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8.9 earthquake hits Japan usgs.gov
669 points by flyt 4 days ago   253 comments top 53
89 points by po 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 16 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is particularly ill-timed for the rebels in Libya.
15 points by koski 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
15 points by eekfuh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Zynga in japan:

and they are still working apparently

9 points by atgm 4 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.

5 points by harisenbon 4 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.

9 points by kia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of tsunami caused by this earthquake


4 points by bradly 4 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 malte 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Diamondhead Reef in Hawaii just completely emptied, it's barren of water, nothing in sight.
2 points by dkarl 3 days 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?
5 points by ck2 4 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
3 points by apsurd 4 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??

7 points by redial 4 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.

4 points by MikeCapone 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by old-gregg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I never saw a photo of tsunami like this one:
2 points by mceachen 4 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 4 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 T-R 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by LiveTheDream 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by Klonoar 4 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.

1 point by InfinityX0 4 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 4 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 cloudwalking 4 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by sovande 4 days ago 0 replies      
All quake servers are down in Japan; http://www.quakelive.com/
1 point by cdavid 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
People outside of Tokyo Disneyland http://twitpic.com/48dy7s
2 points by junyaogura 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Chiba Steel Mill explosion:


It's getting serious.

2 points by samh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Airport 2 km inland is flooded, amazing helicopter shots of the water sliding across the land.
1 point by hoag 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to see a visual of where the epicenter was:


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

-4 points by zrgiu 4 days ago 1 reply      
OMG! This feels like 2012 (the movie). Seeing that tsunami is breathtaking. I sincerely hope lives aren't lost.
My fellow geeks, we need to have a talk. thingist.com
668 points by blhack 1 day ago   232 comments top 60
160 points by edw519 1 day ago replies      
Condescending feedback says more about the speaker than the listener. It is almost invariably about their own insecurity. This is true is almost all fields of endeavor, not just programming.

Just a few examples of my own:

Insecure bridge player: The queen of spades was a stupid play. What's wrong with you?

Excellent bridge player: The queen of spades would have been a great play against a 4/2 split. But since you had a 3/3 split, what do you think would have happened if you had played the ace instead?

Insecure public speaker: You look like an idiot playing with your hands like that.

Excellent public speaker: You talked about a lot of cool things. I bet I would have been even more interested if I wasn't distracted so much by your hand gestures.

Insecure parent: If you can't keep that baby quiet, you should just stay at home!

Excellent parent: Here's something that has really worked well for me when my kids cried in public...

Insecure programmer: How lame. I can't believe you <insert almost anything you could have done>.

Excellent programmer: I see that works. I have found a few ways to make it work even better. Let me know what you think.

55 points by sophacles 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm reminded of something a wise man once told me (HNified a bit):

In every pairwise conversation there are 6 people:

1. Alice

2. Bob

3. Who Alice thinks she is.

4. Who Bob thinks he is.

5. Who Bob thinks Alice is

6. Who Alice things Bob is.

Perception plays an absurdly large part in communication, as do nonverbal cues. Frequently we adjust our message based on feedback we get from the listener. Those lacking "social graces" or communicating in just text on the internet don't get these cues, so the message comes out "harsher".

Complicating this, there is a lot of baggage each person attaches to words, phrases and general styles of questioning/commenting. So one person's harsh may be another's "in to it".

One example of all this I have experienced:

One time at a vendor show, me and some colleagues were in a small demo, presented by a sales guy and a few engineers from the company. During the Q&A, I started questioning the engineer pretty intensely with questions like:

Does it do $X? Why not? Do you plan on adding it?

(These are actually pretty neutral questions)

Then about another aspect I was really into some possibilities of:

Can I use it for $Y? Can I make $Y happen by this? What happens if I do $Z? How about if I work around that limitation like this and get $Y + $Z effectively?

(these are not neutral questions, they are me geeking out)

So after the demo some people thought I broke the engineer and ripped him a new one with the second set of questions, because I was rapid fire asking questions towards a goal. One engineer thought it was a fun "play with an idea time". The other engineer thought I was severely criticizing his work.

The sales guy and several of the audience members thought I was being unduly harsh by asking about the feature $X. Apparently this was a contentious issue that I knew nothing about. The engineers and others thought nothing of those questions.

Similarly: I frequently get frustrated when people wrap up valid criticism in fake nice BS. I don't want to hear "great thing, what if instead you did this". I really would rather just hear "What about this other method? Why not use that?" or even "Dude, 10s of googling would have shown you the flaws in that". Because an honest self assessment includes the fact that I don't know everything, and that many (most) of the things I come up with have also been thought of by other people, who may have found flaws in that reasoning.

I guess my point is there is a lot more than just "nerds are mean to each other" going on.

30 points by agentultra 1 day ago replies      
It's true. I don't know how many times I've watched eager hackers get lambasted for "reinventing the wheel," or "don't bother doing it yourself, you'll just screw it up -- someone has probably done it already and did it better than you could." This happens most often at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship.

The business advice is that it's cheaper to buy it than build it.

The engineer's perspective is that a square peg isn't going to fit in every hole.

"Geeks," are harsh. I mean that in the very broad, general, and discriminatory sense. We have to work with bad code all day written by bad programmers. Some of us make a career out of saving businesses from bad technology decisions and poorly written programs (it is NOT good work, btw. Just pays well). So when yet another new-comer comes on board with bright, eager enthusiasm to revolutionize the Internet (yet again) we do tend to be rather cynical.

I agree w/ the poster that the cynicism is a bad thing. We could be more constructive. Don't stop them from writing their own web server... show them where to look up the RFCs, reference implementations, etc. Encourage them to learn. We could all benefit from having more knowledgeable people around.

16 points by dkarl 1 day ago 2 replies      
What would we think of an American who walked into an Egyptian coffeehouse or a Japanese board room and interpreted all the behavior he saw there as if he were seeing it in a church in Iowa? It's fine to demand that geeks develop some social sophistication, but it's also fine to expect that non-geeks will have enough social sophistication not to rush to judgment about behavior in an unfamiliar cultural context. Cultures vary from place to place, subgroup to subgroup, and there's no reason people shouldn't adapt to us if they want to join our subculture. That's the way it works.

As other people have pointed out, the argumentative, ruthless nature of computing culture has very adaptive aspects because it mirrors the persistent, ruthless, and logical nature of the computers we deal with. Once you're used to dealing with computers -- once you've learned that computers don't compromise, but it isn't personal -- you perceive computer geek behavior differently. The only reason to enter the subculture, except as a tourist, is to learn about computing, so it is reasonable to assume that anybody arguing about how to program a microcontroller either gets us or is in the process of getting us.

Obviously, different rules apply when geeks interact with non-geeks in other contexts. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Xerox PARC, or less exalted forums for discussing computing, do as the computer geeks do.

23 points by jaysonelliot 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would direct anyone who thinks geeks are harsh now to read chapter 10 of "Dealers of Lightning," about the early days of Xerox PARC.

They had a weekly meeting called DEALER, where the boffins would present their ideas to the group at large.

A quote:

"But the argument had best be carefully thought out. Anyone trying to slip an unsound concept past this group was sure to be stopped short by an explosive "Bullshit!" from Thacker or "Nonsense!" from the beetle-browed ARPANET veteran Severo Ornstein. Then would follow a cascade of angry denunciations: "You don't know what you're talking about!" "That'll never work!" "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard!" Lampson might add a warp-speed chapter-and-verse deconstruction of the speaker's sorry reasoning.
If the chastened dealer was lucky (and still standing), the discussion might finally turn to how he might improve on his poor first effort."

13 points by tptacek 1 day ago 3 replies      
The author's point is well taken. But:

* Stop using comic sans

* What are you, illiterate?

* Tables? What is this, the 1990s? Ha ha ha!.

* This design looks like myspace

* You're using the default hashing algorithm in mysql instead of bcrypt?

* God I hate the arduino. It's not real hacking.

Which of these things is not like-the ooooother?

10 points by blhack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey all, I submitted this this morning, but never anticipated getting this much traffic.

I really appreciate all the comments :) If the site is slow to load, there is a static version of the page here:


7 points by dansingerman 1 day ago 3 replies      
I disagree with this.

The difference in the examples cited is not sports vs hackers, it's communication in real life vs over the interwebs.

In my experience most hackers are perfectly pleasant in person, happy to help if asked, and not substantially different to how the article describes the skaters.

Conversely, I bet if you look at some skater videos on youtube they would be full of sarcasm and piss-taking (well they would be if youtube comments weren't a massive fail in their own right)

Geeks and nerds more frequently use online media to communicate, but I don't think they are otherwise more predisposed to antosocial behaviour than anyone else.

As a datapoint, my wife uses babycentre a lot, and the disproportionate flamewars you get there are ridiculous. Put those mothers together in a room and I bet they'd be completely pleasant.

12 points by ZeroMinx 1 day ago 1 reply      
While I agree with this to some extent, I'd just like to comment on the the skateboarding analogy; You were probably taking it one step at a time, learning to stand on the board, increase your speed, make turns. Once you got all that done, you might move on to try some tricks, perhaps trying to learn the rock to fakie trick. What you _didn't_ do was, on your 2nd day, to scream out "why am I not sticking my 720 kickflip?!?!".

The latter is fairly common in the world of programming, in my experience.

(There's obviously also a big difference between being physically together with the people in a skatepark and sitting on the other end of an IRC session.)

9 points by sqrt17 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is a major difference between sports and programming: In sports, everyone is a critic, and it is really obvious if people cannot skateboard, or cannot throw a basketball.

Compare with programming, where overt effect and actual competence are not always related. Criticizing programming and programmers is nontrivial, and hence people have to do it all the time to build up a shared understanding of good and bad practices.

Looking at visual arts, you'll probably find a similar asymmetry between drawing (where it's difficult to get to even a barely mediocre level) and layout/typography (where it's easy to do something that looks "good" to the layman yet is totally horrible). Needless to say, there are more pages bashing bad layout and bad typography than there are sites dedicated to bashing bad drawings.

46 points by dools 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yep, I agree entirely. Stop being such sanctimonious fuckwits.
3 points by haberman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had lots of moments where I let bitterness get the best of me, and started flaming. Upon reflection, I think I understand why.

As programmers, we are part of a giant ecosystem of software. What one programmer does affects another, even for two people who don't directly work together. This is unlike (say) sports. If there are other skateboarders who have terrible form, it doesn't affect me.

On the other hand, if a large number of people make what I perceive to be a bad engineering decision, like using SOAP (SOAP's safe to hate on these days, right?), that affects me because I'll have to write software that interfaces with their systems that use a terrible protocol.

And if I see a person arguing in favor of a terrible idea like SOAP, I perceive that they are not only using SOAP themselves, but encouraging others to do so also -- if they succeed my life gets even harder. If other people seem to be agreeing that it's a good idea, instead of recognizing it for the insanity that it is, the frustration grows. And if the person is arguing in a self-righteous way, that makes it seem justified to be snippy back.

It's probably not the most healthy reaction, but there you have it. This is what led me to post rants in the past like: http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=446030&ci...

4 points by jgrahamc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't like this generalization. I've met all sorts of geeks, nerds and hackers. Some are horrible to each other, some are very nice. I can't see that it's helpful to accuse all of us of being bastards.

On the other hand, I have seen code that I found horribly upsetting and I'm sure I've expressed my opinion of it. I know that I have the patience of something with a very small amount of patience when I come across someone who just doesn't instantly get concepts (for this reason I cannot do family tech support) and I did make my college girlfriend (also doing computer science) cry once because I just rattled off an entire programming assignment without touching the computer (she switched courses).

So, it really depends. If it was someone junior to me I'd cut them a lot of slack, if it was someone I considered my intellectual peer they'd need to roll with the punches.

8 points by michaelbuckbee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Much of this isn't "geekdom" it's the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory in action: http://www.crunchgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shitcoc...

I've been to many BarCamps, local Ruby on Rails and Web design meetups and people are incredibly giving of their time, knowledge and patience.

It is a profoundly different thing to meet someone in person, who is struggling with some technical issue, than to read about it (devoid of all context) on some wall of electronic text.

23 points by koko775 1 day ago 1 reply      
My policy: be nice to people. Don't be nice to ideas.

IMO, ideas need harsh critique, and it's not always easy or worth it to spend the extra time padding the conversation to soften your point - it can even be counterproductive.

So while I won't say that someone is stupid or dumb for suggesting the idea, I may say an idea was not well thought out if it really isn't. I expect my peers to do the same, because we're not going to see which ideas stick if we bicker over how we iterate on them.

3 points by jhamburger 1 day ago 2 replies      
If we were to generalize and put nerds into three broad categories-

1. Lower-case 'n' nerds for whom coding is as much of a day job as it possibly can be and lead rewarding and socially active lives away from their computers.

2. Nerds who are completely immersed in what they do because they find it to be rewarding in and of itself.

3. Nerds who are completely immersed in what they do because they aren't very good at anything else, and are bitter that being good at what they do isn't really socially rewarding.

I think most of our problems come from group #3.

6 points by phamilton 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a little more advantageous to firmly establish your current language/style/concept as the standard than it is in skateboarding. The job market is all about hype. If RoR is the latest trend, a RoR programmer is better off. Same with Node.js. Same with HTML5 over flash.

While I doubt people actually think "I'm going to tell you that your choice of language sucks because I want more work" I also doubt bullies on the playground think "I don't have a lot of self esteem, so I'm going to pick on kids smaller than me to make myself feel better".

Some communities are more harsh than others. Ask a stupid question in #perl and compare the response with #python. The perl community is well established and isn't trying to evangelize. Python is (or was) less commonly used. They don't want to scare away new users because more python programmers means more support for the language.

It's not an excuse, but it is a possible explanation.

12 points by lhnz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Agreed. Next time I shall condescendingly refer people to this post with one eyebrow raised if I hear any of those 'lines'.
2 points by bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
In most cases, there's a social normative function that teaches people that this kind of behavior doesn't work. Are you an asshole in real life? People won't deal with you and you'll find yourself shut out of many social opportunities. People tend to learn to stop being assholes real quick when everybody else gets an office birthday party and they don't.

The problem with life on the Internet is that this social normative function doesn't work. Are you an asshole that nobody will talk to? No problem! Just invite yourself to the office parties and start running your mouth!

Admin lock out your account from your favorite forum because of flame wars? No problem! There's a million other forums you can head to and be a complete jerk in!

There are exceptions, HN for example is fairly unique in terms of the social environment it provides, and flaming out here can have consequences, hence people tend to behave a bit better here in order to maintain their social status in the group.

However, in addition to behavior and tone, down arrows represent a kind of social normative function that includes semantics that might push people towards a kind of consensus in group think (flags usually deal with purely bad behavior). The problem is that it's very hard on HN to have a dissenting opinion without getting knocked down a few points. If want to keep socializing here, you either conform or get out.

6 points by cydonian_monk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fascinating post. 

Coming from an Engineering background I'd like to echo what another commenter said - Ideas must be treated harshly.  If it's a bad idea then it needs to be vetted and corrected, especially if it's likely to kill someone.  You owe it to the honor of the profession to do so.  But you have to attack the idea and not the person.  When egos are involved that's not easy, because the person may view an attack on their idea as a personal attack.  Just assume the person is as intelligent as you and had a good reason for their "bad" idea.  Maybe you can build on it without completely discarding it. 

As for language, I've never understood the online "geek" community's tendancy to be grammar and spelling "nazis." There have been times where I've been the only native English speaker on a team, both professionally and in college.  If we spent all of our time discussing Strunk and White we would have never finished what we were doing.  Yet on the internet, where "exposure" to non-native speakers is commonplace, these practices seem to be the norm.  Boggling.  (It's one thing to be helpful, it's another to be petty.  Petty strikes me as professionally immature.)

In short: A crash-course in interpersonal communications would help everybody. 

Thanks for the blog post. 

14 points by cubtastic71 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's nice to see someone stand up and say whoa. I mean my first youtube post of an arduino project I did - someone had to explain my miss-pronucenation of a word and paid no attention to the project itself. User comment boxes are not always as helpful as it might seem.
2 points by lyudmil 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with the author's observation. Geek culture is incredibly unforgiving, and proudly so. To some extent this might be just a part of hacker tradition, but I think there's a deeper problem - it isn't always easy to tell who the authority on a subject is in a random group discussing a highly technical issue.

Let's take the sports analogy the author used. It is immediately clear who is more apt at skateboarding and thus should be doling out advice. The power relation is clear and accepted on both sides, which allows for constructive instruction to take place.

Discussing things on HN, however is different. In general, technical discussions amongst people who don't generally know each other are a process of discovering the appropriate power relation. We are exchanging comments and trying to gauge who is more knowledgeable. If I were to try to teach someone before they've acknowledged I have something to teach them, I'll come across as arrogant and an unpleasant argument will likely begin.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Sometimes I'd like to see more humility in the communities we're referring to here, but I also don't want to read insecure, watered-down opinion. It would be the best of all worlds if people stated their case as strongly as possible, confident that everyone knows they're aware of the possibility or even overwhelming probability they're wrong. I think that would eliminate a lot of the pain and noise in discussions on forums such as this.

4 points by marcos123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coming from the same situation as the OP, only reversed (grew up a skating every single day, got addicted to programming later on), I would like to contribute a little context to the OP's brush with skateboarding. Sure, I remember ollieing backpacks with my friends in the morning before school, when we had pretty much nothing but encouraging words for each other. But I also remember years later, being on tours/roadtrips with pro's and video deadlines and magazine articles. In those latter years, the cynicism and shit-talking that I'd witnessed (ok, and took part in) was unparalleled by any other sub-culture I've ever crossed paths with. Someone with a forced/contrived style of skating could be made to hate their own life after enduring little more than 2 min. of criticism from certain, fellow skateboarders.

My interpretation of all this is that anytime you're doing something around the upper echelon of people that do that same thing you're doing, expect tests of your will, whether technical or emotional. I just think of it as human nature's way of weeding out the weaklings of any group.

Personally, I'm quite fond of and entertained by the pretentiousness I receive on certain irc channels… brings me back to the days when and skate spots and chicks were literally my only cares in the world.

6 points by angelbob 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you. I don't think this will do any good, but I'm still glad somebody is saying it loudly.
2 points by Dylanlacey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I'm on the other side of the fence. I've found that good programming shops are a bit offensive and a bit agro when discussing code, and it leaks playfully out into regular relations. It needs to be offensive, but not about the person themselves (like all good criticism)

"What? This sorting code is slower the a walrus walking uphill"
"Dude, your lunch STINKS, are you cooking a month-dead skunk?"
"That's retarded. It won't work. At all. Ever."

Sure, they sound a bit harsh, but they're not actually offensive because you KNOW they're not about you, or are only peripherally about your judgment, and it's an unavoidable fact that some people have terrible judgment.

The shops I've worked in with quiet, softly given feedback have been those that aren't doing anything interesting, are moving slowly and don't really have any great developers, or even better then average ones. In my mind there's a definite correlation between boisterous shops and great ones.

2 points by BoppreH 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there's two main problems here at play: excessive criticism and discouragement.

I actually like the first one, and most hackers I know do too. I've seen geeks take (possibly harsh) critics very well, way better than "normal" people. Personally, I find it useful as a route to self-development, but it's certainly more frequent than in other places.

About discouragement, I think the author is just visiting the wrong communities. Or maybe I've been really lucky all this time. Either way, I don't see evidences of this behavior being more common in our circles.

2 points by Semiapies 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ehn. There's a reason he rhetorically asks whether we're back in high school - this isn't just geek behavior. I've experienced this attitude from plenty of people who aren't at all geeky, and I've encountered some very nice geeks.

Under certain sets of circumstances, people just tend to be dicks - and the internet contains many cases of those circumstances.


3 points by dctoedt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting in the habit of kindly offering constructive criticism will pay off big-time when and if you raise kids -- at least if you want them to like you when they're adults.
2 points by PakG1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm glad that HN is a place where people are normally really helpful to each other, but I see it even occasionally here.

On the other hand, let's not take it too far. It's nice for people to have a little bit of backbone. They don't need to endure jackasses unnecessarily, but there are times when criticism is rightly required and backbone is rightly needed to respond well.

3 points by Tycho 1 day ago 1 reply      
The worst part is the practice of deliberately trying to make someone feel bad about themselves over a discussion about iPods or something. What sort of person does that? Thankfully I hardly ever see it on HN, but elsewhere it's rife.
4 points by stitchy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think that the issue of open hostility in online communities stems from Anonymity more than anything else. Most people are very conciliatory face to face. Honestly, I'd prefer something between open hostility and straight up pacification. I definitely want constructive criticism, which is why I tend to like Hacker News. The comments that I have seen here tend to be more constructive than other places on the intertubes.
2 points by csomar 1 day ago 0 replies      
That happens everywhere; however, the author is comparing two different places: The Internet and a skate-park.

He just find a good place and also people don't tell strangers and guests "you are an idiots" in your face. On the Internet, it's different. That applies to a skateboard forum, just search and you'll find out!

End of the story: Work on improving yourself and forget about what sh*t the others say.

1 point by ilovecomputers 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's it, I'm admitting it.

"Tom, no, not among the hall of nerds."

No, it's the best time. Everyone, I have an announcement to make! I...am kind of like a hipster.

reveals fedora hat and threadless shirt

<<My word! They do exist!>>

No longer will I be prosecuted for enjoying a cultural product that is making it's first appearance in the cultural scene.

I also speak for every newbie who dislikes dealing with the console and I speak for every newbie who doesn't posses the skills of a sysadmin, but wants to understand their way around unix. I also speak for every CS major who thinks caustic arguments, over which programming language sucks, are a waste of time.

And yes, I am currently learning Haskell, not because it is underground but because I enjoy recursively declaring functions. Now who here will help me understand side effects?

1 point by edanm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm happy to point out one thing: this is less true on Hacker News. More broadly, this is less true in the "Startup Scene".

Even though a lot of us come from an engineering background, I've always seen people get great feedback, helpful and not condescending at all. This is even more true for people's "Review my startup" posts, which usually present a pretty early beta, but tend to get great responses.

1 point by jedbrown 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a related matter, harsh criticism sometimes makes it easier to distinguish good products/people from those that are not worth your time. I tend to appreciate the opinion of people who do not hold back criticism, certainly their praise is a lot more meaningful. Reading between the lines is not the most efficient way to discern quality.
2 points by jgroome 1 day ago 0 replies      
The old stereotype of the socially awkward nerd is just as true now as it ever was. The points the author brings up are classic signs of lack of ability to articulate in a social context.

It's not a popular thing to say but programming and hacking is, at the end of the day, a mostly solitary endeavour. Why would someone who spends most of their time stuck in their own head know how to converse about technical matters, especially when it's online and behind a wall of anonymity?

I'm not saying all geeks are antisocial. I'm saying that the kind of person who would call another an idiot over a minor disagreement isn't demonstrating a lack of confidence but rather an inability to communicate in a friendly way.

1 point by rbarooah 1 day ago 0 replies      
What the poster misses is that many people don't come to online forums for just polite intelligent discussion. You might as well tell football fans to be quiet so everyone can concentrate on the game better.

Is he comparing online forums with in-person experiences?


2 points by etherael 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn straight, all intolerant people should be taken out and shot.
1 point by wturner 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this post, and skateboarding has been one of my greatest teachers in life (which probably isn't saying much). I do believe in Machiavellian criticism, but progressive Machiavellian criticism with the intend of doing whatever you're focused on better.Not for the sake of the critic feeding their own ego, although the two can mutually interact. :)
1 point by xentronium 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I generally agree with the statement, my personal experience says that hardcore drilling is the most effective way of teaching sometimes.
1 point by localhost3000 1 day ago 0 replies      
i started learning to code in December/January. I've been pleasantly surprised by how helpful I've found people to be in places like #rubyonrails, #jquery, ...

I come across a random jerk here or there, or just some snarky, passive-aggressive commentary from time to time from otherwise OK people. I find if I am nice, humble, and honest about my abilities/intentions, people are generally nice in response.

Sarcasm has proven to be pretty successful on the web, which doesn't help your cause. How many successful blogs were built on a glib and critical tone? Being a jackass is an easy way to differentiate...I think this influences the general discourse on the web, especially among the savvy. That said, from what I remember, "web people" were far more ruthless 15 years ago.

1 point by lloeki 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems like someone just discovered that once you consider a large enough group of people, a bunch of them happen to be narrow-minded people thinking they know The Truth and feel they have a Mission to teach Gospel. The best thing to do is to actually ignore them lest one risks engaging into void arguments. Once you learn to get over the empty side of the Internet you discover that you can also find a bunch of open-minded, constructive people (of which hackers are - by the idealistic definition - a subset).

Trains can be late and one can be quite vocal about that, but few talk about those that are actually on time.

Also, http://xkcd.com/386/

2 points by skurland78704 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...give people constructive criticisms. If their design is bad, tell them what they can do to improve it. If there code is bad, offer to help them patch it and make it better. If there spelling or grammar is off, just let it go."

I perceive a profound inconsistency.

1 point by grishick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Partially responsible for the situation is the fact that many (if not most) of us (nerdy geeks) are to some extend autistic, or rather "aspergerish". Go read about Asperger Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome) and tell me that you don't recognize your own traits. Not only we enjoy being abrupt and critical, but we are also better fit for being around people who are like us and so we don't mind it as much as other people do. That said, it wouldn't hurt to learn some human interaction skills.
1 point by NathanKP 1 day ago 0 replies      
If there spelling or grammar is off, just let it go.

I'm not sure if we are being trolled here or whether it was an actual mistake.

1 point by donniefitz2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to say, as a former sk8er (too old now), this is typical. Skateboarders have been social Switzerland for decades. Often un-critical of ones appearance and always deep into their sport, I'm not surprised by Steve's attitude.
1 point by biturd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aged skateboarder here. Been a few years since I have even rode one. The nature of skateboarders is something that I am glad the blog author got a taste of. I seem to compare every "culture" that I get involved in to skateboarders. I don't think you will find the same camaraderie in many other places.

It's very hard to explain. For something that is rather competitive, it is also very much a competition with yourself. Just the act of truly wanting to be a part of it will make you part of a family so to speak.

1 point by coreyhaines 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. A bunch of us in the software craftsmanship community engaged in what we called "Positivember" last fall in a similar vein: http://programmingtour.blogspot.com/2010/11/positivember.htm...
1 point by joliss 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's true in general that hackers (or geeks) "are jackasses to one another". Rather, it seems to depend a lot on the community. For example, I tend to work with Rails software, and the communities that I've encountered have (without exception!) been very friendly.

Though pessimism aside, I think the post is spot-on with its argument!

1 point by samlevine 1 day ago 0 replies      
From my comment on the post on Thingist:

>I don't think you can fight human nature, only work around it. Ignore the haters that don't get $x. Ignore the haters that think what you've made sucks, or doesn't do $x and is therefore useless. Build shit. Write about how to do shit. Let them know you by the trail of OC you leave behind.

3 points by alvarosm 1 day ago 0 replies      
But Arduino fanboys really deserve it :P
0 points by peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone (in the world) should just be less critical and stop thinking their shit doesn't smell. But as far as hipsters are concerned, I won't ever respect someone who trades their individuality for conformity.
1 point by Trufa 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by Limes102 1 day ago 1 reply      
Meh. It isn't actually that important at the end of day.

There are the geeks that help out and the geeks that criticise.

1 point by usmanity 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently started working at a startup and before that my perception of criticism was what I saw on tv and heard from people. Fortunately, my coworks and seniors give me some good feedback.

But I myself still can't have the patience to listen and learn, after reading this, I feel like there's an incentive for me to change my behavior :)

1 point by ddelphin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could not have said it better though I doubt things will change. I hope so though!
1 point by saidulislam 1 day ago 0 replies      
all of you guys missed the big one... RTFM!
1 point by jhuni 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate haters.
-4 points by ignifero 1 day ago 1 reply      
still, i think hipsters are wannabes, and clothes don't make the man
Patio11's perspective on the Japan Earthquake kalzumeus.com
663 points by swombat 2 days ago   108 comments top 17
92 points by patio11 2 days ago 7 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.

43 points by mechanical_fish 2 days 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.)

33 points by alexandros 2 days 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.

36 points by Klonoar 2 days 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.

26 points by mattdeboard 2 days ago 4 replies      
> "Japanese does not have a word for excessive preparation."

Neither does English, as you've just demonstrated!

7 points by pieter 2 days 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?
27 points by nborgo 2 days 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 2 days 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:


11 points by benohear 2 days ago 2 replies      
Brilliant article. I have written to the UK Guardian and Independent encouraging them to syndicate it.
4 points by shadowsun7 2 days 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.

6 points by rbarooah 2 days 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.
3 points by mantas 2 days 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 X-Istence 2 days 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.

0 points by charlief 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you for this and it was highly informative, but the article's tone seems a bit apathetic to me. It is still tough for me to stomach even a little engineering pride in the immediate wake of a tragedy of this magnitude. I know the policies and procedures in place worked as they should for the earthquake's immediate damage, but what about the specific preparedness for the tsunami, which will be the largest cause of causalities. It is an enormously challenging problem, but surely more could have been done.

Also: Would be better to say Great Britain and Honshu are about the same size instead that Honshu is larger (Britain is slightly larger). Leiman Shock: slight spelling error in Lehman Brothers?

1 point by lwat 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone with a mirror please?
1 point by jkuria 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good to hear you are safe Patrick! And thanks for educating us on Japan's Geography etc
-3 points by hunterp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nukes are only "safe" when built to spec like the functioning,socialist government of Japan is capable of. And then very "intelligent" blog articles try to rationalize a cancer causing, radiation inducing thing. Nuke plants that are old, not kept up to date, etc are very very dangerous. As economies ebb and flow, the demand for energy always is present, but the resources to keep a plant up to spec are not. Sustainable resources like hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and tidal are far less worrysome, on a different level of dangerous, and do not require disaster contingency plans after contingency plans. Keep It Simple Stupid, nukes are not simple and they are not stupid, let us usher in an era of idiot proof nuke free earth that allows for energy independence from the empire of the nuclear grid. To the solarnet! To the hydronet! To the geonet! To the windnet! To the tidalnet!
Khan of Khan Academy at TED (video) youtube.com
481 points by zootar 6 days ago   97 comments top 37
74 points by solipsist 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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...

17 points by solarmist 5 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.

3 points by singular 5 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!

23 points by joshu 5 days ago 2 replies      
Saw this live. He's amazing.
9 points by arjn 5 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.

3 points by modeless 5 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.

14 points by aashpak1 5 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 5 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 5 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.

9 points by barkmadley 5 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 5 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 5 days ago 2 replies      
It was a great talk. Future of education. I loved the way Bill interacted with Khan.
3 points by Rickasaurus 5 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 Kilimanjaro 5 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.
4 points by paufernandez 5 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)


6 points by Mizza 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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.

3 points by econner 5 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 5 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.
1 point by dr_ 5 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.
2 points by pacomerh 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 wyclif 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome speech. What's wrong with the YouTube video quality, though?
1 point by semerda 4 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.
2 points by tRAS 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
nice post wb. does he use prezi for his presentations?
Twitter to developers: no new Twitter clients google.com
446 points by samstokes 4 days ago   172 comments top 55
104 points by danilocampos 4 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.

110 points by jellicle 4 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.

79 points by zaidf 4 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.

93 points by olivercameron 4 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.

42 points by jfager 4 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.

37 points by boredguy8 4 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!

34 points by jazzychad 4 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

53 points by olivercameron 4 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.
40 points by ajg1977 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Thanks for all your help getting us where we are. Now, get out and shut the door behind you".
9 points by kmfrk 4 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

27 points by VladRussian 4 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.

6 points by fingerprinter 4 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 4 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 4 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.
9 points by erikpukinskis 4 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 code_duck 4 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."

6 points by akmiller 4 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.

3 points by mikeryan 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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!

2 points by alanh 4 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!)

4 points by taylorbuley 4 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 guptaneil 4 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 4 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)
3 points by itsnotvalid 3 days 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.

13 points by MatthewPhillips 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yep. Last paragraph says it all: Use the API for something besides clients.
9 points by kouiskas 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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?

4 points by pyrmont 3 days 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 4 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 4 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.
2 points by elvirs 4 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.

2 points by trustfundbaby 4 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.

2 points by rmason 4 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.

3 points by guilleiguaran 3 days 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 phil 4 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.

1 point by chegra 3 days ago 0 replies      

The precedence of things.

3 points by mthreat 4 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?
2 points by snissn 4 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 4 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 QuantumGood 3 days ago 0 replies      
Twitter claims preventing user confusion as a motive yet the move from old to new Twitter on the web is the biggest source of confusion. I mean, come on. Teaching people an interface isn't rocket science. Do something simple, such as put out a video a week showcasing use of the new interface. Heck, have user contests to come up with videos showcasing the new interface. Or go all out and develop an awesome training and help system, and integrate it into the interface. If users have a problem, do something about it!
1 point by nir 3 days 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 fedd 4 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 aDemoUzer 3 days ago 0 replies      
But I don;t want consistent experience. I dislike the experience and want it done my own way!
1 point by maxer 4 days ago 0 replies      
has google not bought twitter yet?
0 points by voxmatt 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is the deafening thud of the other shoe dropping
Sleep is more important than food hbr.org
430 points by panarky 6 days ago   169 comments top 33
100 points by winestock 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 4 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently not for everyone:

Ngoc Thai: The Man Who Doesn't Sleep

5 points by Splatchar 6 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.
3 points by JoeAltmaier 6 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.
2 points by kgtm 6 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend the book "Power Sleep" by Cornell professor James Maas.


Exceptional book that really transformed my college experience.

2 points by TorbjornLunde 6 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 derekmdurkin 5 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.

1 point by jmulho 6 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 jcromartie 6 days ago 0 replies      
Subtext: we're torturing Bradley Manning.
1 point by Jem 5 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 mikecarlton 6 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 6 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 5 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 6 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 6 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't Red Bull the same thing as sleep?
-4 points by mrspandex 6 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 6 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/...
Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors morgsatlarge.wordpress.com
406 points by woodpanel 2 days ago   179 comments top 29
68 points by neutronicus 2 days 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).

54 points by ck2 2 days 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

52 points by benohear 2 days 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.

15 points by lispm 2 days ago 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

15 points by illumen 2 days ago 3 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.

8 points by jrockway 2 days 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.

9 points by miles 2 days 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...

3 points by po 2 days 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 2 days ago 2 replies      
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 ars 2 days 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 2 days 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!

4 points by kgarten 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm shocked, how can such a lobbyist piece be high-rated at Hacker News. I though the community would be more critical towards news in general.

There are several factual errors (so much I don't know where to start), just check the press releases from TEPCO, the public statements of the Japanese Government and other public available information (e.g. http://www2.jnes.go.jp/atom-db/en/trouble/individ/power/j/j2... )

The author does not know what he is talking about, his phD. won't help him there. (Everybody clear in their mind should wonder why smb. would start a piece with "phD. Scientist" I'm working in academia and I never mentioned my degree in any post here or elsewhere, because I want that my arguments convince and not my degree) It's the first blog-post of smb.
who's linking just to nuclear energy lobbyist pages (telling you to prefer them over "standard media") and everybody starts up-voting the piece and down-voting negative and critical comments?

I thought hacker news was better.

1 point by ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll add this here as well: a diagram of how these reactors are built is in this book:

Data folks, data.

1 point by catfish 2 days ago 3 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.

3 points by borism 2 days 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?

4 points by weinzierl 2 days 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 artsrc 2 days 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.

2 points by hammock 2 days 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.

2 points by radu_floricica 2 days 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
4 points by locusm 2 days 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 2 days 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 jamesaguilar 2 days 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.
1 point by fxj 2 days 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."

1 point by illumin8 2 days 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 kgarten 16 hours ago 0 replies      
interesting: the site moved, now the commentary section is turned off (wondering why). "The article is mostly correct ..." and "In theory we should be more worried about the ash radiation from our coal plants ..." are still the highest rated comments :(

Hoping for the best for my friends in Tokyo and the rest of Japan.

1 point by mrleinad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since the author seems so certain that the third containment shell would hold the meltdown safely, and explosions keep happening: Can someone answer me why won't they just allow it to melt down, so they can clean up the rest and get the whole nuclear plant back online? Is it just an economical reason? Or is there any other risk?
2 points by adlep 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a nice article, however:
Breaking News:
"U.S. Seventh Fleet moves ships, planes away from quake-hit Japanese nuclear plant after discovering low-level radioactive contamination"

I suggest you start worrying.
More info here:

-4 points by stewbrew 2 days ago 1 reply      
i like it when scientists say "the situation is under control" after the roof was bombed off.
-2 points by Kilimanjaro 2 days 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.
JavaScript Garden github.com
371 points by aundumla 4 days ago   47 comments top 19
8 points by tkiley 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
Everyday you learn something new

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


8 points by senorpedro 4 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by roryokane 3 days 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 4 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 4 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 3 days 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 4 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 sawyer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Love it; I'll definitely switch to strict equality comparisons from now on!
1 point by Ruudjah 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well written, clear syntax highlighted examples. Upboat.
1 point by kifou1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the tips, very intresting
0 points by simpsond 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very good job.
0 points by wkasel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very useful.
A tale of two programmers jacquesmattheij.com
326 points by vijaydev 6 days ago   67 comments top 24
35 points by giberson 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 5 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 6 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 pmjordan 6 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.

4 points by Tycho 5 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.

8 points by zmitri 6 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 6 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 6 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 ThomPete 6 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.

3 points by alinajaf 6 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.
14 points by s00pcan 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 days ago 0 replies      
Related poll: Are you a Steve or a Chris?


2 points by budu3 6 days ago 0 replies      
I remember indy500 back in the heydays of DOS.
1 point by zwieback 6 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 5 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 6 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.
Finally, a Startup Visa That Works techcrunch.com
320 points by joshbert 1 day ago   112 comments top 38
28 points by iamelgringo 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been _soooo_ frustrated by this, running http://www.hackersandfounders.com . I can't tell you how many amazing entrepreneurs I've seen come into the area, and then have to leave because of visa issues. So, even though I'm way oversubscribed right, now, I'm burning a bit of bandwidth on the startup visa movement.

Votizen (I have no attachment other than knowing the founders) is coming up with a crazy cool platform to mobilize people about this issue.

Just text "startupvisa" to 894546. They've build a hella cool twilio app, that texts you back, verifies that you are a registered voter in the US. If you are, they_print_out_your_text_message and hand carry it to your senators and representative in congress.

It's friggin genius. Please, pass the word.

Hell. I'll start another thread specifically for this. If you are a voting US citizen: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2324232

If you are a foreign entrepreneur who wants to get a visa to the US, please help us promote this issue, so you can get a visa.

Craig Montuori set up a tumblr to tell stories of Entrepreneurs that haven't been able to start companies in the US because of visa issues. Contact him at http://startupvisa.tumblr.com/, or cmontuori@gmail.com .

24 points by ojbyrne 1 day ago 4 replies      
All I can say is I find category 2 -

Workers on an H-1B visa, or graduates from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science"if they have an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and have had a U.S. investor commit investment of at least $20,000 in their venture. Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue

on a strictly personal basis, umm, droolworthy.

21 points by corin_ 1 day ago 3 replies      
When asked six weeks ago whether the Yuri Milner / SV Angel offers would affect which startups YC accepts, pg said "No, of course not."

I would imagine that, if this legislation does pass, it might change his answer to that question, as all of a sudden that extra $150k becomes the difference between foreigners being able to get a Startup Visa to be accepted into YC or not.

If you read this Paul, care to share any updated thoughts on how this legislation and the $150k offer will/won't impact who you can accept to YC, and possibly who will apply to YC?

15 points by petercooper 1 day ago 3 replies      
Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S.

Now that's more like it! If US consumers are sending lots of dollars out of the country, it makes sense to bring those entrepreneurs into the country and keep the dollars at home. Not all of us need funding so this proviso could help us out without having to go looking for arbitrary angel cash.

20 points by stefanobernardi 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just WISH we had such politicians in my country. It is just mind blowing to me that a politician actually took the time to read a TC article and modify a bill accordingly.
12 points by marcamillion 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow....there is a lot of hyperbole generated on Techcrunch but this post is spot-on.

If this bill had been passed while I was still in the US, it definitely would have convinced me to stay.

The truth is, that if it is passed, I just might be inclined to go back - under the third category.

We will see what materializes though.

This could be pretty interesting either way.

7 points by recoiledsnake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, there were naysayers saying Vivek was just saying this to keep himself in the news and what he writes is useless, he keeps repeating the same thing etc. etc. and got some nice upvoting on here too. Interesting what their take on this would be.

See these two threads.



18 points by trustfundbaby 1 day ago 0 replies      
It makes way too much sense.

Somebody is going to have to ruin some part of it for it to pass.

Yes I'm cynical. I've lived here too long.

21 points by dreamux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I look forward to contributing to the American economy if this passes.
8 points by noelsequeira 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm an Indian entrepreneur, and much as I'd love to see #3 see the light of day, I have this sinking feeling it's just way too ripe for exploitation.

Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S. Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.

A ton of companies that aren't really startups could easily misuse this clause. And even if there's fine print to guard against the same, due diligence in each case will translate into a ton of paperwork and enormous bureaucratic delays, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid in the first place, right?

That said, no one hopes I'm wrong more than I do right now.

8 points by samstokes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone know whether the Startup Visa will allow dual intent - i.e. if you pass the "remain in the country" criteria can you apply for a green card?
5 points by olivercameron 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. I'm here in San Francisco on a three year E-2 visa, and this should simplify things a ton when the time comes to renew it.
5 points by crux_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't this give investors a rather disproportionate amount of negotiating power, particularly for the 2nd round?

"Agree to our terms ... or lose your visa!"

3 points by olivercameron 1 day ago 0 replies      
If anyone needs advice on getting a long-term US visa without getting funding, feel free to email me (it's in my profile). It's currently an incredibly difficult process, but do-able.
4 points by pclark 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems somewhat strange if a degree is required for the startup visa - is that the case?
4 points by hopstar 1 day ago 0 replies      
If only other countries would follow suit. Afew years ago I had a great plan in place for an internet cafe (and more) planned for a great location in Grenada, and was basically told that I needed close to $300k in assets and/or financing in order to qualify for residency and make it happen. The entire project could have gotten off the ground for less than $200k (for which I had good faith agreements), and my plan involved hiring at least 3 locals to start with, so why did I need the other $100k?

"Just because..." was pretty much the only answer that the immigration officials could give me.

Oh well, it was a great 9 month vacation while it lasted...

5 points by JCB_K 1 day ago 3 replies      
On the hand one I love this. On the other hand, this means it's going to be harder for a startup scene to take off in any European city.
2 points by ck2 1 day ago 3 replies      
Help me understand this?

Is there a shortage of startups in the USA?

Can startups (that in reality have an online-only product) not occur outside the USA?

These are honest questions, I'm trying not to be biased, why come here?

4 points by drc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very exciting. However remember this is the an initial step in a long road of many steps -

See this info-graph for an articulation of the legislative steps needed to make law: http://www.mikewirthart.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/howla...

2 points by bigbang 1 day ago 1 reply      
Did the bill pass already? The article is not clear atleast to me, since it mentions "draft of the bill".
0 points by jmspring 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the proposal is an interesting one. This really is one good step in cleaning up the issues with visas in this country. People that want to come here, start companies, and build the economy should be encouraged. Those that come for school, get an advanced degree and want to start something should be allowed to as well.

What isn't clear to me would be a scenario, say, where two foreign nationals want to work together to start something under this proposed program, would they need 2x the numbers? Also, "three new American jobs", are those visa eligible or not?

The second area I would like to see addressed is the whole of the H1-B process, specifically for "filling jobs where there is a shortage of talent". The economy is in the shitter and there are people qualified that are having a hard time finding things -- maybe due to age, location, or possibly needing to brush up on skill sets. I don't know what the right approach here is, but it really needs to be cleaned up to encourage training and hiring of those not needing a visa. I've worked with many of the job-shops (Wipro, GlobalLogic, etc) where the amount being paid for "talent" often was much higher than what hiring locally would cost with similar or worse quality.

Balance is needed. This proposal is a great start and maybe adopting something like the Canadian point system would be an interesting follow up for the non-entrepeneurial crowd.

2 points by HistoryInAction 1 day ago 0 replies      
3 points by plainOldText 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how long will it take to find out if the bill passes or not?
2 points by _debug_ 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is way too sensible to become true in the U.S. Next.
1 point by dimitri_w 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really a good thing. Especially for Europeans like me who are seeking for Silicon Valley investment the limited H-1B visa and the high demands for initial funding have been kind of a barrier hardly to be overcome. The ranges now really encourage also foreign entrepreneurs to work on their ideas and that should add some value to both parties, the entrepreneur and the US.
2 points by HistoryInAction 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out the Votizen page to send your support to Congress: https://www.votizen.com/issues/startupvisa/
0 points by tomjen3 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only problem with this is the requirement that it has to generate jobs - there are so many ways this can cause a small business to fail that are outside the control of those who are running it. That is in addition to all the ways a business can fail without employees.

All it really takes is that you overlook a little provision or somebody gets mad and sue because you didn't hire them and they turned out to be some minority that was protected. Even if you win the suit most likely your business is already done for and you lose everything.

The fact that legislation like this is cause for celebration is the measurement of how far the US has fallen.

1 point by ylem 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about J1 visa holders? A number of people come in to universities and national labs from abroad on these...It's already a great step--if J1 holders were added, it would be even better.
1 point by gersh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I assume the idea is to create American jobs. So, couldn't you just require the company to have so many US citizens on their payroll at a certain minimum salary.
1 point by egor83 1 day ago 1 reply      
A senator takes blogger's opinion into account and revises the legislation? That's how a democracy should work.

I'm really impressed (and the revised conditions seem very reasonable, too).

1 point by DanielRibeiro 1 day ago 0 replies      
And just six days before YC S 2011 application deadline. Will probably encourage many people to apply.
1 point by tiabasnk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I am rooting for this legislation to get approved. It would be a very big boost to many would-be entrepreneurs
1 point by mhlakhani 1 day ago 0 replies      
Definitely looking forward to this one too, for personal reasons. Especially the second category.
1 point by Prasannav 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally ... hopefully it will work .. will certainly be a breather for many of us outside the US ....
1 point by voxmatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so crucially important. Even for an avid follower of politics, it's astounding how something like this can get bogged down in partisan politics.
1 point by deskamess 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you have met the employment/revenue standards after 2 years, do you qualify for a startup visa renewal or a green card?
1 point by nikhilalmeida 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesomesauce.... This makes it much more likely that I will take the plunge...
0 points by known 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope inviting immigrants/investors will neutralize outsourcing
Want to move fast? Just do this codefastdieyoung.com
314 points by sghael 4 days ago   40 comments top 11
19 points by notahacker 4 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 4 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 3 days 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.

8 points by sunjain 4 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.
12 points by sniW 4 days ago 3 replies      
using pure black as the text color is a mistake

Why is this?

5 points by Raphael 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is certainly one not-terrible way of coming up with an uncontroversial design quickly.
4 points by jblomo 3 days 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 tomkarlo 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does green convert better than red? Performable seems to like red over green.
1 point by bryanh 4 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.


1 point by FPSDavid 3 days ago 1 reply      
anyone have a mirror to this?
Video of tsunami in Japan fbcdn.net
301 points by thornjm 2 days ago   67 comments top 24
24 points by ajays 2 days ago 2 replies      
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?

14 points by subpixel 2 days 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.

5 points by 51Cards 2 days 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.

7 points by geuis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what happened to the poor man trapped at the end of the video...
5 points by tmsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although a very serious situation, couldn't help but note Paul Kedrosky's observation:


4 points by maeon3 2 days 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 msie 2 days ago 0 replies      
The beginning of the flood looks innocuous enough, but it keeps on coming...
1 point by lkrubner 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The video is now gone. Does anyone know of another way to find it?
4 points by znt 2 days 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.
11 points by thornjm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whole buildings moving at ~4:30 in.
2 points by Joakal 1 day ago 1 reply      
More tsunamis for the morbidly curious:


Record stands at 524m high.

5 points by incredimike 2 days ago 0 replies      
It went from zero to complete chaos in about 3 minutes. That is just nuts.

Do not mess with water.

1 point by BoppreH 2 days 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 ernestipark 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember when I was really little my dad telling me that water was so much scarier than fire because it can't be stopped... Looks like proof.
2 points by 16s 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is just horrific. My heart goes out to Japan. Hang in there guys!
1 point by light3 2 days 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.
0 points by georgieporgie 2 days 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.
1 point by tenaciousJk 2 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by tarr11 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is the possibility that the guy driving the car at the beginning outraced the tsunami?
1 point by chaz 2 days 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 aashpak1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how do insurance companies survive such natural disasters?
0 points by rubashov 2 days ago 1 reply      
What was wrong with the term "Tidal Wave"? It looks like a huge tide rolling in.
1 point by dakotasmith 2 days ago 1 reply      
What part of Japan is this?
-4 points by njharman 2 days ago 2 replies      
other day friend quipped "Japanese are so smart designing quake proof bdgs". seems they forgot the tsunami thing after.
Music Theory for Beginners whitakerblackall.com
290 points by r11t 18 hours ago   89 comments top 16
25 points by icarus_drowning 16 hours ago replies      
I teach Music Theory (and piano) for a living-- this is an excellent introduction to the most practical concepts.

I was somewhat disappointed that the OP showed us a C Major scale without really explaining what a "major scale" is-- a collection of whole and half steps-- especially since they used a keyboard as an example, which is laid out in exactly the right pattern for teaching the major scale. (Notice that the black and white notes are arranged so that you skip some keys-- whole steps-- but sometimes you can't: half steps). I always teach how to build scales based on this pattern- WWHWWWH. Using this pattern, you can build any major scale beginning on any arbitrary note-- including notes that are sharped or flatted, which is neat. From here, you can figure out all of the scales, and thus all of the keys.

The advantage of learning in this fashion is that you can tackle intervals first, which are the distances between notes. (Note that major and minor intervals are named as such because they fit into our major or minor scales). Since a chord is simply collection of intervals, you end up with a more powerful understanding of them by learning which intervals (and which scale degrees) build which chords.

All the same, I really think the more "practical" approach here is really interesting, because you can start writing music earlier, albeit mostly in C Major.

Cool link, it really gives me insight as a fellow music educator.

7 points by mrspeaker 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently had a short-term stay at a place which had a piano. It seemed like a waste to let it just sit there, so I did a bit o' googling and found this site: http://www.pianobychords.com/

The information on music theory is similar to the post - but it also shows you how to play a few common songs. If you follow the fingering guide and play the same chords with both hands it sounds damn great! I thought only the guitar had that "pick it up, learn a couple of chords and you're good to go..." attitude!

One of the songs on the site was "Let It Be". I remembered that that song was in the Axis Of Awesome song "Four Chords" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHBVnMf2t7w - now I know how to play hundreds of party-friendly songs on the piano. Damn satisfying for an outlay of just a few hours practice!

5 points by Jun8 12 hours ago replies      
Fascinating read, but definitely not for beginners, at least for people like me, who have difficulty naming the notes (I have to go through "doe a deer..." each time, there are seven of them, right?)

My total music illiteracy really annoys me. However, whenever I try to pick up some knowledge I got held back by lots of questions that the usual music student (or teacher for that matter) has never thought about and no answer can be given. Here are a couple:

* Why are there seven notes? Is this due to an property of the ear?

* Ditto, for the octave concept, why should it be multiples of two?

* Why are there black keys between some white keys on the piano and not between others?

Is there a book that explains questions like these?

11 points by 1331 17 hours ago 2 replies      
A friend of mine here in Tokyo owns a small music company and recently launched a series of games to help with music training. They are flash-based, but I have been quite impressed with them and have enjoyed them quite a bit! He is using a freemium model, and you can try out the games on his website without even registering. (Free registration gives you progress tracking, and subscription gives you access to all levels and games.) For anyone interested in music training, I highly recommend them!


2 points by pge 11 hours ago 3 replies      
One of the music theory things it took me a while to understand is why different major keys matter. In an idealized world, one can start a scale on any frequency and move up in whole and half steps (WWHWWWH) and have a scale. So why talk about the "key of G" vs the "key of C" if all that denotes is the frequency of the note we start on (which can be shifted up or down arbitrarily to suit the range of the instrument or vocalist)? The answer lies the physics of frequencies. The notes are not exactly the same from key to key because the whole and half steps are not exactly the same width. A perfect "fifth" (e.g., C & G played together) from a frequency perspective (meaning the two frequencies that resonate together creating a harmonic one octave above the lower) has a frequency ratio of 3/2 meaning the G is 1.5x the frequency of the C. The octave has a ratio of 2 (the high C is twice the frequency of the C below it). G is 7 half steps above C and the octave is 12 half steps. So if we walk our way up the piano in fifths, after 84 half steps, we would have a note (3/2)^12 = 129.75x the original frequency. But if we do the same on the octaves, we get 2^7 = 128x the original frequency, so the note we need to make all the major fifths sound right is different from the note we need to make the octaves sound right. The two are diverging slightly. So the result is that we can tune an instrument perfectly in one key only or we can tune it in a compromise of all the keys which sounds okay over a short range but sounds worse as we try to cover a wider range. If you're interested, there's lots of good reading on the subject (google "well-tempered" or "meantone").

EDIT: I realized I assumed a key concept in there. When two notes are played together, a third is heard (the "beat" frequency). If f1 and f2 are the frequencies of the notes being played, f2 - f1 = the beat freq. An octave sounds nice because the beat disappears (2f - f = f, so the beat is the same as the lower note of the octave). Other "pleasant" chord combinations are ones in which the beat does not clash with the first two note (e.g., is an octave of one of the notes).

5 points by jonp 15 hours ago 6 replies      
This is great. Can anyone recommend a "DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)" for Windows? Preferably with at least a free trial version. Thanks.
1 point by TheSOB88 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is cool, but I am kind of disappointed that you put the chords into inversions without explaining what you were doing.
2 points by ssharp 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope the author turns this into a series, introducing additional theory. When I was first learning basic music theory, it was either all text or text along with notation. I took lesson on snare drum when I was younger, so I can read rhythms fine but never bothered to learn to read the pitches correctly. When I started playing guitar and piano, having something with embedded content and "piano roll" images would have helped immensely.
1 point by pinchyfingers 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so white! lol I can relate because it's how I first approached music, but most mature musicians in the Western world begin with rhythm, yet there is no mention of rhythm in this article.

Rhythm is our soul, get some soul, crackers!

1 point by tieTYT 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I really love the idea behind this article, but I didn't like the execution. I was confused and intimidated after the "scales" section (and that's the first part).

Also, I don't know what the difference between a key, note and a few other words mean.

Trying to be constructive, I hope the article gets edited because I'm genuinely interested in learning these things.

3 points by Qerub 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If anybody wants to learn some music theory and Haskell at the same time, I can warmly recommend this:


1 point by sethg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you liked the Axis of Awesome's four-chord medley, you'll love the Pachelbel Rant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM
1 point by drbaskin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's only somewhat related, but This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics #234 discusses some of the math behind music theory. It's a nice article if you're familiar with basic group theory.
1 point by baddox 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I would call this article "Songwriting for Beginners" as there is very little discussion of music theory in it.
2 points by thesystemis 14 hours ago 1 reply      
on a similar note (and because there's some great links being posted here), this video by walter lewin covers the physics of sound and how it relates to music, it could be good secondary material for someone learning about music theory:


what's great is that it's a serious physics lecture, but designed for kids, and there's plenty of funky experiments within the one hour.

2 points by whoeverest 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"To write a simple melody in ‘C'" has to be the singe most important sentence in the whole text.
“We don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 per day.” sebastianmarshall.com
286 points by azazo 5 days ago   151 comments top 15
58 points by flyosity 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 4 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 5 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 5 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely agree with everything he said. It mirrors my own opinions on money.
-4 points by quan 5 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
Stack Overflow: Printing 1 to 1000 in C stackoverflow.com
275 points by numeromancer 1 day ago   97 comments top 28
30 points by RiderOfGiraffes 1 day ago 2 replies      
... without conditionals.

Cute puzzle, nice to see some inventive torturing of C, and various dialects that people believe are C.

13 points by RodgerTheGreat 1 day ago 1 reply      
how about a simple implementation in Forth?

  : o         dup . cr 1+               ;
: t o o o o o o o o o o ;
: h t t t t t t t t t t ;
: thousand h h h h h h h h h h drop ;

1 thousand

36 points by artmageddon 1 day ago 2 replies      
My favorite response:

The real answer is "don't work there".

12 points by ahlatimer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Previously posted and discussed: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2062058
5 points by lysium 1 day ago 1 reply      
The original question is unclear. What is a 'loop' and what is a 'conditional'?

Tail-recursive calls (like the linked solution uses, though C compilers usually do not implement 'proper' tail calls) or short-cut conditionals might not look like but are still loops or conditionals.

So, why the answer is funny it does not answer the original question.

3 points by ajays 1 day ago 12 replies      
How would you do the same in other languages? It would be interesting to see the same question answered in Python, Perl, Java, etc. etc. Just as a fun thought exercise, and not to get into language flamewars.
3 points by silvajoao 1 day ago 0 replies      

  #include <stdio.h>
#define print printf("%d\n", n++);
#define times2(x) x x
#define times5(x) x x x x x
#define pow3(x,f) x(x(x(f)))

int main() {
int n = 1;

pow3(times2, pow3(times5, print));

return 0;

1 point by singular 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's things like this which convince me that I am never going to pass an interview at a decent tech place. When I attempt to write solutions to things like this I make a million mistakes and can never quite get there.

My idea was to create a buffer of 1000 bytes and recursively call a function while each byte is dereferenced until it finally hits a byte which causes a segfault... but I just can't get it working.

The function pointer solution is genius...

7 points by jedbrown 1 day ago 1 reply      
In what sense do these lack conditionals?
2 points by vilya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just because I haven't seen it mentioned yet, here's a solution using gcc's computed goto feature:

  #include <cstdio>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
void* labels[2] = { &&doing, &&done };
int i = 1;
printf("%d\n", i++);
goto *labels[i / 1001];
return 0;

Still consider goto harmful? (Well yeah, so do I generally. But hey...)

2 points by lysium 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is 'goto repeat' not a loop? You've just 'spelled out' a for-loop, I think. :-)
2 points by wbhart 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, HN must have a pretty large readership. Note that before this got posted on HN today my SO score from the solution was pretty static, for weeks. All of a sudden it's sprung up 300 points.

If I learned one thing from the experience it is that often the popularity of something is not a measure of how "correct" it is. It's often a measure of the compromises you are prepared to make, and also how "appealing" it is.

FWIW, thanks HN. I actually read about the question right here in the first place!

By the way, the "correct" version was added by someone else. Posts to whoever added it.

1 point by KeithMajhor 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Using the preprocessor


1 point by orblivion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd say:


void output(x)
int y;
printf("%i\n", x);
y = 1 / (1000 - x);
output(x + 1);

int main()

With gcc on Linux it has the added bonus of "Floating Point Exception", don't know if that disqualifies it.

EDIT: Nevermind, I got it:


int output(x)
printf("%i\n", x);
(x >= 1000 ) || output(x + 1);
return 1;

int main()

3 points by mhb 1 day ago 0 replies      
printf("1 10 11 100 101 110 111 1000");
2 points by efnx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just learned a little more about C thanks to this. Compiling does cause a warning, though:

gcc printy.c
printy.c: In function ‘main':
printy.c:4: warning: return type of ‘main' is not ‘int'

5 points by imechura 1 day ago 0 replies      
printf("1 To 1000");
1 point by afhof 1 day ago 1 reply      
Obvious, but passing arguments to this will cause it to break.

One other mod: (j/1000) could be replaced with (j>999) which is still non conditional, but faster.

2 points by amitraman1 1 day ago 1 reply      
My favorite is:
system("/usr/bin/seq 1000");

Only thing is, the interviewer would ask, "How would this work in Windows?"

1 point by spirit23 1 day ago 0 replies      

new Array(max + 1).join(' ').replace(/\s/g, function(c, i){
console.log(i + 1);

1 point by blazer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, what do you think about

int main(void) {
printf(" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8");
return 0;

I bet that 1000 was in binary and he was obviously checking the guy's CQ ( compSci Quotient)

1 point by Almaviva 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Writing "a + condition * (b - a)" is just a math cheat to make a ternary operator. So isn't this a conditional itself?
1 point by nova 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice. Linear interpolation of C functions.
1 point by swah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bad HN title.
-1 point by blazer 1 day ago 0 replies      
This might be from some clever and lazy programmer.. lol

291 printf("numbers from 1 to 1000");jondavidjohn Dec 31 '10 at 7:07

-1 point by kunjaan 1 day ago 0 replies      
printf "numbers from 1 to 1000 without using any loop or conditional statements. Don't just write the printf() or cout statement 1000 times.\n How would you do that using C or C++?"
-1 point by xenophanes 1 day ago 0 replies      
too lazy to write it, but you could easily write a ruby script which writes a C program to a file. The ruby script loops to 1000. the C program is around 1000 lines long, prints one number per line. the ruby script compiles and runs the c script. problem solved?
-4 points by jrockway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Too bad the site is currently too slow for me to close as "not a real question".
New Startup Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues
264 points by kumph 2 days ago   77 comments top 32
13 points by gyardley 2 days 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.

83 points by rms 2 days ago 1 reply      
Best startup hiring post I have seen on HN in years.
42 points by JCB_K 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Let's forget about getting acquired and build something with which to acquire!"

Love that.

6 points by emmett 2 days ago 1 reply      
"In titles, please don't describe things by their relation to YC unless they're actually associated with YC."


9 points by taphangum 2 days 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.

18 points by kingsidharth 2 days 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!
19 points by kumph 2 days 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.

33 points by xuki 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dude, get a designer on board.
19 points by minalecs 2 days 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 ?
5 points by bvi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something really refreshing about this post. Congratulations on your success, and best of luck!
14 points by joebo 2 days ago 1 reply      
100k per month with a free app? Can you elaborate on the revenue model?
1 point by jpug98 9 hours ago 0 replies      
great post. i have a YC2011 application ready to go, and, as a single founder, have been wondering if I should apply. Yes, I know, it's next week. I too expect to be rejected but think it is worth the shot. And, to follow up on the end of the post, personally, YC isn't about the money or the mentorship. It's all about who you know. All I know is that I have the next big idea, execution is 100% of being a business and I think YC offers a lot of those resources that you can't find in a lot of other places.
12 points by myearwood 2 days ago 1 reply      
HN changed the title of the post. That's not cool.
8 points by nischalshetty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I am going to do step 1. Apply to YC and get rejected.
2 points by fsipie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain this business model to me? I find it very confusing, both in terms of how it works and why people sign up to this. This is not a criticism, as obviously it's brilliant and profitable, but rather an indication of my own limited knowledge 8)

Does it work like this?

1. Devs pay to feature their apps in this app
2. Users install the app and can like & install apps for points
3. After a certain amount of points (which seems huge) a user gets a free itunes gift voucher

2 points by lubos 2 days 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 ScottBurson 2 days 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.
1 point by dazzla 2 days 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?
2 points by nhangen 2 days 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 2 days 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!
3 points by weaponizedgames 2 days 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?
1 point by richcollins 2 days 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.
1 point by zone411 2 days 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.
1 point by chocoheadfred 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the same app someone asked for a review of a while ago?
1 point by us 2 days 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.
2 points by hnfwerr 2 days ago 2 replies      
Are you applying to YC again? (for the 2011 summer batch)?
1 point by eevilspock 2 days 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 sinaiman 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome and inspiring, congrats!
-4 points by vlad99 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not exactly a YC-reject in the usual sense, if you just missed the application deadline...
Turn any page into Katamari Damacy kathack.com
260 points by pinguar 3 days ago   33 comments top 12
7 points by joshes 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
I loved this a lot more than I probably should have.
8 points by mckoss 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Even works on an iPad.

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


21 points by axylone 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 axylone 1 day ago 0 replies      
New update out: Now you can select controls (left/right click, or touch). Try running it twice, once with right-click, and again with left-click.

Also for dynamic pages, run the script after the content changes and click the "x", and the new content should be pick-uppable.

2 points by Inviz 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Multiball works!
2 points by Banekin 2 days ago 5 replies      
Is there any way to play this on a Macbook trackpad without connecting a USB mouse?
-3 points by sscheper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Salary negotiations for techies jacquesmattheij.com
254 points by jerome_etienne 5 days ago   161 comments top 22
59 points by edw519 5 days ago 3 replies      
There's one other huge factor at work here (for many programmers, anyway). I'm tempted to call it the "wimp factor", but that's too negative, so I'll just call it the "introvert factor". I'm a perfect example...

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

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

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

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

42 points by tptacek 5 days ago 2 replies      
Some related advice I just gave a family member on this subject:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a couple theories about this approach:

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

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

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

49 points by ericb 5 days ago 2 replies      
It is always easiest to get a big jump by moving to a new job. Your company, and future companies anchor on the salary you are paid now. When recruiters or hiring managers ask, don't give out that number at negotiation time.

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

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

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

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

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

20 points by DevX101 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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?

3 points by dreamux 5 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.
2 points by pdx 5 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.

1 point by URSpider94 4 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 5 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?
2 points by dmvaldman 5 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 semerda 4 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.

1 point by mncolinlee 4 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 5 days ago 1 reply      
Now I'm convinced that Jaques left HN for good.
1 point by known 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ask for a win-win proposition.
Japan's Strict Building Codes Saved Lives nytimes.com
253 points by brodie 4 days ago   135 comments top 13
60 points by Vivtek 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
When people talk about the America's crumbling infrastructure, it isn't just potholes folks.
0 points by Semiapies 4 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
I dont have a nytimes account.

not even readability can save me here.

0 points by power78 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Multimedia" seems like such a quaint term now.
Cringley: Japan may have just permanently lost 20% of its electricity supply cringely.com
248 points by tomfakes 3 days ago   93 comments top 19
81 points by neutronicus 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

4 points by gonzo 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
CNN reports explosion at one of the plants.


2 points by rbanffy 3 days 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?

2 points by rospaya 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can they not simply ship in extra batteries, or are they batteries too large to be moved?
4 points by stewbrew 3 days 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.
4 points by JoelUpchurch 3 days 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.
1 point by MichaelApproved 3 days ago 0 replies      
Japan probably won't need that 20% for a while. Their demand just dropped significantly.
1 point by light3 3 days 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 3 days 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
243 points by g0atbutt 4 days ago   51 comments top 11
37 points by Tiktaalik 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Spoiler: not everyone can make it big, even after 8 years of trying...
3 points by dools 4 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 tnorthcutt 4 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...
2 points by TheSOB88 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the article for "Apple's "overnight success" only took 25 years?"

Much more profound "success" of course.

Dudes, this is so not REST mooseyard.com
236 points by mccutchen 9 hours ago   113 comments top 20
72 points by mikeryan 8 hours ago replies      
After reading the title I was all set to come in here and complain about "REST" Nazis and make some comment about how real life situations tend to supersede strict adherence to conventions.

But then I read the article and I have to admit this is a pretty egregious break with how REST services are supposed to work.

19 points by jcromartie 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Actually, what the blog author is talking about is a resource-oriented architecture (ROA), which is typically implemented in a RESTful fashion over HTTP but has recently been conflated with REST itself. ROA != REST.
4 points by vegashacker 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Why does it matter? Ok, I agree that you probably shouldn't label something with an incorrect term, but does not having more than one URL, and not using the different HTTP methods really make a difference in terms of programmer usability?

I personally find that sometimes I have trouble spotting the "oh! I forgot to make it DELETE instead of GET" bugs. When the parameters of the API are all in the url and/or query, it feels better encapsulated.

(promise I'm not flaming, and I fully expect to get told, yes it matters, and here's why! ;)

2 points by extension 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This sort of API is not RESTful at all, regardless of whether the method name is in the HTTP header or a form variable. It's still an application-specific protocol that requires out-of-band knowledge to use. REST resources are supposed to be self-describing, which doesn't make much sense for an API like this. RPC is what is required here, so just tunnel RPC over HTTP in whatever way is most practical. And don't call it REST.

If you want a bucket of cold water over the head on this topic:

1 point by davidmathers 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"It screams RPC. There is so much coupling on display that it should be given an X rating."

-- Roy Fielding @ http://roy.gbiv.com/untangled/2008/rest-apis-must-be-hyperte...

3 points by mccutchen 9 hours ago 3 replies      
We might be getting close to this point: Maybe we should just give up on the term REST, since it's become so diluted as to mean nothing more than “HTTP API that's not as hard to use as SOAP”?

This is a shame, because RESTful APIs are (for me, anyway) usually a joy to build and to use.

8 points by mortice 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I once worked on a project where 'REST' was synonymous with 'putting query data into the URL before the query string', and this was done so that the webserver could cache the response.

I died a little inside every time I wrote a 'Restful' servlet there.

1 point by robbles 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
The author gives WebDAV as an example of a good standardized REST API.

Is adding new HTTP methods (like PROPFIND, MOVE, COPY, etc.) considered to be RESTful? I always thought you were supposed to structure all actions around the main 6, and add extra functionality in the data payload or query parameters.

2 points by hoop 5 hours ago 1 reply      
'''Maybe we should just give up on the term REST, since it's become so diluted as to mean nothing more than "HTTP API that's not as hard to use as SOAP"?'''

To be fair, I thought we were at this point already. It seems safer to assume that when one advertises a "RESTful API" they are really referring to a "REST-like" API which basically means "Hey, we don't use sessions!"

While I believe that the term is already diluted to that point, I still think it's valid to point out when people are doing it wrong.

4 points by csears 8 hours ago 3 replies      
REST is now just a generic term for any HTTP API that's not SOAP. Like Xerox and Kleenex, the popular usage is technically incorrect, but in practice, it doesn't matter.

Most REST API consumers today are more like CURL than a web browser. In the CURL-like case, the RPC pattern works quite well. HATEOS and other browser-centric REST ideas often just don't fit naturally into a simple API consuming app. People need to move on.

4 points by thurn 8 hours ago 4 replies      
This is an increasingly common extension of the REST paradigm. Google ran into a number of problems with the restrictions of REST, so their new APIs all work this way. See their justification in this video: http://www.google.com/events/io/2010/sessions/how-google-bui...
1 point by mkramlich 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So it's an HTTP-based API rather than true REST. Move on. shrug
5 points by hinathan 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Instead of fetishizing REST for its own sake, how about appreciating an HTTP API that can be used (read/written) with a browser via form elements and hrefs?
3 points by adolph 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Rdo: "Yeah, we have POST!"

Thought Palace: "What about the rest?"

3 points by MatthewPhillips 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've worked with APIs that return XML containing one node, which contains escaped XML. So when I read something like this it doesn't seem that bad.
1 point by TorKlingberg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I am all with you on using GET and POST properly, but is there any REST API that actually uses PUT and DELETE?
1 point by whackberry 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> In fact this is why Tim Berners-Lee used the word “method” in the HTTP protocol in the first place.

Does he have a source for this? Coincidentally I had just read the HTTP 0.9 the other day and I didn't see "method" being used that way at all. I think method, in HTTP, just means "a means to retrieve / put data", not method in the object oriented sense.

1 point by sabat 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's object-oriented, where objects are identified by URLs

I'm not so sure that "object-oriented" is the right term here, but totally agree with the premise: this isn't REST. It's more like XML-RPC Jr.

1 point by amitraman1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes! Yes! Yes!

"HTTP API that's not as hard to use as SOAP"

My current employer calls our API ...

... RESTful like .

-3 points by tariq 9 hours ago 2 replies      
how about calling it RESTish? http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2242162
Dubai on Empty vanityfair.com
232 points by cwan 3 days ago   99 comments top 21
38 points by lionhearted 3 days 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 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is Vanity Fair really the best place to air this kind of grievance against wealth and decadence?
42 points by luvcraft 3 days 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.

11 points by shazow 3 days 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 3 days 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.
8 points by Qz 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reads like something straight out of Neuromancer, veracious or no.
5 points by GeoffreyHull 3 days 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 goombastic 2 days 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.
3 points by daniel-cussen 3 days 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.
7 points by amitraman1 3 days 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 3 days 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.
2 points by elvirs 2 days 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.

3 points by johnyzee 3 days 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 2 days 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_ 3 days 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.

2 points by benmichael 3 days 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 3 days 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 gcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounded like he was describing Vegas
1 point by LilValleyBigEgo 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's no surprise, slave labor only goes so far.
2 points by ronnier 3 days ago 0 replies      
user: tastybites
created: 60 days ago

Things aren't looking good :/

-2 points by zaidr 2 days 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.

Apple's Role in Japan during the Tohoku Earthquake kevinrose.com
231 points by sahillavingia 1 day ago   77 comments top 26
42 points by jaysonelliot 1 day ago 1 reply      
My father-in-law works in Tokyo, but lives in Kamakura.
He wrote us a long email about his journey home.
Because trains were not running, the only option was to walk the 60+ kilometers home. All along the way, he saw people finding places to sleep in bars, stores, even 7-11s. All of them were full, so he could only keep on walking.
Eventually, he found a bar that had room for him to come and sleep on the floor, so that he could continue his journey home in the morning.
There was no food on the shelves of any store, so people had to share what they had with each other.

Allowing people to sleep in the Apple stores must have been incredibly important to the staff. God knows how they might have fared otherwise.

10 points by ihodes 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's a little bizarre how people are either 1) upset at Apple for not doing more 2) expecting all companies to do something like this, thus this isn't exceptional.

Addressing point 1 first; there's still time for them to do more. Not only that, but why should private companies be obligated to fund a nation in times of crisis? Sure, it's great when they do, but they already DO pay for this in the form of taxes. Apple is a company; their primary obligation is to their shareholders: their business is business.

Now for point 2: see point one. This is exceptional, and this is really neat. This isn't just some donation of funds to another fund; this was a mandated relief effort in the face of an actual crisis. And it showed (whether or not you think it sincere) that Apple cares. I can't be anything but happy that I support such a company.

25 points by dholowiski 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is of course what Apple (and any other company) _should_ have done in such a situation, but they sure deserve some recognition for actually doing it.
13 points by redcap 1 day ago 3 replies      
Author mentions nuclear/acid rain, there are no reports of this. I'm following NHK as well as more lucid western stories and all of them have the Fukushima reactors as worst case not as bad as Three Mile Island, let alone Chernobyl.

For English information about what's going on, there's:




http://twitter.com/_niten/tokyo-disaster-info/members list I made)

23 points by gobongo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hate being "that guy" but I find it very sad that we've reached a point where we're expected to praise companies just for being staffed by humans capable of basic empathy in an unimaginably horrific crisis.

It is nice that they did this and all but is it really especially noteworthy?

Give me an update when Steve Jobs donates a little bit of his money to the relief effort, (or, really, ANYTHING...) until then I don't really see what this has to do with Apple as a whole.

7 points by bluedanieru 1 day ago 1 reply      
He mentions that his free wifi was the only way to get access to the outside world. I don't know about Softbank (the only provider with iPhones in Japan), but my 3G with Docomo was not disrupted at any point during the crisis. Making calls was difficult or (usually) impossible, but network access was always there. This is in Tokyo.
22 points by jarek 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is this materially different from how any other company in Japan reacted?
28 points by pat2man 1 day ago 1 reply      
The real story here is how valuable and important free internet access points are. We should all support companies and individuals that provide free network access.
4 points by saint-loup 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this bit really interesting:

"You know how in disaster movies, people on the street gather around electronic shops that have TVs in the display windows so they can stay informed with what is going on? In this digital age, that's what the Tokyo Apple stores became."

8 points by maxxxxx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just basic human decency and I am sure Apple is not the only company doing this. I don't think it's a good time for some guy from Silicon Valley to praise some entity from Silicon Valley for doing great things. Reminds me of Twitter getting all the praise for revolutions while people were dying. Let's praise them when they spend some of their billions on earthquake relief.
7 points by anigbrowl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
While doubtless unintentional, this sounds so much like PR as to seem tasteless.
7 points by me_again 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, Microsoft donates $2million (http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2011/03/14...), and nobody notices. I don't mean "oh, poor Microsoft" - it's just interesting that certain kinds of generosity are appreciated more than others.
2 points by Natsu 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's good to see people helping each other. This sort of thing is happening all over Japan, though, not just at any one company. I hope that people encourage each other to do more of this sort of thing.

That said, I was impressed by Google's approach, even though they're not a Japanese company. They set up a page to give people the latest news on the disaster, made a widget to help people donate to the Japanese Red Cross, powered a person finder to help people locate their loved ones and linked people to all kinds of other official resources so that they know when they're expected to ration power, etc.

It's linked from their home page. Honestly, I didn't notice it for a long time, because I always search straight from my browser.

3 points by dctoedt 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Sure, it's just a story of basic human decency, the kind we see in all sorts of crises.

But stories are a big way that cultural values are transmitted and reinforced. The latter is important.

7 points by austintaylor 1 day ago 1 reply      
The part about camping out in the Apple Store reminded me of "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" by Cory Doctorow.


2 points by PostOnce 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I know little of Apple or of Japanese business morals/etc.

I wonder, is this an Apple thing, or a Japanese thing, or an Apple Japan thing? Does it lean any particular way? Not that it matters. Good people doing good things. I would be interested in commentary, though.

3 points by dr_ 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, this is good, but Apple's bigger contribution is allowing donations via iTunes. They have over 200 million credit card numbers on file - that's powerful.
1 point by radicaldreamer 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Tokyo's gripped with panic and the markets are essentially experiencing a flash crash (http://e.nikkei.com/e/app/fr/market/nikkeiindex.aspx) and the French Embassy is warning that radioactivity could reach Tokyo in 10 hours (https://twitter.com/#!/reuters/status/47485505813757952
1 point by rb2k_ 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> with the phone [...] lines down


> hundreds of people were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email.

Why is the internet at the apple store up when apparently the phonelines are down?

0 points by l0nwlf 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple did far better then Microsoft atleast.


4 points by earino 1 day ago 0 replies      
This story made me feel good.
1 point by argarg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Funny how every comments from the link are "Wow awesome APPLE is amazing", talking about the company as a whole when it's only a single store story. Yes, what this they made is great, even though it's what every other store should have made in their situation. Just felt like pointing that fun fact out.
1 point by tylerhowarth 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly everyone needs to get over themselves and their opinions on "roles" in this terrible time.

This was an inspiring story coming from a truly frightening and terrible situation.

3 points by dami 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty awesome stuff!
0 points by retrogradeorbit 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ycombinator is such a massive Apple fanboy hangout these days.
-4 points by edunne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thats it? really? No pledge of money to help repair?

If thats all Apple does in response its extremely weak.

Introducing NowJS or "How to make a chat server in 12 lines of code" nowjs.com
232 points by sthatipamala 3 days ago   32 comments top 11
15 points by substack 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Blending this with browserify + backbone + redis will be really easy to do. I think it will definitely simplify the dev of our app ; allowing us to share even more code between the client and server so that we can maximize code reuse.
5 points by catshirt 3 days ago 1 reply      
how does this compare to dnode?
1 point by brosephius 2 days 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.

2 points by oomkiller 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
What about errors and exceptions?
Will they propagate to the calling side?
2 points by dhruvbird 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff Darshan!
-4 points by sinaiman 3 days ago 0 replies      
But will it blend?
Git is as revolutionary as Unix pipes (2008) apenwarr.ca
228 points by panarky 2 days ago   55 comments top 15
55 points by apenwarr 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm the author of the OP. The comments here make me think (again) that the article wasn't clear enough: admittedly, when I first wrote it, I was just discovering git, as some of the comments said. The difference between me and perhaps many recently-baptized git fanboys is that now, three years later, I still believe exactly what I wrote. I just now also know why it came across the wrong way.

Here's what I was trying to get across at the time: git creates a whole new set of nouns and verbs for computer science that almost none of us have experienced before. Yes, it steals a lot of concepts from programs like darcs and monotone, and there are other things that do the same things that git does from a VCS point of view - but my focus is on the nouns and verbs. git exposes the plumbing of these new concepts directly to you, which is both scary and intensely powerful.

git isn't the next Unix because it will replace Unix: git is the next Unix because its concepts represent the next mind-shifting change in computer science. I mean that git is the next Unix in the same way you could say "Unix is the next Lisp" or "Dynamic Languages are the next Static Languages." Not that the new thing replaces the old thing: they have totally different uses. But that's the point: the new thing's uses are really new. Stuff that was hard is now easy.

It's hard to imagine the world before Unix pipes (and the Unix sh in general) were invented, but I used it, and IT SUCKED. The whole Unix paradigm (yikes, now I've used that word) really changed the face of computing. Even if you don't use Unix, you got changed by Unix.

git's new nouns are blobs, trees, commits, and refs. The new verbs are push, pull, merge, tag, etc. You can apply these nouns and verbs to a lot more than just source code version control.

The naysayers in this thread all sound like 1990's programmers who don't understand the value of higher-order functions or dynamic typing or macros. You can survive without those things, but some problems are just so much easier with them than without them. git is like that. If you don't get it, you're living in the past.

One final clarification: my article was written to talk about git, but it's not about git's code or API or repo format at all. bup, the backup software I started writing about two years after that article, doesn't share any source code with git, but the amazing things it does are possible because it uses the new nouns and verbs popularized by git. When new distributed filesystems and databases and social networks and wikis and massively distributed collaborative text editors arrive, they will all be using these new nouns and verbs. If you don't care about that, then yeah, git isn't the next Unix for you. But if you want to build the next generation of networks in real life, then you'll either be taking advantage of the new nouns and verbs or you'll be painstakingly building the Windows of distributed systems.

20 points by tzury 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is off topic a bit, but it tells my story about building something on top of git.

Just several weeks before dropbox came out into light I have completed building a prototype of what came out to be a dropbox clone on top of git (in fact, I have had it working with mercurial and bazzar as well, I designed it to be platform independent) and thought I have in my bare hands a potential for a great startup (demos were working smoothly, auto syncing files between clients, web viewer, etc). It was a side project, which I used to work on late night and weekends, and I gained what I evaluate as great results with no much effort.

Yet, one morning, I was opening my browser, pointing, as usual, to HN and saw a post saying dropbox have raised this and that money from Sequoya Capital. I was eager to know what is this dropbox and what they do and was terribly shocked to find out they were actually doing the same shit I was in, but, for longer time, with more and smarter people and fundings.

Soon after, I dropped my project (BTW, it was named StoreAge), and yet could not use dropbox or hear anything about it for a very long time.

Today I am a happy dropbox user, and git user and waking up every morning wondering about what will be my next startup.

28 points by sliverstorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, it's been two years and git still isn't making me sandwiches (unlike Unix pipes), so I think he's been proven wrong.

Honestly, I like git, and I like the 'local copy' model, but I feel people go a little overboard sometimes with their enthusiasm for git.

20 points by ggchappell 2 days ago 4 replies      
There are two kinds of articles about DVCSs: (1) git, hg, bzr are all better than whatever you're using now; (2) git is completely revolutionary, a whole new paradigm.

This is, of course, the latter sort. I'm wondering why hg, etc. are never called "a whole new paradigm". I've used all three. Clearly, hg & bzr are extremely similar, while git works a little differently (the staging area, the differing semantics of "add", etc.). But I don't see that git has significantly more awesomeness than the other two.

Am I missing something?

9 points by erikpukinskis 1 day ago 0 replies      
The vast majority of these comments seem to misunderstand the article as saying that Git is revolutionary for managing code.

That's wrong. The article is about using Git for managing data. The examples cited are using it as a backend for a distributed filesystem or a wiki. The OP is talking about Git as a revolutionary new kind of datastore and network protocol, not a revolutionary new kind of VCS.

7 points by j_baker 1 day ago 0 replies      
I say this as someone who absolutely loves git and thinks it's the best thing to happen to VCSes in a long time: no it isn't. This kind of advocacy is worse than useless: when people realize that git isn't a revolutionary concept that will change computing and is really "just" a VCS (albeit a very good one), there will be a big backlash.
37 points by andywhite37 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think Git owes a ton of its success to github.com. Without this extremely well-designed, central repository for repositories, the uptake of Git would have been much slower, and faced much more resistance in the wild. Git is a great tool on its own, but having a centralized place for people to learn and use Git has been huge.
4 points by hasenj 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't remember if I've read this before, but I feel the same way.

The great thing about git is that it's easy to understand. Once you understand the concepts (and they're really (relatively) simple) and learn the vocabulary, it gives you tremendous power. At least, it makes you feel that you have power, hence it empowers you.

> Git is actually the missing link that has prevented me from building the things I've wanted to build in the past.

Totally agree with this one.

9 points by njharman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Binaries work across pipes. With git, not so much.
6 points by davidu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whoever this guy is, his blog has been one of my favorites for quite some time now.
4 points by Adaptive 1 day ago 0 replies      
And for those that don't realize, the OP author also wrote up git subtree, which pretty much caused me to take git seriously and change from hg to it.
2 points by patrickg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has anyone experience with this setup: install your software in a git repository. That way you can say something like "version=1.23" on top of the control file (such as a sourcecode file for a scripting language) and the software system checks out that particular version which is on your hard drive. There are obvious drawbacks of the system as where to install the intermediate working directory, but there might be solutions for these problems.

That way updates may be much less hassle. If you have for example a python script on your server running doing important things, an update to python might break the script and could cause some trouble. But if you could say for example "uses python=x.y" and the system silently falls back to that version even if a newer version of pyhton is installed, the script is more likely to keep running even on upgrades.

5 points by look_lookatme 2 days ago 3 replies      
I remember reading this and being blown away by his enthusiasm.

What are some interesting non-SCM projects that use git? (Like wikis, etc)

1 point by tybris 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to feel like this way about git. Then I got dropbox and became too lazy to use git for anything personal.
1 point by happypeter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love git, and use it to backup my life. Very interesting to know that you will still be able to checkout what you do today many years later. CVS can do this as well, it is just not so attractive being much slower.
iOS Libraries appdevmag.com
228 points by coderholic 14 hours ago   68 comments top 26
26 points by uptown 12 hours ago 2 replies      
No clue what happened to the original, but here's a post which lists what they had on their list:

MBProgressHUD " Progress Indicator Library

ASIHttpRequest " HTTP Network Library

JSON Framework " JSON Support

Flurry " Detailed Usage Statistics

RegexKitLite " Regular Expression Support

Facebook iOS SDK " Facebook API Library

SDWebImage " Simple Web Image Support

GData client " iPhone library for all of Google's services

CorePlot " 2D Graph Plotter

Three20 " General iOS Library

21 points by mrcharles 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, for game developers, Cocos2D iphone is pretty good too. It's reasonably lightweight, fast, and completely free. Pair that up with Box2D or chipmunk, which it comes with, and you have a complete game engine at no cost, with a good amount of community support.

edit -- link: http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/

5 points by masklinn 11 hours ago 2 replies      
> Regular Expressions are a really powerful tool, and the absence of support for regular expressions in the iPhone SDK seems to be a glaring omission.

NSRegularExpression was added to the iOS SDK in 4.0.

Not available if you still aim to be 3.x-compatible (for iPhones and first-gen Touch), but 4.0 has been out for 9 months now, I think it's time to bury this one (note: you could still find NSRegularExpression insufficient or inferior to RKL, that's a different issue).

8 points by jashmenn 11 hours ago 1 reply      
ShareKit http://www.getsharekit.com/ is also an awesome library for sharing content on social sites.
12 points by hiroprot 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Beware overusing MBProgressHUD. It's a really nice library, but in general you should try to avoid modal progress dialogues in favor of progress that can be presented non-modally.
6 points by oscardelben 11 hours ago 2 replies      
A few days ago I released the DateCalculations library which was inspired by Ruby on Rails calculation library. I'll leave it here just in case: https://github.com/oscardelben/DateCalculations
6 points by hiroprot 12 hours ago 1 reply      
JSONKit (https://github.com/johnezang/JSONKit) is quite a bit faster than the mentioned json-framework.

Also, an alternative to SDWebImage is EGOImageLoading (https://github.com/enormego/EGOImageLoading), which might or might not be better (Instagram uses it).

We've been using both libraries quite happily for our new startup, forkly.

3 points by nika 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Not just a library, and something that really makes development for iOS easier is Unity. http://unity3d.com

It may not be free, but it is well worth the money. I use it for non-game apps because development is so rapid.

4 points by allenbrunson 9 hours ago 1 reply      
i tried MBProgressHUD. it is way too heavy. so i wrote my own, smaller one:


3 points by wallflower 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This one is of promise. We are evaluating it and trying it out (and sometimes ripping it out).


"RestKit is an Objective-C framework for iOS that aims to make interacting with RESTful web services simple, fast and fun. It combines a clean, simple HTTP request/response API with a powerful object mapping system that reduces the amount of code you need to write to get stuff done."

4 points by nix 7 hours ago 1 reply      
People forget that you can just use C for the simple stuff. Many of these Objective-C classes are slow, verbose, buggy, and poorly documented compared to the equivalent open source C libraries. In many cases the C API is just as nice - maybe slightly less fancy, but polished from years of actual use. Why use ASIHTTPRequest or NSHTTPRequest when libcurl is mature and fast and cross-platform? What do you really gain by wrapping Objective-C around your regex or date handling? You'll find out when you start profiling (or porting to any non-Apple system).

The Objective-C language (Smalltalk in C) was a nice idea (in the 80s...) but newcomers to iOS should be aware that the non-UI parts of the Cocoa/UIKit libraries are garbage compared to what C programmers have built over the past thirty years. I've had to replace enough of the ObjC libraries I've used with plain C that I just start with the C code now.

3 points by uptown 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Any recommendations for libraries related to user account sign-up / authentication? I'm working on building a multi-player game and want to avoid using Facebook (or another 3rd party) for user authentication.
2 points by nika 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What would really make my iOS life easier is a good RSS client. I'm hoping for something that I can give a URL to and which will give me back an NSArray of dictionaries of entires, or something like that.

Too much to ask? Or should I just go the XML parsing route? (which seems like it would be a lot of work and brittle) I've not yet dug into this, but this is the next set of functionality I have to work on.

4 points by steipete 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The list is quite crappy. E.g. :GData client" doesn't help you unless you really need it. If you search for the little things, like weak-linked yet self deleting delegates, or good image crunching stuff, check out PSFoundation.


And if you wanna have it set up for you, just clone the app template: https://github.com/steipete/PSiOSAppTemplate

1 point by simonista 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny, I was just wondering this morning if there's code somewhere to do the "pull to refresh" action on tables that everyone seems to be adding recently. Found a good round up here: http://iosdevgoodies.joostschuur.com/pull-and-release-refres.... On further inspection the three20 version uses the EGO version.
2 points by aaronbrethorst 9 hours ago 0 replies      
2 points by coderholic 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Posted this just before I headed off to a meeting. Back from the meeting, and my server is fried :)

Rebooted and back up now. Thanks for all the comments!

6 points by eevilspock 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Link doesn't work. "appdevmag.com" doesn't work. Googled "site:appdevmag.com" and got zero hits.


2 points by jasongullickson 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think we blew up "Flurry Analytics"; attempting to register just keeps returning the registration page, with no error messages...
3 points by BenSS 10 hours ago 1 reply      
ASIHttpRequest (hated handling network requests before), RegexKitLite (still superior to the recent NSRegEx) and Flurry (why doesn't apple give you this level of detail) are fantastic. Flurry's size is a bit of a downer, but implementation is easy.
3 points by zoul 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've written a block-based UIAlertView and UIActionSheet wrapper that makes working with alerts and action sheets less painful (no more button indexes and alert tags):


1 point by Aqua_Geek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working on a database wrapper for SQLite to replace some plist serialization stuff I was using. It's still in the early alpha stages, but it's SOOO much easier to use than Core Data.


1 point by btipling 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Are there similar libraries for Android development? The hardest problem I have is with making the UI look better than standard/default UI on both iPhone and Android. Libraries that made that easier would be awesome.
1 point by edge17 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a good way to authenticate youtube? The GData stuff I've found was janky at best. It worked on a newly created account, but didn't work on my age old pre-acquisition account
1 point by taylorbuley 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Props for the headline edit according to house style http://ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html
2 points by Maakuth 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I've never tried iOS development, and I'm a bit surprised by many of these library recommendations. For example HTTP requests, regular expressions and progress indicators strike me as something your platform definitely should provide you with. Of course it's great that there are quality libraries to fill in where the platform falls short.
First dump of Anon BofA Documents is up bankofamericasuck.com
221 points by count 1 day ago   117 comments top 23
31 points by rst 1 day ago 1 reply      
Detail on what's being alleged here: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/03/wikileaks-whistleblow...

In outline: banks were supposed to be funneling mortgage payments to holders of bonds backed by the mortgages. But they were (allegedly) siphoning off some of that money for themselves or their cronies --- nominally in the form of ludicrously overpriced premiums for insurance policies against default. This would be legally actionable if it held up, and there have been consent decrees in the past.

32 points by davidu 1 day ago replies      
Just read though it all. So far, this is unimpressive and not really indicative of any serious criminal activity.

And here's the torrent: http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6241472

15 points by shareme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me explain something:

I used to work as a jr accountant when my 2 year degree in CS and Business was first granted for a Home Health firm non profit that received funds from the state and federal governments.

As it was explained to me at the time by a lawyer when I discovered some financial fraud with those state funds at the firm I was employed by..you cannot keep it a secret and expect the state not bring a case against you when they find out as its criminal activity.

This ex BOAf employee is damned if he or she does or not
as the state might bring a case against the ex employee when they discover the criminal activity or BOAF makes his or her life hell when they are exposed.

9 points by jarin 1 day ago 1 reply      
8 points by fooandbarify 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is just a disgruntled former employee complaining about the common (legal) business practices of large corporations. Am I missing something?
5 points by some1else 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this explains the frantic "Bank of America Sucks" domain purchases.


7 points by flashingleds 1 day ago 0 replies      
The presentation threw up some suspicion alarms (in a similar way to the Journal of Cosmology for the recent meteor paper), it reads like some kind of weird stream-of-consciousness. I guess I'll reserve judgement until somebody
a) I've heard of
b) presents it logically.
4 points by zaidf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wait, is this from Anon or Wikileaks?
1 point by mixmax 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, not quite: "The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."
4 points by wbhart 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought BoA bought up all these domain names. How does anonymous have it?

How can we verify this is legit?

The primary domain is registered to James somebody, email address Nope@gmail.com, which doesn't exactly look like valid info.

3 points by tybris 1 day ago 0 replies      
The public already knows banks are evil. If you have evidence, go to court.
1 point by S_A_P 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the allegations that BOA destroyed this guys life and made him a "terrorist" are true, then that is sad. However, I dont know that I can trust the motives of someone who would still be working there if they hadnt personally attacked him.

Maybe there is a link- I couldnt see all of the screenshots to be sure. But the emails I saw were a bit paranoid sounding for me.

4 points by aidos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any idea why most of the images are in the uploads/2011/01 folder and some are in the uploads/2011/03 folder? Probably nothing of course...
1 point by ibejoeb 1 day ago 0 replies      
The trail stops as soon as the internal confrontation begins. If it's real at all, how are we to know that it didn't end there?

It's just not thorough. This better be just the tip, because I think it's more damaging to the credibility of this leaker than anything else.

1 point by hollerith 1 day ago 0 replies      
So why screenshots of an email client instead of the emails themselves?

I fear that OperationLeakS probably cannot imagine how screenshots can be forged, so he believes them to be more authoritative than emails.

3 points by ericmsimons 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel like this wasn't a great time to announce the BofA leaks with Japan in absolute chaos...they would have had better impact in a few weeks.
3 points by bgentry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nothing to see here. Hopefully this is just setting the stage for what's about to be released, but nothing in this first batch is in any way shocking or concerning.
1 point by scottkrager 1 day ago 0 replies      
They need to remove all ads from this domain, otherwise BofA can easily take the domain for trademark infringement.
4 points by redthrowaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
>I just don't find it credible that after making people wait for these, the leaker couldn't take the time to rewrite the explanations for who he/she is and why he/she is leaking these documents and resorts to screenshots of 4chan posts.

What? A) there was a fairly lengthy record of why this person was doing what they were doing, and B) that's a mail client, not 4chan.

1 point by binarymax 1 day ago 0 replies      
Made it half way though and the server went cold. Is there a text transcription of the email screenshots anywhere?
2 points by phoenix24 1 day ago 1 reply      
The website seems to be already overloaded with traffic.

I get "503 : Service Temporarily Unavailable"

1 point by levigross 1 day ago 0 replies      
The documents may be up but that site keeps on going down.
1 point by tuhin 1 day ago 1 reply      
503: Service temporary unavailable!
The Complete Guide for Starting iPhone and iOS Development withoutfriction.com
219 points by withoutfriction 4 days ago   49 comments top 12
35 points by flyosity 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is just a bunch of links. Can anyone vouch for the author's credibility?
3 points by Breefield 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call this a "complete guide" ... seems more like pre-reqs.
1 point by philthy 4 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 4 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.

       cached 16 March 2011 02:11:01 GMT