hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    1 Apr 2011 Best
home   ask   best   8 years ago   
How to damage your brand in one smooth shot - Way to GoDaddy jacquesmattheij.com
544 points by RiderOfGiraffes 21 hours ago   304 comments top 82
98 points by c2 20 hours ago replies      
I guess I'll be the lone discenting voice and say I don't think it's that bad. Bob Parsons has always run his company the way he wants, and he has particular freedom to do so since he has zero investors and is the sole owner. He does certain things for shock value, such as the super bowl commercials, which by the way caused outage with a completely different demographic of people.

Slaughtering an elephant might offend some of your sensibilities, but hunting in Africa is wide spread and as long as the elephant is not endangered, I don't think your outrage has a leg to stand on. The elephant was used as food and now crops are protected.

There are much worse things going on in America's food industry then this. In fact if anything if that elephant could feed the village I'd say this was actually a good thing.

I can understand how this might offend vegetarians but even then, it's not like the animal was wasted.

71 points by mayank 20 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone who has worked with ecologists in the field on a number of wildlife projects in rural Africa, I find this to be truly repugnant. There are many ways of controlling "problem elephants" other than killing them -- in fact, killing an elephant is almost never an option. If the villagers don't have the financial resources to implement non-lethal control measures, I'm sure Bob Parsons does.
72 points by run4yourlives 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow. Just wow.

Having been to Africa and seen elephants in the wild up close, among other animals, I simply can't stomach that I'm supporting a bunch of fat white Americans flying half way around the world to destroy a magnificent animal simply because they can.

I'll be moving my domains away from GoDaddy asap.

32 points by RiderOfGiraffes 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Note: Submitted by me, by hand, after reading the posting and deciding it's relevant to startups.

Branding is important, and what you do with your brand is important. Actions speak louder than words. Google is still associated with "Do no Evil," but that's starting to wear a little thin as some of their actions belie the mantra. Similarly, you can get people chanting a slogan, but if you do something wrong, people will notice, and the backlash can be severe.

I would add that this:

  > There is no way to explain all this in a way that does
> not make GoDaddy and it's CEO look good, and plenty of
> ways to interpret it as bad.

... appears to have either too many or not enough negatives. I suggest it should read:

  > There is no way to explain all this in a way that makes
> GoDaddy and it's CEO look good, and plenty of ways to
> interpret it as bad.

8 points by raganwald 11 hours ago 0 replies      

  It's not a crime to kill an elephant.
It's bigger than all that.
It's a sin to kill an elephant.
Do you understand? It's a sin.
It's the only sin that you can buy
a license and go out and commit.
That's why I want to do it before
I do anything else in this world.
Do you understand me?
Of course you don't.
How could you?
I don't understand myself.

Clint Eastwood, "White Hunter Black Heart"


15 points by rriepe 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't agree with GoDaddy's lowest common denominator branding strategy, but it seems to have served them well over the years. It's hard to argue with results.

Make no mistake though, this is just as much a part of their branding strategy as their stupid, tasteless Super Bowl commercials. They'll probably make a token PR apology to hedge their bets here, but this reinforces their "brand" more than it damages it.

5 points by Tyrant505 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Hi All,

Having been involved in wildlife conservation for nearly three and half a decades and trying to address human-elephant conflicts for nearly 16 years what I can say in all honesty is that elephant control is a double-edged sword. There are no utopian answers or solutions to these issues either. When it comes to human-elephant conflicts unlike in the proverbial biblical story where the lion and the lamb lied down together, people and elephants cannot do the same. One has to give away to the other. I think in regard to Bob Parsons' affair everyone is too focused on what he did on the basis of the moral implications of shooting an elephant as pertinent to western sentiments and emotions and how elephants are perceived in the west. I really wonder how many even paid the slightest attention or took notice of the farmer whose sorghum field was destroyed or gave thought to how he and his family is affected or for that matter the protein starved and raggedy rural masses that descended on the elephant once it was shot. The average Zimbabwean is living in abject poverty and I doubt their perspective of elephants is anywhere close to that of the people of the west. Western colonization has destroyed traditional African life to such an extent that they are now living in-limbo where they are neither, westernized or Africanized and have lost their connections to their own environment and nature. These are some of the repercussions for the damage that has been done to them. Most of them live hand to mouth - only caring about their daily survival. Since I live on both sides of this divide â€" I'm fortunate to see both sides of this coin but also it is frustrating because these completely opposing perspectives can be a huge hindrance to addressing these issues in a realistic manner. For example if we can step outside the western mentality box and look at it from a different perspective (from a poor Zimbabwean farmer's point of view) â€" probably Bob Parsons is in fact doing a huge favor to the farmers. African elephants are not a threatened species in any imminent danger of extinction. In fact they are now too many elephants in the Southern African nations. But from a South Asian and western perspective Bob Parsons has done the unthinkable â€" which is to kill an elephant and then glorify it by putting it on public display! For that he should be ostracized and penalized. There is no glory in killing an elephant considering it is humans who have created the situation where they too are fighting for survival. If an elephant has to be killed then it should be done with dignity, respect and with the empathy it deserves.

The cost to immobilize and relocate a problem bull elephant in Sri Lanka cost on average US$5,000. In Africa it could be more considering the vast distances that need to be covered. I'll try to get this information. In Sri Lanka trans-locating problem animals is a futile exercise since you are basically transferring the problem to another area. For example if earlier the problem bull was terrorizing a 50 square mile area â€" after it is translocated it terrorizes a 500 square mile area because now it's trying to find itself back to its home territory.

Welcome to addressing human-elephant conflicts in the truest sense.


Ravi Corea

There will be a site for this but this just was emailed to me, trying to keep speed

25 points by maukdaddy 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What a truly awful stunt & person. How can he even live with himself for this?
16 points by powertower 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Let's see who this outrage is coming from:

1) Someone who has never gone hungry for a single day in his/her life.

2) Someone who has consumed 100s of chickens, many cattle, and many other animals so far... Most of which have been literally tortured all their lives.

3) Someone who has never gone to Africa to help, but sits around all day posting his/her opinion on how things there (and everywhere else in the world) should be done.

I'll give you a secret. Want to change the world? Change yourself. It's the only way. Stop complaining. Stop finger pointing. Stop exerting yourself on others.

But yes... I do agree that it would have been best for GoDaddy to not post this.

11 points by jrockway 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I doubt that even a video of Parsons raping small children would affect their sales. As long as they are slightly cheaper than other registrars and offer the same functionality, they will always have customers. People don't vote with their wallets, and have very short memories anyway.

(DNS is something I consider too important to delegate to the lowest bidder, but I am apparently a minority.)

14 points by jaysonelliot 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I have thirty domains registered with GoDaddy. I'm taking all of them somewhere else now - just need to figure out who the best competitor to go to is.
40 points by d2 19 hours ago 1 reply      
What I find most distasteful is the lie that he "saved a village and fed them". That's just bullshit.

There are more guns in Zimbabwe than most other parts of Africa. If the locals really wanted that elephant gone, it would have been machine gunned by two guys arriving on foot.

What really happened here is that a hunting party arrived, killed an elephant and left the carcass for the locals to eat.

What a hero.

PS: I spent my childhood and early 20's in South Africa and we hate this great-white-hunter tourist shit, but it sure pays the bills if you're the driver guide or booking agent.

8 points by dools 17 hours ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the animal cruelty side of this pails in comparison to the total and utter obtuseness of playing an AC/DC track over the top of a bunch of people who are clearly starving scrambling for a hunk of meet like some post apocalyptic nightmare!!

It doesn't really surprise me coming from this guy because the he is obviously obtuse (NASCAR sponsorship, Pamela Anderson ads etc.) but I found the graphic pictures of the slaughtered elephant far less confronting than the fact that he turned the life or death struggle of these desperate people into a sideshow spectacle for his PR exercise.

19 points by jonknee 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The part that struck me the most odd is he claims that this is the most fulfilling thing he does. He must be pretty hard up for fulfilling activities.
15 points by locopati 21 hours ago 1 reply      
So, to recap: sexist advertising campaigns for the benefit of the entire company == OK; the CEO shooting an elephant == boycott. To be clear, I'm in no way agreeing with his actions, but it was getting fed up with the advertising that got me to dump GoDaddy for DynDNS long before anything like this occurred.
14 points by grandalf 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Anyone who has had the misfortune of registering a domain with GoDaddy and using its horrible user interface to try to adjust DNS settings will not be surprised by this.

GoDaddy should have been out of business a long time ago just due to the horrid usability of its product.

11 points by uptown 21 hours ago 1 reply      
In the grand scheme of things, my 27 domains switched from GoDaddy won't change much from their company's perspective, but I will not continue to use them as a domain registrar because of this.
8 points by elvirs 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Why did the village need Bob to shoot the elephant? What, the villagers do not have guns? or do not know how to use them?
these guys use AK-47 since childhood and those villagers are much better hunters than an american rich guy who just arrived on a helicopter.
The real story is that local villagers are not allowed to kill elephants and are fined if they do so. the american smartass bribed corrupted local government to let him shoot the elephant. Local corrupted head of municipality gets a couple of thousands of dollars (which makes him the richest man in the surrounding are) and the american guy (and his brand) gain cheap publicity back at home. everybody wins, except the elephant, but who cares about the elephant, right?
6 points by logjam 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I will be on the phone with each and every person I know who has a domain.

We will discuss whether or not they happen to be using this cowardly imbecile's business.

I will describe this horrible little gutless advertising stunt.

We will work to switch them over to another company immediately.

0 points by Aetius 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Let's count the ways in which the media, twitter, and even HN can be hypocritical:

Driving cars that pollute the environment and force the US to wage continous war to secure oil.
Supporting a food industry that is killing us.
Support raising my taxes so you can live a better life.
Use an inordinate amount of energy, water which is scarce.
Live wonderful lives with nice furniture, clothes, etc that are made by really poor people the world over.
Take trips all over the place, using more oil.
Sit at home watching TV and being entertained instead of being productive and fixing problems (yes, this too is a sin).
Have bad children that will grow up to be murderers, theives, leaches, and knownothings because you're too busy whining about some guy hunting an elephant.
Have supported tons of politicians that serve to further their own interests and that of their corporate sponsors.

I could go on and on and on before I finally get to:

Legally shot and killed an elephant which was destroying crops in an African country.

If I switched my domains from GoDaddy for this, I'd pretty much have to withdraw from American society for good, in order to be on decent moral ground.

5 points by juddlyon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How can you damage a trashy, publicity-stunt-driven brand by shooting an elephant?

You can't.

GoDaddy is light-years ahead of the competition in terms of marketing.

He may have lost several thousand bucks do to some discerning geeks, which is not the GoDaddy customer anyway.

Nothing to see here.

11 points by rapcal 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately all my domains are with GoDaddy. Moving them ASAP. It is unacceptable for such a big company to have its CEO involved in something like this.

For years we've been discussing social responsibilities of the enterprise (I've been on it since 1998 here in Brazil) and then we see something like this. If it has the potential to make one disappointed and wonder if she shouldn't give up the fight, it also makes one see that discussing the social impacts and actions of businesses is still tremendously important and necessary.

I'm proud to be on the right side of the fight. And I'm ashamed of having my domains hosted with the slaughterhouse registrar.

10 points by orbenn 21 hours ago 5 replies      
This is stupid. If the elephant is going to be shot by a warden anyway, WHY NOT let some rich american shoot it? Why does it matter WHO shoots the elephant? It doesn't!

If you want to argue about whether the elephant SHOULD have been killed, that's fine. There is plenty to debate there. But who does the shooting is of no importance.

That said he's right that as a CEO you represent your company--especially when you're handing out swag. Probably not a smart PR move.

10 points by tikna 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't believe this thing. I bought a domain name just 5 minutes back, and now I am feeling disgust.

I have around 60 domains with godaddy, and after watching this I don't think I will go for any more. Let the unimportant ones expire this year, and I'll transfer the rest to somewhere else.

Can someone suggest me a good registrar?

4 points by pdx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I cringed seeing the neighboring villagers trampling the same field that the elephants had been trampling. Talk about unintended consequences.
5 points by danielsoneg 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What "Brand"? We ARE talking about the same company that puts out ads which double as Cinemax's 11pm lineup, right?
11 points by kqueue 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the ad unit at the top of the blog page.
3 points by mcherm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree that it's a horrible stunt, but I don't see how it can harm GoDaddy's reputation. As far as I am concerned, GoDaddy's reputation is so far down in the dumps that it is difficult for it to sink any lower, and that is based on their behavior as a registrar, not stunts by the CEO.
9 points by awesomea 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for putting this out there. Just transferred my domains and hosting away from GoDaddy. I won't even get into how I hate the needless killing of ANY animal. There are almost always alternatives.
8 points by efnx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the final straw for me, godaddy has a horrible UI that looks like a toplinks page and functions much the same I presume. I've been wanting to move my domains from godaddy for years, but haven't due to laziness. What are the best alternatives?
1 point by ChuckMcM 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Following in the footsteps of Thomas Edison? [1] I've never been a fan of the phrase "Any publicity is good publicity." But damaging the brand? I don't know that it rises to that level. Because the guy slaughter's elephants you think he can't maintain a credible domain registry? Now if he was running a shelter for abandoned big game animals, sure it would be a challenge but this is the guy who uses large mammary glands as a marketing tool.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsy_%28elephant%29

4 points by motters 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This merely ensures that I will never use GoDaddy's services, and I'll also advise others not to use them.
1 point by beyonder 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I feel for the hungry guys shown in the video but still looking at the way those guys are cutting the meat and hovering over the dead animal's body just reminds me of a quote from matrix by Mr.Smith:
Humans are parasites.
2 points by bitwize 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember when Acclaim seriously considered advertising its games on tombstones?

Yeah, way to top that in the lack of taste department.

Guess who I'm not registering domains with.

2 points by drivebyacct2 17 hours ago 0 replies      
What amazes me is that anyone here cares about GoDaddy, and as much as it pains me to imagine, there are probably people here that do business with GoDaddy.

It's a shame really. Your loss.

11 points by shakedown 21 hours ago 6 replies      
This is terrible. Anyone have any suggestions for a registrar to switch to from GoDaddy?
2 points by imechura 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I needed to purchase a name today.

BTW, I found this...


Below find a list of Go Daddy's registered and pending trademarks. Please note that these brand guidelines apply to, but are not limited to, the following marks.

Registered Trademarks

Blue Razor®
Blue Razor Logo Black/White
Bob Parsons®
Cool Name. Hot Prices.®
Domain Alert®
Domain Name Aftermarket®
Domains By Proxy®
Domains By Proxy Logo with Star
Domains Priced Right®
Express Email Marketing®
Go Daddy®
Go Daddy Head Logo
Go Daddy Logo with Star
GoDaddy.com Logo
GoDaddy.com Logo on Black
GoDaddy.com Logo with Tagline
Go Daddy Auctions®
Go Daddy Cares®
Go Daddy Connections Logo
Go Daddy Girls®
Go Daddy Hosting Connection®
Go Daddy Marketplace®
Hot Prices. Serious Support.®
Mad Dog®
Mad Dog Domains and Cattle Company®
Mad Dog Logo
Make A .COM Name With Us!®
Online File Folder®
Quick Blogcast®
Quick Shopping Cart®
Radio Go Daddy®
SSL Certificate Logo
Starfield Logo
The Web is Your Domain!®
The Web is Your Domain! Logo
There's A Name For People Like You!®
Traffic Blazer®
Traffic Blazer Logo
Transfer Concierge®
Turbo SSL®
Verified by Starield Secure®
Verified by Starfield Secure Logo
WebSite Tonight®
Wild West®
Wild West Domains Logo on White
Your identity is nobody's business but ours.®

Pending Trademarks

Claim Your Domain™
Data Center on Demand™
Data Widgets™
Domains, websites & everything* in between!™
Domains, websites & everything* in between! Logo
Dream Design Team™
Dream Design Team Logo
Expert Hands™
Go Daddy Savings Network™
GoDaddy.co Logo
GoDaddy.com SSL Seal Logo
Social Visibility™
We Make Websites Easy™
Web Professionals' Day™
Website Protection Seal Logo

4 points by cloudbrain 21 hours ago 0 replies      
1) GoDaddy has been doing crazy stunts forever (see rejected Super Bowl ads)
2) GoDaddy is the largest registrar, with 31% market share (http://www.webhosting.info/registrars/top-registrars/global)

Given the above, I would say:
1) He knows exactly what he is doing and why
2) It is working*

*meaning growing the company, making lots of money, returning value to shareholders etc.

1 point by sigzero 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Where do I think he went wrong? Passing out the hats. I was fine up until that point. This isn't for a GoDaddy commercial. Sheesh.
5 points by baggachipz 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, GoDaddy is getting mentioned on HN and Reddit, so... mission accomplished?

Personally, I got fed up with their insulting commercials, horrible interface, and crappy service long ago. I've since switched registrars and haven't regretted it for a second.

4 points by rokhayakebe 20 hours ago 1 reply      
You have to wonder who is/are the animal(s) here?
2 points by Artagra 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm pretty sure this won't be a popular response, but anyway.

Firstly, I'm not really referring to this specific case. I think the video is tasteless and in many ways vile. However, I want to comment specifically on trophy hunting.

In my opinion, allowing big game hunters to pay for trophy animals is an important and integral part of animal conservation. In many impoverished African countries, their is little to no government funding to conserve animals.

Yes, there are risk factors. But personally, I believe the additional amount of animals that are killed due to the argument of excess demand is a lot less than the number of animals saved by the increased funding for poaching prevention.

Furthermore, I believe the economic benefits of this to the local community hugely improve the lives of the local people (who I believe are a lot more important than the elephants, as important as I think the elephants are), and that this improvement will decrease poaching.

To summarize:
- I agree that Trophy hunting can have negative effects.
- However, I believe the positives for animal conservation of Trophy Hunting offset the negatives in two major ways.
- Trophy Hunting decreases the ease with which poaching takes place by funding anti-poaching measures.
- Trophy Hunting decreases the extent to which poaching takes place by improving the situation of the local communities.

So if you are pro animal conservation, and pro human rights, you should be pro Trophy Hunting. IMHO.

9 points by craigmccaskill 21 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy has now lost all current and any future custom they might have had from me.
2 points by rdl 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't something I'd do, but doesn't really seem like the biggest outrage ever.

There is one rifle shot which would remove a clear threat to everyone in Zimbabwe and the region. If the CEO of someone like Xe flew in and took that shot, I'd be happy to transfer all my domains to his company. (Mugabe, obviously)

2 points by ddemchuk 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to have about as much effect on GoDaddy's userbase and bottom line as did all of the privacy concerns last year with Facebook.

A sliver of a fraction of GoDaddy customers will ever see that video or even hear about it. Most people buy domains there because they have hot chicks in super bowl commercials.

3 points by callmeed 21 hours ago 0 replies      
So much for Groupon's Super Bowl commercial looking bad ...
3 points by matthewslotkin 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If Bob is so invested in selfless help, why doesn't he drop some cash and build a fence to permanently keep the elephants out?

Also, to those suggesting that killing this elephant is chill because it fed a lot of people, I'm pretty sure there are more cost effective ways to feed people than mobilizing an elephant hunting squad.

1 point by CWuestefeld 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't watched the video (I'm at work now), but are elephants currently protected? I recently read about a program where African elephants are being sterilized because the populations have grown so large that they're becoming a problem.
1 point by rdouble 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this sort of thing died off with Teddy Roosevelt, so it was interesting to learn what kind of people still do it.
1 point by damoncali 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's brilliant. They just drove away hordes of geeks - you know those pesky techies who only buy the loss leaders without loading up on the profitable stuff?
2 points by kreek 20 hours ago 0 replies      
3 points by navs 19 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy will need an extra sexy ad campaign to calm the crowd.
Maybe Danica Patrick will ride an elephant.

Elephant killing aside, I can't use GoDaddy's hosting/domain control panel. Settings feel buried under layers of links and is just confusing.

1 point by technomancy 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It's almost as if Achewood's 2011 predictions are coming true three months early: http://achewood.com/index.php?date=01052011
1 point by NZ_Matt 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I blame Disney. Killing an Elephant that is clearly a pest is no different than the thousands of businessmen that shoot Deer and Tahr for sport every year.

Dickish move by Bob tho, he's truly testing the adage that "any publicity is good publicity".

4 points by HowardRoark 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There can be no explanation for this. I think we should all boycott GoDaddy.
3 points by olegious 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Never using GoDaddy again. I'm not a vegetarian or a leftist, but glorifying the murder of an endangered species is sickening.
3 points by ericmoritz 20 hours ago 1 reply      
GoDaddy is one skanky company. Buying a domain is a chore. You have to walk through a minefield of up sells. The ads are gross. All that hassle is just not worth the couple dollars I save every year.
1 point by Kilimanjaro 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate godaddy to death, guys, but I use them because they offer most tlds around the world easily (me, ly, at, to, etc)(that's the only easy thing they do)

If you can name at least five registrars with world wide reach please do so, so we can have a better option next time.

1 point by Artagra 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm pretty sure this won't be a popular response, but anyway.

Firstly, I'm not really referring to this specific case. I think the video is tasteless and in many ways vile. However, I want to comment specifically on trophy hunting.

In my opinion, allowing big game hunters to pay for trophy animals is an important and integral part of animal conservation. In many impoverished African countries, their is little to no government funding to conserve animals.

Yes, there are risk factors. But personally, I believe the additional amount of animals that are killed due to the argument of excess demand is a lot less than the number of animals saved by the increased funding for poaching prevention.

Furthermore, I believe the economic benefits of this to the local community hugely improve the lives of the local people (who I believe are a lot more important than the elephants, as important as I think the elephants are), and that this improvement will decrease poaching.

To summarize:
- I agree that Trophy hunting can have negative effects.
- However, I believe the positives of Trophy Hunting offset the negatives in two major ways:

2 points by mapster 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad taste, up, down, left, and right. He removed any reverence of the hunt, respect of the animal. Just him, his orange hats, his gun, his camera, his killing, his audio track of choice, his vacation video. Ugly rich guy video #93,275
1 point by fecklessyouth 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess I'll leave this here:

Caution: Ignore if you prefer the stereotype of an exposed rich white game hunter.

1 point by esmevane 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I see that most of the folks here are choosing to discuss the morality of this video; some are electing to defend, and some showing disapproval.

What I'm finding odd about these reactions is that, viewing other people's reactions (outside of the delicate shell of opinion here), the clear conclusion is that this is a PR disaster. From the Twitter search alone, in the last 2-3 minutes, my feed has gone up easily hundreds of entries, all of them agreeing about their distaste for this event.

Isn't that where the real knowledge is, here? Whether or not you agree that this was a bad decision, it undeniably harms the brand in what could be a catastrophic way.

3 points by fourstar 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Godaddy sucks and has for... ever. I've been with Namecheap and I'd recommend them any day.
2 points by rishi 19 hours ago 0 replies      
the worst part about this is that it totally worked on me. I now know about their video.me product.
2 points by rottyguy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll paraphrase Justice Stewart: "I may never be able to intelligibly explain human cruelty, but I'll know it when I see it". Looking forward to seeing him on the news circuit dancing around like a, uhm..., wounded elephant.
2 points by ALXfoo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Look at all these passionate discussions. Positively and negatively charged, both sides full of fiery opinion.

I thought this was supposed to be a terrible publicity stunt. I say it worked.

2 points by dennisgorelik 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There is no bad publicity.
0 points by sdizdar 19 hours ago 0 replies      
So it is ok to have show on cable TV where people shoot animals for fun (or our politicians doing that) and but we are disgusted of killing animal for food and protect the crops.

This is good very PR move because it hits the center of hypocrisy in wester societies: our "love" of animals.

1 point by hncommenter13 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously late to the discussion, but surprised no one has posted a link to this famous Orwell essay:
1 point by Gaussian 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So, Bob, how many customers is one dead elephant worth? Next time you could leave the film crew at home maybe? Or would that subvert your whole point?
1 point by SideSwipe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Any chance this is just an April Fool's joke with a whole lot of time put into it? :P
2 points by ndaugherty18 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I really like how he through in some ACDC while all the hugry people are fighting for the food. Classy.
2 points by SeoxyS 19 hours ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy had a positive brand before? I didn't realize there was anything left to damage.
2 points by raarky 19 hours ago 1 reply      
ok, so who can recommend a good domain company I can transfer all my domains to?
0 points by knofun 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think this will have any tangible effect on GoDaddy's brand except for maybe a slight increase in visibility via the free press you are giving them right this second.

As far as actually shooting the animal, I'm not an African game warden so I can't give any scientific or even remotely educated comment. That being said, the only facts I know are these:
Bob Parsons shot and killed an elephant in a completely legal way, and was so proud of what he did that he had a professional make and edit a video which he then posted on the internet.
The people in the video seem grateful and excited that he has done this. They are also wearing godaddy hats.
This morning, a lot of people who weren't there are passing judgement.

I guess I'm just confused as to the source of the controversy?

0 points by neutronicus 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Going falconing is on my bucket list, so I can't get too angry.
1 point by jrspruitt 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I would agree with most on here, this is par for the course considering the companies branding already, which is pretty cheap low rent stuff. He's coming across as the "dickish" "most interesting man in the world" here. And I agree it should be a game warden duty to handle such situations, for the same reason McD's wouldn't allow old food to be eaten by employees, because it would increase the chances of there being more "old food." But the thing that really bugs me is the end, why not have it properly butchered and dispersed that way? Instead of something that reminds me of Bum Fights. Class is obviously not part of their branding in anyway.
0 points by monochromatic 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This was a reasonable post when it was about it was stupid to mix up GoDaddy's corporate image with this stuff. But this:

> It's a good thing that I have all my domains with another registrar or I'd be forced to move them.

is way over the top. Nobody's forcing you to do anything. If you choose to buy into the "CEO image = corporate image" thing, then fine, move your business elsewhere. But I kind of thought the point of the post was that it's kind of silly, but yeah, people do conflate those things.

1 point by karolisd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not April Fools?
-2 points by LudoTheGreat 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Technically it was two shots...
-1 point by michaeldhopkins 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is perfectly acceptable, and all the bravado about moving domains looks silly. Obviously, the local citizens (tour guides) in this video didn't want to tell the warden about the elephant.

Additionally, I have no doubt the owners of many registrars do objectionable things. The devil you know...

-3 points by dman 21 hours ago 1 reply      
On the other hand NRA members might now choose GoDaddy as their registrar and webhost.
At work? Try this Hacker News homepage inspired by Node [SFW] nowjs.com
514 points by ericz 23 hours ago   90 comments top 44
70 points by NathanKP 22 hours ago 5 replies      
I would imagine that a fairly large percentage of the Hacker News community probably works for themselves or as freelance contractors. The main problem is not that of hiding your browsing from an employer, but having the self control to work rather than browsing.
41 points by idlewords 22 hours ago 1 reply      
At work? Try working!
32 points by aidenn0 22 hours ago 1 reply      
If I worked at a place where I felt that reading HN would get me fired, there would be lots of other problems.
56 points by jdp23 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great. But why isn't it async?
3 points by ChuckMcM 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this, its an excellent UX pun. If you could use enough javascript to make it look like an emacs buffer some pointy haired types would be hard pressed to discern between this and actual work.

That being said, if you are truly into employee surveillance (and I know of at least one company that is) then what the screen shows is irrelevant since the http{s} traffic between your work station and the world is just as clear without having to 'walk around and look into your cube.'

Total kudos to the skinning though, I really enjoyed it.

8 points by trotsky 22 hours ago 2 replies      
At work?

Yup, and that means I have a pretty restrictive firewall.

Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081 <----

5 points by shawnee_ 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Good idea. Better idea - YC news from the console:


And, for old timers, there's always lynx.

8 points by Osiris 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I laughed out loud when I clicked on that link. (Un)fortunately for me, I work from home so I don't have anyone checking over my shoulder.
3 points by yread 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Ordinary folk (non-programmer's) already have this
4 points by mirkules 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the "boss key" in video games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_key)

Nicely done!

5 points by ericz 22 hours ago 0 replies      
4 points by famousactress 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh, sad. (That people need this). Clever, though.
1 point by sgentle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool site. :)

You've got a bug on Ask HN posts, though, where you get a relative URL from HN (/comments/blah) which ends up relative to your site rather than news.yc.

4 points by autoreverse 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My version in HTML/JS (click the license to toggle HN)


6 points by kin 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny, but my boss is also a hacker and now recognizes this =(
2 points by brianr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To read in vim:

  curl http://ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081/ | vim -

8 points by rajasharan 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a similar one for Reddit in C# style. Nice.
5 points by michuk 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice! But it doesn't beat the Jabber client embedded as an Excel macro I used while working for a bank.
5 points by sawyer 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if someone could learn Node simply by browsing HN in this format for a few weeks.
3 points by abraham 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The require('http') has an extra ; after it.
1 point by frazerb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I spend most of my day talking with customers and reviewing contracts etc.. As much as I would love to, I think if my boss caught me looking at code like this he would fire me !
1 point by dbuizert 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would you get fired over browsing websites that fall within the set guidelines by your employer? If a website like HN doesn't fit in there, you got screwed over and time to find a new job.

An employee should have the freedom to browse the web with limited restrictions. If that is not the case then it is a violation of the employees creativity and could hurt the employer in the long run since his/her employees are bound to limited creativity on the job sight.

2 points by huge_ness 21 hours ago 0 replies      
now working for me!

for some reason it's pushing to http://ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081/ and not nowjs.com

3 points by aeter 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's awesome. It would be great to be able to read the HN comments like that too.
1 point by thomasfl 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Finally something useful hacker news. I have been reading way to much hacker news lately, and my colleagues have started to take notice.

Next month I hope someone could make a html source code theme for hacker news.

2 points by yuhong 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Yea, managing by treating people as dumb automatons is fundementally flawed.
2 points by dudurocha 23 hours ago 1 reply      
OMG, this is amazing.
Very funny!
And you can actually say " there must be a bug here, i just cant find", and read everthing.
1 point by dacort 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I really wanted to be able to upvote from that interface.
1 point by mattdeboard 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Bravo, this is extremely clever.
1 point by MatthewRayfield 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the Ghostzilla project:


1 point by snissn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be concerned about getting fired for using node.js..
1 point by joezydeco 22 hours ago 1 reply      
How about one that looks like a spreadsheet?
1 point by koko775 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha! I see what you did there, eric.


1 point by kranner 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by kirpekar 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Helpful too. Thanks!
1 point by mcorrientes 21 hours ago 0 replies      
node.js looks really sexy, can't wait to become stable enough for a productive system.
1 point by redredraider 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Someone port it to my circa 1994 cobol compiler and I'll be set.
1 point by Jasonp 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious. Not sure about useful, but hilarious - yes.
1 point by dnot 23 hours ago 0 replies      
this is great! is there a 'next' button? Did I just not see it?
1 point by martinkallstrom 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Dude, nice!
1 point by growingconcern 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Now I just need a reddit version!
1 point by Smirnoff 22 hours ago 3 replies      
honestly we need a mobile app for hn. somebody?
1 point by johng 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool :)
2 points by malvim 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't even know these guidelines existed, but it was fun to read:

"Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think something is spam or offtopic, flag it by going to its page and clicking on the "flag" link. (Not all users will see this; there is a karma threshold.) If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did."


Samsung installs keylogger on its laptop computers networkworld.com
484 points by pietrofmaggi 2 days ago   201 comments top 31
113 points by jedsmith 1 day ago 4 replies      
Am I the only one that wipes the OEM operating system as soon as I buy a computer? Even if I'm putting Windows right back on it?

I started doing it because of the crap they bundle in there, but this seems like an unintended good reason to do so as well.

34 points by 16s 2 days ago 4 replies      
Off-topic: I wrote a very primitive passive keystroke logger a few years ago (just to demonstrate how they work). I still have the source code and folks email me about it often:


My example is really trivial and it only works on Windows, but it works well and demonstrates the concept of passive keystroke logging. Unlike system wide hooks, passive logging just monitors the key states. Sort of like when you are playing a video game and press the 'P' key. The game pauses because it's monitoring the P key's state (up or down) and can tell when it changes. Extend that concept to the entire keyboard and you have a passive keystroke logger.

Passive loggers are more challenging to detect as well and they run just fine as a normal user (no need to be root).

27 points by po 2 days ago replies      
Talk about burying the lede...

And what does he mean by "After the initial set up of the laptop"? What exactly did he do? Couldn't it just mean that the security software he is using to do the scan or the media he is using is infected? I just think this sounds fishy until he's verified it with a completely different set of tools.

26 points by westbywest 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The statements that Samsung installs keylogger on R525 and R540 laptop computers are false.

"After investigating into this matter, it was found that the software installed was in fact Vipre, not the commerical keylogger called StarLogger. The confusion arose because Microsoft's Live Application multi-language support folder, 'SL' folder, was mistaken for StarLogger

"(Live Application is Microsoft's application which provides messenger, email, video, photo gallery functions. Depending on the language, under C:\windows folders 'SL' for Slovak, 'KO' for Korean, 'EN' for English are created.)"


21 points by jgrahamc 2 days ago 3 replies      
Mohamed Hassan, MSIA, CISSP, CISA graduated from the Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) program from Norwich University in 2009

Really bad way to start an article. Who cares about all these qualifications? Did he find a key logger and how did Samsung respond?

Unfortunately, they have decided to make us wait for the response. That seems really lame IMHO.

33 points by mrcharles 2 days ago 5 replies      
It would be interesting to hear from the HN community, people with Samsung laptops, if they've had this happen, or if they check now, if this keylogger is discovered.
24 points by jgrahamc 1 day ago 2 replies      
13 points by blinkingled 1 day ago 4 replies      
Thank heavens this was software based - now imagine if they shipped keyboard firmware with a built in keylogger! Who knows, may be some do - that would be nearly impossible to detect as they can encrypt it.

On a related note - My bank requires me to use a on-screen virtual keyboard to log into the online account. The keys of this virtual keyboard are randomly rearranged every time it is invoked. That could certainly beat keyloggers.

15 points by albedoa 2 days ago 2 replies      
The findings are false-positive proof since I have used the tool that discovered it for six years now and I am yet to see it misidentify an item throughout the years.

Thus, it is false-positive proof? Why wouldn't he test it against other tools? Why wouldn't he try to find out as much about this as you can before writing an accusatory article?

Further, why is he running a full-system security scan on a fresh installation of Windows? Is that normal? If this is a genuine accusation of wrongdoing, then I think that the actual sequence of events and his entire methodology should be disclosed.

19 points by GiraffeNecktie 2 days ago 3 replies      
I would have expected this to show up from many different sources. The fact that only one person is reporting this makes the story somewhat suspect. Surely he's not the only Samsung owner to run a malware scan.
8 points by narrator 1 day ago 0 replies      
This isn't the first time Samsung did this kind of thing. On their android phones, they have a system called CarrierIQ that is deeply embedded into the system and can monitor practically all aspects of phone usage.


22 points by Bo102010 2 days ago 4 replies      
This strikes me as dubious at best. I think a more likely explanation is that his detection software is flagging anything with the path "c:\windows\SL" as malware.

He says "This key logger is completely undetectable," which is clearly untrue (he has allegedly detected it).

If it's logging his keystrokes, it's either storing them locally or sending them off somewhere else, or both. If he's as qualified as he says, he should be able to find out which (find a file that increases in size after a lot of keystrokes, use Wireshark...).

13 points by anon1385 1 day ago 0 replies      

Samsung responds to installation of keylogger on its laptop computers

The supervisor who spoke with me was not sure how this software ended up in the new laptop thus put me on hold. He confirmed that yes, Samsung did knowingly put this software on the laptop to, as he put it, "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

In other words, Samsung wanted to gather usage data without obtaining consent from laptop owners.


We contacted three public relations officers for Samsung for comment about this issue and gave them a week to send us their comments. No one from the company replied.

5 points by helmut_hed 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a plausible scenario under which Samsung is innocent:

1) Starlogger is part of the security software Hassan installed, and
2) The Samsung person he reached didn't know what he was talking about

I have no idea if this is really what happened, but consider:

Hassan says After the initial set up of the laptop, I installed licensed commercial security software and then ran a full system scan before installing any other software.

This could simply be an embarrassing mistake, compounded by the ignorance of some call center person... I'm waiting for confirmation from others with Samsung systems.

24 points by derrida 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, has ANYONE verified this independently yet?
4 points by motters 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a disappointing cliff-hanger ending. Without more information it's impossible to say whether this is just some malware accident or a deliberate policy by Samsung. I'm inclined to think that the former situation is more likely.
4 points by unreal37 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am skeptical this is true. Some phone tech support guy overseas is not official confirmation of official policy. I would like to see more widespread confirmation ('happened to me too!') before people start dumping on Samsung.

Also missing, evidence it was turned installed and running at bootup, evidence it was sending information anywhere. It should be fairly easy to use the laptop, connect to the internet, and see what data is sent to what server, owned by whom. THAT is evidence. These are just random unimportant files in some random directory until then.

2 points by motters 1 day ago 0 replies      
The second part is more interesting, but it doesn't give any indication as to whether the keylogger was installed on a small number of internal test machines which then accidentally escaped into consumerland, or whether this is a more widespread practice. If it is widespread then Samsung are really entering a world of pain in terms of lawsuits.
4 points by hbz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder where it stores all this logged information. Despite a lot of references to the Sony rootkit, the author doesn't specifically call this a rootkit other than to say it's "completely undetectable" (not really). There's also mention of traces of the program being found in c:\windows\SL, which means its not very well hidden. More information is required.
4 points by denysonique 2 days ago 3 replies      
However, a scan result does not mean much, a full proof would be if he found the keystrokes actually logged in some file and/or being sent to somewhere.

Btw, I am typing this from a Samsung R510 laptop. Fortunetaly I don't use crappy windows. I run Gentoo Linux.

2 points by mulander 1 day ago 1 reply      
I own a HP laptop which recently had its mother board replaced. The machine came with an OEM installation of MS Windows Vista - I didn't reinstall / remove but I did lock out and changed the password for the 'Administrator' account. To my surprise when the laptop came back from repair (official HP on warranty repair) the Administrator account was unlocked and the recent activity on that account indicated that video files were being run recently from it.

I assume that they must have a way to unlock the account I just hope it's not a full time remote control like mentioned in this article. You can be sure of one thing - I will never buy from HP again.

1 point by jpablo 2 days ago 2 replies      
This in no way compares to the Sony Rootkit fiasco. Even if the keylogger is still there I'll hardly doubt that Samsung installed it on purpose.
2 points by loganlinn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there not a hole in this argument? Why wouldn't he first question the store at which he bought both of these Samsung laptops? This isn't solid evidence that the source of the keylogger is from the hardware manufacturer and is borderline defamation.
1 point by Derbasti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, if this turns out to be true, no more Samsung in my family.
1 point by rheide 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could be any number of reasons for this. The store may have messed up and had its computers infected by a virus. Or Samsung itself. Or user error, like other people pointed out already.

What I would be interested to know is if the logger actually phones home, and if so, to where. That would give fairly conclusive proof if Samsung did it or someone else. If it's just logging stuff locally then what's the point? Maybe Samsung (if Samsung is indeed the culrpit) could claim it's for tech support reasons?

2 points by mooky 1 day ago 0 replies      
One user reporting an incident does not a story make.
Lazy journalism.

Also: a possible publicity attack from someone who has just started up a security consultancy... But this could rebound on him due to his EXTREMELY sloppy work and total lack of forensic skill.

2 points by piaskal 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it's true I wonder if Samsung actually does that deliberately or were their production systems hit by some malware.
1 point by tikna 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am trying to find "Mohamed Hassan" on Internet. Now there is a doubt in my mind that he is even a real person?
1 point by tikna 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you think logically, why they would even do that?
What can they get out of logged data. Can you give me the answer?

I think you are exaggerating this thing too much.

0 points by bigohms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does this mean a Samsung exec will get some jail time just like the Utah University student who did the same thing and changed his grades?


0 points by azal 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sucks when companies start to impose crapware on consumers and defend it as useful.
Angry Nerds atlassian.com
469 points by kevinburke 16 hours ago   34 comments top 15
34 points by zzzmarcus 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I love the "Cease and desist - Rovio" testimonial. Wouldn't surprise me if that became a reality since they're selling merch. Awesome idea though.
32 points by Stormbringer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The Agilista

More process than progress. This dev fails fast and fails often.

Special Move:

Drops a jargon bomb on each level.

Priceless :D

29 points by brianwillis 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Ladies and gentlemen, April Fool's day has arrived (at least in Australia).
2 points by brown9-2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the "nerds" hitting the ground rather than the pile of 0s and 1s a part of the joke?
9 points by mr_pppoe 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The dev manager
The most useless character in the game.
Nobody is quite sure what this character does.

Can't agree more, :P

6 points by anactofgod 14 hours ago 0 replies      
April Fools?!?

Now, I'm really angry... nerds...

1 point by robin_reala 6 hours ago 0 replies      
After having to deal with Atlassian Confluence it's no surprise I'm angry.

JIRA's alright though.

1 point by spenvo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
(Despite just being a good joke) there's something to be said about the link between success and product familiarity/likeness. The "success" being that it got all of our attention (300+ votes on HN). It's more than just a cheap trick; companies copy ("learn from") each other's ideas and UI layouts all the time.
5 points by dcosson 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Haha, this is awesome. And fairly accurate.
2 points by fjw 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Should have included at least one other level design.. definitely made me laugh though.

Also: clicking on the App Store/Android link opens the game in full screen in case anyone is interested.

2 points by piaskal 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What I love the most about it is that I don't see any flash there. It's all HTML.
4 points by thascales 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Ooh! I'm really good at this game!
3 points by Brashman 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see the Nerds vs Plants mentioned.
3 points by erik_p 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The level design is a little repetitive... :P
-3 points by sitkack 14 hours ago 1 reply      
You can't lose. Lame.
Confirmed: Samsung is not shipping keyloggers f-secure.com
434 points by illdave 1 day ago   76 comments top 20
77 points by Construct 1 day ago replies      
This is a good reminder to always do your homework before making such a strong accusation. Samsung's reputation is probably largely undamaged, other than among people who just read the headlines on news aggregator sites. Even searching for 'Samsung Key Logger' pulls up mostly articles about the false alarm situation.

Mohamed Hassan [MSIA, CISSP, CISA and graduate of the Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) program from Norwich University in 2009 as the original article prominently states], on the other hand, is probably not so lucky. Any Google search on his name from now on will probably reveal this whole debacle. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if he just opened himself up to legal action by Samsung.

42 points by nickolai 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm no expert of Antivirus software, but figuring whether something is a threat by its _folder name_ ??? With all the money going into the industry? That has to be some sort of april fool's prank gone really bad.
22 points by CaptainZapp 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't help it. But the whole "security software" business really reminds me of the mob.

Nice laptop you have here; would be a shame if something would happen to it!

1 point by spacemanaki 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a waste of everyone's time:

> [UPDATE 3/31/11: Mich Kabay writes: A Samsung executive personally flew from Newark, N.J., to Burlington, Vt., carrying two unopened boxes containing new R540 laptop computers. These units were immediately put under seal and details recorded for chain-of-custody records. At 17:40, Dr Peter Stephenson, Director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, began the detailed forensic analysis of the disks. We expect results by Monday.]


9 points by cake 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you Google http://www.google.com/search?q=samsung+keylogger+monitor+the...

You'll have thousands of quotes from a so-called "Samsung supervisor" who "said it's used to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

What is this bullshit ? From where did the quote come from ?

Amazing how most are just copy-paste.
It just prove that very few online news websites verify their source if the keylogger claim is false.

8 points by todd3834 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"The findings are false-positive proof since I have used the tool that discovered it for six years now and I am yet to see it misidentify an item throughout the years."

Mohamed's lesson: Just because you were unable to prove a false-positive with the same program for 6 years doesn't mean there weren't any.

4 points by visakhcr 21 hours ago 0 replies      
From the original post which started all this:http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/sec/2011/032811sec2....

"After an in-depth analysis of the laptop, my conclusion was that this software was installed by the manufacturer, Samsung. I removed the keylogger software, cleaned up the laptop, and continued using the computer."

So, the author, Mohamed Hassan was able to uninstall a software which was never installed? I think he would have deleted the folder in question and called that un-installing!!

2 points by ryan-allen 1 day ago 1 reply      
This has got to get to 400+ points. For those who took the day off and will continue to believe the sensationalism before it pops off the front page? To be damned!

EDIT: I mean, this is the only tech news site I read. I don't know if I'm in the same boat so to speak.

3 points by pkteison 1 day ago 0 replies      
The laptop story yesterday led me to learn about CarrierIQ on my cell phone, which was equally disturbing. Maybe the laptop was a false alarm, but my Samsung cell phone did indeed have a keylogger on it. So I'm not inclined to cut them a lot of slack right now.
2 points by unreal37 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." -- often attributed to Mark Twain

The original article was so poorly fact checked. It really reflects poorly on Mohamed Hassan (and all his fancy yet meaningless credentials) and M. E. Kabay (who apparently worships Mr Hassan unquestioningly). I will not hold my breath out for a public apology from either of those two, although they are the ones who owe Samsung one.

And the irony is in fact delicious. A security expert finds a virus using an anti-virus scanner tool, and confirms it with some call center employee with the company. What does being a "security expert" have to do with any of that? My 10 year old nephew could have done that!

1 point by 16s 1 day ago 0 replies      
False positives are the bane of IT security products in general. I would say that 90% of issues reported are FPs and the end user is expected to figure that out, confirm then double confirm before reporting it as a potential issue.
3 points by zachahack 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Certs after your name are no substitute for common sense and good practices.
2 points by crististm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great news... but what's with the SL folder? The report does not say what SL folder contains on a new laptop.
Anyway, pretty dumb to check for viruses by folder name.
2 points by elessar0x3 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this whole debacle. I think it ended well. HN, and the power of news aggregating/forum/linking sites wield a decent amount of media power. I like that - because it's one of the instances where the collective mind has greater intelligence than any one individual. It confirms the notion that tech producers need to pay attention to the tech community and shortens the distance between the two, which I think is a good thing.
2 points by nate23342 1 day ago 0 replies      
Customer service Reps would NEVER have the authority to tell you that there is secret Key Logger on your computer. So if a customer Rep is telling you something like that, he is either trying to get fired or there is a miscommunication.
1 point by falcolas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I read it wrong, but the article never says Samsung didn't ship a keylogger, it just indicates that the AV software can make false positives based on a folder.

Can we get a link to an article that actually checks a Samsung laptop (and lists their methodology, not this "Duh, there were not any keyloggers") instead of anecdotal evidence and attacking the previous reseaerchers methods?

Even if the previous guy was wrong, at least he listed all his methods for review.

1 point by Trufa 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Though it is easy to say now, looking back, Mr. Hassan's investigation was far less in depth that it should have been for such a serious accusation.
-1 point by perspective 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I sure hope someone got fired for that one snicker
-1 point by originalgeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln
-4 points by tiki-tiki 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well, I'm not longer buying Samsung anyway. That's for sure.
Hiring Developers: You're Doing It Wrong pen.io
382 points by Udo 2 days ago   209 comments top 51
52 points by sp_ 2 days ago 9 replies      
I worked for a German startup too and our main problem was not vetting interviewees but finding people who want to interview at all. In the five year history of the company I think only one single person was hired who was not already friends with someone at the company.

Other people just never applied. I remember manning the booth at one of those college campus events and it was very lonely. I probably talked to three students that day. Nobody followed up with us. I even had the distinct feeling that students avoided eye-contact with us and made beelines for the booths of the big established companies.

In the end, our hiring interview process for interns was 'do you want to work for us? yes? you're in' and for full-time applicants it was simply non-existent. I think in the last three years we did not interview a single person.

I often wondered why that is but I have never found a good answer. In the end it worked out for us. The company was acquired by Google.

Still, I would have liked to have some applicants and interviews once in a while because I keep reading so much about them and I wanted to practice being an interviewer to avoid pitfalls as described in the article.

32 points by tt 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my previous "day" job, I probably interviewed more than 100 candidates and hired about 15-20. Here's what worked for me:

1. Phone screen (~45-60 mins). I'd spent ~15 mins going over what the company does, what the work environment is like, the team structure, the personalities, the technologies, etc... I'd try to "sell" our opportunity to jazz up the candidate and get them at least curious and hopefully very interested. I'd weave in a little of why-are-you-changing-job, what-was-your-experience-like, or what-would-you-prefer, and then ultimately we spent the majority of time on a recent project that he/she can talk about in depth. I pushed on a few related technical aspects to those projects to see if the candidate could clearly explain himself/herself technically.

2. First round (1.5-2 hrs). If I liked the candidate's potential after the phone screen, I'd invite him/her to our office to meet me and another engineer. We'd go into more depth about their recent project(s), and then go through a design/code exercise for a web application (the company builds web apps). The exercise was very open-ended (there's really no one correct way to do it). The design/coding choice depended on many factors, and we helped steer the conversations so the candidate could talk about those factors and what he/she would do to handle each of them (including when not to handle certain situations).

Along the way, we also probed into how he/she would work with other team members, how/whether to "challenge" another colleague, what/if any development process he/she would follow.

There was no trickery, no reversing a string, no linked lists. But I might ask how one would deal with concurrency conditions (two users trying to claim a single resource), how to scale with traffic, etc...

The candidate was encouraged to ask questions throughout the interview. It was a two-way street after all.

3. Second round (another 1.5-2 hrs). If first round went well, I'd invite the candidate back to meet a few other employees (e.g., another engineer, a Product Manager, a designer for example). I asked these other employees to ask anything they'd like, but at the end be able to tell me if this candidate would a) be smart, b) get things done, and c) have right cultural fit. If anyone had strong objection from this round, it almost always resulted in no-hire.

Equally important to hiring well is to let employees go quickly if they don't fit. That's a separate subject worth its own post.

33 points by jasonwatkinspdx 2 days ago 3 replies      
The only hiring process I have found to work for developers is to sit down and work on real code together.

This gets to the heart of the matter, and you very quickly feel out someone's knowledge, ability, and most importantly, how well they collaborate on a problem. Because in a startup you will need collaboration, and likely under the highest stress moments you've seen in your life.

I also feel like this gives applicants a much better opportunity to learn about their possible future company and coworkers, and whether they themselves would like the fit. If you have not done this sort of interview, even if you have never pair programmed, try it out. It's very effective.

What I'm still trying to learn, is what screening process to use ahead of this. Sadly, you can't invite everyone for an on site day long interview. The best I've come to is to look at what applicants have made on their own time or alternately how they talk over the phone about topics and problems they're excited about. Resumes are nearly useless.

19 points by btmorex 2 days ago 2 replies      
Seems to me you just shouldn't ask typical "CS problems". The problem with those is that a positive result doesn't necessarily mean that the candidate knows anything. It could be that they've just interviewed so many times that they know a few common answers to memorize.

I still think asking coding questions is extremely important. Programming is one job where you can actually test skill in the interview (unlike management for example, where you mostly have to rely on personality, work history, and references). I don't know why you woulnd't take advantage of that opportunity.

As for culture fit, obviously you need to do that too, but that's somewhat orthogonal to what else you ask about in the interview.

32 points by bugsy 2 days ago 3 replies      
The spare time issue is an interesting one. One one side we have companies saying that they look for programmers who are working on projects after they get off work and on weekends. On the other side we have companies having employees sign a contract claiming that everything they do 24/7 belongs to the company. Often both sides are the same company.

It's not an issue for me only because I work for my own firm, something I had to do to get out of such bizarre situations. But it's an issue for many programmers who are told that working on their own projects is stealing time and mental energy from the company. I can certainly sympathize with the talented developer who, told that the company owns all his private projects done in his own time on his own equipment, simply chooses to leave at 5 and spend time with his family rather than have passionate private work seized and shelved by a firm who had nothing to do with its creation. It's really the rational choice if you think about it and something very valuable in a developer is rational thinking.

28 points by jacques_chester 2 days ago 2 replies      
My previous employer (http://thefrontiergroup.com.au) had a process where candidates would come and spend a day onsite. You'd be paid for the day.

The process was to work together with a senior coder on problems of escalating difficulty. Starting with

    1.upto 10 do |i| { print i }

"What does this do?"

And ending with "Here's a legacy application we maintain. Add a new widget to the dashboard. Think aloud."

During the day you had lunch with the team.

Even so, that process didn't work perfectly for them. They hired me and about 6 months later they decided to fire me.

Subsequently they've focused on hiring people they already knew. For example, they've hired Darcy Laycock (http://sutto.net/), who they've known through the Rails community for years.

... and in all fairness I'd sack about 5 of me to get a Darcy on board.

43 points by michaelchisari 2 days ago 5 replies      
Despite having written tens of thousands of lines of open source code, I have yet to have an interviewer who has looked at that code and asked me about it.
1 point by utahmadmike 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great article! For 15 years I have conducted interviews and been the victim of the interview process. Your article sounds familiar; I have been telling my wife the same thing (out of frustration) for years. On several occasions I have made it through 3 or 4 levels of the interview process and then blocked in the final interview-step by an insecure or egotistical technical person.

I would add the following (problem) points as well.
* Some technical people like to hire clones of themselves, creating conflict and diversity issues.
* Some technical people, conducting the interview, use the interview process to posture and show how smart they (the interviewer) are.
* According to the BLS, the demand for programmers is decreasing while demand for analysts is increasing. Programming has changed a lot with tools like intellisense and included libraries.
* If you can't answer the question, "why did you ask that question?", you should not ask the question. Each interview question should have a specific targeted purpose.

I hope my additions help.

2 points by am_a_droid 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hello Mr. Schroeter,

I have enjoyed your post on DZone (http://www.dzone.com/links/r/hiring_developers_youre_doing_i...) and have decided to let you know about it. This topic of 'interviewing the right candidate' has always intrigued me. I have always wondered if the superstars amongst the technology-driven companies have devised a surefire method to pick the right candidate from thousands! In my experience, the decision to go for a candidate or not, is very subjective as you have mentioned. At a certain point in time during the interview, one listens to a inner voice and decides between 'Yeah!' or 'Nah!' and not always that decision is based on pure facts: precise answers to precise questions. But, to know the personality of a programmer - through some questions and possible answers in an hour's conversation - is a difficult task. You have not mentioned if you had cracked it finally in your star-up or your later efforts/engagements. I will be keen to know.

I am based in India currently. Here, because of the business success of the IT Service companies, most of the companies try to follow their business model. However, about 95% of the work that these companies take up are low-tech, mostly repetitive and disincentivize breakthrough technical work. Their need for good programmers is not much; they are content to see that the client is that much happy to keep the projects continuing: that is the main objective. Moreover, you seem to say that 'scaling' is not an insurmountable problem. It probably is, if you see that the Indian IT service companies cite hiring figures in tens of thousands in an year. So, the interview process that these companies stick to, aims to find out how much is the probability that the candidate is going to prove himself a misfit. Subjective, as usual; for a good measure, the companies take in people in huge numbers simply hoping that the probability of a 'good fit' increases. For a bit more experienced people, it is almost always aimed to find out if the candidate can 'manage' a team, and certainly not whether the candidate understands the world of programming at all.

I work as a freelancer and in India, that doesn't help me. I claim to know and understand what it takes to 'design' and 'develop' a good piece of software. More than that, I carry a certain amount of intensity about the whole act of programming and usefulness of well-written programs, even at this advanced age. However, that doesn't interest most of the potential employers because a good programmer - who knows some but is eager to work in a team where people know more than he does - is not valued as much. Importantly, it requires a keen pair of eyes to spot these qualities and that is largely missing.

Recently, situation here has made me so despondent that I have begun to look for opportunities outside India, Europe in particular (I have stayed and worked there before, hence the bias). I am hoping that there will be some people out there who will take some interest in not only what I know and have done, but how fast I can know more and can do if I join them. I am looking for those keen pair of eyes. Agreed that there are those issues of geographical distance and visa papers etc., but if someone finds me suitable, s/he may want to go that extra mile.

If you have read till this point, thanks for your patience. I read your post at a moment when I was in despair and wanted to demonstrate that your post chimed with me.

Warm regards

-- Nirmalya (sengupta.nirmalya@gmail.com)

Software Technologist

10 points by dminor 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once decided to skip the standard programming problem during the interview process, and I ended up regretting it extremely. The person we hired was nice, and a good "culture" fit, but couldn't code for beans. We had to let them go and I felt pretty bad about it.

Programming questions certainly aren't the be all and end all, but as a filter they are useful.

14 points by staunch 2 days ago replies      
My current system is:

1) Simple programming challenge (< 30 minutes) by email. To see if they can actually write good code. Resume/age/experience/location mostly disregarded.

2) Casual discussion-style interview to get to know how they think and behave.

3) Short term contract with a predefined project (< 3 months) to see how they work over time.

4) Full time hire with salary + equity.

7 points by petenixey 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once learned a shocking lesson about the influence of my preconceptions when I accidentally took a developer through three rounds of interviews because he previously worked for Pivotal Labs and had a German (aka technical) accent.

It wasn't until the third interview that I asked him to write an algorithm to sort an array and when he couldn't I suggested instead writing an algorithm to see whether the array was already sorted. When he couldn't do that either he told me I was asking the wrong questions and not letting him show off the code he was good at.

To this day I have wondered and never discovered what type of code doesn't involve arrays, loops and comparisons however I do now ask candidates to write code right at the start of the interview loop. I simply never anticipated how many non-programmers would apply for programming positions.

19 points by emehrkay 2 days ago 3 replies      
While at my last job I was tasked with being apart of the interview process. My favorite question was "how do you keep up with web technology and trends? (web development)" and I was surprised at how many people had no answer for that simple question.

My response to my manager was "this dude wont work"

7 points by ianbishop 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never really understood why companies don't just take a non-trivial real problem that they have run into during development. Just ask the candidate to talk it out, see if they are able to at least get on their feet toward a solution or an idea of possible solutions.

I've never hired anyone, but I can tell you that I could write a linked list in a handful of languages. I can also tell you that it doesn't say much about what I know (or perhaps more importantly, don't). Problem solving is what is important, more important than ability to write code on a whiteboard.

4 points by MichaelGG 2 days ago 1 reply      
Writing code is just another type of conversation. Sure, you're going to ask many questions. Having a candidate code a bit in front of you, going back and forth, provides a lot of info.

As far as "CS puzzles" - binary search, trees, linked lists, hashtables, etc: None of those should be puzzles. If you're giving interviews that people can "memorize" an answer to, then the problem is how you're doing the interview. A proper conversation, including code, will quickly sort out if the person just memorized a one-line Haskell quicksort, or actually knows what they're talking about.

5 points by okaramian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely agree with this post. I've been interviewing for the last couple months and one of the better/more fair interviews I've had involved a nice back and forth (mostly the types of questions posed in the article, including a lot of stuff about my outside projects).

Then they brought me in for a tech interview where they plunked me down in front of a computer to architect a small application for a type of problem I might encounter on the job. I thought it was fair and it probably gave them reasonable insight into how I code/think/present my solutions.

I've had a lot of "write a linked list" style and they're draining. The quality of the applicant being pulled in to do CS trivia is going to be all over the place since that type of an interview can be gamed fairly easy if someone has a desire to do so.

12 points by cpt1138 2 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking from personal experience, a bad job can leave your "passion" somewhat lacking. I think if you asked anyone I work with today, they would definitely describe me as passionate. There are indicators that I am doing well there. I can't agree more with this article. I absolutely hate doing tech interviews. I can not code under pressure. Even in the most high pressure situations with an outage or huge customer issue, I always take a step back, think, and try to see what else might be affected before doing anything.

I hate tech interviews so much, that I never do them. I mostly do unconsciously what this article lays out. I would say personally I've experienced better than average hires if I happen to be positive on the person, doing what this article suggests in an interview. I have missed good people (was overridden) and have failed tons of tech interviews where I thought I would be an excellent fit on the other qualifications.

You'll have to ask my co-workers if I'm good, but they tell me I am.

9 points by eaxitect 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my 2c's on this as a 12 yrs Software Eng and a startup founder:

1) Software development is a TEAM work, so asking one questions like "how did you design this or that" is just pointless. We did design that on that specific period of time...Our motivation was ...
2) Good Developers Copy, Great Developers Steal (altered from P.Picasso), so we all use Google, HN, GitHub, wikipedia and alike to innovate our solution, so if you ask me B-Tree algos, I'm sorry, but I've to look at wikipedia...
3) Hiring process is just a scumbag for both parties, you impose big, the other party imposes big. So what? You're not Google, and he's not Kevin Mitnick...
4) I think, companies should try to get the personality, not the KLOCs of applicants. If you gonna ask programming puzzles, please be authentic and ask something related to you. Not just copy a Googlr interview question because you liked it.

7 points by joshsegall 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems fairly obvious that a pure tech interview doesn't screen for cultural fit, and that you need to have some form of behavioral/cultural assessment as part of the interview process.

Depending on how much time you have to interview (and I suggest you take the time if you're going to hire someone!) the "standard" dev interview can do pretty well at weeding out candidates who clearly lack basic skills. Joel Spolsky is a proponent of this and I agree.

I've found that passion is a great indicator of future success, and you can usually get a good quick read on whether they are serious about software development by asking people about their favorite projects, what they spend their time working on, and what interesting things they see happening in the field.

5 points by joakin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bit offtopic but that CSS made reading the article a complete pleasure. With the mixture of nice readability and interesting content this post turns out as a really good essay.
2 points by Jeema3000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Knowing all about data structures and other computer science implementation-related stuff means exactly nothing if a person can't think creatively enough about how to approach a real-world problem to begin with. Those data structure CS questions are down in the weeds and you haven't even figured out if the person can get down to the weeds if you're asking those sort of questions in a first-round interview.

I mean think about it: do you approach programming tasks top-down or bottom-up, usually?

Critical thinking is the most important skill IMO, and it can only be tested by giving someone open-ended questions on how they would approach real-world assignments, preferably in a low-pressure take-home test kind of thing - again IMO...

3 points by mncolinlee 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was very impressed when an employer used an open notes, take home exam in the second interview. Initially, they had tried a written, proctored exam during the first interview.

Although I was the only candidate among many who did not claim any experience in the actual technologies listed in the position, I was also the only candidate who turned in the take home exam. I also completed my working code in 8 hrs rather than the week time limit. The others all quit the exam at various stages because they did not possess the tenacity to hunt down technical knowledge online required to implement the proof of concept software. At the third interview, they asked me how I came to my solution and why I chose certain methods in order to validate that I completed the work myself.

This seemed like an great alternative to other exam experiences I'd had. At another interview, a non-technical company officer asked me a technical question and then couldn't explain it. The question was so opaque that it took thirty minutes of probing and badgering him to even understand the question. By this point, I was ready to write them off and leave. They lost their largest customer the next week and I would've been laid off if I'd joined them.

2 points by larsberg 2 days ago 0 replies      
"we ended up hiring the candidate with the smoothest answers"

I mentioned this in another thread, but the point of coding questions is to see how they think about code, whether they understand how to walk through it (have a machine model), if they can pick out and evaluate edge cases, and how they can work with hints from you on how to improve their answer. Hiring based on ability to answer a particular problem is probably only a slightly better indicator of ultimate job success than height.

4 points by Osiris 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems that one simple thing you could ask is for usernames or profiles on sites like StackOverflow or other programming related websites to see what kinds of contributions or questions they've been asking.
1 point by usaar333 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have to disagree about the uselessness of a technical interview. I'm 100% with RethinkDB that any competent programmer should be able to figure out how to reverse a singly-linked list in some reasonable time. (http://www.rethinkdb.com/blog/2010/06/will-the-real-programm...).

" Some were shooting their pre-canned answers at me with unreasonable speed."

This should not be possible for all questions in a technical interview. Especially if you are a startup, you can use your own original problems, especially ones you've actually had to solve. Aim for actual coding questions though rather than too puzzling ones that are often just memorized (implement quicksort, detect cycle in linked list in O(1) space, the random puzzles companies love to ask).

Of the people I've worked with, there is a high correlation to job performance to performance in a tech interview. (which for new grads is strongly correlated to their college CS grades).

Of course, passion is also a decent indicator, but it is highly correlated with raw competance. That said, I wouldn't hire anyone lacking either.

Disclaimer: I'm coming from the background of a systems company. For those making CRUD apps, tough coding questions might be less relevant.

2 points by dspeyer 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with "tell me about your projects" is that it doesn't distinguish good programmers from bad. It isn't even gaming. A programmer who makes a negative net contribution to a large project may sincerely feel he is responsible for its success. All you can pick up on is their perception.

At least when you ask them to write code, you can tell if they got it right or wrong.

1 point by ScottBurson 2 days ago 0 replies      
>But how did the candidates we selected measure up? The truth is, we got very mixed results. Many of them were average, very few were excellent, and some were absolutely awful fits for their positions. So at best, the interview had no actual effect on the quality of people we were selecting, and I'm afraid that at worst, we may have skewed the scale in favor of the bad ones.

This doesn't follow at all! Consider, as is surely the case, that only a small fraction of the applicants would have turned out to be average to excellent. The interview process can filter out the vast majority of the sub-average applicants and still leave you with a significant fraction of sub-average employees.

2 points by motters 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the last year I've been on interviews like this, where I've been presented with sorting problems or quirky pointer arithmetic conundrums. However, these bear no relation at all to the kinds of practical software problems which I've had to tackle in business or industrial contexts in the previous decade or more.
5 points by joshu 2 days ago 0 replies      
A very candid self-analysis. Thank you.
3 points by civilian 2 days ago 0 replies      
s/'Me and my cofounder'/'My cofounder and I'

But it was a really good article besides that! Sorry for being a grammar german.

1 point by rdorfner 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Well stated and pretty much spot on, with one exception...

The notion about "Programmers who are good program all the time, even in their spare time."

It has been my personal observation that this period of "Programming is the only thing worth doing with your life" (And yes, I know I am paraphrasing this in an unkind interpretation of what you said, I'm not doing it to be mean though, I'm doing it to illustrate a point) is true, for the first 5 to 7 or 8 years of a programmer's career. The reason seems to be that the deep fascination with what makes programming interesting as a career, continues to hold them even in the evening hours when they are at home. When not actually programming, they talk about programming, or programming problems or some aspect of computers and computing technology, when they can find friends to talk about it with, that is.

However, the basic drive behind this seems to be finding out as much as you can possibly find out about your chosen field or niche within the field. After that time period, though, something interesting happens. The MYSTERY of it all, starts to fade. You begin to see patterns in how things work, and similarities in how things are done, or are implemented, or can be implemented. Other interests start to take hold and after a while, family life starts to become important as well. At least, for a well balanced human, it does.

And that, I think, becomes my major point. The kinds of programmers who live eat breathe and drink programming, non stop, past this time period, are RARE, and usually are not well socially adjusted.

This is something that I think is not accounted for when interviewing more experienced software engineers. When looking at the scads of job openings for folks with 3 to 5 years of experience, your methodology and assumptions should work well, however, when you are looking for that really senior guy or gal who has been doing this for over 20 years, then the methodology, in my opinion, will not yield to you the best results. ie. teasing out the best candidate from the stack.

As an aside, I once told this to a young friend of mine who I met in college. I had already been programming for nearly ten years when I returned to school to get my bachelors in CompSci. I was always fascinated with just HOW MUCH he would go on and gush about computers, tech, sun workstations, sgi's, their hardware, their software, how to program them, linux and unix tricks etc etc.. One day I smiled and said to him. "I'll give you 5 to 7 years, and this utter all consuming fascination with computers will tone down to seeing them as nothing more than tools." He denied it, vehemently, he would NEVER have computers be something so mundane! It was, about 7 years later that I got an email from him where he told me "You were right." He's a googler now, and was one of the lucky ones who was in early, pre ipo and can now retire if he wants to. I myself tried getting into google, but made some mistakes in the interview process, trying to be 'clever'. It backfired, but that's okay. And not once did they ever ask me anything about what it is I do, or what I do best, or what I was interviewing for, board bring up, device drivers and kernel porting. Things which I'm very good at and have done for over 25 years.

Anyways, just my .02, your mileage may vary!

Richard Dorfner

4 points by amurmann 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why not just pair with the interviewee for half a day or a day? You will learn how they think and work and if you like them. It's a riddle to me. I've never heard from anyone actually trying it and not being happy with the insight won.
2 points by chopsueyar 2 days ago 2 replies      
When I hire a developer, I ask him about the scene in 'The Social Network' with the Winklevoss twins, and ask if he knew Armie Hammer's face was CG'ed to another actors body.

Depending on his answer, I know right there whether to end the phone interview, or fly him to the Valley so I can see him write code on a whiteboard.

2 points by ses 2 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this post. Apart from anything else 'software developers' vary massively in their core strengths and job positions require different strengths in the candidates. Skill in developing algorithms and solving puzzles on the fly is just one of those strengths. There are so many more in terms of software engineering practices, knowledge of programming patterns, awareness of different programming paradigms, ability to solve higher level problems / combine technologies effectively to solve a business problem rather than a low level programming problem etc.
2 points by damovisa 2 days ago 1 reply      
My last interview process was intense:

1. A write-a-document test. I was given a fairly simple (contrived) scenario over the phone and was asked to write specs and a deployment plan with a deadline of an hour.

2. A programming test. Again, a description given over the phone and someone available to answer questions if I had them. After delivery, there was a followup programming task to extend it from a client app to a web app. It took about 8 hours in total.

Provided you're willing to put in the time (and I was), it seemed to be an excellent way of judging whether I could really do the work they needed me to.

3 points by reubenyeah 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always find the emphasis put on algorithms 99.9% of developers will probably never have to implement after the interview totally astonishing.
5 points by KeyBoardG 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agreed. As a team lead I've hired my best talent with interviews like this.
2 points by JerryH 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't agree more.

The focus that the short sighted interviewers and companies have on how fast your can solve some pointless algorithm that a CS has figured out 30 years ago, vs how you get on with the team I find mind boggling.


2 points by meatpeople 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having only recently read Peopleware 2nd Ed., I've been mulling over the audition concept in the "Hiring A Juggler" chapter - effectively having a developer present on a project they worked on, what they contributed and learned and so forth.

It seems like it would have value - allow the candidate to prepare and present on a topic they're strong on, and in-depth enough to allow cross-examination.

Has anyone any experience of this from either side?

1 point by AlekseyB 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi there! Good article, I've seen similar situation in several companies too.

Few words about one startup-like company(based in Kiev, Ukraine) I have been working for 1 year as developer. It was focusing on .NET Enterprise apps.
Their interview approach:
- 1st day: tech-interview via phone(0.5-1hr);
- 2nd day: (companies office) simple technical tests(choose-right-answer on paper), short technical interview(technology basics, fizz-buzz tasks, sql-tasks, usually join/group-by, having-based), coding-task on laptop(the most significant and essential(for evaluating developer) part of whole interviewing process write application for calculating bowling scores, Console app or GUI application - no matter, for candidates choice, time-bounds - for candidates choice; rules were provided and explained to each candidate + full access to internet resources + possibility to ask interviewer == real working environment);
- 3rd day: final technical interview(patterns, OOP, code-design, etc.), general interview with CEO;

When I came to it, there were 3 devs(including me). The next(after me) developer were hired after ~60 interviewed fellows.
Yeah, the total interview time is tend to be long and hard, as for candidate such as for company, BUT in such way were established the best TEAM I had honor to work in.

Thanks for attention:)

3 points by vladhorby 2 days ago 1 reply      
I get a really good insight in the candidate's programming skills by pair-programming a simple problem with them.
For TDD, I write a test and ask him / her to write the code to make it pass (then repeat, refactor).
That way, I can see how fluent they are in the programming language, at the same time evaluate their problem solving skills and see how they work in a team.
3 points by ez77 2 days ago 1 reply      
Their smart quotes are ”wrong“.
2 points by cdegroot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fwiw, my current screening is: first resume screening, then I send candidates a simple programming exercise that sort of is in our domain. I can assess the delivered work in around five to ten minutes, so it scales well. Then a further skills/team fit check through interviews, and for those who survive that, the expensive bit: pairing with developers on actual production code.

Especially the exercise works as a good screen. We get quite a number of "deafening silence" responses, which says something about the candidate's motivation. We also get responses where people try to show off alternative language skills but deliver something totally non-idiomatic. And we get good submissions, showing some patterns knowledge, unit testing, at cetera. These typically end up being hired.

1 point by sl_a_sh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just had a thought: How about having a phone round first, and ask all applicants to provide a sample of their coding skills, like suggested in the article. Then, in the second round you leave each applicant for a couple of minutes to analyze the code from someone else and find out what it does and what's so special about it.

That way your work of looking into the code samples will be minimized. Even better, you'll get an idea of how well a coworker with a similar skillset can cope with that code. You can also judge how well people are at dealing with code from their coworkers and don't have to come up with examples yourself.

It does sound pretty good, no?

2 points by tripa 2 days ago 1 reply      
What does 'I only went "full Trump" once on an employee.' mean?
2 points by grahammather 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this! This really resonated with me.
1 point by androck1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure I agree with the alternative, but besides that, I think the nail was hit directly on the head.
2 points by jyap 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great read. Exactly how I have approached hiring developers.
1 point by carphill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very lucid and reasoned argument that you make. I intend to blog about it, and my forthcoming experience of using it on my blog at: carphill.blogspot.com
-4 points by haploid 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad this site's domain name wasn't issued by the Iceland TLD registry.
3 points by tomjen3 2 days ago 0 replies      

  Domain Name: monster-beatss.com

Registrant Contact:
wong wong 114174559@qq.com
+86.01083839489 fax: +86.01083839848
Beijing Beijing 101100

Administrative Contact:
wong wong 114174559@qq.com
+86.01083839489 fax: +86.01083839848
Beijing Beijing 101100

Technical Contact:
wong wong 114174559@qq.com
+86.01083839489 fax: +86.01083839848
Beijing Beijing 101100

Billing Contact:
wong wong 114174559@qq.com
+86.01083839489 fax: +86.01083839848
Beijing Beijing 101100

Domain Name: ghd-midnight-uk.com

   Registrant Contact:
Tony Wong
Tony Wong 506169530@qq.com
+86.01038098999 fax: +86.01038098888
Beijin Beijing 101100

Administrative Contact:
Tony Wong
Tony Wong 506169530@qq.com
+86.01038098999 fax: +86.01038098888
Beijin Beijing 101100

Technical Contact:
Tony Wong
Tony Wong 506169530@qq.com
+86.01038098999 fax: +86.01038098888
Beijin Beijing 101100

Billing Contact:
Tony Wong
Tony Wong 506169530@qq.com
+86.01038098999 fax: +86.01038098888
Beijin Beijing 101100

AIDS vaccine in final testing lanl.gov
372 points by swombat 1 day ago   74 comments top 22
182 points by scott_s 1 day ago 3 replies      
Title is misleading. To me, the headline "AIDS vaccine in final testing" implies that they are undergoing their final testing to verify that it does indeed prevent people from contracting HIV. That is not what it means. Rather, it means that they are in the final rounds to verify that the vaccine is safe, before they start human trials.

A more accurate title, to my ears, would be "HIV vaccine almost ready for human trials."

45 points by bmelton 1 day ago 6 replies      
A friend of mine was in pretty bad straits with the AIDS virus, full blown, and got into early clinical trials in a potential AIDS cure (don't know if it's this or not).

When we last spoke, his white blood cell count was up, and there was literally no trace of the virus in his blood stream; which is to say that while the virus may not have been 100% eradicated, any presence was literally undetectable.

That was over a year and a half ago, and I recently heard that he's still A-Okay, but I've heard surprisingly little about successful trials in the news.

18 points by eli 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a very misleading headline.

Many potential vaccines have gone through Phase 1 human trials in the past decade. Phase 1 is hardly the "final" test. It's mainly to establish safety, it doesn't even prove the drug works. AIDSVAX made it all the way to Phase 3 trials, but unfortunately it was not found to be effective.

I've got my fingers crossed, but this is not a particularly newsworthy event.

5 points by swombat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another source (perhaps even better, but it's the Daily Mail, urgh): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1371540/Mosaic-HIV...
4 points by jessedhillon 1 day ago 3 replies      
If this ever materializes as a widely available, easily administered vaccine, can you imagine the uproar from so-called religious folks in the US? A vaccine which safely prevents one from contracting an STD that is a killer of millions.

These people are going to lose their shit as they race to the nearest camera to denounce science for supporting "immoral" sexual activity (read: anything but abstinence) or worse, homosexuality (because HIV can really only be gotten from gays).

It was already pretty bad when the vaccine came out for HPV. In this case it's not hard for me to imagine Republicans blocking any aid to India or African countries (where the incidence of AIDS is highest) that comes in the form of an HIV vaccine, insisting instead that the money be spent on ineffectual abstinence efforts.

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily cynical.

6 points by mirkules 1 day ago 2 replies      
I always wonder how they actually test if a vaccine against lethal diseases is successful in humans. I can't imagine there are volunteers who sign up to be injected with a vaccine and then get injected with a live HIV virus, just to see if the vaccine works. Or do they just inoculate volunteers from the highest "at-risk" population -- but then, how do they measure if people have been exposed eventually to the virus or not?
2 points by losvedir 1 day ago 0 replies      
While this is a promising first start, it looks like it's a long way from being a working, FDA approved therapy.

This sounds like it's entering Phase 1 testing. Phase 1 testing is where the drug is tested on healthy volunteers to monitor its effects on humans and whether it's safe and could potentially work. Next it moves on to Phase 2, where the drug's efficacy is tested in addition to safety, in a small number of patients. If a drug succeeds there, it will then move into Phase 3 trials with, usually, hundreds or even thousands of patients. FDA approval generally requires two such Phase 3 trials to succeed. The whole process can take ten years and drugs can and do frequently fail along the way. I wish I had the statistic on hand, but I'd estimate less than 20% of drugs entering Phase 1 trials make it all the way.

6 points by guscost 1 day ago 0 replies      
AIDS is not a virus, it's a set of conditions. HIV is what you'd vaccinate against.


1 point by dotBen 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm curious a to why this vaccine has been worked in at Los Alamos which is a national security orientated government laboratory. (US government, of course)

On the one hand it makes sense - AIDS/HIV is a national security issue in many ways - I just wonder what that means for everyone outside of the US. If the US government owns the vaccine, are they going to share it openly and without prejudice to any other countries that want it? Even Iran?

But it also makes you wonder, then, whether there is merit in donating to AIDS/HIV research charities if any significant break-throughs are going to be snapped up by the government as matters for national security.

1 point by Roritharr 1 day ago 0 replies      
When i was 8 or 9 years old me and my best friend always fought about who would cure aids and who would cure cancer when we were grown up. Now i'm 23 years old, and went into CS instead of medicine although i had the possibility and had nearly as much interst in the field as in CS.

Nice to know someone was already hard at work while we were joking around.

2 points by chubs 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty amazing news if true.
Imagine the flow-on social effects of aids being reduced (or even eradicated!) in africa. Less orphans brings less poverty brings higher education, less violence, it really is going to be a big deal when someone finally makes an aids cure
1 point by magicmorg 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Scott_s is right it isnt even in phase one yet and may not make past phase two
plus how cross reactive will it be to newer mutations in HIV will it just create a selective pressure to more virulent viruses

but check out a cool vaccine type here
it doesn't use any needles

1 point by j_baker 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't want to wait for this HIV vaccine, there are others you can volunteer to test if you live in the Bay Area: http://www.helpfighthiv.org/vaccinetrials.htm
1 point by gohat 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has almost no value. This basically says that a proposed vaccine has shown some signs of efficacy in animal models and has not even been tested yet in humans as to whether or not it is safe.

In the field of AIDS, vaccine development has been tragically hard.

1 point by yason 1 day ago 0 replies      
As long as people won't let go of their urge to inflict their guilt into various lethal diseases we'll always have enough of them; double so for sexually transmitted diseases.
1 point by antihero 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't you have to have balls of steel to do human testing for this? If it doesn't work, don't you essentially contract HIV?
0 points by GrandMasterBirt 1 day ago 0 replies      
So honestly while I am super excited about the possibility of AIDS being a fear of the past, heres my criticism:

I read sometime ago that the conundrum with AIDS is that the better the immune system response, the faster it spreads. Because the response basically brings it's food to it faster. So vaccines seemed to actually do more harm.

I'm very curious on this, and would hope to see more on this particular story, and with more details than a "almost ready for human trial yay!"

1 point by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
So is it going to be $8 or $80?

Probably $8 outside the USA and $80 inside ?

1 point by andresmh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked at Los Alamos as an undergrad. I didn't know they did bio research. Go LANL!
1 point by takameyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I'm happy to hear this promising news, this article could really use more beef. Anyone have some good references or additional information on this topic?
1 point by bnegreve 1 day ago 0 replies      
Assuming that this vaccine "works", can it be of any use to people that already contracted AIDS ?
-1 point by berito 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am going to go get some with the filthiest tonight!
Node.js Guide nodeguide.com
341 points by gulbrandr 1 day ago   67 comments top 13
23 points by mononcqc 1 day ago 5 replies      
Here's some criticism.

Taken from 'convincing the boss':

Another great aspect of node.js is the ease at which you can develop soft real time systems. By that I mean stuff like twitter, chat software, sport bets or interfaces to instant messaging networks.

Those are not all 'soft real time' applications, especially not twitter. Soft real time here might mean that the usefulness of a result degrades if it misses its deadline. This might be the case of some chat software, but in the case of twitter, I receive very little degradation of service if I just go tomorrow.

The key point here is that you have to be able to have a metric of a deadline and what to do when you fail it. "If we do not get an acknowledgement by 30 ms, we assume the current node is too busy for our needs and retry on a different one" could be an example of this.

So don't try to build hard realtime systems in node, that require consistent response times. Erlang is probably a better choice for these kinds of applications.

Erlang is made specifically for soft real time applications, not hard real time. You do not want to use Erlang to build things like life or death systems when you need to be precise to the microsecond. It is pretty good when you can miss a deadline, handle that, work your way around it, but it can not offer any guarantee about never missing a deadline. Not only does this section give bad advice about node.js, it also gives bad advice on other languages.

It just feels as if the author meant to say "It is good for interfaces with live updates, which could be slow or lack constancy of response times", not much more.

Later in the same section:

Combining this with node's radical model of non-blocking I/O, you have to try very hard to create a sluggish application.

My understanding was that you actually have to be careful not to write code that runs for too long, in order to avoid messing up your request times by ruining the cooperative scheduling scheme used in the language.


In general, the previous guides seem to be nicer, although I have to question the reason behind advice like 'do not extend the prototypes'. I figure it has to do with the difficulty of keeping things compatible, but if you're giving me advice, tell me why. Do not expect me to blindly follow your standards just because you said so.

In the deployment part, it is shown how to use screen to start and detach the server. Is there any reason why nohup or disown won't do it? it is advised not to use the shown setup for a production system -- it would be nice to know where to look for that.

I'd also generally be interested in knowing how you'd avoid spaghetti callback hell from the approach used in node.js, but that doesn't seem to be part of the guide. This is a work in progress, and I am not holding this against the author.

15 points by jacoblyles 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the "Beginner Guide" section - I would recommend using console.error() instead of console.log() for debugging output because console.error() is blocking while console.log() is not. Nothing is more annoying than your program crashing before it finishes printing debugging output when you are trying to debug a crash!
11 points by davej 1 day ago replies      
I was afraid to read the style guide for fear of seeing the preceding comma pattern (I think it's popular in Node because ryah uses it). Thankfully it recommends the trailing comma :)

    var variable, // trailing comma

var variable
, anotherVariable // preceding comma
, thirdVariable;

5 points by FixedPoint 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am sorry, but event-based programming is the wrong way to tackle the problem of scaling up blocking I/O code. Event-based programming more or less forces one to write in CPS style, which soon becomes a nightmare to reason about. I speak from the experience of having written several thousand lines of such code.

A better solution is to pick a language that has light-weight threads (Haskell, Erlang, ...), and let the language handle the events (and call-stacks!) under the hood. Cf the caffeine/percolator paper (even though they do end up using heavy-weight Java threads).

2 points by swannodette 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ugh, don't agree at all with the dismissal of Object.freeze. This introduces immutable values to JS which is great for many kinds of data as well probably opening the door for more optimizations by V8.
4 points by gumbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something good to know about usecases where node.js is not a good fit:

  The truth is that while we are starting to see good frameworks for node.js, there is nothing as powerful as Rails, CakePHP or Django on the scene yet. If most of your app is simply rendering HTML based on some database, using node.js will not provide many tangible business benefits yet.

1 point by joelhaasnoot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very handy. Working on a project with node.js and need to take more of these suggestions to heart. Callbacks take some getting used to, especially returning data is tricky, but it does make things slicker.
Node.js is awesome but oh so fragmented: I use Mongoose and Express, both of which have APIs that have changed, and stuff breaks, with lots of old examples floating around. There are also lots of plugins and libraries which seem to do the same thing (cluster, spark, spark2, etc, etc)
2 points by glesperance 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one to wonder why there are no mention of coffee-script at all ?

It seems to me like a very effective and easy way to make programming more efficient and improve code readability.

Moreover,coffee-script handles all OOP concepts that could be needed to use node.

2 points by krmmalik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic. Just what i wanted. Thank you so much.
2 points by beck5 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just what I am looking for, installed node a few hours ago. Does anyone have any express.js resource recommendations?
1 point by efnx 1 day ago 0 replies      
(If you're reading Felix) The 'Right' section of Nesting Closures violates the 'Right' section of Named Closures. The outer closure is not named...
1 point by reledi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for this guide. I was going to learn Node.js later this month and this will make it much easier.
1 point by lxd 1 day ago 0 replies      
amazing guide, thank you!
Solarized - Color scheme for vim, mutt, terminal emulators ethanschoonover.com
323 points by lamnk 16 hours ago   96 comments top 32
46 points by daleharvey 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Its really rare to see that much thought going into the aesthetics of stereotypically "geeky" applications like vim and terminals, even the website looks entirely different from pretty much every website I have seen around these tools

its a refreshing change, awesome work

12 points by tptacek 14 hours ago 1 reply      
So, my mind is blown that you put so much effort into designing a color scheme, and thanks, but maybe put the img/ directory in your git repo somewhere else, so that a git pull of a color scheme doesn't take 50(!) megs.
11 points by julian37 15 hours ago 2 replies      
1 point by GrandMasterBirt 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Request for intellij impl.
6 points by moe 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I don't like this scheme and I don't buy the pseudo-science blurb. It's based on shades of blue. Our eyes are the least sensitive to blue. And what's up with the red and pink, is this some cruel joke?

I'll stick with Zenburn[1].

[1] http://slinky.imukuppi.org/zenburn/

7 points by lamnk 16 hours ago replies      
Please share your favorite color scheme(s) !

My favorite for gvim/MacVim is molokai: http://winterdom.com/2008/08/molokaiforvim , seconded by vividchalk when i'm on the terminal: https://github.com/tpope/vim-vividchalk

Haven't found any good color scheme for iterm2 yet. Currently i'm using thayer: http://ecto-plazm.deviantart.com/gallery/

5 points by brianr 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't know about the rest of you, but my eyes literally started to hurt when I read the text on that page, presumably because of the color of the text v. background. Doesn't bode well for using it in vim...

Maybe it looks better on a different monitor? (I have a Samsung LCD.)

3 points by stevejalim 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't mean to sound particularly thick here, but is there a way to apply these colours to my OSX Terminal too? I've installed the bundle for Terminal.app, and they look lovely in emacs, but can I use them in my general bash environment, too?
2 points by pyre 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone get a chance to test out how this looks with vimdiff? That's one area that usually ends up looking fugly b/c the theme creator neglected to look at it. Other areas that are typically neglected (though not in this case): code folding, split buffer dividers.
2 points by xiaomai 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't looked into how one can export gnome-terminal color palettes yet, but if anyone else is interested, I think these are the correct settings in gconf:

    /apps/gnome-terminal/palette: #070736364242:#D3D336368282:#B5B589890000:#CBCB4B4B1616:#2A2AA1A19898:#6C6C7171C4C4:#858599990000:#EEEEE8E8D5D5:#00002B2B3636:#D3D301010202:#58586E6E7575:#65657B7B8383:#838394949696:#26268B8BD2D2:#9393A1A1A1A1:#FDFDF6F6E3E3
/apps/gnome-terminal/background_color: #00002B2B3636
/apps/gnome-terminal/foreground_color: #65657B7B8383

Edit: Ok, I pulled down the source for gnome-terminal since I couldn't find a way to export/import color schemes. The color palettes are all hard-coded, so that is unfortunate :(.

1 point by aperiodic 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The 64-bit TerminalColours SIMBL plugin that's linked to in the README doesn't play nicely with binaryage's 64-bit Visor plugin, for some reason. However, Evan Phoenix's fork[1] works perfectly for me.

[1] https://github.com/evanphx/terminalcolours/downloads

1 point by lbolla 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I tried to install the iTerm2 colorscheme and also the vim colorscheme, but they look nowhere near the screenshots.
Anyone having issues like this?
1 point by Luyt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A bit too much color according to my taste - I like a more subdued color scheme, as seen in http://www.michielovertoom.com/pictures/kwrite-textanalyse.p... All black on lightgray, strings dark gray, and prussian blue comments).
8 points by mark_story 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Fantastic work. If I happen upon some spare time I'll try and port it for TextMate users.
2 points by aidenn0 15 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be nice to have a script that would start with this as a base, but let you tune the contrast. I like the theme, but would like more contrast than this (I use small fonts, and I really feel like more contrast is necessary when doing so).
1 point by bricestacey 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I cannot seem to get the colors to render properly on Snow Leopard, using Terminal.app, and vim. Anyone else have any trouble but get it to work?

I installed the thing as instructed. I installed SIMBL and the SIMBL plugin, installed Solarized Dark Terminal.app theme, installed vim using pathogen, and set .vimrc with the additional g:solorized_termcolors=16 option.

1 point by leif 9 hours ago 0 replies      
the bold colors are bad, this makes most of my terminal apps annoying as hell (ncmpcpp, byobu, aptitude, htop)

for one thing, at least one of the bold text colors is the same as the background, this makes this text not even show up when it's present

it would be nice if not for this

4 points by kunalb 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I found the theme rather comfortable for using in the terminal; however I set TERM=xterm-256color so that vim would also pick up the light colour schemeâ€"there seemed to be some issues with the background colour on gnome-terminal/Ubuntu.


1 point by JulianMorrison 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I really don't get the terminal color assignments. Why are the brfoo colors set to grey?
1 point by swaits 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this work in the console (vim)? I currently have desert256 working nicely in iTerm (xterm-256color). I'm away from my computer or I'd test it myself. Thanks! Never seen anyone put this much effort into a color scheme! I actually feel like I personally owe it to you to give this a shot.
9 points by gmaster1440 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Make it for TextMate ;
1 point by varikin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I made a Solarized dark theme for XCode 4. I used the Vim definition as a guide, though varied it a little while staying within the color palette.


1 point by jzawodn 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Any chance of publishing the Xresources version (or at least hex codes in that file) for the "white" version?
2 points by rane 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the effort put into this, but somehow the background is way too light for my taste, in vim the colorscheme is kind of bland.
2 points by cycojesus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
any volunteer to submit it for emacs24 @ http://elpa.gnu.org/themes/ ?
2 points by flexterra 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite vim color scheme is two2tango. Here's a preview http://cl.ly/2Y0v251z0A29203K3d3D
1 point by bloom 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a remarkable work.
Although, on the dark background, the red and the magenta colors are too saturated.
2 points by gnufs 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I would really love to have emacs, gnome-terminal and gedit themes made out of this color scheme.
2 points by argleblargle 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Is anybody willing to explain how to switch between light and dark? I can't seem to understand the scss snippet that he gives. Apparently, you only have to switch 4 colors, It would be nice to know what those colors were.
1 point by iwjames 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice! It is indeed amazing how much thought and effort was put into this, and it is appreciated. At some point, I'll have to convert for Visual Studio use if someone doesn't beat me to it.
2 points by streeter 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody know of a TextMate port?
1 point by meemo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Beautiful colors. Beautiful site. Very impressed by how much effort the author has put into this.
Auto submission bots on Hacker News jacquesmattheij.com
288 points by jacquesm 2 days ago   164 comments top 30
112 points by jasonkester 2 days ago replies      
Why does HN give karma points for submitting articles?

That's never made any sense to me. All it does is encourage this kind of behavior, where you submit everything you can find in the hopes of gaining points. You haven't really contributed anything valuable, since good articles tend to find their way here on their own.

Karma for comments makes sense. You can look at somebody's average and it gives you a sense of what sort of things they're posting. It actually measures something.

If somebody posts a cheap attack on one of your comments, you can click their username, notice that they have a 1.9 average, and go about your day knowing that they're probably just angry with the world in general. On the other hand if they have an average score of 8.6, you might want to read what they said again and see if they were actually right.

Karma from article submissions, on the other hand, tells you nothing useful about the submitter. Any chance we can disassociate upvotes on articles from user karma?

27 points by DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had somebody recently launch into me with a vitriolic attack on HN (they deleted the comment almost immediately) which started with something like "I know you probably think you're special, what with 18K karma and all, but..."

People take this karma thing waaaay too seriously.

I know I find the site dangerously distracting, and a large part of that is watching the up or downvotes on my comments -- it's kind of a realtime indicator of whether I have my finger on the pulse of the community. So I'm as much to blame as others.

I've said a few times that somebody should monetize this karma nonsense. Set up an auction clearing house where karma can be auctioned off for cash.

It probably wouldn't amount to much, but it's just the kind of out-of-the-box thing that HN should be messing around with. I'm just trying to guess a number, but I think you could pull 5 percent off each trade and make a nice bit of chump change, without changing the look and feel of HN at all. (If it bothers purists or interferes with the running of the board, then simply keep a separate list of "natural" karma hidden from everybody and use that for the system stuff)

39 points by RiderOfGiraffes 2 days ago 3 replies      
FWIW, I was one of the people running a bot to auto-submit. I've always been a big-iron algorithms programmer, and I've never done much web programming, and certainly never programmed an auto-submitter before. Since I figured most of Jacques' idle thoughts were worth more than half the things making it to the Front Page, I figured it was an ideal time to learn a little about the back-n-forth of a form submission system with cookies, and to see (a) what I could learn, (b) how quickly I could learn it, and (c) how little code it took.

So it was an interesting experiment, I'm glad I did it, I'm pleased I learned something from it, and I'm sorry it seems to have caused Jacques some grief.

For that I apologise unreservedly. We have had a chat off-line and I believe there's no on-going problem. I have, of course, disabled the bot.

But the questions raised are interesting. I suggest that the "first submitter gets all the karma" situation means that people submit without thinking, worried that unless they do so they will miss out on that one item that earns gobs of karma, that they saw first, but didn't submit quickly enough.

Just sharing the karma between submitters won't work, because then if someone sees something gaining traction they just submit it themselves and share in the imaginary profits. Simple, clean, clear solution that's wrong.

No solutions, just problems.

14 points by alexandros 2 days ago 1 reply      
The bots are doing nothing 'wrong' as such. There are certain feeds from where >90% of the material ends up on HN. If somebody writes a bot to auto-submit items from that feed, it's helping HN be faster in accessing new and (mostly) relevant posts. What is not relevant should (in principle) not reach the home page.

The problem is that submission is winner takes all, i.e. first submitter reaps all the upvotes. Also, HN does not reward finding new sources of material more than posting from the predictable sources.

The logical endpoint of these two facts is auto-submission bots rising to the top of the Karma tables. If Karma is used as a way of anti-gaming (need karma threshold to downvote, etc.) then this is a way to circumvent that for a sufficiently motivated manipulator. They can make a bot that auto-submits from the known sources, and use it to build up an arbitrary number of accounts, from which they can then boost the articles they want (or bury the comments they don't like). For all we know, this could already be the case.

I have two suggestions that can sidestep this problem to a certain extent:

1. Reward articles from predictable sources less than articles from rare sources.

2. Split the karma benefit between the first submitter and the people who upvoted the article early (of course, this needs to take into account how selectively and successfully the user upvotes to avoid blanket upvoting 'just in case').

This all is still gameable, but probably not as easily.

10 points by gjm11 2 days ago 1 reply      

1. When a link is submitted, it doesn't actually appear on HN until a certain (fixed?) time T has elapsed after its first submission.

2. Everyone who submits it within that time is noted.

3. Karma from article upvotes is shared equally between all those users. (Or perhaps unequally in a way that weights earlier submitters slightly more highly -- but not winner-takes-all as at present.)

4. If the same link has been submitted N times before time T elapses, the delay is truncated at that point.


1. There's very little incentive to submit something super-quickly. Therefore, there's more incentive to read it carefully first. (Good.)

2. Super-quick submitters don't hurt slower submitters' karma so much. (Good.)

3. Submissions no longer have hugely higher potential karma gain than comments, as they do at present. (Good.)

4. "Obvious" submissions probably no longer give anyone very much karma. (Good.)

5. Breaking news doesn't appear on HN as quickly as it does now; but if lots of people are submitting it, it still gets in pretty fast. (Maybe good, maybe bad.)

I think that with suitable choices of T and N -- perhaps 1 hour and 20, or thereabouts -- this would be a considerable improvement on what we have now.

7 points by raganwald 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used to encounter what I thought might be bots auto-submitting my old raganwald blog to reddit. The only person losing karma was me, since I no longer got to submit my articles at a time when they were interesting to reddit's readership. Big whoop!

My thinking is that if I write and give my work away, it is no longer up to me to decide how it is to be used. That's because my words are free as in speech, not just free as in beer. Of course, copyright violations are a different matter, but I can't tell people whether to submit a post to HN, I can't tell people whether to bookmark it, or tweet it, or whether to use it as part of a corpus on guessing the sex of the author.

If there's a race for meaningless karma by bot authors, that is irrelevant to me as an author. IF it is a problem--and I do not grant that it is a problem--THEN it is HN's problem, not my problem as an author.

I give my words away. That inevitably means someone will use it in a way I didn't intend. That's the point.

5 points by raganwald 2 days ago 1 reply      
Building a bot to win karma is a little like hiring a model to pretend to be your date. No, scratch that. We're hackers! Building a bot to win karma is a little like building your own replicant and taking it to the party as your date.
8 points by lwhi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe the problem is people upvoting uninteresting articles.

Without wanting to be mean, it's kind of crazy that this meta-discussion about someone's inability to remain off the HN scoreboard is number one right now.

Sycophantism and idle self-promotion are boring pursuits.

EDIT: I think we should be able to down-vote uninteresting articles.

6 points by edu 2 days ago 1 reply      
It might be interesting to hide total karma score from users. I guess that if we don't know our total karma score the karma harvesting will stop but keep the points for submissions and comments so there's still the incentive to contribute good material (the pride of seeing your comment/submission being upvoted).

What do you think?

edit: the first version didn't make much sense, I got interrupted in the middle of the message

3 points by erikpukinskis 1 day ago 0 replies      
To me, the technical solution is to incorporate the relationship of the upvoter* to the poster in the "hotness" algorithm. If I upvote every single item from jacquesmatteij.com then my "this is awesome" signal isn't as strong as someone who only upvotes 10%, or who has never upvoted him before.

* When multiple bots submit the same link, "submission" is basically the same thing as "upvoting".

4 points by mryall 2 days ago 2 replies      
Jacques, perhaps you could configure your blog so you can choose to submit your own posts automatically to HN when you post them? That might reduce the tendency of people to try to rush and post them first, assuming the majority of posts are actually suitable for posting here.

I don't think you should worry too much about it either. Your posts seem to keep gathering a high number of votes whenever they appear on HN, so this is a sign that they are useful and relevant to the community. If an irrelevant link gets posted and it only gathers a few votes on the new page, then what have you lost? What has the community lost?

2 points by jcdreads 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if blogging tools become their own HN post bots?

The last few Dave Winer posts I've seen here have been submitted by davewiner. Since he's a dude who rolls his own blogging tools, I'd be not at all surprised to find that he wired up the ability to simultaneously publish and post a link to HN.

I can see good reasons for doing this for one's own blog, but if this practice were widespread or built into normal people's blogging tools then it would (among other things) cause the "new" page here to be useless.

2 points by Tycho 2 days ago 1 reply      
It kind if seems like a false alarm if one of the botters was just RiderOfGiraffes (whose motives I don't suspect), and there was only one other person, possibly equally innocent.

One would hope nobody here is irrational enough to seek 'easy/automatic' karma ... I mean the nice thing about karma for submissions is it's basically a whole lot of smart people saying 'well done for finding this, it's definitely valuable.' If there's no real finding involved then what's the point? You're the only person your karma matters to.

14 points by ricefield 2 days ago 5 replies      
Maybe its about time HN had a CAPTCHA on their submit form.
2 points by keyle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Karma harvesting bots. I thought of it a while back and I was sure it already existed.

Thanks for proving it! I do like the term of "harvesting karma".

In reel life, that would be a good deed automatically actioned based on a set of inputs? Such as grabbing the mail of the neighbour on the way in?

2 points by rwmj 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are also user accounts that have been created just to spam HN, eg:


2 points by nandemo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jacques is such a nice fellow. If it were me, I'd just make a post with pics of cats and watch it being submitted to HN.
2 points by SeanDav 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would have been extremely ironic if this post had been submitted by a bot!

My vote/suggestion is to hide Karma from all users once it reaches a fairly low cap. I know I am in a minority here but to me personally Karma beyond the level needed to downvote and basic functionality is hardly an issue.

1 point by jacquesm 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe a simple rule could be that if you run an undeclared bot on HN to auto submit stuff that you forfeit your account when you're detected, no matter who you are or what you've done.

That way we only get really clever bots that are indistinguishable from really good submitters.

2 points by leon_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ironic. I always assumed jacquesmattheij.com would be such a bot submission. Every day a new post from that blog in the tops :)
2 points by TimothyBurgess 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's gotta be quite a few auto submission bots going on here...

cough TechCrunch cough

...not that I have any problem with it. I'm just amazed at how quickly TechCrunch (and similar) articles find their way onto HN.

1 point by guelo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't pg admit that he uses karma as a criteria in evaluating yc applications? If so that was just an invitation to a bunch of smart hackers to try to game the system.
1 point by piramida 1 day ago 0 replies      
Always surprised me how advanced humans pretend to be and how simple-minded they actually appear en masse, with this race to "get my integer number higher" which is a basis of most social algorithms.

Really people? That is the only way to stand out from the crowd? An integer? :)

2 points by jacques_chester 2 days ago 2 replies      
A related idea I've been toying with is "karmic arbitrage": auto-submitting posts that have been upvoted at proggit and vice versa.
1 point by oemera 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is HN karma worth anything? Don't get me wrong. I love HN and I think it is unique in its way but I never thought that I could earn a medal because of a lot karma on HN.

I can understand this "function" on StackOverflow (even though I don't have much karma there either) cause karma at StackOverflow can bring in new chances.

My question: Do anyone use HN karma as measurement to see if this guy is worth to hire or worth for something else?

2 points by ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Turn off karma for users, keep it for new posts, problem solved.

(posts get the karma, not people)

1 point by jschuur 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are there indications that this is a wider spread problem beyond jacquesmattheij.com or the two individuals that have already been caught doing it with his site?

One is an anomaly, two independent occurrences is a trend?

1 point by shawndumas 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by kinnth0 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never knew this, thanks for highlighting it and writing a nice post about it. That's why I read hackernews, to find out things I don't know from people who know them.
0 points by jaredstenquist 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Use Wordpress
2) Make posts "Private" until you are finished with them
3) $$$
Why GNU grep is fast freebsd.org
280 points by shawndumas 18 hours ago   63 comments top 14
24 points by DarkShikari 17 hours ago 2 replies      
- Roll your own unbuffered input using raw system calls.

A small toy project I wrote last year was a modification of GNU grep that did the opposite -- it aggressively prefetched ahead of the file it was currently reading. This helped performance dramatically on fragmented data (e.g. tons of small files).

For most typical greps (at least of files as opposed to standard input), "grep" is likely disk-bound, not CPU-bound.

(Note: I mean literal prefetch, not actually reading the file from disk. This is important because file input is a blocking operation in UNIX -- the thread blocks when read() is called and can only be resumed when the read is complete, unlike the case of output. This prevents the filesystem from reordering or merging multiple reads unless they come simultaneously from different threads. This is why reads are often slower than writes on typical data.)

70 points by jrockway 18 hours ago 4 replies      
The key to making programs fast is to make them do practically nothing.

This is the Ultimate Truth of optimizing computer programs, and it seems so few people understand it.

"Why can't you make Python faster!?" Because Python does a lot of stuff without you asking.

30 points by yan 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Obligatory post by ridiculous_fish on grep's speed optimizations: http://ridiculousfish.com/blog/archives/2006/05/30/old-age-a...
37 points by RiderOfGiraffes 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Dup: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1626305

Many, many, many comments there.

16 points by aidenn0 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Interestingly enough, awk is many times faster for an inverted grep (grep -v) than grep is. Get a large file and test yourself!

grep -v regex
awk '$0 !~ /regex/ {print}'

This is possibly due largely to this not helping in that case:


awk is very fast at breaking the input into lines (that's what it spends most of the day doing!). I don't understand why it's so much slower though. (I had a 100+MB log file that I was searching when I discovered this).

8 points by ecaron 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is discussed best in the opening chapter of O'Reilly's Beautiful Code: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596510046. Google Books has a readable snippet of the section at http://bit.ly/g34QRh, but I highly recommend buying the book because it is a great read.
9 points by juiceandjuice 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I have some serious love for mmap.

I don't know how many people's code I've optimized by eliminating:

FILE *f;

f = open("file.dat","r")


and replacing it with mmap'd I/O

3 points by dasht 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Mike has only given part of the answer there. GNU grep obviously is very I/O tuned. And GNU grep optimizes the special cases of constant strings and of regexps that (more or less) start with a constant string -- but there's more!

GNU grep is also fast for most commonly encountered non-constant-string regexps (even those that don't start with a constant string) because its regexp engine avoids backtracking by doing an on-the-fly conversion (of many patterns) to a DFA. These extra cases are algorithmically neat and when you want them, you're glad they're there -- but they are less sexy in benchmarks because the most common use case in the real world, by far, is a search for a constant string.

10 points by nprincigalli 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Check out ack, tailored for programmers: http://betterthangrep.com/
1 point by pedrocr 15 hours ago 1 reply      
How far could you go in a discussion like this before BSD grep could reasonably be considered a derived work of GNU grep?

The discussion is going deeply into how GNU grep is implemented so it's clearly not a clean-room reverse engineering kind of situation. On the other hand nothing is being discussed that could be subject of copyright as only ideas and algorithms are put forth and no code is shown. How careful do you have to be to be sure?

5 points by gorset 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The other day I was actually surprised over how slow gnu grep was. I wanted to count how many lines in a log file contained a domain. Using grep -c <domain> <file> took 25 seconds for 1.7GB log file, whilst agrep only took 5 seconds.
0 points by crasshopper 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes me wonder: how is greplin so fast? And how come gmail search is slow?

(Yeah, I could ask somewhere else ... but this is HN, I bet someone looking at this Just Knows.)

1 point by terrapinbear 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Unrolling that inner loop in the Boyer-Moore algo is called "Duff's Device".
0 points by petermin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for sharing this!!!
Ask HN: Should we agree that this account will submit all Who is Hiring posts?
277 points by whoishiring 1 day ago   43 comments top 21
69 points by bigsassy 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I like this idea. It would also make it easier to see past who's hiring threads as well. Just go to:


and look at the submissions. Beats crawling through results on searchyc.com.

16 points by dstein 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Why do all jobs have to be posted at one time once a month? There is already a "JOBS" tab at the top of HN. Why not just let other companies post to that page. You can still emphasize YC companies, stick them at the top for 30 days, and then everybody else below it. For that matter if PG ever wants to monetize HN adding paid job ads might be the best/easiest way to do it.
11 points by JoachimSchipper 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I completely agree, but you should fill out the account information - something like 'This is a bot to post the monthly "who's hiring" thread. If there are any issues, please contact <foo>@<bar>.' - that'd also let us know who's behind this account.
7 points by SingAlong 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Love this idea. I vote for this. Or maybe if anyone can actually edit the HN source and make the app self-post when it is first of every month (IMO keeping it automated will be easier...)

bigsassy's point about searching is right. It surely makes it easier to browse these threads when you have a dedicated whoishiring user account.

Whoever is posting this, please mention the format of the job posts clearly on every thread (whatever format... this thread http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2057704 says location first. It's description is a good example).

9 points by stefanobernardi 21 hours ago 1 reply      
You should also def include a Who's Hiring H1Bs as we saw in February if I remember correctly.
7 points by mindcrime 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm fine with the idea, but I'd suggest also adding a

  Who is looking for a Co-founder (Month YYYY)?

to the list.

4 points by ig1 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It should be posted mid-week. I run a developer job board, traffic on Monday/Friday/Weekends is much lower than mid-week.

For whatever reason developers look for new jobs primarily tuesday-thursday.

3 points by pclark 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this really needed when you can simply use http://searchyc.com and find all the posts and even relevant job descriptions from previous posts?
6 points by kls 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably should include one more, Whose hiring freelancers edition, that way we could get all the "I need someone to build X" wrapped up under one section.
2 points by astrofinch 23 hours ago 1 reply      
First, I'm a little unfamiliar with this problem--why this bad:

"our peers competing to put forward Who Is Hiring threads by submitting them increasingly prematurely"

Maybe this suggests that >1 submission a month is better?

Finally, perhaps it'd be best to stagger the three post types throughout the month so they don't compete with each other for attention?

3 points by jkent 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea, some questions...

Can we have a vote on this?

How will this be enforced?

What's PG's take on this?

3 points by metra 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm worried about the first of the month falling on a Friday such as tomorrow, April 1st. Will the weekend squash the popularity of a Friday 'Who's Hiring' thread?
1 point by necrodome 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a simple script generating rss feeds to follow these postings more easily from my rss reader. The url for a feed is in the form of http://whoishiring.heroku.com/rss/post_id

e.g http://whoishiring.heroku.com/rss/2391828

It captures the parent comments. Maybe you can include a link as well in your posts?

1 point by geuis 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I vote no. Its valuable to see the HN name of the people submitting open jobs. For the most part, people aren't only interested in a company name. They're also interested in the people they could end up working with. I want to see the submitter's voting and commenting history.
1 point by bluishgreen 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess my recent post http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2391491 opening one more category is what prompted you to post this?
1 point by trin_ 4 hours ago 0 replies      
great idea. but ... where are the posts?
1 point by adrianscott 16 hours ago 0 replies      
part good, part bad. there needs to be room for new kinds of categories...
1 point by squirrel 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be super. I always want to post in these threads (because youDevise is always hiring great hackers) and have trouble finding them reliably. Thanks for suggesting this!
1 point by camworld 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Centralizing it so it's under one person's control? That doesn't make much sense at all.
1 point by LeadDreamer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Simple, single point just works. Yes.
1 point by shareme 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I vote yes
Skype 5 for Mac ignorethecode.net
267 points by shawndumas 2 days ago   110 comments top 37
66 points by raganwald 1 day ago 5 replies      
Skype has noticed that there is a discrepancy in quality between the two versions, and has decided to make the two versions more similar to each other. Unfortunately, instead of making the Windows version of Skype better, they've decided to fix the discrepancy by making the Mac version of Skype more like the Windows version.

This is the number one reason that I prefer Mac-only products to products that are available on both Windows and Mac.

Invariably, the companies decide that since they have 4x the sales on Windows as on Mac, the correct course of action is to build a product that is identical in almost every way with just a very thin GUI "skin" on the outside that is Mac or Windows specific. I don't know if this is because they think that the Windows sales "validate" the UX design or if it's an attempt to save money by having a single code base (or both?), but the results are invariably awful on the Mac.

Windows users are not interchangeable with Mac users. What "works" for someone who was given their PC by the IT department does not work for someone who deliberately chose to buy a product with a tiny market share.

16 points by erikpukinskis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This change butts up against what I think is a fundamental, unsolved UI issue. Power users often don't realize how much if an issue "getting lost" is for novice users. Dave Worthington's Mom said[1] of the iPad:

    Well, it's too touchy. Even though I'm better with it now… if you happen
just to move your hand or something, you know, then all of a sudden you're
out of what you're in. That's bad I think.

Notice she doesn't say "you go back a page" or "you've opened something" she says "you're out of what you're in". Anyone whose done some usability testing knows that users all the time get "out of what they're in" and are completely lost. And as the designer you are screaming in your head "You've just gone to your Account page! Just click the huge red "Back to my movies" link at the top of the page you ninny!" All. The. Time. Bless us, designers and users both.

I call this an unsolved problem because the options are equally bad:

1) Have one panel where you replace the contents frequently. Like a web browser. Unfortunately, as the article points out, prevents doing two things at once. And it forces people to learn often complicated mechanisms for navigating from state to state.

2) Show multiple panels at the same time. Takes up a lot of space, especially when there are lots of panels. Can be confusing at first.

3) Show multiple panels, but with the ability to close panels. This introduces the UI problem of reopening them. You can allow people to shrink/move around the panels independently, but that gives the user even more ways to lose something.

There are more advanced ways to deal with the problem. Zooming User Interfaces[2] were meant to deal with this somewhat... by giving everything a place and a context, they were supposed to allow you to maintain a good sense of where things are. But in practice, they turned out to be even more disorienting than a contextless browser window because navigation is less constrained and there are so many more places to get lost.

Microsoft, with WP7 does a little innovating here with their panoramic view control[3]. It puts UI elements in a context and lets you see a little bit of that context, without forcing people to do free navigation in a virtual space.

As for Skype, I won't argue that the new version is better for anyone, because I haven't seen the user testing. It's obviously worse for one person, but even objectively better designs are sometimes worse for power users who have deeply entrenched workflows in the old product. I do think there's a reasonable chance that they made the change because of user testing and that novice users are fundamentally happier in the new version. Again, I don't know because I haven't seen the testing.

But I will say that the OP is wrong about something. His problem is not the overall decision to integrate the video and chat into one window. His problem is that they hid the "open a chat for this person" button. If they had left the windowing exactly the same, but removed the "open chat" button from the user list and made you mouse over a video window to see it, he would've been equally lost.

The problem isn't that they made the wrong choice among flawed windowing models. The problem is they didn't do the work of making the UI work well within the constraints the windowing model provides. If they did extensive testing with a variety of users (including both novices who get lost, and advanced users who construct massive structures of windows to coordinate with dozens of people) they would've caught the video/chat bug.

[1] http://technologizer.com/2011/03/28/my-mom-reviews-the-ipad-...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooming_user_interface

34 points by poutine 1 day ago 2 replies      
I refuse to upgrade to Skype 5 after trying it once and accidentally upgrading a second time when the app tried to auto upgrade itself. The horrid UI combined with Skype's stated desire to bring ads to the client makes me search for an alternative which sadly there isn't.

In a business setting I would say that 90% of the time Skype is used as an IM client because of its working persistant groups and functional file transfers.

Entrepreneurs take note, there's an opportunity to make a competitor to Skype even though many would say that's crazy since Skype is so entrenched. However Skype has failed to innovate and is regressing in user experience. If someone nails the group chat features first and give table stakes for the voice/video chat we'd have a viable alternate for business use.

17 points by cjoh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I remember when Apple released FaceTime, they said it'd be an open industry standard. See:




Seems striking that it's been nearly a year and we haven't heard a peep about making it open. I would presume that if it were, it could be possible to bridge the two protocols or eliminate the need for skype.

37 points by yarone 1 day ago 1 reply      
Saw a tweet recently that summed it up nicely: "@anildash: Seems like Skype and iTunes are battling it out for the RealPlayer Memorial Award for Most Annoying Desktop Client App."

If you remember RealPlayer, know Skype for Windows, know iTunes for Windows, you'll know exactly what I mean.

23 points by jfrumar 1 day ago 2 replies      
I concur with the Skype 5 degraded UI. I also have a warning to others:

After struggling to see the benefit of Skype 5, I wished to downgrade back to the previous version. However, I couldn't find a link anywhere on the Skype.com website for previous versions. As a result I searched on Google and found a third-party website offering previous versions for download (http://mac.oldapps.com/skype.php?old_skype=37).

I downloaded and installed the older version, and logged into my account. Later that night I received an email from Skype confirming a purchase for an "Online Number" that I hadn't made. I immediately logged in to investigate and I could see the transaction pending. I managed to log into Paypal and remove Skype from my trusted billers in time.

I believe that the version of Skype I downloaded was stealing login credentials. Let this be a warning to others that are trying to roll back their Skype client!

I emailed Skype's security team (after long minutes trying to find a very hidden contact link on their site). The response was cookie cutter, but ridiculously contained a sales pitch for the very feature that was just illegally purchased from my stolen account! This was infuriating - like a slap in the face from Skype considering my state of mind:

<i>If you'd like to get more out of Skype, why not learn about all our great features - like Online Numbers? Anyone can dial your Online Number from any phone or mobile, your Skype rings and you pick up the call â€" wherever you are in the world.
Find out more at http://www.skype.com/go/onlinenumber/</i>;

6 points by ojbyrne 1 day ago 0 replies      
So far the best thing I like about it is that the upgrader offers a "Skip This Version" button. And I'm thankful I know lots of early adopters.
6 points by simonw 1 day ago 4 replies      
"Something I've noticed even casual Skype users do is to send URLs by text chat during a videochat. Well… How do you do that in Skype 5?"

That burned me in a Skype call yesterday (first time using it since the new version upgrade). I had to send the link by email instead. I also couldn't figure out how to hang up a call, so I had to quit the app!

6 points by commanda 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a dev with a remote team, Skype 5 is probably my most-used desktop application on OS X, besides my IDE.

The other day, after upgrading, I could not for the life of me figure out how to bring up the number key pad while on a voice call. I needed to "press 1 for X", but I couldn't do it. This used to be easy in Old Skype.

If a power user like myself can't figure something out, chances are it's too difficult or hidden for casual users too.

5 points by powdahound 1 day ago 0 replies      
We have been converting a lot of groups from Skype to HipChat [1] lately and I'm surprised how many of them cite the UI craziness as a major reason for wanting to leave the platform. Obviously good, consistent UI is important but it always seemed like the general public had an amazing ability to deal with crappy UI. Apparently there is a breaking point.

One thing that's particularly annoying about Skype's UI is that you have no idea how to help a coworker using a different operating system because the layout is totally different. Certainly doesn't help adoption.

1. https://www.hipchat.com

5 points by Legion 1 day ago 0 replies      
What other options are out there that are (a) cross-platform and (b) can be set to auto-answer video calls?

Skype has been in our plans for our poor man's Telepresence setup, but at the same time, I've never been super comfortable with relying on Skype, particularly with their bare-bones Linux support.

5 points by kemayo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Skype 5 is what really got my company looking for a different chat solution. The protocol and features are still generally wonderful, but the client is just horrible now.
3 points by ernestipark 1 day ago 1 reply      
Skype on the Mac has always just been downright awful. The software is extremely buggy and confusing. Maybe some of my problems are with settings I can change, but that is bad UX in my opinion. When I get chats, I hear a noise, but then can't see who sent me the chat until I go to my buddylist and scan for a number indicating the number of messages next to someone. There's also that whole mood message thing which just dumbfounds me. The thing is though, as long as I can click a button to video chat my parents, these issues are ignorable for my usage, which is frustrating and relieving at the same time.
6 points by kingatomic 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can echo the article's sentiments. I upgraded to the new client a few weeks ago and cannot adequately express the horror I experienced when my clean, intuitive UI/UX went away and was replaced by some forsaken window vomited up from a designer's darkest nightmare.

In what possible world does coverflow for contacts make better sense than just a simple list?

It took actual time for me to figure out how to find my contacts and place a call. I hold a degree, I am not an idiot. For a program designed specifically for the purpose of calling people, for that functionality to be that un-intuitive is simply mind-boggling.

4 points by stefanobernardi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Skype 2.8 UI was messy, with windows popping up everywhere and sidebars going crazy.
Skype 5 is just perfect, and in all honesty can't find anything wrong with it a part of the chat while calling thing.
3 points by bgentry 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never seen my coworkers as universally excited as the day one of them posted the old version of the Skype for Mac dmg in our campfire room.

I'm exaggerating, sure, but everybody was thrilled to get rid of the Skype 5 horror.

2 points by liedra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Additionally to the very spot-on dissection of Skype in the article, what I find amazingly frustrating about this version is the list of recent calls in the left-hand menu thing. I call a lot of numbers in Australia, and where it used to show the full number, now it only shows the first 2-3 digits (i.e. the +61). When I click on that to hopefully see more about which damn number it is, the title of the right hand chat/history screen thing is "+61..." ARGH. NOWHERE does it show the full number. How am I supposed to know if it was my mum, my sister, or my brother I called? Very frustrating.

I discovered more recently that if I mouse-overed the number in the left hand menu it would eventually pop up in a tooltip, but eventually is the operative here. I have to wait a full 5 seconds or so for it to show up, and that's a long time in annoyed-liedra time.

I hope they fix a lot of this up, because at the moment it's just rubbish.

3 points by jwatzman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a recommendation for a cross-platform (Mac/Windows at least) video chat program usable by casual users and which works fine through a NAT? Skype is quickly becoming annoyingly unusable for the reasons the article discusses (and more).
3 points by exit 1 day ago 0 replies      
do you think skype will come to its senses and revert their ui changes? or is it motivated by something else, like increasing screen real-estate for eventual advertising?
3 points by dholowiski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just to add, for a good percentage of mac skype users, video doesn't work in 5. It doesn't work for me on either of my macs and I had to downgrade.
4 points by danboarder 1 day ago 0 replies      
This post is right on, if a few months late. I recall testing the Skype 5 beta last fall and could not believe the step backward in usability. On the skype forums many users (including myself) left detailed UX feedback, with many topics titled things like "5.x user interface is thrill of horror". Sadly most of the user feedback has been ignored and the final product shows little improvement on the beta.
4 points by arthurgibson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I try not to publicly complain too much, but when I got this upgrade a month ago I was shocked. Its so bloated and unevenly proportionate for use. It seems like they are trying to take up as much real estate on the desktop and compete for the attention of the user , i.e. move them away from gmail/gchat etc.
1 point by grayrest 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use Skype to communicate at work and pretty much curse Skype 5 every time we use it. My personal favorite interface feature is that double clicking someone when you're video chatting between multiple people MINIMIZES that person. I've watched no fewer than 10 people double click the main presenter in chat only to make a face and start fiddling with things when it does the opposite of what they want.
1 point by technomancy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been grumbling for a while that the Linux client was still on version 2.1, but I guess that's something I should be thankful for. (Though these days with the pidgin and gnome-do plugins I rarely interact with Skype directly; I don't know how people can work in chat rooms without nick coloring.)
1 point by jeff18 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is still no way to turn off birthday notifications on Mac OS X. That is, any time it is any one of your contact's birthdays, Skype sends you a mandatory message about it which requires user action to dismiss.
4 points by reaganing 1 day ago 0 replies      
One can get Skype 2.8 from Skype.com if you're worried about getting malware or problems from other sources as mentioned earlier. Took some digging.


4 points by dguaraglia 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great, now they just need to update the Linux client to 2.2 and we are all settled!

Seriously though, Skype has shown they don't give a crap about their Linux users.

2 points by simonh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to have to downgrade. My mother sometimes uses skype on my computer to chat with relatives, but the auto-hiding toolbar that now owns the buttons to stop a call or activate/eactivate the camera confuses her. It confused me for ages, since if you move the mouse off the video area to the top the toolbar stays permanently, but if you move the mouse away to the bottom it auto-hides. Took me several sessions to find how to reach the chat window as well. Gah!
3 points by lurker17 1 day ago 0 replies      
3 points by jaxonrice 1 day ago 1 reply      
for those looking to reinstall Skype 2.8 for Mac:
2 points by mahrain 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have used the Feedback function to complain, and they fixed the spacing a bit from beta to release.

I can "fix" the windows version by turning off a lot of the "Today screen" and superfluous information bars everywhere. To make it look more like the old Mac version.

3 points by beck5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Irrelevant and not surprising considering the author but thats a very clean and sexy looking blog.
3 points by yamilg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ha: I happen to love the new Skype version
1 point by serpent 1 day ago 0 replies      
A small remedy is the "Contacts" window (command-3) -- but it doesn't show waiting messages.

Thinking about a downgrade myself...

2 points by adamskhan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agree with you so well, and thanks for the link back to 2.8, which I've gratefully reinstalled.
1 point by sashthebash 1 day ago 0 replies      
A nice interface suggestion just came up on Techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/30/skype-5
Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player amazon.com
258 points by davidedicillo 3 days ago   171 comments top 47
23 points by jkincaid 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think Amazon is trying to become the backbone for the 'alternative' set of Android core apps that will inevitably be developed. These apps will appeal to any carrier/OEM that wants to stop licensing from Google, or from companies like Amazon and Facebook who may launch their own devices with splintered versions of Android.

My guess is that Amazon will own content delivery for these devices (books, movies, TV, music) and that Microsoft will round out the rest, with a Bing Maps app and an email app that supports Gmail etc but syncs nicely with Hotmail (which has been totally overhauled since you last tried it). This is entirely a guess on my part, mind you.

10 points by jasonkester 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is actually a little bit worrying as an entrepreneur building things on top of Amazon's Web Services.

Amazon has always made a point of not building services on top of its Cloud offerings that directly compete with its users. Cloud Drive sets a precedent for them as the first time they've gone against that principle.

There are lots of "low hanging fruit" companies that were built on the understanding that Amazon wasn't interested in implementing that stuff themselves. There's no debating that this will make Amazon a ton of money. It remains to be seen, however, how much it will cost them in developer loyalty and businesses that never get built because "If they did it to JungleDisk, they'll do it to us".

10 points by wheels 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think there are two really interesting things about this:

• This is the first time Amazon has pulled together the two major branches of their business, retail and cloud infrastructure, into something (dare I say it?) synergetic.

• Amazon is taking the first steps into the non-retail consumer web, where, if successful, they'll probably give a good scare to a handful of startups as they sweep across segments (and without the Google / Facebook-like startup shopping).

17 points by slackerIII 3 days ago 7 replies      
If you want a free service to stream your music from your home computer to your work computer/android/iOS device, check out my service: http://www.audiogalaxy.com

Since we don't store the music in the cloud, we don't have any size limits (the current winner has about 530,000 files). Obviously this only works if you leave your home computer on, but we've found that isn't a problem for most folks.

5 points by dchest 3 days ago 1 reply      
"The 5 GB free storage plan is available to all Amazon.com customers, however further upgrades to the storage plan are currently unavailable in the following countries:
, Belgium
, Bulgaria
, Cyprus
, Czech Republic
, Denmark
, Estonia
, Finland
, France
, Germany
, Greece
, Hungary
, Ireland
, Italy
, Latvia
, Lithuania
, Luxembourg
, Malta
, Netherlands
, Poland
, Portugal
, Romania
, Slovakia
, Slovenia
, Spain
, Sweden
, United Kingdom"

Very strange, why is that?

7 points by pkulak 3 days ago 3 replies      
Streaming seems a bit silly when I've got 16 gigs sitting empty on my phone. I just want synching. I'll use Pandora if I want to stream. And then I'm not restricted to just my library.
8 points by itsnotvalid 3 days ago 4 replies      
As a non-US there is no way for me to use this.

Just put aside that, is it actually any legal reason for using things like dropbox to upload music purchased and streamed for private uses?

BTW that one album/20GB offers only last until the end of the year, and it only last for a year. After that, you would have the habit of using the service but be reverted to the free plan.

However since all the new purchases on amazon are automatically saved without counting towards the quota, I guess that solves the problem for many android users. Just that I don't listen to many of bands/artists that put their songs on Amazon MP3 may make this offer less appealing.

12 points by MichaelEGR 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see the comments flood in for this and see it hit #1 on HN so quickly as I was beginning to wonder when it would ship. I was contracted to work on the Amazon MP3 v2.0 app rearchitecting the download architecture and adding cloud drive download support. It was "very interesting" being the only outside contractor / software architect level dev to be hired by A2Z / Amazon to work on core architecture for Amazon MP3. I finished my involvement mid-Feb. I guess I'm just posting to get an account started here on HN as I'm launching some very compelling Android platform / middleware soon called TyphonRT. I've been bootstrapping for years and this recent Amazon MP3 contract has opened up enough runway for me to launch my tech in the coming months. Hopefully I'll have some more time to post in the future too.
3 points by jazzychad 3 days ago 1 reply      
on ubuntu desktop: "The Amazon MP3 Uploader only supports Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7) or Mac OS X running on Intel-based hardware."

yet the normal clouddrive uploader works. weird.

3 points by jambo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone see AmazonMP3 tracks in their library? I've purchased tons of music from AmazonMP3, and Cloud Player shows an empty library & 0 purchased songs. It seems like a big miss to launch this way. Hopefully it's just a bug.
12 points by kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, Amazon is doing all kinds of great things for Android. First Amazon's Android App store with the awesome Test Drive feature and now this!
3 points by baddox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Free persistent storage of Amazon digital downloads is the big feature here (to me). I've always thought it was insane how Steam lets you download dozens of gigabytes of video games ad infinitum, yet Apple's and Amazon's music stores require you to backup your digital purchases.
2 points by tzury 3 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect this 5GB quote is a "fake", since there is no need to actually "copy" a song to the User's virtual drive, rather add a pointer to a copy already available on their platform, that is, if 1M users are buying a popular song, there is no need to clone this song million times, right?

Having said that, since there are smart people working on this platform on amazon, I am sure they don't make a physical clone, which raises the question already mentioned above, why limit to 5GB?

1 point by ajg1977 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they're doing anything clever to reduce storage size. For example - an MP3/AAC song purchased from the same service has a small unique header (e.g. where your iTunes account name is stored) and then identical music data.

I imagine the music companies would have a hissy fit and demand streaming payments if that was the case though.

6 points by DonnyV 3 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon's storage plans are expensive compared to Google's



20 GB ($20 / year)

50 GB ($50 / year)

100 GB ($100 / year)

200 GB ($200 / year)

500 GB ($500 / year)

1000 GB ($1000 / year)


20 GB ($5.00 USD per year)

80 GB ($20.00 USD per year)

200 GB ($50.00 USD per year)

400 GB ($100.00 USD per year)

1 TB ($256.00 USD per year)

1 point by jasonkester 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's surprising that their player doesn't work in Mobile Safari. On my iPod touch, I can load the page and see my music (though it helpfully tells me I should upgrade to IE), but nothing will play.

I notice that they used Flash for the uploader. Surely they wouldn't have used it as the only option for the player.


2 points by dotBen 3 days ago 1 reply      
The music aspect of this makes a great headline - and also great case for why the avg joe consumer should want all this cloud storage.

But for me the real story here is the ability to store any file or document, and aggressive prices of bigger storage tiers.

Dropbox's prices have always seemed unreasonably high to me - and I'm tempted to move all my personal docs over to Amazon and use DropBox just for social sharing.

2 points by forgotAgain 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's becoming clear that the main competitor for iPad will come from Amazon. Apple will not be beat by a competitor on look and feel. Anyone who wants to compete with them will need to find their own area of strength. Amazon's strength is its years of experience with Amazon Web Services.
4 points by dstein64 3 days ago 1 reply      
I tried uploading a file to the cloud drive using Chrome, and then I viewed the file. I copied the URL and pasted it into Firefox, where I was not logged in to amazon.com or their cloud storage. It still loaded the file. If you tried doing this with a gmail message, gmail would prompt you to log in. I am not too familiar with cloud storage. Is this a security issue?
3 points by ffumarola 3 days ago 2 replies      
The 20gb free for purchasing an album makes this a pretty clutch deal.

They don't compete with dropbox's sync functionality, but they sure do on price and the mp3 cloud player!

3 points by joseakle 3 days ago 1 reply      
How long until someone posts their username(s) and password(s) to their whole music collection(s) ....
2 points by JabavuAdams 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is using the term "cloud" a branding / marketing mistake?

The cloud is generic and multi-vendor. It's a utility. This angle makes sense when talking to developers.

OTOH, I could see a lot of users being confused because they put stuff "in the cloud", but they can't get it back (from another vendor i.e. different cloud).

2 points by twodayslate 3 days ago 0 replies      
They fact that they are going to start backing up the Amazon MP3s is great news. Previously it was impossible to redownload a track once you have already downloaded it. Luckily I did not lose to much music when I got a new computer since I had a personal backup.

I would love Amazon Cloud Drive to have desktop integration like Dropbox.

Doesn't google have a cloud service now? It just doesn't have a pretty GUI or desktop integration?

3 points by jfeldstein2 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's an "upload your own mp3's" feature. I think this means I can stop waiting for google music.


> You have 5.0 GB of Cloud Drive storage. Upload your entire music collection.

I don't think this is going to work...

3 points by josh33 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is an iPhone app against the iOS T's&C's?
2 points by jbarham 3 days ago 0 replies      
How's that North Carolina data center coming along, Apple?! ;)
1 point by sandipc 3 days ago 1 reply      
how long until Dropbox makes a full-featured Cloud Player of their own?
1 point by tuhin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why would one not prefer to use http://droptun.es/.

Is it the added meta info about music and other things that Amazon can use since it has a huge collection of music?

0 points by suprgeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how telling this is:
"We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files."
Is it "use at your own risk no matter how much money you pay us"?
1 point by pilom 3 days ago 0 replies      
This page crashes my computer. Not just IE7, my whole computer. Any idea what may be causing it?
1 point by jongraehl 2 days ago 0 replies      
No drag and drop (in Chrome). Slow and clumsy. Dropbox has a far better user experience (but more expensive storage).
1 point by getpost 2 days ago 0 replies      
The OS X uploader requires installation of Adobe AIR. Adobe bloatware? Another piece of software checking for updates? Another piece of software that needs to be updated? No thank you. I'm all for getting a product out the door, but is a native OS X app that much trouble for an organization like Amazon? Does this bother anyone else, or is it just me?
2 points by dbjacobs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Storage cost is $1/yr/GB which is similar to Amazon's S3 reduced redundancy storage. It is unclear which level of reliability Amazon is promising for the cloud drive. If it is the higher level, it is a good deal.
4 points by justanotheratom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just checking, did Ray Ozzie join Amazon?
1 point by IgorPartola 2 days ago 0 replies      
And yet another service that does not support Ubuntu... Ubuntu One just might get my money after all.
1 point by jimmydo 3 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't seem like they currently do this, but it would be great if Amazon applied file de-duplication (like Dropbox) to at least music files. If I'm trying to upload a song that Amazon already has on its own servers, it should just use that copy instead of uploading a new copy from my computer.
1 point by oskee80 3 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if your phone is in a poor reception area, or without internet connection? Then you can't listen to music? Can the app manage which songs you'd also like to have stored locally on the phone?

Is this meant to supplement your old ways of syncing music to the phone or replace it?

1 point by jorgeleo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like this... But I would like ti more if there is a webdav address to access the storage from my iPad. I know that there are other solutions, but 5GB free...

Does anybody knows how to access Amazon Cloud Drive using Webdab?

1 point by misterkeeter 3 days ago 0 replies      
It feels like amazon is slowly dismantling the advantages of other content services. It's now competing head to head with one or several other companies within each media space.
1 point by mone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I missing something or is Amazon (Cloud Drive) not giving the ability to import songs purchased from Amazon prior to this date??
1 point by naithemilkman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am I correct to say that this is essentially a web based version of iTunes?
1 point by ammmir 3 days ago 1 reply      
is there an S3-like (or simplified) API for this service?
1 point by markgx 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see if they expand the scope of Cloud Drive to include Dropbox-like syncing.
1 point by frsandstone 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do we know the bitrate of the stream?
1 point by ditojim 3 days ago 1 reply      
can you export from their cloud drive?
-1 point by is_computer_on 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would be great if it wasn't illegal to actually upload your music collection on there. I doubt that when you bought your music you got the right to distribute it to a third party which means uploading it onto Amazon's servers would constitute copyright infringement. Songs bought from Amazon probably come with a license that allows you to upload it to Amazon Cloud Player now, but with the music you already own and Music you buy somewhere else you're out of luck.
-4 points by die_sekte 3 days ago 0 replies      
The laptop is a HP Envy running a full-screen OS X Firefox. Man. Seems most designers can't fake a realistic chrome for web pages.
Collect HN: Aprils Fools
258 points by daleharvey 15 hours ago   196 comments top 112
45 points by mbrubeck 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Opt out of April Fools Day with the "DNF" HTTP header:


If you are planning an April Fools joke on your web site, I urge you to support this important new web standard. :)

21 points by cowpewter 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Here at Grooveshark, we've harnessed the power of HTML5™ to provide you with a full 3D experience...


If you have a paid account, it won't change your theme automatically though. You should get a notification in the corner to turn it on.

3 points by fakelvis 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Wolfram|Alpha have changed their name: http://blog.wolframalpha.com/2011/04/01/wolframalpha-changes...

Now it's: http://www.wolframalpha.com/bieberbeta.html

WolframAlpa|Beta would have been funnier in my opinion. This just feels like my dad trying to be hip.

26 points by robin_reala 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Search for Helvetica on Google: https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=helvetica
10 points by mrspeaker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Joe Armstrong and Robert Virding admit that Erlang VM was just a dodgy clone of the JVM (video)


19 points by humbledrone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I created a bash-like shell with C++ syntax. It saves a lot of typing, and it's only 412,011 lines of template-heavy code, so it's easy to extend:


35 points by th 10 hours ago 2 replies      
xkcd is 3D: http://xkcd.com/

Randall is accepting user-submitted 3D versions of each comic: http://xkcd.com/xk3d/

Unfortunately, it looks like there is no title text for 3D comics yet.

46 points by moeffju 12 hours ago 5 replies      
We're pretty B2B, so we just subtly rotate the whole page by -2.5 to +2.5 deg. https://www.toptranslation.com/

(Supports the DNF protocol, btw.)

35 points by gcr 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm planning on installing a transparent proxy that rotates web pages 1-2 degrees with CSS3 transforms.


6 points by Jabbles 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Not an April Fools' Joke: Microsoft complains to EU about Google's (alleged) anti-competitive behaviour.


20 points by tkahn6 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Hulu 1995 throwback complete with <table> based layout.


25 points by GVRV 9 hours ago 1 reply      
28 points by daleharvey 14 hours ago 1 reply      
atlassian gets into mobile gaming


18 points by yesbabyyes 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Adblock releases Adblock Freedom - augmented reality eyewear that detects and removes ads from the world in realtime. http://chromeadblock.com/freedom/
17 points by daleharvey 14 hours ago 0 replies      
and the first, spotify closes its EU service in order to launch in the US


36 points by joshu 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Is it just me or is none of this stuff any funny?
17 points by dwwoelfel 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If I wasn't so scared of being tarred and feathered by the anti-fools brigade, I'd submit this self-post for April Fools:

    DAE think Hacker News is turning into Reddit?

29 points by imrehg 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The Canterbury Distribution: http://www.archlinux.org/ & http://www.debian.org/ & http://grml.org/ & Gentoo & openSUSE....

That's some team effort! Too bad it's a joke, I'd so get it right now...

8 points by rbxbx 13 hours ago 0 replies      
test-align: centaur; http://testaligncentaur.com/

not to be confused with

text-align: centaur; http://textaligncentaur.com/

6 points by tokenadult 13 hours ago 2 replies      
For historical interest, an all-time classic from the BBC:


14 points by lachyg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many cofounders will get fake YC interview acceptances from their partners =P
4 points by stanleydrew 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Twilio's API now returns responses in morse code. Just append .morse to the end of any Twilio REST API URL to get the morse code representation.

If you find a legitimate use for this, please let us know.

9 points by Xuzz 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Cydia adds a dickbar to help users discover popular packages: http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=14540
6 points by fakelvis 6 hours ago 0 replies      
http://pinboard.in is now a Yahoo! product.

Before I realised, the "from Yahoo!" image (top left) stopped me in my tracks.

5 points by btilly 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite web comics got seized by the FBI: http://www.gpf-comics.com/

(I hope this one is a joke.)

4 points by dchest 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I launched "I Read Like" http://iwl.me/read/
4 points by stanleydrew 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Twilio releases long-awaited carrier pigeon API: http://www.twilio.com/pigeons
5 points by bergie 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Apache gets paid 3.141592654 cents for each Google +1 click because of their "+1 patent"


7 points by NZ_Matt 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Air New Zealand have introduced "pay what you weigh"


3 points by nitefly 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Security Advisory SMB-1985-0001: Plumber Injection Attack in Bowser's Castle:


3 points by jeffbarr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The AWS team has been working on the new Amazon $NAME product for over 10 months:


5 points by adora 7 hours ago 0 replies      
LinkedIn's "People you may know" section is now filled with historical figures and fictional characters, all of which have pretty elaborate profiles.


11 points by derrida 10 hours ago 2 replies      
9 points by vyrotek 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Voting things up on http://www.StackOverflow.com seems to display colorful dancing unicorns now.
20 points by mhiceoin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
5 points by Seth_Kriticos 7 hours ago 1 reply      
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ drops back to CLI today, it seems.
1 point by djjose 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Find a new girlfriend/boyfriend based on one you already like! http://blog.alikeplaces.com/2011/alike-places-launches-new-p...
7 points by gammarator 14 hours ago 2 replies      
(Internet Annoyance Day is even more annoying when it starts at UTC-12.)
5 points by loganlinn 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Narwhal in London according to Google Maps!
1 point by fdd 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
In a bid on Auction site eBay, for the site of eBay.com itself, The Pirate Bay has come out as the official winner: http://thepiratebay.org/blog/189.
10 points by qwertymaniac 11 hours ago 1 reply      
GMail Motion - Use your body to control your inbox: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/motion.html
1 point by fdd 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
2 points by paraschopra 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Move beyond behavioral targeting: using mouse movements to read visitor's mind http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/split-testing-blog/behavio...
4 points by sfgfdhgfdshdhhd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
IDG has a story about mozilla recalling firefox 4 because of serious bug. Every user should return their version using an online upload form or by sending a usb-stick by mail.


3 points by est 4 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.geforce.com/ 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500
1 point by ciupicri 1 hour ago 0 replies      
GNOME 3.0 Rescheduled for September 2011 Release


7 points by mef 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Ryanair introduces "child-free" flights (if only it were true) http://www.ryanair.com/en/news/child-free-flights-from-octob...
4 points by mncaudill 7 hours ago 0 replies      
At Flick(e)r, we finally fixed the misspelling of the company name.
8 points by neckbeard 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Cheezburger Network acquires Charlie Stross' blog:
9 points by turbodog 8 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by tsenart 1 hour ago 0 replies      

Just paste this before your body closes:
// Uncomment the next line if you want the prank to happen only when the url hashtag is #april
// if (document.location.hash.indexOf('april') > -1)
document.body.style.webkitTransform = document.body.style.MozTransform =
'rotate(' + [45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315][Math.floor(Math.random() * 7)] + 'deg)';

1 point by dord 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At Sporcle, they've added a 'Boss!' button. Now when you're playing games on their site at work and the boss comes around, just click the boss button and something else will pop up in the window!


2 points by fremdkraft 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The employees of Germany's Foreign Ministry are getting iPads replacing their PCs and notebooks.

I guess some will wish it wasn't April 1st. :)

Google translated story:

2 points by PStamatiou 6 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by moses1400 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
2 points by elliottcarlson 11 hours ago 0 replies      

Envato unveils 3DOcean - The world's first stereoscopic anaglyph online marketplace.

1 point by joeblue 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hi Everyone, I am super excited to announce the release of The Hoffington Post: http://thehoffingtonpost.com
The Internet Newspaper: 100% dedicated to David Hasselhoff.

It's better than his singing. We swear.

1 point by cinch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
(in German) Netbook review: Compaq Aero 4/33C http://www.golem.de/1104/82381.html
2 points by pitdesi 9 hours ago 0 replies      
http://FeeFighters.com raised $41 million, bought the rock band FooFighters, rebranded as http://FoeFighters.com, and is having a contest to see which Foe they should fight.

Please vote! it's good for humanity!

2 points by FSecurePal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker Group Changes Millions of Passwords to "password"; Only 38% of Users Notice http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00002134.html
3 points by MaysonL 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Dave Winer's putting up a paywall on Scripting News:
3 points by hollywoodcole 13 hours ago 0 replies      
3 points by inerte 14 hours ago 0 replies      
We put this on our menu, under "Tasks": http://erkie.github.com/ with the text "destroy system"
1 point by guruz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by jonkelly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Our small contribution to the genre: http://thisorthat.com/blog/breaking-scrappr-picks-up-410001-...
Breaking News: Scrapper Gobbles Up $41.000001 Million Investment
3 points by carnivore 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Any YouTube video, with _CAPTIONS_ on (The CC button), to add text to your 1911 video :)


To find other videos with captions, append ",cc" to your search, like "cats, cc".

1 point by bnmrrs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks to the coming Canadian election Demeure was able to add a special rental property. http://demeure.com/special-offers/sussex. Come and stay in the former Prime Minister's house for only $3000/night!
1 point by mmilkin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
2 points by duck 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I turned Hacker Newsletter (http://www.hackernewsletter.com) upside down for the day and started offering a new faxed edition for a small fee.
2 points by sahillavingia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
At Pinterest we turned stuff upside down: http://pinterest.com/
1 point by forsaken 7 hours ago 0 replies      
http://urbanairship.com has turned into an 8-bit working game.
3 points by Urgo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, My goal since 2004 has been to keep a list of all AFD jokes on the web in one place. Check it out if you like. Have 66 there so far this year :) Feel free to submit any ones from THIS year to the site as well.


1 point by __david__ 11 hours ago 0 replies      
We switched the colors on the cards in our solitaire games (http://greenfelt.net/freecell). It's a subtle effect that just makes things look weird without you being able to identify what is wrong, at first.
4 points by piotrSikora 13 hours ago 0 replies      
YouTube's "year 1911" mode ;)
3 points by balanon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"My newborn isn't crying all night. April Fools. Yes she is. Joke's on you."


6 points by Mizza 14 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by mcdowall 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone at work actually tried to enter her card details!


2 points by fmavituna 3 hours ago 0 replies      
2 points by mariust 5 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by sankara 6 hours ago 0 replies      
6 points by mman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone stop ruining April fools by expecting it
1 point by rsoto 9 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by jitendra_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
News about Pune's Tech Industry decline quotes Vivek Wadhwa:

http://punetech.com/punes-tech-industry-to-decline-40-by-202... .

Wadhwa on twitter confirms it is a prank: http://twitter.com/vwadhwa/status/53675195906531328

1 point by rdtsc 13 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by cnicolaou 7 hours ago 0 replies      
3 points by shareme 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Jason Calacanis sold Mahalo to MS Bing
1 point by davweb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Eric Lippert introduces some new features in C#:


1 point by agaton 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Twingly and TV4+ Haunted House launches Blog Platform for Ghost Writers and Social Mediums


3 points by wilhil 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by plainOldText 6 hours ago 0 replies      
omgubuntu has encountered an error or many :)
2 points by Z3UX 13 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by wmobit 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Milkyway@Home on iPhone / iOS. The small tests that run on my desktop in about 10 seconds take 20 minutes on my iphone 3g, and drain the battery about 8%.


2 points by mhiceoin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Affiliate rebills funding an Affiliate hang out in the Maldives


0 points by Herwig 2 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by herman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We're having some reverse packet switching issues on Snapfinch, seems to be causing images to display upside down: http://snapfinch.com
3 points by selvan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
DST's Yuri Milner offers EVERY YCS11 applicant $250K.
1 point by dreeves 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by iki23 9 hours ago 0 replies      
@TPB wins auction for site eBay.com, merge is planned:
3 points by stevenashley 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Duke Nukem Forever has been delayed until Mid 2012.
1 point by ved 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Head over to LinkedIn and see who "you might know you"...
1 point by njonsson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
“What's new in htty v1.3.4: Rails view emulation â€" PUT and DELETE are sent as POST requests with form data of ‘_method=put' or ‘_method=delete'.”


1 point by shoma 9 hours ago 0 replies      
New RFC. Regional Broadcast Using an Atmospheric Link Layer
1 point by senectus 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by redbluething 12 hours ago 0 replies      
2 points by zedrick 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One Kings Lane launches OKL Farms - The only breeders of the Mini Lap Elephant.


0 points by sktrdie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this an Aprils fools joke? If yes it should be submitted under itself.
0 points by csarva 13 hours ago 1 reply      
How not to protect against SQL injection (view source) wales.gov.uk
247 points by ssclafani 2 days ago   115 comments top 25
29 points by mixmax 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just fired off an e-mail to point out that they have a potentially serious security problem and they should get it fixed ASAP.

I see this as a civic duty, and think that this is the kind of action you're required to perform if you see a serious problem. Writing an e-mail takes ten seconds, but the potential damage could well cost serious money.

30 points by somedev 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was me that actually built this site. Around 2000-2001. To give you a bit of background or "excuses":

It was my first website at an agency, I'd just taught myself ASP and SQL in just a few months previous (with no help or guidance). If my memory serves me correct, that dodgy JavaScript was put in there by a more senior developer. I had no idea what SQL Injection was and it wasn't until at least a few years later that SQL Injection was even something any developers I knew were aware of - The Wikipedia page for SQL Injection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_injection) under "Known real-world examples" has the earliest dated at 2005 (but obviously, this vulnerability has been around forever).

And yes, I'm still a Web Developer (front-end nowadays - that also knows much better than this) and no, I no longer work for that agency and haven't for a long time.

In response to some of the comments:
* I've seen many many developers write SQL Injection prone code at least 6 years after this was written.
* Any developer that was around during 2000-2001 would know that this was before the time of CMS's (free or otherwise), libraries, frameworks, SQL abstraction layers etc.
* I'm pretty sure there is some server-side sanitising done too (before we'd heard of the term SQL Injection).
* I don't think it was using an SQL login with drop permissions.

15 points by Joeri 2 days ago 5 replies      
The saddest part is that tons of people will be reading this thinking that they're way smarter than that guy, while in fact their sites are wide open to exploitation as well. That last statement probably applies to me too.

Doing web security well is hard, too hard. Everyone gets caught with a security bug sooner or later, even google. It's easy to laugh with silly coding like this, but I blame the technology for allowing SQL injection in the first place. SQL is simply a bad API to be using in a web app.

14 points by MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 3 replies      
Since they're using SQL Server (hint is that they are checking for "xp_"), you can get a list of all of their databases with "SELECT name FROM sys.databases", then loop through and drop them. Hope the web login doesn't have drop permissions.
4 points by iuguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
H.M. Government has a specific set of standards that apply to websites based on the impact of information assets contained on them (as well as other bits and pieces that I don't need to go into). The weird thing is, this site is for the Welsh Assembly which, as a devolved government has to meet the standards but is seen in certain respects as a 'foreign government' within the civil service (our H.M. Government sector). Make no mistake, there are some things that this site will have to comply with, but the implied and genuinely air-quoted 'measures' put forward would add nothing to any of this.

A moderately large amount of this information is available on the Internet, start at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/security-po... if you want a look. A brief look through the sitemap suggests they are holding or processing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) which puts them under the Data Protection Act. Again, the presence of the javascript doesn't imply actual SQL injection, but it definitely doesn't imply a measure against it.

In this instance, the compliance requirements are fairly low. I guess the exam question is, can they pass the bar, or do they limbo under it?

16 points by Animus7 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a feeling that this site won't be up much longer after making front page of HN, and it will have nothing to do with server load.
13 points by elboru 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Terms & Conditions:
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect on line. We use encryption when collecting or transferring sensitive data such as credit card information."

I don't know why but I just don't trust them...

18 points by ZeroComplete 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm going to assume that they have a server-side validation script running and the client side code is just to prevent/explain to mistaken users and if the server-side script every activates they know that someone's being malicious.
12 points by RossDM 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I was working in the financial sector, I came across an email thread involving a certain software vendor who had been notified of a SQL injection vulnerability. To fix it, they created an IF statement that did a string comparison to check for the exact SQL attack that had been used.
6 points by Stormbringer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would have been better protected if their javascript was programmed in Welsh... :D
8 points by jofabian 2 days ago 1 reply      
Funny is that I tried to warn them about that problem and their Feedback form doesn't work.
2 points by ignifero 2 days ago 0 replies      
They are not scared of sql injection cause they have Styled Scrollbars!!
1 point by JohnnyBrown 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, it's still up after 8 hours, so apparently there was some server-side checking as well
3 points by arpy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Poor old Bobby Drop Tables will be out of luck again.
2 points by teichman 2 days ago 2 replies      
So for those of use who know nothing about websites: what is the correct way to protect against SQL injection?
1 point by evo_9 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well at least form & function are equals.
2 points by gary4gar 2 days ago 2 replies      
Javascript - It can be Disabled!

Every Web Dev needs to remember this and Yet people tend to forget

1 point by stevemoy 2 days ago 1 reply      
My take on this is that the scriptwriter's goal was not to stop SQL injection attacks but rather prevent regular users from inadvertently screwing with the database.

Looking at it that way makes it a much more understandable (and all-too-common, unfortunately) oversight.

1 point by d2 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are more websites than competent admins so this kind of thing is inevitable. If you were a nice guy you would have reported it to the admin and left it at that.
1 point by rosenjon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah...pretty sad. But at the same time, if the site isn't down by now, there is probably server side checking in place as well.
1 point by Lozzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
The linked page seems very safe. It has a very bad form checking function, but no actual form...
0 points by peterbe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello!!! Has anybody hacked the site yet? Perhaps it would be nasty to delete all database tables but at least some sort of update would be funny?
-2 points by vain 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2370022 CEO Friday: Why we don't hire .NET programmers)

Would an open source programmer do something like this?

-4 points by thomasfl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Upvote here if you too have discovered sql injection vulnerabilities in your own web apps.
Introducing /run lwn.net
237 points by rpledge 2 days ago   38 comments top 6
20 points by ascendant 1 day ago 1 reply      
TL;DR summary: Hey, there's this problem that has been solved in a nonstandard way for too long. Here is a solution that all the major distro's have agreed on

Unwashed masses: Hooray!

Random angry neckbeards: YOU ARE CRACK ADDICTED RAPISTS

26 points by CoffeeDregs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice. I'm happy our Linux overlords are so sensible.

Also!: /run/flame_war @ http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.redhat.fedora.devel/1469...

10 points by aphyr 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've always wondered about the difference in lifecycle between /var/lock, /var/run, and other /vars. Happy that we've decided to make things simpler and easier to understand.
15 points by zokier 1 day ago 1 reply      
Quite nice to see that different distros cooperate to keep certain thing coherent between the systems.
7 points by sagarun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sensible approach from Lennart and the whole systemD folks. If you are wondering who lennart is, He is one of the creator of pulse audio and known for sending out an alternative kernel speedup patch http://www.webupd8.org/2010/11/alternative-to-200-lines-kern...
-4 points by dexen 1 day ago 5 replies      
What a joke. Thie filesystem hierary wasn't complex enough for him?

> /var/run otoh is only available very late at
boot, since /var might reside on a separate file system

he forgot to mention that this is a non-standard, specialized setup. In normal case, /var is on the root partition.

Pipe: Infix syntax for Python dev-tricks.net
233 points by toni 3 days ago   40 comments top 18
7 points by jerf 2 days ago 2 replies      
ISTR that when people discussed various ways of overloading the pipe on comp.lang.python back in the day, one thing you have to be careful of is that the bitwise OR operator binds relatively weakly [1], and that can result in some surprising behavior if you intuitively assign the | a precedence in your head more suited to the behavior implemented here. In this particular case, though, you probably wouldn't hit this problem very often... though in some ways that can make the problem worse in its own way.

[1]: http://docs.python.org/reference/expressions.html#summary

14 points by va1en0k 3 days ago 4 replies      
that's great! I always wanted something like this for Python

the problem is, I rarely feel like I can just use all these cool-syntax libraries for production, since they don't add a lot of value. why do I need a whole dependency dependency for something that just make one or two line more readable?

I've written a syntax enhancer for PHP once, but it just added one feature (array dereferencing) for a small but noticeable price of setting up; I never considered it for production usage because there weren't enough features to justify it. (CoffeeScript is an example of justifiable price for huge changes and multiple ideas)

for personal just-for-fun projects (like solving project euler problems) it's an awesome idea, though

4 points by srean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coincidentally enough I was looking at http://code.google.com/p/python-pipeline/ a few days ago. I fully expected them to be related by a fork, but they dont seem to be. Python-pipeline executes a similar idea, but to infix-chain iterators by way of generators. I guess some abstractions are just too handy and useful and the chances are high that they will be implemented/discovered independently. Pipe is just one of them.
5 points by riobard 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Fibonacci generator hurts my eyes! Here is a cleaner version.

    def fib():
a, b = 0, 1
while True:
yield a
a, b = b, a+b

Anyway, the order of the pipeline-like operation in Python sometimes really bugs me. This one addresses part of it.

Recently I'm playing with Scala and it is really neat to do these stuff:

    // A lazy Fibonacci generator (a Scala Stream)
lazy val fib: Stream[Long] = Stream.cons(0, Stream.cons(1,
fib.zip(fib.tail).map(pair => pair._1 + pair._2)))

fib filter(_ % 2 == 0) takeWhile (_ < 4000000) sum
// 4613732

3 points by geophile 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have built something similar, coming at the problem from a different direction. I wanted a Unix-style shell, but piping objects instead of strings. For example, to sum x^2 from the command line, x = 0-9:

    bash$ osh gen 10 ^ f 'x: x**2' ^ red + $

^ is the pipe symbol, red means "reduce", $ means output, and f means apply the given function.

The same capabilities are available as a Python library:

    from osh.api import *
osh(gen(10), f(lambda x: x**2), red(lambda x, y: x + y), out())


    from osh.api import *
osh(gen(10), f(lambda x: x**2), red('+'), out())

Osh can also run results on multiple hosts at once, in parallel, combining the results in various ways; and integrates database access, piping tuples to and from sql commands.


4 points by xtacy 3 days ago 1 reply      
A similar question was asked on Stackoverflow:


Some answers seem enlightening:

  While I sympathize with the desire to create cool new language constructs (à la Lisp macros), it is not really the Python philosophy to do this:

>>> import this
There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.

3 points by d0m 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any helper function that convert existing functions into pipe's style?

For instance:

  [1,2,3,4,5] | p(sum) 

where p would transform a def(seq, args, kwargs) to def(args,kwargs) and yield the results?

Also, maybe:

  [1,2,3,4,5] >> sum

where that could be made automatically ?

7 points by toni 3 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by biot 3 days ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of C#'s LINQ, but for Python... PLINQ?


1 point by zacharyvoase 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a really similar library called Calabash a short while ago: https://github.com/zacharyvoase/calabash

It's all fully tested (python setup.py test), and I really like using it, but I haven't done so in any large-ish production app yet because it just looks completely different to the surrounding code. I have used it with success in some small scripts, but that's about it.

3 points by pepijndevos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Server is unresponsive. Maybe Coral will cache it sometime: http://dev-tricks.net.nyud.net/pipe-infix-syntax-for-python
2 points by algorias 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder about the usefulness of this. Doesn't the python generator syntax take care pretty well of most use-cases?

The first example could have been written like this, which is much simpler and easier to read than both the prefix and infix versions:

sum(x * x for x in take_while(fib(), lambda x: x < 1000000) if x % 2)

2 points by mmavnn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice piece of sugar. Pipes are one of the things I love about f#, and it's nice to have a quick and easy implementation for when I'm playing with Django/App Engine.
5 points by Fice 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the threading macros (-> and ->>) from Clojure.
3 points by aufreak3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remove the pipe symbols and you get Forth syntax!
1 point by ivank 3 days ago 0 replies      
Possibly inspired by Pypes: http://arvindn.livejournal.com/68137.html
0 points by moomba 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thats great, now if they added some of the other lisp features (macros, etc.) I'd consider using python.
1 point by jhuni 3 days ago 0 replies      
Infix notation is more readable then poorly written
"classical" prefix notation.
+1's: the right recommendations right when you want themâ€"in your search results googleblog.blogspot.com
208 points by Anon84 1 day ago   83 comments top 30
55 points by giberson 1 day ago 12 replies      
I really surprised at Google by this implementation--it seems like they didn't really think it through.

When I'm searching for something, my behavior is usually:

     Google search term
Open the top couple results in a new tab
Check each tab, to see if they contain the information I was looking for
If tab is not useful, or more information is required, check next tab.
If information is satisfied, close window (all tabs, including search)
If no tabs remain, and still need more information, return to search page and check next results.

That process has been in place since I upgraded to firefox from ie6 all those years ago. Before then, my search process consisted of:

     Google search term
Check first result link
If information has been satisfied, close window.
If more information is needed, go BACK, check next link.

My point is, Google search is a launching platform. I typically only go back to the results page when the result didn't provide the information I was looking for. In order to use the feature, I'd have to alter my process to include a return trip to the results page, find the link that led to the page I found interesting and then +1 it. No way this is gonna happen. Ever.

The only way I see this feature being implemented in a workable solution is as a browser addon--so that when I'm on a page that I find particularly awesome [whether I found it via search results or by following some page link] I can click on the +1 toolbar button.

Such an implementation would I think would also enhance the result set of affected links. In it's current implementation I'll only find plus one's when I just happen to be searching for the same or similar thing as some one from my social circle. Where as as a browser extension I'll find plus ones for any page that any one in my social circle has visited and found interesting regardless of if they ever issued a query for that subject matter.

38 points by aero142 1 day ago 6 replies      
I still don't get this. What does my social circle have to do with my Google searches. I am friends with lots of people who I don't trust to influence my search results. The Hunch approach makes a lot more sense where it uses recommendations of people who have similar tastes to me. People I am friends with is not a good proxy for people who's opinion I care about when searching for camera documentation, or dog breeds, or Python libraries, or anything at all. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I just don't see it.
14 points by zzzmarcus 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can't ever remember doing a search for something where one of the results was so cool that I thought "hey, I'd like to share this search result with everyone I know!" or even "hey, I'd like everyone I know to know that I think this search result is cool!" If I was going to share something it would a. be the actual page, not just the search result, and b. likely not shared with my friends and the general public, but with a specific friend or co-worker or a small group of people.

A search result is so disconnected from your social circle that it's hard for me to understand how this ever made it past prototyping. Search results aren't like party pictures or baby pictures or what you had for breakfast or anything people share on Facebook or Twitter. They're generally not even answers to questions, they're just potential answers. The answer itself is what you'd like to share.

Clicking +1 on an ad seems ridiculous to me for all the same reasons as above, plus the additional reason that I would be embarrassed to share any ad that wasn't superbowl-funny or a direct savings ($5.00 off a movie or something) and I've never seen an Adsense ad come close to either of those. Sharing any other ad is just spamming your friends.

13 points by jhuckestein 1 day ago 2 replies      
Call me skeptical, but I'm not convinced by Google's partial rollout of their new social layer.

A while ago they rolled out the new top-bar and a little later they rolled out the new profiles and now this. It all kind of makes sense, but there is no killer app/driver for all these features.

The number of integration points seems to be a problem, too. Until last week Google Mail, Reader and Groups all used different revisions of the "Google bar" on top. Disabling Google Buzz in Gmail also removes your new shiny profile, etc..

I'm anxious to see where this is going.

2 points by iamelgringo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear Google,

It's been great knowing you for all these years, but you're really starting to creep my out.

I've trusted you with my 1,000 contacts in my email system. I've trusted you because you've said repeatedly that you're not going to be evil. I've trusted you with what I'm saying in my emails, because you've said repeatedly that no one really reads my email, you just automatically scan it and provide "helpful" ads.

And then, you gave me a really shiny phone, and I was in love. (You know I don't like Apple. They hurt me, and I've never forgiven them). I really liked how you made my live easier, and all my email contacts were automatically in my phone. And, anything that I updated in my phone, showed up in my email system.

You also really helped me out by by making it really easy to find things by using my phone. Your navigation system is really, really nice.

But, you're starting to really creep me out, Google.

First, you automatically gave me a "Profile" page, and linked all my contacts to it, without my permission.

And, now... You're changing my search results based on who I know and what they've liked. I trusted you with who I know. Please, stop using that information. If I want to know what links my friends have clicked on. I'll ask them. If I want to look at their pictures on flikr... I'll follow their photostream.

Please stop. You're really creeping me out. You know a lot about me, and I don't think I trust you any more.

So, this is it. I'm breaking up with you.

You've been following me around with my phone, so you know where I am at any given point in time. You know who I call and when I call them. You tried to get a record of all my phone calls with Google Voice, but that was just a little too creepy for me. You've had a record of every email that I've sent for the last few years, and you know most of what I'm looking for on the internet.

You're around me too much. You're following me. You want a record of my voice. You are showing me results that my "friends" are looking at. It's just too much. I'm leaving you.

As soon as my new phone comes in this week, I'm getting rid of your phone. I'm changing my email system to an Exchange based system. And, I'm switching my search engines to DuckDuckGo, Bing and Blekko.

I do appreciate your helpfulness in the past. But, you're getting way too close for comfort. Did I mention you're creeping me out?


6 points by naz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, Google should have done this years ago, even if it had no effect on result placement, think of all the data they could have collected. On the other hand, the big appeal of Google is the simplicity and minimal clutter, and this is just another useless (at least on the first search) thing added to the interface.
3 points by waxman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Social search is likely the next killer app. The tastes of my friends are far more relevant to me than the judgement of bots.

The question is, who will do it better: Google or Facebook? The search engine or the social graph?

2 points by mcobrien 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, Google just doesn't know enough about my social graph to make this much more than a noisy list of strangers and site owners trying to game the system.

They say they "may" "soon" incorporate your connections on sites "like" Twitter which would be an improvement but from the language it sounds like they haven't even talked to Twitter about it yet.

Of course they don't mention Facebook, who do know my social graph and are busy collecting Likes around the web that they can use to build a robust, trustworthy recommendations product. It's going to be hard for Google to build the assets they need to avoid ceding part of the search market to Facebook.

6 points by todd3834 1 day ago 1 reply      
Facebook "Like It". Google "+1". Assuming Google A/B tests just about everything, I'm surprised "+1" seemed like the winning choice. I don't hate it, I'm just surprised...
13 points by jrnkntl 1 day ago 0 replies      
April +1
4 points by HowardRoark 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you Google for trying out. But it doesn't look like something I am going to use because most of my social contacts don't have a clue about my professional life - which is what I am searching for mostly.
3 points by nanoanderson 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is heading in the right direction, but I remain skeptical of the simple "you're connected to this person through some service (probably unconnected to the search query), so you trust them" symbol as the main recommendation symbol. This is one way Color actually interests me, they're exploring new symbols for connection, even if I think they're kind of weird and hard to understand at first glance.

Won't know for sure until I try it though.

1 point by fossuser 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems like an interesting way to try and tie in a social aspect to their search, but I think they're at a bit of a disadvantage when compared to Facebook mostly because Google profiles are not ubiquitously used. If you don't have anyone to share your +1s with then after some time I'd suspect people won't bother. I think redesigning the profile page was a step in the right direction and I think they have to come up with something to get people to fill them out and use them.
2 points by cpeterso 1 day ago 0 replies      
When Yahoo acquired Delicious, I assumed Yahoo would use Delicious users' links, tags, and relationships to create "social-powered search" like Google's +1.

But I guess I gave Yahoo too much credit.

2 points by benatkin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone remember when Google Code blocked +1 comments?


And now Google is adding +1 to their search results. Arrgh!

2 points by alanh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to imagine “social media marketing” types are planning obvious ways to exploit this as we speak.
2 points by direxorg 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it is going to affect search ranking than it is the time to build network of professional (+1) recommenders with whole bunch of profiles with fake pictures and googleplex of "friends" build via social gaming.
Basic package +1000 for your search term on 30th page to move it up a notch $99.99.
Does domain name GooZynga available? :-)
Anybody want to apply late for that project - it is a future of a Social Search... :-)
You know "next big thing" :-
3 points by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
When it comes to innovations in social web, attempts made by google look pathetic.
2 points by measure2xcut1x 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't see my wife creating a google account so she can click +1 on a web page when there will be a facebook like button right next to the +1 button. Why would she? Her friends are on facebook.
1 point by beilabs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does this feel like an April fools joke to anyone else?
3 points by mikelward 1 day ago 0 replies      
There should have been a +1 button on Google's blog post. :-)
1 point by xsive 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think Google went about this ass-backward.

I can seldom judge the usefulness of a site just based on a list of returned results -- however -- I can often filter out junk (anything from experts-exchange for example). So it seems to me a -1 button would have been better. Not to mention less creepy than tracking sites I like based on my interaction with a search engine.

2 points by bretthellman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can see the value for shopping/purchase related searches.
1 point by start123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google has cluttered its search results page with Preview button, Social search results and now the +1 button making it difficult to locate content.
2 points by edambauskas 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first thing I did. I went and voted for my own projects :-)
1 point by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google is late to the party, I thought they understood it when nobody used the 'buzz' button.
1 point by vnchr 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 A Like button integrated with search.


2 points by carnivore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does Google think we all have superpowers? How do I know I want to +1 a link before I see it?
1 point by currywurst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone think "You +1'd this publicly" sounds quite ominous ?!
0 points by ozten 1 day ago 0 replies      
People are taking this seriously? Looks like an April fools joke.

Better implementation - An in chrome button you can hit that -1 the current url. I'll never remember to +1 a site once I've clicked the link, but I do say WTF!?! once I'm there and I do want to sink the bad links w/o going back. Would be a cross-browser Addon.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved By 1970s Computer Graphics Technique technologyreview.com
207 points by iuguy 1 day ago   74 comments top 9
50 points by PaulHoule 1 day ago 8 replies      
This is a classic example of how the physics community has been failing for the last 30 years.

First of all, there's an extreme focus on papers that have come out in the last 1.5 years, so that a lot of very interesting older work is invisible.

Secondly, physicists don't look outside the discipline, despite the fact that we often use inferior techniques. Back in the 1990's, Mark Newman and I were both working at Cornell and both of us were aware that the techniques physicists were using to evaluate power law distributions were bogus. Well, I was a timid grad student and, despite being one of the best physicists of his generation who already had written half of an excellent textbook and had a stellar research record, Mark was a postdoc who spent most of his two years in absolute anguish about how he was going to find his next job.

Mark wrote a paper about this ten years later, after physicists had published thousands of bogus papers using bogus statistics. It's a tragedy that neither Mark, myself or some other young turk didn't write it earlier -- and it wouldn't have been hard to do it all because it would mainly be a review paper of what was already in the statistics literature.

7 points by Jabbles 1 day ago 0 replies      
The key conclusion, with error estimates:

We performed 10^4 Monte Carlo iterations, which easily ensures the convergence of the result. The thermal acceleration estimate yielded by the simulation for an instant 26 years after launch, with a 95% probability, is

a(t=26) = (5.8 ± 1.3) Ã- 10^âˆ'10 ms^-2.

... These results account for between 44% and 96% of the
reported value

a = (8.74 ± 1.33) Ã- 10^âˆ'10 ms^-2

(which, we recall, was obtained under the hypothesis of a constant acceleration) â€" thus giving a strong indication of
the preponderant contribution of thermal effects to the
Pioneer anomaly.


14 points by BoppreH 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Somebody better update the people using it as an anti-science argument.

Edit: I'm serious. Conservapedia used to have an article about it and how it discredits the scientific model and whatnot. There's a huge knowledge gap between this views and we should do our best to eliminate it.

6 points by jarin 1 day ago 3 replies      
Doesn't it seem like a slowdown caused by infrared light emitting from one part of Pioneer and reflecting off of another part of Pioneer is kind of like powering a sailboat with a giant fan attached to the back of the sailboat?

I'm not a physicist by any means, but doesn't conservation of momentum apply to photon emission and absorption/reflection as well?

4 points by pasbesoin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
What I appreciate about this is the straight-forward manner in which the story presents the case for always challenging your/the assumptions.

Speculation about a whole new aspect for theoretical models of the universe. Someone's grounded enough to go over the work and realize, 'Hey, you're doing the math wrong!'

I wish science education did a better job of teaching this.

17 points by jvandonsel 1 day ago 5 replies      
It's a bit disappointing, actually. I was hoping for another revolution in Newton's laws.
2 points by dexen 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a detailed, concise article on how the model was prepared:
4 points by bhickey 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't ambient occlusion have been a better technique?
2 points by copper 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Of course, other groups will want to confirm these results and a team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which has gathered the data on the probes, is currently studying its own computer model of the thermal budgets.

Here's to hoping that the numbers match. Phong shading to calculate numerically the effects of a what is almost a solar sail to decelerate Pioneer - now that's cool science!

Evan Williams on leaving Twitter evhead.com
209 points by starnix17 2 days ago   64 comments top 14
45 points by far33d 2 days ago 9 replies      
I'm likely to be on the wrong side of this argument, but part of my gets upset every time I hear about a founder leaving their fast-growing company. Great companies are built by the kinds of founders who don't just want to start something, they want to build and scale it into something world-changing.

Imagine Mark Zuckerberg leaving FB to "start something new". Imagine Bill Gates leaving MSFT early on to "experiment with some new ideas". Larry Ellison, Page and Brin, Jobs, etc all evolved with their companies. Why does it seem like this class of entrepreneurs is uninterested in seeing their companies out?

38 points by staunch 2 days ago 4 replies      
Blogger supported 1400 characters. Twitter supported 140 characters. â€"â€"â€"â€"â€"er will support 14 characters. Can't wait for the release!
17 points by webwright 2 days ago 0 replies      
What an amazing position to be in. Most people have to struggle to raise money and attract talent. How big do you think the line is to fund and/or work at Ev's next venture? G'luck, Ev!
8 points by marcamillion 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is why I love this industry. This guy has created two groundbreaking/historic companies in a decade and now he is stepping up to bat for #3.

I don't know if he will succeed on the next one, or even on the one after that - but I do know that I wouldn't bet against him.

Love/Hate Twitter, have to respect @ev for his contribution to communication, the development of Rails and the evolution of the industry.

Look forward to seeing what comes next.

14 points by ohkine 2 days ago 2 replies      
> After stepping down from CEO six months ago, my mind started to wander. The reason I left Blogger/Google when I did is that I felt it had reached a place where it was on solid ground and in capable hands (at the time, Jason Goldman's as product manager). Though still an independent company, I realized Twitter may be at a similar point today.

Do people really mean it when they say this, or is it just a thing to say, the same way disgraced politicians claim that they're retiring to 'spend time with their family'?

I mean, i'm not suggesting that there's anything untoward going on, it's just that with a few rare exceptions i find it hard to believe when people (politicians, CEOs, message-board founders, or anyone else) claim that they've left because they looked around and, like the Old Testament God, saw that 'it was good', and decided that their job was done there. I have not ever been a CEO or anything obviously, but the concept seems unlikely to me. 'I'm tired of my responsibilities', 'the culture has changed too much', 'i don't like my co-workers', 'i've got a more lucrative opportunity lined up elsewhere', 'i want to raise my new child', whatever, i'd easily believe those. But that it's so charitable and grandiose as deciding 'it's done' seems foreign to me.

11 points by revorad 2 days ago 0 replies      
Next up: YC gets a new partner... :-P
3 points by PanMan 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems the folks at twitter want to give @jack a bigger role, especially with @ev gone. However, I wonder if he doesn't want to focus on Square, which seems to be doing great things on it's own.
3 points by geoffw8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best of luck to Ev. Very impressive, not only growing the businesses, but knowing when to leave at the right moment.
1 point by citricsquid 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://obviouscorp.com/ what happened to their site?
1 point by ignifero 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's Obvious that his next step has something to do with Obvious Inc. Maybe something that will remove everything that is obvious from the web
2 points by d2 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's been 5 years and 8 days since work on Twitter started on March 21, 2006. Several other founding employees will be fully vested by now, so I'd expect a few more departures, particularly now that Ev has made it OK to leave.
1 point by kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Twitter looks more like a company and less than a start-up for every day that passes.
1 point by niketdesai 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty amazing to be part of two incredibly successful companies. If anything this is simply proof that you can get it done.

I'm sure it's tough to maintain control when companies become (or are acquired into) behemoths. I can't imagine all of the emotional turmoil being successful in entrepreneurial adventures can be in comparison to failure, quite frankly.

He can walk away knowing that he was at the VERY least part of game changing contributions to the world. And that's pretty neat no matter what he decides to do next.

And they say...3rd time is the charm.

4 points by gromy 2 days ago 5 replies      
Any bets on what Ev will work on next?
Lessons from GitHub's First Year preston-werner.com
196 points by mojombo 2 days ago   23 comments top 7
16 points by hanifvirani 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the best startup articles I have read in a while. Some real gems in there. The metaphor by Martin Fowler that the article mentions is particularly noteworthy.

Imagine you're tasked with building a computer controlled gun that can accurately hit a target about 50 meters distant. That is the only requirement. One way to do this is to build a complex machine that measures every possible variable (wind, elevation, temperature, etc.) before the shot and then takes aim and shoots. Another approach is to build a simple machine that fires rapidly and can detect where each shot hits. It then uses this information to adjust the aim of the next shot, quickly homing in on the target a little at a time.

The difference between these two approaches is to realize that bullets are cheap. By the time the former group has perfected their wind detection instrument, you'll have finished your simple weapon and already hit the target.

19 points by DavidChouinard 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great article. I especially like this:

Here's a seemingly paradoxical piece of advice for you: Listen to your customers, but don't let them tell you what to do. Let me explain. Consider a feature request such as “GitHub should let me FTP up a documentation site for my project.” What this customer is really trying to say is “I want a simple way to publish content related to my project,” but they're used to what's already out there, and so they pose the request in terms that are familiar to them. We could have implemented some horrible FTP based solution as requested, but we looked deeper into the underlying question and now we allow you to publish content by simply pushing a Git repository to your account. This meets requirements of both functionality and elegance.

8 points by jrockway 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting to hear that a bunch of git early adopters "couldn't have done it" without Campfire. I would have pegged them in the IRC demographic.
1 point by d0m 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Pay attention to Twitter". I was wondering if a service is doing exactly that? Watching twitter, "understanding" the post, and giving you a real-time update of your service/product? If not, that might be useful!
2 points by mryall 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's a great article. Perhaps even more interesting because of Github's growth in the three years since it was written.

I wonder if he didn't publish it because he started with the idea of publishing ten lessons. Might have been better to assign the number after the article was written.

1 point by kragen 2 days ago 2 replies      
How have the things in the article changed since then? Does GitHub still have no office and four employees?
1 point by KedarMhaswade 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, 9 1/2. That 1/2 a thing is killing. Great article! When DVCS's would be compared, GitHub would be a great plus in Git's favor.
Google indexes Stack Overflow at a rate of 10 requests per second stackoverflow.com
189 points by mwsherman 3 days ago   57 comments top 17
25 points by efsavage 2 days ago 2 replies      
This isn't exactly abnormal. SO is a big site with alot of fresh content, I'm guessing google indexes many thousands of sites at that rate. What's surprising to me is that it surprises them.
18 points by tristanperry 2 days ago 1 reply      
10 requests per second doesn't sound majorly high. That's 36,000 pages per hour which whilst big, doesn't sound too high, especially for a site as popular as SO (Alexa puts it at 137rd most popular site; granted, Alexa isn't the most accurate).
8 points by joshu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Delicious used to get slammed by crawlers, too.

10 qps isn't that bad. I remember some ad network launched using delicious widgets as their text ads platform that hit us for 25 qps sustained.

17 points by pestaa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stack Overflow is almost at 10 questions asked per second, so where does the surprise come from?

Honestly, I'd have guessed a lot higher number.

9 points by Jgrubb 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was searching around for some SVG radial background gradient something or other that I wasn't sure even existed a few days ago and the top hit to come up was a SO question that had been asked 7 hours before. Answered my question, too. I was impressed.
3 points by anonymousDan 2 days ago 1 reply      
The interesting thing to know would be how much more efficient a push-based indexing approach would be instead of the current pull-based model. If frequently updated sites could push change notifications to google it would solve this problem. However, I'm not sure how google could trust such sites not to overload its own servers.
7 points by sajidnizami 2 days ago 4 replies      
SO is the best case study of a startup scaling with .Net. Whenever I read their infrastructure stuff I cringe I am not in their team.
1 point by 3pt14159 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why doesn't Stack Overflow make a push API that feeds Google changes to pages when A. they know they happen and B. when they arn't under peak load?

(edit: besides the obvious limitations that Google may not have an API that is exposed to the public)

1 point by PaulHoule 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's either that or let most of their content be uncrawled and show up on efreedom.com instead.
1 point by daimyoyo 2 days ago 2 replies      
My question would be "does SO create contet at that rate?" It seems to me that google need not index your site faster than you're creating things for it to see. Is there a way to vary how often google indexes you with how often your uses create content automatically?
2 points by vain 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is a problem we had at a large social network i used to work with. launching a directory of users primarily for google's consumption was something that was difficult to scale for our huge size of database.
The solution for us was node.js
1 point by plainOldText 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's interesting to me is that the crawlers suck on average 5GB of data per day (according to their graphs) :)
1 point by kposehn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wonder if anyone noticed how crazy their engineers are:


-3 points by known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this against the spirit of PageRank's neutrality?
-3 points by petervandijck 3 days ago 1 reply      
Because that's what they asked Google to do in their Webmaster tools.
-1 point by wpeterson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was surprised how much of a load webcrawlers (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) imposed on us at PatientsLikeMe, the majority of which is Google. The "intelligent" rate limiting results in a very high rate of crawl for many sites.

We added additional caching and manually lowered the crawl rate to address this at PatientsLikeMe.

-4 points by androidlove 3 days ago 0 replies      
so what? so does every other seo optimizes page. (but how SO dealt with it was interresting nontheless)
Learn You a Haskell is now in print learnyouahaskell.com
181 points by teaspoon 2 days ago   65 comments top 20
13 points by angrycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Starch has really been knocking out of the park lately with Land of Lisp, Eloquent Javascript, The Linux Programming Interface, and now Learn You a Haskell. They are also one of the few publishers who's typesetting doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out.
16 points by danieldk 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can now confidently recommend a book to Haskell-aspiring friends that is easy to read and incredibly fun at the same time. It will be on my bookshelf next to Land of Lisp.
17 points by arespredator 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's astonishing to me that a computer science student wrote such a good book. It's funny, witty, the drawings are great, and the author explains quite complicated concepts of functional programming very clearly. I've already read this book a year ago online, yet I'm still gonna buy it just to support the author.
6 points by losvedir 2 days ago 2 replies      
Great guide! Since the author himself seems to be reading these comments, I finally have a chance to say just how hysterically funny the bit about analyzing the Avril Lavigne song line by line was. I laughed so hard when I got to that part.

Guess I should buy the print version of the book to support the author....

3 points by rwmj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Slightly OT: Can someone point to a good, comprehensive tutorial on how to call C code from Haskell?

Background: libguestfs Haskell bindings need a lot of love, and the FFI deeply confuses me.

2 points by Calamitous 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious how the author liked working with NoStarch. I know one of PragProg's big selling points is that they're much easier to deal with and provide much higher royalties than traditional tech publishers; I wonder if NoStarch has taken a similar approach.
2 points by olliesaunders 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some very light criticism of this book: sometimes the author makes things a little too easy by spelling out stuff that I'd rather have to work out myself. It's easy to fall into the temptation of just reading and reading without really trying out what you've learnt because everything always seems so easy to understand but you don't really internalize it properly until you've actually used it a lot.

So these days I prefer other texts but I turn to LYAH when I'm really confused.

All that said it is a great work, as many have said, and a great boon to Haskell and the functional programming world.

4 points by oscilloscope 2 days ago 1 reply      
LYAH is fun and accessible. A great introduction to the advanced concepts in Haskell and the power of functional programming.

It made me better at javascript and python. It rekindled my interest in math and algebras. It makes me want to do battle with complexity in nuanced, clever ways.

Thanks Miran!

4 points by Cherad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just bought this from No Starch Press for delivery to the UK. Amazon UK has it for £35.49, so cheaper to get it shipped over - madness! (I'll take my chances on the import taxes...)

Thank you Miran for a great haskell book, I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a print copy.

2 points by vessenes 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm learning haskell from him right now; totally enjoyable introduction to a new language, and functional programming.

It won't be my only haskell book, but I'm glad it was my first!

2 points by sigzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to the author on this book. I think it is great that Haskell will have such a "fun" book to teach the concepts of programming in Haskell. That should lower the learning barrier a bit. More so since everything is layed out in easy to understand terms.
2 points by jlees 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just bought it. I'm researching ways to teach computer science and this has come up in so many threads it's not even funny. :)

(Despite it being a free ebook I vastly prefer print, another problem I'm trying to figure out and solve...)

4 points by happy4crazy 2 days ago 0 replies      
LYAH is fantastic. Lots of really beautiful material, and it's choke-on-your-coffee funny.
1 point by revorad 2 days ago 3 replies      
The same book is available for $25.56 on Amazon (vs $44.95 on No Starch and O'Reilly). How can Amazon afford such a huge discount on a new book? And how does O'Reilly survive with such competition?
2 points by tomazmuraus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome book (+ pretty pictures).

I have read it online about a year ago, but I still ordered my copy from Amazon.

2 points by thurn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this also mean that the online edition has been completed and there will be no future chapters?
1 point by rubergly 2 days ago 0 replies      
huh. I was just looking through No Starch Press's catalog last week after someone here mentioned the Manga Guide to Databases, and I saw this, but didn't realize it was only online before.
1 point by davelee 2 days ago 0 replies      
after reading it online, I preordered it right away (last December). Had to get some money in Miran's account. Glad it's done and ready to go.
1 point by watmough 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent. Will order!
0 points by krainboltgreene 2 days ago 1 reply      
And Learn You The Ruby is still in the dust. I feel so ashamed :(
The infamous SCSH Scheme shell "Acknowledgements" scsh.net
180 points by fogus 3 days ago   31 comments top 14
35 points by dasht 2 days ago 1 reply      
Back at CMU there were local-to-campus on-line bulletin boards. Eventually these became local netnews news groups.

One of these was the "general" bboard for the CS department. Creativity was always valued in the department. Thus, while normal people would go to the general bboard to sell a used couch or get advice on selecting a water heater or find out what colloquium's were coming up next month, those people would often be confused and alarmed to find stuff like this:


16-Sep-82 12:09 Neil Swartz at CMU-750R Pigeon type question

This question does not involve pigeons, but is similar:

There is a lit candle in an elevator mounted on a bracket attached to the middle of one wall (say, 2" from the wall). A drop of mercury is on the floor. The cable snaps and the elevator falls.

What happens to the candle and the mercury?


16-Sep-82 17:21 Howard Gayle at CMU-780G WARNING!

Because of a recent physics experiment, the leftmost elevator has been contaminated with mercury. There is also some slight fire damage.

Decontamination should be complete by 08:00 Friday."

That kind of behavior caused consternation in some circles. Alas, the CS department also famously fosters an honor-based social order called the "reasonable person principle". Essentially, everyone should behave like grown-ups and assume the same of everyone else. The reasonable person principle doesn't leave a lot of easy room for rules like "don't post jokes to the general bboard else no desert for you". So, two responses evolved.

First, Scott Fahlman invented a typographic convention to signal that a post was a joke: :-)

Later, the cs.opinion newsgroup was created and people were encouraged to act out their creative writing impulses there.

cs.opinion occasionally went off the rails (e.g., when one T.A. came to have a fondness for railing with apparent sincerity against minority students who he thought unworthy of being admitted). Mostly, though, it was good fun. Occasionally some real gems of writing were posted there.

Olin was one of the better writers. I recall but don't have at hand several loving realist / surrealist descriptions he wrote of life in his native Georgia. More famously, and in some ways anticipating the SCSH acknowledgements, it this exchange:


"It's common knowledge that whenever you get two or more CS grad students together, the conversation will inevitably drift to the same topic: automatic weapons. [....]"

31 points by scott_s 3 days ago 1 reply      
While we're dredging up ol' Olin Shivers goodies: http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/shivers/advisor-stmt-original.tx...
20 points by ibagrak 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had the pleasure of being one of Olin's undergraduate students in his also infamous compilers course. We even worked together on a paper for a Scheme conference back in 2004. Anyways, one of the things I will always remember him say to a group of students: "There are no stupid questions, only stupid students." And he always started a class with a story about his college days. Great guy.
6 points by spot 2 days ago 0 replies      
5 points by makmanalp 2 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by forkandwait 2 days ago 0 replies      
The free software ecology should claim yet another victory -- it's like the only place in computing where people actually use curse words and have a decent sense of humor...
1 point by tzury 2 days ago 0 replies      
Olin Shivers - The History of T http://www.paulgraham.com/thist.html
3 points by unreal37 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read an article that references this, that says Olin is "feeling a lot better now". I sure hope so.


1 point by jfm3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is Mr. Shivers the motivation for that whole BBM essay?


1 point by jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a pretty good case for not getting too deep into Lisp.
1 point by Tichy 2 days ago 1 reply      
This would not go down so well in modern times (after Columbine)
1 point by sigzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow, just wow. He was wrong though. People are reading it. :)
-4 points by mapleoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this what the world looked like before we invented _why?
-4 points by 6ren 2 days ago 2 replies      
The problem with the lisp community was not that it contained people like this and Erik Naggum, but that they were celebrated. We all have flaws, which is no shame, provided we know they're flaws.

Maybe lisp's expressivity confers an advantage, but like a smelly bum shouting alcoholic abuse at passersby with secret superpowers, you have to wonder if it's worth it. Some people think the greatest strength of homo sapiens is our intelligence - but history suggests that it is our ability to cooperate (to share insights, build on them and to specialize) that is our real talent - our collective intelligence. Lisp's community celebrates individual, non-collective intelligence; people re-implement work themselves rather than reuse others' work.

It's not just the "community" though, there are also technical factors: the purpose of much of Java's "ceremony" is to facilitate re-use, especially in larger projects. Lisp's prototyping strengths are reuse weaknesses - a natural trade-off.

I like esr's point that lisp gives you additional perspectives in other languages - though a mathematical approach, which lisp models in some ways, gives this more strongly IHMO.

EDIT I invite rebuttal of the specific points raised in this comment.

How Western Diets Are Making The World Sick npr.org
171 points by pavel 2 days ago   158 comments top 18
61 points by forgottenpaswrd 2 days ago replies      
Misleading title, it is not "western diet" what is bad for health, it is fast food, and sugar sweety food what is.

What Americans were eating 70-50-30 years ago was healthy and "western".

It has been people eating industrial foods instead of someone making the food what has changed. I use to look at obese people shopping cart and I see a lot of Coca Cola, pizza, industrial bread, industrial buns,cookies, chocolate,no fresh vegetables, no fresh milk or cheese, fresh fish or meat, no fress anything.

Artic Circle people have a huge problem in winter, only fish is fresh, so they eat potato chips with are easy and cheap to store for months(specially if they use trans fat).

I can't believe someone can live eating only with this. I'm from north of Spain and we like people from France used to eat very well, but people have less and less time for cooking and this means worse diet.

42 points by aantix 2 days ago 7 replies      
Am I the only one that felt like he was holding the Afghanistan people up as a model of health because they lack fat? Their life expectancy is a mere ~44 years (http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_dyn_le...). Neighboring Pakistan is 66 years (http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_dyn_le...).
38 points by deveren 2 days ago 3 replies      
Good question and answer at the end of the article. Fat is not what's making Americans fat. It's the prevalence of carbohydrates in our diets, and overeating of the same. I was in KY last week interviewing my great aunt who is 108 years old. Do you think she never ate bacon, beef, etc? Haha, their diets would be today's poster child for meatlovers. They didn't eat too much sugar, or carbs, but more importantly they never over indulged, and worked hard everyday.

Now, we consider an 8 hour day in front of the computer as a hard day at work. But eat like we've been working in the fields...

13 points by frankus 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in this sort of thing, I can't recommend Gary Taubes' book Good Calories Bad Calories highly enough.

If you're not so interested, he wrote a TL;DR version called Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.

He also has a blog: http://www.garytaubes.com/blog/

20 points by viggity 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been overweight my entire life, and honestly, I blame the Surgeon General in the 1980s for telling my mom that feeding me low fat foods (which end up being high carb foods) will make me skinny.

Everyone believed this cargo cult "science" and it has had a devastating impact for hundreds of millions of people.

13 points by mikecarlucci 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's scary that KFC and processed food is now equated with "Western diet."

Michael Pollan says it best: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

5 points by wmboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Once we realize that obesity is (by and large) a modern lifestyle disease caused by needless stress and a diet consisting of mostly fake food perhaps we'll return to eating a whole food diet consisting of real food?

e.g. margarine (which has color added to it to make it look yellow, otherwise it'd be gray) is NOT a healthy alternative to butter.

4 points by gcheong 2 days ago 2 replies      
Do you think we'll ever get to a point where people make food choices and limit their intake based mainly on a rational weighing of available information? I like to think we will but so far the track record is not too encouraging.
2 points by bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's also making people tall. Every-time I'm in South Korea the difference between the height of High School kids and even people 10-15 years older (read: folks who didn't grow up under any kind of severe hardship or food shortage) is remarkable. I'm a fairly average height American guy 5'9", and often find myself looking up to youngsters over there.
2 points by postfuturist 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of broad conclusions are made in this article without citing specific sources of research or evidence. Mostly, it's just anecdotal evidence (fictionalized at that) and obscure references to plotting curves (I assume on a graph, though we don't get to see it).
4 points by sklivvz1971 2 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant Skeptics.SE link here: What's wrong with processed food? (http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1392/whats-wrong...)
2 points by radioactive21 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it would be more accurate to say "Western life style" is making the world sick. Meaning work all the time, mostly sitting down, and have no time to exercise or prepare a healthy meal. This leads to eating fast food and high preservatives foods that last a long time but aren't really healthy.

You could eat healthy but still not be healthy without a proper life style change. Meaning exercise, lowering stress and other harmful habits.

2 points by seanalltogether 2 days ago 5 replies      
And the flip side of the coin.
"How western diets are driving the next stage of evolution in humans"
1 point by nhangen 2 days ago 0 replies      
What they failed to mention was that people in Afghanistan are starving and left to eat bread and whatever they can scrounge up.

We're fatter because we have more to eat.

1 point by wil2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not much time to reply right now, but I really, really recommend this book:

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health


2 points by Xodarap 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those interested, peta will give you a free starter kit to help you eat more vegs (http://bit.ly/hpGK0b).

(Although of course they approach it from an ethical perspective. But it makes you just as healthy.)

4 points by amitraman1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excercise daily!
-2 points by d2 2 days ago 0 replies      
The TL:DR is: Rich people (what he calls Westerners) are fat. Poor people (like afghanis) aren't. Rich people get more diabetes which costs them money. Poor people don't. He's cut both types of people open and looked at their fat.
Slightly More Advanced Git techniques cmurphycode.posterous.com
163 points by fogus 2 days ago   6 comments top 4
19 points by samstokes 1 day ago 1 reply      

    $ git bisect start
$ git bisect good <sha>
$ git bisect bad master
git will do all the hard work for you. You just have to run your tests at each point that git prompts you, and tell it whether it passed or not:
$ git bisect bad (or good)

Props to the author for describing 'git bisect', which is a big time saver; but I'm always surprised that articles like this don't go on to mention the even more amazing 'git bisect run', which automates the "run your tests at each point and tell it whether it passed" part:

    $ git bisect start
$ git bisect good <sha>
$ git bisect bad master
$ git bisect run rspec spec/path/to/failing_spec.rb
... wait a bit ...
5243cafebabe is the last bad commit

You can give it any shell command, and it'll automatically bisect, run the command, mark the current commit as good or bad depending on the shell return code of the command, then bisect again, etc.

It's right there in the man page, but for some reason seems to be little known (or at least talked about).

3 points by rwmj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Latest awesome git feature I found:

I'm using git notes to annotate my commits with metadata about what bugs they fix, how stable they've proven to be in practice, and the dependencies between commits:

7 points by davvid 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love git grep:

    $ git grep foo

It's often faster than running regular grep and does nice things like not inspecting ignored files.

I also find myself using git shortlog when preparing releases. e.g.:

    $ git shortlog v1.6.2..

...and it shows me a nice summary of changes since the "v1.6.2" tag.

"git diff --color-words" and "git difftool" are pretty awesome too.

I wouldn't consider these advanced but they are lesser-known.

2 points by eapen 1 day ago 0 replies      
The "Filter-Branch" tip was the most helpful tip for me, since I've been there and deleted my whole repo as quickly as possible not knowing other solutions existed.


With +1, Google Search Goes Truly Social â€" As Do Google Ads techcrunch.com
165 points by susanhi 1 day ago   105 comments top 37
14 points by jjcm 1 day ago 6 replies      
It's an interesting way of arranging a link aggregator, in that the links are already present. That said, I don't see this taking off. People compartmentalize their life based on functionality. Some will see google only as a search tool, digg/reddit/hn/slashdot/etc as their social news site, gmail/hotmail/etc as their mailing client - and wont use those products for anything other than their mentally compartmentalized purpose.

The other issue that I see here is the culture that is present. Think of everyone that uses google - do you want all of their votes to influence the content that you see? I don't want to see the eggplant tofurduken recipe that Aunt Millie +1'd. Sure, you can limit the influence to just your circle of friends, but that doesn't bring much new to the table. Reddit has done well because it allows for this context of culture to be one of it's primary features (via subreddits). Even HN has this driving niche focus sitewide.

All that said, while I dont expect this to take off, I do expect to see a "+1 THIS!" button next to the "tweet this!"/"digg this!"/"reddit this!" button on every blogspam post out there.

17 points by shadowsun7 1 day ago 3 replies      
The obvious: I'm sure it won't be long before Google creates an embeddable +1 button, for you to include in your site/blog/webapp. Because right now I don't see why I would run a search, click the result, go 'whoah, good article' and then hit back to the results page to '+1' aforementioned article.

What I really like about this, though, is that it sounds so good.

"I'd +1 that."

"Have you +1ed?"

"Where's the essay? Uh, it's in my +1s"

25 points by narrator 1 day ago 2 replies      
I see hundreds of thousands of billable hours of mechanical turk and dungeon grade Indian and Chinese IT Services time spent +1ing SEO spam farm links.
12 points by rexf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Possible unintuitive user experience?

Google's usage comes from leaving Google's site as fast as possible (search for a term, then leave Google to visit the result).

This looks like you would do a search, visit the resulting site, and then remember to go back to the Google results page to click the +1.

8 points by SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd rather see a "-1"; so when I go back to the results because the result didn't match my need, I could indicate it (w/o a full ban). I'm not likely to ever return for a +1 result, since, almost by definition, I'm done searching at that point.
13 points by brown9-2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm missing something, but what benefit do I get as a user out of +1-ing something?
10 points by MrJagil 1 day ago 2 replies      
4chan already regularly troll google search results by mass-searching for a specific, disturbing sentence. This seems like another tool in their arsenal.

Not saying Google should let bullies dictate their behaviour, but this _could_ be abused.

8 points by minalecs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google actually played around with a voting feature awhile back. When you searched for a term, there was an up arrow on the results, so it moved those results to the top every time you searched for those terms. This was incredible useful for me, because for example I was too lazy to bookmark api documentation and just search for example rails api, and the links I voted up were automatically at the top. If this works like this I will be happy, the social aspect I don't care for, but can see how it will be relevant if enough people are voting for good content.. thats associated with specific search terms.
19 points by pathik 1 day ago 4 replies      
'+1' proves that Google is run by engineers.

I, for one, prefer it to 'Like' or 'Tweet'.

3 points by MatthewPhillips 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone else having flashbacks to Yahoo in 1996:


And then in 2006:


? Google has featuritis.

7 points by revorad 1 day ago 0 replies      
2 points by dman 1 day ago 0 replies      
To jumpstart user identities in googles take on social google could buy communities like github, photo.net and import user identities from there. Of course the privacy and the UX of such a move will dictate whether users go "wow this is great" or "oh my god now the whole internet knows about my tinfoil hat". In the meanwhile they could try to integrate identities from services that google already owns - youtube, picasa, google reader etc.
5 points by random42 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh look, Google's very own "like" button.

Lets see how well they do with it.

5 points by Hominem 1 day ago 1 reply      
I got a few downvotes last week saying google needed exactly this to fend off Facebook constructing a search engine based on it's like button data.

This goes a long way but the problem I see here is that I want to be able to +1 on the page itself, not have to click back to the search results, find the result again, and then press +1.

3 points by kjhughes 1 day ago 0 replies      
WSJ's coverage, "Google Seeks Answer to Facebook With 'Social Search'", is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870380630457623...

Search Engine Land does a good job of relating this announcement to prior Google social projects and rumors: http://searchengineland.com/meet-1-googles-answer-to-the-fac...

You can join Google's +1 experiment here: http://www.google.com/experimental/

3 points by BoppreH 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can I opt-out of the social part but still allow my results to be used anonymously in their ranking algorithm?
3 points by sahaj 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems like a defensive move on Google's part. I imagine there are talks inside Facebook to either develop their own search or work with another search provider to integrate Facebook into the results. I am not sure how widely this feature will be used but, in my opinion, it is definitely the right move.
2 points by yesimahuman 1 day ago 1 reply      
This might sound dumb, but it's not really obvious how I add people I know to my google profile as a "friend". With facebook, it's dead simple and it makes sense why you would do that.

I assume I have to connect an account here: https://profiles.google.com/connectedaccounts

But then don't my friends have to do that as well? I don't really see why they would.

14 points by erik_p 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wish they would add a -1 button
2 points by gdulli 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't find this very useful. My friends often like things that I don't like. They're not my friends because they like the bands or movies or web sites that I do. Recommendations from my friends carry no more weight than they would from anyone else.

The only difference between a friend and a stranger is that I might engage a friend in a conversation with specific questions about something they've used or seen that I haven't, but the value of that conversation comes from the detail of the exchange and targeted or objective questions I'd ask, it's not expressible as a boolean like/+1 or a 1-10 rating.

2 points by s3graham 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like it. Seems unintrusive and simple, but useful en-masse.

(-1 the mouseover animated highlight glossy thing though.)

3 points by otherwise 1 day ago 0 replies      
Announcement on the official Google blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/1s-right-recommendati...
2 points by wmboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Puts an interesting spin on SEO. It seems the best technique is still to simply produce quality content that people want to link to and share with their friends.
2 points by hanibash 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see this as potentially being very useful.

Imagine if you had the ability to Google search all of your friend's 'Likes' on Facebook. This is what Google is trying to create here, except for webpages instead of social snippets.

This suggests a parallel competing feature for Facebook: Make all of your friend's 'Likes' searchable through the search toolbar on Facebook.

0 points by OstiaAntica 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of the websites I use are a competitive business advantage. Others are private topics of personal interest.

I love Google but I hated Buzz and I think I will hate social search too.

2 points by edw 1 day ago 0 replies      
A thought: Liking (or +1-ing) at the URL level seems useful but too coarse-grained as a general model. Maybe I've made too many Git checkins today, but I'd like to be able to select some text and +1 it. That's what I use Twitter or my blog for at least half the time: to point out an interesting sentence or two. You, know, the money quotes.
2 points by currywurst 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would have been so cool if I could have redirected ads to a particular friend. E.g, I know he's looking for a camera, and I see this great deal when looking up some reviews for him.

+1 -> Bob's a happy monkey !

2 points by rrhoover 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't see mainstream users regularly +1'ing (or plus'ing???) search results. Feels awkward and forced to me.

Hopefully this is just a very small part of their larger plan.

2 points by matthewslotkin 1 day ago 1 reply      
i wonder if this will promote junk content. if paris hilton starts popping up over paris france when you search paris there might be a big issue here.
2 points by curiousepic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope, along with fixing everything else about Google Bookmarks, they add a feature to automatically +1 all of your bookmarks.
1 point by chernevik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't a search result assessed on its relevance to the search terms? I don't see that a site recommendation does an awful lot to help me know if it has what I'm looking for.
0 points by dman 1 day ago 0 replies      
They could have gone 1+ and made the lisp folks happy.
1 point by ancornwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant - and outdated. Do all Google engineers play RPG's? +60 credibility to my twitter feed!
1 point by bluenose 1 day ago 0 replies      
The oddest thing to me is having it on the search results page. I understand that's where they hand off control, but on the other hand won't most people have to click through the links in question to figure out if they like the content? I generally only go back to the search results if I didn't like the results and want to check out sites lower down.
1 point by ruethewhirled 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this going to be a new way for people to game search results? I personally wont be using it
1 point by advisor 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first one who publishes something, so we can integrate the +1-button on our websites, get's a +1! ;)
0 points by pkteison 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the icon. What's it supposed to be? A file folder with colored tabs?
How I (almost) got an internship at Google ecarmi.org
159 points by ehc 2 days ago   130 comments top 22
69 points by elbenshira 2 days ago replies      
My story: After my technical phone interviews, I got "accepted" as an intern, meaning I was in the Intern Pool of Rot, where I waded and waited for a team to fish me out. I waded and waded for a couple of months, hoping for a kind suitor. The HR woman always told me that she was "optimistic" about my prospects, so I rejected offers from other companies.

Then a really cool opportunity came, and I accepted that offer because you can't just sit in a rotting pool for two months.

A friend of mine stayed in the rotting pool and was told at the beginning of summer that no one at Google wanted him.

This was 2009-2010. I hope Google changed their ways.

31 points by Udo 2 days ago 4 replies      
I expected better from a company like Google. Asking candidates for pre-canned code snippets to cutesy little CS problems on the whiteboard is miserable and the outcome depends too much on what the candidate studied in the last few weeks before the interview. It actually tells you very little about the kind of programmer a person is and the interview itself can get quite horrible on a personal level very fast.

A while ago, I used to conduct job interviews like this. Sort this, insert that, search for the other. I still feel sorry for some of the candidates I did this to. That process was the largest single mistake I made when hiring people. I should instead have asked for the code of some projects they had been working on recently and maybe discussed a few more creative things with them.

In fact, if I could ask a candidate just one question, it would be "what projects are you working on in your spare time?"

19 points by marvin 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wouldn't bother applying. Why the hell would you want to work a company that runs you through the gauntlet like this, only to give you the chance that maybe you'll get hired? I mean, this is obviously a really skilled guy who has lots of prospects.

Why are Google so popular anyway? I genuinely don't get it and would love to know from someone who has specific knowledge. Do they pay better than everyone else? Work on more interesting problems? Better perks, work environment, more status? I can understand it from the perspective of someone who joined years ago, when you got stock options and didn't have to do a full circus performance in order to get in, but not any longer.

The experience would have to be twice as good as the alternatives before I willingly submitted to this kind of process. A long process of interviews like the ones I have heard about hints at more pain and no autonomy once you actually join.

For an _internship_? If you're turning down other offers for the _chance_ to work at Google, you're selling yourself short and not getting full market value.

22 points by larsberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Many candidates wrongly assume they failed to get a position because they got a question wrong. Unless the question was trivial (i.e. what is the height of a tree?), most of the time these questions are intended to see how well you can carefully think through, create, clarify, and debug your code.

For example, when I was reading your writeup as a former interviewer (lots and lots of college candidates for MSFT -- I was a dev manager and did both my own hiring and was flown to colleges for those "interview days" for several years), I was far more worried that you had trouble finding the bug in binary search than that you got it wrong. Everyone gets problems wrong the first time unless they have just implemented them recently. Superior candidates are good at rapidly trying good normal and edge cases, hammering out a good solution, and writing inspired code when given hints at how to improve their solutions.

15 points by rdtsc 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hate little programming puzzles that you have code by hand or little word problems, or trick questions that you have to think "out of the box".

In many years of programming I don't remember having to write a binary search in C, by hand, in a text document, without being able to compile and test. Or having to dictate a Python program over the phone to someone.

I certainly do not remember ever having to solve stuff like:"One train leaves Los Angeles at 15mph heading for New York. Another train leaves from New York at 20mph heading for Los Angeles on the same track. If a bird, flying at 25mph, leaves from Los Angeles at the same time as the train and flies back and forth between the two trains until they collide, how far will the bird have traveled?" NEVER.

I had to implement & modify algorithms from scientific papers, I had to work with complicated lockless versions of data structures, but I probably couldn't write the binary tree search in C over the phone. If that's that Google uses to hire then I will never work at Google.

EDIT: Alright, got a angry and used the 'fuck' a little too much.

6 points by eel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was disappointed by my interview process earlier this month for a potential summer internship at Google. I'm sure part of it is driven by the result (I didn't get past the phone screens.) My main complaints are

- Every step of the process involved a new person. Overall, I had to be handed off through 4 different people, each one wanting a bit more information or a filled out form, until I was scheduled for the phone interviews. This was especially confusing when I had a recruiter assigned to me, and I was being emailed by both her and someone with whom she worked with at the same point in the process.

- The first interviewer was apparently a fill-in for the intended one, which is unfortunate, because he and I were a complete mismatch. He seemed to be a C/C++ guy and I have more high-level language experience, and we ended up doing what I would consider advanced bit manipulation / number theory. (The second interview was much more reasonable, and it is my own fault if I did not pass it.)

- The amount of time time that it took from the "Hi, we would like you to apply online" email to the you are not "a close enough match" email was over a month, which is much too long for simple back-to-back phone interviews. Waiting for their responses was the most frustrating and nerve-racking part of the process. I am glad at least the OP had quick responses.

Should I go through the process again, I would strongly consider asking them to expedite it in one way or another.

On a more optimistic note, I do feel like the interviews do help highlight weaknesses in your programming skills and resume presentation skills.

4 points by jbk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I went through the Google process too and it didn't come out nicely.

First, I have had almost no actual CS lessons in my university, because it was more focused on general engineering and IT management than on code writing.

However, I've done quite a bit of code in various open source projects and I've touched quite many technologies...

I went through the sets of interviews, and I really seemed to work quite well, even if many design-patterns where unknown to me (I didn't know their names). But the last one wasn't the best one.

Therefore, I got the mail telling me that they got no positions for me, which I understood and accepted easily (I had another engagement at the time).

However, I dared to ask "why?". Was it my technical skills, my personal skills, my logic skills or the way I answered the process, the cause of my rejection?

They refused to even discuss about it, which is not even reaching the minimum of politeness I expect from a company. When they asked if they could keep my Resume, I told them to go away...

This recruitment process does not seem enough respectful for me and gave me a very bad opinion of the company.

11 points by bengl3rt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mirrors my internship experience almost exactly. Three rapid-fire technical interviews that I thought went quite well, then a "sorry, no dice" email. Someone else I know just went through the same thing, also for an internship.

Google sure makes a lot of noise about how they are hiring and competing for talent, but continue to turn away good people for unknown reasons.

4 points by javert 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found this interesting because I went through part of Google's internship process not too long ago.

If you're just a sophomore, you shouldn't feel bad about not getting an internship at Google.

Another reason not to "feel bad" about it is that AFAIK the people interviewing you just take notes, and then other people review those notes to decide whether or not to take you. So the people you interviewed with weren't even the ones that made the decision.

Perhaps for the C program, you should have done something simpler than a binary search, at least to begin with. The way you described it, they didn't require you to do a binary search.

2 points by bad_user 2 days ago 6 replies      

     given two full hours and any high-level language 
(including pseudocode) only 10 percent of professional
programmers implemented binary search correctly,
according to Jon Bently.


I'm not particularly intelligent and I'm not in the top 10% -- but I could implement an in-place quick-sort in C in 10 minutes that my interviewer could run with only a minor fix (forgot a semi-colon), and I even described the parallel version with OpenMP (although there I got the syntax slightly wrong). This was for my interview at Adobe, when I got hired by them a couple of years ago; went on to other things since then.

By that logic that should place me in the top 1 percent ... but so are my ~ 100 friends that are also software developers from my city, and statistically speaking, something smells like shit in those statistics thrown around.

Maybe binary search, when discovered, used to be a hard to understand problem, but now it is taught from high-school. And sure there are lots of idiots out there, but many of those idiots also believe they are in the top 10%, because some statistic told them so.

So cut the crap and build stuff. Only by that metric you can prove yourself.

-- EDIT --

I'm not referring or addressing the article's author directly. I'm also not saying that you SHOULD be able to implement binary search, or quick-sort or whatever metric du-jour -- in interview conditions. I get it that you may be stressed by eyes watching you, or that you may be bitten by edge-cases other people haven't noticed for years.

I'm referring more to these metrics flowing around -- like, if you read HN you're in the top 5%, if you read this stupid blog you're in the top X%, if you can implement binary search ... etc, etc...

We are software developers, mathematicians, computer scientists -- surely we understand selection bias and should be able to recognize bullshit, even if it doesn't appeal to our ego.

6 points by iam 2 days ago 2 replies      
Google's loss is some other company's gain. Apply to places like Facebook or Microsoft or Amazon instead. Or in your case The New York Times.

Personally I was in between jobs recently, so I sent Google my resume using their online application site. After about a month, Google still didn't get back to me -- meanwhile I managed to interview at 6 different places (all the way) and found a new job.

"I heard nothing for a month and a half" is the key problem I think. It's going to be very hard for any full time employees that are any good to stay off the market that long, they'd have to apply to Google before quitting their last job.

As for interns, I am not overly surprised since you applied in December. At my school we had the hiring booms in October/November and then again in March/April (that's when we had the 2 engineering job fairs), so anytime between that people weren't really finding a new internship (unless it was on their own).

One last thing, what exactly is a Google spreadsheet beta candidate form? Is that the same one as the optional Google "survey" where you had to rank your skills (1-5 or 1-10 was it)?

1 point by singular 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel for you - my advice is not to let it get you down.

I think an important factor in these interviews is the emphasis on talent in software development. Don't get me wrong - I don't deny its importance, it's more that I question the nature of the beast. To me talent is instinct, a feel for what you're doing, and the 'right' type of thinking for the thing. It's pretty obvious when somebody has it (or doesn't), and I think obvious whether you have it too if you're honest with yourself about it.

Tech interviews emphatically do not test for this. Nor do they, I believe, test for smartness; I think once you hit a certain level of intelligence the rest is far more preparation and experience (and yes I'm getting Malcolm Gladwell on your ass) - so all a failed interview indicates is (assuming you are an at least moderately talented, moderately intelligent candidate) one or more of the following:-

* Lack of preparation (knowing the stuff, and practicing the stuff)

* Poor/incorrectly focused preparation

* Lack of confidence

* Bad luck - e.g. haven't looked at binary search for x years they ask about it, or what Steve Yegge termed the 'interview anti-loop'[1] - basically the guy interviewing you just doesn't like you and that's that.

The biggest problem with these things is that people (and I'm kind of talking to myself here more than anyone) take these things personally and put it down to some idea of talent that you might just lack. Fuck that.

The problem is that - and I'm risking repeating a well-known cliche here - hiring good people is extremely hard, and a false positive is way more damaging than a false negative. It is right, IMHO, that (good) companies probe algos, os fundamentals, etc. as this stuff matters; however failing an interview emphatically does not mean you suck.


3 points by baddox 2 days ago 1 reply      
With a process like this (based on this story as well as others), does Google actually consistently employee competent talent? Obviously Google has landed some serious rock-star talent, but of the scores of college graduates they hire for internships or entry-level positions, does anyone know if their hiring process is working for them?
6 points by symkat 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've often hated writing implementations of searching and sorting algorithms with someone looking over my shoulder.

I think it tests specific knowledge of an algorithm more-so than anything else.

4 points by l0nwlf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lucky him, atleast he got to face tech interviews. As for me I never got the chance to prove myself.

I got my call, was inquired about my projects and current offers by HR and then got a rejection letter next week. After I inquired, it turned out that my low GPA [ 7.03/10.0 ] was the cause. They want academically bright freshers with shining GPAs and with strong CS101 skills.

2 points by cmansley 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was exactly my experience. Everything from the two technical interviews with the addition of a third to the technical questions with queries about bugs in the code. I think 2->3 conversion is exactly what you said. The first two interviewers split on their opinion of you, so you get scheduled a tie-breaker interview. Unfortunately for me, the tie-breaker interview was my worst, partly due to me and partly due to non-existant feedback for 45 minutes on the part of the interviewer.

But, I believe there is a method to the madness. They have so many qualified applicants that they would rather err on the side of caution. They would rather reduce the false-positives even if the number of false-negatives grows. They can afford this luxury. They want the best and they can afford rejecting good candidates.

My favorite way of thinking about this was from Steve Yegge's blog post about the interview process :
"Because of the inherently flawed nature of the interviewing process, it's highly likely that someone on the loop will be unimpressed with you, even if you are Alan Turing. Especially if you're Alan Turing, in fact, since it means you obviously don't know C++"

1 point by aphexairlines 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would not appreciate a candidate spilling the beans on what we ask in our interviews, even if he didn't sign an NDA. Sometimes you do ask similar questions, and it's a waste of everyone's time when the candidate in front of you went through some programming interview books and a bunch of blogs like those.

Similarly, I wouldn't even bother to bring in a candidate who transcribed his interviews elsewhere.

1 point by mrchess 2 days ago 0 replies      
In regards to your comment about their recruiting speed, I wanted to chip in. While not Google, I interviewed with meebo and went through three phone screens as well within 1 week, and they flew me to Mountain View within 2 weeks -- by far THE most efficient interview I have been through. Great people.

I cannot emphasize enough how much more awesome it makes your company look when you have a streamlined recruiting process!

2 points by bogdan2412 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised by the rapid succesion of the interviews. When I applied for an internship at Google, I think the entire process lasted about three months until I got a final acceptance email. Only had 2 technical phone interviews spread over a month period and they were both decisive (aka if you failed the first one, you didn't get in the second one).

This was quite a contrast to my Facebook experience, where I had a contract signed after I think 3 weeks. :)

I'm really quite surprised that binary search is considered difficult, have you ever tried to implement quick sort? I can write AVLs with less bugs than quick sort.

1 point by bconway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having read a plethora of stories about the Google interview process over the years, from interns on up, it seems like it would be easier to build a company and sell it to Google than to get through the application process. Surely someone has done this at least once, given the number of companies Google has purchased.
2 points by swah 2 days ago 1 reply      
Given the input and output, why isn't a linear search a proper solution?
-4 points by apl 2 days ago 1 reply      

  > I got an internship with The New York Times
> the following week.

Did the internship involve 41m$ in compensations and the instruction to build a pay wall secure enough to fend off toddlers?

In any case, well done. Technical interviews are hit-and-miss at any stage in your career, although I have to say that a coder worth his salt should be able to code up a binary search in no time at all. Even a college sophomore.

I Hope This Bubble Kills The App adamconrad.posterous.com
156 points by acconrad 2 days ago   63 comments top 18
12 points by thetrumanshow 2 days ago 3 replies      
Ahem: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/... :)

Just sayin'. But, to your point, yes I would welcome a world where all the ultra low-fi junk would disappear and where there was less noise in the app marketplace... like 2003, except with today's consumer awareness.

But the exact opposite will happen. Right now, our peers are building tools to allow ever lower-fidelity apps to enter the marketplace, that is, enabling less and less qualified people to try their hand at building products.

I have yet to find the saving grace in this situation. I see two paths: 1) create tools to help people build crap apps, and make money while I can, 2) move up the value chain, and make money while I can.

27 points by acconrad 2 days ago 2 replies      
DISCLAIMER: for the record, this is a rant I wrote at 3 am so please don't take it too seriously. I'm mostly sharing it so you can have a good laugh, because apparently a few people thought it was funny and said I should share it.
9 points by kragen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did the last bubble kill the website?

I mean, I remember when a website was something a company had, not something a company was.

The trend toward per-project companies is, I think, fundamentally a good one. It means less job security, but more creative freedom, and probably more money going to the creators and less to managers.

8 points by sabat 2 days ago 1 reply      
There is no stock market bubble.

News flash: coupons are still boring and I don't want to give out my email address to a service I don't even know I'll benefit from. So now we have an App Store that serves nothing but candy, and we all love candy don't we?

The OP is not the intended audience for most/all of the apps he's talking about. I don't think he understands that.

There are apps and companies that seem to be absolutely superfluous -- how many Groupon clones do we need? (Do we even really need Groupon?)

But the market will decide that. Not us nerds.

8 points by api 2 days ago 2 replies      
"...Ninja Warrior Agile ScrumMaster and Incompetent MBA Popped Collar..."


8 points by peter78 2 days ago 2 replies      

Apple first tried to push developers to the web. It was because of the hacking community that apps got popular and they opened up the iPhone OS (now iOS).

Mobile apps are great for small and quick functional tasks. It's not a great interface to do incredibly complicated actions unless they can be done at the press of a button, minimal typing or by a swipe.

I agree there's a lot of crud out there but I'd like to see where Adam Conrad has solved world hunger, ended climate change or stopped wars. He calls everyone else out. Where's his contribution to solving HUGE problems? :)

I think small apps by small teams have to start from somewhere. However, we probably don't need any more fart or lighter apps.

5 points by klochner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Without twinkie apps he wouldn't have a hipster 8-bit twitter profile pic:


3 points by deveren 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the exact problem companies wishing to develop useful programs face everyday. Now we have a consumer base that only buys because of hype/something going "viral". If you do create something beneficial one of the only ways to be noticed is to treat what you develop as one if those "candy" apps. The words software, and programs have disappeared.

It's still a bit of a gold rush, and investors mean well. However, there needs to be more innovative thinking on their end as well. We don't need a new photo sharing program, or ways to post a picture online. It's funny that this article uses weightless angle be because all of this technology has made us, well bigger. Technology is great, but it's time we get back to solving real problems.

BTW, I'm looking for an excellent programmer for a new project!

1 point by lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with some of this article, even though it seems it's fairly tongue-in-cheek.

The problem isn't accessibility - the problem is (mindless) venture capital. There are people with money (and low wisdom / experience) who have learnt that you can invest in tech and make a huge return - in some cases, this has taken the focus away from creating sustainable and useful businesses.

Perhaps hackers are simply the cogs in the wheels of modern finance?

3 points by JabavuAdams 2 days ago 1 reply      
Incoherent drivel. I hope this bubble kills the content-free vanity blog post / spam.

Seriously, just don't write this crap. It's no good.

1 point by aspir 2 days ago 3 replies      
My thoughts exactly. Doesn't anyone want to innovate, or "change the world" anymore?

If someone's going to go through all of the labor to make a copy of groupon or an iFart app or a twitter API mashup just for the cash, they should just write a Forex trading algorithm. They'll make more money that way, and their models will be infinitely more computationally unique than any consumer copycat.

2 points by Cherian_Abraham 2 days ago 1 reply      
So does that mean that people should stop working on the problem domain that is "social and sharing" ? I would say, not quite. But the "Me too" herd mentality is not helping, not just in terms of the amount of capital that is thrown at it, but talent that could have been better spent elsewhere now toils away in making another Groupon clone because he has tunnel vision.

We are working in the domain of contextual discovery and there are a number of juicy problems right there. Determining what is useful to you so that we can deliver that alone, based on where you are, why you are there and who you are with. Thats a meaty problem to solve. One of them, at least.

2 points by gte910h 2 days ago 1 reply      
The idea that small useful programs should die and not be sold is a sad idea IMO.

And app is not necessarily a business, but it isn't something that should die.

2 points by zmonkeyz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't blame Apple for the app. Originally they wanted people to develop web apps and not software that runs on the phone. The people demanded it and they went with it.
2 points by mraybman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great read, but I think that if the VCs can resist the temptation of investing too much too early there does exist a positive outcome.

We might just see feature development moving away from teams in big companies into smaller, independent teams. These will raise small amounts of money from angels and micro-VC's and get bought out en masse for mild sums by companies looking to add features and products.

1 point by mindball 2 days ago 0 replies      
but wait I thought apps were all the rage? :s http://mashable.com/2011/03/23/mobile-by-the-numbers-infogrp...
1 point by dakrisht 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great read
-1 point by fleitz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uh... speaking of being the next Mark Zuckerberg have you heard of Facemash? It's exactly the kind of crap the lean startup movement is trying to foster. That's exactly the idea, that any idiot can make a website, scrape some content and become a billionaire.

Yes, today Facebook has scaling issues but seriously any idiot with a book on PHP could make the original Facebook (the tech side, Facebook is all about execution and not tech).

Regarding companies being the app, have you heard of Microsoft, Oracle or SAP? Ok, granted Microsoft has two apps Windows AND Office, but why do you think Microsoft started branding everything Windows? All those companies are built off of a single 'app'.

Microsoft = DOS then Windows
Oracle = Oracle DB

One company who embodies the one app.

       cached 1 April 2011 15:11:01 GMT