hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    18 May 2011 Best
home   ask   best   8 years ago   
Facebook Loses Much Face In Secret Smear On Google techcrunch.com
769 points by linuxnow  5 days ago   142 comments top 36
JacobAldridge 5 days ago 4 replies      
A key saying I provide all my clients with in regards to corporate culture and behaviours: a fish rots from the head.

Usually this means things like 'if the boss is ten minutes late to every meeting, staff will assume it's acceptable for everyone to be ten minutes late to a meeting'.

Given Zuckerbeg's reputation for sneaky behaviour and this example of his PR team, I now have an excellent example to share in the future: 'If the boss uses sneaky, underhanded and/or arrogant methods to launch 'his' business, staff will assume it's acceptable for them to use sneaky underhanded and/or arrogant methods to promote it'.

plinkplonk 5 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder what the ex googlers who moved to FaceBook think of such slimy tactics. Might be interesting to hear the perspective of someone who moved from a company that (at least) professes an adherence to "Don't be evil" to a company that apparently has no problems with jumping into the slime. If I worked for Facebook, I'd be ashamed of my employer today (and would probably protest and then get fired!).

And, as someone said above, Facebook professing a concern for abuse of privacy is a bit much to swallow.

klochner 5 days ago 1 reply      
Kudos to Christopher Soghoian[1] for releasing the email[2] instead of accepting the offer for cash + high-profile smear publication.

It makes you wonder about the existing op-eds slamming social circles[3,4,5]

   [1] http://www.dubfire.net/
[2] http://pastebin.com/zaeTeJeJ
[3] http://www.switched.com/2010/08/09/google-shows-off-how-well-it-knows-your-social-circle/
[4] http://marketing.about.com/b/2011/03/31/google-wants-you-to-1.htm
[5] http://librarianbyday.net/2010/03/30/googles-social-circle-social-search-may-not-violate-any-privacy-laws-but-it-gives-me-the-creeps/

grovulent 5 days ago 4 replies      
Good ol' Arrington... he's got the courage to call em out. To really stick it to the big guys. It takes guts to say "No More!" to the corrupt and the wicked, even when such a stance might cost you personally.

I was going to comment as such on his blog...

...but I don't have a facebook account. ;)

yanw 5 days ago 3 replies      
They are too young of a company to be pulling this sort of seedy stuff.

Also ‘privacy'?! I hope the irony isn't lost on anyone. It wasn't very well thought-out, as when a net privacy panic starts spreading like wildfire through the media the consequences in political grandstanding and potential legislative action would hurt them as well.

So they come out of this looking like data-locking propaganda spreading assholes. Good job!

Referenced article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-12/fa...

jonnathanson 5 days ago 2 replies      
Color me perplexed by Facebook's move here. Not only is the blowback from this effort bad PR, but I fail to see what FB stood to gain from this in the first place. Generating a bunch of bad publicity and calling attention to Google's alleged invasions of privacy is just going to bring scrutiny down upon FB eventually -- regardless of whether or not this plot ever came to light.

I mean, did they think it would be a tremendous leap of the imagination for the court of public opinion and/or regulators to ask themselves "Hey, so Google is sketchy on user data...hmm...I wonder what other company might have a boatload of such data?"

brown9-2 5 days ago 3 replies      
From the Daily Beast article:

First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google's attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

So, just to get this straight: Facebook resents that Google use's "Facebook data" in Social Circles, when I as the user have to explicitly allow Google to import my Facebook connections? Shouldn't the user get a say in how their data is used and who uses it?

bad_user 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, just wow!

I wonder how employees feel about it - is it just business as usual? For that matter, I wonder how would-be investors feel about it.

Google defeated competition from Microsoft and Yahoo with innovation and hard work, not with slimy tactics. They dazzled the world by being open, provocative, fast and effective, forward-thinking, pushing web apps to their limits, giving customers what they wanted.

Is this it? Is Facebook the next Google? How depressing.

franze 5 days ago 0 replies      
this should be the up-voted article http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2539932 not that - non informative - opinion piece from techcrunch.
joshes 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this will smack of the Streisand Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect) over time. Facebook trying to call attention to privacy concerns over Google will, inevitably, as this piece exemplifies, call attention to their own privacy concerns. And the stigma of this hypocritical stance will also call attention to the overall maturity and sensibility of Facebook, as well.

Then again, the kind of people who are most likely to be affected by this entire affair are also the kind of people who already know this information about both companies. So maybe this will have little overall effect?

mrchess 5 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure what the big deal is here. Big companies run negative PR campaigns against other companies ALL the time -- running negative PR campaigns is a very common strategy in the large market. But I supposed they usually run try to run them in secret, so it is a bit unfortunate that they got caught.

If anything an article like this makes me lose face for techcrunch, who acts like this kind of PR tactic has never happened before.

If you don't believe me read Toxic Sludge, which is a book about the PR industry.

codeup 5 days ago 0 replies      
Don't know what will come out of this but good that Chris Soghoian published the email exchange.
guelo 5 days ago 0 replies      
PR types are always dancing on the shadiness line. Sometimes I get suspicious about the comments on HN when negative stories about certain companies come out.
ericdschmidt 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think what Facebook did was unethical. It's certainly legal. They catch a lot of flack over privacy issues and they want to remind the media about their competitors' privacy issues and influence them to cover those more, so that they don't look as bad in comparison. That sort of work is done by PR firms, so they hired one to do it. In fact, they may not have even asked the PR firm to do it; the PR firm may have acted independently as part of their service.

As for the PR firm's offering to help write an article... Well, I would call it bad/unethical journalism if such an article were published as reporting. If it were published on some opinion page or like a tech blog, that would be fine.

code_duck 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so surprised! I always considered Facebook really honest, upright and trustworthy - a reflection of their founder.
orijing 5 days ago 1 reply      
EDIT: I know you are all downvoting me because I open with "I was an intern", expecting some fuzzy comment in Facebook's defense. No, someone asked what Facebook thinks about this, and I offered my views: I am as confused as the rest of you. I hope the PR firm gets fired, and whoever instructed the PR firm to try this. Give me a break, guys. Stop with the Facebook hate.

I was an intern at Facebook last summer, so I had a great time there. Color me naive, but I don't feel the executives' personalities were "sneaky," probably because I interacted with them in person. I didn't see anything that suggested they would endorse this type of tactic.

With that said, I'd like to believe that it was all a misunderstanding, that perhaps this John guy isn't really affiliated with Facebook (his email is @bm.com), or that this was the mistake of an individual. I sincerely hope that it wasn't an organizational effort to smear Google, because I don't see why they'd need to.

When I was at Facebook, they were supremely confident about being able to snip Google's entry, that they would demoralize Google and make them cry. After all, I was in a sea of brilliant engineers, many of whom understand Google intimately through years of service, and we just needed sheer engineering and better products to win.

Perhaps Facebook just thought it was unfair that it was getting all of the negative light on privacy and wanted to share the blame with someone. But I really don't know, and I'm waiting for an official answer.

I really hope it's good, because I am surprised by this maneuver, to say the least. Maybe the answer is "Google does this too!" But then I would just be doubly disappointed.

rglover 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I hear "Facebook," I immediately think of Zuckerberg. I'm guessing a lot of the reporters out there are making the same correlation. I wonder, though, is this something he knew about (or, rather, did he know about a PR campaign but not of this nature)? It seems a bit out of character for a guy who has been portrayed as being a very calm and calculated person. I wonder if this was just a bit of activity in the PR room that didn't get to the top before it was released...
yalogin 5 days ago 1 reply      
The only chink in Google's armor is privacy so facebook had no other option. But as the saying goes - The sun cannot call the stove hot.
rakkhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that they are actually worried about whatever Google do/doing on social? Could be a big morale boost to the Google team
braindead_in 5 days ago 1 reply      
How is the PR firm linked to Facebook?
ignifero 5 days ago 1 reply      
I hope facebook has a good excuse for this. A note from Zuck saying "we apologize" won't suffice.
ryan-allen 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, since Facebook has lost much face are they now just book?
dhume 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have no idea how the Facebook PR team thought that they'd avoid being caught doing this.

Perhaps Facebook's managers think themselves exempt from the changing privacy norms they keep telling us to accept?

danvoell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook should raise more money so it can higher better (quieter) PR.
thewisedude 5 days ago 1 reply      
How this will affect Facebook?
If you pretend that Facebook is a car, this will probably be a scratch. Like how people wont give up a car for a scratch, they probably wont give up Facebook.

The general idea that I got about the management of Facebook is that they are a very confident bunch of guys who know what they are doing- since they have spurned many offers to buy them out. This story however kind of conflicts with the idea I had.

Hisoka 5 days ago 0 replies      
Noone will care in 1 week. Billions of ppl will continue to use Facebook, and 90% of them will not even know about this news. Nothing to see here, just tech boys making a huge commotion over very little
yalogin 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where is the link to Facebook in those emails? What am I missing?
nvictor 5 days ago 0 replies      
take a guess. how many facebook "likes" this article is going to get?
ioa44 5 days ago 0 replies      
The "Any disclosure or dissemination in whatever form, by another other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited" is laughable.
lucio_ribeiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess the PR agency was way naive on beliving that won't spilled over them!
switch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pot calling the Kettle Black.
kenmck 5 days ago 0 replies      
AlbertoE 5 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't seem very secret to me. If it was secret people wouldn't know about it. A secret smear is a whisper, not a newspaper article. Furthermore its not a smear if its true. So, 2 lies in the headline. I clicked on the link to verify that it had no information, as things with 2 obvious lies in the headline are wont to do. I have verified that there is no information at the link.
jsavimbi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I see no difference, or impact on my life, between this Google/Facebook billionaire's catfight and any Twitter-borne beef between two or more millionaire celebritainers.
latch 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are we just assuming that "an unnamed client" is Facebook, because DUH, who else? Or am I missing a piece of this story?
maxklein 5 days ago 2 replies      
Who cares? Facebook is a generic company. Google is a generic company. If they spy on each, smash each other, etc, it changes nothing. Neither for you nor for your startup or anything.

Personifying these companies and then writing gossip stories about them is turning what should be real business into some kind of pseudo-fashion magazine.

Just as little as I care for Snookie kissing JWoww, do I care about Facebook spying on google. The impact of this is minimally negligible in the world of real business, and something like this is just pointless gossip.

Creator of "Dirty Jobs" Mike Rowe testifies to Congress discovery.com
654 points by goldins  4 days ago   207 comments top 35
edw519 4 days ago  replies      
I could have written the bit about my grandfather.

He passed away 36 years ago this week and I was already thinking about him quite a bit.

He was the most amazing person I ever met. He came to the U.S. alone when he was 11 years old and lived with strangers until he met my grandmother at a picnic. They were married 3 weeks later. He spoke 5 languages fluently, played 6 musical instruments, never went to school a single day in his life, and he could fix anything.

Like OP, one of my most favorite days of my childhood was when I was 12 and my grandfather took me to work with him. I remember helping him carry his tools down the back steps and load them into the trunk of his Ford Galaxie 500. He taught me my all time favorite cuss word when he said, "Move all that shitcrap out of the way."

Just the other day, I drove right past that spot, stopped, and sat for a while, remembering the good old days. Today, just like OP, I just call someone to get something fixed. I've almost forgotten the joy of getting things done with my hands with the gentle guidance of a master.

Thanks for the memories, Mike Rowe and goldins.

ChuckMcM 4 days ago 3 replies      
Touches on a symptom. The issue is surprisingly complex.

My sister has done workman's compensation insurance and remarked that all the welders were out of work. (or a large number of them). I mentioned that there was a welder shortage in California and she suggested I mention that on some of the forums where they hang out. What I discovered was that there was a number of vocal proponents who argued they wouldn't work in California for the shit rate that was being offered. Instead they would rather be out of work than devalue their time.

So its a fair point, if enough skilled people stay out of the workforce then the economic demand will cause prices to rise to meet the market price. In California its interesting that the tax payers take on that burden and the shortfall threatens the teachers who then jump on to TV ads with their persistent message of non-support.

The question of illegal immigrants came up too but if you look you will find that a skilled welder / carpenter / mason has opportunity in Mexico that they don't need to emigrate for, so its not the issue one might suspect.

You get substitution effects, people substituting unskilled or lightly skilled labor instead. This results in problems later but some of those people will go on to become more skilled which will increase the pool.

A couple of people have mentioned the 'status' question, but from an economic standpoint the pricing of wages should be based on the ability of the population to supply qualified labor not on how 'important' they perceive the job to be. Its not always done that way but it does take personal bias out of the valuation question.

Mike's comment that we need more people in the trades is also tempered by manufacturers who would rather 'fix by replacement' than 'fix by repair' their items. They see someone with a broken washing machine as a motivated buyer, not someone with a problem they can fix. It would be helpful if congress mandated that the information to fix things was made available for free. (think service manuals) While it would burden the manufacturer to write such manuals it would enable repairs and a 'green' industry of keeping equipment running rather than in the dump.

I was hoping that one of the things that would come out of the Auto-melt-down would have been a vehicle that was bare bones, dead simple to repair, and inexpensive. There is demand for such a vehicle but no one is looking to meet it yet.

So "we need more skilled tradesman" as a call to arms has a number of things that it carries with it. I didn't see that the complexity or at least the interconnectivity of it all has been well represented to Congress.

asmithmd1 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think the people in skilled trades really want congress to fix the skill gap problem. Just about every state sets incredibly high bars to be licensed. To be a licensed plumber in Massachusetts you have to pass a test (with only 70% correct!) and then work for 4 years before you can apply for a license. Plumbers around Boston get $100/hr and are hard to find. If Congress wants to allow more people to do skilled work they could mandate lower requirements. Kansas and Pennsylvania, for example, do not require plumbing licenses and I can personally vouch that toilets in those states do in fact work.
pstack 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that our solution to "nobody wants to do physical labor" is to outsource it to other countries and our solution to "nobody wants to do professional knowledge work . . . for cheap" is to outsource it to other countries and supplement with H1Bs as much as possible. What I find odd is the difference in response to each.

If you're a professional that works with knowledge, you're told "hey, that's the world market, baby -- if you can't compete on a fifth of your salary, then to hell with you".

If you're a professional that works in labor/manual work, we involve unions and national programs to re-invigorate interest in the field of welding or laying pipes or wiring homes and treat it like news that the national flag has just been replaced.

I find both a concern, yet am bothered by the seeming double-standard.

As a personal anecdote: My grandfather was a pacifist who none-the-less served his country when called during WWII. He was an engineer who was responsible for a lot of stuff in Anchorage during the time. (He had an amazing panoramic photo set he took of Valdeze back when it was whole). He was a pianist. He was a chemist. He touch mathematics in college. He threw discus in college track and field. His home was filled with books on chemistry, math, history, physics, geography. I grew up surrounded by stacks of OMNI, National Geographic, Discovery, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and plenty of other great reads. And for a living, he chose to build houses. He became a general contractor who didn't really contract out that much work. He did almost everything himself, except pour foundations and wire the homes. He built beautiful homes that often took two to four years and cost a few million dollars (and some people hired him more than once to build their homes over the decades as their tastes evolved). He just loved building stuff and working outside and he did it his entire life. I was also fortunate to spend many years of my childhood going onto his job-site with him day after day and goofing around, helping, watching. There's a lot to be said for loving your job and doing it excellently.

tokenadult 4 days ago 2 replies      
I read through the other comments before commenting here. There is an interesting issue regarding the distinction between status of an occupation and the pay of an occupation (which has much to do with schoolteacher pay, as it happens). But as to pay, currently job classifications involving related work have higher pay if they require higher education degrees as a barrier to entry than if they don't. One example that is familiar to industrial psychologists and individual differences psychologists is the pay of engineers and technicians in the same industrial category. AT EVERY LEVEL OF TESTABLE INDIVIDUAL ABILITY, the economic return from becoming an engineer is better than the economic return from becoming technician. Even if what the engineer does on the job is decide that a key technician has to accomplish a task (that is, even if the technician is essential to the process in real-world terms), the engineer will be paid more. This is why there is demand for degrees from second-tier and third-tier engineering programs that look little better academically than glorified high schools, and appear to offer less hands-on technical training than a well designed technical certificate program. Where a worker can fit in the division of labor in a company makes a difference in the worker's pay, and people pursuing education or training look for what will help them make the most pay.

Mike Rowe's thought-provoking testimony to Congress submitted here identifies a problem, but it's not clear that the solution he suggests will work as well as simply reforming immigration laws in the United States in the direction of opening up work-related immigrant visas for skilled trades workers. Perhaps the workers who can best improve their own lot in life as tradesmen in the United States economy are those who have already invested in learning a trade in another country, and who perhaps are learners of English as a second language who might have particular difficulty pursuing a postsecondary academic degree in the United States. That may be the way to fill the skilled trade gap in the United States.

sanj 4 days ago 2 replies      
One of my luckier breaks was going to a highschool specializing in voc-ed. "Vocational Education" was the euphemism used to describe skills that you didn't learn in white collar jobs or in college/university.

While there I got to take classes in drafting, machining, and electronics (real electronics -- we etched our own boards!). I regret that I didn't spend any time in the auto shop. The students that excelled there did routine maintenance on all of the teachers' cars!

Years later I was an intern at Orbital Sciences, building a satellite (http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/SeaWiFS/SEASTAR/SPACECRAFT.h...).

One day I was chatting with my mentor/boss about building a testing harness. A physical one with dangly bits and wires. I don't remember the details of the conversation, but I remember a compliment he gave me -- to this day, one of my most cherished:

"I know you'll do fine: you've burnt yourself on soldering irons."

At least among those rocket scientists, the ability to actually build stuff is held in high regard.

pragmatic 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is about money and status.

College is higher status than vocational school.

A professional job is higher status that a trade.

The money is not fantastic right out of school. You have to apprentice and keep working your way up and taking tests, etc.

The job is dirty, you will hurt your back, etc, eventually (more when rather than if).

So, if I'm a kid, making a decision about whether to go college or votech, I'm logically going to choose college if I can (higher status, lower chance of injury, probably more money).

When thinking about status, imagine a daughter telling her mom about her new fiance. Compare plumber to lawyer. Brick mason to dentist. Programmer to Marketing VP (yes programming is low status, that's why it's called software engineering now, see Domestic Engineering or Sanitation Engineer).

If you want to earn a lot in a trade you _must_ start you own business. Depending on the trade you need a large amount of capital. So the _best_ you can do is have your name on the truck. You can make a lot of money.

I have a cousin with a succesful electrcial business, of course now he's a real estate developer and drives a lexus (again, see status above). My brother has just gone into business and so I hear a lot of his woes.

I can afford a Lexus and my back doesn't hurt and I'm not dirty. So...I like Mike but this seems to be a case of "I don't want to do that job, but someone has to."

We'll probably see something like the "Polish Plumber" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Plumber. A lot of immigrants are going into the trades (see drywall and landscaping).

So, as immigrants before them (like my ancestors, and as others have mentioned) they go into the trades b/c it's the highest paying work they can get.

sp332 4 days ago 1 reply      
The video is on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h_pp8CHEQ0 I think it's a little more meaningful for this kind of content, and the jokes are funnier :)
quanticle 4 days ago  replies      
>In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We've elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn't encourage people to pick up a shovel.

The reason for that is because the huge manufacturing automation and outsourcing wave that swept the nation in the 70s, 80s and 90s destroyed the association between skilled labor and a "good job". Its hard to make a living building things when a robot or a Chinese peasant can build the same thing for a tenth of the cost. Its hard to make a living fixing things when its cheaper to order a replacement.

samlevine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Making a pencil by yourself is hard. Expecting everyone to make their own pencils is silly.

You don't get more and better food by becoming a better farmer, you get some other guy to be better at farming, and some other guy to be better at making farming equipment, and some other to be better at making software that runs the equipment, and some other guy to be better at making the satellite that gives weather data to the software, and so on and so forth.

Yes, we need people in skilled trades. It might even be a good idea to start retraining idle workers in skilled trades. But specialization isn't just for ants. There is no need to feel bad about the fact that you don't know how to fix your toilet, or computer, or car if you're an otherwise productive adult that happen to know some specialized set of remunerative skills that the plumber/technician/mechanic does not.

mrcharles 4 days ago 1 reply      
Canada has had a "Trades" ad campaign going for some years now, and as a result, a lot of trades jobs can be hard to find. I have a friend who recently decided to get in to trades as a welder, after a string of poor life decisions left him without a serious education or career.

The sad part is that he's having a bitch of a time finding a job up here... which I assume is due to revitalization of trades from the government ad campaign.

Definitely something to support. And hey, maybe my friend can go work in the US.

josefresco 4 days ago 9 replies      
I thought Mike was just some "TV guy" they hired to do that show. This puts a whole new perspective on things. Good for Mike, hopefully someone will listen and act.
mmaunder 3 days ago 1 reply      
On indeed.com job search for Seattle most welders seem to earn around $30k per year. Denver seems to be closer to $20K/anum. Not exactly indicative of a shortage driving the price up.


Plumbers are around the same:


It's a cool story and ole Mike sure has a purty smile. But this strikes me as a bit of PR for Dirty Jobs.

jinushaun 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that there is a perception problem in this country involving skilled non-degree jobs. On one hand we're complaining that immigrants are taking all of our "jerbs", but on the other hand, we say we're too good for a job that doesn't require a bachelors degree.

We have to break this perception. I don't know what the solution is, but I do know in Germany students can decide whether to take a university route (high school) or take a skilled trade route (vocational high school).

Of course, that system has its own problems, because students are separated by social class by the end of 4th grade, which is incredibly early to tell a young person that they can or can't get a university education.

AlexMuir 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of my most striking memories is groups of men sitting on kerbs in Cairo with a couple of battered stone chisels and a hammer. They just sat there every day with their tools, waiting for someone to give them work chipping concrete BY HAND for a day.

They were skilled guys (at bashing concrete and holding a hammer all day), and willing to work hard. But in a fucked economy they couldn't contribute anything except cheap labour. Non-manufacturing trades don't support an economy. It's nice to think about an army of new handimen rebuilding America, but the reality is that an army of Amazon drones is what will be coming.

shawnee_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
It occurred to me that I had become disconnected from a lot of things that used to fascinate me. I no longer thought about where my food came from, or how my electricity worked, or who fixed my pipes, or who made my clothes. There was no reason to. I had become less interested in how things got made, and more interested in how things got bought.

Can a modern civilization really be considered "civilized" when things like these salt-of-the-Earth basics are so far removed from the general population?

In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They're retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.

Indeed, this is another thing. My dad was a construction worker -- he hung drywall for a subcontractor, so you can imagine what his benefits were: zilch. And he worked until about 3 months before he passed away at age 53. These jobs aren't the kinds of jobs people can do until they hit what the rest of society considers a respectable retirement age.

pnathan 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is something I've thought about in the last year or two as well. We have a culture of "buy", not "fix". In part, this is because we've had a very rich 60 years. In part, this is because things are cheap. In part, because factories design things that are not designed for repair by customers.

The reality is, we can't fix a busted capacitor, a scratched CD, or a damaged microchip. Nor do we have the equipment and spare materials ready to hand to weld cracked plastic. Super Glue is it, and not a very good it.

Whereas, we can fix wood, and with some work, manage metal. Earth can be munged around.

Cars are designed to be maintained, unlike computer hardware (especially our Macs :-( ).

So in a culture where by the nature of the things we use, we can not trivially repair them - we leave off the ideas of repair, and prefer the idea of replace.

This is a problem, because we are more than consumers, more than robots being pipe-fed from the wells of other people's industry.

H.G. Wells' conception of the time traveller always hangs around in my head when this sort of discussion arises.


nazgulnarsil 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't buy that Dirty Jobs and their like help to reform the image of skilled labor. For everyone I know that watches those shows its more like Intervention where the show just makes you feel better about your life.
georgieporgie 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was really annoyed in high school that there was no way to fit in wood & metal shop and programming classes. I even took 'early bird' classes and took PE at the local community college, but still couldn't fit in metal working. It was disappointing to be restricted to a particular skill path at such a young age.
elptacek 4 days ago 1 reply      
The welding program has all but completely shut down at my local community college. They auctioned off all of their machining equipment for fractions of pennies on the dollar about two years ago. If I want to complete any AWS certifications, I will have to drive a ~40mi round trip to Moraine Valley to complete the necessary training. There is literally no place closer, and I live a big city.

So, for my own selfish reasons, I would also like to see a push to increase the numbers of skilled laborers. :-)

hnal943 4 days ago 0 replies      
A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber - if you can find one - is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both.

Mr Rowe: this fact, if you really believe it, will ensure the problem is fixed. No need to testify to congress about it.

webXL 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a thought: let's subsidize trade schools by not subsidizing colleges!
afterburner 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I believe we need a national PR Campaign for Skilled Labor."

We had this in Canada a few years back. Or it might have been Ontario only, but in any case, there were lots of TV ads and financial incentives for getting the appropriate education in skilled labour.

swalkergibson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you Mike Rowe for putting this on the record!

The trend away from skill-based learning to the ivory tower is contributing to a deterioration in both. University education is moving towards the average at an alarming rate. The value of an undergraduate degree is diminishing by the day, which is further exacerbated by the skyrocketing cost of education. It seems to me that high schools should promote vocational education just as much as they promote four year universities. The current system of trying to get every high schooler into college is asinine, not everyone is cut out for it. It seems to me that students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors should work better together to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a given individual to determine what that student finds most interesting, and foster that feeling. Instead, schools receive more prestige for graduating more students into university and universities receive more funding for accepting more students. Ridiculous.

jgorham 4 days ago 1 reply      
While I appreciate Mike Rowe's sentiments and general argument, this speech reminds of politicians who lament the loss of manufacturing jobs as America's backbone. Economists have regularly pointed out that as a country becomes wealthier and more educated, the share of the economy devoted to manufacturing falls. This isn't really a good or a bad thing, its just a reflection of how that country's resources fit into the global economy. This loss of manufacturing is only a problem when people are losing these jobs in a "race to the bottom" situation, much like Mexico and Asian countries during the 1990's.

However, I do acknowledge that the current education system frowns upon pursuing vocation degrees, when many of my friends would have excelled in these programs during high school if given the opportunity. The important distinction here is that we want jobs that are "skilled," not jobs that are manufacturing per se.

conradev 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article really hit home, it describes the situation today quite accurately. I live in a large town in which 90% of the kids at my high school go on to college after graduation, anything besides college is looked down upon.

Our county also runs a smaller technical high school specifically for this stuff, but unfortunately it isn't a very nice school, as there is a lot of violence.

I, personally, would not take an occupation involving this kind of work, being as I have a future somewhere in Computer Science, but I definitely value these skills, and hope to learn a lot of them in the future. Maybe one summer I'll work odd jobs, or fix up my house.

gubatron 4 days ago 1 reply      
If most of the readers here are like myself then we can't really do anything about that issue, I can't fix or do anything very well with my hands, takes me forever and ends up doing like a 5 year old did it. I'm great with logic abstractions but I suck in the physical world.

I find it funny this post is #1 on hacker news today.

swishercutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that the main problem is we have spent the last 20 years "training our replacements" (i.e. selling off semiconductor tech, outsourcing) and not enough time training our children. Maybe if we spent a bit more time teaching our children instead of depending on the schools to do it for us things might be better.

Make time to make things with your children. Life is about more than money, your grandfather knew that.

StuffMaster 4 days ago 0 replies      
Around here they're trying to increase the college graduation rate at all costs, education and merit be damned. It's a symptom of the same "everyone must be degreed" mentality.
montagg 4 days ago 0 replies      
He should've pulled out the "sheep's balls on my chin" story from his TED talk. That would've been way more convincing. ;-)
dagski 4 days ago 0 replies      
well spoken. I'm glad he provided a balanced approach to the trades. he hit the nail on the head... and to think.. I used to kinda think we was a douche.
mahrain 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think he could run for president!
amgine 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not gay but I have a serious crush on Mike. I've always respected people who could fix things regardless of what it is. Mike Rowe's show is pretty much my dream job. "Go do" a bunch of stuff others think is gross, and get dirty. Work with my hands.

Too bad i'm in IT with mouths to feed. Hey, at least it's hardware support

strebel 3 days ago 0 replies      
frickin lov this guy. My own father is a craftsmen and soon to retire. Dirt is cool
latch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Put farmers in the same category.

Not sure what, but I sniff an opportunity for tech to get involved here.

Satellite Images of North Korea Prison Camps Find 200,000 Living as Slaves singularityhub.com
472 points by kkleiner  5 days ago   205 comments top 25
jacoblyles 5 days ago  replies      
It's interesting to see reddit's America-hatred spread here. We can't condemn atrocities anywhere in the world without first holding America up as a paragon of all that is evil. The failure to recognize the good in America, indeed the many ways in which it still leads the world, and see the difference between a free country with perhaps too-strict sentencing guidelines and one which enslaves and kills its people for purely political transgressions, is indicative of the erosion of one axis of our moral compass and the early sign of a culture and a nation turning in on itself and destroying itself.
tptacek 5 days ago 3 replies      
157 votes so we can have an amateur North Korea/US comparative studies class. Respite from 3-year-old LKML security flame war, also on the front page? Maybe. Still sad. See you in a week or so.

My "minaway" is 10,000 again. Old timer? Have you tried this yet? It's a revelation. You will thank for me this advice. Noprocrast=yes, minaway 10000+. You might code instead, or drink whiskey and read a good book, or find some less exasperating place to rant at like-minded people online. Anything else you do will be better than HN on May 12, 2011.

ck2 5 days ago 6 replies      
If they still made the sears catalog I'd suggest the key to starting a peoples' revolt in North Korea would be to airdrop hundreds of thousands of catalogs across the country.

Even without understanding the language, just looking at all the goods would make people start wondering why they are being made to suffer so.

yequalsx 5 days ago 5 replies      
What I can't understand is how people can visit North Korea and not feel disgusted by giving support for that regime.

I believe North Korea is facing another famine this year. Given the conditions in North Korea and the apparent iron grip its regime has on power is it better not to provide food aid? I can't decide for myself if it's better, for the long term, to let the nation starve and not help the people out or to feed them. I don't see a clear cut right or wrong way to view aid to North Korea. It's a disturbing case.

bloggergirl 5 days ago 2 replies      
Thank you for posting this. A key takeaway from the article is in the final paragraph: "if we allow it, we could live in a world that makes great strides forward, but that can never rid itself of the abhorrent authoritarian tool that is the concentration camp."

We allow these horrors to occur. That's not a judgment on anyone; I'm definitely part of the problem because I'm not part of the solution (to borrow a cliche).

But what can we do? That's a real question. I want to know what we can do. Yes, we can sign Amnesty International petitions, which is a step, but what else?

The HN community is a problem-solving community. Human rights violations of all sizes and shapes (including and especially the North Korea concentration camps) are a major problem to solve. What can technology do to help? Can we solve fatigue re: "prolonged exposure to blaring 24 hour news streams that fry sensibilities with their constant emotional appeals"? Can we mobilize people and keep them engaged in helping people they don't know?

elliottcarlson 5 days ago 0 replies      
There was a very interesting discussion about North Korea a couple of months back that had great links to undercover videos and photos from within Korea:


The most notable video was Children of the Secret State (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1875007335054132657) - I recommend everyone watch this...

mml 5 days ago 1 reply      
Nobody seems to be mentioning that in NK, you go to prison, and your entire extended family, for 3 generations (yes, your great grandkids) will all die there. Comparison to us prisons is laughably pathetic.
api 5 days ago 0 replies      
North Korea is effectively an abusive cult in the form of an entire nation.

It's amazing that such a thing can exist, and when I really think about it the existence of something like North Korea raises disturbing questions about the nature of human consciousness.

How can we claim to have free will or to even have consciousness at all if something like North Korea can actually exist?

maxwin 5 days ago 0 replies      
The real problem is Communist China. Without China's support, Countries like North Korea and Burma would have changed a long time ago. If China catches up in military power, it can be scary considering its relationship with Japan,Taiwan etc and its support for dictatorship. (Disclaimer:there's a difference between criticizing chinese communist regime and chinese people)
muhfuhkuh 5 days ago 7 replies      
"I can admire China's growth in infrastructure and technology, it's pursuit to compete on a global scale, but what good is all that growth if it allows these crimes to go on next door?"

I admire America's prominence in infrastructure and technology, it's continuing domination on a global scale, but what good is all that power when over 40,000 people and rising are murdered because of a drug war for which they are complicit next door?

It's great to try to solve problems that seem so fruitless and terrible, but isn't it akin to pointing your finger at a mirror?

abrown28 5 days ago 1 reply      
I believe this is a satellite view of the Yodok concentration camp based on an image in the article.


Jun8 5 days ago 3 replies      
(This is a recurrent fantasy of mine) I think we should have an independent armed forces with the power to intervene in gross violations of human rights, something like the UN but with exponentially more authority (current UN peace keeping forces are a joke, e.g. see Srebrenica massacre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre, for just one example of many). This force would have the initiative to wage war on authoritative regimes, like the Taliban, Kaddafi, and the one in North Korea.

Currently this is done in a haphazard way, through NATO (e.g. Libya) or countries acting by themselves (e.g. France in Ivory Coast).

Thinking of the practical problems clearly shows that this is an impossible idea. But on a theoretical level, is it valid (e.g. where does this force take its authority from)? I think so.

InclinedPlane 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting. Everyone seems to know how screwed up North Korea is, but few people know all the details, and the media doesn't report on these things much. Largely I think because it's so hard to gain access there.
tokenadult 5 days ago 0 replies      
Atlantic article, "North Korea's Digital Underground,"


makes for very interesting reading about attempts to help the common people of North Korea know what is going on in their own country and in the outside world.

cjoh 5 days ago 0 replies      
This stuff gets me really excited for private space technology. The future is bleak for the anti-democratic states if there's eyes in the sky for everyone, and global connectivity.
totalforge 5 days ago 0 replies      
All North Koreans that are not in the elite inner circle are slaves. China, though annoyed, cannot act, since NK is a fellow Communist nation, though they are the goofy pseudo-Stalinist type.

Eventually the regime will collapse, and NK will become a humanitarian project that will dwarf anything that has come before it.

ungerik 5 days ago 0 replies      
Standard procedure in communism... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAxKAzpGmVA
TheloniusPhunk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, National Geographic mentioned this in a documentary a few years ago. This is where you end up if you try to flee to China, which is, in and of itself, indicative of the state of affairs in North Korea.
hartror 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is a highly important dreadful story but what is it doing on Hacker News, let alone the front page?
fijall 5 days ago  replies      
2,292,133 were in prisons in the United States in 2009 [from wikipedia]. Even though I guess conditions are better, 200 000 doesn't sound like that many after all.
bigwally 5 days ago 2 replies      
No way that camp could be holding 200,000 people.

Anyone who has studied any geography could see that would be near impossible.

metatronscube 5 days ago 3 replies      
Well America, are you going to spread "Freedom and Democracy" there? It sure needs it.
johnmossel 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sorry, but ... seriously, a nation that still hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay.
Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.
kloncks 5 days ago 0 replies      
About 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States. Recent figures say more than 12% are raped or endure sexual assault. Twelve-percent of 2.3m is 276,000 and 276k > 200k.

Not defending North Korea. But I'm a strong proponent of "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" mentality. Let's take a good hard look at ourselves before deeming others violent, ignorant, dictatorial, or cruel.

rorrr 5 days ago 4 replies      
My daughter was first sued in the womb ftrain.com
464 points by henning  2 days ago   66 comments top 13
hugh3 2 days ago 5 replies      
Request: change the title by appending "fiction" so that folks like me don't start reading to try and figure out how the hell a person can be sued while in the womb.
inoop 1 day ago 3 replies      
"What happened is, a long time ago, the country Belgium took over this country Congo and killed a lot of people and made everyone slaves."

No, that's actually not what happened. First of all, they did not take over Congo because Congo never existed before Leopold drew it up on a map on a rainy Saturday afternoon together with Stanley. Also, the country of Belgium did not take over Congo, it was a private enterprise by king Leopold II, although the government later took it over from him after reports of atrocities started to trickle through to western Europe. Third, they didn't make people slaves. The slave traders operating in Congo were mostly African-Arabic. The Belgians levied taxes on the population. This was first collected in rubber, and the colonist but also the Congolese army committed atrocities such as the cutting off of hands, murder of village elders, and so on to maximize production. Many more lives were claimed by the sleeping disease. Later on they switched to taxing in money which meant that many young men had to work in the mines to earn money for their village, often under really bad conditions. The wars, dictatorships, and genocides started after the independence.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not making excuses here or anything, but it irks me when people reduce the complex history of a beautiful country to an overly simplified and plainly false representation of the facts.

sunir 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting story. I am reminded that tax software made it feasible for governments to make much more complicated tax codes. Legal software combined with the increasing acceptance of arbitration for civil suits could create this future.
jerrya 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not a good judge of these things, but it reminds me of Bradbury -- I wonder if he could be sued for that?

/seriously, it does remind me of Bradbury

mechanical_fish 2 days ago 1 reply      
On the one hand, I should technically complain that the title given here is not the title of the story.

On the other hand, I think this title is a better one, so please disregard the previous sentence. ;)

josephcooney 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminded me a lot of 'the right to read' http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html
edanm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great story.

Interestingly, I don't think the "privacy" issue is the big change in the future described, but rather the fact that lawsuits are so much more automated. That's the real change that makes the story "possible".

vshlos 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is future! The proof is that "biggest bit torrent case" targeting 23000 defendants.


evan_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't the doctor or nurse who operated the ultrasound machine hold the copyright to the ultrasound image, not the manufacturer of the ultrasound machine? And furthermore, why would the daughter be named in the suit?
contrast 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry to be a hater, but what a brilliant example of how America's lawsuit addiction is a deeply unhealthy cultural trait.
simpleH 1 day ago 0 replies      
read like something Richard Powers would write
bwlang 1 day ago 0 replies      
ironic... i just logged in to upvote that
spoon16 2 days ago 6 replies      
Chromebook google.com
440 points by atularora  6 days ago   307 comments top 58
runjake 6 days ago  replies      
- browses web? check.

- runs the latest fad games, like Angry Birds (and more soon thanks to WebGL)? check.

- can connect digital camera and upload photos? check.

- can browse facebook, twitter, youtube, gmail, hotmail, etc? check

- can play flash games & netflix, hulu, & other crap? check.

This will satisfy the needs of all my immediate non-techy family members. And I won't get the monthly calls about malware anymore.

kenjackson 6 days ago  replies      
I can't imagine anyone buying this and being happy unless they are already intimately familiar with the device ahead of time. Too many limitations, with virtually no big upside functionality or user experience (unlike the iPad that makes up for limitations with some huge upside).

As I'd mentioned before I can buy an ASUS Eee PC with an AMD C30 processor for $289 and be able to use the browser of my choice, sync my iPod/iPad/iPhone, play WoW, use Skype, hook it up to my TV in the dorm, use MS Office, Visual Studio, emacs, vim, etc...

It just feels like a half-baked implementation. The price point on this needs to be a LOT cheaper. Like $100 or free for a netbook, and make the money up with targeted advertising based on them being locked into Chrome. Otherwise this doesn't seem recommendable.

r00fus 6 days ago 0 replies      
Something that's not confidence inspiring from the site:
"Get everything you need directly from Google, including support - online, email and phone."

Contrast with the current CEO's views on support

"...Denise Griffin, the person in charge of Google's small customer-support team, asked Page for a larger staff. Instead, he told her that the whole idea of customer support was ridiculous. ..."

If Google is truly going to support these devices, they're going to need a paradigm shift from Page's pre-existing "support doesn't scale" attitude... and bring their A-game.

hammock 6 days ago 4 replies      
It took me a long time of exploring to realize they were talking about a laptop. I was like "Chromebook?" Is it a kindle? Is it an online scrapbook? Is it online literature?

edit: why am i being downvoted? because i don't read tech blogs 24/7? because nowhere on the website does it actually say what a chromebook is?

bergie 6 days ago 2 replies      
I find it interesting that most comments here mirror the classic Slashdot iPod review: No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

I think this isn't targeted at the classic computer market, the one that Steve Jobs said is like like trucks. instead, it is an attempt at building a computer market that is closer to general appliances, like TVs or cell phones. Quite similar to iPad's approach, but with more focus on productivity and the web.

Whether it works will depend a lot on marketing, and also on us hackers creating the compelling web ecosystem. I already mostly live just in the browser and many do the same, so maybe the world is ready for this. We'll see

ellyagg 6 days ago 1 reply      
So, you can get a full featured eeepc for the same price as a chromebook, but google expects people to pay just as must because (I guess?) it's so simple to use and doesn't have viruses? I don't think that's how normal people buy things. People don't want simple for simple's sake. They want good design. People do want features. They do want power. They will not choose a less powerful solution because of vague imputed simplicity. As far as I can tell, the only simplicity benefits a chromebook has to offer is by providing strictly less features.

The ipad, although superficially similar to a chromebook in some senses, is a completely different product. Its design, both software and hardware, is utterly and completely unlike chromebook. You won't get far extrapolating ipad's success to chromebook.

Microsoft would not be able to sell a version of Word without print capabilities, even though it would be slightly simpler. No one would buy it obviously. I think a lot of technically oriented people have the wrong idea about what constitutes a valuable trade-off between simplicity and power in a product. Like I mentioned, people want well-designed.

Chromebook is an uncanny valley netbook, and it will be a disappointment. Unless I'm wrong. :)

PS - Another thing technically literate folks overestimate due to tribulations of the past is the extent to which viruses continue to be a nuisance.

ChuckMcM 6 days ago 1 reply      
Heh, I was amused that on Firefox that Javascript that does that whole stupid "fade in" crap took longer than 8 seconds to load :-). Note to web designers, its not studly its worthless bling, please don't give in to the temptation to do that stuff.

From a product perspective it does have some nice benefits for the non-techies. I'd love to get my parents something that they could carry around to read email and view pictures on which wasn't waiting for them to drive by some hijacked site. The pitch about 'let your friend use it' was also clearly the other 'big complaint' about the iPad they are addressing. I hope that means the iPad will get a 'guest' mode where you can hand it to someone without them getting access to your cookies/email etc.

kmod 6 days ago 2 replies      
Based on my experiences with the CR-48 (which I used extensively for a few months), I have to suggest that you not get one of these laptops. Basically, ChromeOS is great, but using Atom processors is simply unacceptable for the tasks that they advertise. The only thing the CR-48 can do well is viewing static content -- and I mean truly static! Scrolling around on an otherwise-static web page is far to dynamic for it to handle. Want to play flash? Yeah right.

These new models have dual-core atoms, which will help, but mostly it's just the awful single-core performance that gets you. Even tying emails in gmail was an extremely painful experience; often the characters on the screen would lag significantly behind my tying, and it would take forever to load the different pages.

I don't think anyone is arguing that you can use these things for "real work". I'm going to argue that if you care about your time, you can't even use these things for any of the other stuff they advertise. Unless the new processors are significantly better, I'd say get something else.

kloncks 5 days ago 1 reply      
Google is such an interesting company.

Compare this page with an Apple page trying to sell a product: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/ or http://www.apple.com/ipod

There's absolutely no comparison. My non-technical friends (heck, even me) are just absolutely more receptive towards that second page.

For all of Google's resources as a gargantuan company...can't they just find some small dash of good design somewhere?

(Not bashing Chrome OS. Looks absolutely wonderful. This is just what I thought when I visited the page...and HN sometimes is for nitpicking :)

tokenadult 6 days ago 4 replies      
"* Obviously, you're going to need a wireless network, be willing to use it subject to the provider's terms and conditions, and be ready to put up with its real life limitations including, for example, its speed and availability. When you do not have network access, functionality that depends on it will not be available."


That's some very important information to put in a footnote at the bottom of the webpage. I'll have to check network availability in my most common locations before deciding whether or not this is useful for me or one of my children.

phlux 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is a game changer. I plan to get one for my 6 year old daughter. I have started her on Khan academy for math (I have been watching the vids myself - they are fantastic)
ansy 6 days ago 0 replies      
The Chromebook has a lot of parallels with the electric car. For a lot of people it is a real improvement for the normal routine, but there are a few use cases outside that routine for which it just won't work.

ChromeOS has a lot of potential in institutional settings (much like the electric car) where corner cases don't exist or there can be a small handful of special purpose machines for those cases. IT costs for most organizations would plummet and manageability would go up significantly. I can't imagine how much money and software is used to lock down and secure Windows machines and back up data nine different ways. And subsequently how much is spent recovering or mitigating the loss / theft of sensitive data.

eggbrain 6 days ago 2 replies      
A little pricy for me to be honest. Is an all day battery and 100MB of 3G data a month worth giving up a whole lot of features over a netbook? For some, maybe. But for me, no.
wiredfool 6 days ago 2 replies      
The data service (http://www.google.com/chromebook/#features-connectivity) looks nice for people who don't do a ton of streaming. In fact, if chromeos has ssh, it would probably do for my work laptop at something better than a netbook + verizon dongle, and a whole lot cheaper. (well, I think right now it's $60/5gb, and I rarely hit that).
smackfu 6 days ago 2 replies      
They don't seem to be priced any better than similar Windows machines, although it's hard to find exact comparisons since most things with Atom processors only go up to 10" screens.
javanix 6 days ago 2 replies      
Google is still planning on making Chrome OS installable on other hardware, right?

I already have a thin and light laptop that I'm pretty happy with - hopefully I can install Chrome OS from an image onto it to tinker with.

aj700 6 days ago 3 replies      
One big point about this, esp if it takes off. It answers a big question:

How do you get J. Random User to use Linux?

Don't call it Linux. Don't make it look like Linux. And Chrome for Windows synced over to an identical looking ChromeOS means he's escaped Microsoft lockin without even knowing it.

yanw 6 days ago 2 replies      
$28/user/month, software + hardware (updates for both) is a good deal.
defroost 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just what we need: Google involved in more aspects of our lives. No thank you. Nothing against Google per se, but letting any huge corporate conglomerate control the majority of your data seems foolish.

I use OS X as it has the perfect mix of Unixy goodness where superb OSS developer tools run great, graphics tools like Photoshop, and VMWare for Linux. Honestly, it is such a good platform, I cannot for the life of me think of a use-case for Chromebook. I'm actually a bit shocked that many HN users seem to be touting this thing as something revolutionary and/or desirable.

run4yourlives 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not really seeing how this wins in the "computer as appliance" market when the competition is the iPad, the Playbook and all the other imitators...

Am I missing something here? Why wouldn't you just purchase an iPad?

jasongullickson 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's like the litl plus 3G but minus the clever industrial design (and two years later)


MatthewB 6 days ago 6 replies      
That samsung version looks very nice and 8.5 hours of continuous usage is killer. However, I won't be trading in my brand new Macbook Air 13" any time soon.

It doesn't mention harddrive specs because this is supposed to be a "cloud computer." However, it definitely has a harddrive and I wonder if it is a SSD or regular spinning disc drive.

jgv 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think there's a bug at http://www.google.com/chromebook/#support

When I click on "Guided Tour" and then try to watch the video, the lightbox closes. Seems like its registering the mouseclick as a click outside the lightbox. I'm using the most recent version of Chrome 11.

Anyone else?

ebiester 6 days ago 3 replies      
Perhaps someone with a CR-48 can enlighten me... how does one get their photos from their camera to the cloud on one of these?
naner 6 days ago 2 replies      
If it is web only wouldn't it be better suited to an iPad form-factor? I would get one if it was around $30/mo and you can trade it in for a newer model every year or two. Better yet if they could figure out how to get unlimited 3G in there cheaply.
dmazin 6 days ago 0 replies      
As an owner as one of the CR-48 test units, let me just tell you that I can get on the internet quicker on my three-year-old MacBook than this thing. The MacBook is connected to WiFi by the time I'm logged in from sleep. Not so with the CR-48.
However, the 100 free megabytes of 3G per month is nice. I've used about 400kb total since December.
nextparadigms 6 days ago 1 reply      
I was hoping they'd also announce some ARM based notebooks, maybe with the quad core Tegra 3.Performance should at least be similar to the current notebooks, but they would be cheaper and battery would last even more.
digitalnalogika 6 days ago 2 replies      
Have they published price of these laptops anywhere?

I can't find any info at Amazon/BestBuy or official website

arihant 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. But with the functionality mentioned above, as a student I would rather buy an iPad with hook-in keyboard. If this device is available in similar form factor, I might consider. Just a thought. I'd still buy one of these.

I think the cost of the device should be low, most people in 2011 will buy these as an add-on gadget rather than one-sto-shop. I don't know of many add-on gadgets being massively popular while costing more than $250.

I don't think this is a PC, this is an internet window. What google probably chose wrong was the netbook form factor. It's an internet window which looks like a PC, specially the one that Steve Jobs trashed at iPad launch.

MatthewPhillips 6 days ago 1 reply      
So does that $28/month/user for businesses include Apps? That's a pretty killer price, if so.
83457 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if an OnLive client is on the way. That would provide a lot of gaming options that will not be available through browsers for years.
conradboyle 6 days ago 0 replies      
"In the near future, you'll also be able to run traditional software remotely on our Chrome notebook. Companies like Citrix are developing solutions that will be available in the Web Store, and we are developing a free service called Chromoting that will enable Chrome notebook users to remotely access their existing PCs and Macs."

I wonder what the timeline is on this, and if it will be frustratingly slow vs. a netbook.

guywithabike 6 days ago 0 replies      
How well would the interactive music video they demoed work on these?
zoba 6 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if a monthly subscription is required to have one of these? I've already got laptops that work and I'm not interested in paying a monthly fee for something that doesn't do everything I want it to, when I wont even be using it 100% of the time. In fact, I hate monthly fees on just about everything.
Jun8 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am frustrated by the fact that I have to buy it in a hardware-packaged form, why can't I just download Chrome OS to an older laptop to experiment (like I do with Linux distros)? I guess at this stage the OS is flimsy enough that they need to control all aspects of hardware.

Also, the support & distribution thing from Google doesn't work, we have already seen it with G1. Why do they want to repeat the mistake?

nkassis 6 days ago 2 replies      
Guess I'll have to drive down to the US to get one. Canada is somehow always excluded from new google projects. I'd like them to tell us which laws or limitation cause this. Crappy ISPs and Mobile networks?
blhack 6 days ago 1 reply      
Am I missing something here?

It's ~$400 for a laptop, then $28/mo to use it?

What are you getting from this that I'm not already getting for free from google?

Or is it $28/mo and the hardware is free...?

danbmil99 6 days ago 0 replies      
been beta testing this thing for a few months (at least something very similar). There are issues. And no webGL
coffeejunk 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty thrilled that chromebooks will be available in some european countries from launch on.
pointillistic 6 days ago 2 replies      
Can make you phone calls with GVoice on this thing? There might be a lot of value right there.
slowpoison 6 days ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of criticisms here but it was apparent in the presentation today that Google is targeting this mainly towards business, organizations and schools. Their selling point is elimination (or significant reduction) of the maintenance and support that the IT infrastructure requires.
larrywright 5 days ago 0 replies      
If this thing could run Emacs, I might be tempted to get one.
becomevocal 5 days ago 0 replies      
I see enormous potential here for SaaS startups dealing with businesses to ease 1) initial hardware costs for a computer with a competent browser, and 2) support issues from hardware / software fragmentation.

You can now give businesses an option that doesn't light the checkbook on fire while supporting all the bleeding edge web technologies we all wish were more widely supported. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

uniclaude 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's a purely personal point of view, but I sincerely think that the CR-48 looked much better than both of those.
If Crunchgear is right and those laptops hit the market at 350+ & 425+, I'll regret not having an address in the States back then, when Google was distributing CR-48s !
On a more serious note, I think a worldwide 3G plan would make those laptops very interesting for me.
pw 6 days ago 1 reply      
"3G-enabled Chromebooks connect to the web using blazing-fast mobile data networks"

Eh, "blazing-fast" might overselling things a bit.

icandoitbetter 6 days ago 0 replies      
So is there an initial fee apart from the $20/28 per month?
mbertrand 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested to see if we'll see similar models emerge from other manufacturers biz in the near future. Is an interesting concept and with a feature set and price point that will appeal to the masses.
pippy 5 days ago 0 replies      
With Google competing with Microsoft for the Lower to mid range market, Microsoft will have corporate competition on a large sector of their traditionally cornered market.

It's going to be an amazing next 10 years for the desktop and web technologies. Late 90's/early 2000's progress was impeded by the Microsoft monopoly.

Even better Chromium listening to what Developers want, the web will move forward at a staggering pace. Combined with the realization of interface importance, mind blowing UI hardware improvements are already happening.

I'm usually cynical, but this really may usher in the golden age of computing.

DTrejo 6 days ago 0 replies      
headShrinker 6 days ago 0 replies      
Manufactures: Samsung or Acer? No thanks.
Reliance on current shit telecom network? No thanks.
sterling 6 days ago 0 replies      
My first reaction to this was: creepy. The sales pitch is creepy - telling us in the best newspeak that less is more. The sales language is creepy, describing how much more "secure" a machine is because it only browses the web. The sales video has the smell of a lecture, with a message that hints at Big Brother. The layout of the product page is even creepy, with all kinds of colors and icon styles.
Google doesn't want to add value to anything here. They want control, and they are playing catch up with the iPad. This is the textbook way to run business, and it will fail.
alinspired 6 days ago 0 replies      
is there a dedicated screen for always on advertisement yet ? :)

And seriously I'd need at least ssh and rdp clients on this to even consider it

swah 6 days ago 0 replies      
Oddly, the first video was played for me with Dutch subtitles.
wslh 6 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer a TV :-(
hajrice 6 days ago 0 replies      
If only you could code on it...
pjy04 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's called getting an SSD...
aj700 6 days ago 0 replies      

This is as good an overview of the software as I need. Looks good.

The Ballmer Days Are Over brooksreview.net
411 points by showngo  5 days ago   212 comments top 31
asr 5 days ago  replies      
I'm sorry, he lost me at comparing Microsoft stock to Apple and Google over the past 10 years. In retrospect, those are two of the most successful publicly traded tech companies of the period--not a fair comparison.

Not to mention those were small companies in 2000. For Microsoft stock to have increased 1200% (as Google's did) it would have probably had to grow into some very significant portion of the world economy.

Obviously Microsoft hasn't outperformed over the past 10 years, and it looks like the rest of the article gets into actual substantive critique, but it's hard for me to trust substance from someone who starts out with such an unfair introduction.

axiom 5 days ago  replies      
Microsoft issues dividends. Google and Apple don't.
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 4 replies      
So this is just shareholder activism at its finest. A lot of M$ share holders are upset at the Skype deal and with the returns on the stock since Ballmer took over. Nothing new here, just that Microsoft lead by Ballmer has underperformed the market.

I keep waiting for these folks to say who they think should be running Microsoft but that doesn't come up a lot.

zmmmmm 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think Microsoft should break itself up and leave Ballmer in charge of the business focussed parts and put a new CEO in charge of WP7, xbox and the other consumer parts. Everyone heaps platitudes on Jobs but the reality is he has no understanding of or interest in business needs. On the other hand, you can make an argument that Ballmer has performed quite well on this front.

The simple fact is that it may be impossible to reconcile the different business styles needed to succeed in both the consumer space and the business space. Let them separate and have genuinely different corporate personas and both might succeed more.

brown9-2 5 days ago 3 replies      
Windows Mobile 6.5 was a powerhouse of a product. Pre-2007 most U.S. buyers of smart phones chose between BlackBerry and Windows Mobile 6.5. Both were small screened devices with a hardware keyboard " with exception to the few HTC devices with stylus based touch screens. Palm was struggling at the time and Windows Mobile was the dominate player in consumer minds, BlackBerry was the beast in boardrooms.

This seems off to me. Am I the only one who doesn't remember "Windows Mobile was the dominate player in consumer minds" in 2006?

siglesias 5 days ago 1 reply      
>> In fact, the acquisition by most accounts sounded more like a move by Ballmer to buy something that others may have wanted to own " just for the sake of others not owning it.

This struck me because I'm presently reading Stephen Levy's In the Plex, in which he reports at great lengths about why Google decided not to purchase Skype when eBay had it up for sale: mainly owing to Skype's peer-to-peer technology not being compatible with Google's existing centralized infrastructure. What reason would Microsoft have to think that this reasoning had changed?

iamelgringo 4 days ago 0 replies      
People often forget the Microsoft right before Balmer was slapped with one of the largest anti trust lawsuits in decades. People wonder why MSFT hasn't been competing aggressively for the following decade... It's because they've been afraid of anti trust litigation yet again.

I've had a couple of conversations with people in semi-upper levels of MSFT management. Long term Microsoft employees are still scarred from that litigation. So much that it still comes up in conversation 12 years after the fact.

greyman 4 days ago 1 reply      
>> Beyond that is the fact that Microsoft has 89,000 employees " are you telling me that the company that put a computer in every home couldn't create a Skype clone? <<

Yes, that's right. They couldn't create a Skype clone, no chance. Of course, they could create a similar product in terms of functionality, but how many would switch to it from Skype?

dr_ 5 days ago 2 replies      
Whereas I agree that Microsoft's performance and innovation over the past decade has been abysmal, I'm not sure it's just Ballmer to blame.

It all started with the Google brain drain - and that happened while Bill Gates was very much involved at Microsoft. Once the brain drain begins, you lose talent at a rapid clip and no matter how great an idea you may have, it's very hard to execute.

So then if you can't build it, you buy it. The product and the talent. Hence the Skype purchase. Here MSFT is buying a business and the people who run it, granted at a hefty price, but Skype is well established around the world and I see it as a better integration with Microsoft than eBay, which never made any sense to me. No it didn't cost Apple 1 billion dollars to build Facetime - but it also didn't cause Skype 1 billion dollars to build Skype. I can't say what it's worth now but I do know that I use it a lot since it's been available on the iPhone - great when traveling abroad.

Bing is slowly making strides as a search engine, Windows 7 is selling rather well and Kinect is a huge it. And they have partnerships with Yahoo! and Facebook.

Ballmer may need to go, but I really don't think Microsoft is entering the early stages of it's finale.

switch 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's a disservice to Ballmer to not consider that every business goes up and down.

This chart (courtesy turar) is the real story -> http://ycharts.com/companies/MSFT/net_income#compCos=AAPL,GO...

It just bothers all the Silicon Valley tech press that Microsoft continues to thrash its competitors.

Google makes money via search.
Apple started off with fucking mp3 players and now makes 'post-PC' devices.

It just bothers SiValley that no one can touch the Windows domination.

Microsoft made $5 billion+ in profit last quarter. The CEO who's been in charge for the last 10 years should be given a prize for surviving and growing the company's profits.

A new emerging company will always have more room to grow. If you consider each company at its core competency they are all dominating.

Google has 64% or so search share. Bing+yahoo get 30% or so.
Microsoft has 90%+ desktop OS share. After 16 or 20 continuous quarters of growth Mac is still less than 10%.
Apple is dominating smartphones (though Android might slow it down, notably without making any profit itself - unless you want to count it as a defence for mobile search). It's also dominating Tablets and trying to change things - because it doesn't want to fight Microsoft head-on in PCs - Just too difficult given Microsoft's advantages.

So each company is dominating its niche and trying to find ways to make its niche dominate the entire tech landscape.

Microsoft still being so dominant and the success of Windows 7 point to Sinofsky and Ballmer being God level. Growing profits from a couple of billion a quarter to $5 billion to $6 billion a quarter is extremely impressive.

Apple's growth is more impressive - However, that doesn't mean Microsoft's profits are unimpressive and it'd be foolish to take your personal dislike of Microsoft as a reason to discount some really solid work by CEO Ballmer.

Finally, Ballmer's first duty is to Microsoft and himself and Gate and Microsoft people.
Who fucking cares what the vultures of Wall Street and shareholders who don't do squat think.

melling 5 days ago 3 replies      
The world will be a little better off with a decline of Microsoft. 90% desktop market share is too much. More diversity will be healthier. Chromebooks should take some market share. Microsoft can own 50-70% market share and still be very profitable. They might even be more innovative in other areas.
mpat 5 days ago 1 reply      
The same board that approved this deal would be responsible for appointing a new CEO.
javert 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article is too business-centric. MS is sinking slowly because the world is moving to better things than Windows. It's sort of like selling bicycles, when motorbikes are becoming increasingly available.
jaz 5 days ago 5 replies      
Sure, Microsoft could have built a skype clone in-house for far less than $8bn. But would people actually sign up and use it - to the tune of 124 million people per month? My guess is no, at least not for several quarters.
fleitz 5 days ago 2 replies      
"just for the sake of others not owning it."

Perhaps this is why it's worth $8.5 billion to MSFT and not to others. It's pretty silly to say someone got a bad deal a week after they bought it. If Ballmer has some awesome plan for it that will require a year or two to implement it would behoove him to disclose this so that others could move competitively to destroy the value from such a purpose.

jmvoodoo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft is entering what Jim Collins would call the 4th stage of decline: Grasping for salvation. Unless something changes dramatically very soon, I wouldn't be placing my bets on Redmond.
spinchange 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I never see considered in comparisons to younger or more nimble and retooled competitors is that by 2000, Microsoft was already a convicted monopolist!

For the first few years of the decade, the company was still dealing with governments on two continents on what and how they could compete in the software business.

As others have mentioned, in this time frame they have also paid billions in dividends.

It may well be time for Ballmer to go, but the comparisons in stock price to Apple and Google over these short time frames don't reflect all the context and dynamics of the share prices.

S_A_P 4 days ago 0 replies      
So this seems to be largely a rehash of existing arguments against Steve Ballmer with the added bonus of the skype purchase being thrown in. I cant say that I disagree with the article, but I would agree with others' comments that direct comparisons of MS to Apple and Google are not completely valid. I personally think that there is space for all 3 companies to thrive(which to some degree is the case) since they all have a different niche. It does seem that MS is not the less agile and forward thinking company of the 3. I could liken it somewhat to Detroit vs japan/Korea
headbiznatch 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would guess they are mainly purchasing entrenched users of an already-implemented service. This same outcry (largely inspired by the sheer magnitude of the numbers involved) accompanied the MySpace acquisition and then YouTube. One failed miserably, the other is still playing out and might actually have made sense. The prognosticating is, at the very least, as desperate a flailing as the purchase itself. It's a serious business gamble. If you think you know with certainty at this point in time whether or not it will pay off, I submit that you are really into yourself or just really nervous. Skype has millions of users who couldn't care less who owns Skype. We just cannot say at this point that this is a disastrous business decision.

P.S. I have been following Skype for a long time and worked for a company that sought to partner with them in their early days (fudge - just dated myself). Beyond the old school "acquire eyeballs" angle, in my humble opinion, their technology is very legit. The algorithms/techniques/architecture/infrastructure they use for audio compression and transmission (and now video) are very finely tuned and if you think it is easy to recreate that just because you have thousands of developers at your disposal, you should reconsider your position.

JacobIrwin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's strategy is much more in the 'stability' mode now (similar to Boeing). Most often, exponential growth (as seen in GOOG's chart) occurs in the first ten years of existence. From what I see, once a company is established and the rate of change for acquiring additional market share slows, their stock price tends not to climb up the charts with the same (dare I say 'speculative') uni-directional velocity.

Also, MS has had a nice streak of anti-competition battles during Ballmer's tenure. Just one data point that may be relevant to the lack of growth in MSFT share price.

Last thing, a chart showing the 100-day Simple Moving Average (post tech burst) may more accurately depict/model the normal MSFT price range under Ballmer's leadership.

Interesting blog/review for sure, thanks

dstein 5 days ago 0 replies      
The bothersome thing about the Skype acquisition is that it's really not going to save them at all. It was a statement purchase. They bought it to show off.

They could have bought up a lot of innovative, smaller companies for $8.5B... some that might rebuild their character.

dimitar 3 days ago 0 replies      
The article doesn't mention Xbox or its more enterprise solutions at all instead focusing more on Apple.
thewisedude 4 days ago 0 replies      
I get the impression that Ballmer does not have great vision. I dont have evidence to support it. That said, I dont buy many of the arguments made in this article.
He is comparing Skype to Facetime. I dont think buying an app for 8 billion dollars make sense. I am sure there is more to skype deal than just the GUI app. The deal may have brought rights for usage of certain IP networks or something along those lines.

I am not sure how MSFT is planning to leverage this deal with plans of pushing into the mobile market. I am sure there is something in the works there.

Stock Price comparison:
There were many Billion dollar companies that are doing fine without a staggering growth seen in Apple or Google, that does not mean that CEO's are doing a bad job.

Niedar 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you take into account stock split and dividends for Microsoft, the total return from 2000 until today is about 13% which is not great but much different than the misrepresentation of a 60% loss. The returns would be much higher if you had not bought in 2000 before the crash which Ballmer could have had no control over. For example if you had bought shares at the end of 2002 than your total return over that time would have been about 130%.

I'm not saying that Microsoft hasn't missed opportunities or that Ballmer shouldn't be replaced but its not quite as bad as pictured in that graph.

michaelpinto 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think buying Skype was a good move " although letting Ray Ozzie go was a bad move.
tomlin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else have Florence and the Machine in their heads after reading this headline?
volandovengo 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Windows 8 is a success, I would be quite surprised if Steven Sinofsky didn't become the CEO.
Groxx 5 days ago 1 reply      
Particularly heinous for the Skype purchase: it's amazingly buggy. It's gotten shinier over the years, but they still payed 8.5 billion for a POS.
bgarbiak 4 days ago 0 replies      
No mention of Nokia deal?
turar 5 days ago 0 replies      
CEO doesn't control the price of his company's stock. It's silly to use stock price, which is set by the market as a performance indicator. It's makes more sense to compare metrics like net income, free cash flow, etc.

And Microsoft isn't doing that badly on those: http://ycharts.com/companies/MSFT/net_income#compCos=AAPL,GO...

johnl 5 days ago 3 replies      
Hardly, here's why: If you can link the phone with desktop
applications you have a hit that neither Apple or Google can duplicate. Think of you desktop as a server for your phone.
Who better to coordinate the operating systems of the two
than Microsoft. If that's what he is thinking, I can't wait
to watch the dog fight between the three of them.
Mono Developers start their own company tirania.org
321 points by jstedfast  1 day ago   80 comments top 17
selectnull 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's awesome to see open source teams truly believe in what they do and stand up against, in lack of better name, "classic business model". First Jenkins CI, now Mono.

I wish you all the best guys...

erikpukinskis 23 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who didn't catch it, the "International Mono Support" aside is a reference to Miguel's earlier (first?) company, "International Gnome Support", renamed to Helix Code, then Ximian, and eventually purchased by Novell.

It's awesome to see Miguel running a scrappy startup again. I just read through an old interview with him and Nat from the old IGF days, and Miguel hasn't lost any of the hacker/entrepreneur spirit:


zbowling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Former Mono contributor myself from 2006-2008. Crazy day. It won't die. To many companies are invested in it. I always wished it would spin off earlier.

I wanted to meet up with Miguel when he was in SF a few days ago, but now I know why he was so busy.

equark 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't look like the Mono guys were able to keep the key IP. That's too bad. It's hard to see what Attachmate gains by keeping it.
there 1 day ago 1 reply      
his former company was called ximian, which was started to do commercial gnome development. this new company is called xamarin to do commercial mono development. those are some pretty confusing names.
jimbobimbo 1 day ago 2 replies      
THIS is the company Microsoft needs to fund. Not Skype or Nokia.
teyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, I was an early skeptic of Mono. After all, what use is a copycat technology stack?

I'm later to admit how wrong I was. Suddenly mono was deploying into iOS, Android and places where the existing developer ecosystem couldn't have otherwise.

A hearty congratulations and wish you all the best. You deserve it.

bfrog 1 day ago 3 replies      
I am confused by this. If attachmate let go of Mono developers clearly it felt the product has not been profitable and won't be any time soon.

What investor with a sound mind would feel otherwise? Novell had already dumped millions in to it and look where they ended up.

c4urself 1 day ago 7 replies      
Any one have any statistics on Mono or know companies that use it, always wondered about Mono usage. What are some use cases?
Todd 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the best news I've heard all week. Huge congratulations to Miguel and the entire Mono team!
euroclydon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Has something happened since Apple implemented the no interpreters rule? Didn't Apple outlaw MonoTouch?
sapper2 1 day ago 4 replies      
MS should support them with some funding.
senex 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anybody know how they'll be funded over the next few years?
motters 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this is a make or break moment for the Mono project. Who owns the copyright on Mono anyway - is it individual developers?
thepumpkin1979 1 day ago 0 replies      
How many of the former Novell developers will work in Xamarin?
sktrdie 1 day ago 1 reply      
startup + opensource = fun!
nathanielksmith 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I still fail to see the commercial/hobbyist/* appeal of C#/.NET/mono.
Ask HN: Apart from Hacker News, what else you read?
293 points by kodeshpa  4 days ago   167 comments top 108
Sukotto 4 days ago 5 replies      

  Currently reading: 
Much Fall of Blood: Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint

Recently read:
Wise Man's Fear: Patrick Rothfuss
Cryoburn: Lois McMaster Bujold
Miles in Love: Lois McMaster Bujold

RSS, highlights

A Softer World | http://www.rsspect.com/rss/asw.xml | http://www.asofterworld.com
Chart Porn | http://chartporn.org/feed/ | http://chartporn.org
Dr. McNinja | http://www.rauros.net/drmcnrss2.php | http://drmcninja.com
Dresden Codak | http://feeds2.feedburner.com/rsspect/fJur | http://dresdencodak.com
ErfWorld | http://www.erfworld.com/feed/ | http://www.erfworld.com
Errant Story | http://www.errantstory.com/feed | http://www.errantstory.com
FoxTrot | http://feeds.feedburner.com/Foxtrotcom | http://www.foxtrot.com
Girl Genius | http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/ggmain.rss | http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/
Goats | http://goats.com/index.xml | http://www.goats.com/
Gunnerkrigg Court | http://feed43.com/4503041127548424.xml | http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/index2.php
Indexed | http://indexed.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default | http://thisisindexed.com
Order of the Stick | http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots.rss | http://www.giantitp.com/Comics.html
Penny Arcade | http://feeds.penny-arcade.com/pa-mainsite | http://www.penny-arcade.com/
PS238 | http://feed43.com/ps238-link-only.xml | http://nodwick.humor.gamespy.com/ps238/comics/index.php
PvPonline | http://www.pvponline.com/rss/?section=article | http://www.pvponline.com
Ratfist | http://ratfist.com/feed/ | http://ratfist.com
Sluggy Freelance | http://feeds.feedburner.com/sluggy_freelance | http://www.sluggy.com
Wapsi Square | http://wapsisquare.com/feed/ | http://wapsisquare.com
xkcd | http://xkcd.com/rss.xml | http://xkcd.com/

Paul Graham essays | http://www.aaronsw.com/2002/feeds/pgessays.rss | http://www.paulgraham.com/
Woodgears.ca | http://woodgears.ca/rss.xml | http://woodgears.ca/

Ask Metafilter, Recent best answers | http://feed43.com/2602451534003772.xml | http://ask.metafilter.com/bestanswers.cfm
Last Psychiatrist | http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/index.xml | http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/
lesswrong | http://lesswrong.com/.rss | http://lesswrong.com/
Lifehacker: Top | http://lifehacker.com/tag/top/index.xml | http://lifehacker.com/tag/top
Mostly Maths | http://www.mostlymaths.net/feeds/posts/default | http://www.mostlymaths.net/
OkTrends | http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/feed/ | http://blog.okcupid.com
Poetic Home | http://feeds.feedburner.com/PoeticHomephLivingInVintagePoetry | http://www.poetichome.com
Steampunk Home | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSteampunkHome | http://thesteampunkhome.blogspot.com/
Steampunk Workshop | http://steampunkworkshop.com/steam.xml | http://steampunkworkshop.com

Money + Business
A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks | http://feeds2.feedburner.com/blogspot/smartbear | http://blog.asmartbear.com
I Will Teach You To Be Rich | http://feeds2.feedburner.com/IWillTeachYouToBeRich | http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com
Len Penzo dot Com | http://feeds.feedburner.com/LenPenzo | http://lenpenzo.com/blog
MicroISV on a Shoestring | http://www.kalzumeus.com/feed/ | http://www.kalzumeus.com
Millionaire Mommy Next Door | http://feeds.feedburner.com/MillionaireMommyNextDoor | http://millionairemommynextdoor.com
Simple Dollar | http://feeds.feedburner.com/thesimpledollar | http://www.thesimpledollar.com
Steve Blank | http://steveblank.com/feed/ | http://steveblank.com
Unicornfree | http://feeds.feedburner.com/unicornfree | http://unicornfree.com

Cool Tools | http://www.kk.org/cooltools/index.xml | http://www.kk.org/cooltools/
Joel on Software | http://www.joelonsoftware.com/rss.xml | http://www.joelonsoftware.com
PawPrint.net | http://www.pawprint.net/news/rss/news.xml | http://www.pawprint.net
Schneier on Security | http://www.schneier.com/blog/atom.xml | http://www.schneier.com/blog/
Slight Paranoia (Chris Soghoian) | http://paranoia.dubfire.net/rss.xml | http://paranoia.dubfire.net/

Game Theorist | http://gametheorist.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default | http://gametheorist.blogspot.com/
Parent Hacks | http://feeds.feedburner.com/parenthacks | http://www.parenthacks.com/
Thingamababy | http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/atom.xml | http://www.thingamababy.com

AnnaTheRed's Bento Factory | http://feeds.feedburner.com/AnnaTheRedsBentoFactory | http://www.annathered.com
Derek Sivers | http://sivers.org/en.atom | http://sivers.org/
dive into mark | http://feeds2.feedburner.com/diveintomark/all | http://diveintomark.org/
Jonathan Coulton | http://feeds.feedburner.com/jonathancoulton | http://www.jonathancoulton.com
Patrick Rothfuss - Blog | http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/feed/ | http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com
Telstar Logistics | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TelstarLogistics | http://telstarlogistics.typepad.com/telstarlogistics/
This Tiny House | http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThisTinyHouse | http://thistinyhouse.com
WIL WHEATON dot NET: in exile | http://feeds.feedburner.com/wwdn | http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/
xkcd | http://blag.xkcd.com/feed/ | http://blog.xkcd.com

Personal Development
Ask The Headhunter | http://corcodilos.com/blog/feed/atom/ | http://corcodilos.com/blog
Cooking For Engineers | http://www.cookingforengineers.com/atom.xml | http://www.cookingforengineers.com/
Lazy Way to Success | http://lazyway.blogs.com/lazy_way/index.rdf | http://lazyway.blogs.com/lazy_way/
Study Hacks | http://feeds.feedburner.com/StudyHacks | http://calnewport.com/blog
Unclutterer | http://feedproxy.google.com/unclutterer | http://unclutterer.com
Zen Habits | http://zenhabits.net/feed/ | http://zenhabits.net

Video, music
Armin van Buuren's Youtube feed | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=arminvanbuuren | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=arminvanbuuren
Ronald Jenkees' YouTube feed | http://www.youtube.com/rss/user/ronaldjenkees/videos.rss | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=ronaldjenkees
Sungha Jung's YouTube feed | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=jwcfree | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=jwcfree
Tiesto's Youtube feed | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=officialtiesto | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=officialtiesto
Weird Al's YouTube feed | http://www.youtube.com/rss/user/alyankovic/videos.rss | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=alyankovic

Video, spoken
Eric Stromer's DIY | http://home.aol.com/rss/home_feed_eric-stromer.rss | http://home.aol.com/rss/home_feed_eric-stromer.rss
Google Developers | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=GoogleDevelopers | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=GoogleDevelopers
Google Tech Talks | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=googletechtalks | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=googletechtalks
Happy Tree Friends | http://podcast.happytreefriends.com/htfrss.xml | http://podcast.happytreefriends.com
RSA | http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/users/theRSAorg/uploads?orderby=updated&alt=rss&v=2&client=ytapi-youtube-rss-redirect | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=theRSAorg
TED talks on Youtube | http://www.youtube.com/ut_rss?type=username&arg=TEDtalksDirector | http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=TEDtalksDirector

DanielStraight 4 days ago 2 replies      
Trying to pick things not yet mentioned.

Cooking blogs (I read a bunch more, but these are the best):




A blog ostensibly about learning Japanese but really about learning anything:







Inspiration / business:



A little of everything:


pragmatic 4 days ago 4 replies      

Books have a relevance that's hard to match with blog posts, newspapers and magazines.

Books from 200 to 2000 years ago still have a lot of relevance. (Human nature hasn't changed much).

So instead of reading about the latest privacy invasion from Facebook or the latest startup that no one will know about in 2 years, try a book.

I'm trying this myself. Spending less time on hacker news, and more time with good books. So far, much more satisfying. You feel like you accomplished something after finishing a good book. Versus feeling like you wasted a morning/night reading through "timely news".

aaronbrethorst 4 days ago 1 reply      
I subscribe (i.e. physically) to The Economist and GQ.

I'm subscribed to 243 feeds in Google Reader, of which maybe 50-67% are still updated. Reader tells me I 'read' 7,189 items in the past 30 days. Usually I skim headlines and look for interesting things.

My favorite feeds right now are my city's alt weekly newspaper's blog, my neighborhood's unofficial blog (http://capitolhillseattle.com/), James Altucher, Ben Horowitz, and Cliff Mass (a meteorologist at the University of Washington, and a fascinating writer).

I'll skim Twitter a couple times a day when I'm waiting in line, brushing my teeth, etc. I do so more now than I used to because a website of mine gets a huge amount of traffic from tweets, and I like to stay ahead of the curve on that.

I'll skim TechMeme late at night when I've exhausted everything else.

I'll troll through the NYT and longform.org a couple times a week to add interesting things to Instapaper, too.

Terry_B 4 days ago 0 replies      
So much less than I used to. I used to average something like 15000 read items a month in google reader.

Now just HN and Techmeme and I try to get on with getting things done.

asymptotic 4 days ago 0 replies      
I physically subscribe to Harper's Magazine (http://harpers.org) and the New York Review of Books (http://nybooks.com).

I use Google Reader, through which I have 222 subscriptions and have read 11,321 items in 30 days; I mostly skim through most summaries and articles and read maybe 1 in 20-50. I bookmark particularly interesting articles in my Delicious account and then try to re-read them within a week to see if I a) still find them interesting, and b) whether new perspectives and thoughts crop up about the themes of the article.

If you're curious you can get the OPML export of my Google Reader subscriptions here: https://gist.github.com/970230

My daily reading routine is:

- Guardian's international articles (guardian.co.uk/world)

- International Herald Tribune (iht.com)

- Techmeme (techmeme.com)

- Skim the first page of HN

- Skim the newest articles on Metafilter and AskMefi.

- Flick through all my Google Reader items throughout the day.

You don't explcitly mention this but I also voraciously read books, at a rate of about two every month. Right now I'm going through a serious counterinsurgency phase.

danieldk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even though I am mostly an OS X user http://lwn.net/ provides great in-depth coverage of Linux and BSD.
Symmetry 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Economist (dead tree edition)

http://lesswrong.com/ Thinking about thinking

http://www.realworldtech.com/ For really in depth articles on computer topics, and the forums

http://www.anandtech.com/ for hardware benchmarks and reviews

http://blog.regehr.org/ a blog about C compilers and hiking

http://marginalrevolution.com/ Economics progressor joint blog

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/ Intelligent and sane liberal blogger

http://www.theatlantic.com/megan-mcardle/ Intelligent and sane conservative blogger. "Conservative" might actually be a bit of a stretch there...

http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/ About space travel/combat - its almost a guilty pleasure.

Also the blogs of a few authors and friends.

akkartik 4 days ago 1 reply      
In order of priority:

1. gmail. I still have a manageable amount of email, and I enjoy my inbox. My best conversations happen on it. I leave my inbox empty every night.

2. hacker news

3. arc forum and, recently, factor archives

4. google reader. I subscribe to 150 low-volume feeds that I want to read every last thing on. They generate about 25 articles a day.

5a. I intermittently read every single comment on HN for periods of time using http://hackerstream.com disclosure: I built this with a friend)

5b. I intermittently scan high-volume feeds on http://readwarp.com disclosure: my site)

My reading's gotten streamlined since I separated high-volume and low-volume sources in my mind (I even wrote a rant about this epiphany: http://akkartik.name/blog/2009-05-19-21-30-46-soc). High volume sources are all in 5 above, and as new ones come up I'll build specialized tools for them.

kristofferR 4 days ago 0 replies      
Zite on the iPad is absolutely amazing. It's a dynamic newspaper/daily magazine with the cobtent you are intersted in. It somehow always finds the best new content relevant to me with stunning accuracy.

Most of the stuff I really love in HN also appear in my Zite-magazine

andrewl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Arts & Letters Daily: http://www.aldaily.com/

Cool Tools: http://www.kk.org/cooltools/

Philip Greenspun's blog: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/

paganel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lew Rockwell's blog : http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/

Economist.com blogs, especially the Johnson blog (http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson) and the "Free exchange" blog (http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange)

Planet Python : http://planet.python.org/

The Erlang sub-reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/erlang

nollidge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent science blogs:

Bad Astronomy: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy

Frontal Cortex (neuropsych type stuff): http://www.wired.com/wiredscience

Not Exactly Rocket Science (general science, mostly biology): http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience

delinka 4 days ago 0 replies      
"...what else do you read?"

I sincerely apologize for giving in to my Grammar Nazi impulse. Please understand that although it is not an excuse, reading the "Logical Punctuation" article has made me ... temporarily insane. Thank you.

jlangenauer 4 days ago 0 replies      
latitude 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here are few off the beaten path:





Very inspirational, really helps with getting stuff into a shippable state :)

seldo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tumblr has become a huge source of information for me -- I've never liked the RSS model, where the "unread" count nags at me. On tumblr I just read what's on top, and don't sweat if I miss things -- if it's big news, it'll get reblogged.

On tumblr I subscribe to The Atlantic, Newsweek, the Economist and ShortFormBlog. On top of those, I have a bunch of others who provide art, photography, pictures of puppies and pretty boys. It's the perfect mix :-)

cloudwalking 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://kottke.org is my favorite website.
Spyro7 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ars Technica (surprised no one mentioned this one yet), Economist, WSJ, NYT, Phoronix, OSNews, Financial Times.

I used to read books, but then college started. Now the only books I read are textbooks. A tragedy.

officemonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Right now I'm reading "Game of Thrones" on my kindle. Before that I was on a Jules Verne kick: "Around the World in 80 Days", "Journey to the Interior of the Earth" and "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" are all great fun.

Sometimes I even read something work-related: "Bureaucracy" by James Wilson and "Managing the Unexpected" by Weick and Sutcliffe.

temphn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Steve Sailer: thought criminal and smartest pundit you've never heard of.

La Griffe Du Lion: rarely posts but highly interesting.

hobolobo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Robert Fisk at the Independent writes brilliantly on the Middle East.


pclark 4 days ago 0 replies      
Magazines: Monocle & The New Yorker

News Websites: http://ft.com (news/finance) http://gq.com (fashion/lifestyle) http://businessinsider.com (tech) http://pehub.com (tech deals)

Blogs: http://kotaku.com (video games) http://www.valetmag.com/ (fashion) http://hypebeast.com (fashion) http://daringfireball.net (opinion)

When bored: reddit tumblr

pamelafox 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently reading a set of 10 blogs that revolve around design/branding/user experience, as I want to improve my skills there. I wrote up a post with links to them here: http://blog.pamelafox.org/2011/05/reading-my-way-to-better-d...

(And to be meta about it, I based that list of blogs on a previous hackernews thread:

orijing 4 days ago 2 replies      
Quora is a great website to read. I participate a lot on it too, depending on whether I have project deadlines or finals coming up.

I also impulsively refresh Google News sometimes...

davidw 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Economist in paper form, and lots of books again, thanks to my Kindle!

If I had the time, I'd probably get the Financial Times.

gbog 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since my wife offered me a Kindle, I happen to read interesting classics found on http://www.gutenberg.org:

   Les Mémoires du prince de Talleyrand
De la démocratie en Amérique, Alexis de Tocqueville
À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust

mambodog 4 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to Ars Technica, I also read Kotaku Australia. I find Mark Serrels' contributions to the Australian edition to be some of the best material on the site.

I read /r/australia as a filter for domestic news (mainly links from The Age, SMH, ABC and Crikey).

I also use Stylebot to hide the comments section on every news site I read regularly, generally nothing good will come of reading them.

stevenj 4 days ago 0 replies      
For those who are interested in business news, I just relaunched http://forlue.com: HN for Business News.
guard-of-terra 4 days ago 0 replies      
(in russian)

A site with news and inside stories on Russian web businesses.
It's not technical and pretty narrow, on other hand - big business owners and managers routinely write there (for example, Pavel Durov, creator of Russian social network #1, wrote a few articles).

migrantgeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I limit my subs to mostly tech and feeds that post infrequently but well.

I go back and forth between enabling Hacker News and disabling it. It's too busy and distracting sometimes when I need to get things done and I don't want to get lost it some lengthy article somewhere.

Here are my current feeds sans HN

















tobylane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Metafilter, Lifehacker and bits of most of that network, Onethingwell, Marco.org, DaringFireball, BBC news, Arstechnica, Superuser, GiveMeSomethingToRead.

I've bookmarked about 100 blogs to read later, so I ignore new posts from these sources to those blogs. I'd say Metafilter is my main and highest quality source.

In real life all I read is http://www.theweek.co.uk/ and Instapaper with the odd tech or music magazine.

JesseAldridge 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really like David Brooks' column:

He's the pg of the political world.

bergie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ars Technica, Qaiku, Twitter. Also, Google Reader:

From your 385 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 3,616 items, clicked 39 items

For non-tech news I read Skuuppi, which is a bit like HN for Finnish news: http://www.skuuppi.com/

gizzlon 4 days ago 0 replies      
H-Online, especially the features:
xelfer 4 days ago 0 replies      
reddit, somethingawful
oscardelben 4 days ago 0 replies      
Less Wrong.
djm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Every few days or so I have a look through the new submissions to http://longreads.com. It lists longer articles from other places on the web and is a welcome change to the short contentless articles I come accross everywhere else.
cschmidt 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Economist is great, although I mostly "read" the audio edition in my car on my horrible commute.
sayemm 4 days ago 0 replies      
tech news: http://sayem.me



Twitter, Reddit, StackOverflow, High Scalability

apas 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News, Techmeme, Slashdot, Twitter, Reddit/r/funny (so much fun, check it out).

I tried to follow Quora but couldn't figure out the UI (I'll try again after 5/23 because I'm very pressured by school right now).

I do check out GigaOM, very good content. Also Engadget sometimes and iPhoneDownloadBlog.com.

I stopped reading TechCrunch & Mashable.

yalogin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be on reddit constantly but after I found hacker news I am losing interest in reddit and now actually get work done.
sjs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mostly tech blogs and links I come across on twitter. I try to keep my rss subscriptions to a minimum. If I don't read 5-10 consecutive posts I ditch the feed.
iSimone 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have two things going every morning:

1) I flip through my Reeder app on the iPad which has a mix of blogs in there that either publish far too ofter (like techcrunch) or far too seldom (like avc.com; ok that one's in between). I however try to have a great selection of various topics in there from architecture, design (like swiss-miss.com) to the tech kind-of news.

2) Then I have a selection of apps or Safari bookmarks sitting on my first iPad page that I go through in a bit more detailed fashion. I'm listing them below:

- dribbble.com (dribbblr app)

- quora.com

- forrst.com

- macrumors.com

- thenextweb.com

- flipboard app

- twitter app

Then I'm ready to start the day and go on with it. Not included are philosophical books I try to read, but I don't read nearly as much as I should.

wyclif 4 days ago 0 replies      
TechMeme, StackOverflow, Quora, and Twitter. As for "old media" online, I like The Economist, WSJ, and Financial Times.
leif 4 days ago 0 replies      
I keep trying to get more active in math.stackexchange.
rivalis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Random stuff. Really high-entropy, high-novelty stuff, as different from research papers and math/cs textbooks as I can manage (these make up the bulk of my reading material). Currently:

- Portrait of a Lady
- The Illiad
- A collection of Walter Benjamin's very early work
- The Braddock Essays (a collection of award-winning essays about teaching composition to college students)

bmunro 4 days ago 0 replies      
bluegene 4 days ago 0 replies      
Daring fireball,
Oreilly News,
Official Google Blog

RealWorld Technologies,
ServerFault Blog,
Gustavo Duarte,

A Day in the Life of IS investigator,
Microsoft Security Research Center,
Layer 8,

Boston Globe's Big Picture,
Atlantic's In Focus,

The Art of Manliness,
Windows PowerShell blog,
Paul Graham Essays,
Anil Dash,
Joel Spolsky,
High Scalability,
The old new Thing

scrabbles 4 days ago 0 replies      
I look forward to seeing updates to these feeds, though they aren't always daily.

PeteSearch: http://petewarden.typepad.com/searchbrowser/

SimoleonSense: http://www.simoleonsense.com/

O'Reilly Radar: http://radar.oreilly.com/

The various "planet" feeds (planet lisp, haskell) and "r bloggers" are always great sources of news too.

jkaljundi 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://utopic.me/ to provide personal automated reading suggestions.
gauravgupta 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote http://bit.ly/kJdNr4 in 5 minutes to quickly scan the headlines from my favorite blogs and pick what to read. It's been really effective.
alphaBetaGamma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Many things that have already been mentioned, plus the free newsletter from STRATFOR. I'm thinking of subscribing.

It offers a very cynical view of geopolitics, quite different of what you see in the mainstream media. I find it thought provoking.

For example, their analysis of the Syrian crisis:

IanMikutel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Techmeme - Great for the current tech news pulse and multiple sources gives balanced coverage w/ multiple viewpoints on any news topic at the moment.

Real books - a novel idea, I know.

hobbsy 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Techmeme Leaderboard OPML list is worth popping into your Google Reader:


runjake 4 days ago 0 replies      
TechMeme, Quora
paradox95 4 days ago 0 replies      
Inside Facebook
Gmail/GoogleTV/Goolge/Google Docs blogs
engadget (although rarely nowadays)

Outside of tech:
Yahoo News
HuffPo - occasionally

keyle 4 days ago 1 reply      
tonycore 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.Newz.io - Searchable magazine organized by topic that pulls from thousands of top publishers. For instance if I wanted to see all the bin laden news i go to http://www.newz.io/bin-laden and it'll create a magazine on those keywords
dpcan 4 days ago 1 reply      

Local news website



kongqiu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Books: The Bible, Kundera, Bolano, Borges, Sebald, Robert Caro, Naipaul, Milosz, Blake

Web: Exiledonline, Matt Taibbi, Borderland Beat, NYRB

mhansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not read, but I listen to NPR's Planet Money podcast
Bvalmont 4 days ago 0 replies      
Daily : Somethingawful Forum, my Tumblr feed, Newspaper on iPad.

Weekly : A bunch of design feeds : Abduzeedo, Minimalmac, Bornrich, Joshspear.com, We Make Money Not Art, Changethethought, Yummy fresh grain feed!

Monthly: Zen habits, Stepcase lifehack, Freelanceswitch, Lost Garden, Wired iPad app.

phodo 4 days ago 2 replies      
woan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Old media WSJ and nytimes...
pacohn 4 days ago 1 reply      

Like HN meets twitter.

jijoy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to have a huge list of feeds in google reader. After start reading HN , now I don't even bother to open google reader. If the blog is good enough to read , I am sure it will come in HN in a matter of minutes. Thanks HN :
BasilAwad 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone play with the data and report where the HN links are coming from?
selamattidur 4 days ago 2 replies      
I really like the guys at Short Form Blog, who have a really great, attractive-looking approach to aggregating the day's news online.


psybermonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
zacs 4 days ago 0 replies      
For purely non-technical (but still very educated and inspired--it helps to be well-rounded): www.newyorker.com, www.givemesomethingtoread.com, www.longform.org, and soon www.grantland.com.
lucio_ribeiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've got over 200 feeds in Google Reader. However I broke down in daily readings, weekly readings and monthly.
Techcrunch, Mashable, Hack Forum and Delicious feeds are on daily
rplacd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone's already mentioned plenty of sites on the net, so I'll just list my quad-fecta of magazines/periodicals - Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation, NYRB.
mailanay 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the web:
1. Hacker News
2. Techcrunch
3. Documentaries on Youtube
4. Interviews of Warren Buffett

1. The Economist
2. Books by James Gleick
3. Reader's Digest

rvijapurapu 4 days ago 0 replies      
My day starts with http://slashdot.org

Then HN, then general news. I guess I'm a sucker for Technology news.

start123 4 days ago 0 replies      
My daily read includes BusinessInsider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, AllThingsDigital, AllFacebook, InsideFacebook, SocialTimes, Quora, Wired, GigaOm, and Mashable.
rkalla 4 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot and Hacker Newwwwwever mind.

Also enjoy StackExchange reading material.

kodeshpa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else is in for StackOverflow ??
tammer 4 days ago 0 replies      

get yourself a subscription. today.

chanux 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I feel like I want to read something other than HN (which basically means I'm _looking_ for distractions) I know something is wrong with me.
scorpion032 4 days ago 0 replies      
mohoyt 4 days ago 0 replies      
New Yorker, Inc., Wired, Daring Fireball, and a whole bunch of stuff in Google Reader
kjetil 4 days ago 0 replies      
I recently deleted all my RSS subscriptions and went Twitter only for "feeds".
lzy 4 days ago 0 replies      
cptnknk 4 days ago 2 replies      
https://blog.fefe.de conspiracy - politics - technology (German)
http://www.zerohedge.com/ just stumbled over this one, not sure what to make out of it yet
efader 4 days ago 0 replies      
themullet 4 days ago 0 replies      
not much, hardly even read hacker news any more.

only daily ones:
gaming forum for a game a bunch of us used to play back in the day.

too busy coding.

iamchmod 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anything Neal Asher writes "Gridlinked", "The Skinner", "Line War"
ThomPete 4 days ago 0 replies      
karlzt 4 days ago 0 replies      
gmail, physics books.
kodeshpa 4 days ago 0 replies      
GigaOm , TechCruch for me
rjvir 4 days ago 0 replies      
Twitter, Quora, and Reddit.
gorr 4 days ago 0 replies      
i hope HN stops posting interesting news so i could be productive with my job
djerry 4 days ago 0 replies      
Techcrunch and Quora
bo_Olean 4 days ago 0 replies      
joelandren 4 days ago 0 replies      
The newspapers. All of them.
Why Geeks Should Love HP WebOS palm.com
287 points by unwiredben  6 days ago   166 comments top 38
noonespecial 6 days ago 4 replies      
I love it simply because its the best SSH experience of all of the smartphones. One click gets me the phones real terminal and then "ssh -l me whereever.com". No bogus setup screens, with each server requiring a 5 minute fill in the blank session to connect to, no menus full of special keys to transmit (most covered with the orange key), just pure .ssh/id_dsa public key in my home-dir win.

Its 10x easier than the best thing on my ipad and its with me 24/7 because it also happens to be my phone. Other problems with WebOS and Pre? Sure there are. This makes up for all of them. Smartphone makers: rent-seek my terminal, you lose.

brianwillis 6 days ago 2 replies      
Just tap on the “Just Type” search bar and enter “upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart” (the classic NES Konami code!); an icon appears that lets you toggle this mode on and off.

Wait, really? If that's not a joke, then it's kind of cool.

GeneralMaximus 5 days ago 1 reply      

I remember getting excited when the Pre first came out. Sadly, it wasn't available in India. It still isn't. This is why Android will take over the mobile world: it's ubiquitous. Also, Samsung and HTC, the two largest players in the Android market, actually care about markets other than the USA and Europe. The Galaxy S II, for example, will launch in 120 countries.

benjoffe 6 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, browsing that site from my phone is a crippling experience, they have this:

    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=0" /> 

..yet they haven't actually optimized the site properly for a small display, meaning it's not actually possible to scroll/zoom to see any full line of text (tested on iPhone).

jsz0 6 days ago 2 replies      
I was hoping Palm would eventually license WebOS to companies that could make better hardware and offer more desirable form factors. WebOS is nice but the original Pre was just truly awful hardware. Under powered, fragile, terrible keyboard, screen was too small, etc. It doesn't look like the other WebOS devices released since have really improved on this much. Unfortunately HP would never consider licensing so hopefully they at least look at the SmartPhone market and realize people seem to like slim devices with high resolution screens. Big fat sliders with small low resolution screens have a very limited market these days.
michaelpinto 6 days ago 2 replies      
You know what's lacking from this list? A killer feature that both Android or iOS lacks. And that doesn't just have to be software, it can be the backing of other high profile manufacturers or a super low price point. The problem is that when you don't have market share you have to have bells and whistles the get geeks excited. I love HP as a company, and they're great as making stuff " but making an operating system is a different ball game of sorts.
moeffju 5 days ago 3 replies      
I really want to like WebOS. I did when the original Pre came out, but the hardware was only so-so and the marketing was too little.

Now, the new hardware looks really slick and the Enyo framework is super powerful. Again I was happy... Until I tried to sign up in their dev center. It's a many step process during which you have to register with the IRS, for example. Then you have to email them and ask for access to the Enyo SDK. Then they send you a form letter back.
I have lost almost all interest by now.

Palm... I really want to like you. Don't make it so hard.

Argorak 6 days ago 1 reply      
Why Geeks should hate HP WebOS:

Only one recent device (at the moment) and it is carrier exclusive in most countries (for me, in germany). I like the new devices and the operating system, but sadly, I also have a good contract with a different carrier.

So: sorry HP, but i'll pass. I never bought a locked phone and I will not start because of your hypergeeky operating system.

zcid 6 days ago 0 replies      
I loved my Pre when I was still with Sprint. By far the most enjoyable to use out of all the phones I've had. My biggest complaint was (and still is) the lack of applications. If HP is able increase their app library, they will quite possibly find me buying another WebOS device.

I really hope they succeed if only because of the openness of their phones. It feels amazing to have full access to your device out of the box without having to jump through 1.5 million jailbreak hoops.

comex 5 days ago 1 reply      
"You don't have to jailbreak or root your device. What other platforms call jailbreaking or rooting, we call entering developer mode."

As an iOS jailbreaker, <3

I mean, it removes a bit of the fun, but still.

I ought to get a Pre.

jallmann 6 days ago 1 reply      
I love WebOS because it has the only sane development model of all the smartphone platforms on the market.

edit: I actually think wp7/silverlight might fare well too from a dev perspective, but i haven't spent time with it yet.

lukifer 6 days ago 0 replies      
WebOS keeps getting more and more compelling. If the hardware becomes sturdier, this could do very well, especially in the tablet space.
blinkingled 6 days ago 1 reply      
webOS sorely needs Galaxy S2 class hardware. HP should stop all else and get a slick device out like yesterday.
slowpoison 6 days ago 1 reply      
If HP really wants developers behind it, they should consider giving away these devices to the developers. Even a $500 phone is a cheap investment with high returns, when made on a developer who's going to invest time (and money), is going to learn mostly by herself, and release an app in the market, even if in the hopes of making money for herself.

With Android already doing well, I don't see a developer risking her time as well as money on Palm, when it's uncertain how much success she'll achieve.

mdiep 6 days ago 2 replies      
If HP made an iPod Touch competitor, I would buy one in a heartbeat. I don't want to buy another phone, but I'd love to have a WebOS device to play with.
azakai 6 days ago 1 reply      
WebOS is definitely very cool.

I doubt WebOS can overtake Android or iOS at this point, but it should be a solid third place in this market (I don't think other competitors like WP7 or Bada can make it).

plainOldText 6 days ago 2 replies      
I think WebOS is great. But all the Palm devices are sliders which kinda sucks. I wish they'd come up with something comparable with Nexus S or iPhone 4. A simple, but cool nice little piece of smartphone. But, that's just me.
johnrob 6 days ago 2 replies      
Why haven't they made a tool/framework for porting WebOS apps (non-native) to iOS & android? This would be a great way to leverage their superior developer experience to get more apps on their platform.
antihero 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any way that WebOS could be ported to Android? If they're both linux then the drivers should be fairly compatible with the respected kernel mods, right?
raghava 5 days ago 2 replies      
> There's no cost to become a developer.

But there is, to submit (signed) apps?

https://developer.palm.com/index.php?option=com_register&... says

"Benefits include:

    Enroll in the webOS Developer program ($99/year; covers up to xx application submissions)
Submit you webOS application(s) for review and approval by Palm"

Am sure am missing something. Also, these devices are too costly for geeks on other side of planet, if at all they are launched here.

m0hit 6 days ago 2 replies      
if only there was a good (and hopefully cheap) hardware device to go with webOS, it would definitely be cool to hack with. The Palm Pre, however, in my opinion did not function as a useful device, mostly because of the hardware (and lack of applications compared to iOS and android devices).
bfrog 6 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe if they made a good device that was available for my carrier of choice I'd be more willing to consider it.

As it stands I have half a dozen android phones to possibly choose from and the venerable iphone. I'd love to have a webos phone if it was closer to the iphone in terms of form factor, resolution, speed, battery life etc but from what I've seen its not even close.

Top it off with the fact that it seems like HP hasn't advertised a penny for the thing compared to verizon's droid adverts plastered everywhere.

Honestly HP needs to team up with a carrier and make it happen in terms of marketing. Windows Phone 7 might beat out webos in terms of mindshare at this point.

treorock 6 days ago 1 reply      
1. Ares
2. Cards
3. Notifications
4. Just Type
5. Exhibition
6. OTA updates
7. Gestures
8. Synergy
9. The WebOS community
10. WebOS Internals
jinushaun 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've always had a soft spot for WebOS and still prefer it over Android and WP7. However, Palm gimped themselves by making it Sprint exclusive and putting the OS on cheap plastic hardware.
billmcneale 6 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty much every single point applies to Android as well, and if you have to pick based on mind share and momentum...
wazoox 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love WebOS. My DSL line just dropped this morning, and I'm using the WiFi hotspot built into my Pre to read HN. The 3G link is only slightly slower for web browsing (2.3 Mbps down, 330 kpbs up).
hrabago 6 days ago 1 reply      
If I love one device over the other because it gives me more potential earnings, does that make me less of a geek?
blub 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just as Intel's AppUp, they require Paypal, which I've canceled and don't want to use any more.
Tomek_ 5 days ago 1 reply      
So when those new phones they showed some months ago at Mobile World Congress are coming out?
diamondhead 6 days ago 2 replies      
I would love it but I can't make myself like an HP product because HP has been selling thousands frozen WindowsXP + IE6 computers to the universities in my country.
gcb 5 days ago 0 replies      
adoption is so low gsmarena doesn't even list on the advanced search OS list...
freshrap6 6 days ago 0 replies      
I too am a big WebOS fan. So much so, I'm learning web development so that I can write some apps to help populate its market.
eekfuh 6 days ago 5 replies      
#7: You can try cutting edge stuff.

Yet you can't even do css background gradients. Real cutting edge.

barkerja 6 days ago 2 replies      
#5: The source is easy to find.

Does this mean that all apps' source is accessible, or just Palm namespaced applications?

45g 5 days ago 2 replies      
WebOS is not open source so I fail to see why a "geek" should love it. On the contrary - they should avoid it!
dpio 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to the Pre 3.
harvestgrand 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are you stuck with the hp app store or can you go to places like apptown?
thisuser 6 days ago 4 replies      
but does it tether?
Everyone sucks at interviewing. Everyone. humbledmba.com
275 points by jaf12duke  1 day ago   119 comments top 31
tomkarlo 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm not sure what the OP suggests is feasible in most situations. It's disruptive to the existing team and you have to have "throwaway" projects around for the person to do that won't cause problems if they're late or poorly implemented (and if that's the case, why do them?) Also, you're letting every guy who "interviews" learn about the internals of your systems, code base, security, etc to some degree, which is not something most companies want to do.

Interviewing is hard, but it's clearly not totally broken, given that some companies obviously do a far better job of it than others. Do we really believe that the big consulting companies or banks don't know how to filter for the better candidates given how much their business depends purely on having the smartest people? Are Apple, Amazon and Google really just more lucky at hiring?

One non-interview thing that I DO like to look at is publicly viewable work like open source contributions, blogging, social media activity, etc. If someone wants to work on web sites, and they're not doing anything web-related outside of their job, I have to wonder how passionate they really are about the domain.

agentultra 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hiring is hard because understanding people is hard.

There's also the problem of selection bias. Your technical interviewers are going to look for people that resemble themselves. In a broad sense this is because they think they're smart and everyone else is dumb (and rightly so). The problem is that this strategy can be far too successful and you will invariably turn away a perfectly suitable selection of candidates along with the unsuitable ones. It's human nature and difficult to detect.

There is another form of selection bias in the interview process. You need to know that the candidate you're going to hire is going to be competent, assertive, and talented. However the exact match of skills, abilities, and personality traits that fulfill those broad categories are going to be based off of those skills, abilities, and traits you believe have helped you to be successful so far. When interviewing someone it is far too easy to check off the features a candidate is lacking and miss the ones they do have that you do not. A good hire, IMO, is someone who has some of the skills and abilities you already have and some you do not. Yet all too often, we look for people who have ALL of the skills we already have instead.

I think strategies such as the one in the article would at least by-pass many of the definicies noted above. However I think it might be impractical in some scenarios (ie: when the candidate is already in a position at another company, or when they have received attractive offers from other companies). It's a start though and I think alternative strategies should be considered more often.

chollida1 1 day ago 3 replies      
> Sometimes, a talented person can't, for whatever reason, commit to a 3 week project.

I would think this applies to pretty much anyone who is in demand.

> Maybe he can take 3 days off his oyher job and work half a week and a weekend with us.

Can someone else explain, why i'd take time off of work to do this job interview? Why not take a day off and interview with Google/Apple/Microsoft instead?

pnathan 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry. If I was currently gainfully employed and looking for a job, I don't think I'd be on board with your system. I appreciate the idea of getting to know a company, but, I'd be applying for several companies every day. Even given the current interviewing speed (several hours), it'd eat up time.

Doing part-time contracting is just not going to cut it. I've done moonlighting before: no one was very happy with my work, including me. You can't hire me this way if I have a job already.

If I was unemployed and looking, I'd be more interested, but you would not get a cut-rate from me: you'd get a full consulting rate & contract.

In my opinion, if you want the best engineers, you need to know them and offer massive bait. Because they aren't just going to jump for anybody or any old normal reason. You have to offer them what they want - and more than their current job does.

yannickmahe 1 day ago 4 replies      
I like the idea, but as a developer there is little chance I'll do contract work before getting a job when I'm looking for a "real" job. Right now, finding a job is easy enough that I don't think a lot of people will jump through a lot of hoops before getting the job.
cygwin98 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps Jason's approach may come out of his intuition, I'd like to explain it from a more "academic" perspective. In economics, the labor market is often suffered from information asymmetries where the employer has little means to determine the productivity of prospective employees. Therefore, if the employer is willing to pay average wage, it will obtain below average workers, as workers who has higher than average productivities won't accept the offer. Such a phenomenon is also called "the Market of lemons" in the context of used car market.

The root cause of such a market failure is because workers' productivity is difficult to measure. A certain measure has to be introduced to indicate the worker productivity indirectly (often termed Signaling in economics). For decades HR/Recruiters have been addressing this problem by using different metrics as the signals/indicators. Popular signals include education (GPA, university prestige).

Programming may be a bit more challenging as multiple factors can affect programmers' productivity, e.g., intrinsic intelligence, problem solving skills, the speed of learning. Our hard-working recruiters/interviewers have introduced some new signals --- brain teasers, coding tests, etc.

What Jason proposed in this blog post is that we don't need all those signals, they are all inaccurate and can be fooled around by a well-prepared interviewee, why not directly measure their performance by working with them for a short period, say, three weeks.

That does sound like a good idea. IMHO, that's basically what internship does for students, but not sure if that will work for full-time employees, as it will incur extra opportunity cost for them.

blauwbilgorgel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like this approach of really testing out the waters before committing.

I find there is also a divide between HR/recruiting and the lead developers. Once I had two interviews at a company. The first one from HR and a second one from the lead developers.

The attitude of the developers made me think they didn't have much say into the whole process. They did ask the best (read hardest) questions. This interview order seems fine, though questions like:

how many lines of codes did you write in language X?
If we ask you to build Y, could you, and how would you go about it?
If there is a problem in the weekend, and we call you, would you come over to fix it?

Could perfectly be asked in the first round of the interviews. And if you really want to be sure that a person will come to the office, if need be, then maybe plan the contract meeting at midnight on a saturday :)

One thing I noticed while last searching for jobs is the apparent inconsistencies in job listings.

Pre-requisites like: PHP and Ruby, Web standards and Flash, thorough understanding of javascript (jQuery plug-ins), Photoshop or Illustrator and version control, familiar with Linux and .net.

At first I ascribed these pre's to unskilled job listers, but maybe this is the start of the negotiation process?
- "I do know X, but have to work on Y"
- "That is fine, have you thought about salary yet?"

Is this really a thing in recruiting, or am I seeing things?

mhp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tl;dr try someone out part time before hiring them full time.

Ignoring the link bait title of the post, I think the OP's suggestion is good. However, it's usually not possible. People are working full time and don't have extra time to work on your side project.

Interviews should include the same activities the interviewee will be doing during their job. Programmers need to program. Designers need to design. Sales people need to sell. It's actually quite easy to do this effectively in an interview and plenty of companies do that quite well (i.e. They don't suck)

TheloniusPhunk 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was once given thirty seconds to come up with synonyms for information, which I did. Then I was asked come up with antonyms for fast and furious starting with the letter p, I came up with pudgy and pleased. Then I was asked to tell my life story in twenty seconds. I refused. The interview ended.
spottiness 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finding great talent is hard but identifying talent is not difficult. Yet, finding and identifying talent is just half of the story. The other half is determining if the person can focus in what you need, be motivated, take the initiative, and deliver great work. That's the difficult part. More often than not, very talented individuals have a lot of stuff in their heads, such that mundane but essential work ranks low in their platonic priority list, and that affects their capacity to concentrate and deliver.
cypherpunks 1 day ago 0 replies      
My experience has been the opposite. Best employees aren't desperate to work for you. They're gainfully employed, and you have to poach them. No one I know who is productive would give up this much time to something. Almost everyone I know who is unemployed and desperate would.

The key to finding good employees is to do what Google does. Find successful people. Don't have them come to you -- go to them. How do you do this? Talk to professors and see who top students are. Read publications and books in your field. Hire whoever wrote them. Find neat free software projects, and hire the authors. The list goes on. People like that generally won't want to work for you, and the trick is to recruit them somehow.

jacques_chester 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I know someone who could plausibly answer that interview question. She has a degree in English literature, undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in law (U. Queensland and Oxford, respectively), plus taking classics on the side while learning Scots / Civil law at Edinburgh. She's scientifically literate and active in various skeptical societies. She wrote an award-winning novel and has another on the way about an alternate history Rome where Archimedes was captured and not killed by the Romans.

People like this are out there. Perhaps such "Hail Mary Non-Sequiturs" are actually worth including.

seanp2k 3 hours ago 0 replies      
@JasonFreedman That's great if it works for you, but personally I feel that you're just putting all the risk with the employee, which is shitty.

If someone is out of a job, the last thing they want is a 3-week gig. Yeah, I get that "well if they're good, they'll probably be allowed to stay". I wouldn't even consider working for a contract-to-hire position with a "few weeks" of guaranteed work. As a business, the risk is on YOU to hire the right person. As an employee, you're offering me what, maybe a month of rent while preventing me from going on most other job interviews? That's not a risk I'm willing to take. I'd rather do 3 interviews every day and have 5 jobs to pick from at the end of a week.

Also, the projects...I'd guess that the projects you have people work on aren't very beneficial to your company, or are so focused that they might not take advantage of the talents of the employee.

On the flip side, I think working with someone is the best way to get to know how they are / can be as an employee, and sometimes I feel that otherwise good employees will stumble on inverviews, so giving them some time to really prove themselves can be a good option....but I think that by limiting yourself to people willing to risk a few weeks on a long interview are going to be the most desperate of the desperate.

kevinburke 1 day ago 1 reply      
Work sample tests are the best predictor (p of 0.54) of success on the job. http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/10/selecting-tal...
util 1 day ago 2 replies      
How do you decide who you're going to court?
pkteison 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't understand contract to hire. I get it from the employer perspective, but why do employees agree to it?

If I was willing to work contracts (e.g. had a wife I could get health insurance and maybe some income-in-case-of-layoff security from), why wouldn't I just always only contract so that I could make more and get paid for my overtime?

If I wasn't willing to work contracts, wouldn't requiring me to contract up front take me out of the running?

Or does this whole thing assume people will just go without health care for a while? I could understand that if there weren't other choices, but given that other full time employment is readily available, who does this?

hkarthik 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really like the approach of "Contract-to-hire" developers but I've often found it to be difficult in markets where most good developers have multiple offers at any given time.

Also it's tough to do this when you're boot strapping and literally every pair of available hands can make or break your first big deal that helps keep the lights on.

mangala 1 day ago 0 replies      
After interviewing for months I basically memorized the answers to the main kinds of technical questions. After I started to hear the same sorts of questions asked over and over, I knew the process was completely broken and I would never ask stupid technical riddle questions to gauge someone's competence on the job.

I think a brief conversation about software development and a longer conversation to determine how smart the guy is is what matters. Even someone who barely knows how to code can learn on the fly if he's smart/competent enough.

Tycho 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Some interview questions I want to say 'do you realise how awkward that is to answer?' like asking people how their former colleagues would describe them, or what their weaknesses are. You couldn't do that in a normal conversation so I'm not sure it's a good idea in interviews. But who knows. Maybe it's effective or maybe it's simply the done thing.
nathanfp 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I strongly agree that the try before you buy approach is incredibly important for determining difficult to predict cultural and team fit. That being said while it is essential for early-stage companies to get this right, as pointed out in the comments, it can be difficult to scale and can be inefficient to make-up projects for potential hires, give them access to code, etc.

Some companies have found ways to bake cultural fit into their standard application process to great success. Twilio for example asks all applicants, business or engineering, to build telephony apps using the Twilio API before applying. This self-selects for people who are more willing to do research, be creative, and in general improves the likelihood that they will get along well with the team.

I am a bit biased here, but another path I would definitely advocate for is using interns. This is similar to the contractor approach but with a number of benefits in terms of price, and the fact that a hiring decision is not implicit at the end of the term. We have seen many startups build a pipeline of early hires by taking on multiple interns and seeing who is the best fit over the course of a few months.

yumraj 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMHO the title of the blog is incorrect. What he is saying is that he never hires anyone fulltime without at least working with the person on a project, and not that he doesn't interview.

Since, think about it, how did he find the person who will do the project in the first place, especially if there were multiple applicants.
Unless of course the blogger is also saying that he never posts a job and only works through reference, which defeats the entire argument anyway.

yangtheman 1 day ago 0 replies      
For anyone looking for a job immediately (as I am), I don't think s/he has time to do multiple 3-months projects. I do believe current interview process is broken, and interview results are not indicative of job performance. I think that's why referrals work the best. Also, although much shorter, weekend hackathons are good ways to gauge working chemistry.
mattacurtis 1 day ago 1 reply      
One issue that has been ignored is that of security / confidentiality. What happens if the individual you are "courting" works for one of your competitors? Any project that he would work on for you would likely require access to sensitive, proprietary data. Sure, you could force him to sign an NDA, but that puts him in a strange situation post-project.

How do you balance giving the candidate access to your data such that he can work on a meaningful project (read: the results of which are actionable) vs. having him toil away with some dummy data just to see how he thinks?

raffi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Automattic followed this practice and I think it worked quite well. When I was there, the company grew fast, but at least it was growing with known goods. When I'm back with Raffi Inc one day, I expect that I'll follow this practice too.
ArchD 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMO, an interview is to working at a company what speed-dating is to a long-term relationship. The interview process may get some measurements about someone's technical fundamentals, but very little can be gleaned about rapport with employees and in general how well an individual will gel with a company's goals and other team members. The success of a team is not just about the competence of each individual but how well the individuals work together as a team, and individual competence is not totally correlated to working well with a given team.
enjayhsu 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not just a time issue for the interviewee; the interviewer then needs to spend extra time checking the quality of the work, requiring extra technical expertise.

Awesome idea; just not feasible in many situations.

timedoctor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I totally agree with this article. You can get much better information from actually working with people. You don't have to expose them to your system, you can create a small project for them that is related and tests their skills.
desireco42 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't suck at interviewing, people who interview are usually as clueless as interviewee, so you can abuse this game from your side as well. I completely agree that people you hire most of the time have very little with what you need and want and that process is broken.

Suggestion in this post is how I would go about it as well, give people 2 weeks to try it out and see if we work for them as well as they work for us.

marksbirch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Actually, I kind of rock at interviews...
mpg33 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like the idea of a "mini-internship" instead of an interview...

An employer could take on a person for say 2 weeks non-paid and let that person prove themselves.

mtogo 1 day ago 0 replies      
| You should follow me on Twitter: @JasonFreedman.

I should? Really? Actually, i think i'm just fine without signing up to be spammed by you. Thanks for asking so politely, though!

Why I get my entertainment via BitTorrent luminarious.tumblr.com
263 points by luminarious  5 days ago   185 comments top 19
billpg 5 days ago 4 replies      
As someone with money who enjoys a lot of American TV, I'm not really interested in excuses why these services are not available worldwide.

Quit making excuses and make it happen. The torrenters don't seem to have any trouble building a global distribution network, and they are hiding from the law while simultaneously kicking your butt.

If you don't want to make it happen, quit whining about losing money. I have money and you have TV shows, so let's make a deal.

Nate75Sanders 5 days ago 4 replies      
I try to explain this type of thing to people who are ardently anti-piracy:

You can never, ever, expect people to miss out on the culture that's happening during their lives.

If money, or geography, or whatever is preventing it, they'll still do the best they can to make sure they don't miss anything.

StudyAnimal 5 days ago  replies      
As an English speaker in Germany I was particularly interested in using things like iTunes (which is available here) to access TV.

What do you know, it is exclusively German language content. And it is also only released when it airs in Germany rather than when it first airs in the US or the UK.

Where is the logic there? If I wanted to get German language TV when it airs on TV, I would just watch TV.

The whole system doesn't make sense.

yason 5 days ago  replies      
And that's why the European counterparts of MAFIAA shouldn't be able to appeal to lost sales in many of these countries because don't have any fucking sales to lose.

I've long advocated a fair-use rule that where a copyrighted work in some format isn't readily for sale in some geographical area, then people in that area should have the legal right to produce a copy of it in that format for themselves. The format is relevant because if people want CDs or uncompressed FLAC albums but they can only buy a lousy DRM-ridden 128Kbit/s MP3 instead, it shouldn't count.

Same goes with old music or films: if nobody's selling, people have the legal right to copy. If the copyright holder decides to start selling again, the legal right to copy goes away. Then the longevity of a copyright would matter much less.

ThomPete 5 days ago 2 replies      
There is no need to rationalize why you use Bittorrent, there is no argument to win and nothing to defend.

It's not stealing, it's not not stealing it's just a fact that people will continue to use bittorrents as long as there is too much friction to get it legally.

Bittorrent will be around as long as the content owners insist on localizing copyright and not offering their content to a globally oriented customer base.

mahrain 5 days ago 2 replies      
Same goes for Holland, this, and TV is very unreliable and a year behind the USA. Plus movies are usually released a few months after the USA.
rb2k_ 5 days ago 1 reply      
I recently found an interesting DNS based service that will allow you to access some of them:


The advantage over a VPN-based solution is that there is no need to route all of your traffic over the VPN. Most of the time they only redirect the geo-location stuff and once you receive the videostream URL, that transfer will go over your 'regular' connection.
It also allows you to just put their DNS servers into your router and your Apple TV / Wii / iPad ... will automatically use the service.

Security wise, they might be able to redirect any domain resolution to their servers, but they still won't be able to fake the SSL certificates. As long as you're using IMAPS/HTTPS/*S you should be fine I guess.

martey 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think that the services mentioned want to exclude non-Americans. All of them deal with music or video, both of which require country-specific licensing.
markokocic 5 days ago 2 replies      
Well, this is just rationalizing.

Stealing something (or obtaining it illegally) just because someone doesn't want to sell it to you (or give it to you for free) is still stealing (or obtaining it illegally), regardless of the fact that you want it so bad.

As long as you own something, you have the right to choose if you want to sell it to some country, give it for free or do whatever else.

felxh 5 days ago 0 replies      
And even if some of these services are available in your country you might get screwed. For instance I once bought a music album on iTunes. A few weeks later a friend of mine sends me a link on grooveshark to a song from the same artist. I've never heard the song before but to my surprise it is supposed to be on the same album I own. I do a little research and find out that the album sold in US iTunes store contains two extra bonus tracks! I check to see if there is another version of the same album in my 'local' iTunes store, but no, it appears these two bonus tracks are only available in the US
wyclif 5 days ago 3 replies      
Some of these (I'm looking at you, BBC iPlayer) aren't even available in the USA.
jlgosse 5 days ago 1 reply      
Last I checked, Estonia can use Android Market. Although maybe that's one of the "new" additions?
AlexC04 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why not start just one of those ? Seems like an opportunity.
ajkessler 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to guess that a lot of the reason these services aren't available in a lot of other countries is not that they don't want your money, but rather that your governments either have ridiculous regulations to navigate, or there are concerns about their ability to protect intellectual property rights.
vitolds 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would also add to this list audible.com which restricts certain books to US only. I am a platinum subscriber to audible, however, I couldn't get my hands on Stephen King's Under The Dome. So I got it from the thepiratebay pretty much on the next day. I did buy other King's books on audible though.
rakkhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I bought the Apple TV2 in the UK, was so excited to fire it up and switch on Netflix and Hulu and Justin.tv. #researchfail
warseph 5 days ago 1 reply      
Same thing happens in Argentina, I tried some times to buy certain games online, but for some weird reason for digital content, the purchased is limited to the US and Mexico. Why does this limitation even exist for digital content?
luminarious 5 days ago 0 replies      
Note that a large number of these are apps stores. I can imagine the licencing fees or whatnot being the showstoppers for audio/video, but what on earth is so difficult about selling applications?
oemera 5 days ago 4 replies      
Wait. This is YCombinator right? Why on earth does no-one create a startup to make buying digital copies easier wherever you live? Why is that so hard?
Is it hard to build a web app that makes at least $1000 a month? quora.com
255 points by ljdk  3 days ago   121 comments top 22
patio11 3 days ago 4 replies      
Define "hard." It is an eminently achievable goal to build a business which makes $1,000 a month. That isn't a "get into the NFL then win the Superbowl" goal, that is a "get into college" goal on the relative-risk-of-total-failure continuum. The process of doing it is fairly well understood and focused application of effort towards it makes it quite likely that you will succeed.

It does require a bit of a mindset change. You have to stop thinking of yourself as a "skilled developer", for one, since development skill leads to success in software businesses like the ability to cook amazing waffles leads to successfully running a bed and breakfast.

dotBen 3 days ago 5 replies      
Applying your startup skills to projects in the adult space will certainly help you wing your way to $1000/m v easily.

Big data/machine learning of all the meta data associated on tube sites, repurposing content for tablets, recommendation engines, social layers that are delineated/firewalled from the mainstream social graph, hosting/live streaming services for adult content -- are all opportunity spaces that come to mind.

Many of these projects can be kept on "life-support" and still bring in a healthy profit if set up correctly.

Please don't down-vote because it's porn - it's a legal and legitimate space

maxklein 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have many products that make more than $1000 a month. Tip - use the app stores to cut away the pain of having to market to users through vague means. App stores are a godsend if you are a good developer but bad marketer.
SandB0x 3 days ago 0 replies      
Confirmation bias overload: this is Quora.
ahoyhere 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's not hard at all. Here's what you need to do:

1. Pick a tool you can build which will make money for people.

2. Build it for people who will pay.

3. Market to them.

4. Build it.

5. Ship it.

6. Market to them. (Over and over. It's not a one-time thing.)

I've done it, and I teach other people to do it. (But the thing is - once you reach $1000, you might as well go further since the first $100 is the hardest, once you get that, you have proof and you begin to have leverage for word of mouth and client success stories and yadda yadda yadda.)

3dFlatLander 3 days ago 2 replies      
Questions like this, "what should I build", and "which language should I use", and etc make me cringe when I read them. Asking questions is awesome, but these just don't seem to be productive. His question isn't related to building a web app at all, he just wants to know if he built that app, could it make $1k+ per month. Plus, any answer(s) given will likely just fuel his planning, and not execution.
nicpottier 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have an eBook for sale for $39.00 that will show you how in ten easy steps, it includes:
1) how to market yourself and use the power of social networking to do the marketing for you
2) how to unlock the power of referrals
3) how you can grow from making $1000 a month, to over $10,000 a month in three more months of work.

"I never thought I could own my own business, but it is just so easy" - happy customer


SeoxyS 3 days ago 0 replies      
Both the question and the answer are all kinds of silly. You can't start a project with the end goal of making $1000 a month, or you will surely fail. Instead, you've gotta motivated to solve a problem you've identified and then you need to execute on it.

Coding isn't everything either. You may be a fine developer, but you're forgetting about design, marketing, customer support, dealing with crisis when your project does good, dealing when depression when it doesn't…

Don't make a plan to get to $1000. Rather, build something cool, and when $1000 does or does not show up at the door, be thankful and learn from the experience. And try again. Iterate.

thetrumanshow 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Its hard, but not THAT hard!"


6 years into building web-apps and finally I am just now seeing a few bucks rolling in (still <$1000 month).

I wasted lots of time, primarily pursuing the wrong kinds of business models (free!!!) or putting effort into the wrong areas of a business, ultimately burning out because things weren't working.

But, even if you've picked a good product with a good market, for the un-initiated engineer there's this mysterious delta between being able to build something (anything!), and making that something successful. My recommendation (because its working for me), is to find a co-founder who is a business guy employed at a successful small software company. Painting with broad strokes here, but try to pick a sales or marketing guy over a biz dev guy, I think they are connected better with the product.

You've heard this advice before. Its true. Engineers think of the world as meritocratic. But good product != success. You need someone to help you get past this way of thinking.

tjogin 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would not take business advice from anyone attributing all of Apple's success to their image and none to their products.
MichaelApproved 3 days ago 3 replies      
It can't be that easy otherwise everyone would build 10 or 20 of them and retire.
antirez 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think it is harder to go from zero to $1000/month than from $1000/month to 100,000$/month.

What is sad is that instead to create a spam engine, adsense powered, doing $1000/month is pretty straightforward.

mootothemax 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think saying, however sarcastically, that if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it is kinda pointless. The most important step is to get started in the first place.

Even if you don't make huge amounts of money (disclaimer: that's my blog post linked at the bottom of the answer), there's a huge gulf between those that spend their days thinking about possibilities, and those that get up and start their projects. If you're in the latter group, you stand a much greater chance :)

braindead_in 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The first 3 years of any startup is very hard. After 3 years you just get used to it".
jmitcheson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, yes; it's very easy! Now, just step this way and let me show you my excellent range of pick axes and mining equipment ;)
Keyframe 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it hard to write a story or make a film that people will watch? Same thing, just a bit different. "Everyone" seems to know the answer, but the truth is nobody knows. Because everyone would do it then.
leon_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
the building not so. the marketing and pr needed to reach that goal on the other hand is a little more work :)
swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
What does a "recurring billing system" do? I'm new to this, but all I did for now was to store PayPal's (actually the clone that exists in my country) transactions in my database, and bump the "good_until" timestamp when a new payment is received (via POST in my case).
DrJ 3 days ago 1 reply      
it's so simpo' why not everyone does it?

and I mean it in the most sarcastic way.

seanp2k 3 days ago 0 replies      
>"Is it hard to build a web app that makes at least $1000 a month?"


pknerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
A mobile web app mashup having a social layer+LBS on top could be quite good to earn revenue which you are looking for.
Vmabuza 3 days ago  replies      
A person asking such a question shouldnt be building stuff for profit in the first place.
The Rise of "Logical Punctuation". slate.com
246 points by brianl  4 days ago   200 comments top 31
telemachos 4 days ago  replies      
>> If it seems hard or even impossible to defend the American way on the merits, that's probably because it emerged from aesthetic, not logical, considerations. According to Rosemary Feal, executive director of the MLA, it was instituted in the early days of the Republic in order "to improve the appearance of the text. A comma or period that follows a closing quotation mark appears to hang off by itself and creates a gap in the line (since the space over the mark combines with the following word space)." I don't doubt Feal, but the appearance argument doesn't carry much heft today; more to the point is that we are simply accustomed to the style.

This is the real story here I think: people invented the rule to suit their preferences, but over time we've forgotten the rule's origin and now treat it like a holy truth. (Or worse yet a matter of "grammar"! Run, run - you've made a grammatical mistake!) You are likely to discover this over and over again if you study the background of many rules that (some) writing teachers insist on and that people like Lynn Truss use as an excuse to foam at the mouth.

Here are some of my least-favorite myths, in no particular order:

+ You should never end a sentence with a preposition. (Sheer bullshit: English uses countless phrasal verbs ('throw away') and in many other cases avoiding the final preposition produces stuffy nonsense.)

+ You should never split an infinitive. (A completely made-up rule, based on mistakenly trying to apply Latin rules to a Germanic language.)

+ The word 'hopefully' can only mean 'in a hopeful spirit' and therefore you shouldn't say, "Hopefully, we'll arive before lunch tomorrow." (Sheer bullshit again: 'hopefully' there functions as an adverb modifying the entire clause 'we'll arrive before lunch tomorrow'. The sentence as a whole clearly and obviously means "It is to be hoped that..." or less formally "We hope that..." This use of 'hopefully' is no different than 'fortunately', 'sadly', 'happily' or 'luckily' in countless sentences.)

+ Don't start sentences with 'but' or 'and' or 'however'. (Just goofy.)

+ Never use the passive voice. (Overdoing it at the least: Yes, a lot of beauraucratic and other bad writing uses the passive in excess, but the passive is not per se evil or always wrong.)

_delirium 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if Wikipedia adopting that style has had any influence on its popularity online, or if that's an example of convergent evolution. It was decided way back in 2002 to use the logical punctuation style there, in a fairly ad-hoc way when it was still a small project. Part of the motivation appears to have been a sort of UK/US compromise. It's since been reworded significantly, but this was the original style suggestion there (introduced on August 23, 2002):

In most cases, simply follow the usual rules of English punctuation. A few points where the Wikipedia may differ from usual usage follow.

With quotation marks, we suggest splitting the difference between American and English usage.

Although it is not a rigid rule, it is probably best to use the "double quotes" for most quotations, as they are easier to read on the screen, and use 'single quotes' for "quotations 'within' quotations". This is the American style.

When punctuating quoted passages, put punctuation where it belongs, inside or outside the quotation marks, depending on the meaning, not rigidly within the quotation marks. This is the British style.

rflrob 4 days ago 0 replies      
>When I asked Feal and Carol Saller, who oversees the Chicago Manual of Style, if there was a chance their organizations would go over to the other side, they both replied, in essence: "How about never? Is never good for you?"

It seems to me the next logical question here is, "why not?" Just about the only arguments in favor of "American" punctuation are tradition and some hazy sense that periods outside qoutes look wrong, whereas the best argument for logical punctuation is that the point of writing is to communicate clearly, and logical punctuation is more clear at virtually no cost.

Goladus 4 days ago 4 replies      
Informal writing rarely features narration to any significant degree, which is where the so-called American Style is most "logical" to the extent that we're even really talking about logic. In forums and email and texting, quotes are usually either blocked-off text, or the quotes are used to specifically emphasize an exact character string (often a single word).

Wikipedia is also generally not about narration, and quotes are usually meant to be exact.

With narration, the goal is not to convey exactness rather to tell a story. Interrupting a character's quote to insert ", he said," influences the original meaning (if there even is such a thing) no matter where the punctuation lies. But that's not important because specifying precisely what a character said usually isn't the point of a story.

Furthermore, if you write your own sentence, and finish with quote of an entire sentence, why isn't there a period for both sentences? Brian said, "let's go.".

Looked at this way, it's easy to see why, given the choice, narrators would choose the more aesthetically pleasing placement inside the quotation marks.

Derbasti 4 days ago 2 replies      
As a non-native speaker, this is one thing I found very irritating about American English writing. It never made sense to me to put something in quotes that is not part of the quote.
perlgeek 4 days ago 5 replies      
Just imagine a programming language where you have to write

    print "some text," function(), "moretext";

instead of

    print "some text", function(), "moretext";

jeffool 4 days ago  replies      
Now if only ISO 8601 date formatting would catch on...
chris_j 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm British and, when I was at school, we were taught that punctuation should go inside the quotation mark. This was one of those horribly prescriptive rules, the breaking of which was considered very wrong indeed. I'm surprised that this article calls this "American Style", given my experiences.

I started ignoring the convention pretty when I started using computers because, as the article says, it's hard to defend it on merits and it just looks plain odd, especially in a fixed-width font.

javert 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think the American style looks better in non-fixed-width fonts, because it looks much closer to the way actual handwriting should look: the comma or period underneath the quotation mark.

I suspect this is the reason people started doing it that way in the first place.

And I suspect people started doing it that way on both sides of the Atlantic. It's just that Britain ended up standardizing one way, America the other. (Possibly yet another instance of English language usage evolving more quickly in Britain than in America.)

I'd appreciate if anybody can confirm or deny this hypothesis. And I find it disappointing that the Slate article has no historical treatment of the issue.

(Honestly, both styles look weird to me in fixed-width fonts, which basically arose in tandem with the modern computer.)

DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 2 replies      

Last week I just made a commitment to start doing this the "correct" way. I find it's very difficult after years of programming, though.

Another problem I have is with capitalization on titles. You're supposed to capitalize only the larger words, but I have to go all initial caps. The inconsistency between caps drives me nuts, even though I know it's the "right" way to do things.

It's fascinating to see topics like this kind of float around for months or years and then suddenly become news items. Wonder if a shift is really happening? Or is the story just noticing a trend in people making the same mistakes?

ars 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been doing this for years despite knowing what it's "supposed" to be. I'm glad to finally not be in the minority.

And I had no idea it had a name or that it was common outside the US.

MatthewB 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good. I never quite understood why I was putting punctuation inside quotation marks all these years, besides the fact that my teachers told me that it is the right way.

Let me see how this feels when I use "logical punctuation".

Yes, that feels good.

wccrawford 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even though I have followed the 'proper' way all my life, I recently realized that there are many instances where having the punctuation inside is confusing. I now have absolutely no problem putting it on the outside when it's less confusing.

I'm seriously considering putting it on the outside all the time now.

jrockway 4 days ago 4 replies      
Also according to the Internet, "you" is spelled "u". Everyone should adjust their internal dictionaries so that u don't become an establishment sellout.

Personally, it makes sense for "scare quotes" to not contain punctuation, as they are not complete sentences. But it doesn't make sense for direct quotes to not contain punctuation, as in `He said, "Hello there".' He didn't say "Hello there", he said "Hello there."

(It might seem logical to have two periods in that case, but it's ugly, so the second one can just be omitted for maximum conciseness. That's why the period goes inside the quotation marks. Similarly, it would be confusing and ugly to pretend to end a sentence in the middle of a sentence, so quotes that are not at the end of the sentence "end" with a comma. The period is a pretty strong message to pause, and you don't want to overuse it.


saulrh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of surprised that this hasn't appeared in the news before, given how important an issue it is for technical writing. After all, you don't tell someone to delete a line in vi by typing "dd."
guelo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well if we're going to start making English logical we have a lot of work to do.
zwischenzug 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is there a recognised difference between:

The Rise of "Logical Punctuation".


He said, "I've been outside".


To me, "logical" punctuation in the first case would be as written, and in the second case would be:

He said, "I've been outside.".

indicating that both the enclosing and enclosed sentence is complete.

Muzza 4 days ago 0 replies      
A recent development in Swedish - at least in online communications - is the use of the French manner of putting a bloody space in front of exclamation marks ! Looks awful.
mrseb 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a British tech blogger who writes on American tech sites, I've spent a lot of time arguing this particular subject with editors, copy editors, and proof readers.

Grammar should help the reader, not hinder. Logical/readable grammar all the way.

SeoxyS 3 days ago 0 replies      
It amuses me that an article about punctuation and typographic conventions completely ignores the standard of using typographer's quotes instead of inch marks. “This,” instead of "this." Same goes for apostrophes versus foot marks.

As a graphic design student myself, I am quite snobbish about using perfect typography. This includes proper quotation marks, as well as following the rule of putting periods and commas within quotes. (I also follow the rules religiously when it comes to en-dashes versus em-dashes and hyphens, and when to uses spaces around them. I also make sure to only use a single space after period.)

Locke1689 3 days ago 0 replies      
The resolution here seems obvious to me: when you find yourself in a bike shed conversation, go with the standard. If, however, one option or the other is preferable for some practical reason, choose that option.
adambyrtek 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what are your thoughts on the double-spacing after full stops. I find it terrible, but I know projects who enforce this style in code comments.
Groxx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Been doing it for years, never looked back. Quotes should delimit the quote, your period is outside that quote. The closest I get is where a comma would work in a quote, and the writing interjects the speaker. e.g., "Grab that," foo barred, "and get over here", because "Grab that", foo barred, ", and get over here" is fugly.
blahblahblah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Of course the period should follow the quotation marks. Periods, exclamation marks, and question marks are the delimiters for English sentences and belong at the end in the same way that a semicolon belongs at the end of a line in C/C++.
stcredzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Try writing a parser that recognizes punctuation inside the quotes, then try to write one that recognizes it outside. It's quite clear that the latter is cleaner and simpler.
DannoHung 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Chicago Manual of Style can go jump in a ditch. American style is terrible and should be abandoned immediately.
stretchwithme 4 days ago 5 replies      
I've been ignoring that rule for a long time. If it wasn't in the original, it doesn't go in quotes.

And another thing. Using "an" when a word starts an H is followed very inconsistently. In fact, I only seem to hear it in the phrase "an historic". "An human" doesn't really speak that way.

StuffMaster 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I thought the period-inside-quotes thing was stupid and only used it when I had to for school. Stupid stupid stupid.
pw 4 days ago 0 replies      
A comma or period that follows a closing quotation mark appears to hang off by itself and creates a gap in the line (since the space over the mark combines with the following word space)." I don't doubt Feal, but the appearance argument doesn't carry much heft today; more to the point is that we are simply accustomed to the style.
jenniart 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is something I've struggled with in my writing, especially as someone who's done blogging and AP style writing for a news outlet... Sometimes I write a sentence that might end in a question mark, which shouldn't be a part of a quote and rather placing the punctuation mark outside of the quotes (or inside for that matter) I end up completely re-working the sentence to avoid the problem. But I would have to agree that it doesn't always make sense to stick so firmly to that grammar rule. It's nice to see that I'm not alone in that thought.
benarent 4 days ago 0 replies      
is it me or is this site using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_(symbol) "" instead of quotation marks? “ ” .
Intuitive explication of Fourier Transformation altdevblogaday.org
242 points by ecaradec  21 hours ago   32 comments top 13
mturmon 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The quickest "explanation" of the FT I ever heard was in a casual aside from a professor once -- he referred to the Fourier domain as the "reciprocal domain". It took me a while to work out what he meant.

It was just that frequency = 1 / time. In this (barbarically reductive) conception, taking the FT is just a change of variable.

This relationship is one way to "derive" many of the standard Fourier facts.

For example, the scaling property, that if x(t) has transform X(f), then x(at) has transform (1/a) * X(f/a). It also "explains" why time signals concentrated around t=0 tend to have lots of high-frequency content (f = 1/t = 1/0 = infinity), and vice versa.

It also "explains" why the inverse FT formula looks just like the forward FT formula (since if f = 1/t, then t = 1/f). And, for the same reason, most of the duality relationships between the two domains.

All with just arithmetic! You can dispense with linear algebra, not to mention complex arithmetic, groups, or measure theory.

wnewman 16 hours ago 4 replies      
The author wrote "This formula, as anyone can see, makes no sense at all. I decided that Fourier must have been speaking to aliens, because if you gave me all the time and paper in the world, I would not have been able to come up with that." That sounds like a predictable symptom of trying to understand Fourier analysis while avoiding linear algebra. And that seems like unnecessary masochism, because basic linear algebra is very useful and pretty easy. And once you have it, (elementary) Fourier analysis becomes trivial to understand as a change of basis by recognizing the supposed "no sense at all" formula as a perfectly sensible change of basis to a basis of sinusoidal functions.

Then you just need to understand that the sines and cosines are a complete basis. So think about the sines and cosines for a while until you can say "yeah, they're orthogonal, and I can believe they're a complete basis for the kind of functions under consideration." Then to promote this from "I can believe" to "obviously," for the discrete FT (the orthogonality and) counting/dimensionality arguments suffice, and for the continuous FT you can look at Gaussians, say "obviously Gaussians are a complete basis for the kinds of functions under consideration" and then do the easy integrals to show that any Gaussian can be expressed as a linear combination of sines and cosines.

(This assumes you're interested in transforming reasonably smooth things like wavefunctions in chemistry, as opposed to trying to see how far you can push Fourier analysis into the netherworld of bizarre jagged twisted functions shown to exist by invoking the Axiom of Choice. If you want to do that, feel free to take a course from Terence Tao studying theorems whose prerequisites involve concepts like "countable.")

tspiteri 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The article, and quite a few posts here, describe the way they understand the Fourier Transform as the way to understand the Fourier Transform. For it to be intuitive depends on who is trying to understand it. Getting that out of the way, this is how I find the Fourier Transform intuitive (using pseudo-code instead of math notation to make it a bit verbose and emphasize the steps):

    fourier_trasform(signal sig(t), frequency freq):
let sinu(t) = sinusoid with frequency freq
let mult(t) = sig(t) * sinu(t)
value = integral of mult(t) from -infinity to infinity

If the input signal sig(t) has the same frequency as the sinusoid sinu(t), then integrating mult(t) over infinity will give an infinitely large value, and that case is handled better by the Fourier Series.

If the input signal sig(t) has no relation to the frequency of the sinusoid, then integrating mult(t) over infinity will give zero.

If the signal has a component with the required frequency, it will kind of resonate with the sinusoid and give a non-zero value. The value then depends on the magnitude of the signal and to how much it "resonates" with the sinusoid.

When you do this for a range of different frequencies freq, but using the same signal sig(t), you can plot how much the signal sig(t) resonates with all frequencies, and that plot is the plot of the Fourier Transform.

demallien 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Maybe I'm naive, but I personally find it much simpler just to see how you can construct an arbitrary waveform using the summation of a series of sinusoids - and then a Fourier transform is just the inverse operation...
wbhart 14 hours ago 0 replies      
To really understand the discrete fourier transform properly you need to understand the mathematical concept of a group. Fortunately, you only need to understand one particular group G, namely the integers mod n. Once one thinks of the input to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) as a function on G (i.e. the input to the function is an element of G and the output is a complex number), then it is possible to frame the DFT in terms of a map between functions on G to functions on the dual of G (using something called Pontryagin duality). The thing is, functions on the dual of G multiply pointwise whereas functions on G itself multiply like polynomials mod x^n - 1.

Therefore to multiply polynomials, one thinks of them as functions on G, uses the DFT to take you to functions on the dual of G, multiplies pointwise, then does an inverse transform to get you back to functions on G again. I'm skimming over lots of details and oversimplifying a bit, but what I just described is the process of using a convolution to multiply polynomials.

The really great thing is if n is a power of 2. Then you have this cool Cooley-Tukey algorithm called the Fast Fourier Transform to do the DFT (and IFFT) really fast (in time O(n log n) instead of O(n^2)). It works by recognising that computing an FFT is precisely the same thing as evaluating a polynomial at the n-th roots of unity. This can be done by repeatedly breaking the problem into halves and recognising that the same pattern of roots of unity occurs in the first half as in the second. By factoring that out, you can (recursively) save yourself half the work.

Again, oversimplified, but that's the nub of it.

drblast 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think these concepts became clear to me when I learned about the complex plane, Euler's formula, and demodulation of an FM signal.

Particularly enlightening was the demodulation of a frequency modulated sine wave when the tuner was imperfectly matched to the carrier frequency. Looking at it on an oscilloscope was similar to watching an old TV with the Vertical Hold improperly set.

That made me start thinking in terms of a signal (sine wave) that was a cycle rather than a sinusoidal shape. Seeing that you can graph the amplitude and phase of any signal on the complex plane and that the frequency was the change in phase from one moment to the next was the aha! moment.

Then if you think about sampling and how if you sample a sinusoid exactly at its peaks how that would graph as a constant point on the complex plane, but if you sampled at any other mismatched frequently, the point would rotate and change amplitude with respect to either axis. The further away from the actual frequency you'd go the the points would look more random, and they'd average out to zero with fewer samples.

This would be a fun animation or java applet to make; I'm sure someone has done it.

hammock 12 hours ago 0 replies      
That was a great explanation, particularly the summary at the end with the color-coded words corresponding to terms in the formula.

I came to the comments expecting to see nods of approbation at how cool this explanation was (I stopped taking math at about Calc 3, so no linear algebra for me) but instead I see people geeking out saying things like "to really understand you need to grasp the complex plane, and groups and DPTs and so forth."

Well, just so you know, for me the OP's intutitive explanation was enough.

regularfry 19 hours ago 0 replies      
That's possibly the most intuitive explanation for what the maths is actually doing that I've ever come across.
nothis 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish all maths books would have their formulas illustrated like this: http://altdevblogaday.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Derived...

That is beautiful.

codesink 20 hours ago 0 replies      
A great resource to read about Fourier transformation and Wavelets


szany 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I visualize it as projecting the function (as a vector) onto spirals of different twisting rates.

Only 3 dimensions required, which is nice.

guscost 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the explanation, but there's no reason to skip over the complex exponents and Euler's formula like that. They're not really that hard to understand intuitively: think of all multiplication as a continuous process. Then f = e^x is simply the function that transforms the multiplicative identity (1) into ln(x).

Substitute "-1" into the left side of that equation, and see that no real value of x will suffice. This is related to the fact that the imaginary constant (i) wasn't discovered, it was simply declared as an unknown quantity that squares to -1.

The real magical part is that i still works in more complicated situations: multiplying any real number by e^(ix) as x increases gradually transforms it into an imaginary number, and then into its own negative, behaving like a counter-clockwise rotation when visualized in the complex plane.

torstesu 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I love the idea that a man can sit down behind his desk, think for days, weeks, months, years or even decades and come up with something which is so abstract and beautiful explaining natural phenomenons with simple mathematical formulas.

It takes some serious entrepreneurial skills and mindset to embark on a problem which is seemingly impossible, and never giving up until the solution has been derived.

Inspirational, to say the least!

Dropbox Lied to Users about Data Security, Complaint to FTC Alleges wired.com
241 points by schwanksta  4 days ago   101 comments top 16
tlrobinson 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm surprised Jon Callas hadn't realized Dropbox is able to decrypt your files. It always seemed obvious to me given several of Dropbox's advertised features necessitate it (in particular accessing your files over the web interface, and probably their sharing features). Most users wouldn't understand this, but the founder and CTO of PGP Corp should.

That said, this article is incorrect on at least one point: de-duplication does not require Dropbox be able to decrypt your files. tzs came up with this clever scheme in a previous comment: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2461713

Of course even if Dropbox didn't have the keys to decrypt your files you're still trusting them (or SpiderOak or Wuala or most of Dropbox's competitors) by running their proprietary software. But I suppose people are more concerned about subpoenas and compromised servers than malicious actions by Dropbox themselves.

pg 4 days ago 3 replies      
I feel like I should point out that this article isn't about the FTC doing something, but about a private individual filing a complaint with the FTC, which anyone can do.

I like Ryan Singel. He was the first reporter to write about YC. So I can't really begrudge him the pageviews he knew he'd get from HN over this. But 'taint really news.

dhouston 4 days ago 5 replies      
just so everyone knows, this complaint raises old issues that we addressed in our public blog post a few weeks ago: http://blog.dropbox.com/?p=735
phlux 4 days ago 2 replies      
OK, so I am a fan of dropbox and I use it across many machines, (better than those on Richess) -- and, as I understand the overall issue to be, the concern is that DropBox may at some point "hand over your files" to (I assume) The Feds -- should they come knocking?

Now, I expect that for all intents and purposes the encryption/security employed by Dropbox is 'good-enough' that I dont have to worry about random-internet-user gaining access to my docs, yet I have absolutely NO illusions that ANY company will refuse to hand over my data to the feds should the feds be seeking it.

Further, I would suggest that anyone with anything they dont want the feds to know about/get their mitts on not be stupid enough to store said sensitive secrets IN THE FUCKING CLOUD

Additionally, I can understand that Drew may not be the most savvy in navigating such issues given him being a young CEO and all - and I can understand that he would want all the DropBoxians to feel comfortable with the safety and security of their data in his hands - but I would like to see a frank, real-world answer to any security claims which delineate in no-uncertain-terms exactly what level of data safety, security and encryption one may expect.

Drew may even do well as to explicitly say "We shall not refuse to hand over any of your data (and its revision history) to the Feds should they come seeking it with legal merit."

If, after such a statement people are concerned about their data going anywhere -- they should get off dropbox / implement truecrypt as stated.

Finally, a question for Drew: given this craptastic event; would Drop Box be open to much more robust file encryption tools being developed as an addon to DropBox; e.g. a third party wrapper application that allows end-to-end encryption while still allowing the web UI etc to work?

(If I misread the circumstances of the whole issue - forgive my little rant)

armored 4 days ago 1 reply      
Callas tweeted on April 19: “I deleted my Dropbox account. It turns out that they lied and don't actually encrypt your files and will hand them over to anyone who asks.”

That's actually a lie too. Dropbox does encrypt your files, it's just that, naturally, they hold the key. If I ask Dropbox for another users files, guess what? They don't hand them over.

If your info is really that sensitive then for heavens sake don't outsource encryption and key management to a third party you have no supervision over. Encrypt your super sensitive files with Truecrypt and then share/sync them with Dropbox.

staunch 4 days ago 1 reply      
"President Obama Personally Executed Bin Laden, HN Comment to CIA Alleges."

Seriously, who cares where the "complaint" was sent? Either it's a valid argument or it's not. Where it was sent should have no bearing.

The argument that Dropbox did this to save money is transparently bogus too. That's in there to make it seem like the FTC has grounds for getting involved.
Dropbox clearly chose to store keys themselves so they could offer core features like web/pubic sharing.

RK 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox should just make a "Lockbox" folder feature that is fully encrypted. Many people happy (nice new feature), maybe fewer complaints.
awakeasleep 4 days ago 2 replies      
Gah. I just told our corporate counsel that it was ok to use Dropbox because everything was secured "even the app" and all the files were encrypted on Dropbox's site.
hristov 4 days ago 2 replies      
What really worries me about de-duping is what if it fucks up your files. What if one file just happens to have the same hash as another completely different file uploaded by a different person? Then all of a sudden, this really important contract that you think you have stored online and in the dropbox folders of your four different computers gets automatically deleted and replaced with a completely different file everywhere. And if you have set up automatic backups like a good boy, it may even be automatically replaced in all your backups before you figure out the problem.

I know you will say that the hashes are long enough so this should not happen until dropbox has trillions of files, etc. But those calculations are all based on assumption of random data in the files. We all know that various computer files may have structured and patterned data. It is possible for the data in certain types of files to be structured in such a way as to produce a much narrower range of possible hashes than generally assumed.

And with 25 million users and hundreds of millions of files, God knows what may happen.

jabrams 4 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of this does not make sense to me. Dropbox allows you to view your files via a web browser interface. Obviously that means they can access the unencrypted files. Perhaps people would prefer not to have the web access features.

But even then, if Dropbox never stored the decryption keys on their servers anywhere, and the decryption key was stored only on a client PC, and I lost my computer, I would not be able to access the backed-up data from Dropbox on a new computer. That would kind of defeat the purpose of Dropbox for me. As many others have pointed out (including Lifehacker) you can always use Truecrypt to put some stuff in your Dropbox that no one but you can decrypt.

As far as the "feds" getting my data, if they are after me, they can get a search warrant from a judge and come into my house and confiscate all of my computers, which would allow them to access any data on my harddrives not encrypted with Truecrypt...

huhtenberg 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone speculate as to what the ultimate goal of bringing this to FTC's attention is?
songshine 4 days ago 2 replies      
The guy who filed this complaint is quite the troublemaker:


motters 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've never been a Dropbox user, and this sort of behavior doesn't surprise me. It puzzles me why folks are prepared to spend substantial amounts of money renting tiny amounts of insecure web storage when they could spend a modest amount on a plug computer and have a large amount of fairly secure storage, and without the indefinite rental fees.
mike-cardwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox must have actual figures on how much storage space they save by having de-duplication. Would be nice if they published them.

Personally, every file in my Dropbox is unique... I wonder how many people use it for storing deduplicatable content like mp3s and videos etc.

adamdecaf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Item 37 has an error, it reads "In their April 21, 2001" which should be "In their April 21, 2011". Nothing big, just important for correctness.
helwr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Angry Birds for Chrome in Canvas and WebGL google.com
230 points by patrickaljord  6 days ago   83 comments top 20
gkoberger 6 days ago 8 replies      
This is why I hate the concept of App stores.

It's just a link that uses open technologies that works well on any modern browser, yet you need to open Chrome and "install" it. Why can't I just type in a URL into any browser I want!? (Yes, I know that this specific app happens to have a link. However, it's not clickable, it's not obvious and most apps won't.)

If I made a site that you could only use if you opened it in IE and bookmarked it? Everyone would be crying foul. Yet somehow, browser specific app stores are considered moving the web forward.

Let's take it a step further. Let's say they charged for this app, which many apps will. If I pay for it in the (currently in development) Mozilla app store, that means I can't use it in Chrome. Is this really what we want for the web?

Why can't browsers just beef up their bookmarking systems? Right now, we're hiding regular links behind "installations."

I hate app stores, and I hate what they have the potential to do to the web. I hate that someday soon, someone will say to me "You should use ____! But it's (Firefox|Chrome|IE) only." I thought we left that mentality with IE6.

(Disclosure: I work for Mozilla, but have nothing to do with our web apps store. Naturally, my opinions are my own.)

seanalltogether 6 days ago 3 replies      
I fired up Charles to try and dissect the source but it's a giant pile of obfuscation. Here is everything I could see with executable code. They must be pumping different sections of the game into individual iframes since there are 6 separate html files that mostly have the same code.








And all of the levels are listed out with the following pattern


The spritesheet assets are actually larger then they appear in game, however the scaling still looks really good in the final output, I'm surprised how smooth the game ran.

natmaster 6 days ago 2 replies      
Smooth as butter in Firefox 4.

The concept of 'Chrome-only' web applications is appalling to me, and can only remind me of 2000 when people just developed for IE6. This is REALLY BAD for the web.

(Disclosure: I work for Microsoft.)

eli 6 days ago 2 replies      
Neat. Now I want to hack my own level editor: http://chrome.angrybirds.com/angrybirds/json/Level4.json
illumin8 6 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool! They are still using Flash for audio, however, which is slightly less cool.
tlrobinson 6 days ago 6 replies      
Interestingly it works great for me in Safari but not Chrome (11.0.696.65)...
rflrob 6 days ago 1 reply      
Any good explanation for why it maxes out my CPU, even when it's just displaying the end-of-level score screen? This game works fine on a smartphone, but somehow makes use of everything my MacBook Pro can throw at it?
charlesju 6 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what engine they used to build this? Or did they build it from WebGL's base?
sid0 6 days ago 1 reply      
Works really nicely in Firefox 6 nightlies: http://chrome.angrybirds.com/
jsprinkles 6 days ago 0 replies      
If this is as unplayably slow for you as it was for me check about:gpu in Chrome.

Latest Chrome dev channel (12.0.742.30) on OS X is not enabling the GPU for me on my 3.2 GHz iMac and it really is not clear why. There is no about:flags entry for any GPU-related things either.

daimyoyo 5 days ago 0 replies      
This question may be naïve, but I have Angry Birds for Mac on my laptop and when I play it, the computer works fine. When I started playing this version, my cooling fan almost immediately turned on full blast. Even when I'm streaming HD video, that never happens. Is it the fact this game is written in HTML rather than objective C the reason that it's so processor intensive?(it's a 13" MacBook pro running OS 10.6.7 if that makes a difference)
megamark16 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am in so much trouble. The Android version won't run on my phone, so I've thus far avoided getting addicted to this game like so many of my friends. Now it's all over. Goodbye productivity.
atacrawl 6 days ago 1 reply      
Works pretty well in Safari 5, but it's a little laggy even on my rocket ship (2x3GHz QC Xeon Mac Pro, 9 GB RAM).
navs 6 days ago 0 replies      
Never got the appeal of Angry Birds until now. There goes my productivity for today.

Animation is a bit jerky in Opera 11 but certainly usable.

brianr 6 days ago 1 reply      
Reallllly slow in Chrome 11 on my mac. Maybe 5fps.
watty 6 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty awesome on my desktop but a little slow. It doesn't work at all on my CR48, just a black screen.
drdaeman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Silently fails with "Uncaught Error: QUOTA_EXCEEDED_ERR: DOM Exception 22" in console if you have cookies+site-data disabled.
megaman821 6 days ago 0 replies      
For the canvas version, IE9 is much faster than Chrome 11.
fairlyodd 6 days ago 3 replies      
It is very slow though! WebGL has a long ways to go..

(Macbook Pro with VGA and 8gb RAM)

eduardoflores 6 days ago 0 replies      
Working well and fast on IE9, just paste the url.
Ridiculously easy world times and meetings across time zones worldtimebuddy.com
229 points by jemeshsu  2 days ago   71 comments top 35
sivers 2 days ago 2 replies      
Suggestion: add the states and provinces of the world as if they are cities.

Sometimes you know the person you're scheduling is in California/US, Alberta/Canada, or Bahia/Brazil. But since those are not cities they're not coming up in your location search.

divtxt 2 days ago 0 replies      

I've thought about a vertical UI like this for the last 2 years but was never happy with the html mockups (my last mockup: http://www.txtlabs.com/tzs/), so I know this UI is hard to get right.


- simple buttons for next/previous day & today

- make date boundaries more prominent

- speed - do everything in JavaScript - site should become purely static as a nice bonus

- drop-down of ordered timezones as an alternative entry option

Question for HN: how would you monetize a simple site this? ads? or not at all?

udp 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm just getting a page saying "This Account Has Been Suspended"
djsla 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just came back from a concert to x10 traffic on world time buddy, which tracks back straight to here :)

Really glad to see a lot of positive feedback - thanks guys! The UX indeed took a long time to get right (?), with multiple (failed) versions over a couple of years. Simple things are hard to make.

Love the suggestions/ideas as well. Will consider for upcoming features.

Can folks elaborate what they mean by "slow". Feel free to do so in private, over email -- contact@worldtimebuddy.com

P.S. Why didn't I think of posting here myself? :)

alexkay 1 day ago 2 replies      
Consider adding an option for the 24-hour clock, that's what most people use.
weezer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Take a look at http://www.thetimezoneconverter.com I think the interface is a bit cleaner, plus they include states and countries as well as cities. This site is also the result of HN's weekend challenge.

Here's the author's experiences http://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/weekend-challenge.html

darklajid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Okay, admit it: Who else thought 'Nice, but does it break down for non-integer timezone offsets'?

Added 'Adelaide, Australia'. Obviously the creator of this neat site was way ahead of me though. Really, really helpful, thanks!

Cherian 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://everytimezone.com/ from Thomas Fuchs and Amy Hoy is my choice. But I am willing to switch if you give me a rest URL for custom time.
telemachos 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use this - http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedform.html - not especially pretty but it gets the job done well.
onwardly 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice! I love this! Integrate Google calendar and I'm thrilled.

Another suggestion: make the available hours darker and the night hours lighter. My eyes were drawn to the dark spaces, and it was easier to visualize the overlaps when I was looking at the dark spaces.

ryancarson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Holy heck. I love this! Living in the UK, but constantly organizing meetings (Skype, etc) in the States will mean this is a super-useful tool :)
ericmoritz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using everytimezone.com for this kind of thing.
Klinky 1 day ago 0 replies      
So let's say this takes off and becomes really popular. What is the monetization strategy for something like this? Or is there one?
aymeric 2 days ago 0 replies      
My startup developed something similar that persists your choices in a cookie: http://taskarmy.com/remote_team_work_hours

The scenario I had in mind was when you work in a remote team and you want to know if you can chat with them or expect an answer soon.

kennethologist 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really good app. I talk and do business with clients & contractors in California, Romania, India and Philippines and it is often very difficult to schedules meetings that are reasonable for myself and the other party.

Thanks for this! Good UI good performance. Good inspiration!

tuhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love this so much. Please add a Mac OS widget and iCal/Google Cal support. Something like Rapportive raplet maybe. I know this is wishful thinking but I actually think this will be useful to a whole lot of people.
pkarbe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Here is what I would do next:

You've got a great visualization concept of time zone scheduling, which is worth a lot. But the UI alone as a stand-alone web app is easy to replicate and not very sticky. As a next step I would build a plugin for Google Calendar and Outlook using the same data visualization concept. This would help users figure out which times to suggest for a call with someone in a different time zone, and they would be able to generate an invite right from the plugin. Then I would introduce scheduling interaction between users through the plugin. For example if user A uses the plugin to suggest a time for a call with person B in a different time zone, person B would benefit immensely if he/she could not only accept/decline but also see what other times are available purely from a time zone perspective (ideally also taking into account other appointments that user A has). This would increase stickiness and virality while also allowing you to establish a business. Not sure yet whether contextual advertising using call subjects or a subscription model would work better.

Come to think of it, this is all pretty trivial but I had fun thinking about it. Good luck!

Killah911 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmmm, may be worth mentioning something about scalability and reliability. I just got an "account suspended" page after clicking on the link :(
antirez 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is completely awesome, very useful for me, thank you.
dmoney 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be useful to be able to display 24-hour time for a given row.
kopos 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the first time coordinating across timezones is so darn simple. Thank you for this.

- Day / date boundaries can be more intuitive
- Day and night too

Can you tie this up with skype (as a small quick plugin), Google Calendar and MS Outlook?

helipad 1 day ago 0 replies      
What are you using to determine user location?
mike_esspe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Should have UTC+0. Couldn't find Greenwich.
bconway 1 day ago 0 replies      
"This Account Has Been Suspended"?
adlep 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea. My business partner is in HK, China. Another in Germany. I am in the US. This will come in very handy to coordinate meetings between us
forensic 2 days ago 1 reply      
newfoundland doesn't work
rrikhy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great for enterprise but it needs a different name. Probably an outlook invite for the time after setting all the parameters would be ideal.
basseq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bookmarked; we'll how if it gets used in daily life, but it's certainly better than the tool I have been using. Seems slow, currently.
Aidan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Much easier than http://whenthetimeis.com/, well done on the interface!
mwilcox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was just thinking the other day that someone should make something like this. Thanks, bookmarked :)
barmstrong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something about this reminds me of Hipmunk.
robot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Site name too long, hard to remember.

When you type cities, you get detailed, irrelevant city names, e.g. type london you get all sorts of london, we know I don't mean Londonderry County Borough, UK

jconnop 2 days ago 0 replies      
Much faster than using worldtimeserver.com as I used to. Bookmarked :)
gladimdim2 1 day ago 0 replies      
thank you. great idea and realization.
edderly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great, but slow!
FBI: If We Told You . . . (Part II) aclu.org
220 points by trotsky  5 days ago   21 comments top 8
fleitz 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think that whatever grounds corporations (and their customers) have to challenge these requests that those grounds have far more basis in the law than "it would be bad for business." If the grounds for challenge are baseless then a court will toss the case, but I think that would be highly unlikely.

People have a constitutional right to be secure in their papers and effects and the court should be the one judging where these rights start and end, and not the FBI.

Exactly what is so important that a warrant cannot be obtained from a judge before tapping these lines? Where is the justification that this is necessary to secure our happiness and freedom?

If it is necessary to repeal parts of the constitution then we should have a frank, open and honest discussion about it. The more likely case is that Augustus has no clothes.

smokeyj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Someone should start a company that rates how companies handle customer data. On a scale of 0 to telco, how invasive are you.
ramdac 5 days ago 0 replies      
To me, this suggests that corporations have too much power in this country. This explains why the FBI is heavy-handed with their "do not disclose" style issuances to corporations. It isn't so much that the FBI is scared the company will tip someone off, but that people in general will become more knowledgeable about these activities. This poses a risk for companies as proponents of privacy will be very outspoken.

If anything, this is a great argument for why these things SHOULD be public knowledge.

meatsock 5 days ago 0 replies      
'if what we ARE telling you is this scary imagine the stuff we're protecting you from knowing.'

how fantastically polite.

nkassis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hum I read that more as, we need it secret or corps providing us info will never accept to do it and will fight to the end even if they are legally bound to provide the information.

So it's not that they don't want challenges it's that they think they can't even get what they legally can without secrecy.

It's not a very good argument by the FBI for sure. Obviously if people knew that some corps provided info but not other, it could penalize the first by losing customers but we already know we can't trust certain companies even with all the secrecy.

firefoxman1 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a certain movie...

"Operation Blackbriar started as an NEAT surveillance program.
It is now the umbrella program for all our black-ops. Full envelope intrusion, rendition, experimental interrogation - it is all run out of this office. We are the sharp end of the stick now"

armored 5 days ago 3 replies      
As a corporation that would like to resist any demands for my customers information & data stored on my servers what can I do? Currently the way the laws are written it is illegally in some cases even to notify the customer that they are being surveilled.
jaredwill 5 days ago 0 replies      
In other words: The only way we can obtain this information is to not tell what what information we're obtaining.
How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? nytimes.com
221 points by robg  3 days ago   86 comments top 21
pstack 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'd settle for even being able to sleep at regular intervals. I have a habit of staying up until I'm tired and waking up when I can't sleep anymore. As a result, I may stay up all day for several days and then stay up all night for several days. Or for several days, I may sleep twice during 24hrs, in completely random periods. I just don't do well with the concept of "well, it's 10pm, so that means it's time to get into bed".
ianl 3 days ago 1 reply      
During my first year of university while I was running a start up our of dorm room (modest success) and doing a full course load I was running on four hours of sleep a night and an hour afternoon's nap just before supper.

That experience taught me something very important, sleep is crucial. When you are tired you get tunnel vision and all you want to do is complete your task. The long term effects of this on your start up is that you loose the edge to be innovative while trying to solve problems.

BlazingFrog 2 days ago 1 reply      
I envy all of you people who "choose" how many hours of sleep they will have (or not have). After you have kids, especially if their sleep pattern is very inconsistent for no apparent reason, you just take whatever you can get.
Unfortunately, you may not be ready to sleep at 10pm that night that your child will decide to wake up at 1am ready to go about her day...
Don't pay attention to me. Just another rant from a sleep-deprived parent... ;)
patrickk 2 days ago 1 reply      
How little sleep one can survive on is something I would like to not to explore. I've struggled with insomnia for over a decade now, and if you are fortunate to consistently get a solid nights sleep and wake up refreshed, then you should appreciate the energy you have.

I would much rather sleep well, have less hours in the day to work with and operate at 80-100% mental capacity rather than get less sleep, drink gallons of coffee or other stimulants and struggle with being able to think clearly.

Ironically enough, it's exam season now and I may have found a solution - forcing myself to go to bed at midnight, and up at 8-9am (no matter how bad I feel) and taking one caffeine tablet in the morning and one at at lunch, I now have something like regular alertness for the first time consistently in years. It's only a few days into this phase however so who knows how it will pan out. Many a false dawn (pun intended) was had before with solving insomnia!

pamelafox 3 days ago 5 replies      
I often get told that I don't sleep enough (more like 6 than 8, if that), but for me, my dreams get stranger the longer I sleep, and my day is happier if I can wake up without strange dreams lingering in my head. For example, last night I slept about 8 hours (probably due to wine the night before), and my final dream involved me trying to evade certain death in a circus. I'd prefer to start off my day on cheerier notes. :)

I don't use an alarm as I believe in waking up when your body wants you to, after its natural cycles end. Or at least, thats what usually works for me.

udoprog 3 days ago 3 replies      
Loved this article. I would love to see a simliar test around polyphasic sleep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep).

I've actually tried the Uberman sleep schedule for three weeks. This is where you sleep 20 minutes for each 4 hours, totalling in a whopping 2 hours sleep each day.

The time gain was insane, and the transition period aswell (between day 3-5 I actually hallucinated due to sleep deprevation). But around 1.5 weeks something strange happened. The 20 minute period that you are allowed to sleep seemed like hours each time, and I would wake up like clockwork on the 20 minute mark.

The whole routine is not just a sleep routine, it affects your entire lifestyle. No stimulants, including sugar, high degrees of fat, caffeine. No sedatives, alcohol, drugs (!). And the fact that you are awake during the night when the whole world seems dead is one of the hardest social aspects to handle. What do you do with 6 extra hours each day?

Of course there's the aspect of finding somewhere to sleep every 4 hours (was at school at the time), and if you ever missed out, you would have hell to pay.

I eventually buckled on a skiing trip with an open bar, had a nice weekend and decided to going back to normal sleeping patterns. Partly because it was not socially acceptable to sleep 2 hours a day (my father threatened to beat some sense into me). But also that there was very little foundation that this kind of sleep pattern was even safe. A couple of million years of evolution had other idea's of when and how long it is necessary to sleep.

Other than that, the foundations that I gathered up from this was that when changing your sleeping pattern. The body frantically tries to adapt. By sleeping extremely short periods the body would effectively increase the amount of REM sleep (and yes, I dreamed a lot during these sleeping periods), however, it has not been proven that you don't need the other types of sleep.

This is probably a lot of rumours, and a lot of wishful thinking. I personally wish there was some solid backing behind this kind of reasoning (more time awake is awesome!), There are a lot of buzz out there (check google and youtube), but I've been unable to find anything reasonably solid.

thebooktocome 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've completely stopped going without sleep this since the last semester ended. Of course, we'll see if we last through the next semester...

The thing I've noticed is that I have way more free time than I thought I did, because I wasn't explicitly thinking about things in terms of "hmm, I have five hours before bed, I should probably do X".

Also, melatonin supplements are my friend. :)

credo 3 days ago 4 replies      
The report is interesting and it isn't surprising that partial sleep deprivation results in a cognitive deficit.

I'd be more interested in understanding the long-term effects of insufficient sleep.

Is the cognitive deficit a temporary problem that goes away after a few days (or more of) sufficient sleep OR will sustained lack of sleep (over a long period) result in a long-term problem that persists even after the subject begins to sleep sufficiently.

jarin 3 days ago 3 replies      
Strangely enough, I've found that since I increased my caffeine intake (to around 900-1200mg/day via energy drinks) I've been sleeping great. I usually go to sleep around 10pm, wake up naturally around 3am, and take a 1 hour nap around 3 pm. I've been drinking a lot of water as well, and I've had no problems focusing on work. I think the nap is the key though.
IanMikutel 3 days ago 1 reply      
"P.V.T. is tedious but simple if you've been sleeping well. It measures the sustained attention that is vital for pilots, truck drivers, astronauts. Attention is also key for focusing during long meetings; for reading a paragraph just once."

I can't say how true that is when you're doing a ton of email all day or research, and its more a function of the sum total of small delays in re-reading that build up over the course of an entire day. Contrasted with a day when your mind is so clear that you require no re-reading, it feels like you are so much more productive.

Additional sleep links:

1. Sleep: How to hack your brain (http://www.dustincurtis.com/sleep.html)

2. The 4-Hour Body: Engineering better sleep (http://techcocktail.com/book-preview-the-4-hour-body-enginee...)

Spyro7 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how long it takes to recover from the decreased performance.

When I was in high school, I could pull an all nighter with ease to take care of an assignment (or to finish a Legend of Zelda game in one straight playing session).

Now, in grad school, I needed to pull an all nighter recently and found that I just couldn't do it anymore. I hadn't pulled an all nighter in years and it just seemed to be vastly harder than it used to be.

It is too bad the study didn't attempt to see how much sleep was necessary to recover. Would have been nice to know how long the residual effects from decreased sleep lasts. It is now a full week since the end of my semester and I still feel abnormally tired.

JohnAllen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can tell if I've slept less than 8 hours; I can barely function with anything less than 7; add 30-60 minutes if I've exercised intensely the previous day.

The report makes it seem like even if people don't realize it, their performance suffers. I've always been jealous of those that could seemingly sleep for however much time was convenient but not anymore!

knodi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I try to sleep little over 8 hour and less then 9 hours, although it doesn't always happen. As the last hour of my sleep I almost always experience lucid dreams and they make my day so much better.
sinker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting article, but the results don't reflect the performance of those who have adapted to alternative sleep schedules in the long term. The article states that subjects were to maintain their sleep schedule for two weeks. I reckon that any sudden shift in sleep schedules would have a good chance of causing fatigue. A more interesting experiment would be to see how those with alternative sleep schedules that have practiced them in the long term compare to those with 8 a day schedules.
tmd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have always suspected that I need more sleep than other people. When I tried to live without alarm clock I slept for 9-10 hours every night. It seems to be an enormous waste of time so I usually schedule an alarm after 8 hours.

It never occurred to me that one can measure whether the amount of sleep received is right. I just downloaded PEBL (http://pebl.sourceforge.net/), an open source software that includes the P.V.T. test (mentioned in the article) in its battery -- an you can adjust lots of test parameters simply by editing ppbt.pbl. Seems to be working fine (though the test itself is boring and tedious). I'll measure few times a day and try whether 8 vs 10 hours makes a difference in my case.

torstesu 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would have been really interesting to see if power naps had any effect on the performance of the subjects that were deprived of sleep.

My personal experience is that 15 minutes in the horizontal position improves my awareness and performance. An additional hack is to drink an espresso the moment before you take your power nap - the effect of the caffeine will kick in in about 15 minutes after consumption.

coreymaass 1 day ago 0 replies      
I highly reocmmend Jmes Maas' book Power Sleep. He's a Cornell professor who's studied sleep for decades. This book opened my eyes to just how important enough sleep is. http://www.amazon.com/Power-Sleep-Revolutionary-Prepares-Per...
herf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if f.lux should have a P.V.T. test built in!
asimjalis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed a difference based on when I wake up. If I wake up early in the morning when it's still dark I find I am quite alert even on a few hours of sleep. If I wake up later I need the eight hours.
ajkessler 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't buy the seemingly arbitrary distinction that 8 hours is a good night's sleep. I know people who require 9+ hours per night (ie they appear sleep deprived if they get less than 9 for a few consecutive nights). I know one person who requires about 4 per night (not a forced four where you end up looking 10 years older than you really are after a few years).

I do like the idea of testing where your sweet spot is, though. I've never done anything like the PVT, but I've found (through Steve Pavlina's advice) that if you wake up at the same time each day, every day, and simply fall asleep when you're tired at the end of the day, you discover pretty quickly where that sweet spot is. More here: http://www.ajkesslerblog.com/how-to-get-back-9-weeks-of-your...

code_duck 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder when they'll stop forcing active duty military to make do with 4 hours a night.
Google Storage Now Available To Developers google.com
217 points by ASUmusicMAN  6 days ago   60 comments top 16
jcampbell1 6 days ago 2 replies      
5 years, 1 month and 28 days after S3 is publicly launched. It is just a reminder that the threat by incumbents to startups is hardly worth worrying about.
peteforde 6 days ago 0 replies      
The pricing is far less interesting to me than the differences between GS and S3. In some significant ways, GS appears to be a much more technically sophisticated product. And there are some arguably less used functionality like BitTorrent which are removed from the picture.

The ACL scheme is significantly more flexible on GS. In fact, one of the two major problems I have with S3 is a non-issue on GS:

1. All files on S3 are not world-readable when they are first uploaded. You cannot change the default permission for a file uploaded to a bucket. On GS you can set the default ACL on a bucket to world-readable.

2. For me, the most incredible thing GS could do right now is add a callback API. I want it to notify my application when my bucket is updated, webhooks style.

With both 1 & 2 in place, you can build storage driven applications in the cloud that don't require constant polling. Man, that would sure be something.

jbyers 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's really nice to see that boto (python AWS library) supports S3 and Google Storage side-by-side. Being able to pick and choose providers behind the same API is how the cloud should be.
akshat 6 days ago 2 replies      
At Google's scale I would have guessed that they would have had no difficulty in matching and even beating Amazon's pricing. This is surprising. Why so?
zbailey 6 days ago 2 replies      
A compelling reason for our use case to switch from S3 is their support for lots of buckets coupled with CNAME support:


Due to Amazon's limitation of 100 buckets per account and the coupling between bucket name and CNAME, hosting files for our clients and supporting custom CNAMEs has not been possible for us. If we were to move to Google Storage, it would be.

riobard 6 days ago 1 reply      
Download data:
$0.15 to Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
$0.30 to Asia-Pacific

So if a bunch of people from Japan decide to download from your app, you are screwed.

gburt 6 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain why I would choose this over S3, when S3's starting rate is 0.14 / GB and goes down from there?
ASUmusicMAN 6 days ago 2 replies      
No more invites required to use, but at first glance it appears to be more expensive than S3.
bane 6 days ago 0 replies      
meh, in 3 years they'll probably just announce a new pricing structure where every reasonable use of this ends up with 1000%-2000% price hike (GAE user here, grumble grumble)
tybris 6 days ago 0 replies      
Only 5 years, 1 month, and 28 days after Amazon made S3 available to developers.
MatthewB 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am a little confused about Google Storage Manager. Is this supposed to be a consumer facing product? AKA dropbox killer?
lzm 6 days ago 0 replies      
A bucket in Latin America would be a killer feature. Doesn't Google already have a data center in São Paulo?
zackattack 5 days ago 0 replies      
i thought this was just an auxiliary service to other google services.. not really a competitor to s3?
neworbit 5 days ago 0 replies      
Damn, I was hoping this was going to spur Amazon to cut prices.
reedlaw 6 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know how to copy an S3 bucket to Google Storage?
epynonymous 6 days ago 1 reply      
does anyone know if s3 is profitable?
Heroku architecture quora.com
215 points by helwr  6 days ago   17 comments top 6
tlrobinson 6 days ago 5 replies      
I posted that answer. If you have any additional questions or insights let me know.
bgentry 5 days ago 0 replies      
If this stuff sounds interesting to you, we're always looking for excellent engineers (and much more): http://jobs.heroku.com/
endlessvoid94 6 days ago 0 replies      
Take a look at the CloudFoundry project -- http://github.com/cloudfoundry/vcap

It's open source and maintained by an uber-capable group at VMware.

Pahalial 6 days ago 0 replies      
Surprisingly good link. While we're discussing Heroku, does anyone have any deep[er] insights into the differences between Zookeeper and Doozer?
armored 6 days ago 2 replies      
Does this mean that 3 proxy servers serve all the traffic for ALL apps hosted on Heroku?
alttab 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. Providing this as a service requires a very different approach than running open source code.
Windows 7 Network Awareness: How Windows knows it has an Internet connection superuser.com
214 points by ivoflipse  1 day ago   40 comments top 9
mlinsey 22 hours ago 2 replies      
" If the response is never received, or if there is a redirect, then a DNS request for dns.msftncsi.com is made. If DNS resolves properly but the page is inaccessible, then it is assumed that there is a working internet connection, but an in-browser authentication page is blocking access to the file. This results in the pop-up balloon above. If DNS resolution fails or returns the wrong address, then it is assumed that the internet connection is completely unsuccessful, and the “no internet access” error is shown."

Would this mean that DNS poisoning msftncsi.com would prevent Win7 machines from accessing the internet? Or would this merely cause the 'no internet access' error to be displayed despite your connection working anyway?

snprbob86 1 day ago 3 replies      
The iPhone uses a very similar technique. If you connect to a wifi network that requires login, a browser sans address bar will pop-up over your current app and allow you to login. Once an external resource can be reached, the browser disappears and returns you to the previous app. Steve Jobs even alluded to it / bragged about it when the iPhone was first unveiled, 2 years before Win7 was released.
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 1 reply      
if you're paranoid enough to disable this, you shouldn't be using windows. there are far more and better ways for windows and other windows software to phone home.
jerrya 1 day ago 3 replies      
Yes, I have wanted to build something like that for Android, mainly to keep my phone from getting confused when it's connected to someone's wifi that demands some check box be checked off for service.

It would periodically awaken, see if the wifi is connected, if it is is there connectivity, if there is, go back to sleep, if there is not, turn the wifi off.

I've also wanted to build for Android the same piece of code, but if for 2 or 5 urls it gets back the same page with a checkbox, it checks off the box and sends it back off.

But I am curious, do all those wifi dns terms and agreements hijacking pages break any sort of RFC?

And is there any solution in ip6?

Or is there a real fix possible in ip4?

ahi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just assumed it noticed when I entered the login information 2 minutes prior, then waited until the most annoying moment to give me a completely useless fraking notification.
ilikejam 1 day ago 1 reply      
Possible vector for some sort of attack?
The ncsi service that requests www.msftncsi.com is presumably very simple, but then...
dominikb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple claims that Mac OS X is "the world's most advanced operating system". But it's these details that I consider advanced and clever. Apple's marketing statements went from funny to offensive and unsupported.
idonthack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do we really need an entire article about this? Seriously, if you couldn't figure this out on your own in about 10 seconds, you're in the wrong line of work
ROME HTML5 demo ro.me
197 points by pfleidi  5 days ago   61 comments top 24
daeken 5 days ago 2 replies      
Well, I've been on the fence for a while, but I'm fairly sure that I'm not going to build native code demos anymore. WebGL just enables far too much awesome stuff. This demo on its own was impressive, but the fact that people are able to design new parts of the demo is what sets it apart.

With WebGL, it becomes simple to build an online, collaborative demotool where group members can easily work together on building new productions. That's simply unprecedented and may lead to a rebirth of the demoscene.

jasonkester 4 days ago 2 replies      
We are very sorry, but “3 Dreams of Black” is an experiment and unfortunately does not currently function on every configuration. It appears that your computer's graphics card doesn't support WebGL technology. You can find more details for troubleshooting here and obtain a list of recommended graphics cards.

That's what I see on the latest build of Chrome, and in FF4, on my one year old laptop.

So now in addition to supporting a big pile of browsers, we're expected to support a big pile of video cards and hardware configurations too? Isn't this the reason we moved to web apps 15 years ago?

jarin 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is simply amazing. Admittedly, I downloaded the leaked album minutes before seeing this link, but after watching this 4 times in a row I now have the song stuck in my head and just pre-ordered the album on iTunes.

Oh yeah, and if you see a smiley face on the ground in the desert scene I made that :)

navs 5 days ago 3 replies      
Nothing makes my MacBook sound more like an aircraft during takeoff than a WebGL/HTML5 experiment.
I like to think I have a decent computer (MacBook Pro Gen 5) but it couldn't handle this. I suspect my slow internet connection might be another possible reason.
pedrokost 5 days ago 0 replies      
He provides useful code and explanation of how the website was made: http://www.ro.me/tech
9999 5 days ago 2 replies      
Having disabled webgl due to security vulnerabilities, I can't actually see this in FF4. Can someone describe it for me? Is it pretty?

Hey, remember when we all thought that HTML5 and emerging technologies like webgl would be so cool and so much more secure than Flash? Yeah....

markbao 5 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely beautiful.
dendory 5 days ago 3 replies      
The message asking me to download Chrome on an otherwise empty page reminds me of those early 90s sites that said best viewed in Netscape 3 or IE5...

Plus it's of no use to me, seeing I'm on an iPad right now.

pacomerh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Man, this would still be cool even if it wasn't rendering the 3D/webgl, the composition is very good
Encosia 5 days ago 0 replies      
Combining this and a Kinect tracking head movement for interaction would be interesting. Imagine something like that as the routine music video experience on your TV in the future.
mkeblx 5 days ago 3 replies      
How does the running performance of WebGL compare to what would be possible if it was a native app? Are there inherent limitations of implementing this in the context of the web that will keep it much slower or will continuing optimization and things like hardware accelerated canvas elements allow achieving near parity (>80%) in performance?
seanalltogether 5 days ago 0 replies      
wow, that put my whole system into a spin lock for about 5 minutes. not fun.
jeffreymcmanus 5 days ago 1 reply      
Silly rabbits, I am too using Google Chrome.
jbrennan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Eats your back button in Safari 5.
rglover 5 days ago 0 replies      
A bit laggy but amazing that it's even possible. Can't wait to see what this looks like in the future. I hope we'll see something like CS Source or a similar title ported over in the next couple of years.
tga 4 days ago 1 reply      
From an end user's perspective, this demo is a monstrosity (like pretty much all WebGL stuff I've ran across so far). I opened the link in a background tab, then my system started thrashing and Firefox got stuck. Restarted Firefox only to have it reload the tabs and freeze again. Had it running in the end and got to see the 3D butterflies flying around in a choppy music video.

Thanks, I'll go look for the disable button now.

cambriar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I came across this demo by the same guy, Chris Milk. It uses your home address to provide a personal experience. I think Chris is on to something.


SonicSoul 5 days ago 0 replies      
stunning! can't stop re-playing it. such awesome use of technology to create beautify art. also pretty happy my system is handling it with no problems..
becomevocal 4 days ago 0 replies      
WebGL will change the web. Give it time. This is just the awesome beginning.
kenkam 5 days ago 0 replies      
A superb demonstration and an excellent song. Well done Google!
splitrocket 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most impressive.
grab 5 days ago 0 replies      
sevensixnine 5 days ago 0 replies      
Requires a browser coded by an advertising agency. No thanks.
shazow 5 days ago 0 replies      
This music video is more interactive than most videogames today.
Why Google's hiring process is broken teambox.com
194 points by michokest  8 hours ago   127 comments top 37
ChuckMcM 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Lots of interesting stories.

Disclaimer, I worked at Google for 4 years ('06 - '10) and interviewed a lot of folks (it was always a part of the job) and did a number of phone interviews too.

The process then (as perhaps now) was broken and some folks within Google understood that. The process and goals were pretty simple, hire smart people that get things done.

The process was aimed at finding smart people who get things done. That, like the phrase "largest integer" is easy to say and rolls off the lips but when you need to actually write out what it means gets a bit squirrely.

The first challenge is what does "get things done" mean? Well for college students it means you got your diploma and at the same time you contributed to some FOSS project. For people with 0 - 5 years experience it means you shipped a product where you did most of the coding. For people with 5 - 15 years experience it means you shipped a product where you did most of the coding. For people with 15 to 25 years experience it means you shipped a product where you did most of the coding.

Did you see what I did there? Google wanted smart people but the definition of smart was "you write a lot of code" and "get things done" was "that code shipped in the product/project." Fundamentally they didn't have any way to judge or evaluate the 'goodness' of what someone did if it wasn't writing code. Designers don't write a lot of code and they don't generally have a good metric for what constitutes good which can be empirically tested. The process has a hard time accomodating that. And if you're "good" at spotting problems in a process or getting folks organized around some better way of doing things? That's not measurable either.

There was a company, BASF, a chemical company which had an advertising campaign around the fact that they were part of the process and materials that made quality products, their tag line was "We don't make the products you buy, we make them better." [1] And I noted that Google was exceptionally bad at hiring "BASF" people, which is to say people who bring the quality of other work up, or products up, or processes up.

The people who did those roles in Google all started out as coders and that is how they got hired. It was only after they were working there that they (and Google) discovered they had this leveraging effect.

In order to keep bias out of the process, Google isolates the steps where bias can creep in; separated the folks who decided hire / no-hire from the folks who decided on compensation; the folks who decide to hire and the folks who decide which project they work for. For all my time there, you could not interview for a specific job, you interviewed to get 'in' and then your name showed up on a list and the allocation process would determine which project got you.

Often a candidate would ask during the interview "What would I be working on?" the only truthful answer was "That is impossible to say."

Before you even get to that point though you get into "the system." Since Google keeps a record of everyone they have interviewed or has shown up as a lead and not interviewed. There is a long, long list of people (I once joked that it was everyone in the market). If you are an employee and you might know that person, common employer, common university, etc. The system could automatically send you an email asking for your opinion on the candidate.

This isn't really any different than any other company, person X shows up in the candidate list, people who work at the company who worked at person X's company are asked if they knew this person when they were there. But it can have unintended consequences.

Lets say there is a person X, who gets hired, from company Y, and person X really didn't fit in at Y and felt really abused by the company. Now new candidates from Y generate an email to X with the standard "You worked at Y when candidate Z did etc etc." Now person X is still pissed off about how Y treated them and so they respond to all of those emails with "Yeah, candidate Z was a crappy engineer, everyone had to carry for them they never did anything useful." Maybe someone else from Y says "candidate Z was great, everyone turned to them for advice." The process of separating the interviewers from the decisions means that this feedback bubbles up all equally weighted. Hard to know that employee X has said the same thing about every candidate that has come from Y, and if the committee sees two comments one positive and one negative and there isn't anyone on the committee who knows any different then how do you evaluate?

The simplest solution if either has an equal probability of being the 'correct' assesment is that you pass on them because you can't know if you have bad data. And that was a part of the process that was fundamentally broken.

Because Google gets a metric crap load of resumes and candidates all the time, passing on someone who is +1/-1 like that makes sense because you can't know which of the two feedback comments more accurately reflects the real candidate behavior. The result is that hiring someone with a grudge can poision the feedback pool for a bunch of possible hires. If you weren't Google and didn't have this huge backlog of candidates, you might dig deeper to find out which one was the more accurate representation, but if you are Google you just move on. Externally that sometimes appears that you just stop answering the phone.

It also means that you miss out on quality people who would be good for the company and ultimately Google will have to find a way to address that issue (if they haven't already) because they are running out of people to interview.

As with most things Google, you combine a data-driven, automata friendly process with fuzzy data and alternate agenda actors, at the scale Google runs at, and you get lots of weird artifacts.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ksUNyhQjLE

yid 7 hours ago  replies      
My 2 cents: I was contacted by a recruiter, unsolicited through a referral, and asked if I was interested in interviewing. At the time, I already had an offer from one of the other big companies, which I was upfront about. The recruiter said it was ok, and would set me up for the first round of interviews. After about a week of emails, I just simply stopped hearing from the recruiter. Not a single interview, no reason for terminating contact, just plain dead silence. I tried emailing her a few times and left her a voicemail, noting very politely that they had contacted me and not vice versa, and asking if they were still interested in setting up an interview, but all I got was stony silence. If that's not broken, I don't know what is. For a company that hires the best engineering talent, they either hire substandard HR people, or perhaps most HR people just operate at a different level of efficacy.
larsberg 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Google is considered (or at least was, by other tech companies) to have a very poor sourcing and general recruiting experience. It was assumed to be because they contract out the work.

As a contrast to that, at MSFT, we had full-time recruiting staff generally split into college and experienced recruiting (there are some extra bits not important to this). The experienced recruiting staff was assigned to divisions and worked for usually a couple of years at a time sourcing candidates specially suited to their area. The college recruiters carefully handle and ensure that only one person is in charge of each candidate, they're marshalled through all the steps, know when they'll hear what piece of info back, and are absolutely brutal with us hiring managers about making timely decisions (not that we ever drag our feet <grin>).

While working at MSFT, I was contacted several times by different Google recruiters. Each time, I was left sort of half-indifferent e-mails or voicemails, which I was informed was the desired style of contact. I'd fire them off to my sourcing manager to forward around the recruiting org for a good laugh and jokes about where these people had been before (it's a small industry, and they often would point out ex-Cisco recruiting washouts, etc.).

That said, you can certainly go far on name alone for your recruiting, especially when your options are expected to pay out well. But it's unfortunate to have to try to build teams despite your recruiting efforts. I'd hate to have been a hiring manager there.

danielha 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Every few weeks or so I'm contacted by the same Google recruiter asking if I'm interested in an engineering opportunity.

After a while, I responded by asking who had referred me. He answered: "Referrals are confidential, but this person knows you from your days at <proceeds to list out my LinkedIn>."

Awful. Plus I'm a shitty programmer.

jrockway 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience. Same letter from the recruiter, back-and-forth with rate-your-skills, but then nothing. It's strange because the position they had in mind seemed directly aligned with my proven interests and abilities. Hell, my cover letter was pretty much describing the job they wanted before they even told me about it.

I really see it as strange that I never got a call back. (Maybe it's not over yet, it's only been a few weeks.)

pgroves 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I disagree with article's conclusion that they are selecting for "backend" engineers. They are selecting for people that think over-engineering every little data structure is the way to build good programs. The skill software companies need is the ability to get a hundred subsystems tested and working together, which is totally different.

I know someone who recently interviewed with Google and he told me about the algorithms question he "got wrong." After he came up with a simple solution to a simple problem, the interviewer told him the better, googley-er algorithm, which was: a) far more complex and difficult to implement, b) had far more corner cases that would need unit tests, c) had more overhead in the expected case, but d) technically had a better big-O in the (extreme) worst case.

In other words, the interview was screening for people who have been to school but haven't ever built anything.

jquery 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My own personal "horror" story.

Google reached out to me, unsolicited, for a web developer position. I wasn't looking, but I thought cool, I'll at least talk to them. The recruiter kept asking me about how good my Java was. I repeated what it said on my resume, that I only used it in college, but that my OO skills were strong and transferable. Afterwards the recruiter emailed me, and said I wasn't a good fit because I didn't have enough Java experience. I didn't even get a technical phone screen.

Java experience is serious business.

citizenkeys 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Google's process is broken because it generally presumes job candidates know what specific job they want, and they don't. To put it in contrast, I also applied to Microsoft and they immediately assigned me a specific recruiter that I could email directly. Google needs to give job candidates a person to contact rather than expecting talent to go online and do that weird "job shopping cart" thing they have on their website.

The other reason the hiring process is broken is because it's totally backwards. The hiring process doesn't indicate any appreciation of talent. Talent in this industry consists of wanna-be rockstars. Talent wants the company to say "Hey, you're great. We want you. What's it going to take to get you here?" Google's approach, like many other companies, is "Go online, email us a resume, and we'll get back to you whenever we feel like it." Most people with talent are going to say "Forget that. You got it backwards. You need me more than I need you."

To put it in perspective, think of how professional sports teams recruit college athletes. The professional teams do every damn thing they can to get college athletes to agree to join the team. They send out recruiters that pay for meals, make the candidates feel special, and everything else to make the talent feel appreciated. That's how you recruit talent. Taking the approach of "Go online, do our rinky-dink job shopping cart thing, email us a resume, and we'll get back to you when we feel like it" doesn't attract talent and never will.

alienfluid 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I haven't had an interview in over 6 years, but I have been approached by multiple recruiters in the same time span.

I actually dread the day I choose to switch jobs and have to face another technical interview - considering that my knowledge of college-level CS has declined over time. It's not because I am less skilled now than I was before, it's because you don't have to constantly create fantastically fast algorithms on a daily basis (at least in my job!).

The skills that I have developed over the past 6 years - designing complex components that interact with other complex components in a hugely complex product, making improvements in the design of a 20 year old codebase, deciding between fixing a bug and compatibility etc., intuition about design choices and how they fit in the product, and yes, debugging (!) - none of these are covered in technical interviews these days.

Sure, I could explain how a b-tree works - but that's not going to help me resolve my next bug.

fogus 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Sometimes I feel like the only person who was not hired by Google that didn't become bitter. I was treated with respect, was put up in a nice hotel, met very smart people, answered (and didn't ;) very tough questions. In the end it didn't work out. I had a blast nonetheless.
ziadbc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Google manages not to hire someone who didn't want to work there in the first place. Sounds like the process is working just fine to me.

In all seriousness, there may be some issues with their hiring process, but I think the Google hiring practices would best be analyzed by using the aggregated data, rather than the trickle of anecdotes we tend to hear about in public. Even if Google got their hiring right 99.9 percent of the time, there would be hundreds of people, if not thousands, who were perfect for the job, and still didn't get hired.

kenjackson 7 hours ago 7 replies      
Asked me to rate my skills in a list of 14 programming languages.

Really? I'd love to know what they did with that data. It seems almost completely useless except to say "Tim does not know any Javascript, indicated by his zero score on that."

veyron 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually ended up turning down a google offer for this precise reason -- the questions are biased in favor of a `theory` person over a `practice` person.

Having been through a real interview (where the interviewer went through my resume before the interview and prepared real thoughtful questions that would only be known if you actually worked on the language), I took that offer and now interview others more intelligently.

yesimahuman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It doesn't take a designer or user experience expert to note that google products lack consistency and don't interopt with each other very well. I think this stems from larger issues that are much harder to fix, or through 20% projects and acquisitions that were developed independently of a common set of standards. I doubt they are ignoring it.

Perhaps the lack of a "Google standard" enables eager developers to create amazing new products, like Gmail.

javert 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've also had a bad recruiting experience with Google, but for very different reasons. Personally, from what I can see (i.e. outside looking in), I think they have major systemic problems in how they do recruiting.
tomkarlo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The OP is doing a lot of generalization and extrapolation to make the judgement contained in the title, considering he doesn't even seem to have made it through stage one of the process he's attempting to judge. I'm pretty sure there's some folks who get rejected at the preliminary screening stage of my company's hiring process (some, I'm sure, for the wrong reasons) but I hardly think that would justify condemning our entire recruiting strategy and process.

This seems mostly like a standard recipe for baiting traffic from HN to a blog: make up a sweeping generalization about a company people are deeply interested in (e.g. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter) based on a very limited data set, put that in your headline, then have your article talk about how much better your company is at XYZ by comparison. It's the HN version of the humblebrag tweet.

16s 1 hour ago 0 replies      
They asked me how to rm a file named -f. Seriously. I thought to myself what a silly question. That's like 20 year old Unix trivia. I was dumb-founded. This was the second phone interview. I knew then I did not want to work for them and I told the recruiter I was not interested. They called me and they initiated the contact.
brown9-2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What position was the author interviewing for? Google (and most big companies) seem to pigeonhole candidates into a certain slot, even when it is obvious they'd be better off in a different title.

The real way in which their process seems broken is the wildly different experiences people have seemingly at random, depending on who their arbitrarily assigned recruiter is. When I interviewed I had none of this weird "rate yourself" questions, and a mostly positive experience. But it seems like if I had randomly been assigned a different recruiter, or someone tried to fit me into a different bucket, I would have had a wildly different experience. How can you compare candidates evenly when their experiences seem so randomly different?

sabat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In a nutshell: Google has developed a reputation for interviewing skill sets, as opposed to interviewing people. Sadly, that's common practice industry-wide.
currywurst 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This "Google can't do design" meme is really getting old, imho. At best, this is a story about one recruiter in a giant company not doing his job well in matching the requirements with the skill set of the candidate.

It is easy to conclude preconceived notions.

rbanffy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I need no evidence beyond the fact they didn't hire me when they had the opportunity ;-)
VBprogrammer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Call me old fashioned but I think Google keeps having slightly embarrassing failures because it tries to copy ideas, without significantly improving on them, where the dominant player has already gained a critical mass of users.
locopati 7 hours ago 1 reply      
They are self-selecting for a certain type of person and that will likely hurt them in the long-run (may even be hurting them in the short-run).
rkischuk 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I recently talked to a colleague who was hired as a developer by Google.

He went through 3 rounds of "hiring committees".

3 different committees to make a developer hire is obviously broken. The ability to evaluate culture and skill fit should be possible with a hiring manager and a few prospective peers.

jnhnum1 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've interviewed for a summer internship at Google twice: this summer and last. The first time I interviewed with them, they emailed me the same day to tell me that my interview went really well and they'd like to proceed to host matching. Unsure of the way the process worked, I emailed the recruiter a week later to ask what the next steps were. She called me back half an hour later to ask if I had any deadlines, which I didn't. The reason for the delay, she said, was that Google tried to first match returning interns with hosts before new interns. A couple weeks later, I had a phone interview with a host, it went well, and I was assigned to work with him over the summer. That was that.

This summer, I decided I wanted to return to work at Google again, but I had a specific project in mind I wanted to work on. I filled out a form stating my project interests (which were very specific this time around), but no recruiter reached out to me. I talked to one of my colleagues at Google from the previous summer, he talked to HR or something, and I got a new recruiter. Then I went through five host interviews in three days, picked my favorite, and that was that.

So in my experience, the hiring process at Google isn't that bad. It's just that if you have a delay that's too long, you need to follow up.

latch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to work at Google, but I have no interest in going through the embarrassment of their [seeminly] stuck up interview process. No doubt this is my loss, and not Google's.
j_baker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Design decisions powered by A/B testing are a great way of incrementally improving your product, but trying to use them to drive the overall product direction can lead you to decisions that fly in the face of common sense.

Good lord do I agree. At a certain level, you just have to trust your gut.

ruethewhirled 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It does seem like Google is more focused on the programing side of things and design is an afterthought for them. Which is a pity because I feel overall look and design dramatically changes my perceptions of how good something is.

Another beef I have with Google is the sorta half-assedness of some of their products. They seem to release things early to get them out there, which isn't necessary a bad thing but now I've started to realize this it's soured me to using some of their api's and products

crux_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think an underlying reason for so many anecdotes of the sort in the comment threads here is the sheer number of hires the Goog is trying to make right now -- according to http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html, they've grown headcount by close to 10% in Q1 alone so far.

Life for their recruitment folks is probably fairly interesting these days.

nostrademons 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you were going through the software engineer interview process, when what you wanted to do is product management. This is a recruiter-fail: when someone expresses an interest in product decisions, it makes sense to send them through the PM interview process. But it's not really representative of what it's like to interview for all the different job families that one might apply to.
k_shehadeh 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more with this one. I have trouble talking to people about this because I failed their interview so I come across as bitter (which I am). But this problem is not just Google's problem. It's systemic. Someone a long time ago decided to turn interviewing into a formula - a bad one - and it stuck. Drives me crazy.
googInterviewee 4 hours ago 1 reply      
(Posting anonymously because I'm in the middle of interviewing with Google)

My experience so far has been very different. I was contacted by a recruiter a few weeks ago. I had a phone interview within a week of the initial contact. Within three days, they got back to me to schedule an onsite interview.

The one negative I've encountered so far: Google has an office near where I live, but will not interview me there. This will require significant travel on my part.

gabeiscoding 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My Google offer experience: I turned down a offer from Google last spring. Long story, but my reasons can be summed up as having a more challenging opportunity in a leadership position at a small company versus having to enter the "engineer" lotto where you don't know what team and project you get placed on.

Funny thing is, I had a call from one of their recruiters today. A couple times previously somebody contacted me by email and I said "sure, call me", and didn't hear from them. But this guy was out of the blue and from a different office and had a different approach to it.

The message was that things are different at Google and they at least from his office's perspective, they treat each recruitment uniquely.

My take away is that Google is a big company and you'll get different experiences depending on how you enter the HR process (college grad applicant, versus sought after name). The OP in this case is doing a lot of generalization.

T_S_ 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Easier to get bought than hired?
bane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Related question, how easy/hard is it to move around internally once you are "in"?
spraveen80 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Google probably expects that all designers/product management folks that they are interviewing to be good at programming too. There are good programmers, good designers and some people who are really good at both. Since a lot of people want to work at Google, they are using that to their advantage and hiring good designers who are also good programmers.
iam 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I submitted my resume to Google and filled out their top X language survey, but never even so much got back an email from them after waiting for over a month.

Oh well, there's plenty of other companies who were happy to talk to me.

Show HN: New platform for finding work - $2000 project minimum codeyouridea.com
191 points by anto210  5 days ago   111 comments top 37
run4yourlives 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a little confused at the pricing.

Why would I require access to a constant stream of developers to code my projects? Is the supply that bad? Am I running developers out of town?

To me, it seems that you would use a service like this to establish working relationships and then continue to use those same working relationships in the future. In this model, it seems rather silly to pay you a monthly fee, and if I find a coder quickly you're not making much off of me.

The interesting issue is that websites like this are doing the exact same thing that professional recruiters do - playing matchmaker. The problem I have is that if you look at the recruiters that are really good, one of the first things that comes to light is that they our outstanding at building relationships. It's not so much about being selective as it is about understanding need and fit.

My concern is that the very thing that makes the process work well is completely absent on the web. It's hard to assess personality and fit without meeting a person and/or working with them in person.

I wish you the best of luck but I'm not sure if this is a technical problem at all.

plusbryan 5 days ago 7 replies      
Design is really important to me when deciding where to take my business. I love the idea, but the web site could use some serious design love.

For instance: That block of text might be good for SEO, but no one will ever read it.

dstein 5 days ago 2 replies      
It's good that at least someone is trying to address this. There are no decent freelance/telecommuter oriented job sites. The ones out there are generally geared toward the "let's outsource to India" style gigs -- I really can't compete with Indonesian teenagers for $10/hr PHP work. I have a feeling there is a huge swath of untapped talent out there being ignored by companies who are still in the 20th century and demand on-site employees.
michaelpinto 5 days ago 2 replies      
I hate to say it but $2,000 sounds a bit cheap. I'm assuming that most people who want to "code an idea" aren't looking for a WordPress install but something that's a bit more grand and may require doing a spec. If a coder is $50 an hour $2,000 is just 40 hours (i.e. one week): In my experience you'll spend at least that doing bug fixes and QA (even on a small project).

Maybe you should even set the minimum at $5k? If you're not willing to spend $5k on your idea then it can't be a very good idea if you know what I mean. And I say this as a designer who isn't a coder...

inkaudio 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is a great idea, It's hard for people with little tech experience to find a good hacker/coder and it's hards to find clients with a sufficient budget for a project.
So here is my biz dev advice..

1) Your concept of screening coders for talent is important, only accept people who can get things done.

2.) Only charge developers a monthly fee. The collective fees should be enough to cover the cost of an ongoing marketing campaign to attract the right businesses and entrepreneurs.

3.) Educate businesses and single entrepreneurs about the cost of projects, and cost of talent and explain trade offs for paying less.
Experienced coders may cost more, but they have the experience can work faster, less learning on job....coders who charge less may be less experience, in different time zone, not so fluent in native language, etc. Provide rough estimates based on info on past projects. i.e. Angry brids cost about $150,000 to create.
(http://www.develop-online.net/news/37242/Angry-Birds-cost-Ro... )

4.) The education is important and it provides prescreen of potential clients, only accept projects that fall within reasonable guidelines.

5.) Do not charge businesses a monthly fee. as mentioned by MatthewB "If it takes any more than a month to find a dev, there's something wrong with your system."
Once developer has been found, charge business/entrepreneur fee per projects because you're providing technical screening service.

Note: So the idea is to take some elements of successful services like elance, etc and raise the bar.
setting up useful guidelines and an effective marketing campaign will not be easy.

BasilAwad 5 days ago 2 replies      
You know, having coders or designers submit 30 second videos describing their skills and previous projects is an easy way to differentiate from other freelancing sites. Let non-paying visiters to the site see that as well. I would feel like I was getting a much higher quality batch of bid responses if I was able to see 30 sec videos of developers communicating their skills and previous projects competently in a not reading-off-the-screen way.

Maybe you could get the people asking for bids to submit 30 second videos of themselves too?

d0m 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd suggest using DEBUG = False in the production environment. (Django debug view gives a lot of private informations..)

Exception Location: /base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/views.py in submit_programmer, line 28
Python Executable: /base/
Python Version: 2.5.2
Python Path: ['/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python25.zip', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/third_party/django-1.2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/plat-linux2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-tk', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-dynload', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/1', '/base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/']

stevejalim 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd rename the github field to something more flexible -- at least let it sound like a BitBucket address would be just as relevant.

Also, how about a field for a LinkedIn profile?

e1ven 5 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting platform. For larger projects, I'm less likely to use a eLance/vWorker type service, and more likely to seek people out via their github/twitter/blog directly..

What is the revenue model here? Do you let me search people, and then I pay you a monthly fee, or do you take a cut?

The former is worthwhile to me; By requiring that users pay $50/month to search the devs, it keeps out a lot of the rifraff.

The later doesn't offer enough utility to be worth a cut of the entire price.

winterchil 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love this idea but it feels like these types of sites have become overly popular and I've noticed some problems. For context, I'm an entrepreneur with a budget, mock-ups, some angel interest, and I'm having a tough time finding senior development talent (mobile app & camera experience, some web talent). Anyway, if you solve some of these problems I'd get interested in a hurry.

-there's no upside in describing my project to an unknown community, If I describe it blandly nobody thinks it's interesting, if I describe it in detail I've given away our secret sauce.

-black box effect; it's unclear when/if I'll hear from the match-maker service.

-qualifications; while I value other people doing the pre-screens on developers I won't be comfortable unless they pass screens from technical people I know/trust but I seem overly picky and slow to decide if I have multiple interviews with all potential candidates.

For what it's worth, I think if you put more information about yourselves and your qualifications for screening devs it would help soothe these concerns.

jasonkester 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why the monthly pricing? Job boards and freelance sites are traditionally pay-per-post for a reason. Unless you know something that the rest don't, you might want to stick to conventional wisdom here.

Just charge $100 to post a project.

maxklein 5 days ago 2 replies      
There is another variable - the project size. $2000 is not much if asked to recreate facebook.
jrwoodruff 5 days ago 1 reply      
So the text says you are 'a team of developers and designers who want to spend more time doing what we love,' but this appears to only be for developers. Are you targeting designers as well, or only coders?
deyan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was not sure about the purpose of the website. On the one hand, it apparently wants to help people with projects find great coders. Great. On the other hand, it appears that it is also aiming to help you find (technical) cofounders. I don't think these are very related so I was a bit confused as to what the actual goal is.

Any thoughts?

mtogo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Please don't use "GitHub page". Github is not the only code hosting site out there and many people (like myself) don't use it.
gexla 5 days ago 0 replies      
$2000 can be a great price or a very bad price. A project which has a budget of $250 is great if it only requires an hour of my time. A budget of $2000 is horrible if it requires 200 hours of my time.
timedoctor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely agree with the problem that this site is trying to solve.

For most large projects it is impossible to spec out the idea accurately and what the client wants changes as the person starts to code. So I think that in many cases an hourly rate makes more sense for the coder and the project creator.

For medium sized projects around $2-10k maybe 20k, then project based work makes sense. Larger than this and a fixed fee is dangerous for the coder. Plus managing the timing of when the coder is paid is difficult.

And yes in most cases if the coder is great, a genuine coder will want an ongoing relationship with the employer.

Also I think it is possible to achieve the same result as your site by using vworker for example but only picking coders with VERY good feedback (the top 200 coders on the web site for example).

Another potential problem is how to you weed out all of the bad coders? If you get 10,000 applications from India, how will you know which guys are good and which are not good? That's probably the most important thing you can do for the employers.

Having said all of that, there definitely is a need, so good luck!

kloncks 5 days ago 1 reply      
Curious question. How long have you been developing this?
ultrasaurus 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm always considering building a site like this myself, there's not law of nature that dictates that freelance sites need to be races to the bottom.

The pricing is a little ambiguous, is it free (after the pre-launch period) for coders?

heffay 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to be able to select more than just one of the "looking for" options. Maybe I'm looking for freelance work in addition to a co-founder with an idea, for example
chris_j 5 days ago 0 replies      
Comment on the website: The main text goes off the bottom of the visible window and is obscured by the footer. This is on Chrome on Linux with the DPI settings increased a bit.
d0m 5 days ago 2 replies      
MultiValueDictKeyError at /submit/programmer, then:

global name 'phone' is not defined

(I think you're trying to fix this right now.. right?)

evanjacobs 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea and I think there is a great need from both developers and customers for this service. Have you thought at all about how to drive the demand side of this marketplace?
izak30 5 days ago 0 replies      
Broken, I got a Django debug page on appspot, contact me and I can give you details
MatthewB 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea. I am looking for a tech cofounder and hopefully this helps me find one. Thanks.
plamenv 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest concentrating on the quality of work you will (hopefully) be offering, not the min project price. If I'm a potential employer I'm not thinking "Oh, God, I'm so desperate to find someone that will charge me at least $2K!". Yet, the price is the first thing you throw at my face.
mikle 5 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox 4 on windows - The blob of text doesn't have a margin to right, making it stick to the scroll bar and hard to read.

Great idea, I might even try out, but first I need to get a portfolio going. Damn all those closed source projects and non participation in StackOverflow...

Rariel 5 days ago 0 replies      
"We will not share your idea with anyone else, but we cannot guarantee that we will not work on something very similar."

That makes me almost 100% unlikely to use your site. I know that you're CYA here, but I would need to cover mine too...It seems a little stupid to tell you an idea if you say in big bold letters that although you might not share it, you may steal it or "work on something very similar."

wmblaettler 5 days ago 0 replies      
I found a small typo in the "Why We Are Doing This?" paragraph, "and have respect for the work we have [to] do."
jijoy 5 days ago 1 reply      
pls disable the django debug , if you are going for public launch
joshaidan 5 days ago 0 replies      
eHarmony for programmers and employers, nice! :)
djerry 4 days ago 0 replies      
It will be looking good if you change the logo type and mark. Also please add an input field for Linkedin.
newman314 5 days ago 0 replies      
Renders funny under Firefox 4.
swanson 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is a white border around your logo.
romansanchez 5 days ago 0 replies      
Make sure you validate your text fields.
metachris 5 days ago 2 replies      

    NameError at /submit/programmer
global name 'phone' is not defined
Request Method: POST
Request URL: http://ecl-data-collection.appspot.com/submit/programmer
Django Version: 1.2.5
Exception Type: NameError
Exception Value:
global name 'phone' is not defined
Exception Location: /base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/views.py in submit_programmer, line 28
Python Executable: /base/
Python Version: 2.5.2
Python Path: ['/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python25.zip', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/third_party/django-1.2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/plat-linux2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-tk', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-dynload', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/1', '/base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/']
Server time: Thu, 12 May 2011 17:32:17 +0000

Rails 3 - Fully Loaded intridea.com
189 points by renaebair  4 days ago   32 comments top 11
ericb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Overall, a good summary.

> Since there is no more will_paginate in Rails 3, the only option is kaminari.

This version of will_paginate seems to be fine in Rails 3:


While I'm on the Rails 3 things you can find on Github topic, ActiveScaffold has a nice Rails 3 port here:


chrismealy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always get so much out of these kinds of roundups. It would be great if somebody smart did them on a regular schedule.

Ruby Toolbox is great too:

rbxbx 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'd be surprised if anyone that has built a few significant rails applications with devise would continue to use it. Unless you're going to have the most vanilla session/user/authentication management ever, fighting against devise gets downright nasty.

Have had moderate success with https://github.com/NoamB/sorcery lately, however I'm not yet confident in calling this a solved problem.

edit: Devise is great for getting up and running quickly. For that matter though, so is Joomla.

hanszeir 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best resource in my opinion is http://www.ruby-toolbox.com/.
xtacy 4 days ago 1 reply      
For Geocoding, here's another nice gem that uses Google/Yahoo/Freegeoip: https://github.com/alexreisner/geocoder.
swanson 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is an awesome resource, there is an overwhelming amount of choice for people that are new to Rails development (I am encountering this myself at the moment).

While I hope to eventually be able to pick which gems I like to use best, for a beginner this kind of guidance is really valuable.

ankimal 4 days ago 1 reply      
We used active_scaffold for an internal project. Its awesome to get a basic CRUD app going. https://github.com/vhochstein/active_scaffold
xpaulbettsx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great summary - it's hard to know what gems to use for a given problem and a curated summary from someone in the know is extremely valuable. Thanks!
markoa 4 days ago 0 replies      
We recently published a similar list of gem preferences at http://renderedtext.com/toolbox.
ChrisLTD 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great list. It confirms a lot of my findings over the last few months.

Side note: I wish the Rails team would take more of the Django approach and build some of these features into the core.

emp_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think is worth to mention http://railswizard.org/ if beginners are in focus.
       cached 18 May 2011 04:11:01 GMT