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Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple yahoo.com
1637 points by taylorbuley  4 days ago   305 comments top 103
danilocampos 4 days ago  replies      
Apple's going to be fine. Steve's most extraordinary work isn't the Mac, the iPhone or the iPad. It's rebuilding Apple in his image. It was creating organizational culture and habits that mimic his weird brain, like their aggressive software prototyping to prove that things work well and feel good.

Fuck, I'll miss him, though. I'll miss the way he got up there each and every time like he was selling you your own personal Jesus in a box. Not out of hucksterism, but because he really was that excited to share what he and his people had been working on. Excited to do things better. Excited to solve problems in a way that was far more tasteful, more satisfying, than anything anyone had bothered to try before. Maybe he'll still do announcements as his health allows " but maybe that would send a weird message.

He's a man who was lucky enough to find out exactly what he did best " and to seize upon it with every cell in his body.

I'm a better person for his example. The resurrection of Apple was one of the most enjoyable things I followed in my childhood. No matter how you feel about his approach, this is a guy who loves his work with an intensity that couldn't be faked and won't be soon matched.

alanfalcon 4 days ago 2 replies      
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you."

From the WSJ blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/08/24/steve-jobs-resigns-as-...

EDIT: Now posted on Apple.com: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/08/24Letter-from-Steve-...

thought_alarm 4 days ago 3 replies      

    Apple Computer Inc
the Apple II
the Apple //e
the Apple //c
the Apple //GS
the Mac
Mac OS
the Mac II
the NeXT Cube
Mac OS X
the iMac
the Titanium PowerBook
the iPod
the iTunes Music Store
the iPod Touch
the iPhone
the iPad
the App Store

These things have been utterly inspirational and important to me from the time I first discovered computers for myself at age seven, to today. Without them I would not be who I am today, doing what I'm doing today.

Thanks Steve.

(And if you're wondering what Steve Jobs had to do with the Apple //c, //GS, and Mac II, he was the one who brought in Frog Design to design Apple hardware throughout the 80s, and their work was marvelous, just as Jony Ive's work is marvelous today)

swombat 4 days ago 2 replies      
It makes perfect sense as part of the succession planning for Apple. This way, when Steve (very sadly) resigns "permanently" from any and all jobs, it will just be business as usual and not take down the Apple stock by 30% or something equally ridiculous.

Still, quite a shock.

alexqgb 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really sad. I'm just glad he got to enjoy the glory of seeing a company he started in his parent's garage become - if only for a moment - the most valuable enterprise on Earth.

I mean wow, what a ride.

armandososa 4 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know why, but I feel a little sad right now. Like being witness to the end of an era.
AlexMuir 4 days ago 2 replies      
Many of us on HN aspire to the success that Steve's had. We'd love to be him, to build something amazing like Apple. But I bet he'd give anything to have the good health and indeterminate life expectancy that we have tonight. I'll go to sleep thinking how lucky i am. And I'm going for a run tomorrow, because all the success in the world is for nowt if you lose your health.
waterlesscloud 4 days ago 0 replies      
Jobs preparing for his very first TV appearance in 1978.

It's funny how very nervous he is. Guess he learned to get over that...


padmanabhan01 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is the first time I have personally felt sad when a CEO has quit his company.
gamache 4 days ago 0 replies      
And Tim Cook is his successor, it's confirmed:

> Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

> Tim Cook Named CEO and Jobs Elected Chairman of the Board

> CUPERTINO, California"August 24, 2011"Apple's Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief Operating Officer, as the company's new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.


JacobAldridge 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm preparing a presentation for the HN Meetup in London tomorrow and I used Apple as a 'forthcoming' example of Succession and its impact on equity/ share value. Guess I better reword that bit now, and again when the markets open tomorrow.
anatoly 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's difficult to imagine this could be for any reason other than his illness, but I'd like to hope against hope.
kooshball 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wow. Even though everyone saw this one coming, I dont think anyone expected it to happen so soon. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts tomorrow, I imagine it wont be pretty.

As the COO, Cook did great job lining up and executing the production line. Most of the creative work should already be in the pipeline for the 2012, 2013 releases. We'll see what happens after then.

breckinloggins 4 days ago 2 replies      
It pains me to admit it, but I'm relatively relieved. Sure, the stock price will take a beating, but I have to believe that Apple, the company, will remain strong under Tim Cook's leadership.

Why am I relieved? Because, although AAPL is still quite high, I think that investors have been weary of the stock due to the uncertainty of Jobs' health and future. Make no mistake, we'll have a roller coaster for quite a while, but I strongly suspect that the next few product cycles will demonstrate that Apple is still a game-changer even in a world where Jobs is not at the helm.

That being said, I'll miss him. He's a true visionary and such high-profile leaders only come along once in a great while.

ww520 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs along with Bill Gates and others define the personal computing era. I grew up seeing these people trail-blazed and built up the technology world we know today. It's sad to see Jobs is stepping down, most likely due to health reason. It's like the representation of our computing generation is fading away.

I don't know why but the dialogue from Blade Runner suddenly comes to mind, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain..."

meterplech 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can people stop talking about the effect of the stock? I get it- many of us own AAPL. This is one of the greatest entrepreneurs and CEOs ever stepping down. Let's focus on that.
teyc 4 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest thing Jobs brought to the computing industry is humanity. The understanding that in the end, humans come first.

The second thing is he taught that you don't have to check every box in order to be successful.

He stripped computing back to its roots in science fiction, and built devices that were originally imagined, taking away feature after feature until something is understood.

bane 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can only feel a bit of sadness not just from his resignation, but from the health circumstances that are likely behind this.

I have to take my hat off to Mr. Jobs. Though there is much I disagree with him on (and personally, I'm not much of an Apple fan or consumer), he's one of the most amazing, talented and driven people I've ever seen.

He's brought a unique and masterful skill to the art of selling, vertical integration, acquisitions and consumer electronics. And I mean art. Vertical integration was never something I thought I'd appreciate on an aesthetic level until I saw the level that Jobs has raised that form to time and again. The NeXT computer production line was divine.

I think he's learned tremendously from what happened to Apple the last time he left and has spent extraordinary effort to ensure a smooth and capable team takes over. I can only guess that this might be happening after seeing the capability that the current team has executed with these past few months.

I want Apple in the fight, they continuously raise the bar in the industry and literally make it great to be a consumer, even if you don't buy their stuff yourself.

Kudos to Jobs for a job well done, and I wish him the best in health.

nhangen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sad about this in the same way I'm bummed when a great athlete retires. We've witness one of the greatest turnarounds in history, and though I'm confident that Apple will remain strong, it sucks to see this happen.

That said, when the market dips, buy, buy, buy.

Bud 4 days ago 1 reply      
Steve will now be Chairman of the Board, to answer some questions from other comments. It's hard to see how this does not at least hint at some more bad health news, although I too hope that it does not mean this. Here's Steve's letter to the Board:


jacquesm 4 days ago 4 replies      
deleted, since: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2922792 said roughly the same thing and 6 minutes earlier.
thought_alarm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was really hoping that such succession news would be delivered by the man himself, if and when it happened. But I presume that's not going to happen.

All the best to Steve and his family.

mortenjorck 4 days ago 0 replies      
Considering where Apple is today, especially in context of its epic journey across the past fifteen years, it almost seems like this would have been time regardless of any concerns about Steve's health. He helmed a company that started one revolution through several more, an eclipsing second act largely unlike anything else in the history of business. You need a one-in-a-million CEO to do that. 

Apple doesn't need that where it is now. Its struggles are just memories today. It still needs an incredibly smart CEO that can keep the company on the right path, which it has in Tim Cook, but the era in which Jobs was critical as CEO is over. Whether he's chairman of the board or executive visionary-in-residence, it'll be a more appropriate position for Apple's founder in this new decade. 

This doesn't mark the end of Apple's ascendancy, just the very end of the turnaround. The dawn is over. This is Apple greeting the day.

AlexMuir 4 days ago 1 reply      
And the greatest second act in (business) history draws to a close. He's changed the world. And he made Apple the most valuable company in the world. That's quite some achievement for a terminally ill man.
tomelders 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the days of Apple having a rock star CEO are over. I genuinely believe that a big part of Apple's success is down to Tim Cook, and I think the company is in good hands. But I doubt he'll ever take to the stage or become the face of Apple. That's no bad thing, but Apple has become a sort of entertainment, a movie almost, that people love to watch. I think those days are over and a new era of "mysterious CEO" is about to be ushered in. If anything, Apple is about to get a lot more secretive.
untog 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. I very much hope that this not for illness reasons, and instead he simply decided that now was the time to make the changeover.
staunch 4 days ago 0 replies      
A sad day. Fortunately, he'll continue to inspire the world of technology and entrepreneurs for decades to come. Thanks Steve!
arnoldwh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sad day..I think I must have watched his stanford commencement speech at least a dozen times.


puredemo 4 days ago 1 reply      
This article is pretty vague on the details of 'why' he resigned. Does anyone have more information?

All the best to Steve and his family..

stevenj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all you've done, Steve.
dm8 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the most iconic leader of our times. I will miss his keynotes. They were simply joy to watch.

The famous advert "Here's to the crazy ones..misfits.." totally applies to his career. I'm sure if AAPL ever recreates the same ad, he deserves his spot in there.

jmjerlecki 4 days ago 3 replies      
The Edison of our generation. Sad to see Jobs go and hopefully his health has not gotten worse. The greatest turnaround of a company ever " Steve will leave a long legacy.
AdamTReineke 4 days ago 4 replies      
John Gruber wrote that Steve Cook should succeed him last month. http://daringfireball.net/2011/07/succeeding_steve_jobs

Edit: Yup, I meant Tim Cook... Doh!

brianwillis 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's really hard to know what to say. Jobs' resignation definitely marks the end of an era, and implies that his health is getting worse, but we all knew that this day was going to come eventually.
kellishaver 4 days ago 0 replies      
Though I believe the company will be fine, this kind of feels like the end of an era. It's sad, as well, because it sounds very much like his reasons for stepping down are health-related, which can't be good.

He's survived and built amazing things in the face of great illness, when a lot of people would have given up. Sure, he had more financial resources than most to put into that battle against cancer, but a large part of it still comes down to determination and will. It would have been easy, several years ago, to say "I'm too tired to do this anymore" when you've fought cancer and don't need the paycheck. Someone like that doesn't step away from something they love unless they feel they absolutely have to.

I just hope Steve and his family are given the respect and privacy they will no doubt need and desire in the weeks and months ahead.

johng 4 days ago 0 replies      
What a roller coaster Steve Jobs' life (and his stewardship of Apple) has been. But, all in all, great job. Amazing job. Cheers to Steve.
ForrestN 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think there's a bit of contradiction in all of the hand-wringing about whether or not Apple needs Steve to survive. Given that his health has been in question for several years, and speculation about what will happen if he has to leave, and given that he is a visionary, masterful auteur who guides Apple's strategy so successfully, don't we trust him to have accounted for all of this and developed a succession plan that continues Apple's success?

If there was really a dearth of innovators, of executors, of strategists at Apple when he leaves, wouldn't he have worked to solve that problem? Great CEOs are hirers and developers of great talent. I suspect Jobs has done as good of a job setting up what happens after today as he has everything else.

g123g 4 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason this news is reminding me of the O Fortuna song.


It is passing of an era and things will not be same at Apple or in the tech industry after this.

pkamb 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder how long http://www.apple.com/pr/ will take to update for this.
susanhi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apple will be fine for the next 5 years. The iPhone, iPad, MacBooks, iMacs, etc. will carry them and their revenue. They probably have a few new products ready to release within a year as well, maybe TV or something else. The next 5 years I don't see them stalling. The iPhone and iPad have too much momentum. But the big question is from year 6 to 10. Apple needs a product leader, someone who will lead the whole company to rally around the latest and greatest new apple product. Hopefully Tim Cook can fit into that role, with help from Ive, Schiller, and others. Another hopeful note is the leadership institute Jobs has set up inside Apple with ex-business school profs archiving all of Jobs exploits and training then next generation of leaders. However, I think really nobody really knows what Apple will be like from year 6 to 10. But I'll be rooting for Apple and hope they continue to make revolutionary products.
jianshen 4 days ago 0 replies      
As sad as this is, I really am looking forward to see how the company evolves the culture that he's created.
corin_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
Remember that just because the market is closed, things still happen, and you can keep an eye on the after hours price.

Edit: as pointed out below, after/pre-hoursm

kaiuhl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Huge news. One can expect an overwhelming wave of punditry about this move, but it'll be interesting to read their official press release and what his role will be moving forward.

Surely he'll still be the arbiter of taste until he's dead?

culturestate 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can always tell how big the media thinks a story is by how many unusual places I see it reported. As I type this, "Apple's Steve Jobs steps down" is in the headlines box on ESPN.com right between the little league world series and a story about Tom Brady. I think that's a small but fitting tribute to a man whose ideas and leadership have reached people and places beyond what any of us could've imagined even 10 years ago.
plainOldText 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I first read the title I thought it was a joke.
I was thinking how can a joke be voted number 1 on HN.
Reading through the other titles however made it real.
Well, I guess nothing lasts forever, and following Bill Gates, it is now Steve Jobs' time to step down as the CEO.

The other week I was imagining how would Steve Jobs' office look like in the new headquarters they are planning to build. I guess that doesn't hold anymore. Well, we'll just move on.

Jun8 4 days ago 1 reply      
Oh no!! This means his illness is now quite severe. There can be no replacement to him.

A lot of people say it's hard working for him (my friends at Apple totally dread meeting him by accident), he's egotistical, parks at a handicapped spot, etc. etc. To those people, I give the following, attributed to Judy Garland: ""They say it's hard to work with Judy Garland...do you have any idea how hard it is to BE Judy Garland?"


yesbabyyes 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's wise to do this now, in a controlled manner. All the same, it's going to be interesting to see what happens with Apple in the long run.
losvedir 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aww, I was kind of hoping Steve Jobs would do something insanely huge and visionary (in the way that only he can, it seems) with that massive stockpile of cash Apple has.

Looks like it'll come out in dividends or some such run of the mill fashion.

Knack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple is now worse then Microsoft ever was. Because they're more snaky in putting the thumbscrews on the customers. The true face of Apple is an ugly one. I'm not saying Google or Facebook or Microsoft don't focus on making money on the expense of the customers and on the expense of the freedom of the internet. But I really fail to understand why some of you guys seem to see Steve Jobs as a hero. Are you aware that the direction Steve Jobs and all the big companies are heading to is to force people to buy an app for 5 dollars to write a comment on Hackker News? And as an extra premium they sell your private data to allow other companies rise the prices to the max.

To me Apple has reached a new all time low as they sued Samsung with photoshoped pictures as if Apple had invented the tablet. They made the first great one, but they did not invent it.

EDIT: Typo

code_duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
The whole resurgence of Apple and the amazing products they've been making are enough, but I'm truly impressed with Apple's early years. The Apple ][ was such a standard in schools, and the first Macs were so unique (admitedly, I like the C64 and Amiga a bit more...). Woz rocks, too.
redial 4 days ago 1 reply      
He took Apple from nearly bankruptcy to become one of the biggest, if not the biggest company in the world.
He never stopped changing the world, but best of all, he retired on his own terms.
marquis 4 days ago 1 reply      
From the WSJ on Tim Cook: "people who know him don't consider him to be a visionary". I'd be shocked to hear that Jobs hasn't been grooming his replacement. Cook can keep Apple running for another couple of years, and I expect to see someone else come up as CEO from within the ranks who shares Steve's vision and ability to focus on what makes Apple successful.
tiles 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if there was maybe some foresight in him having an official biography approved shortly before he stepped down as CEO.
rhygar 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is about timing. AAPL became the most valuable company in the world recently. The best way to quit is when you're on top.
cpr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Truly the end of an epoch in computing, assuming his influence fades quickly in a much reduced role at Apple.
mkramlich 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apple just lost their greatest salesman. Luckily their products are so nice they go along way to selling themselves.
pacomerh 4 days ago 0 replies      
CEO or not, this guy is capable of giving you some serious advice that can change your life. Such quality products must come from people with good intentions towards change.
psychotik 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised there isn't enough mention of Jonathan Ive in commentary about the future of decision making at Apple. I think he's got a lot of Steve's aesthetic senses, and also has some of the same unquestioned authority/credibility that Steve does.
jjm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Believe it or not, things can still happen for the better. This change could continue the trend of success through new ideas. Had this not happened I would have said that the peak if the product lifecycle was upon Apple anyway. Hope this makes sense, typin on train from iPhone.
iand 4 days ago 0 replies      
End of an era definitely. No-one can deny that Jobs has had one of the the most successful turnaround careers ever.
leon_ 4 days ago 2 replies      
I hope Apple will survive this. I don't want to develop for windows.
navs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sad to see him leave. Even sadder to see him so unwell. Latest pics of him are gut wrenching.
artursapek 4 days ago 0 replies      
He was the biggest public figure behind Apple, though as an Ind. Design student I'll be just as bummed when Johnny Ive steps down. I hope Steve still shows up at the annual Apple Christmas con's, he's such a great presenter.
dpio 4 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly, he was just as bummed about webOS as everyone else.
clu3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very tough time for Apple ahead

"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new" - Standford Commencement speech 2005

So "the old" are Gates, Jobs,... (born circa 1950s) and "the new" will be Brin, Page, Zuckerberg...

tyler_ball 4 days ago 0 replies      
Without my Mac I would not have learned how to code. I would not have been able to find employment in Web Development, something I enjoy so much.

Without my many iPods over the years I would not be as huge a music fan as I am now. I may not have learned how to play guitar, something I enjoy so much.

I would be completely lost without my iPhone. It makes me the smartest person in the room.

Thanks Steve.

sebkomianos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really, and I mean REALLY, hope that his biography coming out on November 21 this year and his resignation today have nothing to do with his health.

In any way, thank you very much Steve, I guess you can leave your company quite happy and satisfied. :)

arjn 4 days ago 0 replies      
The end of an era for Apple. However, this is hardly unexpected. He has been very ill for a while now. Time for him to focus on himself and his family.
dmerfield 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apple just confirmed Cook will replace Jobs as CEO.
Egregore 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like the closedness of iPhone and iPads, I prefer the more open platforms, like Android. But I deeply regret Steve Jobs leaving, he is a visionary, he did a lot of things for which he has my respect.
krishna2 4 days ago 0 replies      
So much for the AAPL is going to tank and time to short comments. The change is a blip....
RealGeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Steve would still show up at WWDC :)
ww520 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really sad. His health is failing or he won't resign. It's an end of an era. :(
mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have to admit I feel like his letter was more like Lou Gehrig than Michael Jordan. I wish him the absolute best.
aidenn0 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's always tough when the former CEO is chairman of the board. Has the feeling that daddy is looking over your shoulders...
ricw 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing has changed in the short term, though lets hope that in the long term his successors can keep innovating as much as Apple has under Jobs.

Most importantly though, I hope that Steve recovers soon from whatever might be ailing him.

Somewhat sad times..

shn 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you read all the news you would think that the guy just passed away. Good heavens! no. He's only 55. I think we'll see more from him, only different than it used to be. It's life, ever changing...Thanks Steve!
typicalrunt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow there are 9 duplicate stories on HN right now.

Doesn't HN have a duplicate submission filter?

merubin75 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Jobs's greatest creation isn't any Apple product. It is Apple itself."

Source: John Gruber, Daring Fireball blog

connex 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a good book out there dealing with how steve jobs actually evolved from birth to the production of the Macintosh ? That´s the part of his life that interests me most.
dkrich 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really sad, but with his official biography set to be released, and now this, the writing is on the wall. I certainly hope he recovers, though.
Tichy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sad, awful feeling in the gut.
mdg 4 days ago 1 reply      
so is it eerily quiet on the streets of SF right now ?
craigmccaskill 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this has been timed specifically prior to a major product release (iPhone 5) to help combat any stock drop.
g-garron 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope we may still see him around, doing those great presentations. He is a genius on that.
leeskye 4 days ago 0 replies      
San Franciscans are probably wandering the streets wondering if they're going to get their iPhone5 before Christmas.
sinkercat 4 days ago 0 replies      
The showman, the leader, the visionary. Get well soon, Steve. We will miss you.
dataminer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope he gets well soon
davidcollantes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sad day. He will be missed. I wish -- and hope -- he will get better.
MetallicCloud 4 days ago 1 reply      

  >Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world...

Not exactly objective reporting is it?

Frenchie 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a page "leaving card" to thank Steve Jobs for his work as CEO: http://www.plumpl.com/stevejobs
tyty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like some people are trying to capitalize on this: http://www.byestevejobs.com
miratom 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great unbiased journalism: "Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software."
schme 4 days ago 0 replies      
During the time I've read HN I haven't once seen posts get this poetic and sentimental. I wonder what's it like on the Apple side of things.
tomelders 3 days ago 0 replies      
ataaso 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why didn't he wait for the iPhone announcement?
shoota 4 days ago 1 reply      
Time to short AAPL.
toblender 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't worry people, I'll be stepping in as CEO soon.
benkulbertis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good. (Downvotes please)
crizCraig 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cross site poll: What do you think will happen to Apple now that Steve Jobs has resigned?
tonio09 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

I just wanted to highlight this segment as a perfect example of media neutrality.

taylorbuley 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tim Cook has reportedly been given the nod, but I'm still sort of hoping that somewhere Zuck is updating his resume
baby 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices. "

yeah mmm okay, this article is biased.

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot slashdot.org
772 points by SandB0x  4 days ago   143 comments top 30
nicpottier 4 days ago 8 replies      
I don't visit /. anymore, but definitely grew up on it. I don't think you can understate the impact it had on a generation of geeks. Especially when it comes to Open Source, I think /. was incredibly important in educating people on a concept, history and philosophy many of us take for granted now.

And hot grits aside, it really did set the bar for intelligent discussion. /. was the first site where the comments were always more valuable than the articles. RTFA's were common, sure, but so was incredible insight and inside knowledge. That's what made it all so addictive.

I remember hitting refresh constantly on /. during 911. Personally, I found it the best source of information anywhere, though you had to have your own sanity filter on as well.

Thanks cmdrtaco, and congratulations on a real legacy. For me at least, /. is mostly replaced now, but that doesn't diminish what it was.

_delirium 4 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting decision. In practice I don't think this will change a lot, because it's been years since Slashdot was primarily the personal project of Malda; from what I can tell, he's been "just another editor" and a bit withdrawn from the decision-making for a few years now. But I can see wanting to do something else.

For all its downsides, Slashdot is a quite interesting experiment imo.

In terms of form: It was one of the first (the first?) widely read tech blogs, in the sense of something that posted about technology in reverse chronological order, with a comments section below it (the comments section was even threaded). The idea of having users submit stories and write blurbs was also fairly novel, and has led to several different directions. Kuro5hin and MetaFilter took it in one direction, expanding from blurbs to more general kinds of article submissions (and Kuro5hin switched to voting rather than editorial curation), while Reddit/Digg/HN took it in the opposite direction, paring it down to link submissions with no blurb (again with voting).

In terms of content, imo it was a main way, especially in the late 90s, that a generation of tech people were introduced to things like the EFF, free software, problems of software patents, driver support for Linux, hardware hackability, and other such techno-liberty type things. Those predated Slashdot, of course, but it sort of crystallized a community on the web, alongside those that had previously been organized mainly around mailing lists, Usenet, etc. It also gained considerable mindshare for those ideas from a broader set of readers who weren't necessarily "activists".

gallamine 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame that Steve Job's leaving overshadows this. Slashdot has been a rock of the internet for 14 years, and I still regularly visit it. This paragraph is good:

In the last 14 years, Slashdot has covered so many amazing events: The explosion of Linux. The rise of Google. The return of Apple. The Dot Com Bubble. The DMCA. 9/11. Wars. Elections. Numerous successful Shuttle Launches and one Disaster. Scientific Breakthroughs galore. Cool toys. Web2.0! Social Networking. Blogging! Podcasting! Micro-Blogging! The Lord of the Rings being filmed and an entire trilogy of new Star Wars. OMG Ponies!! So many moments that I could run this paragraph for hours with moments where we shared something important, meaningful, or just stupid. But the most important to me was my marriage proposal to Kathleen. Slashdot has posted Over 114,000 stories so far. And there will be many more to come. I just won't be the one picking them.

jacques_chester 4 days ago 1 reply      
Slashdot was my first true time-wasting site. During free periods in high school I'd read Slashdot compulsively -- as nicpottier observed, it was probably the first site where the comments were often more valuable than the story.

Slashdot was a blog before the word 'blog' was coined. A universal shared experience, in my case for literally half a lifetime.

steveb 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me slashdot was critical in galvanizing the geek community and bringing free software to the mainstream in the late 90's. The comments added incredible value and created a community that I had not come across anywhere else.

I think the high point of that period was the announcement of the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base. Nowadays, itt is hard to imagine the need for all the stories on how to convince your boss to use this software some dude in Finland wrote.

Slashdot also championed everything2.com, kind of a proto-wiki.

The low point was all the trolling in the article about death of W. Richard Stevens, which lead to much of the moderation code that needed to be put in place.

Rob's run at slashdot was pioneering and hugely influential. I look forward to his next project.

whazzmaster 4 days ago 4 replies      
I've been down on Slashdot for the last few years, even going so far as to remove it from my RSS reader and bookmarks bar. I check back sometimes here and there but devote most of my time to HN/reddit now.

Taco's farewell (and Hemos' reply in comments) really brought to me back why I liked Slashdot in the first place back in 1998- an editorial voice curating interesting tech stories.

That editorial voice was important to me in 1998, as I was in college for CS and was really uninformed about things like (as _delirium notes in this thread) the EFF, the RIAA, open source software, The Many Uses of Linux, etc. I compare that to today when I just scan lists of links on reddit or HN and pick out the items that interest me. The editorial voice was a good starting point for me- it directed me to interesting things that I couldn't have fathomed. As I grew into my techy career and interests, I needed it less and less.

I hope it's not viewed as complaining or whatnot, but I do wonder if anyone else avoids Slashdot in 2011 almost purely because of the commenters' obnoxiousness. I always get a picture of sysadmin-like greybeards pounding away furiously at their keyboards the moment anyone suggests that some software, somewhere be written in something other than C or perl. Ah slashdot, you truly taught me what a 'troll' was (and "-5, Troll"? shudder.) And for that I thank you.

kahawe 4 days ago 1 reply      
> And since I'm going to have to find a job in a few months, I'm on LinkedIn as well.

Well, this is going to be one short CV and cover letter... "I built slashdot" should be plenty enough, really.

sunchild 3 days ago 2 replies      
To this day, I log into nyt.com with:

user: cowboyneal
pass: cowboyneal

Anyone else?

rmason 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I don't see mentioned is that Slashdot was a uniquely Michigan success story. They were an example to a lot of Michigan startups that you could be successful and stay in the state.

I haven't seen him lately but CmdrTaco used to attend startup related events. One of the early Slashdot crew, Kurt DeMaagd, is now an assistant professor at Michigan State.

zobzu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Slashdot still has the best comment moderation system, even if none is perfect. When the story gets crowded by zillion of comments you still get the best ones in a single page without having to read literally 10 or 15 pages of comments.
5hoom 4 days ago 1 reply      
What the hell is going on today? Thats two influential tech personalities resigning from their signature positions in 24 hours. Im starting to get worried here. Whats next, John Carmack resigns from id?(heaven forbid!)

My world view has been shaken. Best of luck & thanks for the good times CmdrTaco. I wore out F5 keys on that site :)

kabdib 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's made its way into near-future SF. Some character in a novel by Ken Macleod, faced with a Plot Device disaster, says to a friend "I can't even get to Slashdot."
presidentender 3 days ago 1 reply      
Slashdot was the source of my now-permanent news habits, and, I believe, the Petri dish in which modern hacker culture was first cultivated. Slashdot had memes before they were called memes, or so it seems; most importantly, it had discussion via threaded comments and community moderation. I first used this handle on Slashdot, and whenever one of my sites goes down due to traffic, I'll say it's been slashdotted.

But the relevance of Slashdot as a site has been eclipsed, first by Digg, then by Reddit and HN. The network effect is part of it. The technology is part of it. There's some je ne sais quoi about these newer sites; maybe they'll be replaced by some other, more minimalist social news platform in the future.

smudgy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still read Slashdot but not as much as I did "back in the day" - it's my chicken soup site, where I go to feel comfortable surrounded by like minded folks.

While Jobs' resignation is big corporate news, CmdrTaco's might be bigger community news - the guy was "one of us." His site was one of the first online communities and their slanted (according to some) point of view was what spun off other hacker/nerd sites.

I will admit that I'll miss Rob Malda at Slashdot - his name there on the posts made me feel at home, someplace familiar.

So long and thanks for all the fun.

nl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel really old now. All the things I remember most about Slashdot seem to have been forgotten.

Things I remember (most of these are pre-2000):

Netscape being open sourced (and the role Slashdot played in that)

Oracle shipping on Linux

The hidden Slashdot threads (wah_is_cool anyone?)

Discovering a input validation hole that let me post a "Powered by Windows NT" image in the middle of a thread about the original CERT XSS attack warning (http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2000-02.html)

Signal11 vs CmdrTaco (http://www.kuro5hin.org/images/kuro5hin_Sig11_vs_Taco.html)

The K5 split

greyish_water 4 days ago 0 replies      
And he'll resign again in a few hours.
ac-slater 3 days ago 1 reply      
I went to go see CmdrTaco speak in 2005. Someone asked him how to make a website as popular as Slashdot. Malda said to start it in 1997. Of course in the next year the meteoric rise of both digg and reddit began.

I think there is a moral here about not resting on your laurels and never thinking no one can catch up with you.

the_topper 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was always impressed with the story selection on Slashdot. There was a certain mindset that they were pandering to, but it flat-out worked.

I was a voracious reader of Slashdot in the early years until I had an epiphany when reading the They Might Be Giants interview in 2000. I realized that the collective geek mindset was rooted more in fantasy than reality. Posters were so desperately wanting the TMBG guys to be off-the-wall wacky and absurdist, but really it was more that the two John's were just doing their own thing, and that thing was outside the realm of normal music. Yet no one picked up on it.

I couldn't read Slashdot after that. The geek fantasy fog was too thick and pervasive and self-referential.

napierzaza 4 days ago 1 reply      
This will overshadow Steve Jobs' resignation.
wollongong 3 days ago 1 reply      
slashdot was the first digg/reddit, they missed the social boat and kept strict editorial control, or else they'd have grown rather than floundered
enthalpyx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love that this is on the front page of HN -- which is to me, what Slashdot was 10 years ago.
imroot 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you've followed the lifespan of VA Software, OSDN, OSTG, GeekNet...I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone.


Slashdot built the community that a lot of people still have close ties to. I'll always remember reading my first few Bruce Perens posts, and adding him (and a few others) to my 'Friends' List.

I'll also never forget listening to their marketing person talk about how they could 'bitchslap' negative comments (about the advertiser) to -2 so that nobody could see them.

Slashdot is a great place for the folks who have been in the industry for any amount of time. It was always a trusted and stable source of news, reposts, and April Fool's Pranks. I will continue to think that this is something that he did on his own free will and volition, and not something that was forced upon him by the powers that be at GeekNet.

Ann Arbor, MI isn't the Linux Hot-Spot -- nor is it a mecca for new and exciting technology jobs. I hope he enjoys his time off and finds something that gives him the love and satisfaction that slashdot gave him over the last decade.

RobIsIT 3 days ago 0 replies      
The answer that I've always wanted to hear Rob give would come from these questions:

What are the underlying linchpins of the SlashDot community? How would you rebuild it? What steps would you take, what processes would you put in place, what technology would you use?

I would never want to create a SlashDot clone, nor would I expect anyone could clone SlashDot. However, there are very important lessons in community building, management and infrastructure planning that Rob is an expert at.

code_duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thrived on Slashdot for years - definitely the first large, tech oriented news forum I was into. Really, one of the first blogs - but you rarely hear Malda quite take credit for his unique place in internet history. He's refreshingly humble.
AlexC04 3 days ago 0 replies      
Think he and Steve Jobs are heading out to launch a stealth startup?
cpeterso 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how he feels about getting stuck with the "CmdrTaco" handle. :)
njharman 3 days ago 0 replies      
trying to steal the limelight from steve, eh?

I've recently starting reading again after long time away. It's good again!

quinndupont 3 days ago 0 replies      
It was a great 14 years! Huzzah!
Uchikoma 3 days ago 0 replies      
He waited till Steve resigned.
jpdoctor 3 days ago 0 replies      
ZOMG. Steve Jobs and Cmdr Taco are the same guy.
Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO (Official Letter) wsj.com
629 points by hunterowens  4 days ago   65 comments top 22
Timothee 4 days ago 3 replies      
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."

This makes it sound like it does have to do with his health unfortunately, and not that he just feels that it's the right time to do it. (like Bill Gates did with Microsoft)

On another note, even though in reality it's not just for the Board but, as put in the letter, for "the Apple community", it feels odd to imagine that he would need to write a formal letter of resignation.

dmerfield 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently.
leeskye 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Beyond the products, beyond the profits, Jobs' greater gift was to inspire untold numbers of current & future entrepreneurs to be the next Steve Jobs" - Hunter Walk
ffffruit 4 days ago 0 replies      
A true pioneer of the computing industry - farewell.

His Standford graduation talk, always inspiring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

OpenAmazing 4 days ago 2 replies      
$76 billion dollars in the bank.

If Apple had announced they were going to spend it all to make Steve well again, would would have protested?

Somewhere in here is a lesson on the price of immortality.

eekfuh 4 days ago 1 reply      
The way he worded his reasoning, makes it sounds like a health issue. I honestly hope that this is not the case.
ac-slater 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm grateful that Steve managed to sell America on tablets and smart phones after so many failed attempts by others.

But as someone who likes to take things apart and tinker, I've haven't been a big fan of Apple in recent years.

Zakuzaa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Never thought I could be so saddened by a Big Corp. CEO's resignation.
click170 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'll be interested to see if 10 years from now Apple has stayed true in hardware quality or if they sink to EMachines-like quality levels.
mkramlich 4 days ago 1 reply      
One silver lining to this: he's going out on top.
novodam 4 days ago 0 replies      
who knew that he would take that LDAP bug so seriously?
mtgentry 4 days ago 4 replies      
Fuck all those WSJ assholes with their "SELL SELL SELL" comments.
sebkomianos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really, and I mean REALLY, hope that his biography coming out on November 21 this year and his resignation today have nothing to do with his health.

In any way, thank you very much Steve, I guess you can leave your company quite happy and satisfied. :)

bobstobener 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Walt Disney of technology. I will miss him. Get well Steve.
alexmr 4 days ago 2 replies      
The true test of Steve's legacy will be whether Apple can continue in the image he molded for it well beyond his departure. Great CEO's are felt for a long time after they leave.
ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
You know how the news people run the wonderful stories about people's lives AFTER they are gone? Well I sure wish they'd do it while they are still around.

As much as I am not an Apple (or Jobs) fan, I still recognize great achievement when I see it.

Best wishes to him and his family.

technostx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs is leaving at a good time. Apple is the best company in the world. I hope he has his health and can enjoy being with his family and taking a backseat role with Apple.

Enjoy the ride Steve. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

rooshdi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I certainly hope this doesn't mean Steve's health is declining, but rather that he and Apple feel the time is right to make a smooth transition towards assigning Tim Cook as the new CEO. It definitely feels like Steve is sincere in his belief that now is the right time for him to step down. I just hope he still has the capacity to creatively inspire Apple in his new role as Chairman as much as he always has.
krishna2 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the biggest thing is that everyone in Apple has a question they can ask themselves, "What would Steve Jobs do?". And if they can honestly answer the question and take decisions based on that, Apple with its lead and its teams and its products will stay ahead for a while to come.
[cross posted from another thread]
tylerneylon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Whatever happens next, this is the end of a great era for Apple.
dm8 4 days ago 1 reply      
If he looks back on his company career, he will definitely feel satisfied. 4 products (mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad) that not only changed the world but also became multi-billion dollar businesses. Not to mention countless other products (iTunes, App Store, Safari, Final Cut Pro, Apple ][ etc. :)
franze 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve really has a deep-seated need to one-up HP.
Icon Ambulance google.com
602 points by sgk284  4 days ago   86 comments top 13
nhashem 4 days ago  replies      
Because it's Steve Jobs, this is a great anecdote. I'm sure we'll hear dozens of them in the next couple days and weeks, all examples of Jobs' attention to detail and design resulting in superior products and software.

Yet imagine your boss calling you on a Sunday and saying, "So I was reviewing the DBA's data model for the new product, and I really don't like how he's called the columns with customers identifiers 'cust_id' instead of 'customer_id.' We use 'customer_id' in all our other tables. It's just wrong and and I'm going to have him fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?" And then you get an e-mail called 'Customer Column Naming Convention Ambulance' five minutes later.

I mean... if you got a call like this from anyone else, wouldn't it be absolutely absurd? How did Jobs manage to put his own mark on design decisions like this without totally micro-managing or hit-and-run-managing everything?

aneth 4 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming the anecdote is accurate, my guess is this was Steve's subtle way of nudging Vic to be more attentive to details. I don't think Steve would call anyone at anytime making a fuss over such a small thing - he would never get any work done.

Call someone who's work is starting to slip once on a Sunday to complain about some minutiae, and you are letting them know that you are watching - even if you aren't really watching all the time. I think this is a leadership technique, not the micro-management it appears to be.

This also is a way of Steve asserting control and dominance. Making someone scurry over a mis-tinted letter sets the tenor of the relationship.

I think it's important not to take the wrong lessons from all these anecdotes. Jobs knows how to get good work out of people by causing them to demand perfection of themselves and to fear producing imperfect products. No CEO has time to exact perfection end to end - their job is to set standards, expectation, and culture. Sometimes ridiculous demonstrations of micro-management are just what someone needs.

huhtenberg 3 days ago 2 replies      
> I'm sorry I didn't answer your call earlier. I was in religious services...

Is that what he literally said? "In religious services"? I find it really hard to believe. It is more fitting of a blog post that has been adopted to the format of "The Jobs Tales". Gender-neutral, religion-agnostic, PG-13.

comice 4 days ago 3 replies      
I think most rational people would have said something like: "Steve, I agree that is an important detail but it does not warrant a phone call to me on Sunday morning. Send me an email. We'll speak tomorrow."

The question is, why didn't people say things like that to Steve Jobs?

Or do only the ones that prostrated themselves to him ever speak up? (or get the attention when they do?)

I want some stories of people telling Jobs to piss off.

ary 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sudden love for Gundotra's favorite authoritarian? Sounds more like a sigh of relief.

Vic Gundotra at Google I/O 2010: "if Google did not act we faced a Draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice"

random42 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why did it sound like a eulogy to me? :(
A-K 4 days ago 2 replies      
That penultimate paragraph is certainly a change in tune from Vic's I/O keynote last year... ;)
siglesias 4 days ago 0 replies      
Which icon is he referring to?

Update, via @arnoldkim: Jan 2008, Jobs did MWSF Keynote and introduced Webclips with home screen icons. twitpic.com/6aye3l

mariusmg 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would have been impressed if Jobs would have fix it himself...
giancarlofrison 4 days ago 1 reply      
where is the story?? someone that call on sunday for the icon deserve so much admiration? I don't believe it...
joshu 4 days ago 4 replies      
This doesn't ring true to me.
veidr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs is the exception that proves the rule, "Don't micromanage".
Kavan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have just blogged about this article at FounderandFriends.com.

Here is the text from it.

Steve Jobs, is someone I admire hugely. Yes, he has numerous personality floors but his obsession to follow his heart in all things in his life is extremely admirable. Watching his Stanford Commencement speech too many times in a job I didn't enjoy led me to quit as a Derivatives Trader and sent me on my current path, back to the startup world I left many years ago. He has literally changed my life.

Steve's obsession has led him to become a product perfectionist. And is why Apple is now the second most valuable company in the world. Almost every product that comes from Apple is spectacularly awesome. And Vic's post illustrates the depths of Steve's obsession. I have heard similar stories about Jack Dorsey at Square, tweaking spacing on receipts because he felt they were not beautiful enough.

In Vic's post the comments are full of ‘the devil is in the details' quotes of admiration for Jobs' obsession. But the question for us is, ‘Should we as startup entrepreneurs have the same obsession with the details of our products?'.

My answer is that, unfortunately, we can't. And I really mean it when I say unfortunately. I am a perfectionist myself in a lot of ways. When I do something I pour my heart and soul into it. I want it to be the best I can make it. I become obsessed and it is constantly in my mind. I go to bed and wakeup thinking about it. My girlfriend recently pointed out that 70% of our conversation is about SayMama. All the SayMama animations, transitions and buttons movements, design, logo and user flows have all been laboriously thought through and refined. The amount of energy myself and the team have spent on details has been immense.

The problem is that we misplaced our passion. We are currently pivoting the business, or rather accelerating it to where we wanted it to be in a year or so from now. This means that we will be putting most of our energy into a new product. All the details we crafted in saymama.com don't matter.

Obsession is not the problem, the problem is where we focus the obsession. For us startups, the obsession should be placed in finding product/market fit and gaining traction. And in finding our product champions who will help spread the word. A higher level of abstraction of obsession. Not the details but the broader product.

Obsession with the details of a logo are only gifted to those who have viable product that serves a users need. Those like Steve and Jack who already have a viable business. Personally I can't wait for this day, but until then all my energy will go into defining where SayMama and our subsequent product fit into the world of real time video communications.

We are still guided by the same compass, ‘to take real world human interaction and replicate it online'. But the obsession is not on the product details. It is on creating something that solves users' problems in a way that no one else does.

Show HN: Like Button for Hacker News hnlike.com
515 points by sbashyal  23 hours ago   65 comments top 20
pg 20 hours ago 9 replies      
It's worth thinking about the question of whether this will make HN better or worse. I'm inclined to think worse. It will bring more random people to the site, and (to the extent it works) it will mean that an article's score on HN will depend partially on the completely random factor of whether the author included this button.
dshah 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice work!

A big improvement would be to not go through the submission step if the article has already been submitted (and has votes). Would be more like the reddit button.

Speaking of which, making this look more like the standard social media buttons would be good too.

I'll put an open $100 Amazon Gift certificate reward out there if you want to make those changes, and release back to the community.

g-garron 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It was just the day before yesterday that I've written this

About how I like HN, and why it is not yet-another-social-site full of kids trying to push their post to the top.

Sorry if this sound negative, but I'd rather prefer HN as it is now, If I find something I think might interest this "mature" community I'll come here and post it, It does not matter if this is not as easy as submit the story to Facebook. It worth the "effort" as here I get real good comments about my submissions.

We already have Facebook for the "brainless" people. I've to admit that I blog a lot and only maybe 1% of my own posts deserve being here. With this button in my blog, maybe lots of me posts might end up here.

Anyway great job designing and creating this. :).

Hope my opinion adds something good to this discussion.

pestaa 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea but if I ever use it, the reason would be backwards: to show how many hackers already upvoted the entry.

Most articles hit the front page on HN and in a good case stay there for a day, but rarely more. The votes after that point are so distributed over time the entry would disappear anyway from the most visited page.

I'd rather link back to the proper page on HN (where I'd want to read the comments anyway, I think I'm not alone with this).

If there was a way to link back and upvote with a single click, I'd raise my hat.

Nonetheless, really nice work for a weekend.

Andi 20 hours ago 1 reply      
If you have a good story, you will go to hackernews and post it. I think this "innovation" is going to lead to a lower post quality.
mike-cardwell 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The way this button works suggests to me that it would be easy to use CSRF to get people automatically upvoting your articles if they happen to be logged into HN when they come to your site.
lubutu 22 hours ago 3 replies      
It's impressive how lossy-compressed that PNG image is. The button artwork really needs some love...
impendia 14 hours ago 0 replies      
So there are 378 upvotes (and counting) but that could be a little misleading. I venture no opinion on whether this is a good idea or not, but I confess to having upvoted the link because I was curious to try out the button.
biturd 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe after the submit the window should go away, because this is what I get, which looks odd http://i.imgur.com/BCvWV.png
thelovelyfish 18 hours ago 0 replies      
A "like" button instigates nothing more than a childish popularity competition.
donniefitz2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Please don't do this to HN. I really like it here.
ahmetalpbalkan 22 hours ago 1 reply      
It actually does not make users "like", right? First it sends you to submit page, then you submit and then you're counted as liked?
jeremyarussell 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I figure a good compromise exists. Just release the source code and let everyone host their own hackers like button. Then people get to choose what they want. (and even choose to alter the code to not allow "likes" at all.) And, just show details of how many liked it. This ways they can integrate hacker news info with their own blogs displays, etc.

Personally, I can see through pulse and news.ycombinator.com how many votes something has. If I want to upvote something I'll take the thirty seconds to find the article on hacker news.

Just my two cents.

RFE: Typo

PLejeck 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker News is like Digg but without so much sucking.

If Digg were 100% programmers, it would be Hacker News.

I personally think this is a good idea if only to reduce duplicates and such.

As long as we never explicitly link to Hacker News itself, no noobs will come here, and the benefits should outweigh the negatives.

artursapek 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Do we really want submitting a story to HN to be as easy as getting fed inside of a Skinner box?
jamesrom 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the exact moment when HN jumps the shark and becomes digg/reddit/slashdot/et al.
mvts 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have the feeling, that a social network is the exact opposite of what HN is aiming to be. I'd rather like to think of it as a community.
dartma 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I would suggest not doing it, although it seems like a nice idea.

I honestly do think that content will suffer on HN as a result.

hm2k 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sure I saw a better implementation of this on someone's blog only last week, but I don't recall where.

I can't be the only one who saw this...

ahmetalpbalkan 16 hours ago 1 reply      
instead of showing an image, have you considered doing that orange 'Y' logo with HTML+CSS?
Walking on a cube-shaped planet straightdope.com
437 points by yaks_hairbrush  2 days ago   78 comments top 20
thesz 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminded me of Cyberiad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cyberiad

"The Highest Possible Level of Development civilization. A gravely injured hermit comes to Trurl's house and tells Trurl of Klapaucius's adventure: Klapaucius wanders across an old robot, who tells him that he has logically deduced the existence of a civilization that reached the highest possible level of development (hence "HPLD"). He has inferred the existence of such a civilization by figuring that if there are different stages of development, there will be one that is the highest. He was then faced with a problem of identifying that one; as he noted, everyone claimed that theirs was the HPLD. Upon much research and thought, he decided that the only way to find it is by looking for a "wonder", i.e. something that has no rational explanation. Eventually Klapaucius discovers one such wonder: a star in the shape of a cube, orbited by a planet also shaped like a cube with the huge letters HPLD written on it."

Now I know how it is like, to be one of HPLD.

aristidb 2 days ago 4 replies      
"Ask a Physician" has something to say about this: http://www.askamathematician.com/?p=6657
morsch 2 days ago 2 replies      
Another planetary thought experiment (edit: sorry, credit where it's due: excerpt from The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks):

I was born in a water moon. Some people, especially its inhabitants, called it a planet, but as it was only a little over two hundred kilometres in diameter, 'moon' seems the more accurate term. The moon was made entirely of water, by which I mean it was a globe that not only had no land, but no rock either, a sphere with no solid core at all, just liquid water, all the way down to the very centre of the globe.

If it had been much bigger the moon would have had a core of ice, for water, though supposedly incompressible, is not entirely so, and will change under extremes of pressure to become ice. (If you are used to living on a planet where ice floats on the surface of water, this seems odd and even wrong, but nevertheless it is the case.) The moon was not quite of a size for an ice core to form, and therefore one could, if one was sufficiently hardy, and adequately proof against the water pressure, make one's way down, through the increasing weight of water above, to the very centre of the moon.

Where a strange thing happened.

For here, at the very centre of this watery globe, there seemed to be no gravity. There was colossal pressure, certainly, pressing in from every side, but one was in effect weightless (on the outside of a planet, moon or other body, watery or not, one is always being pulled towards its centre; once at its centre one is being pulled equally in all directions), and indeed the pressure around one was, for the same reason, not quite as great as one might have expected it to be, given the mass of water that the moon was made up from.

This was, of course,"

blahedo 2 days ago 1 reply      
The seas wouldn't even be flat to the "surface" of the cube, right? They'd deform into a spheroid. So looking at it from a peak (or from space) it would appear to be a liquid sphere intersected with a solid cube.
mckoss 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very fun thought experiment. It reminded me that we did a problem in calculus to compute the effect of gravity inside a hollow sphere. It turns out to be ZERO.

So, if the Earth's mass, was all densely concentrated in a, say, 1 mile thick shell, you could drill a hole through the shell and experience total weightlessness when you popped out on the "inside" (assuming a total vacuum on the inside - if not - you'd experience a very small gravity toward the center based on the mass of the contained atmosphere).

georgieporgie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Regarding the perceived gravity on a cube planet, the movie Sunshine tries to portray accurate physics for a similar situation. It has great sci-fi visuals, though the end gets a bit... silly.
huhtenberg 2 days ago 2 replies      
> On spherical earth the horizon on average is a little over three miles away.

I read (long time ago) that the horizon is 29km on a seashore. In other words if you see a ship disappear on a horizon, it was 29km away. And so his 3mi vs my 29km is a bit of a discrepancy. Can anyone set things straight here?

bediger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like such a planet would have some odd-looking periodic orbits: http://arxiv.org/abs/1108.4635

One family of orbits is parallel to a face of the cube, if I understand the paper even a little.

defdac 2 days ago 1 reply      
If no sci-fi-3d-renderer makes a complete physically based rendering of this I will be surprised. Some nice Mie-scattering-atmosphere simulation with awesome distances and displacements maps from a Borg cube.. Yumm..
6ren 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Integral Trees (Larry Niven): the habitable space is a torus.

It's a torus of air in orbit. The trees look like integral signs because they align pointed toward the star, but have constant wind in opposite directions at either end, because the air there has different orbital speeds, being closer or further from the star.

gchucky 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm getting an error when I try to load it. The cache is still alive, though: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?sclient=psy&...
Semiapies 2 days ago 0 replies      
Naturally, the large airless portions of the surface would be pocked by craters, with enormous scree fields washing center-ward from from many of those craters, as the debris fell back to earth to bounce, slide, and roll "downhill".
kb101 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that both the straight dope and ask-a-physicist links describe the effects as something similar to having eight giant mountains on Earth whose summits make up the points of a cube. This led me to wonder, what if we consider the case where the Earth is exactly the same (geologically) as it is now, but in the future we put up eight giant towers whose tops describe those summit points? Assuming a supermaterial has been discovered whose properties allow for an extremely light structure with enormous compression strength relative to its weight, like aerogel ( http://bashinginminds.com/2010/01/23/playing-with-nasas-soli... ) but even aerogel-ier. What would that be like?

Is it then too far-fetched to imagine that some freak process of nature or other might conceivably allow for the creation of a bizarre planet with an immensely dense spherical core and a lighter mantle and crust that take on the shape of a cube externally? Nature is not averse to giving us cubes, after all: http://www.gemstoneslist.com/pyrite.html

tsunamifury 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this illustration might be the first one ever to help me understand how space can be 'curved'. If you altered the space around the cube to reflect a linear gravitational pull, you'd have a cube with streteched out points and a flat ocean within the curved bason of the cube face.

Correct me if I'm completely imagining things here, but is this how space is 'curved' by gravity? The disorted shape of the ocean and cube would reflect how the cube-planet felt to an observer within its gravitational pull.

stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are all sorts of rules for drama and character development. What are the rules for incorporating neat scientific/sci-fi ideas into a story? In lots of Larry Niven's stories, the ideas are necessary to solve the central mystery, but not always.

EDIT: In a mashup of The Culture and Dilbert, a godlike nanotech Dogbert forces the hapless Homo Sapiens Dilbert to work on a "cubical".

shahin 2 days ago 1 reply      
here I'll summarize the article for you in one sentence:
just think of the earth as it is, only with 8 huge mountains one on each corner.
jamesbritt 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Cubeworld", from the anthology Mathenauts


Great book, BTW.

donnaware 2 days ago 1 reply      
hmmm, do you suppose such a planet might be made of diamond ?
davidcollantes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I imagine walking on a cube-shaped planet will be not different that doing it on a sphere shaped one.
teeray 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Earth-scale gravity is so strong that a cube made of the strongest rock would soon be deformed into a ball."

Not necessarily true. If the cube-shaped world has a cube-shaped moon orbiting at the same period as our moon, it will be sooner transformed into a ball by creepers.

Want to Write a Compiler? Just Read These Two Papers. dadgum.com
379 points by ColinWright  3 days ago   77 comments top 19
gruseom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bob Barton taught the guys who wrote Burroughs Fortran to write a compiler in one day. Check out the following story. (Lengthy, sorry. But worth it. Also, I edited it a bit.)

Phillips programmers still had a soft spot in their hearts for the Burroughs 205. So when it came time for them to buy another machine they said that they would buy a Burroughs 205 computer if the following conditions were met:

A. It had to have a compiler that would compile and execute existing IBM 650 Fortransit programs with no modifications whatsoever.

B. The compiler had to compile faster than IBM's Fortransit.

C. The time for loading the compiler and object programs had to be faster than IBM's.

D. The object programs had to run faster.

A call was placed to Bob Barton... Bob said that he could not spend any more effort on the 205. All of his budget was allocated for 220 projects. However, if John Hale would designate three people for the project, he would fly to Dallas for one day and teach them how to write a compiler.

When I heard that someone was flying in from Pasadena to show us how to write a compiler, I was very skeptical. I had seen many other so-called experts from Pasadena and I was invariably disappointed.

The day that Bob spent in Dallas was one of the most amazing days of my life. I am sure that I never learned so much in an eight hour period. We stopped briefly for coffee in the morning and went out for a quick lunch. We did not take a break in the afternoon. The day was intense to say the least. I took a cab to the airport to catch his plane. He talked all the way to the airport and was still shouting information to me as he walked up the steps to the plane and disappeared into it. He said that IBM had spent 25 man-years on Fortransit, but that the three of us could do the job in six months.

They ended up being two guys (not three) and doing it in nine months (not six). Of course, compilers were simpler back then. But they were also far less well understood. These guys hit every one of those crazy requirements and invented virtual memory in the process.

Edit: here is the part about virtual memory. They had to do it to meet requirement D.

The goal of executing object programs faster than the IBM 650 sounded like real trouble to Bob. Both systems had a drum memory. The drum on the 650 rotated at 12500 rpm compared to 3570 rpm on the 205. However, the 205 drum was more sophisticated. It was divided into two areas. The primary storage was 80 words of 0.85 millisecond average access memory. The secondary storage was 4000 words of 8.5 millisecond average access memory.

Bob said that it seemed to him that our only chance of meeting the object speed goal was to figure out an "automatic blocking algorithm". I did not hear the term "virtual memory" until several years later. By an automatic blocking algorithm, he meant moving segments of code from the secondary storage into the primary storage and executing it from there. Since the first goal was to compile existing programs without modification, I would have to do it without the programmer adding any flow directing statements to the programs.

Bob said that a lot of people in Pasadena had tried without success to implement automatic blocking, but I should not let that stop me from trying. I would be the first person to try it with a high-level language. The success of the project seemed to hinge on that algorithm.

During the course of the next two months I did discover the algorithm. The next time that I saw Bob was in the Pasadena Plant in April, 1960. He was in the process of cleaning out his desk... I described the algorithm to him and he became tremendously enthused. Frankly, I had not grasped the importance of the accomplishment.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2856567. The whole memoir is wonderful. I laughed, I cried. Ok, I didn't cry. But it's all kinds of inspiring awesome.

Jabbles 3 days ago 4 replies      
"Just"? I make the first one 94,000 words. Has anyone actually read the papers to make sure that the OP has recommended something worthwhile? "Reading" and then coding alongside would probably take a full week's worth of time (I'd be interested to know if different).

It's a genuine question. People are recommended to read SICP all the time, by many influential people, but when a proper discussion of whether it's actually worthwhile comes up, we found a considerable range of opinions.


Goladus 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Not surprisingly, the opaqueness of these books has led to the myth that compilers are hard to write.

Opaqueness of the books is not what makes everyone think compilers are hard to write. What makes compilers hard to write, for someone who has never done it before, is the scope of the problem you're trying to solve. Writing a compiler, to spec, for a non-trivial language takes a lot of WORK.

Regexes and grammars can be tricky to grok and walking abstract syntax trees can be hard as well. A hundred-pass compiler may make that part easier, but it almost certainly doesn't reduce the overall amount of work required to go from scratch to a working compiler, and that's where the "compilers are hard" reputation comes from.

(Incidentally, that doesn't mean the two sources mentioned aren't worth reading. Scanning both of them, they look excellent.)

Goladus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just a note for anyone reading the Crenshaw book, in chapter 9 he notes:

    The C language is quite another matter, as you'll see.   Texts on
C rarely include a BNF definition of the language. Probably
that's because the language is quite hard to write BNF for.

There is now an excellent reference that includes a full BNF Grammar for C(C99): http://www.amazon.com/Reference-Manual-Samuel-P-Harbison/dp/...

(This book didn't exist when the tutorial was written)

6ren 3 days ago 2 replies      
> The authors promote using dozens or hundreds of compiler passes, each being as simple as possible.

This kind of approach can seem wrong, because it's breathtakingly, disturbingly inefficient, but it's an excellent way to break down a problem, so you can see it, play with it and understand it. It's much easier to write an efficient version once you know what the hell you're doing.

thesz 3 days ago 3 replies      
>The authors promote using dozens or hundreds of compiler passes, each being as simple as possible. Don't combine transformations; keep them separate.

Actually, this way you will get an inferior compiler (optimizer).


The thesis referenced above argues (and provides examples) that you cannot overcome important problems by separating transformations. You need to combine them.

asg 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've not had a formal CS education. So the first time I had to write a mini compiler, I decided to do it by hand, for its educational value, rather than use a parser generator. Google got me Crenshaw's paper (Lets build a compiler), and I remember it was very simple to follow his code to write my own. So yes, much recommended.
pella 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Definitive ANTLR Reference: Building Domain-Specific Languages


-- + --

Language Implementation Patterns: Create Your Own Domain-Specific and General Programming Languages

"Learn to build configuration file readers, data readers, model-driven code generators, source-to-source translators, source analyzers, and interpreters. You don't need a background in computer science"ANTLR creator Terence Parr demystifies language implementation by breaking it down into the most common design patterns. Pattern by pattern, you'll learn the key skills you need to implement your own computer languages."

mavelikara 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found Peter Sestoft's "Programming Language Concepts for Software Developers" an enjoyable read. The book incrementally builds two compilers - one for Micro-ML and one for Micro-C. The implementation language is F#.


krishna2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Surprised that no one has yet mentioned EOPL ("Essentials of Programming Languages"). An awesome book imho.
Jun8 2 days ago 1 reply      
If one wanted to jump in and write one, what's a good language to write a compiler for, provided the resulting thing would be of some use to the developer (and maybe to others) and not a toy? Coffescript? Scheme? Or just write a parser for, e.g. Markdown?
wglb 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is good advice, but Not surprisingly, the opaqueness of these books has led to the myth that compilers are hard to write. Having written a couple, I can assure you that writing a compiler is hard. But that is why it is worthwhile.
edtechdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the best way is to study and contribute to an existing compiler.

There are dozens to choose from that compile to javascript:

or java's JVM:

or .net/mono's CLI:

digitalbanana 3 days ago 0 replies      
i had to put together something resembling a compiler for a class, i used mainly two sources:

for the theory part: http://www.diku.dk/hjemmesider/ansatte/torbenm/Basics/ Basics of Compiler Design - Free book)

actualy put something together:
(PLY (Python Lex-Yacc))

maybe not the solution for real world use, but helped me jump past some nitpicking parts with the C / lex / yacc implementation.

plaes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hum.. can someone tell him that he spelled Knuth wrong :S
telemachos 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Crenshaw tutorial uses Turbo Pascal. Any recommendations for Pascal on modern Macs?
jc-denton 2 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly disagree with "Learn a parser toolkit". If you want to do it yourself you should write also a parser yourself.
trurl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I learned more about modern compilation by reading and implementing "From System F to Typed Assembly Language" than I did from the compilers course I took.


compay 3 days ago 1 reply      
Want to know Modern Philosophy? Just read Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason." After all, how hard could one book be?
Papers Every Programmer Should Read (At Least Twice) objectmentor.com
345 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   26 comments top 13
onan_barbarian 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's not a terrible list, but it's very biased towards the question "how should we structure computer programs?".

This is a good question, but perhaps not the _only_ question, and I'm not sure that a top 10 list would be quite so focused on it, at the expense of algorithms, architecture, concurrency, networks, formal methods, etc.

I also doubt the ranty "Worse is Better" should be on any top 10 list, influential or not. Some of these papers seem better suited to give someone a background to furiously prognosticate here on HN and perhaps LtU than to do anything of consequence.

drv 4 days ago 1 reply      
A paper that would be on my personal list is "What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic" (Goldberg): http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E19957-01/806-3568/ncg_go...
fogus 4 days ago 3 replies      
I would add "Out of the Tarpit" by Ben Moseley and Peter Marks. I read it at least twice a year.


_delirium 4 days ago 1 reply      
Robert Kowalski (1979). "Algorithm = Logic + Control". Communications of the ACM 22(7): 424-436. http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~rak/papers/algorithm%20=%20logic%20...

(It's the paper that originated Prolog, but is also more broadly interesting for its analysis of, well, algorithms as logic plus control.)

ColinDabritz 4 days ago 1 reply      
There was an excellent cs theory stack exchange question on this:

http://cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/1168/what-papers... [pdf]

The top two are nearly tied for:
"A mathematical theory of communication" by Claude Shannon


"On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" by Alan Turing

http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/~ctg/classes/lib/canon/turing-com... [pdf]

I would add that

'The Annotated Turing' by Charles Petzold


is an excellent treatment of Turings paper, including much of the relevant additional math and computing history both before and after.

arethuza 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tony Hoare's ACM Turing Award lecture "The Emperor's
Old Clothes":


pnathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've always found rpg's Patterns of Software to have some deep insights into the nature of software systems. Particularly the ruminations on habitability.
cpeterso 4 days ago 0 replies      
Butler Lampson's "Hints for Computer System Design" (1983) is a classic paper with some great anecdotes:


endlessvoid94 4 days ago 0 replies      
"On the Designing and Deploying Internet-scale Services" by James Hamilton: http://www.mvdirona.com/jrh/talksAndPapers/JamesRH_Lisa.pdf

html version: http://www.usenix.org/event/lisa07/tech/full_papers/hamilton...

adulau 4 days ago 0 replies      
MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters by Jeffrey Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat (OSDI'04: Sixth Symposium on Operating System Design and Implementation) http://labs.google.com/papers/mapreduce.html
Iv 4 days ago 0 replies      
A programmer should not encourage paywalls.
astrofinch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know where I can find an ungated version of "An experimental evaluation of the assumption of independence in multiversion programming"?
VinzO 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems the site is down :(

Any mirror link?

Resigned daringfireball.net
343 points by A-K  4 days ago   87 comments top 13
ryandvm 4 days ago 8 replies      
I, apparently in agreement with Apple's investors today, have a little trouble with the notion that Steve Jobs stepping down will have no effect on Apple's success.

I'm afraid the Apple faithful are playing a little fast and loose with logic on this one. Let me see if we have this straight...

1) Steve Jobs was absolutely and almost singularly responsible for Apple's meteoric rise over the last 14 years. His vision, his taste, his standards, his business acumen, all of it - has driven Apple past competitor after competitor to become the most valuable company in the world. [By the way, I agree.]

2) Steve Jobs is also completely unnecessary for Apple's continued success. [Hmmmm]

I think I can agree with Gruber's wisdom in choosing to prognosticate no further than a month. What made Apple remarkable is going away today. From here on out Apple will be as likely as the next company to blunder in the marketplace by playing it safe. You will not see Tim Cook do anything half as insane/brilliant as Jobs was capable of.

Estragon 4 days ago 5 replies      
What an irritating post, basically saying nothing but, "Hey, look, I saw this coming!"
Tichy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have to say, I am more concerned about Steve Jobs than about Apple. Today's news made me sad because the world will miss contributions from a genius.

I am confident that we will have nice computing hardware in the future. Even today, Apple are not the only ones to deliver.

But there is/was only one Steve Jobs.

Guess I am one of the few on HN who doesn't own Apple stock, so I am free to just worry about the man and not the company.

A-K 4 days ago 4 replies      
Gruber at his best. I get the feeling that he's had large pieces of this particular post in the works for quite some time.
pooriaazimi 4 days ago 3 replies      
Jobs's greatest creation isn't any Apple product. It is Apple itself.


MikeCapone 4 days ago 2 replies      
I thought that the Slaughterhouse-Five reference at the end was appropriate. Stuff happens, we need to deal with it as best as we can and keep looking ahead. That's what Steve always does.
st3fan 4 days ago 3 replies      
The thing to keep in mind is this: Apple tomorrow, a week from now, and next month is the exact same Apple from yesterday, a week ago, and last month.

Don't know about that. Apple, like all hi-tech companies, is constantly changing, adapting, finding new ways, dealing with change, innovation, etc.

aculver 4 days ago 1 reply      
One of the first tweets I read in the minutes after this news broke was "@gruber Well? Help us process this, John." I'm glad he didn't waste any time.
Zakharov 4 days ago 0 replies      
After reading that I had to stop and remind myself that Jobs isn't dead yet; the article read like an obituary.
tonetheman 4 days ago 2 replies      
How exactly is a company a fractal design? What the hell does that mean really?

Seriously how does this apple-ass-clown constantly make it to the front page?

Apple is not a person it is a company. Steve might be full of humility, Apple is not.

rockmeamedee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think he summed it very well with Vonnegut at the end.

So it goes.

sigzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
It wasn't a surprise to anyone. Everyone knew it would happen eventually. He is still remaining the Chairman of the Board, so he will be around for a bit in that role. I see nothing changing for the immediate future but we will see.
joppa_road 4 days ago 0 replies      
i just can't get the words of dennis hopper from apocalypse now out of my head: when he dies, it dies, man.
Why I do not want to work at Google canonical.org
338 points by rl1987  1 day ago   126 comments top 24
DavidMcLaughlin 1 day ago  replies      
This guy really should go work for Google and figure out the problems they need to deal with running a service like Gmail. Even for just a little while.

At work we had a researcher from Yahoo Mail come in and give a presentation on the machine learning techniques they use to try and stop spammers abusing their mail servers. It was eye-opening to learn just what kind of hourly battle they face to keep spam out of their systems and the ways they are trying to combat it. It was even more enlightening when the presenter told stories about the problems that machine learning can't solve - like people within the company being bribed to whitelist spam companies based in Vegas.

On the surface it's such a simple problem, and I'm sure anyone who's tried to prevent their web application's outgoing mail being marked as spam by the evil corporations of Yahoo and Google will have had the desire to go write a blog post saying what a crock of shit the whole thing is and how they would never take part in that. But here's the thing - those systems are in place because if they weren't, email would be a completely useless form of communication at this point.

The people sending spam make _millions_ of dollars abusing a system which is popular because its open and based on trust. That kind of money combined with greed gives people all different levels of drive and incentive to get their emails about bigger penises and viagra through to your inbox. Every time they prevent one form of attack, these guys will create a new one.

To do this they do things like install mail servers on unsuspecting user's machines, specifically targeting Yahoo/Hotmail/Google users because their IP will obviously need to be trusted by those companies. They will also hack into other people's private mail servers. They will spoof email headers and pretend they're someone else. They will hire people, experts, who will find new ways of breaking in to servers they detect as having mail servers running on them. All this just to get past the spam filters and prevention that make email a useful form of communication to begin with.

And let's forget the people who couldn't set up their own mail server for just a second. I like to think I know what I'm doing. After installing Postfix and jumping through all the hoops to get my emails whitelisted by Gmail and making sure I didn't have an open relay on my mail server, you know what happened? Someone managed to hack in by brute force anyway. I only noticed because of the _millions_ of automated replies that were coming in every day from dead email accounts or people that were out of office.

Now, I could have worked hard to fight this. I could have did something other than changing my passwords and hoping they didn't get crack them again. But the point is - I only ran a mailserver to get email delivered to me on my personal domain. I didn't want to have to fight and battle and dedicate myself to solving this problem. I wanted to take this thing for granted. I just wanted to send and receive email. Instead bad people could not only sit there and read all my incoming mail - but they could use my server to spam people and get me blacklisted and blocked from so many other services I worked so hard to be trusted by. And they did all this without even specifically targeting me. I was a statistic to them, someone who simply didn't know what they know. In the end, I moved my personal mail account to Google Apps, free of charge. Problem solved.

By using Gmail or Yahoo Mail or Hotmail - you are almost definitely more secure than setting up your own mailserver. You have people paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year working full time to make sure your data is secure. I mean if privacy is your reason not to use Gmail, then I hope for your sake your mail server is secure. Maybe you think it is. I know I did too.

And all these people complaining about advertisements based on the content of their emails. Yahoo Mail had a team of like 30 people just doing _research_ on how to stop spammers. Then all these other people working on support. How does that service get provided to us _free of charge_ without advertisements or some sort of monetisation? I know in some people's heads they think it's literally just a Bayesian classifier and some hand-coded rules, but it's so beyond that.

And of course, let's not forget the fact that a lot of people would not be able to set up their own mail server anyway. Maybe you don't need them, but Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail enable hundreds of millions of people to communicate _for free_ with other people around the world that otherwise wouldn't be technically competent enough to buy a domain name and set up a local mail server. It lets you communicate with them too, because they don't get frustrated wading through hundreds of spam emails just to read the good stuff.

And that system only works because we have good guys that are fighting the bad guys who want to ruin it for the rest of us. And this is just the one example of email. Which has all this decentralised and open properties that you desire. I am reminded of Diaspora when they released a first beta of their code and it got absolutely torn to shreds for security reasons, and we haven't heard much since.

The real world sucks.

That's why I think it might be a good idea for you to go work for Google.

ender7 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's the issue. No one cares. Well, I care, and presumably a number of other readers care, but compared to the total sum of internet users we're just a rounding error.

You know why people are using services like Gmail? Because it just works. Have you ever tried setting up your own mail server? I like to think that I'm pretty damn skilled with "the computer" but after a day of tweaking I'm still not sure mine is operating properly.

The sad fact is that being idealistic is not enough. You have to be idealistic and better than the bad guys. If you offer people a system that is hard to use, wastes their time, and/or is simply inferior to other options, no one will ever use it no matter how idealistically pure it is. Then you just sound like an asshole when you say "you're all morally inferior for refusing to degrade your experience."

So. Fix your system. Make it better than what we currently have. Then come back and convince me to care (hint: if your solution involves end-users installing and maintaining multiple servers, you're doing it wrong).

kragen 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's heartening to see so much interest in my little post; it was quite a surprise to come home from a weekend traveling around to dance contact improv and discover hundreds of comments waiting for me.

It's disappointing that so many of the comments focus on one or another point about why things are the way they are: spam filtering is hard and benefits from secrecy from spammers, centralized software is currently more usable, etc. My post was about values, about what kind of a world we can be building, not about which tactics are expedient in the world we currently live in. People with the same values can get together to discuss what tactics to use to advance their goals, but it's no use in suggesting to me that I should use a tactic that advances goals I oppose because that tactic is more expedient!

cageface 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of interesting grey area between surrendering everything to Google and rolling your own mail server. I unplugged from Google this month but I'd still rather pay a little money to fastmail.fm, for instance, than fight spam myself.

The net isn't the wild west anymore but it doesn't have to be a sterile walled garden either.

omouse 1 day ago 4 replies      
49 comments in 5 hours and almost all of them talk about the technical aspects or about working at Google.

This is about more than that, it's about decentralization as a way to empower people so that in the end we don't need centralized companies or governments to control our data.

Apple (and other companies) control what you're allowed to download. Google (and other companies) control what emails get through to you and your email history. Microsoft (and other companies) control your hardware.

He forgot to mention the larger and more disturbing point; many of these companies are American and so they're under the jurisdiction of the NSA and FBI (and CIA if you're not from around there). With centralization, law enforcement has easy and direct access to things. The only barrier is a warrant and even that isn't a barrier as we saw in the AT&T NSA wiretapping case.

He wouldn't want to work at Google or many other companies because they're pushing for centralization which brings certain political/social effects that he dislikes.

So can we please have a discussion about the political and social implications of decentralization vs centralizaton rather than the technical aspects??

tommi 1 day ago 6 replies      
I do understand that the mail post is about why he doesn't want to work at Google and not about demonizing Google. Yet, what still strikes me odd is that many people feel like Google and other big companies should act the way they want.

"Their “real names” policy on Google+ is one example; it makes it likely that only people who feel they have no repercussions to fear from anyone, ever, will write there."

And that is fine in my opinion. Not everybody needs to be on the Google+. It's their playground, let them run it the way they want.

Jach 1 day ago 1 reply      
>If Alice's email gets marked as spam, Bob ought to be able to find out why " and fix it!

While Gmail doesn't exactly let you figure out why, you can nevertheless fix it. That's what the Not Spam action is for. I've had mail land in the spam folder that shouldn't have, it only took a few 'not spam' actions to retrain it to let it through again. You're also free to backup your Gmail through both imap and pop. I never got the Gmail paranoia--the worst they do from my perspective is possibly deep-analyzing my emails in an effort to better serve me ads. They possibly sell the data to others (though I've seen no evidence of this) for them to serve me better ads. All these ads I don't ever see anyway because I use AdBlock Plus making their efforts pointless for my account.

I'm not a fan of the rhetorical conflation of decentralized computing with democracy. His other material I don't really want to comment on.

ilovecomputers 1 day ago 4 replies      
So far the "real name" policy is the only major, undemocratic, incident that I've seen from a centralized online service. Does anyone know of any other incidents that make case against centralized servers?

Nonetheless, I agree with him that we need to make decentralized computing practical. The best example I've seen of this is Opera Unite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivshJ-qyg5w

There is also Freenet, but so far (from reading their mailing lists) they are discussing about changing their load management. I've tried Freenet and it slows down my machine (not very practical), but it is the only software project I've seen that distributes the hosting of digital content among peers instead of a centralized server: http://freenetproject.org/

lionhearted 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Google wants you to keep your mail in
Gmail instead of on your home computer

Offline Gmail is cool.

"Mail Settings" (gear in top right corner) -> "Offline"

Doesn't work in all browsers since Google Gears was deprecated in the newest versions of Chrome and Firefox, but it's only a minor hassle to run an earlier version of Firefox for the offline mode and syncing.

Very helpful to me and quite easy/convenient to set up, even with the recent Gears deprecation.

grovulent 1 day ago 3 replies      
Yeah - I'm not a fan of centralisation either, but what this article misses is that the most important thing enabled by the internet is not blocked by any of Google's practices.

What is the most important thing? In my view - it enables the formation of "Super Groups" - which I think will represent the most significant cultural change since the dawn of language.

All you need for the formation of super groups are sufficiently cheap and efficient signalling processes. Google has perhaps contributed to this drop in signalling costs as much any company on the internet.

Anyhoo - for those who want to know what a super group is - I wrote about it here:


_debug_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love the fact that he has his own mailing list instead of a blog. The internet continues to surprise me every day.
zmonkeyz 1 day ago 0 replies      
'Apple wants to relegate websites to second-class status on their popular computers, and exercises viewpoint censorship on what “apps” they allow in their “app store”.'

It was originally intended that you would make web apps to access on the IPhone and they did not want developers making apps for it. Consumers and developers demanded that feature so you got what you wished for. (not you per se)

snitko 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there's always a balance between something being open and transparent (and possibly free and opensource, as those two things usually, though not always, go hand in hand) and something being closed and proprietary. I personally think having an opensource search engine - where all the rules for SEO are well known, constantly refactored and updated by the community - would be awesome. Would it be economically viable? Can't tell you that.
mlinksva 17 hours ago 1 reply      
FWIW I think "Why I do not want to work at Google" originally composed in HN thread http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2728174

These older posts are also fun http://lists.canonical.org/pipermail/kragen-tol/1999-January... http://lists.canonical.org/pipermail/kragen-tol/2006-Novembe...

Doing many things, including filtering spam, is more difficult in a decentralized environment. (It is curious that email, itself decentralized, has come to be dominated by several large service providers; I wonder how much of this is due to economies of scale for fighting spam and other attacks relative to other economies of scale relative to things not characterizable as an economy of scale? Search of documents published in a decentralized manner on the web is another example.) Many things are even easier in a completely centralized manner, thus G+, Facebook, Twitter, and their morbid predecessors. For all their issues, architecturally decentralized email, web, and internet are much more valuable than the 2011 versions of AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy silos. So thank you to all working on making the next bits of decentralized architecture work. I imagine it is possible to do a bit of this work at Google et al, but it is clearly way, way down the priority list of any such companies.

sschueller 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do you have gmail.com listed for the canonical.org SPF record?

"v=spf1 a mx include:gmail.com ~all"

Might be a reason your emails end up in spam at gmail. Although a and mx would cover it I would also add:

ip4: a:canonical.org

If you use gmail to send mail the SPF should be: include:aspmx.googlemail.com or include:_spf.google.com

damian2000 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there is a fair bit of difference between 'closed' centralized control in the form of apple / facebook, which is generally proprietary and secretive, compared to the 'open' centralization that google espouses ... they are one of the great proponents of open source ... their android OS for example is open source. Given that, I probably still wouldn't want to work for them though, from what I've heard theres a lot of c++ coding at 1am in the morning. ;-
matth 1 day ago 1 reply      
Much of Kragen's vision for the future is in line with where I think our world is heading.

It actually inspired me to draft up a blog post: http://blog.matthewghudson.com/post/9497957290/the-public-an...

msh 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't This part of problem freedom box want to solve?
anotherevan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Every time I see one of these "Why I don't want to work at Google" articles I think to myself, "Don't worry, they don't want you to work there either."
ristretto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Then don't
napierzaza 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Apple wants to relegate websites to second-class status on their popular computers,"

Does he realize that Apple computer has been around a lot longer than the internet? And that they've been making an OS with applications on it a lot longer than there was a web browser? So maybe that's actually what Apple DOES and does well?

sneak 1 day ago 0 replies      
He had me right up to the point where he claimed that Jake Appelbaum has made a significant contribution to anything.
billmcneale 10 hours ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: This guy doesn't want to work for Google because he hosts his own email and Google wants you to store your email in Gmail.
garyd 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Kragen is obviously not well informed of how the Internet works regardless of how long he's been online. Or to use one of his piss poor analogies, just because a cat is 20 years old does not mean he knows every cat in the neighborhood. His descriptions of DSL, wireless networking, p2p, network topology, and his guesses about the infrastructure behind major "evil" web sites are about as narrow sighted as a twenty year old feline.
Steve Jobs' Best Quotes wsj.com
324 points by arst829  4 days ago   67 comments top 25
m0nastic 4 days ago 2 replies      
Folklore.org seems to be down right now, but my favorite Steve Jobs exchange is the following:

We worked our way up to the front of the crowd to get a good look at the units [Osborne 1] that were on display. We started to ask one of the presenters a technical question, when we were suprised to see Adam Osborne himself standing a few feet from us, looking at our show badges, preempting the response.

"Oh, some Apple folks", he addressed us in a condescending tone, "What do you think? The Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II by a factor of 10, don't you think so? What part of Apple do you work in?"

When we told him that we were on the Mac team, he started to chuckle. "The Macintosh, I heard about that. When are we going to get to see it? Well, go back and tell Steve Jobs that the Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II and the Macintosh combined!"

So, after returning to Cupertino later that afternoon, we told Steve about our encounter with Adam Osborne. He smiled, with a sort of mock anger, and immediately grabbed the telephone on the spare desk in Bud's office, and called information for the number of the Osborne Computer Corporation. He dialed the number, but it was answered by a secretary.

"Hi, this is Steve Jobs. I'd like to speak with Adam Osborne."

The secretary informed Steve that Mr. Osborne was not available, and would not be back in the office until tomorrow morning. She asked Steve if he would like to leave a message.

"Yes", Steve replied. He paused for a second. "Here's my message. Tell Adam he's an asshole."

There was a long delay, as the secretary tried to figure out how to respond. Steve continued, "One more thing. I hear that Adam's curious about the Macintosh. Tell him that the Macintosh is so good that he's probably going to buy a few for his children even though it put his company out of business!"

lionhearted 4 days ago 5 replies      
This one, too -


“When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.” [Wired, February 1996]

alanfalcon 4 days ago 1 reply      
great stuff. Like Steve on Startups:

“The problem with the Internet startup craze isn't that too many people are starting companies; it's that too many people aren't sticking with it. That's somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That's when you find out who you are and what your values are.

“So when these people sell out, even though they get fabulously rich, they're gypping themselves out of one of the potentially most rewarding experiences of their unfolding lives. Without it, they may never know their values or how to keep their newfound wealth in perspective.” [Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000]

jballanc 4 days ago 0 replies      
My two favorite Steve quotes both came during a talk with some interns one summer (paraphrasing from memory):


Intern: "Where do you see Apple in 5 years? 10 years?"

Steve: "I don't know. I'm too focused on where Apple is going tomorrow...and I think anyone that does tell you they know where their company will be in 5 years is lying, or doesn't have enough to worry about now."

(It was clear that Steve saw Apple's roadmap as a continuous progression from the present, rather than a plotted course to some arbitrary goal. That's an attitude that I've found has served me very well...)


Intern: "What are your dreams?"

Steve: "To not be asked questions like that...next"

phil 4 days ago 2 replies      
All armchair commentators would do well to consider this one:

Q: There's a lot of symbolism to your return. Is that going to be enough to reinvigorate the company with a sense of magic?

“You're missing it. This is not a one-man show. What's reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there's a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they're not losers. What they didn't have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now.” [BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

javert 4 days ago 2 replies      
So many of these remind me of Howard Roark, the architect in Ayn Rand's novel "The Fountainhead."

The idea of designing products for yourself, that YOU want, not for a committee and not for the masses - and of loyalty to the central idea of the product all the way through. The idea of a man who is religious about his work - but who is not actually religious. Building something in your own image - for Roark, it was actual buildings; for Jobs, as has been said, it was Apple.

gxs 4 days ago 0 replies      
“It's like when IBM drove a lot of innovation out of the computer industry before the microprocessor came along. Eventually, Microsoft will crumble because of complacency, and maybe some new things will grow. But until that happens, until there's some fundamental technology shift, it's just over.” [Wired, February 1996]

Wow I find this one especially prescient. Imo it shows real insight, and shows he wasn't following some pipe dream.

cpeterso 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve's advice to Nike:

"Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff."

lionhearted 4 days ago 0 replies      
This one's my favorite -


Q: There's a lot of symbolism to your return. Is that going to be enough to reinvigorate the company with a sense of magic?

“You're missing it. This is not a one-man show. What's reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there's a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they're not losers. What they didn't have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now.” [BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

adulau 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is a missing quote from Steve Jobs that I really like.

"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."

rbanffy 4 days ago 3 replies      
Two of my favorites are not there:

"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."


"I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success " I have no problem with their success. They've earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products."

plainOldText 4 days ago 1 reply      
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma " which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I think this is simply one of the best quotes I've ever come across.

philjackson 4 days ago 2 replies      
"We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn't build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves."

Seems contrary to advice I often read from people here.

bnycum 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of my favorites not on there.

"We do no market research. We don't hire consultants. The only consultants I've ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway's retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple's retail stores]."

arst829 4 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps the most pertinent to startup life: "“It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.”
dulse 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love that perhaps his most insightful and quote-able interview ever was to Playboy in 1985.
whatrocks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great 1995 interview with Jobs from the Smithsonian:


In our business, one person can't do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you. You have a responsibility of integrity of work to that team. Everybody does try to turn out the best work that they can.

daimyoyo 4 days ago 0 replies      
bonzoesc 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sums up my thoughts on vi:

> Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It won't work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are the “slash q-zs” and things like that.

AaronInCincy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think $404.50/share is about the best quote he's ever had.
acak 4 days ago 0 replies      
The bicycle analogy to computers.


Paraphrase: The computer is to the human mind, what the bicycle is to our ability to travel.

mateo42 4 days ago 1 reply      
His answer the 1996 interview question with Wired about technology revolutionizing our lives definitely seems at odds with what we've listened to him tout about such things as the iPad.
pavanred 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am eagerly waiting for the Steve Jobs's biography. Its based on 40 interviews with Jobs. I am hoping there are a lot more such interesting stories.
grammr 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I want to put a ding in the universe."
If I Launched a Startup - Cheat Sheet startuplawyer.com
323 points by feydr  3 days ago   37 comments top 9
grellas 3 days ago 0 replies      
A sharp, concise checklist put together by a talented startup lawyer - to which I would add a few observations:

1. A Delaware C-corp is often a fine choice for startups but be careful not to make it a fixed rule. Whatever you do must fit your circumstances and not be something you do simply because it is declared from on-high. You don't want to find yourself in the position of the young founder who ultimately said "why incorporating my startup [in Delaware] was my worst mistake" (see http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2399139). And, as tptacek points out variously on this thread, sometimes an LLC or an S-corp might be a better fit for you or your team - this choice is often tax-driven, though it can also tie to the less formal management structure and the often lower cost of an LLC (see my comments here on some pluses and minuses of LLCs in a startup context: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1276724). My point: think it through before making this choice (on domicile, here are some thoughts on how local domicile might in some cases be better than Delaware: http://grellas.com/faq_business_startup_002.html).

2. C-corp is a particularly good choice for 2011 if you plan to hold the stock in your venture for more than 5 years with the hope that you can sell it free of any federal capital gains tax and also free of AMT. Not all stock grants will qualify, even in a C-corp, and so you should check with a good CPA (for some of the relevant factors, see my comments on so-called QSB stock: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2018041).

3. Vesting for founders is a mix-and-match process and does not have to be uniform for all founders. Those who have not yet make significant contributions to a venture at the time of entity formation normally should take their interest subject to vesting - otherwise, they might walk away with a large piece of equity before having earned it. This wouldn't necessarily apply to all founders, however, and it is at times appropriate that one or more founders on a team get their stock (or at least a significant part of it) free and clear of vesting requirements. Otherwise, there is an unfair risk of forfeiture placed upon them. Also, the one-year cliff idea often doesn't fit with founders, in my experience; more typically, there is some sort of immediate pro-rata vesting (monthly, quarterly, etc.).

4. The "lock down the IP" point is often overlooked, especially by founders trying a DIY approach: make sure you have not only technology assignment agreements to capture all IP generated in the pre-formation stage but also invention assignment / work-for-hire agreements to make sure the company owns all IP generated by founders after they have their initial stock (the company does not automatically own it just because they are owners doing work on the venture). The idea of IP has its detractors today but your company will suffer in fund-raising and on exit if holes exist in these areas. All it takes is one bad episode - anything from a founder bolting to form a directly competitive venture using the same IP to an ex-founder filing suit to block further company development on IP that he claims he owns - to convince most founders that IP protection is in fact vital in the early-company stage for most ventures.

5. One other very important item: make sure to separate your founder grants from any large cash investments that are done for equity. If you don't, it will create tax risks because, if cash and services are contributed for stock at the same time and for the same type of equity, the service providers (i.e., those contributing the "sweat equity") can potentially be taxed on the value of the equity received as measured by what might be a high company valuation (e.g., you get 50% and an investor gets 50%, you contribute your talents and services and the investor puts in $200,000, all for common stock - result: you are at risk for having received up to $200,000 income item on which you must pay tax). Not a particular tax risk if investors use convertible notes (because the stock is not priced in that case) but a potentially serious one if investors get stock. The relevant planning tip: while you don't need to unduly front-load expenses, don't wait too long before setting up the entity either - you should generally do this before you have your investors lined up and about to sign.

tptacek 3 days ago 4 replies      
Note that while these are probably the best practices for a company that knows it is immediately going to take funding, LLCs and S-Corps are valid choices for companies that aren't sure or that are going to be making money before they take funding.

The S-Corp in particular has some attractive features: it simplifies equity grants to employees compared to an LLC, and taxes are easier to deal with in a C-Corp (there's also a sort of notorious salary-vs.-distribution trick people place with S-Corps to reduce their taxable income).

The LLC is incredibly easy to set up; you can probably get one via 1-click on Amazon now.

In the only company I founded that took serious VC, I didn't handle any of the legal, but the sense I got was that legal for a real VC round is so innately expensive that the S-to-C conversion isn't a big deal by comparison. It's most convenient for everyone if you're not even incorporated, but that's their problem (it is dumb to do business without incorporating); if you're worth funding, nobody is not going to fund you because of the cost of converting to their preferred structure.

alphadogg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The one non-negligible issue I had with the tips was the "vesting over time" approach recommended in the article. I prefer to setup vesting to milestones, such as "x contracted clients", or "delivered first MVP (minimum valuable product, as defined by a list of mutually-accepted user stories)", etc. IOW, I prefer vesting to some sort of deliverable, not just time.
idlewords 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can't resist giving a shout-out to the sole proprietorship without outside funding. It's pretty amazing how much cheaper it has gotten to start a whole range of software businesses in the last three years.
neeleshs 3 days ago 0 replies      
These are great points for someone like me who knows only programming. I would say this is a good list to look at 'when the time comes'.
EDIT: More clarity in line 1
Eduard 3 days ago 2 replies      
"If I Launched a Startup - in the US" this should be named.
doctoroakin 3 days ago 0 replies      
great resource here!
TheOtherDamian 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am tired of the word hacker.
arkitaip 3 days ago 1 reply      
These are the things he would do in the beginning?! What about the part where you create something of value? I guess this is the explanation why lawyers don't launch startups.
Pentium-III autopsy sciencystuff.com
306 points by sathyabhat  2 days ago   23 comments top 6
shabble 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting stuff. The method of inverting the die and bonding it to the processor carrier is called Flip-Chip (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Flip_chip), and replaced bonding wires for higher density and better thermal properties (you get direct access to the back of the silicon substrate)

The electron microscope images are all cross-sectional, because it appears he doesn't have the equipment to do surface etching, and just cleaved the chip. I've not generally seen good sectional images around though, so it's definitely an interesting look.

http://www.flylogic.net/blog/ has a lot of stuff about depackaging and reverse-engineering chips, as does "Dr Decapitator" (http://decap.mameworld.info/), who decaps old arcade ROMs, and then extracts their actual data from micrograph images to produce romfiles for emulators.


The Sparkfun Saga of the Fake MCUs:

Part 1: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kMgE8B...

Part 2: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mEZ-8g...

Part 3: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3Tlcu2...

(Links via google cache because they seem to have broken their old news URL structure)

Edit^2: I forgot I had this old image of a System-in-Package radio module that I made myself (Digital camera through optical microscope at, iirc, 20x)


The thick black lines at the bottom are millimetre markings on a ruler. The processor is at the centre, and the various other modules are SAW filters (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/SAW_filter#SA...)

sp332 2 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the breakdown of the Mifare Classic RFID cards, but on a much larger scale. They took cross-sectional images of the circuits, then used a Matlab script to turn the images back into simulated circuits. Then they performed cryptanalysis on it! Papers and video: http://events.ccc.de/congress/2007/Fahrplan/track/Hacking/23... The video is long but entertaining :)

Edit: if the torrents aren't being seeded anymore, you can watch the video here http://www.podcast.tv/video-episodes/24c3-2378-mifare-282189... or download from ftp://media.ccc.de/congress/24C3/matroska/24c3-2378-en-mifare_security.mkv

noelwelsh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kinda off-topic, but does anyone know how many registers the P-III and later have? I've read the P-II has 40, so I assume later chips have many more.

Register allocation is one of the more expensive phases in a compiler, and register allocation on the Intel instruction set is particularly hard because it has some few registers. It's kinda ironic that internally modern chips have zillions of registers. There's a fat chunk of software that squeezes a program in 8 registers and then a fat chunk of silicon that expands into however many registers the chip has. Not only is this wasted effort, the extra silicon costs Intel in terms of power consumption and it one reason at ARM are pWning them on low power platforms.

Luyt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jeri Ellsworth makes NMOS transistors on silicon wafer chips at home, with an oven, rust remover and some other home chemicals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_znRopGtbE
joelhaasnoot 2 days ago 1 reply      
I actually still have a P-III laying around here from an old PC that was being thrown, but the slot version with a massive heatsink. Just gathering dust, but a piece of history...
TechnoFou 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that the best possible comment is: Simply Amazing!
New gaming laptop with innovative UI by Razer arstechnica.com
281 points by zeratul  2 days ago   180 comments top 30
ianl 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think you are all missing the point. There already is a massive market for high end gaming pcs and laptops. Compare these prices and specs to what is available from Alienware or MSI.

This laptop only misgiving is the fact it does not have an SSD. However, it is competitively priced in comparison to its competition and with a sleek sexy design this is a very interesting entry into the market.

amelim 2 days ago  replies      
The last thing the PC gaming community needs right now is another insanely expensive piece of hardware with a gimmick attached. I really cannot see this going anywhere within the community. I'm guessing that those who largely play the PC games that would require such high specs aren't likely to want to play them outside of their homes. Besides you can purchase a comparably spec'd desktop system for a quarter of the price.

Heck, the most popular PC game at the moment (World of Warcraft) can be played on relatively cheap laptops already.

samlevine 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great marketing gimmick for the keyboard they're selling:


At around $200 this is a lot more likely to sell.

pkamb 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Today, there hasn't been a single PC laptop that anyone has been passionate about for the longest time. It's not because there's no innovation, but [because] the big PC guys just don't want to innovate anymore," Min-Liang Tan, the CEO and Creative Director of Razer, told Ars.

Completely true. For example Lenovo/Thinkpad stopped producing the 4:3 screens that all their business users loved. Too hard/expensive to produce, 16:9 screens are the future, etc.

Until Apple produces millions and millions of 4:3 iPad displays. Now can we reopen the discussion?

I don't think Razer's expensive hardware and new UI is the answer, but that doesn't mean every PC laptop needs to ship with a just a shitty touchpad and 2 buttons. How about a 3rd button? A mousewheel? Start small and build from there.

The part I really don't understand is how the PC mouse industry is so innovative/over-the-top. 7 buttons, independent DPI controls, lazer tracking, ergonomic designs, etc. But then every laptop has the same terrible small touchpad and two badly-designed buttons. Seems like adding a 30-cent mousewheel to your case would instantly differentiate you from all your competitors.

kprobst 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea of having a touchscreen instead of a touchpad. The possibilities! Just that one aspect of this box seems like highly innovative and hopefully a harbinger of things to come in the PC world.
Shenglong 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can't believe it took this long to make a non-apple laptop that isn't ugly. Simple, sleek and smooth. It really isn't that difficult.
artursapek 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The hardest thing was convincing a manufacturing partner to consider our designs," Tan said. "No one wanted to do it. They all said there's no market, it's too expensive, no one wants this. Gamers would want something big, thick, and cheap."

Serious gamers actually flesh out a lot of money on their setups. And I don't know much about any scenes except Starcraft 2, but I know those tournaments give out products from certain companies who sponsor the event as prizes, I could see this computer fitting in that way. SC2 game "casters" have been doing the same thing on their own, and it's normally equipment of this sort of high end pricing.

The question here is can the gamers who build their own custom set-ups piece by piece be convinced to buy this kind of all-in-one package instead?

typicalrunt 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a nice looking laptop. It's expensive, but it's the first of its kind so there's not market price set for it yet.

I hope it's easy for programs to change the look of the multitouch display buttons. It almost bring the Optimus keyboard into the mobile realm!

ConstantineXVI 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've always found the idea of a secondary display on a laptop intriguing. Would be nice to be able to look down at the keyboard and have docs for whatever I'm working on already there, without having to page over to another screen or such. I would presume the screen has some sort of API (or at least a WebView mode) so this sort of thing would be possible.

On the flip side, a 17" display means you have room to keep both on the screen at once, negating the extra display. 15" model please?

mambodog 2 days ago 0 replies      
The dynamic keys remind me of Art Lebedev's Optimus keyboard designs: http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/
sbov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whenever I play a game with a laptop I use a real mouse. Anything else is a bit painful for me. Because of that, as a righty I'd rather have the dynamic buttons on the left side of the keyboard.

Heck, make the whole keyboard dynamic. Then when you're playing a game, instead of an alphanumeric symbol on the key being displayed, the action it's bound to can be displayed.

watty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Their advertisement took a stab at PC gaming vs console gaming and then they release a $2,800 device? This puts it in a different market (one that I don't think is very big).
daeken 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if you can buy just the touchpad or the keyboard+touchpad? I don't want the laptop, but that looks awesome.
phaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
The laptop looks very nice as far as design goes, but as a 3k gaming machine it leaves a lot to be desired. I am starting to wonder if some of these technology companies are intentionally trying to lose money.

The GT 555M is a mainstream consumer video card. It can be found on laptops around $700 and I doubt it will run BF3 well at anything higher than medium settings. As a $3000 gaming machine that hasn't even been released yet, it should have a 6990M or a GTX 580M.

Finally, what kind of gamer who is willing to spend $3000 on a laptop is even going to use a trackpad? I wonder how much this ridiculous, unnecessary addition adds to the price of the system.

To put things in perspective, an Alienware M17x with a 6990M starts at 1799, and an identical clevo/sager would run about 1600.

glhaynes 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bet this'll be as successful as Windows SideShow. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_SideShow)

Games could already hook up to the pocket-sized multitouch high-res color screens that we all carry with us already. Why not start with that and, if there are actually some usages that work well, then consider building it into the device itself?

Innovation != just stick another screen on there.

axxl 2 days ago 1 reply      
I understand they say they don't care if there's no market, but I'm curious who's going to buy it. Pro gamers will not care about a trackpad, or dynamic key-screens, as they don't want to spend time looking at the keys when they're looking at the screen. They have everything memorized anyway. But they are the ones who can justify spending ~$3000 on a laptop.
Casual gamers would like these features, but don't spend $2800 on gaming.
sandGorgon 2 days ago 3 replies      
question - why is everyone making alumninium unibody notebooks ? Is carbon fiber not lighter and (arguably) just as strong.
Is it just the design aesthetic that everyone is trying to reach out for or is there something else.
moe 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can't really imagine anyone in the FPS/RTS crowd wanting to look down on their keyboard during gameplay. Normally you have to set their chair on fire if you want them to break eye-contact with the main-screen...

Perhaps there are slower paced games where this makes sense, though.

kuviaq 2 days ago 1 reply      
More info from engadget (including lots of pics): http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/26/razer-blade-hands-on-with...
zerohp 2 days ago 2 replies      
Instead of a handful of keys with tiny LCD's inside of them, I'd like to see a full keyboard that has e-paper on top of every key.
tomkarlo 2 days ago 4 replies      
What if you're left-handed? Seems like you're kind of screwed on this one.
pazimzadeh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple's legacy lives on in Razer. Finally, a company not afraid to build a quality product for fear of raising the price.
iam 2 days ago 1 reply      
But what will the battery life be? At least when the gaming laptops are big and bulky they also have a huge battery. This thing looks like it'll run out of juice flat in 1 hour.
crag 2 days ago 0 replies      
:) No love for left handers. That's another reason trackpads are centered.
zobzu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Incredibly thin and light for a gaming laptop mm?
Arstechnica got paid to write that I guess.
I can fit 4 light AlienWare gaming laptops of 13" for the weight of that 17".
Even a big MBP is lighter... Odd.
icebraining 2 days ago 0 replies      
A $2800 laptop without an SSD and with a smallish (by current standards) hard drive?
teashorts 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get why they didn't produce the Switchblade [1] instead of this expensive overpowered monstrosity.

[1] http://www.razerzone.com/switchblade

gcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
eeekeyboard had this. was a total failure.

i still want one. but the price point was just crazy.

bitmover 2 days ago 2 replies      
It also looks to have an innovative lawsuit inducing ID. Seems pretty lazy to just anodized a MacBook Pro black, swap the logo and call it a day.
blhack 2 days ago 3 replies      
These guys took out an ad in The Wall Street journal drumming up hype for this release.

Guys: I can buy a Sony Playstation 3 for a little over $200. Call it $300.

I can then buy an large television for $1000, and a solid set of speakers for $200.

That's $1500 all-in, for something that will play every single PS3 game flawlessly.

Why would I spend $2800 on this? What I am getting for $1300?

If it's the variety of PC games like minecraft, I can throw an additional $500 at a low-end gaming PC, hook it to my television, and play console and PC games.

A gaming laptop? Why?

When Not To Quit: Man Revived After 96 Minutes npr.org
273 points by raleec  5 days ago   61 comments top 13
d2 4 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite paragraph:

The nurse "called the emergency room doctor, who told him that I was dead and that they should walk away," says Snitzer. "And he hung up and he said to the rest of the people in the room, 'Is anyone else here uncomfortable with walking away from this?' And they all said yes. And it was at that point that he called Dr. White."

JshWright 4 days ago 0 replies      
Capnography is actually required for all intubated patients in many areas (and intubation is a standard step in the management of pre-hospital cardiac arrest patients). This is because (properly interpreted) capnography is one of the most definite ways to verify that the ET tube is headed for the lungs, not the stomach.

Given the increasing prevalence of capnography use in the field, I expect the next few years will see several studies into how it could be used to improve patient outcomes.

Pyrodogg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know that this article is mostly about the medical tech related to this case but I still get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing this happened in my hometown; that it was a crew of volunteer firemen and others that kept the vital CPR going for 96 minutes.

I hope the new technology makes it into the hands of EMTs quickly so that more lives can be saved.

raleec 5 days ago 3 replies      
My first thought is how many people were abandoned because of a reliance on the incomplete picture that the old tech bundle provided.
csomar 4 days ago 3 replies      
There is an important thing missing: In order to prove that someone is dead, you must do electroencephalography. This will detect the brain electric charges. Normally, since the patient isn't dead, there will be brain pulses, which will prove he is alive.
stretchwithme 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is a fantastic use of technology.

This is interesting: "Now, during good CPR, this is probably going to be around 25 " if you keep this up in that 25 range, then there's circulation still going on. ... That's where you're going to get a positive outcome,".

So essentially, if CPR is working, you don't need to die even if your heart and lungs aren't working on their own. CPR is doing their work well enough, for the moment anyway. If they keep at it all the way to the hospital, you may survive.

Of course, if you'd seen Lindsey brought back in Abyss, you'd already know this is possible :-)

troymc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that the "Flatline" (See http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Flatline ) will have to be relegated to TV and movie history?
maeon3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine all the people that could have been saved if only the doctors knew what action to take. I imagine people stuck in a coma, listening to everything going on around them saying: "keep doing what you were doing, it is working", and instead watching them decide to give up.
yarone 5 days ago 3 replies      
It seems that his heart was beating, although irregularly to a degree that they couldn't detect a pulse. Is the article saying that estimating the CO2 output via this new method is a more modern / sensitive way of detecting a pulse?
Alex3917 4 days ago 0 replies      
Every time I get my VO2 max taken I feel like I'm dying anyway, so this is only a fitting use of the technology.
thedjpetersen 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know if anyone else noticed this but when I see '==' I think comparison not assignment.
mv 4 days ago 1 reply      
ugh. This is exactly what drives up the cost of medicine. People hear crap like this, and then come in demanding that 'everything be done' for their 95 yo grandmother in a coma in the ICU. Sadly technology can keep this type of person 'alive' for a very long time. Expensive, wasteful, selfish.

Medicine needs to send truthful messages about what can and can't be done.

Facebook Partners with Stack Overflow facebook.com
270 points by ssclafani  4 days ago   50 comments top 15
pkteison 4 days ago 10 replies      
I don't see the stack overflow model as being a great fit for what facebook api developers need. The main problem I saw with facebook api was that the right way to do things kept changing, and the docs and forum didn't keep up well. You basically needed to begin facebook API work by reading the entire blog in chronological order and then keep on scanning the dev blog daily, which may work ok if you're a fulltime facebook API developer but it is not a good fit for contract or part-time or hobby development.

I think changing APIs is begging for a wiki much more than a Q&A site. Facebook used to have a wiki for their api, but they went and deleted it, which I considered basically unforgiveable and proceeded to do my best to avoid having to touch the API after that.

In short, bringing back http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/ and focusing on keeping it current would be a much better start than a Q&A site, even a really good Q&A site. You'd still have the need-to-keep-with-changes problem, but at least you'd have somewhere to start from, and wouldn't keep getting referred to out of date information when googling answers.

Yes I know Stack Overflow has community editable wiki question styles, but then you just compound the problem and now need to update 100 different 'how do I [x]' questions every time the API changes.

ary 4 days ago 0 replies      
Should I feel better about Facebook trying to crowd-source their developer support? This doesn't address any of the real concerns with usable documentation or proper API deprecation. I get the impression that this is an attempt to spin past bad behavior into acceptable future bad behavior.
Sidnicious 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't love that facebook.stackoverflow.com looks exactly like stackoverflow.com " there's no easy way to tell where you are, or to get back to the main stack overflow.

Even more confusing, you can get to un-Facebook-related questions on facebook.stackoverflow.com (e.g. from your inbox, or from a user page). Since there are no redirects between regular and Facebook SO, this means that every question on Stack Overflow now has two URLs, and you might see links to both.

aneth 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a huge improvement over their developer forums, which are a mess of unanswered duplicate questions, terrible search, and didn't even support Facebook login.
alanh 4 days ago 1 reply      
"We have been ignoring you developers a bit much on the existing forums, so, how about a do-over where you guys help yourselves?"

Accurate or no?

mgrouchy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would imagine that facebook actually writing non-terrible documentation for their API would be a better strategy then integrating with stack overflow.

This can't hurt, but hopefully they don't see it as an replacement for real documentation.

reemrevnivek 4 days ago 1 reply      
See also the blog.stackoverflow.com side of the partnership here:


Basically, it's a siloed version of stackoverflow.com containing only the tags relevant to Facebook. They're thinking about creating mini-sites for other major subdomains (see also http://meta.webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/913/is-this-...).

mwsherman 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's really just a view into Stack O. A set of filters and customizations under a subdomain. (It took quite a bit of work under the covers, natch.)

If you're already a Stack O user, this will hopefully provide a focused experience if you're also a Facebook dev. Or not. In which case it's ignorable.

If you're a Facebook dev who isn't involved with Stack O, it's a curated experience and hopefully better than what existed previous.

ianterrell 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to see companies with APIs and active developer communities provide rewards to high reputation developers.

e.g. Facebook offers devs with over X reputation access to alpha APIs, devs with over Y reputation direct email support, devs with over Z reputation are recommended on the Facebook.com site as developers to hire for freelance work, etc.

kirillzubovsky 4 days ago 0 replies      
Omg, this is pretty awesome. Facebook API is terrible, and having one, unified and usable channel to bounce questions would be great. Given that we are all used to Stack model, this should really help at speeding things up.
mingyeow 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I develop quite a bit on facebook, but turn to SO for most of my needs. The forum is terrible, but it really does not make sense for them to build a new system from scratch.
unohoo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I dont think there was anything missing from the existing FB developer forums except for the main missing ingredient - active participation from FB itself.

If they are going to be unresponsive on SO as well, migrating to the SO platform doesnt make sense at all.

smackfu 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like the documentation model of API pages with comments allowed, plus a semi-protected wiki model to edit the API pages. This allows the API maintainer to easily update, provides change history, plus allows the community to step in and provide corrections or code examples without the burden of rewriting the article.
nvictor 4 days ago 0 replies      

Joel and friends, Google+? ;(

paulnelligan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure I like the way that my personal and professional life are suddenly becoming intertwined ... I want a few online identities dammit, not one!
How we found the file that was used to Hack RSA f-secure.com
266 points by Garbage  3 days ago   78 comments top 14
GBond 3 days ago 4 replies      
> So, was this an Advanced attack? The email wasn't advanced. The backdoor they dropped wasn't advanced. But he exploit was advanced. And the ultimate target of the attacker was advanced. If somebody hacks a security vendor just to gain access to their customers systems, we'd say the attack is advanced, even if some of the interim steps weren't very complicated.

The whole post read to me as "meh. We haz hack for months. not impressed".

But they neglected to mention the most sophisticated hacks of the whole incident:

1. cracked the vault/SCM of where the SecrueID token generation algo (generates a pseudo-random number) is stored

2. reverse engineered the SecureId token (ok, not that hard as apparently the crypto allowed regeneration the seed and associated token but still more sophisticated then a Excel/flash exploit)

The whole Excel/Flash exploit was just to get through the patio screen door (equates to the same access an employee has). What was more serious and not mentioned was the attackers cracked the safe in the house.

Luyt 3 days ago 3 replies      
"why the heck does Excel support embedded Flash is a great question"

Gratuitously enabling embedding stuff like this in applications which don't really need it makes me always shudder when some software vendor is touting buzzwords like 'rich content' and 'rich user experience'. Most of the times it means unnecessary bloat, and as we can see from this example, a security hole too.

snsr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I forward this file to you for review. Please open and view it. -web master

I cannot fathom why anyone would open an attachment in an email like this. Someone at EMC has dropped the ball if an email from "web master" doesn't raise every eyebrow in the house.

jobu 3 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone from F-Secure is reading this, can you give a link to the Virus Total report? I'm very curious which 18 of the 41 antivirus applications flagged this file:


dredmorbius 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just wondering if anyone else noted the irony ... of demonstrating the vulnerability of opening a random Flash video by ... posting a random Flash video. In a security article.

So: who among you still played that video?

Just askin'.

celoyd 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame that they obscured incriminating details in the screenshots with simple image operations like low-radius 1- and 2-dimensional blurring. Using a guessable point-spread function on an image region with so many known characteristics (because we know the font)
is very, very leaky. In this case it would not surprise me if someone could deconvolve the e-mail addresses enough to match them against EMC employee profiles and such.

If you want to hide text in an image, you should, at minimum, replace every pixel in its bounding box. That still leaves spacing data, but it's a start. Smearing or lightly jumbling the pixels is barely a notch more secure than rot13.

iliis 3 days ago 1 reply      
They hacked a company called 'RSA Security' [1] and not the cryptography algorithm RSA [2]. While the former is still interesting, the latter would be big news indeed.

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

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA

evilswan 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Turns out somebody (most likely an EMC/RSA employee) had uploaded the email and attachment to the Virustotal online scanning service on 19th of March.

Would that be some automated system that sends samples - or would the user have to manually find the .msg file and upload it?

Because I really can't see a generic 'office drone' at EMC uploading every bit of malware that comes into their inbox, especially if they're also likely to open this kind of dodgy-looking email...

buff-a 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking forward to how they sleuthed the thousands of computers at EMC/RSA to determine what the attack vector was and how they found the file.

Instead, what I learned was that back in April they knew exactly what file it was, but they'd deleted it, and EMC doesn't back up its email.

forgotAgain 3 days ago 3 replies      
Why isn't Outlook (or any email client) using a sandbox when opening attachments today? It would be a real benefit to users if the next version of Outlook had that virtual machine capability.
watty 3 days ago 2 replies      
He said the Poison Ivy backdoor wasn't advanced - did the attacker create this trojan or is it something available?

If it's available, why didn't the virus scanner catch it?

someone13 3 days ago 2 replies      
Slightly related: does anyone know how they found all the domains that were hosted on that IP? I've tried a couple of online tools, entering '', and none seem to return anything.
gcb 2 days ago 2 replies      
some paradoxes...

1) by running an antivirus, your emails end up on some public searchable and discloseable database?

2) They couldn't hack RSA clients that were using rsid, but they could hack RSA itself? that's the worst case of not eating your dog food in history.

mml 3 days ago 1 reply      
The theory that this was an advanced persistent threat trying to get into Lockheed doesn't pass the smell test. Here are faster and easier ways to get ahold of an rsa fob.
iPhone vs Android app sales: numbers from an indie developer
267 points by bignoggins  2 days ago   86 comments top 27
dpcan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I agree, the bloodbath of "Payment Declined" orders in our order inbox is downright infuriating. This is especially painful when customers email us saying that they purchase apps all the time on Android and their card didn't work only when they tried to order our games.

Agreed, this problem needs to be solved.

avgarrison 2 days ago 6 replies      
It may be worthwhile for me to chime in here with my own stats, which are far less impressive than bignoggins. I recently ported my iOS app, BridgeBasher, to Android. I took a different route though. Since I had no users on Android, I thought the best thing to do would be to create an ad-based version on Android, mostly because I've heard a lot of people say that Android users are less likely to pay for apps. I decided on using Mobclix for advertising, and here are my stats:

Date - Android / iOS

 8/7/2011 - $2.16 / $142.00

 8/8/2011 - $1.68 / $97.00

 8/9/2011 - $1.15 / $84.00

 8/10/2011 - $1.82 / $76.00

 8/11/2011 - $0.98 / $78.00

 8/12/2011 - $0.57 / $103.00

 8/13/2011 - $0.59 / $88.00

 8/14/2011 - $0.72 / $102.00

 8/15/2011 - $0.43 / $74.00

 8/16/2011 - $0.44 / $75.00

 8/17/2011 - $0.18 / $88.00

Total - $10.54 / $1,007.00

This is obviously comparing apples to oranges, since the iOS version is paid ($0.99) and the Android version is ad revenue only, however given bignoggins success with a paid app on Android, I'm thinking I have made a mistake going the free route on Android.

Pewpewarrows 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see actual numbers rather than the usual circle-jerk of "only iOS makes money".
edawerd 2 days ago 2 replies      
Regarding #3, I wrote a script that automatically emails the 20% of customers who get their orders declined, asking them to purchase the app directly through me using PayPal. A surprising number of them do. It's not a perfect solution, but at least it recovers some lost revenue. You can have this feature available for your app through http://www.AndroidLicenser.com
utnick 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, what kind of marketing are you doing for the app? How are people hearing about it, just market searches?

1000+ downloads of a 2.99 app in the first couple weeks is pretty impressive, well done

zmmmmm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for helping to dispel this myth that has somehow developed that Android users "don't buy apps". I don't know how this idea got so entrenched. You can definitely make an argument that they buy somewhat less, but it's completely misleading to say they never buy any, which is what you will see commonly stated around the net.
baconner 2 days ago 2 replies      
Another android dev with (much) lower volume here. Curious how you know about errors driving that 20% number. Is there a report somewhere with this detail or is it just inferred from customer emails? The only failures I ever see come through are declined credit cards or the regular cancellations from users who used the 15min refund window.
seancron 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any reason you didn't include iPad sales? There are also Android tablets, so unless none of your sales are for Honeycomb users it might not be a fair comparison.

I'd also be interested in seeing how it changes when you take into account ad revenue and in-app purchases. Do the numbers stay as close when you add them, or does one platform take the lead?

rudiger 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just want to say thanks. I bought the $2.99 iPhone app, and the ease of managing my team has definitely made me a few hundred dollars from bets with our pool over the season.
avgarrison 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting your figures! What did you do to advertise the new app on Android? I have recently ported one of my games from iOS to Android and even though it is free on Android, it is really having trouble getting traction, and this is even after sending an e-mail to 40k people and several hundred dollars in Admob advertising.

Edit: Ah, nevermind, I see you already answered this in your reply to utnick.

stevenwei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the raw data. We've been considering doing an Android port but were not sure whether the resulting revenue would make it worthwhile. I'm glad to see that the Android paid app market is picking up steam.
switchrodeo720 2 days ago 3 replies      
It doesn't look like this is a fair comparison. If you ported your app from IOS to Android, then presumably the IOS version has had the opportunity to gain popularity already, which the Android version has not. I'm not a mobile app dev, but I assume that it takes some time before an app can gain popularity and hit it's sales peak.

It may make more sense to compare the first two weeks of IOS sales to the first two weeks of Android sales, even though they'll be different dates. Or, maybe that is what you're comparing and I just missed something.

hello_moto 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you have any automation test? How's the testing and build infrastructure in both Android and iPhone/iPad?

Would love to be able to automate the build/test/deploy using some sort of continuous integration or something.

alohahacker 2 days ago 1 reply      
you said you are ranking 250ish on android right now.

what is the best way to find your ranking on android? is their a website or tool or did you just go on the market and scroll down and counted till you saw your app?

awesome numbers btw! thanks!!

dageshi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very useful, thank you, could you keep us updated perhaps? It would be interesting to see how this matures as your app becomes more established in the android marketplace (or if this makes any difference at all).
sounalath 2 days ago 1 reply      
just curious, what is the magic formula for high iOS downloads whether paid or free? good graphics? games? how do you go from zero downloads to many with new apps?
g-garron 2 days ago 1 reply      
For 75%, it well worth the effort of porting the app, instead of creating a new one for the iPhone.
jwatte 2 days ago 1 reply      
Taking credit cards is hard. You get random declines from merchant banks all the time. I bet the app store simply doesn't tell you about it.
Not a single decline in 15 months? Hardly likely. 20% of all attempted virtual purchases bouncing sounds not unreasonable if you compare to other markets (pc, game credits, etc)
caseorganic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks so much for this.

This is helpful information and something I always wanted to see side-by-side. It's also very nice to see that it seems like in some cases it is worth making an Android port, but that you, even as a Java/.NET developer by profession find it more difficult to create a quality app on Android.

g-garron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this post man, It helped me a lot with this
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2931430 question.
iaskwhy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the details. Feel like sharing numbers for the iPad too? Please?
jtellier 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have actually found my Phone 7 has 4x my android, blackberry, WebOS, and iOS app sales combined.... Probably because the market isn't flooded yet. Android was my lowest, iOS next, then Blackberry, followed by webOS. If you can hit markets people do not yet find viable, that may very well be your key to success.
kjbake01 1 day ago 0 replies      
as an iPhone to Android refugee, I'd add that android users are driven more by function rather than magic, and that probably affects the value they place on apps.
mrpither 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any plans to add winphone7 version now that it's mango time??
usagi7 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty awesome stats. Great job, man! Good insight.
haydenevans 2 days ago 1 reply      
Simple yet biased answer: Android owners want free apps, iOS users are more willing to pay.
marquis 2 days ago 3 replies      
There are huge issues buying content on iTunes. Apple doesn't fix it or tell you, or help you get in touch with the developer to work around it.
Heroku for Java heroku.com
258 points by adamwiggins  3 days ago   69 comments top 15
Lewisham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful news. Heroku keeps going from strength to strength. I know a lot of people who'll be interested in this... I'm very pleased that Scala is deployable.


sriramk 3 days ago 3 replies      
You do have to wonder what the moves of the last few weeks mean for DotCloud. With Heroku launching support for many non-RoR languages and CloudFoundry being adopted by other PaaS players, you have to wonder whether small players like DotCloud are going to get squeezed out.
typicalrunt 3 days ago 1 reply      
If they supported git pushing a war file, then I wonder what the performance improvements would be with Warble-ing a RoR app and running it on a JVM?

Oh wait, they already did. But not using a WAR file it seems.

For example, JRuby is one of the most frequently-requested languages on Heroku. Matthew Rodley has already put a Rails app onto JRuby on Heroku by adding JRuby to pom.xml. Scala, another common request, could be done the same way. We do look forward to being able to offer the same kind of first-class support for JRuby and Scala that we offer for Clojure; but in the meantime, bootstrapping via Java is a reasonable strategy.

Now if we could just get some performance comparisons between the Ruby and Java platforms on Heroku... pretty please?

arkitaip 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's hoping that the next language will be Python.
grandalf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Heroku, please get yourself PCI-DSS Level 1 certified! BTW does anyone know if any of the ruby cloud providers offer that?
aphexairlines 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand this part:

> In the classic software delivery process (development ' packaging ' distribution ' install ' deployment), code passes through many hands before it finally reaches the end user. Developers build, QA verifies, ops deploys, and finally end users can access. In this environment, the feedback loop for information about how code behaves in production is slow and inefficient " it may take weeks or months for this to make it back to developers, and often in a highly-filtered format.

> Heroku is built for the new era of software-as-a-service. An app is built by a small, cross-functional, relatively independent team which builds and deploys everything itself, with few or no hand-offs to other teams.

What's the difference here? Developers still build and QA still has to verify. If your code is split up into several repositories, you still want to track versions (packaging & distribution, even if a package is just a branch + revision number).

protagonist_h 3 days ago 2 replies      
Google App Engine for Java is another PaaS option for running Java in the cloud. I wonder how these two compare?
Finbarr 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. Heroku is squarely positioning itself as the de facto cloud app platform.
jamesgeck0 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have much experience with Java, but is that a minimal pom.xml? It seems rather involved.
panchute 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wish they supported - here is a war file, run it...
hello_moto 3 days ago 1 reply      
I want my Java EE6 there darn it.


PS: FYI, so far none of the cloud solution support Java EE6

bitops 3 days ago 2 replies      
Also, I'd be curious if PHP support is coming at any time. That seems like it would open the floodgates.
bitops 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been hoping for this since I first used Heroku for Rails/Sinatra apps. I feel that with this change, Heroku is really getting serious about their offering (not that they weren't already).

But as someone who's worked on enterprisey stuff, the thought of push-button Spring deployment makes me giddy with glee.

Heroku folks - if you're reading this - you just achieved maximum awesome! :)

devth 3 days ago 0 replies      
beauty and the beast
chopsueyar 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ah, yes, the SUV of programming languages.
15 uncoupled simple pendulums of increasing lengths dance together harvard.edu
249 points by SandB0x  2 days ago   25 comments top 11
dmvaldman 2 days ago 3 replies      
it seems as if there is another interpretation lurking here... that you can also explain this phenomenon as a single wave of increasing frequency in time observed at 15 points. Because of the discrete nature of the points, there is an aliasing effect as the wavelength of the wave gets shorter. For instance, once the wavelength is equal to the spacing between pendulums, all pendulums will line up. When the wavelength is twice that of the pendulums, they will seem to alternate, etc.

This explains the awesome visual effect of this experiment. Though I'm not exactly sure why adjusting the lengths of the pendulums would mimic a wave of traveling with ever increasing frequency. Maybe it has something to do with dispersion (we see an overlap of waves that travel at speeds proportional to their frequency/length)?

A great experiment would be to have two of these pendulum systems side by side, except one is made of 30 pendulums at half the spacing. Then when the 15 pendulum system is lined up, the 30 system should be alternating,etc.

no_gravity 2 days ago 3 replies      
This made curious what patterns emerge when the objects move along circles instead. So I made this 10 minute hack to simulate it:


5hoom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hypnotic video.

Only vaguely related, but this reminds me of a story a couple of years back involving a machine learning system that was able to derive the laws of Newtonian physics from observing the motion of a hinged pendulum.


There's a lot of information buried in the motion of these objects :)

kmm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Related: http://wheelof.com/whitney/index.php?var=v6
Warning: Flash + sound

The mathematics behind this are pretty simple. It's just that the human mind is great at picking up patterns.

impendia 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Exploratorium in SF has one of these you can play with. Show up at their monthly "After Dark" and you won't have to compete with the kiddos.
Roritharr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've seen this setup in the Mathematicum which is a museum dedicated to math, in Gießen, Germany.

I really didn't know this was a phenomenon..

rasur 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can see a physical example of this at Technorama (in Switzerland) for those of you with kids that enjoy a good day out.
voidmain 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my attempt (requires WebGL, realistically only works in Chrome):


sixtofour 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks like a sorting algorithm visualization.
nilaykumar 1 day ago 0 replies      
matej_kosik 2 days ago 0 replies      
H-P's One-Year Plan wsj.com
231 points by jkopelman  12 hours ago   71 comments top 8
ansy 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
It is astounding how people, WSJ contributors inclusive, only see HP as a pusher of cheap laptops and crappy inkjet printers.

Assuming I'm reading these numbers correctly[1], the PC division posted earnings of $567 million in Q3 2011. Compare that to $1.2 billion in earnings on enterprise services, $699 million from enterprise hardware, and $892 million from printing and imaging. Revenue from commercial printers was twice the revenue gained from consumer printers.

All told, while the consumer business is a respectable chunk of change even to HP, the consumer business has the thinnest margins, is shrinking, and at the end of the day earns much less than the enterprise side of the house.

HP makes a killing on enterprise services already. More than double the earnings of its entire PC business. Buying high margin software products like Autonomy for its services division to push on customers is easy money. The fact that HP's software business only earned $151 million on $790 million in revenue in Q3 2011 is a tremendous lost opportunity.

HP is not a consumer company anymore. It doesn't need a consumer oriented CEO. It's an enterprise company that needs an enterprise CEO.

Yet somehow, even "financial commentators" fail to recognize any of this. A very disappointing article from the WSJ.

[1] http://h30261.www3.hp.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=71087&p=irol-n...

alexqgb 11 hours ago 2 replies      
On dumping the PC Business: "A beautiful absurdity...like McDonald's getting out of the hamburger business."


deepGem 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Well put. Who in HP's board made the brilliant decision of bringing in Mr ex-SAP as the HP CEO.

1. The dude has no experience running a consumer oriented hardware business.
2. He hasn't run a global company. (SAP, for all it's glory is still an European company).
3. None of SAP's businesses have anything in common with HP's DNA.

Not sure why the board committed such a blunder and why they continue to do so as the CEO is taking down one of the well respected companies in the valley.

daimyoyo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a real shame that HP has lost it's mind because I really wanted to get a Veer as my next smartphone. I like the design of the phone itself, and I really wanted to give webOS a try but I am just not confident that HP will continue to support it. After all they've demonstrated that they are willing to lose a significant amount of money to divest themselves of the consumer mobile industry.
andrewcross 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well a very entertaining read, I question it's validity. I've never been a big HP fan, but I find it hard to believe this is even close to being the whole situation at HP.
yuhong 12 hours ago 4 replies      
>Fire well-performing CEO Mark Hurd

Based on what?

rachelbaker 10 hours ago 1 reply      
They may be the biggest PC maker, but I would not say that is because they make great PCs-they just make A LOT of them.
HP used to make great printers and servers.
I hope they can get back to a place where they do SOMETHING well.
buddylw 10 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a terrible article. Their main error was buying palm. That was a huge gamble that was very unlikely to pay off in this market. You can't beat a 'free' OS on cost and you don't have the magic marketing and design to make a high-end product more desirable than Apple. There was effectively 0 chance web OS would be a "hit," and a low chance that it would even sell at all.

The only other valid point in the article is that they haven't handled their PR well.

I guess I am alone here, but I was very impressed that HP was willing to cut it's losses on palm/web OS so quickly.

Also, for better or worse, a publicly traded company needs to grow. If you look at HP's financial report...there is definitely room for growth in enterprise software. I think buying Autonomy (a profitable company) is a good direction for them to go (though I do admit they paid a very high price).

To my fellow Hacker News contributors raganwald.posterous.com
223 points by raganwald  3 days ago   103 comments top 39
edw519 3 days ago 2 replies      
I mean that I am making myself feel worse for reading HN...


That's a signal that your focus has shifted a little too much from your own work to HN. Take a day off and invest that energy back where it belongs. We'll be here when you get back. Promise.


EDIT: Added tags (Lighten up you guys).

tptacek 3 days ago 4 replies      
We are all going to nod our heads to this post, but as 'raganwald knows, nothing is going to change as a result. The inoculations against tribalism and tribal drama are cultural. Whatever vaccine HN had against this, it's worn off.

My take is, flag these topics off the site. Cut them off like a gangrenous limb. We want to keep the leg, but even more, we want our heart to keep beating.

But then, a vocal subset of HN users is offended by the idea that story upvotes don't mean it's OK to debate libertarianism vs. liberalism here, so don't misread this comment as prescriptive. We're not going to fix this problem. I'm also fine with that.

Ed's right too, of course. Are you here to hear what the average HN'er thinks about Steve Jobs? No, you're not. I read HN in two ways, both of which still work for me:

* I scan for stories I have something to contribute to, and

* I read a shortlist of users whose presence on a thread have been reliable signifiers of quality. (The list is on my profile.)

Try doing that. You'll miss a lot of HN; a good thing!

jrockway 3 days ago 2 replies      
I try not to pay attention to articles about Apple here, because it really does bring out some strong emotions. Logic goes out the window and everything reads like a love sonnet written by a retarded monkey. It's stressful and unfun.

Reddit solved this problem, kind-of-sort-of, with subreddits. If all you care about is programming, visit the programming subreddit. Unfortunately, the comments on Reddit are extremely low-quality (even on /r/programming), so it's not actually worth visiting. But maybe this could save HN for a few more months.

I have a friend that says an addiction is something you do not for enjoyment, but because you have to. I sort of feel this way about HN now; I come here out of habit and feel weird if I pull away, but most of the articles aren't that enjoyable. The ones that are are easily ruined by jackasses (someone called me "an internet toughguy" for suggesting that he might be misusing the debugger).

It's probably time for moderation or something like Stack Overflow's editing and flagging system. It's too easy to post bad comments (look at my history, I do it), and while one bad comment is OK, 100 bad comments is not. If we could just kill the flamewars or edit them to be nicer, the would could be a better place. People will whine about the integrity of the site, but you know what? Who cares. We already have too many users. I don't think anything else will save HN from becoming another Reddit.

Or, maybe HN is "done" and the cool people have already found another place, and we just aren't invited.

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've read so many meta articles (including ones I've written) that I'm beginning to get a bit lost. Didn't raganwald already write something like this? Maybe a couple of times?

I float in and out of the community, sometimes being gone for a week and sometimes checking everyday. For many years. As we all know, meta commentary is not new here.

Yes, the magic sauce has worn off. People who spend weeks working on things are treated with easy criticism -- there's a reason PG asked for us to "be nice" to the new bunch of YC guys. People who post fluffy group-think are rewarded. What this leads to is more and more fluff, less and less real work that we can help with by commenting. Since we are more likely to be emotionally moved by things that are higher on the list, we feel as if we must comment [insert self-serving reason here]. This leads to comment-bloat, especially as traffic numbers soar.

I wish I had some secret formula to make it all better, but the way the site is structured, emotional response rules, not quality. When you vote up, you are saying "hell yeah!" not "my logical brain has deduced this to be of higher quality than average" -- at least in the aggregate. So the site is performing exactly as it should, sadly.

quanticle 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this post simply contribute to the problem, though? I mean, if Raganwald
wants the community to be more focused on content, rather than pointless
meta-discussion, shouldn't he or she post content? I mean, all this post
serves to do is give even more attention to the hipsters and trolls.

My recommendation? If you see a comment that's clearly off-topic, vote it down
if you're able or ignore it if you're not. Even if you disagree with the content
of the comment, don't respond to it. If its a thread; scroll past it without
stopping. If enough people do this, the HN algorithm will push these off-topic
threads to the bottom, where they'll slowly wither away.

mindcrime 3 days ago 2 replies      
Yeah, it's hard to say what - if anything - to do about this. Like you say, if you post a reply to a comment that you downvoted, you are - arguably - just adding more noise. But, then again, people always complain about "ninja downvoting" and say "if you're going to downvote me, at least tell me why."

But the last time I left a reply to something I downvoted, my reply in turn got downvoted pretty quickly (although it eventually go voted back up to a neutral score of 1), which left me questioning the wisdom of doing that. And the sad thing is, the comment in question was one of those that centered around one of those possible "group think" scenarios... so I don't know if I just got downvoted by members of the "other camp" or by (more or less) neutral observers who don't support leaving replies explaining why you find a comment troublesome.

Uuugggh.... there's no way to win. Maybe we need /. style moderation so you can tag a comment as "off topic" or whatever when you downvote...

As to the bigger question of eliminating the "tribalism," hhhmmm... I wish I had an answer, but sadly I can't say I do. Maybe your post will at least raise awareness of the issue and will help a bit?

webwright 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would love there to be varied flag options for comments. i.e. you click "Flag" and it spawns a dropdown with:

"Ad Hominem"
"Straw Man"

If enough flaggers agree on the lack of value (and the reason for it), punt it AND ALL OF THE REPLIES.

TomOfTTB 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with the sentiment but here's the thing...

The type of person to post an insult or an ad hominem is probably not the type of person who would read this post much less care what it has to say. Because for someone to read this they'd have to care about the impact they have on the community and there's no way an insult or ad hominem can have a positive impact on the community. They are, by definition, expressions of pure negativity so their intent is unquestionably negative.

(and don't even get me started on the people who upvote such posts)

So you can't just say "lets all get together and fix this" because the people who would answer your call aren't the people causing the problem. Then the question becomes "how do you deal with the people causing the problem".

The only answer I can see is banning. Because said group is made out of two types of people: Those who don't care about the community and those who care about the community but care about expressing their own anger more. So the first group just won't care and the second group can't help themselves.

But then the question is "Do you really want Hacker News to be a place where people get banned on a regular basis?". First I don't think pg even has the time for that and second I think most would find that off putting.

So (and pardon me for the long comment here) we end up where we started. Trying to be civil and interact with the civil members of the community while trying to ignore those who don't care about civility.

dgallagher 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that StackOverflow does really well is penalize you for downvoting: http://stackoverflow.com/privileges/vote-down

Each downvote costs you karma. You have to have "X" karma before downvoting is enabled for your account. This incentivizes you to downvote cautiously as it costs you. That subpar comment you're clicking the down-arrow for must have really earned it.

Androsynth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two problems with this post:
1-it severely exaggerates the personal attacks
2-it ignores the comments that led to the 'ad-hominem attacks'

The comment that started the 'attacks' was: "Steve Jobs touched people lives in a way no other can, sometimes at a very personal level". I find this comment completely ridiculous. I own an iphone and use a mac, I'm not an apple hater, but I do hate irrational fanboys. Comments that drip fanboyism and go well past rational discussion should be downvoted, not people posting responses. The responses were slightly aggressive, but they were responses to a terrible comment.

EwanG 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have read the article, and read through all 97 comments that had been left here as of the time of this posting. And this comes back to something I know has been discussed at least a few times before. Essentially that many good sites started with a high Signal to Noise ratio. Then more folks found out about them, and they added more signal, but variety started to creep in, and what is signal to me may be noise to you, and vice versa. Which means that there may actually be MORE signal to noise now, but for the average user/reader there appears to be less because the signal they are interested in is diluted.

There have been a number of answers to this, and each of them can be found to have evolved essentially from UseNet News and various simple BBS and/or FidoNet BBS programs. Not a one of them is perfect (obviously or the discussion would be unnecessary).

I "personally" think the best answer is to have a site where the "main" board is run by a benevolent dictator, who also has to monitor other boards off the main board but has no similar moderation on those boards. Allows the main board to develop a personality that you can rely on, while insuring that differing views get their day in the sun, and allow for the growth of new moderators over time.

I used to run a C64 BBS and wrote and ran an Amiga BBS, and so have at least some experience to validate my opinion. I suppose if I'm serious about this being the answer I should be willing to set such a place up and see if people would actually like it. One person below mentioned a Metafilter $5 to "subscribe" to post model, but I'm not sure how that would work as a long term model - though I suspect I would prefer that to having something overrun with ads.

Anyway, there's my .02 cents. <- Actually that might be an answer worth looking into too. The postal service once looked at offering e-stamps to give you guaranteed delivery and some level of authentication per message. Perhaps if folks had to pay for each post (even nominally) that would be another option. For your consideration...

tokenadult 3 days ago 0 replies      
My suggestion is to upvote all that you find here that is thoughtful and helpful. Upvote a comment (or story) that makes you think. Upvote a comment (or story) that "gratifies [your] intellectual curiosity." Upvote comments that ask other commenters please to provide information backing up their opinions. Upvote other comments that provide other thoughtful guidance to the discussion or new information beyond what is already posted in the submitted article or in other comments. Upvote to mark and thank the good. Since no one has the time to read the site exhaustively, not even any one of the curators, mostly ignore the bad and crowd it out with the good.
ForrestN 3 days ago 1 reply      
I definitely share this experience, for instance in many of the recent "Groupon is a scam" threads, or anything having to do with Android. It becomes a disincentive to participate in conversations about certain topics.

I think one thing that might help, and that often spurs relatively useless chains of comments, is to clarify exactly when a post should be downvoted. I think some people use downvoting to express disagreement, but since downvoting not only compromises someone's reputation (via karma) but also minimizes the visibility of the comment, the effect is punishment for that disagreement, which again motivates me at least to avoid controversial topics where I seem to hold an uncommon view.

slmbrhrt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what this would look like in a two-column view, with one column for discussion, and a smaller margin to the side for metadiscussion. Maybe some kind of mechanism to boot a single comment to one side or the other, and an option as a reader to ignore metacommentary.
brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but I don't see this as a big issue. Discussing Apple is disproportionately interesting because of the reactions it invokes.

Whenever there is a major story about Apple, there will typically be a tribal war because Apple has positioned itself as a tribal artifact (e.g. think differently, I'm a Mac, dolphin shorts v. grey suits)...

And forgive me for being a cynic, but it wouldn't surprise me if Job's resignation had been sitting in a can to be used in the case of fire...and yesterday morning, Apple's security incompetence regarding OSX Lion had all the makings of a major PR fire which has now been swept off everyone's radar screen like so much anthrax after 911.

rickmb 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing that really worries me is that some of the content-free negative remarks about Gruber/Apple/Groupon/et actually seem to get upvoted rather than buried these days.

I always felt HN as a community was a little too strict by even downvoting some genuinely funny remarks, but it seemed to work in keeping a high quality of discourse. It baffles me how the same community can nowadays upvote ad hominem attacks. Something about HN's ability to police itselfs seems a bit broken lately.

espeed 3 days ago 1 reply      
One approach would be to separate content-based comments from meta comments, and create a culture where if you post a meta comment in the mainline, you're likely to get down voted.
3pt14159 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is it really that bad? HN is still an oasis of civil discourse in a desert of internet trolls.
akkartik 3 days ago 0 replies      
As communities grow they need to fragment. Without fragmenting, how a story does becomes sensitive to initial conditions and subject to information cascade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_cascade). We still don't know how to manage this gracefully.
dredmorbius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen two general solutions to the flamewars problem over a quarter century's exposure to numerous online (and offline) fora.

The first is to keep a group small and tightly cohesive. It may be apparent to some that this solution Does Not Scale.

The second is to have a well-designed, equitably and expeditiously utilized content moderation system. It may be known to some who've attempted same that This Is Hard.

Berating people may have certain effects. They tend not to be long-lasting or particularly scalable.

Ultimately, if HN wants to maintain a high S/N ratio, it's going to have to improve its community (by exclusion), its tools, and/or its policing of comments ultimately overseen by a trusted oligarchy (though general inputs may and generally should be used).

Most likely a mix of all three.

pseale 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know how best to moderate or otherwise encourage better HN participation (or how to improve forums, or mailing lists, or tweet streams, or whatever they invent or rename tomorrow), but I have a thought.

Can we apply a "who cares?" ethos/filter to our comments? I.e., if I am about to post a comment, before I do so I ask myself "who cares about this comment?" If the answer is Probably Nobody, then I don't post it. Simple, right?

I do this all the time. I probably write and delete five comments for every comment I post here.

A second question to ask the question is, is my comment adding anything to the discussion that isn't already glaringly obvious? If it's obvious, but I want to nitpick or clarify...maybe just sit on it for a while and see if the urge to comment fades?

With smaller communities, we don't have to apply such harsh filters because hey, who cares, there's 10 of us. We can hash it out amongst us. But with a huge community like HN, if 9999 out of 10000 subscribers resist the urge to comment but just one does, that makes what, 50 comments? 500 nowadays? 5000?

What I'm saying is, I think HN comments would be a great deal better off if everyone just sat back and said "hey, do we really need yet another armchair CEO quarterbacking on Monday (I'm not going to bother getting those idioms right) about Steve Jobs' legacy and the future of Apple, from the wizened perspective of another college student (or in my case, .NET dev)?" Even I'm following the Book of Graham and disagreeing properly and writing well-formed sentences and generally making my points clearly, am I just adding noise? Does it matter if anyone reads my comment?

HN would be better if everyone just, just resisted the urge to comment and let the real experts talk. Most of us already do, but there's just too many of us now for "most of us" to be good enough.

zwieback 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to read HN because as an engineer it gave me some insight into startup culture, of which I'm not a part. Now I'm close to giving up on HN because of what raganwald is describing.

In some ways HN is becoming like Usenet, which I still sorely miss, but without the ability to have different groups. A large chunk of HN commentary squarely belongs in the x.y.z.advocacy bucket and the fact that we have voting but no comment scores gives us the worst of both worlds.

The only reason I'm still reading HN is because it's HN, not because of the actual content.

There's an opportunity to use the user base and combine it with a tag and user based algorithm to create a custom view into content. Not sure how hard it would be to implement but if I could pick the users I like and the tags I like, give each of them a specific weight and see a sorted view of topics and comments I'd be happier.

bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
edit Raganwald, your voice here is generally one of the better ones. I really don't get this hangup on DF posts. So I say the below with much respect.end edit

I mean, if the problem is thread noise, how does adding comments complaining about noise lessen the noise?

There's four ways to lessen noise and increase signal:

1) Not posting the junk links to predictable and uninsightful DF posts is the best.

2) Flagging till removal is a close second, and increases signal.

3) Writing a blog post full of the same kind of meta-comment noise that just shows up in the comments, then posting it here is a distant third.

4) Barring that complaining until it goes away works as a fourth.

I haven't flagged the last couple that made it to the front page because they were genuinely interesting or insightful. But I'm one of those that swears that I will flag any DF posts where Gruber weaves a fantastic tale of twisted circumstances where Apple should be the villain in that tale, but Gruber finds some ridiculous and transparent angle where he believes they come out smelling like roses.

Here's the relevant thread between us on this


It's not the triteness of Gruber's Apple fanboyism, it's the ever present front pagedness of these predictable bizarre posts of his and the subsequent completely predictable pages upon pages of comments pointing out that his post is predictable that I think lessens the value of HN and do not further the conversation.

According to the guidelines:


What to Submit

On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

These types of posts by Gruber fail this test. They aren't interesting and they don't gratify anybody's intellectual curiosity.

"What does Gruber think about this potentially bad thing about Apple?" always has a knowable answer. There is nothing to be curious about.

Another guideline

"Please avoid introducing classic flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say about them."

These Gruber fanboy posts serve no purpose but to spark a possible flamewar. Like I said above, they are predictable and the response is predictable. There's no reasoning over his posts.

Apple could fuel their next generation of mobile computing devices with the still beating hearts of Tibetan orphans and Gruber would find a way to spin that into some bold and brilliant strategy where Apple is helping pull Tibet into first world-dom by eliminating their orphan problem.

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

This is the point where everybody here is basically going against this guideline. Flagging is the appropriate response and less complaining about yet another Gruber fanboy post is the best course.

In fairness saying you will flag them is a powerful signal to stop posting these things and stop wasting everybody's time and improve the signal-noise ratio.

joshklein 3 days ago 2 replies      
My sense is that the threads of discussion raganwald mentions have increased since losing the comment karma score. The absence of a number next to each comment has made it impossible for me to instantly filter what's worth reading and what isn't. When I see a long thread of comments responding to a low karma comment, I know it's a debate I can probably ignore.

The last poll pg ran asking if people wanted karma totals back demonstrated overwhelming support for them. That was months ago, so there must be some compelling reason they're not back, but I certainly think they would go a long way to making HN comments more readable. At least, they do for me, and I'm the only one I can speak for!

plainOldText 3 days ago 0 replies      
"But here's the thing. It's a big world. Like a democracy, you have to go along with where everybody goes."

I don't agree with how this sentence is formulated. Most of the time I haven't personally really liked to go in the same direction as everybody else. It's just boring. Most of the time I prefer to take a path that hasn't been walked by anyone else and discover something new for myself.

Of course, in the context of the article the sentence is to be regarded narrower and the point is illustrating is to have a HN Community that's organized and follows some rules.Which I agree with. But the way it's formulated illustrates this mindset that in this big world we should all embrace whatever the crowd likes, which IMHO is just wrong.

thom 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hate it when mum and dad argue.

We all have our respective ecosystems wherein we do our business - iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, people who want you to know where they are right now, people who don't. So we suckle at the teat of our respective vendors, hoping they'll ruffle our hair and feature our app in their app store, or pat us on the back and whitelist us for their streaming API. Or buy us a pony, and buy us.

But right now, as at various points in the history of the computing industry, mum and dad have locked themselves in the car, turned the radio up, and started yelling at each other at the top of their voices. We might not understand why grown ups get angry about patents, or whatever else they argue about, but we love mum and dad, and we can't emotionally process what's happening between them. So we get angry too. And we lash out at our brothers and our sisters who grew up just trying to do the same things we did - be strong, happy, successful. Kids take after their parents, and right now the adults in the tech industry are fighting loudly and emotionally.

Let's hope for a reconciliation soon. At Macworld 1997, when Microsoft and Apple renewed their vows, and both emerged stronger than ever. It can happen again, we just need to try and not tear each other apart in the meantime.

adamc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think people expect too much from hacker news (or any similar site). Every post isn't going to be scintillating, or every comment insightful. Some of that is the posts, but a lot of it is what we bring to reading them -- we are all different, in our desires/tolerances/history. Your "funny" might be my "trivial" or vice-versa. A repost that bores you might be news to me.

So, my answer is to mostly just skip conversations that bore/irritate me. I'm not perfect; sometimes I forget and jump in. But little of use seems to come from that. It's more effective to just skip them and look for something else interesting to do.

kristiandupont 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how the site (or a similar one) would work where there was a fixed number of memberships, say 5000. If the max number is reached, new people can only join when others leave, like a club. If you don't use your membership for a period of time, you are automatically unregistered. Spammers and others lowering the quality will be unregistered as well.
arkitaip 3 days ago 4 replies      
Comment down/up votes have to go. People should be adult enough to be able read a post without someone telling them what's readworthy or not. Life is not a popularity contest where you tally how many points you've gotten for playing the game well.

Members should, however, be able to flag comments that violate the guidelines so that the mods can deal with spam and other transgressions.

MrMan 3 days ago 1 reply      
HN members' opinions of themselves are inflated and entertaining. I really enjoy the stream of sometimes-interesting links posted on the front page. I also get a kick out of the navel-gazing, the smug self-congratulations, the herding, the tempests in various teapots, while kettles are black.
The content contributors think the site is about them, while it is really about maintaining a halo effect for a startup incubator.
mkr-hn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see the potshots, but it's mostly confined to threads spawned from potshot bait.

I think the issue is that the potshot bait is starting to overwhelm the first few pages like a lazy bacteria. And we just ran out of antibiotics. I know I've been reading HN a lot less over the last several months. It might not be reflective of any real reality, but an idea can turn real if enough people start to believe it.

juliano_q 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately the Apple x non-Apple discussion is spreading all over the internet. I avoid almost all discussion about Android or Apple topics because of it. Engadget became an unbearable flame-wars hell and I really, really hope that HN don't follow this path. As someone who like both sides, owning android phones and mac computers, I really don't understand why some people are so fiercily defenders of one of this sides instead of trying to find the best from both.
leon_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Groupthink is a consequence of karma based non-anonymous discussion systems. You can't do much about it.
pbreit 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping that the OP would use that post as a chance to discourage "disagreement downvoting".

To my fellow Hacker News contributors: Use downvoting on comments that are in bad faith, do not add value, are ad hominem or are otherwise low quality. Do not use downvoting to disagree.

neutronicus 3 days ago 1 reply      
I downvote any comment containing the word "fanboy", and I encourage my fellow readers to do the same.
vectorpush 3 days ago 0 replies      
Find a place on the internet where discussion of Apple doesn't erupt into controversy. I also disagree with the sentiment that something needs to be done to fix civility on HN. This entire meta-discussion is a self correcting mechanism in action, we'll see a wave of civility for a week and then things will go back to normal.
k7zZkw 3 days ago 0 replies      
As mentioned in the article, one problem is that people use the down arrow to disagree. Perhaps there shouldn't be a down arrow. Instead there should be a few buttons, such as "Off Topic" and "Offensive". I think presentation can help guide those people who aren't consciously being cynical and combative.
Karunamon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have nothing to add other than I agree with the premise of the article, and I expect this thread is going to be very meta.
lwhi 3 days ago 1 reply      
This post has absolutely nothing to do with technology news.

It's entirely meta.

My head is exploding.

What does 0^0 equal? Why do mathematicians and high school teachers disagree? askamathematician.com
217 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   130 comments top 26
yaks_hairbrush 4 days ago 4 replies      
The high school teacher in the link is a B.S. in math education. They're usually reflexive Platonists, believing that math is out there, and we merely discover it. This is a result of the teaching of undergrad math as essentially a series of completed works, with little history attached to it. This teacher probably hasn't thought critically about why, say, 1/x^2 = x^(-2).

By contrast, a mathematician has a Ph.D. in math, and has had to do original research and look at some history of topics. Thus, the mathematician knows that math is not a finished product, but is under constant refinement.

Now, let's talk about negative exponents. Students are taught that 1/x^2 = x^(-2). High school teachers often don't understand why. It is so ingrained that even asking "Why?" seems almost grammatically incorrect.

The reason why is that we know the following things about exponents:
1) x^n = x* x* ...* x for n a positive integer
2) As a consequence of 1, x^m* x^n = x^(m+n) for m,n positive integers

Now, the question is not "what is x^n if n is negative?" (which is what a high school teacher might ask). Rather, the question is "Can we define (!) x^n for negative n in a way consistent with the item two above?" (mathematician's framing). And, of course, we can. If x^n = 1/x^(-n) for n negative, then item two works.

So, a high school teacher most likely thinks that the negative exponent rule is simply a rule, handed down from the Gods of math. A mathematician recognizes that it is a convention, and such a smooth convention that there is simply no better choice.

Now, about 0^0: The HS teacher asks "What is 0^0?" and is therefore under the impression that 0^0 is undefined because according to certain reasonings it could be 0 or it could be 1. Textbooks (not written by mathematicians) wouldn't correct this. The TI-86 gives a domain error when 0^0 is input. The mathematician asks "What value of 0^0 makes my preferred formulae continue working?" and thereby defines 0^0=1.

kalid 4 days ago  replies      
Technically, 0^0 is an indeterminate form and has no specific solution. Accurate but unhelpful.

Practically, 0^0 highlights the issue that most of us don't have a good conceptual model for what exponents really do. How would you explain to a 10-year old why 3^0 = 1 beyond "it's necessary to make the algebra of powers work out".

I use an "expand-o-tron" analogy


to wrap my head around what exponents are really doing: some amount of growth (base) for some amount of time (power). This gives you a "multiplier effect". So, 3^0 means "3x growth for 0 seconds" which, being 0 seconds, changes nothing -- the multiplier is 1. "0x growth for 0 seconds" is also 1, since it was never applied. "0x growth for .00001 seconds" is 0, since a miniscule amount of obliteration still obliterates you.

This can even be extended to understand, intuitively, why i^i is a real number (http://betterexplained.com/articles/intuitive-understanding-...).

ihodes 4 days ago 0 replies      
The site isn't loading, but I find discussions about mathematical curiosities (though they're not that curious) come about because people are looking for a deeper meaning in mathematics. Math is playing with ontological objects in a system of definitions. There doesn't need to be an answer that "makes sense" for 0^0.

Depending on the context (are you working in set theory? are you making a new definitions for exponentiation?) you might have a different definition. But such operations are often defined recursively (e.g. in set theory, roughly, where S(x) = x+1 (or successor of x) Exp(x, 0) = 1, and Exp(x, S(y)) = x * Exp(x, y). Here you'll have 0^0 = 1, clearly.

For high school, 0^0 should be 1. It's necessary for problems high school students might encounter in calculous, and is the way it is defined in almost any field you'd be working in before graduate school.

High school teachers who insist that 0^0 != 1 likely don't understanding that it's a definition.

dxbydt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Try these for size ( actual interview questions )

PITA interviewer > What's bigger, e^pi or pi^e ?

If you get past that one,

PITA interviewer > What's i^1 ?

Clever student> Its just 1 unit on the imaginary axis.

PITA interviewer >Good! So then, whats i^i ?

Clever student > Probably a few more units on the imaginary axis!

PITA interviewer >Then why does google say 0.207 ( http://www.google.com/search?q=i^i )

Clever student> hmmm...ohhh...aaahhh....WTF...I hate math I don't want this stupid stupid job lemme go back to coding monads in Haskell for my ubercool startup.

PITA interviewer >Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

kbutler 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'll stick with the grade-school math approach, at least until I need to approach it differently.

  4^2 = 2 fours multiplied = 4 * 4 = 16

divide by 4 - so you take away one of the 4s by division(canceling like terms like we do in grade school fraction math):

  4^1 = 4*4/4 = 4

divide by 4 again

  4^0 = 4*4/(4*4) = 1

divide by 4 again!

  4^-1 = 4*4/(4*4*4) = 1/4

Now try it with 0:

  0^2 = two zeros multiplied = 0*0 = 0

Divide by 0. Uh-oh. Well, let's keep following grade school fraction math and cancel like terms:

  0^1 = 0*0 / 0 = 0

Divide by 0. Hmm - keep canceling like terms.

  0^0 = 0*0 / (0*0) = 1

But what's 0^-1? grin

3am 4 days ago 1 reply      
Fun digression late on a Wednesday :)

The indeterminate form seems the most correct based on the analysis of the limit of f(x,y) = x^y as x approached zero from different paths.

I had always thought of it more of an algebraic identity thing; x^n * x^m = x^(n+m). Obviously x^(n) = x^(n+0) = x^n * x^0 which can only be satisfied if x^0 = 1. But this article (and really, the wikipedia treatment that beej71 linked to) made me think more about it.

nova 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like my high school math consistent with set theory.

ø : empty set, 1 : {ø}, A : nonempty set, ~= : isomorph to.

A^ø ~= 1, because there is only one function ø->A, the empty function.

ø^A ~= ø, because there is no function with empty codomain and nonempty domain.

ø^ø ~= 1, because there is again one function ø->ø, the empty one.

So yes, 0^0 = 1.

beej71 4 days ago 3 replies      
Since the site seems to be dead, here is a bit of wikipedia discussion on it:


rikthevik 4 days ago 0 replies      
The engineer in me says, "Why don't you guys pick something, and I'll go ahead and use it in my calculations (where it's appropriate)? I don't care much about the theory behind it."
TrevorBurnham 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wolfram Alpha says "indeterminate," which is a good example of why Wolfram Alpha needs an "Oh yeah? Prove it" button: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=0^0
S_A_P 4 days ago 0 replies      
apparently it equals:

Error establishing a database connection

that is kind of funny... sorta

jberryman 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in this topic and the discussion here, do yourself a favor and pick up David Foster Wallace's "Everything and More".

I'm about 1/2 way through. It's a real gift.

antihero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nullity? :)


We had this guy as a lecturer. Whether nullity exists or not (though James's argument is that it's as valid as j), and I have to admit his arithmetic does make some things simpler.

bdr 4 days ago 0 replies      
The right convention is also "obvious" to practitioners of combinatorics. The exponentiation x^y, for integer x and y, is the number of possible strings of length y from a set of letters of cardinality x. (Hence 28 possible bytes.) How many ways are there to make a string of length 0, regardless of the alphabet size? Just one... you don't do anything.
perfunctory 4 days ago 0 replies      

  Python: 0**0 == 1
Javascript: Math.pow(0, 0) == 1
Java: Math.pow(0, 0) == 1

Therefore 0^0 = 1

parallel 4 days ago 1 reply      
> How would you explain to a 10-year old why 3^0 = 1

You draw the line 3^x. It "passes through" 1 when x = 0. So don't think about the point, think about the line. It's not rigorous but it's intuitive.


edit: added link and fixed typos

foysavas 4 days ago 0 replies      
Only after seeing how many comments on the article attempted to genuinely refute the article did I get a sense of how few people grasp the foundation of mathematics (that is, the composition of arbitrary assumptions to agreeable statements).
imminentdomain 4 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't the first argument have a logic error, in that x^(1-1) = x^1x^(-1) has a caveat for x not equal to 0, so it shouldn't prove anything for x = 0. In other words, it just says x^0 = 1 for any x =/= 0.

Using Abstract Algebra, I think 0^0 = 1 is completely accurate. The power function (y^x) could be defined to be the amount you times (x times) you apply the operation between the y on the identity element. In our usual numbers that looks like y(y(y...(y1)...)). When x is negative y becomes the multiplicative inverse of y and everything else remains the same.

buff-a 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mathematica says "Indeterminate" =)
bumbledraven 3 days ago 0 replies      
A empty product is the multiplicative identity (1), just like an empty sum is the additive identity (0).
NHQ 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a definitive answer is not available to us via mathematics, the real answer is that you can't give an exponent to nothing.

Sometimes you have to use another language to make sense of something.

alephNaught 4 days ago 4 replies      
Doesn't a simple application of l'hospital solve this?
leif 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let's do it with complex numbers next!
rorrr 4 days ago 0 replies      
0.000000000001^(0.000000000001) = 1
user911302966 4 days ago 1 reply      
0 ^ 0 = 0, on all architectures.
biftek 4 days ago 0 replies      
if 0^0=1 than ex nihilo
Verbling: The instant way to practice and learn a language verbling.com
217 points by lobo_tuerto  4 days ago   58 comments top 27
modernerd 4 days ago 3 replies      
"Chat roulette for language learning" should be their five-word pitch.

Great idea. I've been learning French, Italian, and Spanish via lingq.com and what it's missing most is the ability to practise live with native speakers without having to schedule a call with a tutor.

It could prove a great way to practise a language, assuming they can work out a way to police it. What's to stop it filling with the type of crowd that frequents chat roulette, for example?

tmeasday 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've thought about this idea many times, and one idea I have had that I haven't seen verbling talk about---perhaps it doesn't make sense yet with only English + Spanish---is to run on a credit system rather than matching you up with an 'opposite'.

So, if I want to learn spanish, rather than trying to find me a spanish-speaker wanting to learn english for a 50-50 conversation, it just matches me up with a spanish-speaker wanting to learn _anything_, and I burn credit talking to them. Later I can earn credit by speaking to a _anything_-speaker wanting to learn english.

If you think through that system lots of cool ideas come out, especially if you attach a monetary value to the credit---like people only earning credit and cashing it out (tutors), or people only spending it, and injecting cash into the system (impatient/rich people).

Anyway, Verbling guys, you may have already thought of this, but if not, I've been thinking about it for quite a while, hit me up if you want to chat more about it.

luke_s 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately I'm learning Chinese, which is not yet supported. But as I am very interested in using verbling, I thought I would provide some feedback:

Firstly - Why do I have to register to use? It would be nice to specify your language and jump in. Then if I enjoy the experience, I can sign up with my e-mail address, etc.

Secondly - Having spent a bit of time around Asia, the market to learn English is absolutely huge! A lot of people are desperate to practise English with a native speaker. In Taiwan, sometimes had people (usually high school kids) coming up to me in the street wanting to practise. However it will require localised sites, written in Chinese, or Korean or Japanese to tap this market. Also, it will need a different marketing strategy to what you might use for English, or a European market. In China for example, a lot of people spend most of their time hanging around on BBS's like MOP. For obvious reasons using Google ad-words would be a no go ...

yock 3 days ago 2 replies      
One thing that doesn't appear obvious to me is the level of proficiency required (if any) to get started. I suppose that could be an expectation to be set by the community, but is it feasible for someone to make Verbling their first stop on the way to learning a new language?
wccrawford 4 days ago 0 replies      
Heard about this a while back. Still waiting for them to support other languages.
machrider 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like Colingo: http://colingo.me/
stevelosh 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really cool idea that I can definitely see myself using. A few ideas that
would make it even more awesome (for me):

More languages would be great.

Let me specify the level I currently know a language at. For example: I'm not
a native speaker of ASL, but I can get through a conversation. I'd be a great
partner for an ASL beginner but not for someone advanced.

wmblaettler 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! I would love to see school districts be able to sign up entire classes and be matched with foreign classes. This feature would be a potential source of revenue. Free for anyone to use, but added features for paying schools: class matching system, teacher moderation, statistics, etc.
danso 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bummer...no French (yet)

This sounds stupidly superficial, but the page is configured (apparently) in such a way that sharing it on FB gets you a blank for title/descriptor/image...YEah, I know, superficial. But I wanted my friends to know about it and you know what they say about click-through rate for articles w/images...

pkandathil 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is another site where you can do this. They actually take you teach you the language. http://www.livemocha.com/
jjolis 3 days ago 0 replies      
For a quick demo, Verbling was tried out on local TV in Texas
pguzmang 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is another great resource:

You can subscribe to his blog for free is really interesting.

Check the complete site out.

sunspeck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or do the two faces paired in each image on the homepage all look oddly similar?

If the software were to enforce this, I wonder if I would have a more enjoyable/didactic/narcissistic experience speaking with my Chinese mirror-image...

TillE 3 days ago 1 reply      
So it's language exchange partners, but over the internet.

Pretty neat, but I'd definitely worry about audio quality. If you live in a multicultural city with a couple universities, the real-life version is easy enough to set up.

kouiskas 3 days ago 0 replies      
"sign language" should be labelled as ASL if that's what you meant. There are hundreds of sign languages.
arturadib 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just tried it out -- exactly what I was looking for. In less than a minute I was practicing Spanish with a nice fellow from Mexico. Superb idea.
xlife 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea, kinda sad it has no Portuguese.
bulletsvshumans 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do they let you filter your language partners by gender? Because otherwise my girlfriend will not use this, even though she is very excited about the idea in general.

She wants to work on her Hindi skills in exchange for English, but after spending a year in India she is certain she will be mercilessly hit on.

My guess is that women in general will be uncomfortable having 10-minute chats with random men.

jstclair 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's an interesting concept, but I'd think the video part would be more of a distraction, honestly. The best language-learning idea I've ever seen was a foreign-language MOO/MUD. I worked on one at the University of Bergen (Norway). You can find a paper on the German-version here: https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/1286
coatta 3 days ago 0 replies      
A "Teach for America" friend has recently been tasked with building a small Midwestern charter school's first Spanish program. One of the biggest challenges for her is finding ways to immerse students in the language with a lack of resources and a tight budget. This certainly seems like a quick, inexpensive and appealing way to get students engaged. I'll see if she can provide feedback.
dfischer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love how www.livemocha.com handles this.
Zakuzaa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should make a codecademy of langauages.
joshuabutner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know I'm not the only person to say this, but I kind of prefer the (original) implementation created by LiveMocha at http://www.livemocha.com/
jrvarela56 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another language learning tool by the creator of Captcha:


check out a description at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQl6jUjFjp4

JairusKhan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. Especially for ASL.
cipherpunk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where's my Swedish option? :(
camslizzle 3 days ago 0 replies      
how about Indonesian?
Peter Norvig on a 45-year-old article about a checkers-playing program scientificamerican.com
214 points by mayoff  4 days ago   30 comments top 10
Lewisham 4 days ago 2 replies      
The more I read from Norvig, the more I am convinced that history will judge him as being one of the most influential computer scientists of the post-Turing era.

His ability to find elegant solutions in the hardest looking problems, and communicate them so well that you feel it was so obvious that you should have found it immediately, is unparalleled.

ajb 4 days ago 1 reply      
"CPL was so new that it had no compiler, nor a complete formal description. Journal articles from 1963 and 1968 and a posthumously published set of notes from 2000 partially describe versions of the language that are slightly different than the one presented in the article."

Apparently a formal definition was finally written down in "CPL working papers", but this was never published. The only place I know which has a copy is the Bodleian library at Oxford:


It would be a good thing if someone (google?) were to scan this piece of computer history and put it on the web.

norvig 4 days ago 5 replies      
Aw shucks, guys ... you make me blush with your compliments.

Tell you what, Ill make a deal: I'll keep writing if you keep reading. K?

swannodette 4 days ago 2 replies      
Beautiful. Please read everything this man has ever written. I don't care what you think about Lisp - buy yourself a copy of the Paradigms Of Artificial Intelligence Programming and work through it. It's one of the greatest books on the practice of problem solving ever.
jparise 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the accompanying source code: http://norvig.com/sciam/checkers.py

  There are four parts to this program:
(1) Strachey's checkers program in CPL:
OriginalCPLprogram is the original program, verbatim
ModifiedCPLprogram fixes a typo and two small conceptual problems
(2) A parser for the CPL language. This is encoded in the external
file 'cpl.g', which is then processed by yapps2.py to produce cpl.py,
which we then import, allowing us to use cpl.parse on ModifiedCPLprogram.
(3) Functions described but not implemented by Strachey (such as Null and Shift).
(4) Variable definitions and functions not listed by Strachey.
(5) Test cases.

rhomboss 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mr. Norvig has been a huge inspiration to me ove the years. I sent him an e-mail a couple of years ago with a quick question. He responded within minutes, and as a young lad, that was huge.

It's really inspired me to try and become someone who not only writes and creates brilliant things, but also helps to foster that same ability in the younger generation.

chrislo 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great opportunity for Scientific American to release a few old back issues in digital form. A HTML version of the article in question is available, but it would be nice to see in the original format. The issues are sadly out of print when I visit the links.
Jd 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is the first time I've seen the distinction made between waterfall and spiral methodologies, with agile seemingly considered a subset of the spiral model. Any other resources anyone knows about on this distinction?
darklajid 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read the whole article without taking a single sip from this cool beer next to my laptop.

In other words: Wow. Amazing. From the 'I read old science magazines on the attic' start to the final 'Let's revive this program, build a translator to python, a test suite and check the result' - the article was an amazing read. Thanks a lot. More of that, please!

k4st 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great article, with the exception that code indentation does not appear to have made it through the editing process.
Why you should learn just a little Awk - A Tutorial by Example gregable.com
212 points by ColinWright  1 day ago   75 comments top 13
pkrumins 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wrote an ebook 2 months ago on Awk called "Awk One-Liners Explained."


It teaches Awk through many practical examples, so called one-liners, that are small and short programs that just do one task. Such as joining lines, printing lines matching a pattern, summing up numbers on lines, converting text, etc.

Check it out!

crazydiamond 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used awk 20 years back. Then I moved on. My awk scripts still run, those in other languages don't (major version changes e.g.). Also, I began manipulating text using grep, cut, sed and sort, but found that these read through the file each time, becoming slow as data increases. Using awk you can search, filter and manipulate data in ONE iteration of the file making it very fast.
And so i once again brushed up on awk.

btw, i suggest using gawk since it has date functions.

ThaddeusQuay2 1 day ago 1 reply      

Q. Have you had any surprises in the way that AWK has developed over the years?

A. One Monday morning I walked into my office to find a person from the Bell Labs micro-electronics product division who had used AWK to create a multi-thousand-line computer-aided design system. I was just stunned. I thought that no one would ever write an AWK program with more than a handful of statements. But he had written a powerful CAD development system in AWK because he could do it so quickly and with such facility. My biggest surprise is that AWK has been used in many different applications that none of us had initially envisaged. But perhaps that's the sign of a good tool, as you use a screwdriver for many more things than turning screws.

- from the 2008 Computerworld interview with Alfred V. Aho (http://goo.gl/OVtFU)

RexRollman 1 day ago 5 replies      
Would Awk be useful for end user plain text databases? I want to keep a listing of all my books but I would prefer not to use a database and to use something that works in the Unix console.
Confusion 1 day ago 0 replies      
(n/g)AWK doesn't just make sense for one-liners: it's a full (one could argue: the first) scripting language. Thinking it was only for one-liners put me off learning it at first. That was a mistake.
veyron 1 day ago 1 reply      
paulcarey 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you didn't already know that Ruby scripts can be written in a very similar way to awk, this makes for a good read.


huhtenberg 1 day ago 0 replies [28/Sep/2010:04:08:20] "GE...

07, huh? :)

LiveTheDream 1 day ago 0 replies      
g-garron 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use awk a lot, but only as canned solution I found on the web, your article definitely decided me to learn it.
trusko 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Well wrtten.
peterquest 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ahhhh, so that's how I get a job at google.
moe 1 day ago  replies      
Let it go, it's 2011. Every time someone uses Awk in this day and age god kills a baby seal.
Happy 20th birthday, Linux itworld.com
209 points by jfruh  4 days ago   41 comments top 14
danieldk 4 days ago 3 replies      
It has been a fun ride!

I started using Linux in 1994 when I was twelve with Slackware Linux. I remember having long fights with my younger brother about how to divide a 40MB hard disk between Linux and MS-DOS (for games).

It is important to remember how Linux and the BSDs made it possible for a whole generation of tech enthusiasts to educate themselves. At that age, I could not afford to buy a compiler or books as means of getting sample source code. Linux and BSD gave us free compilers, source code from the masters' hands to study, and generally a fun system to tinker with. I can not image being where I am now without that ecosystem.

I hope that future generations will be as fortunate to have these possibilities.

indrora 3 days ago 0 replies      
I got my first taste of Linux in the late 90's. That taste? RedHat and Debian. I was, oh about, 8..9 or so.

I initially played with linux only as a luzer -- I would go up to a friend's place for parties but more accurately to sit in the "commanders seat' -- In a ring of 3..4 monitors. Being a kid, I was enthralled. The friend? Hugh Daniel of the FreeSWAN project (Thanks for the keyfobs, Hugh.)

Then I got a copy of RedHat 6. I used it with an old dilapidated win95 box we had after a move. During the move, we had gotten new laptops, so this one I took over as the nerd child.

I found Mandrake. I dont remember what version -- It was around 2002 or so. It had instructions for dual-booting Windows XP in the manual.

I played with linux until I actually didn't have a choice: I had a machine I couldn't run Windows on at all. I was using Ubuntu 6.06 LTS and the machine was an Alienware computer that wouldn't boot windows right. It had a bad IRQ line from a car crash being pulled low.

Since then I've used Arch, DamnSmall, Debian, Ubuntu, Suse/OpenSUSE and even TInyCore. I've done kernel rebuilds and written countless lines of shell. I've run Linux on Dingoo`s, Zaurii, even SBCs. I've worked with printers that run BSD on the inside (NetBSD) and on servers with hundreds of gigabytes of space. I have done things that Windows would cry over. I have mastered my world's machines with Linux, as well as its friends.

Cheers, Linus.

dave1010uk 3 days ago 0 replies      
My first memory of Linux was when I was about 12. My 486 wasn't fast enough to play MP3s in Windows. Previously, if I wanted to listen to a song, I would convert it to a WAV on our family Pentium 75, split it into 1.4MB chunks and copy it via ~15 floppy disks onto my PC.

I installed RedHat 5 (from a PC mag CD). RedHat came with a commandline MP3 player (called mpg123) that would decode and play MP3s on my 486. This meant it only took 2 or 3 floppy disks to copy a MP3 I'd downloaded from our family PC's 14.4kb/s net connection.

Today, my phone runs Linux (Maemo), my work PC runs Linux (Ubuntu), my laptop & our TV run Linux (Ubuntu), our router & NAS run Linux (some kind of Debian). Our next car is likely to run Linux and so might our fridge. Thanks Linus!

klutometis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looking back at Linus' original email, I find it interesting that there's a "Summary" header in addition to "Subject:"

  > Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
> Summary: small poll for my new operating system

RFC 5322 [1] doesn't have anything to say about a summary header, so maybe it was an invention of Linus'.

[1] http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5322#section-3.6

cpeterso 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is Linux a repeatable phenomenon? Is there a college student today whose hobby OS can snowball into such a dominant technology? If Linux started in 2011, I wonder what design decisions would have Linus made differently.

The Innovator's Dilemma suggests that a disruptive technology replace a dominant standard by working bottom-up: specialize in a corner of the market that is too small or unprofitable to be of interest to the dominant player, then add "cheap but good enough" features.

The economics of Linux might bend some of the Innovator's Dilemma assumptions, but it does seem like Linux is losing its focus as it tries to support servers and desktops and embedded devices. Perhaps a smaller, less capable kernel could capture some super-low-end devices (like cheap mobile devices or home automation).

linuxhansl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Heh. I remember using the Linux Kernel 0.99pl13.

I was working at DEC then and I remember writing a batch job that would download the the SLS (and later Slackware) distribution floppy images and store them on one of our VAX machines, so that I could copy them onto floppies the next day in order to take them home.

Ah fun times.

trocker 4 days ago 0 replies      
woohoo! Linux! A couple of years back,when I was still in School, I was so darn scared to even touch linux. The reason being, I used to write "Hello World" type of programs and I'd be so so restless if I was asked to work on anything other than windows Turbo C++ . I now know how much power - raw computing gives.. Linux, Happy Birthday, its all cuz of you :)
slowpoke 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I have only discovered the awesomeness that is GNU/Linux approximately a year ago, I feel at home like it's been forever.

Happy birthday, Linux, and cheers to the best kernel in the world!

stillinbeta 3 days ago 1 reply      
The kernel is literally a day older than I am, and I use it every day. I wish I'd accomplished nearly as much as it had.
fcambus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Today, we are celebrating 20 years of Linux, listening to the kernel : http://www.linux.fm
saw-lau 4 days ago 8 replies      
I thought this quote was interesting: 'helped keep Linux together and defy the trend for forking and fractionalization' when compared with images like this regarding the numerous distributions:


DISCLAIMER: I've never used Linux, partly because of the above ('which one should I pick?'). Also, I'm not trolling here, but would welcome the opportunity to understand why (to a newcomer at least) there seem to be so many variations to choose from.

pointyhat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now I feel old. I've used Debian since 1.2.
omouse 3 days ago 0 replies      
waiting for them to say Happy Birthday GNU...
zer0point 3 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't realize it has been 20 years already :/
       cached 29 August 2011 15:11:01 GMT