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Academics should stop doing free peer-review for non-open-access journals. timeshighereducation.co.uk
536 points by MikeTaylor  2 days ago   88 comments top 12
CJefferson 2 days ago  replies      
I really like this idea. It has a major strength as a boycott -- it just involves me refusing to do work which I would not have been paid to do anyway. It was never going to be possible to convince people to boycott submitting papers to top journals, as that would damage their career and standing.

I also think journals as they currently stand serve an important purpose, of quality control. They are not perfect, but I have nightmares where the future of publication is just arXiv, or worse a wikipedia-style "the research anyone can edit". I'm not saying these don't have an important place, but I also want a way for the best papers to get exposure, and I think our current system is about the best way of doing that.

kia 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is kind of chicken-and-egg problem. Today most established journals with high impact factors (= prestigious) are non-open-access. Publishing in or being a reviewer of a high impact factor non-open-access journal looks much better in a resume of a scientist than publishing in non-prestigious open-access journal.

For an open-access journal to become prestigious it needs high quality contributions. But at the same time an author of some important discovery will more likely to publish it in some high prestigious non-open-access journal. Of course for tenured faculty members it is not such a big problem because they have a secured position. But for their apprentices not having high impact publications may become a problem in their future career. And while tenured adviser may force a postdoc to publish in an open-access journal most of them will not likely do this because they understand that this puts members of his/her lab in a bad position compared to competing scientists.

I think that well known scientists should make the first move here and to start publishing in open-access journals. Their work has a lot of traction and will not suffer from being published in some not-so-well-known open-access journal. On the other hand this will help open-access journals to start building reputation.

alttag 2 days ago 4 replies      
Although I'm in favor of open access journals for a handful of reasons, I think there are a couple of things working against the idea:

First, handling fees. As someone starting out in the field, there are a great number of journals that advertise (read:spam), and have handling fees. It feels very much like a scam, or a system were "success" can be bought.

Second, as one commenter on the article suggests, with a handling fee, the publisher is incentivized to print more. (There's an undercurrent of complain in my field that there isn't enough quality publication space, so this is two-sided, but is the cost of more outlets a lowering in quality?) However, with a subscription model, the quality must remain high to keep subscribers. (One might also argue that "closed" publishers want to print as much as possible to give more authors' schools reason to subscribe, but I don't know the level of this effect.)

Third, on a more personal level, living as a doctoral student"more particularly, with the budget of a doctoral student"even nominal costs can seem overwhelming. I don't see my institution covering "handling fees" in the near future, particularly with the amount of cost-cutting going on. The fees are less onerous for faculty, but present a slightly higher barrier for student entrants.

guelo 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like it should be governments who fund the publishing and peer review services, they are already funding most of the research. Having private corporations as middle-men just doesn't make sense, even if they are non-profits.
Uchikoma 2 days ago 1 reply      
I let you in on a secret: In many research institutions the people that "do" peer-review don't do the review, they delegate the reviews to their underlings who are not in a position to refuse.
shaggyfrog 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of the reasons academics do peer review is to put it on their CV/evaluations that universities do to evaluate the amount of academic work they do. Voluntarily declining offers to do peer review would therefore have a negative effect on that person's ability to retain their job. (I'm talking about those without tenure, mainly.)

One solution would be for universities taking stands like this is to somehow "give credit" to their academics who are asked to do peer review for non-open-access journals.

regehr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a CS professor and for the last several years have refused almost every review request from a non-ACM/IEEE journal.

I'm also an associate editor of an ACM journal and often have a very hard time getting people to review submissions. My sense is that a lot of my peers have simply stopped doing (most) journal reviews at all.

A person can be totally overloaded just doing conference reviews, which are a lot more fun anyway. The papers are shorter and (at a good conference) the papers are a lot better than journal submissions.

jedbrown 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of conventional journals have an open access option available to the author for a fee (usually for about $3000). What about offering a no-cost upgrade after reviewing some number of papers for the journal?
brador 2 days ago 3 replies      
I love how this all came about because of a criminal action. No amount of protesting or discussion was succesful. Would it ever have been succesful? Possibly, but unlikely. However, the second we see some illegal activity (the guy from MIT who downloaded the JSTOR articles from that server), suddenly Pandoras box has opened and we see real change, real disruption and fast.

Does this justify his actions? Is the only way to disrupt entranched business to conduct borderline actions? Effectively pushing boundaries to the very limits of legality?.

Either way, this is the concept of "tipping point" in action folks.

jkic47 2 days ago 1 reply      
Since most reviewers are probably from Universities or Companies, it is likely that their employment contract prohibits them from doing professional work not associated with their current job. It should be fairly simple for these Universities and Companies to start enforcing this and take away the supply of qualified reviewers from Journals that lock up knowledge.
eeeerrrr 2 days ago 2 replies      
So why is the idea that science publishing should be free attributed more intellectual weight than the idea that music should be free, or movies, or software? I mean, we get it, everybody loves free stuff.
FranklinVallen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a lovely idea but I'm afraid it's a pipe dream. Boycotts don't change profitable practices. (And there is little enough profit in academic publishing to begin with!) The author's heart is in the right place but his head is in the clouds. Too bad.
Hey Google, I want my cache links back jacquesmattheij.com
506 points by vijaydev  3 days ago   172 comments top 36
jannes 3 days ago 4 replies      
Just google for


and it will take you directly to the cached site. This is particularly nice in combination with Chrome's omnibar where you just have to prepend "cache:" before the current URL, hit return, and it will automatically show the cached version of the page you are viewing.

guelo 3 days ago 11 replies      
Another thing that has been annoying me lately is that it seems like like I have to add a + in front of every word or Google might decide without any indication that it will completely ignore it.
wgx 3 days ago  replies      
The OP raises a wider point:

  For the longest time google made good on their promise to keep their search page simple and easy to use.
Now, bit by bit the search page is getting more filled up with cruft that you don't need and stuff that you do need gets removed.

I am getting a hunch (just a vague feeling) that we might be approaching a time where a new, simpler search experience would pick up a lot of users - maybe amongst us HN/early adopters?

Matt_Cutts 3 days ago 1 reply      
If it makes people feel better, I just spent around an hour debating the points from this discussion in my office with other people who work on Google's search UI and search quality.

P.S. If people want to leave examples, for example "If I do the search ["society of spectacles"] I get a result which doesn't have that phrase," I'm happy to pass that to people here to debug.

wladimir 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't agree this is necessarily bad. Arguably, "view cache" is a feature for power-users that know what they're doing.

Moving the cache link into that pop-up did simplify the user interface in the most common case, in which the user just wants to view the real link. It no longer has to be rendered for every result.

IMO it just takes some getting used to that the cache link has been moved. Or are you viewing pages from cache that regularly that the extra clicks/mouse moves are a problem?

jen_h 3 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't realize they'd hidden cached pages this way...but here's a data point on human behavior that may be non-optimal for Google:

So, yesterday, I searched for something on Google, found what I wanted, went to click Cache and it wasn't there.

I didn't think to go mousing over the page...I instead did what any red-blooded search engine user in a hurry would do: I copied the URL, pasted it into Bing, and viewed cache from there. 0_o

ars 3 days ago 2 replies      
This does not bode well for the employees at google. You get extra features like this (instant preview) when you have too much manpower - you look for things for your employees to do.

But if your customers don't want it, and you can't find anything else for them to do then you start reducing the workforce.

haasted 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another thing I find more annoying with the recent changes is that previously visited links are not marked as such any longer. When searching for the solution to a problem, it is quite nice to easily know which pages have already been visited using a different search query.
acabal 3 days ago 1 reply      
I thought I was going crazy when I realized the cache links were gone... good to know I wasn't the only one and that they're still there, though hidden (I never click on the preview arrows).
zobzu 3 days ago 2 replies      
i too dislike the previews.
there's a few things that i find useful tho:

- timeline

- image search

- cache (when it was there and working. lately, it didnt work aka it tries to fetch from the server and if its down, which is what i often use cache for, then it fails)

hum, well thats it.

special search commands used to be cool but they don't work so well now (i mean the filetype stuff and all). and the rest are just bloated reactions to "bing fear" or something

meow 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't noticed this till now and now I'm shocked. I hated the preview so much that I had to use a custom stylish addon script for firefox to block the annoying thing. Now that the cache is moved to preview, I'm stuck between getting annoyed with preview again or losing the cache links :(. I just don't understand what they were trying to solve with all these changes...
decklin 3 days ago 0 replies      

    .vspii {
display: none !important;

Will hide the buttons that display the "preview" thing when you mouse over them.

0xABADC0DA 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think they're trying to make their interface look exactly like Bing so the only way Microsoft can compete is by having better search results.

You guys at HN probably don't check out Bing very much, but many of the UI changes in Google were in Bing first... hover over a search result to show more info on the side, image search with just images (details when you hover), infinite scroll on image search, background image on main search page, etc.

soitgoes 3 days ago 1 reply      
I mainly went to the cache link. Getting easy access to the highlighted search terms was so useful.
mwexler 3 days ago 1 reply      
The iPad "Tablet" Google results experience has removed them completely, no instant preview, no "hidden" swipe-to-expose (that I could find). You have to go to the "classic" version, via a link on the bottom of the page, to get them back.

The classic version? It's the one we used to have: no instant preview, Cache link present on almost every listing.

So, at least on some platforms, the info-dense but useful version is sill around...

JonnieCache 3 days ago 0 replies      
Easily solved with this chrome extension which gives you a dropdown with links to the google cache, as well as The Internet Archive, Yahoo Cache, MSN cache(Bing Cache), CoralCDN, Gigablast, and WebCite.


or, as others have said, just google for cache:<url>

apakian 3 days ago 0 replies      
"For the longest time google made good on their promise to keep their search page simple and easy to use. Now, bit by bit the search page is getting more filled up with cruft that you don't need and stuff that you do need gets removed."

I completely agree with this...

pasbesoin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm just getting fucking sick of it. This includes supporting a number of "normal" users on Google products. Of course, my/our opinion doesn't count. Nonetheless, Google UI and support (cough) are now actively pushing me away.
huhtenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's a minor annoyance compared to the changes they made to the search logic. I noticed lately that way too frequently now the first result page contains irrelevant junk unless I resort to using quotes. And even then quoted words appear to be mangled and ignored at will.

Complained about it too here, about a month ago, which is when it appears to have started -

fatalerrorx3 3 days ago 0 replies      
If the feature wasn't widely used I'm sure that's the reason for it's disappearance...Google has a tendency to make decisions by the numbers, if they don't see engagement with certain features, they get the axe rather quickly
illdave 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the things he mentions here is that some sites don't have a cached link at all - it may be because they're explicitly telling Google not to cache the page. You can do that using the noarchive tag, which looks like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noarchive" />

altrego99 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not to mention the annoying +1 button after each link. I don't want to +1 unless I visited it, and I don't mind taking the extra step of sharing if I found a webpage interesting!
machrider 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with the author, but a convenient workaround is to use a bookmarklet: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/07/useful-google-bookm...
dshearmur 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was bored so wrote some JS to put the links back. Only works in chrome.

As a userscript:

Or as a bookmarklet:
javascript:(function(){var c=document.querySelectorAll('a[href*="webcache.googleusercontent.com"]');for(var a=0,b;b=c[a];a++){b.parentElement.parentElement.parentElement.parentElement.querySelector("h3.r").parentElement.insertBefore(b)}})()

zackattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Search is just one of those things where power users will always rule, because in an information economy whoever has best access to information becomes dominant, and the copycats follow in order to keep up. So a search engine has to cater to power users.
pclark 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used the cache links purely because it hilighted my search terms, just me?
ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
brianobush 3 days ago 0 replies      
I often use cache links instead of going to the actual site since it was faster and your search terms were highlighted in the document. Now it takes a bit of work to get to the cache link.
alain94040 3 days ago 0 replies      
To be fair, I suspect that the cache link was used by 0.1% of all users. Even I almost never use it, and I am likely to be a power user.
sifi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just noticed it yesterday (or maybe the day before).

It is really a bummer when you are used to going to a website to use their feature and the feature isn't there anymore.

lwhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google implement AB testing don't they. They'll probably be back tomorrow - don't worry.
Daps0l 3 days ago 0 replies      
i also dislike the previews :'(
and the cached link was nice and easy, now an annoying extra click, etc. Why oh why?


quellhorst 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is Google being dumbed down for the average user.
itsnotvalid 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mine is still here.

(Just don't get me wrong, what I really miss is the "Related" link)

VinceWilliams 3 days ago 0 replies      
Install the Hide Google Instant Previews Userscript in Greasemonkey: http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/90222

Replace one line of code with this:

var css = ".vspib {display: none;} .vshid {display: inline; margin-left:7px;}";

You'll get "cache" and "similar" links back.

Thanks, bitmap.

sbierwagen 3 days ago 0 replies      

  Now that's a pretty dumb move. If it isn't broken *please* 
don't fix it.


Does his blog software not allow him to italicize text?

Introducing Amazon Silk amazonsilk.wordpress.com
420 points by sant0sk1  3 days ago   176 comments top 45
moxiemk1 3 days ago 6 replies      
"Silk browser software resides both on Kindle Fire and on the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). With each page request, Silk dynamically determines a division of labor between the mobile hardware and Amazon EC2 (i.e. which browser sub-components run where) that takes into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity and the location of any cached content." (from http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Color-Multi-touch-Display-Wi-Fi...)

This sounds conceptually similar to how Opera delivers pages with one of its mobile browsers, which is to say that Javascript and rich web apps will be severely crippled. Is it indeed possible for the server and client to collaboratively decide what parts of my code to run client-side and which ones proxy-side and still have anything approximating good performance/identical functionality?

zbowling 3 days ago 2 replies      
So... from the sounds of it... they rebuilt what Opera Mobile does and what RIM does with Blackberry?

They offload some of the compositing and some of the fetching and asset flattening server side, and then serve up to the device with custom protocol the pre-rendered flattened data anything that can be done server side. That is exactly the same way those other accelerator products already work for mobile.

While it's a nice design, it's been done. The limitations and issues are well know as well, like having trouble with private intranet sites and VPNs or that because all the requests come from a few centralized IPs, geoip doesn't offer any benefit (GEOIP is a hack anyways but sites use it and users get confused when their pages think they are where ever some colo is). It also creates a single point of failure which, pedantically, is counter to the design of the internet.

I was a little inflamed by the video's first statement that browsers have been built pretty much the same as they were since the beginning without many innovations. Sounds like marketing spin. I can name several notable amazing advancements in browser design since the days of WordWideWeb at CERN and Mosaic. A good number of amazing achievements around security for sure.

Also, on top of that, you know what happens when Silk touches Fire? It's not pretty.

justinph 3 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds like the tips & tricks you see in Pagespeed/Yslow, moving it to a proxy, coupling it with something like SPDY, and mixing in some server side caching. Which is neat, and no doubt will achieve some speedups. But I don't know if it is as revolutionary as Amazon is trying to make it sound.

There are also some serious privacy implications here. I don't really know if I want Amazon to cache & potentially record all my browsing, especially since that device is something they can directly connect to all my personal info (purchasing history, CC number, home address, etc..).

Cherian_Abraham 3 days ago 1 reply      
As more of us rely on our mobile devices to browse the net, and as this trend picks up, wouldn't this mean that Amazon has a unique vantage point to see what people are searching for, in terms of content, products etc?

With each product iteration or rollout, it seems like we are increasingly giving up more than our dollars at the point of sale, like privacy - allowing companies to have complete access to our browsing/spending preferences.

cleverjake 3 days ago 1 reply      
This seems very similar to Opera Turbo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_Turbo#Opera_Turbo) - no?
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
This suggests to me an interesting idea. Lets say you used the CSS media tag to include style sheets for 'e-ink', then if such a style existed you could 'send this to my kindle'. A sort of instapaper meets Kindle Publishing.

Amazon could pull something like that off, it would be useful to have a wordpress template that included the e-ink stylesheet.

qjz 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, a man-in-the-middle attack is a feature when Amazon is the middleman?
JeffL 3 days ago 9 replies      
Does it seem like Amazon is solving yesterdays problem instead of the futures? With the speed of CPU's doubling every 18 months and the amount of bandwidth increasing by 50% annually, the accelerating growth of CPU's and bandwidth will leave this sort of client-server architecture behind. It's only a matter of time.
commanda 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a front end developer, but it seems to me that pre-evaluation of javascript, or even compiling the js into byte code, would be something that front end developers would want to try in order to speed up their own users' experience of their site. Is there anything that the cloud part of Silk is doing that can be applied to websites in general, regardless of what browser is doing the rendering? Or is this optimization uniquely possible because Amazon controls the browser itself?
jeffreymcmanus 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is the rendering engine for this? Is it Webkit or something else?
ck2 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why would Amazon be on wordpress.com? That's not for real is it?
bengl3rt 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best news about this in my opinion is that websites can no longer block EC2 IPs if they want to work properly on the Kindle Fire... between this and free inbound bandwidth (now we know why they made that happen in the first place), scraping just got a lot easier.
aforty 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is way more interesting than a rebranded Android tablet.
kellishaver 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be really interesting if they could integrate some form of parental controls along with this whole caching/prefetching/data crunching process.

Say you logged into your Amazon account and set the rating level for content available in Fire and then Amazon's servers would block your kid from accessing freepr0n4all.com. You could add exceptions, specific sites to block, etc. and there would be a known, ever-evolving database of "unsafe" sites by rating.

The ability to filter content in a mobile browser isn't something that exists as of yet, I don't believe.

If I could do this, I'd buy one for my 9yr old today.

Of course, this could then be combined with other tools to "lock down" the fire, e.g. disabling the ability to exit "cloud mode" and thus bypass the filters, password protection for app/movie purchases, like iOS parental controls do, and so on.

johnbender 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those of us working on mobile browsers this means a whole new set of implementation quirks we have to deal with even without the server side assist they are including. Even if they choose webkit as the rendering engine god knows what the event system will behave like.
6ren 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it's OnLive for webpages; putting the client-side on the server-side. Well, half (or a dynamically allocated proportion) anyway.

But compositing dozens of network fetches from the same cloud, centrally caching the rest, and predictive pre-fetch are big wins. The endless traipsing back-and-forth is frustrating even on the desktop.
These aren't new ideas, but if Amazon implements them to deliver a better experience, users won't care - and neither will you. A sad truth for pioneers.

Also gives Amazon a competitive advantage: host all your stuff with us, users will love you (google's experiments showed that even fraction-of-a-second latency loses users.)

EDIT but... amazon.com is one of the slowest websites on the internet for me, and I'd expect them to be doing all of the above on their own site...

colinprince 3 days ago 3 replies      
How does SSL work with this? Wouldn't a lot of certificates get broken?
rmason 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most tablet makers would kill to have this much developer interest. I'm fascinated by Silk and have wasted the better part of the day trying to figure out exactly what they're doing.

Here's an independent description of Silk behind the scenes:


I am hoping that Amazon gets a developers guide up soon that fills in more of the gaps. Already on EC2 and I want to start experimenting.

pw 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Wordpress blog running a theme from WooThemes. I guess we know we're dealing directly with the developers (but at least they listened to patio11's advice ;-).
niyazpk 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a screenshot from 1:58 in the video: http://i.imgur.com/jcVOT.png

(If this is any indicator of the actual product), it says that the whole JavaScript processing will be done on the server.

jread 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems sort of like CloudFlare built directly into the browser. Essentially, using EC2 as an http optimizing and caching proxy through which requests are routed. They might also geo balance traffic to the closest EC2 region.
DanWaterworth 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or does anyone else think that ideally this kind of thing should be done by website owners rather than amazon?
tryke 3 days ago 0 replies      
The technology looks interesting, but it looks like Amazon gets to track all web surfing that you do on the Kindle Fire?
zmmmmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I think the idea is brilliant - do as much precomputation and rendering and content consolidation in the cloud as you can - the strange thing to me is that all this stuff is really mainly a problem for browsing over cell networks while the Fire itself only supports Wifi. It kind of hints to me that there is a 3G Fire coming, they just aren't able to release it yet ...
naner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google also has a massive network of distributed servers and a couple browsers. I wonder if they'll start doing this for the Android browser and maybe even as an option for faster browsing on Chome.
will_critchlow 3 days ago 2 replies      
SEOmoz have been seeing extreme volatility in EC2 spot pricing - could this have been related to pre-release testing of Silk?


mikemoka 3 days ago 0 replies      

-cheap devices (the fire?) get to see complex websites

-server side webgl?

-server side java applets?


-you partially browse the web on Amazon's cloud so Amazon can track your behaviour (and your data)

-your site is part of an internal network that can only be accessed using a vpn from the outside world? bad luck.

-you have to buy a cheap device to see a real pageload speed,considered that you should get your data from amazon anyway

-if the world uses ec2 for browsing its performance will probably suffer

if you have the ipad you can test a lot of similar apps anyway,like puffin or skyfire,and see if you would like it,I prefer the native browser myself,yet I know that the infrastructure would be better in theory.

smackfu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Around the 3:00 mark, they start talking about interesting things, like reducing the number of network requests.
harrisreynolds 3 days ago 2 replies      
This Silk browser could be the "killer feature" of the Kindle Fire... something that allows it to really compete in the tablet space. It'll be interesting to really see how well it works in the real world and what the form factor of the Fire feels like.
smoyer 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hmmm ... if they can reformat a 3MB JPEG to a 50KB JPEG on-the-fly, then they can also replace the ad that might have been placed on a site by the owner with one of their choosing. It would be interesting to see if there's a difference in click-through rates between Silk's user-agent and a traditional web browser.
rmccue 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder, in terms of having many connections, could the same thing be done by a HTTP -> SPDY gateway? It saves having a multitude of connections for a single request, and also is more compressed.
JeffL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does it seem like Amazon is solving yesterdays problem instead of futures? With the speed of CPU's doubling every 18 months and the amount of bandwidth increasing by 50% annually, the accelerating growth of CPU's and bandwidth will leave this sort of client-server architecture behind. It's only a matter of time.
adolph 3 days ago 1 reply      
It will be interesting if Amazon decides to port this browser/services combo to other devices, similar to Kindle software being on lots of platforms.
mysmysery 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this may be much more than Operas method. Note that it includes formatting, layout and display. This makes me think they essentially run a clone of the browser on ec2 and could literally swap in the completed Dom, and layout. Or even a a memory diff.
Having a persistent connection would also allow local events (clicks etc) to be sent back to mirror the state as you interact with the page.
pp13 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Computing Power in the Cloud

EC2 servers have massive computational power. On EC2, available CPU, storage, and available memory can be orders of magnitudes larger than on mobile devices. Silk uses the power and speed of the EC2 server fleet to retrieve all of the components of a website simultaneously, and delivers them to Kindle Fire in a single, fast stream. Transferring computing-intensive tasks to EC2 helps to conserve your Kindle Fire battery life."


What does this mean? "Transferring computing-intensive tasks to EC2 helps to conserve your Kindle Fire battery life". Are we offloading javascripting processing to the cloud and returning the results?

If so it will be different than Opera Mini.

dmix 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't the amazon silk team post on an Amazon blog?
sundar22in 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why do you need a car which goes at 300 KM/hr when you drive at 50 KM/hr all the time, and don't have any issue with speed?

When it comes to web browsing most of us have very good speed for browsing, then why do we need to speed up the browsing?

tomlin 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Age of The Terminal, Year One
mcantelon 3 days ago 0 replies      
castewart 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have a link to the discussion about Amazon doing more tech-related disruption than Google?
shareme 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am wondering could it internally be webkit node.js/webwokrer combo?
dfc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can not believe he used the word "decentralized" to describe silk in the video explanation.
powerfulninja 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Our back end has some of the fattest pipes you'll find" - Amazon
suyash 3 days ago 0 replies      
How good is HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript support?
mvkel 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't do your banking on it!
Princeton bans academics from handing copyright to journal publishers theconversation.edu.au
406 points by jamesbritt  3 days ago   81 comments top 16
kragen 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is an interesting case where you can improve your negotiating leverage by giving up freedom. Consider a researcher who wants their research to be open access. They can attempt to negotiate this every time they send a paper to a journal, but most researchers are not in a very strong negotiating position relative to the journal. Or they can accept a postdoc position at Princeton, which now means that every time they submit a paper, they must inform the journal that unfortunately they cannot assign copyright.

There are many journals who would be willing to decline to publish the papers of an individual intransigent researcher. There are not many journals who would be willing to ban papers from Princeton entirely.

As an example, Dan Bernstein, who is certainly a well-respected researcher in his field, has individually adopted a policy of dedicating his papers to the public domain so that, like researchers employed by the US Government, he cannot assign copyright in them. The IEEE has consequently decided to reject his papers even when its referees accept them, even though they accept papers from US Government researchers: http://cr.yp.to/writing/ieee.html

This kind of phenomenon, where giving up freedom improves your negotiating position, was extensively studied by Schelling in his theory of negotiation.

It's also very relevant to the debate over Treacherous (or "Trusted") Computing, signed bootloaders, and the like. You might prefer not to have the option of cryptographically certifying to Warner Music that your machine is running an approved operating system on approved hardware. That's because if you have that option, they might not sell you music unless you exercise it, probably giving up many of the rights you have under copyright law; while if you don't have that option, they are faced with a less tempting choice of only selling you a CD.

Advocates of these systems sometimes design systems where you have full freedom to run either signed or unsigned software, claiming that this makes their systems safe from abuse. This overlooks this phenomenon, where having a freedom makes you subject to pressure to exercise it.

jforman 3 days ago 2 replies      
A little known fact: the vast majority of grants (by volume of cash) are technically awarded to the professor's university rather than to the professor him/herself, giving the university broad control over the product of the professor's research. At least, this is the case in the life sciences.

From time to time, this yields something good. Props to the grad school I dropped out of :)

impendia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Clicking through to the response from Wiley and Elsevier is interesting.

Wiley: "Naturally, we are concerned that posting the final versions of published articles in Open Access and institutional repositories lacking viable business models may have an adverse impact on the business of scholarly communication."

TL;DR: Universities should continue to pay us, because otherwise we won't make any money.

movingahead 3 days ago 2 replies      
From a student point of view, this is great news. If you don't have a personal subscription to the digital libraries of IEEE/ACM, the amount of hoops that one has to go through to access a research paper, is apalling. I believe that a peer review system used by journals is beneficial, but putting the papers behind a paywall is obstructing access to knowledge.

If anyone has a reference which justifies the paywall charges, please share it.

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 0 replies      
...The policy authors acknowledged that this may make the rule toothless in practice...

Er, hello? If the policy is just a paper tiger, perhaps that fact should go in the title?

I think this is a great step, but if it's largely symbolic, that's a pretty important part of the story and doesn't deserve to be in paragraph 10

I'm left questioning how much is real and how much is spin, which is not where I want to be as a reader.

itsnotvalid 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't say how much I like this ban. For so many times since I left school and wanted to read an article or so, and be greeted with "summary" of that article. I don't really need to pay $25, for the fact that the journal may have obtained the copyright and sold it to some journal sites.

We could use some open-source concepts for paper publishing.

joelthelion 3 days ago 3 replies      
The problem with this approach is that smaller universities can't afford to do this.

I think this problem needs to be adressed at funding agency level, with funding agencies requiring that all publication be made available on the agency's website.

URSpider94 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's my understanding that research done at government labs comes with a similar restriction, and that it's been standard practice for years for these researchers to reserve copyright on their publications. If that's true, then this will give Princeton researchers the leverage they need to retain copyright to their publications. Even though there's theoretically a waiver process, I'm going to bet that most authors won't want to go through that process, since the work is more valuable to them if they retain the ability to distribute it themselves.
StevanHarnad 10 hours ago 0 replies      


1. First, congratulations to Princeton University (my graduate alma mater!) for adopting an open access mandate: a copyright-reservation policy, adopted by unanimous faculty vote.

2. Princeton is following in the footsteps of Harvard in adopting the copyright-reservation policy pioneered by Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber.

4. I hope that Princeton will now also follow in the footsteps of Harvard by adding an immediate-deposit requirement with no waiver option to its copyright-reservation mandate, as Harvard has done.

5. The Princeton copyright-reservation policy, like the Harvard copyright-reservation policy, can be waived if the author wishes: This is to allow authors to retain the freedom to choose where to publish, even if the journal does not agree to the copyright-reservation.

6. Adding an immediate-deposit clause, with no opt-out waiver option, retains all the properties and benefits of the copyright-reservation policy while ensuring that all articles are nevertheless deposited in the institutional repository upon publication, with no exceptions: Access to the deposited article can be embargoed, but deposit itself cannot; access is a copyright matter, deposit is not.

7. Depositing all articles upon publication, without exception, is crucial to reaching 100% open access with certainty, and as soon as possible; hence it is the right example to set for the many other universities worldwide that are now contemplating emulating Harvard and Princeton by adopting open access policies of their own; copyright reservation alone, with opt-out, is not.

8. The reason it is imperative that the deposit clause must be immediate and without a waiver option is that, without that, both when and whether articles are deposited at all is indeterminate: With the added deposit requirement the policy is a mandate; without it, it is just a gentleman/scholar's agreement.

[Footnote: Princeton's open access policy is also unusual in having been adopted before Princeton has created an open access repository for its authors to deposit in: It might be a good idea to create the repository as soon as possible so Princeton authors can get into the habit of practising what they pledge from the outset...]

Stevan Harnad

ernesth 3 days ago 1 reply      
From Springer's "copyright transer statement":
An author may self-archive an author-created version of his/her article on his/her own website. He/she may also deposit this version on his/her institution's and funder's repository at the funder request or as a result of a legal obligation...

Many publishers have a similar clause. My institution (a french research institute) also requires me to put my publications on their public repository and it does not create problems for journals in CS.

Non-false title may be "Princeton bans publishers from handling copyright to journal publishers who ban authors from publishing their articles on their website."

mhb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds good, but a truck-sized loophole?

In cases where the journal refuses to publish their article without the academic handing all copyright to the publisher, the academic can seek a waiver from the open access policy from the University.

The policy authors acknowledged that this may make the rule toothless in practice but said open access policies can be used “to lean on the journals to adjust their standard contracts so that waivers are not required, or with a limited waiver that simply delays open access for a few months.”

BonoboBoner 3 days ago 4 replies      
Sometimes I think the academic publishing mechanisms are broken. It takes so much time for your idea and research to be visible... you write the paper, it get reviewed, presented on a conference, published in journals and then months/years later someone actually sees it.

Compare that to the web, where an elaborate blog post and a project on GitHub is enough to become visible to the entire world within hours.

Percentage wise, how much influence did academic papers have on your day to day work in the last year compared to new stuff you found on the web?

a3_nm 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not as good as the title says. The journal publishers will still own the copyright, they will just have to license some rights to the university.
robryan 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think there still definitely needs to be some sort of filter for academic research. Probably not the journal system anymore but something has to replace it, as most don't have time to trawl through things of questionable quality in the hope of finding something useful.
chalst 3 days ago 0 replies      
With much the same effect, MIT and Harvard have demand the right to make available their researcher's publications, with a similar opt-out clause.

The experience is that the opt-out does get used a fair bit in biomed.

coliveira 3 days ago 2 replies      
Princeton is not the first institution to do this, and many publishers have been flexible if you don't want to handle copyright for your work. I think this won't change much because academics are still required to publish in the same journals, and references are made to journal publications instead of web sites. Even today one can easily post papers in their personal website without problems.
Python and Django on Heroku heroku.com
403 points by craigkerstiens  3 days ago   74 comments top 19
alanh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Python 2.7? They're years ahead of Google App Engine!

Addendum: The previous statement is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but: (1) GAE is running a version of Python (2.5) so old, that it's hard to get fully patched binaries of it anymore (depending on your platform); and (2) By “years ahead,” I don't mean it will take Google years to catch up, but merely that their Python version is years old. Puzzling, given that Guido works for Google and has for years.

Second Addendum: Linked: an issue opened in 2008 pleading Google to add 2.6 support. Three whole years ago. (Ironically, perhaps, the issue was closed as a duplicate of a 2010 issue asking for 2.7 support.) http://code.google.com/p/googleappengine/issues/detail?id=75...

Pewpewarrows 3 days ago 5 replies      
As much as I've come to enjoy and appreciate the various start-ups whose mantra was "We're Heroku with Python/Django capabilities", it will be interesting to see which of those survive the next 8-12 months now that Heroku officially supports that stack.

It'd be a shame to see ep.io and Gondor go the way of the dodo bird, but what sets them apart now?

bmelton 3 days ago 2 replies      
I loved Heroku, many moons ago when I was working in Rails. As I've emigrated away from Rails to Django, I've found dotcloud to be the premiere platform -- I want to qualify this, it is the premiere polyglot platform, but for each individual environment I've deployed on dotcloud, their experience has been the best.

I haven't used dotcloud's Ruby/Rails stack, so I can't compare that, but Heroku is definitely fighting a hard battle if they're going to swing me from dotcloud, but it's always good to have competition, and if anybody is going to bring their A-game, it will be Heroku, who were sort of pioneers in the space.

The Heroku Python Free platform might be better in some instances than dotcloud's, and I'll definitely investigate that, but for anything I can think of using, dotcloud has been amazing for me.

ayanb 3 days ago 1 reply      
$ ls


$ git init

$ git add .

$ git commit -m "Init"

$ heroku create --stack cedar

$ git push heroku master

With that Heroku becomes the Heroku for Django.

sparky 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if there's a self-contained way to spool up a dyno sporadically to complete scheduled tasks?

I have a webapp now that's hosted on a VPS and uses Celery to schedule tasks. The tasks themselves only take about a second, the dyno needs to stay active for ~5 minutes to service a bunch of HTTP requests from another webservice that will result from the task, and then shut down until the next task. There are O(100) tasks spaced throughout the day, and they each must be completed at a very specific time. My aggregate dyno-hour requirements are very low, but I haven't figured out a way for a dyno to turn itself on and off for scheduled tasks this way. Admittedly, my use case is a bit niche, but a solution sure would be useful. Whiteboxing my webapp in such a way that it could be deployed on Heroku would be great, but keeping a dyno running all month to run the Celery polling process, when 'actual' computing is happening << 1 percent of the time, is a bit steep :)

jedc 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting... I wonder if this makes Google App Engine more appropriate for internal apps for Google Apps customers? For quick/easy personal hacking/development having a Python stack on Heroku seems pretty attractive now.
ma2rten 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great! Looking at the Django tutorial in the docs [1], I think it's too bad, though, that they don't provide a build-in, well tuned WSGI Server. This way, you have to choose your own WSGI server, configure and update it yourself.

[1] http://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/django#using_a_differen...

mhoofman 3 days ago 4 replies      
Heroku's cedar stack can now detect apps using:

  * Ruby
* Node.js
* Clojure
* Python
* Go ??
* Scala
* Java
* Perl ??

Anything missing here? That covers a lot of whats out there.

zachwill 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Flask on Heroku since the Facebook apps announcement, and set up a boilerplate template here: https://github.com/zachwill/flask_heroku
pxlpshr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome news topped with even more awesomeness that Heroku is continuing to truck along post-acquisition.

We're now looking into +/-'s of moving from RAX Cloud Servers to Heroku.

ymir 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some time ago Ask The Pony blog made a detailed tutorial on deploying Django on Heroku and how to make it perform 8 times faster than usual using some nice tricks: http://www.askthepony.com/blog/2011/07/getting-django-on-her...
frisco 3 days ago 0 replies      
You always have to work with the information available at the time, and personal tolerances for risk, but Heroku has become a case study in selling too early.
Toddward 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty much what I've been waiting for to finally migrate my project to Heroku. I know you've been able to unofficially run Python/Django on the stack for a while now, but a lack official support (even in beta form) was all that had been keeping me from taking the leap.
ricksta 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm currently developing django app on a ec2 instance. What's the advantage of heroku over just plain ec2?
_mayo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if the stack will only support WSGI or could I also run a Tornado instance on the cedar stack? I know when I tried dotcloud several months ago it only supported WSGI.
polemic 3 days ago 1 reply      
Python minimizes magic and maintains backwards-compatibility? LOL.

(I'm a programmer who recent dived into python - it's awesome and it's easily my favourite language to use now - but those statements are fallacies).

john2x 3 days ago 3 replies      
Great news! But why is the example for Flask?
NiceOneBrah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can Haskell be next?
overshard 3 days ago 3 replies      
Django has been able to run on Heroku for a while now. This topic keeps coming up over and over again and it is very old news. There are a lot of major flaws in running Django on Heroku right now too simply because of how their system works.
Amazon Unveils $199 Kindle Fire Tablet bloomberg.com
383 points by rkudeshi  3 days ago   307 comments top 69
achompas 3 days ago  replies      
Bezos, on Amazon's refreshed e-Ink readers:

So meet the family. These are premium products at non-premium prices. People are going to love these products.

This is Amazon's mission statement for product development. They will not compete with Apple's "revolutionary, magical" phones and tablets; instead, they'll sell quality tablets and readers to the average person at great prices. This populist attitude has been missing from the tablet market since the iPad's release.

The Fire will be the first successful Android tablet because the user base already exists. With the last few Kindle generations, Amazon has groomed customers to pay for electronic content. These users will buy Kindle Fires and e-Ink Kindles in droves, buy more books, and tell their friends.

At this price, Amazon won't steal Apple's customers. They will simply introduce a new segment of people to the tablet market. Developers need to think about this as another golden ticket. Here's the iOS gold rush, part deux.

EDIT: changed "luxurious" to "revolutionary" after reading a comment below. I need more coffee.

cletus 3 days ago 5 replies      
If Amazon want to not make comparisons with the iPad, something I'd strongly suggest, they should stop making statements like this:

> The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple's cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said in interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Also, it's disingenuous. Of course a 7" "tablet" is cheaper than Apple's 10" tablet. Film at 11.

That being said, I'm very pleased to see this. I didn't think e-ink readers would be abandoned by Amazon but I didn't see them being a high priority either yet here we are with updated models (and me having just bought a Kindle like 2-3 months ago, grrr).

I'll have to look into it and see if the new ones are faster refresh (really the only thing I care about). If so I'll probably buy (another) one. What the hell. Although I'm not entirely convinced of the touch interface on an e-ink device. I guess we'll see.

Come to think of it, I might just buy one of the $199 tablets too. It's almost impulse territory too.

I do think Amazon could do really well with this. I imagine these will be popular holiday items. And like everyone has said, they are going to promote the hell out of these.

That all being said, I'm not giving up my iPad just yet. :)

gizmo 3 days ago 7 replies      
People in Europe are getting screwed again.

- Small Kindle: $79

- Power Adapter: $10

- Cost in USA: $89 (free shipping)

Okay, so I see a banner that they ship to Europe. Excellent, I click it. Then I get a new banner, saying that my country qualifies for free shipping (pending some conditions). I go through the checkout process and I'm faced with the following list:

- Kindle + Adapter: $119

- Shipping: $27 (what happened to the free shipping banner you advertised with on the Kindle page AFTER I selected my country!?)

- Tax: 0

- Import duties: $28


- Grand total: $174

That's twice the amount you have to pay in the US. Really, Amazon? Can't you just tell me it's going to cost that much BEFORE I go through the entire checkout process?

martingordon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, someone other than Apple gets that it isn't about what it is (i.e., specs), it's about what it does (i.e., content).
smackfu 3 days ago 6 replies      
Main Amazon pages don't seem to be updated, but this URL is: http://www.kindle.com

Interesting stuff:

* Will still sell current Kindle as "Kindle Keyboard" for same price.

* New non-touch Kindle is 2 ounces lighter than old Kindle, but has half the battery life.

* The new touch Kindle is 1 ounce lighter than old Kindle, with same battery life.

* Kindle Fire is 6-7 ounces lighter than an iPad 2.

* All the prices that were quoted are "with special offers" and the non-ad ones cost more.

kyleslattery 3 days ago  replies      
Apparently there will be a $79 regular Kindle as well: http://thisismynext.com/2011/09/28/amazon-launches-79-kindle...
rkudeshi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like Bloomberg got early access and published before the actual press conference by accident.

The most relevant details:

The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple's cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said. The device, a souped-up version of the Kindle electronic-book reader, will run on Google Inc.'s Android software, the Seattle-based company said.

The Kindle Fire doesn't have an embedded camera or a microphone. The device offers Wi-Fi connectivity, though not 3G access, and comes with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, the company's $79-a-year membership service that includes streaming video and free two-day shipping.

rapind 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love this form factor and price, but is anyone else concerned about the whole cloud proxy (remote EC2 / S3 cache)? This puts all of your browsing history on their servers so forget privacy. It would even enable them to do things like substitute their own ads in place of the originals etc.

On the one hand the predictive thing seems really cool and the techy in me is excited about the idea. On the other hand I'm really not a fan of a remote cache from a privacy perspective.

city41 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find the Kindle Fire kind of an odd duck. I realize e-ink is not the most responsive screen, but having a fully android based tablet that used e-ink would have been fantastic. I would have gladly bought it. But a Kindle that lacks e-ink feels strange to me. I guess they are riding on Kindle's success, but this really isn't a Kindle.

I own both a Kindle and an iPad and I flat out can not read books on the iPad. After about 30 minutes my eyes are strained and a headache is emerging. To me e-ink is not optional, but the killer feature.

jolan 3 days ago 1 reply      
They're sure getting their jabs at Apple in everywhere they can:

"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."

"System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer."

saturdaysaint 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a shame to see that text-to-speech is absent from the light $79 model (it's present in the touch). At 6 ounces, that would be exactly the model I'd want to have TTS, which has been a killer feature for me. I actually prefer the robotic voice to most audiobook narrators for a lot of material - the affectless delivery must be how my internal voice reads a lot of books. Here's hoping Amazon puts TTS functionality into their Android/iPhone apps sooner than later - I'd gladly pay a $20 in-app purchase...
muxxa 3 days ago 1 reply      
A large USP of the Kindle is it's E-Ink display (leaving aside other ereaders from sony etc. for now). I have often recommended people to 'get a kindle' when asked about reading books electronically; this will no longer be the case. I think this new addition dilutes the Kindle brandname.
gamble 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not surprised that they decided not to launch the Fire tablet outside the US. At $199 they have to be selling near cost in the US, hoping to make their profit on media sales. Amazon's media stores are minimal at best outside the US. They still don't sell music or video in Canada, for example. Amazon is going to have a hard time playing at the same level as Apple until they step up their legal game and treat the rest of the world as more than an afterthought.
vsl2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Most people here and in the press (Amazon's PR unit included) consider this a company v company debate - "Apple vs Amazon" debate. Barnes & Noble seems to be such an afterthought that the Nook Color gets little attention though it is the directly competing product in terms of product specs and price (though the NC price will have to come down from $249 to $199 or below to compete).

The NC curently has what I think is a large advantage in that its easy to root via the microSD slot so it becomes a fully functioning Android tablet, including Android Market. The KF can provide Amazon media - for users, does this outweigh access to the Android market and native access to Google products? The NC still got nowhere near the appreciation from the public in its history that the Kindle Fire got in one day.

I'm curious as to what strategy Barnes & Noble takes with regards to NC in resposne to KF. A reliable source tells me that the NC is 85% owned by women and the targeted primary audience for its apps are 30+ women. There are few free apps because BN doesn't want to create an expectation of "everything should be free" (i.e. get users used to paying for value). The targeted audience also is one less opposed to paying for something nor have time to find free hacks (unlike young males). I don't think this market will be sufficient to keep the Kindle Fire from dominating at the $200 price point. Everyone, including not-yet-purchased-a-tablet 30+ women, will soon likely hear of the Kindle Fire and BN will lose much of its small core audience.

Given the $200 price point, I think that there may be an oppotunity for BN to make a large mainstream splash if it allows greater flexibility in the NC (including fully integrating Android Market). Otherwise, I don't see how it competes with Amazon because of "coolness" perceptions of the two companies. In that respect, Amazon competes with Apple; while BN competes with Borders (RIP).

mrb 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does the split-browser architecture of Silk handles HTTPS?

Everything the EC2 backend does, like recompressing images, pre-rendering pages, resolving DNS records, etc, would require man-in-the-middle interception and decryption of TLS/SSL connections. Not good. I hope they leave HTTPS connections untouched.

That said, for plain HTTP traffic, if they can manage to significantly reduce page loading times, well done. I would prefer to see the fundamental problem resolved of course (lower latency on wireless networks), instead of relying on a complex back-end which will no doubt have issues of its own (availability, bugs, etc).

Batsu 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I want to see is how the app market will pan out. I can only assume (and didn't previously consider) that this will not carry Google branding at all - that means the Android Market, Gmail, Maps, etc, apps will all be missing.

The Android Market would be the big loss here. Amazon seems to take more control over the selling of your product than you do once you submit to their Appstore, but if you want to show up on their tablets, you won't have a choice.

pnathan 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am kinda waiting for the DX to drop in price. I really want that bigger e-ink screen, but it's not worth $379 to me.
latch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just tried to order the new non-touch Kindle (which ships today):
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display cannot be shipped to the selected address. A non-US address was selected for this US-only Kindle.


chwahoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I own a tablet (Motorola XOOM) and have used an iPad on a couple of occasions. Those tablets are pitched as substitutes for the PC, suggesting that you might produce content using them. (Apples early release of an office suite for iPad is further evidence of this focus.)

However, so far, I've really only found tablets useful for content consumption. The Kindle Fire makes the bold (and I think right) choice to optimize for consumption. I suspect its smaller form factor will appeal to how more people will actually use these things. Similarly, I don't think people really want high-quality cameras or video on their tablets.

The Kindle Fire is exactly the right product for Amazon to release (given their strengths), and I suspect it might be match the needs of a larger group of people than the iPad.

However, content production in tablets will surely improve over time and I don't think iPad/Windows 8/Android are misguided. I'm just betting that Amazon latched on to a real hole in the market that can be profitable right now.

atmz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love how Bloomberg released an article describing the press conference in the past tense half an hour before it started; Amazon hasn't caught up with Apple's secrecy yet.

Amazon is doing the right thing, which wouldn't be that surprising except that every other Android vendor has done the wrong thing. Amazon is presenting a unified, controlled environment to users (which most of them want), provides both content and app delivery services, and is selling tablets cheap enough to as not to compete directly with Apple. It will do well.

Nate75Sanders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody know if there are comprehensive specs anywhere? I can't find information about the resolution anywhere. Additionally, it looks like most sites thought it was going to cost $250.
ableal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting detail: an official-looking "Java TM Powered" swirly cup logo on the bottom right of the Quick Start guide for the new Kindle: http://kindle.s3.amazonaws.com/KindleQuickStartGuide.pdf

(also in that PDF, a figure that shows the bottom side with micro USB socket and power switch, which was what I was looking for)

bennesvig 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm guessing this means no free Kindle this November like Kevin Kelly was predicting. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2011/02/free_kindle_t...
orenmazor 3 days ago 1 reply      
so, sounds like Apple's skimming the top end of the tablets, and Amazon's skimming the bottom end.
cleverjake 3 days ago 2 replies      
Outside of the amazing marketing and stance that amazon holds, this really doesn't seem like much. I don't see a lot that my parents would get excited about at least, and if they aren't the market, I am not sure who is.
cbs 3 days ago 4 replies      
So I'm reading along... getting interested... sounds promising... purchase might be on the horizon...

Amazon has painted over the rough surfaces of Google's Android operating system

Now I won't even consider buying it until the cyanogenmod port is in decent shape. Why do manufactures always do this to android? The custom UI looks nicer (arguable, roll with it), but always kill usability because they don't understand how to have their software play nice and feel right on android. It might be better on the kindle fire because the biggest offenders I see are the dialer and text message app, but I won't hold my breath.

danssig 2 days ago 1 reply      
"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."

I've always had a lot of respect for Bezos and what he's done but this lowers my opinion of him. Not only is it a petty cheap shot, it's not even true (so does he not know somehow, or is he lying?). Most tablet makers were having a hard time competing with the iPad on price. It's incredibly cheap for what it does.

codex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Expect Google to match or beat Amazon pricing for tablets RSN--especially given their acquisition of Motorola. There really is no money in Android, especially for OEMs without a content or advertising play.
tomkarlo 3 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that you now have a sub-$80 e-reader seems to be getting overlooked in today's news... in some ways I think that's really the innovative part here, and what will drive a lot of high margin ebook sales for Amazon in the next few years.
deweller 3 days ago 0 replies      
dabeeeenster 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they are selling these at a loss? I can see it going down well in the XDA/Hacker community...
j15e 3 days ago 3 replies      
They show a lot the device in kid's hands : because 7" is too small for grown up?

I have played with a RIM Playbook once and the size factor was the same concern. Seems like under 9-10" it can't be a replacement for my laptop in any situation and it feels more like a toy.

(Disclaimer : I own an iPad)

yardie 3 days ago 1 reply      
Exactly what is the differentiation between a tablet and e-reader? This thing is aimed squarely at the BN Nook Color. Why is it being compared to the much more expensive and feature-full iPad?
latch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kindle Touch is what I wanted..yay. Now, if only they would open up their KDK and give it useful API calls, I'll be happy.
buff-a 3 days ago 1 reply      
And it has a browser that renders on the cloud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u7F_56WhHk&feature=playe...
nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I want to buy one, but I now have no idea which one to buy. Is the only difference between the Kindle and the touch the fact that you can touch it? What about the keyboard...is that useful or no?

Buying a Fire so I can develop on it, but would also like something with e-ink, now that they are priced affordably.

brainlock 3 days ago 0 replies      
And again, all of this is US only. I don't understand this, they are able to ship a standard Kindle to Europe, why not a Kindle Touch?
pw 3 days ago 0 replies      
mun2mun 3 days ago 1 reply      
In the product page http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051VVOB2 the word Android appeared once only. Interesting.
dts 3 days ago 1 reply      
One thing I'm surprised about here is how much Amazon is bothering to mention the tech behind everything in all the promo copy I've seen so far. This is something Apple never does and I think its a misstep for Amazon here. Claiming that silk uses the "raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2" on the homepage of Amazon.com is a completely useless detail for 99% of people who will buy this device. Why not use the audience attention better and focus on what matters with this. Full color touch. Amazon content. Apps. Half the price of an iPad.
pkulak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what Amazon's plans are for merging in the latest Android releases into their fork? It would be a real shame if it took off in an entirely new direction from this point on. A shame for me, because I don't want to develop for a brand new OS.
xbryanx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to read the news story written five years in the future about how the rapid growth of e-readers/tablets affects literacy and reading rates across multiple socioeconomic scales. I have no clue what it would say, but am pretty sure it will be written.
patrickgzill 3 days ago 0 replies      
The picture I saw seems to make it the same size and shape as the B&N Nook Color.
runn1ng 3 days ago 0 replies      
All of this while KDK is still in beta. And from the looks of it it will never escape it.


pmsaue0 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love that instead of trying to be everything to everyone (a la android/ipad) Amazon is aiming to be really good at a few things, and thus drive price down.

I'm not so interested in movies or ebooks, does anyone know of a tablet that just does email and web? and is cheaper because of it?

BTW, Silk browser seems like a bundle of awesome ideas

todd3834 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not even sure if this is possible but I would pay a lot of money for a color screen that can switch to e-ink and back depending on what I want to do.
Vitaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now it doesnt have the most appealing difference the regular kindle had over iPad. With it's IPS display it will be now just as impossible to read in bright sunlight.
nphase 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is anyone else more interested in Silk than the Kindle Fire?
tlogan 3 days ago 1 reply      
The interesting thing is that this will be probably the first successful Android tablet but Google will have absolutely zero benefits from its success. Actually, it might even hurt Google position in mobile/tablet market.

Two random examples:

The word Android was barely mentioned on Amazon site.

On device itself, the web and content to be consumed is showed Amazon.com but not thru Google search.

EDIT: Why is this comment downvoted? I'm kinda new on this hacker news and I'm under impression if I express opinion with a couple of examples supporting it that is not trolling... What kind of comment should be made to point out that it seems like Google will have zero benefits and even hurt it from this Android tablet?

baconner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only android developer torn over whether the fire makes signing the one sided Amazon app store developer agreement worth it? Tough choice.
bryanlarsen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The big question for me: does it support sideloading? If so, I'll definitely be purchasing one.
whackedspinach 3 days ago 0 replies      
How much does their Android experience differ from the norm? How wide is my app selection?
nodata 3 days ago 2 replies      
> 8GB internal. That's enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.

Anyone know how 8 gigs enough for 10 movies? The quality can't be great. Can these things plug into a tv?

rodh257 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a live video feed of this Kindle event at all?
revorad 3 days ago 0 replies      
YES! I think with this, Android finally becomes appealing to me. I just wasn't going to spend money on crappy Dell, Samsung or Acer tablets. I've been happy with my e-ink Kindle, now for $199 I'll happily buy Fire.
paolomaffei 3 days ago 0 replies      
one thing i didnt understand.. this fire thingy has an eink display or not? and what about the digital library of books someone was talking about?
endlessvoid94 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have a serious question. Will I be able to use/read instapaper on this device? This is a big deal to me.
jeffool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lack of cameras (one in, one out,) and mic really surprise me.
swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hold on, brazilian fellas... One day the Kindle will be sold on Brazil, and we'll no longer have to buy the ones smuggled from Paraguai from that famous auction site.
tdicola 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people who would have jumped at a $199 tablet already got in on the $99 HP TouchPad blowout and pass on the Fire.
pacomerh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use an Ipad2 and I use it to read books and as a planner. But a tablet for $200 that can do the same?, I don't see why this wouldn't be a hit with people that don't care about details.
simonh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny how all of the e-ink kindles have 4:3 aspect ratio screens but the Fire is widescreen. It lends credibility to reports that it's based on a previously existing Android tablet design.

Amazon must realise it's sub-optimal, but now developers will be stuck supporting it even if they later release a 4:3 device.

bgarbiak 3 days ago 0 replies      
The price tags are awesome, but I'm worried that most of the content will be exclusive to U.S. residents.
lleims 3 days ago 1 reply      
Someone else from outside the US thinking about pre-ordering it?

On one hand it's just 127 pounds or 147 euros, but on the other I don't know what kind of experience those using it outside of the US will have: no Cloud Drive, no movies/tv shows, etc etc.

yusufg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately Kindle Fire is only available for shipping in the US. I think the Amazon account linked to it might also need a credit card with a US billing address
rajasharan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can this be used for Android application development? Can I install .apk files through the android sdk?
julianb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interested to see what type of web browser they ship on these new devices.
bufo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks pretty much perfect, provided they support bluetooth keyboards.
curiousfiddler 3 days ago 0 replies      

Wow, no mention of android in tech specs???

“I hate almost all software” " Ryan Dahl google.com
382 points by robinhouston  2 days ago   285 comments top 63
ender7 1 day ago  replies      
I've been tempted to write rants like this before. Ryan's point seems particularly centered around Unix, which makes sense. My experience of trying to get stuff done in Unix has taught me that it is a really powerful, extremely well-thought-out way to waste my fucking time.

All of it. Down the fucking toilet, and for stuff I don't give a shit about. Every single goddamn thing I try to accomplish while setting up a server involves a minimum of 1 hour of googling and tinkering. Installing PHP? Did you install it the right way? Did you install the special packages that make it secure and not mastadon slow? You want to create a daemon process? Hope you found the right guide! Setting up a mail sever? Kill yourself.

For some people, this is not the case. They have spent multiple decades breathing in the Unix environment, and are quite good at guessing how the other guy probably designed his system. And they don't mind spending the majority of their productive hours tinkering with this stuff. But I don't have time. I don't care. I don't have time to read your 20-page manual/treatise on a utility that doesn't explain how to actually use the thing until page 17. I don't want to figure out why your project doesn't build on my machine because I'm missing some library that you need even though I have it installed but some bash variable isn't set and blah blah blah blah.

The problem with Unix is that it doesn't have a concept of a user. It was not designed that way. It was designed for the people who programmed it. Other pieces were designed for the people who programmed them. If you are using a piece that you built, then you are a user. Otherwise you are a troublesome interloper, and the system is simply waiting in a corner, wishing you would go away.

And yet...we put up with it. Because there isn't a better option. Because it's our job. Because we'd rather just bull through and get things done than spend an infinite amount of time fixing something that isn't fixable. Life sucks, but NodeJS is pretty cool.

stephenjudkins 1 day ago 6 replies      
On one hand, I agree with him. The software ecosystems we work in have a whole lot of needless and incidental complexity. I could go on and on about the insanely and overly complicated things that developers -- especially ones like Ryan Dahl -- have to deal with all the time.

On the other hand, it's arrogant for one to think that he or she could do it that much better than the next guy. Writing efficient, maintainable, and "simple" software requires adding layers of indirection and complexity. You have to use your best judgment to ask whether the new layer you're adding will make things ultimately cleaner and simpler for future generations of programmers, or will hang like a millstone around their necks for years to come.

Let's try a little thought experiment: go back a few decades to the early 80s. Propose to build node.js as a tool to make it much easier for developers to write real-time network applications. You'll need to design a prototype-based dynamic language, itself an extremely difficult (and dare I say complicated) task. The implementation will need a garbage-collector, a delicate, complicated, and cumbersome piece of code to write. To make it acceptably fast, you'll need to write a JIT, which traces and profiles running code, then hot-swaps out JITted routines without missing a beat. You'll need to write a library which abstracts away event-based IO, like the "libev" node.js uses. That will require kernel support.

Frankly, even forgetting about relative CPU power at the time, I think you'd be laughed out of the room for proposing this. All of these things, for production systems, were extremely speculative, "complicated" things at the time they were introduced. People can't predict the future, and they obviously have difficulty predicting what tools will become useful and simple, and which will become crufty tarpits of painful dependencies and incidental complexity. No one in 1988 could say "a dynamic, prototype-based, garbage-collected language paired with a simple event model will allow developers to create simple real-time network applications easily in 2011". Many of them probably had high hopes that C++ templates would deliver on the same vision by then. But, instead, we have Boost.

Further, it's extremely arrogant of Dahl to create a dichotomy between those who "just don't yet understand how utterly fucked the whole thing is" and those, like him, with the self-proclaimed power of clear vision to see what will help us tame and conquer this complexity. Who knows, maybe in 15 years we'll be saddled with tons of crufty, callback-soup, unreliable node.js applications we'll all have to maintain. I don't think James Gosling envisioned the mess that "enterprise Java" became when he designed the initial simple language. Most developers do many of the things he cites, like adding "unnecessary" hierarchies to their project, because they believe it will help them in conquering complexity, and leave something simple and powerful for others to use down the line.

Goladus 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is just raw pessimism, you could rant like this about anything.

I hate all cars, especially my own. I hate that heavy, dangerous, gas-guzzling honda civic with an over-sensitive brake pedal and enormous, completely pointless blind spots over both shoulders. I hate filling it up with gas, which is expensive, smelly, and bad for the environment. I hate the dishes that I have to wash every day after I use them. I hate my Aeron chair that I sit in all day long. I hate peeling grapefruit. I hate the sound of my central air conditioning fan powering up. I hate how I'm either sore from working out or depressed from not working out.

There's nothing wrong with a rant now and again but let's recognize it for what it is.

Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

barrkel 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is hopelessly naive. The reason that the whole stack of a solution isn't in proportion to the problem it solves is that we have more than one problem, and the only way to scale our manpower to all these problems is share some of the common bits in the solutions.

This sharing creates new abstraction boundaries, increases the number of concepts and moving parts, and there are lots of compromises involved in reusing a common part compared with crafting something small and simple specific to the task at hand. But if you didn't do this, you'd have lots of duplication of similar, but not quite identical work, like a pre-industrial society; a massively inefficient use of human labour.

tom_b 1 day ago 1 reply      
But isn't it neat how shit still works?

Never fails to amaze me what users will do with a software tool.

I've seen experienced devs and support staff run a C program written to parse some weird data against another data set in the vain hope that it would parse the new data set into something usable.

I've seen MBAs who could barely tell you what a variable is write visual basic macros in Excel to do hardcore data management.

Game devs who almost seemed to frickin' think in OpenGL.

It is a big ball of mud (turtles all the way down, eh?), but on a good day, I listen to a hacker talk about finally getting that little piece of code beat into submission and it's very satisfying just to see that gleam in their eye.

_sh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hear hear! As a software developer, my trade is a ghetto awash with all manner of amateur-hour charlatans and language silos that are tantamount to pistol-whipped lock-in (I'm looking at you node.js). If you take a step back, the entire ecosystem of 'software development' is a chattering tower of Babel, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Programming languages, their frameworks, their libraries, their petty concerns are a mere vanity folly, riddled with re-invention, abstraction arcana, and deus-ex-machina hoopla. We have lost our way, straying so far from the path of the UNIX philosophy such that I must now 'whole-stack' an application instead of using the pipe character. A pox on the whole damned lot of it!

Some days I just despair of all the time I've wasted bustling and jostling, crushed by the sweaty masses in the ghetto. But if I'm honest with myself, I must confess I love it too. I love my programming languages, my libraries, the eight different ways I know to full-text search, to regex, to parse, to lock, to async. I love the smell and heat of the coal-face, the futility of it all. Stockholm Syndrome indeed!

sciurus 1 day ago 3 replies      
Things Ryan Dahl hates:







volatile variables

prototypal inheritance






zombie processes

bash tab completion

dynamic linking

static linking


the details of programming languages

formatting source code

configuring window managers

configuring editors


directory hierarchies

praptak 1 day ago 0 replies      
'On the chosen day, the young and inexperienced programmer realizes that what he has constructed is simply a different collection of rubbish, mud and offal than that used by the previous tower.

7. Codethulu looks on, and says: "Now you have become one of us."'


corysama 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd be interested in Dahl's (or your) opinion of Alan Kay's STEPS project in this context.

"For example, essentially all of the standard personal computing graphics can be created from scratch in the Nile language in a little more than 300 lines of code. Nile itself can be made in little over 100 lines of code in the OMeta metalanguage, and optimized to run acceptably in real-time (also in OMeta) in another 700 lines. OMeta can be made in itself and optimized in about 100 lines of code."


and, btw: https://github.com/tristanls/ometa-js-node

mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think his rant is both brilliant and incredibly naive and confused. Let me explain.

He's right about the fight against unnecessary complexity. He's right about how ultimately the enduser's experience is king. But he's objecting to a lot of the complexity that lies behind that UX facade. Because that's exactly what that UX is: a facade. It's an abstraction. And one that sometimes leaks. The iPhone is loved because of it's UX. But inside, behind the screen, it's not a box of mostly empty air and perhaps a little magical fairy who blows kisses and VOILA! the UX is delivered. It doesn't work like that. There are moving parts, both physical and virtual, a lot of them, that must be complex because they have real world constraints they MUST satisfy which your own mental model or messy subconscious human desires don't have to satisfy. The little girl wants a pony and SHE WANTS IT RIGHT NOW, DADDY! But her father lives closer to reality. He can't just wave a magic wand and give her a pony. It takes time. It takes money. You have to find a pony. Get it. Where do you keep it? Who feeds it? Shelters it? Can we afford it? Or are we just going to let it starve after the little girl gets bored playing with it? These are all the niggling little details that lie around the edges and behind the scenes when trying to satisfying this little girl's desire for a pony immediately. It is good to satisfy and deliver a desired experience. It is dumb and naive to think it only takes the wave of a magic wand or the press of a button. Yes we can provide a button you can press to make that pony appear. We can. That's just straightforward engineering and entrepreneurship. But there's going to be a lot of complexity and ugly moving parts, some with sharp edges, or unpleasant chemical properties, or esoteric technical jargon, under the hood, to make that button press deliver.

mcantor 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be ironic if the "just solve the fucking problem, damn the details" attitude espoused in this post is the reason everything is so fucking complicated.

(I honestly am not trying to imply that that is the case; I'm just musing.)

wickedchicken 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ever go through somebody's code, see some weird construct, go "this person is an idiot!," rewrite it, and find some edge case bug that the original code was written to handle? The original author had many of the same ambitions as you, and you relearned all the same lessons she did -- the hard way.

Recognizing and curtailing this impulse leads you toward enlightenment.

supersillyus 1 day ago 2 replies      
Something something Plan 9 something something.
tmsh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Increasingly, the key is to main orthogonality towards your problem solving (like an eagle) within the decaying confines of a semi-bloated (often mostly educational in terms of what not to do) ecosystem.

Which means rewriting crufty pieces of your stack when certain thresholds occur. 'There will come a point where the accumulated complexity of our existing systems is greater than the complexity of creating a new one' -- is something that happens in motion, iteratively, and which you do when you have time at all levels of the evolution that we call development.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Nice others are on the same wavelength, I think.

strmpnk 1 day ago 1 reply      
While I sympathize with the general frustration, this sort of rant gets us nowhere. It's sad to see such a brilliant mind lost in rage.

Systems programming has always been the code that most people won't tackle because the problems are ugly (thus the label systems programming). I really dislike autotools but I am not really up to resolving that problem, so I'll leave it to those that do. Pretty simple conclusion. When people with the guts to go in and replace these tools come around, I try to support them, but bashing others doesn't magically make that happen.

The claim that people who build on top of these systems are making problems worse. You could say the same thing about the users of that software then. There should be no hate for the act of construction. Destructive negativity is just a waste of time unless you want to lead people somewhere to construct again, and this post doesn't do much but hate. I'd favor suggestion over damnation. Don't hate people for building, encourage them to build something better!

rbranson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Rich Hickey really nailed the definitions of "complex" and "easy" and "simple" so well in his Strange Loop talk this year. Too bad there's only notes available right now: http://blog.markwshead.com/1069/simple-made-easy-rich-hickey...
sausagefeet 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't get it? If he really hates the situation so much, why did he choose a language that makes it notoriously difficult to write quality software in and chose a concurrency style that is notoriously difficult to reason about?
akent 1 day ago 1 reply      
He had me until the last paragraph... "if you spend time configuring your window manager or editor..."

If you don't take the time to configure your editor properly I do not want to collaborate with you on anything. Ever.

charlieok 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think part of the problem is that many of these issues are left to "distributions" and "repositories".

Some guy releases a library or application, then it gets packaged one way into .debs, another way into .rpms, another into macports. Maybe the author does this work, maybe more likely distribution maintainers do it.

Or in the world of a specific programming language, there is a similar story with a language specific packaging system. Maybe it gets packaged as a gem, or a jar, or an egg, or a module, or maybe the new node package manager.

Often, installing a package involves spreading its contents around. Some of it goes in /var, some goes in /opt, some goes in /etc. Who knows where else?

Many of the reasons for the unix directory layout don't apply for most people today. How many people even know what those directories' purposes are? How many have actually read the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard document?

Typically, those directories were established so that sysadmins could save storage space by sharing files between sets of machines (the word "share" seems to have about a dozen different meanings in these discussions). So you slice it one way so that machines with different architectures can "share" the contents of /usr/share, and you slice it another way so that things that change can be backed up more often, so they get thrown together in /var (and then you can mount /usr read-only!)

Most of these considerations are not worth the effort for most people. I think they are outdated. We don't generally have these directories mounted on separate partitions. We just back up the whole damn hard drive when we need a backup.

Here's an idea: a package should be a directory tree that stays together. Each programming language should not have its own separate packaging system. A package should be known by the url where the author publishes it. That author should also declare his/her package's dependencies by referring to other packages by their urls. Then you don't need dependency resolution systems that function as islands unto themselves (one for debian, another for node etc).

Software is published on the web, in things like git or mercurial or subversion repositories. These have conventions for tagging each version. The conventions are gaining adoption (see semver.org for example) but not fast enough.

Some middle layers just add friction to the process: distributing tarfiles, distributing packages to places like rubygems or cpan or npmjs.org. Developers usually want the source straight from the source anyway -- users might as well use a setup that very closely mirrors developers'.

If you want to add a package into your system, the only piece of information you should need is the url for the project's main repository, with an identifier for the exact release you need. That's a naming system shared by the entire web. If there are issues, that information can go from the user directly to the author, with no layers in between.

Apple has a great install/uninstall process for many applications: you move them to the applications folder, or you drag them out of the applications folder into the trash. We need to strive for this level of simplicity. Deployed software should have the same structure as the package distributed by the developer, in almost all cases.

KirinDave 1 day ago 2 replies      
This has all the signatures of a bad day barfed out as incoherent rage on a keyboard. I've been there, and I can day with the auhtority of experience:

Ryan Dahl will regret this post for years to come.

typicalrunt 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's nice to hear someone well-respected say this, as I've been saying this for years and yet I get frowns from senior managers and programmers.

I don't like magic in programming, yet nowadays there seems a move (especially in Ruby with the [over]use of method_missing) that encourages it.

MortenK 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really wouldn't know about the specific Unix related points, but his frustration is easily recognized in my current work on MS enterprise applications.

The actual solution is a desktop client and a web application used for simple CRUD purposes, each with around 10 screens / pages.

We have a huge suite of tests. We have a large amount of different layers. Gigantic amounts of interfaces inheriting from interfaces, and being passed around as parameters. Partial classes, with implementation spread out all around the application. Everything grandly designed according to design patterns, and every piece of code positioned in the smallest possible unit. Everything in the front end is a user control.

In theory this gives us extreme extensibility, flexibility and code reuse. From an academics stand point, it's well designed according to best practice.

In reality, it is completely and utterly obfuscating the actual code that get things done. Adding another db field to the UI requres modification of data-access layer, business object layer, changes to 2-3 different types of interfaces, additional code to a type conversion class, initialization code in the front-end, additional display logic to a user control, extra custom validation logic etc etc.

I really feel with the author, and can unfortunately confirm it's often the same shit no matter what software you are dealing with.

jfb 1 day ago 6 replies      
I am struggling to think of a single piece of software that I interact with in my day-to-day life that brings me pleasure. I suppose Emacs comes closest, but it's a hideous pile of hacks and YHWH help you if you want to get into the internals to start paying back the massive amount of technical debt.

tsort. There we go. I don't hate tsort. pbcopy and pbpaste.

rubergly 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really don't understand how "configuring a text editor" implies that "you don't understand that the only thing that matters in software is the experience of the user". Good user experiences can only be written if you haven't customized your text editor to be more efficient?
william42 1 day ago 2 replies      
The problem is that the simple and quick solution has to be hacked around when the problem set changes and that's how we get all these hacks.
sciurus 1 day ago 0 replies      
My interpretation of what Ryan is saying: Programming languages, libraries, and linux distributions are more complex than they should be. When you use them in your products, you contribute to the problem. When you're thinking about them, you're wasting your time because your users don't care about your tools. One day we'll decide it's easier to throw them all out and start over.

Overall, I don't agree with this.

Complexity arises because what we want to do is complicated. I don't think there's a way around that. Sometimes too much cruft builds up in an area, but that leads to redesigns of specific components. For example, client-side configuration of LDAP and Kerberos has been unreasonably complex for a long time. That didn't lead to people ditching them, that lead to https://fedorahosted.org/sssd/. It's likely that one day we will decide it's best to replace LDAP, just like was done with NIS. However, it won't mean we have to throw out all of linux.

The "users don't care" argument doesn't appeal to me. I don't care what tools the architects used when they designed my apartment building, but if learning some complex math and geeking out over slide rules enabled them do it, I'm all for it. Being told there's something wrong with me because I've changed the settings in my text editor is insulting.

adabsurdo 1 day ago 1 reply      
as far as unix is concerned, i would say a huge part of the complexity of those systems comes from insisting that dependencies be installed, and shared, system-wide. This approach comes from a time when disk space was very expensive. Hence the need for those super-complex make/configure/install/apt stacks, LIBRARY_PATH, etc.

IMO you could simplify things a lot with a distro that only shared, say, the kernel/module/libc layer, plus a package management system. Beyond that, each packages would manage its dependencies, and install them under its own root directory - so you have only the package maintainer to blame if something is missing. This would give an application much more control in how to configure itself. It would also have the added benefit of super simple uninstall - just delete the app's directory, just like on osx.

click170 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reads too much like a rant for my liking.

I get why complexity is disliked(/feared?) by some people, but unless you've got a better workable solution that you're ready for me to try out, your rant is just noise to me.

I've often found myself begrudged by the complexity of a piece of software, but that doesn't make me think we should throw the entire program out. How about we make it easier to use instead?

kelnos 1 day ago 0 replies      
This pisses me off a bit, actually. Basically, he's ripping on every developer who ever wrote any code. Ok, I'm sure there are a few he'd be happy with, but his comments do sound all-encompassing.

And then he somehow tries to make it "better" by ripping on himself, too, saying he's a part of the problem. Um, no, being self-deprecating in the same way that you're insulting everyone else does not magically make it ok for you to insult everyone else.

I've been using Linux (and a couple UNIXes on and off) for a little over 10 years. So I can get around a UNIX-like system pretty well. A lot of things are easy, and a lot of things aren't. Saying that it's somehow someone's fault is ridiculous. Claiming that all software developers are collectively lazy or don't care about user experience just doesn't hold up.

The funny thing is that he works in a position that naturally involves some difficult stuff. Let's say my favorite language to write software in is called XYZ. Say it's super easy, intuitive, concise, performant, and the method for compiling/deploying/distributing the end result of your hard work is trivial. In all ways, this system is just beautiful to work with.

Great, but I'll bet you the guy who wrote all the development tools and runtime for XYZ had to do a lot of difficult work to make that possible. Dahl is building a runtime for web applications. Unless he's writing it in some high-level language, it's not going to be easy. Supporting every platform he wants to support isn't going to be easy. User interfaces should be as simple as they can be, but often that requires a lot of complexity under the hood.

Go down even farther. Let's think about our basic building blocks. Transistors. Hgih and low, ones and zeroes. It's a very simple interface. You construct logical operations by using NAND, NOR, NOT, etc. gates, which are built from transistors. Also simple. But the next step for our modern computer is... well... the microprocessor. And while it's made up of these incredibly simple building blocks, the combination of them is extraordinarily complex. So the interface into that mess is also not the most friendly thing to work with: a machine instruction set. So we build things on top of that to make it successively easier: assembly language, C, Ruby.

And the tools that come along with this are only as good as the technologies they're built on. Tradeoffs must be made to be portable. Yes, all this is a huge mess that "we" have collectively invented over the past 30-50 years or so, but it's simply not possible to go back to the 1970s, know exactly where we're going to be in the 2010s, and design the perfect system, even with foreknowledge. The current state of computing is a product of the evolution of our technology. Often that means doing the best you can today, and hoping for something better tomorrow.

knieveltech 1 day ago 1 reply      
Holy shit, it isn't just me! I've been muttering for years to coworkers, colleagues and random acquaintances that elegance cannot be obtained by adding an additional layer of complexity, yet modern developers seem absolutely enamored of the kind of vile unnecessary complexity that comes with layered abstractions.
jvehent 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is what happens when developers want to do sysadmin. Come on guys, we, sysadmin, spent as much time learning our job as your learned coding. If we would be trying to code, we would be lost and pissed off. That's why we don't do it.

The OS is not wrong, what is wrong is you imagining that every system should be as simple as "right click / start". If you want that, take the Heroku/<you PaaS here> route and you'll be happy. But the day you have 5000 customers connecting at the same second and your environment collapses because you don't have the flexibility to tune it, don't come crying.

robbles 1 day ago 1 reply      
To some degree, I can agree with Ryan here that a lot of software these days is unnecessarily complex. However, I also think that his view is biased because he works on a project that is responsible for a great deal of abstraction.

The average Javascript developer using node.js DOES NOT have to "deal with DBus and /usr/lib and Boost and ioctls and SMF and signals and volatile variables and prototypal inheritance and _C99_FEATURES_ and dpkg and autoconf", because Ryan and other node.js devs already have thought about it for them, and introduced a helpful and practical layer of abstraction on top of all this complexity.

As a result of having to think about it all day, every day however, it's understandable that Ryan would despise this kind of stuff. On the other hand, as a web developer that uses the result of his hard work, I am not affected by it at all, so the complexity of my work is substantially reduced.

Hisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having just wasted a day trying to install ImageMagick (with no success), I have to agree. I just want to freaking resize images, I don't give a DAMN about installing prerequisites or dynamically linking so and so. I just want a simple API that I call to resize image with a width and height.
statictype 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think I disagree with what he's saying here. When someone takes pride in their craft and craftmanship, that care and thoughtfulness tends to bubble up to the surface for users.

You can see the difference between a chair made by hand by a carpenter who wanted to make the perfect chair and one made by a carpenter who wanted to get it over with.

Now on the other hand, you have two extreme ends:

1) The 'architect' who creates 4 layers of class hierarchies and factory-factories

2) And the guy who doesn't indent his code and types all of it in notepad.exe

I guess the key is to take pride and put thoughtfulness into what you do without losing sight of the fact that there's a end-user at the end who needs to use your work.

grammaton 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this rant is striking such a chord because it exploits a well known, if not widely acknowledged predisposition among developers - the breathtaking quickness with which we assume that the other guy is an idiot. Not that we don't understand the problem or that this solution addresses things we aren't aware of, but that the other guy is stupid and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a compiler. I can see Dahl doesn't like complexity, but has it ever occurred to him that software is complex because it solves complex problems?
swah 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hate how concrete just doesn't dry instantaneously, and also how you have to mix the right proportions of each thing to get the stuff working.
peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unix software was created by developers, mainly for developers. They honestly don't care if it's hard to set up. I'm not justifying it, i'm just explaining it.

Operating Systems make all of this much simpler by setting it up for you. Try to use only what they give you and you will go a lot farther with less effort. Buck the system and you're in for a world of hurt.

There's a better way to go about it. It's called: PAY FOR YOUR SOFTWARE. Then you might get support too. You want it for free, you bet your ass it's going to be painful to use.

By the way, I don't know who this Ryan Dahl guy is, but it strikes me as very naive to consider that groking the entire inner-workings of the complete organization of an operating system - from the development tools to make it to the execution and use of its applications - should somehow be simple for anyone. I wonder if he'd bitch that the kernel is hard to modify without affecting another component, or that different versions of software may not have been written to be completely backwards compatible with one another?

This is the real world. This shit is complicated because it evolved that way. It's almost infinitely flexible and powerful and gives you everything you need to do what you have to do - and you complain that it's complex? Grow up.

Detrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it because there are so many programmers?

Doesn't he hate that a 50,000 LOC VM linked to C++ libraries is more popular than a 8,000(?) LOC language that solves the same problems and more?

It doesn't matter for most end users but it sucks to be the one to deal with V8's GC, lack of continuations, design by committee language, etc. But there are more bodies in his corner, dealing with that complexity.

randall 1 day ago 1 reply      
Call it a noob mistake... but I recently wrote my own MVC framework on top of Express... and ended up never writing the app I originally intended to use it to write.

I think a few months ago, this wouldn't have made sense to me, but now I totally get what he's saying.

On my new app, I'm still using express to do most of the connect-ey stuff, but i've definitely decided that most MVC-ey frameworks are a premature optimization (for me). I'd rather just start with node + express, add in whatever DB I need (Redis / Mongo preferably) and build small and progressively.

My lesson learned... would love to hear other opinions.

ww520 1 day ago 0 replies      
Making things simple takes a lots of work. Things are complex because the problems are complicated. That's why you got paid the big bucks.
johnwatson11218 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that would help me out would be if new documentation could point out which parts of a system are needlessly complicated and which parts are needed for the system to function. If a book or document could just say "This part of the tool is waaaay too complicated because the original developers envisioned this evolving differently. These are the good parts that you should spend time learning". I think Douglas Crockford called this "subsetting". A big challenge when approaching a new technology is deciding which parts to invest in.
parfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure why people expect software beyond Solitaire, Pidgin or Thunderbird to be any easier to configure or maintain than, say, changing the spark plugs in your car.

Or harder yet, diagnosing the issue as the spark plugs to begin with. Cars have been around for a hundred years and they can still present a challenge to even highly skilled and trained mechanics.

Manage your expectations when you try to do something you aren't an expert in and you won't be disappointed.

skrebbel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't relate to this at all. I hardly ever run into the problems he describes.

I usually just start Visual Studio, create a project, import some NuGet packages and off I go.

(No, that wasn't a "my framework/platform is better"-rant - JVM IDEs + Maven can do essentially the same thing)

Point is, I don't even know what autoconf is, and I like to keep it that way.

Only a tiny fraction of us have to make Node/Java/.NET/Ruby+Rails+Rack+etc. All the rest can just go and solve problems. These tools really do abstract away from accumulated platform complexity. They add a little on their own (like $NODE_PATH), but that's on the platform level too, the level i don't care about anyway. I have npm, you know.

alok-g 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler" - Einstein.


>> There will come a point where the accumulated complexity of our existing systems is greater than the complexity of creating a new one. When that happens all of this shit will be trashed.

Amen! (Include with complexity above the complexities of real life like project schedules, time-to-market, ..., ultimately economics.)

Ryan claims that the systems are still complex, which suggests that the accumulated complexity (including project schedules) has NOT exceeded the complexities of creating a new one in general.

Having said this, what is Ryan really saying that tells us something we did not know before!

A tacit aspect of the whole argument is that the people are intelligent enough to judge complexity to make rational decisions, and would be able to find a simple solution when creating a new one when even with all the new understanding gained with experience, the new solution will still be very complex (just simpler than the existing one). This is to an extent analogous to the rational market hypothesis, and that I doubt to be true.

Next Ryan may propose a new system that will be written from scratch to satisfy his no-overly-complex goal. Only to find that the new software runs on the top of existing hardware which is immensely complex. Oh, then he thinks about developing hardware again too. Only to find that hardware development is immensely complex (EDA tools for example). Oh, then he thinks about developing them again too. He now concludes that the accumulated complexity hasn't yet become too high after all.

After taking all of that into account and if that is not complex by itself, find something intermediate level (say a programming language) that has less complexity at that level (going deeper would increase complexity) and build something on the top of it. But isn't this what all of us already do?

divtxt 1 day ago 0 replies      
[mild rant]

Usability discussions like this invariably fill me with rage because of how oblivious and dismissive some of the comments are.

They might as well say: No Wireless. Less Space Than A Nomad. Lame.

You'd think people would know better after 10 years & $350B in market cap!

chibea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't he dismissing culture with his rant? Culture as the currently common way to do and describe things?

He seems to imply that there could be an easier, more straight-forward way to describe things in some more common language. And that while he doesn't give any evidence how the current ways are overly complex.

Of course, there is broken or outdated software, and some things were crap from the start. Of course, there are always concrete things to improve but you won't get anywhere by dismissing all of it and starting anew.

For me, understanding the current state as part of our culture and our humanity and improving gradually on it, has guided me well in the past.

andos 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's only fair that we, developers, start suffering a little from the poor state of system software usability after inflicting so much pain on our users.
kwamenum86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you for pointing out the elephant.
dtbx 1 day ago 0 replies      
But this is what we have, and I am Candid, so I believe that this is the best possible world.

What does the author of this essay wants? A mind-reading machine? I RTFM, so I don't complain. In my archlinux netbook there is plenty of room for creativity, and amazement, and fun.

I love what I have. Besides of that, is free, and I can hack it.

jon6 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real problem is that tools and libraries are incredibly unforgiving. Not only do you have to understand 10-15 different technologies to make your project work, but you need to understand them all extremely well which is a huge barrier to entry.

I don't know a whole lot about rails, so this is conjecture, but I imagine this is why ruby on rails is so popular: you don't need to know very much to get it going.

astrofinch 1 day ago 0 replies      
And yet nontrivial things can be built in 48 hours.

The results of modern software development speak for themselves. One of the biggest things I learned from reading a few chapters of The Mythical Man"Month was what software development used to be like.

thewisedude 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dont think he hates software....he seems to hate the unnecessary steep learning curve that he is faced with when he is out to do something simple with an existing platform like unix.

I think this argument is perfectly sound. As a software developer, there are times when I wanted to do something simple using a particular framework, and I was faced with a steep learning curve to achieve it. Note here that I was not trying to use the fanciest features of the framework, but the most simplest of it.

rboyd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
david927 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm shocked that about 90% of comments are bashing Ry. If it's not obvious to you that writing software sucks, it's because you haven't swallowed the red pill. You are not enlightened. What he says disturbs you and discomforts you because you've built your life on the blue pill notion that writing software is supposed to look something like this -- that memorizing the minutiae is justified and even somehow noble.

You're tempted to criticize because someone told you growing up that you're a unique little snowflake and your opinion is worthwhile whether it's qualified or not. This is Ry. And his sentiment is echoed by the greats, like Alan Kay and others. Listen for a second (and you can't listen if you're already babbling your unintelligible knee-jerk response).

emehrkay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could imagine the hoops that he has to jump through to get things working correctly under both windows and *nix environments
limeblack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agreed software is often way to complicated, especially Linux at some parts.

Ultimately we are developing the software because of one simple thing.

The user.

gabi38 1 day ago 0 replies      
What he has against BOOST?if any, Boost helps eliminating deps. Without it one would need to use multiple libs from different places to achieve common things like shared pointers etc. Not to mention most of it is just header files.
brianshumate 1 day ago 0 replies      
When discussing this with a colleague, I was reminded of: http://neugierig.org/content/unix/
josiahq 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The only thing that matters in software is the experience of the user."


abalone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice drunk post.
pyrotechnick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somebody needs a hug...
roxtar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Complex BAD. Simple GOOD. Move on with your lives.
jQueryIsAwesome 1 day ago 1 reply      
This may be the right place to say it:
PHP... i love you!
Pre-branded domain names for startups stylate.com
371 points by ollie  2 days ago   200 comments top 67
pitdesi 2 days ago 3 replies      
Count me in the group that finds $250 to be a steal for this sort of thing. Your mission page is spot on.

The amount of time/headache it takes to brand a startup should not be underestimated. I think that the logos are fine to get started quickly but probably would all need to be changed in the long run, but no big deal, you've provided a decent enough starting point where it doesn't look shitty atleast and can allow someone to build their product while still having a decent looking thing on their site.

We spent several WEEKS of all hands on deck and lots of $$$ (Well over $10k for the domain name, banners, stationery etc) as a company rebranding from Transparent Financial Services (http://transfs.com) to FeeFighters (http://feefighters.com).
Had we started with something better than transfs from the beginning we wouldn't have had the problem (btw, it's still a pain in the ass because google apps doesn't let you change your name, so we still only have a duct tape solution where our google apps are still @transfs and I occasionally still send an email from @transfs - embarassing!). Plus, we lost all the google juice we'd built up over that time (which was considerable - TransFS was a PageRank 5 site and FeeFighters had none).

At that point (post-funding), our time and pagerank were a lot more important than the money.

More on our rebrand that might be useful to people (you now have to pay to see the video but can download the audio and read transcript for free):

wildmXranat 2 days ago  replies      
No! A $7.99 domain name and what looks like to me a $99 logo thrown is not a steal or a good deal. Let me come at this way: Can I get the domain off of you for %80 off the $250 price ? I presume that the answer is no, because it's a lipstick on pig product designed to glorify domain squatting.

All the power to you for finding a niche market, but suckers be warned that it's highway robbery!

edit: downvoted within 2 minutes of posting this without a reply. i guess you guys were looking for a AAA+++ , would buy again review. what a joke

edit2: Sorry for coming off as harsh, but this sort of domain related shit has been plaguing the net for a long time

paulnelligan 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure I agree that this is such a 'superb idea' ...

As a founder, I want to personalise my domain, and design, and that means coming up with different concepts, and searching whois until I find a good match that's available ... The design then has to represent what the product is about in a non-generic way ... The designs on this site are far too generic for my taste

I can't imagine myself going to that page with a concept and saying 'AHA, that's exactly what I wanted' ... Possibly it could in reverse if someone is looking for inspiration for their next startup ...

jmitcheson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love it. It's like themeforest for startups. Don't listen to the haters.

I have a lot of ideas I put on the backburner 'cause I'm busy with other things. The value in this isn't just the domain, it's the "packaging" of the entire first part of the process. I do this on themeforest too.. browse landing pages for one startup, but maybe buy a landing page that happens to be suited to another random startup idea, if I saw it.

Good luck to you, sirs / madams.

jasonkester 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is domain squatting pure and simple. Just because it's dressed up with a pretty design doesn't change the fact that these guys are the exact sort of bottom feeders that we should be blackballing from our industry.


hsuresh 2 days ago 1 reply      
You should seriously consider reserving handles on twitter and other services and providing it to the user of your service, else a squatter can easily register handles on these services for the domains you list on your website.

I am not too comfortable with this service though, i don't like the thought of you squatting away hundreds of good startup names. Partly because the price point of $250 sounds very expensive to me, at least as someone sitting in India.

ahoyhere 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI: Brandstack.com has better logos. Speaking as a designer & a person who's hired logo designers, as well as somebody who bought a logotype off Brandstack.com. I didn't use the name/identity but used it for my next SaaS, Charm.

That said - most people put too much weight on a name, but it's really important to be sure the name is A) memorable (this doesn't mean weird or unique), B) easy to spell and C) easy to Google.

Names that are weird spellings or made-up words are NOT memorable, basically because they don't fit into a ready-made slot in the readers' head. (Plus if they are hard to spell, you're SOL.)

It's far better to have a memorable name like "Charm" and then append crap to the end of the domain (e.g. CharmHQ.com) to ensure you can grab the domain, than it is to have a short, unique name where you get the regular name.com.

This conclusion is based on my extensive reading of cogsci research about memory, word association, etc.

mechanical_fish 2 days ago 0 replies      
This would presumably make a great party game for YC meetups. You deal out a card with the logo on it and then everyone in the circle has to describe what they think the company or product is.

I'm trying to figure out what "TweetBump" is. The obvious answer is: It's Twitter, plus Bump. You wander around a party bumping phones with folks, and every time you do that both of you automatically Tweet "I bumped into [X] at [Awesome Location Y]".

(No obvious business model, though. ;)

(And I'm not a Bump user, so I wouldn't exactly be surprised to learn that the app has already supported this for years. ;)

e1ven 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is a really great idea. One of the things which young startups often spend too much time on is picking a perfect name + brand. This is a great way to get started.

You can always iterate later if necessary, but this gives you something to use NOW, and put the discussion away and get back to real work.

Also, I love the layout. Very straightforward.
I currently subscribe to the http://justdropped.com/ mailing list which has daily domain names that he buys as they expire.. I could see something similar for your site, but with logos attached.

Also, a NewsLetter would be a great way for me to keep up with the (weekly?) new designs you add to the store.

Keep it up!

dmnd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The moravo logo[1] is a blatant copy of the Aperture Science logo[2] with a couple of segments coloured Portal orange and blue.

[1]: http://stylate.com/portfolio/moravo-com/

[2]: http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Aperture_Science

heyadayo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like this a lot.

Sometimes you can spend 3-20 hours trying to figure out a name, domain, and branding. I'd pay a couple hundred bucks to skip that step. I wish this existed all those previous times I was stuck grinding on names!

yuvadam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these domains are names of types you can easily find using tools like nametoolkit, and purchase for $10.

Nonetheless, this is a superb idea, which can become easily profitable.

garethsprice 2 days ago 0 replies      
The amount of controversy here means that you must be on to something.

The absolute worst thing that can happen is that you show your idea to someone and they're totally indifferent.

That some people love this and others hate it, and that you've generated hundreds of comments, shows that this is worth pursuing.

Bookmarked for next time I get stuck thinking of names. My usual process is to think of an idea I think is great, spend 2-3 days thinking of names, set up a domain and landing page. Saving that 2-3 days for $250 is something I'd seriously consider.

Often these ideas are impulses that consume me for a week or two, then I get bored of them or find someone else who's already doing a great job of filling the need.

I would experiment with pricing - at $250 it's not an impulse buy. It is a fantastic price for someone who is seriously starting a company, but I have a hunch that people like me (who have a day job but regularly come up with ideas they love and obsess over for a week or two, that then fizzles out to nothing) is a larger market and has potential for repeat purchases. If you can tap into that you may find more revenue, cashing in on the empty dreams of dilettantes like me :)

phsr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Instead of leaving the godaddy parked page, maybe you should put the logo on the page, with a "This domain is for sale at stylate.com" link
ShawnJG 2 days ago 2 replies      
while I am sure that someone out there can use the service, taking the time to come up with your own name and design should not be given up lightly. I do take issue with the "branding" implication that these domains purportedly have. Before starting my own company I spent years in an ad agency, and I can tell you that unless there is an unusual amount of serendipity involved you probably won't find a name and image that fits perfectly with your company goals and vision. A brand is a promise to the public which conveys your intent your services and your commitment to your product. Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Disney all do this very well for example. If you're not a designer I can see gaining design inspiration from this site. But in my opinion, take a little time try to come up with your own ideas to implement.
acabal 2 days ago 5 replies      
Looks like a great idea, very clever, but I'm not sure about the pricing. I would love to use something like this as a small developer, but $250 is a bit much for a domain and a logo given my small-time budget. On the other hand, companies with a larger budget would probably just have something like this done in-house. So I guess I'd ask: who do you see being the target market here?
tomblomfield 2 days ago 0 replies      
I despise the blatant profiteering of domainers - they're sucking value out of a system that in some sense should "belong" to society, and providing nothing in return.

But these prices aren't completely unreasonable, they come with (generally quite decent) logos, and they would save a startup countless hours of faffing over domains.

lionhearted 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is cool, and if I saw one that suited a project I was doing, I'd drop $250 for it no problem. You can't please everyone, but some people will think this is cool, and that's all you need.
ta3892682334 2 days ago 2 replies      
I like the concept but I'm not a fan of the domains you have now. Can I suggest you open it up to consignment for anyone with a domain? So you increase the value of my domain mydomain.com by giving it a brand / landing page and for that I agree to give you $250 or some percentage of the sale.
chrisconley 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a bit more expensive but there's also http://brandbucket.com.
awolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I misread the price when I looked the first time. I thought it said $2,500. I didn't bat an eye.

$250 it too cheap.

spc476 2 days ago 1 reply      
I picked one domain, parabis.com and typed that domain name into the address bar of my browser. It is for sale, but the asking price is $2,000. Odd that it's going for $250 at stylate.com.
kunley 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's a symptom that startups possibly became a new fashion.

Now the following is a bit offtopic, but the thoughts are what I have in mind for quite a time.

Look how many startups are there around whose only purpose is to connect or extract information from other startups whose again are build on the top some previous startups. Where is a stop for this? Where's the creativity? Where's the thinking of making things that people really need?

This looks like a rant but please think of it analytically:

1. People start to use product A because it fills some temporary niche.

2. The conditions of the niche vanish, but the product is still used, the user base grows because of inertia, marketing, whatever.

3. As the initial conditions dissolved the product A isn't exactly what people need at the moment, so there emerge products B & C built on the top of A with even more fragile conditions: only to support momentary lack of desired features in A.

Any similarity with existing startup scene?

Well, what if all these products were build based on some more unconditional needs of the users in the first place?

todsul 2 days ago 0 replies      
My goodness! A startup with a purpose, a product, an interesting business model... and no ads. Is this a freakin' mirage?

Love the fixed $250 price.

Great work guys.

grannyg00se 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are not branded domain names. They are brandable domain names with a sample logo. A logo is not a brand.

The title here is misleading but the site does a good job explaining what they are offering. And I think that they are providing good value. When you are starting out the last thing you need to do is waste a lot of time and money on a name and logo. With this service, you just pick one and forget about it then move onto more important matters.

MattBearman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm just impressed to see a decent sounding, 5 letter .com domain for $250 (Vueta) - tempted to snap that one up myself.
andrewcross 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, you are paying a premium. Yes, they are making a profit on this. But hey, they are solving a pain point, why not charge?

I just paid $1650 for a domain. That was a ton of money for me, but when someone already has it, you don't have a lot of leverage.

If I was starting another company, I would use this in a second. fueza.com anyone?

Maro 1 day ago 0 replies      
If a hypothetical person (not a HN user) thinks of a domain name and find that these guys are squatting it, is not interested in the design, he'll be thinking they're domain squatting assholes. He'll be right.
idoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
They should make sure to grab the twitter user name too, that's an important part of branding. I noticed that some of the twitter user names for the brands are free - how long will that last?
arkitaip 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could be an interesting tool - along with Unbouce, LaunchRock or KickoffLabs - when doing MVP web sites.
yahelc 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like someone might have already nabbed unhacker.com: http://stylate.com/portfolio/unhacker-com/
manuscreationis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so-so on this concept.

I'm sure it'll be a reasonable success and generate you some cash, but on the other hand, seeing someone holding a creative grab bag of interesting domains and concepts that they're only hoping to flip for a profit makes me uneasy.

There are a lot of clever, interesting names here though, and I can definitely see someone who has a concept without a a title seeing a lot of value in paying $250 for something like this. It's more than likely a hell of a lot cheaper than most domain squatters (which isn't exactly what i'd call this) would charge for the domain alone.

My major fear - the owner of this content might find someone who uses a similar name as one of their concepts-for-sale, and attempt to sue them without being able to properly verify if said person actually ripped them off, or just themselves came up with the idea coincidentally. It's one of those slippery slope endeavors.

I'm torn over whether I like "Feastable", "WhamBox", or "PixelKeg" the most. Definitely some great names here.

lpolovets 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a terrific idea.

Feature request: I'd love to subscribe to categories and get updates when you add new domains. E.g. "Please email me when you have a new domain related to health or hardware."

Hrundi 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are some lovely domains in here. Very cheap in comparison to their worth!
It sucks that when this post becomes more popular, most of them (if not all) will be taken.

Serves me right for having worked almost 4 years for a very large mobile games developer here in Argentina and having seen 40% of my paycheck being eaten away by inflation in the last few years.

I simply can't afford these domains, I would have loved to have them turned into full blown sites, just for fun!

Congratulations to the people that purchase them... please treat them nice :)

wavephorm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now combine this with some programmably generated content with a landing page, just change out variables like "social", "local", "recommendations", and "analytics". And then fire off auto-generated submissions to Y-Combinator, TechStars, and a slide deck to Sequoia.

You could condense the entire Silicon Valley startup funding scene into a single transaction.

Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The vuaro logo is amusing. Nothing communicates usability and ease of mind as well as a labyrinth :-)

Other than that I am not that impressed, the logos look pretty generic/standard. Maybe that kind of thing could work for small businesses (like restaurants), though.

n8agrin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is great, if only because it shows you don't need to name your startup something that ends in -li, -ly, and -r.
chaz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would love to see the Twitter name included as well. That's a must-have for some businesses. Otherwise, very nice site.
csomar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's good for startups. A startup is something that you spend time on, launch, test, connect... It needs more than a $250 logo, but a complete strategy for launching.

But what about small web apps? This should work very well for them.

hartror 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else looking at the names/logos and coming up with business ideas to fit? This is great!
yannick 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is quite a good idea, and the site itself is very nice and easy to navigate. Congratulations.

Seeing a domain name with an MVL (Minimum Viable Logo, haha) is really much better for imagining how strong it could be than just seeing it listed in text.

However, I found the selection too limited. So I think an interesting model for you would become a marketplace:
1- invite squatters with domains to sell to post their names on your site
2- invite designers to freely create logos to un-logoed domains
3- sell this wider selection to your audience, sharing the revenue with both squatters and designers.

Good luck - with more selection, I would easily find the service worthwhile at that price point.

fybren 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's definitely a market for this, and it saddens me.

Choosing a name is supposed to be difficult. You're supposed to brainstorm for hours, bounce ideas off your friends and second guess yourself. Having to go through this pain to get to the right name adds character to the business through authenticity.

Choosing a name from a list of pre-created brands, clever or not, is a cop out.

Best of luck, though. I'm sure you'll do well.

dotty 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ugh! These are just glorified domain sitters disguised as a trendy start-up. Please don't give these people your money - they ruin innovation by taking up massive amounts of domains then selling them for huge amounts.
These people RUIN the internet.
Finbarr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is really good for people in certain situations, e.g., you're going to pitch an important event with a new idea and you don't have a name or a logo. The design is nice and clean. My only suggestion would be adding share buttons.
its_so_on 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now all we need is a place where you can put brandless but fully implemented tech solutions. e.g. "sms to e-mail technology".

That brings us to the final piece of the puzzle: a site where you can invest in a "team" that has no idea and no technology.

Then the guys who walk around with bags of money evaluating teams and business propositions will finally be able to just mix and match to whatever they want, thinking (as they already do) that they're the ones adding all the value. Which, to be fair, under capitalism they probably do.

LogoBids 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of people are talking about domain squatting.

I own LunchMeet.com and paid 5 figures for it when at the time I intended to develop a startup.

Now I want to sell it. Is it squatting if I am just trying to get my money back?

sweeper33 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this idea. I think for smaller companies that can't afford a graphic design artist and a whole kit for their company, this is an attractive, fairly inexpensive option. It also has a kick start element to it. At the beginning lots of companies spend time and effort on their branding when they should be concentrating on their product, marketing and growth. Pre-branded domains give them a starting point to jump off from and is a timesaver.
wallawe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just in case someone wants one of your names but doesn't know of your site, it would be a great idea to have some quick info (link and price) under the 'get info' section of domain registrars like godaddy (since thats where the majority of people will be looking).
amouat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Clever. Do you scale the prices with number of clicks?
ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Risky business model since they aren't generic now.

Though a reverse hijacking costs more than $250

jorkos 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an okay option but there are other ways to get good cheap domains. The main problem with these domains is that they have no history.
missy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The names of the domains are more creative then the logos.Most names sound like a mid size start up website but the logos very high quality clipart.

I think they should create a tool that does this name and custom logo creation then doing it themselves. Dont see how they sell much

par 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's a very genuine idea. I don't think your intention is to squat on domains, I think it is to help people with the non-trivial process of finding names and logos. If nothing else, yours is just a great place for people to get ideas of their own. $250 is very reasonable.
joshuahays 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll visit the site if not to buy a logo, but a great place to start when thinking about a name for a startup. Good food for thought.
shimsham 2 days ago 1 reply      
unfortunately a logo and 2-syllable odd-sounding name don't make a brand. however, as a cost-effective way to get a name and image, it's relatively pragmatic, especially for those who need it NOW.
robjohnson 2 days ago 1 reply      
This epitomizes what packaging and convenience to provide to a simple concept. Bravo!
soyelmango 2 days ago 0 replies      
Domain speculators selling at a fixed 'low' price.
stylate 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey if you are looking for updates on Stylate.com, we just put up a twitter account--->


Skyhoper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Had a similar idea with startup branding in a box.

Currently not using HeyBTW with Heybtw.com, heyb.tw, @heybtw

j45 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. Sometimes you would be willing to pay $250 to just get started.

If you have free time, do it yourself.

ereckers 2 days ago 1 reply      
Quick question: why tags with no listings? ie. Health and Jobs. Did you create the tag list first?
jasonli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curious, how many domain names did you sell since posting on HN? (If you dont mind answering)
rottendoubt 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's a great idea. They need way more domain names though (100x).
klbarry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Needs more choices :)
jefft 2 days ago 1 reply      
To me, this is idea is akin to having a 3rd year creative writing student write a love poem for your bride-to-be.

Nicely designed site, though. Looks great.

davidtyleryork 2 days ago 0 replies      
dramaticus3 2 days ago 0 replies      
WineCoffer sounds like Wank Offer
Try Python, Ruby, Lua, Scheme, QBasic, Forth ... repl.it
365 points by amasad  1 day ago   77 comments top 27
pyre 1 day ago 1 reply      

  > import subprocess
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/lib/python2.7/subprocess.py", line 429, in <module>
import select
ImportError: No module named select


  > os.name
=> 'posix'
> os.uname()
=> ('Emscripten', 'emscripten', '1.0', '#1', 'x86-JS')
> os.environ
=> {'LANG': 'en_US.UTF-8', 'PYTHONHOME': '/:/', 'PWD': '/',
'USER': 'root', 'HOME': '/', 'PATH': '/', '_': './this.program'}
> os.getcwd()
=> '/sandbox'
> os.chdir('/')
> os.getcwd()
=> '/'
> os.popen2('ls -l')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/lib/python2.7/os.py", line 667, in popen2
import subprocess
File "/lib/python2.7/subprocess.py", line 429, in <module>
import select
ImportError: No module named select
> os.popen('ls -l')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
OSError: [Errno 24] Too many open files

* I liked the 'x86-JS' as the architecture.

* I know about os.listdir() but I wanted the permissions.

* I automatically did a ^W to delete a word and closed the tab. I don't feel like opening it again or I would probably have more.

* I realize that since this is a CPython -> JS converter that the REPL is running in my browser and no on a server (AFAIK) so it's not like this attempting to hack someone's server, but I found it interesting to probe the environment.

forbes 1 day ago 3 replies      
amasad: After a 5 minute play my first impressions are 'awesome!'. Some feedback:

I selected QBasic then changed my mind but couldn't immediately figure out how to get back to the list of the languages. Clicking the logo of a website usually takes you back to the 'home page', which in this case I consider to be the list of languages. You have buttons at the top right, with the lambda taking me back to the language chooser. Maybe button labels, even tooltips would help. But I would definitely make the logo the 'home' button. Even refreshing the page didn't take me back.

Anyway, a minor complaint. A super-cool effort. I will now go play with it some more.

arvinjoar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't work too well with my Swedish keyboard layout. If I want to use "[" or "]" I'd normally use Alt Gr+8 or Alt Gr+9, that doesn't work. This makes it almost impossible to code.
simcop2387 6 hours ago 1 reply      
the QBasic support actually makes me want to try to add Canvas support to it so that

CIRCLE (4, 3), 4, 4

and all the other stuff I used to have fun with years ago will actually work.

derleth 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I try Python or Ruby, the interpreter loads almost fully and then freezes.

Lua and Scheme work fine. Also, good job on allowing me to close the tab after I managed to get QBasic locked in an infinite loop. :-) (Dual-core likely helped.)

Firefox 7.0, x86 (32-bit), running on Ubuntu 11.04, x86-64.

apl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Scheme runs nicely on an iPhone 3GS. The Emscripten-compiled stuff crashes before you get to a prompt. Still, good stuff!

EDIT: I take that back. Lua runs, Python and Ruby do not.

wbhart 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm unsure about the Scheme that is included. It claims to be R6RS which requires support for exact numerical operations including big integers and rationals. Currently it seems to use only double precision floating point instead of exact integer values!
epenn 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm getting a 330 ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED when I try to load up the site. If no one else is getting this then chances are it's my company's firewall interfering. If its rule set detects either "fun" and/or "potentially useful" the site is immediately banned.
acpmasquerade 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice to see QBasic there. These days its easier to write for modern High Level languages, as they are easily installed and available everywhere. But the classic and beautiful languages are hard to find and even talked about.

Good and nostalgic memories of Programming with the Basic.


veyron 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! I see this replacing my normal pastebin/ideone workflows ...

One comment: in python, technically tabs are equivalent to 8 spaces, but in your REPL it is equivalent to 4 spaces. Is that a modification to the version of python you are using, or did you make a decision to match 4 spaces (BTW: I really like this, but it breaks some older code)

cbailey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love it. This site is hella-fast and responsive compared to the other "Try [x]" web apps I've used before. Love the addition of LOLCODE.
Personally, it took me a second to figure out the lambda and eg buttons, but I didn't find it frustrating or difficult. Pretty smart if you ask me.
dgottlieb 1 day ago 0 replies      
In Python:

Importing urllib hangs
zlib imports, but the compress and compressobj methods fail

> import zlib

> zlib.compress("askldas")

Internal error: ReferenceError: _deflateInit_ is not defined

rohit89 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great stuff. A really good way to play with some languages without needing to install it.
gtani 1 day ago 0 replies      
try any language online (asymptotically speaking


rhizome31 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's fun by itself, but what I believe could make it really useful would be to include interactive tutorials for each language. That's what I was expecting when I clicked the link.
andypants 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is Javascript.next?
esk 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Ouch! Awesome apps like this are totally humbling. Congratulations, guys.

If you're still following this thread, amasad and max99x, I have a simple question: how many hours did you two put into this?

csomar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why isn't the print function working in Qbasic? What restrictions are there in the compiler?
Acorn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would it be possible to implement user input via the REPL instead of the current javascript prompts? Would be much less clunky.

Also, at the moment something like this doesn't work at all (Python):

  while True:
user_input = raw_input()
if user_input is 'q':
print user_input

Legend 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm... Chrome gives me:

The webpage at http://repl.it/ might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.
Error 330 (net::ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED): Unknown error.


Bartlet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great site. A trivial gripe: you should get rid of the text shadow on the "Select a Language" title. Grey CSS text shadows on grey backgrounds tend to look blurry, and this is no exception. Or, better yet, make it a white 1px shadow with no blur: http://goo.gl/BU0Hu
jstepien 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder whether Haskell is on their todo list. GHC's LLVM backend [1] might be helpful.

[1] http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/Commentary/Compiler...

agentgt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hitting that QBasic button was like Hot Tub Time Machine... and just as bad as the movie.
paufernandez 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am amazed, more so by the fact that you made the source code available (and also since it's made with node.js).

I will have a lot of fun either with the app itself or the source code. Thanks!

cfontes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice stuff... What about some SCALA ? mixed paradigm functional + object oriented with a lot of mojo !
castewart 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome work guys! Keep at it and I would love to play around with tutorials in the future.
fouadjeryes 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is KILLER!
Show HN: HackerThings - Products for hackers hackerthings.com
352 points by coderdude  4 days ago   134 comments top 48
angrycoder 4 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty cool. It reminds me of what ThinkGeek used to be before it turned into Spencer's for faux-nerds.

One suggestion, mechanical keyboards.

Das Model S

Topre Realforce Tenkeyless

Happy Hacking

paulgerhardt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool.

There was a thread a few months back with a few similar ideas along this vein. See: http://news.ycombinator.org/item?id=1988328

My one suggestion would be to add an "additional resources" section under the more hackable products with links to relevant GitHub repos or blog posts.

I know for instance a few people have messed around with creating their own USB missile drivers for Linux. Here is one example: http://www.lukecole.name/research_and_projects/personal/usb_...

hooande 4 days ago 2 replies      
You, sir, are a genius and a scholar. This site is going to hit my paycheck every week for months.
0x12 4 days ago 3 replies      
Suggestionss: check all option (for those with fat wallets) and weird tools like lock pick kits.

That's a really neat collection and I'm going to have to put your site on the blacklist to make sure we have food here.

mcantor 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Kinesis keyboard seems germane to this site:


(Talk about "cure for disposable income"... they're actually great to type on once you get used to it; they're just not worth $300).

By the way, this is a delightful and simple site; I signed up for the newsletter, and I want to give you my money somehow. For what it's worth, I wouldn't bat an eyelash at affiliate links. I agree with joshu that curation is a huge value-add. In mere minutes, just based on the design of the site and the content on it right now, you have gained my trust! Treat it well and benefit from it.

mark_h 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love how the use of "hacker-news orange" (#f60) instantly makes things look hacker-ish now! (Might just be for me)
pnathan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dude, awesome!

- I would suggest feeding in some of the dev kits from Digikey.
The Parallax devices are pretty spiffy, as is the XMOS XCore.

- What about a magstripe reader?

- Include a Lisp book... On Lisp or perhaps Practical Common Lisp? ;)

arethuza 3 days ago 1 reply      
You might want to add some items from the United Nuclear website:


Lots of fascinating products and number three on the google search results for "buy uranium"! :-)

rix0r 3 days ago 3 replies      
Another suggestion, similar to the Hand Moldable Plastic: http://sugru.com/
alanh 4 days ago 3 replies      
Huh, the temperature-sensitive glass [1] featured on the home page seems backwards. The coolest parts are red, and the hottest parts, blue. (This violates color theory and standard heat maps.)

[1]: http://www.inventables.com/technologies/temperature-sensitiv...

ltamake 4 days ago 1 reply      
Word of warning: DO NOT buy the rechargeable USB batteries. They are very cheap and leaked acid (I owned two). Also, they do not hold a charge for more than a day in my experience. You'd be better off with regular rechargeable batteries.

Nice site, by the way. Has some very cool stuff.

nickzoic 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nifty. Like the minimalist design. I reckon what it really needs is some kind of subtle recommendation filter based either on like/dislike (interesting/boring?) buttons or just on what items you bother to click through to. Maybe a little (X) button to say take-it-away-and-don't-show-me-it-ever-again.

PS: Go ahead and put affiliate links on it, its got to pay for itself somehow. IMHO affiliate links are less obnoxious than ads taking up room. Just make sure you don't let the affiliate income bias your selections too much, or the usefulness of the site will be degraded.

tryitnow 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just have to keep away from this site...I am just going to pretend this is a dream and it doesn't really exist.

Otherwise I will spend so much money and so much time playing with the awesome things there that I will end up broke and unemployed in under a year.

revorad 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the most well-designed and interesting projects I've seen posted here. Considering you built it in a weekend, that's truly amazing.

What's your plan going forward?

sneak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh god, love it. The ultimate cure for disposable income.

One suggestion, which may be unpopular: As many cool "let's build stuff" ideas as I get when browsing sites like this, a tag or filter for stuff that is complete, ready-to-use products would be helpful, as I already have too many PCBs scattered around and most times should only be buying complete products that can actually improve my life directly.

mbesto 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool! One suggestion - make it more like Uncrate: http://uncrate.com/

So, add:

- Tags

- Categories

- Filtering (most popular, saved, etc)

- Saving

- Blog style (so people can direct link, or just provide direct link)

- Similar items (via categories or tags)

phatbyte 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dammit, I want everything in there !
Congratulations btw.
sp332 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since people are posting suggestions, how about Bloxes? http://bloxes.com/ They ship flat, you just fold them up and build structures out of them.
toot 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've seen a couple of sites like this that have done well generating traffic from niche forum banner ads (http://toppppp.com is the one that sprints to mind immediately).

My worry with these types of passive income sites is the upkeep for pricing information. The OP's source looks like he's manually printed the price, and the same with my example except their prices are quite out of date by now. Does anyone have any ideas how best to scrape the price from the 3rd party site?

bprater 3 days ago 1 reply      
How often will this be updated?
dotBen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tell us more about the "backend"... are you drop shipping this stuff or do you have inventory?
aashay 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty neat, but it'd be more useful if it had some basic category filtering. That way I could filter out all the electrical engineery stuff from the other stuff, for example.
memset 3 days ago 1 reply      
HackerThings recently posted a widget I created (the ATX Power Supply to Bench Supply). In a few days I'll post a writeup of traffic (or sales, if any, none so far) mainly for the benefit of coderdude.

Thank you, coderdude, for sharing my product!

mkramlich 3 days ago 1 reply      
ie. if SparkFun, ThinkGeek and Maker SHED had a baby...
msutherl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Nicely done. I'm looking forward to seeing more web-stores that just link to other websites for the checkout process. Does this have a name? Product curating?

Question: do you make money from affiliations and if not, do you plan to?

fs111 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should see if you could also become a distributor for milkymist.org (open hardware VJ system).
saracen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great site! Congrats on launching!

And from the comments, I suppose some of the next few features you may want to add would be:
1. a way for users to recommend products
2. a way for users to LIKE and DISCUSS products

adrianwaj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to see more EMF shielding products, including clothes. Some of the stuff here looks great: http://www.lessemf.com/personal.html

I'd like to wear this on a date for sure: http://www.lessemf.com/images/a260.jpg being optimistic, then run one of the Faraday canopies over the bed)

ctekin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I'll click the subscribe button for the first time in my life.
iandanforth 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dammit man, get me a panda board!
gadders 3 days ago 0 replies      
You know what I like about this website? It doesn't use the word "curated" to describe what it does.

{I realise this is an off-topic personal bugbear)

sfkaos 4 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent job! Clean, simple, effective... perfect.

Will you update this daily? And will the number of items you showcase be the same?

rhdoenges 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everything here is great.

relevant: http://isitchristmas.com/

bennesvig 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very neat. I have a pair of those rechargeable USB batteries. They're perfect for a wireless mouse.
jamesbritt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Really very nice, and I appreciate the time and effort you put into this. Have to say, though, that the Facebook association leaves a bad taste.
webmonkeyuk 3 days ago 1 reply      
The site looks great, full of stuff I'm now trying not to buy...

How to plan to make money from the site? I guessed that the links would be tracked to affiliate schemes but they just look like straight links to the retailers' sites

tsumnia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely happy to see the Emotiv headset on the site! I am currently using one to run a study on brain wave activity on athletes.

Definitely going to keep an eye on your site.

laxk 4 days ago 0 replies      
USB-Rechargable AA Batteries is amazing idea! http://www.inventables.com/technologies/usb-rechargeable-bat...
macca321 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is the greatest site I have ever seen
Oddman 3 days ago 0 replies      
There really is nothing that can top Caffeinated Soap.
wilhelm 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is excellent. Thanks!
adrianwaj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really like the Bamboo keyboard and mouse. Avoid touching plastic.
freemarketteddy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you...this is awesome!
tjpannu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did you use a CMS or did you build this from the ground up?
ropable 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man I wish that I'd thought of this. Great idea, and great site!
msinghai 3 days ago 0 replies      
How many sales you got till now? Just asking ... :
anakin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Briliant! I definitely buy the Emotive headset
geekytenny 4 days ago 0 replies      
nice collection
How Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing (2009) radian.org
349 points by mootothemax  3 days ago   92 comments top 13
eftpotrm 3 days ago  replies      
It's also worth noting, though, that the fall-out of this cost Porsche dearly:

In its efforts to acquire a majority holding in Volkswagen AG, Porsche built up a large debt burden, aggravated by taxes due on very large paper profits from Volkswagen AG options. By July 2009, Porsche was faced with debts exceeding 10 billion euros. The supervisory board of Porsche finally agreed to a number of arrangements whereby the Qatar Investment Authority would inject a large amount of capital, and Porsche would be merged with Volkswagen Group. On 23 July 2009, Michael Macht was appointed CEO, to replace Wendelin Wiedeking, who is expected to receive a compensation package of 50 million euros.


steve8918 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ummmmmmm, this is a terrible article. They failed to point out that Porsche went heavily in debt in order to finance this "hack", and ended up getting bailed out and bought by VW.

It's ridiculous to say that Porsche "hacked the financial system and made a killing" when they essentially bankrupted themselves by doing so.

aqrashik 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious, what happens if you can't return stock that you've borrowed in order to short it? either because of a situation like this or simply because you went bankrupt due to bad debts.

Wouldn't this be a common scenario given the very nature of the risk?

andjones 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those interested in this kind of story, and manipulation of markets in general, one of the best books I've read on the subject, published in 1923: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator


T_S_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice example about how lack of information leads to volatility in markets. If you are looking for prescriptions to fix our financial markets, increasing transparency of trading would do wonders to eliminate speculation and refocus investors on value.
nasmorn 3 days ago 5 replies      
Pretty ridiculous to kill yourself over losing a round of really expensive poker. Especially considering Merckle could probably command a higher monthly budget for the rest of his live than I can. And my life is pretty nice no death wishes here. He should have probably have the news sink in a little to gain some perspective on it.
fleitz 3 days ago 1 reply      
This was hilarious, I was working for a company that supplied software to hedge funds at the the time. I was laughing my ass off that the hedge fund guys got taken so badly by a bunch of car makers. Looks like German financial engineering is as highly regarded as German automotive engineering.
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am very surprised this was legal. Aren't there disclosure requirements? Certainly in the US if you acquire a stake of more than 5 or 10% you have to declare it.
anoother 3 days ago 2 replies      
Judging by the other comments here, it seems that shortly after this was written, the financials went horribly awry for Porsche...

Anyone care to explain, preferably in a similarly understandable style as this article?

faizanaziz 3 days ago 2 replies      
So if the hedge fund managers lost money and Porsche lost money, so where did the money go?

To play this game both borrowed money, so both parties paid interests... So i guess the banks made money... Fits in with this article http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/13/news/goldman.earnings.report...

dennisgorelik 3 days ago 1 reply      
For hobbyist investor it's tempting to short some stocks which seem to be priced outrageously high.

In the past I've heard the term "Short Squeeze", but did not really pay attention.

This article demonstrates one of the risks of shorting.

gavanwoolery 3 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who noticed this:

"How Porsche hacked the financial system and MADE A KILLING"

"Betting the wrong way, Adolf Merckle TOOK HIS LIFE."

I'm all for dark humor, but isn't it a little sketchy to joke about suicide in your headline? (I'm guessing the headline was intentional, but who knows).

Minimum Viable Personality avc.com
312 points by robert-boehnke  2 days ago   51 comments top 14
martinkallstrom 2 days ago 2 replies      
This was the most helpful article I found on HN this week. Not joking either, I'm mucking about with product design for which this was spot on. And it was performed (I find no better word) with personality.
sneak 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think Spolsky does this best, even though I can't quite pin down how.

His company doesn't have a trendy name, he doesn't really have a gimmick (other than being a clear and prolific and useful writer, which is not a gimmick), but he's reasonably celebrated.

In the context of this "don't just be useful, have personality" idea, what's his personality? It must exist, because the following that he's built points to it, but I can't identify it directly, sort of like a marketer who you've heard great things about but don't know where. (Obligatory xkcd comic link to be posted by someone else.)

Note: I'm not saying he has no personality, just that I can't point out what makes it come to the forefront, because it's subtle. I love the guy, but don't know why I love his site so much more than, say, jwz's. Maybe it's the implied profitability of his software business, versus the "I sell beer because I hate computers" message?

paulkoer 2 days ago 10 replies      
Was this meant to be funny or demonstrate a lot of personality? (as in: you will endure all this rough English because the message is so important). I am probably not getting the humor but I found it an obnoxious read. All this to tell you "Don't be boring - do something different"? I could imagine a much better article on that topic.
nhangen 2 days ago 2 replies      
I love Fred, and I love his blog, but I couldn't make it through that post.
rajpaul 2 days ago 0 replies      
"webcopy that sells" speaks about a lot of this, and other ideas on how to communicate to users.


woot.com is a great example of how to sell through persionality, and not by being a sales person, which doesn't seem to work as well on the net.

gavanwoolery 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the occasional "common sense" article as much as the next guy, but this was a little bit too obvious, vague, and uninformative. Make a product that is interesting that has meaning and people like. Wow, really? Wait, I've got a better strategy, that is even more straight to the point: Make money, get rich.

Making something that people care about is a goal, not a strategy.

mannicken 2 days ago 0 replies      
People like a degree of anthropomorphism in, well, anything. But when designing things with personality, keep in mind that there's, what I call, a valley of creepiness which happens when you add too much realism. E.g. it's probably okay to have a coffee-machine that kind of looks like an animal, but it's not okay to have that coffee-machine defecate perfectly realistic pieces of shit on your carpet.

Universal Principles of Design calls it the uncanny valley: http://books.google.com/books?id=zXAx9_Y8GiEC&lpg=PA243&...

NY_Entrepreneur 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does this apply to Google search, Yahoo, Facebook, Dell, Asus, Intel, StackOverflow, Hacker News, Google News, YouTube, Kingston Memoriy, Seagate, Cisco, Verizon Superpages, C|Net, Twitter, FourSquare?
Monkeyget 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of this TED talk : http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspi...

Sell by saying who you are, not what you do.

harrisreynolds 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is basic "How People Think" 101. People like HOT, INTERESTING, SEXY. People also like FUNNY! Which is why this article was BRILLIANT.
ghc 2 days ago 3 replies      
I cannot begin to express how much this made me think. In preparation for my own launch coming up, I'm looking at it and wondering why I've spent so much time of Minimum Viable Product when the personality just won't cut it. The guys at Hipmunk posted something to this affect a while ago, but it didn't have the weight of this.

But how does one launch a product with a personality? As a developer, not a designer, I'm at a loss...

ajaycancherla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally love this article! Your company and your product have to BE ABOUT SOMETHING!!! Why should people care about you as opposed to the hundred of apps that launch everyday? You have to represent an idea. You have to represent possibilities.
rheide 2 days ago 1 reply      
I read the whole thing in the Hulk's voice.
bgrissom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Write your app in HTML5, upload it and get back app-store ready apps phonegap.com
311 points by geoffroy  1 day ago   91 comments top 24
adamjernst 1 day ago 8 replies      
I think PhoneGap is doing great work, they're obviously getting better, and I don't mean to diminish what others have poured so much effort into.

But, are there any successful apps made with PhoneGap? Writing apps in HTML5 is constantly hyped, but there isn't a single HTML app out of the dozens on my iPhone except Netflix. PhoneGap's app gallery doesn't have a single app I've heard of.

(The Netflix app isn't too pleasant, either, unfortunately.)

Urgo 1 day ago 2 replies      

"Since PhoneGap Build uses Apple's standard development process to build applications, you will need to sign up for their developer program to build iOS applications on PhoneGap Build. You will also need a Mac to configure your certificate and provisioning profile."


pbreit 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I started looking at PhoneGap but wasn't happy with Jquery Mobile for the UI. I am now trying out Titanium which offers a similar promise of ease for web/Javascript developers but with more native UI elements. So far so good but developing in Aptana/Eclipse-based Titanium Studio is a drag.

The more "consumer" your app the more likely it needs to be mobile. But I think there is probably a large class of apps where PhoneGap/Titanium make sense. Definitely in the internal business category where the audience is finite and the look-and-feel is secondary to the functionality and cost/ease of development and maintenance.

dendory 1 day ago 0 replies      
This site is awesome. To try it out, I made a quick one page app, uploaded it, made signing keys, and got it to the Android Marketplace, all inside of a few hours. My first mobile app ever.
Limes102 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm writing really a very large app for the company I work for. We're using PhoneGap with HTML and JavaScript and have many plugins.

What we are not having problems with is the fact that we only really have a single thread to do everything. All I can say is that I'm glad it wasn't my idea to build it this way.

anothermachine 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice, and I use PhoneGap for Android, but you lose all the niceties like access to hardware buttons (which means you convert limited screen space to menus) and keyboard and intents and whatnot.

I had to write some plugins to get my game working on Android (and there are still compatibility problems around opening intents), so PhoneGap apps definitely lose something in the usability department.

And of course animations are not successful in this environment.

Ads are a pain too, if that's important to you, with the Google Admob/Adwords migration happening and the mobile web vs app ambiguity.

PhoneGap seems helpful as a part of the app's main UI, but native chrome is still important to completing an app's functionality and usability. I don't see how Build solves that use case.

Still, it's a niche.

exratione 1 day ago 0 replies      
Speaking as someone writing a fairly major HTML5 iOS app using Jo and PhoneGap: this looks like a very helpful way to take the make-work out of the case where you have an app that uses no native functionality, and is not in any way optimized for best appearance.

That's not a knock - a lot of people have that use case, and spend a lot of time on their own systems for deploying to multiple platforms. Consider internal apps, for example, that don't have to be massively visually slick and polished.

But ... given the very large differences between even similar platforms, and even between versions of platforms, you're not going to be getting much from this if you are building ultra-slick apps in which you really do need consider, say, how hardware acceleration or browser quirks fit into the picture.

wavephorm 1 day ago 8 replies      
Upload your website, download a native app.

What is wrong with this picture? If you can build your app as a web app and don't require hardware access then I'd think twice whether a native app is required.

Hisoka 1 day ago 2 replies      
I may be ignorant, but to write a complex app, don't you need HTML5 AND a mobile javascript framework like JQuery Mobile and Sencha? Or does HTML5 handle that too? If it does require a Javascript framework, that's when the quality deteoriates... I think imitating the look and feel of native apps is easy. Making the performance smooth on the other hand is hard.
zerostar07 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wasn't there a time when apple rejected phonegap apps? (they did reject one of mine for sure).
ggoodale 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great service - I've used it to build a modest application or two for Android and iOS. One caveat: Phonegap plugins that include native components (for example, the Facebook plugin) can't be included in apps built with Phonegap Build (yet).
pmdan 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is my favorite example of an expertly-made PhoneGap app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pCtD4GuAqE

So smooth.

diamondhead 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there any way to get an iOS development license using no Apple device?
vinhboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there like a demo app with code I can look at? Thanks.
ashrust 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm missing something but given you write the app in HTML/JS it must be difficult to unit test your wrappers for the phonegap functions, as I assume you can't simply pull up your dev site from the phone's browser. I'm thinking particularly about things like the contacts or network status functions.
toblender 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny I just released an application using this method yesterday. Too bad the Apple sales reporting site is down. I wanted to see how well HTML5 Apps sell.


gto16108 1 day ago 0 replies      
Phone Gap paired with sencha would make one seriously native-feeling iPhone application. And all HTML5? Beautiful.
forkrulassail 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beta code pretty please?
czzarr 1 day ago 1 reply      
how different is this from strobe ?
designium 1 day ago 0 replies      
QUESTION: Is there a good tutorial about creating PhoneGap apps integrated to Rails apps?
nithinag 1 day ago 0 replies      
this looks cool!
Rotor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very curious to see how they implement this tool.

I would think there would have to be some type of "compiler hints" for particular app device builds.

ricardobeat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I back to 2010? Or am I reading Reddit?
infocaptor 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much effort needed to convert my single html with few javascript files to be app-store eligible. I think there is more to just using the phonegap
SlideShare ditches Flash for HTML5 slideshare.net
308 points by siddhant  4 days ago   55 comments top 23
Lewisham 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is great news. After Scribd's terrible move to lock my content away behind their paywall, I can now start uploading my slides to Slideshare and get the same HTML5 loveliness.

Bye, bye, Scribd!

bentruyman 4 days ago 3 replies      
Heh, HTML5. http://i.v3n.us/ASQf Guys, this is just a non-Flash version. But I guess blasting it out there with the HTML5 logo gets a lot more attention, at the cost of confusing non-techies about what HTML5 really is.

And trust me, this is a discussion I have ad nauseam with clients.

Regardless, I appreciate the move Slideshare.

jeremymcanally 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent. I was hoping they would eventually go this route, but it didn't look likely (though Scribd's move in this direction was a good indicator it would happen eventually).

I wonder how they'll fare against Speaker Deck (http://speakerdeck.com) once they get up to full steam. The experience at Speaker Deck is certainly prettier.

SandB0x 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still not sure what the point of SlideShare is, especially when Chrome has a PDF presentation mode.
drivebyacct2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good god, finally. I'm no fan of Flash, but I'm not sure I've ever had a SlideShare presentation load properly and for what ever reason, people love to use them exclusively and I'm never able to get to the content in an alternative fashion.
jswinghammer 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a lot easier if you don't support PowerPoint animations. A few years ago I used to work on a competing product and we did support PowerPoint animations. I thought about how to support animations in HTML and JavaScript quite a bit and it just became obvious that doing it in Flash was far easier.
kreek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, nice work. As someone making the same transition for a large Flash app I can attest to how hard this is, especially for accurate font rendering. I've seen a lot of comments on HN along the lines of Flash sucks why don't you use HTML5? As the post points out it's not a trivial switch, canvas is extremely low level compared to Flash's Display List.

edit: HTML5 = abs positioned divs and CSS3 fonts in this case, plus some text rendered as part of background images, still it's really difficult to go from PDF to HTML no matter how you do it :)

u4 4 days ago 0 replies      
Woah! It was only a few hours back i came to know about speakerdeck claiming to be the non flash (& non sucky) alternative to slideshare. And now this. Giant move!

Now if only slideshare cleans up its UI/X a bit, I might never leave.

danw 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does that include putting hideous adverts across the slides in 'HTML5'?

(I miss the early scribd & slideshare, before they started trying to make money to survive by plastering the place with adverts)

mattmanser 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are fonts working for anyone else? As they're all pixellated horribleness for me now. They look especially bad in their demo. Probably just a small bug.
pornel 3 days ago 0 replies      
They did a bit more ambitious version: they're using CSS fonts and absolutely position every single letter to preserve original text layout in HTML.
janogonzalez 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just after the launch of SpeakerDeck(http://speakerdeck.com/)...
phzbOx 4 days ago 0 replies      
When Apple announced that they didn't want flash on their i(pod|pad|phone), I instantly knew I'd see this in the forthcoming months:

  1) The exact same HTML5 documents work on the iPhone / iPad, 
Android phones/tablets, and modern desktop browsers."

That was such a huge move from them. I couldn't imagine another big company than Apple to do that.

esdweb 4 days ago 2 replies      
This article could be the press release (or footnotes to it) that Jobs never wrote or would write. What I mean is, when Steve Jobs announced a couple of years ago that Apple would go HTML5 instead of Flash, there was great oohing and ahhing but no concise explanation for those of us lesser mortals as to why HTML5 is the better path. And this article does it in a couple of hundred words.Specifically: 1) From iPhone to desktop, it's one and the same document; 2) Document files are smaller and load faster; 3) SEMANTIC WEB accessible. Our poor semantic web, so visionary and so non-starter. Perhaps the growth of HTML5 will save it.
ksri 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the section on Error Handling. They do image comparison to confirm the page looks good. Does anybody know any open source library that would do this? I had tried a naive approach for something similar, and had failed miserably.
BlueZeniX 4 days ago 0 replies      
30% faster, because it's a rewrite?

SWF is a very compact format and text rendering is optimized for speed (animation). I doubt their flash viewer was built on decent code...

__mark 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been using latex with beamer for the last year, I don't do many presentations, but really it helps with staying on message that you have to be able to so it in latex.
kosso 3 days ago 0 replies      
They're still using the Flash version in the embeddable/oEmbed-discoverable version.
kapilmohan 4 days ago 0 replies      
SlideShare 30% faster and flash free! Do they get carbon credits for this?
gto16108 4 days ago 0 replies      
An HTML5 driven mobile SlideShare is great news right now :)
kcmani 4 days ago 0 replies      
w00t, finally its here.
n9986 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yippie :D
sylvainkalache 4 days ago 0 replies      
SlideShare faster, lighter!
Promising HIV vaccine passes phase one human trials with 90% success rate gizmag.com
309 points by grannyg00se  2 days ago   97 comments top 9
joshklein 2 days ago  replies      
My father is an infectious disease specialist who has spent the last 30 or so years working on HIV in research, patient treatment, and education. The following thought comes from my casual conversations with him, and probably does not represent his professional opinion. It certainly does not reflect his specific thoughts in regards to this trial, as we haven't yet discussed it.

The progress in treating HIV since it first entered the popular psyche has been significant. It is no longer a death sentence in the developed world, and those infected with HIV - who get treatment and adhere to that treatment - can live long and relatively normal lives.

The real problem is in the developing world, and amongst populations in the developed world that cannot or will not seek/adhere to treatment. Treatment is sufficiently advanced that, while further developments of a vaccine are unbelievably exciting, they are not necessarily a game-changer in terms of worldwide infection. We have a long way to go in terms of beating this virus. Theoretically, we could follow the same route as with [edit: smallpox], unifying and mobilizing the world to isolate and then eradicate pockets of the disease, but this is a much larger effort than the one taking place in the lab, and is a question of government & administration, rather than medicine.

Edit: Bringing it up from a comment I made below, here is a relevant TED Talk on stopping pandemics: http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_brilliant_wants_to_stop_pande...

sgentle 2 days ago 3 replies      
Easy to miss: "The recent human trials involved 30 healthy volunteers, where 24 were treated with MVA-B, while the other 6 were treated with a placebo, carried out over a 48 week period."

This test was done on healthy volunteers, not ones with HIV. Although it's promising that 90% of the patients showed an immune response, we don't know how well that immune response translates into therapeutic benefit until it's trialled on HIV-positive patients.

eli 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to bum anyone out, but there have been quite a few potential vaccines that have made it through Phase 1 trials (several made it all the way to phase 3) only to be ultimately abandoned as ineffective or unsafe.

Phase 1 is generally a small trial that is primarily designed to test the safety of the drug, not its efficacy.

grannyg00se 2 days ago 5 replies      
"if this genetic cocktail passes Phase II and Phase III future clinic trials, and makes it into production, in the future HIV could be compared to herpes virus nowadays".

As far as I know there is no herpes vaccine and herpes stays with you for life resulting in recurring problems. Doesn't quite sound like a very flattering comparison to an effective vaccine solution.

deepakINdc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Several valid points already made here:

1. Phase 1 is for safety
2. 30 is a small number

But the big issue here is the reason HIV and even the common cold is hard to treat -- high turnover and high rates of mutation.

So, even if you have Ab's and/or helper T cells (cell that remember an infection) against one or more strains of HIV, the presentation of the strain that an individual may pick up later on in life may be different and thus might not mount an immune response. Also of interest -- Helper T-cell sare the primary target of HIV.

In order to really determine if or not this vaccine is effective, we will have to observe the responses in people who have been given the vaccine and then contracted HIV later in life. While this is promising and will add another barrier against HIV, its unlikely to eradicate the virus.

kingkawn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a short presentation on clinical trial success rates: http://insidebioia.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/bio-ceo-biome...
appendix_a 2 days ago 2 replies      
how do you sign up people to be infected with HIV?
FameofLight 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally we are in close stage to contain , one of the unknown virus in human history.
JVerstry 2 days ago 5 replies      
Many in the scientific community claim there is no evidence HIV is actually causing AIDS. Hence, even if this is a successful vaccine, there is no guarantee it will protect from AIDS.
Zynga's Profits Down by 95% gamepro.com
301 points by bane  5 days ago   106 comments top 12
teej 4 days ago  replies      
Disclaimer: I was previously a Zynga employee and I am presently a holder of Zynga stock. I have no knowledge of Zynga's current internal state - the following is entirely speculation.


There are many forces at work here that need to be brought to light.

* Macro Trend #1 - Facebook's web traffic is in decline[1]. These users are shifting to mobile as their primary consumption channel for Facebook. No facebook app developer has presence on the mobile app.

* Macro Trend #2 - Zynga's game launches are smaller than ever. For many reasons, it's getting harder to launch a 5M+ DAU game.

Zynga is responding to these trends in several ways.

* Leverage their warchest[2] to make acquisitions. This lets them launch a higher volume of games and help them get a foothold in mobile. Zynga has made a LOT of acquisitions this year[3].

* Further monetize their existing base. They've been pushing partner deals really hard recently, doing deals with Lady Gaga[4], Amex[5], and Capital One[6]

Zynga's games are more high quality than ever. Gone are the days of "fuck innovation", two of Zynga's most recent releases are the best they've ever built. The issue is that the market for FB games is in decline - the next big wave is mobile. If Zynga can become a player by launching a hit or acquiring a large chunk of the space, they'll be doing better than ever. But so far, Zynga's mobile releases have flopped.

TL;DR - Zynga's profits are a sign that they have doubled down on acquisitions to counter-balance a market shift from web to mobile. Their future prospects lie in their ability to generate hits on the iPhone.


[1] - http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/06/12/facebook-sees-big-t...

[2] - http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2011/08/11/zynga-credit-1-bi...

[3] - http://mashable.com/2011/05/18/zynga-dna-games/

[4] - http://mashable.com/2011/05/10/zynga-gaga-gagaville/

[5] - http://www.zynga.com/about/article.php?a=20101130

[6] - http://blog.games.com/2011/09/19/farmville-cityville-pioneer...

michaelochurch 4 days ago 4 replies      
The electronic games field is currently flooded with a bunch of one-trick pranksters and bike-shedding assclowns and "gameification experts" who haven't designed a game and flat-out have no clue what they're talking about. I thought the domination of Corporate (post-3D) was the death of decency in electronic gaming, but this "social" dreck makes EArts at its worst look saintly.

If Zynga can reinvent itself as a company that gives a shit about game quality, then I'll cheer for their success. What they represent now is something of which I can whole-heartedly say that I'm glad to see any signs that it's starting to die.

In 1995, Chrono Trigger (a game built by a team of leading artists and designers, not based on "analytics" regarding how to sap the energy and attention of half-bored people) came out. It had a story, there was a sense of progress because the game kept evolving and the challenges got harder (imagine this!) and after 50 hours or so, the game was completed and you went the fuck outside and rode your bike or went swimming. You could New Game+ to beat Lavos at different points in the story and level up to 99 if you really cared, but that was pretty rare and even then, the game came to a close. Also, the game involved a lot more thought than the mindless click-here-click-there of these Games For Idiots like Shartville and Mafia Whores.

dan_manges 5 days ago 2 replies      
Since their revenue was up, this doesn't mean much without knowing more about "higher than normal spend on hiring, acquisitions and international growth."
EponymousCoward 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good. Suck it. This company is pure slime. I pity their acquirees. And it's totally worth my karma hit to just get this off my chest.
nhangen 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm not a fan of their games, but I do want them to do well....not sure why. Maybe it's because I feel that out of all the latest IPO's and IPO rumors, they have the closest to an actual business, or because I want a gaming company to do well since I make games.

Either way, 95% is a lot, and this doesn't bode well at all for anyone lower in the food chain.

analyst74 4 days ago 1 reply      
judging a gaming company by quarter?? ok, zynga is not exactly a traditional gaming company, but can you even imagine if we judged blizzard or bioware (when they were independant) by quaterly figures?
taylorbuley 4 days ago 2 replies      
If Facebook was banking on expectations that they'd see a 30% cut of Zynga's revenue this does not bode well for a Facebook IPO.
loevborg 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or is it meaningless that profits are down by a certain percentage? Suppose a company is just about breaking even. Last quarter it made $1,000,000 (of a revenue of $100M). This quarter it makes $1,000. Profits fell 99.9%. So what?
c_raig 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Zynga has reported year on year profits that were down by approximately 95%"

"Zynga's total revenues for the quarter were up by 15%, though this was slower growth than the previous quarter, which jumped up by 24%"

Perhaps it's just a little too early to handle basic concepts, but if revenues are up, but profits are down, doesn't that just mean costs are significantly greater? Isn't THAT the big headline here?

zitterbewegung 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess the real question is this indicative of a general trend or is this only a one time event? Does this bode well for people who want to write apps for Facebook?
SJDave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Zynga's having a hard time getting new players, according to this - http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2011/09/27/zynga-herding-...
joshuaelu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what Zynga did Q3 2010? Doesn't really make sense to measure profitability in succeeding quarters as it does to look at the YoY, right?
Browser Market Pollution: IE[x] is the new IE6 paulirish.com
267 points by joshuacc  4 days ago   87 comments top 24
Macha 4 days ago 2 replies      
IE6's entrenched position came from the fact that (a) it was the latest version of Internet Explorer for a _huge_ amount of time and (b) its status as the IE dead end for Win2k and below.

When IE7 came out, any company that still had any Win2k machines had to keep designing with IE6 in mind if they wanted their new apps to work on all their computers. (I'm making the assumption that if they were relying on IE previously, they couldn't just switch to Firefox or something).

Now, IE8 I think most people can accept is going to end up in IE6's current place. It's the IE dead end for XP, a hugely popular OS. But IE7? None of those companies that don't upgrade upgraded to IE7. Home users that upgrade will also have installed the IE8 upgrade. So you're left with what? Unpatched Vista installations. These are much rarer than unpatched XP installations simply because Vista had a shorter lifespan, and Windows Vista to 7 is sufficiently undramatic an upgrade for the types of people who would take years to go from XP to Vista.

So so far we have:

  - IE6 will drag on as long as XP does.
- IE7 won't last particularly long. While it's popular now,
earlier Vista computers will be replaced in the close
future (2-3 years), causing it to lose market share to IE8.
- IE8 will have a long lifespan, although probably not as long as IE6.

IE9? IE9 has never been shipped by default with any version of Windows. That means anyone who installed it did decide to upgrade. These users will likely upgrade away, meaning in the future, IE9 will be even more of a non-issue than IE7.

IE10 will likely also go the way of IE7. While it will be installed by default on Windows 8, the amount of dramatic changes in W8 will scare off many of the companies that are slow to upgrade.

So in 5 years time, what versions of IE will realistically you need to support?

  - IE6 (maybe - probably, hopefully, enterprise only at this stage)
- IE8
- IE10 (enterprise will never use it because Win8 is scary and different to them
so for home users only)
- IElatest-1 So IE13 or something?
- IElatest IE14 or something.

Needing to support IE6 and IE10 will likely be mutually exclusive, so that's 4 versions for sites targeted at home users and 5 for sites aimed at both enterprise and home users. Still ugly, but far from 72. And all those versions will be dead in the timescale that the article is using. Insofar as IE6 will ever die, anyway.

IE6 for home users will be dead at that point. Most of those old early XP computers will be "broken" and replaced, even if "broken" is just slow and annoying. Using XP in five years will be like using Win98/Win2k. Yes, people do use them. No, they aren't a large enough group for most to worry about. I even have a small amount of hits from Netscape 6. I haven't a clue what my page looked like for them, and don't care.

In theory, if even IE is aiming for at least yearly releases from now on, no future IE will end up in the position that IE6 is in, and that IE8 will find itself in, as upgrading your browser frequently becomes a fact of life. The compatibility modes will be much less important too, as the shorter lived the browser, the less likely that the compatibility mode for it will ever be used.

(Sidenote: Sorry for the kludgy lists. HN has no proper formatting for them, and they were causing horizontal scrollbars)

masklinn 4 days ago 1 reply      
> IE6 has been a source of pain for… I'd say four years.

We're in late 2011 right? That puts Paul's "IE6 being a pain" in late 2007, right after the original iPhone was released.

By that time, Firefox 2 was a year old, Firebug was 18 months old, and Safari 3 (the first version with acceptable Javascript support) had just been released, making Drosera (which would morph into the Webkit Developer Tools the next year) available.

Hell, by late 2007 IE7 was a year old already. And a significant reason why the IE project was restarted (and IE7 produced) is developers getting fed up with IE6, its bugs, its antiquated tools and its lack of progress, and Firefox had been getting more and more traction since its 1.0 release in late 2004.

IE6 has been a pain for at least 6 years now. 2005 was Firefox 1.5, the announce for the IE project restart and the grand opening of On Having Layout [0], the tail end of the long, slow and painful discovery of IE6's innumerable rendering bugs, DOM and javascript limitations (anybody else remembers Drip and Joel Webber's "DHTML leaks like a sieve"? That's January 2005), painfully slow runtime & al.

Of course it makes sense that 2005 would have been such a sticking point: the web community had been playing around with CSS since ~2003 (CSS Zen Garden released that year) and was wrapping up the IE6 CSS bugs compendium (see above-mentioned On Having Layout, pretty much the culmination of the effort).

Late 2004 and (especially) 2005 it started to turn its attention from styling to behavior, which lead to the rebirth of Javascript and the creation of modern javascript: AJAX coined (and seminal article on the subject published)? February 2005. Opera Desktop free and ad-free? April 2005 QuirksBlog? December 2004. The killing of "DHTML"? 2005[1]. http://simonwillison.net/2005/Jan/5/swissMaps/ http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2005/01/06/dhtml_05/index...., ... the javascript frameworks explosion was also 2004 (Dojo) through 2005 (Prototype, Mochikit) to 2006 (jQuery, YUI)

[0] http://www.satzansatz.de/cssd/onhavinglayout.html

[1] http://adactio.com/journal/938

simonsarris 4 days ago 6 replies      
I saw this on paul's G+ and rolled my eyes.

Oh guffaw. The time has easily come where we are allowed to say "no" to several browser versions, or at least ignore them. Even Google has dropped support for IE6.

Supporting several browsers does not mean that a website has to look perfect in all those browsers. My sites will look good on the latest version of Chrome, IE, Opera, and Firefox.

Users of IE6/7/etc are already self-inflicting harm on their own web experience, why should we care to cater to them? They can have the website I display, but I'm not building the site for the past.

I don't care if previous browser users see the Best Of All Possible Websites, as long as they see something. And since I'm developing Canvas apps, I don't care if some of them see anything at all.

I imagine IE will reluctantly take the road of Chrome or FF and be more insistent about updates, especially outside of the corporate world. I also think that in the future the consensus will be that there isn't anything wrong with dropping support for aged browsers, and just displaying one "simple" site version to them.

wrs 4 days ago 1 reply      
You kids these days don't know how good you have it. Back in the day, when applications ran on the computer instead of in the browser, we would have killed to have only 76 different configurations to support. (And I'm not joking, though I am smiling ruefully.)
AshleysBrain 4 days ago 2 replies      
The 72 browser versions thing is an exaggeration. For your websites, add this tag: <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" /> - and you force IE to use that version's latest documents mode. So good point about IE's slow adoption, it really is annoying and holding back the web - but for your websites, you can easily force the document mode of your choice, avoiding the crappy emulated modes.
bittermang 4 days ago 1 reply      
> How many browsers would you like to support?

I don't support browsers. I support standards. I stopped performing hacky compatibility gymnastics long before Google made it cool to boast how you weren't supporting IE6 anymore, and my workflow and sanity has improved due to it.

billybob 4 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds terrible, but it seems to me that nobody will let it get that bad. It's infeasible to support 70+ browsers simultaneously; no dev shop can afford that. So they would either pick versions or choose some common set of features to support. If this meant that IE users got crappy experiences, despite developers' best efforts, people might finally start ditching IE. (A man can dream, can't he?)

But I think the IE team will find a way to prevent this.

pavel_lishin 4 days ago 3 replies      
> Meanwhile, you won't have to worry about supporting Firefox 6 or Chrome 13 in November.

You sure about that? Just because they're not officially supported doesn't mean a significant number of people won't still be using them.

melling 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Doctor, doctor it hurts when I have to support 10 versions of IE"... errr... "Then don't that!"

Only support the last two version. Warn people who come to your site that they are using an outdated and unsupported browser. Point them to Chrome, Firefox and Opera, which are all free.

Cut the Gordian Knot:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot

dendory 4 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, IE doesn't worry me anymore. Chrome does. Seems like every month there's new Chrome-only experiments, and Google provides Chrome-only extensions like offline Docs. Is it too much to ask for cross browsers sites?
dredmorbius 3 days ago 0 replies      
The thought that occurs to me is that the adoption graph has a lot less to say about the suckage of supporting IE6, and a lot more about the suckage of being a Microsoft user.

Users of other browsers are on systems and/or workplaces which allow them to upgrade their browsers within reasonable time as new versions come out.

The MS-dedicated shops (and yes, I'm aware that most are large hidebound organizations, enterprises, and/or government entities) are stuck in their own labyrinths of fragile, massively interdependent, legacy systems.

This suggests to me that the modern vs. legacy browser war may actually be a proxy for ossified vs. agile organizations. There's still a great deal of power in the ossified side, but it will be interesting to see how comparative advantage plays out over the next 5-10 years (assuming the zombie apocalypse doesn't strike first).

unreal37 4 days ago 0 replies      

IE 7 is less than 5% market share now, almost the same as IE 6. I don't see how this predicts a future with 72 versions of IE. And how is this any different than Firefox? I am running Firefox 4 on my office computer - can't upgrade because of IT policy.

d2vid 4 days ago 1 reply      
FUD - you don't have to support every browser. And it's especially disingenuous to say that if you're developing websites/web applications you should care about, say, IE20 users running in IE 5 compatibility mode.
hvs 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Personally, I'm totally happy supporting the latest version of each of the five browsers."

Yeah, so would we all. That's not really an argument.

HardyLeung 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I first read that there are 76 browsers to support, I was thinking... Hmm, yeah this versioning thing is going out of hand. But it was Chrome + FF + Opera + Safari + 72 versions of IE. Seriously? Projecting all the way to IE20 (2022) with a compatibility mode between any two versions of IE?
Lagged2Death 4 days ago 0 replies      
So in a few years from now, you'll be supporting one version of Chrome, one version of Firefox, one of Opera, (probably) one of Safari, and ten versions of IE.

I think the nightmare scenario couldn't possibly play out this way. We've all seen what really happens when there are too many browsers to support; web developers drop all pretense of supporting the least popular browsers, which would in a case like this be Opera, Safari, and maybe Chrome. And sites put up banners telling users to upgrade to the latest version of IE.

SurfScore 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think that this article puts a large amount of speculation that M$ will continue to operate the same way. While I dont think anyone wants to BET on them doing the right thing, the people upstairs do understand money, and they also understand two of their biggest competitors (Google and Apple) both put out better browsers than they have. IE9 showed that they at least understand the importance of the web browser, and I would hope they would continue along that path with 10.
Another thing is that web browsers are rapidly changing and evolving, I know Google is involved with a program now that allows C++ to run natively in the browser. In 2019, browsers could be COMPLETELY different than they are now. Backwards compatibility could become a forgotten term by that point, or browsers could operate totally different than they do now. I think a lot of what was written is true as far as the pain of past browsers, but speculating on the future is often a fool's errand.
pixelcloud 4 days ago 1 reply      
I thought this was interesting.


IE isn't going to have advanced CSS3 support until version 10! However, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Mobile Safari, and Android browser all support it already. It just seems that Microsoft is incapable of staying on the edge.

NHQ 4 days ago 0 replies      
You're wasting your time if you worry about legacy browser support. Period. For every legacy browser out there--a number which only grows in spurts when a browser becomes "legacy"--there are maybe a 1,000(,000) shiny new browsers being shipped daily. Which do you care about? A stagnant legacy count, or a growing demand of new, mostly compatible, mostly upgradable browsers?
madmaze 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Google Chrome version adoption chart very much drives home the difference between chrome and IE!
jfoster 4 days ago 0 replies      
IE is out of step with the other browsers and no longer has a majority market share.

So there's two options:
1. Innovate quickly and have access to amazing new browser features, but only cater to 60% or so of the market.
2. Support 100% of the market, but with considerable more effort (slowing you down).

Both approaches are legitimate. I prefer the first one, but the users who can't use my sites are going to want something equivalent for their outdated browser.

hussam 4 days ago 2 replies      
Help me understand this, is the issue that IE users are not willing to upgrade to newer versions? or is it that Firefox/Chrome force users to upgrade while IE doesn't?

Why is the fast release cycle a problem for IE but not for Firefox and Chrome? why are the adoption charts different for IE than the rest?

aj700 4 days ago 2 replies      
Briefly: facebook timeline is terrible. Even Chrome can hardly cope with all the javascript and reflowing as you load a profile page. There's no way in hell IE6 on XP will be able to cope with it -- the rendering engine, OR EVEN the cpu. Maybe that's the whole idea - Facebook could be Microsoft's best way of forcing people to abandon IE6 (and so XP). Semi-seriously, semi-approvingly I ask: Conspiracy?
fady 4 days ago 0 replies      
a dose of reality, and it's really a shame.
Google Drive: Is the Dropbox Party Over? searchenginejournal.com
260 points by bane  4 days ago   215 comments top 44
mattmaroon 4 days ago  replies      
When I was in YC (same batch as Dropbox) this was a constant question. "What happens to Dropbox if Gdrive launches?" I don't actually remember what Drew and Arash thought, but a lot of people speculated on it.

It was probably a real threat to them 4.5 years ago. I can't imagine it is now. Dropbox has a large, happy fanbase that's going to keep using it and keep spreading. They're going to keep growing. They've got a small bit of lock-in if you use them a lot too, the annoyance of having to upload a large amount of files to another service. They've got a product that's a joy to use, which is not something Google is known for building outside of their core competency of search.

If I were Dropbox I'd simply view this as market validation (not that they need it at this point) more than anything else.

petenixey 4 days ago 4 replies      
Dropbox is a brilliant piece of software however it's hard to justify more than $10/month for backup as a consumer. Since 50Gb only now covers my photos and docs, doesn't cover my music and even my photo collection's needs trimming to fit I would move to GDrive very quickly rather than double that spend to get to the next tier.

I've long hoped that Dropbox would segment their pricing plans more. It's unsettling having an increasing volume of content not backed up and if GDrive really does deliver I would move to it. My loyalty is to DB and I've yet to be convinced on GDrive's usability but it doesn't make sense to pay an extra $100/year as a loyalty fee.

nhebb 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a rule of thumb, I try to rely on Google as little as possible for important services. I don't dislike Google, but their lack of customer service makes it risky to rely too heavily on their services. I use Dropbox for syncing and backup, and since I backup files that are important to me, that rules out Google Drive.
Murkin 4 days ago 3 replies      

  Google X: Is the Y party Over?

I think I seen this on HN about 4 times in the last year.

Is there any front where google managed to beat a good established product (except Android) ?

Only good thing to come out of this, is a hopeful price reduction on Dropbox..

libria 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is unexpected given their position on it before [1]:

Google was about to launch a project it had been developing for more than a year, a free cloud-based storage service called GDrive. But Sundar had concluded that it was an artifact of the style of computing that Google was about to usher out the door. He went to Bradley Horowitz, the executive in charge of the project, and said, “I don't think we need GDrive anymore.” Horowitz asked why not. “Files are so 1990,” said Pichai. “I don't think we need files anymore.” ... “You just want to get information into the cloud. When people use our Google Docs, there are no more files. You just start editing in the cloud, and there's never a file.”

Are they admitting they were too ambitious? This seems to weaken the case for the mostly file-less ChromeOS and competes with their Google Storage offering.

[1] http://allthingsd.com/20110425/how-google-killed-gdrive-and-...

Eliezer 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's sad, because I remember when the name meant something else, but... I just wouldn't trust Google with my files. By which I mean, I wouldn't trust that I wouldn't wake up one day and find myself locked out of Google Drive with no way back. I don't trust their user interface not to accidentally delete things, either. Google manages to give the appearance of this mysterious Tronlike glowing entity that occasionally spins off new automatic services, but not in a way that gives you the impression that this glowing manifestation of Google has ever talked with a user.
Corrado 4 days ago 3 replies      
I love Dropbox and Google Drive would have a hard time getting me to switch. Dropbox seems to "get it" when it comes to simple, easy to use file synchronization.

The one area that GDrive might wiggle into is making it even easier to use Google Docs. I really like GDocs but I don't use them very much because its just not convenient to do so with local files. However, if I can "upload" a file to a directory on my machine and have it available in GDocs, that might turn the tide.

NOTE: One thing that Dropbox doesn't do well is file segregation; some files I want only on some machines. For example, I want me personal finance stuff on all my machines at home but not my work laptop. Or I want large ZIP archives on everything but my phone. Maybe GDrive will tackle this problem...

Jun8 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think services/sites can be divided into two when considering how/if people switch between them: (i) aggregate sites whose value is a (generally nonlinear) function of all users who use the site and (ii) personal sites whose impact is just for the person who uses it. The fact that I'm using Dropbox, too, doesn't provide any value to you (except of course economies of scale)

YouTube, Flickr, YouTube, etc. are Type I sites, it's hard to switch from them to competitors because it's hard to do it individually, a large majority of the users must switch, too, creating a chicken and egg problem.

Google Search, Dropbox, etc. are of Type II. You use these sites just because they are better than the competition. As soon as this is not the case, you, individually, can easily switch. You may call these commodity sites. That's why Bing is such a big threat to Google, and Dropbox is doomed if Google comes up with cheaper plans and sync clients as good as theirs.

That being said, one shouldn't assume that Google will dominate any market they enter, they have the capability of doing do, but in practice this may not happen: putting too few people on the project, wrong design decisions, crappy clients, etc.

crocowhile 4 days ago 1 reply      
I keep having problems with Dropbox lately, with files that aren't synced and lots of conflicted copies. Not sure why but made me realize that Dropbox has been offering pretty much the same service for years now. Granted, the service was great from the beginning but: are they improving enough to remain competitive?
kenjackson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here is the fundamental problem of competing against Google as a SW company. Google is an advertising company, as everyone now well knows. They have no problem selling SW cheap, or giving it away for free, if they can help their advertising business (either directly by hosting ads in the service, or mining data from the service for info to help target ads).

If you feel like your SW has actual value and charge for it, but Google has you in their cross hairs, you either really need a great product (that can't easily be cloned) or very strong network effects.

While I think DropBox is a great product, and harder to clone that most people give it credit for, Google I think is the type of company that could actually nail a DropBox clone. And with GMail, Docs, and Android integration -- could be a serious force.

I must admit I'm a bit saddened that the actual value of so much good SW is ~$0.

artursapek 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a subscriber to additional storage with Google (20 GB, $5/year) I'm really happy to be reading this because it will allow me to fully use the space I've paid for. I believe it was the cheapest option when I subscribed and while I have crossed the free storage limit I have yet to fully use 20 GB.

I originally signed up for it because I was sporadically transferring a lot of high-res scans between a computer which my school owns and my own laptop, so a permanent dropbox-like folder would not have worked. Now I'll also be able to back up my music/photos dropbox-style with the same service. Smart move by Google for hitting both services, although it's kind of sad to see such a great startup being approached by the web's behemoth.

0x12 4 days ago 0 replies      
Should dropbox worry? Sure, not worrying would simply be stupid.

Should they be mortally afraid? No, probably not. Dropbox has a lot going for them, and one of the biggest things they've got going for them is that they are not google.

They can specialize, they can do one thing and do it well and they just had a huge company validate their market for them.

Look at omniture vs analytics of how that can play out.

abcd_f 4 days ago 1 reply      
Alright, now. Pay attention to the existence of paid option.

The fact that GDrive has a paid option indicates that they are aiming directly at Dropbox. If they were offering a completely free option, it would implicitly make GDrive fall into another category thus increasing its distance from Dropbox. I would also guess that Google can easily make GDrive completely free, these $5 / 20Gb is not likely to be breaking or making it for them. It is a just conversion facilitator. Furthermore consider their selected price point - it means that they want to remove all doubts when one compares two paid services and to strongly entice Dropbox users to switch.

<tinhat>Google Docs must be not working as great as they would like it to. People are still not using it for interesting documents of some value, and that's a bummer. Let's try and get to these documents another way...</tinhat>

esutton 4 days ago 3 replies      
i remember hearing the same argument when google made google videos to compete with youtube, and we all know how that ended. That said, there were social and community aspects there that don't apply here, and google's cheaper storage prices and larger feature set may give it a leg up.
dorkitude 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox is a dominant product because they understand user experience. Google's in-house products are, increasingly, failures because they don't.

* Of course, there are a lot of smart people at Google. It's not that there aren't Googlers who understand user experience, it's that the Google organism rejects their intuition and refuses to understand it. They methodically optimize UX to a local maximum, and throw up their hands when nobody is impressed, like a Vulcan trying to compose music.

gravitronic 4 days ago 0 replies      
After the scare stories I've heard regarding gmail lockouts (and not just on news sites, yesterday someone I follow on twitter was temporarily locked out of their gmail for receiving a number of files quickly) I'm more inclined to continue using services that would not all get shut off with my gmail access being locked for a single ToS breach.
marklabedz 4 days ago 1 reply      
If this means I can combine the seamless syncing and "available anywhere with an internet connection" of Dropbox, with the convenience of being able to make easy edits in Google Docs if I don't have access to MS Word, I'm all for it.
crag 4 days ago 1 reply      
I (we) use Google Apps. I'm assuming this would be another service. If we ever see it. Right now, it's vaporware.

It took me months to "train" everyone in the office on how to use Dropbox. -Ok stop laughing. I'm dealing with doctors here. :) I know doctors who can perform open heart surgery but can't use iTunes.

Anyway I'd rather not go through that training nightmare again. Google is gonna have to do something really impressive.

cjoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
The reason I'll use dropbox over google drive? I'll store my files with a company that makes it's money from fees vs one that makes it's money from ads.
nestlequ1k 4 days ago 1 reply      
my dropbox account was deleted without warning or notice, so i guess im ready for something new
ak217 4 days ago 0 replies      
By the way, to my knowledge dropbox doesn't provide drag-and-drop of files into and out of the browser window, which I see as kind of a key feature for this type of service. I know it's possible because gmail lets you drag-and-drop an attachment into a message in chrome...
reidbenj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Google doesn't necessarily squeeze out all competitors in any industry they enter, but they do raise awareness. In some sense this is great for Dropbox because I would guess well under 50% of computer users even know cloud storage services like this exist...but many more will if Google enters the market.

The problem, of course, is if they all learn about it through gmail and Google captures them all, but I think that underestimates Dropbox's ability to counter.

Lastly, don't discount human laziness aiding Dropbox customer retention - time is a switching cost here.

est 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Google Drive: Is the Dropbox Party Over?
Yeah, because Google will put a really nice effort making cross-platform client software like Dropbox does

Look how pathetic Google Talk desktop client is.

Is the Google Talk client really complex piece of VC++ shit that Google can't spare some decent develope from tens of throusands of genius employees?

tomelders 4 days ago 7 replies      
It's in areas like this that Google sometimes oversteps the mark and veers dangerously close to "being evil" territory... in MY opinion.

As I see it: Dropbox innovated, and they innovated well. It's inevitable that competition would arise, but competition on the scale Google can offer could well mean total annihilation for Dropbox, if annihilation is what Google pursues.

Google doesn't "need" to enter this market. And yes, I know that there's no rule that says you have to be nice... but it feels crappy to me. Dropbox has earnt it's success, and Google could easily let them grow and secure their future before releasing G-Drive. Google is in a position to be something of a patriarch in the tech world as opposed to eating it's young.

If I was working on a Dropbox competitor yesterday, today I'd be finding something else to do. That's bad for innovation.

if G-Drive actually exists that is.

brianobush 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox made it so I don't even think about it. My files are just where I need them. That is the amazing part: make it so that you don't see it, but it is always there.

I think they have a pretty broad-base and google entering the market validates the business model. Though, their prices might drop a bit.

re_chief 4 days ago 0 replies      
I dunno. I've been using Dropbox for years now, I've got it set up on all my computers, and as of right now I don't really have a pressing reason to switch. Gdrive would have to offer up something new and amazing before I'd want to change over. (And it would have to be something other than lower prices, because I don't back up enough stuff to have to pay for additional storage.)
nickgonzo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see Dropbox open up their platform for developers to build applications on top of it. Seems like that could entail all sorts of things, such as solving the friction between using web apps with large files, or groups of files. Imagine dropping files in a folder and then being able to manipulate them on the web, and save them back to your folder seamlessly.
tlogan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this credible news? Building GDrive seems completely incompatible with long term vision of Google (Chrome OS, Android, etc.) (at least vision implied by listening their earning calls).

Also sync'ing with local storage means allowing users to use non-Google Docs editors (MS Office) and all these cool collaboration things Google Apps are useless when you move in Gdrive mode.

Maybe building a good iphone/Android app to edit google docs online would be better investment of their talent?

And, on side note, as cloud storage becomes integral part of our lives, the companies which will win are not the cheapest one. But the ones with the best customer service and quality of product.

miles_matthias 4 days ago 2 replies      
Two thoughts:

- I don't think the Dropbox party is over, and won't be for a while, because of non-techies. Dropbox is drop dead simple and non-technical people have gravitate to it and won't see much of a reason to switch. Also, Google has so many different products now, sometimes when you mention Google to non-technical people they get an overwhelming deer-in-the-headlights look.

- As a technical person, I am excited to hopefully have more online and offline document editing capability with Google Drive. Back when I had a Blackberry, Dropbox's app allowed me to edit files through the app, but with my iPhone app, I can't edit files on my Dropbox.

jroseattle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Only by making Dropbox a lucrative acquisition target to someone else.
dorkitude 4 days ago 0 replies      
I expect GDrive to compete with Backblaze and Crashplan (cheap + inconvenient compared to Dropbox), but its effect on the Dropbox userbase to be minimal.
nextparadigms 4 days ago 2 replies      
I hope they'll give the option to do your own encryption, too.
gto16108 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox has a pretty large amount of users who are more than happy with the functionality of the application as it is. With more added features to come in later years, I think Google won't just steal the market with a Google labeled cloud drive.
chapstickblue 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well at least I hope they lower the super ridiculous high prices and make it more like $4 a year per 15 GB.

They seem greedy to me. They seem to want to be able to retire and not have to work anymore if they wanted after the dropbox startup.

kasmura 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am excited about this. Competition in the market is good for innovation and the price.
protomyth 4 days ago 0 replies      
If Apple or Microsoft introduce a competitor to your application, you are going to have a real difficult time staying in business. Are we to the same point with Google and cloud apps?
mhoofman 4 days ago 2 replies      
Google needs to provide very simple native syncing apps that are equivalent to or better then Dropbox's and at the same time support several different platforms out of the gate to draw people away from Dropbox.
missing_cipher 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't think I'll be leaving DropBox, but redundancy is nice.
yotamoron 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it won't take too much effort to get the Google username from that screenshot and just ask the guy ... any volunteers ?
Poyeyo 4 days ago 1 reply      
What will kill Dropbox?:

Some similar product where we can install and manage our own servers.

itswindy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Huge benefits for G Drive! For example they will even scan the contents and let you know /IRS about any tax discrepancies for example.
macca321 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought Windows 8 was going to kill dropbox
vaksel 4 days ago 0 replies      
personally I expect the GDrive to be a bit of a failure, and Google will do what it always does...use it's massive cash reserves to buy Dropbox.
DrJ 4 days ago 4 replies      

    Google Drive: $5 per year per 20 GB.
Dropbox Pro 50 plan, $10 per month for 50 GB

"the price of Google Drive looks dirt cheap." wait what?

A better introduction to Objective-C cocoadevcentral.com
260 points by js2  4 days ago   45 comments top 13
natesm 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is an excellent tutorial, especially compared to the other one. The only thing I took issue with was this:

    if ( [self hasPrefix:@"http://"] )
return YES;
return NO;

The other thing that puzzled me a little was the K&R interfaces and Allman everything else, but I guess it's a consistent style. I do use K&R exclusively for blocks, so I suppose I am just as guilty.

flyosity 4 days ago 0 replies      
This tutorial was how I learned Objective-C and Cocoa. Scott Stevenson's got a great and flowing writing style that's easy to follow.

Don't miss all of the other more advanced tutorials similar to this one at the full site, http://CocoaDevCentral.com

geuis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you. Really, thank you. I'm not sure why the world works as it does, but so often when I am attempting to learn or accomplish something, within a day or so something comes along that exactly matches what I need.

In this case, I had a desire to dig into an Obj-C project yesterday to try yet again to really learn it. The Apple tutorial is extensive, if verbose. This introduction is exactly what I need at this moment to get me through the knowledge gap.

hiraki9 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is incorrect:

  - (void) dealloc
self.caption = nil;
self.photographer = nil;
[super dealloc];

Using the dot syntax will invoke a setter whose implementation might change if the class is subclassed, which can be the cause of subtle errors. Also, if you're using KVO (Key-Value Observing), invoking the setter might notify observers who then try to work with a (partially) deallocated object.

This is standard:

  - (void) dealloc
[caption release];
[photographer release];
[super dealloc];

Luyt 4 days ago 1 reply      

    [NSString stringWithFormat:[prefs format]];

"Avoid nested nesting more than two message calls on a single line, as it easily gets unreadable."

Oh, the joy of function call chaining in languages like JavaScript:

    rs = db.find({"name": "Joe"}).limit(10).lower().sort();

I don't dare to imagine how that'd look in ObjectiveC ;-)

jollojou 4 days ago 1 reply      
A concise presentation of most of the core features of Objective-C. It lacks protocols, however.

Apple has a bunch of good tutorials, for example this one: http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/cocoa/....

acavailhez 4 days ago 0 replies      
This introduction is excellent, it's aimed at programmers who wants to get a first and painless overview on how Objective-C is coded and how to read Objective-C code.
It gives you all the subtleties of the language, compared to the other (the unusual method calling syntax being the first).
It's kind of a starting blocks for learning a new language, exactly what I look for when I learn a new langage.
hexagonc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not bad but I would have liked to have seen a formal grammar for the syntax structure, especially since it is so different from Java, C# and C++ which most developers are familiar with. It was especially difficult to understand the syntax around keyword-based input arguments for methods. I only understood it on my second reading and only then because I was already familiar with the concept from LISP. There were also no examples or even mention of flow control statements. That seems like a glaring omission.

Perhaps most importantly, the tutorial should have mentioned that objective-c is a superset of c. That alone would have answered most of the questions around flow control statements since those, presumably, use the same syntax as c. As it stands, there's barely enough in this tutorial to do basic scripting with objective-c.

jayfuerstenberg 4 days ago 0 replies      
GC and Arc will obsolete the memory management part of this tutorial but otherwise a great resource!
robjohnson 4 days ago 0 replies      
This was a good resource when I was learning objective c. The Apress objective c book, as well as the apple documentation are also good resources.
tedkalaw 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great introduction, but to this day I find the sheer size of Cocoa the largest barrier to entry for Mac and iPhone development.

Just have to get used to it, I suppose.

rapidos 4 days ago 1 reply      
Finally someone did it! I didn't read through it yet but I definitely love the start. Thanks!
nhoss2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there something like this for java (for andrioid)
IEEE Refuses to Accept Public-Domain Papers? yp.to
257 points by powertower  2 days ago   80 comments top 15
ajays 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is why I canceled my membership in IEEE (and ACM). I believe these organizations have gone beyond their stated purpose, and now exist purely to sustain themselves and their monopolies on conferences.

If we just started boycotting them, they'd crumble in no time.

drats 2 days ago 0 replies      
So no papers from Princeton?[1]


michael_dorfman 2 days ago 4 replies      
The ACM recently published an editorial in the CACM explaining the reasons behind this policy.

Here is a brief excerpt:

By owning exclusive publication rights to articles, ACM is able to develop salable publication products that sustain its top-quality publishing programs and services; ensure access to organized collections by current and future generations of readers; and invest continuously in new titles and in services like referrer-linking, profiling, and metrics, which serve the community. Furthermore, it allows ACM to efficiently clear rights for the creation, dissemination, and translation of collections of articles that benefit the computing community that would be impossible if individual authors or their heirs had to be contacted for permission. Ownership of copyright allows ACM to pursue cases of plagiarism. The number of these handled has been steadily growing; some 20 cases were handled by ACM in the last year. Having ACM investigate and take action removes this burden from our authors, and ACM is more likely to obtain a satisfactory outcome (for example, having the offending material removed from a repository) than an individual.

Personally, I gladly pay money every year to the ACM and the IEEE, as I feel I get excellent value for it. I don't begrudge them their business model, and I don't think there is anything particularly nefarious about their copyright policy (which explicitly allows authors to post freely available copies of their articles for non-commercial purposes.)

ggchappell 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is, I think, misleading. There is nothing unusual about IEEE copyright policies. Requiring copyright assignment is standard procedure for academic journals, with exceptions made for U.S. govt. works. As noted in the last paragraph, the American Mathematical Society bucks the trend (they "suggest", rather than require, copyright assignment), but they are a rarity.

Other than that, we have one person (the IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Manager) who misunderstands the law and does not behave in a very friendly manner.

The above do not strike me as sufficient reasons for singling out the IEEE for blacklisting. If you want, blacklist everyone who puts publicly funded research behind paywalls. Or blacklist no one. But just the IEEE? That doesn't make sense.

derleth 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm beginning to doubt the "IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Manager" has the authority to do what he's doing, and I'm beginning to think this will blow over with an official response from the IEEE saying as much and rescinding this joker's fake 'policy'.
mturmon 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a very interesting post.

I did not know that authors who are not with the government had tried to put works in the public domain, that are submitted to IEEE. I didn't know this was possible.

I know it certainly is standard policy for government researchers and labs to retain copyright when work is submitted to IEEE (or anywhere).

Sometimes publishers say tough words about how this isn't possible, and you have to sign their copyright form, and you're holding up publication of the work. It's BS. The government copyright people will talk sense into them, and retain copyright so that the work can be distributed openly.

mitultiwari 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is disappointing. It has been hard to find the soft copy of IEEE papers. Now it will be even harder. IEEE is losing it's value among CS people.

Good that most of CS papers are published in ACM conferences, and most of the authors publish a soft copy on their homepages.

Also, more and more CS people are posting their papers on arxiv.org.

chx 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is ancient (Last-Modified: Mon, 21 Nov 2005), everyone knows this already, why was it posted suddenly?
desaiguddu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I applied this logic.. ! My Original paper is with IEEE copyright.
But I made that Paper public on my blog with IEEE copyright.


If a person wants to buy a paper he can buy from IEEE, but a person just want to refer the paper with all details he can freely do so from my Blog website.

I don't know whether its a right approach or not?
But I didn't wanted my research to just sit in some Publishers Library.

If we publish more work in public , we get more people involve in to those research work. :)

X4 2 days ago 3 replies      
Seriously can you please answer me, why someone who is so smart to have a Dr. degree or other title would be willing to work for free, or even pay for it??

I really don't understand it, what is special about IEEE.
Why do Scientists send their papers or findings to IEEE etc. instead of just publishing it?
Seriously, can someone please give me an insightfull answer to this?

If you answer with, nobody has been able to to code system x, that makes IEEE so special and unique, then it's not valid point I think. Because there are enough developers who could pull out a P2P Scientific Document store in a matter of days.

Heck, if someone writes text that he think is valuable and is willing to share it with the public domain, why doesn't he just upload it to say: P2P Networks, Cloudstorages or anything else that helps in this matter?

PaddleSlapper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Though news to me, be aware this is old news - page published 21 November 2005. Has anything changed since then?
doctoboggan 2 days ago 1 reply      
It will take reputable referees from some journal to volunteer their time to judge papers submitted in the public domain.
frazerb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just struggle to understand how IEEE's publication policy contributes to "advancing technological innovation [..] for the benefit of humanity".

IEEE publication policy is nothing but a barrier to innovation.

Shame WikiLeaks / anonymous / whoever couldn't help us all out here.

nickcobb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was published 5 years ago?
SeanLuke 2 days ago 5 replies      
It's obvious that IEEE wouldn't accept such papers. Like any publisher, its business model is based on ownership of copyright. So this is a bit of a tempest in a teacup.

Instead, let me offer a more interesting factoid: to the best of my knowledge, in the United States, and probably in certain other countries, there is no such concept as a private individual dedicating a publication to the public domain.

Documents fall in public domain when the owners' copyrights have expired. For the federal government, the expiration is immediate. For everyone else, there is no legal mechanism for hastening a document's copyright expiration. [This is why it's foolish to "put software in the public domain". You haven't actually done anything at all.]

How the FRA is Regulating Passenger Rail Out of Existence ebbc.org
249 points by Symmetry  11 hours ago   80 comments top 15
Anechoic 4 hours ago 2 replies      
(I worked on the environmental assessment of the Acela back in the 1990's and worked with testing the first two vehicles off the line in Pueblo and along the NEC NJ "race track in 2000. The firm I was working for back then also did the noise analysis behind the revised FRA horn noise rules)

This article keeps popping up on various geek sites over the years. In addition to the points kposehn brought up, I'll add the following: FRA isn't the reason why HSR sucks. The reason that HSR sucks is because we as a nation don't want to invest in the infrastructure to make a good HSR system. At a minimum that means exclusive ROW (grade-separated crossings) with relatively few stops and long straight sections where it can get up to speed.

As for the FTA buffering standards - it really doesn't matter. Yes, the Acela is heavier than the TGV. That extra weight isn't why Acela service sucks. The Acela is perfectly capable of maintaining 155+ mph speeds for extended periods (I witnessed this myself in Acela enduracing testing). The power cars are more than capable of handling the load - during the first few months of Acela operation, there was a problem with the network connection that linked the front and rear power cars. To get service running until the power could be sorted out, the trainsets were run with only one power car operating. Running with one power vs both power cars (and pulling the dead weight of the second power car) only increased DC to Boston run time by 5 minutes. As for cost, the price of an Acela trainset is within the range of most other popular HSR trainsets (TGV, ICE, Pendolino, etc) albiet at the higher end. The effect of the train weight on track wear is minimal as it's the unsprung mass of the train (essentially the wheels, axles, traction motors and brakes) that is proportional to wear, not the static train weight. And train weight has nothing to do with noise.

kposehn already commented on DMU but I'll add that the biggest impediment I saw to transit agencies adopting DMU's was that since no one else in the USA had them, transit agencies didn't know what to expect in terms of maintenance, operation, and environmental effects. In fact FRA and FTA were essentially begging transit agencies to try them, and it's only been recently that they've been operating in Vermont and other locations.

Finally, regarding FRA horn noise rules: first of all, the preemption of state horn rules originated with Congress who directed FRA to get involved with horn noise (Google "Swift Rail Development Act" for more information). But the reason those rules exist is because whenever there is a grade crossing fatality, inevitably the next of kin sue and all too ofter win in court. As a result, there is a tendency to do anything and everything in the name of "safety" on the part of RR operators, agencies and regulators. As long as this remains true, horns are going to be part of rail travel.

edit: btw we had this discussion at ArsTechnica back in 2008 (I'm Anechoic there as well): http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?p=2671067

kposehn 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Ok, as someone who has long been very close to the rail industry, a few points:

1. "...the Long Island Commuter Railroad (LIRR) in New York City, which has no freight traffic" - Incorrect. The LIRR also is host to the New York & Atlantic railway, a freight line which does indeed operate on LIRR lines daily. Average train gross weight is about 1,200 tons for each freight on that line, not 100 tons.

2. "FRA staffers point out that it is unfair to compare US buffering standards with those in Europe because passenger rail in the US has to contend with more (and heavier) freight traffic." - They are quite right to do so. The US plays host to the highest density of freight rail traffic in the world with most trains exceeding 5,000 tons (some closer to 15,000).

3. "In both Europe and Japan, a competitive business exists in the DMU marketplace. But that market is off limits to US transit agencies because the FRA has effectively created a trade embargo." - Incorrect. In San Diego, the Sprinter lines use Siemens Desiro DMU's, a light design totally unadapted for the US Rail network as far as weight goes. The line also plays host to freight trains at night. How they got around the weight requirement, I do not know. Furthermore, the San Diego Trolley has the line from downtown to El Cajon by way of Lemon Grove. That line also plays host to freight at night - a streetcar line! The market is indeed open, but the trick agencies use to get around the requirement is a bigger question.

4. "The FRA proposed rule would only allow Quiet Zones exemptions at crossings that had been improved with "four-quadrant" gates and curb medians." - for good reason! Many fatalities happen at grade crossings and horns are one of the only really efficient ways to keep people off the tracks. Most other nations have few crossings, preferring grade-separated rights-of-way. However, in the US, drivers are often grossly idiotic and don't pay attention. Not how many grade crossing accidents you see on YouTube...

That said, it is indeed a major issue that the FRA rules apply to any rail line connected to the freight network that spans the nation. It would be far better if the regulations made clear exceptions for trains on passenger-only lines, hours of operation, etc.

For example, let's look at CalTrain. The main line up the peninsula only sees freight traffic at night. By setting operational rules that restrict speeds near freight trains, etc, this would allow much better equipment for CalTrain while continuing to let freight run at specific times.

The FRA very much needs to get with the program and allow better conditional standards.

blendergasket 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really sad. I drove a long distance (maybe 60 miles?) for the first time in years yesterday because I'm staying with my mom in the suburbs that have 0 public transportation infrastructure.

First: It's impossible to have a life without a car here when the weather gets bad for biking (I'm outside of Seattle so that's a pretty good % of the year). People without a car are basically prisoners in this town with no culture, where the last bus from town leaves at 6:45. I can't go to work on days I can't bike because I usually work crazy long hours, til 10 or 11pm so I have to work from home if the weather's going to be prohibitive (I didn't bring my waterproof gear with me).

Second: My mind was blown at the mental space driving in a car for a long period of time put me in. Weird stuff like traffic lights gave me this feeling of helplessness. It's a blueprint for a system of arbitrary, total control. The fact that no decisions are really based on the situation at hand but on these lights that mindlessly blink from green to red to green to red and you never interact with anyone or anything except through this sheets of glass. Call me crazy but I really think one of the big influences that's creating the massive societal problems we have in the USA can be traced to the fact that between work, home, school, and whatever destinations we get to we interact with one another in this alienated and antagonistic way.

[edit] I know this rant is a little off topic, but it just highlights to me the need for a coherent public transportation network. It'd be interesting to look at this draconian regulation in relation to what was done to the rail network in the USA in the middle of the 20th century. GM and a bunch of other auto-related corporations formed a coalition, bought up and then dismantled lots of inner-city streetcar networks in order to replace them with buses that they would sell to the cities: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_streetcar_scanda... [/edit]

ams6110 10 hours ago 6 replies      
The problem with government regulatory agencies is that once they solve the problem that instigated their creation, they can't stop. They keep looking for more problems to "fix" in a never ending loop of justifying their existence. Once they become typical bloated behemoth bureaucracies, common sense doesn't work anymore.
smokeyj 9 hours ago 1 reply      
As an airliner, lobbying for tightened RR regulation seems like a handsome roi.

/takes off conspiracy hat

dpearson 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Another failed government policy regarding rail: the requirement for cleaner locomotives. The vast majority of railroads in the US do not buy new locomotives, and in fact usually use locomotives from the 60s and 70s (bought secondhand). Yet, the federal government is requiring newly bought locomotives to have cleaner emissions. Given that most emissions are from yard switchers (again, old locomotives no longer used in long-haul service), this makes no sense...
keithpeter 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Good luck: in the UK the worst train accidents with the largest number of fatalities have been due to poor track maintenance. The accidents have tended to occur on commuter trains with high passenger numbers and many people standing. Not sure what the French have seen as history on their much faster trains.
EGreg 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The purpose of government should be to ensure that the minimum expectations of its citizens are met. These minimum expectations are a changing set of things, and I think that better feedback between government agencies and those which are affected by the rulings would be one of the best ways to solve the country's problems.

I think that http://data.gov and http://recovery.gov are a step in the right direction. Experts should analyze the data and blog about it, and the government agencies should be keeping an ear out to what experts are saying. Also the interested public can do the same.

The word "minimum" that I use is not accidental. The problem is that government rarely solves just the minimum set of problems. Once an agency exists, among the new employees there are always those who want to make their mark, and increase the amount of regulation. This is how government grows and grows. It's free for them to regulate but not free for those who have to implement it, and thus they don't feel the right incentives at the time. We need to figure out a way to incentivize government to stick as much as possible to only enforcing minimum regulations. Maybe it can be done by requiring them to get the citizenry to clamor for something before they implement it.

davesims 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Those Trinity Rail Express cars are now used for the Denton-Dallas A-train commuter rail, soon to be replaced with new Swiss-made cars. I like the old ones actually, extremely comfortable and seats like a massive couch.


georgieporgie 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The honking is driving me nuts. They're required to hit the horn four times per crossing. Sometimes it's a series of quick blasts. Other times, they'll lay on that thing for -- I swear -- five full seconds per honk. Midnight, 2am, 3am, they don't care. I'm around a mile away from the track, and I can't imagine what life could possibly be like for those who live closer to the track.
mahyarm 8 hours ago 2 replies      
If Caltrain did a symbolic disconnect, cut off several feet from the track, put up a barrier, a few days work to do and undo. from the national rail network, would they still be subject to the FRA?
protomyth 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they have regulatory authority over monorails or maglev?
rmk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think these numerous regulatory agencies are a way of circumventing popular will (read: write mandates handed out by interest groups). Whatever happened to Obama's promise that he would weed out regulations that harm small businesses (I think they would benefit the most from the increase in foot traffic that would result if public rail service were more prevalent).
jarek 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Can we add "in the U.S." to the title?
kschults 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The one issue this article doesn't address is what is being done about the FRA. Are there movements to change the regulations? Overhaul the FRA? Even something as small scale as what, if anything, the author is trying to do about it would have been nice to hear.
Chris Espinosa: Fire cdespinosa.posterous.com
242 points by siglesias  3 days ago   44 comments top 13
jcampbell1 3 days ago 2 replies      
> This is the first shot in the new war for replacing the Internet with a privatized merchant data-aggregation network.

Doesn't this already exist? Google has the information from toolbar data. DoubleClick has already classified everyone on the internet based on their interests based on what sites they visit. How much better are Amazon's product recommendations going to get based on this new source of data? My guess is some, but not much.

A cheap tablet with a fast browser will bring new people into the Amazon ecosystem, and that will be worth far more than the clickstream data.

huhtenberg 3 days ago 2 replies      
One could argue that Opera Mini has been doing the very same thing for a while now, and it did not appear to cause any major uproar between the privacy proponents. This might be a typical "Ah, that's Opera, cool stuff, but who cares" attitude, but it might also indicate a profound shift in surfer's attitude towards their privacy. You press them long enough and they will grow to accept that intrusive Web surfing is a damn norm.

That's the shift I am personally really afraid of, but by the looks of it and as upsetting as it sounds, it is inevitable.

masnick 3 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt end users will care as long as the TOS aren't absurd (e.g. Amazon has the right to sell your non-anonymized data probably wouldn't fly). People _will_ care that their Silk browser is screaming fast, though.
powertower 3 days ago 1 reply      
ISPs have been doing this for ages, maybe not as fine grained as what Amazon plans, but all traffic in general is data-mined and sold.
patrickaljord 3 days ago 0 replies      
Android Apache's license allows just that. Google was aware that was going to happen. There have already been android phones released that were locked on Bing as the search engine and many other devices with no android market. So nothing unexpected here for google.
dabeeeenster 3 days ago 2 replies      
altuzar 3 days ago 2 replies      
Opera Mini's been doing this for more than a year. And Opera Mini is one of the main browsers on Android phones.

Works fine with Opera for iPad. Better than Safari imho.

naner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Speaking of caching, are browsers already doing all the caching that is practical on modern machines? I vaguely remember years ago downloading a special program that sped up the internet by performing more aggressive caching than the browser was capable of (basically it was just a caching proxy). Everything was noticeably quicker.

Though these days things probably feel slower because every website is loaded down with 3rd party JS from 100 different sites...

madiator 3 days ago 1 reply      
What about pageviews: If Amazon stores one copy of NYTimes and serves it to 1000 users, will NYTimes record it as a single hit?
madiator 3 days ago 1 reply      
Think about this: So Amazon can learn about people's browsing habits and can infer a user's interests. Now, based on this, it can put ads in the screensaver (say with "$20 off on the Kindle fire if you let us do this"). An extreme case would be to modify the webpage with their own ads (hopefully will not happen and is unethical). But nevertheless good move, Amazon.
gregable 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this the same data stream that Microsoft is grabbing via most IE users?

It's a big privacy violation, but not a major advantage for amazon.

dvdhsu 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is stopping you from installing another browser on the Fire? Wouldn't that entirely bypass Silk?
rshm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apart from the technology provider, amazon is a giant e-commerce outlet. The implications - Amazon knowing what sells, can be misused to foster its growth on e-commerce. And such things are not even related to user's privacy at all.

User might benefit for a short while, by getting their products under the same roof. But in long run it only serves to create e-commerce monopoly and drive mom-pop/small businesses out of the market, in turn eliminating the competition.

"How much does a website cost?" " a survey of web designers folyo.me
231 points by sgdesign  4 days ago   103 comments top 31
reason 4 days ago 5 replies      
What do you guys get out of your smart-ass answers to potential clients?

You do know that they come to you because they know that you are the professionals. Many of them are completely clueless as to how pricing works for dev/design-work. Asking "how much do you charge?" is a perfectly reasonable question for someone understandably uninformed to ask.

You may be skilled at your trade, but from the sounds of it, many of you are absolutely horrible at dealing with customers who need a bit of guidance and direction with respects to the work they want to get done.

Imagine a curious older relative asking a physicist what light is and receiving "Well, it's sort of like one thing, but it's really not" as a response.

bradleyland 4 days ago 4 replies      
I know it's trite, but when people ask me, "How much would you charge me to build a website?" I always reply with something pithy like, "Between $100 and $100,000."

What's more interesting are the responses. It's almost like a litmus test for who I'd actually want to work with. A person that I might actually want to work with will laugh and acknowledge that the question was ridiculously vague. A person that I don't want to work with will show some level of frustration and will usually dismiss the remark, pressing for a greater level of detail. I'll talk to the individual with a sense of humor and even a basic level of introspection, but the person who is frustrated with me isn't getting very far.

sambeau 4 days ago 2 replies      
When freelancing I tend to work a simple system.

  £250:  An update to content - an evening or two's work.
£500: A tiny static site with some original design. <5 pages
£1000: A full static site for a SME. Full Design. ~5 pages.
£2500: As above with some dynamic elements. ~10 pages.
£5000: Medium dynamic site. ~20 pages. 2-4 weeks work.

I then slide upwards for jobs I don't want and down for people I like. I've never gone above £5000 for a 'homer'.

I also have a mate-rates scale that appears below this:

  Free: Family. Charities I like. Updates + tiny static.
Bottle of Wine: As above but close family friends.
Bottle of Whiskey: As above but good friends.

If I get a request for a bigger job from friends or family I tend to pass them on to a developer chum these days " experience has shown it's for the best.

Having a fixed, doubling scale like this works well. Each next price needs to be big enough to make a difference to me as I am essentially very lazy and I like my free time. Also, I am a terrible soft-touch and would probably charge everyone mates-rates if I didn't force myself to do this.

hopeless 4 days ago 1 reply      
To all those designers comparing their pricing to car sales, consider this: I can wander around a car sales lot and browse the cars and their prices. I don't have to invent a "car spec" or give you a budget, I can see for myself what I can afford. Unfortunately, web designers don't take this approach or else I could browse through example (or previous) sites with their price tags proudly attached. I could see how much $1000, or $3000 or $10,000 would buy me. Unless you want to go down this road, never respond to me "well, how much is a car?"
jaysonelliot 4 days ago 0 replies      
You might as well ask, "How long is a piece of string?"
citricsquid 4 days ago 2 replies      
"How much do you charge?" = bad

"What is the average of your x previous invoices for x?" = good

Sure I might charge by default $1k for a logo but the chances of $1k being billed every time are slim, every client is different. The average invoice price is the most valuable metric. Every designer will say they charge $5k when they charge $1k because it makes them feel good.

bphogan 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, if it's not coding, not even HTML coding, then this isn't about websites. It's how much do you charge for a PSD file. In my experience that's a pretty useless metric. Converting a PSD to HTML can be trivial if you just use an export tool, or it can be incredibly time-intensive if you do it by hand and turn it into something dynamic.

I haven't had a straight-up "Design me a website" contract in years - it's always been applications, or a Wordpress theme. Is there actually still a market for simple static web sites anymore?

ralphsaunders 4 days ago 0 replies      
Asking "How much does a website cost?" is a bit like asking "How much does a car cost?", and of course the answer is "it varies, how much are you looking to spend? What do you want of the car/website?". Surveying various designers under the pretense of addressing this question is price fixing.

The fact that the designers were asked their prices on the criteria that "All prices are for design only, i.e. they don't include any sort of coding (no HTML, no CSS, no Javascript, no PHP, etc.)." is rather telling with regards to experience.

Design doesn't stop at the mockup stage " anyone who has designed & built the front-end of a website knows that the design continues to evolve outside of Photoshop. The nature of the web dictates a website must be flexible so it can accommodate different browsers and resolutions. It's very difficult (read: expensive) to design for a dynamic medium in a static work space, and it's disingenuous to call a static, non-interactive image a website.

This post would be better titled "How much can one charge for a website mockup?"

armandososa 4 days ago 1 reply      

This is my reaction every time I realize how underpriced I was for all my consulting career. I charged $600 top for building websites, including logo and backend most of the time. I think I was good, just very clueless.

JonWood 4 days ago 1 reply      
When it comes to the web app pricing I'm not sure about this:

"For example, the mere fact of supporting user accounts will mean having to design sign up, sign in, and “I forgot my password” screens as well as all the different error states associated with them."

I'd much rather have UI guidelines, which cover how forms are built, what an error state looks like, and how text is formatted. A set of building blocks, rather then a unique design for each activity being undertaken.

In my experience designers who design each page individually usually provide designs which can't be adapted easily, and require each page to have much more work applied then would otherwise be necessary.

By all means provide a full design for key processes, for example the checkout process on an e-commerce site, but for a lost password form I should I be able to put that together without having to call in a designer.

gallerytungsten 4 days ago 2 replies      
Whenever someone asks me this question, I ask them, "how much does a car cost?"

Well, it depends on the car, they answer.

Precisely. So do you want a used Honda, a new Corvette, a BMW, or a Rolls Royce?

geuis 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really take issue with this:

"All prices are for design only, i.e. they don't include any sort of coding (no HTML, no CSS, no Javascript, no PHP, etc.)".

I'm sorry, but a design is only a tiny, tiny fraction of a website. Usually it's the most minor and inconsequential part. I've lost count of how many clients thought their apparently simple designs can built for a toothpick and olive.

Coding the HTML, CSS, javascript, and backend (app + database) can be freaking complex and is easily the most expensive part of a site.

This article is mis-titled, since design is the least important part of a site.

jrnkntl 4 days ago 3 replies      
(native) Mobile apps in the same price range as websites? That's really not my experience; it's most of the time double or triple what a website with similar functionality would cost.
RegEx 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why so many people here feel compelled to act so rude towards potential clients. Why do people get so defensive when it comes to their pricing that they have to offer the prospect analogies instead of direct answers? We all know the pricing is relative to the project. If you're tired of getting emails from people asking how much a site is, don't be afraid to state your minimum price on your site. Setting up pricing filters is good - being rude to those that may be ignorant to our process is not. You might say "Well they should do research!", but their google queries will be met by articles spouting equally obscure analogies on what a site could cost.
8ig8 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to fault the client or prospect for asking such _foolish_ questions, but in many cases this may be the first time they have ever engaged creative services. It seems so obvious to us, but not everyone has worked with an architect or an interior designer or a software developer or an advertising agency.

My tactic is to frame the 'how much does it cost' question into something they can relate to. I compare the website to a house. I explain that the cost is dependent on factors like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. I explain that knowing a rough budget is helpful because the designers would know if they should shop at Ikea or (insert local high end furniture store). I ask them if they want hardwoods or carpeting.

Usually the house example helps the client understand that he/she is asking an impossible question and they then are more comfortable going into specifics about their idea so I can get then a fair estimate.

gte910h 4 days ago 0 replies      
How much do you charge for a website?

is appropriately answered by "What do you want it to do?" then a conversation talking about their project.

mikey_p 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really surprised by the responses here. No one is saying that you should smart off to a client, but the quality of an estimate is going to be in response to the quality of the question. "How much is a website?" is about as helpful as phoning a builder and asking "How much does it cost to build a house?"

(I'm also waiting for commenters to rip me to shreds for the analogy, since HN seems to hate analogies, but it's the best way I can describe it)

csomar 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder how templates stock sites like Themeforest affects the designers business. Now to start your web app, you don't really need a designer, but just $20 or less and you get something very good for the little money you put.
lysol 4 days ago 0 replies      
This should really just be a graph with two lines:
A very small one that says 'As much as I quoted', and a far larger line that says 'Much more than I quoted'.
wofser 4 days ago 1 reply      
I always answers like this:

"How much does a website cost?"
"It depends".
"Depends on what?"
"A lot of things".

I am a web developer, not a web designer.

darksaga 4 days ago 0 replies      
Building the site is just the start of the process in my eyes. I always give one estimate for the design/development/seo of a site. The importance of keeping the content, SEO and design fresh cannot be undersold to the client. Letting your site anguish for a few years will cost you visitors and business. And today, it happens even faster. A site that sits for more than 6 months is in danger of losing page rank.

For me, the cost isn't in the initial development, it's in the cost of maintaining the site (design/content) and continuing to rank well in the search engines for the life of the site (seo/sem). This also presents the best opportunity to create a long term relationship and an ongoing revenue stream for the developer.

paulmckeever 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for sharing this and I hope Folyo is getting off to a good start. I know a lot of designers who struggle to figure out the market rate for their work and will find this really helpful. Design can add huge value to a business and good work costs money.

But I find the way you've approach the survey to be flawed. The cost of design work is generally a factor of how complex the problem is to solve. Most designers I know charge effort * hourly rate = fee, much like developers and other professional services.

So quantifying prices in terms of a homepage, additional layouts etc is meaningless. I don't find your distinction that only web apps (and not other parts of the web) require both visual and UX design helpful.

@JonWood gets it pretty spot on: handing over a pretty PSD file is getting less common as more design agencies get involved in prototyping and front-end development. Creating a visual language and building blocks is far more useful.

esutton 4 days ago 0 replies      
i for one am tired of the hourly model. set a price whatever it may be. If you go low, you'll charge more the next time. if you go high, people will go to someone else.
kaffeinecoma 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's interesting is that these prices are for design only; they do not include HTML/CSS, much less code to make a webapp functional.
toblender 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow nice article, I was wondering if I was charging too much for my recent bid. Good to see other people are charging in that range.
Osiris 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a bit off-topic, but I'm actually looking to build a new website to replace my current poorly-designed one. It's basically just three static pages. Current website and contact info are in my profile. Contact me if you're interested.
atomicdog 3 days ago 0 replies      
>How much do you charge for a mobile app?

Why are web designers (as opposed to software developers) being asked about mobile applications?

anons2011 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to get some feedback from other freelance front-end devs as well, in terms of pricing. As I known I'm probably completely undercharging.
drtse4 4 days ago 0 replies      
Compared to the amounts i see on TinyProj (that usually are related to a full implementation, not only design) these are way higher...
md1515 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some 14 year olds can design pretty well. Plus - logo matters, but not that much. Look at Hacker News...it looks like someone taking beginner programming made it. Nonetheless, the content is fabulous - that's the point
d_rwin 4 days ago 0 replies      
the worst anyone can do is approaching this as easy.
OpenVim: Learn Vim in Your Browser openvim.com
227 points by gbrindisi  4 days ago   42 comments top 16
s00pcan 4 days ago 2 replies      
vimtutor was all it took for me and didn't take that long. Yes, it takes about 30 minutes to get through, but I used it off and on as a refresher as I was getting more accustomed to using vim. Here I am half a year later I do almost all of my text editing using GVim. My advice would be to gradually ease into the advanced commands and plugins and not to immediately try and fix every problem you come across where vim doesn't behave like you would expect coming from other editors.
nakkiel 4 days ago 3 replies      
How is this supposed to help anyone exactly? Many commands simply don't work (^ or $ to name just two). People: skip this and use vim's :help.
kqr2 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those who would like to try emacs in their browser, there is ymacs, a emacs like editor implemented in javascript. It's not specifically a tutorial, but it's good enough to try out the basics.


AlexC04 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love the concept but have two gripes.

1) the text "line in" for reading comes in too slow. I want the whole text up on the screen in a flash so I can concentrate on reading. I usually either find I'm faster than the "line in" animation OR the line in is too distracting to read around.

2) with respect to the tutorials, at the end of each section I should have all the new commands "unlocked" so I can `h` `j` `k` `l` until I'm 100% comfortable with what each key does.

mattmanser 4 days ago 2 replies      
Nice, despite all the nay saying, it's a good and low barrier intro to what always had me wondering, what's so special about vim and the two modes?

Good job.

Bo102010 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had to turn of Firefox's Find As You Type to make it work, but well worth it!

I have gone so far as to FTP files to myself to edit on a more familiar editor, then FTP'd them back to the target machine rather than use vi, so it's high time I internalized the basics.

norswap 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not everything does work properly with non qwerty keyboards: for instance '0' doesn't work in the sandbox for an be-latin keyboard (tough it works in the tutorial), tough I suppose it doesn't work for every keyboard that need press the maj key to produce a number.
scrrr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I keep triggering vimium (Chrome) commands.. :)

But yeah this is nice. I consider myself proficient with vim and use it daily for a year but I'd like to try such a tool for other editors. Say TextMate in Ruby mode or emacs..

gbog 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am now near ten years of daily vim usage, maybe I am not like the others but I still do not use hjkl to move around. I do not think hjkl should be in a first place of an introduction to Vim for coders. Instead, I would explain about / ? * # > < and :s, which are the basic for editing code.
cake 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found it great, except part 2 of the tutorial is kinda missing.
bmccormack 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's not working for me on Chrome Stable 14.0.835.186 m. The report bug link gives me a 404.

Looks like it works fine on Firefox 6.0.2, though.

jayunit 4 days ago 1 reply      
The "vim hero" idea you mentioned - similar to this? http://vimgolf.com/
Greg12x 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is really helpful. I have always wanted to learn vim.
hunterclarke 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was just looking for something like this the other day. Good timing.
kmm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else have problems with Vim on AZERTY keyboards? It's really annoying that I have to hold shift to enter numbers.
guyht 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great start point for anyone wanting to learn vim!
Scaling GitHub's Employees zachholman.com
216 points by jonmaddox  2 days ago   39 comments top 13
SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 4 replies      
People work on what they want to work on. Product development is driven by whoever wants to drive product.

That is the surest way to reduce your startup's odds of survival. In this case, it would become a prototypical case study in survivor bias.

GitHub is lucky that they are building a product that is tailored for developers. It makes their survival rate doing this slightly higher because the developers are (only vaguely) similar to their customers. The further these two points are from each other, the worse this advice becomes.

A startup needs somebody who understands how to drive products into markets. Whether this is the CEO or a product manager hired off the street doesn't matter, but they need somebody doing it who has the real authority to turn those learnings into a product fit for a market.

FWIW, I've lived the flip side of this coin: building a tool for developers driven by what we thought would be cool to build instead of having a product guy hitting the street to understand the real customer. After burning through more than $20M, the lights got turned off.

rguzman 2 days ago 1 reply      
these series of posts about how they do stuff is great, i love it.

however, dreaming up the end result is a lot easier than figuring out what seeds to plant when you are a team of 1 or 2. after reading these i'm always left with the question "great, but what should i be doing now to be able to have this kind of process later?"

maybe the answer is in the article: figure out your core values and start applying them at whatever scale you are at. alas, that's not a list of actionable items.

apsurd 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've never heard of Graphite. Is this it? http://graphite.wikidot.com/start

If so, can anyone care to explain how it would be used to "graph application exceptions" as per this post? thanks!

masklinn 2 days ago 0 replies      
The more they explain, the more Github's organisation sounds like valve: very flat hierarchy, loose interest-based teams and ease of moving between them, etc...
eignerchris_ 2 days ago 3 replies      
Don't get me wrong, I love GitHub and I love the processes they are using - I wish we did more of it at my current employer. But all of this back-patting feels a bit premature. They've really only scaled a single order of magnitude. Growing from 4 developers to 40 developers is excellent, but hardly "scaling" at all. Would the same flow work at Amazon, Netflix, or Apple?
DanielRibeiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
some days our CEO ships more code than the rest of us do

Now that is impressive for a 40-people startup.

staunch 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd be much more impressed if they don't "scale" their employees at all. Github can not possibly need 40 employees at this point. Nothing ensures eventual mediocrity like hiring masses of people.
iffius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Saying that automation "reduces institutional knowledge" seems a bit misleading in that the knowledge is still kept by the institution but is somewhat inaccessible because the information is held by only a few employees. Perhaps saying that automation "records institutional knowledge" would be more accurate.
brown9-2 2 days ago 1 reply      
God I wish my team had a Hubot.
alnayyir 2 days ago 1 reply      
These sorts of posts make me want to work at GitHub, which might very well be the objective. Taking a shot at a position there might even be worth learning Rails. (I have a primarily Python oriented background.)

Are there any other companies that have a culture/process like this?

dhm116 2 days ago 2 replies      
If only they could scale their sales department. We've received no response for 2 weeks using 3 different methods of contacting them.
captn3m0 2 days ago 2 replies      
What's the designer culture at github? Do you make them use git?
asofyan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the way you're running github.. deep appreciate. Please keep posting as it grows, so we can learn. Many thanks.
Fixing the callback spaghetti in node.js github.com
215 points by koush  2 days ago   100 comments top 35
SomeCallMeTim 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool, but it's too bad you have to deal with all that to begin with.

I've been using LuaJIT embedded in Nginx (LuaNginxModule). Lua supports coroutines, so a function can just yield. Here's a brief example:

    -- Query a database using an http backend.
-- Yields and handles other requests until the reply is complete.
local record = util.getUserRecord(userId)

-- Send some text to the client. Yields control while
-- the actual transfer is in progress.
ngx.print( "Result=" )

-- Send the result, encoded as JSON, to the client
-- Again, this call doesn't block the server.
ngx.print( cjson.encode(result) )

With code like the above I can easily handle into the thousands of concurrent connections per second on the lowest end Linode VPS node available, with barely any load on the box -- and I'm told it should be able to handle 40k+ connections per second, if I were to do any tuning. Oh, and I have only 512Mb of RAM, which it doesn't even get close to under load. And the longest request took less than 500ms at high load.

I've been using OpenResty [1] which has the Lua module and a bunch of others all configured together. Works great, and I can't complain about the performance.

Someday I'm sure I'll hand the maintenance of this off, and then I might regret not using one of the "popular" frameworks. But the code is SO straightforward using this stack -- and what I'm using it for is so simple -- I think not.

[1] http://openresty.org/

glenjamin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Callback spaghetti is a sign that you're doing something wrong.

The first example from this page shows a request handler initialising a database connection and then executing a query. That's terrible separation!

Callbacks "spaghetti" actually does a great job of highlighting when you're not abstracting enough, any more than about 5 indents and you should be seriously considering refactoring your approach.


    app.get('/price', function(req, res) {
db.openConnection('host', 12345, function(err, conn) {
conn.query('select * from products where id=?', [req.param('product')], function(err, results) {

becomes something like

    app.get('/price', function(req, res) {
products.fetchOne(function(err, product) {
res.render('product', { product: product });

Also, as other posts on this page mentioned, try{}catch{} is not how errors are handled in Node.JS, plenty of async operations will gain a fresh stack, and cannot be caught in this way.

jorangreef 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been writing Node since late 2009 and Javascript with Rhino before that and Javascript with Rails before that. Before Node, I was used to linear program execution and was hesitant to switch to writing asynchronous code.

My mental model of code was one-dimensional: do this, then do that, then do that. So I was used to exception handling for errors, and my programs were like trains on a track. This was a comfortable abstraction, but the way in which my programs were written did not reflect what they were doing in the real-world: reading from disk, reading from the network, waiting for something, doing something, responding to something, receiving something in chunks.

Now, looking back, I prefer writing code that reflects what my programs are doing. There is more headspace, another dimension, no longer one thing after another, but a stack of things hovering and happening at the same time, interacting with each other, moving forwards through time.

Now, instead of trying to make concurrent work appear non-concurrent, I prefer to embrace concurrency and see how I can write for concurrency. This is almost certainly different to the way in which I would have written synchronous code. Code for me is less complex now and shorter now than when it was synchronous. It feels richer and more descriptive of the work being performed. It's also faster and more reliable. In essence, I have learned to write better concurrent code.

tlrobinson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really like this idea, but it doesn't seem to do error handling correctly.

This is not going to catch most errors occurring in an asynchronous APIs:

    try {
asyncOperation(function(err, result) {
// ...
} catch (e) {
// ...

Most errors will occur asynchronously, thus the convention of "err" being the first argument to asynchronous API callbacks in Node.

Unless this supports that convention, your code should actually look like:

    async function magic() {
try {
// code here
await err, bar = doSomething();
if (err) {
throw err;
// more code here
await err, boo = doAnotherThing();
if (err) {
throw err;
// do even more stuff here
catch (e) {
// handle the error

...or something similar. It's better than the alternative, but not great.

This certainly could support the "err" first convention, but APIs that don't use that convention wouldn't work correctly.

weixiyen 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wrote a library (30 loc) to handle sequence and parallel flows.

Using only that, I rarely go over 80 character column limit that I impose on myself. There is absolutely zero callback spaghetti whether it's 2 or 25 functions deep in the chain.

Tbh, callback spaghetti only happens to newer async programmers in the same way that a newer programmer will write arrow code with if/else statements.

It's simply not a problem that needs to be addressed other than educating people who are new to node.js with some example tutorials that use an async helper library.

JonnieCache 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I'm planning on diving into Go when I eventually have a serious realworld need for a lot of concurrency. None of this kind of mucking around is necessary.
MostAwesomeDude 2 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps it would be interesting to see how it was done in Twisted: http://twistedmatrix.com/documents/current/api/twisted.inter...

We'd like to think that the C# guys were looking our way when they came up with async/await, but there's no proof. :3

snprbob86 2 days ago 1 reply      
There was some discussion of adding this to CoffeeScript. The issues on GitHub seem stalled. Would really love to see it happen soon!
diamondhead 2 days ago 0 replies      
JavaScript itself gives developers enough power to beautify messy async code, already. Below is the rewrite of the first example in that page, with async function composition:


/* https://gist.github.com/1250314 */

var db = require('somedatabaseprovider'),

      compose = require('functools').compose;

compose.async(getApp, connect, select)({ url:'/price', host:'host', pass:'123' }, function(error, shift){





It's that easy to abstract those messy callbacks using some functional tools.

plasma 2 days ago 1 reply      
C#/.Net is planning on async/await features for its .Net 5 release: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/csharpfaq/archive/2010/10/28/async.a...
bluesnowmonkey 2 days ago 2 replies      
That "callback spaghetti" is called continuation-passing style.

"Programs can be automatically transformed from direct style to CPS." [1]

Do the math.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuation-passing_style

rjrodger 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think every competent programmer who comes to Node for the first time thinks "hoo boy, better fix this callback stuff first", and immediately writes a module to do just that. I know I did! :)

koush just took this to the next level.

But you know what. Just stop fighting the callback model. Adapt your coding idioms and move on...

dualogy 2 days ago 0 replies      
In JavaScript callback spaghetti would kill me, but in CoffeeScript it's a breeze and NOT something I want to "abstract away" at all for various reasons. I suggest the solution to JavaScripts concoluted anonymous functions syntax is CoffeeScript, or not inlining.
damncabbage 2 days ago 2 replies      
How does this compare to http://chris6f.com/synchronous-nodejs ?
fleitz 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a lot of syntactic sugar for one very specific type of monad. Why not just patch the language to allow easy interoperation with any monad?

For example, F#'s let! binding works with any monad not just async.

kqueue 2 days ago 1 reply      
The proper fix is to introduce coroutines.
swannodette 2 days ago 0 replies      
Changing JS is just not a great idea and I think Node.js has been wise to avoid it.

If you're going to innovate, then design a language that compiles down to JS that provides the innovation. CoffeeScript.

If you want to take that a step further, look at ClojureScript. Want delimited continuations? Fine. All w/o requiring you to fork Node.js or CoffeeScript.

voidr 2 days ago 1 reply      
You don't have to use inline functions all the time, you can do it like this:

  function foo () {.... }
function bar () {....foo(); }
function barfoo () {....bar(); }


vessenes 2 days ago 0 replies      
koush, nice! I use your code every day when I reboot my phone, but I appreciate this useful extension to node almost as much. :)
plq 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like how the buzz around server-side javascript is progressing slowly from "the next big thing!!!" to "okay, it has its shortcomings".

You will pry Python from my dead, cold hands :)

deepGem 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very elegant. Just a couple of questions -

Using await - is the program flow suspended until the corresponding function returns , or does await keyword act more like a 'pause and continue' mechanism.

gfxmonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Addressing the same problem (and more) in both node and the browser, via compiling-JS-to-JS: http://onilabs.com/stratifiedjs

(disclaimer: I am the guy who worked on the now-defunct `defer` support in Coffeescript, and am now working with the onilabs folk on the stratifiedJS runtime)

jlongster 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been wanting to implement something like this for a while! Great job. It looks elegant and basically pushes the continuations into the background.
jrockway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Or you can just do this:

   foo.step1 = function(){ do_some_thing(foo.step2) }
foo.step2 = function(arg){ do_another_thing( ... ) }
# enjoy

jscheel 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the node.js project I just finished, I was also forced to write some "async" c# for a separate system that the node.js project communicated with. Now, I'll be the first to admit, I don't know c#... but, it was the first time I had used both node.js AND c#. I have to say, the c# approach was a horrible exercise in pain and agony. I started to run into significant nesting in node.js, then realized it was because my approach was flawed. I abstracted more, and I also started using async.js (https://github.com/caolan/async), and everything was well in the world.
zoips 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, but I'd rather not use a fork of Node, and Joyent isn't going to integrate this, unfortunately. I wish that Google would just add yield to V8, but they won't do that unless Apple adds it to whatever the hell their interpreter is called now (Squirrelfish?).
thesorrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) use async.js (classic javascript)
2) learn asynchronous patterns
3) profit
jeromeparadis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice. I've also been using the async node.js module which is quite handy for some other patterns. Of course, having direct support directly in node would be the best. Can't wait for the yield keyword!
mattbillenstein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man, just use python+gevent and be done with it...
justatdotin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't accept that there's a "problem" that needs "fixing".
robocat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will Conant wrote a great article discussing three different libraries (StratifiedJS, Streamline, node-fibers) to do with the problem: http://blog.willconant.com/post/7523275566/continuations-in-...

http://tamejs.org/ also has a good write-up.

jeffz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone checkout Jscex? It basically has the same goal but implement as a library. https://github.com/JeffreyZhao/jscex
exclipy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's great to see coroutines becoming more mainstream. I think every programming language could do well with some way to abstract over the program counter like this - ie. code that appears sequentially being executed interleaved with other code (deterministically, unlike threading).
agentgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems the async variables are just like Mozarts data flow variables
maxogden 2 days ago 0 replies      
theres this great thing called npmjs.org that is a place for stuff like this if I am not mistaken
Trader: I dream of another recession (and Goldman Sachs rules the world) bbc.co.uk
212 points by jacobr  4 days ago   149 comments top 23
Construct 4 days ago  replies      
This man is described as an "independent market trader" in the attached article. His twitter profile ( http://twitter.com/#!/alessiorastani ) describes him as a "Keynote speaker" and a "Mentor and dedicated to helping others succeed". That doesn't exactly inspire much confidence. In fact, it is pretty obvious that he has set out to make a name for himself through this controversy.

Furthermore, he has obviously bet heavily on a near-term market crash. He's now financially and emotionally invested in a market crash, so of course he will be confident that it's going to happen. And if his doomsday video circulates the internet and makes a dent, however tiny, in investor sentiment then he has also effectively pushed the market (in a very tiny way) toward his goal.

Take a look at one of his recent tweets: "I've been waiting for this stock market crash for 3 years. #finance #economy"

The world economy is in trouble, no doubt, but let's remain reasonable and rational here. Spend enough time around financial types, and you can always find a doomsayer like this man in any sort of economy.

steve8918 4 days ago 2 replies      
The thing is that this trader isn't saying anything that people don't already know. Milton Friedman predicted this when the Euro was first created, that it would last only until its first currency crisis.

Greece is in really, really bad shape. The normal way a country gets out of this problem is by devaluing its currency, and enacting fiscal policy measures. Look at Iceland for a recent example, and the Asian currency crisis back in 97-98.

However, Greece is stuck. It can't devalue its currency, because they are part of the Euro. The only way to get this to work is by getting the other European nations to pay for Greece through Eurobonds, but NO ONE WANTS TO. In fact, if a politician did so, they would get voted out. So there is no political will to pay for Greece, which means that Europe is in between a rock and a hard place.

They can do handwaving, etc, but it seems really likely that this European debt crisis will bring down Spain (20% unemployment, 40% youth unemployment and a housing bubble burst), Portugal, and worst case Italy. It's confidence contagion and it will continue to spiral out of control until they eject Greece out of the EU.

So now, we know that Europe is screwed. Will their plan to give 50% haircuts work? Or will everyone leave Europe entirely? This is the question, and I frankly doubt it, just like the trader said. YOU CAN'T SOLVE A DEBT CRISIS BY ISSUING MORE DEBT!!!

Once Greek bond holders get 50% haircuts, what about Ireland and Portugal? Will there be mass selling of those sovereign bonds? It will be a big domino effect, and the outcome is completely unpredictable at this point, but the one predictable thing is that the politicians will likely screw it up, because they lack political courage.

So the advice the trader gives is essentially right. Stay in safe havens for now, if you have money you can't afford to lose. I would stay in short-term US Treasuries so that you don't need to worry about interest rate issues. Don't try to catch bottoms unless you're playing with money you can afford to lose. Right now, the choppiness in the markets are unparalleled, so unless you really know what you're doing, safe havens are the best.

chailatte 4 days ago 1 reply      
He is telling the truth.


Record Number of Companies Pull Back on IPOs


EFSF - 133% Of German GDP To Cover All Of Europe's Bad Debt

Germany rejects idea of further EFSF expansion


Chinese growth could slow to zero in 2012

Cash Crunch in China Picks Up Momentum; Chinese Economy "Teetering On the Edge"


Japanese economy contracted more severely than previously reported

Japan auto lobby cuts 2011 sales outlook by 10 pct


Consumer Confidence Stagnates Near Two-Year Low

Food stamp use rises to record 45.8 million


Are We Headed Into A Recess/Depress-ion? The Answer In 9 Simple Charts

All signs point to the second dip in the global economic depression.

mootothemax 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still wondering how much of what the trader said was motivated by a desire to raise his profile for his after-dinner speaking engagements.

His name's Alessio Rastani, and he's got the basics already set up for some social media fun:



grandalf 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is an extremely obvious point masquerading as something controversial.

In a market with 10 large financial firms, all of varying strength, a capital crisis may put a few of the weaker ones out of business, since a capital shortage means that a firm doesn't have enough liquid capital to cover its underwriting obligations and its cash flow needs. When this happens, weaker firms are hamstrung if they can't raise additional capital. Typically the government provides free capital in the form of below market loans which can be turned into profitable short term loans at zero risk.

This means that the valuable assets will be gobbled up by the stronger firms and there will be less competition across the board.

Thus Goldman, as the strongest global financial firm, stands to gain the most from any crisis.

Regulators required all US financial firms to accept bailout assistance precisely to avoid what would have likely been the outcome of the crisis -- one or two super firms.

Even if all surviving firms shrunk by 80% post crisis, the resulting diminished competition would be a win for the surviving firms' investors.

It's debatable in the scenario of the 2008 crisis whether Goldman would have survived if AIG hadn't been bailed out. I think it likely would have, but it would have had to raise additional capital from investors... As it was Buffet invested around $5B (but could have easily invested much more -- and the yield would have been way better if more competitors had been allowed to fail).

As a result of this, and the various interests involved, much effort was expended to preserve the status quo.

One might ask what it would take for there to be legitimate competition in the financial services market... My take is that policymakers' desire for cheap (below market price) credit can only be implemented through the sort of public/private partnership... aka socialized financial services like the ones we have in the US. To put it succinctly, cheap credit is a right.

It would be interesting to run an experiment to see how much this policy has impacted American democracy (for better and worse). I don't think such an experiment would be possible though.

fserb 4 days ago 4 replies      
This guy sounds a lot like a Yes Men intervention.
dasil003 4 days ago 1 reply      
Those who talk don't know, and those who know don't talk.
mcphilip 4 days ago 0 replies      
This man's fishing for attention, IMO, but there is some degree of brutal honestly in how he describes a trader's outlook. Many traders eagerly await swings in volatility as opportunities to make a lot of money; the reason for the swing (e.g. global financial market turmoil) is irrelevant.
Vivtek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well, given that the Euro is not falling against the dollar, the one thing he says that I can easily check (that everybody's scared about the Euro and is moving their money into dollars) is plain false. My assumption is everything else is, too. As Construct says (and as I commented on elsewhere) he's emotionally invested in seeing doom on all sides.
sixtofour 4 days ago 9 replies      
"Learn how to make money in a downward market."

OK. As an individual who is not rich, where to start that learning?

lrm242 3 days ago 0 replies      
veyron 4 days ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind 99% of people who go on CNBC or make stupid reports or recommendations have no vested interest in the implied outcome. None whatsoever. They are selling books or selling newsletters or selling videos or selling infrastructure or selling trade ideas, but definitely have NO skin in the game.

It's also very easy to call yourself a trader: just get a zecco (or w/e the retail company of the month is), seed with 1000, and buy one share of a penny stock. Congrats: you are a trader :)

amitparikh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bulls make money, Bears make money. It's the pigs that get slaughtered.
Francon 4 days ago 2 replies      
Historically speaking, we've never seen an economy succeed long term when the monetary system is based on a fiat (fake) currency. Sadly, this trader is telling the truth: "We bought the ticket so take the ride and profit" is the message to people.
This is a manufactured crisis but it matters not weather it is intentional or unintended. It is happening. Historic precedent exists for this. The Collapse of: Egyptian Empire, Roman Empire, U.S.S.R. and Zimbabwe. All from fiat overexertion of an unsustainable empire or economies. The history of fiat money, to put it kindly, has been one of failure. Seems this trader is going to profit from the shift rather than sit idly by waiting for some magical intervention.
crag 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ok first of all.. the markets are always driven by fear. Fear of losing and the thrill of not losing (in other words, risk) is the whole point. So lets get that out of the way.

Looking at this man, he's bet heavily on a crash so what would you expect him to say? Frankly I'm a little surprised they gave him air time.

smogzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
If everybody goes shorting the market like the meta-morph in there advises; skeletor, the guy controlling the markets from it's castle will make a short squeeze by buying those shorts and pretend to be he-man. Saving Europe and the likes and postponing the apocalipto, at least in the stock markets.
alins 4 days ago 0 replies      
When an "analyst" comes to you and starts saying things like "if you know what to do ..." - this is the mark of a snake oil salesman. Next thing he will do is to ask you for money to learn about his "strategy". This guy is an idiot who wants to make a name for himself so he makes these kinds of statements to get attention. At this point the last thing Goldman Sachs wants is a total collapse of markets and economy.
npollock 4 days ago 0 replies      
You've got to imagine the BBC does some kind of background check on the people it puts on air. Typically speakers hail from the big banks and funds, it's unusual to give a virtual unknown the pulpit. I wonder what kind of guidelines they establish before they allow you on air. Did they know he was that biased?
andrewcanis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever I hear doomsayers like this I try to remember Warren Buffett's advice, "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."
casca 4 days ago 3 replies      
asbig 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've just been looking at youtube clips of this and there doesn't seem to be any recommendations for me when I go back to the home page. Anyone else notice this?
plessthenpoint5 4 days ago 0 replies      
sorry.... but what a dick.
gaius 4 days ago 2 replies      
This Goldman Sachs? http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/goldman-sachs-draws-u...

They're cutting the size of their coffee cups to save money, hardly secret rulers of the world stuff, is it?

This guy was just saying exactly what BBC viewers wanted to hear... That it was the evil bankers fault, not people taking out more mortgage than they could afford.

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