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8.9 earthquake hits Japan usgs.gov
668 points by flyt 2 days ago   251 comments top 53
89 points by po 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 14 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is particularly ill-timed for the rebels in Libya.
15 points by koski 2 days 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.

9 points by koski 2 days 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.

43 points by aba_sababa 2 days ago 1 reply      
15 points by eekfuh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Zynga in japan:

and they are still working apparently

9 points by atgm 2 days 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.

2 points by dkarl 1 day 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?
9 points by kia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of tsunami caused by this earthquake


5 points by harisenbon 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Diamondhead Reef in Hawaii just completely emptied, it's barren of water, nothing in sight.
4 points by bradly 2 days 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 2 days 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.
14 points by invisiblefunnel 2 days ago 2 replies      
7 points by redial 2 days 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.

3 points by apsurd 2 days 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??

4 points by MikeCapone 2 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by old-gregg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never saw a photo of tsunami like this one:
2 points by mceachen 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by T-R 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by InfinityX0 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by sovande 2 days ago 0 replies      
All quake servers are down in Japan; http://www.quakelive.com/
1 point by cdavid 2 days 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.
1 point by geuis 2 days ago 1 reply      
People outside of Tokyo Disneyland http://twitpic.com/48dy7s
2 points by junyaogura 2 days 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

3 points by serialx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chiba Steel Mill explosion:


It's getting serious.

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


1 point by golgo13 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
-4 points by suyash 2 days ago 7 replies      
Is this post appropriate for HN?
-4 points by zrgiu 2 days 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 2 days 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..

Khan of Khan Academy at TED (video) youtube.com
476 points by zootar 4 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.

22 points by dmvaldman 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.

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.
4 points by Kilimanjaro 3 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.
3 points by Rickasaurus 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.

1 point by dr_ 3 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.
3 points by econner 3 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 tammam 3 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.
2 points by pacomerh 3 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.
3 points by hanifvirani 3 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 3 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 yannickmahe 3 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 3 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 semerda 2 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome speech. What's wrong with the YouTube video quality, though?
2 points by tRAS 3 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?
Patio11's perspective on the Japan Earthquake kalzumeus.com
454 points by swombat 9 hours ago   78 comments top 15
72 points by patio11 8 hours ago 6 replies      
There is a bit of overlap here with my comments on HN the last couple of days. I've had to explain it to 100+ friends, family, customers, clients, etc, so I figured I might as well polish it and put it somewhere public.

At the risk of stating the obvious: I am not "HN's Japan Guy." There are many, many HNers in Japan. A few dozen of them make it out to the Tokyo meetups. There are many, many perspectives on this disaster -- this is just my wee little contribution from a place well removed from most of the worst scenes.

25 points by mechanical_fish 8 hours ago 3 replies      
English-language reporting on the matter has been so bad that my mother is worried for my safety.

I can believe it.

So, on the one hand, it often seems like HN spends way too much time absorbed with inside-baseball conversations on the design of social news. How do we keep social-media communities intelligent and informative? How do we prevent them from being constantly trolled, dominated by sugar-coated memetic fluff (e.g. "things on fire"), spammed by marketers, or deliberately hijacked by paid sockpuppets, fanatical propagandists, and well-funded PR campaigns? We go on and on about this stuff, routinely.

But on the other hand, we worry about these things because they are important, and because we still haven't done enough. Especially in the USA, our failed media infrastructure is a very big problem. It creates an environment where everyone is either perpetually ignorant or perpetually afraid, or both, and it fuels random acts of sabotage and irrationality, and it serves as a constant drag on our civilization's energy. So when, as an engineer, I think about ways to advance my favorite design and engineering projects - smart civic design, renewable energy, robotic exploration of space, cheap and widespread applied genetics, popular appreciation of science, promotion of the creative arts - it always seems to come down to education and information. Here we have an example: Why, in a world where we can build a global information system like this one, must patio11, with obvious reluctance, spend so much time restating the obvious? (And, indeed, he must spend this time, because the alternative is that many of our friends, and relatives, and especially our parents run around like Chicken Little.)

26 points by alexandros 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I hate to be -that- Greek, but the word typhoon in English is arguably either Greek or Arabic in origin. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=typhoon

May the mocking commence.

33 points by Klonoar 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank. Fucking. God.

I am getting increasingly tired of explaining these points to everyone who asks me (currently in Tokyo). A well worded piece that I can just link to, very nice to see at the moment.

14 points by mattdeboard 6 hours ago 4 replies      
> "Japanese does not have a word for excessive preparation."

Neither does English, as you've just demonstrated!

6 points by pieter 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Perhaps someone can tell about about the perception of nuclear reactors in Japan after the earthquake. Is there any knee-jerk reaction calling for the demolition of all existing reactors and stopping of all plans, or do most people have the same reaction Patrick has, seeing this as somewhat of a success? Is there any hysteria about the current problems with some of the reactors?
16 points by nborgo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"An earlier draft of this post said 'lucky.' I have since reworded because, honestly, screw luck. Luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. Decades of good engineering, planning, and following the bloody checklist are why this was a serious disaster and not a nation-ending catastrophe like it would have been in many, many other places."

This is fantastic and worth repeating. Thank you.

4 points by olivercameron 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great write-up, thanks Patrick. Very much agreed about the hyperbolic news coverage, my Mother called me at 3am to warn me that a giant tsunami was about to hit San Francisco (where I live). Human engineering really prevailed this time. Still, shockingly sad to see videos like this:


7 points by benohear 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Brilliant article. I have written to the UK Guardian and Independent encouraging them to syndicate it.
3 points by shadowsun7 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you, patio11. I saw this on Twitter and read half of it with my mouth hanging open. (Somewhat related: this great post by Makiko Itoh http://makikoitoh.com/journal/memorable-tweet-japan-earthqua...)

I can't help but think what a disaster of this scale would look like in almost any other country but Japan. Checklists at almost every level of response is unimaginable in most countries I know (though maybe Singapore ...). If this were a 3rd world nation things would have been very, very different.

3 points by mantas 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Agreed. After living in Japan for a while, european point of view on this earthquake makes me smile.

Anyway, prayers and best wishes to Japan.

On nuclear reactors: I bet Japan will restart them soon. Give them a month, max 3. For the fcks sake, they still hunt whales. IMHO Japan is one of those countries that still don't give a damn about loud-screamos. Although they'll upgrade their plants to prevent failure like this one. Kudos to them.

3 points by rbarooah 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If I could vote this up high enough to reach the pages of the NYT, then I would. It gives so much perspective on the kinds of things other governments and societies could actually be doing right.
2 points by X-Istence 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you Patrick for a very insightful and interesting piece explaining how Japan is engineered to react in situations such as these.

The checklists are absolutely fantastic. I've been a part of writing various different disaster manuals that were to be used in the event of X and none of them had checklists, I am going to have to add that in.

1 point by lwat 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone with a mirror please?
1 point by jkuria 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Good to hear you are safe Patrick! And thanks for educating us on Japan's Geography etc
Twitter to developers: no new Twitter clients google.com
443 points by samstokes 2 days ago   172 comments top 55
104 points by danilocampos 2 days 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.

108 points by jellicle 2 days 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.

78 points by zaidf 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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!

33 points by jazzychad 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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!

4 points by taylorbuley 2 days ago 0 replies      
A Consistent User Experience. I believe I've heard that somewhere before... http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserEx...
2 points by alanh 2 days 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.

2 points by guptaneil 2 days 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.
8 points by arpit 2 days 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)
13 points by MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yep. Last paragraph says it all: Use the API for something besides clients.
9 points by kouiskas 2 days 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 2 days ago 3 replies      
Surprising: "According to
our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly
2 points by kpanghmc 2 days 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.
4 points by borism 2 days 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?

2 points by elvirs 2 days 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 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 2 days 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)

3 points by Tichy 2 days 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.
1 point by chegra 1 day ago 0 replies      

The precedence of things.

2 points by trustfundbaby 2 days 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.

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 rmason 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 1 day 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!
2 points by snissn 2 days 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 nhangen 2 days 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.
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 jeffpalmer 2 days 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.

3 points by whatevermatt 2 days ago 0 replies      
To expect enduring openness from a privately-owned medium or enduring stability from a single point of failure is naïve.
2 points by otterley 2 days 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 ffumarola 2 days 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.

1 point by aDemoUzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
But I don;t want consistent experience. I dislike the experience and want it done my own way!
1 point by fedd 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
has google not bought twitter yet?
0 points by voxmatt 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is the deafening thud of the other shoe dropping
Sleep is more important than food hbr.org
427 points by panarky 4 days ago   169 comments top 33
100 points by winestock 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 2 days 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 4 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 orijing 4 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 Jach 4 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 miles 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently not for everyone:

Ngoc Thai: The Man Who Doesn't Sleep

5 points by Splatchar 4 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 4 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 3 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 4 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 3 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 4 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 4 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 3 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Subtext: we're torturing Bradley Manning.
1 point by mikecarlton 4 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 4 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 3 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't Red Bull the same thing as sleep?
-4 points by mrspandex 4 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 4 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
367 points by aundumla 2 days ago   47 comments top 19
8 points by tkiley 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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

2 points by btipling 2 days 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.
1 point by ck2 2 days 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 2 days ago 2 replies      
Everyday you learn something new

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


8 points by senorpedro 2 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by roryokane 1 day ago 1 reply      
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.

2 points by koraybalci 2 days 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 2 days 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 1 day 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 hanifvirani 2 days 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 kifou1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the tips, very intresting
1 point by sawyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love it; I'll definitely switch to strict equality comparisons from now on!
1 point by Ruudjah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well written, clear syntax highlighted examples. Upboat.
0 points by simpsond 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very good job.
0 points by wkasel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very useful.
Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors morgsatlarge.wordpress.com
337 points by woodpanel 14 hours ago   127 comments top 24
51 points by neutronicus 10 hours ago 4 replies      
The article is mostly correct, but a few corrections from a nuclear engineer:

1. What he refers to as "moderator rods" are actually control rods. The term "moderator" refers to a material that is unlikely to absorb neutrons, but likely to scatter them. This helps lower the average neutron speed inside the reactor, which actually increases the fission rate. Since water serves this purpose just fine, most reactors do not have specific "moderator rods", although BWRs actually run pipes of liquid water through the fuel assemblies for additional moderation.

2. BWRs are not run all-rods-out, like he claims. BWRs are generally run with significant control rod insertion, so that the water stays liquid for a greater portion of the height of the core.

3. He doesn't quite explain that the source of the hydrogen is a replacement reaction where zirconium and water react to create zirconium oxide and hydrogen gas.

4. Xenon-135 is a fission product, not produced by neutron activation, and neutron activation of coolant is nothing to sneer at (the half-life of tritium is 12.3 years).

44 points by ck2 12 hours ago 2 replies      
In theory we should be more worried about the ash radiation from our coal plants (which releases a lot more, in an unregulated manner, and makes me wonder sometimes if it's a trigger for the increase in cancer in industrialized nations).


it is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much uncontrolled radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident

42 points by benohear 13 hours ago 1 reply      
My high school class in Switzerland was chosen for the yearly measurement of radioactivity in the population. The graphs they showed us as intro were interesting. Basically they start in the mid-60's and were going down. The level then flatlined at zero for many years. Then Chernobyl came and was a small blip something like 5x less than the 60's level.

Turns out a complete meltdown of a civilian reactor a few thousand miles away matters less than open air explosion of multi-megaton bombs on the other side of the world, which was the cause for the 60's levels.

Not that I wish nuclear meltdown on anyone, but the above seems to me to suggest that on a worldwide scale it wouldn't have much of an impact.

13 points by lispm 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, such a denial of reality. 'in control'? If anything I saw in the last hours, the thing is not in control. Diesel generators failed, a building exploded, core meltdowns going on, restoring of electricity failed, seawater used for cooling (how were they pumping it and are the pumps powerful enough to provide cooling over a longer period of time like days). Valves are not working, measurement of pressure is not possible, there are fears of another explosion.

Two reactors are still OUT OF CONTROL.

One of them is even using Plutonium in its fuel. German news about that: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/0,1518,750668,00....

Whether the containment will work as designed is unknown.

Fukushima II, the other plant has cooling problems, too.

Now there has been an alarm of higher radiation at the Onagawa plant.

German source: http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,750637,00.html

11 points by illumen 12 hours ago 2 replies      
The writer is not an expert on earth quakes. Making such a bold claim that nothing can go wrong is plainly false. Just because they are an expert in one area, does not mean they are an expert in all areas.

There are already a number of people being treated for radiation poisoning. They have already admitted that there have been radiation releases above safe levels.

I feel sorry for the engineers working so hard to fix this, as they face the largest dangers. They are sacrificing a lot to save other people. As history tells us, in other nuclear disasters these are the first people to die from the affects. Some have already died.

A previous earthquake a few years ago caused an explosion in one of the reactors in Japan. I guess the costs and risks were weighed up - and the risks ignored. Previously the company CEO resigned because of falsified safety reports.

The costs of nuclear reactors - even if you don't factor in the costs of these disasters are higher now than other forms of cleaner energy generation. Let's use the smarter, more innovative, and safer energy solutions available today. Let's leave these 50's and 60's era shitty technology behind.

6 points by jrockway 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Great article. This seems to be a great story in the media because "normal people" are not as pessimistic as engineers, and see an explosion at a nuclear reactor to be something that is extremely bad and that could be ending the world soon. After all, atomic bombs are nuclear, and those are bad, right? But in reality, while not great, failures are accounted for in the design of the reactor, and can be managed.

It's sort of like driving your car into a concrete wall on the freeway. There are buckets of sand there that dissipate the energy; they get destroyed, but you and the freeway survive. This is the purpose of those sand buckets, to blow up to prevent other things from blowing up. The outer containment building is similar; it blows up, but the environment and the reactor core are still both fine. It would be better if it didn't blow up, but it is manageable because the engineers designed for that contingency.

Good for selling newspapers, but won't be ending the world just yet.

3 points by po 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange... I didn't see this story on the new page and submitted after you and it posted a new version instead of auto-voting for yours. I didn't think HN would do that. Going to go delete that version now…

This is the most coherent description of the issues and events that I've read (and I've read a few). I learned a lot about BWR nuclear plants.

Some people here in Tokyo are starting to get very nervous and mostly that comes because nuclear power is so damn confusing. Understanding it can help you keep your wits. They are showing documentaries on Japanese TV about the cause of the tsunami right now but I think they should be showing "Nuclear Power 101" instead.

Edit: Another thing that is causing a lot of confusion is that there are two power plants that were affected (daiichi and daini) and each plant has multiple reactors. They were both operated by TEPCO as well so the press releases are coming from the same place. Keeping track of all of them is a bit confusing. This article is mostly about the most serious problem which is reactor one at daiichi.

3 points by CWuestefeld 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose that my fears for this particular situation are mostly allayed. But I think that's only the tip of the iceberg.

In the face of the world's need for energy, nuclear power is the only viable option that is available today. I wonder how much this incident is going to weigh against using that option?

The power plants in operation today use technology that's quite obsolete. The design of the older plants is an historical accident. Because of the war-driven necessity of developing nuclear technology for weapons, the understanding of the technology that informed the currently-operational reactors was largely bomb-centric. But we know better today, there exists designs for reactors that are orders of magnitude safer, both in terms of operational dangers as well as its waste byproducts.

I'm afraid that sound-byte driven media and activists who aren't willing to evaluate newer ideas will cause such prejudice that newer, better technology will never see the light of day, and thus we'll see worse environmental problems (or economic problems) because our current energy problems can't be fixed otherwise.

5 points by miles 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Grateful for the explanation, but the author's bias is questionable at best. He suggests,

"If you want to stay informed, please forget the usual media outlets and consult the following websites"

and goes on to list 3 nuclear lobbying websites.

So, ignore the independent media and get all of your information from pro-nuclear lobbies?

More: https://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-w...

6 points by ars 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Excellent writeup.

I've been telling people this all day, but it's great to have a PhD confirm it.

BTW, with Chernobyl the control rods were not able to be inserted all the way, which is one of the main reasons it was so bad - the chain reaction never stopped, and the heat just kept building up.

7 points by veidr 11 hours ago 1 reply      
As a fellow Tokyo resident, newly-minted quake survivor, and even fellow UFC aficionado, I found this guy's reprinted letter of explanation quite comforting. We've been kind of worrying about the nuke meltdown scenarios, and wondering if maybe we should find some pretext for a quick trip abroad in the next couple days.

And so I read this post, and nodded, and though 'Hmm, ok, good... OK, sounds reasonable. Oh, I see, great!'

And then I got to the end, and some little circuit in my brain switched on, and I realized I felt just a little bit too comforted.

As if this post, from a first-time blogger, might actually be the work product of some agent of the US pro-nuke consortium that's trying to get clearance (not to mention indemnification from liability) to build many billions of dollars worth of new plants in the US. Or, perhaps more plausibly, merely the comforting words of a family friend trying to reassure people who weren't really in a position to do much about things in any case. And whose dad works in the nuke industry, with whatever subconscious bias that might convey.

But hey, fuck it: taking that article at face value will make it easier to sleep tonight, so until morning at least I think I'll try to do that. So thanks for posting it!

1 point by jamesaguilar 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is not completely relevant to the current topic, but I was wondering if any video exists of the inside of a nuclear reactor. What does it look like when it's running? A brief search on Youtube could not locate anything.
4 points by borism 13 hours ago 1 reply      
good comment from there:

I wonder how the news that two reactors are in partial meltdown, six out of ten are without any cooling and in the japanese prefecture of Miyagi Sunday radiation levels 400 times above normal have been measured fit in your “analysis” that the situation is now under control.

do people really need to jump to conclusions as the situation is still in development?

2 points by artsrc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I am thinking about California's nuclear power plants. I figure that we will learn reasonable and effective ways to make them safer, perhaps ensure the diesel back generators are safe from a Tsunami. And this will cost money that we should spend. It is not like the California budget is swimming with money.

People talked about how strong this earthquake was, and it was strong, but the epicenter missed the power plants by quite a distance. Then we will get a surprise when a much smaller quake his one much worse.

1 point by fxj 5 hours ago 1 reply      
25 years after chernobyl, we still find contaminated material in germany. e.g. mushrooms and wild boar. so i would be VERY carful with such a bold statement as in the linked article.


"And the willingness to eat contaminated venison has dropped obviously, more and more hunters and forest owners can check the meat of wild boars - and compensation from the Federal Ministry of Environment, if they can not eat the contaminated venison because of the large cesium-137 content or sell.

€ 424 650 paid by the Federal Ministry of Environment last year for it. In the first half of 2010, the amount of compensation was 130,000 euros. 2008 there were 380,000 euros and 104,000 euros in 2007."

4 points by weinzierl 13 hours ago 1 reply      
He says that even in the case of a total meltdown (which hopefully will not happen in Fukushima) we will be save because everything will be contained in the third containment.

What I don't get is how cooling is supposed to happen in this case. I think they still would have to pump sea water into the containment which would then get contaminated not only by neutron activation but also with Uranium, Cesium, Iodine etc.

What happens to the seawater then: Will it be released into the environment? Is it in liquid form or will it be released as steam?

2 points by radu_floricica 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It was very interesting to read the wikipedia page for INES. Turns out we never heard about the most serious incidents except Cernobyl
0 points by catfish 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The light from the Sun that strikes this planet, (the largest fusion based nuclear reactor in the Solar System) produces more energy in one day than all the nuclear, oil, or coal based power plants on the planet.

One has to wonder why governments insist on building poisonous, fragile, radioactive generators on earth, when we can safely harness solar, wind, and wave energies without such horrifying risk.

Will it be the lack of common sense that is cited as the primary downfall of civilization when we are long gone, due to our less than intelligent decisions about energy? Who among us wishes to have children play along the Gulf coast of the United States this summer? Oil illness anyone? Or along the coast of Northern Japan for the next 25,000 years or so...

Does anyone seriously believe that a "shoot for the moon" style campaign like the one we held to create nuclear power plants, would not result in workable alternative energy programs?

One point is certain. Earthquakes WILL continue to happen.

One other point is certain. Nuclear energy is inherently dangerous. You can only minimize the chance of catastrophic failure. Not eliminate it. And once the genie is out of the containment vessel, the penalty last 25,000+ years.

No amount of carefully considered analysis changes the science of this issue. It's time to give alternative energy solutions the same level of serious treatment we have lent to coal and nuclear systems or prepare for a future where meltdowns and frantic efforts to prevent them are more common place.

A future where more than a few locations become permanent exclusion zones for thousands of years. A future for your children where the increased incidence of cancer and mutation is part of every day living.

Or not if we come to our senses and throw every effort into fully developing alternate energy systems. We have a fusion reactor handy just 93 million miles away with billions of years of energy to come. Lets use it.

4 points by locusm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Ive asked my Nuclear Fusion expert mate on this article and others, waiting to hear back and Ill post his response. He is currently working at the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological engineering at a US University, so I figure he'll know a thing or two.
1 point by vog 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a very well-written article. In the end, the author provides a nice collection of links to usable resources.

If you want to stay informed, please forget the usual media outlets and consult the following websites:




1 point by illumin8 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone wants to read a much more thorough technical analysis of all the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini, as well as a great analysis of what has happened, I found this page has some great info:


1 point by hammock 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's TLDR version: (1) the steam released has radioactivity lasting on the order of seconds, (2) if/when meltdown occurs, cesium/iodine radionuclides can exist in the steam but are apparently blown out to sea away from Japan, and (3) with the exception of controlled steam releases, a steel containment surrounding the core & related components will absolutely contain 100% of worst-case scenarios, meltdowns, etc.

At least that's how I understood it. Not an expert so I have no idea how much of it is true or not.

-4 points by stewbrew 13 hours ago 1 reply      
i like it when scientists say "the situation is under control" after the roof was bombed off.
-2 points by Kilimanjaro 11 hours ago 1 reply      
With all that coastline Japan should be investing more in tidal power generation and forget once and for all about nuclear power, too high the risk for earthquakes and tsunamis happening again even at worse scale.
A tale of two programmers jacquesmattheij.com
324 points by vijaydev 4 days ago   67 comments top 24
35 points by giberson 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Related poll: Are you a Steve or a Chris?


2 points by budu3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember indy500 back in the heydays of DOS.
1 point by zwieback 4 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.
1 point by archenemy 3 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 4 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
309 points by sghael 2 days ago   40 comments top 11
19 points by notahacker 2 days 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 2 days 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 1 day 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.

7 points by sunjain 2 days 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 2 days ago 3 replies      
using pure black as the text color is a mistake

Why is this?

5 points by Raphael 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is certainly one not-terrible way of coming up with an uncontroversial design quickly.
1 point by tomkarlo 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does green convert better than red? Performable seems to like red over green.
1 point by bryanh 2 days 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.


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 FPSDavid 1 day ago 1 reply      
anyone have a mirror to this?
“We don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 per day.” sebastianmarshall.com
286 points by azazo 3 days ago   151 comments top 15
58 points by flyosity 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 2 days 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 2 days 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely agree with everything he said. It mirrors my own opinions on money.
-4 points by quan 3 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
254 points by jerome_etienne 3 days ago   161 comments top 22
58 points by edw519 3 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.

49 points by ericb 3 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.

42 points by tptacek 3 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.

20 points by DevX101 3 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.

15 points by siculars 3 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."

7 points by patio11 3 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.

17 points by netmau5 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 2 days 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 3 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 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 3 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!)?

1 point by mncolinlee 2 days 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.

3 points by chanux 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now I'm convinced that Jaques left HN for good.
1 point by known 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask for a win-win proposition.
Japan's Strict Building Codes Saved Lives nytimes.com
253 points by brodie 2 days ago   134 comments top 13
60 points by Vivtek 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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?
4 points by jakegottlieb 2 days 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.
1 point by bluedanieru 1 day ago 0 replies      
When people talk about the America's crumbling infrastructure, it isn't just potholes folks.
0 points by Semiapies 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Multimedia" seems like such a quaint term now.
Turn any page into Katamari Damacy kathack.com
250 points by pinguar 1 day ago   32 comments top 11
7 points by joshes 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me fall into a haze for about 45 minutes. That was remarkably ingenious.

Rolling around on a huge page like the Wikipedia article for World War II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_war_II) caused a pretty significant slowdown. Interestingly, once the ball got to the size to pick up larger images, the rest of the ball would clear and there would be a noticeable boost in speed. It was intriguing to observe the dynamics of the ball rolling on different sized pages.

25 points by iamdave 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I loved this a lot more than I probably should have.
7 points by mckoss 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Even works on an iPad.

And if you like this, check out this other amazing bookmarklet game:


20 points by axylone 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Woo - nice to see this on HN (I'm one of the creators).

EDIT: We're serving this off ec2 + apache. It's all static html + js. Any quick tips for speeding things up?

2 points by IChrisI 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. I'm definitely going to keep this in my bookmarklets collection! That said, can you give us a way to re-generate the grid data? I want to roll up everything in Google Reader. (Maybe when the bookmarklet is run, if it's already active, re-generate the grid. It currently creates a second Katamari, which is also awesome.)
5 points by kenkam 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This thing is hilarious! I love how this renders the picked up objects so well; it really shows if you try to pick up images! Nice work!
1 point by sh1mmer 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I helped teach and judge at about 10 of the Hack-U competitions while I was at Yahoo and it always amazed me how ingenius the students are.

Congratulations to the team on a great project and it's really nice to see how savvy about web technology the students at Wash-U are.

2 points by Inviz 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Very entertaining, especially when it picks up images. Too bad it loses them too fast. Can you please add an option to keep images for longer? I love Hitler spinning around.
4 points by Gatsky 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Multiball works!
2 points by Banekin 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Is there any way to play this on a Macbook trackpad without connecting a USB mouse?
-3 points by sscheper 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Cringley: Japan may have just permanently lost 20% of its electricity supply cringely.com
246 points by tomfakes 1 day ago   93 comments top 19
80 points by neutronicus 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day 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.

36 points by foobarbazetc 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day 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.


6 points by nathanhammond 1 day 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 erikstarck 1 day 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.

2 points by rbanffy 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day ago 0 replies      
CNN reports explosion at one of the plants.


2 points by rospaya 1 day 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 1 day 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

2 points by sliverstorm 1 day ago 4 replies      
Can they not simply ship in extra batteries, or are they batteries too large to be moved?
4 points by JoelUpchurch 1 day 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.
4 points by stewbrew 1 day 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 1 day ago 0 replies      
Japan probably won't need that 20% for a while. Their demand just dropped significantly.
1 point by light3 1 day 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 1 day 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.
Angry Bird's “overnight success” only took 8 years. thestartupfoundry.com
240 points by g0atbutt 2 days ago   51 comments top 11
37 points by Tiktaalik 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Spoiler: not everyone can make it big, even after 8 years of trying...
2 points by tnorthcutt 2 days 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...
3 points by dools 2 days ago 3 replies      
OT: I've noticed recently Americans more frequently interchange "then" and "than". Is this some sort of emerging dialectical shift?
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.
1 point by listic 1 day 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.

New Startup Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues
236 points by kumph 16 hours ago   69 comments top 30
12 points by gyardley 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Are you making money from iTunes affiliate fees and simply passing a cut of it on to your users, or are you charging application developers for placement?

Right now the biggest cost-per-install networks are doing 50x to 100x your revenue and growing quickly, and they're hiring every experienced salesperson they can possibly find. That's your true competition for app developers' advertising dollars, not the little stuff like 'Daily App Dream'. You probably need sales more than developers.

78 points by rms 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Best startup hiring post I have seen on HN in years.
38 points by JCB_K 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"Let's forget about getting acquired and build something with which to acquire!"

Love that.

8 points by taphangum 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome-ness. I love these kind of stories.

I'm actually working on an iPhone game, Link:http://beathub.net. Was rejected by YC before (not on this idea though).

Would love to talk more via email about possible partnerships, advice you may have.

Just started an Ask HN thread also for those who are interested in offering their advice on this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2318920

Edit: Just got downvoted, i know how this comment can be seen as self promotional but it isnt. My intention is to be brief and to the point.

15 points by kingsidharth 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is so much better than those YC-rejects bragging about raising a fund as if that's a prerequisite for success. A positive cash flow is something to brag about for sure. Congratulations!
11 points by kumph 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I see that my title has been edited by one of the admins at HN.

Just so you know, the original title was:

YC W11 Reject Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues

I like that much better, but it conflicted with the submission guidelines, per emmett's comment.

32 points by xuki 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Dude, get a designer on board.
17 points by minalecs 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome work man. I'm with you. I've been seeing this in the top 10 free apps. Can you share any insight into your marketing strategy, and how you got some traction ?
6 points by OoTheNigerian 11 hours ago 0 replies      
5 points by bvi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Something really refreshing about this post. Congratulations on your success, and best of luck!
2 points by emmett 8 hours ago 1 reply      
"In titles, please don't describe things by their relation to YC unless they're actually associated with YC."


14 points by joebo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
100k per month with a free app? Can you elaborate on the revenue model?
10 points by myearwood 7 hours ago 0 replies      
HN changed the title of the post. That's not cool.
1 point by dazzla 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a single founder with no investment working on mobile apps for daily deals. I've been working on my mobile apps (iOS and Android) for longer and I'm not getting anywhere near that kind of revenue. I would love to talk to you about marketing. I'm very inspired by your post. Any chance you have time for a chat?
1 point by ScottBurson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool. What's particularly interesting, I think, is that it's still possible to have a big hit like this in the iOS ecosystem, if you understand that ecosystem very well.
7 points by nischalshetty 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok, I am going to do step 1. Apply to YC and get rejected.
2 points by lubos 14 hours ago 0 replies      
congrats man, I'm so happy for you. your attitude is great, finally someone who dreams real big! go ahead and thumbs up
1 point by richcollins 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's too bad the app sucks at its advertised purpose (finding good apps). I was excited when I read the description and saw how many people were using it.
3 points by weaponizedgames 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Kumph, congrats, but what's your plan for when Apple clones your features and look-n-feel to be included inside their own App Store app?
2 points by nhangen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the bravado. And further proof that building something on the iOS platform is a great way to make some money.
1 point by jswinghammer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty good idea. It connects devs who want to sell apps with people looking to buy more apps. I am always looking for a cool game or app. Congrats!
1 point by chocoheadfred 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you make make more adding functionality from another app that I use that looks at your installed apps and suggests new ones based on that. Seems like you take age into account. Why not other factors like gender, interests, hobbies...in addition to popularity. All of these would be able to deliver better recommended apps. I would hesitate on just featuring the apps that pay you the most. Maybe hold out on those really good ones until you are able to prove success, which you might be able to do now. Too bad I can't see the app on my droid.
1 point by OoTheNigerian 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this the same app someone asked for a review of a while ago?
1 point by us 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I assume current monetization is by in-app ads? I came to this assumption base on the fact that the app is free and I have yet to download it. Either that or you charge people to be in your app.
1 point by eevilspock 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great. Another idea that taps into human irrationality and weakness.

Maybe Netflix should stop trying to come up with quality recommendations, and come up with a scheme like yours. The real reason to watch movies is to get paid a few bucks someday.

1 point by zone411 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats. Are you sure that any possible additional competition because of this post won't matter to you, though? I am involved with some successful and already well-established websites and the last thing I would do is share how much they make on here.
2 points by hnfwerr 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Are you applying to YC again? (for the 2011 summer batch)?
1 point by sinaiman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome and inspiring, congrats!
-4 points by vlad99 14 hours ago 3 replies      
This is not a solid business that might get acquired in the end so they are not interested in 1 hit wonders.
-4 points by Estragon 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Not exactly a YC-reject in the usual sense, if you just missed the application deadline...
Introducing NowJS or "How to make a chat server in 12 lines of code" nowjs.com
230 points by sthatipamala 1 day ago   31 comments top 11
14 points by substack 1 day 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 1 day 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.
1 point by brosephius 21 hours 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.

5 points by catshirt 1 day ago 1 reply      
how does this compare to dnode?
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 1 day ago 1 reply      
What about errors and exceptions?
Will they propagate to the calling side?
2 points by dhruvbird 1 day 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?
0 points by DenisM 1 day 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.
1 point by BobKabob 1 day 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 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great stuff Darshan!
-4 points by sinaiman 1 day ago 0 replies      
But will it blend?
Dubai on Empty vanityfair.com
220 points by cwan 1 day ago   98 comments top 21
37 points by lionhearted 1 day ago replies      
Despite the fact it's one of the nicer countries to live in the region and reasonably well-governed, certain groups of people love to bash Dubai.

Never mind that there's mass atrocities, neglect, decay, rampant corruption and idiocy and day to day violence in a lot of the countries of the world.

Laos is run by bandits? Who gives a shit, and where's Laos anyways? No, let's talk about how Dubai is missing the mystical "culture" element. Class, yeah man, dude, you can't buy class.

If you want to point out the problems in Dubai, go for it. There's problems there, sure. But it's definitely one of the least problematic places in the Middle East, it's got a lot going for it, and they'll be fine.

It's funny, because the people who don't like Dubai are the same who champion for third world revolutions, but then don't want to point out how bad things get a few decades later. I'm in Vietnam right now. If the South Vietnam/United States/South Korea coalition had beaten the North Vietnam/Soviet Union/Red China/North Korea coalition, it would be a much nicer, safer place to live.

Instead, it's a backward wasteland ruled by bandits that's barely - barely - starting to get its shit together.

Do people want to cover that?

No, let's talk about how Dubai is missing culture. Yeah, screw Dubai.

Edit: Downvoting isn't good. Take a moment away from the hatefest here and think critically on these three points - First, Dubai is indisputably one of the best-governed countries in the Middle East. Second, there's a lot of places a lot worse than Dubai that could use the negative attention first. Third, people that love to trumpet the failure of Dubai also refuse to draw basic cause-and-effect relationships, like the fact that Vietnam is more like North Korea than South Korea since the Southern side lost to the North in that war - and it's ruined the country. Those are important points.

13 points by tastybites 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is Vanity Fair really the best place to air this kind of grievance against wealth and decadence?
41 points by luvcraft 1 day ago 6 replies      
Cripes. After the fourth "small penis" joke and the phrase "head-towel in hand" I had to stop reading. And I will make a point not to read Vanity Fair in the future.

I am interested in the future of Dubai, but this is not how I want to read about it.

10 points by shazow 1 day ago 2 replies      
This article is a little older but offers an incredible perspective of the separation in class/race, the state of poverty vs tourism in Dubai.

"The dark side of Dubai"


5 points by sp332 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kindof reminds me of the movie Forbidden Planet. When the leverage (money) gets too high, all the unformed ideas that are normally too vague become feasible. Like "Let's make the world's tallest building." Usually that's too vague, but if you throw a few tens of billions of dollars at it, it might happen. But it will happen in a vague, ugly way.
3 points by goombastic 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Bored and entitled youth in these countries are going to screw up quite a few things over the coming years. I remember walking around Kuwait and the only thing some of these bums had as entertainment was spitting on passers by from the first floor. That, and cars. Permanent squealing of tyres, and races on the road at night. Sick.
8 points by Qz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reads like something straight out of Neuromancer, veracious or no.
5 points by GeoffreyHull 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you take just about any other industrialized city, you'll find that the majority of people have moved there to settle down, build a life, invest in their future; and as a result of that they work hard, they blend in to the fabric of the multi-cultural society, they build strong personal relationships, they develop a sense of belonging, they care about the city, and the country, and they contribute to its growth and its cultural richness; because it is home to them, and their lives and those of their children are closely tied to it.

Dubai, on the other hand, is just considered a station by the majority of people living in it; they go there and they've already decided that it's going to be only for a few years, and then they'll be moving on to somewhere else, or back to their home countries. That means that they're not as involved, they don't develop a strong sense of belonging, they don't really invest much into personal relationships, they never really care enough.

And that makes a world of difference, and everyone visiting Dubai feels it. Not everyone knows how to put it in words, but some of the things I've heard most are that it feels ‘fake', that it's too materialistic, that it lacks identity …etc

3 points by daniel-cussen 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I look at Dubai I think of Potosí, the silver mountain in Bolivia. It was an equally hallucinated commodity adventure, where the streets would sometimes be paved in silver. Four million dead natives later, after all the kinds of luxuries of the world were imported continually, it's a shithole. All that's left is, ironically, 60% of the silver and the architecture.
2 points by elvirs 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There are a couple of factors the author is wrong about.
1-dubai was designed and built to become just a trade/commerce hub of the region in the first place. The economic, immigration and even tax policies are designed to facilitate economic growth, not formation of a culture or anything else. That's what it was made for that's what you see there. Dubai was designed to not have any culture, that's why it was not built on the top of an old arab city with deep cultural roots but instead it was built on the beach of empty desert.

2-those who planned dubai knew that they will have to bring lots of foreign workers to fill the positions that will be created by enormous economy because local people won't work either of not satisfying salaries, lack of expertise or simply laziness. You can't create a culture of you bring thousands of people from different parts of the world to work and create environment that they don't want to have families in there and actually try push them out of the country when you are done.

So let's not act surprised here, it has become what it was meant to be.

7 points by amitraman1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been to Dubai. It's boring, very boring. The shops & malls are too expensive. The non-Arab "residents" are mostly people stealing from their homeland and splurging in Dubai. It's really sad.

Don't get me started on the South Asian workers, it's a modern day slave trade.

1 point by mmaunder 1 day ago 0 replies      
I spent 3 hours on a plane on Thursday sitting next to a guy who grew up in Dubai and was arriving (from Dubai) in the States to study. I asked him about the real-estate crisis and how the emirate is doing. He said not much has changed, Dubai has plenty of money and foreign media are blowing the story out of proportion.
3 points by johnyzee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ugh, this is why print media and its web-based spin-offs are dying. What stilted, conceited rubbish.
1 point by foobarbazetc 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Dubai's not going to die. This article has some points, but they're very poorly put across. Much better articles have been written on Dubai.

Dubai is the business and financial center of the Middle East, apart from all the other stuff. The point is that they build up the services sector and infrastructure before they run out of oil.

Let's take this bit of the article:

"It's a holiday resort with the worst climate in the world. It boils. It's humid. And the constant wind is full of sand."

That's great and all, but what can they do about the climate? -- it's not like they chose it. Don't like the climate? Don't go to Dubai.

The rest of the article is similarly vapid.

1 point by dr_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
"After the horses have run, Elton John will perform".

As he did for Rush Limbaughs wedding, who is clearly a homophobe.

Take away for me is that Elton John will perform anywhere for money.

1 point by gcb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounded like he was describing Vegas
2 points by benmichael 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article seemed to end a little abruptly, I thought it was an error. I'm off to dubai in 2 months (stop over only), just to see the mirage before it completely dies.
1 point by jasonkolb 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Shortchanged by being given everything. Cursed with money." I actually loved this quote, I never would have thought of it that way.

Really, if you're fueled by ambition like I am and I suspect 99% of the people who read HN are, what would be worse than having nothing to win?

1 point by LilValleyBigEgo 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It's no surprise, slave labor only goes so far.
2 points by ronnier 1 day ago 0 replies      
user: tastybites
created: 60 days ago

Things aren't looking good :/

-2 points by zaidr 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Dubai, is not money!

What most "good journalists" point out, is the period of the bubble. This period was powered by the wealthy wall street. Confused? Well, it is confusing. The bubble period was 2001-07, in which Dubai thrived -- build 4 man made islands, the tallest tower, the biggest mall, the costliest race track, etc -- to the point we know it today- a well built city. But what most don't see, is that period before the bubble and that after the bubble. We know the fact that Dubai served the rich in ways we can't imagine, but it was also Dubai's leaders vision, to catch the bubble and make use of it. Without the bubble, Dubai would be just another city. But this vision also include an overlook state: to stay close to it's core culture.

If you go out in Dubai, the cultural difference is noticeable. You won't see any racism, indifference, etc though. People living together. What was created from this, a modern time marvel. You won't understand these lines, until you have lived in Dubai. It is what a modern city should be like. And now, with all the bubble gone, sure the real estate won't be like before, bu the bubble left behind a glorious beauty. And it now cultivates other industries, apart from just real estate and (ofcourse) its core oil. Dubai is now, the best city in the Middle East/ North Africa/ Sub Continent/ Most of Asia.

So yes, Dubai is great, in its own way.

The Complete Guide for Starting iPhone and iOS Development withoutfriction.com
217 points by withoutfriction 2 days ago   49 comments top 12
35 points by flyosity 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is just a bunch of links. Can anyone vouch for the author's credibility?
3 points by Breefield 2 days 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.
3 points by xsltuser2010 2 days 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..
2 points by callmeed 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call this a "complete guide" ... seems more like pre-reqs.
1 point by philthy 2 days 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 2 days 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 3 days ago   89 comments top 25
20 points by jmillikin 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
Quick, block expertsexchange!
3 points by al_james 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 Tycho 3 days ago 0 replies      
If the spammers and content-farms were the Empire, this would be like blowing up the Death Star. Brilliant.
2 points by paolomaffei 3 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

1 point by gxs 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now, if they could only provide a way to disable previews...
3 points by afhof 3 days ago 2 replies      
What happens if you block Google?
1 point by erik_p 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been waiting for this so I can hide Experts Exchange.
0 points by bretthellman 3 days ago 0 replies      
What's next? Build your own search results
Amazing video of tsunami in Japan fbcdn.net
220 points by thornjm 3 hours ago   48 comments top 19
12 points by ajays 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Color me educated. I used to think that a tsunami was a giant wave which would splash, and then it's gone. I didn't know/realize how slow-moving but MASSIVE this was.

So what happens to all this water? Does it eventually go back into the sea the way it came in? Or is this the default sea-level now?

1 point by light3 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like how the water level rises from the beginning to the end, at the start there's just a few cars moving a little and you're like "this isn't so bad", and then at the end water is gushing in with cars and buildings rolling around in a cacophony of madness, even the camera man has retreated to well above water level at this point.
7 points by subpixel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a little of this from 2004, where the photographer and his gf or wife just seem to make it out alive:

Scary, scary stuff.

3 points by msie 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
The beginning of the flood looks innocuous enough, but it keeps on coming...
5 points by geuis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder what happened to the poor man trapped at the end of the video...
4 points by maeon3 1 hour ago 0 replies      


Not sure why anyone would want to censor this sort of thing off of youtube, my guess is they are trying to Streisand Effect themselves.

4 points by znt 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I wonder if an artificial tsunami of the same scale can be achieved my setting off a nuclear bomb underwater? This seems to be more damaging (infrastructure-wise) than a direct nuke hit.
3 points by tmsh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Although a very serious situation, couldn't help but note Paul Kedrosky's observation:


2 points by 51Cards 2 hours ago 1 reply      
And somehow we think we are masters of the planet. When nature's true forces come to bear there isn't much we have ever built that stands in the way.

Here's to wishing all those that survived a speedy recovery and my condolences to those who know people who didn't make it.

5 points by incredimike 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It went from zero to complete chaos in about 3 minutes. That is just nuts.

Do not mess with water.

2 points by 16s 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is just horrific. My heart goes out to Japan. Hang in there guys!
10 points by thornjm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Whole buildings moving at ~4:30 in.
1 point by BoppreH 2 hours ago 6 replies      
Opera displays a Blank Page, Chrome attempts to play the video with no controls and Firefox tries do download the mp4 file.

What on earth is going on here?

EDIT: it was just taking too damn long. Could be my connection, though.

1 point by rubashov 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What was wrong with the term "Tidal Wave"? It looks like a huge tide rolling in.
2 points by chaz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a link to this video with a player/context? Direct link to the .mp4 is unusual and somewhat hard to share.
1 point by tenaciousJk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by dakotasmith 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What part of Japan is this?
-1 point by georgieporgie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I chuckled a bit when the parked cars started bobbing, then made their way to the 'street' and floated away as if driving off to work. Everything else was horrifying.
-4 points by njharman 2 hours ago 2 replies      
other day friend quipped "Japanese are so smart designing quake proof bdgs". seems they forgot the tsunami thing after.
Launch areallybadidea.com
205 points by dkasper 4 days ago   24 comments top 9
36 points by trotsky 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of inspiration I come to Hacker News to find. Fantastic work!
11 points by AmericanOP 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. I was looking forward to trying socialcam out, but no Facebook account. :(
1 point by coolstartupbro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Xcode now costs US$ 4.99 apple.com
203 points by rbanffy 4 days ago   381 comments top 50
57 points by A1kmm 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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

7 points by Samuel_Michon 4 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.)

19 points by pilif 4 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.
16 points by randrews 4 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 4 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).

3 points by thought_alarm 4 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.

6 points by tomkarlo 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing that this is a regulatory compliance thing :/
21 points by SeanLuke 4 days ago 2 replies      
7 points by netmau5 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.
6 points by rch 4 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.

5 points by rbarooah 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.

2 points by riobard 4 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.)

2 points by Tycho 4 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.
1 point by fingerprinter 4 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.
3 points by bootload 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why put a barrier, however small, to people contributing to the app stores?
3 points by adsr 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
$544.5 cheaper than Visual Studio. Oh my.
1 point by sibsibsib 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone asking for money in exchange for a good or service? How horrifying.
1 point by debaserab2 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
People still use Xcode?
0 points by gungan 4 days ago 0 replies      
-1 point by tammam 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.

Is it normal to get hundreds of break-in attempts per day? serverfault.com
192 points by splattne 2 days ago   74 comments top 20
31 points by jamroom 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd say hundreds is not normal. It is order of magnitude too low.
8 points by bediger 2 days 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 2 days ago 2 replies      

  sudo apt-get install denyhosts

Job done.

2 points by jarin 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      

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

2 points by bkaid 2 days 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.
2 points by eli 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yes. And I'm sure it's been said: fail2ban
1 point by maratd 2 days 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.

1 point by aquarin 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.
Google to Launch Major New Social Network Called Circles, Possibly Today readwriteweb.com
193 points by Anon84 11 hours ago   116 comments top 43
83 points by rriepe 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Fail, fail, fail until you succeed; I really like Google's resolve when it comes to breaking into social networking. I guess I also like any serious challenge to Facebook.

Can't wait for the details.

16 points by rams 7 hours ago 0 replies      

We're not launching any products at #SXSW but we're doing plenty else. Join us for #H4ckers & 80s dancing today http://goo.gl/yV4fP

27 points by lachyg 10 hours ago 6 replies      
I think a social network that has the ability for friend groups / circles is way over due. Will be interested to see this!
9 points by bayareaguy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A "dot.com" company called eCircles[1,2] took exactly this approach between 1998-2001. They were later sold to Classmates[3].

1- http://www.pcworld.com/article/9704/join_hands_in_ecircles.h...

2- http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-55246946.html

3- http://books.google.com/books?id=OCRdSXSKZ-AC&pg=PA131&#...

5 points by bane 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great, I can't wait to spend a bunch of time getting situated with yet another new service that Google will probably kill off in a year when it fails to overcome some arbitrary metric for success.
11 points by zaidf 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Social is to Google what search is to Microsoft.
4 points by michaelchisari 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Appleseed has used friend "Circles" to organize friends since around 2006. Good to see this idea catch on. ;)

Here's to hoping Google's social network has some solid federation features baked into it.

9 points by Stevenup7002 8 hours ago 0 replies      
7 points by gaiusparx 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds promising with the ability to separate family with friends. And Google Circles is better name than Google Me! Let's hope its viable alternative to FB.
8 points by karterk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Although my first instinctive reaction was negative, I really do hope Google gets this right. Frankly, a lot of people are pissed with FB's privacy issues, and if Google can take a new and refreshing approach to this (complicated) problem, it would be interesting to see how things pan out.
3 points by orijing 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> We speak to our "friends" all at once, no matter what we might want to say to one group of people or another. And thus we often feel less comfortable than we might saying anything at all.

I don't understand. We can do that on Facebook already. In fact, I already do that... I have friend lists, and different people see different statuses depending on context.

I don't see the problem Google is trying to solve. I'd be happy to be enlightened though.

4 points by chanon 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Facebook can already do this and it's called 'Lists'. (Account/Edit Friends/Create a List). You just put your friends in 'Lists', and then each time you want to post something but show or hide it from certain Lists you can click on the padlock icon and choose 'custom - edit' and type in the name of the List before posting. This applies to both wall posts and photo albums.

Problem is I guess the average Facebook user doesn't even know about the capability. Google may come up with an easier to use UI for this, but Facebook can just improve their UI and give more weight to this feature in it.

Unless Google has a completely new model that Facebook finds incompatible to their model then this is just a 'feature'.

2 points by spullara 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It really is amazing that publishing to Facebook friend lists isn't more intuitive and easy. I do it but it takes like 4 clicks and some typing to choose a list. All they need to do is make that easier, creation of lists easier and all these kinds of narrow social efforts will be for naught. It must be that Zuck hates friend lists or they would be better by now.
4 points by chrismiller 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Google does not seem to own circles.com. I wonder if they are planning on using google.com/circles or maybe another alternative domain.
2 points by twidlit 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I like the name, and the concept 'hook'. Here is to hoping that Google nails the UX and if its really really good. utilize google.com / gmail / android tastefully to get to critical mass.

I am not sure if i want Google to be successful in social though, too much power in a single company...

2 points by nhebb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a member of a few private Google Groups, and I hope this works out as a viable replacement. It would be nice to expand private groups beyond just discussion and have the ability to share photos, documents, and other media.
2 points by nopassrecover 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds a lot like an idea I was considering, until I saw BrainTrust.io had already attacked it and The Fridge (YC S10) had followed up. The problem for someone like Google, as I see it, is "competitive advantage" boils down to "it's like Facebook except you can share stuff just with certain groups". Except, Facebook already has groups.
3 points by tomjen3 10 hours ago 1 reply      
About time, though I wonder how useful this will be since there are fundamental network effects standing in way.

I actually hope this will inspire facebook to get it's act together.

2 points by noibl 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Surely 'major' is premature?

Downvotes.. interesting. What I mean is that I'm not sure what is going to make it 'major' within the near future. They tried converting the Gmail userbase once before.

2 points by ggordan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really excited to see what they come up with. I think they have the ecosystem to make a really successful social network. Let's see if they utilize it to its full potential.

Does anyone know what time the even is meant to start?

1 point by dougabug 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Google faces two major obstacles in its social networking ambitions: an implementation problem, and a brand problem. On the implementation side, their previous offerings have not been compelling. On the brand side, people generally aren't eager to see Google's reach over their personal lives extended. That is, even if the implementation were compelling, the prospect of Big Google getting bigger, at least in the arena of gathering personal information, appeals to no one outside of Google. This parallels the growth of Microsoft's negative brand equity a decade and a half earlier. No one wanted to see a bigger Microsoft. The privacy guarantees alluded to in the original article make it clear that Google is intent on addressing both issues, yet I remain skeptical. Culturally, I don't see Google having individual privacy or freedom from tracking/slicing and dicing as core values. Eric Schmidt's indiscreet comments last year were more telling.
2 points by mark_l_watson 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of having different circles or trust: different circles for family, for different groups of friends, different customers.

That said, trust issues: I still miss Wave (yeah, it is still running but for how long; also the Apache Wave in a Box project seems to be moving slowly). Just for PR value, I think that Wave should be supported in maintenance only mode.

1 point by praptak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm... if they leverage what they have (search), they might give Facebook a run for their money. I'd definitely like my search results filtered by what my friends like. And even more by what they dislike (die, search-engine-optimizing crap farmers, die!)
1 point by xtacy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook allows you to export your pictures and most of your interaction, except for the contacts. It would be interesting if Google has a way to import this into its network.
3 points by ireadzalot 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like their idea of social network is modelled after Path.com's model of only having very close friends' special circle. Path turned down Google's offer to buy them few months ago.
1 point by mscarborough 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the likelihood of an export feature is.

I'm not a big user of Google services (but more now with Android), but seems like there are some cool possibilities with Google Voice and gmail...provided they get the privacy protection part right.

2 points by diamondhead 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the only thing we need is a kind of Github to create, maintain and follow the information (links, texts, docs, etc) we are interested at. Similar to wikipedia, without formatting boundaries. We need both chaotic and programmable collobration platform to access and eleminate information.
1 point by koski 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In my daydream this is identi.ca compatible. And that again would mean OStatus "protocol" combatible.

What ever it is, competition is always good.

1 point by drostan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I think people exist in circles, but they don't necessarily talk or share in circles. If Google, or anyone, wants to mimic real social interaction, they need to find a way to enable talking to the right people for that moment and that content. Even the closest circles don't work in daily life. Rarely do I think "I'd like to go skiing with 'best friends' or 'school friends'". I'm much more likely to think of who skis, who hasn't just had a kid, who hasn't just lost her job, who has a job that allows vacation, etc. Maybe I make a circle for just that, but it seems a) difficult and b) overkill. The outreach and sharing only to that circle just isn't the hard part of the communication. Seems like all that solves is "I can't find that email thread about the ski trip in my inbox".

I'd love replies to this line of thought b/c it actually was a bit of a look in the mirror on some stuff I'm working on.

1 point by Stevenup7002 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting, but we already have Facebook groups, Diaspora, Frid.ge, I even developed my own site to solve this problem last year, Buddify. What exactly is new here other than social group separation? Speaking from experience in this field, I'm certain this won't take off, it's very difficult to gain traction with a new social network in an age where facebook is still growing at a steady pace. Unless I'm missing something here?
2 points by iM8t 10 hours ago 1 reply      
People will have to choose either to use Facebook or Circle. Well... a lot of ppl won't join the Circle because there aren't all of their friends and they will simply stick to facebook.
Is it just my opinion that this is going to be really exciting for the first few days and then simply die off like the amazing product - google wave?
1 point by ddfisher 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If Google is going to be launching a social network called "Circles" in the near future, I think they would launch it tomorrow, because tomorrow is Pi Day. (This is meant in all seriousness, Google seems to enjoy small flourishes like that in general, and it would fit with their company culture.)
4 points by Daniel14 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Any competition to facebook is extremely welcome..
1 point by uast23 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What Google is to Microsoft in search, Facbook is to Google in Social. But Google has the advantage of trusted brand value(not that MS is not trusted, but with Google it's at diferent scale) so it should get more market share in social than Bing got in search.
2 points by Vic-nyc 8 hours ago 1 reply      
That is exactly what I needed in my life...another social network! I had a feeling something was missing and now it's obvious that it's the lack of enough online 'social networks'..
2 points by Newky 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope they retain the open nature of google wave with this project. Even if it fails some people benefit from it still.

for example Novell as far as I am aware use a Google Wave like service still.

0 points by elvirs 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Google has already shown that it does not get social. Google Docs, Youtube, Picasa Web Albums, etc. have huge social potential but Google failed to leverage that.

Attempts with Buzz, Connect and Wave are examples where Google tried too hard but failed.

If they fail this time too, Google should stop spending huge budgets trying to built something internally and invest in new emerging disruptive startups that want to storm the social thing.

1 point by shalmanese 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have solid details of when/where the launch will be?
1 point by amitagrawal 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Circles is a such a nice name for a social network!

I've been waiting to see what a behemoth like Google comes up with when they've put a lot of muscle to a product they've never before approached.

Looking at the presentation by Paul Adams (The Real Life Social Network) I can only hope it's just as exciting!

0 points by kunjaan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Didn't Eric Schmidt say something like you should not be doing things you want to hide? To follow that thought, what is wrong with Facebook's idea of everybody is a friend and my life is an open book?
1 point by alexsb92 6 hours ago 0 replies      
But the true question is: could Circles be used as a verb?

"Hey, I'll circle you. Don't worry."

Yes you can! So Circles is a possible contender to FB piece of the pie.

2 points by digamber_kamat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally death to ailing Orkut.
1 point by alienreborn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If they can really figure out an easy and intuitive way to solve the problem of sharing statuses to only a set of people then it would be really interesting. Eagerly awaiting! :)
Don't touch me, I'm British ft.com
188 points by transmit101 1 day ago   125 comments top 23
21 points by iuguy 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I flit between the UK and Turkey, and the two are both somewhere close to opposite ends on the social scale.

In the UK, you can walk into a pub and talk to people, providing you're not interrupting a discussion, or forcing yourself on the people in the group. It's easier if you're on your own or with one other person to join an existing group, or talk to an individual, but it's not common. You don't make eye contact on the tube in London, but you can talk to people in general outside of London, and especially up north people are more approachable. Do not touch (beyond a handshake at most), unless you're very familiar and there's a high volume of foreigners in the group.

In Turkey (and these are observations as an Englishman so I might be interpreting this wrong), people are extremely friendly and nosy by comparison. Turks are incredibly physical in social groups and don't really have a concept of personal space. In Istanbul women and men intermingle in some social classes and circumstances but not others. A kiss on each side of the cheek is expected when the opposite sex is involved provided you've met before. Don't be surprised if women put their arms around you, tell them their cold and want you to hug them etc. if you're in a social secular group. In more religious or formal groups, things are more separate - men will still hug each other all the time and put arms round each other but women are never touched (unless they're related or married, and not generally in public). When you go out to the country it really varies from community to community and the local culture. The further east the less intermingling with the sexes, but guys are still generally friendly with each other.

The biggest differences between the UK and Turkey are in going out. Turks... good god, Istanbul Turks... You go out around 8-10pm and don't come in till 5am. Getting drunk is a bit socially inappropriate (in most groups) but the party goes on all night.

In the UK, the party normally goes on till about midnight/2am outside, then occasionally continues back at someone's house, but will start between 5 and 8pm. In the UK, getting drunk is not only socially acceptable but expected. Unsurprisingly as the drinking continues, social rules about touching start to unravel.

TL:DR - It's bloody complicated in England, and changes from group to group in Turkey. Grrrrrrr!!!!

26 points by Vivtek 1 day ago 7 replies      
True dat about German nudity. I lived in Germany a few years and sang in a few choirs (one very good way to learn good pronunciation, actually) - after one concert, everybody backstage changed clothing. Together. I was about 19 at the time, and I'm from Indiana - it nearly killed me.
14 points by petercooper 1 day ago 8 replies      
Generalizations but reasonably accurate ones in my experience. I find it far easier to socialize and interact with strangers in the US than in the UK. There's a certain "shock" and disbelief that can appear in the eyes of a Briton if you randomly talk to them in public. I can't blame them though, I act exactly the same way until I leave its borders! Perhaps this is why so many Brits travel and move overseas ;-)

An ancillary point that I've noticed over the years is the relative unpopularity of open social/discussion sites in the UK compared to the US. The UK is Facebook mad, of course, but doesn't really have a locally popular equivalent of Reddit, Hacker News, Digg, MetaFilter, etc. I wonder if the reduced desire to converse with random people has an effect in this scope too.

17 points by robertk 1 day ago 7 replies      
I've had to teach myself to touch everyone I meet (on the bottom of the elbow, or top of the shoulder), and start conversations with strangers in any situation. I've met a good number of friends this way, and if the touching is done properly and subtly enough, it can instantly create a warmth that is hard to achieve any other way.
16 points by russell 1 day ago 2 replies      
Had I been aware of this in my youth, I would have cultivated a French accent and kissed every female within range, little girls, grandmothers, even pretty girls. I am sure I would have been happier.
8 points by smcl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Another rather lazy article, playing on boring stereotypes, pedestrian anecdotes and uninteresting conclusions. We're all aware of national stereotypes, and we're used to seeing lame stand up comics riff on them, however it's unusual to see the FT stoop so low.

If Simon Kuper (a Brit, though one with a sheltered upbringing it seems) thinks Brits are reserved and prudish, I suggest he visits Glasgow, Newcastle or indeed any city on a Friday or Saturday night. I dare say he might witness similar revelations if he were to explore other cultures further, rather than drawing on boring clichés.

11 points by lwhi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kissing (an acquaintance) in the UK happens a lot - one cheek, sometimes two. I the fact this guy was surprised says more about him than the population in general.
8 points by DanI-S 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm from Britain, live in the US with my American wife, and find it hard to recognise these behaviours in anyone I've met who is younger than middle aged.
6 points by mark_l_watson 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I live in a small town (Sedona Arizona) with lots of international tourists, many I talk to while hiking two or three days a week on our local wilderness trails. Mostly, everyone seems to want to talk to a local, but perhaps they are just trying to be extra friendly visiting a foreign country.

I consciously try to be helpful with visiting tourists and suggest fun places to visit in our area. Even though I would prefer to carry a sidearm in the wilderness because of mountain lions, etc., I don't because I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable: I think that people from most European countries aren't used to seeing people carry guns.

Here in the USA, we do seem to have interesting behavior regarding hugging friends of the opposite sex vs. same sex. At least in our circle of friends, men almost always hug friends' wives in greeting but we only hug each other on birthdays, after especially good dinner parties, etc. - mostly special occasions.

9 points by ZeroMinx 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yey, different countries/cultures have different traditions. Film at 11. If you want to be useful, set up a site/wiki that can describe the different traditions in different countries. That would be useful.
4 points by trystero 11 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing you also have to know about France: the number of kisses on the cheek vary from one place to another. Check out this website: http://combiendebises.free.fr/
I come from the south (Hérault département) and now live in the suburbs of Paris. I have to remember that in Paris it's two kisses whereas in the south it's generally 3 (sometimes it's only 2).
It can be really disorienting, and awkward when you make the move to do the last kiss when really it's already finished. Fun times.
2 points by ajays 1 day ago 1 reply      
The author writes, "Americans hug friends of the opposite sex, but during this hug only their shoulders touch, and participants end by rubbing each other's backs as proof that the hug was nonsexual."

This is so true. There are 3 types of hugs: the sideways hug (as the author mentions), the "A" hug where just the tops of the bodies meet, and the full on bear hug. If you get an "A" hug after a date, that's not a good sign. ;-)

8 points by kenkam 1 day ago 3 replies      
An omission would be the Chinese -- I think we are one the most repressed. Close friends never hug and conversations are always awkward in first encounters. Love is often expressed in terms of gifts and 'formal' attempts at the opposite sex, boys often chasing girls; formal in the sense that flirting doesn't happen often, instead, you 'be nice' to the girl...
2 points by wooster 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd just like to point out that the phrase "skinny dipping" originated in America. We also shake hands with strangers. So, at the least, the getting naked and touching claims are questionable.
2 points by steve19 1 day ago 2 replies      
Men and women in Western cultures routinely[0] shake hands to introduce themselves. That defiantly counts as touching. Somehow the author managed to forget this.

[0] Mike Arrington being an exception. http://techcrunch.com/2009/05/09/hand-shaking-is-so-medieval...

2 points by Tycho 1 day ago 1 reply      
If only the French would respect this. I don't want to go around kissing every acquantance I make. Seems like a guaranteed way to spread germs. Yet when you go to France you're almost forced to do this - last time I was there I really did want to say 'don't touch me, I'm British.' Except I would need to say it in every separate encounter. Only solution would be to stay there long enough to cultivate an effective 'miss me with that shit' demeanor/manner.
4 points by gggf 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's another data point. In South Africa, in black African culture (can't be more specific than this, unfortunately), it is considered polite to enquire after someone else's health when greeting: "hello, how are you". Or rather it's considered rude NOT to enquire. The standard response is "I'm fine thanks, and you?".

When I listened to talk radio in South Africa years ago, I remember white people calling in, and wondering why the automatic response to the phrase "hello" was often "I'm fine thanks and you".

2 points by JCB_K 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't really agree with this article. I moved from the Netherlands to the UK, and I was surprised to notice that any Brit who you've met before at least once will give you a hug the next time they meet you. In the Netherlands hugs are reserved for very close friends and family.

Also, I've had people talk to me on the bus, in the queue in Tesco, etc. Quite unusual to me as well.

4 points by hieronymusN 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's this whole odd thing recently in New York where people in Manhattan want to do the French air kissing on the cheeks thing. You never quite know who is going to do it, and what the proper response is, and being from Texas its all rather awkward. There are no hard and fast rules anymore, people pick things up from movies and travel.
2 points by jscore 1 day ago 1 reply      
I always found it strange to shake a woman's hand when meeting. In Brazil they kiss on two cheeks, which seems more natural to me. Guys always shake hands.

If she's a gf/wife/friend of a friend, I'm not about to enter into a business negotiation with this woman, so why shake hands.

3 points by thibaut_barrere 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> In France, a kiss from a pretty acquaintance can generate a frisson

Isn't that true of most places?

2 points by will_critchlow 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised by the eye contact comment. As a brit, I definitely rate eye contact.
-4 points by petegrif 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Complete and utter bollocks.
Why Gas Is So Expensive Today (Hint: It's Not Libya) cpeterson.org
183 points by Apocryphon 1 day ago   104 comments top 22
33 points by miked 1 day ago 4 replies      
If you are going to explain a system-wide phenomena, you need a systemic explanation.

Gas isn't expensive today. What's expensive today are almost all commodities.

This is a systemic problem. Any valid explanation of price increases in a commodity, e.g., oil (gas), has to explain why prices are rising almost across the board.

Global commodity price increases are being driven by two main factors. The first is rapidly rising standards of living in the developing world as many nations, especially China and East Asian countries, have freed up their markets. This has caused a dramatic rise in living standards and a huge decrease in the number of people living in poverty. These people are now buying the things that we in developed take for granted, and that is driving the prices of copper for cars and new homes, steel for buildings, oil for transport, corn for livestock feed, etc.

The other systemic factor is massive currency inflation in almost all OECD coountries. When inflation happens in more normal circumstances, an inflating country's money falls in price relative to those of other countries, and it's easy to see which countries are destroying their currency and which aren't. People sell the increasingly worthless currency and buy the strong ones. What we have today is almost all OECD countries inflating their currencies at once in a (failed) effort to boost their economies. This means that anyone who wants to protect their wealth needs to invest in something that will rise at least as fast as inflation. That means commodities.

BTW: If speculators can somehow control prices in a way largely independent of constraints, then why aren't they always doing it? It's not like human beings just started getting greedy last year. And why have, for instance, prices of natural gas fallen thru the floor (hint: greatly increased supply due to drilling breakthroughs)? Where are the all-powerful speculators on that?

15 points by Eliezer 1 day ago 6 replies      
If oil is priced above demand, there should be large supplies of unsold oil piling up in tankers.

Period, god damn it.

If there is no unsold oil piling up in tankers than oil is currently priced at the level where demand at that price equals the supply. You cannot blame commodity speculators for this!

My understanding is that during the last price speculation bubble, there were oil tankers piling up. If this is not happening now then commodities speculators have got nothing to do with it. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

17 points by friism 1 day ago 2 replies      
The Economist disagrees with the conclusion that higher prices are due to speculation: "Studies have shown that commodities that are not traded on exchanges have tended to rise as fast, and be as volatile, as those that are." http://www.economist.com/node/17913011?story_id=17913011
8 points by NY_USA_Hacker 1 day ago 2 replies      
The article is meaningless because skips over two big points:

First, for all those long only positions, for each of them, there needs to be a corresponding short position. The article never explained where all those short positions will come from.

Second, the article said that when the futures contracts expired and there was settlement, the funds would just "roll over" their positions, that is, by selling their long positions in the expiring contracts and buying long positions in the next contract.

The problem is, just why can the funds be sure not to lose money during this roll over process?

Or, if wheat should sell for $5 a bushel and some fund bought wheat at $100 a bushel and doesn't want to take delivery, then the fund needs to sell the wheat they bought (and would take delivery on), and who's going to pay them $100 a bushel for their wheat (position)?

But prices have gone up. I just suspect that there's more to the system than in the article.

9 points by csomar 1 day ago 2 replies      
The global speculative frenzy sparked riots in more than thirty countries and drove the number of the world's “food insecure” to more than a billion.

Sorry, they did no wrong. They live in the USA and they have the right to manage their trading/strategies/prices the way they like. As a Tunisian citizen, I'm looking for the government to secure food and energy for the population. We have enough lands and water. This is actually a good thing: Solve the problem once in a time and stop the dependency to foreign countries.

On a related note, what happened in Tunisia was a bubble and not a revolution. The bubble burst, destroyed the political system as it was intimately related to the economical one. I'll leave that for a longer article I'll be publishing this summer, which explains and reveals many facts TVs and media are unaware about.

4 points by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just wait another year when the oil cartels/speculators have us accepting $4 prices.

The only "good" thing this is making happen is it's slowly taking extra huge/heavy vehicles off the road as people stop replacing them with the same thing every few years. Low 20s mpg for the city isn't worth it anymore.

Oil is expensive because we'll pay that much and use even more.

Did you know the armed forces pay full top price for fuel in Iraq and Afghanistan?

7 points by light3 1 day ago 0 replies      
"because none of the banks sell what they hold, the price goes up; because the price goes up, more people make money on their positions; because they make more money on their positions they buy more stuff and don't sell what they hold; and on and on forever"

That is until the bubble pops, those who got in late and can't sell will make a loss. The bid-ask spread widens, in particular there is glut of people wanting to sell at high prices, whilst there are few cautious buyers willing to offer lower prices.

3 points by ajpatel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I always find it difficult to grasp these economic concepts not having studied anything remotely as detailed in my college economics classes. But he's done an excellent job of explaining it in layman's terms. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster whilst reading this piece - at moments I was enraged, then again at moments felt like I could suggest something that would solve the issues, and then felt a little "let's stick it to the man"-ish near the middle. Excellent writing...

Anyways, in terms of the questions my non-economically-inclined-self has to ask,

Who else knows about this? Are politicians aware? Is it something that's not being addressed because they are afraid of losing the support of their wealthy donors? Do the likes of Obama and McCain not address this and place blame elsewhere because it's too complicated to explain to the American public? Has anyone ever tried? I was born and raised here and have never been presented with anything nearly as lucid as this to understand this system over the past 26 years that I have been alive. To those of us who don't study economics outside of the 1-2 required classes as part of college studies, this type of explanation of Wall Street and the commodities market is never really given to us. We don't even cover investment options in school to be honest - most of us don't know what 401k's, IRA's, etc. are when we get out of college.

So back to the original question - who knows about this and what have they done to make the public aware?

Chris repeatedly mentions that commodities trading bets long and they mostly bet on the prices to go up. "But in commodities, where almost all speculative money is betting long, betting on prices to go up, this is not a good thing"unless you're one of the speculators."

So my question is, would it balance itself out if we required the banks to allow their investors to bet on prices to go down as well as up?

Is this something the banks are abusing their power with - meaning now that they have the letters making them authorized as physical hedgers rather than merely speculators, are they abusing this power by not presenting their investors with the option to bet on prices going down?

Why can't we just revoke these letters given to the banks? What are the downsides? Basically, all these questions are simply my logical brain trying to figure out "Ok, you presented the problem spectacularly well; now what's the solution?" That seems to be my naturally-triggered response to reading your post. I hope he'll oblige with a follow-up or some other readers have answers to these questions.

2 points by jrockway 1 day ago 2 replies      
Isn't the real problem that oil is produced by a cartel that controls prices? Can't the oil-producing countries just put more oil onto the market to decrease prices, if they wanted to?

The issue is that oil producers have no incentive to increase supply: they have a fixed amount of oil under their land, and releasing it slowly makes them more money. Commodities speculators are also tying up some supply (in offshore tankers), but there is more oil in the earth than there is in investment-bank-owned tankers.

4 points by Yrlec 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would say that the main reason prices of commodities are going up is that the FED is printing massive amounts of $ through QE1 and QE2.

If you think that this is a speculative bubble caused by traders then I suggest you just short the commodities and make some money bursting the bubble and bringing prices down again. Put your money where your mouth is.

4 points by pero 1 day ago 1 reply      
The current spike in gas prices is not primarily a result of anything to do with the freedom fighters in the Arab world...Nor is it a result of OPEC's production levels...

Rather, the spikes are primarily a result of the speculative market on oil.

Well, uh, what are their speculations based on?

2 points by kylewpppd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally, while high oil prices hurt in the short to medium term, hopefully it sends the US economy towards less dependence on oil. To me, this is a good thing. I just hope the US is smart enough to invest in reducing demand rather than increasing supply.

Also, if this type of story is interesting to you, I highly recommend Paul Krugman's blog at http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ . Also NPR's planet money (blog & podcast) has great information and is much less slanted than Krugman's. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/ .

1 point by kayoone 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So what do you pay per gallon currently ? $3.50 ?
That is $0.92 per litre. In Germany we currently pay €1.50 per litre which is $2.1 or $9.25 per gallon.
Consider yourself happy americans!
1 point by orijing 1 day ago 1 reply      
> the primary culprit is the reinflating of the commodities market that helped drive the Great Financial Crisis.

The author doesn't claim any special knowledge, yet makes a rather vacuous guess: "The primary culprit [for the reinflating of the commodities market] is the reinflating of the commodities market"

He's arguing that the reason commodities (in particular oil) is so expensive now is that commodities are expensive.

There are many domains where I lack any sort of expertise, and I defer to the experts for their analysis and opinions. It doesn't appear that the author maintained the same restraint.

1 point by savramescu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I live in Romania. The price for gas has gone up almost 30% in the last year, a raise that's so high that it's not justified by anything. We have 5-6 big oil companies and they artificially drive the price high. We're one of the few countries that has a decrease in gasoline sales (a decrease of 18%), but they keep raising the price.

We're all going to change our cars for bikes soon. Or we're going to have something similar to what happened in Libya focused on the oil companies.

2 points by powertower 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've once heard that a typical barrel of oil trades hands (ownership) 30 times before it makes it into your gas tank.

20 of those times nothing is transported, refined, added... Meaning it was pure speculation buy/sells.

And when you remove that speculation, prices go down 50%.

1 point by fanboy123 1 day ago 0 replies      
People didn't believe in 07/08 that much of the price movement was due to the devaluation of the dollar. Perhaps the real bump in prices is due to the devaluation and perceived future devaluation of developed economy currencies. QE/helicoptering money/printing money to stave off deflation ain't free.

A lot of the speculation on comm is because monied people believe that US monetary policy will end with uncontrolled inflation rather than the soft landing the fed is hoping for. To my understanding this is a greater picture case of supply and demand. It's just that the product isn't crude it's insurance.

2 points by gasull 1 day ago 0 replies      
QE1 and QE2.
0 points by nivertech 1 day ago 0 replies      
Long-only commodity ETFs are to blame here.
People shouldn't funnel their savings / pension funds into them.
0 points by vegai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why do you call gas that which is not gas?
-1 point by Mz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I generally blame it on Peak Oil (and, yes, I am guilty of just sort of skimming this piece).
-4 points by smogzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
begin bla bla bla.

... and since bernanke is printing money and making stockmarkets go up, therefore the oil exporters also are printing what they have, i.e.oil, making their "valuables" go up...

bla bla end

signature: soylent green is sheeple.

Designing your sign up page? Read this. contrast.ie
184 points by destraynor 3 days ago   21 comments top 9
10 points by davidu 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's great -- Unfortunately I run a professional office with woman who work for me, and while they'd probably not care if I sent them an article that says "Suck Balls" at the top, I care enough not to send it.

Couldn't you be just as snarky and instead say "We do everything PayPal does except Suck?"

Just some feedback on an otherwise great post.

4 points by reneherse 3 days ago 1 reply      
Respectfully, the letter spacing of your main font is so wide and the word spacing so comparatively narrow it's making for slow and difficult reading for me. I can see how you may be going for a kind of spacious theme for the look of the site, but there is probably a way to do it without impeding the visual flow of the text...

None the less, I'm quite eager to get through this very interesting article, I'd just rather do it without using Readability.


2 points by russell 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had the same reaction, so I took a look at the style sheet. Two things struck me: line-height is 35px which is way more than the normal 16px, making it look like double space typescript. Second letter-spacing is 1.6833 which makes it look almost like a mono-spaced font. I would change fonts rather than mess with letter-spacing. The lines can be more open than 16px, but double spacing is too much. Apologies if this is too rantish.

EDIT: that aside, the content is spot on for me.

5 points by joshfraser 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is this PerfectPayments company you speak of and where do I sign up?
1 point by astockel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll tell you what doesn't work: changing a simple design and burying things in layers. Facebook and now Google Mail is guilty of burying "logoff" in a drop down box. Give me a break, putting it in a drop down box doesn't keep me from logging off, it only annoys me.

Make it obvious and easy to use and resist the urge to fk with it. I can name many other examples. Central Desktop also comes to mind.

1 point by dchurchv 3 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for the article - it's nice to see a counterpoint to all of the advice that focuses only on a "call to action" on the homepage and trying to get people to take it (yes, like like the rotated angled screenshot that points to the signup button :-)

Seems like the ultimate home page would provide everything a prospect needs to decide before clicking "Signup". Basically no funnel at all - Home Page ->> Signup. Nice.

1 point by bowmande 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. It is easy to get caught up in the chasing the best presentation, but if you don't have a great product and the information to support it no one will listen.
1 point by Nathan_Lujure 1 day ago 0 replies      
Des- this thing was spot on. I just got done reading "Made to Stick" and think their point about being concrete vs. generic directly relates to your ideas. Ex: "Its very easy" vs "It's easier than tying your shoes"

Thanks for this!

1 point by maxer 3 days ago 1 reply      
interesting Des, your presentation on tuesday at DWS was thought provoking
OS X Isn't for Developers zachholman.com
181 points by holman 3 days ago   238 comments top 51
36 points by geuis 3 days ago replies      
I disagree with all of the OP's points, except for one. Yes, Macs are incredibly popular with developers.

1) The reason I have always liked Macs since I was a kid is they basically come with what they need, and its easy to install extra stuff if you need it. Just because many developers like Macs doesn't mean that most Mac owners are developers. Most are just normal people who would wonder what is eating up extra space on their hdd.

2) It is absolutely not a burden to install the dev tools. There's absolutely no need to include gcc or the other dev tools by default. Non-developer folks almost never open the Terminal, much less compile their own software.

3) At most, I have to download the latest version of Xcode every 4-6 months. Yeah, she's a fat beast of a .dmg, but downloading and installing doesn't take up more than a few hours a year. Say that for Visual Studio or Eclipse which aren't as polished in some aspects, crash frequently, or run on platforms that crash frequently. (I'm not saying that VS or Eclipse share all 3 of those properties, and the crashing bit refers to Windows).

4) Its been demonstrated many times that Apple charges these $5 fees for previously free tools and applications because of SOX compliance laws. Apple has been providing their dev resources free for years. They are not hurting for cash and this isn't a money grab. They're at their all-time height of profitability, developer influence, and customer and market reach. Its rather obvious its about SOX.

16 points by thought_alarm 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the past these kinds of midstream Xcode upgrades were only available to registered developers. So other developers should be grateful that this upgrade is available at all this time. And if 5 bucks is too much for you then I guess you'll just have to continue to use Xcode 3 and wait for Lion.
13 points by Groxx 2 days ago 2 replies      
>Apple releases their gcc package, installs it in Lion by default, or otherwise makes it available. This would be excellent. The holy grail would be if Homebrew could use this and we could just run brew install gcc. It would be a huge, huge impact to our community.

Or, you could JFGI[1]: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=apple+open+sourc...

Do people just not know about http://www.opensource.apple.com/ ? Apple's GCC source: http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/gcc/gcc-5646/ go ahead, compile it. Add it to Brew. It's still under GPL. They even include instructions on how to compile it, flags, everything. There's a lot in those readmes / changelogs.

It seems that every time someone laments that Apple is oh-so-closed and has-no-source and etc, they merely don't know about opensource.apple.com. I've seen "how could they not release it, it's GPL!" complaints all over the internet, and they sometimes go for months without someone doing a search anywhere for "apple open source". Or in this case, "apple gcc source", where the first link gives the location to download the source right in the very first sentence: http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Develo...

[1]: http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/

31 points by wmoxam 3 days ago replies      
Argument kinda falls flat. For starters, Xcode 3 is still free, at least for now. No need for Xcode 4.

Also, I'm certain that someone will package gcc for mac sooner or later now that there's an incentive to do so. There has not been much incentive to do so before now since it was included with Xcode.

11 points by bcrescimanno 3 days ago 0 replies      
Aside from all the other good points brought up here (the most notable being that this is the first time a major XCode upgrade has been available to non-registered developers between OS X releases), the most troubling thing about this submission is the inflammatory, link-baiting title. Honestly, the article itself doesn't even attempt to defend this ridiculous assertion.

I'm all for stating your opinion, but can we keep the hyperbole to a minimum on HN please? There's a reason I stopped reading Digg...

13 points by tomkarlo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This whole Xcode/$5 topic (which seems to be getting unnatural air time on HN) reminds me of an old joke:

A mom is at the beach with her child. Child gets swept away by a wave.

She says "God, if you just bring him back, I'll [insert long set of promises]!!!"

The next wave tosses the kid back on the shore, unharmed.

She looks up and says "he had a hat!"

How easy our lives have become that we can spend all this ink griping about $5, or a 15GB download that has to be done twice a year over our very fast broadband connections.

6 points by heyrhett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs wants me to sign up for his service and give him $5 for the privilege of downloading 3.5G to get gcc on my computer now. Didn't we see this coming?


"So rzr_grl had a zillion zillion files she wanted to download from a web site, using her OSX Mac. First she tries to use this program called Fetch, which is expirey nagware. (And it's just baffling to me that anyone would actually pay for software that does something as basic as "downloading files", but that's beside the point.) ...

So I say, fuck this, I've heard rumors that these are real computers now, just use wget. So I download it, configure… oops, no C compiler. Presumably it was on some CD that she doesn't have here. So we go looking for an OSX binary of gcc. (Brief conversation on how it's possible for compilers to need compilers occurs.) Apparenty the only binaries are on Apple's site, and it takes forever to find it, because their site sucks. Also they make you register in order to download gcc. It's gcc! WTF! "

20 points by darkhelmetlive 3 days ago 3 replies      
The few of points I've made about this are:

1. The Xcode 4 download compared to Xcode 3 is basically just a different IDE. The gcc version is, for all intents and purposes, identical. There's nothing stopping anybody from just installing that if all they need is the toolchain.

2. The other big 2 OS's (Windows and Ubuntu) don't have any build tools installed by default either. Granted they are just an apt-get away on Ubuntu, but it's still something you have to explicitly install.

3. If I wasn't a dev, I'd be pissed to find some compiler toolchain IDE gongshow eating up 5-15GB of my disk space, so not having it by default is probably a good thing. Most people aren't devs.

I paid the $5, but I'd still like to see just the toolchain available as a free download, though I still don't think it would be a good thing to have it installed by default.

9 points by dasil003 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a legitimate point, but the linkbait title just irritates me. This is something that developers only have to deal with once every year or two. $5 is not a lot of money for a 4.5GB development package, regardless of whether you think it should be free. It certainly shouldn't be any kind of tipping point in platform choice for developers.
5 points by MJR 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's possible that this will change before OS X Lion ships, but it's still a troubling prospect today.

Why is this a troubling prospect today? The Developer tools you need are on your install disk. You did buy the operating system right? Just install them. If you don't have the disc handy at least you have the option of downloading it for free.

You're arguing that spending AN HOUR of your time is offensive. Think of everything you DON'T have to do since it's built into OS X. If that doesn't convince you, then yeah, OS X isn't for YOU - not Developers.

13 points by joeld42 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand? Can't you release the ruby gems or whatever it is as binaries? You only need to spend the $5 if you want to change something, right?
6 points by adsr 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's a ridiculous argument, first of all that $5 would deter anyone, secondly the clang/llvm binaries are available freely, which is the default compiler in Xcode.


GCC is freely available in source form.

18 points by upinsmoke 3 days ago 0 replies      
gcc version is the same as Xcode 3. Xcode 3 is free at developer.apple.com
4 points by s3graham 3 days ago 0 replies      
> You still won't see PHP installed on Windows any time soon.

Not preinstalled because that would be undesirable, but http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx makes it pretty painless to install PHP and a whole whack of that style of crap.

Is there a real problem here? It seems like any compiler would do for the problems you're talking about. Yes, someone needs to package it, but I don't see that it really must be Apple.

3 points by bobwaycott 2 days ago 0 replies      
To the crux of the article, from an experienced dynamic/static language developer on Mac, Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD:

The OP argues OS X isn't for casual, inexperienced, and green developers who run across some random gem/pkg/app/lib/etc online they think is cool and want to play around with, but are inconvenienced and sidetracked by needing to install gcc or other non-included toolchain packages.

I'd say by the time such a "casual user" hits this point, she begins crossing the line over casual & has sufficiently whet her appetite for more meaty endeavors. S/he might actually look at this "inconvenience" as fun, exciting, or something equally positive that increases his or her personal confidence upon completion (yes, even when it's just an installer on OS X). Now they have cool new tools available to them. They'd probably have an even greater boost in net positive feelings if Apple provided an Ubuntu-like console window during XCode installation that gave a nice terminal output of all the install's goings-on--s/he might feel a buildup of positive feelings for this systems-level, programmerish, "geeky" insider's view.

I'm afraid the OP is guilty of looking at the casual new developer from the perspective of the rushed and impatient developer who, like myself, just wants shit to work and work now.

When I pause for a moment to look at it from the not-so-casual-anymore user's perspective, however, I remember a good couple of years when I thought I was a badass cos I ran nothing but Gentoo Linux and chrooted, bootstrapped, and compiled every last package on my system from source for days. I'd watch compilations fill the screen and would have bet money I'd just grown an inch. I'd let that stick around a few weeks and then do it all over again for the excitement of it and to see if I could do it from memory. After a few tries, I actually could install Gentoo on a bare system without touching the manual, entirely from memory. This was almost 10 years ago, and I thought I was really something. But it was fun.

There's a lot of excitement when one starts crossing the line from casual to more meatier development & systems use. I'm doubtful there's as many negative feelings experienced by the audience championed by the OP as he'd like us to believe. Especially on OS X.

5 points by cschep 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Xcode 4 is on the Lion disc, I think we're all going to be juuust fine.

If it's not, I agree. Fuck. Until then, we don't know!

2 points by futuremint 2 days ago 0 replies      
Except that right now when someone wants to try your gem and doesn't have XCode installed... they can also still grab their install disc. Nothing precludes them from doing that instead of buying & downloading XCode 4.

Also... chances are really good that if they're trying out your gem, they've tried out other gems. They've probably already had to install XCode at some point in the past. If they're a developer used to using OS X, they probably installed XCode out of habit as soon as they got their new Mac booted up.

It is a little early to talk about the sky falling about this XCode thing until we see if a gcc toolchain is shipped as a free optional install on future hardware.

The day a Mac isn't shipped with gcc somewhere in the box (DVD, memory stick, HDD, SSD) is the day you might have a point.

3 points by dedward 3 days ago 1 reply      
Let's be honest - it feels like an insult. It's not an about face where they are charging something like $100 or more for their previously free development tools... which would anger people for different reasons, but make some sense.

It's $5....... it's like saying, hey, after that super expensive $300 restaurant meal you just ate and paid for? We're tacking on an extra $2 if you want to leave the restaurant.... you can buy tickets over there.

Apple better watch it, or they may lose some loyal customers....

4 points by sabat 3 days ago 3 replies      
Compared to what other platform? Windows? Developer support out-of-the-box on Windows?

Linux, sure, but Linux is since its inception a developer's OS. Mac OS lies somewhere in between. There are many happy developers running OS X, and paying $5 for XCode doesn't make me mad enough to rant. Dude, it's $5. You paid nearly that for Angry Birds.

5 points by callumjones 3 days ago 1 reply      
Let's no overreact until we either A) see Xcode 3 disappear B) no longer receive the OS X Dev Tools on the OS X install discs.
13 points by rsefer 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think the $5.00 is to deter the average user from seeing a free App made by Apple and downloading it, eating up significant bandwidth
6 points by terhechte 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't the llvm toolchain a free download, and doesn't it offer a gcc front end?
2 points by fpgeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of the controversy when Apple decided to stop developing (and pre-installing) Java. Strictly speaking, nothing any Java developer had been doing became impossible, but a lot of things became more inconvenient, more complicated and / or more frustrating. It felt like Apple didn't care and they thought (rightly or wrongly) Apple should.

This Xcode 4 situation feels like the same thing. Maybe the status quo will return after Lion is released, maybe not. Right now, however, things are a bit more inconvenient / complicated / frustrating and it feels like Apple doesn't care all over again.

2 points by scott_s 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure why having to separately install XCode to get gcc is a "blight." OSX is a consumer OS. If you are a developer, you're savvy enough to know that you stick in the OSX DVD after booting your Mac up for the first time and install developer tools. Then you never have to think about it again. Where's the blight?
4 points by benatkin 3 days ago 1 reply      
For many types of development, there's this:


It makes VMs free and easier. It uses VirtualBox, an open source VM environment.

3 points by bonch 3 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't see anything in the article that supported the dramatic claim that OS X isn't for developers.
7 points by Wientje 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am not a GCC toolchain expert, but what is the trouble with someone hosting a GCC for OS X binary?
2 points by teyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
OS X won marketshare not because it won developers from Windows.

Macs were already popular with web designers, but people who write the backends were programming against linux.

By making Macs run on Unix, it initially took marketshare away from people who were installing Linux on commodity laptops.

2 points by bgruber 2 days ago 0 replies      
once upon a time, it was either really hard , really expensive, or both, to get your hands on a c compiler for whatever platform you were on. nowadays, thanks to rms and all of the folks who have worked on gcc over the years, the very idea of charging for a compiler seems crazy. now, gcc is dead easy to install on almost every platform, and we take its availability for granted.

(as an aside, have you ever tried to download xcode for a version of osx which is not the current one? i have had to do this several times, and it is an absolute nightmare.)

i see that clang has a license that would allow apple's version to have proprietary bits. do they? under what license does apple distribute their binary?

1 point by chalst 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can install a custom gcc, and then tune gcc_select and its configuration files to support it. It's been while since I've done this, but I did it when I was trying to use a version of gcc that was later than that supported by the most up-to-date Xcode available for OSX Tiger. Worked fine, and worked through Xcode.
3 points by dventimi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't own or use a Mac anymore, but when I did in grad school a few years ago (using Tiger) I always got gcc binaries from here: http://hpc.sourceforge.net/

I never installed XCode.

I very very far from being an expert on this, so forgive me if I'm mistaken, but is there a reason these do not suffice?

2 points by mkramlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
the title is demonstrably untrue
2 points by morroccomole 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll toot my own horn and say that I saw the writing on the wall 4 years ago and moved to Ubuntu. Best decision ever. I lack for nothing. Apple is the new Sony - no thanks.
1 point by ochronus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well you can choose to install the console toolchain from the XCode dmg so you don't waste 15GB. Also what do you mean by "spend a decent amount of time installing xcode"? 5 minutes? 10? Whoa, not a big deal.

Anyway I fully agree that apple should be very quick in releasing a free downloadable compiler toolchain and charge only for the IDE.

2 points by wpdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using mac for over 6 years, but less and less often.
Ubuntu is far more smoothy for developers, especially for backend developers.
2 points by jorisw 3 days ago 0 replies      
"its popularity grew from their recommendations".

Really? You think developers drove Mac OS X popularity ?

That's how Apple reaches consumers?

1 point by nivertech 3 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't gcc a GPL? How can Apple not distribute it?
1 point by yMcDonald 2 days ago 0 replies      

That's enough to turn any iMac (well, any computers) into a programmer's powerhouse.

Last year, I led a small team of 3 devs to build a homebrew app for the NDS portable game console. We all used different OSes/IDE for development out of necessity (WinXp, Linux/Eclipse, MacOS X/xCode). Although I had no problem installing arm-gcc on the Mac and configure xCode to use the NDS-specific toolchain, I still prefer Eclipse.

Maybe xCode 4 will change that perception... Looking forward to give it a spin...

Yves McDonald

1 point by HomeSen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, you don't need to buy Xcode4 just to get gcc ;) Just have a look at the opensource page of apple: http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/gcc/. You can get all the sources you need and thus could also create your own "brew package", or am I missing something here?

Also you can still ask your users to find their OSX-DVDs and install (though an older version of) Xcode from there.

If someone already mentioned the above, I apologize, but I'm too lazy to read 220+ comments :P

1 point by jacknagel 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's also possible that Xcode 4 is only on the App Store because Lion is going to be on the App Store, and people who buy a physical copy of Lion will get Xcode 4 on the disc.
1 point by cmsj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surely MacPorts or Ubuntu in a VM? Sorted! :)
1 point by ironchef 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get it. What's wrong with "sudo port install gcc46 ruby19 ruby186"?
1 point by sclarson 3 days ago 0 replies      
You really shouldn't neglect to mention Mono among those developers. There are a lot of them of C#/Mono developers out there making applications for every platform that love using OS X and monodevelop.
1 point by harryklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not use XCode to compile GCC, Binutils and provide an installable GCC package to end users - apart from Fink and Macports?
1 point by harryklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
and BTW, you get PHP on Windows from Microsoft through the Web Platform Installer
-1 point by stray 3 days ago 0 replies      
C'mon it's five bucks.

That's less than the cost of the average meal at a fast food restaurant - and Xcode only has to be bought once (and we don't have to buy it at all).

-4 points by tylrdotorg 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you spent 1% of the time you did writing this article researching your misguided accusations you would realize that xcode 4 is free and downloadable for registered (free to register) Apple Developers.

Exactly like most Apple tools. It's frustrating seeing all these people accusing apple of charging for XCode when it's really no different than before.

-4 points by aeontech 3 days ago 4 replies      
What a lot of people seem to miss is that Xcode 4 is still a free download on http://developer.apple.com/xcode/ for members of the developer program (which is a free membership).
0 points by AppleDev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Zack goes to great length to spread FUD by leaving out facts. First of all, you can join the iPhone developers program "FOR FREE" and download the Xcode tools for free (you just can't release iPhone apps on the app store with the free membership). And yes, a 4.5 GB download is quite large to be sure. However, as the previous poster points out, it's a few hours a year at most. Even if you download all the beta releases too. A large majority of mac users have a cable internet connections making it a non-issue. Really a small price to pay (download size) given the quality of the tool set Apple provides. And Price, have you checked the PRICE and download sizes of Microsoft's Visual Studio and SQL Server lately? And your argument about all this work to use one of your gems is ridiculous. Anyone who does rails or ruby development and Uses a mac for development already has the proper tools installed. and by the content of your article, knows substantially more than you about developing on OS X. Finally, Buying a new Mac gives you the latest tool set on DVD. I really think this post made for 1 or all of the following reasons. Some people just hate Apple because they have managed to succeed during the worst economic downfall since the depression. Not only succeed, but thrive despite the higher price of their Superior quality products and Software. The same way some hate Microsoft just because they are Microsoft. No rational, logical, or even factual reasons given, just Apple/Microsoft Bashing. More a demonstration of these peoples IQ than anything else. Bashing Apple is currently in Vogue. Those posters with a lack of knowledge, but trying build a following are jumping on the bash Apple train trying to establish credibility. Judging by Zack's article, you've achieved the opposite. You have demonstrated your LACK of ability and knowledge.
-4 points by diamondhead 3 days ago 5 replies      
I agree with the title, but am not interested at the OSX / XCode stuff because I'm a very happy, satisfied Linux & Lenovo user.

My old company tried to force me to use a Macbook Pro, saying "developer community uses it", and I refused, saying "I give no piece of .... to a software with stupid and pretty looking icons, windows etc." because that stuff requires us to use mouse/touchpad stuff, which are useless, time wasting, uncomfortable and much less programmable, compared to a good keyboard ( good means not the ones apple produces )

As a coder, I want to be able to program my desktop to save time. There are many better ways to start a program clicking a pretty icon like a smiling cow, because we have a keyboard and also a program called dmenu -a real life saver-.

Guys claiming that OSX provides a developer friendly desktop environment should give a try to an ideal linux desktop. I'm not talking about the crappy ones trying to compete against pixar, like gnome kde etc, I'm suggesting the tiling window managers such as xmonad, dwm, dmenu etc. Especially, I love dmenu. It makes possible to find a bookmark I saved to my delicious account, in just one second, pressing window+p buttons. This awesomeness counts for my browser history also. I type URLs calling dmenu that completes my input by searching my history, no need to open a browser window, no need to use a mouse or sth equivelent. Another awesomeness I love about Linux is the customizable browsers like UZBL, it's very easy to bind a key for a specific task. I'm saving 30-40 bookmarks each day, thanks to the B button. Only thing I need to do to save a bookmark to my delicious account is to press B button.

Linux provides much more richer desktop environment with thousands of options, for the developers not fan of hipster UIs.

-2 points by fierarul 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, that's a long complaint-blog for $5!

The cheapest new mac is $699 and the install DVD comes with XCode 3. Pretty sure new macs will come with XCode 4 preinstalled.

I don't see how this is a problem. Even if you are building a Hackintosh, you're pirating OSX anyhow so pirating XCode too doesn't seem so far fetched.

I have to use iPhoto'08 since that's what my Mac came with. But they just released iPhoto '11! Should I also write a long blog post complaining how Macs are not for normal people that take photos?

XCode is just another app: it costs money to create and maintain and they charge for major revisions. Same as OSX, iLife apps, iWork, etc.

How I lost my faith in Lisp google.com
179 points by deepu_256 3 days ago   64 comments top 10
34 points by kleiba 3 days ago 4 replies      
Unfortunately, the post spends most of its length on the author's professional history. It is only towards the end in which he spends a sentence or two talking about when he "lost his faith" in Lisp, but still gives not a lot of reasons. Basically, as far as I can tell, there are two major points: he used to think Lisp is great, but (1) no-one else seems to be using it and (2) the perceived superiority of Lisp was debunked when he observed experts in other programming languages.

Perhaps his priors were a bit off (seeing Lisp as the holy grail of all programming languages), but I think it is still fair to ask why Lisp has failed commercially? This has been discussed before, however (Lisp "wars" in the 80s, AI winter, etc.)

I find the way he ends his post interesting, where he argues that Lips has to evolve and improve. The article is from 2002 and in the mean time, a lot has actually happened in the Lisp world. New dialects like arc and clojure have created a renewed interest in Lisps. It would be interesting to know what the author thinks of these developments, and whether they could revive his personal faith.

13 points by zachbeane 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd submit http://www.xach.com/naggum/articles/3208226254834485@naggum.... if my site wasn't blacklisted. "What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
9 points by mahmud 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't speak for the author, but I had the feeling he would retract those remarks today, based on our exchanges here on HN.

In other news, STFU and hack. Enough with Lisp politics posts. It's just a language.

10 points by mcn 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is from the same Erann Gat (aka Ron Garret) who wrote the popular lisp at the JPL essay[1], and it covers some of the same ground.

His last point, that lisp can and should be improved, is one that he makes periodically. There's a barrier to some improvements to Common Lisp caused by the fact that the standard has been long closed and doesn't look like it will be reopened, but there have been improvement in areas that are outside of the standard.

For example both Ron's extended post and the previous hn discussion of this post note the pain of finding and installing lisp libraries. Quicklisp beta was recently released which relieves a significant amount of that pain.


Edit: I noticed this in the previous posting of this thread:

Ron> For the record, I did not submit this article, and specifically declined a request to do so. It's not that I don't stand by what I wrote (I do) but it was written for a specific audience at a specific time and I don't think it deserves the attention that it's getting now.


akkartik> I noticed. http://rondam.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-are-programming-lang... Thanks.

7 points by nickik 3 days ago 1 reply      
He says norvig left lisp behind when he came to google witch is true but in Codes at Work he basiclly says that it was to hard to retrain all those C++ Programmers to Lisp was to much work and he uses Python because its a better sudo-code. He still thinks lisp is better for big projects.

It was again the problem that people where all trained in C/C++.

13 points by Markku 3 days ago 2 replies      
TLDR Person found out other people can be immensely productive with other languages. Then person learned languages X, Y and Z with cool libraries and is now very productive and happy using them.

TLDR TLDR Libraries make a big difference!

11 points by itsadok 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pervious discussion on Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=107683
2 points by dspeyer 3 days ago 2 replies      
Note python.

The beginning of the article was all Lisp demolishing C and Fortran. Then he saw that Python could stand up to it. Most of the flexibility, nicer syntax and better libraries.

Lisp has stood still for the past 25 years. Is it any surprise the rest of the world caught up?

4 points by herdrick 3 days ago 0 replies      
A more accurate title today would be, "How I lost my faith in Common Lisp".
1 point by reirob 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great write-up! Basically a person that was using more than 20 years of Lisp successfully and considered Lisp allowing higher productivity admits that there are now other languages that allows higher productivity than Lisp.

At the end when I read the comment:

> I think that if Lisp does not evolve it will die, and I
> don't want to see that happen. I still think Lisp is
> great. I also think it can be, and should be, improved.

I wonder what kind of improvements does the author have in his mind! If somebody knows please kindly enlighten me.

       cached 14 March 2011 02:11:01 GMT