hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    13 Mar 2011 Best
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I took "abusing the HTML5 History" to the next level. probablyinteractive.com
670 points by probablycorey 4 days ago   61 comments top 30
39 points by mrspeaker 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
I look forward to dealing with this on shady sites that want to disable the back button.
20 points by taylorbuley 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wish I'd thought of this. And that I'd made it.

And that it doesn't catch on.

14 points by itsnotvalid 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks to your work my browser history in firefox have hundreds - if not thousands - of lines more just for your site.
6 points by TorKlingberg 4 days ago 0 replies      
So now we can play games in both the address bar and the favicon:
7 points by amitvjtimub 4 days 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 4 days 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.
4 points by itcmcgrath 4 days 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...

2 points by noonespecial 4 days ago 0 replies      
<Khhaaannn!!!> My back button! MY HISTORY!!!! </Khhaaannn!!!>
5 points by flexd 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ouch, my history! Seriously, this was an experience. I might go as far as calling it art.
2 points by fady 4 days ago 0 replies      
similar to this via twitter: by @paulrouget


1 point by tfh 3 days ago 0 replies      
This game is even better on firefox with vimperator.
1 point by timinman 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fun bug: press escape tons and watch the animals move faster and your browser freeze.
1 point by angus77 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Look up at the url bar!"

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

1 point by nuxi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else think this could be used as a captcha?
1 point by retroafroman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very creative. Actually a somewhat addicting game as well!
1 point by hoprocker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, so much for back-nav'ing on that tab.
1 point by ddinch 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
What, no 8-bit sound effects?
1 point by philthy 4 days ago 0 replies      
probably interactive is in my history hundreds of times now :)

"Points 4"

1 point by Sujan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea.
1 point by _mayo 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to work in IE6 too.
1 point by mikesurowiec 3 days ago 0 replies      
No fun on the iPad :(
8.9 earthquake hits Japan usgs.gov
660 points by flyt 1 day ago   250 comments top 53
89 points by po 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm still feeling shakes every few minutes. It's like living in a house on a block of jello. Long rolling waves. I'm in central Tokyo and our china cabinet was shaken pretty badly:


I know some people up in sendai that I'm a bit worried about.

56 points by CWuestefeld 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is what I like about HN. This isn't a particularly "hacker" story, but the perspective here is unique.

On the main stream media, I'll get a couple of statistics and video, then an empty comment about "loved ones trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy".

On HN, I get the facts, but both broader and deeper, from the geological nature of the quake to the effect on other locales. And I get real, unfiltered perspective from those involved -- without the bogus posturing for the human interest feel.

40 points by jarin 1 day ago 6 replies      
I just talked to my parents in Hawaii, there's a tsunami warning for 3 am HST. I reminded my dad to sandbag the doors of his restaurant in Waikiki (Vit's Hawaiian Steakhouse) before he closes for the night.

It's just outside of the "tsunami zone" in Waikiki, so I know my dad will probably be working until the police make him evacuate. He did that on the last tsunami warning, and Vit's was pretty much the only restaurant open for several blocks. There was a line out of the door, haha.

24 points by melvinram 1 day ago 13 replies      
Red Cross and others will likely be jumping to the aide of those who have been affected by this disaster.

If you have a website, please consider adding a message and link to the Red Cross donation website or the link to the donation page of any other website.

To get it up ASAP, I've used the HelloBar (http://www.hellobar.com) on my site. You can see a working version of it at http://www.webdesigncompany.net but really any way that grabs attention would be a good way.

PS: I'm not associated with the HelloBar product but I've sent them an email requesting that they allow those who want to use their product to participate to get an invite to their beta. Hopefully they'll reply here soon.

If you don't want to setup an account or don't have an invite yet, you could copy/paste the following code:

  <script type="text/javascript" src="//www.hellobar.com/hellobar.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
new HelloBar(3823,9104);

The text and link will never change.

31 points by harisenbon 1 day ago 2 replies      
It was crazy scary, and I was all the way down in Nagoya.
There doesn't seem to be too much damage in Miyagi (where the earthquake was) but some fires broke out apparently.

Luckily, it seemed to be a long, hard earthquake rather than a short hard earthquake, which means that buildings are able to withstand the shaking better. The shaking went on for about 3 minutes here, and there were some after shocks that lasted for about a minute.

The Great Hanshin Earthquake was only a 7.2, and it was much more destructive.

27 points by solipsist 1 day ago 1 reply      
And there's already a growing Wikipedia article on the earthquake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Sendai_earthquake
10 points by jarin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Text message from my parents in Hawaii just now:

"At 11:01 pm we just had a 4.6 earthquake on the big island"

There's also increased seismic activity on some of the volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest (far left link on each row shows latest activity):


I'm not a seismologist so I have no idea if that's as gnarly as it looks.

13 points by 1053r 1 day ago 2 replies      
A small plug for my startup. We created a page partnering with the red cross where folks can donate to the relief effort. http://www.fundly.com/redcrossjapan From there you can donate or get involved via facebook.
25 points by veidr 1 day ago 7 replies      
An interesting thing I noticed was that all cell phones were completely useless for a pretty long time following the quake. That's normal, but one difference this time, compared with several years ago, is that most people I know no longer have a landline phone at home. People were queuing up for like 20 minutes to use the one old green plastic coin-op pay phone accross the street.

At first, I didn't think to use a phone, since I was sitting at my desk and email worked normally. I could email a colleague in a different building back and forth in neartime while the quakes were happening. About 15 minutes later it occurred to me to try my (naz)iPhone and see if it was useful. It was not--could not make or receive calls, and the test text message I sent did not arrive in a timely manner (took more than 30 minutes).

Just as a data point.

44 points by leot 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is particularly ill-timed for the rebels in Libya.
2 points by dkarl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Who is responding to this catastrophe? Is it the defense forces, state police, or is it just international agencies? I imagine a comprehensive aerial survey happening _immediately_, helicopters showing up with emergency supplies and defense troops or police within hours, and so on, but the government has produced ridiculously inaccurate casualty numbers and has blamed lack of contact with the affected area for their ignorance. It makes me think nobody is actually there. Can somebody fill us in on what is being done to help the people who are there?
15 points by koski 1 day ago 3 replies      
Japan has declared a state of emergency because of the failure of the cooling system at one nuclear plant, according to the Associated Press. Officials say there has been no leak of radiation.

Let's hope this does not get any worse than it is right now.

43 points by aba_sababa 1 day ago 1 reply      
9 points by koski 1 day ago 3 replies      
The Tsunamis caused by this that might hit Taiwan etc. can be huge (5 to 10 meters). Or then just 10 cm high. How ever it's moving now 800km an hour.

The destruction is terrible (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhj2ge_violent-seisme-d-une...)

I cannot explain in written how sorry I feel for the people living in the area.

15 points by eekfuh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Zynga in japan:

and they are still working apparently

9 points by atgm 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maebashi, Gunma here. I was on the 10th floor of city hall when it happened and bookcases were falling all over; we were trying to hold them up and not really getting how serious it was. That was a few hours ago and we're still getting periodic aftershocks. No sea here, so we don't have to worry about tsunami, luckily.

I was fine during the quake itself and now I'm having an attack of the nerves; it still feels like the ground is moving and I can't stop eating, heh.

Malls and grocery stores are closed, so the local convenience stores are being stripped of absolutely everything.

9 points by kia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of tsunami caused by this earthquake


5 points by harisenbon 1 day ago 4 replies      
Also I found this interesting:

A massive 8.8 magnitude quake hit the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, shaking buildings in the capital Tokyo

Why would you talk about the earthquake in Tokyo, when it happened in Miyagi? Tokyo only got hit with a 3 or 4. [EDIT: updated to 5 JMS. Tokyo got hit pretty hard too]

The actual earthquake was around 240 miles away. That's the same distance from New York to Boston.

5 points by malte 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it's of use for anyone here, but Google has set up a Crisis Response page:


9 points by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Diamondhead Reef in Hawaii just completely emptied, it's barren of water, nothing in sight.
4 points by bradly 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting to view of all 5+ quakes the past 3 days http://cl.ly/3G0f0t0d1C2Z381s3O31 . Loads of activity in the area. Is that kind of activity common, or could that have been an indicator that there was a chance of a major quake?
5 points by ck2 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am watching live and they just said all cooling hardware and backups for one of their atomic plants has FAILED and they are advising residents to evacuate. Ugh.
4 points by MikeCapone 1 day ago 0 replies      
14 points by invisiblefunnel 1 day ago 2 replies      
3 points by apsurd 1 day ago 6 replies      
Is there any system currently able to mass-call all cellphones from any/all carriers within a given geo-location radius? Or any type of push notification service for natural disasters.

Seems like this happened during the day but watching the news made me think about disasters that happen at night. How are people notified to get the hell out of there??

2 points by old-gregg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never saw a photo of tsunami like this one:
6 points by redial 1 day ago 0 replies      
Last year I experienced the chilean earthquake. It was 8.8. There were tsunamis in various cities and a lot of friends lost their houses. The days after it the earth wouldn't stop shaking. A new major aftershock every 5 minutes, and a new tsunami alert every couple of hours. For about 3 months. We still feel the occasional 6.5 aftershock every couple of weeks, more than a year later.

It's really sad to wake up and find that it has happened again.

2 points by mceachen 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're in Hawaii or California, we're in a Tsunami Warning (which is the run-for-the-hills, highest grade warning): http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/2011/03/11/lhvpd9/04/messagelhvpd...

If you're on a coastline, here are the tsunami height predictions: http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/models/models.html

6 points by jarquesp 1 day ago 2 replies      
Live stream: http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/6810.htm

Or direct 256k: mms://nhk-world.gekimedia.net/nhkw-highm

They have revised the earthquake to 8.4 as of 11:08PM PST.

2 points by LiveTheDream 1 day ago 0 replies      
2 points by T-R 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by InfinityX0 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hope Ray Grieselhuber of Ginzametrics (YC) is OK - along with everyone else. I am pretty sure he is based around Tokyo. http://ginzametrics.com/ginzametrics-is-hiring-in-tokyo.html
1 point by NZ_Matt 1 day ago 0 replies      
My thoughts are with those in Sendai and the other affected areas, the helicopter shot on tv is terrifying. The tsunami appears to have been more destuctive than the actual earthquake. The earthquake was a long way offshore (150km) so I imagine the shaking intensity was relatively low on the mainland and the buildings and other infrastructure will be alright.
2 points by Klonoar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was pretty crazy. myGengo office had a light break, but otherwise we weren't too badly affected.

Hope goes out to those more affected, looks insane from what I'm seeing.

2 points by cloudwalking 1 day ago 1 reply      
1 point by cdavid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hope everyone in Japan is doing ok - I guess I am lucky that I am out of the country precisely this day, but now starting to get worry about people I know. It is a bit scary to think that an earthquake felt in east of Japan (tokyo, sendai), and also in Osaka where I live, almost 500 km west from there.
2 points by sovande 1 day ago 0 replies      
All quake servers are down in Japan; http://www.quakelive.com/
1 point by geuis 1 day ago 1 reply      
People outside of Tokyo Disneyland http://twitpic.com/48dy7s
2 points by junyaogura 1 day ago 0 replies      
Japanese mobile network operators provides disaster message boards in English.

Docomo(NTT) http://dengon.docomo.ne.jp/Etop.cgi
SoftBank http://dengon.softbank.ne.jp/pc-e1.jsp
au(KDDI) http://dengon.ezweb.ne.jp/E/service.do

1 point by hoag 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's staggering to me is that the 1989 earthquake in SF was only a 6.8 -- and that made our home in Marin feel like we were floating on a swimming pool. I can't even begin to imagine what an 8.9 is like. Tragic, but apparently expected: Japan's strict building codes will go a long way towards minimizing human loss. If only there were a way to protect against the biblical devastation of tsumanis.
3 points by serialx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Chiba Steel Mill explosion:


It's getting serious.

2 points by samh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Airport 2 km inland is flooded, amazing helicopter shots of the water sliding across the land.
1 point by marcusEting 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to see a visual of where the epicenter was:


1 point by golgo13 1 day ago 0 replies      
As always, check out the national Bouy Center from our friend at NOAA: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ This is data geek heaven.
1 point by newtonapple 1 day ago 0 replies      
-4 points by suyash 1 day ago 7 replies      
Is this post appropriate for HN?
-4 points by zrgiu 1 day ago 1 reply      
OMG! This feels like 2012 (the movie). Seeing that tsunami is breathtaking. I sincerely hope lives aren't lost.
-4 points by mrleinad 1 day ago 0 replies      
@BBCBreaking: "Japanese authorities to release radioactive vapour to ease pressure at Fukushima nuclear reactor, from AP"

And this is how Gojira was created..

Accounting for Computer Scientists kleppmann.com
501 points by martinkl 5 days ago   75 comments top 27
83 points by tc 5 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:


31 points by mixmax 5 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"

34 points by jacques_chester 5 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.

22 points by jcromartie 5 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 shawnee_ 5 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)


18 points by seanstickle 5 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.

9 points by Vivtek 5 days ago 3 replies      
OH MY GOD! I finally understand why Sales is a liability on all the balance sheets I translate! !!!
6 points by aristidb 4 days 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 5 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 ... ."


5 points by crux_ 5 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.

10 points by Helianthus16 5 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.
4 points by beza1e1 4 days 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 5 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 5 days 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.
4 points by lenary 5 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
2 points by koepked 5 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone willing to recommend a good book that introduces graph theory?
1 point by archgoon 5 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?
1 point by gersh 5 days 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 vdm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tony Bowden described an accounting system built on Semantic Mediawiki in 2006.


1 point by gcb 4 days 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 drindox 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good effort but all the sign flipping gets confusing
2 points by rsl 4 days ago 0 replies      
substituting programmer jargon for accounting jargon is the answer?
0 points by Tycho 5 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 4 days 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 regehr 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hard to believe this article didn't contain the word "invariant."
1 point by mikecarlton 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done thanks. Much clearer than quickbooks or quicken.
-3 points by bakintunde 5 days ago 0 replies      
Check out accountingcoach.com
Anatomy of a Crushing pinboard.in
481 points by mbrubeck 4 days ago   68 comments top 18
19 points by SwellJoe 4 days 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).

47 points by Vivtek 4 days 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!

66 points by rimantas 4 days 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-...

41 points by zeemonkee 4 days 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 4 days 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.
18 points by bgraves 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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!

7 points by brown9-2 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what tool is generating these very-pretty load graphs?
2 points by DuncanIdaho 3 days 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"?

5 points by cschmidt 4 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best reads I've had in a while on a tech blog.
Khan of Khan Academy at TED (video) youtube.com
473 points by zootar 3 days ago   97 comments top 37
74 points by solipsist 3 days ago replies      
I've heard countless people rave about Salman Khan and his teaching methods - both here and away from HN. The truth is, I had no idea why he and his teachings were such a big deal...until now. I had seen some of his videos before and read some of the articles about the Khan Academy, but had never given them my full attention. To me, it was just another guy with his own teaching methods.

But when I see him talk at TED, it makes perfect sense. Not only is he a superb speaker, he gets his points across clearly.

Probably the best point of all is this one:

  "What I do is I assign the lectures for homework and, what used to be
homework, I now have the students doing in the classroom."

As radical as that may seem, this idea has TONS of potential. Do we really need teachers there in person if they are just lecturing? The real use of being there in person as a teacher is for interacting with the students. What better way to do that than by helping them with the work (i.e. homework) and letting the Khan Academy lecture when little interaction is needed.

I am definitely going to hop on the bandwagon now and join everyone else in following Khan while appreciating his pure genius. In fact, the best way to describe him is to combine all the great things people here on HN have to say about him:

  > He's amazing. (joshu)

> I really do think Sal Khan will revolutionize teaching. (solarmist)

> Hero material. (MikeCapone)

> Future of education. (omfut)

> Really wonderful reminder of what just one person can set in motion. (runevault)

> Simply amazing that a guy armed only with a tablet and a microphone can have this
much impact. (keiferski)

> He is a big inspiration for anyone looking to change the world. (omfut)

The list could go on forever. And it's not every day you hear people talking about someone and their ideas in such a way like they are now about Khan and the Khan Academy.

If people are saying it is amazing, then there's a pretty good chance that it truly is amazing.

20 points by zmmmmm 2 days ago 2 replies      
This man is certainly one of my heroes. I love this part from the FAQ on the Khan Academy:

    What topics do you plan to cover?

My goal is to cover everything. Yes, everything!
... My goal really is to keep making videos until the day I die
(which will hopefully not be for at least another 50 or 60
years). Should give me time to make several tens
of thousands of videos in pretty much every subject."

45 points by runevault 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really wonderful reminder of what just one person can set in motion. I could easily see him becoming considered one of the most important people of this century based on what he is doing for education and its globalization.
11 points by DanielN 2 days ago 0 replies      
After viewing this video I logged into Khan academy to check out the practice tracking features highlighted in the video. Mainly I wanted to see the categorical branching of subjects that they showed.

Its a pretty amazing idea and execution. From one basic subject, addition, they expand and branch out all the way down to basic calculus. It would be really amazing if they continued expanding this out to the point where all subjects where mapped out, even the less mathematical ones. Just to see the path from addition to trigonometry is a pretty good refresher of what the mechanics of the trig functions actually entail. Imagine seeing the path from addition to linear algebra.

More to the point, imagine a world in which a student uses this system throughout their educational career. I can't even fathom the difference that that level of tracking and relational mapping between ideas would have on a students understanding of material and motivation to tackle new subjects.

18 points by robertk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I actually swelled up in tears when he showed the spreadsheet of student progress, and suggested having the students with red blocks (those who are stuck on a concept) being given help from the students with green blocks (those who mastered it).

That is so beautiful.

21 points by dmvaldman 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a university math TA, my students would often say "you're so much better than the teacher, why don't you teach the class?"

Hearing this is definitely an ego stroke, but what the student really means is that he learns better by practicing problems than by listening to theory. I feel this is even more true in a younger school environment.

The teacher's and TA's roles are simply different in this respect, so I take no credit for "being better than the teacher".

But what Khan Academy does is really interesting, because now the teacher takes the role of the TA. I feel this is a much more effective way to teach. And ultimately the student will benefit. Thumbs up to this philosophy.

10 points by georgi0u 2 days ago 1 reply      
After reading a few comments, I haven't seen this point made so I'm gonna go for it:

  > The traditional model, it penalizes you for experimentation and failure, 
> but does not expect mastery.
> We encourage you to experiment [and fail], but we do expect mastery.

This, in my opinion, is the most potential ridden idea made by Khan. Today, middle schools is ~3 years, high school is 4 years, university is 4 years, etc.; we discretize learning into these rigid chunks of time - partially out of (deprecated) technical necessity - and in the process we isolate kids - the so called dumb kids. When Kahn showed that graph of a so called dumb kids spending 2-3x as long on a single topic, only to resume the same learning rate as the smart kids after they understood the foundational concept they were originally struggling with, it made me see how much potential there truly is in this system.

Imagine a world where the baseline level of education is produced by a Khan style system. Schooling wouldn't be as tractable (i.e., it might take 2 to 6 (or more) years to go through high school instead of a nice predictable 4), but everyone that would come out of said system would have the same (ideal) level of knowledge needed in order to move on to the next best thing (e.g., college, work, life's passion, etc.). There wouldn't be kids competing for GPA's or stuffing their resumes, and there wouldn't be kids who didn't know how to tie their shoes; there would be kids who KNOW calculus, kids who UNDERSTAND physics, and kids who GET American history. The variation would be in the idiosyncrasies of the topics, as opposed to the core concepts.

Now imagine further to what this does for higher education. In this proposed system, it would simply be a fact that graduating kids would know - at mastery level - what their school's curriculums listed off; it's the equivalent of everyone having a 1600 on their SAT's. College acceptance becomes less of a selectivity problem, and more of an efficiency problem; where are all these geniuses going to study!

Ahhh, the potential is so exciting...

That being said, as sort of an aside I think it's noteworthy to say that the idea of fixing the tuition-based University model is a bit more complex than the high school model, but as user arjn said bellow, there are plenty of free lecture repositories out there already; perhaps if prior educational systems encouraged and indoctrinated students to be more self-proficient (as in the Khan system), University learning becomes more about educating yourself, and those free lectures will (naturally) replace the pay-to-learn model. I don't know, but it's a thought...

3 points by singular 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful. Education is, IMHO, the most important thing in the world, full stop, since it forms the basis for what we are able to do and more importantly how we think.

Personally, I found school boring and tedious (and got pretty average grades) until going to 6th form college where I discovered something amazing - learning isn't defined by a failed teaching system - learning done right is a joyful and wonderful thing (unsurprisingly my grades significantly improved at this point).

The fact that learning is a joy is one of the most important discoveries you make in life (or don't, unfortunately I think most people don't) and anything that allows people to discover this is a vastly important thing.

(It's important to note that learning, as with everything else, isn't 100% joyful all the time, but that the joy of it infinitely outweighs any difficulty and pain encountered along the way).

I've noticed a pernicious worship of ignorance that pervades, at least, my country (the UK) - the idea that learning is boring and there's something wrong with you if you seem to enjoy it - that alone is to my mind incredibly dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth, literally. This is nothing, though, compared to countries where ordinary people are simply unable to access quality education or even any education at all where the Khan academy is an example of the internet at its democratising best.

Go Sal!

17 points by solarmist 3 days ago 0 replies      
Over the years I've found lectures less and less useful to attend in person as profs and other presenters post their lectures and powerpoint slides online. I can just watch/read those and get everything I need from those materials, then when I'm in class I can ask much more useful questions and cover the details that really make the difference.

I love how the Khan Academy is institutionalizing that idea. I can't see any reason that lectures need to be done in person, but being able to work through sticking points with someone. Now that is valuable.

I really do think Sal Khan will revolutionize teaching. At least in the areas this model is applicable.

23 points by joshu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Saw this live. He's amazing.
9 points by arjn 2 days ago 5 replies      
Khanacademy is neat but I find it odd that people on HN either aren't aware or dont care about other earlier sources such as :

  - MIT's OCW
- USNW eLearning channel on Youtube (esp Richar Buckland)
- TIMMS (Germany, possibly the first of the video resources)
- UCBerkeley youtube channel
- Dr. Adrian Banner (Princeton)
- Harvard (esp Michael Sandel's lectures, amazing)

The above can be easily searched for and are hardly a comprehensive list as that would be large. Here is a website which is a sort of clearinghouse for video lectures: www.cosmolearning.com

A search of HN shows less attention given to these original sources than perhaps they deserve. In my opinion MIT OCW was the best known initiative till recent times and started this wave of online video learning.
BTW, I highly recommend Michael Sandel's lectures on ethics and politics, available on YouTube.

14 points by aashpak1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I found it very interesting how he applied data-analysis techniques [at time 12:33 in the video] to provide teachers with a better and correct understanding of each student's shortcomings (probably from his insights from his earlier profession on the Wall St.) that will take the student/tutor interaction to a new level!
9 points by keiferski 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simply amazing that a guy armed only with a tablet and a microphone can have this much impact.
3 points by raheemm 2 days ago 0 replies      
And it all started with him tutoring his cousins long-distance while maintaining a busy work schedule. There is something real special about that - willingness to spend "free" time, willingness to tutor in spite of the distance (he was in Boston and his cousins were in Louisiana).

Either of these reasons would have been sufficient excuses for him to not help his cousins. Lucky for them and for all of us that such an amazing talent was so generous with his time and insistent on using technology to overcome the distance barrier.

2 points by modeless 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think what could eventually be even more impactful than the videos themselves is the statistics tracking he showed. With that kind of data across thousands or millions of people, you would see patterns of people who had the same problems and questions in the same places, and you could redo the videos to be more clear in those areas and answer those questions preemptively. With a web-scale audience you could do A-B testing experiments and optimize the performance of your teaching material. I think a curriculum optimized in this way could eventually be dramatically better than even the best traditional education has to offer today.

Today teaching is an art; this could turn it into a science.

9 points by barkmadley 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a link because ted.com is just as awesome as youtube.com


Also is the youtube video a strange colour red for anyone else?

9 points by adrianbye 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with Sal when we were both at Oracle. one thing i think is that what he's doing with khan academy ties directly to his strengths.

he was very good at explaining and teaching, and liked analyzing data.

4 points by Kilimanjaro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Idea HN: Make transcripts of all videos in KhanAcademy and have them presented with blackboard images and all, nicely organized in a web page with links to original videos.
12 points by omfut 3 days ago 2 replies      
It was a great talk. Future of education. I loved the way Bill interacted with Khan.
3 points by Rickasaurus 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a kid I had ADHD, I found myself staying up all night programming and sleeping in my classes. The skills I leanred then have served me well but if the classroom was more engaging maybe I wouldn't have had such a difficult path.

I hope this spreads like wildfire.

4 points by paufernandez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, I got so excited (and moved) when I saw his talk at GEL:


That I started my own channel for Programming in C++, for my students... I have 74 videos already... (in Spanish, sorry)


5 points by Mizza 2 days ago 0 replies      
Because the site doesn't make it obvious, Khan Academy is an Open Source project: https://code.google.com/p/khanacademy/
1 point by sili 2 days ago 0 replies      
Besides other good things about shifting teacher's work from lecturing to actually spending time with kids that were mentioned here, I would like to point out that some teachers are really bad lecturers. My most vivid impressions are from early collage math courses but it is as valid for high school as well. The professor can lead the lecture at million words a minute constantly erasing the board so you don't have the time to copy the material, let alone let it sink in. The professor can have heavy accent, so you spend most of you attention just trying to understand his words.
1 point by MicahNance 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who was often bored during school lectures, I think the idea is great. One of the things I love about the Internet is that, in many cases, only the best rises to the top. That means people everywhere can have access to the best information on a subject, or in this case, the best video lecture. I think that is awesome, because it seems that the smaller the town/school/college, the rarer good professionals are.

There are a lot of problems tangled up in in this that also need to be solved. His model relies on students watching lectures at home. Not everyone has broadband; some don't even have a computer. What do you do for those kids? Do you send home DVDs? What if there is no TV? (probably rare in the US, but still) Do you give every student a free laptop? I understand Los Altos is a pilot program, but quoting Wikipedia: "It is one of the wealthiest places in the United States." What do you do in the inner city or in very rural areas?

Obviously the people behind this are very smart and I'm sure they are considering all the issues involved, this is just my brain dump after watching.

I like the lecture-as-homework idea. It seems that less of everyone's time will be wasted with that method. Teachers/parents will have a much better idea of how long the "homework" will take, because the video is a fixed length +/- the rewinding/fast forwarding. In the classroom, everyone gets the attention they need.

Things I'm curious about:
What about the students who work faster than the rest? I guess they eventually reach the end of the curriculum for that particular course. Do they move to the next classes' topics or is there some set of optional topics that they can choose based on personal interest?

What kinds of tests are there? He talked about the current models shortcomings(some student fail the test, but the class moves on anyway), but are there any big tests or final exams on the model? Or, is it entirely "quizzes?"

Have the teachers noticed an improvement in student behavior? Do they spend less time on disciplinary action due to the more interactive sessions?

1 point by teyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I admire Khan. Although he is not unique in his approach, he is uniquely positioned to deliver this message. By quitting his job and giving away his time, he is an ideal ambassador to the message of "scalable pedagogy". As he has described, if Isaac Newton had recorded his lessons on Youtube, Khan wouldn't have to.

By giving alway classroom tools like test management and monitoring, he is also equipping teachers to become more scalable and as he described - data driven.

2 points by pacomerh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this idea. I've been watching the KhanA videos for a while now, and learning about the U.S history ;) economy, and what not (I'm from Mexico), I'd love to see these videos in multiple languages.
2 points by tammam 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe his method has a ton of potential. First saw Khan on This Week in Startups: http://thisweekin.com/thisweekin-startups/this-week-in-start... and was impressed to learn that Bill Gates invited him to talk. I think his method works for many people and could change the way many people learn.
3 points by hanifvirani 2 days ago 0 replies      
The long standing ovation at the end was so well deserved. I had a smile on my face as I watched it.
2 points by chsonnu 2 days ago 0 replies      
The record keeping is a double edged sword. Maybe one day institutions will start using your Khan record as a metric for employment/admissions. And that's the day people will start cheating. I guess this means standardized tests like the SATs and GREs aren't going anywhere.
2 points by econner 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been looking at the Khan Academy site a bit.

I find the exercise dashboard kind of strange. Is math the only available subject? And do you have to go through all the prerequisite exercises to progress to the next ones?

2 points by yannickmahe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought eLearning was something impossible to do efficiently - before I saw this video.

A compelling argument, and a great method! I can't count the startup ideas that could come from this.

1 point by harscoat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beauty of the graph at 13'50" - It is good to believe in children/people and do sthg about it as Khan does.
1 point by dr_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, but I wish there were some lessons on coding. Computer programming at some basic level at least should be required of all students - even if they don't make a career out of it, being able to work snippets of code will come in handy across all disciplines in the future - finance, medicine, media, or repairing that broken fridge in your e-home.
1 point by semerda 1 day ago 0 replies      
He has great videos on his site esp on "Valuation and Investing" and "Venture Capital and Capital Markets". After you watch those everything just makes perfect sense.
1 point by wyclif 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome speech. What's wrong with the YouTube video quality, though?
2 points by tRAS 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think most people miss the point that the statistics provided by the Khan Academy is equally kick-ass as its videos. He mentions of a "teacher driven" design process.

TDD? ;)

2 points by thenicepostr 3 days ago 0 replies      
nice post wb. does he use prezi for his presentations?
Twitter to developers: no new Twitter clients google.com
433 points by samstokes 1 day ago   171 comments top 55
102 points by danilocampos 1 day ago replies      
It's the old casino analogy: When you're betting on a platform you don't own, the house always wins.

I don't know much about Twitter politics, but we've got:

- Developer hostility this week

- User hostility last week, with the dickbar

So maybe this is just how it goes now that Costolo is in charge. "Fuck the loyalists, we're here to make some money. Getting sick of these third party tools charging coin for our damn API while we get nothing."

If so, the question becomes: who creates more value on Twitter? Is it the old guard, who use it as a communications and community medium? Or is it the mainstream, following celebrities and talking about sandwiches they're eating, eyeballs to be sold to the highest bidder?

(edit: My hunch is that, too late, the Pareto principle will be discovered hard at work: 20% or less of Twitter users actually generate 80% of the value. I just can't see it as a bland, empty consumption tool. There's surely peril in optimizing toward that.)

It sounds to me like Twitter wants to round up its user-cattle and drive them on down to monetization gulch. Anyone who gets in the way of this is going to be flattened.

107 points by jellicle 1 day ago 4 replies      
Twitter doesn't want you to build a twitter client that automatically filters out ads in the twitstream, or doesn't have ads on the sidebar like the official client, or in some other way is superior to the official client.

That is, Twitter is planning to monetize by making their product worse, and they don't want anyone offering a service on the level of what Twitter used to offer.

76 points by zaidf 1 day ago 3 replies      
When companies started releasing awesome APIs for free, we kinda wondered "what's the catch?". Years later, we're finding out.

The hype surrounding free APIs without formal agreements is the biggest farce in the Valley. We are now in that phase of the cycle where this will become more and more apparent as these companies with awesome APIs get serious about making money(and the free API impeding their revenue plans).

Free APIs--especially the powerful ones--should be seen as "cute things" with little purpose beyond experimental side projects. If you ACTUALLY want to build a company off someone's API, get a formal agreement with that company especially if that company insists you don't need one.

So much has changed since the 90s when access to APIs meant paying huge $. And yet, so little has really changed.

42 points by jfager 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't get it. If twitter already provides the top 5 twitter clients, and 90% of users interact with twitter through those clients, where's the fractured landscape and user confusion coming from?

And if the organic trend is towards official twitter client adoption, why are they taking the risk of coming out and bitching at developers to stop making clients? Everyone already noticed the market for these sorts of apps drying up, and has started wondering how serious twitter actually is about keeping a robust 3rd-party platform for the long haul. This just adds fuel to that fire, for no gain whatsoever.

I get what their goal is. They're positioning to make a serious push to get ads/promoted tweets/etc in users' faces, and they want everything in place to be able to shut down or prevent the 3rd party clients that pop up to filter all that out. Okay, fine. But why make the big announcement like this? Why explicitly freak out all of your developers while you're still on a trajectory of solving the problem organically? Why not wait until it's actually a problem, when you're actually seeing increased adoption of 3rd-party clients that ruin your plans?

It's always interesting to watch a company work hard to solve a problem they perceive from their perspective that's completely at odds with the problem the rest of us see from ours. See also: record/movie companies and DRM, Rupert Murdoch and Google, MS and Internet Explorer, etc, etc, etc.

93 points by olivercameron 1 day ago 5 replies      
"More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.".

How can a company who's user base has grown to such an amount because of third party clients say something like this? Talk about showing a little appreciation. As someone who develops a Twitter client, it is a huge kick in the teeth.

37 points by boredguy8 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an end user (and by no means a power user) of Twitter, I have to say that I don't want a consistent user experience. I want the best user experience for how I use Twitter.

Right now that means TweetDeck, but if something better came along, I'd jump to it. It lets me do things I can't do in Twitter's tools (or that I don't easily see how to do).

So from an 'outsider' on this topic: boo!

32 points by jazzychad 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ugh, that tears it. I'm not doing any more Twitter development unless Twitter acquires me. Not hires me, acquires me.

I love Twitter and have several friends that work there, but I am losing all confidence in developing on the platform when I am not a big-name company with an official partnership.

A 3rd party twitter dev since 2007

39 points by ajg1977 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Thanks for all your help getting us where we are. Now, get out and shut the door behind you".
52 points by olivercameron 1 day ago 3 replies      
Wow, this is written in a really weird tone, especially considering it's coming from an official Twitter representative. It doesn't feel clear at all what they want developers to do. Either way, it feels very hostile.
27 points by VladRussian 1 day ago 1 reply      
"in the name of user(experience)".

Back in the Soviet Union a lot of things were happening "by request of the workers", for example an unpaid [and mandatory] additional day of work on Saturday sometimes.

9 points by kmfrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man, TapBots just can't catch a break. First they are about to announce TweetBot[1], when Twitter for iPhone (a free, first-party alternative to competitors) is announced, and they recently announced the coming of a re-imagined TweetBot[2].

On another note, I don't understand why Twitter are so callous to throw away their community goodwill on a whim. They already have a lot - just look how they took a stand when the data for one of their users was requested by the U.S. government. And then they do something like this. (After [this](http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2313152).) And the dickbar!

[1]: http://tapbots.com/blog/business/say-hello-to-tweetbot

[2]: http://tapbots.com/blog/tweetbot/tweetbot-is-coming

6 points by fingerprinter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think what we are seeing is quite a bit of chasm crossing from the platforms. When that happens, the early technical users (who they don't make much money from, btw) get pushed out or at least _feel_ pushed out.

Yes, we helped build the ecosystem and make it a viable company...but if you read "Crossing the Chasm", it is almost a blueprint for what these platforms are going through and doing...they rely on early technical folks to build a base...but eventually need to reject those early users or marginalize them for sake of profit...very interesting read.

13 points by famousactress 1 day ago 2 replies      
According to our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.

I notice the omission of the words only or even mostly. I'm curious about the raw percentage of tweets from official/non-official apps.. and the percentage of users who use official applications say, 90+ % of the time.

13 points by dholowiski 1 day ago 1 reply      
March 11, 2011 - Twitter was fatally injured by a gunshot wound to the foot. Initial reports are indicating this was not an accicdental shooting. Twitter will be mourned and missed by a wide variety of tech enthusiasts.
8 points by erikpukinskis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the biggest material difficulty this will present Twitter is in hiring engineering talent.

I used to get the feel that they wanted to let the ecosystem develop naturally so it could realize it's full potential. That "build great stuff and we'll win" mentality. Now it feels like they've got a "strategy" that they're executing. Without that light touch it just doesn't seem as fun a place to work.

6 points by akmiller 1 day ago 0 replies      
"As we point out above, we need to move to a less fragmented world, where
every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way. This is already
happening organically - the number and market share of consumer client apps
that are not owned or operated by Twitter has been shrinking. According to
our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly

If this is true, then what's the point of this announcement. They make it sound like they are already getting what they want...people moving at a rapid pace towards the official Twitter applications. Yet in the same release they come off as scared that the fragmentation is growing. I don't get it.

6 points by code_duck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fred Wilson pretty much announced that the status quo was over for Twitter API developers in an article published last April, "The Twitter Platform's Inflection Point": http://avc.com/a_vc/2010/04/the-twitter-platform.html

Notable quote:

"I think the time for filling the holes in the Twitter service has come and gone. It was a great period for Twitter and its third party developers."

3 points by mikeryan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have to believe that this means that Twitter is looking at turning on the revenues and likely with in stream "sponsored tweets" or some other similar type of nonsense and they don't want third parties stripping out these ads.

Its always been strange that they'd let 3rd parties be a primary interaction model since its very hard to monetize other peoples clients.

4 points by mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny timing considering how there's been a noticeable degradation in the Twitter app quality since Atebits got Borg-ified by them. Their plan thus far seems to be:

1. identify best client out there

2. buy it

3. ruin it

4. outlaw all other (well, new) clients

5. ...

6. profit!

8 points by whatevermatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the announcement:

- Display of tweets in 3rd-party services. We need to ensure that tweets, and tweet actions, are rendered in a consistent way so that people have the same experience with tweets no matter where they are. For example, some developers display “comment”, “like”, or other terms with tweets instead of “follow, favorite, retweet, reply” - thus changing the core functions of a tweet.

While I don't like the idea of 3rd-party services treating Twitter as a white-label medium, it's hard to believe this is coming from the same service that is famous for letting its users establish convention, and then supporting that convention. (@, #, etc)

(Edit: s/email/announcement/)

4 points by jrockway 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm done using Twitter. Their engineered experience sucks, but I do like third-party clients.
3 points by JCB_K 1 day ago 5 replies      
I don't understand why people are so upset about this. It's simple: Twitter Inc. doesn't like apps which are the same as Twitter, or worse. (I don't mean to say that Twitter is bad already: just that Twitter Inc. doesn't like 1. apps recreating Twitter and 2. apps which give a low-quality UI.)

In other words: they urge devs to develop a client with added value. Wether that's apps for "Company Tweeting" or Real-Time Data, it's adding something to the core experience of Twitter.

Most importantly, I think Twitter Inc. still likes "normal" Twitter apps, as long as they have added value: a superior UI. So get devving, and make the new and better Tweetie!

2 points by alanh 1 day ago 0 replies      
As much as this sounds like the beginning of the end, I do have to agree with one gripe:

> For example, some 
developers display “comment”, “like”, or other terms with tweets instead of 
 “follow, favorite, retweet, reply” - thus changing the core functions of a 

Very true. I have accidentally tweeted by “logging in with Twitter” and then “commenting” on comments. Despicable behavior, and it should be stopped. (Alert! Previous statement is narrow in scope!)

3 points by itsnotvalid 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is no surprise with the aid of #dickbar. I am not going to use Twitter for any serious purpose anymore. This bottom line has violated by basic requirement of information freedom.

Just seeing this issue I really think that there is still spaces for even more Twitter clients. Last months or so there is one called littlecosm.com which is a client+game type.

It is like they simply don't want people to avoid looking at their public timeline without promoted tweets and dickbar. What a shame.

4 points by taylorbuley 1 day ago 0 replies      
A Consistent User Experience. I believe I've heard that somewhere before... http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserEx...
8 points by arpit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone think this could rejuvenate something like Status.net (http://status.net/) or any other open system for status updates? (I always hopeful about that)
2 points by guptaneil 1 day ago 0 replies      
It definitely sounds hostile, but I can see where they're coming from. They want to encourage more creative uses of their API, rather than just flooding the market with hundreds of mostly subpar client apps. They've basically reached critical mass as far as third party clients go. Any additional clients are not going to increase their user base anymore. What they really need is more use cases for the Twitter stream. I don't particularly agree with this strategy of leaving a lot of developers feeling like they just got slapped across the face, but it will be interesting to see where the API goes now.
13 points by MatthewPhillips 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yep. Last paragraph says it all: Use the API for something besides clients.
9 points by kouiskas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for Twitter to join Myspace in the slow death club. This move is certainly a step in that direction.
3 points by ekanes 1 day ago 3 replies      
Surprising: "According to
our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly
2 points by kpanghmc 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I understand Twitter's motivation for doing this -- and no, I don't believe it's about consistency -- I think they could have expressed at least some token of appreciation for the devs who helped get them to where they are now.
2 points by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Twitter became twitter thanks to its community that always created value and contributed most to its future path. The invention of hashtag and @ were also contributed by community.
the power users that always contributed high quality content and conversations to twitter.

The developers that contributed best applications for twitter ecosystem.

but now that it has justin bieber and other celebrities along with millions of their followers twitter feels like it does not need that core contributing community anymore.

To me it looks like start of demise for twitter.

4 points by borism 1 day ago 0 replies      
consistency and ecosystem opportunities

couldn't he just write "you're fucked, we're the boss" without all this corporate BS speech?

4 points by pyrmont 1 day ago 0 replies      
Translation: Look, the VCs are expecting a payout at some point and the only way we've worked out for making money is through ads. Now that's not going to fly if people can just get some sort of 'ad free' client from you guys. Our hands are tied.

PS. Thanks for helping us get this far!

2 points by radley 1 day ago 2 replies      
I read it this way:

There's now 75k registered Twitter apps. You're not going to be successful making a generic client. Think bigger: there's plenty of room for success in other Twitter verticals.

(and boooo for the fake FUD headline)

1 point by chegra 19 hours ago 0 replies      

The precedence of things.

3 points by Tichy 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's a shame, because I am still in the market for a good Android client. Guess there won't be one, ever.
3 points by guilleiguaran 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just remembered an article written by Alex Payne (al3x), former engineer at Twitter (and used to work in the API):


2 points by trustfundbaby 1 day ago 0 replies      
It was bound to happen ... and about time, hopefully it gives someone enough inspiration to come up with something to compete against twitter.

I want to see someone give twitter a run for their money. They're sloppy.

2 points by rmason 1 day ago 0 replies      
On the contrary this helps quite a bit. There was a cloud hanging over anyone doing anything with Twitter whether they would find their product in competition with the Mother ship itself.

It also explains apps suddenly losing access to the API and then regaining it. Twitter was asserting its control over standards.

I think if you aren't building a client, following the rules and adding value you don't have anything to worry about. To me that is great news.

2 points by phil 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has got to be at least partially about UberMedia.

Still makes me glad I don't depend on Twitter's platform at all.

3 points by mthreat 1 day ago 0 replies      
So if no new twitter clients are allowed, but existing ones are "grandfathered" in, does this mean there will be a market of buying and selling these grandfathered twitter clients?
1 point by QuantumGood 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitter claims preventing user confusion as a motive yet the move from old to new Twitter on the web is the biggest source of confusion. I mean, come on. Teaching people an interface isn't rocket science. Do something simple, such as put out a video a week showcasing use of the new interface. Heck, have user contests to come up with videos showcasing the new interface. Or go all out and develop an awesome training and help system, and integrate it into the interface. If users have a problem, do something about it!
1 point by nir 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is becoming an increasingly common mistake for tech CEOs: adopt Steve Jobs' attitude without being Steve Jobs.
1 point by nhangen 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why Twitter is soon to be bankrupt. They don't understand how to stop insulting the people that actually provide the content and value. The value isn't the technology, but the people developing and using it.
2 points by snissn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anybody who in the first place developed and designed a product around a third-party's ecosystem and API has what they have coming
1 point by jeffpalmer 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting turning point for Twitter and for API's of free services in general. Building apps based on an ecosystem that you have no control over has always seemed like a substantial risk to me, and this assumption is starting to take shape. Twitter's recent move is an example of what happens when a company is ready to monetize their content and wants to cut out the "middle man" so to speak. It's pretty clear that they don't want third parties encroaching on their ad revenue, and while sad, it was inevitable.

I see this as a very disappointing move by Twitter for the fact that they are alienating the very developers that helped build their brand. This is a glaring warning sign for all applications that are based on an external platform. If nothing else, this should serve as a lesson to all developers that free API's should be utilized with discretion.

2 points by otterley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone point to language in the revised API Terms of Service (http://dev.twitter.com/pages/api_terms) that implies "no new Twitter clients"? I'm reading it, but I can't find the smoking gun.
1 point by aDemoUzer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
But I don;t want consistent experience. I dislike the experience and want it done my own way!
1 point by ffumarola 1 day ago 0 replies      
On one hand, I agree in terms of providing a consistent user experience.

On the other hand, I disagree and think people should be able to build whatever experience they want.

2 points by whatevermatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
To expect enduring openness from a privately-owned medium or enduring stability from a single point of failure is naïve.
1 point by fedd 1 day ago 0 replies      
i guess that's what investors call 'feature' as opposing to a standalone product - turns out that many of these clients funded by them are features of twitter
1 point by maxer 1 day ago 0 replies      
has google not bought twitter yet?
0 points by voxmatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is the deafening thud of the other shoe dropping
Sleep is more important than food hbr.org
424 points by panarky 3 days ago   168 comments top 33
100 points by winestock 3 days 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.

19 points by jonmc12 3 days ago 5 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 3 days 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.

7 points by ylem 3 days 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...

4 points by nostrademons 3 days 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?

5 points by hoag 3 days ago 2 replies      
Preparing for the California Bar Exam was a fascinating experience for me. Not only was it the most mentally challenging endeavor I had ever undertaken, it proved to be the most psychologically challenging as well.

Fortunately, our two bar prep professors were not only licensed attorneys, but also Ph.D.s in neuropsychology. Part of our rigorous training therefore was not simply learning the law, but actually learning how to learn -- in particular, how to store and recall so much data on demand -- and above all, how to manage our time. (It turns out the human brain is actually quite good at writing and storing data, but really bad at what can be best described as "random access memory" operations: recalling random data at will, instantly.)

A great deal of emphasis was placed on structuring extremely precise "living schedules," for example, what to study when, for how long, when to eat, what meals, and above all, how and when to sleep. And how to force ourselves to sleep when we couldn't.

Long story short, forcing ourselves onto regular sleeping patterns was both immediately necessary and yet proved to be one of the hardest disciplines to learn: to force yourself to stop studying at a given hour (typically 10PM) even in the midst of learning something, and allow time to drive home, have a snack, rest, unwind, and then fall asleep by 11PM, to then awaken at 7 and be back at the library at 8... every single day, for 2 months... that was truly an act of willpower. Especially for me, as I've always been the personality type where, once I start doing or learning something, I can't stop until it's totally finished or mastered. Forcing myself to stop studying without having yet completed the particular matter was excruciatingly difficult.

The same thing proved true for the three-day bar exam itself of course: had to sleep between 9 and 10PM and awaken by 6AM, with virtually no studying at all in between days. At this point, you just had to trust your brain to marinate on all that it had absorbed in the 2 months leading up to those fateful three days.

Looking back on it now, it was due largely to my discipline with sleeping habits that I was able to pass the bar on my first try.

7 points by giu 3 days ago 5 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.

8 points by amitraman1 3 days 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!

2 points by sp4rki 3 days 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.
4 points by brd 3 days ago 7 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 matthodan 3 days 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 3 days 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...)
2 points by sarahmccrum 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to sleep 8 to 9 hours a night, and often could have slept more, until I learned how to relax and recharge my energy. Now I need around 4 to 6 hours (absolute max) and I never feel tired, even if I work late, 7 days a week etc etc.

Over the last 12 years, when I have worked with many people with a wide range of sleep problems, I have discovered that the problem is not in fact that we do not get enough sleep. I think that with the expectations we put on ourselves these days it is almost impossible to get enough sleep. I found that sleep (and food and the other methods we use) is simply not powerful enough to recharge our batteries properly.

Probably 50 years ago it was enough to eat 3 meals a day, sleep 8 hours a night, have weekends and a few weeks holidays every year and so on. My grandfather used to work in the City of London (financial district) and they went to the office in the morning, had a long, sociable lunch and didn't do much else for the rest of the day. Look at bankers and other financial people today and there is simply no comparison. So I believe it will become more and more essential for people to find ways of recharging their energy that are much more powerful than sleep, holidays etc. That's why we are seeing an increase in the number of people meditating, doing yoga and lots of other practices that build energy levels as well as rest.

5 points by gordonbowman 3 days 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 Jach 3 days 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

2 points by orijing 3 days 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.

2 points by miles 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently not for everyone:

Ngoc Thai: The Man Who Doesn't Sleep

5 points by Splatchar 3 days 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 kgtm 3 days 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!
1 point by davidmurphy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend the book "Power Sleep" by Cornell professor James Maas.


Exceptional book that really transformed my college experience.

3 points by JoeAltmaier 3 days 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 derekmdurkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sleep is very important but you cannot discuss proper sleep or proper nutrition without the other.

There have been numerous studies showing a correlation between a healthy diet and sleep requirements. People who eat healthy have more energy and feel less tired throughout the day. In the same regard people with an unhealthy diet tend to feel more tired and nap more often and for longer periods of time.

Eating foods with a low glycemic index throughout the day will keep you grounded, preventing sugar highs and lows, and overall make you feel less tired.

My personal opinion based on my lifestyle is that my nutrition decisions directly affect my sleep requirements. I think it is most important to begin the day with a healthy breakfast upon waking up. This meal should include plenty of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fats.

2 points by TorbjornLunde 3 days 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 jmulho 3 days 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 Jem 2 days ago 0 replies      
This guy obviously doesn't have any young children at home. I've forgotten what a good night's sleep is ;)
1 point by jcromartie 3 days ago 0 replies      
Subtext: we're torturing Bradley Manning.
1 point by mikecarlton 3 days 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 3 days 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.
1 point by xfilesnetworks 2 days ago 0 replies      
yes sounds true. Sleep relax whole your body and thats better to feel.

i guess atleast 8 hours sleep is needed as my doctor said me.

you can also watch this video to help you more

0 points by webuiarchitect 3 days 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.

0 points by atrevisan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't Red Bull the same thing as sleep?
-4 points by mrspandex 3 days 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
-3 points by emilyjp 3 days 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/...
JavaScript Garden github.com
359 points by aundumla 1 day ago   46 comments top 19
8 points by tkiley 1 day ago 3 replies      
Excellent write-up! I've learned most of these things the hard way :/ I'm filing this away to recommend to any developers who are setting out to use Javascript extensively for the first time.

One quibble: In the "common pitfalls" section regarding the "this" object, they say that locally-defined functions within other functions never have any practical use. I might disagree: with a little coaxing, you can convince locally variables inside the constructor (both functions and other variables) to serve as private properties of an object; this is the only technique I know that allows for private properties.

(I haven't actually done this in code that has been maintained/used anywhere, I just did it as an experiment and filed it away as a "that's cool" for future reference)

Edit: Here is an example of what I'm talking about: https://gist.github.com/866103

15 points by csomar 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have an idea of what happened to "The secrets of the JavaScript ninja"? I'm impatiently waiting for this book to be released.
4 points by mrspeaker 1 day ago 2 replies      
This looks like an excellent resource for when you are too lazy to get up out of your chair and pick up your copy of "JavaScript: The Good Parts" ;)
3 points by extension 1 day ago 1 reply      
the native prototypes should never be extended unless it is for the sake of compatibility with newer JavaScript features

A bit controversial, don't you think?

3 points by andreyf 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the prototype example [1], could someone explain the point or at least the effect of setting Bar.prototype.constructor = Bar?

1. http://bonsaiden.github.com/JavaScript-Garden/#prototype

0 points by roryokane 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This site is too light on details for me to trust its conclusions.

Under “The evil eval”, it concludes that you should never use eval simply because it sometimes executes in global scope. That does not seem like an obvious conclusion to me. Yes, it's a mistake to use it on user input, but that is easily avoided. I think the site should give an example of a situation where you think you need eval, the problems eval necessarily brings in that case, and how to write that without eval. Otherwise, I don't trust that the site writer has actually explored why people use eval or what eval might be able to provide that nothing else can.

Also, under “Automatic semicolon insertion”, the site does not mention the alternative to using semicolons everywhere, which is not using semicolons but remembering to put a semicolon before each line starting with parentheses. That is a valid alternate practice, and the site ignores the possibility without even discussing its problems.

The fact that each of those two sections contain grammar mistakes (comma splices) also signals a lack of attention to detail.

1 point by ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very well done.

I'd add under setTimeout and setInterval that anything below 8ms may not work as expected across different browsers/hardware. Even setting 1ms to indicate "as soon as possible" may not occur as expected when repeatedly called.

also: the font size is a little small for my eyes in the code boxes - I can fix it of course with stylish but maybe that can be addressed directly on the site

3 points by Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 2 replies      
Everyday you learn something new

for(i=0;i<this;i++){ fn(i); }


8 points by senorpedro 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by btipling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Should probably also mention the Function constructor in the eval section. Also object keys are always are type cast into strings so object[1] = "moo" becomes object["1"], this is rarely a problem but can be.
2 points by koraybalci 1 day ago 1 reply      
great design (in addition to the content). How did you make it? I like the right contents column changing topic as I read.
1 point by alexyim 1 day ago 1 reply      
One gotcha I've noticed a lot is when people forget to check for Console object. Or they might do this (doesn't work):


instead of

  if(!window.console) or if( typeof console === 'undefined' )

1 point by tomelders 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen so many people insist that Javascript code should be Semicolon free recently. It always felt wrong to me, mainly because I code in several languages and getting into the habit of not using semicolons felt dangerous. It's nice to know there's a genuine reason to continue using them.
1 point by kifou1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the tips, very intresting
1 point by hanifvirani 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks helpful and is neatly presented. It would be great to have something like this replicated for other languages.
1 point by sawyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love it; I'll definitely switch to strict equality comparisons from now on!
1 point by Ruudjah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well written, clear syntax highlighted examples. Upboat.
0 points by wkasel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very useful.
0 points by simpsond 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very good job.
A tale of two programmers jacquesmattheij.com
322 points by vijaydev 3 days ago   67 comments top 24
35 points by giberson 3 days 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.

23 points by ekidd 3 days 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.

8 points by arjunnarayan 3 days 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...

9 points by donw 3 days 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.

10 points by guelo 3 days 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.

11 points by Stormbringer 3 days 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.

17 points by KaeseEs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can I coin the term 'brogrammers' for this sort of code-soulmate, whole-far-greater-than-sum-of-parts partnership?
10 points by agentultra 3 days 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.
4 points by Tycho 3 days ago 1 reply      
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.

4 points by pmjordan 3 days 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 3 days 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...
6 points by radu_floricica 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.
3 points by ThomPete 3 days ago 1 reply      
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.

14 points by s00pcan 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is there a reason every recent post on this guy's blog has been posted on HN?
4 points by woan 3 days 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...
1 point by bugsy 3 days 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.

8 points by va1en0k 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very cute.

By the way, I've seen several "programmers dating services" with a purpose of finding mutual mentors

2 points by crizCraig 3 days ago 0 replies      
Related poll: Are you a Steve or a Chris?


1 point by zwieback 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember indy500 back in the heydays of DOS.
1 point by archenemy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find myself on both sides. I usually get a quick prototype started over a few days, but then I can't bother finishing up, dealing with all posible errors and polishing. But then, I love when I get to deal with a big, messy codebase I can move forward while cleaning it up and shaping it.
1 point by bigohms 3 days 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.
Want to move fast? Just do this codefastdieyoung.com
304 points by sghael 1 day ago   37 comments top 11
19 points by notahacker 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is excellent, very practical advice.

The one caveat I would add which the author glosses over is Test in IE as a high priority unless you have a very tech-savvy audience. Compass/Blueprint abstract away most of the uglier CSS box-model hacks and I agree that IE users can live without gradients and rounded corners. But if the site looks awkward without the CSS3 tricks that don't work on the browser that >60% of your audience uses, you're going to need to tweak that aspect as well .

7 points by simplify 1 day ago 1 reply      
Relating to Haml/Sass, you may have heard of the ruby gem StaticMatic. It's a great tool that lets you use Haml/Sass to building quick, static prototypes.

In fact, I loved the concept so much that I began improving upon it myself[1], adding support for CoffeeScript and Amazon S3. For anyone who might find it useful, any testing or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

[1] https://github.com/mindeavor/staticmatic2

2 points by nbashaw 9 hours ago 2 replies      
There's a difference between moving fast and doing sloppy work. IMO, this post is a recipe for mediocre design (at best). Don't confuse movement for work - when you approach a design with the a rushed attitude it slows you down in the long run, because you have to clean up your mistakes and possibly start over again when you realize that your first attempt just didn't work at all.

I'm not so much arguing with the specific suggestions in the post as I am the general approach and worldview. There are some useful ideas in there, but they're weakened by being presented in "recepie" format. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don't. It depends on the context. Better to learn principles than methods. It's quicker in the long run.

5 points by Raphael 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is certainly one not-terrible way of coming up with an uncontroversial design quickly.
7 points by sunjain 1 day ago 1 reply      
I liked it. Lot of folks may already know some or most of this. But it is distilled all in once place, and as the post mentions, it will surely help in quickly moving forward with a polished looking app.
11 points by sniW 1 day ago 3 replies      
using pure black as the text color is a mistake

Why is this?

1 point by tomkarlo 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a good article, if for nothing else besides that button gem which I somehow haven't heard of before.

The downside is, there will be a bunch of sites that look the same, so folks will want to do some real work and find their own components.

3 points by theoj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does green convert better than red? Performable seems to like red over green.
3 points by jblomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the most practical articles I've seen in a while, thanks. What are your thoughts on using UI frameworks like jqueryUI or YUI grid?
1 point by bryanh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was super surprised at how well SASS let me move quickly with coding 3pics.me! The lighten, darken and mix functions make getting appropriate hex codes pain free.


1 point by FPSDavid 7 hours ago 1 reply      
anyone have a mirror to this?
How rich kids already won the career game michaelochurch.wordpress.com
293 points by violetmae 5 days ago   263 comments top 42
75 points by zeemonkee 5 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.

61 points by scrrr 5 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.

35 points by michaelchisari 5 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 5 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.
30 points by pg 5 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.
31 points by ShabbyDoo 5 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 5 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.

28 points by hartror 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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.

18 points by CaptainDecisive 5 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.

15 points by Tycho 5 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)

12 points by yurylifshits 5 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.
15 points by Eliezer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow did that last paragraph ruin the article.
15 points by lwhi 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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.

18 points by donohoe 5 days ago 0 replies      
{citation needed}
7 points by scott_s 5 days ago 0 replies      
Using an anecdote as data is bad enough. Using a madeup anecdote is even worse.
3 points by zmitri 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 presidentender 5 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 johngalt 5 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 ecaradec 5 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 petervandijck 4 days 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 giardini 4 days 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 5 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....
“We don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 per day.” sebastianmarshall.com
284 points by azazo 2 days ago   150 comments top 15
58 points by flyosity 2 days ago replies      
On a related note, it's really interesting to see how people act when they know they can't motivate someone with money.

For example, I used to do client work, but stopped (because I hate it) a few years ago after I sold my design firm. On my blog's contact form I specifically say that I don't do any consulting work, but I still get emails at least once or twice per week from people who want to hire me for iPhone work. I always politely refuse, and thank them for the consideration. Sometimes they'll reply saying "we have a large budget" or something like that, and I'll reply again saying, thanks, but no thanks, it's not about the money. As soon as I say that magical phrase, they just don't know what to say or do because they're used to motivating designers/developers with money. It's actually an interesting sociological situation.

90 points by callmeed 2 days ago replies      
Am I being pretentious or unfair for wondering what on earth this blog or author is about?

I don't find this specific post terrible, but I'm the type who prefers the advice of people with a track record of success"or, at the very least, who have tried and humbly reflect on their failures. With details.

When the most I get from an About page is "I've been working and training to be the most skilled strategist of our era." and "I worked as an entrepreneur from 2004 to 2008.", meh ... pass.

15 points by dasil003 2 days ago 1 reply      
The first bolded sentence has it very very wrong:

> I believe the reason you see sites without ads as superior on some level is because the absolute-highest-quality writers usually don't have ads.

And then he goes on to list a bunch of tech entrepreneurial writers. Well I hate to break it to you, but those are not the definition of "the absolute-highest-quality writers". Sure they are very good writers, but their secret sauce is that they are great businessmen too, and so their ideas are valuable if they do any reasonably competent job of communicating them.

More importantly, these guys make their money (and a lot of it) elsewhere, so it would be a terrible idea to dilute their brand with cheap ads that were irrelevant to their net worth.

It might very well be true that the best writers don't have ads on their site, but my guess is because you can't really make a lot of money from ads unless your audience is massive, and frankly, the audience for very high-quality writing is disturbingly small. By and large people read for content more than quality"this thesis is supported by the fact that the OA considers entrepundits to be the "absolute best". The absolute best writers are probably people who do it professionally, and to do so professionally requires working for an organization that is extracting the true value out of great writing. That is, either a high-brow periodical, or a book publisher.

11 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote three comments for this and didn't post any of them, so I obviously have something to say, if I can just get it out :)

I think Sebastian is actually answering a different question than he sets out to answer. What I think he's answering is "How do I be cool with what goes on my blog?"

If so, it was a pretty long and roundabout way of answering.

I usually like Sebastian's work, I just felt this one article had a lot of opinion and a lot of text but not a lot of depth or analysis. It was strangely unsatisfying and frustrating.

15 points by luckyisgood 2 days ago 3 replies      
"But as soon as you need money " and people know " you're hosed."

Sales-wise, this is where most companies fail. Their salespeople let buyers know they need money. And as soon as buyers sniff you out, they make you their bitch. If you're a salesperson - and everybody should be - you lose.

The trick is to work hard on your attitude until you're ready to walk away from every deal without blinking - even if you really need money. It's really counterintuitive - but winner's attitude works.

2 points by 6ren 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this. I wonder if there's a google-killer in targeting ads at the quality, or type, that suits you? It would build brands both ways, as the article says. Of course, it's not needed at the high-end of BMW et. al., because they already have full-time staff for this stuff; but there's a huge middle-ground between that and the weight loss ads. Now, how to make it convenient and low-cost enough, to bring those benefits to the next tier, who are presently non-consumers of this service, but would love it (like lionhearted here)?

aside: low-cost in this article happen to also be unpleasant; but they needn't coincide. Most disruptions are low-cost (e.g. PCs). They are indeed low-quality, but only with respect to users who already have something better (e.g. mainframes). Google text ads are very low-cost, but also pretty good, especially when related to what you're searching for anyway - this is the idea they copied from (and paid off) overture.com (was: goto.com, now yahoo owns them). I think this was a fantastic idea, even better than google's search, because it aligns everyone's interest, even as it optimizes profit (the auction part).

Re: "needing the money": I recently negotiated my highest ever deal (by a significant integer factor). I did it by pretending I didn't need the money. But I really, really did, so this was... stressful. At the last, I gave in; but I estimate I could have gotten an extra $50,000 or so. Oh well, I still did really well. I prefer the article's plan of not actually needing the money. Fortunately, that deal is very close to putting me in that position.

2 points by petercooper 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're looking to grow in popularity as quickly as possible and the cash you could get from ads doesn't matter, then yes, go without ads.

It's not one way or the other. You can fall in the middle. You can run ads on a site to only non logged in users or only on posts over a certain age. For a long established blog, just running ads on posts over a month old could still cover 50%+ of the pageviews. I use this "trick" myself and the CTRs are great because it's mostly people coming in from search engines who hit those ads rather than my "regulars" :-)

8 points by ChaseB 2 days ago 3 replies      
AdBlock-Plus has made ads virtually irrelevant for me. Sometimes I forget that people are even subjected to them.

Last year, while traveling through eastern Asia, I would occasionally drop by an internet cafe. I couldn't believe the amount of ads non-ABP users had to see. It still baffles me.

2 points by statictype 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe the reason you see sites without ads as superior on some level is because the absolute-highest-quality writers usually don't have ads.

Sites like Paul Graham's, Eliezer Yudkowsky's, Mark Cuban's, and Steve Blank's don't have advertisements.

I've been subscribed to Cuban's feed for some time now and think he has some interesting things to say on occasion but I wouldn't call him a high quality writer. He's not in the same category as the others listed there.

2 points by PaulHoule 2 days ago 1 reply      
Blogs are one of the worst monetizing categories of sites; a blog has to have a LOT of traffic (like 100k a month) to move the meter, and if you don't get that kind of traffic you're just hurting your credibility by running ads.

Sebastian's site doesn't even show up in quantcast, so Sebastian is probably turning up $2.35 a month in ad revenues, if that.

1 point by tuhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Few things in the article ring a bell close to me.

1)One being the power to choose things without bothering about the money part is like a drug.

I still remember the time, when I would take design prjects for as cheap as $20 per hour (which for India's standard is not cheap) but I knew I had to build my name and it was a good enough price to pay for a while.

Then I realised that I could do more interesting and challenging personal projects than make sites with no budget and affection for design from the companies' end.

2) “You don't need the money?” " well, 95%+ of people in the world would like more money. Maybe 99%+.

Well I would say it is 100%. Never come across someone who would say not to money. And no I am not talking moral issues, grey area, lack of time reasons. I am talking reasons where you did not take that money for the sake of not just taking that money.

That power of being able to refuse projects left and right and be very picky is what I cherish the most. I might rather just enjoy a quite night with my girlfriend than slog for some work I don't get a thrill out of.

3 points by yannickmahe 2 days ago 0 replies      
>I believe the reason you see sites without ads as superior on some level is because the absolute-highest-quality writers usually don't have ads.

I think it's the opposite. It's rather because the lowest quality sites on the internet are filled with ads.

2 points by girlvinyl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Linda Evangelista is a bad example. She -had- to get out of bed to make money. If she was sick, out of town or otherwise engaged, she couldn't generate revenue. Everything was dependent upon her physically showing up somewhere to do something. Smart people figure out a way to stay in bed and still make the $10k.
1 point by JoelMcCracken 2 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely agree with everything he said. It mirrors my own opinions on money.
-4 points by quan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the reason Linda won't get out of bed for less than $10k is because they pay her that much to stay in bed
Salary negotiations for techies jacquesmattheij.com
253 points by jerome_etienne 2 days ago   161 comments top 22
58 points by edw519 2 days ago 3 replies      
There's one other huge factor at work here (for many programmers, anyway). I'm tempted to call it the "wimp factor", but that's too negative, so I'll just call it the "introvert factor". I'm a perfect example...

I was always small for my age and looked nerdy with my glasses and attraction to books, etc. I was always picked last for sports teams, drew little attention from girls, and was usually the first one to be bullied. It even happened in my own family, subconsciously I hope. It was always easier to pick on the little guy to get what you want.

Fast forward to adulthood, and not much has changed, especially with bosses. It seems like my boss was always a sales/business guy, extroverted, and bigger than me. His/her natural reaction was to "bully", probably because they knew they could get away with it. This was for almost everything: project management, discussions about work, and of course, money.

No more. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I decided not to take this shit any more. The more anyone picked on me, the harder I shot back, right between the eyes. Nothing pisses me off more than being bullied, especially about money.

This is not natural behavior for me. (I imagine if it was natural, I would have become a sales person or a lawyer.) I have to consciously work hard to stick up for myself. But as soon as I paint the other person, especially my boss, as a bully, I put myself on even ground. And as soon as they see that, they understand that they can no longer take advantage of me. Only then can I be treated like everyone else.

42 points by tptacek 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some related advice I just gave a family member on this subject:

In most mature companies, you're reviewed on a cycle, and the bump you get is preprogrammed according to an HR spreadsheet. The conversation that results from this is not a real salary negotiation. Your goal needs to be to break out of the cycle.

What I think you should try is, let the review run, and get your HR-approved comp pellet. Then say,

"Thanks for increasing my comp. I appreciate it. I have a question. What were the factors that led you to raise my salary?"

They'll give a platitudinous answer. Let them. Then say,

"That makes sense. I have another question. Over the past year, I did XXX, YYY, and ZZZ. You didn't mention these things. That's fine! But I'd like to make sure I'm putting my energy into things that the business values here. Instead of XXX, YYY, and ZZZ, what should I do?"

Then have the conversation, in specific terms, and follow up with an email recapping the conversation.

I have a couple theories about this approach:

(1) (Extremely important and something I know to be valid:) Business isn't a meritocracy. The winners know how to market themselves. Coders look over each others shoulders on Github and developer a sense of who the bad-asses are. Successful business people always broadcast their wins. You need to seek out and seize opportunities to toot your horn on the record. This is something tangential to salary negotiation that introverted and meritocratic tech people also suck at.

(2) The "objectives" most people are given at salary reviews are inevitably vague. This serves the purpose of the business by making comp something out of the control of both the team member and the manager.

(3) Even if you don't want to push for a bigger bump (and most of you, if you think about it seriously, don't, or you'd already be making more money), it is still in your long term interests to establish a winning track record on your terms. If you leave it to the managers to decide what goes on the track record, you will lose out to every member of your team who is better at politics and marketing than you are.

49 points by ericb 2 days ago 2 replies      
It is always easiest to get a big jump by moving to a new job. Your company, and future companies anchor on the salary you are paid now. When recruiters or hiring managers ask, don't give out that number at negotiation time.

Instead, here is my hack: when a recruiter first calls, be blunt with them. Ask "do you know the salary range for the position?" and if it isn't great, say "Sorry, I'm only looking at senior roles that can pay in the 115-125 range because I have n years and a strong background in x." Keep in mind that something around the lower number of the range you give is what the offer will come in at if you eventually get hired--the recruiter is taking notes. If the recruiter is not sure about the upper end of the employer's range, he or she may even call the company and confirm for you by feeling out what they would pay their "best candidate."

If your number is beyond the range for the position, move on. If not, you've set a price for yourself, in advance, set an expectation that you are worth that price, and sent the message through the recruiter without ever having to negotiate a thing.

If you're thinking "do I really want whoever is hiring me to have to pay a recruiter?" the answer should actually be yes. Why? People who pay recruiters 1-want someone badly enough to pay extra for them, 2-are spending their time on more important things, 3-have the money to pay a recruiter, and so are showing at least some budgetary strength and flexibility and 4-recruiters will sell you to the company, and act as a non-threatening channel to pass information like "I have another offer at 110 with work from home 2 days a week I'm considering."

edit: minor edits to clarify whose "range" I meant.

Also, if it was unclear, to get recruiters contacting you, put your resume on monster.com and make it public. Then sign in/update it every now and then as I think that bumps you to the top and shows you as recently active.

20 points by DevX101 2 days ago replies      
Just throwing a crazy idea out in the wild here: Have a service where a professional negotiates salary on your behalf.

1. Is there interest in this?
2. Would this be feasible?

Employers sure as hell wouldn't like it, but I wonder if they'd tolerate it.

7 points by patio11 2 days ago 1 reply      
Businesses pay for value, not for work successfully completed as requested. Want to hack something? Either hack the org chart and get assigned to where you provably make money, or hack your job duties such that you can measure how much money each project translates into.

The first thing I do for new clients is get metrics (or set up systems to do so), because you can best believe that when they move in the right direction I'm charging more next time.

15 points by siculars 2 days ago 1 reply      
My Rules for Negotiation:

1. Always be willing to walk away.

2. Never, ever, take the first offer.

3. Never take an offer immediately. Always sleep on it.

4. Never base your worth on "comps" aka. comparable salaries. You are an individual with your own "value add" to put it in marketing/sales/management speak.

5. Always remember that you always, always work for yourself. Your current employer just happens to be paying for your time now. Most everyone I meet when asked "who do you work for?" will say so and so company. But in reality they have no more commitment to you than you do to the stranger on the street. Always know that everything you do you do to extend your knowledge, your power and your influence. I always say "I work for myself. So and so just happens to be paying me right now."

17 points by netmau5 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is all good advice. I recently had to negotiate a raise for myself, and I think the critical insight is that you need to be willing to walk. If you are comfortable being without work for a little while, great. Otherwise, go seek out other opportunities so you have the confidence to act when they don't give you what you want.

The most important thing you can do is to take a close look at what value you provide for the company. Your dev manager will definitely care about how difficult it will be to replace you, but once you leave the technical stratosphere, the only thing that matters is your effect on the bottom line. Consider what you've done to make a dent and be sure that those efforts are communicated up the chain of command, even if you have to do it yourself.

I asked for a raise, got half of what I wanted, and began the process of looking elsewhere. My managers wanted to keep me and noticed that I wasn't particularly happy with the result. A week later, they made the difference and then some with a bonus vesting at the end of the year. In the end, I got more than I asked for and the company was able to provide it in a way that made sense for them financially.

I love my job so it took me many more months to act than it should have for fear of losing it. But, like jacquesmattheij said, you've got to realize that neither party has a long-term obligation to each other- this is a business relationship, first and foremost.

7 points by bioh42_2 2 days ago 1 reply      
The fastest and easiest way to raise your salary is to change jobs. Here's some very unorthodox advice that actually works quite well in practice.

1. Call a good headhunter, let them negotiate salary for you.
Finding a good headhunter can be hard.
And be prepared to refuse high paying positions you don't think would work for you. Expect the headhunter to push you a bit but know that eventually they will get the message and look for something which both pays a lot AND is what you want.

2. Interview for another company and do one of the biggest "don'ts" there is - Tell them what you are making now and that's you're not looking to leave unless they offer a lot more.

The above two things are strongly discouraged, but in practice both work remarkably well.

Getting a big raise form the company you are already working for, is always going to be much harder. And unless you really, really don't want to leave your current company, it is much easier to find another job.

6 points by jswinghammer 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think salary history is usually the strongest card you have. If I make X at my current job you will need to make me a comparable offer or you don't get me. It takes awhile to get there but if you make sure you get yearly raises it won't take long. I would usually quit without a yearly raise or a very good explanation.

The market is in your favor as a programmer. If you have even the hint of a clue it's even better. I remember 4-5 years ago being on a phone screen and was asked what if any books I was reading and when I listed them he said "The job is yours' if you want it." I didn't but it was enlightening. I walked into my bosses office the next day and said I want a 20k raise and got it.

3 points by Jd 2 days ago 2 replies      
Great article, although there are a couple of things that probably should be mentioned:

(1) Part of the reason programmers are bad negotiators are because they don't usually have highly cultivated social skills. If by some chance a programmer is a budding socialite, there is a good chance he/she isn't that great of a programmer.

(2) Trying to get compensation derived from worth to company is not a bad idea except -- and this is a big except -- it can create additional pressures on the person delivering. If you are the best member of a team and also being compensated more than the other members of the team, your management is going to consistently want more value from you and they are going to likely want that in the form of tangible and immediate value, not a refactoring of this or that or some cool experimental project. Which is to say, the more highly compensated you are, the less likely that you will actually be able to enjoy the work you are doing. As far as I'm concerned that is a very good reason to either (1) accept a lower salary on the basis of the factors mentioned or (2) work as a consultant at a high hourly rate and spend your free time on other more interesting projects.

(3) This is related to (2), but people don't work as well when they are thinking about compensation (e.g. the surprising truth about what motivates us short film http://ow.ly/1s8Y9r). Definitely consultants in general are much worse programmers than hobbyists (I've worked with both), although hobbyists may not be the best people to rely on when you are facing a hard deadline. What can you do about it? For me, I think the simple answer is simply do what you love doing and make sure you have enough money to keep on doing it -- which is to say, don't worry about money all that much.

But maybe I'm still in that typical programmer paradigm...

6 points by joshu 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if "good negotiator" and "good engineer" is correlated or anti-correlated?

I want good engineers, so I don't want to punish people for being bad negotiators. We just pay the best we can.

5 points by nathanb 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Typically, in a mature company the salaries of the dev team are a rounding error on the total operation.

Depends on the company. For a mature software development company the engineers' salaries are likely to be quite a large line item. This is especially the case since sales are generally paid on commission and carry quotas, so there's no reason to assume that in a company with a decent focus on R&D this statement will be true.

3 points by sethg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have found the salary.com Web site to be a helpful tool in setting expectations: if you actually cough up money for their report, you can fill in your location, job category, years of experience, company size, etc., and get back a report showing the range of salaries people like you are earning.

The one thing I am uncertain about is how I would place myself on that range: should I be asking for a 75th-percentile salary and settle for 50th, or ask for 90th and settle for 75th?

2 points by pdx 2 days ago 7 replies      
I'm having my review today and I am not making enough to live on. Every month, after mortgage on the house, modest car payment, and insurance for wife and two kids, I dip into savings to pay the bills.

It's already too late to "plant the seeds" for a big raise, so I'm anticipating some little 1% raise today at my review.

I had my chance a few weeks ago, when I stayed late to confirm and fix a bug that would have cost us a $2M contract, and everybody knows what I did and how important it was. Still, without me actually pushing for a big raise, I know it won't happen. It's a small company and money is not wasted. To pay me a big raise I didn't ask for would be throwing money away.

So why didn't I ask? I think because I don't want the commitment a big raise would impose on me to stay indefinitely, and I don't want to be comfortable. I like feeling the pinch of money, as it keeps me motivated to work on my startup ideas. If I allowed myself to get too comfortable, I fear it might not be the best for me, long term.

3 points by dreamux 2 days ago 0 replies      
I once had an internship in University where I was solely responsible for a $250k contract (which took 3 months to complete). Furthermore, that contract was a gating feature to a larger ($4M) contract for the company. The only way to appreciate the value you bring to the company is to involve yourself with the business operations, talk to your PM and sales/marketing people (this has the bonus of helping you understand what they do, a perspective sadly absent on most devs). Keep track of everything.
1 point by URSpider94 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that I believe in myself, and that I coach my team on, is that there are three currencies that you can accept as payment: money (including stock, bonuses, etc); title; and training.

To me, it may be worth staying (temporarily) at a job where you feel that you are underpaid in money, if you are getting lots of opportunities to learn new skills, or you are managing a larger team or scope of work than you would have at another company. Think of it as similar to the time spent in an MBA or other post-graduate training program.

The hard part is to discern when you are being given a growth opportunity, and when you are just being used.

4 points by nathanlrivera 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have you ever had a situation where you had to negotiate multiple offers? How did you negotiate to get the highest possible offer from each?
1 point by mncolinlee 1 day ago 0 replies      
My dad spent over forty slaving away for one employer through about half a dozen office moves and two mergers. After the most recent merger, they outsourced his entire IT staff and asked him as IT manager to take the role of scapegoat for their lousy decision and accept a pay cut as well. He turned them down. This was the first time I ever saw my father stand up for himself.

We all have to start understanding that the only way to be sure you're working for an employer who values your work is to work for someone who is willing to hear your constructive criticism and wage requests without googling "outsourcing" or "recruiters". It's possible your employer turns you down and gets rid of you. In the worst case, they keep you and move you downstairs into Storage B.

1 point by semerda 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always say, "if you don't ask then you never get."

What's the worst that can happen if you ask - boss says no, you feel stupid for a while or a loss of a job. The later means you are working for the wrong man so it may be easier to find out now rather then later.

Regret is harder to cope with. So don't regret and speak your mind!

I also came across this good article which basically stated that our behavior at work has to do with the environment we grow up in.

"Middle-class kids generally fuck up their first few years of the career game in one of two ways... fear authority tremendously... or show an open distaste for managerial authority."
"The rich kid, on the other hand, relates even to the highest-ranking executives as equals, because he knows that they are his social equals. He'll answer to them, but with an understanding that his subordination is limited and offered in exchange for mentoring and protection. He views them as partners and colleagues, not judges or potential adversaries."

Food for thought.

2 points by dmvaldman 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are currently 3 blog posts from this guy on Hacker News' front page. Is something fishy going on?

Don't mean to be a cynic, this article is okay and all, but who is this guy (and what's his secret!)?

3 points by chanux 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now I'm convinced that Jaques left HN for good.
1 point by known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask for a win-win proposition.
Japan's Strict Building Codes Saved Lives nytimes.com
252 points by brodie 1 day ago   133 comments top 13
60 points by Vivtek 1 day ago replies      
All strict building codes save lives. That's the whole point of building codes. Sheesh. You'd think New Yorkers would get that.
21 points by solson 1 day ago replies      
I'm not sure I understand the point here. Is it that strict government regulation saves lives?

If so, yes I suppose that could be true. Fewer people would die in traffic accidents if we had a stoplight on every corner, we had to drive Sherman Tanks, and the speed limit was 20MPH. The problem is we'd be way less productive and we'd be much poorer.

If China had Japan's strict building codes from 1980 to present, China's economic growth would have been far slower, but in an earthquake, more people may die in China. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Over the last 20 years, strong economic growth in China has likely saved far more lives than strict building codes may have saved. But that is too complex to get into here.

Also note Japan's poor economic growth during over the last 10-20 years.

Are some people in Japan better off because of strict building codes? Yes, no doubt. Is everyone in Japan better off due to strict building code? much harder to say.

11 points by NZ_Matt 1 day ago 1 reply      
The media are failing to point out that the Earthquake was 200+km offshore. There is a huge difference between an 8.9M 200km offshore and an 8.9M directly below a city. The ground motions recorded were relatively low in the cities and not very destructive. PGV (peak ground velocity) is a more accurate way to estimate the strain put on infrastructure. This shakemap shows that the intensity was relatively low: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/shakemap/global/shake...

Many people said the same thing about building codes after the 7.1 in Christchurch last September. That earthquake was 40km away from the city. Cruelly the 6.3 on Feb 22nd with its epicenter directly below the City showed the difference that proximity to the epicenter makes. Proximity to the epicenter and PGV is almost more important than magnitude when accessing how well buildings performed.

5 points by dmm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Everything has a cost and these costs are not always obvious. Government regulations like building codes and food safety generally ensure that buildings are safe and food is not contaminated, but they do so by defining acceptable things.

There are perfectly safe building designs which would never pass building codes. This is a huge barrier to innovation.

To be legally allowed to construct something that is not explicitly allowed by codes can require years and lots of money to hire engineers and lawyers.

Also, who writes these building codes? It's engineers employed by the construction and construction material industries. They have a perspective shaped by the status quo. So the codes require specific materials and techniques.

Codes also empower lots of unelected officals. A food safety inspector can shut down your plant and force you to throw away all of your products, with absolutely no form of appeal.

I don't really mind building codes. I just wish there were some objective criteria that designs went through. For example, if you could demonstrate your building can withstand an earthquake, regardless of it's method of construction, it's permissible. If you could demonstrate your food was not contaminated with bacteria, etc.

If you give a damn about any of this check out Mike Ohler's "The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book" for the evils of building codes and Joel Salatin's "Everything I want to do is illegal" for food regulations.

5 points by ffffruit 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find the comparison with SE Asia rather poor with regards to investment as I've been to Sri Lanka and the amount of money that is available for basic infrastructure, let alone anti-tsunami barricades, is negligible compared to Japan unfortunately.
7 points by Hovertruck 1 day ago 1 reply      
The irony is that this is the top item on reddit right now: http://i.imgur.com/eGSKJ.jpg
1 point by blahblahblah 1 day ago 1 reply      
It sounds like the strict building codes served them well for residential housing and commercial spaces. However, it looks like the engineering standards for their nuclear reactors could stand to be a little more strict (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42025882/ns/world_news-asiapacif...). Perhaps the news article is overly sensational, but I can't help but wonder, "Why are we even talking about the possibility of a meltdown in 2011?" Shouldn't loss of reactor cooling capability result in an automatic reactor shutdown? Wasn't the lesson of the Three Mile Island accident that you should build your reactor so that the default thing that happens when you lose power (and therefore lose cooling capability) is that the control rods drop via gravity and stop the reaction? Any nuclear engineers out there care to comment on the design of Japan's reactors?
1 point by bluedanieru 1 day ago 0 replies      
When people talk about the America's crumbling infrastructure, it isn't just potholes folks.
4 points by jakegottlieb 1 day ago 0 replies      
25 people have died in China and they didn't receive the bulk of the destruction. This attests to Japan's high end building codes.
0 points by Semiapies 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure of the news aspect of this. Japan has a long history of damaging earthquakes and tsunamis, and they're famous for their preparations for the same.

Someone needed column inches.

1 point by orenmazor 1 day ago 2 replies      
I dont have a nytimes account.

not even readability can save me here.

0 points by power78 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please don't get mad at this, but the reason I love hackernews is because its not like reddit has become: there are no silly posts or posts that don't relate to technology and programming. This post seems necessary for reddit, but not for hacker news. Please don't let this community change!
0 points by ollysb 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Multimedia" seems like such a quaint term now.
Cringley: Japan may have just permanently lost 20% of its electricity supply cringely.com
238 points by tomfakes 23 hours ago   92 comments top 19
77 points by neutronicus 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Like they wouldn't have boron near a nuclear reactor. I'm a PWR man myself, but I am 99% sure that GE BWR designs have a couple of big tanks of borated water specifically for a LOCA. I highly doubt they're having reactivity problems, it's probably just managing the decay heat, and now the radiation leaks, that's the problem. "Just" is a relative word, here, of course.

Boiling water reactors are simpler, cheaper, but generally aren't made anymore because they are perceived as being less safe. That's because the exotic coolant in the pressurized water reactor can contain boric acid which absorbs neutrons and can help (or totally) control the nuclear reaction. You can't use boric acid or any other soluble boron-laced neutron absorbers in a boiling water reactor because doing so would contaminate both the cooling system and the environment.

He's completely wrong about industry adoption of BWRs. There are two BWR's planned to be built in the US (along with 3 or 4 PWRs), and I believe that China has contracted with GE for a few as well (along with 4 Westinghouse PWRs and maybe a few Areva ones too).

PWRs are preferred largely because of their higher power densities (a BWR core that produces the same power must be larger) and simpler nuclear calculations and control strategies (two-phase flow makes calculations much more difficult, and it's harder to calculate correct positions for control blades (whose effects are highly localized) than it is to calculate the correct boron concentration (whose effects are smeared over the whole core)). However, now that computers are faster and us nuclear engineers no longer have the excuse of slow computers to hide behind, PWRs are looking to move away from relying on Boron concentration as the main form of control (the Westinghouse AP1000, specifically, relies much more on rod movement than the AP600), because of the cost of performing regular boron dilutions.

He's right that BWRs are simpler and cheaper - about half the moving parts.

51 points by lambda 21 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't know much about nuclear reactors. To my untrained ear, what Cringely says sounds fairly reasonable. But then, having read a bunch of articles of his linked in the past on computer hardware and software, which I do know something about, I find that what he writes usually falls into one of two categories: (1) stuff that's obvious to anyone who knows what they're talking about and are paying any attention at all, and (2) crack-pot half-baked ideas that are laughable and completely wrong.

He's also lied about having a PhD. I wouldn't consider him a very trustworthy source. If he's saying something reasonable, someone else more credible has probably already said it.

24 points by djcapelis 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Uhm... the other units at Chernobyl re-entered service for a solid decade after that incident. (Only one of them lasted a decade. Unit 2 caught on fire in '91. Unit 1 was shut down in '96 and Unit 3 lasted until Dec '99.)

Cringley's prediction will be wrong. There are a lot of units at that station, two of which are ABWR cores. I would speculate that the majority of these units will return to service.

33 points by foobarbazetc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's what you need to read instead of Cringley:


Combine that with these:



And you can see what's going on. Ignore everything else.

4 points by davidhollander 5 hours ago 1 reply      
>Hillary isn't the kind of person to choose the wrong words

How has no one pointed out there was never any coolant delivered and Hilary Clinton did in fact misspeak? It renders this article a bit moot.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/japan-quake-nuclea... "US did NOT deliver coolant to Japan nuclear reactor"

"Ultimately, however, Japan did not need assistance from the United States but Clinton did not appear to have been updated before she made her public remarks."

5 points by mahmud 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I trust Japanese engineering more than Cringley predictions. Let's wait and see what the engineers do.

BREAKING NEWS: Pressure successfully released from Fukushima No. 1 reactor: agency - Kyodo



Govt says radioactive measurements near plant roughly doubled, confirming release of gas.


2 points by erikstarck 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Fukushima plant produces 4.7GW:

The total nuclear production of energy in Japan is 47GW:

Nuclear is 28.9% of Japan's energy source (same Wikipedia-article as above).

It doesn't add up. Where does the number 20% come from? 2% is closer to the truth.

6 points by nathanhammond 20 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the interesting things about disaster recovery planning for nuclear power plants is that you count on (X) number of things to go wrong and figure out how the plant recovers gracefully. In Japan they've effectively had three things go wrong: earthquake, tsunami, and general infrastructure damage. Most disaster scenarios only cover a single event and TEPCO has a lot to deal with.

In a disaster scenario the first reactions are generally passive (dropping of control rods, changing where water flows) and then "all" that remains is to cool the decay heat. Aye, here's the rub: the cooling system is not a passive system. It requires power to drive the water pumps for the cooling system that siphons the heat away from the reactor vessel. After initiating reactor shutdown the most critical time period is the first little while as that is when there is the most heat. Too much heat and it'll damage the fuel, vessel, and/or the cooling system and can effectively damage the reactor enough so to prevent it from ever recovering (thus, meltdown).

The questions left to ask are to what degree the cooling systems (primary and backup) are working, and whether they've been powered consistently. With that bit of information alone we'd be able to make a pretty accurate estimate as to the state of the reactors in question. What is scary is that it would be really simple to say that all of those systems are working as expected and that there is nothing to worry about. Since that hasn't been said I'm of the opinion that there is definitely something to worry about.

2 points by rbanffy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it notable that you have mounting pressure that could risk the integrity of the pressure vessel, yet can't turn a turbine connected to a pump to drive cool water through heat exchangers... If a reactor self-destructs unless you can cool it down actively after an emergency shutdown, there must be some serious design issues there.

After you completely kill the fission, you still have some heat being generated from the decay of fission byproducts doesn't sound weird that the device has enough power to self destruct but not enough to cool itself down?

4 points by gonzo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI-1 was already scheduled to be shutdown this month.


neutronicus has even more reasons why what Bob says is very likely wrong.

4 points by tectonic 19 hours ago 0 replies      
CNN reports explosion at one of the plants.


2 points by rospaya 14 hours ago 1 reply      

Robert X. Cringely is the pen name of both technology journalist Mark Stephens and a string of writers for a column in InfoWorld, the one-time weekly computer trade newspaper published by IDG.

4 points by nabilt 20 hours ago 1 reply      
However the events unfold I wonder if this will cause more nations to investigate other reactor technologies like Thorium. The abundance of Thorium and its inherent safety mechanisms (as a liquid at least) make the technology very exciting.

Check out the Google Tech Talk

4 points by JoelUpchurch 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect the decision to use sea water to cool the reactor means that they have decided to write off the plant. It was 40 years old anyway and nearing the end of it's service life.
2 points by sliverstorm 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Can they not simply ship in extra batteries, or are they batteries too large to be moved?
4 points by stewbrew 21 hours ago 0 replies      
let's just hope a loss of power supply is everything they have to worry about. it seems some caesium already got out.
1 point by MichaelApproved 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Japan probably won't need that 20% for a while. Their demand just dropped significantly.
1 point by light3 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I guess the obvious question is whether 80% of electricity supply meets demand, probably not, how can Japan generate the additional 20% in a hurry?
0 points by bilban 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Not wanting to change the topic. But why on earth would you even consider nuclear power generation when you are in such a geologically unstable area? Sounds like idiocy to me. Fingers crossed here, could do without another man made disaster.
Moviebarcode - Movies compressed to a single frame moviebarcode.tumblr.com
239 points by boredguy8 5 days ago   67 comments top 30
27 points by boredguy8 5 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 5 days ago 1 reply      
Completely predictable but still fascinating:


12 points by sandofsky 5 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 5 days ago 2 replies      
You mean, not every movie uses a Teal/Orange palette?


22 points by limmeau 5 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting to see, but I still prefer the temporal compression applied in http://iwdrm.tumblr.com/ .
7 points by jhamburger 5 days ago 2 replies      
A fun addition to this would be tagging memorable scenes from the movie.
3 points by bane 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
13 points by torme 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 days ago 2 replies      
can anyone find 2001? that trippy space color light show near the end could be cool
4 points by taken11 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Bummer, I want to see Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
2 points by powrtoch 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is cool and all, but are there any uses for it?
2 points by harshpotatoes 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Another "reminds me of...": amarok moodbar



Can you pass movies through higher-dimensional fourier transform?

1 point by runinit 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the plugin for Amarok, moodbar.


1 point by dhess 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Kurt Ralske has done a lot of good work in this space: http://retnull.com/
2 points by innes 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to associate each strip with a number, like the real barcode?
1 point by ChrisArchitect 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
it reminds me of some of ad reinhardt's earlier artwork.
1 point by bwindels 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see what Sin City looks like.
1 point by GeekZeke 5 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting, abstract twist on cinema redux.
The State of Version Control: an Infographic fogcreek.com
233 points by gecko 4 days ago   190 comments top 27
60 points by bradleyland 4 days 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?

31 points by brown9-2 4 days 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.

41 points by pclark 4 days 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)

18 points by prosa 4 days 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 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else find it surprising that SlashDot is the highest ranked favorite tech website amongst respondents?
10 points by jcromartie 4 days 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.
7 points by yock 4 days 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?

4 points by zdw 4 days 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

8 points by yannickmahe 4 days 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.

1 point by kenjackson 4 days 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.

2 points by mberning 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

3 points by danssig 4 days 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
Biggest statistic is that 60% of people are not using source control professionally!!
2 points by makmanalp 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see version control usage percent (or types used) divided up according to type of Operating System used.
1 point by glenjamin 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those who want to see what it looked like:
1 point by amitraman1 4 days 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 4 days 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.
Angry Bird's “overnight success” only took 8 years. thestartupfoundry.com
233 points by g0atbutt 1 day ago   49 comments top 11
37 points by Tiktaalik 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's a lot of fun to look into the little unknown games that large, successful, games companies made before they hit the big time.

Blizzard for example had mild success with Rock n' Roll Racing and Lost Vikings prior to Warcraft 2.

Nintendo made lots of arcade games since 1973, many being blatant clones of successful titles, before striking gold with Donkey Kong in 1981. Some of these may have sold fairly well, but the titles are ignored today so they couldn't have been all that good.

Pokemon developer Game Freak seems to have had it pretty rough prior to hitting the big time with Pokemon. The company has existed since 1989 and they put out a number of relatively unknown games before Pokemon in '96. Pokemon wasn't a strong seller at the beginning either.

According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoshi_Tajiri):
"Pokémon Red and Green took six years to produce, and nearly bankrupted Game Freak in the process; often, there was barely enough money to pay the employees. Five employees quit, and Tajiri did not take a salary, instead living off of his father's income. Investment from Creatures Inc. allowed Game Freak to complete the games, and in return, Creatures received one-third of the franchise rights."

21 points by seanalltogether 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm more interested in finding out how they went from "pretty slow for the first 3 months" to massive sales and attention.
11 points by Batsu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Harmonix (creators of Guitar Hero, which they sold, and Rock Band) has a similar story. They created a handful of games over a decade or so, all music based, that never really caught on. When they released Guitar Hero and a few karaoke games, they did a little better than breaking even, and with the release of Guitar Hero 2 sales exploded.


21 points by alain94040 1 day ago 1 reply      
That was definitely worth saying. Most people don't know the back story. I didn't know the details either.
14 points by jakegottlieb 1 day ago 2 replies      
Overnight success generally takes around ten years. First the person must become an expert. When you first start practicing a new skill set like playing the piano, you may be able to play, but you have definitely not reached your potential. Within a couple of years you are more competent but there are clearly people better then you. At about the 8-10 year mark, you are then an expert. There may be people better than you, but there shouldn't be a huge difference (of course this depends on the person).

Taking ten years to make it as a performer or a even a craftsman is pretty common. Rovio clearly earned their success.

10 points by solipsist 1 day ago 1 reply      
Spoiler: not everyone can make it big, even after 8 years of trying...
2 points by tnorthcutt 1 day ago 3 replies      
The OP's link is to the comment thread - here's the article link: http://thestartupfoundry.com/2011/03/11/angry-birds-overnigh...
2 points by TheSOB88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Come on, guys, 163 points? This whole article could be summed up in the HN title. There's no additional info there. Dammit.
3 points by dools 1 day ago 3 replies      
OT: I've noticed recently Americans more frequently interchange "then" and "than". Is this some sort of emerging dialectical shift?
1 point by listic 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I still wonder why it is so popular. I, for one, like Tiny Wings much more.

@ iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tiny-wings/id417817520

Official Gameplay Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6pT_2E5xI0

0 points by JacobIrwin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's the article for "Apple's "overnight success" only took 25 years?"

Much more profound "success" of course.

Introducing NowJS or "How to make a chat server in 12 lines of code" nowjs.com
220 points by sthatipamala 1 day ago   30 comments top 11
1 point by brosephius 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
n00b question here, but I installed it with npm and I'm trying to run the chat sample, but node says it can't find ../lib/nowServerLib.js

I'm still trying to figure out node so pardon my ignorance, but am I supposed to run this from a specific location? anyway, the project looks pretty cool, looking forward to playing with it.

14 points by substack 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Rival node.js RPC project (dnode) author chiming in here.

This is pretty neat and I like the emphasis on getting stuff going in as few lines as possible but I'm not convinced that return values and implicit result callbacks are the way to go for asynchronous requests, which is how I understand this project to work. Often when you want to make a remote call you'll be doing some I/O on the server side, which in node is asynchronous so you can't return right away. Passing along a callback from the client side works much better when the I/O actions have some values to call the client back with.

8 points by glesperance 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Blending this with browserify + backbone + redis will be really easy to do. I think it will definitely simplify the dev of our app ; allowing us to share even more code between the client and server so that we can maximize code reuse.
5 points by catshirt 23 hours ago 1 reply      
how does this compare to dnode?
0 points by DenisM 7 hours ago 1 reply      
All attempts to pretend that remote calls are local calls have failed thusfar. Chances are you will regret going down this route.
2 points by oomkiller 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, I've already thought of a bunch of cool ways I could use this. Although, it does remind me of runat="server" for some reason. :)
1 point by moe 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What about errors and exceptions?
Will they propagate to the calling side?
2 points by dhruvbird 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Great stuff!!
So, do you open up 2 channels? One for the client to make calls to the server (this could just be normal HTTP) and one for the server to make client calls?
1 point by BobKabob 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool stuff!

I'd love to see an example as to how you'd integrate that into a Python/Django project.

1 point by iag 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great stuff Darshan!
-4 points by sinaiman 1 day ago 0 replies      
But will it blend?
The Complete Guide for Starting iPhone and iOS Development withoutfriction.com
217 points by withoutfriction 1 day ago   49 comments top 12
34 points by flyosity 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote Building iOS Apps From Scratch (http://designthencode.com/scratch) a 30-page guide for coders just learning Objective-C and Cocoa. Also, for coders looking to get into UI design, I wrote a 70-page guide as well: http://designthencode.com

Hope it helps!

20 points by kingofspain 1 day ago 1 reply      
It should be noted you don't need a Mac. I've had 2 apps developed, submitted and approved from my makeshift vmware player running on W7. I know others who use Virtual Box. Never ran into any trouble other than wondering why all the keys behave differently!

Yes, it's technically illegal but isn't that the best kind of illegal?

17 points by stevederico 1 day ago 3 replies      
The Stanford iTunes U Courses should not be overlooked. They do a great job of taking you from crawling to running in no time. I enjoyed doing the homework too, it really increased my learning experience.

Winter 2010- http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/iphone-application-devel...

Spring 2009-http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/iphone-application-progr...

Spring 2011 (Starting Soon)-http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193p/cgi-bin/drupal/

6 points by marksu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yes " programming is fun to hop into, but just a heads up: the most difficult process to learn and master is the marketing and promotion part of releasing an app.

I feel that two blog posts linked in this article touches this subject in an interesting way: http://struct.ca/2010/the-story-so-far/ and http://blog.endloop.ca/blog/2010/08/12/100k-in-4-months-a-ni...

That said, I would recommend Corona - http://www.anscamobile.com/corona/ - for anyone wanting to give iPhone app development a shot. Much easier and fun to jump into than objective-c, especially if you want to make games, and still pretty damn powerful!

7 points by drpancake 1 day ago 2 replies      
Coming from Python, web development and Android, I found interface Builder to be the trickiest part of iOS to learn. The way it instantiates some of your classes requires you to build up a really odd mental model; I still don't fully understand it after a couple of months.

You're welcome to do it all in code, but it seems to be discouraged by many.

2 points by mkramlich 1 day ago 2 replies      
The Apple docs already explain this pretty well. Not too hard. It's weird we live in a world of hand-holding comfort and plentiful documentation on almost everything and yet we still create more.
3 points by bricestacey 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is just a bunch of links. Can anyone vouch for the author's credibility?
3 points by Breefield 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great!
I just started going through Programming in Objective-C 2.0, although I'm not new to programming at all, I am pretty new to C/Obj-C. Good to see it in this guide, reaffirms that it's a good starting place.
2 points by callmeed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call this a "complete guide" ... seems more like pre-reqs.
3 points by xsltuser2010 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there a similar resource for Android ? I don't currently own one, but this kind of writeup would be helpful to estimate the effort to get into developing first things for it..
1 point by philthy 1 day ago 0 replies      
For anyone who wants to fiddle with development and doesn't know any form of C, a company called Revolution Media makes a scripting tool called LiveCode. It is pretty easy to use but I'm not sure how advanced your apps can get.
-1 point by guelo 1 day ago 5 replies      
The fine print for new iOS devs:

If you succeed in overcoming all of the obstacles ahead of you and actually create a worthwhile app on Apple's platform their is a good chance they will screw you over without warning or explanation by blocking your app, yanking your app, changing the rules, calling you a pornographer, randomly charging you new fees, prohibiting whatever it is your app does, changing the hardware you're allowed to use, changing the software you're allowed to use, and many other ways that seem impossibly outrageous right now until it actually happens.

Invest your time and money at your own risk. You've been warned.

Google: Hide sites to find more of what you want googleblog.blogspot.com
217 points by ssclafani 2 days ago   89 comments top 25
20 points by jmillikin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just tried it out with the manual block page at < http://www.google.com/reviews/t >

I notice that when I block a subdomain (eg, http://answers.yahoo.com/ ) the page actually shows the entire domain (yahoo.com) as blocked.

Is this just an error in the display, or does it actually only block based on domain? If the second, this significantly limits the usability, since I can't block < http://someobviouslinkspam.blogspot.com > without also blocking every blogspot.com site.

21 points by ChuckMcM 2 days ago 7 replies      
Ah, good to see Google following our lead :-) (Disclaimer I work at Blekko and we've had this feature from launch, and we don't limit you to 500 sites either)

On a more serious note though, its nice to see Google validate our assertion, that un-modified Google search results are getting poorer and poorer. Not that they would actually say it directly like that of course. Now lets see if they are willing to drop over a million crappy sites out of their index ...

25 points by sjs382 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. Can't believe how quickly this was added to Google Search, rather than it remaining a Chrome Extension for a long time. Glad to see it, though!
3 points by nswanberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be interesting to see the percentage of Google users that that block even one site. Though even if it's a small percentage it could help the blockers take out their search frustrations by blocking a site, and help the non-blockers by giving Google hints as to what searchers don't like.

The magical optimization I would prefer would be a non-commercial search. If I search for a piece of gear sometimes I don't want to buy it and instead want to weigh buying it or just look up reference information. For some searches that is tough, and permanently blocking commercial sites isn't an option. (I've occassionally resorted to limiting my searches to .edu and .org domains with limited success). Even temporarily blocking commercial sites might not help, though, since sites like Amazon.com have fantastic reviews on some items.

3 points by gwern 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, this is frustrating because it's not that useful in general search results, but it would be extremely useful in pruning Custom Search Engine results - and that's exactly where it isn't.

I want a one-click way to ban a domain from search engine results because most blacklisted domains in my Wikipedia search engine (http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=009114923999563836576:1eor...) are porn or filesharing sites. One recognizes such spam in an instant, but it still takes a while to prune down the URL to the right domain, flip to the edit tab, paste it in, flip back, and relocate myself.

I'm not kidding when I say such a one-click button would cut by at least half the time I have to put into cleaning up the CSE results for any given query.

5 points by AlexC04 2 days ago 1 reply      
As an experiment, I thought I'd block FoxNews from my results to see if it would stop coming up in my "google news" aggregator.

Sadly, it does not. Would have been neat though.

2 points by bcrescimanno 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aside from the "big two" (experts exchange and Mahalo) I actually think the one I'll block first is Wikipedia. Truthfully, I really like Wikipedia as a resource and love to peruse the information there--but if I want the article from Wikipedia, I'll go to Wikipedia and look it up. If I'm searching google, it's probably for something that's not going to be covered well by Wikipedia anyway.

For example, let's say someone has suggested to me to use the factory pattern to solve a problem in a project and I'm not intimately familiar with that pattern. I search for "Factory design pattern" on Google and notice that the first 2 results are wikipedia results. There's some good, basic boiler plate--but that's not what I need (Ok, what I really need is probably a trusty copy of the "Gang of Four" so maybe it's a bad--or at least contrived example).

13 points by mitjak 2 days ago 2 replies      
Quick, block expertsexchange!
3 points by al_james 2 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent. Thanks Google, you have just saved my sanity.

So can I disable the chrome plugin now? Will it remember the sites I have already blocked?

2 points by taylorbuley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone have a list of "bigresource" like sources of bad programming tips? I have been using site:stackoverflow.com but would prefer just to block sites like this: http://mysql.bigresource.com/Fatal-error-Can-t-open-privileg...
2 points by pedrokost 2 days ago 3 replies      
Many people already know what sites they don't want, and never open these links. But to block those links, do users really have to open a link and return to Google to block it?

Also, the sites that have already been blocked with the extension, will they be auto-blocked?

1 point by cake 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder why Google prefers that you block a whole domain instead of a result (what searchwiki did).

As said in another comment I wouldn't be confortable to block the whole expertsexchange.com domain, I get revelant results sometimes, yet some of the results of the same website are so unhelpful I'm sure I don't want to see them again (auto approved solutions and stuff like that).

It also happens when I search for something I already searched for a while back. Some of the results remain irrevelant, but not necessarily the whole domain.

1 point by geuis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure why they are limiting this to particular browser versions. If I'm running IE7 (which I'm not), what does that have to do with which sites I want to block?
2 points by pbiggar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this will get combined with Google Alerts, so I have a one-click way to tell google that people are creating spam on topics I care about.
2 points by paolomaffei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now I'd only wish people to be able to share lists with friends, just like you download blocking lists from adblock :)

But in the meanwhile good riddance Mahalo, eHow, Yahoo Answers and ExpertSExchange, etc

2 points by Tycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the spammers and content-farms were the Empire, this would be like blowing up the Death Star. Brilliant.
1 point by gxs 2 days ago 2 replies      
You know, maybe I'm just slow and don't see the big picture, but I don't understand what all the hubub is about.

The '-' operator has worked wonders for me for years.

1 point by TGJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's awesome. I'm glad they are giving the users more options. I searched for how to bake a cake to finally block ehow from my results. How good that feels. Trash sites are about to feel the sting I imagine. That reminds me, need to block about.com too.
2 points by shimonamit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now, if they could only provide a way to disable previews...
3 points by afhof 2 days ago 2 replies      
What happens if you block Google?
1 point by erik_p 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a great idea to block the really bad offenders, but doesn't seem granular enough for the sites that have inconsistent quality of content (i.e. a user generated content site can have both shallow/crappy content AND useful content under the same domain).

I wish we could give more contextual feedback, like... THIS link was helpful/relevant, THIS link was not.

1 point by eykanal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's just me, but I switched to Bing a few weeks ago, and I'm finding a pretty good increase in search result quality. For me, good search by default > good search only with my help.

OTOH, I imagine that bing will also eventually succumb to content farms and other techniques that will come up, so maybe this is the way of the future.

1 point by dserodio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see this button on google.com.br

I hope it's propagated to international Google pages soon.

1 point by Limes102 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been waiting for this so I can hide Experts Exchange.
0 points by bretthellman 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's next? Build your own search results
Life at a startup abstractnonsense.com
217 points by emmett 4 days ago   44 comments top 12
23 points by TheSOB88 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 bradleyjoyce 4 days 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.

0 points by kmc 3 days 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?

-3 points by wtn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh nice, he beat YouTube to a seek feature that's been in QTSS for a decade.
Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular? mauronewmedia.com
208 points by tuhin 5 days ago   76 comments top 29
37 points by bambax 4 days ago 5 replies      
What about the story?

As already stated in the comments, Angry Birds is almost identical to "Crush the Castle", another game, of which Flash versions were quite successful but mobile versions weren't. (It involves destroying castles with a trebuchet -- play it here: http://armorgames.com/play/3614/crush-the-castle).

It would have made for a more interesting article to compare Angry Birds and Crush the Castle (CTC) to identify differences between the two; as it is the article lists six attributes of success for Angry Birds:

1. simple yet engaging interaction concept

2. cleverly managed response time

3. short-term memory management

4. mystery

5. how things sound

6. how things look

Every one of those qualities is present in CTC, sometimes differently (different sound, different look) but most of the time EXACTLY in the same way (the first three items).

The main originality of Angry Birds is that projectiles are not inanimate objects but living (thinking) creatures, and the pigs (the victims) are stupid/despicable.

In CTC the projectiles are bullets and the victims are soldiers: the goal is to crush the castle but not really to kill the soldiers; the player doesn't care about them (and she certainly doesn't care about the projectiles). It's mostly an engineering project.

In Angry Birds the goal is more to kill the pigs than to crush their houses, and the player identifies with the birds. I would argue this (the story) is a key element to user engagement.

49 points by pfedor 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why do the houses containing pigs shake ever so slightly at the beginning of each game play sequence?

I assumed that it's because the initial positions of the objects in the game are slightly off the equilibrium state, so when the physics is switched on they slump a little bit.

19 points by teyc 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'd wasted enough time on Angry Birds to feel qualified enough to write about it.

1. The splash screen shows a high degree of polish
compared to all other games. Every time I start it,
it stands out heads and shoulders above other apps.

2. The whimsical characters mean that there are no scruples
with killing real pigs.

3. The ability to advance to the next level quickly, but at
the same time, there is a higher three star achievement
for finishing a level with some finesse.

4. There is an element of luck and timing involved, and
this makes for addictive gameplay. It is also very difficult
to get the angles exactly the same each time on a small
device. Every time you play, you think "this is going to be
the perfect game".

5. The matter of waiting for 2-3 seconds makes for exasperating
play, which again is pretty addictive.

13 points by joe_the_user 4 days ago 0 replies      
"This question pops up when products become massively successful based on their user experience design " think iPhone, iPad, Google Instant Search, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect."

Google Instant Search?

While I'm working on an app with vague similarities to Google instant and I like the idea of it being a wild success, I can't see evidence that it's anything like a "run-away success" given that it was simply a make-over of an already successful interface. Google had most of the market before and after so what could you say about this. I don't remember it getting good review either.

10 points by dasil003 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is best description of Angry Birds I've read:

The game involves employing a sling shot to propel small cannonball-shaped birds with really bad attitudes at rather fragile glass and timber houses populated by basically catatonic green pigs.

5 points by Dylanlacey 4 days ago 0 replies      
A very interesting analysis, that still seems to be a bit off the mark. I felt like it was pointing at one media and saying "See! This works in all cases!"

It feels a little like when, working in a large supermarket, they force-shoved the "FISH!" video down our throats, even though the business model didn't have any flexibility in it. We couldn't apply the principles but they management team hoped that simply being exposed to it would work.

Most of the experience I've had with enterprise product design has demonstrated that "Being engaging" is very VERY low on the product design list, because corporate companies don't care how engaged their staff are.

Developers, however, are loud and wonderfully obnoxious (No, really, I love it) about their tools, so I see a lot more room for engaging behavior, BUT I imagine a developer will also be a lot more annoyed at any perceived duplication of effort (No matter how clever you 'wipe' their short term memory).

9 points by train_robber 4 days ago 7 replies      
What I don't understand is how Angry Birds became so popular, but other similar (almost exactly the same) games failed (eg: Crush the Castle). Those games also tackles most of the issues that's talked about in the post.
7 points by yesimahuman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Angry Birds taught me that the deep gameplay I value does not always make a good casual game. As a current casual and social game developer, I'm always fascinated by casual interest in games, and reading stuff like this really helps me understand why people are drawn to these types of games. It's something I need to be be better at in order to make better games.
8 points by trout 4 days ago 1 reply      
I realized it while playing the game, and to a greater extent after reading the article, but it's a very meticulous game. The amount of detail and thought into all the aspects of the game are top notch. I really respected the architecture of some of the more complicated levels in regards to all the little angles, small blocks scattered, combination of material types, etc. In my opinion it's what the game is centered around. The fluff - sounds, visual cues, appealing characters, would not stand on it's own merit without the excruciating detail put into the level design. If it takes half an hour to an hour to complete a level, it must be exponentially more to design the level.
2 points by qjz 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love projects that add a vim-like interface to browsers and other GUI applications. But adding an Angry Birds-like interface to enterprise applications would boost productivity even more. It's strange how rarely gaming metaphors influence business software, and I've often wondered why CMS software doesn't adopt the same type of interfaces you find in RPGs, making them more intuitive and engaging.
2 points by freshfunk 4 days ago 0 replies      
1. Polish.

2. Funny storyline/characters.

3. Simple. Can get in and out. Can play for 1 minute or 30 minutes.

4. You can play the same level over and over and it's different every time due to the mechanics of destroying things that have their own physical properties. It's hard enough to get you to try again but not so difficult that you're driven away.

Points 1 and 2 are what I would call The Draw. They bring you in.

Points 3 and 4 and what I would call The Keeper. They bring you back.

This is why I think it's a good game. There are lots of good games that aren't popular. The reason why it's popular probably has more to do with word-of-mouth advertising and then media coverage. There are probably a high number of addicts (myself included) that go on to evangelize the game to other device owners.

4 points by karolisd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interface - Using your finger to use the slingshot is very intuitive and fun. This game was made for the iPhone. It wouldn't have been as successful if people had to use a mouse.

Character - You're not shooting rocks and bombs, they're birds! They are colorful and they squawk! And you're not shooting targets, you're shooting pigs! Pigs who smugly smile when you don't hit them.And there's fun music.

Puzzles - Some of the levels are difficult but overall the puzzles can be solved quickly. And there are plenty of them. A series of fun, quick puzzles: the perfect game for 5 minute breaks.

It's interactive and just fun to play. Move your finger, release, shoot the bird, it makes a sound, maybe touch again and the bird does an ability, then shit falls down. And it's you who's doing it. Who doesn't like to knock down dominos?

You're constantly touching the phone and the phone is reacting to you. There's sensory feedback and an addicting rhythm.

3 points by homelesshacker 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's the cute visuals. I have struggled with compulsive gambling for over 15 years. I normally hate casual games, but immediately had the same addiction to Angry Birds that I do to gambling (which is good because it costs less :) ). The same thing occurred with Tiny Wings. In fact, I've been able to predict both the rise and fall of several game titles just based on my initial reaction to the game. I guess I am hyper-sensitive to any addicting elements that exist.

Anyway, if you want to design an addictive game, look at the characteristics of casino games and design games around those. Maybe all game companies should take copies of their games to Gambler's Anonymous meetings for vetting :).

2 points by martinkallstrom 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is something else going on as well. The characters in the game cheer, snicker and scream, but are otherwise incapable of volontary movement. As players we have to carry out all their actions for them. This deeply rekindles with how we play/played with toys as kids, but we dont have to act out all aspects of the game like the physics and voices of the characters.

It is much more the perfect play, rather than the perfect game.

1 point by vl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think that AB success comes not only from the perfect execution, but also from being able to occupy previously under-served niche: casual iPhone game that can be played in small increments. One game round (successful or not) takes around 30 seconds, after this you have a choice to continue or to stop. If something more important comes up, you stop, if you are still waiting in line, you continue. Then you are drinking coffee and eating croissant, played few round, back to sipping coffee, played few round more.

It's easy to start and easy to stop, and you don't feel that you loose something if you have to stop at this particular moment, and this is really import for the casual game on the phone.

Look at the Cut the Rope. It copies AB concepts verbatim - short engaging levels, three starts, cute character (and candy! :) It became quite a successful game. I don't think Tiny Wings will hold position 1 in the charts long - it's cute, but game progress becomes very difficult quickly and "start-stop model" is not as good. The main reason it is (most likely) not going to stick to position 1 is that there is no way to add incremental value by adding new levels and thus rekindling interest and pumping the rating (another ingenious thing Rovio invented or borrowed and perfectly executed).

1 point by ekanes 4 days ago 0 replies      
An even simpler game that's doing very well in the app store is Little Wings. All you do is touch the screen to fold the little bird's wings, so he falls faster. Just goes to show casual games don't need much complexity to be fun.
2 points by kule 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think they did a great marketing job. They released in December (good timing for Christmas) at the cheapest price point. Probably great timing to help it into the top 10 initially. Then they made sure they looked after their users by consistently giving new levels for free for the first 6-12 months. Heck they are still giving free updates now! People love that, in turn the more users took the time to give it good reviews which then helped sell to more people & keep it in the top ten.
3 points by FBG 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hazard that its not so much the game itself but the climate within which it was launched and advertised. Saying that, i imagine there were probably enough similar if not identical games that would have failed miserably, in which case Angry Birds set it self apart with simple gameplay, story line and characters.

I do find it depressing that this is the only thing people can bloody go on about though.

2 points by asknemo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I must point out that these types of non-predictive analysis can be misleading. One can always point out different merits of a very successful product, but we cannot prove or disprove that these merits has actually led to the success. It could be any point that is missing from the list, and no one can prove or disprove that without extensive comparison analysis. So, please do take caution.
2 points by anodari 4 days ago 0 replies      
For me, it resembles Microsoft's Basic Gorillas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorillas_(video_game) and Worms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worms_(series) .
Both used the same simple and addictive formula.
1 point by DamagedProperty 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand how this is a cognitive breakdown of Angry Birds. Trying to relate short-term memory to the success of the game really misses the point. There is so much more that went on the contribute to the success of the game. I guess the question I would want to have answered is how can I attribute qualities that make a game fun and playable to my own games. If there was a direct and single answer to this question I believe no game company would fear losing money on any of their triple A titles.
1 point by vacri 4 days ago 0 replies      
And there I was thinking that AB's success and CTC's failure was that the former doesn't finish after a mere handful of levels...
1 point by monos 4 days ago 1 reply      
Angry Birds is a poster child for the way "modern indies" design there games:

  * evergreen mechanic
* cute visuals
* generated content

1 point by AndreSegers 4 days ago 1 reply      
Angry Birds kind of reminds me of that old Artillery game on early Macs, which was really engaging with 2-people--if only Angry Birds had such.

At any rate, that game's success has been monumental and I am in awe of the creators.

1 point by mike463 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the sounds are cool. I mean yeah, the gameplay, but the sounds are fun.
1 point by flipside 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad I read this because these concepts can also be applied for gamification to boost user engagement. I was already planning on using some game mechanics, but the ones mentioned in the article are subtly executed which should provide for a more seamless integration.
1 point by bzotto 4 days ago 0 replies      
The catapult touchscreen physics is enormously satisfying, as is the scale change when you pan between catapult and target.
1 point by mpg33 4 days ago 0 replies      
no doubt angry birds is well developed game for touch devices....but does it really have any competition?
-4 points by jwang815 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting take on Angry Birds:


Launch areallybadidea.com
204 points by dkasper 3 days ago   24 comments top 9
36 points by trotsky 3 days ago 4 replies      
Planned 72-84 hour dev weeks? I don't want to throw stones here because everyone has ended up in an impossible situation at some point, but I'd still prefer to hear some owning up to it being a management failure. If for no other reason than to not give the impression to up and coming CEO/CTO/Dev Managers that crunching to that degree is a normal part of software development.

Not a dis, just an observation.

18 points by jbrennan 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of inspiration I come to Hacker News to find. Fantastic work!
11 points by AmericanOP 3 days ago 0 replies      
For a drop-dead simple consumer experience, you're overly positioned for the tech market. Your average consumer doesn't care that it's social- they care that their 3GS can actually record video and put it on their facebook wall. You should be communicating that better on your site, in your name, and in your PR....

There are going to be a million social applications launching at SXSW. You have a head start, so I hope you're buying downloads to get ranked in the store and capitalize on your momentum. What premium features do you guys have in the works?

3 points by erickhill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Two really good (and popular) blog posts on HN by Justin.tv coders in one day. Pretty interesting PR strategy to humanize SocialCam from the bottom up as they ignite the engines for SXSW.
2 points by diwup 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats. You guys deserve some good sleep! Just went through the same iPhone app submission process as SocialCam did. And we were not that lucky, 1 rejection and 19 anxious days before approval for our 1.0.
2 points by DonnyV 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what does this offer that my built-in client for YouTube doesn't offer?
2 points by jkresner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Feel like my life for the last 4 months. 2 more to go...
1 point by mirzmaster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. I was looking forward to trying socialcam out, but no Facebook account. :(
1 point by coolstartupbro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Xcode now costs US$ 4.99 apple.com
203 points by rbanffy 3 days ago   380 comments top 50
57 points by A1kmm 3 days ago replies      
I'm an academic who develops Free / Open Source software and distributes libraries and binaries for the Windows, x86 and x86_64 Linux and Mac platforms along with the source. One important library generates C code based on a domain specific language, links a shared object and uses that; on Windows and Linux, we ship a cut back gcc and libtools to do that; libtools doesn't work on the Mac (at least last time I looked into it), so we asked Apple for permission to distribute their linker back in 2005, and they said no, so we have been telling Mac users to sign up for a developer account and install XCode (stupid since they had to download multiple gigabytes for a fairly small binary).

Even getting XCode for our own use to put on our Mac build server will be difficult now; $4.99 may be a token price, but any price in the academic world means that things have to get charged against a cost centre; policies mean it probably can't be charged as IT overhead (like Mac build servers and operating systems can) because it is specifically for development, so it needs to be justified as part of a grant. For things like that, the University will probably want Apple to go a months long process to become a designated approver (Apple hardware is not normally purchased direct from Apple), and to pay for things like that by purchase order - the administrative cost of which would be greatly more than $4.99.

The end result of all this is that Apple will probably not be a supported platform for our software any more, and users will be asked to use a virtual machine or move to a different platform if they want to use our software.

Apple is already one of the most difficult platforms to develop on, largely because of the way their linker and object loaders work; it is one of the few platforms (I think Irix is another) where objects to be opened with a dlopen like mechanism are in a different format to normal shared objects; making the barriers higher for academic users trying to develop multi-platform software will simply result in academic and other free software being less available on Mac; some academic users like being on Mac, but I expect that as it becomes progressively more of a disadvantage and Apple becomes more of a pariah, this will change.

109 points by joshfraser 3 days ago replies      
Seeing this reminded me of a Microsoft focus group I was invited to be a part of a few years ago. As a CTO who had decided to build everyone on top of free software, they wanted to know what it take to make me to switch to a Microsoft stack. I told them they were 10 years too late. You see, I made the decision to use LAMP stack not because it was cheaper, but because it's what I knew. And the reason I knew LAMP stack was because that's all I could afford when I was 15. The question for Apple isn't whether businesses or experienced developers can afford their development tools, it's the teenagers they should care about. And while, $5 is still well within the average teenagers reach, it's still a lot more friction than free. This decision seems short sighted to me even if the effects of it aren't immediately apparent.
71 points by ori_b 3 days ago replies      
This is somewhat strange pricing - it seems ridiculously cheap if they're trying to make significant profits off of it, but pricey enough to prevent tinkerers who don't really know about coding but feel like trying it from getting a start in xcode.
14 points by sqs 3 days ago 0 replies      
If there are any younger hackers out who don't have any other way of purchasing this and can't (or don't want to) ask their parents, email me at sqs at cs dot stanford dot edu with your HN username and a link to something you're working on, and I'll gift it to you.

It sounds like you might have to first verify your Mac App Store account, though, and if you have no CC, that requires you to email Apple (I just Googled around, and that's what some sites said). So, you'll have to do that first. Just search for "mac app store gift card no credit card" and you'll see what's up.

30 points by jarin 3 days ago 4 replies      
Visual Studio: $549.00

Flash Builder: $699.00

TextMate: $56.00

Coda: $99.00

BBedit: $99.99

Xcode 4: $4.99

19 points by pilif 3 days ago 4 replies      
Once the old free Xcode 3 has vanished, this neatly puts an end to stuff like Homebrew or MacPorts. I really don't care about paying the $4, but for many people without credit cards or unwilling to use iTunes/the app store, OSX just has become a lot less useful.
7 points by Samuel_Michon 3 days ago 7 replies      
I'm surprised this made it to the number 1 spot on the front page. From the Hacker News Guidelines:

  You can make up a new title if you want, but if you put
gratuitous editorial spin on it, the editors may rewrite it.

Xcode 4 is available as a free download for Mac and iOS developers with a paid membership [1], just like the versions before it. Those who aren't paying members of ADC can get Xcode 4 via the Mac App Store, paying $5 to offset the bandwidth costs for the 4.24 GB download -- an option that didn't exist before. I'm also willing to bet that the new version of Xcode will be included on new Mac OS X install/restore disks, as Apple has always done.

[1] http://developer.apple.com/xcode/index.php

(The comment was edited, as others have noted that they can't download from the ADC site with a free ADC account.)

16 points by randrews 3 days ago 3 replies      
Xcode 3 appears to still be a free download. Xcode 4 is free if you're a registered developer (which costs $99/year), or $5 from the app store.

gcc is obviously still free, if you get it from anyone other than Apple.

17 points by jarin 3 days ago 2 replies      
Actually, Xcode has cost a minimum of $700 for a while now (cost of a Mac Mini).

I'm ok with a 0.7% price increase (if I wasn't a registered developer, that is).

6 points by tomkarlo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love how half the comments here run along the lines of "Apple is evil because they're charging $5 for this piece of software" and the other half are "Apple is evil because they're giving this away for $5 to suck people into the iOS/OSX ecosystem."

Gotta pick, guys.

How about: $5 is essentially free for something that is a major piece of software. It's a venti latte at SBUX. It's not going to represent a real obstacle to anyone actually interested in learning to code for the OS (any more than a $25 O'Reilly book would probably be, or $10 used one) and it's also not going to keep anyone locked in because they spent a bunch on the tool.

(If $5 is not an inconsequential amount of money for someone, then yes, they should go use Linux and gcc / java / whatever. Or maybe they should concentrate one making a few bucks mowing lawns or something, assuming they're in the developed world.)

28 points by idoh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing that this is a regulatory compliance thing :/
21 points by SeanLuke 3 days ago 2 replies      
3 points by thought_alarm 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's disingenuous to say that XCode now costs $4.99. It still comes with the OS, and I see no problem with them charging a very nominal fee for an early upgrade (for the rest of people who aren't already registered iOS or Mac devs).

This is the first time Apple has offered a major XCode upgrade midstream between OS releases, so there isn't really any precedence for how they should handle it.

As for me, I'm sticking with XCode 3 for the time being. XCode 4 just isn't ready for prime time, in my experience. It is, however, a great leap in usability, so I'm sure anyone who found XCode difficult to learn will appreciate XCode 4. Those of us who are comfortable in XCode 3 are less enthusiastic.

7 points by netmau5 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple seems to be adopting an attitude that "you stand to make more with us than without" towards developers and I suppose this makes them feel entitled to tax us. The amount of money they will make out of this will be peanuts, far less than they will need to spend in marketing to developers to keep them off new and rising platforms. As a professional developer, the price doesn't bother me, just the attitude. When I decided whether to try iOS or Android first, the decision was a close one. Things like how they treat the developer community actually mattered.

Apple: you stand to make more with us than without us. Your dollars spend the same as the ones from Android's marketplaces. Be careful when you tread on free. Free makes us friends, pals, maybe even lovers. When I have to pull out the wallet, I stop to ask myself "how much is this relationship worth to me?" Give me XCode and I'll come help you move a couch one day, sell me XCode and you go on a balance sheet where the most cost-effective option wins.

7 points by mortenjorck 3 days ago 1 reply      

This is going to be included on the Lion disc, and we're only paying for it separately this spring due to an accounting rule.

I'll bet $4.99 of my own money on it.

11 points by glesperance 3 days ago 1 reply      
With this and the huge margins apple are already taking over the developers' revenue I really feel like we as developers are getting less and less respect from Apple.

I really think that what made OSX great was the fact that Xcode was completely free. We are the ones that make a platform a great one because of the app ecosystem that comes with it.

Putting prices -- however small they are -- on these dev tools put a barrier on the accessibility of the platform as a application dev environment.

I'm honestly really happy to have focussed my efforts towards web based apps instead... If its the future of computing -- iOS apps, and on device apps instead of web based -- it sure doesn't look so bright.

4 points by clark-kent 3 days ago 0 replies      
I dual boot Ubuntu/OSX 10.5 on my macbook pro,
I once tried to switch from Ubuntu to OS X 10.5 for Ruby development.

First I found out Homebrew and macports needed Xcode. I downloaded the 3GB+ monster that is Xcode. Ran the installer, only to find out my OS is outdated. I need to upgrade to 10.6 which costs $30. Checked online to find links to older Xcode versions but the only link available was the most recent Xcode version which doesn't work on 10.5.

And I'm not even a Mac developer, I'm just trying to install Ruby. I tried to install Xcode from my OS X CD, but I really couldn't find it. I installed the utilities pack and it turns out Xcode wasn't there. I got fed up with Apple and switched back to Ubuntu.

I honestly think Apple is driving hackers away from their platform. I don't like the idea of paying for something I don't need. My OSX 10.5 works great, I don't need to upgrade. Why won't Apple put a download link to older Xcode versions and let the OSX upgrade and Xcode 4 sell on their own merits.

I know the link to Xcode 3.2 is still up but it doesn't work on OSX 10.5

11 points by kylelibra 3 days ago replies      
For the convenience of being able to download Xcode through the mac store and get the updates automatically, I'll gladly pay $4.99.
14 points by bradshaw1965 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably due to Apple's interpretation of tax laws or at least that tends to be what comes out when Apple charges a token amount for something.
5 points by rbarooah 3 days ago 1 reply      
Based on the general sentiment in this thread, I guess the HN community doesn't want people to be able to charge money for software.

For some reason I am experiencing cognitive dissonance...

5 points by madlep 3 days ago 0 replies      
$5 is super cheap and affordable.

My time isn't though.

And I'll waste a lot of it now because I'll have to hunt out a corporate credit card and/or fill out an expense claim to install it on the (company owned) macs we use at work for dev.

$5 may as well be $1000 dollars for the effort I'll have to go through to get it now.

And all so I can get GCC installed so I can use homebrew to build the open source libs I need for doing web / backend dev.

Hoping Apple releases a "lite" version that contains the bare minimum needed to do that without all the extra IDE fluff I never use.

3 points by teyc 3 days ago 1 reply      
It may be just JetBrains fault. Apple could get into trouble in EU for "dumping" their products for free to kill competitors. Making a marginal profit may cost them in terms of the number of developers, but saves the hassle of being hauled in front of an EU commission.
3 points by FirstHopSystems 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is just the beginning. Apple is in the position of "Your going to take it, and your going to LOVE IT." What are you going to do? Not develop for iOS/OSX with Xcode? Bwahahaha. Don't forget apple is a large public corp. I don't think making less money is in the plans.

This is just a small part of the plan. Just wait until you have to be in a Apple approved facility, wearing apple approved developer uniforms to independently program anything for Apple.

6 points by rch 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only reason I install Xcode is so I can compile macports. Now maybe it will be worthwhile to package a free standalone compiler so I won't even need to do that.

I'm so tired of Apple.

2 points by riobard 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like the idea. But the price makes sense: (try to figure out how they decide this price)

1. Xcode is 4.2GB in size.
2. Bandwidth costs about $0.10/GB, so that's $0.42 per download.
3. Every update requires re-downloading.
4. We'll update more than 10 times before Xcode 5 comes out.
5. So let's charge $4.99!

(Of course they pay less than $0.10/GB for bandwidth at their scale. Don't panic about the exact number.)

1 point by fingerprinter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't seen this in the comments yet (might have missed it), but I had always assumed that I was ALREADY paying for Xcode w/ my $99 developer connection fee. $5 is a small amount, for sure, but just seems like yet another way that are trying to squeeze me.
2 points by Tycho 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see how people can complain XCode 4 (with IntelliSense!!) for $4.99 is disrespectful. Sure it's not as generous as free, but it's still pretty damn good value. A lot of people will probably buy it now for the Intellisense (or 'Codesense') functionality, who otherwise wouldn't have much cared.
3 points by bootload 3 days ago 0 replies      
"... I can't help but laught [sic] when I see my clasmates use Visual studio. ..."

Stupid tax for both platforms.

6 points by xster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why put a barrier, however small, to people contributing to the app stores?
3 points by adsr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Xcode will still be part of the OS X install disk, I hope so.
1 point by allenbrunson 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you are a member of one of Apple's dev programs, Xcode is still free: "Xcode 4 is a free download for all members of the iOS and Mac Developer Programs. Log in to your account to begin the download."


2 points by gcb 3 days ago 1 reply      
buying Xcode to actually raise the market value of a iOS device (more software offerings): $4.99
having to own a mac to do that: priceless

...or actually, $1,999.99

i think i will pass.

2 points by yrashk 3 days ago 0 replies      
So now we have to get our devtools chain somewhere else? I couldn't care about Xcode itself, the only reason I download it is the chain.

With that in mind, they've replaced gcc with clang in XCode 4, didn't they?

0 points by baddox 3 days ago 0 replies      
The caption says that pg "discovered [a] spam filtering algorithm." I find it interesting that while this is probably the result of a staff member's ignorance with technology jargon, the word "discovers" actually expresses my interpretation (call it "philosophy" if you want) of the interaction between algorithms and "intellectual property."
2 points by jankassens 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder why they charge for the tools to develop on their platform.

Charging for the forums/bug tracker is probably a good way to keep people out who aren't that serious about development, but I don't get why they charge for XCode. It's not like they'd make any relevant amount of money off XCode.

1 point by razzmataz 3 days ago 0 replies      
There was a time when the dev tools were included with the installation disks. Is this not the case anymore?
1 point by stretchwithme 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd make a lengthy comment, but the value of the time spent might exceed all the money I would ever give Apple for xcode.
1 point by dubious_1 3 days ago 0 replies      
You do not need to update to XCode 4.0 to develop for either OSX or iOS (even 4.3 SDK is available for XCode 3.2.6). There may be some great new wistles and bells in XCode 4.0, but it is not essential. For a hobbyist learning OSX or IOS development, it is probably better to wait anyway since all of the existing tutorials, Courses and books are still focused on XCode 3, and changing the IDE this much will probably just confuse.
2 points by arihant 3 days ago 0 replies      
$544.5 cheaper than Visual Studio. Oh my.
1 point by sibsibsib 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Xcode 4 is a free download for all members of the iOS and Mac Developer Programs. Log in to your account to begin the download."

- from the Xcode download page.

Slightly annoying that it costs money now, but $4.99 for a full featured IDE (even one that used to be free) is still a pretty good deal.

1 point by pettazz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone of course realizes that the $4.99 pricetag is only for non-ADC members. The whole thing is still available completely free on the Developer site for members. I don't really think we need to get all upset over them charging five dollars rather than requiring an ADC membership for $99/year.
0 points by GHFigs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone asking for money in exchange for a good or service? How horrifying.
1 point by debaserab2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to wonder if the cost isn't somehow related to the ginormous file size. I have to imagine that millions of people downloading a file this big constantly is expensive in terms of bandwidth.

Maybe they want those downloading to truly have an interest in doing something with the toolkit and not just downloading it to look at/tinker with. A $4.99 hurdle is probably just enough to cull out a significant amount of downloads by people who probably wouldn't actually use it anyways.

1 point by guacamole 3 days ago 1 reply      
I suspect Apple is trying to build up the Mac App Store. I doubt they care about the money they get from Xcode or Facetime ($0.99).

Perhaps it sets up an expectation for the consumer - a small utility should cost about $0.99 and that a larger application should be about $4.99.

This gets consumers in the habit of paying for software they might expect to be free, motivating developers to use the Mac App store and builds up an ecosystem to match the iOS app store.

1 point by cheez 3 days ago 1 reply      
People still use Xcode?
0 points by gungan 3 days ago 0 replies      
-1 point by tammam 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think Apple should by Text Mate and charge $4.99 then it would make sense. I like TextMate is much better especially for writing Ruby on Rails
-1 point by ohadpr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure Steve Jobs is going to reply to one of the hundreds of emails he'll be getting on this subject, hopefully his answer won't be "Because. - Sent from my iPhone"
-2 points by aaronbrethorst 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous! It is a travesty! How dare Apple to expect me to pay $0.99 for Facetime and $4.99 for Xcode! Combined, those cost almost as much as this Venti Frappuccino I'm drinking right now! It's absurd!


25 points by georgemcbay 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Xcode is still free, as long as you pay the $99 a year to be a registered Apple developer".

Sort of like the way Visual Studio is free, as long as you pay $800+ to be an MSDN subscriber? That's an odd way to judge something as still being "free".

From where I'm standing Xcode is not free now, it costs 5 bucks or a hundred bucks, though the version that costs a hundred bucks includes some other stuff too.

Hey Apple, Please Be Nice and Share MacRuby merbist.com
206 points by petercooper 5 days ago   59 comments top 9
48 points by thought_alarm 5 days ago 1 reply      
These things typically start out as a private framework for an iteration of the OS. My guess is that MacRuby will need to hit a nice and stable 1.0 before Apple commits to maintaining it as a built-in public OS X framework. I think it'll happen eventually, though.
13 points by spullara 5 days ago 0 replies      
They would be better off shipping MacRuby with their application which is probably why Apple made it private. Now that disk space and bandwidth at this scale is essentially free you are better off testing with the exact bits that will be present at runtime.
5 points by jallmann 5 days ago 5 replies      
What advantages does MacRuby offer over MRI/YARV or Rubinius?
3 points by twiedenbein 5 days ago 4 replies      
What is with people and continually violating the NDA? Especially when they aren't anonymous?

I've seen so many messages from people on Twitter that I follow about what Lion contains, and what it does not. There is a pretty strict NDA in place covering the prerelease software, and there's exactly one forum (well, two, if you count Radar) where you can voice your concerns.

It's a sad state of affairs when people do not care about the contracts that they sign. It'll lead to further secrecy in the future, and it's just disgusting how lax some people are being re: the new OS.

5 points by caiusdurling 5 days ago 3 replies      
Seems a pity to make developers bloat their app size by including the macruby framework over and over in each one. Users suffer in the end"takes up more disk space.
3 points by tewks 5 days ago 0 replies      
webkit2 is also a private framework in Lion, a la iOS...
0 points by xpaulbettsx 5 days ago 1 reply      
MacRuby being private doesn't matter if the code is still open-source - just build your own version and ship it. You don't need to use Apple's builtin version.
-1 point by hopeless 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Hey Apple, please by nice..." is a sure path to disappointment
-3 points by rbanffy 5 days ago 2 replies      
IIRC, Apple was never particularly friendly towards free software. They abide by their obligations under the licenses they have to comply with, but not much more.

The only reason they rely and build upon free software is because it saves them some work.

Apple Keyboard in pure CSS. dropbox.com
198 points by sahillavingia 5 days ago   41 comments top 19
14 points by Groxx 4 days ago 2 replies      
cmd + a letter = a stuck letter. And aww, the capslock doesn't light up. And it would be even cooler if you could type with the keyboard.

Otherwise, excellent job. Responsive and looks great - it's kinda fun to watch myself type as I type :)

16 points by sahillavingia 4 days ago 0 replies      
24 points by x5315 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Pure CSS". Really? The CSS is cool and everything, but there's some JavaScript going on there.
8 points by paulbaumgart 4 days ago 1 reply      
This looks very silly when typing with the Dvorak layout. :)
5 points by gnubardt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Saw a cool presentation at Hack And Tell tonight:
Rule 110 in only css3
11 points by alexsb92 4 days ago 6 replies      
And on Chrome on Linux, it doesn't work at all, as in nothing gets typed. However it's still pretty cool from an effect perspective.
2 points by zachbeane 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no font snob has brought up the lack of VAG Rounded yet.
1 point by micheljansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a shame that on my work machine (running Windows 7) it does not work with a touch screen. Maybe iPad owners have more luck, but this seemed like the only useful use case for such a keyboard so I was disappointed that it did not "press" the keys as it does with the mouse.
1 point by defroost 4 days ago 0 replies      
Works perfectly in Safari 5. Excellent job. Beautiful to look at and works great, just like the Apple keyboard itself. The only way it could be better is if the focus (the cursor) is automatically loaded and placed on the first line of the page on page-load. I had to click on the paper to start typing.
2 points by maxbRuns 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. I think the eject icon could be made out of unicode symbols.


2 points by graywh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why is the Delete "key" tied to Delete instead of Backspace?
2 points by pokoleo 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's pretty sweet. One bug i noticed: holding down the shift key breaks up the bottom row. (using chrome)
2 points by Spic 4 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't expect to see an html element with id="asdfg" that actually makes sense.
1 point by geoffw8 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Works perfectly for me Chrome/osx.
1 point by kaka189 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its fun.Its more fun in IE :)
1 point by dm8 4 days ago 0 replies      
It really looks great. CSS3 is really fun..
-2 points by apoo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sweeet job
-4 points by aba_sababa 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sigh. Who's going to write the first good GUI for cross-browser CSS?
Show HN: Beginning Android for iOS Developers clayallsopp.posterous.com
192 points by 10char 5 days ago   23 comments top 13
32 points by 10char 5 days ago 4 replies      
Hey HN, I wrote a 9-part series on how starting Android from the perspective of an iOS developer.

tl;dr I walk you through how I ported one of my iOS apps. There are UIKit references and such, but anyone can pick this up and learn something (I cover parsing JSON from the file system, serializing objects, HTTP requests...yknow, all the useful stuff).

I've never written anything of this scale, so criticisms are welcome!

9 points by bmelton 5 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant -- I've built a couple of Android apps so far, and found that poring through the SDK, while valuable, is somewhat a steep curve to those of us who don't enjoy Java.

Seeing the language documented one function at a time also loses out on how the components interact, design patterns that make sense, and other considerations that I am certain this will help with.

Thank you for sharing.

3 points by orangecat 5 days ago 0 replies      
Joining the choir, this is fantastic. I've been writing Android apps for a year, and still got several useful pointers out of it.
6 points by mirkules 5 days ago 0 replies      
How do we "release" objects...? Just kidding, awesome tutorial, I was looking for something like this, thanks.
7 points by collinjackson 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't have the time to rewrite your app manually, there is another way: it's possible to recompile an iOS app to run natively on Android using the NDK. This is tricky to set up, but I can do it for you: http://www.apportable.com
7 points by saidulislam 5 days ago 1 reply      
light but still a very good article. it would be nice to have something the other way :-) Android to iOS
1 point by reader5000 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. The Android sdk samples dont actually include any parsing/reading data from file examples, so this is useful even for non-iOS devs.
3 points by bignoggins 5 days ago 1 reply      
How did you like developing for Android vs iOS?
4 points by defrex 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of anything in reverse (iOS for Android developers)?
2 points by jwwest 5 days ago 1 reply      
Love this! The biggest learning curve for me is the lack of a decent layout editor. I know I'm supposed to be teh hardcorez, but Interface Builder is really nice for at least getting your items to line up right.
1 point by pshapiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a "veteran" iOS/Cocoa developer who has just started his first Android project a few days ago. Coincidence? :)
1 point by sthatipamala 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most Android tutorials are written by Android/Java veterans, so I used to find them hard to follow.
This one is great because it's written by a (former) beginner, for beginners. Nice work!
1 point by frozenflame 5 days ago 0 replies      
It feels trite to reiterate so many other commenters but I really liked your take on Android development and would like to see more.
Is it normal to get hundreds of break-in attempts per day? serverfault.com
189 points by splattne 1 day ago   74 comments top 20
31 points by jamroom 1 day ago 4 replies      
You can eliminate 99% of these attempted logins by changing your SSH port from the standard 22 to something else (say 2177 or whatever). Login as root (or su), open the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and change the port number. Save your changes and restart ssh with "/etc/init.d/ssh restart" and you are good to go. You'll want to update any SSH clients you use to use the proper port (-p option on command line). Hope this helps!
22 points by fretlessjazz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I run Rails and became tired of seeing 404s to standard ASP or PHP software (such as phpmyadmin), so I added this to our Apache conf:

RewriteRule \.(asp|aspx|php|jsp)$ - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (w00tw00t) - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (phpmyadmin) - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (php-my-admin) - [F,L,NC]

That cuts off those requests before they hit a Rails process and suck up any additional resources.

28 points by epenn 1 day ago 1 reply      
My home firewall catches 20-25 failed login attempts per day, all of which seem to originate in China. I'm tempted to setup a honeypot that'll show a fake bash prompt just to see what gets thrown at it. Naturally I assume there is an elite international force that will stop at nothing to break in and steal the larger original jpegs of my Facebook photos as well as all of my college homework. I'm on to you, elite international force!
6 points by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
You MUST try the free and awesome configserver firewall


It's fantastic. Among a million other things, monitors logs for several kinds failed login attempts and can automagically ban them via iptables (with timeouts if you so desire).

Be sure to donate to keep this fantastic software alive if you use it.

24 points by njharman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd say hundreds is not normal. It is order of magnitude too low.
8 points by bediger 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm too lazy and too stupid to put in denyhosts or any of the other anti-guessing software, but I have put in a 7-second delay on password-authenticated SSH logins, as per http://www.aerospacesoftware.com/howtos/ssh-kiddies.html That makes my sshd less a honeypot and more a tarpit.

I also put in an output line so I can see what passwords they're guessing.

12 points by mike-cardwell 1 day ago 2 replies      

  sudo apt-get install denyhosts

Job done.

2 points by jarin 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're running a Rails server on Ubuntu, protecting your server is as simple as deploying your app with Moonshine, with the ssh, iptables, and denyhosts plugins.

It requires maybe 7-10 lines of configuration to have a fairly well-insulated system:

  # config/moonshine.yml
:port: 9024
- rails

# app/manifests/application_manifest.rb
:denyhosts => { :admin_email => 'admin@example.com' }

recipe :ssh
recipe :iptables
recipe :denyhosts

8 points by tcopeland 1 day ago 1 reply      
As some of the commenters on serverfault suggested, the easiest fix is to just disable password auth in sshd_config. No need to fool with denyhost's whitelisting and whatnot, just use public key auth only.
2 points by idm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use a VPN (openvpn), and attach sshd to your VPN subnet instead of using or your publicly routable IP. This is also great for any other services you might want to administer remotely. It's normal to bind your database/cache to, but you can also bind to an IP in your VPN subnet, which makes it a little easier than tunneling through SSH to access your database.
2 points by Vivtek 1 day ago 0 replies      

Well - actually, no. Mere hundreds are kind of abnormally low.

2 points by eli 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've got a script set up to scan my logs and temporarily ban clearly malicious IPs. It finds a few hundred new ones each day.
1 point by kristofferR 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've noticed this too. Almost immediately after I signed up and created a hosting account with KnownHost, the hacking attempts started, even before I had logged in to Cpanel for the first time.

I got an automated email every time somebody failed to log in, so my iPhone was plinging every few seconds for 30 minutes before I added a filter in GMail to mark those mails as read. I've since installed fail2ban.

1 point by sucuri2 1 day ago 0 replies      
OSSEC (open source) is very good at blocking those. It looks at all your logs and blocks brute forces via SSH, HTTP, etc...

Link: http://ossec.net

5 points by mbailey 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes. And I'm sure it's been said: fail2ban
1 point by maratd 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are really two issues here. One is SSH and the other is HTTP.

SSH is easy. Get a static ip or figure out the ip range for your ISP. Drop any connection not in that IP range using iptables on that port. Done.

HTTP requires more creativity. It really depends on how you have things set up. I have a honeypot default vhost on Apache. If you enter just the IP address for the server, you get the honeypot. That's what most of these bots will hit. The 404 errors caused are very annoying and mess up the logs. On the honeypot, I have a RewriteRule that rewrites anything that would cause a 404 to index.html which is a blank page.

2 points by bkaid 1 day ago 0 replies      
I created a free test server on Windows Azure a few weeks ago with remote desktop access enabled and had failed login attempts within 2 minutes of the server going live, without publishing the ip address or dns name anywhere.
1 point by aquarin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have thousands attempts at my nginx server mostly from China and most of them checking for free proxy server. I am even convinced it is some sort of automatic software scanning IP ranges for proxy. Freedom is difficult in some countries.
1 point by wingo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I went to look at my logs and realized I forgot both my own and root's password on my linode. Doh!
1 point by yalogin 1 day ago 1 reply      
For SSH break-in attempts an easier solution would be to use a random (at least alpha numeric) userid. These dictionary based attacks only use standard, most generic login ids.
       cached 13 March 2011 05:11:01 GMT