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Firefox 4 is here mozilla.com
645 points by potomak 1 day ago   339 comments top 68
75 points by giu 1 day ago replies      
I started using Firefox again the day I heard about the 4.0 Release Candidate, and thought I could give it a another try after it failed to convince me the few times I tried to use it in the past.

I was pleasently surprised. The browser's way faster; launching it doesn't take that much time; the UI is way more responsive; and all the add-ons I've been using in the past are compatible with 4.0 (Web Developer, Firebug, Colorzilla, etc.).

I'm currently using it as my primary browser again, and it looks like it will stay on that podest for awhile.

It's awesome to see a browser resurecting with that many improvements, despite the fact that some people have almost written it off due to some annoying issues in past versions, the most prominent one being performance.

I'd really recommend you to give it a try.

Disclaimer: I've been using Opera 11 as my primary browser before I decided to give FF 4.0 a try

15 points by bad_user 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have been using Chrome for 6 months now.

What I liked about Chrome: optimized usage of vertical space and speed. But what I really disliked about it -- Chrome add-ons are useless. Chrome would never allow something like Firebug without being built-in. And I couldn't find a plugin with proper Delicious integration either.

Also, searching the history in the address bar works a lot better in Firefox -- probably has something to do with the way Chrome encourages you to use Google. And speaking of History -- Chrome still doesn't let you search and delete items in the search results page. What's up with that?

Now Firefox 4 has it all -- the interface is still not as vertical-space efficient as in Chrome, but as I understand it on Windows tabs do move in the title bar, and that little change is coming for Linux too.

I love Firefox 4. They did an awesome job.

10 points by DarkShikari 1 day ago 5 replies      
The new "menu in the upper left" seems to be rather badly designed. It's missing the "View" menu entirely, which makes it impossible for me to view non-ASCII/Unicode websites. It took me about 5 minutes of searching and frantically right-clicking to re-enable the old menu, which of course still had the View menu.

On a positive note, 4 is so much faster than 3.6 it isn't even funny. It's like going from a 286 running off of an 8-inch floppy to a Core 2 on an SSD.

31 points by kristiandupont 1 day ago 2 replies      
To everybody asking what Firefox has that Chrome lacks: The Awesomebar.

I haven't seen it mentioned here but it's by far the thing I miss the most from FF (along with FireBug and TreeStyle Tabs). It practically replaces bookmarks for me because because it searches through the history. In Chrome it feels like I have to re-google everything unless I remember the exact url.

11 points by famousactress 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been on the FF4 beta for some time (the web app we work on is currently only supported on firefox). My honest assessment? FF4 is a huge improvement over FF3, specifically in terms of performance. It's still not Chrome though. Firebug works great in it (better than it does in FF3).

So yeah, if you've been using FF3 for web-dev or to browse, you're about to get a major upgrade. If you're a Chrome user I don't know of anything that would make FF4 especially attractive.

26 points by d0m 1 day ago replies      
Lets say I'm a chrome user (and loving it), is Firefox4 worth a try? What are the main differences from the last version?
6 points by cryptoz 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm a web dev and need to keep 3.x around. Can I easily install these two side-by-side or is that going to cause trouble for me? I'd love to use FF4 as my main browser at work (well, in competition with Chrome anyway) but I can't risk messing up 3.
4 points by roadnottaken 1 day ago 5 replies      
Meh. One of the smoothest features of Chrome (that won a lot of adherents) was how you could close lots of tabs quickly without moving the mouse (i.e. the tabs only re-size after you move the mouse away). Same for opening tabs. How did FF4 not copy this? It looks just like Chrome only crappier.
2 points by ern 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I am surprised that they got rid of the padlock icon. I had to Google before I realized that they now use a colored section with the site name in the address bar to show a secure connection. Not very obvious when you first start using it.

I wonder if this change is going to be disruptive for users who are trained to look for a padlock icon.

4 points by bryanlarsen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome timing. The latest version of chrome (10.0.648.15, Linux x86_64) hangs on Google Reader and doesn't work with Flash for me. That gives me an excuse to play with FF4 rather than futzing around downgrading chrome.
2 points by barrkel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Text rendering in Windows is significantly worse - sometimes it's blotchy (random characters seem to have more weight than others) - particularly here on HN, and inter-character spacing is inconsistent; at others, the anti-aliasing looks overdone, and text looks blurry and over-smoothed.

I had Firefox 3 configured such that the main menu, URL box, navigation buttons etc. were all on the same toolbar - the menu bar. In that same configuration, Firefox 4 looks somewhat ugly - there's little space between the bottom of the menu bar and the page content (I also use tree-style tabs).

Apart from how it looks, and how it renders text, it's nice. The resizable gripper on multi-line text boxes is nice - that works well here on HN.

Edit: after disabling hardware acceleration, the text at least is much nicer. I don't notice any loss in performance in simple scrolling etc. with it disabled either.

2 points by SkyMarshal 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Just installed it on my netbook with Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04.

Motherfucking beautiful, guys, it feels like Christmas morning. Great work, keep it up. (And I'm so stoked the Vimperator plugin works on launch, kudos to that team too!).

Just working out the best way to install it side-by-side with 3.6 on my workstation, which I'll need to keep a while for web dev testing.

3 points by xtacy 1 day ago 0 replies      
FF4 is really fast and responsive, as advertised! Awesome work guys!

Pardon me if this is a silly question, but I really love the tab UI feeling that I get in Chromium (the looks, the curves, etc.) Given that other projects like Kod.app already copy that feature, is it possible for Firefox to incorporate it as well?

5 points by nickolai 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find javascript refreshingly faster compared to 3.5 . I no longer even get the "unresponsive script" messages when using the usual lot of JS-abusing pages our "tools support" team has cooked up.
4 points by davidhollander 1 day ago 0 replies      
For anyone upgrading firefox on ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

4 points by tristanperry 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed with it.

Its UI is clear and responsive, and overall is seems quicker. Plus it uses up around 40% less RAM (in my experiences).

1 point by pragmatic 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Is Flash not installed by default?

Downloaded FF4 and several sites won't display.

Ex: Youtube says "You need to upgrade your Adobe Flash Player to watch this video."

Other sites just don't work.

Maybe I'm out of loop and need to update my desktop flash.

Man, chrome has ruined me with its auto-updating.

3 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have JavaScript performance benchmarks yet against Chrome?
2 points by eftpotrm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm hopeful for the speed improvements; I was having issues with 3.6.x in that and so far 4 seems good but I've not really stressed it.

Otherwise, confess first impressions are less happy. Moving the tab bar has left it stranded adjacent to neither the edge of the window nor the page which makes it less easy to quickly grab sight of for me, and I seem to have lost the shortcut for the search box which I actually _used_ - if this replicated the old suite's behaviour of location bar searching outside the history I'd mind less, but it doesn't. Having to grab the pointer every time I want to search instead of Ctrl-E doesn't seem a win to me :-(

1 point by cubicle67 14 hours ago 0 replies      
just ticked over 6,000,000 downloads (in < 22 hours). well done guys

Edit: USA has top spot at the moment with 1.2 million, followed by Germany with almost 550 thousand

3 points by gue5t 1 day ago 1 reply      
Firefox 4 still has a huge number of UI issues on linux due to reliance on XUL for the UI. There have been improvements in a couple extensions, as far as font colors using GTK themes go, but the menubar is still too tall and has the wrong font color (on basically every GTK theme and theme engine I can find) and keyboard shortcuts for several things (e.g. space to toggle menu items without closing the menu) are removed from GTK. Using RGBA with the murrine GTK engine, alpha transparency leaves "ghosts" on hovered menu options in Firefox, and buttons occasionally completely change their look pre- and post-hover (firebug had a drop-down that would "segment" itself when hovered, for example).

Add this to the completely non-native tabs and toolbar, and the lack of a status bar, and the UI is simply unusable imo. A native UI using an established toolkit, or a custom-built UI with usability in mind would both be preferable to the current halfway kludge.

4 points by Mafana0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Count me impressed. I use netbooks a lot and FF4 gave me the best browsing experience I've ever tried on a 10"-screen, Atom-CPU powered PC. Performance improvements and the amount of space it saves on a small screen for my usage are pretty amazing. Kudos Mozilla for another great release!

EDIT: Just noticed that FF4 allows me to resize text-fields that render quite small because of the small screen. Small, relative-sized text-fields can be easily resized to a convenient size.

2 points by mirkules 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am so glad they got rid of the link preview in the URL bar (like they had in the RCs) and instead put in on the bottom left.

Usually, I have tabs open that change their title when something happens (e.g. Gmail Inbox(1), or Facebook), and those catch my attention from the corner of my eye. However, having the URL preview when hovering over a link go into the URL bar on top also catches my attention, and distracts me from my current workflow.

5 points by lordlarm 1 day ago 5 replies      
Am I the only one that does not understand why Firefox still has a 'Google search' field at the left? Why not use Chrome's approach and merge the two of them - at least give me the possibility to hide it.
(And I am aware of the possibility so search in other sites than google, but I 'never' want to do that.)
2 points by huhtenberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
And to mark the occasion FF4 RC2 just crashed on me twice in a row. Are there any crashing issues fixed in the production release compared to RC2?

Also, the IE-style reload button (at the right end of the address field) is too small and awkwardly positioned. I never realized how often it is actually used.

3 points by jlongster 1 day ago 1 reply      
Feel free to watch our launch party here: http://air.mozilla.com/
1 point by willheim 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I was REALLY hopeful for FF to make a comeback with 4. I had been a convert in the 2.X days and watched as it got bloated and slower throughout 3. Switched to Chrome in version 9 and never looked back. Then IE9 came out and was so much faster than before so I had hope for FF.

Well, that hope has been quickly dashed. How? By mozilla's own demo page, the web'o'wonder. On my three year old machine it says my video drivers don't support WebGL and won't play nice with many things. What it does play nice with was not very wonderful. The "Letterheads" were choppy with a framerate probably approaching 8 or 9 fps. The 360 video refused to load. Same with Remixing Reality. IE9 wouldn't work with those and neither would Safari.

Then I tried them in Chrome. Huh. Go figure. They all worked marvelously. Yup... this new web era could be a Web o' Wonders... but it looks like it won't be featuring FF4 or IE9.

Now, can anyone tell me why FF4 has issues with WebGL but Chrome 11.0696 doesn't? And it's not just a webkit thing because Safari 5.04 isn't liking them either.

1 point by nickolai 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Aw... i just wish they didnt swap "new tab" and "new window" in the right-click on link menu. I understand the decision, but im so used to the previous setup that I get owned every time :/

Apart from that, im really happy with this new version!

1 point by veidr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a mirror, just in case there are others for whom the main download site is estimating nine hrs to go. (Mac OS X version)


3 points by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the team and thank you to everyone who contributed (even the smallest bugfix) to help us all.
3 points by codejoust 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using the betas over chrome for a few months now. They've redone the UI, it's stabler, less memory intensive, and the UI is completely redone.
It's definitely worth checking out even if you enjoy chrome.
4 points by torsy 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the devs, you can now run Firebug in FF 4. http://blog.getfirebug.com/2011/03/21/firebug-1-7-0/
3 points by kawera 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those with old ppc Macs, there is a port of FF4 Final at http://www.floodgap.com/software/tenfourfox/

Works great for me and is way faster than Safari 5.04 on a iMac G5 and a Powerbook G4 (10.5.8 in both).

1 point by Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Firefox user here since phoenix, switched to Chrome and never looked back. You can't come to par with Chrome to make me switch back, you have to make me shit my pants to do so, and Chrome did when they were the first to bring websockets to the browser. They kept bringing good stuff like web inspector, so no need to download firebug or any other extension. And joining the search bar with the address bar is just genius.

In short, I prefer my browser naked, and Chrome is the best without clothes.

2 points by jmcnevin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a little conflicted about the Firefox Sync feature. On the one hand: yay! On the other... it's a lot more difficult to set up sync in Firefox than in Chrome. I got to work today and was dismayed to discover that I couldn't simply login to Mozilla's server and sync up my bookmarks from home, but that I needed the sync key from my computer at home to get this working. Boo. That, or you need to have the devices you want to sync in the same place and use a Netflix-like "Add Device" feature.

I get it. Encrypting locally is more secure, but they've made this system SO secure that it's actually irritating. I wish I at least had the option of foregoing this sync key business.

Anyway, now I know to put my sync key on Dropbox so this doesn't happen again.

1 point by stevejohnson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been a Chrome user (OS X) for a while, but switched to FF4RC to see if it used less memory than Chrome (not a difficult feat).

It was mostly great, except the UI would stop responding at random for minutes at a time. So I'm back on Chrome.

1 point by juiceandjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
Three finger scroll up and down for home/end in OS X is really nice... I wish this worked in chrome.
3 points by bsmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really would like to see a built-in PDF viewer"that's one of my favorite features in Chrome because it keeps the download folder clean and lets me reference several PDFs/pages without leaving the window.
7 points by stianan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Why is text aliased and ugly in Firefox 4?
1 point by jim_h 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hope the addons also get updated for FF4. I upgraded to FF4, but I miss having the CS Lite addon.

'CS Lite' lets me manage cookie permissions for current site without having to go into the preference and go through the long process. Very useful since I usually block cookies and only turn on when needed. The reviews for CS Monster doesn't seem as good.

1 point by dpcan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uhg. Had to roll back to 3.6

The new one looks great and seems to run fast, but my most important add-ons weren't supported. I hate being held back by my add-ons, but I have no choice.

2 points by joakin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Please help and advice your friends and family to update :)

Lets help mozilla!

1 point by Duff 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have they improved the ability to manage Firefox settings in an enterprise environment?
1 point by al_james 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Is it me, or do those 'monster characters' on the landing page so really, really amateurish?
1 point by va1en0k 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to try to switch a browser, if I see a simple and cool sync-from-chrome (google account) feature. maybe I don't really need one, and maybe I can use some XML thingy for it, but I'm too lazy
2 points by u48998 1 day ago 3 replies      
Two things:

1. Sync is totally not up to par. It doesn't inform what it does in the background and there is no place to check on the web what it uploads. I am not sure why FF even bothered to release this feature when it is not even ready (there are several people complaining about many things of Sync at the Add-on review).

2. The bookmark/history manager can use upgrade/better features. Ever since the Delicious fiasco, FF could possibly play a better role in adding modern bells and whistles to its bookmarks manager.

Other than above two, I'm not complaining.

1 point by Casis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice, the UI is well designed, more screen estate.

Just 2 complaints:

- The colors's arrows for previous/next are not really visible

- When on a laptop, I used to open a link in a new tab by
right click + open in a new tab. This option was the second one in the previous firefox's version, now it's the first, so I end up opening a lot of links in new window instead of new tab, guess it's only a matter of time till I get the habit :)

1 point by nixy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Using FF4 on Hacker News main page gives me a popup saying TypeError: a.textContent is undefined.
1 point by discipline 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn them - damn them to hell. The thing that Firefox 3 did in Winidows (XP anyway) that was so useful was that when you deleted trash or spam, it automatically put the pointer on the OK button. Not the OS preference, but a Firefox feature. It didn't work in OS X, but it worked in XP. They took that feature away - I saw it in the beta, but was hoping they really hadn't deleted it. Damn them.

OK, other than that, I like FF4! Just had to vent.

2 points by MichaelStubbs 1 day ago 1 reply      
After having some serious problems with the beta, I'm actually very impressed with this release. Even on my parents' old ex-council computer (1ghz P4, 512mb RAM, integrated graphics) this release is lightning fast!
2 points by zachcb 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I still like Opera the most. Easily the most innovative browser and much more enjoyable to use.
1 point by pistoriusp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has anyone else noticed that you can't drag the window from one space to another under OS X?
2 points by jmcnevin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just noticed that FF4 also has shiny new javascript confirm and alert popups, complete with a lightbox effect. Nice!
1 point by arturnt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Firefox market share is going to continue to shrink as Chrome takes over. They've just been way too slow to respond. It is a shame since feature wise Firefox is a superior browser.
3 points by dlokshin 1 day ago 7 replies      
Will Firefox 3.x auto update to 4?
2 points by rostayob 1 day ago 0 replies      
The new vimperator is out as well, and it's great.
this is way better than crome now.
1 point by diamondhead 1 day ago 0 replies      
Addons manager looks nice and useful compared to previous one but still I know many people who would prefer to use package managers for managing addons
1 point by joel_liu 1 day ago 0 replies      
FF4 add on collection selected by Mozilla https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collections/mozilla...
2 points by ch0wn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I couldn't find any PPAs or packages for Ubuntu, yet. Did anyone else?
2 points by diptanu 1 day ago 1 reply      
More importantly: Is FireBug available yet for FireFox 4?
0 points by jlouis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work with my loved Quake Live plugin yet... uninstall :)
1 point by tutanosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully we won't have to wait long for Firefox 5 cause Chrome is not sitting still :)
1 point by khatarnaak 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Great new browser...Heads off firefox guys..
1 point by khatarnaak 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Its very fast compared to firefox 3.6.
1 point by DzHiBaS 1 day ago 1 reply      
tab key in form elements is not working. or it's just for me ?
-2 points by orionlogic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still my Pareto principle usage of FF: Firebug + Web dev. Toolbar.

If only those extentions functions exactly the same with webkit browsers.If only...Does anybody hearing me?

3 points by makecheck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you sure it "started" your current version, or did you have an old window open somewhere?

By default, Firefox sends a new-window message to any running Firefox instead of spawning a new one.

Try killing all existing Firefox windows (e.g. "killall firefox" or "pkill firefox") and run it again.

-4 points by techsavys 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can download the Firefox 4 Final from here : http://www.techsavys.info/2011/03/firefox-4-final-downloads-...
Subject: Airbnb paulgraham.com
601 points by anateus 6 days ago   134 comments top 51
112 points by edw519 6 days ago 2 replies      
Nice, pg.

Have you ever given a similar vote of confidence to founders who didn't live up to your expectations?

33 points by quickpost 6 days ago 6 replies      
Fascinating conversation. Thanks for giving insight into how these deals work...

>ABNB reminds me of Etsy in that it facilitates real commerce in a marketplace model directly between two people.

Interestingly enough, I still tend to side with Fred's assessment of AirBnB's future. All my experiences with it as a user have been too unreliable to expect that it can scale to truly massive usability. Selling your old guitar online is a lot different than renting a room to someone. Renting a room has so much more of a personal aspect to it.

There are so many more subtleties to actually having a stranger come and stay in your house than there are to sending a stranger a book, guitar, etc via USPS.

Regardless, I still think there's a massive market out there for this type of thing, I just don't see it swallowing up the whole Hotel industry.

132 points by siddhant 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is the post that best gives an idea of "Why should you do YC".
55 points by chr15 6 days ago 2 replies      
I've told this story before on HN, but it's worth telling again.

I rented a room in L.A. using Airbnb. The owner of the room said he made $4000 in 3 months on two rooms that would have otherwise been vacant. If you're making this much money for people you've tapped into one helluva market.

45 points by charlief 6 days ago 0 replies      
Fred Wilson tweeted: Reading the email discussion between paul graham and me with 20/20 hindsght is both useful and painful


29 points by DevX101 6 days ago 0 replies      
You won me over PG. I'm applying to YC tomorrow.
34 points by seiji 6 days ago 3 replies      
Great examples of VCs never saying no directly and of a strange insider be-terse-and-get-out-of-my-way writing style.
31 points by danielha 6 days ago 0 replies      
What an incredible post. Thanks for sharing, pg.

YC absolutely does hustle for you like this, and it's the best kind -- genuine.

19 points by pclark 6 days ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that in the end Airbnb raised from Sequoia, I wonder if lots of other VCs passed.

It possibly shows why Sequoia are the best.

50 points by cloudbrain 6 days ago 5 replies      
Interesting that completely missing from this conversation is:

-- Their website design
-- Their code (Rails? Jquery?)
-- Their hosting / scalability / "cloud" strategy
-- Source control methods, dev environment, tools
-- APIs, "ecosystem", social media, "viral rate" etc.
-- And more...

Basically, all the things that most of us here spend most of our time discussing.

1) Idea / Team
2) Execute
3) Talk to people with money
4) Go to #2

21 points by zck 6 days ago 2 replies      
>(Fred Wilson): I am also talking to my friend Mark Pincus who had an idea like this a few years ago.

Mark Pincus is better known as the founder of Zynga, unless this is another Mark Pincus.

14 points by marcamillion 6 days ago 0 replies      
So this post has done two things in my estimation.

1) Improved the perceived standing of PG among the entrepreneur-class. It proves that he really adds value the way he says he does - hawking, what can easily be seen as a very weird idea at a time when not many people see it.

2) Improved my perception of Fred. Even though he passed on the deal, he is stand-up enough to not only admit it - but allow PG to post this email exchange that shows that he was "one of the old guys" that were skeptical. It also shows that he wasn't just pulling PG's chain, but was really debating it internally.

7 points by nopassrecover 6 days ago 0 replies      
In my experience, Airbnb's biggest competitor is HostelHero and I found this much more convenient than Airbnb while traveling (if only because hostels nearly always have space, unlike the many rooms we encountered on Airbnb advertised as free but suddenly not when you book them).

Arriving in a new city without internet it was great to have HH and be able to find 10 hostels and know they are going to be open. I guess McDonalds wifi etc. means Airbnb could have been a competitor, but the ease of finding accommodation reliably, of a reliable standard, and at more affordable prices meant we used HH far more than Airbnb.

Having said that, the times we could manage to find a room that was genuinely free, and appeared to be genuine people with a spare room, were some of the highlights of our travels. The people and the rooms were both fantastic, and it's this "home away from home" and social aspect I think Airbnb should be pushing. I think at the same time they should be working hard to remove the listings that I could best describe as dodgy guys trying to run a hotel out of an apartment building without adhering to local hotelier laws as we found these far too prevalent in some cities.

24 points by jedc 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, thanks PG (and Fred and AirBnB team). This is an awesome insight into angel/VC investment decisions. It's hugely valuable.
3 points by nupark 6 days ago 1 reply      
This exchange cements my concerns about AirBNB only being huge if they can end-run the hotel regulatory system.

pg: Did they explain the long-term goal of being the market in accommodation the way eBay is in stuff? That seems like it would be huge. Hotels now are like airlines in the 1970s before they figured out how to increase their load factors.

fw: So I think it can scale all the way to the bed and breakfast market. But I am not sure they can take on the hotel market.

The problem is, the regulatory system (not to mention the neighbors) do not want unlicensed, widespread "crowd-sourced" illegal hotel rooms, and are working hard to block them:


Paul Graham talks about the 'eBay' of accommodation -- but a huge percentage of eBay's revenue comes from professional sellers, which is exactly what will run afoul of regulation in the rental/hotel market.

7 points by ivankirigin 6 days ago 2 replies      

  It just seemed a very good sign to me that these guys were actually
on the ground in NYC hunting down (and understanding) their users.

That's a funny comment from paul because he was the one to tell them to go to NYC. That they went is to their credit, but still. I think of this sometimes with the pitch coaching for demo day. How many investors think "that's a great way to phrase that" when watching a presentation and what they are actually hearing is PG? When you've seen a few of them, it is quite stunning.

I don't mean this in a negative way. It actually is just evidence that paul graham is a badass.

11 points by zaidf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Lesson: even pg can be rejected.

It's not the end of the world.

27 points by neebz 6 days ago 0 replies      
the most amazing thing is that it took them only 2 years to come to a stage that a VC had to write a blog regretting missing them out.
6 points by luckystrike 6 days ago 1 reply      
If someone still has any doubts about the value of YC, they should read this email exchange. PG is pushing for the startup as if it was his own. He genuinely wanted them (and also the VC firm) to succeed.

Great stuff.

3 points by dr_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is great stuff.
You can't blame any VC for being cautious at that early a stage though, and although the idea of hotels using airbnb to list their vacancies hasn't happened yet, as far as I can tell, it may not even matter. I have just started trying them to rent my apt in NYC, lets see how it goes. Personally as a "landlord" I feel like I do a great job accomodating my tenant, but on a site like craigslist, which is where I'd been posting my listings, this never gets reflected as there are no opinions/ratings, etc. As a result, I can't "stand out" from other landlords. It's not hard to get tenants in NYC, but I can imagine in some other parts of the country or world this may be a bigger issue.
This is where I hope airbnb comes in handy.
2 points by ShabbyDoo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Unrelated to start-up investment, just a random thought about ABNB:

I was thinking about the impact of hotel chains' business traveler kick-back schemes (euphemistically known as "rewards" programs) on the independent room providers (a phrase I just coined to run the gamut between someone renting out his spare room and a boutique hotel) ability to attract business travelers. How, as a business renting out 40 rooms in a single city, do you compete with Marriott who can offer some guy and his wife a free weekend stay anywhere in exchange for funneling his company's (or even his company's client's) dollars toward their brands? What if ABNB offered up to these independent operators a rewards program similar to those offered by the big chains? They would move beyond be a transaction facilitator toward being closer to a consumer brand. I believe that lower-end hotel chains basically follow this model -- independent owners become franchisees of the brand as a way to get bookings, have a recognizable brand, etc. While I doubt that too many of today's ABNB bookings are business-related, that number will surely increase. I love playing armchair QB :)

6 points by wensing 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very encouraging to see that AirBnB struggled to prove market size. I know the pain.
4 points by ajaimk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or just Brian Chesky reply 2 minutes before PG sends the intro? Time differences won't account for it since NYC is ahead of SF
6 points by joshbert 6 days ago 0 replies      
Was I the only one that kind of smiled when reading the emails from PG to Fred pitching these guys? I loved that!
5 points by Hovertruck 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have to say, it's pretty inspiring to see that PG went to bat that hard for the Airbnb guys.
2 points by jscore 6 days ago 1 reply      
pg seemed a bit direct in terms of what he wanted in his email, which I found refreshing. On the other hand, Fred seemed to 'beat around the bush' as when he said 'we are in data gathering phase'.

Just curious what the norm is around the vc/angel circles. Are most people pretty direct/candid? or do they mostly hide behind business speak?

2 points by olivercameron 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not that I doubted it, but this shows that YC are really prepared to fight and defend your corner to help you advance. Great to read.
1 point by vaksel 6 days ago 1 reply      
interesting stuff

I was under the impression that YC introductions were pretty much the equivalent of "hey, here are some guys...invest in them"...but here you can see that there is a lot more pressure....bordering on begging

2 points by andrewparker 6 days ago 0 replies      
Note that there is zero mention of VRBO or Homeaway in this entire email thread. That's the real opportunity (not hotels or bed and breakfasts) and neither Fred nor Paul saw it.
3 points by evanjacobs 6 days ago 1 reply      
VCs often say they invest in team first and idea second but USV decided not to invest in AirBnb despite having no (obvious) reservations about the team or their ability to execute.

Does this mean that ideas are more important than investors really let on?

1 point by gacba 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's what I appreciated:

Both Fred and PG are willing to
a) admit mistakes and
b) be totally transparent about it and
c) publish that transaction for others to learn from put them BOTH in a class above and beyond traditional VCs.

Are you "other" guys listening out there? This is why YC is eating your lunch with new startups...

1 point by sportsTAKES 6 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating -

I could be wrong but I don't imagine too many people push back so hard on @paulg like that.

I have great respect for @fredwilson for pushing back and then admitting in a very public way that he felt he made a big mistake.

The best line of the email is @paulg describing @fredwilson: "He is the least suburban-golf-playing
VC I know."

Glad this story was shared and glad there is continued mutual respect there -

1 point by vessenes 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hey PG,

Thanks for publishing this exchange. I've never known you to be anything but exceedingly polite and thoughtful; now I learn you're doing good work behind the scenes too. Inspiring!

2 points by _pius 6 days ago 0 replies      
Could there possibly be a better pitch for YC than this? Awesome read!
1 point by jmm 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if missed investments like this have the senior guys listening to the junior members a bit more, or whether the young guys are wrong enough to keep it biz as usual.
1 point by danvoell 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing PG, this is fascinating! We as entrepreneurs are generally busy trying to sell you and we rarely get to see your approach when "pitching" one of your companies. Your point by point break down of a market and how a company can grow into it is very insightful. I am taking note of your use of character validation (cereal story), peer validation (YC poll), market/community focus validation (out talking to users) and master vision for my own future investment communications. So short, subtle, and to the point, love it!
1 point by mikeleeorg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love the term "cereal entrepreneurs" from one of the commenters on Fred Wilson's post:


(The Disqus link doesn't quite work all the time tho...)

1 point by startupcomment 5 days ago 0 replies      
Airbnb has definitely tapped into a latent market, but I wonder how such "rentals" may square with terms in lease agreements or condo association provisions. States and / or municipalities may quickly try to capture taxes, as Zipcar has discovered, or they may try to prevent or regulate such "rentals" on the basis of licensing, public health and safety, or other laws or ordinances. I wonder if the typical renter is properly reporting the income to the appropriate tax authorities.
2 points by bluekite2000 6 days ago 0 replies      
Airbnb is a good startup but the founders struggled so much at first without gaining any significant traction. And even with PG's endorsement they still had trouble getting funding from a progressive-minded VC. I wonder if they (Airbnb's founders) could make it to this point without YC.
1 point by ajaimk 6 days ago 0 replies      
The content is wonderful to read through but the time frame that this conversation takes place over (a month) has a lot to say in itself.
1 point by adrianwaj 6 days ago 2 replies      
Fred: "I'm just not sure how big it's going to be"

- had he seen couchsurfing at the time?

http://www.couchsurfing.org launched as beta in 2003)


Are Airbnb copycats?

1 point by chriseidhof 6 days ago 1 reply      
What could YC/Airbnb have done to prevent this? Anything you guys would do differently in hindsight?
2 points by alienreborn 6 days ago 0 replies      
It seems PG has utmost belief in AirBnB guys from the beginning by the way he repeatedly tries to convince Fred to invest it.

Thanks for sharing the inside story. :)

2 points by jiffylu 6 days ago 1 reply      
This seems right up USV's alley too. Marketplaces and platforms.

If I remember correctly, USV didn't exactly pass, but made a play around the time Sequoia did.

1 point by Lucadg 5 days ago 0 replies      
We tried to use airbnb here in Bali to search for a house but we had to give up as there were too many kinds of accommodations. Houses dubbed as villas, rooms dubbed as houses, one floor dubbed as a full house and even a gazebo where we were supposed to stay 2 months.
All this is fine but I wonder how usable it will become once you throw the hotels in.
1 point by zby 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am surprised couchsurfing.org is nowhere mentioned - it was a working example already 5 years ago.
1 point by lurker19 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. I did not get the pun in AirBnB until I saw it spellers out widhelm he lowercase b in airbed.

The capital B is either a branding miss or an intentional branding effort to look more upscale than Airbed.

2 points by dutchrapley 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love the succinctness of the email exchange.
1 point by atrevisan 6 days ago 0 replies      
All other important factors aside, everything comes back to scalability. This helps further drill that point.
0 points by jasonmcalacanis 6 days ago 0 replies      
-2 points by d0m 6 days ago 1 reply      
I wish PG could back up my idea like that. What if.. I simply signed Paul Graham? :
Entreporn, The Fallacy That Wastes Your Life justinvincent.com
597 points by jv22222 6 days ago   227 comments top 37
72 points by pg 6 days ago replies      
"If every developer was to focus on the very achievable goal of building a lifestyle/micro business " the entire house of cards would crumble."

If that happened, the whole world would crumble, because we wouldn't have any technology bigger than could be built by lifestyle businesses. Anyone who wanted to build a lifestyle business on the Internet, for example, would find that there was no Internet. You wouldn't have servers or routers or clients or backbones or local cable.

40 points by ahoyhere 5 days ago 1 reply      
This article is not sensational. It does not tell you what you should do with your life. It does not say VCs are evil. It doesn't say funded companies are a waste of time.

The "if every developer" line is clearly just as much grandstanding as PG makes when he compares hackers taking a job to caging a lion. To take this line in this essay literally -- and be offended -- but not to take PG's line about lions literally is to be intellectually dishonest.

Here's what this essay actually says:

* there's a monetary reason that we're all soaking in VC/fund/"liquidity event" news

* there's a psychological reason that we seek out VC/fund/"liquidity event" news

* reading about this stuff isn't even the remotely same vein as working on it, or making real money

* the author is angry that he believes people are being pushed towards lives/businesses that don't make them happy

* every developer is capable of making a product for an independent income

* and everybody might be happier if they did

Gee, not so controversial, is it?

All the hullaballoo about this article can be only one thing: overly identifying with your life/business choices and attacking anyone who dares call them into question. In a general sense. Not in a PERSONAL attack, for example labeling someone's work "a lifestyle business" or "like duping credulous customers into overpaying for a time-tracking tool styled with this month's CSS trends".

The only reason anyone even paid attention to this article at all is because 98% of what everyone hears, all the time, is pro-big startup, pro-VC, pro-liquidity event, pro- this and pro- that.

There is so rarely a dissenting voice that the moment there is one, however mild, everybody is in attack mode.

In short...

Look, dominant paradigm: You need to chillax.

41 points by DanielBMarkham 6 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome article.

I'd like to see this taken to the next level: some kind of diagnostic.

It's easy to point out the general case. What's difficult is taking the general truth and turning it into stuff to do right now. Answer these questions. If you answer this way, you are heading down the wrong path.

From what very little I've seen, this is something that everybody sees in everybody else but never see in themselves. Perhaps this is because it's easy to imagine somebody else having to "settle" for a business making shinier widgets for 3 cents profit per unit while we all easily imagine ourselves as being the person to "change X as we know it"

I have no idea why some of us are like this. I continue to struggle with it, and I know better.

33 points by al3x 6 days ago replies      
I'm disappointed that this has gotten so many upvotes and positive comments.

There's a middle ground between web application "lifestyle businesses" (like duping credulous customers into overpaying for a time-tracking tool styled with this month's CSS trends) and trying to start the next Facebook.

There's nothing wrong with being a small software company. People have been doing it for decades now. It's boring, but there's nothing wrong with it. Don't expect anyone to celebrate you for doing it, though.

Our time on this earth is limited, and people's attention is even more limited. No wonder that more time and attention is put towards trying to execute on big ideas. Sometimes those ideas end up not working out, but we're all better, I think, for someone having tried.

As pg points out, the ideas that led to the businesses that have formed the infrastructure that enables web lifestyle businesses could not have, themselves, been lifestyle businesses. Someone has to think big, take risks, and deploy significant capital in the interest of a dramatically better world. If you don't want to be that person, great, but don't tell the risk-takers that they're "wasting their lives". Would you say the same to scientists who take big risks? Artists?

The media packaging of technology entrepreneurship is undeniably offputting. But that's no excuse for dim commentary like this.

35 points by apike 6 days ago 0 replies      
I used to get frustrated by the mentality that Justin is speaking out against. That said, those of us building "get rich slowly" businesses simply don't need the support network that people making crazy bets need.

The huge risk, huge return world will always be exciting to watch and talk about, and it will always be splashing around waste money, so it will always get a disproportionate amount of attention.

40 points by Murkin 6 days ago replies      
That simple ? 10K/month ?

Id love to hear how I can get one of those 10K/month businesses (outside of consulting/programmer-for-hire).

People keep making it sound like it super easy to just get such a business going. How about some examples ?

10 points by iuguy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Note: I can only speak for my industry (penetration testing and antimalware) so YMMV

Last month at DC4420 (the London monthly DEF CON chapter meeting):

<dude from corporate security firm>: How many people do you have at Mandalorian?
<iuguy>: 6
<dude from corporate security firm>: Really? I always thought you guys were bigger? So it's more of a lifestyle firm?
<iuguy>: If by lifestyle firm you mean a company that treats it's people well for doing a good job - as well as they could do on their own - then yes. If you mean a firm that's focused on doing a good job doing work we enjoy instead of chasing cash and ticking boxes all day long, then yes.

Probably the most successful example of this I've seen in my industry are these guys: http://www.pentestpartners.co.uk/

I think http://www.fbtechies.co.uk/ was the first I knew of, but amongst us there's quite a few and it seems as though we're growing. I think the realisation of having a niche skillset combined with commercial ability makes for a compelling enough value proposition for people to go it alone outside the conventional areas.

We don't all need to be multibillionaires (although some do). For some of us it's the choice between working on yet another PCI box ticking exercise, or charming the pants off some cool experimental tech.

I would like to add though that the article really needs some data to back it up. While there's plenty of anecdata from patio11, peldi and (to some extent although I'm obviously not in the same league as those guys) me, a source of actual information would really blow the doors off.

23 points by michaelochurch 6 days ago 2 replies      
"If you genuinely have the spirit of an entrepreneur inside of you, something about No True Scotsman".

This article, as much as any feature on Mark Zuckerberg, is entreporn. Is it possible to build a $10k-per-month web app? Sure. Easier than building the next Facebook (which is a matter of mostly luck, a lottery)? Absolutely. Are most people who try going to fail? Yes. Is it possible to get funding for a lifestyle business? No, that doesn't exist. So you need to do it on your own time, which limits your losses but makes your likelihood of success very low. If nothing is lost but one's time, is trying a lifestyle business possibly a great idea? Of course. But is making it sound easy to make $10k per month entreporn? Yes.

Also, as for lifestyle businesses, there are good and bad scenarios. A good lifestyle business provides reliable income at a decent rate (at least $100/hour) and the ability to control how much money you make and how much time you spend; if you want more money, you work harder. If you want a 3-month vacation, you take it but make less money. That's what you want: the freedom to decide how much you work and how much money you make. This is a great thing to have, and if some idiot hipster thinks it makes you a loser that you didn't cash out for billions, who cares? A bad ("walking dead") lifestyle business is one that just turned out mediocre and ends up had-by-the-balls by one or two clients who become, de facto, very demanding bosses. Companies like this exist: single-client consultancies that haven't gone out yet, but never got enough headway above the mediocrity of client demands to take off and become something.

12 points by pavel_lishin 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, what?

> The absolute truth is that each and every one
> of us can build a business that can support us.
> ...
> In truth, there is no reason to fail " other
> than failing to learn from your mistakes.

Yes, maybe we can - eventually. But while we're building it, we still need a paycheck. Building a profitable business doesn't seem like the kind of thing you can do in your spare time, unless you're willing to sacrifice absolutely everything else in your life.

> But even better, once you have the knowledge that comes
> along with building a succesful $10k/month business, you
> also posses the exact same knowledge that it takes to
> build a $100k/month business.

And then, why not a $1M/month business? And then $10M/month! Etc! Etc!

I'm pretty sure that a $100k/month business is an outlier, too, it's just closer to the center of the bell curve than Facebook, but still pretty dang far away from everyone else.

15 points by nphase 6 days ago 0 replies      
I started a lifestyle business. It did that, and very well. And then I became bored.

If a lifestyle business works for you, then that's what you should strive towards. Some would call me naive or childish, but if you're the type of person who dreams about changing the world, don't sell yourself short. Don't grow up, and don't give up.

Go for it.

36 points by ascendant 6 days ago 5 replies      
I sense a backlash growing. It seems like the only time people take you seriously these days is if you're in your 20's, have a spiky-haired asian dude as one of your founders and are launching a social/mobile/streaming video app in a weekend. That's what they cover on TechCrunch but not what the vast majority of us out there are doing.

Sidenote: I have nothing against asian dudes, spiky haired or not.

6 points by Alex3917 6 days ago 1 reply      
"The chances of building a Google, YouTube or Facebook and scaling to the millions of users required to be “considered” for VC investment are vanishingly small. We're talking in the region of 0.0001%."

You don't need millions of users to be considered for VC investment. More like 10,000 users if the service is free, or 100 paying customers. And it's really not that hard to do that, it just takes enough perseverance to make it through the first few iterations.

6 points by MicahWedemeyer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent article.

Embrace being a lifestyle business and ignore all the startup noise. Do your best to serve your customers and grow your revenue. You'll never get famous, but then again neither will 99.9% of the people who go the other route.

3 points by pclark 6 days ago 1 reply      
This post saddens me. Startups should aim larger, not smaller. That is, in my opinion.

The blog post (which I am interpreting as "every entrepreneur wants to raise VC and swing for fences") is generally wrong, in my experience. For every "a million dollars isn't cool, you know what is? a billion dollars" startup founder, there is one that insists that Groupon is over valued, and startups should monetize on day 1 and be in charge of their own destiny by retaining all equity.

There is no right or wrong answer in terms of what your aspirations are. But there is a huge audience of startup founders that are building lifestyle businesses, and killing it.

7 points by vannevar 6 days ago 0 replies      
This exact point occurred to me as I was listening to Reid Hoffman define 'entrepreneurship' at SXSW the other day. His definition restricted the term to 'industry-disruptive technology' and 'big ideas'. I thought it was a pretty self-serving definition coming from an angel investor who needs those kind of giant hits to cover bad bets. It's also a lot easier to start what Mark Cuban is calling the Ponzi-style investment process where every round at successively higher valuations leaves the next group of suckers holding the bag.
24 points by hasenj 6 days ago 2 replies      
$10k/mo sounds pretty sweet.
6 points by rythie 6 days ago 0 replies      
He ignores that most categories only have 3 or 4 major players and rest can't get enough recognition to be profitable.

Also $10k/month is ok for one or two people, but what if someone gets sick or leaves, a business is not very stable at that size.

Additionally he assumes people want to change the world for monetary reasons, which I don't think is often the case, otherwise you'd manage a hedge fund or something.

11 points by Lucadg 6 days ago 1 reply      
I agree. You have no idea how much I agree.
My small online business never made it to 10000 us a month, but I don't care.
I am writing from a nice Balinese house with a great tropical garden where I'm spending 2 months.
And then I'll spend a month in Sri Lanka.
Then, maybe it will be China.
I have been living like this for the past 10 years, working online and enjoying life as I never thought it was possible.
So, go for your small business and be free, it's really much easier than it seems.
And it's so beautiful.
3 points by zyfo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the chances to build something super-successful:
It's more interesting to hear about startups that fail. Seeing patterns emerging from failure is way more useful than trying to pinpoint what Google and Facebook founders have in common.

The problem I guess is that the failures mostly just fade away. A service where upstarters commit to write about their journey, especially if it goes bad, in exchange for helpful tips would be very useful.

11 points by Anjin 6 days ago 0 replies      
David Heinemeier Hansson had the exact same conversation with Jason Calacanis and Jason just could not understand why DHH felt that building that kind of business made sense..


17 points by lux 6 days ago 1 reply      
37signals have been advocating this for years.
2 points by nadam 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think there are already lots of software companies which aim not too high. Last time I heard there were 150.000 apps in the AppStore. There are lots and lots of indie game developers and casual game developers; a great chunk of them don't have the income to avoid their day jobs because they are not even ramen profitable. There are thousands of cheap shareware software on download.com. And lots of websites trying to generate money using adsense.

I agree that it may be a bad decision to aim too high, but there is also a possibility to aim too low: into markets where there is not much money or there is free stuff as competition. I've first made the 'aim too high' and then as a compensation I also made the 'aim too low' mistakes. Now I finally aim in-between.

3 points by acconrad 6 days ago 0 replies      
While I agree that you shouldn't knock lifestyle businesses, I feel that the TechCrunch quote was taken a bit out of context. The "dipshit" companies looks like its referring to the kind of apps that have no business model but ride on the hopes and dreams of overeager VCs who swear this is the next Google. Anyone who creates a company without a business model and hopes to sell to Google for $25MM is a dipshit. But those aren't lifestyle businesses, so it seems like that quote was a bit irrelevant.
2 points by starpilot 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is exactly what I was saying with a recent comment of mine (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2330900). There's a wide continuum of successes in the startup world. VC's are interested in the funding the top end, but many devs would probably be satisfied by a much wider swath, that could include wholly bootstrapped operations.
9 points by ilcavero 6 days ago 1 reply      
"the chances of building a $10k/month webapp business is pretty high"
is this true? oh god, what am I doing with my life?.
1 point by 6ren 5 days ago 0 replies      
DHH's "How to make money online" (Startup School) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CDXJ6bMkMY goes into more detail on this.

The version with slides isn't working right now http://37signals.com/svn/posts/981-the-secret-to-making-mone...

1 point by sreitshamer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Arguing about the term "lifestyle business" is itself distracting.

To me the point is that nowadays you don't have to get permission (in the form of someone else investing in your company) to get started. On your own you can fairly quickly build a business that pays your bills (your "lifestyle") and lets you escape "wage slavery". Once you do this, you have a lot of security and a lot of power/control over your next move.

I didn't think the point was to build a business that makes enough to pay the bills and then stop building. I'm certainly not stopping.

4 points by SpencerCooley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most startups need VC money because their ideas are obscure, stupid, and market-less. There is nothing wrong with using your skills to build a simple small business to fill a market need. Anyone who feels guilty for trying to make money with their talent is a sheep and a fool.
2 points by grails4life 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think Spolsky settled this dichotomy back in 2000:
2 points by swampplanet 6 days ago 1 reply      
The only problem here is that entrepreneurs are humans and as such they tend to swing for the fences. I know I do. Its the come big or go home mentality. Its the American way. Whatever you want to call it, its in our genes to do it that way.

Yeah we could all become the equivalent of craftsmen who had to then organize into guilds/unions to get a decent wage. Why do that when we can go home millionaires with the right idea/right money.

1 point by va_coder 6 days ago 1 reply      
I want to believe this story, but the reality is that the big companies have economies of scale that are very difficult to compete with and they often win.
2 points by mraybman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this article is just an original argument for bootstrapping. I don't think this guy is saying: "don't reach for the stars" - at least that's not how I interpret it. He's saying: "set achievable goals, lean how to execute, then you might just build a big ship organically."
1 point by kennethologist 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in a 3rd world country so $10K a month is more than enough for me to more things. Like 1. Start a foodstore, business; petrol stations (Startup cost around $50K), a popular restaurant etc. So this is what I'm doing now; trying to create a lifestyle business.
1 point by teyc 6 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats JV. I've been listening to you on TechZing. You've hit this one out of the ballpark.
-3 points by solsenNet 6 days ago 0 replies      
happy st. patty's day! with a little Irish pessimism!
-4 points by VMG 6 days ago 0 replies      
Meh. Conspiracy thinking.
-4 points by r00fus 6 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR - Work for your customers, avoid the boss/investor.
GitHub now has view modes for image diffs. github.com
564 points by jrnkntl 2 days ago   58 comments top 23
113 points by dasil003 2 days ago 1 reply      
Github makes the best damn pickaxes in the industry.
52 points by kneath 2 days ago 2 replies      
59 points by philfreo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're just looking at the screenshots, be sure to look at the Swipe, Onion Skin, and Difference options. I missed them at first.
28 points by marcamillion 2 days ago 2 replies      
Github is pushing so many envelopes. I don't pay them any money monthly yet, but every single time I see one of these updates - it makes me want to open my wallet to just make sure they don't go out of business.

I have a mancrush on Github. Really!

21 points by weaksauce 2 days ago 0 replies      
The people at github really get the social aspects of version control. This is one of those things that can make the designers get on board with version control for your project and make it useful for everyone and not just a chore for them. Great job!
8 points by marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
Btw, anyone know how they are doing those various views ? Are they using Canvas or is there something else ?

I love that they are doing all of this with just css & js and no flash.

It is things like this, that make me excited about the future of the web.

It is highly likely we will see more complex things with non-flash technologies, than we have seen with flash technologies to date, in my humble estimation.

7 points by TeHCrAzY 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone see a github wrapper with some nice UI making version control for the average user more palatable?

Perhaps github are positioning themselves to take on dropbox in the near future.

4 points by div 2 days ago 0 replies      
A while ago there was a comment here on hackernews which mentioned a designer talking about how much better git maps with a designer's workflow. (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2268004)

The basic gist was that designers like to keep around lots of versions and this gels well with git's easy branches.

That coupled with these kind of great tools really give me hope for a version control strategy that is useful to both designers and hackers.

7 points by bgentry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, truly awesome implementation. Way to nail it, Github!
9 points by rayboyd 2 days ago 1 reply      
This could be very useful for designers...
1 point by rimantas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice. What I would like to see is having swipe and onion skin modes working without dragging the slider: just move your mouse over images and get swipe position move along or opacity change accordingly.
Of course, sliders should still be there"and make them bigger, Fitt's law, you know.
Probably some more prominent indication for opacity would not hurt too.
1 point by statictype 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really wish GitHub would add support for Mercurial.

There's nothing wrong with BitBucket - I use that right now - but it's clear that GitHub is the innovator and market leader in the field of online source repos.

5 points by tealtan 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is really great!

But - another useful option would be mouse rollovers to switch between two images (which I think would work better than Onion Skin).

2 points by danest 2 days ago 1 reply      
Github is now about social designing too. This could help designers get feedback on designs and other designers could possibly fork and improve on the designs.
1 point by tibbon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Swipe mode doesn't seem to be working on the iPad in safari.

Otherwise... Awesome!

1 point by famousactress 2 days ago 0 replies      
The visual cue that the size of the image was the change made is especially clever. Really good thinking.
4 points by weehuy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now I can solve all those 'spot the difference' games. Bwhahahah!
1 point by rodh257 2 days ago 2 replies      
This looks great, even more motivation for me to get my girlfriend (who is a designer) to use git. Does anyone have any reccomendation for a user friendly GUI based GIT client for Mac?
3 points by robbles 2 days ago 1 reply      
what's the algorithm used in "difference"? delta-E? subtractive blending?
1 point by Mpdreamz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although i love github and this is yet another brilliant feature, we should give props where due as this as been built into tortoisediff for a while and i am sure many before it.


1 point by wenbert 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. Github just turned into something that graphic/web designers can actually use for image revisions etc.
1 point by delinka 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent idea. Is it me or does the diff for 2_transparentPixels.png look incorrect? Seems to ignore the shadow.
0 points by wlievens 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nicely done. I want it for subversion now!
AT&T has a fiberoptic splitter copying our data to NSA eff.org
518 points by catilac 2 days ago   218 comments top 29
66 points by fingerprinter 2 days ago replies      
One thing I see people saying on here is that people should care....and I do...but I don't know _what_ to do with it!

Can someone show/tell me what I, an average person, can do? It feels a bit overwhelming and things like this point out how powerless we really are. I hope I'm wrong and there are things we can do...I just don't know what they are.


Asking two more specific questions:

1. What can we do technically to be safe?

2. What can we do to fight this? Petition Government? Support EFF? Other? Very much at a loss on #2

65 points by drivebyacct2 2 days ago replies      
This is literally years-old information. I was aware of and hollering about this at people as a highschooler at debate and speech tournaments. Same thing then as now, no one cares, or those that do care don't care enough.

Besides, who cares if you have nothing to hide. Right?

39 points by zmblum 2 days ago replies      
What about the following paragraph is not clear?

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and Warrants shall not be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Am I missing something? Of course the problem is that it's near impossible get something like this to the SCOTUS. The only real possibility is more whistle blowing.

12 points by akent 2 days ago 2 replies      
No big surprise here really. So when are we all going to get serious and start using public key cryptography on a mass scale, even if we "don't have anything to hide"?
15 points by ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just imagine what Google has splitting to the NSA.

The question is does Google give them raw data or pre-process it willingly for them?

10 points by tlrobinson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone else find it weird that Google Maps shows 611 Folsom Street as "Jesus Christ My Lord & Savior Church"...?
5 points by code_duck 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has been going on with pretty much every ISP for over a decade, hasn't it? Carnivore - rather, DCS-1000?
2 points by leot 2 days ago 1 reply      
The argument that there is some steady march toward tyranny and erosion in our freedoms would make sense if it weren't for the fact that these programs have existed in one form or another since WWII (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echelon_(signals_intelligence)).

Furthermore, when, exactly, were the good ol' days, those days from which we are presumably descending into tyranny, when we (all, not just white folk) were truly "free"?

6 points by foobarbazetc 2 days ago 1 reply      
This happens in every single "free" country. People should care, but no one does.
3 points by trotsky 2 days ago 0 replies      
2012 secure communication: handwritten note tucked into some junk sent airmail
4 points by whimsymachine 2 days ago 0 replies      
What you can do:
1. Support the EFF, CDT and other orgs that work on technology and civil liberties.
2. For truly private data and activity get religion with PGP, TrueCrypt, Tor and other tools. For the non-private stuff, take some sensible measures (see below)
3. Consider sandboxing/compartmentalizing your online activity across disparate ids, browsers, machines, phones and locations. Definitely run Ad Blockers/Filters.
4. Stay current with EFF/CDT and related twitter feeds. There will be another privacy debate at a policy level. Get educated, push for the good guys.

Here's an overview resource: http://amzn.to/etLNze

Mark was given an award by the EFF a couple of years ago for his bravery.

9 points by AbyCodes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Watch Nova - The Spy Factory ( S36 E11 ). Nova investigated the National Security Agency, and what led to AT&T do what it is doing today and why.
3 points by daniel1980fl 2 days ago 2 replies      
I remember reading that long time ago.
It actually made me quit AT&T and every time someone called me, I tend to ask or check their number and tell them you calling me from AT&T do you know about "the room"? Couple times my friends quit it for the same reason; others don't care. I guess the answer is switch to a different career.

I had a good laugh when I read (think it was Wikipedia) about that room. AT&T was sued over it... they defends themselves by 1) the room does not exist AND 2) this lawsuit should not be proceed due to Act of National Security setting aside lawsuit frames. LOOL! I dont know about you -- but to me first contradicts the second one :)) the judge only decided on count 2) -- that it is indeed NSA involved - so it was dismissed, but if there is NSA then the room exists, hahahaha!!

2 points by shareme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not the first time US gov has violated US Constitution to spy on citizens..

People forget that the US President that first set a policy for this type of illegal behavior was Roosevelt leading up to WWII. Cable/Wireless companies were pressured by US Gov to record and copy cables sent by US citizens and to send those copies to the US government.

Did not stop terrorism than will not stop it now..and yet 70 years later and no one has learned.

2 points by colanderman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Question: which major carrier(s) are not known (or known not) to do this? T-Mobile supposedly had little evidence against them, but they're being assimilated.
1 point by radicaldreamer 2 days ago 0 replies      
There were a series of disruptions to fiber coming out of the middle east and north africa a few years ago that is probably connected to the same program. (http://goo.gl/apasy)
3 points by sabat 2 days ago 2 replies      
... but corporations are A-OK. It's the government that's the problem. Right?
1 point by rbranson 2 days ago 3 replies      
So? This isn't the equivalent to papers secured in your household, it's data sent over someone else's network. I'm not a huge fan, but saying it's the same as the government walking into your house and examining all your documents is ridiculous.

Either way, call me when someone finds out they can decrypt and examine all the SSL traffic in real-time.

1 point by judegomila 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was walking past the building wondering why they had .mil style no windows for such a large building. Other exchanges I had visited had windows. If we had collectively given the NSA rights to check our data, this would be ok. We didn't give them the rights. Think of the insider trading, that could be occurring by corrupt NSA officials.
1 point by jdavid 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that privacy is no longer the default. So instead of having it, now you don't and you have to prove why you need it.

I think that's kinda why the constitution set the default to innocent. Too bad we don't really see that as necessary any more.

2 points by danbmil99 1 day ago 0 replies      
And there's gambling in Casablanca!
1 point by linuxhansl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why I donate money to the EFF and the ACLU.
2 points by molecule 2 days ago 0 replies      
2005 called, it wants its news back.

Call recorded by NSA.

2 points by juancferrer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this why the at&t+T-Mobile merger is being approved?
0 points by totalforge 2 days ago 0 replies      
The NSA are drowning in data. They have a constantly changing target list from the other intelligence agencies, and whatever crisis is, or will soon be in the news is keeping them quite busy.

They really have more important things to do than monitor the geeks. Unless you come up with some nifty new crypto.


2 points by hparra 2 days ago 1 reply      
That is the meanest-looking bird I have ever seen.
1 point by dan0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not surprised.
-1 point by spaznode 2 days ago 1 reply      
AT&T isn't the only one to do this. So long as it isn't used against citizens in criminal trials/etc I don't really care all that much if it helps make intelligence people more efficient.
-4 points by btipling 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh hey Reddit...uh...I mean Hacker News.
How a simple comment on Hacker News made me quit my job and launch a startup freshdesk.com
478 points by girishm 5 days ago   91 comments top 31
54 points by wensing 5 days ago 5 replies      
One word of caution--do not, I repeat do NOT, focus on price ("we are cheaper") as the main reason for people to use you. People who are "priced out" of other solutions still need to buy in to whatever you are doing, beyond price, or else you risk losing those customers to your competitors should your competitors offer a cheaper/simple plan.

You're off to a great start (I just signed up for the beta), but make sure you do the hard work of selecting your target customer ("who will we NOT serve?") and don't preach price--preach superior experiences.

25 points by mindcrime 5 days ago 0 replies      
That is one awesome story, congrats! I was especially struck by some of the stuff you said about product/market fit. To me, this bit is pure gold:

We started engaging with our prospects on what they were currently using and what problems they were facing. In many cases people were telling us clearly what they really wanted to see in their customer support software.

Yeah, that's the key, right? Actually engaging with the customers and finding out what problem they're really trying to solve. This cuts to the core of sgblank's Customer Development stuff and the whole Lean Startup movement.

We were surprised to see that a lot of what customers wanted were their core problems solved and not some fancy features of supporting customers from their Facebook wall or converting tweets into customer support tickets. While we understand that these are definitely the way of the future, many many customers do not need this today.

Heh, perfect example of how us techies can get caught upin the fancy, glitzy, "cool" stuff and maybe not realize that customers are not so concerned about that, as they are getting work done. Really, really good reminder to focus on the customer's needs!

Another important learning for us was that customers did not want to be dealing with separate invoices for their helpdesk, their contact management software, for their customer feedback forums and customer satisfaction surveys. The SMB customer wants one invoice and as much functionality as possible in the customer relationship management solution.

That's gold too... It reminds me that sometimes the "problem" isn't so much a technical problem, as a structural problem with the existing business arrangements. Wanting one invoice instead of 3 or 4 is a wonderful example of a problem an entrepreneur can solve, and it doesn't have anything to do with product features or technology. Reading this is like having a glass of cold water thrown in your face (well, for some of us!)

We also identified underserved market segments (companies with multi-brand support requirements) and segments which were getting priced out because the current solutions were expensive.
So we reprioritized our feature set to what we thought is the ideal product/market fit for us. This means that things like Twitter and Facebook integration can wait. But things like multiple support emails or support for SLAs and Business hours are in.

Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing such details about your experience. I think a lot of people can learn something useful from your experience. You've certainly given me some thoughts to chew on.

23 points by chime 5 days ago 3 replies      
Zoho is most probably the best known tech startup from India that isn't in the typical call-center or medical transcription business. As key Zoho employees go on to build in their own companies, this could bring SV/YC culture in India where success does not mean finding a big check-writer from US but rather building products that users from around the world can use and buy. Keep up the good work FreshDesk.
6 points by credo 5 days ago 2 replies      
Congratulations on the launch (and welcome to HN, since I see that your account is just 3 hours old :)

That said, your post suggests that you acquired domain knowledge at Zendesk, then decided to use that knowledge to immediately and directly compete with Zendesk with price as your only differentiatior.

I suspect that the folks at Zendesk aren't going to sue you on any non-compete or trade-secret agreements, but I'm curious to know if you think that your competition raises any ethical concerns or not.

[edit] Thanks for the correction, Aditya and apologies Girish for reading the post too fast and confusing Zoho with Zendesk

17 points by guylhem 5 days ago 5 replies      
Beautiful story. The way you listed to the market, built the right product in the right moment - just perfect.

One think caught my eye: $160 for your office space?? From what I've seen on http://blog.freshdesk.com/freshdesk-gets-a-fresh-office it looks very decent. Your burn rate is also quite good.

How easy is it for a non indian to start a company in India?

10 points by luckystrike 5 days ago 1 reply      

  Now we have a team of six people - (3 developers, 1 UI/UX designer, 
1 QA / Customer support engineer and me as - the Product Manager / CEO)

It would be great if you could throw some light on how you went about building this team and your hiring process. In my experience, it ain't easy here in India to find quality talent willing to work in an early stage startup whose product is still not out in the market.

Did they come through the connections made during your Zoho stint?

All the best for this venture!

4 points by retube 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's a great post. But I'm posting here to gripe: why oh why do so many blogs never have a direct link to their business front page? It's always to the blog front page. You see a blog article posted, interesting read, the next thing you want to do is visit the front page. grrrr.
4 points by vibhavs 5 days ago 1 reply      
The name is a little too close to ZenDesk, isn't it? Especially since the two companies are in the same market.
3 points by OmarIsmail 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have to say that your post on how to get a corporation in the US is fantastic. I'm sure there's a lot of information out there, and it's something many people have done before, but the fact that you laid it out extremely clearly and gave very relevant contact information is amazing. Really great stuff.
3 points by cpeterso 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great focus on MVP and a lean team. Designing a usable service for outsourced "enterprisey" software is challenging because your customers (a company's HR dept, in this case?) are not your users (support desk employees and the company's own customers). These three sets of people will all have different feature requirements.
2 points by evancaine 5 days ago 0 replies      
Your design looks great. You mentioned that getmefast did it and I had a look at their portfolio which isn't as strong in my opinion as your design and UI. Did you UI designer have to change what they came up with?
1 point by roadnottaken 5 days ago 0 replies      
great story. FYI - the mouse-overs for the 'Premium' price plan are broken in both Chrome and Firefox for me (Win7). they get cut off at the edge of the white-border.
2 points by sushilchoudhari 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome story Girish, very inspiring and down to earth!Loved the simplicity and the way you approached product market fit! We as tecchies more often than not, deprioritize the part of finding out what the customer really wants. Thanks for sharing and Good Luck!
2 points by kirpekar 5 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations and nice write-up!

Can I ask how the startup is doing financially?

1 point by daimyoyo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. Reading HN is better motivation than any cheesy book on the market. I love HN. :)
1 point by dedward 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good Luck..... I guess this sort of explains what's up with AdventNet and it's quirks too... all the good people left?
1 point by mdolon 5 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty inspiring, though I hope you add a live demo to your main site (maybe to handle support? :). I know as a potential customer, I'm hesitant to pay for anything I haven't seen and interacted with.
1 point by stretchwithme 5 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear it. A great example of how sharing information, once again, helps people to take bold action.
1 point by khsdf7 3 days ago 0 replies      
Frankly, this isn't very interesting. Some guy gets inspired to launch a startup, grows a company beyond the bare minimum, and we are supposed to swoon?

Come back when you have 150 employees and the competition is begging for mercy. Then sing to us about the blood sweat and tears.

People get inspired to launch startups all the time, and some of them become great businesses. Some of them fail miserably. Lets all do ourselves a favor and not praise effort before it bears fruit.

1 point by maheshs 5 days ago 1 reply      
Some UI issue while mouse over SSL on Firefox 4
1 point by MatthewPhillips 5 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! Makes me want to do the same thing.
1 point by themonk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats Girish.

Unrelated question: as of now your post is number one on hacker news, would you like to share what does it mean in term of traffic on your blog?

2 points by eaxitect 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've found it very inspirational and informative...
2 points by psyren 5 days ago 0 replies      
Doing this right now, have just submitted for YCS2011 :-)
2 points by anand_21 5 days ago 0 replies      
thanks for putting a inspirational example for Indian startups
1 point by mtogo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Saw the word "cloud", scrolled down, yep-- business guy.
1 point by gopi 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very inspiring...Goodluck Girish!
1 point by Straubiz 5 days ago 0 replies      
awesome story! Very inspiring
-2 points by victorantos 5 days ago 0 replies      
is it worth it?
-2 points by Candlemoat 5 days ago 0 replies      
You lost me when you said you liked the idea of 99designs.
-2 points by Nugem 5 days ago 1 reply      
The word STARTUP is starting to SUCK the life out of me. It is now as bad as "epic" and "fail" with the word being used in 1/8th of every headline on HN. THANKS!!!!!!
MIT is a national treasure cdixon.posterous.com
444 points by hoag 17 hours ago   134 comments top 29
32 points by tokenadult 9 hours ago 3 replies      
The submitted blog post acclaims MIT as a "national treasure" because it admits applicants to its undergraduate degree programs who don't have a high school diploma (certificate of completion of secondary schooling). MIT is not alone in this policy. The Common Data Set Initiative


surveys United States colleges and universities each year about their admission policies. Question C3 asks if a high school diploma is required for undergraduate admission.



does not require a high school diploma for admission.

Neither does Princeton.


Nor does Yale require a high school diploma.


MIT has long reported that it does not require a high school diploma for admission.



There are other colleges that explicitly say in their Common Data Set filings that they do not require a high school diploma for admission. Moreover, homeschooling is widespread in around the world,


and all of the most famous and most desired colleges and universities have admitted homeschoolers,


who often have "home brew" transcripts (as my oldest son did when he applied for his undergraduate university studies last year).

Lacking a high school diploma issued by a government-operated school is not a barrier to admission to any of the better colleges or universities in the United States, if the applicant is well prepared for higher education study.

After edit: I'm amazed that this thread has not yet mentioned pg's essay "What You'll Wish You'd Known,"


his advice to high school students about how to use their time meaningfully. High school students who take this advice to heart can get into a good college with good financial support if they want to, or pursue some other challenging personal goal if they would rather do that.

61 points by sliverstorm 17 hours ago replies      
Honestly speaking, if he played around on an Apple II, this happened almost 30 years ago when the computer industry was still brand-new. Not to denigrate him, his achievements, or MIT, but the world is different now.

It's an awesome anecdote, and I am a big fan of MIT, but consider this my preemptive counter-argument to the inevitable, "Here, see, more proof of why you should drop out of high school!"

(though, after all's said and done, I do hope MIT is not too different from the MIT that accepted him back then)

11 points by kragen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Ed Fredkin has a somewhat more impressive story. He became an MIT professor without ever getting a degree " even an undergraduate degree. But by that point he'd invented a fundamental data structure (the radix tree or "trie"), worked at MIT for years on defense contracts, and made enough money off a high-tech startup to buy a small island in the Caribbean. Not metaphorically. He actually bought the island. He'd also been teaching at MIT for some time.

He's at CMU now.

17 points by jarekr 16 hours ago replies      
Speaking as someone who applied for MIT a few years ago, something like this is no longer possible and the "rat race" description used for comparision is now in fact valid for MIT as well.

Nowhere in the recrutation process you have much possiblity to show your "software code" - everything is very formalized and you have to submit your grades, essays on specified topics, pass the SATs and go through a interview (but the interviewer doesn't have to know anything about the discipline you want to study). Yes, you can describe your most interesting projects as part of your application, but if you read the admission blogs and other MIT materials, it is quite clearly implied that unless you have near-perfect grades and/or near-perfect SAT scores, they won't even look at the project descriptions, essays etc. Also there is no way of knowing why you were accepted or rejected, because the whole proccess is 100% opaque to the outside world.

I still think the MIT is awesome and the admission process probably has to look more or less like it looks like because of the volume of applications they have to go through. But the post and some of the comments seem to leave the impression that the MIT addmission comitee will look at every person as a "unique snowflake" to find the really outstanding candidates. In reality, the admission process has to be quite mechanical so that they can at all manage it and only after the initial 90% of the applications gets rejected, they can be scrutinize the remaining 10% in more detail. So, if you want to get-in, you have to "optimize grades and SAT" and "speaking French and Chinese, playing piano and painting abstract art" won't hurt either.

12 points by light3 17 hours ago 1 reply      
"he never got he never got a high school degree"

This sentence tripped me up. I vividly remember some of the more boring classes where you end up staring at the clock, for some subjects I actually tried to put in the least effort possible to achieve 80%. I wish I had those years back to do follow something I really enjoyed doing.

18 points by rdouble 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Philip Greenspun also entered MIT after dropping out of high school.
4 points by sayemm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
MIT is a national treasure because of this: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

OpenCourseWare is absolutely amazing. I'm using it to study SICP and then will continue with K&R. I didn't go to MIT, but I'll always feel indebted to it because of these amazing resources.

4 points by user24 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not so unusual, I was accepted into my Computer Science MSc (at Oxford) without a CS background - I did have a first class BA, but it was a joint honours in IT and Philosophy from a more-or-less unknown university (Lampeter).

Anyone who knows CS will know that IT is nothing like CS. I didn't have any A-Levels either. Masters degrees are a lot more forgiving, and I had some experience in software engineering.

(edit: this was year of 2009, and yes, I passed ;0) )

5 points by thelastnode 16 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the problem that I had when I was applying to colleges: I used to ignore classes that bored me but were required and instead spent time that should have been spent on homework, etc. doing programming side projects and learning CS concepts.

When application season rolled around, I had to compete with candidates who had a much shallow understanding of their area of study, but had a much stronger overall GPA, loads of random APs, etc. While I did mention my side projects and depth in my area of interest, I didn't think to submit code or the actual projects; I usually just mentioned it in the questions or essays (which I'm not certain anyone even reads). This lead to quite a few rejections.

I'm at Georgia Tech now and doing well, because all my classes, more or less, are related to what I'm interested in. While I'm very happy here, I'm curious if I would be as happy if I wasn't accepted to Tech, and were instead studying in a place without such abundance of opportunity. I'm sure there are others in similar situations.

3 points by shalmanese 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My friend Ryan Lackey also got into MIT without a high school diploma at 16 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Lackey). He later dropped out to become the CTO of Sealand.
1 point by hoag 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Although arguably implied, there is nothing in this blog post that explicitly states that MIT is alone amongst institutions of higher learning in accepting a student without a HS diploma. Rather, it is simply demonstrating a particular example of just such an unusual occasion.

I'm not sure why everyone is reading into it so much: it's just a "feel good" piece, really, illustrating how one student's practical skill set -- here, coding -- was sufficiently talented to warrant a second look by one of the country's (best) universities. And, being a private school, they were willing (and able) to peel back their own red tape and allow admission notwithstanding his otherwise disqualifying credentials.

The point of the story is simply: here's a kid who was unqualified in the traditional, technical sense. But due to his obvious skill and intelligence in a particular field, a private school was willing to look past his technical disqualifications and, by its own prerogative, make an exception to its own rules.

This is most certainly why Berkeley and other public schools were unwilling to make an exception: they have less flexibility. (As someone who attended UCLA, I can attest personally to the stringent red tape of California's public university system.) That the blog throws public and private schools into the discussion demonstrates a remarkably cavalier oversight that misses the point entirely with respect to why, precisely, MIT -- a private school -- is the school that happened to grant the student the exception.

4 points by gaurav_v 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is rare, but not unheard of; I can think of fiveish people off the top of my head that were admitted to MIT and Caltech without a high school diploma. All of the cases I know of are kids who just decided to leave high school without finishing their requirements, and went directly into one of the tech schools a year early.

The blog post mentions that there 'was no place nearby to go to high school.' That's really the issue in play. All of the 'MIT a year early' people I know about made a case to admissions that they had exhausted all of the resources at their schools and the time for MIT was now. The tech schools don't discriminate against lack of opportunity. If you're perceived as not taking all of the opportunities presented to you, though, you're finished. The post mentions that he took some community college classes. This shows a desire to learn and an ability to take advantage of the resources available to him. If he hadn't gotten a high school diploma because he was just too cool to be bothered, I imagine that he would have had more of an uphill battle.

2 points by rexreed 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Once again, the title of the post and content overstate / misstate a point and belie the reality. Many high school students apply to schools like MIT without having a degree -- they get the degree when they actually graduate, by which time they have already been accepted or denied admission by schools like MIT. Speaking as an MIT graduate, and one that was accepted early as part of the early admission process, not once did they ask in the application or in person whether or not I already had a high school degree. Of course I didn't - I'd get one when I graduated. When I applied, I was still a Junior. and I applied early. All I needed were my SAT scores, a transcript (which the person in the article had as well), and evidence of excellence.

I don't understand the point of articles like this that breathlessly trump one thing while the reality is something else. Colleges everywhere regularly accept people that have not yet completed high school. This is not just MIT. To say that MIT is somehow unique here misses the point. And yes, I know, because I went to MIT.

11 points by jister 16 hours ago 0 replies      
While this is fascinating let's not forget that other people are NOT like Tom. Education is important and we shouldn't dismiss it if we have an opportunity to take it.
3 points by arihant 16 hours ago 1 reply      
To all the comments here - I don't think Chris is making a point against schooling. He's sort of implicitly making a point against resume padding.

Resume padding is not a healthy thing and such examples could enlighten a lot of high school students.

3 points by biot 16 hours ago 0 replies      
After that story, there's no source code? It would be interesting to see, at the very least.
1 point by mtindell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was a sophomore at the 'Tute I became friendly with a frosh who was a little different. He was from Texas (as I am, but that is not germane) and was 24. He had pledged the co-ed frat next door to my dorm where I used to hang out a bit, and always to play pool at their Friday happy hours. His father was a senior executive at a well-known semiconductor manufacturer.

He was certifiable on many levels, but a very interesting guy. He was working at Draper Labs within a month of his arrival on campus doing who-knows-what with some-unknown-level security clearance.

He had applied to MIT from a Texas state penitentiary where he was serving a six-year sentence for robbing a series of pharmacies and related misdeeds. Once he finished there, he started a different sort of prison. ;)

I recently submitted an application for the summer funding round as a sole founder. My one good friend who has been living JavaScript and CSS for the last few years is busy with his own company, but I am sure this is a good spot to meet potential partners. I call my idea StratoShare, and it involves a gateway for providing a uniform access API across users' data aggregations. The gateway would also manage a sharing graph for each user that would include those of their various aggregators, but would be independent of them. Share once with each other for everywhere, and manage it all in one view.

If you have some Web app chops and are interested at all, please email jmichaeltindell@gmail.com and I'll send you a link to my application and video.

1 point by rdl 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I went to MIT without a high school diploma (and a few years early); I got a great score on the SAT standardized test, good recommendations from a couple of HS teachers, MIT summer camp grad student/professor instructors, and a hacker job I'd had (via the Internet).

I don't think HS is actually a major factor in the MIT undergraduate admissions decision if you have a plausible reason for wanting to skip it.

1 point by grammaton 11 hours ago 0 replies      
"Software code?" Really?

This is the sort of thing that could have happened during a very small slice of highly unusual history. It certainly wouldn't happen these days.

2 points by senthilnayagam 13 hours ago 0 replies      
sounds impressive but this is a exception, not the norm

there are many areas where certification/practice needs prerequisite qualifications eg surgeon, attorney, airline pilot

if the course is highly competitive/lucrative like say with IIT or AIIMS in india, expect litigations

1 point by daimyoyo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
While this story is awesome, it's really not that relevant today. During the Apple II days most programmers would have been self taught. Today, not so much.
1 point by orky56 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Just goes to show you can still be successful without an MBA, a bachelor's, or a diploma. So many successful people missed some part of standard education so I guess we all should since those are the ones we keep on celebrating.

I can't tell if I'm being sarcastic or not...The idea is to avoid the typical route and focus on building and execution, where the real world is giving you a report card and not a school. If you're good enough, you'll get an honorary degree or be accepted without the standard credentials.

2 points by maurycy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In other news, one data point is enough.
2 points by bfe 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone I know well was recruited on full scholarship to Cornell as a math student in 2007, even though he was a high school dropout.
1 point by gulbrandr 12 hours ago 0 replies      
the title should have been: "Student accepted to MIT without high school degree thanks to his software code"
-4 points by alexanderswang 13 hours ago 0 replies      
MIT only enrolls geeks.
-3 points by wooptoo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a modern Forrest Gump.
-1 point by wyclif 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Glaring typos in the third paragraph, with repeated phrases and bold text. Good story, though. Upvoted.
-4 points by amnigos 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This should be an eye opener for all those bookish/only SAT score people.
Wife Said No, Apple Said Yes macrumors.com
408 points by mcritz 2 days ago   158 comments top 19
44 points by caldwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
I actually had a similar interaction with Apple on a smaller scale. I had just ordered a magic mouse for my sister's fiancee for Christmas. I talked to my sister after purchasing it online and she told me that they were in an Apple store the day before and he had mentioned that he wanted a magic pad.


So I called up Apple asking if I could return the magic mouse that I ordered online for the trackpad in a store because there wouldn't be enough time with Christmas fast approaching. The customer support guy put me on hold for a minute and then told me that in light of the Holiday Spirit they would send out a trackpad with express shipping free of charge. I could return the magic mouse if I wanted or keep both.

Fed Ex ended up dropping the ball on the express shipping, but still Apple stepped up and made my day! I ended up giving him the magic mouse for Christmas and then the trackpad a month later for his birthday.

28 points by uptown 2 days ago replies      
My wife is buying my iPad (late Christmas gift) and she's encouraging me to junk my old XPS laptop for a new Mac Book Pro. I think I've got a keeper!
26 points by Tyrant505 2 days ago 5 replies      
Now if he was smart, he would buy her a new pair of shoes, dress, new tie and shirt for himself and take her out with the money saved. That's what I call a good week.
9 points by jjcm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great customer service is some of the best advertising money can buy. It's something that's been known for years, but hasn't made its way into corporate culture for a long time. Kudos apple/newegg/amazon/all the other startups out there/etc who've been successful with these principles.
26 points by MichaelApproved 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wife said "Sell it on eBay so we can pay our bills."
9 points by anthonyb 2 days ago 1 reply      
The day after that the iPad comes back with a note on it: "Wife is a Linux kernel hacker and fully paid up member of the FSF."
22 points by teraflop 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is there any reason to believe that this actually happened and isn't just an Apple employee feeding PR fluff to MacRumors? It's essentially unverifiable.
2 points by blinkingled 2 days ago 3 replies      
People are actually returning their iPad 2s for reasons other than production defects? (If there were defects I am sure the blogs would be abuzz about it by now.) I know this one was Wife defect but the story says Apple is looking to see if there are any production defects.

I am pondering getting one and couldn't find one anywhere. To the people returning for refund of same amount - come over on eBay ;)

6 points by FiddlerClamp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an urban legend to me, a la "Send standard 'we have no cockroaches' letter" or the "$400 red velvet cake recipe".
6 points by alexsb92 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to have been in the room, when the execs heard about it and decided on the note, or to see the face of the guy when he received the iPad again.

Either way, great PR move Apple.

4 points by wmboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good to hear Apple is still going the extra mile.

There are lots of stories of people going into an Apple store with a product broken after it's warranty and still walking out the door with a brand new replacement.

You just don't get that kind of service from any other company (especially in the computer hardware business).

1 point by dasht 2 days ago 0 replies      
Supposing that it is true, Apple has paid a very small amount of money and received a (comparatively) very large amount of advertising. Why, they've been well placed on HN for quite a while now, for one thing.
3 points by pauldisneyiv 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very simple and very smart. It just "feels" like an Apple thing to do.
1 point by Schultzy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if Apple has any sort of employee empowerment policy?

At start-ups, it doesn't (or at least shouldn't) take much for the decision makers to hear from customers and respond in a way that "wow"s them, but I'd be curious to know what processes or mechanisms specifically a large company like Apple has in place to catch these kinds of opportunities.

1 point by jh3 1 day ago 0 replies      
The post is obviously meant to be funny even if it's true. There is really no reason to overanalyze it...
1 point by jongraehl 1 day ago 0 replies      
-4 points by kawasaki 2 days ago 0 replies      
-1 point by pdaviesa 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny that there are people on this forum that believe husbands actually make decisions. A great quote from some random sitcom - "Marriage is all about compromise. My wife wanted a cat, I didn't want a cat, so we compromised and got a cat."
-4 points by aubhat 2 days ago 6 replies      
sorry but is this what "Hacker News" has become....
How We Got Owned by a Few Teenagers (and Why It Will Never Happen Again) phpfog.com
389 points by cardmagic 1 day ago   184 comments top 31
68 points by sriramk 1 day ago replies      
I feel really bad for the phpfog guys. But given the situation, I think they handled it admirably well - kudos to them. No software is secure and this could have happened to anyone. Especially startups who have to take shortcuts at the very beginning.

I know the attackers were just kids but I have to admit pursuing legal action sounds very tempting - even to just act as a deterrent to others. If they had just put up phpfogsucks.com, it might have been ok. But tweeting trash from their twitter account, redirecting their root domain to phpfogsucks, etc - are all not cool at all and should have some consequences.

56 points by eel 23 hours ago 5 replies      
I am bothered by some of the language in this post:

- we were aware of the potential security threat behind post-deploy hooks and were about to disable them [...] but...

- we were days away from replacing this server

- They were a short-term stopgap measure we had been planning to replace

To me, it sounds like the real problem could have been stated as "We were lax on security," but almost worse than that is the lack of accountability that I sense from company. Yeah, maybe it won't happen again, but it's hard to be full of confidence to buy into a service like that.

12 points by citricsquid 1 day ago 2 replies      
I mentioned this last time, but I don't think anyone was interested, but the "John" guy is compwhizii (same handle on Twitter) who runs the forums (facepunch.com) for garrysmod, a very popular game. I will be curious to see how garry (owner person) responds to this, or if he already has.

Elliot is apparently VERY scared and blames John (compwhizii) (edit: not john, he blames someone else called supersnail1): http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1071855-A-member-of-Facepun...

Here is (compwhizii) Johns reply: http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1071855-A-member-of-Facepun...

37 points by geekfactor 1 day ago 1 reply      
"We have hired professional white hat hackers with government level security experience to attempt regular pen tests on our system..."

I guess whenever I read this kind of statement from now on I'll be thinking of HBGary and chuckling a bit inside.

50 points by nodoubt 1 day ago 3 replies      
The blog post is riddled with the words "luck" and "timing" which brings doubt into my mind that the team can actually take full responsibility for their actions.

"aware of the potential security threat " but they left it for the next week, who honestly here would do that?

I have also seen comments around the web of migrating to Php Fog because of how they handled the situation. If you are one of these people please enlighten my mind as to how you came to such a logical decision or how much you get paid per year.

Also if Php Fog could enlighten us on how their terms of agreement will work in the case where our intellectual property is stolen on no fault of our own.

Save your sympathy for the sites that are still down, four days and counting

10 points by noonespecial 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like incredible coincidence that allowed this to happen but when I think back to all of the security incidents I've been involved in, it always seems this way.

I guess the best way to think of it is that badness on the internet is like water. It will flow into every tiny crack in your wall you haven't sealed up tight. A crack in a dam doesn't leak less because its in an "obscure" location.

17 points by tjarratt 1 day ago 1 reply      
The phpfog guys really deserve praise for being so open on this issue. As a fellow engineer, being able to learn from their mistakes and see exactly what they could have done ahead of time to avoid the disaster is priceless.

Just goes to show that those with the time to spend are the most likely to break your stuff, even if you pay "professional white hat hackers" to test your system.

8 points by Aaronontheweb 1 day ago 2 replies      
Goes to show you why the DRY principle (I might be stretching that analogy here, but bear with me) is important here - if you have old stuff lying around in production that was cloned a long time ago, you might forget about it and open yourself up to unfortunate incidents like this.

PHP Fog is doing great work to make the PHP ecosystem easier to work with, and I hope they didn't suffer too much from this mistake.

8 points by brisance 1 day ago 0 replies      
While it is admirable and good that they have learned from their mistakes and are taking steps to reduce the likelihood of getting hacked in future, to say "never again" is to paint a big red bullseye on yourself.
5 points by drivingmenuts 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Leaving the doors to your house wide open does not grant every passerby the right to enter.

So, yeah, PHPFog screwed up and did that. Then these kids went in, threw paint on the walls, smashed some windows, etc.

PHPFog was stupid - they admitted that.

The kids were criminal.

The first is not illegal - the second is.

7 points by tzs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wait...their model is an EC2 instance per customer? The normal limits Amazon imposes are 20 reserved or on-demand instances and 100 spot instances per region. You can request more, but will Amazon really accommodate a one instance per customer model?
2 points by djcapelis 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugh, you shouldn't try writing an apology after not sleeping for days. Sleep on it first, always sleep on it. Talking about prosecution and explaining this with a framing that it was all a fluke caused by the only person who was silly enough to IM you with a confession... add one more person who will never be a customer of yours with an apology like that. Now I know you're irresponsible.

Seriously don't write official blog posts for your company while you're experiencing "I was just in the field for days trying to fix this stuff" emotions.

Calm down, then try and be graceful about the fact that you were hacked by a few clueless kids. (Clueful kids don't let you know who they are.) Then try and figure out how to protect yourself against people with a clue.

3 points by Stormbringer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, that is quite the list of security measures that they had almost but not completely/correctly implemented, or hadn't got around to yet.

I guess the real moral of the story is to finish what you begin, or don't keep putting security off until it is convenient for you.

1 point by zaidf 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I remain in two minds about idea of charging the kids.

There is no doubt they did some things they should not have. And I don't doubt there can be a decent case built against them. But as someone who actually had something from his teen years come to bite years later, it's not pleasant. At least in my case it was a MAJOR maturing moment(also the worst day of my life). May be it will take a lawsuit to get these kids to mature up...to that extent anything that gets em to mature up before they really get screwed would be fair.

I'm not merely advocating another chance but actually something that gets these kids to be a tad more thoughtful about their actions. It's not always easy to do that when you are 16 and full of adrenaline.

2 points by intended 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Their response and abilty to turn the situation around is a case study in dealing with a difficult situation. Kudos!
I'm saving their response and will use it when dealing with things. Being able to have a counter party to identify has definitely helped in handling the situation. I didn't realize how powerful that can be until I saw this, I learnt something new.

Its a brilliant piece and a great start/way to restore faith and recover from what must be a pretty grueling ordeal. Good job.

2 points by rexreed 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This post convinced me not to use PHPFog. They reveal more in their lack of foresight and security prevention measures than their response to what was otherwise a fairly trivial exploit. I am not sure this blog post was helpful in convincing customers like me that want to feel that their infrastructure providers are on top of things.
6 points by jschuur 1 day ago 1 reply      
Never? I would be cautious about issuing a challenge like that.
2 points by skbohra123 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I am sure, many of the HN users here would have found at least a loophole in similar systems in the course of time. What I do in such situation is letting the service know about the flaw. Isn't that the ideal behaviour ?
4 points by pdenya 1 day ago 4 replies      
What a crazy story. If the timelines are accurate there was an extremely small chance of this happening. Bad luck all around.

My site is still down, guess i'm in the unlucky 1%.

1 point by RobMcCullough 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There is no such thing as bad publicity! Kudo's for turning lemons into a viral blog post! Although, if I understand correctly, you were reusing passwords and storing them in plain text! This is an ABC123 computer security nono. Thank goodness it was just some young script kiddies and not someone with malicious intent!
2 points by samjohanssen 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to PHPFog. They've managed to direct the attention to the 16 year old kids rather than their own incompetence.

Is it me or no one mentions the lack of expertise of the PHPFog team in PHP and Systems Administrations.

Sure kids broke in and the way they published their findings was despicable. The fact remains that PHPFog was utterly broken to pieces and the exact essence of the problem is simply the lack of knowledge in their field.

I am very disappointed by the tone of the blog post and think PHPFog don't really have a notion of what they are doing. I would much rather seem them where they belong, in the Ruby world where their experience is.

1 point by getsat 22 hours ago 1 reply      

  2:56:45 AM Elliot : then I used the method detailed by turby
2:56:46 AM Elliot : to gain root

Has anything been said about what this method was?

1 point by benatkin 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Eliminate shared hosting failover server " We may never do shared hosting failover again if we can not guarantee its security. We might do a non-realtime failover to automatically launch a new instance for you, but this experience taught us what a bad idea this can be.

What does realtime mean in this case? Anyway, this isn't the only option. They could keep a few bare instances of their php stack online and simply run the deploy script instead of the image creation script. That ought to be able to run in under ten seconds I think.

2 points by nethsix 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great to see disclosure. This can happen to anyone, and more so for startups, where labor is short, focus is on developing features. Using the phrase "Never Happen Again" is a bit strong though.
Security is risk management; spend until you can accept the remaining risk while still maintaining profit and avoid being a hacker's low-hanging fruit.
2 points by dashr 1 day ago 0 replies      
great to hear all the details so quickly so that others building similar systems aren't in the same situation. as fellow PHP'ers its also great to hear that you are not blaming it on PHP somehow (no fuel for the php haters).
0 points by teyc 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel for the people at phpfog.com, but this is a bigger blow to cloud computing.

Customers who are already pretty risk averse to their data being stored in the cloud would see this as another reason not to take the risk.

The cloud computing consortium needs to work on a stable stack as well as figure out how to audit that it works properly.

In addition, it calls for security ahead of features. Given that phpfog is funded, they'll need to implement the equivalent of a bleeding edge stack and a locked down stack.

1 point by hinathan 1 day ago 1 reply      
This feels like a business model where the lean/MVP approach isn't quite appropriate. A lot of things fall out of that decision, not the least of which is that the exposure surface area you get from an environment that allows user-sourced code on purpose is enormous. I feel for the guys going through this but there were a lot of errors in the wild all at once to allow this to happen.
2 points by Popcorned23 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's an interesting tweet from one of their developers.


> Your password in the database is SHA512 encrypted, but we're not taking chances.

I hope he knows what he's talking about and is just tired from the past few days.

1 point by pdaviesa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
So, shouldn't the first thing you learn as a hacker include how to mask your physical location so as not to have the FBI knocking on your door?
4 points by jonursenbach 1 day ago 1 reply      
They're actually a Ruby shop according to the leaked codebase.
-4 points by svlla 1 day ago 3 replies      
php... a language by amateurs, for amateurs. phpfog... a service by amateurs, for amateurs.
Create web apps in JavaScript right from your browser akshell.com
365 points by yogsototh 2 days ago   95 comments top 35
24 points by nbashaw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you so much for making this. I'm learning to program, and an intern at a place where I can't use my computer, can't install anything on their windows machines, and have a lot of free time. You just made my life a LOT better.
22 points by cubicle67 2 days ago 1 reply      
You've no idea how good it is to see an IDE on an iPad. Editing doesn't seem to work, but so what; it's _there_
17 points by olegp 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty good timing given we (Akshell) submitted to YC last night. Bad timing in the sense that I've only had two hours of sleep.
6 points by codedivine 2 days ago 0 replies      
In a similar vein, people should check out Ares SDK from Palm for WebOS. It is an entirely browser based IDE for creating apps for WebOS, which are also written using their Javascript/HTML/CSS based APIs.

edit: https://ares.palm.com/Ares/about.html

10 points by davej 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can somebody who has used both Akshell and Cloud9 IDE post a brief comparison?
3 points by eitland 2 days ago 0 replies      
It took a while before I could find anything about the possibility to run on own/3-party servers.

So far this is the most specific I've found:

    The engine will be open sourced soon to eliminate the
vendor lock-in: you'll be able to launch Akshell
apps on your own server.

Anyone else knows the details?

Edit: Found some more details: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1261786

5 points by keyle 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's really impressive. I've been working on a web only code editor for a few weeks (on and off), so I can appreciate the work gone into this.

They built it using Objective-J (according to the source code).

12 points by fjakobs 2 days ago 2 replies      
Good work. As author of Ace (the source code editor) I'm always happy to see it being used. Do you guys have Cappuccino bindings for Ace you might consider sharing?
3 points by tuhin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or is the Name field actually a single word "username"?

I tried my name with space, it did not work but a single username worked just fine! If latter, you might want to change the Name: field to Username:.

4 points by olegp 2 days ago 2 replies      
yogsototh thank you for submitting this. We are seeing 150 or so concurrent users on the site due to this at the moment. I'm retweeting some of the other online reactions we're getting at https://twitter.com/akshell_com
3 points by d0m 2 days ago 2 replies      
Impressive. May I ask what libraries do you use for the menubar and all UI widgets?

Also, is the web a "pretty proxy" that redirect everything to a node.js server which does the actual work?

2 points by ptn 2 days ago 3 replies      
Slick design, however, I don't understand the buttons. Why is 'eval' a joystick and commit a box?

Also, whenever I hit Preview I get a 500.

4 points by TamDenholm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Be nice to see a non-OSX skin. :P
4 points by roblund 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. Your docs are well put together, and simple. It looks like you put a decent amount of time into them, which I really appreciate. Too many apps write the docs as an after-thought just before launch.
2 points by riffraff 2 days ago 1 reply      
awesome work, but FWIW, the first thing I get in the git console for help is two lines of "undefined", and an internal server error for "lol" in the eval screen, using chrome on ubuntu. But you are probably being overloaded ATM so I'll just wait and try again later :)
2 points by te_chris 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool, now if someone could just make a Javascript IDE that works on the desktop, I'm just beginning to work in node.js and do most of my PHP in NetBeans, I really want an IDE that recognises that a project can be JS!
1 point by csomar 2 days ago 0 replies      
* A little bit faster. It's just fine for typing, but the menus and toolbar are a little bit slow.

* Why only GIT? Support Mercurial with bitbucket if possible.

* Add a context menu when user right clicks the mouse. It's important to have a copy/paste feature for files for example.

... and I'll move my JavaScript coding to it.

2 points by Animus7 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool, but as a developer I'm having trouble seeing the market fit.

Like many devs, I have my preferred IDE and I'm religious about it. And I'm fine with running my own server if it means I don't have to commit to a new proprietary framework; that's kind of a huge deal.

I can see the benefit to budding web developers looking to get started, but those are probably also least likely to be paying for dev tools. This seems to be your approach in the docs, though.


1 point by ndl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have Firefox "3.6.16pre," through Ubuntu.

When I try to access the app, it tells me that my browser isn't supported and sends me to mozilla.com to download... Firefox 3.6.15

Version check bug?

4 points by steve_b 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great! Do you think you'll be including support for CoffeeScript?
1 point by gregsadetsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great work, congratulations!

- Can you make the save-preview-reload cycle (much) faster? I found out that command-S triggered a Save, that's great. Does "Preview" have a keyboard shortcut as well? Could you have tooltips (when 'mouseovering' the toolbar icons) show the keyboard shortcut?

In TextWrangler (and BBEdit in the past), I have F1 as the "Run" item of the shebang menu. It even works with unsaved files; developing/testing in Python gets addictive: type, F1, type, F1, etc. (yes, yes, I think before I type... ;-) it's still nice to be able to quickly run your code..!)

- Will it be possible to console.log() strings and/or objects?

1 point by growt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, this looks really great.

One small suggestion: can you s/git// on the git shell? because I'm really used to type "git <cmd>" in a shell and it's hard to change the habit.

1 point by js4all 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic job. You made great progress on the IDE.

To get people's trust to invest work into your platform, it is essential to provide a solution running on a server of their choice.

1 point by olegp 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by kellysutton 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well. This is a good way to make my JS looking insignificant by comparison.
1 point by tybris 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks very well done. What I don't like is that is has a slow feel to it.
1 point by matthodan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking about building something like this, but haven't had the time. I'm glad to see someone did it!
1 point by Sloven 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great stuff. Thanks!
It would be cool if left side panel be collapsible also not just draggable. In manner as it in visual studio.
2 points by dimmuborgir 2 days ago 1 reply      
Stupid question but what colorscheme is used for the editor? It's so easy on eyes.
2 points by rstarkov 2 days ago 1 reply      
Took an hour and a bit yesterday to improve my eBay listings, like so: http://tinyurl.com/67dou5n link to the app, not eBay).
2 points by nbaumann 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks, now I'm not going to pay attention in class... :
1 point by coldflame23 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job. a portable js IDE !
1 point by dev_Gabriel 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's really cool.
1 point by mikerg87 2 days ago 1 reply      
No love for IE9?!
1 point by LordCope 2 days ago 0 replies      
awesome stuff!
Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth 'Crying In Rage' [in 1967] npr.org
332 points by J3L2404 5 days ago   62 comments top 16
67 points by adriand 4 days ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of an interview with former NASA astronaut (and current director of the Veteran Administration's National Center for Patient Safety) who related that most people don't realize that the astronauts who died in the Challenger accident didn't die in the explosion:

> There are still many people that don't understand that the crew of the Challenger didn't die until they hit the water. They were all strapped into their seats in a basically intact crew module; their hearts were still beating when they hit the water. People think they were blown to smithereens, but that's not what happened.


36 points by rriepe 4 days ago 5 replies      
This reminds me of my favorite conspiracy theory, The Lost Cosmonauts, which proposes that Yuri Gagarin was the first man to survive space travel.


25 points by thefool 4 days ago 2 replies      
The bit about the translation is misleading. I speak russian.

The audio is very fuzzy, but I think at the end he says something that roughly translates to "the former cosmonaut is dead"

Before that he says something about the people, I can't make out anything about heat or temperature. Apparently the people on the ground couldn't either, which is why you hear "mission control" asking him to repeat himself. I couldn't make out the word they asked him to repeat either.

26 points by saturnine 4 days ago 0 replies      
This incident sounded familiar so I pulled my copy of James Bamford's Puzzle Palace[1] (1982) and managed to find it on page 215:

"Another high-priority target for the signal chasers at Karamursel [Turkey] is the Soviet space program. On April 23, 1967, a number of analysts were routinely copying the return of Soyuz I, bringing Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov back from twenty-six hours in space, when problems suddenly developed on re-entry. Recalled one of the intercept operators:

'They couldn't get the chute that slowed his craft down in re-entry to work. They knew what the problem was for about two hours...and were fighting to correct it. It was all in Russian, of course, but we taped it and listened to it a couple of times afterward. Kosygin called him personally. They had a video-phone conversation. Kosygin was crying. He told him he was a hero and that he had made the greatest achievement in Russian history, that they were proud, and that he'd be remembered. The guy's wife got on too. They talked for a while. He told her how to handle their affairs and what to do with the kids. It was pretty awful. Toward the last few minutes he began falling apart, saying, "I don't want to die, you've got to do something." Then there was just a scream as he died. I guess he was incinerated.'"

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Puzzle-Palace-National-Intelligence-Or...

4 points by thought_alarm 4 days ago 0 replies      
This analysis [1] pours cold water on the CIA's interpretation of Komarov's transmissions. It's an interesting read, regardless.

[1] http://www.svengrahn.pp.se/histind/Soyuz1Land/Soyanaly.htm

11 points by corin_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
As posted at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2342058 four hours ago.
6 points by hoag 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is a chilling story. But such is the plight of man setting out on new frontiers of exploration: from Francisco and Columbus setting out across the seas, to Earhart's one way flight, so too will man flounder in his trek through the stars.

Look: explorers of all elements -- land, air, sea -- undertake their endeavors to accomplish a singular goal: the discovery of the unknown. An uncertainty of one's destination brings with it, therefore, an uncertainty of one's success and therefore of one's survival. And this is a risk that all explorers knowingly and willingly undertake -- it is a condition precedent to being such a brave traveller.

Accordingly, I think to shed so dark and negative a light on the several tragedies during mankind's nascent years of exploration is to miss the point and indeed forsake the very thing for which those pioneers lived: the furthering of our race, the advancement of our species.

Rather than mourn the loss of our fellow adventurers in their quest into the unknown, we should instead celebrate them, not only for their accomplishments in life, but additionally and especially in death.

After all, but for their risks, but for their selfless ability to consciously put their lives on the line both for their countries -- and indeed for our species as a whole -- and, certainly, to satisfy their thirst for knowledge and discovery, we would still be travelling the European continent on horseback.

As indecent as it may sound, I am certain our great explorers would be disappointed to see us saddened by their loss, and that they would far rather their memories be praised with all the pomp and circumstance worthy of their triumphant accomplishments, failures and successes alike.

6 points by koski 4 days ago 3 replies      
There is something touching in these stories. Not sure if it's something that these guys "did that no one knew about" or the "brotherhood" or ... but .. Something I think was brave.

I'm sure some people disagree, but I would have left a vodka glass on this guy's grave. For sure! Spasibo!

8 points by myth_drannon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just one comment , the book is not new but from 1998 . This is just softcover release.
4 points by spacemanaki 4 days ago 0 replies      
Be sure to click through to the Amazon page for this recording... for the cover art and "album title".


6 points by vl 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's the most link-batish title I've seen in weeks. Adding date would be appropriate.
2 points by jonah 4 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the article I read about a couple Italian kids listening in on the Soviet's [lost] space missions:


Not sure how much they sensationalized their efforts but quite interesting look into the history nonetheless.

2 points by karolist 4 days ago 1 reply      
I know this is probably inappropriate, but I've googled his wife out of interest, to see if USSR took good care of her, this is what I've found http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/valentina-Komarov/131556909...
1 point by J3L2404 4 days ago 0 replies      
and here's Ivanovich(middle name),
in his rocketship,
spinning helplessly up above the earth,
and though his heart is splintered,
all the girls of winter,
are buried in their coats anonymous....
2 points by vamsee 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.
-1 point by varjag 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is on par with "Alien Autopsy" and 9/11 conspiracies. That said, it invokes the "crazy Russikies" stereotype, so it must be true.
Mozilla Glow: Awesome Firefox 4 live download day map mozilla.org
308 points by gkoberger 1 day ago   75 comments top 23
43 points by gkoberger 1 day ago 7 replies      
Some info about it:

* Like Firefox, it is open source! http://github.com/potch/glow

* Counter was started this morning at 6am PST.

* Each dot represents one download.

* Map is generated using SVG, "pings" are divs with rounded corners, country radial charts are canvas.

* The bars across the bottom shows downloads per minute.

* You can drill down to the city level, to see how many downloads from your town. (Click the bottom left circle graph)

* Created by Matthew Claypotch (http://potch.me) and Jeff Balogh (http://jbalogh.me) on the Mozilla Web Dev team.

[edit: added open source information]

6 points by JonnieCache 1 day ago 0 replies      
If someone wants their own, realtime version of this have a look at Maptail, written in nodejs:


It's pretty gosh darned awesome.

6 points by 51Cards 1 day ago 1 reply      
Me-thinks that IE9's much touted 2.35 million downloads on day one is not going to seem so impressive by the end of today.
5 points by sabat 1 day ago 1 reply      
I should mention that under the hood, the live stream processing of download events is being done by SQLstream, the startup I work at. :-)
2 points by daleharvey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would have really like an overlay with the current timezones, its quite interesting seeing most of the activity in europe and the east coast

impressive nonetheless

3 points by devinfoley 1 day ago 1 reply      
I made an iPhone app called Glow about a year ago that visualized "feelings" on a map in much the same way. I was working on a web-based global map as well, but got bored of the idea.



I guess Glow is an obvious name for map visualization apps.

1 point by 51Cards 1 day ago 0 replies      
So have been watching this on and off today and it's neat to watch the main concentration of downloads move with the morning hours across the map. Right now it's in Europe as everyone goes through their morning "Oh look! FF 4 released!"
2 points by JonnieCache 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would be good if I could see the advance of sunrise overlaid on the map.

Nice work!

3 points by abcd_f 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of https://secure.logmein.com/welcome/visualization/fullscreen try moving the mouse around).
1 point by jcsalterego 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the node.js knockout landing page. I believe there was a map on that one. Unfortunately, I can't seem to dig up that page anymore.
2 points by shimi 1 day ago 1 reply      
The locations names in Israel are phonetic translations and not their English names (e.g. Yerushalayim translates to Jerusalem) wonder how they got it?
1 point by leh 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking at Japan you can estimate where it was hit by the tsunami because of the lack of pings.
4 points by u48998 1 day ago 1 reply      
No one seems to be interested in Africa and Australia.
1 point by ptn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Try opening it with Chrome (seriously
1 point by yoda_sl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is quite a map/page. It reminds me the ApplemApp wall that was installed at WWDC a couple years ago where you were seeing -kind of- real time the downloaded apps from the AppStore, except they were not showing on a world map.
Anyway this FF4 page is in a way a cool dashboard !
1 point by mohsen 1 day ago 1 reply      
i have a question. i was looking at the continent/country breakdown the download counts and i didn't see iran. did no one download from iran?
1 point by lovskogen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try resizing your browser and see why one should be careful with CSS Shadows.
1 point by ski2mi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Neat, although it would be interesting to see the effect of having dots persist for more than one refresh, and perhaps fade over a few secs. I think it would look much smoother. Nice job though!
2 points by Jencha 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't look like its working for me on Latest Chrome 10, Win 7. No dots :(
1 point by thewisedude 1 day ago 2 replies      
if you look at NY state, you will see that the town Alfred has 86000 downnloads and a city as big as new york has 10000 downloads(1/8th)... I wonder if anybody can explain that?

Point to also consider is Alfred is a town with less than 10000 people and New York city has millions!

1 point by gglanzani 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Netherlands density of downloads is pretty impressive. Can't find Malta though.
1 point by 3minus1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like it's more popular in Europe than the US.
-1 point by greyman 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nice map. ;-)
Anyway, when Chrome and IE9 both seems to surpass Firefox, do you guys think this browser still have a future?
AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 Billion businesswire.com
309 points by ssclafani 3 days ago   203 comments top 51
39 points by cletus 3 days ago replies      
It's a natural fit for AT&T to buy T-Mobile. They both 3G GSM (UMTS) technology. T-Mobile is probably better in some key markets than AT&T, most notably New York (City).

The one issue with T-Mobile is it uses the fairly nonstandard 1870 MHz frequency. I don't know of any other carrier that does (anywhere). I assume this is because AT&T has the rights to the more common frequencies in the relevant markets? I wonder what technical and regulatory hurdles stand in their way for switching T-Mobile infrastructure to also do the "standard" frequencies.

Wireless really is a mess in the US. Europe and Australia have really benefited from choosing one technology (GSM). In the US you pick your carrier then pick your phone. Elsewhere you basically pick your phone then pick your carrier. Don't like you carrier? Swap your SIM. Problem solved. The US really suffers (from the consumer point of view) by this lack of carrier mobility.

It's my theory that US wireless is so expensive at least in part due to it being the most balkanized market in the developed world (and possibly the entire world).

I was hoping LTE would help alleviate this problem as it seemed to be on the road map for 3 out of 4 of the carriers (all but Sprint). Now I guess it's still 2 of 3. Sprint is still the odd man out with the (basically failed) WiMax technology.

I can see this acquisition facing some serious regulatory and legislative scrutiny.

34 points by epall 3 days ago 4 replies      
T-Mobile customer service has consistently been one of the best customer service lines I have ever dealt with. Back when I had a Sidekick, I would routinely end up connected to a Danger employee sitting _at_ Danger HQ, helping me through teething issues on the early Sidekicks. For over five years, they have been extremely polite, helpful, and available.

From what I've heard, I won't get this kind of service as an AT&T customer. I'm sad to see T-Mobile go, but this merger always was kind of on the horizon.

84 points by plusbryan 3 days ago 5 replies      
Oh crap. There goes my unlimited tethering.
62 points by dres 3 days ago replies      
This is complete bullshit, and would give AT&T an effective monopoly on GSM based wireless communications in a number of key markets. I say we collectively work to lobby against this deal, as it will be bad for all of us who are based in the US and looking to do ANYTHING in mobile. Imagine if Apple had tried to get their iPhone AppStore arrangement in a single-GSM carrier world?

It's 2011, folks. We can't let oppressive regimes have their way.

14 points by yurylifshits 3 days ago 1 reply      
Spectrum is the real problem. There is just not enough space for 3-4 LTE providers in addition to all existing GSM/CDMA carriers. We are solving this problem in Russia too, but with a different solution. One carrier (Yota) is building a shared network of LTE base stations and allows all carriers to sell it. Other carriers have the option to buy 20% of Yota five years down the road. Also, Yota agrees to stop being a carrier itself by that time. It's like energy grid, GPS sattelites or highway system. You better have just one utility and regulate it well.
16 points by johnohara 3 days ago 0 replies      
My AT&T service has three (3) main features, call waiting, call forwarding, and call dropping. Of those, the third feature works best.

Oh, and unrelenting robo-reminders. Those calls never drop and they always leave a message.

11 points by zavulon 3 days ago 5 replies      
I guess I don't understand how anti-trust laws work. Didn't they break up "Ma Bell" a few years ago specifically to prevent monopolies? And since then, AT&T bought Cingular, now T-Mobile, and they pretty much have a monopoly on GSM, if not on all mobile phones.
9 points by sev 3 days ago 0 replies      
T-mobile has an excellent policy of easily unlocking phones if you just call and ask. In the worst case they make you wait 3 months into your contract before they do. This policy will be missed.
7 points by greattypo 3 days ago 2 replies      
From Friday's HN post "Confessions of an Apple Store Employee":

  "We usually have to tell them that if they unlock their iPhone, it won't work. That 
it's going to be like a $700 paperweight, and that the antenna will fry itself
on T-Mobile. Of course, that's not true, but that's what we tell them."

Wonder how quickly their tune on that last part will change..

13 points by cheald 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ugh. This might finally get me to leave T-mobile. I left ATT after a horrible experience and vowed to never go back. I am not happy.
9 points by ajays 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now all we need is for Verizon and ATT to merge, and Ma Bell will be reincarnated.
6 points by melvinram 3 days ago 0 replies      
My main questions as a T-Mobile custoemr:

1. Will I be able to keep the same plan I'm on now? I'm assuming the answer is yes unless I make any changes, at which point they'll try to force me into a new AT&T, which will suck.

2. When can I buy an iPhone for use on my T-Mobile plan? This will still probably a good year away, though I hope it'll be faster.

4 points by jmspring 3 days ago 1 reply      
For the longest time when AT&T bought Cingular, plans that were entered into under Cingular were allowed to continue under AT&T on the same terms. Given how long ago this was, I didn't have data, so I can't speak to what would have happened with a voice/data plan.

However, I can see the same thing not happening with this deal. AT&T really is the antithesis of T-Mo in terms of pricing, flexibility, and customer service.

I've got both (an iPhone and a Nexus One). While 3G coverage is not as readily available on T-Mo as it is on AT&T, there have certainly been many times when it has been more reliable in call quality and drops.

The only upside to this? It is very likely the US will end up with unified GSM frequencies. We will see.

Seriously not looking forward to this.

3 points by Osiris 3 days ago 2 replies      
Are there any chipsets out there that could support both AT&T (1900) and T-mobile 3G (1700) frequencies? Since one of the main reasons for the merger is for spectrum, it seems that AT&T must be planning on utilizing T-mobile's spectrum in the future to improve reach and reliability, so it would make sense for them to provide phones that support both frequencies.
7 points by rhizome 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's right, Americans: take it and like it. Voting with your wallet may not be as foolproof a plan as previously asserted.
12 points by alecperkins 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Now the US will have an even more competitive wireless market, (seriously: which is exactly what is necessary). I'm sure the wireless plans will only get better.

edit: /sarcasm, obviously.

3 points by joe_the_user 3 days ago 0 replies      

We have a company leveraging their government-granted-duopoly in the broadband marketplace to strengthen its market share in a closely related market (mobile phones). It's a good move for them ... They're stretching their net and once it's across the whole Internet, get ready to pay some real rent...

13 points by Cherian_Abraham 3 days ago 0 replies      
What does this mean to the T-mobile 4G ads with the cute girl from T-mobile and the Young guy (iPhone) with the AT&T network on his back? Awkward....
7 points by miah_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will not give AT&T my money. As a happy T-Mobile user I am strongly against this purchase. I really hate that the US Cellular system is split by Wireless technologies and that my only options for GSM are basically AT&T and T-Mobile. Where will I go? Credo is great, but my phone isn't based on CDMA and I don't want to switch phones just because I switched vendors.
3 points by nextparadigms 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think this is a good idea for customers. Even Sprint acquiring T-mobile is a bad idea, but this is much worse. At least with Sprint buying T-mobile you'd have 3 equal sized companies, but in this case, I wouldn't be surprised if Sprint eventually gets bought by Verizon, and then Americans will really be in trouble.
5 points by grammr 3 days ago 0 replies      
My mom is a pretty senior manager at T-Mobile, so when I first read this post I texted her about the acquisition. She said that there were rumors in the company that Sprint was trying to buy them, but she had heard nothing about the AT&T acquisition. Five minutes later she got the news break from the CEO. HN ftw.
6 points by meemo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Only three big companies. There's got to be a point when these mergers hurt competition. I like T-Mobile because it offers cheaper postpaid plans without a contract. I don't think AT&T offers these and their plans are generally more expensive.
3 points by ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
This should not be allowed to happen if there is any kind of regulation oversight at all left in this country.
1 point by credo 3 days ago 1 reply      
imo AT&T's exclusive iPhone deal was one of the reasons for T-Mobile's gradual decline.

So it probably wouldn't be a stretch to say that Apple played a role (albeit unintentional) in this acquisition.

2 points by jamesbritt 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to do business with a company that so willingly spied on American citizens. I just renewed a contract on T-Mobile. Now I need to see if I can get out with no penalty, and see who is left to send my business.
8 points by iamdave 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by b3b0p 3 days ago 0 replies      
We were Cingular customers, then AT&T bought them. It was the only wireless carrier that offered a good signal where we lived. Slowly over some time after that happened, the signal started to get worse and come and go like with the other carriers we tried previously.

I'm not sure I'm trying to make a point, but I do not know what AT&T did with the Cingular. Did it use it's network? Did they just engulf it to remove the competition? Maybe someone else more knowledgable of this ordeal knows.

How will AT&T use T-Mobile after they acquire them? What becomes of the T-Mobile network that will soon by AT&T's network?

1 point by asnyder 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a new T-Mobile customer who recently switched from AT&T this saddens me. I finally thought I found a decent provider with their Even More Plus plans. So much for choice and competition.
8 points by pat2man 3 days ago 1 reply      
And then there were three...
2 points by henryw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully AT&T customer will have better coverage now. 1 out of 3 calls gets dropped from where I live.
1 point by mrinterweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess this means that I am going to have to switch to Sprint. I really like T-Mobile. They are a great company and I loved their service and pricing. It is going to be sad to not have T-Mobile in the states anymore.
1 point by HaloZero 3 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe I'll finally get a proper 3G signal in San Francisco now... Does anybody know the quality of T-Mobile's 3G Network in major cities?
2 points by tzm 3 days ago 0 replies      
"No matter how many pieces you break it into, it always comes back together"


1 point by Hawramani 3 days ago 0 replies      
In one way this is terrible. And yet, I'm thinking if the situation gets bad enough, we'll finally see some changes that will forever dethrone these oppressors.

I'm thinking of a data-only phone that puts all of these evil companies out of the equation. All you need to provide data is wireless hotspots, and this can be done by small companies.

The only problem is who owns the fast fiberoptics. These fictional small companies could create a cooperative where they all work together to create their own infrastructure. It has worked for the organic food industry (Organic Valley).

2 points by suninwinter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this means that the percentage of Android phones that can't sideload direct from the carrier is going to go up. From what I understand, T-mobile doesn't block that, but AT&T does.
1 point by techsupporter 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how they're going to harmonize all those 1700MHz-based (AWS band?) 3G phones that T-Mobile currently carries.
1 point by dnautics 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is terrible. I've had T-Mobile for 3 years now, and although I had terrible reception sometimes (granted expecting reception in an underground laboratory might not be so reasonable, but my sprint friends had it), the customer service and voice plans were A+.

ATT screwed me seven years ago and I vowed never to take their business again (from what I hear their customer service is still not much better), so I guess if this goes through it's goodbye T-Mobile.

1 point by marques 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how AT&T acquiring T-Mobile is going to affect Mobile Marketing companies in the US. Will Mobile Marketing companies be required to abide by T-Mobile's double Opt-In software policy or will AT&T keep its own Opt In policy which doesn't require a double Opt In for SMS subscribers? This should be interesting to see how this merger unfolds over the next 12 months.
1 point by wfoster4 2 days ago 0 replies      
I might be in the minority but I just don't see this as a good deal. It reminds me of when Wachovia bought Golden West in a forced effort to seek growth.

ATT's stated desire to catch up to Verizon while losing customers seems like an internal issue that just can't be bought away.

On a personal note. I left Sprint for Nextel years ago to see it bought. And I left ATT in November for T-Mobile and well....

1 point by kin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is devastating news to me. With TMO, my sister and I can add on my parents for free, get unlimited tethering, and unlimited family texting for $10. Knowing AT&T, I probably won't be able to keep this plan.
2 points by jwcacces 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, there goes my great rate, my unlimited data, and the great customer service.

At least I can look forward to a larger bill.

2 points by danielayele 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know if either the DOJ or the FTC have approved this?

ed: FCC approval is probably kind of important too...

2 points by mwdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone at sprint is getting fired. Were they not just in the news talking about a network share with T-mobile?
1 point by superdude 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is bad. In terms of freedom, T-Mobile was the only large carrier to oppose warrant-less wiretapping of Americans. In terms of cost, T-Mobile offered the best non-contract prices, and I could use my Nexus One or iPhone on their network for a reasonable price.
2 points by bluegene 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a sad news for consumers and AT&T's competitors especially smaller players like Sprint
1 point by mmatador22 2 days ago 0 replies      
it's a sad, sad day for the wireless industry and an even sadder day for us consumers...
2 points by olegious 3 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by dbuizert 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was waiting for this to happen. TMUSA is such a weird egg in the basket considering it is totally different then the TMEU.
0 points by beedogs 3 days ago 0 replies      
The US is slowly inching its way back toward telco monopoly.


0 points by watchpickwin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good news for our YC project!
-1 point by nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
ATT is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
281 points by latitude 3 days ago   74 comments top 21
44 points by ratsbane 3 days ago 5 replies      
I wish they wouldn't use non-word characters in the names of their products. I thought ".Net" was bad enough when it came out - then C# and F#. But I don't even know how to type this. On this page: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/co... they refer to it as Cw, Cω, and Comega. The artist formerly known as incomprehensible.
14 points by mmaunder 3 days ago 4 replies      
From wikipedia: [The symbol ω is used] in relational database theory to represent NULL, a missing or inapplicable value.


25 points by contextfree 2 days ago 0 replies      
People here seriously don't recognize the Greek letter omega? What kind of geeks are you anyway?

Anyway, this project is long dead as far as I know, although much (but far from all) of it was incorporated into C#.

15 points by josephcooney 2 days ago 1 reply      
I loved Cw back in 2004. I even wrote an article on it http://jcooney.net/post/2004/10/06/OMG-Ccf89-is-Awesome!-You... unfortunately after several blog and hosting platform migrations it got lost. "retail" C# has mostly caught up on many of the cool features of Cw.
17 points by larsberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Much of this excellent research project has been "embraced & extended" into C# at this point.
4 points by knowtheory 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is compelling for a variety of reasons, but they're the same reasons i find Scala is compelling. But Scala has a syntax that is terser and less bracket-y (so far as i have seen), and is further a long as a language.

I'm curious how they see themselves relative to the capabilities of languages like Scala.

6 points by mkramlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Like my advice for any programming language I think they should show their source for "Hello World" on the home page. Code snippets are worth a thousand words. Yields a good quick thumbnail feel for the language.
1 point by 6ren 2 days ago 2 replies      
This Cω/LINQ concept of unifying XML and object data access with SQL- and XPath-like syntax is elegant and obvious (aka intuitive).

Does it get much usage?

Most XML access is delegated to tools these days, and SQL is so familiar (and type-based access so unfamiliar), that it seems unlikely to make inroads on either - nor offer substantial practical benefits. That is: no order-of-magnitude benefit to overcome barriers to adoption.

Have you personally found LINQ beneficial? Has it been widely adopted? Why/why not, do you think?

2 points by JoelMcCracken 2 days ago 1 reply      
To me, the most interesting thing about these comments are that almost nobody knows anything about greek nowadays. Honestly, people, you should at least recognize this from your experience at Uni at some point...
7 points by mikerg87 2 days ago 0 replies      
why is this even news? most of this appeared in production a LINQ
9 points by Almaviva 2 days ago 2 replies      
So do you pronounce it C-butt or C-boobs?
1 point by lincolnq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! The most interesting thing I found in this was the "chords" idea of concurrent programming. Check it out. I've never seen anything like it -- has this been thought about?
1 point by jdp23 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the project's page ... it's an follow-on to Cedric Fournet et. al.'s work on Polyphonic C# http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/co...
5 points by smtf 3 days ago 2 replies      
I had to look it up: it's pronounced "cee omega" according to Wikipedia.
1 point by shadowfox 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is interesting that 16 hours after the post only 4 (or so) comments on this page has anything to the language itself. The rest, including the highest voted threads, are about the choice of the name :)
1 point by tomrod 3 days ago 5 replies      
Will this be better than Python? I'm still a programming tinkerer so I don't have enough knowledge to evaluate.
0 points by comice 2 days ago 0 replies      
looks like a curvy penis and a pair of balls to me. read into that as you will(y).
1 point by acoustica 2 days ago 0 replies      
My main concern for this language would be (not that using lower case omega in conjuction with the letter C advertises looking at one's breasts or ass) that there is no room for specifics. It says it takes all these great qualities and generalizes them. Other than that, that brief overview makes it sound like something worth looking into.
1 point by Sloven 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about speed? The Linq is to slow versus to sp call
0 points by ramses0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for the juvenile humor here, but this looks like I would have to pronounce it "C-nutz". Glad there are no release plans to send this into the wild.
-1 point by nu2ycombinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
ω reminds me the symbol people usually use for 'ass' on internet chats. I remember this language as C-ass. :)
See how many times a URL has been shared on Facebook facebook.com
286 points by jf 3 days ago   51 comments top 24
31 points by jsdalton 3 days ago 5 replies      


These APIs are marked private (as opposed to Facebook's) so use at your own risk.

7 points by siculars 3 days ago 1 reply      
I use that on my HN mashup... http://hnfluence.com/

Also my nyt mashup... http://influentialtimes.com/

5 points by hammock 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is a guy at Yahoo that took a long list of news articles, etc and analyzed over 40MM "Likes" this way. Pretty cool charts came out of it.


3 points by yahelc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also, probably goes without saying, but this method includes JSONP support: http://graph.facebook.com/http://news.ycombinator.com/?callb...
2 points by dotBen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Statistically speaking it would be flawed to use this to compare and prioritize a list of urls in order to rank them by interestingness/attention/etc.

The reason is that pages that have Facebook like buttons embedded on them are statistically speaking going to have a higher chance of getting shared than those that don't (such as Hacker News - which doesn't have such buttons).

I guess it depends what you might use this for, but to me it seems to only have limited value.

2 points by zaidf 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a way to get sum of the share count for all pages in a domain?

This one only reflects share count of the specific page--or only the homepage if you pass a domain.

3 points by minouye 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know at what point your IP would get throttled? If so, any usage guidelines if you plan on analyzing a large url set?
5 points by luciferous 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yuri Lifshits made an entertaining presentation at yesterday's SHDH with data from graph.facebook.com. Link: http://ediscope.labs.yahoo.net/.
2 points by bergie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a PHP lib for getting these counts across quite a few services: https://github.com/nemein/com_meego_planet/blob/master/calcu...
1 point by necolas 3 days ago 0 replies      
See how many times a URL has been tweeted on Twitter:
5 points by abava 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by matclayton 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a shortcut for http://graph.facebook.com/?id=abc

Looks like fb made opengraph pages first class citizens on their namespace, should be interesting to see what else they get soon,

You can also do http://graph.facebook.com/?ids=http://news.ycombinator.com,h...

To lookup multiple urls at the same time.

1 point by groaner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Clearly their censorship efforts have failed:


2 points by jtesp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice find. Facebook should have a morning paper about all of the changes & additions they make. They never seem to stick to any one way of doing anything and drive developers nuts!
2 points by alecperkins 3 days ago 0 replies      
Typos even have some shares, too:


1 point by fibonacci1 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by kmander 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another mini-app to show this and other FB sharing data: http://www.keithmander.com/temp/socialabacus/

Much like the others posted here, but a bit more AJAX and cute graphics.

1 point by sinaiman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does this only count public posts that "everyone" can see?
1 point by tews 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this possible to see if URL was shared/liked by currently signed in facebook user?
I wanna work at Instagram iwannaworkatinstagram.com
283 points by thankuz 7 hours ago   160 comments top 47
24 points by mrshoe 5 hours ago 3 replies      
To write an effective resume you need to keep the audience in mind. The hiring manager will base about 95% of the decision on the answer to one question: What have you built?

Answers to questions such as "What are your skills?", "What is your philosophy?", and "What is your passion?" mostly just get in the way and waste the reader's time.

A flashy appeal for a job like this one might get the attention of Instagram, but they will not base their hiring decision on that. If the portfolio, which in this case includes the resume itself, isn't impressive work, they will pass.

Showcase your actual work well and present it in the most impressive possible light and employers will take notice even if you don't buy a domain name for every company to which you're applying.

79 points by Mystalic 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Anything that makes you stand above the crowd of job seekers and get noticed is (almost) always a smart move. Do you think Instagram is thinking "no, this girl is clearly an idiot?"

No, they're clearly going to notice her and give her consideration that she wouldn't otherwise get. They're probably thinking "nice initiative" even if they've seen this type of application before.

I think a few of you are being too cynical about this being overdone. Getting a new career is a highly competitive race and doing anything that gets you noticed (and on the top of Hacker News) is always going to be a win for your career.

15 points by edw519 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I never wear high heels. So I can crawl into cracks and crevices to snap awesome pics...

AFAIC, automatic interview line. It says so much:

- She understands the ugly stuff needed to get to the pretty stuff.

- She's willing to do the ugly stuff.

- Her work is more important than her ego (I think).

- She "gets it". (Somehow I don't imagine a poser would have ever thought of putting it quite this way.)

9 points by apl 7 hours ago 3 replies      
At this point, there's nothing innovative or quirky about "active applications." Especially if they're rather mediocre.

EDIT: After looking through the whole thing, I have to revise my opinion. It doesn't even qualify as mediocre -- copy and design are surprisingly awful. Large quantities of pseudo-charming nonsense ("I'm vehement about creating kick-ass interactions", "i can write a mean agile spec,
and i'm comfortable working in a highly iterative environment", the complete section outlining why she's supposedly great for the gig) and completely interchangeable self-promotion. Active applications can be interesting if they're actually tailored to the company in question; this particular instance can't be bothered to make any meaningful connection to Instagram. Well, except for the domain name.

10 points by kmfrk 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Kudos to her for putting herself out there, but she's misunderstood what the point of this kind of application is.

When you make a grab for a job like this, you underscore the fact that employers don't always know that there is something that can be improved - and that someone should be hired to do it.

I vaguely recall someone writing an application for 37signals, where he made some redesigns for the site that he thought were needed. (He made them - actions speak louder than words; deeds are better than words; show, don't tell.) In other words: "You need to improve these things - guess what, I can fix those problems for you." It must be what every start-up dreams of at night.

This is what these applications are intended to be about. Again, kudos for putting herself out there (I shudder at the thought of putting myself in the spotlight of the internet with my identity displayed and available for public mockery). But the application itself is very vague and will do little to convince the guys at Instagram to hire her.

I mean, who the hell wouldn't have an interest in working at Instagram? You are not a unique snowflake to have that desire - and it makes the attempt to convey passion less persuasive.

But hey: the site currently has 70 points on the front page of Hacker news, and a lot of new people now know her name. It's inconceivable that there is any "bad publicity" to come of this, so she can't really fail, regardless of what happens from now on.

17 points by dchest 6 hours ago 7 replies      
Don't want to sound rude, but the lens ("I made this") has pretty bad type work. Kerning is off, the curve is not right (http://i.imgur.com/tpDqv.png). The drop shadow is also strange. Overall, there's not enough attention to detail.
12 points by reason 5 hours ago 2 replies      
So HN: Why does this get voted up because of the hustle and for her actually "doing something", and yet there are Rate My Startup posts of actual somethings that go unnoticed on a daily basis?

Check out the "new" and "ask" pages to help some of those people who've put a lot of effort into their executions by giving them more exposure.

13 points by davidw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to work at Instagram myself because I love increasing entropy in the universe.

And yes, I'd say that to their faces: it can be very irritating to see pictures that already are not stellar, being from mobile phone cameras, further trod on by software.

33 points by billclerico 7 hours ago 2 replies      
love the initiative & hustle. dropping her a note now about our designer position
16 points by nopal 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Great initiative. All employers should want to have such enthusiastic applicants.

I'm not sure whether her design is "good" or whether her other attributes line up with what they're looking for, but A+ for effort, nonetheless.

6 points by Lewisham 7 hours ago 2 replies      
While I like the initiative, I'm a little worried that someone who says she's a UX designer wouldn't have considered that most Mac users do not run their browsers full-screen, so there's a horizontal scroll bar for anything less than a 1024 width (I think it's 1024). That's not a good UX!
7 points by cabacon 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Minor nit: "my differences only make me that much more unique."

Unique is an absolute state. One is unique or not; there is no more/less about it. Per the dictionary usage guidelines, think about using something like: "rare, distinctive, unusual, remarkable, or other nonabsolute adjectives".

Sorry. This is my wife's pet peeve, and it has been drilled into my brain.

5 points by andrewljohnson 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry, I don't hire Aries. Only Cancers and Leos for my company.
12 points by kariatx 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is a prime example of "too much telling not enough showing." While I dig Netta's moxie and possibly would even hire her as a community manager, there isn't much here that wows me. Less than 200 Instagram photos and a lackluster design portfolio don't back up the passion and talent that she claims.
1 point by jrockway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What's with the trend of public overdesigned resumes? If you want to work for company X, call your friend that works there and ask them for an interview. They will probably be very interested in speaking to you.
8 points by splish 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The resumé is very difficult to read and took a bit of a nosedive into the generic in its attempt to look unique with the crescent shaping.

Also, as a UX designer the design/layout/grammar(?) of the resumé is a head scratcher - lack of capitalization is no longer a style choice and just made everything harder to read, the most important bits of information: name and contact information are ... sideways.

2 points by dholowiski 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a site like this once for a company I wanted to work for very badly. I didn't get the job, but I did at least get a response from them, which is very unusual.
5 points by faramarz 6 hours ago 1 reply      
+1 for the effort.. but her choice of typography is a big BIG no-no. It's very hard to read. I don't think Instagram will be too pleased.
4 points by madh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else see gibberish? (Chrome 11/XP) This can't be good. http://awesomescreenshot.com/0e59u240c
1 point by tlrobinson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I always find these kinds of "résumés" rather awkward. Yes, companies usually like to hire people who are passionate about the product, but it's possible to be passionate in a creepy obsessive way too.
6 points by Keyframe 6 hours ago 0 replies      
She made leica d vario-elmarit 14-50? I'll hire her then! </snark>
3 points by jamesjyu 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Someone should make an app to let anyone make this kind of clean targeted resume.
12 points by alex_carlill 7 hours ago 1 reply      
this is clichéd, obsequious and poorly typeset.
2 points by crasshopper 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a question. Why isn't every resume a website? This is the era of about.me, flavors.me, and filing your resume online.

The www allows for image, audio, code, and video, as well as text. Why are resumes still pretending to be paper (pdf / doc)?

5 points by alantrrs 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So this is the new way to get a job huh? Replacing the old boring curriculum, I think it's great. Big and Creative
1 point by geekfactor 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Did Netta the Ninja break Instagram?


6 points by hbz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think she did a great job. Her portfolio site is nice as well.
2 points by sbisker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Forwarded along to Mike, one of the founders. (Know him from our CHI days...ah, memories. :) ) Hope it works out for you!
2 points by kevintwohy 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow. Reading the negativity in some of these comments makes me want to think twice about sharing something I've made with HN. That's a bad thing.

It's not perfect. It's not the first time anyone's ever had this idea. Maybe you wouldn't hire her. Who cares?

Not everyone's running for best-most-perfect-idea-in-the-universe-ever. She made a thing. Good on her.

1 point by dr_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Might be a good idea to create some filter effects on your own and apply them to your photos - giving a sample of the original and your various filters applied to it. Just a thought.
Good luck.
3 points by esschul 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love it if we had this sort of show o'enthusiasm in our applicants. It's more than I ever did to get a job.
1 point by xelipe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't she find a technical co-founder and start her the next Instagram?
2 points by ScottBev 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I just finished interviewing 12 grad students from the same school. I wish someone would have come in and given me such a clear reason to place them above the rest.

Very nice idea with great execution surely that is worth something.

3 points by fistofjohnwayne 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait a minute. jQuery 1.2.3 and jQuery 1.4? Just for the image hover?
2 points by ignifero 2 hours ago 0 replies      
picture perfect CV replacements are already getting old
0 points by geekfactor 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is instagrid failing under the front-page pummeling? Her page isn't showing any images: http://instagrid.me/nettatheninja/
2 points by postacrylic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The copywriting is really awful - it makes her come across as a try-hard...

She should have just put up a page with her work and the line: "I want to work at Instagram. Why should you hire me? Take a look at my work", and then post a bunch of kick-ass projects.

Over-the-top copy coming from a designer always is a sign that they're trying to hide subpar quality of work.

2 points by georgechen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Good portfolio except it's a bit too Web centric. Apps, Mobile interaction should be a part of it if this person is serious about working at Instagram.
2 points by ryanmickle 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Love the ambition, but I'm curious why her portfolio work isn't nearly as good as this site.
1 point by hung 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Haters gonna hate. Give her a break. The site's not half bad and at least she tried.
1 point by anhtran 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the site is good but it's not really an innovation thing with many sharp strokes that make me scream: How did she dare to do like that!!!
1 point by tehaaron 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am having an issue where when I start to scroll down, part of the page tries to to scroll down as well and mucks up everything else..in Firefox 4
0 points by NathanLands 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious. I wouldn't be surprised if Instagram hired this guy just for publicity because of the attention on here.
1 point by benedwards 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice looking site. Good luck!
0 points by niico 5 hours ago 0 replies      
-1 point by gigawatt 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"My name is Netta & Design is what I do. It's what I'm good at so why not?"

Just what I'd be looking for in an employee " good, old-fashioned "meh, why not?" attitude.

-4 points by alex_carlill 6 hours ago 4 replies      
I'd just like to put it out there that when I run a company we will automatically disqualify anyone who tries to get a job w/ us in this way. So remember that if you'd like to work for me sometime in the near future.
Sony offers hacker a job. Hacker turns them down because of geoHot inquisitr.com
276 points by whenimgone 3 days ago   61 comments top 16
94 points by georgecmu 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's not very often that when someone is offered a plum job with a company like Sony that they turn it down

Yeah, I get job offers like that a couple times a week. Guess what, I turn them down too. And it's not hard at all, because they are not offers of a plum job, they are an invitation to apply for a position.

37 points by maayank 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not as if they offered him a concrete offer to create the next hot DRM component, just a generic offer for a generic software engineer role. If he would have gone down that path they would have had multiple interviews, mutual checking for possible team fits, etc... This is as generic as it gets, maybe one level above the generic LinkedIn message. Sure, it can result in a concrete offer down the road, but it's not as if a head hunter tried to get the hacker "by whatever fiscal means necessary".

This is like people "sticking it to the man" by yelling at the cable company representative - helps no one.

78 points by jarin 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's not really a job offer, but props to Koushik for standing up for his principles.
33 points by daimyoyo 3 days ago 4 replies      
Good. After the geohot disaster, I sold my PS3 and all the games I had, my vaio laptop, and my flatscreen TV. I refuse to patronize a company that abuses it's customers like that. Apple may have a reputation for disliking people who hack their products but they realized if they pursue legal action against them, they'd alienate the core base of developers they rely on for the Apps they make such a big deal about.
52 points by koush 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the @koush referenced in the article. To repost what I said on reddit last week:

"To clear up any confusion, I was not offered a job, just an interview, which I declined out of principle.
For those saying "I'm going to regret being principled", etc. Probably not. Android App sales have been more than good to me. Good, enterprising, devs should never find themselves short of opportunities."

I wasn't trying to "ride on the geohot wave to get 15 mins of fame". Without beating my drum too much, I've already achieved a moderate degree of it within the Android community. http://twitter.com/#!/koush

I had been tweeting about geohot's happenings for the past few months, and then I got that recruiter email. So I responded, and took a screenshot because the whole thing was a pretty ironic, and tweeted it. Then ~16000 followers made it go viral: http://twitter.com/#!/koush/status/46345951819993088

20 points by rlpb 3 days ago 2 replies      
She probably read the email and thought: "Hacker? He's a hacker? We can't hire hackers! Good thing he told me straight away, he just saved us all a lot of time!"

We know what he means, but other people take the word hacker to mean something else.

If Sony came to this site and saw this article, they'd probably think the same thing too. If the email was sent to try and get them to change their ways, it probably won't have worked at all, since they might not even understand the meaning of the message.

10 points by mbrubeck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with Koush last year at Kiha Software (an Android software startup in Seattle). Currently, he is working on his own one-person startup http://www.deployfu.com/ which could be described as "Heroku for .NET (and other platforms)."
6 points by redthrowaway 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good on him, but surely there's a better source than this? Lack of any real information aside, this article was painful to read. A twitter link to the picture would have conveyed just as much information without the stumbling, awkward prose.
5 points by huhtenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had similar experience long long time ago -- told the recruiter that I would not interview with Philip Morris and got back a blank stare. Nothing dramatic really came out of it, but it sure made me feel good.

PS. Oh, and Sony was not offering this gent a job, it was a simple "feeler". Google sends out these in droves, it does not mean they are sure job offers.

3 points by swaits 3 days ago 1 reply      
I work at SCEA, occasionally with Sarah on recruiting issues. Just want to put it out there that she's a genuinely nice person, and an ethical recruiter. Our internal recruiters reach out to folks like this every day. I guess she just got a bit unlucky on this one by running into someone looking for his 15 minutes.

Also, "reaching out" is a far cry from a "job offer"! You still need to be phone screened and extensively interviewed in-person before you have any sort of shot at an offer. Gotta make sure the candidate actually knows his or her stuff, and that they're not going to act like a complete asshole.

4 points by mkramlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
A job was not offered. Title and OA are incorrect. An opening dialogue attempt was made by a recruiter.

georgecmu's comment is good too. Those sorts of emails from recruiters are closer to the random snail mail you get from credit card companies saying "Contratulations! You're pre-approved!" -- just fill out this form with all your PII and we might really approve you. Maybe. It's a little better filtered than that, but not too much.

5 points by thesystemis 3 days ago 1 reply      
This article "Sony's way on Hackers, Innovaters and Makers" from Make magazine blog (which is down now, but I'll link to the cache) is a good run down of the various ways, before and up to the geohot lawsuit, sony has been attacking hackers and experimenters: http://bit.ly/dVmhC8
3 points by ctide 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand how this gets 200+ points. Has a vast majority of people not received these blanket recruiter emails before?
1 point by RobertKohr 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those who say that this will never reach the ears of anyone that matter in Sony, it isn't their ears that matter. This has brought to light something that provides negative publicity to sony in the hacker community, and will make recruiting more difficult for them.

Basically, whether they know it or not, they are effectively being punished for their actions. The failure to recruit a few talented candidates that will read about this will harm their long term business success.

1 point by pdenya 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who does say there isn't solidarity among hackers? Is that a thing? I've always thought of my fellow hackers as a supportive group.
1 point by etaty 3 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps he should try to change the company from inside !
"Amazon's EBSs are a barrel of laughs in terms of performance and reliability" reddit.com
267 points by quilby 5 days ago   152 comments top 30
36 points by snorkel 5 days ago 1 reply      
Having been at a startup that used hundreds of EC2 instances and EBS volumes I can assure you all that Amazon EBS performance is downright terrible and Amazon didn't inspire any confidence that they could solve it.

Even worse than the EBS performance is Amazon does not offer any shared storage solutions between EC2 instances. You have to cobble together your own shared storage using NFS and EBS volumes making it sucky to the Nth power.

EC2 is fine for Hadoop-style distributed work loads, and distributed data stores that can tolerate eventual consistency, that's all good. But for production database applications requiring constant and reliable performance, forget it.

23 points by jedsmith 5 days ago 1 reply      
Never fails: a cloud provider has issues with a specific cloud product, so clearly the cloud is an illusion that will crash down on you[1]. Any discussion about any cloud provider's product is obviously a chance to soapbox about the industry as a whole.

[1]: http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/g66f0/why_reddit_was_d...

43 points by jameskilton 5 days ago 4 replies      
This comment further down, supposedly from an Amazon employee, paints a grim picture for EBS: http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/g66f0/why_reddit_was_d...
22 points by rlpb 5 days ago 3 replies      
RAIDing together multiple EBS volumes feels like a massive hack to me. I can't help but wonder if this compounds the problem at Amazon's end. If EBS performance is a problem, Amazon need to fix it. For example, if some way of tying together multiple EBS volumes is a reasonable way of working around the problem, then why aren't Amazon providing "high performance" EBS volumes which do that under the hood?

If I were faced with EBS performance issues, I would see this as a big red flag, consider EBS unsuitable for the application and avoid it, rather than carrying on with such a workaround.

10 points by tzs 5 days ago 2 replies      
We've been looking at moving some or all of our stuff to either Amazon EC2/EBS/S3 or Rackspace cloud hosting, and it has been interesting.

Amazon seems more flexible, since you buy block storage (EBS) independent of instances. If you have an application that needs a massive amount of data, but only a little RAM and CPU, you can do it.

Rackspace, on the other hand, ties storage to instances. If you only need the RAM and CPU of the smallest instance (256 MB RAM) but need more than the 10 GB of disk space that provides, you need to go for a bigger instance, and so you'll probably end up with a bigger base price than at Amazon.

On the other hand, the storage at Rackspace is actual RAID storage directly attached to the machine you instance is on, so it is going to totally kick Amazon's butt for performance. Also, at Amazon you pay for I/O (something like $0.10 per million operations).

Looking at our existing main database and its usage, at Amazon we'd be paying more just for the I/O than we now pay for colo and bandwidth for the servers we own (not just the database servers...our whole setup!).

The big lesson we've taken away from our investigation so far as that Amazon is different from Rackspace, and both are different from running your own servers. Each of these three has a different set of capabilities and constraints, and so a solution designed for one will probably not work well if you just try to map it isomorphically to one of the others. You don't migrate to the cloud--you re-architect and rewrite to the cloud.

15 points by mithaler 5 days ago 3 replies      
We were bitten by EBS' slowness at my company recently, when moving an existing project to AWS. You effectively can't get decent performance off of a single EBS volume with PostgreSQL; you need to set up 10 or so of them and make a software RAID to remove the bottleneck. It's a fairly large time commitment to build and maintain, but it's pretty fast and reliable once it's up and running (cases like the recent downtime notwithstanding).

Can anyone tell me if MySQL fares any better than Postgres on a single EBS volume? I wouldn't assume it does but I shouldn't be making assumptions.

26 points by SemanticFog 5 days ago 0 replies      
We had consistent serious problems related to EBS for a several-month streak about a year ago, and I heard almost identical stories from other EC2 users around the same time. Instances with EBS attached would suddenly become completely unreachable via the network. Sometimes we had to terminate the instances, but usually we could revive them by detaching all (or most) of the EBS volumes, then reattaching and rebooting. Amazon seems to have fixed this problem, but I wouldn't be surprised if we suffered in the future the way reddit has.

Overall, EC2 is a very impressive offering, for which I commend Amazon. At times, I've been so frustrated that I'm ready to switch, but they fix things just quickly enough that I never quite get around to it. In the end, I'm willing to accept that what they're doing is hard, there will be mistakes, and it's worth suffering to get the flexibility and cost-effectiveness that EC2 offers.

8 points by gruseom 5 days ago 3 replies      
Anybody care to comment on using EC2 with local (what Amazon calls ephemeral) storage and backup to S3? Seems to me the advantages are: it's cheaper and you avoid the performance and reliability problems with EBS. The disadvantages?
15 points by parasubvert 5 days ago 1 reply      
Generally speaking this is the sort of thing that people warn about when they say "if you want to run on a cloud, you need to design your application for a cloud". Meaning, you can't presume your infrastructure is dedicated and carries similar MTBFs of (say) an enterprise hard drive, which upwards of 1 million hours.

Amazon provides plenty of opportunities to mitigate for this, such as providing multiple availability zones. Reddit, if you read the original blog post, wasn't designed for that - it was designed for a single data centre.

OTOH, the variability of EBS performance is true, and frustrating. If you do a RAID0 stripe across 4 drives, you can expect around sustained 100 MB/sec in performance modulo hiccups that can bring it down by a factor of 5. On a compute cluster instance (cc1.4xlarge) it's more like up to 300 MB/sec if you go up to 8 drives, since they provision more network bandwidth and seem to be able to cordon it off better with a placement group.

10 points by prakash 5 days ago 1 reply      
We (Cedexis) presented our findings on - How do EC2's East, West, EU & APAC zones compare: (pdf) http://www.cloudconnectevent.com/2011/presentations/free/76-...

If you would like to know more please send me an email: prakash [at] cedexis.com

12 points by Kilimanjaro 5 days ago 2 replies      
Lesson for startups: start in the cloud, grow your business, build your own cloud.

Never trust critical parts of your business to others.

7 points by hemancuso 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've never understood how people can use EBS in production. The durability numbers they quote are bad and they wave their hands around about increased durability with snapshots, but never quantify what that means.

Hard drives are unreliable and they certainly don't fail independently of one another - but the independence of their failure is much more independent than EBS.

With physical dives and n-parity RAID you drastically reduce the rate of data loss. This is because although failures are often correlated, it's quite unlikely to have permenant failure of 3 drives out of a pool of 7 within 24 hours. It happens, but it is very rare.

With EBS, your 7 volumes might very well be on the same underlying RAID array. So you have no greater durability by building software RAID on top of that. If anything, it potentially decreases durability.

You could utilize snapshots to S3, but is that really a good solution? It seems that deploying onto EBS at any meaningful scale is a recipe for garunteed data-loss. Raid on physical disks isn't a great solution either, and there is no substitute for backups - but at least you can build a 9 disk RaidZ3 array that will experience pool failure so rarely that you can more safely worry about things like memory and data bus corruption.

4 points by absconditus 5 days ago 3 replies      
How is it that Amazon.com is so reliable if there are so many problems with their "cloud" products? Do they not use the same software to run their site?
2 points by jread 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was at the Cloud Connect conference last week. In a session on cloud performance Adrian Cockcroft (Netflix's Cloud Architect) spoke and said they do not use EBS for performance and reliability issues. They initially had some bad experiences with EBS and because of this decided to stick with ephemeral storage almost exclusively.

The guys from Reddit also spoke about their use of EC2. Apparently they are running entirely on m1 instances which suffer from notoriously poor EBS performance relative to m2 and cc1/cg1 instances.

1 point by Zak 5 days ago 1 reply      
I recently had an EBS volume lose data for no apparent reason. I'm not a heavy EC2 user at all - I was just doing some memory/cpu-heavy stuff that wouldn't fit in to RAM on my laptop and using EBS as a temporary store so I could transfer data using a cheap micro instance and only spin up the big expensive instances when everything was in place. I ended up downloading files on an m2.4xlarge because the files I had just downloaded to the EBS volume vanished.
2 points by danielrhodes 5 days ago 1 reply      
What's the failure rate of EBS versus having direct access to physical disks? My guess is that at scale, it's probably similar.

Although you would hope that the storage components of AWS's cloud were highly reliable, I think the main benefit is not single instance reliability but being able to recover faster because of quickly available hardware.

4 points by floodfx 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'll probably be downvoted for this but seems to me the root cause of this problem is Reddit's architectural decision to remain in a single availability zone. If it wasn't EBS it could have been some other issue related to the single AZ that could have brought the site down. Blaming EBS, particularly if you knew it to be a potential weakness in your architecture, seems like a deflection of responsibility.
4 points by bmurphy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having been running a 200gb millions of transactions per day Postgres cluster on Amazon's EC2 cloud for two years now, I can attest to the fact that EBS performance and reliability SUCKS. It is our SINGLE biggest problem with EC2.

200gb really isn't all that big of a database. It shouldn't have to be this hard.

6 points by steve918 5 days ago 1 reply      
This very moment our team is restoring Postgres volumes because the EBS volumes our primary and secondary were on both failed simultaneously.
2 points by ck2 5 days ago 6 replies      
I firmly believe "the cloud" is a fad, unless for some reason you own and operate all the hardware yourself (ie. Google).

Like other technical fads, everyone will probably come back to servers they can reach out and touch when needed, sooner or later.

1 point by PaulHoule 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love the idea behind EBS, a SAN makes life so much easier, but I too find that EBS glitches are the largest cause of unreliability in AWS.

I'm not immediately planning to move out of AWS, but the trouble with EBS has certainly got me thinking about other options and has made me much less inclined to make an increased commitment to AWS.

1 point by natch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't EBS intended for stuff like Hadoop job temporary data used during processing?

This kind of complaint reminds me of people who buy a product that does A very well, but then they trash it in reviews for not doing B. It was never advertised as doing B, but you'd never know that from the complaining.

1 point by obfuscate 5 days ago 0 replies      
For a data set in the mere tens to hundreds of GB (in MongoDB, if anyone's curious), is there any reason I shouldn't conclude from this that I should use instance storage only (with multi-AZ replication and backups to S3, both of which I would be doing in any case)? Moderately slower recovery in the rare event of an instance failure seems better than the constant possibility of incurable killing performance degradation.

(Edit: I hadn't considered the possibility of somehow killing all my instances through human error. Ouch. That probably warrants one slave on EBS per AZ.)

1 point by cpg 4 days ago 0 replies      
This seems too much of a coincidence.

We released a dropbox-like product to sync and the back-end is on EBS. Yesterday we saw two times when a device got filled to 7GB and as it got closer it became slower and slower and slower. We did not have any instrumentation/monitoring in place and we were immediately suspect it was something on our end.

We (wrongly?) assumed reliability and (decent) performance from AWS.

1 point by j_s 4 days ago 1 reply      
Being totally new to AWS, why does everyone skip right past using ZFS?

"Cloud Storage Will Be Limited By Drive Reliability, Bandwidth ... The key feature of ZFS enabling data integrity is the 256-bit checksum that protects your data."

1 point by amitraman1 5 days ago 0 replies      
We used Amazon and got bad performance in the beginning too. It is bad when you pull files out of S3. By bad I mean the latency is high.

We tried GoGrid and they lost or crashed our server instance.

I've personally used Rackspace, so far so good, but I've only been doing development on it.

1 point by yuhong 5 days ago 0 replies      
On the comment itself, I have this:
0 points by lurker17 5 days ago 1 reply      
EMR is a mess too. The Amazon-blessed Pig is almost a year and 2 major releases behind, and the official EMR documentation seems to describe a version of EMR that doesn't even exist.

"Elastic" is AWS's claim to fame, but I am not seeing it.

Trying to resize an EMR cluster (which is half the point of having an EMR cluster instead of buying our own hardware) generates the cryptic error "Error: Cannot add instance groups to a master only job flow" that is not documented anywhere.

(Why would Amazon even implement a "master only job flow", which serves no purpose at all?)

1 point by jclouds-fan 5 days ago 3 replies      
Why is reddit relying on only one cloud provider? AWS can/should do better but service providers of the size of reddit should be using mult-vendor set-ups for sure.
-1 point by Andys 5 days ago 2 replies      
The AWS business model is to sell shared hosting on commodity hardware. Cloud is a cool buzzword but it is still sharing hardware. Cheap, commodity hardware is the magic that lets you scale up so big and so fast for a highly accessible price.

But you're still sharing the same hardware as everyone else and its still just commodity hardware.

From 0 to 100k users in 72 hours: the full story behind Breakup Notifier dlo.me
267 points by theli0nheart 2 days ago   42 comments top 24
27 points by jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, thanks for the shout-out and glad I could help in some small way. Sorry about spelling your name wrong :)

It seriously doesn't matter what you do, the moment you step off the well-worn path the haters will come out in full force.

Back in 2005, I had just gotten out of the Navy and I used to be a regular on a fairly popular forum. After seeing one of those dogtag impact printers in the mall, I did some research and realized they could do photo-quality engravings on then-current iPod Nanos. Since graduation time was coming up, I had an idea to sell personalized Nanos online (this was before Apple did free engraving, and before stick-on skins hit the market).

I ordered an impact printer on eBay for about $900 and did some test runs, which turned out great on Zippo lighters and the sample dogtags, but would always screw up on the iPod Nanos (I did mine and borrowed a few from some nice friends). I realized that the machine had a bent shaft and tried to get it repaired, to no avail. A new machine would cost around $2500, and the window of opportunity for graduation was already closing, so I decided to abandon the project and get back to software consulting.

Naturally, I posted about the whole venture on the forum, and oh man did they go nuts. It was like a shark feeding frenzy. At first, I got kind of mad that they didn't understand that I felt $900 was an acceptable risk to try out this idea, and that they were trying to troll me because they thought that I was beating myself up over it. In fact, the opposite was true, I was super glad that I tried it. I was just going to spend that money on a massage chair, anyway. I did end up getting a massage chair later, which they also trolled me about because it had speakers and an iPod dock (this was before Apple products were cool). :)

Eventually, I realized that they would NEVER understand the idea of trying out ideas until something sticks, and I realized that the forum was not only a time-waster but also an unhealthy environment. I stopped posting there pretty shortly after that (partially because they started e-stalking and IRL harassing someone else and I realized I was about one step away from that happening to me), but I still go back once in a great while to see what's going on, just out of curiosity, and it's pretty funny because they still talk about it. I guess fame and fortune have gotta start somewhere. :)

10 points by snorkel 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why do Facebook app developers tolerate so much abuse from Facebook? This app to me seems like a perfectly well behaved Facebook app that is within the social spirit of Facebook, and during its moment in the spotlight a Facebook bot kills the app and the author's personal account, no warning, no explanation. From a business perspective I would discount Facebook as an unstable and unsupported platform simply because any app within can get pulled any time without warning or explanation.
9 points by jazzychad 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the shoutout, Daniel! Also, Stammy and I were watching Leno live when he mentioned Breakup Notifier in his monologue... it was St. Patty's Day, and I had about nine black-and-tans in me, so I went a little nuts on your behalf :)
5 points by rudiger 2 days ago 2 replies      
In addition to the technical details, I'd like to know what sort of impact BN has had, particularly how things are going now. Have you been able to capitalize on BN's popularity? Is it still popular now that it's been reinstated?

Anyways, great writeup; I'm looking forward to your future posts.

4 points by orionlogic 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice job. It could be said that there is and always will be a huge market for Stalking apps. I remember the days of icq/msn where there were apps that shows the who was invisible, who blocked you etc... With the proliferation of API's, social and open web, there will be interesting mashups or even privacy leakages. Something like "find 15km radiuous(4sq) where status is not relationship lookup(facebook) last.fm account whom listens Jazz and employed(linkedin)". Who needs dating services where all information is available?
6 points by nischalshetty 2 days ago 1 reply      
You did not tell, was ur app ban revoked? How's it going now? Great post, totally inspirational and yes, take constructive criticism and forget the ones out there to destroy anything good being done. As long as you think it's the right thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

One of the most exciting and genuine posts I've read in a long time.

3 points by Sindrome 2 days ago 0 replies      
I spent a whole 8 hours this weekend playing with the Facebook Graph API for iPhone. Half of that was with no progress. The documentation sucks. The forums are barren. I've read post after post about breaking changes. What am I getting myself into.

I've spent over 5 hours trying to access my friends relationship status and cant get it to work. If anyone can help I would really appreciate it. Here is a Stackoverflow question I made: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5373077/access-friends-fu...

4 points by szcukg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I read about your blog.You're something that I would want to be like.Get in and create stuff just like that.I read about the comments surrounding your TC post.Don't bother about others mate.It's not about who innovates,it's who listens first and you did a great job with your apps.BTW I don't mean to say u didn't do innovation, just the whole steal/theif concept is bullcrap.I haven't used your product as I'm not on Facebook, so why not give it a thought about making it for people who cannot login through Facebook.
1 point by sayemm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great write-up, thanks for sharing Dan. Reading about your experience reminds me of threewords.me a while back, how it just blew up and spread virally through HN and the rest of the startup ecosystem. It's one of the great things about light-weight Facebook apps I guess, they naturally have mass appeal.

The Breakup Notifier also inspired me to whip something up to find out whenever someone removes you as a friend. It's my first Facebook app and I just wanted to get my feet w/ the API: http://friendsnomore.net

2 points by paul9290 2 days ago 1 reply      
Indeed you have to have a thick skin. Whether your making a brand new idea on the net or gained success at executing an idea others have worked on people are going to be hateful.

Im glad TC implemented the Facebook commenting system, but as Ive noticed some trolls are just creating fake accounts to spew their BS. Though it does seem a lot less then before.

4 points by thenayr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great share. Really interesting to see how an idea went from a simple question to someone to a viral web-app in no time at all.

Out of curiosity, how are the stats on Crush notifier holding up?

2 points by jdp23 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great post ... wow, what a ride! Thanks for taking the time to share the story.
2 points by jscore 2 days ago 0 replies      
What kind of app was this? I'm curious how you handled the massive traffic to the site.
5 points by sammville 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice post man!! Waitng for the tech details..
2 points by Timmy_C 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best part of this article, for me, was the link to letscrate.com.
3 points by techclimber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing this up, it's interesting to see how this came to fruition.

I also can't believe all the shit in the TC comments. People really have nothing better to do with their time than rain on someone else parade, I guess.

1 point by markklarich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like people would be interested in knowing how many potential suitors were watching their status and waiting for them to become available. You can envision this as the new status symbol. Instead of how many friends you have, it would be how many people are on your notifier list. In fact, some of those people being followed might jump ship earlier knowing that there are plenty of others waiting in the wings.
3 points by tersiag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice post, I felt like I was re-living the week as you wrote
3 points by fourstar 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is what HN is all about. Looking forward to more...
2 points by jk215 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post.I love reading these stories. Very interested in the technical details followup.
0 points by originalgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, let me get this straight, you wrote an app so that your sister-in-law could get set up as the rebound girl for the "perfect" guy?
1 point by racerrick 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. Thanks for taking the time to write up the story.
1 point by krat0sprakhar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lovely post. Thanks for posting this. Eagerly waiting for the technical details.
1 point by forkrulassail 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Thanks for the writeup.
"Aristo" for jQuery UI github.com
250 points by gourneau 5 days ago   38 comments top 17
16 points by pak 5 days ago 3 replies      
Solid, goes to show the power of the jQuery UI theming framework. This uses even less images and more CSS3 than the last CSS3 implementation of Aristo, which wasn't built for jQuery UI:


Specifically, this one uses inner shadows to generate things like the slider bars without background-image, and most everything else is CSS3 gradients.

The blog post calls jQuery UI's default themes goofy--I won't contest they look dated, but you can get from there to near-Aristo quality by 1) decreasing the border-radius in ThemeRoller to 3px or 2px 2) only using handsome gradient backgrounds and 3) adding some more CSS rules to just add some inner glow, box-shadow and text-shadow on the better browsers. In fact, ThemeRoller could be fairly easily updated to support such things from within the graphical designer.

For example, this app editor interface is pretty much all vanilla jQuery UI, with only the slightest of enhancements in a separate file so themes could potentially be swapped out underneath:


7 points by alanh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, curious why user-select: none; wasn't applied to these buttons. Not sure why you would want to let people select text on UI elements e.g. by double-clicking a button " feels less “native” to see selections made on UI elements.
10 points by iconfinder 5 days ago 1 reply      
Aristo is a great theme - I wish more designers would do custom jQuery UI themes.
6 points by whalesalad 5 days ago 0 replies      
FINALLY! Thank you so much! The base jQuery UI stuff is not very good at all.
2 points by Groxx 5 days ago 3 replies      
Never noticed this before: the auto-complete appears under the slider handles (Chrome 10). Shall test for other browsers in a bit...


  Chrome 12 Canary: same as Chrome 10
IE9 beta: Handles on top, buttons look fine, though no text shadow. "<>" are poorly anti-aliased.
IE9 beta in compatibility mode: auto-complete on top (?), but buttons (aside from href) are full-width. "<>" are poorly anti-aliased.
FF4 rc: Handles on top. "<>" are poorly anti-aliased.
FF3.6.15: Handles on top. "<>" are poorly anti-aliased.

9 points by callmeed 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why is there no styling for basic text fields?
3 points by pyrhho 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a warning, a lot of the controls seemed pretty broken on the iPhone. The auto-complete field totally screwed up Safari (couldn't de-select it), and the sliders were impossible to drag.
3 points by kaylarose 5 days ago 1 reply      
This actually inspired me to see how nice of a theme you could do with ThemeRoller alone:


It's not great but I think it came out pretty good.

1 point by potatolicious 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome OS X here, clicking buttons inside a modal dialog sends me to the top of the page (away from where the modal dialog is).
2 points by felideon 5 days ago 0 replies      
We're using the Aristo theme as well with qooxdoo. Qooxdoo's theming framework is pretty nice, although I haven't tried jQuery's.


2 points by wahnfrieden 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aristo was ported to some of Dojo a couple versions ago: http://sitepen.com/~canderson/aristojo/140/dijit/themes/them... It's not as polished as this jQuery one though.
4 points by smitjel 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very, very nice. Why has it taken this long for jQuery UI to get a quality theme like this?
2 points by yread 5 days ago 1 reply      
Accordion doesn't seem to work in latest Opera
1 point by troels 4 days ago 0 replies      
The div buttons seems to stretch to width 100% in IE (all versions). Perhaps give it `display: inline-block`?
1 point by gorm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the controls doesn't seem to work well on mobile. Like the sliders and the modal dialog.
1 point by exch 5 days ago 2 replies      
It looks nice and clean.

A quick note though: Hitting the 'Change' button in the modal dialog does not get rid of the page overlay, making everything inaccessible. (Chrome 10)

1 point by MattyBE 5 days ago 0 replies      
what a beautiful and simple theme...I really like this.
Why the Quick Bar (“dickbar”) is still so offensive marco.org
246 points by starnix17 3 days ago   101 comments top 23
62 points by danilocampos 3 days ago 2 replies      
Marco nails it.

The whole value proposition of Twitter, historically, has been that you can make it whatever you would like it to be. Are you Captain Nerd? Load up that stream with the finest of curated nerds and be soaked in their wisdom, go! Are you nuts about celebrity culture? Sports? Food? Just want to keep up with your friends and colleagues? You're covered.

The Dickbar is a violation of that understanding that needlessly undermines Twitter's brand and utility among the fiercest of its loyalists. There are many better ways to monetize the experience here. AdWords-style keyword based stuff being the most obvious, and most likely to be virtuous. Pitch me awesome iDevice accessories and apps all day long " I bet I'd actually care about them. Design sites? I'll check it out! Magic kitchen tools? Where?! Awesome restaurants near me? I will eat there!

Sports? Celebrities? Hell. No.

This is crass and it's a fuck up, plain and simple. Five years from now we'll look back and one of two things will be on our minds:

"Wow, glad Twitter rethought that garbage and built something that truly worked for both users and advertisers. What a powerhouse they are."

"Twitter? Was that like Friendster or something? I think I remember it."

14 points by jasonkester 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's a news ticker limited to one-word items, lacking any context, broadcasting mostly topics that I don't understand, recognize, or care about. It's nonsensical. At worst, it can offend. At best, it will confuse.

That actually sums up Twitter as a whole. Try as I might, I've never been able to shift my perception of Twitter beyond that and into something that could ever be useful to me in any way.

Look at the bottom 80% of those screenshots to see what the "real" twitter gives you. I can only assume that the author has subscribed to that content, and it's every bit as useless, to pretty much anybody.

20 points by DanI-S 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'd be interested to hear what 'normal', non-power users of Twitter think. The 'mouth-breathing buffoons' that Jeff Rock so denigrates (and evidently make up most of Twitter's users) may actually like this UI feature.

Viewing the world through nerd-tinted spectacles makes many things seem horrible that are perfectly OK to a regular person.

32 points by Aaronontheweb 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not just the dickbar that's offensive - it's the fact that its release along with the announcement that Twitter is going to try to limit the development of other clients against their API that really makes it distasteful.

I understand that they have a need to monetize - I get it, but to do so in such a ham-handed way really bothers me.

17 points by Duff 3 days ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is, clients like Twitterrific and Tweetie pre-Twitter takeover managed to figure out how to monetize the client years ago.

The Fusion Ads that were featured on Twitter in particular were excellent -- I actually found some the ads interesting enough to click on.

8 points by daveman692 3 days ago 3 replies      
Am I mean for just not caring what's currently trending on Twitter? Feels like a similar problem to showing ads on blogs. I'm there for the content and the ad has to be exceptionally good in order to get any of my attention.
2 points by icarus_drowning 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I find interesting about this analysis is the fact that Twitter could presumably "fix" the dickbar by finding a way to make it 1)useful and 2) targeted to the user.

After years of Twitter claiming that they were going to find a way to monetize without resorting to irritating advertisements (and after billions of tweets) they presumably have the knowledge and ability to do this. The question really is, "do they want to"?

1 point by maurycy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The whole thing is mind-blowing.

Shortly, Twitter should be more profitable than Google.

How Google makes money? More or less, they sell queries. They do not know the right price, so they let the market to figure it out. It works extremely well but they are able to flood someone with ads only about 10-20 times a day.

Twitter, on the other hand, is able to flood with ads all the time. Actually, they are able to push ads, instead of having to wait for a query. Twitter is able to auction with more "vectors", such as location, whole feed, followers etc. They do not have to do any information retrieval over this data, it is already provided with the structure.

Twitter does not have any privacy issues. It is already assumed that nearly everything you post on Twitter is public, so no one is going to screw them for using this. The data posted on Twitter is not sensitive, unlike Facebook.

Also, there is a huge value about the way they receive the data. They have a significant edge over the old web, as they get a lot of things before the whole world. What is even better, they do not have to pull this data, people push it to Twitter. They have data faster and they do not have costs related to crawling the web.

So, if for some reason they do not want flood people with ads, they are also able to auction immediate notifications about queries, the whole stream of tweets, some parts of it. They are able to set the minimum price of each auction so they offset their costs. Everyone focuses on Twitter as a marketing channel but there are many, very profitable, industries that live by the speed, die by the speed.

And do not get me started with the control they have over links posted in Tweets...

EDIT: typos

3 points by revorad 2 days ago 2 replies      
Look at those screenshots. The ad is nowhere near offensive. At most, it's slightly distracting.

The self-righteous sense of entitlement of people using free stuff on the internet never ceases to amaze me.

3 points by bartjacobs 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with Marco Arment and Jeff Rock in that it is perfectly understandable that Twitter wants to monetize their business if they wish to do so, but based on their recent decisions it seems that they are taking a path that will damage their business along the way. Also, I have never understood the value of trending topics. It is just one of the many metrics inherent to how Twitter works, but it is far from the most useful metric since Twitter is so full of spam and people that have nothing useful to say (which is their good right of course).

Anyway, all this does make me curious to see how Twitter is going to change in the next few months and I hope for the best - for them and for the users.

3 points by tehjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Am I supposed to tweet about it? If so, why doesn't the interface encourage that? Even if I hit the (effectively invisible) New Tweet button from this screen, my tweet isn't prepopulated with “#michigan”, so whatever I say in response won't be included here."

The new tweet button is the same size and in the same place as in the rest of the application. Trying the button and it does auto fill the trending hash tag.

The rest of the article hits the point, but there is no need for these inaccuracies.

1 point by daimyoyo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I deleted the twitter app from my phone as soon as I realized the dickbar was something I couldn't opt out of. Now I use hootsuite. Deceit UI, multiple accounts, and I can post across accounts and(something twitter doesn't do) schedule tweets to post at a later time. Twitter had made a serious miscalculation with the dickbar. They've reminded users there are other clients out there they can use. And if twitter decides to shut off API access for those clients, a LARGE percentage of people will simply stop using the service. I will.
1 point by jmspring 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think part of the thing missing here with regard to the "dickbar" is "context". The short time I used the official Twitter client before changing to another one was that the "dickbar" had no relation to what I was actually interested in.

The UI was intrusive, yes, but what was presented was more offensive. Fix/soften the UI impact and make the "trending" topic more appropriate and things would be less offensive.

2 points by dr_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the bar should only appear when one conducts a search - so it could have some relevance to what is being searched - rather than right on the main screen.
2 points by whoisnicole 2 days ago 0 replies      
The "dickbar" is offensive because it needs to be. Costello knows that we'll hate whatever sneaky scheme to redirect our attention so he's probably giving us something to complain about first so that when they release the intended concept, it'll feel less offensive. Feeding ads into the stream would cause an uproar. Adding a banner will generate banner blindness. What better than to overlap the add with something we'd find useful but still sideband?
1 point by davidedicillo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Marco totally nailed it. At this point I'd rather something adsense-like that can push ads I could be interested in (possibly with the quality of the Fusion or Deck ads).
1 point by mcritz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've yet to find any use for trending topics generally. I prefer Favstar's quality curation based on most "faved" tweets by topic.
1 point by alexlawford 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think that many of the same people offended by the Quick Bar would be the same people that are willing to (and often do) pay for a client. What reasons could Twitter have for being averse to a freemium model in this area of their business? $1/month to go advertising free? I'd pay it. Since they introduced it, I've always found the trending topics area of Twitter to be the worst thing about it. I, like so many others, object to having it stuck in my face every time I open their app.
1 point by forkandwait 3 days ago 2 replies      
Let me rephrase from earlier -- is Twitter technology patented?
2 points by john2x 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm no iPhone user so I'm curious as to why this is such an issue? As far as I can tell it's just ads in a free app? (unless, it's not free then it makes more sense)
2 points by ALXfoo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not just that, with the new update every time you launch the iPhone app it asks you "Twitter would like to use your current location, allow, don't allow"

No means no

-2 points by nhangen 2 days ago 2 replies      
Meh...get over yourself Marco. Just because you aren't interested in these topics does not mean others are not. That's why they are trending in the first place.
-4 points by forkandwait 3 days ago 5 replies      
Is the sms -> internet/ server -> sms pathway tied up in business patents by Twitter? I am sure I am (sort of) underestimating, but Twitter seems like a weekend project for a couple of decent hackers; if they piss enough people off is there any reason to stick with them except for (VERY non-trivial) first past the post market share?
Django 1.3 released djangoproject.com
243 points by rodion_89 19 hours ago   38 comments top 14
17 points by sambeau 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they were tempted to give it the codename "WordPress"
12 points by jbox 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It's been fun watching these features play out in libraries over the last year.

I particularly like the idea of TemplateResponse - the earliest implementation I saw was in simonw's:


This approach makes template rendering much more flexible!

For example, it would be easy to swap out a template for a mobile one ... or to A/B test a template. Or choose the content type of the output (HTML, JSON etc.)

4 points by mattdeboard 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So, where's the "Congrats on Shipping" cake from the Ruby on Rails devs?

edit: Or maybe one from CakePHP would be more appropriate.

5 points by eli 13 hours ago 6 replies      
So as someone who has just started my first Django project, is there any reason not to immediately switch to 1.3?
2 points by dgallagher 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the Django team! :) I'm in love with your API.
1 point by Pewpewarrows 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Huge congrats to the Django Core team, and anyone who helped contribute to the project. It just gets more fun to use each year that passes!
1 point by BobKabob 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't believe it... not one comment telling the django guys to quit celebrating and get back to work on a version that supports Python 3? :-)

Seriously, Adrian, Jacob, and the django team, I love your product. I actually just bought a SECOND copy of your book (available free on the web). What's wrong with this picture?

5 points by matclayton 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to all the team,
1 point by philipkimmey 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to see it!

Some of the new stuff is really cool, and means I won't have to rely on external libraries anymore (like passing context variables in template includes).

Also, the new logging functionality is really great!

Keep up the good work!

1 point by beza1e1 19 hours ago 3 replies      
They backported the Python 2.7 unittest module to Python 2.4 and included it in Django? It is getting enterprisey. Maybe with Django 2.0 they will ship their own Python version?
1 point by ireadzalot 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Class-based generic view is a nice addition. I remember when I was learning Django and going through the official tutorial, that was one part that took me a while to understand. Kudos guys!
1 point by ejaury 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the Django team! I know you guys have worked very hard to put this together. I've been waiting for this final release for quite some time, having tried the beta release since launched.
1 point by vonkow 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Just in time for my next project, thanks!!!
1 point by purephase 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats. Excellent work all around. Very interested in checking it out.
Mark Bao tracks down his stolen laptop and has the last laugh switched.com
232 points by biggitybones 11 hours ago   173 comments top 30
16 points by biggitybones 10 hours ago replies      
"The thief has since returned the laptop, in hopes of clemency in the form of the YouTube video being pulled. Bao has indicated, though, that he's not interested in cutting a deal. Instead, he's content using backup service Backblaze"which syncs changes made to the laptop in the cloud"to find access the guy's Facebook page, dig up PhotoBooth pictures he took, and generally let him stew in his internet humiliation for a while."
- http://gizmodo.com/#!5784633/laptop-thiefs-ridiculous-dance-...

Now he's just turned it into a plug for his startup. Smart guy.

17 points by blhack 10 hours ago replies      
I absolutely hate this sort of vigilantism. How does anybody know that the guy in the video is actually the guy that stole the laptop? How do we know that he isn't just some guy who bought it on craigslist?
33 points by noodle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
as an update, he got his laptop back (thief turned it in, perhaps because he knew he was caught). because he now has 2 airs, he's going to auction off the original and donate proceeds to japan efforts.
26 points by garyrichardson 11 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone who's had plenty of things stolen in the past, these stories make me happy.

The vengeful part of me hopes this jerk gets laughed out of every job interview he ever has for being the guy who stole the computer and had his dancing video put on youtube.

12 points by charlief 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The detective work reminds me of an old great (p-p-p-powerbook):


2 points by Stormbringer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
On the stolen laptop theme, I recently saw a youtube video by an Australian chap which went like this:

Tenant/house-guest (who is wanted for fraud in several states) ran off, leaving several thousand dollars in rent in arrears and in the process stealing three laptops.

FAB (the victim) gets some reports from friends a couple of weeks later that the perp is staying in a nearby motel. FAB goes around early-ish in the morning, knocks of the perps door, and the perp opens the door and the discussion gets heated. FAB is 'forced to defend himself' cough and after he finishes bouncing the perps head off the walls and is waiting for the police and ambulance to arrive (perp is un/semi-conscious), eh enters the motel room, recognises the three laptops, and puts them in the boot of his car.

Police arrive. Ambo turns up and hauls perp off to hospital. Police insist that FAB give the laptops to the motel manager, and they tell the motel manager to await further instructions.

Later that day perp checks himself out of hospital, goes back to motel, asks for laptops, manager gives them to him, and then high-tails it off to Victoria (the other end of Australia).

Moral of the story: police are useless no matter what country you are in.

6 points by gojomo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Ultimately, the same sort of self-help Mark has used for recovery could be used by criminals for identity-theft against others.

How? Preload a cheap laptop with software to let you monitor it. (This could be made way more sophisticated, and hard to eradicate, than a online backup subscription.) Leave it somewhere to be stolen. Monitor its later use for information that could allow stealing many times the initial laptop value from its later users. (Those later users may in some instances be the laptop thief, but could more often be others who thought they were buying a cheap used laptop.)

This is a good reason to beware deals that seem too good to be true, when purchasing used computer goods.

17 points by dstein 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Mark should try to hack it so it broadcasts live without the thief's knowledge. It could be a huge inside joke where nobody tells him, kind of like The Truman Show.
5 points by pmikal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I tracked down a stolen laptop using Prey (http://preyproject.com/) and Live Mesh's remote desktop. Upon having the laptop stolen, Prey notified my it was online. I remote connected, installed a keylogger and used that along with Prey's camera images to identify the thief and have the person arrested.
9 points by thematt 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the perfect situation where Prey (open source), would have come in handy: http://preyproject.com/
5 points by pedrokost 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I preferred the story of Zoz. He provides a detailed explanation of how he recovered his lost Mac.
8 points by SriniK 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is it #1 HN entry? It's a sincere question.
4 points by huhtenberg 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It'd be nice to know why the guy captured on video is in fact the theif (and say not someone who got the laptop off Craigslist).
3 points by nakkiel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"Don't steal computers belonging to people who know how to use computers"

Implying using a data sync service turns one into one of the chosen few who "know how to use computers".

3 points by AbyCodes 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Here is a similar video cum presentation ( and its better in my opinion ) :

Defcon 18 : Pwned by the owner - What happens when you steal a hackers computer -- zoz part

The Presentation is really funny, but some may find the "invasion of privacy" a little disturbing. Its kinda on the extreme side ( warned! ) but is very informative and funny nonetheless.

3 points by klbarry 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Mark Bao has really not made a single mistake in his PR execution. I have to congratulate him and learn from him, as others here have also said.
1 point by techiferous 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"The best part is that the person currently in possession of Bao's machine has no idea that the victim has access. For now, Bao's just having his "lulz," and doesn't seem terribly concerned with reclaiming his property."

This is not true.

The thief has offered an "apology" of sorts: http://bostinnovation.com/2011/03/23/dont-steal-a-computer-f...

And Mark Bao has his laptop back and "plans to sell the returned Apple and donate the proceeds to the Red Cross Japan fund." http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/03/22/to-catch-a-co...

1 point by markbao 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The laptop was swiped when I was still logged in and the screen saver hadn't kicked in yet. They created a new account: http://i.imgur.com/o6TK8.png
1 point by albahk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is way overblown. A guy steals a laptop and gets caught red-handed so you post a video to embarass him.

He's lucky he didn't get his hand cut off like in other countries.

1 point by markbao 9 hours ago 2 replies      
What the hell. I was hoping that this wouldn't hit Hacker News and was satisfied until I woke up this morning. :p

I'm actually slightly embarrassed that this is on Hacker News right now.

9 points by mklappstuhl 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that thinks that this could be a contrived story?
2 points by rgbrgb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This happened to me with a cabbie! I tracked mine down through web history as well.

A friend made a short radio story about it:

7 points by alphadog 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Mark needs to do my PR. He always seems to find a way to get into the news.
2 points by esad 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure Mark is the smarter one in this one. If the thief has been able to auto log-in as him and fill his browser history, this probably means that he can also read Mark's history and the rest of his home directory is lying there unencrypted, with his identity wide exposed.
3 points by mncolinlee 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Best cloud backup sales pitch ever! Then again, I wonder how much data gets stolen from badly-designed cloud apps.
1 point by johanh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Swedish thieves send you a backup. http://bit.ly/ha6dmq
-4 points by alias8 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The thief could also very easily find Mark, punch his face out and see who has the last "lulz"
-4 points by philthy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
when i told a friend about this he said

"35 pass erase followed by OSX on a portable drive, resell immediately at a good distance for a good keep quite discount"

when i responded with

"what about some kind of advanced government software or computer forensics kit"

his rebuttal

"only going to get you if its laden with child porn"

i chuckled

-4 points by JacobAldridge 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Three words for the thief: Wrong victim. DANCE!
2 points by Refringe 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you serious?

Is he serious?

Larry Page Wants to Return Google to Its Startup Roots wired.com
233 points by edj 5 days ago   85 comments top 19
42 points by staunch 5 days ago 7 replies      
I'd like to see him break Google up in to individual product "companies", each with their own office, corporate hierarchy, balance sheet, and near complete autonomy.

Larry would act as the investor, and anyone inside the company could come ask for money to found a new "company" or for additional funding. Every company would start out with some kind of "shares" to be distributed by the founders (with vesting, etc). If a company fails the people would actually lose their jobs. If they succeed the equity would be worth some proportionally huge amount.

I don't think any company has ever tried to truly simulate startups on a scale like this while maintaining the upside and downside of a real startup.

It's just crazy enough to work and he's just crazy enough to try it.

30 points by dasil003 5 days ago replies      
The one thing a billion dollar corporation can't do is be a startup again. There's too much at stake.

If you are truly a passionate early-stage founder, then the only option is to leave. Of course, Ellison, Gates, Jobs would never do this (willingly, anyway, in the latter case), because they'll never hit another homerun that big. If Page left it would be a pretty big stake in the ground.

14 points by ChuckMcM 5 days ago 1 reply      
One of the things I admire about Larry is that 'impossible' doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary. The challenges of having Google be more 'startupy' are many, some that immediately come to mind;

* Part of the allure of joining a smaller organization is that you can have a huge impact, creating a business from nothing to $10M/year is huge. At Google adding $10M/yr to the bottom line is chump change and you're a chump if that's all you can do.

* One of the great things about smaller organizations is that not only does everyone have a general understanding of the big picture, they have a lot of respect for each other too. Google has grown so complex in its execution that nobody could honestly claim to know how it all works, and of the few who come closest they can't scale to be as many places as they need to be. There is an inverse square law that your level of respect at Google is 1/Jd^2 where Jd is your "Jeff Dean" number.

* Start ups in particular get focus from solving a problem that is painful enough that someone will pay you for your solution, Google invents problems that nobody has and then has to give away their work to get any traction at all.

* Start ups can fire their hardware vendor, pick and choose their own software, build methodology, hiring practices. All of those things are mandated at Google.

Next up I'm afraid is a big poster imploring people to ask themselves, "Is this good for Google?" That would be sad indeed.

I know adults who would like to simplify their lives to get back to a lifestyle that is more like the one they had in college. That is perhaps equally difficult.

12 points by shawnee_ 5 days ago 3 replies      
But he has learned that instead of arguing his case with Page, a better strategy is “giving him shiny objects to play with.”

At the beginning of one Google Voice product review, for instance, he offered Page and Brin the opportunity to pick their own phone numbers for the new service. For the next hour, the two brainstormed sequences that embodied mathematical puns while the product sailed through the review.

This was pretty much my experience with getting to choose my own GV number, albeit from a long list of "pre-screened" numbers. Had to stop myself from going through all of them (within an area code) in trying to find a number that was neat / punny / significant.

57 points by steven 5 days ago 1 reply      
FYI this article is adapted from my book on Google out next month. There are generally two types of book excerpts: those that reprint a discrete section or those that draw from the whole to stitch together an article reflecting the reporting. This one is the latter--when Google announced that Larry would be the CEO, Wired (which secured the serial rights) chose to focus on him. I drew on anecdotes throughout the book, as well as interviews with Larry, to produce this.
7 points by gnosis 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Page said, Google should enable users to answer one another's questions. The idea ran so counter to accepted practice that Griffin felt like she was about to lose her mind. But Google implemented Page's suggestion, creating a system called Google Forums, which let users share knowledge and answer one another's customer-support questions. It worked, and thereafter Griffin cited it as evidence of Page's instinctive brilliance."

A forum? Where users can answer each other's questions? What unconventional brilliance!

It's not like thousands of other companies have forums where users can answer each other's questions.

"Page reiterated his complaint, charging that it was taking at least 600 milliseconds to reload. Buchheit thought, “You can't know that.” But when he got back to his office he checked the server logs. Six hundred milliseconds. “He nailed it,” Buchheit says."

What preternatural powers of observation Page must have had to guess that a page reload took half a second.

This article is such a fawning puff-piece.

1 point by plinkplonk 4 days ago 0 replies      
In view of the bashing Alex Payne is being subjected to on another thread for advocating larger than "lifestyle" startups I found this bit interesting (emphasis mine)

"A few ingredients in Larry Page's stew of traits stand out unmistakably. He is brainy, he is confident, he is parsimonious with social interaction. But the dominant flavor in the dish is his boundless ambition, both to excel individually and to improve the conditions of the planet at large.

He sees the historic technology boom as a chance to realize such ambitions and sees those who fail to do so as shamelessly squandering the opportunity. To Page, the only true failure is not attempting the audacious. “Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it's very hard to fail completely,” he says. “That's the thing that people don't get.”


"(Page's fixation on speed probably drives his notorious bias toward utilitarian"some say boring"design. He maintains a militant opposition to eye-catching animations, transitions, or anything that veers from stark simplicity.)"

gives me hope he'll undo or at the least discourage some of the new bing-ification redesigns of Google Search and news. [rant] A bit of javascript hacking removed the new sidebar from the search page and restored the old classic "just a searchbar" look for me, but the new Google News redesign is terrible and close to unusable (and I don't have the time these days to attempt a JS hack restoration). I would pay to have the old design back.[/rant]

4 points by bane 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google probably can't become a startup again, but it can probably start some kind of internal startup-like culture to spur internal innovation. If it "funds" groups of employees to essentially build an autonomously run startup (and rewards successes with $$$) it can probably save tons of money over the current acquisition strategy it has (many of which aren't really turning out to be great performers for Google).

With YC level success rates, it could be a great strategy for them.

6 points by light3 5 days ago 1 reply      
"One way Page tries to keep his finger on Google's pulse is his insistence on signing off on every new hire"so far he's vetted well over 30,000"

Wow that works out to be 9 everyday for the past 10 years, really?!?

6 points by VladRussian 5 days ago 2 replies      
PR campaign to paint Google as "startup-y" to slow the talent drain into Facebook and likes ?
4 points by barmstrong 5 days ago 0 replies      
As the article described his personality ("flaws" included) he started sounding a lot like Steve Jobs.

Google could really reach new heights with Larry at the helm.

4 points by paganel 5 days ago 0 replies      
> That was the reaction in 2003 when Denise Griffin, the person in charge of Google's small customer-support team, asked Page for a larger staff. Instead, he told her that the whole idea of customer support was ridiculous. Rather than assuming the unscalable task of answering users one by one, Page said, Google should enable users to answer one another's questions.

That explains a few things... I wonder why they they even bothered writing Google Forums, they could have just thrown phpBB at it and call it a day.

3 points by loboman 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is the first time I read an article that focuses so much in only one of the Google founders. So far you could only find stories about what the two founders did together, and little about their individual personalities. This kind of article is probably more attractive, and paints Page in a more similar tone than the one people like Gates, Jobs, etc. tend to be written in. Maybe this is a way to make Google look cool too.
2 points by dstein 5 days ago 0 replies      
Running the whole company as a startup isn't going to work. But what might work is to build several skunkworks projects within the company with their own CEO's. And if the projects are successful to run the companies as subsidiaries and offer equity (options for the subsidiary, not Google stock) to the people directly involved in the project's success.


3 points by ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
[now] they were ready to hire a CEO. But they would only consider one person: Steve Jobs

okay I lol'ed, that caught me off guard

1 point by pdaviesa 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the biggest difference between startups and established companies (even those that try to emulate a startup like culture) is the hunger for success. Established successful tech companies have already accomplished amazing things and may have cornered or even created the particular market they're in. They typically have several early employees who have made a fortune and many employees who are fairly well off from the company's stock purchase plan. Bill Gates lamented the fact that one of his employees wasn't quite as motivated as he used to be in the following quote (paraphrased): "something about a man changes when his net worth surpasses $100 million"
1 point by Estragon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had some nibbles from some google recruiters a little while back, but I let it drop. It seemed to corporate. But this article makes me think I should give them another chance.
3 points by jmathai 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's no fountain of youth for big companies.
2 points by JoshKalkbrenner 4 days ago 0 replies      
Who is the best person to run a startup? The person with the most experience, passion, and #### to lose.
I got into YC after applying 6 times. Here's my advice for YC applicants iamwil.posterous.com
231 points by iamwil 3 days ago   54 comments top 19
18 points by endlessvoid94 3 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who knows a significant number of YC folks, I have to say the most inspiring thing about the entire organization is how normal everyone is.

There's this expectation that there's "something different" that separates successful startup founders from "common folk". And it just doesn't exist. I think the barrier of intimidation is one of the biggest things most people aren't fortunate enough to experience.

Like I said, I know more than a few YC folks, I've interviewed (and was rejected) once from YC, and every person I've met struck me as utterly normal in most ways. They merely possessed a bit more experience and in general know a tad more than the average person.

There's no reason you can't do a startup right this instant. Do not let YC's rejection/acceptance dictate your path.

6 points by lionheart 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a single founder who just submitted their application this article makes me happy. If this kind of attitude and traction is what they're looking for then I think I do have a pretty good shot.

Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

7 points by atirip 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know, for me it is a weird story of someone desperately seeking acceptance of his fetish named Paul Graham (in the text he mentions PG sixteen(!) times by name) and now his suffering is come to an end.

Sincere congratulations, though, Wilhelm, I hope now you can start living the life again.

7 points by dotcoma 3 days ago 1 reply      
here's my advice: don't ever accept "no" as an answer.
4 points by jetaries 3 days ago 0 replies      
Want to add a point. I think the common trait you mentioned in the post that you find in all our current batch mates is passion. I can just sense how everyone is so passionate in their own ways.

People who are passionate are more likely to stick it out to the end. It is something I think that's pretty hard to fake.

1 point by jagtesh 3 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for finally getting in. From what you write, it seems to me that you got into YC at a point when knew the game quite well. The learning was in getting in.

So what's your take away from all of it? Is it the YC network and the resourcefulness of YC founders, or is there more to it?

PS: I strongly believe in the adage, "if you want to be smart, surround yourself with smart people". From that POV, I understand that being connected to YC founders itself gives you tools that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. Still I wanna hear that from you, since you're in a better position to ascertain that.

1 point by aneth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great post that hopefully makes some people feel less need to get into YC. A great founder can be helped by YC, but would be successful with or without it. If you think you need to get into YC to succeed, you're not who they are looking for.
4 points by jijoy 3 days ago 5 replies      
Why do everyone thinks that , if you got into YC , your company gonna be a sure bet ?
1 point by speedmax 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been rejected twice previously (1st poorly prepared, 2nd late) as a single founder.

Given PG's selection is based on startup founder's likelihood of success. YC's harsh selection process have really shaped my vision of my product to attack the problem domain from a different angle. I think they will train better founders.

Now, I am applying YC this session (S11),

- Finally i find a cofounder that i have know for 2 years that have perfect match in value and skill sets.

- I spend much more time preparing the application

- Also exponential more time working on the real business assets (design, code, project plan)

I should Thank them for the harshness, it makes you becomes a stronger, better fighter !

1 point by callmeed 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the better posts on the subject.

So ... wanna review my app? :)

1 point by swankpot 3 days ago 1 reply      
Founders are more savvy now, and no longer ask questions like, "So when we get money from investors, when do we have to pay them back?"

So if you do get $$ from investors, when do you have to pay them back?

2 points by pdenya 3 days ago 0 replies      
If nothing else this was a great tour of interesting pg essays. Thanks for writing.
1 point by plamb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wanted to thank you for this post; some of your quotes about co-founders describe the trials and tribulations we've already been through in the 6 months we've been working full time on our startup. Great read!
1 point by jetaries 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very much enjoyed reading this. It is certainly one of the best posts in this topic. Good job.
0 points by flipside 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome write-up, gonna review our application one more time to make sure we hit all those points. Thanks!
0 points by dave1619 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well-written article. Thanks for sharing!
1 point by grishick 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great article! Thanks!
-1 point by johnyqi 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was extremely useful, thank you. We applied few days ago for this batch and I JUST KNOW that we are IN! :-)
-4 points by anacrolix 3 days ago 1 reply      
What the FUCK is YC?
Why Reddit was down for 6 hours reddit.com
229 points by meghan 5 days ago   95 comments top 12
29 points by jamwt 5 days ago 3 replies      
I know it's not exactly in vogue these days to tout the merits of bare hardware, but.. after all the VPS hubbub over the last couple of years, the best progression for your website still seems to be:

1. No traction? Just put it anywhere, 'cause frankly, it doesn't matter. Cheapest reputable VPS possible. Let's say, Linode.

2. Scaling out, high concurrency and rapid growth? DEDICATED hardware from a QUALITY service provider--use rackspace, softlayer et al. Have them rack the servers for you and you'll still get ~3 hour turnarounds on new server orders. That's plenty fast for most kinds of growth. No inventory to deal with, and with deployment automation you're really not doing much "sysadmin-y" work or requiring full timers that know what Cisco switch to buy.

3. Technology megacorp, top-100 site? Staff up on hardcore net admin and sysadmin types, colocate first, and eventually, take control of/design the entire datacenter.

I simply don't understand why so many of these high-traffic services continue to rely on VPSes for phase 2 instead of managed or unmanaged dedicated hosting. The price/concurrent user is competitive or cheaper for bare metal. Most critically, it's insanely hard to predictably scale out database systems with high write loads when you have unpredictable virtualized (or even networked) I/O performance on your nodes.

71 points by naner 5 days ago 3 replies      

A former employee is not quite as nice to Amazon.

9 points by A1kmm 5 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon claims: "Each storage volume is automatically replicated within the same Availability Zone. This prevents data loss due to failure of any single hardware component".

They make it sound like they are already providing RAID or something similar; however, the fact that things like this happen to Reddit, who have built their own RAID on top of Amazon's already replicated volumes, show that reliability is not a good reason to go with AWS.

42 points by tedjdziuba 5 days ago 5 replies      
> We could make some speculation about the disks possibly losing writes when Postgres flushed commits to disk, but we have no proof to determine what happened.

If you read between the lines, this says that EBS lies about the result of fsync(), which is horrifying.

11 points by bryanh 5 days ago 2 replies      
On that note, I have been meaning to ask HN (even if nothing more than an exercise)...

If you had to run a site like Reddit, what would you do?

9 points by duck 5 days ago 1 reply      
Then, something really bad happened. Something which made the earlier outage a comparative walk in the park.

Murphy's law on St. Patrick's Day. Doesn't get any better than that.

4 points by X-Istence 5 days ago 0 replies      
I always love seeing a good technical post-mortem of what went wrong and how it could be fixed in the future...

I'm currently working on building a backend service that has to scale massively as well, and it has been a fun challenge trying to understand exactly where things can go wrong and how wrong they can go...

22 points by kowsik 5 days ago 3 replies      
EBS storage aside, they are down to 3 guys? yikes
1 point by PaulHoule 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had two machines running in east-1 last night and one of them went down around the same time reddit did. The other one made it through the night O.K.

EBS problems do seem to be the biggest reliability problem in EC2 right now. The most common symptom is that a machine goes to 100% CPU use and 'locks up'. Stopping the instance and restarting usually solves the problem.

The events also appear to be clustered in time. I've had instances go for a month with no problems, then it happens 6 times in the next 24 hours.

My sites are small, but one of them runs VERY big batch jobs periodically that take up a lot of RAM and CPU. Being able to rent a very powerful machine for a short time to get the batch job done without messing up the site is a big plus.

3 points by marcamillion 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow...they sound like they are really beating themselves up over it.

I know the community can be demanding, but that just seems stressful.

2 points by rgrieselhuber 5 days ago 1 reply      
Great writeup. I'd love to hear other people's experience with regards to workarounds when / if EBS goes down (switching over to RDS for a short time, etc.).

The comment about moving to local storage was interesting. Isn't the local storage on EC2 instances extremely limited (like 10-20GB?)

1 point by jwcacces 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is why you don't outsource your bread and butter, people!

If you want to outsource who makes your lunch, fine, but if your whole business is requests in, data out, you do not put the responsibility of storing your data in someone else's hands.

I get it, Amazon EBS is cheap. But at the end of the day you've got to make sure it's your fingers on the pulse of those servers, not someone else who's priorities and vigilance may not always line up with yours.

(also the cloud is dumb)

Google releases snappy, the compression library used in Bigtable google.com
224 points by tonfa 1 day ago   74 comments top 14
25 points by endgame 1 day ago replies      
IMHO, the build system could do with a little work:

* The various bits generated from and added by the autotools shouldn't be committed. autoreconf -i works really well these days. That's INSTALL Makefile.in aclocal.m4 compile config.guess config.h.in config.sub configure depcomp install-sh ltmain.sh missing mkinstalldirs.


* Needs to call AC_SUBST([LIBTOOL_DEPS]) or else the rule to rebuild libtool in Makefile.am won't work.

* A lot of macro calls are underquoted. It'll probably work fine, but it's poor style.

* The dance with EXTRA_LIBSNAPPY_LDFLAGS seems odd. It'd be more conventional to do something like:


and set the -version-info flag directly in Makefile.am. If it's to allow the user to provide custom LDFLAGS, it's unnecessary: LDFLAGS is part of libsnappy_la_LINK. Here's the snippet from Makefile.in:

    libsnappy_la_LINK = $(LIBTOOL) --tag=CXX $(AM_LIBTOOLFLAGS) \
$(CXXFLAGS) $(libsnappy_la_LDFLAGS) $(LDFLAGS) -o $@

* There should be an AC_ARG_WITH for gflags, because automagic dependencies aren't cool: http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/qa/automagic.xml

* Shell variables starting with ac_ are in autoconf's namespace. Setting things like ac_have_builtin_ctz is therefore equally uncool. See http://www.gnu.org/s/hello/manual/autoconf/Macro-Names.html :

> To ensure that your macros don't conflict with present or future Autoconf macros, you should prefix your own macro names and any shell variables they use with some other sequence. Possibilities include your initials, or an abbreviation for the name of your organization or software package.

* Use AS_IF instead of directly using the shell's `if`: http://www.gnu.org/software/hello/manual/autoconf/Limitation... and http://www.gnu.org/s/hello/manual/autoconf/Common-Shell-Cons... .

* Consider adding -Wall to either AUTOMAKE_OPTIONS in Makefile.am or as an argument to AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE. If you don't mind using a modern automake (1.11 or later), also call AM_SILENT_RULES([yes]). Even MSYS has automake-1.11 these days.


* Adding $(GTEST_CPPFLAGS) to both snappy_unittest_CPPFLAGS and snappy_unittest_CXXFLAGS is redundant. See this part of Makefile.in:

    snappy_unittest-snappy-test.o: snappy-test.cc
@am__fastdepCXX_TRUE@ $(CXX) $(DEFS) $(DEFAULT_INCLUDES) $(INCLUDES) $(snappy_unittest_CPPFLAGS) $(CPPFLAGS) $(snappy_unittest_CXXFLAGS) $(CXXFLAGS) -MT snappy_unittest-snappy-test.o -MD -MP -MF $(DEPDIR)/snappy_unittest-snappy-test.Tpo -c -o snappy_unittest-snappy-test.o `test -f 'snappy-test.cc' || echo '$(srcdir)/'`snappy-test.cc
@am__fastdepCXX_TRUE@ $(am__mv) $(DEPDIR)/snappy_unittest-snappy-test.Tpo $(DEPDIR)/snappy_unittest-snappy-test.Po
@AMDEP_TRUE@@am__fastdepCXX_FALSE@ source='snappy-test.cc' object='snappy_unittest-snappy-test.o' libtool=no @AMDEPBACKSLASH@
@am__fastdepCXX_FALSE@ $(CXX) $(DEFS) $(DEFAULT_INCLUDES) $(INCLUDES) $(snappy_unittest_CPPFLAGS) $(CPPFLAGS) $(snappy_unittest_CXXFLAGS) $(CXXFLAGS) -c -o snappy_unittest-snappy-test.o `test -f 'snappy-test.cc' || echo '$(srcdir)/'`snappy-test.cc

* snappy_unittest should be in check_PROGRAMS, not noinst_PROGRAMS. That way, it's built as part of `make check`, not `make all`.

12 points by haberman 1 day ago 3 replies      
I did a double-take when I saw this -- the library is called "zippy" internally, but there must have been some kind of trademark issue with that.

This is used in more than just BigTable; it's used extensively inside Google, in particular for the RPC system. It's great to see it open-sourced!

3 points by wladimir 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Another incredible internal project open-sourced by Google. I really respect Google's dedication to improving the speed of the internet in general, and to open source.

Of course this benefits them as well, but it's a form of enlightened self-interest that, to me, is very refreshing compared to for example Microsoft, and other companies that only care about their own software/platforms and only release stuff on need-to-know basis.

5 points by ot 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they had evaluated LZO (http://www.oberhumer.com/opensource/lzo/) before writing this. It is quite well-tested (a variant on it runs in the Mars Rovers) and very very fast: the author reports 16MB/sec on a Pentium 133, on modern architectures it should easily get to the 500MB/sec claimed by snappy.
4 points by sanxiyn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
6 points by tezza 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Curious, it's written in C++ .

IMHO I think straight C would have been easier for World + Dog to link against.

3 points by tptacek 1 day ago 4 replies      
When you can measure efficiency improvements like this in millions of dollars, I'm sure this makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. But for anyone below, say, Twitter's scale: is this ever an engineering win over zlib?
1 point by philf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm puzzled by snappy-stubs-internal.h l105-118
Why would one log by instantiating a class, not using the result, therefore leading to the destructor being called which writes the log message? Can anyone come up with a reason for this?
2 points by MichaelGG 1 day ago 1 reply      
For pure speed, check out QuickLZ[1]. While it probably doesn't compress well as Snappy, it does hit 300MB+/core. But, it's GPL instead of Apache.

1: http://www.quicklz.com/

3 points by chubs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Had a look at the code, it's quite neat and tidy, i'm really impressed and surprised considering the need for speed/optimisation in libraries like this tends to make the code unreadable...
4 points by nonameman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You should probably mention why someone would choose this library over another compression library. I think good advice would be to use Snappy to compress data that is meant to be kept in memory, as Bigtable does with the underlying SSTables. If you are reading from disk, a slower algorithm with a better compression ratio is probably a better choice because the cost of the disk seek will dominate the cost of the compression algorithm.
2 points by swah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sometimes its odd to think a thousand lines of C++ is something folks were waiting to be released for years.
2 points by delineal 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I may convert my monthly archive of websites over to snappy; the speed of the compression / decompression will allow me to implement a more consolidated storage scheme than I'm using now.
1 point by patrickaljord 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone feels like writing a tiny C client? Looks like this comes only as a lib.
The Tyranny of the Extroverts allendowney.com
217 points by zootar 3 days ago   86 comments top 29
60 points by wisty 3 days ago 4 replies      

Myers-Briggs is one of the dumbest things in psychology. Psychologists, who generally accept the stupidest theories generally admit it's useless, and Big-5 is much better. It's only popular because it's so value-free - nobody gets offended by any of it's factors (except introversion-extroversion: the only useful one).

Introversion-Extroversion is the only factor that is really a big factor. There other MB factors - (Sensing (S) - (N) Intuition, Thinking (T) - (F) Feeling, and Judgment (J) - (P) Perception) are so meaningless nobody even remembers them. The other big 5 factors (Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) are much better descriptors of people. Are you interested in stuff? Openness ++. Do your homework on time? Conscientiousness ++. Say "yes" too much? Agreeableness ++. Crazy? Neuroticism ++. Honesty, intelligence, and empathy could be added; but they are a little prickly to measure. But Big 5 is still fairly descriptive of most people.

Personality traits are (roughly speaking) normally distributed. It's stupid to classify people as "extroverts or introverts", as most people are basically just "meh". Sure, there's the geek who never speaks, and the cheerleader, but most people just talk with a few friends, and feel a bit sick when they have to talk to strangers. The dichotomy that's implied by using two classifiers ("extrovert / introvert"), rather than just scoring "extroversion" on a scale of (say) 1-10 is just brain-dead.

"Introversion does not describe social discomfort but rather social preference". I like reading books, but in high school I could talk to anyone except a hot girl. Now, I guess I would prefer to read than make "connections", but that doesn't totally disqualify me for having a job that requires a lot of communication. Of course, I'm quite good at jobs that require a bit of thinking, and enjoy them more. So, um, I guess I won't be selling Avon any time soon. My loss, I guess.

And who says introverts aren't successful? I would pick Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Allan Greenspan (yeah, he caused the crisis, but virtually no-one else new better), David Letterman, and quite a few other successful people as un-extroverted people. Possibly Barack Obama, and quite a few other presidents too (but I know next to nothing of US history). Maybe Bob Dylan. Possibly John Lennon. Not Ringo though.

Having "social skills" can be important. But not all extroverts have them (think - the bully, Mr. Foot-in-mouth, and the guy who just won't shut up), and most introverts have adequate social skills. Most people do.

11 points by lionhearted 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Society rewards extroverts. They get the job, the money, the girl (or boy), and the front page.

I'm not entirely sure this is true. A lot of the top inventors, industrialists, writers, and artists in any generation are introverts.

What less people realize is that the most accomplished statesmen and politicians are often introverts too.

Augustus Cesar led the height of the Roman Empire, Tokugawa Ieyasu unified Japan, Abraham Lincoln crushed the Confederacy and led to modern strong-Federal America, etc, etc. All introverts.

Anecdotally, it seems like it's easier for an introvert to learn how deal well with people than it is for an extrovert to learn to enjoy the solitude and meditative periods necessary for serious hardcore expansion.

It's probably easier to become moderately popular and get external trappings of success as an extrovert. But if I was trying to massively change the course of history, I'd want the bulk of my top personnel in leadership positions to be introverts.

37 points by kristofferR 3 days ago 1 reply      
The author doesn't know the difference between introverts and extroverts, so this article falls completely flat. The difference is really simple:

* Introverts get tired when interacting with people and recharge their energy when they're alone

* Extroverts get tired by being alone and recharge their energy when they're with people

Extroversion and introversion doesn't say anyone about how shy or social people are. There are a lot of introverts with great social skills and a lot of extroverts with good inward skills.

That being said - it's obviously much more normal to be a shy introvert than it is to be a shy extrovert. It does happen though.

I'm an introvert and used to be a really shy guy with low social skills. In the last years however I gained a lot of confidence and social intelligence. Have I become more extroverted? Nope, I've just improved my social skills drastically.

The belief that how social people are is an unchangeable genetical trait is downright dangerous. Unfortunately a lot of people are misled into believing that it's unchangeable. It's just a skill like any other skill, it can definitely be learned!

45 points by zdw 3 days ago replies      
"And I hope we value and develop other skills, like independence, focus, persistence, deep thought and careful reflection, which might not be as natural for extroverts."

Amen. Extroverts ruined my K12 education, how about yours? Now they're busy doing the same to the political system, entertainment, etc.

And what're the introverts doing? Oh, they're off building the next Facebook/LinkedIn to facilitate the extroverts...

26 points by DanI-S 3 days ago 2 replies      
The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is two pints of beer.
12 points by notJim 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am highly skeptical of his assumption that skills like working on a team, communicating with others, and leading others all imply extroversion.

Now that I think about it, most of the people I've worked with (as a programmer) have probably been introverts, and excepting one or two, they've all had excellent team and communication skills.

I am an introvert (reading HN and programming on a Saturday night, and I have no problem with it!), and I am sympathetic to the idea that extroverts are a problem, but I don't think this article articulates that problem in a particularly convincing way.

29 points by binspace 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've seen plenty of extroverts who are bad team members.

I've seen plenty of introverts who are effective communicators.

4 points by jakubmal 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a letter I sent to the author of essay few minutes ago:

As you probably know already, your essay landed on Hacker News main page:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2345552 Also, here you can see comments.
Congratulations for that.

However, being keenly interested in applied psychology I'd like to point out few things about your essay.

First thing that made me worried is that you actually didn't mention Emotional Intelligence. I'm not sure whether it was so known back then in 2005. You rely on extrovert/introvert factor to categorize people. The same what Jonathan Rauch did.

Very latest researches and publications tend to categorize people by low/high Emotional Intelligence (EQ), which is a good choice in my opinion. Note that EQ covers wide range of factors, but generally relates to understanding one's own and others' behavior. So this not only applies to dealing with any social interactions, but also to dealing with one's self.

You may now assume that introvert means low EQ and extrovert means high EQ, but it isn't necessarily true. I'm in one of very top high schools in Poland. And we have an AP Computer Science class, which has a program that is very similar to what is done on University on Algorithmics. Also we have analogical Mathematics class.

Obviously, we observe EQ drop when comparing these special classes to others. However we do not observe introverts/extroverts categories. Of course those extroverts " low intelligence guys are quite funny ;) , but that's not the point. The point is to show that there's not so much connection between EQ and being extro-/introvert.

Now, you are right that introverts are generally ranked lower in “life/people categories”. That happens because emotions plays key role in human brain. They were introduced by evolution to help species survive, but now it turned against us.

High EQ people (not all extroverts and not only extroverts, also some introverts) know how to use this to help themselves in many life situations. They know how to negotiate, how to talk people into something, how to have great friendships and fulfilling marriages. In our times EQ became one of the most important factors in life.

So I believe we should stop complaining against people treating others worse because these others are introverts. Rather we should improve our EQ to be aware of our own behavior, of what controls us, because this is the way to living our lives better.

With equal EQ levels introvert and extrovert will be dealing with life very similarly, they both will be able to find a way in difficult situations. Unfortunately, extrovert will always have an advantage over introvert, e.g. extrovert will have more connections and that as we know is better in business. But it will not be that significant.

What I want to point out is that we need to help people improve EQ and choosing people by high EQ levels (observe them in social interactions) is not so surprising from the point of chooser. Fortunately, Emotional Intelligence is not something like “being tall”, which cannot be changed.

At last I'd like to thank you for this essay. I'm sure it is going to have positive impact on its readers. When hunting for those EQ guys we sometimes forget that there is also a place for IQ guys. And they are going to find it too. Also, they are in lucky situation, because they have high IQ, which cannot be changed and probably low EQ, which can (easily) be changed. The life would be theirs, only if they did a little to improve Emotional Intelligence.

Jakub Malinowski from Poland

2 points by nlawalker 3 days ago 2 replies      
The other day, I saw a discussion on reddit entitled something like "What is it that people actually do at parties?" I thumbed through it, not really that interested, but I had just been to a gathering the evening prior and had a small realization while thinking about it.

Quite simply, people talk about themselves.

There's some skill and filtering involved (you have to do things to have something interesting to say when you talk about yourself, and you don't want to focus the whole conversation on yourself), but the most important part of this epiphany was that I realized that growing up, I was always taught that the best way to be a conversationalist (and the best way to get girls to like you, and the best way to get support for your decisions, and the best way to get important people to listen to you) was to minimize yourself in the conversation and take interest in the other person, asking questions and responding with more questions...

and that this advice is sabotage, created by extroverts to make introverts easier to spot so the E's don't have to spend as much time trying to engage us and can just move on. It's like telling someone who has a hard time picking up skiing that snowplowing down the side of the run is just as fun as actually skiing, so they should just stick to that (and incidentally stay the hell out of the way of everyone else).

Extroverts naturally ignore this advice (or never see it, because extroverts don't need to seek out advice about how to engage others), and when introverts internalize it they further push themselves into a corner.

The most rewarding thing for me in extrovert situations has been figuring out what makes me an interesting person, and talking about it.

4 points by timsally 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a classic misunderstanding of what a introvert is. It does seem to be true that introverts have weaker social skills than extroverts. This is not however, inherent! It is simple a function of practice, and as introverts need alone time to recharge, they are less likely to have practice in social settings. It's a subtle distinction but an important one to make. The article claims that people skills come "naturally" to extroverts, but that's an oversimplification of the underlying issues.

Put simply, the difference between introverts and extroverts is how they recharge energy. Imagine a party in a packed apartment. An extrovert can spend hours there and feel refreshed and energized at the end. On the other hand, an introvert will feel tired and drained. But this has nothing to do with how they act at the party. Being shy and awkward doesn't mean you are an introvert! This misunderstanding is fairly pervasive. I'm a huge introvert and I go to parties all the time. I act very outgoing, friendly, and confident. Close friends are in fact quite surprised when they find out I am an introvert at heart. But I could never sustain going to parties twice a week every week because I would get too drained.

All of that said, the author does raise some important points about the place of introverts in society. Caring For Your Introvert is absolutely recommended reading: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-f.... It touches on some of the issues raised in the article and provides a much better overview of extroversion versus introversion. Previous discussion of this excellent article here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=561311. Rands also has a nice article about nerds which does not explicitly touch on introversion. It does however, address many issues introverts typically deal with: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2007/11/11/the_nerd_ha....

3 points by daimyoyo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am very introverted. I always have been. The fact is that the unique challenges that programming and web design are suited to introverts. Can I be an A-list actor? No. But I can use the talents I have to make something from nothing. So don't try to change yourself to fit some idea you have of what you aren't. Embrace the personality you have and the talents you're given and make something amazing.
7 points by greenyoda 3 days ago 0 replies      
This doesn't make sense to me. I'm definitely an introvert: shy, lousy at casual conversation, and can happily go for days without talking to anyone. However, I have no problem in my software development job with teamwork, communication or leadership (I was even a manager for many years before deciding to go back to being a senior developer). I can work effectively with others to get things done, taking the initiative when necessary. And, as someone else pointed out, I've seen many extroverts who have poor skills in these areas.
3 points by bartonfink 3 days ago 2 replies      
This essay is ridiculous on a number of points, but the point that stood out the most to me is below. The author writes:

"I shouldn't have to say this, but there is a place in the world for introverts. Show me the ten most innovative minds of the 20th Century and I will show you ten introverts. From Einstein to Wittgenstein, not one of them could carry a conversation if you put handles on it."

Apparently Richard Feynman never happened.

2 points by TimothyBurgess 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed that I have the ability to go between introverted and extroverted (regardless of alcohol consumption haha)...

When I'm solving problems and piecing stuff together while glued to my computer I definitely get into a zone or mode or whatever, and don't really care for much outside interference. Most of the time it actually annoys me to get interrupted. But it only takes a few minutes away from it (sometimes an hour or two if I've left something unfinished haha) to get into the extroverted, outgoing talkative mode.

I've actually noticed a little bit of a curve in how well I communicate. The first few minutes after ending problem solving mode consist of me pausing a bit in my sentences (thinking ahead and seeing the conversation as a whole) and as time goes on I end up speaking very quickly and fluently without much thought at all.

Any other developers here transition between intro and extroverted like this?

What sucks is that it takes a few minutes for my brain to switch modes... because at work everyone probably just thinks I'm some really quiet, super serious guy.

2 points by georgieporgie 3 days ago 0 replies      
"our emphasis on collaborative, active learning tends to encourage it."

In my childhood experience, 'collaboration' means that one person does all the work while the others screw around. Since no outside pressure is exerted to ensure that all parties contribute, this just amplifies existing social biases. If you put the 'cheerleader' with the 'nerd' and don't check in to make sure they're both working, all you did was hinder the 'nerd'.

4 points by Joakal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any education system in the world that trains kids with social skills?

Seems needed due to digital communication technology.

3 points by Cherian_Abraham 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Tyranny of the Extroverts title reminds me of "The Smart Talk Trap" (stanford-online.stanford.edu/apm04csia/docs/SmartTalkTrap.pdf) from the Harvard Business Review which talks of these poisonous extroverts who excel in the language of "No, it wont work" and revels in shooting down ideas to fix something and not coming up with any actual steps to solve the problem. I recommend it if you havent read it already.
2 points by zyfo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder where he gets his supposed statistics from. Seems like he's basically equating social awkwardness ~ extroversion. Which, as many posters here have pointed out, is plain silly.
3 points by eyeforgotmyname 3 days ago 0 replies      
Emotional Strength > Intellectual Intelligence in determining societies winners. You have to convince people that you are entitled to lead, to get them to grant you leadership.
1 point by gohat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well it makes sense. Senior management positions and positions running companies all require one thing.

That you can tell other people what to do and that they'll do it.

By definition, an introvert is significantly less likely to be able to do this.

2 points by jayhawg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Other than because it's easy, what's the appeal of using stereotypes to create these supposed normative behaviors? Of all the people I've met in my life, most come closer to being balanced than not. We're all extroverted in some situations, and introverted in others. Maybe being divisive makes it easier to swallow the bitter pill of unrealized potential, but it's not productive.
2 points by Kolya 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting he uses Andrew Wiles as an example. Perhaps FLT would have been proved faster if Wiles had not mostly shut himself away.

His achievement was exceptional, yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he went about reaching the goal in the optimum way.

1 point by schintan 3 days ago 0 replies      
As an introvert, I tend to agree with the author. Introverts generally make up the extreme ends of the population distribution in terms of being "successful", success being defined the way it is generally accepted. On the other hand, extroverts are spread out much more evenly. For example,the CEO of a big corporation might be an introvert, but most of the middle level managers are extroverts. Then there are those introverts who find it difficult to move up in the management hierarchy, for one reason or the other. I believe that those who are exceptions are so in spite of being introverts and not "because" they are introverts.
1 point by hammock 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that the only people who spend this much time talking about and defending extrovert/introvert are, themselves, introverts.
1 point by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 0 replies      
"there are problems you can't solve with your mouth open"
2 points by known 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're good at selling it doesn't matter if you're introvert or extrovert.
2 points by known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Extra-ordinary people like Hitler & Einstein were introverts.
0 points by maurycy 3 days ago 0 replies      
The reality rewards action.
-1 point by sliverstorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bill Gates: The revenge of the introvert.
Imagine K12 ycombinator.com
215 points by pg 6 days ago   79 comments top 20
27 points by pclark 6 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of jedc and his MBA research about startup accelerators and how, and more importantly, when to clone.

His #1 point was:

> You need to be unique, where unique is not just a seed accelerator in a different city

Imagine K12 is unique in their knowledge and connections. What a fascinating proposition.


14 points by MrTurner 5 days ago 1 reply      
SHORT COMMENT: Hey hackernews, I'm a teacher/hustler looking for a technical co-founder. Let's build something together. Apply for this program. And worst case scenario, we don't get in but we have a kick@ss product we can sell to school systems.

EXPANDED COMMENT:I'm a long time reader of hackernews and I have never left a comment. But this was the push over the edge.

I am a math teacher in an urban school. Before that I ran a (very non-tech) business, and before that I was a business analyst (read documentation nerd) for the mobile technology division in a very large bank.

I have been telling everyone that will listen that we can save public education and make a bunch of money through innovation. All of our technology, frankly, sucks when compared to similar wares that are sold directly to consumers.

I am bursting with ideas and some I have already tested. But I can no longer work in a vacuum.

So like dating ads of yesterday here is my pitch-

Me: Undaunted math teacher in an urban school with 2 years of experience. Using data driven instruction my students achieved the highest passing rate in my school system. While I can't hack (YET!) I can sell water to a whale and snow to an Eskimo. More importantly I can take complex systems and teach them to almost anyone. I have rewritten documentation for our 3 most popular programs in my systems and I hold monthly workshops for other teachers where I teach them how to use the technology in their classroom. Plus I understand teachers and I have experience in market research. And did I mention, I am a fearless hustler?

You: A) Want to change the face of education.
B) Build stuff.

So let's do like voltron. Team up. Build something amazing. And if ImagineK12 doesn't want us, lets keep moving forward and kick down our own doors.

Mr. Turner

P.S. You can reach me at BRODERICK dot TURNER at GMAIL dot COM

P.P.S. Last year my school system's revenue was 662 Million Dollars. The money is there.

P.P.P.S. A list of companies whose lunch we could eat with a good enough product and A WHOLE LOT OF HUSTLE=





36 points by gcheong 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd really like to see a "request for startups" type post from this group.
9 points by btipling 6 days ago 2 replies      
Something built around the model that Khan Academy presents would be really interesting. Videos and learn at your own time. Home work help, helping parents and students find tutors, helping with test preparation. The long summer months are also a problem for a household where both parents are working. There is a lot of opportunity to help students here. Will be exciting to see what comes of it.

Good luck!

4 points by shii 6 days ago 2 replies      
It seems Imagine K12 will/has solved the classic chicken-and-egg problem with education startups. I've been asking on how to get traction at schools online in different communities for years when I was working on a side project in this area. It's virtually impossible to sell to school districts, and unless pioneering teachers who are savvy enough to use something like Google Apps for their classrooms and see your product in the Marketplace or look for solutions on their own time while somehow fitting it in their already tight classroom curriculum and time budget, you have no way to gain traction from authority figures in the school system.

Enterprising students are basically they only way I've found that educational startups/sites can get active users to join on.

3 points by philfreo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited about this program. Hopefully it will bring a lot more smart entrepreneurs and developers into the edu-tech space. It's definitely an industry that's in need of good talent, innovation, and creative problem solving.

Quizlet.com (Alan Louie, one of this program's founders, is an advisor) is looking for a few great people to join the small team in SF. If you have an interest in edu-tech (or just working on a web product that's helping millions of students study already), please get in touch. Email phil@[thedomain] or http://quizlet.com/jobs/

7 points by prestia 6 days ago 3 replies      
This is a really exciting announcement! Education is probably the most important factor in maintaining long-term competitiveness and the American system is in desperate need of improvement. That said, the hurdles in this area are overwhelming. To name a few:

-Layer upon layer of bureaucracy (states, counties, districts, individual school administrators)

-Teachers that are reluctant to adopt new technology

-Students that are difficult to motivate

I have a ton of respect for anyone even trying to take on this challenge.

3 points by scottshapiro 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic.

But we also need a breakthrough in K-12 tech adoption.

n=1: my girlfriend is a math teacher at a better district in California. The only technology they provide her is a desktop with Windows 98.

So she uses her own mac to admin a tumblog filled with photos of assignments and answers to problems she uploads from her iphone. She uploads PDF's to google docs and 'shares with everyone'. She links to Khan academy videos since the school bans youtube and none of the district computers support flash.

Then her students use their home computers (if they have them) to consume this content. They're excited about it (most never heard of Khan before this) and it seems to be effective.

Back in the late 90's IBM installed a token-ring network at my high school. It was obsolete before they finished the project and the computers we had could barely get IE3 to load a web page.

So I hope this incubator does a lot not just to foster edu focused startups but to also get the right people in education to push for decent technology at schools.

5 points by mraybman 6 days ago 0 replies      
The economy of scale here will be huge - if the founders of Imagine K12 build vertical expertise in promoting education startups (i.e. connections with schools, VCs who invest in education) it will be a lot easier for startups to do customer development and build/implement cool ideas. Our education system will benefit big-time.
2 points by Alex3917 6 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, there is also a new SF incubator for physical products called Magic Beans. I haven't seen them get any press yet, but it seems like they have some quality companies.
2 points by ericdobbs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Computing should be enabling us to start teaching physics and calculus and linear algebra (among other advanced subjects) in elmentary school. When I suggest such things to educators they look at me like I'm insane. But the future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed.

In 1967 Seymore Papert was introducing elementary aged kids to LOGO. The turtle graphics in logo are differential geometry -- very advanced mathematics made completely accessible to young children. Papert's work in LOGO inspired Alan Kay and his colleagues to invent most of what we recognize in a modern computer: mice, GUIs, object-oriented programming. Kay's recent work to make computing accessable to children includes fifth-graders recreating Galileo's experiments and then building computer models of gravity to compare with their experimental data, then going on to apply their gravitational models to a simple computer game. That's physics -- newtonian mechanics to be specific -- made accessible to grade schoolers.

Here's his TED talk from 2007. Skip ahead to 9 minutes 30 seconds and watch the next 9 minutes of juicy educational ideas: http://www.ted.com/talks/alan_kay_shares_a_powerful_idea_abo...

Think about it. Fourty four years after Papert gave elementary kids a tool to understand and experiment with differential geometry, we still don't see even LOGO among educational standards, or any programming tools. The culture of education has not recognized what a huge leap turtle graphics are for teaching mathematics. In the late 1970s Apple II computers poured into many schools and LOGO became widely available in education. But those thirty plus years ago a bunch of adults saw some pretty pictures, shrugged, and ignored it as child's play instead of recognizing it for the little revolution it really could be.

Moreover, Alan Kay and company have been actively pursuing educational technology for four decades and still no traction for computing in education. Four decades by the people who brought you OOP.

Education is a big mountain to move. I'd very much love to be proved wrong, though.

1 point by detokaal 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is a basic problem with many of these ideas. Current research in education is showing that technology alone is not enough enhance student learning. In other words, putting a computer, device, method or software in a classroom adds nothing to test scores or student outcomes. (As a time saver, I'll let you Google up the citations). We have learned this far too late in education, having spent billions and billions in this area with virtually no return in concrete results. The trend is to use these things as fancy drawing and typing and adding gizmos that simply replace pens and paper: a waste of potential.

It is also true that teachers don't want to mess with more of this stuff. We are already beat over the head on a regular bases with the latest and greatest methodologies, books, ideas, etc. on a regular basis. Ask any experienced teacher about their faculty development meetings and they will just laugh and tell you about the last 30 years of innovations that were supposed to have changed education.

Here is what someone needs to do in my opinion. Ideas should include LONG TERM training (2-3 years) that is mandatory in their sales package, back it up with solid research, and provide a payment model similar to a lease or student pay-to-play (where you aren't hoping their newest principal or school board also likes the idea the previous group did). In other words, PROVE it works, teach teachers how to use it, and give schools a realistic way to pay for it over a period of years. If not, you're just another one of the 40-50 "latest and greatest" idea I've seen come and go over the decades.

Good luck.

1 point by maxharris 5 days ago 0 replies      
The major problem I have with any of the computer learning stuff out there is that I still need to reach for paper and pencil each time I actually try to solve a problem.

I wish there was an iPad app that taught college-level introductory physics (with a place to draw with one of those 3rd-party stylus things).

2 points by ilovecomputers 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a naive notion of business, but does your startup idea necessarily have to be a for-profit venture?
1 point by BenSS 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic, and aligns with a project my wife and I have been discussing. It's frustrating that one or both of us would have to hit the Bay Area to do it (on the wrong coast), but certainly going to consider it.
1 point by shortlived 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is nice and all but the real issue lies with getting all families involved in their child's education. All of the technology in the world will not solve this problem.
1 point by asuth 5 days ago 0 replies      
Alan Louie (one of the founders of Imagine K12) has been advising us on Quizlet.com for awhile. What they're doing is terrific. I think it'll produce some great companies.

(see http://quizlet.com/about/team/)

1 point by julianb 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of SchoolTool - http://schooltool.org/

It's a project conceived by Mark Shuttleworth, the Ubuntu project founder.

-2 points by u48998 6 days ago replies      
Two things which should be basic human rights and absolutely free, are: communication and education. But people wish to earn $$ off of them. And then they wonder why the world is in such a messed up state.

Kudos to Khan Academy and Bill Gates for patronizing and liberating the education.

-1 point by thefreshteapot 5 days ago 0 replies      
"If we fund you, the goal will be to build a compelling prototype or demo to raise money from appropriate investors"

- Perhaps i'm a bitter competitor* yet shouldn't this read.

"If we fund you, the goal will be to build a compelling prototype or demo to raise the standard of education for all, inspiring a thirst for learning"

I'm skeptical to private groups with funds who want to invest in a lucrative market which is not purely based on "capitalistic ideals". To use a famous quote in context "Education is for life, not just for Christmas".

* One day! for those who know me and my snail like pace at getting to a version 1.

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