hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    17 Sep 2011 Best
home   ask   best   6 years ago   
Google Flight Search google.com
499 points by revorad  3 days ago   278 comments top 64
cletus 3 days ago  replies      
Internally, this has been around for a little while (disclaimer: I work for Google but not on anything related to this).

What continues to impress me about Google is:

1. Just how quickly this was built (really, it was quick); and

2. Google wants you to use our services because they're compelling not because we don't give you any other choice (ie "Don't be evil").

Sure there are limits to what it currently does but I think you'll see it rapidly iterate.

NuecadFoi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Game over.

Disclaimer: This is a throwaway account. I'm a person who has had a travel startup. I've decided to halt, once Google has finally acquired ITA Software.

Travel is one of the world's largest industries (~5th), and online sales are its significant part (~10-30%, depending on the market), growing strongly. Online travel agencies (OTA) are among the few companies on web that get real money (~$150 per sale) from customers (it is relatively easy to make serious revenue).

Online travel sales consist mostly of flight bookings, and hotel reservations.

On these markets, there are roughly three categories of players. Airlines and hotels _provide_ the inventory, that is flights and hotel rooms. Computer reservations systems (GDS) _manage_ the inventory. Online travel agencies _sell_ the inventory.

Specifically, there are thousands of airlines and hotels (e.g. Hyatt, Lufthansa). However, there are only three major GDS operators in the US and Europe (i.e. Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport), as well as only few big OTAs (i.e. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotels.com, and Opodo).

Few decades ago, before Internet, airlines and hotels were unable to sell inventory on their own. It definitely takes more time to set up an office than a connection between two airports. Thus, it made sense to use travel agencies for this purpose.

Over time, airlines and hotels became also unable to manage their inventory. Synchronization of reservations between thousands of third parties is a non-trivial task, not a core competency of involved companies. Thus, it made sense to use a middle man.

That's what GDS systems do. They manage inventory, what includes reservations (PNR), its availability, prices, and exchanging data with others. As far as I know, right now, airlines and hotels pay them for the service, and for each reservation made (~few bucks).

Internet has complicated things a bit. Travel agencies are no longer so vital, as both airlines and hotels are able (at least, they think so) to sell the inventory on their own. Unfortunately, they were too slow again, and OTAs has emerged meanwhile (Expedia), giving the second youth to GDS companies.

The ecosystem is like an old marriage couple, although a threesome. Each party hat hates each other, but there's no other way around. To oversimplify a bit, OTAs have _customers_ (traffic), GDS systems _manage_ the inventory (with airlines, hotels, and OTAs) and both airlines and hotels _provide_ the inventory, after all.

From time to time there's an affair. Low-cost airlines try to distrupt the market by selling tickets so cheaply partially because they sell them directly. Major OTAs, like Expedia, partially grow to a GDS category. Some airlines or hotel chains withdraw from GDS systems, and return eventually with negiotiated better fees. However, it's mostly business as usual.

Today, if you want to start an online travel agency you have to speak with a GDS company. Depending on your market, it might be Amadeus, Sabre or Travelport. After a long selling process, you get access to the system, and you can start selling the reservations.

What's important, though, nearly all systems used today were created a decade, or two, ago. As core competency of GDS companies is in selling, then, as far as I know, they outsource the software evelopment to third parties, and it's not that easy to innovate on a critical part of the world's infrastructure.

What you end up with, then, is an access to an undocumented API that lets you to search, and manage your reservations. Insiders are used to the quirks, like waiting few seconds until you get the response, random issues, or hinting the system so you get a better response than others. Importantly, you're actively discoured to cache the data, as the prices change rather frequently.

The critical part here is search. It's a mathematically non-trivial problem to very quickly find rates within thousands of connections, definitely beyond technical know-how of GDS operators, airlines and hotels. ITA Software has managed to get access to the inventory and while, as far as I know, they do not sell resevations, they've created a much better (faster) search.

Meanwhile, few years ago, metasearches (e.g. Kayak, Hipmunk) emerged. Smart folks have realized that the competition is on price, customers look for a single place to compare prices, and operate under assumption that what really counts is traffic. From both customers and metasearch perspective, it does not make that big difference where do they buy the reservation from, an OTA or directly from an airline.

So, here we are today.

As a beggining travel agency, you likely have to pay annually for access, and for each request made, especially if you exceed the quota negotiated with the GDS company. Few years ago you were able to make profit by incurring a transaction fee to each ticket sold, but now transaction fees are nearly non-existent, and it's more frequent to rely on provisions from GDS companies, and, sometimes, airlines.

What's your competetive advantage? Basically, you cannot provide much better product than your competitors, as everyone relies on the similar legacy GDS system that returns the flight details rather slowly. Most of the time, only choices are either to show the results a bit differently, or bet on more trustful brand.

The focus is on efficiency. Profit per ticket is so slim, so cost of customers acquisitions is what really matters. OTAs, metasearches and, increasingly, airlines, together with hotels, master SEM, SEO, and other forms of advertisement (newsletters, banners). They live and die by the numbers. If you've figured out how to scalably make $1 more profit on each reservation made, you're covered for some time. The novel methods are, obviously, eventually realized by others, too.

In this race to the bottom there's one clear winner. Google's AdWords is a major source of traffic for all parties, and I bet that they already make the biggest profit off each reservation made. Once Google has acquired ITA Software, they now have both traffic and the inventory.

kiwidrew 3 days ago 5 replies      
It's rather powerful: as long as the origin airport is one of those shown on the map, and the destination airport is reachable via a domestic flight on one of the major airlines (AA, AS, B6, CO, DL, F9, UA, US), the search results come back instantaneously. Multiple origins and destinations (up to five of each) are supported as well:


And the results still come back immediately! Including the three-month chart of prices. This leads me to believe that Google/ITA has precomputed all of these results, and is simply serving these results out of a cache of some sort. That would explain why they are only offering a limited set of origin airports at this time: it probably takes an incredible amount of computing power and storage space to pre-calculate all of the possible results.

Colour me impressed.

hugh3 3 days ago 2 replies      
That really is good. Hipmunk is still better if you know what days you want to fly, but this is great if you haven't yet decided precisely when, or precisely where, you want to go.

A pity it only works within the US so far, but I'm sure they'll add international destinations eventually.

Also a shame that Southwest still won't cooperate with any of these guys. I guess it's a rational decision on their part: be cheapest most of the time and hope that people won't bother to compare your fares to others.

DevX101 3 days ago 3 replies      
If your startup is involved with search aimed at the consumer market, watch out...Google is coming.

In a few weeks/months Google will be featuring this search result when you type "nyc to sfo" and take a big bite out of orbitz, kayak, and whoever's lunch that's in this space.

EDIT: The counterargument to this, is that orbitz, kayak, and friends are some of the heaviest purchasers of PPC ads. So Google be at risk of cannibalizing if they push this too hard.

JoshTriplett 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not bad, but hipmunk's visualization seems far far better than Google's tables. The graphical representation of the flight path seems nice, as does the highlighting of cities involved, but that doesn't actually give me information I need to make a decision; Hipmunk's time-oriented chart of departures, arrivals, and layovers tells me exactly what I need to know to book a flight.
PedroCandeias 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, it was a matter of time, wasn't it? For now it's a bit too fiddly when compared to the likes of Hipmunk, save for the booking process which is quite streamlined. And the search itself, which is blazing fast. On second thought, this is really not a bad effort. I can see it gaining huge traction in no time.
amirmc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just for some context, here's the previous HN discussion when Google announced their acquisition of ITA in July 2010.


samstokes 3 days ago 0 replies      
The (well-hidden) "Limits" widget is a very cool bit of visual / visceral UI design. Click the "scatter graph" button next to the Duration field and you get a scatter plot of duration against price for all the flights - which is useful data in itself - then you can drag a boundary around to set the maximum duration or price.
geuis 3 days ago 5 replies      
General question here. Almost all flight search sites default the search dates to about 3 weeks out. Now, I find this annoying but I'm wondering if its done because there is statistical evidence that most customers search in that range of time, or rather if it's just what someone thought would be a good idea by "following their intuition".
awj 3 days ago 1 reply      
To me, that map seems like a very confusing bit of UI. The cities themselves are really tiny interaction points, I'm a relatively experienced FPS gamer and hitting those points accurately involves more fumbling than it should. You cannot drag departure/arrival pins. Streetview kind of taught me that this should be a mechanism for manipulating this sort of location reference.

The big one, though, is that layovers are not reflected on the map. Granted, it may push me slightly towards more expensive flights, but I would appreciate the ability to see the grid of ugliness and waiting I'm buying into to get that super cheap ticket.

I don't think that map as it is now is worth the screen real estate.

martingordon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks nice and it has great potential, especially since it isn't cluttered with links to Expedia/Priceline like the others are.

That said, I can't really use it until it supports multiple destinations/open jaw in a single search.

smackfu 3 days ago 3 replies      
"Sorry, locations outside the U.S. are currently not supported." Are you kidding me?
samstave 3 days ago 1 reply      
You know what would my make flights better (I travel a lot for work - but work out of my house and book a lot of my own travel)

I want to be able to setup standard trips/itineraries and be able to single clik re-book them with simply a leave and return date.

Further, I want the system to auto arrange for a cab/shuttle/uber to pick me up and take me to my destination.

For example, I fly to LAX several times a month - Nome Alaska once a month, Soon it will be Dallas once a month - and various places in the bay area.

If I can setup my "Visit LAX trip" with all my details and know that a car was waiting for me when I got to LAX to take me to my office/hotel and I didnt have to do anything other than click "Re-book LAX" that would save me so much time and hassle.

I would setup my preferred airlines, times and seats (Virgin America etc...)

adaml_623 3 days ago 1 reply      
My First Impression:

No international flights yet: Fail but not surprising

That's okay I want to fly from NY to Vegas next year. No flights for April 2012: Fail that was not expected.

I don't really understand why Google launches stuff like this when it has a lovely user interface but is a bit halfbaked in terms of the data that they've put in.

I guess I'll go back in a years time when they remind me about it.

stevoski 3 days ago 1 reply      
I try to get a flight from Frankfurt - the 9th busiest airport in the world. - and I get "Unavailable".

Post this again when I can actually use it.

stevenp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, the lack of a good API by any provider is one of the biggest barriers to entry in this space. I wonder if the Hipmunk guys might release one? I'd be thrilled to send affiliate traffic to the first company that makes good on this.
angus77 3 days ago 0 replies      
We have detected that you are using an unsupported web browser. We support Firefox 3.5 or later, Chrome, Safari 4 or later, or Internet Explorer 8 or later.

?!? I'm using the Android browser!

pmorici 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why anyone would use a federated flight search when looking for a domestic flight in the US. None of the major airlines come close to Southwest in terms of price or hassle free travel and none of the flight search engines include price information for Southwest.
tonfa 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the scatter plot graph (with duration/price), it is so geeky :)
toot 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's quite scary that a company like Google can come along and shit in a startup's cereal practically overnight.

I know we were all rooting for The 'Munk, but it seems that Google's use of Price x Duration matrix effectively steals the thunder from Hipmunk's agony filter.

I mean, it's not as if Google needs the affiliate revenue, and I bet the Hipmunk guys would have preferred it had Google decided to "organise the world's information" through an acquisition. I think I'd need a good cry if this happened to me :(

andrewtbham 3 days ago 3 replies      
Bad news for hipmunk? Especially since google acquired ITA.
splish 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unless I'm missing something fairly obvious, they might have missed something pretty big - is there any way to book a one way flight?
0x12 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's only a problem for hipmunk as long as google doesn't 'retire' the project.

Give it 6 months or so.

tamersalama 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is just beautiful. Data matrix is innovative, UI is out of the way, slick and to the point interface, and it even takes you to the correct 3rd party booking pages.

I can't wait till this is implemented in Canada.

Kayak beware!

esutton 3 days ago 1 reply      
what will be a game changing tool, and something befitting the resources of google, would be to pair flights together that are cheaper than what is offered by the airline.
for instance:
flying from NY to LA. Airlines sell this route non stop,
or through one of their hubs.
But imagine if a flight search can figure out that a oneway flight from ny to new orleans on Delta and than a flight from new orleans on AA, had a low layover and was significantly cheaper than the published routes.

The problem is that as this expands to more cities and takes more stops, you end up hitting an NP problem.

kellysutton 3 days ago 1 reply      
"5 unknown price"

Looks like it needs another QA pass.

rickdale 3 days ago 1 reply      
When are people going to stop solving this problem and start building super sonic airplanes like the concord? The airline industry moves backwards in technology and trying to build a flight search engine to wrap around it is really a band-aid to the real situation. If I could get to Vegas in half the time, or even a quarter of the time (currently takes 4 hours, could take 1 in supersonic jet) I would pay at least double price for a ticket, and I wouldnt even need a seat.

My point is if you fly coach especially with Delta they treat you like a slave and stuff you with almost zero space to move (I am american, but not obese (5'9, 200lb). Forget flight search engines I can find a flight, make a me a faster more tolerable flight, you are friggin GOOGLE!

jnw2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was under the impression that Amtrak from Newark Airport to 30th St Station in Philadelphia was available as an airline code share (and that train segment is fast enough that there's no good reason to get on a plane for Newark<->Philadelphia, even if you are connecting to another flight out of Newark), but I haven't figured out how to find such a code share with Google's flight search tools.

(The governor of IL and the Chicago mayor also asked Amtrak to study how to extend some of the Amtrak routes to O'Hare, presumably to replace some ``commuter'' flights, and they wanted the study done by the end of this summer, but I haven't seen any evidence of the study being done yet.)

markmccraw 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I were expedia, orbitz, priceline, travelocity, kayak, hipmunk. etc. I'd be very very afraid. Sure, google won't actually do the sales, but they are linking direct to airline websites for now. Also this doesn't exist for hotels. Yet. The odds that in 1 year that any of those sites have a better UI or superior search capabilities than Google is low. So, what will they bring to the table?

Also, what's up with all these people saying that it's so limited because it doesn't do international and such. It seems very obvious that this thing will get better and better and like others have said, eventually end up on top of the search page. This is assuming it gains traction quickly and doesn't get nuked.

revorad 3 days ago 1 reply      
In true Google style, they are focusing on speed, with a minimal UI.
antimora 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is it me, or that app is super fast?
pumainmotion 3 days ago 0 replies      
As is evident from some of the comments here, the map and the search bar on top are totally extraneous to the basic task that the user wishes to perform.

The absolute barebones should be shown: Starting location, Destination, Dates. And then maybe a less noisy version of the price-points plot from which one can just drag and drop certain options into a bucket for comparison.

The fact that so much scrolling needs to be done to even get a basic understanding of the results means this needs to be reworked.

rufo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Completely useless for me. Doesn't find a single flight out of ROC.
badclient 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I want to do a flight search, I don't usually think of a map.
kingkilr 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very nice, my only complaint is they don't have Southwest pricing. No one else does either, so Southwest continues to bring me to their site :)
dhruvbird 3 days ago 0 replies      
This had to happen sooner than later after the ITA aquisition. I wonder why it took them so long.
faulkner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Decent initial release, but I wish the search was more flexible.

My common use case is "I will spend $X to go anywhere for under Y days any time in the future" and I haven't found a service that makes this easy.

Kayak's "explore" page is the closest I've found, but they rarely have the cheapest flights listed and have no way to set duration. Has anyone found a better solution?

kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
My eyes dilated when using the auto price feature. Also the speed and ease of adjusting the dates by a day is impressive.
supahfly_remix 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see any Southwest or JetBlue airlines flights listed. Both usually have very competitive pricing on some routes.
tedkalaw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anyway to do one-way flights? I really like it so far but cannot for the life of me figure out if one-way is possible.
skylar 2 days ago 0 replies      
We built this at Yahoo! in summer 2007 after the FareChase acquisition. Took about a week or so to prototype, and a couple months to offer various filter/search criteria and prepare for launch. With access the good flight data APIs it's a pretty simple app. Of course for us it was never allowed to launch.

Glad to see Google was finally able to push something like this. Main feature missing that Y! Faremaps had is the ability to specify a span of time in which you wanted to travel and the cheapest trips in that timeframe were shown. Also, you could search "weekends only" in that timeframe.

drallison 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow ... but then I am not really sure it meets my needs. For one thing, it does not recognize may local airport and keeps wanting me to fly out of another airport a good 4 hour drive away! And while it is good at displaying cost differentials for different destinations it does not seem to do as well for the same destination at different times with different carriers. Still, it is interesting.
mcdowall 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had always imagined they would try to dabble in flight search but always assumed the sheer volume of their travel ppc clients would restrict it. Big revenue gamble.
RossM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just the other day I was wondering "why isn't there a flight option in Maps?", well here you go then, there soon will be.
emehrkay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interface was confusing at first: you click the "x from $xxx" then you choose a return flight by clicking the sub="x from $xxx" with the time you'd like to return. Then you can book.

This is cool though

27182818284 3 days ago 0 replies      
Faster than Hipmunk, but can't do international flights yet.
eslaught 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they allowed ITA to keep writing in Common Lisp...
xedarius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please build this in Europe, searching for flights is so painful. I hope you're looking at this web site Expedia!
frankiewarren 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes a ton of sense to me. Users already trust Google with search and connecting people with airlines has baked-in revenue. This also has tremendous advertising potential. Imagine if local restaurants could target ads at people who will be traveling to the area in the next three months.
fmavituna 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great implementation. Recently I've been playing with skyscanner and HipMunk. This will definitely replace them for me when international support arrives.
jeffem 3 days ago 0 replies      
They must be accessing prior flight search history in some way or they made a really lucky guess with their default selections.

I've recently searched for flights on Expedia and Southwest (I don't think I've visited anywhere else). Google already had those same dates and cities selected by default.

joeyj01 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is amazing! I hope outside U.S service will come soon and calculate flights globally.
iradik 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think they will integrate this with google maps and give around the world directions. Pretty cool.
iskander 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any idea when they expand beyond the US?
littlegiantcap 3 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting, I like the simple layout, but it would be nice to have a price comparison of a few days in each direction like some sites have (I'm thinking Virgin Atlantic) so you can save some money by leaving a day early or a day late. Overall though bravo.
eren-tantekin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, locations outside the U.S. are currently not supported :/
JohannTh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work for Dohop (www.dohop.com), a direct competitor of Google's new flight thing. We have been worried about Google's entrance into the field for a while, but after today we are breathing easier.

No international? No one-way? I know Google will change this, but why put out such a wildly underwhelming product?

And finally, since they are basing the whole thing on ITA anyway, we don't expect them to do anything Kayak isn't already doing.

retrofit_brain 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow what a relief to see they are dogfooding. This is built on GWT and the performance is kick ass.
mahmud 3 days ago 0 replies      
U.S. only.
marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of those late nights at Hipmunk.

Good luck guys!

reagan83 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus, this amazing.
ofca 3 days ago 0 replies      
hipmunk, hold on to your 'nackers :)
mindstab 3 days ago 0 replies      
ha a flight search engine that only does flights inside the US? cute, but of limited use. I won't hold my breath just yet.
New Boston Globe website design bostonglobe.com
417 points by ra88it  4 days ago   109 comments top 39
Adaptive 4 days ago 6 replies      
The real success here is not the fluid design (which is awesome). It's getting it through inside a traditional media company.

I'd love to read a frank overview of that process as well as the design itself.

ra88it 4 days ago 3 replies      
Resize the window to see how gracefully the site accomodates a wide range of window sizes (from a phone to a desktop monitor).

[edit: After further reflection, I'm stunned by how well they pulled this off. Huge leap forward.]

keeperofdakeys 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here is one of the lines of the source code:

  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, minimum-scale=1, maximum-scale=1">

For those who don't know, this disables user scrolling on every standards-compliant mobile device. The reason is a bug on iOS, that causes test to flow off screen when changing orientation on non-default zoom levels. http://adactio.com/journal/4470/

I really wish more sites would enable it by default, then use javascript to disable it for iOS devices. I have come across many sites with small text that I want to zoom, but can't (this is especially bad for people with poor eyesight). Disabling it for everyone reminds me of the days of IE5 and 6, when other browsers were hampered by IE's bugs; we are only starting to see what having no bug-ridden, dominant browser on the Desktop can bring.

Before anyone says that browsers shouldn't implement this feature, they should. For better or worse, it is a part of the standard. Using browsers that don't implement parts of the standard would bring about situations even worse then this.

guywithabike 4 days ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind that the point isn't to be flashy when you resize your window, it's that the site will work just as well on tiny mobile screens, medium tablet screens, and large computer screens without separate domains, crappy shim layers (I'm looking at you, wp-touch), etc.
3dFlatLander 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have terrible vision, and utilize the browsers zoom function a lot. On their new site, I can zoom without having to do a lot of horizontal scrolling (just in Firefox though, doesn't seem to work as well in Chrome). So, aside from the aesthetic for the masses, there's an element of accessibility here that shouldn't be overlooked.
chrismealy 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's weird, when a layout is too clean it feels like the site is fake somehow.
blahedo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am IN LOVE! It has been years since I've seen a mainstream site that didn't force itself wider than my default window (usually 600-800px, a bit less than half my screen). A lot of the sites that "try" to "address" the issue of multiple resolutions still focus on two targets: mobiles, and full-screen 1024+ monitors. Some of us are in between!

Thanks, Boston Globe.

alexkearns 4 days ago 3 replies      
I used a similar technique on my web-based timeline-software. The aim was for the timeline to work at almost any size. Not quite perfected it but getting close.

If you want to play with the resizing, you can use this link - http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/43/Beautiful-web-bas...

beatpanda 4 days ago 1 reply      
We did the same thing on my college newspaper this semester (we're still working out bugs ) 鈥" http://spartandaily.com
T_S_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great job making the font size respond to Cmd+. Many sites seem to drop the ball on this important feature (ahem LinkedIn, NYTimes mobile).
roopeshv 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://mediaqueri.es/, now stop picking examples from certain place, give some background what you want to talk about.
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is very nicely done. I am glad they didn't go for the temptation to put the display add in the laft column so that as the page shrinks it re-flows to putting only ads above the fold.
ForrestN 4 days ago 0 replies      
I assume they are testing the waters for something similar for the NYT. I think it's very successful visually, and certainly a nice use of this new technology. My only nitpick is that I wish there was more letter spacing on the headlines. I don't know why the type has to be so squished.
frankiewarren 3 days ago 0 replies      
I loaded this and thought, "What's the big deal?" I'm sure many people, on many different browsers/platforms/resolutions, thought the same exact thing, which is what makes it so brilliant.
Angostura 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a bit of UX failure here though. The first ting I did was click the left hand top navigation element which displayed the submenu.

I then moved my mouse to select a sub-menu item, crossing another top-level menu item which made the menu disapear.

Granny's not giong to like that, and I personally dislike having to be careful to move my mouse vertically down before crossing to a submenu item.

niels_olson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would have liked to see the resize use additional space by bringup an additional column of headlines instead of just expanding the already useless picture.

Here's a nice thread on newspaper designs, shamelessly jumping to my head-to-head of above-the-fold comparisons of the top 10


joshmlewis 4 days ago 4 replies      
It is worth checking out. Really neat how well it does go from big to small. Was this done with Javascript/jQuery?
bstar 4 days ago 1 reply      
Screw the layout, whoever came up with the dependency manager is a friggin' genius.

<script src="/js/lib/rwd-images.js,lib/respond.min.js,lib/modernizr.custom.min.js,globe-define.js,globe-controller.js"></script>

RegEx 4 days ago 0 replies      
You don't have to be a huge web design shop to successfully build fluid websites. A good place to start building sites like this is the 1140 grid[0]. We've knocked out a couple of client sites with it [1]. Getting the basic layout to resize is super easy...it's the positioning details for the media queries that can take hours.

[0]: http://cssgrid.net/

[1]: http://etbeancounter.com/

sogrady 3 days ago 2 replies      
The real success here - if it is successful - will be convincing readers that have previously had free (for registered users) access to Boston Globe content at Boston.com to pay $208/yr simply for the new interface. It will be the same content, with a few exceptions, simply rehosted at a new site with a new URL.

If they're able to convert even a subset of their current audience over, journalists everywhere will rejoice.

elliottkember 4 days ago 4 replies      
I think responsive design that changes when resized like this is a bit annoying and unexpected. When I'm using the page and I resize it, I lose my place on the page and all the content reflows. There's nothing in traditional media that works that way.
voidfiles 4 days ago 1 reply      
I smell filament group(http://www.filamentgroup.com/). Anyone know who led the design?
pauljonas 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks good, but line-height gets messed up when using the menu dropdown to select a bigger (i.e., "bigger", "biggest") text size.

See screenshot:

Titanous 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great design, but they have a registration wall in front of every single article.
rglover 3 days ago 0 replies      
Aside from having a great design, what's excellent about this is that they're working with new design concepts and implementing them well. Responsive web design is huge for newspapers and other sites with lots of text and images. The Boston Globe is hopefully the first of many great redesigns using this method.
kanetrain 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great responsive design. This works, in part, because it is a news site with predictable image sizes, headline sizes, and very limited GUI.
If you want to build something that is more graphically intensive, with more focus on visual appeal in traditional browser sizes, it gets more and more complicated. I'm working on a project now actually, and it's pain. I'm not saying it can't be done (it can with a lot of work). It's just more difficult and time-intensive the more graphics you use.
xelfer 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks similar to the http://www.news.com.au redesign which was rolled out 2 weeks ago. Lots of white space and thin grey lines.
linhir 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Boston Globe is owned by the NYTimes company, I wonder if this design might be a preface to a more fluid design of that site.
maigret 3 days ago 0 replies      
Still needs some bug fixes though - the site is not showing at all on Chrome for me. May be due to one of my many privacy extensions.
abredow 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great. It's awesome that we can make sites like this that theoretically allow us to serve the same pages to desktop and mobile browsers. I'm curious though, is there any significant overhead to having mobile clients parse 1600+ lines of HTML, or is that a non-issue these days? Anyone have any data points on this?
roshanr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to compare favorably to the Andy Rutledge redesign (http://andyrutledge.com/news-redux.php) save for the ads. The ads on the story pages don't work as well resulting in horizontal scrolling.
andymboyle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this link. I'm kind of wondering why my post from hours earlier didn't pop up. Did I just write a crappy headline?


sailfast 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice design and a layout that I'm sure will be mimicked by a number of other traditional paper outlets - if they're smart. Now to figure out how to do it myself! hehe
AbyCodes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check the site with http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

Admiration guaranteed.

gjg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great stuff for adapting to different screen sizes, but it's hard to see it as the perfect solution to the varying needs of different devices. It works reasonably well on mobile, but still results in a fair amount of wasted bandwidth. And some pages (looking at you, registration interstitial) serve up 150kb+ images that aren't displayed at all on mobile devices.

It may be responsive to my screen size, but it certainly isn't responsive to my data plan.

MadMikeyB 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very well executed, and everything I've read about it is positive. Good job PR team? Or good job social web :)

Oh, the site is pretty good too ;)

adeaver 4 days ago 0 replies      
Make sure you check out the online crossword. It's 'responsive' as well. And quite cool. (Have to register to access it)
naed 4 days ago 0 replies      
wow thats a really slick and usable design. the call to action page if you click to a story is really fresh to.
blake213 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is called an adaptive layout.
Programmers' Day wikipedia.org
401 points by kexek  3 days ago   84 comments top 23
AngryParsley 3 days ago 3 replies      
Degrees in computer science and computer engineering are in the top 10 for average earnings. We get to build all kinds of cool stuff used by people around the world. For many of us, programming is fun. And we get paid to do it!

Every day is programmer's day.

thebootstrapper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great day to quote from Dijkstra's good old article. At that time(1957) programming was not considered as a profession!

Extract from Humble Programmer[1]

"..in 1957, I married and Dutch marriage rites require you to state your profession and I stated that I was a programmer. But the municipal authorities of the town of Amsterdam did not accept it on the grounds that there was no such profession. And, believe it or not, but under the heading "profession" my marriage act shows the ridiculous entry "theoretical physicist"!.."

[1] http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~EWD/transcriptions/EWD03xx/EWD340....

rkalla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well happy PD to everybody.

Today just happened to be an unexpectedly productive programming day... I guess I was "celebrating" without realizing it :)

cgarvey 3 days ago 3 replies      
"...the color white was chosen because it represents a hex number with the largest value in a 24-bit red green blue (RGB) color space: 0xFFFFFF, so programmers worldwide wear white in celebration."

Only Programmers would have a holiday in which we wear white after labor day to celebrate.

Killah911 3 days ago 3 replies      
Wishing all programmers Man每 Happ每 Returns of the Da每 and Ma每 each one of those Returns compile successfull每

每 : 256th ascii character (should henceforth be the Programmers' day symbol)

correction: Extended ASCII character per http://www.ascii-code.com/

pestaa 3 days ago 1 reply      
Today is the day I must hunt down that irritating segfault, then!
atomicdog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can you imagine "programmer's day" being officially recognized in a western society such as the US or the UK? Over here, intellectual pursuits such as programming are effectively spat upon.
hollerith 3 days ago 4 replies      
Any Russians want to tell us whether this holiday has any meaning to the ordinary Russians?
kuroir 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Programmers' Day! On this day I'll do what I love the most: code!
phatbyte 3 days ago 1 reply      
Happy Programmer's Day. Wish you a full day of coding with no bugs :P
spiralganglion 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't wait to see the Google Doodle for this.
Tyrannosaurs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone tell me what I'm meant to do on Programmers Day or why it even exists?
ramki 3 days ago 1 reply      
Today is dedicated to all brave souls who dared to be a programmer...!!
brain5ide 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm ashamed. Came to work after lunch and just then got told it's today. Why didn't I read HN in the morning? Now have to figure out a way to make a hack in the office to awww everybody.
SkippyZA 3 days ago 2 replies      
Happy Programmers' Day. I mentioned it to our Directors yesterday. Hoping we get cake at least.
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let's just be practical and all take today off!
wlievens 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Programmer's Day guys and gals!
adambyrtek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like my birthday is on Programmers' Day, nice.
Derbasti 3 days ago 0 replies      
OK then, let's solve that compile issue today then.
ycatvfan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I did not know this, otherwise I could have taken the day off.
forther 3 days ago 1 reply      
256 can NOT be represented with 8 bits
TomVolpe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Programmers' Day! Keep on hacking!
alexanderb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Happy PD, dear colleagues!
Remembering a relationship, one chat at a time good.is
372 points by danso  1 day ago   67 comments top 21
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 8 replies      
When I go to write a letter, I use some software that allows me to put together words on a semblance of a page and then print it. The tool is called a "word processor"

When we live our lives, we leave all these digital footprints and clues all over the web. It seems to me that somebody should invent a "life processor" that would collect these traces of our former selves and allow us, after death, to somehow more actively participate than we've ever done before.

If nothing else, it would be a central repository of things that we left behind -- words, images, songs, memories, etc. Yes, I know GMail and Facebook do some of that, but a lot is in chat, on blogs, in comments (like this one), and spread all over the place. After all, they're my thoughts. Shouldn't my descendants be able to easily browse and use them? I would think that with a bit of computational magic, there could be all sorts of new things coming out of our thoughts after we pass on -- if only there was a central repository of data to start with.

I liked this article a lot. It reminded me how important the traces of our digital lives are. Or rather, how important those traces can be.

stevenp 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who keeps all that stuff. A few months ago I went back through some old chat logs to find the first time that I chatted with my best friend, and it was a lot of fun to relive that part of my life.

I think people don't realize that the volume of digital artifacts we're creating is going to be staggering when we look back at them a century from now. That's one of the reasons I like to check in places. I imagine what it would have been like if my grandfather had traveled the world with Foursquare in the 1930s -- maybe I'd be able to visit the pubs where he drank in Copenhagen, or the port he arrived at when he met my grandmother in Glasgow.

My life might not be that exciting, but I'm definitely leaving a trail behind. My grandchildren will wonder why I checked in so much at the Palo Alto Creamery. :)

ethank 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't delete any data, and in fact on my Drobo and RAID on our home server I have files going back to Jr. High.

I often look at how my parents remember things, like my dad remembering his now deceased parents and realize that memory for me is going to be fundamentally different.

For one: they have a memory dictated by the physical effects of chronology. Their photographs and videos age. Mine age only when subject to progress of technology and arbitrary concepts that are based on representation (i.e., datestamps).

My memories live outside of time now. Ten years ago is morphologically no different than yesterday. The only fundamental fissure with chronology is file formats, but even that isn't insurmountable.

My wife and I first emailing, our first date, my child's birth, our wedding: all there in a Spotlight index and on redundant drives.

The memories of my great grandpa, my wife's grandmother: all there.

The thing is: does this stop? I've taken 2900 photos of my son so far (in two years). When do we live so fully outside of time that we lose our concept of it passing? We can live without letting go with so little consequence, just the addition of drives, that its silly not to try.

In ten years, I'll have accumulated exponentially more data than in the ten years, or twenty years prior. I don't yet know if that's a good thing.

bcrescimanno 1 day ago 0 replies      
A very sad story; and I'm sure she's not a unique case in her behaviors around her husband's death. I cannot imagine how I would cope with losing my wife (and frankly, I don't want to)--but I suspect I might spend time looking at old chats and emails as well.

While I know it's not the focus of the article, I hope the article also serves as a reminder to HN readers like myself who "carry the ginger gene" to pay attention to your skin, and get screened by a dermatologist regularly. Melanoma, like most forms of cancer, is easiest to beat when caught early.

raldi 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's really touching.

In a happier version of this, I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner where the bridesmaids got up and read a similar narrative, stitched together from their own chat histories with the bride.

It went from "I met someone last night! :)" to "I'm excited about our date" to "I think things are getting serious" to "Oooh I'm so pissed at him right now" to "We got engaged!"

3am 1 day ago 3 replies      
I feel badly for the author, not just for her loss. It seems a little cruel to be denied the therapeutic fading of memories over time (just as a natural part of the grieving process and recovery). I hope that we develop some cultural norms as dying and leaving behind a digital presence becomes more common.
rayiner 1 day ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend and I weren't living in the same city when met, so we started our relationship over gchat and text message. We're both pretty glued to our iPhones, so large parts of our relationship are chronicled in digital form. We sometimes find ourselves resolving the "honey I definitely said that" tiffs of daily life with a quick search of our chat logs.

The internet is often accused of putting barriers between couples, but this article gives a sweet example of how it can contribute to relationships as well.

ctide 1 day ago 1 reply      
We are building a service specifically to track this sort of thing. It's an open source project here: https://github.com/lockerproject/locker

If you're interested in ways to track and parse through all the types of data that you're producing, take a look! We're probably about a month away from a hosted offering, but you can pull down the source and run it yourself today.

swhitt 1 day ago 2 replies      
Holy crap. Normally stories like this don't affect me very much. I'm on my lunch break, on the verge of sobbing. Is somebody cutting onions?

Part of me wants to delete all of my chat logs so that I can never relive this stuff if something were to happen to my SO. But then I'd lose all of that, and the thought of losing those memories is terrifying.

throwaway122321 1 day ago 1 reply      
I met my Girlfriend at the library of our school. We didn't exchange names or anything really when we first me, but the printer kiosks in the library require you to authenticate with your school IDs. Our school email addresses are our <ID>@<schoolname>.edu

When I was talking to her the first time, I noticed her ID (or something close, I had to try a few variations actually) and I emailed her later that night. She didn't think I was being creepy, although I probably was.

We've been dating a long time now, but sometimes we'll go back and look at our first real conversation which happened to be online via email. It's kind of special to me and her to have a record of this meeting.

I love having this ability to re-read old conversations.

mparr4 1 day ago 0 replies      
That was incredibly beautiful and arresting. Thank you for sharing.
badclient 23 hours ago 0 replies      
gchat's chat is one of the most useful feature ever. It is absolutely unforgiveable why such hyped up and high-usage clients like skype do not let you record chat conversations and make them searchable online.
mike-cardwell 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see the point in hoarding this sort of data. I mean, I can see the sentimental value, but I think the disadvantages of having to manage that data and the risk of it being leaked outweigh it.

I delete my email after I've dealt with it, and I regularly delete my IM chat logs.

suking 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jesus that was sad.
jtchang 1 day ago 2 replies      
So sad. When are we curing cancer again? :(
kragen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope she's keeping backups somewhere outside the cloud.
Hisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sentimental story, but at some point keeping memories of the past can be too painful. Better to try and forget and move on with life. Keeping in touch with the past helps for a short period, and can be therapeutic, but after awhile, it can be distracting and keep you from moving on.
tonio09 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Cancer is terrible. this is a beautifully emotional heart breaking story. something i would expect on the front page of reddit. But what the heck does it do on my Hacker News with 350 upvotes?? Get off my lawn!
tuhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of you might enjoy this TED talk abut last status update: http://www.ted.com/talks/adam_ostrow_after_your_final_status...
nobuff 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wondering is there any service that takes care of your personal domain name after you have gone?
rhygar 1 day ago 1 reply      
We owe it to the dead to keep on living. For people like this, I say: "move on and stop living in the past". Life goes on and must go on.
The Long Grind Before You Become an Overnight Success viniciusvacanti.com
358 points by inmygarage  4 days ago   80 comments top 22
alexkearns 4 days ago 7 replies      
I would have enjoyed this post a lot more if at the end they had not simply created yet another bloody coupon site.

I can understand going through two and half years of no money, pain and self-doubt if you were working on something world-changing. But just another bloody coupon site...

I don't want to be down on these guys. They sound like really nice guys; intelligent, persistent and bright. But, please, no, not another bloody coupon site

jjmaxwell4 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the most important advancements in history were done with a Long Grind before a huge success. Einstein worked away in mediocrity, living what to most people must have looked like a sub-par life on the surface. He toiled away on his own for years, then came his stratospherical rise to the upper echelons of human thought.
Kant is another example; he spent 10 years alone in thought, publishing nothing in that time, before coming out with what turned out the be (arguably) the most influential philosophical work ever.

It seems that the hardest part is not losing faith as you're grinding away. However corny/lame it sounds, people who believe in you are the most important thing during the grind. How many people did you guys (yipit) have that had your back as you were working away for 2+ years?

I'm not in the Valley, but I've heard that this might be the best part about the it; you don't get judged for working on some random project full time(like this article says happened in New York).

Hisoka 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just a question about Yipit... don't they need millions of visitors to be successful?

100K visitors/month sounds nice, but they're in the deal aggregating business, so the margins are even less than if they were a deal site. They don't make money off every single user, and when they do... they make a tiny percentage as affiliate commission. Am I missing something here? I know regular old-fashioned coupon sites(like CouponCabin) that make good profit, but they have visitors in the millions, and their margin is much more.

johnrob 4 days ago 5 replies      
This is a pretty good case against the notion that "ideas don't matter". They absolutely matter; how else can 3 days so drastically change the prospects of a company?
mdoerneman 4 days ago 8 replies      
As a 31 year old with a full-time job to pay the bills and a family to raise, I feel like there is not enough time to act on my ideas so they just continue to collect dust. Stories like this give me motivation but I still haven't found the answer to the question: "how can I focus on my ideas full-time and still pay the bills and support my growing family?". In other words, I don't have the savings for two and half years of hustling on no salary and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I will continue searching for the answer. Thanks for the story!
danmaz74 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very good post, I especially liked that they built the winning minimum available product so fast: It would have been most likely impossible without all the learning and failed attempts. Unfortunately, some things you can only learn by doing.
collinalexander 4 days ago 1 reply      
This post reminds me of a philosophy held by Seymour Schulich, Canadian businessman and philanthropist. His philosophy:

"Your twenties are not a time to make money, they are a time to build your foundation; your thirties are when you make money."

The exact ages are peripheral, but the idea is sound: incur personal strength and experience and external success will (be more likely to) follow.

Mark Suster's post about a time to learn and a time to earn hints at this same idea: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/11/04/is-it-time-for...

bootload 4 days ago 0 replies      
"... In all honesty, I probably would have given up earlier. The only reason why I didn't was out of loyalty to my co-founder, Jim, who had also quit his finance job. He had passed up many amazing job opportunities to work alongside me and I wasn't going to quit on him. ..."

Interesting observation. The advantage of having multiple founders is shown here where "accountability to comrades", "bonding", and "mutual surveillance" [0] means the founders stuck at the task long after a solo founder might quit in despair.

[0] David Grossman, P21, "Defeating the Enemy's Will: The Psychological Foundations of Maneuver Warfare" ~ http://killology.com/defeating_the_enemys_will.pdf

cousin_it 3 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, how do I tell the kind of long grind that leads to overnight success from the kind of long grind that leads to nothing?
larrys 4 days ago 0 replies      
WSJ has taken to calling them a research firm "According to estimates from research firm Yipit Data" in an article about groupon


iamclovin 4 days ago 1 reply      
The hardest question which I battle with is knowing when is the right time to fold and start afresh. PG's 'Relentlessly Resourceful' post ties in very well this - http://paulgraham.com/relres.html

Great story, very inspiring!

dr_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really inspirational for people who are working at it, hard, but don't get traction immediately, and all the while are reading about others whose businesses just skyrocketed right away.

It's not always a launch to the moon, sometimes you have to orbit for a while.

Omnipresent 4 days ago 1 reply      
How do you guys make money from being in the deal aggregating business.
ArbitraryLimits 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mostly the lesson I'm getting from this post is not to quit your day job until you have some evidence of traction.
rglover 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really inspiring article. It's great to attach positives to what you're doing not only to keep your morale up, but also to remind yourself that if what you're working on now doesn't pan out, it's not the end. Crazy to learn, though, that they managed to turn around their business in a matter of three days. Impressive that they kept with it and had the focus to transition to another idea (and make it successful).
astrofinch 3 days ago 0 replies      
As cheesy as it may sound I find this song helps me keep in mind that I should expect things to take a lot of time and effort.


DallaRosa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice post! I've just had a failing experience but that also served to teach me some of the problems and difficulties involved in creating a startup. I'm happy you guys made it and I'm gonna keep trying till I find my place there too.
lallouz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great post Vin! A great story and inspiration for everyone who is grinding hard in the startup life. We all need a little reminder that its a slogfest before you make it.
toblender 4 days ago 0 replies      
One can not plant a seed and expect fruit the next day.
suurvarik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post. I really liked the instructions about getting inital press.

I'am sure it will help me along the way. Thanks.

tled 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is the differences, advantages that you guys (Yipit) have over other competitors (e.g 8coupons.com)?
jsvd 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember a very nice 2d chart of success vs time with an exponential curve, with a vertical line near the high rise, showing what people see vs what really happens.

Can anyone find it?

I have Crohn's, an incurable digestive disease, and built Crohnology crohnology.com
319 points by seanahrens  3 days ago   75 comments top 34
kefs 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is great! As a sufferer of bowel problems for many years, I developed PoopLog for Android to track my bowel habits using the Bristol Stool Scale [1]. Software like ours really do help everyday people, and the daily emails I receive from my users make everything worth it. Good luck!

For the curious, my next update is a rather large one including many more logging options, charts, and trends.

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bristol_Stool...

edit.. link to my app: http://market.android.com/details?id=com.kefsco.pooplog2

malbs 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 4 years ago, and over that time I have basically stumbled across other people who have either colitis or crohns (they're similar diseases), so it's nice to see that Chronology is for sufferer's of either disease.

What I was going to say was - it's difficult to find other sufferers because people tend to shy away from talking about it - it's only when you mention the disease first that others seem to be willing to admit that they also have it. Comments I've received in the past have been "I can't believe you're so open about it" etc

I'll talk to anyone about it, because you never know when someone elses point of view will give you some new piece of information you didn't have (ala Alan Kay's "point of view is worth 80 iq points" quote)

malux85 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sort of related: I was incorrectly diagnosed with Chrones disease about a year ago, but I was reading online and something just didn't seem right (not a 1:1 match of symptoms etc) but there was always a 'gut feel' (forgive me) is wasn't Chrones.

I bleeted and bleeted and bleeted until they also ran a SeHCAT test, and found out my body was not re-absorbing bile salts like it should be ... the bile was making it into my large intestine and causing it to cramp, which was the pain I was experiencing ... I now take 6 pills in the evening (Cholestagel) and I am almost cured. I think everyone that is suspected of having IBD/IBS/Chrones should get the SeHCAT test done just in case ... turns out my sisters diagnoses of IBS was also bile salt malabsorption .. mis-diagnosed (the same as me) on the other side of the planet.

waterside81 3 days ago 1 reply      
I never heard of this disease until Mike McCready, guitarist for Pearl Jam, came public with his long battle with the disease. He talked about how he had to leave the stage, sometimes in mid song, because of complications arising due to Crohn's. Really raised the profile of the disease (at least amongst PJ fans!)

Here's the link to his interview:


Apologies for the site it's hosted on, tons of ads and the interview is broken up into 10 pages.

briggsbio 2 days ago 1 reply      
From someone working at a tiny venture-backed biopharma startup focused on developing treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD = UC + Crohn's), amazing to see something like this. Exciting. Even cooler to see it hit HN!

I've always looked at IBD and thought something that looked almost like PatientsLikeMe but had a specific focus geared towards IBD (and features that the other lacked) would be amazing. But I knew despite being "close to the problem," I could never build a product that IBD patients would want. I may be close to the research, the treatments, the literature, our lab, and clinicians (and have family with the disease), and even some patients, it wouldn't be enough.
It took YOU, Sean. Successful entrepreneurs (and pundits) always talk about "scratching your own itch," and "feeling your customers pain." But just speaking to potential customers won't cut it. You can never understand war from reading books or talking to vets - you have to have seen battle to truly understand. That's easy if you're developing some apps, many meet a need someone has had. But an app like this?

For a product like this to be realized, quite possibly even an experienced clinician would have a perspective and solution that would theoretically be feasible and valuable, but not click with users. No one, for better and worse, in this case, is closer to the problem than you are, more motivated to fill that need, or better positioned to see through the multifaceted but singular perspective as a Crohn's patient.

Best of luck in building and growing Crohnology.

imperialWicket 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is so nice to see someone using technology to create something genuinely productive. You have a somewhat small target audience, but they have (as you rightly point out) very few alternatives when it comes to finding information about the disease and options for trying to aid in controlling it.

Congratulations on the launch, I'll be passing the link to a few people I know who battle Crohn's. Great work.

ethank 3 days ago 2 replies      
My wife, sister, dad and aunt have Crohn's. This will be great for them. My wife when she was first diagnosed at 19 was desperate to find information online about the disease. In fact, we were setup on a blind date and these posts are what I first found during my requisite Google :)

My aunt is dying of complications related to the disease while my dad, wife and sister have it under control.

I'll be sending it to all of them.

tomfakes 2 days ago 0 replies      
In 1985 I was diagnosed with 'crohn's disease' and spent most of that summer in and out of hospital - I watched Live Aid on a hospital TV!

After a bunch of stuff failed, they eventually opened me up and whipped out 2 feet of intestine that turned out to be malformed - so probably no crohn's disease at all.

This does cause a number of interesting day-to-day issues even now!

It seems that there are a bunch of other problems that can occur with intestine problems. I currently have been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis that I am able to control with my diet (which may indicate that it's something else)

The connection between intestinal disorders and auto-immune issues seems to be growing stronger. Maybe something to watch out for.

lunchbox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Similar concept to PatientsLikeMe: http://www.patientslikeme.com/
throwaway_314 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a Crohn's sufferer, It's rare that I come to HN and see something so closely targeted to me! One thing that makes me a bit nervous, though, is the social nature of the site. I tend to be pretty private about my illness, and only my closest friends know I have it. Have you considered the privacy implications of the site? I'd be worried that information about me and my condition might leak onto the internet, and the homepage doesn't really mention it.

I applaud the effort, though. Crohn's is a terrible disease and it's great to see people taking proactive steps towards treating it.

zzzeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curious, the platform the site is constructed upon could be repurposed to work for other disease communities as well? There's hundreds of other conditions (a few of which I have) which seem like they'd fit just fine within this layout.

Perhaps there are widgets here that are specific to crohns, though a plugin-oriented architecture could allow other disease specific sites to have their own widgets. Certainly "meet people near you with XYZ" and "Current treatents/diet" widgets are of general use.

herbivore 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would really like to know how many of the commenters who have or know someone who has Crohn's have cut dairy out of their diet.

My brother and a friend of mine both have Crohn's and have been doing much better ever since I suggested they stop consuming any dairy products. In fact, one of them has gone Vegan and hasn't had a flare up since.

When I meet other people with Crohn's I am always amazed to hear how their doctors instruct them to not bother making significant dietary changes. Based on my research and experience with those who have various bowel-related diseases, and despite what many doctors say, I have little doubt dairy and to some extent animal protein in general is the cause of Crohn's and other bowel complications.

Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations. I hope this is wildly successful. I have a different condition which significantly impacts the gut (cystic fibrosis). On the one hand, I got a lot of good info from people I met online and from one online community in particular which helped me figure out how to get myself well. On the other hand, the online CF community has been rather unwelcoming of me. I wish you continued good reviews and warm welcomes wherever you go.
dmix 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis earlier this year and was building something similar to this a few months ago. It was focused on the sharing the optimal medication treatments.

But I ended up joining another startup and no longer have time.

I'm happy to see someone doing something similar.

initself 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hiromi Shinya, the inventor of colonoscopy, has had success with Crohn's patients throughout his career:


His advice consists mainly of radical dietary changes and drinking Kangen water. FWIW.

whakojacko 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like a great site. I'm very fortunate that my Crohn's is doing well enough that I'm not particularly looking for more information, but I'm very happy to help others.
UncleOxidant 3 days ago 1 reply      
Did the parasitic worms work?
cowkingdeluxe 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome site. My wife has Crohn's and I've been thinking how nice it would be to have a site like this. We'll try it out. Also the link in the title is busted, but just going to the domain works.
elliottcarlson 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I don't know anyone with Crohn's, it's great to see resources becoming available to patients made by people who understand what they are going through.

To slightly "thread-jack" - a former co-worker of mine recently launched ihadcancer.com and made it with her personal experience with cancer as her motivator. I hope sites like yours and hers can help plenty of people out there deal with their situation and find support and advice from others.

robchez 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. My uncle had horrible chrons disease and is managaing it well with his diet (no grains/legumes and plenty of probiotics from Kefir)

Really great.

jsarch 3 days ago 0 replies      
I admire and applaud your endeavor and hope that we see more disease-specific communities sprout in the near future.

I attended the Consumer Genetics Conference last year (http://www.consumergeneticsshow.com/CGC2010.html) and heard Rolf Benirschke speak. His short speech was inspiring and further encouraged me to pursue my startup.

Ping me offline archuleta(at)seqcentral and I'd be happy to further discuss how I can help and who I might be able to get you in touch with.

(FWIW: I recently became an advisor for a cystic fibrosis non-profit with a similar e-community to the one you are pursuing.)

Klonoar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have a younger brother with Crohn's, and just wanted to say major props on you for building something so useful. It's easy to get caught up in the typical glam/tabloid-esque nature of the industry that's largely here on HN, so going against the grain like this really deserves respect points IMO.
kevin_morrill 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations on the launch Sean! I hope more folks from the HN and Startup communities will think about getting involved in healthcare. It's 20% of the economy right now, and there's so much opportunity for innovation.
rmb177 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just signed up and am really looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for creating the site!

I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 1998 when I was a junior in college. I had surgery about 8 years ago and my life has been great ever since. I went from pretty serious flare-ups every 3-4 months, to one relatively minor flare-up since the surgery. I find that stress is a pretty large trigger so I try to be aware of when I need to take a step back and relax. Since the surgery, I've been able to eat pretty much whatever I want, but have been recently experimenting with a Paleo diet for both Crohn's and general health benefits.

mynameishere 3 days ago 2 replies      
How is it I've heard of all kinds of largely non-existent (today) diseases like Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scrofula, Gout, etc, but as soon as I got on the internet, everyone seems to have Crohn's, which I had never heard of pre-internet?
ricefield 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was in this guy's UI design class when he was working on this project. Really glad to see him step onto the big stage =]
ensignavenger 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. My wife has Ulcerative Colitis.

I was thinking about building a similar site, and now I might not have to, so thanks! I'll tell my wife about it!

mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow - what a great use of talent! Turning lemOns onto lemonade is very cliche, but it applies here.
postscapes1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for building this, and good luck with the launch! My wife just got diagnosed with UC and the other web resources on line (mainly forums) have been good but obviously lack any kind of consistency and ability to quickly scan treatments, etc like your site can.
alexknight 3 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds like an amazing project. My grandfather had Crohn's. I wish he was still alive today to see this.
Ihaveibd 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.crohnsforum.com has been around since like 2006 and is pretty dominant in this vertical.
jastuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, wow. Didn't really expect to see something like this here. I have crohn's, so I'm very much interested in such projects. I'll definitely be giving it a try.
skcin7 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats, sir. That is awesome. I also have Crohn's, and am still developing feverishly as well. More power to ya.
ridave 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for building this.
Metro daringfireball.net
311 points by aaronbrethorst  2 days ago   157 comments top 28
brianwillis 2 days ago 4 replies      
Thinking about it, isn't window an odd word choice for what we call movable, stackable, resizeable content regions in a user interface? Other than being rectangular they're not like real-world windows at all.

I can remember my high school computer studies teacher explaining they're called windows because they're split into panes. Microsoft Windows versions 1 and 2 didn't actually have stackable overlapping windows (you'd split the screen up into as many panes as you needed) so I suspect the name made sense then and has since stuck.

eykanal 2 days ago  replies      
If I'm reading this right, Gruber's effectively saying, "Metro, and Metro alone (i.e., no desktop), is a good competitor to the iPad." That's wonderful; a real iPad competitor.

But what about all the rest of the computers? You know, those big things on your desktop? We all know just how smart most users are when it comes to figuring out how to use stuff on a computer. Its taken years to get to the point where your typical "user" can use a computer without too much difficulty. Part of this is due to the consistency of the Windows UI; folder windows, mouse motions, menubars, etc. Suddenly, we're going to throw something completely new at them, something which:

1) Has been shown to be difficult to do well for everyday use (touchscreen desktops)

2) Has a moderately non-intuitive interface (hidden UI elements until I swipe from a particular side, or maybe tap over here and here and here)

3) Has questionable benefits in a desktop computing environment where a keyboard is a perfectly appropriate device

And, once they learn all that, our user realizes that he still has to use the original UI for many programs! That's right, photoshop isn't going to be going Metro anytime soon, and neither is Matlab, or Autocad, or Excel, or video editing software, or any "Pro" program (for lack of a better word). Metro may be wonderful for tablets and other mobile devices, but it sure looks like it's going to be a drag in being forcibly married to the traditional Windows UI.

bane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Finally a Gruber post I haven't felt forced to flag. A pretty good analysis, excellent (as usual writing), interesting testable predictions plus just enough Apple flag-waving so you don't forget which religion he follows.

edit reading through the comments shows a commensurate level of better discussion than the usual Gruber response as well.

cooldeal 2 days ago 2 replies      
Gruber's wrong on this. The ARM version will include the regular Windows desktop, Office etc. Microsoft has shown this multiple times. They have demoed even ARM desktops with a mouse and a keyboard!

Video back from January: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvzJmRBS84w watch from 2 mins in).

ethank 2 days ago 3 replies      
Metro to me, and I hate to say it, reminds me of MS Bob, and frankly of the original Windows 3.1 except where in that case it was a layer on DOS, this seems like a gloss on Windows 7. I hope for the sake of innovation I'm wrong, but it is frankly more bizarre than Launchpad (and that's saying something).

Let me show:



after you go back to metro:

dumped back into Metro with no context how you got out.

Thus: feels like a skin or window manager, not the OS.

zmmmmm 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Tradeoffs. Mutually exclusive tradeoffs. Separate devices are required. ... And you can't give iOS apps even the option to run continuously in the background without sacrificing battery life and foreground app performance

This is a typical Gruberism of false logic. He starts with the notion that all Apple's decisions are holy and right. He then derives conclusions by extrapolating from that.

There is no reason that tablets cannot achieve fantastic battery life while running background processes. They certainly need to be designed to achieve it. Existing Android tablets support background processes and multitasking and get comparable battery life to the iPad - typically we're talking a sacrifice of < 10% battery life to achieve an incredible expansion of utility. And this is not taking into account the fact that Android is a less efficient OS overall (utilizing less hardware acceleration, running most tasks inside a Dalvik VM instead of native, etc.) Even the iPad itself evidently does background processing as you can have it play music, give you calendar reminders and all kinds of other things happen in the background even when it is in sleep state.

sambeau 2 days ago 1 reply      
Metro is really nice. It's great to see Gruber praising it like this: it is very praiseworthy. Also, it's easy to forget that Gruber is first-and-foremost a design geek.
technoslut 2 days ago 1 reply      
>I think Metro will only run alongside the traditional Windows desktop on Intel PCs. On ARM devices, there will only be Metro.

It seems there will be a desktop mode for ARM tablets if you look 1:40 into the video here:


The desktop mode doesn't seem to immediately respond to touch like Metro. It will be interesting to see the final product and how well Windows 8 performs on an ARM processor in desktop mode.

toddmorey 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think metro is very minimal and very clean. But it's also... cold. A bit too austere. The goal for an interface isn't to impress--it's to connect. Somehow, I've never felt a sense of connection with the Metro interfaces. It feels like design borrowed from the annual report of a faceless international corporation. All design; no personality. I like simple and clean. And I like minimalism. But I also think you have to be careful with it or you'll end up with something soulless. That, I think, is what has always subtly bothered me about Metro.
beloch 2 days ago 3 replies      
From the article:

"you can't give iOS apps even the option to run continuously in the background without sacrificing battery life and foreground app performance. But that's how Microsoft has positioned Metro for tablets 鈥" a modern touch interface that carries the full CPU and RAM consumption of Windows as we know it. That have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too attitude is what I didn't get with Microsoft's positioning Metro as its answer to the iPad."

This is wrong. From Anandtech: (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4771/microsoft-build-windows-8...)

"discarded applications will continue to stay open as a background application, having all of their memory pages intact but unable to schedule CPU time so long as they're a background application. They'll remain in this state until the OS decides to evict them, at which point they need to be able to gracefully shut down and resume when the user re-launches the application. Internally Microsoft calls this freezing and rehydrating an application."

Metro's approach sounds very similar to that of iOS and Android. Presumably this behavior will be adjustable so that background processes can be allowed on desktops without mobile power constraints. This is actually a really smart way to do things. Make how the OS handles background apps a setting rather than hard-coded architecture. e.g. If you're out and about using your tablet background apps get quashed so that you get decent battery life. When you go home and plug it into a dock you can leave a torrent downloading in the background while you browse the web or play games. Best of both worlds.

Steko 2 days ago 1 reply      
Contra-Gruber I'm betting ARM Windows 8 devices will have some mode that looks and feels just like Windows desktop. It may not be the default and it may be a dumbed down version of it but I can't imagine them shipping without it.
modeless 2 days ago 0 replies      
There will be ARM laptops, not just tablets, and they will run Microsoft Office in classic mode or nobody will buy them. Office on ARM has already been demoed on stage.
nextparadigms 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is why Metro will make or break Windows. This is where the line is drawn in the sand. Since ARM is the future together with touch based devices, Microsoft will have to move over to ARM. The problem is they are very vulnerable on ARM, because they have no apps there, and wanting millions of apps on a tablet was kind of the whole reason you'd want Windows on a tablet.

But it won't work, because those apps won't be available on ARM, and even if they were, they wouldn't be designed for touch. So Microsoft is starting from scratch, and this time they have strong competition from both iOS and Android.

In this market, their Windows dominance doesn't matter as much, so they are on equal footing with the others. And I find that very exciting. If you notice, Microsoft is innovating only when it's the underdog in some way, not really when it dominates.

So I hope 5 years from now we'll get to see iOS, Android and Windows with about equal market share each for "personal computing devices", whatever that means 5 years from now.

seanalltogether 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had been reading statements like this as meaning that they wouldn't be doing Rosetta-style emulation of x86 software on ARM...but that developers would be able to recompile traditional Windows apps for ARM. Now I'm thinking what they mean is more profound: that on ARM, Metro will be the only Windows interface.

I think that's a very black and white way of looking at it. Sure maybe MS will rule out C++ x86 apps targeting winforms apis, but there's no reason to assume that they will also exclude C# apps targeting WPF.

indrax 2 days ago 2 replies      
>You can ask Mac apps to behave like iOS apps, which is what Lion's Automatic Termination feature does, but it has to be opt-in.

Virtualization could enable you to run a legacy app, stop its processing instantly, bring up a new app, and save the 'background app' state to storage when it's convenient.

This seems to be where they are heading. I don't know how it would translate to ARM tablets, but intel wants in on tablets anyway.


jonpaul 2 days ago 4 replies      
I feel like one of the few who sees the emperor with no clothes.

Let me first start by stating that I do believe that touchscreen devices will continue to revolutionize industries, as they already have. But, why in God's name are Microsoft and Apple trying to shoehorn the touch-screen onto the desktop?

Mac OS X Lion is probably the last OS X version that we'll see. With each version it's gotten closer and closer to behaving like iOS. It seems that Microsoft is doing the same with Windows 8. Think about this, the human-device interface with touchscreen devices and desktop is different. The whole paradigm is different. With touch, you have your finger. The other, you have mouse/keyboard. The user interfaces that cater to one don't cater to other very well. Why force it?

I believe mobile is the future. But, I'm not sure this is the best evolution for desktop interfaces.

TL;DR: Metro UI looks nice, but merging touchscreen UI with desktop UI is a mistake... a la same Windows 8 for all devices.

EDIT: Please share your thoughts.

aik 2 days ago 1 reply      
>I'm hung up on the question of how any OS that lets you do everything Windows does could compete with the iPad, because the iPad's appeal and success is largely forged by the advantages that come from not allowing you to do so many of the things Mac OS X can do.

So you're saying the iPad is successful because it can't do stuff OS X can do? Sorry I don't understand -- that sounds a bit silly to me. I thought it was the portability and size and ease of access to apps (the ecosystem around the device) that makes the iPad successful. If we could have the hardware power of a desktop system on an iPad, while keeping the simplicity of use, I'm fairly sure we would all like that.

With every step Apple is moving OS X closer to iOS, and iOS closer to OS X. Will they ever combine the two? I see no reason why they couldn't eventually with the amazingly quick progression of the relevant technologies that we're seeing.

Now whether MS is doing the right thing by combining them now -- I'm OK with saying I have no idea until I actually play with the device. Maybe they can pull it off, maybe not.

latch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing Microsoft doesn't know yet how it's going to address this quandary.
buddydvd 2 days ago 1 reply      
It will only be a matter of time before mobile phones start replacing laptops for desktop-like use cases. People will likely use their phones as if they were laptops with wirelessly-connected keyboard, mouse, and screen. I can totally see businesses start buying Windows-ready phones for their employees than the alternatives.
tomlin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bias is one thing, but this relatively picky, especially for Gruber who can't stand when people pick apart Apple pre-dev.

I love Apple, but I really respect what Microsoft is trying to do here. The whole "You did great, kid, but maybe next time..." routine is a little much. It smells like a smear campaign more than an inquiring mind. This article stinks of fear.

bgarbiak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know why everyone (well, ok, I know why Gruber does that) focuses on Apple and iPad after seeing Windows 8. IOS is an established system, with a healthy ecosystem of developers and apps. IPhone and iPad dominate the mobile market with ease. That won't change anytime soon. Besides, Apple had showed in the past that they can survive living as a Microsoft competitor.
They will do just fine.
Who should be worried about Windows 8 is Google.
Android tablets didn't set the world on fire, Chrome OS from the very beginning looks like a low-profile project.
And here comes Windows 8 which offers the same thing as Chrome OS (cloud, HTML5/JS apps, etc.) and does that in a better fashion than Honeycomb. Plus, it will run Windows software. Apple users learned to live without Windows software, Google users - didn't. Considering the fact that Microsoft will offer an integration with Bing, Skype, Hotmail and your latest Nokia phone by default even the great Google services could be in trouble.
cptskippy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This isn't really a ground breaking revelation but something that MS has been hinting at for months if not years. Win32 was never suppose to be so tightly integrated in the Kernel, it was suppose to be a user mode subsystem just POSIX.

MinWin was a kernel cleanup effort that was suppose to be part of Longhorn and then Win7. If MinWin is finished in Win8 then Win32 would just be a subsystem along side Metro and neither would be dependent on the other or necessary for the other to operate.

I can't find the reference but I remember reading somewhere a few months back that Win32 may not even be installed by default in Win8 and that it would only be installed when you attempted to load an application that needed Win32.

bradwestness 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the more likely interpretation is that they're "betting on the future"; i.e. that tablet and other "portable" devices will continually get more powerful and that letting services and applications run in the background will continually become less and less of a problem. Seems like a pretty safe bet to me.
redthrowaway 2 days ago 0 replies      
>You can't ... remotely log into an iPad.

Tell that to Aaron Barr. I know the iPad wiping story isn't confirmed, but it would be pretty easy to refute were such a thing impossible.

xradionut 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a long time third-party Windows developer, I don't call the rectangular regions "Windows" I call them frames or containers.

Also a few questions could be answered by downloading the Developer Preview. The Windows 7 desktop still exists, (thankfully for these of us that need to get our jobs done), but how a user will use Metro on a desktop or laptop will probably be dependent on their tasks and desires. As database application developer and admin, I'll be sticking to the desktop and the CLI a majority of the time.

Tichy 1 day ago 2 replies      
I remember Apple claiming that the iPhone runs OS X.
12390ut90 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would his opinion have been any different if metro was the only mode available while undocked and classic PC mode was only available while docked?

Metro looks like it competes with iPad and the rest seems to be a version of Win7 under the hood. It feels to me like cmd is to windows as windows is to metro; something under the hood for power users.

I can imagine taking my computer on the bus and reading hacker news in metro and then when I get to work I plug into a dock and open visual studio. That seems to be the vision and I think I like it.

I'd have to control what was going on in the background of my computer when I was undocked, but if I'm enough of a user to set up background server like processes then I should be clever enough to understand that heavy background processing will eat my battery if I don't act responsibly when I unplug it.

The new more powerful ways to do diagnostics are exactly the type of tools I'd want to be able to control power; so it really feels like MS has a similar vision.

schiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who needs Windows that cannot run their old lovely trojan.exe and virus.exe^W^W^W old-proprietary-crap.exe and in-house-crap.exe that was developed 10 years ago and all contacts of the developers, leave alone sources, got lost or never been made?

The ability to run an old win32 desktop crap.exe is what Windows is all about. Only a complete idiot will choice it as a platform for a new, build from the ground up project, or, god forbid, a server.

And there is enough ways to run a web-browser, especially plug-in-less one. It is called Android. ^_^

Watch other people code castingcode.tv
308 points by jgeralnik  2 days ago   84 comments top 35
tomjen3 2 days ago 5 replies      
Am I the only who loathe the current trend of posting things before they are finished?

I am all for the lean approach, but this isn't a minimum viable product (that would be a player and a tagging system to find the language I was interested in) it is a website.

maeon3 2 days ago 4 replies      
I've grown the most as a programmer literally kneeling or standing behind the shoulder of programmers with 5 to 8 years more experience than I had. Those hours I spent in that position was more beneficial than hours sitting in expensive classes, hours spent debugging, hours spent reading, hours spent building new programs... combined.

The speed of great content delivery by watching someone much better than you code can be overwhelming. If the gap in experience is too large, it is like trying to show calculus to a monkey. He's not going to get it, and it will get bored. There needs to be a common ground to transmit common ideas, analogies, and new knowledge. The viewer has to put in a huge effort to keep up.

There needs to be feedback from the viewer to say: "Hey stop, what is this devil magic you are doing right there". And the presenter can stop and explain how this is muscle memory to him.

genieyclo 2 days ago 3 replies      
Well, there's already http://showMeDo.com which is really great. Covers lots of programming and related functions like using IDEs like Eclipse and editors like Vim. There's also tutorial episodes on design like suggested by a commenter before. No Photoshop or the rest of the Adobe CS suite however, all F/LOSS like GIMP and Inkscape. I'm actually practicing by learning from Eric Florenzo's playlist on Django here[1]. The only problem with ShowMeDo is that lots of the material is dated (and that's not necessarily a problem always!) and there isn't much new content. The site was busy 07-09 but unfortunately seems to have been forgotten.

I hope castingcode.tv doesn't fall to this problem, as this is a really great and useful way to learn lots of computer skills.

There's the commercial solution by PeepCode[2] with excellent quality pieces by the crew there. The material there is much more up to date and consistent in quality standards. It's not as huge an offering, but it's certainly a lot. I'd also definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys this style of learning.

The last and probably most accessible solution out there right now are the Youtube playlists and video series in this format. The quality there is a little hit and run, with some series excellent and others so-so. The target audience is almost always for the beginner, but that shouldn't dissuade those more advanced from perusing a vim tut to brush up on new tricks.

[1] http://showmedo.com/videotutorials/video?name=3360000&fr...

[2] http://peepcode.com/

spodek 2 days ago 4 replies      
I bet I have a better idea for you.

Set up the same thing for watching people design. I don't design much, but I love and learn incredible amounts from watching people design. Could be any format -- web, print, architectural, etc.

Design is inherently more visual, so watching others communicates more and is probably more fun and engaging.

Also I suspect more people design than code so you probably get a bigger audience getting more from it.

albertzeyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Haha, funny coincidence; because of this and also because I just wanted to try out, I recorded my working sessions of the last days and uploaded them to Youtube.




I guess most of it is pretty boring but I cannot really tell Maybe also because the first two are without sound; the last one is with system audio mostly playing music (and thus blocked in Germany :)); another one will be uploaded soon will be with audio from my mic but I am not really saying that much.

I, for myself, really like watching other people coding.

Btw., I was working on https://github.com/albertz/ChromeWebApps. :)

wccrawford 2 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up for the email, but I hope most people will just code and give a few comments, rather than trying to explain every single thing they are doing. It just makes it boring. Code as fast as you can, and keep the comments to a minimum.

Watching Notch was amazing. He did it perfectly. There were times during the first few hours that I fast forwarded, but only when he was experimenting. And it was never for long.

localhost3000 2 days ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one who thinks this might be incredibly boring? Seriously, over the course of say, a 10 hour coding day, how many inspired, exciting, or even interesting moments are there? That is alot of 'dead air'... This feels like an Onion satire on the popularization of 'geek'
richcollins 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be awesome if you could also somehow download a VM that you could run that would match the environment and then replay the coding session, pausing it to poke around when needed.
zupa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is a good idea, but..

(1) do you really want to do it live? Why not do it the youtube way? Store the videos, rate them, comment with videos, etc.

(2) you could instead of making true videos split it into 2 parts. Making a video, and attach a text area to it so users can copy/paste your code. One could see the changes live.

(3) I guess this works hard if you want to present an SDK. Maybe you could turn the editable fields into text areas? At least the main one. Kind of a layer over the video.

beaumartinez 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting detail: I saw this link in an email I got very recently about VimConf. At the bottom it says "Copyright 30 Cubits LLC"鈥"the contact email at 30 Cubits' page[1] is for Joey, I'd assume it's the same Joey as the guy behind VimConf. Man's on a roll!

[1] http://30cubits.com/

click170 2 days ago 0 replies      
My only gripe is that its not available now hehe.

I read the headline and was like "score, I want me some of that pie" and clicked on the link only to discover they aren't ready to launch yet.

Really excited though, hope it takes off for them. I think it would be a great way of not only learning to program better/differently but also to expose yourself to different programming styles.

Ogre 2 days ago 1 reply      
I watched a little bit of Notch's thing, it was fun. And for a more in depth topic, it could certainly be a great way to learn.

On the other hand I've come across 1-2 minute YouTube videos several times when googling how to use some specific API call, and I find it aggravating when all I really need is one little code snippet. I know how to type or copy 'n paste. I don't need to watch someone else do it. All I want most of the time is a well commented, nicely highlighted, code view on someone's blog (StackOverflow and github are just fine too!)

Maybe I'm just old or old fashioned.

vdm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea.

Here's a 8h-1m time lapse of somebody implementing Snake3D in Clojure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHARNkMi5Lg

Time lapse could be a way of getting an overview of the session, and then 'zooming' into the bit you're interested in, like when you say 'wait! how did you do that!'. Perhaps this could be implemented as a scalable timeline scrollbar.

The timeline could include comments like Soundcloud so people can ask and answer how to do something when and where they see it.

The stream should include keystrokes and mouse gestures as well as video. There should also be links to things like dotfiles on github.

If the recording/uploading process can snapshot the process tree of the window it is recording, this could be used to automatically tag the video (e.g. vim editing Clojure code on Windows, Illustrator on Mac), which would be nice for subscribing to feeds of tags.

rodh257 2 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting point of reflection this poses to developers is 'am I doing something that other people would care to watch?'.

I like the motivational factors a site like this poses, challenges you to become an expert at something, and when you are coding live, forces you to stay focused on the task at hand. Looking forward to the launch.

Amokrane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea! When I watched that livestreaming from Notch, I thought about this and I almost bought the domain name http://watchmecode.net. I am curious to see how well this is going to be executed!
quinndupont 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a researcher who studies how software gets produced this is a potential goldmine. This has the ability to offer significant insight in to how programmers work in their native environment.
wgx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea - I'll be watching to see how this one pans out.

Just signed up for the notification.

rjd 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think mine would need an R18 rating when I go into swearing fits at the .net framework and permission issues :P
amccloud 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was just wishing for this. Sign me up! I hope this becomes a reality. I'd love to stream while I work. I just need to figure out a way to keep things like our api and secret keys private.
JTxt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now you have to record/stream while you build this. Looking forward to it!
CesareBorgia 2 days ago 1 reply      
You may want to build it like soundcloud so that viewers can add their own comments at certain points in the video.
gospelwut 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's right. Use that lambda expression. Right there.
drstrangevibes 1 day ago 0 replies      
er cant you just share your screen in skype?
robjohnson 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how beneficial it would be. There is a segment of the population who does learn better this way, but not everyone. I suspect that this would be more beneficial for extreme beginners than people who have experience.
ParadisoShlee_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Notch had thousands of people at one time, watching him code and justin.tv cost him 14k? I hope you can find a way...

I wonder who would pay to watch linus pull in git requests :)

This would be amazing for teaching people how to code.. step by step lessons with a verbal explanation on top of the visual aids and real code on a real ui..

jasonkostempski 2 days ago 0 replies      
The most common problem with code casts is the visual quality of the code window. How do you plan on improving that?
mrushton14 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny I just live blogged submitting our iPhone app last night and it was a lot fun. Thumbs up on this!


brittonrt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really do like this idea, not because it does anything new (as other's have mentioned it's easy to do this on plenty of existing venues like youtube), it's more to do with the community you could build around this. If you could find a simple way to match users with coding sessions that are relevant to them, you'll have no problem building a community. You absolutely must allow videos to be stored (not just watched live), indexed, commented on, rated, tagged, etc if you want to make this useful, imho.

If I could go to site, search for "best way to write a y combinator in c++" or something similar and get videos showing people doing just that but sorted by user rating, I would be a happy boy! I love when other users do the hard work of telling me what's good and what isn't. :)

wiradikusuma 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think I dare to use it. I usually code and Command-Tab to HN quite often, that would be annoying for people who watch me. On a positive side, that could force me to focus.
motters 2 days ago 0 replies      
Software as performance art?
swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but as I've picked those bash and vim tips, I'd like to see someone hacking on a largish, real world project.

Perhaps the coder would be given a random bug and you would see the process from he reading the bug until the patch lands. That I would pay.

lbarrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty cool, but why can't we just get a channel for it on justintv or twitchtv?
politai 2 days ago 1 reply      
just curious, why do they have a tracking gif in their confirmation email?
razzaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I Love the idea.
pointyhat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do they do a naked version?
Be Careful when Speaking to Federal Agents - 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 findlaw.com
285 points by conover  10 hours ago   141 comments top 17
Nate75Sanders 10 hours ago  replies      
The most important paragraph if you're not interested in reading the whole thing:

Is there an intelligent alternative to lying or telling the truth that we have not yet examined? Yes. In our hypothetical interview, you can politely decline to be interviewed by the FBI agent. Tell the agent that you have an attorney and that "my attorney will be in contact with you." If the agent persists, say that you will not discuss anything without first consulting counsel. Ask for the agent's card, to give to your attorney. If you have not yet hired a lawyer, tell the agent that "I want to consult a lawyer first" or that "an attorney will be in touch with you." The absolutely essential thing to keep in mind is to say nothing of substance about the matter under investigation. It is preferable to do this by politely declining to be interviewed in the absence of counsel. If the agent asks "why do you need an attorney?" or "what do you have to hide?" do not take his bait and directly respond to such questions. (Do not even say that you have nothing to hide.) Simply state that you will not discuss the matter at all without first consulting counsel and that counsel will be in touch with him. If the agent asks for a commitment from you to speak with him after you have consulted or retained counsel, do not oblige him. Just respond that you will consult with your attorney (or "an" attorney) and that the attorney will be in touch. And by all means do not get bullied or panicked into making up a phony reason for refusing to talk. You are not obliged to explain your decision to anyone.

hvs 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This advice also applies to any situation involving law enforcement officers, not just federal agents.

Remember, "Don't Talk to Cops": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik

noonespecial 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Since you have nothing to hide, is it safe to talk? There can still be real danger in speaking to a government agent in these circumstances. To begin with, you are not qualified to know whether you are innocent of wrongdoing under federal criminal law.

Critical system failure. There should be red lights blinking and klaxons wailing.

ellyagg 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an interesting and useful perspective, and it's not the first time it's come up on HN, but it's unfortunate that it doesn't draw any thoughtful criticism.

This advice is best when one is implicated or thinks there's any chance they'd be implicated...but then anyone with the slightest awareness of the legal system learns about this at a pretty young age. This particular advice gets its sensationalism and counterintuitiveness by claiming that it's a universal rule. As a universal rule, it has its downsides.

One downside is that, if everyone does this, we make it far harder for law enforcement to do worthwhile investigations. Programmers hate when roadblocks prevent us from iterating quickly during development. Understand, other occupations also suffer from the same crunch on their time that we do and, as a community that's all in this together, we benefit from their work.

Another downside is promoting an adversarial role between law enforcement and its citizenry. This is an intangible, but I think its costs are real.

Also, you'd better be very confident that the cop(s) will simply respect your rights under the law. I know of situations where that has not been the case. I've seen videos where it wasn't the case. We've all read stories where it wasn't the case.

It's easy to fantasize stories about you being wrongfully singled out or, heaven forbid, convicted. We've also all read stories about that. Just like everything in life, then, it's a cost/benefits analysis. But don't pretend that one choice is all benefits and no costs.

I think the speed of modern news dissemination is warping our risk assessment software. Things that you'd only hear of rarely are reported several times a day now, because there's 6 billion people having bad things happen to them, the news only cares about those bad things, and our attention for those bad things is the same size as ever. The bad things per attention minute is rising all the time. Partly because of this, and partly because we are the way we are, there's a penchant by some in my geeky, libertarian community to withdraw as citizens, and overestimate downside risk. Yes, you expose yourself to risk by rescuing that drowning man; yes, you expose yourself to risk by finding that lost girl's mom; yes, you expose yourself to risk by cooperating with authorities. And, you know what, I think it should be worth it to you.

As a side note, attorneys are very familiar with the system and feel confident about fighting it head on, and many attorneys are willing to lead a high stress, confrontational life style. One should bear that in mind when taking advice about how to lead one's life.

praptak 9 hours ago 4 replies      
The most rational strategy for a US citizen is to treat an officer like the worst enemy, a sleazebag who will go out of their way to fuck said citizen over? There is something deeply wrong with this country.
dfranke 9 hours ago 2 replies      
For example, if you lie to your employer on your time and attendance records and, unbeknownst to you, he submits your records, along with those of other employees, to the federal government pursuant to some regulatory duty, you could be criminally liable.

Is there anything in the law that makes the "pursuant to some regulatory duty" relevant here? For example, if you wrote something on Wikipedia that you knew was inaccurate, and years later a federal official read it and found it somehow relevant to his job, would you theoretically be breaking this law?

raldi 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Wait, so let's say I'm at the post office buying stamps, and I hand the cashier a $20, and she says, "Don't you have anything smaller?" and I say no, even though I do, because I want the change.

Could I be convicted under this law?

maxxxxx 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It saddens me that the best advice for so many situations is "Get a lawyer". Besides the fact that they are expensive I find it frustrating that society has become that adversarial.
itsadok 7 hours ago 5 replies      
what bothers me the most about these kind of articles is the underlying assumption that I can find a good criminal lawyer when the need arises.

I'm having enough trouble finding good engineers, and that is something that I am qualified to do, as well as able to spend several months on, under very little pressure.

I have very little experience with lawyers, but at least for corporate lawyers, my impression is that the average lawyer doesn't know everything about their field, just like the average programmer doesn't know everything about their field. I wonder how many of these pitfalls are something that an average lawyer wouldn't know to avoid.

arturadib 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the awesome lecture "Don't talk to the police" by Prof. James Duane (J.D., Harvard Law):


baddox 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This is an unjust law, period.
brianstorms 9 hours ago 3 replies      
When members of congress lie when speaking to other members of congress, why aren't they held to this law?
jxcole 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Related: overcriminalization. Looks like this story relates to the same statute:


scotto 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am so glad this article is out and I read it. It may be extreme but as someone who has witnesses this type of thing go down, I live with the knowledge that we are all one false accusation away from complete ruin. EVERYTHING can be made to look malicious and calculated, and we should all, in this context, live in fear of the government. Stay out of their crosshairs and keep your attorney phone number close by.
buff-a 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this apply to Congresspersons?
lambada 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of a similar quality article for dealing with UK law enforcement?
jsdalton 9 hours ago 3 replies      
As interesting as this article may be, it does not belong on HN.
What's wrong with this code, really? cvmountain.com
254 points by KiwiCoder  16 hours ago   177 comments top 32
raganwald 15 hours ago 5 replies      
The article's point about writing code that does what it says it does is fine. But as an interview question, I have trouble imagining that candidates won't figure out that this is a game of "guess the answer I'm looking for" and say that they would rewrite this code.

A better question would be, there's tremendous deadline pressure, the company is in imminent danger of losing a giant deal if we don't have working code for some demo, and you have three features to implement by Monday afternoon. Do you write a new feature immediately, open a ticket for refactoring this loop and then write a new feature, or rehearse your explanation to the big boss that over the lifetime of the software, rewriting the code before adding a new feature was more important?


Just kidding, but trying to make the point that "what do you think of this code" is a little obvious as an interview question.

praptak 15 hours ago  replies      
Deleting from a container while you are iterating over it should always raise red flags.
MortenK 14 hours ago 7 replies      
About the McConnell quote: "Inefficient programmers tend to experiment randomly until they find a combination that seems to work." The essence of this quote is being passed around quite often these days.

When you first start programming, you generally have no idea what the hell you are doing. You learn all these strange, abstract concepts best, by experimenting.

It's easy to dismiss people "jiggling things around until they work", as lesser, more inefficient or just plain bad programmers. Just remember that you were once like that too.

I think there should be more patience among the experienced, for the programmers who are still learning the basics.

wccrawford 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Like the blog author, I thought it was obvious what the problem was: Every time I read that, I'm going to have to figure out what it means. Any time there's a problem or change to code in that area, I have to stop and understand what it's doing.

To clean it up, I'd do 1 of 2 things: Either write a .clear() function, or rewrite it to start at the end and clear the items in reverse.

With the .clear() function, I can at least ignore it because it was tested and worked. (You do write tests, right?)

With it in reverse, it's something I've done numerous times because of how lists work in certain languages. I'd instantly recognize that it's going backwards because the list always starts at 0.

If I wrote it in reverse, I'd also write a comment about why it's in reverse, though, so that anyone else can instantly know why, as well.

yardie 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Anyone else read it and on the first pass think, "yeah that works". Then on second pass think, "it's not a good idea, but it works." Then finally think, "under pressure I've done worse; at least this works as intended. S/he should probably comment it."

Or is it only me?


I would also add that even as a junior program, Clear() was easily learned within the first few minutes and usually when you have to use a hack like this it's because something has gone wrong. I wouldn't necessarily chalk this up to inexperience or deadline it could honestly be there was a bug and this was the only way to get it to work.

dcosson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post - I can get pretty OCD about the way code is written, but I have a hard time complaining about things like this without feeling like a dick since as you pointed out it's not particularly inefficient (even if there was an O(1) Clear() method, how many TabPages are we really working with that it would matter?) But you've reassured me that it's a reasonable thing to do, especially if I know beforehand that it's a piece of code that will probably be used for a long time.

That said, I've learned that with an early stage startup where you're trying to iterate as quickly as possible in a desperate attempt to get somebody to care about your product, you often have to pick your battles. Just yesterday I came across this:

    category_count = []
for i in range(10):
category_count.append( db.execute("SELECT count(*) FROM table WHERE category = %d" % i) )

For one thing, this iterate separately and then append to list approach in Python annoys me slightly (list comprehensions are so much cooler!). But far worse, it hits the DB 10 times instead of once, and no matter how small your site is you obviously can't be having that. How'd it get there? Who knows. It was written in the Django ORM, where the only way to do this is with a pretty obscure command like Object.values('category').annotate(count=Count('category')). At first we were picking up Django as we went, so at the time whoever wrote it probably had no idea that the values() or annotate() methods even existed, and the way it was written got something up on the page and working so we could decide whether or not we'd be throwing it out the next week. But, whatever, you come across something like this, go throw up, fix it and move on. And finding these kinds of issues puts into perspective smaller ones like using a for loop where you meant to use a while loop.

tl;dr - Having the luxury of sexy-ing up your your code as described in the post is strongly dependent on the stage that the project/company is in.

jinushaun 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The code in question:

  for ( int i=0 ; i < this.MyControl.TabPages.Count ; i++ )
this.MyControl.TabPages.Remove ( this.MyControl.TabPages[i] );

Nice analysis into the thinking that went into creating such bad code. Took me a while to even see the i-- at the bottom.

codeslush 1 hour ago 1 reply      
When pressed for a deadline, a demo, a functioning "something" - I do stuff that might not be the right way to do things because I need to get it to work. If the code ever has a chance of being witnessed by someone else, I always try to:

/* Can't find a clear/remove method, don't have time to screw around with it now, might revisit later, might not. Sorry. */

onemoreact 14 hours ago 1 reply      
That chart of development costs ignores the fact that only successful projects get maintained. Many projects simply get abandoned before they ever gain traction and at that point code quality becomes meaningless.
keltex 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this a lot with HTML guys I work with. They add a few px of padding to the top of something to get it vertically centered on Chrome and then it's broken on IE. Then I tell them to fix IE and then it's broken on Chrome.

Then it's two more hours of screwing around until they get it right. Then I show it to them on a notebook with a different DPI setting...

arethuza 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"Let's pretend for a moment that we are a harassed contract programmer working late, under intense pressure to deliver working code before we can go home."

I would hope that in those kinds of situations I would remember to add a FIXME comment so that I would come back in saner times and make it nice.

hackinthebochs 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is more of an indictment of how we code rather than the programmer. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with code-by-experimentation. With libraries and frameworks growing in complexity over the last decade or so, it's all but impossible to hold all the details in your head of whatever piece of abstraction you're computing with. With dynamic languages and REPLs, it becomes even more standard to experiment until we get the correct result.

The problem is that imperative programming is horrible for code-by-experimentation. You end up with code that works, but is hideously unreadable. Declarative styles can help greatly with this. Functional programming can be a big boon here. But I think we're going to need a fundamental shift soon in either tool quality (say, to automatically refactor that shit code into the most straightforward and readable way), or a new paradigm that will allow code-by-experimentation to always result in readable code.

saraid216 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm more worried that there are a host of comments, both on the blog and here, by people with enough time to think this through who clearly aren't doing so.

At the very least, I would have hoped everyone had read through the article.

rohit89 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Whenever a loop index is modified inside a for loop, it should raise immediate red flags. Also, with intellisense in Visual Studio, it shouldn't take more than a few seconds to check if there is .Clear() or .RemoveAll() method.

That said, I've been guilty of doing stupid things like this many times when I'm tired and just want the damn thing to work. Its amazing the kind of errors you make in situations like that.

tlrobinson 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So what's the "correct" way to do this?

Clearing the entire array can usually be accomplished easily, but what if you want to remove only items matching some condition?

Looping backwards, perhaps?

    for ( int i=this.MyControl.TabPages.Count-1 ; i >= 0 ; i-- )
this.MyControl.TabPages.Remove ( this.MyControl.TabPages[i] );

qntm 15 hours ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with the code, then, is that it was written under a little too much pressure for the developer to think clearly.

    for ( int i=0 ; i < this.MyControl.TabPages.Count ; )
this.MyControl.TabPages.Remove ( this.MyControl.TabPages[i] );

mrspeaker 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen this construct used back-in-the-day in C, but usually with conditional expressions before the remove. Perhaps it was just a crap bit of code from day one, but it's possible that devolved to that state over time.
hasslblad 15 hours ago 4 replies      
As soon as I saw that snippet I could see what's wrong.

In C# / .Net you can't remove an element from an enumerator while you're enumerating through it. You can remove the last element however, as it's the final loop the enumerator isn't used again so it won't throw an error. The original developer probably tried to remove it forward only first, encountered an error and wrote the code to loop through it backwards, using the random tweaking technique.

What's rather depressing is that a lot of developers I've encountered use the random tweaking methodology, instead of figuring out what's really happening.

tcarnell 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If the code compiles and does what it is supposed to do, then the answer is that nothing is 'wrong' with it.

Writing code that does what it is supposed to do is often not the challenge of software engineering - but writing code that can be easily tested, refactored, altered and ultimately understood by other developers is the harder part.

The conditional statement used in the 'for' loop whose value can not easily be determined is not helpful and the i--; is 'unusual'.

In any case, it is more useful to code review the unit tests than the code itself.

polshaw 8 hours ago 2 replies      
OK, fairly newbie coder here..

What would be wrong with just setting a variable to the value of 'this.MyControl.TabPages.Count' outside of the for loop and refering to this?? ie;

    var x = this.MyControl.TabPages.Count;
for ( int i=0 ; i < x ; i++ )
this.MyControl.TabPages.Remove ( this.MyControl.TabPages[i] );

as a quick fix, or if someone did not know while loops or clear function??

hendrik-xdest 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Dependent on the state of mind, one might even have done something like this (as I can't tell the language used in the example):

this.MyControl.TabPages = new Array();

Try to find something like this when the problem you are confronted with is that a server has to be rebooted every few hours because it eats up memory.

ChrisArchitect 15 hours ago 0 replies      
nice writeup, could really feel your pain/obsession (not a bad thing) -- the sketchiness of the codeblock from the get go was cringeworthy for me too - harks to marking CS assignments and the like back in the day. what a way to start my day too. blech
g0su 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's bad because you have to write a long blog post about it explaining all the pitfalls, compare good to bad programers, talk about maintenance cost, etc etc.

This code:

for i in 1.100:
print i

There's nothing to talk about, it's crystal clear.

altrego99 14 hours ago 0 replies      
He got underpaid and bad boss right, but more likely this could be due to frustation. I have seen a coder who uses many different ways to code simple things, for example in a code he used (a and b), (a+b>=2), (1-a*b), and several other ways to do the same thing.
throwawayday 13 hours ago 0 replies      
wow - my first thought was something unprintable. Took a few minutes of staring at it before I could figure out what the code was doing.

brlewis has the winning answer

pointyhat 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is perfectly valid code. You cannot modify a collection which is being iterated safely so it's the best way to handle the situation.
suivix 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I would never make a for loop like that. It is weird and breaks convention, and has a high chance of causing a bug.
chids 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Related to the part about software maintenance in the last part of the post I recently wrote about "visualizing cost and improvement areas for software maintenance" here:
juaninfinitelop 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My initial thought was...

If it has a .Count() and a .Remove(), it should have a .Clear()

ibisum 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Sequence points, kids. Learn to recognize them.
napierzaza 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Allocating an int?
HarrietJones 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that you say what's wrong with the code, but don't actually say how it should be done right.
Facebook and Heroku heroku.com
253 points by briandoll  1 day ago   61 comments top 16
davcro 1 day ago 4 replies      
Amazing. Way back in 2007 I taught myself how to code by making small Facebook apps. I started out by editing live PHP files on a shared server from A Small Orange ($3.33 a month!). After a few months I a few apps with traffic around 30k DAU. A Small Orange would automatically shutdown the apps every couple hours. I'd email them and complain about their shoddy hosting service. They'd always respond instantly apologizing and putting the apps back online. After a couple weeks I realized that I had a scaling problem and began learning how to setup a dedicated server. Over the next two years I spent about 80% of my time wrestling with hardware, setting up load balancers, configuring cache and db servers, and other operational nightmares. I had little time or energy to work on improving my apps or building new products.

Then I discovered Heroku. I would have done anything to have this when I started out. The platform teaches (forces) you how to build a scalable architecture. You can try out new ideas for apps for essentially nothing (1 dyno is zero dollars). Since moving to Heroku I spend about 5% of my time working ops. The craziest thing is I've actually saved money since switching from dedicated hardware to Heroku. I was really bad at configuring servers and the stuff I built was inefficient and expensive. Heroku's cloud stacks are optimized better than my old hardware environment.

Heroku's architecture is great for wild traffic swings common with Facebook apps. Well except for their database services. They don't seem reliable or scalable. I prefer RDS.

In sum, Facebook and Heroku is a great starting place for learning to build web apps. I would have done anything to have this tech four yeas ago.

alexandros 1 day ago 7 replies      
Ok, I'll be the mean one. While I am happy for heroky and everything, I am not sure why this move matters. Was hosting what was holding back the facebook app ecosystem? I was under the impression that the only successes there were Zynga and.. i'm sure there's others? Modernising hosting and support is great, but I thought it was the inconsistent policies and favouritism, and maybe the nature of the medium that killed that scene, not lack of hosting support.
briandoll 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is pure win. The screencast on this post shows that with one click you get a deployed app (in the language you choose) that ships with an app template that uses the Facebook APIs to get you started.

We're witnessing a Facebook app that creates real living Facebook apps. Heroku continues to impress with insanely easy onboarding of folks new to deploying web apps, and building features the way things should work.

It must be amazing to start programming in the age of Heroku.

jorde 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a Python developer I was delighted to see Python in the list of supported languages. After cloning the repo you can notice it's just a standard Flask site with Jijna2 templates and helpers for accessing Facebook's API. I can see this as a really easy way to start developing for Facebook and also Python.
A-K 1 day ago 0 replies      
Heroku is killing it. It's great to see them adding features and functionality at such a brisk pace.
silverlight 1 day ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who wasn't aware that Heroku announced support for PHP?
nomatteus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone see a list of what framework is being used for each language? I created a Ruby app, and it's using Sinatra.

Edit: here's links to all the app templates, for anyone interested:

Python: https://github.com/heroku/facebook-template-python

Ruby: https://github.com/heroku/facebook-template-ruby

Node.js: https://github.com/heroku/facebook-template-nodejs

PHP: https://github.com/heroku/facebook-template-php

dave_sullivan 1 day ago 1 reply      
At Dreamforce a couple weeks ago I was wondering how sfdc was going to position Heroku since sfdc has already put a lot of time/effort into selling force.com. Seemed like they were trying to make the argument: "You use heroku for facebook apps and force.com for everything else!" This makes even more sense in that context.
2arrs2ells 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remind anyone of the Facebook/Joyent partnership 3-4 years ago?
pstinnett 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems great. I know Facebook is switching (or has switched) to requiring 3rd party apps to use an SSL certificate. Since many of the Facebook apps I've been developing don't really require much (many times they're just informational pages, no user input) it seems like a waste to buy a full domain and SSL cert. Being able to just use Heroku's domain and piggyback SSL could be a big win there.
sbauch 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why sinatra and not rails? I've been trying to teach myself ruby (on rails) for an app idea that I have, and this was great news as I'd been having trouble getting off the ground with rails and the koala gem. But for someone new to programming like myself, it seems like there is a ton more learning materials out there for the rails framework than sinatra.

So in a way this seems to me like a very easy way to get a simple app up and running, but I lose all the help that's out there that's specific to the rails framework. Am I being naive in thinking that the little that I've learned about the rails framework won't apply to sinatra?

flexterra 1 day ago 0 replies      
I noticed that they offer python hosting now. So I did a little tutorial on how to set up a Django app on Heroku.


wiradikusuma 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Apps are created from one of four templates, based on the language choice you make at app creation time: Ruby, Node.js, Python, or PHP." Why no Java?
choffstein 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am constantly impressed with Heroku's ability to identify market needs, create partnerships, and deliver product. I would love to see an article or book about their company and its evolution.
flexterra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome integration and I also noticed Python support. Win!
padobson 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems like a last ditch effort to appease social app developers before they all jump ship to Google+. 4 years too late for me.
Opening *.txt file is dangerous on Windows microsoft.com
246 points by gaika  9 hours ago   28 comments top 11
peterwwillis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The report says this vulnerability is specific to remote network shares and WebDAV. All you have to do is send someone a link to a .txt file on a WebDAV site with a .dll in the same directory, I guess, and they'll be owned... That is pretty awesome.

(As was commented on below, this is identical to an LD_LIBRARY_PATH type exploit on Linux; here is Microsoft's fix as well as an explanation of how it works http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2264107)

Edit: I realize now literally any URL could be a WebDAV site with a text/plain mime type and an exploit DLL in the same dir. So really, every single URL you hit with IE is potentially vulnerable. Have a nice day.

jnorthrop 8 hours ago 7 replies      
Anyone know how this works? How would a plain .txt file load a dll? In any case this looks like it would be difficult to execute since the text file has to be in the same directory as the dll.
Groxx 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this was in use (for legitimate uses) by anyone prior to its omg-security-breach discovery, and if their use still works. Quite a few Windows applications look in their folder first for DLLs - checking the loaded-file path could conceivably make the same kind of sense. Or just not accounting for current-directory changes when launching with a file (not entirely sure what the behavior is there).
jmvoodoo 8 hours ago 2 replies      
So basically send someone a zip file with a DLL + readme.txt. Most people would avoid the DLL but not think twice about opening the readme. Sounds nasty.
wslh 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It remember me of an old stack overflow that I posted just running the command cat: http://seclists.org/bugtraq/1999/Sep/432
recoiledsnake 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It is not dangerous if you install the update. Why is the headline hyping it as if it's an unpatched zero day?
donpark 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this vulnerability is related to WebDAV and SMB, not the DLL/path issue mentioned.
Florin_Andrei 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is still an issue when using a 3rd party editor, such as EditPad, etc.
OWaz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The description of the vulnerability reminds me a lot about how Stuxnet exploited weaknesses with shortcuts unknowingly loading a malicious dll.
lolabloladd32 3 hours ago 0 replies      
diegogomes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Clicking "start" is even more dangerous. Once you start, can you stop?
How prostitution and alcohol make Uber better uber.com
242 points by andrewljohnson  3 days ago   34 comments top 12
nhashem 3 days ago 4 replies      
Am I missing something here?

The article basically uses crime as a proxy for "social population density." I'm pretty sure you could also use "restaurant reservations" as a similar proxy, but then I guess you wouldn't get to use words like 'prostitution' in the title of your blog post.

Then, Uber cab riders go to these areas that are densely social. I'm guessing they probably take other modes of transportation too.

Then, something about certain crimes being more prevalent on certain days of the week, with some pretty huge leaps of faiths made in the reasoning and no actual testable data to back it up.

I don't like to post too often on HN if I'm just going to stand there and drink some haterade, but this just seemed like such a sad attempt to put together something for pageviews that I couldn't help myself.

pge 3 days ago 3 replies      
Fun data, but one question - there is an implicit assumption that prostitution arrests are proportional to the committing of the crimes. I wonder if weekdays show more prostitution because the cops are busy with other crimes on weekend nights?
0x12 3 days ago 1 reply      
These guys have looked very hard at the okcupid postings. Interesting stuff, but it doesn't really show how prostitution and alcohol ended up making uber better in some tangible way. Only that there were some interesting correlations.
civilian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a theory: They're only tracking the prostitution that is caught. (That's how crime data works, right?) Wednesday is close enough to the weekend for prostitutes to work, but there's not too many people around. On thursday/friday/saturday there are hoards of partiers & other night life so they can blend in and find johns easily. But on Wednesday they're more likely to be caught.
ataranto 3 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: people take uber to and from bars. that's it. not sure why that took so many paragraphs and images.
MBlume 3 days ago 0 replies      
"So before you go running off screaming about how the welfare state is subsidizing sexy times for retirees, chill out and keep that in mind."

As subsidies go, this one seems pretty obviously positive...

nhangen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was turned off by the style of the author's writing, and couldn't get past the "shut up" line. This post didn't match my feelings of the product at all. All in all, very strange.
andrewcooke 3 days ago 0 replies      
interesting, but wasn't there an article posted here in the last 24 hours on being too familiar? maybe they should read that. it was a pretty tiring read.
goo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a great look into data-- I've long felt that consumer companies like Uber (and Google and Apple and so on...) have the strongest ability to explore the fabric of today's culture through their data, and it's sweet to see that Uber has opened up some of that understanding to the public.
fomojola 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. I wish they'd factor in gender: are they guys ordering or are the girls ordering?
jbigelow76 3 days ago 0 replies      
Link title is too narrow in scope; prostitution and alcohol make everything better.
networkjester 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fun read; thanks for posting!
TinyProj connects developers, designers, etc. with paid, short-term projects. kylewritescode.com
232 points by jmonegro  2 days ago   73 comments top 28
Mizza 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've noticed this need as well, and launched something similar: http://gun.io

It's free for Open Source, and a 10% fee for non-Free projects. Winner-take-all!

Hopefully we'll both work to create a culture which helps independent developers help each other. Good luck! Email me if you're interested in collaboration.

jasonkester 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is this different than the ten thousand established freelance sites it's competing with? Everything from guru to odesk to rentacoder to scriptlance already does what this does, as well as handling payment and rating developers.

The Freelance game has plenty of problems, but frankly a shortage of places to post jobs is not one of them.

nhangen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kyle, huge fan, and we've talked via Skype in the past, so I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I'm curious...why not create this as part of Forrst instead of as a separate venture? It seems like you could get some reach, while also adding value to the people paying a monthly supporter fee.

I think this service looks great, but I'm bummed that it was integrated as a supporter benefit.

Edit: I see now that it is a benefit to Forrst members, but in the opposite way I had predicted. Any plans to allow the trading of acorns for job posts? Sometimes it's nice to have backup on projects :)

DanielStraight 1 day ago 0 replies      
I signed up. Loved the simplicity of it all. I also love how I can just sit back and watch what comes through passively without having to go search through stuff. No idea if I'll actually take any projects, but I'm definitely a fan of the interface.
ericHosick 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hi. I added a project.

Few points:

  * Are Incremental Days Necessary(1-21)? 1,2,3,7,14,31 maybe? Also, up to 1 month?

* The 1000 character limit thing was a pain.

Good luck on your project. Lets see if you are able to find someone for our project.

kylebragger 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty excited about this. If you submit a project, mention HN and I'll give you 50% off the first one.
dendory 2 days ago 1 reply      
They send an email every Saturday? That seems somewhat.. not very useful. A site with a list of projects and the number of interested bids and such would work much better.
ThomPete 1 day ago 2 replies      
Congrats Kyle and welcome to the world of very small projects.

Maybe we can help each other out :)

mise 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats on this, very smart (you've kept it simple).

Is this a good way to get designers, I wonder? The alternative that seems that it might work better, browsing portfolios and contacting your favourite designers, as written by Andrew: http://andrewseddon.com/post/3402344430/how-to-find-a-design...

mixmastamyk 2 days ago 2 replies      
An odd comment I know but this is the second time Ive seen "made in NYC" today in the footer of a webpage. Don't know what to make of it. Perhaps I'll add made in Tijuana to mine?
paul9290 1 day ago 1 reply      
Im in the mist of starting up a digital agency with friends. We are all creative and or technical people. Our weak point is a lack of strong sales skills to secure sizable business contracts.

I was thinking of creating a site like sales guy/gal meet development/designer team. Maybe this exists already?

pud 1 day ago 1 reply      
How confidential is it? If I submit a project:
A) who will get to read about the project?
B) will everyone who can see the listing also see my name?

I'm in semi-stealth. I want few people to know what my project is, and nobody to know that it's mine (except the designer).

pacomerh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I personally like the idea of getting the listings on email. Having the list of jobs online seems more vulnerable for spam. Let's see how it evolves. Thanks
gsharma 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea, but I would feel a lot more comfortable about "1,000 rad folks" if the site gives an idea of what kind of these people are. For instance, these are top 250 users in the category on Forrst. Sample profiles would help as well.
parallel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm interesting in submitting a project but I don't know how much to offer for it. In a "marketplace" you get to see what other people are offering and what's being accepted. I'd like to see this sort of information.
athst 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like this idea a lot. I wish you could just view the listings on the site instead of having to wait for a weekly email. That's what I was expecting, and having to wait is just annoying.
mrschwabe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool project. I have a similar idea but one that is based on hours, not cash.
grotm001 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was about to use it for several projects when I realized I have no idea who I'm going to working with on the projects. Is it 1-on-1 all the time?
OneWhoFrogs 2 days ago 3 replies      
What does TinyProj offer that WeekendHacker doesn't? The latter is free and has six times as many subscribers.
bwooce 2 days ago 1 reply      
It may also help to specify the currency(s) involved...yes we'll all assume it's USD for now.
corroded 2 days ago 3 replies      
i am confused as to why you just didn't take a screenshot...you actually "shot" your screen...

In any case, signed up :P great idea btw

etdebruin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I registered itppl.com YEARS ago for something similar to this but never got it started. Good job :
DallaRosa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool just registered as a developer and should registering a project soon :)
geoffc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice idea. Good luck!
RMacy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has a lot of potential -- signed up -- good job!
perfunctory 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do you deal with spam?
thom_r 1 day ago 0 replies      
any geographical limitations ? (say I'm in EU, project is in the US, etc ..)
I suppose it will have to be dealt separately for each project or ?
iklavya 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is this different from elance.com and scriptlance.com?
Show HN: PickHealthInsurance.com pickhealthinsurance.com
230 points by gurgeous  3 days ago   97 comments top 42
tptacek 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is very pretty and I'm sure it's to some extent useful.

However, I also find it misleading. As someone who has been through the process of buying private insurance before: there are a number of sites like this (though none of them as elegant and spare). All of them will give you comparative rate charts. But those rates don't mean anything.

After you select a provider, you have to fill out their application, which is onerous. They then do whatever record pulling they do in their backend and come back to you with an answer, which you can expect to take the form of "we can insure two of you for $JACKED_RATE, and we can't insure the other two at all", at which point you get to spend weeks in their appeals process figuring out which 15 minute doctor visit from 4 years ago put your wife or daughter on a "do-not-cover" list.

I'm not just complaining about the (horrible) US insurance system here. I'm saying that sites like this don't work. No web developer has access to the real information this app purports to have, which is "what can I expect to pay for coverage from providers in my area".

Note also that there are plenty of agents who will do this kind of legwork for you; they're often compensated by affiliate fees from insurers.

(For what it's worth, the identical problem exists with comparative car insurance shopping; you can get rate charts all over the Internet, but it's not until you fill out the application for a specific provider and wait a week that you'll find out how much higher your rate is than the advertised minimum.)

What would be very valuable would be a crowdsourced version of these charts.

gurgeous 3 days ago 14 replies      
I'm releasing the first version of PickHealthInsurance today. It helps you compare health insurance plans (individual, not group) in the US.

I put this together over a few weekends. My COBRA is about to run out and I found it exceptionally difficult to compare plans and prices with the existing sites. This is the third time I've had to buy individual insurance and I finally decided to do something about it.

Things crystallized for me when I almost bought a plan that claimed to cover maternity, only to discover late in the game that it had a separate $20,000 maternity deductible! What a mess!

I have a few goals with PickHealthInsurance:

- start showing approximate rates almost immediately, don't pester me with a bunch of questions

- explain confusing terms like "coinsurance" and point out the difference between a PPO and a POS.

- show plan stats up front, not buried deep within the bowels of the application process

- make it easy to use and blazingly fast

Built with:

- Rails 3.1 (HAML, Sass, Coffeescript)

- Twitter Bootstrap CSS

- Deployed on Heroku/MongoHQ

What do you think?

MatthewB 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool site, needs some visual work but the idea is there.

I have the same question as other people - how are you pulling this data?

One thing you definitely need on the front page is gender selection. Gender instantly changes the price of insurance significantly and is a simple binary question.

I hate dealing with health insurance so much so I very much hope this site evolves and becomes a success for you. Well done.

Edit: Now you need to monetize this. The obvious way to do that is to do lead gen if they offer it.

bartman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great site, I especially like the explanations for the different terms.

How did you get all the insurance rates and terms, just from the companies' sites?

When I tried evaluating the health care plans my company offered me a few month ago I had a terribly hard time getting information about the different plans that are out there. (But then again, I'm not from the US and the whole health care system keeps confusing me.)

cedsav 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks great, but returns 0 plan that includes maternity coverage in my area. I don't know if it's an issue with the app, or just the sad state of health insurance in the US... probably a bit of both.
cHalgan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent site.

On general note, this site really emphasizes how fucked up is health system in US. There is complete lack of correlation how much a plan costs and how much benefits you get.

There should be version: WhyHealthInsuranceinUSSucks.com

fludlight 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool. I wish I had this when shopping for insurance a year ago.

A "total annual cost" column would be helpful for making sense of the deductible/premium/co-pay relationship. Think of it as the "Price+Shipping+Tax" on shopping websites.

Ask the user how much he expects his doctors to charge him ("Annual Medical Bill") in the next twelve months, then calculate how much he would pay to the doctors and to the insurance company. Last time I bought health insurance I had to make a spreadsheet to calculate this. I would rather not repeat that mundane task again.

It might also be useful to have multiple predefined Annual Med Bills ($0, $1,000, $5,000, $20,000, etc). Displaying the output on a graph might make sense (AnnMedBill vs TotalAnnCost, with a curve for each plan). You should customize these to the user's age (a 23 year old may not go to the doctor for years at a time, but even a healthy 50yo will definitely go several times per year for checkups and *oscopies).

Mapping costs to life events (no doctor visits, a few visits, broken arm, healthy pregnancy, etc) would make it even more useful, but researching the necessary assumptions will take considerable work so just implement predefined dollar amounts as a version 1.

Keep up the good work, this idea has value!

parfe 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like your price sorting is by string and not integer so $1,491 (most expensive) then $199 (least expensive) were the top two results after sorting.
5teev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could you have the insurance companies' names in plain text? I could not locate "Aetna" using my browser's Find鈥 function, but instead had to scan the "Company" column. I appreciate that it's sortable, but I might want to sort by price, then jump to each row using "Find Again" to see the variety offered by a particular company.
danielparks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice. I just went through the process of picking a health insurance plan using ehealthinsurance.com, and it was a bit of a pain.

The one thing that would have made things a lot easier for me is being able to sort by out-of-pocket maximum. I wanted a high-deductible, HSA-compatible plan, and so having a low out of pocket maximum was my number one criteria.

I wonder how many people actually know what they want in a health insurance plan? There are a huge number of options, and it's hard to know what's important. The guidance I found on the web tended to be generic, rather than targeted at the type of plan I wanted (major medical).

Perhaps you could outline a few broad plan types, explain the advantages, and allow users to pick one?

For example, I would have picked a "major medical plan", and it would have shown me plans that have solid out-of-pocket maximums that aren't much higher than the deductible. The data displayed for each plan would highlight differences between those plans (e.g. HSA-eligible) that might not be so important to a another plan type (e.g. full service plans).

randomguy33 3 days ago 2 replies      
The rates your app returned were vastly different than running the same rate on numerous carrier websites. Your site showed rates that were sometimes less than half what the carrier site reported.

How do you generate your rates? Your math seems dangerously wrong in a lot of places, especially when requesting family rates.

(This is verifiable by running a rate on this website, and then going to one of the carriers websites and generating the same quote)

Disclaimer: I work in the health insurance industry, so many of these rates were obviously wrong as soon as I saw them.

rmason 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea! But you need at a minimum to add one more question: desired deductible.

I ended up with 79 plans and that is a bit much to sort through. Perhaps you could have a slider on the results that let you manually set the minimum deductible.

Also I assume the charge listed was monthly but you didn't state that.

dmillar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. Where is your data coming from?
rokhayakebe 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope this is your full time gig. Picking a health insurance is one of the hardest problems ever. I do not know the business and I fear I am going to get screwed.

If I had launched such a nice service I would try to charge the end user. I would be willing to pay money to an independent third party.

waterside81 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a software developer, I love this. You're doing exactly what this era of cheap technology has enabled us to do - aggregate information into a one easy to read, easy to understand interface. As others have mentioned, there's some fixes here & there, but you're definitely going down the right path.

As a Canadian, I'm bewildered that this has to even exist.

AlexC04 3 days ago 0 replies      
Under "Plan Types" you've used a checkbox when the actual behavior is a radio button.

Plan Types
HMO (15)
PPO (79)

What was the reasoning behind that? Are there other options that aren't mutually exclusive that sometimes show up dynamically? Was it a visual choice?

The checkboxes underneath act like checkboxes.

If it's a visual choice, why not use some actual style?
http://jqueryui.com/themeroller/ (see "buttons")

Sindrome 3 days ago 0 replies      
I work for a company that makes millions a year providing health care plan comparison sites to major plan carriers.

I hate it because the industry is years behind. 90% of our clients demand IE6 support because their companies still use them. We constantly have to integrate with legacy systems and people don't understand how to consume our web services. It's very stable, but boring.... It's a bad place.

Nice to see competent tech people getting into the market. I wouldn't mind starting/joining a health startup but I signed a pretty damning non-compete.

jessevondoom 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredibly helpful. I run a small OSS/music nonprofit and as you'd imagine there's not a lot of money in that. Having just gone through the process of looking around for insurance for my family I can say that is was an amazing contrast to the overwhelming and unpleasant experience of using insurance provider sites.

I'm notoriously cheap, but would happily shell out a commission or even a one time fee for the service 鈥" keep it this simple and straightforward and you'll not only have a compelling business but a tool that really helps people.

faramarz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't you claim a commission much like how brokers work?
..and if so, I wonder how you would do that.


just become broker yourself and keep the leads, then pass them off to the Insurance company with leveraged commissions.

Very cool site.

ffffruit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Had some long discussions with colleagues about this and it just makes you wonder how "sophisticated" the algorithms behind health insurers are when the basic inputs are: postcode, smoker, age and gender.
ComputerGuru 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your site lists the same companies as every other site out there - the problem is, it's missing so many other companies out there. It's basically a list of the same four or five companies over and over and over again with different plans.

Where are all my local companies? Where's BlueCross BlueShield?

Robin_Message 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorting by price sorts alphabetically, not numerically.

I put in some details from when I was living in the US and I'm shocked鈥"I can't find a plan that isn't 50% copay on brand name drugs?

rglover 3 days ago 0 replies      
Considering I'm currently without health insurance, this is extremely helpful. Love how simple the interface is and how it gives you an easy to understand list of providers. Excellent work.
stcorbett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you used an agent before? Their whole business is about helping individuals and businesses pick plans. My agent has shown me some good data sheets that get close to giving you apples to apples comparisons. I bet you could borrow a lot from their business models.
SeanLuke 3 days ago 0 replies      
A really important factor is reputation. Some of the firms you have listed at the top of the list for me are cheap but have jet-black records.
stcorbett 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be cool if I could see my existing plan on there and be able to compare apples to apples. They keep raising my premium, it would be nice to know if there was something else out there that had a lower premium.
ricksta 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a theme or framework that you used to make this site? It has the exact same UI as https://www.bitcoinica.com/
chollida1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've either broke it with my postal code or this website isn't supported in Canada. I'm guessing it's the latter.
patja 3 days ago 0 replies      
It gives me an inaccurate rate and just sends me to ehealthinsurance.com where they ask for just a tiny bit more info (ages of all enrollees) and gives me a different, more accurate rate. So why do I go to pickhealthinsurance.com again? All it does is give a wrong answer and refer me to a competitor (at least I am perceiving you as trying to compete with the likes of ehealthinsurance.com) who gives me a correct answer.
jkeel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work and very useful! It's great to see the Twitter Bootstrap CSS being used as well. I've been using it as a starting point for my projects now.

Maybe a next step would be for users to be able to save their plan name/type and then they can come back for comparisons. If you do that they maybe allow people to opt in for emails if a similar plan comes up as their saved plan but has a lower cost. Keep up the good work.

natbro 3 days ago 0 replies      
sweet! serendipitously just what i need this week picking insurance and all the information more quickly and better organized than sites like ehealthinsurance.com et al.

- side-by-side comparison (check several, show all)

- easy print-out of plans and side-by-sides, or PDF-gen

- tool-tips for filters at left. nice tool-tips on terms in rows already

- filter by deductible, co-pay, premium amnts (eg <$500)?

ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
FYI your stylesheet is being served with html at the end (an error page) which is causing it to fail.
aklemm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone mentioned the Mass. HealthConnecter. Here is another established tool the developer should know about: https://calpers2011.chooser2.pbgh.org/Default.aspx

PickHealthInsurance looks nice and clean. Good job!

marquis 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is timely - we were just looking for this an hour ago and wondering why it didn't exist! Thanks HN.
savrajsingh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great job, much easier than ehealthisurance.com when I used it a couple years ago.
pbreit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nit: the sort by premium should be a numeric sort so that 1,000 is greater than 999.
orblivion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see BCBS in my results, and I have a BCBS plan.
gdhillon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, Clean UI and fast. Give option to compare plans side by side.
golfstrom 3 days ago 0 replies      
HHS operates a really good site to find public and private insurance options:


chadkeck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice! Your sorting by deductible doesn't work correctly.
jeiting 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work, this is a great piece of tech that does some real good. Keep up the work!
amritsharma 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like what you've done with it so far!! I love your launch page UI, it's very clear and obvious what I am supposed to do. Good luck!
Tech recruitment: how not to do it seldo.tumblr.com
220 points by jfarmer  4 days ago   37 comments top 15
rmc 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a great way to beat them. Apply for the job. If you don't get it, sue them saying they didn't hire you because of your sexuality. Use this email from the recuiter to show that they are clearly not an equal opertunities employer. Hopefully the recruiter will now no longer be employed (by anyone).

Or alternatively go into the job interview, and make lots of homophobic/sexist/racist jokes there (e.g. "Good to see you keep the fags out and the skirts in the typing pool! My kind of company!"). If they act a bit suprised/embarrassed, point out the recruiters email, and tell them that recruiter will attract that kind of applicant.

autarch 3 days ago 2 replies      
Beau has been around a long time. I remember him posting jobs to the jobs.perl.org site and perl jobs list years ago (back in 2001). We had to ban him for similarly bad behavior.

I'm amazed he's still around.

jackowayed 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sketchy in a lot of ways.

His LinkedIn profile has stars around the name http://www.linkedin.com/in/opensourcestaffing

He also has every state in the nation listed twice (postal code + full state name). SEO bait I guess.

It seems surprising to me that some of the fairly big companies listed on their website (eBay, Disney Internet Group, Rapleaf, Shopzilla) would engage with someone so visibly awful. http://open-source-staffing.com/clients.html

Peroni 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my time. Idiots like this will never be entirely eradicated from the industry.

Maybe my next blog post should be a direct attack on recruiters, calling them out on there bullshit attitudes and illegal tactics.

davidu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just because sexual orientation is not a "protected class" on a federal level, employment laws in nearly every state are very clear that in addition to the protected classes, you can not discriminate arbitrarily.

But it doesn't matter, in New York (SONDA) and just about every blue state has very clear anti-discrimination laws when it comes to sexual orientation.

And of course, regardless of the laws, nobody would allow this person to represent them or work for them.

This guy needs to be terminated immediately, his behavior is totally disgusting and reprehensible.

adelevie 3 days ago 0 replies      
The moral here has way less to do with tech recruiting than it does with just being a civil human being.
Steer 3 days ago 2 replies      
My guess is that someone has already taken matters into his/her own hands, check out his blog (redirected to from Beau's domain mentioned in the post):


The latest post is (probably) not of his own doing I would say.

tricolon 3 days ago 1 reply      
I do hope that whoever knows him personally points out just how unprofessional those emails were.
roneil 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm glad Gould got called out on this; he probably just lost himself a lot of future business by being so cocky.
jrbran 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Xbox-Live approach does not strike me as the prudent course of action for trying to recruit others for your cause. Even when actually on Xbox Live.

I've questioned how some recruiters that I've dealt with had jobs, but never had one remotely reached this kind of level of fire-him-now-ness.

gchucky 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, not all that surprising. He frequently adds posts to the NYPHP email list as well, and they just come off as.. less than legit. Even still, this is rather poor form.
bkaid 3 days ago 0 replies      
anons2011 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice, website now 404ing and blog is private.



ronbeltran 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is also our problem in our local python users group http://groups.google.com/group/pinoy-python-users/browse_thr... , situation is like this:we have a conversations to help someone with their errors and the next thread reply/post is all about job posts! So I built them a simple job portal.
jakemcgraw 3 days ago 0 replies      
This guy is all over the NYC tech recruiting scene. I have some 20 emails from him over various tech mailing lists. Funny thing is, even though I see 4 or 5 emails a day from recruiters, his name is so unique I actually remembered him! I don't think people should be crucified for single outbursts, but it's safe to say that this guy is on a tear and needs taking down.
Why I Go Home: A Developer Dad's Manifesto adamschepis.com
213 points by aschepis  1 day ago   106 comments top 24
gruseom 23 hours ago  replies      
Sorry, but this is getting a little unctuous.

I don't think the trend in our time of parents organizing their lives around their children is very good for anybody, especially the children. I'm thinking, for example, of fathers who call their kids "buddy" and think it's the meaning of life to play with them. This is pandemic where I live. People have convinced themselves that the good life consists of being child-centered parents in child-centered families. Everybody [鈥燷 is busy confirming to everybody else that this is true (consider the platitudinous tone of most of the comments in this thread), but I doubt that it is true. It has much to do with parents' emotional needs (edit: specifically the need to Be A Good Parent, which if you think about it is actually a selfish concern) and little to do with kids'. Children ought to be running around outside playing with other children and depending on nice-but-otherly (not pseudo-peer) adults to keep their world secure and stable and fix things when they cry. Children raised by child-centered parents seem at a loss when they aren't at the center of attention. This bodes ill for inner strength and good breeding. Most such parents fail even to teach their kids basic manners. They're so identified with their child, or rather with the mini-me they imagine their child to be, that they don't notice if the child is routinely disrespectful to others. When they do occasionally notice something egregious and limply intervene, it's always with the same whiney "Honey..." followed by a feeble plea which the child ignores with no consequences. What they ought to do, of course, is what any ordinary mammal does when their offspring goes too far - smack them. Figuratively if you prefer.

The problem is that we're immature and infantilized ourselves, so we've forgotten all of this. Perhaps it's an outgrowth of postwar youth culture.

One tell-tale symptom is that children have fewer friends than they used to, and adults consequently have fewer friends and less time for the ones they do have. (Nowadays when a friend has a kid I tell them "See you in 20 years." Not my choice.) Adults' time is taken up with the sacred family-ness we all must bow before. Children's time is taken up by their parents. I remember how hard it used to be to arrange for my son to play with a classmate after school. (Arrange! When such a thing need to be arranged in the first place, we're already losers. This whole subject really needs a Louis CK to do it justice.) Parents would look up times for "play dates" in a calendar. I swear they were jealous of their kids seeing other "buddies".

In short, a little neglect never hurt anybody.

p.s. Maybe it seems like the above hasn't much to do with "work-life balance" (blessed be its name), but it totally does. However, I'm over quota.

[鈥燷 Well, everybody in my lily-white liberal world.

phuff 1 day ago 3 replies      
This reminds me of this great article by Clayton Christensen to Harvard Business students about life balance: http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1

Looking back over a short 7 year or so career I can't remember many projects where I can go: "Oh man, I'm so glad I spent all that time late at night on that project. It's really made a lasting difference in the world."

I'm sure there are some things that are worth spending a lot of overtime on; I'm sure there are ways to write software that will literally make a massive change in the way the world works. But most of the stuff that I see coming out of startups, most of the stuff that I've worked on in a wide variety of companies is stuff that ends up being rewritten soon, or changed or what have you.

One of my favorite CS professors was diagnosed with terminal cancer relatively early in life (late 50s, early 60s). He had another 10 or 15 years of teaching in him probably if he hadn't gotten sick. Towards the end of his fight with cancer, one of the other professors visited him and came back to us and said that he had been visiting the dying professor on a way to his daughter's flute recital. The dying professor looked at him when he mentioned the recital and said something like: "Good! More flute recitals! More ball games! Fewer papers! fewer conferences!"

I know that the time I spend away from work, particularly on my family -- my relationship with my spouse, with my kids -- ends up being the time that matters most in the long term.

jswinghammer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Totally agree with all these points. Ever since my first daughter was born I made a similar decision but I still work less hours than you do. I end up working around 40 hours a week and have never felt compelled to work any more. I will work after the kids go to bed particularly when my wife goes to bed and I don't feel like reading for whatever reason.

My first obligation on this Earth is to my family and part of that means not being gone all the time at work. I do that for the kids but also for my wife. Raising kids is hard work and she needs my help particularly at the end of the day. This changes a little when the kids are older and are less physically demanding I guess but when you have small kids you really need to take your wife's feelings into account when deciding how much to work. She really needs to feel respected and honored in the decision and part of that comes from making sure she is in total agreement with the final decision.

Also if you're any good at programming companies are so desperate to hire you that they will accept pretty much whatever schedule within reason you want. You might not be the absolute favorite employee of management but if you're good people will respect you and your contribution.

DanielStraight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of:


From which comes one of my favorite lines about business ever:

"You will be forced to choose between work and family - and there's only one right answer."

minimax 1 day ago 1 reply      
> When you work crazy hours you yo-yo between 20 hour days and 8 hour days that really only have a few hours of productivity (or none at all!)

This would not have made any sense to me until I had actually spent three months working 12-18 hour days (+ Saturdays). Yay for salespeople selling things the company doesn't actually make! It's a really stupid feeling to spend 12 hours staring at your keyboard, getting almost nothing done, and knowing you're going to come back and do the same thing tomorrow.

johngalt 1 day ago 8 replies      
Sounds like he's made the right decision. It's important to have balance in your life. However, I don't want to hear him cry "ageism!" when that young kid that's doing 80hour weeks gets promoted ahead of him. It's important to make these kinds of sacrifices when you have a family, but you should also understand that they are your sacrifices.
pointyhat 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in the UK.

I spend as much time as possible with my children so that I can teach them that a 37 hour working week is actually normal and that they don't NEED to become an American-style 80-hour-a-week corporate slave.

Humans have needs: family, friendship and companionship.

"Work" is a relatively new thing; a product of the rapid growth of the population and the distribution of self-responsibility. Go back a couple of thousand years, and we were farming in family groups much like the Amish are today.

We're short-changing ourselves and missing out on a large chunk of life by not spending time with our closest ones.

MartinCron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Death marches and late nights take a lot out of you

Death marches seem to happen far less often (in my experience) when I'm releasing early and releasing often.

If the system automatically tests and ships out every incremental change multiple times daily, you don't have the crazy weeks before/after big releases as there are no big releases. Shipping new code is a normal part of every day and I get to go home to hang out with my kids on time.

georgieporgie 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm impressed that the guy managed to find a wife while working so hard during the earlier years.
zrail 23 hours ago 0 replies      
After a particularly bad stint at a previous job I've vowed to never work past my normal hours just for the sake of being there. If there's something immediately wrong that I can help with, or if it's something that I broke, I'll stay and work the problem. Otherwise, I'm in out at my established hours.
geebee 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Egads, are we at the point where developers with young children have to write a manifesto to justify working a "mere" nine hours a day, followed by frequent meetings after the kid goes to bed?
aschepis 1 day ago 1 reply      
hey all, thanks for the positive discussion. Apologies that my blog is terribly slow. I didn't notice that it spiked because, well, it was between 4:30 and 7:30 ;)

I'm working in my spare time to get it all off of wordpress and onto Jekyll so i can just host it out of S3 and get rid of the EC2 instance its running on.

Rotor 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great article about work/life balance. Frequently that balance is asymmetrically weighted in favor of work at the expense of time spent with family.

The author is making a commendable point to commit to time well spent with his family while still putting in nine hours at the office.

When we're near the end of our lives and reflecting, are you going to wish you spent more time with your family or more time at the office? There's a simple answer there.

Tyrannosaurs 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that seems to be missing from the debate here is that spending time with your kids is actually fun, it's something that's nice to do and really isn't a sacrifice.

I know no-one who spends time with their kids out of a sense of obligation (and trust me, your kids would work out if that's what you were doing and really not want you about) - in spending time with my daughters instead of in the office, I'm doing what I want to do, not what I feel I should do.

polemic 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I completely agree with the post. Most of the negative responses are clearly from people who have no clue what it means to be a parent. Firstly, it has nothing to do with raising kids with 'good manners', or anything as simple or boring as that. Hanging, teaching and interacting with your kids is actually fun and rewarding. A lot like coding.

I can also highly recommend a 4 day week. 1 day a week is purely my daughter (20 months) and I. Not only does it give you more time than you have in an evening, it also opens up other opportunities to go out and do things you wouldn't normally be involved with. I've been fortunate to have employers who are happy to oblige and live in a country - New Zealand - where it's relatively easy to arrange.

I also agree that it makes you a more focused coder. It gives you a healthy dose of perspective about what you're doing, and I've found I spend far more time on productive work than I did before.

chubs 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it really hard, because nobody in this career has kids! Very few have wives, i have a suspicion that most are single. So when you put family first, it really is a culture clash. My solution is to try and become self employed. I hope it works out.
creationix 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As an added bonus, I've discovered that not being able to hack till after the kids are in bed means you're more motivated to get them to bed on time. They get more sleep and you can code once the house is quiet and you brain just had a break. I find it extremely productive.
mkent 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I think about how lucky most of us white collar workers really are. I grew up with a Dad that worked rotating day/evening/graveyard shifts and I know how much it would have meant to me if he could have spent more time with us.

My neighbour, who used to work in construction, gave me some advice after the birth of my son: "Make sure to spend time with your kids, especially when they're young. One of my biggest regrets was working too much and not being around to watch them grow up." Now they live in Australia.

topherjaynes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for giving all of us future Dads (or soon to be) something to aspire to.
thebany 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My husband (a developer who is frequently "death-marching" his way through projects) sent me this article yesterday. We are about to have our first child, and it was so cool to read this, especially since we've already been talking about what it's going to be like after our son is born in regards to his work schedule. He also works with West Coasters and is a team leader, which makes things tricky in terms of scheduling meetings and conference calls. Let me just say I so appreciate that this blog post was written and that he came across it. I love that my husband loves his job and is so incredibly talented at it. He is so dedicated to his work and spends way more than 9 hours a day at it (his recent "early" bedtime has been 3am consistently, with 6am actually being the most frequent hour he finally lays down to get a minute of shuteye). It's a kind of commitment that I admire, and that I myself have benefitted from. But it's also good to read that his dedication can still be seen, even if he isn't "death marching" through coding problems night after night. I do not see this at all as "parents organizing their lives around their children," but rather a parents taking care of and giving priority to all aspects of their lives, especially their children. I think there is so much wisdom in the statements concerning how a person can always get another job, but not just "get" another family.

Cheers to you and yours and all the hard work you put into all aspects of your life!

cgopalan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel the same way about my cat. I love her and would rather spend a bigger percentage of time with her than what I spend now.

Question though is, why is this on hacker news?

vegai 12 hours ago 0 replies      
He should cut that 9 hours at the office to 6. And yes, I fail at this too :(
robmay 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think people should do what they want to do. If you are passionate about your work, and want to spend more time there than everyone else, I'm not sure that sends a bad message to kids. If you want to spend more time home with kids, that's fine too. People are different, and you shouldn't adopt the standards of other people.
mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would have never understood this before I had a child of my own.
Cornell Ergonomics Web finds standing desks present their own issues cornell.edu
214 points by johnkary  2 days ago   107 comments top 29
raldi 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't get it: the actual study (which they even link to) appears to draw the exact opposite conclusion:


See page 29 especially, and the graphs starting on page 19.

johnyzee 2 days ago 3 replies      
> In our field studies of sit-stand workstations we have found little evidence of widespread benefits and users only stand for very short-periods (15 minutes or less total per day). Other studies have found that the use of sit-stand stations rapidly declines so that after 1 month a majority of people are sitting all the time.

So sit-stand desks are a bad solution because people don't actually use them? What's wrong with this logic?

Of course when they are a novelty, people will try them out and then fall back into old habits.

Here in Denmark practically every office worker in every workplace has a sit-stand desk, and so I have many years of experience observing this. About ten percent (my rough estimate) actually use them, but those that do use them a lot, and stand between 25-50% of the time.

I would not work anywhere without one, simple as that. I even got one for my home office (they are available from many dealers here).

cbr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even if the claim that the risk of carotid atherosclerosis is nine times higher among people who stand more (which is dubious [1]), looking at overall risk of death makes more sense.

Time spent sitting and physical activity were queried by questionnaire on 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were disease free at enrollment. The authors identified 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 deaths in women during the 14-year follow-up. After adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and other factors, time spent sitting (鈮6 vs. <3 hours/day) was associated with mortality in both women (relative risk = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.44) and men (relative risk = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.24).


[1] below: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2995821

pointyhat 2 days ago 3 replies      
I never quite understood the appeal of standing up all day. Having done a couple of jobs in my youth which involved standing up all day and spending 2 hours a day on a train standing up, I couldn't think of anything less appealing.

I love my Aeron and so does my arse.

PakG1 2 days ago 2 replies      
I dislike it when articles make bizarre statements and take it for granted that the audience should accept it. Like:

But, standing to work has long known to be problematic, it is more tiring, it dramatically increases the risks of carotid atherosclerosis (ninefold) because of the additional load on the circulatory system, and it also increases the risks of varicose veins, so standing all day is unhealthy.

Where do they get that?? Citations, please! It took me a bit to find all the background research and read up on it. Interesting stuff.

That being said, still prefer the standing desk. My standing desk at home is right by my bed, so it's really easy to fall back and change my position when needed, and I'm worried about carotid atherosclerosis or varicose veins. :)

See also what the book 59 has to say about lying down and creativity. :)

Some background info I found for anyone more interested in this.



davedx 2 days ago 4 replies      
Atkins diets and standing desks aren't going to fix more fundamental issues with a pervasively unhealthy culture.
saturdaysaint 2 days ago 4 replies      
I highly recommend kneeling chairs. You sit with your legs underneath you instead of in front of you, which puts your back at a much more natural angle (much like standing, actually) than a standard office chair. They're cheap (mine was $75) and very compact, so you can augment them with a "normaller" chair. Long hours in a kneeling chair can strain certain muscles (the small of my back gets a little tight), so I do recommend using a standard chair about %20 of the time.

I alternate between a cheap office chair and a cheap kneeling chair (something like this - http://www.amazon.com/Boss-Office-Products-Ergonomic-Kneelin...), switching if I feel any twinge of discomfort, and my back and neck feel great.

dmpatierno 2 days ago 3 replies      
The advice here is to sit for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a 2-minute walking break. This sort of schedule happens to correspond nicely with the Pomodoro Technique, which suggests 25 minutes of work followed by 5-minute breaks.


cobralibre 2 days ago 0 replies      
What this tells me is that the perfect work environment is a Catholic Mass.
leoc 2 days ago 1 reply      
> The problem with standing is that when you raise desk height for keyboard/mouse use you need to also raise screen height above the desk or you get neck flexion. Also, for standing computer work the computer fixes the person's posture there is greater wrist extension and pretty soon people end up leaning which also compromises their wrist posture, thereby increasing the risks of a musculoskeletal disorder like carpal tunnel syndrome.

I don't understand this. In a proper sit-and-stand configuration the torso, arms and head ought to be in almost exactly the same position relative to the monitor, keyboard and table whether the user is sitting or standing, no?

rhygar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask any professional chef and they'll tell you about the long-term consequences of standing all day at work. Varicose veins are disgusting and unhealthy.
nwjsmith 2 days ago 0 replies      
"about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and move for a couple of minutes"

Sounds like an unintentional endorsement for the Pomodoro technique. Just get up on your break.

ableal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Many moons ago, my engineering school had classrooms full of wooden drafting tables (not unlike this: http://www.plotter-printers.com/oak-drafting-tables-2/ ). I cannot find online a picture similar to the wooden stools we had: tall, square seat slightly tilted forward at perhaps a 15 degree angle, cross-bars usable as foot-rests.

(Later, of course, "progress" occurred and the furniture was replaced with plastic chairs and tables.)

mrspeaker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was wondering about this. I've been trialing a standing desk - the best part is if you are thinking about a problem you tend to walk, where as if you're sitting down you just tilt your head to the side.

But after 4 hours or so I find I get a sore back. I've been "mixin it up"... standing for an hour, sitting for a couple of hours. Or sitting in the morning, standing after lunch... so far it feels pretty good, but I'm keeping some (quite subjective) stats to check out how it goes in the longer term.

ukdm 2 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr Sit to do computer work. Sit using a height-adjustable, downward titling keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE. The absolute time isn't critical but about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and move for a couple of minutes.
Goladus 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they considered at all the effects of lying down?

When I work from home, I love being able to take lie flat on the floor for a bit and rest my back AND legs for a short period.

bh42222 2 days ago 1 reply      
In our field studies of sit-stand workstations we have found little evidence of widespread benefits and users only stand for very short-periods (15 minutes or less total per day). Other studies have found that the use of sit-stand stations rapidly declines so that after 1 month a majority of people are sitting all the time.

While this contradict my personal experience, I do trust the studies.

every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE

I also believe this will no more work than sit-stand workstations. Every 20 minutes, walk to the water fountain or somewhere else for 2 minutes, will turn any large office into a non-stop walkathon. And just like people end up sitting all day with sit-stand desks, people will end up sitting all day with this setup.

I suppose employers could hardwire a loud buzzer to go off every 20 minutes, but I just don't see that happening on any large scale.

Personally I already stand for most of the day, two years after I switched to a sit-stand desk. But I could change from sitting to standing and back every 20 minutes without losing flow. I am not sure I could do it if I had to walk away form the keyboard, even just for 2 minutes. After the third or forth break, I'm guessing I would be out of the zone.

3am 2 days ago 0 replies      
This intuitively makes sense. A lot of you are noting that a sedentary office environment is foreign to a species that has spent most of it time - prior to the last several thousand years - moving in search of food, and use that to critique the article. But I don't see how standing stationarily in one place is any less foreign to the human experience.

While standing might help work additional core muscles, it is not working large leg muscles that are crucial to circulation at the same time that it's increasing stress to the circulatory system.

(For those that don't know, muscle movement is important to the return of blood to the heart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venous_return_curve) in addition to lymphatic circulation (your _other_ circulatory system - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymph#Lymphatic_circulation) )

I could see persistent standing w/o movement stressing arteries because of greater hydrostatic pressure in your legs and increased load on the left ventricle of the heart.

Tichy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another cue to place my twitter bot: http://twitter.com/officeworkout - tweets an exercise every 30 minutes.
Casc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sit down, do your work, drink a lot of water, walk to the bathroom.

Or maybe I just have the bladder of an 8 year old boy?

tluyben2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Everyone seems to use a standing desk to stand, I use a standing desk to walk. Standing still will definitely murder my back, while walking feels comfortable and natural. Long term effects might be bad, but sitting down just feels uncomfortable after a while, even on very good ergonomic chairs.
lojack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone always over thinks it with the whole sit-stand desk. All you need to do is buy a standing desk (I simply adjusted my cubicle) and a tall chair. No adjustment required, sit when you want and stand when you want.
nazgulnarsil 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm looking into getting an inversion table. Has anyone used one of these? all the studies have been on people who already have problems such as ruptured or herniated discs.
Ihavenoname 2 days ago 0 replies      

  Standing in not accepted risk factor for carotid atherosclerosis. There is no shortage of research about the dangers of sitting including obesity which is a risk factor of symptomatic carotid atherosclerosis. Varicose veins wile not very attractive are not considered a serious health problem and are treatable  I would invite the author to quantify the desks with peer reviewed research. The only link was to a 32 person self survey. Not exactly the most reliable form of research.

I would also like to note this is not a peer reviewed article ones does the man have a medical degree and is not qualified to give medical advice. Not staying in one position sitting or standing and increasing your activity level is sound advice. I find the claims that standing is dangerous are surprising and are against everything I learned or read about accepted medical recommendations.

buff-a 2 days ago 3 replies      
Its a shame they didn't discuss walking beyond "it makes it difficult to type". Question: if I can figure out how to type while walking, will that give me the benefits of standing while avoiding the negatives?
nazgulnarsil 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by tight hamstrings and weak posture muscles which are side effects of sitting all day. Weighted barbell squats fix this problem more effectively than anything else I know of. Walking is important, but a strong core is probably even more important for long term back health.
jasonspalace 2 days ago 0 replies      
This study should be taken as an experiment. If those participants had been building up and down for years on end the results would show differently. When I first started to sit then stand, yes tired more easily. But then as years progressed, my own personal hampster wheel exists anywhere and everywhere. The point should be: MOVE YOUR BODY A BALANCED PORTION OF TIME. Personally, when on silly long cycles, I sit stand work dance, building every way. If the beats not cranking, it's a posture focus war from looking down, typically the screen is fixed as I'm either looking slightly up or down at it.
schiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously, replacing a sitting desk with a standing desk is not the answer. The answer is (surprise! surprise!) do pauses after each hour and take 10-15 min. active recreation. Exactly the same as it was in a school or college. It is not about sitting or standing still all day long, it is all about moving!

Most of really good ideas have been discovered long long ago. ^_^

swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
That was expected, due to Nosilverbullet's law...
File Hosting Service Hotfile Sues Warner Bros. For Copyright Fraud and Abuse torrentfreak.com
210 points by scottshea  3 days ago   42 comments top 5
sjs 3 days ago 2 replies      
I generally despise hosting services, with their pages crammed full of ads, obnoxious waiting times, and constant attempts to get you to pay them that all just scream "we hate every last damn one of you so much that we're going to make it as annoying as possible for you to get this file".

Despite all that it's nice to see someone stand up to the content czars.

brown9-2 3 days ago 4 replies      
Two things seem odd about this:

1. It was an automated script from Warner Bros responsible for the abuse of the taketown tool and filing requests for content they don't hold the copyright to.

2. The taketown tool built by Hotfile doesn't require any sort of manual review from any human before the file is taken down.

edit: by "odd" I mean "unexpected"

sdz 3 days ago 4 replies      
For example, while claiming to remove files that are copies of the movie The Box, Warner removed several files related to the alternative cancer treatment book "Cancer: Out Of The Box," by Ty M. Bollinger. Another title deleted by Warner was "The Box that Saved Britain," a production of the BBC, not Warner.

This is really bizarre. Hotfile might technically be right in suing Warner Bros. for pulling content they don't own the rights to, but it's not as if Hotfile had a legitimate claim to having those files on its servers. Those files are copyrighted by someone, and surely the real rights holders would want their intellectual property removed from Hotfile if they knew about it. And now that Hotfile admits knowledge of these files, aren't they compelled to remove them anyway?


Perhaps I should have said ironic instead of bizarre. I don't disagree that there's a legal case here.

BonoboBoner 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Warner proposed to Hotfile an affiliate deal where content that was taken down would be replaced with links to movie stores where users could buy Warner movies."

wow... I thought they were focused on removing the 1-click-hosting-sites, but no, those sites are actually means of driving revenues.

lurchpop 3 days ago 0 replies      
man bites dog
SingleHop Are Cheats charlie.bz
203 points by charliesome  18 hours ago   48 comments top 13
ableal 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I downloaded the first couple dozen megabytes. It's all nulls.

    $ od 500megabytefile.tar.gz 
0000000 000000 000000 000000 000000 000000 000000 000000 000000

(besides not being a .tar.gz, it's not 500 MB either, it's 512 000 000 bytes = 512 MB, or 488 MiB)

SingleHop-Andy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey All,

Andy from SingleHop here. Thought I'd "hop" in to clear some things up.

Everyone was correct in saying that this was an honest mistake, and that the speed test download files were in fact generated with dd and an input file of /dev/zero. We've since corrected this by generating new files using /dev/urandom, and the results are more accurate now.

We were by no means trying to "trick" or "deceive" any customers, or anyone at all. I am personally happy to see the community bring this to light so we could tackle it.

trotsky 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If you go to the testing page (http://www.singlehop.com/why_singlehop/data_center_details.p...) you have two choices for testing locations - downtown leads to https and goes fast, but elk grove leads to http and is uncompressed.

Given how easy it would be to get caught doing this (the https download makes chrome claim 40mbps over a T1) I think it's more likely this was accidental.

shabble 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm reminded of a story about trolls back in the bbs/early internet days creating zip files of several gigs worth of zeroes or other trivially compressible data.

They could then upload a very small payload, and DoS the server through filling it's disk when it tried to decompress it all (when disks were measured in 10s of MB, if you were rich).

Pretty much the opposite of this trick.

rmc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The are cheating too well. By having a massve speed increase (45MB/sec) they are immediately raising warning flags, and asking to be caught out.
DrJokepu 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I would be hesitant to attribute this to malice; it easily could be a honest mistake by an inexperienced employee.
john-n 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Off topic but...This story has rekindled my dislike for re-targeting in online ads. Having visited singlehop this morning, I'v spent half the day with blue singlehop boxes glaring at me.
mschonfeld 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny thing is - as a VPS hosting solution, they're actually pretty decent... If this is intentional, and I do believe it is, its border line genius. Way to go for catching this.
Cymen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
One reason to use SSL is to avoid any intermediary caching servers. I hope those days are gone but some providers might still use them. Data retrieved via SSL would avoid the local cache and be more accurate. So perhaps this was one of the factors in the decision to use SSL. The decision to turn on compression could have been completely separate.
flashmob 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been with Singlehop since they started, and I have had no complaints whatsoever! I always see them as a great little startup run by friendly and innovative people who worked honestly very hard to get their business to the current level.
I find it hard to believe that they did this intentionally - it would be too easy to get caught. It is really disappointing to see such harsh criticism - can I ask if the author of the article checked with Singlehop first before making such an outlandish accusation?

Edit: Fine, down-vote this all you like, but my comment still stands.

cvander 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Good discovery. Let's see if they change the practice or if you get more webhosting companies to notice.
rshm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think @charliesome is not even a customer with single hop. If he was instead of showing what isn't, he could have easily created that test files and checked the correct one. It's very unfair to mark people as Cheat forever at the first encounter.

I am using 3 singlehop's dedicated servers for more than 2 years. They are small group of people who pick their phone at the middle of night to assist you with your pet projects.

Show HN: Hacker News Mobile - A fast and readable mobile HN website gethifi.com
199 points by JoelSutherland  1 day ago   57 comments top 24
JoelSutherland 1 day ago 5 replies      
I started on this Tuesday after work. Because of some great APIs that are available, it really came together quickly. Most of the credit goes to this one in particular:


It's all JS/client-side templating. Ask any questions if you have them. It works great as a Shortcut app on the iPhone.

edit: Lots of requests for a back button -- I'll be sure to add that!

petercooper 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been working on a HN-esque design for a non HN site and had taken a similar approach with using favicons as this variant does. I think the icons really help and also assist with identification (of, say, TechCrunch articles.. whether you do or don't want to read them). What do people make of their use in this project?
genieyclo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks great, I'll try it out. I've been using iHackernews.com for awhile and to my knowledge pretty much every other hacker news app out there uses their api as well. They had a problem where they were always having 502 errors when you clicked on comments for a post for awhile, but this seems to have been fixed in the last couple of weeks or something.
jemeshsu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry I don't get it. Isn't http://ihackernews.com already the mobile version of HN? The site where you get the API.
crenshaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work on IE5 mobile. :-) (I did actually try though)
DougWebb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice. I created something like this that was text-only back in my Blackberry days, but when I switched to Android and jQueryMobile came out I enhanced my site to its current state: http://webbindustries.com/cgi-bin/myfeeds.cgi

It's old school: perl mirroring the RSS feed and writing out simple html markup for jQueryMobile to format. It supports a bunch of other feeds too (I used to read more than just HN this way) and it switches to a nice multi-column format on larger devices.

grisha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice. I read HN from my iPhone a lot, and it's mobile version would be very handy.

However, using this, I quickly realised that original design has some advantages (though, maybe it is just habit issues). Usually I scan frontpage fast for new highrated entries to read first, and having 10 entries on screen in time is more suited for this. With 4 it's just another experience. I feel that I need more time to find something interesting.

Maybe you can improve this, for example, indicating rating with color or size of rating digits.

johnbatch 1 day ago 2 replies      

  Rats! There has been an Error. This application depends on a number of external APIs,  sometimes they don't always work. When this happens, your best bet is to reload.

Happens on a few of the comment links

looks like the same thing happens on ihackernews
- http://ihackernews.com/comments/3001808
- http://hn.gethifi.com/#/comments/3001808

JoshTriplett 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks impressive. Planning to support logging in and commenting/voting?
bobbywilson0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this better than both of the native apps I have tried for android. Not only is it a more intuitive UI for me it is also very snappy. Good work.
Omnipresent 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really good work. Would love a blog post breaking down how you went on doing everything.
sktrdie 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I especially like the textual version of the link. This will be helpful on my mobile device, where I pay for connectivity, loading only what is important is great.
ericmsimons 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really cool! It doesn't work on WP7 though (which doesn't matter too much, because most people don't have a WP7 device)
budu3 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Can I vote on stories?
mwsherman 1 day ago 0 replies      
What are you using for the 鈥淭ext鈥 version? RSS or are you parsing the source HTML?
ga2arch 1 day ago 0 replies      
you could try use my hn scraper written in python to overcome the api errors.

https://github.com/ga2arch/py-hackernews/blob/master/hn.py it's not good code, but it does its job, i have successfully run it for 48+ hours with no crash ( at least the previous revision :D ))

if you need help just send me an email =)

Awesome work =)

bgarbiak 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only thing missing is a back button placed somewhere inside the page (so it can be used as a full screen app on iPhone).
cantbecool 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your site is similar to http://www.icombinator.net/
windexh8er 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome UI! Was working great and then the API errors started in. This easily replaces all of the crappy Android apps for HN.
thoradam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Works great in the stock Android browser, but it's stuck on "Loading" in Opera on Android. Then again . . Opera on Android seems to mess up every other site.
aDemoUzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
My skin for HackerNews http://harpb.com/Hack3rNews/
Raphael 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great! Would you please make the Next Page button full width?
sportsTAKES 1 day ago 0 replies      
Outstanding -
trusko 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice work. Thanks.
MongoDB 2.0 Released mongodb.org
197 points by meghan  4 days ago   76 comments top 6
nirvana 4 days ago  replies      
I'm curious as to why MongoDB is so popular. I chose Riak, and my purpose here isn't to bash Mongo, but to understand what was the key feature that made you choose it?

Is it pure speed on a single machine? Is it the query interface? Something else? Datacenter awareness? Geographic support?

The key features that made me choose riak:
- built in distribution/clustering with homogenous nodes
- bitcask had the level of reliability/design that I was looking for.
- better impedance match for what I was doing than CouchDB (which was what I looked at before choosing riak, but couch does view generation when data is added and I need to be able to do it more dynamically.)

What sold you on Mongo? What would you most like to improve?

(Please don't let this be a debate, I'm more interested in understanding the NoSQL market, what other developers priorities are, etc.)

kennu 4 days ago 6 replies      
I think I speak for everybody here when I say that 1.8 + 0.2 = 1.10.
samrat 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm interested in learning more about MongoDB so that I can use it for web apps. But some comments I've heard about it(especially here https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/WQYLkopE...) seemed to discourage its use. Can someone explain to me why it is "criticized by academics"? And what its pros/cons are?
foobarbazetc 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have no idea how anyone who's ever read the mongodb source code can entrust it with their data.
Deutscher 4 days ago 1 reply      
A few months ago, I saw an online interactive 'trainer' of sorts for MongoDB, much like Codecademy's JS tutorials. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

EDIT: Damn Google, you good: http://www.mongly.com/

deleo 4 days ago 0 replies      
A bump like that should be for backward incompatible changes but it actually looks like a makeover to appeal more to serious biz customers that would have trouble getting on to a 1.0 technology.
Kendo UI - a framework for modern HTML UI kendoui.com
196 points by fbnt  4 days ago   89 comments top 24
zedshaw 4 days ago 5 replies      
If you take away how this looks, and start digging into the project from a beginner's perspective, this project is awful. I find this with most of the supposed "UI frameworks" out there for HTML. With a few exceptions, they mostly lack:

1. Good documentation that doesn't just define the framework, but teaches you how to use it and get stuff done with it. Code already defines what it is, your docs should tell me why it's this way and how to use it. In Kendo UI they've got a list of dependencies for javascript projects they need, then a few code snippets with no explanation as to why or how they work.

2. Good sample code, in a full complete project you can download, with documentation on getting it up and running. Your first sample code is how everyone will write code using your project. If you've got bad samples, poor formatting, and weird file layouts (or none), then that's what everyone will write and that's what you'll be known for.

3. Examples that gradually increase in complexity. Start off with a simple hello world, graduate to a chat app or something simple, and get them to a full blown large application. In this Kendo example they've got a demo picture viewer, with no explanation for how it was built, and viewing the source it looks like a huge mess.

4. Humor. These kinds of documentation are boring as hell, especially if you're just defining everything. It doesn't have to be insanely hilarious, but at least throw a few little funny tidbits in the code. Even the great tech books of our time have tiny little jokes for the people who pay attention.

5. Finally, these frameworks rarely have a "theme". MVC is a theme. Convention over configuration is a theme. There's only one way to do it. There's more than one way to do it. Themes work to help people keep the script for why everything works the way it does in their head.

It's too bad because this looks really good, and it could be the most awesome thing on the planet. But if I can't figure it out even if I want to, then I'm never going to try.

Finally, none of what I wrote above applies if your project is for fun and not meant to be a "product".

goodside 4 days ago 5 replies      
Note: You cannnot use this library on your web site. The licensing agreement forbids you from redistributing the library, whether or not it's minified. It further states, "You are not allowed to integrate the Software into end products or use it for any commercial or productive purpose." So private deployment is out too. It's strictly for your own evaluation and amusement.


Have fun with that.

[Edit: Their web site has conflicting information in the FAQ. See below.]

[Edit: Updated link. Thanks pakitan.]

dgreensp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hate to jump on the negative bandwagon, but... I had a momentary hope for something truly novel, but found the usual aggregation of data-binding framework, templating language, and widget kit, where the widgets have various bugs/quirks that make them undesirable to use as is.
kls 4 days ago 1 reply      
The question I am asking myself right now is how did this project make it to the top slot of HN. It seems to be a re-hash of some standard frameworks, some bad documentation, some buggy widgets and be backed by a largish vendor. I hate to say it, but it reeks of a voting ring.
forgotusername 4 days ago 0 replies      
Demo pages are completely broken for keyboard navigation (try tabbing or activating the accordion widget). Wake me up when the hard stuff is actually working (accessibility!
WayneDB 4 days ago 8 replies      
I apologize in advance if this opinion offends anyone, but every HTML UI kit that I've seen simply can't hold a candle to native kits such as WinForms, WPF or even Cocoa. I would really love a write-once browser based solution, but I just can't see that type of solution ever catching up to native tech.

How long do we have to wait before the browser can catch up? Do you think it will ever happen?

The closest thing that I've ever seen is Silverlight. With it I've been able to make some very excellent front-ends, with EASE, that look and behave identically between Mac and Windows. EDIT: The only challenge with Silverlight has been wheel-scrolling, which works fine on Windows but only works in Out-Of-Browser on the Mac.

TrevorBurnham 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'd seriously consider using this, just because of the stagnancy of jQuery UI. It's a massive project with hundreds of long-open tickets (despite thousands of dollars spent on incentivizing developers over the summer through http://rewardjs.com/). 1.8 was released in March of 2010, and the last milestone release for 1.9 was back in May.

To be fair, a lot of jQuery UI's development headaches come from supporting IE6, while Kendo only touts its support for IE7+...

trb 4 days ago 2 replies      
Using Chrome13 on Ubuntu, when I try to use the Drag&Drop Demo, the draggable element jumps to the lower right corner of the mouse cursor.

In the slider demo, rapidly clicking multiple times on the left or right arrow to increase/decrease the value fires a doubleclick event, highlighting most of the text on the site.

In the window demo, the mouse cursor does not change when I hover over the title bar, although the window is draggable.

It's these little details that scare me off. When I use a framework, I want it to take care of everything. If I have to add css classes for the mouse cursor or fix element positioning, I'd just build what I need myself.

lean 4 days ago 2 replies      
Seems like an obvious FAQ would be, "How does this compare to jQuery UI?".
sunchild 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've learned from experience to run away from these kinds of UI kits. I always end up hacking around their shortcomings (e.g., tokenized inputs with autocomplete, etc.)

This one does seem to have a nice, compact, intelligible stylesheet, though 鈥" big improvement over jQuery UI there.

stoph 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm having a hard time nailing down what the killer features are here. For example, I saw that they advertise drag-and-drop with support for touch devices, but I couldn't even find the drag and drop demo on the site.
wavephorm 4 days ago 0 replies      
It actually looks pretty good and would save you a ton of time rather than trying to build some of these widgets yourself.

But are people willing to buy a framework like this? Or is everyone just using JQuery UI and leaving it at that?

pbreit 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem I have with this and JQueryUI is that both are still too stylized such that they don't lend themselves well to being integrated into an existing design. And the JqueryUI themeroller doesn't help much. YUI probably does the best job of being generic enough to utilize broadly.
dillon 4 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't say if jQuery UI is better or this is better, honestly seems they are just different. Even if Kendo UI is faster I have never had a speed issue with jQuery UI (not speaking for everyone, just, I personally have never had a speed issue).
scotty79 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aeroviewr button borders look ugly in Chrome and on Samsung Galaxy S also arrow on play button is of center.

Dragging on SGS shows circular dragged object as if dragged by left top corner of bounding box.

ayanb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Has anybody downloaded this yet? I see three css files and one minified js. What is the total size of all three of these?
snorkel 4 days ago 1 reply      
Nice but decent upload widgets these days include support for drop-zone uploading.
sgt 4 days ago 1 reply      
It looks pretty good. Good UX and well designed, and I see that it's based on jQuery. That's useful for many reasons, e.g. you can least pull jQuery from a CDN.
youngtaff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let's hope the code produced by the controls is better than the code Telerik's CMS generates...
notb 4 days ago 1 reply      
For some reason, in Chrome 13 on OS X, some of the UI animations cause the browser view to go black for a second and redraw. Not sure if this is just a Chrome bug but it's really obnoxious and means I won't use it until it's smoother.
twog 4 days ago 1 reply      
We arent far away from being able to copy and paste beautiful front-end designs.
ereckers 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a bit off the topic of your actual framework, but as far as branding, I love your logo. Do you mind sharing the person/company that designed it for you?
alphadogg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Needs a lot more baking.

For web apps built now, I use ExtJS. The newest release has been a little too buggy, but they are working hard to make it better.

secoif 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm always put off when a framework doesn't get straight down to the code/usage examples. Down with meta bloat.
Show HN: Final Touch finaltouchapp.com
186 points by ThomPete  3 days ago   117 comments top 38
ThomPete 3 days ago 7 replies      
Hello HN peeps.

I would like to invite you to a little experiment.

I have created probably the smallest niche app on the mac app store and I would like you to help me sell and optimize the marketing around it.

Now you might think, "who does this guy think he is? 鈥" doesn't he know I have my own business to run?" and you are right it would be unfair to just ask you to help me market my product.

So instead I would like to offer you something in return:

Each month I am going to post all the numbers and the learnings. But more importantly each month you can post suggestions to improvements and strategies and each month those with the highest number of votes will get implemented (within reason of course)

It is my hope that this will be a case study for people to learn from before they venture out into spending money and time on something similar themselves or for people who find this stuff interesting.

The product is done in the spirit of the small butique network weekendhacker.net I started in May So far have +6100 members and have had 150 projects through and is still going strong. And the things I learned from members of the HN community have been invaluable.

Now this is of course just an experiment. Maybe I will break even, maybe I won't. Maybe I will have to cancel it within a couple of months. But none the less I am certain it will both be informative and fun.

Oh and yes you can move the slider on the webpage :)

So what do you think the first round of improvements should be?

0x12 3 days ago 2 replies      
As for all these people bitching about the price of this app: If you think it is worth less than the value that it represents to you then you should go and re-create this app and sell it at a lower price point rather than telling the original developer to lower his price. Be sure to publish your figures.

If you find that $16 is less than the value you'd extract from the app then you should probably buy it.

Of course he can lower the price later, just not all at once, but I'd be more interested in the same story at a different pricepoint with another useful app.

A couple of those and the data would become very valuable.

The fact that people are buying the app just by browsing the app store means that he's at least in the ballpark, the 'ideal' price is something that you can only determine experimentally, not by responding to whining about the price.

danielh 3 days ago 1 reply      
A great idea, both the app and this post!

Unless the unobstrusiveness is the main selling point, I would drop "A small unobtrusive app that allows you to" from the description and just go with "Achieve unrivaled precision with your mouse". You could list the fact that it is unobstrusive further below.

paraschopra 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you need to A/B test any of the ideas proposed here (or in future), we'd love to offer you a free subscription to Visual Website Optimizer http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com Just contact me paras {at} wingify {dot} com

As for ideas, here are mine:

* If you want to generate traffic, there are some long tail terms that can get you traffic. Try writing some articles on keywords "best mouse for photoshop", "best photoshop mouse", "magic mouse photoshop" or "mouse for photoshop" (Have these terms in title, headline and link them from homepage with this anchor text). Promote your app on these specific articles.

* Contact Smashing Magazine and other design magazines and offer them 3 free licenses to award to their readers.

* Tweet prominent designers to try out your app

* Landing page tip: show a small video demonstrating how to use your app and what results can be gotten.

Good luck with your initiative. Very excited to see this experiment.

anateus 3 days ago 4 replies      
Good luck. A small comment: "precision speed" is a slightly misleading term, especially when combined with a percentage measurement."Mouse speed" or "Movement speed" or just "Precision" are best? If the latter, then you can just invert the bar (i.e. 100% precision is super slow movement). As it is now, without reading the description on the website there is no intuitive selection for the user (much as with your "key mode" drop down).
pxlpshr 3 days ago 7 replies      
15.99 is too expensive, IMO, but I guess you can make that decision based on sales data. I would experiment with 4.99.

Something else a lot of people don't realize is that mouse acceleration is turned on in OSX and it's 'impossible' to disable without an app like USB Overdrive. Mouse accel is terrible for gaming -- especially FPS. I would add this feature to your product and call it out.

n9com 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great app, but you need to drop the price to below $8 - I think this will help you maximise revenue. (based on my experience of having several top 50 apps on the mac app store over the past few months).
systemtrigger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Breathtaking design. Minor suggestions...

Tighten the headline: "Instantly change your mouse precision."

On the Support page: 1) respell "Suppport" 2) add a space to "FinalTouchsupport" 3) shorten "Adobe CS1 [...]" to "Adobe CS3+" and 4) drop the ".php"

biturd 3 days ago 0 replies      
There was a time a few years back where I put in a tremendous amount of time to locate a developer that could make a Mac OS X mouse drive.

Apparently, from talking to a few people, it is a hard thing to do.

I tried to buy USBoverdrive, as it is rather poorly supported, there are long standing repeatable bugs that support often times will not even reply to. It used to be bundled with MacAlly Mice.

I find the driver software for high end mouses to be terrible for your system, and often don't work well. For me, it is not about all the features, the buttons that you can define and macros.

I needed two features, one not as important, the other a must have.

Chording - it would be nice, not many think it can be done well. I tend to think it could be done well and someone should give it a try.

Where all mouse driver software stands still, and I wonder how you are working this out, is in the acceleration/ballistic curve.

I always wanted a way in USBoverdrive to hit a hot key and have a second definition of settings kick in so I could accomplish exactly what your app is doing.

However, without trying your app, I can't be sure it won't do anything more than just slow it down. Slowing it down is not all that there is to making this truly awesome.

Personally, I like to be able to move the mouse about an inch, maybe two, and have it travel the spam of ~24" display. But only if I do so rather fast. If I slow my movement down, I want to span a much lesser distance, with more precision. Current software on the market can't do this. You may get one aspect right, but end up with a mouse that is jittery and the smallest movement it can make is around 10px.

Or, you get it so that it will make a smooth 1px movement, but you have to pick up, place, drag, repeat... the actual mouse to ever get across the screen.

Is there any way to define this in your software? What curve are you using to change this? How in the heck were you able to access and over-ride Apple's built in mouse curve?

csomar 3 days ago 2 replies      
My two year old, $19, Microsoft mouse has already this with the software it come with. I don't mean to discourage you, but I think you spent more time on the design and execution than developing the software itself.

$19 is a lot of money for a simple thing like that. It's the price of a mouse + a software that customize many things for it (buttons, speed...). However, the niche is interesting. I'll be glad to pay $30 for a software that improves my mouse precision.

jarofgreen 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have a mac, but nice idea :-)

Feedback: Key mode 1 or 2? Whatever happened to nice labels that don't require looking up in a manual, like "hold" and "toggle"?

latitude 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you at all checked if graphic designers need this sort of functionality? I tinker with pixel perfect designs quite extensively and zooming in is the way to get more precision out of mouse. Few designers on Dribbble posted videos showing how they work and this use pattern - zoom-in, tweak, zoom-out - is so engraved into their work style that I am having hard time imagining why they would switch. Also, consider the fact that even if the mouse is moving slower, the pixels are not getting bigger. In other words, increasing mouse precision does not remove the need for zooming in. Especially on larger screens.

So there you have it :) Great app, very well done website, but I think ultimately the niche is not just small, it is also very oddly shaped.

(edit) Perhaps repackaging the app and re-aiming it at gamers (as others suggested) would be a thing to try. Though on the other hand many gaming mice come with a hardware button toggling the deceleration.

ww520 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice website design and nice experiment. I hate to rain on the parade but most OS have implemented Precision Booster to exponentially slow down the mouse to allow precise control of the mouse pointer, and also they have implemented Mouse Keys to allow moving the pointer one pixel at a time by pressing keys.

Hopefully your app can create differentiation. Good luck.

ra 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice. How did you arrive at that price point?
snsr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Handy, especially as I've moved to using touchpads most of the time. Seems like this should be a part of the OS itself. Site design is very clean.


- Web demo slider doesn't work in Safari 5.0.4, neither do any of the toggles, though cursor:pointer indicates that they should. Twitter dialog has a lower z-index than the precision slider handle.

- Why keep the strikethrough higher price? Seems to cheapen percieved value.

rubergly 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the menubar popover UI. What did you use to create that?
AndyJPartridge 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would buy this if the price was lower.

Perhaps around $7.99, to make it 拢5 in the UK, more or less.

Fantastic idea, fantastic site. Well done.

maneesh 3 days ago 1 reply      
you should create an affiliate link (if you can) and let us try to sell it for you, get a cut.
mootothemax 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is one possible angle to sell this to people not using their regular equipment and going mad using a crappy mouse or so on?

I know that I'm not the target audience, but when forced to use someone else's computer for a few days, things like this have briefly driven me mad :)

xutopia 3 days ago 0 replies      
How did you decide upon your price point?
colinhowe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool looking app. Passed it on to some designer friends.

I think the price point is probably right - a lot of Apple products are expensive and I believe the Apple owner mindset makes these folks more willing to part with their cash for good things.

mapleoin 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can't you just buy a mouse which has a dedicated dpi switcher button for basically the same amount of cash?
Jem 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tweeted about it for ya - have a small amount of designy followers who might be interested.

Design is well done - polished and shiny, kinda how I sum up a mac (I say this as a non-mac user). Kudos.

Hyena 3 days ago 2 replies      
The price seems incredibly high, sales would probably be better at a lower price point. I would think that you would benefit more from an "impulse purchase" price vis-a-vis a professional utility price.
random42 3 days ago 0 replies      
May be a nit-pick, but please consider having a favicon on the website.
elisee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a neat app!

The tooltip on "Support" says "Got problems. We got solutions". You might want to turn that dot into a question mark. Also, the support page has 3 P in Support at the top

bruceboughton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is your mode switch a slider between 1 and 2?
conradr 3 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for the design and what everyone else have said. I would lower the price to something like 拢3 - 拢4 and don't create the illusion that the app has been discounted. It tells me you've tried to sell it and it didn't work. Now you're lowering the price creating an "Is the app any good?" mentality.
ig1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't most of your target group be using a graphics tablet for precision ?
denysonique 3 days ago 0 replies      
To make it more appealing I would turn the widget on the website into a real demo in the browser which would slow the mouse pointer down using JavaScript.
The user could experience the awesomeness of your app before purchasing.
cosjef 3 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps create a short video or animation that shows the problem, and how FinalTouch solves it. Put a short one on your landing page, and a longer one (with audio) on youtube.
blparker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea. I seen it initially on Forrst. I'm interested by the fact that you plan on being transparent about the numbers. Where do you plan on posting these figures?
mittermayr 3 days ago 0 replies      
A video or a menu item where I can click and actually see how this improves what I have right now would be all I need to try it out - didn't see that?
massarog 3 days ago 0 replies      
When rolling over precision speed and the tooltip comes up, 'become' needs to be changed to 'becomes'.
unkoman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Give Macheist a call. It's a pretty sweet way to get attention.
superfamicom 3 days ago 0 replies      
SteerMouse does this as well, and much, much more, from the mouse itself, it's $20 http://plentycom.jp/en/steermouse/index.html
mahcuz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is the 庐 necessary?
shoham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice!
       cached 17 September 2011 04:11:01 GMT