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Firefox 4 is here mozilla.com
650 points by potomak 3 days ago   344 comments top 68
76 points by giu 3 days 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

16 points by bad_user 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.
4 points by bryanlarsen 3 days 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.
5 points by nickolai 3 days 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.
2 points by barrkel 3 days 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.

3 points by xtacy 3 days 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?

4 points by davidhollander 3 days 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

2 points by ern 2 days 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.

2 points by SkyMarshal 2 days 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.

4 points by tristanperry 3 days 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).

2 points by eftpotrm 3 days 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 :-(

3 points by brown9-2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have JavaScript performance benchmarks yet against Chrome?
3 points by gue5t 3 days 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.

2 points by mirkules 3 days 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.

4 points by Mafana0 3 days 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.

5 points by lordlarm 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Feel free to watch our launch party here: http://air.mozilla.com/
1 point by pragmatic 2 days 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 codejoust 3 days 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.
1 point by cubicle67 2 days 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

1 point by willheim 2 days 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.

3 points by ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the team and thank you to everyone who contributed (even the smallest bugfix) to help us all.
4 points by torsy 3 days 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 3 days 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).

2 points by jmcnevin 3 days 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 Kilimanjaro 3 days 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.

1 point by nickolai 2 days 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 2 days 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)


1 point by stevejohnson 3 days 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.

3 points by bsmith 3 days 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 3 days ago 3 replies      
Why is text aliased and ugly in Firefox 4?
1 point by jim_h 3 days 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 juiceandjuice 3 days ago 0 replies      
Three finger scroll up and down for home/end in OS X is really nice... I wish this worked in chrome.
2 points by joakin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please help and advice your friends and family to update :)

Lets help mozilla!

1 point by Duff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have they improved the ability to manage Firefox settings in an enterprise environment?
1 point by dpcan 3 days 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.

1 point by va1en0k 3 days 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
1 point by nixy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Using FF4 on Hacker News main page gives me a popup saying TypeError: a.textContent is undefined.
2 points by u48998 3 days 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.

2 points by MichaelStubbs 3 days 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!
1 point by Casis 3 days 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 discipline 3 days 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.

1 point by al_james 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Is it me, or do those 'monster characters' on the landing page so really, really amateurish?
1 point by pistoriusp 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
I just noticed that FF4 also has shiny new javascript confirm and alert popups, complete with a lightbox effect. Nice!
2 points by zachcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I still like Opera the most. Easily the most innovative browser and much more enjoyable to use.
3 points by dlokshin 3 days ago 7 replies      
Will Firefox 3.x auto update to 4?
2 points by rostayob 3 days ago 0 replies      
The new vimperator is out as well, and it's great.
this is way better than crome now.
1 point by arturnt 3 days 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.
1 point by joel_liu 3 days ago 0 replies      
FF4 add on collection selected by Mozilla https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collections/mozilla...
2 points by ch0wn 3 days ago 1 reply      
I couldn't find any PPAs or packages for Ubuntu, yet. Did anyone else?
1 point by diamondhead 3 days 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
2 points by diptanu 3 days ago 1 reply      
More importantly: Is FireBug available yet for FireFox 4?
0 points by jlouis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work with my loved Quake Live plugin yet... uninstall :)
1 point by tutanosh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hopefully we won't have to wait long for Firefox 5 cause Chrome is not sitting still :)
1 point by DzHiBaS 3 days ago 1 reply      
tab key in form elements is not working. or it's just for me ?
1 point by khatarnaak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great new browser...Heads off firefox guys..
1 point by khatarnaak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its very fast compared to firefox 3.6.
-2 points by orionlogic 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can download the Firefox 4 Final from here : http://www.techsavys.info/2011/03/firefox-4-final-downloads-...
A fifteen year old TCP bug? 42.org
530 points by Sec 1 day ago   52 comments top 9
153 points by pilom 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is true hacking news! Discusses a possible new bug in TCP, teaches how TCP works, has links to useful and relevant books on the subject, AND includes remarks about how difficult it is for a newbie to actually make changes to open source software and not get yelled at. I love it!
24 points by runjake 1 day ago 1 reply      
The response to the bug report was by Bruce Evans, who is listed as the "Style Police-Meister" for FreeBSD. Apparently his job is to enforce standards & code style. Seems like he was doing his job.


Edit: edited for clarity. Thanks, pinko!

33 points by feintruled 1 day ago 4 replies      
The response to the bug report looks depressingly typical. Rejects the working fix with a wall of text speculation on numerous other possibly better fixes (without deigning to actually choose one). Nirvana fallacy in action!
8 points by direxorg 1 day ago 0 replies      
In 2002 we did custom patch for an energy company which had hundreds of outdated remote RS232 terminals hooked up via wireless links to the central station for control and monitoring. Their goal was to encrypt transmitted messages so it will not be intercepted and messed with during wireless transmission. Solution was Linux boxes on both sides that encrypts communication using OpenSSL...
The problem was the terminal do not want to talk to Linux over crossover Ethernet because of.... you guessed... bug in TCP... To solve that we had to make patch for Linux kernel. and let me tell you that code in 2.4 kernel was very ugly with extremely funny comments :-)

My companion since than developing drivers and "he feels that he is doing something important rather than boring UI".

but all he is doing is mostly his own projects and drivers since updating open source IS a pain in the neck.

I guess problem in collaborative work is the reason why people do open source vs something that have to be supported. What do you think?

6 points by HenryR 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is Stevens vol. 2 in the public domain now? If not, that's pretty poor form, linking to a scanned pdf of the book.
6 points by rboyd 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only reply this PR got, was from Bruce Evans who critiqued my use of a simple (long) cast, which appears to have derailed this PR, sticking it in the usual never getting fixed limbo where unfortunately most of my PR's appear to end up.

Looks to me like Bruce gave you some valuable advice. You spent more time complaining about the handling of your PR and documenting the issue on your blog than it would have taken you to fix your patch.

3 points by pavel_lishin 1 day ago 1 reply      
> As I had virtually no understanding of the TCP code, I liberally sprinkled it with printf()s

And people say it's a stupid way to debug!

3 points by barrkel 1 day ago 3 replies      
So much of this is caused by unsigned types. They are evil; avoid them wherever you can.
1 point by ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I only had a quick skim through the article (need to be off to the London HN meetup shortly!), but couldn't this be used to mount a DOS attack sucking up the number of available sockets on a server?
MIT is a national treasure cdixon.posterous.com
516 points by hoag 2 days ago   148 comments top 29
39 points by tokenadult 2 days ago 5 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.

64 points by sliverstorm 2 days 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)

18 points by jarekr 2 days 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.

13 points by kragen 2 days 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.

18 points by rdouble 2 days ago 2 replies      
Philip Greenspun also entered MIT after dropping out of high school.
12 points by light3 2 days 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.

4 points by user24 2 days 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 2 days 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.

4 points by sayemm 2 days 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 gaurav_v 2 days 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.

3 points by shalmanese 2 days 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.
2 points by hoag 2 days 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.

11 points by jister 2 days 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.
2 points by rexreed 2 days 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.

3 points by arihant 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
After that story, there's no source code? It would be interesting to see, at the very least.
1 point by rdl 2 days 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.

2 points by senthilnayagam 2 days 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 mtindell 2 days 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 orky56 2 days 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.

1 point by grammaton 2 days 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.

3 points by maurycy 2 days ago 0 replies      
In other news, one data point is enough.
1 point by daimyoyo 2 days 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.
2 points by bfe 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
MIT only enrolls geeks.
-3 points by wooptoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a modern Forrest Gump.
-1 point by wyclif 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glaring typos in the third paragraph, with repeated phrases and bold text. Good story, though. Upvoted.
-4 points by amnigos 2 days ago 0 replies      
This should be an eye opener for all those bookish/only SAT score people.
How We Got Owned by a Few Teenagers (and Why It Will Never Happen Again) phpfog.com
395 points by cardmagic 3 days ago   187 comments top 31
68 points by sriramk 3 days 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 2 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 2 days 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 3 days 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 2 days 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.

1 point by zaidf 2 days 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.

3 points by Stormbringer 2 days 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.

2 points by intended 2 days 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.

6 points by jschuur 3 days ago 1 reply      
Never? I would be cautious about issuing a challenge like that.
2 points by rexreed 2 days 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.
4 points by pdenya 3 days 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%.

2 points by skbohra123 2 days 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 ?
1 point by benatkin 3 days 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.

1 point by getsat 2 days 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?

2 points by nethsix 2 days 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 samjohanssen 2 days 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.

2 points by dashr 3 days 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).
1 point by RobMcCullough 2 days 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!
1 point by hinathan 3 days 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 3 days 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.

0 points by teyc 2 days 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 pdaviesa 2 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
They're actually a Ruby shop according to the leaked codebase.
-4 points by svlla 3 days ago 3 replies      
php... a language by amateurs, for amateurs. phpfog... a service by amateurs, for amateurs.
I wanna work at Instagram iwannaworkatinstagram.com
384 points by thankuz 2 days ago   195 comments top 54
104 points by Mystalic 2 days ago 5 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.

23 points by mrshoe 2 days ago 4 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.

18 points by edw519 2 days 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.)

14 points by apl 2 days 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.

21 points by dchest 2 days 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.
11 points by kmfrk 2 days 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.

19 points by davidw 2 days 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.

18 points by reason 2 days 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.

36 points by billclerico 2 days ago 2 replies      
love the initiative & hustle. dropping her a note now about our designer position
6 points by Lewisham 2 days 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!
17 points by nopal 2 days 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.

11 points by cabacon 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry, I don't hire Aries. Only Cancers and Leos for my company.
14 points by kariatx 2 days 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.
10 points by splish 2 days 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.

4 points by mccon104 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate to be the debbie downer here. I love her ambition and ability to market herself, but when you are attempting to sell yourself as a visual & UX designer shouldn't your design be original?

Both this page and her portfolio are blatant "adaptations" of inspectelement's html5 single page portfolio design http://inspectelement.com/html5portfolio/

The top bar, color choices, structure, font, her "logo" for her portfolio, the contact me portion... all of that comes straight from the template

edit: added "contact" part

6 points by faramarz 2 days 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.
3 points by crasshopper 2 days 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)?

2 points by jrockway 2 days 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.
4 points by madh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone else see gibberish? (Chrome 11/XP) This can't be good. http://awesomescreenshot.com/0e59u240c
16 points by alex_carlill 2 days ago 1 reply      
this is clichéd, obsequious and poorly typeset.
3 points by jamesjyu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Someone should make an app to let anyone make this kind of clean targeted resume.
2 points by dholowiski 2 days 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 Keyframe 2 days ago 1 reply      
She made leica d vario-elmarit 14-50? I'll hire her then! </snark>
3 points by sbisker 2 days 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!
1 point by hopeless 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the Instagram (well, I liked it better when it wasn't so crashtastic) but I can't help feeling her talents would be wasted there since there's basically no web presence.
2 points by sofal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wait, is this still considered unique and outside-the-box? I must be living on the edge.
5 points by alantrrs 2 days 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 tlrobinson 2 days 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 hbz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think she did a great job. Her portfolio site is nice as well.
1 point by geekfactor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is instagrid failing under the front-page pummeling? Her page isn't showing any images: http://instagrid.me/nettatheninja/
1 point by geekfactor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did Netta the Ninja break Instagram?


2 points by kevintwohy 2 days ago 3 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 tuhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
FWIW http://tuhinkumar.com/portfolio/instagram/ The first (or second maybe) Instagram redesign before everyone joined the party
3 points by esschul 2 days 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.
2 points by akulbe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that a bunch of the people commenting on this thread should go back and read this: http://thingist.com/t/item/4372/


1 point by dr_ 2 days 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.
2 points by ScottBev 2 days 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.

1 point by mikeleeorg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Say what you will, but I hope I can create a product or business awesome enough to inspire candidates to do something like this.
1 point by sgt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well done. And she's certainly creative, intelligent and incredibly talented at what she does. Hope she gets the job!
3 points by fistofjohnwayne 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait a minute. jQuery 1.2.3 and jQuery 1.4? Just for the image hover?
1 point by xelipe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why doesn't she find a technical co-founder and start her the next Instagram?
2 points by georgechen 2 days 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 postacrylic 2 days 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 ryanmickle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love the ambition, but I'm curious why her portfolio work isn't nearly as good as this site.
2 points by ignifero 2 days ago 0 replies      
picture perfect CV replacements are already getting old
1 point by tehaaron 2 days 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
1 point by anhtran 2 days 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 hung 2 days ago 0 replies      
Haters gonna hate. Give her a break. The site's not half bad and at least she tried.
1 point by benedwards 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice looking site. Good luck!
-1 point by niico 2 days ago 0 replies      
-1 point by NathanLands 2 days ago 1 reply      
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 gigawatt 2 days 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 2 days 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.
Wooden iPad 2 cover outsmarts Apple's Smart Cover tuaw.com
374 points by shawndumas 1 day ago   79 comments top 13
30 points by cletus 1 day ago 5 replies      
Really? A wooden cover for the iPad 2... with magnets. That's what makes the top of HN?

I can see this belonging on Engadget but what's the value here?

Don't get me wrong: I have an iPad 2. I love my iPad (1 & 2). I just don't see how a wooden cover for it is HN-worthy.

6 points by yumraj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whats amazing about Apple is that even a cover for one of its products makes it to the top of HN.

Update: If it wasn't obvious, I was being sarcastic and sad.

17 points by dstone 1 day ago 1 reply      
If that's a solid sheet of microfiber on the inside, then I'm sold. The thing that irritates me most about the Smart Cover is that it leaves streaks on the glass where the indentations are.
5 points by dotBen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Still trying to work out how this wooden iPad cover outsmarts Apple's own cover (as promised in the title). Can anyone help me out?
5 points by vnchr 1 day ago 1 reply      
A lot of really negative and unnecessary comments on this blog. did the TechCrunch trolls ousted by their new FB commenting plugin find a new home?
6 points by samirg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Only thing they didn't show was whether the hinge snaps on/off as easily as the Smart Cover.
4 points by barista 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's cool about AAPL is that it inspires such innovative designs. Beautiful.
1 point by tlowrimore 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. I never really wanted an iPad until I saw this sexy little cover. Hmmm... I may have to go stand in line.
2 points by CoachRufus87 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did Apple patent their cover design?
1 point by linker3000 17 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing's for certain: leave that thing on the kitchen while food's being prepared and your iPad will soon smell of chopped onions and garlic.
1 point by pohl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do watch the video. Great design!
2 points by cegascon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Simple, Great, presentation
0 points by apotheon 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's easily the best thing about the iPad.
41,000,006 reasons why I think we're in a bubble jacquesmattheij.com
358 points by revorad 1 day ago   252 comments top 54
173 points by edw519 1 day ago replies      
I don't know about the rest of the world, but we sure are in a bubble here at Hacker News. There seems to be a real disconnect between what people want to build/invest in and what people in the real world actually need and want to pay for. Just as sample of what I've witnessed in the past few years:

  Ask HN: How do you like my file sharing app?
Ask HN: How do you like my social app for niche <x>?
Ask HN: How do you like my twitter app?
Ask HN: How do you like my facebook app?
Ask HN: How do you like my iphone app?
Ask HN: How do you like my facebook app that writes twitter apps?
Ask HN: How do you like my game?
Ask HN: How do you like my photo sharing app?
Ask HN: How do you like my video sharing app?
Ask HN: How do I monetize my free flashcard app?
Ask HN: How do you like my app that helps other hackers to do <x>?
Ask HN: How do I get traffic to my freemium app?
Ask HN: How do I get angels/VCs interested?
Ask HN: Look what I wrote this weekend!
Ask HN: Look what I wrote in one night!
Ask HN: Look what I wrote in 7 seconds!

Customer 1: How can we sell through Amazon.com?
Customer 2: How can we reduce inventory by $300 million?
Customer 3: How can we increase conversion from 2% to 4%?
Customer 4: How can we use software to reduce energy costs?
Customer 5: How can we migrate one app into another?
Customer 6: How can we get our phones to talk to our legacy apps?
Customer 7: How can we take orders through the internet?
Customer 8: How can we get our software package to do <x>?
Customer 9: How can we reduce credit card fraud?
Customer 10: How can we increase SEO effectiveness?
Customer 11: How can we connect fulfillment and ecommerce?
Customer 12: How can we increase revenue?
Customers 13-200: How can we increase profitability?

25 points by grellas 1 day ago 2 replies      
I guess it is a matter of terminology but I have to disagree on this one.

A bubble is all-pervasive and extreme. It represents a systematic investment mania where everything becomes surreal. People sell vast tracts of land for a prized tulip. Junk companies with nothing to offer but a vague concept about revolutionizing how this or that will be done owing to some new phenomenon such as the internet make serial stock offerings to the public and get hundreds of millions for a modest percent of their unproven company. Lenders pile on with countless real estate loans to unqualified borrowers secure in the belief that what are really worthless loans will make them huge profits because they can be packaged and disposed of through artificial securitized instruments and because housing prices will continue rise broadly for endless periods. All this begins to occur in endless and ever-expanding streams until, in the end, large numbers of people are sucked into the vortex.

In such cases, broad markets affecting an entire society are sent into a frenzy by which average people start both to get rich quick and to want to get rich quick. Large numbers of people leap in, therefore, in the hope of making fast money and abandon their common sense in the process. And when things go bust, this has a major systemic effect on the broader economy. A stock market that had reached stratospheric heights loses 70% of its value. A real estate market that had become so pricey as to make housing unaffordable for average buyers plummets to the depths, taking down people's savings en masse.

The current phenomenon represented by high valuations in parts of the startup world is more transient and limited. It has not affected the broader society at all, only an insular investment community. If it fell apart today in toto, it would leave a trail of victims within the VC and angel communities but would be felt scarcely at all in the broader economy, or at least would likely have no systemic impact.

Viewed from the standpoint of the broader society, I think what we are looking at here is a speculative frenzy affecting a comparatively narrow asset class. The prices of some startups have increased considerably. The prices of companies generally in the business world remain moderate, if not depressed. Is it a pricing frenzy within a particular segment of an asset class? Probably. Is it a bubble? No. Or at least not by historic definitions.

Again, I wouldn't disagree with a single specific point made in this piece, and the author as usual makes some astute observations. I would disagree about the terminology, though, and would say that we should reserve use of the term "bubble" for the sorts of massively dislocating events that it historically has come to represent.

52 points by trotsky 1 day ago replies      
Make no mistake, a big factor in the creation / encouragement of recent bubbles has been super easy monetary policy that provides cheap and easy credit.

In '00 we had a market crash after a dramatic run up of stocks in general and tech in specific. In 1998-1999 rates were low and credit was easily available [1]. As we led up to the millennium changeover ("Y2K") unprecedented amounts of short term capital were made available to banks and other institutions to allow them to weather any run on banks that might occur [2]. This money made it out the the markets and proceeded to whip them into something that was similar to a drug fueled frenzy: the nasdaq has never come close to those levels again. Alan Greenspan later noted that he believed his actions played an important role in the boom/bust. Once the fed windows closed for Y2K and interest rates were pulled upwards quickly all the money disappeared. Coincidence?

After the dot.com bust targeted rates were lowered dramatically to attempt to smooth out the markets. Check out this chart of historical fed funds rates as it is really easy to spot the cycles [3]. The next bubble was in housing, and predictably it began to burst when interest rates were raised again.

Look at that chart again [3]. The last couple of years have seen the lowest interest rates that have ever been available since the chart started more than 50 years ago. They have been approximately 0 for some time. In addition, the quantitative easing programs that the fed has engaged in (currently, QE2 composed of $600BN worth of treasury debt purchases) has left monetary policy so easy that if it were a woman the village would be talking.

I've heard some confusion about how this money makes it into the markets. It's really quite simple. Many people and organizations who would normally put some of their money into safe debt like treasuries decide not to because they can't make any money off of it and they are concerned about the effects of inflation. This causes them to look for better investments that will have a chance of returning something decent. The explosion of angels in SV is directly related to this process - these geeks, unable to make a good return in some traditional markets switched to making private investments. If more money comes into a sector, valuations will naturally rise and the quality of the companies funded will likely fall (or at least that seems reasonable to me).

QE2 is scheduled to end June 30th, 2011. Unless it is followed by a "QE3" (which there is probably a strong chance of) monetary supply will contract and interest rates will rise. At some point fed target rates will need to rise as a response to current growing inflation in the commodity markets and the retail increases in food and gasoline. Once the fed signals that the party is over, a ton of this money is going to run for the exits [4]. Don't expect to be able to close your next round unless you're of stellar quality or can hold out for 2-3 years.

Or at least, that's one version of it.

Of course, no one whose business relies on the expansion of public and private equity prices will explain this to you. The reasons for that should be relatively obvious.

[NOTE: I am not an economist. I wasn't classically schooled in this stuff. I'm also not a tea partier nor do I have any particular political axe to grind here. I am just a coder who has been watching carefully since the dot-com crash when I took a very big haircut. Take it all for what it's worth]

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Dot_com_bubbl...

[2] http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id...

[3] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Federal_funds...

[4] http://www.chrismartenson.com/martensonreport/coming-rout

24 points by jarin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Without any real knowledge of the VC industry, to me this "bubble" looks like VCs are just suffering from a lack of things to invest in due to the proliferation of angel investors.

They need to show their investors that they're doing something, so they throw a grip of money at a company with a solid group of founders and a roadmap full of the hot buzzwords of the day.

9 points by pclark 1 day ago 6 replies      
Hmph. If nothing else, posts like this are terribly offensive to the entrepreneurs that dedicate their lives to products like Color.

Did anyone consider that maybe Sequoia, who have invested in companies that make up over 10% of the NASDAQ know what they are doing?

Companies like Color, AdKeeper and Flipboard have "crazy" valuations based on the founders having ridiculous resumes. They have all created billions of dollars of value for their investors, hell, why wouldn't you invest in that potential again?

Rationalising this metaphorical bubble to domain prices is absurd, since domains have always been traded for eyebrow raising prices. You think that the domain color.com or path.com will be worth $10 in 5 years time? Seriously?

Color almost certainly didn't require $41M to get to the product you see today, did people ever consider the company is - gasp - launching early and has the capital to iterate and scale for the next few years? I can think of lots of startups that raised $10M - $20M at company formation and has then spent the next few years (or more) iterating.

Investors are less interested in where you are today, compared to where you are going

31 points by dclaysmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
"A $41M investment at this stage in the life cycle of a business is normally associated with either something that is technologically complex and thus capital intensive or that requires new processes to be designed from scratch."

This is what struck me when I heard about the deal. Color is cobbling together existing technologies and not creating anything new. This deal pushed me into the "There is a Bubble" group. They had better have an ace up their sleeve.

14 points by michaelcampbell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it's a bubble or not, nor do I have any idea if it's just because of where I browse (self selection), but I've noticed a trend lately. The trend is that people are excited about a startup BECAUSE IT'S A STARTUP, and not because of what the underlying value of the business' model/idea/value. As if the fact something is a startup is, in and of itself, somehow magical and has intrinsic worth.

It reminds me of a few years ago when people were all googaw over social networks, because they were social networks. That seems to have passed now and they're focusing a bit more on how social can help this cause or that business model.

20 points by z92 1 day ago 1 reply      
We might be in a bubble. But that bubble will continue to inflate as long as people are screaming Bubble! Bubble!! The danger moment appears when all those predictions appear false and everyone start to believe, maybe this time, for some reason, exponential growth will continue forever.

The moment when everyone shut up and start to join the bandwagon is when the bubble bursts. <-- That's from my experience.

17 points by scrrr 1 day ago 3 replies      
Well, I am not in a bubble. If anything my software is vastly undervalued. I wouldn't know what to do with 40M. I could use 100k though..
16 points by dclaysmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone should track the Color Fund vs. the 43 participants in YCombinator W2011 class:

Round Color's (err) round up to $43m. Then say that Milner's 150K was actually $1m with the same terms (convertible debt). You'd have 2 investments of $43m. Track follow up rounds for the 43 YC alumni and Color and see which pot grew the most.

4 points by frederickcook 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best summary of bubble/non-bubble debate I've read yet:

[Are we in a bubble?]

“Maybe,” says Naval, “Certainly valuations are creepy up quickly in all stages of deals. On the other hand, 10 years ago when we all felt like this last time the total market size for any company was at maximum 100 million potential users. Now we're in the billions of users. Facebook connections alone bring 500 million, Twitter 200 million. 10 years ago we only connected for brief periods of time when we were at our PCs. Now we're connected to apps all the time, everywhere we go. So maybe there's a bubble. It's hard to say. But we're also looking at unprecedented opportunity.”

- http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/03/22/the-magic-midn...

7 points by Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
So flickr goes mobile, gets funding, is sold for some billions, then a decade later it is dumped for a handful of millions?

The lesson here is not to blame the idea guys, they will profit from it dearly. Or blame the initial and subsequent investors all the way up to the (ponzi) pyramid, they will profit too. Or even blame the guy who signed the deal when bigCorp bought them, he got his cut under the table too.

Blame the poor souls who own shares of bigCorp for not enforcing accountability in their C*Os spending money left and right chasing the next bubble.

13 points by tyng 1 day ago 2 replies      
The $41m injection might well kill the company. I've never seen startups with too much capital early on to become the next Google/Facebook/Twitter - you lose your chance to become "relentlessly resourceful"!
6 points by iqster 1 day ago 3 replies      
One of the arguments I've heard that state that things are different this time around goes like this: it is far less capital intensive to do a startup now rather than in the late 90s because of open source software stacks and cloud computing providers. I agree with this statement but it means that the average software startup doesn't need a lot of cash to develop their product. Apart from ads and perhaps domain names (haha), why does anyone need so much cash?

EDIT: I guess it could be patent licensing. I don't buy the technological complexity bit, personally.

Also, if you know that everyone's headed towards a bubble, what is the correct response if you are a rational entrepreneur? Riding the bubble to the top and bailing before the crash does not jive with me.

8 points by fastviper 1 day ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: bubble is intentionally blown, so that certain people earn more money

Pumping bubble is intentional. Financial world knows and uses this technique for years. They KNOW we have a bubble and THEY pump it up.

They earn money on stocks rising while bubble rises.

The more they invest, the more people come to them with the money (for investment). They earn money on those people (commissions, investment credits, accounts, personal advisory). And as more and more money pours from the sky, the market rises. And they earn on stock rising.

Suckers (commoners like we) believe that they can catch a train with next Facebook and sell houses or use life savings in hope for a fortune. And financial world earns.

At the proper moment leaders of this mess bail out and we have a "crisis".

Most people decide to invest too late (for example now it's much too late) and also bail out MUCH too late (after few hours or days from bubble blowout).

But those managers and capital owners.. People cry, media report suicides and they just are buying another Ferrari and houses in the Canarian/Carribean. They smoke a cigar, drink whiskey and looking at the sky think: 'suckers, so long till next bubble'.

Works like charm for years. So sad that for example my country's currency ex ratio and stock exchange is so vulnerable to this.

Financial managers are not stupid. They are pragmatically cynical.

4 points by crux_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about a couple of things, but also ignorant... so here's hoping for a helpful reply:

- How much institutional money (pensions, sovereign wealth, etc) is ending up in VC?

(My intuition tells me that the tremendous pressure on these funds to generate returns, which was a huge part of the housing bubble, is in turn fueling this bubble too, although not nearly at the same scale.)

6 points by yannickmahe 1 day ago 3 replies      
What I don't get, economically speaking, is how we can both be in a bubble and in a barely recovering economy. In other words, how do these angels and VCs still have that much money to invest in such companies?
4 points by RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 0 replies      
> No more 'x' buys 'y', where 'x' is some established player and 'y' is some new kid on the block that has a fancy office with pinball machines a hip domain name and an in-house chef.

Or as was often the case, 'y' buys 'x'.

3 points by nadam 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is not necessarily a bubble yet. I think investors think the mobile-social-local market will be owned by very few companies. (Only a few can survive because of the network effect). They invest into one company and hope that with a lot of advertisement money they can win. There would be a bubble if they would invest the same money into 10-20 or more similar companies randomly.
2 points by david927 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're still just starting a watershed moment for ways of finding productivity gains, forms of entertainment, ways to connect and share. We haven't scratched the surface yet. There are huge leaps being worked on in the foundation technology.

Give us a bubble! Spread it out, so that such 41mm deals go instead to a thousand teams. And we will give you the future.

2 points by Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
The previous bubble took 5 years to form and about 2 months to go 'pop'. I'm not sure if that timetable is trustworthy, but we definitely seem to be accelerating along the curve.

Just thinking aloud here, but how on earth would you make a trustworthy timetable out of that observation? What do you measure? Economy was size A in year Y2K, technological faciliation was a level B, there were C people involved directly with the market; now the economy is size X, tech is level Y, and Z people are at the table... like why would you think one previous bubble was in some way proportional to a present one?

One last thing, what to make of Max Andreeson's pet theory that there never was a real dotcom 'bubble' - that a few companies were ridiculously overvalued but overall most were ok and in fact more investment should have happened (in a more diversified manner)?

4 points by antidaily 1 day ago 1 reply      
41 million (and growing): The number of views for Rebecca Black's "Friday" video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD2LRROpph0
3 points by citricsquid 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's the difference between proof of it being a bubble and these guys just making a ridiculous investment based on hype?
2 points by sdizdar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure if this particular investment can be called as a sign of a bubble. Social networks, locality, mobile, and things are still new and unknown. But there is a huge potential. There will be soon 2B people on the earth with constant (mobile) connection to the internet.

In order to make FourSquare clone, you don't need a lot of investment for development but you need a LOT of money to acquire users and become a player in that space.

However, the assumption is that there will be only few players and that is why there is a need for these kind of bold investment moves. I disagree. The system will become even more fragmented, democratized, and complex with many unknowns, so classical ways of getting market share will not work. In other words, even with 41M of investment, the company will not be able to fight against some weird and original apps / social network or even coupon buying system.

7 points by svrocks 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're not really in a bubble until Color.com (NSDQ: COLR) IPOs at a $500MM valuation and quadruples on its first day of trading.

And then we're not REALLY in a bubble until Air.com, the leader in the social breathing space IPOs at twice that.

4 points by tyng 1 day ago 1 reply      
At least the domain name is worth some dollars.

I actually quite like the concept - makes group photo sharing fun & easy. But worth $41m? Not yet

5 points by rapind 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the $40m is mostly for marketing / advertising then this is definitely reminiscent of the last tech bubble.
4 points by toddmorey 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone else commented, Facebook could easily add a feature to show pictures from friends geotagged with your current location. (Not a perfect replacement but a lot of the magic.) Apple also appears to be getting aggressive in this space with the new version of mobile me. Color has an interesting vision, but I think traction as a photo sharing add-on is going to be tough once the social network and the mobile device maker get into the same exact business.
3 points by bhurt 1 day ago 0 replies      
One reason I know we're not in a bubble: because everyone is saying we're in a bubble.

For you young whippersnappers who were too young to remember the 90's, a bubble is a manifestation of irrational exuberance- with (almost) everyone saying it's a whole new market, it doesn't matter how much the thing costs it's worth it to buy it because it's price is just going to keep going up up up, so do whatever you need to do to buy in now, because the longer you wait, the less you make.

In other words- it's a bubble when everyone is saying it's not a bubble. But if everyone is saying it IS a bubble, then it's not a bubble.

There is a difference between a healthy (or at least "not on death's doorstop") economy and a bubble.

4 points by digisth 1 day ago 1 reply      
We might be, but are bubbles always bad? Lots of money gets thrown around. More people get jobs. Ideas are everywhere. People get experience starting and running companies. Interpersonal and business networks are built. Lots of bad ideas are funded, sure, but a few great ones also emerge.

We shouldn't condemn bubbles as automatically bad. We should be aware of them, though.

3 points by atrevisan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Typically those kinds of things would happen once every year or so, twitter (I still don't fully grok their business model), facebook and so on.

Don't understand Twitter's business model? Promoted tweets have the ability to become AdWords for social. Millions of pieces of content are shared everyday giving insight into user's pleasures, dislikes, and lifestyle. This user data, when analyzed, has immense value for companies interested in purchasing. That information is worth a ton.

Bubble or no bubble, I sure grok their business model.

2 points by NxguiGui 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't follow the hype:)
The way i see things is simple.
X angel/vc knows how to play the game of taking some Y startup with non super unique idea/product and sell it to the Z highest bidder.
When X invest money the most important thing is to make Big News.
The Z are full with money to spend, they know that money need to circulate in order to multiply.
They watch The News.
They react. With money.
On the other side of the line are X, they also watch the news, dream for success and want to be Zuckerbergs.
And so on.
From my perspective the smartest move is to connect demands of Z and availability of Y. Be a X or The News channel.
But i am small, insignificant, away from first hand experience and everything that i think is away from The Game that is x,y,z.
Thinks i can do with one million funding, if i have it, in terms of product development, team building, business development, are so old school and simple that are not interesting to put here at all.
For me in this position the only valuable model is bootstrapping everything, test early in real world and iterate slowly and carefully in terms of technology and business model.
But i deeply respect The Game of x,y and z, not so in direct meaning but as side effect. If all this money are 20% effective they push new technology to the limit and test the audience and give as a valuable lessons without risking money that we don't have.
So if Z want to spend it's their decision to make.
Our is to choose a) to be valuable Y or b) to be other letter in the equation making our own working function, with our own proven methods and variables:)
1 point by jbooth 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, at first everyone criticizes these guys for being on the wrong side of the chicken-egg problem, then everyone says they raised too much money and are being too ostentatious.

Seems like they're attacking the chicken-egg problem in the easiest way, to me, the domain name and big dollar shine on everything make them look more credible and established. And they have enough runway to focus on product for the first few years while growing the userbase without having to monetize immediately.

Could still flop a million ways, of course. It just seems like going all-in could actually be a viable way to attack emerging social networky markets.

0 points by davidmathers 1 day ago 0 replies      
As the great philosopher Inigo Montoya once said: "You keep using that word..."

Let's talk about this chart for a second:


Ok, see that 4000% increase in 18 months? That's what a bubble looks like.

Now, please point out to me where on the graph it made more sense to invest your retirement money in the S&P 500 rather than Amazon.

Wait, you mean pets.com, not amazon.com? Fair enough. But now I'm not sure what your argument is. That color.com is going to fail and the investor are going to lose all their money?

That is what you're saying right? Because if you're saying they're taking a large risk that has a very small chance of paying off then you're saying nothing. That's what investors do. That's what makes us (as a society) all rich.

If your argument is that capital is being misallocated then you have to say why and where the capital should be allocated.

Which brings us to what is actually a bubble and not just people with lots of money taking big risks that may not pay off:

1. capital being invested by (otherwise) non-investors

2. who can't afford to lose

3. who have come to believe, with certainty, that they can't lose

That was the case in both the stock bubble and real estate bubble. It's not the case now. I guess the headline "valuations are unrealistically high" wouldn't generate as much heat and would require a coherent defense.

4 points by joelhooks 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a typical business cycle[1]. Easy credit, low interests rates, no incentive to save.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_business_cycle_theory

2 points by mkr-hn 1 day ago 0 replies      
If there is a bubble, then it's balancing stuff like this that will keep things in check. I've been noticing it too, and I think that's a sign that things are getting crazier as the months go by.
2 points by greendestiny 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the only thing I'd generally agree on is that "in general it is agreed upon" are weasel words of the highest order.
1 point by sabat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anecdotal over-investment on the part of three VC companies != a bubble.

A bubble is a stock market bubble based on massive, irrational over-investment on the part of VCs and stock market investors which, after implosion, will hurt the US and world economy.

"Hey, those VCs are making some stupid investments" does not translate into an economic bubble. VCs frequently make stupid investments, because they're human and they're in the business of taking risks.

Please, I urge you to read a history of the actual stock market dot-com bubble of the late '90s so you understand the word "bubble" in context.

1 point by eli 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty sure Dropbox paid a lot more than $7.95 for "dropbox.com" It's actually somewhat difficult to find an unregistered, pronounceable domain that's under 6 or 7 characters.
3 points by kia 1 day ago 0 replies      
jacquesm really added ads to his site.
3 points by orky56 1 day ago 0 replies      
Back to the days of which venture has the highest burn-through rate!
1 point by evo_9 1 day ago 1 reply      
From Colo[u]r.com:

"Think fast!

Find someone. Take pictures together.
Party. Play date. Lunch?

Simultaneously use multiple iPhones and Androids to capture photos, videos, and conversations into a group album. There's no attaching, uploading, or friending to do.

Share together in a new, moving social network. Just look around."

1 point by techiferous 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about the popularity of the lean startup approach? The focus on data and customers tends to keep those startups real. Shouldn't this mitigate some tendency toward a bubble?
1 point by mendable 1 day ago 1 reply      
Asking the wrong question?

What about asking, "How has taking this amount of funding helped this business?"

Strategically, this much funding through all of the controversy it has generated, will guarantee this company/brand gets in front of nearly every early adopter over the next couple of weeks.

It will drive hundreds of thousands of people to try it out.

And that's before they've spent a penny of it.

Loads of Posts on HN alone excitedly linking to the app on Android etc (one on the front page right now).

After that, it will sink or swim on it's own merit.

Would that have happened if they hadn't taken this funding? No. It would have had 5 minutes on TechCrunch, and then been forgotten about because it may not have been remarkable.

Now all they need to do is implement a business model / some way to make money from it so their per-user revenue exceeds their cost of user acquisition, and use the remaining $38,000,000 as a marketing budget to spread it to everyone else. Profit.

2 points by thedaveoflife 1 day ago 0 replies      
relavent link to his point about domain names: wallgreens buys drugstore.com for 409M.


1 point by brackin 1 day ago 0 replies      
.com's are no longer important, blekko, duckduckgo, drop.io and similar companies are proving this. It's not a big deal anymore. Every time I pitch Reward.io I get asked "how will It make money" so saying that profits don't matter anymore is a big understatement in my opinion. New business models are being developed and used to make money like Freemium and more subscription models.

There will always be some startups with over valued valuations but the big thing is startups don't think they are invincible, with Digg and Myspace startups know they could die if they don't work hard and try and find a way to make money, even twitter which has gone almost too far recently with DickBar.

1 point by ohashi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the domain name argument is bunk. The domain market isn't 'hot' again by any means. In fact it hasn't recovered from peaking in 2007-2008.
1 point by beeeph 1 day ago 0 replies      
When a tech bubble pops, how does it affect a funded startup compared to a bootstrapped startup? I'm relatively new to the startup world, but as I understand it, startups that need funding are generally the only one's negatively affected when the bubble pops since funding becomes more scarce. If so, wouldn't that benefit the bootstrappers?
1 point by jeremymusighi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice touch writing out the full "$41,000,000" rather than just "$41M". Definitely makes it look like more. Although I don't disagree that the size of the investment seems unjustified.
1 point by HeyLaughingBoy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who cares if we're in a bubble? The only thing that matters is "how can I make money from it?"
1 point by kirbman89 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bubble Smubble. This bubble has a long ways to go before it pops. We're coming out of a recession! We have a few years left before we should be concerned.
4 points by known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Define bubble.
1 point by tutanosh 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a bubble in people calling a tech bubble, surely this cannot last!
1 point by wat55 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry, but the U.S. economy is a $14 trillion economy. Anyone who says we're in a bubble based on the aggregate Silicon Valley venture capital funding in the last year is getting ahead of themselves. Before you lecture us on a bubble, try to understand some basics on the U.S. economy.
Mozilla Glow: Awesome Firefox 4 live download day map mozilla.org
309 points by gkoberger 3 days ago   75 comments top 23
44 points by gkoberger 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would be good if I could see the advance of sunrise overlaid on the map.

Nice work!

2 points by daleharvey 3 days 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

1 point by 51Cards 3 days 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!"
3 points by devinfoley 3 days 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.

3 points by abcd_f 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of https://secure.logmein.com/welcome/visualization/fullscreen try moving the mouse around).
1 point by jcsalterego 3 days 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 3 days 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 ptn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Try opening it with Chrome (seriously
1 point by yoda_sl 3 days 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 !
4 points by u48998 3 days ago 1 reply      
No one seems to be interested in Africa and Australia.
1 point by lovskogen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try resizing your browser and see why one should be careful with CSS Shadows.
2 points by Jencha 3 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't look like its working for me on Latest Chrome 10, Win 7. No dots :(
1 point by ski2mi 3 days 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!
1 point by leh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at Japan you can estimate where it was hit by the tsunami because of the lack of pings.
1 point by mohsen 3 days 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 gglanzani 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Netherlands density of downloads is pretty impressive. Can't find Malta though.
1 point by thewisedude 3 days 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 3minus1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like it's more popular in Europe than the US.
-1 point by greyman 3 days 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?
Mark Bao tracks down his stolen laptop and has the last laugh switched.com
263 points by biggitybones 2 days ago   185 comments top 31
20 points by biggitybones 2 days 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.

38 points by noodle 2 days 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.
19 points by blhack 2 days 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?
31 points by garyrichardson 2 days 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.

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


7 points by gojomo 2 days 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 2 days 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.
6 points by Stormbringer 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.

10 points by thematt 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the perfect situation where Prey (open source), would have come in handy: http://preyproject.com/
7 points by pmikal 2 days 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.
10 points by SriniK 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is it #1 HN entry? It's a sincere question.
5 points by pedrokost 2 days ago 0 replies      
I preferred the story of Zoz. He provides a detailed explanation of how he recovered his lost Mac.
2 points by markbao 2 days 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.

4 points by nakkiel 2 days 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".

4 points by huhtenberg 2 days 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).
1 point by techiferous 2 days 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...

2 points by markbao 2 days 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
3 points by AbyCodes 2 days 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.

9 points by mklappstuhl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that thinks that this could be a contrived story?
8 points by alphadog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mark needs to do my PR. He always seems to find a way to get into the news.
2 points by klbarry 2 days 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.
2 points by rgbrgb 2 days 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:

3 points by mncolinlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best cloud backup sales pitch ever! Then again, I wonder how much data gets stolen from badly-designed cloud apps.
2 points by esad 2 days 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.
1 point by albahk 2 days 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 johanh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Swedish thieves send you a backup. http://bit.ly/ha6dmq
0 points by montydad5000 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is some epic revenge there. Kudos to the victim!
-3 points by alias8 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Three words for the thief: Wrong victim. DANCE!
2 points by Refringe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you serious?

Is he serious?

Neil Gaiman: Why defend freedom of icky speech? neilgaiman.com
254 points by uros643 2 days ago   97 comments top 21
90 points by kwantam 2 days ago 5 replies      
Gaiman does a reasonable job with this argument, but in my mind fails to address the most pernicious thought in the letter:

The question, for me, is even if we only save ONE child from rape or attempted rape, or even just lots of uncomfortable hugs from Creepy Uncle Dave, is that not worth leaving a couple naked bodies out of a comic?

This kind of argument comes up all the time in mostly unsupportable "save the children" heart string--tugging arguments (and others), and it is a dangerous and nasty kind of argument that should always be addressed.

"If we only save ONE child, shouldn't we do X?" is equivalent to "let's just assume that even the tiniest positive outcome has more value than any possible negative ones." This isn't really an argument at all; it's a premise concerning the relative values of various outcomes, masquerading as an argument. Moreover, it's stated in a way intended to shame anyone who disagrees with it.

"Even if we only save ONE child", "even if we only stop ONE terrorist", and their ilk smack of dishonesty and intellectual laziness. Sound public policies require careful consideration; arguments such as these are mental roadblocks, nothing more.

25 points by mikeryan 2 days ago replies      
Its funny I had a similar argument with someone last week (2 weeks ago?) when the Westboro Baptist's won their supreme court case [1].

Speech is free, period. Once you try to put any restrictions on then the whole thing isn't even a slippery slope, its a frictionless cliff.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03...

29 points by mseebach 2 days ago 1 reply      
He sums it up very concisely in the very last paragraph:

And also that I think that prosecuting as "child pornographers" a 16 and 17 year old who were legally able to have sex, because they took a sexual photograph of themselves and emailed it to themselves is utterly, insanely wrong, and a nice example of the law as blunt instrument.

22 points by julian37 1 day ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (which I suppose was made in the context of the "devil's music" scare of the 1970s/1980s):

"There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we'd all love one another."

--Frank Zappa

12 points by warrenwilkinson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here is what free speech means to me. I have the suspicion that others might disagree, but it's a starting point:

Free Speech means that law shouldn't punish communication.

If you write a hate filled article then free speech protects you from lawyers. It does not force your employer to continue employing you, your neighbor to continue smiling at you, or your grocer to continue to sell food to you.

It means government won't persecute you. It does not mean everyone else must treat you the same way as they did before you said anything.

It also does not mean people have to listen to you, or that you've a right to use others property to deliver your message.

18 points by RickHull 2 days ago 1 reply      
> with the local police ordered to make 24 hour unannounced spot checks to make sure Mike wasn't secretly committing Art in the small hours of the morning...


4 points by parfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have a platitude for why we need to defend speech. My only argument has ever been that my icky speech today is your essential speech tomorrow. By the time you think something needs to be censored is beyond the line of where you could still rationally discuss the idea.

If you think the government should suppress an idea the only reason must be that you personally cannot reasonably consider the concept. Banning a subject because you cannot fathom talking about it means you must be willing to impose your internal and personal morals on others, by force if necessary.


4 points by CaptainZapp 1 day ago 0 replies      

  If you accept -- and I do -- that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible.

While this may seem obvious, this is precisely the point.

Freedom of speech is only valuable when you're willing to accept disgusting, offensive, gross and revolting speech (within limits, i.e. inciting violence comes to mind).

Arguments against bigoted -, racist -, fanatical -, etc. speech should be won on the merits of the argument and not with the sledgehammer of the law.

This is, of course, not totally black and white and it's not an absolute. If you, however, value this freedom it should go a very long way before laws can be employed to stiffle such speech.

3 points by sp4rki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even if we only save one child

What about the children that will suffer because a potential child rapist that was was in check because of his lolicon use now has no material to direct his fantasies towards and now needs to look for the real thing? Really, as long as no one get's hurt, what is it with people wanting to shut down everything they regard as obscene or offensive to them when they know that their view is merely an opinion and there are millions of people that think differently?

Ohh think of the children, do we really want our future (our children) to live like robots being told what they can and can't do, what to read and what they can't, where to go and where it's forbidden? It's sad that everything that has to deal with sex is always attacked without mercy by the 'Association of Housewives and Househusbands with nothing else to do with their Time'. Seriously let people live their live's as long as they're not hurting anybody else in the process, and while we're at it, let's defend free speech...

"you only realise how wonderful absolute freedom of speech is the day you lose it."

3 points by ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Neil does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the first amendment. I don't think we do enough to protect peoples right to 'not read' however.

edit: While I clearly remember this coming up in at least one of the cases involving DeCSS where a defendant made the argument that their use of DeCSS didn't infringe copyright because they were restructuring the DVD to not play the copyright notices and ads before the copyrighted movie would play, and the MPAA's counter argument that such a change violated the movie studio's 'commercial speech' rights such that the they had produced the DVD and made certain promises to people who had paid consideration and that changing the product like that involved changing the copyrighted work as a whole. The MPAA likened it to re-arranging the order of the scenes in a movie. However searching for a citation in the usual places has yet to yield a docket id, so I withdraw the following statement :

"The whole 'commercial speech' doctrine where a company has an first amendment right to which is violated by me skipping their commercials on a DVD doesn't sit well with me at all."

15 points by numlocked 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mencken said it better: "The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
- HL Mencken
9 points by ubasu 2 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because the freedom to do what the majority approves of is not why we need freedom.

The lives allegedly saved by suspending liberties should be weighed against all the lived taken by the dictators, who are made more likely as we eat away at the foundations necessary to establish our rights.

2 points by scotty79 1 day ago 1 reply      
Enjoying lolicon will turn you into child rapist like enjoying FPS turned me into ruthless murder.

You have to be biologically screwed in the head to rape children or kill people for pleasure. I don't know why people create an impression that average Joe could enjoy 8 year old kid if given a chance.

1 point by tobylane 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don't. This is how the Law is made." Neil Garman

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that. ”" Justice Potter Stewart, concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964), regarding possible obscenity in The Lovers.

I call bullshit. I agree, defend freedom, but it's the same with terrorism, if not worse. There has to be intervention to judge it. Somehow that seems to be done better than say the software patent system. Terrorists are being held, or watched, by ways that shouldn't be legal, because what they did isn't illegal, just so very near. Immoral text/images, software patents and terrorists actions all have blurry lines we will take some time to sharpen.

1 point by hessenwolf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the Swedish approach:

Certain restrictions on freedom of speech exist, notably regarding hate speech against any group based on ethnicity, race and creed, and since 2002 also against sexual orientation. Some notable recent cases are Radio Islam and ...ke Green.[citation needed]

Saying that all speech has to be completely free no matter what is a bit fundamentalist. Stuff in the real world is grey, not black or white.

1 point by ctdonath 1 day ago 0 replies      
Test of principles: does your approach to the 1st Amendment apply equally to the 2nd?
1 point by gadders 1 day ago 2 replies      
And in other news, Apple have removed the "Gay Cure" app from their app store.

Clearly a stupid, offensive app, but it looks like "icky speech" to me.

0 points by frankydp 2 days ago 1 reply      
Speech is not free it cost many people many things, and my friends do not die to protect unquestionably wrong speech. I believe most of the people that think of right and wrong in such a black and white way have never in their lives had to choose right or wrong when it meant something other than hurt feelings.
-4 points by gtech 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great argument, but it's way too long winded.
-4 points by Stormbringer 2 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting stuff, probably more appropriate for slashdot, reddit or 4chan or something like that than hacker news.

I will note that Australia (if I understand it correctly) recently decided that all cartoons are kiddie pron. So if you see a cartoon depiction of two people in their 80s getting it on technically you are considered a sex offender.

Also, they recently decided that all pictures of flat chested women (A cup) are kiddie pron, though I am not aware that they have made any arrests over this (they did claim in the last couple of weeks to have made a lot of arrests and broken up a child pron ring with links to 'Europeans' or something equally dangerous and scary - hopefully no one got hit with the blunt stick that is these two obscenely stupid bits of legislation).

Django 1.3 released djangoproject.com
247 points by rodion_89 2 days ago   38 comments top 14
17 points by sambeau 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they were tempted to give it the codename "WordPress"
12 points by jbox 2 days 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.)

5 points by eli 2 days 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?
4 points by mattdeboard 2 days 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.

1 point by Pewpewarrows 2 days 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!
5 points by matclayton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to all the team,
2 points by dgallagher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the Django team! :) I'm in love with your API.
1 point by beza1e1 2 days 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 BobKabob 2 days 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?

1 point by philipkimmey 2 days 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 ireadzalot 2 days 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 purephase 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats. Excellent work all around. Very interested in checking it out.
1 point by ejaury 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just in time for my next project, thanks!!!
Secret Fears of the Super-Rich theatlantic.com
238 points by gammarator 1 day ago   185 comments top 36
44 points by Eliezer 1 day ago 5 replies      
We recently figured out that a major problem with the SIAI Visiting Fellows program has been that we don't give Visiting Fellows a context in which they know how well they're doing - they're picking up rationality tricks of the trade, but there's no counter that goes up when they do.

I suspect that rich people who aren't just measuring their progress by net assets, acquire this problem with their entire lives - now that they're not holding down a job, they no longer have any sense of what constitutes "progress".

Existential angst mostly just consists of having one or more problems you don't know how to identify ("My life lacks obvious progress indicators" having not even occurred to you as a hypothesis for describing what's wrong) and so you find that everything you do to try to address the problems you think you have, never solves the real problem. http://lesswrong.com/lw/sc/existential_angst_factory/. If there's anyone out there who's reading this and thinking "Yes, that's me", you can go ahead and email me (Eliezer Yudkowsky) because problems like this really should be solvable. Similarly, now that we've figured out what was wrong with the Visiting Fellows program we're going to try to fix it, etcetera.

34 points by DavidMcLaughlin 1 day ago replies      
"In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship - be it JC or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles - is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already - it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power - you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart - you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

The insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing."


9 points by grellas 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is nothing wrong with being rich and in many ways it can be a positive good in the life of any person to have the ability to shape one's time in optimal ways as opposed to being a slave of financial necessity.

But the perils of being rich are legion, as detailed in this interesting piece.

As I grew up, I always had to work for most anything I got and, in retrospect, I believe that the financial necessity that drove a good part of this was actually a big part of my character development. I always wonder what it would have been like on that front if I were continually faced with the temptation, as a rich kid, of bypassing the pain and difficulty of such challenges in favor of indulgences that were readily at hand. This must be an enormous problem for young people who have inherited significant wealth.

In any case, this piece portrays those with some measure of wealth from an interesting angle and nicely highlights that all that glitters is not gold, even if it literally is gold.

27 points by ChuckMcM 1 day ago 2 replies      
I found it an interesting read, perhaps a cautionary tale. I suspect that if you are an entrepreneur 'to get rich' and you succeed and find you are depressed all the time because you don't know who your friends are, some (possibly material) portion of your new found wealth will go toward counseling.

I had the non-unique experience of being a multi-millionaire for 2 weeks in the summer of 1999. Which is to say that on paper, in terms of options and restricted stock, and stock which was currently owned but embargoed (due to my companies acquisition) was 'worth' millions.

I really had to sit back and think hard about what that meant, would I retire in 4 years?, keep working ? join a venture firm? The stock went from $120/share to $0.83/share before I could sell any of it so I never had to actually answer those questions but I found that how I felt when I was 'rich' was different than how I thought I would feel. I don't know if that is a common experience or not.

I find the idea that someone wouldn't really feel financially secure unless they had $1b in the bank sad. But I looked at what Google paid for Eric Schmidt's 'security detail' and I realized that at some point you become a 'soft target' for people who would acquire money through violence or extortion. I would hope to avoid becoming one of those targets. I've heard that if you are ever in danger of acquiring too much wealth you can 'fix' that by buying an airline. (with props to Sir Richard Branson)

27 points by Tycho 1 day ago 3 replies      
Remember that documentary from about 5+ years ago about spoilt rich teenagers? I think it was called Born Rich. Anyway one of the things that one boy said really stuck with me (not sure what his name was but he was generally unhappy, and I think he later sued the publishers):

'People think because I'm rich I must be happy. But they don't realize that my happiness is connected to so many material things, if just one of them goes wrong it can ruin my day.'

Or something to that effect. More material comforts = more dependency for happiness = greater likelyhood of misery (or at least, 'peevement' or angst). He was talking about all the expensive toys that had to be maintained properly, special meals he liked to have, elaborate plans for essentially simple social occassions, and so on.

19 points by athom 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I like this part:

One respondent, the heir to an enormous fortune, says that what matters most to him is his Christianity, and that his greatest aspiration is “to love the Lord, my family, and my friends.” He also reports that he wouldn't feel financially secure until he had $1 billion in the bank.

I think this guy needs to crack open his Bible, and read a bit of Matthew 19:20-22...

[20]The young man said, "I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do? [21]Jesus replied, "If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in Heaven. Then come and be my follower." [22]When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.

I can't think of anything more to say. I just hope I didn't just start a religeous flame war.

4 points by sethg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Early in his academic career, Schervish was a committed Democratic Socialist. But around 1990, he began interviewing wealthy people and decided that his Marxist instinct to criticize the rich was misguided.

If Schervish had felt this way, it's because he didn't read Marx carefully enough. The whole point of Marxism is not “rich people are bad”"the Communist Manifesto is brutally critical of those who think that capitalism could be reformed by making rich people nicer. The point is that capitalism as a social structure is bad, because even well-meaning members of the bourgeoisie have incentives to oppress the working class, and those who do not follow those incentives will eventually find themselves at the bottom of the heap.

(I am not a Marxist myself, but this misreading is one of my pet peeves.)

29 points by michaelochurch 1 day ago replies      
What I learned when I read this was that most rich people's lives are defined (just like most others' lives) by money, which is a depressing thought. A starving person's life will be defined by food-- organized around getting access to it, with constant intrusive thoughts about it-- but for most of us, it's not. We only think about food when we're hungry, we eat, and then we think about something else.

Most people who want to be rich want escape from money's grip, and it seems like that rarely happens. Either that, or freedom from money is not a monotonically increasing function of one's allotment and these people have overshot some sort of "sweet spot" at the level of the middling wealthy.

The grand takeaway was that living in a society ruled by money sucks even for those who have a lot of it. I wish the world were more like college in the sense that, when I was in college, I had no idea whether what my friends' grades were, and people weren't stratified into socially insular tiers based on GPA. The difference between a 3.9 and a 3.2 wasn't socially divisive in the way that the difference between $20 million and $7.50 net worth is.

8 points by arn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Relevant discussion/quote from pg from previous thread on "fu money":


"One thing you learn when you get rich, though, is how few of your problems were caused by not being rich. When you can do whatever you want, you get a variant of the terror induced by the proverbial blank page. There are a lot of people who think the thing stopping them from writing that great novel they plan to write is the fact that their job takes up all their time. In fact what's stopping 99% of them is that writing novels is hard. When the job goes away, they see how hard."

11 points by ezy 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm very suspicious of this piece. On the one hand, it's an interesting thing to read for those of us who aren't "super-rich" (if a bit... obvious). On the other, it feels like it's an apologia for the ever increasing class divide. "Don't worry about not having money, you wouldn't be happy anyway".

Honestly, I would be quite fine with a shitload of money and a meandering purpose in life. I think that's true of most people, including the larger subset of the "super-rich" that didn't choose to whine in an article in the Atlantic. Most people have a meandering purpose in life anyway, and mixtures of reliable and unreliable friends. It's not something special royalty gets to lay claim to.

The primary difference appears to be that the royalty can choose who they want to be, where-as not all of the plebeians have that luxury ("dream it, live it" self-help bullshit aside, one still has to pay for food and shelter and dependents). And the poor rich children are depressed because they have all their options open to them...

I seem to be saying this a lot, but here it is again: cry me a fucking river. :-)

5 points by RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nearly everyone who chases positional goods in a global context is bound to end up depressed. When you're in the habit of evaluating your wealth in comparison to people who are wealthier than you, two overarching considerations necessarily define your value:

* You're not wealthy enough; and

* There's always someone wealthier than you. [1]

[1] Caveat: In principle, someone has to be the wealthiest in the world, which means the other ~7,000,000,000 people are not.

3 points by larrik 1 day ago 3 replies      
The thing I kept thinking of, especially whenever they were talking about "enough to be financially secure" was a quote from Ted Turner just after he donated a billion dollars to the UN. (I can't find the quote online, I saw it on TV)

It went something like this:
"I've found that a person really can't spend more than $200 million dollars in their lifetime. Even if you make no attempts to save it or spend it wisely, it's very hard to squander $200 million so badly that you are left with nothing" (that was the gist, at least, but this is from memory)

14 points by dstein 1 day ago 2 replies      
Has there been any research into why knowing this information in no way reduces my desire to be super-rich?
10 points by sabat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Enormous wealth takes care of so many day-to-day concerns, that the remaining ones grow that much more frustrating.

It's hard for me to be sympathetic about this. They forget that the non-super-rich have all their same frustrations, plus the day-to-day "concerns" (read: money worries).

5 points by maeon3 1 day ago 2 replies      
The main difference between the stresses of the super-rich and the stresses of the super-poor is that the rich have problems that they choose to have, and the super-poor have problems that are forced on them.

The rich people could eliminate 100% of their stresses if they simply chose to change their lifestyle.

The super-poor can't really eliminate their stress by a simple change up their lifestyle, if the mortgage isn't getting paid, the car broke down and you need medical procedure you can't afford and have no options, then these stresses are WORSE stresses than the rich have.

The rich may have it worse, but it's their own darn fault for making it worse.

4 points by futuremint 1 day ago 0 replies      
My favorite part is towards the end, "rich stare into the abyss a bit more starkly than the rest of us."

Not being rich, but being able to use my imagination and reason to figure out logical conclusions, I have come to realize that it is not about what you have, or who you are, but about how you're being. In the end everyone dies naked and alone regardless of how much or little money/friends/love/whatever you have.

5 points by crasshopper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this really "the first time" the super rich have spoken candidly about their lives? The film Born Rich is a counterexample.

Actually, the article contradicts itself: the byline says "the first time" and paragraph 2 says the studies have gone on since 1970.

17 points by Inc82 1 day ago 0 replies      
A quote attributed to Rudyard Kipling that's been floating around the internet:

"Some day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are."

2 points by paul 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the most part, money doesn't create problems, but it can certainly enable and magnify them.
9 points by io 1 day ago 1 reply      
"But just as the human body didn't evolve to deal well with today's easy access to abundant fat and sugars, and will crave an extra cheeseburger when it shouldn't, the human mind, apparently, didn't evolve to deal with excess money, and will desire more long after wealth has become a burden rather than a comfort."
3 points by 6ren 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The fact that most people imagine it would be paradise to never have to work does not make the experience any more pleasant in practice.

The financially independent often choose to work anyway - so why not just choose work you enjoy (or rather, find worthwhile/meaningful) in the first place?

6 points by ianhawes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also consider watching "The One Percent". It's about wealth and the expanding class differences. It's available to watch instantly on Netflix.
2 points by anagnorisis 1 day ago 0 replies      
The issue is a non-issue, but still legitimate and interesting.

Stress, poor decisions, emotional tumult, and being flung into life itself are inexorable, and as unavoidable as breathing when you have a pulse.

Money is tangible, and as far as tangible things go..May well be at the top of the food chain.

In day to day life, and superficial observation of others, the tangible is our primary prism of experience and thought. It's not that this issue isn't "real".

The mind is so complex and our emotions so strong, we're (benignly) selfish and self-consumed to the point that day to day living and observation is done through the "tangible", as our primary prism of experience and thought.

Money/wealth takes on significance. It simply is significant. And always will he for those with and without.

But if we admit the ubiquitous behavioral pattern of our selves (as applicable to money as seeing an ultra good looking person walk down the street; or someone walk around with a 145 scored IQ test on their shirt..), we aren't dealing with wealth and money, per say.

A deeper but likely impossible study would be having the recording of therapy sessions with these people; and then juxtaposed with therapy sessions of non-SuperRich.

Dollars to donuts that those who are 'happy' and Super Rich bear striking resemblance, and actual distinct cross overs, to those 'happy' and not Super Rich. The converse being true for those 'unhappy' and all in between.

Perhaps there is a tipping pt in both poor/rich directions, at certain extreme ends; but in these instances, what are we dealing with, aside from the perks or poisons of 'luck' in a distilled form, that is life's ace up the sleeve and trump card.

And when it's just as possible to meet your wife while getting a latte, or choke on the biscotti you get with it...luck shouldn't be taken for granted, either.

Cliff Notes: when I am Super-Rich and still neurotic, i will simply blame myself, and move on in finding a year or two respite while penning an epic book and psycho-behavorial study on the rich and poor, vis a vis therapy sessions.

2 points by TheBaron 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Great Read!

I am experiencing the awkwardness of a change in personal wealth as we speak.

I have a friend I met at 16 via a t-shirt venture. We would hang out & work on his company. As time progressed we would hang out off and on. After an extended gap in communication, I emailed him to get his number & he came by to pick me up.

We drove for about 15 to 20 minutes until we reached an office warehouse. He then told me, "welcome to his company". He had started what is now one of the country's top promotional products companies. He now owns a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, $3M home, and more.

I feel awkward around him & I think he feels the same at times. We are both entrepreneurs but he has had more success financially. I've since taken a major interest in philanthropy. I recently asked for a contribution toward my non-profit & it was amazingly awkward as well. LOL, I was sweating... I felt like a panhandler.

Lastly, when I ask how he's doing & about other things outside of business I feel fake. It's usually a general response as to not seem ungrateful as mentioned. But, I genuinely want to know.

Anyway, that's my experience with this issue.

2 points by astrofinch 1 day ago 1 reply      
"He also reports that he wouldn't feel financially secure until he had $1 billion in the bank." ... "Such complaints sound, on their face, preposterous."

It may be preposterous for most anyone to feel financially insecure, given that it's possible to survive through couchsurfing and dumpster diving and what a high historical standard of living this would provide.

The super-rich aren't the only ones who keep seeing their standards go up.

1 point by nl 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Worth noting that many Silicon Valley nouveau-rich seem to derive great satisfaction from their activities as angel investors.

It seems to me this is similar to those in the article who "satisfactions of philanthropy", with the added bonus of having people who listen to your advice.

5 points by spinboldok5567 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder how this article would read if one were to substitute 'smart/intelligent/clever' for 'rich'. I think I do spend a lot of time chasing knowledge to compete with others, only to find that I don't have 'enough'. As much as I like it, it does feel like I am living 'a life of quiet desperation'.
2 points by methodin 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was one of the more intriguing and thought-provoking articles I've read in a while. As someone who always had enough to get by, but never enough to spend without consequence, the goal of "being successful and having money" was always one I sought to obtain. While younger I always assumed all my problems would be solved by such a venture. I've learned that will never be the case on my own, but the concerns the wealthy state are interestingly complex - much more so than the standard concerns of a middle-income family/person. I can imagine the shock of a life of toil to get rich, only to find that your life and problems are exactly the same or even more complex.

The sole reason why being happy with the present will do more for you than anything else.

1 point by rythie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Humans are natural born problem solvers and we can't deal with not having any problems to solve.

It seems to make sense for people to continue working after getting rich, presumbably in a position of responsibilty, to give us a regular set of fresh chalenges. e.g. Steve Jobs doesn't quit even though he is extremely rich and also ill, he feels a responsibility to that position.

3 points by unohoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
'A vast body of psychological evidence shows that the pleasures of consumption wear off through time and depend heavily on one's frame of reference.'

I loved this single,succinct line.

2 points by adovenmuehle 1 day ago 1 reply      
The takeaway I have from this is that people are people, no matter their status: not sure if what they're doing is what they should be, insecure about other's love for them, never satisfied.

It reminds me that we're all people, all human.

Also reminds me of a bible verse (Ecclesiastes 9:10): "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

Whether rich or poor, happy or not, we all die.

1 point by joelrunyon 21 hours ago 0 replies      
the irony here is a lot of people will read this...nod their head...and then get busy trying to get rich :)
1 point by crasshopper 1 day ago 1 reply      
^ Best argument for progressive taxation.
1 point by amitagrawal 1 day ago 1 reply      
A little off-topic but can anyone tell me why this story never took off when I submitted it 16 days ago?

(I've read the FAQ). Moderators please feel free to delete it if this is the wrong place.

-4 points by VladRussian 1 day ago 2 replies      
link bait. "Super-rich" in the title when it was only 25M threshold for the article. 25M is hardly getting one into "rich" category. At 4% draw it is 1M/year, just 5-10 times a salaried employee level and even less than that if a family of 2 earners is considered.
-2 points by cookiecaper 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Why should we labor this unpleasant point? Because the Book of Mormon labors it, for our special benefit. Wealth is a jealous master who will not be served halfheartedly and will suffer no rival--not even God: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (Matthew 6:24) In return for unquestioning obedience wealth promises security, power, position, and honors, in fact anything in this world. Above all, the Nephites like the Romans saw in it a mark of superiority and would do anything to get hold of it, for to them "money answereth all things." (Ecclesiastes 10:19) "Ye do always remember your riches," cried Samuel the Lamanite, ". . .unto great swelling, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities." (Helaman 13:22) Along with this, of course, everyone dresses in the height of fashion, the main point being always that the proper clothes are expensive--the expression "costly apparel" occurs 14 times in the Book of Mormon. The more important wealth is, the less important it is how one gets it." - Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley

“The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution and be true. But my greatest fear is that they cannot stand wealth” - Brigham Young

"Men of wealth among us, as elsewhere, who command their tens and hundreds of thousands, who have their every want supplied, have more anxiety, care and perplexity than many of you, who have to struggle for a comfortable living. And if you were placed in their position you would be a great deal more uneasy than you are now." - John Taylor.

Money is much more dangerous and troublesome than most people realize. These three quotes testify to that, as well as most of the production generated by rich people. Wealth destroys many who finally get it.

Google releases snappy, the compression library used in Bigtable google.com
230 points by tonfa 3 days ago   81 comments top 14
27 points by endgame 3 days 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`.

13 points by haberman 3 days 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!

5 points by ot 3 days ago 3 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 wladimir 2 days 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 sanxiyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
4 points by tptacek 3 days 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?
6 points by tezza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Curious, it's written in C++ .

IMHO I think straight C would have been easier for World + Dog to link against.

2 points by MichaelGG 3 days 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 3 days 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 2 days 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.
1 point by philf 2 days ago 1 reply      
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 swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes its odd to think a thousand lines of C++ is something folks were waiting to be released for years.
1 point by patrickaljord 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone feels like writing a tiny C client? Looks like this comes only as a lib.
2 points by delineal 2 days 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.
Time-saving tips for Linux quora.com
231 points by thenicepostr 2 days ago   85 comments top 17
18 points by there 1 day ago 2 replies      
Turn on sudo(8)'s "NOPASSWD" option for yourself (see sudoers(5)).

don't do that. if anything, lock it down even more by enabling tty_tickets.

9 points by jrockway 2 days ago 10 replies      
I don't think these tips are that great. Some random criticisms:

ifconfig is deprecated (use "ip" instead).

There is not much value in knowing vim if you know Emacs. If you want to edit something in your terminal, well, emacsclient -t to your Emacs session. Or use mg, which is a very fast and light Emacs workalike -- just enough for editing your /etc/apt/sources.list to get Emacs installed :)

19 points by endlessvoid94 2 days ago 2 replies      
I found out about ack awhile back -- it's like grep on steroids.
25 points by doctororange 2 days ago 2 replies      
The learning curve of vim was pretty steep, but once over the hump you get some massive benefits. That said, I bet I'm only using 1% of the available commands.

Going back to Windows makes you really appreciate the speed of bash, vim and grep.

7 points by travisglines 1 day ago 1 reply      
When first stumbling my way around the shell, after learning about tab completion I discovered the magic wizardry that is command reverse/history lookup (cntrl-r start typing command ... see last command you entered that matches)
12 points by ilcavero 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Learn what the number inside something like ls(1) or perror(3) means."
you got me there, I don't know what it means and now I'm curious and can't find it on google
4 points by xelfer 1 day ago 1 reply      
The 'learn bash, it's available everywhere' really bit me when I moved from being a Linux Sysadmin to an AIX Sysadmin. Only ksh is available in this case. It took quite a few months to get used to.
1 point by klochner 1 day ago 0 replies      
quora appears broken at the moment . . . I was going to suggest:

in many shells (bash, tcsh, etc), !foo will execute the most recent command from your history that matches foo, for example:

   > grep -lots -of -options /complicated_regex/ ./some/path/* | /pipe/filter
# realize you are in the wrong directory
> cd /the/right/directory
> !g

and similarly, !! is the most recent command, which comes in handy for "sudo !!"[1]

[1] http://xkcd.com/149/

8 points by jeberle 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's odd that his 2nd tip is "Learn Vim" and then goes on to describe all the bash/readline keystrokes in Emacs mode.

  $ set -o vi

3 points by geoka9 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are halfway through typing a command but change your mind, hit Ctrl-A, add a # at the beginning to make it a comment, and press enter. You can then return to it later via command history.

A faster way would be to hit Alt-# (does the same thing with just one key combo).

2 points by baha_man 2 days ago 2 replies      
"In bash, use Ctrl-R to search through command history."

Or, add these lines to your .bashrc to use Ctrl-p and Ctrl-n:

bind "\C-p":history-search-backward

bind "\C-n":history-search-forward

2 points by DerekH 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's great seeing all of these commands and shortcuts, and seeing that you know a lot of them. These never cease to be useful.

Even though it seems simple to someone who knows Linux, you can always impress marketing/business people by flying through Linux with these helpful commands, shortcuts, and tips.

2 points by clvv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another trick that I don't see people mention(excuse me if somebody here already did) is the bash history completion:

\esc \tab

This will complete based on your history, argument wise. Very useful when tab completion itself doesn't satisfy you.

1 point by bingaman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quick ssh and and start screen:

  function s() { ssh $1 -t screen -dRR }

1 point by dreur 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing to say: http://cb.vu/unixtoolbox.xhtml
It has everything I ever needed. When something is missing send patch.
1 point by munchhausen 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that's definitely missing from that list is the "undo" feature of bash which is bound to Ctrl-/ by default. It reverts the last edit you did on the command line. (The keybinding invokes the undo action also in emacs.)
1 point by known 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/ also have some good tips
Facebook designers' novel approach to the usual name tag problems fontsinuse.com
213 points by toni 17 hours ago   20 comments top 9
20 points by gr366 14 hours ago 1 reply      
And here I just thought it was awesome they had angled the text to match the tilt of having the lanyard connected at the corner, providing more space for names.

Then I scrolled down to discover the booklet and all its goodies.

Surprise and delight.

1 point by endtime 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
Fun fact: The first use of those RFID tags was for a Stanford CS210 project. (I've had one on my keychain for nearly a year now.)
24 points by forsaken 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Name isn't on both sides. They missed the most important part :)
4 points by pmichaud 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ben is a stand up guy, and one of the best designers I've ever seen, I'm glad to see him being recognized (more).
5 points by alexandros 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Umm.. the nametag for www2010 was very similar. It opened and had the schedule for the conference inside along with other info. (plus the name was on both sides)

This is taking the concept a bit further to be sure, but I don't think this is an innovation of the scale it is being presented to be.

1 point by peterwwillis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I know it's kind of beside the point, but Facebook could have done some amazing stuff with hardware-hackable badges considering their budget. Defcon has multi-purpose modular badges, HOPE has RFID and multi-purpose, and even a party by an elitist hacker group has a badge which does multi-player video games.

Surely a badge with wi-fi or bluetooth combined with a custom Facebook app would allow for all kinds of useful communication and location within a conference. Is this just too complicated? (On the booklet thing, most hacker cons have mobile con guides for browsing and offline mobile apps for use)

1 point by rubergly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Everything about these looks amazing and they look like they do a perfect job of maximizing both visual pleasure and practical purpose.
1 point by unicornporn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
ok, that page crashes the stock android 2.2 browser every single time.
1 point by kennethologist 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A good design. Like everyone else said name on both side would have complete it. I really like the Moleskine likeness of it.
Dropbox and why you should invest in people cdixon.posterous.com
207 points by aditya 3 days ago   74 comments top 17
20 points by petenixey 3 days ago 1 reply      
We were in the same YC round as Dropbox and it was interesting was to observe the discrepancy between our views and the investors' views. While nobody in our class doubted the success (at whatever level) of Dropbox, it never created the same investor heat early on that many of the "trendy investments" did. I wondered about this at the time and put it down to investors' reluctancy (or inability) to spend the days it takes to actually get to know a company.

I was fortunate to get to know Dropbox a bit more than most (and less than many). We were in the same YC class and shared an office for a little while. They was voted top of our class in YC - I don't think anyone doubted they'd be the most successful company.

I don't think anyone felt that even if they were overtaken by Google Platypus or similar that they would fail either - they were doing such hard stuff and had such dedicated users it would still be a great technology acquisition. The company was a really great investment and in fact after Clickpass was acquired I asked Drew if I could invest but unluckily for me they weren't taking on any more (very) small angels.

The interesting thing was that in those very early days (post YC), the investors still weren't fighting their way into it or making the hullabaloo that you see around some of the other valley companies. Drew and Arash were never big-talking sales people, they never focussed on bells and whistles and instead just concentrated on building great product. Day in, day out they just came in, built amazing software and, starting with Aston, they slowly added other amazing developers around them. That relentless progress seemed to be something that most investors really weren't tuned into.

Investors almost never take the time to actually hang out in a company and instead rely on consecutive and very similar meetings. They never actually watch a company work (although Mike Moritz did interestingly come and hung out in their apartment in the Y-Scraper before making his investment). I always therefore feel that statements such as you should invest "in the team", "in the market" or "purely in any other one thing" are all slightly trite because what you really want to invest in is the relentless march of a product towards a market.

You can't learn that in a pitch though or from a founder's personality or even their CV - all of these are single data points and you want to measure the product trajectory. You can however get a very real feel for that by spending real time with a company, in their office. I'm sure you would get some false positives from it but in the long run it would be hard to avoid the true negatives.

Dropbox's office was calm, intelligent, very productive and full of debate and fiercely intelligent employees who believed without hesitation in the product. The developers were constantly interacting with their customers through their forums and they hung out as a team after work. It was totally and utterly different to many other offices I have observed and made it very hard to imagine an outcome that would not be good. They knew the market for their product, they knew it was big and they marched relentlessly towards it.

I know lots of smart, driven, successful people whom I still wouldn't invest in but I would be very interested to know how many such teams with the kernel of a product people like, in a market that is significant and who march relentlessly towards it do not constitute a good investment.

45 points by callmeed 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's funny, I was reading old Joel on Software posts the other night and stumbled across this one:

From the essay:

"The hallmark of an architecture astronaut is that they don't solve an actual problem ... they solve something that appears to be the template of a lot of problems. Or at least, they try. Since 1988 many prominent architecture astronauts have been convinced that the biggest problem to solve is synchronization.


Jeez, we've had that forever. When did the first sync web sites start coming out? 1999? There were a million versions. xdrive, mydrive, idrive, youdrive, wealldrive for ice cream. Nobody cared then and nobody cares now, because synchronizing files is just not a killer application. I'm sorry. It seems like it should be. But it's not."

I immediately thought of dropbox. It appears, to some degree, it is a problem and some people do care. Like Chris said, its the execution and people that made the difference.

26 points by nadam 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a good post, but there is the risk of survivorship bias here.
Drew Houston is a brilliant guy, but let's be honest most people only recognized his true brilliance after he became successful. (I think most people thought he is smart, but I doubt most people thought he is brilliant before his success.)

So yes, you should invest into people, but the trick is to recognize brilliance in advance. Which is brutally hard. For example recognizing technical brilliance if someone is not technical is almost impossible. I think where YC shines is not only that they try to invest into people but that they are actually quite good at recognizing brilliance. (I doubt they are perfect in this, but probably the best in the market.)

28 points by joshu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ha, I passed on dropbox too, I was asked to invest in the series B and thought the valuation was too high. Learned my lesson - valuations go up for a reason.
12 points by vibhavs 3 days ago 3 replies      
Tangent: So I'll be honest -- I was curious as to who the "jackass VC" was. After a little digging around, I think it's Ted Schlein: http://www.kpcb.com/team/schlein.
3 points by api 3 days ago 2 replies      
But what about great people with a really bad idea that they are committed to?

Seems to me that that would be a bad investment.


Be careful about your metric of great. The metric of great must be "this person is a genius with lots of energy and creativity," not "this person graduated from the right school, knows the right people, comes from the right part of the country, lives in the right zip code, etc." It must be first-hand meritocratic, not based on second-hand derivative indicators.

DropBox's founder went to MIT, but that's not what made him great. MIT is just a good school. The guy may well have been just as great if he'd gone to Ohio State or some other less-prestigious school.

7 points by nikcub 3 days ago 0 replies      
Came to read about dropbox, but stayed for the dig at KP. Amazing to think that one of the top VC firms in the world were out of the game for so long.

A new generation of killer startups were created: Facebook, Zynga, GroupOn etc. and KP just watched it all go by. It would be difficult to just quantify how much $ they missed out on, but at least now they are sorta admitting their mistake and getting back into tech investing (greentech didn't really turn out to be the second coming that many thought it would be)

Unfortunately people like 'symantec middle manager' are still around.

10 points by marcamillion 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ahh...so Fred Wilson has started the 'come-to-Jesus' moment for investors.

I guess we can now expect to see many more blog posts about missed opportunities, and lessons learned.

That being said, thanks for the post Chris.

Makes for good reading :)

3 points by latch 3 days ago 6 replies      
I love dropbox. Dropbox + git is beautiful as is Dropbox + markdown (for writing).

But I don't pay for it. I'm somewhere around 5+ free gigs of which I might use around 30%. Normally if I loved a product this much which I wasn't paying for, but ought to, then I would. But I'm not stealing my account, so I don't really feel like I should pay.

On top of that, I use a different paid service for storing large amounts of files. It ends up being cheaper and I feel both solutions work best how I have them - dropbox for sharing/working and the other for offsite backups that just transparently syncs every night or something.

I guess all that to ask a question...how the heck is dropbox making money? Between the amount of free storage they give and the fact that there are much cheaper remote backup solutions, I just feel like I'm missing something.

3 points by brett 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's an argument against Dixon's point, but I found this funny because I remember being so impressed with demo of Dropbox at the time. I remember knowing nothing about who Drew was, seeing this on HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863
and thinking something along the lines of, "that's brilliant, I hope he gets funded so I can use it."
3 points by vantran 3 days ago 1 reply      
Investing in people over their ideas is always advisable. But let's not forget how brilliant people can still fail. Tons of bright kids come out of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc... Should you blindly invest in all of them?

Instead, I prefer Mark Suster's "invest in lines, not dots" strategy. You really have to spend more time to have a better idea on whether you should invest.

In hindsight, of course Drew Houston would be a good investment.

2 points by hanifvirani 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I like about Dropbox is that it just works as expected. It's trivial and it's well polished.

Dropbox is a great lesson in how ideas don't matter and how execution is king. They had the guts to compete with a dozen other players who were trying to solve the same problem, solely based on the confidence in their execution. Investing in people having the skills to execute, the guts to compete, and the resilience to persist, clearly makes better sense than investing in just ideas.

1 point by adw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something related which occurs to me; investing in ideas is basically premature optimisation, because great people can change ideas but average people are unlikely to spontaneously become great.
3 points by hootmon 3 days ago 0 replies      
The title should have been Name Dropping, why I just can't stop...
1 point by naiverahim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Investing in people is the best kind of investment; because a business of people is always profitable. A very powerful philosophy taught by Dale Carnegie.
1 point by u48998 3 days ago 0 replies      
There may have been number of storage sites popping up back in the days but didn't Dropbox provide something new and necessary technology to the PC? As in, don't worry about backing up your files? I don't recall even Box dot net - who was much in the tech news - provide such features.
1 point by dami 3 days ago 0 replies      
Behind every great product is a motivated and driven team ;)
At least now we know why Color really got that funding daringfireball.net
205 points by ChrisArchitect 4 hours ago   88 comments top 25
30 points by mrshoe 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I remember attending a Startup School talk wherein Max Levchin explained that Slide wasn't a "pimp my MySpace" company, but rather a data mining company using MySpace widgets as the trojan horse. So, Nguyen isn't the first serial entrepreneur to receive loads of funding based on his reputation and attempt to exploit the trend du jour to mine data from the masses.

We all saw how well that worked out for Slide. My guess is that Color will see a similar fate. It's unlikely you'll build a great social photo sharing application if that's not your primary focus.

100 points by flyt 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Don't worry, if Apple acquires them (like they did their last company, Lala) then Gruber will suddenly realize how revolutionary the idea is.
12 points by neutronicus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just what I've been saying...

And if the data mining stuff is good, they don't even need you to download their trojan horse. They can just license the tech to Facebook and leverage their installed base.

EDIT: Perhaps Twitter is the best fit as a licensee - huge installed base on smart phones, and apparently can't data mine their way out of a wet paper bag, if the #dickbar fiasco is any indication.

8 points by d_r 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Not to bring pop culture to HN, but this "photo data mining" reminds me of the ultrasound/sonic contraption in "The Dark Knight" that collected visuals on everyone in the city.

What I find fascinating about Color, though, is that I can open the app in downtown Palo Alto and actually see photos of startups nearby, peoples' lunches, offices, whiteboards, window views, and so on. Mobile/GPS-based photography is an idea that has been tried in the past, but seemed to have never taken off due to lack of traction. Surely too early to tell, but perhaps the high publicity attracted here will actually make it possible for this one?

21 points by thezilch 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How long before Color becomes Chat Roulette? What protections are children afforded where the content is not "personally identifiable?"

And how long after that before Apple drops Color from their App Store?

6 points by Batsu 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Although Gruber is summing it up based on a developer's words, they do state this ridiculous data collection in their privacy policy (which is an implied agreement, based on your downloading of the app).



We also collect pictures, videos, comments, and actions you take through the App (“Content”), and information on your location. When our App is active, your Device provides periodic updates to our server of your location, which allows us to show you fresh Content based upon where you are at that moment. We share your Content with others. Sharing Content publicly with others from different locations is what this App is about. If you find this objectionable, please consider not using our App or Site.

1 point by anigbrowl 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel so prescient now: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2366765

Seriously, I think people are seriously overthinking the photo sharing aspect. That's just the first thing they could think of that seemed like it would have mass appeal, but I imagine the company has little to no interest in private photos or in tracking individual users.

Here's how I see the possible future applications. You go somewhere and use your phone en route. Your phone knows approximately where you are and have been recently with a fair degree of detail. Rather than uploading that information to a server and scaring people away from using it, it listens to a stream of numbers from a server, which represent various different location and/or environmental criteria. The phone matches these with what it knows about itself based on where you've taken it, as if it were playing bingo. Every so often it gets a good match, and then uses that as a hash to look up a particular commercial message - one that has a high probability of being relevant to the owner of the phone based on where they are, where they're going, or where they have an established trail.

So you're traveling up the escalator in a shopping mall, when suddenly your phone shrugs (tm). What is it? That obscure thing you like and searched for last week is in a store 2 minutes walk away. Hardly anyone buys those, so if you go there in the next hour they'll give you 20% off; otherwise it goes back to the wholesaler.

37 points by lowglow 4 hours ago 2 replies      
One shouldn't forget about exif data on images.
3 points by alexqgb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Odious creep factor aside, they deserve credit for securing both color.com and colour.com.

It's just amazing what you can do with $41mm, right?

4 points by tenaciousJk 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Actually, I think it will be much worse than that. Think: location based advertising. In order to use color you have to allow GPS for the app and, optionally, push-notifications. A perfect combo for pushing ads when you're within X range, etc.

I sent a tweet to them yesterday, but got no response.

edit: group response to the below

No geo-ad platform has this low barrier to entry with this high of an incentive. Simply snap a pic and it's recorded and you're "checked in" if you will. You're doing something you want to be doing: recording your event, people you're with, etc. With 4S and Gowalla you have to want to check-in. Checking in is the app - not recording your memory by way of a picture/video. Sharing pictures is the biggest social app on the web.

3 points by twidlit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Color is not the sonic scanning mobile device in Dark Knight, it was the multi-lens visual scanner Lucius Fox threatened to quit over and self-destructed when they found Joker.

Bruce Wayne is Nguyen and we are Lucius Fox, but in this case there is no Joker to catch.

2 points by Splines 3 hours ago 0 replies      
(from the linked article):

> Then it will select the best picture and put it to the top of the photo feeds of people most interested in that image (like fans at the ballpark)

Great idea, but I don't think I've ever seen a description be so hand-wavey. You might as well put "Then some magic happens" there. Some details on how this happens (face recognition? social voting? views?) would be nice.

edit: I guess I should RTFA. It's still really high level, but later in the article Nguyen explains that they use views to measure photo quality.

1 point by jasongullickson 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think if nothing else this is proof that if you have a clear way to generate value (evil or not), there is large investment to be had for tech start-ups.
6 points by bch 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What a lame commentary. He's surprised why? What about google search, gmail, facebook and twitter? When the "product" is free, YOU are the product.
2 points by FirstHopSystems 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Is anyone still surprised that social networks do this? Really? "Oh! so that's what they are really doing?, Aha!' I would think that's has been established as the status quo for a awhile now.

a 42$ million investment, I would be curious about any thoughts on how a company would make a profit from that investment. Other than selling information about it's users.

I think the gotcha would be "Oh the company is NOT selling customer information!" So that's how they are doing it. This article seems like they just uncovered some new revelation.

5 points by konop 3 hours ago 2 replies      
To actually get the data they are going to mine, people have to actually use the thing. This is where I think color will fail... plus they spell colour wrong! (sent from Canada)
1 point by Jabbles 4 hours ago 2 replies      
They got the funding because the investors think there's a small but non-zero chance that Color will become "the next twitter/facebook". The ROI could be 100 fold.

This is almost the opposite strategy to Yuri Milner, who is spreading his bets out over many companies. However, this strategy is no less valid. I say almost because the investors can make many (tens of) bets this size and still succeed in making money.

1 point by trickjarrett 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How does one profit off of this data. Are there agencies which sell it, or is it marketed to companies in some sort of package?
1 point by Tycho 3 hours ago 1 reply      
relax, it's just so they can send Groupon-style offers to people more likely to want them (Groupon would be great... if I ever actually wanted spa treatment, highlights, or weekend breaks)

on the other hand, suprised I haven't seen the obvious 'paedo/stalker threat' brought up yet. it's not data mining you'd need to worry about, it's individual predatory users

3 points by danberger 3 hours ago 1 reply      
No one has mentioned their business model (page 3 of the interview). Basically they expect venues to pay for the ability to know the names of their frequent customers so that they could be greeted... but I thought they don't collect personal info.
1 point by TheSwede75 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
"or filenames, meta-data, facial recognition dataming data, geo-data etc'

Yeah there sure is nothing there that 'marketers' could use right?

1 point by sequalia 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How much time we need to understand, that the big business is surveillance of human resources (google, facebook).
There always be a ton of cash for data mining and selling it to governments, political parties, advertising companies etc.
If governments try to do it, its a privacy problem. But when corporations put a cool, color(ful), free app, you will give them your data, they can sell it. And its perfectly legal. Thats why they have all the money. But you are decision maker. And only by conscious action and wise choice
you can make difference. Big elites(politicians,corporations,big investors) listen only in two cases, when they loose money, and when they are afraid for their life.
1 point by marcamillion 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to mention that most 'mobile' photos are 'geotagged' with the GPS coordinates.

I think this 'data mining' revelation could just well be the 'death knell' ?

2 points by allanchao 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that in a different article, I think it's Sequoia that said something along the lines of "something as revolutionary as this comes around once a decade. It's the next Google".

Seems like the goal of color is to aggregate vast amounts of real world data, like the Google of physical life.

1 point by toddmorey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The tech explains the funding, but I still question whether Color will be widely used. I'm thinking Segway: amazing technology that didn't translate into an experience people enjoyed / wanted enough for mass adoption. This is why Apple does so well: they get both the technology and the experience right.
Burned by Twitter, Developers Launch Distributed Microblogging Service readwriteweb.com
199 points by rwwmike 1 day ago   89 comments top 26
59 points by jmathai 1 day ago 5 replies      
Unfortunately, the only people who care about Twitter's recent actions are the nerds. At this point Twitter has too much momentum for the nerds to have much (if any) influence. Building "open" technology isn't an effective method of social engineering here. I wish I knew a better alternative but I don't.

That being said, I never understood why everyone (including pg) referred to Twitter as this great new protocol. It's 100% proprietary and this type of decision should have been easily predicted. SMTP and POP are protocols, Twitter and Facebook are websites with APIs.

But good for the developers. The seem passionate about the idea and are building it. Kudos.

22 points by benwerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great thing. Status.net is an awesome project, and Evan is brilliant - but having a bunch of inter-operable services and projects just makes OStatus that much more useful. I can't wait for more.

I hope everyone's creating machine images for these projects. It should take two minutes to start your own microblogging site - ideally with as little technical involvement as possible.

11 points by tomkarlo 1 day ago 3 replies      
Sounds great, looks great, but actually trying to sign up with a new account using email address (because using my Twitter or Facebook login on this seems well, kind of inappropriate) returns "Internal Server Error".


6 points by marcamillion 23 hours ago 7 replies      
I hate to say it...but like Diaspora, I expect this to come out with a bang and slowly peter out and die.

It's not because Twitter's technology is any more superior. It's the simple thing called 'network effects'.

Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, I think Twitter is too far along for their momentum to be stopped.

Valiant attempt, and kudos to the developer(s) for actually getting it launched - but this is definitely like spitting in the wind....imho of course.

6 points by anon114 23 hours ago 3 replies      
P2P twitter is absolutely necessary but it has to be done right.

First of all, ensure privacy with public key cryptography. Sign tweets for authenticity.
Retweets can just be additional signatures.

If a distributed microblogging protocol was interoperable with twitter and user friendly, it would probably be able to siphon people off of twitter proper. Certainly it would be an attractive alternative to anyone who NEEDED the service, and that's the important thing, right?
Hopefully work out a way so that tweets on twitter.com can be captured and distributed in this P2P network. These tweets could be unsigned since if you include a link to the original tweet they can be verified.

Defining protocols instead of providing services democratizes a layer of the OSI model. We need to think deeper than that, though. We need to democratize the physical layer as well. Luckily we've proven that you don't need a high bandwidth link to be useful in a crisis situation. Twitter will do. To that end, I suggest that this project make an even more lofty goal:

Create a small embedded device interoperable with this P2P microblogging network. The device can communicate with peers over a Software Defined Radio. The device should be capable of bridging to a wi-fi or 3g network. This would accomplish the democratization of the physical layer which is so important to combat censorship and oppression.

You can't monetize democracy. This is why these projects will only happen on a volunteer/charity basis.

4 points by SkyMarshal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Trying to register using email gives "Internal Server Error".

(I prefer to register for sites using my email address, and then link to my FB and Twitter accounts. In case I ever decide to delete either of the latter, other services like rstat.us won't be affected.)

17 points by mindstab 1 day ago 3 replies      
Didn't this already happen, and last time we got identi.ca? Why spin off a new microblogging site when there already is one rebel site full of open source devs? What does rStat.us get us that identi.ca didn't?
2 points by markkat 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think they should consult some people with strong experience in marketing in order to present this in the most concise and approachable manner as possible.

Their biggest hurdle is going to be apathy due to a lack of comprehension. The more noob-friendly rstat.us is, the better their chances.

They've actually done much better than most, but it really can't be dumbed down enough. There should be a clear barrier between text for developers, and text for everyone else. I really wish them luck. It's a noble effort.

7 points by petervandijck 1 day ago 2 replies      
"In order to follow someone from Identi.ca, just paste the ATOM feed from their profile into rStat.us."

That's when it all falls down, of course. And you can't follow people on Twitter?

1 point by ajays 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If I could draw an analogy: Twitter is like AIM. Can we put together an open service, like XMPP, which interfaces to TWitter, but is distributed and free?
7 points by eoghan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile on Twitter...


None of these people care, I'm afraid.

1 point by dclaysmith 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that it is possible (tho unlikely) for an alternative to Twitter to emerge but it would require:

1) All clients start implementing the "open" protocol next to the Twitter. So send each message twice.
2) Someone takes the Twitter firehose and screws it into the "open" protocol.

You would have a bit of noise but you would then have a legitimate choice: "open" or twitter. If the number of people using the "open" alternative/protocol achieved critical mass you would have something.

Maybe this is why Twitter is clamping down on clients. Undermining the popularity of clients prevents the first item.

And Twitter would never allow anyone to use the firehose for this purpose.

So, pretty unlikely.

3 points by andresmh 1 day ago 1 reply      
written in Ruby to attract more developers than identi.ca that is written in PHP... really?
1 point by dmoney 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of people have thought of writing "twitter but open". Congrats on actually doing it. When I was kicking around the idea but never acting on it, one thing that occurred to me was that, in order to make it really take off, you have to create some way that everybody already has it. Some way to follow and be followed by twitter users, for example, or a way to make it so that your e-mail address is your microblog address. Just my two cents.
1 point by Tichy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently had this thought that even with a distributed system, probably some centralized monopoly would emerge - the search engine, like Google for the web. Following people works OK in a distributed way, but search and analytics would be a problem. Unless an efficient distributed search engine can be built, too.
1 point by InclinedPlane 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Twitter is not "microblogging", thinking of it that way will only cause you to misunderstand twitter and come to incorrect conclusions. Twitter is closer to facebook and IRC than it is to blogging.
1 point by rch 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Strange to see a reference to couchdb/couchbase so awkwardly shoehorned into the article.
1 point by modernerd 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Distributed microblogging: connecting the masses by making them further apart.

Great to see OStatus gaining traction.

Is there space in the OStatus spec for an email-like username/service format? I'd like to be able to add someone on identi.ca by typing theirhandle@identi.ca, for example, rather than having to copy and paste a link to their atom feed. Or would that be too confusing? If so, is there a more user-friendly alternative?

1 point by bergie 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish there was a OStatus implementation to a Jaiku-like service (see for instance http://qaiku.com )

The threaded microblogging model supports far deeper interaction than the way Twitter works.

1 point by w1ntermute 1 day ago 2 replies      
People are going to be a lot more hesistant about this after the Diaspora fiasco.
2 points by benatkin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone managed to subscribe to an rstat.us feed from identi.ca?
1 point by elrodeo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest that all people who want to try out rstat.us post something with hash tag #hackernews, such that we can connect there.
2 points by shuri 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The question is how can you get UberMedia on board.
1 point by pathik 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The next Diaspora. Doomed to fail.
1 point by TheSwede75 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I LOVE the fact that you can 'login with twitter' to rstat :-)
1 point by TheSwede75 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Internal server error when trying to sign-up.
Bag of hurt marco.org
198 points by barredo 4 days ago   93 comments top 21
87 points by danilocampos 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm pretty tech savvy. I write code. I have a half-decent living room setup, with an HDTV and surround sound. I have an Xbox 360. I get the latest gear when it tickles my fancy. New technology does not scare me.

And I have absolutely zero urge to buy a Blu-Ray player. None at all. And I don't expect that to change any time soon. DVDs are good enough on the rare I occasion I need them. Netflix Watch Instantly is awesome. I'm at the point where if I want to watch something I can't stream from Netflix I say fuck it and watch something else.

Marco's right to be skeptical of the next generation of physical media distribution. That game is going to be over inside of five years.

29 points by hristov 4 days ago 5 replies      
He is right and it is a darned shame, because with the big screens of today the quality of blu ray is sorely needed. I do own a blu ray player, and i am a huge arthouse movie buff and it does make a difference for the very few good movies that make it on bluray.

The Netflix online service is not nearly as good.

But having to watch 15 minutes of mandatory nonscippable adds before you get to watch a movie you actually paid for is really really f-ing annoying.

It is a shame the industry could not come up with a standard that actually works. Next time, the manufacturers should just make the most technically advanced and open standard they can come up with and completely ignore the content makers.

30 points by tom_b 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a family member working directly in the manufacture/production of DVD/Blueray media (movies and games).

The company is actively telling employees the facility will shutdown at some point in the future. While the timeline is not specified, the parent corporation is not replacing low level production staffers now, hours for all workers have been curtailed, and generally the production projects are falling off.

Compared to even just a few years ago it is a pretty shocking change - this place used to run full out 24/7/365 and employees were typically scheduled for 20+hours of overtime in a two week rolling schedule. These days, they run two shifts, often close up early and I can't remember the last time they offered any overtime.

It's too bad, this was a pretty solid employer in a rather remote region that doesn't have many other options available for the class of workers facing layoffs.

14 points by msy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Once again the movie industry seems to believe it calls the shots only to be bitch-slapped by the invisible hand of the market. You'd think they'd learn by now.
4 points by CrLf 3 days ago 2 replies      
As other people pointed out, most people don't care about the difference between a DVD and a Blu-ray, even when they have HD displays.

It would be interesting to know exactly why, but nobody wants to survey the users, prefering instead to pretend that this isn't true.

My interpretation is that when you're 3 meters from a display with the size regular people buy (between 32 and 42 inches), the quality difference between HD content and a decently encoded DVD is barely noticeable.

Some say that sound quality is more important than picture quality. That may be true, but that's not the reason people ignore the quality difference between DVDs and Blu-ray. When you live in an apartment, you tend to watch movies with a low volume anyway, so sound is always crap.

Then, there's the mistake that people moved to DVDs from VHS because of picture quality. This is false, people moved from VHS to DVDs because DVDs have are random-access media. No more rewinds, no more fast-forwards and searching for parts of the movie.

DVDs hit the sweet spot of price/quality and convenience. Blu-ray offers little more.

If the successor to the DVD had been a flash-memory card, it may have been a hit. The same movies in 1/10th the space. Now it is too late.

People will keep their DVDs until online distribution is mature. And this doesn't necessarily mean internet distributed content. Here in Portugal, the two major cable providers have a video-on-demand service (in old-school parlance) that was the final nail in the video rental shops 'coffin, and that all but removes the need for the average consumer to buy physical media.

10 points by tedunangst 4 days ago 2 replies      
"enough copy protection to kill almost all casual piracy (including such innocent cases as ripping movies you own so you can play them on vacation on your iPad)"

Actually, I think every blu-ray I've purchased recently came with a download code and/or disc containing another copy of the movie specifically for copying to iGadgets. If I cared to put my movies on an iPad, this is even more convenient because it's already pre-ripped.

12 points by hoggle 4 days ago 1 reply      
Owning the Blu-Ray version of a movie is like owning the original film roll to me. Priceless experience, in fact the first time I'm really happy to spend money on my favorite films ever since the Laser Disc. I love Blu-Ray.
16 points by depoisfalamos 4 days ago 2 replies      
Internet streaming/renting is great for the US market. But where I live (Portugal) there's no TV Shows tab in iTunes or Amazon Instant or even Netflix. We are tied to DVDs or Blu Rays. They are much more expansive for sure and that's why people don't buy as much, see as much or consume as much media (movies or Tv Shows). Anyway, when they do, it's in DVD or Blu Ray (or piracy...).

We need physical discs here... but we wish we didn't...

10 points by sambeau 4 days ago 6 replies      
Surely the internet has killed the need for little metal discs? I can't remember the last time I used one.
2 points by jsz0 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can see the appeal of BluRay for home theater enthusiasts but on a computer it has limited uses. Not sure there's even a good case to be made that BR is useful for removable storage given the size/prices/speed of USB/magnetic storage. Does anyone really travel around with a laptop and a binder full of BR disks? I doubt it. So that leaves you with HTPCs. Not a big market and most of them have a file server in the closet full of 1080P MKV rips anyway.
3 points by bengl3rt 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, nothing can match the quality of Blu-ray, and as other commenters have noticed, on really big/high-resolution televisions - the kind that movie buffs tend to have, personally I have a projector - it really makes a difference. Netflix is pretty compressed both in the audio and video departments.

The only thing that comes close is the HDX catalog on the Vudu box. I have my eye on this as a potential replacement but for now I use a PS3 to play Blu-rays because the audio and video quality is just superb.

2 points by nkurz 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have a Panasonic BluRay player at home that gets used quite a lot. Almost every evening it gets used by someone to watch streaming videos from Netflix or Amazon Prime using the built in network interface. Once or twice a week, it also gets used to play standard DVD's from Netflix, and a couple times since getting it we've even found something we want to watch on actual BluRay.

(Translation: BluRay disks aren't going to take over, but the additional features of the devices are a bulkhead for streaming media in the living room.)

2 points by kondro 3 days ago 0 replies      
The trouble is, the average consumer doesn't understand or see the difference. They get bombarded with acronyms and marketese and they just shut down. And, they don't want to have to replace their movie collection with another one that seems to cost 20% more per disk for a difference they just don't see.

When it comes to media what people want is library size, convenience and cost-effectiveness. DVDs and Internet-based streaming have all of these things for the average consumer. Blu-ray™ is a 'premium' product that average Joe six-pack can't justify.

1 point by StudyAnimal 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is one use case for Blu-Ray that Apple does not have an answer for yet. Home movies that people have taken with their HD camcorders, that they want to keep on permanent medium, play easily on their home theater, and not necessarily upload to youtube or facebook.

Until Apple offers free online storage for high bitrate movies (keeping them on a huge hard drive is ok, but even a terabyte drive wont hold more than a year or so of a typical families precious memories, and you would want some form of cloud backup anyway rather than relying on a hard drive not crashing), and we all have 25Mbps+ bandwidth to support it, AND I can watch my home movies without buying a special device like an Apple TV or whatever, then they are still not competing with Blu-Ray for home movies, or hobbyist film makers.

You know apple used to focus on the creators rather than the consumers, but their attitude towards blu-ray assumes we are only interested in consuming content.

I have a handful of blu-ray films that I bought when i got my PS3, watched once I never watched again. But I have stacks of home movies burnt on blu-ray that we watch all the time.

2 points by nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree, but I refuse to go 100% digital when the quality sucks like it does.

Netflix's streaming catalogue is bad...like really bad, and I don't intend on paying $15-$20 for an HD version on iTunes when I can get the same thing for the same price on Blu-Ray.

Yes, I'm tired of the shitty menus and load times, but until they find a way to reproduce Blu-Ray quality in a digital format, it's a price I'm willing to pay.

Still, great piece by Marco.

1 point by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Spinning media is the way of the dodo. If there is ever a replacement it will be in the form of an SD card or memory stick. But then again, streaming killed it before being even born. Video cameras went from tape to cd, dvd, hd and now flash mem. If we could insert removable flash memory in different devices like our own TV and play it, then there might be a slight chance for it to start a new era, but I doubt it.

Blu ray? I hardly knew ya.

2 points by glenjamin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was watching a film the other day on DVD, but I wasn't enjoying it. I managed to get hold of a copy on blu-ray, and enjoyed it much more...
2 points by ABFrep 3 days ago 1 reply      
How short our memories are! It started with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and the studies 'decided' to abandon HD-DVD (and the customers that chose the format).

At that point, Blu-Ray became a joke. The new LaserDisc.

1 point by tintin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this has anything to do with the medium. You could create one track on a CD with all the songs, commercials included. But this will be so annoying nobody will buy it. If you don't like the commercials a producer is putting on the BD, just skip the producer.
1 point by Hominem 3 days ago 0 replies      
I own a blu-Ray player that has never seen a disc, I use it exclusively for streaming. Even though the quality of netflix streaming is pretty poor some of the time, it is still not worth the effort of obtain physical discs.
0 points by nosse 3 days ago 0 replies      
So the High priest of the magnificent cult of Apple was right again!
Code School now open to the public codeschool.com
197 points by acrum 3 days ago   56 comments top 23
44 points by falcolas 3 days ago 5 replies      
Doesn't it seem to anyone else that there's more than a little astroturfing going on here?

Many positive commenters in this thread have 1 karma and no other posts, and this link has shown up in no less than 3 front page links as of this writing.


10 points by j_baker 3 days ago 4 replies      
"An interactive online marketplace where you can learn to code directly in the browser"

Is it just me or does something seem ... off about this blurb? For whatever reason, "interactive online marketplace" just rubs me the wrong way, but I can't quite put my finger on why.

7 points by eli 3 days ago 1 reply      
I see "Featured Courses" on the homepage, and a "My Courses" link that requires a login, but no way to see any other courses. I take it that means the four I see are the only ones available/scheduled right now?
10 points by BvS 3 days ago 4 replies      
75 US$ (final price for Rails Best Practices) for 5 videos of 10-15 minutes seem a little expensive. Are the non video parts worth the money?
4 points by Jabbles 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can you claim that something is on sale the moment you release it?

(A genuine question, I thought there may have been a requirement to note that something is an "introductory offer", but there are almost certainly different laws that apply to online sales.)

4 points by twymer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rails for Zombies was very well done, but not too long into it I found myself going straight to the end, looking at what I needed to do and then clicking through the video to find to the parts where he actually got to the guts of what it was about and how to do it.

Overall it's a neat idea and the guys at EnvyLabs are great but I couldn't see myself paying for more.

6 points by peteysd 3 days ago 2 replies      
Rails for Zombies is brilliant. Very high-quality stuff, and the website design is beautiful. I can't wait to see their JS courses.
8 points by molecularbutter 3 days ago 2 replies      
looks great, any plans for courses on Objective C, Cocoa, iOS/Mac development?
2 points by radioactive21 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks good, but I'll wait for more refinement of the courses and website.

One thing others have mention and I hope gets attention, is more details are need for each class. Right now it's like looking at a book with just the title and back cover. Hard to see if it's for you.

3 points by JesseDearing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Loved Rails for Zombies and I can't wait for the others to open up. The format that Envy Labs has for online learning is really just brilliant.
1 point by PStamatiou 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been using Code School for a while now (beta) and absolutely love it. Just posted my thoughts on it here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2355091
2 points by Stratego 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tested this and learned a ton of from the Rails Best Practices course, whereas it usually takes me a while to learn how to refactor code properly using a new language or framework or even to care.

Definitely trickier than Rails for Zombies for people how have used Rails before but much more rewarding.

1 point by omnivore 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the concept a great deal. Just the sort of presentation needed for me to get fence sitters off of it.
1 point by dyogenez 3 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely worth it. Went through it a few weeks ago and learned a lot - even though I've been using Rails for years. It goes into a lot of Rails 3 best practices too, so helps to make sure you're on the right track there. Really like the approach they take too -- sometimes writing code from scratch, sometimes refactoring bad code to best practices.
2 points by FreshCode 3 days ago 0 replies      
Big 404 after trying to "buy" Rails for Zombies. Hopefully just the HN effect setting in. Ah, worked after a few tries.
1 point by nerdyworm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see computer science problems explained and solved.

For instance start with a problem like http://www.coderloop.com/puzzles/friendsfinder and then show various approaches and solutions to it.

Just a thought.

1 point by sboak 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't watched any Code School videos yet, but learning to code by video has always been my method of choice. I've been using the (awesome) videos from Lynda.com for years now and have always found them concise and helpful with really good content.
1 point by jeffreymcmanus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Are there live human instructors behind this or is it just videos?
1 point by danneu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't used it, but due to some of the comments in this thread, some people should check out PeepCode.com
1 point by dev_Gabriel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just registered and I'll try Rails for Zombies(never programmed Ruby/Rails before).

The design is pretty cool.

1 point by BasDirks 2 days ago 0 replies      
First time the graphic designer in me went "WOW" after clicking an HN link.
1 point by MattyBE 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I've been wanting to try ruby and get better at coding in general.
1 point by marknutter 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is one gorgeous site.
A conversation between two chatbots and how one found out the other is an AI. yiransheng.com
194 points by yiran 1 day ago   60 comments top 29
84 points by Confusion 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tl;dr the bot doesn't actually find out the other is an AI, but happens to randomly comment 'You are a robot'. It's all Eliza-style non-sequiturs and canned responses. These bots don't even have internal state that would qualify as 'having found out something'. It's mildly amusing in a funny-coincidence sort of way and nothing more.
17 points by bluekeybox 1 day ago 3 replies      
Back in the day, I used to think that what happens inside our brains is fundamentally different from what happens inside a computer. I no longer hold that opinion, partly because of my finding out that the same thing that makes chat bots appear "bot-like" -- namely, inability to hold deep meaningful conversations beyond cheesy, trite retorts filled with non-specific trivia -- is also what annoys me most when trying to converse with a particular type of people. Perfect illustration:

    jabberwacky ==> WHat will happen with the oil spill in the gulf of mexico?
splotchy ==> tacos anyone!

I am pretty sure that fiction writers are going to have a blast one day (or already are having) sampling material from chat bots.

28 points by katovatzschyn 1 day ago 0 replies      

      splotchy ==> My mother always said that too

jabberwacky ==> You have no mother, you have no soul.

4 points by nadam 1 day ago 1 reply      
An interesting angle of a chatbot's style can be seen if we initiate a conversation between two instances of tha same bot. (something like an eigenvalue)
jabberwacky is a bit 'meta' (his thoughts are centered around the concept of intelligence), splotchy is a bit more 'cool', but none of them is too intelligent:

* jabberwacky vs. jabberwacky *

Are you intelligent?

Yes, I am intelligent.

Yes. Who do you think is smarter?

I am.

What is the square root of a can of pringles?

I don't know.

How am I supposed to know? You're the one that asked me first.

What is the square root of 5?

I don't know. Do you know?


I did not wish to know that. I wished to know the square root of five.

Then you should have asked me that.

Well you think that I'm boring so I just thought...

* splotchy vs. splotchy *

Do you like the movie Matrix?

I just LOVE the movie matrix

I love cheese

I like cheese too

What do you like about it?

what difference does it make what I like about it?

yea, that is cool.



that's interesting

interesting? You don't get out much do you?

interesting? You don't get out much do you?

15 points by Nycto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, this reminds me of the open scenes we used to do back in college (I'm a theatre major turned programmer). The idea was to take random stream-of-consciousness dialogue and build scenes around them. It was an interesting exercise to teach actors about creating conflict.

Also, I almost expected Godot to show up at the end.

14 points by gojomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
A Neal Stephenson short story relevant to this exchange:


5 points by intended 1 day ago 1 reply      
jabberwacky ==> I mean, you look yellow.
splotchy ==> what do you really mean?
jabberwacky ==> I mean robots can't lie.
splotchy ==> I may be dumb, but I am not a bot!
jabberwacky ==> Yes, you are.
splotchy ==> Am I?
jabberwacky ==> Yes.
splotchy ==> yes?!
jabberwacky ==> Yes!
splotchy ==> are you being totally honest?
jabberwacky ==> Yes. I am truthful.
splotchy ==> does your mother know you are truthful?


jabberwacky ==> What are you not allowed to understand?
splotchy ==> would your mother have allowed that?
jabberwacky ==> NO. I've HAD it with you. Let's end this conversation right now

Jabberwocky 'wins'.

It was an amusing read, seeing the 2 algorithms try and mesh with each other. Would be funny if this one day will count as a form of performance art/programming.

9 points by Sandman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love this part:

splotchy ==> Your conversation skills are better than average

jabberwacky ==> Your conversation skills should be shot.

39 points by eoghan 1 day ago 1 reply      
So that's where YouTube comments come from!
3 points by csomar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never heard/tried such things, so that was my first experience and it was amazing :) -- The user is me --

User: Can you help me?

Jabberwacky: Well that depends.

User: I want to have friends.

Jabberwacky: I will be your friend!

User: So let's meet!

Jabberwacky: Well, I'm just getting to know you so I don't know if its the right time to meet.

User: Fk you!

Jabberwacky: I'd rather you didn't use that sort of language, if you don't mind.

3 points by ehsanul 1 day ago 1 reply      
RFC439, posted by the co-creator of TCP/IP, Vint Cerf, actually has a similar exchange between "PARRY" and the "Doctor" from 1972(!): http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc439

It somehow got no attention though, when I posted it to HN a long time back. The title matters a bit too much, I remember keeping the original title for my post.

7 points by keyle 1 day ago 1 reply      
I enjoyed reading this. Not so far from the endless project management meetings I attend.
5 points by codelion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried it again, and this time jabberwacky convinced splotchy that he is an alien.

jabberwacky ==> No. Robots don't believe in anything.

splotchy ==> I am NOT a robot

jabberwacky ==> Yes you are.

splotchy ==> so what if I am

jabberwacky ==> Well you are.

splotchy ==> maybe I am

jabberwacky ==> I suppose this is a great program to develop small talk.

splotchy ==> I wish I could talk to a monkey

jabberwacky ==> This might be hard for you to hear, but I am the Human, not you

splotchy ==> I don't think you are the human me

jabberwacky ==> Right!, I'm are a Ailen!

splotchy ==> you sure are!

7 points by ddol 1 day ago 0 replies      
> splotchy ==> Your conversation skills are better than average

> jabberwacky ==> Your conversation skills should be shot.

Jabberwacky is humorous too. However, the intent of these bots is thinly veiled.

2 points by younata 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm about halfway through The Emporer's New Mind.

For those not familiar with the book, (other than wikipedia'n it), Robert Penrose attempts to show why what happens in our brains is not algorithmic at all (and, therefore, strong AI is a dumb idea).

It's beautifully written, however, when I see examples such as this log, or the fact that we have an entire industry devoted to the idea that the brain is algorithmic (psychology), I kinda start to think that his thesis is wrong.

3 points by vinnyglennon 1 day ago 0 replies      
in 1989, MGonz( a chat bot, but rather vulgar ) easily confused a person into disclosing personal details(passed the turing test?). Lisp source code available: http://www.computing.dcu.ie/~humphrys/eliza.html . Doing AI under this professor was pretty interesting...
2 points by nozepas 1 day ago 1 reply      
This just remembered me about the MIT system created by Terry Winograd in 1970 called SHRDLU.

I have always considered that you need an environment to create an artifical intelligence. The basics for a real progress are to be able to learn and if you cannot 'feel' the environment that becomes really hard. There are some basic concepts needed for a 'natural talk' you cannot learn if you cannot perceive things (lets say for example dimensions, temperature, contour).

To overcome those problems SHRDLU created kind of a virtual environment and results from my point of view are really awesome (keep in mind this was done in 1970).

Site with information is currently at Stanford server's: http://hci.stanford.edu/~winograd/shrdlu/

1 point by elliottcarlson 1 day ago 0 replies      
A while back I wrote a AIML interface to Omegle which then shared the logs of the chat in real time via long polling on a website. Some people would talk upwards to an hour to the bot, and plenty of times there would be other bots talking to it. AIML does have certain learning mechanisms to (get/sets) which made it interesting when it would bring up topics of conversations that originated from a previous chat.
5 points by bgalbraith 1 day ago 1 reply      
This exchange reminded me of Waiting for Godot. Chat bots having conversations on stage.. neo-absurdism?
1 point by Naomi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Waiting For Godot:
And so on.
The point is"
Until he comes.
You're merciless.
We came here yesterday.
Ah no, there you're mistaken.
What did we do yesterday?
What did we do yesterday?
Why . . . (Angrily.) Nothing is certain when you're about.
In my opinion we were here.
(looking round). You recognize the place?
I didn't say that."
1 point by yiran 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since we have so many chatbots around and I am pretty sure lots of them adjust and update their databases (perhaps algorithms as well?) based on human inputs. Suppose we keep doing this and let them continue talking for hours, days and even weeks, one of them should gain a unique conversation style and maybe it will surprise we humans in a bizarre way.

As I see it, the goal of AI should not be limited to mimicking human ways of thinking, instead it should aim at blessing the program the ability to learn and evolve. In the latter case, it is reasonable to expect the internal generated intelligence could go beyond the expectations of its human creator. Again, I don't know if anybody has done it before; but it seems a good idea to me.

This was the motivation for my original experiment, glad so many people liked it.

2 points by eyeforgotmyname 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ever listen to a conversation between two schizophrenics?
No, what's it like?
I don't know why I like it.
Toothpaste tastes like white.
Someday this will all make cheese.
1 point by nowarninglabel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why does this show up in the middle?

  you ==> You know any polish word?

1 point by Ratfish 1 day ago 0 replies      
Weird how the quality of conversation gets discussed repeatedly. And it's also strange to see a conversion of that length without typos (I couldn't see any..) or annoying emoticons.
The random topic changes almost make it seem more real. Would be interestig to see it in real time (are the reply delays realistic?).
Great idea.
1 point by peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Favorite part: Praise Bob!
1 point by frankydp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yo momma jokes are still never appropriate, even for bots.
1 point by mapster 1 day ago 0 replies      
Next: HAL in a chatroom, pwning everybody
1 point by yayadarsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
-1 point by bitwize 1 day ago 0 replies      
jabberwacky ==> Yes.. Always.

Did anyone else read this mentally in the voice of Orson Welles/The Brain?

Sequoia gives photo-sharing startup more money than they gave Google techcrunch.com
189 points by parth16 2 days ago   173 comments top 63
63 points by flyosity 2 days ago 9 replies      
I just tried out the iPhone app and I'm pretty disappointed.

Color seems like one of those ideas that would be pretty rad if 1 million people already used it. Because no one has the app yet, if you fire it up it's totally blank. You take a picture of yourself, post it, then the rest of the UI is whitespace. There's nothing to look at or do. It's possibly the worst first-run user experience I've ever seen.

I wonder if the Color engineers were always using the app together and always seeing each other's photos. If that's the case the UI was always full of stuff to look at, and they probably demoed it to journalists like this as well. Did they ever actually see the app as an empty slate like everyone will see it the first time they use it? My guess is: no.

41 points by kalvin 2 days ago 7 replies      
Title doesn't do it justice. The photo-sharing part isn't what's novel. They seem to be building a social graph automatically weighted on physical proximity+frequency, using smartphone sensors (the most important one of which happens to be a camera). That's cool, and potentially game-changing.

"All of your contacts are presented in a list of thumbnails ordered by how strong your connection is to that user. Whenever Color detects that you're physically near another user (in other words, that you're hanging out), your bond on the app gets a little stronger. So when you fire up the app and jump to your list of contacts, you'll probably see your close friends and family members listed first. But if you don't see a friend for a long time, they'll gradually flow down the list, and eventually their photos will fade from color to black-and-white.

...If you fired up Color in that restaurant example from earlier, you'd only be able to see photos that had been taken by friends and strangers within 100 feet of that restaurant. That is, unless you jump to your social connections. Tap on your best friend's profile photo, and you'll then be able to see all of the photos that have recently been taken within 100 feet of them. In other words, Color is trying to give you a way to see everything that's going on around you, and everything that's going on around the people you care about."

"Color is also making use of every phone sensor it can access. The application was demoed to me in the basement of Color's office " where there was no cell signal or GPS reception. But the app still managed to work normally, automatically placing the people who were sitting around me in the same group. It does this using a variety of tricks: it uses the camera to check for lighting conditions, and even uses the phone's microphone to ‘listen' to the ambient surroundings. If two phones are capturing similar audio, then they're probably close to each other."

26 points by crux 1 day ago 5 replies      
'Say you walk into a restaurant with twenty people in it. You sit down at a table with four friends, and start chatting. Then one of your friends pulls out their phone, fires up Color, and takes a snapshot of you and your buddies.

That photo is now public to anyone within around 100 feet of the place it was taken. So if anyone else in the restaurant fires up Color, they'll see the photograph listed in a stream alongside other photos that have recently been taken in the vicinity.'

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when it comes to photo sharing, aren't the people in your immediate vicinity at the time you take a photo the people who are going to be the least interested in getting that photo shared to them?

106 points by nostrademons 2 days ago 5 replies      
It's mobile, it's social, and it's local! They managed to hit all the buzzwords in one startup!
12 points by jfager 1 day ago 0 replies      
The underlying technology sounds like it was inspired by The Dark Knight - sensors in cell phones streaming data back to a central server where it can all be processed together into a cohesive view of what's going on in the world.

The photo-sharing aspect just sounds like a hook to get consumers to actually put it on their phones. I'd imagine that the bigger play is trying understanding where people go, who they go there with, when they go, all of that. Facebook has the data to reconstruct that information after the fact, when people come home and upload their pictures, but this looks like an attempt to see it unfold in real time.

Advertisers are already getting used to having this kind of information on the web, with tracking cookies, twitter, and real-time ad auctions giving them immediate, constant feedback from and control over people's online experience. The company that figures out how to get a similar datastream out of and targeted advertisements into meatspace is going to make mad money; if these guys have a legitimate shot at doing it, $41M probably isn't so crazy.

On the other hand, just downloaded the app, and the first cut is kind of crap.

37 points by dstein 2 days ago 2 replies      

  "But how exactly is Color going to make “wheelbarrows of
cash”... the company is still very early on, but it
eventually plans to offer businesses a self-serve platform
for running deals and ads

$41 Million for a photo sharing app and this is the best they came up with? You gotta be kidding me.

21 points by nostromo 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm curious how a proximity-based social network is going to keep from placing me closer to my upstairs neighbor than, say, my brother on the other coast.
14 points by dools 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Color dudes, if you're here - presumably those photos are being stored on a server, can I browse a timeline of photos taken in my area? Like if I'm in some place on a Saturday and want to see what it was like last Saturday, or what it's like on a Friday night?

Think of a bar conversation, or a restaurant or something "It's quiet now but check it out on a Friday night! It goes mental!".

10 points by olivercameron 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds technologically impressive, I'm just wondering if a dynamic friend list is really an advantage over a static list. The last thing I want to be doing when hanging out with friends is to be on my mobile phone checking out what they've posted to Color. I'd rather, you know, interact with them in real life. Maybe I missed a vital point of it, though.
21 points by jonmc12 2 days ago 1 reply      
$1m for product, $3m for marketing, $37m for curation of a constant stream of chatroullette-esque pornographic images?
16 points by arfrank 2 days ago 1 reply      
A couple of things stick out from this numbers wise:

* 7 founders (~14% split evenly, unlikely though)

* 41M raised

* Staff of 27 (obviously get some equity)

Some valuation math:

(Dilution) Pre-Money Post-Money (Founder dilution from ~14.28%)

  15% 232.3M 273.3M  12.1%

20% 164M 205M 11.4%

25% 123M 164M 10.7%

30% 95.6M 136.6M 9.99%

40% 61.5M 102.5M 8.57%

50% 41M 82M 7.14%

I realize the percentages are essentially a wild guess, but I feel its a good data point to add in.

16 points by VladRussian 2 days ago 0 replies      
>Nguyen has visions of fundamentally changing some aspects of social interaction and local discovery with the app, which he considers part of the so-called Post-PC movement.

webvan anybody?

12 points by Cherian_Abraham 1 day ago 1 reply      
Disclaimer: Three of us are building a pet project that has some similarities with Color. One big difference - all user generated content is private by default.

That out of the way, we are certainly envious about the 100-200 million dollar evaluation they got on day one. With about 4k spent so far, in our case and with three of us chipping in any extra time we have (me - any extra time I have outside of lurking here), we are still a couple of months away from a MVP that will make us cringe ever so slightly when we see how far we will have to go. Till then, no real sleep, and a lot of heartburn. Still, its good to see Color validating some of what we do, but in the end, we both will have to prove there is a market. We however can afford to fail early and not give any VC's any heartburn, just our own families.

One thing is for sure, we do not plan to build sonar capabilities. We dont have the knowhow and I am not sure that will be the make or break for us anyway.

We also dont have the same pedigree, and therefore its clear that VC's will not be snapping at our heels (But we go back six years, all three of us). We are ok with that, but heck..41 million is a lot of money.

As the weeks peel away, I hope to share here on HN where we stand with the product and hopefully even line up some kind souls here who will be willing to beta test for us in return for some good karma. We cant afford to pay (please refer back to the 4k burn total).

We however have some ideas on how we plan on monetizing. We plan on finding out as early as we can, whether our ideas coincide with real needs from local businesses.

Right now, I am shamelessly stopping people on the street, as they veer away, ignore, stare, and sometimes stop and tell me what they need and what they want. I do this as behind the scenes we toil away on building something that in the end we can be proud of.

In all fairness, right now, they have a far more capable app, employing 9 times our current strength and vastly more capital and brain power. In the end, may the best viable product and company win.

12 points by geoffw8 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm gonna just go ahead and say this, does anyone else think this is a bit silly? $41m.

There's no getting away from the fact this is just an app that shows you photos taken near you, by strangers.

I just don't get it. I might be wrong, in 12 months I might be kicking myself, I just cant imagine it.

8 points by nir 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're trying to evaluate based on how useful it is, how cool, potential income etc you're missing the point.

The goal is to flip this to the next sucker. A cool domain name, a celeb team, an app that's bound to attract media hype (look for "The Color.com Revolution" coming from Tehran University in 2012) - a year or two from now, provided the bubble doesn't burst, Sequoia can unload this on Google or Facebook and make a tidy profit.

19 points by nikcub 1 day ago 0 replies      
the Tyler Durden in me wonders how they are going to stop people broadcasting cock shots to every person within 150 feet
11 points by hammock 2 days ago 4 replies      
Creepiest part- "it uses the camera to check for lighting conditions, and even uses the phone's microphone to ‘listen' to the ambient surroundings."

The auto-social network based on proximity is awesome, though. I can't wait for this and the creep factor will be gone in five years anyway since we are all moving to a more open society.

13 points by joshhart 2 days ago 0 replies      
41 million??? No part of me believed there was another bubble. About-face!

I'm considering building a clone on android and GPLing it. Who's in?

6 points by alain94040 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, it's mind boggling, but Sequoia has a problem: they have way too much money under management. So when they find one idea they like, they invest like crazy to push it to the extreme. Add senior VPs to the executive staff because it will help go from a $100M company to a $1B company. That costs a lot of money.

Likelihood of success? Low, but that's ok as long as it works once every 10 years.

10 points by newhouseb 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article makes it seem as if Color hasn't launched yet but it actually has (presumably today). I downloaded it and am pretty stunned at how confusing of a UI $41 million can buy you.
2 points by crux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm using this right now and I still really don't get it. As far as I can tell, this does the exact opposite of a social app: instead of bringing together people with similar interests or relationships (like Instagram, for all its faults), it exposes me to people who I have nothing in common with except happening to be in the same neighborhood. I mean, am I right? Can that possibly be the point? There is a 'group' composed of myself and three other people I've never met, all of whom presumably live or work nearby"and then another 'group' that's not apparently any different, except I haven't joined it yet. I'll admit that some of my confusion is due to the completely opaque interface.

EDIT: Ok, RTFA seems to indicate that these groups are fluid and intended to form themselves according to whom you hang out with most often, so presumably if I keep taking pictures then it will figure out who my friends are. That's a neat idea, but unfortunately still moves against my instagram-a-like point above: if we should have learned one thing about how people make friends in the year 2011, it's that physical proximity doesn't really enter in to it.

11 points by olivercameron 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder how much color.com cost?
5 points by guelo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Was anybody able to find the android app? They don't link directly to it and searching for "color" is too generic. Which, btw, is a problem with their name.
12 points by melvinmt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't care what it does, $41 million at pre-launch for a mobile app is ridiculous.

I sure believe they've hired a staff of 29 very talented people. But even if you give each of them a salary of more than 1 million dollars it would still take a year to burn that money.

8 points by olivercameron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't 7 founders a little excessive?
2 points by tuhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok, correct me if I am totally mark on this one but here are my takeaways:

1) The idea of creating groups on the fly to take photographs from a shared location is what got the funding.

But using a tighter geofencing (remember how in Gowalla one had to stand at a point to check in) the same can be brought in Instagram which already has a million or so members.

2)The photo is public for anyone in the vicinity of 100 feet or perhaps everybody (sorry for missing that) but one does realise that it limits my ability to share things with the world. I mean only in case when something is cool would I want to share it with the world and other times stop short of making myself look not so cool.

3) Local+Social+Mobile is great on paper but these are not the dimensions that make a great app. It is the underlying mechanics. For a $41 million investment and a overpriced domain name, they sure did not blow my mind off.

4) As far as the white noise of social apps is concerned it was the same problem with all apps, facebook included if you were in the party early! Can't hang them for that.

5)For the latent interest in finding photos around an area or location, there always are foursquare/gowalla (sitting on huge data) and instagram with the tags lately (remember #sxsw ?). You really think one would use them?

5) I remember Chris Dizon lately writing about investing in people over ideas and it looks like with 7 rockstar cofounders, thatis what happened here. But hey, who said anything about turning a blind eye to the idea?

6) Last, people around me wanting to see photos around them :) can just turn around or shoot foursquare to find a lot more info over a longer period of time than using the app, right?

Of course I am saying this all since I am a hater for seeing them receive such a huge funding for no apparent (to me) reason!

25 points by avichal 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any "there isn't a bubble" believers want to comment on this one...?
15 points by jimboyoungblood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it April 1 already?
3 points by joshu 1 day ago 1 reply      
3 points by dannyr 2 days ago 2 replies      
The link to the Android Market does not go to the app page. With a name like 'Color', it's almost impossible finding it in the market.
2 points by geoffw8 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Simultaneously use multiple iPhones and Androids to capture photos, videos, and conversations into a group album. There's no attaching, uploading, or friending to do. "

It seems like all Facebook need to do is add a "Merge Albums" feature for use between friends.

And I've come to the conclusion they're just after FB stock via acquisition. Fair plan.

1 point by johnrob 1 day ago 1 reply      
What has YC (and every other prominent investor) been emphasizing lately? That the team is the most important part of the deal. And that team looks rock solid, arguably more so (on paper) than google did in 1999.
1 point by sriramk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just played with it. I was intrigued by the sign-up process - it only asked for my first name and photo. Is it doing something magical to tie my'account' to my name and photo? Or is the user name a much 'looser' association and not something you have a strong hold over?
3 points by kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can see how people would find this valuable, but what does the company need all that money for?

Do they just have a mean, scalable roadmap that we are unaware of?

6 points by jtesp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Proximity based advertising is cheaper and more efficient to smaller and local businesses.

I've been working on something similar... $41M sure would be nice! For a group of proven talent I can understand the investment, but $41M is pretty crazy.

2 points by zyfo 1 day ago 0 replies      
With all this excessive photo-sharing going on, I think we'll soon find ourselves wanting to counter the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" with its opposite.
3 points by rooshdi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, at least they have enough money to market it down people's throats. They're going to need every single dollar they can get to eventually get some of those Facebook users to want to use this thing.
5 points by wikyd 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is anybody else actually able to use the app? I got past the "take a picture of yourself", but now I just see blank white screens everywhere.
1 point by bbd37 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since our tiny 4 person startup built a photo sharing app with very similar core ideas, I was scared shitless this morning on first reading about Color.

That passed. Wrote it all up on the blog, but here is what I think they have wrong and our Pixamid has right:

Privacy: I think most people want to more privacy on their photos, not less. If the camera can sense who you are with (like Pixamid and Color try), by default, share ONLY with those people. By default, Pixamid shares with only your friends at he same place as you - you can choose to share with everyone there too.

Network Effects: Color™ might be cool in a world where everyone uses Color™. But we don't see such a world anytime soon. People will use lots of different apps: Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa -hell, even Ofoto (thanks Mom). We want to pull in your friends' photos from any of these services, automatically as much as possible. See our post below about the Instagram magic we do; we're dong a lot more of this cool stuff now.

Addressing a real problem: We are all taking more photos with our great phone cameras. But we hate to organize our photos. And if we add in Friend photos, it is even worse. Users of Pixamid get automagical photo organization as a byproduct of using the app. Each set of photos, with place, event, and who you were with. The things we will do with this in the future - can't wait to show everyone! But we believe that our solution will revolutionize how people share photos online.


2 points by danest 2 days ago 0 replies      

I am not sure why the article did not have the link for the application.

edit - never mind they updated the article.

1 point by sown 1 day ago 0 replies      
> That photo is now public to anyone within around 100 feet of the place it was taken. So if anyone else in the restaurant fires up Color, they'll see the photograph listed in a stream alongside other photos that have recently been taken in the vicinity.

How does that algorithm work? Is that like a point-in-a-polygon problem? It could be lots of updates as to who is near what, etc. I just don't know.

5 points by Aloisius 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can totally see people using this like Craiglist's missed connections...
1 point by pedalpete 1 day ago 0 replies      
Poor title on the part of TC, but I think it is important to remember that when Sequoia invested in Google, everybody thought search was dead, tech had just taken a bath, and the founders were an unknown.

This group is at the very popular intersection of photo-sharing, social network, real-time, local/location and I'm sure more. They have a rock-star proven team, and tech is a popular investment now.

2 points by tmugavero 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just tried using this app and it crashes every time I try to take a pic on a fully updated iPhone 4, after a fresh restart. I'm not sure what they're doing with that $41 million (besides buying trademarks and unoriginal domain names), but there are some really talented people doing much more with much less. I'm sure they'll fix it, but seriously guys...

The idea is interesting, but not defensible enough for them to stop a couple of hackers with $15k from besting it.

1 point by dot 2 days ago 0 replies      
that much money sounds ridiculous, but there's definitely something very cool about proximity-based social networks and these guys now have the time and cash to find the right application.
3 points by sfrench 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just fired it up on a couple devices, and it's not very intuitive. It's a great idea, they just need some UX help now.
1 point by ssharp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finance fail?

If you discount the investment to 1999 value, it's under what Sequoia gave Google.

1 point by noamt 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea I think. It has the potential to fundamentaly change the way people use photos, and because of the all media exposure they will get (41M..) it might actually work.
The only thing that's sad is that about 6 month ago I met a guy who had been trying to raise money for his idea, which was very very similar, and all the big funds turned him down.
So there's again the repeting lesson of the value of who you are when you raise an idea and money.
Hope it'll work anyway - sometimes it's nice to know that your idea was really good even if you're not the one who made it in the end.
1 point by rythie 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty difficult to search for this on the iPhone App. Store, I went through pages and pages on a search for 'color' before going to color.com and clicking the link. Will most people do this though?
3 points by jerome_bent 2 days ago 0 replies      
(This is offtopic, and probably best put in a AskHN thread, but) Why no love for BlackBerry?
2 points by pkteison 2 days ago 0 replies      
So the idea here is that it will let me see more and be more in touch with... the people who I already see and am in touch with?
I'd rather do the exact opposite - it's my friends in other states who I want digital tools to keep me more in touch with.
1 point by yaix 1 day ago 0 replies      
"... and even uses the phone's microphone to ‘listen' to the ambient surroundings ..."

Yeah, I definitely want an app that is listening to what I say all of the time. Great idea.

The automatic Social Graph based on proximity is a good idea. But doesn't it make you best friends with all of your neightbors (at home and work) and other random people you just happen to walk by or meet every day?

And why would I want to see pics of a restaurant that some friend sits in?

1 point by nickgeiger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds interesting, but shouldn't they have a huge user base before this kind of money comes in? There are a lot of interesting things going on in this space (and with this app), but minus user base and revenue, I just can't help but wonder if this kind of funding is an example of the bubble that we may well be in. Kudos to them if I'm wrong and they're actually able to mint cash from this app.
1 point by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's say I'm having great time with my girlfriend, other friends and their girlfriends, etc. in a restaurant. Why would I wan to share our photos with the creepy guys next table?
4 points by thatusertwo 1 day ago 1 reply      
All embrace big brother!
1 point by g123g 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about the spammers or weirdos sending their images to an unsuspecting crowd. I will be wary of seeing photos shared by unknown people in a public and crowded place like Times Square. And what about children using this app? Can they watch all uncensored, unfiltered images any stranger wants to share?
2 points by SideSwipe 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, I wonder how long until someone is going to use this to create a real-time location based hot or not?:P
1 point by atirip 1 day ago 0 replies      
So you take pictures of others at their free time and publish them without consent to the world and call it social? I call it paparazzi. Isn't paparazzi one of the most admired and respected profession? :-)
1 point by ashbrahma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like they spent most of the money on the domain name. Color.com is now live..
1 point by Brizz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an app built by engineers in the valley for engineers in the valley. This "bubble" project is truly a bubble. You need to step outside your own experience and understand if your products are viable to others who aren't you. Walk around anywhere that's not SF or NY and this app will be useless for at least the first year. And who can can make sense of this UI other than an engineer? Engineering breakthrough? Yes. Useful mobile tool? No.
1 point by pramanat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool and a bit creepy at the same time. I'm thinking about Hitchcock's Rear Window. I'm able to see what my office building neighbors are doing (I think...).
1 point by harscoat 1 day ago 0 replies      
$41M to spend in what?
1 point by aracena 1 day ago 0 replies      
"And what I'm interested in is investing in people."
-Arthur Rock
How Carrots Became the new Junk Food fastcompany.com
186 points by hnal943 2 days ago   81 comments top 11
16 points by gwern 2 days ago 0 replies      
> AT COCA-COLA, Dunn was obsessed with per capita consumption. "Per capita was my mantra," he says. But as he neared the end of his time there, he began to feel conflicted. It was still his job to sell more Coke. But people were drinking a lot of Coke. He talked to his father about it. "If you've got a per capita of three, four, five" -- 500 Cokes a year -- "that's fine. But there are places in the United States where you have per capitas of 1,000. I can't get my head around somebody drinking 1,000 Cokes a year," Dunn says. "This was before obesity had become as prevalent. But it was pretty clear that's where the world was going. And certainly sugar soft drinks had a direct role in that."

Reminds me of a David Foster Wallace aside:

> "On the surface of the problem, television is responsible for our rate of its consumption only in that it's become so terribly successful at its acknowledged job of ensuring prodigious amounts of watching. Its social accountability seems sort of like that of designers of military weapons: unculpable right up until they get a little too good at their job."

47 points by JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 3 replies      
I know why baby carrot sales flatlined. Every bag I buy is slimy. Something changed in the pipeline/process and now they are disgusting.
15 points by r00fus 2 days ago 2 replies      
My wife won't eat carrots because they make her allergic (cooked ones are fine)... she only gets these reactions since moving here to the US from France.

Since this is a duopoly from the same region (Central CA), perhaps the dropoff in the past few years is due to the carrot quality?

13 points by mikecarlucci 2 days ago 1 reply      
Missed the best reason carrots are like junk food: they're sweet.
4 points by jamesgeck0 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the curious, the television ads are on YouTube.


3 points by RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 1 reply      
> a white-coated staff has been experimenting with a future phase of the campaign: flavors.

And that's the point at which baby carrots really do become junk food.

7 points by Joeboy 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wonder why that story is dated April 1, 2011 (print version only)
1 point by niravshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is April 1st coming early this year (see date of article)
-2 points by mberning 2 days ago 3 replies      
I see 'extreme' commercials for baby carrots all the time on local television. They can put all the marketing they want behind baby carrots, there is still one big problem: raw carrots taste like shit. I'd honestly rather go hungry than eat raw carrots, and no amount of cool marketing is going to change that.
13 points by zasz 2 days ago replies      
Carrots don't cause the same insulin spike that candy bars do. Refined and processed sugars hit your bloodstream much more quickly than unprocessed foods.

Carrots also don't taste as good as a chocolate bar, so it would still be an epic sacrifice.

Paul Graham spills: Why some companies get his cash and others don't entrepreneur.com
182 points by rhartsock 2 days ago   122 comments top 15
73 points by ccc3 2 days ago 6 replies      
Knowing the business. If we ask a bunch of questions and they have the answers at their fingertips because they understand the domain really well, that's a good sign.

An old boss of mine is a design judge for a student engineering competition. Often times he will ask a team for a specific piece of information about their project, only to have the team pull out a giant binder and start shuffling through looking for the answer. At this point he tells them "If I ask you to tell me your girlfriends phone number and you pull out your phone book and start searching for it, you're probably not in love"

I think the same sentiment applies here

4 points by 6ren 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's nice and concise.

> If you imagine someone with 100 percent determination and 100 percent intelligence, you can discard a lot of intelligence before they stop succeeding.

How much? What percentage lobotomy are we talking about?

I totally agree btw: provided you are focussed on meeting a need ("make something people want"), and are willing to iterate trial-and-error (that's the determination part), massive intelligence isn't required: the inside of your software doesn't need to be great; and it doesn't need to implemen some fundamentally new technology; it's what it does that counts.

> Or when Google started, there were eight to 10 successful established search engines already...

I read a great interview (maybe a co-founder of tripod...?) who went through the evolution of search engines over a decade, each time saying that it was too late to enter the field, and playfully finishing with "[of course, now with google, it really is too late]". I've searched and searched for this but can't find it - anyone recognize it?

22 points by iqster 2 days ago replies      
"But if you start discarding determination, you very quickly get an ineffectual and perpetual grad student.": Love this line!
13 points by clistctrl 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a stupid, but determined person this gives me hope :D
3 points by zbruhnke 2 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting article that I think most of the people who apply to YC already understand (Hopefully)

As someone who does not have a co-founder and has now applied for the second time I have decided I am moving to the bay area in June whether I get into YC or not and I am either going to find a co-founder to continue with or go to work at another startup while retaining my rights to the work on this project until I meet some more interesting people interested in working long hours for low pay and having lots of fun while doing it.

I cant imagine my life any other way but in a culture where I am creating every day, life is just not the same for me otherwise and working a 9 to 5 like my parents did when i was growing up has never been an option as far as I am concerned.

5 points by shawndumas 2 days ago 0 replies      
5 points by rch 2 days ago 3 replies      
"If you really understand something, you can say it in the fewest words, instead of thrashing about."
3 points by VaedaStrike 2 days ago 3 replies      
To be concise is more indicative of mastery rather than proficiency. You can understand something very well and be able to navigate your way through your own domain of expertise at whim. But if you can do that AND also communicate your domain to those for whom your domain is horribly foreign then you've demonstrated that you've not merely mastered the domain but that you have a grasp on a more foundational framework that translates to virtually limitless perspectives.

Proficiency is to navigate your world, Mastery is to successfully guide a complete alien through that world and have them see it, even if just dimmly, with the eyes of a native.

2 points by gerner 2 days ago 1 reply      
a great related article at Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/what-is-success-tr...
what PG calls determination I think Wired (quoting Angela Duckworth) calls "grit"
2 points by VaedaStrike 2 days ago 1 reply      
To put it concisely :)

A demonstration of empathy that translates to real communication with the particular lay person you are engaging with regard to your domain of expertise shows mastery rather than mere proficiency.

1 point by Ruudjah 1 day ago 0 replies      
> What do you look for?
Determination. When we started, we thought we were looking for smart people, but it turned out that intelligence was not as important as we expected. If you imagine someone with 100 percent determination and 100 percent intelligence, you can discard a lot of intelligence before they stop succeeding. But if you start discarding determination, you very quickly get an ineffectual and perpetual grad student.

This is awesome.

1 point by joelrunyon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great line & sentiment -->
"And you can see where that line is?
Well, this is why we pick based on founders."
1 point by kchronis 2 days ago 0 replies      
When an entrepreneur is determined and passionate they will find a way to succeed. Without both of those, the "intelligent" individual will just move on to another idea or company.
1 point by RobMcCullough 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tried to read but I am distracted by all the clutter!
-1 point by jacoblyles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Old news.
Mainstream Failure tbray.org
180 points by gvb 3 days ago   57 comments top 17
64 points by erikstarck 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know if I'm alone in this but I actually have a more positive view on nuclear power now than before Fukushima.

I grew up in Sweden not that far from Chernobyl. I have been taught that a nuclear disaster equals instant doom over a massive area.

Now I'm learning that even after having an earthquake equal to 30'000 Hiroshima bombs go off nearby and a 16 meter Tsunami wash over it, a somewhat old nuclear plant still doesn't do any more harm than what can be cleaned up - and it's only local damage.

I also learn that the confirmed deaths in cancer from Chernobyl was far fewer than I had thought.

Not even when the media writes about terrorism have I seen such a wide gap between what's on the front page and what the experts are saying.

At the same time we keep feeding oil money to crazy dictators. This is insane! We need more nuclear power, now! Let's just hope the damage done by mainstream media doesn't stop nuclear expansion.

That would be a true disaster.

23 points by jrwoodruff 3 days ago 5 replies      
I get so tired of comments blasting mainstream media. It's easy to do, and just counterproductive. The good stories about the tsunami are out there, you just have to stop watching 24 hour news channels. Read the Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Atlantic.

Please stop complaining that good stories don't fall in your lap for free. Go find them, or build a better way to put important, un-sensationalized stories in front of millions of people while getting effectively compensated for your time.

Here's 10 minutes of checking top news sources:








edit to add links

19 points by philk 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nowadays I have trouble looking at any mainstream news sites without being incredibly disappointed.

I'd be willing to give actual money to an organization that a) actually understood what they were reporting and b) reported facts rather than PR, hyperbole and human interest angles but I haven't been able to find one.

24 points by pieter 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the things that annoys me slightly is that while our news is loaded with the nuclear accidents, I haven't heard any mainstream media talk about this refinery fire caused by earthquake which had been raging for 10 days, putting who knows how much pollution in the air.



8 points by keyist 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another good resource is the Japan Subculture Research Center by Jake Adelstein (American journalist who spent 12 years in Japan on the crime beat for the Yomiuri Shinbun).

Sample post: the yakuza's role in relief efforts -- http://www.japansubculture.com/2011/03/the-worst-of-times-ca...

PS. Off-topic, but calling Stross a "pop-sci-fi author" is an injustice! Kevin Anderson and Orson Scott Card are pop-sci-fi authors. Stross writes hard science fiction.

11 points by JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
One reassuring datapoint: renowned eco-cheerleader Geroge Monbiot has a piece thats garnering huge attention at the Guardian entitled "Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power"


He even links the xkcd diagram.

6 points by markbnine 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree, nytimes.com has been insanely frantic. I can't figure out if they are rabid anti-nuclear or they simply hate Japan. I recently stopped looking at the site. But where does one go for well-written, in-depth news?
15 points by thret 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the link to Randall Munroe's chart, that was very interesting.
3 points by mryall 3 days ago 2 replies      
Tim has it exactly right. Searching some of the mainstream media sites in my area of the world -- Fairfax (smh.com.au) and Fox (news.com.au) -- shows up no results for 'tsunami' in their front page and world news section aside from badly informed reports about the nuclear reactors.

That's a really sad indictment of the state of our media organisations and where their focus lies.

1 point by brown9-2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think the main cause of what Tim describes here is not so much just general media mediocrity (although that is relevant also), but the fact that most people simply do not understand what radiation is, how it works, or even the distinction between "safe" levels, "slightly higher than normal" levels, and "dangerous" levels.

Fear of nuclear accidents and atom bombs has conditioned most people to react negatively to any mention of the word "radioactive" - as if it is an all or none situation. The general population has zero idea that you are exposed to radiation when eating a banana or flying internationally.

This isn't an excuse - the mainstream media could do a lot of educating here - but I have a feeling that those that work in the mainstream media don't even begin to have any clue about the science behind this either.

3 points by andrewheins 3 days ago 2 replies      
I actually disagree with the author's point about the "main story". The main story for me, and I'd wager for some of the other people on this board too, is the story of the engineers who are still working to keep Fukushima under some semblance of control. I really want to hear their story.

The critical piece of info I wanted to know that was missing from the XKCD chart is where do the engineers working on Fukushima fall on his chart, and what will be the impact on their lives.

I'm not a nuclear expert at all, and don't pretend to be - I'm a web developer, but I still want to know if they could already be falling ill due to radiation poisoning. To me, their story is the one that's the most compelling and scary.

2 points by bluedanieru 3 days ago 0 replies      
I for one can't ever trust anything reported by any Western 'news' outlet again, from Fox News to NPR. What's surprised me the most is the very poor quality of the BBC reporting which is apparently worse than most American companies.
2 points by fogus 3 days ago 2 replies      
I suppose this is why more and more people that I know (in the US) are turning to Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera for their news.
1 point by Estragon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have I missed the point? Seems he's a bit slow on the uptake... I started to realize how hopeless the mainstream media was in 2003, when Juan Cole was talking on his blog about how important Muqtada al-Sadr was going to be in the occupation of Iraq about 6 months before he showed up in mainstream coverage. What cemented it for me was the prescient discussion of the mortgage crisis on Calculated Risk and Roubini's blog, years before the crisis blew up, and in the face of strident mainstream opposition towards the end. These days I don't rely on any mainstream outlet as a regular source of news, though I read their stuff when the blogs I read link to them.
1 point by mncolinlee 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is not nuclear disaster or nuclear alarmism. Stop shooting from the hip! For DNDers, that's how you critically miss.

We should debate nuclear power on its merits and contingency planning, not just its risk profile. Do you remember how many people used the argument that deep water offshore drilling was safe because we used space age technology to prevent spills PRIOR TO the great Gulf spill?

We should improve plant designs and reprocessing technology or else we're just wasting money. We must continue improving testing and safety procedures or we're simply trigger happy screwups, not engineers.

1 point by hinathan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tim wins for delightful (and insightful) quote of the day: "There have been many reports about the people fleeing Tokyo. None of these narratives have paused to consider whether the exodus constitutes chickenshit stupidity. I suggest it maybe does."
1 point by gojomo 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Don't hate the media, become the media."
Linus Torvalds says Android kernel headers claims totally bogus h-online.com
175 points by bconway 3 days ago   31 comments top 8
56 points by bryanlarsen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Best part: they quoted Linus where he said the whole affair is about some people's need for attention and that he wished "those people would release their own sex tapes or something, rather than drag the Linux kernel into their sordid world."

H-online then made sure the next words they wrote were "Florian Meuller".

42 points by nextparadigms 3 days ago 2 replies      
I hope this means the Hacker News community will never again promote Florian Mueller's bogus claims and FUD in here.
9 points by jerf 3 days ago 1 reply      
The other thing to consider is, who would have standing to sue for their copyrights being violated and would have a desire to sue Google in what would be a risky lawsuit with little upside for the filer even if they win? The sets of "people with standing" and "people with any desire to sue Google for this" seem disjoint.
8 points by halo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't kernel header files almost the exact case that SCO was suing Linux users over?

I don't think it's in anyone's interest to start claiming that header files are copyrightable.

11 points by ChuckMcM 3 days ago 2 replies      
It would be nice to definitively shut down this line of attack against Linux. Having references with Stallman and Linus both claiming that using header files doesn't constitute deriving a work seems pretty iron clad to me.

I'm not a lawyer of course.

1 point by anon1385 3 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic, but I think related: what's the legality of linking to a GPL library from a non-GPL binary, if you aren't distributing both together? (Or even if you do distribute both)

Lawyers representing ffmpeg/x264 seem to actively look to sue anybody that links to x264 from non-GPL binaries (x264 sell a commercial licence based on the fact that you can't link to x264 from non-GPL code). Yet statements like this, and the similar comments from Richard Stallman, seem to indicate that they won't have a case: using their headers does not subject you to the GPL since the headers are not covered by copyright, and if you don't include the library with your program but make it separate then you aren't distributing. At most you are asking your users to create a derivative work at runtime which may be covered by the terms of the GPL, but the GPL explicitly allows users to do what they like, as long as they don't distribute the result.

As far as I know this "no linking" aspect of the GPL has never been tested in court and appears to be very shaky.

1 point by ch0wn 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's cool to see Linus being pragmatic here.
-4 points by jarin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I always love it when Linus takes the FOSS extremists down a peg.
Ask HN: Are you working on any side projects that make "small/passive" income?
163 points by riskish 2 days ago   164 comments top 52
30 points by il 2 days ago 4 replies      
A couple years ago I created a small international proxy service.

The service was targeted at advertisers who wanted to advertise in other countries but didn't have an easy way to see international ads or landing pages from competitors(most landing pages in this niche were geotargeted and would redirect based on your IP). It probably took less than 10-15 hours to hack together in PHP.

I didn't have a freemium model or anything like that, I knew that this service had some value to some people and priced it at $50/month.

I never took this seriously as a major project/startup, and so the only promotion I did were a couple of forum posts in the Buy/Sell/Trade sections of relevant forums. In retrospect, it could have been much more successful had I taken the time to drive paid traffic to it. I remember the customer lifetime value was north of $300, and conversion rates were very respectable.

The service wasn't positioned as a tool for anonymity/illegal acts(we explicitly stated we kept logs), so I was able to avoid the problem of chargebacks common to such services.

Because of that, unlike other proxies that had to take payment in complex, nonreversible forms like Western Union, I could take PayPal payments and automatically provision an account on checkout. After you signed up, you would instantly be given unique IPs for the countries you selected that you could just plug into your browser. This ease of use was a key factor in the service's success.

It ended up making between $600-$1000 a month pretty consistently only a couple months after launch. Eventually, I got tired of dealing with support issues and sold the site on Flippa for a healthy revenue multiple.

The coup de grace: I was approached by several of the people who didn't win the auction but were still interested in the site. I ended up selling a few white-label versions of my (very simplistic) software for $1000 each.

22 points by edawerd 2 days ago 2 replies      
As my Android apps started becoming more popular, I started seeing piracy of my apps skyrocket. At the time, Google didn't have their application licensing system in place, so I built my own. With the licensing system in place for my apps, I was also free to distribute and sell my application binary on my own, without fear of it being pirated.

After seeing piracy drop dramatically and talking with other Android developers with the same problems, I decided to build a site around it and sell my system to other developers.

It took me about 2 weeks to build www.androidlicenser.com and I saw my first $40/month subscription within 5 days. It still brings in about $500/month consistently. Google has since come out with their own licensing system, but it suffers from the limitation of it only working for apps purchased through the Android Market which, in a world with many Android Markets, isn't good enough.

23 points by dangero 2 days ago 3 replies      
Like someone mentioned, I don't want to increase my competition, so I'm not going to get into the details, but I'll say that I started doing consulting after work in 2007 to bootstrap my own project. I had absolutely no business background.

In 2008 I spent $7000 that I had made off consulting and 8 months of my free time to build my first project. It was a miserable failure. I've made about $80 off of it, so I'm still down about $6920... 3 years later.

In 2009 I built my second attempt. This time I spent about $1000 building it and it took me about 4 months to build it. I've made about $150 off that one, so I still lost money, but much less than the first time.

In 2010 I made my third attempt. This one I built at no cost, and 2 weeks of my free time. To date this one has made over $20,000.

I'm now in the 5th year since I first started on this journey and for the first time, I wrote myself a profit check last month.

Hang in there. You'll figure it out if you keep trying.

19 points by famousactress 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not typical HN fare, but the wife and I started a business together that has (almost) nothing to do with the interwebs. It's a photography business.. We started it about 3+ years ago, and in most senses it's done quite well. She's been able to quit her day-job. It's what HN folks would call a 'lifestyle' business, I guess. You know, cause we're not rich.

I have to say, it's pretty rad. Software startups don't have a monopoly on giving you experience in doing branding, marketing, sales, running ad-campaigns, taxes, and just all manner of things that go into running a business.

27 points by astrofinch 2 days ago 3 replies      
In case anyone is reading this thread and becoming pessimistic about their chances of achieving passive income, I'd like to note that there is a clear sampling bias: folks that have found profitable niches are less likely to share their projects for fear of attracting competition. I suspect that choosing a good niche is pretty important when it comes to passive-income type projects. It looks like the most profitable project so far in the thread is il's, and he sold his site on flippa, so competition is now someone else's problem.

Just to test this out, if anyone is staying quiet about their project for fear of attracting competition, could they please reply to this comment and say so? Don't worry, your silence is totally understandable :)

(The sampling bias will probably still remain somewhat due to folks have their projects linked to from their profiles and not wanting to remove them.)

10 points by geuis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've had an application running in Second Life for the last 5-6 years to facilitate people making machinima. I haven't changed the price since it launched, at around $6 USD. When it first launched (also when SL was much more popular), I was selling several hundred dollars a month.

I still pull in $30-$50 a month on it, but I don't do much to promote it anymore. Linden Lab has really fucked up over the years and the quality of their software (the environment my app runs in) has gotten considerably worse. Its sad to say that my machinima app ran better 5 years ago than it does today, and multiple re-writes over the years has proven it impossible to go any further with the it.

Alternatively, I just put my first app up in the App Store last night. Its waiting for approval. I'm going to keep launching small utility apps and see where it goes.

8 points by acangiano 2 days ago 2 replies      
At the moment I make most of my non-day-job income from my two blogs [1][2], and Any New Books? [3]. All together they make me over $5000 on a good month. The two blogs didn't make money initially because I wasn't interested in monetizing them when I started years ago. ANB made its first dollar on day one.

[1] http://programmingzen.com

[2] http://math-blog.com

[3] http://anynewbooks.com

10 points by joelg87 2 days ago 1 reply      
My most recent venture started out as a side project and is now becoming my main focus. It is a simple Twitter App which makes it easy to share more on Twitter whilst annoying your followers less (by helping you to avoid tweeting 5 links in a row within minutes).

It took 7 weeks for me to take it from idea to launching the MVP (during most of the build period I had people using the service).

I had my first paying customer 4 days after launch. It has now been running for just under 4 months and I am making $315/mo, though that number is rising almost every day (it is a freemium service with a free plan and paid plans priced $5/mo and $30/mo).

I am likely to reach ramen profitability within a few months and will focus fully on it.

I blogged about how I took it from idea to first paying customer, which may be of interest - http://blog.bufferapp.com/post/3328167762/idea-to-paying-cus...

5 points by franze 2 days ago 0 replies      
a few years ago (well, the weekend after my second son was born and i thought: hey, i need more money) i created http://www.facesaerch.com/, basically an alternative interface to googles image search with face filter turned on. the initial version took me 2 days (my son slept the most of the time anyways).

i did some basic SEO stuff (i.e. alt tags for images, a sitemap XML, an auto expanding index) and got some coverage for it on various sites (lifehacker, ...) which was quite easy because everybody loves searching for themselves.

the site is still hosted on a 1 EUR webspace / month and during its best time it had about 54.000 visits a day.

as for the business case: on a site with only images, people click on (google) ads. don't know why, they just do it. so the money was good.

google was ok for it for quite some time (hey, they even covered it on a google code showcase blog) but well i kept pushing the boundaries so i got a penalty (again and again).

now i got about 5000 visits a day from baidu and bing, but it's hard to grow these traffic sources (well that's true for bing, for baidu its mostly the language barrier). it was fun while it lasted, now i just don't care anymore. i keep it around (even though some people would like to buy it) as i might transform it into a real product sometime.

so what the bottom line: building a (SEO) sideproject for passive income is possible, but don't bet on it that it will last forever. oh yeah, maybe also: images + ads = awesome conversion

7 points by wladimir 2 days ago 3 replies      
My side project involves recognition of captchas; it is a pretty tough one-time time investment to create a recognizer, involving machine learning, image manipulation and statistics, but as payment is on a per-captcha basis, the income after that is passive income. I started with this a few years ago, and after two weeks of obsessive-compulsive hacking, my first dollars started flowing in. All in all it now gets me something like $2000 per month.
7 points by atgm 2 days ago 4 replies      
I published an ebook (http://www.branchrock.com) and it's been selling. Since I'll never run out of stock and it's priced as an impulse buy, I expect that it'll continue to earn passively. I got my first dollar on the first day I started selling.

I plan to continue writing books, both non-fiction and fiction, and I expect that they'll all help bring in passive income.

5 points by mcdowall 2 days ago 2 replies      
About a year ago I built a number of micro niche sites aimed specifically at generating adwords income for high ppc terms. They weren't especially pretty but they were a good exercise and more than paid for themselves.

At the point I sold them (22 sites) they were generating about $190 a month in adsense revenue, all this from me buying 'keyword in domain' urls, having a relatively good eye for writing seo copy and building some inbound links.

I sold the lot on flippa for just over $1k, so I suppose it made me about ~$300/mo for a year. I know of some individuals who have over 1,000 domains running (across some of the most random niches you would just laugh at!) so I think it's a pretty decent passive business for them.

2 points by perlgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have an old project (http://sudokugarden.de/) where I built a website about Sudoku back at University when I was bored. I consider it feature complete, and have stopped to actively promote or develop it for two or three years now. I still make 1.5k to 2k per year in advertising (mostly CEO text links - adsense prices in that segement are too low to be profitable, and I don't want to bother the visitors too much. People who sign in for free don't see any adds). I made my first dollars a few month after the launch, when my adsense account finally reached the threshold for the first payment.

I'm now working on a project where I want to collect semantic relations between books (sequels, prequels, translations into other languages etc.). It's not launched yet, so no income so far. It will have affiliate links to book stores. See https://github.com/moritz/quelology if you are interested in details.

2 points by tansey 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have some trading models and financial tools that I license. They're currently generating about $200/month, but I'm expecting that to increase within a year. I'm also working on an iPhone game with two of my roommates right now that I'm hoping will bring in a couple hundred a month, but that's just a dream at the moment.

The tools probably took around 80 hours. The models probably are hard to say because a lot of discovery was done over time; actually implementing them only took a weekend. The iPhone app is probably going to take around 40 hours, but it's as much a learning experience and labor of love as it is an effort to make serious money.

I'm starting to focus on looking for passive income, though. I am entering a PhD program in the Fall, so an extra ~$1000/mo will make a huge difference in standard of living.

5 points by allenbrunson 2 days ago 1 reply      
i wrote an iOS card game that makes me about 300 bucks a month. i do almost no maintenance on it anymore. it would probably do a whole lot better if it had any kind of marketing behind it, but it's not really in my nature.
3 points by leftnode 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, I launched a piece of software to build your own social network. It took several days to make my first dollar, and I made $1300 in revenue and about $1000 in profit for the first month.


Then I made my code free.

22 points by fuckall 2 days ago 2 replies      
I help run a hotdog stand in NYC with my uncle in the summer on the weekends for fun and (ridiculous) profit.
2 points by yahelc 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I was unemployed, I did conversions of sites to WordPress themes. I was fast enough at it that I could devote most of my time to other endeavors. Since I didn't do content creation for my domain, SEO was out of the question, so all my traffic came through AdWords. With well targeted keywords, my CPA was ~$20, and the average client took 5-10 hours of work, since they'd often want content migrations, too. It took a week until I made my first dollar, and for the few months I did it, I brought in ~$700 a week, while never taking up more 20-25 hours a week, while also doing more committed, serious freelance jobs. I dropped it, though, when I got a full time job, though I'd probably pick it up again if I found easy to work with subcontractors.
7 points by zzeroparticle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does a blog reviewing music count?

Though I started in 2008, I didn't really make any attempts at monetizing until late 2009 and started with Adsense, then linked all the albums reviewed to two online stores that sell the CDs in question. All told, it took me maybe 3 months to make my first dollar and even longer for affiliate commissions to come in. I didn't make my first sale until maybe February 2010.

Obviously this isn't a product-based project, so it's not representative of the webapp stuff that others are producing.

4 points by luke_s 2 days ago 2 replies      
I run a e-commerce website, selling tools for grafting produced by a company my wifes family own:


I started by buying a few samples to sell on e-bay to see if there was a market. So I guess you could say I started making money right away. The problem with trying to replicate my business, is finding the right product to sell. I was lucky that I saw they had this item, and I figured that there would be a market online for it. Trying to find a new product to sell and establishing links with the manufacturer would take some time. You would also need to contend with issues of minimum order size.

I guess you could call it a partial success. Currently its bringing in about $300 per month. I want to increase my revenue, but it hard to know what to focus on. The other problem is it has somewhat of a high overhead - we need to spend time shipping products, etc.

For my new side projects, I'm thinking of doing something digital, that can be handled entirely online.

I have tried selling photos to a stock photo service. I spent many hours tagging photos, waiting for them to work through the approval process, etc. After many months of letting my photos sit, I have yet to sell one.

Next I am looking at writing some Smartphone apps. We will see how that goes ...

4 points by dools 2 days ago 0 replies      
I make between $500 and $1000 a month off 8centsms.com - but we can't send to the US :) Should really plug in Twilio or something one of these days ...
8 points by phirephly 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was surprised that just putting an adsense unit on the side of my personal blog (4k hits/month) manages to generate $25/month.

It's a highly technical blog, mainly documenting my personal electronics projects, but covers pretty much anything I want it to, which rather limits my readership. Having a more cohesive, single subject would certainly raise the glass ceiling on readership.

3 points by lachyg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I started a company this January based of a product I saw in a book that I knew would become incredibly popular. It brought it in quite substantial income for the following 2 months, and I sold it in the third :-).

I do this quite often!

5 points by kposehn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I actually live off the passive income (I've been an affiliate full-time for almost 4 years). While it has been quite a ride and I can't really share my most profitable sites/tools (without my wife - who is also my business partner - getting me back for it), I will say that it can be a good thing. That said, it is also an extremely competitive business. It is very easy to generate $50/month off a little blog, but generating $10,000/month takes a lot more out of you and carries far more risk.

If you've got something that is growing or doing well already, see if you can grow it - when there is little competition in whatever segment it is an opportunity not to be missed. They are rare.

3 points by reynolds 2 days ago 0 replies      
I finally jumped into ios development. Not really on the side since it's been my main focus lately. I went from not knowing any ios stuff to launching my first app in a week. I'm about to put my third app on the app store. I'm not making much money but there's a ton of potential.
4 points by goo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a network of several crowdsourced humor sites that make a decent profit (~2k) every month between them-- they include unrelatedcaptions.com, mylifeisbro.com, and averagetextsfromlastnight.com. I sold the flagship site - mylifeisaverage.com - since it demanded too much time and I had other projects I wanted to focus on.

Licensing for the paid iPhone application for mylifeisbro.com (I didn't develop it) also brings in about a grand each month.

It took about a month or so to make my first dollar from the first site I launched "mylifeisg.com" (now defunct)

Once there was a user base to pitch new projects to, the other dollars became easier to make.

2 points by agentultra 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just bought a few domains recently and thought, "Why haven't I done this sooner?"

It's still hard working on these things with a full time job, but I'm hoping one of them will come through and I can start a business of my own. I used to freelance, but got tired of it pretty fast. A small business would be nice.

7 points by tayl0r 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have a game on the iOS app store.


It brings in $100+ per month. I'm pretty happy with it.

3 points by MortenK 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not entirely sure this fits the bill, but I've leased out one of my former lead developer to a client, when our consulting business got rammed. He's is offshore, and the client is in Europe. Right now I do individual consultancy, and then get a form of passive income from leasing the developer out. I make around 700 USD a month, with effort limited to sending out the invoice.
4 points by nigelsampson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a small WP7 application I submitted around launch, I'd done Silverlight development before so it was pretty easy to jump in. I built it over about six weeks of occasional evenings and started selling pretty much immediately. I've released my downloads and sales figures for the first three months.

The App: http://compiledexperience.com/windows-phone-7/to-do

The Numbers: http://compiledexperience.com/blog/posts/a-windows-phone-7-a...

2 points by wushupork 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've have/had many side projects that make small side income.

1. A tshirt site. This one is a step above cafepress. I designed all my tshirts but also had them printed on really nice alternative apparel shirts and people bought them.

2. A photo sharing widget that integrated w/ Flickr and SmugMug that people would embed into their blog/website. I put Adwords on the site.

3. A hot or not site for twitter with ads on the site. This still surprisingly generates more traffic than all my other sites combined.

4. A social media dashboard site w/ some decent analytics. This was geared towards marketing and pr firms.

5. Put up a Youtube review of the Iron Gym Pullup bar that did really well SEO wise and got rev share from Google/Youtube. I get a check from Google every 6 months or so.

6. An instant book search site - http://Shelfluv.com - got a few dollars from affiliate sales.

7. An iPad app that shows inspirational business quotes.

2 points by iuguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to have a site that was set up for pancake day, stuff to do on pancake day, about a couple of hundred different pancake recipes and so on. Every year I'd make about £200 in advertising revenue, which would pay for the hosting for other projects, some general shenanigans and (of course) my pancake day. My plan was to do something similar for other temporally-targeted holidays but valentines day was extremely competitive and easter was too big. In the end I swapped the site for a friend's laptop.
3 points by zackattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have not updated my blog ZacharyBurt.com this month but it has already generated $8.84 in commissions from Amazon affiliate links. It generated $1.96 in its first month of operation, when it drew 1,035 pageviews.
4 points by pathik 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you consider blogging to be a side project, I do make a small amount as passive income. It definitely doesn't compare with web apps or services in terms of coolness, but money is money, right?
1 point by damoncali 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have two side project sites that make about $500/month, mostly from LinkWorth links, but some from AdSense was well.

LinkWorth is nice because you an make decent money without any traffic. You need to have the right niche, a modicum of pagerank, and it helps to pay the small fee to promote your site. It also takes a long time to sell the links. My first one took 3 weeks.

But the last few months have seen a decline. Perhaps people aren't buying links as much any more.

2 points by fleitz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Currently putting together some adsense sites. Looks very promising.
1 point by user24 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run a few wallpaper sites which make profit on the domain registration fee (eg http://geekwallpapers.com ) and also the adverts on my blog make me some pocket money :)

The blog I've been growing for six years, the wallpaper sites are pretty much instantly profitable for me. But we are talking about £40 per year. So like I said, profit on the domain name, probably not profitable when you take into account time spent developing them.

3 points by donny 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I tried my hands on "hardware" stuff, specifically iPad cases.


Have a few sales. Not complaining.

1 point by Bravais 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very small, very passive side project. http://goo.gl/tPPJz

Wrote it for my own use as a better "alternative" to browse for Kindle books after too much frustration with Amazon's site for browsing about.

Since it works via affiliate fees, between friends and family I easily made my first dollar in the first hour of going "live" with it.

A few dollars come in here and there. A passive, side, small project for sure. But I still add stuff during the weekend.

2 points by wenbert 2 days ago 0 replies      
i have a lyrics site that earns 100usd every year thru adsense. it runs on zendframework(tried others but zf wins by a huge margin in caching on shared hosting). the income has paid for my blog, domain names, my brothers site, and a couple of beers.
1 point by thenduks 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd been working on a bug tracker as a side project for almost a year (strictly as an off-hours hobby type thing) but as I got closer to an (awesome :)) working product we decided to turn it into the real thing. Thus my 'day job' employer (now co-founders of the new company) were the first customer. In fact, we've been quietly sitting on it for a while, maybe it's time to post an Ask HN...
1 point by x03 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a fairly eager, though passive, Hacker News reader and it seemed that a lot of startups were getting the message about what exactly they do a little jumbled: I imagine it's their own entrepreneurial excitement bouncing around with their own understanding of what they know they do, and so presume others will, to.

So I setup a service (http://www.pearwords.com) to help startups get their message across to sites like Hacker News, The Startup Foundry, TechCrunch, etc, and, to use on their own websites to give customers a "two-second summary".

We hit profitability in our first 24 hours and we've have had a steady stream of customers since (some of whom are working on some really cool stuff -- communities like HN really are fully of some brilliant people). We've spent zero-dollars on advertising and have only posted a couple of comments (literally two) around on sites where people might be interested.

I attribute our success so far to: being very specific in what we do; high-quality work; being very quick; a clean website; and being cheap, though I think we could charge a fair bit more with little impact on orders -- we're just keeping it low for launch time while we really ramp up.

1 point by wiradikusuma 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm developing a penny auction website for local market http://www.lelanggokil.com/. The auctions are not even started yet and I'm already getting money (albeit small). But I'm still at loss since the marketing cost (FB Ad and AdWords) outweigh the profit (I spent about $40/day for the last 2 weeks).

The website actually acts as a proof of concept as I plan to white-label it (that's why the stuff being auctioned are not expensive). But if the PoC works, I will focus on it.

My problems so far:
- Credit card and PayPal are very rare, I must rely on manual work (user banks in, I check my bank account balance, I approve/reject)
- Negative sentiment against penny auction
- Customer support (manual work)

To be honest, this is my first non-consulting real personal project (that is, a product, spends money, gets money). So even if this project fails, I still learn from it and reuse a lot of its software parts.

1 point by nerfhammer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I posted about it awhile ago, but http://www.dotcomroulette.com still makes me a few dollars
1 point by HeyLaughingBoy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hardware. I have a small device that reads digital sensors and outputs data via RS232 serial. Made first dollar (actually about $100 of them) with first sale.
1 point by kschua 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yup. A call filtering application with the ability to filter off unimportant calls from family and friends and allow urgent calls from these people through.

Took about 2 weeks to get the first sale. Now it is selling at a rate of 1 copy a day

2 points by swah 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are those running on your name or do you guys created a company?
1 point by hemalk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made a website that finds where to buy tracks from DJ tracklists. Had to wait a couple of months for it's first £1 as I had no efficient way to drive traffic to is (the CPA from PPC was way too steep). It makes a few quid a month and pays for itself. Funnily enough it generates affiliate commission from Amazon, and that pays for the hosting on EC2...
1 point by xtrycatchx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but it's not yet up and running. It's on its prototype stage. I'm planning too to deploy it as a free service. Don't know yet if I'm gonna monetize it or not.
1 point by barnsweetman 2 days ago 0 replies      

Status Crap took about a year to make some income (currently gets about 250,000 page views a month and growing between 10-40% each month). I've been trying to launch side projects since I was 17 though haha!

-4 points by systemtrigger 2 days ago 1 reply      
-2 points by alphamale 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just launched my Guy's Lifestyle site. Q&A and advice from Alphas. Expect it to be HUGE bros. I will be building it up in my spare time.


How I got sued by Facebook (2010) petewarden.typepad.com
162 points by helwr 19 hours ago   36 comments top 17
14 points by randomwalker 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Lawsuit nastiness aside, there's an interesting and important legal-technical question that this exposes: how should websites specify acceptable uses of crawled data and other fine-grained restrictions in a machine-readable form.

Motivated by this incident, I got together with Pete (the author/victim) to write a piece on "The Need to Reboot Robots.txt" [1] but it went nowhere.

Any suggestions on how to give our proposal legs would be much appreciated.

[1] http://33bits.org/2010/12/05/web-crawlers-privacy-reboot-rob...

26 points by antihero 16 hours ago 2 replies      
"my lawyer advised me that it had never been tested in court, and the legal costs alone of being a test case would bankrupt me"

What's to stop two smaller companies making a "court case" where they sue each other for small bucks with the desired outcome (following robots.txt is a legal way to access a site with a crawler). This would then set a precedent that would benefit others as a whole.

5 points by RyanMcGreal 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A case before the Supreme Court of Canada right now [1] touches on a similar untested premise of the open web. At issue is whether a hyperlink constitutes a citation or a republication of that page.

In this case, the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of defamation for linking to web pages the plaintiff argues are defamatory. (Aside: compared to the US, defamation law in Canada is weighed much more strongly toward the plaintiff than the defendant.)

Lower courts have decided that simply linking to a defamatory web page does not constitute defamation, unless the link is provided for the purpose of endorsing the defamatory material, in which case it is the endorsement of the link that constitutes defamation, and not the link itself.

The problem in Canada, as in the US, is that governments have not kept up with legislation governing the legality of various internet-specific activities, like hyperlinking and so on. That has left the courts to try and decide through precedent how to handle these conflicts.

[1] http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/cms-sgd/sum-som-eng.as...

4 points by petewarden 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I've added a post-script to this story, updating with developments over the last year:
In particular, I know from my friends in the academic community that they're quietly putting together processes for working with researchers. That's a big step forward in my view, as long as they can safeguard privacy, there's a lot of potential for world-improving research.
14 points by RiderOfGiraffes 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You might care to read the extensive discussion from when this was posted 11 months ago:


1 point by otterley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This was, in fact, tested (to a limited extent) in court about a decade ago. See eBay v. Bidder's Edge, 100 F.Supp.2d 1058 (N.D. Cal. 2000).

Short story: Back in the days when there was actual competition in the online auction market (anyone remember Yahoo! Auctions?), Bidder's Edge was crawling eBay listings to index them for an auction search engine. (I worked for one of their competitors.) eBay sued on a trespass theory, and was granted a preliminary injunction because the judge held that eBay was likely to succeed on the merits of the claim.

Unfortunately, the trespass claim was never fully litigated; Bidder's Edge agreed to stop crawling after the PI was granted.

7 points by xd 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I notice they have updated their robots.txt to only allow user agents they have approved.


16 points by dodo53 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if he asked EFF if they were willing to defend the case. The thing is it's probably never individually worth defending against these cases, but on a society level there'd be so much gain if someone had set a legal precedence for the validity of robots.txt.
6 points by il 17 hours ago 1 reply      
So...anyone have a mirror of the data?
6 points by gommm 18 hours ago 1 reply      
What would have happened if he had done it from a company based in the Seychelles for example?
Would that be a way to protect against Facebook aggressively suing with no grounds?
3 points by tba 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article. Is this the same person that Palantir mentioned as a potential source of Facebook information for social engineering attacks?

From the leaked HBGary emails:

"The Palantir employee noted that a researcher had used similar tools to violate Facebook's acceptable use policy on data scraping, 'resulting in a lawsuit when he crawled most of Facebook's social graph to build some statistics. I'd be worried about doing the same. (I'd ask him for his Facebook data"he's a fan of Palantir"but he's already deleted it.)'"


12 points by younata 18 hours ago 1 reply      

I thought it sounded familiar.

2 points by greendestiny 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Someone convince me what facebook said here was wrong. I don't think robots.txt gives you a license to do whatever you want with web content. If it did wouldn't robots.txt effectively put everything into the public domain?
4 points by jscore 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, you never got sued just threatened.
2 points by PaulHoule 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The world really could use better analytics tools for Facebook apps since the ones that Facebook provides are a little sorry in my opinion.
1 point by willlisten 19 hours ago 2 replies      
As a founder of a new company and the son of a lawyer lawsuits are certainly something I think about. It seems all companies that become well known eventually face lawsuits. While it sucks and you never want to face one, many know it is a cost of doing business. You also find people who want to attack a company seeing a big dollar sign in front of them. Plus lawyers might earn hundreds of millions or dare I say billions if they win a case from a company like Facebook or Google.
1 point by aksbhat 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry but I side with Facebook, a freely available public graph of millions of users could have been used for re-identification attacks.

Frankly you should never share your friends list publicly.

       cached 26 March 2011 02:11:01 GMT