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You can increase your intelligence scientificamerican.com
506 points by bootload  8 days ago   131 comments top 25
tokenadult 7 days ago  replies      
The author raises a number of interesting questions after citing several path-breaking research studies. Why, indeed, aren't school systems adopting some of these techniques known to improve children's learning and problem-solving ability? Quite a few mathematicians have written critiques of United States practice in teaching primary and secondary school mathematics, informed by practice in other countries, for example Hung-hsi Wu,





Richard Askey,



Roger E. Howe,


Patricia Kenschaft,



James Milgram.



All those mathematicians think that the United States could do much better than it does in teaching elementary mathematics in the public school system. I think so too after living in Taiwan twice in my adult life (January 1982 through February 1985, and December 1998 through July 2001). Taiwan is not the only place where elementary mathematics instruction is better than it is in the United States. Chapter 1: "International Student Achievement in Mathematics" from the TIMSS 2007 study of mathematics achievement in many different countries includes, in Exhibit 1.1 (pages 34 and 35)


a chart of mathematics achievement levels in various countries. Although the United States is above the international average score among the countries surveyed, as we would expect from the level of economic development in the United States, the United States is well below the top country listed, which is Singapore. An average United States student is at the bottom quartile level for Singapore, or from another point of view, a top quartile student in the United States is only at the level of an average student in Singapore. I've been curious about mathematics education in Singapore ever since I heard of these results from an earlier TIMSS sample in the 1990s.

The article "The Singaporean Mathematics Curriculum: Connections to TIMSS"


by a Singaporean author explains some of the background to the Singapore math materials and how they approach topics that are foundational for later mathematics study. I am amazed that persons from Singapore in my generation (born in the late 1950s) grew up in a country that was extremely poor (it's hard to remember that about Singapore, but until the 1970s Singapore was definitely part of the Third World) and were educated in a foreign language (the language of schooling in Singapore has long been English, but the home languages of most Singaporeans are south Chinese languages like my wife's native Hokkien or Malay or Indian languages like Tamil) and yet received very thorough instruction in mathematics. I hope that all of us here in the United States can do at least that well in the current generation.

P.S. Another reply mentions the Flynn effect (secular increase in raw scores on IQ tests from generation to generation in most countries worldwide), and links to the Wikipedia article. Thanks for bringing that up. Being aware that the Wikipedia article on that subject has been subject to edit wars that have gone to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee,


I think it may be helpful to link to another source about the Flynn effect


that has had the influence of better informed and more impartial editors. There are several good discussions of the Flynn effect in recent books on IQ testing, and citations to those can be found in Wikipedia user space.


abeppu 7 days ago 3 replies      
The author juxtaposes his recommendations against his unnamed professor's claim that intelligence is genetic and fixed at birth, pointing out that there are broad classes of behaviors that can improve our intelligence -- but he neglects half of the response to his professor's genetic predestination view, namely the whole host of physical/chemical/biological factors impacting both brain development and cognition later in life.

As just an example, I was recently impressed by a study (http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/270/1529/2147...) demonstrating improvements on both a memory task and an intelligence task through creatine supplements. The explanation suggested by the authors (and it looks like some other literature as well, though I haven't really dug into it yet) is basically that creatine is part of a mechanism for rapid ATP synthesis, that the ion pumps in your neurons run on ATP, and that if you're sometimes "fuel-limited" (their word) creatine levels matter, in the same way that oxygen and glucose do. This make sense, but I was quite surprised to read this, I think in part because I'm used to seeing my brain as being a relatively static thing. Stepping down a level of abstraction, and thinking about the instant to instant chemical resource needs of individual cells and gates is kind of eye-opening. And for all I know there's hundreds or thousands of other documented effects, where increasing or decreasing the presence of some reagent associated with running ion pumps, or growing axons or synthesizing neurotransmitters has some measurable effect on intelligence.

chegra 7 days ago 5 replies      
I don't think people on HN need more intelligence. After 120 IQ points, it doesn't make much of a difference to winning a Nobel Prize. I think what people need here is an increase in their willpower to see boring stuff through to the end.
aresant 7 days ago  replies      
The bullet point version extracted from the 4,474 words:

1. Seek Novelty

2. Challenge Yourself

3. Think Creatively

4. Do Things The Hard Way

5. Network

bumbledraven 7 days ago 1 reply      
http://sourceforge.net/projects/brainworkshop/ is an open-source implementation of the dual n-back test for Windows, Linux, and OS-X.

"Following training of working memory using the dual n-back test, the subjects were indeed able to transfer those gains to a significant improvement in their score on a completely unrelated cognitive task. This was a super-big deal."

mberning 7 days ago 0 replies      
I take exception to the 'Think Creatively' item. It's kind of like making a to-do list with 'lose 20 lbs' as a line item. Much easier said than done.

That being said, I think one of the best ways to improve your creative thinking is to work directly with other people that YOU consider to be creative thinkers. At my previous job I always enjoyed working with the CEO, sales, and marketing folks because they almost always approached problems from a completely different angle than I would. Experiencing how others ideate is very mind opening and often times humbling.

anthuswilliams 7 days ago 4 replies      
#4) Do things the hard way. It's hard for me to agree with this. In principle, I want to bemoan the decline of my ability to spell as a result of auto-correct. But I think that casts an unfair negative light on the idea of doing things "the easy way".

Think about math. There is no question that the Arabic numbering system makes doing math easier. Why should I to go back to scratching out base-60 cuneiform? I can challenge myself just as easily by pushing on to more powerful and abstract mathematical concepts made possible by timesavers like the Arabic numbering system.

I'm sure that having access to high-level languages limits my understanding of the bits and bytes. But I can use these new tools of abstraction to do things that I would have found impossible if I were writing machine code. I'm not sure I see the value in doing things the hard way, when my brain will be challenged enough probing the depths of what these new innovations have made possible. I think the author misses one crucial part of intelligence - intelligence, insofar as it is about abstract thought, is positively correlated with the sorts of things I can do without thinking about them.

bendmorris 7 days ago 2 replies      
You can increase your measurable intelligence. This is only true to the degree that intelligence tests measure what they're supposed to.
ambertch 7 days ago 1 reply      
'#4 Do Things The Hard Way'

I think this is so important for our young generation b/c everybody is trying to "hack" or "game" the system. The problem is that you don't actually internalize things by hacking your way through

So it depends on your goals. Let's take a computer science degree for example: if your goal is to do investment banking and having a CS/engineering degree from a top university really puts you apart from all those econ/business majors in the finance interviews (which it does), sure hack your way through CS/EE: you're not planning to go into that field anyways so copy-change homework and study past tests to hack the system and get a good GPA. But if you're doing CS to be a software engineer, you DON'T want to hack your way through, you'd want to "do things the hard way" and really learn the material.

keyle 7 days ago 1 reply      
You can play dual n-back here: http://cognitivefun.net/test/5
latch 7 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone interested in this might also be interested in the broader Flynn effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

I've always believed that additional/new stimulations is largely responsible for our increased intelligence.

gwern 7 days ago 0 replies      
'I know what the statistics say - but gosh darn, I have an anecdote to the contrary!'

OP spends a lot of time & space on Jaeggi 2008... and she quietly omits all of the other results and considerations: http://www.gwern.net/N-back%20FAQ#criticism

eande 7 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent article and here is a link to an open source Dual N-Back game, have fun.
alexandros 7 days ago 0 replies      
The subtitle for this piece is '5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential'.

Shouldn't that be -realize- your cognitive potential, or maximize the utilization of your cognitive potential or some such? What good does it do to maximize my potential?

chalst 7 days ago 0 replies      
The key study cited by the article is available in full as a PDF.

Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides, and Perrig (2008), Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory: http://lowellinstitute.com/downloads/BrainLearning/Fluid%20I...

bluekeybox 7 days ago 0 replies      
My addition (6): observe others, be inquisitive about other people. This will not only help you appear smarter to others (believe it or not, there is such thing as behaving/appearing smart), but will also help you with networking because (a) people respond positively when someone displays genuine interest in them (well as long as you are being nonthreatening) and (b) smart people tend to seek out others like them.
MetallicCloud 7 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent post. It's made me realise how much I have been taking the easy road lately.

I used to always be looking into new areas to learn about new things and really pushing myself, but I realise now that lately to solve a problem I reach for a familiar way to solve it, because it's easier and faster. This could be the reason why I am getting less satisfaction with solving problems lately.

Time to get back on that horse...

kmt 7 days ago 0 replies      
I always slack when it comes to number 5 (networking). I'm always busy with something "more important" and kinda have to force myself to get out and meet people.
notsosmart 7 days ago 2 replies      
I really enjoyed this article. I wish she had given specific tips on how to think more creatively. She mentioned what happens "when" you think creatively, but did not really go into the "how."
dopkew 7 days ago 1 reply      
"So to make the most of your intelligence, improving your working memory will help this significantly"

This reminds me of how RAM is underestimated in improving computer performance.

ashbrahma 7 days ago 0 replies      
pella 7 days ago 0 replies      
"Brain fog - poor memory, difficulty thinking clearly etc"


IvarTJ 7 days ago 0 replies      
PDD-NOS " Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, is not necessarily a mild form of autism. The meaning is in the name. It means that the diagnosed doesn't fit more specific diagnoses such as Kanner's autism or Asperger syndrome.

Even though someone who's autistic fail to show intelligence through a test, I believe they still may be very intelligent and can show this better through training.

I personally still believe reasoning skills can be trained by learning new heuristics at least.

mannicken 6 days ago 0 replies      
From what I saw, society reserves creativity to artists, writers, composers, and other "creative types". For some reason creativity has become associated with creating useless inventions that no one will ever buy; sometimes people see creative person as a loner who spends days and nights on drugs throwing paint around or mumbling crazily.

In reality, creativity is, perhaps, our only advantage when trying to not get killed by other animals. Picking up a stick and fighting off a larger animal -- great example of creative solution. It's novel.

Before, no one ever thought to pick up a stick. Perhaps sticks were viewed as merely lying there, to be carefully avoided in case somebody steps on one. Maybe those who tried to pick up sticks were viewed as crazy, sinful by some sort of primitive Republicans (not that Republicans now are more evolved :)... I mean, who cares about sticks, animals were usually fighting with their own teeth, hands, or horns (I wish I had a horn).

It's not until an animal with a stick has beaten the shit out of another animal without a stick for calling him crazy, that the sticks became a useful tool.

I mean, face it -- we're just animals, and without creative approaches to our problems we wouldn't be talking about this on a giant electronic mind-network-thing.

john2x 6 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't read the entire article yet, but(this is off topic), highlighting any word on the website shows a "Learn More" tooltip which automatically loads more info for the highlighted text. Awesome.
Cool, but obscure Unix tools kkovacs.eu
495 points by larelli  6 days ago   119 comments top 35
gnosis 6 days ago 5 replies      

  abcde            - CD to mp3 ripper
apg - random password generator
base64 - better than uuencode
boxes - draw any kind of boxes around your text
bsdiff - binary differ
bspatch - binary patcher
bvi - binary vi (yet another hex editor)
ccx2 - console xmms2 client
clive - flash video downloader
dvipdfmx - dvi to pdf converter
enfuse - poor man's HDR
get_flash_videos - yet another flash video downloader
glark - advanced grep
indent - code beautifier
lshw - list hardware configuration
mcurl - multiple part downloader using curl
mktemp - safely create temporary files and directories
msort - sort records in complex ways
netbrake - bandwidth limiter
od - octal dump
par - paragraph reformatter
par2 - archive verification and repair tool
ped - sed done right with perl
pinfo - color info reader
pipe.vim - make vim part of a unix pipe and allow it to
edit the pipe contents
pv - Pipe Viewer: a tool for monitoring
the progress of data through a pipe
pydf - pretty df (disk space viewer)
qmv - use your favorite editor to rename files
(part of renameutils)
qodem - modem program that can do serial, telnet, ssh,
zmodem, kermit, etc
rdiff-backup - like rsync, but can do incremental backups
recode - like dos2unix and unix2dos, but with many more encodings
recordmydesktop - make screencast videos
remark - great logfile colorizer (part of regex-markup)
rkhunter - find rootkit infections
rlwrap - add readline editing support to any command
safecopy - data recovery tool (better than dd)
sponge - soak up stdin and write to a file
(for things like pipeline editing)
sux - su while transferring X credentials
unbuffer - force flushing of stdout
upx - executable compressor
utimer - countdown timer and stopwatch
vared - edit shell variables (part of zsh)
watch - run a command multiple times and display the output
(with differences highlighted)
xdotool - simulate keyboard and mouse activity
xxd - hex dump
zargs - a version of xargs that makes the find command redundant
(part of zsh)
zed - very small and fast vi-like editor (part of zsh)
zrun - automatically uncompress arguments to command

SandB0x 6 days ago 2 replies      

          ====        ________                ___________
_D _| |_______/ \__I_I_____===__|_________|
|(_)--- | H\________/ | | =|___ ___| _________________
/ | | H | | | | ||_| |_|| _| \_____A
| | | H |__--------------------| [___] | =| |
| ________|___H__/__|_____/[][]~\_______| | -| |
|/ | |-----------I_____I [][] [] D |=======|____|________________________|_
__/ =| o |=-~~\ /~~\ /~~\ /~~\ ____Y___________|__|__________________________|_
|/-=|___|| || || || |_____/~\___/ |_D__D__D_| |_D__D__D_|
\_/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/

SeanLuke 6 days ago 3 replies      
> nethack & slash'em

> Still the most complex game on the planet.

Dwarf Fortress.

cygwin98 6 days ago 0 replies      
tsort -- perform topological sort

I bet very few people here are aware of its existence, even it has been part of Unix since Version 7. I recently discovered it and have used it to solve some project Euler problems.

zerosanity 6 days ago 3 replies      
How is vim an obscure tool? I'm pretty sure quite a few people use vim daily. After looking over this list, I suspect it's also true for many listed programs.
tybris 6 days ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered nl and felt sad about the amount of time I had wasted figuring out how to add line numbers to files.
lysol 6 days ago 0 replies      
If rsync is obscure, then I'm a dumpster wizard. That's a wizard that lives in an overturned dumpster.
eru 6 days ago 1 reply      
Have a look at `join', it joins lines of two files on a common field. Together with `cut' and `grep' you can use text-files as relational databases.
oyving 6 days ago 1 reply      
I really like pipe viewer (pv). I wish it as more common in base installs of Linux.


kkovacs 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hi guys,

Kristof here, creator of this particular list. First, thanks for the kind words! :)

I'll maybe add more tools when I have some time to make more screenshots. It's surprisingly more time consuming than it seems :)

Also, I'm a bit of two minds with the whole list -- many people think that some of these tools are already not "obscure" enough, while others suggest adding even more trivial ones like ifconfig or grep. I'll have to think about this a bit :)

Once again, thanks for your feedback!


oinksoft 6 days ago 0 replies      
`ncdu` is a godsend. It's like `du` but usable for troubleshooting.

None of the following from this list are obscure: screen, vim, rsync, xargs, curl

I'm tempted to put ack in that list.

IvarTJ 6 days ago 1 reply      
You don't need stdio.h to use puts.

I was in the process of making something similar before I found what I wanted " rlwrap. It provides readline line editing capabilities to command line applications that don't support them, such as netcat.

brcrth 6 days ago 3 replies      
htop, tmux/screen, xargs, vim/emacs, rsync, rtorrent, ack are far common to everyone I know (direct and indirectly) that uses the command line.
jefffoster 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a few of my favourites.

agrep - approximate grep based on edit distance).

GNU Global - source tagging system that integrates with the shell (less -tfunc displays the function given in the shell).

xmllint - xml validator, pretty printer and schema validator.

younata 5 days ago 0 replies      
Even though these aren't really obscure, but they're worth mentioning as some of the best unix "tools" I've seen:

    Irssi - irc client
Mutt - email client

These are mentioned mostly because he included the newsbeuter rss client (which is amazing, I highly recommend it).

sharmajai 6 days ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered 'bc'. It stands for 'basic calculator' or more precisely from the man page - 'arbitrary precision arithmetic language'. It is all but a basic calculator, with better floating point precision capabilities than Java/Python.
IProgrammer 6 days ago 0 replies      
For those who want to learn how to write their own UNIX tools, and specifically, how to write tools that work well with other UNIX tools, such as the shell and friends, this article may help -
Developing a Linux command-line utility:
newman314 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's one that I find does not get a lot of mention but is quite useful when you need it.


guard-of-terra 6 days ago 1 reply      
Another cool one is xmlstarlet.
It's like grep and sed and some on top, but for XML files.

Especially, xmlstarlet sel lets you select whatever data you want from XML files, being a command-line XSL templates generator.

Don't know anything else useful for XML, so it fills a vacuum.

nickolai 6 days ago 2 replies      
Its amusing to see nethack and cowsay listed as a full-fledged unix 'tool's.
freedrull 6 days ago 0 replies      
Libcaca and its various programs:


Also, there is neercs, a terminal multiplexer that uses libcaca:

ashish_0x90 5 days ago 0 replies      
Guake/yakuake - A top-down terminal based on the tilda terminal from the game Quake.

Redshift/f.lux - Redshift adjusts the color temperature of your screen according to your surroundings.

kree10 5 days ago 1 reply      
lftp is cool, though I wish FTP would die (as telnet sensibly did over a decade ago) so I will no longer need it.
rizumu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've discovered a lot of new apps from the post and comments. Give ncmpcpp, an excellent ncurses mpd client, a try and say goodbye to GUI music players.


Also in line with tmux, checkout teamocil and tmuxinator on github.

chow 6 days ago 1 reply      
My obscure favorites:

yafc: The best command-line FTP client that nobody's ever heard of. Local caching, tab completion, bookmarking, SFTP, and other generally awesome stuff.

clex: Full-screen file manager for command-line junkies. Configurable directory display, smart name completion, enhances the command line without seeking to replace it.

pearle 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great post! It introduced me to a few tools I wasn't aware of previously. The main OS on my laptop is Ubuntu so this is very appreciated.
malux85 6 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these aren't obscure, but it was a good read, and I didn't know about slurm.

So over on one of the test machines I apt-get install cowsay ... One of the other devs here is going go get a surprise next time he logs into one of the webservers ... ;)

pstadler 6 days ago 1 reply      
mytop - a `top` clone for MySQL
zbowling 6 days ago 0 replies      
cowsay is used on craiglist's 404 page.
joelthelion 6 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently he hasn't discovered autojump yet :-D
evangineer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it worth mentioning pushd/popd here?
ericmoritz 6 days ago 1 reply      
And all these are replaced by Emacs :p
lewispb 6 days ago 1 reply      
My operating system doesn't have a package manager ;)
thdn 6 days ago 0 replies      
why nmap is not listed?
hassy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like he's running them on OSX which means they're likely to work on BSDs too.
"The Best of edw519" is now free. Reverse Happy Birthday edweissman.com
460 points by edw519  7 days ago   62 comments top 31
hieronymusN 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is amazing stuff - thanks much!

I made a slightly more readable HTML version (with linked TOC and back links) here -> http://bit.ly/lSLTVT

This could be converted to an ePub I think, with the linked TOC. If this a problem let me know and I will take it down, or maybe you could post it on http://edweissman.com/53640595 to get the linked TOC?

CodeMage 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy birthday and thanks for the gift!

Edit: I tried to buy it, but Scribd won't allow me to do it because I'm not from US (and neither is my credit card). Is there any other alternative?

6ren 7 days ago 2 replies      
> 87. What got you "hooked"?

Loved this story, and I enjoy coding the more I do this.

The problem is to keep it focussed on "productive" output - otherwise you end up like that guy who wrote TeX instead of The Art of Computer Programming; or Blart Versenwald III¹; or

    6. It automatically classifies unread comments based upon similarity
to classified comments and some rules. (The idea was to classify the
first 300 comments and have the software classify the remaining
3,700. I realized this capability was unnecessary when the book
would only contain 256 entries. Oh well.)

Not to look this wonderful gift horse in the mouth (all the bits I looked into at random were actually great), but it would be nice if titles linked to their comments.

1. One of the greatest benefactors of all lifekind. http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~soundarm/book4.html

dgallagher 7 days ago 1 reply      
Love it! Bought a copy too! IMHO you're the best commenter on HN edw519! :)
sunjain 6 days ago 0 replies      
These pearls of wisdom are no less than PG's essays. What I find most impressive about his wisdom is that it had withstood the test of time....it's not just about finding the next big idea and executing it when you are 20/30 something and then do what? It goes much more deeper than that. It is about how to maintain genuine interest in programming, over a period, measured in decades(spanning all different type of envmts) and not years/months...To me that is the ultimate measure of success(for a hacker atleast).
mrchess 7 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance you can put this on the Kindle store? Not sure how easy it is, but I'm sure myself and many others would like to buy a Kindle copy :)
chanux 7 days ago 2 replies      
Hope you are not angry with me for taking it through readability, saving it to pdf and converting it to mobi.

Wishing you a very happy birthday!

Nemisis7654 7 days ago 3 replies      
First of all, this is awesome. Thank you!

Secondly, I am reading through this and came across this:

14. Should I still be a programmer?
"I lack the fundamentals of Computer Science, the things every programmer should know: Algo's, Data Structures, Operating Systems an understanding of compilers and being profficient with linux."

Relax. That's true for 99% of all programmers.

I feel like I am in the same exact boat as the original poster. However, I am a senior in college who has several interviews lined up. I have interviewed several times before and always flop on the "fundamental questions". Is there any further advice someone can give me? Thanks in advanced.

gommm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great! Was planning to buy it but couldn't do it because of scribd (tired of having services requiring US credit cards)... Happy birthday!
jacquesm 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to wish you a Very Happy Birthday indeed Ed and what a wonderful gift :)
yesbabyyes 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks Ed, I always enjoy your comments and almost always nod in agreement! I look forward to reading this. Happy birthday!
zacharydanger 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy birthday, Ed.
Tycho 5 days ago 0 replies      
This feels like a treasure trove. Actually works out as a decent format for a book, I think. I saved the page as a webarchive to dropbox and opened it on the iPad with GoodReader. Good reading on the train. Cheers edw519.
krat0sprakhar 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday Ed! Thanks so much for all the inspiration.
I've been reading this book for the past week each day during my bus commute. You have no idea how much pumped I get and can't wait to get to office and start hacking.
Thanking you so much Ed for this.
wccrawford 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ahhh, thanks Ed! You rock!
guynamedloren 7 days ago 0 replies      
Love #246 Hacker News Front Page 12/31/2019

But it's Mark Zuckerberg, not Mark Zuckerman ;-)

hardik988 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks so much Ed. I was looking forward to buying this when it was first posted on HN, but it was not available in my country. Now it is :) , thanks to you ! And a very Happy Birthday :)
eswat 7 days ago 0 replies      
This looks amazing and I'd love to pay for an eBook version, but Scribd won't let me buy it as a non-US resident. Any alternatives?
delinquentme 7 days ago 0 replies      
bought it!

still think it was totally worth it!

thanks and happy birthday!

caudipublius 7 days ago 0 replies      
your book was an insight of what life could've/would've been if I pray I become as wise and as productive as you have demonstrated.

good job/ haspy birthday>!

amitagrawal 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday, Ed!

The knowledge which is packed in the book will save a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the coming years down the line.

You're truly a blessing!

gabaix 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ed, could you create a post with the 10 principles of the book?
I just feel getting "take-aways" at a glance will help reader absorb information better. Your content is excellent so presenting in one-page summary is always a good thing. I wish more people will read it. It deserves it.
dongsheng 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks! Reading this book at the moment, seems I missed a lot of good stuff since I signed up :-)
evanw 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to support the author - is it possible to purchase this book and read it on Kindle?
kiwim 7 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up to tell you that I'd love to pay for a kindle version. And happy birthday!
Arxiss 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy b-day Ed!

I couldn't buy your book, but now i can get it free. Thanks a lot :)

happyfeet 7 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday Ed! Thanks so much for sharing.
zafka 6 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday Ed.
Thank you for the gift.
yr 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why you are not still a startup millionaire ?
ageisnil4coding 7 days ago 0 replies      
I like that age is not important in programming (see 94).

So H.B. to you.

briannewman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you Ed, this is amazing!
Top Programming Fonts hivelogic.com
410 points by fogus  1 day ago   163 comments top 61
kwantam 1 day ago 4 replies      
Several others here have suggested my favorite font already, the standard 6x13 "Fixed" bitmap font.

Pretty much every Linux machine has a version of this, but most modern Debians (and probably others) that ship with fontconfig have bitmapped fonts turned off by default for programs that use fontconfig for their font info (i.e., not xterm, but gnome-terminal, usually gvim, et cetera).

If you want to use Fixed and other bitmapped fonts and they're just not there, take a look in /etc/fonts/conf.d for a file named (something like) 70-no-bitmaps.conf, a symblink to the same filename in /etc/fonts/conf.avail. If you remove the symblink from /etc/fonts/conf.d and instead

    ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.avail/70-yes-bitmaps.conf \

fontconfig will cache bitmapped fonts for you. Then you'll just have to get it to update your cache with

    fc-cache -f -r -v

and you should be able to use bitmapped fonts like Fixed.

You can look for other bitmapped fonts on your system with

    fc-list ":scalable=false" family pixelsize

which prints out the family name and the sizes for which the bitmaps are available.

    set guifont=Fixed\ Medium\ Semi-Condensed\ 10

makes gvim look precisely like a terminal for me.

telemachos 1 day ago 6 replies      
I love Inconsolata, but there's just one thing about it: the curly quotation marks.

If you have that same quibble, good news: Inconsolata-dz[1]. Inconsolata with straight quotes.

[1] http://nodnod.net/2009/feb/12/adding-straight-single-and-dou...

lt 1 day ago 1 reply      
wladimir 1 day ago 3 replies      
He forgot my favorite programming font, Terminus. It's pretty popular in Linux development.


kristiandupont 1 day ago  replies      
I say this every time this discussion comes up but I do feel it bears repeating: I switched away from monospaced a while ago and I am never going back.

I encourage you to try something like Verdana for a week just to see how it feels.

yellowbkpk 1 day ago 1 reply      
All of these fonts look cool, but in Eclipse on Linux (and other GTK-based text editors), the font renderer adds a few pixels to the width for bold text, which screws up the monospacing.

Has anyone been able to figure out a way to disable this?

Example from Eclipse: http://i.imgur.com/F3PhS.png

getonit 1 day ago 9 replies      
I don't wish to troll, but I see this a lot and I can't for the life of me figure out how anyone needs to give this any more thought than 'monospace, next question?', despite many explanations each time.

Can someone shed some light on any advantages they feel are of a reasonably significant importance, and why? I mean, I can see plenty of advantages, but they're all so negligible they're not worth even the time it takes to change font, IMHO.

...and do please note the IMHO - I'm asking, not telling :)

SlyShy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like to use Code Envy R: http://damieng.com/blog/2008/05/26/envy-code-r-preview-7-cod... . It's legible at 8pt, which lets me fit big amounts of code even on smaller screens.
barrkel 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm still using 7pt Dina, a monospace bitmap font, in all console windows and my IDEs - all except Visual Studio 2010, that is, which doesn't properly support bitmap fonts (leading me to avoid using it whenever possible).
MikeTaylor 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's got to be 6x13, every single time.

There really is no other choice.


davidw 1 day ago 0 replies      


nikcub 1 day ago 0 replies      
consolas is an excellent font for both terminal and editing. if you would like to install it for OS X or UNIX, I have extracted the TTF as well as the OS X installer package and placed them into a repo here:


(the Microsoft license allows this if you have a license for Office, Windows Vista+ or Visual Studio)

llimllib 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been happy with Mensch: http://robey.lag.net/2010/06/21/mensch-font.html , A font based of Apple's Menlo.
Jach 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a fan of courier, though my favorite became Bitstream Vera Sans Mono some time ago after I was searching through my fonts for a better font. I like it a lot because it makes it easy to distinguish between O and 0, and l and 1.
drtse4 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm still using Envy Code R after reading about it on some blog: http://damieng.com/blog/2008/05/26/envy-code-r-preview-7-cod...
Perfect for terminal and coding.
joshuacc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Inconsolata looks like it is nice for Mac users, but on Windows 7 with Cleartype enabled (the default) it is the blurriest font I've ever seen, regardless of what size I used.

Consolas, on the other hand, is exceedingly crisp.

modernerd 1 day ago 2 replies      
I switched to PragmataPro[1] two months ago and love it. (Anti-aliasing turned off in iTerm2, with Vim and the Solarized colour scheme.[2])

When you stare at code all day, it's worth spending the time
to make it as pleasant and legible an experience as you can.

[1]: http://www.fsd.it/fonts/pragmatapro.htm
[2]: http://ethanschoonover.com/solarized

whackedspinach 1 day ago 0 replies      

  Droid Sans Mono makes for a great programming font. It's got a bit of flair, 
and stands out among the other monospace fonts I've listed, and its only
real flaw is the lack of a slashed zero.

I use Droid Sans Mono with slashed zeros on my Arch Linux box. I find that I can get it up to a rather large font size (I don't see well) and it still looks really good.

Download link http://www.cosmix.org/software/files/DroidSansMonoSlashed.zi...

Arch Linux AUR link: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=40418

Derbasti 1 day ago 3 replies      
I find Droid Sans Mono really good, although it could use better distinction between Zero and Oh.
RexRollman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Although I am not a programmer, I do prefer monospaced fonts, and my favorite right now is the bitmap font Tamsyn. I recently discovered it via the Arch Linux wiki and I now have it set up as the font for my Xterm windows (set via .Xdefaults).

My favorite TTF monospaced font has got to be Consolas, which I use in Windows as the font for Foobar2000 and Notepad2 (I keep everything in plain text).

tmcw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Switched around for a long time, then realized that the coolest thing about Kod was the default font, so I stole it for vim:

The M+ Fonts: hugely recommended - http://mplus-fonts.sourceforge.jp/

martincmartin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who programs in a proportional font? It's helpful for the same reason it's helpful in print: the letters are more distinguished from each other so the brain recognizes them more quickly, and you can fit more text into the same space.

I use a modified version of Georgia which adds a slash through the zero and changes the l (ell) to look less like the 1 (one).

ars 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Dina - it's designed as a programmers font.


res0nat0r 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been a big fan of smoothansi for a long time. It's part of the artwiz project.



Adrock 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in programming fonts, I wrote a few posts doing some programmatic comparisons:


pestaa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went with Terminus ( http://terminus-font.sourceforge.net/shots.html ), never looked back.

I wanted to add this as a comment below the article just like the author asked, but it doesn't appear for me (using Chrome dev).

ludwig 1 day ago 0 replies      
adambyrtek 1 day ago 0 replies      
It has been submitted at least three times already, and you can find more comments there:




radiosnob 12 hours ago 0 replies      
From my experience,a lot programmers get set in their ways. For example, I just stuck with using the standard Console font for my IDE when I installed it years ago.
Then I came across this article, or one similar, and messed around with different fonts and sizes. The difference it made was surprising. I feel like it definitely has made an improvement in how I work.
I would recommend people try testing new fonts, layouts, etc at least once a year. the aesthetics is just as important as the content, even when coding.
fictorial 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a big fan of the M+ fonts [1], especially "M+ 1mn" at 24pt. Here's a screenshot of iTerm2 on Mac OS X:

[1] http://mplus-fonts.sourceforge.jp/mplus-outline-fonts/index-...

yamilg 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm in love with Meslo https://github.com/andreberg/Meslo-Font works great both on my iTerm as well as in TextMate. What makes this font special is the L/M/S variations in the leading (line height). Give it a try, you won't regret!
kahawe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried comparing several of the example screenshots next to each other and apart from them being different sizes and some are a bit more bold than others, I just can not tell any (significant) difference and cannot see any benefit one might have over the other.

Can someone enlighten me what the buzz is about here and why should I switch to Verdana or some monospaced font?

aidenn0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I mostly like inconsolata, but it doesn't keep my favorite part of deja-vu: the lowercase ell. I never ever confuse the ell with the one as it is so distinct. Inconsolata does this by removing the baseline on the one, which works, but I much prefer the deja-vu way of things.
ginsweater 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the article that introduced me to monofur, which I dearly love even though it seems fairly unpopular. Take a look[1] and you'll either think that lowercase L is a terrible idea or exactly the thing to distinguish it from the number 1. The rounded friendliness distinguishes it from all the other fonts I use; now when I see monofur (in the zenburn color scheme), it says "programming time" to my brain.

[1] http://www.dafont.com/monofur.font

patrickg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I experiment with this a lot, my fonts folder is full of fixed width fonts. But I somehow always go back to Monaco (11pt) white on black background. This is using TextMate, non anti-alias. (Example: http://tinypic.com/r/2hnayq8/7 ) Perhaps TextMate is too limited in this respect (it doesn't handle proportional fonts well).
roadnottaken 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love Hacker News. Where else would you get 100+ comments on an article about typefaces?
Athtar 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is not directly related to fonts but for anyone using Visual Studio, this might be helpful: http://studiostyl.es/

It's a website that collects Visual Studio color schemes, so that people can download and install them rather than spending hours customizing their IDE to look like they want it to. Assuming they like one of the available schemes, of course.

Luyt 1 day ago 0 replies      
In this article only fixed-width fonts are presented, while there are ever more and more developers using proportional fonts nowadays"because they're much easier to read.

On my unix system, for example, I use Vera Sans:

On my windows system I use Comic Sans to code, but I haven't got a screenie ready ;-)

praptak 1 day ago 3 replies      
Every second spent on "programming font" choice is a second wasted. Every single second. Twiddling fonts is to programming what applying flame decals is to car racing. If the font doesn't become transparent to you after uhm, about 5 seconds of focusing at the code then you should permanently switch to iPads as you have no business doing any real computing.
cschmidt 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use Pragmata as my programming font. It isn't free, but I've used it every day for years, so it certainly has justified its cost. Visiting his site, I see there's now a pro version, so I'll have to upgrade.


ukaszg 1 day ago 0 replies      
to me, the best font ever is http://www.netalive.org/tinkering/triskweline/

not mentioned in the article, but I highly recommend it.

its avaliable ONLY in 10pt and only with Latin1 characters.
But its so readable and beautiful I dont care :P

scorpion032 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somehow, Inconsolata how much ever loved by so many people, is definitely not my taste.

Droid Sans Mono works the best for me. I have heard many Python programmers with the same taste.

whatknott 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of obsessed with my coding fonts. To find some new ones check out my stackoverflow question...
sktrdie 1 day ago 0 replies      
FixedSys is not on the list, what a shame.
Semiapies 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been slowly shifting from Proggy to Consolas; it was easier once I embraced larger font sizes (I have 20/20 vision, and I'd like to keep that!). At that point, Consolas became a balm for the eyes.
aurynn 1 day ago 0 replies      
My favourite font for coding, that which I use everywhere I can, is monofur.
Reading it is like visual candy.

It also looks really good on Linux - the AA seems to work out quite well.

Edit for hey, reading the article that mentions monofur is a good idea too. :)

pootify 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using Meslo LG DZ (dotted zero), which is a custom version of Menlo tweaked for better vertical spacing. Looks great at 13pt in TextMate / MacVim.


andyford 1 day ago 0 replies      
The lowercase 'e' in Monofur is a deal breaker. Too reminiscent of italics. And the mixed baseline numerals don't help either. Otherwise it's pretty nice. Of the 10, Inconsolata deserves to be #1.
rdmlx 1 day ago 0 replies      
turbohz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've tried many monospaced fonts.

For a long time I was a ProFont guy.
But I recently switched to Liberation Mono, and I just LOVE it.

EDIT: pic or didn't happen > http://i.imgur.com/UAag3.png

vch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Liberation Mono on Ubuntu works great for me.
arapidhs 18 hours ago 0 replies      
is the proggy font free? great article some new discoveries for me in there.
mlntn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Liberation Mono would be a good addition to the list.


antihero 1 day ago 0 replies      
I rather like CG Mono as a pixel font.
joshaidan 1 day ago 0 replies      
hmm... why are all programming fonts terminal style, or monospace fonts? Well I guess it's to ensure proper indentation and alignment of lines of code. I guess that explains why code looks horrible when you copy and past it into an HTML page without changing the font.

hmm... thinking out loud.

summitpush 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trying out Consolas with iTerm2. Wish it was a little more easily portable.
faruken 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer Menlo.
hbrouwer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I used to use Menlo, now trying Consolas.
LBarret 1 day ago 0 replies      
using proggy.
ujjvala 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why out of nowhere is this old article brought up ?
Why is America the 'no-vacation nation'? cnn.com
407 points by marcinw  3 days ago   405 comments top 64
wheels 3 days ago  replies      
This was one of the major draws for me for moving to Europe in my early 20s (from the US). After working one year in the US and having one week of vacation, it was bordering on surreal to have 6.

That said, most Americans wouldn't like the European pay scales. While a developer gets 3-6 times the vacation in Germany, they make half as much money.

For me it was a great trade; I still had a middle class income and spent my 20s bouncing around the world visiting more than 30 countries on 5 continents, with zero gaps in my employment.

Now that I'm an employer, I still see it as a great trade: employees are a lot cheaper here, and seem to be happier. But again, while most American software developers would love to have more vacation, I've heard them also repeat ludicrous things about how they can "barely survive on $60k/year".

leftnode 3 days ago  replies      
There is a good article from another software developer around here who told his boss he was taking a 3 month vacation. He made the point the business needed him more than he needed it; he was a competent developer and could easily get work, didn't have any living/large financial dependencies. At first I thought it was absurd, but the more I thought about it, he was absolutely correct.

Take a long vacation some time. Even if you do have a family, save up enough money and go travel for a while. Take some decent time off work (4+ weeks). Let them fire you if they want. That's (one of my) my goal(s) over the next 2 years: take an extended vacation (I haven't taken more than a week off since I graduated college).

wccrawford 3 days ago  replies      
When I complained to an employer that it was too hard to request my vacation time (it's in my contract, they made it very hard to pick dates by always having an emergency deadline, etc) they replied "It's like that everywhere", as if it was a legit answer.

Many employers also lump in sick time with vacation time, as if that's a replacement since you didn't come into work. That would probably be okay, if you had an option to take unpaid vacation time when the time comes. Instead, you're often forced to take a shorter vacation, which doesn't do the job.

And forcing you to work while on vacation is unforgiveable. It shows that the company doesn't understand why vacation time is necessary. (I haven't had anyone do this to me, thankfully. It wouldn't have gone well.)

If taking unpaid vacations was an option, I would probably end up taking about 4 weeks worth of vacations, instead of 2.

ry0ohki 3 days ago 5 replies      
Usually the only time Americans can take long vacations is between jobs. I wonder how many actually change jobs just for this reason.

I asked for 4 consecutive weeks off to travel Europe once at a previous employer (I had worked there 5 years with no more then a week and a half off) and they denied the request. So I found another job and made sure I had a 4 week break between the two.

wladimir 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is crazy from our (Western European) perspective.

It was one of my reasons for not taking a job in the USA that was offered me a few years ago. Yes, it paid somewhat more than here in Europe but I'd rather have the benefits such as more free time and better health care than more income.

zdw 3 days ago 4 replies      
One result of this is that businesses chuck human redundancy out the window. Often there's only one person who can do a business critical task, and as they can't really be gone from work for that long, the business gets by.

From an business uptime perspective, forced "downtime" of employees through vacation is actually a good way to force the creation of backup systems for business process.

Silhouette 3 days ago 5 replies      
The thing I find most interesting about this discussion is that we have not yet seen anyone from the US proudly claiming that by working harder they are more productive than the rest of us. I have seen similar conversations several times on various on-line forums in the past, and there was always a defensive/proud mindset from a significant group, even as those of us outside the US wondered if they realised how much their employers were abusing them.

Since the financial mess of the past couple of years showed that US productivity figures that seemed too good to be true really were just an illusion, I'm hoping that the mindset of the average US worker has become a bit more realistic and a bit less willing to accept (by international standards) abusively long hours and short vacations. It will be good for the workers, and I expect for their employers as well in the long run, since working with better rested and happier employees is one of the surest ways to improve productivity known to man.

AndyJPartridge 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think this old story is vey relevant here.

I have employees that take a lower salary than others, but have up to 7 weeks holiday a year. I'm happy with that. One employee that has 7 weeks holiday has only had 1 day sick in the 6 years I've employed him.

-- Sharpen the Saw --

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter ask for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The paid was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees "Congratulations," the boss said. "Go on that way!" Very motivated for the boss' words, the woodcutter try harder the next day, but he only could bring 15 trees. The third day he try even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees.

Day after day he was bringing less and less trees. "I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on. "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" the boss asked. "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees..."

sosuke 3 days ago 3 replies      
My employeer recently went unlimited vacation! Which in practice really means no vacation unless you bully your way into it which is very stressful.
tptacek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Relative to cost-of-living, are wages the same, lower, or higher in countries with mandatory paid vacations? One wonders whether there's a delusive "free lunch" notion underpinning Euro vacation policy, whether governments really can force companies to pay everyone more for the same level of output, or whether Euro economies have discovered an effective way to engineer a more efficient labor force by attempting to outlaw burnout.

Because, at the end of the day, the company is buying completed-and-sold widgets for their salary dollar. All things being equal (including widget output), if the company pays you $50k a year and gives you 4 more "paid" vacation weeks, they gave you a raise. You can mandate 2, 4, or 8 weeks of vacation, but --- at least in middle class jobs --- you can't really mandate a salary floor.

macrael 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've found this is something that really surprises Europeans. But, once, when I was comparing notes with some travelers in a hostel in New Zealand, we asked a South Korean among us for his perspective. He said that he and everyone he knows gets maybe 2 days paid vacation a year. They work most weekends and get maybe 1 holiday. He said if you want to travel, you have to quit your job to do it, with no guarantee you will get another when you get back.

This changed my perspective. The difference between that and the States' 10ish days off is much greater than the difference between us and Europe. It is hard for me to imagine. Can anyone else with knowledge of East Asia chime in? Was this guy's experience representative? If so, it is a bit silly to call America the "no vacation nation." We do get vacation.

Vivtek 3 days ago 1 reply      
America doesn't do vacation because of a mistaken understanding of the meaning of the word "productivity".

As long as you have management consultants who specialize in the single metric of productivity (i.e. number of dollars of profit vs. number of dollars spent on people making the profit), you will have miserable people.

nixy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a Swedish developer. This year I have 7 weeks of vacation, and I plan to use it all. I normally get the 5 weeks required by law. Last year, I only used 4 of those 5 weeks, so one spilled over to this year. I also got a bonus week of vacation for working a lot of overtime last summer. So that makes 7 weeks.
timr 3 days ago 12 replies      
I honestly don't understand how a group of people who so often invoke the phrase "the plural of anecdote is not data" can be voting this comment up. It's prattle -- pure American Exceptionalism and John Wayne Work Ethic -- designed to make people feel guilty for not working like dogs.

So, your grandparents worked very hard. Well, so did mine -- on the other side of the management/labor divide. My grandfather did long days at an auto plant for most of his life. He lost his hearing from the factory noise, slipped discs in his back from lifting, and started his days at 4AM for the entire time I knew him. Thankfully for his family, his union felt that vacation time was not an option.

So by all means, work as hard as you like. Avoid vacations if you want to, dedicate your life to grabbing the brass ring by whatever means you feel appropriate. But that's your choice. When people no longer have the luxury to choose not to live like that, we've gone far off the rails.

And not for nothing: I'll wager that your grandparents didn't work hard with the intention that their grandchildren would have to spend their lives working for a company that never gave them time off.

sudonim 3 days ago 2 replies      
No vacation really sucks. I took 2 months between jobs once, but I've always been able to take a week or two weeks at a time. Now, we have the same policy as netflix. Basically you take time off when you want it, and you take as much as you want. It's all paid. Our only designer is gone for 3 weeks to get married. We'll struggle a little bit for those 3 weeks, but I'm grateful that when it's my time to take a week or two off, I don't feel guilty or have to beg for it.
toyg 3 days ago 2 replies      
It wasn't always like this in Europe. Extended vacation time was one of the many hard-fought rights won by the socialist/trade-unionist movements of the past century throughout the continent. Not even Thatcher dared attacking that right (she dropped a few national holidays here and there, instead).

Things didn't turn out quite the same on the other side of the pond, sadly, and this is the result.

chrismealy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nobody has mentioned the obvious: weak unions.
smackay 3 days ago 0 replies      
This topic is covered on a somewhat regular basis in The Economist - usnder different guises. One memorable comparison between Europe and the USA was that Americans work more so they can spend the occasional weekend on their expensive boat while Europeans are happier taking longer vacations on canoe trips.
stefanobernardi 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's really crazy, but it gives employers the chance to hire and retain the best talents not only with salary wars.

I still think that the major problem is that the US is one of the three only nations in the world that does not have paid maternity leave. Absurd.

antidaily 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find it hard to believe that the employer really gains much by offering less than 3 weeks. No one is fully productive 52 weeks a year (or even 50).
joezydeco 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm wondering how much of it is because people neglect to negotiate their vacation time when changing jobs.

Most American workplaces start you out with 2 weeks and then usually add a week or so after so many years of seniority. When you change jobs, how many of you ask for that same amount of vacation time at the new company? Or do you just accept that you're new and don't want to push things by asking for more at the onset? Or is it just forgotten until it's too late to ask?

marcinw 3 days ago 1 reply      
How many of you treat conferences as mini-vacations? I find that in my field, going to a couple conferences throughout the year makes up for a couple days of vacation, as long as I don't have any work on my plate.

Also, I find that being single and having friends that (on the majority), make less than I do, makes it difficult to plan trips to places you'd have to fly/rent a hotel for. Trips consist of ten friends carpooling, getting a group rate at a ski resort, and renting out a condo for next to nothing for a weekend.

mcantelon 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Century of the Self" is a great documentary on how the American population has been socially engineered by corporations.
troels 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, in the field of software engineering where competition for employees is tough, is it really still common to give only 2 or 3 weeks vacation? Would it be considered outrageous to ask for 5 or 6 weeks of vacation when interviewing for a position, in Silicon Valley?
hessenwolf 2 days ago 2 replies      
No heathcare, no vacation, can get fired with no notice, crap public transport, astronomical crime rate, dubious legal freedoms.

Why is it you guys pay your government again?

speleding 3 days ago 1 reply      
Allow me to air a dissenting opinion, since everyone here seems to make fun of those poor US workaholics.

I think the low number of vacation days is just a side effect of Americans not having such a strict compartmentalization between "work" and "life". I worked on both sides of the Atlantic and although I settled in Europe now I actually like the US work ethic, the low number of vacation days notwithstanding.

For many Europeans work is something they do to have bread on the table and the "real" life is that part you're not working. For many Americans their work is their life and the free time they have gets intermingled with work (they take the kids to the company barbecue! never heard of that happening in Europe).

But if most of your waking moments are spent doing something which is not your primary objective than you could say the Europeans are the sad ones.

(Side note: I am now in the happy position that I enjoy running my own company, I might feel different if I had a lousy job)

farrel 3 days ago 2 replies      
How many Americans can only afford health coverage via their workplace plan?

How many Americans live in right-to-work states and can be dismissed without a reason?

Add that together and you have a lot of fear.

sdizdar 3 days ago 0 replies      
For software companies (and probably to all other industries which hire 'knowledge workers'), it should be very important to give enough of vacation time to their employees (developers).

For me that is no brainier, but unfortunately, very few hi-tech companies actually understand that. So you have high-rate of "burn outs" which cause all kind problems (bugs, bad design decisions, etc.). The management mantra is still: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Also, I was surprised how it is very hard to find a hi-tech company offering something like unpaid sabbatical leave or fulltime sabbatical replacement position (i.e., programmer working in sales for one or two months). Some banks and hedge funds do that.

pstack 3 days ago 1 reply      
After seven years with my company, I was finally earning the highest amount of vacation hours per pay check, up to 15 days per year. In my fifteen year career, as an adult, I've never taken a vacation and I don't really have any interest in doing so. I currently have about 300 hours of vacation banked. I'm at the limit, so unless I use some of that time, I won't earn any more. That's okay, because . . . I don't have any use for a vacation. I don't use sick days, either (I know a lot of people use their three or five allotted sick days from their company as personal time).

I guess if I was digging ditches for a living, I'd want all the paid vacations I could possibly have. However, I work with computers and technology for a living and I love computers and technology. So . . you know . . . why would I want to take time off from doing something I enjoy?

Not to mention, after I die, nobody is going to remember me fondly for the vacations I took, so I could sit in the sun and cook my skin next to a chlorinated pool in another country. They're going to remember me for any work ethic, personality, and accomplishments I had.

dhughes 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's no better in Canada the usual vacation time is two weeks with that increasing to three after maybe five years then after ten years it may go to four weeks but that's it it's extremely rare to see more than five weeks.

The years of service are calculated for full-time positions so if you worked at a company part-time for five years and then became full-time only then does the clock start to tick towards more vacation time.

In my job the summer is a busy time and vacations are blacked out from July to August the best times to go in a snowy country. The rest of the year the quiet time is used for projects which also mean no vacation.

Over six years each year I managed to get a week or two in, barely, but I've got 210 hours of vacation and 200+ hours of sick time (maxed out) that I can't use because I can never get time off. And I'm not allowed to take two weeks in a row either. Time to move on!

jamii 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know a fair few people who work one month on, one month off (pro rata, of course). Even in London or Hong Kong (not Tokyo) a competent developer can earn enough in 6 months to live on for 12.
pnathan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would not mind a split between paid and unpaid vacation.
I see no reason (unless contractually specified) why a company should pay me for not working.

I don't live to work. I work to live.

fedd 3 days ago 0 replies      
in Russia we have approx. 4 weeks of paid vacations which don't expire if you dont use them, people work from 9 to 6 with 45 mins for lunch, and from 9 to 4:45 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (40 hrs work week). If national holidays fall onto workdays, there's an extra day off. Mostly this is observed now, administration tend to force people go on vacation to make accounting simpler. For several years we had Christmas vacations from 1 to 10th of January.

now a joke story as it is told in Russia.

at one company people worked their asses off very hard, came earlier, left later, sometimes worked until 9 or 10 to meet goals in the plan. and suddenly one man started to appear at 9, leave an 6 and didn't appear on Saturday and Sunday when the deadline was near. colleagues started to look at him with blame, and finally told him, who the fuck you think you are? why you so relaxed when we are tearing our asses? - oh, sorry guys, its a real shame, - he replied, - but i am on a vacation

matwood 3 days ago 2 replies      
I get 3 paid weeks of vacation per year. More would be nice, but unless I'm going to do something (spend a month in Europe for example) I get tired of being on vacation after a week or so. Also, when it comes to single days here and there my boss just tells me to take them. His way of hoping I pick up the phone on a Saturday when something breaks I guess :)

I recently travelled to to the UK and France for 16 days and was happy to return home. I had a great time on the trip, so maybe I'm weird for not wanting to be gone longer? If I actually lived in Europe more vacation might be nice because it's so easy/cheap to visit other countries.

MatthewB 3 days ago 1 reply      
My employer gives the usual 2 weeks vacation for the first year of employment. Then, every year after that, you get an extra week up to 4 weeks paid vacation per year. Also, my employer is very vacation friendly in terms of requesting time off.

However, the biggest problem I have is actually taking the time off! I feel like I will miss too much work if I take a long vacation so I just take off a day or two here and there to "relax." And just like the article says I am always available via email on my cell phone and although I don't want to admit it, I am usually available on my computer as well.

michaelpinto 3 days ago 6 replies      
The flip side of this is that we have Summer vacation for schools (unlike the rest of the world) and have institutionalized Spring Break for college students. Sadly we see the idea of vacation as being for the very young or the very old who retire.
mcdowall 3 days ago 0 replies      
I get 23 days holiday entitlement plus UK bank holidays which this year thanks to Prince William adds on another 9 days.

Like some others however, I have dreamt about travelling long term so have handed my notice in, managed to secure some small freelance gigs and leave next wednesday for Bangkok, my holiday entitlement just wasn't enough ;)

gst 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do US employers (especially startups) typically agree to agree to offer unpaid vacations? Or are those 0 to 10 or 15 days really a hard limit?
daniel-cussen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hear that people take substantially less vacation in East Asia.
Confusion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I work at a (bootstrapped) European startup. In june, one of the founders takes a month of vacation. In july, the other does the same. As an employee, I'm entitled to 5 weeks off. Sick leave does not subtract from that. Every American reader probably thinks we will never make it. European readers would consider insane if we did without that time off. That's how ingrained this vacation business is. And if you ask me, we are happier and more productive than we would be without those vacations.
vetler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Move to Norway - the best place to live according to the UN: http://goo.gl/012ea

Just be aware that while it might be a good place to live, Norwegians find lots to complain about anyway. Also, it's definitely not the most exciting place to live. You'll earn enough to buy a place to live, have kids and spend your five weeks of paid vacation somewhere warmer.

FWIW, I've met Americans who have moved here because of our socialist values (yes, socialist... it's not a curse word where I come from ;)), and are pretty happy about it.

jister 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sad but true.

Years back when I was working for an American employer, filing a leave seemed like taboo. I didn't understand it back then but when my wife got hospitalized, I filed for an emergency leave of course, my boss sent flowers with a note that goes something like this: "Hope your wife gets better yada yada...can you work while you're at the hospital?"

mikeleeorg 3 days ago 2 replies      
Out of curiosity, anyone know if sabbaticals common in Europe?

A software developer I know worked tirelessly for 4 years at a large corporation before burning out. He may have taken a week off here & there, but was always answering his emails.

He finally requested a sabbatical. Those are rare and very tough to get, but his manager fought for him and off he went. He returned refreshed, though he left the job shortly thereafter (which is a major reason why that company made it tough to request a sabbatical).

I'm just curious if the same kind of phenomenon occurs in Europe.

wonderyak 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very simply, this country was founded by people with the Protestant Work Ethic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic and it has become a part of our national identity.
rgrieselhuber 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I was working for an employer, all I wanted was more vacation time so I could travel. Now that I am self-employed, I just get antsy when I'm on vacation.

What I've found works better for me is to take extended vacations every couple of years (a year here, 3 months there). This recharges my batteries for years at a time.

rmc 3 days ago 0 replies      
In many European countries if you don't take all your holidays, the company must pay you for them. So companies do not financially benefit if you work more, all they get are employees that are tired and overworked. This is why they would be keen for you to take all your holidays.
patja 3 days ago 0 replies      
Taking control of my own schedule is in the top 5 list of reasons I quit being an employee 4 years ago (constant reorganization was number 1). Now I take all of August off, spend time volunteering in my daughters' classrooms during the day, get all of my errands done while the streets and shops are empty, and generally love life a lot more.

Anyone with dev skills can go independent or strike out with a group of like-minded souls to take control of their schedule. Sure there are downsides to working on your own, and it isn't all skittles and beer, but overall I find it well worth it.

flexd 3 days ago 0 replies      
We do not live to work, we work to live.

At least that is how I see it. I will work to keep me busy doing (hopefully) interesting things and to keep food on the table but in the end I work because I have to. We all do.

Wouldn't you rather work 6 months of the year and travel or do whatever you want the rest? I know I would.

xbryanx 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the reasons I love my technology work at a non-profit. Sure I make lots less, but they are extremely generous with paid time off. Our institutional culture encourages people taking vacations, and while we have serious tight deadlines, people still support a healthy life-work balance.
EiZei 3 days ago 0 replies      
They might as well call this article Why is America the 'no-union nation'?
Aloisius 3 days ago 3 replies      
If the US had the culture of taking off August, it would be far easier to take off 3 weeks since everyone in your company would be doing it. Logistically however I don't really understand how taking August off works in Europe. Where does everyone go? Doesn't it get super crowded?
samlevine 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else here prefer to have shorter vacations and higher pay? I've taken a few vacations in my life and they've tended to be less fun than working (at least after the first 3 days. Before that it's awesome).
skittles 3 days ago 2 replies      
I work for a company that doesn't have expiring vacation days. They are payed out at 100% at your current salary the day you quit, get fired, or retire. We have a large amount of employees that use this as an additional retirement account. I can't imagine banking all my vacation time!
utefan001 3 days ago 0 replies      
My employer is hiring and offers 5 weeks of vacation after the first year. Must be a US citizen. No remote work.
fady 3 days ago 0 replies      
american - working for a company i love, but i find it hard to even write long articles on HN because of the fear of "slacking"..i would love to elaborate more and explain why im slowing starting my own web design co for my traveling laptop days i so dream about....
stephen_g 3 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, that really is incredible... I really can't imagine not being able to take a week of vacation for fear of losing my job...

Do you guys in the US get time in lieu? My job is 40 hours a week, and if you work longer than that, you can take the time off later. So working fifteen minutes longer every day lets you have another week off (paid) every year, in addition to the four weeks paid holiday you get.

And since holiday time accumulates, you are encouraged to take most of it every year.

code_duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
The corporate overlords don't have time for us to enjoy ourselves. Is there any other explanation?
madeinindia 3 days ago 0 replies      
All you folks must seriously consider moving to India. Its a vibrant country with a lot of energy. Software Engineers get above than average market salaries. With a decent salary one can afford a great life style here. It also servers as an excellent laboratory where you can test/prototype and implement your ideas.
jneal 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm in the "lucky" category when it comes to paid time off. I work for a small company though, and I receive 5 holidays, 5 floating holidays, 5 sick days, and 5 weeks vacation. I could find a job that pays 10k more per year but offers not nearly as much vacation time - but I prefer the time off over the additional money.
andrewcross 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very similar to an article that made it to the first page yesterday:

Still, the more awareness that this topic gets, the better!

alexjgough 3 days ago 0 replies      
Exactly. I'm bright and awesome, but this one thing puts me off moving to the USA.
Kratos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this on HN? Please, bring back the no politics rule. If you want to talk politics on the internets, there are plenty of other sites out there.
siphr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Who linked this piece of crap and why is at the top? Utter nonsense! Whoever shared this, please consider opra winfrey websites or others of those sort.
code_scrapping 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, that's just sad. You do know that the rest of the world is having problems at finding a job at all, or at least getting paid on regular basis? Cry me a river.
Was LinkedIn Scammed? nytimes.com
385 points by mmastrac  5 days ago   100 comments top 31
trotsky 5 days ago  replies      
The underwriters also have a responsibility to all involved not to over price the ipo to take advantage of transient demand. If they do, and the stock ends up under water within a few days to months they run a serious risk of pissing off both their investing clients and the newly public company. Opening down or trading below what the stock priced at in the short term has a strong stigma attached to it and can make retail and institutional investors think there is something systemically wrong with the company regardless of the fundamentals.

There was an editorial in the WSJ on friday that strongly suggested the price action in LNKD has to do with the current easy credit environment driving money into riskier assets. I agree this seems likely. Certainly it seems difficult to justify the valuation on any traditional metric. If when pricing the ipo Morgan also felt that any frothy demand was based more on the easing environment than real interest in LNKD as a company, perhaps they were right to hold the pricing a bit more conservative than the market was suggesting.

After all, they already had increased it by almost 33%, and the current QE program is scheduled to shut down in June. Many smart people appear to be betting on interest rates climbing after the program ends, that may take enough money out of the market to cause someone like LNKD to correct.

Another thing to keep in mind is that LNKD offered a relatively small amount of stock as compared to many offerings. This kept supply low and could have contributed to the large pop, but also means that they probably have plenty available for a potential secondary offering, which could allow them to profit from these very price moves down the line,

nikcub 5 days ago 1 reply      
The headline can be summaries as 'no' since his only counter-argument seems to be 'the banks should have known better'

Pricing for a listing is a very complicated process. The underwriters, along with the company executives, go out on a very long roadshow and book orders well before the listing date. It is through these orders, not some magic made up numbers, that the final price is determined from.

In the case of LinkedIn, they changed their list price no less than 4 times between the time they filed their S1 with the SEC and the time they finally listed. Initially it was $31, and the last hike to $45 only happen the night before the listing.

LinkedIn management are professionals who understand their business and understand the process, they have a choice of underwriters to work with and a choice of investors to take orders from. This isn't a single bank taking them for a ride - to suggest that is offensive to those who run LinkedIn

Where the real problem lies, and a problem that was not raised in this criticism, is in how orders are taken. This is what Google attempted to solve with their Dutch Auction system. The claim is that the banking community is so tight-knit that they collude with each other to keep the book price down. So what Google did was to hold a silent auction on bids and allotments, only to find when the process was over that most banks essentially bid around the same mark anyway.

Paying out 6.5% of your company to go public does suck - but it is the cost of creating a viable and flowing public market for your stock. You can't just sell that part of the company to 4 or 5 banks and then ask them politely to pass it on - you may as well just raise another private round in that case. The point of the IPO is to diversity ownership as broadly as possibly and to engage firms that would be willing to take on and trade the stock so that a market is created.

None of the alternate mechanisms work, and you need to be a very large and hot company to even challenge the status quo in the way Google did (and in a way LinkedIn did as well - with their two classes of stock). Note that the underwriters are taking a risk since they end up holding a lot of stock, and in the event of the list price dropping there would be a lot of questions asked about the prospectus and roadshow and potential lawsuits. Also on the other hand, there are not a lot of IPO's that take place, so the underwriters need to make the most of the business they do get - they are the ones with the connections to the large funds that purchase stock, so acting as a risk-bearing agent in that capacity does deserve compensation.

LinkedIn didn't help their cause by listing so few shares. When there is scarcity in the market and so much demand, then there is only one way that the list price would go - and that is up. If they listed twice the number of shares to meet demand then there definitely would not have been so much volatility on the opening day (a lot of which was caused by 'market' orders - which means 'buy at any price').

tl;dr: creating a free flowing and liquid public market for your stock is a very complicated, highly regulated and risky process and nobody has figured out a better way to do it

msy 5 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who feels that if I'd put in the blood, sweat and tears to build a company to the point where it could be IPO'd I'd be more likely to gouge my eye out with a rusty spoon that open it to the sharks, sociopaths, speculators and manipulators of wall st and the open market?
DavidSJ 5 days ago 2 replies      
The fact that the stock more than doubled on its first day of trading " something the investment bankers, with their fingers on the pulse of the market, absolutely must have known would happen...

No, this is an absurd claim. Investment bankers are not clairvoyant.

SeanDav 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having worked in the industry for a long time I have no doubt that Invest Banking Firms are greedy fucking bastards.

However, in this situation it is more a case of damned if they did and damned if they didn't.

Before the IPO there was a fair amount of nervousness about a big launch of yet another dot com. It is easy to look at this with the benefit of hindsight and say - they should have known the share price would more than double but I doubt they purposely got it that wrong.

joelmichael 5 days ago 1 reply      
Prior to the IPO, everyone was saying $45 was absurdly high. Now it's absurdly low.
alex1 5 days ago 3 replies      
One of the reasons LinkedIn's share price jumped so high from its IPO price of $45 was because of a very low float. There are too few LinkedIn shares trading on the public market. It is not that easy to get your hands on LinkedIn shares right now, even if you are willing to pay market price. This artificially raises the stock price.

I believe 7 million shares were floated out of ~94 million outstanding shares. If more shares are floated, the price per share should go down (not considering other factors) as there will be a larger supply of shares in the public market. The assessment that the investment banks that the IPO should be priced at $45 sounds more reasonable had all 94 million shares been floated (speaking hypothetically; this never actually happens).

For this reason, valuing LinkedIn by multiplying 94 million (total outstanding shares) by the current stock price on the NYSE (as most news articles have been doing) is probably not a very accurate measure.

zach 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a great topic for a NYTimes business-section infographic:

Which underwriters price IPOs most accurately and which ones leave huge amounts of their clients' money on the table?

alanthonyc 5 days ago 0 replies      
Break out the Adam Smith?

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public"

kevinpet 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was initially on the "scammed or at least poorly served" side, but then someone with more experience in these things than me pointed out that the shares the traded hands in the IPO were a smaller fraction of the company. If you sell 10% of the company at at 50% discount, you've actually only given away 5% of the total value of the company, and you've gained a huge marketing win.

Also, for reasons that seem irrational to me, I'm told institutional investors consider it a strong indicator things are going downhill if a stock ever trades below it's offering price.

perlgeek 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know very much about the stock market, so forgive my stupid question... but couldn't you circumvent this problem by not selling all the stock at once, but rather sell it in packets of a few percents at a time?

Then you'd get a feel for an appropriate price on the first few trading days, so you can't get scammed except for a few percent of the stock.

pbreit 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like Henry (Joe...not so much), but they are being idiots. Pricing an IPO is not quite that easy. And a 100% pop is not the end of the world for the company. In fact it is pretty neat.

Henry's analogy is asinine. Better is the owner of a 10 unit building renting to a tenant for $1000 who turns around and rents for $2000. The owner, without doing anything, has just increased the value of his building by 90%.

OllieJones 5 days ago 0 replies      
Who do the company's financial executives serve during an IPO, when the identity of the investors is changing fast?

Let's not forget that the point of an IPO is to
(a) provide an exit for the startup investors.
(b) raise funds for the company's future operations
(c) make the company's financial executives and founders rich.

Who loses when the offering price is lowballed? Everybody who sold shares into the offering. That's the first two of my list. Usually the insiders have a six-month lockup; usually they can't sell their own shares until six months after the IPO. So, if the shares hold their price the execs will do well.

There's a big PR penalty if the stock drops below the opening price. That will turn into a money penalty on the execs in six months unless the company can overcome it.

So, the smart bet for self-interested execs is to lowball the offering price. As long as the startup investors don't call foul, the only loser is the company itself.

If I were an investor, I'd insist on the execs giving me (selling me cheap) options to buy half their shares at the opening price, as an incentive for them to price the offering right.

hugh3 5 days ago 0 replies      
If I recall correctly, didn't the IPO of Google use some unconventional structure, like a reverse auction or something? Anyone remember the details?

Anyone know why this isn't done more often?

adamtmca 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not a scam. Inflammatory banks are evil stuff with little to no support.

In hindsight it's easy to say they should have known it would get to this price but in the weeks leading up to the IPO it would have been pretty difficult to justify pricing at 80. The current price is difficult to justify and may not hold beyond this initial frothy period.

Add to that the greater downside of underpricing and I just don't think the author is really making much sense.

ansy 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is just my theory, but saying LinkedIn was scammed because the IPO was underpriced is like saying Sony or Nintendo were screwed by shortages on the PS2 or Wii. LinkedIn sold a tiny fraction of its shares, far less than the market would bear. The IPO was oversubscribed and artificially doubled in price.

Instead of selling a bunch of shares at the "fair price" up front, LinkedIn created the perception that LinkedIn is undervalued, desired, and worth more than it really is worth. All it had to do was sacrifice a tiny portion of the shares in the IPO and it's the new hot money maker.

Now the company and its investors have created an environment where they can unwind more of its shares at a hefty premium, more than making up for the IPO "loss."

Maybe LinkedIn didn't plan this out so perfectly. But it probably saw this as one possible result of the IPO strategy it chose.

awarzzkktsyfj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Google's Dutch auction IPO pricing looks even more appealing after seeing this. Too bad it took a recession for them to get the bargaining power to demand a Dutch auction.
jonah 5 days ago 0 replies      
The story on MSFT's IPO was fraught with uncertainty and concern over who-gets-what in the pricing scheme:


bhudman 5 days ago 1 reply      
It is also possible that no matter how the opening price was, people were going to gobble it up anyways.

Like others pointed out, the price slowly grew from $25, $35 and finally $45. I had placed a limit buy order for $47, and it opened at $85.

If there are any finance folks here, I have a question - who set the $85 price? Was it the underwriters? It could not have been the market because the stock started trading at $85. Also, I could not get any stock data from any of the sites (NYSE, yahoo, google, ameritrade etc) untill past 10:15am EST or so. Is this delay normal for IPOs?

fleitz 5 days ago 0 replies      
These kinds of articles are seriously insulting to the leadership of the companies involved in the IPO. I seriously doubt that the board of LinkedIn would let themselves be scammed by a bank. If the article is true and this scam has been going on for years and LinkedIn allowed it to happen to their company then that would send me a signal not to invest. However, I think they knew the risks and choose a lower IPO to ensure upward price movement on the first day.

There are many ways to IPO (auction, etc) and you have to keep in mind that a big IPO pop makes everyone feel good about the stock. Yes, perhaps LinkedIn possibly could have made an extra $352 million, but if that strategy resulted a $70 IPO with no pop then they would have lost $1 billion in market cap. Pricing and seeing an upward trend have a big impact on the perception of value. Stocks are not priced according to some logical rational algorithm, it's about perception of value and big returns and amazing articles about how it doubled in value on it's first day help fuel those perceptions.

brisance 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why couldn't the shares have been offered in 2 classes: one with voting rights and one without. Offer more of those without. Lots of companies do this e.g. Berkshire Hathaway, Google etc. That would solve the "mispricing" problem.
erikpukinskis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain why a company has to dump all their shares at once? It seems like it would make sense to just offer, say 1% of the shares every five minutes at whatever the previously issued shares are trading at. I'm sure there's a good reason, I'm just curious.
skybrian 5 days ago 1 reply      
The real question is why more companies don't follow Google's lead and use an auction for their IPO. That lets anyone buy if they want to and lets the market decide the price.
dpatru 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why can't the new shares sell in a uniform price auction the way treasuries are sold? Per wikipedia (article on auctions):

Debt auctions, in which governments sell debt instruments, such as bonds, to investors. The auction is usually sealed and the uniform price paid by the investors is typically the best non-winning bid.

The underwriting bank would just take bids for a set period of time, and then the winning bidders would pay the highest losing bid. This would help ensure no first-day price spike since any buyer who wanted shares could have bid his top price for them in the auction.

rdl 5 days ago 0 replies      
I miss the Google/WR Hambrecht style auction priced IPOs. Hopefully, after a couple more companies IPO, the big fish (Facebook, maybe Twitter) will IPO using an auction to allocate and price.
johnl 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am going to get slammed for this but I really doubt if they care. 7.84M shares was the IPO makes a total of 94.5M shares outstanding. That's less than 10% outstanding if I am reading the press correctly. The other 90%+ shareholders will want the IPO to pop just so the market impression of the company is positive so they can sell their shares at a good price when their holding period ends. Like any investment, I would look at the current position of the company and it's long term prospects before investing.
horofox 5 days ago 0 replies      
It wasn't a scam, just take the fact that "[LinkedIn] became the first major American social media company to go public" and you should notice that it happened due to (1) managing an IPO is HARD (2) web social media is young.
rob08 5 days ago 0 replies      
It should also be considered that the underwriters gets paid on the amount raised (7% according to the article), so the underwriters also "lost" money from that perspective.
phatbyte 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is a red flag for Facebook.
dreamdu5t 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing is clear: Speculation is playing an enormous role in LinkedIn's valuation and capitalization.
robdd1 5 days ago 2 replies      
can someone explain why the middle man is needed? Why can't a company apply for a listing on the exchange. Then disclose how many shares they will be selling , then start accepting bids on the exchange?

Obviously you would need regulations around this but why is there a middle man at all?

Stallman's Dystopia vivekhaldar.com
342 points by gandalfgeek  6 days ago   135 comments top 19
kwantam 6 days ago  replies      
Freedom is almost always lost in small steps.

Sure, discontinuities happen in extreme cases (e.g., the WTC's destruction -> the PATRIOT Act), and when they do a lot of people notice. The more subtle losses in freedom that occur gradually (the DMCA and its progeny, for example) are harder to notice until one day you look back and say "huh, how did we get here?"

The concept of the Overton Window [1] is interesting and germane here. 20 years ago the idea that you couldn't lend a book you own to your friend or loan them the new album you just bought would have seemed insane. Over time, a gradual shift in the concept of ownership has changed the scope of the issue to the point where many people would now accept that it seems reasonable that you can't lend your books to someone else.

People at the edge of the Overton window are like our canaries in the coal mine. Gradual shifts in the window are hard to notice from the middle, but easy to notice as the "edge" passes over you. In that respect, to me RMS seems most valuable to us for precisely the reasons others call him a crackpot.

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

ataggart 6 days ago 5 replies      
There are a few fundamental differences the author doesn't take into account:

1. There is nothing stopping you from lending out your kindle.

2. The notion of "lending" doesn't really apply to electronic books. Absent copy protection, you can just give someone else a copy. With copy protection, to mimic "lending" some infrastructure needs to be in place to give someone else access rights to a copy of a book while simultaneously depriving you of your copy. And of course this is controlled by the seller, since they're the one putting the copy protection in place.

3. I can't copy/paste from my paper books either, at least not in any way that's not also available to kindle owners.

4. Every choice involves trade-offs. There is no morality involved here, much less the sound of jackboots. There is only what people value. Many seem to value the convenience of having their whole library in a small device over the ability to "lend" individual electronic copies. Those who feel differently can stick to paper books, or electronic books unencumbered by copy protection.

aneth 6 days ago  replies      
Major flaws in both points here:

1) You can lend your Kindle out all you want and let people read your books, just as you could before. You just can't duplicate the book onto someone else's Kindle or in any other way, just as you couldn't before. This is a reasonable restriction and not any worse than it was with a physical book, which you are also prohibited from scanning, photocopying and distributing outside of fair use.

2) You can not copy/paste a physical book either. I agree that this should be allowed, but it's not a dystopian future - there is no loss over physical books here, only gain.

Perhaps Amazon should allow some sort of way to help with "fair use" citations, and maybe they should remove restrictions on public domain material. On the latter though, those are generally available for free from many sources, so the fact that you can't copy/paste on your Kindle is an inconvenience, not a dystopia.

sambeau 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here in the UK you break the law when you lend a book without the author's permission.


  Restricted acts
It is an offence to perform any of the following acts
without the consent of the owner:
Copy the work.
Rent, lend or issue copies of the work to the public.
Perform, broadcast or show the work in public.
Adapt the work.

The UK govenment have to pay for the right to lend books in public libraries:


  The payment per loan is 5.98 p

jxcole 6 days ago 1 reply      
This article complains specifically about not being able to copy from a book in public domain to somewhere else. If you are seriously having this problem, I recommend checking out


They have a lot of good materials there if you are interested in older books.

lukifer 6 days ago 0 replies      
The underlying issue here is not one of legality or technology, but rather economics. Market transactions are based on scarcity, and the ability to cheaply copy information which is expensive to make eliminates that scarcity, resulting in a market ecosystem that is unsustainable without legal and/or technological measures.

Call me a commie if you wish, but I don't think this problem can be eliminated without rethinking capitalism as we know it, at least regarding "intellectual property". (This is arguably a self-healing problem, in that struggling entities will be forced to innovate new business models, as has been happening in the music space for the past 10 years.)

In the meantime, those who care deeply about these issues can {a} stick to real books, {b} pirate (note that you can pay and pirate if you like), and {c} keep yammering on about the issue with the hope of swaying more people to value their freedoms, thereby influencing the market.

joe_the_user 6 days ago 0 replies      
Many of the details Stallman describes in The Right To Read were taken from existing proposals for the "National Information Infrastructure" (proposed by among others, Al Gore).

The basic approach of using "cyberspace" to impose this approach predates the popularity of the Internet. In fact, the popularity of the Internet postponed a lot of plans that were already on the agenda of various powerful forces.


yesimahuman 6 days ago 1 reply      
Consuming locked down content is a choice, and we live in an age of an immense amount of choices. Should content producers have to do everything we say just because we choose to consume their content? Lady Gaga is not a public servant. You are not entitled to copy her work, or even put her songs on your own youtube videos.

Lady Gaga never had to exist in the first place. The fact that she does enriches some of our lives, but we must understand that content is a production of someone else's and it should be treated as such (just as we wish our users to respect the hard work we put into our web apps).

gallerytungsten 6 days ago 3 replies      
The combination of e-book adoption and an efficient market for used books (eg, abebooks.com) mean that finding and purchasing real books is easier and lower-cost than ever. While some may consider real books inconvenient, I find the fact that no batteries are required rather refreshing. So I keep buying them and don't worry about DRM restrictions.
sambeau 6 days ago 0 replies      
cwp 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nah. In the future people won't think that lending books is "nasty and wrong." They'll think it's silly. They'll ask "why would I do that, when I can just give him a copy?"
bcaulf 5 days ago 0 replies      
The breakthrough portable audio player, iPod, does lead users toward DRM content. But it is also perfectly compatible with copied content, user authored content, downloaded content, whatever.

The breakthrough e-book, Kindle, is similar. If you follow the brightly lit path, you'll start buying books. But there is a balance and users who want to avoid DRM content altogether are free to do so. Most of my news subscriptions are free of charge RSS and scrapes via the open source e-book manager Calibre.

The Kindle DRM, like all the e-book DRM out there, is weak and can be removed easily by readily available scripts. The current stream of commercially available e-books is being stripped of DRM and made available continuously.

So, the available readers are open for sharing.

E-books are tiny, mostly less than 2 MB uncompressed. It will always be easy to transfer lots of books quickly over any decent network link. Because the content is text, it is never going to become out of date and need to be re-ripped at a higher sampling rate. The analog hole, which is very real and relevant for all forms of media, is massive for books since the content can be OCR'ed or even retyped with relative ease.

So, current and future e-books are not protected effectively against copying.

I don't think the no-book-lending scenario has any chance of happening.

darklajid 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the key points that come up all the time with these 'physical goods vs. digital goods' discussions is that the latter can be distributed endlessly.

Why is there no way for me to give something I bought to my friend, digital or not? We have a digital currency now that claims that I cannot both send you money and keep it at the same time. Why isn't this possible with my mp3s, ebooks and movies?

EGreg 5 days ago 0 replies      
The free market will ultimately decide. They can't lock us down when someone else will make a reader where you CAN copy things.

But first, the free market will have to dismantle the government protections that enforce monopoly rights for authors. That will only happen when we find a better system. Subscriptions may be that system.

brandall10 6 days ago 0 replies      
Before the advent of the printing press books cost as much as a small home. Only the wealthy could afford them, and libraries were created to others could use them. Arguably you could say an actual book was more valuable than the material it contained, on average.

Before the advent of the personal computer, computers cost as least as much as a small home. Arguably you could say the computers time was more valuable than the people using them, and people shared them in research and industrial labs.

Both items have become many orders of magnitude cheaper and plentiful to the point of commoditization. eBooks are still competing with hard copy works so the price differential isn't quite there. But once that industry capitulates look for them to drop significantly.

Personally I like the scenario where a friend recommends me a book for $2 that I can purchase for $2 myself vs. him paying $10 and letting me borrow. I like to pay for things that bring value to my life, and in a way he's subsidizing my usage.

codex 5 days ago 0 replies      
Emacs Shrugged? Stallman has more in common with Ayn Rand than people realize!
chrisjsmith 6 days ago 2 replies      
Just a reminder - you can always stick your Kindle in a photocopier. Works quite well!
0ffw0rlder 5 days ago 0 replies      
The kindle DRM is pointless and an idiot tax ;). All it takes is one visit to library.nu or similar sight and all books are free, and pdfs.
Typhon 6 days ago 2 replies      
Note that a software that doesn't let you copy and paste doesn't prevent you from copying text.
You can copy it manually to a computer, or write it by hand.
This is poorly designed software.

If there were a law preventing you from copying the text, now that would be a problem.
But there is no such law as far as I know. In fact, I live in a country where, so far, such copying of any book is expressly authorised as long as it is for private use.

As for the kindle, I don't understand which of its function couldn't be performed just as well by a small laptop, but I barely know what it looks like, so I may be wrong.

BankSimple: We have cards banksimple.com
338 points by timf  6 days ago   152 comments top 22
meterplech 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is very intelligently done. I'm glad they are releasing the cards to just a small set of people first to check that everything works. People are very wary of any issues with their money/with their bank and absolutely any problem at the beginning would seriously hurt user adoption. Start slow and make sure it works.
paulitex 6 days ago  replies      
Only 4 days after losing their Lead Engineer.
orijing 6 days ago 7 replies      
As I understand it, banks make a large amount of revenues from fees and such. How will BankSimple succeed if it doesn't use that? How will overdrafts work? Will the check just not go through?

I love that they are trying to revolutionize the banking industry, and I wish them well. But I'm afraid that they'll succumb to adverse selection to the greatest degree. The reality is that most of a bank's customers are not profitable (without the fees), which is why they institute these ridiculous fees to either drive them off or make them profitable. If BankSimple can make these previously-unprofitable people profitable again without surprise fees, they'll be a great success.

Let's hope that happens.

Aloisius 6 days ago  replies      
Can someone please tell me the benefits of BankSimple over all the other online banks or your local credit union? I'm afraid I don't get it.
olivercameron 6 days ago 2 replies      
If any industry was waiting for a startup to come along and revolutionize it, it's the banking industry.
RexRollman 6 days ago 3 replies      
BankSimple sound interesting but they will have to be offering something really awesome for me to even remotely consider doing business with a commercial bank ever again. (There days, I only deal with credit unions.)
steve_b 6 days ago 4 replies      
I've always wondered why after winning something (or in this case, getting 50k sign ups), people say "I'm humbled." I think the truth would be the opposite: "Wow, looks like I'm pretty awesome after all."
Aloisius 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wait. I think I get it now. They're like mint, but with account management?
achompas 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'm pulling for BankSimple's success thanks to the abysmal nature of banking customer service. Hidden fees, long wait times on phone calls, ATM fees, ridiculous procedures to dispute charges...

With that said, how is BankSimple anything but a middleman? In my eyes, they fill one of two potential roles:

1. They're a customer service wrapper for banks, which means banks pay them to provide support. So banks are their customers, right?

2. They actually manage your money for you---a "broker for personal accounts." How do they generate revenue in this case?

#1 and #2 are both problematic. In a way, I'm the opposite of Aloisius: I clearly see BankSimple's benefits (Mint + support + SmartyPig), but I cannot understand how they will generate revenue while staying loyal to customers.

strlen 6 days ago 0 replies      
The use of the phrase leaning into it is highly appreciated.
bluegene 6 days ago 1 reply      
In traditional banking, UX is an afterthought but from what I see, for BankSimple, banking takes the backseat but UX rules. I say this coz there's no details on FDIC, interest rates, etc.
IMO, instead of doing Banking; they can sell their product to banks
zitterbewegung 5 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does it seem sort of odd that they don't mention the FDIC anywhere on the page (whether they will be insured) You can't advertise that you will be FDIC insured?
pbreit 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think BankSimple is going to struggle to find customers with its current proposition. The fact is that people are not as unhappy with their banks' fees, customer support or websites as BankSimple thinks (or at least suggests). People like branches and brands. The one thing people do like is products which is how ING broke into the business but an approach that BankSimple appears not to be pursuing.
uniclaude 6 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds great. Props to them if they can disrupt banking.
The fact that they're not a real bank but some entity that works with partners to provide FDIC insured products is reassuring from a customer point of view. Not sure about how they will do their marketing though.
Now, I hope that we, non-American customers, won't have to wait too long for this service.
DanI-S 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see someone like this be the first place to seamlessly incorporate a Bitcoin exchange into personal banking.
joshfraser 5 days ago 0 replies      
Judging by the IIN of the card in the picture it looks like they are using Visa behind the scenes.
evo_9 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea. I wish it were 'MortgageSimple' though - the mortgage industry is in serious need of an overhaul even more than banks right now.
jimktrains2 6 days ago 0 replies      
So, this prob isn't the place, but instead of cards or short range radio, I thought plugging into headphone jacks and having the phone do transactions (akin to what short range radio would do). Doesn't require any modification to phone and is backwards compatible with almost all phones (that have their won sdk (Symbian, iOS, Android, RIM) or use J2ME or BREW.

I wouldn't be able to bring this up myself (I just do code, hardware and banking is beyond me at times), but I would never object to being included with people who could:-D

Anyway, ::shrug::, just thought I'd place the idea out there since I feel it's good and like to see someone do it.

oofabz 6 days ago 0 replies      
What's the big deal about BankSimple? They look about the same as most credit unions. My credit union has a good website & iPhone app, and doesn't charge hidden fees. They pay interest on my checking account.
truthseeker 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am surprised that so many people are willing to open a bank account with someone you've never heard of.
I couldn't even find if they are FDIC insured.

I know several friends who wouldn't use mint.com.
For them, it is a single point of failure. You can explain all the technical details you want but there is no way to get past their fears.

When shit hits the fan, you can expect the US govt. to bail out Bank Of America. SimpleBank? I am not so sure.

hvass 6 days ago 0 replies      
Competition is always good!
reftvfds112 6 days ago 0 replies      
Poor site design. I can't read the vision statement. White out. Fixit. Simple
Why F1 Steering Wheels Have Over 20 Buttons - And What They All Do f1fanatic.co.uk
335 points by Arjuna  7 days ago   154 comments top 20
nikcub 7 days ago  replies      
I am surprised that there are not more F1 fans here on HN. It is the best sport to follow if you are a techie or geek - there is so much advanced technology involved in the cars and racing that make what happens off the track and in development just as exciting as the actual races.

These guys are on the cutting edge in a number of fields: materials science, aerodynamics, computer aided design (there is a car this year that was designed and tested all in software with no wind-tunnel), energy recovery systems, fuel performance, tyre compounds, telemetry, computing power and machine learning with strategy, etc. etc. etc.

javanix 7 days ago 1 reply      
At first the "Drink bottle" button seemed pretty ridiculous to me. Then I remembered that driving 200mph and having to negotiate a water bottle by hand would probably be impossible.
iwwr 7 days ago 4 replies      
A case in point that experts can handle complex interfaces, as long as they provide more control.
asmithmd1 7 days ago 4 replies      
They show the wheel clicking into place after the driver is in. How many contacts do you think they have between wheel and car? Is it some kind of serial protocol where they only need 2 wires? RS-485 maybe
rbanffy 7 days ago 2 replies      
It's the Emacs of driving!
Peroni 7 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting to note that the steering wheel alone costs in the region of $40k.
StringyBob 7 days ago 1 reply      
Ha - the turbo boost button is Z, not B (but you have to pick up a mushroom first).

Michael Schumacher was the king of the 'extra controls' on the steering wheel when back at Ferrari, supposedly changing many of the parameters controlling car setup while going round a corner. (Insert 'had them before everyone else' hipster joke here). I'm sure this must have influenced this setup.

However, think of the other side of the coin. Consider the UI design problem of too much information in an emergency for safety critical systems, particularly in the context of this article: http://en.espnf1.com/williams/motorsport/story/39747.html

Swizec 7 days ago 3 replies      
The biggest surprise was when he alluded to the fact that when going through a corner you have to change differential settings three times ... I imagine just taking a corner at those speeds would be hard enough, let alone playing around with buttons while doing it.
unwantedLetters 7 days ago 2 replies      
I watch F1 regularly, but to hear him speak of getting a gain of "tenths of a second" as a huge thing is still astonishing to me.
Must be a frustrating life. Specially speaking as a software developer, where we're getting a free doubling of the speed every 18 months. I'm sure Moore's Law will run out at some point, but I can never quite appreciate exactly how much that helps us. The helps give a little perspective.
singular 7 days ago 0 replies      
Video discussing lotus's steering wheel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58Zkbbfygjw

and one with Lewis Hamilton discussing his - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcMvt0rO20g - though he does get talked over in Italian (I think it is).

jasongullickson 7 days ago 1 reply      
So how does this compare to a NASCAR wheel? ;)
swah 7 days ago 2 replies      
Is this considered ugly by minimalist (say Apple like) oriented designers? Could an UI like this, to be used by experts most efficiently, be redesigned with a minimalistic mindset, or the complexity of the underlying system has to appear?
Groxx 6 days ago 1 reply      

  B      : Activates Kinetic Energy Recovery System
Oil : Activates supplementary oil tank for engine
PL : Turn pit lane speed limiter on/off
Tyre : Adjust electronics to suit different tyres

Any idea why those aren't automatic? I'd think you'd have some computer-detectable indication for when oil would be useful, pit-lanes are identifiable by detecting location, and send the tire type over wirelessly when changed. And why wouldn't you want KERS running?

Seriously, I'm asking. I'm not an F1 buff.

When you have that much on the wheel, I'd think removing what you can would be important. Especially given the very-early line:

>This year designers have had to squeeze in buttons for [KERS] and Drag Reduction Systems along with the usual array of toggles, switches and levers.

Removing 4 buttons would seem to be an improvement, though a bit of a drop in a bucket.

Arjuna 7 days ago 0 replies      
It is interesting to note how F1 technology makes its way into consumer cars.

Take Ferrari, for example. Although first introduced in the F430, the 458 Italia features a steering wheel-mounted manettino dial that allows the driver to configure settings that directly impact the speed of gearbox changes, traction control settings and differential settings.

Starting at about 1:05, this video demonstrates how the various manettino settings are utilized on the 458 Italia, and how they modify the vehicle's driving profile.


temptemptemp13 7 days ago 3 replies      
Why can't he show us the back?
splatcollision 7 days ago 0 replies      
I love the user interface design work that goes into the F1 wheels - and they're all completely custom by each team, for each driver. Great website as well.
vegasbrianc 7 days ago 5 replies      
So how many more seasons before the drivers become obsolete and the engineer in the pits controls the entire car?
bitwize 7 days ago 0 replies      
One activates the buzzsaw blades, one activates the jump, one sends a robotic messenger bird...

(Yes, I know Speed Racer was rallying and not F1.)

gigantor 7 days ago 1 reply      
D - Drink Bottle -
Perhaps the most important button? Performance and concentration does increase quite a bit when you're properly hydrated.
zbowling 7 days ago 0 replies      
Someone from Apple needs to visit them. Create the iF1 with one button, capacitive touch screen, and GESTURES!
The Only Way to Get Important Things Done hbr.org
328 points by yarapavan  1 day ago   107 comments top 16
rkalla 1 day ago 6 replies      
I don't know if this comment will get read, it'll be buried down at the bottom... let's pretend it's a pot of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow :)

In short: I agree with this article (originally proposed in THIS article/video http://www.fastcompany.com/video/why-change-is-so-hard-self-...)

I moved on from my job as a project manager a few years ago and spent a year dabbling here and dabbling there on different projects. Some open source and some not.

The majority of the time I was "working" I was mostly showering myself in self-imposed guilt: "Why aren't you a huge success by now? Why don't you have an awesome startup on HN yet? Why don't you go back to work for some company and stop wasting money? Why don't you grow all your hair back?"

I enjoyed the freedom of the year, but the guilt and self-doubt was getting to be exhausting. It shook my confidence a bit, but I think my optimism towards life in general helped shore-up that weakness a bit and kept me facing mostly forward instead of giving up and falling down on the ground for a good cry or turning sideways and taking up another position somewhere just to stop the self-loathing.

Somewhere around the middle and end of the first year I made some unintended-but-welcome changes in my thinking.

The first realization I had, due to an article I read somewhere, was: "Guilt is a USELESS emotion".

The article went on and on about it, backing up the claim. Long story short, it was right. It IS useless.

In a way, Guilt is the result of you not being willing to take a stand, make a decision and move on with your life. Guilt is a lot like sitting on a fence and complaining about how your bum hurts all day long, but refusing to get off the fence. And not life decisions... just ALL decisions.

I feel guilty because I haven't called my parents. I feel guilty because I haven't done yard work. I feel guilty because I need to change the oil in my car. I feel guilty because I haven't put any pants on today... etc. etc.

I began to realize that this unwillingness to get off the fence was the source of pain-via-guilt, not the actual decisions themselves.

For the next 6 months I learned to think things through until I hit a logical conclusion, then commit to a decision. Over-thinking was never a problem for me, but committing (I realized) was, so I worked on that.

Only after a few months of almost passive-attention to sticking to my commitments did I realize my life being noticeably easier. I had no idea why, but it just felt great...

That was when I first came across this concept presented by this article: will power is a limited resource.

As a software developer there are a litany of cliched things I berate myself about... gotta work more, gotta exercise more, gotta eat better.

But given my new outlook on life I decided "Enough!", I am going to make decisions and move on with my life. So far this year I have made decisions to work... and work and work and work. Yes lots of things have taken a back seat, but instead of being wishy-washy about it, I am leveraging the mass of my will power against my desire to work and not spending it on anything else.

That means I'm eating fast food and not exercising as much as I "should", but I'm done making half-decisions.

If I decide to eat better or exercise, I'm not going to spend all day thinking about it, I'll just go do it and get on with my life.

Since I learned those two things:
1. Commit to decisions / Ignore feeling of "guilt"
2. Will power is an exhaustible resource

Life has jus become fantastic.

I've gotten a hell of a lot more clarity on the things I want and I don't sit all day rolling my hands together because I want to work on X, but my business sense tells me "NO" so instead I have to pretend that I don't want to work on X and instead I'll go work on something else.

Forget that, it's my life, if I want to work on X, I'll work on X.

I like to get up in the morning now. I like what I do. I like what I work on and I like the people I meet doing it.

I have no idea what is in store for me, but sitting under a wet blanket, grinding your teeth from stress and sweating, trying to figure out a HN-worthy business and become the next-big-thing is bullshit.

Living your life; doing things you love and having success find you on your terms... it is intoxicating and so much more accessible than a lot of people realize.

DISCLAIMER: I wouldn't recommend trying this mental shift until you are ready for it. If you are a stress ball and a pure-rage-fountain, maybe wait until you've calmed down a bit before embarking on this journey.

If you are sick of feeling trapped by guilt and inaction and are ready for a change in scenery, give this a try.

Also, but "this" I mean simply accepting that will power is limited and learning to focus it on the things you truly want out of life instead of the things you tell yourself that you want.

TIP: Having a six-pack or a social-cloud-network-web-scale-synergy-Twitter-killer company may not ACTUALLY be what you want when you finally take the time to look inside yourself. Just be ready/willing to accept that. This can be really horrifying for people to face when they start looking inwards because they define themselves so heavily in (sometimes) false terms that the idea they had it wrong this whole time is... just too unsecure/scary/unsettling/open-ended.

JacobAldridge 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm a massive fan of life-task automation, for the benefits of not worrying about certain things (and therefore being generally happier in life).

Classic example for myself - when I used to commute to work, I would change lanes at exactly the same point every day. There was a month of trial and error to begin with, but this route and those lanes gave me the 'most likely fastest journey'. No more thinking about traffic, worrying that the lane next to me was moving faster, should I change etc etc.

I even have an automated rule for when I need to automate a rule - only when something annoys me three times. Can't find my keys when heading out the door? Very quickly automated where they live (ie, it happened 3 times very fast). Trip over a stair once? Not even going to register as an issue until it happens two more times.

jacobr 1 day ago 4 replies      
This advice seems to contradict the advice given about increasing your intelligence in a recent post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2562632

Compare this:

  Efficiency is not your friend when it comes to cognitive growth. In order to keep your brain making new connections and keeping them active, you need to keep moving on to another challenging activity as soon as you reach the point of mastery in the one you are engaging in. You want to be in a constant state of slight discomfort, struggling to barely achieve whatever it is you are trying to do, as Einstein alluded to in his quote. This keeps your brain on its toes, so to speak.


  The proper role for your pre-frontal cortex is to decide what behavior you want to change, design the ritual you'll undertake, and then get out of the way. "It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing," the philosopher A.N. Whitehead explained back in 1911. "The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them."

Is there a real contradiction? If yes, is there any point to intelligence if you get less important things done?

latch 1 day ago  replies      
I feel pretty confident that the single biggest thing people can do to be more productive, or to have more time, is to dump their TV.

Following this is the trifecta of: exercise, eating well, and sleeping enough.

nickpp 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is Gold, Jerry, GOLD.

And the best advice on creating these rituals, or HABITS is Seifeld's "Don't break the chain", coupled with Pavlina's 30-day trials.



JesseAldridge 1 day ago 3 replies      
Along these lines, I made a little program which yells at me whenever I have too many lines of code without a comment, or too many lines in a single file. I've found it quite helpful not having to actively think about that sort of maintenance stuff.
projectileboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The notion of 'ritual' is a central theme in Twyla Tharp's book 'The Creative Habit', which I think most HN'ers would find a worthwhile read.
msie 1 day ago 3 replies      
I read somewhere that it was a myth that willpower is a limited resource and that we imagine it is limited, but it's not. Does anyone else remember where this was mentioned?
Tichy 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them."

I don't think this implies our brains become more capable with more enhanced civilization. For example I can eat an apple without knowing how to plant and tend to apple trees because I live in a civilization where farmers and software developers can exchange services. I don't have a ritual that allows me to grow apples without thinking about it. The whole process of growing apples has been completely outsourced from my life.

So I doubt that creating lots of rituals will work out in the long run. Eventually they might overrun my schedule. And it takes energy to remember the rituals.

terio 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the take-home point of the article is to avoid depleting your limited energies making new decisions about every little thing, which makes perfect sense for me.

Now, Whitehead's cite is another thing:

"It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing,[...] The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them."

I find it much better for me to be mindful of the things I do. That does not mean I have to make new decisions all the time. It is a non-judgmental mindfulness, the practice of experiencing the present moment.

jongraehl 1 day ago 0 replies      
The willpower "battery" can be recharged or trained (it's also a willpower "muscle"). I reviewed some of the research last year: http://jonathan.graehl.org/mitigating-ego-depletion and http://jonathan.graehl.org/evidence-that-self-control-can-be...
mva 1 day ago 0 replies      
What really helped for me is closing email and only check email at two times a day (a bit before lunch and around 16.00) -> tips from the four hour work week. Don't check email when you get into the office, because your further work day will be influenced by it.
gcb 1 day ago 2 replies      
it opens with "every time i'm home i'm with my kids" and then give an example:

- "today my [morning priority] was this blog, then i gave me a reward to play tennis" and

- "always get 8hours of sleep"

- "exercise in the morning"

...if i can always get 8h of sleep, always "be with my kids", write blog posts all morning (after the work out) and still have some time to myself to play tennis... i wouldn't be reading about getting things done.

The main problem everyone i know have is to conciliate work, loved one(s), hobbies, 8hour sleep. all in a 24h day.

and the only way to solve it is give up on two each day.

pkananen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe should be phrased as 'The Only Way to get Important Things Done, for me'

Good advice, though.

peteretep 1 day ago 0 replies      
philipDS 1 day ago 1 reply      
But how can you do your work out immediately when you wake up and have to go to work? Wake up earlier? But you still have to sleep around 8 hours per night.. so you'd have to go to bed earlier, which gives you less time in the evening to do some hacking and other things you like. How can you pull this off? Go to work later?
Ask HN: How much recurring income do you generate, and from what?
319 points by withoutfriction  6 days ago   304 comments top 82
patio11 6 days ago 4 replies      

These days BCC is in maintenance mode (i.e. I respond to emails, cut checks, and put out fires, but I don't do active development or marketing). It works out to a bit more than my old salary for roughly 69.5 less hours of weekly work.

I have two other businesses: I do consulting and I have Appointment Reminder. Appointment Reminder pays its own way now, but doesn't put a meaningful amount of money in my pocket. Consulting does (egads), but distracts quite a bit from working on AR.

larrik 6 days ago 4 replies      
I average about $300 a month from app sales of a paid app and an ad-supported app. (This month is looking better, for some reason)

[Edit: I didn't actually say it, but these are iPhone apps]

On average, almost all of my income is from app sales, and not from ads or In-App Purchases.

I had a Lite version of the paid app, but that seemed to do more harm than good.

I have In-App purchases (both to unlock some extra content and remove ads in the ad-based app, and to unlock each feature of the paid app into the free app), but these have been rather slow to sell (maybe 1 or 2 a week?)

My best paid app sales month was about $900. (This was actually Christmas and a strong early January, which was all reported as January) No other months have come close (although I've only been up since December, really)

I DON'T advertise of any kind. Even my official website gets zero traffic, so I don't bother to keep it up to date.

P.S. I honestly expected my apps to spike in sales and then drop down to a couple a week. In fact, all of my apps continue to be very steady. Even my highs and lows tend to be distributed across all three apps, implying (but not proving) that it's the market itself moving up and down, rather than anything I'm doing.

[EDIT: Responding to replies:]
[EDIT: Responded to wallflower]


-I don't openly connect myself to my apps, mostly because they are a little embarrassing. Maybe I'll write a blog post tell-all.

-They started earning steadily from the beginning, almost entirely through searching for solutions in the app store. I should point out that the paid app is actuall $2.99 so $300/month is really only an average of 4 sales per day or so.


-As for getting started in the iPhone business, I came into it as a young but seasoned programmer who had an idea for a market that was somewhat established, but under-served. Since then, my opinion on that market and my initial idea have completely changed, but I don't have any better ideas for iPhone apps at the moment.

As for rules and regulations? I haven't registered a business yet, so Apple treats me as an individual developer. I tried to hide my real name when I set it up, which half-worked, but took like a week.

I've run into IP infringement cases for my apps, and have even had a DMCA take-down against it, which was resolved very quickly by both sides (at the expense of my app becoming hideous). Apple actually reviewed and approved my changed app within 2 hours of me submitting it, which was awesome. I actually only had a single day of zero sales through all that.

I had an app take about 2 and a half months to get through review. Apple is MUCH slower with free apps than paid apps.


The graphic design/presentation was absolutely awful for a long time. Now the app itself is decent enough looking (no where near "Apple" pretty, but the logo is still awful).

Completely unrelated to your responses, I'm planning on submitting my fourth app this weekend (which is an optimistic estimate, to say the least).

jashmenn 6 days ago 6 replies      
I make ~$2,000 a month with an iPad game for cats. My co-founder and I were working on a "more serious" game and it was taking a long time. We needed a quick win, so I agreed to do it if we spent less than 4 weeks on it.

We completed the game from idea to app store in 3.5 weeks and it is now, by far, our most popular game. * face palm *

EDIT: We split the revenue 50/50, so the revenue (after apple's cut) on this game is around $4k/mo.

ja27 6 days ago 2 replies      
Over the year I average $30 a month - but only with about 30 minutes of work a month. It's sad, but I bet I spend more time checking on that income than I do making it. These are mostly old learning experiences and playgrounds for me and I rarely update them.

60% is from Adsense on a sports-related niche website. I make most of that during a couple bursts related to sports seasons - playoffs, spring training, opening day, March Madness, etc. I absolutely stumbled upon that niche from seeing traffic on a related blog post I made. If I really did the SEO and worked on the site I could probably make 5-10 times as much, but I couldn't really grow to other niches.

39% of that is from Amazon affiliate links on a niche gift shopping site. That occasionally lands a sale throughout the year, but it booms from October to early December. This is something I could easily grow to lots of other niches - if I built out the automation. It doesn't really excite me, but shoveling Amazon affiliate links onto dozens or hundreds of niche shopping blogs should be lucrative. I would only focus on the Christmas shopping season though, unless you targeted different holidays like Mother's Day.

1% of that is from a few photos on iStockPhoto. That's where I actually want to put more of my effort going forward. I like the challenge of taking good photos and I like the idea of making my photography hobby self-supporting. But I also think the stock photography (and video) I produce will have a longer sellable life than anything else.

flyosity 6 days ago 3 replies      
I generate about $1000/mo from an iPad app I wrote (that I haven't updated in a long, long time) and then between $5-10k from iPhone user interface design/development tutorials that I sell.
callmeed 6 days ago 2 replies      
Are you referring to business income/revenue or personal income from those businesses?

Of the 4 businesses I've founded or co-founded (BIG Folio, APF, NextProof, and 2 Tablespoons), the first two generate approximately half of their revenue from recurring fees (we also have setup fees). That adds up to high 5-figures per month for each (more in a good month). Of course, they both have the highest overhead in terms of labor and servers. For me personally, the recurring revenue results in a monthly draw/dividend that is now higher than my (good) salary. I spend most of my time (40 hours between the 2) on these two.

NextProof is a purely recurring/transactional revenue business. It currently makes in the low 5-figure range per month on subscription fees + about the same in transaction fees. User base is growing at about 3% per month. Overhead is fairly low (mainly hosting at EngineYard) and I work about 5-10 hours/week on it. I take a quarterly draw/dividen on this (not too big). As someone else said, if I really worked on some SEO and properly ran some campaigns/tests, it could probably grow at 10% or more.

2 Tablespoons is my newest venture and, so far, generates about $30 a month from one iPhone app (epic, I know). Launching a restaurant website service this month. Hoping to take everything I've learned from these other businesses"and from HN"and generate some solid recurring revenue without too much overhead. Haven't thought about goals, but getting to $2k/month by the end of the year sounds reasonable.

alexkearns 6 days ago 4 replies      
I launched TikiToki Timeline Software (http://www.tiki-toki.com) in March. It is currently making about $250 a month from subscribers. This month I have also sold a $1500 single timeline license. Hopefully more of them in the future!

I am currently operating TikiToki as a side project from my main business as a freelance web developer. Aim to go full time with TikiToki at start of July.

This will be a bit of a gamble, given that what I earn from subscribers via TikiToki for a full month is less than what I would earn in half a day as a freelance developer!

We do it for love as much as the money!

If we want to go into detail, I should also add that I also earn about $80 a month from Adsense for a blog my wife and I run (http://www.casualgirlgamer.com) and about $25 a month via Big Fish's affiliates scheme. Peanuts really but it all adds up...

jdvolz 6 days ago 1 reply      
Until about 2 weeks ago I was the largest creator of stores on CafePress. I was earning decent residual income on existing stores that I had put up, but due to some external forces (some in my control, some out of it) I got my accounts shut down by CafePress. I still expect to earn some residual income for the next couple months on things I had already sold.

I had just started to seriously follow this path but I was earning between $100 and $375 per month in commissions from the test runs of my software that creates stores. I am in negotiations with them concerning turning my accounts back on.

I plan to expand this into a series of blog posts about lessons learned both business and technological. Upvote if that sounds like something you want to read.

throwaway1074 6 days ago 4 replies      
I'm using a throwaway account here to protect my privacy.

I'm currently making between 90k and 110K a month in revenue as a sole employee running a fairly large active Web community (< 2500 Quantcast). The focus of the community is a niche market with very little competition but we fare well by providing good value to our community.

Our revenue sources breaks down as follows:

* 40/50K/month in subscription revenue

* 25K/month in adsense revenue

* 4k/month in other ad revenue (Ebay, Amazon, Viglink etc)

* 30K/month in license and royalty revenue

As the sole employee, my primary responsibilities are all of the development of the platform, all system administration, all marketing and business activities, financials, and I also provide all the primary user support for the site. We have approximately 120 administrators and moderators who are volunteers, and we also have 4 individuals who are independent contractors who receive a set amount every month to lead different parts of our site and lead those volunteers.

Our platform is primarily based on Amazon Web services but includes physical servers from other hosting platforms. Platform as a service providers that we use include Cloudkick, Chartbeat, Geckoboard, Dynect, and SendGrid.

The reason why we have been so successful is we cater to a hobbyist market and operate on a very generous freemium model. Our subscription revenue is solid and predictable, and we experience very few chargebacks because we have consciously decided not to do automated renewals. Our license and royalty revenue is due to licensing agreements we have with third parties who utilize our content and services and APIs, as well as mobile device makers who serve our content (primarily to the Android and iOS market).

All of the above is a full time job and I rarely ever have a day off, although I have a tremendous amount of flexibility with my schedule.

strick 6 days ago 1 reply      
Until 5/1 I was making about $1,440/mo from google adsense on my site dodgit.com and a network of other sites I had purchased from flippa. Then I received an email 'your google adsense account has been disabled' and Google seized about a thousand dollars from my account. I had been using a personal account and a brand new account I set up for a business I wanted to build and sell (acceptable, per google's TOS) but they shut down both. Google's claim was that the website content was lousy and the multiple accounts were forbidden.

To be honest, the blogs did have some crappy content. I would be happy to pull the ads off the bad blogs and put them back on dodgit, a service I have lovingly maintained for 7 yrs. Sadly there appears to be no way to appeal to Google once they drop the axe.

I'm pondering next steps. I know a few people who work at Google but haven't contacted any of them yet. I've played around with adbrite and some other ad networks, but none of them seem to generate money the way adsense can.

I've also created a number of websites that generate revenue over the years, that aren't dependent on adsense in any way. I'll definitely make more!

pmichaud 6 days ago 1 reply      
Last month my revenue was shy of $35,000, pretty minor expenses, and it's basically passive.

I sell a combination of e-books and physical books, I have a few dozen titles.

pcestrada 6 days ago 1 reply      
$300-$500/month for a Windows desktop application. I wrote it to help out my mother-in-law since she found Photoshop too complicated to do what she wanted: placing text on pictures. Turned out to be a great learning experience on how to sell things online. See it here: http://www.pmesoftware.com
dpcan 6 days ago 1 reply      
About $7K per month in Android app sales.

(EDIT: Was at $15k per month last October before the competition started getting crazy)

About $2.5K per month hosting websites.

Then consulting income - I keep consulting because I feel like at any moment, the Android Market ranking algorithm will change or competition will wipe me out, etc, it's just to day-to-day to walk away from good old consulting.

DaveChild 6 days ago 4 replies      
I set up a web dev blog in 2003, at ILoveJackDaniels.com, and after a few months of rubbish blogging starting doing free cheat sheets to download. At its peak, from AdSense and text link ads, it made about $1200 per month. I had to move domain (trademark heat), and moved to AddedBytes.com. Lost lots of traffic and links, unfortunately. Ad revenue dropped over time (around $100 at its lowest), and I recently ditched the text links and adsense to go with CarbonAds.
endlessvoid94 6 days ago 1 reply      
http://thathigh.com pays my rent. I haven't touched in quite some time, either.
acangiano 6 days ago 2 replies      
About $2K-$6K a month from my blogs. (Plug: I'm writing a book that will help people do the same: http://technicalblogging.com)
code_duck 6 days ago 1 reply      
I co-own a web app which makes about $70k a year total, which I split 50/50 with my partner.

Living in a relatively expensive place, I'm satisfied with that for now as it enables a modest yet comfortable standard of living. The usual benefits - flexible hours, can work in any location with internet access, complete choice of technologies, etc. go a long way.

We could do a lot better, though and I'm aiming to do that. The current business I have can't grow due to the unique situation (it's based on another company's API, and that company is atrocious in every way imaginable - including developer hostility). It's been a blessing, though and I'm looking to build some great new stuff this year.

dangrossman 6 days ago 1 reply      
I make a few thousand a month from http://www.w3counter.com freemium) and http://www.w3roi.com no free plan).

The sites have similar revenue despite the freemium one having over 1000 times more total users.

swah 6 days ago 0 replies      
I had a total of one customer until now, and that is not recurring so, 3 bucks. I was happy that day, though.
ryanmarsh 6 days ago 4 replies      
$1,000 per month from two ATM's I own. The money is easy, but finding good locations that don't already have one is a complete bitch.
throwaway9898 6 days ago 1 reply      
Short Version: Hosted Web App making just under $10,000/mo.

Using a throwaway account for this because I'd rather not share our numbers publicly yet, but in about 2.5 years since our hosted web app went live, we're generating just under $10,000 per month in revenue. That's working on it part-time for the first couple of years and, more recently, full-time.

It's targeted at developers/designers, and the growth has been very slow and steady. There's never been a break-through moment as revenue has grown at an average rate of about 3.5% per month since we launched.

AlexC04 6 days ago 0 replies      
My web games portal http://fstr.net earns about $5 per month. I put in a couple of hours a week looking through the games list and picking a few to become 'features'

If I put hours in I can do better - If I submit links to gaming sites it can earn a few dollars a day :)

I couldn't figure out how to scale the traffic, so I've left it on autopilot while I try building other sites. I have a blog that earns about the same and am working on a new idea now that I hope will be 'the one'

My overall goal is to build an autopilot site (or portfolio of sites) that earns ~$90/day. Then ... become a sci fi author.

(LOL ... damn you Tim Ferris! I wasn't miserable in my work-a-day life until I read your damned book - two years later I'm still trying to achieve those dreams of freedom!)

udfalkso 6 days ago 2 replies      
Roughly $1,000 a month in revenue from http://isitnormal.com. Expenses add up to around $300 a month for hosting on linode and paid moderators. Given traffic levels, I feel I should be able to do better than this somehow. Still searching for the best way to monetize all the super-weird (but interesting!) UGC content.
WalterGR 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was making around $1,800 a month in AdSense revenue from The Online Slang Dictionary (and thesaurus) - http://onlineslangdictionary.com/

The site was collateral damage in Google's Panda update (which was hoped to reduce the prominence of content mills, etc. in search results) so that number has been greatly reduced the past 2 months.

davcro 6 days ago 2 replies      
About $10k a month from an old Facebook quiz app. I haven't touched the codebase or worked on said app in 8 months.
mfjordvald 6 days ago 2 replies      
I started a ROM site when I was 14, it eventually got really popular and thus got quite a few youtube videos and good search engine rankings. These days the ROMs have been long removed so traffic has obviously fallen, however due to the links and still decent search engine rankings it gets roughly 100k page views per day. End result is that the ads give me around $2k to $3k a month. Pretty happy with that since I no longer work on it and it's basically just rotting away.
pkamb 6 days ago 2 replies      
$0 per month for my one-hand keyboard layout software, blah. Recently switched from a 'branded' domain to a exact-match domain, looking forward to seeing how that improves my results. Blog + regular content is next on the list.


It's based on the same muscle memory as two-hand typing, so any two-hand typist can learn to type with one hand in minutes. Good for a programmer with a broken arm, for example.

cullenking 6 days ago 0 replies      
http://ridewithgps.com is signing up around $4k a month of recurring (yearly and monthly) users. Exciting to see what happens when we start promoting our premium services, and, excited to see the yearly people get rebilled starting in 10 months...
benhoyt 6 days ago 0 replies      
About $100 per month for http://giftyweddings.com/ -- a website that lets you make your own wedding gift registry/list (not tied to a specific store). At this point my maintenance consists of answering about one email a month.
matt1 6 days ago 0 replies      
I generate about $700/month from a web-based timeline tool called Preceden that I built in about six months in my spare time [1].

Preceden's been in maintenance mode for about a year now, as most of my free time is spent working on a new web design tool called Lean Designs (formerly jMockups) [2]. Lean Designs isn't profitable yet, but it's getting there. Preceden, meanwhile, continues to grow organically. Lean Designs is more of a swing-for-the-fence project, but I've got high hopes for it.

Plan is to transition to full time sometime in the fall of next year.

[1] http://www.preceden.com

[1a] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1114834

[2] http://www.leandesigns.com

[2a] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2497266

wolfrom 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was earning approximately $10-15k annually from affiliate marketing from 2002-2006 (formerly giftsforaguy.com), but I didn't spend the time I needed to stay up-to-date with my search rankings.

When I tried to start over with a more general gift affiliate site in 2009, I found that the game had changed so much that it would likely take over a year to get back to the earlier level using organic SEO.

So I've put it on hold, hoping to relaunch using social discovery for customer acquisition.

nhangen 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make close to $1k/month on a few iOS apps and games, as well as an OS X app that I released a few months ago. One is a meditation timer, and the game is an elf bowling clone.

We're working to improve both products and fix bugs. It's not easy to stay on top of it as an indie shop, especially in between consulting gigs and new product development.

I also make another 300-500/month from ebooks and other digital products. Working on some software that I hope will make this number triple.

burke 5 days ago 1 reply      

Generates about $125/mo from 30-60k pageviews per day.

rms 6 days ago 1 reply      
$7k/month in salary
zefhous 6 days ago 1 reply      
About $30/month from a very small free iPhone app with iAd. Thinking about making it a paid app and seeing how it does.

If you're curious: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nations/id386514813?mt=8

iconfinder 6 days ago 2 replies      
$3000 from ads on Iconfinder.com
lutorm 6 days ago 2 replies      
None. ;-
mdonahoe 5 days ago 0 replies      
$200/month from dumb flash anti-games a friend and I made 3 years ago in over a weekend each.


DavidTO1 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have 4 apps on the Mac App Store. It took me a total of 2 months to develop. I make roughly $3300 in sales per month. After taxes and Apple's 30% cut I make roughly $2000.
kadavy 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make a couple thousand a month selling affiliate iPod transfer software on a popular post on my blog.

An online dating tips blog that I started over 3 years ago under a pseudonym very recently started bringing in a few thousand a month from affiliates as well. SEOFTW.

There's lots of potential to bump up the revenue on the online dating blog, but I'm finishing up my book on design, so that's more important.

arandomJohn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get about $100 (sometimes more, often less) from my iPhone/iPad game, Battle for Vesta: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/3d-space-combat-battle-for/id...

More would be nice, but I have done a terrible job at marketing it.

RobertKohr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I made $162 from an iphone app called Tank! last month, and it has been on the store for about 4-5 months. It is a simple clone of Atari Combat that was built with phonegap and Canvas + Javascript. I charge $2.99 per app sale, and that seems to be the sweet spot.
http://robkohr.com/iphone/tank/ (pricing is wrong on this page
sahillavingia 6 days ago 1 reply      
In the thousands per month from iPhone app downloads and web apps subscriptions.
michaelleland 6 days ago 3 replies      
6k-8k a month through small-time consulting. I've got one big customer, and two smaller ones. Good work, but it doesn't scale well.
sktrdie 6 days ago 1 reply      
Getting about 60$ a month with http://udeployer.com/ - considering the amount of work I put into it I'm definitely opting for more than 60 dollars, but better than nothing... at least I can have a fancy dinner once a month :).

Continuously expanding with some marketing, hoping to reach the $500/month mark someday.

dangravell 6 days ago 0 replies      
bliss (http://www.blisshq.com) hovers in the $1k - $1.5k bracket at the moment. It still is under active development though.

The main sales channel is SEO, but I have also had success by trying to integrate, both technically and marketing-wise, with other products and services. Referrals from blog reviews and forum posts also help a little. Adwords is very low, and is something I'm trying to improve all the time (thanks patio11 for the blog posts).

vgurgov 6 days ago 0 replies      
videolla currently generates between $1-2k/month. we spend more on development (its still in active dev) so not reached breakeven, but growing..
toumhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
www.giftcertificatefactory.com $40 from Adsense (for 1 month). Traffic is building up (website is only 3 months old), so I have hopes it's going to increase :-) The website provides gift certificate templates for businesses and not businesses alike. I've tried to sell the templates in the first 3 months but had no luck with it. Still trying to figure out better monetization.
hnsmurf 6 days ago 1 reply      
I once had a collection of poker-related software that did in the low 6 figures per month. Unfortunately recent government actions kicked that in the nuts.
noodle 6 days ago 0 replies      
somewhere around $100/mo from an adwords/affiliate thing, and less than $50 on a web app i'm slowly working on. in the future, web app will generate more income, and i'm working on a niche piece of hardware that ought to also produce a few bucks on the side.

edit: on the "takes money to make money" front, i make several hundred bucks on dividend-returning stocks.

peteretep 6 days ago 0 replies      
I used to make about $1,200 a month from a website with dating advice on it, via affiliate sales of dating products.

It started off as a Digg-esque site for the vast quantity of dating-related articles on the net based on some custom Perl I hacked together, but I quickly realized that while that was getting me linked by 'dating experts', the traffic it was bringing in didn't convert, where traffic to very generic articles ("How to meet girls at the gym") converted much better.

I tried to make sure it was updated every day, and finding, sourcing, and writing the articles took an hour a day. I ended up selling the site for ~ $16k when I needed some money to pay a tax bill quickly.

There are now so so so many sites farming this kind of content, I think it'd be very hard to reproduce in this field. That said, the affiliate commissions are pretty good - one guy would pay you $40 for every $20 ebook of his that was sold as a result of you (because he figured you'd sent him a paying customer who'd end up spending a lot more with him).

robert00700 6 days ago 0 replies      
Around $350/month

$100-$200 a month selling virtual weapons in SecondLife (Used to be around $800 a month a few years ago)

$200 a month with my two iOS apps developed using Unity3D. Each took around 1 week to make! Seriously was worth the $300 license, I doubt anybody could match the development speed natively.

withoutfriction 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, awesome to see such a successful thread.

I'd like to set up some sort of group where we get ~10 people together and then each week set things we need to do, and then next week we make sure the other people completed their goals.

If you are in, post your email as a reply to this. I'm going to use a posterous group to accomplish this - though if there is something else that would work better let me know.

rytis 6 days ago 1 reply      
roughly $50/month for a news aggregator:


Bear in mind it's been flying solo since 2007 with only a single facelift about 6 months ago. No marketing or anything. Pays for the server, but that's it.

dennisgorelik 5 days ago 0 replies      

1) 377 * $20/month subscriptions

2) ~$1000/month in AdSense

Expenses: ~$4000/month

netchaos 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a blog on environment and green living (http://www.connect-green.com) which brings in around $20 a month from adsense, have a tutorial aggregating service (http://tutmash.com) which is pretty new and haven't started to make any thing considerable.

I do freelance web development. Even though not consistent, it's my main revenue source.

I believe there are very good opportunities to make a good income from online businesses but in my case, my acute procrastination issue is preventing me from making anything considerable.

doubleconfess 6 days ago 2 replies      
I made between 12k-20k a month for a little more than 3 years as an online poker player. And that was only "working" on average between 4 and 5 hours a day.

Sadly I am an American and that is no longer possible.

luke_osu 6 days ago 0 replies      
http://tweetclaims.com pulls in around $100-$200 per month. If we get big press (like a blog post), we will get a spike and triple that. I literally haven't updated the code in a year. Runs like a champ and does what it's suppose to.

I would love to expand on it or market it more, but time does not permit right now. I've started playing with Google Adwords, so we will see how that goes. We are also working on getting the site redesigned.

malingo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Basically zero for me. One question though is at what point do taxes become an issue, in terms of (in the US) the IRS becoming interested and ultimately how much they affect income?
Hisoka 6 days ago 1 reply      
Between 9K - 13K a month from affiliate commissions (CJ) promoting diet programs, and web hosts. 50% is from a network of sites. 50% is from a vastly successful Adwords campaign.
throwaway94818 6 days ago 2 replies      
Between 3000 to 5000 a month USD spending about 10 hours a month on support. Last year, made about $40K. Nothing to sneeze at, but nothing to get too excited about either.
herval 4 days ago 0 replies      
Myguestmap.org generates around 300usd in ads and 10-100usd in donations a month since 2005. Last touched it in 2006. Donations tend to get higher on christmas :-)
bnenning 6 days ago 2 replies      
Around $1000 a month from Android app sales: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.dozingcatsoftware..... (After Google's cut, before taxes). A few weeks ago I applied the common HN advice and raised the price from $0.99 to $1.99, which so far has increased revenue by about 50%.
rabbitonrails 6 days ago 1 reply      
SAAS company, 2 people, no funding. $6k/month after paying the support person. completely passive income, e.g. i don't check email any more.
designsourced 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make ~$500/mo recurring income designing custom email marketing pieces.

Also, I see there are a lot of app developers here. I mainly do logo design http://www.designsourced.com and have worked on a few apps. Any HN folks that want a custom app icon designed for a good price or % of future sales let me know

ohashi 6 days ago 1 reply      
At it's peak, I made thousands (not sure what the exact number was now) from domain parking/monetization.
joshowens 6 days ago 0 replies      
So I run http://tweethopper.com/ and we are up to $300 a month in paying accounts. I also have http://webpulp.tv/ which brings in around $1200 a month in ads.

Nothing major, but certainly room to grow!

ericabbott1 6 days ago 0 replies      
Make about $40/mo on a couple iPhone apps (one paid, one free with a pay what you want in-app purchase). Mechanical engineer but taught myself iOS programming in my spare time for fun.

For those curious, the apps are "US Tax Receipt" (free) and "Candy Counter - The Candy Jar Estimator" ($0.99)

ka010 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm happy to say that I make a solid $2k-$5k with a bunch of niche Apps in the AppStore, see http.//010dev.com

Although this requires a good amount of time, I'm still able to do some freelancing on the side which makes a pretty sweet addition to the above, works out just great.

metaprinter 6 days ago 0 replies      
I average $30 month on a fishing blog, I'm pretty passionate about it too so i don't really consider it work. All the revenue is via google adsense. I've been trying google affiliate but in 6 months have made zero on it.

The site is built on wordpress so i've been thinking about some kind of amazon affiliate plugin but i haven't pulled the trigger yet, haven't read any outstanding reviews on amazon plugins either.

baconner 6 days ago 0 replies      
9 months since posting my first android app I'm making 200-300/m from two apps. It took me a good 6 months before I was able to get above 100 though. Not too bad considering I'm competing against free alternatives but a long way to go.
brk 6 days ago 1 reply      
~$2500-$3000/mo from boutique dedicated server hosting.
wasigh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Around 400-600 euro a month selling subscriptions to people and schools who do exercises to improve their Dutch language skills.
We offer free exercises for everybody and people can get extra features with subscriptions.
vascoconde 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make ~$300/month from a couple of iOS apps. 99% of the revenue comes from an iPad App that came out the day the iPad was released. I'm surprised that the app still makes money, I haven't updated it for a year.
techbio 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make about $500/mo in AdSense from http://www.snapspans.com/.
gonepostal 6 days ago 2 replies      
0 < monthly income < $1000

That is from rental properties I own.

trowaway87654 6 days ago 0 replies      
About $300/month from a GPL script. A PHP class, quite popular, about 7 years old and still going strong. I am surprised nobody in this thread gets recurring income for sharing open source code. I mostly receive donations. I also sell licenses, from a few dollars to hundreds. I publish about three releases a year, and don't spend that much time working on it or supporting it. I shall not forget to mention that publishing this code got me a lot of freelance gigs. Bonus fact: it is rather enjoyable to go to a contract interview where the interviewer has actually used my code.
joelackner 6 days ago 0 replies      
250ish affiliate sales
400 hosting
15 mobile app ads
50 mobile app sales (should grow decently when i launch my first ios game)
jcollins 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make about $1000 a month from Whiteboard Capture Pro and more than that from consulting. Plus I have a day job.
Coscorron 6 days ago 0 replies      
I make about $900 on a social website that I wrote and admin by myself. The site helps local communities stay connected. A couple of years back revenue was around $1200 a month ive had the site for about 11 yrs and is currently on top 3 search results on google and yahoo.I'm adding several sister sites in the next few months just waiting for urls to become available.
h4xnoodle 6 days ago 0 replies      
Back when I was 13-15 I did some freelance web development (before everyone and their grandma was a freelancer) and made about 300USD a month. This was also back when the American dollar was great, the Canadian dollar sucked, and therefore profit. I made more money doing this than a shitty McDonald's job that I couldn't get because I was too young.
satanIsMyCpilot 6 days ago 2 replies      
About $350/month in affiliate earnings/advertising from an image gallery site. It's been up for about 1.5 years. Traffic has been up lately, but earnings seem to have plateaued.

I see a lot of posters making over $1K/month. How long did it take to reach that level of income?

Chrome has transcended version numbers codinghorror.com
313 points by AndrewDucker  3 days ago   86 comments top 26
wladimir 3 days ago 5 replies      
That upgrader using binary differences (courgette) is impressive. From 10 megabytes to 78 kilobytes. I wonder why Linux distributions such as Ubuntu still download the entire new packages on an upgrade. A lot of upgrade time and bandwidth could be saved by only sending the differences. And it would reduce load on the mirror sites.

Edit: did a bit of looking around and it seems to be planned for Oneric Ocelot


stcredzero 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is exactly the sort of visionary engineering needed to break the field into the next stage. This isn't just a quantitative difference, it's a revolutionary qualitative difference!

Our online infrastructure is broken in ways we're dimly aware of, because it has always been that way. In the same way that people trying to do business demand network, electric, and roadway infrastructure that once didn't exist, we will someday demand software infrastructure with features that do not exist today.

Chief among these will be security features. If Google plays their cards correctly, they can create an ecosystem that stays ahead of the black-hat hackers. By correctly incentivizing white-hat hackers, they could expose and patch security holes fast enough to ruin the economics of the black-hats. This infrastructure will enable Google to make more money, resulting in a virtuous cycle.

If the infrastructure can be extended to the server-side, with web app frameworks that receive security updates with equal rapidity, then Google can establish a secure, smoothly running "toll road" -- an infrastructure subset relatively free from problems faced by the rest of the net. That could be worth billions.

(We'll know this strategy is winning if/when Microsoft starts doing it too. Once that happens, we'll be in a new era of computing.)

p4bl0 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe people are looking wrong at Chrome version numbering. Take GNU Emacs for instance. At some point the developers realized that their software would never be the subject of a change in nature big enough to change the major version number, so they ditched it. Now we have Emacs 23 but it's actually Emacs 1.23, and nobody complains.

I think it's really a non-issue and it's not really worth talking about: Chrome just doesn't display the '1.' (or '0.' depending on your view point ^^) in front of its version number :-).

omh 3 days ago 2 replies      
There are disadvantages to constant, automatic updates.

I had a call from someone who'd been using Chrome to regularly print a web page, and one day it just stopped working. The site hadn't changed, but for whatever reason the latest version of Chrome just didn't render it.
And of course trying to install an older version of Chrome was quite difficult.

(In Google's case they do now have a way to disable the updates, but not all software is so good about it)

masklinn 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Somehow, we have to be able to automatically update software while it is running without interrupting the user at all. Not if -- but when -- the infinite version arrives, our users probably won't even know.

For what it's worth, this is already available in Erlang (although it was built in for different reasons, closer to getting the fluidity of web applications updates on just about any server software): two versions of the same code can live in parallel in the VM, and there are procedures for processes to update to "their" new version without having to restart anything (basically, you switch functions mid-flight and the next time an updated function is called the right way, the process just switches to the new code path).

You need follow a few procedures and may have to migrate some states, but by and large it's pretty impressive. And it could certainly be used for client-side software. The sole issue I'd see would be the updating of a main GUI window in-flight (how do you do that without closing and re-opening it?). But I doubt this one changes that much in e.g. chrome these days.

qjz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, how I wish I had this issue with Android! I'm currently locked at version 1.6...
wccrawford 3 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped looking at Chrome's version numbers (unless I have a specific issue or question about Chrome) back around 9. That's because 9 was the last development version I used... The features I need are all in the stable release now. When 10 came out, my 9-dev turned into 10-stable and I didn't pay attention from there.

At this point, I don't even bother 'updating' (read: close the browser and open it again) for up to a week or 2 after an update comes out, unless I need to close my browser for some other reason.

slackerIII 3 days ago 0 replies      
John Boyd would be proud. Everything else being equal, the team with the fastest OODA loop usually wins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop
kolektiv 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are software systems which do get updated while running though, but perhaps it requires a change in software architecture more than just (very clever) diff tools. Erlang systems, for instance, can have the concept of hot code swapping baked in to them in a more predictable way because that requirement is part of the base system - application life cycle is built in to the platform, not on top of it. Of course, for systems such as telecoms switching, the complexity and cost of this was worthwhile. For browsers... perhaps not. Cost/Benefit analysis is probably the usual trusted friend. What would we hope to gain (and how would we measure it) by letting browsers never restart?
melling 3 days ago 1 reply      
I run the Canary build so I get an update every day.


It's impressive how stable the nightly has been.

ck2 3 days ago 3 replies      
So how do you roll back with Chrome when it breaks a plugin for example?

I guess this means for ignorant users this is good but for power-users we are having more and more control taken away from us.

Personally I disable all of Chrome's phoning home because it's impolite and does it too many times per day and I have no easy way to verify exactly it's sending all those times.

br1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft actually went to great length to build an update mechanism that doesn't require reloading. It seems this is not so useful after all, and it's not being used: http://jpassing.com/2011/05/01/windows-hotpatching/
arkitaip 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is slightly offtopic but Wordpress built-in update feature only works in you have ftp on your server. If you've disabled FTP for security reason updating becomes a manual process. I wish the WP devs would use patch or some other, CLI friendly, solution.
Typhon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would they really stop at Chrome infinity ?
I'm pretty sure they would make a version aleph one next. And so on.
lmarinho 3 days ago 2 replies      
Apples App Store, for both Mac and iOS, could learn a thing or two from this, their software update experience is awful, requiring you to re-download whole multi-gigabyte apps sometimes for minimal updates.
kfool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is how I see things:

1. Updates should not only be applied in sequence.

It is better to produce a binary diff between any two versions, and apply only that (one) binary diff. The reason for this isn't efficiency, but semantics. Updates not only fix things, but break things. Meaning, updates corrupt application state (data), both in-memory and on-disk. It can be disastrous to apply an intermediate update that removes state, only to realize that a future version reversed the semantics and needs to use that state (which was available, but is now gone).

Peserving backward compatibility is important, which means the ability to skip some version updates is necessary. To the extent possible, reversing updates is important too.

2. The ideal update system should apply updates live, not offline.

With a model that accounts for updating the entire state of an application, updating live is possible. The reason most updates are not applied live yet is that the model is not descriptive enough to change the entire state of the running application.

Notable state that should be updated, but often isn't, is continuations and the stack. This is why GUI applications need to be shut down to update.

Scheme's call/cc (call-with-current-continuation) solved making changes to continuations and stack state decades ago better than Erlang. Erlang cannot force stacks unroll or continue from arbitrary points.

3. Updates must be produced with source code and programmer input.

Updates should not be produced with binaries as input.

The reason is the need to account for application semantics, which binaries do not expose in the detail source code does. Although automated, sophisticated semantic-diffing based on control-flow can be developed, it is sometimes inconclusive whether an update will break things.

4. It is necessary for programmers to provide live update guidance.

In the cases where producing provably safe dynamic updates is not possible, it is input from the programmer that can clear any conservatism of the safety certification process.

Tools are needed for programmers to reason about the semantic safety of their live updates, integrated in the development process. Including tools that help transform application state between versions.

swah 3 days ago 3 replies      
> But even Google hasn't figured out how to install an update while the browser is running.

I don't think it ever displayed that dialog on OSX.

fendrak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Being a software developer sometimes feels like an especially thankless position -- if you're doing your job well, users never think of you.
evangineer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Made a similar observation yesterday. Only times that the Chrome version has mattered in my recent experience have been with regards to the recent WebGL security hole and with Native Client.
sehugg 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's a great improvement over a generic binary diff. I remember Symantec was doing something similar for their AV definitions updates. In fact they got some patents: http://www.symantec.com/press/2001/n010207b.html
cstrouse 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of their frequent updating even if the version bumps do get out of hand. Thanks Google for continuous improvements and updates!
mhb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Making the side tabs acceptable-looking would be worth a real version number.
arapidhs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Updated icon deserves it is own version number and release cycle if it is by google (chuckle)
orenmazor 3 days ago 1 reply      
Preach on, brotha!
patrickg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus, the 90° rotated "8" that should be an infinity sign is ugly as hell.

Edit: wording

tybris 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome crashes more than any other browser I've used, but the best thing about it is that they have even made crashes seamless.
G8 agenda calls for "civilized Internet": monitored, governed, controlled, taxed g8internet.com
304 points by keane  2 days ago   98 comments top 23
mycroftiv 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a clear case where we see the idea that governments should represent the will of their citizens break down completely. Every power structure serves its own needs first. In areas where the interest of governmental systems and the citizens are in alignment, democracy can work - but when there is a conflict between the will of a power structure to extend its power and influence and the desires of the citizens, governments almost invariably choose to serve their own systemic interests.

Internet censorship is a dramatic example of this. Even in democratic societies with large majorities in favor of free communication over the internet, the internal imperatives of governments to monitor and control trump the will of the people, no matter who is in power. In the matter of desiring to be able to read everyone's email, the governments of the world are in nearly unanimous alliance against their own citizens.

GHFigs 2 days ago 2 replies      
The link doesn't actually provide any information. It's only waving it's hands in my face and telling me that I should be angry, telling me that a lot of different things are connected, and telling me that certain people are so inherently bad that anything they do or say is bad. That's not information, that's indoctrination.

Of course, some jackhole will tell me that I must be horribly uninformed if my knee doesn't jerk like theirs. I don't think any answer to that will suffice for someone who feels that way (Q:"How can you not be driven into a frothing rage about the 'kill switch bill'?" A:"I actually read it.") but at least consider that I was actively seeking information when I clicked on the link and was disappointed to find instead a glittering call to action based on interpretations I don't share, punching at emotional triggers that I don't have.

haberman 2 days ago 2 replies      
This article is a sensationalist piece with very little content, the HN headline is misleading (the words "tax" and "monitor" do not appear anywhere on the target webpage), and the comments are impassioned soapbox generalizations.

This is HN at its worst.

jrockway 2 days ago 2 replies      
Cyberterrorism is a bullshit argument. If you don't want your machines to be attacked from the Internet, don't connect them to the Internet. In fact, governments and big companies already do this!

At work, we have an IP network called BARONET. It's like the Internet except it's not. There is a bridge on one machine that proxies HTTP requests from this network to the Internet. There are no routes to the Internet.

This significantly reduces the possibility of "cyberattacks", since you'll have to go through that proxy box. (Which probably runs Windows, but hey... if you actually cared about security, you wouldn't do that. The rest of the idea is good.)

loup-vaillant 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The printing press allowed the people to read. The Internet will allow them to write." Benjamin Bayart, acting president of French Data Network (non-profit French ISP).

There was a time where a reading populace was the bane of the powerful. Now we are beginning to have a writing populace. This means the doom of current power structures, should they let it happen. The fact they try hard not to doesn't surprise me at all. (Though I am ashamed of my government right now.)

yason 2 days ago 1 reply      
This in accord with the emerging counterforce of various anonymous networking projects that are reaching the state of being usable. These networks are likely to evolve to the point where, instead of using proxies and non-standard protocols, the users actually access a regular IPv6 subnet that simply uses the onion-routed private network such as Phantom or I2P as the carrier.

I say IPv6 because nearly all operating systems do support IPv6 even if it's barely used these days; the address space is big so the addresses can probably be used to store some routing or clustering hints that make the onion network more efficient; and if all you have is an anonymous IPv6 address that isn't directly related to any physical connection then monitoring, governing, controlling and taxing becomes pretty difficult.

In a few years maybe, if Linux distributions shipped with such a client by default and you could download such a "network driver" for Windows to enable you to communicate and share with your friends in a private manner, the userbase will suddenly consist of so many nodes that the lack of performance and content-scarcity of the current anonymous networks will likely become history.

knieveltech 2 days ago 2 replies      
Keep your cowardly, sniveling, risk-averse, myopic, GREEDY fucking agenda OFF OF MY INTERNET! You've already done quite enough, thanks.

I was going to come up with a more level-headed and well reasoned response here, but I guess the first bit really sums it up.

There are days where I wonder if Academia didn't have the right idea with Internet 2.0. Whatever happened with that anyway?

rawsyntax 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's my understanding that the Internet is structured in such a way that this kind of thing is impossible unless there is a massive buy in of all involved countries.

I very much prefer the Internet raw and unfiltered. I know enough to know which sites I like and which I don't.

Furthermore, the Internet is an expression of the human condition, and as such it is itself art, and should not be censored for this reason as well.

We already have enough trouble with ICE seizing domains

etherael 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello unstoppable force, meet immovable object. Or should that be rapidly shifting, dynamically self decentralizing, variably invisible object?

Time to grab the popcorn.

DrJokepu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here we go again. It's 2011 and our governments still don't understand the Internet. They don't understand that it's way bigger than them. They don't understand that it's not possible to monitor, govern, control, tax it, simply because it's so cheap and simple to circumvent any of these measures and there's plenty of motivation to do so.
natmaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Downvote me all you want...

Why is everyone suddenly up in arms about the internet losing its freedom and being regulated? How is this any different from every other service that exists?

The internet is the shining last example of true liberty - it CAN work - and yet everyone seems to think that the world would go into chaos if everything wasn't heavily regulated. Where does this assumption come from? The internet is super prosperous because of this freedom. Why do people assume regulation is the best answer, when evidence indicates otherwise?

I'm seriously at a loss here.

plainOldText 2 days ago 2 replies      
I really don't understand people who come with such propositions. When life is so short, yet the possibilities of freedom limitless, why would you choose to be anything else other than free?
uast23 2 days ago 1 reply      
Every time such thoughts come up, I am reminded of how difficult it is to bring the world to a consensus. Easier said than done, it's pretty comfortable putting a regulation on paper but bringing it to practice can take a toll. Internet regulation does not stop at content policing and stopping malicious activities, it rather extends to creating difficulties in doing online business globally and taking a toll on innovation. China is regulated; how many websites coming to China from outside do a successful business there (enlighten me)! I really doubt if all the members would agree for such pact at the cost of business and innovation; unless there is a pressure from corporates (anon attack on master and visa).
cyrus_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is it that we, who have built the free internet, are letting them, who stood in its path on every turn, take control? Why aren't hackers in positions of power?
hoggle 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is so painful to witness elected stupidity in action.

My sympathies to all the Royal & Mitterrand voters - seems like Sarkozy is rapidly becoming the new G.W. Bush.

patrickg 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is the "G8 internet" related to the internet governance forum? Why fighting on so many frontiers?
shareme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think I speak for many when I say:

When the G8 can let protesters have a peaceful protest during their session than we will believe their intentions in governing the internet as being for the common world good..

Until that proof shows up STFU..

jwecker 2 days ago 0 replies      
s/G8 agenda/Nicolas Sarkozy/
rbanffy 2 days ago 0 replies      
They want to civilize the internet the way Europe civilized the rest of the world...
seymores 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pisses me off no end to think that they are doing this for the greater good of their citizen.
rizumu 2 days ago 1 reply      
The corporations, rich and powerful want (at least the illusion) of full control over the communication channels so they can prevent honest people from organizing en masse and rising up. What is happening here in Madrid is a first for this country: http://www.tvspain.tv/blog/?p=3026
natchexz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fuck. Them.
vikingux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop listening to Bob Marley.
Listen to Eben Molgen.
Youtube: "Eben Moglen - Freedom in The Cloud":

Stop going to Starbucks.
Send money to The Freedom Box Foundation.

Otherwise they may prove Richard Stallman correct.

Einstein Was Right: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment nasa.gov
290 points by tableslice  6 days ago   26 comments top 7
tzs 6 days ago 4 replies      
It's not all that epic. These effects had already been measured by other experiments and were found to agree with general relativity to much more accuracy than the GP-B measurements. What GP-B brought to the table was a direct measurement, as opposed to indirect measurements used by the other experiments.

However, because the way they measured it pushed the limits of engineering, if GP-B had NOT agreed with GR there is good chance the results would have been dismissed as most likely due to equipment flaws.

While it is in general a good idea to confirm measurements, especially using different techniques, in a case like this where the confirmation will be much less precise than the other experiments and will likely be rejected if it fails to confirm, you have to wonder why this was funded over other projects.

The answer to that turns out to be simple: politics. When space scientists ranked all the proposed missions under consideration, GP-B came in dead last. However, its proponents went to Congress, and got Congress to override the normal process for prioritizing missions, forcing NASA to move it to the front, ahead of more scientifically worthy missions.

There are a lot of very worthwhile scientific missions that we can't fly due to budget limitations. It's a shame to see $750 million of the limited budget go to a mission so far down on the importance list.

ColinWright 6 days ago 0 replies      
scottdw2 6 days ago 4 replies      
Did the experiment use a control? That is, did they put other gyros in places where space time should not have been twisted and observe no deviation?

If not, how do they know that the deviation was in fact caused by twisting space time?

wallfly 6 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to find out if using Hans Montanus's non-canonical formulation of GR (which involves a Euclidean metric and perfectly flat space-time) would yield the same numerical predictions, just with different "book keeping".

That would put a different spin on the notion of Einstein "being right" as I think a lot of folks subconsciously equate GR with the "strangeness" of the Minkowski metric and non-Euclidean space-time manifold.

catechu 5 days ago 0 replies      
From article: "The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline."

I will never imagine general relativity the same way again.

known 5 days ago 0 replies      
My understanding is we should benchmark everything with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light
Vivtek 6 days ago 0 replies      
I initially read this "Einstein was right, announces results of epic space-time experiment", which would have been epic and a much more interesting story.
Do not let your domain expire with Google Apps benreyes.posterous.com
275 points by benreyes  8 days ago   63 comments top 16
kwantam 8 days ago 0 replies      
A few weeks ago I tried to register Google Apps on a domain I purchased, and found that it'd already been registered by someone else. I sent an email to the support team explaining that there was a previous account and that I was the new owner, and upon proving that the domain was now mine they deleted the old account and had me start anew.

Obviously, while the email-support method is safe, the automated system for unlocking admin access based on "proof of ownership" is pretty scary! Seems like this could be solved by requiring you to prove ownership and then releasing new auth info to a linked email account on a different domain. That helps to establish both present ownership and a chain of ownership back to the last time you had authorized access and were able to adjust the "emergency email account" setting. It's not perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better.

It also seems to me like someone wanting to abuse this right now could do so pretty easily: you can confirm that a domain is available and that it has had a google Apps account set up in the past before you spend a dime, so you can just set a computer to trawling known Google Apps domain names (e.g., by looking at traffic on large mailing lists) to find ones whose registration has expired.

joshfraser 8 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds like Google have changed their policies on this. Just a few months ago I was caught on the other side of this issue. Basically I bought a domain and wasn't able to get Google Apps set up because someone else had used it in the past. Here's the full story: http://www.onlineaspect.com/2010/11/12/issues_with_google_ap...
giberson 8 days ago 3 replies      
While it may add an extra step on their end process wise, it seems like the obvious solution to this matter is to simply enact a policy such that if domain ownership changes hand the associated accounts are reset unless a signed transfer of ownership and proof of identity is provided by the original owner.
DenisM 8 days ago 4 replies      
You have likely broken the law by accessing that Amazon account which was not yours, and now you blog about it. It might be a good idea to talk to a lawyer.

not a legal advice

megamark16 8 days ago 5 replies      
It took me about 10 minutes to write a python script that grabs a list of recently expired domains and checks each domain to see if it's a valid Google Apps domain. This is a pretty serious issue, if indeed it's still possible to take ownership of accounts as the article suggests. Hopefully Google has added some mitigating steps to keep this sort of thing from happening.
kevinpet 8 days ago 0 replies      
Google's problem isn't in their authentication, it's in the whole idea that having a domain name now means I should have access to the previous google apps account. They're separate entities.

This is probably related to why google isn't able to move an apps account to a new domain (our real domain is just an alias to our google apps account on previous company name's domain).

zacharypinter 8 days ago 1 reply      
Any idea if this applies for a domain that's an alias to your primary domain?

For example, if you have foo.com as your Google Apps domain, and you have foo.us as an extra domain that was aliased but then expired, does that expose the foo.com Google Apps account?

larrys 8 days ago 0 replies      
I want to point out that as a ICANN registrar not a day goes by where some tech person working on behalf of a customer will contact us and request an auth code to transfer out a domain name. Just like that. As if we will send one to anyone that asks. Later when the customer makes the request many times the domain ends up at another registrar in the name of the tech person, isp, web designer etc. who has been told they need to be able to login and make changes. The name subsequently is deleted for non-payment (customer isn't notified and invoice goes to new contact) and they loose control of their domain.
hackount 8 days ago 1 reply      
Making sure to renew your domain name is a good solution if you actually want to keep your domain. But what if you are done with that domain, and purposely let it expire? Is there a way to delete your Google Apps account entirely before letting the domain name expire, so the next person to register that domain can start from scratch with Google Apps, as if that domain had never been used before?
a3_nm 8 days ago 0 replies      
Notice that you will have the same kind of trouble if you're using OpenID on your own domain and let it expire...

(An attacker could buy the domain name and set up a page at your OpenID URL which would delegate the OpenID to something under their control.)

btucker 8 days ago 5 replies      
Any thoughts on how Google could prevent this? Seems important they provide a way to reclaim domains.
tallanvor 8 days ago 0 replies      
I originally registered one of my primary domains through Google, but I transferred the domain to my primary registrar before I had to renew it. --Back then there were some problems with people not being able to renew some domains and running into problems as a result.
cwb71 8 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for pointing out this issue, Ben.

I am curious why you did not mention whether there is an option to simply delete your Google Apps account before letting the domain expire?

steveh73 8 days ago 0 replies      
You did not completely censor the last screenshot.
ltamake 8 days ago 1 reply      
Google should remind you that your domain is expiring and offer to switch to a regular account or clear your data.
brackin 8 days ago 0 replies      
Great post ben i'm amazed this can happen with such ease.
Full text: Apple Legal's letter to Lodsys macworld.com
269 points by atularora  3 days ago   91 comments top 16
grellas 3 days ago 2 replies      
A few thoughts:

1. Nothing in the letter commits Apple to defend the developers or to hold them harmless. Legally, Apple does not have to do this. One can only hope that its self-interest in protecting its app-store ecosystem will be enough to cause it to do what is right. For now, Apple is saying only that it will fully defend its "license rights." One can read more into this than is stated but that is all that is stated (of course, Apple's throwing its weight behind developers even at this level is no small thing).

2. The letter does not quote the license agreement in any way. Normally, if there is something definitive in such a document, it is put front and center in a letter of this type. This could mean that the license language is not as definitive as the tone of this letter might suggest. Only time, and a detailed review of the license language itself, will tell on this point.

3. It is plain that Apple wants to do the right thing for its developers. Yet the situation is trickier than that. As of now, Apple has no legal obligation to defend or hold them harmless, and that step is an order of magnitude greater than that of saying it will merely defend its license rights - and hence the hedging in the letter.

If the goal of the patent system is to promote innovation, then this case is Exhibit A for how it is failing. Thousands of patents are gathered up in a portfolio held by an IV affiliate and licensed in bulk ("monetized") to big players such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc., who in turn believe that they have clear rights to build systems around them. But the patents are "monetized" again to lesser players with shadowy relations to the original IV group, who in their turn try to "monetize" them further by attempting to double-dip with the original licensees based on limitations in the original licensing language. At each step, threats of lawsuits abound and nowhere can one find even one example of a patent developed by a company for its own innovative uses. Instead, we have the equivalent of shadowy trafficking in intangibles that are now being used, not to encourage innovation, but to attack the very developers who are trying to innovate. Positively Kafkaesque.

krschultz 3 days ago 2 replies      
The letter itself doesn't do much for the legal defense of app developers vs Lodsys, it is only Apple's opinion and Apple wasn't the one being threatened, but it does show that Apple plans on throwing its weight around to defend the app makers. And that is all we really need, becuase I sincerly doubt Lodsys really wants a full on legal battle with one of the most cash rich companies in the world.
Groxx 3 days ago 2 replies      
>Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patent and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license.

That's a very good thing to hear. And extremely definitive. I'd imagine devs are breathing a lot easier now.

brudgers 3 days ago 1 reply      
>"Lodsys's threatened claims are barred by the doctrines of patent exhaustion and first sale. As the Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder's rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article."

I find it interesting to see Apple invoke the First Sale Doctrine given the restrictions which it places upon its hardware (e.g. iPhone).

mattyohe 3 days ago 1 reply      
I imagine Apple's lawyers always begin letters with "Dear Mr. Small"
exit 3 days ago 2 replies      
i can't believe they actually pay lodsys already. what a joke.
emehrkay 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The amount of skill that you have in a certain area is proportional to the amount of work that you put into it. There is no such thing as a 'creative' or 'technical' type. The reason I was bad at art starting out is the same reason we are bad at anything starting out. One day, I sat down and put in hours of serious work, refusing to stop until I liked the results. And, gradually, I got better at art.

I tell my son there is no such thing as talent, just understanding. This keeps the As coming in, dude is awesome

cyanbane 3 days ago 2 replies      
If Microsoft pays a patent holder for the licence to use a patent for microtransaction purchases within the windows operating system, and someone writes a windows app that utilizes the method, under this argument is it the same as long as Microsoft controls the transaction (ie we payed once, and it applies to our app makers)?
nickolai 3 days ago 1 reply      
Its good to see Apple make stand for its App store developers, but where's the iFlameThrower? This looks a bit too nice a response for the petty shakedown run lodsys tried to pull off. Oh well... I guess Apple does not have to speak loudly to be heard.
UtestMe 3 days ago 0 replies      
I heard Marco Arment at a 5by5 Show also saying it's easier to pay 0.5% instead of going into a long and expensive trial.

I believe it's not necessarily a troll patent issue that Marco was talking about, this is what trolls are meant to do, anyway; I think it's an issue with the law itself and its enforcement.

Could you believe this some 40 years ago: "I'm going to pay this parasite tax just because I cannot be protected by anybody"? Try "associate with" instead of "protected by"!

UtestMe 3 days ago 1 reply      
“[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder's rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).

In plain English: because Apple bought the patent from Lodsys, Lodsys cannot ask for any benefit that might be related to the patent. Period.

rvanniekerk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bravo Apple, bravo.
RyanKearney 3 days ago 2 replies      
And there goes Apple using the word App/Apps generically again. Not exactly helping their case against Amazon.
arapidhs 3 days ago 0 replies      
patent wars instead of standards...why
juiceandjuice 3 days ago 3 replies      
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd say some of this looks awfully convenient, and maybe even well timed, for Apple.

"See, the 30% we charge you isn't so bad after all, is it?"

morphoyle 3 days ago 5 replies      
So basically, Apple fully supports software patents so long as it benefits them. When another company wants money for a BS patent, it's a travesty. You gotta love the way business works.
“Our Marketing Is Up Fog Creek” And What We Did About It fogcreek.com
263 points by patio11  9 hours ago   64 comments top 15
patio11 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Hideho everybody. I hope you like it. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer anything that doesn't breach a confidence with them.

We're also going to be publishing a lot of good stuff in the coming months, so if there is a particular topic you'd love to see covered, we'd love your feedback.

portman 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'll be interested to see a longitudinal study in 6-12 months.

FogBugz is a complex B2B product fueled by recurring revenue (either subscriptions or maintenance).

It's not diet pills or a self-help book.

Most (all?) companies find that the long-form, "Tim-Ferris-style" landing page converts better for impulse sales. But does that work well for non-consumer products?

My fear would be that if you 2x or 3x the top of the funnel with landing page optimizations, you run the risk of attracting the wrong kind of customers. Customers who initially signup and pay, but don't become long-term repeat customers at the same ratio as those who converted on the old landing page.

I would be curious, Patrick, if you're planning on looking at the lifetime value of these conversions, or if the scope of your project with Fog Creek was limited to lifting the number of initial installs.

(Oh, and like everyone else said: great job, great writeup, and thanks for sharing!)

wccrawford 8 hours ago 3 replies      
"You can also see that the See Pricing link attracts more people than the free trial button, possibly because the free trial isn't identified as being free."

Or possibly because the free trial is pointless if you can't afford to pay for the real thing after it ends.

I absolutely will not start a free trial for a product I don't know the price of.

tptacek 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Do you generally think --- gut take --- that a video of the founder on the front page (kind of costly to make, timewise) will perform well? Or is Spolsky just that kind of magnetic?
spenrose 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Fog Creek's marketing has always seemed to me to center on Joelonsoftware.com, and then Stack Overflow, and also posts like this one. Unless I'm missing something we are part of the target market. Now, I don't have a problem with that, but it makes me read posts like this one (and this one: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/11/16.html) a bit differently.
pitdesi 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's amazing that a one hour video performed best. I get that people want to click on it more, and it IS obvious that putting a big play button would lead to more views... but how far do they get and how does it impact conversion etc?
m_myers 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. So much practical advice in there. I'd heard much of it before, of course, but seeing it in action really helps cement it. I may have to read it again to make sure I caught everything.
mashmac2 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"Our Page Load Speed Is Up Fog Creek" And How HN Has A Slashdot Effect
jsdalton 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is that Balsamiq you're using for mockups?
2mur 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Great write up Patrick!

I know that you are a rails guy and they use an MS stack. Any friction there? Were they able to use your A/B framework or did they have something on their own stack?

Edit: Nevermind: http://blog.fogcreek.com/how-to-do-ab-testing-using-google-w...

switch007 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Trusted by 20,000 organizations" - seriously? That is staggeringly amazing. Does that really mean 20,000 are using FogBugz daily?

Edit: I guess it could also be 'trusted' in the past tense.

dlevine 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is that they just ripped off 37 signals' marketing page. Not to say that this strategy won't work - just that the "redesign" involved some heavy borrowing. I recognized it because I just used 37 signals' page as the basis for a marketing page on my own site.
lhnn 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Are there recommended books for web design? "Funnel" is a foreign concept to me.
pchivers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there is a spelling mistake in the article:

"That worked very well for many years, but recently it hasn't been the slam dunk it has been in the best."

Should this be, "it hasn't been the slam dunk it has been in the past"?

jonknee 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Results coming soon I hope?
C++ at Google: Here Be Dragons llvm.org
261 points by ryannielsen  3 days ago   88 comments top 10
SwellJoe 3 days ago 2 replies      
I haven't worked in C (or C++) heavily in about 6 years, since I shut down my prior company and stopped working on Squid or having to look at kernel code. But, these errors are simply beautiful, and make me have vague longings to work on C projects again (I'm sure I'll get over those longings soon).

These are the kinds of mistakes I made all the time when working in C, and the kind of thing that made coding extremely tedious...it feels like magic when the compiler catches them with such clear and concise warnings. For whatever reason, I didn't use lint very much back then, as I guess I always assumed I knew what I was doing and that the compiler would catch mistakes. Having this capability in the compiler is pretty cool and brings C/C++ a small step closer to working in higher level languages, is what I think I'm trying to say here.

timr 3 days ago 5 replies      
To me, the most remarkable thing about this post is that when the rest of the world is falling in love with the "power" of weak typing systems, Google is going the other way.
matthavener 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if this is an indication that google is moving to clang for compiling (and not just diagnostic tools). If that's true, maybe this is another nail in the coffin for gcc? I see apple and google behind llvm/clang, who's behind gcc? Nobody?
mayoff 3 days ago 1 reply      
When will they enhance it to flag the other error in this line:

long kMaxDiskSpace = 10 << 30; // Thirty gigs ought to be enough for anybody.

10<<30 is ten gigs, not thirty gigs.

hsmyers 3 days ago 0 replies      
CLint meet CLang and the better for it. Although if I read correctly between the lines, there might be a little trouble getting the engineers to buy in :) Every met anyone who could actually make it all the way through CLint with all warnings on! Enough to drive you crazy!
anonymous246 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how their checks compare to Coverity's and QAC++'s.

I have a passing acquaintance with both, and I'm almost certain both would have caught the three bugs listed on that page.

archangel_one 3 days ago 1 reply      
The article implies to me that the third bug (passing 0.5 to sleep() ) is not caught by gcc. Does anyone know if this is the case?
It doesn't seem excessively hard to produce a warning about shortening like that - the first two seem more subtle, but that one less so. I don't have gcc on this machine to check it, but VC++ certainly does emit a warning for that kind of thing.
Natsu 3 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't even done any C++ for a while, but reading those other articles on HN about undefined behavior in C made the example bugs in this article really jump out at me.
siphr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well written! The simple bugs that it seems to detect are fairly high frequency so it should therefore improve overall code quality. Looking forward to playing around with this in my spare time.
mleonhard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Eclipse highlights these kinds of bugs in java code. It saves me a lot of time.
PSN has been hacked again mcvuk.com
260 points by ukdm  8 days ago   64 comments top 17
spoondan 8 days ago 4 replies      
Wait. Please tell me I'm misunderstanding. You needed only to enter a user's e-mail address and birth date to change his/her password? So, even without the previous (actual) hack, you could use this page to change the password of a family member, friend, co-worker, and nearly anyone else you've ever exchanged e-mails with if you know their birthday (or they publish it on Facebook)?

How does someone even conceive of something like that without realizing the glaring problem with it? How does it pass muster at a major corporation that has hired security consultants? This is utterly flabbergasting.

jameskilton 8 days ago 3 replies      

For having three different security firms working with Sony on the hack a month ago, are they really just pushing out the new PSN without a proper, full security review? I mean, any competent developer would immediately realize that this password reset system is flawed by design, especially with the fact that the user's information requested is the information the hackers already have!

This does not bode well for the near future of PSN as a whole. If something as simple as a password reset feature is still being built without security in mind, then how does the rest of the updated system fare?

pilif 8 days ago 4 replies      
In their defense though: What data could ask Sony for? All the data that Sony knew about these accounts has leaked, so what ever they ask for, the hackers with the leaked data know it too.

Exception is maybe the credit card number, but that would mean that only a small subset of the original account holders can change their password.

Or you use a PS3 device ID and only allow changing the password on the device, but that is also known by the attackers and I'm sure it could be spoofed.

Not even sending a token to the email address on file would work in all cases because the users might have lost their email accounts to the breach too (by reusing the same weak password).

jbyers 8 days ago 2 replies      
This title strikes me as misleading. It should not come as a surprise that the personal information gathered in the first attack will be used for this purpose. It's just shocking that PSN forgot or misunderstood that they themselves were the first and easiest target.
51Cards 8 days ago 1 reply      
Just agreeing with the other comments here. This is not a 'hack'.. this is just an unfortunate consequence of the original breach. All the information was taken so Sony has nothing else to verify your identity with that can't be 'spoofed' by those with the original data. I restored my info via my PS3.
citricsquid 8 days ago 0 replies      
If anything this is an oversight (albeit ridiculous) not a "hack".
eswat 8 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the steps on Kotaku, I'm still not exactly clear how this procedure goes…

So you enter the target's email address and date of birth on the reset page. If that clears, then the next URL has a token in the query string that you can apply to the actual password reset page URL to reset the target's password?

chrischen 8 days ago 0 replies      
Ironically I know of actual account owners who entered in fake birthdays and could not reset their own password because they don't remember their own "personal details."
kmfrk 8 days ago 0 replies      
Trophy unlocked: Unmitigated security disaster.
dualboot 8 days ago 2 replies      
The solution to Sony's issue here seems like a no-brainer to me.

The answer is to rebuild/rebrand the networking for the playstation with a strong partner like Amazon, Google, or Valve/Steam.

A partner like Amazon for example could bring good e-commerce stability to lend confidence to platform.

Google is also an excellent candidate -- they have the experience with scale and could use a strong partner like Sony to help push their home media platforms (GoogleTV, etc.)

fleitz 7 days ago 0 replies      
They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. All they needed to do was generate a little random data and email it to their clients.

eg. /reset?token=XXXXX

Only the recipient of the email can use it and it will let the person reset their password. It's so standard fare, I'm not sure why Sony needed to go this route.

nodata 8 days ago 1 reply      
And how will Sony be punished for this? They won't.

People will keep using them.

Nobody but us cares.

lakeeffect 7 days ago 0 replies      
I dont know why they are worrying about security, i wish they could put a guy on the fact that my sony blu-ray disk, running in my sony playstation doesn't play on my nokia blue tooth headsets. Thats a problem, the fact that some people provide the sony network with acess to one of their high level passwords is beyond me.
TheBranca18 8 days ago 0 replies      
PSN hasn't been hacked again. A webpage has been hacked that could change your password. Definitely a misleading headline.
andiw 8 days ago 0 replies      
Note, according to the original article (http://sony.nyleveia.com/2011/05/17/warning-all-psn-users-yo...) as well as this forum discussion (http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=430574), this is in fact a new vulnerability that is independent of the original PSN hack.

The problem seems to be that the email validation required for resetting the password could be circumvented. There is no detailed information in the posts how, but likely either the validation hash was generated in a insecure fashion, or the email address input was not properly sanitized and allowed piggybacking (CCing) a 2nd email address to receive the confirmation email.

jbillingsley 8 days ago 0 replies      
Not a hack really just a gross oversight on Sony's part.
shareme 8 days ago 0 replies      
well at least Sony was not security contractor at TEPCO nuke plants
The tent that turns into concrete in less than 24 hours bbc.co.uk
256 points by thekevan  8 days ago   50 comments top 11
run4yourlives 8 days ago 8 replies      
I'm not sure I'm sold completely on the need. It's a very cool idea, to be sure, but I'm confused at the role it fills.

My knowledge of disaster zones is limited, but for military deployments - the other major customer - it's pretty in depth.

Here's the thing, there are two classes of structure, basically: Temporary and Permanent.

For a temporary structure - even longer term - a modern, modular tenting system (such as TEMS: http://www.mandbmag.com/tents/index.html) has this beat hands down in pretty much every way. Lighter, faster setup, faster tear down, adaptability, etc.

For a permanent structure, seriously? It would be much easier to build a traditional wooden structure once you've decided that you need one. You could even put the locals to work (which they would need) doing so. I find it very difficult to believe that anyone would want one of these dingy, musty things over a proper wood or concrete framed construction.

So where exactly does this fit in the spectrum? I'm not sure it does.

dodo53 8 days ago 2 replies      
yeah, the company won an innovation award for it in 2006:
I guess it takes a while to productionize.
pitdesi 8 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the very cool class I took at Michigan. In 08, our design challenge was to design and build an easily shipped, carried and deployed station for disaster areas that facilitates bathroom functions, washing and showering. The product criteria included that it:

Must be free standing and use no external power source.

Must allow people to go to the bathroom, wash one's face and hands, bathe an infant and bathe/shower an adult.

Must have a safe, easily executed waste removal and transport system from the bathroom facility. All waste must be easily removed and reliably sealed off from the local environment as it is transported elsewhere.

Must weigh less than 40 pounds and pack down for easy transportation.

Must manage gray water from the sink and shower, by directing it to a hose connection.


We had a cross disciplinary team (engineering, design, and business) and had to actually build the product, and were judged based on profit... how many "purchases" were made at a fixed price ("purchases" were made by designers around the world on the web and in person at a live show) minus costs (we had to cost out the thing at scale). It was amazing and we ended up winning (I was part of the "cocoon" team).

If you can get a chance to take a class like this, do it. Definitely do Integrated Product Development if you're at Michigan!

brudgers 8 days ago 2 replies      
One of my mentors in Grad School (the late David H. Crane, FAIA), got a grant to design an emergency shelter right out of Harvard GSD. He and his team spent months designing a precast concrete building which could be deployed and erected quickly. At the end they did the economic analysis of the fabrication costs. The only place where it was economically viable to build it was lower Manhattan (this was back in the early 1950's).

This design suffers similar conceptual problems: diverting potable water to make a concrete structure when a tent would serve adequately - one of the biggest problems early in a disaster is providing potable water in sufficient quantity to maintain sanitation and provide adequate hydration for the local population and aid workers.

elbelcho 8 days ago 2 replies      
Was this featured on Dragon's Den (A BBC show were inventors pitch idea to investors) a year or more ago? I seem to remember someone pitching something very similar to this.
DTE 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this has been worked out by the team, but I am curious to know more about the load-bearing nature of the concrete shell. I would imagine this is a very important consideration if it is to be used in post-disaster areas (i.e earthquake disaster areas where there may also be aftershocks). If, for example, the tent is not fully inflated before the concrete is added, would the hardened building be structurally compromised?
sudonim 8 days ago 1 reply      
A little off topic, but did anyone else not wait through the 30-second ad to watch the video? I find myself bouncing more and more on videos that do that.
armored 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think the real innovation here is using an inflatable form. This could be cool with a spray on concrete too, like Gancrete: http://www.grancrete.net/videos/index.cfm#
patrickk 7 days ago 0 replies      
There's other interesting examples of this concept:



(not affiliated with these guys)

wladimir 8 days ago 2 replies      
It's primarily aimed at quickly building structures in disaster areas.

But maybe this will finally revolutionaize/disrupt the construction sector? It's long due...

kjell 8 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone see how these sit on the ground? I don't see any footings in the video. Just compacted and graded topsoil? What is the floor made out of?

See also: Dante Bini's air formed domes


Guy Asks For Software Crack, Creator Provides Free App Instead techdirt.com
254 points by zohaibr  7 days ago   95 comments top 14
cmb320 7 days ago  replies      
I can't believe this simple, kind of stupid thing I did has gotten so much attention. I also can't believe so many people hate Stella. It's not the greatest beer I've ever had, but it's no bud light.
chrislomax 7 days ago 3 replies      
Although I find this fantastic, I also find it quite odd?

I think his attitude is fantastic for someone who is having their apps ripped off, I find it strangely odd that in the comments people think this is the attitude that developers are meant to take when their work is ripped off, humbled.

I purchase all apps from the app store, I had Cydia but I took the jail break off my phone. I think the 59p - £3 for an app is nothing for all the hard work that has gone in and I am more than happy to make the purchase.

I think the whole episode has been strangely rewarding for him but again I think it makes people think that all developers should have this attitude. I think it's funny that in the comments that someone said that developers should treat all consumers with positive and constructive humbleness. I'm sorry but the meaning of "Consumer" is "A person who purchases goods and services for personal use". There is a keyword here, "Purchase".

Kudos to the guy for some great PR but I really hope that all "consumers" don't get this mentality when trying to rip off apps

veyron 7 days ago 1 reply      
I hate to make a comment like this, but it should be noted that this was a side project of his. I would speculate that he would have a different reaction if it were his bread and butter.

Note: original forum post at http://xsellize.com/topic/137904-the-f-ing-word-of-the-day/

cmb320 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is the google alert that started it all: http://imgur.com/wovz3
simonhamp 7 days ago 1 reply      
Lesson here: be human. It seems the response capitalism (among other things) has taught us is a stance of defensiveness, even abusive.

But this guy dug deep and figured what the heck! Lost a bit of money and made someone happy. And it's not even Christmas

econner 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Especially because now his app is going to get tons of attention for his good attitude with this post being #2 on Hacker News. Being generous pays off in the end :-).
colinprince 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is a common problem, people who are unable or unwilling to sign up to iTunes with a credit card.

Potential service idea: hook these people up with gifted apps that they can pay for some other way? Maybe payment in kind?

EGreg 7 days ago 1 reply      
For a second, I thought that meant the author made the app open source :)
antihero 7 days ago 1 reply      
$8 for a Stella? Ouch. That said, I paid £4.30 for a Carlsberg Export the other day. Goddamnit Islington Academy :/

And don't knock Stella, it's one of the best of the "mainstream" lagers.

DavidBishop 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. The guy was a decent human being, but more than likely made 20, 30, 100 times back his purchase in goodwill. Brilliant.
gotham 7 days ago 1 reply      
I met this guy at Startup Weekend in Manhattan last fall.

His "Sausage Status" pitch was hilarious. He started off by running and jumping onto the stage. A very spontaneous individual.

Shengster 7 days ago 2 replies      
Fine article, but what's up with the hate against Stella Artois?
skrebbel 6 days ago 0 replies      
thread tl;dr: boring post, let's discuss beer instead.
omouse 6 days ago 1 reply      
Alternative: release the source under the GNU GPL or some other open source license. No such thing as piracy then ;)
1 in 6 Russian entrepreneurs are in jail, 1 in 3 prisoners are businessmen bbc.co.uk
239 points by srgseg  18 hours ago   184 comments top 15
asciilifeform 11 hours ago  replies      
Then he bought two old Soviet dairy farms.

This sentence is the key to understanding why many Russians feel little or no sympathy for "victims" like him.

Soviet dairy farms once belonged to the Soviet people - in much the same way that, say, the Washington Monument, the US National Parks, or the US Army belong to the people of the United States. How would you feel if the most hardened violent criminals came to power in the US, and arranged to have these properties turned over to private owners, to run for their benefit (or to pillage and destroy, as was the fate of most Soviet industry) ?

One can debate the practical merits of planned economies all day long but this does not change the fact that privatization is theft. The former owners of Soviet facilities - the Soviet people - were not adequately compensated for their loss. It is highly doubtful that fair compensation for the privatization of public property is possible even in principle. Do you dole out homeopathic-sized shares of stock? (Criminals buy them back for pennies-on-the-dollar from the masses in lean times - or at gunpoint...) What do you issue to the not-yet-born citizens who will no longer be heir to the means of production? (Answer in practice: zilch.)

Privatization is "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine" writ large, plain and simple.

Russians who are not in some way aligned with the thieves' guild which has been running that country since the Soviet collapse by and large quietly recognize this fact. This is why sympathy and political support for the so-called "entrepreneurs" is and will continue to be thin.

olegious 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"1 in 3 prisoners are businessmen." Bullshit. The reporter probably misquoted his source or "Business Solidarity" is simply pulling numbers out of their ass for shock value- BBC has never been a friend of Russia so is happy to report non-sensical numbers without further elaboration.

While it is true that corruption is Russia's biggest problem, the numbers quoted make no sense. I know people on both sides of the coin- small and large businessmen, tech entrepreneurs and high ranking FSB/military officials, so I know a little bit about what's happening.

edit: Another piece of the article that screams of embellishment- "small flat"- no Russian businessman that owns a 300+ employee enterprise would be living in a "small flat."

ilitirit 17 hours ago 4 replies      
> Business Solidarity, an organisation that works to protect small businessmen, estimates that one in six Russian entrepreneurs is in jail, and that one in three prisoners in Russia is a businessman.

How on Earth did they come up with that estimate?

stygianguest 16 hours ago 3 replies      
In a way, the same could probably be said of American entrepeneurs. Drugs is a business, an illegal one, but still business. Imagine the (potential) talent wasted, although perhaps the talented ones don't get caught.
adaml_623 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The Transparency International reports on corruption are an interesting insight into how widespread these issues are. A lot of corruption grows on the 'everybody does it' mentality.


startupstella 12 hours ago 2 replies      
it's always interesting to see non-Russians comment on this kind of news. for Russians well aware of rampant corruption in post-Soviet countries, it's more of an eye roll than anything else. Russia is infamously corrupt as a result of the legacy of Soviet mentalities that made free market enterprise inherently black market. until the justice system is cleaned up and held accountable, russian will remain a corrupt 3rd world country unable to compete in the global business rena.
guard-of-terra 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Does that mean that Russia has twice as much enterpreneurs as prisoners?

It's interesting how this article seem to already raise much more interest on news.yc that the recent russian IT IPO with 8B valuation.

I'd take it with a grain of salt if I were you. My mother owns a small cloth store in a town near Moscow and I'm positive that:
- She's not afraid
- She doesn't "share her profits with the police and people from the tax authorities"
- Still she blames the amount of paper she have to submit (taxes, pension funds etc) and how careless then they interpret those papers.

adaml_623 17 hours ago 1 reply      
British understatement: "Doing business in Russia is notoriously difficult".

It will be interesting to see Russia's progress over the next couple of decades and see whether the problems with corruption get worse before they get better.

hartror 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Corruption is the scourge of the developing world, there is a significant drive in India to try to stamp out the practice but they have a long way to go. Organizers of the Indian Commonwealth games are embroiled in corruption scandals that have greatly embarrassed the country.
spenvo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If there's no safe harbor for legitimate businesses, then it makes sense Russia would be one of the world's leaders in cyber-crime.
kjw 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny conversation in the office:

"A combination of excessive bureaucracy and corrupt officials makes it a hazardous enterprise."

Isn't that the same in the US?

Yes, except - in America, the government bribes business; in Soviet Russia, you bribe the government.

SkimThat 14 hours ago 2 replies      
TL;DR - According to Business Solidarity, one in six Russian entrepreneurs is in prison, with one in three total prisoners being classed as a businessman.

One example is a dairy farmer who refused to sell his thriving business to an unknown buyer at the request of Russia's interior security service. After repeated threats, he was accused of fraudulently using a bank loan and sentenced to five years in prison.

Not all businessmen end up in jail, as an estimated 60-80% don't complain, share their profits and bribe officials.

askar_yu 16 hours ago 2 replies      
actually it's the same situation in most (if not all) Post-Soviet countries.
I-RIGHT-I 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"How on Earth did they come up with that estimate?"

What does it matter when the "interesting thing is the quality of life" and when “the same could be said of American entrepreneurs" who deal drugs? The truth of the matter and the logical conclusions drawn from the example are lost on the all to willing ignorant. Too many Americans are contemptuous of their own freedoms.

Fice 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> 1 in 6 Russian entrepreneurs are in jail, 1 in 3 prisoners are businessmen

The title is pure FUD.

Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images bbc.co.uk
243 points by larryfreeman  1 day ago   48 comments top 13
Jun8 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is it me or does news like this throw anyone else into a frenzy of daydreaming for a short while: using my computer expertise to enhance infrared images to reveal hitherto unknown pyramids (combining images from multiple spectral bands, SIFT object detection), battling with corrupt local authorities and looters, digging for the pyramid (and unfortunately losing a few of the team when the tunnel gives in), deciphering the Old Egyptian hieroglyphs on the door (with some help from my hardy MBP and my custom linguistic text analysis tools, written in a mixture of C++, Perl, and Scheme), going in and getting stumped by an empty chamber, but wait, there's a small tunnel leading away, investigating it with a remote controlled Arduiono-based robot I control with my Android tablet (e.g. http://www.gizapyramid.com/hidden.htm) and awakening a long-sleeping evil force within. Then, the final battle to save Earth.

OK, back to a rainy day in Chicago and trying to understand Puppet.

xbryanx 1 day ago 0 replies      
A colleague of mine worked with Sarah Parcak (the researcher featured) and says:
"They use standard satellite images taken by NASA and then apply various photoshop filters to those images to find subtle differences in the terrain. Egypt works great because the starting palette is so clean. They've tried the same technology in South America and haven't had as much success."

Not sure if this is the exact technique they are using in this article, but it's what we featured in an exhibit on Egypt he worked on.

xbryanx 1 day ago 2 replies      
My searching on this topic turned up this interesting book - http://www.amazon.com/Remote-Sensing-Archaeology-Interdiscip...

Seems like these techniques are going to radically change how we find new archaeological sites. Tech. project idea: Build some tools to help archaeologists learn and share from each other with this data. Build a world wide database of IR imagery just a few meters below the surface?

kahawe 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does this work exactly? The wikipedia page on Infrared did not turn up any such use... or I missed it.

How can you see a mud brick under sand because it is "much denser than the soil that surrounds it"?

ars 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where does the soil to cover the pyramids come from? Those are not small structures, and you aren't just covering them - you are covering a huge area of land.

That soil has to come from somewhere, anyone know where?

Wickk 1 day ago 1 reply      
>"These are just the sites [close to] the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work."

I am very curious as to what else they find through these excavations

ra 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's fascinating how many relics of ancient civilisation are concentrated in that part of the world.

Many presenting puzzles yet to be solved.

Groxx 19 hours ago 0 replies      
>... by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Yeah, I have to: those poor underground buildings... they just don't hold a candle to infra-red images from space, do they?

Come on BBC, "show up"? We need a Ballmer-like "Editors! Editors! Editors!" chant right about now.

brianbreslin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if satellite imagery could be used to map ocean floors for this type of use? Or would the water disrupt the infrared wavelength?
unwantedLetters 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder how they get permission to scour Egypt with a satellite camera. And even if permission was given, will Egyptian authorities allow control of the satellite and the images captured to remain with a university outside the country?

Anyone have a better idea how this process works?

strebel 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe we can find Atlantis now.
bproper 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome.
swombat 1 day ago 1 reply      
No word on whether Goa'uld holding chambers have been found in the new pyramids, I guess.

History repeats itself. I wonder what we can find in our past that will inform our future.

(although, one might say, the main thing that one learns from the study of history is that people do not learn from history)

Want Hacker News Comment Scores Back? Check out HNPoints.com hnpoints.com
230 points by HNPoints  6 days ago   150 comments top 33
blhack 6 days ago  replies      
If we're going to open a new dialog on this:

Has anybody noticed the drastic decline in quality of links and comments in the last month or so? I think one of the problems is that, without comment scores, new users don't have feedback from the community on how they're supposed to act. There's no way for them to learn the culture.

So it's September, but with no way to tell the new students to mind their manners.

michael_nielsen 6 days ago 1 reply      
On the issue of scores vs no-scores, it'd be possible to A/B test this, so half of HN users see scores, and half don't.

Metrics to track might include the number of comments made, number of hits on the site, number of upvotes / downvotes, and probably many more.

Some people obviously feel strongly about this issue, and it might be necessary to take steps to prevent gaming of the outcome. Keeping the metrics secret until after the test would help with this. So would publicly announcing that only a small (say 10%) but undisclosed subset of users will be used to determine the outcomes of the testing. So any individual user wouldn't know if their behaviour would affect the results, and so would have little incentive to waste their time trying to affect the outcome.

It'd be nice to take a data-driven approach to resolving this question.

user24 6 days ago 3 replies      
Yeah, having got past the initial "ooh, this is cool" phase, I do actually think HN was better off with the comment scores.

For example, I was looking at a popular submission the other day and someone had said "Hey is there a PHP port of this?". Back in the day, I'd be able to see how many points it had as a rough indicator of how many other people would have found a PHP port useful. Now I can't tell if that was just one guy, or if 50 people thought the same.

Please, PG, bring the points back? (and while you're at it, stop new users being shown in green?)

tokenadult 6 days ago 1 reply      
The submitted site is interesting. I will not go to the trouble of contributing any scores I am aware of to the database, however. Here in this thread, we are once again in metadiscussion about whether or not it was a good idea for HN to experiment with not showing users the comment karma scores of other users, a change that happened not long ago. When pg wrote his post "Ask HN: How to stave off decline of HN?" just 47 days ago,


he wrote, "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted."

That's still the key issue. In the view of the site founder, who has had a registered account here for 1684 days, many of the high-scoring comments carried a false signal of quality, likely to mislead users about which comments are factually accurate or helpful to the community. If some change of voting rules or comment karma visibility brings about higher scores for good comments, and lower scores for mean, dumb, or other bad comments, that is helpful to all readers of HN.

Feel free to review the site guidelines


and the site welcome message


for guidance on what is desired here and thus guidance on how to vote. I defer to the site founder on all issues of site governance. I have found HN largely to be a worthwhile website for my 914 days as a registered user, and my interest is mostly to make sure that the site founder and the members of his volunteer editor ("curator") team


continue to enjoy the site and find it useful for themselves. They are doing a good job, and I want them to have incentive to keep up the good work. On my part, I have been able to find good comments more readily since the comment karma scores were hidden than I was before.

gnosis 6 days ago 2 replies      
I much prefer the new HN, without visible comment scores.

When comment scores were visible, it was obvious that many people would just vote with the herd, downvoting comments with lots of downvotes, and upvoting comments with lots of upvotes.

This is still a problem, since HN still tends to put highly rated comments near the top, and low rated comments near the bottom. But it's not nearly as much of a problem as it was when comment scores were visible.

I think the quality of comments has increased with the new system, and I find myself reading more of the comments now that the scores aren't visible.

I also find myself voting less, and voting only on comments I personally feel are exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.

One change I would like to see HN experiment with is making the score of a given comment visible only after you've voted on that comment.

This will both encourage voting and also satisfy people's curiosity, while still discouraging voting with the herd.

CWuestefeld 6 days ago 1 reply      
It really bothers me that so many people here seem to be saying "I am capable of scoring articles fairly, but the rest of the community seems not to be able to think for themselves, falling victim to group think and a herd mentality."

This seems like a lot of fundamental attribution error [1] going on here.

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

blhack 6 days ago 1 reply      
I love this. A hacker approach to getting the points back :)
jcr 6 days ago 0 replies      
Typing is kinda difficult for me on most days, so I don't comment much.
I vote a little bit on comments, when I bother to read them, but I tend
to vote-up more on submissions. I've also have been known to do a lot of
flagging on the /newest queue (and even triggering the "excessive
flagger" threshold).

I do try to remember to make new submissions for all to enjoy, but the
irony is, this means I'm off somewhere else looking for interesting
stuff rather than finding it here. The stuff that I find interesting
is new tech, engineering, security and science developments (i.e.
hacking up new solutions and analysis) along with a small splattering of

The speed of churn on the /newest queue means some of my submissions are
not even seen. On average, there's maybe two or three other people here
with similar interests to mine, or better said, they appreciated the
submission enough to up-vote. But that is on average, so plenty of my
submissions vanish into obscurity with no notice. --This is not a
complaint. Other people have other interests, and the fast queue
progression should be expected when there is no barrier to entry.

The trouble is, the fast queue means submitters get very little USEFUL
feedback. If you post some link-baited controversy, getting 1000+ points
on the submission is not too unusual, but it probably isn't noteworthy
new hacking. The good hacking stuff on HN seldom hits the main /news
page, instead it's buried deeply in the /newest queue. --It has always
been like this. Blame human nature. If you look at /classic or do some
HN spelunking by item?id= or hit archive.org for old snapshots, you'll
find the main /news page has neither improved nor declined.

I think gaining points for submissions is unfair. In my opinion, I think
a submission just says, "Hey, I thought this was interesting, and you
might too." When a submission is sincere, it's just a friendly gesture
with good intentions. But we all know how good intentions work. Whether
or not the submissions is ever seen by others here, or more importantly,
is interesting hacking to them is generally unknown, even to the
submitter. The displayed up-votes on submissions are really just a
popularity contest feeding on link-baited controversy.

Another reason why gaining points for submissions is unfair is a
submission has vastly superior visibility compared to a comment. I
believe PG has some secret sauce running to address the visibility
discrepancy. As far as I've been able to divine through observation,
points from submissions don't count towards the "average" listed in your
profile. Well, it seems that way on my account, but I think even older
and more active commenting members (grellas) may have their average
calculated with both submissions and comments. (Don't get me wrong, when
grellas posts, I read it, and usually up-vote. I doubt I'm alone on that
so his exceedingly high average might be warranted from comments alone).

So the display of points on submissions fails to be particularly
valuable metric. Similar could be said for the display of points on
comments. I refuse to care what other people think of you or your
statements, and I would prefer avoid being biased by displayed points so
I make up my own mind on whether or not I find your comment interesting.

For notes, it was tptacek that made the suggestion to remove the display
of comment points in the "Stave Off The Decline of HN" thread from PG. I
thought his idea was brilliant, possibly because I had the same idea,
but as usual, tptacek thought of and posted it first. If you want a
discussion to be useful, turning it into a game is entirely
counter-productive. Worse yet, the display of points creates an unfair
game due to manipulations of visibility, cognitive bias and other

Since the removal of comment points being displayed, there has been far
less one-up-manship in the discussions, and people are more polite
because they are not competing for points in a game. You are now more
free to just state your opinion without worrying about whether or not
others will agree or disagree with you. As long as you're not being an
ass about it, you can generally post uncommon or even controversial
opinions without repercussions.

Some have (repeatedly) argued that the lack of displayed comment points
results in a loss of context or loss of a valuable metric for deciding
what is worth reading. I'd argue the opposite (and slightly less popular
view) that displayed comment points fail to offer any real usefulness
and are mostly harmful. --Just like whether or not my submissions are
interesting, the usefulness of displayed comment points is a very
subjective matter of opinion. Some find it helpful, but others consider
it harmful.

To you, my opinion about comment points does not matter. You already
have your own opinion. And there is the very reason why displaying
comment points doesn't really matter

larryfreeman 6 days ago 0 replies      
In my view, the comment scores made the site more fun and more social.

One thought is that maybe the score gets hidden if it is 1 or less. I think that scores are especially interesting when it highlights a great comment or provides feedback to the person making the comment.

The ordering of comments without a score is a good example of why a visible score is needed. You assume that the best comments are on top but it is not clear how good are the comments below the top one.

Since the scores were removed, I have been commenting less often and often ignoring many of the comments below the top ones.

ignifero 6 days ago 0 replies      
I liked it for 2 weeks, but, as a data driven person, i would like to be able to see the scores . What was the incentive to hide them again?
ignifero 6 days ago 0 replies      
Science says that blind crowdsourcing is generally better: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-05/17/wisdom-of-cro...

One could find arguments for both sides, though:

- HN is not a crowd, it's a niche community

- Voting is not blind even now.

- The number actually encourages voting, since it serves to remind that your vote will change than number

- It's good to know whether your vote will have little impact or will move the comment upwards

- The site should encourage more people to vote, the more people vote the better.

wccrawford 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm onboard, but I think it's funny that this is the only thread I've seen numbers in so far.
spottiness 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is a huge asymmetry in the power of HN users between those that can down-vote and the rest. The problem is that many of the "powerfuls" use their privilege to punish other users based on disagreements, whims, or simply to silence opposite opinions. It is OK to indicate the popularity of a comment by moving it to the top but it's wrong to silence an unpopular comment by fading it away. That should be reserved only to comments that violate the rules: spams, trolls, shameless ads, etc.

Put the unpopulars at the bottom or indicate the degree of popularity with a number, but don't disappear it. Fading away honest unpopular comments is a big turn off that ultimately harms the debate.

user24 6 days ago 1 reply      
How about throwing the code[1] up on github?

[1] The XPI is a slim greasmonkey-compiled script which just loads http://hnpoints.com/hnpoints.js into the page

DTrejo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see information from PG on the following in relation to the recent changes in HN:

    - increase/decrease in activity of users with highest karma
- increase/decrease average in comment score, normalized
by time after post of OP
- amount of time the highest rated posts stayed on the front page
- trends for # of flags

Also, it would be great if he put the guidelines on the
submission page.

I've posted this before, but haven't heard anything.

marknutter 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously, just bring the friggin' scores back. I feel this experiment has run its course and at this point it's really just more irritating than anything.
tristanperry 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this; I've installed it. I don't really think that disabling the public points has lead to better discussions.
ck2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Take away points from people too.

Only submissions themselves should have points.

That way there is no "ego" - it's only about the articles.

resdirector 5 days ago 0 replies      
Goodness and badness is subjective. Up/down voting should exist only for the purpose of recommending articles to each individual user. This is far different from the typical use of up/down which is to recommend articles to the collective, which is not robust against influxes from other communities, e.g. reddit, digg etc.

In other words, when I log in, I should see my own personal HN list of stories, that have been submitted by people I respect (i.e. people I've previously upvoted), or people that they respect etc.

I call this idea PeopleRank.

KeithMajhor 6 days ago 1 reply      
How do you infer comment scores. The order of comments appears to be determined by both score and elapsed time. You'd have to have pretty exact knowledge of how it worked. Is that information available?
nikcub 6 days ago 0 replies      
Are you filtering on the server side for cheating?

(I am testing it with this very comment)

Edit: No

Double Edit: well it was 99999 for a moment, back to 1, so you are doing something. gg.

ozataman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dear PG, please bring back the vote counts and vote-based sorting. If you want to give the option, make it a per-user setting to disable.

My recent approach to having to weed through ALL comments to find the interesting ones has been to completely avoid reading them and switch to different channels of obtaining information (blogs, apps, reddit, etc.)

noneTheHacker 6 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently Websense filters the site as "Potentially Damaging Content Sites."

I am not saying this thinking that the site is potentially damaging. Websense is pretty dumb about most of the things it chooses. I just wanted to let HNPoints know that because it blocks people from seeing it from behind a Websense filter.

lwhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
For goodness' sake people. You don't need to be told which comments are 'good'. In any case, the score system is indicating popularity, not quality.

Use your own judgement, you don't need to behave as part of a herd.

smosher 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was relieved when the scores disappeared. The less unnecessary information the better, I find. Besides, I think score visibility just promotes groupthink.

I don't use score sheets with my friends. Moderation becomes necessary in a pseudonymous environment, but there's no reason for it to become visible where it's not necessary. Reply-order shuffling and grey-out seem to be a pretty good fit there.

ryanto 6 days ago 1 reply      
I guess I don't really get the point of this. The whole idea of ditching points was to see if it could generate better discussion. By using this extension you are re-enabling points (even if only for a few select users). That re-enabling is going to encourage those users to go back to their bad posting habits... or so we would assume if the original theory that points cause bad posts is correct.

I know a lot of you love your points, but maybe we should see if no points really does generate better discussion rather than trying to find a way to create a point system.

PS: I think points is really tricky, it rewards people for great comments, but it also rewards those stupid-one-line-no-thinking comments. Maybe only show points for comments with more text... whatever, thats a whole other subject.

togasystems 6 days ago 1 reply      
Quick question that is off topic, but did you do the design for that page yourself or did you purchase it off some sort of theme site? Just wondering cause I love it.
brandall10 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much for doing this.
MrMatters 5 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason it just doesn't feel the same ;) :


I wish we didn't have to rely on a 3rd party.

taphangum 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hope everyone on HN installs this.
plasma 5 days ago 1 reply      
OT: What do names highlighted green mean?
chrishan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I knew someone will do this.
mtogo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this! I was hoping pg would fix his own site, but since he won't i guess the community will have to.
Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold gearboxsoftware.com
227 points by CWIZO  2 days ago   84 comments top 24
corin_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Despite working largely in the games industry I don't generally get excited by new game releases - other than Portal 2 which I massively enjoyed, I haven't really played any single player games in the last 6+ years.

But DNF does look like it's going to be really good, and I'm actually looking forward to play through it. The 2k (publishers) guys were at Gadget Show Live (a 100,000+ consumer event in the UK that I'm involved with), and spent quite a bit of time talking about the game there, as well as trying out the demo. (They claim that a colleague of mine and I were the first people not related to the developement to play it in the UK, which I'm slightly proud of).

It's obvious the amount of passion that's gone into the game, and it's obvious how hard they've tried not to let down the fans who have been waiting for so long. And, most importantly, it's obvious that they weren't afraid of making a FUN fps title, not a game that does it's best to make you think you're in a real-life situation.

Really hope it's as commercially successful as it deserves to be, and as I think it will be.

edit: To give an idea of how it will live up to people's hopes, here is a picture of Paul (my colleague mentioned above) http://lockerz.com/s/91561838 playing the game. He's 39 and doesn't have a huge amount of time for playing games now days. He was at E3 in 1999 (was it 98?) when they first demo'd DNF, and has been waiting since then - when I told him he could play it at Gadget Show Live, he was like a kid on Christmas morning. And he absolutely loved it, was blown away by how much fun it was. (Side note, if anyone reading this went to the event, you might recognise Paul as being the presenter from the main stage in the Game Zone hall =].)

jokermatt999 2 days ago 2 replies      
To give a sense of scale to the development time, the list of things that have taken less time than Duke Nukem Forever: http://duke.a-13.net/

This includes the space race, from initial challenge to actually landing on the moon.

m_myers 2 days ago 4 replies      
For anyone else that was about to go check: Partly cloudy today with a 10% chance of precipitation tonight, no frost expected. http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?...
rauljara 2 days ago 2 replies      
"...they finally assembled the pieces to create an incredible, epic and cohesive gameplay experience."

Most game manufacturers don't tout cohesive as a feature... it's supposed to be a given. I hope I'm wrong, but given what I know about the development of DNF, I can't help but suspect that the reason they are mentioning it so loudly is because it isn't.

flamingbuffalo 2 days ago 0 replies      
so, does it come with a free copy of Textmate 2, or do I have to buy that separate?
dstein 2 days ago 5 replies      
I would have much preferred a lackluster sequel 14 years ago than an amazing game today. I no longer own a Windows PC, play first person shooters, or use a mouse.
ilcavero 2 days ago 3 replies      
did they use any code from 3D realms in the end?
Steer 2 days ago 3 replies      
Isn't this a bit like Chinese Democracy by Guns 'n' Roses? Meaning that all that time and money invested have raised the expectations to levels than can never be satisfied?
bonch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember posting on the 3D Realms forums in the 90s and thinking it was so cool that the developers posted there too, and I could converse with them!
Todd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe this is one of the signs of the apocalypse.
neworbit 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm going to need a new vaporware joke now! This one has served me since the dot com bubble days.

Seriously, this looks great. I am afraid I am no longer the target audience but I'll probably try it for nostalgia's sake. I have the strangest feeling that - like rewatching Star Blazers now that I'm not ten - it's not going to hold up that well, but if anyone can do it right, it's Gearbox.

T-zex 2 days ago 1 reply      
They should have announced this on 21st of May :)
k-mcgrady 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember playing Duke Nukem on my N64 when I was only 8/9 years old. I'm not a big gamer but it was one of the most fun games I ever played. I can't wait to get this. I'll be installing Windows 7 on my Mac just to play it.

Hopefully it's been worth the wait!

arocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the longest running gags in software industry is finally coming to an end?
singingwolfboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Still vaporware until I can actually buy it.
spydum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, maybe that Camping guy was right, the world is ending!
agavin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Haha. I remember joking about the name of this game at the Naughty Dog offices when it was like 3 years late -- I swear it was in the 90s! Perhaps during the development of Crash Bandicoot Warped. Never ever pick a title with the word "forever" in it.
rakkhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
And I just ran out of gum :(
ww520 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what's the total development cost for the game?
cjoh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bundled with TextMate 2?
PureSin 2 days ago 4 replies      
is this once instance where they finally switch from "aiming for perfect" to "done is better than perfect"?
pshapiro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, right!
superted 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, does this mean hell has frozen over?
mcorrientes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad gearbox took over it, would have been better if 3D Realms could finish the game.

It's also disappointing they didn't accomplished a stunning graphic after more than 12 years of development.

Regardless of the graphic it's almost the only game of his kind and I still expecting a good gameplay with many jokes.

Hail to the king baby.

       cached 27 May 2011 02:11:01 GMT