware has arrived androidpolice.com
276 points by anon1385 7 days ago   128 comments top 21
50 points by ekidd 7 days ago 6 replies      
This is an epic screwup by Google and the mobile carriers, but it's also a useful warning to Google's competitors.

1) This problem was reported to Google a week ago, through multiple channels, by one of the app vendors who got ripped off: http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/fvepu/someone_just_... Apparently, Google has an unofficial policy of ignoring copyright and trademark complaints, allowing lots of skeevy software to linger on the market.

2) The phone carriers are apparently very slow to patch root exploits.

3) Users should be able to trust everything in a curated app store, or else there's not much point to those 30% fees.

But a word of warning to iOS, WebOS, and Blackberry users:

4) Although the lax behavior of Google and the carriers made this exploit easier, we'll eventually see problems like this on most mobile platforms. Apple has allowed (benign) root exploits to slip through their approval process in the past. If your phone is vulnerable enough to be rooted, it's vulnerable enough to be owned by a malicious app.

34 points by iuguy 7 days ago 3 replies      
Bear in mind that this is just something casting a wide net by using the android marketplace.

There's enough bugs and 0day floating around in webkit as well as unpatched exploit code to take on Safari, the Android browser and Chrome at the moment.

From a mail over the weekend about a pentesting exploit kit we subscribe to:

    This release introduces two new exploits for the webkit CSS rule
deletion vulnerability. Use safari_parentstylesheet to exploit
all those pesky OSX machines (fully up to date and patched)
and android_parentstylesheet for anything running android 2.2 and
below. Moreover, using android_hotplug you can further escalate
your privileges to root. Being offsensive has never been so good!

==New Modules==

o safari_parentstylesheet (Safari <= 5.0.3 64bit webkit css rule deletion vulnerability)

o android_parentstylesheet (Android <= 2.2 webkit css rule deletion vulnerability)

o android_hotplug (Android privilege escalation vulnerability)

That's just one pentesting tool we use and that's a legitimate toolkit. Malware targeting webkit in general is on the increase, with various payloads for safari, chrome, osx, ios and android. It's still the minority by far, but it is growing. Heck, even Metasploit's getting in on the game (http://blog.metasploit.com/2011/01/mobile-device-security-an...).

Incidentally if you want to see a video of the safari bug in action, you can download one from http://partners.immunityinc.com/movies/Lightning_Demo_Safari...

There's also one on owning android at http://partners.immunityinc.com/movies/Lightning_Demo_Androi...

25 points by JacobAldridge 7 days ago replies      
"I demand a walled garden, and I will gladly pay 30% to ensure all apps are reviewed, approved, and subject to the whims of the closed-shop store providing them."

This is obviously a serious issue - as the OP notes, the double-edged sword of openness. Still, the speedy response of Google makes me feel warmer than the (not-so-common now) decidely un-speedy application process Apple put many developers through.

Edit: As jevans points out in response, and others have noted in this discussion, Google's 5 minute response time might be better characterised as '1 week of sitting on their hands when the developers complained, and 1 rapid response when it went public in a loud way'.

I'm feeling less warm now, and looking fondly at the non-smartphone Nokia I own which is so clearly targeted at the 11-year-old-girl's-first-phone market that it came inside a pink cardboard handbag. But has no malware.

17 points by JonnieCache 7 days ago 3 replies      
The fact that they're collecting IMEIs is interesting. One of the little discussed facts about smartphones is that they make it trivially easy to change the IMEI.

On the Galaxy S you can simply mount the NVRAM where it is stored as r/w and change it, and any other data you want.

For those who don't know the IMEI number is what physically identifies an actual handset, like a MAC address, except that the networks/authorities view it as being more of a watertight way to identify someone, as up until recently changing them has required a soldering iron.

This malware's behaviour implies what I have suspected for some time, that there is a black market for IMEIs, likely being used for organised criminals to remain anonymous, or to enable the resale of stolen handsets.

Anyone fancy taking a guess at what an IMEI is worth on IRC these days? CC#s are meant to be about $0.10 each aren't they?

24 points by nailer 7 days ago 1 reply      
This was inevitable - Google takes a laissez-faire attitude towards copyright violation on Android market, which is full of ripped-off IP - games with names and artwork belonging to other companies, rip offs of Rolex logos for clocks, etc - that I've personally reported and that have always been ignored by Google.

If they don't care about the small stuff - and it seems they don't - something nastier was always going to come along.

Hell if they'd bothered to notice one of the submitted apps was 'Spider Man' perhaps this would already have been averted.

14 points by kilowatt 7 days ago 1 reply      
Coincidentally, this is exactly the kind of thing Google's recent Zynamics acquisition is meant to find automatically through binary code analysis.
19 points by jasongullickson 7 days ago 2 replies      
"as well as remotely removing them from user's devices"

...well that is an interesting feature!

6 points by jimrandomh 7 days ago 2 replies      
Completely missing from both the article and the comments: the list of permissions these malicious apps requested. I'd really like to know whether they found a way around the permissions model, or if this is a case of users clicking 'OK' to a prompt that says "do you want to let this app root you?"
3 points by IgorPartola 7 days ago 0 replies      
I am for openness of the Android platform. I don't believe that a review process, like Apple's, would be beneficial. However, the Android market is not like the web. On the web, if you are selling a downloadable piece of software, and I come along and buy a copy, break your DRM and start selling it myself, you have a surefire way to get me to stop. What you can do is talk to my payment processor and tell them I am committing fraud. They don't like that, and will shut things down. While the law is fuzzy and I am innocent until you can prove I am ripping you off, the payment processor has a contract with me that says that I will not do anything illegal, and they will enforce it.

Now, on the Android Market, there is effectively, only one payment processor: Google. And they have a conflict of interest, since they also own the platform. They can either police all the apps (a la Apple) or they can ignore all fraud reports. The in-between gets them into a lot of grey territory about what constitutes fraud, etc.

3 points by unwind 7 days ago 1 reply      
I found this: "Update: holy cheeseballs, they've been pulled already! Took less than 5 minutes from first contact to pull!" utterly amazing. That goes against ... well, pretty much everything I've ever heard about Google's speed and ability to respond to humans saying something.

Too bad it was over a security incident, but at least it proves that Google can react.

4 points by sedev 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think that this illustrates a point that's worth making about the difference between Android devices and iOS devices. There is no 'better' - there is a tradeoff. This is the same tradeoff that Linux elsewhere offers, really.

This is the tradeoff: "if you are willing to invest your time, mental energy, and vigilance into bending your device to your will, avoiding traps such as mention in the article, and doing upkeep, a Linux-based device will give you enormous and awesome capabilities, leveraging the full power of having a general-purpose computer in your pocket."

I am glad that that's available, because for some people, that's a great tradeoff! But it's important that there be another tradeoff available, which iOS is currently the flagship of: "if you are willing to accept more limited capabilities, you can have those capabilities in a form that Just Works and does not require your vigilance, time, and mental energy."

I propose that the market share of Android and iOS roughly reflect the number of people for whom each of these tradeoffs, is the one they want. Of course we may want different things at different times - but when we buy these devices, we are voting with our dollars as to which tradeoff, overall, serves us best. I hope that both retain vigorous market share, because different people are best served by different tradeoffs.

2 points by jsz0 7 days ago 0 replies      
Google needs to do something. They absolutely do not need to mimic Apple's policies or impose any radical new limitations but the current situation is starting to spiral out of control. Once this starts hitting 'normal people' it could have massive repercussions. They need to stop this before the average person fears installing software onto their device or the entire third party ecosystem is going to be stunted. When you think about the depth of personal information, location awareness, microphone, camera, etc the ramifications of this are huge. The first virus that leaks SMS messages, owns Facebook accounts, or turns on cameras to spy on people could basically end Android as a viable consumer product. Of course we've seen this all before on PCs but I think the stakes are higher these days especially with devices that are so personal and highly connected.
3 points by Derbasti 7 days ago 1 reply      
Never mind walled gardens, but Google could at least run some basic virus scanner before posting stuff on the market.
1 point by sp332 7 days ago 0 replies      
I saw that there was a rootkit for Android botnet C&C presented at Shmoocon. Is this a similar attack, or something different? http://www.grmn00bs.com/2011/01/30/smartphone-code-release-f...

PDF: http://www.grmn00bs.com/Shmoocon2011_SmartphoneBotnets_Georg...

Video: http://vimeo.com/19372118

3 points by ReadyNSet 7 days ago 0 replies      
There is one thing everyone is missing, Apple does have a process of verifying the identity of the author even if there was a malware that was slipped in it is easy to identify the author and report to authorities that in itself is a good deterrent against trying. remember malware writers want low hanging fruit first and and Android extremely ripe for it.
3 points by mariuskempe 7 days ago 0 replies      
If someone who knows a lot about these things has a few moments to spare, I'd love if you could answer http://www.quora.com/iOS-vs-Android/What-are-the-relative-me... on Quora.
1 point by Estragon 7 days ago 0 replies      
So, was there any app-scanning software capable of detecting this before the warning? I have Lookout installed on my droid, but I have always wondered at its effectiveness. It has a "there are no crocodiles, so it must be a great crocodile repellant" feel to it...
1 point by chibea 7 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, that the malware contained a root exploit is fixable sooner or later.

The next insight will be, that even if the sandbox had worked, this type of attack still is possible by using the user's trust in the brand of a well-known app to use the permissions granted to it for malicious intents. There's no easy way to avoid that up front automatically.

1 point by ordinaryman 7 days ago 1 reply      
For developers who need to provide mobile access to their hosted apps, this event makes it easy to decide on a path with regard to "Native apps / Web apps ?" question.
1 point by jgroome 7 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's probably off-topic, but would it have killed them to link to the original reddit thread?

They were more than happy to copy the whole story and quote verbatim from the thread. Strikes me that a direct link would have been the polite thing to do.

-4 points by sigzero 7 days ago 3 replies      
As far as I know, I was at a security conference in January, there is no code signing and no sandbox on Android. That is not a good scenario for "security".
Microsoft and Google jointly sue a patent troll who has sued 397 companies fosspatents.blogspot.com
270 points by FlorianMueller 6 days ago   67 comments top 6
75 points by singular 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is great news. It's nice to see two rivals joining forces on something which is not only morally wrong, but actually generally damaging to the industry as a whole. Hopefully (if successful!) this sets a precedence and sends out a message to other patent trolls.
18 points by nopinsight 6 days ago 6 replies      
I wonder, why don't large corporations join forces and lobby the government and congress for changes in patent rules and laws?

Of course they themselves may have benefited from the current rules quite a bit too, but they still can benefit more with some changes to the rules that remove the chance for these leeches from sucking blood from them and the whole economy. (For large enough players, growth in the economy as a whole will also affect their growths and profits.)

Large corporations generally have both positive and negative impacts on everyone's wellbeing, but these patent trolls, who don't produce anything of value, only consume resources, are clear negatives.

24 points by tuhin 6 days ago 2 replies      
Ideas especially in the field of software design should never be patented IMHO. Algorithms, hardware definitely but not the idea.
For example, what is the point behind Apple patenting multi touch gesture technology? I mean why? (FWIW I am an Apple fan).
I remember somebody suing twitter for they have the patent for an ecosystem that allows celebrity to come together and do some stuff in an "online" environment. I mean wow!
To all such people, step back and think what if the guy who made chair had patented it. What about wheel, fire? I know this sounds crazy but seriously why should ideas be patented. I could genuinely have the same idea without having seen yours (idea) first!
20 points by DjDarkman 6 days ago 3 replies      
Funny fact about US software patents:

- software can be patented

- math cannot be patented

- all software is basically math

(very simple interpretation, but it scales)

2 points by gst 6 days ago replies      
Why is someone abiding to the patent law a "troll"? What's wrong with suing 397 companies if (i) you have a valid patent (ii) the law says that those companies violate your patent?

If you don't like how the patent system works lobby your government to change the patent laws, but don't blame the companies who utilize those laws to make money.

5 points by yaix 6 days ago 2 replies      
They wanted software patents on trivial ideas.

Now they have them and don't like them?

Well, I hope the "troll" wins, maybe the big ones then start lobbying against "patents on ideas".

The Chair daringfireball.net
267 points by martingordon 5 days ago   179 comments top 24
61 points by tumult 5 days ago replies      
The tech press needs to play up the competition to the iPad as much as possible, because drama drives clicks. But the reality is that Apple's iPad is so far ahead of everything else that it's almost out of sight. Have you used one of the 'iPad killers'? That is not competition. It's a joke. You can't even buy any of them, except for Samsung's Galaxy Tab. [And the Motorola Xoom, but only at retail Best Buy in America, from what I can tell.]

I applaud Samsung [and Motorola] for giving it a real try, but I think they fall short of the iPad. Few people are buying those things. I wouldn't, myself. I have some Android phones, but I probably won't get an Android tablet, if Honeycomb indicates where the platform is heading.

The lack of competition is allowing Apple to, rightfully, do whatever it wants to with the App Store. And I don't see the situation changing anytime soon. Apple is making the rest of the consumer tech industry look incompetent.

edit: Updated with Xoom.

41 points by mcav 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is why I hope Steve Jobs continues to drive Apple for years to come. He presses forward relentlessly, driving the user experience forward, even when the competition can't come close. No one else has been able to match the original iPad's size, cost, and specs; the iPad 2 makes the other tablets seem so bulky, so utilitarian, even though they haven't shipped yet.

Any other company would milk the original iPad for all it's worth. They'd get a device with the iPad's dimensions and call it good enough. They wouldn't push forward unless their competitors caught up. I can't imagine Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Google, or anyone else having the muscle to put a device like the iPad 2 out so soon.

Forget pro-Apple or anti-Apple. More companies need to strive harder to be better, whether or not they see someone hot on their tail.

22 points by marze 5 days ago 1 reply      
High definition movie editing, on a phone (iMovie on iOS)? It is amazing to see how far things have come in since 2007. In 2007, if you said you were going to download an app to edit a high definition movie on your smartphone you'd be institutionalized.

When the iPad was announced last year, it appeared to be a somewhat risky move on Apple's part, lest it cannibalize Mac sales. Now, just a year later, Apple could take the Mac and shoot it and survive. This has to make the PC maker's blood run cold; Apple is selling a device with 95% of the usefulness of a Windows PC but only 5% of the hassle (to the casual computer user), and they've got nothing to lose if they cannibalize all of their laptop sales.

The breathtaking aspect of this is how just a year ago the Microsoft monopoly still looked unassailable, but now, to some, the iPad's position seems nearly unassailable and on track to capture a huge portion of the casual computer users of the world.

21 points by brisance 5 days ago 2 replies      
One thing that drives me crazy is how each competitor focuses on one or two things, usually hardware specs, and use those things to extol its superiority over Apple's offerings. That's like a car maker homing in on horsepower or number of cup-holders to sell a car.

If I were to run a tech company competing in this space, I would do the following:

1) Get rid of the nonsensical names. There's a good reason why car makers give their flagship cars a specific name and stick with it through the years e.g. Toyota Camry, Honda Accord. I don't know why these highly-paid marketers insist on giving their products a new name every quarter.

2) Show how sensible and easy it is to migrate away from a desktop-bound, expensive, heavy and loud computer. Show the customers how losing one's device doesn't mean the end of the world (cloud-backed storage etc), and how easy it is to migrate to a new device should the need ever arise.

3) Start a retail channel where my products can be experienced at the customer's own pace. Best Buy and all those stores are not the same thing because they are electronics retailers primarily interested in moving product and I cannot count on them to build a lasting relationship with my customer.

20 points by akashs 5 days ago 2 replies      
It's a bit unfortunate that most of the post is a bunch of gushing about how Apple is so amazing. Unfortunate because there's a very insightful point in that second to last paragraph.

The chair is definitely part of Apple's genius when it comes to the iPad. It shows us that this isn't a laptop or a PC and the iPad doesn't fall into the paradigms we're used to. It's something new, meant for you to use when you're relaxing rather than working, and you haven't experienced anything like it. You won't get it until you try it.

As for the competitors, they do have a ways to go. But the Xoom is definitely a great step, especially with the higher-res, less awkward screen for watching video (the aspect ratio is an annoyance on the iPad).

24 points by recoiledsnake 5 days ago 2 replies      
>There's a palpable sense among everyone from Apple I spoke to yesterday that this is the biggest and most important thing in the history of the industry.

Seriously? Bigger and more important than the invention of the Internet and WWW?

Well, I just wish the Post-PC devices wouldn't come with a 30% (or 43%) surcharge for all subscription content.

5 points by ZeroGravitas 5 days ago 0 replies      
The big elephant in the room is that there actually is no product category of "iPad" for Apple to dominate. I agree with the Gruber of 6 months ago who thought that phones and tablets would merge into the same product category, which he called "tablets" and I'll call "webpads" since I think that's the key distinction between them and the Microsoft tablets and smartphones that preceded them.

Apple thinks there will be 3.5 inch webpads, and 10 inch webpads and that they are two totally distinct markets, so it doesn't matter if you lose share in one of them. Everyone else thinks you can have 3.5, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 even 12 inch webpads and that they're made from 99% the same commodity hardware and software.

Android is in the process of returning Apple to single digit marketshare in the small webpad category, a story that tech churnalists have missed because they live in a rich, old, white, U.S.-centric, gadget-obsessed bubble. I'm fairly certain it'll happen even faster for the iPad.

14 points by mkramlich 5 days ago 2 replies      
Regardless of whether you feel Gruber is a fan boy or not, you gotta admit he's a great writer. Always look forward to his pieces.
7 points by dave1619 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think Apple has the sense that the iPad will dominate the tablet market like the iPod has dominated the mp3 market. The main reason Android has overtaken # sales of smartphone is because of the price tax that the carriers (and also Apple) has taken. But Apple doesn't have the carriers to worry about with the tablet (cause most people are buying the wifi versions). And they've decided they're going to compete on price with the iPad, just like they did with the iPod and iPod Touch. After watching the keynote, it's hard to see the competition creating a better tablet (hardware, software, design, apps) for a cheaper price. Apple has integrated the whole process of innovation, and they're way ahead... and this shows the most in the iPad.
3 points by Jun8 5 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent points about how Apple's perception of iPad has changed in a year. I also loved this:

"Good iPad apps can make the iPad feel not like a device running an app, but like an object that is the app. GarageBand isn't a musical app running on an iPad. It turns an iPad into a musical instrument."

So true. But the most insightful quote is at the very end:

"But there are other things any competitor could copy, easily, but seemingly don't even understand that they should, because such things aren't technical."

That's it! In order to compete effectively, you need to fully understand your adversary's strengths, which I don't think Motorola, Samsung, and others fully grasp. They still brag about the dual core, and this or that technical detail. I have yet to see apps as polished as iPad's on Android. When they come (and when Android has a better app store), then Apple needs to be worried.

3 points by nopinsight 5 days ago 2 replies      
> But there are other things any competitor could copy, easily, but seemingly don't even understand that they should, because such things aren't technical. Take that chair. The on-stage demos of the iPad aren't conducted at a table or a lectern. They're conducted sitting in an armchair. That conveys something about the feel of the iPad before its screen is even turned on. Comfortable, emotional, simple, elegant. How it feels is the entirety of the iPad's appeal.

This is an illustration why product companies, however large, should still be led by a product-oriented CEO. Companies led by MBAs or finance people are not doing too well on innovation front. Microsoft is a prominent example of this observation. Sony during Nobuyuki Idei's tenure was another example.

5 points by tuhin 5 days ago 1 reply      
Love how Steve Jobs has craftily defined a point in time "Post-PC era" that everyone including me is referring to in the discussions.
A phrase that many of us had not used a few days ago is now the parameter to judge policies of companies: "that's how it was in post-PC era".
As far as the point of power corrupts is, I do not really see the basis for that. iPod, iPhone? How did the power corrupt Apple? Or is there some serious competitor to iPod that I have somehow missed?
17 points by bobz 5 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite thing about Jobs:

Seeing a man who actually DESERVES every ounce of his celebrity, clearly enjoying it so much.

Nice piece by Gruber capturing the event, and my favorite flavor of Apple worship.

4 points by johnyqi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I seriously don't see how competition can catch up with Apple any time soon. They build such infrastructure and line of products, all tight extremely well together, looking amazing and they keep improving it almost every 3 months so that from competitors perspective even to decide from where to start is extremely puzzling.

I can tell for sure that Android will take most of the market, maybe even 60-70%, but this will not be because of quality or user experience, it will only be because of cheaper prices, low end products and trying to please mainstream. But I'm pretty sure that Apple will be happy with their part of the cake with high quality products, high margins and very loyal and happy costumers. Just brilliant from any point of view.

2 points by aik 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand Gruber's conclusion, starting with:
“It's in Apple's DNA that technology is not enough.”

Firstly, what does Steve Jobs mean by that? I believe simply that Apple is where "Technology meets Liberal Arts".

Gruber seems to think this means "better designed, has more developer support, and it's cheaper", which is all stuff that competitors can't copy?

That seems to just be an overview of Apple's status in this and their status relative to others, not necessarily having to do anything with "Technology meeting Liberal Arts".

In addition, I don't believe Jobs is referring to their marketing model in this -- that the technology is part of a greater "experience".

Rather, and perhaps I'm wrong on this and assuming too much, but I see it as a plea for something greater beyond just the technology and the ingenious marketing scheme. I see the devices (most specifically the iPad) as a technology that is humankind-enhancing material beyond just making life a little bit easier. Sure other tablets are, or could be rather, and I hope will be, the same or better, but at the moment the iPad does hold a special slot here. With the immense backing that it has, that's a fact I would say.

Whether Apple has purposefully created it to be so exceptional in so many areas (partner in healthcare, schools, etc.) is something I don't know or if they just got lucky, but it is true that it is excellent(or at least a big step forward) in those areas. And for that reason alone I see the device as more than just a gimmicky piece of technology and rather more of a device that assists in the advancement of mankind.

2 points by stcredzero 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good iPad apps can make the iPad feel not like a device running an app, but like an object that is the app.

This sentence alone is worth reading the entire post. Subtract the parts of the sentence having to do with iPad, change good to great, and you get a universal truth.

Great apps feel not like a device running an app, but like an object that is the app.

Apply this to your user's content/data. A great X app doesn't feel like a device running a X app, it feels like you're directly manipulating X. You can substitute pictures, reports, movies, invites, events, etc...

2 points by spacemanaki 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, thanks Gruber! "skeuomorph" What a cool word: "a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeuomorph
6 points by Tom_Chippendale 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just a note from a design nerd: it's a Le Corbusier LC3 chair. They're terribly comfortable.
1 point by code_duck 4 days ago 0 replies      
When was the last time that Gruber disagreed with anything Apple did, and didn't have a long list of reasons about why it was good for you, all consumers, and society?

I can't even read his posts. They are simply too propaganda-like.

1 point by guelo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that was as good an iPad ad as Apple could come up with on their own. Apple would be stupid to hire Gruber on internally as he manages to stay on message on his own.
1 point by Newky 5 days ago 1 reply      
"This is the iPad doing something new, things that couldn't be done on the Mac"

This is what I want to see, I don't own an iPad but I won't until there is genuine things on it that I cannot achieve on my laptop.

I feel it is easy for a device like this to become widespread as it feels magical to use, but for me as a computer scientist, and someone who uses his keyboard almost exclusively, I need something from the iPad that I can't get from any other device.

Its why I purchased a Kindle!

1 point by kaffeinecoma 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can we all pitch in and buy John Gruber a nice, legible font that's larger than 9pt?
-4 points by pridegoforth 5 days ago 0 replies      
No front license drives you can see the top edge of a license plate
-4 points by kleptco 5 days ago 0 replies      
iPad's post-pc experience: holding your computer get's old fast, touch is frustratingly imprecise, copy/paste and the web suck. SJ talks about how it's not a computer and then points out how great it is for creating content and for business. He is P.T. Barnum and the suckers are lapping it up.
Moviebarcode - Movies compressed to a single frame moviebarcode.tumblr.com
237 points by boredguy8 2 days ago   67 comments top 30
27 points by boredguy8 2 days ago 4 replies      
I find just seeing the color palette says a lot about a movie. And of course "Hero"/"Ying Xiong" is amongst the compressed movies: http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/post/3515529474/hero-ying-xio...
25 points by ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Completely predictable but still fascinating:


12 points by sandofsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
A few years ago, I wrote a freeware app that did something similar, based on Brendan Dawes' "Cinema Redux".


19 points by teilo 2 days ago 2 replies      
You mean, not every movie uses a Teal/Orange palette?


22 points by limmeau 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting to see, but I still prefer the temporal compression applied in http://iwdrm.tumblr.com/ .
7 points by jhamburger 2 days ago 2 replies      
A fun addition to this would be tagging memorable scenes from the movie.
3 points by bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at the archive, the ones that jumped out the most at me were

Bambi http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/post/3658592877/bambi-1942

Hero http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/post/3515529474/hero-ying-xio...

Tron (1982) http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/post/3500707114/tron-1982

Surprisingly The wizard of Oz was less interesting than I would have thought. Though the scenes in the Emerald city (bookending the assault on the Witch's castle) do jump out.


20 points by frading 2 days ago 0 replies      
13 points by torme 2 days ago 5 replies      
Does anyone have info on exactly what was done to make these? Is it just taking frames and stretching them vertically?
5 points by kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another way to browse the site is by the /archive/: http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/archive.

Come to think of it, I might use some of these as my wallpaper.

7 points by invisible 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see a movie like Sin City and House of the Flying Daggers :). Really neat idea, but tumblr might not be the best way to display the information.
6 points by jwomers 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would be awesome to know the exact details on how these are made. Is it a histogram basis with thresholds to choose which colour is shown, or simply the entire frame compressed to a couple of pixels thick, and then just include some percentage (like 1%) of frames. These are great, you really can tell a lot about a movie, like how long mostly unchanging scenes last, and the overall colour palettes used. Great stuff!
3 points by pgbovine 2 days ago 2 replies      
can anyone find 2001? that trippy space color light show near the end could be cool
4 points by taken11 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://0xdb.org and http://pad.ma/ use similar timelines for all there videos.
the code create the timelines can be found at http://code.0x2620.org/oxtimeline
3 points by juiceandjuice 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bummer, I want to see Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
2 points by powrtoch 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is cool and all, but are there any uses for it?
2 points by harshpotatoes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Lots of blues, oranges, and green. I suppose there is either a bias for filmmakers to prefer these colors, or something in the algorithm 'prefers' these colors?
3 points by mbenjaminsmith 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like it. What about:

1. Grouping by director / DP
2. Color analysis (by genre, decade, etc)

2 points by elvirs 2 days ago 0 replies      
I dont know for why, but it really impresses me and gives me a feeling that what i am seeing is just amazing.

i guess i am starting to get art now :)

2 points by krmmalik 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking for Kung-Fu Hustle, but cant seem to find it(?). I suspect it'll have a lot of pink in the beginning
1 point by niels_olson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another "reminds me of...": amarok moodbar



Can you pass movies through higher-dimensional fourier transform?

1 point by runinit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the plugin for Amarok, moodbar.


1 point by dhess 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! It deserves to be hosted on a dedicated service, though: something with search, at least, and preferably with a link to the software used so that submissions could be crowdsourced.
1 point by spot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kurt Ralske has done a lot of good work in this space: http://retnull.com/
2 points by innes 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can see how the teal and amber palette has become more and more popular in recent years.
1 point by zentechen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to associate each strip with a number, like the real barcode?
1 point by ChrisArchitect 2 days ago 0 replies      
everyone going on about this check out Cinema Redux - movies distilled into one image, from 2004! Done with Processing! http://processing.org/exhibition/works/redux/index.html
1 point by toddwahnish 2 days ago 0 replies      
it reminds me of some of ad reinhardt's earlier artwork.
1 point by bwindels 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see what Sin City looks like.
1 point by GeekZeke 1 day ago 0 replies      
An interesting, abstract twist on cinema redux.
The State of Version Control: an Infographic fogcreek.com
232 points by gecko 1 day ago   189 comments top 27
59 points by bradleyland 1 day ago 3 replies      
"We asked subscribers to our developer newsletter (788 respondents) and professional developers via StackOverflow (169 respondents)."

With all due respect to the FogCreek team, I'm not sure these numbers could be considered a representation of the development community in general. FogCreek makes Kiln, which according to Joel's (FogCreek CEO) blog is "a web-based version control and code review system based on Mercurial and tightly integrated with FogBugz." I know Joel's writing has broad appeal (I know I'm a fan), but it would stand to reason that there would be a disproportionately high number of Hg users in these results, would it not?

41 points by pclark 1 day ago replies      
Out of 1000 respondents:

> 70% of programmers today are Windows based, 16% use Ubuntu/CentOS or other Linux, and 14% use Mac OS

Is this a skewed survey towards Microsoft orientated people, or is this the normal for the developer industry? (hard to say when you are in a bubble/niche of web startups)

31 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
And, you'll be increasingly coming across Mercurial, since it's been adopted by Mozilla four years ago, by Google in 2009, and is preferred by Windows, Python, and Django developers. (89% of our respondents have heard of GitHub and 62% of its Mercurial sibling BitBucket.)

"Adopted by Google" here seems a bit disingenuous; they offer Mercurial as an option for developers that want to host their OSS projects with Google, it isn't as if Google's in-house source control has moved to Mercurial.

18 points by prosa 1 day ago 3 replies      
Did anyone else notice the that the chart, "Do People Love or Hate their Version Control System?" was horribly misleading? CVS gets 3.5 hearts, and SVN gets nearly 4. Meanwhile, far below on the page: "Only 11% of Subversion users said that they loved using it; the number was zero for CVS and VSS."
40 points by arn 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else find it surprising that SlashDot is the highest ranked favorite tech website amongst respondents?
7 points by yock 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Only 11% of Subversion users said that they loved using it; the number was zero for CVS and VSS. Compare that to the over 40% of Mercurial and Git users that love using them!

Is it just me or doesn't this not reconcile with the relevant portion of the graphic?

10 points by jcromartie 1 day ago 3 replies      
The infographic makes it look like half of VSS users love it. But later on, the article states that zero VSS users said they loved it.
4 points by zdw 1 day ago 5 replies      
I wonder how much further along git would be on Windows if it had run better on that platform historically, and had a better GUI.

The Mac numbers don't surprise me at all, as the large influx of unix people to the platform are more used to using CLI tools.

(yes, I'm saying that on the whole, Mac users are less afraid of the CLI than Windows users. Shocker!)

5 points by jsdalton 1 day ago 1 reply      
The article mentions Kiln (http://www.fogcreek.com/kiln/) as a code review tool. What other code review/collaboration tools are people using with Git and/or Mercurial?
5 points by famousactress 1 day ago 2 replies      
I find it a bit surprising (if not hard to believe) that hg is more common than git in professional use. That said, I don't find it hard to believe that hg users have more love for their tool than git users.. Before becoming an avid git user I tried both and found hg's commands much more lucid.
1 point by haberman 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm becoming less enamored with git over time. I've used it for years (by choice, and I'm a GitHub user), but have never been a power user.

I'm annoyed at how the very most basic workflows in Git seem awkward, like I'm working against the tool instead of with it. The simplest example is: I have a hacked-up tree, but I know changes have been made upstream, and I want to pull those changes:

$ git pull
Updating 73f91c3..0ee9fa8
error: Entry 'README' not uptodate. Cannot merge.

It's complaining because I've modified README locally, which was also modified remotely. Every other reasonable version control system I've ever used will happily merge the upstream changes with my not-yet-committed local changes. But Git refuses. This is annoying.

What I have to do now is commit my hacked-up, non-compiling, possibly-swear-word-containing in-progress changes. I really dislike this. To me, "commit" means "take a finished bit of work and add it to the global history." I really dislike having to commit something that is extremely unfinished just because I wanted to integrate some upstream changes.

So what I usually do in this situation is "git stash", "git pull", "git stash apply." This works ok for the "pull" case. But what if I have multiple sets of locally-hacked-up changes? Like suppose I was working on one change when I realized that there's something else I should really fix first. "git stash" quickly becomes limiting, since you can't name the individual changes, so you get this list of changes that you don't know what they are or what branch/commit they were based on. In other VCS's like Perforce, you can have multiple sets of independent changes in your working tree. Not possible with Git AFAIK.

Anyway, I'll probably keep using Git, but I'm not as enamored with it as I once was. I used to figure this was all just porcelain issues that would be refined over time, but it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

10 points by snowwindwaves 1 day ago 0 replies      
They state in the last paragraph that Ubuntu+CentOS+Other Linux OS market share in the survey was 16% which puts it ahead of OSX but they chose to separate Other Linux out in the chart so visually it doesn't seem as significant.

Maybe I'm used to always reading Linux market share at 1% so I want to see that big circle even if it is from a non-representational group.

3 points by paulgb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not to nitpick, but the "Most Used Operating System Professionally" portion misrepresents the data. The area should be proportional to the values, not the radius. Notice that the Windows XP circle is over 4X as big as the Mac OS one, even though it's only twice the value.
5 points by MatthewPhillips 1 day ago 2 replies      
Personally I use github for projects I want to link to on my resume and bitbucket for websites and stuff I don't want to share with the world (yet). Maybe it's because I'm a novice user who only does the basic commands, but I see no real difference between git and mercurial.

I use TFS in my professional job and am pretty surprised that so many people like it. Everyone I work with either hates it or lives with it. Doing stuff like moving changes from one branch to another is unreasonably hard.

1 point by kenjackson 1 day ago 4 replies      
CVCSes work OK. But they all miss a critical piece. They aren't nearly as good at doing one of the main things that a version control system can let you do: branching and experimenting with your code

I hear this complaint a lot, but I do this all the time with SVN. Just have a directory (tempbranches) where you create your branches. It's probably something I do once a week (and not because I feel limited to only doing it once per week, but most of my work occurs in my local branch -- and I branch that one only when I want to do something that is more experimental, but will take a few days). I'll grant that its not as clean as a DVCS for this, but it works just as easily. The big difference is that we now have centralized accounting of this action, rather than it being distributed.

8 points by yannickmahe 1 day ago 0 replies      
A fascinating read.

HgInit.com is the site that got me to Mercurial. I now use it for all my personnal projects. Unintended side-effect though: pains with working with SVN at my day job became more obvious.

2 points by mberning 1 day ago 8 replies      
I don't understand our obsession with version control systems. I still find that SVN meets my needs 95% of the time. I've used git for my projects that are hosted on heroku, but I've never been so impressed with it that I want to completely move to git.
2 points by asnyder 1 day ago 2 replies      
No Darcs? Personally I prefer darcs over other distributed version control systems, unfortunately their tooling is somewhat behind and due to the github craze we're forced to use git on many projects,it's very sad as the ease, the features, and simplicity of darcs is in my opinion unparalleled by any of the others listed.
6 points by igneous4 1 day ago 7 replies      
Bazaar is conspicuously missing. My guess is that "other" is mostly Bazaar.

Aside: would've been neat to see a "version control by OS" pie chart for GNU/Linux.

2 points by makmanalp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see version control usage percent (or types used) divided up according to type of Operating System used.
3 points by danssig 1 day ago 2 replies      
Good to see that modern revision control systems are starting to gain on SVN.

EDIT: Removed incorrect statement about 63% stat.

3 points by smiler 1 day ago 2 replies      
Biggest statistic is that 60% of people are not using source control professionally!!
1 point by glenjamin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps it would be a good idea for the readers of HN to try and collaboratively design a VCS survey, and then distribute it among the general developer populace (in the hope of gaining a large sample).

A quick google indicates http://www.surveypirate.com/ as a tool which would allow large numbers of responses for free, or perhaps google documents.

First step would be some questions though.

EDIT: The OP has been updated to solicit responses from anyone visiting the page, which is pretty much what I was hoping for with this comment.

1 point by frobozz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised at how loved perforce is. Whenever I have to do anything on a perforce repository I think, "Oh no, not this again!"
2 points by duvander 1 day ago 1 reply      
For those who want to see what it looked like:
1 point by amitraman1 1 day ago 1 reply      
The learning curve on git is high, but I understand the benefits. We use it at my current company , but we do make mistakes with it.

Windows + SVN is so easy to use (and so entrenched), I'd recommend to new developers & students to learn SVN.

-2 points by zinssmeister 1 day ago 0 replies      
for http://www.virtualrockstars.com I am using SVN, simply because that's what I used before and I didn't know of Git being so awesome at the time. But I must say SVN is still pretty good... I agree that you can't love it compared to Git but its pretty pretty good.
Pixel Perfect map of china o.cn
231 points by daleharvey 7 days ago   62 comments top 21
16 points by garply 6 days ago 2 replies      
A couple of notes from a resident of Beijing:

I wonder how frequently this will be updated. I notice several skyscrapers built over the past few months that aren't displayed yet (they only show the construction huts). So it's at least several months out of date.

This clearly has the most detail for zooming and browsing that I've seen, but for my day-to-day use I'll still be using map.sogou.com, which already has pretty good building and landmark decomposition, but has the best path-finder / location search of everyone in the market by far. I just made several queries on bj.o.cn that fell flat. For really hard-to-find places, I suspect I'll do my searching on sogou first, then pull up the closest landmark on o.cn and scroll over to where I want to be for a good visual description of where I'm going.

13 points by quant18 6 days ago 4 replies      
There's quite a lot of map companies offering similar "SimCity-style" maps:

Edushi (http://edushi.com/), as others have mentioned --- IIRC they were one of the first to market

Baidu rolled out their own offering in 2010 (go to http://maps.baidu.com/, pick a city from the menu on the right, and then click the "三维" button)

City8 (http://city8.com/) don't have 3D maps, but they have a Streetview equivalent which they've been working on since 2008 in Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities: http://en.city8.com/search/search.aspx

Couple of articles which may be interesting reading (in Chinese) --- touching on China-specific privacy, legal/data licensing issues, etc. surrounding these maps:



16 points by fictorial 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is mind-blowing. How was this created? The detail is incredible: http://i.imgur.com/gmsu4.png
14 points by kulpreet 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've mentioned this before, but entering the "Chinese" internet (or internet of any foreign culture for that matter) is like entering a whole new world. It's amazing how the cultural aspects impacts small things like design sense and advertising colors.
4 points by drv 6 days ago 0 replies      
How can an image be "pixel perfect" if the original is not made of pixels? I can understand pixel-perfect image scaling or the like, but a pixel-perfect map of the real world is impossible.
11 points by otterley 7 days ago 3 replies      
This map only covers Guangzhou, actually. But I look forward to full coverage of China in a few hundred years!
4 points by brisance 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow... just... wow. The obvious question is... how was this done? Mechanical Turk?
5 points by alphakappa 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to explore o.cn in detail because everything is in Chinese, but whatever they have is quite impressive. Not only is the 3D view really well rendered (i.e. easy on the eyes), they have incredible attention to detail, down to using billboards as ad space.
6 points by riams 6 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by kondro 6 days ago 4 replies      
This is amazing. I wonder how they do this? Surely it has to be automated somehow, I just can't imagine anyone building this by hand, even in China.
10 points by impendia 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me so much of SimCity, only you can't raise taxes.
2 points by zbanks 6 days ago 0 replies      
I assume they're doing this because of some government restriction on photographing the city? Otherwise, I can't imagine that this kind of effort could be profitable...
2 points by wybo 6 days ago 0 replies      
If this had/has an API it would make for a great game-board for MMOG's/on-line-&-offline-games or even strategy-games. Imagine adding textures for units and/or craters (though I'd guess this latter would be banned pretty soon).
2 points by jcromartie 6 days ago 1 reply      
Meaning "pixel-art-style map of part of one city in China with many copy/pasted buildings."
2 points by jjcc 6 days ago 1 reply      
There's another company eDushi created this kind of map in 2007 or earlier. The company is in Hangzhou. They cover more cities than o.cn. I've checked the details of architecture. Quite accurate. And there is a lot daily life related information hidden in the map.

Here's the map of Hangzhou.

1 point by pointernil 6 days ago 0 replies      
The technical/theoretical side of it, the how do you scale up the (automatic) creation of those Sim-Cities ... yes, VERY fascinating and interesting.

The other side of the medal: those maps are creating a cute, sleek, clean and well-behaved view on the areas of high(est) population density ... they are I think heavily distorting the perception of the reality in those areas. I consider them a very strange way to do propaganda.

The reality is hidden by this means, which is the opposite of what maps/sat maps should be providing...

"Pixel Perfect" nails it quite good.
They are unrealistically perfect.
Constructed down to every pixel presented.

Event the most horrible sweatshops look cute in this renderings.

1 point by jac_no_k 6 days ago 2 replies      
Baidu has something similar as well: http://j.map.baidu.com/hg2l

Are they doing this to get around some restrictions on showing real images?

1 point by anactofgod 6 days ago 1 reply      
And... it was out of date the minute it went live...

Can't read the language. What is this? The SimCity version of China?

1 point by moblivu 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the whole city is a vector....
0 points by sebastianavina 6 days ago 0 replies      
Damn. Now I want to live in one of those cities... they're so cuteee!
-1 point by RK 6 days ago 0 replies      
Where are the 1.3 billion people?
A tale of two programmers jacquesmattheij.com
224 points by vijaydev 8 hours ago   50 comments top 22
15 points by ekidd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I once worked with two great interns. By themselves, they were better than the average intern. But sit them down side-by-side at one terminal, and give them a tiny amount of design advice, and they morphed into a good senior programmer. They could follow a tricky refactoring through 20-year-old C++ code with only a vague roadmap, and turn a vile mess into nicely organized code.

It only goes to show just how good Microsoft's recruiting used to be"we lost the pair of them to Microsoft the next summer, just as we did the rest of our very best interns.

26 points by giberson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Chris and Steve mirror the two phases of problem solving.
The first phase, the exciting creative process where the problem is a challenge. The second phase, is when the creativity is done, and now its simply a matter of following through the implementation.

I experienced these phases a lot in school, especially in math classes. I was never a homework doer. I'd start, eagerly wanting to do it, but after the first couple of problems I couldn't motivate myself to do the rest. Because I just could not stand the repetition--the same formula over and over with different values. I'd usually do the first problem in a section and call it quits. Then rely on my test grades to pass the classes with a C average typically.

I was afraid that trait of mine would affect me professionally in my programming career, and it indeed started to. Some projects despite starting out at race pace would quickly come to a slow down as I labored to finish up tail end of the project.

However, luckily I ended up working with a colleague was a great compliment to me. He was able to and enjoyed doing the implementation tasks--the portion of coding that is done when you have the solution and its just a matter of putting the pieces together. However, his shortcoming was the creative process.

Together, we make an outstanding team.

Maybe we could officially categorize these two phases into new job positions. Problem Solvers and Solution Implementors.

7 points by arjunnarayan 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I found my pair-programing-soulmate.

I'm currently in grad school, and he's doing something else (following some non-programming related time-limited dreams). But I do know that the day I start a company, he's the first one on the hiring list. But our relationship isn't like the Steve-Chris one in the link. I suppose every relationship is different that way --- ours is more equal. I think it's more a discipline thing. I've never found anybody else who was willing to document and unit test as well, and was willing to think before coding. I've often considered the possibility that I'm just really anally retentive and he's the only one willing to tolerate those flaws. Where do you draw the line?

It really is a productivity multiplier (for both of us): and the biggest scare I have is that time passes by and one of us gets locked into a career path that excludes the other. It would be sad. I have no idea how to fix this situation other than maintaining a somewhat decent rapport given the distance.

It's almost like working on a long distance relationship...

8 points by donw 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm going to be amazingly honest and come out as a Steve -- I love building up a new project, or iterating over a prototype until it's actually something that people can use, and then afterwards suffer from a critical deficiency of steam/gumption/moxie.

It's like running flat-out into a brick wall, minus the reconstructive surgery. At moxie-zero time, I can do anything else, but need to take a break from the codebase.

Timeline seems to be at somewhere between thirty days and three months, and I'm really curious to hear from other Steves what your personal run-time is.

Now, this is hell on a team, and double hell on a company that needs to ship on a regular basis, but I've come up with a few coping techniques that really seem to help:

1. Comment copiously the how and why things are written (people can usually figure out the what on their own). I know that my code is going to get handed off, and I don't want to inspire my successor to commit heinous acts of violence.

2. Build small, nearly independent projects that function as building-blocks for bigger systems; e.g., build service-oriented architectures. You often finish well before the steam runs out, and can then build something technically 'new' on top of what you just finished.

3. Develop another valuable skill that allows you to contribute even when you're not writing code.

2 points by Tycho 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of something I was pondering today. As we know, talent drain can be a big problem for technology companies. The programmers in the original team leave, after the IPO maybe, and eventually things just aint what they were. How to solve this?

Well, in general terms, give the programmers a long-term investment in the company. But that happens already, right? Stay-on bonuses in the form of stock in the company. People still leave. What about a rather different type of investment...

How about, you get the person who's leaving to recruit their replacement, and then you give the leaver some sort of derivitive based on the replacement's performance (or the company's performance thereafter). They'll be motivated to find someone who can genuinely do the job, and to coach them.

I got the idea thinking about soccer contracts. Sometimes clubs put in a 'sell-on' clause so the NEXT time the player moves, the original club gets a slice of the transfer fee. Just different ways of handling transfers and contracts basically. Imagine a transfer market for developers.

5 points by guelo 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't buy it. Maybe it worked for this specific pair, but normally pure Steves are worthless. The creative part of programming is where all the fun is, who would want to be the Chris? You can get yourself some Chris's if you're in a position of authority, but no talented ambitious programmer would want to be stuck in a Chris position, creating is where it's at!

The pure Steves of the world, are the unprofessional "rock star" programmers that quickly whip up an unmaintainable undocumented solution and are gone by the time their mess starts really hurting the project.

As professionals we have the obligation of being both Steve and Chris.

8 points by Stormbringer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
At my (failed) software company I tried this. I had two really talented guys with complimentary skillsets. Moreover, like the article, one was a starter and the other a finisher. Like in the article they had been long time friends.

The thing I could not get them to do, was that I couldn't get the starter to check in the code to the version control system so that the finisher could pick it up and run with it. Whenever I pushed the issue, he would always fly into a panic, and then seized by some mad other-worldy inspiration, delete all his code and start over only much better this time.

Due to all sorts of psychological quirks that I suspect are more common in programmers than the general population, the kind of synergy described in the article is rarer than you might think.

8 points by agentultra 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This happens a lot in the art production world actually. You end up with character designers and finishers. I think it's possible to learn to be both (or at least enough of one to complement the other). But it's certainly most efficient to play up your strengths if you have the man-power to complement your short-comings.
2 points by bugsy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Good article. Relevant is Brook's Surgical Team: http://www.dfpug.de/loseblattsammlung/online/workshop/design...

Here, Steve is the Surgeon. The one that works his butt off in a prolonged surgery session, assisted by others who have prepared the way, then he goes and rests before the next surgery.

It makes sense to clear the way for the Steves. With Steve and Chris there is one person that is clearing the way himself, but it makes even more sense to build in support structurally. I find it amazing when I hear about a company that has the engineers washing dishes, emptying their trash baskets, answering phones, and other such tasks to "save money" when all it does is kill time that the surgeon could have spent in the operating room.

What happens to the successful Steves nowadays when they can't find productive environments is they eventually leave, form their own company and hire people to complement their strengths.

4 points by pmjordan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Curiously, in my projects past and present I can either recognise Chris or Steve in me, depending on the project. There are projects where it feels like I'm running into a wall to build even a prototype, but once it's built (either with help from others or by raw determination) it's clear sailing to tidy it up and extend it. Yet other functioning prototypes that were built in a frenzy have languished in this embryonic state for a while until I figured out how to structure them for production.

I think it's related to whether the project lends itself to top-down or bottom-up design. At some point I seem to hit a barrier in the middle. This usually only happens on "hard" projects and even then I inevitably overcome it eventually, sometimes with pair programming, but it's damn annoying. Having Steve or Chris around would be damn handy.

8 points by zmitri 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Now imagine taking those two out of the corporate environment and putting them into a start up, working as co-founders. This is what I dream about...
5 points by radu_floricica 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I started as Steve (don't we all?) but I've recently been complimented on my patience. Wonder if it comes from years of maintaining my own code, but I've really grown to appreciate infrastructure work and making code aesthetically pleasing.
3 points by alxp 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I had this kind of relationship with a designer / photographer I worked on a side project with a couple of years back. He'd have no idea how to implement something if it required more than just hacking on already-existing code, but he had a great eye for detail and was excellent at not letting something sit unfinished. So I would talk out with him the various features we could add, then we'd agree on what to pursue, I'd get it up and running and he'd clean up parts, file bugs and be a good partner for getting the full widget out the door. At my day job I'm usually the one re-architecting something-or-other on the back end when I know I should be doing more mundane things more of the time.
3 points by alinajaf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think every developer has elements of Steve/Chris in them. Sometimes you want to punch out a project and other times you're concentrating on tidying up the code and making it production ready. Unit testing has you alternating really quickly between the two personas.
4 points by woan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this story. I worked with a brilliant developer for a couple years batting cleanup. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it though I was a lead developer/architect before and after the experience. We just got tons done...
15 points by s00pcan 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Is there a reason every recent post on this guy's blog has been posted on HN?
3 points by ThomPete 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Steve and Chris where friends.

They had the one thing friends have, shared history.

So in the semi words of Wolfram.

"You have to run the program before you can know how it will evolve"

That does not mean that it wouldn't be good with a dating service but it's not going to bring Steves and Chris together IMHO.

2 points by crizCraig 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Related poll: Are you a Steve or a Chris?


7 points by va1en0k 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cute.

By the way, I've seen several "programmers dating services" with a purpose of finding mutual mentors

1 point by zwieback 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think pair programming can be very effective even if both participants are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. In fact, the Chris/Steve example sounds more like traditional division of labor than pair programming. If memory serves me in classic Pair Programming the two partners work concurrently at the same workstation, not sequentially.
2 points by budu3 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember indy500 back in the heydays of DOS.
1 point by bigohms 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing Jacquez post. I am relatively new here and find his experience insightful. As such, im not aware of his full story but I hope his issues with the community are recognized and integrated so that his contributions are also recognized and retained.
Life at a startup abstractnonsense.com
214 points by emmett 1 day ago   44 comments top 12
23 points by TheSOB88 1 day ago 2 replies      
Really awesome story.

From the guy's page, it looks like he's a super hacker - learning to program at nine, embedding a Scheme interpreter in the Linux kernel. Between this and jacquesm's recent "it's easy" post, I wonder, do you have to be this kind of crazy passionate coder to be able to accomplish this kind of thing? I feel like I could be passionate about coding certain things, but nothing I'm doing now comes close.

13 points by jamesjyu 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a terrific writeup, and mirrors a lot of the experiences I've had at Scribd as one of the first employees over the past 3 years.

Build fast and push it live.

20 points by davidwparker 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the biggest takeaway for me from this is how he had the power to, and actually said, "no" to feature requests. This has definitely been a problem for several projects that I've worked on.
5 points by JMiao 1 day ago 0 replies      
bill: i recall viewing a startup school 07 attendee wiki and being impressed with your self description. i think you went by "bill bland" back then. good to see quality people doing great work.
6 points by ideamonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Had a great read. Growing up watching gates, wozniac, jobs and other success stories in documentaries, I never wanted a 9to5 at a big establishment. You touch upon homebrew club which brings me back & close to what I still long for - the working in the garage/backyard moments. Perhaps its time. Thx!
6 points by eunice_chen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the story and the writing style. He shows his passion in an honest tone; is proud of his successes and is honest about his (and the company's) mistakes. Very smart coder/hacker but also with a talent for writing (which people always think are mutually exclusive!). Props!
1 point by bconway 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read, it's nice to see non-founders that are so enthralled with their jobs. Off-topic, though:

All of our early press had evaporated, it turned out nobody actually wanted to broadcast their lives, and we really had no idea what to do.

How did you solve this? I look into Justin.tv every few months and there's nothing compelling there for me, but it must be aimed at a different demographic.

3 points by idea4gud 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I absolutely admire the work by your team. Startup has those energy which I am hungry for , but I am stuck in enterprise world with lots ...., just watching in sheer amazement.
1 point by kayoone 1 day ago replies      
Great story, also looks like the guy really knows what hes doing.
That said i read a post by him a while back where he talked about how useless unit tests are and how they dont help finding bugs: http://abstractstuff.livejournal.com/60388.html

I found that quite irritating from somebody who seems so experienced.

0 points by kmc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"nobody was saying much to me"

"I didn't bother to read the irc spec, I just watched the real-world traffic and used that as a spec"

"no code review, not even any conversation about how I'd implemented things"

Is this really the work environment we want to idolize?

0 points by bradleyjoyce 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really wanted to read it but it was too painful on my eyes... tons of text smashed together, taking up the whole page.

Fluid layouts are great, but there is a reason books aren't generally 12" wide. (hard for humans to keep their place on really wide texts)

Also, increasing the line-height of the paragraphs would help a ton.

-3 points by wtn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh nice, he beat YouTube to a seek feature that's been in QTSS for a decade.
Hardest captcha ever? irb.hr
217 points by dalys 5 days ago   120 comments top 45
36 points by robinhouston 5 days ago 6 replies      
The hardest captcha I've come across is the audio one used by Google on https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount. Click the little wheelchair icon to hear it.

It's so hard to decipher, it almost comes across as a cruel joke at the expense of blind people.

These are much easier, in that I can actually understand them.

15 points by georgemcbay 5 days ago 0 replies      
The real WTF with this captcha is that to get a new one they recommend you reload the page, which will clear out everything you just typed into the form (since you probably typed that all before getting to the captcha), which is retarded.

If you try to be smart and just put in a known wrong answer in hopes that it'll keep the form data and give you a new question, you get dumped to a validation page which tells you you're wrong and then tells you to go back and reload the page, which is also retarded. You still come out ahead because when you hit the back button you should get a new captcha and the browser should have saved your form data, but man, this page belongs in the UX hall of shame regardless of how you feel about math in your captchas.

30 points by shasta 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a great way to stock up on fake accounts submitted by people who just want to know if they got the question right
46 points by noamsml 5 days ago 5 replies      
Most of these are really easy. I got a partial derivative of a constant. And honestly, if you can't answer basic math questions, you probably have no use for a quantum random bit generator.
37 points by mvalle 5 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think it would be hard to do, in fact, they reverse the whole point of a CAPTCHA.

A CAPTCHA is supposed to be a task that is easy for humans, but difficult for computers. High-level mathematics is difficult for humans but easy for computers.

They do have some success of telling computers and humans apart, though.

22 points by perlgeek 5 days ago 0 replies      
Actually I find that much easier than blurred text on random lines in the background
21 points by makmanalp 5 days ago 3 replies      
Ha, by this logic, a large majority of the current world population aren't humans :)
12 points by drndown2007 5 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one saddened by the fact that this would have been a piece of cake back in high school/college, but can't remember how to do them (integrals) anymore? :(
33 points by TorbjornLunde 5 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't using math questions to stop bots(computers), a bit like trying to stop tanks with barbed wire?
8 points by cynoclast 5 days ago 1 reply      
Dumbest CAPTCHA ever.

It's a math problem - which computers are great at - in highly readable text; which they're pretty good at. I expect someone talented could break it in an automated fashion in a day or less.

I don't know why they don't just throw up an fairly large image of a bunch of animals, then say "Click the cutest kitten" or something that's purely subjective, and relies on human recognition abilities rather than computational ones. Maybe two of those in succession in case a computer gets lucky? Using the same method recaptcha does. Show two images, one with a known heat-map of clicks showing where people think the kitten is, to test them, and another one for them to develop the map on the new picture for future tests.

7 points by jxcole 5 days ago 0 replies      
I could easily write a captcha breaker for this...It's much simpler to do than one with fuzzy characters.
7 points by mathgladiator 5 days ago 0 replies      

This can be automated with https://github.com/mathgladiator/tutor

I'd have to spend some time working on adding OCR support, but overall totally doable,

18 points by loudmax 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a reverse captcha! If you answer too quickly it knows you're a computer.
3 points by kmak 5 days ago 0 replies      
I run "algorithmist.com" and was getting quite a bit of spam with using only recaptcha. I was looking for something mathy.. I ended up giving mathcaptcha a go first and it seems to work well to stop the spam, but I was ready to create my q/a with algorithm questions, with the benefit that if you can't answer basic algo questions, you shouldn't edit the wiki anyways!
2 points by mkramlich 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they have me solving captchas. If anybody needs me I'll be over in the corner rusting for the next, oh, one million years."

-- Marvin the Paranoid Android (with liberties taken)

2 points by stcredzero 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing that's occurred to me -- there's obviously an asymmetry of effort in captchas. Reliable proof that someone is human is very hard. What about reliable proof that something is not human, but an automaton? Can we make this stronger, and make it reliable proof that something is a particular automaton?

It seems to me, the answer is Yes. This is actually very powerful and useful for security. (Even if you can only count on the first time it's answered.)

1 point by georgecmu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen harder (limits of converging sequences, etc), but wolfram alpha made them harder for humans than for automated scripts.

My captcha was to find the least zero of this polynomial:

and all I had to do was to OCR the formula:

4 points by l0nwlf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stack Overflow should use a tougher version of it. Will weed out some noise.
2 points by presidentender 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think most of the answers are zero, and that this is largely a joke.
2 points by bugsy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like that captcha because I can do it in my head which makes me feel special. Too bad there isn't a button just to check the captcha for those of us who don't want to sign up for an account.
2 points by kahawe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just use http://www.random.org/ instead and do not have to go through all that hassle.
4 points by tydok 5 days ago 0 replies      
The required value seems to be a small integer. A bot trying zero each time, IMO, has good odds passing the captcha.
2 points by Luyt 5 days ago 0 replies      
After a few reloads, I got this captcha:

- 2 + 1 - 0 + 0 * 0 + 3 - 3 = ?

3 points by pluies_public 5 days ago 1 reply      
I thought it had to be static, but no: the captcha actually changes at each page reload.

At least it will weed out the non-mathematicians easily...

2 points by tluyben2 5 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm. I see captcha's harder than that every day on numerous sites; with a lot of 'normal' captcha's you sit staring for minutes and then kind of gamble (like an OCR bot) to what it says. At least the formulas are clearly readable and there is a one correct answer to each of them, while this http://bit.ly/gKPgKH I cannot read (Google).
1 point by 37prime 5 days ago 0 replies      
The irony is that it would be easier to solve the captcha using programs like Mathematica.
3 points by ddbbcc 5 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, the captcha is quite easy to extract (and solve), so it will probably filter out humans, not bots :)
1 point by pieter 5 days ago 1 reply      
I tried a few, and it looks like most (all?) of them can be answered by wolfram alpha.
1 point by georgieporgie 5 days ago 0 replies      
I reloaded the page and got something like 4 * -1 - (-4) = ?

A subsequent reload sent it back to a more complex formula.

1 point by GrandMasterBirt 4 days ago 0 replies      
WAIT, this captcha seems like its inverse, easier for computer than human to answer.
2 points by presto8 5 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like the derivative of a constant value, which is always going to be zero. I reloaded the page several times, and each time, no matter how complex the formula looked, it was always a constant.

Still, it is cute.

1 point by limmeau 5 days ago 0 replies      
I got to compute a derivative. In the spirit of reCAPTCHA, wouldn't it be more appropriate if the Captcha consisted of symbolic integration?
1 point by nickpinkston 5 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by pontifier 4 days ago 1 reply      
This brings to mind a recent article about solving the "hacker news problem". It occurs to me that requiring an entrance exam of some sort could weed out users unprepared to constructively contribute to any domain specific online forum.
1 point by danvoell 5 days ago 0 replies      
That's funny. I wonder if that encourages people who otherwise wouldn't sign up. It obviously self selects your clientele.
I might need to implement a "2 trains leave" problem for my captcha.
1 point by farout 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a side question, why are captchas using alphanumerics? Any reason why you can say, what is 1+1?

And flip the terms and answers for each captcha.

Is it because a person can't solve 3+8?

1 point by Keyframe 5 days ago 0 replies      
huh, got in on my first try... 0/0x[... 0 duh :) Most are easy, but maybe scary looking to people not inclined to math?
1 point by baberuth 5 days ago 0 replies      
i got one of the easier ones and was confused about why this would be difficult for machines to beat.


1 point by derrida 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this here? This is easy to a)break b)solve IF you a)finished high school maths(australia) b) know about pythons ocr libraries.
1 point by moblivu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hardest Captcha for a human: Maybe
Hardest Captcha for a machine: Not so sure !

You can just pass the equation in Wolfram Alpha directly and you have your answer! The font is crystal clear and the equation is quite simple.

1 point by StefanKarpinski 5 days ago 0 replies      
The questions it generates are all trivial with a little bit of math knowledge. Finding the roots of polynomials that are already factored. Multiplying a series of factors, the last of which is zero.
1 point by hoag 5 days ago 0 replies      
Haha this is seriously awesome... almost makes me miss doing hours and hours of calc every day :)
0 points by ranit 5 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by AW3nham 5 days ago 0 replies      
Bit pretentious, bordering childish. Also easy to crack WolframAlpha if you don't know the math
-2 points by CWuestefeld 5 days ago 0 replies      
What answer does it want?

I got "-6-7x7". Does it want proper order of operations applied, giving -6-49=-55? Or does it want it the silly way that most (I suspect) people are going to do it, left-to-right without respect to order of operations, -13x7=-91?

(oops, the asterisks give italics rather than multiplication!)

Show HN: "Never wait on hold again" service built with Rails and Twilio
209 points by ekanes 6 days ago   83 comments top 38
9 points by patio11 6 days ago 4 replies      
And if you were a forward thinking megacorp, you could build something like this yourself. "Hiya, this is Paypal. Hit 1 to talk to ... Thanks. Type in your last four digits of your... Thanks Mr. McKenzie. Would you prefer to hold while waiting for a representative, or should we call you back in approximately 15 minutes? Hit 1 to..."

15 minutes later.

"Hello, is this Mr. McKenzie? Hiya, this is Steve at Paypal and I have your account brought up. What can I help you with today?"

I think that's far, far cheaper than $100k in dev costs and, if a 6 week test eliminates 5% of your CS spend while bringing your hold times down by 50%, that's like a career-making win. (Seriously guys: Twilio is the startup to watch. I say this while I'm literally wearing their sweatshirt but trust me, they're going to be massive.)

P.S. After you have it, you can trivially wire it into click-to-call on your webapp. "We can't show you that transaction, due to routine procedures meant to protect your account. Click here and type in your phone number, and we will have our Security Team contact you in the next five minutes. Thanks for using Paypal."

14 points by citricsquid 6 days ago 1 reply      
curious how you intend to handle abuse? Maybe have an sms sent to the recipient first and they must confirm? I was just able to enter the example number ("555-555-5555") and it seems to process just fine (currently "Status: Operator on the line! Trying to connect you...") even though I clearly don't own that number. I could cause problems for both customer service people and cellphone users with this. I'm assuming you don't do any of this based on the video though, I'm unable to test as I'm in the UK.

Excellent idea!

6 points by zeteo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but this doesn't address the fundamental problem. The main reason that companies make you wait on the line is to differentiate the customers who care a lot about their problem from those who don't. By making the cost of waiting, for the customer, practically negligible, you are sidestepping this protection mechanism; your success would flood companies with less important support calls, thus giving them a powerful incentive to shut you out. At first, they'll just instruct their customer service representatives to immediately hang up on anything that sounds like your service. Next they'll ask the legal department for ammo, and do their best to implement technical counter-measures.

It's an interesting idea, but it's IMHO doomed long term, unless you find a way to take the companies' interest into account as well. For instance, in order to maintain the same system of customer disincentives you should probably charge per each minute your service is used.

14 points by baddox 6 days ago 2 replies      
Do you play an automated message when the tech comes on the phone? How many phone service technicians will actually sit there and wait to be connected to the actual user?
5 points by jrockway 6 days ago 2 replies      
I need this for conference calls. Normally, I dial in at the time the meeting is supposed to start, but nobody else comes for ten minutes. This means I have to sit around and listen to the "nobody has joined yet" music, which sucks.

A system where the system calls you when everyone has indicated availability would be much nicer. No wasted time dialing in.

And BTW, these conference call services typically cost something like 30 cents a minute times the number of participants. So if your product eliminated 30 wasted seconds of airtime per employee per day, you would save a company like mine 12 million dollars a year.

7 points by ajju 6 days ago 0 replies      
Love it. Twilio is a great platform. An idea: if you want to have the customer service rep doing productive work while he waits you can have the user type in a message with their information (account number / name / address) in a text field and read it out to the rep before telling them to wait.

It would probably make sense to do this only for paid customers in the future so that people don't abuse the feature (and CS reps).


7 points by mcantor 6 days ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity, how does your app know when a real human gets on the line...? Do you have a database of the automatic messages ("Please stay on the line while we sip Cognac and chortle") for each company so it doesn't get false positives?
7 points by fuzzmeister 6 days ago 1 reply      
Did you build the database of phone tree options yourself, or is there another place you're getting it from? Building such a database seems ridiculously time consuming.
11 points by ohashi 6 days ago 0 replies      
5 points by capstone 6 days ago 1 reply      
Just bought your app for my IPhone. One comment: the app is not searchable on Fast Customer, only on FastCustomer (no space). If you just added Fast Customer to your description, it would be searchable.
4 points by failquicker 6 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron and Paul,

You guys weren't joking when you said you were moving fast. Looks great. I'm kicking the tires now and will report back. As I told you in January, great damn idea. Let's grab a beer -Jason

3 points by qixxiq 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm interested to know what you plan on doing for revenue. I'm sure the cost of the calls will quickly outweigh the $.70 you're getting out of the app store.

Other than that its a great idea which I'm certain people would be willing to pay for (I would be if it was available internationally)

4 points by clistctrl 6 days ago 2 replies      
How do you tell the difference between hold music, and a representative?
5 points by jiffylu 6 days ago 1 reply      
Your monetization strategy should be... if you're calling at&t about a service issue, verizon could pay to be notified with the opportunity to respond to the call first and win your business.
3 points by gawker 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea guys!

Just curious, what happens when someone finally picks up and hears nothing? Is there a possibility that the other line will hang up before you have a chance to call us?

5 points by jvinet 6 days ago 2 replies      
Brilliant. You've probably added a few years to my life, both in terms of hours lost and frustration listening to the same 24kbps top-40 song over and over.

Thanks. :)

2 points by zmitri 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is an amazing idea. I would love to try it. Most of customer service calls I make are with Verizon who are actually quite good, but I want to try with airlines!
3 points by keeptrying 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea.
I think a lot of companies would love to add this to their own apps. You should start selling this to them ASAP.
5 points by zippykid 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've used this service a couple of times, and everytime I don't have to wait on hold, I smile.
5 points by huge_ness 6 days ago 2 replies      
you guys are awesome.

A few friends and I have been working on a similar project. You totally upped us on it.

Great job :)

1 point by extension 6 days ago 0 replies      
Would be totally rad if it could detect when any call is off hold. I bet there's some magic DSP heuristic that could do it, maybe with some false positives e.g. "your call is important to us..."
5 points by snack 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea. Make sure you have the British Tax Offices on this list ;) Racked up a huge bill this month.
2 points by jeffwidman 6 days ago 1 reply      
ekanes--Have you looked into setting these up like freeconferencecall.com where it dead-ends the calls out of a rural area so you can collect subsidies? (Not a fan of the legislation, but if it exists you can leverage it.)

Not sure how you'd do this using Twilio, but rather than routing the user straight to the number, you could route the user to the rural number and then place an outbound call from teh rural conference number and patch the two together

1 point by dkokelley 6 days ago 1 reply      
So which is it? Do we spend 50 hours or 60 hours on hold? It looks like an inconsistency on your home page marketing copy.

This looks like a great idea. I think it has great word of mouth potential.

2 points by andrewheins 5 days ago 0 replies      
What an awesome idea. First of all, thanks for building this. Like others have said, you've probably added years to our lives.

As a novel bonus, it'd be neat if you could wire up a twitter account that did song recognition and status updates.

Currently holding to: "Michelle Branch - Everywhere" for the 472nd time!

2 points by supabill 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice product, will be bookmarking and using in the future. I sent you a bug report to your woodmill email, hopefully you got it. I agree that you need to verify requests in some way, although my friends hopefully enjoyed talking to at&t and verizon randomly just now, I certainly enjoyed them getting the calls :)
1 point by mwill 6 days ago 1 reply      
My ISP and phone provider iiNet (Based in Australia) do this. You call and chose the broad department you want to talk to (tech, sales, or billing), and you're told how long your wait is approximately, and asks if you want a callback on the number you're calling from.

Speaking from personal experience using this sort of system: It's fantastic to use and if you're successfully inserting yourself as the middleman in this sort of experience you're definitely on the right track.

I can see this also being extremely useful for call out tech people who need to jump on the phone to talk to their clients providers on regular occasion.

Great idea, if you expand to Australia it'll be a must have app for me.

1 point by dmazin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone else noticed that the California DMV actually has a service like this? If you call them and and the hold time is more than 30 minutes, they offer you the choice to hang up and be called when they are ready for you.
Who'd think that would come from the fucking DMV?
2 points by arafalov 6 days ago 1 reply      
Glad you are having a go at it. I had some thoughts around that space a while ago: http://blog.outerthoughts.com/2007/01/calling-for-support-ca...

Point 6 there is similar to what you are trying to do.

Never did it, never will, but I do have a much longer document with additional idea directions and monetization strategies.

If you like and agree with the article, feel free to ping me and we can chat about the rest of the unreleased ideas. Like I said, I would be just happy for somebody to incorporate them.

Alexandre Rafalovitch

2 points by jbeard 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like it - it's giving a URI to customer service reps. Might be useful to provide a way for customers to create their own macros for services that you do not support so that the list can be both corporate-curated and community-driven.
2 points by tmayshark 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great service, and if I was in a position where I had to deal with phone trees regularily for my job, then I'd even be willing to pay something for it.

One minor gripe -- at least in Chrome, if you type something in ("Verizon") and hit enter without selecting any of the auto-complete options presented, you just get a generic "whoops, something went wrong". Ideally, just pop the user through a screen that lets them select from a list of possible matches.

I'd make a snarky comment about how the site doesn't render properly in IE 5.5, but I think I'm about 2 years late on that trolly.

1 point by jhuckestein 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are you A/B testing already? I like how the heading subtitle changes on every reload
3 points by markjheadd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Fonolo has been offering this type of service for a while (http://fonolo.com).
1 point by socialhack23 5 days ago 0 replies      
The big companies like Amazon, etc already have this or could easily add it. I think this would be more useful for the thousands of other smaller companies out there. Perhaps you can wigitize this product and offer companies to place it on their website. I can see the longtail working out better.

On the other end, as far as I know for something like Amazon, etc you need to call in order to be put in the line for them to call you back. The cool thing about your service is I don't need to call :)

2 points by entrepreneurial 5 days ago 0 replies      
REALLY Cool! How is rackspace cloud hosting? Reliable?
2 points by TheSmoke 5 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely a great service. Wish you guys luck!
1 point by aagha 5 days ago 0 replies      
Best thing since sliced bread.
This must be Google's Facebook clone. It sure looks like it. google.com
206 points by aj700 3 days ago   75 comments top 20
49 points by citricsquid 3 days ago 10 replies      
I don't think google will ever win at social, every site that started small changed and adapted to what the users wanted, google can't do that, they launch a new site and bam millions of users instantly; yet all these users want different things, so instead of shaping the experience around what they need to get users (what Facebook did) they're catering to what they think will retain users. They have to find out what users want without the access to "organic" information, market research is proven time and time again to be worthless.

The problem of getting users is often one that defines a site, when you don't have that problem it becomes a battle to stop users leaving to better more "mature" pastures. I think the next big social site (if there ever is one) will be a no-name small-gone-big site, but even then with how everyone (users) is about social now (they want to be instantly in on the next big thing) I doubt that can happen. I think that maybe Facebook is the end of social sites, which feels strange and ridiculous to say, but maybe.

Google will never "get" social, there is nothing to get.

Edit: in fact I think a great example of this is Google Wave. It was a fantastic product for a variety of tasks, project management was one, yet Google pitched it as the "next big thing" to users so they all joined with ridiculous expectations of what it was and wasn't and now look what happened... Tumblr is another great example in the other direction, what the site is now is very community orientated, yet from the interviews I've seen with the founder (David something) it didn't seem as if this was intention from the get go, yet users used the site like that and so they adapted and enabled users to use it like that. Now look, they're huge. Does anyone know of any products launched by big companies (Google, Microsoft etc.) that did go big? I can't think of any off hand, would be interesting to look at how they grew and developed.

65 points by seancron 3 days ago 1 reply      
No, it's the updated Google Profiles as discussed previously: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2282094 (http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2011/03/decide-what-worl...)

And as I said in the previous discussion, the reason profile pages tend to use the same layout is because it's an established design pattern now. People already know what to expect when they see a page with that layout.

27 points by andrewcooke 3 days ago 1 reply      
public profiles have existed for a long time. this isn't new.
18 points by paolomaffei 3 days ago 1 reply      
If the headline "Decide what the world sees when it searches for you." means that when someone search a name+surname profiles.google.com will always be top I see this as quite powerful!
1 point by jgalvez 15 hours ago 0 replies      
In Brazil, it was translated as "Google Perfis". Bad bad bad. Facebook is a single brand across all countries. Google should keep a single brand as well, even "Google Profiles" would be better than "Google Profiles" translated in every language possible.
5 points by supervillain 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google's ubiquitous and omnipresent ways of doing things will win it's way on social.

It's kinda crude, but I think Google's plan is to make Google Profile (aka Facebook clone) ubiquitous and omnipresent blurring the line going to a social networking site and just searching for that person.

Kinda like Microsoft's thing with Windows 98 when everything can be used as Internet Explorer.

6 points by rome 3 days ago 0 replies      
The reason I don't use Google profiles is that I have no reason to. A public facing, Facebook like site? No thanks.

I wasn't interested in Facebook until a real life friend from another state invited me. That's Facebook's draw for me; interaction with real friends and family.

5 points by ph0rque 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now if only I could import my downloaded facebook info into there...
3 points by farlington 3 days ago 1 reply      
I logged in to check out my own, ancient Google profile (which I just about barely set up"bare minimum of info and hadn't logged in since the day I'd heard of it) to discover that has a picture in it that I'd never given Google permission to use. I'm sure they got it from Adium (I use gchat with Adium), but I found it creepy to have my profile given a picture without my knowledge or permission.
2 points by yaix 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google is for search. That's what people know.

As long as Google published apps under their Google brand, they will not fly.

The popular servics Google has (Blogger, YouTube, etc) run all under their own brand.

If Google seriously wants to make a social network, it must run under its own brand/domain. And they should give it a little more attention than they did with Orkut.

I don't think the problem it Google not "getting" the "social". Its about not creating a distinguishable brand. Google is search.

2 points by there 3 days ago 1 reply      
i thought orkut was google's facebook clone?
4 points by yr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it not a terrible name "Google Profiles" for facebook killer ?
1 point by aj700 3 days ago 0 replies      
I posted this because I was shocked by how facebook-like it is. The buzz tab is there if buzz is enabled it seems. You prob have to turn it off entirely to kill the tab.

I turned buzz off the day it launched. So I was more surprised that it now look exactly like a facebook wall.

Some nice differences. You don't have to choose between male and female. But the relationship field has the same choices. Sadly, there is still no "X is currently shagging | fucking | etc Y" option. That's more like what I want to say. Pick your own damn transitive verb.

It's got the lame and prudish "X is in a relationship with Y" as ever.

2 points by missinglink 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think "decide what the world sees when it searches for you" is a very good concept. You can expose yourself without having to worry about privacy. I wouldn't want to make my Facebook profile available to everyone.
1 point by simonh 3 days ago 1 reply      
The problem is Google isn't hungry. They don't make these things work because they don't have to. AdSense will always put food on the table, so they don't have the sense of urgency to fix this. It's a common problem for companies that already have a cash cow and then try to develop or acquire secondary services, e.g. Yahoo with Delicious. They don't have the sense of urgency, executive focus and the commitment to make them work.
1 point by zaidf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do I see a "Buzz" tab?


2 points by lazylland 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think they should have gone for an about.me/flavors.me presentation . If anything, just to pull away from the facebook look.
2 points by aik 3 days ago 1 reply      
My Buzz tab was completely public by default. That's annoying.
1 point by hoag 3 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking of which, has anybody tried google.com/health? Or how about the cool WebGL-powered site bodybrowser.googlelabs.com?
1 point by mapster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook already serves as a personal wiki for name searches. Will Google rank Google profiles higher than Facebook results for a given name?
Ken Jennings takes AMA questions on Reddit reddit.com
205 points by jimmyjim 6 days ago   32 comments top 5
50 points by jedsmith 6 days ago 5 replies      
Lots of people think it's a Jeopardy reference, but actually I was thinking of that time Watson and I were cellmates in prison, and it kept raping me.

After I read that response I scrolled right back up and checked his proof that it's him. I knew Ken Jennings has a sense of humor, but I clearly underestimated him.

20 points by shawnee_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
Q: "What is one epiphany/something that was said to you that made you realize 'I can maintain my fame and not be remembered as just the guy who once won big at Jeopardy!'?"

A: Screw that, I don't want to be famous. I keep getting asked who my publicist is. Why would I have a publicist?!? I'm just a guy on a game show. I got mine. I need a privacist.

His Tuesday Trivia messages are always entertaining, but they aren't usually this funny.

49 points by javanix 6 days ago 2 replies      
So apparently Ken Jennings is about 9000x more hilarious than I expected him to be. Good to know.
18 points by JoachimSchipper 6 days ago 5 replies      
Look past the "we're turning into reddit" HN angst: the IAmA reddit really can be very interesting.
1 point by jfm3 6 days ago 1 reply      
The most interesting bit is that he thinks trivia-game ability is genetic.

(Well, that and how he handles being a mormon.)

       cached 10 March 2011 03:11:01 GMT