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2
Google Reveals Its Stealth Social Project, Google+ mashable.com
520 points by bproper  3 days ago   336 comments top 59
1
cryptoz 3 days ago  replies      
From plus.google.com:

> Google+ is in limited Field Trial
Right now, we're testing with a small number of people, but it won't be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone. Leave us your email address and we'll make sure you're the first to know when we're ready to invite more people.

WHY?! WHY are they doing this again? They did this with Wave. Google, you cannot launch a social network while explicitly disallowing social networking! This is so frustrating.

2
kristiandupont 3 days ago  replies      
This is exciting and all -- and much as I would love to see a serious competitor to Facebook, I still don't know how I would convince any of my non-techie friends that they should switch to this.

Circles? Actually I think that many people like the idea of their posts are being read by as many people as possible and not just the ones with similar interests. Although it looks like a big discussion group, the news feed is really a giant personality-defining display for vain people. I saw a programmer friend post annoyance over some Android API today and I suspect that this was more than just a spontaneous exclamation -- he was communicating that he is smart (to non-techies) and that he is "cutting edge" (to fellow programmers).

Privacy? I have the feeling that most really don't care very much. But ironically, I think the privacy-thing could actually work in facebook's favor. Here is why: I use fb a lot even though I don't like their privacy policies. I trust google more than facebook. Still, it bothers me when it says "logged in" in the google bar at the top because google watches my searches. When I am on facebook I behave like I am in public. I don't hope for the best and write secret stuff anywhere. But with all the google searches I make through a day, I am giving google a lot of very personal information that I would not like anyone to see. I would hate to see something that I was searching for somehow show up in a stream for my friends to see because I accidentally clicked a +1 button or similar.

Finally, there is the fact that even if I can export my graph from fb to g+, it's worthless until my friends do the same. And I just don't see that happening before they come up with some truly ground breaking feature that will allow me to get laid with any friend I choose by clicking on their picture :-)

3
scarmig 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm playing around with the trial. Some thoughts:

1) Extremely slick interface. Facebook beat MySpace in part because it was relatively clean; Google+ wins here by a mile. That reason alone makes me root for it.

2) It's Google's umpteenth foray into the social arena, so naturally most people are comparing it to Facebook. But its use cases strike me as being more comparable to Twitter than FB.

3) People can be categorized into contexts and multiple contexts. This is the killer feature. I find myself wanting to just eliminate the "Friends" circle wholesale and just have a different circle for each cluster in my social network.

4) I might be misunderstanding how sharing/the feed works. But, if someone is in any circle and you are viewing that circle's stream, I think you see whatever they share. I'd like something finer-grained than that. I have one friend who I both bike with and play board games with. If we get into a conversation about a ride on a weekend, doesn't the model inherently mean what I see in the board game stream gets polluted with the bike conversation?

4
dfield 3 days ago 5 replies      
(cross posted from http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2706219)

I'm very excited to try this out. Context (AKA "Circles") is the biggest feature Facebook still hasn't gotten right. By mirroring the way we think about our social graph in real life, Google is making a huge step toward converging Online and Offline identity. It will be very interesting to see how Facebook responds to this... they might finally have a competitor.

5
tomkarlo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like they're trying to avoid the "NYT problem" - the minute they open a new product, the NYT and other pubs write it up, everyone floods it and sees if they like it... gives them no ability to tweak / improve the service iteratively with real life users (which is so important for social services, where alternative agendas are a huge issue) before the world rushes in. So I think a limited-access launch is totally understandable, if a bit frustrating for those of us who expect we should be able to see everything on day one.
6
simonw 3 days ago 3 replies      
"""
Oops... you need a Google profile to use this feature.
Google Profiles is not available for your organization.
"""

Grr. Google /really/ need to fix their authentication scheme.

7
cskau 3 days ago 4 replies      
This thing is pretty neat though:
http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/demo/
8
ernestipark 3 days ago 2 replies      
The hangouts feature seems like a big win to me. Group video chats in the browser from someone like Google can really change things.
9
nhebb 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are different kinds of media coverage in SV. There's the excited, this is cool buzz, and then there's the look what big player X is doing sort of coverage. This feels like the latter. People are talking about this, but I don't get the sense that anyone is pumped up about it.
10
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a solid move on Google's part. Not half-baked like Wave was. Its more evolutionary than revolutionary but it makes the 'package' of Google services a bit more valuable as well.

It will be interested to see if this impacts the IPO plans of Facebook. This does seem to be a direct assault on their home turf.

11
201studio 3 days ago 5 replies      
I think this has huge potential. The problem with Facebook, at least for me, is that I have a ton of friends that post pointless shit. < 10% Is stuff and people I actually care about.

Now with features like Circles I can put my REAL friends in one circle, family in another, and all the noise and acquaintances(networking etc.) in a spam filter circle.

This is going to be awesome.

12
Roritharr 3 days ago 3 replies      
The Url below the keep me posted link on plus.google.com is:
https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googleplus/

services.google.com/FB

I really would love to know what the FB stands for.

13
Klonoar 3 days ago 1 reply      
The HTML5 system allows users to drag-and-drop their friends into different social circles for friends, family, classmates, co-workers and other custom groups.

That "HTML5" there is simply for buzz effect. Seriously, come on already...

14
jcampbell1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am quite impressed, but one thing that is severely broken is the number of duplicate names in the list. Basically if a person has two email addresses, then they show up twice. This would not be a big deal, but the email addresses are hidden, and it is impossible to tell which is an old/work email address rather than a personal one. I hope this is fixed soon.
15
nostromo 3 days ago 5 replies      
What I'd like to know is if I can use Facebook Connect to port my graph over (doubt Facebook would allow this) -- or if this means starting from scratch yet again.
16
selectnull 3 days ago 0 replies      
As usual, Google Apps users, are left behind once again. I really don't understand why Google will not once and for all unify google accounts and google apps accounts.

Supposedly they already did that, and yes I did the "merge the accounts dance", and still, no Profiles for me, and therefore, no +1 and no Google+.

Google, I'm paying for my google apps. I don't want to have another free account just to play with your new features (and I really hope this is not going Buzz way... which I also never saw in my gmail...)

17
beck5 3 days ago 4 replies      
Circles is very interesting, its could solve a work/life/parents social battle I fight, however the demo only allows you to add a person to one circle, I hope this is just a demo limitation, as my sister is also my 'friend'.
18
bryze 3 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps this will make facebook better. Competition can often improve product quality. For google this might, however, turn out the same way that Microsoft's grab for web applications is going. First to market is hard to break.
19
mikk0j 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can't even click +1. Gives me the error "Oops... you need a Google profile to use this feature. Google Profiles is not available for your organization." since I am logged into a Google Apps account. Google itself force-merged my personal account into the Apps account, so there's an indication of how well they get 'social' in people's lives. And yes I worked there for many years.
20
mikemaccana 3 days ago 2 replies      
Android app is on the market. Note it eats 8MB of phone memory and can't be moved to SD.
21
crizCraig 3 days ago 0 replies      
David Winer's sentiments hit home for me. Google is too big to organically build a social network.

http://scripting.com/stories/2011/06/28/googleYawn.html

However, this poll would suggest people think otherwise:
http://www.wepolls.com/p/884244/Will-Googles-new-social-vent...

22
uast23 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most urgent thing I needed on Facebook - "Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself - just like real life"

Might just call it a better version.

23
fedd 3 days ago 4 replies      
too complex to use may affect usage negatively. too many features is not always good. trying to mimic real live brings the complexities of real life to the web.

check this:

"With Hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let specific buddies (or entire circles) know you're hanging out and then see who drops by for a face-to-face-to-face chat. Until teleportation arrives, it's the next best thing."

imagine a jerk that noone loves intruding all the hangouts. but everybody too polite/dependant to unfriend

24
SonicSoul 3 days ago 1 reply      
heh.. somewhat ironically, minutes prior seeing this post I noticed the "+1" next to every search result. after exploring it told me that my "+1" will be used all over the web including ads. (am assuming this is part of Google+)

I immediately searched for a way to turn it off.

25
eneveu 2 days ago 0 replies      
PROTIP to invite your friends:

Post something in your "feed", and "target" them, entering their email address. They will receive an email telling them about your post. When clicking the link to view the post, they will be prompted to register.

This worked flawlessly for all my friends.

26
joejohnson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Group video chat seems really cool. Now I just need to convince enough friends to use this too...
27
rakkhi 3 days ago 1 reply      
28
trobertson 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those of you with an Android device, there's an app called "Google+" on the Market right now. I can't say if there's an app for iOS, WP7, etc.

You can install the app without an invite, but cannot use it.

EDIT: The "Learn More" button in the app cycles you back to the "You need an invitation" message box. So the app itself is completely pointless if you haven't received an invitation.

29
xedarius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like Facebook was a trial, and we all learnt a lot about social networking, we've all made mistakes and it would be nice to re-create your network with hinessight from scratch. This is perfect timing by Google, with Facebook on the edge of an IPO and people largely disillusioned by their service. As long as they 100% lock down the privacy options, get that wrong and it's a waste of time.
30
dendory 3 days ago 0 replies      
I dislike Facebook like anybody, but this will not take off any more than Buzz or Wave I'm afraid. This will be that side thing that people may or may not notice when they search. This isn't the site people will flock to when they wake up to see what their friends have been doing.
31
vanchi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Circles would make great sense if we can push some circles into other circles. Close friends into friends and friends into general connections.
32
alienreborn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think Google's unending efforts to enter social networking space might become successful this time. Big hurrah to circles and hangouts!
33
damonpace 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems everything is based off the grouping "Circles" aspect. Which if they get it right it will be a home run for the rest of the projects they build off of it. I personally find the Huddle feature the most valuable. This is something I've wanted for a long time, but no one has built...except for GroupMe. Which I'm not a huge fan of.
34
meow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Their group chat is called Huddle. I think this will have a negative impact on project management startup huddle (www.huddle.com).
35
beck5 3 days ago 4 replies      
Do people trust Google more than Facebook? and could that be a factor in adoption? My gut says probably not to both questions.
36
richcollins 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the nice things about the product is its whimsical nature â€" a puff of smoke and a -1 animation appears when you remove a friend, and when you remove a social circle, it rolls away off the screen.

Where do I sign up???

37
nkeating 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have been waiting for the day when I can share information that is relevant to the portion of my friends that know or actually care what Im talking about... How has facebook not integrated this before (other than going into privacy settings each and every time)?
38
kingkawn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wave looked pretty cool when it was revealed too.
39
davorak 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of Google Takeout allowing you to download all of your data easily from:

Picasa Web albums and photos
Your Google profile
Google Buzz
Google Contacts
Stream

That alone would make me switch to circles.

40
tilt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to see this, it feels like they got it
41
xbryanx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Group video chat alone will suck me in.
42
Wilya 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Your Browser is no longer supported." (from plus.google.com)

Well, okay. I'll live without you, Google+.
(Running Seamonkey 2.0.14, which advertises Gecko/20110430. Out of date since.. 3 weeks.)

43
sinaiman 3 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with Facebook is that your network is too small and constricted, people want to expand and reach many many people, not stay limited within their circle. Think about it, you already talk to most of the people who are your closest friends in real life via phone and chat. You don't need yet another way to contact them. They should have taken the opportunity to bring down the barriers of the closed social graph.

Instead Google makes another Facebook with a different UI. It looks like a cleaner Myspace that will be embraced by a small set of techy users. No way will this ever be cool.

44
nrbafna 3 days ago 0 replies      
works or fails, the UI definitely looks good.
45
jarodlam 3 days ago 0 replies      
The mobile app I saw a couple of months ago was pretty slick. I hope they've made good progress on that too.
46
davorak 3 days ago 0 replies      
After reading an article or two on Google+ I searched out the support pages and found them much more informative so I thought I would share.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2706918

47
EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is going to kick off a new era in social networking, which we all will be a part of :)
48
zachperret 3 days ago 1 reply      
Did anybody notice that you can workaround needing an invite by clicking "Take the Tour" and then "Join the Project" on their demo website?

http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/demo/

49
olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
Might be the end for Rapportive?
50
ignifero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody knows about 3rd party apps? Sure uncle Google has considered us developers ...
51
jsilence 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are they going to support open protocols for DiSo?
Salmon, OAuth, Activity Streams, FOAF and such?
They support XMPP with Google Talk and gave Jabber a big push by doing so.

-jsl

52
marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see a live cam feed inside Facebook today.

That would be interesting.

53
generators 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can not see intersection of circles!! i.e. one person in multiple circles. :O how can they miss that ?
54
foysavas 3 days ago 0 replies      
YAWN - Yet Another Way to do Nothing

BTW, thanks for giving up on Google Health. This is way better.

55
cdcarter 3 days ago 0 replies      
So...iPhone app?
56
gcb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who's Melissa?
57
dgregd 3 days ago 0 replies      
what a terrible name. "plus" what does this mean for ordinary people.
58
yawn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't Google already know enough about us and our habits already?
59
Hisoka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Noone will care, and noone will use it. If it won't help you get laid, or boost your ego, it'll be useless. We human beings are not rational.
3
Testing Benford's Law testingbenfordslaw.com
527 points by brycethornton  5 days ago   88 comments top 31
1
jgrahamc 5 days ago 3 replies      
Other fun I've had with Benford's Law.

1. Spotting odd things in MPs' expenses: http://blog.jgc.org/2009/06/its-probably-worth-testing-mps.h...

2. Spotting odd things in BBC executives' expenses: http://blog.jgc.org/2009/06/running-numbers-on-bbc-executive...

3. The Iranian election: http://blog.jgc.org/2009/06/benfords-law-and-iranian-electio...

4. New Age mumbo jumbo: http://www.jgc.org/blog/2008/02/any-sufficiently-simple-expl...

2
bluesmoon 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like the history section of the wikipedia article:

<blockquote>The discovery of this fact goes back to 1881, when the American astronomer Simon Newcomb noticed that in logarithm books, the earlier pages (which contained numbers that started with 1) were much more worn than the other pages.</blockquote>

Can you imagine the sense of observation and curiosity that would make someone look at a book of numbers and say, "I wonder why these pages are more worn than those ones."

3
gjm11 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a nice discussion of this from Terry Tao (outrageously smart mathematician; has a Fields medal) at http://terrytao.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/benfords-law-zipfs-... which contains, e.g., the following nice observation: if X follows Benford's law and Y is any positive random variable independent of X, then XY also follows Benford's law. (Tao goes a bit further than this and thereby sheds some light on why many things approximately obey Benford's law.)

[EDITED to add: Discussed before on HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=687241. There have been quite a number of other discussions of Benford's law on HN, too.]

4
kia 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is interesting (from Wikipedia article on Benford's Law):

In the United States, evidence based on Benford's law is legally admissible in criminal cases at the federal, state, and local levels.

5
imurray 4 days ago 0 replies      
Searching reveals lots of previous discussion on Benford's law on here, so I won't give all the links. Of course, it's an interesting observation, so it's worth advertising every so often.

Here are some hacker-newsers testing files in their home directories:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1076534

6
polynomial 4 days ago 1 reply      
Benford's law only seems strange until you realise natural phenomena tend to express logarithmic functions while our commonly used system of counting counting and measuring is not.

It's still a bit of a brain f--- when you first encounter it. I found it easier to get using plotting tools, as opposed to aggregating lists of numbers and measurements.

7
seasoup 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seems to me that when you have a group of somethings that are constantly increasing in size it would be natural for the number 1 to come up in the first digit more often because in order to get to 2, you need to pass through 1 first and in order to get to 9 you need to pass 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 first. Therefore, you should get the distribution predicted by Benford's law. The way to test this theory, would be to run the numbers on values that are constantly decreasing. I'd expect the distribution would reverse itself.

If it proves itself true, then you could use it to test if a group of things is increasing or decreasing.

8
rflrob 4 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite explanation of it is that if there is a distribution to the numbers, then that distribution should hold no matter what base you're working in (for natural things, after all, there's nothing special about base 10), and Benfords law can be shown to be a) a law that satisfies this base-independent property, and b) the only law that does so.
9
breck 4 days ago 2 replies      
Imagine you threw a single stone into the desert and asked your friend to go find it. It would be hard. Now imagine you threw 2 stones into the desert and asked your friend to go find them. It is twice as hard to find both stones as it is to find 1 stone. Imagine you threw 3 stones. It is 3 times as hard to find all 3 stones as it is to find 1 stone.

Now imagine that numbers are built out of stones. To "build" a 1, you only need 1 stone. But to "build" a 2, you need 2 stones. Thus, if you wanted to write a 3, you would have to go in the desert and find 3 stones. It's 3x as hard, and so you'd expect people to "build" 1/3 as many 3's as 1's, 1/5 as many 5's as 1's, and so on. Just as you'd expect there to be a lot more single story buildings than skyscrapers. It's easier to build a single story building.

Thus, the distribution is exactly what you'd expect. While it doesn't actually take stones to build numbers, we don't write the number 3 unless we have 3 of something. Unless you are lying. Which is why this is a great method of detecting fraud.

UPDATE: What do I mean when I say "3 times as hard"?

Imagine the desert is a rectangle of 10 squares. Kind of like a mancala board or a ladder on the ground. You start by stepping in square 1, and to get to square 10 you have to step through each square.

If there is only 1 rock, what are the odds that you'll have to walk all 10 steps to find it? This is the same thing as asking what are the odds that this rock is in square 10. The answer is 1/10 or 10%.

Now, if there are 3 rocks, what are the odds that you'll have to step into all 10 squares? Well, what are the odds that there's a rock in the last square? 26.1%, or approximately 3x as hard. It's interesting that it's not exactly 3x as hard, it's 2.61x as hard. Which makes the data in the OP seem even more logical since you'd expect 30.8% 1's given 11.8% 3's--the 32.62% actual number is not that far off.

10
synnik 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why is this not common sense?

For the numbers 1-19, more than half of them start with 1.
For the numbers 1-199, more than half of them start with one.

Change the examples to 1-299, 1-399, etc, and you'll get percentages of all digits matching Benford's law.

12
scarmig 4 days ago 1 reply      
Whoah, check out the distribution of the leading digit in binary!
13
EGreg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Benford's law makes a lot of sense if you consider that many of the numbers are derived from counting up from 0. The scale of these things is exponentially distributed, and therefore the leading digits are more likely to be 1 than 9. This is related to social media -- once your userbase gets big enough it starts growing or shrinking proportionally to its size, i.e. exponentially. This is also somewhat related to the value of a social network ... Metcalfe's law seems to be too optimistic. THe value is probably more like nlog n
14
skrebbel 4 days ago 2 replies      
Cool stuff. However, something mostly entirely offtopic that I genuiunely wonder about: it seems everybody registers a .com just to make a HN post. What's the point of this? Why not post the same data on your blog?
15
dfan 4 days ago 3 replies      
As far as I can tell, "Most common iPhone passcodes" doesn't belong on this list, and I'm perplexed why it seems to follow the law. An iPhone numeric password (which I'm assuming it's referring to) is simply a 4-digit string, so all first digits should be equally probable, unless there's some psychological issue at work. Or are they discarding leading zeros for the purpose of this chart? I guess they must be (0 doesn't appear on the chart), but that's a weird thing to do to a password.
16
GregBuchholz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always liked: "Explaining Benfords Law" (http://www.dspguide.com/CH34.PDF).
17
iambot 4 days ago 1 reply      
great site, awesome design, i love benfords law, first heard about it on WNYC's RadioLab (best podcast in the world ever, im not even kidding).
18
cycojesus 4 days ago 0 replies      
'Presenting Benford's law' would be a more fitting title.
Nicely presented, and intriguing law for sure but I can't help to think "and?" At this point it lacks a more user-friendly way to submit data-sets.
19
pragmatic 4 days ago 0 replies      
FYI,
The text of the article is scrambled (Chrome 12, Windows 7 64 bit)
20
Havoc 4 days ago 0 replies      
>Imagine a large dataset, say something like a list of every country and its population.

How is that a large dataset? There aren't that many countries.

21
pkamb 4 days ago 0 replies      
This one is interesting:
http://testingbenfordslaw.com/most-common-iphone-passcodes

I wonder what influence the 'spatial' properties of a number pad password has on this data. For example "5" gets a nice little spike... and "5" is the center key on the 10-key iPhone number pad. The "1" is still the winner by far, but I wonder how many of those are the easy-to-remember "1234".

22
paraschopra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I kind of feel that the initial data sets are selected just to reinforce the Benford's law. It seems too good to be true!
23
callenish 4 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps you should let some of the open data citizen groups know about this so they can add more data. Also, if you haven't already then take a look at CKAN[1] for datasets to add.

[1] http://ckan.net/

24
kmod 4 days ago 1 reply      
"If a set of values were truly random, each leading digit would appear about 11% of the time"

This kind of mathematically unsophisticated reasoning is exactly why Benford's law is so surprising to people. If you think of what it means for a value to be "truly random", the result is not surprising at all.

25
jbreinlinger 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to me there's a lot of interesting psychology elements to this, but it's also a simple reflection of relatively constant growth rates. If population of cities grow 3% every year, they will spend a lot more years in the 1 millions than the 9 millions, etc

Chart looks like this. https://url.odesk.com/a7och

26
moheeb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Benford's Law seems like common sense to me.

Any time you are counting something it seems obvious to me that you'd have 1 more often than 2.

27
dfc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else have trouble with the font on that page?
28
blakerobinson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Benford's Law has always been kind of fascinating to me.
29
cyberony 4 days ago 0 replies      
My first time hearing about this law (sadly) and I'm stumped! This is amazing!!
30
mmff 4 days ago 0 replies      
nice!
31
quasar 4 days ago 0 replies      
No black swan :P
4
TrueCrypt User Held in Contempt of Court truecrypt.org
481 points by dcevansiii  7 days ago   186 comments top 19
1
ChuckMcM 7 days ago  replies      
First, there isn't enough information to know what it is this person has (or has not) done.

Secondly, the fifth amendment of the US Constitution allows you to refuse to provide testimony which you feel may incriminate you. Generally encryption pass phrases do not count as testimony, the legal system treats them as keys. And that would be covered under the fourth amendment which says the government cannot compel to you to give access to your property for search unless they have probable cause.

If they do have probable cause, they get a warrant which gives them the power to do the search temporarily and only for what they think exists. So if you get a warrant to search your hard drive for something, you are compelled to give them the password just like you are compelled to let them into your house if they have a warrant to search for something like drugs or guns or counterfeit plush toys.

However sometimes the courts do see it as a fifth amendment issue [1] and that has been under debate for a while. (As far as I can tell the legal theory is similar to the police not being able to compel you to tell them where you left the body in a capital crime.)

Disclaimer I am not a lawyer this isn't legal advice, and I've not followed up the cited case to see if it made it to the supreme court or not. Any circuit level decision would not be binding on different circuits.

[1] http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9854034-38.html

Follow up on the Boucher case:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/United_States...

Where the fifth amendment defense was overturned.

2
jordanb 7 days ago 1 reply      
Depending on what's on the drive, obstruction of justice might carry a much less onerous penalty than what he'd otherwise be facing.

For instance, if it's child porn, he'd be labeled a sexual predator for life. If it's state secrets, he'd be facing treason and espionage charges. If it's mp3s.. financial ruin on top of the felony charge..

3
geuis 7 days ago 2 replies      
So basically we have a guy in jail who is claiming something and making a public appeal. However, we can find little or no independent information about his case. He provides little information about his case. Indeed, the jail site containing his photo says Charges Unknown.

Let's not jump to conclusions just yet. He was arrested on April 14th. Find out the full case history, what was said, what he's accused of, etc.

It's entirely reasonable to assist anyone who's rights are being violated. But keep that separate from what he's accused of.

4
burgerbrain 7 days ago 3 replies      
This is why you always have TrueCrypt use multiple volumes. This is exactly what plausible deniability is for.
5
Aloisius 7 days ago 7 replies      
I have encrypted files/volumes that I don't remember the password for (it has been far too long). Surely not remembering is a valid defense.
6
CWuestefeld 7 days ago  replies      
The author references a previous letter that describes what he's doing in jail. Can anyone find that?
7
mdonahoe 7 days ago 5 replies      
Until the 5th amendment and encryption issues get worked out, these drives should delete themselves upon unauthorized access.
8
brendoncrawford 7 days ago 0 replies      
Text of the article since the page is loading slowly...

  To anyone reading this thread-if you want a quicker response to your
comments or questions, send them to me at:

Matthew Bumgardner
Santa Rosa County Jail
P.O. Box 7129
Milton, FL 32572

Right now it takes about 3 weeks for a post on this forum to get to me,
receive an answer, then have the answer sent back to my sister so she can
post it here.

This is Matthew Bumgardner, the one in jail. I have given this note to my
sister so that it can be posted. Obviously I have no access to email, so this
is the best I can do. Eventually I will get a copy of the posts in this thread
and I will respond when I can. My sister should have already posted the letter
I wrote. Every word is true. There are a few things I would like to add. First,
this jail could generate some serious money for a decent civil rights attorney.
They are already being sued for their mail policy. Inmates can only write on
postcards. They can only send letters to attorneys, members of the media and public
officials. If you were in here and wanted to write a family member, all you could
send was a post card.

The jail also denies access to legal materials. Their policy states that
"inmates will be afforded reasonable access to the courts. This is accomplished
by way of your attorney or public defender." This is a joke, since some inmates
wait 6 months or moe to see their public defender. The policy goes on to state
that pro se inmates must obtain a court order granting them pro se status in
order to get access to the Law Library.

I am a pro se inmate. I have obtained a Court Order granting me pro status.
I have provided that document to the jail staff, and I am still being denied access.
I have filed a new motion requesting an Order to allow me access to the Law Library
and I have also written the judge. I am waiting to see what happens there. I also
ahe a problem getting copies made. When I give my documents to the person making copies,
I inform them that I need them returned immediately. The past two times it has taken
several days fro the copies to be made. This is intentional. Since I am a Federal
inmate the Government pays the jail or me to be here. They make decent money off of
so, so there is no incentive for them to assist in my release.

Although it may seem unnecessary to complain about the jail, it is actually important.
The US attorney and judge that put me here knew exactly what they were doing. They
figured that the constraints imposed by the jail would allow them to maintain their
secrecy. They are wrong. It certainly slows things down, but I will not remain
silent about this.

This issue is more important that you might realize. Right now, this US
Attorney and US District Judge think that holding people in contempt is the way to
deal with encryption. If you read this and still do nothing, then you are telling
them that they are right. You are telling tem that the 5th Amendment is no longer
needed, and that they can issue supoenas that compel acts which are oppressive,
unreasonable and not possible.

I am not asking for my own personal army to help fight this. If you think that
you are my army, you misunderstand this situation. I am your army in this battle.
If you use encryption, or any password protected file, then this issue affects you.
You could be thrown in jail and denied civil rights at the whim of the government.
I am fighting this battle on my own, and I am willing to continue to do so. The
outcome is going to possibly affect many more people. To me, it seems like more
people should be getting involved.

At the very least write the attorney and judge and tell them that what they did
was wrong. Tell them that True Crypt can use more than just a password. Tell them
that a password can be 64 characters long. Tell them they have no right to hold
someone in contempt for failing to produce documents they have never seen. Tell
them that the precedent in US vs. Hubbell and In Boucher II proves that they
are wrong.

The addresses are:

David L. Goldberg
Assistant U.S. Attorney
21 E. Garden Street, Suite 400
Pensacola, FL 32502

Lacey A. Collier
Sr. U.S. District Judge
United States Courthouse
One NOrth Palafax Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

If you don't have time to write a letter, at the very least please forward this
to everyone you now. E-mail it to any media outlet you can think of. If enough
people e-mail tis, a major media outlet might pick up the story.

The Government can only do this in secrecy. If more people know about this it
never would have happened.

Thanks i advance for any assistance you can provide.

9
ajays 7 days ago 0 replies      
Contempt of Court is a serious business. You can be jailed indefinitely for it. For example: this guy was jailed for 14 years because he couldn't (or wouldn't) turn over information about missing assets during his divorce: http://www.judicialaccountability.org/articles/7year.htm
10
AndyKelley 7 days ago 0 replies      
According to wikipedia, in order to prove contempt, the prosecutor must have:

  * Existence of a lawful order
* The contemnor's knowledge of the order
* The contemnor's ability to comply
* The contemnor's failure to comply

It seems to me that the prosecutor cannot prove the contemnor's ability to comply, in the case of a forgotten password.

11
ThaddeusQuay 7 days ago 1 reply      
This may be a hoax. There are only two occurrences of his name on PACER, and both are discharged bankruptcy cases. Also, the federal inmate locator (http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp) shows no one by that name.
12
coreyja 7 days ago 1 reply      
This may have been posted below as I did not read every comment but isn't impossible to prove that the file is a TrueCrypt volume to begin with? Couldn't you just claim it was a corrupt computer file that contained random data? How can they ask you for something that they have no proof even exists? There is no proof the file is a TrueCrypt volume so there is no way to prove there is even a password to find.
13
michael_dorfman 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of those stories where I wish we had a bat-signal to summon grellas.
14
dunmalg 7 days ago 1 reply      
"I changed the password every 3 days and never memorized it. Current password was on a post-it on my monitor. Did you guys lose the post-it?"

Simple as that, right? They can't compel you to remember information you never had in memory. It's probably too late, as he's likely admitted to remembering the password. Dumb move.

15
asciilifeform 5 days ago 0 replies      
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face â€" forever."
16
JacobIrwin 6 days ago 0 replies      
What is it with the long history treating inmates poorly in the south?

See: Cool Hand Luke
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061512/

17
saalweachter 7 days ago 1 reply      
Just out of curiosity--

Does anyone know why it is important that a password can be more than 64 characters? Is he just saying "which makes it very hard to remember", or is there some legal significance to very long passwords?

18
mobiplayer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Another reason on why you need to hide your TrueCrypt volumes, too.
19
lukejduncan 7 days ago 1 reply      
mirror?
5
How to Make Text Look Interesting: Minimalist Web Design getspace.org
443 points by rabidpookey  8 days ago   72 comments top 20
1
endtwist 8 days ago 5 replies      
Though this article is a way for Space to sell their new theme, I can attest to the information provided being very useful in-and-of itself. It's a strong overview of the fundamentals of typography and basic rules to follow for strong visual hierarchy and content readability.

If you want to learn more about typography, I'd pick up (what is considered) the typographic bible, The Elements of Typography by Robert Bringhurst. While it is largely intended for print, most of the rules and suggestions still apply to the web. Alternatively, some pioneering folks put together a web adaptation of Bringhurt's book, http://webtypography.net/

2
munificent 7 days ago 2 replies      
There's some good advice in there, but mixed in with lots of not-so-good advice, errors, or overly broad claims:

- "The classic typographic scale ... relies on the notion that these sizes, when used together, look pleasing to the eye."

The typographic scale has a fixed set of sizes because fonts used to be physical. Having a 71pt font would be a whole new box of lead.

- "I generally take the largest font I want to use and the smallest font I want to use, and place the headers into that scale at even measures."

For something like scale, a geometric progression makes more sense so that relative sizes are at even proportion (say each is smaller than the previous by 15%) then a linear progression of sizes. The difference between 72pt and 70pt is unnoticeable. The difference between 10pt and 8pt is huge.

- "One way is to adjust the kerning and tracking settings in your design program."

Another way, not mentioned, is to just choose a different weight.

- The "stroke width should be as even and consistent as possible"

It says Georgia has a more even width than Krungthep, which is visibly not the case. Some stroke variation seems to aid readability but too much (like modern serif faces) harms it.

- "Georgia features a larger x-height than Tekton Pro."

That isn't Tekton. WTF.

3
grannyg00se 7 days ago 4 replies      
"Typography is not merely the process of arranging font on a page. It is a living creature; it feels joy in an exclamation point, ...."

Perhaps I'm just not as excited about typography as I should be, but isn't this a bit too much hype? When I'm told that typography is a living creature that feels joy, I'm immediately going to categorize the teller as a person I will not understand. Instant loss of credibility.

4
smcl 8 days ago 2 replies      
Heh, I got one line of black-on-white text describing a database error. Thought it was some kind of joke
5
njharman 7 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one that thought that was one of the least interesting and very hard to read (as in nothing drew my eye, lacked any motivation to read those big squarish, repeating, same blobs of text) webpages?

Single long column, not adapting to size of browser window. It's more like a book/article/magazine than a web page. Only color jarring red links. Subtitles identical leading/trailing whitespace so text looks continuous instead of broken into sections.

oh but OA used emdash, that's surely important.

6
snorkel 7 days ago 1 reply      
There's plenty of general typography advice out there such as this applicable to typesetting walls of text like blog posts and magazine articles, but what about the more specific case of type setting in web application interfaces? When developing web apps I feel like I waste a lot of time fussing with CSS font settings and the end result frankly sucks. Are there any typography snob blogs out there that focus on web app typography guidlines?
7
5h 8 days ago 0 replies      
at first the page was an error message saying "Error establishing database connection" in 20pt bold black times... that was unintentionally funny.
8
aresant 7 days ago 0 replies      
Text size, color, and font are all conversion drivers in their own right:

http://www.conversionvoodoo.com/blog/2010/08/3-font-tips-to-...

I've found that larger font sizes for copy-heavy sites almost always drive higher engagement

9
rglover 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great way to promote your product. I love that the creators are not only giving you useful information for your own work, but subtly offering up their theme as an option. It'd be nice to see other products/services marketed like this. It's subtle and smart.
10
fedd 6 days ago 0 replies      
i made a minimalist web design for my project website http://vsetech.ru/

as i am not a designer at all, so i had to be minimalistic in order not to be very ridiculous. but i tried to make it look interesting. seems i followed some of the advices of the article intuitively (and some was violated of course)

11
BasDirks 8 days ago 5 replies      
- The ragged-right doesn't work with titles that extend beyond the copy.

- Don't use images for examples that are perfectly possible with just type.

- Em-dashesâ€"like this according to convention.

- In one of your examples you combine sans small-caps with regular capitals. Not good style.

- Come on, there are better fonts than Georgia on my mac. Make me look at them.

And there are more examples of bad style on this page.

Like endtwist said, get yourself The Elements of Typography by Robert Bringhurst if you really want to learn.

12
cormullion 8 days ago 1 reply      
Is that really Tekton Pro in those illustrations? Doesn't look the Tekton Pro I used to know...
13
skm 7 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or does this look uncomfortably similar to the celebrated iA3 template for wordpress, designed by Information Architects?

http://store.informationarchitects.jp/product/iaÂł-template
http://www.informationarchitects.jp/en/100e2r/

14
nwmcsween 7 days ago 0 replies      
This 'advertisement' misses alignment such as 960gs, this makes information easily readable (compare 960.gs sites to this theme).
15
evolvingstuff 7 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else not really care for the line break in the title? Seems to me like it would have been better after the colon, so that "Minimalist Web Design" would be grouped together on the next line.

I wouldn't normally be so nit-picky, but it is an article about typography after all.

16
floris 7 days ago 0 replies      
A good tool to calculate the rhythm & scale of your website's typography is this one: http://lamb.cc/typograph/

For example(in px):
10-12-14-16-20-26-32-42-52-64-84

17
skrebbel 8 days ago 0 replies      
i liked the examples. a typography noob, this was mostly new to me, and made me think about how small things do really matter.
18
getsat 7 days ago 2 replies      
105 votes + top spot on HN + submitted by an account registered an hour ago? HN is easily gamed, I guess.
19
mtogo 8 days ago 2 replies      
Funny, a typography article written in one of the most distracting fonts i've ever seen.

EDIT: Obviously i have no idea what i'm talking about. I just thought that the widely varying heights and odd shapes of the letters was distracting from the content.

20
tedjdziuba 8 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr
6
Hacked Gmail Account multitasked.net
381 points by madewulf  5 days ago   164 comments top 32
1
Matt_Cutts 5 days ago  replies      
The key part of the blog post for me is this: "To mitigate the risk, Google recently launched two-factor authentication, a mechanism that requires you to input, on top of your password, a code generated by an application installed on your phone (iPhone, Android and maybe some others). I have activated this today."

Anyone savvy enough to hang out on HN probably has a fair amount of valuable info in their Gmail account (domain registration info, passwords/access to shopping sites, etc.) and should activate two-factor authentication: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/advanced-sign-in-secu...

Is it a little more hassle? A bit. But when someone else tries to log in from a new IP address in the Ivory Coast, or China, or wherever--they'll be prompted for a PIN and won't be able to log in.

I activated two-factor authentication as soon as I could on my Gmail. I think everyone reading this comment should too.

2
raldi 5 days ago 6 replies      
What I'd like is one-factor for my typical "log in and check mail, write back to a few people" use case, and two-factor or a second password that kicks in when I (or a bad guy) tries to:

* Log in from a computer that's never used this account before

* Set up a forward

* Make a mass mailing

* Change the password

* Do extensive searching or searching for suspicious terms ("password", "credit card", etc)

* Export a large amount of mail

...and other such things. That way, I don't have to be inconvenienced by constantly having to use the second factor, but would still survive a stolen laptop, keylogged passord, or sniffed cookie with a contained amount of damage.

3
yaakov34 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why so few comments mention that the "last chance form" is a huge security hole. It seems like most of the information for filling it can be seen by someone over my shoulder as I use Gmail. And it's apparently completely automated and can be tried multiple times. I use a strong passphrase and two-factor authentication for a reason, and this defeats it. I already disable the "secret questions", since I don't want cracking the account to be much easier than cracking the passphrase.

I would like Google to give me an option to disable the "last chance form" for my account. Or, if they inisist, I'd like the "last chance" to be to fly to Mountain View and show Google my passport or a court order.

EDIT: and for extra bogusness, it seems that the information needed for the "last chance form" can't be changed if it's compromised. I mean, I can change my passphrase if I suspect it leaked, but how do I change the date when I started using Gmail? Sounds like the best thing to do the moment a Google account is compromised is to close it.

4
drivebyacct2 5 days ago 6 replies      
Not sure why any of these steps should lead you to fear about using Gmail. Hosting your email yourself is almost surely more risky. Those hosting their own email aren't going to have complex password recovery system with the abuse protection that Google's has. There isn't going to be a warning system to alert you that there have been sign-ons from foreign states/countries. There isn't going to be two-auth out of the box unless you install the PAM module.

If your weak link, was, as usual, the human link... I would be inclined to trust a system more catering to (forgive me) ignorant users.

I just worry that the mindset is, "I got hacked because I use Gmail, if I used something else I'd be safer." and I find that logical to be pretty flawed.

5
RyanKearney 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Time now for some damage evaluation. I immediately saw that all contacts had been deleted (annoying but not too bad)

There's pretty much a one-click restore process now: http://i.imgur.com/1EYZ5.png

6
51Cards 5 days ago 4 replies      
I haven't set up two-factor auth yet because I don't always have my phone handy and my understanding of it is that on each log-in you need to use both factors. My comments below are based on this understanding so forgive me if I'm wrong.

What I would love is if instead it asked for both factors under these circumstances:

- option A - on every login like it is now.

- option B - at least once every X days, with a warning that "within the next three logins you'll need to use your second auth" so I will know when it's coming without being locked out because my phone is dead.

- in both of the above cases ALWAYS require two factor auth every time I change the account settings (like password, recovery addresses, etc.) Possibly even require it when I try to do things like purge a mailbox entirely or bulk email all my contacts.

Having this blended option would make it a no brainer for me

Edit: Thanks all for the clarifications below. I am going to give it a try.

7
unshift 5 days ago 3 replies      
tl;dr: don't give your password to anybody. we've been saying this since the mid-90s but people still seem to slip up.

gmail's two-factor auth is nice and easy with the handy iPhone app. of course nobody wants to complicate something like sign-in, but email integrity is very important. facebook also has a similar two-factor auth process (though not as nice; they text you, vs a nice app).

two-factor is a no-brainer at this point for managing your identity, especially given the huge volume of leaked passwords we've seen in the past month. it only takes a few minutes to set up and almost completely eliminates problems like the one in this article. if you haven't set it up yet, do it now! much easier than learning the hard way.

8
muppetman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I read a story similar to this a few weeks ago. The guy recovered his account, changed all passwords, but then it was snatched again. Rinse and repeat, I think he got it back in the end though.

Very strange - he thought he'd been targetted specifically.

9
sorbus 5 days ago 2 replies      
> most distressing to me is that I am still unable to explain how those guys were able to get access to the account twice after I changed the password, security questions and backup email address from my Mac that does not seem to be compromised.

It sounds very much like the hackers were also using the "last chance form." Consider that all of the information it requests is available through Gmail - account registration data, names of tags, most emailed people, and verification code (which was apparently emailed to him, and therefor present in the compromised email account) (Note: I haven't used the form myself, I'm going on the information in the article).

Also, the title is a bit link-baitish.

10
hzay 5 days ago 2 replies      
I went through this two years ago. My ex was hacking into my accounts.

- He used the 'last chance form' to get into my gmail by entering the password I'd given him a year before this (I'd changed the password twice after giving him that password)

- He ran a dictionary attack on my college email which didn't have captcha's, then hacked gmail using the password that worked for my college email

- We were using shared vnc in college, he found his way to my firefox through a mutual friend, installed a plugin that sent him all POST data and got into my gmail again

I created a new gmail account after each incident. I had to abandon each gmail account once it was cracked because of the 'last chance form'. Back then, you only had to give it one or two correct past passwords, and it gave you access. On hindsight, I've been remarkably dense, but it was a good, early lesson.

11
llgrrl_ 5 days ago 6 replies      
This is exactly why I'm using two-factor authentication for gmail (heck, I even ported the two factor auth code generator to my watch so I don't have to panic when my android phone runs out of battery - http://tnhh.net/pancake/chronos-otp.xml :-)

However, I don't use Gmail for 'everything,' it's just too dangerous and I feel doing that way Google knows more about me than they should. I think everyone should be hosting the main email address under something that they can sure control (your work/edu account, or a paid email service). My main account is hosted on fastmail (I paid something like 12 bucks for three years) and is cloaked under a dozen of other email addresses.

Plus, for fastmail you get a free smtp account, and a standard IMAP account (gmail's IMAP is weird). And they will respond if you're in troubles.

12
josephcooney 5 days ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine got his domain stolen recently. He believes his gmail was brute-forced through a known vulnerability/feature when POP is enabled http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2009/Jul/254 . He did a write up http://secretgeek.net/sg_hijack_1.asp and here http://secretgeek.net/sg_hijack_2.asp . As soon as this happened to him I turned on 2-factor auth and it works very well.
13
KingOfB 5 days ago 0 replies      
This happened to my girlfriend and I had a similar freak out. After asking a few more questions she remembered getting an email to enter her gmail password to get more storage space.... She knows better, but just didn't think about it - it seemed legitimate. Ask your friend more questions, I bet she fell for the same scam. I've met 4 people now that fell for the same one.

I'm also very concerned about the no 'restore' option from gmail. What good are google backups if you can't initiate them?

14
madewulf 5 days ago 0 replies      
For the record, I don't think that Gmail security is bad, or worse than something else. I just wanted to report my story, as I thought it would be interesting. I am a bit overwhelmed by the reaction to this post, honestly.
15
spacemanaki 5 days ago 0 replies      
I bet signups for Gmail's 2-factor auth spikes when stories like this start circulating. It's awesome that they provide it. I fear it might be too much to ask for my mom, grandmother, etc, who are probably more vulnerable to being attacked in the first place (weaker, duplicated passwords for sure).
16
eneveu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've also activated two-factor authentication, and I don't think the drawback he mentions are that problematic:

This indeed increases security, but tends to be a bit cumbersome (I often have a depleted battery, for example, which could prevent access to my emails from a computer) and does not solve other case (like somebody stealing my laptop and using an already opened session).

1) You can print a list of one-time passwords and store it inside your wallet. If your phone's battery is depleted, you can use them to log in. You should store another copy of this list in a safe place, just in case.

2) If somebody steals his laptop, he could always log from another computer and disable his session and/or change his password. He should use a password-protected login on his laptop anyway, with an encrypted drive.

17
jarin 5 days ago 0 replies      
My Gmail account recently was compromised due to the MtGox intrusion, as I had completely gotten lax with my password security practices (I noticed because I was no longer able to log in to my Google account). The worst thing about it is I knew better. I had 4 different passwords that I would use for different types of sites, and it just so happened that my MtGox and Gmail passwords were the same.

Thanks to my backup email account and 1password's ability to search accounts by password, I was able to restore access and change every account password I had gotten lazy about, before any damage was done. Turn on 2-factor authentication for my Gmail and Google Apps accounts, and now I can finally feel secure with only 2 passwords I have to memorize (Gmail and 1Password).

18
chapel 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing you should check for if your email was compromised is the pop3 forwarding and imap. Attackers will forward your emails to their own accounts using either or both. This makes it very easy for them to retake your account.
19
16s 5 days ago 0 replies      
For those of us who never travel outside the continental U.S. (or wherever), it would be nice if Gmail had an option we could check that read, "Disallow international (non U.S.) access to my account."

This would add a small measure of protection, though is not ideal as compromised machines (or proxies) in the U.S. could still access the account.

20
someone13 5 days ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine had a similar problem with her Hotmail account.

It had been hacked, but the recovery questions hadn't been changed (mainly, I think, because Hotmail makes it incredibly difficult to even find the option to do this). We reset her password, changed everything, and the account got re-hacked within 30 minutes.

This happened three more times until, eventually, the recovery questions were changed and we couldn't get access. I posted on the support forums, regained access, changed EVERYTHING (this included checking for email forwarding rules, and so on).

Now, through all this, I told my friend to not sign in to the account (or use MSN) from any computer except mine, to ensure that it wasn't a keylogger or Trojan that was causing this. My machine was running an up-to-date version of Ubuntu, on my home network, using HTTPS. So I'm pretty sure it wasn't a trojan.

Unlike Google, Hotmail requires a human to look over your problem, so after the third time we had to wait for a day to get the account accessed, we just gave up. I signed in, copied down as many contacts as I could, then deleted all the incoming emails. We ended up having to abandon her Facebook account too, as the hacker accessed that and was spamming her friends. Her Tumblr, and a couple of other accounts were toast also. We almost her Facebook back, but the hacker deactivated the account.

It was very frustrating trying to solve this, because I didn't know how the account was being accessed! I opened a ticket asking the Hotmail support staff to tell me how the password was being reset - not any more information, just the method - and they came back with the standard "we won't reveal information unless you have a search warrant or court order".

I love modern technology and all, but sometimes it's REALLY frustrating.

21
pavel_lishin 5 days ago 1 reply      
So, it seems that the XP machine was the source of intrusions - I'd like to see a follow-up.
22
S_A_P 4 days ago 0 replies      
So Im perplexed about how the gaming XP machine fits in here. I can understand that maybe that machine was used to log into the gmail account once and the auto login would have let the "hacker" in once. How then, if the user changed the password and security questions, etc did this person access the account 2 more times???
23
leon_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
> I was very glad that the "last chance form" did work twice

> That's when I lost the connection again...

hmmm ...

24
bwooceli 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is another layer of protection you can put in place - Google Apps. For many people, spending the $10/year on a private domain with the 10 account limit would be more than sufficient. Allocate one of those accounts to a strictly administrative role with 2 factor authentication. That way, you can self-serve on things like emergency password resets etc.
25
paulnelligan 5 days ago 2 replies      
Something i do quite regularly is google search each of my passwords, and I would advise anyone to do the same.

I found several older passwords with my login up on a file-sharing website not so long ago. Luckily I didn't suffer the same fate as the writer's wife.

Also, I believe that google should have 'paid support' in place for this type of situation. No doubt it would be profitable for them, and would save many people quite a lot of pain.

26
jdhopeunique 5 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if Gmail and Facebook had two separate passwords: one for everyday login and another for administrative functions such as changing passwords, forwarding options, etc.
27
jeggers5 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say this is happening a lot more than we actually hear about. He also raises a good point about how if you gained access to a lot of people's gmail a/c, you'd also get access to a lot of other services they use via the password reset form.
28
riffraff 5 days ago 0 replies      
the "last chance form" (or "account recovery exam") really is a hard and impossible to find thingy.
Also, I frankly have no idea about when I started using some services, and worst, no clue on how to find out.
29
paraschopra 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just enabled 'Two factor authentication'. Thanks for writing this. Made me realize the loss I would incur if my account gets hacked.
30
aj700 5 days ago 1 reply      
They should be asking for certain characters of your password now, to defeat keyloggers. If you've got tons in the cloud, you need bank-level security. If people can cope with it for banking, they can cope with it for gmail.
31
namank 5 days ago 0 replies      
I worry about this a fair bit. This is why I am in the process of cloaking my gmail with a throwaway address (ping@namank.com)

And I just suggested gmail this:

-----
Gmail runs my life, as it does yours! Yes, I have an alternate email but whoever has my password can change it and then I'm LOST! You need to make this hackproof (yes yes, i know. but please, atleast TRY)

I suggest:
-Have a backdoor password. There MUST be a 24-48 hour window between changing the backdoor password and the main password.

-Must be a 24 to 48 hour window between a password change and alternate email change.
-----

32
swaits 5 days ago 0 replies      
You get what you pay for.
7
Calling Bullshit on Unpaid Interships irishstu.com
367 points by EamonLeonard  2 days ago   199 comments top 47
1
WillyF 2 days ago 7 replies      
I didn't realize that the unpaid internship situation is as bad in Ireland as it is here in the U.S. My startup helps college students find entry level jobs and internships, so I'm constantly aware of what the latest trends are.

One trend that really scares me is that there are some "career experts" whom I interact with regularly who offer their own unpaid virtual internships (I've seen lots of other internships like this, but the fact that career experts who are supposed to help interns are offering these really blows my mind). These are people who don't have the ability to offer many of the benefits that do come with an unpaid internship such as making connections, learning what it's like to work in a real office, having a recognizable name on your resume, etc.

Another trend that scares me is that we're seeing more and more internships auctioned off in charity auctions. Rich parents actually pay for their kids to get some experience.

Unfortunately, interns aren't going to be the ones to stop this trend. Unpaid interns do benefit from their internships. They mostly accept it as something that they have to do, and they know that if they refuse to take an unpaid internship, there are thousands of other students who will snap up the opportunity.

Change is either going to have to come from employers or the government. I strongly believe that offering paid internships is more favorable to employers because they get better quality interns who are more motivated, and the employer has a stronger incentive to use the intern's time well.

Here in the U.S. there are already laws against unpaid internships. I wrote an article on it here: http://www.onedayoneinternship.com/blog/are-unpaid-internshi...

There's actually an excellent and fair standard for determining when an unpaid internship should be allowed; however, I've never heard of an employer's being prosecuted under the Fair Labor Standards Act for having unpaid interns. And if the law were to start to be enforced, I'm not sure the outcome would benefit students in the short-term. There would be a lot fewer opportunities as many employers would get rid of their internship programs. This would result in even more competition for what paid opportunities were left.

I really hate unpaid internships, but I still haven't figured out what it's going to take to make them a thing of the past. They've become an essential part of the transition from education to employment, and messing around with that in a time when really talented grads are struggling to land jobs probably isn't a good idea. We may have to wait until the economy really heats up again.

2
zeemonkee 2 days ago  replies      
Unpaid internships are essentially a form of serfdom.

The serf system in Russia IIRC started with free peasants who sold themselves into slavery to the landowner when they fell into debt - unlike African slaves in the US, who were essentially kidnapped into servitude.

In the same vein people are taking up voluntary servitude in order to get a paid job - sometimes even paying for the privilege.

Moreover - a point not raised in the article - in expensive cities the only way a fresh graduate can survive without salary is if their parents subsidize them. Who can afford to do so ? Rich families. So it's a form of discrimination.

A company has no excuse for not paying at least minimum wage. If you can't afford the employees you need you shouldn't be in business, period. Any company that uses unpaid internships is morally bankrupt and should be boycotted.

3
wccrawford 2 days ago 4 replies      
And as usual, I disagree.

When I was just starting my career, I would have gladly worked for free as an intern to get my foot in the door of the industry. Now, I wouldn't have done it for -long-, but internships aren't supposed to last a long time. As it was, instead I spent a year unemployed, and then took a job as a stock clerk at a grocery store. That time would have been much better spent as an intern... Especially since I think I could have found a job after 3 months of being an intern. 6 at the most.

The reason his entire post is wrong is that the person DOES get something out of it. They get training (whether it was structured or not is a different matter) and they get experience. Guess what helps you get a job most in the IT industry? Experience.

As for being hired, any company worth their salt will offer a real job to anyone who shows skill. Job offers should never be automatic.

4
nicpottier 2 days ago 5 replies      
Perhaps it is different for design, but taking on an intern for a software shop is almost always a greater burden than benefit.

I interned at a few different places while in college, and I was definitely way ahead of the class as far as writing useful code. Regardless, the overhead of people bringing you up to speed on their specific projects and processes for only three months of work just doesn't match what you are going to contribute. The cold hard fact is that you are still junior, very junior, no matter how much a hotshot you think you are. So the time they put into you makes it a pretty even trade for it not to be paid.

Though come to think of it, both internships I went to were paid. But the point stands.

To put it simpler terms, ask any company whether they find new college graduates effective and worth the overhead for the first few months they work. I doubt many would say yes, and those are people more qualified than those seeking internships.

5
officemonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my organization, we used to have unpaid internships for college students, but they would receive college credit. We thought that was still kinda B.S., so we found some money and created paid internships.

Back in the day, when I started my career, to get my foot in the door, I worked at a temp agency. "Word processing" was all the rage and they needed people who knew how to use Microsoft Word. After a couple of months the boss noticed I knew how to spell "glaciolacustrine" correctly, so he asked if I had a degree. A couple months later I was hired. All the time I was getting paid $10/hr.

That's the way firms should be finding and cultivating young talent: paid internships, temp services, and recruiting. Unpaid internships are indeed bullshit.

6
hugh3 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work in academia. In academia, we pay crap, especially to the people at the bottom of the totem pole.

But even we pay our summer interns.

7
Confusion 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're not paid, you're not valued. Nothing you produce will ever be good enough. Nobody will make time for you, because they have more valuable things to spend their time on. No money is lost if you're struggling to do your assignments; no money is lost if you don't learn anything.

A company should be invested into their interns and the best way to be invested is by paying them a wage and expecting decent work in return.

8
GvS 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's not a problem for IT students. I could choose from many offers in my city. At our forums we laugh from low paid offers and I haven't seen unpaid one. I ended up going to different country and earn 1,1k euro with no real experience at all and I extended it during crisis (it was few years ago) so I guess I was useful.

If you really can't find anything it's better to make nice portfolio projects for yourself at home or work on some opensource project. It's similar experience but feels much better than working as slave for some awful company that can't even afford small wage.

9
Produce 2 days ago 0 replies      
Companies tend to save money at all costs, even at the expense of decency and Doing The Right Thing™. It's the same reason a lot of them have clauses in their contracts forbidding people from discussing their wages, even though it is in the employees' interests to do so.

I figured something out when thinking about this one day - where you're going is how you'll get there. If your goal is to make money, your goal is greed and your path will be a greedy one. If your goal is to make a positive contribution to those around you and get one back in return, then you will still make money but won't step on peoples' toes in the process.

10
maeon3 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you become an unpaid intern, then you better be learning 10 new things per day that you couldn't have learnd any other way. I can see where interning where be beneficial for both individual, company and society. However in the vast majority of cases the intern is just getting ripped off.
11
noarchy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even Wal Mart will pay you while training you. If a company cannot meet that standard, something is wrong, imo.
12
synnik 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow. We hire almost every intern that works for us, unless they suck. Internships are also normally done pre-graduation from college. It is not a job, it is in exchange for college credit. We hire the day they graduate.

But it is also up to the intern to decide whether or not our internship is right for them. A overgeneralized diatribe like the one posted is aiming to get people to not intern at all, whereas the appropriate act would be to critically evaluate your options, and make an informed decision about each specific company.

13
rb2k_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I think it's horrible if companies don't pay interns, I can see how the "you're learning things!" angle could seem more reasonable in the US.

My outside view is that a lot of Americans pay thousands of dollars to go to university.

Universities are, for a lot of people, just a means for learning a discipline and giving them more/better possibilities in a future job search.

While most internships aren't as "prestigious" as a university degree, they probably don't cost as much either.

In the end, both of them will have allowed you to make some new contacts, learn trade-specific things and add a new slot on your résumé.

p.s. this certainly doesn't go for all professions/internships. But the general direction seems about right.

14
davidw 2 days ago 0 replies      
0 is just one number along a range of numbers - it's not particularly special. In some cultures, it's considered normal to exchange not just free labor to get your foot in the door, but to actually pay cash to do so.

I am not convinced it's a net win for society.

15
chrisclark1729 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps this thread has gone too long, but the comments are overwhelmingly against doing work for free.

TL;DR - It's an interns fault for taking crap free work, in essence putting their future in someone else's hands.

My experience: 3 years ago I was an accountant and thought about killing myself nearly every day. It used to take me 10 - 15 minutes to get out of my car every morning just to walk inside. I was able to use free work to transition from a boring career to one I enjoy in an incredibly short amount of time.

Rather than go back to school only to finish in debt and start at the bottom I was able to trade valuable work that I could do (finance/accounting) for experience in work that I wanted to do (development/data analysis). I would always suggest short projects so as not to overwhelm either party, but this turned out to be very favorable in the long run.
One major caveat is that these were not company created internships. I wasn't in the business of letting a company compile all of their shitty work only to pass it off on someone to do for free. THAT IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE CALLED BULLSHIT ON.

If a job seeker shows just a little initiative they can force free work to have a training component that is defined in advance and one from which they will benefit. Too many workers put their future in someone else's hands by assuming the company has some training program mapped out for them. Not surprisingly, these are exactly the types of employees who continue the cycle of useless and exploitative internships that you rail against.

If you are doing work for free, YOU are on the hook. You hold most of the cards because there is nothing forcing you to continue working.

16
andrewflnr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Last summer, I took an unpaid internship at a software company, if it can be called an internship. I was introduced to someone who worked there, and he got it worked out for me. I didn't work on core stuff for the company, so maybe it was less an internship than just hanging out in the offices while I worked on an open-source project relevant to them, specifically github.com/andrewf/pcap2har .

I learned a crap-load of stuff there, technical and otherwise. I am enormously better off having taken that opportunity. Would I have been worse off if I had worked on stuff that directly made them money? No.

My friend has left to work on his own startup, but I started this week as a paid intern. I hope to keep working part-time when I start school again.

I cant speak for other people's experience with less-scrupulous employers, but I have nothing but gratitude for the people who gave me my unpaid internship.

17
apinstein 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't find the article right now, but there have been studies about and there is evidence for that many people will do something for free, but if offered to be paid a market rate that is low for the same work, will not do it. In fact, they'll be insulted by the low value ascribed to it.

Personally I would feel like an a-hole offering someone minimum wage to do intern-level work at our startup. Nor would I want it on my resume that I worked as a web developer for $8/hour. They do not want a market price that low on their skills. They'd rather have a free internship on paper.

That said, it does all depend on context. In fact during high school I worked in a bio lab for free for about 50 hours and then asked for a paid internship (which was minimum wage) during the summer. However I was a high-schooler, so this was cool. But I would not have taken (and in fact turned down) low-paying jobs after college. So I can see that context does matter, and I don't think it's fair to rip on all unpaid internships with the same stroke.

18
bugsy 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the US there's two very different sorts of internships.

The first is what you describe, scamming desperate people during a economic depression out of free skilled labor that has monetary value to the company.

The second is internships at places like magazines, newspapers and politicians offices. These ones are more interesting. Poor people and minorities can't afford to work for a year for free. But the children of the rich can. The internship provides cover to avoid having to hire minorities since hiring takes place from the internship pool.

19
amirmc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had friends who wanted to get into journalism and publishing and the only way they could do it was by working for free for several months. Not even 'internships', just free work. Eventually, there were vacancies and they were the obvious hires.

I'm not suggesting this was fair but it was a pretty clear case of supply outstripping demand, which meant that employers could afford to let the system develop this way.

20
epo 2 days ago 1 reply      
30-day free trials are for software. People deserve more respect.
21
jasonlotito 2 days ago 2 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea of an internship about learning, not about producing? If your producing for the company something they are selling (or creating net value), don't you have to get paid? I mean, people here are talking about actually working on projects the company is earning money for. That's not an internship.

Am I clueless, or are other people just ignorant?

22
dmoo 2 days ago 1 reply      
As this is Ireland I've got to assume there is also an element of trying to reduce the numbers who are technically unemployed and so make things look better. It sounds very familiar to the community employment schemes etc. from the '80s where people basically worked for their unemployment benefit so as to gain work experience / help the community. I can even remember being turned down at an interview for one of these way back when and feeling pretty bad.
In the end some people will gain something & some people will be exploited but it wont make much difference to the economy other than to help drive down wages.
23
erikb 2 days ago 0 replies      
In Germany I often see unpaid interns, but actually not in a bad situation. There are 2 situations in Germany when an unpaid internship will happen: One is, when the students working as interns are still going to their schools and maybe are first or second semesters. So actually they don't really create value, but they cost time, energy, working hours of coworkers, electricity, rent and so on. The company basically already pays a load to have this intern sitting there and a high chance to get no value back in return. I think in this situation it is quite fair, not to pay wages.

The second situation is, when students try to get a job, which a lot of people want to have, like at Google, Price Waterhouse Coopers and so on. In this situation the brand alone will help them out later to get better jobs or even give them a chance for a full time job in this company that others can't get. It's a little like doing a start-up. You put in a lot for the small chance to get a unnatural big payoff.

In both situations I can't disapprove of unpaid internships. I hope with sharing these experiences, other readers might get a more objective point of view. It is not all bad about unpaid internships!

24
georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know why there aren't more low-level tech jobs for college students. I paid for a couple years of state school by working in a deli. The only jobs I saw that would hire a "college kid" were on campus, and those basically boiled down to having the right connections as soon as you arrived. No longer a freshman and nothing related on your resume? Not interested.
25
gorog 2 days ago 1 reply      
This past year I followed a web development course. I'm now supposed to work 3 months for free. I don't mind it because I've been jobless for a long time before. The problem is, I just can't find an employer (in France). I get the interviews, but my interviewer always assumes that I'm supposed to know everything by heart, have nothing more to learn, and more importantly, they want to see a portfolio of sites I've done before other than the one I've done in class. Basically, they don't want an intern, they want a real, super-fast worker for free. So I'm going to fail at my diploma because nobody wants me to work for free for them. To make it worse, I'm the best student of my class. Those who can't code found an internship. Are we supposed to lie and bluff to be allowed to be exploited?
26
stevenwilkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
The place I'm currently contracting in (mentioned in article) has their summer intern programme in full swing.

Not only are the guys getting decent pay but they are building a useful in-house app while getting trained up in technologies like OS X, Linux, Git, Ruby, Rails, MongoDB etc.

Win-win!

27
kosei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally I got a lot of value out of my unpaid internships (Kate Spade & Sports Illustrated). Though I understand the reasons against it, I got to a) work with a great team, b) make some great business contacts for future job referrals, and c) get experience that looked great on my resume.

That said, I completely understand that my experience was the exception rather than the rule. Plus, both companies I interned at most likely could have afforded to pay me too.

28
walkon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm confused. Who forces people to work for free?
29
afterburner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are CS students not cynical enough? Compared to, say engineers (non-software)? Or is it just the effect of fierce and deep competition?

Or perhaps the potential for learning a lot (practical knowledge) in a short time is greater in software dev work than others?

30
threejay 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently in my sixth and final year of pharmacy school which consists entirely of clinical rotations at different practice sites in the area. Not only are these internships completely unpaid, we have to pay ~$30k for the priviledge which equates to almost $1000/week (6 x 6 week rotations). It's a complete scam.
31
yellowredblack 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is what I learned from a half-day legal seminar in california aimed at startups:

In California, unless the work is for course credit at an established institution, an intern must be paid minimum wage. If not, the intern can do the work, and then file with the state, which will then do all the investigation. The intern doesnt need to get a laywer. They get the state's lawyers looking for a hefty fine, back taxes, and the opportunity to audit the hell out of someone. Start-ups are especially vulnerable to this because programmers who would normally be exempt probably aren't making enough and should be paid overtime. The state doesn't care what those programmers want. They want their back taxes.

32
phxrsng 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the US at least, there are many opportunities for paid internships. All the major tech companies offer them - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Zynga, Boeing, Lockheed, etc - and many of the smaller ones do (though in smaller numbers). At almost all of them, interns are treated as normal engineers and put on teams as basically full time employees with an end date ~3-4 months after they start. They are paid very well (competitive with what a FT employee would make for 3 months). The internship can, and in many cases, does result in a full time or reintern offer.

The thing is, you have to be able to cut it and basically interview as someone who they would WANT to hire as a FT after a year or two more experience.

33
studiofellow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Passing judgment on all unpaid internships in all situations is unreasonable. When deciding whether to accept an unpaid internship, common sense is the best guide.

I've seen both unpaid and paid interns treated poorly. I've also seen both thrive. I personally had 2 paid internships before I graduated college. One was demeaning and the other an incredible learning experience.

If an unpaid opportunity offers a lot and you can afford to take it, why not? How is this different than contributing to open source or doing pro bono for charities?

However, if a company doesn't want to pay, I'd suggest more caution. Ask lots of questions, and if you end up just getting people coffee, quit. Interns are working professionals just like anyone else and deserve equal respect.

34
ThomPete 2 days ago 2 replies      
If products can be free so can interns.

Look at it as a freemium model.

35
jeffchuber 1 day ago 0 replies      
Companies often don't pay interns for 2 reasons:
1. They don't think they can afford to give them responsibility, and with no responsibility = no pay. This is a terrible relationship. (no pay = no responsibility as well)
2. They know that if it's unpaid - it's likely that only people very interested will apply - and this signal is, supposedly, very strong.

The 3 MAJOR problems are:
1. The company is sending a signal that says, "we don't trust you", "we don't think you can do valuable work", "and we don't value you enough to pay you"
2. The company gets lower skilled people, because the good ones get the jobs with good experience AND pay
3. Have you EVER tried to get a volunteer to do anything?! It's impossible. Incentives are not aligned.

36
walexander 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had a paid internship but would have gladly done it unpaid if I had to. I interned at a big name place, so YMMV, but I can say that senior year when I was looking for jobs _no one_ cared about what I did in school and _everyone_ cared what I did at that internship.

You are not going to work there to do slave labor, you're getting bullet points on your resume, mentorship from senior engineers, as well as taking in the business environment which you've probably never seen before.

I hope no college student who can't find another option has decided to stick his nose up at an unpaid internship because of this post.

37
conjectures 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem is part informational. Grads take internships in the _hope_ it will lead to a job. For most it doesn't. Hope is perennial, so more bums can always be found for seats.

Banning them is unlikely in most countries as it's politically unrealistic. Exhorting companies not to do it is unreliable. So not easy to close off intern demand.

Tackling the supply side might be a better bet. The answer might be in educating grads to mentally file internships alongside diet pills and pyramid schemes. Providing alternatives also good (but more difficult).

38
zachcb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm very desperate to join a startup as an intern or employee. Some of us (me) have been dreaming (literally) about being in a startup that it doesn't matter what we do, as long as we get in one. It's gotten to the point where I would even pay to be in one. What I get out of it is that I will see if a startup is right for me, and at this point that's all I can ask for.
39
joe8756438 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a great book that came out recently, Intern Nation, it's the first exposé on this issue that I'm aware of. It is fantastic, totally engaging, covers all of the many aspects of the internship problem and its genesis.
40
scottseaward 2 days ago 0 replies      
The CV still rules when it comes to getting past HR departments and into interview. The HR departments (and employment agencies) I've worked with look directly at the Work Experience section of a CV and then tick off a bunch of boxes for the job they're trying to fill. Unpaid internships are one way to fill a CV with relevant experience. Find a way to bridge that gap and you don't need to do an unpaid internship. I went through 3 months of unpaid work with an ugly little company for exactly this reason, and it paid off, but those were the most trying 3 months of my professional career.
41
jvandenbroeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally true; I did an unpaid internship for a startup and didn't learn a thing(actually they where doing a verrrry bad software engineering job). The advantage was that I didn't really had to work much & I got grades for the internship @unif. But I wouldn't do it again.

I felt under valuated, I can make really complex s/w architectures, solve complex, challenging problems & I was doing work that I could've done as a 14 year old during the internship..

42
alanorourke 2 days ago 0 replies      
While in college i chased a small design studio you have never heard of to take me as an unpaid intern.
I learnt loads just watching them run a studio and work with clients.
I do not see how they could possibly have justified paying me for the little value i gave back.
Still gratefull for the opportunity they gave me.
43
int3rnaut 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's all relative and depends entirely on how much you put into it and how much your employer does the same. I've had friends who've taken unpaid internships and have gotten entirely different experiences out of it.
44
hvass 2 days ago 3 replies      
The only reason for me to do an unpaid internship would be to do it a 'brand-name' company. You do see the best practices, meet an amazing team and it might lead to an eventual job with the company.

For an unknown company - not a chance.

45
perl 2 days ago 0 replies      
If someone tells me I wont be paid..but still i want to take up that work ? why blame

But if someone fresh grad is duped into believing doing unpaid work will get him something else then its bad.

46
dadads 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have to disagree with calling unpaid internships a rip-off.

As a student, I see this as a way of getting something on the resume to break the catch-22 situation of having zero experience.

47
paolomaffei 1 day ago 0 replies      
This guy clearly never had a company.

We do not pay our interns and still lose money in the process if we don't hire them after because we have lost too much time not just training but also fixing errors people at their first experience will do.

Nevertheless we still invest on internships because that's the only way to snap good talent just out of university.

So please, stop the bullshit.
Yeah, and downvote away.

8
Designing GitHub for Mac warpspire.com
350 points by rtomayko  3 days ago   76 comments top 25
1
tptacek 3 days ago 5 replies      
What a f'ing fantastic article. Thank you so much for writing this.

I spent a decent chunk of time last year building up a somewhat large Cocoa application (a telling synecdoche of how ambitious the app is: it integrates libevent with the Cocoa loop and involved writing a whole new evented Redis-backed HTTPS cache in ObjC).

But unfortunately, I got to the UI part of this project ("UI part", heh) thinking "this is going to be so much easier than webdev, look at all these tools!, and that was a crushing disappointment; getting anything reasonable on the screen has been intensely painful, and is if anything much harder than CSS3+JQ is on modern web apps.

I'm thrilled to hear that at least to some extent, it isn't just me, and making a good-looking Cocoa app (especially your first) is just very hard.

2
gregschlom 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Death of the SSH key. People should be able to connect to GitHub with their GitHub username and password.

This sounds like a wrong design decision. I wish nobody could log into my github account using anything but my SSH keys.

This is also true of my AWS account: my ec2 instances are protected by SSH keypairs, but if anyone gets my AWS password, he has full control over everything.

I'm not a security expert, but SSH keys feel way safer than passwords, especially with all those recents article showing how easy it can be to bruteforce passwords.

3
tolmasky 3 days ago 1 reply      
Without going into whether I agree with his assertions on Cocoa, if it seemed so much easier to do with web technologies, why didn't he just do it with web technologies?

Cocoa is probably the framework best suited for incorporating web views, and tons of apps do this: Mail.app, iTunes, Aperture, Colloquy, etc. etc. Use the right tool for the right job, if you have something that is going to have a lot of flow-based layout, then by all means use WebView.

It's kind of like refusing to use an NSTextView, then complaining about having to lay out text yourself.

4
RyanMcGreal 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Eventually, I (well, many of us) decided that better native clients (OSX, Windows, Linux, Eclipse, Visual Studio, etc) was the best way to grow GitHub.

I hope that means they plan to build a git GUI client for Windows, the poor bastard child of git support.

5
sant0sk1 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great article for sure, but I take issue with these bits:

> Unfortunately for everyone involved, every OS X application that's showed up over the years gave up and tried to turn CLI commands into buttons.

It's my understanding that for a really long time there was no linkable library for interacting with Git. So unless these devs wanted to first write said library they were pretty much left with putting buttons on the CLI.

You might say "Well they should have written one, then!" but that is quite a risky capital expense on a piece of software that could easily flop. GitHub did it (with Summer of Code's help), but they have umpteen uses of such a library even if nobody uses GitHub for Mac.

> It blows my mind that no one tried to do anything special. Git (and its DVCS cousins like Mercurial & Bazaar) provide an amazing platform to build next generation clients â€" and it's like the entire OS X ecosystem left their imagination at home.

I dunno, I think GitX (especially its forks) does some pretty special things, including making it dead simple to stage/unstage/discard single lines of files.

6
cageface 3 days ago 1 reply      
As an aside, I really feel like Apple is losing the plot with their latest batch of UIs. Wooden end panels, birch bookshelves, the glossy reflective dock, leather-bound notebooks etc, all smack of a lack of imagination and an timid need to convey value in outmoded terms.
7
pohl 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is no layout engine for Cocoa. If you want two elements to rest side to side, you'll need to calculate the pixel size of the text, padding, borders, margins â€" then manually position the next element.

This is getting a lot better in Lion. If you browse the WWDC 2011 videos, look for Session 103 "Cocoa Autolayout".

8
jkkramer 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Simplify the git fetch, pull (--rebase), push interaction. Synchronize â€" don't make the user figure out what they need to do to get their local commits remote and remote commits local.

What about conflict resolution? That's one of the hairiest, least-user-friendly scenarios in my experience.

9
chrismealy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dear github: clicking "published" on a project deletes it from github. That was a surprise!
10
cdcarter 3 days ago 1 reply      
He makes great points about MacRuby. I started tooling around with it for an app a few months ago, and though it was a great interface, it didn't make working in Cocoa any easier, and I still had to learn a lot of weird technology choices in Cocoa.

Though, I think the difficulty of making a complex GUI in Cocoa shines in the OS X world. It's a lot harder to make a working UI, so you want to get the design right the first time, so you don't have to go back and re-do.

11
dolinsky 3 days ago 2 replies      
Could someone elaborate on the difficulties encountered managing branches of an iOS project in XCode using git?
12
oscardelben 3 days ago 1 reply      
On a related note, i've built a simple github browser for ipad that will never get approved on the AppStore due to paid accounts. If someone wants to play with it here's the link https://github.com/oscardelben/GithubBrowser
13
ttrashh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a good comparison from someone with a good bit of WPF/Silverlight/Xaml and Cocoa experience.
14
beck5 3 days ago 7 replies      
Has anyone been using this client, is it worth using as far as GUI's go?
15
gawker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to say thank you so very much! I'm just getting started on trying to build an iOS/Mac application system and while it's fairly straightforward to build it, the design of the user interface is what gets me. Going from ok to 'wow' is what really sets Mac applications apart from most PC applications.
16
atomical 3 days ago 0 replies      
Smartgit is an awesome client for mac and I love the diffs view. Git is complicated so does a simple client help or hurt? I think that's up for debate and different users are going to have different requirements but for me I feel Smartgit is simplistic, useful, and functional where as I think of the Github client as more of an RSS type application where I check the latest stuff that has been committed.
17
grimen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like what GitHub do, though in this case I would say that the GitX client (forked one) is way more productive and overview:aböe IMO. I even managed to teach my MBA partner how to use it - this one is actually a bit more confusing than GitX interface. Abstraction is not always for the good, but a very good try at least.
18
vladocar 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so unfair. I finally mastered the GIT console pushing and pulling stuff around. And this awesome product comes and the console is now obsolete. Jokes apart, this is super tool that will bring new users that are still not familiar with the console. Great job guys!
19
swaits 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use SourceTree. It's not free, it's definitely not cheap, but it's badass. http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/ I have no affiliation, just a happy customer
20
peteysd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been enjoying the app these last few days. Nice job! It's a great add-on to an already killer service. I'm quite happy to send the folks at Github some of my money each month, because they really earn it.
21
natesm 3 days ago 1 reply      
On the images/code drawing points: are there any benchmarks for this? I've been writing meticulous CGGradient type stuff recently, should I just make a gradient in Photoshop and call it a day instead?
22
mmphosis 3 days ago 1 reply      
23
rawsyntax 3 days ago 0 replies      
The bit about the NDA is a little ridiculous.

Apple wouldn't be able to politely ask people not to blog about their stuff.

24
thelicx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Super interesting article
25
PartyDawg 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's amazing, I thought I would come here to learn things, but instead I am teaching.

Branching projects is hard in XCode? Zip up the project files and back up the revision... in I don't know, a source code repository? LOL!

None of the re-writing is required in Xcode for your app. Design the app, then make it in Xcode. If you have to make revisions to the design of your app, go back to designing it. Most of the code can be re-used, but clearly you haven't finished designing the app yet...

Interesting take on the initial experience. But instead of casting about for blame, it might be better to ask why your processes are going wrong.

10
Skype options turn out to be worthless reuters.com
337 points by TWAndrews  7 days ago   142 comments top 23
1
ghshephard 7 days ago 7 replies      
Absolutely zero surprise on my side. VCs, and acquiring companies are always looking to maximize their return, as legally as possible during an M&A deal, even (sometimes particularly) if that means screwing over employees who are no longer with the company.

I actually like the honesty of this quote:

"Silver Lake declined to comment. When asked about Lee's situation, Skype spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy said, “You've got to be in it to win it. The company chose to include that clause in the contract in order to retain the best and the brightest people to build great products. This individual chose to leave, therefore he doesn't get that benefit.”"

Most people will look at it and say "What an Asswad" - but at least he's not being a hypocrite. That's precisely what everyone in the M&A team is _thinking_ they just aren't _saying_ it.

This is another take on what Oracle did when they bought Oblix (I had just left Oblix in 1999) Oracle gave MegaBonuses to all the existing employees and executives, two of the founders, and paid absolutely nothing for the common shares. The acquisition price was still $100Million plus, but there was only enough money to cover the preferred options + liquidation preferences in the "on the record" purchase prices. Effectively, they wiped out all the employees who were common shareholders, but no longer with the company (or were part of the 15-20 out of 100 who were laid off during the acquisition) while taking care of the VCs and the acquired employees. (As a side bonus, they called the money they gave to the acquired employees "Retention Bonuses" - which resulted in the top people having to hang around for another year)

Lesson to be learned: When you leave a company, and it is still private - if they are Sold, instead of going public, there are probably any number of ways that you will get wiped out if you are no longer with them - possible exception if you are a founder with a significant percentage of the company, and you might be able to raise a stink for minority shareholder rights. Then you'll get a "consulting bonus" to shut you up.

This story is more common than not.

2
dctoedt 7 days ago  replies      
1. By no means do I want to defend Skype here, but the prose in the linked documents isn't especially incomprehensible, at least not for documents of this type.

I teach contract drafting to third-year law students. It's hard work to take a complex if-then-else concept and render it in plain English.[a]

And here's the rub: Few clients want to pay lawyers to spend extra time on readability -- "good enough" (whatever that means) is the goal.

2. [EDITED TO ADD THIS:] It's not unusual for a private company's employee stock plan to include a "call" option that gives the employer the right to repurchase employee-owned shares when the employee leaves the company.

That makes sense when you think about it -- if you're a private company, you don't want a lot of random ex-employees owning dribs and drabs of your shares, especially if you're worried about the 500-shareholder limit (under current law).

On the other hand, for a company with an upcoming exit to buy back the shares at the employee's cost, instead of at a good-faith estimate of the stock's then-current value -- well, that does indeed seem unusual.

(EDIT: Some documents like this provide that, IF: The company wants to do its buy-back EITHER: (i) after an exit is announced, OR: (ii) if an exit is announced within 30 days or so after the employee's departure; THEN: The employee is entitled to the exit pricing for the buy-back.)

3. Again, not to defend Skype, but conceivably they might not have had a choice about the buy-back price, at least not without jeopardizing some kind of favorable income-tax treatment.

If I had to guess, I'd venture that, X number of years ago, some overzealous junior lawyer decided to draft the relevant documents so as to put the company in the strongest position s/he could. Now that zealousness may be tying their hands. I stress that I'm speculating here.

* * *

[a] If you have occasion to write a complex if-then-else sentence, try using all-caps and punctuation like this: IF: It rains at least one inch today but not more than two inches; AND: It doesn't rain tomorrow; THEN: You will turn on the sprinkler system tomorrow; AND: You will not do so the day after.

3
brudgers 7 days ago 0 replies      
The article leaves out some relevant context. It appears that Yee Lee was at Skype for one year one month 3/2010 - 4/2011. That entire period of time was after Silverlake had purchased Skype and more importantly after the right to repurchase vested options was in place.

It is difficult to see this as private equity screwing over founders or early employees (Skype was founded in 2003 and had been valued at more than $2 billion for five years when Lee Yee came aboard). Indeed given the short tenure of many of the people involved in the story, there seems to be more smoke than fire.

[Lee Yee on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yeeguy]

[Business Week article correlating Linkedin profile to article: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_27/b42350386...]

[my comments on previous versions of story: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2672786]

4
kenjackson 7 days ago 2 replies      
A big part of business is who you're in bed with. MS should cancel the Skype deal, if at all possible. That would be one sign that they've turned a corner. I will never fork over a dime for any Skype service. This, while legal, is clearly unethical on a broad scale. And its the worst kind of unethical. Apple and MS play hardball with competitors -- but you don't do that with your employees.
5
johngalt 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is why cash is king and "equity" is worthless.

Hey bizdev weenies out there that wonder why you can't find a technical cofounder/employee who will work for equity, here is your answer.

6
ianterrell 7 days ago 4 replies      
While I understand that legalese is necessary since English is ambiguous in its best moments, the only reasons I see not to include a "plain English" version of a contract are A) to save on lawyer hours, or B) to screw someone over.

For most contracts I suspect that the overhead on a plain English version would be very small, as the lawyers' understanding of the topics is necessarily deep to formulate the contract (or they're just shitty lawyers, another topic).

Plain English versions of contracts, with their plain English meanings of clauses, should be included in any contract between two parties of vastly different bargaining power, i.e. a corporation with loads of legal resources and a non-millionaire potential employee.

Update w.r.t. commentsâ€"I understand the points you're making, but I don't think it invalidates the argument. I'm racking my brain to find the examples I've seen, but there do exist in the wild "plain English" versions of contracts that are not binding (and they specify that) but instead contain comprehensible summaries of the salient parts.

7
jsherry 7 days ago 4 replies      
"It turns out the investor group...had secured a so-called repurchase right that gave them authority to buy back the shares at the grant price."

If this is true, it sounds like somebody didn't properly perform their due diligence before signing their options agreement. Although it's never right for a company or investor to exercise this buy back when it comes to an honest, hard-working employee, the onus really falls on the employee ensuring that this clause never sees the light of day in their contract in the first place. Perhaps in the event of "cause", one could make a case, but certainly under no other condition.

EDIT: It's an unethical clause to begin with - absolutely agree with the comments. Just saying that you can't count on anyone besides yourself to act on behalf of your own best interests.

8
unreal37 7 days ago 0 replies      
I understand that Skype is a private company, and so that when they grant options it will have some odd terms that employees of public companies don't have.

They shouldn't use the terms "vested" and "unvested" then. His options were vested, yet were callable. That's not what vested means. They should call all options unvested until the company goes IPO.

9
alain94040 7 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, this is the first time I see a stock options agreement where the employee is forced to enter into a partnership for his vested shares. I agree with the blog's title "upgrading Skype to evil".

On the other hand, you should have known Skype, incorporated in an international haven, was not your regular startup.

EDIT: also, the stock agreement just says "management partnership" on page 3, with no prior definition of what it might be. Later on, it gets more references, without ever being defined. A good lawyer may have a case?

10
NonEUCitizen 7 days ago 1 reply      
Silverlake is not the only investor in Skype; e.g. Andreessen Horowitz is too:

http://a16z.com/portfolio/

11
ajays 7 days ago 1 reply      
What is Microsoft doing about this? As the acquirer, they may still be able to "do the right thing" and make some of these guys whole. Sure, it may cost them a few million bucks; but can you imagine the goodwill it will generate for Microsoft? You can't buy that kind of good publicity!

But will Microsoft do such a thing? I doubt it very much. (I would love to be proven wrong, of course)

12
arturadib 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many of us are now scrambling to dig up a copy of our stock option agreement. This sets a terrible precedent. In case you didn't get it yet:

READ YOUR LEGAL DOCS (sock options, IP, etc) and negotiate sketchy terms before you sign them!

13
nestlequ1k 7 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone interested in joining GoDaddy after the SilverLake deal should have their head examined.
14
protomyth 7 days ago 1 reply      
in the other thread on this http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2691455 the article had the following line "the company's decision to repurchase would also cause a tax hit to him" - anyone know how that works?
15
madmanslitany 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really have much to contribute on the story itself, but I suddenly realized that my former CS472 Artificial Intelligence project partner and friend from Cornell works for Silver Lake, which has led me down an interesting path of daydreaming now that I'm starting work with a Valley-based company in a few weeks.

It would actually make for a great short story or novelette to see former classmates on opposite sides of a deal like this. A lot of very smart engineers go straight into jobs in technology sector investment banking, private equity, etc. soon after college that could eventually put them on a collision course with erstwhile friends.

16
NonEUCitizen 7 days ago 1 reply      
17
va_coder 7 days ago 1 reply      
What's to stop a disgruntled software dev who gets treated this way from secretly using his knowledge to support an open source competitor? It doesn't have to be anything close to a line by line copy, just subtle hints here are there about better, but generic, ways of doing things.
18
paradox95 7 days ago 0 replies      
So the people who lost out here have any recourse? I hope they are talking to lawyers. I'm not typically the type of person to sue over everything but this is screaming for a lawsuit.
19
wccrawford 7 days ago 2 replies      
"that you will receive no value" is hardly opaque, even if the rest is. Any contract that said that would have me pouring over it with a fine-tooth comb. Or more likely, just rejected it and finding work elsewhere.

I wonder if that contract is subject to legal action, though? Seems to me that was a deliberate attempt to screw him over. He shouldn't have signed it, but they shouldn't have written it, either.

I'm now serious considering canceling my Skype subscriptions and finding alternatives, despite how useful they are to me a the moment.

20
daimyoyo 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is yet another reason I refuse to use Skype. I won't patronize a company that treats it's employees like that.
21
joshu 7 days ago 0 replies      
They could also have executed their options to purchase the stock...
22
cypherpunks 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen swarms of employees get screwed in ways similar to this. It's not uncommon in Silicon Valley.
23
lanstein 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure I'm not the only one who reviewed their stock grants... (good news :))
12
Sal Khan has started videos about Python youtube.com
318 points by paufernandez  2 days ago   81 comments top 16
1
hebejebelus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, very interesting. Now, I haven't watched any programming-specific videos other than the one linked, but my immediate thoughts were something along the lines of "But you need to know [that a program executes from the top-down] first!" where [] is pretty much everything I know about programming.

But I think that I might be wrong. I think that Sal might be right, and just go. Python is easy enough that some people might pick it up just from following along - not to mention that you don't want to fill people's heads with crazy words they've never heard before. That's only going to stop people from trying to program.

The problem is that I'm a fairly experienced programmer by now, so any thoughts I _do_ have are going to be skewed. I can't look at these videos from a beginner's eyes because my mental model for programming is already set, and no matter how I look at something, I'll try to fit it into my existing model.

Either way, this is fantastic. Absolutely excellent. I think it's wonderful. Honestly cannot shut up about it. I'm going to tell my sister to watch them, just to see what she thinks.

Given that Sal focuses an awful lot of time on getting Khan Academy in schools, this may be the next step in teaching the entire world how to program. I can't wait to see where this leads.

2
Locke1689 2 days ago  replies      
He's just straight up wrong about putting the filename in a comment at the top of the file. It's true: files change names all the time, why make someone change them in two places every time? Moreover, he should be describing the module using PyDoc, not comments.

I'm worried: Sal does not seem like a professional software developer or someone who's done significant software maintenance. Like Visual Basic, he could end up just teaching bad practices that people who watch his videos will just have to unlearn later.

Personally, I'm still going to recommend that people read Learn Python the Hard Way, not watch this video.

3
edw 2 days ago 4 replies      
There was a recent essay taking Khan to task for what the essayist saw as superficiality in Khan's coverage of world history. I am interested to see how the Hacker News community assesses the quality of materials that are related to subjects that are within the areas of expertise of many of us.

On a related note, what many people here found a helpful introduction to Clojure was viewed with circumspection my some in the #clojure Freenode community. Assessing the quality of materials is made even more difficult by the challenge of finding the critics whose opinions are worth paying attention to.

4
shii 2 days ago 3 replies      
thenewboston[1] has owned this space for a little while now and has been doing really awesome vids on things like Python, C++, Java, Obj-C, iPhone dev, PHP, gamedev, Cocos2d, and Adobe CS software.

It's funny because he's coming from the opposite end now, since he's been doing mainly programming and technical content vids and has recently started making series on things like Biology and mathematics, the forte of khanacademy. Pretty awesome to see it all play out.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/user/thenewboston#g/p

5
younata 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like Sal's stuff. I've used his videos on math to review stuff I didn't quite get during a lecture (given the quality of math professors I get, this is often). I've watched his other stuff because they're generally interesting (and really cool, I wish I could draw/write like he can).

I watched the video, and enjoyed it. I'm going to recommend it to my friends. It's rather high quality (not going to talk about the download that goes with it, I didn't look at it), and it gets across a good thing about computer science: You can easily verify the results with your own computer.

I see that their's a lot of criticism on this, but this is already loads better than what current uni students are getting (I just went through my first year of uni, and I can tell you that I've not learned anything [1] in my CS classes).

As I've stated previously, I would recommend this to my friends, as well as to people just getting their feet wet in programming. Good job Sal, you're pretty awesome.

[1] Except for an x86 assembler class. That class had an excellent professor, and I now understand pointer arithmetic.

6
streeter 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is really cool that Sal is trying to do everything himself, but this method does not scale. There is no way he can create the breadth, and more importantly, the depth, needed to cover all the topics a student will learn. As long as Sal continues to produce all the content himself, I believe the Khan Academy will be relegated to complementary and supplementary content.
8
duck 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like the video has been removed...
9
nextparadigms 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't look too much at this, but I've done thenewboston's Python and Java tutorials, and they are AWESOME!
10
neovive 2 days ago 0 replies      
Introduction to programming languages and constructs are a great fit, especially if they emphasize and build upon the concepts discussed in the other videos. Writing and understanding the logic behind the factorial program is a great way to reinforce that concept -- with an introduction to Python as an added benefit. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.
11
espeed 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to try this on my mom :)
12
krmmalik 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wish he would do javascript, would be uber cool if he suddenly had a fascination with Node.js
13
sidman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Sal's material quite abit, well mainly his finance and mathematics material, specially if i need to remind myself of things i did back at uni. I think Sal is most strongest in those areasgiven his background. However looking at the rest of what he produces if your a beginner in any of the topics his stuff is a GREAT place to start. My weapon of choice is actually python so it would be great to see how those tutorials look like :)

Just gotta say great job to Sal though, he spreads his knowledge and i'm sure many people around the world are greatful for it.

14
Ganthor 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone else getting a "This video has been removed by the user" message?
15
mattlong 2 days ago 1 reply      
FYI, looks like the video has been taken down...
16
ved 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vids removed ?
14
SearchYC is shutting down searchyc.com
295 points by chengmi  4 days ago   59 comments top 40
1
edw519 4 days ago 0 replies      
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." - Isaac Newton

I believe there are quite a few of us here at Hacker News that could claim you, Mike and Jerry, as our giants.

Respect.

2
pclark 4 days ago 1 reply      
SearchYC has actually been tremendously valuable to me and my startups in the past. Hacker News is such a treasure trove of information, anecdotes and friends and your service was the gateway to that.

I used SearchYC as my "google for startups" I honestly cannot reiterate how useful your service was. I wish you'd keep it going as I still use it over the Hacker News Search (habit, more features, search within search results, being able to search for specific comments from users, etc etc.)

A friend was having relationship problems in part due to his startup, and I explicitly remember him saying "I looked on SearchYC and found tons of other posts from founders in the same boat" (this was when you had the curated post categories)

Seriously, thanks. (my startup is kind of in crunch at the moment but I had been meaning to reach out to you guys when I saw your service went offline a few weeks ago, i couldn't let you guys go without me - and probably the majority of the community - giving you guys some thanks and credit)

3
patio11 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for creating and maintaining SearchYC these last few years. I used it more than any site except, well, HN. (My apologies for the server load.)
4
timf 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thankyou so much for creating and running SearchYC, sad to see it go. It was a really great resource and well executed!
5
kirubakaran 4 days ago 4 replies      
Instead of shutting down, can't you hand it off to someone? Please!
6
mikeklaas 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would you be willing to release the extensive HN dataset you have collected?
7
ivank 4 days ago 1 reply      
With SearchYC gone, is there still a way to get an RSS feed for a user's comments?
8
brown9-2 4 days ago 0 replies      
SearchYC was an invaluable resource and a great tool - thanks for the work!
9
raju 4 days ago 0 replies      
I echo the sentiment of many other HNers. Thank you for all the great work, and the invaluable resource. I can't count how many times it has served me in the past.

I wish you the very best - I am almost expecting something even more kickass out of you guys soon.

10
dschobel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can't thank you guys enough. If you have a paypal link where we can send you some beer money, I'm sure you'd collect a few rounds worth. Cheers!
11
markbao 4 days ago 0 replies      
SearchYC was no less than kickass. Thank you so much.
12
duck 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sad to see it go. I use it every week when creating my Hacker Newsletter and since it has been down I've had a hard time using HNSearch as effectively. Search really was just one component to it, it also had a great way to browse Ask HN threads.
13
loschorts 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for running searchyc all of these years. It was a tremendously useful service.
14
senthilnayagam 4 days ago 0 replies      
no time adding new feature is OK. but if it is hosting costs, HN users can donate or get a sponsor.

if you want a maintainer, I am willing to takeover from where you are leaving

15
ColinWright 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm deeply unhappy to see you guys close down. My experience is that your results are easier to use and more accurate. Just one instance of an annoyance is here:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2704753

But although I wish you would continue to include SearchYC in your future work, I wish you all the best in whatever you put your time and efforts towards.

16
shii 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing site and resource, thank you so much for your time running it. Really appreciated it.
17
JayNeely 4 days ago 0 replies      
SearchYC has been an invaluable tool for me. It's easily tripled the value I've gotten from Hacker News.

Thank you for all your work on it.

18
yosho 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't know how to rephrase what's already been said so I'll just say it again. Thanks so much for providing an awesome service!
19
omouse 4 days ago 0 replies      
Turn it into free software! It would be invaluable to the community and you would get a hell of a reputation for it I think, especially from hackernews users.
20
hollerith 4 days ago 0 replies      
SearchYC -- particularly the ability to sort results by date -- has been very useful to me.
21
keeptrying 4 days ago 0 replies      
It was a really useful and great tool. I used it a lot. Thank you!
22
paraschopra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I especially loved the Ask HN archives -- they are undoubtedly the best advice for entrepreneurs.
23
jmonegro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this not ironic http://d.pr/x9Ri :)

Seriously though, all the best, and thanks for all the years of good service!

24
drtse4 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks a lot, i lost count of the hours i spent in searchyc searching for old threads, simply great.
25
tstegart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks to everyone involved. It was invaluable.
26
Estragon 4 days ago 0 replies      
What did SearchYC give you over a google search like "site:news.ycombinator.com <search term>"?
27
Typhon 4 days ago 0 replies      
There goes the arc forum search, until, maybe, we get our version of HNsearch.
28
ghostDancer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not going to say nothing new, but it's been really useful for me. Thanks.
29
savrajsingh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe Greplin could swoop in and fill this void. It would be nice of them.
30
fastfinner 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great tool all these years, thank you.
31
karussell 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you still need rss feeds you could use http://jetsli.de launching in ~2 weeks)

You will be able to search for 'geeky news' also on other services than hackernews.

32
ltamake 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for creating this, guys. Any chance you might consider sticking your code on Github?
33
keke_ta 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much for creating SearchYC. I loved it. When I research something, SearchYC is a great resource.
Respect.
34
wallflower 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you!
35
OoTheNigerian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks guys. It helped me on more than one occasion.
36
c4urself 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you!
37
staunch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks guys!
38
brndnhy 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's still the better search interface. Hope you make the code available.

Thanks.

39
40
tamersalama 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank You
15
Dotjs â€" hack the web defunkt.io
300 points by duck  3 days ago   58 comments top 20
1
holman 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've sneakily been using this for months on Hacker News itself- I just .hide() stories past around story #15. More signal, less noise. And it's just jQuery, so it's really easy to whip up.

Bonus points for it being so easy to share, too: https://github.com/holman/holman-js/blob/master/news.ycombin...

2
gue5t 3 days ago 2 replies      
This seems like it's a lot of overhead for what amounts, in terms of capability, to a reimplementation of greasemonkey. It also makes you implement finer controls on execution by url yourself, whereas greasemonkey has them in its syntax. The author states,

"GreaseMonkey user scripts are great, but you need to publish them somewhere and re-publish after making modifications. With dotjs, just add or edit files in ~/.js."

but this caveat is just as strong for files you maintain outside of your browser, and some browsers' implementations of userscripts/greasemonkeylikes actually have a similar filesystem-based model for managing scripts already.

While respectable, I had hoped to be more impressed by a tool that beckons me to "hack the web".

3
rpearl 3 days ago 0 replies      
4
mph 3 days ago 0 replies      
I added CoffeeScript support if anyone's interested.

just change your file extension from .js to .coffee

https://github.com/eightbitraptor/dotjs/commit/20c97774eb29f...

5
oldgregg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm waiting for someone to build a social browser extension on top of something like this. Anyone could submit custom CSS/JS for a website and the most upvoted "theme" automatically gets loaded. Sure the JS security issues might be a nightmare, but the web would look soooo much prettier!
6
omaranto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't Chrome have builtin support for Greasemonkey scripts? How is this better? Is it just the convenience of having jQuery preloaded?
7
tung 3 days ago 0 replies      
See also jsshell[1] for Chrome. Press the button and you can run jQuery-powered JS on the fly, save snippets and run them, even automatically on regex-matched URLs.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/kmgmkbicahmbceidoi...

8
JackWebbHeller 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work! But I had some trouble getting it to run on my Mac.

I think it might be because I use VirtualHostX - http://clickontyler.com/virtualhostx/ - which alters my hosts file. I had to create a host - http://dotjs/ - pointing to my ~/.js/ folder - then edit the Extension JS to point the Ajax to http://dotjs/ instead of http://localhost:3131. A bit of pain but it might just be who this affects.

9
reustle 3 days ago 2 replies      
Requires Ruby? Why...
10
Sym3tri 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a simliar extension for CSS.

It's free in the Chrome store:
http://goo.gl/vWcqr

11
jasonkit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the ruby web server is not necessarily needed, simply change the dotjs.js's content to

$.get(chrome.extension.getURL("script/"+window.location.hostname+".js"), function(script){
eval(script);
});

it will look for the js file in the extension directory instead of the local ruby web server, and this should work for any platform. To take the ~/.js convenience, a symlink in *inx system or shortcut in window will do the job.

12
TheMiddleMan 3 days ago 0 replies      
"GreaseMonkey user scripts are great, but you need to publish them somewhere and re-publish after making modifications."

Publish them where? I don't understand this. Whenever I change a user.js file and save it the browser updates it and it's ready to go next time the page reloads.

Side node: Scriptish is a fork of greasemonkey with many cool extras. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/scriptish/

13
sim0n 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet! Believe it or not I've been actually looking for something like this for Chrome over the past couple of days so this is great.
14
__rkaup__ 3 days ago 1 reply      
The instructions given only work for Mac.
15
blago 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome, exactly what I needed. I was just about to create yet another "inject X.js" bookmarklet.
16
DanielRibeiro 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reminded me a lot of Greasemonkey for FF.
17
antihero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why does this need OSX?
18
meow 3 days ago 1 reply      
Umm.. is there a way to run it on windows :( ?
19
robinduckett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, how is this different to greasemonkey?
20
Brewer 3 days ago 0 replies      
This just made my day, keep up the good work.
16
New Google Web Fonts Interface google.com
296 points by jamesjyu  3 days ago   46 comments top 18
1
thematt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great interface, but the number of fonts is a bit overwhelming to browse through. It would be awesome if you could sort by "most downloaded" or "most used" -- just to get some ideas.
2
tobobo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow - I've never seen a cleaner font browsing interface, and they make using the fonts you look at so easy I didn't even realize I was doing it.

Let's hope the Web Fonts API doesn't go the way of the Translate API, or many webpages will be rendered in incorrect fonts. Horror!!

3
201studio 3 days ago 2 replies      
How many awesome things can Google roll out in a day?
4
cdcarter 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is fantastic! I've been waiting and waiting for Web Fonts to expand, and now I have a lot more choices than Syncopate and Raleway.
5
thedjpetersen 3 days ago 1 reply      
6
ThomPete 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has several flaws.

For it's not consistent. I filtered for Serif and got sans serif in the mix.

But even worse. You can't specify very precisely. For instance if I need a slab serif how do I filter that?

7
StacyC 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice improvement to the interface. I've just recently started using these fonts a bit and I really like the service. The collection is growing too so there's a good variety there. Nice job, Google.
8
hydrazine 3 days ago 0 replies      
Super like! Can't wait to try it. Looks much easier than tinkering with raw CSS.

Edit: 2 lines of code were all I needed to add. Ridiculously easy.

9
JCB_K 3 days ago 1 reply      
I still don't see the point of a service like this. With a tiny bit more work you have them on your own server, and you have all the control. If Google tomorrow decides to stop serving fonts, your design won't be broken.

With some services I understand people rather have it externally has it's a hassle to do it yourself, but @font-face is too easy to not do it.

10
habitatforus 3 days ago 3 replies      
Judging by the other comments, it's just me, but the fonts look worse now. They aren't smooth at all.

Why?

11
rglover 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great update to their existing library. It reminds me a lot of Fontcase and similar font browsing apps. It's great to see that their library keeps growing. Definitely going to make this a first-stop before working on designs from here on out. Thanks, Google.
12
hsmyers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Keeps getting better with each iteration! That said, I'd still like to see some pi fonts and printer's ornaments...
13
scottseaward 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like this a lot. I'd love to see a monospace fonts filter. Although, saying that, it looks to my eye like the only monospace font on there is Inconsolata.
14
lautenbach 3 days ago 0 replies      
anyone have experience using this after typekit? we've been somewhat disappointed with the inconsistency of typekit's rendering lately and are looking for another option...
15
ya3r 3 days ago 1 reply      
They once had some Arabic fonts. Where did they go?

http://i.imgur.com/L5hSF.png

This is a snapshot of their IO's session video.

16
abhaga 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish they would add Indic scripts too!
17
theatrus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Didact Gothic is a nice one for headlines.
18
jackpirate 3 days ago 2 replies      
How is this useful if everyone else hasn't already downloaded those fonts? Everyone has Ariel. That's why it is so popular.
17
Don't be rich, Live rich slideshare.net
296 points by BioGeek  6 days ago   136 comments top 25
1
econgeeker 5 days ago 5 replies      
We've been doing this for three years now. This couple seemed to focus on having a year abroad, we've made it our lifestyle, and we're doing a startup (rather than consulting).

I started this as a response to the "how to keep productive" question, but I'll try to address the other questions people have been asking in the thread later on.

We also have the issue of taking some period of time to get back into the productive zone. What we do is spend the visa limit time in each country. For americans in the UK that is 6 months, for instance. So we rented an apartment for 6 months. In the Shengen zone (most of europe) it is 3 months, and last year we spent 2.5 months in berlin.

In both cases we spent most of the time working a normal lifestyle %90 of the time. After our 2.5 months in berlin we spent a couple weeks traveling as tourists (that's where the other 0.5 months went.)

I figure 2 weeks on either side of a relocation are not going to be productive, so might as well spend half of that time, or so, doing tourist stuff. By having such great breaks regularly, we are recharged and I think more productive when we are working.

The weird thing is, indoors, the only thing foreign really is the outlets... so it feels like we're still in the USA, but then you step outdoors and the language, accents and architecture are completely different. So you can "travel" across the globe every day. It is really hard to explain that feeling but it is pretty powerful.

--
Taxes & Visas-- As far as governments are concerned we're tourists. We present ourselves this way and we get tourist visas. However, for most visas "tourist" and "business" visas are essentially the same. We don't work in any country in the sense that we don't have a job, we don't participate in their employment schemes. We're taxed like americans (the US taxes your income no matter where it is earned).

--
As I mentioned we're doing a startup. (We did one and we're just in the process of pivoting so what the new one is at this point is a little vague.) I don't feel out of the technology scene at all-- I have all the same connections I did before we left, except that I can't go to local unconferneces, but I didn't really get much out of them.

There is one conference that I miss that is done in the USA only, but we started buying the videos for it. Spending hundreds of dollars on conference videos sounds expensive, but it is cheap compared to actually going there (Even from within the USA). I don't really miss the networking opportunities-- and we're now networking with a real international network. EG: we network with the locals wherever we are.

The technology scene really is global.

--
Budget:

This is a big one. This inhibits a lot of people. However, if you've got an income from your work, and savings to get by in the USA, you can get buy longer when you're traveling. Even traveling in expensive first world places like europe, right now, we're able to live on the budget we were living on in the USA. Overall, we're actually spending a bit less, and we spend a lot less when we are living in lower cost places (even places in eastern europe, which are "expensive" compared to southeast asia, are cheep.)

So, we could have remained in the USA, and spent the same amount of money. I don't think we would have gotten any more work done, and we would have had a lot less fun. Plus, as our product is global, better understanding of other countries helps.

--

Health insurance: We have the health insurance we had in the USA. It covers us globally. There are specific health insurance plans that cover long term travelers and we might switch, we just haven't done so yet.

Neither of us are under 30, nor are we over 50.

--

Crazy? You hear a lot of people who knock this idea. Lots of people say "I'd love to do that but I've got responsibilities" or the equivalent.

That's fine... just don't presume we're not doing serious work, we aren't doing a "real" startup or anything lie that. These days startups often have employees spread around the globe... we don't have to carry the whole company with us.

I think people thinks this is harder than it is. Or maybe for some people the idea of living out of a backpack is tough.

Personally, I relish the challenge!

Between my laptop, camera, and assorted stuff, I've got about 7 pounds of clothes etc, and 10 pounds of electronics gear. Every time we-repack, we actually shed some unnecessary stuff. It is a process... but I love it.

2
motters 5 days ago 4 replies      
It sounds nice if you can pull it off, but on the occasions where I've been continually moving from place to place I've found it much harder to actually get anything done. Continual travel adds cognitive and other entropic overheads which deplete your mental and energy real estate.
3
maccman 5 days ago 3 replies      
I've been doing the same for 9 months now. I've travelled round the whole world, had a fantastic time, and wrote a book for O'Reilly as I went. It's been the best year of my life. In fact, it turns out that writing books is one of the best ways to do this - as it's very flexible and a successful book will just about cover traveling costs. What most people don't realize, is how cheap it is to do this.

As always though, everything is best in moderation. I'm yearning to be back in the startup/technology scene - and I will be come September. I'm sure that'll I'll do another trip like this in my twenties though (I'm 21 now).

4
georgieporgie 5 days ago  replies      
What are the best technologies to focus on in order to be mobile/remote?

I've notice that nobody is interested in remote C++ development, and the few people I meet who are doing something like this are in some branch of web development.

5
stevenp 5 days ago 0 replies      
At the beginning of June I went to Chris Guillebeau's first World Domination Summit in Portland, OR (http://worlddominationsummit.com/) and met lots of people who are living like this. I highly recommend going next year (I'm already registered!) if you're interested in learning about the techniques people use for lifestyle design.
6
ilamont 5 days ago 1 reply      
Living abroad in your 20s is an unforgettable experience. I lived in Europe and Asia for most of the 1990s, and still look back wistfully at that time of my life. I gave up some early career "juice" but got so much more out of it.

Note that doing what the OP did is far more difficult if you have children, although it is possible to work stable jobs in a single country for longer stints with kids.

7
rdouble 5 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like fun, but so many people have done this now, it's almost a cliche.

It almost seems more unique to hear about a hacker from NYC documenting a summer working in New Paltz, rather than another story about social media experts working from cafes in Buenos Aires and Thailand.

8
kristofferR 5 days ago 1 reply      
BTW, my favorite podcast is The Lifestyle Business Podcast:
http://www.lifestylebusinesspodcast.com/

The hosts are two guys who have created a million dollar business in the last three years while traveling. Their business is not some bullshit "blog"/earn money by selling tips on how to make money thing, it's a real business that actually sells physical products.

Everybody should check it out. It's a shame that they're charging for the first episodes since it makes it kinda hard to recommend to people (I discovered them before that), but their content is definitely worth paying for. It's probably the best audio-only business content I've heard.

9
wallflower 5 days ago 0 replies      
For inspiration, check out Worldhum and Brave New Traveler:

http://bravenewtraveler.com

http://worldhum.com

10
irahul 5 days ago 2 replies      
> Don't be rich, Live rich.

Why not be rich and live rich. I get the "Live rich" part but that "Don't be rich" is unwarranted.

11
skarayan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Moral of the story: structure your life around things you love. Travel is cool, but not for me long term. I love internet startups and getting better with every new idea/execution. Soon, I will be able to stop consulting and get my cash flow from a self sustained business. In the mean time, I consult to fund me ideas. Life is good.
12
rafski 5 days ago 2 replies      
Not trying to take away from how fantastic and inspiring a story this is, what's with the "check for grants/subsidizing" bit?

Is the ultimate advice "be from a wealthy country that lets you travel on welfare"? :)

13
ori_b 5 days ago 1 reply      
How does this work with respect to visas and the like? I don't imagine that countries like you coming in to work and earn money without paying any taxes.
14
bignoggins 5 days ago 0 replies      
My wife and I are currently doing something similar. Traveling the world (4 continents, 20+ countries). She's working on photography and blogging while I'm developing my own iphone apps. Best decision we've ever made, and haven't looked back since (been on the road for 3 months, currently at an airbnb in Taiwan). My wife keeps a blog at http://www.shenventure.com if you're interested in reading about how we did it.
15
jonmaim 5 days ago 1 reply      
A very useful site to help you find a good city/country is numbeo.com. There you can make cost-of-living comparison between 2 cities.

For example, look at the difference between Lausanne, Switzerland and Bangalore, India (the indian silicon valley!) -> bit.ly/ltwXUf

16
jonmaim 5 days ago 4 replies      
Currently doing it in Bangalore, India! Anymore people/couples doing the same right now?
17
seanharper 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is fascinating, and I would really like to try this at some point. However, I am 30, married and have a 1 year old kid. Does anyone have any similar resources, examples, for people who have done this with kid(s)?
18
jbrains 4 days ago 0 replies      
The most fun part of this lifestyle is being able to say "I'd like to go to Paris again this year", then finding work close enough to Paris to pay for going to Paris. By not needing to squeeze every dollar out of my trips, I can be much more flexible and enjoy the travel more.
19
sjmulder 5 days ago 3 replies      
What's the best way to go about finding places to live for a short time that don't cost an arm, leg and rib?
20
TA662 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is just how I'm hoping to spend most of my 20s.

I did freelance for a while, and I came to the conclusion that I don't really enjoy doing client work, so now I'm working on a startup instead.

Does anybody have experience doing a startup on the road, as opposed to the more common freelancing/blogging/consulting?

My aim is to get my SaaS product(s) to the point of requiring almost zero work. (Everything automated, effective 'help' section to keep the amount support emails as low as possible, etc.)

This seems impossible with freelancing/blogging/consulting, as you'll only be able to lessen the workload so much (i.e. it can't be self-sustaining), whereas depending on the startup you can theoretically get by on just a few hours work per week, while your revenues are still increasing.

21
hetaoblog 5 days ago 0 replies      
interesting experience. for people running personal web business, maybe this is worth trying for some period;
I just started to do something during weekends, hope it can grow big to cover my daily job
22
robertduncan 5 days ago 2 replies      
How does immigration law work for this kind of trip? Do you need a work permit/visa?
23
dennisgorelik 5 days ago 1 reply      
Internet allows "rich live" without actual traveling.

Besides, if you have kids, traveling is much harder / expensive.

24
Tichy 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't the rich way to do it be to buy a yacht and float from place to place?
25
sliverstorm 5 days ago 1 reply      
Beetle? Vintage? That seems to imply "good"...
18
Why mobile apps suck when you're mobile (TCP over 3G) davidsingleton.org
286 points by dps  5 days ago   68 comments top 21
1
kalleboo 5 days ago 6 replies      
There were plenty of wireless-optimized TCP replacements proposed back in the days when WAP and XHTML Mobile were the hottest things around, but none took root as operators, web servers and browsers needed to adopt them in tandem.

Now that smartphone apps are widespread and someone developing a service can control both sides of the connection, there's definitely room for someone to devise a really good TCP replacement (layered on top of UDP) with an iOS library, an Android library, and an Apache mod.

2
dspillett 5 days ago 0 replies      
The problem for those of us on capped and/or expensive-per-kbyte mobile connections (in the UK that is everyone who doesn't spend a large chunk on their monthly contract - people on Virgin pay-as-you-go pat ÂŁ3 for a day's access but IIRC you get cut off after 25Mbytes in that day) with restarting connections early is that the ~20 seconds worth of packets queued up during the blip is going to be sent anyway even though they are now no longer needed. 20 seconds worth of discarded packets could be quite a bit if you were transferring data at decent 3G+ speeds just before the blip.
3
jchrisa 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly what CouchDB, and Mobile Couchbase for Android and iOS, is designed to fix.

Networks are slow. Mobile networks are slower. The most robust fix to the problem is to "optimistically replicate" your application data to the end user's device, so that the network latency does not become part of the user experience.

This is a strong fit for applications like CRM or geographically constrained apps, as the data sets are small enough to fit completely on your devices. For larger data sets the issue becomes: which subset of the data should be copied to the device ahead of time.

The user should never needs to wait on the network. All data operations are played against the local Couch, which handles asynchronously transmitting changes to and from the remote server, in the background. This pattern makes it much easier for app developers to make responsive applications, where users are never left waiting on multi-second round trip times.

4
aristus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's animation of the packets of a Facebook page hit over 3G on a moving bus:
http://vimeo.com/17248120
5
praptak 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like this should be (at least partially) dealt with at the OS level especially if the OS in question is a mobile one.
6
micheljansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I cannot stop thinking how cool it would be if Google actually decides to step in and propose an alternative protocol for mobile networks. If they put it in Android, they already have a huge base for adoption.

Ended up writing a piece on Google because of this on my blog:
http://micheljansen.org/blog/entry/1060

(shameless plug :P)

7
clistctrl 5 days ago 5 replies      
Not that his advice is bad, but these statistics are a bit biased. Trains make for some pretty unusually difficult channel conditions.
8
justincormack 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, suggests a quick fix might be for the client to not use keepalive, or to selectively close connections that are very slow so as to start new ones. Potentially a much easier solution than writing a new transport.
9
rowanseymour 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting and sheds some light on the weird latency issues I see here in Rwanda, where 3G issues aren't limited to being on moving trains. Sometimes pinging shows crazy return times of 30000-60000ms. Other times they're only 200-400ms but every other ping packet times out, i.e. one packet through, next one drops, and so on. Still trying to figure out exactly what's happening then.
10
schiptsov 4 days ago 0 replies      
The much worse problem is DNS. For big networks that pushes always the same two IPs (even without round-robin) it is a disaster. There are lags of servers, lags of network, dropped packets, useless overhead with EDNS and different packet sizes (timeouts and retransmitions) and above all, the practice by content providers and CDNs to use hundreds of changing in real time hostnames to implement load balancing and/or geoIP based assets loading. They use near zero TTLs which makes caching useless and dynamic sets.

Indian Airtel's network is a live example of that disaster. It is almost unusable, while they still actively promoting 3G and iPhones. ^_^

11
warfangle 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would Vint Cerf's recent work on a high-latency network standard for space[0] apply? Would it make mobile more useful? It's designed for latencies of days (not seconds), so it might be overkill. But something to masticate upon...

0. http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/21601/?a=f

12
lukego 5 days ago 1 reply      
Don't worry, our Lisp startup (www.teclo.net) is fixing TCP over mobile networks, it will all be fine soon enough. :-
13
sebandr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in a start up that's developed techniques using UDP to allow someone to roam across wifi - in other words we have managed to reduce the tcp delays and time outs to provide consistent and reliable handoffs between wifi zones and devices - regardless what of the network provider. The technology also allows hot handover between femto and wifi too. Right now we're mostly focused on a mobile app to improve broadband delivery of content to mobile users in shopping malls, commercial zones, etc. but that's low hanging fruit. Eventually we believe that this can be integrated in mobile apps to let others us this for true mobility while running broadband services.
14
kaeso 5 days ago 0 replies      
As an historical note, most of these concerns are the same expressed in RFC 3481 (category: BCP). You'll note from there that some of the issues are still open even if almost a decade has passed.
15
wibblenut 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is partly why I'm so interested in publishing information at the DNS level (i.e. .tel) - you get to use UDP (or TCP failover), plus other awesome benefits. You can do other innovative things with DNS too.
16
etherealG 5 days ago 0 replies      
anyone know what tool I could use to run a similar test?
17
hxf148 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mobile HTML5 apps, the future is the past. :) Check ours out http://infostripe.net
18
dps 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dave Taht points out http://www.bufferbloat.net/ which looks very interesting!
19
willyt 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any way round this for HTML5 apps? I know you can save an app icon on iphone but when you launch it just launches safari which seems to make a network request to check if the site is up to date? (Sorry, I'm a bit naive about all this HTML5 stuff.) e.g. Gmail in safari on iphone is useless when you get long latency situations like this. Is there a way round that?
20
jb55 5 days ago 3 replies      
We should probably get these long round-trip protocol issues ironed out before we build our galactic internet
21
zobzu 4 days ago 0 replies      
SCTP anyone?
19
Google+ Project: It's Social, It's Bold, It's Fun, And It Looks Good techcrunch.com
284 points by philipDS  3 days ago   78 comments top 24
1
icarus_drowning 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm glad there are some significant new features that Google is trying to use as leverage. Group video chat comes to mind as something that most people don't like to deal with, but as an integral part of a social network, I can see it making more sense.

Its clear they've tried not just to 'clone' Facebook, which I appreciate.

2
dfield 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm very excited to try this out. Context (AKA "Circles") is the biggest feature Facebook still hasn't gotten right. By mirroring the way we think about our social graph in real life, Google is making a huge step toward converging Online and Offline identity. It will be very interesting to see how Facebook responds to this... they might finally have a competitor.
3
luu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unlike on Facebook, people do not have to agree to be friends with one another. They can receive someone's updates without sharing their own

So it's like a reverse twitter, where you choose who can follow you?

4
illumin8 3 days ago 3 replies      
If they pull a Wave and only invite users in small groups it is doomed on arrival. This thing needs to be free and massively available like Gmail. Social is not like email - you need wide participation in order for it to succeed.
5
jagbolanos 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have been an anti-wave, anti-buzz but I just tried Google+ and it's great. I think this time Google really can kick FB. Great, simple interface and integrated to my gmail, picasa, contacts, gtalk it is definitely great!

I love the circles philosophy and UX.

One problem is the restriction on invites. Google+ is valuable to me if I can share things with others, just like I do it in FB right now. They have to enable invites soon or the early adopters will get bored and leave forever.

6
jneal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, there are way too many posts on Google+ on HN right now, but I do have an opinion I would like to share and this thread seems to be the most appropriate.

When I first heard the news about Google+ today, my initial reaction was wow, Google is going to fail again. I mean, with Wave, and then Buzz, and I figured this was just another in the line of failures.

However, after looking into it and reading about it, it is actually very cool looking. I look forward to trying it out live when it's ready.

7
katieben 3 days ago 3 replies      
Awesome, can't wait to try it! Circles sounds like just what everyone wants. I think I'd switch to any half-decent social network made by Google. I do hope they provide a way to use the Facebook data export to make switching easy.
8
thirdsun 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to admit that the stuff shown on Googles demo page looks really good. I really appreciate the focus on social circles as I really don't want to share everything with everyone but rather address different groups of friends.

Overall this seems to be very well thought through with some fresh ideas.

9
Ryanmf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook launched at schools not called Harvard the Summer preceding my freshman year of college. It went live at my school a few weeks into that first semester. I enjoyed it immensely and observed it carefully, but sometime in 2007 it really began to wear on me. Later, (~2 or 3 years ago) I more or less withdrew from using it altogether.

Circles addresses something like 70% of my gripes with Facebook. Of course, we still haven't seen Google successfully build a social network, so nothing's really been addressed until everyone joins the party (or doesn't). Google+ looks interesting though.

Too bad my primary Google account is my Apps account for my primary domain, and since Apps accounts don't have associated Profiles anymore, I don't get to play. Then again, I'm still dealing with the fallout of the transition to "The New" Google Apps, having already used my domain email as a Google account to sign up for really exotic things like Google Reader, so perhaps I don't need yet another new plaything at the moment.

I will add that I think the Huddle and Hangout components may offerâ€"in the case of the formerâ€"good competition both on Android and in general to iOS Messaging/BBM (the only hang-up that has me short of sold on iOS messaging is people don't yet think of their Apple IDs as communication accounts/channels, their Gmail accounts on the other hand...), andâ€"in the case of the latterâ€"someone not only to compete with Foursquare, but perhaps to answer the question from normal folks: Why "check in" anywhere to begin with? (Because you've arrived at the "anywhere" you just "Huddled" over meeting at, your phones already know it, and if you acknowledge their requests to "Hangout" together, even more of your friends may show up. Or something. That last part's a little hazier for me. What if you want to broadcast to the world that you're enjoying your new favorite tea spot, but you don't want to say which 5 people you're with and risk persons 6 and 7 whom were specifically not invited showing up? In any event it seems to me a more human workflow than "Go places, check in, get points/kittens/whatevr."

10
Pistos2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd have to see these Circles in action, but if they're what I think they are (e.g. you'd make a "Work" circle, a "Family" circle, a "Casual Acquaintance" circle, etc.), then Diaspora has that concept: They call them "aspects". I must admit, "circle" seems like a better term than "aspect", though.
11
terinjokes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ironically, the "Keep Me Posted" page has Javascript blocked by Chrome.
12
zephjc 3 days ago 4 replies      
Thing's I noticed trying out the demo:

- You can only have add a person to one "circle". If I wanted to add someone to two or more, I'm SOL. Maybe they will change this.

- A "circle" can only contain a certain number of users before it runs out of room. I haven't seen how it deal with this - does it shrink the circles as you add more? What happens if there are 500 people in one, would they be a bunch of 1 x 1 pixel dots? Or does the circle just say "You can't add any more people"?

13
ChrisArchitect 3 days ago 1 reply      
it feels so closed off. Silo'd. Makes me shudder.
14
rch 3 days ago 1 reply      
If G+ knows individuals, then search results served to other known (or unknown) individuals could reflect the subject individual's 'circles' settings. Ergo, individuals in general have a significant, possibly material, incentive to take part in G+ to the greatest extent possible.

search > social

15
rektide 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really excited I don't have to build my own XMPP Muji client[1]. Hang-outs are something I've wanted for a long long time; passive virtual spaces. Goonfleet used to go crazy with Stickam, but it was more event oriented, less passive. Hopefully this can be a good marker in helping people actually communicate and build community over the net, v. individual play.

[1] http://telepathy.freedesktop.org/wiki/Muji

16
johnrob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently another feature was to automatically set your gchat status to "available". That explains why I got a bunch of messages yesterday morning.
17
makthrow 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very bad marketing here. Whoever chose the name "Google+" should be fired. First, the name confuses people with google's +1 button. Second, what does "+" have anything to do with a social network? It gives you no information at all about the service. They should have called it "google circles" and emphasized that Google Circles let you compartmentalize your social network, as opposed to facebook.
Bam, instant differentiation. Instead we have a product that tries to do too much and needs a demo to make people understand.
18
lparry 3 days ago 1 reply      
I see they're using their 'winning' wave strategy again.

1. launch a social platform, but restrict signups to the point where nobody with access has any contacts on the service

2. keep it locked down until the buzz/hype is all gone

3. open it up to everyone and let them wonder why there was any buzz/hype in the first place

If they dont let early adopters use the platform and give the crucial early feedback, they might as well throw in the towel now.

19
hollerith 3 days ago 1 reply      
I might delay learning anything about Google+ until I have some evidence that Google is not going to kill it in a few months :)
20
olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope it won't be blocked in China.
21
MetallicCloud 3 days ago 1 reply      
> "Everyone has high-speed networks these days"

Oh really? Tell that to a bunch of my friends who are either forced onto dial up, or 1.5Mb internet.

Not everyone lives in a big city.

22
genericbrandx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone want to wager when Google Mindmaps will debut?
23
rektide 3 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't heard anything about API's or developers.

Another annoying case of "do no evil" not implying anything about actually pushing the state forward or helping. I'm not altogether that interested in the greater of the two silos, although I am excited by a state of play other than facebook moseying down the field palming the ball in one hand.

24
presty 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what huddle.com has to say about Google's Huddle..
20
Google+ Demo google.com
275 points by cskau  3 days ago   76 comments top 23
1
kyro 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm really looking forward to trying this out, and here's why:

With Facebook, I felt as if I was on this huge football field with all of my 'friends.' I could lean in to whisper with a friend here and there, or even put on some face paint and huddle together with like-faced friends to form a group. But everyone could still see me, and I could see them â€" I just had to peer down the field. I can't really say things to my group that I'd normally say in private because with all these people on the field with me, someone would certainly overhear us!

With Google+ the structure is different. Rather than a field, it's more like a big building with many rooms. Each room can be decorated and tailored to a specific group of friends who hang out there. Best part is once I'm in the room, I can close the door and be myself! I can go up two levels, change hats, and walk into a different room.

tl;dr Google+ lets me fully engage my various social sides, whereas Facebook never really let you as you were always in the eye of the public.

Edit: One thing I did notice that I wish they would change is that it seems as if a friend can only be placed into one circle. Often times there's a lot of overlap among my social circles and friends may be part of at least two different groups.

2
Dove 3 days ago 2 replies      
This looks to me like Don't Be Evil showing up as a competitive advantage. Facebook seems want my data and my network for its own exploitation; Google seems to actually be thinking about what's best for me.
3
markbao 3 days ago 2 replies      
Really well done, interactive demo.
4
mattwdelong 3 days ago 7 replies      
A little tangent here, but does anyone else find it increasingly difficult to manage multiple sessions on the Google platform?

I keep having difficulty not knowing which google account I'm logged into, having issues enabling/disabling features before I have access to a feature X and then, I find out feature X is not available with google apps hosted account; but it's available with my gmail account.

There really isn't a solution other than using chrome, incognito window and n browsers per google account. I sure it's a minority of the google user base having this issue, or I'm sure it would be dealt with. Anyone else experience this, and have a solution? I'm just short of abandoning data in all my accounts but one, and moving everything over to it (and forward emails).

5
andrewguenther 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are several reasons I am hopeful for this.

1. It looks CLEAN
While in my opinion one major reason Facebook ended up beating out Myspace was its wonderful interface, I feel like recent renditions have just lost that simplicity. I want connecting with my friends to be simple, not a bombardment of Farmville updates and a poorly designed messaging system.

2. Sparks
Hopefully Google will succeed where Facebook has failed in actually making keeping track of your interests, well...interesting.

3. Circles
Friend management in Facebook has always been one of my biggest complaints, Circles seems to be a legitimate approach to making organizing your friends a little bit more intuitive.

I am very excited to see Google+ roll out to the masses, and I do hope it is successful. Not because I want it to take Facebook down, but I think it wouldn't hurt to make them break a little sweat and think about their users a bit more.

6
v21 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's the best web demo I've ever seen. I'm a jaded person, but I clicked on all the things and did all the stuff and felt pride at using their (impressively easy) interface. Serious unexpected design chops from Google!
7
kno 3 days ago 4 replies      
I think one of main Google problem is Brand Fatigue, people are tired of Google this and Google that. Why not call it friend something or give it a generic name like Baboo, Facebook or something fresh that will give the impression that it is something new.
8
Vraxx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I'd be open to trying this JUST for the circles. Too many times I've had to restrain myself from posting certain things because of the wide range of "friends" I have on facebook.
9
JanezStupar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I adamantly insisted through the whole Facebook is a Google killer period, that when Google decides and turns its eye towards FB's turf - they won't be able to compete. For two simple reasons:

1. Google has more of everything.
2. When Google commits to something they don't give up after a failed attempt. They learn and come back meaner and badder.

What I like about this service is that it offers (not in beta mind you) actual value as it seems. And I mean that in a productivity sense, not just vanity shots and addictive "click like an automaton" games.

I believe that it is time for someone to hire me as a strategist.

10
RyanMcGreal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bad sign:

> 404. That's an error.

> The requested URL /intl/en-GB/+/learnmore/notifyme.html was not found on this server. That's all we know.

11
rheide 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can't put 1 friend into 2 circles? Great job on simplifying my social life..
12
earle 3 days ago 4 replies      
Flash instead of HTML5.......
13
Pistos2 3 days ago 1 reply      
The "Keep Me Posted" button brings me to

https://www.google.com/intl/en-GB/+/learnmore/notifyme.html

which is a 404. I had to manually delete "-GB" to get a 200.

14
whatever_dude 3 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever can make them close down Orkut faster, I'm down.
15
signa11 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is very nice, although seems to be overlapping with couple of independent offerings. to me, for example, sparks == instapaper, instant-upload == path/color etc.
16
vibrunazo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm specially interested in the potential of a developer API for this new Google Sparks. Since users explicitly list their interests. If google let's developers access user's interest graph with AppEngine. Then we can do some really really cool customized user experience with it.

My brain is going crazy with ideas after reading about this. Just imagine the possibilities... hmmmmm :)

17
fastfinner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yesss, finally I'll be able to get off Facebook! Even though I use Facebook lists, circles seems a lot simpler and functional. For me, photos, and comments and discussions generated off photos is really important, so I need a social network that my friends are also on. The only other service that all my friends share is GMail, so this is really great.
18
kylemaxwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very slick use of Google Maps underlying tech, it looks like. Similar to Prezi, too.
19
alorres 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. The circle groups and the group chat is awesome. But I'm wondering how many groups you'd be able to create (would there be a limit?) and how the center stage of group chat works? It said in demo that the person talking or the loudest would be center but what if 3+ people hit the same volume level, or if like tinychat, there are multiple people talking? Would love to get a reply from someone in Google+ beta.
20
mitrick2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tried to add myself to the waitlist, and got a 500 server error. When the waitlist fails, it doesn't inspire confidence.
21
bennesvig 3 days ago 0 replies      
The functionality feels really similar to Prezi.
22
curiousfiddler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Loved the hangout feature. Really!
23
crag 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good luck. When my grandma joins I'll take a look. She's on Facebook. ;)
21
AWS drops bandwidth pricing amazon.com
266 points by werner  2 days ago   93 comments top 21
1
rkalla 2 days ago 2 replies      
Making all in-bound traffic free is a super-aggressive (and much appreciated) move.

As blhack pointed out Voxel's per-GB rate[1] before AWS dropped was extremely competitive, but they charge for in and out-bound data. AWS, after the 1st of July will only charge $0.12 for out-bound data and $0.00 for inbound data, effectively making it something like $0.06/GB compared to Voxel (I'm hand-waving this a bit to make a point).

Also as wiradikusuma pointed out, this comes right on the heals of Google's App Engine pricing structure change[2] to be more business-friendly (read: more expensive/more predictable billing) that upset smaller shops and individuals.

As someone who reads most of the AWS forums every night, I would say overall that Amazon seems to be responding more quickly to low level failures that used to run rampant on the system (although US-EAST still has more failures than any other region. I guess due to overload). They seem like they are hitting faster/smoother, sounds like a good time to push forward and grow which I imagine this move will help do.

Getting a little excited to see what the price decrease for per-GB billing on S3 will be in the coming months following this up (my assumption).

[1] http://www.voxel.net/pricing

[2] http://www.korokithakis.net/posts/app-engine-pricing-changes...

2
timf 2 days ago 0 replies      
The pricing change is better understood with the tables here which include a "previous" column:

http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2011/06/aws-lowers-its-pricing-ag...

3
sriramk 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is probably a move in response to Windows Azure dropping its inbound data transfer rates to zero last week. When I was back in Windows Azure, we would often see AWS try to do a price-match whenever we changed prices drastically.
4
zmmmmm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm blown away. This radically changes the cost for one of my core products (automated browsing from EC2 machines). I've thought for a long time that EC2 was getting comparatively very expensive for bandwidth (simply not decreasing their prices). I thought they would have to change it, but I didn't expect free!
5
blhack 2 days ago 2 replies      
For another comparison, voxel.net (which serves imgur):

http://www.voxel.net/pricing

$0.10/GB up to 40TB

$0.07/GB up to 500TB

$0.05/GB >500TB

This looks like the cheapest "real" CDN I've seen. Awesome :) Not that I need it [yet], but here's to hoping :)

6
nigelsampson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this was in reaction to the same pricing change from MS Azure http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2011/06/22/anno...
7
Rickasaurus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon is now the #1 choice for web scrapers everywhere :)
8
werner 2 days ago 1 reply      
My blogpost w background information: http://wv.ly/iLDaqu
9
orijing 2 days ago 3 replies      
Dropbox must be super happy that half their bandwidth costs have disappeared!
10
tzs 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is big. It makes it a lot cheaper for a busy site to keep an up to date mirror at Amazon on standby for use in emergencies.
11
latch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't even remember what the old pricing was. For the first (non-free tier), was it at 0.18? 0.12/gb is getting pretty cheap for non-bulk bandwidth of this quality.

edit

above poster has link showing it was 0.15

12
wiradikusuma 2 days ago 0 replies      
this should put some pressure on recent Google App Engine price increase (fingers crossed)
13
MaxGabriel 2 days ago 1 reply      
For someone inexperienced in this market, why wouldn't they just say free? I've never heard someone sell something for "$0.00"
14
kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
The timing for this Django deployment script couldn't have been better: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2700120.

I was going to look into deployment scripts for App Engine, but Amazon makes it more compelling to use AWS.

15
MrAlmostWrong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everytime I see a price drop my first though is always, "I wonder how much this increases Dropbox's revenue?"
16
chaselee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now if only Google App Engine would follow suit...oh wait they raised prices =/
17
neworbit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good lord, about time. Why was incoming bandwidth ever on the list?
18
Joakal 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is bandwidth pricing higher in Asia despite bandwidth rates there being among the highest in the world?
19
anamax 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how soon/if tarsnap will update their pricing.
20
nhoss2 2 days ago 2 replies      
ooh "AWS drops bandwidth pricing" come on please be true! darn it just inbound.
21
aolnerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're looking for even cheaper bandwidth for streaming audio. Can anyone recommend a vendor to provide 150mbit+ bandwidth on a vps platform or rented server platform?
22
Paper.js â€" The Swiss Army Knife of Vector Graphics Scripting paperjs.org
261 points by hakim  4 days ago   41 comments top 13
1
haberman 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why implement vector graphics on Canvas when you could use SVG?

EDIT: Seems to be answered in the FAQ: "We have decided to use the Canvas object as the main backend for now because it is faster than SVG and allows us to implement and optimize our own Scene Graph / Document Object Model. We will be offering SVG (and hopefully PDF) importing and exporting in the future."

But it seems hard to believe that doing vector->bitmap rasterization in JavaScript is going to be faster than using the browser's SVG implementation (written in C++).

2
gruseom 4 days ago 1 reply      
Regarding vector graphics performance, there's a weird way to use SVG that is sometimes much faster than Canvas: use string concatenation to build up a huge blob of SVG markup and then splat it into the browser all at once by setting innerHTML on an SVG element. We rely on this trick for UI performance in our web app. In fact, we do it on every scroll and/or mousemove. The amount of computation you can get away with in JS without noticeably slowing down the renderer is nothing short of astonishing.

Given how clunky SVG can be, it's surprising that this technique works so well. I believe the performance gain comes from batching everything you want to render into a single ginormous round trip between JS and native code. With Canvas, you don't have that option, so you have to cross the grand canyon with every call. The equivalent in SVG would be making a series of tweaks to the SVG DOM, and that's even slower. Much better to rebuild the entire DOM yourself in text and overwrite the old one.

As a bonus, you can take the same approach in IE using VML. Though the markup is different, the SVG and VML models are close to isomorphic - not close enough to abstract over without an annoying impedance mismatch, but much closer than either is to Canvas. Thus this technique affords a good way to get graphics performance out of both the modern browsers (SVG) and the pre-9 IEs (VML) for as long as the latter are around.

3
maresca 4 days ago 2 replies      
Has anyone used both this and raphaeljs? How do the two compare on features, browser compatibility, performance, etc?
4
fedorabbit 4 days ago 1 reply      
default smoothing example uses 52% - 62% CPU at run time on my macbook pro i7 duo core 2.66GHz laptop. Bouncing ball uses 100% on average. Pretty cool script! it makes a good example what today's browser is capable of.
5
aarondf 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Mona Raster, made with Paper.js

http://d.pr/Oa4n

[EDIT] Slightly sharper eyes.

6
kleiba 4 days ago 2 replies      
That website makes my CPU sweat.
7
fomojola 4 days ago 2 replies      
Internet Explorer compatibility, anyone? I mean, I'm as much in favor of the latest and greatest as the next man, but...

RaphaelJS has IE covered.

8
noduerme 4 days ago 1 reply      
proce55ing is great for what it is / does, but there's a large gap between that and building functional games and animations, which isn't addressed by their screen graph model (nor this one). At issue, and missing, are parent-child relationships in which transformations and mouse events can be factored or transmitted up or down a display chain in the screen graph. To my knowledge, the only existing library that does this on Canvas is StrikeDisplay (strikedisplay.blogspot.com). In general, the ability to do that doesn't impinge on the ability to use native canvas vector functions in any way; but it simplifies the mixture of vector and raster images for animation, and acts as a better tool to let coders focus on the game they're trying to build rather than the intricacies of the canvas processing -- or to step it up, the raster and/or vector transformations -- behind something like:

var a = new Sprite();
var b = new Sprite();
a.addChild(b);
b.x = 100;
a.rotation = 45;

Which ideally should rotate both a and b by 45 degrees clockwise, with b offset in the rotation around a's axis by 100 px.

9
laughinghan 4 days ago 0 replies      
The obvious comparison is with Raphael.js (raphaeljs.com)

Wouldn't it be great if someone did all the RaphaelJS examples in PaperJS, and vice versa, so we could compare performance and ease of use?

10
emiranda 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone happen to know where I can find general information on implementing something like this? http://paperjs.org/examples/chain/ I'm interested in implementing this mechanic in Flash (for a game). I looked through the source code and it seems like a lot of code just to get to the point. Hoping to find something more basic that I can port over.
11
mhd 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still miss Display Postscript.
12
Shana 4 days ago 0 replies      
Q-anyone have comparisons to the processing.js (processing) wrap?
13
florin_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
any 3d on canvas?
23
IBM develops 'instantaneous' memory, 100x faster than flash engadget.com
260 points by alvivar  2 days ago   34 comments top 10
1
rkalla 2 days ago 6 replies      
Whenever I see announcements like this, I try and cap my enthusiasm -- I think reading about solid-state-drives in the 90s and not getting them until... well the last 2 years, I have learned to be cautious with falling in love.

THAT being said, this article suggests mass-production on a timeline of 5-years (give or take) along side other innovations like Intel's 50Gbps Thunderbolt.next() [1]

I'm really gunning for the world not ending Dec 2012 now; I want to see this stuff in a desktop PC ;)

Aside: It is fun to think about what changes to current industries would occur when computing power becomes insignificant -- for example, video editing/production, video games, voice recognition, security, etc.

Just in our industry, with the cost of a GB dropping to damn near $0.00, the first thing we saw was an explosion of apps dealing with huge data sets -- something previously only done by a few select mega-corps.

Anyone, just speculation and fun at this point.

[1] http://www.engadget.com/2011/04/29/intel-touts-50gbps-interc...

2
InclinedPlane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Faster than flash, much higher write-cycle lifetime than even SLC flash, if these hold up in mass production it'll be like christmas for everyone.
3
ajays 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wasn't IBM also responsible for bringing the Giant Magneto-resistive (GMR) technology to the spinning disk drives, thereby increasing their capacity many-fold? It looks like they'll do the same to flash with this PCM memory.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

PS: Did anyone else notice the gratuitous mention of "cloud computing" in the press release? :-D

4
jacques_chester 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would have preferred a straight-bat presentation, rather than the strained hangover jokes.
5
Joakal 2 days ago 3 replies      
To differentiate it from RAM, the word is PRAM.

More: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Phase_change_...

6
DharmaSoldat 1 day ago 0 replies      
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with technology like this when it gets combined with others such as graphene, memristors, etc.

I agree with rkalla that tempering one's hopes towards it is probably the way to go, but it's always nice to see someone pushing the envelope.

7
stupidhurts 2 days ago 2 replies      
incidentally, does anyone know how close memristor cells are to mass production?
8
zwieback 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aren't the wear-out numbers for flash understated? I seem to remember that the flash I've worked with is in the tens to hundred thousand cycles already but maybe that's not what's in consumer products?

Also would be interesting hear about power consumption for read and write.

9
maeon3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now the bottleneck will be the CPU in a huge way. Intel we need a few orders of magnitude faster processors now!
10
jvandenbroeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's time to buy some IBM shares
24
The Tale of OpenGL vs. Direct3D stackexchange.com
256 points by tilltheis  2 days ago   33 comments top 13
1
brudgers 2 days ago 2 replies      
Though well written, I think the article misses an important point. Microsoft designed Direct3D with games in mind and the culture surrounding OpenGL gave priority to productivity applications for engineering and design as is appropriate for something that was developed by Silicon Graphics.

The characterization of Microsoft being disorganized because they were working on OpenGL at the same time as Direct3D is a direct result of misunderstanding this difference. Microsoft had to address to entirely different markets: gamers for whom high frame rates were much more important than fidelity and engineers for whom accurate rendering was important (Even today, high end graphics cards for Windows workstations run OpenGL.)

[http://www.nvidia.com/object/autocad_pd_perf_drivers.html]
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quake_engine#Reducing_3D_comple...]

3dLabs involvement with the development of improvements to OpenGL is symptomatic of OpenGL's emphasis on fidelity in rendering and the legacy of SGI from whence it evolved. The slow pace was perfectly acceptable to a group of serious people who care about standards and don't care about games.

3dLabs is also an example of the distinct segmentation of the consumer and engineering market for graphic cards in the PC market. The second PC I inherited in my first CAD job had was a 386 with an Nth Engine B752 - you could have built a kickass gaming system for the price of the card alone but it wouldn't put much of a dent in the price of an Iris.

[http://www.thecomputerarchive.com/archive/Displays/Video%20C...

Keep in mind that back in the 1990's all sorts of consumer grade graphic card craziness was going on in Windows boxes - e.g. VESA local bus [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VESA_Local_Bus] and the volume of new Windows machines was exploding and many of them were running graphically intensive games.

2
marshray 2 days ago 2 replies      
The moderate experience I have with OpenGL confirms this explanation. However, it sort of misses the point. The author may be a bit too close to OpenGL to judge the relative significance of the all the historical details he knows.

Take a step back:

A) There's no way in hell Microsoft would allow OpenGL to take the lead from Direct3D on Windows and Xbox. They would wield the carrots and the sticks to prop up Direct3D (and perhaps even disadvantage OpenGL) if it ever came down to it.

B) OpenGL is a success by any objective measure. Nearly every platform except Windows and Xbox uses it exclusively. E.g. mobiles. Game consoles may have dedicated APIs but I'm sure there's a better OpenGL compat layer than a Direct3D.

Recently I've developed some code on Linux for OpenGL 3.3 with GLSL and it is awesome.

3
latch 2 days ago 3 replies      
As if Glide never existed

In all seriousness, I did 1 graphics programming course back in the day, and it was pretty insane. This was all in OpenGL. The amount of code required to draw the simplest scene was massive. I seem to remember there's a built-in teapot primitive, and I ended up just using that to construct everything (yes, there are simpler built-in primitives, but none nearly as cool as a teapot). I didn't do very well in that course.

4
ANH 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another thing that isn't exactly helping OpenGL is Apple's slow creeping adoption of recent versions. I'm running the latest Snow Leopard and my code is reporting OpenGL 2.1.

I'm not really blaming Apple. I mean, on top of the core version they've implemented about 100 extensions with names like GL_ATI_separate_stencil, GL_NV_fragment_program2, GL_ARB_instanced_arrays, etc.. But the OpenGL 4.1 specs were released a year ago and I've got 3D code that runs significantly faster when I boot into Windows. Exact same hardware, but it's OpenGL 2.1 (+ extensions) vs. Direct3D 9.

5
goalieca 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia also has an extensive page on this topic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct...
6
Impossible 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is probably the most accurate view of the history of OpenGL vs. Direct3D I've seen on the internet. It goes into the actual implementation details of why OpenGL or D3D have been more or less popular for games\graphics programming over the years. Also follows my personal adoption of the APIs for projects pretty closely. Most other comparisons are too political or anti-MS, and are often written by people that have limited (if any) experience with Direct3D.
8
barrettcolin 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a complement, Chris Hecker has kept some of his notes regarding OpenGL vs. Direct3D around:

http://chrishecker.com/OpenGL

It seemed quite important at the time that he- who begat WinG, which begat DirectX, some of which is covered in Renegades of the Empire, which someone else mentioned, which is certainly worth reading- went on to agitate for OpenGL over Direct3D. Now there's kind of a scrapheap of history vibe off of the whole thing.

9
rvkennedy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article misses one of the more interesting recent developments - that via OpenGL ES, GL is effectively doing an end-run around the whole Direct3D roadblock. As several posters have mentioned, GL ES is the standard in all the major mobile platforms. Now WebGL is threatening, not without some MS pushback, to become the standard for native 3D on the web.

Almost by default - simply because DX is a Windows/Xbox technology, and these platforms (particularly Windows, but also the traditional consoles) are fading - and GL is ruling the new world of games - online games, Facebook games, web and so on.

It's rare indeed on HN to see much talk of Microsoft's continuing dominance, because in the web/tech world, that dominance doesn't exist. Games are changing too. And it's games we're talking about here - OpenGL has always run the show in serious applications of 3D, and that shows no signs of abating.

10
deathwarmedover 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel a lot less ignorant of all that was going on behind the scenes whilst I was rocket-jumping, exploring black mesa, destroying diablo's soulstone, driving around liberty city etc
11
Fuzzwah 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a gamer all I knew was that Quake ran fast and Monster Truck Madness was framey as hell on my box. Thus I knew that OpenGL was good and Carmack was god and D3D was terrible.
12
gavanwoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just wrote about this recently, although with more focus on Microsoft's mistakes post DirectX 9.0:

http://altdevblogaday.com/author/gavan-woolery/

:)

13
spydum 2 days ago 0 replies      
slow clap
25
How to take advantage of Redis just adding it to your stack antirez.com
250 points by antirez  4 days ago   52 comments top 13
1
bretthopper 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've read about Redis before and heard how companies are using it, but never completely understood it's purpose. After reading this I can actually say I understand Redis now and how it's useful. Amazing that after hearing so much about it all it took was a relatively simple article.
2
bretthoerner 3 days ago 1 reply      
We use a ton of Redis, but I think the main takeaway from this article applies to all "NoSQL databases".

The "movement" is about polyglot persistence and not leaving RDBMS completely. Pull pain points out into something that's a better fit. Rinse and repeat.

3
true_religion 3 days ago 1 reply      
What I get from this is that Redis is so powerful that its best to not use it as a simple read-cache where the database is still the cannonical source.

Its better to use it as the write-cache for complex datasets with the database being the backup.

4
jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Resque and redis-store are like auto-adds for almost any Rails project I work on these days.

Resque is for background jobs (with many add-ons for locking, scheduling, retries, etc.), and redis-store is a drop-in store for Rack::Session, Rack::Cache and Rails.cache. Easy and super fast.

5
mickeyben 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very good article: there is some good exemples on how you could use Redis.

We just added it to our stack for caching and storing sessions.

It's blazing fast !

We're now trying to use it for different other purposes; autocompletion, counting and ab testing.

6
randito 3 days ago 2 replies      
In your first example, you use redis to cache the id's of the latests comments, with a fallback to SQL in order to populate the list. However, you still need to call the DB to load the comments. I don't see the gain here.

Yes, you've replaced a "select * from comments order by created_at limit 10" with a "select * from comments where id in (list_of_ids_from_redis)".

Wouldn't you cache the comment models in a top-10 list?

7
geuis 3 days ago 2 replies      
What are some inexpensive cloud options to run redis for large data sets up to say a gb or so?
8
rch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if hdf5 would be an acceptable optional replacement for the current Redis disk format?

I have a console app that's backed by Redis (in much the same manner as described in this post), but I save my sessions to h5 when I switch between datasets. That means I need to combine the Redis data with my app data and export -- I do this using two separate h5 files, with with the appropriate links.

It would be nice (for me anyway) if I could do a Redis-native save, and move the resulting file. That would also improve my startup times when I reverse the process.

But, while h5 is nice for My data, I can't say it would be any good for generic Redis data...

thoughts?

9
Joakal 4 days ago 2 replies      
Would it help game servers to run it with Redis? Like say, a FPS or RTS server.

I'm not sure of the typical game server stack though.

10
datadon 3 days ago 0 replies      
These little fixes are how I got into Redis and a month or so later, it's a primary data store (with disk based fall back) and I find myself doing 99% of aggregation and temporary storage operations with it.

Really great tool for the belt.

11
ww520 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyway to use Redis in App Engine setting? Or does Google have similar service in App Engine?
12
pg_bot 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great example of how to promote adoption of a new technology. More companies should pay attention to how their product can be used rather than what their product is.
13
va_coder 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm looking forward to the book
26
Goodbye Basecamp, This Is The End christianjung.com
248 points by railsjedi  7 days ago   96 comments top 24
1
spolsky 7 days ago  replies      
The 37signals ethos of having an opinion and saying no a lot creates wonderful experiences and products for users who are new to a certain field. For someone who is new to project management, for example, the fancy programs with every feature and option are confusing and scary. Products like Basecamp are beautiful for these users.

As users gain more experience, their needs become slightly more complex. They start to understand the simple product completely, and then they have the cognitive ability to understand more fancy bells 'n' whistles. For users who have been doing project management for a long time with any software product, they will have a long list of things that they know -- from experience! -- that they need.

That is why there's a market for simple and there's a market for full-featured. Both are discrete markets, usually. Obviously every software designer strives for "power made easy" -- it seems easy at first, but there is power under the hood when you need it.

2
ianterrell 7 days ago 4 replies      
I think Jason Fried and DHH might take issue with, "You proved yourself wrong, I think."

In addition to "Say no by default," one of their other points of advice has been: "Let your users outgrow you."

37signals has found that there's more people to sell to at the bottom, and when customers need/want more, they're free to find it elsewhere.

3
atacrawl 7 days ago 0 replies      
I was expecting the author to say something to the effect of "37signals added too many new features and now the software is confusing." So I was a little surprised to read on and learn that, no, 37signals kept their software somewhat basic, just as they said they would.

I have a feeling the author will write a similar piece in a year or two after using Podio -- no software is perfect.

4
tokenadult 7 days ago 7 replies      
I'd really like to hear from hackers organizing their projects what software in this category they like best. I have liked Basecamp as a framework for sharing do-list items with colleagues (most of my colleagues and I work independently of face-to-face meetings most of the time) but I am willing to learn about other products or service. Efficency is key. What do you recommend to do best what Basecamp does?
5
nhangen 7 days ago 1 reply      
Just left Basecamp for Apollo for a few reasons:

1. Apollo has great customer service, and listens.
2. Apollo's interface doesn't look like Windows NT
3. Apollo is moving forward, while Basecamp seems to have stagnated/rested on its laurels.

I think Basecamp is a good product, but it's not that good.

6
kenjackson 7 days ago 0 replies      
Refering to a Robert Scoble post while accusing DHH of being on insider bubble is really hilarious. There is no one more in the bubble than Scoble, and no one who is more blinded by the fact that he's in the bubble than Scoble.

DHH was fundamentally right, even if the details were wrong. For 99.9% of apps there is a replacement app available on any of the mainstream phone platforms. The long tail maybe gets you a bit more polish, but its polish on non-core scenarios. Most people will decide based on the polish for their core scenario, not on Textalyzer.

7
richardw 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a story of success, not failure. He used BC and loved it for almost 6 years. I'd be very impressed if the next product Christian uses fulfills all his project management needs for the next 6.
8
trustfundbaby 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'm just glad somebody said something about their prices ... they're ridiculous now.
9
imbriaco 7 days ago 1 reply      
For those who say that 37signals has allowed Basecamp to stagnate, I'd trot out as exhibit A the changelog: http://basecamphq.com/changes

Being very deliberate about making sweeping changes to an application with an extremely large number of very satisfied users is not the same as allowing it to stagnate. Having spent 4 years of my life working at 37signals I know first hand the incredible amount of energy that is devoted to it by an extremely talented team.

That said, it's certainly not for everyone. And if you outgrow it, fantastic, feel free to move onto a new product that suits you better. We do this with many other aspects of our lives, why should software be any different?

10
bborud 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was introduced to Basecamp through a project I was invited to contribute to. Before I had heard about the product, but I had never used it and as far as I can tell I wasn't significantly biased for or against the product or the company that made it.

However, within days I came to hate Basecamp intensely. Not so much because it imposed certain structures and ways of working -- discomfort is to be expected when you learn a new tool. And, of course, sometimes, it turns out you can learn better ways to work from tools that force you into certain ways.

No, what made me hate Basecamp with a passion is that the thing is slow. It is unacceptably slow. And the UI, be it the web UI or the various apps that existed for it at the time (late last year), did not manage to meaningfully mask the fact that the system was slow as molasses.

The fact that 37signals, a much lauded company, would allow an important product to have such a glaring fault now means that I see anything that 37signals say or anything that is said about them in a different light. I am now thoroughly biased to think that they have no business telling anyone how you make good software. I can't help this, though I will acknowledge that this is an emotional response rather than a rational one.

It also means that anyone singing the praise of 37signals now also seems suspect. Do they even form their _own_ opinions or do people just parrot the praise that people they look up to heap on the company.

Slow apps are not cool. Companies that make slow apps without visible embarrassment are not cool. Basecamp is dead slow and it is perfectly okay to point out that the monarch appears before the court sans clothing.

11
petercooper 7 days ago 1 reply      
You didn't integrate the Writeboard into Basecamp.

Worse, it hasn't been papered over well either. I can't load a Writeboard from Basecamp without some weird 1990s-style "we're loading your Writeboard" page hanging around for a couple of seconds. UI-wise, I'd be satisfied with it being separate if it weren't for the extra page coming up wasting time and making me think something happened.

12
rlobue 7 days ago 0 replies      
I just finished reading ReWork, Jason Fried's latest book. The irony of this submission is that the book describes Christian to a tee: the customer who always wants more; the customer who has outgrown the product; the customer who compares competitors but would rather complain than move.

I have to admire the way 37signals has grown over the last few years. Sure, they clearly don't integrate every feature. The user interface certainly works but has no iGloss about it at all. Pricing is steep and they hide the lower-priced plans. But it works: people still use the service.

If you're a coffee shop you concentrate on your coffee. If you're an electrician, you concentrate on the quality of your work. Adding extras like "nice cable ties" are irrelevant. 37signals are concentrating on their core functionality. When the day comes that the majority of their users require X feature and that feature becomes a norm in Project Management, Contact Management, Collaboration, etc then I'm almost sure they will react: why wouldn't they?

13
becomevocal 7 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that a user goes out of the way to broadcast that they're walking away from the service is a testament to how bad ass it truly was for them. Every developer should hope for that sort of torment at the end of use period for a user. Clearly it was a big enough part of their workflow to complain.

Most (all?) of us developers / product guys fight with feature creep. I'm glad 37signals is there to remind us, by example, that it's OK for a software business to focus on a specific solution, sans bloat. There are users that will appreciate your vision - and gladly pay.

14
dmazin 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think you've listened enough, because 37signals has stated repeatedly that it prefers customers to outgrow the services (as is your case) than to intimidate new customers.
15
timjahn 7 days ago 1 reply      
I think the effectiveness of project management software depends greatly on the type of project being managed.

For example, I don't consider Jira as in the same arena as Basecamp (and I've used both a good amount). I see Jira as a programming/development specific management tool, to be used by programming teams and maybe the managers of those teams.

I see Basecamp as a far more flexible project management tool that can fit a wide variety of needs. It works great for organizing our Entrepreneurs Unpluggd events. It works well for some web dev projects and design projects, but not others.

Basecamp isn't always THE solution. For some types of projects, it is. For others, it isn't.

At the end of the day, the right answer is the project management software that helps you more efficiently organize your specific projects. Because Basecamp doesn't work for Joe and his projects doesn't mean it can't work amazingly for Sally and hers.

16
mberning 7 days ago 0 replies      
The customers you start off with are usually not the customers you end with. People grow, products grow.
17
nirajr 7 days ago 0 replies      
I got quite put off by lack of email integration in Basecamp and recently wrote this: http://goo.gl/Vthjb

I've, since, moved away from Basecamp and am almost completely on Jira now.

18
KeyBoardG 7 days ago 0 replies      
My company pays a whole hell of a lot more for a far far more complex and way over bloated system. I applaud 37signals for their choices and sticking to it. The author here needs to just get over the fact that his needs outgrew the software and to seek another solution. No need for the dramatics.
19
grandalf 7 days ago 0 replies      
Basecamp seems to be designed exactly for a web design shop that wants to take on bigger projects and present an organized appearance to clients. More client management than project management.
20
dfischer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: we built http://www.kanbanpad.com because we wanted something simple and intuitive. Basecamp never fit our flow.
21
dnugent 7 days ago 0 replies      
Basecamp is a good product but only if you share its "opinion" on workflow and design. Obviously 37Signals has done well by sticking to a minimal set of features and catering to a very specific audience.

We are of the mindset that software should fit the way you work, not necessarily the other way around. We're building a Force.com-like platform that allows you to create custom business workflow apps in minutes to handle not just tasks, but also lightweight crm, recruiting, and other business functions involving a relatively defined process. We provide a fast UI to access these records, so all you do is specify the schema and callbacks.

We're still in beta, but happy to release some invites and work with members of the HN community -- http://www.devcomb.com

22
andrew_wc_brown 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think every Project Manager has its place. I really like the development of Asana. http://asana.com/
23
EGreg 7 days ago 0 replies      
Just wait for what we are planning to release ;-)
24
languagehacker 7 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only person who couldn't get anything out of this post because of its bad grammar?
27
Facebook autobot going berserker facebook.net
247 points by ZeroC00l  7 days ago   153 comments top 34
1
catshirt 7 days ago 5 replies      
"Guys, the moderators are volunteers, and we have no power over any of Facebook's software (like the ban-bot) or their policies. We just delete spam on the forums, mostly. We do have a way of raising issues to the FB employees, and we have done so. Trouble is, they've been ignoring us (and everyone on the forums too) for weeks or months."

wow, that's pretty sad. and i thought they were only ignoring my problems.

2
eugenez 7 days ago  replies      
Hey guys, I am a Facebook engineer working on this.

We've been getting a lot of user feedback recently, spiking significantly over the past week, on the amount of application spam people are seeing in their feeds and on their walls. We turned on a new enforcement system yesterday that took user feedback much more heavily into account. This resulted in a number of applications with high negative user feedback being disabled or having certain features disabled. In particular, many applications were disabled which posted to the walls of other users and had very high mark-as-spam numbers.

My apologies for the suddenness of the action. The numbers were high enough to cause a real loss of trust in applications, which can impact the entire platform. Where we have failed is not providing enough feedback about negative engagement metrics to developers before needing to take this action. This is something we are working hard to fix with the new Application Insights that will be launching over the next few weeks - you will have detailed information about both positive and negative engagement of the content your application generates.

If you think you have been disabled in error, you should have received an email to your application's contact email address with a link to appeal. Just in case, the appeal link is https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=dev_disa... . Note that no content is deleted when an application is disabled. If an application is re-enabled, all the content posted by the application will once again be visible.

-Eugene

3
anthony_franco 7 days ago 6 replies      
Unfortunately, our application was also a victim of this widespread banning. We built up a user base of over 2 millions users. As of yesterday, they're all receiving a 404 error when attempting to visit our application. And we have no way of reaching them.

Attempting to appeal to Facebook results in a generic email response instructing us to begin the application anew.

Worst of all, deleting our application also deleted the photos our users took. We had a video chat application that allowed users to take pictures together with their friends. Over 1 million photo memories deleted by Facebook. It's just a sad situation overall.

4
bermanoid 7 days ago 5 replies      
I know there are plenty of Facebook people reading HN, so I can't help but wonder why complaints about FB are never addressed here when they come up, especially when they're of this nature (this particular problem seems like a glitch in code, not something that would require a massive business effort to fix). The instant someone makes a complaint about some aspect of Google's search algorithm, Matt Cutts appears out of the wild and addresses the situation; I've seen many other Googlers comment on various issues, too, letting us know that they've escalated issues as appropriate, or even just that they're aware of problems but can't do anything about it.

What's up with the silence from the FBers in the crowd? Not allowed to say anything? Don't know who to forward the issue to? Just don't care?

5
ltamake 7 days ago 1 reply      
Really starting to hate Facebook more than I already do. As someone below pointed out, their API is going to shit, and they're starting to become more strict with their TOS. I know 5 friends who have had their Facebook accounts forcibly closed or suspended, or put through this ridiculous "roadblock" system that requires them to pick out 10 pictures from their friends' albums. Regarding apps: someone notified me that their app had been suspended because of "negative reactions" by users; only 10 people used the app, and it got one one-star review. Lovely.

I did like Facebook at one point: two or three years ago. Now it's just getting ridiculous.

6
vessenes 7 days ago 4 replies      
This is all because of Google.

No, really. Google decided they could scale better if they used computers to do customer service, or just didn't have customer service. In exchange, they didn't charge anything for a lot of their services and told people 'deal with it.'

This worked well for Google! Facebook is staffed extremely lightly given their reach; stuff like this is just going to keep happening. I have no idea if the app developer deserved it, but these 'free to play' broad-reach companies CAN'T provide the service this app developer feels he/she needs, they wouldn't scale properly if they did.

7
wwav10 7 days ago 0 replies      
We are from Playality, developer from Grand Poker. As many of you may know, our application was disabled this morning for no apparent reason given. The company spend huge amount of marketing dollars on adverts and product development . Furthermore, many of our paid customers demand for refunds or legal action. Grand Poker is our company main source of revenue, and it is also funding other projects on facebook. This incident pretty much killed off the company.

Also, using user's feedback may not be an accurate measurement to the quality of the application. There are many methods or bot script that can simulate users to mass complain the application. This is a very common strategy uses by competitors.

all in all, we are still relatively new to for facebook, It may be possible that we did somehow crossed the line in feeds or wallposting, but.is it worth killing off a small start-up because of this?

8
andylei 7 days ago 2 replies      
problem is that facebook doesn't really have too much of an incentive to care about these developers. they are not like apple, whose products include third party apps as part of the core value proposition. when steve jobs sells you an iphone, one big reason you buy it is because it has thousands of great apps. people don't sign up for facebook because of farmville, farmville uses facebook because people have already signed up for facebook.

thus, when apple's developers get screwed and there's no app ecosystem, there is the potential for decreased sales. when facebook apps disappear, i doubt there are a lot of people leaving facebook.

9
steve114 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a developer but I'm appalled at this.

No human review of banned apps with millions of users.
Moderators who volunteer to build the brand of FB are simply ignored.

The problem is that even if your apps are reinstated, the damage may have already been done.

Sorry guys...

10
npollock 7 days ago 1 reply      
Cue the conspiracy theorists, all the banned apps are photo related.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/15/facebook-secret-photos-app/

11
Osiris 7 days ago 2 replies      
This seems to me to be indicative of a problem with the Facebook apps platform. They are using significant resources to try to combat spam, but the spam is posted through the mechanisms provided by the platform.

What I'm suggesting is that the Facebook apps platform is fundamentally making it easy to post spam so they have to fight it afterward.

Would a better approach be to shore up the platform so that apps are simply unable to generate spam? For example, currently a user can only Allow or Disallow an app. They cannot Allow or Disallow certain permissions. I should be able to use an app while denying it the possibility to post to my wall or my friends walls.

It seems like it's the wrong approach to try to stop the spam by banning apps rather than fundamentally changing the way apps can access person sites and information and make generating spam incredibly difficult.

12
alanh 7 days ago 0 replies      
“Operation Developer Love” is what Facebook calls their weekly report on the state of bugs in their developer/app platform.

Looks like if there was really developer love, they wouldn't need to market their love of developers.

13
powertower 7 days ago 1 reply      
> Don´t know what to do. I am desperate. This app is my company´s single product. The business impact is huge. No warnings. No specifics.

(http://forum.developers.facebook.net/viewtopic.php?id=103384)

Now imagine Google dropping you from the index for whatever reason.

How many of us here would be wiped out?

A business that's dependant on a single channel or platform for more than 20% of its revenue/profit is not a real business as much as it is a sugardaddy's dependent?

14
splitrocket 7 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook's API has become increasingly unstable. They recently dropped millions of oauth tokens for no apparent reason. See here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2661850
15
EGreg 7 days ago 0 replies      
Always get your users' emails when they sign up. Facebook even has the email extended persmission to streamline it. That way you aren't 100% reliant on facebook to keep in touch with your users! You never know what they are gonna do.
16
mpunaskar 7 days ago 2 replies      
Thast why i would never rely on closed platform.

I will never waste my resource in build apps that solely rely on closed commercial entities like facebook, apple. If they choose to ban/block/delete you then all of your hard-work is gone in a second and will leave your users unhappy.

and this can happen to any of us

17
yaix 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Google Adwords and Adsense Bots banning random accounts. Better dont put all your eggs into one basket and dont develop for only one company you then will be dependent on. Especially if the company is as big as G or FB. They dont care loosing a few good publishers, but a publisher who has invested all his time or money will care.

Hope FB will react better then G and reactivate their apps.

18
pstack 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard for me to have sympathy when people choose to develop for Facebook instead of for the Internet. When you are contributing to the problem, you have to accept a certain level of potential downside and lack of control. There's a massive internet out there. You know, everything that is not facebook.com and you can do pretty much everything on it, but without being subjected to the rules and whims of anyone else.
19
topherjaynes 7 days ago 1 reply      
When Roger Ebert's page was banned on the 21st his complaint was reversed with in a few hours... http://twitter.com/#!/ebertchicago/status/831526706464686

So it can be done, hopefully the attention in HN will help

20
wccrawford 7 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, you'd think banning would be important enough to pay someone minimum wage to sift through and find the ones that don't make sense.
21
zaidf 7 days ago 1 reply      
I feel we need an independent org that does arbitration of API/platform-related cases. Have a complaint about Facebook's API? File it with the independent org and as a member of the org, Facebook will be forced to resolve it in a fair manner or take a reputation hit.

The most extreme cases could be decided by a human arbitrator.

22
lukejduncan 7 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that most of my non-technical friends actively dislike Facebook. Their growth comes from new markets while their existing user-base grows increasingly dissatisfied.
23
ignifero 7 days ago 5 replies      
It baffles me why there are no large competing social gaming web platforms. Google, Zynga, EA (playfish) could easily start one. It's a guaranteed success: people love games to be social. Facebook developers are so disgruntled with the FB platform that they 'd flock in hordes to convert their games.

On top of that, facebook enforces FB credits from July, and banned adsense advertising in apps. We are not going to pay 30% of our revenue to facebook for such a crappy platform. We moved our apps to an external website.

24
atlas3651 4 days ago 1 reply      
Our primary app got shut down for "spamminess" on 6/20/11 (one week ago). We had 4M users. We've appealed. No response. A lot of users contact us plaintively hoping the app will come back. Sigh. Another small tech business will go kaput (ours) and half a million bucks will go down the tubes.

This is obviously just another similar data point on this thread, but what I want to add is to the discussion is this idea: why not create an completely OSS facebook? If a bitcoin can exist (and hell, a Linux), why not a decentralized open-source facebook? The core functionality is not that complex, IMHO. Well, Linux is complex and it took decades to perfect... but the need for it was pretty clear and it's proved itself. But Facebook, OTOH, is not a complex operating system or even a super-complex search engine (ala Google). It's simply a network of interconnected user accounts with certain assets assigned to each account (history, preferences, content, etc), and info feeds (transient) delivered to those accounts via various formats.

If such a project were OSS, people would design their own feed sorting algo's, their own notification systems, and most of all their own "spam" filtering systems, as plugins, all of which could mean nobody needs to "go dark" to satisfy the whims of one corporate entity.

25
arihant 7 days ago 0 replies      
I highly doubt that the 'conspiracy theories' popping up against the photo apps are correct. If they are, then facebook has bigger problems than lack of API stability. Good tech companies and engineers should be confident enough in their work. Try searching for 'search' on Google.
26
evanw 7 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like GoodReads was banned within the last 24 hours from Facebook as well: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/314867-goodreads-and-fac...
27
reustle 7 days ago 0 replies      
Where is that quote about not depending on a platform that is out of your control?
28
dendory 7 days ago 0 replies      
Step 1: Base your entire business model on the latest buzzing platform (Facebook)
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Profit!!!
...
Step 4: Get banned, lose all your hard earned work.
29
antihero 7 days ago 1 reply      
How can automatic banning/deletion of content ever be a good idea?
30
steve114 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like TechCrunch caught on to this thread, sorry if it was already posted by someone else.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/25/facebooks-ban-bot-leaves-so...

31
patja 7 days ago 1 reply      
Old news. Facebook told us in a developer blog entry months ago that the auto-ban bot looks at user feedback such as hides, comments, uninstalls, mark as spam, extended permissions prompt acceptance rates etc. And you as an app developer can actually see all of this data through the Insights feature of the developer app.

Too many developers have their head in the sand and think just because they have 1 million users and a 4 star review rating that everything is peachy. The fact is there are a ton of crap apps that spew out BS. Maybe the user who installed the app thinks it is great to spam all of their friends' feeds, but when those friends hide the app's posts, mark it as spam, etc. then the app is going to risk auto-banning.

I know folks on HN don't play Farmville or spend all day on these apps like fortune cookie, quiz of the day, etc., but bazillions of FB users have nothing but app-generated posts on their walls.

32
crazymik3 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty interesting that most of the apps seem to be photo related, with lots of users.
33
veyron 6 days ago 0 replies      
What was the fred wilson quote about not being _____'s bitch?
34
bcl 7 days ago 1 reply      
Yay! Less apps for me to add to my block list.
28
Swiffy: convert SWF files to HTML5 googlecode.blogspot.com
248 points by Robin_Message  3 days ago   71 comments top 14
1
pornel 3 days ago 3 replies      
> Which browsers support Swiffy output?

> Swiffy uses SVG features that are currently only supported by Webkit-based browsers such as Safari (on desktop and mobile) and Chrome.

That's not the HTML5 future I wanted :(

In Opera it fails due to JS errors that don't look SVG-specific. It's a shame, because Opera's SVG support is a bit more complete than WebKit's: http://www.codedread.com/svg-support.php (sadly the Swiffy's site doesn't say exactly which feature it needs)

Anyway, it's great that they're using SVG. Good use-case for SVG will help it get more love from browser vendors, and perhaps developers won't have to reinvent SVG with canvas :)

2
pgbovine 3 days ago 2 replies      
first paragraph of TFA:

Last summer, an engineering intern named Pieter Senster joined the mobile advertising team to explore how we could display Flash animations on devices that don't support Adobe Flash player. Pieter made such great progress that Google hired him full time and formed a team to work on the project. Swiffy was born!

what an awesomely productive intern! now that's a way to secure yourself a full-time job!

3
thailandstartup 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's counterintuitive but Adobe should be working on a project like this.

A decent server side SWF->HTML5 would enable existing websites to offer the first class experience (the SWF) to Flash enabled browsers, and push a HTML5 conversion for non-Flash browsers (Apple mobile devices). It would shaft Apple (Why does this run so slow on the iPad?) and slow the move away from Flash (Adobe could still make a credible 'runs everywhere' argument).

4
whatever_dude 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reality check: like it says, it converts a subset of Flash 8 content.

It means it converts a subset of content that was made for a version of Flash that is 6 years old (Flash 8 was released in 2005; Adobe is about to release Flash Player 11).

Sorry, this is not the "Flash killer" you're looking for.

5
_delirium 3 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be interesting if this progressed enough so that browsers could offer built-in conversion of Flash content to run it without the Flash plugin enabled.
6
noduerme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet! So all the obnoxious animation and banner ads can be converted into "HTML5" that runs 3x slower and sucks up 80% of a dual core processor per ad...and NONE of the actual coding, deep interactivity or UI enhancements implied in the ECMA4/AS3 platform are included. Is this the shape of things to come? Let me off this stupid ride, google. I vote DuckDuckGo, pageranks based on qualified user responses regardless of crawlable content, interactivity with client-side languages and structures that can't necessarily be crawled by a bot script, and an end to a monolithic, archaic system of ranking up corporate garbage.

BLOW ME, Google. Apple. HTML5 lovers. If anyone needs proof Flex/Flash won't be dead for a long time, here it is =)

7
fedorabbit 3 days ago 2 replies      
My experience of HTML5 right now doesn't really have significant performance improvement compare to Flash, even on Mac OS X. I think it still has a long way to go. But it is nice to see someone's exploring the frontier! The blurring effect doesn't seem right though...
8
efnx 3 days ago 3 replies      
The major downside is that most webshops are and have been using Actionscript 3 for the past 5 years. Has anyone compiled any AS3 with this?
9
tolmasky 3 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to Gordon? https://github.com/tobeytailor/gordon/wiki
10
watty 3 days ago 1 reply      
I tried a handful of random SWF files from my dropbox and none of them worked. Several were due to AS 3.0, which isn't supported but even simplest animation said "The #initclip pragma is not supported.".
11
afhof 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be limited to 512kB. Thats not much of a demo.
12
libria 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool. Now if we only had a Silverlight -> HTML5+js converter we could quell the Windows 8 uproar.
13
kachnuv_ocasek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great example of misuse of the HTML5 buzzword.
14
johnhenry 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't help but wonder if content owners might view this as a threat to the security of their flash creations. Afterall, this is essentially a decompiler, isn't it?
29
How (not) to sell your iOS app stoicjesterstudios.com
243 points by thestoicjester  4 days ago   94 comments top 33
1
rkalla 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's what DID work for you -- summing up all those failures into a well written, entertaining and light-hearted article that is genuinely helpful to anyone else in the iOS game.

Oh yea, and the front page of HN this time around.

It sounded like you got your hands wet in a lot of different things. That doesn't necessarily mean you are going to retire on this game, but think how many people are aware of you now and when you do Bullet Factory X (where you skeet-shoot puppies and elderly people) you'll have that much more information on how to promote the game or where to spend your time. It also sounds like you had a successful working relationship with your sister (as an artist) which is half the battle for any game title. So that's a big win right there for your next game too.

I'm not that surprised as the lack of feedback from bloggers though. I think I get 10 emails a day following the format:

  OMG, Super Games Factory, LLC has just released the
most amazing game on the planet: Dish Washer!
Wash dishes in amazing stick-figure 3D! Contact us for
a free evaluation code!

It just wears you down after a while so ignoring something like Bullet Factory isn't an insult, it just falls into the 'spam' category of garbage announcements I'm sure most bloggers get every day.

Bullet Factory is a fun/simple concept, but it seems better as an ad-supported title (it's too simple) than a 99 cents title when you compare it along side other 99 cent titles I've seen in the app store. The bar is getting higher and higher and unless I see something amazing in screenshots or a trailer, it's not even worth the purchase barrier to entry for me to try it. Unrealized value (purchasing a game for 99 cents only to realize I hate the gameplay mechanics) is so frustrating to me, I'd rather just not buy something I'm on the fence about.

I would take the low-sales-since-december-even-though-you-are-marketing as an indicator that it isn't a high-demand game. Release a free ad-supported version of it "Bullet Factory FREE" and move on to your next title. Keep track of the download differences to learn a bit more about what worked, what didn't and where the bar is.

That's not to say your next game or the game after that won't hit -- keep pushing, you'll have a success and it will catch you by surprise.

They always do.

2
geuis 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here's my experience with a Hangover 2 app I released 1 month before the movie came out. (it was taken down after Warner Bros sent Apple a C&D.)

1) Reviews are the most important things when you sell an app. I made the app free for the first week or so until I had about 10 5 star reviews. DO NOT use scammy tactics for fake reviews. Make sure your app is well polished for what it does. If it's not, don't put it in the App Store.

2) Review reminders. Basically the user uses the app a few times and they get a notice asking if they would like to review it. Include something like the appirater class. Google that.

3) Built-in sharing options for Facebook and Twitter. These should link back to the iTunes page for the app or to a custom site.

4) Setup bitly links for each sharing option. This helps in keeping stats about where your app is being talked about.

In the first week or so I was getting 3000 downloads a day. When I hit my 10 review goal, I switched to $.99. It's disheartening to see that 3k number drop to 20 the next day, but that's money in your pocket now. For the rest of the month, I averaged 20-30 paid downloads a day.

Things not to do:
There are lots of stupid people out there. They will leave 1 star reviews because they hear no sound. Their mute is on. Don't get upset about these people.

Twitter is great for campaigning. Don't write bots that listen to the stream for people talking about the movie that then follows them and does @Soandso check out my Hangover2 app! Surprisingly, it actually works very well. It ran for about 45 minutes and followed 400+ people. About 50 of them clicked through (bitly again) and I think a few people bought it. However, Twitter banned the account after 45 minutes. So, don't do what I did.

Don't write well polished apps that use sound clips from a big upcoming movie. You might argue that it's fair use, but that doesn't mean crap when WB decides to stomp on you.

3
biot 3 days ago 2 replies      
As you're not looking for any sugar coating, after watching the video showing the gameplay you would need to pay me to want to play it. The reason is that there is no "why" to it. Shooting low-resolution textured balls wasn't fun in the late 80's, and I'm not seeing anything in the video that tells me it won't just be a chore to play.

Is there some back-story to this game that is interesting? Are these spheres of mutant gel being produced by the evil Dr. Klaus Scheitzenburger to turn children into mindless drones so that he can take over the planet and only I can stop it using my Mutant-b-Gone sphere blaster?

Oh, none of that? It's just a sphere popping game? There's no marketing that can save that.

Now a killer back-story isn't a requirement, but it would help if it were "juicy fun". There's some great advice here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2438/how_to_prototype_...

4
alanfalcon 3 days ago 4 replies      
The game lacks the fit and polish that sells iOS games. Yeah, much easier said than done (this coming from an aspiring iOS game developer). The advice to change the icon is spot on. I'd also advise changing your screenshots (which would probably also involve changes to the game graphics): all that grayscale is very depressing, and the monospaced serif font for "Gyroscope Controlled" is very bland and ugly. You want something more fun, possibly at a jaunty angle, definitely using layer styles.

Your game screenshots scream "tech demo", which is no way to sell a game.

5
greengarstudios 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm an independent iOS developer. My paid apps have sold over 100,000 copies at 99¢ or higher. In total, my iOS apps (including free apps) have been downloaded over 7 million times.

I took a look at your app in the App Store.

Here's your problem: your icon.

The icon is the most prominent thing the user sees when first looking at your app in the App Store.

Change your icon, and you'll get more downloads. Trust me :-)

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss good icon design, or other under-appreciated aspects of selling an app.

6
extension 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm trying to buy it but the app store isn't working right now. At any rate, here are some ideas from an iOS developer with nothing shipped yet, for what it's worth:

Be way more explicit with your branding and marketing about exactly what the game is, right down to the name, if you're willing to change it. Looking at the top charts right now, there are games that show you exactly how to play just with the title and the icon: Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Flick Golf, Feed Me Oil. You want to be the gyro shooting gallery app. So, something like Gyro Shot or Gyro Shooting. It's sounds lame but it seems to work. It may also give Apple a reason to feature you, since you are demoing a hardware feature.

I think you also need a more fun look. The game looks really drab right now. A grey factory is not a terribly exciting backdrop and the balls are pointy. Choose a look that you can execute at grade A level. This is where the "glowing neon" look came from -- programmers who can't do art. Use shaders to make the balls perfectly round and give them some sort of cool effect. The screenshots should be attractive on their own.

7
IanDrake 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just played it. Fun game. Here's what it's missing...

First time I loaded it the menu seemed sluggish. When I pressed buttons, the button gave no feedback and I wasn't sure if the click had registered. I understand there's loading time involved, but some feedback would be nice.

During game play when I "Shoot" there is nothing that displays a shooting event. Balls just explode if my cross-hares are on it. That seems odd. Again, a feedback issue.

Also the menu buttons seem smaller than needed and there are too many options. If you could make it simpler that might be better.

Overall the game play is smooth and the gyro controls are cool. I think this would make a really engaging first person shooter. Maybe shooting something other than balls for points would be more fun.

8
unshift 3 days ago 0 replies      
a couple notes on the app store page:

the testimonial paragraph is awkwardly worded ("... a portal into a virtual shooting gallery overflowing with beach ball-shaped targets just waiting to be popped") and i can't tell how to play (or what makes it fun) from the screenshots. it's gyroscope controlled, but what the hell does that mean?

i'm going to give the lite version a try, but the app store page totally didn't grab me.

i thought "the heist" had a pretty good write-up and screenshot section, for what it's worth. i usually just read the first paragraph and scroll to the screenshots.

EDIT: i tried it, it's like an FPS where you shoot beach balls and twist the phone around to aim. looks pretty well done, but not my bag (i hate aiming anything by moving the phone)

9
terhechte 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I didn't actually buy the game, instead I had a look at what all your potential customers see. Your screenshots are too gray and muddled, the game doesn't look exciting on these shots. Have a look at top selling games (i.e. Angry Birds), and how colorful their screenshots are.
Your icon is not good. It doesn't tell a story, it doesn't look fancy, it is not colorful.
I'm selling a couple of apps, and one think I'm sure of is that customers never, ever, read the text description. They just have a look at the screenshots. And they decide which apps / screenshots to check by your icon. I've, accidentally, had a non working app (there was a huge bug in there for the first 2 weeks which made it basically dysfunctional) reach huge sales (150+ sales a day) just because the icon was really, really beautiful.

The problem with the screenshots, of course, is that the in game content looks to dull. I can't really say how you can improve it, but have a look at top selling games.

10
kolinko 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing.

A couple of details - icon (as someone else mentioned). Another thing is - you're a textbook example of promoting "features", and not "benefits". Instead of writing "Using Oscilloscope", which nobody cares about, you should've written "The smoothest shooting experience there is (thanks to oscilloscope)".

Also: get a graphic designer. Your graphics are not that bad, but a good painter could really make this app work much better. People buy good looking games.

As for your trailers - they aren't that bad. As a tech person I'll say: wow. It really looks smooth, I'm impressed. BUT most people aren't technical - aside from the screen they should see a happy person playing, and they should see someone really TILTING the device - now it's barely visible (perhaps even exaggerate the moves so they can be seen on the camera). Look at one of the Kinect trailers. You can't do as good, but you can get close. Oh - and remember that there should be a link close to the end of the movie, directing to the app store.

Anyway - these are just a couple of things for a good product / landing page. Doing this alone won't increase sales though...

11
chipsy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Having successfully finished many bad games, while gradually making better ones, here is my advice:

You can know from very early user feedback whether the game is going to interest anyone as a product, but you have to stop believing in your game for a moment, or you'll ignore the warning signs. The in-person pitch or demo lets you pick up some details, but product releases give you broader feedback. Do lots of both.

If, after pressing people in-person for thoughts, the feedback is "hmm...well...i don't know...that sounds interesting..." the concept is wrong and you need to start over. You should have something that gives people a foothold to really discuss it and take ownership, or the subsequent marketing efforts won't have much impact on anyone. Online, this is reflected in dead silence. People look and then go away, or if there's interest, it's in something not really related to the product's selling points, like the technology stack it uses.

If there is a product there the volume of commentary will be much higher and drastically more opinionated. From there it's a matter of managing the conversation and picking the path that is likely to open the doors further for the product - pivoting it if necessary. The feedback here is from other developers, which means a heavy bias towards polish. Try to find deeper user concerns instead.

12
ja27 3 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't look like you've ever offered the full app for free. Have you considered playing the "free for a day" game to drive some interest?
http://appshopper.com/games/bullseye-factory

Have you considered updating the app icon? It looks quite dark and flat rather than fun and cartoony like many game icons.

I was a little surprised to see how non-spherical the balls look in your screenshots. If it can still perform well with a more detailed ball model, I would think that would help the look of the screenshots.

13
stuartjmoore 3 days ago 2 replies      
The biggest change I've ever seen is when I changed one name from "* Lite" to "Free *". Went from about 100 to 1,000.

Regardless, I stopped promoting my best selling apps and they sell exactly as many copies.

14
ecaron 4 days ago 2 replies      
tl;dr There is plenty of advice out there on how to publicize your iPhone app, and all of it is worthless.
15
allenbrunson 3 days ago 0 replies      
You mentioned posting to Hacker News before, and hey, I was the one guy who left a comment! heh.

I also have an iPhone game in the store, but I've done a little bit better than you have. I made about $8,000.00 in my first year.

Just echoing everybody else's comments: People are very reluctant to spend any amount of money on a game without being able to try it first. You must have a free option to get them interested. In my case, I have a crippled free version and a paid version. I started before in-app purchasing was available. Today I'd probably go with "free but pay to remove ads" instead.

The mistake I have made is that I program too slowly (heh). Eight grand a year for an app is not bad, if I could crank out a new one every three months or so. The app store audience favors having a bunch of shallow apps, rather than one big app you pour your heart and soul into.

16
exolab 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know how you feel. I invested a lot of time in a game that just isn't selling. Nor is the free version. I mean what is wrong with free games? :)

I think sometimes we just fail to see that our games are really crap. I totally fell in love with the idea of a real-time multiplayer quiz for the iPhone. But nobody else did.

[EDIT]I am not saying your game is no good. I haven't really played it. More of a general comment on how we may not fairly judge our own work[/EDIT]

17
jarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most of the time, it takes stops and starts, failure, heartache, and most importantly years of work and some luck to make an overnight success.

Your Ask HN not making it to the front page? Probably just bad luck (there are lots of good stories that don't make it to the front page). Game blogs not writing about it? Probably just bad luck that they heard about other games at the same time that they wanted to write about more.

I think there's a common feeling that there's just that one magic bullet that's going to make you a success (that TechCrunch article, or that Touch Arcade article, or if you can JUST get into YC or get that first investor). I think all that stuff definitely helps, but from what I've seen the best way to do it is to get a good amount of sleep, hustle your ass off 5-6 days a week, and have a partner in crime (even if it's just a drinking buddy who works on their own, separate projects).

I think you just have to pick up and start on the next project. The App Store is extremely competitive, but if you just keep making better and better games every time, something will stick. Just be sure to do some client work or keep your day job in the meantime to stay financially solvent. :)

18
adjwilli 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I agree with @rkalla that this marketing anti-pattern summary will likely prove to be your best marketing piece so far.

Also, I would recommend finding a good graphic designer to help you out. The icon for Bullseye Factory doesn't promise $1.99 worth of fun. Plus, I'm sure you can think of something more creative than stripped balls in a perfectly preserved yet empty factory. How about going along with the Jester theme and making it some sort of a factory taken over by zombie clowns?

Your game is technically very impressive, but needs a good theme to sell it. Looks at Nuts for instance. It's probably slightly less complicated technically, but it has a funny, slightly juvenile name, cute squirrels, and various alternative objectives.

19
angerman 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this is the common theme among many of us who try to put apps in the app store: figuring out what does not work. For our app: iEBT (which is an interface to a server allowing you to track your euro notes: eurobilltracker.com), we not only took a very tiny niche, but didn't think about marketing either.

What we did was this:
- picked a somewhat hight price point ($2)
This seemed to use like the sweetspot, with what we could live and what we would expect an
honest buyer to pay. (who knows?!)

- we wrote to the canonical forum, where we expected most of the potential users.
That resulted in an initial rush (two days after writing to the forum), but it wasn't
much at all.

- the domain iebtapp.com was registered prior to publishing, but contained nothing more
then a simple "Something's coming this december" string. Watching the server logs, there
seemed to be some who were trying to figure out where the link from the app pointed.

- after some time, we wrote the current, very limited text on iebtapp.com. Not even with images.
That seems to have resulted in a minor increase in sales.

- with some text on the website, we thought it was time to do some advertisement, and went with Google Ads.
This too seems to have resulted in a minor increase in sales.

And here's what we plan to do:
- add Appirater to the App. We have only a very few reviews, and they are not enough to get any star rating
on the AppStore. Maybe this helps, who knows. I will closely watch this.

Personal conclusion:
iOS development is really /a lot/ of fun. But I think we need to change two things:
- More marketing. But not all at once; results should be measurable.
- Niche markets, that are this tiny, can be a very high risk game. (Especially if someone
else, writes to the forum that he's going to release another iPhone app and lets people
sign up for the beta :-))

--
[1]: see iebtapp.com

20
joshwa 3 days ago 0 replies      
From watching the video, your game actually seems like it has a pretty fun core mechanic.

Go play Fruit Ninja, and then go hire the best artist you can afford. (and put fruit ninja in your keywords!)

21
J3L2404 3 days ago 0 replies      
'Most of the major iOS gaming message boards have a section where developers are “allowed” to announce the arrival of their games. This is convenient for gamers as they can just avoid this one section altogether.'

Stoic Jester indeed!

Nice overview of app marketing wasteland. I went thru much the same and the needle never moved, or not very much at least. My new approach is to give away a free version that is slightly hobbled but still useful and use that base of users to launch other ventures.

22
PartyDawg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article/blog post is wrong. None of the reasons listed had anything to do with his app store success.

Word of mouth was there: and it was 'don't bother'. If it's an app or game that people have to have, most of these techniques would have yielded different results.

Except for a few: like submitting to websites for review... most of them are looking for cash for reviews, so you get what you pay for.

I haven't seen any games that topped the list that were not worthy of chart-toppers... If games or apps like this were chart-toppers, then the chart wouldn't be worth much.

23
kenjackson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great comments this time around. I'd buy the game if I had an iOS device. Looks truly fun. I agree with others though that the icon can be improved. I found the trailer very good.
24
follower 3 days ago 1 reply      
25
hxf148 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for writing up your experiences. I hope that things improve. I've experienced much if not all of the things you have gone through with Infostripe http://infostripe.com. Was to be an iOS app but lives as a HTML5 one. iOS to return eventually.

I guess what I am saying is that you have to keep going, market, iterate, try things and as said not give up. At some point hopefully your product will begin to sell itself enough for you to improve or version 2 it.

26
aorshan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow that was a very interesting article. Thank you so much for the advice. I am working on an app of my own now and my marketing plan was essentially the same as what you did. I would have never guessed it would be so hard to get people to look at an app.
27
fastfinner 3 days ago 0 replies      
on a tangential note - "This was not the easiest thing in the world for me to sign myself up for, seeing as how I usually tend to avoid going places where there are likely to be people (not a big fan). However, somewhat bizarrely, I do enjoy public speaking, so I decided to give it a whirl."

I thought I was the only one that behaves like that!

28
seanMeverett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chin up man, I've been studying behavioral decision making as it relates to marketing "nudging" for years and am still learning everyday. The only thing I've found that consistently works with any meaningful probability is being different. Just like this post. Yet another iOS game doesn't though I do feel the gyroscope is the most underutilized piece of hardware with the most potential for ios devs...
29
helipad 3 days ago 0 replies      
I suppose a lesson that you might have learned is that doing things the expected or accepted way is not always the right answer.

As you alluded to, releasing pre-Christmas and pitching bloggers with free promo codes is so common as to render it useless unless you're remarkable about it.

30
jholloway 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not to be rude, but I think the best way to sell your iOS app is to make a really good one.
31
dawsdesign 2 days ago 0 replies      
C'mon man, this is targeted to FPs people. You need a better reticule than that!
32
tinynation 3 days ago 0 replies      
I looked on the App Store at the screenshots and as much as I wanted to like it after reading your great article, it just didn't look like the sort of game I would download (even if it were free).

The graphics are dreary and the screenshots don't make it look fun (or even give me a sense of the gameplay)...

33
nobody_nowhere 3 days ago 1 reply      
Newsflash: "if you build it they will come" is bullshit. It's dawned on your that you're not getting your message out.

Now what?

1. Buy ads. It costs about $0.00001 to show an ad banner on mobile. $0.01 to buy on a click basis. $10k to get into the app store top 25. Do the math. Minimums apply.

2. PR: meet/call or otherwise contact the people who can get your message out and convince them how cool your game is. Or pay someone who can do this for you.

3. ?

Marketing is hard work, get busy!

30
Learn Python The Hard Way 2nd Edition Released learnpythonthehardway.org
231 points by Ntagg  5 days ago   58 comments top 19
1
Sukotto 4 days ago 5 replies      
LPTHW has a good rep, but it looks like it focuses on teaching someone who's never programmed before.

Would anyone like to recommend something similar for people already well versed in (a) mainstream language(s)?

2
rgarcia 4 days ago 4 replies      
What's new in the 2nd edition? Couldn't find a list of updates/additions anywhere.
3
cantbecool 4 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. I love the idea of the book being online in HTML for free, but you can pay for a better learning experience: screencasts, PDF files, and online training courses.
4
rubergly 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know of any good books for people that are proficient with Python and want to learn more about the language and come closer to being an expert?

The idea of LPTHW has always seemed cool, but I've looked at the table of contents a couple of times and thought "huh, 80% of these topics seem trivial to me"; maybe I could still benefit by skimming through and reading anything that I don't already know. Also, it's kind of a bummer that there's no .mobi version.

5
Ntagg 4 days ago 1 reply      
Zed, are you going to be writing any other books for Python, like Python 3 or more advanced topics? Maybe "Advanced Python the Hard Way?"
6
bane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! 1st ed was invaluable to my co-Founder when she started learning Python for our startup a few months ago.
7
creativeone 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just bought the Kindle version. Now I have the book on my Kindle and iPhone Kindle App (Looks really crisp on my iphone and has anchor links to each chapter, although it could use a better table of contents)

Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00586LJ2O/ref=as_li_ss_tl?...

8
cvg 4 days ago 2 replies      
Planning to buy the paperback. While checking out the paperback info, I noticed that the pdf is still free on lulu.
9
sigzero 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am doing all of it with Python 3. So far, very little needs changing to make the examples work. Very clean and concise. Thanks Zed.
10
nin_appa 4 days ago 2 replies      
Has the book "Learn C the hard way" released yet?
11
creativeone 4 days ago 2 replies      
What is the advantage of the course (on discount today)?
12
aorshan 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are the advantages of using this book over the online tutorials that are available on the python website or even using some of the MIT OpenCourseWare courses?
13
jolosan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now on exercise 15! Best US$1 I've ever spent so far! Thanks Zed!
14
capkutay 4 days ago 0 replies      
love this book. very little verbal fluff, allows the reader to figure out the material on their own with the exercises and extra credit.
15
ltamake 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just bought a copy for my iPad. I look forward to reading it!
16
ChikkaChiChi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just picked this up on AppSumo. I'm coming from PHP and C, so this will be a nice chance to try out Python.
17
malabar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks Zed, I just bought the epub for my kindle. I am going to give it a go.
18
nospoolin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just bought the PDF, Damn paypal tricket me into paying $1.00 with billmelater =/
19
Ideka 4 days ago 0 replies      
I checked the first couple of sections, and I'm sure learning Python "the Hard Way" would have been much more exciting than reading the official documentation...
Oh, well. What is done is done.
       cached 2 July 2011 15:11:01 GMT