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The Last Post penmachine.com
587 points by gtzi  4 days ago   61 comments top 28
Cherian_Abraham 4 days ago 3 replies      
I take my life for granted. I take the adoration my two year old son has of me, for granted. I take my wife's love and caring for granted. I do all this, thinking that what I build today will provide a better future for all of us. And I could be wrong.

I could shut my laptop when he squirms his way between me and the desk and wiggles his way on to my lap. I could switch my context when my wife sits down next to me aching for a conversation. I could spend more time with both of them.

I can pretty much be sure when I say I will not be the next Zuckerberg. There are many things that vy for my attention throughout the day and night. But there is only one thing both of them needs and which I squander.

I do not want to look back and regret. I am going home right now and I am going to kiss my wife and hug my kid.


F_J_H 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've posted this a few times now, but always feel it is worth posting again when I read these types of blog postings and see the comments they inspire. It has been attributed to Jorge Luis Borges, but many disagree with that. At any rate, it inspires me...


If I were able to live my life anew, in the next I would try to commit more errors. I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more. I would be more foolish than I've been, In fact, I would take few things seriously. I would be less hygienic. I would run more risks, take more vacations, contemplate more sunsets, climb more mountains, swim more rivers. I would go to more places where I've never been, I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans, I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.

I was one of those people that lived sensibly and prolifically each minute of his life; Of course I had moments of happiness. If I could go back I would try to have only good moments. Because if you didn't know, of that is life made: only of moments; Don't lose the now.

I was one of those that never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, an umbrella, and a parachute; If I could live again, I would travel lighter. If I could live again, I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends. I would take more cart rides, contemplate more dawns, and play with more children, If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85, and I know that I am dying.

jnoller 4 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't know Derek, but reading this I'll miss him, but thank him for this.

Between this post, "Cranking" (http://www.43folders.com/2011/04/22/cranking) and the fact I have a second child probably coming Very Soon Now, I have to admit I'm sitting back and thinking hard about where I've spent, and am spending my time. I'm thinking about all the wasted time and opportunities I've accrued over the past 31 years.

I'm thinking about all the time spent arguing with people on the internet and giving up my free time to change some small part of the world, and not playing with my almost four year old daughter, or talking with my beautiful wife.

Take stock in your life and make sure you're following your passions. Make sure you try to remember and capture every moment before it's gone. Change the world while you're still here.

Appreciate the world while you're still here.

andywood 4 days ago 3 replies      
This post has me wondering about the health of my figurative soul. Not because it didn't move me - it did. The last sentence definitely brought tears to my eyes when I first read it, and then again when I thought of it again.

No, the reason it has me worried is because although I have people I care about, I don't think I love anybody so much that I'd rather spend time with them than work/learn/create things. When I think about starting a family, I worry about how much I'll regret not being able to devote my full energy to building intellectual edifices out of math, bits, and music. But I see most people here saying the opposite.

I'm trying to tell myself that this is only because I don't have kids. Surely, if I had kids, my whole perspective would change, and I'd become a more complete human being, right?

mattdeboard 4 days ago 0 replies      
This post made me glad I'm living the life I'm living now. I'm 31 years old -- 32 in a month -- and while my daughter is at school, I spend the day programming, running errands, reading, chatting with RL friends via IRC, playing video games, browsing Reddit and HN. When she gets home, I make sure she does her homework, I make dinner, I sleep.

Every morning I get to wake up next to a beautiful, brilliant girl who's several years my junior but emotionally more mature than me. I have never felt better about another person in my life.

I have no bills, I maintain a modest lifestyle and am attending university for a degree in a subject matter that simultaneously I love and will make me some extra money down the road when I need it.

Every day, I set my own schedule, fitted around picking up & dropping off my daughter at school. Beyond the normal stresses of being a single parent, my life is astoundingly, remarkably, wonderfully, joyously stress-free. For the first time in my life.

Reading Derek's post has affirmed the decisions I've made to put me in this position. I regret nothing, and just about every day is awesome. If you've read this far, please don't take this as shameless bragging. It is a sincere expression of gratitude to Derek, and a grinning shout of relief at the sky that I have let so many unnecessary, trivial things fall away from my life over the past few years.

ams6110 4 days ago 2 replies      
You know, this is going to sound callous, but everybody dies. Any one of us could be killed in an accident tomorrow. All this "live without regrets" is just flatly impossible, and a waste of time to sit and worry about. Every choice has opportunity costs. I can't believe that anyone gets through life not wishing he could take back some decisions he made, but even if this were possible, those changes would have their own unintended consequences.

You are who you are. You love what you love. The world isn't perfect. Don't sit and think your priorities are "wrong" all the time.

yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
I often think that some people die "before their time" so that other people receive a unique, golden opportunity to learn to reprioritize their life. Thanks for that, Derek, again. (Didn't know you before.)

And yet it's real difficult to make good use of that opportunity; we people are so stubborn that we rarely change for the better of ourselves or for other people even if somebody goes lengths and dies to remind us that we won't be here forever.

Even worse, it might take a whole row of people dropping dead until we manage to corner ourselves into a position where we can no longer give ourselves a choice to postpone any necessary changes in our lives. But that's how it works, so can't complain.

I'm nearing that point myself, currently. It haunts me, all the time closer and closer. I can go only so far this way anymore until I have to take that other road and start living a bit differently: start living a life that is completely mine and not partially borrowed from anyone else.

I'm not there yet.

Maybe I need to bump into a few more deaths before I get zapped into alignment with all things relevant. I can just anticipate now, and that makes me both scared and thrilled.

logjam 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this...so moving.

The strangers around us, even those we brush against on the web, are all fighting hard battles at some level. Compassion in the midst of our sometimes misguided inclination toward competition can keep us human, and sane.

khafra 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's nothing here that couldn't have been done before the Internet; but the instant ubiquity of such well-written final words seems to increase the emotional immediacy of it, for me.

I was taken aback.

wewyor 4 days ago 1 reply      
kno 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a kid I spent a lot of time wandering around a cemetery near my grand parent's house, I read tombstones of folks, some of them younger than I was; That somehow numb my fear of death as I considered each day alive as a gift. Now as a father I fear death not because of actually leaving this world but dying before my kids are old enough to take care of themselves. I see Derek had the same fear and that must have been devastating for him, so sad. I pray and wish his daughters and wife well.
spottiness 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was about to cry but didn't happen. I've been in this position before and I've had tears rolling down. But not this time. I have learned and I know that it's not as simple as taking things for granted or not. Those that are running to their wives and kids right now are just emotionally hijacked by the rush of whatever neurotransmitter is triggered in this situations. Tomorrow it will be different and a week from now even more. And that's OK. Life goes on and we have to explore other things, pursue new goals; and if we're wise enough, we'll find a way to find peace within ourselves.
mrbill 4 days ago 0 replies      
My wife passed away unexpectedly at the age of 34 two years ago. The last line of Derek's post made me lose it, sitting here in my office at work.
thomasdavis 4 days ago 2 replies      
How much of a tear jerker was the last sentence?

"I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you."

marquis 4 days ago 0 replies      
I knew Derek briefly on a professional level and knew he had cancer but we lost touch. Seeing his post here was how I learned he passed, he'd be honoured to know so many people care and that his words will live beyond him.
lux 4 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with Derek on a few websites years ago, and though I've never met him in person (we lived in different parts of the country), he made a definite impression on me as a genuinely good and thoughtful person. Funny how some people just stand out in your memory, even after years have passed. My heart goes out to his family and friends right now. He will be missed by many of us.
anydot 4 days ago 2 replies      
Currently looks overloaded, here it's text of hist last posts saved on pastebin: http://pastebin.ca/2053916
jradakov 4 days ago 0 replies      
So sad. This made me even more grateful for the life that I have. The transient nature of life is difficult to come to grips with. I wish Derek's family well.
willidiots 4 days ago 0 replies      
Suddenly, none of my problems matter.
rglover 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've nowhere near completed the life that Derek had (I'm only 23), but his "last post" has really inspired me to pay more attention to life, those around me, and what is truly important. This was a really thought provoking post. Take the time to read it, the lessons he teaches are invaluable.
dr_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this reminds people, especially in light of recent news, that cancer kills far more people in this country than terrorism ever has or will. We must do what we have to to keep our nation safe and secure, without doubt, but if we could spend this amount of money towards medical research and stop politicizing it, we could achieve wonders.
jh3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm trying very hard not to cry in front of my coworkers right now. A very emotional, great read. Unfortunate circumstances. Condolences to his family. :(
awfycooper 4 days ago 1 reply      
The points he touches upon about things he will now never get to see has haunted me since a very early age personally. It was scary to think that the man who wrote these words which I have worried about for years has now passed away and won't get the opportunity to see what happens in 2061.

The final paragraph is the kicker and has my eyes watering up, I hope his family all the best and hopefully we'll see his two daughters do something just as great as Derek has done online!

Maro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't read this, it's too moving. Maybe in parts.
BasDirks 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm gonna make tomorrow my best day ever.
rooshdi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing this. His life has now touched us all..
djit 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thx for the link, this was a very emotional read.
zavulon 4 days ago 1 reply      
While this was a beautiful and very moving post, I disagree with this:

> I haven't gone to a better place, or a worse one. I haven't gone anyplace, because Derek doesn't exist anymore. As soon as my body stopped functioning, and the neurons in my brain ceased firing, I made a remarkable transformation: from a living organism to a corpse, like a flower or a mouse that didn't make it through a particularly frosty night. The evidence is clear that once I died, it was over.

With all due respect to Derek, and it's remarkable he was standing by his beliefs until the very end, he has no way of knowing that's what happened.

John Resig joins the Khan Academy ejohn.org
575 points by jasonrr  5 days ago   73 comments top 19
nhebb 5 days ago 5 replies      
I'm happy for John, and this is great news for the Khan Academy. But I have to admit my reaction was mixed about his initial plans to focus on the iPad. On one hand, this is tantamount to saying you want to ensure that rich kids have better access to educational materials. Relative to the rest of society, children of parents who can afford an iPad are probably the least needy re educational tools. On the other hand, they're probably the ones who will make the most use of the tools.
tworats 5 days ago 1 reply      
It is awesome that Khan Academy has attracted so much top talent. Has the potential to make a real difference in world education and thus in human potential. Goes to show how much effect a relatively small investment can make when joined with amazing, driven, talented people.
chime 5 days ago 1 reply      
> I should note that I've made a personal decision to scale back some other aspects of my professional life. I'm no longer accepting any new speaking engagements...

It is very hard to leave/scale-back unfinished business or commitments but it is a very important step before starting something new and big. I know many creative people who have tons of projects and commitments that they can't bring themselves to leave and as a result, they never have enough time to concentrate fully on their next big things. I highly commend John for making the tough decision of leaving Mozilla and lots of personal projects so that he could do something big.

StavrosK 5 days ago 1 reply      
I spoke to John Resig the other day after he fixed /r/f7u12's stylesheet (he really earned his mod place!), and now I hate him with all my heart for being more successful and more of a nice guy than I am. I bet he's also more handsome.

EDIT: And he's a year younger! Damn you, jeresig!

mayukh 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is perfect. The alignment of terrifically smart, talented and passionate people to come together for a worthy cause. Congrats and wish you the best.

With the recent startup boom, its sad to see some great talent spend time building little features or apps; just wish they could use their amazing talents to solve some really large problems..

rudasn 5 days ago 1 reply      
If I'm not mistaken Khan Academy is still hiring: http://www.khanacademy.org/jobs/dev and http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2412000

I'm sure there are many great minds in here who would love to join John and the rest of the KA team

GonzoVeritas 5 days ago 1 reply      
Bill Gates calls this the future of education. I think he is correct. I am doing a project involving corporate training and this method has vast implications for my work. I also have three school age children, and they will be "attending" Khan tonight. This is the very first post I've read on HN and I'm overwhelmed by its significance. Thanks!
kenjackson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations John and Khan Academy! Khan Academy, as I've said before, I think is one of the most important pieces of technology I've seen. I think maybe one day on par, in terms of impact, with the web itself. Great news.
Smrchy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wish the Khan Academy and everybody who is working for this awesome idea and good cause all the best. It is these people that make me feel so proud of mankind.

Getting the chance to work on such a project makes money and career fade far into the background. All the Good this project is doing for the world makes it worth it. And all without the need to charge for the service or display ads.

Congrats John on this excellent choice for a chance to make a change.

boazsender 5 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations to the Kahn Academy, and congratulations to John.

I am really looking forward to you building software full time. It is going to be great for jQuery!

zackattack 5 days ago 1 reply      
When are we gonna see more advanced math covered on KA? It would be great to see Fourier transform or even music theory!
spottiness 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! We're thrilled that this happened. Today is another great day for education. The greatest day was probably when Salman Khan quit his job and went home to upload his videos full time. We use Khan academy almost every day, for our children and ourselves.
nir 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome to see someone this talented put his skills into a real, valuable product.
gary4gar 5 days ago 4 replies      
Noble Cause. But I am curious to know will Khan Academy give a basic salary or he working for free? in which case, I salute you


clu3 5 days ago 1 reply      
I discovered Khan Academy about 1 year ago and since then the website has not changed that much, except for some polishing on the site.
Here is a snapshot of the site in June 2010 http://replay.web.archive.org/20100601053141/http://www.khan...

The site is currently quite hard to navigate around or search. Now that even talents like John have started to join the academy, I'm pretty sure, the site will definitely provide a better experience. Good for Khan, the academy and the education system

hendrik-xdest 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a bad day for Mozilla. Resig and Dion Almaer announce their leave for KA on the same day.
palguay 5 days ago 0 replies      
kodisha 5 days ago 0 replies      
voted without reading - and i'm even not jQ or John Resig fan.
Shakakai 5 days ago 2 replies      
Makes me wonder what this says about Mozilla. Perhaps not the exciting place it used to be 5+ years ago?
Game developer David Braben creates a USB stick PC for $25 geek.com
510 points by bluesmoon  3 days ago   90 comments top 26
FrojoS 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh boy, this reminds me so much of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Almost every geek cries out "I want this thing now and play around with it." But the inventor is like "No, no, its all for the kids. You can't have it."

The OLPC Hardware could have been a huge commercial success if it had been gone into production soon after the orignal presentation. But no, it needed Acer and their EEE-PC to satisfy that demand.

Why develop a "universal purpose something" specifically for children? You're not a child anymore so its way easier to build something YOU want than imagine what exactly a child wants or needs. In fact, I'm sure this guy wants the USB-PC more than anyone else on the planet. Also, if you mass produce you bring down prices anyway.

But most important, everyone knows what children want in general: They want to be just like their adult idols!
Don't tell kids: "This is for you. I wish I had it when I was a kid. Now, have fun, while daddy works on his Mac."

angusgr 3 days ago 7 replies      
After my initial excitement of "wow, cool" and "wow, tiny" and "wow, cheap" wore off, I'm also becoming skeptical about what niche this fills for educators.

Why? Because an old PC with equivalent specs is essentially free (anything from ~2000 onwards.) Thousands of them, desktop and laptop, will be being recycled or landfilled every day.

Linux on x86 hardware is standard enough that you can effectively call it a standard platform for developers, already, same as this.

The remaining key advantage (I guess) is size. And maybe the fact that it's easier to get kids excited about playing with a tiny brand new board than with a 10 year old computer.

phlux 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to see some other concepts taught using these devices. Specifically clustering, meshing, cloud etc.

You get a bunch of these devices and arrange them into a cluster/cloud of nano-nodes and teach kids (teens) how to setup clusters of webservers, memcache, micro-dbs etc.

You effectively use the devices to teach large technical infrastructure with tiny physical representations.

Here is how I would do it:

I would whiteboard out a network diagram showing the different layers of tech infrastructure in contemporary cloud designs.

Draw the nodes and connections.

Define the role of nodes in each layer:

Firewall, load balancer, web server, memcache, app server, db server

Then do a micro-config for each of these and run them on the little buggers.

Get velcro tape and tape them onto the diagram in the appropriate location.

Physically wire them all together.

Have it run a website that the students build.

Run analytics...

This would be the ultimate in showing them how The Tubes actually provide them with the data they view every day.

By drawing this, then physically attaching the units to the diagram and running it there will be ZERO confusion and I guarantee that every student will grok the internet more fully.

The thing does not need to be high performance - but it does need to be fault tolerant.

Have the students pull devices out while its running and they are watching monitoring. Have some subjectively F5-ing the little site they made while you drop a few nodes.

Hell, I am ready to do this... anyone want to help me get some of these devices/similar devices?

ColinWright 3 days ago 0 replies      
Earlier submission, much discussion:


I honestly don't see how this is gong to encourage people, especially kids, to further wonder about how computers work, and what actually happens. It's smaller, and if anything even less accessible than a desktop machine.

I learned about computers and computing by building my own from a Z80, 8KB RAM, 8KB ROM, random logic, etching my own circuit board and soldering the components and sockets in place.

Should kids do that these days? Would it help?

jonty 3 days ago 1 reply      
I dropped them an email with some questions:

    > 1) How long do you think it will be before the boards become available?

I'd say three or four months. As you can see from the screenshots, we
have usable Linux, but we're waiting to get final versions of the the
chip from our supplier.

> 2) Are there any plans for a version with onboard ethernet?

I don't think we're likely to do onboard Ethernet; we will have an
onboard 3-port USB hub so people can add an external adapter.

> 3) Are there any plans for a version with onboard wifi?

Yes. The final version (though maybe not the first distributables)
will have onboard WiFi (probably 802.11n) in the price point.

> 4) What are the power requirements, both under load and at rest?

At rest I'd say 50mW (we could trim this if it was really important,
but it gets a bit fiddly below this point), under serious load
(original XBox class graphics or 1080p30 H.264), 700mW.

I'm looking at this as a replacement for the Bifferboards [1] I often use in projects, they're similarly priced (£35), but significantly lower specification.

[1]: http://bifferos.bizhat.com/

dangrossman 3 days ago 4 replies      
If a tiny ARM-based Linux computer is appealing, there are a number you can buy now based on the Marvell Plug design. I use a TonidoPlug[1] with Ubuntu for an ultra-cheap backup and media server. Only uses ~5-10 watts so you can have it on 24/7 at virtually no electricity cost.

1: http://www.tonidoplug.com/

jamesgeck0 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is neat. Now we need some Linux environments for kids to make cool stuff. L-VE [1] is a neat Lua-powered game development library, but it's fairly source-code oriented, which may be a barrier for some kids. When I first learned programming, Game Maker [2] was extremely useful. It had a drag-and-drop GUI which was easy enough to mess around with until figuring out how to do things in it's built-in (and extremely forgiving) programming language.

1. http://love2d.org/

2. http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker

tluyben2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but how does this teach kids how computers work? What you do is educate them about boolean algebra, then explain how different boolean components can be bought in a microchip. After that you explain how large combinations of those make up something which can process 0's and 1's and thus (which they should already know by then) strings of 0's and 1's.

The brighter kids will already start trying to make something 'work' out of that. You continue further about how a CPU works, completely in the language of boolean components. And then they get to design and build one themselves.

That will really teach and show them there is no magic and how it works. Even with the insanely small and complex systems you have now, you can rest assure that in the core they are basically just like the one you made when you were in school.
This kind of practical way of working with hardware (even simulated), gives a lot more pleasure and teaches kids computer hardware design, cpu design, microcodes, assembly and tons more.

I was taught from 'Micro computers' by A.J. Dirksen (ISBN 9789021015934); it (+ the teacher) gave me enough insight to quickly learn Z80 assembler, 68k assembler and add / replace hardware on my '80s computers.

EDIT: I forgot; it would be really stupid to not release this to the masses. Everyone wants one, but only the kids can it; I agree with the rest here; that makes no business sense. Charities are businesses too.

jeza 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to teach kids about hardware, wouldn't it be better to supply them with something slightly larger where they can install the CPU, RAM, etc. Perhaps supplied as a kit. At least that way they can at least identify the different components that make a computer what it is. They might also have a choice between selection different components, say a memory card vs. a small laptop hard drive, network cards, etc. As a learning tool, I think that'd be better value for $25 than a tiny USB stick sized thing. I think the fun of assembling would outweigh the coolness of being tiny.
wccrawford 3 days ago 1 reply      
The other news I read said they claimed they could create a version of it for $25, not that the existing one costs that. That's quite a bit different.
hasenj 3 days ago 5 replies      
What about the cost of TVs and keyboards?

I like the idea, but I don't think the place for this device is in schools.

In fact, I hope computer science never gets into high school curriculum, it will only make students hate programming. Just look at math. Programming is even harder; and chances are if you're a programmer you're not really likely to become a high school teacher. Conversely most high school teachers will not know how to program.

brianwhitman 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool, but i'm not sure how he can get it to an actual cost of $25 unless it's heavily supported by donations, grants, "give one get one" etc. For small runs (<10K?) the cost of production has to be a large multiplier on that.

Other options in this space (far more expensive! but similar ARM on a board style)

http://gumstix.com/store/catalog/index.php although sadly they don't seem to carry the basix/connex, which are the same kind of power class as this)


VB6_Foreverr 3 days ago 4 replies      
If pretty much every home has a PC, if the schools teaching ICT have computers then how is this going to make people 'learn computers' better?
Would kids be more turned on by this than by, say, developing apps for android phones?
pdenya 3 days ago 2 replies      
Article mentions it's ready to browse the web by default, how is it connecting to the internet though? No mention of ethernet or wifi.
brianjolney 3 days ago 0 replies      
sounds like an excellent device for wall-mounted dashboard monitors
inoop 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a $100 mobile phone without the baseband, WiFi, Bluetooth, screen, casing, battery, sensors, buttons, microphone, and speaker. I guess $25 sounds about right.
kleiba 2 days ago 0 replies      
So is this really a "PC" as the headline claims as in IBM-compatible?

The computer will apparently be able to have network access, presumably wireless, and enough storage to run standard desktop software.

Oh, well, as long as it runs Emacs... ;-)

fosk 3 days ago 0 replies      
A neat device. I can use this in my spare time instead of much bigger Arduino boards
riobard 3 days ago 1 reply      
I want to buy one, hook it to a big monitor, and work on it whole day via SSH. Perfect! :D
diya 3 days ago 0 replies      
25$ cost is definitely possible. The cost of many smart routers lie within 25$ range. This unit is not any different
tropin 3 days ago 0 replies      
What makes this dupe from yesterday (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2517136) much more interesting today? It features even the same pictures.
7952 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be better to give away cheap feature phones and a pair of headphones. Connectivity and content is more important than the size of the display. Even a system that can only do audio would be an amazing educational tool with the right content. An mp3 of a story or a lesson is content rich, a small file, and very cheap to play.
haspoken 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the rossum's RBox: A diy 32 bit game sonsole for the price of a latte.


anti_veeranna 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, but when do we finally get a new version of Elite/Frontier type of game? :
CCPancakes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see how this PC works. How do I plug it to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and outlet?

Even if the PC only costs $25, will schools have to buy extra equipment to allow use of the above accessories?

Intel Reinvents Transistors Using New 3-D Structure intel.com
461 points by brewski  4 days ago   101 comments top 27
pilom 4 days ago 1 reply      
Again one of those "I bet AnandTech has the best description out there" and I go check and am pleasantly surprised.


Symmetry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! The current a transistor can put out is porportional to the width over the length and chip designers usually want wide transistors[1], but wide transistors take up space which causes more line capacitance. This innovation will let people put more, wider transistors in a given area which will both increase the current they're putting out and decrease the capacitance they're fighting against, leading to higher frequencies[2].

[1] Wider transistors also cause more capacitance for the other transistors that are driving them, but for most modern designs this is smaller than line capacitance.

[2] Having transistors closer together can also help overcome speed-of-light delay. This can be important in caches.

EDIT: Also, some stuff I didn't notice until reading the Anandtech article is that the thinness of the silicon will give you the same artificial limitation of the depletion region that SOI does, leading to the same accelerated inversion. Oh, and better isolation from the base too. I don't think that I can explain that succinctly for non-EEs so go read Wikipedia on MOSFETs if you're interested.

sjtgraham 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is the sort of thing I read and think to myself "go check HN comments where someone smart will explain this in layman's terms"
jws 4 days ago 1 reply      
This Intel R&D paper sums the technology up and has a picture that makes it clear what they are doing: http://www.intel.com/technology/silicon/integrated_cmos.htm

In a nutshell, the drain/source is a tall trace, the gate approaches from the side and climbs over the drain/source, covering it on three sides.

tspiteri 4 days ago 0 replies      
stephenjudkins 4 days ago 3 replies      
From what I've heard, using 50% as much power for the same performance as the previous generation still will not be sufficient to bring Intel's Atom performance/energy consumption ratio to that offered by ARM chips. However, it's a huge leap in the right direction. Add better-designed power-saving features on the next generation of Atom chips, and future process shrinkages, and it's easy to see ARM's lead getting chipped away until it's gone.
sosuke 4 days ago 1 reply      
I liked Engadget's coverage of the release http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/04/intel-will-mass-produce-2...

I'm a sucker for videos. This Tri-Gate tech was first announced in 2002, I love seeing pie in the sky technology come into reality and widespread usage.

bradly 4 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone know if the 3D structure is patented by Intel? If so, wouldn't this give Intel a monopoly on transistors given how much better this new design performs?
nextparadigms 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think this will mostly help increase the life expectancy of the Moore's Law by another 10 years or so. When we'll get to 11nm or whatever is the limit, we'll just start stacking layers of transistors on each other. That will only work until the chips become too thick, though.
FrojoS 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at these pics
its almost impossible to not get the feeling, that we are still in the stone age and a bright future lies ahead of us.
GavinB 4 days ago 1 reply      
It will be interesting to see whether patents will make this a defensible innovation. Will AMD et all have to invent a similar but materially different technology in order to keep pace?
makmanalp 4 days ago 4 replies      
"the world's first 3-D transistors, called Tri-Gate, in a production technology"

I wonder if this is truly Intel's invention or not:


acgourley 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Moore's Law" is mentioned 14 times.
slackerIII 4 days ago 4 replies      
Will this allow them to increase clock speeds? They mention a 37% perf increase, but I don't know what exactly they mean by that.
SlipperySlope 4 days ago 1 reply      
Curious as to what clock speeds will be available when Ivy Bridge is released in the first half of 2012? If one expects a 37% performance increase at low voltages, then what would be the performance increase at standard voltage? 20% or so?
schmittz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Although not the link for this story, the fact that this story broke in the NYT (not that surprising), with an explanation to attempt transistor design and functionality (incredibly surprising) is really uplifting. A good piece of purely anecdotal evidence against those who claim America is in perpetual intellectual decline. The general populace IS interested enough to try to understand complex ideas.
vondur 4 days ago 3 replies      
I often wonder at the incredibly small size of these chips (22nm) if the have to worry about relativistic effects of electrons "jumping".
deweller 4 days ago 0 replies      
A couple of highlights from the article:

"The key to today's breakthrough is Intel's ability to deploy its novel 3-D Tri-Gate transistor design into high-volume manufacturing."

"The 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar transistors."

rkon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Intel stock is up 2% and ARM is down 6% (was down 7.7% in London trading). Looks like their Apple-esque announcement strategy has had some impact.
bryanallen22 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't mean to trivialize this, but "reinvent" sounds a little strong to me. This is a modification on silicon design, and a great one, but is just another notch in the miracle of Moore's law. It's more evolutionary than revolutionary.

See 2007 for a similar announcement and reaction:


helium 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great, now I won't have to learn Erlang for a few more years
rbanffy 4 days ago 0 replies      
After watching the video I have to wonder: why not use the shrinking ray to reduce the transistors themselves?
DonnyV 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its funny how at the end of the day basic shapes are still an important rule in technology :-)
pcora 4 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone care to explain this to a normal person? :)
PawelDecowski 4 days ago 0 replies      
Who at Intel thinks type set at 12px is legible?
espeed 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a big win for graph DBs that need to scale up rather than out.
kin 4 days ago 1 reply      
sometimes i feel like intel should space out their chips more. as a consumer i feel like i can't keep up.
Techniques To Simplify Sign-Ups and Log-Ins smashingmagazine.com
409 points by cwan  4 days ago   175 comments top 33
Hovertruck 4 days ago 6 replies      
"Use a Question Mark Icon for the Password Recovery Link"

Am I the only one who thinks that is really unintuitive? I don't even think clicking on that icon would cross my mind as a user, and I would spend my time trying to find the "Forgot Password" link.

redstripe 3 days ago 2 replies      
I just ask for an email address. I then email an auto generated password to the user. Their first login with the password I sent creates the account and takes them to their profile page which allows them to change their password or fill in other non essential info.

This system has a few benefits:

* No annoying "username already taken" or "password too short" rejections that make people give up.

* No junk accounts that haven't been verified since I don't create an account until the first login

* Person's email history has a record of their password if they're the type of person that doesn't care to change it.

* Since I'm really lazy, the account creation code is also the password recovery code. It just emails a new password.

I don't see any downsides with my system.

lukifer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised they didn't mention what I consider the greatest cardinal sin of sign-ups: if you're not validating email addresses, start the user's session as soon as they register, instead of making them re-enter the same info again into a login box. (Even if you're sending a validation email, you could allow the user to postpone validating, or at the very least, log them in automatically upon clicking the link in their email.)
bane 3 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure if it was accidental or not, but we ended up with the single simplest sign-up/login I've ever seen. We've even received a few emails from users alarmed at how simple it is. We're considering adding a few artificial steps (like filling out a profile) so that users feel more like they are creating an account.

1. Click login

2. Choose account provider

3. Grant us authorization access

4. Done - we pull your name and email address from the OAuth information and autopopulate your user profile.

At this point we don't strictly need any more information, and adding more account providers doesn't increase the number of steps. Actually, when we only supported Google accounts we didn't have a step #2.

We may start asking people some more questions, but for now signing up and logging in virtually identical user experiences.

ZoFreX 3 days ago 2 replies      
> use a hidden and required text field generated with client-side Javascript

So now only users with Javascript enabled can use your website. I'm sure that will increase conversion.

> Spambots can't fill in the field because they can't interact with objects in client-side JavaScript; only users can.

Not true anymore.

> you can create a honeypot form field that should be left blank and then use CSS to hide it from human users, but not bots

Apparently those of us that are blind, browse from the terminal, or use automated form-fillers are bots and not users too?

Some of this advice is good, some of it is very obvious and widely implemented, and some of it is bad. As the author has left determining which are which as an exercise to the reader, I'm not sure they know either.

MatthewPhillips 4 days ago 3 replies      
1000x times yes about the newsletter checkbox. Nothing turns me off to a service more than being tricked into receiving a newsletter. I consider those to be spam and mark them as such.
brm 4 days ago 1 reply      
One that gets missed almost everywhere is: if I type the wrong username or password, keep my username in the field (so many erase the forms when returning the error). That way I can tell if the mistake was in my username or my password and if it was in my password I don't have to retype everything.
mekoka 3 days ago 3 replies      
Another thing that I'll start to experiment with is delayed confirmations.

The confirmation step via emails is one of those things that has been copied over and over, without knowing, in many cases, what problem it addresses in the first place and if it's crucial to one's particular situations.

I think having to interrupt your visit to log into your email, is another speed bump to a smooth registration process.

A better approach, in my opinion, would be to let users just start interacting with your service right away. Give them 5 to 7 days to confirm their account, after which it is automatically suspended. You can let them know the next time they try to login that they never actually clicked the link they received via email a week earlier. The timeframe is long enough that they can actually use the service with no hassle and it's short enough that they won't have forgotten which email and password they gave during registration.

Of course, if the operations they're trying to perform in your site are sensitive enough (e.g. purchase, sale), you should let them know that it requires an immediate confirmation of the email address.

Other unrelated advices:

- if you use the email as a login name, then allow users to have whatever handle they'd like. i.e. don't make the username unique. Also, allow spaces in that field. e.g. StackExchange.

- under no circumstance should you keep an unencrypted record of the password. It's tempting to think that in the name of user friendliness, whenever someone loses their password, you will just send it back to them. As soon as I see my password sent to me in an email, I usually logon to the website, change the password to 12345 and depending of the sensitivity of the data kept by the service (e.g. web hosting), I would consider stopping using it altogether (Ironically, I've had cases of websites telling me that 12345 as a password isn't secure enough for their service, after they'd sent me my password via email).

bugsy 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm skeptical of such articles, but this one had a lot of good advice.

I so hate country selection popups that have 200 countries in them, and United States is near the bottom even though 95% of their customers are in the US, or perhaps they don't even ship outside the US. So many sites do that and it is infuriating.

chime 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Spambots can't fill in the field because they can't interact with objects in client-side JavaScript; only users can.

Not true anymore. What you could do is add a hidden field with value=encrypt(timestamp+salt) and only accept the form if the decrypted timestamp is at most x hours old. If you want to further restrict it, you could also add the IP to the encrypted value. This will fail if a user gets a new IP between loading the form and submitting it (laptop user moving around, VPN gateway changes etc).

ma2rten 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my option there is a lot of bad advise in there:

  Require Users to Type Their Password Only Once

At least I am very likely to overlook a typo, but less so to make the same typo twice.

  Allow Users to Auto-Fill Their Payment Address From the Shipping Address

Why not make a check box "same as billing address"? That way if people make a mistake they only have to correct it once.

  Don't Check the Newsletter Option by Default. Offer a Preview Instead

And how many people will click on that preview ?

  Spambots can't fill in the field because they can't interact with objects in client-side JavaScript


  Allow Users to Unmask Their Password

If I saw this I really would have no idea what the checkbox "check password" does.

  Make the “Submit” Button as Wide as the Text Fields

Never had problems with being insecure which action I was about to take when I logged into facebook.

  Allow Users to Log in Via Facebook, Twitter or OpenID

I don't have twitter, OpenID confuses me and I hate websites where I have to login with facebook.

But don't get me wrong I still think it's good to think about this stuff and don't take everything for granted, just because everyone does it. From that perspective it is a great post.

codenerdz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Using an Oauth Provider for Signup and Login makes most of these techniques moot. For the service Im working on, im using a wonderful OmniAuth gem that together with Devise allows for easy support of popular OAUTH providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google, you name it.
After dealing with forcing users to come up with yet another password to sign up for the service, I prefer that somebody else deals with that and I just store OAUTH tokens
dholowiski 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thats a great article. The first two points inbound the most interesting... Let the user choose a username after they sign up - I wonder what sites do that now, it's a good way of removing a barrier to entry.
The second I'm not so sure about... Having the user enter their password once and showing it to them - I'd be worried that you might lose users to simple typos.
Most of the rest is kind of common sense but a great reminder that the login/signup system is probably the _most_ important feature of a web site, since it's the one users interact with most often.
georgieporgie 3 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of these seem to be, "do this really nonstandard thing because it suites my tastes." I'm all for streamlining, but if you change a common way of doing things, and you're not targeting a technical crowd, your new way had better be crystal clear.

As someone who talks to non-native English speakers, "check password," is triggering a burning rage within me. There is so much potential for misunderstanding.

bitsm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be very careful when considering and implementing most of these ideas. While the sentiment is correct (make users' experience easier), many of these approaches have pitfalls or require fallbacks.

Your signup and login pages MUST be bulletproof.

Autofilling city/state from zip, for example, requires an updated database of postal codes, but users will often consider your autofill city as "wrong", since they use a different district/locale name. Make sure users can override your guesses.

p4bl0 3 days ago 3 replies      
Autofocusing the login field is a bad idea. Sometimes the javascript take some times to load and the user already filled the login field and is already typing is password when the javascript focus the login field: then the password is written in clear on the screen, and that's not pleasant for the users.
bjonathan 4 days ago 4 replies      
the best signup flow I have seen recently is http://friend.ly perfect integration of facebook .
gchucky 4 days ago 3 replies      
Admittedly I hadn't heard of using a client-side JS input box as an alternative to a Captcha. Does that sort of thing actually work, or can spammers get around it? Is there any anecdotal data to suggest that that's a better method? (not snarking; actually curious)
kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Log Users in Without Leaving the Page

As someone who uses LastPass, don't do this. It (usually?) won't let LastPass log you in to the site nor save the log-in details for a new site - a huge pain in the ass.

On another note, if I fail to enter the right details or check the right boxes, don't let me start all over again! Opera is great in how it lets you go back and retain all entered data, but other browsers are not as good at this.

pdenya 3 days ago 3 replies      
I hate being forced to login with my email address. My username is the same or similar for most sites I use but I use a site specific email (with gmails + feature) for almost every sign up.
fleaflicker 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any ideas for speeding up birthdate entry? Lots of sites need it to comply with COPPA.
MatthewB 3 days ago 2 replies      
These are all great suggestions. Smashingmagazine is a great resource for developers.

I'm not quite sure about a checkbox to confirm password...maybe I need to see it actually implemented somewhere to know if I like it.

andypants 4 days ago 4 replies      
Does anybody else think unmasking the password field is a terrible idea?
Herwig 4 days ago 1 reply      
CAPTCHA's are always annoying, no matter what. So why not make some money. Lots of new companies out there offering CAPTCHA ads.
aliglia 4 days ago 4 replies      
I have never understood why I need to type my password twice. Inevitably I just copy what I wrote in the first box into the second.

I'm also interested in the elimination of the post sign-up confirmation email. I'd rather get a "Welcome! If you didn't sign up for this service, click here" email, but I can imagine that if I didn't actually sign up for the service, I'd never want to "click here" for fear of spam. There has to be another option, though. Anyone have any bright ideas?

tcarnell 3 days ago 1 reply      
From my experience of building web applications only two pieces of information are EVER required at registration time:

1). Email address - unlikely to be forgotten and is useful, ie you can then contact the user

2). Password - so the user can access the site. And I agree, dont ask twice for this, as long as you have a password reset feature.

Any further information can be obtained once the user is inside the system - and full explainations can be given as to why particular information is required.

And never use captcha! There are a millions tricks that you can employ to avoid bots.

colanderman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Regarding auto-completing the country field, most modern web browsers allow you to enter text in a drop-down field, and they will auto-complete for you. (Although last I checked, IE had the annoying tendency to simply choose an entry starting with each character you typed.)
supershazwi 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel that asking a user for the right username after they sign up wastes even more time when they can settle it all at once at the sign up page... The tips mostly reduce hassle and why cause them more trouble by alerting them that their username is already taken when they felt they're already set to use the site.
bricetebbs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Depending on the security needed for a particular application I have been wondering why not just Email for authentication since its common for password recovery. More here: http://blog.headspin.com/?p=352
a3nm 4 days ago 3 replies      
Using OpenID makes the rest of the techniques moot (except for OpenID providers), right?
strebel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been a fan of this login (http://www.janrain.com/products/engage) service by janrain for some time. Use it where I can on apps.
ballard 3 days ago 0 replies      
OpenID, or email address -> confirmation.
lautenbach 2 days ago 0 replies      
been looking for good writeups on sign-up best practices. thanks for this!
Startups Are Hard jazzychad.net
395 points by tlb  6 days ago   111 comments top 45
tptacek 6 days ago 1 reply      
There's a meme to be spawned about things that work like the parole narrative in The Shawshank Redemption, where good things only happen when you decide to stop giving a shit about them. Deal closing of all sorts definitely fits it.

In the meantime, perhaps console yourself this way: you haven't found the pitch that's opening investor wallets yet, and maybe that's a good thing. Maybe the pitch you're using isn't your best bet; maybe a "yes" at meeting 38 would have put you on a bad path.

My friends and I got a high-seven-figures "yes" in '99 that ultimately killed our company.

Meanwhile, Matasano went through exactly what you did in 2005; every company that found a "yes" got dead as a result. We're relieved to have dodged the funding trap.

Best of luck to you. You don't need gatekeeping investors to succeed.

noelsequeira 6 days ago 1 reply      
While the entire post is both cathartic and poignant, one line stood out for me because of its brutal honesty.

Am I jealous of other companies' success? I would be lying if I said no.

Thank you for saying this. I've always wanted to, but feared I'd be called out for it. In public. In fact, I think it's part of what keeps the fire burning inside - that constant hunger to try and figure out why some folks are plain better / more successful at the game, and then trying and internalizing / applying those lessons.

And it can get frustrating when you can't replicate / emulate what others have achieved seemingly easily. As a corollary, this is probably why Jack Dorsey and Dennis Crowley are enigmas unto themselves.

An important aside: Chad, I'm someone who has tracked (and may I add envied) the Notifo story. And I admire the work you've done, from fanout.js, to snagging Paul for a co-founder, to HN for Android, to PicAFight, to GramFrame, to Vorepad........I've found myself in awe of how prolific you've been (and you don't even know me).

It's possible you've been doing one thing too many (because you love APIs and can't keep from tinkering with them). What I'm convinced of, is that you have the talent, the work ethic and an incredible co-founder. All the best, I'm hoping I have to transition back into pure envy real soon.

chr15 6 days ago 2 replies      
I left my job to work on my startup full-time, and agree with all of this. It's one of the hardest things I've done. I had to detach myself from material possessions and live frugally. I don't have much of a social life anymore because it's expensive. I've had to force myself to work when I didn't feel like it days at a time. Programming was no longer fun.

If you're not ready to sacrifice everything you have, possibly including your health, then work on your project on the side. You really do have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur.

The positives: It's thickened my skin, I manage my finances better, I appreciate things more, I treat people better.

ChuckMcM 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done. I especially liked "We let them [the investors] dictate our path with their negative signaling instead of listening to our guts."

This trap is something that is so easy to fall into and so painful to pull out of. My first startup had a 'star' VC fronting it, he loved the concept but didn't really understand that his vision was often in conflict with the founder's vision. That really hurt as the company was ripped too and fro trying to achieve a couple of really orthogonal goals.

Tom Lyon once told me that really it takes three startups before you 'get it'. One which is a somplete disaster, it helps you see what you did wrong and what can go wrong. One which isn't a complete disaster but exits sideways, which is to say you work at it day and night but when it exits you find yourself exactly where you were when you started. Then the third one where you know what to expect, you have a solid idea of what not to do and you keep laser focused on getting in, getting done, and getting it shipped.

It is very hard though, always.

DanielBMarkham 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here's another bit of sunshine to brighten your day:

Looking at the stats, and hanging out on HN for a while, it occurs to me that having a successful startup might be the coolest thing you do in your life business-wise. A zillion guys kick ass on a startup after college, only to hang around the community for decades afterwards, looking to write a check, trying to get back in on the action. As rare as profitable startups are, repeat entrepreneurs are even rarer. Maybe you're that one-in-ten-million guy. Probably not.

So if it takes 20 years, I wouldn't sweat it. If there's one thing I've learned to believe in, it's that everything in startups takes a lot longer and is a lot harder than you think it is. So even when you imagine this really tough and difficult journey lasting for years, it's probably going to be worse than that.

I'm not saying that to encourage you to give up, I just wouldn't spend a second of my time waiting for the calvary to arrive, because they aren't.

prpon 6 days ago 0 replies      
Chad, Couldn't have said any better about startups being hard. I wish you and Paul success. You have so many things that are going right for you. Access to great mentors, being part of YC, being in the valley and having a supporting family. You just need that missing piece for which people would really pay.
As a nobody, you have not much to lose.
We will be here to cheer you on when you find that missing link.
a5seo 6 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone thinking about moving to SF to launch a startup needs to read the Sacrifies and Startup Depression section 10x, assume it will be worse for you, and then decide.

And doubly so if you're married. If your spouse isn't on board and you've minimized the challenge, you're screwed.

dabent 6 days ago 1 reply      
Someone offered me a job recently. One of the people who interviewed me knew I had a side project that could become a startup. His advice was exactly what jazzychad said: startups are hard. He had been in one, so his advice meant something.

I turned down the offer, but for reasons unrelated to my side project. Still I feel like my project/startup is floating in the Sargasso Sea. If you think getting funding in the Bay Area is hard, move to Atlanta. There's a reason Stammy is out there.

And you can't be too much of a Nobody if you can get into YC twice. I wish team Notifo (or whatever your next project is) all the best.

stevenj 6 days ago 2 replies      
I think that the "making something people want" at the right time is the hardest part, and maybe distribution as well.

Execution is important.

But I think many people have the skills to create what ends up being successful.

Take Groupon for example. It made something a lot of people wanted. Could most people on Hacker News have made it? Sure.

But Groupon created it before anyone else (I might be wrong about this?).

Another example is HN. Pg has said that what he thinks users want most are quality articles and discussion.

While it's "just a forum", I think Pg is right for not adding a lot of features, or spending the limited time he has working on the UI, and instead focusing on how people can discover quality articles and make/read quality comments.

"Make something people want." It's simple, but it sure isn't easy.

zackattack 6 days ago 1 reply      
I always thought notifo was a terrible idea. It doesn't really add any value. Change your idea please. I mean look at your services page. The number one thing is "google voice alerts" so you can save money by not getting texts. Let's say you save someone $1. There's no way they're gonna pay you $1 for that. Then you also list Skribit on that page, a dead service.

I would take the mobile notification technology and pivot to notifying about something people care about, like people in the vicinity with similar interests.

sawyer 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's anecdotes like these that reinforce my belief that for a bootstrapping pre-success founder it's easier to focus on revenue rather than investment. The growth curve might be slower, but the friction you face as a first time entrepreneur trying to raise money is deadly.
pclark 6 days ago 1 reply      
so wait, is notifo.com going through yc again? (I only ask, because if not, and notifo is dead, that sucks)
Maro 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great post.

I've also had "Startup depression" where I didn't sleep for 1 week and was totally unproductive for a grand total of 2-3 weeks. Ever since then I stopped recommending doing startups to my friends.

We've also experienced the "You're Nobody until you're Somebody problem." The work-around we're trying right now is to bring a (non-technical) "Somebody" onboard as a partner/founder, who is also, unlike us, located in the US where our market is.

Location has also come up in this thread. Early on I thought that thanks to the Internet location matters "less". Not true. You have to be where your investors/customers are. Deals require massive face time.

rmason 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is the reality. I well remember hearing Steve Blank speak when he said nine out of ten of us in the audience would fail. But he said each of you are thinking that you will be the one who succeeds and are feeling sorry for the other nine. I didn't realize it at the time but he defined what it is to be an entrepreneur for us.
ojbyrne 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think startups are like poker.

- they're 80% luck and 20% skill

- but the people who have been successful work hard to promote the idea (which they also generally believe) that they're 20% luck and 80% skill.

bluekite2000 6 days ago 1 reply      
You are still in a better situation than many here. SF's coffee shops are littered w/ debt-laden (pseudo)-hackers who have half-baked ideas/projects, no gf's (or wives), zero connection to anyone of value and sleeping on a sofa of some friend's musty apartment.
ZackOfAllTrades 6 days ago 0 replies      
"The less you need money, the more people want to give it to you." - some advice I have heard about finances. Applies to businesses selling a product, startups looking for money, and, especially well, to scholarships.

The best indication that people should invest in you is that you don't need them to invest in you at all.

divya 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great post! The thing that really rang true was the part about the fundraising/depression/derailment, and how that can lead a start-up to consider some random/terrible offers that would otherwise be totally bogus. Paul talked us off a few bad-acquisition cliffs as well.

We certainly went through all of that at Jamglue. It's absolutely true that being a founder, especially the fundraising part, requires a really thick skin.

Each time I think about doing another startup, I start having flashbacks to broken termsheets, bullshit EBITDA projections, and VC's telling us that they could introduce us to Quincy Jones (I swear, at least 7 different people told us this). When we came out of our fundraising stint (penniless), we realized that our product had suffered and we were completely broken people.

The ability to be self-aware about the emotional roller-coaster is invaluable, and essential to forward progress. Thanks for this honest account so that others can make some sense about what they are feeling.

gersh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Are starups really that hard, or do they just require certain skills? Is it luck? Are you in the wrong place in the wrong time? Do you just lack the necessary skills? Do you lack the social support?

In school, you just gotta do what the teacher tells you to do, and you get an 'A'. You get a job and you just gotta be able to do what your boss wants you to do. Startups require you to find your own nitch, and do something different. No one is telling you what to do.

So, you can work real hard and work like before, but end up pursuing an empty hole. However, is this really harder?

spottiness 6 days ago 0 replies      
Your problem are irrationally high expectations. Most of us suffer from naive optimism and that is a great motivator, a harmless one if we use it to fuel our enthusiasm while working late at night. The problem arises when dehydration makes you see an Oasis everywhere, when you become delusional. We humans suck at calculating expected value, particularly when there are huge outcomes with very very very tiny probabilities. That's why so many people play the lottery and that's what you're doing: playing the lottery, and there's nothing you can do to win it. Even with your perseverance and focus, with your knowledge and hard work, if you win it you are just very lucky. On the other hand, there's a lot you can do to be happy. With your youth, your wife, your intelligence, and your hard work, if you don't reach a state of emotional satisfaction then you are very unlucky.

My advice to you would be to define your threshold of success as something you can control. Focus on your surroundings. Get one client and satisfy him. Don't do it for money but for the pleasure of having an impact on somebody else. You can be your first client too; in fact, that's what we did when we built Spottiness: it's for us, we do what we can, we are nobodies and we don't care.

fleaflicker 6 days ago 1 reply      
The truth is, it hasn't been worth it at all... yet.

What about being your own boss? What about learning & producing at 10 times the rate you would at a desk job?

Also, I think you'll find there are plenty of "Nobodys" with past successes. Don't do it for the fame.

dools 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow you went on a cruise? You have money in the bank? You're going through YC again? Sounds awesome! Focus on the positives. You'll regret getting down in the dumps now, when you look back and realise how good you had it. Make the most of now and stop worrying so much.
adebelov 6 days ago 0 replies      
As an entrepreneur reading your post, I couldn't sympathize more with your situation. Startups are hard, startups are not for everyone and as Arrington would say, you are not a pirate until you start a company.

However, I would change your attitude a little bit. In your post you seem to focus on your sacrifices and being jealous of other successes. Well, when I see that Color and other startups raise a ton of money, I get SUPER excited! Why? Because if they can do it, I can do it too!
As far as sacrifices go, realize that you are still better than 90% of the entire world. Being grateful for things that we have is a force multiplier. I am grateful for what I have and having the opportunity to build a company in Silicon Valley is a life long dream come true. Dreams are bigger than sacrifices. If you believe in yourself, you believe in your product, your customers will believe in you and your investors will too.

Good luck. And enjoy the journey, in the end life is just a game (whether you are a doctor, investment banker or entrepreneur, we all have finite amount of time on this planet).

happyfeet 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this Chad. It means a lot to me, for someone who is just getting into startup life with wife and kid to support, giving up a well-paid 'secure' day job.

An inspiring poem shared by my friend. Was read out by Winston Churchill at the beginning of Second World War.


SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!


Here is the paraphrase shared by the friend:

Don't say that the long struggle [against tyranny and injustice] is of no avail;
don't say that all your efforts, and all the injuries you've sustained, were in vain.
Don't say that the enemy's just as strong as ever;
and don't say that nothing's changed for the better!

If the things you hoped for haven't happened, well, maybe the things you're scared of won't happen either.
Perhaps over there on the battlefield, now obscured by smoke,
your comrades are chasing the enemy away,
and all they need to ensure victory is that you go and join them.

Look! Those waves don't seem to be making much headway,
even though the tide's supposedly coming in.
But far behind you, unseen creeks and inlets are swelling with incoming waters:
the sea really is on the move after all!

Look! The eastern window you're sitting at
isn't the only place affected by sunrise;
from there, yes, it's true, the sun hardly seems to moving up the sky at all"
but cross the room and look through a westward-facing casement: see how the whole landscape's already flooded with light!

Clough had just personally witnessed how Garibaldi's brave attempt to help preserve a new Roman Republic had been foiled when the forces of reaction (led, ironically enough, by the French) had successfully brought the Siege of Rome to an end in 1848. He was trying to cheer up fellow-supporters of reform and of independence for Italy. They were all feeling pretty downhearted. That's the historical context.

trickjarrett 6 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to you for saying and admitting the hard things for the startup entrepreneur. Failing sucks. Struggling to not fail sucks even more because it can just drain you. Best of luck :)
JoeAltmaier 6 days ago 1 reply      
So startups the YC way are hard. The sacrifice is self-inflicted, and avoidable - just give up more of your company up front, or choose a more visible partner, or have a spouse that has a real income to start with, or work at BigCo then quit and create something they need and lease/contract it back to them, etc.

Its winning the lottery that is hard, and only because you make it hard on yourself for that big prize.

jkaljundi 6 days ago 1 reply      
"if you are having trouble putting together a round in the first few weeks of actual investor meetings, just say, "screw it," and get back to working ASAP."
- this seems a little extreme, to say the least, not sure I agree. It might apply to some premium selected YC startups in frothy Silicon Valley conditions, but not in general. Putting together a round takes time and quite often much much more than a few weeks.
cft 6 days ago 0 replies      
What I find interesting, is that you can build a fairly large and profitable bootstrapped company, but unless you got VC money in the Silicon Valley the standard way, from the right people, you will always remain a bit of persona non grata, not particularly liked by Arrington, Techcrunch and the establishment. There will be no hype, no press, even if your revenue is larger than say Digg's in its heyday. I am speaking from experience, but I know of many other examples.
hong 6 days ago 0 replies      
I can't believe how much you sacrificed. Here I am thinking I had it hard. It's so great that you are upbeat and energetic long after the YC days despite all your sacrifice. Best of luck to all your efforts!

Strange and pathetic as it may sound to my non-startup friends, I couldn't agree more on the point of having a support group. Everyday there are things pushing my limit, and if not for my friends, I would have gone crazy by now.

zacharytamas 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck to you guys! I've known Paul a couple years and even helped him catch some bugs in Skribit back in the day. The article was very interesting as a friend and I are just starting to design and develop on an app idea that started out--like many do-- as a very small humble idea but with a lot of dreaming has evolved into an interesting solution. Good luck on Notifo, and with any luck maybe we'll cross paths somewhere.
thomaspun 6 days ago 1 reply      
Startups are harder than anything I have read online (yours definitely put another well needed perspective on this subject). I have also wondered why none of my investors (or even YC) asked what the founders sacrificed to do what they do.

I"m so glad that your plan to go thru YC again worked out. Beer time! I so believe in you two and can't wait to see what comes out.

ad80 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great post Chad, people thinking or already starting startups have to wake up and stop believing that if every second article on TC is about another funding, that there is already money waiting for them.

And with regards to Nobody / Somebody.... this post, might get you closer than you think to Somebody ;)

Good luck! You have the right product. Think what's missing...and is it really money?

ttran08 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the great post! I don't think you'll ever quit until you succeed. I think the key to creating that one successful company is about trials and errors. "Learning doesn't happen from failure itself but rather from analyzing the failure, making a change, and then trying again." Don't be afraid to fail early and fail often, until you hit the nail right on the head. One thing I didn't understand from looking at your project is, why did you feel the need to get funding to begin with? It doesn't cost much to keep a website alive, and you have the support of your wife in order to continue developing for Notifo or a new project. I'm also a co-founder myself, so I'd like to know if there's something I'm missing here. :) Another thing I'm curious about is, why you're so set on sticking with Notifo, instead of moving on with a new idea? Is it because you already have tons of users and you need money to expand your company? I've only been involved with one website and I'm still learning, so it'd be great to learn more insights so I know what to expect ahead of time. :)
stevelaz 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great read! It's great to hear some of the brutal truth about attempting to do what we all love to dream about but mostly FAIL at.
barisme 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, your catharsis really comes through in your writing. If nothing else, maybe there's a memoir in all this ;) Seriously though, stay positive and stay in the habit of asking people for help when you're stuck. And don't just ask investors, 'cause their agenda might force them to say 'double or nothing' every time. Ask friends, other tech people, people who work on FOSS, old college professors, online friends. You need to develop, but you also need to spend a lot of time in front of other people. Also, make sure you're doing something you like. If the work is not rewarding, find something that is.
gsharma 6 days ago 0 replies      
I understand the frustration when things are not moving along, but finding a solution to that is the only thing that filters out successful startups out of all the other startups.

All the best with your YC Summer 2011!

For what's it worth - Tim Westergren of Pandora pitched 300+ VCs before he raised money for series A. More on it: http://www.businessinsider.com/pandora-300-vc-rejections-201...

sabat 6 days ago 3 replies      
This post is one long moan. Of course startups are hard. So is marriage, and so is jogging. So if you're doing it, you'd better love it, because if you don't, you're going to be miserable. You do it because you love building things and love to learn things -- and you can handle failure, whether it's temporary or permanent. You can recognize that you have not actually failed if you've learned in the process, made personal connections, etc.

People doing startups need encouragement. They may need to be warned that this isn't easy, but they really don't need moans.

hamiltonchan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Super duper post, Chad. What you've done so remarkably in this post is you've captured "truth." Looking forward to one-upping you in comparing sad founder stories over beers.
MenaMena123 6 days ago 1 reply      
Keep up the dream, screw going back to a 9 to 5 and something you settle for. Do what you love, I am in the same boat, I am moving down this summer to San Fran. and I think at times if I am making a mistake and say hell no! I rather be after my dream my whole life than settle for something. Its all about the chase of the dream.
rogerjin 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm right there with you Chad. We've got a strong team, yet are still weeks away from launching, and it's just truly amazing how much failure and rejection we have faced over the past few months.
szcukg 6 days ago 0 replies      
What a bloody good read......they say nothing in life that is worth having ever comes easy....stay there chad...grit it out....you'll reach where u want....success will come..good luck have fun
meow 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, thats an eye opening picture of startup life. I really hope these guys succeed.
lsiu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good read. I hope you make it someday!
Eagleman99 6 days ago 0 replies      
"A real entrepreneur is somebody who has no safety net underneath them." H.Kravis
je42 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this !
The whole post means quite a bit for me. Almost every word you write feels familiar.

I wish you good luck with with your startup. Actually I wish all startups having difficulty raising the next round good luck.

Google humans.txt google.com
339 points by Anon84  2 days ago   56 comments top 26
Sukotto 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was expecting something like

  Hi! Thanks for visiting us.

Feel free to look around in:


Please stay out of:


mrspeaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damn, I was hoping they'd implemented the humans.txt captcha to keep out humans: http://www.mrspeaker.net/2010/07/15/humans-txt/
eschulte 2 days ago 0 replies      
no linebreaks? it's not animals.txt

gentlemen stay within 79 characters of the start of a line

Andrex 2 days ago 2 replies      
Gmail has one too, I noticed the other day: https://mail.google.com/humans.txt
dude_abides 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.bing.com/humans.txt should be there in about 2 weeks
nhebb 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Google is built by a large team of engineers, designers, researchers, robots ..."

Wait, does that say "robots"? This is how it starts people, with a robot creating a humans.txt text file, posing as a friendly Googler. Bill Joy must feel so vindicated now.

dexen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just for the fun factor: http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/robots.txt

(also, the comments in the source of the root page, http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/)

jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think humans.txt is great, but it would be even better if the "standard" was to use a human/machine-readable format like YAML. The example on the website is really close to that.

Yes, I know it's an ironic request.

ma2rten 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a google query that lets you find people's human.txt files
bradya 2 days ago 0 replies      
The HTML5 boilerplate provides a boilerplate humans.txt


autalpha 2 days ago 0 replies      
jschuur 2 days ago 0 replies      
So basically, Google has too many people for them to be able to list them all. Or Google didn't want to try and list them, thinking they might miss someone, or subject them to poaching.

That seems to be a fundamental problem with humans.txt: The bigger, more interesting a project gets, it creates several reasons why it will only vaguely be able to lost anything, out of a conflict of interest, rather than give full credit to the team behind the site.

jonah 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not too much interesting in the headers. ;)

  x-content-type-options: nosniff

Server: sffe [1]

[1] http://code.google.com/p/sffe/ ?

cellis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Which reminds me of Google Code Jam ... which starts in 2hrs. I'm not really expecting anything but i'll try the problems.
PhatBaja 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this the top article on HN? Is it really that relevant to talk about this?
ignifero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't believe this, people. It's obviously planted evidence. We are not alone ...
hackermom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why aren't programmers mentioned explicitly? :/
kennymeyers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The irony of the words contrasted with naming the file human.txt is not lost on me.
GMali 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently, Facebook does not have any humans.
dmor 2 days ago 0 replies      
chuckywhat 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a pleasant surprise. Will also install the chrome ext. kudos
jhonnycano 2 days ago 1 reply      
what is this for?
JQuery 1.6 released jquery.com
316 points by potomak  6 days ago   41 comments top 7
wyday 5 days ago 1 reply      
This release causes Internet Explorer 6 to freeze just by including the script in the page. This is a non-starter. I'll submit a bug report about it later today, just thought you guys would like to know in the meantime.

EDIT: It looks like the freeze on IE6 might be caused by FancyBox (http://fancybox.net/ ). Though it didn't freeze with any previous version of jQuery.

rauljara 6 days ago 3 replies      
I wasn't entirely sold on the splitting up of attributes and properties at first. After all, a big part of jQuery is adding convenience, and this does remove a certain amount of convenience at the end of the day, even if only a little. Then I got to the performance graphs at the end. Those are some impressive speed ups for almost all the browsers (1). The speed + more logical separation seems totally worth it.

(1) Except, you know, ie 7 and ie 8. So... half the internet.

cubicle67 5 days ago 0 replies      
it's broken Nivo Slider (2.5.1) but a global replace of '.attr(' with '.prop(' has fixed it. Not sure if this is the best thing to do, but it works
simonhamp 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love how fast jQuery is progressing, but it does seem that ultimately the separations of various disciplines (particularly this .attr() and .prop() debate) is a step away from the convenience of jQuery-past.

It's understandable though, because helpers and abstractions add bloat and latency to interactions with the various DOM interfaces. And this latency is the price we have to pay for the benefits these abstractions give us - which include a unified interface to the DOM of many browsers.

The balance of speed vs convenience is very difficult for frameworks like jQuery looking to work for as many people as possible... if you want the convenience at the sacrifice of speed or conversely prefer the speed to the convenience you have one option: build a library specific to your app or your needs.

The rest of us will use jQuery ;)

ThePinion 6 days ago 2 replies      
I love how quickly they're pushing out these releases. It's awesome to have my applications constantly improving in speed without me having to do much.

Although I'm honestly a bit confused on their explanation of .prop and .attr now... Maybe I should just re-read it slower, or give myself a little more time to wake up. Unless someone would care to explain it in simpler terms for me. ;)

sciolistse 5 days ago 1 reply      
Seems to have caused using an array to specify easing in jQuery.animate to break. Was a bit surprising.
imsky 5 days ago 0 replies      
Switched to it and the animations really look smoother now. Sweet release, can't wait for 1.6.1!
Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass wisc.edu
309 points by bootload  5 days ago   97 comments top 21
JonnieCache 5 days ago 2 replies      
Hah, this exactly mirrors my experience in chemistry lessons aged 15. Failing to reproduce experimental results with broken equipment then faking the data with an excel function to get the teachers off my back so I could go back to doing something useful like staring out of the window, or using the magnesium ribbon to heat-seal peoples pencil cases shut.

Good to know that it carries on up to the undergraduate level. And I even managed to associate with women during my eventual CS degree! Feeling pretty smug right now.

JoeAltmaier 5 days ago 1 reply      
I had this insight in Junior High - testing friction by putting blocks on top of other blocks, or in a block train, and using a 'force meter' to see how hard I had to pull. The 'force meter' was a piece of spring steel stuck into another block, with a hook on the end.

It was totally non-linear on every surface I tested. The book said it was supposed to be linear. The students were all furtively fudging it, and eventually the teacher said something like "well, its supposed to be linear so do the best you can".

Insight: this was all a bunch of crap. Turns out that friction is totally non-linear anyway, for most materials, but I didn't read that until 20 years later.

perlgeek 5 days ago  replies      
He's so totally right about the hand waving approximations used in solid state physics.

All fields of physics need to use some approximations, but those in the solid state were usually the ones with the worst reasons, just things like "it works if we do that" or even "it doesn't if we don't do this".

It went on like that in three courses (two on solid state physics, one on electronics).

Only after that did I happen to come across a decent book which explained some of the approximations in a way that didn't make me cringe, and some of the stuff started to make sense in retrospect. Others are still a mystery to me, and probably always will be.

cubicle67 5 days ago 0 replies      
I read an essay, I think by Isaac Asimov, where he described a graph like this as a "shotgun curve"
jrockway 5 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah, I remember a number of labs where I didn't get the data that was expected and had to do the experiment again. Knowing the expected result, producing excellent data was easy; instead of a painstaking data-collection process, I outsourced that to a "function" with "noise". Hey look, r=0.999!

I understand this is the same process by which the top quark was discovered.

wbhart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, lovely story. I had precisely this happen in Physics at Uni. I wrote down every piece of data, wrote out my computations in full. When I submitted it, I got a D. I challenged my prof to check any one of the data points or computations and exhibit a single error (I knew he wouldn't because I had checked myself). He refused to check even a single one. Every single person for 20 years had fudged the results!!
joss82 5 days ago 5 replies      
"Going into physics was the biggest mistake of my life. I should've declared CS. I still wouldn't have any women, but at least I'd be rolling in cash."

This advice should be told to all high schoolers.

Well, at least male ones.

nhebb 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is why the only lab I enjoyed was in Materials Science. The goal of the labs was never to try to get the data to match some pre-defined equation. Instead, the goal was to test materials and interpret the results. Plus, we got to break stuff. :)
elwin 5 days ago 0 replies      
I sympathize with the horrible equipment. While getting a physics degree, I had a lab where we measured resistivity. My team was the last to succeed in getting numerical data from the 20-year-old oscilloscope via floppy disk. The students scheduled after us had to take a digital photograph of the oscilloscope screen and reconstruct the data from that.

Broken equipment is not confined to undergraduate classes. A few terms later, I had to use the digital photograph method to get data from a spectrometer in a research lab. If my analysis had succeeded, we would likely have published, and the professor would have had a chance at tenure, all on the strength of data obtained by counting pixels.

laeus 4 days ago 0 replies      
This "lab report" always brings back good memories because it indirectly launched my career in the game industry. I was finishing up my CS degree at UW Madison and working in Mike Gleicher's computer graphics lab in Spring '02. I had previously met Lucas through a fellow CS student (Alex Mohr, now at Pixar). At some point, Lucas was contacted by the AI programmer at Ensemble Studios (Mike Kidd). Mike, a UW alum, had seen the Germanium treatise and wanted Lucas to apply at ES. A month later, knowing how eager I was to join the game industry, Lucas mentioned Mike's email to me and forwarded him my info. Long story short, I got an interview at ES and was hired straight out of college into a dream job.

I look forward to seeing this link pop up again in a few years. :)

Groxx 4 days ago 0 replies      
An oldie, but a goodie. Easily my favorite scientific report paper of all time.

>Banking on my hopes that whoever grades this will just look at the pictures, I drew an exponential through my noise. I believe the apparent legitimacy is enhanced by the fact that I used a complicated computer program to make the fit. I understand this is the same process by which the top quark was discovered.

Absolutely brilliant.

tinyrock 4 days ago 0 replies      
The crap results were probably due to the soldering messing around with the crystal properties. Using a pressure-contacts approach instead seemed to do the trick:


Has it really been 10 years!

ldite 5 days ago 0 replies      
Funny as hell when I was a physics undergraduate 10 years ago, and still funny now. I still routinely use the phrase "to first order" when justifying horrific approximations.
sliverstorm 5 days ago 0 replies      
The way I have always approached labs is a thorough report on my procedure, complete results (totally wrong or not) and an analysis of Whether I got good results, Why I got the wrong results, How might one improve the experiment to get better result...

That has always served me well. I don't usually get A+'s on lab reports, but I think that's my fault and for an unrelated reason.

It certainly seems to me reflection on what was done and thoughtful analysis on why it was good/how it could be fixed (with specific statements or suggestions, not general ones)/what went wrong demonstrates understanding of the material that simple results do not. I guess if you are being trained primarily to be a lab worker who's job is to produce accurate numbers, that's important, but if the labs are for learning...

mikecane 5 days ago 0 replies      
This pops up every few years. I always forget it and laugh out loud brand new when re-reading it.
linker3000 5 days ago 0 replies      
I see the test results for germanium but where are the results for his ass?
jabo 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand a wee bit of that, so Go Computer Science! :)
bluesmoon 4 days ago 0 replies      
During my physics practicals for my high school final exam, I had to measure the voltage of a Daniel Cell using a Dry Cell (1.5V), a 2metre length of wire and a bunch of other stuff.

The only problem... the dry cell was dead, so only carried 0.8V or something. So, my results consistently showed that the Daniel Cell had a PD of 1.7V (it's supposed to be ~1.1V).

The examiner came up with a brilliant solution to "fix" my data. Switch the labels on the data columns.

beefman 4 days ago 0 replies      
All scientific results should be reported this bluntly.
BrotherSand 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hilarious! First time I've seen this and I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. I think it was figure 1 "check this shit out" that made me really lose it. Got some odd looks on the train.
Niksko 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, physics, the slower cousin of mathematics. How I weep for you.
How I Turned Down $300,000 from Microsoft to go Full-Time on GitHub preston-werner.com
291 points by jseliger  6 days ago   53 comments top 13
jmtame 6 days ago 6 replies      
Loved Tom's social hack for finding cofounders, from Startups Open Sourced. He also has a really good outlook on the role of design in startups.

Q: So, the best way to get to know somebody is to go drink with them?

A: That is absolutely the best way to really get to know a person and what they really like and are interested in because if they are interested in technology, then they will have no problem geeking out with you about Ruby or Node or something for three hours, over drinks; that's when you know that you found someone that could be a really successful cofounder. I think there really is something to doing business in bars. In the early days when there were four of us"we had hired Scott Chacon"we would go to this bar called O'Reilly's, up in North beach. We went there almost every week and that's where we would talk about what we had done. This is after we had started full time and it was where all the decisions were made. A couple of drinks in, you start to just say what you mean instead of thinking so much about whose feelings you are going to hurt or whatever, you say things very bluntly, like, “I think we should do this, and I think you are wrong for saying we should do it a different way,” and now you can have an honest argument about what needs to get done and what the concerns are about the company or how it's structured or how the stock is going to be split. All this stuff will come up over drinks and as long as you are not too drunk, it can be helpful.

larrykubin 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'll be honest. When I first read this post nearly three years ago, I barely knew what Git was, the stock market was crashing hard every day, hundreds of thousands were being laid off, and turning down that offer seemed pretty foolish. Now I can't live without GitHub.
BrandonM 6 days ago 2 replies      
> When I'm old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say "wow, that was an adventure," not "wow, I sure felt safe."

A great conclusion to a great article. Definitely a motto to live by.

pjhyett 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth noting that none of the Ruby guys Tom worked with at Powerset are still working for Microsoft 3 years later. The guys I've spoken with had a miserable time working there and left to work for other startups like Greplin, Bank Simple, and Square.
lawnchair_larry 6 days ago 1 reply      
How did github get early users?
joelhaasnoot 6 days ago 0 replies      
This story is encouraging! I'm soon to graduate college and am figuring out what exactly I want to do next. One of the options is to work part time on my startup, next to another part time job or freelancing. It's a lot easier when you have savings to make such a leap, then again, I live lean and live cheap.
wildmXranat 6 days ago 3 replies      
Very nice read. That also leads me to mention that Github, as good as it is in 'social' coding or whatever that means,
does not fill a gap for a proper resource on how to use Git. Not that it should and it clearly doesn't carry that mandate, but
there is hefty amount of respect to be made for any group that de-mystifies git in all it's glory.

Hell, there are plenty of comments here, on groups and proggit from users that lose their hair over advanced use of git.

In my opinion advanced consulting services and migration planning for currently SVN,CVS engaged companies would be nice.

twakefield 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great post, but dammit, now I'm going to have "You're The Best" by Joe Esposito stuck in my head all day.
emehrkay 6 days ago 1 reply      
I pay for github, great decision :)
vipivip 6 days ago 1 reply      
Turned out to be the best move.
greg_gti 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I'm old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say “wow, that was an adventure,” not “wow, I sure felt safe.”

Great quote and I try to live my life by the same philosophy

louislouis 6 days ago 1 reply      
"The next night, Friday, October 19, 2007 at 10:24pm" Was there a time-machine involved overnight or is it supposed to be 2008?
chopsueyar 6 days ago 0 replies      
"You're the best around, Nothing's gonna ever keep ya down!"
After botched child porn raid, judge sees the light on IP addresses arstechnica.com
268 points by shawndumas  6 days ago   72 comments top 10
viraptor 6 days ago 4 replies      
> One obvious takeaway: letting total strangers use your Internet connection for any purpose comes with some risk.

Really? My takeaway is: allow open access to anyone, but limit the bandwidth. This way nothing can be proven about my actions. (could be anyone) It actually reduces the risk for me if IP is not identifying people anymore.

ChuckMcM 6 days ago 1 reply      
"Steele's request was denied until he can name at least one specific person in the case over whom the court has personal jurisdiction"though it's not clear he can do this at all without going to the ISPs for help. But the judge doesn't care about Steele's problems."

This is the correct result. I hope it is more broadly adopted by the courts. At the moment these seem primarily driven by legal firms using extortion as a business model, we should shut that down first and then go back to working through the issues of fair use and copyright.

tlrobinson 6 days ago 2 replies      
So how long until we see legislation that a) makes open AP owners liable / accomplices in crimes committed on open APs b) requires open APs authenticate and log all user activity c) outright bans open APs?
pilom 6 days ago 3 replies      
Time to invest in a DD-WRT router to be sure there aren't any backdoors for ARP requests to map IP addresses to physical hardware.
gtank 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that IP address mappings still have the kind of legal weight that authorizes raids. Anyone can acquire a deniable IP by walking down the street to Starbucks (better yet, drive 15 minutes) or pointing a Pringles can at a distant neighbor. I assume anyone taking part in criminal content or actions on the internet would know this.
zerosanity 6 days ago 1 reply      
About time. Identifying people by IP address is like identifying people that live in a certain house. A house can have many people living in it. It's not a one-to-one mapping.
nooneelse 6 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps more judges would see this light were they the ones behind such ambiguous IP addresses. Surely some judges have open wireless networks at home. Would it be illegal to put a computer in range of a judge's house, have it search for child porn, and pipe anything it downloads straight to /dev/null so that it isn't actually stored?
IgorPartola 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how IPv6 adoption is going to affect this. NAT is still available under IPv6, but most won't use it and your MAC is by default a part of your address.
buckwild 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm no networking expert, but don't they also note the mac addresses and generally use DHCP for open wifi? If so, they could totally identify folks with that info...
chopsueyar 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is optimistic.
Google's Backdoor Access System into Gmail Accounts schneier.com
285 points by powertower  7 days ago   89 comments top 14
raintrees 6 days ago 0 replies      
"In the aftermath of Google's announcement, some members of Congress are reviving a bill banning U.S. tech companies from working with governments that digitally spy on their citizens. Presumably, those legislators don't understand that their own government is on the list."

Gave me a good laugh this morning...

beagle3 6 days ago 6 replies      
Some people on this discussion mention that they simply run their own mail servers -- that's dandy for incoming mail. But how do you guys make sure your outgoing mail is not blacklisted/ignored/considered spam? That's been a non trivial problem for me in the past when I was running a mail server (and spam was not such a big problem back then).

Also, is there any mail server you can run/recommend that has gmail-speedy searches and tagging? (And maildir support would be a super-extra-plus?)

VladRussian 6 days ago 2 replies      
all this evil isn't done by some special evil people. It is you or people like you who does it.

people like you write the laws mandating backdoors, people like you force companies to implement it, people like you actually implement it. After all that, you dare to express displeasure with the thing you done pretty much by yourself to yourself. Man up and take responsibility for your actions. Next time you're groped by a TSA agent, you can find a relief in the thought that you (or your friend working at Google) groped the agent's Gmail account. Tit-for-tat.

rryan 6 days ago 1 reply      
"The rumor that China used a system Google put in place to enable lawful intercepts, which I used as a news hook for this essay, has not been confirmed. At this point, I doubt that it's true."


pragmatic 6 days ago 14 replies      
Could anyone recommend a hosted email service that does not allow spying on users?

Alternatively I wonder what Bruce Schneier recommends? Do you have to host your own email server?

pnathan 6 days ago 4 replies      
So let's go with a rational assumption, which is that your email provider has the capability to read your email (scenarios: warrant, hacker, bored sysadmin).

You, being a good geek, encrypt your personal systems out the wazzoo.

Then you want to take the next step: encrypted communications (examples: legal, business).

This now makes your request of everyone you deal with to dink with public/private keys and - likely - some sort of infrastructure.

What's the best real-world (i.e., non-propellerhead) solution to this?

obtino 7 days ago 2 replies      
You guys realise that this essay was published on January 23, 2010 right? I'm sure it's been posted here before.
SageRaven 6 days ago 2 replies      
Not that I think this would truly help (they probably replicate all inbound/outbound mail to some vast pool for statistical analysis), but is there an automated way to delete all mail from one's Gmail account? I use fetchmail to remove mail from my inbox and manage it on my workstation, but must periodically log on via the web interface and go to my "All Mail" folder and do a manual select and delete.
mgrouchy 6 days ago 1 reply      
Unless you host your own email, I assume that even without this specific backdoor built in google would have little trouble getting at the email they host.

This is not necessarily bothering to me, or unexpected for hosted services.

edanm 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing this is in response to this thread:


gbrindisi 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's sad to say but as a rule of thumb I've always assumed that my mails are always read and/or stored by third parties.

For really important stuff my only solution is encryption.

truthtechnician 6 days ago 2 replies      
I run my own mail server with a roundcube frontend interface, for $5 a month (if that) on Amazon EC2.

What's the point of SSL in Gmail if Google has your certs?

jamespo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some more detail in that article would be nice.
known 6 days ago 2 replies      
Since Gmail is free, you're the product Google is selling.
Getting Users For Your New Startup pud.com
270 points by pud  2 days ago   57 comments top 13
rfrey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good story idea: “I'm not sure if my thing is legal.”

This is definitely going to the top of my how-to-bait-reporters list.

pud 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wasn't sure whether to put the Hacker News reference in there, for fear that people might come out of the wordwork trying to game HN after reading this.

That's why I also put in the line about not spamming. I can get rid of the HN link if people think I should.

davidu 2 days ago 0 replies      
pud taught me a whole lot when I worked for him. good to see him blogging.
thekevan 2 days ago 2 replies      
"If the writer doesn't respond, try a different one. But only one at a time " they won't like you if you give the same story to their competitor. "

What is a good amount of time to wait between contacting writers? Or how much time has to pass without a response for you to to decide to move on to the next one?

nikcub 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Good story idea: “My competitor raised $20 million, yet my thing is better.”

That is a good way to get into a writers spam bin. Every writer gets 5-6 stories about related companies when they post something, and it is annoying

random42 1 day ago 0 replies      
Startup Idea(?) - Marketing/PR company to get you beta/real users for your tech/other startup, so that you can foucs on what you are good at, focusing on the product. Charges per user acquired.
ignifero 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bit on the evil side, but thanks for sharing. What about cross-promotion? I believe already-proven entrepreneurs have multiple channels (online and offline) to promote subsequent ventures. Also, controversy is popular, but is it viable in the long run? There is a line between disruption and controversy, and many startups prefer not to cross it (i m hopeful they choose so for ethical reasons). There's more to make out of a startup than money.
nhangen 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's up with the highlighting?
marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
The issue with articles like this, for me, is that it doesn't quite specify who this will work for.

As in, it works for sites that just need a ton of users - but not so much for niche-specific webapps that charge.

If you are trying to build a community and need a lot of numbers in a very short period of time, then sure....but if you want to find your users for your specific niche...this advice doesn't quite work.

danzheng 2 days ago 3 replies      
what about offline events? Are they effective? I recall Yelp did a lot of that in the early days.
dennisgorelik 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is his web site (Blippy) on a steep decline:
Vmabuza 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the best articles i ever read on startup Marketing.
ballard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Startup Bus.
Sony loses 12,700 credit card numbers joystiq.com
264 points by bjplink  6 days ago   54 comments top 14
dotBen 6 days ago 2 replies      
Sony has repeatedly stated that its PSN servers and SOE servers are not part of the same network, so it remains unclear just how these two attacks are tied together

then Sony says:

"While the two systems are distinct and operated separately, given that they are both under the SONY umbrella, there is some degree of architecture that overlaps."

This my friends is back-peddling 101. Also known as "Sony can't give a straight answer on whether their PSN and SOE networks are connected or not"

huntero 6 days ago 2 replies      
The scary part here is that this intrusion was only found because of a security review due to the PSN intrusion. If that hadn't of happened, who knows when/if they would have figured it out.

How often does this type of thing happen and no one has ANY idea?

cies 6 days ago 4 replies      
i never understand why we all so easily trust creditcards. i also do it.

a system that basically needs an attacker to just see'n'remember both sides of your card (that you need to keep with you and not is safe) in order be able pay with your money until the card gets disabled or expires.

i noticed in the US people use it to pay by phone, and shops tend to keep that data for convenient repeat purchases.

i need a card for payments online and visits outside europe (especially visits to the US). i'm glad that i have one for those occasions, but i cannot say i think it is a safe system -- it is also constantly under attack.

in the netherlands there's a payment system that most-if-not-all webshops are subscribing to. it redirect you from the shop to the internet banking app of your own bank, there you pay (with some 2-factor kind of authentication), after which you're redirected back. i cannot help feeling a lot safer. :)

viraptor 6 days ago 4 replies      
> 12,700 non-US credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates [...] apparently from "an outdated database from 2007"

Fortunately that means ~100% of those numbers are expired by now. Can expired numbers be used for anything evil?

geophile 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sony has just never got the hang of digital. They used to have great radios, TVs, and decent audio equipment. You young'uns probably don't remember the Walkman but it was revolutionary. It was a highly portable cassette player, basically the ipod of its day. It's been downhill for Sony since then. To wit:

- Minidisc
- Memory stick
- The 2005 audio CDs with bonus rootkit
- PSN breach
- SOE breach

speleding 6 days ago 0 replies      
Update, 9:03PM EST: "This is NOT a second attack; new information has been discovered as part of our ongoing investigation of the external intrusion in April."
Ideka 6 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, come on. It's not like Sony LOST them. I mean, they got copied, but Sony still has them, right?
kmfrk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Let this be a reminder to always check your monthly credit card statements.
tailrecursion 6 days ago 0 replies      
What's happened here is that Sony has discovered a previously undetected attack that occurred in April. So this second attack is not as new as one might think.
robotmachine 6 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone please remind me to only deal with Sony in cash from here on out?

If they 'lose' that it isn't my problem.

kennymeyers 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just to clarify Sony was just clarifying the initial attack's results. This isn't a second attack.
MikeHo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of off topic, but is there anyone else getting a lot of telemarketed automated calls recently --- any correlation with the sony attack?
vipivip 6 days ago 1 reply      
What's going on Sony?
Almaviva 6 days ago 1 reply      
Credit card numbers were lost? Do they know that you can "take" data from computers without destroying it?
Mysterious US Helicopter Used in Bin Laden Raid wired.com
280 points by Element_  4 days ago   128 comments top 15
rkon 4 days ago 3 replies      
From the Army Times article:

That crash landing might have been caused by a phenomenon known as “settling with power,” which occurs when a helicopter descends too quickly because its rotors cannot get the lift required from the turbulent air of their own downwash. “It's hard to settle with power in a Black Hawk, but then again, if they were using one of these [low-observable helicopters], working at max gross weight, it's certainly plausible that they could have because they would have been flying so heavy,” the retired special operations aviator said, noting that low-observable modifications added “several hundred pounds” to the weight of the MH-60, which already weighs about 500 to 1000 pounds more than a regular UH-60 Black Hawk.


firebones 4 days ago 3 replies      
How many helicopters and of what kind would it take to evacuate 22 people/bodies plus the SEALs and pilots? Certainly more than a single remaining Blackhawk.

I wonder if the inadvertent tweeter might have been hearing the support copters coming in after the initial raid to pick up the prisoners/crew and that the explosions were also after the fact--the post-raid destruction of the downed helicopter.

I suspect that as the story is progressively refined, we'll learn that rather than being a flawless triumph, the actual reason for success was the depth of backup planning and redundant systems.

This will be ultimately be a story that becomes a lesson in how the military learns from its failures (Operation Eagle Claw: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Eagle_Claw and the Rattle of Mogadishu aka Black Hawk Down: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mogadishu_(1993)) rather than from its successes.

nettdata 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's a stealth optimized MH-60. Nothing to see here, really.
Gaussian 4 days ago 8 replies      
What's amazing to me, especially after seeing these few photos of wreckage, is that everybody inside got away alive, according to the Pentagon. Intuitively, I've always thought that any helicopter crash = death sentence. Clearly, that's not true.
cosgroveb 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone else think the helicopter in the photo looks too small to be anything but a drone?
latch 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know anything about aviation..but I did see a show years ago about a new prototype US helicopter...and the first image on Wired, to me, 100% reminded me of it. Googling, I'm sure what I'm talking about is the RAH-66 Comanche.


Do a google images search, the thing looks [relatively] identical.

minalecs 4 days ago 4 replies      
according to the guy that was live tweeting the event.. it wasn't that quiet
wslh 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's incredible that I tried to search the type of helicopter used via Google without success. All results where about the crash not the type of helicopter.

Few hours later the answer came via Hacker News.

abbasmehdi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for being off topic, but I'm really glad none of the troops suffered casualty or injuries. These guys also didn't lose their cool, granted they are the seals bit still.
bzupnick 4 days ago 0 replies      
stop posting bin-ladin news!
this is HACKER news, not ANY news!
pibefision 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want to believe
tokenadult 4 days ago 2 replies      
Don't you think that the presence of living witnesses to the attack in Pakistan provides the United States with a lot of incentive to get this story basically correct? There seems to be a certain degree of suspicion about the death of every famous person who has ever died, but I have no reasonable doubt that Bin Laden is dead, and I have no reason to believe that he died at any time other than Sunday 1 May 2011 (United States time zones) when President Obama announced he died.
mrinterweb 4 days ago 1 reply      
After seeing those digital mock-ups, I remembered seeing this helicopter before: http://j.mp/k57dFf
omouse 4 days ago 1 reply      
Cool, more $$$ down the drain just to kill one man in someone else's country. Good stuff.

It looks like an oversized UAV more than a helicopter.

I also like how computer geeks ignore the politics of the situation and get distracted by shiny things ;p

espeed 4 days ago 3 replies      
Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik said yesterday that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001 and that he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury (see interview for details http://goo.gl/PaMRa).

Pieczenik is on the Council on Foreign Relations and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations, Nixon, Ford and Carter, while also working under Reagan and Bush senior, and still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. He is a former US Navy Captain, and he went through Harvard Medical School while he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT.

Hacking Hacker News Headlines metamarketsgroup.com
266 points by th0ma5  3 days ago   34 comments top 11
vnorby 3 days ago 1 reply      
So the optimal hacker news headline is as follows:

Why showing the future is essential to acquiring data


joshu 3 days ago 2 replies      
I feel like you should work in absolute points-space, rather than rank-space.

Also, no clue if the factors you pulled out are orthogonal.

agscala 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure if I'm being naive, but does the '|' and the '-' have some sort of NLP significance?

From the article, what's the difference between "data |" and
"data -" ?

pge 3 days ago 2 replies      
And, the best headline for Hacker News is a headline about hacking Hacker News Headlines :) way to put the research to good use...
gjm11 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, but the analysis seems to assume that HN rank is determined by the headline and not by the content. (More precisely: for the analysis to give useful guidance to would-be HN headline writers, it needs not to be the case that content features correlated with headline features make a big difference to HN rank.)

My proposal for a good headline according to the numbers in this article: Showing why impossible future controversy survived the problem could hire data. Score: 1.3 (could) + 1.2 (problem) + 1.3 (survived the) + 1.0 (controversy) + 0.9 (impossible) + 0.7 (why ___ future) - 3.3 (11 words) + 2.6 (showing) + 0.5 (hire) + 1.9 (data [END]) = 8.1. For comparison, Why showing the future is essential to acquiring data gets 1.4 (essential) + 0.7 (why ___ future) - 2.7 (9 words) + 2.6 (showing) + 1.7 (acquiring) + 1.9 (data) = 5.6 -- except that it doesn't really get the points for "essential" (not at start) or "why ___ future" (two words in between) or "acquiring" (not in second place, word isn't quite right). Of course my headline has the little drawback of being total nonsense.

vorbby 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a counter-point...

This headline uses none of the hacks described in the article, yet it is ranking quite well.

Perhaps people should focus on letting the content speak for itself rather then using tricks like this?

brendano 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great -- I'm hoping L1-regularized logistic regression will become the standard first thing to try in these quick-n-dirty "predict response variable from text" experiments. That's our approach too. (I assume this is L1 or similar since you mention regularization causing feature selection.)

[[ Edit: deleted question about what 'k' is for the discretized 1{ rank <= k } response. It's mentioned in the article ]]

vlokshin 3 days ago 0 replies      
64% isn't the greatest accuracy, but you guys were transparent about everything and the numbers look legit. Awesome job putting this together!
powdahound 3 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be interesting to see how the domain shown next to the title factors into this too. Seems like everything from GitHub always does very well.
kingsidharth 3 days ago 2 replies      
I though this problem was with Digg, but I've experienced same with my submissions. It's funny that people judge content by headlines, we need a better way.
bzupnick 3 days ago 0 replies      
also cleaning up the graph somehow would be great
Joe Hewitt : I'm an indie developer now. joehewitt.com
275 points by threepointone  2 days ago   52 comments top 20
CoffeeDregs 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's always exciting to bump into, meet or find out about someone who can see interesting possibilities where others see nothing. I don't know Joe, but he seems like one of those people (Firebug, FTW!).

At the same time, I'm always kind of bummed when those people are snapped up by a large company because their ability to produce the mind-binding ideas seems diminished or, at least, less visible among the many large accomplishments/events of a large company. Good to see that one of the lateral thinkers is returning to where we can more easily see his ideas in practice.

Firebug: I remember the first time I left behind the edit-save-refresh-cry-because-my-padding-was-wrong cycle of HTML/CSS development for the Firebug-driven-tweaks flow. Excellent.

nathanlrivera 2 days ago 0 replies      
Haha: <img class="profilePic" src="/themes/pimp/me.jpg" title="Ladies - I'm taken.">
wallflower 2 days ago 2 replies      
"I want desperately to be a web developer again, but if I have to wait until 2020 for browsers to do what Cocoa can do in 2010, I won't wait." -Joe Hewitt [1]

I wonder if Joe Hewitt is not going to wait, and he will channel his energies into helping HTML5 catch the native app rocket ships. Go beyond Firebug.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/30/joe-hewitt-web-development/

6ren 2 days ago 2 replies      
It sometimes seems it's difficult to make money from making tools, because developers expect them for free, and with source (like Firebug). But of course it is possible, with products like Joel's FogBugz, like Jira and some IDE's.

Even serious money: Microsoft's Developer Tools (Visual Studio) business made over $1B revenue last year:

jarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Leaving Facebook to reinvent Firebug is actually pretty baller, I gotta say.
KVFinn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Firebug is a boon to humanity. Seriously.

The second it came out, it personally started saving me hours of work every single week. If you multiply that by the number of people working with the web, damn, that's like millions of hours? Billions?

I think it was Vint Cerf who said something like: if you want to have the most profound effect on the world you can, rather than work on a particular problem, work on tools that help problems get solved and accelerate the process everywhere.

soapdog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to thank you for firebug again. Day after Day it just saves my life.
pvsnp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for making firebug. Good luck on future projects.
threepointone 2 days ago 1 reply      
Btw, the submission title is from his tweet announcing this blog post.
jcampbell1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Between firebug, three20, iui, joe has a history of making tools that make really hard things easy. I look forward to what he builds next.
guelo 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have no idea what Joe's option situation is, but supposing that he's cashing them in and dumping them in the secondary market it goes to show that Facebook is squandering the employee lock-in advantage of having pre-IPO stock. It's probably in Facebook's interest to shut down the secondary market, but I imagine zuck and co like being somewhat liquid for personal reasons.
kunalb 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone about to join Facebook for his first job in a few months, posts like these make me even more enthusiastic about starting work!

It would have been even more cool to work alongside the creator of firebug, though.

rman666 2 days ago 0 replies      
Continued success, Joe! Thanks for Firebug, and all your other work.
thezilch 2 days ago 0 replies      
@joehewitt, open source? And where can we expect to start contributing to the tool-chain?
_ankit_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news for us developers and designers. Inspiring too
waynesutton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thinking since @joehewitt left @facebook he's going to be drinking @milk with @kevinrose soon.
danzheng 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see what Joe comes out with next. But do take some time off first
asadotzler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dom Inspector FTW!
jerhewet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to work with this guy. Wonder if he's up for a position with a small team of craftsmen... (yeah, we're actually hiring, if anyone is interesting in working out of a small office in Carlsbad, CA!)
jcampbell1 2 days ago 2 replies      
>Working at Facebook was like having my own startup, but with a paycheck instead of ramen

Joe Hewitt hasn't worked for Facebook in years. This is old. Second, he wouldn't be eating ramen anyhow. Facebook bought his company for the employees (primarily him). He went on to make the iPhone facebook app, which has been wildly popular.

Apple not providing LGPL webkit source code for latest iOS 4.3.x gnumonks.org
265 points by gnufs  2 days ago   110 comments top 12
Xuzz 2 days ago 3 replies      
For iOS 4.1, which came out in September 2010, absolutely no GPL code for it (or later versions, like 4.2) was posted until March 2011. That's not 8 weeks: that's about 6 months.

When comex (http://twitter.com/comex) and saurik (http://saurik.com/) asked for it (via emails to opensource@apple.com and copyright@apple.con) around last November, I don't think they got any response from Apple "until this year. Then, Apple let them know that it would be up "within a week". I think the iOS 4.1 and 4.2 code actually went up about three weeks after they received that email.

saurik has even more examples of them not releasing the [L]GPL'd code near the top of this post: http://www.saurik.com/id/4 " "Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Apple ends up on the bad end of a GPL-related lawsuit."

(In my opinion, the fact Apple has posted any code for iOS 4.3 at this point is a big step in the right direction: they're not perfect yet, but at least they've got 8/10 of the projects up.)

Macha 2 days ago 3 replies      
Apple, as with many other companies, does not understand that it has to release the source simultaneously with the program using it.

Despite the articles claim, Apple has not released the source in s timely manner for previous versions of iOS, instead waiting for it to be pointed out or for version N+1 or N+2 to be released first.

r00fus 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a hardcore Apple fan, I strongly hope one of the non-Apple contributors to Webkit sends a source request to Apple with the implicit threat of lawsuit.

Big companies don't treat others with kid gloves when it comes to licensing and copyright, so why should we take it from them?

GHFigs 2 days ago 2 replies      
Are you sure about that?


Edit: I would greatly appreciate an explanation of what is inappropriate about the above link.

Maci 2 days ago 1 reply      
While in all likelihood it's a legal and bureaucratic issue causing delay, I can see how this is considered bad form.

However, I've made an attempt at understanding the source release obligations under the GPL and all I get from it is: When you release to the public, you've got to release the source. But at no point have I found a "it has to be released immediately."


The only clause I can see Apple potentially hiding under is Section 3.B of the GPL.
ie. as long as they have the door open for written requests all is well.


Can someone please clarify for me how the "well intended" spirit of the license works versus the real world legalities and requirements ?

cppsnob 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still waiting for that "open" FaceTime specification.
dedward 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who holds the copyright on that webkit source code in question?
crs 2 days ago 1 reply      
So is the issue here that they have not packaged it up for people and put it on opensource.apple.com? Is the source not available in the official repository at webkit.org?
rewqwefqwerf 2 days ago 2 replies      
You just need the copyright owners to sue now.
The copyright holders can also ask the SFLC do it for them, I'm sure they would love it.
0x1337 1 day ago 0 replies      
Knowing how evil and secretive Apple is, I would not expect them to care much about open licenses.
nikcub 2 days ago 0 replies      
This only becomes a real issue when one of the KHTML copyright holders makes it an issue

which they haven't.

vaporstun 2 days ago  replies      
Anyone else find this to be a bit over-dramatic?

They have released every other version and just haven't released the 4.3.x one yet. There is no indication that they refuse to release it ever, the site still says "Coming Soon" and it has still been < 2 months since 4.3 was released.

Yes, I understand that under the GPL they're supposed to release it simultaneously with the launch, which they failed to do, but is this really front page news?

Wikileaks Founder: Facebook is the most appalling spy machine ever invented thenextweb.com
261 points by fosk  7 days ago   106 comments top 20
forgottenpaswrd 6 days ago 4 replies      
Shocking but true. When I read my grandparents diary about the Spanish civil war(1936), I see they killed people for getting info about the relationships, friendships of the principal leaders so they could kill selected people and destroy entire public movements.

That happened in WWII too. When Soviet Russia entered Poland, the first thing they did was to investigate the links of relationships of the Polish resistance. They kill every single of them so nobody opposed the Soviets(if they opposed German domination they would oppose Soviet too).

That was not far ago. Today a single American company could store all your public information, and your messages(audio transcribing is starting to work) because you give them.

Facebook is great as a concept, but It would be a better idea using private implementations with your own servers not depending on a commercial company. Something simple to use with open communications...

sethg 7 days ago 2 replies      
The other day I met a guy who belonged to the MIT card-counting team portrayed in the book Bringing Down the House. He mentioned that casino security departments are now looking up their patrons on Facebook: if five people show up at the blackjack tables at the same time and act like they don't know each other, but they are friends with one another on Facebook, then they are presumably Up To Something.
maigret 6 days ago 2 replies      
What I am missing in this discussion: how do we develop a system that is not spying that way? Let's propose and find ideas.
atacrawl 7 days ago 4 replies      
I guess I sort of see his point, but isn't he overstating things? Take Facebook out of the equation, and it's still incredibly easy for intelligence agencies to find out everything about you. They can still tap your phones, do surveillance, check your bank records, bug your home and read anything you write online that doesn't happen to be on Facebook. Maybe Facebook made some of that easier, but it certainly didn't make possible the impossible.
evanwalsh 7 days ago 2 replies      
Despite the article's linkbait title, Assange does have some legitimate points.

It's all kind of frightening, actually.

defroost 7 days ago 0 replies      
Last year we read about the Administrations proposed legislation that would require software companies to build "backdoors" into their online communication systems [1], but as Assange points out, they may already be in place.

[1] http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12196

r00fus 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like what one commenter said on slashdot: Facebook is a reverse wikileaks.

Everyone puts all your information into a corporate-owned box, to be aggregated and analyzed by powerful players.

Hell, you can even "finger" others by tagging them on photos.

nametoremember 7 days ago 2 replies      
If it appeared that Facebook had developed a portal for government agencies to access and monitor people then it would be a big deal.

If they have implemented a way of looking up or monitoring things by themselves (and they obviously have and need to) and just give that information when the government comes knocking.. that's less bad.

wildmXranat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Never let yourself, your loved ones, family and friends be cataloged by any company other than the mandatory government citizen list.

Call me paranoid, but there is absolutely no reason for a social network at all. Social engagement and links, and poking and other shit is not a benefit to me. It's not a benefit to people even though they like to pretend it is.

In return for handing over all that information you have gained a monitored, controlled, censored and limited way of communicating. There is a reason why speech is protected. Why put a secondary layer of control on how you choose to express yourself.

Taking a page out of a way-back-machine, making links between people for complete eradication of opposition during WWII, was key in killing off most of noble and intelligent opposition in Poland.

aksbhat 7 days ago 2 replies      
I believe that the benefits of a social network such as Facebook outweigh the risks. The problem is that, it is very hard to quantify the positive effect which arises from small interactions. Sure there is huge scope for improvement, but one could have made similar arguments against telephony when it was invented.

I believe we are still to see rise of real social network based applications. e.g. something that allows us to estimate trust for a person, given his and your social network.

rglover 6 days ago 0 replies      
Assange's claim that Facebook and the other myriad social tool's he mentioned are spy tools is a bit embellished. He's right in that U.S. intelligence agencies can and will gain access to the data stored by these services (if necessary). However, saying that it's inherently a spy tool just seems a bit on the Salem side. If there's information about us or our lives that we deem sensitive, the last place you want to put it is online. There's noted security flaws in pretty much every system out there and to dismiss that reality is a bit naive.

There's most definitely a problem with security in this era, but it's important to note that we're the one's doing it. Honestly, anyone who may expose sensitive information should have Facebook or any other online presence on the top of their list as things NOT to use. When you're being nefarious communication is a bit difficult, eh?

theprodigy 6 days ago 0 replies      
This guy is definitely correct.

Information Awareness Office

I am pretty sure something similar to this exists now. The new threat to america are not from soverign nation states, but from non state actors. Solving the data fragmentation problem by combining sources of personal information about behavior and life will make it easier for the gov to stop attacks or catch a person. Combining sources like your facebook, financial transactions, credit card bills, websites you visit (by using facebook connect), travel history (past plane tickets that are linked to your credit cards) can all be combined together and a predictive analytical tool can be developed for automated red flag for things that are deemed suspicious.

Facebook can do the same thing but use the information to predict who you are as a consumer, who you influence, how popular you are, etc to deliver targeted ads, etc.

njharman 6 days ago 1 reply      
That's like PETA founder saying foie-gras is bad.

I'm be more impressed/interesting if NSA/CIA director said something similar.

mahrain 7 days ago 1 reply      
Not surprising that Assange doesn't do much social networking, it seems all he publishes is through Wikileaks, which does have a Twitter account.

This explains why.

He used to have a blog which can only be found through archive.org.

dvfer 7 days ago 2 replies      
At least people should know that before using it...not everyone has many secrets to hide. What's the point hiding who you make friends with, and public conversations? Trying too hard to stay off the grid is rather creepy...
ignifero 6 days ago 0 replies      
Spying? - maybe, for lame spies. It's manipulative, deceptive, hideous in its exploitation of group psychology, but the information it contains is trivial and only the lamest of spies or terrorists would use it. It's the world's greatest reality show and that's all. If I were CIA i would search for suspects among the people that are not on facebook. Assange himself is on facebook. He's a smart guy, and i don't think that statement makes him justice.
known 7 days ago 0 replies      
Your FB a/c is like your http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diary but public to all http://youropenbook.org/
shareme 7 days ago 0 replies      
is he aware of what is fake an real anymore? can we say HBGary..ah yes we can
darksaga 7 days ago 2 replies      
Oh Julian, how arrogant you are. Every time I read this guy spouting off, he just continues to lose credibility and respect. If you don't want employers or any other companies looking you up on social media, then don't use it - or just use an alias or a fake name.

Nobody HAS to have a Facebook page or partake in social media. If you don't want people tracking you, then don't use it. DUH

Why the US can beat China: The Facts about SpaceX Costs spacex.com
246 points by cwan  2 days ago   96 comments top 14
mixmax 1 day ago 7 replies      
Although it's a bit of an apple to oranges comparison Copenhagen suborbitals are on the trajectory to launching a human into space in around three years time. In a months time they'll have their first testflight from Bornholm in the baltic sea. They're doing this whole thing based on nothing but sponsors and goodwill. Their budget is around $8000 a month - orders of magnitude lower than spacex. They also built the worlds largest homemade submarine btw.

Until now they've developed solid rocket boosters, parachutes, recovery programs, astrouanut survival and cockpit, etc. etc. and have not run into major problems yet.

Some links:

Website: http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com

Static test of solid rocket booster (110.000 HP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g_xjGOJRws&feature=relat...

TEDx talk by Christian Von Bengtson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua9oGxNNGd0

All their technology is open source by the way.

Shameless plug: These guys survive on donations, and a few months ago I helped start a support organization to help them survive economicvally. It's $20 a month to be a member, and we really need more members so we can get these guys into space. If you feel this is a worthy cause and want to join send me an e-mail (it's in my profile). Our website is http://raketvenner.dk/ (currently only in Danish...)

Symmetry 1 day ago 0 replies      
An illuminating anecdote:

A while ago my friend from work was at an base where SpaceX would be launching from. However, during the launch an anomaly was discovered and the countdown was suspended. At this point all the Air Force people went home, since they were used to this sort of thing taking a week to sort out, but the SpaceX people quickly isolated the problem and the launch only ended up being delayed an hour.

protomyth 1 day ago  replies      
I'm glad that SpaceX is so concerned with cost. It is sometimes hard for a company to stay focused on that when they get a government contract.

As for the rest, I would imagine when robots get good enough, then the incentive to use cheap labor in China drops and factories in the US become more economically viable.

erikpukinskis 1 day ago 1 reply      
COTS has proven that under the right conditions, a properly incentivized contractor " even an all-American one " can develop extremely complex systems on rapid timelines and a fixed-price basis, significantly beating historical industry-standard costs.

If the "right conditions" include having Elon Musk as CEO, then "proven" is probably a reasonable word.

bcl 1 day ago 0 replies      
SpaceX gives me hope that we can become a space-faring nation once again. The added bonus is that it is private industry doing it, not the behemoth bureaucracy that NASA has become.
olalonde 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't want to sound too pessimistic but the trend in China is towards more free market capitalism whereas the opposite is happening in the US. Of course, trends can change and China is still far behind in terms of economic liberty.
burgerbrain 2 days ago 1 reply      
That 300Million figure to develop Falcon 9 seems stunningly low. Fascinating stuff.
adnam 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's funny, but this is the opposite of what happened during the 1950s space race. Russia, having less cash to spend, contracted work out various bidders, whereas america established the massively centralized NASA.
spartanfan10 1 day ago 0 replies      
Though I really don't like the idea of an "Us vs. Them" mentality in global development (it's been commented many times that this is not a zero sum game, there doesn't have to be winners and losers like in football), this article is inspiring. Congrats to Elon and SpaceX on their wonderful innovation.
jmtame 1 day ago 0 replies      
I didn't see this before, but the SpaceX office tour is pretty awesome: http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=26
jmarbach 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an inspiring mark of American spirit that has seemed to escape our minds amidst international business pressures. I'm grateful that we have hardworking leaders such as Elon who take risks when others won't, and are dedicated to living their dreams.
VB6_Foreverr 1 day ago 0 replies      
That blog post is written in such an unpretentious way.
Space travel with feet firmly planted on the ground
breathesalt 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Beat" China? Why not work together?
lostbit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fine. This is definitely good news. It proves a company is doing a great job, it gives hope and inspiration to other business try to be innovative and bring back the American spirit. But what will happen to space programs if American economy goes into a harder crisis? People will probably vote not to launch anything, not to look at the sky, but to spend money on land issues instead. My big concern is regarding the end of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. That could bring many succesfull companies down, specially those on American markets only. China can be a big issue to America if it starts no to believe in dollar currency anymore. In this context, beating China on innovation at Space programs might not mean Americans won.
The Hot/Crazy Solid State Drive Scale codinghorror.com
235 points by AndrewDucker  7 days ago   123 comments top 34
portman 6 days ago 8 replies      
A couple of additional points about my abysmal 8/8 failure rate:

  - These were in 8 different machines in 8 different locations.
- 7 were in desktops, 1 was a laptop
- All were running Windows
- All purchased from NewEgg
- Most of these were gifts for other people.

(I may be slightly crazy, but I don't have 8 computers.)

After this saga, I've concluded that there are probably two root causes leading to high failure rates:

(1) Something about installing an after-market SSD in a desktop, probably related to power fluctuations, increases the likelihood of failure.

(2) NewEgg only offers a 30-day warranty on their SSDs. You can't even purchase a third-party extended warranty. So I suspect that you'll see a higher failure rate from NewEgg purchases than from a merchant who offers a 2- or 3-year warranty. (But NewEgg's prices are so damn good!)

I should also say that the SSDs that I have purchased with laptops - 2 from Dell (2008, 2009) and 1 from IBM (2009) have not failed.

stcredzero 6 days ago 2 replies      
Read this if you are concerned about TRIM and want to restore a SSD drive on OS X to a "new" state.

If you have an SSD on OS X, I discovered that in many cases you can "reset" the drive and regain performance. Basically, if your drive implements the "security erase" command, you can use the following procedure by taking the cover off the back of your Macbook, removing the hard drive, leaving the SATA cable in reach, and booting with the GParted Live CD.


The tricky part: You have to plug in the SSD drive >after< your machine boots, so it's not in "frozen" state. The other tricky part, is that you first have to set a security password to do the erase. Then doing the secure erase also erases the password.

I know first-hand that this works on Crucial C300 RealSSD and I've seen lots of reports that this works with OCZ drives. This is also useful for doing new installs on an SSD if you've gotten a new machine. (My situation)

WARNING: DO NOT try to use a Crucial C300 SSD with an i5 or i7 2011 13" Macbook Pro. The problem is in the hardware, namely electromagnetic interference in the SATA cable when trying to use 6GB/s SATA. Wrapping it with aluminum foil doesn't always work. Buying an upgraded SATA cable doesn't always work either. Buying a 2010 Macbook Pro instead always works. You have been warned.

Erwin 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how well the SMART stats would predict that failure -- or whether they were sudden unexplained failures.

If you run smartctl -A on your SDD device then for e.g. Intel you can see attribute 0xE9 or 233 -- media wear indicator, starting at 100% (mine's at 98% after 14 months, so this should hopefully indicate 2% of the wear out from writes). You can also see how many of the reserved blocks it's used (when it fails to reflash a cell when rewriting).

AndrewDucker 7 days ago 5 replies      
Personally, I think he's crazy.

I don't care how fast a computer is if I have to reinstall it from scratch every few months.

Sure, all my working files are safely on Dropbox (documents) or GitHub (code), but that doesn't help when I have to reinstall my operating system and software every three months!

darren_ 7 days ago 2 replies      
Other comments are assuming this is flash wearing out, but is this actually the flash wearing out or is it something else (buggy firmware, cheap memory cells, what have you)? The time-to-failure seems way too low for it to be excessive writes (15 days for an 80GB IBM!).

Actually, come to think of it, what is the failure mode for a drive when it's all worn out? Is it catastrophic data loss or is it just an unwritable drive?

kaffeinecoma 7 days ago 2 replies      
I've been following Jeff's SSD stories for a while now, and I came here today thinking maybe it was time for me to take the plunge and get one myself. But this latest post just frightens me.

Even if you can avoid catastrophe with regular, automated backups (I use two Time Machine drives myself), what about bitrot? If the SSD you've been diligently backing up over months has been slowly rotting, can you have any faith at all in the backups?

joshu 6 days ago 1 reply      
And people wonder why women have trouble getting into this industry.
jswanson 7 days ago 2 replies      
This post has some pretty decent hard stats. Not scientific, but less anecdotal than the linked article.


To be recorded the VAS had to be made directly through the merchant, which is not always the case since it is possible to return directly from the manufacturer: however, this represents a minority in the first year.

- Maxtor 1.04% (against 1.73%)
- Western Digital 1.45% (against 0.99%)
- Seagate 2.13% (against 2.58%)
- Samsung 2.47% (against 1.93%)
- Hitachi 3.39% (against 0.92%)

Hitachi is plummeting, which was first in the previous ranking! Western Digital retained its second place despite a failure rate increasing, while Maxtor is occupying the first place.

More specifically the failure rate for 1TB drives:

- 5.76% Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B
- 5.20% Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
- 3.68% Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
- 3.37%: Samsung SpinPoint F1
- 2.51% Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
- 2.37%: WD Caviar Green WD10EARS
- 2.10% Seagate Barracuda LP
- 1.57%: Samsung SpinPoint F3
- 1.55%: WD Caviar Green WD10EADS
- 1.35%: WD Caviar Black WD1001FALS
- 1.24%: Maxtor DiamondMax 23

Hitachi is logically the less well placed, what with two separate lines! What about the 2 TB version?

- 9.71%: WD Caviar Black WD2001FASS
- 6.87% Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000
- 4.83%: WD Caviar Green WD20EARS
- 4.35% Seagate Barracuda LP
- 4.17%: Samsung EcoGreen F3
- 2.90%: WD Caviar Green WD20EADS

Overall, failure rates recorded are bad. That does not really want to entrust to 2TB of data to these discs alone: a mirroring will not be too much for securing data. Logically 7200 rpm disks are less reliable than the 5400/5900 rpm, with almost 10% for the Western model!

For the first time, we also integrate SSDs in this article type. The rates of failure recorded by manufacturer:

- Intel 0.59%
- Corsair 2.17%
- Crucial 2.25%
- Kingston 2.39%
- OCZ 2.93%

Intel stands here with a failure rate of the most flattering. Among the few models sold over 100 copies, displays a rate of no more than 5% VAS.

ch0wn 7 days ago 3 replies      
I had an SSD from SuperTalent last year. It didn't even last 2 months before massive filesystem corruptions started. Two weeks later it wasn't even recognized anymore by the SATA controller.
albertzeyer 7 days ago 4 replies      
I also thought that about SSDs.

Then I stumbled upon this on the Apple store when configuring your disk options: "Your MacBook Pro comes standard with a 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. Or you can choose a solid-state drive that offers enhanced durability."

So, why do they say that? What SSD do they built in? Is that a particular special SSD with enhanced durability? Even more enhanced than regular harddisks (like they are claiming)?

AlisdairO 7 days ago 2 replies      
I've often wondered about this stuff. MLC SSDs are good for 10000 writes per 250k (iirc?) block. When you think about using an SSD for virtual memory, even with wear levelling, that's really not very much at all. Add in programs that do lots of small file writes to logs and so on, and I can imagine losing a lot of blocks fairly quickly - particularly because wear levelling will cause you to lose all of the blocks in a relatively small time space, as opposed to gradual failure.

I wonder if, as flash memory gets cheaper, we'll see SLC SSDs getting more popular.

Klinky 7 days ago 0 replies      
One of the cool things about SSDs will be the huge amount of random I/O we can throw at them without noticeable responsiveness slowdown. SSDs will probably increase peoples' desire to backup because it will no longer be such a drain on I/O responsiveness.
urbanjunkie 7 days ago 0 replies      
Having a personal infrastructure chaos monkey is maybe not a bad thing (apart from the expense etc).
Luyt 7 days ago 1 reply      
I must be remarkable lucky. I have seven SSDs, four of them are installed in computers I use often, and some more in datacenter servers. I have never had a failure. And the SSD that's in my home unix server is already doing its job for almost two years now.

I do make regular (image) backups from all my SSDs, so when one fails I can quickly replace it and restore the image. Apart from that I keep all my sourcecode and work-related stuff in a source code versioning control system hosted in a datacenter.

qjz 6 days ago 1 reply      
No amount of hot is going to convince me to date someone with an STD. That would be...well, crazy. I want my SSD to be at least as reliable as my system memory (if not more). The article makes it sound like they are inherently diseased. If that's the case, no thanks.
mrcharles 6 days ago 0 replies      
My first SSD died in three days. It is entertaining when an SSD dies, as you simply get a "no OS found" type error from your bios. Checked the drive and it appeared to be working, only was completely empty.

Swapped it out, been fine since (about a year and a half now). Also no problems in my mac.

But both machines run regular backups so that should an SSD fail, it's just a matter of imaging the new drive and replacing it.

aristidb 7 days ago 0 replies      
Does it depend on manufacturer / generation? My Intel at least lives for a bit longer already.
zacharypinter 7 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like the entire post was a lead in to the affiliate link at the bottom.
mooism2 7 days ago 1 reply      
Do we know what's killing them? Writes? Heat? Random loss of magic smoke?
jkahn 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 x Intel SSDs here. No issues.

While the speed of these things can vary a lot, so does reliability - and that won't show up in a benchmark. I noticed that a lot of the mentioned SSDs are GSkill. Apparently those are cheap and unreliable.

thurn 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like some slightly less anecdotal evidence before I conclude that all SSDs are doomed to an early death; we could be seeing some confirmation bias here. Maybe Jeff and his friends just had a run of bad luck.
mrich 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have been using an enterprise-class Intel SSD (X25-E I think) for about one year now in my workstation so help speeding up the build/linking process of a large C++ project. This has made all the difference in development speed for me. The disk gets punished a lot, lots of file copies and read/write operations. To date I haven't had any problems (nor have I heard of any from colleagues who are using them in the same way). I wouldn't care much about data loss though since only temporary files are on there.
Artagra 6 days ago 0 replies      
My experience on SSDs, having used multiple drives myself and sold 100s of drives to tech savvy customers:

- Brand does matter - the failure rate on Intel drives is a lot lower than other brands.

- The system you put it in also makes a difference. For example, certain generations of Macbook Pros are just not happy with certain SSDs. We've had customer that had two or three failures with a certain brand / model / chipset, and then changing to a different SSD they haven't had problems.

- The failure rate for SSDs overall is higher than that for HDDs, but lower than the failure rate for some other products (such as Graphics cards).

- Every SSD we have sold went into a custom built system or was installed afterwards into a laptop, so I don't buy the argument that problems are caused because it's installed by an end user and not at the factory.

- They are blindingly fast. In my opinion, it's better for 90% of users to put a new Intel SSD into their existing system, than it is to buy a new system.

16s 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've had good luck with SSD drives (Intel and Kingston) for the last two years. No failures. I use them in servers and laptops. I do rysnc them to spindle based drives hourly, so if they do fail, I've got backup. Just my experience.
Keyframe 7 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm this is bad. I was hoping SSDs would give us more speed in RAID0 setups for film/video editing where we need sustained speeds of over 1.2GB/s regularly (for one track 4k dpx only)... but if they fail a lot, it's too cost prohibitive.
kayoone 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have 3 different SSDs since early 2009 (64 & 128GB Supertalent Ultradrive ME + Intel X25-M 80GB) and the latter two are in heavy use everyday. They all work fine until today, but this article worries me a bit ;
zandorg 7 days ago 0 replies      
I use 2.5" laptop hard drives not older than 2 years. They last about 6 years.

And if a hard drive starts to go, sometimes you hear it failing. I actually backed up a 30gb hard drive where I had to wobble it up and down while being backed up.

gcb 6 days ago 0 replies      
This has to be advertisement :)

went to the vertex 3 page on newegg. there was at least 5 reviews on the very first page about it dying from 0 to 24h.

my cheap SSD on my 3yr old eeepc1000 is still kicking. it's now serving games to my wii via a $5 enclosure that does NOT need external power. and the eeepc has a bigger and faster one that's also working for 1yr+

...too bad asus used a mini e-pci interface that is as odd as records you listened when you were 15.

smackfu 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really rather shocking to me. I always figured SSDs were as reliable as SD cards or other Flash based items like MP3 players or phones. Where you practically never see a failure due to the memory going bad.
orc 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've had an Intel X-25M for over a year now and it's been amazing performance wise. In that same time span my 1TB data drive did die. The only problem I've had with the SSD is that it about twice a month it will randomly freeze. The hard drive light is solid on, and I have to just reset my machine. Not a big deal though because the SSD starts up so fast.
ZipCordManiac 6 days ago 2 replies      
For people who need reliability, SSDs are clearly not the wise choice. For performance, they are, IF you are willing to replace them frequently (at GREAT expense) and have downtime. Not to mention solid backups. The cons far outweigh the pros for me. I like stable measured performance. My computer isn't a hot rod, it's meant to be efficient.
nuriaion 7 days ago 0 replies      
The alternative to SSD's are the conventional harddisk. But they also fail so you need a full backup anyway. (Maybe not so often, but i had also several harddisk which failed without much warning.)
HelloBeautiful 7 days ago 1 reply      
5 SSDs here, got the oldest 2.5 years ago. No failures so far. I've run them as system drives, DB storage and so on.

I'd think a reason for quick wear out may be swap memory. I've never put a swap file/partition on mine.

dholowiski 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shocker - Cutting edge new technology has high failure rate! But +1 for mentioning Boob Job in a article about SSD drives.
Stolen Camera Finder stolencamerafinder.com
226 points by obtino  3 days ago   69 comments top 24
yellowbkpk 3 days ago 4 replies      
Would it be possible to process the images somehow and find the noise profile for every image and match it with existing images?

When I found a directory full of images and couldn't remember which camera took them, I noticed that there were a few fuzzy pixels of green and red if I zoomed all the way in that were present in all photos taken by that camera. I took a photo of a white wall in a dark room (to force high ISO) with a couple of my cameras and found the one. Of course I found out about the EXIF serial number and other unique data later on, but it could still be useful on sites that store the original image but strip EXIF.

cousin_it 3 days ago 2 replies      
So if I find a photo I like, I can find all other photos taken by the same camera? Is there potential for stalking here?
charlief 3 days ago 3 replies      
Good idea, but works most effectively when:

(1) Various encode/decode steps along to publishing the photo online don't corrupt EXIF data

(2) Thief isn't sophisticated to wipe/disable EXIF data. Many cameras shoot in a proprietary, higher-bit format and give you a fairly obvious wizard option on a desktop tool to include/exclude the EXIF data.

(3) Thief will use the camera, not sell it immediately into a second-hand market.

(4) Even if your camera is supported, it has to be configured to record EXIF data by both you and the thief. Some proprietary formats are fairly raw and don't always include EXIF-derivable data by default.

This will get some adoption because what other option do users have, but it will be interesting to see how many uploads convert to a lost camera being recovered/thief being apprehended. If users had the ability to leave a testimonial when there is some kind of closure, you could derive a metric of success.

jasonkester 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tried it with a photo taken from a camera I had stolen in Peru:

The 'SAMSUNG TECHWIN CO., LTD. Samsung SL201' does not write serial information in the exif. See the supported cameras page for a list of models that do.

humblepie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had my Canon DSLR body cleaned at the service centre here in Brampton, ON. When I got it back I noticed it felt different--the shutter sound is more thumpy, and etc. I checked the serial number to check if it was really mine and it was. It's all fine but then months later just by some coincidence I saw a photo on Flickr with my e-mail address in the metatags. Some of my photo buddies warned me that Canon is notorious for swapping parts when your cameras are in for service.
rednum 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think it could help to add a feature "I've found camera/sd card/other device with photos". Just an anecdotal evidence, but my friend's friend found an iPod with some photos few years ago and couldn't locate the owner. Surely it doesn't happen very often, but if this site gained enough popularity, it could be really helpful.
corin_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's the database of photos it can search against like? I just tried looking up a photo, the site found the serial number in it but couldn't find any matching photos online. I know the exist, even the exact same photo I was testing with is available on various websites.
defroost 2 days ago 0 replies      
For one camera I got:
The 'NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200' does not write serial information in the exif. See the supported cameras page for a list of models that do."

For my other camera, a Pentax K20D which is on the supported list I got:

"Problem extracting serial number. If possible, use an original image from the camera that has not been edited in any software."

The only thing I had done was uploaded the image from the camera via iPhoto. But all the EXIF data was in tact, including the Pentax K20D, the serial #, even the lens I used. So I don't think iPhoto stripped any data.

I'm wondering why if Flickr for example can extract all of the EXIF data, even for images not directly from the flash card, why did this happen?

meinhimmel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another neat idea: Allow the user to select their city, the make and model of the camera, and the date it was stolen. Then you can scrape Craigslist from the surrounding area and show possible matches.
bxr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a neat idea for a search engine, but I tried with photos from 6 different cameras and none of them stored the serial number in exif. I wonder how many models this is actually useful for.
stevejalim 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame some smartphone cameras (eg, my old Nexus One) don't tag with full EXIF data, else you'd then have a much larger potential userbase.
tel 2 days ago 0 replies      
So this uses exif data, which as people here have noted can be stripped, but can't you still ID digital cameras from things like sensor noise? I haven't looked at the statistical properties of it, it probably changes over time, only works on at high ISOs, and search would be way more intensive, but I know that my camera has a very predictable noise pattern.
seles 2 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt this will every successfully result in a stolen camera being recovered. But, it is a cool new idea that certainly has other obvious applications such as finding other photos by the same camera.

Would it be better rebranded to a different purpose?

subway 3 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously I'm an edge case, but I'm not using a graphical file manager, so I can't use the drag and drop method of providing a file.

Have you considered allowing users to specify a file by URL, or the browser's browse mechanism for file input?

PanMan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea. But instead of a serial input, it should ask for a photo or Flickr account or so. I don't know my cam's serial, and I can't look it up easily if it's stolen.
lostbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
The photo itself is not uploaded to the site for checking. Only a few bytes with the serial and camera model/manufacturer are sent in a HTTP GET to stolencamerafinder.com. This makes it very light in traffic.

The site can expand the camera->owner database by searching photos with valid EXIFs on famous sites and correlating it to the user.

antidaily 2 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't gotten this to work once. Cool idea though.
hallowtech 3 days ago 0 replies      
No love for RW2 I guess =(
Also, add an upload button, I don't want to drag&drop if my browser is full screen!
wicknicks 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of cameras don't include the Serial Number in the EXIF header. What happens then?
TWSS 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not as drag-and-drop easy, but GadgetTrak is working on something similar: http://gadgettrak.com/labs/camera/
kwestin 2 days ago 0 replies      
The project is a great proof of concept, the chances this will get someone's stolen camera back is pretty slim. We have a similar project, but it searches for the data using existing search engine data. Only about 25% of cameras will embed the serial number, then when uploaded only a few sites will retain the EXIF data, or provide it through meta data. A few that keep the EXIF data or provide it in meta data include:


Some of these sites strip out some tags. Some manufacturers have custom EXIF tags like Nikon which may store the serial in a "Serial Number" tag or a tag called "0x00D".

wazoox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently this doesn't work in Firefox. Too bad.
MasterScrat 3 days ago 1 reply      
On Chrome, drag-n-dropping from other windows doesn't seem to work (on Windows 7).
maqr 3 days ago 2 replies      
Terrible idea. EXIF data is not reliable. You can make it say anything you want.
Mozilla tells DHS: we won't help you censor the Internet boingboing.net
226 points by miraj  3 days ago   41 comments top 9
exit 3 days ago  replies      
i'd like to see a movement which clearly places the internet above the sovereignty of any nation
bgruber 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is exactly why i stopped reading boingboing; there's a tendency to ascribe meaning to actions that just isn't there. Mozilla said no such thing. What they said was more like "we won't just do whatever a government agency tells us to unless legally compelled to do so." I'm pleased Mozilla did this, but their stance is not the one it's being portrayed as here.
jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hats off to Mozilla for discovering that dealing with DHS is exactly like dealing with Righthaven and the RIAA.
Dilpil 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait a minute- DHS? As in, department of homeland security? Why are they involved in this even?
eloisius 3 days ago 0 replies      
Supposing they comply with the subsequent court order, what's to prevent the 10 variations that will pop up to replace it? This would surely only proliferate add-ons with the exact same functionality.
pmh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion on the original blog post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2518075
ltamake 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mozilla just went up in my book.
lurchpop 2 days ago 0 replies      
A major reason to support Mozilla over Google (Chrome) who've gotten way too cozy with the gov over the past few years.
maeon3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Close that car hood citizen, there are secrets in there, don't make me taze you.
Antihydrogen Trapped For 1000 Seconds technologyreview.com
225 points by eduardoflores  7 days ago   105 comments top 10
Typhon 6 days ago 4 replies      
By the way, there's something I've been wondering about for a long time.
I read somewhere that there are no antiphotons and antimatter emits light just the same as normal matter.
So, I assume that there's no way to tell whether a photon was emitted by antimatter or by matter.

Therefore, how do we know distant galaxies aren't made of antimatter ?

Maybe there's an obvious answer, but as far as I know, the only thing we can know about these galaxies, we know because of the radiation they emit.

martinkallstrom 7 days ago 4 replies      
$100 says antimatter is also attracted by gravity. Anything else would be too cool for school.
unwantedLetters 7 days ago 3 replies      
For those of us that don't know anything about it, can someone explain the significance of this achievement?
ordinary 7 days ago 3 replies      
I am nothing short of _astounded_ that we don't know if anti-matter "falls up".
ljf 6 days ago 3 replies      
So who is bootstrapping the first startup right now to make hoverboards?
dadro 7 days ago 2 replies      
If it is proven that that anti-matter is repelled by gravity does that mean hover-boards will become a reality in our lifetimes? What are some of the potential practical applications?
danparsonson 7 days ago 1 reply      
"The ALPHA team now plans to cool a small lump of antihydrogen ..."

How do you cool something at this scale? And how about when it can't collide with any normal matter?

mmaunder 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is super exciting. One day when I'm wealthier than God I'm going to donate some money to the guys who are trying to find him.
wazoox 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ooooh, if antimatter is repelled by gravity, that means that cavorite actually is antimatter, and therefore possible? I've always thought that cavorite is the cleverest Science Fiction device ever imagined...
Apocryphon 6 days ago 0 replies      
They called it the greatest discovery in human history.

The civilizations of the galaxy call it... MASS EFFECT.

Einstein for Everyone pitt.edu
206 points by urbannomad  2 days ago   18 comments top 10
SandB0x 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite book on special relativity is Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler. It's intuitive, clearly written and well laid out, with an Edward Tufte style column of text running along the main body that stops you getting lost in the equations.

Some parts of the first edition are available online:

palish 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd encourage everyone to read Einstein's book on relativity: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/315/books/Albert%20Einstein/Albert%2...

His writing style is beautifully simple and the content is therefore easy for anyone to read and understand.

tel 1 day ago 1 reply      
While this looks like a very fascinating book/course, does anyone have a recommendation for learning general relativity rapidly in a way that abuses mathematical knowledge? I want to brush up on tensor math and variational calculus and use it as a motivating core topic.

I'm looking for the tersest complete guide from Newtonian physics to GR. Single author would be best, but I imagine it's not possible.

aik 2 days ago 3 replies      
From the "Completeness of Quantum Theory" chapter (on one theory of the determinability of quantum systems): "If an atom has a probability of one half of radioactive decay over an hour, then all that really means is that its wave function describes an ensemble of many different atomic systems, half of which decay in an hour. Whether one particular atom in the ensemble will decay in one hour is definitely determinable. However we will not be able to discern it if all we know is the quantum wave associated with it. Whether it decays or not depends upon properties of that system that have been smoothed away by the quantum wave and thus are unknown to us. It is our ignorance of these smoothed away properties that makes a probabilistic assertion the best we can do."

HN, what does "Whether it decays or not depends upon properties of that system that have been smoothed away by the quantum wave" mean?! What properties exactly, and smoothed away how? Just by the fact that observing the system causes a change within the system and therefore changes the quantum waves?

reledi 1 day ago 2 replies      
I thought I was viewing a PDF at first, the style is so neat. Does anyone know if it was converted from LaTeX to HTML?
mbateman 1 day ago 0 replies      
John Norton (the author) is an amazing historian and philosopher of science. People might be interested in some of the other "goodies" on his website -- http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/Goodies/ -- and perhaps some of his papers as well.
elptacek 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you like this, you will also like this:


meow 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking for something like this for ever.
8worm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bookmarked! I loved it.
autalpha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bookmarked... will read later. Thank you for a great find :)
The story of George " ayttm's most prolific non-developing contributor bluesmoon.info
207 points by bluesmoon  4 days ago   8 comments top 6
jnoller 4 days ago 0 replies      
George is a perfect example of great contributors, who probably don't consider themselves such. This ties back to my recent post (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2516698) and the "Why I don't contribute" (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2510964) post from the other day. People don't realize that anyone can contribute, and many people do without knowing it.

Open source isn't put together by a few talented rock stars, and it's not a shark tank (or rather, it shouldn't be) - it's put together by people who care - intelligent and bright people working with other intelligent bright people towards a common goal.

Thank you George.

Luyt 3 days ago 0 replies      
George writes (about ayttm):

"When I learned programming, about 40 years ago, it was
important to write small, fast, and dependable code. I had
thought those days were gone forever and I would be stuck
in a world of huge, inefficient programs written by
non-programmers that moved me farther and farther from
what was happening on my computer."

That sounds to me like a manifestation of Parkinson's Law, where any extra CPU speed or memory capacity is immediately filled with inefficient software bloat.

tehviking 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for taking the time to share this, bluesmoon. It's an excellent counterpoint with a broader perspective than my post.

I've learned a lot about this over the past couple of days just from the comments here, on Twitter, and on my blog.

A lot of it has been just learning not to lump all of "open source" into one big scary thing, but to find the smallest unit of work you're capable of doing, and to find a project with a supportive team who will be patient with you.

I think you are owed some of the credit for this story, as George found a project where his contributions are valued and the maintainers were patient with him.

For me, so far, this has been BDSM with Wayne E. Seguin, who goes WAY above and beyond to nurture this kind of environment for his projects and encourage contribution.

Thanks for sharing this. I think open source would have a lot more activity if newbies like me had George's persistence and maintainers had your patience.

Jem 4 days ago 2 replies      
I could do with a George or two for some of my projects.
peterhajas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely love this post. I'm an open source developer myself, and I can sympathize with the ayttm folks. Many bug reports are brief, don't explain much, and (occasionally) seem standoffish. This was a really great read, and I think it's absolutely great that there are users out there like this.
ZoFreX 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a George helping me with a couple of projects, people like that are uniquely useful. I don't think I've ever been so motivated to get coding!
Your Chrome browser might not be using HTTP anymore igvita.com
207 points by tsycho  5 days ago   51 comments top 8
tiles 4 days ago 3 replies      
The transparency with which Chrome did this was actually a problem for me. Google Docs/GMail did not work for months on my school's ethernet connection until I read about SPDY being implemented; sure enough, launching Chrome with SPDY disabled fixed the issue, and that requires a command line option. I wish Chrome were less transparent about this and added a few Preferences options, at least.
Erwin 4 days ago 0 replies      
You can peek into your Chrome'ss current SPDY connections (and other interesting internals) in their internal pages:


kgtm 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to see your SPDY sessions and an abundance of other related information, browse to about:net-internals from a new Chrome tab.
igrigorik 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those interested in playing with SPDY, ruby parser and generator: https://github.com/igrigorik/spdy
strictfp 4 days ago 2 replies      
Really annoying that they didn't just use SCTP. One commenter on the page points out that it works on top of TCP, which is supported by most routers. This, however, is an entirely artificial limitation. It is a sad fact that this type of artificial restrictions are imposed, and i say that we should fight against them. Having all inet services running over port 80 and TCP does not make the net any safer or better. We as hackers should fight for making people aware of and remove such restrictions, not accept and worsen the crippled situation by working around the problem. This is one of the key problems in the digital world today, too few actually makes an effort to fix the underlying problems. Here Google could play a crucial role, and I must say that I am dissapointed by their choice.
edu 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's a good improvement over HTTP 1.1 and it's nice how they did it in a completely transparent way. Now it's time for the other browsers to support it and to implement way to hint the usage of spdy (maybe a <link rel="" in the first HTTP request, or an extra header in the HTTP request).
joejohnson 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does Apache support SPDY?
       cached 9 May 2011 15:11:02 GMT